Shannon Donnelly’s writing has won numerous awards, including a RITA nomination for Best Regency, the Grand Prize in the "Minute Maid Sensational Romance Writer" contest, judged by Nora Roberts, RWA's Golden Heart, and others. Her writing has repeatedly earned 4½ Star Top Pick reviews from Romantic Times magazine, as well as praise from Booklist and other reviewers, who note: "simply superb"..."wonderfully uplifting"....and "beautifully written."
In addition to her Regency and Historical romances, she is the author of the Mackenzie Solomon, Demon/Warders Urban Fantasy series, Burn Baby Burn and Riding in on a Burning Tire, and the SF/Paranormal, Edge Walkers. Her work has been on the top seller list of Amazon.com and includes the Historical romances, The Cardros Ruby and Paths of Desire.
She's the author of several young adult horror stories, and has also written computer games and does editing work on the side. She lives in New Mexico with two horses, two donkeys, two dogs, and the one love of her life. Shannon can be found online at sd-writer.com, https://facebook.com/sdwriter, and https://twitter.com/sdwriter.
One of her characters, Mackenzie Solomon, is giving us the low down on djinn as she works with one. Without further ado, I present the interview:
Mackenzie Solomon has had first-hand experience dealing with demons. Here’s her view on the djinn she has to work with—a freelancer who goes by the name Felix. (Her name, since a djinn’s name is intentionally too long and difficult to pronounce.)
Can you tell us what the difference between djinn and genies is? Mackenzie: Besides one being a garage opener? Funny, right? Hey—they’re all jinn. But a djinn—they’ve got demon in the blood. So—corrupt jinn equals djinn. Way too much dark mojo going in them. Genies—they’re wimps. Most djinn wouldn’t be seen with one before or after dark.
For you, are djinn sexy, kind or devious? Mackenzie: Good question there. I’ve never met a djinn who couldn’t be sexy—if that’s what you want. They’re also kinky and bent beyond devious. Never ask a djinn that kind of question. You may not want the answer, since they’ll sneak into your head and go rummaging for what secret’s you’ve got hidden. And of course it’s going to come out twisted.
What do you envision their greatest characteristic, ability or power to be? Their worst? Mackenzie: Worst…greatest…it’s all a matter of view. Worst for you may be side-splitting for a djinn. But the ability to take on shapes—it’s creepy, but there have been times…okay, so those times were always a little creepy. I mean, I’m not sure Felix would have gone in looking like me to seduce Josh, but…let’s just say I’m never testing that issue. Honestly, I’m not sure I ever want to know everything a djinn can do—we’re talking reality-warping stuff here. Let’s just leave that one for future bad.
Would you consider djinn to be good or bad? What is their greatest enemy? Do they have any allies? Mackenzie: For a djinn, Felix has his uses when it comes to working with the right side—meaning my side. It’s probably due to hanging out with his partner, Marion, for way too long. If you keep him paid, he at least stays on your side, which is saying a lot for any djinn. Just don’t let the checks stop.
As to enemies—well, I’d say Felix is probably getting up there on the Grigori’s hit list. You put those fallen angels back in the ground a couple of times and they go from already way too pissy because of being buried for millennium to more than very bad to be around.
Where would we find your djinn living? Mackenzie: Marion’s got this great place up in the Hollywood Hills, and I am so not asking about the sleeping arrangements between those two. Yeah, it’s a shared bedroom between Felix and Marion, but who takes on what role in that bed—well, a djinn can be anything you want anytime you want it. What Marion wants with Felix is his business. But their place—I could go for it. Old oaks all around it and wood will keep your secrets—unlike steel and glass, which just doesn’t give a damn. But if you want to hunt up a djinn—head to the desert, man.
Name any two creatures that you would love to see go toe to toe in a battle? Mackenzie: Oh, hey, I’ve seen archangel on fallen angel…we’re talking a Grigori steel-to-steel with Old Testament, sword wielding Heavenly wrath. Not really so great to have a ring-side seat to that kind of smackdown since anything around usually gets smacked too—meaning me. Trouble is the Grigori fight dirty—they use all that heavenly grace and they are so not above using it to corrupt everything.
