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Friday, December 28, 2012

Guest Blog: Toni V Sweeney: I Didn't Intend to Write a Series...or Even a Sequel

 How many times have I said that to myself? t last count eight times. I always plan to write Just One Book, but almost before the final word is typed on that first story, Fate and my overactive imagination steps in, and my good intentions fall by the way side, and Book 2, then Three, Four, and etcetera, start clamoring to have their stories told, too.
Hey, it's not fair! What about the rest of us, the other characters in the story? We’ve got lives, too, you know. You can’t just say They Lived Happily Ever After and let it go at that…you know that’s not true. What about when the kids start coming, or the police find out about his criminal past, or his long-lost brother shows up, or that vengeful ex-girlfriend…you’ve got a lot more to tell and you know it. So you aren’t going anywhere, my friend. Sit yourself back down at that keyboard and start typing. We’ll tell you when to stop!

So I do, and the stories come pouring out, and on and on, like a flood.Sometimes the flood slows to a trickle, but it nevertheless continues to flow.

This time, it’s the story of a city called Leonesse, set in the mythical country of Purdha. Purdha’s always been at war with the Nords, with peace at intervals. It’s also the tale of three sets of lovers who live in Leonesse. One pair are born there, of one pair, the lady is a Nord and the lord a Purdhan, of the third pair, neither is a native of the city though are Purdhan-born.

As I said, I didn’t intend to write a series. I was just going to write a story called The King’s Swordswoman, and that was it. But after it was over, those blasted characters started making themselves heard. So The Seventh Mothman followed, and then My Lord Ax. I’m happy to day they quieted down after that and I can only assume they’re satisfied with things since I haven’t heard any more out of them. (Whew.) There was a minor problem, however. I’ve got this habit of writing books in reverse order. The King’s Swordswoman brings up the innumerable wars between the Nords and the Purdhans. My Lord Ax explains how and why those wars started and just how the young couple who became the ancestors of Janel Redhu, heroine of The King’s Swordswoman, fit into the story. Read in chronological order, it’s the first in the series, The Lovers of Leonesse. Read in order of being written, it’s the third. Confused so far?

In January, 2013, the third , and last (I hope), in the series will be published. While The King’s Swordswoman is set in some vaguish Graeco-Roman-Barbarian period, and My Lord Ax is reminiscent of a Regency tale, The Seventh Mothman is Renaissance steampunk, through-and-through, with a little Shakespearean convention thrown in. It has an inventor who is also a painter, a sculptor, and the head of the vicomte’s security, an inventor who has created a magnificent machine that can actually fly. It has a girl, disguised as a boy, searching for her runaway brother, hoping to bring him home to claim his birthright. It has a handsome young man with a secret, who takes the “boy” under his wing, so to speak, and teaches him how to handle the flying machine. And then this girl pretending to be a boy falls in love with her benefactor, and is unable to tell him, because to do so would involve shedding her disguise and revealing to all that she’s female and therefore not automatically expelled from the squadron called the Mothmen, the brave souls who fly the fantastic machines. And then war is declared with a new enemy…

Will Antoinette reveal her love for Etienne? Will she be booted out of the Mothmen once they learn she’s a woman? Will she find her brother? Will Etienne’s secret destroy that love? Will his ego survive being fooled by a girl disguised as a boy, especially after some of the things he and the “boy” have said and done together? Will they and their fellow mothmen survive the coming war? How am I going to make a Happy Ending out of all this?

That’s up to the reader to find out.

The Seventh Mothman, coming January 15, 2013, from Class Act Books.


When Andre duCleau’s Will leaves his entire estate to his runaway son, François, daughter Antoinette is forced to make a drastic choice: Find her brother or live in poverty. She chooses the later and travels to Leonesse disguised as a young nobleman. Antoinette doesn’t find François, but she does find a home with the city’s flying squadron, the Mothmen.

Once the guardians of Leonesse, these brash young men took to the air in flying machines created by King Georges’ Venitani inventor, but now, they and their brave deeds have been almost forgotten…until war again arises.

Secure in her disguise, Antoinette is ready to fight…until her feelings for Etienne, a fellow flyer, get in the way. What will happen if Etienne and the others discover her secret? Will they denounce her or will they accept her as The Seventh Mothman?

Toni V. Sweeney was born some time between the War Between the States and the Gulf War. She has lived 30 years in the South, a score in the Middle West, and a decade on the Pacific Coast and now she’s trying for her second 30 on the Great Plains. Her first novel was published in 1989. An accomplished artist as well as writer, she has a degree in Fine Art and a diploma in Graphic Art and produces videos when she isn't writing novels. Toni maintains a website for herself and her pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone, and has been associated with the South Coast Writer's Association, the Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers, several other writer’s loops, myspace, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The Seventh Mothman will be her 32nd book.

To celebrate Christmas Just Passed, I’m giving away a copy of The King’s Swordswoman to one commenter. No questions to answer, nothing to buy, just comment and your name’s in the hat!


Nightingale said...

Good blog! I enjoyed the excerpt and the covers are dynamic. I'll have to look into these two books.

Marianne Stephens said...

Our characters have a way of taking over our writing...and if they want a sequel/series, you have no choice but to continue writing!
And, your muse elbows his/her way into the fray and then you know you don't have a choice. Those "voices in your head" lead the way!

Barbara Monajem said...

I just received my copy of My Lord Ax. I'm glad to hear that it's okay if I read it first.

My secondary characters almost always clamor to have their stories told, too. In fact, sometimes I want to jump ship in the middle of a story to take a trip with a secondary character! But I try to slap myself on the wrist and finish first things first.

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