How Do You Know You’re A Writer?

Surprised WomanYou know you’re a writer when….

10. You have a reputation at your day job of being a workaholic. What other reason would you grumble and talk to yourself as you type on your computer during lunch?

9. You write your child’s excuse for an absence and the teacher begs for the last three chapters. She wants to know how it ends.

8. You stir up trouble wherever you go. A story is only as good as the conflict.

7.You get pulled over for a ticket and the officer finally tells you no more questions.

6. You hear some good juicy gossip and then start thinking of a way to use it in a story. “I swear, your honor, I changed their names.”

5. You keep paper and pen on the nightstand. Did you know your relatives think you have a kinky sex life because of it?

4. You eavesdrop in conversations, swearing it’s research. It has nothing to do with the deep spine-tingling voice or his five-foot wide shoulders.

3. You have problems handling small talk. You’re always looking for motivation in the dialogue.

2. You catch yourself wanting to takes notes while someone chews you out. “She bobbed her head as one hand waved in the air.…”

1.You critique your spouse…in bed. “But, baby, there has to be better reason for us to do it now.”

[reprint of my post from Romance Magicians’ blog 2/2/2011]

Website: www.carlaswafford.com
Twitter:  @carlaswafford
Facebook: CarlaSwafford, Author
Amazon: Carla Swafford Books
Barnes & Noble: Carla Swafford Books

Things That Turn You On

naked-heat-cover

To be Released February 21, 2017

The other day, I was re-watching a simple video (click here to go to my Facebook page to see it) I had made of a ice hockey netminder warming up before the second period of play. The way he skated back and forth to the beat of the music was so hypnotizing. I find myself going back and watching it over and over again.

Yeah, yeah, if you’ve been reading my blog, you know how much I love hockey, but still there’s nothing provocative about it. Sure, the guy is 6′ 5″ and in great shape, but with all the gear on, it’s hard to tell anything.

Other people watch it and don’t see anything of great interest. They maybe say, “cool,” but not much more.

Becoming fascinated by something that’s nothing really remarkable happens to me on occasion. *shrug*

Several years ago, it was a music video by Reba McEntire titled Cathy’s Clown (click here for music video). In the video, Bruce Boxleitner plays the mistreated lover/husband of Cathy’s. Reba’s character is a prostitute singing about her love for him despite his being emasculated by his wife. The part I love, besides the way Reda sings, is how Bruce’s character notices Reba’s intense stare and gives her a wary smile as if he’s unsure how to react to her attention. There’s something about that smile that got to me. I freaking watched that video over and over again. Even just hearing the song remains me of that scene.

There’s a Leann Rime song, Probably Wouldn’t Be This Way (click here for music video), that I loved so much, I wrote a whole book based on that song.  The book isn’t published yet, but I plan to find a home for it, or self-publish it one day.  Heck, I have another book I wrote from listening to I Shot The Sheriff by Eric Clapton (click here for music video). Same thing for it, find a home or self-publish one day.

Obviously, writing a book is how I get rid of that song replaying in my head.  HA!

At times, certain books and movies have done the same to me over the years. Thankfully, this craziness of watching or listening to something over and over again is spread out over a period of time and keeps me from worrying about my mental heath. *smirk*

So what is about these little things that fascinate me? I believe it sets my imagination on fire as you can tell with the songs. Makes me want to write that perfect scene with that moment or feeling I get from watching or listening to that certain part.

For that favorite book I love to read over and over again, until a new one takes its place, it encourages me to work harder at being a better writer. I want to write a book that someone wants to visit again and again.

Walks Like A Panther

red-river-wayneHow many times in numerous books have we heard the hero walks like a panther or tiger or some creature on the prowl? They’re cliches, but I understand the concept. He has a smooth step with a determined gaze.

It makes me think of a certain actor named John. No. Not John Travolta. He’s known for his walk going up stairs (Get Shorty) and his moves on the dance floor (Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction). It’s John Wayne who is known for his walk.

With that thought, I went searching for videos of John Wayne’s walk. Of course, I came across the hilarious scene in The Birdcage with Robin Williams trying to instruct Nathan Lane’s character to walk like a man. He’d suggested John Wayne’s walk. Luckily, I found one where it shows both clips (John Wayne’s and Nathan Lane’s) along with the original French film and “the walk.”

Click here to go to YouTube and watch.  It has Spanish subtitles.

One thing to remember, John Wayne was so much more than his walk. The way he held his head and shoulders. He stares straight ahead. He doesn’t look down. The man didn’t worry about tripping over his feet. His sureness in where he was going and what he was going to do next is so obvious. Yes, he’s an actor, but don’t you know part of his own persona shows in that stride.

John Wayne was a man’s man. Lordy! Not many of them anymore.

Here’s another video on how to walk like a “badass.” The guy tells it like it is. Click here and enjoy.  LOL!

