Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Writers Wednesday:Toni Sue VerSteeg

Be sure to comment for a chance to win a $10 gift card for Wild Rose Press, courtesy of Toni Sue Versteeg, today's guest.

Welcome back to Writers Wednesday after a two-week vacation. Hope everyone's Fourth of July was terrific. As the first guest for the second half of the year, I’m happy to welcome Toni Sue VerSteeg, a fellow Ozarks Romance Author (ORA). Her latest book SECRETS OF THE SAPPHIRES is just out from Wild Rose Press. Congratulations, Toni Sue. Please tell us a little about the book.

I have always been fascinated with Medieval England and castles. Bodiam Castle is on my bucket list. I WILL go there one day, unless The Big Guy calls me home first. The ultimate would be to travel back in time (hence, the fascination with time travel) and actually see what life was like back in those days. I know I’d miss my comfy bed and tooth brush, but I’d make the sacrifice to see everything with my own eyes, touch the castle walls with my own hands, even witness the stench of the moat with my own nose. Hahahaha! The CIA in this book was actually born from finding a medallion in my Great Aunt Francis’s things after she passed away. It named her as a founding member of the CIA. Rumor has it that she spent some time in Germany during WWII. My imagination went wild, and the Paranormal Division was founded…in my mind.

Fascinating. Hope you will be able to find out some information about your great aunt at some time. And--I love medieval England, too. I’m thinking--road trip for us next summer. (Real time, of course. Too many things I, like you, would miss about modern day. LOL) Would you share an excerpt from your book?

Absolutely! Here’s a scene I loved writing. As a new agent team, they’ve just recovered from a whirl-wind discovery class on one another and are sent to a castle in England to find the time travel mechanism. Undercover, they’ve each invented ways to annoy the other, knowing that neither would risk blowing the mission to object. Nia finds a way to vent a little pent up aggression:

Spying a pair of crossed fencing swords displayed over a desk, Nia’s eyes widened. She couldn’t help pulling them off the wall, holding one out toward him. “Ready to get your ass kicked again?”


Garrett raised a brow. “No one’s ass got kicked that day.”


“Oh, I get it. The last thing I’d want to do is embarrass you.” She tried to keep a straight face. A renegade, cynical smile crept across her lips.


“Hey, I was only trying to save you from the embarrassment. If you don’t care, I don’t care.” He held out his hand, and she tossed the light sword to him handle first. Plucking at the guarded tip, he added, “Since there will likely be no blood shed as a prize, I say we duel for something.”


“And what would you have in mind?” This time her brow rose.


“Perhaps a friendly wager?”


“Perhaps.” Scanning him from head to toe, she tried to size up his motives. “Winner gets to make the loser do something, like, I don’t know, stop smacking my ass and calling me sugar lips?” Nia placed her free hand on her hip and aimed her sword at him.


“You’ll have to pick one or the other, my dear, because those are two separate things. All this time I thought you liked that, too. Huh?” His face scrunched in sullen disappointment for a brief moment before his smile returned. “And if I win, you have to do something I ask,” Garrett answered, his head bobbing in agreement.


“Hmm, what might that be?”


“I’ll decide that after I win.” Lunging toward her, sword at the ready, he announced, “En garde!”


Their blades clashed over and again, each fighting to best the other. Nia was very impressed with his prowess behind a sword, though she’d be hard pressed to admit it to him. Finding herself backed into a corner, she squatted and jumped backward to the desktop, praying it was as sturdy as it looked.


Garrett, his eyes wide, stepped back with a hand out in front of him. “Someone’s done this before.”


Narrowing her gaze, she pointed her sword at him and uttered in her worst Spanish accent, “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die.”


Laughter filled the room.


“So, you know the film?” Nia placed her free hand on her hip.


“None other than the Princess Bride.”As she hopped from the desk, to the sofa then to the floor, she looked down her sword at Garrett. “I’m impressed.”


“With my fencing skills?”


Thrusting at him, she was immediately blocked. “With your knowledge of chick flicks.”


Waggling his brow, he chided as he fought, “I’m familiar with many things chick related.”


Nia held a hand up, stopping the swordplay, and rolled her eyes. “You know what I mean.”

“Fine,” he conceded, arms splayed wide, “I’ve sat through that particular movie on more than one occasion. In my own defense, it was with a different woman each time.”

Nodding, Nia added, “Of course. You wouldn’t want one of them thinking you actually liked the movie or anything, would you?”

An impish grin graced his face. “Something like that.”

She shoved her blade forth. “So, you’re a lover, not a fighter then?”

Matching her strokes, he shrugged his shoulders. “Can’t I be both?” Winking, he blew her a kiss. Catching her off guard, he landed the tip of his blade on her chest.

Nia looked down at the gold, rounded nub pressed directly between her breasts. “Cheater.”

“I believe that diversions are acceptable in any kind of fight. Sort of the nature of the beast there, sugar lips.” Snapping his sword vertically in front of him, he then sliced it through the air at his side to end the battle.

