Monday, February 8, 2016

Toi Thomas: Author Interview & Spotlight

Shifter month continues with Toi Thomas, author of Eternal Curse: Giovanni's Angel (Eternal Curse Series Book 1)


You have plenty of time to change your mind. You have not yet seen the monster I can be.”

Giovanni has been waiting his whole life to meet someone like Mira, someone from the outside world who might be able to help him. He wonders if there really is help for him as he continues to hold tightly onto dark secrets and even darker memories. Giovanni wants to be hopeful and he wants to accept Mira’s help, but first he has to look himself in the mirror and face what he truly is- and that is a reality no one is quite ready to accept.

Searching for new purpose and meaning in her life, Mira meets Giovanni online and an exciting and, in some ways, scary friendship is developed. Mira decides one day to meet Giovanni in person, at his secluded country home, in order to aid him on his journey of self-discovery. What these two are able to discover will not only test their strength and will, but it will stretch the limits of their minds and catapult them into a world where earth, Heaven, and Hell collide. 

Giovanni’s Angel is the story of a man who may just be the answer to a spiritual war swiftly heading his way- but for now, he just wants to be a man.
He looked down toward the ground and saw an attractive young woman carrying a large pail into a barn. Her skin was freckled and pale, and she had rosy cheeks. Her hair was long and straight, and it was black like the night. She seemed so familiar to him, but he didn’t know her. Giovanni watched as the young woman filled feeding troughs with water to be cleaned. As she reached for a scrubbing brush, Giovanni could see that someone or something was following her. He sensed that trouble was on the way. He tried to call out to her, but she could not hear him. His voice made no sound. Giovanni left the tree and swooped down to the ground to achieve a closer look.
There he saw a creeping perpetrator bouncing from beam to beam in the rafters of the barn. Drool slipped from the monster’s mouth while it hovered over the unknowing young woman. Giovanni tried to fly up to see this fiendish stalker, but he couldn’t lift his feet off the ground, and his wings would not flap. Giovanni knew something bad would happen, he could feel it in his heart, but it seemed he could do nothing to stop it. He did not understand. Why was this happening? How could he appear to be so powerful, be so angelic, and not be able to help someone in need?
Giovanni refused to give up his pursuit. He pushed his body forward and moved from door to door, and window to window, trying to get in to warn and protect the young woman. Looking through a window, Giovanni finally saw the villain’s full horror. He established a clear vision of the attacker as it leaped down from the ceiling toward the woman. It was the most hideous monster he’d ever seen, much worse than his own reflection.
A twisted and mangled troll with charcoal for skin on a hairless body stalked about. It had empty holes carved out of its skull where eyes once were. There were two large dull spikes protruding from its hunched back, where it looked as though wings had been violently ripped from its body. Its hands were made of jagged bones held together with rotting ligaments, and its feet crackled as it moved along the floor.
In the troll’s hands were two long golden rods that whipped back and forth almost like lassos. Each rod was attached to the end of a large iron spike that punched through the shoulders of a young man’s dying body. The rods held up the young man’s body as though he were a puppet being pulled by strings. To the young woman, however, the troll simply appeared as a shadowy figure lingering around the painfully disturbed and ailing young man moving toward her.
The troll maneuvered the young man’s body around the girl for attack, delivering blow after blow. The monster had taken over this young man’s body; it was using him as a weapon to attack this poor girl for what seemed to be the sheer enjoyment of it. It laughed a loud cackle as it threw the girl down to the ground, tearing her raggedy dress. Giovanni could see the girl’s anguish and could hear her screams. Throbbing empathetic pain consumed him in every place the girl was struck, but Giovanni could do nothing to stop it.
Giovanni began to cry out, weeping and sobbing. He tried to look away and he tried to get away, but he couldn’t. That’s when it began to happen. He became consumed with anger and hatred. Giovanni’s body grew hot and began to sizzle. Smoke and steam began to rise up from his body as his wondrous glow began to fade and he became shrouded in darkness. Everything around him began to catch fire as he began morphing into anger. The smell of burning wood and flesh assaulted his tortured senses and Giovanni knew 
he was changing.
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Toi Thomas: -signed and discounted

Check out Toi's video series starting here...


