Monday, August 31, 2015

A Match Made in Heaven: A New Release and the Readers Luncheon


I have a novella due to the editor tomorrow, so what better thing to blog about than a new release, right? Then it hit me that this book, PIRATESHIP DOWN and Other Stories from the Sentinels of New Orleans, should be hitting the virtual shelves about a week before the wonderful folks of Southern Magic, the Birmingham RWA Chapter, hold the annual Readers Lunch on November 7.

About four years ago, I saw a note on an email loop that writing coach extraordinaire Margie Lawson was going to be doing a workshop for the Southern Magic chapter in Birmingham. I made the three-hour drive, never dreaming I was going to meet kindred spirits who'd welcome me even though I didn't live in Birmingham and didn't, at the time, actually write romance. I was awaiting publication of the first book in my Sentinels urban fantasy series and had a paranormal romance in the planning stages, but they welcomed me and I knew I'd found a writing home even if I can't make it to meetings on a regular basis.

So this year, on Nov. 7, I'll be hosting a table at my fourth Southern Magic Readers Lunch. Every year, they get bigger and more awesome. This year's speaker is author Darynda Jones, with welcoming remarks from my friend, author Lexi George. AND I'd love it if you'd come and sit at my table! You can save $10 on a ticket by registering by the end of today...so do it already! Did I mention there is an amazing lunch and a huge book-signing afterward? Click here to register, and I hope to see you there.

In the meantime, how about a sneak peek at PIRATESHIP DOWN? In this scene, the undead version of 19th-century French pirate Jean Lafitte has convinced heroine DJ (a wizard) and their mutual friend Rene (a Cajun merman) to drive from New Orleans to the wilds of southern Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, so Jean can claim the remains of his schooner that sank in 1814 and whose ruins were recently found. They aren't quite sure how this is going to work, but I can guarantee that whatever plans they make, the presence of the unpredictable pirate will ensure that chaos reigns!


I made it to Houma before having to use force. Once I’d finally gotten Jean off the topic of panties, he’d proven curious about the world flying past the passenger-seat window of Rene’s obscenely jacked-up black pickup.
He wanted to know about interstates and how they differed from other roads.
He asked about various types of vehicles and demanded to know why they had names like Rogue and Renegade but no one had a Privateer.
            He was fascinated by the 18-mile-long Atchafalaya Basin bridge, second longest in the U.S. behind the bridge over Lake Pontchartrain, and waxed philosophical on how long it would have taken him to cross the massive swamp back in his human days.
            He wanted to know how fast, exactly, Rene’s truck would go. Thank God the merman refused to demonstrate.
             The tunnel that runs beneath the Houma Canal was almost our undoing.
            “We are driving an automobile beneath the water?” Jean stuck his head out the open window and studied the tunnel roof zipping past us overhead. “I wish to pass through here once more, Rene. We must do this now. Tout de suite.”
            Grumbling, Rene indulged him, turning around and going through the tunnel the other way, then doing it all again.
            “I wish to walk through it,” Jean said. “This is a most wondrous thing. We must do this now.”
            “No.” Rene kept driving through the semi-urban sprawl that was Houma, the last town of any size before we drove into the wilds of southern Terrebonne Parish, aka The End of the World As We Know It.
            Frowning, Jean did his spoiled toddler impression and reached across me to grab the steering wheel.
            “Get him off me, wizard. Make yourself useful.” Rene slapped at Jean’s hand and whapped me in the head instead.
I gave Jean a quick zap on the arm with Charlie, and he looked at me as if I’d killed his puppy. Jeez.
“Sorry, I shouldn’t have done that,” I said, and meant it. I should’ve just beaten him over the head with the staff instead. I didn’t normally use my magic thoughtlessly, and the fact I’d zapped him in such a knee-jerk way told me how much healing I still had to do, mentally as well as physically. My nerves were raw.
            Any lingering awkwardness was dispelled by Rene who, hearing a familiar set of guitar chords on the radio, turned it up full blast and began singing Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off" at the top of his off-key merman lungs. Jean and I looked at each other in mutual horror.
            “Roll up the window before we get arrested for disturbing the peace!” I yelled at Jean over Rene’s warbling about “haters gonna hate.”
            Rene’s joyous caterwauling effectively killed all conversation when he segued into “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

And there you have it! In case you need a audio, click the video above. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

It's All About those Bookclubs!

