Thursday, August 07, 2008

Love to Travel

I just returned from attending the RWA conference in San Francisco, before which I spent the weekend in Wisconsin, and now I'm heading off to Colorado for some relaxation and research on a book idea. I LOVE to travel. Maybe because we didn't do much when I was growing up. Maybe because it's more interesting than cleaning my house (is that my husband laughing in the background?). Maybe because I'm meeting new people and seeing new places.
In Wisconsin, I met family I didn't know existed and toured a beautiful hospice facility outside Milwaukee. I had a wonderful time at the RWA conference, meeting old friends and new, even though I didn't see anything of the city or my family there. :( Fortunately, I'd been there four years ago and toured some of it with them then. Now I'm heading to the mountains, where I've heard the wildflowers are stunning. We'll see some family too.
So, do you have a travel preference? Like to visit where there's family? Prefer to go totally new places? And do you make hotel reservations or wing it?

Megan Kelly

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

RWA Conference

Whew! I’m just now recovering from the RWA conference held last week in San Francisco. My laundry is done, I’ve cleaned out my purse, my domestic crises are solved, and I’m looking forward to getting caught up on my sleep. On the turista front we rode a cable car (squashed in with tons of vacationers), enjoyed ice cream at Ghirardelli Square (chocolate, of course) and shopped in China Town (can you say jewelry). Not to mention we made several visits to a gigantic mall (including the biggest Nordstrom’s I’ve ever seen) that was conveniently located half a block from our hotel.

Oh, that’s right - we were there on business, and believe it or not we did manage to conduct a lot of business. For me, national conferences are vital to my understanding of the publishing game. It’s a great time to see old friends, to get caught up on the market trends, to have one-on-one meetings with my agent and editor, to learn something new and to spend quality time with people who understand sitting in front of a computer and talking to imaginary friends.

As a bonus we celebrated Harlequin American’s 25th birthday. HAR authors – you rock, and happy birthday HAR!


Ann DeFee
2008 Book Buyer’s Best Award (long contemporary) for Summer After Summer, Harlequin Everlasting Love, September 2007
2008 Holt Merit Award (short contemporary and southern theme), Georgia On His Mind, HAR August 2007

HAR, The Man She Married, February 2009

Interview with new to Harlequin American author Lisa Childs

I'm thrilled to be writing for Harlequin American and was happy to answer some questions about myself. If you have a question of your own, please ask away.

1) Tell us a little about your family and where you're from.
I'm married with two daughters. I'm also the youngest of seven kids with lots of uncles, aunts and cousins, too. So I love writing about families. I live a mile from where I grew up in west Michigan -- it's a great community, where I'm either related to or know most of the people, so it's a wonderful place to raise my kids. Must be why I love writing about community, too -- so Harlequin American is a perfect fit for me.

2) Tell us about your book.
FOREVER HIS BRIDE is the third book in my Wedding Party series for Harlequin American. I brainstormed the series while cleaning my closet, when I came across all my old bridesmaid dresses in the back of it. I love being part of weddings -- the romance, the family, the fun, the drama -- and of course all of that is in my series. When the bride jilts the groom, maid of honor, Brenna Kelly, isn't that disappointed nor is the groom that devastated as he realizes he'd proposed to the wrong woman. But he has a lot of convincing to do before he can make Brenna FOREVER HIS BRIDE.

3) If you could be lazy for an entire day what would you do?
READ!!!! I have so many wonderful books on my TBR (to be read) pile!

4) What is your writing routine?
I have to write every day or I suffer withdrawal! Of course I write more when I'm under deadline so that usually involves late nights -- if I'm busy with family stuff during the day.

5) What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I really enjoyed writing FOREVER HIS BRIDE. It was hard writing the last book, FINALLY A BRIDE, in the Wedding Party series though because I didn't want to leave this fictional town of Cloverville, Michigan or these fun characters.

6) What inspired you to write your first book?
My love of books. Even before I could read, I loved when my mom, dad or older siblings read to me.

7) What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I have so many ideas that I often work on more than one project at a time -- even going from writing a Harlequin American to a Silhouette Nocturne -- which are quite different subgenres of romance.

8) When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Always -- since I was a kid. I didn't need to get published to know I was a writer.

9) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
How much fun it was to write a plus-sized heroine -- one who is "allergic" to exercise and dieting. It was a really freeing experience and helped me accept my figure as it is now -- after having two kids and spending too much time sitting at my desk.

10) What's your favorite dessert?
Anything chocolate -- preferably dark chocolate.

11) If you were stranded on Island for a month and could bring three things along what would they be?
Hmmm...since things don't include people then I can't bring my family. And seriously, if there's no electricity I wouldn't do well. It's gone out for six hours over a storm and I've nearly lost what's left of my sanity. I'd have to have my laptop, a TV and air-conditioning -- without, I really wouldn’t make it.

