Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Mr. Romance

Meet Travis Greiman, young, strapping Midwestern pre-med student. Son of popular romance author Lois Greiman. And with a little luck and the kind of hard work he's used to, the next Mr. Romance.

OK. Cheesy title, but a great opportunity offered to one guy each year by Romantic Times Book Club mag. The guy chosen as Mr. Romance at the RT Readers Convention coming up in May in Daytona, FL, will be featured on the cover of a Harlequin novel and from there, who knows?

We'll check in with Travis in the coming weeks to see how his prep is going, how he feels about competing, and what's involved on this road to success. We'll also talk with a past winner or two and see where the M.R. title's taken them.

So, you're our man, Travis. But not just because you're willing to strip down and grease up for our future romance novel enjoyment. We respect your mind, too.

J.R. Ward Watch: 5 days to J.R.'s guest blog and live blogchat, Tuesday March 7, 4.00 pm

Encore! For some very hot historical romance, check out the darker, edgier erotic novels of Monica Burns. And, she's got great recipes on her site, too, that correspond with naughty food references in her books.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Romance for Nerds

When I was a kid, I spent hours upon hours in the library reading about history. Fiction, non-, didn't care. I used to daydream that if I lived in the past I might have been popular. Go figure.

Today, I can't get enough historical romance, especially Romance for Nerds. Romances for Nerds are big, beefy historicals that are filled with accurate, impeccably-researched detail. Novels with content that reflects period mores, rather than contemporary ones superimposed on other time periods. I love em.

Or, it could be I just dig a guy who knows how to wield his broadsword.

Why do you like Historical Romance? Or why don't you?
J.R. Ward Watch: 6 days and counting...
Encore! Lois Greiman's "Unplugged" is out TODAY! I think you'll really like this intriguing, funny UN-series which began with "Unzipped."

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Big, Bad Band of Brothahs

I love J.R. Ward's incredibly intelligent writing and her awesome band of brothahs, the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

In honor of the release of "Lover Eternal," Ward's newest novel in the series, J.R. herself will guest blog right here at Romance: By the Blog.

How wicked cool is that?

So, tune in, and turn on, Tuesday, March 7th at 4.00 pm EST (on-your-watch time, not on-this-blog time). Rap with J.R. about her blog, her books, the Brotherhood, why Z is the sexiest bad-ass masochist bad boy in the history of romance (maybe the only one, but I'm not certain), or whatever.

J.R.'ll be here, so you be here, too. Please.

Encore! Have you checked out My Irrationalities? Do so, then come back and tell me what you think?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Olympic Gods and Erotic Divas

Team Fenson, led by my boy, Pete, spanked Great Britain 8-6 today in Torino, winning the USA's first medal for Curling in Olympic history. The boys of Team Fenson (cuties all, BTW) earned the Bronze and I for one am proud of them.

I thought the effort deserved a cool pic of Pete:

Huzzah for all the Olympians and, especially, the men and women of Team USA! More news from Torino at www.NBColympics.com

Encore! There is an especially intelligent and engaging convo about Erotic Romance and Erotica going on at Fog City Divas. Go. Read. Discuss. Return.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Going for the Bronze Gods

My boys on the US Curling Team are playing for Olympic Bronze this week in Torino, and I'm looking forward to their doing us proud. Let's revisit our query:

Who is the sexiest "skip," which is like, the guy who slides the stone first, I think:

USA's Pete Fenson of Bemidji, MN, L'etoil du Nord

Or Canada's Brad Gushue, our neighbor from the North, L'etoil du Nord du Nord

Encore! Thank You to the chicks at Squawk Radio for letting me share some time with their friends in the hen house. What an honor, and such a good time.

How to Give Good Heartache

Do you know this feeling? You're reading a romance, hot or sweet, and the hero or heroine makes a choice that absolutely crushes the other's feelings. And your breath catches while you get this good version of agita going. And tears start to prick your eyes, but then you remember: hey, I don't have to cry because Author Girlfriend's gonna make it all work out in the end.

Could anything be more delicious?

Ah, the question that fairly begs a Clive photo.

I'm Squawkin' Baby! Head on over to Squawk Radio and say hi (please).

Encore! Romance novelists love to hear from their readers and usually write back, too! Find web sites for many of your faves at Romance Writers of America.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Romance Illustrated?

What do I have in common with one of my writing heroes, Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly? Join me tomorrow on Squawk Radio to find out!