It's All About those Bookclubs!

Alicia Hunter Pace (Jean & Stephanie)
One of my favorite parts about the Southern Magic Luncheon is all of the book clubs that get together and attend the luncheon together.  What a great idea!!

Jean and I have each long been members of bookclubs.  I can remember being part of the Nancy Drew Bookclub as a little girl in elementary school. I have discovered new friends and favorite new authors as a member of a bookclub. Jean's book club members have seen each other through many ups and downs that life has brought to its members.

 With these wonderful experiences it is not really a surprise that our very first contemporary novels feature the members of a bookclub as they each find the love of their lives, in our Gone South series.

The Southern Magic Luncheon every year has book club members who all get together and attend to sit with a favorite author and meet new authors. The last day to save on your registration is tomorrow so get your bookclub together and make your plans to join us at the luncheon.  You are guaranteed to have a great adventure to add to your bookclub memories and who knows maybe you will meet a new favorite author!

I hope you and your bookclub are able to register today so that you get the discount!!  Register now...here is the link!

See you there!!!

Alicia Hunter Pace - Stephanie

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Best Reader’s Luncheon Evah… #MagicLunch #getyourticketbeforepricegoesup


One of my favorite reader’s luncheons was the very first one I ever attended. It was the 2012 Southern Magic Readers Luncheon featuring Sherrilyn Kenyon with welcome speaker Dianna Love.  They were very nice and encouraging to a newbie writer like me. I also met and made a lifelong friend in author Mina Khan. She writes about djinns and dragons and that’s supercool in my book. Well…it’s in her book, but you get my meaning.
 
In 2013, Jeaniene Frost spoke, giving me even more encouragement to keep pursuing my dreams of being a published romance author. Her extremely talented audiobook narrator, Tavia Gilbert, did several readings and blew us away when some of thought Bones was actually in the room. Author Christy Reece’s welcome speech depicting the roller coaster ride that is an author’s life was hilarious and heartfelt. I won several goody baskets and made another friend for life with the fabulously funny Jamie Farrell.
 
Then, in 2014, possibly my most favorite luncheon evah, I attended as a hosting author for the very first time. In her welcome speech, Naima Simone fangirled over Sylvia Day just a little (but not in a creepy way) and had us all in stitches. When Sylvia Day spoke, she reminded us that we were all readers first and still. I met and made connections with readers at my author table. I think mostly they sat with me because Angela Blount and I scored a primo location next to Naima & Sylvia. But it doesn’t matter why they sat down there, just that they did.  And I got to be the hostest with the mostest, bestest readers. (Spell check keeps trying to change mostest to moistest. Raise your hand if you’ve ever read this word in a romance novel.)
 

I can’t pick a favorite reader’s luncheon because all of them have been fun and fabulous in their own special way. Southern Magic does a wonderful job and members put in a lot of work to make our luncheons memorable for all who attend.
So, what are you waiting for? Get your ticket today for the Southern Magic Readers Luncheon on November 7, 2015 before the price increases on September 1st. You don’t want to miss Lexi George and Darynda Jones. I’m betting on something like a standup comedy routine that’ll have us wishing we’d worn our Poise pads.
If you purchase your ticket before September 1st, leave a comment with your email address and I’ll throw your name in a hat and draw for a $10 gift card.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Writing the Older Character

My grandmother recently made the decision to move into assisted living, a move that will be helpful to her in many ways and puts her into close contact with her friends (who also live there) on a daily basis. What I have noticed about my grandmother’s transition into this new phase of life is that even though she is experiencing anxiety about the physical aspects of moving and making a change, her zest for life has returned. She is more energetic and enthusiastic, knowing that she will be able to live around her friends and have daily activities to look forward to in her new life.

Grandma and I. :)
Last weekend, we began the “packing up” and “cleaning out” process, and we came across about three large boxes in the back of her closet. I brought them out and opened them in front of grandma, and it turns out that the boxes were full of her old diaries—diaries she still doesn’t want anyone to read. (By the way, I totally get that and we are in the process of burning them without reading anything, per her wishes.)

