Watching The Voice

If y8251a-adamlevine25e225802599sgirlfriend252cannevyalitsynaandadamlevineinvoguerussiaou don’t know already, I’m a big fan of Adam Levine. I love Maroon 5. And yes, I enjoy Pharrell (talent galore) and Blake (funny!). So watching The Voice makes sense. The blind auditions are the best part (along with Adam).  In fact, Adam is who I based Thorn (HIDDEN HEAT) on. Just had to say it. Now back to my writing (FULL HEAT).

Taking Time To Brush The Hero’s Teeth

Beautiful Woman Enjoys CoffeeOver the last year, I’ve read on Facebook and reviews for other authors’ books, readers complaining about the characters not taking baths, mowing the lawn, doing laundry, or needing to stop to pee. *snicker* They’re talking about the hero and heroine doing normal activities that a person will often do throughout the day.

I know sometimes I get so involved in writing the romance or the suspense, I forget to let my characters eat or sleep. So this is a valid concern.

Of course, the knee-jerk response is to say all of that will slow down the story.

In any book that is fast paced, high energy like most of mine, I have to remind myself to let the characters catch their breath, have a little down time. When I’m in edits, I try to make sure they get plenty of food and rest and try to think of other small daily functions I can mention.

Note that I said mention.

Don’t start explaining to the reader how she or he separated the colors from whites, folded the laundry, and placed them in the closet. Unless she’s a psycho serial killer and has a body in the closet and the laundry belongs to her victims, I rather not read about it.

If you want to show that moment of normalcy, you can have the hero changing the oil in his souped up classic Camaro and planning in his head the next raid against the bad guys. Maybe using a wrench to bang on the stuck oil pan in anger when he remembers what had gone wrong with the last mission. You get the idea. The everyday function is in the background. Kind of like, the characters are walking and thinking or talking. You don’t describe each step.

Well, like everything, unless he’s escaping from a killer and clinging to a ledge of a mountain. Then each step will count.

GOODNESS!  I can’t help it.  There is a good reason I write romantic suspense.

But it’s important to remember that whatever you place in that type of scene, you must have the plot moving forward, a tidbit of information the reader needs to put two and two together then or later. Or prepare the reader for what will come next. Along the way, this is a good time to show characterization.

Anyway, I believe you get the idea.  I’ll shut up now.

My Thoughts on Self-Publishing

Hidden Heat_SwaffordYep. My thoughts. Doesn’t mean they’re written in stone or scientifically correct, this is mostly just what I read and heard from others, and personal experience.

Sadly, I believe that the majority of the people who self-publish are like the thousands of people who went to California or Alaska to strike it rich. No. The gold wasn’t spread across the ground in nuggets. No. You couldn’t sit there and expect things to happen. Yes. There are people waiting to take your money and give little in return.

First a fact, I asked my editor and agent a simple question. Since the self-publishing boom, have you seen a decline, same amount, or increase in submissions? My agent said it was the same amount, while my editor said it had increased.*tumblr_myfffeXLM61srko8to1_r1_500

I truly thought it would be less. So often I hear from those who are self-published that they will never go through a traditional publisher. God bless America! I think it’s great they have the choice.

But from the information my agent and editor kindly provided me, I understand that to mean writers still prefer the traditional route. No surprise there.

I know I prefer going with a traditional publishing house. Yes, I do have two novellas (short books) I self-published, and will probably do it again in the future for the heck of it. Overall, I rather have a publishing house handling/paying for the editing, cover, and distribution.

To me, self-publishing took too much time away from what I prefer to do: to be with my family and write. (I have a full time day job.) Plus to self-publish a book correctly, it takes money. I spent $500 per novella to prepare them for publication.

I’m sure there are dozens of stories out there about a person who didn’t pay for editing, did their own art work and published it only on Amazon and made thousands of dollars. Yet, at the same time those dozens have to be compared to the thousands upon thousands of people who self-published with little to no success.

Woman Reading a DiaryThink of it this way, in 2013, there were 11 MILLION books for sale on Amazon (includes nonfiction). Presently, there are over 900,000 Kindle books. I like the playing field to be stacked in my favor, and personally, being published traditionally does that. Another way to do that is to improve my writing. It takes constant work.

Nothing is perfect. Nothing is easy. As Ray Bradbury said, “–hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice.”

And goodness, I do practice.

