Because sometimes your blog tells you that you just plain old ran out space.
Catch you on the flip side Clare's Blog2: The Haven
Toni V Sweeney is an author of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Her newest work "Wizard’s Wife" is available from Class Act Books.
Toni V Sweeney is an author of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Her newest work Wizard’s Wife is available from Class Act Books.
How did you come up with the title?
Once there was a wizard and he had a wife. There you are. One title, coming up! the title. Actually, I muddled around for quite some time but nothing I thought of seemed appropriate, so finally I just gave up and made it the obvious.
What is this book about? And what genre is this book in?
The book is a contemporary fantasy. It’s the story of a young woman who marries a man she thinks is a scientist from Ireland. He turns out to be a wizard from a dimension called Ais Linn, one of the magickal people whom the Irish called the "little people." He’s been sent to Earth to protect it from a coming astronomical event which will weaken the portals the fae used to enter our world and allow an evil sorcerer and his men to enter.
Who is/are the main characters? And why did you choose them?
The two main characters are David McMuir, the wizard, and Megan, his wife. They’re the title characters. For a wizard, David’s a bit of a dreamer, accustomed to being the favored son, though when it comes to carrying out his mission, namely, to protect the Earth, he follows through expertly. He’s a Trooping Faery—that is, a human-sized one—and they’re very attracted to mortals, so when he meets Megan, he immediately falls in love with her. So much so that he dares go against his father’s orders to marry his mortal sweetheart. Fortunately for David, mortals are also attracted to him so Megan is just as deeply in love as he is, though she’s a little more down-to-earth. When David confesses what he is, she prefers to think her husband is delusional rather then accept the fact that he’s a faery. After she’s eventually convinced, however, she follows him back to Ais Linn because as his wife, she believes she should be wherever her husband is.
What is the coolest or best part about your book? (Any Favorite scenes, the world-building etc. )
One of the parts I like best if the section where David finally convinces Megan he’s a faery, by showing her how he actually looks. He does it gradually, kind of easing into it; first he makes himself look like Merlin, with a long white beard and a robe with stars and crescents all over it and a pointed hat. Then, he shows her his real self…6’2" of drop-dead gorgeous fae, with a 6-foot wingspan, pointed ears, and vaporous antenna. And all she can do is stand there and tell him he can’t possibly be one of the Little People because he’s too tall!
Do you have a favorite character in the book? If so, why?
Well, I like the villain, Exeter Dubhtina. He’s just so evil, and enjoys it so. He’s the kind of bad guy you love to hate. Another character I like is Sir Liam Connery. Liam is the leader of Exeter’s Wolf Pack, a group of werewolf faery knights who ride around the Samhain Garrai (the Dark Garden) and terrorize the sprites and leprechauns. Liam is the lover of Brigid, twin sister of David’s familiar Ossian, and is caught in the crossfire of being loyal to his master and loyal to the woman he loves.
Is this book part of a series? If so? What can we expect in future books?
It may be a series, I haven’t decided yet. The ending is certainly left open in a way to indicate that. We’ll just have to wait and see.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
As a matter of fact, I did do the book over again! The original manuscript was lost and I had only a few pages extant. Then those disappeared when I moved, and I even lost the synopsis I had made, so I simply wrote the book over from scratch.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned a lot about the inhabitants of the Land of Fae, which faeries are good, which are evil, and that they come in all shapes and sizes, from 6-foot Trooping faeries like David, to 1-inch sprites. I also learned a good many superstitions, and also a whole lot of Gaelic, which these particular fae speak. There’s an English/Gaelic glossary included at the end of the novel, also.
Do you have a publisher? And if so, why did you choose them?
Wizard’s Wife is being published by Class Act Books. They also published three other books for me: Serpent’s Tooth, Bargain with Lucifer, and Brother Devil. The last two are a set and were written under my pseudonym, Icy Snow Blackstone.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Jim Butcher. I enjoy his Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only practicing wizard, series tremendously. Harry continuously crosses the line between the world of magic and the world of mortals, and is always proving the unreal world is never as we’ve been lead to believe. In a way, Wizard’s Wife was inspired by some of Harry’s adventures.
What books are you reading now?
I review books on my website so I’m always reading something from the many submissions sent to me by writers—mysteries, romances, sci-fi, fantasy, and horror.
What are the current writing projects that you are working on?
I have another novel coming up for publication in March, 2011, a novella called Gypsy Charm, and I’ll be beginning edits on that fairly soon. I also have a half-finished novel from my series Lovers of Leonesse called The Seventh Mothman, an alternate universe fantasy. I recently finished another in that series called The King’s Swordswoman, which is set in an early period of Leonesse’s history.
Do you write full time? If not, do you hope to do so one day?