But this isn’t a post about longing to take a voyeuristic look into my grandmother’s past! Instead, the experience of finding these diaries made me look at my grandmother in an entirely new way. As happens with children and parents, and grandchildren and grandparents, the younger generation only has limited experience with the generations that come before them—and this often causes us to pigeon hole the  previous generations into limited roles. Grandma is my grandma. I never think of her as teenager, lover, worker, etc. But seeing all of these diaries reminded me that I should, and it also made me think about how I write about elderly characters.

Writing about people who are older than ourselves is challenging, because in some ways we feel like a fraud trying to describe a life stage we haven’t yet experienced. (At least, that is the way I sometimes feel!) When I taught freshman composition courses and had to instruct students on writing personal narratives, the first exercise I had them do was to bring in a photo of themselves where they remember having specific thoughts as the photo was taken. For example, perhaps they had just broken up with a boyfriend or girlfriend but they still put on a smile for the camera even though they were dying inside. This exercise they found simple, because it was about them. But during the next class, they had to bring in a photo of an older family member or friend and approach the assignment from a different perspective. In other words, they had to really think about another person as an individual with life experiences they didn’t consider most of the time.

At first, they thought the exercise was kind of silly, but most of them said that it ended up being one of the most insightful experiences they had in the class when it came to thinking about character and narrative. Humanizing our older relatives and friends, and really thinking about all of the experiences that made those people into who they are, can make our lives richer, but I also think it can make our writing more complete as well.

I know that older characters are sometimes harder to find in romance, and we usually gloss over them as secondary to the hero and heroine, but if an older character appears, that person should be as authentically drawn as possible and play a real role in the story. It might seem intimidating to write about an older person at first, perhaps because of lack of experience or because you don’t want to jump into a stereotype. But remember: An older character gives you a whole life story to work with in really fun ways!


Do you write about older characters often? What are your strategies?

Susan Sierra is a historical and contemporary romance writer. She loves books and old letters, adores her dog and family, and has a deep and committed love affair with coffee. She spent time as an undergraduate studying (having fun) in Mexico, went on to work for a large regional magazine as a copy editor, and then decided that she hadn’t tortured herself enough in life...so she went to graduate school. After many years, she walked away with a PhD and an unhealthy relationship with Charles Dickens. She hopes to complete her first full-length novel in 2015. FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

My First Southern Magic Readers Luncheon

-->
My first Southern Magic Readers Luncheon was my favorite. It was 2012, and I went starry-eyed and full of excitement. I couldn't believe such an event was practically in my backyard, and I would be having lunch with writers. People who know me know that I’m a huge fan girl. Writers have always been my rock stars. I collect signed books like some kids collects comic books or baseball cards. I love them. I’ve been to countless signings and have been so awestruck I didn’t say a word. Not one word. I just stuck my book out with the sticky note on it with my name spelled out. Of course, on the way home, I would kick myself for not at least saying "hi" and telling them how much I love their books.

I arrived full of nervous trepidation. When I talk about books to non-readers, their eyes glaze over, and they usually smile and nod politely before making an excuse to get away. Why? Because I talk about my favorite characters as if they are real people. I was determined to not be a stuttering fool. But what could I possibly say to writers... people who are eloquent wordsmiths? Nervous, I sat down at a table hosted by Susan Carlisle and Bambi Lynn, both were gracious and  generous with chocolate, goodies and their time. To this day, they are two of my favorite people. We laughed, we shared our love of romances and jotted down suggestions for new books. And in the process I realized writers are readers, too. There was no need to be nervous. And the lunch table provides an intimate, small enough setting that you get to know your fellow readers and the authors.

But the luncheon isn't just visiting with like-minded folks. You get stuff. Lots of stuff. Books and swag (Did I mention chocolate?) The door prizes and raffle baskets offered are amazing! Come with an empty backseat, you never know how many you'll win or how big the prizes will be! Not to mention you can purchase more books and get them signed by your favorite authors.

This year, I'm super excited to be attending as an author. My first book, Saving Evangeline was published in May. *Cue the song, “Circle of Life.”* I'm hostessing a table and can’t wait to talk about books with people who “get me.” I promise to provide chocolate.

This year's luncheon will be November 7, 2015 in Birmingham, Alabama and the keynote speaker will be NYT and USA Today bestselling author Darynda Jones. (did you hear that fan girl squeal, that was me!)  You can purchase tickets here. But hurry, ticket prices will increase September 1st!

