Friday, June 30, 2006
Si. His name is Fabio. He's an Italian footballer. His body is, em, how do you say? A flippin machine.
Fabio Cannavaro plays for Juventus Italia, is married with 2 boys and a girl, and , according to 2sexyfootballers.com, he "likes a lot to drink milk," and thinks the most important quality in a woman is that she "doesn't talk about football." His nickname is "Canna," and he reports his defect as being "sometimes good excessively."
Here's to excessively good Italian men, Bellas!
At this point, Italia is in the quarterfinals of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and will play the Ukraine today, Friday.
Now, I may just have to do a special feature on Juventus because there are a number of really hot young men on the team who deserve to be ogled.
And, I know I don't usually offer photos of men al fresco, as it were, but this one of Canna was just too artistic to keep from you on this, the last day of the workweek.
We Italians do so love our fine art.
Encore! Go Juventus!
Encore due! Julia Quinn's"On the Way to the Wedding" BlabFest this weekend right here at Romance: By the Blog. Read the book? Come by and tell us what you think and what you liked best.
Encore tre! Check out "10 Most Beautiful Men of the 2006 World Cup."
Encore quattro! Go to CT's blog , Raven's Sanctuary, for more gorgeous FIFA World Cup footballers! CT's a big supporter of Nathan Kamp, too, and a special friend of Romance: B(u)y the Book!
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
While you're there, Bellas -- Oh, please do listen to me on this one -- check out this week's Old Flame, "Hot Water," by Kathryn Jordan.
If you buy one book this summer for the sheer pleasure of it, I recommend "Hot Water." It is unbelievable.
Come visit with Kathryn when she GuestBlogs July 20. Believe you me, if you read "Hot Water" before she gets here, you'll have puhlenty to chat about with her.
Julia Quinn "2nd Epilogues" Contest Winners!!!
Maria Acevedo Nearon * MaryKate * Kathy Fadel
Lindsay Hoffman * Terri Wyman * Kimberly Brandt
Brittney Hale * Ruth Kamb * Jeannie Sena * Kim Cagle
Congrats, Bellas! Your prize will come soon from HarperCollins/Avon. Thanks to all who entered. New contests coming up soon!
The Julia Quinn "2nd Epilogues" Contest is closed and I'll be announcing winners later in the day. Thanks all for entering.
Thanks, Julia Quinn, for spending the day with us yesterday! It was great fun, and we know "On the Way to the Wedding" will be a great success. Cause it's just so darn good. :)
And thank you, Bellas, for stopping by in droves to show Julia the RBtheBlog love.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
"On The Way to the Wedding" is out today, and Julia Quinn is here with a shocking, I tell you, shocking GuestBlog! Well, not shocking, but definitely an entertaining treat in that wry, inimitable Julia Quinn style. She'll answer your questions, and loves your comments.
So I knew it was time for my new book to come out when my computer died. Because really, what self-respecting computer would choose to expire at a convenient time? (Note to self: determine convenient time for computer death. Any such time would imply excess time, during which I might catch up on all the tasks I have been putting off since 1998.)
It all started with a crackling sound in my left speaker. Like, the first time it booted up. But I was an idiot, and I thought it was the sound of my external hard drive, which I had recently purchased to back up the data on my previous computer, which hadn't quite died, but was clearly fighting one of those long, malingering illnesses (brought on, I'm sad to say, by three successive travel-related injuries, only one of which was my fault.)
Anyway, I didn't think anything of the crackling sound at the time. I was too busy basking in the glow of self-congratulation, because I had actually BACKED EVERYTHING UP. (Such sentiments deserve to be capitalized, I assure you.) But after a few months, it became apparent that the speaker was crackling at every start-up, so before I went off to a conference in San Diego, I dropped it off at the Apple store, deciding this was a good excuse to absolve myself of having to do any work on the airplane.
Computer returned. Crackle gone. For about two start-ups. Then it came back.
