Guest Author Interview: Amanda Bonilla

Welcome to Amanda Bonilla, my new favorite urban fantasy author! Confession time: when I read a description of Amanda’s new novel Vengeance Borne, I knew it was something I would want to read, so I did a little cyber-stalking sleuthing and tracked her down to beg her to let me review her book and interview her. Lucky for me, Amanda is incredibly generous and was gracious enough to answer my questions and send me a copy of Vengeance Borne! Check it all out, below:

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Interview

What do you write about? Tell us a little about your previously published works.
I’m the author of the Shaede Assassin series, a dark urban fantasy series about a former human-turned-Shaede (a creature that can become a shadow after the sun sets) who happens to work as an assassin. I love to write emotionally stunted, tortured heroines who need to be taken down a few pegs before they can truly stand on their own two feet. In September, the first book in my new Sentry of Evil series, VENGEANCE BORNE released. It’s also a dark urban fantasy series that focuses on Waerds who hunt down and kill evil supernatural creatures and Bearers who are their empath counterparts.

How do you handle bad reviews?

When my first book came out, I beat myself up over bad reviews. I’m a people pleaser and I felt like I’d let people down. But four books later, I’ve realized that reviews are for readers, not authors and that all I can do is to write the best book I can. I rarely read reviews and I never read negative reviews. One of my friends once told me, “It’s none of your business what people think of you.” The same goes for books.

Tell us a little about your work in progress.
I write contemporary romance under the name Mandy Baxter. I’m currently working on the second book of my US Marshals series. The first book, ONE NIGHT MORE, will release in September 2014 from Kensington. I’m also working on the fourth book in the Shaede Assassin series, AGAINST THE DAWN which will also release in 2014.

Any advice for aspiring writers?
Read as much as you can. And write. A lot. But persistence is the most important thing. You can’t give up. If you love to write just keep writing and keep trying.

What is your personal writing process?
Silence and solitude. I work best without distractions so between the hours of 8 and 5 when everyone is gone for the day, I write as much as I can. That’s not to say our dogs and cat aren’t distracting. Oh, and the chickens, too. But I soldier through! 😉

What book are you reading now?
I’m currently in between books, but I just finished FIFTH GRAVE PAST THE LIGHT by Darynda Jones. Such a great book! I’m a huge Charlie Davidson fangirl. And Reyes? SWOON!

What inspired you to write your first book?
When I was sixteen I read SHANNA by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I was at a point in my life where I was sort of isolated and felt alone. I fell in love with her characters and storytelling. That book started a reading obsession for me and gave me an avenue for escape and I wanted to write from the moment I read her books.

Have you ever used characteristics from someone you know in one of your books?
In VENGEANCE BORNE, Trish shares a lot of characteristics of both of my grandmas. They were both strong, dynamic women, and I wanted to honor their memories. Writing Trish is fun, because it’s sort of like hanging out with them again.

Where can readers find you and your work?
I hang out on Facebook and Twitter as both my Amanda Bonilla and Mandy Baxter identities. I love to chat with readers! If you’d like information on any of my series, hit up my websites http://amandabonilla.com or http://mandy-baxter.com

Amanda Bonilla on Facebook

Mandy Baxter on Facebook

Amanda Bonilla on Twitter

Mandy Baxter on Twitter

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Review

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Jacquelyn is a monster hunter, a member of the shadow organization the Sentry, determined to protect her small town from the dangers she knows lurk nearby.

Micah has spent his life metaphorically running from his “gift” of feeling others’ emotions, and now he’s running for real–he has packed up an RV and is headed across the country. But when he meets up with Jacquelyn, he must decide whether to use that gift to help stop a supernatural killing spree or to just keep running forever.

Vengeance Borne has everything I love in an urban fantasy novel: a kick-ass heroine with a little emotional baggage (makes for great character development!), a love interest with some psychological depth, interesting monsters, and well-rounded secondary (and in this case, even tertiary) characters.

I loved everything about this book–Amanda Bonilla has created a wonderful, complete world and populated it with believable characters. I’m hooked. And I’m headed off to buy everything she’s ever written. I love finding a new-to-me author as good as she is!

Score: 10/10
5 stars

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Buy Vengeance Borne:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

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S.D. Grimm, Author of Breathless

First of all, I want to thank Margo for being gracious enough to let me post on her blog today. I am so excited about the release of my novella, BREATHLESS.