Comment below and leave your email address and preferred e-book format for a chance to win an e-book of Saving Evangeline. Winner will be announced 8/31/15.
*******************************************************************
-->
 She’s hell bent on ending her life; he’s heaven sent to save her. But, there’s a catch. God’s rogue angel must complete the task disguised as a priest. A forbidden passion ignites, love unfolds and meddlesome angels from above attempt to intervene. Will Remiel’s love save Evangeline or cause them both to be lost forever?
 
-->



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Newbie Tips for the Southern Magic Readers Luncheon

Check out my book published
this summer by MLR Press.
So, I haven't been to that many Southern Magic Readers Luncheons. I've only been in the group for a few years. But...I do know some of the fun things that happen there and can alert you to what you should watch out for:
  1. Goodie bags. When you register, someone will hand you a bag with FREE books in it. And lots of other cool things. I know because I rack my brain all year long to come up with something cool to contribute to those bags--this year I'm putting in octopus bookmarks and goofy octopus lollipops in honor of my book that came out this summer, The Klockwerk Kraken (which has a tentacled hero)!
        
  2. An  Amazing Welcome Speaker. This year our own Lexi George will address the luncheon attendees. In the past it has been so rewarding to see a local author regale us with stories about writing, life, and what it means to be a Southern romance writer.
      
  3. Raffle baskets. Okay, this one I know by heart. Every year, Southern Magic raffles off baskets of books and cool stuff put together by the members of the group. This is where you pay for a ticket, put your ticket in for a chance to win one of the baskets, and then if you win, collect looooots of books and some amazing stuff. Since my book, The Klockwerk Kraken came out this year, I've got a tentacle basket all planned full of books about octopuses, romance, and a teensy bit of science fiction. (The picture is an exclusive sneak peek! You'll have to attend to see what's really inside.) And if you buy a ticket from a ditzy blond and her math whiz husband, that's me! My husband Curt and I are selling raffle tickets. The money goes to a really good cause. It helps Southern Magic continue to host educational programs for writers and hold reader events like the luncheon every year.
    Overflowing with tentacle goodness!

      
  4. Author tables. One of the best things about the Southern Magic Readers Luncheon is that you get to sit at a table with your favorite author. Each author prepares the table especially for their fans and will usually give you a copy of their latest book and other collectibles only available to true fans. You get to meet them face-to-face, chat about their books, maybe even get a scoop on the new one that's coming out next year...
      
  5. Special Guest Speaker. Southern Magic holds a record for choosing the hottest and most engaging speakers for their luncheon every year. This year, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Darynda Jones joins us. Hopefully she'll talk about her hot, hot, hot heroes!
      
  6. Southern Magic shorts. One of my favorite parts of the luncheon is the interstitial films that the members shoot to entertain luncheon guests while setting up for the next part of the event. There have been goofy music videos, slideshows of hunky heros, and even hilarious interviews with famous authors. I can't wait to see what's cooking for this year's luncheon.
    Come see bestselling author Darynda Jones!

      
  7. Author baskets. Buying your ticket to the luncheon enters you automatically in a drawing for an author basket. These baskets are prepared by the authors themselves and contain copies of their books!  And Southern Magic members looooove to make these author baskets memorable. I've seen entire trunks full of goodies go home from the author basket drawing.
       
  8. And the rest. Okay, there is also yummy food. It is a luncheon, after all.
So are you attending? Ready to buy your raffle ticket? You need to make sure you're registered at http://southernmagic.org/luncheon.html - ticket prices go up on September 1st, so you need to hurry!

I hope to see you there!

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

PRE-LUNCHEON GIVEAWAY: 
Comment below and you'll be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card! The winner will be announced here on August 31. 


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


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


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

My Favorite Southern Magic Romance Readers Luncheon

With the end of this month, the prices for the Southern Magic Romance Readers Luncheon will go up. And as my mind wanders, I start thinking about my favorite luncheon. There are so many to remember considering Southern Magic had some great authors/speakers, such as Linda Howard, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Christina Dodd. My top favorite has to be Anne Stuart.

Most people who follow me on my blog and Facebook know that I'm a big fan of hers (as the other ladies). Anne's Ice series is one of my favorites, especially her book FIRE AND ICE. Hey, I even have a hero named after her series and based on the hero from that book. Be sure to check out Ice Takahashi in my book, CIRCLE OF DISHONOR.

