The Circle Series

The Circle Series

I recently updated the cover of my Facebook page for the Circle series.  Love the little show of, well,  you know. And be on the lookout this summer for a special deal on the series, along with the two novellas. Yes, five books.

Lastly, the two novellas have a new cover that will show up online this summer. So much to do and so little time.

What do you think?
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Book Signing February 8, 2020

MR-BN-Social-2400x1200Be sure to come and meet me. I’ll have copies of Circle of Desire, Circle of Danger and Circle of Deception available to sign. For the people who are in my Readers Group or purchase a copy of my book, I have swag to give you. So much fun!

For those who already have the books, take a picture of  yourself holding the book and show me the picture and I’ll give you swag!

For everyone else, I have book marks and excerpts (and possibly candy) to give out.

See you there!

Pile It on

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You know what I like about romance books? Of course, the hot sex, but truthfully, the layers my favorite authors weave into their stories. For romances, there should be two main plots in the book.

One, of course is the mystery of romance. You know, the mystery of how they come to understand they should be together (not just because they are compatible in bed, though that is important as it is in relationship) and how they work out their happy ending. A lot of this is internal conflict because love is emotion. Like duh, right?

Second, what is going on in their lives that pull them together? Or make sure they are at the same place at the same time? It can be a missing child, a failing ranch, a killer on the loose, etc. You get the idea. This is the external conflict.

Then you can layer on more. Maybe the two main characters’ families are mortal enemies (Jake: A Southern Crime Family Novel), or hero has a problem with being touched (Full Heat: A Brothers of Mayhem Novel), or heroine reappears after disappearing years before (Circle of Deception: The Circle series). That’s right. The hero and heroine should never be perfect. One can be a little less perfect than the other, but both should have faults. That makes them so much more interesting.

Just be careful with the layers and plots. As an author, it’s important to keep up withFemale legs and revolver
them. The plots need advancement throughout the book, and certainly need to be solved completely by the end. The layers need to show up along the way too. Usually, those faults need to be improved or a promise of improving. Not all of them, but the major ones. At the end of the book, the characters have to be better for knowing each other.

The only exception to solving a plot or improving a fault or more within a book is when it’s part of a series involving one main character. Such as Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series, Darynda Jones’s Charley Davidson series, Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, etc. 

Personally, I’ve quit reading series with a same main character. I get bored, and after awhile, the hero/heroine gets on my nerves. Maybe because they do not seem to grow and learn from their mistakes. Don’t get me wrong. The series above and many others are great series (they wouldn’t be NYT best selling books if they weren’t) but it’s just not my thing, my taste.

My series have a couple threads that run through them to connect, but nothing major. That’s why most can be read as standalones. The Southern Crime Family series is Full Heat_Swaffordcurrently the only one that will need to be read in order. Only book one (Jake) is out. Book two should be in the summer of 2020. The series is about three brothers and their
journey to find love and the true killer responsible for their father’s death. Each book is about a brother.

Another thing about plots. In my books of 60,000 words or less, I try not to throw in a complicated plot(s). Simple is best. If you didn’t, you would limit the romance in such a small book. And no, geez, that doesn’t mean putting in more sex. Romance is emotion. Getting to know each other’s personality traits, understanding why they do the things they do, often learning to trust each other, they are all part of a romance.

For that matter, I write for entertainment. The only place I teach a person something is through my blog posts here (or the workshops I do on occasion).

The Old Days

I came across a screen shot of my very first website. Yep. I designed it myself with SiteSpinner. A cool little software program that helps those unfamiliar with coding. It was WYSIWYG type and I used it for years. If you can read some of the small print, you will see I was a romantic suspense and paranormal writer. That’s paranormal romance writer by the way.Screen Shot 2019-08-25 at 11.27.12 AMOne day, I hope to pull out one of my paranormal romances and rewrite it and see if someone else likes it besides myself.

