Monday, May 29, 2006

Go, Go, Go. Go! Go, Go Speed Racer


Indy, schmindy.

Viva l'Alfonso, Fernado Alfonso, Spanish racer-cutie who Sunday won the Monaco Grand Prix 2006. Last season, Alfonso became the youngest F1 racer (24) to win the World Championship. ESPN calls him, "Sizzling, " but I think they mean on the track.

NASCAR and racing star heroes: Dig em? Read any? Howza 'bout Roxanne St.Claire's "Killer Curves," etc.?

Speaking of ESPN, my brother-in-law, Chip, just told me that what I do @ RBtheBook and RBtheBlog reminds him of ESPN.com's Bill Simmons, aka "The Sports Guy." Pretty cool (and probably undeserved) praise, I'm thinkin.

Cause The Sports Guy is a smart, wicked-funny guy who writes about sports -- and pop culture -- in a way even I can understand. He's also an exemplary Red Sox fan, a mark of impeccable good taste and competence in my book.


The Sport's Guy's married to The Sports Gal and they've got a Sports Kid, I think. I wonder if The Sports Gal reads romance? TSG might be grateful if we sent TSGal some.
What would you include that might earn his thanks?
***
Encore! Don't go singin "La donna e mobile" on me or anything. I'll always be true to my hero, ESPN's Rick Reilly.
Encore due! It means something like, "women are fickle."

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Friday, May 26, 2006

T.G.I.F.*


There's just something about a nice, young, wet Italian guy.




Why are foreign guys so sexy?
What's your 'Ramon was so suave and beautiful,
and treated me like crap, but I still went back for a-more' story?
***
*Thank God It's Flavio (Montrucchio)
Encore! Oh, don't thank me for Flavio. Just have a happy weekend, Bellas!
Encore due! Check out Michele Hauf's response to your great suggestions on how she can get over her party-shyness at the May 17 post, "Going to the Party..."

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Turf War: It Ain't Pretty, Kitty


Not since the Sharks met the Jets on that fateful NY night years ago has so much trash been talked in the name of passion and territorial dispute.

OK, well, the Squawk Radio/Running with Quills blog takeovers aren't exactly akin to gang wars, but things are getting pretty bloody on both fronts as the Squawkers and the Quills struggle for romance group blog superiority.

It's no surprise stiletto-wearin', tiparillo-smokin' Squawk Radio romance reporter Kitty Kuttlestone started the whole thing with her trademark finesse (read: a few too many cocktails).

Check out Squawk Radio and Running with Quills, then come back here and tell me:

What do you miss about old school romance?
Have our heroes been emasculated by political correctness?
Are our heroines better off/worse off for being written
for the Feminist sensibility?
***
Encore! Great examples of Old School and neo-Old School. Hey, did I just coin a term? Somebody call brainysexycool Eric Sellinger at Romance Scholar!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Queen of the Night

She's so popular that at RT her reader fans lined up by the hundreds to have her autograph copies of her bestselling novels. And like an idiot, I just walked up to take a photo.

Why was that idiotic? Well, Laurell K. Hamilton is so popular -- and has had the misfortune of dealing with such less-than-well-mannered fans -- that she needs to travel with a bodyguard. Who, politely asked me to show credentials then shoot a shot in a way that wouldn't aggravate LKH's strobe-induced migraines. I SO didn't want to be the one to give her a migraine.

It's the sad truth, one that goes hand-in-hand with the fact that authors today have become rock stars: Some fans want so badly to know what goes on in their lives, to feel close to them, they go overboard.

How close do you want to feel to the romance writers
whose books you love? Why?
Have you had a "Fangrl" moment?
What right do we have to "make friends" with celebrities?
***

Encore! Our boy, Travis Greiman, place First Runner-up, in the RT Mr. Romance contest! I'll have photos and more TG news coming soon...

Encore due! I had the pleasure of meeting many e-girlfriends and reviewees including Luann McLean (Wild Ride) and Janice Maynard (Suite Fantasy), and new friend Karen Kelley (Texas Bad Boys), at the RT author book signing. Literally hundreds of your favorite romance authors in one place, signing books and being nice and silly.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Julie Anne Long Answers Life's Greatest Queries...

...starting with yours!