The best part of the luncheon with Anne was that I had volunteered to pick her up at the airport. Such a hardship. NOT! I greeted her with a sign that read "Your Greatest Fan!" Oh, yes, she had a worried look on her face. Think Stephen King's MISERY.  HA!  I promised her I didn't have a sledge hammer. She was relieved. It was the best fifteen minutes I spent in a car. She was so much fun to talk with.

Though at the luncheon, you probably won't have fifteen whole minutes of alone time like I did with one of my favorite authors, you do get a chance to speak with them, shake their hand, and get your book signed.

Plus you get a bag of free books, a chance at a door prize and other opportunities to take home a basket of goodies. And the authors (there are many) at each table usually have all kinds of fun swag for you to take home. Yes. You get to sit with a published author and ask questions to your hearts delight or sit there and listen to what others ask. If you're an introvert, don't worry. No need to say a word. Just sit and enjoy a lunch and lots of romantic literary energy around you.

So you want to know more about this fun happening? It's November 7, 2015 in Birmingham, Alabama and the keynote speaker will be NYT and USA Today bestselling author Darynda Jones. Click here to go to the website. Plus check out who else will be there.

Of course, I will be hanging around. Come and sit with me. Don't leave me alone. You never know what kind of trouble I can get into. Well, maybe you want to help me get in trouble? Hmmm. You sound like my kind of people.  HA!

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

GIVEAWAY:  Comment and I'll put in a drawing for a $10 gift card to your choice of book seller (Amazon or Barnes & Noble). The winner will be announced here on August 31.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Carla Swafford loves romance novels, action/adventure movies, and men, and her books reflect that. Her next series starts February 16, 2016 with the Brothers of Mayhem MC book, HIDDEN HEAT. Be sure to check it out.

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




Monday, August 17, 2015

Please Quit Torturing Me!

Dear everyone on Facebook,
Please find the edit or delete button on your posts and use it.

Dear self-published authors,
Please find a critique partner, pay for a copy editor, or an educated beta reader.

Dear everyone who tweets or sends emails,
Please double check and think through what you're sending out in the world. Yes. We all make mistakes, but we can delete tweets, and emails . . . well, we're stuck with the consequences.

What the heck am I talking about? Misspellings and poor grammar. Sure, I mess up too, but like I mentioned, I usually can correct or delete.

Here are some reminders.

You're is You are.
Your is possessive.

Carla's is possessive.
Carlas is plural.

Other's is possessive.
Others is plural.          

All right is correct.
Alright is not.

The last one above, I saw in a recent commercial. Yes. I freaked out! A national commercial, folks!

An example of what I spotted on Facebook: "Treat each other much more gently."  It can't be much more. The word "more" is enough, but then again, it probably should read, "Treat each other gently." Then again, "Treat each other gentler" is more gently, but doesn't sound right. Read it out loud. That can help.

Just remember, whenever you repost memes, not only look at the grammar, but what and how it is being said.

What are some of your grammar pet peeves? And wish me a happy wedding anniversary.  It has been 41 years with my hubby. Yes. I was four.

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

Carla Swafford loves romance novels, action/adventure movies and men, and her books reflect that. 

Look for me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, & Google+
February 2016, HIDDEN HEAT, A Brothers of Mayhem novel
Time Magazine, [Circle of Danger] ". . . involves deadly assassins, drug lords and doing it."
Action-Adventure-Romantic-Suspense

Friday, August 14, 2015

Discovering the Core

One piece of advice I heard at the 2015 RWA National Conference was to know your core story. For new writers this can be a tall order...because you don't know your core story as much as your core story finds you.

As readers, we gravitate to certain types of stories that speak to us. Maybe you gorge yourself on marriage of convenience stories, or bad boy redemption. The fantasy of vicariously living through the actions of the hero or heroine as they make decisions regarding situations we have experienced or dreamed of, makes us better prepared for our own day-to-day existence. Granted, we may never be in a position to help a grieving billionaire overcome his anguish at the death of a childhood friend killed by a mysterious serial killer that is secretly a demon come to fetch the billionaire back to an alternate realm where he is to rule over a fairy empire. But we may need to help a friend or family member who loses someone they love one day. The story resonates not because of the billionaire fairy but because grief is universal.