If you’re wondering, I wrote eleven books before I sold my first one. It was actually book number ten, my second romantic suspense, that Avon Impulse (HarperCollins) published. The first two books I ever wrote need to be thrown out, and only the plots used. One was a historical romance set in the Middle Ages. The next was a romantic suspense, not spy or assassin like my Circle books, but a former DEA agent (heroine) recuperating from her years being undercover. During the operation, she became addicted to cocaine while she played the drug lord’s girlfriend and she screwed up even more. She’d fallen for him. After putting him in prison, and length stay in rehab, she came under investigation. The special agent (hero) investigating her begins to have feelings for her. The drug lord escapes prison and troubles ensue.

No. I haven’t read it in years, but I still remember the plot.

October is a good month for me.  My first book, Circle of Desire, was published October 18, 2011, and on October 14, 2014, I agreed with Loveswept (Penguin-Random House) on a two-book contract. (Those books came out in 2016.) It was a mostly lovely experience I will never forget. The best part was joining forces with my agent, Emily Sylvan Kim, Prospect Agency. Love her!

So far, I’ve published 10 books.  All of them can be found at most major booksellers’ websites. Only one was from my pre-published days (yep, my debut book). So I guess you could say, I have a good stack to pull from when I have the time.

Presently, I’m working on a new Hockey Romance titled Fake Play.

 

 

The Heroine Hero

The Heroine Hero

No. I didn’t leave out anything between heroine and hero. Lately, there has been a debate of rather or not the word heroine is outdated.

Someone on Twitter had said that comics…oops…graphic novels (or whichever term you prefer) refer to superheroes no matter the sex of the character, not superheroes and superheroines. Okay. Sounds cool right? There’s more I can say about female superheroes and some of their costumes, but that’s not really what I’m talking about here.

I understand why people are saying there shouldn’t be a difference, but I disagree with that when it comes to traditional romance novels. So you can say there are certain stories or books that it should always be okay. It’s to do with their gender, and the two are equal in their importance in the story.

My novels have a heroine and a hero. They have a man and woman who fall in love. It is just my preference to write those type of stories.

Okay now on to the heroine hero point I want to bring up. I see this happen mostly in paranormal romances. I’m sure it happens in other genres. Maybe romantic suspense. You know, a female detective with a male lead who isn’t in law enforcement.

Anyway, it’s where the female lead has all of the skills to the point she doesn’t need the male lead, and she has big time control issues. As in she wants to control everyone and everything around her. It’s most tiring to read. While the male lead is there merely so they can have sex, and the book can be called a romance. Sure, he may come in and help out, but he is really just beefcake. Kind of like how the woman is sometimes treated in other books. (Then she would be just cheesecake. Look it up. LOL!)

I prefer that the male lead possess a certain skill or object she needs (get your mind out of tFemale legs and revolverhe gutter) to defeat the evil entity. That gives him a solid reason for being there.

While I’m writing this, I’m mentally going through my published books. Do I have a heroine hero? No. I have a few heroines with control issues, and the heroes certainly have their own issues, but they have skills.

Circle of Desire has a female assassin, and she loves to use men for relief (this is where you can let your dirty mind run free), but the hero is certainly there for a reason. He kidnaps her and works on bringing her over to the good side.

Hidden Heat_Swafford

In Hidden Heat, the heroine is bossy and unafraid of the bad guys. They are like uncles to her. Men who she grew up around. So she knows the Brothers of Mayhem MC inside and out, and the hero (undercover cop) can use her knowledge to bring the bad guys down.

My heroines are not wimps, but the two above are the most gutsy.

I like to think most of my lead characters are on equal footing, but the heroine is all woman and the hero all man, and that makes the dynamics of the romance more interesting.

RT BookReviews

RT BookReviews closed it operations on May 16, 2018. It was a sad moment for many including myself. I read the magazine from the time it was actually a newspaper (1980s). At least, my dream of having a review of my book(s) done by the magazine came true. Plus my name was mentioned a few times in the magazine.