Squawk-o-Meter: -24 hours and counting...

Encore! I once wrote Rick Reilly a fawning fan email. Shocking that I never heard back.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Toe-Curling Hotties

When did I realize my avoidance of writing had possibly turned to writer's block?

When I found myself glued to the Torino Games, breathlessly watching the Men's Curling competition and wondering two things:

1. Would a romance novel set within the fast-paced and intriguing world of Curling be as sexy as I think?

2. Who is hotter?

USA's Pete Fenson:

or Canada's Brad Gushue?

Squawk-o-Meter: 2 Days and Counting...

Encore! Curling originated in Scotland in the 16th century. Gotta love those Highlanders, and some of my faves are Karen Marie Moning's.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Squawk-o-Meter : 3 Days and Counting

The UpSide: It's just three days 'til I get to guest blog with the chicks at Squawk Radio. I sure hope you'll stop by and chime in. I'm gonna talk a little bit about how cool it is to do what I do.

The DownSide: I'm in sunny Florida for the long weekend, soaking up glorious sun and hanging out at biker bars along the scenic St. John river. OK. They weren't really biker bars, but there were these really nice bikers there with cool tats and everyone was eating fried gator tail and drinking cold beer. I kept looking around to see whether Asheron and some Dark Hunters were gonna walk in, but I guess that was stupid, cause they'd never be out in the light of day

The fun's keeping me from being at my most creative and coming up with wonderfully erudite and oh-so-humorous things to write about when I guest blog on Squawk Radio on Wednesday, February 22.

Encore! My fave of all Sherrilyn Kenyon's Were Hunter novels so far is her newest, "Unleash the Night."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Connie Brockway Said What?

So, I'm at this meeting of my chapter of Romance Writers of America. And Connie Brockway says she's decided to stop writing traditional romance cause she's sick of writing sex.

Uh, Connie? Some of us aren't sick of reading the sex you write, OK?

Some of us, in fact, reflect fondly upon a scene from "My Seduction," one of our favorite romances of all flippin time, in which rough, strapping, earnest-as-a-Boy Scout Kit MacNeill woos the heroine thusly:

"I will have you on your back and I will have you against the wall and I will take you on your knees. I will hear you sob and plead for my touch, and then you will plead again, and I will have you again."

Go ahead, Connie. Spread your little creative wings; I know the new book'll be wonderful. And when I'm no longer bitter, I shall buy you a cocktail at the RWA conference and toast Kit MacNeill, one of the most noble BiMBiAWs of all romance.

Ciao for Now,


Encore! When Scott Pomfret and Scott Whittier realized the story of their romance wasn't the only one out there (!), they created Romentics for all gay men who believe in happily ever after.


I've noticed lots of romance blogs pay homage (pronounce it sans 'h' if you want to sound totally affected) to a particular hottie. Matthew Mac seems to be top draw. Tom "I-don't-know-why-Scientology-never-taught-me-the-value-of-staying-married-to-the-mother-of-my-children-but-I'm-happy-to-disparage-women-suffering-post-partem" Cruise is oft seen.

Yet I never knew so many women feel as I, that Clive Owen is a magnificent demi-god. So, I'll do my best to find great pix of him and post them early and often. Turn me on to some if you've got em. romance@ibsys.com

Squawk-o-Meter: 6 days and counting...

Encore! Eve Silver ("Dark Desires," Zebra ) has contracted with Warner for a series of Dark Paranomals. Eve's a sweet woman who has a a freaky, creepy dark side which works out pretty well for Gothic romance fans. Don't know how her husband feels about it, but they're a really cute couple.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's "To Do" List

1. Read a book by Ian Kerner, Ph.D (See "Valentine's PSA" blog)
2. Treat yourself to Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Novels, some of the best romance ranting, reviewing, and writing on the web.
3. Read your favorite erotic passage aloud to someone you love -- preferably someone who loves you, too -- and watch what happens. Probably a good idea to do it in private, or at least in only a semi-public place, which can be, actually, quite exciting.
4. Read "Almost a Gentleman," by Pam Rosenthal, or anything by Robin Schone.
5. Enjoy photo of Clive Owen as King Arthur.

Encore! It's good to be me. Just got a delicious little giftie from Avon/HarperCollins announcing their new "Red" line of erotic fiction. I'm a big fan of erotic romance and wonder: how will Avon stack up against my girls Brava and Ellora? I'll just nibble on the chocolate bar that came with "If This Bed Could Talk," and see...

