Sunday, August 18, 2013

Family History as Fiction

                                 My Great Grandfather, William McNeal

My great grandfather McNeal fought in the union calvary in the American Civil War. I'm just amazed at the fact that he is just my great grandfather because it makes it seem that the Civil War wasn't fought that long ago. I often use my family history in my fiction books. Today I am talking about my family history in fiction at The Sweethearts of the West blog today and tomorrow (August 18&19). I hope you'll come over and read what I have to say and what books my relatives are in.


Friday, August 16, 2013

A Sad Day

Today I'm attending the memorial service of Elfriede Milner, the mother of my long time friend, Barbara Christeler. It is sad to lose a mother. Elfriede used to tell stories about her life in Germany and how things were during World War II. She missed her homeland, but she loved her husband more. William Milner was an American soldier when they met. It must have been hard for her to live in a foreign country and have to learn a new language, but she did it for her husband and their three kids. The last few years of her life were filled with pain and suffering, but she's free of that now. I like to imagine her reunited at last with her beloved husband who died in 1978. There they are, arm in arm walking the good road in a place of beauty filled with joy and wonder.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Please Welcome My Guest, Toni Sweeney

Meet Toni Sweeney


Toni V. Sweeney 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. Since the publication of her first novel in 1989, Toni divides her time between writing SF/Fantasy under her own name and romances often set in the South under her pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone. She is also publicity manager for Class Act Books (US) and also Double Dragon Publishing (Canada), and reviews books for TwoLips Reviews and is also on the review staff of the New York Journal of Books. She recently had her 27th book published and has six more scheduled for release in 2013.
Miranda’s Adventures in Interplanetary Babysitting

Once upon a time, my pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone had this idea for a story about a babysitter who discovers her employer is an alien.  It wasn’t to be one of those horror stories, however, but sometimes funny, often dramatic, always a love story. 


It started off like this:




In The Rose and the Dragon, when Miranda Wilson answers just such an advertisement, she doesn’t realize what she’s walking into.  It could’ve been the plot of a Gothic novel, with a handsome widower, three orphaned children, and herself as the innocent governess. 

                            The Rose and the Dragon


There are odd undercurrents in the Andrus household, however, and Miranda notices those even before she meets her boss’ younger brother, a knock-out hunk by the name of Kitten. Before she can say, “That’s a pretty weird name for a grown man,” Miranda Wilson, Nanny, finds herself Miranda Wilson, Alien Abductee, as she’s whisked to the planet Gataeus where Dominic Andrus is the head of the planet’s largest crime family and Kit is his chief hitman.


Now, she’s in the middle of an interplanetary war started by Xander Taluti—a deadly nutcase who’s off his meds and more than one pound short of a load—with her three charges as the prize.  Xanderf’s sworn to kill Kit and every other Andrus in sight.


What’s an Earthwoman to do?


What Miranda does is help end the war while risking her own life and becoming even more deeply in love with Kit. When he asks her to stay with him and not return to Earth, she agrees. His apology for not being able to marry her, because of this bothersome law his galaxy has about staying isolated from the solar system…that doesn’t matter. He wants her, she wants him, big Happily Ever After


…but not for long.


I could’ve left it there, but as usual—you know me—I kept wondering what would happen when some of the things Dominic and his brother had hinted about were put into motion. There were just too many things left unsaid.


I had to explain everything. Didn’t I?


Okay, back to the drawing board—or rather the keyboard—for Book 2, wherein All is Revealed.


In Dragon in Chains, Miranda has settled into the Andrus household, Kit committing himself as much as he can by announcing in front of his family he now considers Miranda his wife in everything but name. He even gives her the right to discipline his brood of eight children, a big step for a man who loves his kids as much as Kit does.


Nephew Niki is about to marry Ardala for whom he’s lusted in private despair for several years.  With the death of his lunatic twin Xander, Zane Taluti has taken leadership of the Taluti Syndicate and he and Dominic are currently trying to ease their families into a law-abiding and less criminal way of life as painlessly as possible.


                                                            Dragon in Chains


It would appear All is well




The Happily Ever After ends rather abruptly and dramatically, as, on Niki’s wedding night, Dom’s old nemesis Federation Police Lieutenant Cyran Synubis invades the Andrus housebold, arresting Kit, Dom, and Niki. Miranda is taken into protective custody. Dom’s and Kit’s children are separated and placed in foster homes.


The Andrus Dragon is in chains, locked behind bars, and his Rose finds herself

chief witness for the prosecution in a judicial system where asking for a lawyer is an admission of guilt and the thin line between truth and lies could very well condemn the man she loves.


Only a miracle will save Kit, but who’s to say the Dragon doesn’t still have a secret or three up the sleeve of his prison uniform? Come to think of it, Kit does look a little smug as he sits in the prisoner’s dock…




Dragon in Chains will be available from Class Act Books on August 15.


You can find out more about Toni and her books at: