M.V. Freeman

Debut Author Carla Swafford and the Magic of Numbers

by M.V. Freeman

Carla Swafford was one of the first writers I met after joining RWA and a local chapter (Southern Magic). She has been tireless in her support of writers and writing.I wanted to be a part of her celebration of her first book, it is well earned!I hope you like her as much as I. –M.V. **all mistakes in uploading this is mine. So forgive me any errors**

Thank you, Mary, for inviting me.  What a great blog! It’s always morefun to blog with others.

How long have you been writing?

Well, the first time I picked up paper and pen to write a story nagging at me was in 1985. But it wasn’t until 2002 that I truly became serious about becoming published. Before that, I’d thought only old men and women who lived in London or New York or on tropical islands wrote books. I love that image of old men and women in exotic places.

I always thought you had to live a tragic life. So glad that’s not the truth! -M.V.

Tell about the CALL? Where were you, what were you doing?

I was at work about to leave at the end of the day for an appointment and decided to take five minutes to check my personal email. The subject line of one read, Out of The Shadows (Circle of Desire’s original title). I thought at first I’d heard back from a writing contest. When I first opened it, my brain couldn’t take in what I was reading. Then I realized it was an editor at Avon Impulse wanting to talk with me about my manuscript and telling me how much she enjoyed it.

Wow! I think we all expect rejections when we finally get accepted  it can be as much of a surprise. But I like this surprise!-M.V.

Today is 11/11/11…a very cool number and rare that this occurrence happens (so cool that you’re here today too). You place a great significance on numbers. Tell us about the number that kept showing up before the call?  

First, let me give you a little background on a number that’s important to me. As a teenager, I mentioned to my grandmother that the number 13 was unlucky. She said she didn’t think so. She was married on the 13th, their first house number was #13, and they had 13 children (eek!).  So after that, I always considered the number to be lucky but tied in with thinking positive. Hey, if you think that many children as lucky…well, you get the idea. The couple months leading to receiving the offer, the number popped up even more than usual. In fact, I had blogged about it in March. Strangely, I submitted my manuscript to Avon’s website (http://www.avonromance.com/impulse/) on April 13 without realizing the date until later.  The date of my email from Avon was May 4, 2011.  In numerology you add the numbers. So 5+4+2+0+1+1 equals 13 and the time 1:57 p.m. (1+5+7) equals 13. All I can say is “Thanks, Grandmother!” And though it’s not the number 13, something about 11/11/11 pulls at me.

We’ll see what happens today. This is very cool. I also wonder. -M.V.

Tell us about the book: What is it about? 

Let me give you the blub. It explains it rather well. 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.

About the heroine, what do you like the most about her? The least?

I’ll start with least. She can be so cold and calculating, some readers may even be put off by it. Yet I know and the reader will learn, she has a reason for being that way. Every day is a struggle to survive for her. That can bring out the worse in people. I like that she doesn’t sit around feeling sorry for herself. When she’s captured by the other organization, she works several angles. She tries to keep her captor off balance by coming on to him. Men can be so funny when the tables are turned. And she looks for a way to escape without help from anyone. Most men don’t expect that of a woman.

I like determined women, and she is someone who is going to seize the day, that’s awesome. -M.V.

About the hero, what do you like the most about him? The least?

As with Olivia, let me start with least. Collin feels he must be in control of his feelings at all times. He wants to emulate his deceased father. As all of us learn as we grow older, no matter how much we love a parent, they’re not perfect, nor are we.

Oddly enough, I also like that control. There are times that Olivia pushes back at Collin so hard, that a lesser man would’ve killed her and been done with it. But thankfully he understands her, and he’s actually kind and patient because of it.  Even when they’re bickering like an old couple, he understands it’s her way to relieve stress.

Here’s a good example. They had barely escaped into the forest after an attack on the cabin they were hiding in.

 Olivia ignored Collin as she sat shivering next to a stream. They’d stopped to quench their thirst and take a break from the relentless terrain. It didn’t matter the sun was straight overhead but for some freaking reason the warmth wouldn’t reach them. Fingers spread she began counting off each one.

“What are you adding?”

His face was swollen on one side from jumping a black-clad Circle lookout, using his fists as not to alert others nearby. Low hanging branches left new scratches across the other cheek as they had run from more gunfire. And all of that didn’t include the cuts he’d received from the flying splinters the night before, though they were dry and angry looking giving him a more intimidating look than usual.

“I’m counting how many times I threatened to kill you. I’ve decided there has to be a limit. Then I can give up and just kill you!” She squinted. “Considering how miserable I am right now, I wouldn’t have to worry about getting all mushy about you.”

Mushy, huh?” He grinned and winced when his cheeks moved up.

“I’m glad you’re hurting.” She leaned over and began rubbing her feet.

The rumble from his chest alerted her and when she looked up he burst out laughing. So handsome and masculine, he almost hurt her eyes looking at him. He’d finally loosened up enough to let the submachine gun hang from its sling and held it to his side with one hand. She smiled with him. Even during their days and nights of making love he’d never appeared so relaxed as he did now.

 Just like a man. He enjoyed having the odds stacked against him.

He wiped at the corners of his eyes. “You’re definitely a city girl.”

There’s nothing wrong with that.” She shifted, bringing her other butt cheek to rest on the rock beneath her as she rummaged through the backpack looking for a way to protect her heels. All she needed was a stick-on bandage or socks. Socks would be lovely.

