Thursday, August 31, 2006

Lover Awakened: Z For All

I'll cut to the chase, Bellas. J.R. Ward's "Lover Awakened" hits shelves Tuesday and you need know only 3 things:

1. Insanely great; read my spankin review at Romance: B(u)y the Book.

2. J.R. Ward GuestBlogs here, Monday, Sept 4, with "live" BlogChat 5-7 pm EST.

3. You can win my personal ARC or a copy of the book when you blog on to chat with J.R. .

***

Waddya wanna chat about today, Bellas?

And in TV news:

Friday, Sept. 8 will begin our monthly visits from Romance: By the Blog's own

TiVo DiVa!

Think of it as a public service since I'm ignorant about television. The TiVo DiVa always has the skinny on what to watch and why. It's crazy scary, but she generally calls the best shows before they're even hot.

She's really nice, just like youz.

And best of all? She knows how to program her recording device.
***

Encore! Nina, you won the copy of Suzanne Brockmann's "Ladies' Man." Email me w/ your address, Bella!
Encore due! Thank you Suzanne Brockmann, for your lovely and poignant GuestBlog yesterday, the most successful GuestBlog to date on RBtheBlog! We're so rooting for Justin! Please come back anytime!
Encore tre! More info on how simple it is to test to be a marrow donor? Get thee to ImASwabbie.blogspot.com! Link's on the sidebar...

Suzanne Brockmann GuestBlog: Be A Real Life Hero

Nina, you've won! Email me with your address, Bella! romance@ibsys.com Thanks for joining Suz, Bellas, and special thanks to all Suz's friends who stopped by today. Please come back often to chat more!

Every once in a while we get to do something good, have some fun, and e-meet someone very special. When SB's publisher sent an email about this cool project of hers to help a SEAL, I wanted to jump on board, especially cause I've been blessed with 18 years of healthy life since I received a kidney transplant.

So, please, read on, and enjoy one of the best GuestBlogs ever...

I've got a lot of ground I want to cover in this blog -- I have some important info to share with you about a Navy SEAL named Justin who needs our help.

So let's get introductions out of the way.

I'm Suzanne Brockmann, and I write military romantic suspense for Ballantine Books. My latest hardcover release, INTO THE STORM, in book stores right now, is my nineteenth book with a Navy SEAL hero.

Yeah, you read that right. Nineteen.

And no, I will never tire of writing about Navy SEALs.

Why?

Two words: Duct tape.

See, here's the deal: every SEAL -- officer and enlisted alike -- has made it through a hellish program called BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) training.

BUD/S is notorious for chewing up the biggest, toughest, strongest guys and spitting them out. In fact, BUD/S classes often have a huge drop-out rate -- most of the SEAL candidates quit or ring out of the program.

The highlight of BUD/S is a brutal endurance test called Hell Week, which pushes the SEAL candidates to the extreme -- and beyond.

Picture the agony of basic training -- ramped up to the nth degree. For an entire week, sleep is limited to a few short hours, usually doled out in ten minute increments. These guys who want to be SEALs endure surf torture, where they're made to link arms and sit together in the freezing ocean for hours on end, battered by the waves. And then, when they finally are allowed out of the water, the instructors start sugar cookie drills -- where the candidates end up covered with sand.

Aching and wet, chaffing from that sand in places no human should chafe, they're brought into overheated classrooms and ordered not to fall asleep as they do intricate math problems or write essays.

Then they might go for a twenty mile run, in wet, leaden uniforms and soggy boots, carrying their IBS -- inflatable boat small, which isn't small at all -- atop their heads.

On and on it goes, nonstop for an entire week, with the instructors shouting at them the entire time, tormenting them, trying to get them to quit.

"All you have to do, Ensign, to end this torture, is step over to the bell and ring out. We both know you don't have what it takes. You'll never be a SEAL. You're not fast enough. You're not smart enough. You're not man enough. You're not good enough..."

See, the instructors are looking for the men who have what it takes, the men who will never quit. Because in a battle situation, you cannot call a time out.

Years ago, as I first learned about the SEALs, I fell in love with the idea of these men who would push themselves far beyond most people's breaking points -- and not for big bucks and glory. No, SEALs do what they do because they love our country, because they want to serve. No matter your political beliefs, you've got to respect that. And the more I found out about them, the harder and deeper I fell.

I've had the pleasure of getting to know a SEAL named Chris. He looks kind of like Viggo Mortensen's cuter brother. Smart, funny, honorable... He's like one of my fictional heroes, come to life.