Before the website goes dark next year, here are copies of the reviews and such. Side note: The highest star rating you could get at RT was 4-1/2 stars.

By the way, my first book came out 7 years and 17 days ago.

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(Out of the Shadows was the pre-published title.  Now it’s Circle of Desire)

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You can find the video at the bottom right of this website.

Action/Adventure: Circle of Desire

Facebook ad Circle book 1
I always like to show my ads here. Considering I can’t afford to have someone else to do them, I get a little happy when they turn out rather decent. What do you think? Not bad for homemade.

New Covers for The Circle Books

Here we go. Starting June 12, 2018, one book a week will be re-released with a new cover. I’m so excited and hope if you haven’t read them, you’ll give them a try.  Click on MY BOOKS above to see the back blurb on each.

 

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Stories from Dark to Light

Stories from Dark to Light

Readers are really benefiting from all of the independent publishing. You like dark romance, you have your choice of how dark. Want a romantic comedy? Yep, you bet your sweet bippy they’re out there. How about erotica? What type? BDSM? Of course, sir. Age play? Yes, Papa. Have a fetish? There’s a book out there for you. Historical or paranormal? Or both? Or everything above? Goodness, yes.

I love all kinds of romances, but I’m still old fashioned about one thing. My heroine or hero (read or write) cannot be married to another when the relationship is starting up or going on. Oh, yes, there are romances out there like that. Crazy, heh?

CircleofDesire mm cI love marriages of convenience (historical or contemporary), male – female spy teams, cowboys (historical or contemporary), and reverse roles (like my book Circle of Desire, the heroine was the dangerous assassin). Most of my reading and writing is dark, though I do enjoy reading romantic comedy on occasion. But the hero or heroine cannot be or act stupid. Bad or dumb luck is okay.

As I like to do every once in a while, here are some recommendations.

Lucas: A Cold Fury Hockey Novel  By Sawyer Bennett:  I do love this series. This book is one of her best. Such an unusual heroine. She has issues I can relate to. A great guy hero. Sweet story. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hot. Just lots of feels.

Alien Slave Master series by Samantha Cayto (The Captain’s Pet, The Rebellious Pet, The Untamed Pet, The Captive Pet, The Inconvenient Pet, The Undercover Pet.) Now be aware, these are not for everyone. So go with caution. Be sure to read the excerpts the on-line booksellers provide. The author did a great job on the emotions, and there was a wide spectrum.

I’m presently listening to the audio of Louise Bay’s The Empire State Series: A Week in New York, Autumn in London, and New Year in Manhattan. Lots of sex, but it doesn’t get monotonous. Good narrators and just an enjoyable story. Ms. Bay continues to make me happy.

I have mixed feelings about the dark romance (audio) Echo: A Dark Billionaire Romance (Bleeding Hearts Book 1)  by A. Zavarelli. In one of my earlier recommendations, I mentioned some of her books. (Love Ghost.)  This one . . . I liked but it went off in left field a few times. Still I enjoy this author’s unusual characters. I might get the second book’s audio. Still debating.

Her book, The Beast, no. It was too much of everything — too dark — and I read some crazy stuff. If you decide to check it out, be aware the male lead rapes the female. Multiple times. I just can’t call him a hero. Then again that might be your thing. You’ve been warned. I feel this is one of her older books she released after some/a lot success from her newer ones. Then again, what do I know. By the way, I listened to the audio and wasn’t too happy with the narrator.

Speaking of the narrator, for the last two books mentioned, she had a lilt at the end of every sentence. Bug the crap out of me. I guess I’ll stick to reading A. Zavarelli’s books, instead of listening to them.

