Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Devil in the Details

I made it! I'm back from Seattle where I went to attend a bridal shower and meet the parents of the young woman one of my sons is going to marry in 3 weeks. I'm thrilled to report that I had a great time, I think he has excellent taste in in-laws and if they would turn down the heat in the Pacific Northwest, I think it would make everyone a lot happier.

Now then, I'm ready to party!

I see there's been a ton of activity while I was still out on the coast, and lots of great prizes have been given away and Liz has provoked everyone into revealing their most embarrassing moments! I think I'll give that one a miss. But I did contribute a couple of books to the "memorable books" pile. I could have contributed a few dozen more, but I thought I should restrain myself.

For those who haven't met me before, my name is Anne McAllister. I write or have written at various times for Harlequin Presents, American and Romance (one, my first book!)as well as Silhouette Desire and Special Edition and one longer mainstream romance called THE GREAT MONTANA COWBOY AUCTION. All my Silhouettes but one (BLOOD BROTHERS, which I co-wrote with Lucy Gordon) have been in a mini-series of my own called Code of the West.

Recently, though, I've been writing mostly for Presents and last year finished up a trilogy called Pelican Cay (McGILLIVRAY'S MISTRESS, IN McGILLIVRAY'S BED, and LESSONS FROM A LATIN LOVER), which is one of the prizes being given away today.

I loved doing the research for the Pelican Cay books and earlier books I had set in the Bahamas. But then, like Nicola (who wrote about settings earlier today) I love to get a feel for the real place I'm working on.

Ah, research! It's so much fun. I think it's the part of writing I like the best because it's fascinating to discover new places, new occupations, new ways of life that I can't possibly live out in my own single existence. In my writing I've been able to go to bull riding school (literally!), learn to build an 11-ton sandcastle, find out how to do physical rehab on an accident victim who was a pro athlete, watch a hair stylist to high fashion models do her thing, take part in an archaeology dig, run a bed-and-breakfast, and a few dozen other fun things that brought my characters and books to life for me.

I love the details, the tiny things that make a book real, that make my characters individuals, and my stories unique to those particular people at that particular time and place. The devil is in the details, because getting them wrong ruins the suspension of disbelief. But getting them right makes a book feel like an extension of reality, another parallel universe. And learning about them makes me richer because I get to walk in the shoes of so many different people in so many walks of life.

Some of you attending our "virtual conference" are writers working on your own books. Some are readers who love a good well-told story. What is another life you'd like to live -- an occupation you've never tried but are fascinated by, or a place and lifestyle that you would either like to live yourself or bring to life in a book you might write?

Thanks for asking me to come to the party, Lucy! What a blast -- and for once my feet don't hurt from having to wear shoes!

Anne
website: http://www.annemcallister.com
blog: http://www.anne-mcallister.blogspot.com/

85 comments:

Becky said...

I'd like to be a model, which was my childhood dream. Right now I'm not doing anything.

A livestyle I'd like to bring to a book would be living in the tropics or the jungle. The more primitive ways of life. I think they so very sexy. :)

Lucy Monroe said...

Thanks for coming, Anne! This party has just been absolutely amazing...I'm loving all the blogs and their comments!

As for a lifestyle I'd like to try? Living in more than one place throughout the year. A modern nomadic existence but with comfy travel and A/C everywhere I go. Not to mention good beds. LOL Seriously...I love the idea of living in multiple locales throughout the year. Maybe that's why I love writing the jet setters so much? They travel more than I do!

Jennifer Y. said...

I'd like to be an author, but I am not a good writer...LOL.

I am fascinated by secret agents who travel the world.

I'd love to live in a secluded cabin in the woods (but with Internet and cable...LOL).

Jennifer Y. said...

Oh, and your books look great Anne!

Anne McAllister said...

Becky, I love visiting the tropics and I actually wrote one "jungle" book, THE MARRIAGE TRAP. Also wrote about a model once, too. That's why I adore writing -- I can participate vicariously in so many other peoples' lives.

Lucy, I agree with the living in a variety of places. We live in Montana and in Iowa, depending on the time of year (don't ask where we are in winter. We are still working on a warm option!)

Jennifer, love those secret agents! I haven't written any suspense books though, so I have to read other peoples' to get my secret agent fix!

Bonnie Ferguson said...

England and Scotland are places that fascinate me. Historical time periods that appeal to me are the English Regency, the Victorian Era, the Georgian Era, and the Middle Ages, both English and Scottish.

readingissomuchfun said...

