Another New Release soon!

A crazy old song echoes in her head. Why? Well, she shot the sheriff, but her brother didn’t shoot the deputy. Or something like that. So let’s find out what really happened…

Years before, Molly Hicks escaped her hometown of Sand City, Alabama, but her plans of never returning are ignored when her parents demand she help control her troublemaking younger brother. No sooner than she arrives, he’s thrown in jail accused of killing a deputy. Then she shoots the sheriff. Just a graze, but she lands in a cell alongside her sibling.

Sheriff J.T. Rogan refuses to admit he has a soft spot for any Hicks, especially Molly. The same girl whose father kicked him out of town as a teenager. So when he releases her without filing charges, it’s no surprise she stalks him around town, insisting he find the real killer.

When another body turns up, while her brother is locked up, J.T. is beginning to believe Molly. As they track down clues and come up with suspects, he remembers why he always wanted to be her hero.

Sign Up For Workshop – Event In June

  • Date: June 3, 2023, Saturday
  • Time: Noon to 4 p.m.
  • Location: North Shelby Library, upstairs meeting room
  • 5521 Cahaba Valley Road, Birmingham, AL 35242. 205-439-5500
  • Presented by Southern Magic Romance Writers of America.
  • Open to all published or unpublished writers of any genre

      Four 45-minute Sessions

So You Think You Want to Write

By Louisa Cornell

Choosing a Publishing Path

By Carla Swafford


Preparing Your Writing for Submission/Publication

By Betty Bolté


Marketing and Social Media/Other Resources

By Jo Chambliss


Go here to register and get more info:

New Release: Loving The Small-Town Preacher’s Son

Former Vegas showgirl Mary Hightower swore off dangerous men after the death of her mafia husband. To protect her and her mom, they move to a small southern town far from her past life to start a new bad-boy-free existence. Then she meets Luke.

Ex-convict Luke Blackwood works hard to be the man his mom could have been proud of, yet his bruised knuckles prove he’s a failure. Though his dad still believes in him, it may take the love of a long-legged, soft-spoken woman to repair what is broken inside.

When her husband’s former boss demands the evidence she has hidden, she turns to the only man she can trust. But is the reformed bad boy willing to do whatever’s needed to save the woman he wants for his own?


Will be available on Kindle Unlimited (ebook)

Paperback everywhere else

Outspoken Women: The Good, The Bad, & The Misunderstood

For the last couple years I’ve been thinking about this. Be aware this is NOT a political post, but a deep concern for women’s rights built from reading articles and watching a variety of news broadcasts.

Most people who know or follow me, are aware of how I feel about people calling women KAREN, if that’s not their name. It’s used as a derogative label. I know so many women named Karen, and each and every one I know are nice and considerate to the people around them. They do not deserve having their name misused. People, women especially, really need to quit using the name in that way. Call the ones misbehaving: bitches, assholes, and numerous other expletives–use your imagination–but not the name.

I had to state that first. So enough about that. Let’s now talk about those women.

Sure, the majority of them were misbehaving and treating others in an unacceptable way. They were rude, nosey, loud, short-tempered, and often racist and narrow-minded. That is certainly behavior that needs to be stopped and/or changed.

But let’s examine why they were acting that way?

Beyond mental illness or abuse or stress that affects their behavior, women are told and taught to correct any misconduct around them. What? Yeah. Think about it.

For centuries, women were subservient to men (in many areas of the world, they still are). Yet, now in the U.S.A., women are able to vote, work outside the home (not necessarily in a family business) even in many male dominant roles, run for any government position, obtain loans, possess credit cards, buy homes and cars without a male’s signature, etc. Most of these in just the last fifty years. All of this is great, yet women have also been told for centuries (a well-known proverb from Africa) that the world is a village and we must look after not only our own children, but look after other people’s children. It can mean babysit kids, but so much more like to keep them safe and teach those younger what is needed to live in our every day society (village/town/city).

All those years ago, the general population of women were expected to sit back with their mouths closed and let the men handle the problems of society. Of course, people will point out the women’s suffrage and temperance movements. To be fair, you have to remember men often were involved or actually started the crusades. Such good husbands, brothers, and sons, right? We have to give them some of the credit, for if not, the possibility of women voting nationwide (19th amendment ratified in 1920) would’ve taken much longer than it did. You have to remember, there were zero women in Congress.

What I’m getting to is that we have to be careful about shutting up women when they are expressing an injustice. Those in particular who are using logical, even tones (even shout when necessary) in declaring what is wrong. Certainly there are people (men and women) who need to be more thoughtful, less ignorant, and avoid jumping to conclusions.

I do know I never want to go back to the “good ole days” of being seen and not heard. If we allow people to shut down every woman who complains, especially when they stand up for themselves and their families, we gamble on that action splattering over ALL WOMEN and to every aspect of their lives. Before we know it, we will slide back to the 1970s or earlier.

