How Romance Inspires Author Carla Swafford

Woot! I'm happy to welcome my sister writer and Southern Magic RWA chapter mate Carla Swafford. Both of us published within months of each other. Check out the HAWT cover of her book:

And here's the blurb for CIRCLE OF DESIRE:

As the top assassin at The Circle, a shadowy group of mercenaries, Olivia St. Vincent can hunt down anyone. She's been trained since she was a teenager to kill without feeling, to interact with men without love. But when she's kidnapped by the enigmatic leader of a rival organization, she learns she's been lied to for years. She never worked for the good guys.

Collin Ryker believes the sultry woman he's abducted knows more than she's telling about The Circle and its plans for complete domination. Over time, as they work together, Olivia's tenacity and vulnerability captivate him. But if he isn't careful, Collin will fall into the biggest trap of all: caring for a woman who can betray him to his greatest enemy.

So, are you salivating yet? Itching to get this hot book in your hands?

Being a fun, fab Southern lady, Carla is giving away a copy of the book to one lucky person who visits the blog today.  Read on....

Thank you, Mina, for inviting me to your blog. I’m not too sure how I can compete with Cap’n Jack Sparrow from the other day, but I’ll give it a stab.

You’d said you wanted to know what inspires me as a writer. Well, it’s actually simple. A good well-written romantic story.  

When I pick up a book and read a story that takes me away from the here and now and I become so involved in the characters’ lives that I don’t want it to end, that inspires me. When I feel not only the passion the couple sparks off each other but the love they’re destined to share, that inspires me. When I cry with happiness because the heroine and hero finally receive the love they deserve, well, you get the idea.

I’ve always been a glass half-full gal though I will say there are times in my life I’ve allowed myself to drift over to the dark side and talk like a Debbie-downer. Thankfully, the Pollyanna inside of me is alive and well and loves to read and write romances.

It’s that never ending optimism in romance that I love so dearly and inspires me to keep improving my craft as one day I hope to inspire someone to write their stories.

So tell me what about romance inspires you every day?  At 10 p.m. central, I’ll draw a name for someone to win a copy of my current book, Circle of Desire.


Carla Swafford inherited her love of books from her dad and his father. Growing up, she read every book with a horse on the cover until the age of twelve when she read her first romance. Tired of waiting for her favorite authors to publish more books, she decided to write one. She joined Romance Writers of America and was the finalist in several writing contests.

Carla lives in Alabama and works in a male-dominated occupation at the same company with her husband

Thanks Carla for visiting! You can find out more about her by visiting her

Facebook Page

Or you can follow her on twitter @carlaswafford

NYT Bestselling Author Caridad Pineiro Shares What Keeps Her Writing

The paranormal genre with its otherworldly and strong heroes and heroines, global struggles and fantastic world building hooked me from the very beginning. As a reader, I devoured those books. But then I came across TEMPTATION CALLS by Caridad Pineiro and it left me stunned.

Samantha Turner, the heroine, was a mixed race vampire who ran a family shelter. A heroine I could relate to and embrace. Back then I used to teach culinary classes at non-profits, including a family shelter and I happen to be a woman of discovering Sam was a turning point. It took me many years, but Sam and Caridad, gave me the courage to write my own mixed race heroine and share the djinn mythology I grew up with in THE DJINN'S DILEMMA. For that I'm grateful.

And it's a great honor and pleasure to host Caridad on my blog today.

It’s not easy being a writer.  It’s probably one of the hardest jobs you’ll ever have.

It’s time consuming, plant-your-butt-in-the-chair kind of work.  I often will spend three or four straight hours writing on a weekend before getting up to take a much-needed break.

It’s not necessarily financially rewarding.  I thank God every day that I still have my day job to pay the bills.

It can be lonesome, after all, writing is not a team sport.  See above re: countless hours of planting-your-butt-in-the-chair.  Alone.

The publishing world is filled with rejection even after you sell your first book or your thirtieth and even if your work isn’t rejected, you may find yourself doing countless revisions before your it is ready for publication.

So you may wonder what keeps me writing?  What inspires me to forget all the above and sit down in front of my laptop and write?  For hours.  Alone.

The answer is simple:  You.  Yes, you the reader.  You the person who takes the time to drop me a quick line or tweet or leave a comment on Facebook.

You make it all worthwhile by letting me know that you enjoy the story that I’ve told or that it’s touched you in some fashion or that it made you think about something in a new way.

I write the stories to do just that because I want to engage you.  I want to share a piece of me with my stories and I often do so in one way or another in many of my books.

I want to be that kick-ass heroine who knows how to stand up for what’s right and wins the hero in the end thanks to her strength and courage.  I want you to feel that you can be that heroine.  That you can tap your inner strength and be who you want to be.

I want to be that woman who finds the love of her life (and I have although he’s not perfect) and I want you to think that you, too, can experience a satisfying partnership.

