Sunday, March 01, 2015

The Review Rollercoaster--It Might Make You Dizzy

A new book release is a rollercoaster of a time that never gets old—and, so far, hasn’t gotten easier.
            Deep inside, beneath the thin veneer of self-confidence and fairy-dust sprinkles of excitement, is the fear: What if it’s not good enough? What if everyone hates it? What if this is the book where everyone finally figures out that I suck at writing?
            Yep, it happens with Every. Single. Book.
            I always say I won’t read the reviews, and it’s true that after a couple of weeks, I do stop reading them. But those weeks before the release and immediately after? I can’t help myself.
            And so it is that I have hesitantly begun scouring for early reviews of my April 21 release, PIRATE’S ALLEY.
            OMG, Publisher’s Weekly says it’s disjointed and hard to follow.
            But wait, OMG, RT Book Reviews says it has the perfect elements of urban fantasy and, even at book four, is clear enough for a new reader to get lost in it.
            Oh no, OMG, someone gave it two stars on Goodreads. Oh, wait, that “review” was filed before I’d even finished writing the book. How exactly does that work?
            And there you have it. The good, bad, and ugly of book reviews. 
            To post a “review” on Goodreads, one is not required to have actually read the book. Some readers use the rating system as a way to prioritize their reading lists.
            Some reviewers don’t understand the system. Here’s my favorite one-star review from Amazon on another of my books: “Great read—couldn’t put it down.”
            Some reviewers don’t understand the genre. A two-star review of one of my romantic suspense titles: “This is awful; it scared me, and it kept me awake all night thinking about it. The bad guy is just horrible.” To which I mentally high-fived myself. I mean, it’s romantic SUSPENSE, right?
            My all-time favorite review: “I can’t believe a woman would use such language in her writing.” He'd really be shocked if he knew my advanced age and conservative upbringing.
            So here’s the point that I eventually remember: I’m neither as horrible or as sprinkled with unicorn glitter as anyone thinks. I’m glad people are reading the books. If I’m fortunate, more will love them than hate them. If I’m really fortunate, they’ll look for other books I’ve written. Otherwise, well, I do have a pension to look forward to.
            This is the irony of a writer’s life. Most of us are introverts (extremely so in my case), yet we do work that goes in front of (we hope) thousands of people we don’t know, who will judge it, often publicly, sometimes harshly.
            Which is their right. Because once the book is out and we’ve sullenly donned our marketing hats and scared ourselves silly trying to be publicity-hounds, our job with that particular book is done. Then we turn to the next one and, before long, we’re again taking sneaky peeks at early reviews that will send us hiding in a corner one moment and dancing with glee the next.

            But it’s a fun ride. Right?

Friday, February 27, 2015

Decisions, Decisions

Earlier this week, people were talking about going to the Georgia Romance Writer's conference, Moonlight and Magnolias, this October. I love the conference, the people, the hotel, and so much more. Always a lot of fun.

I came so close to pushing the button to sign up. Then a few things came to mind. Number one being where will I get the money? In June, I'm taking the family on a beach vacation and then in July I'm going to the National conference in New York.

Sure I have a credit card, but I've been working hard to pay it off, and this would get me back to ground zero (the opposite side actually). So I started thinking about the pros and cons about going to the conference and came up with a list. The first question is worth two points, all else is one point.

Do you have the money?

Vacation time available at day job or/and babysitter for that time?

Is there an agent you want an appointment with or network with?

Is there an editor you want an appointment with or network with?

Are you presenting a workshop?

Are you on an author panel?

Are you giving a speech?

Do you have a new or current paperback book for the signing?

Do you have a way to sell e-books at the signing?

Is one of your books a finalist in their contest?

Are you up for an award? (Industry, member, etc.)

If you answered 7 or more no, then you should save your money.  If you answered yes to 7 or more, then go for it!

Of course, if you have the money and you want to go no matter the number of questions answered with a NO, I say go and have fun! Be sure to put pictures on Facebook, so I can live vicariously through you.

What would you add to the list?


Word is out Katerina Savalas has found a map that leads to a long-lost Union shipment of gold. She can’t take the chance of someone breaking into her home again. So she decides to hire a washed-up Circle operative to protect her home. 

Jack Drago wants to be left alone in his drunken misery. When he receives an unusual offer from Katerina, he accepts. What red-blooded heterosexual male with a death wish can turn down a chance to have a mob boss’s daughter in his bed?

