Saturday, April 20, 2019

photo meOn April 20, I will present Save The Story:  No More Sagging Middles at the North Shelby Library (anyone can come – romance writer or not) at 10 a.m., Saturday.

I will show authors how to break down their story with beats. In turn, they will find the right starting point in their book, prevent sagging middles, and dragging storylines. The information is based on Blake Snyder‘s book, Save The Cat! and Michael Hauge’s Story Mastery. Attendees should be familiar with the movie Pretty Woman, but it’s not necessary. 

Come and see me.  You never know. I made be giving away books and along with autographing those you already have with you.

Love it? Review It.

Love it? Review It.
Heroine wants to save the man she loves, but not everyone is cut out to be a killer.

The last Bookbub I looked at was Tuesday’s. Today I caught up.

A few interested me, but not enough to buy. I’ve been wanting to cut back on my TBR pile. So the book has to interest me big time. Wednesday, nothing. Thursday, thought about one, but decided I’ve read too many like it and have been disappointed. Friday, interesting, but a no go.

Finally, Saturday’s has three I’m interested in. An erotic Romantic Suspense: Hero offers to pull heroine’s business out of debt if she obeys him in all ways for 30 days. Historical Romance: A Scottish warrior inherits an English earldom and an impoverished lady will teach him “proper” etiquette. Sci-Fi romance: Girl goes to war torn planet and meets two warriors.

I try to narrow my choices by looking at the full blurb on Amazon or iBooks. Sometimes it reveals the book isn’t what I really want. Maybe too heavy on history, or doesn’t really concentrate on the romance. And I’m not talking about sex. I like the one-on-one relationship building. I don’t mind a little arguing as long as it doesn’t get stupid. You know, arguing for argument sake.

Then if I’m still interested in the book, I read the sample. I can’t tell you how often I read the beginning and became SO bored. Then others are just not to my taste.

So far, I’ve bought the erotic Romantic Suspense. Passed on the Sci-Fi romance. The blurb did it. So not what I thought it would be. Maybe the author or editor messed up in telling the summary, but that’s the way it goes. Still thinking about the Historical Romance.

When it comes to To-Be-Read piles, mine is small. Around 10 e-books, and about the same in paperbacks.

I refuse to mistreat the authors who go out of their way to provide a deal that takes you years to read. When you finally read the book you bought 2-3 years ago, and it turns out to be great, and you go in search for the author, don’t be surprised if you can’t find another book from that author. Please understand. The author thought no one liked her books. You didn’t read it and review it, or tell your friends because you took so long to read it. For an author to make only $100 a year on her books isn’t enough to keep going.

And don’t get me started on selling a book that took months, if not a year to write for 99 cents. Someone told me recently that charging more than 99 cents for an e-book is horrible. She says the author doesn’t have to spend money on paper and printing. Like that’s the only reason a person reads a book. Maybe I’ll try to sell her a bunch of books with nothing printed inside. I bet she wouldn’t pay $7 dollars for each then. It’s the words inside that makes them valuable.

Think of it this way, I use a computer to write my books and often have to get a new one every two to four years. (Salesperson in the store said they aren’t made to last no more than two years. Bull crap!) When you write everyday in your spare time, they get overused and/or obsolete. My wage from a day job pays for it. Not my writing. Then I go to a writers conference to hear experts talk about how to make my manuscripts/books better, fresh, or more exciting. Again my day job helps pay for my airfare/gas, hotel, food, and the huge conference fee. Not my writing. Even if I go to a local college to take a class or two, I have to pay tuition. Not provided by my books. I giveaway book marks (readers still love them despite most read e-books), pens, t-shirts, and gift cards to readers. Day job, not writing. Let’s not even get into the costs of ads.

If I self-publish a book, there is the cover art that can range from $20 (if I do the design) to $400 (by a professional designer and you could pay even more if you want a unique design/cover). I can format the inside of the book through Draft2Digital free. Then there’s the editor. She receives $350 to $450 a book. Some editors charge a lot more. So I dare you to tell me again the book is worth less than a dollar.

You say, why do all of that? Just write a good book, they will come. Despite what the movie, Field of Dreams, make you believe, it doesn’t necessary work that way.