We were hanging out together a few years ago, and I asked him the questions I always ask whenever I get a chance to talk to a Navy SEAL.

And, by the way, I always frighten SEALs, because I never ask what they consider to be standard questions about ops or equipment. Instead, I ask questions like, "How did you feel when you found out you'd gotten into the SEAL training program...?"

Total deer in the headlights look. The voice might even crack. "Feel?"

"Yeah. How did you feel when you went through Hell Week? What was it like to have men quitting around you, left and right?"

Chris had told me that in his BUD/S class, out of something like eighty-seven men who started the program, only thirteen finished.

Thirteen out of eighty-seven. Can you imagine?

"How did it feel -- to watch so many of your classmates leave?" I asked him. "How did you keep from quitting, too?" (Quitting, you know, can be very contagious.) "What were you thinking?"

Chris laughed. "I'll tell you what I was thinking," he said. And then he told me this story.

It was the very end of Hell Week. Chris and his twelve remaining teammates were cold, wet, chaffing, and hallucinating from lack of sleep. He told me that the palms of his hands had been rubbed completely raw. No skin left. None.
But that was okay, because in mere hours their week would end and the instructors would tell them that they were secure -- that this hellish phase of their training was officially over.
Except... an instructor led them into a classroom and told them all to sit. And he didn't look happy.

In fact, he was looking at them as if they were something nasty he'd found on the bottom of his shoe.

He finally spoke: "You are the worst BUD/S class ever. Not one of you has what it takes to become a SEAL. In fact, we're kicking you out. You're all going home. Right now. Today."

Chris told me he couldn't believe it. None of them could. Some of them even started to cry. They'd come so far, worked so hard...

But then another instructor came into the room, pulled the first one aside. They whispered together, then announced: "Okay, ladies. Here's the deal. The top brass wants to get rid of you, but we've convinced them to give you a second chance. You can stay in the SEAL program.

"If," the instructor continued, "you do Hell Week all over again. Starting. Right. Now."

Chris told me that, at this news, they were all crying. These big tough men. Tears just streaming down their faces. Hell Week. Again?

"Okay," the instructor said. "I know. It's too much to ask of you. So... there's the door. No one, absolutely no one, is going to think less of you if you stand up and walk out that door."

Chris told me he was sitting there, weeping, and looking at his raw, battered hands.
And you know what he was thinking?

Not of quitting. Not about the hot shower and soft bed that would be waiting for him if he gave up and went through that door.

No, he was thinking, "Duct Tape."

He was thinking: "If I wrap my hands with duct tape, I can make it through another week."

Do you know that not one of those thirteen young men walked out of the room that day? Not one of them quit. Like Chris, they were willing to go through Hell Week all over again in order to become SEALs.

After waiting a good long time, the instructors finally stepped back and swung a blackboard around. And on the flip side it said, "Gentlemen, you are secure."

Hell Week was over.

You see, this had been one last mind-game, one last test. One last chance to weed out the quitters from the men who were willing to wrap their hands with duct tape to make it through another week.

Chris and his classmates didn't have to go through Hell Week again. They just had to be willing to.

They weren't the worst SEAL candidates these instructors had ever seen -- they were among the best.

The best of the best.

If I wrap my hands with duct tape, I can make it through another week.

These are the men who become Navy SEALs.

These are the heroes of my books.

Do you understand why I'll never tire of writing their stories?

So now let me tell you about Justin, another Navy SEAL. He's a lieutenant, just twenty-eight years old. He's also a newlywed, despite having to reschedule his wedding when Hurricane Katrina trashed his home last August. He's been married for just seven months to a lovely young woman who, like me, is named Suzanne. The first year of marriage should be a time spent exploring a new phase of a relationship, giddy with hope and the promise of a long, fulfilling life spent by one another's side.

Instead, this past June, Justin was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia.

But hey, in this day and age, that kind of cancer is curable, isn't it?

For Justin, the bad news just kept on coming. Due to something called the Philadelphia chromosome, his only hope for a complete cure lies in a bone marrow transplant. Such a transplant requires a donor who is a bone marrow match, and unlike blood transfusions, that match has to be exact.

Neither of Justin's two sisters could provide that match.

Which leaves Justin hanging. Waiting. Hoping.

The chance of him finding a match is one in 20,000.

And yet Justin and his family remain undaunted. Justin is, after all, a Navy SEAL. He's a fighter, and his cancer is just another hurdle to overcome. When he heard that his chances of survival were thirty percent, he laughed and noted that his chances of becoming a SEAL had been only ten percent.

Still, despite his upbeat attitude, Justin knows that roles have been reversed. The SEAL who's used to saving lives is the one who now needs help.

And we can help.

There's a national bone marrow donor registry program (visit www.marrow.org) that allows regular, non-SEAL people like you and me to take on the role of hero for a change. It doesn't involve surf torture or a single sugar cookie drill.

All you have to do to help is register as a bone marrow donor. If you're between 18 and 60 years of age, there's a simple, easy test you can take, done by rubbing the inside of your cheek with a Q-tip-like swab. And yeah, okay. I've heard that the actual bone marrow transplant process can be uncomfortable on the donor's side. I'm certain, however, that it's nothing like Hell Week. And if it means saving a life...?

Sign me up.

You know, if they were characters I'd created for one of my books, Justin and his Suzanne would have to face hardship and conflict -- that's part of what makes a great romance novel. But the conflict they'd encounter would make them learn and grow closer than ever, and by the end of their book, they'd earn the right to a happily-ever-after ending.

Which, in their case, would include locating a donor -- that one person, one-in-20,000, who happens to be Justin's bone marrow match.

I wish I could write that happy-ever-after ending for Justin and Suzanne, but I can't. I can, however, do the next best thing. I can write and talk and shout about the need for each and every one of us to contact the bone marrow donor program, take the test, and be added to the registry.

You are out there, somewhere, you one-in-20,000 -- maybe you're reading this right now. Or maybe you're not Justin's one-in-20,000, but you're someone else's match. Someone else's chance to live happily-ever-after.

You can save someone's life, be someone's hero.

And the best part is that you don't need to wrap your hands with duct tape to do it.

New York Times bestselling romance author Suzanne Brockmann took the test to be added to the national bone marrow donor registry and is waiting to hear if she'll provide someone's real life happily-ever-after. She is the mother of two (and a PFLAG mom) who lives outside of Boston, Massachusetts with her husband, Dell author Ed Gaffney. Visit her website at www.SuzanneBrockmann.com.

How to help:
Find out more
about being a bone marrow donor. Visit the National Marrow Donor Program, www.marrow.org and request a test kit.
(Note: Military personnel and their families can also contact www.dodmarrow.com)
Organize a bone marrow registration drive in your neighborhood. Call Eddy at the C.W. Bill Young DoD Marrow Donor Program at 800-627-7693, ext. 223.
Make a donation
to the National Marrow Donor Program at www.marrow.org to help offset costs of testing.
Spread the word!
Email the link to this blog to your friends and family.

Visit www.ImASwabbie.blogspot.com and www.soldierangels.org

Please.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

State o' Mayne


Don't hate me, but I just finished the ARC of "Pleasure for Pleasure," and it's every bit as yummy as you would expect Eloisa James' novel about Garret Mayne to be!

Holy God in Heaven.

That's all's I'm sayin.

And further Eloisa news...



It's with great, uh, pleasure, I announce



Romance: By the Blog "Back to School Week!"

September 18 - 22


A week of guest blogs by three smarty-pantses who have lots to say about the academic life as it relates to Romance.

Monday, Sept. 18, Eric Selinger of dePaul U, and creator of RomanceScholar listserve, joins us

Wednesday, Sept. 20, Miss James, of HarvardYaleOxford and, most recently, Fordham fame, graces the blog

Friday, Sept 22, Bill Gleason, Princeton prof, and guy who knows things about my husband I probably don't even know, jumps feet first into our maelstrom of inquisitiveness.

Because romantic minds wanna know.


Assuming we can remember how erudite and intelligent we used to act back when we started this whole RBtheBlog experiment, what do you want to ask our "Back to School Week" Scholars about Romance and the study thereof?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Kicking & Screaming Into the Digital Age

It's a bit of an experiment in "repurposing," but I've just started writing bi-weekly blogs for a cool new Inet site called MyLoveBytes.com. Today's my debut!It's a place where folks looking for romance -- or looking to get back into looking for romance after divorce -- can find all kinds of information, advice, and generally fun romance-related stuff. There are blogs and vlogs -- neat-o videos and webcam feeds. Which means I get to do actual video segments about romance and sexuality and stuff.

There's an absolutely gorgeous young host(ess) named Vanessa, who's got the whole MTV VJ thing kickin. And her co-host, George, is the self-effacing good guy who everybody wants to be married to. He and his bro are the brains behind MyLoveBytes.com.

In some Vlogs, Vanessa and George will ask singles questions based on my romance novel blogs.
And romance novels are nothing if not about singles looking for love, no?

So what questions would you ask single women based on romance novels?

i.e., Romance heroes are rakes, and we love 'em for it. In real life, How do you feel about dating a guy who's got a reputation for being great in lots of women's beds?
***
Encore! Suzanne Brockmann GuestBlogs Thursday, August 31st. DO NOT MISS IT, BELLAS! It's phenom, plus, she's doing something great to help an heroic Navy SEAL.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Susan Donovan GuestBog: Good Naps and Real Men

The first time I read one of her books, I fell in love with rough, alpha, Irish cops from Chicago. Which was a stretch for a girl who like to fantasize about rough, alpha, Irish cops from Boston.

Anyway, she's an awesome romance writer who understands what makes a romance a romance. And she's most deserving of the good news she's about to share.

Welcome, Susan! We're so happy you're here...

Greetings to all Bella Babes of the world!

First, thank you, Michelle, for inviting me to stop in for a visit. Now that the kids are back in school, I have promised myself that I’m really going to get back into the swing of my writing career, doing such things as updating my website, completing my proposal, and generally living by the rigid schedule of self-discipline for which I am famous.

Or, I could just take a really good nap.

In the meantime, I have excellent news to share – my latest novel, THE KEPT WOMAN (St. Martin’s Press, July 2006), has officially made me a best-selling author!

I made the USA Today list plus Bookscan, Barnes & Noble, Waldenbooks, and Ingram’s. Everyone is telling me that I might want to capitalize on this success by writing another book. So perhaps I should skip the nap and just keep plugging away at my proposal. (I’d tell you more about what I’m working on but even my editor is in the dark at the moment, and I should really tell her first. I can tell you it will be out sometime in the summer of 2007.)

Next up for me is a novella entitled “Bed and Breakfast,” for the January 2007 erotic romance anthology entitled REAL MEN DO IT BETTER. This St. Martin’s anthology is a sequel to the popular HONK IF YOU LOVE REAL MEN from the summer of 2005.

I have to tell you, writing these “real men” novellas has posed quite a challenge for me because all I could think was, “Who the *^%@ wants to read about real men?” But upon reflection, I realize I’ve toyed with that question each and every time I sat down to create a hero for one of my contemporary romance novels, whether I knew it at the time or not.

As a reader myself, I know what I like in a hero – a man whose struggles have made him stronger, someone who has a sense of humor despite everything he’s seen, a man who can make a girl hyperventilate just by walking across the room.

But for me, this man has to be rooted in the real world enough that I can believe he might just actually exist out there somewhere. That’s what I try to give my readers – a combination of flaws and fantasy, real and real hot.

I hope I’ve succeeded with my latest creation – Jorey Matheny in “Bed and Breakfast.” He’s a 40-something architect who ditched pressurized city life after a heart attack and a divorce, and now owns a retreat lodge in the remote Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico.

He is introspective, funny, and more ready for love than he realizes. Jorey’s quiet existence ends abruptly with the arrival Los Angeles businesswoman Kate Dreyfuss, who shows up in the wrong month for a retreat and then gets stuck by the rains.

Well, it’s back to the proposal for me! I look forward to sharing thoughts with those of you who stop by today.

Best,
Susan

Visit SusanDonovan.com!
***
Encore! I don't think Susan will mind -- in fact, I think she'll join right in -- if we wish Bella Vivi Anna Happy Birthday. Buon Compleanno, Bella!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

You Did WHAT In The Locker Room?
















I was just laughing over a post made by Kate Pearce, a Cheek author I met in Atlanta at RWA.

Kate comments: Love love love the ads of the Italian football team-almost passed out in the middle of Borders when I saw the first one in GQ magazine.

I wrote back that I wish I'd first seen it that way; it would have appealed to the exhibitionist in me. And that got me thinkin:

Where's the wildest location you've ever, well, you know?
Where would you like to that you haven't? Yet.

Canta, Bellas! After all, it's just between you and me...

Encore! Me? Not sure it's the wildest, but first that comes to mind begs the exclamation, "fore!"

Encore due! I haven't read Kate, but I like the way she thinks, and I sure do like me some cowboys. I'll give her men a try. But remember, Bellas, it's Cheek.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Introducing: Cinema Bella!



It's big, it's new, it's romance for the eyes, it's...

Romance: By the Blog
Cinema Bella!

Well, youz couldn't say enough about Dennis Quaid two days ago, what with all the slavering over hot Bad Boys. So it got me thinkin: what if we made a date for a month from now to talk about a movie we'd all seen?

A hot movie. With great sexual tension and sweaty romance and hot guys. One our husbands and guys would thank us for watching. Or a flick that was just a happy treat just for us.

