Saturday, September 15, 2007

Imagining Illness

In college (Brandeis University), I took a course in medical sociology. It’s a field that looks at how people – individuals, groups, medical staff, patients and their relatives – respond to illness.

My professor explained that, for example, patients with limited English may have difficulty telling the doctor or nurse where they hurt, and are embarrassed to point to themselves. A medical sociologist came up with a simple solution: a sketch of human anatomy that allows the patient to point to the picture rather than to his or her own body.

Diseases don’t exist in the abstract. Whether a patient is treated effectively may depend on his or her personality, background and world view. And, obviously, language skills.

The effects of illnesses vary according to our personalities, as well. We don’t stop being individuals just because we have the flu or cancer or HIV. We may neglect to swallow our pills on time, choose to forgo chemo in favor of nutrition, or deny being sick at all

As a novelist, if I give a character an illness, I have to show how it impacts that specific individual, and – since I write upbeat stories – help him or her triumph over it, even if there’s no cure.

For my current Harlequin American romance, Twin Surprise, I did a lot of research into Parkinson’s Disease, which affects a member of my family. Then I interpreted this through the eyes of my hero, police sergeant Derek Reed.

Shifted from patrol duty to a desk job, he’s frustrated and angry. Refusing to confide in his coworkers, other than a few superiors, creates misunderstandings. Most of all, he can’t see a future for himself with the woman he loves – until a pregnancy turns both their worlds upside down.

Derek rises to the challenge, both at work and at home. In the process, he learns a lot about himself and what he’s truly capable of. And how his worth as a person transcends his disability.

I learned a lot as his story developed. It’s funny how characters manage to take authors along for the ride as they grow and change.

Just like real people. But then, to me, that’s what they are.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Happy Friday!!

Happy Friday!!

First off--MAJOR apologies for missing last month!! I've taken a full time, elementary Special Ed teaching position, and that, combined with writing, three teens, a hubby and too many pets is kicking my booty big time!!

Tonight is Homecoming for the kids' school, so I'm finishing up a book due in the morning, then heading out to the big game. We usually lose, but always have fun. Daughter's cheer squad is great this year, so we like being there for every cheer and stunt. Daughter was nominated for Homecoming Court, but didn't get picked. I think fourteen girls were nominated out of a class of over five hundred. Two were selected, so we were pretty proud that she was even nominated!!

Son #2 just had his Sweet Sixteen!! We got him a Mustang, but it's a stick shift, and he learned to drive on my automatic. He's slowly getting better at driving his car, but it's always an exciting ride!!

All right, I've got to get back to work before I miss kick-off, but I did want to stop in to wish everyone a wonderful weekend!!!

P.S. Since I can't find any football pics, here's one of Hubby and Daughter at a Three Days Grace/Puddle of Mudd/Breaking Benjamin concert we went to this summer! It stormed soooooo bad!!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Lost moments

I'm positive this has happened to almost everyone. All of a sudden it's five o'clock and your day is over. Where did the time go? My theory is that it fell into an abyss called "lost moments."

But is it a lost moment when you cuddle your child/grandchild in the big easy chair, or walk the dog on a misty morning, or spend a rainy afternoon reading a book, or have lunch with a friend? Are you kidding? These are the snapshots in time that create memories. It's what makes each of unique and special.

So tomorrow make sure you have a few lost moments. It's the best way I know of to put a smile on your face.

Ann DeFee
Summer After Summer - Harlequin Everlasting Love - September 2007
The Perfect Tree - Harlequin American Romance Christmas Anthology - November 2007
Goin' Down to Georgia - Harlequin American Romance - March 2008

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Today's my day to blog, so I thought I'd blog about blogs and sound a little like Andy Rooney. Right now I'm administering the PLAN test to my sophomore homeroom and have 25 minutes before the kids finish the science section.

I've discovered that I like blogs. I don't read too many, but I drop by this one daily to see what my author colleagues are up to. I love hearing about books and other such stuff. I'm not one of those who reads news blogs or anything. I just go to CNN.

I do drop by my agent's blog maybe once every two days because I usually learn something there. I have a blog where I post my assignments and what we did in class that day. It's not very exciting, but this way the kids can check from home. That's at if you're so inclined. My personal blog is an announcement type of blog where I post things like new covers and such. Haven't been there lately, but my new American cover for December is up at Oh, let's save you the trouble. I'll put it here:

BTW, he looks a little like one of the principals at my school. Randy's thrilled.