Happy Monday morning! I’m jazzed to be a guest here at (the always sassy) Michelle Buonfiglio’s blog…since I’m burning the midnight oil these days finishing up the final book in my trilogy, THE SECRET TO SEDUCTION (the first two are BEAUTY AND THE SPY/BATS, out in March, and WAYS TO BE WICKED, which will be out in October), Michelle was kind enough to go easy on me and send some interview questions to answer, and some of you guys sent some very entertaining questions my way. :)

I have to thank you for the diversion—I needed it! So here are my answers—and feel free to fire away with any questions or comments you might have, or write to me any old time at julie@julieannelong.com.

Bellas: Do you ever find yourself writing current dialogue for your characters? Something like "How cool is that?" or "She's the bomb" or "My bad"?
JAL: It’s funny, but I’m never really tempted to use modern slang as I’m writing, because when you’re getting into the rhythm of your story, it just doesn’t happen—the story doesn’t allow it, if that makes sense? You become too immersed in the era for modern slang to intrude in your thoughts. At least I do.

But language is tricky— historical authors often have to stop to audit themselves to make sure they aren’t putting words or concepts in their character’s mouths that didn’t exist in the particular era in which their story is set. Some words that are actually fairly modern seem as though they’ve been around forever, and other modern terms have been around for centuries but carry such strong modern associations for us that they’re jarring for the reader when encountered in a historical. For example, “creative”: use of the word “creative” as we think of it today—as being related to the arts or as someone who is “creative”—was first ascribed to Wordsworth in 1816. And the word “selfless” was apparently invented by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1825. I’ve been tempted to use both of those words in my books, which are set in 1820, but I ultimately decided not to after I did a little research.

Other words that are many, many hundreds of years old—I believe I used the word “grenade” (16th century) as part of a metaphor in THE RUNAWAY DUKE, and “alien” (14th century) used in BATS (which was in common usage in the Regency, and essentially meant foreign) have strong modern connotations for some of us, so it might feel kind of strange to come across them in a historical. So sometimes it’s a tough call! There’s also a delicate balance between using authentic language and burdening the story with so much terminology that some readers might need a Regency dictionary to translate it. :) But it’s part of the challenge of writing historicals, so it’s fun to try keep on top of it.

Bellas: What is the naughtiest thing you can put in a Regency story and yet keep the lady's virtue intact?
JAL: An actual young lady of the Regency period could hardly breathe without compromising her virtue. Then again, it all depends on how we’re interpreting “virtue” here… For some vivid examples of, shall we say, virtue tampering, let me just refer you to pages 222-229 of Beauty and the Spy and 211-213 of TO LOVE A THIEF. ;)

Bellas: What is your favorite Regency curse word?

JAL: Bloody. Bloody, bloody, bloody. That’s my favorite Regency curse word. Common-sounding to us, perhaps, but it was considered a pretty naughty word, and it’s versatile—it goes with everything! “Bloody hell,” “Bloody fool,” “Bloody wench,” and etc. Don’t you think it sort of rolls off the tongue in a very satisfying way?

Bellas: What's your favorite reference?
JAL: Oh man! There are so many. I like http://www.etymonline.com for word origins (see the first question—LOL). I have a fabulous book called THE REGENCY UNDERWORLD in which I’ve found much inspiration. Very educational. A rare book on Gypsies in Britain helped me write THE RUNAWAY DUKE. A book called SECRET SERVICE: British Agents in France, a comprehensive look at British secret service during the Napoleonic war, was fascinating, and helped with BEAUTY AND THE SPY.


I have reference books on clothing, manners, customs, dances, food…and of course, I love Google for digging up the random bit of info here and there. A few minutes ago I Googled pianoforte makers and the history of the pianoforte, which helped with exactly two paragraphs in my WIP/Work in Progress, THE SECRET TO SEDUCTION. :) I learn something new all the time.

The beauty of research is that in the search you almost invariably stumble across new ideas for stories. I love digging up information.


Bellas: Corsets or Brassiers? Breeches or Drawers?
JAL: Gosh, I just don’t know. I just try to get our heroes and heroines out of their corsets and breeches as quickly as possible when the occasions call for it. ;)

Bellas: What authors or books have been the most influential on your own writing?
JAL: I can’t honestly say that any particular author has influenced my actual prose (at least I don’t think so)…but I can point to the kinds of stories I enjoy, which are character-rich and what I guess I’ll call emotionally comprehensive…in that you laugh a lot, you might shed a tear, you worry, you get angry with or on behalf of at the characters.

A fully realized, very involving story. I think those kinds of stories, for example, are a big part of the reason Jane Austen has abided in popularity for so long. P.D. James comes to mind for me for that reason…in that even if a character appears for a mere few sentences in one of her books, you feel like you really know that character. I think when I started writing I had those kinds of stories in mind, so that’s what I’m going for.

Bellas: Who/What inspired BATS?
JAL: There were a couple of ideas that hit at once:I had an idea about a spy, a Super Spy, naturally, who had served in his Majesty’s Secret Service during the war…and was now just plain bored, because in the wake of the war there’s much less call for the sort of work he did. He’s so used to danger and intrigue, to being a walking weapon… How on earth would he be able to stand ordinary life? Would he manage to stay out of trouble? (Of course not).

So we have Kit Whitelaw, an impatient, dangerous, mischievous, clever man, who ends up involved in a decades old murder mystery and entangled, of course, with a beautiful girl. :)

And with Susannah Makepeace…I liked the idea of yanking the charmed life out from under a slightly spoiled London belle and thrusting her into an entirely unfamiliar situation to see whether or not she’ll rise to the occasion. I think we all only become whom we’re meant to be when we’re challenged…and Kit Whitelaw is nothing if not a challenge. :)

Bellas: What do you like best about BATS?
JAL: Hmmm…I think I like the way Kit’s and Susannah’s relationship unfolds naturally against the backdrop of danger, their overlapping pasts, and the drawing of voles and adders. :)

The rhythm of how they fall in love, how they surprise themselves and each other in the process. I tried to capture how it really feels to fall in love.I also like pages 222-299. LOL.

Bellas: Who're you crushin on these days?

JAL: I’ve rediscovered my deep, abiding appreciation (all right, foaming lust) for: http://www.ioanonline.com/. He’s going to be in a movie with David Duchovny, another longtime favorite. I may just need to be carried out of that movie on a stretcher.

Bellas: Answer the question you wish someone would ask?
JAL: Why yes, I WOULD love a million dollars and Ioan Gruffudd for a roommate. Thanks so much for asking!



Saturday, May 20, 2006

Workin for a Living

Professional conferences can be such


hard
work.

***

What are you reading lately?

Where do you wish you could get away to for a romantic weekend?

***

Special Update! Our boy, Travis, is doing great here. The women really seem to like him because a) he's a real gentleman, b) he actually knows how to dance, and c) he's taller than just about any other guy. Tonight's the Big Night! Let's wish him well! BTW, Travis Greiman is now Googleable, thanks mostly to you!

Encore! The cover guy enthralling me is CJ. He's on lots of covers, and is a very nice and accommodating man.

Encore due! I think I'm becoming obsessed with cover guys. We'll need to discuss that at some point.

Friday, May 19, 2006

From Daytona, Con Amore


So here's the scoop: Travis Greiman is dreamy.

And what a sweet kid. I have to call him a kid, or else I'll forget he's my friend's very young son and start to ogle him.

Don't worry. Nathan Kamp remains numero uno in my heart. But I did happen to meet a very nice Italian boy, who happens to be last year's Mr. Romance. His name is Andrei Claude and he's very warm and has the most adorable accent. And he actually pronounced my name correctly. Go figure. Here's a shot of Travis, his mom, Lois, Andrei, and me. Life is good.



And here are two revelers from last night's "Vampires of the Caribbean" party.

Please go on over to Squawk Radio to read my "live" report.

Ciao for now!





Thursday, May 18, 2006

That's Dr. Romance to You

Dateline: Daytona, FL

Our man in the Romantic Times Mr. Romance contest, Travis Greiman, brings us up-to-date on his prep for Saturday night's big event. The winner of the Mr. Romance contest appears on several romance novel covers and can look forward to a career as a romance novel cover guy...

MB: What have you been doing to prepare for the Mr. Romance contest?

TG: Nothing out of >the ordinary. Mostly its the mental preparation, getting prepared to >be up in front of all those people...it should be scary. However, this has definitely given me motivation to go to the gym when I am supposed to. Now that its nice out though I spend a lot of time outside and get >plenty of exercise.

MB: What do you like best about that?

TG:The thought of being shirtless in front of thousands of women kept me motivated over those winter months which can get awfully hard.

MB:What do you like least?

TG:It would have to be the unknown. I don't really know what to expect so I really do not know how to prepare.

MB:How do you feel about your mom and her crazy CosmoChix friends wanting to throw you to the wolves at their Romantic Times party?