Monday, February 13, 2006

I'm Looking for A Few Good Men

I love a romance hero who is or was a mercenary.

Or a Spec-Ops guy. Or a green beret, knight errant, Navy Seal, Marine, Knight Templar, or -- you get the picture. He has to have been to Hell -- or the Peninsula -- and back, and seen and done too much horrid stuff to have a heart left. He's got to be wicked intelligent, not the most polite guy, and a BiMBiAW (Big man, big in all ways). A couple scars are a plus.

Then, and only then, is he worthy of meeting the woman who needs his protection more than anyone else's. And who can bring him to his knees when he realizes she's the only chick strong enough, smart enough, and, yes, stacked enough, to teach him to love again.

Ciao for Now,


Encore! Lucy Monroe's "Ready," "Willing," and "and Able," are three awesome, super-erotic mercenary tales. "Tell it to the Marines," by Amy J. Fetzer, is cool, too.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Be My Valenti(m)e?

Yeah. It drives me nuts to hear Valentine pronounced with an "m" instead of an "n." Unless it's a little kid saying it. Yet, if I'm not very careful, there are a couple words I say with a beautifully-modulated, blue-collar Pennsylvania accent:

I'm going acrost the street to measure the heighth of the wall. You cn go with me.

Ciao for Now,


Encore! Gennita Low, "Sleeping with the Agent." Very sharp. Out now.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Importance of Thorough Research

In the spirit of supporting the authors who write the novels we love, I've agreed to accompany romance author Lois Greiman to a male strip joint. Research is such a vital part of both of our jobs, and clearly Lois and I are both slaves to the craft.

Ciao for Now,


Encore! Learn about Lois' historicals and new blockbusters, "Unzipped" and "Unplugged" at http://www.loisgreiman.com/

Nathan Kamp ExtraView: Real Life Romance Hero Pt. II

Nathan Kamp is the hottest romance novel cover model around. How does a faithful, married guy keep it real in the fast world of the New York City fashion industry? Part II of this exclusive ExtraView series.

What don’t people understand about the work that you do for romance novel covers?

There are a handful of studios here in New York, that do primarily all of the [romance cover work]. So we’re all – models, photographers, illustrators – we’re all good friends, because we work together so much. And it’s just hilarious, ironic, because we’ll be shooting some intense, passionate, love-type deal -- most of the women who do the covers are married, too -- and it’s just a whole different world from what you’d think.

MB: How so?

Because it’s just not quite as steamy and hot as it seems. The poses are uncomfortable, unnatural. Then, we’re all sitting around laughing as we watch the images come up on the [video] screen – usually the illustrators are there, and the screen does a good job of creating the cover image [they’re going for].

MB: And the images are --

Well, they’re hot, and definitely driven around sex. But at the same time, we know it’s not like that when we’re actually shooting it.

MB: I always think about you guys having to stay frozen in those “clinch cover” poses, taking shot after shot after shot.

I think when you look at the cover images they look great. But, the overall vibe from the public is, ‘wow man, how could they do that,’ and, especially as a married guy, ‘how could he be doing that with all these different women?’

MB: How do you deal with it?

I mean, of course, we as sexual beings are put in sexualized situations and what are you gonna do? If there is a physical attraction and you’re in this kind of position you’re setting yourself up for some really difficult moments. My knowing the photographers and models I work with as I do, their knowing my wife to some level, and my communicating professionally keep things from going overboard. But it’s just not [very sexy] when you’re [shooting] these things.

An interesting point, especially since you’re a married guy around lots of beautiful women. Yet it’s clear you love your wife, Elizabeth. I’ve read that you and she are involved in a ministry called Models for Christ.

NK: Yes.

From the outside looking in, it sounds almost like a “Saturday Night Live” skit –

That’s funny; I guess it does.

But I can see how young, pretty kids coming to New York could get their heads turned around by negative, unhealthy stuff, and could use some direction…

NK: Absolutely.

MB: I work with authors of inspirational, or Christian, romance, and have readers whose faith is very important to them.

Wow. There’s Christian romance?

Yes, although some joke that the term’s an oxymoron. The books very good and very popular. So, I was wondering if you might want to talk a little about your faith and Models for Christ?

