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Today, I’m interviewing Toni Sweeney, a multi-published author in many different genres.  Welcome, kick off your shoes and stay awhile!

What is your greatest temptation:

Wow, we’re starting off with the nitty and the gritty, aren’t we?  O-k-a-a-y.

In men:  Some big, handsome Viking type, but with better manners and definitely no swordplay in the house!

In food:  Oh, this li’l Southerner has to have her boiled peanuts, as well as her barbecued ribs! Don’t let me get within a mile of a good plate of spare ribs and French fries.

In clothes:  I like wearing dresses and anything silky and flowing.

What is your greatest weakness (example: buying shoes)?

Books…BOOKS…BOOKS!!! I must have over 500.  I’m the Imelda Marcos of the Reader World. Nowadays I have e-books, of course, but I can remember a time when I’d scrape together my change to buy a book.sinbadlastvoyage (2)

If you could have any kind of car, what would it be?

I’d like a metallic flake crimson Jaguar convertible with the Leaper on the hood. Second choice would be an MG “Baby” if there were one around.

Your dream home – mountains or ocean?

Mountains…with a river running through it.

What inspired you to become a writer?

Nothing inspired me. I was born this way and I admitted it at the age of 6 when I penned my first “novel,” an epic graphic novel about a safari to Africa.

Do you have a daily writing routine?  If so, please share.

Wake up…attack the keyboard…type until brain exhausted…go to sleep.

What is your favorite book?

SInbadsWife (2)I’ve read so many…Dracula always stands out, as does Gone with the Wind…and if those aren’t two diametrically opposed ones, I don’t know what are!

What is your favorite movie?

There again, there are so many.  I can narrow it down to some I’ve watched over and over. Does that count?  Those would be The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Phantom of the Opera, Phantom of the Paradise, Babe and any of the old “Road” movies with Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.  (Yes, I know, another motley crew.)

In your books, who is your favorite hero and please introduce him?

Ahem…Ladies, Gentlemen, and Readers everywhere, may I present to you His Lordship, the Kh’ta and Prime Pride-chief of Khurda Province, Felida planet…Andrew Malcolm McAllister. Some of you in Federation law enforcement may know him also as Sinbad sh’en Singh, #12 on the Federation’s Most Waned List, but, as he’ll be quick to remind you, you can’t touch him now because your own government, in its all-mighty omniscient wisdom has made his smuggling operation a legitimate business enterprise. Sinbad himself is still shaking his head over that one, but…since it keeps him from being a criminal and makes his wife happy andpays for the kids’ educations, he doesn’t complain too loudly.

Who is your favorite heroine and please introduce her?

Also…I’d like you to meet Andrea Talltrees McAllister sh’en Singh, wife to Sinbad. Andi’s a Terran, an adopted Navajo, and it’s a wonder she and Sin ever got together since he hates Terrans with a passion almost matching that with which he loves her. She’s feisty, outspoken, and takes no guff from a man who’s not only a foot and a half taller than she is but also outweighs her by more than 200 pounds….and he enjoys every minute of their “disagreements.” Andi’s only complaintSinbadTriumph (2) about her hubby?  Probably the fact that he’s just hit his “Prime” so though they’re both past middle age now, she seems to behaving a lot of babies.

Do you write better in your hero’s or your heroine’s POV?

I dunno.  I feel I do pretty good in both.

What do you have out now?  Excerpt, blurb, book trailers

My latest novel is Sinbad’s War, Book 5 in The Adventures of Sinbad. It was released last week.

BLURB:

Sinbad sh’en Singh, smuggler-turned-shipping magnate, has become quite the family man, knee-deep in sons, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, complacent in his quiet but profitable life—and then a Federation emissary arrives, announcing the Fed is once more at war, and he’s been sent to obtain sh’en Singh Shipping’s Darters for its nearly destroyed fleet.

Not surprisingly, he’s refused, until Felida itself is attacked and there are casualties in Sin’s own family, among them his beloved Andi and new daughter Milagra.  Enlisting in the Air Guard, Sinbad and his sons find themselves in the war, scattered throughout the galaxy, and facing challenges some of them never expected.

The whole universe is about to discover there is nothing quite so dangerous as a Felidan who’s lost his mate.

