Tuesday, February 13, 2018

#Giveaway - Interview - Donna Augustine - Review - Kissed by the Dark Ollie Wit #3

I'm so happy to welcome back to the blog an author whose become a favorite and an automatic read for me, Donna Augustine. She's just finished her Ollie Wit series and she's here today chatting about the novel, the series and what's next.
She's also offering a generous #giveaway, details below.

ISBN-13: 9781945946042
Publisher: Strong Hold Publishing
Release Date: 1-19-2018
Length: 296pp
Source: Author
Buy It: Amazon/B&N/IndieBound
Life with Kane is wonderful, right up until it's not. People like me, Shadow Walkers, who know that monsters are real and nightmares don't only happen when you're sleeping, are always waiting for the worst. But no one believes me when I tell them disaster is looming, not even Kane, the man who has seen more than I can imagine.

When the worst does happen, I'm not prepared. Months of my life are wiped from my memory, strangers call me friend, and it looks like I'm conspiring with the enemy. I need a back-up plan. Only problem is, if I ever had one I don't remember it. I don't remember anything, like who to trust and who to hate. Someone screwed with my life and they're going to pay. But do I trust Kane to help me when all I can remember is that I hate him?

Donna is offering a digital set
Of her Ollie Wit series
Open Internationally
Please Use Rafflecopter form to enter
Good Luck!

excerpt courtesy Donna Augustine––

I’d never been this happy, truly happy, the kind of happy that seeps into all the nooks and crannies and fills the gaps in your soul, soothes away the pain, and stitches together the wounds. Before now—before him—I’d been merely surviving. Not that surviving was a bad thing. It was what you did. It was what most people did. It was the everyday struggle you saw everywhere, as people clawed their way through the day and then the next, all in the hopes of finding a better alternative. Like so many others, I wasn’t sure that alternative existed. Well, it did, and I had found it. 
This was living. This was effortless joy. I woke up breathing in sunshine and went to bed sleeping on the clouds. 
It was the best feeling I’d ever had. While it lasted…