I’ve been involved with Models for Christ since before I was married, actually, since I first came to New York in 1999. I connected with them through a friend at church, and tried to volunteer as I could using what I felt were my gifts to help them out. For about 4 years now, I’ve been cooking a once-a-month outreach dinner. I help with some small group things and other things over the years when I’m in New York.

Did you grow up going to church?

I was raised in a Christian home and went to church my whole life. I wouldn’t say that I really bought into it too much as a teenager, you know, through those rebellious teenage years. I did my thing, but as I got older, the core beliefs that I was raised with -- or the things I always believed but never followed through on -- were still there.

And once you started modeling?

When I got more involved in the modeling business it was kind of evident to me that if I didn’t really try to make a stand for the stuff that I believed in I was going to be trampled. Basically because the opportunities for all sorts of [negative] things were everywhere. And so I tried to really stand strong in my beliefs. And my wife, Elizabeth, shares the same beliefs.

How does that shared faith work for you?

It makes it a little easier for us to bounce things off each other as far as what kind of impact we can make as a married couple in a business that is very difficult for marriages. And [a business that’s hard on] people just struggling to find themselves.

That affects you --

: It’s really odd to me to think that the modeling/fashion world in general is so full of insecure people. And that they’re really beautiful insecure people is the sad thing, Elizabeth and I have tried over the years to really do our best to build relationships with people -- really encourage them through their strengths their weaknesses, as well as our own.

MB: In romance, we talk a lot about strength and heroics. Who’s the most heroic person you know?

NK: Most heroic is a hard one. I admire a lot of people, but I probably would say my parents. They’ve had a rollercoaster life and relationship, and they’ve worked hard to press through. They’ve taught me what it means to be a man, and about the most important things in life: Faith, relationships, and always being real, no matter who I’m around or what I’m doing.

I appreciate your being so open in talking with me about those things. But let me ask to answer one final question, the ‘question you wish an interviewer would ask.’

Most of the time the essence of a person -- faith issues and those core moral issues -- is just brushed through. No one really cares, they just want to know, ‘so how was it touching that person in that pose’ –

‘How many sit-ups do you do every day’ kinds of questions.

Yes. That’s why when you see interviews with celebrities or models -- you [come away with] no idea of who they are as people. The interviewers aren’t talking about the person, the core, the depth. They’re talking about, ‘is he wearing a Dolce or Prada shirt?’ It’s not like I’m looking to cure cancer or anything like that. My whole attitude on life anyway is really personal -- especially where the relationships that I invest my life into are concerned.

I give it everything that I have and I really take it seriously -- not to the point of not enjoying life -- but seriously to the point of ‘this is what my legacy as a person should be: that I was a friend.’ I’m a friend unconditionally. I’m always going to try to be there for the people that I love and care for. That’s kind of the attitude I try to take in life.

Check out Part I of Nathan Kamp: Real Life Romance Hero here.

Nathan Kamp ExtraView: Real Life Romance Hero Pt. I

Nathan Kamp is the hottest romance novel cover model around. More than a perfect set of abs, he’s a regular guy who loves life and digs the girl next door. Part I of a 2-part ExtraView series.

MB: You’re very popular with romance readers, Nathan, I think because your presence is different from what we’re used to seeing on the novel covers. And, of course, you have a lovely body.

NK: Thank you.

MB: Well you’re very welcome. Thanks for making the covers – and I know I speak for many, many romance readers.

Do you know how many covers you’ve done so far?

NK: I’m guessing around 400.

MB: Have you ever read any of those novels?

NK: I’m friends with a lot of the illustrators who do the covers, and every now and again they’ll give me one of the books that they obviously got from a friend at the publisher. There was a book called “Gypsy Lover—“

MB: That was you? That’s a wonderful book by Edith Layton.

NK: It was really a trip. I read a part of it with my wife, Elizabeth, and you know what? Honestly I had no idea that they were as steamy as they are.

When I was reading it I was like -- I was really kind of shocked. This stuff is intense, these people are really going for it. I never read the entire book; I just flipped through it and picked-up little random parts.

MB: Just looking for the good parts.

NK: Yeah, just looking for the juicy parts. And that was the only one that I ever really read. I’ve seen, obviously, a lot of the covers.

MB: Do your friends give you the artwork?

NK: Yeah, a lot give me the artwork and I just kind of file it away -- I just think it would be something fun to show the kids when I’m older.

MB: Do any people you know or love read romance novels, like, anyone in your family?

NK: Nobody that I know personally reads them.