Yeah... So click on NetFlix, go to the 'brary, raid your neighbors' DVD collections. Score yourself a copy of

"The Big Easy," (1987) directed by Jim McBride, starring DQ and Ellen Barkin.

Mark your calendars, cause we'll meet back here Tuesday, Sept 26 to discuss the film over a little cyber-'ritas and tapas.

What's the hottest movie you've ever seen?
Not that kind of movie, Vivi Anna.
***
Encore! Thanks, Sylvia Day, for dropping in with your fabu GuestBlog yesterday. We loved talking about your great books and covers, and can't wait for your next novel! Visit us again soon!
Encore due! NEWS! NEWS! I'll be featuring JR WARD's "Lover Awakened" on "Romance: B(u)y the Book" next week! It'll be live when she comes to visit us for her GuestBlog Sept. 4.
One letter says it all: Z.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sylvia Day GuestBlog: Sweet Inspiration

Contest from Sylvia: One lucky commenting Bella wins a CD-R of the first 2 chapters of her upcoming, "The Stranger I Married!" Ya gotta Say to Win!

I e-met Sylvia when she sent me her debut novel for the very fab Brava, "Bad Boys Ahoy." If you love you some Pirates, you must read. If you love you some hot romance you must read. If you -- you see what I'm sayin, no?

Anywayz, hooked up in-person with Sylvia at Romantic Times Readers Convention, where we got to discuss our mutual appreciation for erotic romance and erotica. And she introduced me to many of her fellow ER friends at RWA in July. I know you'll like her as much as I do, and not just cause she's really nice...

The always fabulous Jayne Ann Krentz touched on authors who write in multiple genres. I write pretty much everything -- historical, contemporary, futuristic, paranormal, and sci-fi.

In 2007, I have eight trade paperback releases -- four historical Bravas, and three contemporary/paranormal Avons. (and a non-fiction essay about Stephanie Plum)

Each book has its own release month, and each story has a different tone and style. It’s all erotic romance, because that’s the way I associate with my characters. My Feb. 2006 book, BAD BOYS AHOY!, was lighter in tone, and my August 2006 book, ASK FOR IT (which, as my first ms ever, was written long before BBA) is darker in tone. My Jan. 07 book is more poignant, and my June book is just all-around unusual. I try to make each book different from any other I’ve written. The only staples are flawed but strong heroines, ultra-alpha males, hot sex, and a romance-focused story.

People ask me, “How do you write so many books so quickly?” The answer: inspiration. I find inspiration in many things around me. Things like angst in movies and books, or the sight of a handsome young couple with a new baby. The most fun inspiration, though, is hot men. *g* Jason Lewis would be a perfect Marcus Ashford from ASK FOR IT.

Antonio Sabato, Jr. is just too yummy for words, and he was the inspiration for Gerard Faulkner in THE STRANGER I MARRIED.

When was the last time you read a book with a particular person in mind as one of the characters? Would you share who it was you were thinking of and which book it was?


One commenter will win a Mini CD-R of the first two chapters of THE STRANGER I MARRIED.

Oh, and just for fun, you can watch the mini-trailers for both ASK FOR IT and THE STRANGER I MARRIED at SylviaDay.com!

***
Encore! Thanks, Lois Grieman, for giving the Bellas what they want -- a chance to dish on the various and sundry ways one can get a Bad Boy deliciously wet. Well, YOU started it! We wish you all the best with the wild new "Tempting the Wolf" from Avon!
Encore due! Nicole, you're the winner of the copy of Lois' "Tempting the Wolf!" Email me, Bella, so I can send it your way.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lois Greiman GuestBlog: Walking On The Wild Side

Contest Today! One lucky commenting Bella wins a copy of Lois' "Tempting the Wolf!"

My friend, Lois Greiman is a hoot. You may remember her from one of my earliest posts re when she invited me to do research with her at a male strip joint, one of many reasons I liked her immediately.

She also masterminded CosmoChix with me, and is mom to cutie RBtheBlog fave and RT Cover Guy contestant, Travis Greiman.


Former model, horsewoman extraordinaire, rescuer and healer of animals, multi-published author, tall and pretty. All valid reasons to hate her, say I. Still, she's awfully fun to be irreverent with. Please give a warm Bella Buongiorno to Lois, whose "Tempting the Wolf" just hit the shelves...

As every romance-wielding reader knows, women like bad boys. Guys with tortured souls…men who bite.

Have you noticed all the vampire books on the market these days? Everybody seems to want her own private blood-sucker. Or…if not a vampire, at least someone who’s a little untamed. And it’s been that way for a long time. Edgar Burrough’s "Tarzan" has been around since 1912--half man half ape--kind of.

Wolverine made a splash with Marvel long before Hugh Jackman picked up the role. Think about him with knuckle blades and black leather. Of course, he was droolable in a towel hitting golf balls off a roof in "Swordfish" too, so maybe that doesn’t prove my point.

But what about Rutger Hauer in "LadyHawke?" Off the charts sexy. And not just because he’s Rutger Hauer and has the horse. (I admit I’ve had as many fantasies about his destrier as I have about him.)

But you have to admit, dangerous is sexy. So what’s that all about? I mean, in real life most women I know are looking for nice guys, simple guys, guys who sleep in something more conventional than a coffin and can pay their share of the mortgage.

Everything changes in literature, though. In fact, I readily admit I like a fictional guy who shows his fangs sometimes too.

Which is why I wrote "Tempting the Wolf." It’s about Nairn O’Banyon, a knight who was cursed in a past century. A knight who umm…tends to morph into something furry and not so cuddly in high-tension situations.

Okay, it’s about a werewolf. But he’s a sexy werewolf. A werewolf who fears nothing, except maybe witchcraft. Which, of course, made it necessary for the heroine to be…well, I don’t want to give too much away here. But as a writer I feel it’s my duty to give dangerous men their share of challenges.

Why, oh, why does it feel so good to love those boys who are so bad?

Encore! See what I mean? Even her horse is pretty.

Encore due! Visit Lois at LoisGrieman.com and at her group blog, RidingWithTheTopDown.blogspot.com

Encore tre! Sylvia Day GuestBlogs tomorrow, Aug 24! Read a review of her erotic "Bad Boys Ahoy" (Brava) at Romance: B(u)y the Book!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Canna, Canna, Canna: The Same Old Story


Yay!
I'm guest blogging at www.PlotMonkeys.com today,
and I hope you'll pop in over there to say hi. Then come back here to answer the Bella question of the day, brought to you by Dolce & Gabbana! Please.

I confess, it's a bit of a recycled blog, but I like the subject so much, I decided to talk about it with Carly Phillips and the Monkeys just like we discuss it over here.

So, once you've kindly been there and back, answer me this:

Do you tell the same stories over and over?
What are the famous stories you and your family love to repeat?
***
Encore! Mille grazie, Dolce & Gabbana for answering the question: what do Italian footballers wear while lounging in the shower? Si, Amyskf, they are very happy to see us.
Encore due! Canna's second from left, the one with the sexy hip thing goin on.

Thank you, Lori Foster, for visiting yesterday! We loved talking what makes romance sexy. You're welcome back any time.

And thank you, Bellas of www.RunningWithQuills.com! We are honored you joined us. Just give us lead time when you visit again so we can clean up the joint.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Lori Foster GuestBlog: About Those Sexy Books

She is one of the kindest women I've met, in or out of romance, and has been super-suportive of what I try to do. Her reader/fans love her, and I know you will, too (if you don't already).

In our final installment of "RunningWithQuills Week (and Two Days)!" Lori Foster is here to talk about my ab fave subject, and one we like to dish about often. W/o further ado, Bellas, please welcome Lori Foster...


Wow, there are a lot of super-sexy lines out there now, huh? Every publisher has at least one, or so it seems. Some of us enjoy the explicit sensuality, some of us don’t. But one thing is certain – it’s selling. What always strikes me is how many varying opinions there are on what makes a sexy book sexy.

So I ask you, what puts a book into the “super sexy” category?

Is it the number of love scenes? The risqué language used? Toys? Innovative positions or locations? Ha, I say!


Unless I know those
The single most important element that makes a book sexier is the characters. The author has to show the characters' sexual tension and maintain that tension by keeping readers clued in to the characters' thoughts and attuned to their feelings. Readers have to see and feel exactly how badly these two people want and need each other so that when they come together, it’s explosive.

Dialogue, risqué or otherwise, only adds to the sexiness if it’s part of a well-drawn characterization that gives insight into feelings and insecurities and even background. It’s who is using the language and in what situation that turns up the steam.

It doesn’t matter if there’s one love scene or twenty if we don’t care about the people who are having sex. Whether the characters realize it or not, as a reader, I need to see a growing emotional commitment between them, a building of sexual tension, and I have to know there’s something at stake.

Will throwing a whip into the mix make the story sexier? What if the characters “do it” in a place where they might get caught? What if one or the other is tied up?