TG:Well I hope they don't think that I'm being sacrificed to "the wolves." Their party doesn't sound so bad; I believe the plan is for me to serve drinks at their little gathering, and I have always enjoyed bartending.

MB: Poor, handsome, misguided young man. Our single readers will want to know: is there anybody on campus you >think is kinda cute?

TG: Oh of course. I see them out there all the time, especially since the weather has gotten nice, everyone comes out of hiding. I just usually have trouble doing anything about it.

MB: How's the studying for the finals going?

TG:It's been pretty easy. This is my last semester here and then I'm graduating and I've just finished my last actual test. All I have left is some papers and web projects. It has not been overall stressful, >but I'm rather looking forward to getting all my work done.

MB:Tell us whatever you'd like that I haven't asked.

TG: I'm just finishing my undergrad and will be applying to med schools this summer, so that has taken most of my time. I love the outdoors, especially horse back riding and thoroughly enjoy taking my dog out on long walks. I know I should be able to talk about myself, I should be qualified, but it just seems too vague.

If you have any other questions about me please just ask. I happen to be one of my favorite subjects.

***

Encore! I'm on my way to the Romantic Times Readers Convention as we speak. Please join me here tomorrow, and at Squawk Radio, where I'll be blogging "Live" from RT.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Michele Hauf: Heading to the Party...


...(with fear in my soul)

The last time I went to a Romantic Times convention? Six years ago. Why so long to visit again? I confess. I'm not a social creature. The idea of standing in a crowded room makes me feel crawly and uncomfortable.

Most writers will claim the same, but I know our ilk is varied, from wallflowers to party crashers. I'm of the wallflower variety. And I don't believe it's a condition that can easily be changed, but maybe...modified. I'm determined to do so!

I'm excited about RT. What an excellent opportunity to meet the fans! Do I have fans? I don't know. I hope at least one will show up. See, there's another fear. Will anyone care? But it's a silly fear. I know I have readers! Now, the challenge will be for them to find me. (Just kidding!
Er...maybe.)


It's not like I'm hiding, or that I'm unsociable. I just...don't know how to do it. To chat. To mingle. To (okay I'll admit it) let my hair down and relax. Heck, I even have trouble speaking with new friends. If I haven't known you for years, there's just a certain distance that prevents me from embracing the conversation completely. (And let's not even bring up the subject of embracing, all right? Hugs? ) I've oft looked back over parties and wondered if they thought me a little cold, perhaps a trifle snotty? It's never purposeful, I promise. I'm just a social retard, that's all there is to it.

And we got this fabulous party planned! What have I gotten myself into? I am most comfortable at parties sitting along the edge, watching the crowds as they talk and dance and laugh. But to walk around and seek conversation? Now that's a horror story. To be greeted by someone who says they've read my book? A complete stranger? Well, not so horrific--in fact, pretty darn cool--but excuse me while I take a deep breath and summon my confidence. I just need to remind myself that we're all going to be there for the same reason--the love of reading.

***

Encore! Head over to CosmoChix.blogspot.com for more fun with Michele Hauf, and enter to win the CosmoChix bling!
Encore due! Michele Hauf is a lovely person, inside and out. But she is kinda shy. I have an image in my mind of her at our local Romance Writers of America chapter's holiday shindig, which was at my house last year. It's of her with a stricken look on her face, trying to escape me as I attempt to force food and drink upon her for the millionth time. I was just being Italian.
Encore tre! Michele may already have left for the RT convention, so I'm not sure she'll be checking in today. But I'm sure she'll check back when she returns.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Ask Away


Just in case you're not as sick of reading his name or seeing his photo as my husband is, you might wanna check out Part II of Nathan Kamp's ExtraView interview at Romance: B(u)y the Book.

Now, We've got some awesome guestbloggers coming up this summer, Julia Quinn, Christina Dodd, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Lori Foster, Lisa Kleypas, and many, many more.


Next Monday, fab historical author Julie Anne Long will be here to blog. In the tradition of contests on her own blog, Julie wants you to submit the questions. No holds barred.


What do you want to know about Julie and her books?
Or her crush on her heroes and violinist Joshua Bell?
Remember: Julie likes wacky questions.

I'll drop into a hat the names of everyone submitting a question and one person will win a copy of Julie's "Beauty and the Spy."

***
Encore! CosmoChick Michele Hauf guestblogs tomorrow!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

RBtheBook Outtakes #1


"It's easier to find a virgin in an Ellora's Cave download than a Jewish hero in romance."

