Ten Things I Hate About Writing

!FB memeIf you follow me here or on Facebook, you know that I love lists. This is one I did at the Romance Magics’ blog back on August 14, 2009.

10. I hate how I have to wait months and months (I’m a slow writer) before I can find out how my own book ends.

9. I hate how I fall in love with my hero and then have to give him up. He belongs to the heroine.

8. I hate how I have to concentrate on one book at a time. I have two hands, two sides of one brain (the logical side to set the plot, the creative side to make a love scene believable). Why can’t I write two books simulaneously?

7. I hate how I can’t save children from predators and kick butt like my heroines.

6. I hate how my love life isn’t as exciting as my heroines’. Oops! Did I just type that?

5. I hate how I have to write a synopsis to sell my book. How do you say CliffsNotes?

4. I hate writing the synopsis.

3. I hate how I get a bug-eyed look from non-writers when I talk about writing.

2. I hate how I can talk about nothing but writing.

And drum roll please….

1. I hate how no one [publisher] has bought any of my books yet.

Since I wrote this, I’ve sold three books to Avon (HarperCollins) and two books to Loveswept (Random House).  And I’ve self-published one novel and two novellas.

For more information about my books, click on one of the following booksellers.

AMAZON

BARNES AND NOBLE

KOBO BOOKS

A Hero’s and Heroine’s Top Five Traits by Olivia St. Vincent

CircleofDesire mm c[Reprint of my post on 08/15/2014 at the Romance Magicians blog; it was so much fun, I thought it worth repeating here.]

Carla’s busy for the next couple of weeks. So she wanted my help in writing her post, and I told her I would on one condition, that she write me into her latest book. Well, she did. Sort of. The tricky little bitch. She gave me a two-bit part in CIRCLE OF DISHONOR. And only a small mention in CIRCLE OF DEFIANCE. Talk about being gypped!

*sigh*

Okay, okay. I didn’t fine tune the agreement. I’ll know next time. Anyway, my name’s Olivia St. Vincent, and if the name is familiar, then thank you for reading my story in CIRCLE OF DESIRE and my cameos in CIRCLE OF DANGER, CIRCLE OF DECEPTION, and CIRCLE OF DISHONOR. Though the last one she wouldn’t even let me kiss ―

Olivia. Shut up and get to the post you promised to type for Carla.

That’s sugar britches, everyone. My hubby, Collin, who probably won’t live to see our third anniversary coming up this October.

Enough, Olivia!

*eyes roll*

He has a point. Now, the conversation we had with Carla the other day.

Carla: Olivia, what are the top five traits you look for in a hero?

Olivia: Well, let’s see. I never imagined falling for a man who talked in a near whisper most of the time. Though I must admit, when he talks, a room full of arguing operatives shuts up in seconds. That’s a man who can lead.

Carla: So number one would be a commanding voice.

Olivia: More like number five. The voice helps get my engine running, but it’s not number one.

Carla: Olivia, don’t forget this needs to stay PG. So no physical traits to be included in the list.

Olivia: I’m hurt. You don’t trust me?

Carla: Let’s say I know you too well.

Olivia: Very well then, let’s get to it. Trait number four: a hero must be comfortable with handling weapons of all types. You know how I love guns, especially sniper rifles, the more powerful the better.

Carla: So an expert in weaponry. I guess, when it comes to a trait, it would fall in the category of being protective. That would be number four. Three more to go.

Olivia: A hero must be honorable. He would never take advantage of those weaker.

Carla: Now we’re getting somewhere. I agree totally.  That would be number three. So you think Collin is honorable?

Olivia: Humph! Who said we’re talking about him? I thought you wanted to know about heroes.

Carla: Collin is certainly hero material. He could have killed you instead of bringing you into his organization, the OS.

Olivia: He could’ve tried.

Carla:  Olivia.

Olivia: Oh, okay. Yes. He handled it rather well that time I held the sniper rifle on him and accused him of betraying me to The Circle, though he did eventually hand me over to them.

Carla: You know he didn’t have a choice. Your ex-boss would’ve killed the two OS operatives he held hostage.

Olivia: Yeah, yeah. Don’t beat me over the head with it. Collin’s all noble and a bag of chips.

Carla: You sound almost jealous.

Olivia: Everyone thinks he’s God’s Gift to the universe and I’m evil incarnate. Wouldn’t you get tired of being painted like that?

