Sunday, July 30, 2006

Take Away Reason And Accountability...

Hey, Bellas! Came back from RWA tonight to my family and a very special surprise from my husband. Very nice homecoming.

Saturday night's RITA awards were exciting and entertaining, thanks to funny and well-produced movie montages of films depicting the writers' life, including "Romancing the Stone," "As Good as it Gets," and Hugh Jackman's debut, "Paperback Hero."

Am I the only one who didn't realize romance writers worship "Romancing the Stone" like I do Cannavaro?

Thanks to Playground Monitor for these links to RITA winners and Golden Heart Winners .

The event was packed, everyone looked spiffy, and the after-awards party was tons o' fun. I spent most of my time trying not to think about how badly my feet hurt in my swank heels, while hanging out with lots of our RBtheBlog/Book pals, and the awesome folks from Dorchester Publishing. Shouts out to Janice Lynn, Brianna (our NK connection), Brooke, Chris, et. al. for including me in your good times.

Special thanks to our friend Sari Robins for lending me a hand when I started to feel a little faint in the crush. And special hiyas to Bellas Anna DiStefano and Eve Silver, with whom I got to spend a bit of quality time. They send their love...

Love you some "Romancing the Stone?" Howz come?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Longest Post Ever

Please forgive me! I've tried to post a blog and couldn't. I've tried to download photos from my camera and couldn't. Still can't download photos from Blogger. Grrr. Please accept my most humble apologies and let this blog begin to make up for how I've wronged you...

So I thought he was gay when I first saw his picture. I was wrong. Last night I interviewed Adam Nevill, Erotica Editor of Virgin Books Ltd. Virgin is a branch of that veddy British company that's got a plum in lots of puddings, including an airline and some other stuff.

Anyway, Adam and I spent a couple hours talking erotica: what makes it good, who's reading it, and -- the big question for me -- what makes him qualified to know what turns-on women.

Well Bellas, [picture me blushing], I'm here to tell you I think he passes muster. Cause he's not gay, he's just, you know, British.

I'll be publishing Adam's interview as part of an ExtraView series about the current popularity of erotica.

On to the RWA news. First, the Ritas are Saturday night, and the excitement's building. Last night at the Literacy Book Signing I made sure to say hi to our favorites, especially friends who've blogged here with us. It was a zoo, but if you're looking for an event in which your fave romance authors are accessible, this is the one.

And may I say I saw our Vivi Anna there? She's as nice in person as on-line. And Tuesday night at a lovely party given by agent/author Deirdre Night, I finally met our girl, Monica Burns! What a terrific person. I had espresso with Jessica Inclan, and sat with Debbie Macomber at breakfast for the Nancy Berland pr agency. If you remember Bookstoredeb posting here, she was there, too.

It's so cool to get to know women who we e-meet here. The friendship is just as warm in person, not uncomfortable at all.

This is not a snaxy guy event (Unless you count Adam's metrosnaxuality. Does that work? combining snaxy with metrosexual? And have you heard this new term, retrosexual? It describes guys like Vince Vaughn).

But it's not super serious here. Writers are pleased to be in the company of other professionals, and there's a pervasive mood of excitement of being around women and men who understand and love romance.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

My Heart Belongs To Cannavaro -- But My Week Belongs to RWA

Well, you didn't think I'd had my fill of Team Italia, did you? Meet Alberto Gilardino, who, IMHO, adds new meaning to the term, Forza Italia. Pretty eyes, no?

Anyway, this week, bunches of us romance writer and romance industry "types," as well as lots of readers, are headed to Atlanta, GA for the Romance Writers of America national conference.

So, what do you want to know about Romance Writers of America and the conference?

What would you want us to tell editors and publishers about what you'd like to see in romance?

Alberto's here because you're gonna be seeing a lot of this blog -- about 3 days worth -- cause it's probably gonna be here till some time Tues. ***

Special thanks to Kathryn Jordan and Cait London for their special GuestBlogs! Kathryn'll be back soon with a cyber-spa book party. Get those 'ritas ready, Bellas...

