Mandi Konesni is another Midwestern author who I met through social media.
Mandi resides in Ohio, where she shares her workspace with an ornery bassle pup. In addition to writing, she runs an online storefront, a roleplaying website, and is a 3rd Degree High Priestess. She’s an avid reader and blogger, who adores music. Whenever there is a concert in town, you can bet she’s taking the night off and cheering on her favorite bands. She can easily be bribed with peanut butter M&Ms, gemstones, hot lead singers, and gargoyles.
Tell us about yourself.
So, I’m Mandi. I’m 35 years old, an Ohio native, and a 3rd Degree High Priestess. I love crafting… I’ll try to craft pretty much anything once, but I can’t draw to save my life. I can mangle a stick figure. I’m safest writing, if given the choice between the two 🙂 I have a 10 year old bassle pup, which is a cross between a beagle and a basset. She pretty much runs my life, and she’s so adorable that I’m completely okay with that!
When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I can’t honestly remember how I got started writing… it seems to me that I was always telling stories, a pen in one hand and a journal in the other. In my teens, I started gravitating towards poetry, but began writing adult themed short stories shortly after that. The rest, as they say, was history.
What genres do you like to read? Are these the same genres you write in?
I will read pretty much everything once. If I get bored, I’ll even read the back of packages. (True story!) In general, my favorites tend to be paranormal romance, menage romances, thriller/mystery type reads, and true crime stories. Which does make sense, as most of that is what I like to write, also!
Is your book for adults, young adults or children?
Most of my writing is geared towards adults. Mature teens could probably read the Kira Malone Chronicles, but they need to be aware that there are some gory/scary parts that frightened grown adults, so it will be scary in parts. I’m working on developing a series for young adults, though, as my nieces have asked for something they can read.
What is your current release or project?
My latest release is Ashes of Eden. It’s a paranormal romance involving angels and demons, Heaven and Hell, and all the crazy paths that connect them. It’s definitely my ‘new’ favorite, I really took everything I’ve learned from every release up to now and applied it to this novel, so I’m pretty proud of it!
Tell us about the key characters.
The two ‘star-crossed’ lovers are Raziel, a fallen angel who is trying to earn back his wings and Baylin, a cambion female who is hiding from her past. Together, the two of them have to come to terms with who and what they are in order to literally save the world. Since Baylin is kind of a mouthy, sassy, take no orders type of woman, things don’t go as easy as Raziel hopes.
What is your blurb or synopsis of the book?
After being tainted by Leviathan blood, an Archangel must collect angelic relics and return them to Heaven before the transit of Mercury to prevent the Undoing… a period where demons can take control of the earth and negate the power of Heaven.
To earn back his wings, he’s tasked with preventing this from occurring by any means necessary. Even if it includes working with a Cambion female who is too nosy for her own good, or getting caught breaking into the Vatican. They did say ‘any means necessary’, didn’t they?
Evil is insidious, and lurks in the most unassuming of disguises. But people are stronger together, and true love is worth fighting for, even if you have to give up everything you thought you needed and wanted in order to keep it. He may be a protector of the world, but he failed to protect something far more important- his heart.
Sometimes, redemption comes in a way you least expect it to. Sometimes, sacrifice is worth the cost.
Share an excerpt
Clearing his throat, he couldn’t help the faint ghost of a smile as she jumped, eyes widening as she whirled on him, spatula in hand like a weapon. “I apologize, Ma’am. I should have announced my presence before entering.”
“I think I liked you better when you were dying. My name is Baylin, not ma’am. I am not old enough to be a ma’am, thank you very much. And stop with the old-world politeness crap. You’re in modern day America, speak like it. I’m making cinnamon pancakes. If you don’t like them, tough, I don’t take special requests. We got milk, orange juice, apple juice, water, tea, or soda. Pick your poison, glasses are on the top shelf. I’d like apple juice, if you would.”
