Gambler’s Choice – Now in Audio! Visit the World of Horses

Gambler’s Choice is an jumping event in a horse show where exhibitors choose their own course. Each jump is assigned a certain point value based on its difficulty, and the rider who accumulates the most points within a set amount of time is the winner.

Jumps can be taken from either direction. They must be verticals, walls or square oxers. Triple bars or oxers with a back rail higher than the front rail can only be negotiated safely from one direction. Generally, a single obstacle can only be jumped twice within the round. If a fence is knocked down, no points are earned and it can not be jumped again.

At the conclusion of each Gambler’s Choice round, a buzzer sounds. The competitor then has the opportunity to increase their score by taking the Joker Fence. This is a tall fence with a high point value.

If the horse clears the Joker successfully, those points are added to his score. However, if he knocks the Joker down, the points will be subtracted from the total. Typically most riders attempt the Joker, but there are usually a few horse and rider combinations who elect not to take the risk.

There is an increased emphasis on speed and tight turns, but generally it’s gallop and jump, turn, gallop and jump.

In Gambler’s Choice, my book, the hero and heroine race the clock as the villain ups the stakes in a deadly game that could end in another murder.  A romantic suspense set in beautiful Somerset, England in the horsey world.  The narrator is British and does a beautiful job of dramatization, not to mention that her voice is very pleasant to listen to.

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Be a Millionaire Day!

Today is be a millionaire day! (yes, really!)

On this day, you can pretend to be a millionaire. Or, you can start working on your plans that you think will make you a millionaire.

So, what is the definition of a millionaire?

According to the Global Wealth Report, a millionaire is someone who is worth a million units in his or her country’s currency. According to the 2014 Global Wealth Report, the United States had the highest number of millionaires with over 7 million households, and China came in second at over 2 million millionaire households.

And, how can the rest of us celebrate? 🙂

Well, this might be the time to get started on your dreams and life plans. Enroll in college, or get a new degree in something you love. Most important, have fun!

If you love home flipping and decorating, be sure to snag your copy of my newest sweet romance, 1-800-CUPID

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Exile by Toni V. Sweeney

Exile is the second novel in the series called The Kan Ingan Archives, Part 2 of the two-part futuristic family saga the Arcanian Chronicles.

This novel and the one preceding it have had a history.

In the 70’s I wrote what was intended to be a stand-alone novel called Blood Ties. About twenty years after I wrote the book, I got to thinking about the background to that story.  I ended up writing of happened before Blood Ties place—about the crime committed, and the acts leading up to it that made my hero, Erik Brand, a fugitive. A prequel, if you will, that eventually became Book One,

That brought about some title-switching.  Book One became Blood Ties and Book 2 (the original Blood Ties) became Blood Kin.  After a little more consideration, I decided those titles didn’t exactly tell anything about the stories, so I again made a change.  After some finagling and word-searching and plenty of head-scratching, Blood Ties became Sinner and Blood Kin was renamed Exile, both good, short one-word descriptions that definitely carried the gist of the plot.

Are you still with me?  Confused? Read on, the confusion grows…

During all this switching and re-writing, I also decided to relate the stories to The Narrative of Riven the Heretic by having my hero (Erik Brand) be a direct descendent of the hero of The Narratives.  That necessitated a change of name and spelling, so Erik became Aric kan Ingan. Since Riven was considered the ancestor of the ruling family in the Emeraunt Galaxy, Aric became the Crown Prince of the current branch.

The Narrative of Riven the Heretic became Part 1 of the Arcanian Archives, and the kan Ingan Archives became Part 2, and here we are!


So here’s the blurb

Aric kan Ingan is a Non-Person, an Exile, stripped of title and citizenship for treason against the Arcanian Empire, crimes of which he is innocent. Sentenced to banishment, he wanders the Emeraunt Galaxy a lonely decade while his uncle withholds clemency.

When his meager earnings are depleted and his addictions demand to be fed, he enlists as a guard for a Terran mining colony. Adjusting to life among Terrans is difficult, but Aric meets two people who change his life: Susan Moran, the company doctor, and Miles Sheffield, his former mistress’ younger brother.

With Miles and Susan, Aric suffers the joy of friendship, the passion of love, and the grief of sudden death, and eventually makes a decision that will change the destiny of the Arcanian Empire forever.


As he rounded a corner and dodged a brightly-robed Scyllan, he nearly collided with a short weasel of a man darting from a nearby doorway.

The little man brushed against him, backed away with a muttered apology, and sped on, only to be pulled off his feet as Aric wrapped his hand in the collar of his jacket.

“Hold it!” He hauled the little man backward, holding out his hand. “Give it back.”

“Give what back?” A face of total innocence, if a trifle ferret-like, looked up at him.

In answer, Aric snapped his fingers and thrust the hand at the little man again, palm up, shaking it impatiently.