MB: Or admits to it?

NK: Good point. A lot of people know I’m on the covers -- my family gets a kick out of them.

MB: How about your buddies?

NK: They don’t see them as much. I have a couple of friends that will definitely give me a hard time about it. They’re from the Milwaukee/Chicago area, so whenever they’re back home they’ll be in a drugstore or whatever and they’ll see one.

In the city, honestly I don’t see that many of them only because I’m not in -- you know, there aren’t supermarkets where they’re sitting there, or places where I would walk in and just see them.

I usually see most of them either through the illustrators or when I’m home. I’m from Seattle, so when I go home for whatever, I usually end up seeing a bunch of them.

MB: Do you have brothers and sisters?

NK: I have a brother who is 1 year younger than I am and a sister who is 4 years younger than I am.

MB: Do you remember when you were a kid what you maybe wanted to be when you grew up?

NK: Oh, yeah. I wanted to be -- well I had two things I wanted to be. I wanted to be a chef. I still, actually love to cook and I entertain all the time -- have dinner parties. It’s one of my big hobbies -- cooking and photography, then a couple other things.

MB: Tell me first, what do you like about cooking?

NK: Growing up, my mom was a stay at home mom, so she was always making breakfast, lunch, dinner -- always in the kitchen. We had the house -- basically all our friends hung out at our house kind of thing -- always full of people, always -- just a good energy.

I fell in love with it. I think not so much just the cooking part, but the whole attitude of -- it sounds hokey, but the attitude of love that’s generated around food and the presence of people, and being able to really kind of foster that.

MB: It doesn’t sound hokey to an Italian, Nathan.

NK: Oh, of course not. Well, it’s one of my passions for sure, really kind of using what I think is a gift of mine and really connecting, and building a lot of my friendships through that. And, I cook a once-a-month outreach dinner as part of a ministry for industry people here, too.

My wife and I build a lot of our friendships through entertaining; sitting and really growing in the knowledge of one another and our friends through that.

MB: That sounds lovely.

NK: Yeah, it works great, especially in New York, which is a tough city to really connect with a lot of people a lot of the time.

MB: Do you enjoy the east coast more than the west coast?

NK: I kind of do. It’s hard for -- it’s hard to think about when we think about the possibility of raising a family or that kind of thing. My brother lives in San Diego and he’s got 2 kids and another one almost ready to be born. My wife’s family are all in the Seattle area and they have some nieces, nephews and that sort of thing. We miss them.

It’s difficult to think in the long term, but right now it’s New York for both of us, and the east coast is great. East coast or west, there’s always going to be something good, whatever decision we make, if we do it right.

MB: You said as a kid you also wanted to be a photographer, and still enjoy it. Why do you like it?

NK: I just enjoy capturing images that are beautiful to me. It’s something that is subjective to me; what I like. In photography, as in all arts, there is no right or wrong, good or bad. Which I love.

MB: Where did you go to school? Out west?

NK: You know, I went to just a small college in Seattle for 2 years, I wrestled in college, I was really involved in sports my whole life. After a couple years my goals and plans were to transfer to Arizona State and finish wrestling there and get my degree in Broadcast Journalism. Because that was my other great love -- besides cooking -- being involved in sports on some level.

And then, almost right after I was getting ready to finish my second year, I got scouted [for modeling] in downtown Seattle and six weeks later I was on a plane to upstate New York. Basically it just started from there. After that came New York for a little while, then Miami and Europe.

Everything just started going and I never went back to school.

MB:Seems like that worked out alright for you.

NK: Actually, now I couldn’t see myself going back. I feel the experience that I’ve had over the years with just business, people, life -- I don’t know -- I won’t to say it’s better than school, but, since the goals I have in mind are very entrepreneurial, it’s perfect for me.

MB: What do you like best about what you do?

NK: I like the freedom of it. It allows me to have a lot of free time to do whatever I want as far as pursuing, you know, photography or pursuing cooking, entertaining and traveling. You know, where I can say to my wife, ‘hey, let’s go to Miami for a month,’ and we can actually do that.

I think that’s definitely the best thing about the job -- just the opportunities you have to not be tied down, not be completely committed to one place to live, or one thing to do every day. I’ve gotten completely used to it. I don’t know how I would live another way.

MB: You were you married in 2000, is that correct?

NK: Yup, we’re coming up on 6 years in October.

MB: Many of my viewers were heartbroken to learn you are married.

They also wonder what it would be like to be married to a romance novel cover guy. How do you think Elizabeth feels about what you do?

NK: She, to be honest with you, most of the time the covers she sees in the drug stores, or if the artist will give me a rendering and I show her, she doesn’t really have any sort of feeling so much about an image.

I’ve done some TV and some small films where I’ve had a scene where I’m seducing someone, or say a scene where the dialogue is kind of, uh --

MB: Racy?

NK: Yeah. She doesn’t like to watch that. She doesn’t tell me not to do it, but she doesn’t like to watch it.

MB: I always ask romance authors what type of hero they like best in real life. What do you think Elizabeth would call you, white knight or a brooding bad boy?

NK: I don’t think she’d say I’m a bad boy -- she’s known me through years where I was, not aggressive in the sense of yelling and screaming – but…

Over the years I’ve had my fair share of, you know, fistfights kind of stuff. Growing up in athletics, and my attitude being really competitive, I’m not a person that usually backs down on things. So I wouldn’t say that she would think I’m really a goody-two-shoes type.

Still, she knows I’m definitely a person that character matters to. So, she might not say I’m, you know, a ‘bad boy,’ or whatever, in the sense that I’d do whatever now without looking at consequences.

I’m not like that. She knows I know there are ways for me to get what I want by staying true to my character.

MB: It sounds like what you’re saying is she knew you when you were doing some growing up.

NK: Oh, yeah, we’ve known each other for a long time. We actually both grew up in the same area; my parents and her parents knew each other before we were even born.

MB: Sort of the girl next door. So when you wrote in your bio at www.nathankamp.com that you married your best friend, you truly did marry your best friend?

NK: Yes, I literally have known her my entire life. But I wouldn’t say, you know, growing up our circle of friends was always the same. We always knew each other socially, but when we got to be a little bit older, like high school, our circle of friends started shrinking and we ended up spending a lot more time together.

MB: Is that when you fell in love?

NK: I actually fell in love with her when we went on a mission trip to Costa Rica to work with an orphanage. Not just the two of us. We went with a big group of people, years ago, obviously before we were married.

Just watching her heart and how she dealt with people; how she was so caring and loving to people in general, not just destitute people but just – people -- was really attractive to me.

And she’s a beautiful woman, I don’t know if you’ve seen her picture?

MB: We have not got any photos of you guys together, but we’ll take your word for it.

NK: Yeah, she’s a very beautiful woman, so that was the easy part, being attracted to her physically.

But just seeing her heart, the way she was with people. She’s a really tender-spirited woman, which is amazing, especially in New York where you have all these kind of harder-edged women.

You know, you don’t want a push-over, but you want a woman who’s comfortable as a woman and is sensitive and is caring.

That’s what I want, at least. I feel pretty happy with what I’ve got.

MB: That’s something romance readers definitely appreciate hearing -- a husband talk about his wife that way.

Which makes me think I know your answer to this: Who would you choose as a romance heroine? Sultry vixen or sweet girl next door.

NK: For a romance heroine? The sultry vixen.

MB: Really?

NK: Well, when you’re reading those books, you don’t want a sweet and tender woman, I don’t think -- that’s just my opinion.

But in real life, for a long lasting thing you don’t want a vixen. You want someone who is sweet, and has a tender heart and spirit.

Click here to read "Real Life Romance Hero Pt. II": Faith and Commitment: Kamp succeeds in a profession that tests character, and even the best marriages.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

That's Miss Romance to You

It's kinda funny, but folks often write me asking for love advice. I guess it's cause I'm listed as a "Romance Columnist" on the local TV news websites that carry "Romance: B(u)y the Book."

I take the questions very seriously, and would never share them with anyone. But, after I explain to the lovelorn that I'm not a romance advice columnist, I state my "I take no responsibility for anything that does or doesn't happen in your relationship" disclaimer, and I give my advice anyway. Hey? Why not? Who doesn't like to give other people advice about their relationships?

But follow it? Here's the worst relationship advice I ever received: Don't marry him, Michelle. He's only a poor reporter and you're Miss Pennsylvania.

Funny, but he's not a poor reporter anymore. And neither would I be mistaken for a Miss America contestant. Our two kids and two cats seem to think it worked out OK. Maybe my mother wasn't always right about everything...

I love "how we met stories." I've just hinted at mine. Wanna share yours?