Carla Swafford
Look for me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, & Google+
Time Magazine, [Circle of Danger] ". . . involves deadly assassins, drug lords and doing it."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Staying Positive

I thought I'd revisit a post blogged on my Tumblr account. Being positive is always appropriate and gains great results in our daily lives. I found this quote surfing the internet while experiencing a particularly low moment in my life and adopted it.
“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, February 23, 2015

If This Then What?

I'll admit it--I looove technology.

I love the way it wants to sit me down, make me a cup of tea, and do all my tasks for me. Technology has made life for the modern human comfortable, easy, and amazing.

Take for example one of my favorite internet sites: If This Then That or IFTTT.

Literally, this site allows you to automate almost every online thing in your life. If you connect your phone, you can automatically mute it when you get home. If you connect your Facebook account and your Dropbox, anytime someone posts a picture of you on Facebook, it will save a copy in your Dropbox. Connect your Google gmail and when you star an item it will setup a reminder for it. If you have Phillips Hue lights connected, IFTTT can flash your house lights whenever your favorite NFL team scores a touchdown. The possibilities are endless.

Some of the services you can connect are, Box, Buzzfeed, Craigslist, Digg, ESPN, Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Blogger, Entertainment Weekly, Evernote, Fitbit, Foursquare, Github, Instagram,, LinkedIn, MixRadio, Nike+, OneNote, Pinterest, Pocket, reddit, Square, Storify, Vimeo, Wordpress, YouTube, and sooooo many more.

And here's a recipe of my very own that every reader and tweeter of this blog should try:

It automatically posts to Twitter each time a new Romance Magician's post goes live. Like this one you're reading.

If you'd like to try it out for yourself, sign up at and connect your Twitter account, then click the Add button below.
IFTTT Recipe: Tweet the Romance Magicians blogposts connects feed to twitter

It really is easy to automate your life.  ;)


AIDEE LADNIER is a writer who loves quirky characters. You can visit her website at or meet her at some of her favorite social media sites:
Twitter  |  Tumblr  |  Pinterest  |  Facebook

Friday, February 20, 2015

Events for Romance Readers in Alabama

Romance readers in Alabama have plenty to keep them busy this year.  There are three wonderful events showcasing not only national bestsellers, but also fantastic local romance authors.

The first event is tonight.  The Homewood Public Library in the Birmingham area is hosting Love in the Library.  USA Today Bestselling author Kerrelyn Sparks will kick off the evening with a talk about her Love at Stake series, her historical romances, and what she’s planning next. She’ll also introduce you to some of the many local authors writing contemporary, romantic suspense, paranormal, and historical romances. A light reception and book signing will follow. This event is free and open to the public.  There will be numerous Southern Magic authors in attendance.  This event is going to be a real treat.

But the fun doesn't end there!  North Alabama loves romance as well.  On June 13, 2015, the Heart of Dixie Romance Writers of America Chapter will host its 18th Annual Romance Readers Luncheon at the Westin Hotel in Hunstsville.  Heart of Dixie will be hosting New York Times best seller Sylvia Day. Sylvia is the #1 New York Times and #1 international bestselling author of over 20 award-winning novels sold in more than 40 countries. She is a #1 bestselling author in 21 countries, with tens of millions of copies of her books in print. Her Crossfire series has been optioned for television by Lionsgate, and she has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Author. There will also be numerous local and regional authors hosting tables.  This event has been written up in Publishers Weekly, and is a "must attend" for any romance reader.  Tickets go on sale March 1! 

And we can't forget Southern Magic's Readers Luncheon (or #MagicLunch as we like to call it on social media).  Magic Lunch will be served by keynote speaker Darynda Jones and welcome speaker Lexi George in Birmingham, Alabama on November 7, 2015.  
Join local authors for lunch, followed by welcome speaker Lexi George and keynote speaker Darynda Jones. Attendees receive goodie bags with books and are eligible for door prize baskets. Enjoy a day with people who share your love of reading! Click here to register. The link will take you to a registration page at  This event also has caught the attention of Publishers Weekly: and 

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a Rebecca, two Holt Medallions, a RITA®, and a Daphne du Maurier. As a born storyteller, Darynda grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike, and she is ever so grateful for the opportunity to carry on that tradition. She currently has two series with St. Martin's Press: The Charley Davidson Series and the Darklight Trilogy.

Our welcome speaker is RITA finalist Lexi George. Lexi writes paranormal romance set in Hannah, Alabama, a town rife with romance, sexy hunks, zany characters, and supernatural weirdness. Publisher's Weekly says, "George serves up memorable Southern one-liners, while upping the stakes in this satisfyingly funny series installment." Southern Magic is proud of call her one of our own. You can find her at