Thursday, March 22, 2007


The hero of A Small-Town Girl is Cary Hudson. Cary’s a high school teacher…Algebra to be exact.
I had a lot of fun imagining his life at Lane’s End High because for ten years, I taught school, too. And, if I’m going to be completely honest, I miss the friendships I made, and the sense of community a faculty has more than I miss being around twelve year olds. Hmm…maybe because I have two teenagers at home?
I seem to run into a lot of writers who are former teachers. I stopped teaching because we got transferred to Ohio and my husband encouraged me to finally give writing a try. Usually, I never think about the days of sweaty classrooms or ‘morning work’. But every now and then, a memory surfaces, and I have to smile.
Yesterday was one of those days. My son was talking about taking drivers ed in a trailer and how thin the walls were—a Jazzersize class was going on next door.
For two years, I taught in a mountain school in Colorado, in a trailer. We’d just been transferred to the Denver area from Dallas, and I was extremely lucky to get a job. But what a change that school was! No longer was I teaching executives’ kids in suburban Dallas…now I was teaching rancher’s kids, country kids…kids who did chores at six in the morning before coming to school. I learned a lot about life from them, and I’m sure they got a laugh out of me…the city girl from Texas who wore heels and didn’t know a thing about snowstorms, cattle ranches…or bears.
Yep, one day, there I was, teaching spelling, when I noticed not a one of them was paying a bit of attention to me. They were all looking out the window. Next, I got a message on the intercom, telling me not to let any kids out of the trailer—there was a bear on the playground.
I ran to the window, and finally noticed what my twenty-five kids had already seen—a big black bear, just twenty feet away, wandering around.
I had never read anything about bears in the teaching manuals. Doing my best, I swallowed my fear and told everyone to REMAIN CALM.
And that’s when it hit me…they knew that bear. He’d been in a couple of the kids’ trashcans just the week before. He visited the school a few times a year. I was the only one freaking out. Those fifth graders started laughing at me. Finally, I started laughing, too. Spelling went away and we spent the next hour sitting on desks and watching the bear. The kids told me stories about his antics and I learned to appreciate being in a mountain school.
Any other teachers or former teachers who remember little stories like that? When the lesson plans go out the window and life takes over? Here’s to all of us having little experiences that are new and different and perfectly memorable.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Welcome, Spring!

Hello on this first day of Spring, 2007. In Dallas it is rather dreary but warm today. The birds are chirping and the squirrels are searching and I'm sneezing. Well, the pollen count is rather high down here in Texas. Since I grew up in a colder climate, I'm actually pretty glad to see Spring right now, rather than a few months away.

The weather often reminds me that I would rather be outdoors than sitting at my desk, writing my new proposals for "Brody's Crossing," my new series for Harlequin American Romance which begins in July. I've tried to take my laptop outside, but then the dog wants to play ball, and I see some weeds that need to be pulled, and the little fountain needs water. On and on. I believe that's called writing avoidance. I'm rather good at it! Fortunately, once I do get focused, I'm a fairly fast writer, so I try to make up some of the time I should have spent writing.

I'm very excited about my new stories. They are about characters I've introduced in the first two books - the brother of the hero from the first book, and the childhood best friend of the hero in the second book. I also gave my new Texas town a female mayor. I've tried to set up defunct businesses like we see in most small towns - motels that have failed, an empty train station, former small businesses that have gone away once a megastore moves in. My mayor is on a quest to revitalize the town, so I gave her plenty of places to work her magic. And, for me, plenty of opportunities for new characters to come to town. For example, the heroine in the third book that I'm working on right now is going to fix up the Sweet Dreams Motel in a retro style that will be a lot of fun to research. There are several motels in Texas already done this way. And, of course, since I'm of "a certain age," I remember the actual style when it wasn't retro!

So, happy springtime, everyone, and happy writing, whether you are currently looking out your window at storms, snow, sunshine, or clouds.


Monday, March 19, 2007

When Funny Things Happen at Sober Moments

It was a sober moment. My husband was outside my car, standing in the pouring rain, motioning me closer to the curb. After maneuvering back and forth between two parked cars, I finally got the job done. I grabbed my umbrella. Not just any umbrella. (Warming: I am about to go off on a brief tangent.)This baby is a beaut. I first saw her in a SkyMall magazine, when I was flying home from a visit with my parents. I live in Seattle, where it rains all winter long, and this big ol’ umbrella called to me. I’ve never bought a thing from an airplane magazine, and I stuffed the thing into the seat pocket. But I couldn’t stop thinking about that umbrella. Black, with a row of red silk roses sewn round the rim. Closed it looks like a bouquet. Open, it’s an umbrella rimmed with roses. Pretty! I was in love, and darned if I didn’t slide the magazine back out of the pocket and stash it in my purse.

The next morning I went online and ordered. Ten days later she arrived (yes, I have given her a sex and a name—female, Rosie.) To my surprise, those roses aren’t silk at all. They’re made of some nameless red fabric and stitched into the rim by their plastic, two-inch-long stems. The funkiest thing you ever saw! Not so beautiful as the picture; in fact kinda ugly. But she’s still ultra cool, and I’m not the only one who believes this. Everywhere I carry Rosie, I get comments from women who want one just like her. Who’d have thought?

Anyway, as soon as I parked the car nice and close to the curb, I grabbed Rosie, whom I keep in the back seat of my car. When I pulled her into the front seat I accidentally hit the latch. She popped open. Fully open she’s way too big for my car. I couldn’t even open her all the way. I tried to close her back up to her trim little self, but for some reason that didn’t work, either. I tried twice without any luck. Then I realized how funny the whole thing was. Well, I got the giggles. There I was, in the front seat of my Prius, laughing hysterically and trying to control my rebellious umbrella, while my husband got wetter by the second. Hey, he could’ve stayed dry if only he’d grabbed Rosie for himself. But for some reason he won’t touch her.

At last I closed the thing and exited the car. My husband just shook his head. But I kept on laughing.

Next time he rides in my car he’ll bring his own umbrella.

Ann Roth
It Happened One Wedding, April, 2007
Another Life, April, 2007

Sunday, March 18, 2007

First Sale!!!!

The Harlequin American Romance authors are delighted to announce that one lucky lady got the call from Kathleen Scheibling. Joining the line with a 2008 release is author Megan Kelly, a resident of Illinois and member of the Missouri RWA chapter ( And yes, for those of you curious, the book was sold on complete! Congrats, Megan.

Hi, I’m a brand new Harlequin American author, Megan Kelly. So new, in fact, we haven’t decided on a title for my book yet! However, it’s due on the shelves next spring, so I’ll keep you posted. I’ve been writing for quite a few years, striving to improve my work in hopes of finding a home with Harlequin.

I read my first Harlequin Romance at thirteen and fell in love with the stories. I started writing four years later, but it wasn’t until I’d married and had two children that I met one of my favorite authors, Kathleen Korbel (aka thriller writer Eileen Dreyer) and discovered RWA. Without the support of my local chapter, I’d still be struggling with my first manuscript.

I’ve been very lucky to have my mss recognized in RWA chapter contests, winning the Maggie and the Molly, and finaling in the Emily and the 1st Impressions, each with different works.

My upcoming release—how exciting that sounds!—is a story of unlikely lovers vying for the CEO position of a major Chicago firm. Sort of Romeo and Juliet meets “The Apprentice.” LOL

I want to thank Michele Dunaway for all her advice and kindness over the years and for this opportunity to say hi.