This connection between reader and story reminds me of the scholarly work I did in graduate school on the importance of fairy tales. Children love fairy tales and often ask for them to be read and reread by their parents. These stories are hundreds of years old and yet, they are still relevant to children bombarded with the internet, television, and cell phones. Because wolves still look for children whether or not they wander red-caped in a forest and lovers that look like beasts remain devoted to their beauties. Again, at their core the stories have something universal, something children seek out to soothe themselves.

But writing is a little different. Instead of looking for your core story, it will find you, worm its way into your prose without your conscious knowledge, pop up in your hero's journey before you even put ink to page. I didn't know my core story when I first started writing because it doesn't become evident until you have a few stories under your belt.

But now, I can't ignore it.


The writer's core story is what their heart desires.

For some writers it might be a heroine that learns she's her own worst enemy. For another writer it's a hero that feels unworthy of love. And for someone else it is always a character on a journey of belonging and acceptance.

And what is my core story, you ask?

I started writing romance in part due to two things:
  1. A submission call for romantic short stories in a science fiction anthology and 
  2. Listening to Kevin Allison at the end of his RISK! podcast every week tell me that "Today's the day--take a risk."
One of the hardest things I ever did was press that send button for the email that held my short story submission to the call. 

A writer's core story is what their heart desires.

My core story is always about a character stepping out of their comfort zone and trying something new, something crazy, something that may fail, something that's dangerous, and will make them emotionally vulnerable. 

I've given a hero the impossible task of convincing a new lover that they met in the future. I've had my protagonist sit down to conversation with a pretty woman even though a zombie is at the door. I've had a character make a bargain with a fairy and another refuse to change out of a vampire costume before interrogating witnesses. I've had a heroine leave her home planet to follow a princess to a war-torn world. And in my most recent novel, I had a broken man learn to love a bartender with tentacles.

All my stories involve characters stepping out of their comfort zone. Because that's what I want to do and what I wish for my readers. Because once you've made that first step outside, whether you succeed or fail, you're one step further on a journey.

So tell me--what's your core story?





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



Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What writing advice do you wish you had received?

If you haven't checked out Georgia Romance Writer's YouTube channel, you are missing out.  Their video on advice for writing romance is fantastic.


What advice would you like to add? 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Cover Models Are People Too


Warning: This post may spoil the fantasies you’ve had about cover models. Or it may make you fall in love with them a little more.
Being in the world of romance writing, on occasion, there’s an opportunity to see real life cover models up close and personal. I don’t mean in a creepy way, though I’ve heard some folks cross the line and make passes at the guys/gals who attend the conferences.
The few I’ve met have been very nice and attached (married or dating). They speak about their wives/girlfriends, kids and day jobs just like they’re everyday people. They are everyday people, most of whom have happened to stumble and fall into the world of modeling for romance novel covers.
Many of them start out in sports or the gym, maybe training for a fitness competition. In fact, many of their fan pages say “Fitness” or “Fitness Model” or “Athlete”. The next thing they know, they’re peeling their shirt off, donning a cowboy hat, and looking at the camera with bedroom eyes. Boom. There’s your cover shot.

 
In New Orleans, Author Reader Con (ARC) organizer V.A. Dold announced the Cover Model of the Year. Ani Saliasi is from Brooklyn and is active duty in the Air Force. Talk about a real life hero. And he’s just as sweet as he is good-looking. For more incredible views, check out his Facebook Page.
There were a few other models there, and the ones I spoke to were very nice. Don Allen is not shy, and from what I can tell, is best known for his cowboy covers. Derrick Meacham is a huge cut-up and has a warm, friendly personality. More than once, I heard about his kindness to persons with disabilities.
At RWA in New York, you may recall Kim Killion and Jennifer Jakes (The Killion Group and Hot Damn Designs) holding a mock photo shoot with model Harvey Stables. I first met him in Atlanta at Moonlight & Magnolias when he helped Pamela Mason and me lug heavy boxes of swag on and off a bell cart. Those muscles are for more than just looks.
Scott Nova was also at M&M that year, and while he seemed a bit shy, we had a nice conversation about my nephew competing in physique contests. That was how Scott got his start.
 
Speaking of...How do you like this handsome fellow on my new Southland Romance which is releasing this week? Meet Johnny Baker and Lacy Goodwin who’ll find when trouble hits hard, the only way to survive is to fight for love. For more, visit http://medawhite.com/fool-with-my-heart
Now that I’ve given you enough model links to time suck you into Facebook for the rest of the day, I’d love to know if you’ve ever met any romance cover models? Did they meet your expectations? Or did they disappoint?