I used to write after I came home from work, once I had dinner and the dishes, etc., out of the way. Now that I’ve lost my job and can’t seem to find another, I consider myself "forcibly retired" and I write full-time. In fact, whenever anyone asks me my occupation now, I tell them I’m a writer. Writing and handling three websites keeps me plenty busy and is a full-time job.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
All my life, I guess. I’ve been making up stories and writing them down as long as I can remember. When I was seven, I used to draw illustrated panels and write story captions under them. Two years later, I received a portable typewriter for my birthday and started typing out the stories, and just went on from there, eventually graduating to electric typewriters, electronic typewriters, and then to computers..
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
At the moment, it’s getting motivated. I’m finding it more and more difficult to make myself sit down and write out the stories. They’re there, I just seem to be stricken with a large dose of procrastination at present. I’ve been writing for 60 years, so I guess I can be excused a little bit.
Do you have any advice for other writers seeking to get published for the first time?
Just one word: Determination. If you’ve got that, sooner or later, it’ll happen, though often it’s later than sooner.
(Wizard’s Wife will be released by Class Act Books (http://www.classactbooks.com) in January, 2011.)
Thanks Toni for Dropping by! It looks to be a great book! Everyone go out and buy it!
Let's all Welcome Guest Blogger Toni Noel, the Author of the Best Selling Novel 'Lawbreakers and Love Makers.'
Why I Read and Write Romantic Suspense
I read and write romantic suspense because this genre has so much more to offer the reader. Scary hooks. More reader involvement. Events that reel the reader in from the first page. A hero to die for and a heroine who quite possibly might. Then there are the story questions -- What if they get hurt? Or killed? -- in addition to the usual questions: Is the heroine ever going to get kissed? And what's keeping her from falling in love?
Yes, I'm a through and through lover of romantic suspense, and now, a published author of that genre. My debut novel Law Breakers and Love Makers achieved best seller status with Desert Breeze Publishing in October of this year, the month of its release.
Writing romantic suspense is far more complicated that writing a simple romance. I had to remember to sow seeds of doubts, plant red herrings and delay solving the mystery to allow the hero and heroine time to fall back in love. My novel really took off when an intruder kicked the barking dog, killed the gardener, and tried to burglarize both houses Zoe Westmore promised to care for when her parents left town, but these events gave the reunited couple the time they needed to fall back in love. The hero had to replace the lock on the gate the thieves cut, see to the repair of the front door he crashed through, and to finally move in with Zoe to keep her safe. Then, despite all his good intentions Jon leaves the quirky heroine alone right when the bad guys show up again.
I once read about a successful mystery writer who confessed he would sometimes spread all his completed chapters out on the floor, then decided the order of their placement in his books.
That won't work when there's a budding romance involved. In my novels one event must follow the next and the next in the order required to tell the story, solve the mystery and watch the couple fall in love. Plotting these novels is like carefully shuffling two decks of cards. One deck represents the mystery, the other the romance. All the events must be seamlessly merged or the reader will be drawn out of the story and might throw the book across the room. Or delete it from her e-reader, a new and possible threat.
And yes, I'm a true believer in romance. If my hero and heroine face death before morning, they're bound to spend their last night on earth in each other's arms.
I write the kinds of stories I like to read, books about real people facing danger while falling in love, a kind of double jeopardy.
I once became so enthralled reading a romantic suspense by Karen Robards I experienced chest pains, but no way would I put that book down. I just slipped another nitroglycerine tablet under my tongue and went right on reading. The author had done a superb job of reeling me in, then keeping me hooked.
Law Breakers and Love Makers is a delightful romp through some frightening scenes, a fun read. You won't need nitroglycerine under your tongue to read this novel, but you will need to hold onto your seat. Once the rollercoaster ride starts, it doesn't stop. And just when you think there's no way Zoe will get out of her final predicament unscathed…
Here's a blurb:
In hopes of convincing her father she has matured, Zoe Westmore returns to San Diego after a long absence to housesit while her parents travel abroad. On entering their home for the first time, she sets off a silent alarm.
Her high school sweetheart, now Deputy Jon Sutherland responds. He warns her about recent home burglaries and to keep the doors locked. In the days that follow, he and Zoe renew a high school romance ended without explanation when her father interfered, leading Zoe to believe Jon had abandoned her.
After the death of the gardener found floating in the pool is ruled a homicide, Jon moves in with Zoe to keep her safe. Making love to him temporarily takes her mind off the crimes. The authorities think they are dealing with local criminals, contrary to Jon's belief. When Jon reveals her father's coercive tactics forced the premature end of their youthful romance, Zoe believes her heart in jeopardy. Jon may again yield to her father's demands. Deputies arrest young thieves driving the van and call Jon in to question them, leaving Zoe alone to save herself from two thugs who invade her parents' home.