Even if you have a publishing house–I’ve had the biggest–behind your book advertising the hell out of it, you still need to help.

Book signings do little. They are more to stroke your ego. Actually, I say go for it. Authors need all the ego stroking they can get. It’s a rough, thankless job. Kind of like being a mom. At book signings, I’ve given away more books than I’ve sold just with the hope they will read the others.

Sure most publishers give the author books, but only one of the two large publishing houses I’ve been with gave me six. Yep. Six. And those I gave to relatives because they think you’re being cheap by not giving them a book. To cover everyone, I usually have to buy a few extra. The other publisher gave me zilch. My book was published in e-book only. I will say they provided the most advertising to readers and bloggers (that’s the one I mentioned above). Of course, the self-published copies were provided to my family at my cost. You know, I’m rich off all of those books. NOT!

As you can tell, authors deserve more for each book. No matter what, be sure to tell your family and friends about the latest book you enjoyed and write a review and share it everywhere!  Thanks!

A Beautiful Life Being Published

A Beautiful Life Being Published

aXnH+gU1TWSC+R6CZW9BeQA few years ago, I posted on another blog about how wonderful it is to be a published author. Some of it was me teasing (aka sarcastic/ being funny) and a commenter thought I was for real and scolded me for not being appreciative of my good fortune. Anyway, I thought I would talk about what people expect when you become published. If you’ve been reading my posts for any time, you’ll know I love lists. So here we go.

  1. 1. Non-writers (not necessarily readers) believe you are rich. Less than 1 percent of published authors make enough for a living or more. No. I don’t have a link confirming that. But think, saying someone is rich because they were published, for example, with a traditional publisher like Penguin/Random House. That would be like saying a person who owns a business is rich. Did you know only 20% of new businesses survive their first year? So that means 80% lose money and close up. Writing is a business, a business most writers love, but they don’t work out for everyone.
  2. Writing takes time from being with family and friends. Many writers are overweight, manic depressives, alcoholics, drug addicts, etc., because once a person is published they are pressed by their publishers and fans to write more and faster. Most writers have a day job to pay the bills until they can make money. See #1 above. So we can be found on our computers (or handwriting in notebooks)  early in the mornings to late at night and all the times in between.  And yes, I know some authors can write a book in a few weeks. That’s all I’ll say about that. And yes, I’m a little green with envy, but … (biting my tongue).
  3. People expect you to give your books away. People become offended because I don’t give them a book. Family and friends are to support what you love, but they don’t want to buy. First, when you’re traditionally published, most authors only receive five to twelve books free from the publisher. Those are to be sent to reviewers, but I always gave them to my immediate family, signed. If you’re independently published (indie), then those books you hand over to family and friends are paid by you, and they don’t necessarily cost only two bucks.
  4. Reviews can be confusing and they don’t always help authors to become better writers. They can push an author into a gray funk. Yes. We try to avoid reading them, but it’s like driving down the interstate swearing you won’t look at the wreck, but we always glance at it. No matter if the majority of your reviews are five stars (coffee cup, hearts or whatever the fuck a person makes up), the four and less can kill you and the percentage. I really wish Amazon would do away with the stars. I’ve seen one stars because the author charged a dollar more a book than author xyz. That’s not why the review section is there. Read the book, review it, and then at the end, say (without affecting the stars) please lower your prices because we all know you’re rich. See #1 above. I’ve seen one stars because it’s written in first person. The blurb on the story is in first person. That should’ve been a clue, not counting there is usually samples on the same website page. Or one person gives four stars because it’s a great read. Four stars out of five, really? Great? Yes. The five stars are for those certain authors they love. Geez! Or one star because the hero has the same name as the reviewer’s lying, cheating SOB of an ex. That’s why stars (and the other kind) should be done away with. Yes. I need to write a blog about it.By the way, editors at publishing houses you submit to do look at reviews (mainly the number of stars) in particularly, at that troll paradise place called Goodreads.

    I know I struggle to improve my writing. Though many readers appreciate my writing (see picture above of an award). I’ve learned it doesn’t matter how well you promote yourself or the publisher does, it all boils down to the writing, the story you have to tell and how you write it. That’s what I figure where my problem lies.

