Saturday, August 18, 2007


I've been trying to decide what to post about today. There were several choices, but I noticed that all of them had something to do with family. So I decided, why not? I'll throw out some thoughts and see what happens.

One of the things that makes Harlequin American the choice for readers is the element of family in our stories. Even those heroes or heroines without family have or had or even will have one, which shaped them into who they are. Well, who they are fictionally, of course. :) Even someone who has never known his or her family is effected in some way.

In my upcoming January '08 book, FAMILY BY DESIGN, the heroine, a struggling single mom, yearns to be a part a family like the hero's. Her mother is deceased, her father is living in Australia, and her current family is her three young children. The hero is from a large Italian family of six children and, at times, he has wished he had been an only child, like the heroine. But even he admits that his family has been a large part of making him the successful man that he is.

As an only child, I can remember wishing and hoping for a younger sister. In some ways, I can relate to the heroine. I envied friends and neighbors who had siblings of any kind. I also learned, after having four daughters of my own, that having siblings isn't the be all, end all that I thought when I was young. They argue and fight, they steal each other's clothes, they hate each other one minute, have been known to conspire against me during many minutes, but would defend them to anyone else outside of our family. It's been an interesting trip, and I've learned a lot from them. I've learned that families love and hate...sometimes each other, but even then, we're family, no matter what.

A couple of years ago, after Christmas gifted us with a ton of board games, I suggested that our family might consider having a Family Night once a month, when we could play Trivial Pursuit or Scene It? or whatever new game one of us had. That way, the games wouldn't go to waste. (We weren't a game-playing family while they were growing up, so this was, to me, a novel idea.) With two daughters married and one engaged and not living at home, this would give us the chance to spend some time together. They took the idea and ran with it. The once-a-month Family Night instantly became once-a-week Family Night. Participation is practically mandatory. The games aren't being played much anymore, having been replaced by talking and laughing. Believe me, there are some Saturday nights when I'd rather stay home and veg out with a good book or a movie. Family Night can get crazy. When all together, there are eleven of us, with another due any day. :)

I see by the old clock on the wall that it's after 4 p.m., which means it's time to get ready, once again, for Family Night. And after we've all enjoyed the barbecue prepared by my son-in-law, I'll join them on the porch or around the table and listen and share in their lives. They're still teaching this only child a few things about family.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Little Miracles

A few things this week were...not so good. So I went looking for something to be happy about.

And you know what? Every day, I discovered something! My own private, personal, powerful little miracle.

Monday through Thursday, I found little things that made the day better. The trucker coming out of the gas station who gave me the right of way. The computer guy at work who helped me out with a new program. The quarter I found in the grocery store. The parking space I found in the shade. Hey, I live in the Southwest and it was one hundred thirteen degrees that day. You'd better believe that was a miracle!

And on Friday, I found the best thing of all.

I came home from work, walked into my office, and found the avocado pit I'd started trying to root several weeks ago had sprouted! All right, that may not seem so wonderful, but let me tell you, I've been trying for a long, long time to start an avocado plant. I'm talking years. So I was beyond thrilled.

I've discovered little miracles make me very happy.

And notice the key word in a couple of the paragraphs above: I found those things. Because I went looking for them. It's a new game I've been playing, and I like it!

Now I'd like you to do me a favor, and do one for yourself at the same. Today or tomorrow, I would like you to find your own little miracles.

And then I'd like you to share them with me.

All my best to you,



Barbara White Daille

Thursday, August 16, 2007

People make Small Towns Special

The jitters are building as the weekend approaches. I have my first-ever book signing by myself (Yikes) at the Waldenbooks this Saturday in my hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin. I'll be signing the last book in my McKade Brothers series, Ryan's Renovation. The PR work that has gone into this event has made me appreciate more than ever "small-town" people. No wonder these towns play such an integral part in many of our American Romance books. To me, the people are as important as the setting in this popular Harlequin line.

Today, with a population inching toward 60,000, most poeple no longer consider Janesville a small town. But when I grew up there things were much "smaller". Few fast food restaurants. Posted speed limits of 25 miles per hour. The biggest retailer was K-Mart and Farm and Fleet. But amid all this change and growth the people in Janesville have remained constant--warm, friendly and supportive of one of their own...

I was hoping to secure a blurb announcing the time and date of the book signing in the Janesville Gazette. (Local newspaper) The editors gave me a front-page story above the fold. Then someone in town heard about my signing and called the Beloit Daily News (next town over) and a day later I did a phone interview with a reporter from that paper.

Then someone told someone else at the Headberg Library and the adult services coordinator contacted me to do a program for the library in the near future and another book signing. Then a friend of my sister's (Lorri) posted my book signing news to all the local media (radio/TV) internet lists and high school alumni lists. This action prompted several phone calls to the Waldenbooks asking if this Marin Thomas person was really Brenda Smith, the girl who grew up in Janesville.

So here I am sitting in my office typing this blog, while those wonderful people in my hometown are doing what they do best--spreading the word about my book signing and supporting one of their own. No wonder I love writing American Romances--small-town characters are part of my roots and what I know best.

Ryan's Renovation Aug 07
For The Children Oct 07

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Muffin tops and such

Hi guys,
I just returned from a long weekend in Las Vegas with my extended family. It's a good thing the fashion police don't patrol the Strip. Ay-yi-yi-yi-yi. They could make a fortune giving out bad taste tickets. The "what not to wear" faux pas included muffin tops, belly button rings (yep, put those two together), wife beaters, tattoos, flip flops, yada yada yada. You name it-you saw it, in every size, shape and convolution.

So, I suppose the moral to this story is check the mirror before you leave the house. If you think small children might run screaming-don't do it. LOL

Ann DeFee
Goin' Down to Georgia - Harlequin American Romance - August 2007
Summer After Summer - Harlequin Everlasting Love - September 2007
The Perfect Tree - Harlequin American Romance - November 2007

Why I wish...

Here’s why I wish true life was like a Harlequin romance:
--If someone really wants a child, eventually she’ll get one
--All children are loved or, if they grew up in an unhappy home, as an adult they find someone who truly loves them
--As a reader, you’re the heroine of every story
--As a reader, you can love a different man every day but remain faithful to your husband
--The sex is great
--Money may be tight, but no one worries about it too much
--You might not have a perfect figure, but a gorgeous man will find you beautiful
--Villains invariably lose
--People have fabulous weddings without having to sit around addressing thank-you notes
--Nobody needs to keep track of the toilet paper, remember to pay the credit card bill or study for the SATs
--Old wounds heal; old wrongs can be forgiven; old sins find redemption
--The man who swears he’ll never fall in love, does
--By the time the woman falls in love, the guy’s already crazy about her (even if he hasn’t admitted it to himself)
--There’s always a happy ending.

Thanks for reading our books! My next, Twin Surprise, will be out in September. It's a particular favorite of mine -- the hero really touched my heart.