Carla: I’m sorry. You’re right. Let’s continue on with our list.

Olivia:  All right. Number two. Hmm, this is getting more difficult. I can’t include body parts?

Carla: No. Physical. Traits.

Olivia: Don’t get snippy. What is it that you call a hero who’s a push over when tears are involved?

Carla:  Maybe you’re thinking compassionate.

Olivia: Sure. Compassionate. I like how it goes along with passionate.

Carla: Ooolivia.

Olivia: That’s not a body part. Geez. You’re no fun.

Carla: Let’s move on to number one. What’s the most important trait?

Olivia: Easy. He must be intelligent.

Carla: Smart. I agree.

Olivia: Collin was smart enough to fall in love with me.

Carla:  I thought we weren’t talking about Collin.

Olivia: Of course, the man’s got a big enough—

Carla: Oooliva!

Olivia: Now who’s being naughty with that dirty mind? Tsk, tsk, tsk! I was saying he had a big enough ego without me adding to it.

Carla: *sigh* Okay. Go over there while I talk with Collin.

Olivia: Fine. But don’t believe a word he says.

Carla: Shh! Behave, Olivia. Collin, thank you for being so patient. It’s only fair to ask you a similar question. What are the top five traits you look for in a heroine? Starting with number five.

Collin: Definitely confidence. A woman must know her own mind and be sure of her abilities.

Carla:  Much like Olivia, wouldn’t you say?  

Collin: She’s certainly confident in her skill with guns.

Carla: Why do I get a feeling you’re saying she isn’t always sure of herself?

Collin: At times, her bravado can be an act.

Carla: I see. She acts tough but is a softy inside.

Collin: That’s true though she hates to admit it. Number four is adaptable.

Carla: Uh, I’m not sure what you mean by that.

Collin: She understands the world isn’t black and white. There’s a lot of gray. Sometimes what you believe is true, isn’t.

Carla: Oh, okay. Like her believing The Circle were the good guys. That is, they were at one time, but had gone to the dark side you could say.

Collin: Yes.

Carla: I like how you’re up front about Olivia being the heroine you’re describing.

Collin: She can be when she sets her mind to it.

Olivia:  I heard that!

Carla: This is Collin’s turn! Go! Let us talk.

Collin: Number three is intelligence. A heroine needs not only brains but street smarts too.

Carla: I find that interesting. Would you like to speculate on why she placed it as number one for heroes?

Collin: No.

Carla: Would you at least explain the sexy grin you’re wearing?

Collin: No.

Carla: Alrighty then. Let’s move on to number two.

Collin: Number two is a heroine must be loyal.

Carla: Loyal? Do you want to explain that one?

Collin: A heroine will sacrifice herself for the greater good.

Carla: Oh, no, you didn’t. You didn’t pull the Buffy card.

Collin: I’m not sure of what you mean, but a heroine will stand by those she loves even when it might endanger herself.

Carla: Okay. You can have that one.

Collin: The top one is independence. There’s nothing sexier about a woman, than one who knows her own mind and doesn’t need to lean on others, including a man, to achieve her goals.

Carla: Wow! I love hearing a man say that. When a man isn’t threatened by a woman knowing her own mind … wow! That’s sexy.

Collin: I’m taken.

Olivia: You tell her!

Carla: Uh-huh. I wasn’t … I didn’t mean …. Oh, heck.

Olivia: Come here, sugar. So I can show you one of my goals.

Carla: Uh, anyway, thanks to Olivia and Collin for helping me out. Quit that, you two! For goodness sakes, get a room!

Okay. That’s all of the interview. I think it went well. Don’t tell Carla this, but I think she has a crush on my sweetie. Actually, all of the Circle guys. The woman can be such a slu ―

Olivia, you need to wrap it up now. 

Sure, sure. *leans closer* His voice has gotten all soft and heated now. That means he’s pissed or turned on or both. I do know I’m in trouble. See my knees shaking? NOT! Want to wrestle, lover boy? *laughter* Come over here and try to pin me to the floor!

Ladies and gentlemen, ignore my wife. Carla would like to warn you her books are very hot, and the world her people live in is violent. A world filled with assassins and betrayal. But two lovers can find a sanctuary from all the craziness by loving each other.

Ah! Isn’t he sweet? I do love that man. Now, drop those drawers and let’s have fun. What? What? Don’t glare at me. That’s as romantic as I can get.

*door slams*

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

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

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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.

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