    The word I hear in several of my reviews is gritty. That means, per the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “having strong qualities of tough uncompromising realism.” I guess it’s okay for romantic suspense about assassins to have the term used, but I want more. So my next book will be a pure romance. Of course with sex, I’m not going off the deep end here. By changing the type of story and writing it in first person (oh, yeah, I’m going there), maybe I will find my niche.

  5. Author swag rarely sell books. BUT, I have to say if you send out 300 bookmarks and get one sale, it’s really worth it. For they may decide to buy your other books and tell their friends. That’s how the good things get started. Swag like pens, bookmarks, and other cutesy and cheap items for giveaway at book signings or in the line at the grocery store can be easy to carry in purses or computer cases. Really, in a way, they are items every writer loves because it is an ego thing. A way to tell strangers that you’re published.
  6. That brings me to doing giveaways on FB or websites/blogs. This is more than just bookmarks or postcards. If you give away big items like flash-drives, tablets, and huge dollar amount gift cards, be sure to advertise and/or pinpoint those fans who will celebrate by mentioning your name often. I’ve given away books and gift cards where people didn’t come back and acknowledgement their win with the info I need like their email address.  I do not add them to other lists. And I can understand not wanting a romantic suspense book if you read only historical romance. So be careful where you comment. If you do and see that you might win a book you’re not interested in, say “Don’t include me in the drawing.” If you think that’s rude, it’s just as rude not to accept the prize. You’ve prevented someone else from winning a book they may love. You can always add “I have too many books to read for now.” You know you won’t be lying. All readers do. Not lie, but have a huge stack on their Kindle or on their bookshelf or both.
  7. Book signings can be boring. In all of the signings I’ve participated, I’ve talked more to the authors around me than to readers. Don’t get me wrong. I’m an extrovert and will wave freebies at passersby to get them to stop and talk to me. Packages of M&Ms attached to postcards with pictures of a nearly naked man on the front will stop most attendees in their tracks. But if you’re not a well-known author, the readers will ease on by otherwise. I can tell you, you can go to every friend’s book signings before you’re published and chances are they won’t be there for your first. Bitter? Oh, yeah. Couldn’t help but let it spill out. I guess I’m in a mood.
  8. And no, once traditionally published doesn’t mean you’ll be forever published that way. Many, many reasons and it’s so hard to explain to non-writers. It can be from your editor leaving and the next one assigned can’t stand you and/or your writing to you don’t write the type of books they want no matter what they thought in the beginning. Goodness, there are hundreds of reason for not carrying on with the same publisher. If you’re lucky enough to click with the publisher, editor, and fans, I say bully for you! Stick with it until you know you need to write something different. Get that fan base and remember them when you’re writing your next book/series.

With all that said, I do love being published, traditionally and indie. I love writing the stories about two people falling in love and having fun doing it. Though I will say halfway through most of my books, I’m cursing as bad as my characters. I always wonder why in the hell I’m doing this, but when I hold that completed book in my hand. I feel proud that I finished something not everyone can or is willing to do. Maybe when my grandkids get older they will think Nana was one crazy woman, but they will remember me. They’ll know my name and know what I loved to do. Write.

Giveaways For Fun

This is a copy of the email I sent out today to my newsletter list.

Being a fan of my books, I thought you might like the opportunity to come and win a bag of author swag (some of mine but lots of other authors), including signed copies of NAKED HEAT and CIRCLE OF DECEPTION.

Two of the bags are from my local Romance Writers of America chapter’s Romance Readers Luncheon held each year in November. To learn more about it, you can check it out at SouthernMagic.org. The speaker for 2018 is NYT bestselling author Cathy Maxwell. The third bag is by way of author Hildie McQueen. She’s a sweetheart, and it’s so cute!

I’ve started up a Facebook group that I hope you will like to join. That’s where once every three months I plan to do giveaways, paste deleted scenes, ask your opinions on titles, covers, and general writing ideas. Of course, I’ll gladly answer any questions you have about my books or to do with writing.

So if you’re interested in participating, here’s the link. FACEBOOK GROUP. Must join the group for a chance to win one of the bags and future giveaways.

