Monday, February 25, 2013

What a weekend I had

This weekend I was at +Bay to Ocean Writers Conference for a writers conference.

As I mentioned before, well I mention it all the time; I'm always at conferences. Especially one that is right in my backyard. Ok, well technically it is not in my backyard but you know what I mean, right?

I went, knowing full well, I would see some of my new/old friends and learn a lot. What I didn't know was that I would get so much more out of it than just sitting and taking notes. I learned that I actually have a following.

I was shocked when a woman, who I didn't even know came up to me and told me that she watches my facebook moments. I call them soapbox moments.

Who knew? Well, now that I know, you can be certain that those moments will appear here! Yep, right here. And if you ever miss one, just log into facebook and find me. I'm easy to find. I'm one of the only Swangin's there that is an author. Ok, well I'm the ONLY Swangin on there that is an author, so it shouldn't be hard.

What are you waiting for? Join my blog and let the good times roll!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What to do when you can't do what you love

Have you ever wondered what you would do if you couldn’t write?
Well, I have. I had to stop writing for almost a month because I had surgery on my hand and couldn’t use it.
That was the hardest month I ever had in my life. It was as if my entire life came to a screeching halt and I had no clue what I should do.
I used that time to cry, scream and whine to my doctor about how unfair this was because he ‘knew I used my hand to type and yet he still did the surgery’. OK, I did sign off on the surgery but didn’t know that I wouldn’t be able to use my hand for over a month!
I tried everything in my power to use my hand and it just made me miserable. I tried the chicken pecking method. I tried the talk to text method and I also tried paying someone to type for me.
But nothing worked. I found that if it weren't ME typing, than the thoughts were confused and without reason. I then realized that if I couldn’t write, I couldn’t be who I am. That is the first time I went to a conference and learned all there is about being an author and found that there is much more to being an author than just writing.
It involves marketing and promotion and networking and lastly, being in front of people. Until I couldn’t use my hands to write, I didn’t know what else I could or should be doing. That month is when I attended my first conference, Bay To Ocean on the Eastern Shore in Maryland and since then I am continuously going to conferences and making myself a better author by doing more than just writing. I learned that if I couldn’t write, there was so much more that I could be doing.
I can promote myself, I can network and I can attend classes to make me a better writer.
What if you couldn’t write for a month, what would you do?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lauren Carr-Blast from the Past

Lauren is such a great writer that I had to have her on my blog again when she started her blog tour for her new release; Blast from The Past.
Here she tells us about some of her favorite things from this latest novel in the Mac Faraday Mysteries.
Do you have a Favorite Character in Blast from the Past & Why?
For all of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, readers have loved Gnarly, Mac’s German Shepherd. Gnarly was dishonorably discharged from the United States Army. Let’s just say, he has issues. He is incredibly intelligent and has a mind of his own. He’s also a hopeless kleptomaniac.
However, while writing Blast from the Past, Archie Monday jumped out at me to become my favorite character in this book. In the previous books in the series, I purposely gave Archie a hint (only a hint) of mystery because I knew there was a secret to her past that would be revealed. This is the book where her secret comes out.
Readers discover that Archie Monday witnessed a horrible murder while she was a graduate student at the University of Maryland. In the prologue, readers learn that Kendra Douglas (whose name is changed to Archie Monday) was a hopeless romantic, who fantasized about the Mickey Forsythe, the fictional detective created by Robin Spencer, Mac Faraday’s birth mother. She had become friends with Robin Spencer while working as her teaching assistant when the famous author taught a special course at the university.
In a blast, Kendra’s life changes. She witnesses the brutal murder of a university professor. Shivering in the bushes, she thinks, “What would Mickey Forsythe do?”
Ten years later, Kendra Douglas is now the sophisticated, lovely Archie Monday, who has been placed by the Witness Protection Program to work as the late Robin Spencer’s assistant. When two paid assassins try to ambush her, Archie takes them out single-handedly with her pink handgun.
One of my favorite scenes in Blast from the Past (besides the scene where Archie takes down the gunmen with her pink handgun) is where she explains to Mac Faraday the transformation that she had gone through since that night that she witnessed mobster Tommy Cruze killing a professor who he had thought was sleeping with his wife:
Archie stood up. “I’m not locking myself in this mansion and closing the blinds and never leaving again. If I do, then he wins. We’re not going to let them scare us out of living our lives.” She pointed at the shepherd on the bed. “I’m taking Gnarly to see Misty tomorrow, and then we’re going to lunch at the Spencer Inn.”