And the winners are... Cait's GuestBlog (JenniferY) Kathryn's GuestBlog (Tam, RachD, Amyskf, Michele) Congrats! Email me at with your email addresses.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Cait London GuestBlog: The Things Writers Do...

Contest Today!!! One lucky Bella -- who's name shall be drawn from all commentors today -- will win a copy each of "Silence the Whispers," and "Flashback," courtesy of Cait London!

Get set for those fab reads, and for this insight into the quirky life of a quite talented writer. Ms. London, if you will...

Most writers have quite the "outside life," and I do; it all adds to the story texture. My novels have a lot of "me" in them, that is, I've usually done it. (Here someone usually raises their hand with a reseach sex-scenes question, but we'll overlook that.)

As for the sites of my books, I've been to all of them, and love to drive--no music, no chatting, just the sound of the tires helping to spin stories. I've driven the Oregon Trail to research a historical, then up into Canada to research the Mounties, and I just knew that Tom Selleck would be perfect in that role. I've thrown tomahawks, and frankly that scared me. They put me in the women's throw line, and since I'm a little athletic, the thing hit the target and bounced back at my feet. Then I tried a historical Pike's Peak gold miner's recipe for biscuits and ended up with 250.

In writing contemporary SILENCE THE WHISPERS, out this month, I drove around Oklahoma a bit with a friend. We killed a box of donuts, more fun. We did not stop at the biker's convention, though they invited us. That seafoam on FLASHBACK is an element taken from driving up the West coast from San Fran to WA State; we just missed visiting two lighthouses on the whole trip. I just painted one from Lake Michigan. The roses from California.

I'm an artsy kind of person, and I miss painting--painted my first still life at 10, a bottle of grandma's wine and some fruit. It was good enough to sell. I did a bit of that for a while, canned some jam (doing that lately, too, and I think there's a story in that one), raised 3 daughters, sewed for them, including Barbie's clothes, gardened, and I currently enjoy herbs. So all of that is in my books, including a stint in an office, and computers, of course.

Here's where the psychology of the writer comes in (I'm writing a piece on writer types and what they write, or should write elsewhere): A hefty percentage of writers are arty-types involved in jewelry-making, quilting, crafts, and a big percentage are artist/painters. To the ones whom I've interviewed, it seems like writing a story at the same time you're painting does not work. It's one or the other. But apparently art, in one form or another, is transferable. Interesting.

I'm not painting that much now, taking more photos, and some of them not that bad. I did about 50 self-portraits, trying to find one to suit a bookseller who wanted a casual-in-home thing. I placed the camera on timer, put it on the fireplace mantel, and clicked away. Some have my fingers in them, or the book is upside down, or my brown eye is closer to the camera than my green one. Take a hint: Don't ever eat something with cracked pepper before taking a self-portrait. :) Yes, it's there. These are so funny when shown in a family slide show. I learned a lot; I'll do better next time.

We can't write all the time, you know. Our pink boas would get tired.

Visit Cait at!!!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Kathryn Jordan GuestBlog: The Ultimate (Steamy) Fantasy

CONTEST TODAY!!!! Up for grabs: 2 "Hot Water" mugs, a "Hot Water" Tshirt, and -- you cheeky, lucky Bellas -- a sexy thong that reads: "Get Into Hot Water!" 4 winners will be drawn randomly from everyone who comments today until 10pm EST! Thanks, Kathryn!

And now, Kathryn Jordan's GuestBlog...

Here's to all you hotties who’ve gotten into HOT WATER or intend to get into it real soon. We all need to indulge ourselves in a steamy weekend now and then. Especially one that can change our lives. Isn’t that the ultimate fantasy?

Remember the quote that starts the book: “Women are like tea bags. They don’t know how strong they are until they get into hot water.” Eleanor Roosevelt - Bless her feisty heart!

