Yep. If you didn’t see it in an earlier post, I’m on TikTok. Be careful. It’s addictive.
Geez, I forgot to post this. April 5 was the release date for my short story “Kidnapped For A Day.” It’s in the book What A Day! by the Heart of Dixie Fiction Writers.
Here’s the blurb.
There are 11 authors total, but the biggies are NYT bestselling authors Linda Howard and Linda Winstead Jones. Be sure to pick up a copy (ebook or paperback) at all major on-line booksellers. Enjoy!
Giveaway time! Here are the goodies that will be given to one winner: Betsy Johnson purse, books, band candy, Bath & Body products, and author swag. The giveaway starts today and will end October 31, 2022.
Every few weeks, I will post new methods of how to add your name (again) to the drawing. One entry per person per method.
So how do you enter your name this time? Go below and tag someone who loves spicy romance books. Must be done on my Facebook page only and you’re there now.
Only your name will be added to the drawing. The person tagged will have a chance to enter by tagging someone here that they know who loves romance books.
Drawing to be held October 31, 2022 and winner announced here and on my website (carlaswafford.com).
USA only. Giveaway provided by me, the author Carla Swafford. Goodies will be mailed or shipped via UPS to winner.
And I plan to add more goodies to the wonderful hoard.
Facebook does not endorse, sponsor, or administer this giveaway.
Click here to enter drawing: https://www.facebook.com/CarlaSwaffordAuthor
What do you hear?
Lately, I hear a lot of characters in TV shows, movies, and books say a statement and then end it with “Yeah” as a question. For example, “I’ll see you inside, yeah?” And a present day popular adjective is “epic.” “That idea is epic.” “The trip will be epic.”
When I was a teenager, the statement with question was “You know?” So it would go like this, “I’m so thirsty, you know?” And the popular adjective(s) was “far out .” “The party will be far out.”
What did you say when you were a teenager? What current “colloquialism” do you hear?
The other day, I was looking over a book that had belonged to my paternal grandfather (now owned by my brother). Granddad is #133. Cocky booger, isn’t he? Look at that tilted hat. Love it.
Earlier, I had been looking at the records of my maternal great uncles who had also fought in WWI. Turned out most Alabama boys were in the same 167th U.S. Infantry (previously Fourth Infantry National Guard of Alabama). The three uncles were in Company C while the one in the picture was part of Company A. They were on the same ship (picture) to England and later made their way to France.
By the way, before WWI, the 167th had gone to the Mexican border to protect it from Pancho Villa.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancho_Villa_Expedition)
I added a few more pictures from the book you might find of interest, if you’re like me and love history (family’s or not).
Memories Of Long Ago
A few weeks ago, Hubby and I drove through the old section of Dora, Alabama. Lots of old buildings and brick shells from a fire years ago. Fascinating for sure. I can imagine my maternal grandfather and his dad walking on the streets or sidewalks. A few pictures below. The ones in color I took on the drive. The black and white are from Pinterest. Several sites showed the same B/W pictures without copyright marks.
Speaking of my grandfather, I’ve been talking with my uncle about him a lot lately. He’s the youngest of my mom’s siblings at the age of 83. I’ve always thought of him being so cool. He is. It’s funny how we see the same man in two different lights. My uncle thinks of his dad as a stern SOB. While I grew up with my granddad as being a sweet, loving old man. My uncle finds it almost unbelievable that the man he knew being that way. My uncle left home at 18. He packed his bags one day, left with some friends for Indiana, and didn’t come back for a long time.
Anyway, here are some of my memories of Granddad.
First, not exactly my memory, but I remember my mother telling me when I was around 18 months old, I was feeling sickly and Granddad was the only one who could comfort me. Every time he tried to sit me down or hand me off to another person, I would cry and hold tight to his neck. Maybe that was why he liked me in particular. I do understand how a child can touch your heart by their unknowing preference.