Something about the gesture told the little thief not to argue. It frightened him and he didn’t know why. It wasn’t the stranger’s size. He’d seen bigger men. Nor was it the tiny jewel, set like a droplet of blood in his left earlobe, announcing that here was a warrior blooded in True Battle, just as the sign of Ildred, marking his forehead in indelible mourning-purple, likewise proclaimed him an Exile.

The little man shivered and the stranger smiled. At that moment, Fredi the Pick knew exactly what caused his fear.

Those eyes. Less than human. Like a bird of prey.

Digging into his pocket, he extracted a small leather pouch, hastily dropping it into the Arcanian’s hand.

“There.” Smiling a little weakly, he sidled away. “Now then, I’ll just be on my…”

“Not so fast.”

Before he knew it, he was pinned against the wall, lifted by the force of a hand against his chest. Struggling to keep both feet on the cobbles, he looked up into his captor’s face.

“I suppose you’re going to peach me?” What did he expect, picking someone like this as a mark? Stupid move, truly stupid.

“Hardly.” The Arcanian laughed but it was a grim, cold sound. “You know the Lawkeepers don’t come to the Quad.”

“I’d prefer the Keepers.” The little man looked chagrinned. “We’ve our own rules here, y’know, and the Primary One’s that one inhabitant of the Quad never steals from another.”

Aric nodded. He’d been in and out of enough places like this to understand the little thief’s nervousness. The rules in these areas of criminality were much more stringent than in the law-abiding cities surrounding them.

“…and what’s the punishment for breaking the Primary One?” he prompted.

“Banishment from the Quad.” The pickpocket swallowed loudly before he continued. “For a year.”

A year’s exile. Aric laughed. Hell, that’s nothing compared to the time I’ve wandered.

The little thief winced at the bitterness in the sound.

“No, my little friend, I won’t turn you in.” Aric released the little cutpurse, who staggered and regained his balance.

“Well, then…” Relief and confusion showed on the rat-like face. “I’ll just be go…”

Again, the large hand detained him.

Fredi looked up. “Was there something else?”

“Yes, I need some…things.”

“Oh?” The little man frowned, asking cautiously, “What kind of things?”

In spite of where they were, Aric hesitated. He wasn’t certain he could trust this little rodent. “Are you a procurer?”

“Oh.” The frown disappeared as Fredi relaxed, seeing an unexpected profit coming his way instead of cell-time. “Why didn’t you say so? I thought…you being an Exile and all… Did you break your vows? You want girls? How many?”

“No. Not girls.”

“I see.” The pickpocket’s expression didn’t change. “I don’t usually deal the other way but… Boys? I suppose I could find one or two…”

“No.” Aric’s denial was quick. “I want….” Glancing around to assure himself no passerby was paying them attention, he lowered his voice, struggling to keep the desperation out of it. “I need some drugs.”

“No problem.” The little man still showed no surprise. “What kind?”

Aric didn’t answer.

“Well?” Fredi prompted. “Name your poison…oops…sorry.” He snickered at his little joke.

“I need nicotine and caffeine.” Aric ignored that. “Can you get me some cigarettes and coffee?”

Cigarettes?” The little man looked around quickly before continuing in a whisper, “You want cigarettes and coffee? Hell, man, those two are at the top of the Unlawful Substances List.”

“I’m well aware.” Aric’s answer held weariness. His eyes bore into Fredi’s shifty ones.

“Can you get them?”

Buy Links:

Paperback available from the publisher’s website:

And e-Books and Kindle from Amazon:

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Loving Mother’s Day Tulips!

Tulip bloomTulip blooms

I hope you had a lovely Mother’s Day. I certainly did!  I do love flowers!  I hope these beauties love the rain we had yesterday and today.

I had planned to blog about book pirates. I am not in the mood, after all. Maybe I’ll tell you about my night with Elvis next week!

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5 Beautiful Mother’s Day Quotes

Today is Mother’s Day, a very special day, and I’m sharing 5 of my favorite quotes:

1. “Even as a small child, I understood that women had secrets, and that some of these were only to be told to daughters. In this way we were bound together for eternity.”

―Alice Hoffman, The Dovekeepers

2. “A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dates all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.”

―Agatha Christie, “The Last Séance”

3. “Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is…and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.”

―Donna Ball, At Home on Ladybug Farm

4. “Mothers were the only ones you could depend on to tell the whole, unvarnished truth.”

―Margaret Dilloway, How to Be an American Housewife

5. “Mom had the kind of love for her that you could feel, like it was part of the atmosphere.”

―Peter Abrahams, Down the Rabbit Hole

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers!