So talk to me. What would you like to know? I’m ready to divulge all the secrets (well, maybe not ALL) of how HOT WATER grew into a novel and how it became #2 on a best seller list in central California. The Da Vinci Code was #4 on that list. A framer, for sure!

A question I often get at book signings is, Where can I find William? Well, here’s an answer. Eduardo Verastegui. Is he incredible, or what? Now, if he has a philosophy degree... oh, who cares!

Seriously, since January when HOT WATER was released by Berkley /
Penguin, I’ve been asking myself, what is it about the book that
delights readers so much. I get e-mails posted at 2:00 AM from women who read it in one sitting. Sure, it’s full of hot sex, but I think it’s more than that.

I think it’s a celebration of turning the tables on the “Pretty Woman” story. (A woman having the courage to do something men have done since the beginning). It’s a celebration of breaking society’s rules and getting away with it. No, not just getting away with it, but having it turn out beyond our wildest dreams.

What if a woman could hire a gorgeous younger man for a weekend of fabulous mega-sex at a lush spa resort - spa treatments, silky mineral water soaks AND amazing sex. Not to mention, Latin dancing. Oh, my God!

And then, what if he turned out to be not only highly tuned to the
feminine psyche, but smart and educated and aware of the central flaws
in our culture that cause so many men to act like such, well...

Yes, I know. There’s about as much chance of that as finding a leopard skin bikini that doesn’t ride up your butt. But, hey, if could happen. We’ve gone to the moon, invented the internet and sandals with bottle openers on the soles. Anything’s possible.

Even falling in love when you least expect it.

Visit Kathryn at !

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Cross My Heart and Hope For Access

100% Guilt-free CONTEST and fantasy tomorrow!!! Blog on to Kathryn Jordan's GuestBlog tomorrow, July 20. All bloggers who comment are entered into a contest to win one of four sexy "Hot Water" gifts. Join us, and make sure to join in the steamy convo!

Yes. Carly Phillips was supposed to be here today. But I had no Inet access again. So, hopefully, she'll take mercy on my pathetic self and come another time to tell us about "Cross My Heart." Which I do. CMH, that is, that she'll come back.

Thursday, June 20 -- If the Gods of WIFI are Kind -- author Kathryn Jordan, author of "Hot Water," will be here with a very hot, frank, and sexy GuestBlog.

If you've read "Hot Water," make sure you check in; if you haven't, buy it, or go to your library, pull it off the shelf and start reading. It's so flippin' good.

The book deals with a fantasy many women have, but often feel guilty about...

So, I'm feeling pretty guilty about not getting my blogs up, and especially for not getting Carly's GuestBlog up today.

Why do you think women feel guilty?
How can we fight it?
Encore! Don't forget to blog on over at Plot Monkeys (the link's on this page), and keep watching for the reschedule of Carly Phillips' GuestBlog.
Encore due! Did I mention that Kathryn Jordan says Eduardo Verastegui could be her hero, William? Oh would that we all had a William in our lives, even just our fantasies...

Friday, July 14, 2006

My All-Time Favorite (Next to Cannavaro)

I read this book in 3rd grade, thinking it would be about my obsession of the moment: creepy witchcraft. It became my most favorite book ever, the book that made me fall in love with New England.

To this day, I'd like to be Kit Tyler. And not just cause she ends up with the hunky son of a ship's captain.

I once helped a friend devise a paper defining the heroine's character arc within Erikson's 8 Stages of Man. Back then, I was too nerdy to see TWOBP as what it is: a marvelous romance. My bad.

What heroine, from which romance would you like to be?
What kind of heroine do you find unappealing?

So sue me; he's not Canna. But you Bellas deserve a Friday Treat for being so welcoming to Anna DeStefano and her friends yesterday. To thank you -- and Anna for her fabulous GuestBlog -- I give you...Raol.

Congratulazioni! Julie in Ohio, you're the winner of Anna's Guess purse and wallet combo. Send me your email addy at and Anna will be in touch to send your gift!