Present giveaways for US addresses. Most future ones will be available for International addresses.

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I Love Bookmarks!

bookmark back Brothers of Mayhem
The back of my latest bookmark
Bookmark for Brothers of Mayhem
The front of my latest bookmark

I want to mention something I feel strongly about. When my writers group’s luncheon was over, I went to the large trash can to throw away an empty box. I looked in and to my horror were LOTs of bookmarks, booklets, post cards, in other words, paper promo out of at least two giveaway bags. I wonder if those readers noticed a card had a code for a free ebook? To those readers, they thought of it as trash, but to the authors who provided the material that represented money.

But let’s not think of the authors who sent the paper promo to help you decide on what to buy, let’s think of the other readers out in the local area or your area who would have LOVED to have a bookmark or information about a local reader? If you were the reader(s) who did that, please be nice and not throw them away at the luncheon, instead go to your local library and ask them if they are interested in them for their readers? I bet they would be thrilled. Plus they would love to talk with you about the luncheon and who all you met. A good way to make a friend.

Do you have any other suggestions?

Giveaways!

I have two paperback books (six copies of each) in the Goodreads giveaways.  In fact, one of them is actually two novellas. Anyway, check it out. Giveaway ends May 15, 2017.  USA only. naked-heat-coverSorry, but I have to pay the postage.

Click here for the NAKED HEAT: A Brothers of Mayhem novel. The 1circlelast book about the Brothers of Mayhem.  This is Wolf’s story.  His brother was in the first book, HIDDEN HEAT.

Click here for THE CIRCLE NOVELLAS: Circle of Dishonor and Circle of Defiance.  They are the last two books (short ones) from my Circle series about a secret organization of mercenaries. For those who may have noticed, the paperback has a new designed cover.

By the way, I’m planning on autographing them.

Thanks.

 

Let’s Celebrate With Giveaways

giveawayToday, I’m celebrating five years and seven books in publishing. On Tuesday, October 18, 2011, is when it all began, and I want to thank those who have and will read my books.

I’m giving away swag (cups, pens, jar openers -the red circle, book marks, etc.), and books, and gift cards.

How do you obtain such wonderful stuff? By telling me ONE of the following. Yep, you only have to answer one, but feel free to answer more.

1) What do you like about outlaw MC books?

2) What do you like about mercenary/spy/assassin books (similar to my Circle series)?

3) What other kind of book do you enjoy reading?

Be sure to leave me your email address. It will be used for the giveaway only.

Be aware that FULL HEAT, the second standalone book in the Brothers of Mayhem series, is on sale for 0.99 cents for a limited time.

AMAZON            BARNES AND NOBLE          KOBO          BOOKS A MILLION

And CIRCLE OF DESIRE is on sale for $1.99.

If you want to know about future books, giveaways, and sales, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter. Click here and fill out the form.

NAKED HEAT is due to come out the end of February 2017.

Below are the books that make up The Circle series.

Winners will be announce after 9 p.m. tonight!

Celebration Starts Tomorrow

CircleofDesire mm cTomorrow, I will be celebrating five years published. My first book, CIRCLE OF DESIRE, came out Tuesday, October 18, 2011. Pretty neat, huh? Same date and day. If you want to check it out, it’s on sale for $1.99 (e-book).  Think James Bond and Le Femme Nikita.

Per one reader, Nikki, “I can’t even tell others how much I loved this book! I don’t read spy stuff, but this storyline works and is probably the HOTTEST set up I’ve ever read.”

Here’s an excerpt.

As soon as [Collin] walked into the suite, he knew something was wrong. The whirl of an electronic device starting up filled the room and a small green light bounced off the wall and then disappeared. He guessed it was now dancing on his back.

      “Olivia, what the hell do you think you’re doing?” He raised his hands and slowly turned around.

      Feet spread apart, dressed in black with a sporty red trim jacket, she held the sniper rifle they’d recently returned to her and forwarded to the hotel in several containers. He’d been impressed by its microcomputer, perfect for shooting in any kind of weather. Presently she had one eye to the night sight. Damn, the woman was stronger than he gave her credit for as she was holding, elbows out, an eighteen pound rifle and it barely moved.

