Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Megan Hart GuestBlog: Get Inside My Mind

Contest!!! One LCB wins an autographed ARC of “Broken,” and assorted goodies courtesy of Megan Hart!

When I read Megan Hart’s new Spice release, “Dirty,” I was stunned. Here was an erotic story of a woman who’d experienced lots of sex with many, many different men, yet Hart made me understand that it didn’t happen in a vacuum. The heroine of the story wasn’t simply a liberated woman, sowing her oats, or gettin’ a little sumthin sumthin just like the boys. You know, the one-handed read erotica rational.

Nope, in "Dirty," Hart creates a love story that's also a life story -- as poignant as it is erotic. Plus, it's got the sammich to end all sammiches. Please, Bellas, a hot n'steamy buongiorno for Megan...

I had a dilemma recently, and sadly it wasn’t whether to accept Keanu’s offer of a weekend away in the Bahamas or stay home and do laundry. No, it was something a little deeper than that. First person point of view, or third?

I’ll be honest. I love writing in first person. I usually like reading in first person, too, if it’s done well. It’s a little hard to suspend my disbelief sometimes in mystery or thrillers written in first person – after all, if something really really bad happens to the point of view character there’d be no more story. But in erotic or deeply emotional fiction? Yeah, get me inside that character’s head.

In first person I don’t just tell you how my character’s feeling. I can make you live it. I can, if I’m good enough, make you do more than believe it. I can make you be it.

There are restrictions to first person pov, and a lot of readers don’t like books written in it for that reason. A limited viewpoint means you don’t get to know what any of the other characters are thinking or feeling other than how they express themselves to the pov character. You don’t get to hear the hero thinking how much he loves the heroine unless he says it aloud. The reader, like the heroine, has to guess how he feels from his words and actions instead of his thoughts.

Hey, what do you know? Just like real life. (Unless you’re a telepath, in which none of this applies to you.)

I know there are reasons why some don’t care for first person pov, and I understand them. I really do. And I don’t disagree with the reasons I just don’t feel the same way.

So, if I love to read and write in first person, what was my dilemma? My first novel for Spice, DIRTY, is in first person. My second, BROKEN (May 2007) is also. I thought the third, PERFECT (2008) would be in third but Anne surprised me by coming to life with her own unique voice, and it came out in first person, too.

When I started my fourth novel for Spice, CATCH AND RELEASE, I had every intention of writing it in third person. I didn’t want to alienate those readers who really hate first. I didn’t want to become “typecast,” if you will, as an author who only writes in first person. (Not true, since I’ve had more than 30 published releases and 28 of them are written in third person.) I didn’t want to miss a group of readers who might pass up my books because they can’t stand first person. I had a whole bunch of reasons for writing that book in third, but halfway through the first love scene, out popped first. Suddenly, writing became like oil, smooth and easy. No more fumbling for the words, the emotions, the triggers of my main character, Grace. True, I wasn’t in Sam’s head, but then, neither was she. As she learned more about him, so did I. So will the reader. Catch and Release came out in first person, except for most of the first chapter.

When I began edits, I needed to decide which was better. I could convert everything I’d written to third. I had a sample of what it would be like. I shared two first chapters, one in first and one in third. I couldn’t decide which was best.

Again, I was back to the dilemma. If I put this book out in first, was I going to get labeled? Would I lose readers because of it? Would the book be better with more distance or other viewpoints? Would I always have to write in first person for THE REST OF MY LIIIIIIIIFE!?!

What I finally decided (after some nice comments from my test readers, who said they liked the version in first better…well, almost of all of them did except for the one who admits she just doesn’t like first) was to edit and finish the book how it worked best for me. First person point of view, baby.

To those who hate first person, I apologize. I tried to please ya. And as for being labeled a first-person author, well, I guess that wouldn’t be so bad.

After all, I really like it.

Readers, why do you like or dislike first person point of view?
Have you ever read a book that changed your mind?
Do you like it better in one genre than another? Or worse?

Thanks for having me here!

Megan

Visit Megan at MeganHart.com !

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I Want A Girl...



...Who Likes The Frosted Inside Part Of The Pop Tarts Better Than The Crust.



