Saturday, August 04, 2007

We're all out of time, folks!

One of the headlines in today's paper announced that the 2008 model cars are in dealers' showrooms now. Used to be, these ads appeared in late Fall. But it's only August! And August 4th, to be exact! By the time 2008 rolls around, these same cars will practically be antiques.

(Or more likely in today's disposable society, they won't even be in as good shape as some of the genuine classic cars on the roads. But that's a blog topic for another day....)

Vaguely, as a kid, I remember being surprised when Christmas candy showed up in the stores before Thanksgiving. Naturally, I didn't complain about it! (smile) But it did have me worried....

After getting through the ABCs, cursive writing, and the number system, I aced the test on the days of the week and the months of the year. Seeing that candy in the stores made me afraid that maybe my teacher had gotten my A+ paper mixed up with someone else's.

The other thing that happened, again naturally, was that those sweets got me started thinking about what Santa would bring me for Christmas. And you know that's just what all those merchants wanted!

Holiday gifts and decorations crept up in line to gain a place before Halloween. Then before Columbus Day. I'm waiting for the stuff to show up on Labor Day!

It's the same with all the other holiday items, summer clothes, winter clothes, back-to-school supplies--the list goes on and on.

I can understand the value of getting people to plan ahead....

But there ought to be a time limit on it, don't you think?

All my best to you,



Barbara White Daille

Friday, August 03, 2007

Finishing Up A Book

I turned in a book this week. It’s for Harlequin American, and will be published sometime in 2008, I think. It was my fifth book for Harlequin and my fifteenth to sell. But it struck me, as I drove to the FED-EX office, how the process of completing a manuscript-and the feeling of elation-hasn’t changed much from the very first complete novel I wrote. I still feel giddy that someone else is about to read my work.
Before I turn in a manuscript I usually do a couple of things. After I’ve read, revised, and read it again (and this can go on for weeks), I double-check the story with a calendar. I learned with Cinderella Christmas that I have a bad habit of writing things like ‘one week later’, or the ‘next day’—or having too many chapters and scenes all on the same day. I also check for names and eye color. Usually I write more than one book at a time, so names of secondary characters get hopelessly confused. This is a source of amusement for my critique partners.
While the pages print, I rewrite the synopsis, since I’ve often changed things I never guessed I would do before the book was complete. Then, I write a cover letter. My final step is to type out a cover page to rubber-band on top of the whole thing, with the very fun words, ‘By Shelley Galloway’ right under the title. The people at FED-EX know me now. They smile when I turn in a book because they say they can always tell when one is just completed. My hair’s a mess. Make-up hasn’t been thought about. Ratty sweats are on. And a goofy, really pleased smile is on my face…always proclaiming~ I did it! I made up a story and finished it!
What do I do on that short drive home? Get a vanilla latte from Starbucks and do a little bit of cheering in the car. Then, of course, it’s time to clean up my office and take a shower. My family is pleased because I’ll be more concerned with their activities once again than a whole lot of made-up ones. I’ll sit around and watch TV and play with Suzy, our miniature dachshund.
And, of course, go do my favorite thing…go buy someone else’s hard work and read. That is I will, until the next deadline approaches.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Healing Power of a Book

As promised, I'm announcing our winner for July. Congratulations to Estella! She'll be receiving a free book from authors, Tanya Michaels ( Victoria Chancellor ( and Linda Warren ( Estella, you can contact the authors at their e-mail addys above to see what book you've won!

Judy Christianberry, Ann Roth, Ann DeFee and Marin Thomas are giving away a book for the month of August so keep those comments coming--we love to hear what you have to say!

I'm thrilled to announce the final book in my McKade Brothers miniseries, Ryan's Renovation, is out on store shelves this month. This particular book is especially dear to my heart because I was in the middle of writing it when my mother passed away unexpectedly from a brain aneurysm eight days following our annual family visit to her home in San Antonio. Finishing this book was to date one of the toughest challenges I have ever faced.

When I read this portion of a review the other day…

*The conclusion to Marin Thomas' McKade Brothers series is a beautifully written story about having the courage to live again after a horrible tragedy.*

…it hadn’t occurred to me that I had used Ryan's Renovation as a means to grieve for my mother and mourn her passing. But now, looking back on those months, I see that I did. The healing power of a book is truly an amazing thing.

I'd love to hear what book is dear to your heart and why…

Ryan's Renovation *McKade Brothers* Aug 07
For The Children *Hearts of Appalachia* Oct 07
In A Soldier's Arms *Hearst of Appalachia* Feb 08
A Coal Miner's Wife *Hearst of Appalachia* Aug 08

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Empty nests

Earlier this summer, while pruning a hedge, I came upon a small jumble of sticks. The empty nest had sheltered – or so I believe – a family of hummingbirds that had been whizzing past my head for weeks.

Since its usefulness was over, I discarded it.

This week, I’m tackling a different chore: packing sheets and towels, cold medicine and ibuprofen, a stapler and everything else I can think of that my almost-eighteen-year-old son might need as a freshman at the University of Arizona. It’s probably the last time I’ll ever pack for him.

I’m turning over other responsibilities as well. For each of my two sons, I kept a scrapbook through high school graduation, so they and their future families will have a record of his childhood. Whether they choose to continue saving and organizing photos and mementoes is up to them.

In a few weeks, my husband and I will drive our younger son to Tucson. I’ll probably embarrass him by fussing over his dorm room, although I’ll try not to.

My own parents simply put me on a plane for Boston and shipped my trunk. Three years ago, my older son had a different setup when he enrolled at Vanderbilt University: although he flew by himself, his grandmother met him at the airport. His trunk, which I’d stocked during a visit to my mother that summer, was already in Nashville.

After our brief trip to Arizona, my husband and I will drive back to California, to a house that has no more children in it. Sadly, our cat, as I mentioned in a previous blog, has cancer and won’t be with us much longer, either.

We have lots of plans for what to do with our empty-nest time. More evenings out together. More visits with friends. More travel.

The years of raising kids seemed to stretch on forever. Now they seem as ephemeral as the whir of a hummingbird’s wings.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Pets in your stories

We got a new kitten at the end of June. Winnie's a cutie and at this moment she's sleeping on top of my printer. She's seen the big, adult cats in the household do it, so she follows suit. Mimi, my other tabby, is lying on top of the tub containing my American books. They're about a feet apart. If I turn around, Crystal is sleeping in the Longaberger basket where I keep the paper for the printer. (This is a 6-cat household, and yes, I've heard all the cracks about being a crazy cat lady. Actually, it's my kids who keep bringing them home.)

One of the things I do when planning out my American Romances is to decide if there are pets in the story. Pets, or the lack of, can say a lot about a character. For example, in The Christmas Date, my heroine has a cat. Marie gets a lot of pressure from her girlfriends to find a man, and she's told she'll be old and alone with just her cat to keep her company. In the book I'm working on now, the 10-year old girl hopes that she'll be able to finally have a kitten soon--she's never had a pet. The dad (hero) is already struggling to meet his kids' needs, but there are all these small ones, like a pet, that he's simply not aware of or hasn't realized how much of a priority they are. Hence, conflict.

Winnie took about a month to settle in. The big cats no longer hiss at her and for the most part tolerate her tugging on their tails and eating out of their food bowls. She's found the downstairs basement litterboxes (hooray!) meaning I was able to get the kitten-sized one out of my bathroom. She's stopped crying for her siblings (that was the heartwrenching first three days) and now crawls into people's laps and purrs. She was a wild thing, born outside to my daughter's best friend's grandmother's cat.

So as you go forth and read the next books, look for pets. My inclusion of them is a deliberate thing.