Heaven leaks out of those perfect, perfect, perfect faces. Their bodies look hard and lean through the rents in their fluttering black robes—and their hard-ons, big ones because violence always turns their cranks, poke out of the robes, stained dark and straining. They found out about sex and earthly pleasure way back when, and perverted everything into something so very unholy that they made the worst of mankind seem not so bad.
They also bring a stench of decay and a cold that mists your breath, ices your skin, and you could weep for how beautiful they are.
But a Grigori facing off with an angel…man, when I saw that Grigori stepped in close and bring his mouth down on the angel's…I’d never seen anything more beautiful —anything more horrible—than that heart-stopping kiss. Black spread from the Grigori's open, working mouth to the angle's lips. The stain slid across pale cheeks, flowing like a sensual caress. Wrapping an arm around the angel's waist, the Grigori pressed closer, brought those perfect bodies together, ground his hips in tight. Darkness spread to the angel's torso and, to his arms and legs. The blackness leaked into the angel, crawling over and darkening angelic skin, slipping up to the flaming blade of the angel’s sword. Hips thrusting hard now, urgent and sharp, the Grigori pulled back, his face twisting with perverted pleasure. For an instant the angel's sword quivered. I saw it flame out and drop.
I tried to look at that smoking, blackened sword. I didn’t want to keep watching that dark embrace, those straining, erect figures, the beauty of those two angels coming together. The Grigori's eyes glittered with knowledge of the spiritual rapture that could take physical form. He put a hand on his own chest and dug his nails in sharp to spill his blood. He did the same to the angel and pressed their bodies tight again.
Head falling back, body pressed into the Grigori's, the angel gave a cry as the Grigori bled into him. And the Grigori let go. Falling to his knees, head bowed, the angel crouched low. But that angel rose again, skin mottled, hair and eyes blackened with the Grigori's darkness sunk into him.
It’s no wonder the Grigori are supposed to stay buried. If they can turn angels with their blood and one hell of a hand job, what the hell can’t they pervert and ruin?
So going for other big battles—think I’ll stick with American Ninja on TV, thank you very much. Wishing for more only’s going to make it happen and I’ve got enough demon trouble in my life.
Choose three of the following and tell us what your creature would do with them, make out of them, use them for or what reaction they would have to them: an apple, an gemstone, a silver chain, a fish, a rat, a deer, a toad, a piece of pizza heavily dosed with garlic, a flower, treasure belonging to someone else, fire, a spider, a worm, a ball of string, a microphone and speakers, a wooden club, a mirror, a book, a cemetery, a boat, a moonlight bonfire, a sunny afternoon, a walk through the forest on an overcast day, a wooden stick, a Popsicle, a broom, a tree, a lost person, a baby, a body of water, a cross, a cage, wolfs bane, a rock, a rubber band, a chicken, a rabbit, a cave, rope, or a piece of candy. Mackenzie: Okay, this charming stuff—strictly Josh’s territory. He’s the charmer I use, and he works with words. He knows all the good ones, the ones that have power enough to make the world what he wants it to be. Well, he uses words and the sex or the blood that give them enough mojo to bend reality—and boy can Josh make a bend stick. He goes beyond the usual illusion of charms—so does Felix, actually. An old djinn can do that—they weave demon blood and desert heat into things you do not want to know about.
But Felix—great babysitter! You wouldn’t think that of a djinn. But our Gabe is totally bonkers over his Uncle Felix…but that could be due to Gabe having had more than a little demon in him at birth. But the horns on the little guy are gone, and Felix is totally not a baby eater, despite what you hear about djinns. Of course, the lost person thing—well, I don’t think I’d turn Felix loose on someone already reported missing. Felix might just take it as an invitation to have some fun if no one’s looking.
Which type of monster do you think would make the best love interest for djinn and why? The worst?Mackenzie: Oh, Felix is totally gone on Marion. And, well, I can see that whole silver-fox attraction thing. I mean, Marion was like this knight way back when, and he and Felix hooked up somewhere on one of those crusades. So, yeah, I get it.