Perfect wasn’t part of my world. Had never been. I’d never aimed for perfect because it had always seemed so out of reach. I’d always strived for what others would consider ho-hum, like waking up without a monster staring down at me and things not blowing up.
But somehow I had ended up here, with something that felt suspiciously like perfect. I had the greatest man interested in me. The crawlers, the monsters that had haunted me, were keeping their distance. I even had friends who didn’t think I was a freak. Like I said, I had something near perfection. That was how I knew disaster was looming right around the corner.
Instead of relaxing and enjoying this newfound happiness, I was in a panic most of the time. I didn’t know what to do with this life. Disaster? Oh, yeah, had that one in the bag. No problems. I could do disaster every day of the week and throw in a couple of cartwheels for fun as I navigated the nightmare. Nightmares were my wheelhouse. I knew what to do with them. Survive. The same way I’d been surviving my whole life.
I didn’t know how to handle this life. I had no experience at happy. No training. What was one supposed to do when everything was going right? Smile and forget that monsters existed? Pretend that life wasn’t fragile and people died every second of every day? Especially when it didn’t make any sense and I barely knew how I got to this place?
No. That wasn’t me. I didn’t put my head in the sand. I stared straight ahead, even if it made me squint and my eyes water. But I was staring at nothing. I didn’t know what was going to hit. Even as I sat in the booth in the Underground, surveying the crowd, I couldn’t find the trouble on the horizon. I’d made enemies, too. I’d killed some vampires and rained on some witches, but that seemed to be blowing over. I couldn’t see what was coming for me, and something must be, because it always did.
This perfect shit had me looking over my shoulder, trying to figure out what I was missing. I was so on edge, waiting for a disaster I knew had to be looming, that I would’ve sworn I felt the breeze on my ankles as my feet dangled over the abyss.
Maybe I needed to keep things in perspective? It had only been a week of perfect. And things hadn’t been that perfect, right?
A not-so-gentle kick nailed my shin under the booth’s table. I glanced up to see everyone’s coffee and juice jiggling around in their glasses, and three sets of dirty looks aimed my way. I didn’t know who to curse at. It could’ve been anyone. I did the only acceptable action. I gave Flip, Butch, and Leon all nasty stares before I asked, “Who kicked me?”
“I did,” Butch said, the sun streaming through the window behind him making his red hair glow. “You were doing it again.”
I clamped a hand to my knee under the table. You know what happened to people who were on edge, besides the nice breeze from the abyss? They became twitchers. My foot had been tapping as if I were playing the drums for a rock band on speed.
“We’re going to tie weights to your legs soon,” Leon said, before he shot a look toward Butch, as if making mental plans with him. Those two had known each other so long that it seemed talking was sometimes optional. Leon’s gaze turned back to me, as if he’d forgotten something. “And don’t punch me in the face for that,” he added quickly, referring to my inadvertent violence toward an unsuspecting witch not long ago.
Good reminder of another reason things were too perfect. I had a mark on my hand from being shadow kissed by a crawler. That was what they’d called it, but in reality, it had been much more bite than kiss. And not one of those ooh, make it hurt so good bites. That little bastard had dug in. Who knew what it had done to me.
Things seemed calm, but they also seemed calm right before a tornado dropped a house on you, too. I’d grown up on The Wizard of Oz. I knew how quickly things could go downhill. If my apartment hadn’t blown up, I’d be watching that DVD right now. That Dorothy chick knew some stuff about surviving.
I got another nudge, this time from Flip, my favorite half-fairy, half-leprechaun. “You’ve got to stop. You’re killing us.” She was the only mutt of her kind in existence. Leprechauns didn’t breed well and fairies didn’t intermingle, but apparently both breeds got drunk on occasion.
I put my hand back on my knee so I couldn’t tap without realizing. I’d only moved it to take a sip of coffee and decided I didn’t really need any more caffeine anyway. “Just so you know, I didn’t mean to punch Dana.” It had crossed my mind, as she was one of the witches who’d relished in aggravating me, but I never would’ve done it on purpose. Well, maybe I would’ve, but I hadn’t meant to at that moment.
“Oh, then I’m sure it didn’t hurt much.” Leon rolled his eyes and the three of them laughed, as if the only problem they had was their food shaking and watching me punch people by accident.
“Don’t you guys feel it at all?”
Butch shook his head. “I don’t know what you’re worried about. Everything’s good.” Flip and Leon nodded before the subject moved on to some other frivolous topic I tuned out of.
This wasn’t a time to make jokes. It was time to build bunkers and stockpile supplies. Why was I twitching alone? We should’ve all been rattling the table. It didn’t matter if we didn’t know what was coming. It was. Things were way too peaceful.
I looked out into the field of other diners, in all their different shapes and sizes, all eating their breakfast too. Witches cackled a few tables over about something that wasn’t funny. Their jokes never were. I’d overheard enough of them to be able to judge. Wolves were sniffing bacon and getting fat instead of honing their hunting skills. Vampires—yes, vampires at breakfast, because the Underground had some weird windows that blocked the harmful rays—admiring the other diners’ jugulars. I couldn’t see the dwarves, but I had to assume that they were doing whatever it was they did too.
When the heads swiveled toward the door, I didn’t have to look to know Kane had just entered the room. No one else here got that much attention. If there were ever a group that fit the word jaded, this was them. Although they thought they were much cooler than they were. But even this group gave Kane his due. As soon as he set foot in the place he became the new center of gravity, everything orbiting around him, including myself. I tried to fight it, but you can’t fight gravity.
I turned and watched Kane stride across the room, his dark hair gleaming, his eyes intent, looking like a king among men. I’d seen him walk through a group of vampires the same way. Into a den of leprechauns without being fazed. Even the crawlers paid him deference and backed out of the room when he entered. Maybe the monsters keeping tabs on him and backing away should’ve warned me off. Maybe, but it didn’t.
I couldn’t help myself. When he stopped halfway up the stairs and looked in my direction, his eyes nearly yanked my heart from my chest. He tilted his head in the direction of his office. I gave him a subtle nod that I’d be right over, not that there was a doubt, at least in my mind. My body moved toward him of its own volition, and I worried that I’d follow this man right into hell.
I made my way through the crowd and toward his office, all eyes now focused on me. There was a big difference in the appraisals, and I wasn’t delusional about it. When they’d watched him, it was sort of like wow, wish I could be that badass when I grow up. As they watched me, it was more along the lines of she might be bad news. Better not get anywhere near her before shit blows up. I tried to comfort myself with the fact that we were both considered bad, but his was just a touch more flattering.
I shut the door to the office and left all the stares behind me. Kane was leaning on the front of his desk, shirt sleeves rolled up and the button at his neck undone. I strolled toward the couch, trying to quash my need to touch him. I was waylaid by a hand on my wrist that tugged me back toward him until I was standing between his legs.
I didn’t mind. I liked being there, even as I’d made every excuse I could to avoid going beyond some heavy petting. Kane wasn’t a stupid man. He’d probably caught on after my third night of excuses. Probably after my second. Maybe even the first. I wasn’t very good at them.
It wasn’t like I was a virgin. I’d had more than one night of using a warm body to try and chase away the nightmares. But he wasn’t a random man used for a purpose.
He wasn’t like the others. Being near Kane was like being in an inferno, burning warmth surrounding you, and when he wasn’t there, everything felt cold and lifeless. And when that fire died, it would leave you dead in the ashes. That scared me worse than a horde of crawlers.
He was giving me space, or as much space as I wanted. He didn’t press, beyond a little pushing here and there, like what he was doing right now. His hand was on my ass, hoisting me against him, making it very clear that one of us was definitely ready.
My head dropped back as I moaned, and he shifted slightly, his lips falling to the open neckline of my blouse. One hand came around and dragged the shirt loose from my waist, and then cupped my breast as his lips and then teeth nipped and slightly tugged. Nothing had ever felt like when he touched me.
His leg glided in between my thighs, and I found myself so close to orgasm that I didn’t know if I was going to rub myself against him or run from the room to hide how quickly he could arouse me. I pressed against him, breathing in the scent of sandalwood and man. It had been an easy choice.
A loud cracking noise sounded behind me, and I jerked around to see that the large window overlooking the Underground had shattered.
Shit. That was the second window this week. We might as well hang a tie on the doorknob.
I turned around and I dropped my forehead to his shoulder, closing my eyes. Screaming, “Oh God, yes,” for the whole place to hear would have been subtler that the shards of glass now littering the lower floor.
I felt his hand rub the length of my back, the mood switching over to something more lukewarm and comforting than hot.
“You’ll get a handle on it.”
I lifted my head in his direction and then narrowed my eyes.
“Trust me. I’ve been around a while and have seen some things.”
I dropped my head into the nook of his neck, because if I didn’t stop staring, I might break another window. “Maybe we shouldn’t mess around in here, though, until I get this control you think is coming.”
Before he could agree or not, someone knocked on the door.
I could feel the grumble in his body before he snapped, “What?”
“The leprechauns are here,” Jerry said from the other side of the door. “Wanted to give you some warning, you know, since the window and all.”
Jerry tended to be stuck on door duty more often than not. I had a feeling the beach boy lookalike pulled the short straw a lot because he couldn’t keep his other stick in his pants when needed.
Kane trailed a hand down my spine as he yelled back, “Put them in the room off the hallway. I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
I held back a sigh. I’d really needed some more time with him. He was the only person who seemed to calm the nerves, but I wouldn’t make him stay. I was still shocked he wanted me in the first place. I wasn’t going to run him off by getting clingy and neurotic. He straightened, and I moved back a few steps, letting him go do his thing.
“I’ve got to go handle this, and then I’ve got to run out and smooth the vampire feathers. I’ll be back by eleven. You better be lying in my bed or I’ll hunt you down and drag you there.” He looked like he was about to leave, but he stopped, cupping my cheek, his eyes softer than I’d thought possible. “What is it? Are you still nervous?”
I shrugged. “I’m fine. Go take care of business.”
He stepped closer. “Ollie, it’ll be okay. Whatever comes, I’ll take care of it. I promise you.”
I nodded, smiling for him. Wanting to believe him.
But I just couldn’t.
Something was coming. I felt it like you could feel a storm brewing in the air before the first drop of rain fell.