Welcome Back Anne. Glad to hear you had fun and met you son's soon to be wife :)

I am glad you are here with us:)
Lucy sure does know how to have a party I must say *Winks* I had so much fun this wk on her blog and talked to some wonderful authors. My Must Buy List is growing and still is I am sure *G*

I always thought about being a daycare teacher I always loved kids. When I was growing up I was babysitting alot *G*

Anne Congrad's on your books they look good :):)

HUGSSSS
Linda.H.

Amy S. said...

A private investigator. I love reading stories with private investigators.

Lis said...

I'd like to be either a clothes designer or an actress, both would let me be creative in another way :)

Minna said...

I would like to be an astronomist.

Julie in Ohio said...

I've always been facinated by archeology. I am horrible at science but to dig up past civilizations sounds intriguing.

Debbie said...

I would love to do something that would let me travel around the world...like joining the peace corps. I've known a couple of people who joined, and they always said it was one of the best experiences of their lives.

Love the books, Anne!

Joyce said...

This would make anyone in my family laugh but - a pilot.

Rachael said...

I would love to be a famous author!

Stacy Dawn said...

I've always been facinated by marine biologist working with the big whales...weird I know but it's always been in the back of my mind for a story

Barb V. in NY said...

I would like to be a dog handler who travels the show circuit in a really nice motor home. When I was ready to leave that behind, I would love to have a year-round cabin on a quiet lake in the Adirondacks, with lots of room for my retired dogs.

Anne McAllister said...

wow, you guys have come up with some fascinating possibilities.

Like you, Bonnie, I love regency England (as long as I don't have to be one of the starving souls dependent on the kindness of strangers). But I read a lot of regency books and they are my real "escape" in reading.

Julie, I always thought being an archaeologist would be fun, too. Actually there is a lot of tedious tramping through fields looking at the ground. But it's still fascinating, even though not exactly always exciting.

Stacy Dawn, I grew up by the ocean and I loved the idea of being a marine biologist (I particularly wanted to be one if I could take a seal home with me as a pet!).

Barb V, dogs are great, but I don't know if I could stand the stress of showing them! But I like the idea of traveling around in an RV with them. Also that cabin in the adirondacks has definite appeal!

bamabelle said...

Hi Anne!

I'm somewhat enchanted with the ancient Mayan civilizations. Since my husband and I went on a trip to Playa del Carmen and were able to see some of the ruins, that fascination has only increased. You can just feel the history. I love that feeling of connection with the past.

Anne McAllister said...

Joyce, can I introduce you to Hugh, the hero of In McGillivray's Bed? He's a pilot. Runs his own charter service called Fly Guy in the Bahamas. Heck of a life!

Cherie Japp said...

I would love to be a travel reviewer and review hotels, restaurants in different locales for a travel magazine. I always thought that sounded like a fun job.

Cryna said...

I would love to be an airline stewardess and travel to different places. Another thing I contemplated was to join a cruise ship, where you see so many different places.

Cherie Japp said...

Also, I am new to your books but they look good. I will have to check them out on my next trip to the bookstore.

Estella said...

i always wanted to be an airline stewardess. Am height challenged, so couldn't qualify. Am retired now.

Kiki said...

I want to be a chef!
In theory... I couldn't do the hours, or pack the intense competition.
So I'll just write about chefs instead.
Isn't that the best part about being a writer? That you can be whoever you want to be for a while?

Anne McAllister said...

Kiki, absolutely! Writing is a fantastic way to be whoever we want to be for a while. And you can change at the drop of a hat (though it helps to finish the book first!)

Cherie, I hope you will check out my books. There are a lot of backlisted ones out there. The most recently published is The Antonides Marriage Deal which you can still find here and there (especially there!) and online. If you want to read an excerpt of any book, go to my website, click on the Anne's books tab and follow the links to whichever you want. Usually there's a good chunk of the first chapter available. Hope you enjoy them!

Amy said...

Hi Anne, I love your books.

Dannyfiredragon said...

Hi Anne,

I would love to be an author. I am currently working on my first story, but sometimes it drives me crazy. But I got some good advice at the RT.

Another lifestyle? I would like to live in cabin at beautiful mountain lake. Or in a old castle in Scotland, but please with ghost. LOL

Cheryl said...