But just as there is no convenient time for a computer to die, there is rarely a convenient time for one to be in the shop. So it took me two months before I managed to bring it back, this time while my husband and I went away for our tenth anniversary.
The timing was perfect. My laptop returned from the Apple repair center the day after I got back, and I popped into the Apple shop, pleased as punch, only to be greeted by an annoyed associate who said that they had done the same thing as the time before and it was still crackling. (She was not annoyed at me; she was annoyed at the repair center. I found this reassuring.)
She said to me that they would send the computer back in. The rule is that if they can't fix it after three times, I get a new computer. I was somewhat pleased by this; even though I bought my computer only six months ago, it is already obsolete (ain't that just the way of things?) and the new model is a decided step up.
The Apple associate said she was going to put a big old note on it saying, "It's not the speaker! Try the logic board!"
It was at this point that I did something very stupid. I asked her if I could use the computer for a half hour or so to forward some emails to myself. I had been accessing email on the web using my old computer (the one with the vaguely terminal disease, which I have to say is holding up quite well all things considered) but I didn't have access to my downloaded mail. And I needed to reply to a few of them.
So I took care of that. And then (here is the stupid part). I figured I might as well download the mail I had received while I was gone. I had read it, of course--my husband had brought his computer on our trip. I just figured it would be easier to deal with my webmail if there was less of it on the server.
It never occurred to me that this mail would not be in the backup I had made on my external hard drive. (Idiot! Idiot! Idiot!)
But it also never occurred to me that the next conversation I would have with the Apple Store would be something like this:
Apple Guy: Um, we got your computer back, and we weren't able to repair it, so we're going to replace it.
Me: Oh. (thinking: Yay! New computer for me!) What happened?
Apple Guy: Well, it won't boot up.
Me: (silence, then) I'm sorry, what did you say?
Apple Guy: It won't boot up. When you press the button, the fan comes on, but that's it.
Me: (in a very small voice) But it was working fine when I dropped it off. It was just a crackle in the speaker.
Oh wait. This was the part where he remained silent.
Me: Can I get my data off of it?
Apple Guy: (slowly, because he is certain he is speaking to an idiot.) It... won't... boot... up.
Me: So you're saying it won't boot up at all?
Apple Guy: Yes.
Me: But it was working fine when I dropped it off. What did they do it?
Apple Guy: I don't know. It just came back to us this way. And it's been in for repair three times, so I really don't think there is any point in trying anything else.
Me: But is there any way to get my data off?
Apple Guy: Didn't you back it up?
Me: (testily, because let's face it, no one likes to have their backup skills impugned) Yes, I backed it up, but it wasn't a perfect backup, and it would be much easier for me—
Apple Guy: Well, I could send it back to the repair shop, and then maybe they could do something with the logic board again, but if they could get it to boot up, then you'd probably be stuck with this one because it would be officially fixed.
Me: (because I felt the need to say it one more time) But it was working fine when I dropped it off...
I'm not sure what the moral of this story is. It might be that there really should be eleven commandments. Thou Shalt Back Up Every Five Minutes, anyone?
Or maybe the moral is that when your computer is dead, dying, or missing, your cosmic pain is great enough that you must tell everyone your tale of woe. (And with the internet, "everyone" takes on a whole new meaning.)
But I promised Michelle something about the new book. This is where you guys come in. Ask me questions! I will answer them all--provided that my poor beleaguered travel-dented computer doesn't decide roll over and die for good.
P.S. If you happened to send me an email June 15-19, please re-send. ;-0
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Julia Quinn GuestBlogs with us this Tuesday, June 27th to celebrate that day's release of "On the Way to the Wedding!" It's Gregory Bridgerton's story, and it's marvelous. Make sure you stop by to say hi!
Encore! For more info about the "2nd Epilogues," click on the "2nd Epilogues" icon above.
