Sunday, January 9, 2011

THIS week Toad welcomes Sheryl Nantus to her corner. A few of you may remember the review that appeared for Blaze of Glory late last year. Well, Sheryl's back for a spot of Q&A. Welcome, Sheryl!

Sheryl was born in Montreal, Canada and grew up in Toronto, Canada. A rabid reader almost from birth, she attended Sheridan College in Oakville, graduating in 1984 with a diploma in Media Arts Writing.

During her 15 years of working in private security, she was stationed at the United States Consulate in Toronto, as well as many hospitals in the greater Toronto area. Needless to say, she saw a lot of interesting things and people from which she draws her characters and situations in her speculative fiction writing.

She met Martin Nantus through the online fanfiction community in 1993 and moved to the United States in 2000 in order to marry. A firm believer in the healing properties of peppermint and chai tea, she continues to write short stories, poetry and novels while searching for the perfect cuppa.

What made you choose superheroes for Blaze of Glory?

I've always loved superheroes and enjoy reading comic books and watching movies that have superheroes. This might go back to one of my earliest memories of running down the hallway with a towel tied around my neck and leaping into the air to fly... and breaking my little toe. Not so good on the flying, then or now.

I wrote Blaze of Glory because I wanted to do my own version of how supers could be created and what sort of world they would fit into. Or be pushed into, depending on how you look at it. How would the government react to having supers around? And what if you didn't want to be a hero or a villain...

Which are your two favourite, all-time super hero and super villiain, and why?

Oooh.... tough one. I love Wonder Woman because she's a tough old broad who doesn't take crap from anyone, especially men and she's been around forever. Oracle/Batgirl because she's a capable woman who doesn't let her disability keep her down. Iron Man 'cause RDJ jr. is so edible. Superman because he's, well, Superman!

Villains... that's tougher. I've always been bothered by supervillains who set themselves up for failure by leaving the back door open or allowing the good guy to thwart their evil plan because they forgot to set the timer or something. If I had to pick one it'd be Adrian Veidt from Watchmen because his evil is just so... good. No mercy, no emotions at all. And he gets the job done in terrifying form.

Brown Betties and fluffy white cats have featured in Blaze of Glory as well as What God and Cats Know. Any reason why?

Well, the Brown Betty is from my past - my grandmother, God bless her, always stated that there was nothing that couldn't wait for a cuppa tea. And as I've gotten older I've found this to be a pretty useful philosophy to go by (with the exclusion of life-threatening injuries, of course).

The white cat, well... her name was Jazz and she stayed with me for 17 years, coming with me from Toronto, Canada to the United States in 2000 when I got married. I still miss her horribly along with her bestest friend, Razzmatazz, a tortoiseshell cat, so they visit me every once in a while in my books. Hopelessly emotional sappy stuff.

Tell us more about Jo Tanis, your protagonist in Blaze of Glory.

Hmm, where to start?

She grew up in that awkward generation right in the middle of computers coming onto the scene and changing the world, creating new jobs and destroying others. After trying a number of retail jobs she fell into working at the Bookworm's Hideout as a way of staying alive during another recession and finding comfort and support from David Tierney, the store owner. He needed a clerk who could work cheap and she needed a job.

Of course, until she got mugged one night...but that's another story.

Can we expect further adventures from Jo Tanis and her crew of supers?

Right now I'm working on a sequel dealing with the consequences of Jo's actions in Blaze of Glory. There's a whole lot of problems sprouting up from her decisions and she has to deal with them. And, of course, Hunter.

Care to spill the beans on your next release?

I recently had my steampunk western romance, Wild Cards and Iron Horses, come out from Samhain Publishing in ebook form - the paperback version will be released in August 2011! And the paperback edition of Blaze of Glory is scheduled for a February 2011 release so keep an eye out in your local stores!

Wild Cards and Iron Horses:

Their love rides on a spring and a prayer…

During the recent Civil War, a soldier risked his life to save Jonathan Handleston—and lost. With the help of an advanced metal brace on his crippled hand, Jon now travels from one poker tournament to the next, determined to earn enough money to repay the man’s debt.

Prosperity Ridge is supposed to be the last stop on his quest, but his brace is broken and he needs an engineer to repair the delicate mechanisms. The only one available is Samantha Weatherly, a beautiful anomaly in a world ruled by men.

Sam is no fool. Jon is no different from any other gambler—except for his amazing prosthetic. Despite a demanding project to win a critical contract to develop an iron horse, she succumbs to the lure of working on the delicate mechanisms. And working with the handsome Englishman.

Like a spring being coiled, Samantha and Jon are inexorably drawn together. Sam begins to realize honor wears many faces, and she becomes the light at the end of Jon’s journey to redemption. The only monkey wrench is Victor, a rival gambler who will stop at nothing to make sure Jon misses the tournament. Even destroy Jon’s and Sam’s lives.

What are the three secrets of being a successful author?

Well, I'm not sure if I'm "successful" by anyone's definition, but I'll play along!

First, get your butt into the chair and write. Something, anything, just write. Ideas are fine but until you put them down on paper they're just floating in the air.

Second, don't be afraid to submit to publishers. Agents and publishers are always looking for new talent and you might just be what he/she is looking for! If you don't submit you can't get published and so forth. Yes, you'll get rejected but you have to learn to let it roll off your back and get back into the game. Just remember that all the authors you enjoy and read had to start somewhere...

Third, Read! Read! Read! Read books on the writing craft, read nonfiction books, read poetry, read fiction in your own genre and others. Pick up that western romance, that medieval book on printing, that science-fiction haiku poetry book. Don't limit yourself to any one genre or area - you never know what will fall into your stories and make them richer and fuller.

Useful links:

Sheryl's website:

Thank you for dropping by today, Sheryl. I'm looking forward to reading Wild Cards and Iron Horses, and I'll definitely be inviting you 'round for another cuppa soon!

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Are you a published F/SF/H author? Do you have genre-fiction related resources? If so, Toad would like to hear from you. Email Nerine at and remember to put "Toad's Corner" in the subject line.

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