I'd love to visit Australia and Scotland. I have read some wonderful descriptions of those two places in romances. A lifestyle I would like to know more about would be ranching and that is mainly due to a romance I read a while back titled "A Cowboy's Secret" by . . . ummm . . . Anne McAllister! J.D. Holt made the thought of ranching very appealing!

sonya said...

love this party thanks for having it

Judy F said...

I would like to be rich. LOL besides the usual laying by the pool, shopping all day, etc. I would be great to have the time and money to do some good deeds.

I always wanted to work with pets

Ali said...

Ooh, Lucy, I like your pick of lifestyle. For me, I sometimes wish I lived on a ranch with a cowboy...mmmm, yummy :-) lol

Niny said...

I can think of many. An astronaut, a crime scene investigator, a cowgirl, an airplane pilot. But sad enough I dont have the age anymore, the money or the stomach for it! LOL
I've read several of your books and love em!! Thanks for coming to the party!

Michelle B said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
lidia said...

Anne, one of my favorite books of yours is "Island Interlude" -- an oldie but goodie.

I would like to be an archeolgist -- visit ruins, digs, etc... There's so much history out there. Much to find out about previous generations.

Jen in WA said...

I think I'd like to be an archaelogist. I love history (majored in it in college) and love piecing together puzzles. Add on top of that the fact that I'd get to go to exotic locales.

CrystalG said...

I would like to own a bookstore. To be surrounded by books every day and talking about books with customers would be heavenly.

Michelle B said...

Anne, congrats on your son's upcoming wedding!

I love the Pelican Cay books! I had such a hard time waiting between them:)

As for another life I'd like to try, I think I'd like to try either being an archaeologist or a photographer.

The archaeology thing is tied to two different areas of my interest: Paleontology and Egyptology. I've loved Dinosaurs as a kid and always wanted to dig for dinosaur bones LOL. And my absolutely all-time favorite class that I took my senior year of college is Intro to Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics. I'd love to learn more:)

And with photography, it's a hobby of mine that has been taking up a lot of my time lately. I rarely go anywhere without my camera and I take a ton of photos:)

Then there's always the dream of just traveling around the world. I think the photography thing kind of fits in with that though:)

Marcy said...

Hi Anne. *waves*

I'd like to be a chef, but in an air-conditioned kitchen. Not like a real chef. LOL

slehan said...

Hot air ballooning! They look so lovely floating in the air, pushed by unseen winds.

ShelMel said...

I'd like to be an undercover cop. A spy or something. All that mystery and intrigue just completely facinates me.

Heather said...

Argh! Blogger ate my post! Here's hoping the second attempt goes through...

I've always loved traveling but have never been able to do so as often as I'd like. I'd love to be able to combine that with my love of nature photography. I rarely go anywhere anymore without a camera.

And, odd as it may seem to some, I love visiting old cemeteries and have done so on almost every major trip I've taken. There's such great history and peace to be found there. I look forward to the "Living Spirits" tour at one of our local cemeteries each fall, and have even bought all the books available on them. Oh, the stories to be found in them!

Ali said...

Owning a book store is one of my dreams, too, Crystalg :-))

Tee said...

Congratulations on gaining a new daughter. Hope the weather cools down enough to make everyone comfortable. I have had the pleasure of reading a few of your books and I loved them. So glad to see you.

Billie said...

I am a stay at home mom of 3 and I really love it. After a huge scare I got over the weekend though, I really think I want to become a sexual assault nurse and counselor to help people to understand that they are not alone and do not have to go through it all alone. Previous to that I always wanted to be a school teacher and be able to leave an imprint in each student's life. I think that if more kids felt as if they had someone on their side then we would have many more successful people in our world today.

Jennifer L hart said...

I think have enough variety right now. I'll be 27 next month and I've been a waitress, a photographer, a camp councilor, daycare teacher, video store clerk, Navy wife, stay at home mom for two, cook, housekeeper, chauffer, and personal shopper and self published author. (Not to mention my own worst critic.)I've lived in NY, FL, VA, CA and now NC. (Thanks a large chunk to the Navy wife gig.) If I could do anything else, it would have to involve time travel. Like I keep telling my husband, it's not the years, it's the mileage.

blueberri said...

I'd love to be a freelance writer who writes about her travels, learning new skills along the way...like you do. :)

Your book covers are awesome! I do recognize your name. I may have some of your books.

J.J. Massa said...

I really love what I do, and if I didn't live here, I think Nova Scotia or the coast of NC would do it for me. I've considered Seattle, though.