Unless I know those characters and know how or why the extra factors matter, it won’t add to the sensuality. BUT... it could detract. When I read about two people getting intimate the first few times (or even for a lifetime) I want to know that they’re so in awe of each other that they need nothing else. Just being together should be turn-on enough.

That’s my opinion on sexiness in a book is that all you need are sexy characters who stay in character throughout the story. Your opinion might differ, and I’d love for you to share it!


So tell me, what do YOU think
makes a sexy book super sexy?

Visit Lori at LoriFoster.com to read excerpts from upcoming novels, and to make friends with her readers!

***

Encore! Thank you, Elizabeth Lowell, for Friday's GuestBlog, and for taking time on your day off to come in to our Home Office! We loved having you and hope you'll visit again.

Encore! Tomorrow, Aug 22, I guest blog with Carly Phillips and the girls of PlotMonkeys.com! Hope you'll join us...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Just Like A Big Girl


Last night I put on real clothes and stayed out til one in the morning! Dave and I had dinner with friends at a hip place in the city, then on to see Dixie Chicks.

Years ago, back when I was traveling every back road in PA to get to gigs as Miss PA, I fell in love with country music, then dug it for ten years or so. It was at the neo-classic time, when thwanging 70s Las Vegas sound was kicked to the curb, and simpler music and songs were being written by Garth Brooks, Shelby Lynn, the Judds, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Randy Travis, et al.

I'd forgotten how much I'd loved Country, and last night, the Chicks played a song I'd forgotten I'd loved called, "Cowboy, Take Me Away."

Gorgeous, sweet, romantic.
What kinds of music have you loved throughout your life?
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Elizabeth Lowell stops by tomorrow, Sunday, Aug 20, to chat a bit about your comments from her Friday, Aug 18 GuestBlog!
Stop by and say Hi!
***
My girl, Lori Foster, is here Monday. Do. Not. Miss. Her. GuestBlog, the final in "RunningWithQuills.com Week (and Two Days)!"

Friday, August 18, 2006

Elizabeth Lowell GuestBlog: Love's Philosophy


TGIF, and welcome to the fifth installment of "RunningWithQuills.com Week (and two days)" of GuestBlogs with this group of girlfriends, who also happen to be a collective of six of the most successful chicks in the Romance Biz!

With yet another erudite dish on a fave Bella topic, I am honored to give you, Miss Elizabeth...

If the people around you love to hate romance…

Ask why they’re cracking nasties about a book that involves a man, a woman, and love. Would they rather read about murder, mayhem, and revenge? Disappointment, dismay, and depression?

If so, hey, go for it! Every shade of gray awaits them. But their choice of reading material isn't somehow superior to yours. It’s just different.When the word "formula" comes up, as in “Romances are all written to the same formula.”

Do point out that mysteries/thrillers are formulas—the mystery is always solved and the good guys win. Same for science fiction. Almost all popular fiction is descended from the heroic tradition of good vs. evil, of larger than life actions. In heroic fiction, people rise above their limitations and win against the odds.

Then there is literary fiction. By definition (formula?), literary fiction can’t have heroic characters or a tidy, upbeat resolution. The characters pretty much are required sink beneath their own limitations. Does that make literary fiction more “realistic” and therefore better than romance?

No.

It just makes literary fiction part of modernism rather than the older heroic tradition. Since modernist philosophy has only been around for a century or so, and the heroic tradition has been around for thousands of years...well, you do the math on which one is a flash in the cultural pan.



What are some of your favorite comebacks for people who sneer at your taste in reading?

Visit Elizabeth at ElizabethLowell.com!
*Elizabeth was called away today on urgent business, but will be happy to answer any and all queries Sunday, Aug 20. When I say any, Bellas, I think we know our limits. Unless she wants to offer TMI, in which case...
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Encore! Thank you, Jayne Ann Krentz, for honoring us with your presence yesterday! Please come back again so we might slaver some more...
Encore due! Lori Foster joins us Monday, Aug 21!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Jayne Ann Krentz GuestBlog: Like Ships Passing In The Night

So, my girlfriend turns me on to her fave romance of all time, "Rendezvous," and I'm, like, I have to get this Amanda Quick woman to GuestBlog.

But she's elusive. So, lo and behold, "RunningWithQuills.com Week (and Two Days)!" rolls around. Who should I find is a particular friend of Miss Quick? None other than the exquisite Jayne Ann Krentz, who's here today!

Okay, I don't know much about ships but I do know a little something about careers in the field of romantic-suspense because I've got three of them: Jayne Ann Krentz, Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle. I didn't set out to have three careers, honest. What's more, my three pen names are the worst kept secret in the publishing industry. There's a note in every single one of my Amanda Quick books that clearly states that I write as Jayne Ann Krentz and Jayne Castle. Ditto for my Krentz and Quick books.

