Monday, August 15, 2011

Guest Today: Toni Sweeney

Welcome to my Blog Toni.

Tell us a little about yourself:

Thanks for allowing me this interview, Marie. Now, for that autobiography. As the old joke goesGot 5 minutes? (Grin). Let’s seeI was born in the South, spent 30 years in the Midwest, a decade on the Pacific Coast, and am now trying for a second 30 years on the Great Plains. I’ve a Bachelors in Art, English literature, and drama, and a diploma in graphic art, and I spent quite a few years as a dancer before I had an auto accident which ended that portion of my career. Being bedridden for so long led directly to my becoming a writer. I write science fiction and fantasy, and under my pseudonym, Icy Snow Blackstone, I write romances.

What do like the most and the least about writing?

I like the actual writing of the story, getting that tale that’s whirling around inside my brain onto the computer screen where it becomes a tangible object, where the characters and the story finally come alive for me. I have a friend who’s also a writer and we spend a lot of time batting ideas back and forth, and sometimes one of us will simply tell the story while the other asks pertinent questions. That really helps.

What I don’t like: Proofing. I generally do about three drafts of a novel before I considered it “finished.” After going over a story that many times, though, I tend to gloss over mistakes and not see them because I’m too familiar with it. That’s when typos and continuity errors get left in. Usually I let a couple of weeks go by before I take a second look at a story. That way, I’ve had time to “forget” it a little and it isn’t still fresh in my mind. That makes it easier to spot errors.

Give us a peek into your latest published work?

My “latest” novel was published in February of this year, though I have a couple scheduled for this Fall. It’s called Wizard’s Wife. And it was released by Class Act Books. Click here for more information. It was a lot of fun to write because I had to do research on Irish faeries and other supernaturals, and I even include a wee bit of a Gaelic glossary at the end.

Here’s the blurb:

The Harmonic Convergence fast approaches and with it comes danger to the Earth and its people…

Cross the Magic Portal into Ais Linn, a dimension where unicorns roam and werewolves prowl… Where a faery wizard and his mortal bride battle the Lord of Dark Fire for possession not only of Ais Linn but of the Earth itself.

Newly-wed Megan McMuir is shocked to discover her husband is a faery, and not just any faery but the Champion of White Fire, sent to protect the Earth from invasion by dark wizard Exeter Dubhtina. As the Convergence begins and David is recalled to Ais Linn, Megan braves the Portal’s dangers to follow him. Soon, she finds herself a pawn in the fight against her husband. The threat from Exeter Dubhtina is a deadly one: Surrender and bow to me or watch your wife and unborn child die.

David has sworn to protect the Earth. Will he break his vows or lose Megan and their baby?

What’s next on the writing horizon for you?

I have two novels scheduled for release in the Fall by Class Act. One, For the Love in Adler’s Brain is a science fiction novella about a sweet young thing who hires a private eye to find her boyfriend’s brain. Oh, the boyfriend’s an android, by the way. The trouble begins when the PI falls in love with her, too. Now, which will it be: metal man or flesh-and-blood one? The other is a suspense-thriller romance entitled Blood Bay. (Think Cape Fear plus anything written by Tammy Hoag.) This one is set on an island near the Golden Isles off the coast of Georgia and is about how a young woman who fights back against an escaped prisoner who’s stalking her.

Those readers who follow my books will notice that many of them are set in the South or have Southerners figuring prominently in them.

Is there anything you want to tell readers?

I’d just like to thank everyone who has bought one of my books, especially those who’ve told me they’ve bought more than one! That makes me feel I’m doing something right. I’d also like to invite your readers to stop by my website. I just added a new sentence to the Home Page: Dedicated to giving writers the promotion they need through blog, book review, and video.” It’s a promise I made to someone, a kind of “Pay it Forward”.

EXCERPT from Wizard’s Wife:

In this excerpt, David has just told Megan he’s a faery-wizard, and of course, she doesn’t believe him:

Damn it, Megan!” He made an angry gesture, slapping his hands against his thighs. “What can I do to make you believe me?”