As to worst—that’d have to be Josh and Felix. A charmer and a djinn just do not mix. They each think they know better than the other one, and I swear those guys are always looking for ways to one up the other.
What scares you? Mackenzie: Uh…running out of coffee. Or, no, running out of chocolate and coffee! No, seriously—it’s got to be running out of tequila, chocolate and coffee. And Josh—running out of Josh is so very, very bad. The boy has gone dark side on me a little too often for comfort, and one of these days he’s going to go and not come home. Or I’m going to go—that’s the trouble with hunting demons. You get their blood on you and then in you and before you know it you move from a warder with a license to going so dark that nights look bright to you. Then your license gets yanked and they start hunting you. But, hell, yeah, I’d take that over losing my Josh any day.
What is your djinn most afraid of? What makes it happy? Mackenzie: Djinns—only one thing gets their crank turned to the grumpy side. Salt water. You want to see what big babies they can be—get Felix down to Malibu and you are going to have one unhappy djinn cursing you. Or going all stoic and silent and not going anywhere near that water. Hey, if it’d do me in the way it can do them in, I’d be careful not to dip my toe near that salt spray, too.
But happy—that’s easy. Murder, mayhem, and putting the whammies on someone. Just about anything bad leaves Felix smiling, which is one reason you want him on your side in a fight.
What type of candy would you be apt to grab? Give out for Halloween? Mackenzie: You really want to go for the Red-Hots. Seriously. A little spit and you’ve got pepper spray for demons. They can take out about a dozen lesser demons. And I like to give out those sugar skulls—you know, Day of the Dead stuff. Freaks out my parents every single year when I send a photo home to them.
What is your djinn's favorite meal? Mackenzie: Blood. Let’s just not say whose.
What do you think is the most mis-construed idea about djinn? Mackenzie: The whole wish thing—so not happening. I mean, yeah, can you get one or two of them maybe, if you want to barter most of your soul away. It is so not worth it. Most of the time they give you pure illusion, no reality changers at all, and you wake up with like the worst headache ever. Oh, and the lamp thing—okay, so those guardian genies are attracted to light, but they don’t live in lamps. That just never happened. Same goes for bottles. A djinn might empty every bottle of booze in your house, and yeah, they can do this tongue thing where it stretches long enough for the last drops, but that’s about it.
What is a least known trait about them? Mackenzie: They have this really, really dry sense of humor. We’re talking Sahara here. Like dryer than Texas in July. Which is why you have to watch that wish thing—nothing is funnier to a djinn than to twist your wish into something you so really did not want but it’s a perversion of what you thought you wanted. Now, maybe an ordinary jinn who hasn’t been demon tainted will be upright about this stuff, but I’ve never run into one. I’m not even sure they exist—I think the Grigori’s demon spawn has pretty much corrupted them all.
What is your favorite type of monster to read about? Mackenzie: I know…I know…I’m supposed to read up on my demons. Josh is always on me to brush up on my demon-Aramaic, and my Book of Enoch. Know thy enemy—I get it. But, in my book, sitting down with Felix and watching UFC reruns teaches a lot more. If a djinn’s laughing at a move, it’s so not one you want to try out in a real battle. And the nice angel stories, or those do-gooding demons—sure wish I could get behind them, but in my world, you’ve got bad and badder, and it’s my job to hunt ‘em down and send ‘em back to hell before they can do too much major damage.
Come to think of it, having had Felix at my back on a couple of those fights hasn’t been half bad. Maybe we need some more UFC nights. With popcorn.Thank you Shannon and thanks, Mackenzie for your help with Felix, the djinn. Be sure to give our best to him and his freelance, would-be warder partner, Marion!
Shannon has graciously offered to sponsor today's giveaway! She is offering the winners choice of paperback or ebook and it is open to International followers as well. :D Thank you Shannon!
To enter for a chance to win a copy of her first book in the Demons and Warders series, Burn Baby Burn, check out today's main GGMMMU post.
See below for more information about her books!
Can a demon hunter raise a little bit of hell?
