Friday, March 31, 2006

Politically (Sorta) Correct

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Kathleen Eagle's writing. One of the things I like best is how she portrays heroes who are American Indian. Her men display strength by vanquishing inner conflict, rather than wielding native machismo as do their Wild West stereotypes.

Who are some of your favorite ethnic heroes in romance novels?

What makes you feel they're portrayed accurately?

BTW, Kathleen gave me the skinny: she refers to her heroes as American Indian. We need to have her ask her husband, Clyde, whether there's a Lakota word for snaxy.

Encore! Our boy Nathan makes for the perfect American Indian cover hero, no? I haven't read "Swift Horse," and don't mean to imply Edwards' heroes are stereotypical.

Encore Due! Nahdala's put together a stunning collection of "Covers Created to Make you Blush at the Check-out Counter." Check em out at . Thanks, Nahdala!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Un Bel Typo (A hot-lookin guy)

Here in the great Midwest, we Eyetalians are seen as kinda exotic. Folks think we're passionate and always exploding with emotion, the opposite of the staid Norwegian stereotype. (I once saw a snack called "Hot Dago on a Stick" at the MN State Fair, but I won't elaborate on my reaction.)

Anyway, I like being Italian, and being married to one. Even though I once swore I'd never marry an Italian. I also swore I'd never read romance novels.

So I ask you:

Which Italian guys are all that and a bag of cannoli?

Fabio? Andrea Boccelli? James Gandolfini? Canta, Bellas!

Encore! The guy in the photo is my husband, Dave, and I'm glad you can finally meet him. We're very happy together. He can't keep his hands off of me and is very demanding sexually.

Encore due! The guy in the photo is actually Italian actor John Battaglia. So sue me.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Grazie, Eloisa!

Thanks, Eloisa, for guestblogging for us! We love talkin' bad boys, and talkin' em with you was a rare treat.

And Thank Youz, Bellas, for dropping by to chat.

Encore! New stuff on RBtheB tomorrow! Thanks Michelle Chillstrom for helping with tech. And special thanks to Amyskf, our guestblog host-ess with the most-ess.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Eloisa on the Mysteries of Taming Men

To me Taming Men is one of life's greatest mysteries. We want our men tame, right? If you're me, you definitely want your husband or partner to be tame enough to put himself in front of the sink, and if he knows how to separate colors, and how to make a, we're getting orgasmic here!

But that really what we want?

Don't we also want the archtypal bad boy, the one who whistled outside your bedroom door when you were fifteen and the world was dewy and new, the kind who leans against the wall in a podunk bar and takes you out to dance with hands that span your waist? The one with a look in his eye that says: "I will never be any good at dishes...but Damn, I'm good at other things..."

Yet we want a husband to hold us when we cry. So we fall in love with an annoying man with bad habits -- he throws his boxers on the bedroom floor, or worse--he drinks too much. Eats too much. Talks too much. In other words...he's a real man.

At the same time, we occasionally still think about the one we can't have, the one we wouldn't even like that much (maybe), the one who would scorch the sheets and the imagination and likely doesn't wear boxers anyway.

TAMING OF THE DUKE, my new novel, is all about that divide. My heroine, Imogen, is torn between two men: one strong, silent, and illegitimate -- a Regency bad boy from the wrong side of the blankets. But then there's her guardian, Rafe. He drinks too much, fights with her, holds her when she's miserable. Who will she choose?

Did this ever happen to you? Did you ever have to choose between the obviously delicious wild one, and your neighbor, your friend, the boy you squabbled with?


"The Taming of the Duke" hits the shelves today and it's simply wonderful! Hop on over to
Romance: B(u)y the Book for an Eloisa feature AuthorView and review.

Monday, March 27, 2006

On the Cusp of the Taming of the Duke

I cannot STAND it! Only one day til Eloisa James guestblogs here on Romance: B(u)y the Blog and "The Taming of the Duke" hits the shelves!

What will she blog about, do you think? Writing romance? Being married to an Italian guy? Her days at HarvardYaleOxford?

We'll find out tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm off to the beach to read some romances just for fun. I remember those days, I think.

What do you think it would be like to do my job?

What kinds of romance would you like to feature and review?

Encore! In honor of our husbands being Italian -- Eloisa's is a real from-the-Old-Country Italian -- a photo of Nathan Kamp looking molto snaxissimo!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

In Praise of Monly Men

As you're reading this, I'm probably flying to Jamaica with two cranky kids and a husband who's sworn under pain of death not to say "mon" when we get there. I got a swimsuit I almost feel comfortable in, and a sunhat that may look silly. I'm not sure.

Check out Encore Presentations of the feature review of "Kiss Me, Annabel," as well as Eloisa's poignant and funny AuthorView on Romance: B(u)y the Book. KMA was the last novel in Eloisa's Essex Sisters series, and leads into "The Taming of the Duke."

Blog Alert: Eloisa James guestblogs Tuesday March 28!

Encore! If I said I wasn't excited at the prospect of scoring an interview with Nathan Kamp, I'd be lying. We spend a lot of time giggling and groaning about cheesy covers; it'd be cool to find out what a romance novel cover guy thinks about his bread-and-butter, his life and goals. Maybe he'll tell us about his wife, whom he's called his best friend. Isn't a committed guy just too snaxy by half?

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Update!!! Our brave woman on the front lines of romance, Brianna Yamashita, manager of PR for Dorchester publishing, reports she's made contact with Nathan Kamp's people. Thanks, Brianna, for giving us a fighting chance at knowing more about a romance novel cover guy than whether he looks good in a kilt.

That sound can only mean one thing: I went swimsuit shopping last night.

What is it about trying on svimvear that turns a normally confident and intelligent woman --uh, that would be me -- into one valiantly trying not to sob in a dressing room in the Mall of America?

You see, Bellas, I'm off to Jamaica Saturday for a week of sun and stress-reduction. But I'll be checking in every day to read what erudite and hilarious stuff you've blogged each day.

What clothes-shopping experiences drive you nutty?


Blog Alert!
Eloisa James guestblogs in 5 days to celebrate the March 28th release of "The Taming of the Duke!" I'll be checking in, and Amyskf will be your hostess for the day. I hope you'll join in the blogchat.

Today is a cheese-free day. More snaxy men to come. You know what I meant.

Reading in Bed

We all know the anecdotal evidence: men whose women read romance report more and hotter, um, romance in their lives. My husband is particularly thankful I've tossed aside the Oprah for the Brava.

Since we're all girlfriends here -- and don't wax all "this is far too personal" on me cause we're on the net, for gosh sake --

How has your reading romance enhanced yours and your guy's, well, romantic life?

There's NST as TMI on RBtheBlog, Bellas!
Yet another reason to always keep one's eye on the ball. I give you Gerard...

Encore! This may change your thoughts about men in Kilts. But Gerard's there, as well as my boy David Duchovny (smarty Princeton hottie), and a shocking, I tell you, shocking photo of Hugh Jackman!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Peer Pressure

Eloisa James guestblogs March 28th to celebrate the release of "The Taming of the Duke." It's the third book in the Essex Sisters series. Romance: B(u)y the Book will also feature an encore review of Eloisa's "Kiss Me, Annabel," the previous book in the series.

Loretta Chase, a great fave of Eloisa's as well as mine -- let's face it, I'm rabid for her -- said in a recent AuthorView that American romance readers are wild about dukes, peerage, etc., simply cause "we don't have them."

Why do you like historicals with aristocratic characters, peers, etc.?
What do you think of this cover?

Encore! PI by day, romance novelist by night, award-winning author Colleen Collins is offering an online course for writers interested in developing characters and plots involving PIs. Looks good!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Real-Life (sorta) Heroes

Yesterday, author Monica Burns suggested performer Gerard Butler (right) of "Phantom of the Opera" fame might be more appealing to her than -- I can barely write this -- Nathan Kamp. Well, I guess if you go for that handsome-with-a-wicked-awesome-pro-trained-voice kinda thing, Monica might be on to something. So, lemmee see if I can ask this right:

Which stage or screen star do you think would make the best romance novel hero?


