Wednesday, September 17, 2014

US Air Force's 67th Birthday with Ann DeFee


Off we go into the wild blue yonder,
Climbing high into the sun
Here they come zooming to meet our thunder
At 'em boys, Give 'er the gun!
Down we dive, spouting our flame from under
Off with one helluva roar!
We live in fame or go down in flame.
Hey! Nothing can stop the U.S. Air Force!


Ann DeFee joins me today to celebrate the United State Air Force's 67th Birthday!  From her bio,

Ann DeFee is an award winning author who infuses humor into her stories of romance, small town quirkiness and family relationships. She's written eleven novels and one novella with the Harlequin American, Everlasting, and Carina Press lines and has twice been a Rita (Romance Writers' of America) finalist. She also won the RWA Orange County Book Buyers' Best Long Contemporary contest. As a fifth generation Texan, she frequently uses the Lone Star state for her settings. So if you're in the mood for a fun, fast-paced trip to Texas with sexy cowboy/cops and sassy heroines, check out Beyond Texas and A Hot Time In Texas.



Kim:  Thank you for your service as an Air Force spouse. Can you share a favorite place you lived and/or visited throughout your spouses' career?

Ann:  As an Air Force family, we had twenty-one moves in twenty-six years, and that included some really plum assignments: Seattle, Newport, R.I., San Antonio, Tampa, Fort Walton Beach, FL, Portsmouth, N.H. and England. Moving became second nature. No sooner had we organized the closets and hung the pictures than we were checking out schools and housing opportunities for our next assignment. I looked at every move as an exciting adventure–and except for one-place to remain unnamed–I wasn't disappointed. My kids were able to experience life in a way that molded them into wonderful adults. As for my favorite place, you'll probably be surprised to hear that it was Biloxi, Mississippi. Why Biloxi? A variety of reasons. We lived on the bay, blocks from the beach and we were only an hour from the French Quarter. But what I loved most was the joie de vivre (joy of life) exhibited by the people of Biloxi. They could make a party out of anything-fish fries, parades, picnics–everything was fair game for a good time. As for Mardi Gras–whoa! Life was a party, and that was particularly true of the six weeks prior to Lent. Most people associate Mardi Gras with New Orleans, but that's not completely accurate. Mobile, AL claims to be the ancestral home of Mardi Gras in America. All up and down the Gulf Coast, small towns revel in the fun of Fat Tuesday. Their joy's contagious. And for me, the devastation of Katrina was heartbreaking.

Beauvoir in Biloxi
Public Domain (link)

Kim:  What did you learn as an AF spouse that you could apply to your publishing career?

Ann:  Flexibility to adapt to any situation, including our wacky world of publishing.  Acceptance of new cultures, unfamiliar accents or languages, and a different way of doing things–all necessary for an author.  Living in a variety of different places provided a world of experiences to draw on for stories. Worldwide travel - there are so many places out in that big, wide, wonderful world to set a story. And seeing it up close and personal was invaluable.

Kim:  Being a military spouse is a challenging job - how have you balanced your role as spouse, volunteer, and writer?

Ann:  Multi-tasking is the hallmark of being a military spouse. Whether it's organizing an overseas move, or making sure the kids, hubby, cats, dogs–and in our case, horses–are all going in the right direction, the military spouse is central command. 


Kim:   I love the picture of the "future rodeo queen" on your website! 

Ann:  The future rodeo queen is my granddaughter.  Horses have been a part of our lives for a very long time. My uncle was a renowned saddle maker, providing saddles for celebrities and ranch hands. I went to my first rodeo before I could toddle. My daughter's love of horses was the impetus for our family's horse adventure. We started with a hoof pick and ended up with a truck, trailer, two horses, and all the baggage associated with the equine world. I've relinquished my active participation in the horse world, but my daughter had her kiddos on a pony by the time they were two-years old. Now they're American Vaulting Association (gymnastics on a moving horse) Grand Champions in their divisions.

Kim: Tell us about your books! 

Ann:  I've written eight novels and one novella for the Harlequin American Romance imprint. My first book, A Texas State of Mind (2005) was a double 2006 Rita finalist in both the Long Contemporary and Best First Book categories. My Everlasting work, Summer After Summer (2007 and re-issued in 2013) won the Orange County Book Buyers' Best Long Series Contemporary award. My latest books were with Carina Press. Beyond Texas came out in December, 2013, and A Hot Time In Texas debuted in July, 2014. I love stories about eccentric and funny characters. Most of my stories are set in Texas, although I have a Georgia series, and a New Hampshire novella. I love small towns, humor, irony and characters that make laugh.


Kim:  What's next for Ann DeFee?

Ann:  Exciting things. I have the rights back to my first three books, including the Rita finalist, and the repackaged versions will be out for pre-order in mid-October, with a debut date of early November. (I've attached the covers which are really cool).

Another project that's been taking a ton of my time is Bellastoria Press. Linda Cardillo (another Harlequin author) and I are partners in this business venture. Bellastoria is the Italian word for beautiful history. Our goal is to provide stories that nurture the soul from writers who amaze, entertain and provide a touchstone for the avid reader. We're currently working on a distribution process that will be a combination of digital and print, aiming at book clubs and indy bookstores. My women's fiction story, A Popsicle World, which will be a part of our launch campaign, will be available in October.


Mahalo, Ann, for sharing yoru wealth of experience!  I am giving away a digital copy of any title from Ann's booklist.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  What is the joie de vivre (joy of life) for you?  For me, it's volunteering with Scouts to help them develop into future leaders.

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, September 20, 10 pm in Baltimore.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, September 21.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Learn more about Ann and her books at ann-defee.com.

Laurel from Showtime Book Trailers created a special video for the USAF's birthday at this link.

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17 comments:

  1. Ummmm.....I don't have any.....maybe shopiing!

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  2. I loved taking Girl Scouts camping.

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  3. Ann, you must have made some very interesting friendships as you traveled from base to base. I had 2 cousins in the Air Force. The first joined for an education and became a dentist. The other was a young lady who yearned to fly. Her senator got her into the academy and some years later she was working at the Pentagon when 9/11 happened. (her brother played football at West Point and is a retired Major).

    I'm certainly going to check out your books as gifts for my Southern Belle DIL who is a romance junkie.

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    1. Thanks to your family for their service. I had a ball being a military spouse. AF rocks, or flies.

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  4. Being a good friend and helping others.

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  5. Sitting in my cozy chair with a good book and snuggled with my dog :) thanks for sharing and congrats to Ann on the new release! Looks fun!

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  6. My joie de vivre are my children and grandchildren. Congrats on your release. BTW, my husband served 24 years in the USAF.

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    1. I wholeheartedly agree with the joy of life being the kids and grandkids!

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  7. Thanks for your service as military spouse! My joy is in reading these days and I've certainly enjoyed your books!!!

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  8. I have many and it changes at different times - I was involved in Girl Scouts when my children were younger and a local women's group that did charity and now I would say it's our American Legion where I also volunteer and my working with ferals/strays and then friends and family, hobbies and always reading!

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  9. My kids. They make me laugh and happy.

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  10. A cup of tea!

    Barbara

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  11. Replies
    1. Amen to that! Chocolate is my weakness.

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  12. Lovely interview! The military life definitely requires flexibility.
    I think for me it's my kids - my joy of life. Life is always an adventure with them and I love seeing the world through their innocent eyes.

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