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What if one touch could unlock a thousand memories?

Eighteen year old Claire Summers has a rare gift she must keep secret, she’s a Breather—someone who can see other people’s memories by touching an object they’ve touched. When she stumbles across a memory of her friend in danger, she’ll do anything to help rescue him. The problem is, her secret will be revealed. If the wrong people find out about her ability, they’ll hunt her because Breathers are powerful weapons.

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I started writing when I was … well I actually can’t remember not writing. It’s kinda my thing. I love fantasy—epic, urban, sword and sorcery, all of it—so that’s what I write. You can learn more about me and what I’m writing on my website.

Breathless is an urban fantasy. For those of you unfamiliar with whatever that is, it’s fantasy set in a city, sometimes it’s in the future, sometimes present.

The story takes place in a few cities—Podunk towns actually. Yup, there’s a road trip involved, and it’s in this awesome, awesome ride.

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Yeah, I know.

And for your reading pleasure, here’s an excerpt:

My shoes crushed the thick grass. Thunder rumbled in the distance. Damp, summer air swirled around me unable to cut through the heavy fog. Headstones, cracked and crooked, spread across the grassy hill. I’d been here before. My dreams often brought me to this cemetery. The full moon lit my way down a familiar path. Even though I was dreaming, I was chilly in my tank top and shorts.

I headed toward the tallest headstone on the hill’s crest. No flowers or American flags decorated this soul’s final resting place. I reached out, like I had the other times I’d dreamed this, and I knew what to expect. Before I could touch the stone, my subconscious would pull me back and I’d wake on my bouncing bed feeling like I’d fallen from somewhere high.

The rough stone was cool beneath my fingers.

Three translucent figures walked away from me, passing through the untouched fog. Two men, one held a young boy’s hand, the other followed them. The boy looked so familiar. They walked through the headstones littering the hillside as if they were insubstantial, and then flickered out.

My hand jerked back. A chill skittered across my chest and spread over my whole body leaving me with goose bumps. Heart racing, I willed myself to wake.

I didn’t.

My chest tightened. Was I dreaming or not? Thunder rolled closer. I backed away from the creepy headstone and stepped on something slippery. Arms flailing, I lost my balance. I landed in the moist grass. Pain shot up my elbow as it connected with rock.

“Back here. Quick.” The whisper turned my blood to ice.

“I’m dreaming,” I said aloud since this was too freaky to be real.

“Dream? No, sweetheart, you’re in a trance. Snap out of it or whatever it is you Breathers do.” The stranger’s voice rasped.

I froze, watching him inch closer. Breather? What was he talking about? My head cleared like a fan turned on and blew the fog from my brain, and I realized my situation. I so wasn’t dreaming. This was real. This was real?

I faced the stranger hiding behind a headstone and caught a glimpse of his rifle. Oh holy night.

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For more information, check out http://www.sdgrimm.com

Guest: Josie Montano, Author of My Family Sized Pizza

My Family Sized Pizza

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Purchase the eBook at Amazon or Solstice Publishing
(print copies available later this year)
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Excerpt

I got home from school one afternoon and there were heaps of cars parked outside Nonno and Nonna’s place. Something was wrong. Nonno hadn’t been feeling so good that morning.

I could hear moaning. Did I really want to go inside? I walked down the side to the backyard and found Nonno asleep on the garden chair. He was under his olive tree with a big bottle of vino on his lap. Phew! He was OK.

The moaning from inside sounded like chanting. Had Nonna joined a cult or something? I went in and found the house full of Italian women. They were on their knees praying to a huge statue of Mary! Mumbling and fiddling with their rosary beads, but at the same time checking me out. Multi-talented women!

Oh no! It was Nonna’s monthly rosary meeting. But this time it was at our place. If I’d known I’d have gone to the library with Sarina.

“Angelina! Mamma Mia how you have grown!” Signora Romanelli was looking straight at my boobs.

“Oh, you look just like Elena, you mudder,” Signora Vesta did the sign of the cross and looked at me sadly. It’s not me that’s dead, you idiot.

“Madonna, is dis little Angelina? She’s a big gal!” Signora Della Something was looking at my bum. I needed a quick escape, but the statue blocked the way to my bedroom. There it was – halfway up the stairs.

“Angelina, vieni qua,” Nonna called. “Come on”. She had her arm around one of her friends.