Hi Donna welcome back to The Reading Frenzy.
Kissed by the Dark the finale of your Ollie Wit trilogy was amazing, unpredictable and well just wow. And as I said in my review giving her amnesia was brilliant.
What made you decide to do that?

Thanks! I don’t know about brilliant but I appreciate the praise. As to where it came from, it just struck me and seemed like a really fun story to write. It had plenty of potential for interesting and conflicting emotions.

I love your eclectic stable of fantastic costars, a diverse group of fantasy, legend and mythical creatures and all a class act. Some authors don’t choose to develop the minor characters this much.
Why do you?

Probably because I view the secondary characters as part of the world building. I don’t want my main characters to feel like they are running around all by themselves. I want the reader to really believe in these friendships and care if someone dies or gets hurt.

I personally feel at the end of your series/trilogies you tidy up all the loose ends but there’s always something left feeling open like if you chose to you could continue it.
Is this on purpose or is it just my wanting it to continue?

I confess; I do it on purpose. I’m usually ready to move on to a new story after three or four books, but there’s always something that makes me want to leave an opening. With Karma, it was the Jinxes. I fell in love with them. With The Keepers, it was the world I left off on. I have this crazy spinoff that has been treading water in my mind since I finished that series.

Your settings are either on the verge of some apocalypse or past it.
What about these surroundings appeal to the author in you?