Facedown in the pack, she felt something soft brush her arm. She scrambled off the rock, pulling her knife and looked around. A white ball rolled to a stop a couple feet from where she’d sat seconds ago.

“Socks!” She held them up and grinned, feeling giddy.

Collin’s laughter didn’t bother her. She had socks! She snatched them from the ground and at the same time kicked off her shoes. The thick material felt so wonderful against her mistreated feet.

Socks—I loved this scene. Funny how the smallest things make one happy. The one line I thought was really neat was “He enjoyed having the odds stacked against him.”  Yep, I love this hero.–M.V.

Are there more books planned? Can you tell a bit about them.

  Thank goodness, yes! The next book is called Circle of Danger.  This is Ryker and Marie’s story. Talk about damaged, they are inside and out.  Here’s a little burb about it. After four local women are found dead from a new designer drug, Arthur Ryker orders his mercenary organization, The Circle, to find the source, a mysterious figure called the Wizard  As a child, Marie Beltane had been sold by her parents for drugs to a mad man. Now he’s dead and she’s determined to prove she’s worthy of more and goes on assignment to stop the killings. Things go wrong. She’s injected with the same drug.

Ryker struggles with his failure to protect Marie from the world as well as himself. He is reckless during his search for the antidote and is captured by a new evil. Now he must become the monster he always feared to save the woman he always loved.

I’ve already decided who will star in the third and fourth books of The Circle series. Hopefully, the readers and Avon Impulse will want more.

Where CAN we get this book!?

  Oh, I hope you and others will purchase it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes (iBookstore) or Sony (Reader Store). Circle of Desire is available in e-format or paperback.

Thank you so much for coming. I enjoyed having you here. May things only get better for you!—M.V.

30 Responses

  1. R. R. Smythe R. R. Smythe says:

    Congrats on your deal and the book!!!

  2. Carla, congratulations on publication of this wonderful book. Having already gobbled up my copy, I have to ask WHEN did you say the sequel was coming out?

  3. R.R. Smythe, thank you! I’ve been floating around my house and job for a few months now. LOL!

  4. Hello there, Grace! Good to see you again. After meeting you on the other blog, I’ve seen your name EVERYWHERE! Congratulations on your many books. I love historicals and I have to check them out!

    “gobbled up” — You do my heart good. The sequel should be out the first half of 2012. The last 100 pages has been stubborn, but I’m getting there.

  5. 13 is a lucky number for me – it’s my birthday! Coincidentally, also in April. :)

  6. Congrats, Carla!

    Thanks for the excerpt, I’d been curious about your style. And double congrats on the sequel coming out so close on the heels of the first one! I see happy fans in your future. ^_^

    ~Angela Blount

  7. Thanks, Angela, for letting me use some of your birthday good luck. LOL! Just think, now I’ll always think of you every April 13.

  8. Well, crap! That should’ve read Abigail. ABIGAIL! I’m such a dork.

  9. And now for Angela…THANK YOU!

  10. Carla,
    Thanks for coming to visit us at the Muse and congratulations on the sale!! I loved the excerpt you gave us and the blurbs of both books sound fantastic. Wishing you many happy sales and oodles of readers.

  11. JoAnn says:

    Enjoyed your post. Happy 11/11/11!

  12. I’m so happy to be here, Alix. And thank you. :-)

  13. Thanks, JoAnn. I loved how Olivia and Collin argued. LOL!

  14. Hi Impulse Sister!
    It’s so cool to see you here and to learn more about you and your book. I have “Circle of Desire” on my Nook and it’s cued up to be one of my next reads. I’m so happy you found a home at Avon, and so far I’m pretty impressed with the quality at Impulse–makes me proud to be in your company.

    I love the number 13 too. My birthday is the 13th, My hubby’s is the 13th and my first horse’s birthday was as well, and when you add up the numbers of my kids’ birthdates (31 & 9 – 3+1+9) it equals 13. We love Friday the 13th whenever it falls. But I stopped well short of 13 children. As for 11-11-11, it’s my dad’s birthday. So, I agree, numbers are special.

    I wish you tons of good luck with your book and I’ll be following your Avon career closely! Thanks for a fun post.

  15. HEY, back at ya! See. We have to behave ourselves for we never know who is watching. I like that. Impulse Sister.

    I agree Lizbeth. Avon has always been known for quality books and when I got the offer, I was floating around for a long while. In fact, my feet really hasn’t hit the ground yet. You probably feel the same way.

    Isn’t it funny how numbers play out? :-)

    Thank you so much for buying Circle of Desire. I hope you enjoy it.

  16. Circle of Desire sounds great, Carla. We’re glad you could join us on the Muse. Good luck!

  17. M.V. Freeman M.V. Freeman says:

    Carla, I am so glad that you came. :)

    Today, I was out and my family and I had lunch at a little place–where someone’s bill came out to $11.11, the person ringing it up said, “This is going on FB!”- I thought you’d be amused.

    I also have your book and can hardly wait to read it!

  18. Donell says:

    Carla, congratulations. That is one fantastic excerpt. Here’s to fantastic sales!

  19. Mary Preston says:

    I’m so loving the look of this book. I have it on my wish list.


  20. Bama says:

    It is so worth the read! :D hehe Just my kind of book:)

  21. ny651 says:



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