Encore due! Thanks, HarperCollins/Avon for being so generous with the "2nd Bridgerton Epilogue" sets for the Bellas!
Friday, June 23, 2006
I'd like to forget most of the Big Eighties. But everyone's crazed for the damn music of the decade now. Me? Every time I hear Huey Lewis sing "If This is It," I see every Madonna ensemble I ever wore, every Flash Dance sweatshirt I ever tore apart, and the skinny piano tie of one particularly bad dating choice.
Michele Hauf over at Riding with the Top Down just asked a great question yesterday that got me thinkin...
What's your favorite tune from the Big Eighties?
What was going on in your life when in was en vogue?
How big was your hair at the time?
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Why a bisexual hero? Because gay guys are the absolute hottest! With all the “slash” and fan fiction out there, I know I’m not the only woman turned on by the idea of two men together. Of course, these days there are romances that feature two men instead of a man and a woman. There’s only one problem: they’re not interested in women—in us, the readers (and writers). But if the hero’s bisexual—problem solved.
Lovely as it is to think about two hunky guys making out, that’s not all we want from a romance. We want to imagine ourselves into the story, which means we want at least one of those hot, sexy men to desire us, or at least our stand-in, the heroine. For me, and for readers like me, a romance with a bisexual hero is a way to have a double slice of (beef)cake and eat it too, so to speak
That’s why I made my hero, Andrew, primarily gay in the beginning of the story. The gay/bisexual hero is an excellent excuse to take that same old domineering alpha male we all adore and make him more acceptable to independent, intelligent, 21st-century women readers. I didn’t think I could get away with having an old-fashioned, bodice-ripping, arrogant “top” for my hero—but make him a domineering, supercilious, pantaloon-ripping gay Regency buck and—wow! Smelling salts, please!
Most of us readers of romance novels like masculine, sexually active men, the rakes who conquer every attractive body, until they are finally conquered in turn by that one woman who inspires the previously unthinkable emotion in them—love. My bisexual hero is a rake—but with men—who discovers during the course of a marriage of convenience that he can love one woman—his wife. It’s a twist on the usual dilemma of the rakish hero’s having to scale back his amorous lifestyle to accommodate marriage. Here he’s expanding his considerable sexual repertoire, not diminishing it. And showing him to be an experienced Don Juan with men but clueless with women provides the necessary touch of light comedy without detracting from his virility.
Besides his obvious physical charms and his aristocratic hauteur, Andrew’s greatest romantic asset is his honesty. He’s upfront about his preferences from the beginning, which is why this MMF situation can become a love story. But it’s essential to find the right kind of wife for a bisexual man, and in the character of Phyllida I felt I created Andrew’s soul mate. Her innocent sensuality, along with her spirited self-respect and rational outlook are the perfect counterparts to his domineering masculinity, his integrity and sense of honor. Like all of us women whose hearts beat faster when we see our ideal man kissing his sexy boyfriend, Phyllida delights in knowing that, whatever he gets up to with men (and she, and we, can be sure it’s a lot) her husband will never betray her with another woman.
A word that keeps coming up in discussions of my novel is “ménage”—and that can sound a little scary. Because it’s a bisexual romance, ultimately my hero meets that one special man as well as woman. Now, there are many ways of being bisexual; and many bisexual people have relationships with only one partner at a time. The reason I chose to have my hero involved with both a man and a woman simultaneously is that, for some of us, the MMF situation is the ultimate fantasy: being that one special woman in a relationship with two men. I don’t like to give away the extremely happy ending, so I will only say that “Phyllida” isn’t too scary; there are no three-way romps and, strictly speaking, the arrangement is not a triangle. At the end of the story there’s just enough unresolved sexual tension to keep our hero’s marriage(s) interesting and vibrant.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Eduardo Verastegui wants to know:
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Athletes, by virtue of their self confidence, good looks and firm bodies are one hot commodity – at least for this author! I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write about the athletes I adore, but I wanted a unique twist. And so my HOT ZONE trilogy was born.
