Saturday, March 17, 2007

Aren't I the lucky one!

Seventeen's my favorite number, I'm blogging on dear old St. Paddy's Day and, sure and y'know, I'm Irish, to boot! At least three-eighths, by the family's last reckoning.

The funny thing is, though, on St. Patrick's Day that fraction turns to 100 proof... Uh, I mean 100 percent. (Don't blame me. I was led astray by a recent blogging here about moonshine. Nothing my ancestors would know anything about!)


This all has gotten me thinking again about a story idea I have in mind, one I hope will hit the shelves some day. It's about a heroine from a 100-percent Irish family, a large loving group of eccentrics, including one close relative who's considered "more Irish than the Irish" even when it's not the family's favorite holiday.

Don't you have friends and relations like that, too? People who suddenly become more of...whatever they need to be when the occasion arises? The life of the party. The master of ceremonies. Santa Claus in a red suit or the Easter bunny if the situation demands it. They'd convert to a new religion if it would get them more gifts for the holidays.

I meet a heckuva of a lot of Irishmen on March 17th who haven't got a drop of Irish blood in them. (Whiskey's another story, however.)
But what the hey, I'm not greedy. I don't drink whiskey, so there's plenty to go around.

And believe it or not, it's not all about the booze! There's just something magical about being an Irishman in tribute to St. Patrick.

So if those friends or relatives like to sign on as honorary members for the day—or if you've a mind to give it a whirl, yourself, now—I say, have at it.

Or, maybe I should I say, the luck o' the Irish to you!

All my best to you,



Barbara White Daille

Friday, March 16, 2007

Fact or Fiction

Are readers demanding more "reality" in their fiction these days? I think so.

And it's not the suspense, mystery or thriller novels I'm referring to--it's straight up romance. What does that mean for the romance writer? Research. And lots of it.

Today's romance heroes and heroines are DEA agents, firefighters, cops, soldiers, country western singers and a slew of other occupations, each demanding factual data to support their character. I've done more research for the book I'm working on right now, FOR THE CHILDREN (Oct 07) the first book in my new series "Heart of Appalachia" than I have in all my other books combined. Not only was I faced with the challenge of researching an area of the country I've never lived in or visited for any length of time, but the occupation of my heroine was something I knew zip about--bootlegging. Yes, my heroine has her own still and makes moonshine

It's easy for me to lose myself in the factual details and often my CP will remind me that first and foremost the story is about two people falling in love. I sometimes struggle with how much is too much or not enough when it comes to adding tidbits of truth and reality to my stories.

Opinions anyone? How much factual information do you like in your romances?

Happy reading!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Harlequin American Romance Authors: The voice on the phone

Harlequin American Romance Authors: The voice on the phone

The voice on the phone

When I first started sending out manuscripts in the hopes of selling one, I ran to the mailbox eagerly each day. Okay, I was about twelve, but I think at any age a writer nurtures dreams and fantasies of that wonderful letter of acceptance.

Well, as a beginner, I did receive a few. A small essay published in the readers’ section of a teen magazine. A poem here. A book review there.

But as I grew up, I discovered that mostly what comes in the mail are rejections. Although I’ve sold 80 books over the past 25 years, my rejections are probably (no exaggeration) ten times that many. I could paper my two-story house if I’d saved them all.

Creative people are really good at finding ways to torture ourselves. (Maybe my story is totally off-base … I didn’t put in enough sexual tension …it can’t possibly compare to all those wonderful books I see at the store.) Rejection hurts because it makes us doubt ourselves. And that gets old fast.

What never gets old is the voice of an editor on the phone saying, “I love your book. I want to buy it.”

There are variations, especially in an ongoing editor-author relationship. Sometimes it’s more along the lines of, “It’s a go. Now for the revisions…” Or, “This works fine. But about those contract terms…”

But buried inside is the happy news. There’s going to be a beautiful book – or two or three -- with your name on it.

I’m pleased to report that last week I once again heard a voice on the phone. For Harlequin American, my editor bought a trilogy about a group of neighbors who could give Desperate Housewives a run for their money. It’s going to be fun to write and, I hope, fun to read when it comes out in 2008.

I’ve earned another chance to touch readers’ hearts. What more could an author ask?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Happy International Pi Day!!!

Ahh . . . Nothing quite says fun like a double trip to the dentist--not!! LOL!! Alas, that's my day's fate. Son #1 has a cleaning scheduled in the morning, and Son #2 has a couple cavities to be filled in the afternoon.

