Thursday, April 26, 2007

The real Las Vegas

Just a quick post as I'm on my way to catch a plane to Las Vegas. My LV is not Bellagio, talking fountains, and the Eiffel Tower. The real Las Vegas is soccer moms, band concerts and weekend flea markets. In other words, it's where folks live, work and play. And how do I know that - that's easy. My extended family lives there.

I have to say, the real Las Vegas is a treasure trove of inspiration for writers - great eccentric characters, funky settings and events that are almost too hard to believe. I've used it several times. So hopefully I'll get another inspiration.
I know I'll probably be the only person on the return trip to have made only a minimal contribution to the economy. I somehow can't resist dropping a few nickels on video poker.

Ann DeFee

Georgia On His Mind - Harlequin American Romance - August 2007
Summer After Summer - Harlequin Everlasting Love - September 2007
The Magic of Christmas - The Perfect Tree - Harlequin American Romance - November 2007

Monday, April 23, 2007

Introducing Myself

I'm so happy to be here, I'm probably going to start gushing clichés right and left. Please bear with me. I'm a brand new Harlequin American author, and it only took me eight years to get here.

My path was not only long but fraught with ups and downs. For any of you unpublished authors out there, take heart. The book I sold to Harlequin American last August, His Only Wife, was a two-plus year process that involved two separate revisions. It was hard work, but well worth it. And now that I'm here, I hope to stay for a very long time.

My hero in His Only Wife is a wilderness firefighter, specifically a Hot Shot. I got the idea for the book a few years ago when my family and I went on a weekend trip to our cabin in Young, Arizona. That summer, the state suffered the worst wilderness fire in its history. We could see the mountains blazing and the many columns of rising smoke from the front porch of our cabin. At one point, the fire got so close to Young, we were put on alert for possible evacuation.

I had the honor and pleasure of meeting the Payson Hot Shots when the eleven men and one woman, on a short reprieve from fighting the fire, came into the local restaurant where we were having dinner. The town was hosting the Hot Shots, feeding them and putting them up for the night in the community center.

One look at them, and I knew I'd found inspiration for a book.

The good news is that the fire was contained before it reached Young and our cabin. Unfortunately, thousands and thousands of acres were lost. Writing the book was, in small part, my way of paying tribute to real-life heroes who put their safety on the line for others every time they report for duty.

I want to thank Michele Dunaway for inviting me to participate in the Harlequin American Blog and all the Harlequin American authors who have made me feel so welcome. This really has been a dream come true for me (there goes another cliché!).

Sunday, April 22, 2007


I’ll be flying to Houston this Thursday to attend part of the Romantic Times Magazine Convention. I’m really looking forward to the trip. Simple Gifts, my October 06 release, won their reviewer’s choice award. So, I’ll get to attend the awards luncheon on Friday and also be a part of the booksigning on Saturday.
Another reason I’m looking forward to the trip is because I’m from Houston. I rarely get an opportunity to visit since no one in my family lives there any longer. However, just the thought of spending some time there makes me smile. Okay, I’ll say it--returning to Texas always makes me smile.
On Friday night, I’m planning to see Tiffany, one of my best friends growing up. Tiffany and I met when we were placed next to each other in sixth grade choir. Through the years, we did a lot together~dance classes, vacations, sleepovers, dinners at each other’s houses...and drill team. My favorite memories of Houston revolve around high school. I had a close group of girlfriends from the drill team, and I don’t believe I’ve ever had a group of friends like that since. I laughed and cried more with those girls than I do believe I have with anyone else since.
After graduation, I never really went back. My father moved away. Later on, my brother did too. I was in a hurry to finish college and get married. Since then, we’ve been transferred several times and have concentrated on making our home wherever we might be. Memories faded and new ones in other places took their place. Little by little, ‘y’all’ became ‘you guys’ and drinking ‘Cokes’ became ‘soda’ or ‘pop’.
Three years ago, my husband and I took our kids to Houston, to show them where I grew up. Kelly, another wonderful friend, threw a little get-together for us, complete with really good Tex-Mex. Before I knew it, Kelly pulled out a photo album, and then, there we were…looking back twenty years. In a matter of minutes I was laughing and crying just like I used to. My accent came back a bit. And my children had a very quick glimpse of a whole different person other than the one they thought they knew.
So, I’m really thankful to Romantic Times Magazine. Winning their award for my book was unexpected and truly gratifying. Having another reason to visit Houston is an added bonus. I’ll let you know what happened on the 3rd, when I blog again. And, if you happen to be going to RT, too, I hope you'll stop by and say hi!