I want to show you new worlds that I wish to visit or share with you places where I’ve been lucky to go, like my beloved Jersey Shore or the top of a Mexican pyramid.  I want you to know you can go there, too, either for real or via my stories.

I want to share because I’m a sharing kind of person.  Caridad means “Charity” and before I got wiped out and it became Faith, Hope and Love, Charity was the greatest gift of all because it meant that you were sharing of yourself with others.

That’s why you inspire me to write.  To give you exciting stories.  To give you sexy stories.  To share a piece of me and to get to know you better when you share yourself by taking the time to reach out to me.

Thank you for coming by and thank you, Mina, for having me here!  I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Happy Holidays!  May we all get to know each better in the New Year.


Thanks so much for visiting Caridad and sharing your wise words!

New York Times and USA Today bestselling paranormal and romantic suspense author Caridad Pineiro wrote her first novel in the fifth grade when her teacher assigned a project – to write a book for a class lending library. Bitten by the writing bug, Caridad continued with her passion for the written word through high school, college and law school. In 1999, Caridad’s first novel was released and over a decade later, Caridad is the author of thirty published novels and novellas.

Amazon Awakening, her more recent release is also her first erotic paranormal romance. Check out the cover:

When not writing, Caridad is an attorney, wife and mother to an aspiring writer and fashionista. For more information about Caridad and her books, please visit

Writing to Right the Wrongs of this World

Hi y'all!

Holidays are festive times with lots of parties and get-togethers to attend. One recent evening, I was invited to three different shindigs! Well, I have found some of the merry making spills into the blogosphere.

So while I'm visiting my friend Caridad Pineiro's blog and talking about why a genie would make the perfect Christmas/Hannukah/New Year's/Just-Because gift. :) we are celebrating my wonderful friend and a precious beta-reader Joya Fields' sweet release of LOVE DELIVERED. Woot!

I have been fortunate enought to help critique some of her stories and, in her writings, her heroic characters take on some of the world's worst injustices and defeat the bad guys. She leaves me cheering. :D

I hope you're inspired reading about Joya's heart-warming approach to writing.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog today, Mina. I love talking about inspiration because it’s such a unique and individual concept. One of the reasons I love writing stories, especially happily-ever-after ones, is that I can right the wrongs I see happening in the world.

In the real world, at-risk teens might fall through the cracks if there isn’t a responsible, caring adult in their lives. I’ve seen it happen many times. In LOVE DELIVERED, my story that releases today, the hero, Pete, won’t let that happen to the kids in his community. He helps them find passion through golf.
When I write that type of story or hero, it makes me feel like it could really happen. Hopefully, it does happen. In the world of fiction, I can fix all sorts of things in the world—make them how I think they should be. Villains are always brought to justice. The serial killer meets his demise, the human traffickers are put away for life, and selfish people get what’s coming to them.

One particular newspaper story hit me hard a few years back. In a flash flood, a teenage boy risked his life to pull younger kids from a fast-rising stream. He saved them, but lost his own life. No! Good guys win. I still have that article tacked to my corkboard in my office. This kid was doing the right thing, helping others, not thinking about himself. And then he died. I feel a strong urge to rewrite that scene in some future book, and that boy will live. In fact, he will be the hero.

Maybe it’s my way of dealing with bad things that happen in our world, maybe it’s escapism. I see it all as inspiration. Thanks again for having me and I’d love to hear how others are affected by what they see in the world and how they make sense of it.

Joya Fields has had over 100 stories and articles published in local and national magazines and her debut novel, BENEATH THE SURFACE, a romantic suspense, will release January, 2012 from The Wild Rose Press. Her novella, LOVE DELIVERED, a romantic comedy, releases December 21, 2011.

Find Joya on the web at:
As an exra treat, check out Joya's book trailer for LOVE DELIVERED 

Characterization Tips I Learned From Capt. Jack Sparrow

Ahoy there mateys! Who doesn't know the lovable and zany Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies? If you don't...make haste and remedy the situation! Make sure you have lots of popcorn to enjoy :) But first, read on....

The Pirates of the Caribbean movies have a lot to recommend them: dashing pirates, fun dialogue, exciting adventures, twists and turns galore and awesome visuals. However, it's the eccentric and unpredictable Jack Sparrow that makes them memorable and worth watching. Savvy?

Actor Johnny Depp makes the character come to life and be almost more real than our next door neighbor, and as writers we must do the same for our protagonists. So I took some lessons from Jack Sparrow and shared them on the FFnP blog.  And that's where you'll find me come visit me, me hearties! Arrr!

Belief Keeps Author Brenda Novak Writing

Woot! New York Times & USA Today best-selling author Brenda Novak is on the blog today and I'm thrilled. Brenda is a three-time Rita nominee. Her books have won many awards, including the National Reader Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Book Buyer’s Best and the Holt Medallion. Yes, awesome achievements, but it gets better.