But how to write about athletes in a way that’s different? All that came to me was the idea of a bachelor uncle who is forced to raise his three nieces – the first prologue in Hot Stuff – where the girls have little bows on their panties and the poor man hasn’t a clue what to do with them – and from there the girls became publicists in their uncle’s sports agency. Uncle Yank is loosely based on my beloved Grandpa Yank who passed away when I was sixteen. He was a sports addict and enthusiast, a gambler of sorts, and he was never without a small black portable radio with earphones so he wouldn’t miss a game.
My whole family is sports addicted and we're not always on the same side! My mom is a die hard NY Yankee fan. I'm a NY Mets fan. (She insists I couldn't have come from her house, LOL!). My husband was born in New England, hence he's a Boston Red Sox fan, which makes my girls Red Sox and Mets fans. But wait, it gets better. My dad is a NONSPORTS man. (Impossible, you say? I know, I agree!). And my youngest daughter is a Red Sox fan and a Johnny Damon fan ... and she insists she roots for Johnny Damon but not for the NY Yankees. (Is this possible? I doubt it, but I wouldn't argue with her. She's a born negotiator!).
So you can see, things can get awfully complicated around here. Oh and since we're (obviously) New England Patriots fans, we named our new King Charles Cavalier puppy Dylan after Corey Dillon of the Pats ... but Dylan doesn't live with us anymore because my husband had an asthma attack. Dylan went back to her original owner but retained her name. And Buddy, my wheaten terrier named after NO athlete, is so much happier.
But back to athletes. Not everyone loves athletes the way I do – or so I’ve been told. The solution to this of course, is to write a solid relationship story because at the heart of every book I write are characters and relationships. I thought it would be fun to let you in on who I had in mind while writing my HOT Zone heroes. For inspiration, I’ve been known to hang up photos to glance at now and again while writing a story. So without further ado, here are my fantasies:
HOT STUFF’s Brandon Vaughn – Football Hero – OK anyone who knows me understands my serious Alias addiction (now Alias withdrawal). The name Vaughn came from Michael Vartan’s spy character, Michael Vaughn, in Alias. After looking at Michelle’s blog, I realize Tom Brady absolutely fits the bill!
HOT NUMBER’s Damian Fuller – I wrote this story of my baseball hero during Mike Piazza’s last year with the NY METS. I knew it was the last time I’d be watching him in my favorite team’s uniform (let’s call this Mike obsession, now Mike withdrawal – are we sensing a pattern here?) and I posted photos where I could glimpse as I wrote. It is worth noting, however, that my husband played baseball in college and wore # 22, which is where Damian Fuller’s number came from. See? My athlete addiction started early!!!!!
And lastly: HOT ITEM’s Riley Nash – I returned to football heroes for HOT ITEM, but Riley was a man unto himself. I didn’t have anyone particular in mind when writing Riley … so you can use your imagination!
It’s interesting how everyone will pick someone different after reading a story about a character. That’s the beauty of fiction. And when we’re talking about fiction involving sports heroes, there are just too many delicious looking men to choose just one!
So who’s your sports hunk fantasy? I’m dying to know!
Encore! Carly will be back in August to celebrate the release of "Cross My Heart" Don't forget to visit Carly and friends at www.PlotMonkeys.com!
Monday, June 19, 2006
I used to watch HBO, especially Entourage, which stars this young man, Adrian Grenier. I'm just so busy reading now.
Encore: Countdown to CARLY: Carly Phillips guesblogs and blogchats LIVE (comment forum) tomorrow, June 20!
Sunday, June 18, 2006
I see nothing wrong with that,thankyouverymuch. Just as on our wedding day, chicks rule, we're the stars, it's all about us.
But I guess on this ONE day of the year, we could make it about "them" for an hour or two.
