Thursday, April 29, 2010

Music To Write By

Like many writers, I enjoy listening to music while I write. Whenever I try to write in silence, my creative juices don't cooperate. But light classical can get me going and going and going. I've even been known to put on rock & roll and heavy metal. Usually that's when I'm writing paranormal. I don't know why it works that why, but whatever works I go for it!

I even have a couple books I've written that are based on songs. THE PREACHER'S SON was from a LeAnn Rimes's song, Probably Wouldn't Be This Way. The heroine is a Vegas showgirl who falls in love the preacher's son...he's the typical bad boy. At least that's what the town believes. Click on the video below and listen. Another book I wrote, A SHERIFF TO CALL HER OWN, is a take off of Eric Clapton's I Shot The Sheriff. The heroine accidently shoots the sheriff in a small town. Thankfully it only grazes his arm. Her brother is in jail accused of fatally shooting the deputy. The song is also below.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What Writing Books Should You Buy?

A friend of mine has a blog called Books on Writing. I've been enjoying her take on the different books she posts on. The information she shares is helpful in leading you to the better ones.

Like most writers, I have quite a few on the subject and some I wished I hadn't wasted my money. Not that the authors didn't know what they were talking about, they were just boring. I will say if someone recommends a writing book, be sure they have a copy of it and uses it. Don't buy it if they say, "I heard that's a good one." I bought one on that recommendation and regretted it. Who has $10 to $25 to waste?

Of course, most people will not recommend a book they own and don't like.

One I suggest you check out, and I'll apologize if I have already done so on this blog, is SAVE THE CAT! by Blake Snyder. I like his style of explaining things. It's relaxed with a sprinkle of humor. The book is actually for screenwriting but it can be easily applied to novels. I bought it when I read on another person's (can't remember whose) blog how excited she was about the book. The woman claimed it helped her become published. So who can ignore that recommendation?

Saturday, April 24, 2010


We're having severe weather tonight. In fact my writing group's meeting was cancelled. The weathermen are saying the weather is perfect for some F5 tornados. Those are the deadly kind. The ones that stay on the ground for a long time. The last ones were 1986. The worst in 1974. I remember those very well. One of the kids in my graduating class was killed. They say that one tornado travelled 100 miles on the ground. That's unusual.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Good Old Days

Today is the day we celebrate/remember the founder of the company I work for. They bring in a speaker and have song and prayer beforehand. I’ve been here twelve years and never attended the celebration because April is one of the busier months for my territory. I had planned to go for sure this year until I heard the speaker was a former NFL football player. First, I don’t care for football. Second, the last time I listened to a football player give a speech, it was in church. He referred to his good-old-days throughout the sermon and used so many analogies about football, it became ridiculous. I feel sorry for people who had that “great” season and then want to relive it over and over again to whoever will listen. It’s sad that those few short months or years are all they can identify with. I know I’m probably one of the few who feel that way. Then again, I guess that’s more than what I got, huh? LOL! Well, today, I’ll sit at my desk and answer everyone’s phones.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Will They Miss It?

I read today in the Publishers Lunch that Danielle Steel's former assistant will serve almost three years in prison for embezzling $760,000. That's not the first time I heard of an author's assistant doing that. Why do they think, "Oh, she's got plenty of money, she won't miss it. I deserve it more than her!" Stupid. One thing they mentioned about DS's assistant, her "part-time" pay was $200,000. MY GOODNESS! And she still thought she was owed more! Amazing.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What Every Woman Has To Put Up With

I can hear the women saying their husbands, kids or stretch marks. No. It's long lines at restrooms when we go to any function...concerts, circus, amusement parks, writers conferences, etc. Today, in Publishers Lunch, they measured the attendance of the London Book Fair by saying, "In the biggest book fair indicator of all, there were no lines at the women's rest rooms." For sure a good indication that the volcanic ash has messed stuff up.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Food Connoisseur

If you meet me in person, you know I'm a food connoisseur. ::smirk:: It was only in the last few years I tried lamb and found out I love it. Here in the Southern states, pork is king. We also eat beef, chicken and many types of seafood. So lamb is new to us. Anyway, there's a Greek restaurant in Birmingham that a few of us ladies at work like to go to and sit on their patio and eat gyros. They're wonderful.

Not too long after I discovered I enjoy lamb, I visited a new restaurant in my little community and on their menu they offered lamb. I was excited when I ordered by meal. It's casual dinning, so my husband picked up the food and brought it to our table. I looked at my plate and thought "Wow, it looks a lot like chicken." Then I realized they had messed up and given me chicken. I could've complained and taken it back, but the place was packed and I didn't bother.