If you’re interested in checking out my books, click on a link below.

Barnes and Noble
Kobo Books
All Romance Ebooks

*Random House use to be an agent only publishing house until they started Loveswept back up (2011) as an e-book imprint. Now you can submit to Loveswept without an agent.

Researching My Next Series

Hidden Heat_Swafford

Release date: February 16, 2016

A couple times recently, I’ve been asked about my research on my latest series, Brothers of Mayhem. First, let me say that most writers love to do research. We love to read about other people’s lives and the way they handle certain situations. Hey, we love to sit in a mall or in front of stores and watch people walk by. We will assess their way of life by the clothes they wear, how they hold themselves (their stance), the way they walk, and often they will show up in our books.

So when writers research a book or new series, it’s a win-win. Books and reading about other people lives, we’re in hog heaven.

For my next series, I did research about outlaw motorcycle clubs. Youtube was helpful. There are lots of documentaries, specially for each outlaw MC known to man. Well, it feels that way. I probably watched ten of the videos, including just general ones on riding motorcycles. And of course, I watch shows on TV. Previously, Sons of Anarchy along with whatever shows that have popped up on TV (e.g. Outlaw Chronicles: Hells Angels).

Then I bought two romances with the central characters being in outlaw MCs. I quickly realized that was a mistake. They are NOT the kind of heroes I want to write. I love alpha heroes, but I don’t want them crude or just downright mean. That was all confirmed when my beta reader mentioned she started reading MC stories after my first three chapters hooked her, and some of the stories she read were waaaay over the edge. She liked the milder but still sexy ones.

I also bought two autobiographies about undercover agents in MCs and one about a confidential informant. Here are the books.

  • No Angel by Jay Dobyns and Nils Johnson-Shelton – “My harrowing under cover journey to the inner circle of the Hells Angels.”
  • Under and Alone by William Queen – “The True story of the undercover agent who infiltrated America’s most violent outlaw motorcycle gang.”
  • Gods of Mischief by George Rowe – “My undercover vendetta to take down the Vagos outlaw motorcycle gang.”

And I drew from my misspent youth for a few other aspects of the book. I’ve talked a little about that before. Click here.  When I was younger, I had ridden on a few motorcycles (passenger only – chopper, touring bike, and dirt bike – yep, it was rough bitch-riding on the last one), but never felt the need to buy one or keep riding.

Research can become addictive. So you have to learn to limit it. I felt I have it covered now.

Getting Advice From Strange Places

This may sound strange but I rarely ask for advice. I might ask for advice on good restaurants or shoe stores. but little else. Why do I rarely ask? Because too often when I have in the past and followed it, I’ve regretted it. This makes me madder at myself than the other person. But I’ve learned that most people do not know anymore than I do.

Recently, I heard the best advice on how to deal with ignorant and purposely cruel people (E.g., reviews, not necessarily my own), and I want to share this advice with you.


Sherry Haut!  You are the lucky winner of a $20 gift card of your choice to Amazon or B&N.  Be sure to contact me by email – Carla @

Thanks for subscribing to my newsletter and READING it!!  LOL!

Everyone else: If you want to find out about my newest releases and exciting news, and my giveaways, specifically for my newsletter followers, go here to sign up.


Giveaway(s) over at Romance Magicians

Businessman Wearing CapeHey, I posted over at Romance Magicians and if you comment, you’ll be in a drawing for a $10 gift certificate.  That could buy you one to 10 books.  LOL!  See you there!

Oh, be on the lookout through the 31st. More giveaways are coming!

Time to Dance

My latest book!  Release date is February 16, 2016.  Isn’t it sexy? This is the first book from the Brothers of Mayhem series. Expect three more!  Yep. THREE! That makes four books in the series.

Hidden Heat_SwaffordHere’s the unedited blurb for Hidden Heat.
Cassidy Ryder thinks nothing of wielding a bat against anyone who threatens her brother. The only problem is the teenager has disappeared while hanging around the Brothers of Mayhem Motorcycle Club, and their wall of menacing silence is driving her crazy.

Growing up in the middle of the MC has taught Cassidy to never fall for a biker. So when the newest Mayhem member, Thorn Savalas, plays white knight to her damsel in distress, she fights the attraction. But her big mouth has gotten her into deep trouble, and the only way for Thorn to protect Cassidy is to claim her as his old lady. Thorn’s aware of the fine line between pretending and what’s real, and his plan backfires when the MC’s president forces them to prove it by having sex.