     “You do know from this close of a range my torso would disintegrate into a hundred thousand tiny pieces, spreading blood and me everywhere in the room.”

      “Like I care,” she spit with menace. Her hand trembled and the barrel wobbled.

     “Can we talk about whatever has set you off?” He hadn’t expected her to become so angry about his turning her down.

     She shifted the rifle against her cheek, probably easing up a tight muscle. “I thought this job was too easy. What was the real reason I’m here? Have you worked out some type of trade with Jason?”

     Damn! He didn’t need this now. The sun was peeking around Camelback Mountain. They needed to get out of there.

     “No. You’ll have to trust me.” He was a crazy f**ker as all he could think about was how damn good she looked holding that rifle.

     “Oh, that makes a world of difference. Not!” She made another adjustment of the pad next to her cheek. “You get me all hot and bothered and then ignore me. You never finish what you start and I can’t–” As she crumbled to the ground, Rex caught the rifle.

     “Motherf**ker! What were you thinking? You’re going to f**k around until she kills you? Bloody hell! There wouldn’t be anything left for me to pick up.” Rex started breaking down the rifle, slapping each part into the shaking hands of one of his men.

     Collin knelt next to Olivia, pressing two fingers to the artery in her neck. His heartbeat matched hers as it continued to speed up.

     “What did you shoot her with?” Collin asked as he smoothed her hair out of her face.

     “The same as you did before. Twilight.” Rex sneered.

     “Damn, she’s going to be pissed again. We can’t keep knocking her out.” Collin scooped her into his arms. “Let’s go. Thank goodness we’ve got a private plane back.”

     “I’m all for dumping her out over Texas.” Rex followed leaving the clean up for his crew.

     “Now what has Texas ever done to you?”

~~~

Full Heat_SwaffordAnd just so happens, tomorrow, FULL HEAT will be on sale for a limited time for 0.99 cents (e-book).  Here’s what reader Pinky had to say about it. “Carla Swafford does an amazing job at bringing to life the workings of a Motorcycle Club. The love scenes sizzle and do not disappoint.”

Be aware, that my outlaw MC books are close to true life. Not saying all are this wild and dangerous, but most are. At the same time, this is fiction and I take much license with it, in order to make it a romance.  YES!

Here’s an excerpt of FULL HEAT.

    Storm had watched her luscious lips move, not hearing one word. He’d never seen lips that needed to be kissed, bit, and sucked as much as hers. Hot damn! Every inch of her begged him to taste her. Usually, he lusted after big tits like the ones so many of the old ladies in the club flaunted. He had a feeling he was about to switch to a handful. Yeah.

     Small ones with hard little nipples perfect for tweaking.

     His gaze drifted back up to her face.

     One trimmed dark brow lifted as he looked into her eyes. Instead of embarrassment or anger, humor twinkled in their mossy depths. Sh*t! He f*cking loved that, a woman who didn’t play hard to get but didn’t throw her body at any available male.

     Too bad he had to scratch the idea of her being a porn star or a stripper. If she had been, convincing her to remove her clothes would’ve been so much easier.

One thing was for sure: he needed to teach her the danger of walking into a biker’s bar without a bodyguard.

~~~

Here are the links to purchase the books tomorrow.  Oh, before I forget, be sure to come back here tomorrow.  I will be giving goodies away. More people who show up, the more goodies that will be given away.

AMAZON            BARNES AND NOBLE          KOBO          BOOKS A MILLION

If you want to know about future books, giveaways, and sales, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter. Click here and fill out the form.

Thanks!

Let’s Party Like It’s July 11!

PrintI couldn’t resist using that title.

Anyway, on July 11, I will be with a group of writers on Facebook giving away all kinds of goodies. My giveaway/post slot is 9 to 9:30 p.m. central time USA. (10-10:30 eastern; 8-8:30 mountain; 7-7:30 p.m. west coast).

I will be giving away Brothers of Mayhem cups (US only) and gift cards (US or International). So be sure to type it on your calendar and show up. Of course, I’m sure you’re wondering who are the other authors?

Jade Chandler (it’s her party)
Gillian Archer
Christi Barth
Claudia Connor
Ja Dena
Sarah Leyton
Carla Swafford (Me!!)