When I was probably around seven (1963), we were walking to the store to get a dope. (Up to 1929, cocaine was used in Coca-Cola’s formula and since people would act dopey after drinking one, they would call it a Dope. And yes, I thought he mispronounced Coke. HA!) Along the trip, I dropped my dime onto the dirt road. He and I searched for several minutes without luck. He told me to not to worry that he had another dime for me to use. I was so relieved. And I do remember walking into the musty smelling store with him. Several old men were sitting in the back, around an old cast iron stove, and teased him–as they were laughing–but I didn’t understand what they said. The next time I came to visit, my grandfather told me he found the dime and handed it over to me. I remember being amazed. Later, my grandmother said he’d searched for days on that dirt road for the dime. What a sweet guy!
Granddad had two mules: a black one and a white one. My sister and I loved to pet them, whenever they would let us get near. One time, several of us grandkids were visiting, and Granddad decided to hitch up the mules to his wagon and drive us down to the store and back. Considering it was no more than a half of a mile to the store, it was a short trip, but we were all excited about it (some of us were city kids).
Then one time Granddad came to stay with us for a few days. I was in fifth or six grade and he gave me $20. For what reason, I have no idea at the time. You have to realize that amount of money in 1966-67 was equal to $170 today. A whole lot of money for 11-12 year old girl. Thinking about it now, that must have been about the time he was told he had black lung. He’d worked as coal miner possibly from 12 years old (the 1910 census showed at 16 he worked in the mines with two of his brothers, ages 14 and 12). He died in 1971.
In early 1971, he came to stay with us for several weeks. During that time, I would get ready for school in the mornings and would go into Granddad’s room (formerly mine), and grab my clothes for the day out of the closet. He often could be found sitting in the chair between the closet and a window that looked out over the pasture behind our house. One morning, he stopped me and said that he wanted to make sure I finished my schooling. As that he’d been the same man who told his five daughters that girls didn’t need to finish school (none graduated), my mom thought that was strange when I repeated it to her. But he also said he loved me and started to cry. I hugged him and promised to finish school, and that I loved him too and started to cry along with him. A few days later, he was placed in the hospital and then moved to a nursing home (probably hospice care). I visited once and he called me by another person’s name. The drugs they were giving him for the pain caused him to be confused. My mom said it was his sister’s name. That I may have looked a little like her. At the time, I had no idea he had a sister, no less any siblings.
I have several more memories of my granddad, but the ones above are the more personal ones. Though my uncle and his siblings have/had memories far different from mine–he’s amazed by mine–it goes to show how time can change a person. Sure, some people never change, good or bad., but I think many people do. And as I my uncle has said, his dad loved his grandchildren. To me, all of this history I’ve been discovering about my family has enriched me personally, and pushed me to reconnect with my relatives.
As a kid, we don’t understand all of the things happening around us. As writers, delving into the reasons of why people do the things they do, helps our stories. A side benefit is understanding events that happened to us or others prior or currently. Not that writers know everything, but with knowledge comes understanding.
From my research, my granddad’s dad wasn’t a nice man and had deserted his wife and kids when they were needing him the most. And my grandmother never knew her father, as he left when she was little and her step-father didn’t want her or her brother. So when my grandparents married at 17 and 20, they were two souls who never had a regular, loving family. Then they had children and it wasn’t like they could get on the internet or read a book about childcare and raising children in a more understanding, kind way. They only did what was done to them. Sadly.
It appears times changed them, and I like to think their children grew up and worked at being better parents than their own. I would say most didn’t do so bad, and besides, people agree having grandchildren is so much easier.
Love you, Granddad. Miss you.
Stuck In Your Home?
Just a Mention
Though I’ve mentioned this before, I thought you might have missed it. I’m on TikTok too. Not that I do a whole lot there. Like most writers, I prefer to spend my time writing.
Here’s a recent video I did for that media.
What’s Going On With Me?
