Thursday, September 06, 2007

Busy, busy, busy

Hi guys,
Get ready, because I need to vent. It won't be that bad - I promise. The past 18 months have been mind numbingly, toe tinglingly (is that a word?) hectic. What have I been doing? With 4 books out in 2007, I've been immersed in writing said books plus revising, revising, and revising those exact same books. Then you add all the PR, yada, yada, yada to that, and you come up with more than full time job. My husband says it's a good problem, and I absolutely, totally and unequivocally agree.

Now I'll get to my venting. I recently had lunch with a friend who asked how my little - drum roll please - hobby was going. HOBBY, HOBBY! Is it normal to ask a CPA how their little accounting hobby is going? Of course not. Rodney Daingerfield - you ain't got nothing on us!

Whew - I feel much better already. So off I go to work on my hobby and do the line edits for my March 2008 book.

And now for a shameless plug -
Summer After Summer - Everlasting Love - September 2007
The Perfect Tree - American Romance Christmas anthology - November 2007
Goin' Down to Georgia - American Romance - March 2008

Have a great day -
Ann DeFee

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Cleaning out the closet

My once ample closet is crowded and messy. Or was! It’s neat and clean now, mainly because I spent part of the weekend paring down the mess. Those suits, skirts, slacks and tops I haven’t worn in several years. The belts that (horrors!) no longer fit, and all those purses packed into the shelf over the clothes. Not to mention the shoes… I gritted my teeth and put them into boxes to donate to charity. Adios, baby. Buh—bye, and it’s been fun.

The give-away pile is huge! I hope that some woman/women in need will be able to use these things.

It feels great!
Next, I will tackle the dreaded utility room.

I wish you all clean closets and tidy houses.
Summer Lovin’ Anthology: A Reunion Story, June 2007
Mitch Takes A Wife, August 2007

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Once upon a time...

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about fairytales and wondering what makes them so much fun.

Is it the hunky heroes? The spunky heroines?

The knights in shining armor? The damsels in distress?

The evildoers? The quirky supporting cast?

The adventure? The mystery? The magic?

Or is it just that, no matter what happens, we know that by the time we reach "The End" of the story, everything will have turned out right?

Hey...wait a minute!

That all sounds like a romance novel, doesn't it?

And now I'm wondering about the age-old chicken-and-egg question: Do we love romance because we grew up on fairytales? Or do we love fairytales because we've always instinctively looked for romance?

Like the chicken-and-egg question, we may never have an answer. But now it's got me thinking about something else....

What's your favorite fairytale? And why is it your number one?

All my best to you,



Barbara White Daille

Monday, September 03, 2007

Experience Is Necessary

Sometimes, experience really is necessary. Last week, two things happened that reminded me of that. First, my son took a turn too fast and scraped up the side of the car on the way to school. Luckily, I had almost finished my first pot of coffee, so I could actually give out coherent advice. After hearing that he, his sister-and for the most part, the car-were okay, I told my son to get on to school. Then I, feeling frustrated and irritated, went on upstairs to work. When I’m working, I’m in control. Well, kind of.

My goal for the morning was to fill out the art fact sheets for my May release. Filling out art fact sheets is a pretty fun task. You go to a Harlequin site and fill out information about the heroine, hero, setting, and favorite scenes. The artists use this information for the cover. It’s exciting to imagine what the cover will look like. It’s exciting to realize that a story I created will be on the shelves on day.

For me, it’s also a humbling endeavor, because in order to fill out the art information, I have to scan down through all my submissions over the years. Why humbling? That’s easy to explain. See, I’ve sold six books to Harlequin. Hooray!

But I’ve submitted over twice that many. Yep, I’ve got a whole lot of rejections logged in online. So, last week, as I was stewing over my son, the state of the car, and the fact that my husband never seems to be in town when anything out of the ordinary happens, I stared at those submissions on-line. And it hit me…Those books weren’t right. They deserved to be rejected.

Over the years, when I submitted, and submitted, and submitted again, my writing wasn’t quite ready for prime time. Oh, I could write—but not quite at the caliber needed. Hmm. Kind of like a new driver. My son scored really well on all his driving tests. But, well, he also has a few things to learn about driving, day after day. He needs more experience.

Hmm. I thought about this as I filled out the art fact sheets. Thought about it some more as I did laundry, got to work on my book-in-progress, and carefully told my husband about the car mishap when he called to check in.

That afternoon, when my son came home, we both took a walk around the car. He told me about his day. Told me about what had happened with the car. We talked about what he could have done differently. Then, just as I was about to do what moms do—give sage words of advice-we heard the frantic bark of Suzy, the weiner dog. It turns out Phoebe the beagle (the beagle who’s always hungry!) snatched Suzy’s bone and gave her a little bite, too! Suzy was bleeding.

Unfortunately, we have plenty of experience with dog emergencies. This I knew how to deal with! We called the vet, grabbed the dachshund, and hopped into the car. And, as my son drove me and the pup to the vet, he asked why I had the cell phone. For one, very good reason-so I could be sure and call my husband and let him know what else he missed! I’ve got experience in this one, too.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Keeper Shelf

Congratulations, Maureen! You're the August winner of the HAR Blog contest. Claim your prize from the following authors, Ann DeFee, Judy Christenberry, Ann Roth and myself, Marin Thomas by contacting each author through their website and providing your name and snail-mail address. Author websites are listed in the sidebar of the blog.

Keep those comments coming--Jacqueline Diamond, Laura Marie Altom and Kara Lennox are giving away a book for the month of September!

A while back when the kids were out with friends and hubby was watching baseball on TV--I popped over to Amazon and perused their romance discussion topics. I'm always interested in what readers say or how they feel about romance books. The following are a few of the comments readers responded with to the question "What makes a romance novel a "Keeper?"

1) An unpredictable plot
2) An Interesting setting
3) Realistic characters

I have to agree with #3. For a romance to make it to my "Keeper Shelf" the story must have strong, believable and flawed characters. I want a hero and a heroine I can cheer for as they muddle their way through the obstacles keeping them from their Happy-Ever-After.

What's your "Keeper" requirement?

Ryan's Renovation *McKade Brothers* Aug 07
For The Children *Hearts of Appalachia* Oct 08