But in spite of all that information I've somehow managed to develop three distinctive groups of readers and what's more, a whole bunch of them will read me under only one of my names. Very few will cross over and read me under all of my names.

I'm not entirely sure why this is. As far as I'm concerned I do the same kinds of characters and the same core story under each of my three names. My heroes and heroines hold the same values and the same world views in all of my books. Heck, I couldn't write any other kind! If you like the kind of people I do as Quick, theoretically you should like them when I write as Krentz or Castle. I do the same mix of passion and suspense under each name, too.

In fact, as far as I'm concerned the only thing that changes in the books when I switch names is the time period/settin
g. True, the three different worlds I create allow me to do different types of plots. But so what? Plots aren't that important. Nobody reads for the plot. What's important are the characters. Yet every time I do a signing it's a sure bet that some people will only buy my Krentz books; some will buy only the Quick titles and a small (but enthusiastic bunch) will want just the Castle books. (Believe me, I really cherish those readers who read me under all three names!)

So, in an effort to see if I can encourage a little more cross-over reading, I have come up with a special cross-over series: The Arcane Society novels. The first title in the series is my recent Amanda Quick hardcover, SECOND SIGHT. It introduces the mysterious Arcane Society, a Victorian-era group devoted to psychic/paranormal research. The heroine is a Victorian photographer who sees auras.

The next title in the series will be my January hardcover, WHITE LIES, under my Jayne Ann Krentz name. In it we'll meet some of the descendents of the Arcane Society, modern-day psychics who face modern-day problems. The heroine is a human lie-detector and if you think you can't get a decent date, just imagine how ba
d your social life would be if you knew for sure the guy was lying when he said he'd call you in the morning!


I'm not sure this project is going to work. It could be that time periods and settings are simply too important to most readers. But I'm hoping there will be some adventurous souls out there who will find the heroes and heroines of the Arcane Society interesting enough to risk some cross-over reading experiments.

How important are backgrounds and settings to you? Are you willing to cross-over between historical, contemporary and futuristic worlds? Or do you prefer to stick with one of the three?


Thanks!

Jayne Ann Krentz


Please visit the Jaynes and Amanda at JayneAnnKrentz.com


***
Encore! Thank you, Stella Cameron, for leading us down the garden path yesterday with your IT guy poll. You sure know how to get the Bellas on a roll. Please come back when "Target" hits the shelves.
Encore due! All Hail, Val, winner of the IT Guy poll. Honorable mentions: Brad and Joaquin and George and Peirce and...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Stella Cameron GuestBlog: IT Men From Madville


Ever since my husband gave me one of her novels for Christmas a few years back, I've loved Stella Cameron's voice, and her way with a sexy mystery.

I know you'll enjoy the treat she's got in store, Bellas, for this, Day 4 of "RunningWithQuills.com Week (and Two Days)!" Without further, well, you know -- please welcome, Miss Stella...


Stella Cameron here:)

Here where? Madville, of course, otherwise known as my office, the room where I can usually be found on all seven days of the week. The Deadline has me in it's claws. I'm finishing TARGET a Pointe Judah book for next year and since I can't get my mind off the story anyway, I've simply moved into the office for a few days. I do this every time I'm at the end of a book.

My current release is BODY OF EVIDENCE.

And here are sneak peeks at October and November covers for A GRAVE MISTAKE and A MARKED MAN.

I'm delighted to visit with you this week and to be with my good friends from
www.runningwithquills.com and I look forward to chatting with you about my little poll. I do love a poll, especially if the topic is irresistible!


IT MEN--A POLL

What is "It?"

People, in particular men in this case, have some mysterious "its" that have power over others (women in this case:). There are sensations, emotional and physical, that are evoked in us and not simply because someone is gorgeous. Often the person who demands our attention is physically plain, but there is something, there is "it."

I picked out a few men who are frequently mentioned as being in the "it" category. Your special McDreamy may not be here, but you should be able to find someone to interest you...

Can you can pick one of the gentlemen as your standout? Or do you have another entry?

Please let us know at RunningWithQuills.com -- preferably with an attempt to explain what reaction you have to him, and what his special qualities are -- as far as you are concerned.

The votes will be counted!

May the sun shine softly on you,

Stella


Choices from top to bottom, L to R:

Denzel; Johnny; Antonio; Christian; Russell; Val; Pierce; Brad; Tom; Isaiah. Oh, yeah. And Hugh.