The next time we visited I ordered it again. And once more they messed up the order and gave me chicken. How frustrating. Our booth was near the front counter and I turned around to look at the menu to see what I was missing, why were they giving me chicken when the menu actually said lamb? Then it dawned on me. It was their child's size meal of chicken called "Lamb plate." LOL!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Funny How You Look Back

I received my Golden Heart scores the other day. This is the contest RWA holds for unpublished authors. Five judges read roughly the first fifty pages and gives it a score 9 to 1. They're encouraged to use decimals. The RWA pulls the scores for the manuscript and averages it using a formula. The formula is a little crazy but whatever.

As you've guessed--as I would've been shouting it from the rooftops--I didn't finaled. In fact the manuscript is one from last year I'd received a high average and had revised to the nth degree and reentered. It averaged less. Yeah, I know, contests are crapshoots.

Today, I pulled all my GH scores on my other manuscripts and I actually had another one to score higher. I didn't even realized it. On my contest grid (yes, I'm that geeky) I had mistyped the average. To me, it's so odd. The old manuscript compared to this newer and revised one isn't in the same class. I know my writing has improved. A lot.

Okay, I'm going to say something that will sound like sour grapes, but I really and truly believe I'm being unbiased. I've read some of the mega monster winning entries as a judge, a coordinator and a beta reader. I can tell you the majority were well written but were so vanilla I had to struggle to complete them. There were a handful I definitely saw the reason they won or finaled all the time. But most of them, no. You're probably saying, they weren't my type of books (like the ones I buy) and that's why I say that. No. Let me give you an example. I detest time travel books. Not too long ago I judged one in the historical category of another contest (not the one I coordinate) and I thought it was wonderful and scored it high. I couldn't believed I liked it so much. Will I buy time travel now? No way.

Heck, there are books by a NYT best selling author I cannot fathom why everyone loves her books. My mother loves her. I've read at the least three of her books and they were okay but nothing to get excited about. I know if she entered a contest as an unpublished author, her book(s) would be torn apart (head hopping). Oh, well, that's why there is space in the world for so many authors. What one person enjoys, the other doesn't.

Thank goodness.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cartoon Time

Everytime I see Stephen King mentioned, I think about a Far Side cartoon I cut out for my sister years ago. She's a big fan of his.

The cartoon showed a man pulling two children out of the living room while a woman sat in a rocking chair watching television. One child cries out, "Mommy, don't let daddy read a story to us!"

It was titled "Bedtime at Stephen King's house."


Saturday, April 10, 2010


I've been watching Spartacus on Starz. I've never seen so many beautiful naked men before.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Trying Again

I received another rejection today. Hmmm, it's kind of funny. I've gotten more blasé about them but I know deep inside it still hurts. Yes. I know they're not rejecting me as a person. In fact, the agent was kind by telling me that I'm a good writer. Odd, I've heard that one before. Yet I read between the lines "Good writer, but not a great writer." Still the rejection sinks in and it's like hitting a bruised knee over and over again. The spot may become numb, but it leaves a bigger mark.

Okay, enough of feeling sorry for myself.

I decided it's time to get more queries out there. More chances to get that knee a nice black and blue color.

Thankful Friday: I'm thankful I haven't given up yet.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It's Alive!

Isn’t it strange when you’re writing your latest WIP and you decide to kill off a character, that’s not the strange part, and as you’re about to do it, he shows up alive and well. There you go. I guess the fellow will die later -- it appears I’m determined to kill him -- but he now has to provide key information to the hero to make his longer life worthwhile.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

It's A Small World After All

I've told my girls many times the world is a small place and how you act in one place may affect another part of your life. Examples of the small world.

1. I had a high school teacher who called us Miss So-and-so or Mr. So-and-so and I thought that was so cool to be called by my surname. I guess at the time, he was just out of college and in his first teaching job. I do remember how strict he was in class. Most of the other kids didn’t like him. I thought he was interesting. He was the history teacher and I’ve always loved history. He was the only teacher who ever said I was smart. Considering I made A’s in his class, I can understand why he thought that but I also remember hoping he never found out what I made in my other classes. Years later after moving to a new area, I joined a small church and to my delight he and his family were members. They were super (smart and sweet) and so nice to me.

2. I use to work with a woman who’s last name was Swofford and her husband’s first name was the same as my husband’s. Years later, my hubby received calls at home from people wanting loans. Turns out it was the woman’s husband who was a manager of a credit union. What’s even more amazing is to think people have the guts to look up a bank manager’s home phone number and ask for a loan or complain about being turned down.

3. We received calls and packages for a man who graduated from Mississippi State. We would tell people they have the wrong Swafford and they would argue with us. A couple years later, I was working with a new client in Mississippi and my contact had the same last name. Turned out it was his brother who worked at a local mall in Birmingham and had friends still at Mississippi State. This was before the internet and Google.

