Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Conference Story

Yesterday's post reminded me of something that happened to me at the Atlanta RWA National Conference in 2006. Hopefully I'm not repeating myself.

I was in the elevator going to my room and as usual at a conference, it was crammed full of writers. In the middle were two ladies who had their badges covered. Editors or agents? They're so afraid of being attacked by hungry writers. LOL!

Me, being my shy self (NOT!), remarked on their badges being hidden. Thankfully the ladies were good natured and one said, "Oh, no, it just got turned around." Everyone laughed. I can't remember what I said next, but the agent responded, "We like everything about Southern writers," and she gave me her business card.

Then my cell phone went off.

At that time, the music on my phone was Gnarls Barkley's Crazy. So everyone heard, "Does that make me crazy! Does that make me crazy!" I said, "Oh, that's my husband." I didn't answer. Everyone cracked up. I started dancing (moving my hips and bobbing my head was the extent) with the music and then the agents joined in, then eveyone else. We all danced off the elevator to my cell phone music. It was so cool.

After the conference, I sent her a query with three chapters and mentioned the elevator. She rejected me, but hey, I got an answer in about sixty days and she said she remembered the incident.

It was worth a shot.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Etiquette Around An Agent or Editor

Okay, you're at a conference/workshop/New York City. An editor is standing next to you in the elevator. You recognize her and you say "Hello." Yes, I'm one of those people who will chat with an editor, especialy if she's stuck with me and cannot run away. LOL! Anyway, the question is, do you pitch your book?


But like all things in life there is an exception. If she asks, "What do you write?" And then she follows up with "Tell me about your latest book." At that time, feel free to tell her about it. Keep it short. Remember my blog from the other day about pitches. Be ready and smile, act excited about your book. It becomes contagious.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Editor or Agent

My blog is for me to post anything that comes to mind. Personal, goofy or writing related. Until yesterday, I haven't posted much about writing. So I've decided to start passing on what I've learned over the last seven years. Whether or not they're useful to you is up to you. Some things work for one person but don't for another. That's for sure as I've tried all and still not published. Maybe that has something with my writing or maybe not. Could be due to timing. Whatever. The info I'll give will be from the numerous workshops I've attended. Don't forget. There are no rules and nothing is written in stone.

So here's a tidbit for today. If you can't decide between an editor or agent for your lastest book, keep in mind the following. By sending out your book to ten different editors, you could've ruined your chances of obtaining an agent for the same book. Why would an agent want to represent a book already rejected by so many editors? She/he can't resubmit them. So think long and hard on your choice.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Today in my writers' group meeting, Kelley St. John did a great job in telling us how to pitch our manuscripts to an editor. So to give you a tidbit on how to pitch your next book, remember the following.

Fill in the blanks with your character's Goal, Motivation, and Conflict.
[character name] wants [goal] because [motiviation], but [conflict].

Let's use the movie Dirty Dancing for an example.
Johnny wants Baby because he admires her compassion but her father believes he's a bad influence.

Or how about the movie Ten Things I Hate About You.
Cameron wants to date Bianca because he fell in love with her at first sight but her father will not let her date until her older sister does.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thankful Friday

Believe it or not, there are certain foods I would turn down without a problem, but donuts are not one of them. Today we had a retirement party for one of the fellows at work and someone brought donuts from a little bakery called Fultondate Bakery. They could give Krispy Kreme a run for their money.

So I'm thankful for donuts.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Forget Me Not

No, I didn't exactly forget to post yesterday. I've been having laptop problems. Whether it had a virus or just something dummy (me) did, who knows. But after working on it for two days, it appears to be back into perfect working order. I must say though each time (twice) this has happened, I get physically ill. Like my buddy Diane said, "You're out of your comfort zone." Sad to say, but yeah.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Time Again

My turn to post over at Romance Magicians' blog. Come over and talk about being obsessed.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Moving At A Slower Pace

In the South, everyone talks slow and moves slow. Part of the reason is due to the heat and humidity. Some days you feel like you're walking through water and that isn't an exaggeration. And Southerners do love to exaggerate. Thus, all the storytellers.

Yesterday, I realized it takes me five to eight minutes to get out of the car. When I arrived home from my dad's (a two hour and fifteen minute trip), I drove into the garage, unplugged my iPod and placed it into its case (don't want scratches), took off my sunglasses and placed them in their case (ditto the other reason), put on my regular glasses (I refuse to wear bifocals), placed my cell phone into the special pocket inside my purse and then gather everything together and stepped out of the car after pushing the button to close the garage door. If you close the garage door before getting out of the car, you will be sweating by the time you get in the house. Too hot and stuffy. Gone are the days of turning off the car and just getting out. LOL!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mid-Summer's Day

This is one of my favorite days of the year. More sun the better. It won't be dark until about 8:30 pm. Wonderful! Just Wonderful!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Keep On Trucking and Far Out!

If you recognize those words in the subject line, then I know what generation you're from. Of course, I know those phrases are no longer used. Thankfully, my oldest daughter reads my manuscripts and helps me catch any errors and "old people" terms. LOL! I never realized some of the terms I used were considered out of date. For example, humdinger and hell bent for leather.

I also catch my heroine referring to the hero as a "young man." Sorry. No twenty-something year old woman would refer to a guy near her age or a bit older as "young" anything.

Anyway, it keeps me on my toes. (Hmmm, is that an old fashioned cliché?)

[Thankful Friday: That I'm going to see my dad this weekend. Can't wait.]

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Never Gets Easier

I was reading a lovely article by Elmore Leonard, the author of such books as OUT OF SIGHT, GET SHORTY, and THREE-TEN TO YUMA. The part that struck home was when he said, "After 58 years you'd think writing would get easier. It doesn't. If you're lucky, you become harder to please. That's all right, it's still a pleasure."


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Can't Beat Them, Join Them

I've volunteered to coordinate the Linda Howard Award of Excellence contest again this year (the 2010 one actually). This will be my fourth out of five years. We've got some exciting news that will be announced probably next month and one tidbit was already announced on our chapter loop. Yes. I'm cruel to hint and not tell. Heehee.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Traffic Crazies

On the way home this afternoon, I saw several crazy things and thought I would share a few.

The first was the guy in the truck ahead of me who was taking his tee shirt off. No. It wasn't because he was sexy. Take my word for it. The problem was the traffic was moving and he was driving. LOL!

Next, I stopped to gas up the car and noticed a huge shiny SUV parked to the side. At first, I thought, "How sad. It had a big dent in the side." Then when I drove passed it, I realized it was a big sticker. It was to look like it had a tear and as if it was made out of cloth. What's up with that? Strange.

Last, a sporty little car in front of me had a vanity tag and it read, "Braces." I thought. did they celebrate getting their braces off? Or they had a choice between braces and the fancy car? Then it dawned on me. It belonged to an orthodontist. LOL!

Monday, June 15, 2009

We Got A Winner

No. I didn't final or win a contest. This is to do with the HBO series, True Blood. Move over Bill. Eric is coming in!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Gasless Cows

Check it out. Yes. I know they're serious and it's important, but still think about it. It's funny.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Thankful Saturday

Ha! I was fussing so much yesterday about being paid only once a month, I forgot to do my usual Thankful Friday post. So here it is for Saturday.

I'm thankful my husband is interested in cooking most of the time. He's a picky eater and considering I'll eat almost anything placed in front of me, I've had a hard time cooking for him. Well, once he discovered THE FOOD NETWORK, he's been cooking up all kinds of delicious meals. I'll clean the kitchen all day long, everyday, if he'll cook. LOL!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Salary Isn't All It's Cracked Up To Be

I have only one credit card and they're going up to a ridiculously amount of interest. So I'm cancelling that one and getting a new one from my company's credit union. Before filling out the paperwork, I decided to give the fine print a look-see. It's pretty much like all other credit card terms including the 25 day grace period on new purchases. The only thing about that is I'm paid only once a month. Unless I purchase something the last couple weeks of the billing month, I'll miss out paying before interest is applied.

There are a lot of drawbacks to being paid once a month. 1)More taxes are cut per month out the the check 2) you have to learn to spread your money (gas, groceries, etc.) throughout the month. 3) If stores still do layaways, no can do as they're usually only good for 30 days or less with payments due once a week. 4) you only receive 12 checks the whole year.

Yeah, yeah, I know. I should be happy I have a job and I am. But I'm allowed to fuss about how most everything is set up for those people who get paid weekly, bi-weekly and twice a month. :-) You would think I'd be use to it by now. I've been getting paid this way for more years than I like to count. Can you tell I'm paying my bills?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Friend?