About NAKED HEAT

naked-heat-coverBeing a love ’em and leave ’em sort of guy, Wolf never expects to fall for Sofia Cruz. But he keeps their dating low-key, only talking about the here and now. All is good until he discovers her cousin is the leader of the hated Thirty-Second gang. Before their relationship becomes any deeper, he breaks it off and tries to stay away. That is until his MC marks her cousin for retaliation. Wolf kidnaps her. Just to make sure she’s safe.

Sofia is afraid to fall in love again. The men in her life have ignored or used her, especially her ex-husband. So finding out she’s dating a deadly Mayhem Brother, terrifies and excites her. She agrees not seeing each other again will be for the best. So why is she now handcuffed to the sexy biker? And why is she not sure if she wants to be set free?

Everything is looking up, Wolf has proclaimed her as his old lady, and she’s falling in love with the biker. Then her ex is released from prison, and she’s certain he wants revenge for her setting him up. Her cousin wants her back under his protection, and the president of the local MC has decided to use her in his goal to become the next Brothers of Mayhem national president.

To Wolf, it’s all simple. The only way for anyone to reach Sofia is over his dead body.

What? Another Newsletter?

tumblr_myfffeXLM61srko8to1_r1_500Today, I noticed my newsletter had 76 new subscribers to sign up this month. WOW! That was awesome, but when I looked at the list I noticed some were Spam addresses (9). Then I noticed quite a few of the older subscribers were not even opening my newsletters. Hadn’t for the last six or more newsletters, and that’s over a span of 18 months. So what happens to those? I delete them.

After I get a certain number of subscribers, I’ll have to start paying MailChimp when I send out a newsletter. Can’t have that, especially if they’re not reading the sucker.

Thus why I’m keeping an eye out. This is the third time I’ve culled out those who have no activity. Sure, it’s nice to have so many people receiving it, but really, it doesn’t do me any good if people are not even opening the email.

Love MailChimp. So easy to work with, and they give me some great info.

If you want to read my newsletter – I plan to send one out next month – you can sign up here.

Love My Shirt

img_1260For those who don’t know, I love hockey. See the jersey my husband’s cousin and his wife got me? I LOVE IT! I promise, Dan, I’ll get hubby to take my picture when I wear it. I’ve worn it at home a couple times already.

I have three favorite hockey players on the Nashville Predator’s team: Forsberg, Johansen, and Arvidisson. So I cherish my Forsberg jersey. It’s fantastic! I have tickets for a game this month and will be wearing it proudly.

If you don’t know, my love of hockey blossomed only a little over a year ago. Hey, I am a southern girl and most people in the South do not watch it, but I have to point out it’s becoming more popular each year down here. What with the Nashville Predators (Go Preds!) and the two teams in Florida. But people ask me all the time, why?

Think about it, college football is king in the South, but football has never caught my interest. I swear I’ve tried.

I love NASCAR (I haven’t turned in my Southern Belle card yet) and 48 Jimmie Johnson (yum), but the fast cars no longer hold my attention like when Dale Earnhardt, Sr. was alive.

Truthfully, I could tell you all the things that led me to it, but mainly, I’ve found that I enjoy it for many reasons.

The fast pace:  The NHL players hit speeds of 20 to 30 miles an hour during 60 minutes of play, broken up in 20 minute periods. Each player will be on the ice for spurts of one to two minutes. Usually adding up to 15 to 20 minutes of play during the whole game. That doesn’t sound like much? Let me see you run with anywhere 15 to 25 pounds of equipment for that long. And that’s with someone chasing and slamming into you.

The strategy:  Think of it, they have to figure out how to get that little puck around that huge goalie and into the net while everyone else is wanting to take it from you. Teamwork is a major part of winning. Of course, that’s all true of any team sport.

The athletic stamina:  Re-read what I said in “fast pace” above.  OMG! Those big men on thin blades, falling or being pushed down or into the boards (the sides of the rink) and then jumping up as if nothing happened. They freaking amaze me.

The fights: Of course, I do get a little excited — no matter how sick it sounds — when a good fight breaks out, even if they are only shoving at each other. Men will be men, and I love celebrating that, especially since it is in a controlled environment. (Though I don’t care for boxing if you’re wondering.) Besides, next year, those same men could be traded to the same team and be best buds. I swear, that’s one of the things I love about men. They know how to prioritize.

And I’m not a violent woman, though I write about violent men all the time in my books. Maybe there’s something deep inside I’ve never been aware of until I got older. Neither here or there.

Graceful, healthy men:   Yes, all things come down to men in my interests. I’ve come to terms with my hang up, so everyone needs to get over it.  *smirk*

Let me enjoy my sport. I’m proud that I finally picked one, and I personally think it’s the best.

Cover Reveal To The World

My book, NAKED HEAT, is coming out February 21, 2017. How appropriate is it that’s Sticky Bun Day? LOL! I guess I will be giving away sticky buns that day or something similar. Anyway, here’s the cover. My newsletter subscribers saw it last week. Click here to get news before everyone else.

naked-heat-cover

Cover Reveal Coming Soon

PrintWant to see my cover for NAKED HEAT, the third book in the Brothers of Mayhem series?  The cover will be in my next newsletter. By the way, all of the books are stand-alones, but in the same world of hot bikers.

