New Year’s Plans

MC900444923If you’re like me, you rarely make New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of the year. Usually, I find myself deciding in the middle of a year what to do the next year. I’m a firm planner-ahead person. Funny, considering I’m a pantser (write by the seat of my pants) writer.

This year I decided not to go to any conferences in 2014. This will be only the second time in ten years I haven’t been to a conference (National and/or regional). The last time was the year I received The Call (2011). That year all of my funds went to an entire Family Vacation. We try to do that every other year. This coming year though is a milestone for hubby and I. Our fortieth wedding anniversary and we plan to go on a train ride through parts of Alaska. Can’t wait!

Another plan is to self-publish three novellas that will continue The Circle series. Of course, I have other plans, but if you’re like me, there are a few we keep to ourselves. You know, to keep from having egg on our face if the plans fall through. I don’t know about you, but I rather eat eggs than wear them.

Oh, I will be at Heart of Dixie’s Romance Readers Luncheon and possibly at Southern Magic’s. But those are local and don’t cost me as much, though I will say I spend a lot of money on the basket I give away. For details about the luncheons, go to their websites: heartofdixie.org and southernmagic.org

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Be Kind To An Author Day

Pawns In LoveI’ve decided to proclaim today as “Be Kind To An Author.”

So you have your favorites. Well, then go out and show them.

1) Review one or more of her book(s) or at least rate it.

2) Click LIKE on her Facebook page.

3) Follow her on Twitter (@carlaswafford).

4) Do all of the above on Goodreads.

5) Sign up for her newsletter.

Hey, I can only hope I’m one of your favorites.  😀

Blast From The Recent Past

I came across this video of Avon’s Two Ply Bride contest that was held at 2013 RT Book Lovers Convention in Kansas City. It was so much fun! I was a judge (dressed in gold) with Lorraine Heath and two Avon Addicts. Crazy!

Baffled?

Woman Reading a DiaryLove that word along with bamboozled, hoodwinked, charlatan, flummox and so many more. All words you don’t hear people say anymore. You’re more apt to read it in a historical novel. I wonder what words we say now that will be quaint fifty to hundred years from now?

Anyway, that’s not what this post is about. I’m baffled by the popularity of a certain series of books — and no, it’s not Fifty Shades of Grey — and I won’t give the titles as I never say negative things about other authors’ books. Well, not on line and rarely verbally. I chalk up the success of the books due to the world having a wide range of readers. As there are people who love my books and others who do not, and I’m happy to say the loves way out number all of the others. Thank goodness!

Whatever.

When it comes to my reading taste, as I mentioned here before, I vary from inspirational to paranormal to erotica (BDSM) to historical to contemporary romance. Preferable that all have the word romance in the genre.

I guess only half the time do I follow the crowd in reading the popular book or series. When Harry Potter came out, I had no interest in reading the books and only watched the first movie. Not my thing. No matter how beautifully they’re written. Same with Charlene Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series. They just didn’t interest me. Nothing against the books or authors . . . *shrug*

Though I did/do read Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series. And I read Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander and Fever series. All of Kresley Cole’s series including the new one she started (and I can’t wait for #2), The Dacians. Anne Stuart’s Ice series (wish there were more of those).

I can’t go in details about why I’m baffled without giving away the series, but I will say the decisions the female lead made irritated the crap out of me. I kept saying, “Dumb, dumb, dumb.”  Each to their own.

What Can You Learn?

MH900442424One of the many lessons I’ve learned writing over the years is that you have to keep an open mind. There is so much to learn, and sometimes the smallest things will turn on the little light bulb above your head.

For me, I wanted to improve on sexual tension. (And I’m still working on it.) Sexual tension is a large part of what makes romance books wonderful to read. I’m not talking about the sexual tension of the couple bouncing the balls in bed, but what if sex isn’t part of the story? For example an inspirational romance where the couple may kiss but nothing more. I’ve read some inspirational novels with great tension. Shocked? Don’t be. I read a large variety of romance. Or if you’re shocked that inspirational novels have great sexual tension, then you’re reading the wrong ones.

So in this case, it is more like the promise of sex tension. Or maybe it should be called attraction tension. Yeah.

Isn’t that one of the great things about first falling in love? Where the attraction is strong you know it will lead to something more, but for whatever reason you can’t go that extra step and see/feel each other naked. That kind of tension.

Yes. I know my heroes and heroines have no problem doing the deed without blinking an eye, but I want that tension in every moment they’re together, even after they do the mambo between the sheets. I’m a firm believer that a romance novel isn’t over after the first love scene. That’s when the tension heightens. Hey, they know the score and they want more. But there is a time and place to make love, and when those times aren’t available, the couple should be aware of each other and what they want to repeat.

When other authors do this, I know it makes me read faster. Not only do I want them to stop the killer (or werewolf or duke’s spy . . .), I want to see how much deeper they fall in love (it is a romance) as they’re swapping saliva and other interesting fluids. LOL!

I’m working hard to keep this post PG-13. One day, I may have to switch the blog over to 18 and over. Then Katie bar the door, my four-letter self will go wild.

You’re invited to the party!

Final Hi-Res CoverCome to the party on Facebook! Lots and I mean lots of Avon authors! The party doesn’t end until midnight (EST). Lots of goodies being given away.  Winners will be announced tomorrow there.  I’m giving away my 3 books and swag. My post will be there at 7 p.m. (CST).  Check it out.  Click here.

Accents: How Do Ya’ll Say . . .

MC900438068Have you ever read a story where the author used accents? I see it on occasion, and thankfully, nowadays most authors use it sparingly. In CIRCLE OF DANGER, Liam is a secondary character who’s Irish. He’d lived in the U.S. for about ten years, and his accent mostly showed up when he was emotional. So he may say “bloody” when mad or use “me” instead “I” when he’s in a teasing mood. As you can see, I used colloquialism as a way to convey the accent.

No need for abbreviating like people do with Southern accents. Ya’ll un’erstan? That’s just it. Using too many abbreviated words or even slang, can become confusing to the reader and slow down the story. Let them hear the accents in their own mind. One of the tricks to remember is that many accents have rhythms. Sometimes movies can be helpful to get the hang of that.

Everyone in the world has accents. Californians, Oregonians, and Washingtonians claim they don’t. Sorry, but you do. Mostly it’s just the accepted accent for the media. But in the South, we often think some of you sound like a Yankee. HA!

And not all Southerners are hillbillies.