I so envy friends who are able to hammer out a day's pages in fifteen-minute snippets, but it seems like more and more I need loads of uninterrupted time to write. Not that I'll even spend it all writing, just that emotionally, if I know I've got to look presentable and chat with school ladies and the dental office receptionist, I figure what's the point of even trying to write? If there are any armchair psychiatrists lurking out there, why do I suffer from this affliction??

In fun happenings, my new website's up and running! ( years of working through a middleman, I'm proud to say I did this one myself!! Funny how no one in the family views my writing as any big deal, other than that if I'm needing the computer during *myspace* time, I'm a huge imposition!! That said, everyone wanted to have a say in what pics of them went up. In the end, I went with the pics I like best, but for the record, both sons wanted *cooler* fare. Daughter was happy, and Hubby was happy once I put his Cozumel pic back up, which apparently he really likes--who knew?? LOL!!

Today is International Pi Day!!! How do I know? I spent a large portion of last night coloring a Pi Day poster. Good thing I write instead of doing math, because even after studying this fact for three hours, I still don't get it!! What I do get, is that it's a great excuse to eat pie, which I'm always up for!! LOL!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Guys simply don't get it

I just got back from visiting my friend Geri Krotow (another Everlasting Love author) in Belgium. We had a ball - it was true outlet shopping at its best. Skip the cathedrals - okay, I'll confess, we did visit the one in Ghent on our way to the 40% off Flemish tapestry shop. Bypass the art museums - there was a Van Gogh in that same cathedral. One of the monks in the painting was wearing the same shoes I was - amend that to the same type of shoes. I don't think mine are three centuries old.

The Eiffel Tower - I've already see it. Ditto for the Mannequin Pis in Brussels. Give me the Le Cruset factory with its 75% off pots and pans. Or the Villeroy and Bock outlet in Mettlach, Germany where we rolled up our sleeves and battled the hausfraus for fine china at 4 Euro a plate.

And did I mention the bazaar in Kaiserslautern with over 200 vendors from all over Europe. It was a true black belt shoppers idea of Nirvana. Guys simply don't get it.

So here's to gourmet chocolate, German wine, Belgian beer and good friends. Ann

Monday, March 12, 2007

March Madness

March is one of my favorite months. First, spring finally arrives in Missouri. I'm one of the SAD people--I really do get the seasonal affective disorder. I need sun and lots of brightness, and the gloom of winter does me in. By the time March arrives, I'm ready.

Second, March means that spring sports begin. NASCAR. Baseball. Even better, my plants start breaking through and the buds hit the trees. I'm writing this while on spring break (hooray)!

Third, St. Patrick's Day, my favorite holiday. My daughter's and my best friend's birthday (same day--30 years apart) both follow on the 18th. This year I'm also traveling to NYC at the end of the month.

So far, March has been good to me. I've learned I get a tax refund. I've reached all my writing deadlines. I've been the lucky person updating the blog and sharing all the news about all the great sales to the Harlequin American line. I have a book out in April, and I'm getting ready for that.

I've also learned that I just sold another book--another Harlequin NASCAR series continuity. Out of Line will be a May 2008 release.

So I'm quite upbeat and excited. I love sharing good news, and there's a lot of it! (Congrats to Jacqueline Diamond on a 3-book sale!) After March 17, I'll post all the details about the first saler to the line.

So in this season of March Madness, let me take a minute to thank you, the reader. You are our fans, cheering us on to victory. You're there when we lose some and there when we win some. You make us shine. Thank you.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Better Late Than Never!

I'm posting late because I've been out of town, in sunny (but freezing) Virginia Beach. I had planned to post from the airport early this morning, but I couldn't find a hot spot and I ran out of time.

I wish I could say I'd been in VB on a book tour, or at least doing booksignings or workshops or researching a location. But the fact is I was being a bum. Rob, my husband, was attending EpiCon, a conference for e-publishers and writers. (He is the publisher of But I was just along for the ride, mooching his beachfront hotel room.

I'd been writing frantically on deadline for the past few weeks, so it was nice to have a few days with no agenda. I could have written if I wanted (since I brought my teeny-tiny computer), but mostly I chose to walk (on the cold beach) and birdwatch. I added five, possibly six new birds to my list. (The sixth I spotted at the airport, some kind of duck. I'll have to check the field guide to see if I can make a definitive I.D.)

It's nice to do nothing. I became a writer to get away from the overscheduled, stressful life, but lately my life has been nuts.

Downtime is essential to my writer's brain. If I don't take breaks occasionally, my subconscious rebels and refuses to give me anything. I run out of ideas and find it difficult to write. Doing nothing recharges the batteries. So does the change of scenery.

So that means I should have a new book plotted out in my head by now, eh? Well, it doesn't work quite that well. But I do feel eager to get back to my computer and start something new.

Happy Reading to You,