I’ve been working SLOWLY on the next Southern Crime Family novel. Sen’s story. But for some reason I couldn’t concentrate on it like I should. So I decided to do sometime I’ve put off for TWO years! Yes. Count them. One, two whole frigging years. Crazy. I had previously replaced the ebook covers for The Circle Organization books, but hadn’t taken care of the paperbacks. Same design, but I needed to include the spine and back copy.
Then they really needed to be reformatted (the inners). That takes time. Plus I wanted to added excerpts for the other books. As in Circle of Desire to have Danger and Deception excerpts in the back and so on.
Doesn’t sound like much trouble, but that includes updating the lists of books. I do have a total of 11 books out. Of course, there are two that are still with RandomHouse. I haven’t decided when to ask for the rights back. I had gotten the rights from HarperCollins to The Circle books two years ago (thus the new covers), but I’ve been putting off the RH ones. Maybe because I hope to write for them again one day? *shrug*
Beyond the 11 for sale, I have 10 books written that are not published. One day soon (hopefully), I plan to rewrite most of them. Not counting, I have another hockey romance and a suspense book I plan to write. Then I might even try my hand at historical (1910s). Goodness, I need to get myself back into forward gear and get to writing.
And I also have plans to release The Circle in a bundle hopefully in the next month or so.
Moving on. As I like to include these on my website, here are copies of my latest ads. By the way, I’m on TikTok. Be sure to follow me! See. I doing a lot of stuff.
Market Resources and Such
Hey, where do you go for your market info? I used to read RT Book Reviews. (I always wondered why she didn’t put the magazine/website up for sale.) Of course, I check Romance Writers of America’s website, magazine, and notices, but I like more than one source. The blogs I have checked out in the past have gone or they do only reviews. But here are a few I check out on occasion.
The above has podcasts that are interesting.
The above owner used to talk about the industry more, but since the Ellora’s Cave incident, I think she backed off. Sadly. But I understand.
Stephie had a great chart about contests (due dates, etc.) but has stopped doing that and has a link to another site that keeps up with it. Yet, her resource page is pretty good. Not sure how current.
Above is only reviews and interviews, but I like it. Heck, they interviewed me a couple times for Loveswept.
This one that follows I just found today. Just old stuff (1-2 years ago) but weeding through it some good info will pop up. I guess that is true to all of the links I’ve mentioned in this post.
Here’s another place to check out. They mix in articles about various writing tropes with the reviews.
What about you? Where do you find your info?
Sweet Home Alabama
Just like most people during the last year, I found myself with a little extra time. So I decided to work on my ancestry. My sister worked on it years ago which helped get me started.
I’ve learned so much about my family. I will say it’s important to know general local and world history and pay attention to dates if you do this. It will make it easier. All of the info I came across was so fascinating. It’s like my family has reintroduced themselves to me.
My goodness, I have generations galore that grew up and were buried in Cullman (half of Cullman City Cemetery is filled with my relatives/ancestors) and Walker counties. Sure, back in the 1700-1600s and beyond, they lived in Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, England, and Wales. There’s over 1,000 people in my tree. But I remember hearing stories about many of them (those from the last 100 years) when I was growing up, but the research has taught me so much.
Like that my paternal grandfather had joined the Alabama Army National Guard at 16 years old and was sent to Arizona to protect the border. This is during the time (1916) Germany was pushing Mexico to invade the U.S. and Pancho Villa was attacking U.S. cities. Be sure to look this stuff up. That’s a rough explanation of why my grandfather was there. The picture above of him (he looks so freaking young) with his first wife is on their wedding day. He was about to be 19 and she had just turned 18. Not my grandmother. Sadly, the pretty lady passed away at 23 from a sickness. She did leave behind two beautiful daughters. My aunts. By the way, I never thought of them not being fully mine.
Anyway, the crazy thing is, I could throw a rock and hit land where one relative or another owned or rented it at one time or another.
Side note: In 2019, my husband and I moved to be nearer to family. We had lived northeast of Birmingham for most of our lives. So when we moved to the northwest side of the city, you wouldn’t think that would be much of a difference. But there is. City vs country life.