Visit Desert Breeze Publishing's Web site to download the book and find out what happens next.http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-113/Toni-Noel-Law-Breakers/Detail.bok Author, Toni Noel, read her latest novel, 'Lawbreakers and Love Makers' on sale now with Desert Breeze Publishing.
The Appeal of the Surreal
by L.K. Below
In my writing, I like to say that I’m a jack-of-all-trades. I do romance (both sweet and erotic), historical, middle grade, and young adult. But what I love to write most of all is fantasy.
Why? Maybe it’s the possibilities. In fantasy, anything goes. You can set it in a modern setting, fill it with mythological creatures, and call it paranormal. You can set it in a city -- futuristic or modern -- and call it urban. You can set it in a land of magic and mystery and call it epic. Or heck, you can even set it in the past, add in airships, and call it steampunk. Regardless of its name, fantasy is an anything-goes playground and that draws me in like nothing else.
Writing fantasy, I find, is a lot like reading fantasy. From the first page, I get to delve into a complex new world and immerse myself in culture and enchantment. It may take a few read-throughs (or drafts!) before I understand this enthralling new world, but every moment spent immersed in this world is a moment well-spent. Each pass brings to light new, small details that escaped my notice the last time. I could spend forever engrossed in the fantasy realms I (and others) create. The sights, the smells…it all combines to create the sort of book I just can’t put down.
So what is your favorite thing about fantasy?
L. K. Below is the author of Stalking Shade, an urban fantasy coming soon from Lyrical Press, Inc. Under her full name, Lindsay Below, she also has a young adult science fiction novel soon to hit virtual shelves. Find out more about her atwww.lbelow.net/lkbelow.
Romance Author Susan Roebuck and her thoughts on her journey to being published.
Question: You've just had a book published, tell us something about it.
Sue: It’s called “Perfect Score” by me, Susan Roebuck. It has a mixed genre: romance, suspense and M/M. It's unusual in the fact that, being M/M, it's not erotic at all. In fact it’s more about family relationships, corruption, growing up, integrity, responsibility, and being a man of worth in a society of the worthless.
Q: How easy was it to get published?
Sue: To be honest, being on the submissions circuit is one of the most stressful activities you can embark on. Debut novels are hard to sell at the moment and when I started I had no idea how to go about approaching agents with my “pitch” or “submission”. I learned the ones in the UK prefer to receive a one-page synopsis which, for me, was harder to write than the book! In the US the agents prefer a quick “pitch” with a hook to get them interested. Boy, what a learning curve. How do you get a 105,000 word book down to five sentences?
I was surprised to discover how few in the UK accepted emails. So I tried the States where email was more the norm and which made sense because the book is set in the US. Thank God for the Internet, is what I say. How else would I have found out that you can contact publishers directly? I looked up all the agents’ and publishers’ blogs I could find, discovered Writers Beware, learnt what self-publishing was (and decided to stay away from it) and learnt what, and who, the vanity presses were (and definitely decided to stay well clear).
I know my initial queries sucked. After thirty rejections, I received two publishers’ emails accepting the book on the same day. Rather like buses – you wait for ages and then two come at once. They were both e-publishers but one was bigger than the other. So guess which one I went for? And I haven’t regretted it – I’ve received excellent advice and help from Awe-struck Publishing. Now it’s published, I’m on a learning curve again – how to market the book or “developing your writer’s platform” as they say.
Q: What advice would you give to anyone starting out on the publishing route?
Sue: Research everything – find blogs from agents of your genre and see what they want and how they want it. Make sure you only submit to those agents and publishers who accept your genre because it really is a waste of time to do otherwise, no matter how tempting Curtis Brown looks.
Thirty rejections, I’ve since learnt, is nothing. Some people receive over a hundred or more before someone takes their manuscript. Learn to deal with rejections. It’s part of life and you mustn’t take it personally. Some agents are full up, some are reducing their clients and some just haven’t read your hard-worked letter. Hang in there. It’ll happen some day (like true love). If you really don’t get anywhere, consider using a professional editor (there are consultants in this field) and be prepared to pay for a genuine opinion, because you can’t go by what friends and family tell you, they don’t want to hurt your feelings. Be prepared for the whole process to take a lot of time – if you’re taken by a publisher then you need to give them time to produce a cover and you’ll have to work with an editor to get the book in shape. It took mine about 10 months from contract to publishing.
Q: How is the promotion going?
Sue: It’s a full-time job. There are reviews to beg for (and you STILL get rejected!), guest blogs to do, find places to give your book away free for promotion, comments on Twitter, Facebook. Blog-writing, joining groups. But if you want to make writing a career you have to do it. And it’s worth it: I’ve been getting great reviews.
