Sunday, May 29, 2011

Romance Magicians: When Is Enough Enough?

Romance Magicians: When Is Enough Enough?: "When is enough enough? I’ve thought about this a lot the last couple years. My first submission was sent out in 1992 and I didn’t send anyth..."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

From Publishers Marketplace

Carla Swafford's debut OUT OF THE SHADOWS, after being kidnapped by the enigmatic leader of a rival mercenary group, an assassin learns she may not have been working for the good guys after all, to Wendy Lee at Avon Impulse, by Nalini Akolekar at Spencerhill Associates.

So cool!  Been reading their Publishers Lunch for years and my name finally showed up in their deals. Totally cool.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Loyalty

Nothing in particular came to mind today about this, but I know that I'm a loyal friend. I rarely say bad things about someone I consider to be my friend. Doesn't mean I don't see the person's faults. (The rarely part.) I just figure they overlook my faults so why shouldn't I overlook theirs?

Just thinking.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Contests

No, this isn't another one of my rants about judges and contests and what they do wrong. It's just that I realized I'm addicted to contests. Give a person a few finals and she wants to enter them all. Thankfully (odd to say that) I'm low on income and can't enter them all. Never really saw the need, so it's a good thing I do have some restraint.

I knew a girl who entered so many in one year, she spent over $3,000 dollars. That was when you had to pay for postage there and back. The supplies (envelopes, clips, paper and ink) could add up quick. But still, folks, that was too much. The most I spent in a year was $427 and I still choke when I think of it. Yes. I do keep a spreadsheet. That was the first year I was without a bonus (been three years now) and still had a little extra funds set back. I guess if I was a smoker or drinker, I would spend a lot more money on those habits than I did on contests. It did cut into my buying books but then I get a lot of those free through readers luncheons and conferences I attend. That's really where my extra money went, but all for the purpose of trying to get published and networking. I must say it's paying off. More of that in another post later this year.  Cruel, ain't I?

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm not going to the national conference this year. This will be the first year in nine that I won't be to a conference, national or regional. I probably needed a break from them anyway.

Back to contests. I realized I can't enter the Maggies or the Golden Heart this year. And I had gotten my highest scores ever in the GH this year. Click here to read about that. It makes me sad, but then I knock myself over the head and think, CARLA (I'm on first name basis with myself), YOU'RE GOING TO BE PUBLISHED!  LOL!

I guess my next addiction will be in searching my name and looking for reviews (good or/and bad) and bemoaning that.  Of course, there are always the Ritas and other "published" contests.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Conferences

I received a surprise yesterday in my email. My agent's agency sent me an email inviting me to their cocktail party during the RWA's national conference. It was really neat looking and you could RSVP directly into the "card." Made me so sad to have to click on UNABLE TO ATTEND. I keep telling myself that next year I should have enough money saved up to attend the one in Anaheim, CA. It's one of the states I've never visited.

All my extra money (and that's not much) is going to our family vacation. We try to do it every other year. I cheated last year and went to another conference. Long story. Don't misunderstand. I love taking family vacations. My girls are wonderful and I love my grandson and his dad. I just wish I had money to go to them all. LOL! I guess I'm being greedy.

Besides, my hubby will probably want to come along to the conference. He doesn't understand how they're the only place I can have my "girls' night out." And plus I enjoy not having to worry if he's bored.

We'll see.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Riddle Me This

Who first started using the phrase, for the greater good? Why does that sound better than, for the bigger best?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Celebrate!

I'm still celebrating THE CALL! So come over to Romance Magicians and tell be something good. You might win a $25 gift card to Amazon.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A New List

It's funny how I finally sold a book (two actually - YEAH!), I look at a lot of things differently. Here's a little list. You know how I love lists.

1)  Book reviews
2)  Writing contests
3)  Conferences
4)  Book covers
5)  Email signatures
6)  Posting on FaceBook, Twitter, and this blog
7)  Life in general

Surely you understand what I'm saying here without going into detail.