“Prove it.” Call his bluff. There’s no way he can prove what he says is true. Perhaps that’ll snap him out of it.


“You heard me. Prove to me you’re a faery, I mean a wizard. Go on. Show me how you look when you’re in Wizard-form, World-Champion-Defender-class.”

“All right.” He didn’t even pretend to think about it, just stalked a few feet away and turned back to face her. He thrust both hands in front of him, fingers outspread, palms toward his body.

“You’re serious.” Abruptly, Megan was frightened. He really thinks he’s some type of extra-terrestrial supernatural being. Oh, David!

“Damn right.” The hands moved apart, one above his head, the other hovering near his waist. He brought them together. They passed each other. “There! Would you be thinkin’ this better?”

Now it was Megan’s turn to stare.

Where David had been, there now stood an old man...a very old man...long snowy-white hair, longer snowy-white beard.

Merlin. She had no doubt of it. Wearing a black floor-sweeping robe spangled with crescent moons and stars. On the white hair perched a pointed cap, its peak so tall it had creased and fallen over under its own weight, the tip touching his shoulder.

“Who are you supposed to be?” She was out of the chair before she realized it, running toward him only to skid to a stop and approach a little more cautiously. “And where’s David?”

Merlin looked down at her.

“I’m David,” he informed her with a dignified British accent. “World-Champion-Defender-class wizard.”

“Hah!” Later, she would marvel at her ability to be so sarcastic. “You look more like the Wizard of Id.”

“My apologies, my darlin’.” Looking a little insulted, he swept her a bow that skimmed his sleeves across the carpet. “But is this na your idea o’ how a wizard should look?” He waggled a finger at her. “I’ve lived with you long enough to know how that cute little mind o’ yours works, Meggie.”

“David.” Briefly, her voice held infinite patience. I'll get angry later for that last remark. “Show me how you look. Really.”

“Very well.” The hands moved again, performing the same gesture. Merlin disappeared. David stood in his place.

David. But not David… Oh my God, this is definitely not my husband!

It was the same handsome face, Megan admitted, but changed. Thinner, paler. Copper brows winged above his eyes, not arching as they had before, but arrow-straight. And the eyes themselves... Green like David’s but...there’s no white in them. They were like an animal’s, the entire eye a deep green iris. That, however, wasn’t the most disturbing thing. Protruding from his forehead were antenna. Not butterfly-like but smoky, feathery tendrils floating in the air above his head. They wavered back and forth, like seaweed drifting in a stream, then stiffened and pointed in her direction.

As if they’ve sensed me...homing in...

He turned his head slightly, an ear twitching, and Megan stared. Nearly lobeless, peaked on top. Hello, Mr. Spock! The left one sported a small golden ring with an emerald set in it. She recognized it. It was her wedding present to him.

OK, so this is David… the real David... and I really don't have an argument with the way he looks, even with— I guess the main problem is the wings.

Dragonfly-like, they didn’t come from under his shoulder blades as she’d always suppose wings should, but grew on each side of his upper spine. Not the tiny things shown in drawings of fairies either, but equaling David’s height. Delicately translucent in bronzes and golds, the colors of a Monarch's wings magnified. When they began to flutter, Megan had to dodge to keep from being struck as the right one swept upward, shedding a fine dust which sifted gently onto the antique Persian carpet. It glittered a moment before disappearing.

Reaching out, she touched the wing, running her fingers along the heavy mast-bone. It was soft and furry, felt like a swatch of velvet, and warm. Megan pressed her fingers against it, letting its heat flow into her hand. She would swear she felt a pulse beating against her palm.

Thank you for being here today, Toni.


Mary Ricksen said...

Wow! What a great excerpt. I gotta read this one. A wonderful hook and a brilliant plot, this is my kinda story! Good job Toni and good luck!

Anonymous said...

It's always interesting to get a glimpse of an author's present and history, particularly one you've read and enjoyed. Wizard's Wife sounds like another good read!

Toni V.S. said...

Thanks, ladies, for the kind words.

Mary Marvella said...

Love it! You busy girl! So many stories and you are telling them!