Yesterday I got five stars from The Romance Reviews which made all the work worthwhile and Rainbow Reviews gave it 4.5 stars and said, “the ending is probably the most romantic thing I have ever read (in any book)”.
Here’s the blurb from the book:
It’s the 1960s and feckless, exasperating Alex Finch is a rich, handsome and talented singer/songwriter who longs for two things: a career as a professional rock singer, and to have his love for Sam Barrowdale reciprocated. But drifter Sam's two aims are simply to earn enough money to pay his sister's medical bills and to hide from the world his reading/writing and speech disability. At this time the word "dyslexia" is generally unknown so to most people he's just a "retard". From the severe knocks life's dealt him, Sam's developed a tough outer coating and he has no time for a spoilt, selfish guitar player.
Despite his defects, Alex's love for Sam never wavers and when Sam unexpectedly disappears, Alex begins a somewhat bungling quest to find him, only to discover that Sam has a fearsome enemy: Alex's powerful and influential yet sociopathic uncle.
As Alex spirals downwards towards alcoholism, many questions need answering. Just why did Alex's evil uncle adopt him at age eleven yet deny him any affection? And what's the mystery behind Alex's father's death?
Both seem to face unbeatable odds. Are they doomed to follow separate paths forever?
Buy it from Awe-Struck Books: http://awe-struck.net
Guest Blogger and Author- Renee Wildes
I grew up reading fantasy. When I was a kid it was C.S. Lewis. When I was a rebellious younger teen it was Terry Brooks. When I was an older teen I finally tackled Tolkien. Then I discovered Joseph Campbell, and resistance was futile. My assimilation was complete. And when I started reading romance (Julie Garwood’s old historicals), it was inevitable I would write fantasy romance. The high fantasy elves and dragons and wizards sort.
The sort that’s very hard to sell in NY.
But see, here’s the thing. Those wonderful old movies like Willow and The Princess Bride and new classics like Peter Jackson’s LOTR? The good defeats evil, David beats Goliath, the good guy always gets the girl and they live happily-ever-after? Fantasy and romance are a marriage made in heaven, because they have similar themes. There’s so much BAD in the world that it’s great to be able to curl up with an epic fantasy and know the good guys are gonna win. To curl up with a romance and know, “And they lived happily ever after. THE END.”
With fantasy romance you get the best of both worlds. Following Joseph’s Campbell’s template, with a few personal embellishments, you have:
· Little hero/ine in a sucky spot, wants things to change
· Little hero/ine thinks, “What can I do? It’s too big for me.”
· The last straw breaks the camel’s back and little hero/ine thinks “enough already” and off s/he goes
· Meets their ideal hero/ine, sparks fly
· Various adventure, mayhem and disasters ensue, with magic and mystical creatures and betrayal and death and rescues and lessons learned
· Hero & heroine fall in love, but it will never work (see above various & sundry complications)
· Black moment when all hope seems lost
· Wondrous solving of the problem, characters personal growth and triumphant return
· The happily ever after
· THE END
It’s a wondrous journey, with mystical fantastical lands, mystical fantastical creatures, weird food, bad weather, a vengeful god or two, really bad villains, brave and sassy heroines and smoking hot heroes. Anything goes. It’s a journey, an adventure, an escape.
One of my favorite authors is Mercedes Lackey. I’ve followed her from Valdemar to the 500 Kingdoms. I love the “Storm” trilogy where a priest falls for an engineer (Mr Believe it To See It meets Ms See It To Believe It), and I love “Fairy Godmother” where a thwarted Cinderella becomes a fairy godmother and turns Prince Not-So-Charming into a donkey. “You want to BE a jackass? Then BE one!” I love her easy, no-frills writing style. She definitely takes you on a journey.
And the magic’s in the journey.
So I have my “Guardians of Light” series for Samhain. My heroines? A half-dragon fire mage, an assassin nun, a selkie/single mother, and a dream faerie. My heroes? Elven princes and paladins and spirit healers. The odd werewolf or two. My villains? Demons and genocidal queens and power-mad dragons and selkie princes and goblin sorcerers. We have the odd tree sprite, and gypsies, an occasional mermaid, talking horses and sentient jewelry. Chaos and mayhem aplenty, with the occasional head-on-a-pike. Noble death and self-sacrifice.
Always the good-wins-out-over-evil AND they-lived-happily-ever-after.
Renee Wildes is an award-winning fantasy romance author for Samhain Publishing. Renee is a history buff, from medieval times back to ancient Greece and Sparta. As a Navy brat and a cop’s kid, she gravitated to protector/guardian heroes and heroines. She’s had horses her whole life, so became the only vet tech in a family of nurses. It all comes together in her Guardians of Light series for Samhain – fantasy, action, romance, heroics and lots of critters!
Visit Renee at: