Friday, October 30, 2009

No Marks, Thank You.

I love marking my heroes. Most of them have tattoos or scars. And some in the strangest places. LOL!

I'm thankful I never gave in to the temptation of getting a tattoo. They can become an addiction. I already have three addictions (eating sweets, reading and writing) and don't need any more.

Funny that I don't want tattoos for myself but love them on men. Just makes them appear dangerous and sexy. Of course that could be my imagination working overtime.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

And Then This Happened

I was looking at Books-a-Million website and they were advertising Nora Robert's latest J.D. Robb book, Kindred In Death. She has over 30 "In Death" books. It's amazing that she still has something to tell for the same lead character. Nothing wrong with it. People continue to buy them. I say more power to her.

I guess it's kind of like my favorite soap opera, General Hospital. It has been on the air for 40+ years. But at least the main characters have change.

Just amazing is all I'll say.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

So What!

So what if I’m not published! I still have something to contribute!

Of course, you’re wondering what in the world am I hollering about? Well, at a conference not too long ago, I overheard an attendee say she wondered if a workshop presenter was a published author. Asked why, she said, "If she’s published, she’ll know what she’s talking about."

Geez, didn’t that shoot down a lot of the advice I’ve received over the past, hmm, four years if not longer? A lot of the advice I’ve been given was from not-yet-published writers. Sure, I’ve received just as much advice from published authors, but I don’t remember one contradicting the other - except from pantsers and plotters, and that’s understandable.

Considering a lot of that advice, since becoming involved with Southern Magic, has been from non-published authors that are recently published, I believe that advice is very viable.

When it comes to me, my faults are many. Nevertheless, I can tear down a story and show you how to word your pitch or query letter and make it interesting, even exciting. Thanks, Kelley St. John, for the lessons and advice. And, hello! that was given when she WASN’T published. I've included the cover of her second book - we at Southern Magic are very proud of her. (Side note: Love this book! I just know she was thinking of me when she wrote it. Ain't that right, girlfriend? Yeah, right!)

I’m a firm believer that not everyone is made out to be a teacher as everyone doesn’t have the tenacity to be a published writer.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


We’ve talked about men inspiring us and what it takes to be a hero. All good subjects. Actually my favorite. Now let’s talk about the women. Though we all dislike the too-stupid-to-live heroine – you know, the one that hears the strange noise outside and decides she MUST open the front/side/back door to investigate – I have to say at times she can be useful if written the right way.

For example, you can’t imagine a female police officer hiding in the corner. She’ll definitely be the one opening the door. Only she’ll have a gun and would know how to use it. That same type of heroine – the TSTL, not the officer – can be used as quirky heroines. Though they don’t appear to have the sense the Good Lord has given them, they are so much fun when they are constantly finding trouble. But I must mention again – the writing has to be handled just right.

Another heroine many of us dislike is the opposite of the TSTL one. She’s the wimpy heroine. This much maligned heroine is okay in the first couple chapters or so of a book, but I have to see growth soon. By a quarter or so in, she must have the beginning of a backbone. She can be shaking inside, but by God, she better get it together and find some conhones (figuratively, unless they belong to the hero…well, we won’t go there for now) or I won’t read another page.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Share Some of That Sunshine

As a writer, whenever someone asks to read some of my work or I ask someone new to read it, I put a little of myself in their hands. And when they finish and have a hard time voicing their feelings, usually not meeting my eyes, and twitching and twisting their body, you know they didn't care for it.

I know what I write isn't everyone's cup of tea and that's okay. I understand very well how one person can love a book and another feel unmoved or even abhor it. But even understanding that, it still hurts.

YET, I still want people to read my work and be honest with me. How else am I to learn what works and what doesn't? So I smile and tell them I understand, patting their hand and hoping I've soothed their worries. I really do understand.

Then I tell myself I read books quite often (sad to say) that are boring and terribly wordy or have silly heroines or wimpy heroes. And I remind myself that an editor out there liked that book well enough to buy it and surely some editor will like mine. Then again, I may be delusional.

Of course, the other side is when I read a book that's superb and I've given up sleep to finish it, I become depressed and feel my writing is hopeless.

Continuing to be an unpublished writer is a hard. With the holidays looming nearby and well-meaning relatives asking me when my book will be published, I cringe inside. They have no idea I'm writing number ten. So I'll say once again, "Not yet. I'm still trying," and a little more of my soul dies. They always look at me with confusion and a little pity. I can imagine they think to themselves, "Poor thing should give up. Obviously, she's a terrible writer or she would've been published years ago."

Sorry to be such a downer. Except for wanting my two children so much, I don't think I've ever wanted anything so bad in my whole life. Maybe I'm a little spoiled in a way as in most things I've wanted bad enough, I've gotten. But so far, this one thing has stayed out of reach.

For the last four years, people have told me I'm on the cusp of being published, though I've written for many, many years before that. I have to say the last two I've agreed with them and I'm getting rather tired of waiting for an editor or agent to agreed with me and everyone else.

Will I quit? No. But I don't like how it has made me such a sourpuss. I want to be happy for other people's successes. Just because they've gotten what they wanted doesn't mean I won't. There isn't a limit of books that can be published in one year. I can be published too. But I have struggled with my attitude and I hate that. I like happy people and those who are first time published are the happiest anyone could be around. :-) I just want some of that happiness for me too. I'm certain there's plenty for everyone.

And you thought this blog was going to be about all the rain we're having in the Southeast U.S. Actually, I went through four titles. The others were so sad, I knew I would reget it later, so I settled for one a little more upbeat though demanding.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Well, Phooey!

I had great post in mind for today and it slipped my mind as usual. This is definitely getting old. ::sigh:: Maybe it will come to mind later. Whenever I think of it, I don't stop to jot it down. I really should. Really.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Come On Over

I'm posting over at the Romance Magicians' blog. It's about how to be a good speaker. Check it out.

Oh, and I'm thankful I have a nice group of writers to blog with too.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Just A Taste

I thought I would give everyone a taste of my current WIP...

Jaw clenched, Ryker took determined strides to the iris scan next to a large metal door. Then a buzz sounded and they entered a room the size of a basketball court. Every wall covered with large screens captured a different scene of people living their lives in various parts of the world. In the center of the room, faces tinted blue by the monitors in front of them were the supervisors and handlers communicating with their operatives.

Ryker stopped in the middle of the bullpen.

The balding, whipcord thin Bryan Tilton stood over a handler shouting instructions and pointing at the screen in front of them. Maybe a second sense alerted Bryan for he looked up and his eyes widen. Ryker headed straight toward him, ignoring the people ducking for cover.

Ryker’s fist shot out and clipped Bryan in the chin, sending the man sliding across the floor. Desire to flatten the asshole’s pointy nose almost overrode all of Ryker’s control. Good thing Bryan remained sprawled out.

“I swear, sir, I told her to wait until I could get backup in place, but she wouldn’t listen.” Bryan cupped his jaw and shifted it from side to side. “Two of our operatives are held up in a traffic accident about five miles from her last location.”

“Last location?” Ryker pressed. His fists, knuckles white, stayed by his side.

“The target’s house in Druid Hills.” Bryan scooted back when Ryker took a step toward him. “As soon as Phil and Harry reach the house, they’ll break in and save her.”

Afraid he would crack the man’s chicken neck, Ryker turned away and pointed at the nearest handler. “You. Sal?” Mohawk bobbing, the pale man nodded. “Tell Phil and Harry to call me on my cell as soon as they reach the house. Jack and I will be there in forty-five minutes.” He turned back to Bryan. “Have the Raven ready in ten minutes.”

His helicopter was perfect to cover the miles quickly and could land almost anywhere.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

As The Clock Ticks

People have told me over and over again how patient I am. As I get older, my patience isn't as it use to be. Why? I'm not sure. Maybe because as I get older, the future doesn't stretch out as far as it did when I was younger. (Note that I said younger, not young. HA!)

But for now, my patience is wearing thin when it comes to hearing back from agents and editors. It's a sad thing to say, but some days I wish to see a rejection letter in my mail box near the street or in my MS Office Outlook folder. Even a rejection is considered movement. Though backwards.

Yeah. That's sad.

P.S. If you're wondering, yes, I'm writing the next story but whether or not I get The Call determines what 'next story' I really should invest my time in writing. So I'm kind of dragging my feet...uh...fingers.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A View From The Rear

Last month, I posted a picture of the road (actually the sky was the important part) to my house after dropping off one of my co-workers. Well, this morning she emailed me a picture she took of the valley between her house and mine. In fact, it's actually the same valley I see in my rear view mirror as I drive to work. You can't see my house because of the trees and the miles separately us, but I love the low lying clouds (fog).

Beautiful, isn't it?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday Night Live

It's a little naughty, but funny. This is based on my favorite Disney movie. Gerard Butler is the beast. Click here. If only Gerard really likes what the beast claims. LOL!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thankful Friday

I'm thankful I have the gift of the gab! Someone in my family tree must've kissed the Blarney Stone for sure. LOL!

Funny that I say that with such a short post. I'll explain another time.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Movie

I want to see this. It looks so interesting and funny in dark a way.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I’ve been thinking, heaven forbid, if I never became published, what would I do with all my extra time? I love lists – sorry, I’m such a freak.

1) Stare at the birds nesting in the trees and imagine the female bird is wondering where her bad-boy boyfriend has flow off to as she tends to her “secret” babies.
2) Take long drives in the country and pretend the car riding my bumper is a secret agent. He wants me to go with him to another country and save the world from mass destruction.
3) Go to the movies and watch the current pirate movie. I immerse myself in the scenes as I make believe the leading men are fighting for my hand in marriage.
4) Clean house (finally) and picture a tall, rich tycoon sweeping me off my feet and hiring a mansion full of servants to do the work.
5) Sink into my tub for an hour long soak and pretend two (yep, I’m freaky) gorgeous men are taking care of my aches and pains.

Well, you get the idea. Even if I were never published (and not from the lack of trying), my imagination would keep on going. I guess I’ll keep writing them down and hope one of the stories hits the right editor at the right time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ants and Gnats

I loaned my car last week to my youngest daughter. We rented a car, but since she's under 25, the extra cost was too much. So I drove the rental and she drove my car. Well, I get my car back and it has gnats and ants in it. YUCK!

Do you think I'll let her borrow my car again? No. She can bum rides from her friends. And hopefully she won't have any more car problems. I can't wait until she graduates college. Then she'll take better care of her stuff (and mine).

Ants and gnats...::shudder::

Monday, October 12, 2009

Work, Work, Work, Work, Work

Time for me to start querying more agents and editors. I haven't received any rejections from the lastest I've sent out, but I've learned that doesn't mean anything. Nowadays, they reject you without answering.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Busy Weekend

Been pretty busy this weekend answering questions and receiving in entries to the Linda Howard Award of Excellence contest. I don't have time to look at every entry, but I have to say there are some talented people out there.

Oh, and when you enter a contest and mess up, don't worry, most coordinators will give you an opportunity to correct it. :-)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thankful Friday

I saw two rainbows today. They were so deep in color. So I'm thankful for such beautiful miracles.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Suffering For Love

I haven't written anything in my new manuscript for a week. Mainly working on the Linda Howard Award of Excellence and trying to get something sent out to the Golden Heart contest for myself.

The new story is screaming at me. I've left my heroine tied up and desperate for help. The hero is on the way and worried he may be too late. You're probably asking, why won't she save herself? Because she doesn'tknow how. She hated the self-defense classes he insisted she take.

Yep, I really need to get back to those two. They need some help for sure.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Professionally, It Makes A Difference

I can't rememer where I read this, but someone asked if a female editor should be referred to as Mrs., Ms., or Miss. Considering I've been in the business world for a long, long time. Hey, I remember when Ms. first came into use. I can tell you I was thrilled back then that we finally had an address for a woman to use in the business world and it didn't have anything to do with her martial status.

Personally, in the workplace, whether I'm married are not, shouldn't play in any aspect of my work and especially in addressing correspondence to me. At work, if someone addressed an envelope to me and wanted to be formal (actually that's now far and few between what with the informal world of email), they should say Ms. Carla Swafford.

If someone outside my job is addressing something to me at home, maybe car insurance or a request for a donation, then they can address it to Mrs. Carla Swafford. Never Mrs. Hubby Swafford. I can promise you, I love my hubby, but I am my own person. Part of growing up in the years of women libbers.

It makes me think of something I read once about a person walking through a cemetery and coming across a large headstone reading, "Here Lies John Doe." (I can't remember the name.) And beside it was another headstone with the words, "Here Lies John Doe's Wife." It horrified me. The woman wasn't worthy enough to have her own name on the marker? As you can tell it made an impression on me.

Of course, years later I realized there could be another story to the wife's headstone. She could love the man so much, she didn't want to be known as anyone else, but his wife. Hmmm. I couldn't imagine being so lost in another person like that. Not healthy at all in my opinion. But that was another time...thank goodness.

Oh, I never truly answered the question the person asked on the loop. Here it don't know if the editor is married or not and that's rather personal and really has no bearing on getting your manuscript looked at. You can show Ms. Editor Name or Editor Name. As long as you don't start the letter out with Hey, Editor (literally or only her first name - one's too general and the other too personal).

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bugs Bites!

I hate getting bug bites. Of course, who doesn't? I've been around people who say they rarely get bitten. Me? I can be in a room with a hundred people and ten fleas. All ten fleas will bite me and not touch another.

While my daughter's car is in the shop, she's driving mine and I'm driving the rental. On the way to work, I started itching. When I got to work, I figured it out. The car has fleas. It was confirmed on the way home. I caught one and threw it out the window. Yuck!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

It Comes In Threes

Why is it everything comes in threes?

My college student daughter's car needs work and she brought it home today. We decided to rent a car but the fee for a 21 year old to use it is too expensive. So I'm using the rental.

Then about thirty minutes ago, our big screen TV fizzed out. Bad. It's only two years old.

In the past, whenever we had things to blow or wear out, our bonuses at work took care of them. But we haven't received a bonus this year and we're having to hit our savings again. Not that I'm really complaining as many people don't have any savings at all. For that matter, many people are without jobs. But it's still a bummer.

I just hope number three won't be too bad.

[added 10/5: I just realized number three (actually number one) happened the other day. Some of the sheet rock on the garage's ceiling fell on my car last week. My hubby was able to wax the scrapes until they're barely noticeable. But now we can see the attic. Hopefully it will be okay until we save up the money to repair it. ::sigh::]

Saturday, October 3, 2009

One of My Peculiarities

I'm a little strange. I find cementaries interesting. They have so much history in them. People who participated wars, died young, or have their family buried around them. I came across these and thought the first one showed the couples sense of humor. His reads "Gone Flying" and hers "Gone Shopping". The next one shows a group of people (really not sure if they're related or what) and they're Alabama football fans. The A on top is solar powered and will light up at night. The last picture is what it looks like inside. Letting others know what they look like and what may be a few of their favorite things (besides football).

Friday, October 2, 2009

Thankful Friday

This evening I watched a documentary on thrillers. One name stood out among all the directors of thrillers. Hitchcock.

Alfred Hitchcock was awesome. Even when I was a child, I appreciated his dry (and slightly warped) sense of humor. Click here to read about him.

I'm thankful I recognized his genius. :-)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

On-Line Workshops

This week, I've been giving an on-line workshop on judging. Today, I'm starting a workshop given by Lisa Gardner on writing synopses. It's a month long. That blows my mind. The judging workshop I'm giving is only a week long and it's taken up a lot of my time. Though I must say the attendees have been delightful.

I sure needed this workshop. I've been needing these lessons and looking forward to it. And I'm almost certain my lack of synopsis skills have been hurting me when it comes to the editors who ask for partials and synopses.