That's how I was gonna start this week's feature review of Nita Abrams' "The Spy's Reward" at Romance: B(u)y the Book. But the remarkably romantic and engaging novel deserved better than a questionably-witty cheap shot at homogeneity in Regencies. Plus, I really dig Ellora's Cave. And Regencies.

So hop over to Romance: B(u)y the Book, please, and read all about Nita Abrams, "The Spy's Reward," and Elinor Lipman's "Isabel's Bed," one of my fave re-reads.


What have you said or written that you thought was funny but later wished you'd kept to yourself?

Did you ever find out you had nothing to worry about? That it was funny and you were just being paranoid?

And Part II of Nathan Kamp's interview posts tomorrow, Bellas.

***

Encore! My mum just wrote to tell me she now loves Nathan Kamp, because "He's got that beautiful head on straight, and there's no doubt in mind about his (and his wife's) heart.....and he cooks, yet." Praise, indeed, from an Italian mother. He's Anglo-Latino, but I'm thinking that's close enough to being Italian to claim him as one of ours...

Encore due! CosmoChick Michele Hauf is here Wednesday, Bellas. Her newest, "Rhiana," is out now. Fantasy, fey, and the trademark Michele Hauf style.

Encore tre! Our boy in the Romantic Times "Mr Romance" contest, Travis Greiman, is here Thursday. He'll tell us about what's been doing in his prep for next Saturday's contest.

Viva la Mamma!




Because he's some mother's All-American son, a Mother's Day tribute to my Bellas!

Here's to you: mothers, wives, lovers, sisters, friends. You nurture, you encourage, you empower. You add immesurably to the lives of the little ones lucky enough to meet you.

The day is yours. Enjoy!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Hero Construct: The Alpha Nerd


Update!!! Eric Selinger has agreed to guestblog for us sometime in July! We'll have all to ourselves a guy who not only reads romance, but is, well, a guy. Please. Don't thank me. Just doing my part for the genre.

Eric Selinger is the man of my dreams, a guy bright enough to a) love romance and, 2. think gathering academicians interested in the genre, and academic writing about the genre, is a nifty idea.

When I wrote him, he never assured me he didn't come up with the idea of Romance Scholar listserv as a way to meet more chicks. But once you get a sense of the impressive size of his, uh, endeavor, I think you'll agree: Eric Selinger's on to something here, and the genre owes him big.

What do you have to offer this project of Eric's?

What role should the reader play in romance scholarship?

Encore! Go to http://mailman.depaul.edu/mailman/listinfo/romancescholarto join Eric's Romance Scholar listserve, and visit the associated Wiki bibliography at http://www.romancewiki.com/Romance_Scholarship.

Encore due! How could I talk Alpha Nerds without giving props to the King, David "Princeton Hottie and W. Carlos Williams fan" Duchovny?

Encore tre! Thanks to Manda for bringing this to our attention!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Fan for All Seasons




It's CosmoChix blog day for me, so I hope you'll bop over to read my confessions of a Fangrl fan.


And, since we're redirecting, check out this week's Romance: B(u)y the Book feature of "Don't Look Down," first in a series of He said/She said romances from Jennifer "You Can Call Me Jenny" Crusie and Bob "I'm a former Green Beret and How Studly is That" Mayer. They've also teamed up for a great AuthorView.

What's your fave JC romance and why?
Which cover do you like best?
Why are we so hot for military/mercenary heroes?
***
Encore! I promised you Michele Hauf this week, but she'll be here next, just before we head to Romantic Times Readers' Convention in Daytona. Totally my bad.
Encore due! We'll also hear from our favorite Mr. Romance contestant, Travis "I'm a pre-med cutie, but I'm still shy with girls" Greiman.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Blaze of Glory

Update!!! Lisa Kleypas' just emailed and, in that lovely and gracious Lisa Kleypas way, accepted the invitation to join us here on RBtheBlog later this summer. As JulieO said, Lisa confirms she's got more historicals to come, but has finished her first contemporary, "Sugar Daddy." Lisa says, "...it's a Cinderella story about a girl who is trying to raise her much younger sister by herself, and she ends up in a very steamy and romantic love triangle between two guys . . . one is a Houston billionaire, and the other is the successful and powerful "bad boy" she was in love with as a girl. Hee hee! It was so much fun to write."