As they become closer, Cassidy pieces together clues that point to Thorn working undercover. She offers to be his informant. He accepts, telling himself it has nothing to do with her tight jeans and sassy walk. And no matter how often she tells herself it is all an act with hot benefits, she still falls for the bad boy cop. Yet, she knows when he takes down the MC, he will disappear, leaving her behind, unloved and alone.

And chances are good that I’m getting another contract for THREE other books from a new series called the Wicked Dog Bail Bonds and Investigation. Oh, goodness, bad ass Bounty Hunters!

More Pictures From NYC Trip


Shelf in wall at Madame X’s going up steps to Lady Jane’s Salon


Picture at Madame X’s going up steps to Lady Jane’s Salon


Crowd at Lady Jane’s Salon


One of several seating areas for Lady Jane’s Salon


Lady Jane’s Salon


Lady Jane’s Salon


Lady Jane’s Salon – The MC


Another picture from the hotel. I couldn’t get over the crowds and the number of taxis.


Stage set up with big pool for dogs to jump in. Might have been something to do with Good Morning America (building on left)


Betty, me and Victoria – I look like I’m up to no good. Well, yeah.


If my feet wasn’t hurting, I would’ve walked across the street and gotten a better picture. Love horses. And cops.


Beautiful at night, heh?


So many lights on.


My buddy, Heather, giving a workshop. She actually made law interesting.


Me with my 2015 RWA PRO Mentor award. So awesome!


Almost looks like a painting.


The ball at top is the one they drop on New Years.


Yes. Another picture of Times Square. It was amazingly crowded.


Times Square – buses, taxis and so many tourists!




Random House’s cocktail party – view from window.


Random House’s cocktail party – Some famous names on those books.


Random House – more books on shelves both sides. I didn’t stop to look.


Purse I bought in NYC. Love it!


Loved the little Minion show/ad in Times Square.


There were a few naked women hanging around (pun intended). The men would pay to get their picture taken with them. One way to make a living.


The lights fascinated me.


And the crowds drove me nuts.


See the M&M character? He was HUGE!


Don’t know what the ad was, but it was so romantic, I had to take a picture.


Yes. More of the same, sorta.


Look close and you can see more naked girls. They had barely there bottoms and no tops. They have red, white and blue feathers on their heads. Just painted breasts.


My chocolate RITA (Everyone got one at the award ceremony. It tasted like Easter Bunny.)


I couldn’t resist and got Meda to take this picture while in our cab. HELLO KITTY! GIANT HELLO KITTY that is.

Party NYC

I had a blast in New York City. Here are some pictures to enjoy.


Sightseeing cruise with buddy, Heather Leonard.

Bar with NASCAR on one of the TVs

Bar with NASCAR on one of the TVs


Intrepid Navy Ship in background with planes.

Intrepid Navy Ship in background with planes.

Times Square

Times Square ahead (Heather Leonard and Meda White in front of me)

Times Square

Near Times Square


Statue of Liberty


Abandoned building on island


Yankee Stadium in background with cool speed boat


Unusual Building near water


Ellis Island and city in background.


Heather and my other buddy, Meda. Had so much fun with these ladies.


Went to see Wicked. Pretty good.


One of the well dressed men I saw in NYC. SO MANY GOOD LOOKING MEN! My neck hurt from looking.


They did a presentation and opened this wall. Then you saw NYC from way above.


Food! This was one of the good restaurants. Sadly, I forgot the name but it was near the theater.


View from One World Trade Center.


View from One World Trade Center.


View from One World Trade Center.


View from One World Trade Center.


View from One World Trade Center.


View from One World Trade Center.


View from One World Trade Center.


View from One World Trade Center.


Inside One World Trade Center.


View from One World Trade Center (this was a floor – really an outside camera projecting beneath the glass)


View from One World Trade Center. (Amazing, isn’t it?)


View from One World Trade Center.


View from One World Trade Center.


View from One World Trade Center.


View from One World Trade Center.


View from One World Trade Center.


Inside One World Trade Center.


Inside One World Trade Center.


View from One World Trade Center.


View from One World Trade Center.


View from One World Trade Center.


View from One World Trade Center.


View from One World Trade Center.


View from One World Trade Center.


View from One World Trade Center.