When a half-demon baby puts Mackenzie Solomon’s life—and her job as a demon hunter—on the line, she can’t turn her back on the half-pint of evil. But ‘Junior’ is actually part of a trap to turn Mackenzie’s partner, Josh, and his extraordinary charming skills to the dark uses of the ancient, fallen Grigori, the angels once assigned to be Watchers over humanity. Is she going to have to make a choice about the men in her life?
Can a charmer talk his way out of his destiny?
Josh learned months ago that the bad blood in his demon hunting partner brings out a part of he can’t control—including his desire for her. With a prophecy out on him, he’s more than a little worried some of those bad things should stay burried. But is Mackenzie really the start of something bad—or could she be everyone’s salvation.
Can a couple of humans move heaven and hell?
Mackenzie’s bosses at The Endowment—the place responsible for keeping the peace between heaven and hell—want her to bring in the baby demon and not for anything good. With the Endowment after her and demons to stop, Mackenzie knows she’s on her own.
But she’s going to have to learn to trust Josh—and to use what’s sparking between them. Because it's going to take the kind of love that bonds souls forever to keep the world from ending.
Purchase links: Amazon
A demon hunter about to lose her license…
Mackenzie Solomon is on the edge of going “dark” and losing her warder license if she gets any more evil on her. However, she’s also the only one who can stop an early Armageddon. And nothing has stopped the bad ideas… or the itch for action. That’s starting to cause a rift with her former charming partner, Josh. He’s been tainted by demon blood, so is he now one of the bad things she now needs to avoid? Because Josh may be responsible for the Endowment’s Magi going “Houdini” on everyone.
With Josh going rogue to find out what he’s been charmed not to remember, Mackenzie is given a choice by the Endowment—bring him in and maybe the Magi will help them both. She’s not sure she trusts the offer—and she’s not sure she can trust Josh.
But it's not demons or the undead that are her main worry. "Rapturists," led by the charismatic and supernaturally seductive Isra Gilz, are out to take down the Endowment and kick-off the end of days. With tainted tats Isra has turned Mackenzie's younger brother into his inside man on this plan—and Mackenzie may have to take them both out to stop Armageddon.
Redemption comes with a price…
Caught in her usual spot between good and evil, and needing to help her family or do her job, Mackenzie has tough choices to make. She just wants ones that don’t end with everyone dead—or herself forever damned. But saving the world is going to cost. She just has to make sure the price isn’t the life of the man who keeps her from the destructive darkness that's always calling her name.
Purchase Links: Amazon * The Book Depository * B&N
“Get in line,” Josh said and walked out. Mackenzie hadn’t gone far. Hands braced on the railing, she leaned over the wrought iron and wood, staring down into the atrium lobby. Her face had gone pale—so had her knuckles on the railing.
He started to put a hand on her shoulder, glimpsed the demon staining his wrist, the back of his hand. With a huffed breath, he stuffed his fist into his pocket. He wanted to walk back into that room and punch David. The urge to hit something twisted in him, tightening his shoulders. He wondered if Mackenzie felt the same. Demon blood pushing, pulsing in every heartbeat. Before this, he’d never wanted to solve things with violence. That had been Mackenzie’s habit.
With a curse, he grabbed her wrist with his clean hand and pried her hand off the banister.
“Just…come on.” He took her with him, opened two doors off the open-air hallway before he found one with office supplies and nothing else.
Inside, she jerked away from him. “Stop hauling me around like I’m a sack of nails.”
He shut the door behind them and leaned on it. And he tore the words out, dragged them into the open with a shaking breath and a sear of pain that was like pulling the lungs from his chest. “I don’t know what I did.”
Zie’s eyes widened. She wet her lips, started to reach for him, but she turned the gesture into a scrub of her hand through her hair. Josh wondered if he was doing this to her—pushing her away, making it impossible for her to touch him because of what he was becoming. He put a hand over the stains on his arm, forced more words out, struggled against whatever charm kept pushing them back. “I…I don’t know…where I…was.”
“Here, it seems. Or someone wearing your face was here. Or maybe you were trying to stop—”
“Stop making excuses!” She bit her lower lip and Josh shook his head. “Sorry.”