I’ve always loved apocalyptic stories so I guess that’s why I write them. I’m not sure why they appeal to me so much. Maybe I like exploring how people react when everything is stripped away and no one cares what purse you’re carrying or what car you drive. It’s pure survival and what are you willing to do to make it to the next day? What lines would you be willing to cross? It’s intense and clarifying.

Ollie’s last book was put on hold for a little while because as you explained to me a while ago you had another story needing to get out of your head.
Did that delay make this book easier or harder to write?

Much easier. Wyrd Blood wouldn’t shut up but once I got it out, it gave me some peace! Unfortunately, the peace was short lived.

Speaking about the book that interrupted Ollie’s finale, Wyrd Blood, and debut in a new Urban Fantasy series starring yet another fantastic female lead, a mix of bad-ass and innocence.
And as I mentioned above you said this story was boring a hole in your head trying to get out.
Is it all quiet up there now or is there another battle going on?
When can we expect book two?

There’s a full-on rebellion going on in my head right now. I’ve got three different stories currently vying for attention. It’s a little ugly. Full Blood (Wyrd Blood Book Two) will be out this fall. It was going to be sooner but I dipped my pen back into The Wilds.

Donna thanks for answering my nosey questions. Good luck with your latest novel.
Will you be attending any author events in the near future?

Thank you! These were great questions! Really interesting--at least to me hahaha!

I don’t have anything currently planned. The only thing coming up for me right now is a lot of hours in the writing cave, but thanks for asking : )

My Revoew
Kissed by the Dark
Donna Augustine

Augustine’s final chapter in her Ollie Witt trilogy is powerful with unexpected twists and unpredictable turns that will keep reader’s interests and the pages turning. The informal casual narrative really works for this very diverse human and non-human cast of characters. Ollie continues to be her badass with an attitude self, funny and frustrating who uses sarcasm to mask her insecurities and yet isn’t afraid to put herself in harms way to do the right thing. The author’s use of giving Ollie amnesia is a brilliant ploy and the back step the romance takes because of it is spot-on! The explosive ending is very satisfying and ties up all the loose ends. The series must be read in order.
Series so far––
After losing her family to a mysterious explosion Ollie Wit learns she’s a Shadow Walker, she can see beings who have a foothold in two realms, human and the Shadowlands. Kane, a powerful being befriends her and hires her to help him find spells shadow walking, and surprisingly is attracted to her and now she’s is finally ready to do something about that mutual attraction.
Everything is going good for Ollie, she’s finally got more friends than enemies in the Underground, successfully shadow walking and getting stronger in her own magic and happily loosing herself in Kane’s kisses. But she’s got this niggling feeling that something’s not right –– then everything goes wrong when she disappears and shows up a week later beaten and bloody. Worse there’ve been unexplained explosions all over Boston, just like the one’s she’s capable of causing. To top it all off all her memories of the last six months are gone, which makes all the people around her strangers who she only remembers as adversaries, not the friends and especially the lover she’s suppose to know. She’s determined to get answers but that means she has to go it alone because she is the only one she can trust.

 Connect with Donna - Website - Facebook - Twitter

Meet Donna:
Donna Augustine’s lifelong ambition was to become the crazy cat lady. Unfortunately, when family allergies cut short her dream of living in a house full of furries, she turned her ambitions toward writing. Combining her love of fantasy, scifi, horror and romance, she tries to string together interesting twists on urban fantasy.
A native of New Jersey, when she isn’t writing or over dosing on caffeine, she can occasionally be spotted in disguise at the local dog park.

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  1. It's always fun to spend time with the writers to get insights on their books and thought processes. While I haven't read the series, it definitely sounds like one that would keep my interest. Hugs...RO

  2. I know how much you love this author so I definitely plan on trying her this year. Thanks for the chance to win one of her books!

  3. Loved the Karma series! Sounds like this one is another hit.

    1. Oh me too Karma was one of my favorites but then they all are LOL

  4. Thank you for sharing the interview and your thoughts on the book as well. It sounds like a great series!

  5. Boring a hole in her head?! Lol that is one intense story wanting to be written

  6. I've always liked an amnesia type story line. This sounds really good.

  7. I think you ask the most interesting questions, Debbie. And so glad to get Donna's answers, too. I can see why you love all her books.

  8. I love when secondary characters are developed, it really does helop build the world and story.

    1. I do too Kim, if you ever read her Karma series the Jinxes are FAB!

  9. Great review and great questions

  10. As always a really interesting set of interview questions. Sounds like a fascinating trilogy and who doesn't like a badass heroine. And I love lots of supporting characters.