Thus begins "
I Want a Girl: Thoughts on the Perfect Companion," by comedian and honorably discharged vet, Tom Irwin (IWantAGirl.net). If he were a SEAL, he could be a Suzanne Brockmann hero, no? Anywayz, I Want a Girl is a sweet, funny, sexy little fit-in-your-pocket piece that gives us a little insight into what guys like Tom might want -- and what guys like him think we want to think he wants. You know what I mean.

The best part? He's a BoSox fan, too!


Well, this is really the best part -- Tom's agreed to GuestBlog with us soon, and I'm jazzed cause it's gonna be fun, and fits right in with new RBtheBook features catering to The SingleLife, including GadgetGrl, who'll visit us to explore the mysteries of technology and dating.

I'll also be giving totally unfounded, probably irresponsible, but always compassionate advice to the lovelorn in "Michelle's Novel Approach to Love." I'll be suggesting romance novels to the heart-broken that deal with the same issues they're going through. I mean, they may still be miserable, but at least they can read something hot and romantic in the midst of their angst, right?

Anyway, Tom's first line got me thinking about an idea Bella MaryKate threw my way, asking me to ask you:
What's your favorite first line from a romance novel?
***
Megan Hart -- author of "Dirty," one of the
best pieces of erotic fiction I've read --

GuestBlogs tomorrow,
Wed, March 28

***
Encore! Grazie Helen Brenna for a very fun Match Game '07 GuestBlog yesterday! Please come back when your next book is out.
Encore due! teresa, you've won the copy of Helen's "Treasure!" Please send me your snail mail addy at mbuonfiglio@RBtheBook.com. Congratulazione.
Encore tre! Here's one of my favorite -- and probably Bella Vivi Anna's -- lines from Tom's book. It's such a guy thing: "I Want a Girl...who returns from the bathroom at a restaurant we are eating at, and tells me that she has since removed any stitch of underwear she had on."
Second favorite? "IWaG...who laughs at me when I forget how."

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Helen Brenna GuestBlog: Matchmaker For A Day

Contest!!! One LCB wins a copy of "Treasure," courtesy of Helen!
Helen Brenna saved me from near ruin (in the form of a mojito) at last year's RWA national conference. I'll always be grateful for that, and for the fact that she sent me an advance of her Feb H'Quin Superromance, "Treasure," this week's Feature at RBtheBook. Please join Helen in a GuestBlog fitting for the morning after -- the Oscars, that is. Buongiorno, Bellas, buongiorno, Helen...

We all know there are many heartfelt and important factors that go into making a relationship work. Common values and interests, sexual spark, the ability to communicate, along with so many other things. Friends, lovers, soulmates, you know the drill. All that aside, have you ever noticed how couples sometimes look alike?

Gee, I’m not shallow at all. LOL!

Honestly, though, when I was a kid I used to believe that not only did fate and destiny play a huge role in getting two people together, but somehow if you looked alike, you belonged with each other. I’m guessing on a subconscious level that’s part of what’s going on with the whole love at first sight blast. We recognize something in that other person that reminds us of ourselves.

If you’re skeptical, think of the opposite then, the biggest mismatches of faces ever made. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, for example. She was way too classy for him. Uma Thurman and Gary Oldman, what’s up with that? Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Any guesses as to whether that one’s gonna last?

So let’s take it one step further.

I know we’d ideally like to keep our favorite eligible bachelors all to ourselves, but, for the heck of it, let’s play matchmaker today and come up with mates for some of these guys. We can’t do much worse than most celebrities manage to do on their own.

What do you think of Orlando Bloom and …

Jessica Biel or

Blake Lively






How ‘bout Matthew McConaughey and …

Scarlet Johansson or …

Heidi Klum





Here’s

an interesting one. Colin Farrell and …

Penelope Cruz or …

Elisha Cuthbert








Who fits with Jake Gyllenhaal …

Rachel

McAdams or …

Anne Hathaway







I’d take George Clooney all for myself, but if I had to sh

are him …

Kate Beckinsale or …

Shakira






Which one of the two ladies offered as options would you pick for each guy?
Or do you have better ideas?
I’d love to hear them!

Visit Helen at www.HelenBrenna.com !

***

Bella MaryKate guest blogs today at Bella Stacy's "Stacy's Place on Earth!"
Check out MK's "Confessions of a Book Pimp."

***

Encore! OK. I know the stars aren't quite matched up with their names, but at least I got them all in the blog.
Encore due! Love on the High Seas Tuesday, as "My Wicked Pirate," by Rona Sharon is new Feature.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Hey. Nice cookies.

Helen Brenna GuestBlogs Monday, Feb 26
with a contest and matchmaking fun! Don't forget to check out her Feature and AuthorView
at Romance: B(u)y the Book!

***
I'm on this total comfort read binge, and gobbling up as much Lisa Kleypas library as possible. But I can't find my copyp of "Devil in Winter." I think I loaned out my ARC, and gave one of you Bellas my only new copy.

So, I'm left here with the Bow Street Runner series, and the 16, yes, 16 boxes of Girl Scout cookies I bought from neighborhood kids. No. I can't imagine what I wuz thinkin. They just looked so good in the pictures, and the little girls reminded me of the goofy Brownie uniform I used to wear. (But then Dave asked me to do the whole French Maid thing instead. Oh, TMI)?

What do you like about Lisa Kleypas novels? Or Lisa Kleypas for that matter. Who's your favorite LK hero?

Me? I'm thinkin Becks would make a great St. Vincent, no? OK. I was just looking for an excuse to post this photo that MaryKate sent, and for some reason it got me thinkin of cookies, and...

***



Encore! Grazie mille Ann Christopher for getting us to talk about sex after our long, dry spell! Please come get us worked up again any time!

Encore due! ev; julieinohio; mona, Ann selected you randomly to each win a copy of her new novel, "Risk." Please email her through her contact page at AnnChristopher.com.
Encore tre! Read my feature of Lisa Kleypas' "Devil in Winter" here. And check out an Old Flame of Lisa's "Lady Sophia's Lover."

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ann Christopher GuestBlog: Sexify Their Love?

Contest!!! Ann’s giving 3 LCBs a copy each of her hot new novel, “Risk!”

I e-met Ann Christopher when she sent me her debut novel, "Trouble," and instantly became a fan of the book, and the woman. She's kind and smart -- and pretty, too -- and a Bella , to boot! Ann's hot new novel, "Risk," is out, and she's here to celebrate it by bringing to light a topic lots of romance fans are afraid to discuss, for fear, I think of the Veddy Serious Litooratour Police taking away our Serious Nerd Girl cards. Please, give Ann a warm Bella buongiorno, and prepare for things to heat up from there...

Good morning, Bellas! I’m so thrilled to be here because I want to talk about a topic that I’ve been thinking about for a looooonnng time.

Sex scenes in love stories are very important, IMHO. I don’t feel like I can truly get to know a couple, and gauge their chances for everlasting happiness, if the bedroom door is slammed in my face and the consummation takes place without my supervision. That just feels … incomplete. Unsatisfying. Lots of readers, I think, feel the same way.

So when it came time to write the first love scene in my current book, Risk, I knew I had to turn up the heat and pull out all the stops. Justus the bad boy and Angela the control freak have been battling for custody of their orphaned niece. They felt a fierce attraction when they first met ten years ago, and that passion has simmered, grown, and has to explode. Knowing these things about these characters, I knew that their first love scene would be quick and hot, that they probably wouldn’t make it to a bedroom, and that they probably wouldn’t get all their clothes off. And guess what? They didn’t. But Justus and Angela, and, by extension, the reader, have the, ah, satisfaction of burning off all that tension together. What could be better?

This brings me to my topic for the day. I’ve read many of the classic love stories—Rebecca, Wuthering Heights, and Sense & Sensibility, for example--and I can’t think of any offhand that contain an explicit love scene. When I reread them now, after many years as a romance reader, I still find them wonderful, of course, but a little … frustrating. Unfinished, even. As though an essential ingredient is missing. So here’s my question: if I could pull out a magic wand and wave it around, should we add sex scenes to the classics? In other words, should we sexify their love?

I can’t be the only one who’s ever wondered what happened in the bedroom that night Rhett carried Scarlett up the stairs. They’d been drinking, they were both angry, he wanted to humiliate her, and Scarlett woke up the next morning all warm and tingly. What the hell happened before the sun came up? Why didn’t Margaret Mitchell tell us?

What about Darcy and Elizabeth? What was their wedding night like? Or Rochester and Jane—you KNOW Rochester had some moves in the bedroom. One of my favorites is Victoria Holt’s The Devil on Horseback, the tale of Minelle the English companion, and the Comte, the arrogant French nobleman, on the eve of the Revolution. Their story is explosive within the G-rated confines of Holt’s book. What would it have been like with a little sex scene (or two) thrown in? What did all these couples say to each other in the bedroom? What did they DO?

So how about it? Are the classics fine without the sex, or should we wave that wand and add it in? Am I talking sacrilege? Would this be a truly bad idea, like colorizing movie classics? If we should wave the wand, which love scenes between which classic lovers would you most like to see? Don’t be shy. I’m giving away 3 copies of Risk to commenters today.

Visit Ann at AnnChristopher.com !

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tagged

***
Ann
Christopher visits tomorrow, Wed. Feb 21 with a totally hot GuestBlog and contest you won't wanna miss!
***
'Treasure' and author Hel
en Brenna are featured this week at Romance: B(u)y the Book. While you're there, learn how you can win fab 14k gold earrings
when you join RBtheBookClub.
***
This is a tough one for a chick who's blog has the theme: No Such Thing As TMI at RBtheBlog. Because you know pretty much all there is to know about me, from my favorite beverage (Coca-Cola) to my favorite fantasy (carriage/Regency gentlemen). But Bella and author Monica Burns tagged me yesterday to do the "Ten Things You Don't Know About Me" thing, so I'll give it a shot, although I'd title it, "Ten Things You Could Have Lived Without Knowing About Me."

10. I love salmon.

9. Luke Skywalker/Mark Hamill once flagged me down at the Intercontinental in FL to tell me he, too, was from Pennsylvania (I was doing a Miss America/Disney promo at the time. It was surreal, being a Star Wars child, but you would have been proud of me for how well I played it off. Now, if it had been Han Solo, my first official childhood crush? I might have gotten arrested for how I'd have reacted).

8. I have a kidney transplant and want you to consider signing an organ donor card.

7. I adore cats and still really miss my kitty who died in August.


6. I could read an historical romance every day for the rest of my life and never get tired of them.

5. I get real crushes on romance novel heroes.

4. I have three older brothers. The oldest gave me his kidney.

3. I love the book "The Snowy Day, " by Ezra Jack Keats.

2. I once stood on the New England homestead of Robert Frost at dusk in after a snowstorm and whispered the lines: The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep. How flippin nerdy is that?

1. Graduating from college at 26 was the most significant event of my life.

What's the coolest thing that ever happened to you?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Mamma Warned Me There'd Be Days Like This


It's the middle of winter here in the Midwest and that can only mean two things: cold, and WCFDS.

Yes, I and many other women who love Italian men pouting in locker room shots are suffering World Cup Soccer Deficiency Syndrome. The signs? Crankiness, the predilection for yelling "Gooooooooal" in the throes of Ian Kerner-esque fantasy-induced passion, and the incessant need to surf the Inet for shots of our favorite Azzuri players when they were much, much younger and naughtier.

So today, while it's -- shawkah -- freezing here in Minnie, and

I'm begging for your help with
a pressing dilemma as

I guest blog today, Mon., Feb 19 at
Romancing the Blog
,

please enjoy two nice Italian boys, the kinds my mother used to warn me about: Alberto Gilardino*, and, my very own -- yes, the flame still burns -- Fabio Cannavaro. Ah, but they warm the cockles of this nice Italian girl's, um, you know, heart.
***
Do you miss those heady days of our crushing on (my forcing you to oogle) WC footballers? Or have you moved on to new athletic hotties? Which athletes are warming your heart this winter?
***
Will you please join me in wishing my Dave buon compleanno?!
***
Encore! Grazie, grazie mille Karen Hawkins for spending the weekend with us! After your GuestBlog, we feel good, we feel focused -- we feel like eating some chocolate and strapping on a gorgeous new pair of shoes and taking on the world (and/or the laundry). Thanks for the motivation, and come back soon, Bella!

Encore due! mona, you've won the copy of Karen's "How to Abduct a Highland Lord!" Send me your snail mail at mbuonfiglio@RBtheBook.com!

Encore tre! Great new contest for RBtheBookClub members! Check out RBtheBook.com for details, and join to win if you're not an RBtheBookClubber already!

Encore quattro! Susan Elizabeth Phillips was on tour when she GuestBlogged here, but she's back and left a message for you at her 02.07.07 post!