Overall, there is so much to be proud of in my family though I will say some of them have the worst luck. One thing for sure, I wish I had asked my grandparents more questions.
All is good. I’m home now.
Available at Major Booksellers
Don’t Forget to Pick Up All Three
A Great Event Happening Next Year
Here is the information about the HUGE author book signing moved from this year (and last year) to 2022. Let’s meet!
Complete list of authors are shown at the bottom. Don’t forget it can change without notice.
General Event Information:
Capital City Author Event
May 20-21, 2022
Venue / Hotel Information:
Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center
201 Tallapoosa Street, Montgomery, AL 36104
Get your Tickets here: https://ccae2022.eventbrite.com
Capital City Carnival – Food, Fun, and Games
Friday May 20, 2022 7:00pm – 10:00pm
Live Music/DJ, Carnival Style Food, Table Games (with attending Authors), and Cash Bar
Ticket Cost: $15
Saturday May 21, 2022 11:00am – 4:00pm
VIP Ticket Cost: $25
Includes 1 hour early entry in the event from at 11:00 am, Special VIP Swag Bag, VIP Lanyard, and 1 Scratch-off Ticket (Scratch-off prizes include chances to win Amazon gift cards, raffle basket tickets, book cash, and more)
General Admission Ticket Cost: $5
Entry into the event from 12:00pm – 4:00pmAll raffle basket proceeds and door donations will be given to our event charity:Montgomery Humane Society Adoptable Pets
Room Block Information:TBA – Once new Room Block Link it available it will be posted
Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/CCAEReaderGroup/
Facebook Like Page:https://www.facebook.com/CapitalCityAuthorEvent.MGM/
Author / Vendor Interest Form: https://forms.gle/XUBubRCdDXXonppv7
So Your Readers Hate Your Heroine
When I first started writing, critique partners and contest judges would often have a problem with my heroines. When I sold my first book, my editor said I needed to make my heroine likable.
Geez. She’s a cold-blooded assassin (Circle of Desire) and I understood why she was that way. Why couldn’t she?
I had explained piece by piece throughout the book how she was a dumpster baby, grew up in an orphanage and foster care. Then she was molested and became a runaway, walked the streets for a small time pimp, and then trained by a psycho to be an assassin. Why couldn’t the readers feel sympathy for her?
Well, if more than one person tells you that they do not like a character, you have to listen. And a big clue is the two words I used above. I understood.
So that means, I didn’t help the reader recognize where she was coming from when she did or said bad things. You can’t guarantee that the reader will read the whole book to grasp all of the fine details that made the heroine become that person. You have to give the reader a reason for her behavior. Of course, I do get aggravated with a reviewer when they say “I skipped through the book.” If she/he had read every word, they would have understood the heroine’s thought process. But it is the author’s responsibility to make it clear in the beginning that the main character(s) is someone you want in your life or sympathetic to their faults.
With encouragement from my editor, I went into the first chapter and added a sentence. That helped. See, it doesn’t take an info dump to get a point across. If you’re wondering, I showed in the narrative that her hands shook. Showing she was human.
I believe women often have a problem writing women because we think our readers (majority women) know the motivations behind the female lead’s actions. But that’s not true. Not every woman feels the same way about a situation. So we have to explain or show her rationale.
Funny how I forgot that lesson from my debut book when I wrote my first Brother of Mayhem book, Hidden Heat. Several reviewers felt that Cassidy was being immature by the fits she dealt the MC. She’s a strong heroine who knew if she didn’t stand her ground the club would run all of over her. I obviously didn’t make that clear enough in the beginning. But thankfully some reviewers/readers understood. Here’s one review that proved it. Debbie’s Reviews in Goodreads.
This means we (authors) have to stay on our toes and give our readers the information needed, within reason and in the most entertaining way. And readers need to give strong (or weak) heroines the benefit of doubt. If you want to skip pages, just don’t read the book.