Click here to sign up for my newsletter.  I plan to send it out in the next few days.

The book is scheduled to be out in February 2017.

Here’s an excerpt (unedited).

Resting against Hector’s side, she [Sofia] stepped outside and raised her hand to block the glare. Then the thunder of motorcycles surrounded her, shaking the ground beneath her feet. Billows of dust swirled in the air. The smell of gasoline and dirt in the cold air surrounded them.

Hector’s guards reached beneath their jackets for their guns, but he shouted at them to stand down.

Sofia’s heart clenched. Wolf stopped his motorcycle only a few feet away, spreading his legs to steady the bike. The blond man he’d pointed out as his president, Easy, pulled up beside him.

Her cousin let her go, pushing her a little behind him.

The blond man spoke first. “Toro, what are you doing in Brothers of Mayhem territory?”

“Just picking up my cousin. We’re leaving.” Hector’s arms remained relaxed down by his sides.

Wolf pushed down the kickstand and swung a long leg over the bike, standing next to it.

“Sofia, come here.” His voice was calm but firm.

Deep inside she wanted to follow his command, but she held her ground. Who knew what would happen if she moved? She didn’t want anyone hurt. Frozen, she rubbed her sweaty palms against her jeans.

Hector glanced behind him. She hated the disappointed look on his face. She’d been doing that a lot lately. Disappointing him.

“What’s my cousin to you, asshole?” Hector’s stance rigid with anger.

A couple of the Mayhem Brothers hollered and revved their engines in protest to Hector’s tone.

“She’s Wolf’s property,” Easy said.

“He’s f*cking insane.” Hector laughed.

Confused, she looked at Wolf. His hot gaze sent a delicious shiver down her body.

“She’s no one’s property, and certainly no lowlife c*ck-sucking biker’s,” Hector shouted.

The motorcycles became louder, a couple even burned rubber, smoke billowed, making it look and smell like hell. The president held up his hand, holding back his men from attacking.

Horrified at the thought of bloodshed on her hands, she stepped in front of Hector. His hands reached out for her, but she jerked away. She could hear Wolf’s cursing over the thundering engines.

“Go away, Wolf. I’m okay. Hector will keep me safe.”

Before anyone can say another threat, two deputy cars drove up, red and blue lights flashing. The deputy inside the truck stop had called in backup. Probably had peed in his pants on seeing the Thirty-Second and Brothers of Mayhem meeting up in the parking lot.

“We don’t have time for this.” The president twirled a finger in the air, indicating to pull together and move out. “Later asshole,” he said to Hector before gassing his bike and leaving.

Wolf stared at her for a few seconds and then remounted his bike. The president saluted the deputies as they sped by, flowing around the patrol cars, causing the deputies to press up against the sides to keep from being knocked down.

Relief almost had her sinking to her knees.

~~~~~

AMAZON

BARNES AND NOBLE

BOOKS A MILLION

KOBO BOOKS

iBOOKS

Book Signing Etiquette For Authors

Sbook-signingince my first book signing in 2012 at the RWA Literacy Event in Anaheim, I’ve been involved in numerous others. Some have been a bust and some have been wonderful. But I’ve found that some authors don’t understand how rude they can be to other authors during one. You thought I was going to talk about readers to authors or the other way around. I have links for those at the bottom.

When you’re sharing a table with one or two other authors, it’s important to not take up more than your share of the table. So what if you have twenty different types of swag, shelves, mini posters, etc., and the other author has only five copies of one book and a small stack of bookmarks. She deserves that room. Don’t be rude and ask if you can take up a little extra room — “she don’t need it.” WRONG! Readers need to be able to see her and not think she’s your assistant.

When a reader is talking to the author next to you, do not interrupt and draw the reader’s attention to you. The author will not appreciate your pulling her reader away from buying or talking about her book or whatever they are talking about. All part of being accessible to a possible fan. If you feel a need to say something, be sure it’s along the lines of praise for that author’s book or suggesting another book from that author. NEVER start talking about yours. At a book signing not along ago, I had this happen to me several times by the author next to me. You can imagine I don’t think much of that author and will ask to be moved in the future.

So you’re lucky and got assigned next to your good author friend or your favorite author. Before the doors open and the readers spill in, talk to your heart’s delight after the author has set up her table. Let her have a chance to get organized. Then when the readers come in, a short chat without readers nearby is okay, but no long, drawn out conversations. Readers will not want to interrupt and they’ll walk on by.

Place as many or all your boxes and bags including purse under the table. The author might need to leave early or want to hug a special reader. Don’t make her trip over your crap.

That’s all I can think of at this moment. Comment and let me know if you can think of anything else.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Links

General Etiquette for Authors

https://joanleacott.wordpress.com/articles/booksigning-etiquette/

Etiquette for Readers

http://www.trudicanavan.com/2011/04/book-signing-etiquette/

http://www.seattlemystery.com/signing-etiquette

Nora Robert’s book signings: http://ttpbooks.com/category/RULES.html