It may be her last historical before she offers up her 80s redux saga (which I'm dying to read), but let me say this about Lisa Kleypas' novel due out this August:

"Scandal in Spring" is incredible, one of her best novels.

A sit-down-and-don't-stop reading-it-even-at-the-expense-of-your-children's-health-and-welfare page turner.

I kid you not.


Not to give away the story, but let's discuss:

Who's the guy that you thought was a goofball
but who turned out to be your idea of a hero?
-OR-
Who's Your Fave Lisa Kleypas Hero?
(Thanks Bella Stacy)
***
Encore! What's the only thing that could make "Scandal in Spring" better? A Nathan Kamp cover, of course!
Encore due! Thanks, Teresa Medeiros, for your tribute at Squawk Radio yesterday to the good guys on our romance novel covers.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

This Is So Cool!


Not only is Part I of romance novel cover guy Nathan Kamp's ExtraView LIVE at Romance: B(u)y the Book, Teresa Medieros is blogging today on Squawk Radio about cover guys who embody the spirit of romance heroes.


So, in whichever order you'd prefer:

1. Read "Real Life Romance Hero" at Romance: B(u)y the Book .
2. Visit Squawk Radio to read Teresa's special blog.
3. Come back here and discuss.
4. Please.

Encore! Teresa Medeiros' next novel, "The Vampire Who Loved Me" hits the shelves in October -- and-- it's got a Nathan Kamp cover. Good show, Teresa, on both counts!

Monday, May 08, 2006

The One That Got Away


We talked a lot the last couple days about crushin on guys we know, and guys we'd like to know.

Now, tell me this:


Who was your first love?
The one you thought you'd never get over.

For me, it was Sherwood Dowd. Dark eyes, Irish blarney, great musician, sweet. Alas, we were young and doomed from the start: he was a year younger at an age when every month counts.

What's the best/worst advice you ever got/gave about healing a broken heart?

Don't worry, Bellas. By this time Tuesday, Nathan Kamp will make everything all better. Cause Part one of "Real Life Romance Hero" can be found Tomorrow, May 9th at Romance: B(u)y the Book.

Please,tell your friends! Email! Link! Post!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Grrr


My husband was in cahoots with my 8-yers-old son at dinner the other night. Christian snickered with him then said, "Mummy's got a crush on Nathan Kamp!"

This really would be funny were it not that, now that I know there's a person behind the NK image, I can't even think of him in that way anymore.

What's the difference between objectifying a guy
and having a crush on him?
What kinds of crushes do you have?
When does "crush" become obsession?
and don't tell me you can look at this picture w/out thinking
"Wuthering Heights" and 'Heathcliff striding across the moores.'
Catherine! Catherine!


***
Encore! Did I mention Nathan Kamp's 2-part ExtraView interview begins Tuesday, May 9th? Just checking...
Encore due! You'll also want to check out Teresa Medeiros' special ode to romance novel cover guys May 9th at Squawk Radio!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Impotent Fury


I have no access to my email. It's killing me.

I write Romance: B(u)y the Book for an internet company, and they have an awesome process set up to keep their system from crashing should one of their users' computers get a virus or something. I think I've got "or something."



Anyway, now I have to schlep my laptop in to get the Helpdesk guys to make it all better.


Can I tell you how much I love going in to see these guys? They've got this, like, subterraneal lair -- very dark, lanterns, holiday lights, with cool stuff on the walls, giant cardboard cutouts, and an enormous papier mache fish hanging from the ceiling. Every Friday at 2p they watch a movie.

They're also wicked smart, which I think is the coolest. And funny and nice. Nerds in the very best sense of the word.


Do you think Nerds are kinda sexy?
Who's your favorite nerdy character from a romance?
***
Encore! The romance novel that started me on my path to creating Romance: B(u)y the Book was Vicki Lewis Thompson's "The Nerd Who Loved Me."
Encore due! CosmoChick Michele Hauf guestblogs right here next week! Her "Rhiana" releases this month.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

What's the Word?


Christian, or Inspirational Romance as it's generally known, is one of the fastest-growing subgenres of romance today. And I'm really quite fond of em.

Yes, yes, I've told you my favorite romances are hot and lusty, and generally revolve around a big ol alpha male and some medieval armament.



But I'm here to tell you that Christian romance today is more than just a bad boy, a good girl, and a heaven-sent Altar Call. Writers like Tamera Alexander and Deeanne Gist explore human sexuality and practical morality in ways that don't preach or proselytize. Rather, they celebrate the joy of the many facets of love between men and women, husband and wife.

