The Mistress of Pennington's Tour

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Author Toni V Sweeney is sharing her writing career with us....

Prolific author, Toni V Sweeney is here with a great blog post idea that I hope she will give me permission to shamelessly steal for my own post sometime (hoping she won't mind because the idea inspired Toni from another blog too, lol!). Toni has written a great step by step account of her career and bits of her personal life over the last 36 years. Inspiring and informative, read on!

Toni V. Sweeney: A Retrospective of Her Rise to Writing Fame

I love that title. It makes me sound so much more important than I really am! (Please note tongue firmly in cheek concerning the words after the colon.)

The other day I was reading a blog in which the author was going over her past triumphs—and failures—as far as what she’d had published. Brilliant idea: Since I had a blog coming up and was stuck as to a subject, I decided I was going to take a page from her book (pun intended) and do the same (concentrating on the successes more than the failures, of course.)

And if you think what’s coming is an egotistical brag-fest, you’re absolutely right!

So here we go…

1975: To recover from a devastating automobile injury and the subsequent divorce in its aftermath, Toni Sweeney finds herself a single working mom with little extra money for entertainment. She begins to write, supplying herself with the kind of stories she loves to read but can no longer afford.

1975-1989: During this period, Toni moves from her home in Georgia, taking son and dog to live in Kearney, Nebraska. There, she writes Bloodseek, Blood Curse, Barbarian Blood Royal, and A Singing in the Blood; Sinbad’s Last Voyage, Sinbad’s Wife, Sinbad’s Pride, and Sinbad’s War; The Rose and the Dragon, Dragon in Chains, and Murder in Old Blood. She shares the manuscripts with co-workers at the clinic where she’s an insurance clerk.

1989: One of her co-workers dares her to submit a manuscript to a publisher.. Toni accepts with alacrity (and a cup of coffee to go).

1989: Toni asks the local bookstore to look up a certain publisher in their directory. They give her the wrong address. She sends them Bloodseek; they reject it, but ask if she has any childrens’ stories. She says yes; they ask for one. She sits down to write the story. They accept it, and Spacedog’s Best Friend is published.

1990-1997: Fired up with success, and armed with the Novel and Short Story Writers Market for 1990, Toni begins submitting other manuscripts to various media.

1992: In observance of the celebration of Nebraska sesquacentennial, Toni writes Walk the Shadow Trail and Vengeance from Eden. A boyfriend who likes Westerns, gives her pointers.

1993-1997: She sends Vengeance from Eden, Walk the Shadow Trail, and The Last Voyage of Sinbad Singh to Books in Motion and they are accepted as audio books. Walk the Shadow Trail is accepted a year after submission and the contract received the day before Toni has surgery to replace a worn-out artificial hip. A bit of a cheer-up there.

1998: Jericho Road places 8th in National Writers’ Association novel writing contest.

2000: Following the death of the man she loves, Toni moves from Nebraska to California. She works for a temp agency while writing stories at night.

2001: Diagnosis: breast cancer. Under the auspices of the American Cancer Association, Toni undergoes two lumpectomies and 6 weeks’ radiation therapy. She continues to write during her post-surgical convalescent and beginning Tamoxifen therapy.

Granddaughter Johanna Sophia is born.

2004: The Rose and the Dragon is accepted by PublishAmerica.

2004: While Net-surfing, Toni discovers Double Dragon Publishing. She submits Murder in Old Blood to them.

2005: Hurricane Katrina strikes and Animal Magnetism, featuring “The Cat’s Letter to His

Mistress” is issued with proceeds going to help animals abandoned during the storm.

2006: Dragon in Chains, the sequel to The Rose and the Dragon is accepted by Publish


Murder in Old Blood is released by Double Dragon as a pdf and in print.

2006: Toni is dismissed from cancer treatment.

2007: Bloodseek—the novel which started the whole thing—is released by Double Dragon.

Walk the Shadow Trail, Sinbad’s Last Voyage, and Vengeance from Eden are also published by Double Dragon in ebook and paperback.

Toni also begins writing romances under the pseudonym “Icy Snow Blackstone.” The Irish Lady’s Spanish Lover by Icy Snow is released by Double Dragon.

2008: Class Act Books contracts for Bargain with Lucifer.

Three Moon Station, Love, Vampire Style, and Demon in Blue Jeans are published by The Wild Rose Press.

Toni discovers how to make trailers and invades Youtube with videos of her novels.

Wolfsongs 11, featuring “One for Eternity” is released

Toni receives news a good friend has committed suicide. She’s in the process of writing Bargain with Lucifer, and is stricken with writer’s block which will stay with her to a certain extent from then on.

2008: Driving from Orange County, California, to Lincoln, Nebraska, Toni moves back to

Nebraska to be with her family.

2009: Sinbad’s Wife is released by Double Dragon

Leucrota Publishing releases Blood Sin

Earthman’s Bride places first in Maryland Romance Writers’ “Reveal Your Inner Vixen” contest, Earthman’s Bride, When the Condor Returns, and Jericho Road are

Released by Lyrical Press.

Toni is guest at Con-Jour SF convention in Houston, TX

Toni also guests at Osfest-2 in Omaha.

2010: Toni moves into Old Folks’ Home where she dazzles the residents with her novels and

become minor celebrity (so she says!)

2010: The Rose and the Dragon is released from contract by PublishAmerica. Jericho Road, Earthman’s Bride, and When the Condor Returns are freed by Lyrical Press.

Serpent’s Tooth, and Brother Devil (sequel to Bargain with Lucifer), are released by Class Act Books.

2011: Toni signs contract for ten novels with Double Dragon

Contracts are signed with Class Act Books for Wizard’s Wife, Gypsy Charm, and For the Love in Adler’s Brain.

June, 2011: Toni’s current WIP is Bride of the Beast (working title). She has a blog to do for

Rachel Brimble and can’t think of a subject. She reads a blog by another author…

…and here we are!

That’s the way it goes…during all that has happened, my writing has been the only constant, keeping me sane through thick and thin, joy and sorrow, births and deaths…all the things Life throws at us…or has it? Some people say writers are crazy to begin with. After all, why would we waste so much of our time sitting before a computer screen, telling stories about imaginary people who seems so real to us, and hoping that other people will feel the same connection we do. Our characters are as genuine to us as living breather members of our families…some of us actually call them our children, we speak of them as if they were there with us…so…to quote mystery writer Sandra Brown (with the slogan appearing on my website):"Writing is damned hard work. It's borderline masochistic. If your heart's not in it, you're doomed before you start.

My heart’s been in it for a long, long time…as this blog shows.

The novels mentioned in the above blog may be purchased at: and

All others are currently out of print.

What a fantastic journey you've had Toni! Let me be the first to congratulate you on such a consistent writing career and also the fact that you beat off cancer with a big and hefty stick - it's great to have you here! I am sure there will be lots of questions and comments coming your way. Do you mind if I steal this idea/format too for a later blog post of my own??


  1. What a journey. Loved the blog. Midway through, I had to rest, you're awesome, Toni. Thanks for sharing, Rachel.

  2. And they say women are the weaker sex. You're amazing. Interesting blog. Much success and good health to you.

  3. What an amazing career! congrats:) you're Icy Snow Blackstone!
    you gave one of my books a most favorable review...ty

  4. I didn't give the review, Sylvie. You earned it!

  5. What a wonderful story, Toni - and an amazing career, even in the midst of such problems. Great idea for a blog post!

  6. Toni is one busy woman and determined!