EXCERPT:

“I don’t want to seem rude but I’ve a business to run, and I’d appreciate it if you’d state your purpose in being here so I can get back to it.”  Sin stared at Nils expectantly.

Nils stared back.

“Well?”  There was a hint of impatience in the deep voice.

“I-I’m sorry, but I was told you were paraplegic,” the young officer began and he nearly shook his head as he realized the statement came out sounding like an accusation.  His assignment had seemed so easy.  Just go to Felida, talk to the invalid owner of sh’en Singh Shipping, an old man partially paralyzed, dazzle him with Federation authority.  Already it was getting complicated.  “Y-you are Andrew Malcom McAllister…Sinbad sh’en Singh?”

“I am,” Sin answered just a little brusquely.  “And all that moving around you just saw is merely the work of a very finely-tuned micro-computer implant.”
For another minute, Nils stood staring before abruptly bursting into explanation.  “I-I’m going to get right to the point, Mr. McAllis…uh…sh’en Singh…sir.”

“I’m waiting.” Sin didn’t hide his sarcasm.

“Terra’s at war.”

“Am I supposed to be surprised?  What else is new?”  Sin shrugged.  “And who’s the unlucky aggressor this time?”

“A planet called Severan.”  Nils ignored his sarcasm.

“Never heard of it.”

SInbadsWar-001 (2)“Not many people have.  It’s a small world in the Drexus Cluster.  A petty bunch of blackbirders barely surviving in the slave trade until about fifty years ago, when a dissident faction overthrew the emperor and set about establishing a military-controlled planet.”  Without permission,  Nils sat down, sounding more certain of himself.   Then, he realized now he had to look up at Sin even more and regretted his decision.  “They’ve been slowly overrunning and subduing the weaker planets in the Cluster, attacking, pillaging, carrying off the inhabitants into slavery, stuff like that.”  He said it offhandedly, making it sound like every-day acts.

“And they’ve been stupid enough to attack Terra?  I doubt Earth attacked them,” Sin went on before Nils could answer. “Tell me, has there ever been a conflict in which the Earth was the agressor?  Still, fifty years isn’t long enough to get the military power to attack a planet that size.”

“That’s what the Federation thought when it was told a fleet of Severani warships were headed toward Terra, but it seems they were wrong.”  Nils shook his head.  He got to his feet again.  “

“Damn.”  Sin breathed the word. “I never thought I’d hear anyone say that.  But they retaliated?”

“Of course, what else could they do?”

“Of course.”  Once more that ironic tone.

“This is all very interesting, Captain Van Lewen.”  Sin went around the desk, dropping into the chair behind it. His hair fell over his shoulder again and he pushed it back, frowning at the look of wonder still lingering in the young man’s eyes.  “But what exactly does it have to do with me and mine?”

“The Fed’s sending officers like myself to all members of the Federation, setting up enlistment stations.”

“I see.”  The two words weren’t encouraging.

“We’re going to need all the man-power we can get for this one.  If we don’t get volunteers, we’ll have to start inductions, a-and they don’t want to do that.  We haven’t had a Draft in three hundred years, and quite frankly, with so many worlds involved, I doubt it could be effectively enforced.”

“Why come to me?”  Sin spread his hands questioningly.  “I’m just a humble merchant.  You should be talking to the Emperor.”

“I have, sir, or at least his representative.  Before I landed.  His Excellency has given his permission but told me since Khurda, as the largest Pride on Felida, was chosen as the site, I had to get the Prime Pride Chief’s permission also.  You’re anything but a humble merchant, sir.” And you damn well know it, too. Nils thought.  That slight smile said so. “So, here I am.”

He stopped, waiting.

“Hmmm.”  Sin didn’t answer, studying the young Terran intently over the tent of his fingers, while Nils attempted to stand still and not fidget under that cold green stare which made him feel like a schoolboy called to the headmaster’s office.  He couldn’t know Sin was thinking:  Now that’s true irony.  The Fed which caused my parents’ deaths, forced me to become a criminal, and declared my entire planet a world filled with non-humans, is now coming to me for help.

 Where can we find you?  (Social media, web site, etc.)