I met Brenda through her annual online auction for diabetes research. Her youngest son has the disease and she's determined to be part of the solution.  The auction runs every May at To date, she’s raised over $1.3 million.

Brenda has taught me you can achieve your dreams through hard work and perseverance, and one person can help make the world a better place. I'm honored to present Brenda Novak, a truly inspiring writer and person:

Whenever someone asks me what inspires me, I have to say belief (or some might call this faith). If you truly believe in yourself and your talent, you will be motivated to actually sit down and write the book instead of only dreaming about it. You will be driven to seek out any help you may need (research or craft-related) to make it the best you can create. You will follow through with marketing ideas, and you won’t give up if you don’t reach your goals immediately. Belief drives the entire engine—even through the rough spots. It battles discouragement, which is, according to Webster, “to deprive of courage or confidence.”

How many army commanders would win a war, or how many coaches would win a game, if they deprived their army/team of courage and confidence? Now think about the fact that, as a writer, you are a commander of one. How do you treat yourself? Do you allow yourself to be deprived of courage and confidence?

There is a tombstone in Britain that says: “In moments of discouragement, defeat, or even despair, there are always certain things to cling to. Little things usually: remembered laughter, the face of a sleeping child, a tree in the wind—in fact, any reminder of something deeply felt or dearly loved. No man is so poor as not to have many of these small candles. When they are lighted, darkness goes away—and a touch of wonder remains.” In order to be successful in this business, we must hang on to some of that wonder. We can't light a candle in someone else if there is no fire in us.


Brenda has a brand new small-town contemporary series starting in 2012. Come meet the long-time friends who have made Whiskey Creek the “Heart of Gold Country,” with WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES, to be released in September. Also, don’t miss her latest romantic suspense trilogy available now--INSIDE, IN SECONDS, & IN CLOSE.

After writing contemporary romance and romantic suspense for 12 years (about 40 books), she's returned to her first love -- historical romance. Her most recent historical release is The Bastard. Check out the scrumptious cover!

To learn more about Brenda check out her website.
So how do you keep the doubt-monster at bay?

Kiss of Death: The Place for the Murderously Inclined Romantic

Kiss Of Death is one of my favorite RWA chapters ever! So to celebrate Kiss of Death Day, I'm posting this wonderful "All-You-Need-To-Know" essay written by fellow KODer Avery Flynn. Enjoy!


What great romance doesn’t have suspense in it? Whether a spy thriller in Regency times, a paranormal romance with a revenge-seeking zombie, or a traditional serial killer after the heroine, romance relies on suspense, leading the reader through the trials of the heroine and hero to see if they will get their happily ever after ending.

December 1 is Kiss of Death day. Yeah, that's how cool romantic suspense is as a genre, it gets its own day. To celebrate, we're trying to make #romanticsuspense a trending topic on Twitter today. Help us by sharing why you love romantic suspense using the #romanticsuspense hashtag.

If you can call your writing suspenseful, then the Kiss of Death chapter of the Romance Writers of America has something for you!

“I love so many things about KOD! I'm going with a tie: CLUES-N-NEWS because you can ask the weirdest questions and get the best answers, and Lethal Ladies because they helped me grow as a writer and find good friends.” - Mina Khan

Formed in 1994, KOD—as we call our chapter—promotes and supports the writing and reading of suspense and mystery fiction with strong romantic elements. We’re one of the largest RWA chapters with members from across the globe who join our online family of mayhem-loving writers. Joining gives you access to a wide array of programs to help your writing develop and grow.

“KOD has been a lifeline when it comes to death-related questions. It's a safe place to discuss the macabre, run plots by experts, and find support among fellow suspense writers. They know where to hide the bodies and cover their tracks! (And if you can make it, the tours at the RWA National conference are informative and lots of fun.)” - Anne Marie Becker

Top among membership benefits is our College of Felony and Intrigue (COFFIN) online workshops for only $15 per class for KOD members. In addition, KOD offers online networking, a critique group, brainstorming support and a book-in-a-week challenge to help you to get that draft on paper. We support our members with an active Facebook group and Twitter feed giving you access to the information you need, whenever you need it.

“I love being a part of a group that gets mystery and suspense. Not everyone does. I also love reading what people have to say on the loop. I’ve learned so much from KOD.” - Linsey Lanier

Nothing says romantic suspense like RWA’s Kiss of Death chapter. Nothing says I’m a romantic suspense author like being a KOD member. Join us today during our annual membership drive. As an added bonus all new members or renewing members who join in December will be entered to win a first chapter critique from published Kiss of Death members.

To join Kiss of Death, visit us online at for easy PayPal or traditional payment options. For the joining fee of $35 ($30 for renewal), you’ll love us to death!