As for lifestyle, hmm... I just need a maid so I don't have to worry about the baseboards and a kitty for Cosmo to play with while I write. The rest of the time, I'm doing okay, I think.

This is one heck of a party, Lucy!

Anne, I'm with you. I just LOVE research. I love writing because we can explore so many places and personalities. So cool!

Brandy said...

I have always wanted to be a Police Officer, or a Private Investigator, or like several of you a Bookstore owner. I love to read book with these themes, then I can love vicariously through them.

Jodi said...

I used to think it would be cool to be a DEA. I think it might be too dangerous for my liking though.

I'd like to own my own business - a bookstore or a Dairy Queen!
I'd like to do more traveling here in the States and also overseas.

I'm off to check out your books. I love cowboys and ranches! Yee Haw!

Kathleen said...

I would like to be able to travel to different places for a career but a majority of the time be able to spend read (or whatever) in my gorgeous dream home :)

Annie West said...

Anne,

So many choices - so many temptations. From an early age I wanted to wander - travel the globe to as many fascinating places as I could reach. Maybe that's partly as Aussie thing - many of us seem to be travellers at heart.

Other careers - well I did toy with being an archaeologist for quite some time, or a national parks and wildlife ranger - preferably in the mountains. Later there was the temptation to follow on with an academic career.

More recently I've thought it would be nice to be a travel writer (any excuse to travel) or to write historical romances (love them!). And of course there's the perennial favourite - running my own bookshop - forget the hard work of keeping a business running - it's all about the fantasy of being surrounded by books and people who love them!

Actually, you've made me realise, I can't top my final career choice - writing romance. Now, if only I can schedule in a research trip somewhere interesting...

Annie
http://www.annie-west

Maureen said...

I wold love to be a photographer, traveling all over and taking pictures of many different people and places.

Anne McAllister said...

Amy, Debbielynn, Michelle B, Tee and whoever else has mentioned it, thanks for loving my books! Hope you will continue to do so.

I see LOTS of people who think that travel is a great idea, whether as a flight attendant or explorer or writer researching exotic locations. Me, too! Me, too! I love traveling. Next month, of course, we are going back to the wedding. And then the following month I'm heading for England to visit Kate Walker and Sophie Weston and see lots of other Presents and Romance authors at the authors' luncheon in London. And then Sophie and I are heading to Cornwall for a week to "research." Yay!!! I can hardly wait.

Cheryl, thanks for remembering J.D. Holt. I loved him, too. I actually also loved his brother, Gus, and really couldn't choose between them. Though J.D. was much more "tortured" and I do like a good tortured hero!

Lidia, I'm so glad you remembered Island Interlude -- it's the first book I set in the Bahamas. I can't remember if the island was called Pelican Cay or not, but they are all the same island in my writer's brain!

JJ and Annie yep, research and writing are the best. I've always said writing is a great job for the congenitally nosey -- and for people who don't like to get in a rut. We get to learn all about how people live their lives and we can even get inside their heads (as long as we create them!).

Meljprincess said...

"an occupation you've never tried but are fascinated by"
PSYCHOLOGICAL CRIMINOLOGIST

Jenn said...

I've always wanted to run a bed and breakfast. I don't really no why. I love having people over and baking and cooking for them. I think that it would be a great way to meet some interesting people. I don't know where I would like for this bed and breakfast to be. Anyone have any ideas?

Carol said...

I think it would be fun to be an artist! I wish I had some talent! lol

Danielle said...

Anne, your books sound so good.


I always wanted to be the check out girl at the local supermarket!!!

KimW said...

I'd like to just be able to stay at home, pay all my bills with no problem, play on the computer and read all day long. Oh, and my husband would have to stay at home, too. haha!

I actually like my job as a project specialist. The only other thing I'd like to do is design websites.

Lori said...

Hi Anne~
I think if I could choose a profession to be, I would actually love to be a tattoo artist. They get to meet so many fascinating people, and hear so many different stories. On top of all that, you would have to be pretty artistically talented and I have absoulutely no artistic ability in real life. Plus, I love tattoos!
Lori

Laurie said...

I'd love to be a photojournalist or a romance writer. Writers get to control people's destinies and visit beautiful places. Photojournalists also travel the world and see gorgegous views.

Jennifer L. said...

I'd be a dermatologist, as crazy as that sounds. Skin and complexion has always fascinated me! It is now my big hobby and I've even started creating my own creams at home. Although I'm a lawyer, solving skin problems is my passion.