Why or why isn't Christian romance relevant within the romance genre?
Do you read it? Write it? Why?
***
Update!!! Tamera's just reported that "Rekindled" has sold out of it's 2nd printing and is going into a third. (Hope I'm not telling tales out o school, Tamera.). Way to go! Look for my feature of "Rekindled" soon on Romance: B(u)y the Book.
***
Encore! Thank you Emma Holly for sharing with us everything Jack in yesterday's guestblog. We hope "All U Can Eat" is the hit it deserves to be.

Emma Holly: The Art of Knowing Jack




There comes a moment in the writing process when a character crystallizes. You can plot and plan, you can research and wring your hands, but until "it" happens, you're just putting words on paper. The characters have to come alive before you're really telling a story. It doesn't necessarily take much for them to spring into three dimensions, either. A behavioral tick. A bit of backstory. Sometimes that's all I need.

Here's how the hero of ALL U CAN EAT introduced himself to me.

"Chief of Police Jack West was nobody’s pretty boy. His nose had been broken (twice), his left knee (which had been shot) had more scars than the San Andreas fault, and the best that could be said about his face was that it was rugged.

"I love rugged heroes, so this was a good start. Pretty doesn't always add up to sexy for me. Plus, Jack's obviously the alpha dog. After the way my diner-owner heroine's heart had been stepped on, she deserved no less. And there was also the matter of her being a little bossy. Her perfect match needed a spine. Still, I knew there was more Jack had to tell me.

"The scars he kept inside him weren’t any better. He’d been a cop with the LAPD for sixteen years--a good cop, with plenty of important collars, but he’d seen things that had left him less than a fit companion for civilians. Coupled with the seriously dysfunctional upbringing he’d had, it was no wonder he was divorced, more or less inept at flirting, and hadn’t been laid in so many years he’d probably forgotten how.

"Now, this was interesting. Every hero should have have some psychic scars, or what is Frankie going to help him soothe? And that bit about him not having been laid in so many years he'd probably forgotten how--well, that was both titillating and neurotic. Tell me more, Jack, I thought. You've almost won me over.

"On the plus side, knee or no knee, he could run a mile in less than eight minutes, didn’t smoke, barely drank, and believed in opening women’s doors. He’d been told his shaved head was sexy, though he mostly kept it that way because his hairline was creeping back. He was tall enough to date a supermodel (not that he wanted to), willing to dance with the right partner, and rarely lied unless it helped catch bad guys. He also spoke fluent Spanish and could type with all ten fingers.

"Unfortunately, he didn’t think any of these assets was going to convince the woman who’d been playing leading lady in his recent dreams that she ought to be dating him."

And there he convinced me he deserved Frankie. This strong, sexy, chivalrous, besotted, and slightly insecure alpha dog didn't know it yet, but I did: He was going to get the girl.

So tell me, what makes a hero a hero for you -- in real life or in books?
***
Encore! ALL U CAN EAT: Can sassy diner owner, Frankie Smith, survive her sexy smorgasbord of men? http://www.emmaholly.com for excerpts and news.

Encore due! Check out what Emma had to say about Nathan Kamp at CosmoChix, "Why I Dig Romance Novel Cover Guys" comments...


Monday, May 01, 2006

m/f/m


So, I'm at Washington Romance Writers retreat and my friend, Mary, says, "You've got to sign up for a massage." OK. That'll help relieve some stress, cause I've got no web access, and no opportunity to check for Bella words of wisdom.

I straddle the massage chair, you know the type I mean? Face-down with legs on either side of a padded rest? And the guy starts working, and it's marvelous. Then, his partner sits in front of me and starts doing my hands and arms.

And I said, "I think I just read about something like this in an Emma Holly novel."

What do you like about massages? Are they better when given by a guy -- a professional, of course -- who's not your husband or boyfriend?

Emma Holly guestblogs tomorrow, May 2, right here on Romance: By the Blog. We're celebrating the release of the very erotic and entertaining, "All U Can Eat." Don't you just wanna know how she comes up with those hot stories? Ask her...
***
Encore! Thank you to the Washington Romance Writers for inviting me to share in the lovely weekend. I was honored to spend time "In the Company of Writers," and value the opportunity you gave me to talk about encouraging positive and responsible discourse with romance readers and writers. You girls rock!