Yet, while Archie is capable of taking care of herself, she is still a soft feminine woman with a very gentle side. After the attempted hit on her life, she breaks down when she is forced to reveal her secret to Mac. She loves gardening, fine wine, gourmet food, and the color of rose. (Police chief David O’Callaghan calls it pink, which infuriates her.) She wears designer suits and expensive perfume, and insists on taking Gnarly to only the hottest dog groomer in town. She enjoys the finer things in life that her mentor Robin Spencer had introduced to her.
Simply, Archie Monday is who I want to be when I grow up.
Thank you Lauren for your time and let me just say this...for me, the best line in the book was: “a girl who prefers guns to diamonds.” Because it shows us just what us girls can do.
We Rock!
So there you have it. Lauren Carr's newest novel will intrigue you and make you fall in love with the good guy. Be sure to pick up your copy today.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

When will I see you?

Last night I had the opportunity to attend a meet and greet held at Howard University book store, THE HUB.
Tamika Newhouse, CEO of Delphine Publications and two of her authors were in attendance and we learned about how she splits her time being an author and also being the owner of a publishing company.
Sadly, there were only six other people there. Most authors think that they do not need to go out to meet and greets. But I ask you this, if you don't get out there and meet new people, how do you think you are going to find fans?
The one thing I can say is that for me, meet and greets are the perfect opportunity to network with other authors and to share ideas.
Where do you think I get some of the ideas that I have?
Why do you think I started going to conferences?
Why do you think I spend as much time as I do on Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter; well it's becaues I am going to meet and greets and learning from the best.
Tamika is the owner of a small press. However I have also gone to meet and greets with agents from New York, California and Florida. Again, why do I go? Because I know to be good at what I do, I need to learn from the best. So tell me again, why you don't go to meet and greets. Hopefully the next time one is in DC, Maryland or Virginia; I'll see you there.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Conferences, my new best friend

When Chocolate and flowers aren't enough...

February 1-3, 2013. That is one of the best weekends I have had this month. Oh, did you think I was going to say this year? See, every year I travel with another author, Austin S. Camacho to Rosemont, IL to the LOVE IS MURDER conference. Every year I look forward to seeing Hanley Kanar and Luisa Buehler and the rest of the gang that put on the conference. When chocolate and flowers aren't enough...that is the slogan. Pretty cool, don't you think?
Although the conference is always on the Super Bowl weekend, it is always over by noon and I am back at our friend Cyndi's home in Ohio by 5pm, plenty of time to get those Super Bowl snacks ready to watch the commericals. You didn't think I really cared about the game, espeically since Dallas wasn't in it, now did you?
This year was no different. Well in a way it was. I convinced another author, Deliah Lawrence to travel to Rosemont, IL to the conference and she did and she and I and Austin had a wonderful time. We had the time of our lives! We met Lee Goldberg, sat and had lunch with Shane Gericke.
We sat on panels and discussed everything from having the perfect pitch for an agent to writing in the post 50 Shades aftermath. How did you miss all of that? Well if you don't attend conferences, that is how you miss it.
Now next year, we plan to be there again, are we going to see you there? If not, I will sit and have dinner with Heather Graham and Shane Gericke...while you sit at home and get ready for the Super Bowl.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Never to young for shoes

In my world, where shoes rule everything around me, I am still amazed that things shock me as they do.
My youngest daughter will give birth to my fifth grandson in June and she is so excited. That's another story for the medical journals. She has been 'nesting' already, which for her is a huge deal. She has scoped out things she wants and has even gotten my grandson (name to be determined) into the act. She posted on FB that "my grandson saw the crib he would like to sleep in". That is so funny because he is only the size of a mango right now, but I digress.
She went window shopping this past weekend and today she showed me what she looked at. Cute little jeans and a cute little shirt from H and M and also some hats. NY Yankees blue and Pittsburgh but couldn't find the all elusive Dallas Star. Then she showed me the cutest pair of shoes. Ralph Lauren sneakers, just the cutest things I had ever seen.
Then she said, "well, your grandson HAD to have them, so I bought them". What? Uh, what? You bought him shoes already? Her response, "well, he gets it from his NINA (that would be me)
So, my new grandson will be just like my other grandchildren and have a love of shoes.
Well, they have to learn from someone and why not learn from the best, right?