“Dis is Signora Bertolini.” This lady I’d never met before grabs me by the cheeks with her fingers and thumbs.

Quanda si bella!” She was shaking my face but half of my face was still in her hands. Yes. I’m beautiful, but I’m going to need plastic surgery if you don’t cut it out!

“You know who dis is?” Nonna asked. “Signora Bertolini. The Nonna of dat boy I tell you about.” She winked.

Ohhhh! Dat boy! The one you want me to marry.

Nonna and Mrs. Bertolini knelt at the bottom of the stairs and looked up at the statue. I looked at the statue of Mary, I looked down at Nonna and Signora Bertolini – two interfering grandmothers. What if the statue lost balance? The very heavy statue would topple down and … that would be the end of the matchmaking!

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Why I Wrote My Family Sized Pizza

The original version of My Family Sized Pizza was titled Wogaluccis and published 2002 in Australia only. This version has been rewritten to today’s audience and has been made more international. My parents migrated from Italy in the early 60’s therefore I grew up with not only coal dust and drizzly days but with a strong Italian community who had settled together in Australia.

Although famous for my salami, melenzane and stinky cheese sandwiches at primary school, they didn’t particularly make me a social hit! This upbringing brought fodder to the story of Angela and her family.

My Family Sized Pizza is semi-autobiographical–a lot of the school, wedding and restaurant scenes actually happened. The characters are a mix of my mother, sister, neice, and myself as a teen and are sprinkled with elements of my Italian former mother-in-law. The angst and dramas suffered by main character, Angela, were real and there was many a day when writing the book that Angela and I commiserated together!

I like to tell a story but with humour, thus the true, gritty, racial, and emotional moments told through comedic moments.

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About the Author

Josie

Josie is an award-winning author of over 40 books. She has been internationally published and writes fiction under the name of Josie Montano and non-fiction resources on Asperger Syndrome under the pseudonym of Josie Santomauro.

From age nine Josie annoyed her librarian by shelving her self-published books for borrowing and being the most diligent library monitor there was! She then went on to receive her first rejection letter from Golden Books at age thirteen. But that didn’t stop her, and decades later finally she has ‘real’ published books on those shelves!

Josie draws on her varied life experiences to help her with her writing, interesting experiences such as being involved in a bank robbery, working within the primary school environment, surviving cancer, growing up within an Italian community, winning the major prize on ‘Wheel of Fortune’ and as a volunteer member of the State Emergency Services.

She loves coffee, chocolate, amateur theatre, going to the movies, and being silly, witty and humorous.

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Connect with Josie
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Josie-Montano/88023619410
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JosieMontano
Website: http://www.booksbyjosie.com.au

Spotlight On: DJ Swykert, Author of The Pool Boy’s Beatitude

Welcome to today’s guest author, DJ Swykert. Be sure to check out the excerpt from The Pool Boy’s Beatitude, below!

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Like my character, Jack, I have always been attracted to the great mysteries of life. While Quantum Mechanics continues to search for a Theory of Everything, so have I. And I can write with authority about addiction, rehabilitation and jail. If you add the desire for a real and loving relationship into the equation you come up with the story of The Pool Boy’s Beatitude. Though it is fiction, it’s perhaps the most cathartic piece of writing I have ever produced. Not only does Jack discover anomalies to the large physical world we exist in, but also poignant truths about his own personal little universe.

In his search for the God particle Jack Joseph has lost control of the most important particle of existence, himself. Jack’s intellect may have expanded at the speed of light, but his emotional development is mired in the darkness of addiction. Without change Jack is accelerating towards a personal collision that would render his interest in the cosmic one irrelevant.

Jack is a drop-out physicist cleaning swimming pools to support a lifestyle of addiction and detachment. He has a wife divorcing him, a wealthy woman seducing him and the justice system convicting him. Jack’s personal cosmos is spiraling out of control. When he met Sarah his universe further expanded. The Gravitational Constant he studied at university lacked the velocity with which their galaxies rushed toward one another. It was a life-changing Big Bang. A new and brighter Jack was created and he found his supreme happiness. But there was a lot of space junk in the form of addiction and legal consequences standing in the way of his pool-boy quest toward bliss.