Something you probably knew deep inside that was coming, I have to cut back on my personal blog. I'll probably blog a couple times a week. Maybe in a few months, I can start blogging every day...well, nearly every day.  LOL!  For now, I have a second book to finish and quick. 

Wish me luck.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Deadline Girl

I've decided I'm a deadline girl. Working on a book while knowing someone will want it as long as I keep it in line with the previous one is inspiring. Knowing the genre is the right one for me at this time helps me focus too.

Of course check back with me in a couple months and I might sing a different tune.  LOL!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Happy Friday The 13th

You know the other day on this blog I was talking about the number 13.  A few more have crept up.

In numerology, you add numbers up to find their meanings. Well, I was looking at the original email I had gotten from the editor. It had been sent to me on 5/04/2011 at 1:57 p.m. So add 5, 4, 2, 0, 1 and 1. What do you get? 13!  Then add 1, 5 and 7.  Another 13!  (And if you change the time to military, it reads 13:57!)

Yeah, yeah. I know. That's kind of stretching it. But isn't that freaky!

Then Wednesday I receive the agent's contract. I signed it and decided to go ahead and date it the 13th. It just seem appropriate to sign the contract on another Friday 13th. Maybe now I'll have a lot of good luck.

No. I'm not nuts. Just playing it safe by my way of thinking. 

Thanks, Grandmother!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

CONAN is back!

Oh, yes. Half naked warrior and swords. My kind of movie.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Busy, Busy

As you can imagine, I've been busy searching for the right agent. I have four good candidates.

I'll let you know Wednesday on who I decided on.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Number 13 Strikes Again!

I’ve got to tell everyone. It’s something I mentioned to Christy Wednesday and I know she thinks I’m nuts. Well, I am but that’s beside the point…the number 13 played a large part in this. Yes. That unlucky number most dread to see. It just so happens my grandmother always told me that 13 was her lucky number. She had 13 kids (how can that be lucky?), was married on the 13th and her first house number was 13 and she mentioned others I had forgotten over the years. Anyway, after having that conversation with her, I’ve never really had a fear of that number.

Back in March, I wrote a post about the number 13 and how it kept popping up. I worried it would be bad juju. I should’ve known better.

Then on April 13, I sent in my full to Avon Impulse. Yes, folks, that was a Friday.  [Ooops! That was actually a Wednesday.  Just as The Email was received on a Wednesday.]
Coincidence? I don’t think so. I believe my grandmother was giving me a heads up. That’s not the first time something strange like this happened.

I would love to hear if you had similar things happen to you.

Here are the links to the blogs about this.
http://carlaswafford.blogspot.com/2011/03/bad-juju.html
http://carlaswafford.blogspot.com/2009/05/your-lucky-number.html

Oh, HAPPY MOTHERS' DAY!

Friday, May 6, 2011

THE CALL SORTA

LOL! I can't help starting off this post by laughing. It's been a crazy year but it's looking up for sure. Wednesday at work was busier than it had been the last couple years. Orders flowing in, customers with a thousand and one questions. So all day at work I didn't get a chance to check my email at home.

Then at 5:05 p.m., before I walked out the door to a hair appointment, I checked it and someone had OUT OF THE SHADOWS in the subject line. Well, I was expecting some scores on a contest and I figured that was it.  Curious, I opened it. An editor at Avon Impulse wrote that they would like to consider my book for their new imprint.

I started crying. Not just silence tears streaming down my face. Oh, no, that would be too pretty. Deep, choking ones. I told myself, hurry and smile or laugh or they'll think your dog died or something. I had to get out of my chair and go find someone to tell. Everyone had gone. Arrgh! Didn't they know I had important news? Then I finally found one of my co-workers. She congratulated me but you could tell from her face she wasn't quite sure why I was acting so weird. Then one of my beta readers and dear friend (hey, Terri!) came back to her desk. We hugged, bobbed around, hugged, and laughed and bobbed some more. Now that's how we all should always celebrate.  LOL!

