We have a winner! Joannie Sico, you are M.A.’s giveaway winner–she will be in touch with you. Thanks, everyone, for stopping by! We love talking to our readers!
I’m excited to welcome M.A. Guglielmo back to the Spotlight! She’s here today with Rifted Hearts, book 1 in her new Rift World fantasy romance series. M.A. has a lead magnet for it, a short-story prequel (“Witch City Rift”) set in a future Salem, Massachusetts. The story is a free download for people who want to sign up for her newsletter.
M.A. Guglielmo is a neurosurgeon, mother of two awesome daughters, and a life-long fan of speculative fiction. Her Italian grandmother may or may not have been able to cast the evil eye on difficult neighbors, and Maria loves telling a good story, especially if magical curses and witty villains are involved.
Her interest in Middle Eastern politics and culture inspires her to incorporate mythology and folklore from the region into her writing projects. After having the wits scared out of her by ghost tales told to her over a campfire in the Moroccan Sahara, she’s come up with a plan to travel to all the potential settings for her novels. Since those include the mountain-ringed home of the Jinn and a modernized version of the Greek Underworld, some items on her bucket list might be harder to achieve than others.
Maria was born and raised in Rhode Island, and graduated from Yale University with a degree in biology. She completed her M.D. degree at Brown University, and went on to finish her neurosurgical residency there. After several years enjoying the company of sunny friends and overcast skies in Portland, Oregon, she moved back to Rhode Island, where she’s a neurosurgeon in academic practice. She lives there with her two daughters, assorted pets, and is always dreaming of the stories that can come out of her next travel destination.
M.A., tell us about Rifted Hearts…
The inspiration for the first book in my new fantasy romance series, Rifted Hearts, came from two things: the Covid epidemic and my one and only trip to a dude ranch.
The epidemic had an enormous impact on everyone, but since I’m a medical professional, I was with other front-line workers driving through empty streets as the lockdowns started. It felt like an apocalypse, and not the fun kind I liked to read about it. As things dragged on, and the new normal became simply normal, I began to think more and more about apocalypse fatigue. Humans are nothing if not adaptable, and maybe even the fantastical world-wide catastrophes in fiction and on television might eventually turn into a routine part of life.
That led me to the idea of a Monster Apocalypse. Interdimensional rifts open up around the world, leading into fragments of a different universe, with different natural laws and species as smart as us, but a lot scarier. There’s panic, unwise military attacks, and a lot of press coverage.
But my series is set twenty-five years later, when the Monster Apocalypse is only one in a series of crises. Most alien species stay in or near the portals, which sometimes attract human tourists. Some people still want to fight the monsters from the rift, but others—want to date them.
That idea, and a week spent at a beautiful resort in Arizona trying and failing to properly ride a horse, turned into Rifted Hearts.
The Monster Apocalypse is old news, but Remi Gatti has a fresh take—travel tourism to monster portals. Too bad it’s only a cover for his real job as a half-human spy. When he’s sent to Moon Star Ranch to charm a veterinarian with ties to his crime family’s enemies, Remi’s sure this will be an easy seduce-and-run job. How hard can it be to ride a horse anyway?
Kaveh Salehi, a world expert on the medical treatment of alien species, has his own secrets. His friends at the ranch don’t know he’s part dragon and the alien entity known as the Matchmaker has chosen a human as his destined spouse. His clan wants the oblivious soulmate located and kept safe, whether that person wants to marry a monster or not. When Kaveh discovers Remi’s also not fully human, he asks for help—and Remi is more than up for the job. How hard can it be to fake date a sexy stranger anyway?
For once, Remi doesn’t want to lie to his mark.
For once, Kaveh doesn’t want to do the right thing.
How hard can it be not to fall in love with the wrong person?
GIVEAWAY! M.A. is offering a free e-book copy of Summoned, the first book in her From Smokeless Fire series from Tule Publishing. Just tell her if you’ve ever ridden a horse and if so, did you enjoy it? We’ll draw a winner on Saturday morning.