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.

Grimm head shot

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.

AMC Eagle (2)

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

Spotlight On: Render (a Recompense Novel)

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Excerpt

Please enjoy this fun, playful excerpt from Render by Stephanie Fleshman. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

 

Render: An Excerpt

 

I spin around and pull her to me, sighing as her arms lock around my neck. I lower my face to her hair, turning it into the curve of her neck to breathe her in.

Her body molds to mine, lithe and boneless, and my arms swallow her as I tighten my hold. It softens all the hard points, the tension I’d been holding onto, smoothing the muscles in my shoulders and back.

“You have great problem-solving skills, by the way,” I tell her softly in her ear.

Keeping her arms around me, she leans back against the wall to look at me, a baffled expression on her face, whether in relation to the compliment or the unexpected direction in conversation, I don’t know.

“Do I?” Her voice lifts in a flirtatious pitch.

“Mmm. It’s why I asked you out,” I tease. “You solved most of my problems just by agreeing.” Looking back, I realize just how true this is, though I doubt she’ll take me seriously.

Her lips curl in an obliging smile, and her eyes say it all, disbelieving in their beauty, corroborating what I already knew. But she’s still smiling, and I alone am responsible for that.

She curls her hand around the side of my neck, and I feel her thumb glide over the scar behind my earlobe, one I incurred at fourteen, when Lukas slammed my head into the bathroom mirror. Then I broke his collarbone. Both of us ended up in the emergency room that morning, an incident that resulted in our father leaving for work a half hour later. It’s always quieter when our father is home.

“How are you doing?” she asks, looking up to search my eyes.

I slide my hands from the small of her back to her waist, as my gaze sweeps from shoulder to shoulder. I can already feel the ground of normalcy beneath me, her presence holding the pieces of my life together, when it seems everything can come apart at any moment. “Good now that you’re here.”

This seems to make her both happy and sad. A look of gloom passes over her face even as a small smile touches her lips. Then her eyes trail down the front of my body, taking in my suit jacket and pants. “You look like a lawyer,” she comments. “Straight from the courtroom.”

I can’t remember a time when she’s ever seen me in a suit. The closest is the tux I wore to her senior prom two months ago, which is not much different than what I wear now.

“It suits you.”

I raise my eyebrows in doubt. “What? Looking like a lawyer?”

“Not just a lawyer. You look…professional.” Then, with a full smile, she adds, “I like it.”

“Ah,” I say, mirroring her smile as I grasp her meaning. “I like that you’re my biggest fan.”

Her teeth shine bright against her tan skin. She drops her arms to her sides, and I lace my fingers through hers. She smells of honeysuckle, vanilla, and lavender all at once, with soft underlying notes I can’t name, a scent that swirls inside me, tantalizing every cell in my body.

I lean forward, canting my head slightly to fit my lips to hers. I have to fight to keep the rhythm slow, to savor every second. But when her mouth opens, urgency builds within me, and I press farther. Too soon, though, she’s pulling away, leaving my blood pumping in a hot stream and my heart pounding against my chest. I place a hand on the wall behind her and lean forward, closing the narrow space she’s put between us.

“I wasn’t finished,” I say.

I’m already tilting my head to kiss her again when she stops me with one word. “Wait.”

“Wait?” I mutter against her lips.

I feel her palms on my chest, easing me back. It’s hard to concentrate on anything but touching her, but I slowly resign myself to the conversation that is apparently inevitable, when my only instinct is to kiss her. I straighten and meet her eyes, which does nothing to tame my thoughts.

“I got your note,” she says.

When I started mowing Mrs. Whitney’s lawn, Elizabeth gave me a key, so I could let myself in when they weren’t home. In the beginning, I would leave Raya notes on her dresser, not knowing at the time that she’d actually keep them. When she showed me every note I’d ever written her, my first instinct was to laugh, because it seemed senseless. But then I saw how impressed she was and felt empowered that I could make her so happy. She probably has a shoebox full of notes by now.

I back her against the wall until we’re touching from hips to shoulders. Her eyes, as warm and green as summer leaves, meet mine. She’s looking at me as if I did something amazing, but just in case, I ask, “Is that all? Or is there something else you want to add, because I’d really like to kiss you right now?”

Her eyes dip momentarily to my mouth. “I was going to thank you for the note, but you distracted me.”

“You don’t need words for that.”

 
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Render Tour BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, Render, the debut YA Paranormal novel by Stephanie Fleshman, is on sale for just 99 cents! What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.

The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Get Render at its discounted price of 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below
  3. Visit the featured social media events
  4. Leave a comment on my blog for a chance at a $100 prize.

About Render: A betrayal born of blood. A curse for a gift. A love worth saving… Seventeen-year-old Raya Whitney thought she knew Koldan–until a sudden turn of events threatens both their lives. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.
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About the Author

Stephanie Fleshman

Stephanie Fleshman graduated with a degree in psychology and has family throughout the United States as well as in Thessaloniki and Athens, Greece. Visit Stephanie on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

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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?

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image21993578

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