Raziel stared, slightly open-mouthed. She’d said all of this without taking more than a breath or two, while flipping the pancakes on the griddle at the same time. Her free hand pointed towards the cabinet where he assumed the glasses were located, and she never once turned to face him. The irreverence was something he was not used to, but the smell of food was making his stomach cramp in hunger. He’d intended on leaving right away, but he supposed it would be only polite to stay since she’d already cooked for him.
Dutifully collecting glasses, he poured apple juice in both before putting them on the tile coasters helpfully located on the table. Taking the chair he’d used last night, he kept quiet as she worked, not wanting to distract her. As she sat across from him, he thanked her before bowing his head to give thanks. He may be Fallen, but he wasn’t completely lost yet.
Glancing up, he spotted Baylin eyeing him curiously. For the first time in a long time, a flush heated his cheeks. She knew he was something ‘other’, but as she’d caught him fighting demonic factions, she’d likely assumed he was aligned with a different one of theirs. Seeing him praying was likely unexpected, given what little she’d managed to ascertain about him since she’d given him shelter only a few short hours ago.
He supposed he should come clean, somewhat. She couldn’t know everything, of course, but he could at least give her something in thanks for her help. “My name is Raziel. I am… was an Archangel. Obviously some habits still hold sway. I have a mission to accomplish. What you stumbled into last night was the aftermath of it. Or, a part of it. I won’t be taking up much more of your time or generosity, though I thank you for your hospitality. It is appreciated.”
“An Archangel. I don’t think I’ve ever met one of those before. You guys aren’t really well represented on Earth, you know. What do you mean ‘was’? Are you Fallen? Did you break a vow? Something worse? Is that why you have a mission to do? You don’t have to worry about taking up my time. I already talked to Lenore first thing this morning and explained the circumstances. She gave me a few days off to look after you and make sure your wounds were tended to.”
Raziel’s lip twisted into a grimace, but he covered it by quickly shoving a forkful of the pancakes into his mouth. He couldn’t answer those questions without revealing his deepest shame, that he hadn’t Fallen. He’d been changed against his will. His absolution depended on finding these artifacts and bringing them home. That she’d already requested time off work didn’t bode well for him getting rid of her easily. She seemed determined to see him through the healing period. Something which he did not need. Noticing she’d gone quiet, he glanced up, spotting her toying with her food. She’d eaten only a few bites, compared to his plate, where half the stack was gone. “You okay?”
Shaking her head in the negative, she pushed the plate aside. “I suppose I should tell you a bit more about myself as well. So you don’t find out some other way. I’m a Cambion. My mother was human, but my father was a demon. They were killed when I was just a child. I don’t remember much of them. Just bits and pieces. I promise you, I have no ties to the demonic beings here. This place is warded because they came after us. My dad dared to love a human, for that, we all had to die. Since I lived, they’ve hunted me ever since. I have no allegiance to those murderers and monsters. Anyone who takes a life is foul and deserves to die. You’ll come to no harm here.”
Do you have a favorite scene?
I love almost every scene with Gabriel! He’s just so snarky and bad-tempered. It’s so fun to play him and Raziel off of each other, even more entertaining when Baylin gets added into the mix. They are definitely not a good trio for working together, and as Gabriel is the cause of the biggest misunderstanding in the story, the camaraderie does not get better between he and Baylin by the end. In fact, I’m pretty sure neither can stand the sight of the other by the time everything is over. -laughs-
What advice would you give a beginner?
Forget following trends. Forget trying to be perfect, or judging yourself by what everyone else is doing. There will be bad days, months. Years. You will look at your pros and cons list for continuing on and feel discouraged and like a failure. Things will happen that will make you feel like you’ve done everything wrong, or aren’t giving enough. Do not let those voices win. Writing is a passion, and we must do it first and foremost because we love it and HAVE to write.