So, thanks, guys, for fathering our children, writing those checks, and for telling us we're even more beautiful than the day you married us -- all because we're the mothers of your children.
Ooops. Did I just make that about us again? My bad.
Encore! Happy Father's Day, David. You're a great dad.
Friday, June 16, 2006
...to Make it Big in Carly Phillips' great new beach read, "Hot Item." It's this week's feature on Romance: B(u)y the Book.
To celebrate, Carly Phillips is joining us to GuestBlog right here Tuesday, June 20, with a special "live" blogchat (comment form) at 2pm EST!
If you don't know him already, please meet New England Patriots cutie, the All-American Tom Brady.
I ain't kiddin, Tom's one of the good guys: decent; ethical; loves his folks; works with charities; sweet, long athlete's body.
Um. Sorry. But can you stand the way those jeans and T drape on that frame of his? And the hands. If we calculate the circumference of a football at midsection, then take into consideration the length of Tom's fingers in relation to the size of his hand...well, I think you know where I'm goin with this.
A lot of us fantasize about football star heroes in romances like Carly Phillips' Hot Zone novels.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Andrew Carrington is the model Regency gentleman: heir to an earldom, tall and darkly handsome, wealthy, athletic, a crack shot—and gay.
Goodness! Can this be so, Bellas?
When he decides to do his duty to his family, he wants marriage on his terms: an honest arrangement, with no disruption to his way of life. But in the penniless, spirited—and curvaceous—Phyllida Lewis, a self-educated “authoress” of gothic romances, Andrew gets more than he bargained for . . . perhaps even love.
Well, I guess he just needed a good woman to set him straight.
And when he meets honorable, shrewd—and hunky—Matthew Thornby, the son of a self-made “cotton baron,” Andrew has everything a man could want, until a spy and blackmailer tries to ruin him and his friends.
I loved "Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander: A Bisexual Romance," and want you to know about it, too. In fact, you'll have a chance to meet the author, Ann Herendeen, when she guestblogs June 22.
"Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander: A Bisexual Romance" is not a "menage," nor is it erotica.
It is, however, simply a wonderful romance, well-written, exceedingly historically accurate, and very, very sexy. I kid you not.
Anne Herendeen is an very smart lady, who told me she's always enjoyed Regencies and admires greatly Mary Balogh, Jo Beverly, and other fine romance novelists.
Anne also told me she finds the idea of visualizing two men making love excrutiatingly erotic. She is not alone.
Repeat with me the I'm OK, You're OK Maxim of Romance: Women often fantasize about things they don't necessarily want to experience.
If it works for you, Bella, don't let nobody tell you it ain't natural, or ain't OK.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
"She's No Princess," by Laura Lee Guhrke is this week's feature on Romance: B(u)y the Book! Hope you'll take a look, then head back here to get a gander at the Summer line-up (so far) of RBtheBlog Guestbloggers:
20 Carly Phillips - Live Blogchat 2 pm EST
22 Anne Herendeen
27 Julia Quinn - Epilogue Download Contest!
30 Sherrilyn Kenyon - ExtraView, too!
10 Jennifer Archer
13 Anna DeStephano - Contest!
1 Christina Dodd
3 Lisa Kleypas
15 Lori Foster
24 Sylvia Day
4 JR Ward - "Live" Blogchat TBA
Encore! Thanks so much to Sari Robins for guestbloggin with us yesterday. What did we learn? That we perhaps shouldn't leave our day jobs any time soon. Though kudos to JulieO for being most prolific with possible names for Sari's next novel!
Encore due! Who are your favorites among our line-up? Any writers you wish would guestblog with us?
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
For me, selecting a book title is almost as stressful as naming a baby. You want it to suit, to be likeablele, and not to have any unforeseen consequences (the same name as ten other kids in the class, bad nicknames, etc.). For a book (not a child), first and foremost, you want something that screams, "Buy Me!" and secondly, "Romance!" so that the reader knows what they're getting. Nothing's worse than expecting a light romp and getting a tragedy.
