Supernatural, Angel, and other Bad Influences by Shannon Donnelly

Please help me welcome Shannon Donnelly to my blog today. Shannon will be giving away a copy of Burn Baby Burn in print or ebook (print to US only) so be sure and leave a comment to be entered into the drawing.

BBB_200x300 (2)The history of believing in things that aren’t there, of buying into supernatural beings and paranormal events, goes back to the beginning of all things. Which was why it seemed a great idea to set a book about a demon hunter in modern LA. I have to admit, I was influenced by Supernatural,(buff boys and bad things…what’s not to like?) which gives us a great take on demon hunters, and more seedy motels than really can exist these days. But my hunter, Mackenzie, isn’t a rogue out on her own—I wanted her to have an organization behind her (one that may not be all too trustworthy). Because, honestly, Sam and Dean really should have been permanent toast by now (they so need more going for them than dubious fake FBI IDs). For me, even more influence came from Angel.

While not as popular as Buffy, you have to give it to Joss Whedon’s TV series Angel for teaming up bad-boy vamp Spike and the brooding, soulful Angel (Spike or Angel, is the real question to ask), and for turning the bookish Wesley into a take-no-names demon hunter (now that’s a character arc). One of the bad boys in my book, Marion, happens to be a true rogue demon hunter (he should have been working for Mackenzie’s Endowment, but opted out) and he works with a demonic genie (known here as a djinn)—because you have to have those gray characters if you’re doing the dark vs. light. Funny, irreverent, scary by turns—those are elements I wanted in Burn Baby Burn and Riding in on a Burning Tire. A world where charms are potent—but at a cost.

That’s always the catch.

The uncanny comes with a price. Power has to be paid for—in Mackenzie’s world, you buy it with sex or blood, and part of your soul. Which is why I set her up with a charmer named Josh, because every demon hunter needs a little extra mojo (wasn’t it so cool when Sammy went all demonic and team up with the dark side to try and do good things—you just knew that wasn’t going to end well). But I also wanted a team—yeah, like Mulder and Scully, except with both of them believing…and more sex. I also wanted to weave in the influence of living in Los Angeles.

The city of angels, the name says it all. A town with a history of sin on the side, of dirty deals, and dreams that took a hard left somewhere along Sunset Boulevard. It’s a city that’s always trying to tear down its past, but it leaves the edges of those tears behind—hints of dark days and decadence. I love every gritty inch of its worn-tinsel glamour. It really is a city where you could take the wrong 1930’s tunnel and end up on the edge of perdition—or at least a dark desert highway.

And that was the last bump into the mix—the Eagles. “Hotel California” and “Back in the Fast Lane”, and the “Hell Freezes Over Tour”—music with a mix of sea breeze and the not-so-fun side of fame. I played those songs endlessly until they became white noise for the books, a soundtrack on the subconscious. How could you not write creepy with those minor chords? But does all of this mean I believe in the spooky?

Let’s say I’ve seen things that leave me with questions (a night on the Queen Mary will do that, or a tour of some of the shabby LA hotels where bad things have happened). But I’m not sure I’d want to be in Mackenzie’s shoes, or in her harder-edged version of Los Angeles. She’s got it tough, with demon stain on her skin, and trying to raise a half-evil baby she and her charming partner, Josh, have sort-of adopted. And Josh has family problems—way worse than the ones Mackenzie runs into in Riding on a Burning Tire…as in this thing with his brother showing up and…

Oh, wait, that’s the next book (Angels Don’t Burn). For that I want to weave in The Edison, the old power plant converted into a bar that serves Absinthe and runs silent films and looks like the kind of place where the Yellow-Eyed Demon would hang out. There’s the old Roosevelt Hotel to book in, and the aging theaters in downtown that live up to the phrase decaying (oh, yeah, there’s a place vamps would be partying). There’s also yet another apocalypse to avert—and these days, with one end-of-everything event after the other, that seems about the norm.

I’ll side with those old stores about angels and demons and the battle between them that’s been raging forever (and about those of us trying to find some kind of soft spot between). Myth tells us more than what’s real—it’s about the truth in your heart. And that’s where my angels and demons live. But, when it gets dark, they also walk the glitter-worn streets of LA.

Shannon Donnelly Bio
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.”
Her Regency romances can be found as ebooks on all formats, and with Cool Gus Publishing, and include a series of four novellas.
She also has out the Mackenzie Solomon, Demon/Warders Urban Fantasy series, Burn Baby Burn and Riding in on a Burning Tire, and the Urban Fantasy, Edge Walkers. Her work has been on the top seller list of and includes Paths of Desire, a Historical Regency romance.
She is the author of several young adult horror stories, and computer games. She lives in New Mexico with two horses, two donkeys, two dogs, and only one love of her life. Shannon can be found online at,, and twitter/sdwriter.

RidinginonaBurningTire_200x300 (2)Excerpt Riding in on a Burning Tire

The Harley growled over the road, ate up the distance in seconds and came to a stop in a plume of dust and burning rubber next to the Mustang. Josh cut the engine and swung off the bike.
Black leathers clung to his legs, wrapped around his chest in a maze of zippers with dangling tabs. The long fringe on his arms fluttered in the dying breeze. A red bandana wrapped around his hair, keeping the shaggy length out of his eyes.