12) Why did you target the American Romance Line? I LOVE the books -- I love writing about families, and including humor with emotion. The perfect book for me is one that makes me laugh and cry. American Romances do that!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Spots on my blouse

A few days ago, before I left for RWA in San Francisco, I took a friend to lunch for her birthday. A tradition we both enjoy, as lunch for both our birthdays insures we see each other at least twice a year. She chose a really good Asian place that serves delicious, healthful food. We had fun—yummy food, great conversation, lots of laughter. When I got home, I happened to glance down. There on the front of my pretty, light-teal color blouse, was a ginormous grease spot. (I’ll be honest here—there were several little ones, too.) Now I love food and love to eat, but I’m no wild ape. I lean over and try to be careful. But one or more of the dishes must’ve splattered.

It’s not the spots that bother me.(Okay, the DO bother me a little. What a slob!!) It’s the fact that my friend never said, oops, you got grease on your blouse. I would tell her, I swear. I realize I couldn’t have done anything about the spots, but I wish she’d have said something so I’d have realized.

Which leads to a big question that’s now on my mind: Do you tell people if they have spots on their clothes? Or maybe the tag on the back of their shirt is sticking up. Or they have food in their teeth. Or anything else that is amiss. I’m wondering whether you tell people about these things so that they can fix the problem? Or do you just let them walk around unaware?

Until next time and wishing you spot-free clothes, food-free teeth, and tucked in tags,
Ann Roth

Monday, August 04, 2008

Summer's flying fast!

I didn't attend this year's Romance Writers of America conference. This year, for the first time since I can't remember when, I was a stay-at-home while all the other conferees went off to the designated city--San Francisco, this time around--and had fun.

Did I cry, did I pout, did I stomp around the house in a poor-little-me pity party?

Well...yes, of course, I did! At least, a teeny-weeny part of the time. ;-)

The other--and much greater--part of the time, I spent with my fingers on the keyboard, pounding away at my work in progress. I've been off from the day job for the summer and making the most of it.

So, while I didn't schmooze with agents and editors and authors and writers, didn't workshop till I dropped, and didn't party into the wee hours, I have to admit--I had myself a wonderful time!

I'd love to hear what you all have been doing during the summer, the places you've been, the things you've accomplished, the projects you've finally crossed off your To-Do lists.

Me, I'm going back to the keyboard right now. But I'll be sure to stop by to see what you've been up to!

All my best to you,



Barbara White Daille

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Steak Night At the Galloway House

I’m typing this note from the Houston Intercontinental Airport, which is my mid-way stop until I get home to Cincinnati. I’ve been in California for a solid week, first seeing my mother, then attending the annual Romance Writers of America conference.
I have a feeling lots of other Harlequin American writers will have far more insightful things to say about the experience than me. So I’ll let them tell y’all about all the fun things that happened at RWA.
Instead, I’ll share with you the latest installment in what is beginning to be known as Steak Night at the Galloway House.
I have to tell you that I did not name this Important Event. My kids did. However, I kind of like the label, because well, this dinner is a pretty big deal in our little family of four.
See, we really like steak.
And no, we don’t have it all that much. I’m a very good cookie baker, but not a great cook. So, I’m constantly trying out new recipes, much to my teenagers’ dismay. (Their grading system of my meals is a whole other story). Anyway, we like our steak, and these dinners usually fall on Sunday nights, or when no one can take another episode of “Shelley trying to make fancy food.”
Unfortunately, steak night rarely goes off without a hitch. Our crazy beagle has been known to pull New York strips off of countertops (raw and cooked) , the grill mysteriously runs out of gas, and, well, sometimes the side dishes have been known to go awry, culminating in the time three potatoes blew up in the microwave.
That was a real mess.
One time our dear daughter made the mistake of inviting a new boyfriend to these special meals. It didn’t go over so well. We knew he wouldn’t last when a)he wouldn’t eat a baked potato (our obvious standard side dish-when whole and not blown up) and b) insisted on smothering his steak with ketchup (Galloways don’t do that) and then c) only eating half his steak. When the boyfriend tossed his leftover steak in the trashcan, my son merely looked at the poor kid with disdain. Obviously, he didn’t-and never would- fit in.
She broke up with him three days later.
Anyway, since I was gone for a week, and my husband is not the cookbook fan that I am- steak night was last Thursday. I only knew this because I received an SOS call at 2 o’clock California time. Seems steaks had been taken outside to thaw, been forgotten about, and retrieved five hours later. All three of my favorite carnivores were staring at a zip locked bag with three very brown, warm steaks inside. “Shelley, any chance they might still be good?” my husband asked.
I regretfully told them that no, probably not.
They ended up eating grilled cheese sandwiches.
Special dinners are on my mind because I just received a text. It seems potatoes are in the oven, a salad is being tossed, and four fresh steaks are thawing-in the refrigerator this time! Tonight will be wonderful, indeed. I’ll finally be home-and will definitely be ready to sit down to a great dinner-with three of my favorite people in the world.
So, anyone have a special dinner that says ‘home’ to you?