Ciao for Now,


Encore! Marsha Canham is one of my favorite writers. Ever read her?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Nothing is as good for the soul...

...as a nice, trashy bleach job.

Just got back from the hairdresser. Can't decide what book to bring along to read while my kids are at karate. Lost the nomination for Mom of the Year cause I'm the only one there reading while my kids are karate-ing. The other moms just don't understand I can do lots of things while I read a romance, including give a smile and a thumbs-up.

Ciao for Now from the Depths of Bad Mom Hell,


Encore! Katheryn Jordan, "Hot Water: A Novel" Middle aged MN housewife hies off to hot springs, gets herself a young man, and lives change. Awesome, real.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

For he was a big man...

When I first started reading romance novels, I noticed these words/phrases so often I wondered whether romance authors used them intentionally as "inside" jokes:

1. Her mouth opened in an O of arousal (many variations)
2. Clever fingers (hands)
3. Planes of: chest, forehead, cheekbones
4. She'd never felt anything like it before (could we at least drop the before?)
5. Laved
7. She sunk her teeth into her lower lip (variations)
8. For he was a big man, big in all ways (and all its glorious variations)

What are the words/phrases you tire/never tire of reading in romance novels?

Ciao for Now!


Encore! Just finished "Beauty and the Spy." Wowza! www.julieannelong.com

Too sick today...

...to write my column, but not so sick that I couldn't start the ARC (advance reading copy) of Julie Anne Long's BEAUTY AND THE SPY. Just terrific. Loved her last two, too. She writes great historical and I think she's one of the best in that sub-genre.

Encore! Visit Julie at julieannelong.com , and check out her "To Love a Thief," and "The Runaway Duke."

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Lexicon of Love (N - Z)

New to romance fiction? Learn the language of love used at "Romance: B(u)y the Book!"

Point of view (POV): The viewpoint from which a story is told or narrated. These are the three different types: • First person: Narrating character uses words "I," "me" or "my." • Second person: Not commonly used in romance fiction; this voice denotes a main character describing what's happening to her by substituting the word "you" for "I." • Third person: The "all-knowing" narrator denotes a novel told in third person, as if an unseen third person is in a scene and is aware of what everyone is thinking and doing.

Acronym for Romance: B(u)y the Book.

Randomly Chosen Bella. Individual/s chosen to receive a prize from all commenters during a specific contest.

Regency romance:
Novel set in England between 1811 and 1820, when Britain was ruled by a prince regent, the son of King George III. In many "Regencies," George III's son is referred to as Prinny.

Romance fiction:
A genre - or specific type of novel - in which the love story between a hero and heroine always is the most important element of the plot. A happily-ever-after, or uplifting, satisfying conclusion in which the featured couple commits to a future together, is guaranteed.

Romance Writers of America (RWA):
National association of romance industry professionals including published and unpublished authors, publishers, agents, editors and publicists.

Delicious fantasy scenario involving one's self and two mouth-watering fantasy partners, i.e., oh, I dunno, Fabio "Canna" Cannavaro/moi/Richard Armitage. . (Attribution: Bella Vivi Anna)

Single-title romance:
Longer romance released individually and not as part of a numbered series.

Sexy, with an edible quality. (Attribution: Bella Rachd)

Photo or graphic on the first page past the inside cover of a novel. Often a clinch scene not depicted on the cover.

Subgenres of romance:
Romance fiction can be broken down into popular subcategories based on characters, settings and themes. Romance subgenres include: • Contemporary: Romances set after World War I. • Paranormal: Plots and characters inspired by science fiction, new and traditional mythologies, mystical beings, time travel and authors' limitless imaginations. • Historical: Set before World War I. Popular settings: Regency England, medieval Europe, the high seas, the American frontier and the Scottish Highlands. • Inspirational: Central love story examines living one's faith.

Too Stupid Too Live. Some readers consider an innocent heroine who seems to walk headlong into danger despite myriad warning signs "too stupid to live." Other readers can't get enough of this type of heroine.

The ton:
The crème de la crème of English society in the Regency period.

To-Be-Read Pile (TBR):
Refers to books one wants to read, or to a list or pile of books one plans on reading and already owns.

Trade romance:
Larger-sized (approximately 8 by 5.25 inches) romance or erotic romance with paperback cover. "Larger" refers to the size of the book, not page count.