For "What To Wear To A Seduction," my heroine was in a mad state of preparation for her rendezvous. Picture Bridget Jones waxing her legs, rolling her hair and trying to decide between the leopard print or grandma tummy-slimming panties. With that in mind, for fun I got together with my friends at SPANX to offer my readers a chance to pick whatever seductive look fit their fancy. If you go to my site, you can enter my contest for a chance to win $400 in SPANX products today! I love my SPANX, so check it out at www.SariRobins.com
What's up next? I'm scrambling a bit myself, trying to conjure the perfect title for the next installment in the Andersen Hall series. This book is about a lovely lady spy who happens to fall in love with the man investigating her for a crime.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
So, so sorry for all the blog glitches this week! But here's something fun to make up for a bit of the inconvenience and mundanity of having to read the same two blogs for, like, a week.
Sari Robins will be guestblogging for us Tuesday, June 13, to celebrate the release of her wonderful new historical, "What to Wear to a Seduction."
Click on the graphic below to visit Sari's site and register for the cool contest she's running with Spanx hosiery. Then come back and discuss:
Am I the only one just catching on to this whole
"you don't have to wear hosiery for any reason anymore" thing?
I loved Sari's "The Black Rose, and I think you'll enjoy hearing from her, too.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Encore due! I can imagine Vivi Anna's power already. Hey, does that make me clairvoyant?
Encore tre! I think this is a Nathan Kamp cover. What say you, Stacy?
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
I just got the advance copy of JR Ward's "Lover Awakened." I did a happy dance in my kitchen, kissed the book, and danced some more. My kids saw this, and may be scarred for life.
But they can't possibly be as scarred as Zsadist, the Black Dagger brother featured in this book. I've been dying, DYING I tell you, for Z's story. I don't think I've ever been more intrigued by a hero.
Who's your favorite Black Dagger Brother? Why?
Have you/will you read the Black Dagger Brotherhood novels?
Encore! JR Ward will be here to guestblog September 4 to celebrate the release of "Lover Awakened!"
Encore due! Read about "Lover Eternal" at Romance: B(u)y the Book. And check out JR's RBtheBlog guestblog "The Road to Rhage," March
Monday, June 05, 2006
I'm trying to psych myself up to do some writing -- next week's feature review, in fact. I can use any excuse to procrastinate. Like: if I want to write a good review, I just have to read the novel all over again. So that's what I've been doing to avoid writing.
What are your favorite re-reads?
Friday, June 02, 2006
If I'm not a relationship advice columnist, I'm certainly not a sex therapist. But here is my Valentine to you and yours. I consider my offering it nothing less than a public service.
Ian Kerner, Ph.D. has written two of the best books I've ever read about getting sexual intimacy right, "She Comes First: The Thinking Man's Guide to Pleasuring a Woman," and "He Comes Next: The Thinking Woman's Guide to Pleasuring a Man."
Buy them and read them with someone you love.
Ian looks pretty cute to me on his book jacket, in that "I'm a really mencshy smart guy" kinda way. He also writes that when he met his wife he, "found [his] Stradivarius -- unique, beautiful, and priceless." And, he's a big fan of Strunk and White, "Elements of Style." If those aren't things that make a heart quiver, I don't know what else would.
Now, Ian is a sex/relationships therapist. And he worked hard to learn as much as he could about pleasing women because he was trying to overcome his own sexual disfunction. Boy, did he succeed, because he came up with the goods/books that are compassionate, intelligent, and thoroughly indispensable.
Don't bother thanking me. It's all in a days work for a Romance Novel Columnist who happens to love reading about sex and romantic love.
Encore due! Feel free to add an "s" to the end of the word relationship, if necessary.
Encore tre! Have a spectacular weekend. And, yes, I couldn't come up with a blog, and decided to recycle from way back when.