After that, everything else? We can learn to market better, to promote, to find better genre-specific covers. We can learn to tweak our voice as authors, to craft better narratives. That can all be taught, learned, or come with experience. But never forget to remember to love what you do. Don’t ever let the pressures of it being a career make you feel like a failure because you aren’t hitting the same goalposts someone else is.
Your goalposts might just be a little different and tailored to YOU.
Other books by Mandi
Half Past Dread
Shadows of a thousand years.
Rise again unseen.
Voices whisper in the trees,
nothing is ever as it seems.
Monsters exist, whether they be real or wholly in our minds. Some of us enjoy the fear of the unknown, the thrill of danger that comes from something we can’t understand. Others like to delve into the deepest recesses of the human mind, to discover what lurks beneath an ordinary facade.
Whether you want to be afraid of what lurks in the dark, or to wonder about the evil surrounding you everyday, Half Past Dread has something for everyone. A Liliom Press publication, enjoy 4 chilling stories from our spookiest authors yet!
Kira Malone Chronicles
PREY- Not everything that goes bump in the night is your imagination. Kidnapped by a monster from lore she never believed in, Kira realizes the world is far scarier and more terrible than she ever imagined. Trapped and injured, the prey must be stronger than the predator. What do you do when you have no other choice? You fight. You survive. You live to battle another day.
ROGUE- What could be worse than horror movie rejects preying on women? Those that feast on pregnant women. Armed with nothing more than courage and a little luck, Kira and Andy dive into a case that could prove deadly in so many ways. When it comes to legends, mothers really don’t always know best.
RELIC- You’d think ‘don’t steal’ would be fairly self-explanatory, but there you’d be wrong. Stealing from an archaeological site is just asking for trouble, as our hapless victims soon learn. Desperate to solve the case before anyone else gets hurt, Kira and Andy put themselves in harm’s way, unleashing a vengeful creature hellbent on their demise. When seconds count, help is minutes behind.
Risque Romance Vol 1
AWAKENED- Mia was perfectly happy with her boring mid-twenties life, thank you very much. So she didn’t have many friends, or a man. Maybe her job kind of sucked, and hobbies hadn’t caught up with her yet. There was still plenty of time, at least that’s what she told herself each night before tucking into her lonely bed. Then tall, dark, and sinful Erik blazed into her life, showing her all that she was missing…and more. After finally experiencing real bliss, could she truly let him go?
ENTHRALLED- Tired of living a solitary existence for centuries, Dieri Bastiz sought peace from the Romani that had cursed him so long ago. The same ones that he’d hunted until he’d sated his thirst for vengeance. When Mirela appears into his path like a bird in flight, he finds the spark his life had been missing for so long. Yet all is not as it seems at this quiet faire. Can monsters truly be redeemed, or does loyalty reign?
What would you risk, to have it all?
Risque Romance Vol 2
UNLEASHED- Naomi Trahern is as straight laced as they come. She deals in facts and cold hard science. Stubborn to the core, she hasn’t met a theory she can’t solve. That is, until a visit to the Amazon rainforest yields a sample she just can’t explain. Trapped with a larger than life jaguar in a sunken temple, Naomi is forced to accept that her cut and dry world isn’t so easily explained after all. When two worlds collide and the steamy jungle unleashes fantasies hidden in the depths of night, can Naomi embrace the extraordinary and unexplained, or does reality rear its head and pull her home?
CONSUMED- Bored of a solitary existence, a titan goddess creates Esoteric Inc, an agency that handles cases “normal” Private Investigators wouldn’t touch. Then Ryder Dreki, alpha of the Icelandic dragons, steps into her office. His request? Assist him with locating a kidnapped dragonling as well as the Stone of Wisdom, stolen from his hoard. When Ryder demands to accompany her, she soon realizes that dealing with a hot-headed, arrogant dragon was definitely not in her job description. When Ryder is attacked, Electra must choose… protect the world, or protect the scaled menace she’s grown to love.
What would you risk to have it all?
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