A self-proclaimed techie and foodie, Toi Thomas was born in Texas, but considers Virginia to be home. She enjoys reading, cooking, baking, painting, collecting vinyl records, and spending time with her family. Currently working as a special education teacher’s assistant while blogging and writing fulltime, Toi finds comfort and peace of mind in chocolate, green tea, and naps. For some reason, Toi admits has escaped her, she married a frat boy who has continued to be her best friend and love of her life. She and her husband are now tackling video production and Comicons to promote the first two installments of her Eternal Curse Series.


1. I'm assuming Giovanni is a shifter of some kind. Can you give me a few clues?

For me, there are two kinds of shifters, morphen and Hydesque (I totally know these are made up words ;) ). Morphen is when a being changes its appearance so drastically that it is completely indistinguishable from its other appearance. Giovanni is more Hydesque- he’s more of an altered, twisted, or even enhanced version of his usual appearance. Also, while many shifters are connected to quadrupeds or some animal, Giovanni is connected to celestial or divine creatures and beings.

2. I'm interested in what books and authors influenced you in your writing. What are some of your favorites?

It’s hard for me to answer this question in context to the above mentioned character because growing up, I didn’t read much paranormal or shifting tales. Sure I knew about vampires and werewolves, but my main textual influences for Eternal Curse and my character Giovanni came from comic books. Considering I have always enjoyed science fiction and fantasy, I couldn’t help but to blend elements of those genres into my paranormal works.

So, I guess I’d say the main books that influenced this story were the Marvel X-Men stories, The Blade story (another from Marvel), The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Peter Pan. I could go on and on about how much J.M. Barrie’s Peter and Wendy affects my writing, but I’ll leave that for another day.

3. Tell me about your publishing experience. Did you try and find an agent or publisher first or did you always plan on self-publishing?

At first I really didn’t plan to publish. When I first wrote my novel I didn’t know what to do with it. Then I decided I wanted to share it with others. I queried both agents and publishing houses, but the story didn’t appeal. Because the story is dark but has a religious influence, no one really knew what to do with it.

In efforts to figure out who my market for the book really was, I self-published through a small vanity press just to have a product to work with. I sent it out to have people read it. I learned that while one agent had told me it was Urban Fantasy, most readers agreed it was Paranormal Romance. While the religious aspects threw some people off, most thought it was quite in line with the story. I was told by one agent that I should look into a small Christian press for distribution, while a critiquer informed me that there are too many “variables” in my book that don’t qualify it for Christian Fiction (well, that’s probably because it’s not Christian Fiction.). Like many other Indie Authors’ work, my book isn’t cookie cutter and doesn’t fit in a perfect genre box. Oh, and it takes risks in an industry that just doesn’t do that anymore.

Once I had a clear vision of who my story was for and what I wanted to do with it, I withdrew my book from the vanity press and self-published through Amazon and Createspace. I’m so glad I did.

4. I'm curious about your writing plan. Do you have a set time of day for writing? Do you plot and outline or do you just let the writing come?

Well, I’m definitely a planner and outliner. Typically, when ideas are coming to me, I just write them down whenever and wherever I can. Once I feel I know where my story is going, I start to outline. My outlines start out simple and then become complex. I’ll rewrite an outline ten or more times, working out the details of my story or changing things as the muse speaks.

As for my daily or schedule writing, Ha. I wish. I’ve tried to make myself stick to a writing schedule, but I ended up resenting it. Now I write when I can.

5. Tell me about your experience as an Indie author trying to market your books. What have you learned since you started writing that you wish you knew when you first began?

First, offer digital copies for review to anonymous or lesser known reviewers and paperback to trusted reviewers. The plain fact of the matter is, these days, most reviewers will take a digital copy if they happen to be accepting reviews at that time. However, some reviewers only accept print copies. For me, I have to decide if their review is worth the investment to lessen my stock and mail them a book.

Second, don’t be afraid to try new things, just don’t try to make people accept something different if they are not ready for it. While some ideas and methods work well for some books, they don’t for others. Once I realized my Paranormal Romance didn’t need to be heavily promoted in science fiction arenas, more appropriate opportunities began to present themselves.

Lastly, Social Media really is helpful for promotion when done properly. Connecting with people will go a lot further than twenty posts a day of your book cover. 

Follow Toi Thomas at these places:

Social Media: with accompanying ToiBox blog
-Toinette "Toi" Thomas Google+:
-Twitter: @toithomas, #cursescanbebroken, #thetoiboxofwords
-Email: primary (personal and self-promotion)
secondary (networking, cross-promotion, blog-related)