I'm still in Nathan's corner, btw. In this photo, apart from his looking kinda Euro-trashy in a snaxy way, I like to imagine he's singing a beautiful Mozart aria. Maybe from Don Giovanni.

Eloisa James Blog Alert: 7 days and counting til Eloisa guestblogs in celebration of the release of "The Taming of the Duke," March 28th.

Encore! Oooo. TToftheD is so flippin good!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Jude's Law is Live!

Read this week's feature review of Lori Foster's newest, "Jude's Law," and Lori's exclusive AuthorView on Romance: B(u)y the Book!

What a great title: "Jude's Law." Lori's follow-up will be "Murphy's Law."

What are some of your favorite romance novel titles?

Encore! Don't forget to answer this week's RBtheBook survey question: Do you think erotic romance and erotica are pornographic? Go to Romance: B(u)y the Book!

Part II

...shift her train of thought onto a safer track. Instead, she wondered if he’d fulfill his threat to kiss her clitoris, and whether she’d be too embarrassed to enjoy it. She hoped she wouldn’t. The little organ was pulsing uncomfortably hard, and having his mouth there, suckling it as expertly as he’d sucked her breasts, would probably be a supreme relief.

Then she imagined him kneeling between her legs right in the cinema.

Edmund jolted to his feet like a flaming pitchfork had prodded him, which–truth be told–wasn’t far off the mark.

“So sorry,” he mumbled around his fully erect fangs. “Should have used the facilities before we left.”

Lord, what an idiot he sounded, but, “Me, too,” Estelle said and jumped up with him.

Edmund groaned to himself. His cheeks were hot with what he suspected was a very human blush. More than his family was gawping at them. Too bad he didn’t have the strength of character to fob Estelle off.

“Mummy,” complained the child in back of them, “make them sit down!”

“Stay,” he said to his own children, putting a mental push behind the order. “We’ll be back shortly.”

Despite his embarrassment, he kept Estelle’s hand in his as they squeezed down the row and up the aisle. He could see better in the dark than she.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered as she hurried to keep up with him. “I couldn’t sit there a second longer. Not with you next to me. Not when I’ve been thinking of you all day.”

“It’s all right,” Edmund panted, his various sensual aches now at the stage he could only call unholy. He rolled his lips into a concealing line. He was having difficulty thinking as he scanned the Imperial’s lobby, looking for the smallest scrap of privacy. The W.C.’s would have been an option if they hadn’t been gender specific. Though he could have cloaked them in his glamour, he doubted Estelle would accept that choice without question, and questions were bad right now. Questions meant precious minutes between him and having her.

“Please,” Estelle begged, surprising him. “Find someplace we can be alone.”

He looked into her lust-flushed face, into her bright, trusting eyes. For a second, all he could think was that her creamy cheekbones had been born to be that color. His brain snapped back a moment later, and he had to wonder at what she’d said. Estelle was no wanton. Had the strength of his needs communicated themselves to her, or was their relationship bringing out some latent earthiness? Either option made him want to groan. Her thighs rubbed together beneath her skirt, her weight bouncing impatiently on her toes.

“A cloakroom,” she suggested. “Anywhere. Just hurry.”

He grabbed her hand and tugged her down the nearest corridor, striding faster and faster as the urgency that goaded him intensified. Maybe both their lusts were driving each other’s. Estelle began to stumble but not complain. He was going to go mad if he couldn’t take her. He was going to drag her to the floor and–

“Closet!” Estelle gasped, pointing.

He turned the knob too fast to ascertain if it had been locked, or if his strength had broken it. They tumbled into the dark space kissing.

“I’m sorry,” Estelle apologized between his ravenous intrusions. His fangs daggers. He was going to cut her any second now. “I thought I was going mad.”

“I’m already mad,” he assured her. The Imperial was indifferently heated, and patrons rarely took off their coats. Now he struggled to remove Estelle’s hip-length Cossack style jacket so he could touch more of her. To his frustration, the closet didn’t provide the maneuvering room he needed to drag the suede down her arms. His own heavy Chesterfield didn’t help matters. The thing was big enough to be its own person. His foot clanged against a mop and bucket when he tried to move.

“Stupid coat,” he muttered to himself. “I don’t even feel the cold.”

“It doesn’t matter.” Ever practical, Estelle was busy with his buttons. “I’ll just open it.” Reaching his waistcoat drove a moan from her. At once, she slid her hands around the hard swell of him. The pressure was so welcome, he moaned back. “Oh, God, Edmund, is this why you locked yourself away that night in my flat? Were you so aroused you had to pleasure yourself?”

He couldn’t speak. Her fingers were massaging him, all the way under his balls. If that wasn’t enough, he thought she might be implying she was that aroused, and it rather shorted out his brain. Her hands fell from him, and he blinked at the sudden return of thinking power.

His upyr eyes had adjusted to the thin strip of light that came under the door. When he saw what she was doing, he doubted his thinking power would last long.

“Oh, God,” she moaned, wriggling her skirt frantically upward. “There’s hardly room for me to lift my legs.”

There was room, just, but they were going to make a racket bumping into all the cleaning equipment this closet held. Edmund doubted his concentration was up to mounting her and covering the sound with his power. At least they weren’t kissing anymore. His whole mouth was humming, and he feared he must have nicked her a tiny bit. He closed his eyes at yet another insane-making surge of blood to his groin. As desperate as he felt, no-holds-barred copulation was all this was going to be.

“We could look for somewhere else,” he panted even as he ripped down his zip. His cock sprang free without assistance, a thunderous creature too big for its own skin. It wanted badly to be sheathed in her wet softness. Soon, he promised it. “Maybe there’s a larger place.”

“No,” Estelle groaned. “I need you to take me now.”

Her fingers found the source of his madness, ringing his shaft and pulling the circle upward with sweet intent. Her right hand remembered precisely how he liked his foreskin played over his crown. Having her hand do it rather than his own–her warm, feminine fingers–caused Edmund’s nerves to shoot off rockets. With a flash of necessity fueled brilliance, he lifted her off the floor and kicked a pallet filled with who-knew-what under her feet.

“Hold your skirt out of the way,” he said with the harshness of extreme desire. “And spread your legs. I’ve got you at the perfect height to slide in.”

“I want to climb you.”

“You’ll kick things down and someone will come. Trust me. This will work.”

He hoped it would, at least. He wasn’t sure what he’d do if it didn’t, or what she would, for that matter. She whimpered when he slid one testing finger inside her sheath, her sex so wet, so hot he could have screamed with frustration for not having his cock inside it that instant.

“Sh,” he soothed, manipulating her firmly. “Try not to make noise.”

Hoping to take her edge off, if not his own, he brought her to a quick, hard peak with his hand. Her gasps and contractions were almost too much for him. With the sense that he was about go straight to heaven or hell, he tucked his crazily throbbing penis against her gate.

The orgasm seemed not to have calmed her.

“In me,” she demanded. Her fingers dug into his neck as her stance widened. “Put yourself in me now.”

There could be no waiting. She was ready, and he was dying. Despite the hardness of his erection, he rammed into her pussy in a single stroke. Ecstasy blinded him, like shoving his cock into liquid fire. Lord bless humans and their heat. Lord bless Estelle and her snugness. The bands of her inner muscles rippled over him. He almost forgot to stop her when she tried to lift her thighs around his waist.

“No,” he grunted, pushing them down. His body was shaking, his need immense, but he waited to make certain she would obey. In the pause, her hand slid between them to clutch her mons, squeezing her swollen clit between two fingers. She let out a sound that was like a sob. When he brushed his lips across her cheek, he found tear tracks. She wanted him literally enough to cry.

Everything in him that could soften did.

Everything that could harden set new records.

“I’ll do that,” he crooned to her. “Let me take care of you.”

He took care of her, but not gently. That wouldn’t have done the job for either of them. Rather, he braced his feet and drove into her like a berserk machine, his fingers working her clitoris as strongly as he thought her human flesh could take. She was slick and very swollen, twitching inside and out at the circling pressure he was exerting on her pleasure’s pearl. Her jerks of reaction were so violent he had to brace the door behind her with his other forearm, to prevent it from rattling in the frame. Keeping himself from thumping her into the wood was a true challenge. He knew she wanted to be shoved against it, to be decimated by every thrust, just as he wanted to be decimating her. At the moment, though, up was the only direction it was safe to drive into her.

He did that so forcefully he lifted her off her feet.

All of it–the obstruction of their clothes, the smallness of the space, the constraints on their positions–focused him on that one length of naked connection, where the hardest part of him lived only to pump and pump into the softest part of her. The nerves in his cock were painfully alive. Never had he been so aware of every movement, of every shift of pressure or increase in his partner’s lubricity. Estelle’s cream was dripping down him, and he could have sworn he counted the drops.

“Edmund,” she gasped, panic in the sound. She, too, felt the intensity of this joining and feared just how powerfully she was about to go over.

“Bite my shoulder,” he ordered as her pussy tightened warningly. “Otherwise, you’ll cry out.”

She cried out anyway, but at least it was muffled, her inner muscles clamping with amazing strength on him. Her contractions tugged his climax from him in a searing rush, the relief so overpowering it weakened his knees for a few heartbeats.
Estelle’s hips continued to squirm.

“It’s all right,” he said at her involuntary mournful noise. “I’ve got more for you tonight.”

He had more for her than she could imagine, his pace picking up almost before it had slowed down. He was in a frenzy for release, no readier to settle for a single orgasm than she was. He had to press her head against his shoulder to keep her from seeing what she did to him. He did sink his fangs into her collar a time or two, the tang of sueded leather a poor substitute for his drink of choice.

With his sixth skull-lifting orgasm, sanity returned.

It seemed to do so for her as well.

“Oh. My. Lord.” The words gusted from Estelle, the exclamation more than he could manage. “Oh, Edmund. Every inch of me feels incredible.”

He discovered he could go to his knees, after all, or maybe they just gave out. Their essences mingled strongly below her waist. His kind’s emissions evaporated swiftly, but he’d shot so heavily into her that they were still running down the inside of her legs. The wolf in him longed to roll in their blended smells. Offering it a compromise, Edmund placed his kiss exactly where he’d promised to, where her silky, swollen pearl poked out from her nether folds.

The pulse he found there was delectable. He had to pull it into his mouth, had to tug it with a rhythmic suction and coax it harder with his flickering tongue.

“Oh, I can’t,” she said, but her hips were cocking closer, her fingers tangling in his hair with renewed interest. Edmund dug the tip of his tongue under her little hood, delicately teasing the naked rod.

“Oh, Lord,” she murmured a bit higher. “Edmund, how do you do that?”

She made him want to show off all five hundred years of his cleverness. He brought her off twice more with his expertise, curling his thumbs inside her when she swore she couldn’t come again. Edmund knew better. Edmund knew all a woman’s trigger points.

When she came the final time, he had to rise and catch her before she fell.

Close to boneless, she rubbed her face across his chest. Her fingers kneaded his shoulders through his coat like a cat. When she said his name, it came out a purr.

“Better?” he growled back.

“Mmm,” was her hummed answer.

“We should return to the others,” he said, though he didn’t loosen his hold on her. “We’ve been away at least a quarter hour.”

“Is that all it was?” Estelle shook with a breathless laugh. “It felt like a really wonderful lifetime. You’re the goods, Professor. I think you made me see stars a couple of times.”

What she’d seen was probably his aura blazing out of control at his climaxes. He was fortunate she was inexperienced. Without that to help explain his various eccentricities, he’d have had to erase more of her memories of this evening than he wanted to.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Blogged and Confused

The first time I posted on Squawk Radio, I had agita for about an hour afterward. Who'm I kidding? More like a day. I thought I'd written the dumbest, most illiterate comment in the history of

Do you ever feel silly or embarrassed after you post on someone's blog?

Do you feel especially silly if it's "live" and nobody responds to your post?

Encore! I couldn't resist and, heck, I'm still under-the-weather. And, I'm bumming cause I haven't hooked up on the interview thing, yet. And...well, it's just nice to look at Nathan Kamp all scruffy and outdoorsy-like.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Once upon a time there were two guys...

You probably figured out by now that I'm all about heroes.

Heroines? Can take em or leave em, though I suppose without em there'd be no reason for the heroes to be stoopit, then dashing, then on-their-knees in love.

If all we had were heroes, we'd all be reading alternative lifestyle romance.

Or Slash.

The premise of Slash, [which grew out of Fan(tasy) Fiction] as I understand it, is two heroes, usually well-known characters from popular TV shows, fall in love and have off-the-charts sex. These are guys. Two of em. And most Slash is written by women.

So, my my Nice Catholic Girl friend, Kato, says, "You've gotta read Slash, Michelle." And I, say, "lay it on me," cause the moral ethicist/unbiased reviewer in me wants to read everything anyone considers romantic or erotic. Though I'm thinking, "yuk. Autoerotica is more appealing to me."

Then I read "Whacked," a classic Slash piece by an author called Bone. And it's, like, totally emotionally romantic and erotic and really well-written.

What's your romance novel sexuality comfort zone?
Do you push the envelope?

We're All Grown-Ups Here Alert: If you choose to visit Bone's site, please be prepared for grown up content: As Bone puts it, "This site contains graphic descriptions of male/male sex."

Encore! I just finished Laura Kinsale's "My Sweet Folly." It's just wonderful, with this great epistolary beginning that works through the whole of the piece. It's being reissued this spring.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Write Michelle's Survey

I'm sick and avoiding writing cause I really like this week's author and want to make sure I get it right. Then again, the same thing happens every week: I stress about jamming out the perfect things that will tell people just why a certain really good writer is great in her particular way.

Hey, I've got an ideeyer: what if you help me with this week's package?

If you could make up a Survey Question for Romance: B(u)y the Book, what would it be? Its answer must have at least 3 choices. Check the column for examples.

Maybe I'll use one of yours. And I guess I could throw a couple new books your way if'n I do. I've got an extra Christina Dodd "The Barefoot Princess..." You want to help out a sick girlfriend-in-need, don'tcha?

And, feel free to keep up the UATW convo from yesterday...

Encore! I'm reading this incredible novel by Laura Kinsale called "My Sweet Folly." It's being re-released in spring. Holy cow, it's good.

Encore due! Eloisa James guest-blogs Tuesday, March 28th!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

To Heck with Peoria

Pollyanna here writes Romance: B(u)y the Book for a general audience; all column content gotta play in Peoria, ya feel me?

That ain't the case here, Bellas.

So leave your "Oh! But I love my husband too much, blah blah blah" self at the door and dish:

Name the romance novel hero with whom you'd most wanna make passionate, sweaty, do-me-up-against-the-wall love all night long?

And for some snaxy inspiration:

Encore! Nathan Kamp.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Crush into Me

There are two Dave Matthews songs that have blown me away since the first times I heard them. "Crash Into Me," and "Crush" aren't much alike in imagery or intensity, but each speaks to the strong emotions of infatuation.

Yesterday, some very smart chicks on this very blog suggested that we read romance cause we want to experience that heady early-stage infatuation/first-time rush. (We also figured out why people cheat and whether porn's OK, but that's not important now).
Do you read Romance to get that early-stage infatuation Crush Rush?
Encore! "The Taming of the Duke," by Eloisa James is out March 28th and to celebrate Eloisa will guestblog March 28th! Read this and whimper, Bellas: I've already read TTofTD and it's marvelous!
Encore due! Doesn't that wedding ring make D.M. even cuter?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

What was they thinking?

We think we can read their minds, but we can't possibly know where guys are coming from just from reading romance novels and BOB series. I stumbled across this while doing some research and thought it was interesting. My hero, Rick Reilly's there, too.