On the way to my hair appointment, I started making calls. YES. I was driving while on the cell phone, but this one time it's excusable and I was careful. I promise. Thankfully the hair salon is only five or so miles away.

I had never really thought of the number of people who I owe so much in ways of leading, teaching, and cheering me on. I'll list them here in order that I called them (though some didn't answer when I called - how dare them! But they called me back immediately. I rarely call people so they knew something was up when my number appeared on their phones).   Candice (my eldest daughter), Christy Reece, Diane, Jennifer Echols, Jeanie (Lexi George), Sherrilyn Kenyon (texted actually), Audrey (my youngest), and my dad.  I know there were others I probably should've called, but I couldn't wait to get home and show my hubby the email.  Pipe dream, huh?

There's no contract signed and I still need to talk with the editor. Plus I need an agent. But I'm happy. An editor likes my book well enough to want to consider publishing it and unless I do something really stupid, this will be it.

I got so tickled when Sherrilyn posted the news on Twitter and Facebook. I forgot to tell her it was a secret for now. She's so good to me and is as excited about it as I am. So how can I be upset? She's always wanting the best for me. She's the happiest person I know. That's why I like being around her as much as possible. She's a good, good person. Not counting the smartest and one of the most talented women I know. Look at that list above, folks, that's a lot of talented authors. I'm blessed.

Once her 5,000+ fans on Facebook and 13,000+ on Twitter knew, I figured I better tell my RWA chapter mates about it.  LOL!

So I didn't really get THE CALL, I got THE EMAIL!  The world's a-changing.  I hope the editor doesn't mind all of this since I haven't really TALKED with her yet.

Be aware that I might be quiet on posting for a few days until I get my feet back on the ground and this craziness all figured out somewhat.  You take care and I'll talk with you soon as I have to tell you what the number 13 has to do with this.  So check back Sunday or so.

HUGS.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Good Day

Today, we had blue skies, a little nip in the air and overall a wonderful day. Just wanted to share that small part with you. HUGS, world.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tornadoes!

I just realized that I haven't mentioned the storms from last Wednesday. So many people have lost their lives. One tornado hit a mile from my house. Someone was killed in the little community a couple miles away. My family and I were so fortunate and blessed. The worse that happened to us was my eldest and my mom were without electricity for a few days.





Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pacing

It's been a while since I shared an old Auntie WIP article with you. This one is about pacing.
First, let’s look at what the Oxford University Press Dictionary tells us about pace/pacing.

pace: noun 1. speed or rate of motion, development, or change. verb 5 move or develop (something) at a particular rate or speed.

Of course, you’re thinking, “Say what?” Well, let me say I found that most writers agreed pacing is tied with how much backstory, dialogue, and action you include in your story.

So to slow down a story include backstory, narrative, introspection, and long, complicated sentences. To speed it up add dialogue (no boring greetings or exchanged pleasantries), action, plot or subplot turn points, short sentences and paragraphs.

Do remember that too much of one or the other can be boring or too intense. You can imagine if we read several paragraphs of introspection, such as how pretty the sunset is over the Pacific, we would lose interest. Or if we read scene after scene of car chases, foot chases, boat chases...you get the idea. How believable could it be for the hero or heroine to never rest? Not counting that your reader would need a rest too.

Pacing can set moods. A few years ago, I read that the best way to make a scene more frightening was to have the scene before it to be mellow, slow such as a romantic moment.

Imagine that you’re reading a scene where the hero is holding the heroine in his strong arms and whispering in her ear. He tells her that he loves her and wants to live happily ever after with her. Then in the next paragraph his face changes. Suddenly a demon with horns and ridged forehead emerge. I don’t know about you, but I would be upset. I certainly would want to scream right along with the heroine who’s scrambling out of his arms.

Sounds almost like the old Michael Jackson video, doesn't it?

Here is a good link to check out more about pacing.