As for a place or lifestyle, I'd like to live somewhere where I could enjoy all four seasons, not just hot and hotter!

Anne McAllister said...

Oh, KimW, what a great idea -- getting paid to read all day! But only books I really wanted to read, of course.

Lori, a tattoo artist? Wow. That's an interesting notion. One of my son's has a tattoo of the name of one of our dogs who died while he was at college. He loved that dog and was determined to commemorate him.

Jenn, I have friends who run a bed-and-breakfast in an old Victorian mansion. It's sooo beautiful. If you go to my website and look for the post on (or near) July 4th, you can see a picture of it. Our daughter got married there, so I have fond memories of it. I've stayed at lots of B-&-Bs over the years and have some favorites that I keep going back to.

Debby said...

I would love to be an actress. Right now I teach so I get to put on a show for my students.

I love castles so Iwould love to live in one. I don't care if they are drafty.

Chantal said...

I'd love to live in a hippie commune where we grow our own organic food, have solar power, use natural non toxic cleaning products. We will all have homebirths, and when one of us has a baby it will be a huge party with tons of womanly support.
It'll never happen, but I dream about it :)

Melissa said...

I'd love to be a Cabaret singer or own a publishing house and publish all my favorite authors.

Pamk said...

lol i'd like to be picked up by good aliens no probes for me and be able to travel to other worlds. That would be cool or I would love to travel to all different countries and see this everything on this world

Sandra08081998 said...

I would love to be a rock star. What fun. Or a professional race car driver. Other careers I'd love to try: heiress, psychologist, detective, or book editor. Another life I'd like to try would be to live in one of the great old mansions in Charleston, SC . With the beautiful gardens. I'd love to run my own shop and live in this historical city.

JayLin said...

A bartender at an posh island resort is sounding pretty good right now! To play at working is my goal as we speak

Marcail said...

I'd like to be Hugh Hefner because I really don't get this Peter Pan and I'd like to get inside his head. I wonder what he says or does to get all his minions to pay homage.

KarenG said...

Hello Anne. I have not had the chance to read any of your books but I will look for them now.

I would have liked to be a teacher.

Karen

Julie S said...

I'd like to be a writer! Working on that one as we speak. I also would have liked to work in the entertainment/movie industry, not as an actress, but behind the scenes in production or something.

Or an astronaut.

Jennifer L. said...

Is there such a thing as a person who gets paid to read all day? Outside of editors of course. I can't type, spell, or write worth a damn but I do know a good book when I read it! I'm going to have to change my answer to paid book reader.

Juliet said...

I would have loved to be an archaelogist, and traveled to places like Egypt, Petra, Asia.

I also would love any job that would allow to travel a lot and know a lot of the world.

Jennifer Y. said...

Oooh...just thought of another occupation I'd like to have...publicist for authors!

mammakim said...

I'd like to be a lawyer.. probably a prosecuter.

For a lifestyle I would love to live in the pioneer days for a little bit but just to check it out. I would miss all my comforts of now.

catslady said...

Oh there are sooo many different things I wish I had done. Anything to do with the arts of any kind. Music, writing, drawing. Or anything to do with animals or nature. Drawings of nature would be a nice combination. Now that I'm older - owning a bookstore is still something I'd think was a possibility :)

catslady said...

Oh the blogger ate my entry!!!

catslady said...

OK going to try again.

There are so many things I wish I had done. anything to do with the arts - drawing, writing, music, photography, dancing, etc. anything to do with animals or nature. Now that I'm older having a book store still seems like a nice possibility. (yeah if i win that lottery lol)

Anne McAllister said...

You guys are all giving me great ideas for occupations and lifestyles I had never ever thought about. What fun! Thanks for all the great inspiration.

Pam P. said...

I'm with Lucy, I'd love to travel and live all over, a few months, a few months. Or maybe even cruise around on a yacht, stopping and staying wherever as long as I feel.

jennybrat said...

I like to be a jet-setting travel writer.

cyngreen said...

A homicide detective.

Teoh said...

Living in Atlantis at it's height. That is probably something out of my scoope for the here and now. Wonder if it will ever be possible in the future other than making a trip within stories.

Marie said...

A photographer, dancer or artist. And living somewhere in the jungle :)

MarilynS said...

McGILLIVRAY'S MISTRESS, IN McGILLIVRAY'S BED, and LESSONS FROM A LATIN LOVER) I loved this series as you are well aware.

Keep those series coming.

Speaking of the NW, we're melting here!