“Hey, we’re all a little tense.” She reached out, caught his little finger in hers. She didn’t stop the gesture this time and the connection started the fire in his veins. It always did. That hadn’t changed.
“I’m sorry about—” With his free hand, he waved a gesture back to Herndon’s office.
“Yeah—Davie threw us all with that end of the world stuff.”
“I was thinking about your brother. About Sid.”
Mackenzie’s mouth tightened. Her throat worked once as she swallowed. She shook her head. “Don’t go there.”
“Zie, it wasn’t your—”
“Don’t go there,” she said again, the words sharper. “I didn’t tell you about that for you to hold it over me. I don’t need any damn comfort for—” She bit off the words, shook her head again.
He knew she blamed herself. He had the same guilt over his own family. He’d been a kid at the time when his family was taken from him. She’d been young, too, when Sid…well, when that happened. Was her past as bad for her as his own was for him?
He still woke some nights, wondering what he could have done to have saved his family. Wondering why he’d stayed where his parents had hidden him. Why hadn’t he done something? But if he had, would it have ended with him dead—or missing like his baby brother who had been taken after his parents had been killed?
Mackenzie had her own guilt to carry for her mistakes. But she also still had family to worry about. A sharp jab cut through his chest—part envy that she did have that, part happiness for her, and he wasn’t sure which part was going to win the battle inside. Twisting his fingers around, he caught Mackenzie’s hand. “I don’t think…if the Magi pissed me off enough, yeah, I might try to take them out.”
“Might do it, too.”
He shrugged and let go of her. That was a scary thought—that he could be that powerful. That dangerous. And he couldn’t argue the point. He did have his own questions, however. “So why not take them all out at once? There also seemed to be one gone to begin with.”
“Meaning you took one out earlier, and then another later? And not the rest? That makes no sense.”
“Neither does the fact that the others didn’t do anything.”
“So maybe they wanted this go to down the way it did on the tape? Or…hell, we’re only digging up the questions Herndon wants answered. Do you have any kind of feeling about last night? As in, good vibes? Bad ones?”
He shook his head. “It’s blank. There’s…there’s…” He tried to push the words out, but they stuck in his throat, started to choke him.
Mackenzie put a hand on his shoulder. “Damnation. Stop struggling. You’d tell me if you could, right?” Doubt lay in her eyes, and her hand tightened on his shoulder.
He nodded. That much he could do.
“Okay, here’s the deal—don’t try and talk. Just nod if you can. Can you remember leaving the house?”
He shook his head and moved his hands to Mackenzie’s waist. “Zie, playing twenty questions with me isn’t going to help. Herndon’s going to end up throwing us both into interrogations that’ll go on for longer than we have. If there is a prophecy out on you—”
“I hate those things. Never met one that wasn’t made to be bent, broken, and smashed.”
“If it can be. In case this is not one of those, I need to find out what’s going on.”
“I? What happened to we?”
He tightened his hold and kissed her, just a quick brush of his lips over hers, but lust, hot and simple, sparked, ran up his spine and surged in his veins. He slipped his hands under her shirt to get his skin on hers. She huffed out a breath.
“Not what I was thinking about just now,” she said, but her pupils had gone wide, darkening her eyes. He kissed her throat where her pulse skipped and thudded under his lips.
Leaning back, he pulled her with him, tucked her curves tight against his body. “I’m going need you to cover for me. I asked Felix to help, too. Lay down some illusions for me.”
“That part of why you had your heads together? So he gets asked first, and I’m second in line and here just to tap dance for you? Why do I know this is a bad, bad idea?”
“You like bad ideas,” he said, and leaned in to lick her ear and bite her earlobe.
She pushed hard against his chest, leveraged herself away. But she kept her hips pressed against him, ground them into him until the heat of her bled through his jeans. “Someone’s going to come looking for us—soon.”
“So let’s make it fast,” he said, slipping a hand up under her skirt.
Don't forget to enter the Comment Incentive Giveaway. It is a great chance to win a book you'd like to have! The link can be found at the top of the page.