Goodreads: http://http://www.goodreads.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&query=Toni+V+Sweeney
MySpace: http://http://www.myspace.com/tvsweeneyhttp://http://www.myspace.com/tvsweeney
Facebook: http://https://www.facebook.com/tvsweeneyhttp://https://www.facebook.com/tvsweeney
Amazon: http://http://www.amazon.com/Toni-V.-Sweeney/e/B002BLQBB8/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1365694962&sr=1-2-enthttp://http://www.amazon.com/Toni-V.-Sweeney/e/B002BLQBB8/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1365694962&sr=1-2-ent
Twitter: @tonivsweeney
Author Database: http://http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/2030-toni-v-sweeneyhttp://http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/2030-toni-v-sweeney
Ask David: http://http://askdavid.com/search/Toni-V.-Sweeneyhttp://http://askdavid.com/search/Toni-V.-Sweeney
Youtube: http://http://www.youtube.com/user/tvsweeney?feature=mhee

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I like Westerns.  And I like Regency romances.  When I wrote The Finer Gentleman, I had a vague and slightly weird idea of combining the manners and foibles of the Regency period with that of the Old West, and a time far in the future.  I wasn’t certain if I could do it and I didn’t really expect it to come out as it did.  I’m pleased with the result, however.

In The Finer Gentleman, writing as Icy Snow Blackstone, my tale of a Tritomitian rancher who inherits a title and an estate on the planet Arcanis was a delight to write.  But then, writing about Sar Trant always has been.

On Tritomis-2, the people live a pioneer existence similar to that of the mid-18th century West, while Arcanis, hovering somewhere around Regency England socially, is technologically advanced enough to have space travel, androids, and lasers.

 QUESTION:  What would happen if an 18th-century American cowboy were suddenly dumped into 18th-century English society? 

 ANSWER:  Chaos would probably ensue as he wore his boots and spurs to the dining room, broke down his wife’s bedroom door because he didn’t relish sleeping apart from her, and invited the king to “mosey on down to the saloon and get a shot o’ red-eye.”  Sar Trant doesn’t go that far, but he does end up in a drinking match with the Margrave of Arcanis, until both men are so snockered they have to hold each other up, while the Margravine looks on with a disapproving eye.

 The blurb says it all:

 Sarkin Trant had always known his great-great-grandfather was the illegitimate son of an Arcanian giarl, and also that the mother of his child was so beloved by that nobleman he refused to ever marry, but he’s stunned when he’s informed he’s now the twenty-eight giarl of Craigsmere.   Against his better judgment, Sar goes to Arcanis, taking wife and son with him, little realizing there’s a menace waiting on that planet, which will tear his family apart, and place his own life and freedom in jeopardy.

EXCERPT: 

 Sar came awake  as soon as he heard the click of the lock opening.

 Katy was snuggled against him, her breath warm against his shoulder, and he didn’t move except to turn his head slightly so he could easily see the door from where he lay.  It swung open, revealing a figure silhouetted against the dim lighting in the hallway.

The door was quietly pushed shut; the figure tiptoed toward the hearth.  It held something large and bulky in its hands.

Easing from under Katy’s weight, Sar reached out and seized the Winchester DT-3 lying on the bedside table.  She had chided him when he’d insisted on bringing the laser pistol along, but accustomed to always being armed, he’d felt odd without the weapon in his possession. As a noble, he had diplomatic immunity to carry a firearm aboard an interplanetary vessel, so the Winchester made the trip, though it stayed in his clothescase except at night.

“Hold it right there!”  Lifting the weapon, he struck the base of the lamp with the handgrip.  A brilliant flood lit up the bedchamber, and Sar aimed the Winchester at the figure.  “Hands over your head.”

Dropping the basket she held, Sterri gave a frightened squeak and thrust her hands into the air. 

Sar slid out of bed, dumping Katy unceremoniously onto the feather mattress.  She woke with a start. “What?  What is it?”

“What are you doing here?”  He leveled the pistol at the girl who was visibly trembling.

Sterri didn’t answer, just shook even harder.  Her eyes were wide and frightened, staring in disbelief—first at the pistol aimed at her, then at the wild copper hair falling almost to Sar’s waist, and finally at his body, registering the fact that he was standing there stark naked.  With a little squeal of shock, she put her hands over her eyes.