Thank you
J.R. Ward for guest-blogging and blogchatting LIVE yesterday.
And, thank youz for blogging on to chat with her and keeping it so smart and positive. J.R. said she had such a good time, she's coming back Sept. 4, the day before Z's book, "Lover Awakened" comes out!

Now, I ask you: How flippin cool is that?

Encore! I don't love erotica; the emotions driving the content don't always make the earth move for me. I do think it's legit, not porn, and speaks to other folks and that's okey dokey with Pollyanna here. Still, I apreciate good evocative writing of any kind. "Talk to Me Baby," from "Another Woman's Lipstick," based on "Red Shoe Diaries," (get all that?) is a hot little piece with some tense and sexy imagery and related spoken word that make the thing work on lots of levels. It pretty much rocks.

Monday, March 06, 2006

J.R. Ward's Guestblog: Road to Rhage

"Lover Eternal" is out today, and J.R. Ward's been kind enough to celebrate the day with us by guest-blogging.

Read the review at Romance: B(u)y the Book

J.R. Ward is here for a LIVE blogchat at
4.00 pm EST TODAY!!!

So I tried to think what I could blog about that was fresh and hopefully interesting. After going around in circles for a while, I decided it would be cool to give a bird’s eye view into what writing LOVER ETERNAL was like for me.

I always knew Rhage was going to be after Wrath... Wait. Maybe I should explain something first. The Brotherhood books are not stories that I feel like I think up. It’s more like they’re downloaded into my brain in a series of pictures. I see the scenes, hear the voices and write what I see. (If I’m not faithful to what I’m shown, the Brothers clam up. Just refuse to talk to me until I come to my senses and do what they say.) Anyway, while I was writing Wrath, Rhage came and set himself up as the next in line.

I was bummed.

Rhage was not my favorite Brother by a long shot. He’s just too beautiful and sexy and all that. I mean, how accessible is perfection? And perfection is boring really: not much there but eye candy and good times, you know? But hey, I don’t argue with the Brothers so I went with it. I wrote Rhage’s outline (which was about fifty pages long) and what excited me about it was the parts that involved Butch and Marissa. See... originally, I thought I could do Rhage and Butch together. NOT. I got 200 pages into the book and realized that Butch’s story was so compelling that it was overshadowing Rhage and Mary.

So I cut Butch out.

It was horrible! I was fascinated by him and Marissa! But... lo and behold, with them gone, Mary and Rhage started to really sing. And I began to see the other sides to Rhage. By the end of the first draft, I thought... man, there’s a lot more to him than those looks. And Mary, Mary had my heart from the beginning. *sigh*

I put the two of them in a drawer for two weeks.

Then I was on to revisions. The way I work is I lay out the first draft, take a break and then revise, revise, revise, smoothing out the scenes and the images and the words until nothing annoys me or feels like it doesn’t go far enough. By the time one of the Brotherhood books heads into production, I’ll have gone through the manuscript fifteen or sixteen times.

It was during the revision process that I fell in love with Rhage. I saw his sacrifices for Mary and his Brothers and how much he cared and the emotionalism and I just... yeah, I fell hard. So by the time I was ready to send him off to my editor, I was just amazed by him. And embarrassed that I didn’t sense his depths in the beginning. I was also on pins and needles. LOVER ETERNAL pushes the envelope in some places and I was worried I’d have to pull back. Or, OMG, what if my editor didn’t like him?

She LOVED him. Said his was a powerful and erotic love story. And what did I do when I heard that? Had a migraine from relief.

Then I started to trim. These Brotherhood books are big. Rhage is about 130,000 words or 510 pages double spaced in Times New Roman 12 font. And this was after I cut about sixty pages from him! I will say that most of these deleted scenes, though, went into Z’s book (and bear in mind, this sixty page hair cut was after I’d taken out Butch’s parts.) One of the things I like about the Brotherhood stories is I get to have so many points of view. I think that gives depth to the story and the folks in it. The key is balancing the various arcs so that the reader isn’t scrambled.