I drop by Romacing the Blog maybe once every ten days. I used to read it daily, but I'm running out of time in a day to get much done. The funny thing is, we can't live without blogs. We get our news and information from them, which is awesome since many times it's coming straight from the primary source. I've discovered though that I'm not an interactive blogger. I don't comment back or chit chat much. My day starts at 5:15 AM and ends at 10:30 and there are days my home computer doesn't even get booted up or turned on. I'm burning the candle at both ends and am more excited to be a part of group blogs than to have to try and do my own. Most people are more interesting than me anyway.

On that note, I wanted to thank you all for being here. We're still experiencing technical difficulties with the covers in the sidebar, but I can't thank you enough for spending part of your day with us. I know how valuable your time is--we need 25 hours in a day, don't we? At least for more sleep?


Monday, September 10, 2007

Working vacation

As I'm writing this, my new book is about halfway done and my deadline approaches like a speeding train. Unfortunately for the fate of the book (but lucky for me), I'm leaving for Hawaii in a few days. The trip has been scheduled for a lot longer than the book, which I just sold a couple of weeks ago. I kinda-sorta forgot about this trip when I agreed to the deadline.

The solution, of course, is that I'll have to write while on vacation. This isn't as hard as it sounds. I have a teeny, tiny computer that fits in my purse, and I can whip it out anywhere and use it. I'll have hours to kill in airports and on airplanes. My husband will be in meetings all day, so he won't be expecting much from me. So for at least two hours every day I'll sit out on the lanai with a frozen drink at my elbow (okay, probably coffee) and write. I only have to write 50 pages during the trip to stay on track.

Actually, it sounds like heaven, not a compromise at all. But I'm definitely going to do two things I didn't do last time I was in Hawaii, and no computers allowed: Swim with the dolphins, and see the lava flow. (Maybe my next heroine will be a dolphin researcher? My next hero a volcanologist?) I'm also researching deep-sea fishing, since my current book is about a fishing charter business, though it's set on the Texas coast, not Hawaii.

Meanwhile, my new book is out--today is the official release date for ONE STUBBORN TEXAN, so it's a fitting day for me to blog.

Be sure and leave a comment (any day this month) to be included in the monthly drawing for free books!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

What Makes Your Hair Stand On End?

Yesterday was my Blog day and I missed it. I’m sorry. I have a great excuse, though. I had a booksigning for my Sep Super Romance, Adopted Son, and the signing was set to start at 10 a.m. Why I thought I could get up at six, have breakfast, post a Blog, get dressed and make it to the bookstore by 9:45, I’ll never know. It’s not like I’m organized and speedy.

It sounded simple and doable to me the night before. But I must have slept in a strange position because my hair was sticking out on one side and as much as I combed and brushed it, it still sprang out in full salute mode. Twenty minutes and a half a can of hairspray later, the bed head was looking better, but I still had to get dressed. Then a button was missing off my blouse—disappeared without a trace. So it was a quick change of wardrobe choice. By now I was ready to just go back to bed.

I didn’t. I made it to the signing on time. Did I mention why I was having the signing so early? I live in Texas where football is King. Texas A&M was playing (we live in College Station) and the game was televised. So I knew people here would be going to the game and others would be watching it on TV. The early time was the only solution. I had my doubts about anyone showing up, but I had a great turn out. I sold some books so I was really happy.

When I got home, I looked in the mirror and gasped. My hair was sticking out on the right side. At some point during the signing my hair sprang to attention. No one seemed to notice this. No one said anything.

In bed last night I could almost hear people saying, “Linda forgot to comb her hair”, or “Linda looked like she'd had a bad night”. Oh, the little things women worry about. Today my hair is flat again. Go figure. Wonder if stress can make your hair stand on end?

Adopted Son – Sep Super Romance

Italy here I come!

Hi, this is Kara, and today my guest blogger is Ann Roth! Here's Ann.

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As you read this, I am in Florence, Italy. We are traveling around parts of this beautiful and wonderful country for 18 whole days. Our plans include visits to Assisi Luca, Pisa, Florence, Venice, Matera and Rome (with some side trips tossed in). For four of those fabulous days we'll be in Matera at the Women's Fiction Festival. (For more info on the festival, visit I'm lucky to be presenting a workshop there about developing memorable characters. I'll also get to meet lots of the Harlequin folks from the European side of the business.

Because of the trip I won't be posting on the 26th, my usual date.(And I won't be able to respond to comments posted on this blog.) But when I post in early October, I'll share some of the highlights of our trip.
Mitch Takes A Wife, August 2007
All I Want for Christmas, November 2007