4. My oldest daughter had visited a friend’s church and, often what happens afterwards, some of the members came to visit us in our home. I asked if they were related to some cousins’ of my husband. The wife quickly said no. After further discussion, the husband admitted they were. It appears they wish they weren’t.

5. My youngest daughter joined a cheerleading squad and one of the girls had the same last name as my mom’s new husband. The girl's mom was petite and thought a lot about herself. I asked if by chance if they were related to my step-dad. The woman said, "No. No relation." She had such a panic look on her face. Turned out her father-in-law is my step-father's brother. I never brought it up, but my daughter told her daughter. I couldn't help grinning every time her daughter called mine cousin. LOL! You know by this time, I was wondering what's up with these people? I lived in a nice house, drove a decent car and had a good job. Same with my husband. What is wrong with this picture? Why are people so certain they're not related to mine or my husband's family? LOL!

6. One of my co-workers mentioned a church he and his wife went to for many years before they moved. It turned out to be the one I grew up in and my husband and I were married in. So I started asking if he knew different people I knew from there. Turned out his wife graduated from the same high school as me but a couple years later and he's close friends with a cousin of mine. Then over the next few months we found out we knew so many of the same people. It was strange. We wondered why we'd never met before. Too funny.

7. On a family vacation (without our eldest), I walked down to the beach to pick an umbrella to sit under. The area was little crowded but luckily I found two chairs and umbrella available not far from the hotel's ramp. I noticed a couple with no kids on the right and another couple with little ones on the other side. After about an hour of reading and enjoying the gulf breeze, the woman on the right leaned over and said, "Hey, Carla, how you doing?" She was my eldest's best friend's mom.

8. When my eldest was taking her license test, the state trooper who rode with her was a female and looked so familier to me. Turned out she was the wife of an old boss of mine.

9. The owner of the golf course near my home was married to my step-brother's ex-wife. I doubt they even realized who I was the couple times I met them.

10. I met three of my writing chapter buddies at the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport. They were flying back to Birmingham from San Francisco and hubby and I were flying back home from Seattle. Sure they were going back to the same place, but the airport was huge.

There are so many more small coincidences. Only proves you better behave yourself. You never know who's watching.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Crazy Week

Last week was crazy. As I mentioned in one of my posts, I had hurt my foot. Bruised the heck out of it. Thankfully not broken. How did I do it? I decided to clean out the attic with my youngest one's help a week ago Sunday. As we were bagging up ten years of toys and clothes, we noticed a spot on the flooring was soft. It probably got wet when a window was opened. Anyway, we had finished up the attic and I was moving a box to the opposite end of the room when the floor gave out. Only one leg went through the flooring and the living room ceiling. Yes. Living room ceiling. About one foot from the fan and all of the electric wiring.

The leg that went through the flooring/ceiling was brusied up where my thigh stopped my descent, but it was the other foot that took the worse of the punishment. It had to go somewhere when my leg was getting shorter. It twisted and for the next several days I had some interesting and colorful bruises.

To top it off, I had inhaled so much dust, I now have a sinsus infection that's driving me nuts.

Oh, and the Saturday before I got motivated to clean the attic, I received a rejection letter from Harlequin. Ain't that special?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Speak Out!

At the April meeting of my writers' group, I'm to present "Don't Let The Internet Catch You In Its Web." Yeah, it's a corny title, but I thought what the hey. It does give you an idea of what I plan to talk about.

Speaking of presentation, I'm one of those rare people who don't mind getting front of a crowd and talking. I came to that realization many years ago when my minister asked me to give a testimony in front of the congregation. So I wrote a poem about our little church. There were just a little over 100 members. I even thought about rapping the poem. Yep. Rap. I had enough sense not to try. Considering how uncoordinated I am, that’s a good thing. Anyway the poem was a hit and I was hooked. No. Not hooked on writing poems but speaking in front of crowds. Though I was nervous as all get out (southern term), I liked the positive experience.

Then I really became brave and started teaching Sunday School. I've taught teenagers and adults. Teenagers were fun but adults really drive you to learn more about the Bible.

Later, I realized as long as I'm familiar with the subject I'm okay and enjoy the attention. Yep. I can be a big ham about it and I even admit it to my friends.

Now you're probably wondering why I'm telling you all of this. Well, I was thinking today that when I was a little girl with a stutter, I never dreamed I would enjoy talking in front of an audience. Even now when I mispronounce or can't even pronounce a simple word that I know a meaning to, it doesn't bother me. There are probably a few people who roll their eyes but overall most of the people are glad it isn't them