Rhage's final product is something I am very proud of. He took about nine months to write from start to finish. If I counted the hours in a lawyerly fashion, I’d say maybe 1,000 went into him. And when I got his cover for the first time I was thrilled! I think the art department at Signet/NAL is fabulous and really did him justice.

So that’s the road to Rhage! I’d be happy to answer any questions you have about him and Mary or the Brotherhood or writing in general. And I’d like to thank Michelle for inviting me to come on to blog!

Encore! So I'm wondering, J.R. ... with a wicked skull trim and a marvelously hideous scar, could our boy Nathan ever be the Z of your dreams?

Welcome J.R. Ward!

Tomorrow's almost upon us, the day we welcome J.R. Ward to Romance: By the Blog!

J.R. will be blogged-on for a LIVE blogchat at 4.00 pm EST, so I hope you'll drop by to chat with her about the Black Dagger Brotherhood, writing, her gorgeous hair, and whatever you can think up.

Don't forget to pop over to Romance: B(u)y the Book to find out why I gave J.R.'s newest, "Lover Eternal," one of only four "4 1/2 star" ratings in the history of RBtheBook!

Then come right back here to Romance: By the Blog to blogchat live with J.R. Ward!

Encore! We're hot on his trail. For an update on our mission to hear from Nathan Kamp, page back to yesterday's blog.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

And the Best Supporting Love Story Is...

One of my favorite secondary love stories in a romance is from Claudia Dain's "The Fall." A knight errant and the sis of the heroine snipe at each other until everything combusts in a very hot near-capitulation scene. Not annoying TOTS (Taming of the Shrew) sniping, but strung-out, they-had-so-better-end-up-together friction.

What's your favorite secondary love story from a romance?


J.R. Ward Watch: 24 hours and counting til 4.00 pm EST March 7 Live Blogchat!

Encore! Because a little Nathan is better than nothing. And a lot of young, wet Nathan is better than just about anything...

Update!!! Brianna Yamashita, Manager of Public Relations for Dorchester Publishing, is all over our search for Mr. Kamp. Because there's nothing Ms. Yamashita won't do to support the romance genre, she's selflessly thrown her considerable talents and industry know-how into trying to track down Nathan Kamp so his voice can be heard on Romance: B(u)y the Book We can sleep safe tonight knowing there are women like Brianna on the front lines fighting for our rights to read romance, and gawk at snaxy men.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Undercover Cover Guy

Have you seen this man? Do you know his name?

Update!!!! RBtheB Bella Stacy informs us this out-of-the-ordinary cover model is Nathan Kamp. Get thee over to to get a gander at his portfolio. Sheesh. He's a good one.

He's on lots of covers and I want him. Oh yes, I do. For an interview, of course. I actually contacted a publicist and, shocker, she didn't respond with any info about his whereabouts. It wasn't like I was gonna stalk him or anything. Just wanted to ask a few questions for the greater good of the genre.

What would you ask Cover Guy if you got him alone, I mean, had the chance?

J.R. Ward Watch: 4 days and counting til her LIVE blogchat March 7, 4 pm EST

Encore! I just got the advance copy of Edith Layton's upcoming "How to Seduce a Bride," the final book in her Song series. I can barely breathe; I'm so excited.

Hot Shorts Binge

These are Five of the Best Hot Shorts I've Read Lately:

Unrequited Kimberly Dean From "If This Bed Could Talk." Avon/Red
Playing Doctor Lori Foster From "When Good Things Happen to Bad Boys." Brava
The Lady of the Lake Erin McCarthy From "When Good Things Happen to Bad Boys." Brava
Moonlight Whispers Teresa Bodwell From "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys." Kensington
Hold on Tight LuAnn McLane From "Wild Ride." Signet Eclipse

Do ya like a nice Hot Short?

J.R. Ward Watch: 5 days and counting

Encore! Since I'm on a Hot Short binge, just one more rec: a super-value compilation of Lori Foster's Winston brothers novellas called "Wildly Winston." The cover alone is worth the price. I'm so diggin on this new model I see everywhere now.