Romance in Entertainment Weekly

Entertainment Weekly magazine had an interesting article this week. They announced the on-line version will have a “roundup” (reviews) of the latest romance novels. I was so proud that in the short article they hadn’t said the two words I hate (initials are B. R.). Then I pulled up the column on-line. There were those hated words. Oh, well, hopefully they won’t use them again. Anyway, I’m just glad they are giving all of our hard work some recognition. Be sure to check it out.

http://ew.com/books/2017/10/06/romancing-the-tome-novels-ew-reviews-september-2017/

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And by the way, CIRCLE OF DANGER is only 99 cents.  Not sure how long HarperCollins will price it that low, but be sure to go and buy it now. Links below.

REMEMBER TO READ IT SOON!  If you’ve been following my blog for long, you know how I feel about LARGE to-be-read piles (ebook or paperback). TBR piles kill authors’ careers.

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In a follow-up to Carla Swafford’s sexy Circle of Desire, the agents of The Circle—a top-secret group of assassins—are back and on the hunt for a dangerous drug lord capable of bringing women to the brink of pleasure . . . and devastation.

Marie Beltane, a lowly data entry specialist for The Circle, resents being treated like a little girl and wants to help by proving she’s worthy of being a full-fledged operative. Disobeying Arthur Ryker’s orders to stay out of the way, she accepts a simple fact-finding assignment—only to have everything go horribly wrong. Now she’s been injected with the drug responsible for the deaths of four local women, a drug that puts her sex drive into overdrive.

Ryker wants nothing more than to keep Marie safe from the world. He’s already killed to protect her from one madman, and he may have to do it again. While on a search for an antidote to her mysterious drug, he falls into a trap and must fight a new evil. Now he must become the monster he’s always feared to save the woman he’s always loved.

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Haiku for Circle of Desire

Some years ago, another author interviewed me and asked for a haiku about my debut book, Circle of Desire. So here it is.

Even wintry men
Find women to be a test
In their heated beds

That was fun. I’m not saying I’m good at it, but I do believe I found something new.

CircleofDesire mm cShe also asked, what makes the hero and heroine in Circle of Desire so perfect for each other?

At first glance, Olivia and Collin appear to be cut from the same cloth, deadly killers pushing their own agendas. But as you get to know them, you realize Collin sees through Olivia’s sultry pretense to the abused little girl inside. In turn, she sees through his coldness to a leader who worries that he may not be man enough for the job he inherited. They soon discover in each other what they each need. Olivia finds a man she can trust, and he finds a woman who believes in him. Besides, two strong-willed people clashing in and out of bed make some interesting reading.   

Same Tale, Different Story

Same Tale, Different Story

Some years ago, I had an interviewer to ask me, how does it feel to compete with Businessman Wearing Capeestablished writers?  I thought you might like to see my answer.

Wow! That’s really a good question. I guess I’ve never really thought of my becoming published as a competition with other authors. Maybe because I’m aware of the vast opportunities to take one story and turn it into a hundred directions. Over the years, I’ve heard we basically have a certain number of plots to write. Seven to ten are the most common quantities given. A good link to go to that explains this is HERE.

With those basic plots, we have an indefinite number of stories to tell. Since everyone has their own way of speaking, in this case, writing a story, we can have thousands, even millions of authors and never hear the same story, especially word for word.  Plus each reader has their own special need inside that drives them to purchase certain type of stories. I personally love forced marriage plots, contemporary or historical, along with CircleofDesire mm canything involving spies and assassins. The last two are why I wrote CIRCLE OF DESIRE, my debut book. Most authors do write what they want to read. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Readers want their need fulfilled more than once a year. Some have a monthly, weekly, and for those fast readers, a daily addiction. My addiction can be seen in the stack of novels waiting in my shelves to be read and the same number downloaded on my iPad

What I’m getting at is there’s room for many authors. Some who will be an instantaneous best-selling author (al la Stephenie Myer) and others who’ll take a few years to reach that same point of success (the fabulously talented Sherrilyn Kenyon). Of course, the publishing world has room for all of us in between authors.