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Pool Boy

Excerpt

I believe God thinks in numbers. Most of what I know best can be described with an equation, numbers predicting an outcome, relating the position, velocity, acceleration and various forces acting on a body of mass, and state this relationship as a function of time. And isn’t that what we are, what everything is: accelerated particles in space time.

And this velocity of motion is what creates gravity and holds everything together. But what creates the motion? I think about this shit all the time. Until I feel like I only know one thing: nothing.

I sat out on the grass and opened a bottle of Mad Dog 20-20. Drank it to the bottom, sucked it in like a black hole swallowing light. Alcohol goes through the brain in stages, first the cerebral cortex, the thinking brain. A friendlier, more daring person emerges, and becomes ever more creative, imaginative, as the drug continues deeper into the brain. Last to go is the limbic brain. That’s when you go numb.

I got ultimate this night, left the past, present, and flew into my future. It was brilliant, until in the morning, when I stared into the eyes of a cop. I realized I had evolved, I was homeless. Passed out on the lawn I had merged my present into my future and lost the past. I had become what I refused to change. There are no corners in a round expanding infinite universe. But I had turned one.

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The Pool Boy’s Beatitude can be ordered at bookstores or purchased directly from:
http://rebelepublishers.com/
http://www.amazon.com/
http://www.magicmasterminds.com

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About the Author

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DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Monarch Review, Lunch Ticket, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, Alpha Wolves, Maggie Elizabeth Harrington and The Death of Anyone. You can find him at: http://www.magicmasterminds.com. He is a wolf expert.

Author Profile: KateMarie Collins

Meet KateMarie Collins!

Biography
Born in the late 60’s, KateMarie has lived most of her life in the Pacific NW. While she’s always been creative, she didn’t turn towards writing until 2008. She found a love for the craft. With the encouragement of her husband and two daughters, she started submitting her work to publishers. When she’s not taking care of her family, KateMarie enjoys attending events for the Society for Creative Anachronism. The SCA has allowed her to combine both a creative nature and love of history. She currently resides with her family and three cats in what she likes to refer to as “Seattle Suburbia”.

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Works

Daughter of Hauk (Book 1 of the Raven Chronicles)

What would you do, if you found out your life was a lie?

After you were dead?

Arwenna Shalian spent her life in loyal service to a God she was never meant to serve. Tricked by her fellow priests, she betrayed a man she thought she loved by binding a demon to him. One that would send him to the brink of madness.
Can she find a way to forgive herself? And what of Hauk, the God she was Marked to serve? Will He find her and give her the chance to undo what she’s done, or leave her at the mercy of the creatures that torture her soul?

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Available:
Kindle
Paperback
Audiobook

Son of Corse (Book 2 of the Raven Chronicles)

It’s been almost two years since Arwenna banished the Demon Corse from her world. Life has been good. Idyllic, almost.

The illusion is shattered in a heartbeat during her sister’s wedding. Not only are once-dead enemies back, but they’ve stolen Arwenna’s only child, Sera.

The price Arwenna will have to pay to save her daughter is high. Can she muster the strength to make a pact that jeopardizes not just her own soul, but that of an entire world?

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Available:
Kindle

Mark of the Successor
Dominated and controlled by an abusive mother, Lily does what she can to enjoy fleeting moments of normality. When a break from school only provides the opportunity for more abuse at home, the sudden appearance of a stranger turns her world even bleaker. Disappearing without a trace, he has left a lingering fear in Lily. His parting words to her mother, “Have her ready to travel tomorrow,” is something her mind refuses to accept.

Running away is the only answer. But before Lily can execute her plan, a shimmering portal appears in her room. Along with two strangers who promise to help keep her safe. With time running out, she accepts their offer for escape and accompanies them into a brand new world. A world in which she is the kidnapped daughter of a Queen, and the heir to the throne of Tiadar.

Can she find her own strength to overcome both an abusive past and avoid those who would use her as a means to power?

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Available:
Kindle
Paperback

Kick the Can
Dave Smith and his wife, Jocelyn, had waited a long time to have children. And then they were blessed with twins!

The man in the suit that greeted Dave as he saw his children for the first time gave him chills. Dave needed to spend the next twelve years preparing to play a game that would change their lives forever.

Because playing this game could kill you.

Kick the can

Available:
Kindle

Contact

Twitter: @DaughterHauk

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/KateMarie-Collins/217255151699492

Blog: http://www.katemariecollins.wordpress.com