The main fellow in his clip is a friend of my youngest daughter. They go to the same college. Be aware there is a little bad language in it, but it's funny and intended to be by the way. They filmed it on campus.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Five Things You Don't Know About Me

My oldest daughter sent me a list of 25 Things I didn't know about her. Well, I'm tired and really want to go on to bed, so I'll do only five. In keeping with thinking positive, I'll list things/events I won.

1) In elementary school (5th grade?), I won the Valentine's Day best box in my class. All the kids decorated shoe boxes to place our Valentine's Day cards inside. I placed a beautiful red feather on mine. Have no idea where I got the feather, but it did the trick.

2) In the 70's, I won all of the top 40 Country hits for that certain week. I was so disappointed to find out it was on one album. And I still have it. Probably a collector's item.

3) One time at a friend's birthday party (I was probably eight), I guessed the number of beans in a jar and won. Can't remember what I won. I just remember how surprised I was in guessing right.

4) My church use to hold a special women's meeting once a month in the evening and for four months out of six, I won the door prize. It got so embarrassing, I would give them away to other ladies there.

5)In 2007, I won my one and only writing contest. Short contemporary in the Golden Gateway. I've placed five times in 3rd placed in other writing contests. LOL!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I'm An Addict!

Geez, Louise. I've entered two contests today. What in the world am I thinking? I don't have the money but...yes...I have a problem.

Hello, my name's Carla Swafford and I'm a contest junkie.

By the way, the book is in the mail to the editor. Nail biting time.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Wish Me Luck

Well, I'm finished and the manuscript is going out in the mail tomorrow. I think the story is fun, hot and different, and I hope the editor will think so too.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Come On Over

I posted over at Southern Magic's Romance Magician blog today. It's one of my old posts from January that I revised and added.

By the way, I finished editing my paranormal (once again) and it's ready to print and mail out. YEAH!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

National Conference Count Down

Just five weeks and two days more and then I'm off to Washington DC! I cannot wait. Never been there. Looking forward to the sightseeing. I hope it's not too hot. Yeah, yeah, I know I live further south and should be use to the heat, but I live and work in airconditioning. I'm spoiled.

There're so much about conferences I love. Getting to talk about writing all day and night, in this case for nearly six days. Whew! No cooking, cleaning. No dealing with equally spoilt husband. No customers to deal with. No driving back and forth in Birmingham traffic. Lots of free books. Seeing lots of my favorite authors including my buddy Sherrilyn Kenyon. Getting to see my other buddy, Christy Reece, at her first literacy signing. Chances to see editors and agents. I just have to remember to take it easy and not wear myself out.

Oh, yeah, I can't wait.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Thankful Friday

After dealing with a couple of my not-the-brightness-blub-in-the-pack customers today, I've decided my post will be that I'm thankful I have common sense. Sure, I may not be the smartest person around, but thank goodness I have walking around sense.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


I'm not getting all my emails and it's most frustrating! Too much to do in so little time. Talk with you tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Believing In Yourself

While eating dinner, my hubby was watching a NASCAR special on TV. Something stood out in every interview. Each of the drivers had confidence in what they did. That's not saying they were arrogant, though some acted like it. But they understood to get where they were in The Cup, they had to believe in their talent.

I know you have to believe in the possibility you can reach your goal before you can feel that confidence. So here's to believing!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Fur Flying

I've working frantically on getting my manuscript in editor worthy mode. So excuse the short post. I took out 8,000 words and have to find that many to put back in. Truth be told, I do work good under positive pressure. And this is the way-positive type. LOL!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Good News

I sent out a query email last Friday to an editor I met a couple years ago. I received an answer this morning. He asked for the full!

So I'm checking the manuscript one more time and making some changes. Hopefully I can speed up the action in the beginning by moving and rewriting a scene to a different spot. It should work.

You know how it is. You work and work on a manuscript until you want to scream. You decide to send out queries and if someone wants to give it a look, you THEN do the final tweaking you know it needs. It gives you the drive to be excited about the book again. So I'm giving myself one week and then off it goes!

Yeah, yeah. I know. There's a chance he'll reject it, but it won't be because I didn't try to improve the book one more time.

Boy, oh, boy, I'm so excited. It's with a publishing house I would love to be part of. Of course I would. Duh!