“Okay, I guess I can’t call you puddin’ anymore then, huh?” Meeting him at the wall, she reached up and replaced her blade over his. She turned to find him standing right behind her, pinning her firmly against the stone surface.

“I had considered having you call me studmuffin or something manlier. Suddenly I have other ideas.” His chin dropped and he winked at her.

Her breath caught in her chest as he lowered his face toward hers. She swallowed hard, her brain fighting for control, screaming at her about how big of a mistake this could be. Other parts of her anatomy were now vying for power, gaining critical ground. Heat flushed her face and pulsed through her body.

The mint of his breath wafted with his words, “Just one kiss.” His head tilted; she could feel the warmth of his lips on hers.

Love it. I can’t wait to read the entire story. The book is right here on top of my TBR pile.

What’s your next project?

I’m busy working on the sequel to SECRETS OF THE SAPPHIRES. It’s tentatively named COMING BACK TO BITE YOU and stars Nia and Garrett. This is a continuation of their story and wraps up the loose ends from SECRETS.

Great. So I’m hoping this current one, SECRETS, is really the first of, perhaps, a series set in the CIA Paranormal Division.

What one tip would you offer writers?

Well, I’m sure most everyone has heard it before, but it bears repeating. NEVER give up. Writer’s Block happens, bad reviews happen, even bad stories happen, but there will be a reprieve if you keep honing your craft, keep telling your stories. No one else will tell them quite like you.

Such good advice. We all need to be reminded of it occasionally. Sometimes, the “down” periods can siphon off that forward energy and the faucet trickles down to drops.

Thanks so much for being here today, Toni Sue. Please come back again soon.
Visit Toni Sue at her website: http://www.tsvbooks.com/  or her blog: http://www.tsueversteeg.wordpress.com/






30 comments:

  1. Thanks for having me, Barbara!

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    2. Talk about hitting the wrong button. Didn't mean to delete the comment :( I hit the wrong button.

      What I said, Toni, is I'm so glad you're here. I'm really enjoying your book, BTW. And you love castles, too--how cool is that. You said SECRETS is planned as the first in a series? Sounds great. Bring'em on. LOL

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  2. Great review, ladies. I especially hearing from one of our own. Toni, the books sounds fast paced and full of adventure. Can't wait to read it.

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    1. Hi Diana, I agree--having our own members visit is so fun. I'm so happy for Toni with this new release. Thanks for stopping by.

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    2. Thanks, Diana. I hope you enjoy it! :)

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  3. Great scene, Toni Sue. I can imagine you having fun wrtiting it.

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    1. I agree, Nancy. I can just see Toni's mischievous smile as she came up with some of that dialogue. Glad you came by.

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    2. Thanks for stopping by, Nancy. I had a blast writing this whole book, but that is one of my favorite scenes.

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  4. Enjoyed your excerpt. But what really caught my attention was finding your aunt's medallion. Wow, what story fodder. Too cool.

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    1. Hi Vonnie, That medallion would make a great story, wouldn't it? Maybe someday, Toni?

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    2. The medallion fascinates me. All of the untold stories and covert operations she may have been involved in... I have so many ideas. :)

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  5. You are a braver woman than I am, Toni. I'd never choose to travel that far back in time. I'm spoiled I guess, I love my tooth brushes. All of them. Now you know my obsession.

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    1. Yep, Sandra, the bad with the good. LOL. Along with headache remedies,that's one of the things I'd miss.I'm not sure a shredded branch or herb leaves would quite do the job.

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    2. Hahaha, Sandra! I don't want to stay back there forever, but I would love to see it with my own eyes. I feel a connection with those castles that I really can't explain. I guess that's why I write about them. :)

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  6. Sounds like a great read, Toni Sue. I also love how the germ of the book started. Congrats!

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    1. Me, too, Angela. I'm looking forward to the next one.

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    2. Thanks, Angela! I'm already waist deep in the sequel. :)

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  7. Great interview and I love the premise of your book. How creative--a paranormal CIA division. Love it. Congrats and good luck, Toni Sue.

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    1. And it sounds so reasonable and normal, Beth. That's one thing that's so fun about it.

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    2. Thanks so much, Beth. When the voices start telling you the story, you have to listen! ;)

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  8. What a fun excerpt, Toni Sue. I love kick-butt heroines, and the idea of a paranormal office inside the CIA is totally creative. Just gotta read your book, it sounds so terrific. And, yes, I know you probably have tons of ideas on subjects you want to write about next, but at some point it would be fascinating if you explored your great aunt's experiences in WW II Germany. She sounds like one intriguing lady.

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    1. I second that, Darcy. The medallion and aunt are treasure-troves for sure.

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    2. If only I could, Darcy! She passed away several years ago. We knew she worked for the government, but it wasn't until she passed and we dug through her belongings that we found out so much more about her.

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  9. Excellent excerpt, Toni Sue. Best of luck.

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  10. This is fabulous. I loved it. Kudos1

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  11. Toni definitely tapped in on a super hook, didn't she, Yvonne? Love it.

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