“No helmet?” she asked, trying for cool and casual as if they did this every day. She held back the urge to ask what the hell he was doing—he’d tell her or he wouldn’t. And she was trying hard not to let him see the relief easing her shoulders, settling into her like good tequila, at the sight of him.

He glanced down at his clothes. Another step and he was back in his usual, a black short-sleeve t-shirt and 508 jeans. He left his motorcycle boots on and gestured to her gun. “You won’t need that.”

He looked fine—normal. The leathers had been a better look—lean and not too mean a bad boy. But he smiled as if he was glad to see her, too. She leveled her gun on him anyway. Holy water stuffed into paint cartridges wouldn’t hurt him—not if he was still human. Given how he’d shown up—and that he’d called her and her Mustang into Limbo—that looked a pretty big ‘if’ right now.

She glanced at the black lines on Josh’s arm—the demonic stains had widened, popped on his pale skin like tribal tattoos gone wild. Sliding her gaze back to Josh’s face, she tried to read him as she read him the riot act.

“You know I’m here to bring you in—you can guess the orders. Herndon’s given his word you’ll be okay, and I know that’s not much. But it’s my word, too, and…look, just why I’m here…here? As in, is this your personal space or an all purpose gap between heaven and hell?”

The left side of his mouth quirked. He gestured to the gun in her hand, a careless wave that showed how little it intimidated him. “You know I could charm that out of your hand.”

“What I know is you won’t—not if you’re still who I think you are. And you had so better be—I am not up to dealing with you having gone total dark side on me. Now how about some answers? And I’m hoping you have a few by now.”

With a shrug that looked just like him, Josh dropped his hands and dropped down to the dirt and prairie grass. He sat knees up, elbows propped on them, staring out to the horizon, as if he could see beyond it and to a reasonable sky. Mackenzie’s heart rate settled, but her skin stayed cold. Quick, shallow breaths didn’t quite fill her lungs.

Josh—this has to be Josh. She kept praying for that. But what the hell did she do—follow orders and bring him in? Was Herndon right? Would Josh come with her just because she was the one asking? And then what? What if reasonable conversations at the Endowment didn’t follow? What if she took him in before he could figure out what he needed to? It’d be her fault for putting Josh into neck-deep danger. And if she left him out here it would be her fault for leaving him loose. Which option was best for everyone?

Gun falling to her side, she plodded over, plunked down next to him. She sat close enough to bump shoulders, but she didn’t. She wasn’t entirely sure he was here. He could be an illusion, and if that was the case, she didn’t want it to end before she had some scrap of info. And some time with him, even if it was with a vision of him.

“So…?” she said, and sucked in a breath, glanced up at the clouds tumbling over each other, scudding fast on a wind she could no longer feel on her skin. “I could ask if you come here a lot, but… Y’know, given how it looks, I surprised it’s not colder. Or raining.”

Thunder rumbled again, lower and closer. Josh gave her a sideways glance, that curving amused smile back on that lush mouth of his. But his eyes stayed half-lidded and somber—something bad lurked in his stare. She didn’t know what had put it there. Had he found out about the deal she’d made with Herndon? Should she tell him about that? He made his next words a flat statement that gave nothing away. “You don’t like the cold.”

Cradling her gun in both hands, she flipped the safety on and off again. “Meaning—this is my own personal limbo? Not the Limbo? My head did this? It’s my…well, I don’t think I’d call it my happy place.”

“I needed to hide.”

“Hmmm—don’t like the sound of that, either. Hide from who?”

“It’s whom. And pretty much everyone.”

Scooting around, Mackenzie faced him. “So you really are behind the Magi’s disappearance? Is that what you’ve remembered? Found out?”

He kept his stare on the horizon. “Yes. And…well, no. Charms don’t hold here—well, they do a little, but they tend to slip. Nothing holds in Limbo. I came here to get a few answers as well, and I did—I’m starting to remember things. But I’m not sure I should tell you much. It’s not the usual job, Mackenzie. This one…it’s not just the Grigori’s demons making trouble.”

“There’s stuff worse than fallen angels?”

His smile lifted and twisted. “Far worse. Demons and angels, they’re known quantities. Yes, they have great powers, but they also have limits. That’s why you can bind them with charms and oaths. Humans, though, they have an amazing capacity. Unreached depths, the ability for extraordinary good—or evil. They can be bound with charms as well, but the human soul has unknown depths. That’s why it’s harder to hold a charm on anyone. It’s a lot more work. And there are…other things.”

3 thoughts on “Supernatural, Angel, and other Bad Influences by Shannon Donnelly

  1. I love how you look to Angel and Spike, can’t we all have Spike and Angel… why even bother with the ‘or’ aspect! LOL. I just started watching Supernatural, there are things on that show that freak out my overactive imagination at 2 am when I end up putting it on… without fail! LOL… The book sounds great!!! Love the excerpt! 🙂 Wishing you LOTS of success.


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