Considering what we all write, I have a feeling there will be lots of pictures of good looking men.

Go to the link below and click on Going or Interested.
https://www.facebook.com/events/1647867522203540/

Hope to see you there!

Happenings

I had so much happen lately, and there is a lot going to happen in the next few months. Like the following.

June 4, Saturday, I will be signing books at the Athens-Limestone Public Library.

CatfishPic
Click here for more info

Since I have so many announcements, I thought you might want to be the first to hear about it. So be sure to sign up for my newsletter. I plan to include an excerpt from FULL HEAT, and as a thank you, I will be giving away two $10 gift cards (Amazon) to some lucky newsletter recipients (in U.S. or international).

Click here to sign up. Then be sure to add me to your contact list.

Thanks bunches!

Countdown begins…

You can purchase Hidden Heat on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo Books, and iBooks!

Click on this link to go to blogs that will be telling you about my book and giving away $25 gift card.

Hiddenheat

FULL HEAT coming July 5

Full Heat_Swafford

Forget shining armor. Motorcycle shop owner Mary Jane Parker could use a knight in black leather right about now. A local gang has been extorting her for protection money, and standing her ground would be a lot easier with the Brothers of Mayhem at her back. She just needs to convince the club’s new president to take the job. The powerful, brooding biker claims he’s not interested-but if his version of tough love is supposed to be punishment, Mary Jane would gladly misbehave for the rest of her life.

Storm Ryder has no interest in rescuing anyone but himself. He spent three agonizing years in prison, and there’s no way in hell he’s going back, not over a spoiled rich girl who’s flirting with trouble. So why does he find himself craving Mary Jane’s lips-and holding her close when he should be pushing her away? Deep down in his tortured soul, Storm knows she’ll be there for him. And when Mary Jane needs him most, he’ll find the courage to give her everything he’s got.

****

He kinda makes you think of this photo.

keanu_Reeves

***

Author Meda White and myself are having an Angel and Demon Party with lots of giveaways.  Come by and say you’ll be there on February 16, 2016.  That’s the day HIDDEN HEAT will be released.  YAY!

Facebook angel vs demon party

 

We will be giving away gift cards, books, and swag.  A few of these for example.

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The red oval is a jar opener/coaster.  I’m sure you can guess what the other two items are.  HA!

***

Staring Feb. 8 on Goodreads is Romance Week. Be sure to stop by my profile and ask me questions.  By the way, here’s my choice for most romantic quote.

Swafford_Gone With the Wind_Mitchell

***

I will be signing at several places this year.
April 7, 2016The Novel Experience, Atlanta GA
June 11, 2016:  Heart of Dixie Romance Readers Luncheon, Huntsville, AL
October 1, 2016: Moonlight and Magnolias Conference, Peachtree Corners, GA
November 5, 2016: Southern Magic Romance Readers Luncheon, Birmingham, AL

***

5c0e4973-dfa0-4ebc-b511-bc9a5a7b26e7_39301_CUSTOM

If you’ve been following me on Facebook, you know that I love hockey.  If you’re in Nashville on February 20, I’ll be at the Predators’ game against LA Kings.  Let me know if you’ll be there, and I’ll meet up with you and give you some swag. Hope to see you there.

Whew!  That’s it for now. Time for me to get back to working on NAKED HEAT (after the game tonight). That’s Wolf’s story. He’s kidnapped the love of his life, and he’s in deep do-do.  LOL!

Congratulations to The Winners!

PrintFor the last couple weeks, my newsletter subscribers had received instructions on how to win gift cards. I first offered one $20 gift card. With so many people participating, I added 3 $10 gift cards. But when I was picking the winners, I decided to add one more $10 gift card. I sure wish I could’ve given everyone a gift card.

I loved the enthusiasm. What a blast! Thank you!

Here are the winners. Check your email box.

$20 Gift Card
Colleen Conklin

$10 Gift Card
Pat Fordyce
Joy Isley
L Lam
Catherine Lemanski

If you wish to receive future newsletters and giveaways, go to my website and sign up.  Click here.

Merry Christmas, everyone!Glowing Christmas Tree in Snow