“Answer me!” Sar roared.

“Sar—” Katy spoke again.  “You’re frightening her.”

“Damned right I am,” he answered.  “What’s she doing sneaking in here like that?”

Sterri’s body began to quiver.  From under the hands pressed against her eyes, two large tears dripped down her cheeks.  She began to sob.

“Here, now, stop that caterwauling, and answer m’question.”  Sar had never been one for knowing how to handle a crying female.  Exasperation was his usual response.  Taking a step totward the girl, he caught her shoulders, giving her a shake.

She continued to cry, harder than ever.

“Stop yelling at her,” Katy said.  She reached to the foot of the bed, then held out something.  “Here, put this on.  The fact that you’re standing there naked probably isn’t helping.”

He glanced at her, then down at himself, realized he’d forgotten that fact in his haste to stop a suspected thief, and hastily returned the Winchester to the table.  Then he reached for the robe.  Making certain the double-breasted front was securely closed, he belted it tightly and walked over to the still-sobbing Sterri.

“Come on, lass.  Stop that.”  A hand was laid on her shoulder. 

Sterri jumped, dropping her hands and opening her eyes.  “Oh, please, sir, don’t beat me.”

Sar looked surprised.  “Now why would I be doing that?  Here.”  He gestured to the sofa grouping.  “Sit down and calm yoursel’.”

“I-I can’t sit, sir.  Not in your presence.”

“We’ll both sit.”  He steered her toward the loveseat, pushed her gently upon it and settled himself beside her.   This only seemed to frighten the girl more.  In the bed, Katy leaned back against the pillows and watched, silently.  “Now, then.  What did you call yoursel’ doing?”

“M-my chores, sir.”  She wiped at her eyes, giving him a stare made even bluer by the tears still in them.

“And those chores consist of sneaking into m’room at—”  He glanced at the clock on the mantle.  “—five o’clock in the morn?”

“Yes sir.  I mean, no sir.” “I do na need the fire lit,  Sterri…’tis Sterri, isna?”  She nodded again.  “Go on wi’ your chores, lass.”

“Yes, sir.  Thank you, sir.”  Sterri got to her feet, bobbed him a curtsey, and escaped, clutching the basket to her breast.

As the door clicked shut behind her, Katy began to laugh.  “Hurricane Sar strikes again!”

“Aye,” he agreed, coming over to the bed.  “Do you still think I should be a giarl, lass?”

“Of course, I do.  Although it might be a good idea for you to start wearing a sleepshirt if you’re going to continue to accost the servants this early in the morning.”

“Well, the harm’s done now.  I suppose the tale’ll be running up and down the halls that I’m a madman who threatens to shoot li’l maids who’re just carrying out their assigned duties.”  Sar sighed.  “Did the lass really think I’d beat her?”

“I’m certain she did,” Katy answered.  “And probably more than that, the way you were holding on to her.”

“What else would I be doing?”  Sar looked puzzled.

“Come on, Sar, we’ve been here long enough for you to figure that out.”  Katy gestured at the door, as if suddenly impatient with his naivity.  “You’re the Lord of Craigsmere.  She’s a servant.  You were both in your bedchamber, and you were naked.  What do you think?”

 “Nay, Katy.  Surely na—  But you were here.”

“So?”  Katy pointed at the entrances to those rooms.  “I’ve a good idea that if you were determined, a sleeping wife would be an easy thing to ignore.”

 When Sar didn’t answer, she looked back at him.  His expression was closed, almost insulted that his darling wife would speak to him so.  Poor dear, he has enough to adjust to without my heavy-handed teasing.  She felt guilty for saying such things to him, decided she’d better apologize and get that hurt look off his handsome face.  “Sar—”           

“I suppose I should speak to Torin.” Sar didn’t let her finish.  His tone was short as he looked around.  “Where’s that bell-pull thingie?”

He saw it hanging near the hearth, stamped over and gave it several vigorous jerks.

“And while I’m waiting for him to get here, I’d best put on something a little more lord-like.  Wouldn’t want Torin to get wrong ideas, also.”  He disappeared into his dressing room.

The Finer Gentleman will be released by Class Act Books on May 15.  www.classactbooks.com/

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