*Grazie, Anny, for pointing out my "nice Italian Catholic boy who ain't Canna" is Alberto Gilardino (see July: RWA week).

Friday, February 16, 2007

Karen Hawkins GuestBlog: Just Rewards

Contest!!! One LCB wins a copy of Karen's "How to Abduct a Highland Lord," just out from Pocket Books, part of the MacLean Curse series.
Sometime last year, Karen Hawkins guest blogged with our good pals over at Squawk Radio, and it was there I remembered I'd read her novels before and really liked them. So I jumped at the chance to have Karen GuestBlog with us because I thought she might have fun here, too.


Karen's new novel is terrific, and today she'll tell us a little about the kinds of harrowing sacrifices she makes to create her great romances. Please, a warm, TGIF buongiorno for Karen...

I’m in the process of getting back In Shape. I was In Shape once, then Out Of Shape. Then I got back In Shape again, but then I sliiiiiid down a very slippery slope covered in Caramellos and coffee cake, and my In Shape went away. So now I’m slogging up that same motivational mountain again and trying to get back In Shape once again.

I like to exercise. The problem is, I don’t like to HAVE to exercise. Those of you who are blessed with bountiful, bootilicious figures like myself understand that. The rest of you who don’t understand that, go and get a burger.

I have the same problem with my writing. I start out great, tap tap tap on the keyboard . . . but as the weeks pass, I sort of slip, then sliiiide, until it’s more like tap . . . tap . . . taptap . . . . . . . . . . . tap.

Over the years I’ve found only one thing that actually motivates me -- a reward. Like a donkey after a carrot, if you wave a prize in front me, I’ll keep a-goin’ and a-goin’ and a-goin’. Of course, some rewards worked better than others.

First I tried a margarita every time I wrote a page. That worked for two pages, but after that, though I hit my page count, I couldn’t use a single anything I’d written.

I had to give up the margaritas.

Next, I tried chocolate. Every time I wrote a page, I’d eat a Caramello. Though I made my page count, I also gained twelve pounds . . . for one book.

I had to give up the Caramellos.

Last, I tried shoes. Every time I write a page, I give myself $2 towards a purchase of some new shoes. I am a shoe-a-holic, so this has been working so far, although . . . I have to say, I think I may need a new closet when this book is done. And have I mentioned that it appears that I may be 111 pages OVER my page count?

It’s going to be a looong book ‘cause MOMMA NEEDS SOME NEW SHOES!

What do you do to motivate yourself? Do you buy yourself presents? Spend a day at the spa? Eat chocolate or drink margaritas? What keeps your feet on the path of discipline and success?

Visit KarenHawkins.com!

***

Encore! Don't forget to head over to Romance: B(u)y the Book to read this week's Feature, AuthorView, and exclusive ExtraView with Nora Roberts!
Encore due! I had to include Karen's last novel, "Her Officer and Gentleman." It's got an awesome title, plus, a cover shot of Nathan Kamp on a big stallion. I think it's a stallion. Anyway, it's got NK, it's part of a great duo of novels, and I
thought you should see it.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

La Nora!

***
Karen Hawkins GuestBlogs Tomorrow, Fri, Feb 16!!!
***

Please watch my exclusive satellite interview
with
Nora Roberts at

Romance: B(u)y the Book!

Nora chats about her Lifetime Television for Women movies, her acting debut, and what every woman should know about hiring a handyman...


***

Amazin' Gracie...

Anne Gracie
and her new novel, "The Perfect Kiss," are featured this week at
Romance: B(u)y the Book.
I just got turned on to her, and how I wish someone had done it sooner! Read the Feature review to learn the depth of my regret...
***

Yesterday, lots of us read our most romantic favorites to get us in the spirit of Valentine's Day. What did you read?
***

Bella News: Here's the Cover Debut of Bella Eve Silver's upcoming SHOMI title from Dorchester, "Driven!"
The cover quote from some Italian chick reads:
Secuctive, agressive, and hot as hell.

***

Encore! Grazie, grazie mille Anna DeStefano! Thanks for being our Valentine; you made the day extra special. We know "The Perfect Daughter" will be a great success!
Encore due! thatbrunette, you've won Anna's autographed "Daughter's" series package; sandra08081998, you've won the XOXO bag set from Anna! Congratulazione, Bellas. Send me your snail mail addresses at mbuonfiglio@RBtheBook.com .