The Bellas' fave form of romance novel consummation, Up Against the Wall. See also: UATE/Up Against the Escritoire (Julia Quinn's "When He Was Wicked"); UATSW/Up Against the Ship's Wall, etc.

What are the RBTB-specific terms -- or other romance fiction terms --
you'd add to the Lexicon of Love?

Lexicon of Love (A - M)

New to romance fiction? Learn the language of love used at "Romance: B(u)y the Book!"

Advance reading copy (ARC):
Novels in bound but not final printed form, sent by publishers to reviewers and media for publicity purposes. These may not be sold or copied.

Exclusive written or on-camera interview with authors, industry personnel, pop-culture icons like Fabio and Joan Collins or persons of interest.

Any woman who hangs with us at RBTB, even once. Bellas reap the rewards of our community when they have fun, feel supported about their love of reading romance and generally feel better about themselves at the end of an RBTB visit than when they first land here! (Bello, m.)

BiMBaW: Big Man, Big in All Ways.
A hero who is as described by acronym. A favorite of the Bellas.

Buona sera:
Good afternoon; good evening.

Good morning; good day.

Fabio Cannavaro, Italian footballer, captian of Italy's 2007 Champion World Cup Team and the small, taught, vigorous Italian man of my fantasies.

Category or series romance:
These shorter novels are released monthly, in order, and often as numbered selections of a series of a similarly themed group.

Hip way to say goodbye, but also hello!

Clinch cover:
Novel cover depicting a man and woman clutching each other in a steamy embrace.


English Major's Dream. A hero or male protagonist from a work of literary fiction whom chicks who love literature generally dig. One doesn't have to possess a degree of any sort to crave an EMD.

Literally, again or once more. The 'Encore!' feauture at end of RBTB posts give extra bits of info. Also Encore due!, Encore tre!, Encore quattro!, and so on... (two, three, four, and so on...). Learn to count to ten in Italian!

Erotic romance:
Work of romance fiction in which sensuality intrinsic to the love story is explicit in imagery and content. Sex in erotic romance is driven by powerful, affirmative emotions, and moves forward the hero's and heroine's journey toward love and commitment.

Fox in the Henhouse – Male editor or author in the romance fiction industry. Also can be male author of other genre fiction who hangs at romance fiction conferences for crossover marketing.

Very special event in which author or person Bellas want to meet takes over RBTB for the day. GuestBlogger checks in throughout the day to swap comments with viewers and often holds contests. Wicked fun.

HEA: Happily ever after


Harlequin Presents

I'm OK/You're OK:
The maxim of RBTB. Women often fantasize about things they don't necessarily want to experience. But whatever a woman fantasizes about, ain't nobody's bi'ness but her own. If it works for you, Bella, don't let nobody tell you it ain't natural, or ain't OK. Your sisters here at RBTB got your back on that one.

Lucky Commenting Bella. A randomly chosen commenter who wins a prize at RBTB subject to official rules posted in sidebar.

Male Perspective Guy (MPG):
Michelle's husband, Dave B., who pops in from time to time to give one guy's opinion on whatever the Bellas are dishing.

Mass market fiction:

What are the RBTB-specific terms -- or other romance fiction terms --
you'd add to the Lexicon of Love?

MNBF, Christina Dodd

So, I'm talking to My New Best Friend Christina.

Christina Dodd.

OK, so she's not my new best friend. But we did talk on the phone the other day because she and the chicks at www.SquawkRadio.com have been nice enough to invite me to blog with them on Feb 22nd.

That call was five days ago, and I'm still cataloging every mortifying thing I said.

I actually described to her parts of her books I love, as well as specific parts of her heroes I adore. Could I have been any more pathetic?

Probably. But here's the thing about getting paid to read romance novels, interview the authors, and gab with other romance fans about it: No matter how professional I am, no matter how literary my critique or how well I attempt to write, when it comes down to it --

I'm really just a Fan Girl at heart. I'm crazed for romance novels and am awed by the great writers who cook em up for our pleasure.

I'm still starstruck and plan on staying that way. Cause the day I don't get excited by a message in my inbox from Loretta Chase, or the day I'm not breathless when I open the new Julia Quinn, is the day I go back to reading Oprah's books of the month.

Have you had an embarrassing Fan Girl moment when you met one of your heroes? Canta, Bellas (tell all)!

Ciao for Now,


Encore! Visit MNBF Christina's group blog, www.SquawkRadio.com. I'll be there Feb 22nd, if she's still talking to me.