Goodness, I had enough of serving coffee at meetings. I don’t even drink the stuff.

What Is Your Book About?

Recently, I read a book’s blurb that all it told was she’d returned to her hometown, she’d changed (I suspected she was outgoing when she was young and now wasn’t – that was an assumption from the vague blurb), and the handsome guy had noticed her. That’s it.

What did the guy do for a living that might be important to the story? Were they high school friends, lovers, or enemies? Besides being good looking, is there something more about him to draw the reader’s interest? Habits, hobbies? The author didn’t have to add all of that, but some little something more that tells us about the male lead besides how he looked.

Nothing was said that would draw me in to read it, unless returning to a hometown is one of my favorite tropes. It’s not really. So it didn’t. Have you noticed more and more books lately have blurbs like this. A bunch of nothing about the plot. Just emotions that aren’t really deep.

When you write your blurb, ask another author who you trust to read it. Remember each main character (MC) needs a trope. In other words, you need at least a hook per main character that will interest the reader. Your blurb (each MC) should have a GMC (Goal, Motivation, Conflict). That doesn’t mean to give the ending away. Each MC will have a Goal in the beginning that will most likely change before the ending. That’s often how the characters show growth.

Of course, the MCs need emotional goals too. So let me break it down for you. Just remember, you’re not telling the whole story, but having the GMC spelled out helps you write the blurb with a mixture of the plot and emotion.

Goal: MC wants?

Motivation: Because?

Conflict: But?

Here’s my book Jake’s GMC.

  • Angel’s Goal: She wants out of the criminal world and to discover the person/people who murdered her grandfather.
  • Jake’s Goal: He wants to leave the life his father forced on him, yet determined to do away with the person/people who killed his father and stop the organization trying to overtake his county.
  • Angel’s Motivation: Because she knows it’s the only way to protect her younger brother.
  • Jake’s Motivation: Because if he and his brothers continue in their father’s footsteps, they would be dead too.
  • Angel’s Conflict: But her grandfather wrote a codicil requiring her to marry a despised Whitfield, though she doesn’t really hate Jake. She’s been in love with him since a sexy incidence in high school.
  • Jake’s Conflict: But his father wrote a codicil requiring him to marry a crazy Tally, though he cannot forget how attracted to her he’d been since that one scene in high school.

Funny, how these two people have so much in common and family history has kept them apart. They are destined to be together, right?

Here’s the blurb.

Forget the Hatfields and McCoys, in a small Southern town, the Whitfields and Tallys are the real family feud. So for some unholy reason, Jake Whitfield’s old man and Angel Tally’s grandfather wrote codicils to their wills the night before they died in a suspicious fire. The codicils require Jake and Angel to marry or lose their inheritances.

Jake feels like a man with two faces. One he presents to his brothers and the public: the criminal willing to step on anyone for a buck while mercilessly protecting the business. The other: the lonely man wanting a better life for himself and his family and working with an FBI agent to make it happen.

To Jake, marrying Angel makes sense. With her family’s help, he can fight the new criminal organization that’s moving into his town. Immersed in the criminal world, there is no hope for Angel, but her brother is still young. She will do anything to protect him from that way of life and whoever killed their grandfather, even marry a despised Whitfield. And Angel never forgot about the sexy incident with Jake in high school ten years earlier. And if she has to go along with a Whitfield-Tally marriage, she wants a replay.

As you see, you basically take the WANT-BECAUSE-BUT and then you smooth out the information into two or three paragraphs.

The Tropes above are Forced Marriage that turned into Marriage of Convenience, Criminal Hero (in this book Heroine is too), Enemies to Lovers/Forbidden Love, First Love (her), Partners in Crime, and Revenge. Whoa! This was packed with tropes.

Remember, vague will not sell books.

A Question About What is a Bestseller (TikTok)


When can an author call themselves bestseller? Does it matter to you? A copy of the list is on my website. See my profile #bestseller #booktok #applebooks

♬ original sound – AuthorCarlaSwafford

What A Day! Short Stories


What A Day! Ebook or paperback. What I was going to say at the end is that they could steal your credit card info. Anyway more info to come about my story. #booktok #anthology #11authors #LindaHoward #LindaWinsteadJones #ratedPG

♬ original sound – AuthorCarlaSwafford

Brothers of Mayhem (TikTok)


Brothers of Mayhem: Hidden Heat, Full Heat, and Naked Heat. #onepercenters #motorcycleclub #spicy #booktok and yes, I did more than watch #sonsofanarchy for my research. Ask and I will tell you how.

♬ original sound – AuthorCarlaSwafford

A Little Taste of Jake: Southern Crime Family