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The Death of a Series…

Image result for clay Crawford

I don’t know if any of you watch my favorite TV show—Lethal Weapon, the series. Clay Crawford plays Mel Gibson’s role as Martin Riggs.  He’s cocky, arrogant, and deeply damaged by his childhood.  In fact when the show began, he took all manner of risks because his wife and unborn child had been killed in a car accident and he didn’t want to live.

As the series progressed, he lost his desire to die but not his cavalier attitude.  Clay Crawford lives in Alabama with his wife and children.

Last night on the season finale, at the end of the program, his half brother shoots him, and it appears that he will no longer be in the series.  The producers say he was difficult on the set.  The uproar from fans was immediate.  No Clay. No show. No fans.  I wonder what the producers will do to redeem the show.  I’m with the other fans. Next season on Tuesday night, my TV will be dark and barren.

How would you feel about your favorite character changing faces in the midst of the series? This ending smacks of George R.R. Martin in Game of Thrones where he randomly kills off characters you have learned to like.

No Clay, no show.

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Why torture your characters?


I will give a workshop in June about torturing characters. I borrowed words from Dwight Swain about chasing characters up trees to keep things from becoming boring.

Why would I want to do torture my characters? It keeps stories going. Sometimes authors feel tortures must be big and awful. I think we can use small problems to keep characters from being boring and to show readers who these characters really are.

If a man decides to race home when his phone shows burglars breaking in, we learn something about him. What if he knows he’s close to his house and could be there by the time police could? What if red lights or pedestrians slow him down? What if he confronts the intruders and stalls so the police can get there?  What if he shoots them to protect himself? What if one is his son? We have to determine the only action our character would do. It does help if the break-in is important to the story at some point.

What if you are rushing your child to the hospital? Will you run red lights and stop signs?  Will you go down One Way Streets or drive on the shoulder of the road? How far will you go and how many rules will you break?

On a smaller scale, If you have guests coming for dinner and learn that one is allergic to certain foods, will you call and order prepared dishes? Throw in a burned main dish as a problem. Your character might tell guests and have fewer dishes, or order a replacement, or take everyone out to dinner. How will your character deal with two invited guests bringing a plus one each, though that was not part of the invitation and your character has prepared servings for the number invited.

Even smaller things make life move less smoothly. A prized gift might disappear on the day the giver is set to visit. Will your character search for it, hope the person who gave the gift doesn’t ask about it, or just admit the problem?

Will a flat tire or two flats stop your character? Will they slow him down? What about running out of gas? If he calls for road service, make that help come late.  Create a traffic jam involving all lanes.

Let some characters climb, jump over, or fly over obstacles, while others panic or give up. Poke your characters and pelt them with small problems and see who they respond. Slow them down with road blocks and unexpected barriers.



When two people attend their first reunion in 20 years, their futures will change in more ways than one.  How much will Drew’s lies effect his life and Tess’s? What about her teenagers?

Mary’s links


Follow Mary Marvella on Twitter @mmarvellab



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Easy Organic Gardening Insect Repellent Spray

As a follow-up on my Earth Day post, did you know that organic gardening is now a 10 billion dollar a year industry?

Instead of harmful pesticides, here’s an easy Insect Repellent Soap Spray:

Ingredients: Use any liquid Dish Detergent


Put one tablespoon of dish detergent per gallon of water into a sprayer.

Apply on top and bottom of leaves.

Re-apply after it rains or in a couple of weeks.

Do you do any organic gardening? Please share in the comments below.

Have you read my Kindle Worlds sweet Christian romance set in Sweet Grove, Texas? The hero is an opera singer and the heroine is a professional pianist. Pick up your copy of Love’s Sweet Cadence on Amazon today!

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Listening to Vivali’s Four Seasons and Preparing for a Book Signing

Today, the Arts Council of Anderson, SC (my once and future home) is sponsoring an art walk called Art on the Town.  I’ll be ensconced at the Old Farmer’s Market which is quite cute and quaint for signing my books.  I’m excited about my first appearance in my hometown.  I have 3 of each book ready to go and swag including scented candles wrapped in netting with a card stapled to the little packing, bookmarks and some new and exciting rack cards.  This is not a great scan but it gives you an idea.

The weather is beautiful. I hope it continues to be glorious for the evening.  The art walk is from 5-9 PM so anyone in the neighborhood–or surrounding towns–is invited.  There are prizes, the main one being $500 in the drawing.

I got my new Ying/Yang wig so I’m all set.  🙂  I’ll get someone to take a pic merely to show off the wig and my table with its  new satin-like tablecloth.  Found this cheap linen distributor on-line.  You always need a black satin tablecloth (Like at Halloween!).

Have a great Friday & come see me!!

Ever your servant,


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Sweet and Clean Romances for FREE!

Searching for your next favorite story? Sweet, clean and wholesome romance and FREE. Be sure to snag your copy of my Kindle Worlds romance, Love’s Sweet Cadence.

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