Friday, August 07, 2015

You Have the Right Not to Be Offended....

NOT !!!


This is going to be a brief post, as I am on deadline to get my novella for Christmas Revels II finished before my co-authors boil me in a Christmas pudding and put a stake of holly through my heart. (Those of you who know me know that, with me, BRIEF, is a relative term.) (Okay, I hear you people laughing. Keep it down to a dull roar.)
My rule for the internet, be it social media, loops I am on, or forums on which I participate is - NO POLITICS and NO RELIGION. And I pretty much hold to that. However, over the last few days there have been some discussions on several RWA loops that got me thinking. (Dangerous, I know!) I'm not going to get into specifics. But I do have a few thoughts on the idea that we all have this Constitutional right never to be offended. Ever. 

In one of my other lives, I taught high school English and history. One of the history courses I taught was American Government. Which means, I have read the Constitution. Several times. And in depth. And NOWHERE in the Constitution does it say we have the right to go through life and never, ever be offended. Go ahead and look. It isn't in there.

Now, that does NOT mean that people have the right to offend you and make you stand there and take it. And if someone or something offends you, you do have the right to :

1. Tell that person or entity you are offended.

2. Not support what that person or entity is selling, preaching, etc.

3. To change the channel or put down the book or not see the movie or not go to the concert.

4. To sign a petition or peacefully protest against whatever or whoever it is who has offended you.

(I once spent an entire day in an Austrian jail for protesting China's annexation of Tibet. At an 
 international summit. In Vienna. It offended me. I protested. I was arrested. I was out in time for
 supper.)

And I am certain there are other options I have forgotten, but you get the picture. If something offends you, you do have the right to say "I'm offended." and then respond accordingly.

Here is where the desire to create an offensive free world crosses the line.

Censorship - There are many books, magazines, musical offerings, films, websites, etc that offend me. I don't look at them. I don't buy them. Period. I do not, however, have the right to ban all of these items from other people who might enjoy them. (We're not talking about kiddie porn or other illegal stuff. We're grown ups. We all know what I mean.) 

My idea of what constitutes good music, or a good romance, or a good film may not be the same as the next person's. I love Pride and Prejudice. I also love Shaun of the Dead. Many feminists are offended by Pride and Prejudice. LOTS of people are offended by Shaun of the Dead. Guess what? They don't have to watch either of them. That's the great thing about living in a free society. 

You know what happens when everyone enjoys the same things, believes the same things, says the same things, does the same things and the world is a place where no one is upset, offended or ticked off by anything or anyone ever? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. 

There is no creativity. No free thinking. No growth. No life. Think about the amazing variety of books produced by romance writers every day, every month, every year. If you think all of these wonderful characters, stories, and worlds could be created in the perfect utopia of "Everybody's Happy and No One is Offended !" I've got a totalitarian regime that is looking for a new sucker, I mean member.

Every year when the Oscar nominations are announced I see some movies I just knew needed to be nominated and some movies where I thought the entire population of Hollywood must be smoking crack. Some movies about Southerners I have found particularly offensive. But someone, several someones, a lot of someones found them entertaining, enlightening, amusing or maybe these films contained something that simply spoke to them. 

If a book I hate, a book I find completely offensive for whatever reason, speaks to someone and makes their day better, their life better or simply makes them think, I am good with that. As artists we create in the hope what we create will speak to someone. It's about communication. And so long as the lines of communication are open, we all win. 

One of my favorite lines from the film version of the musical 1776 is when the Founding Fathers are "editing" the Declaration of Independence in such a way as not to offend members of Parliament, or the Church of England, or the citizens of Great Britain, or the king. John Adams in a fit of frustration finally shouts :

"It's a revolution! We're going to have to offend somebody!"


While I certainly don't think we should all go out and try to offend as many people as possible (I am a Southern gal after all.) I never want the world to become a place where the right not to be offended is upheld to the point we simply stop talking to each other. You cannot offend someone if your hands are over your mouth, but it makes it damned hard to shake a stranger's hand or hug someone who really needs it. 


So, how about it? Are you easily offended? Do you think we have the right not to be offended? Did you find this entire post offensive? Go ahead and say so. It's a free country and I wouldn't have it any other way.