Encore! I'm off to a little Cape Cod town called Wareham to see friends and will have no Inet connection to you, my e-friends til Monday. Yikers. I'll miss you and look forward to checking in to read what you've got to say about the women of romance.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Anna DeStefano GuestBlog: Doing Quirky With Style

Our Southern Belle-ah, Anna DeStefano, is here to dish about her part of the world, her great new romance, and the awesome Guess purse/wallet combo you can win just by commenting today. Anna's terrific new novel is "The Prodigal's Return," Hquin.

When you think of the South, more often than not, quirky comes to mind. The sometimes slower pace of our lives down here could put a New Yorker to sleep faster than a ten-stop subway ride. Our accents smooth out even the shortest of single-syllable words, 'cause why not dig out one more vowel while you're at it. And our weather is hot, hot, hotter than most outsiders can stand.

But, then again, so are our men...

Take for instance the rugged Josh Holloway, raised in Georgia before he abandoned us for Hollywood. Picture yourself LOST with all that rough, southern comfort to get you through the dark, empty nights, and I bet my part of the world will grow on you a bit ;O)

I write about small southern towns because that's what I know, and that's what I love. We have our own kind of flash down here. Some of it shiny, like the magnificence of an early-autumn sunset kissing farmland that's been lovingly preserved for centuries. But some of the sparks are more precursors to explosions. Like when your neighbor knows when you've run out of milk before you do, because she let herself in for your last cup, using the spare key your parents loaned her when you were still in diapers.

We're a lovable bunch, really. And we've produced some of the greatest names in classic literature, as well as some of today's contemporary fiction stars. Sherrilyn Kenyon and Linda Howard are two of my favorites. You might also have heard of Haywood Smith, Mary Kay Andrews, Emily Griffin, Gin Ellis, Deb Smith, Deb Dixon, and the list goes on... Give us southern girls a try, if you haven't already. We just might surprise you ;O)

Now, if you had a week to go anywhere you wanted, where would it be?
And who would you absolutely have to take with you
to be sure you had a good time?

Since Michelle lured me into obsessing about World Cup soccer, I'd have to say my ultimate destination has become Italy. And, of course, Fabio Cannavaro would be there to meet my plane and make sure every moment of my stay was manifico!!

I know, I probably should have picked some beautiful southern city to rave about, but my husband's Italian, so that's my excuse for the destination part. And he totally understands my current obsession with Fabio (and the fact that it's entirely Michelle's fault ;O). I know I can count on the Bellas to understand, too.

I'm giving away Funky Purses all week during my blog launch party for "The Prodigal's Return," and Michelle said I could bring the fun over here for the day!! So, I'll be giving away this totally rockin' (and stylish ;O) prize to one lucky Romance B(u)y the Book visitor, randomly drawn from everyone who leaves a comment about today's question.

You're going to love this golden, sparkly Guess purse and wallet combo!!

Good luck, Bellas!!!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Cannavaro, Older Men, And A Cool Contest

As if Canna and Italia winning the World Cup weren't exciting enough, I have yet another fabulous GuestBlog planned tomorrow!

Anna DeStefano GuestBlogs tomorrow, July 13. She's got some great stuff to say, ya'll, and, even more exciting, posting a comment tomorrow will win one of you Anna's Awesome Guess Purse and Wallet Combo Giveaway!

Chatting with Anna's like gabbing with your best girlfriend, so you'll not wanna miss her. Or her new romance, "The Prodigal's Return," Hquin.
Thank you, thank you, Andrea Sisco, for your tremendous GuestBlog yesterday! And here's your prize for being such welcoming Bellas...The grace and mastery that is Horacio.

I can so easily construct a romantic fantasy about this handsome, athletic, Latin guy I've never met.

What kinds of romantic fantasies do you like to construct?

Are they ever about guys you see in church, on the train, at PTA?

Spill it, Bellas...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Andrea Sisco GuestBlog: 2 Many Books/2 Little Time

Please welcome my very hip friend, Andrea Sisco, co-creator of, a very cool place to read book reviews and hear audio interviews with your favorite authors in lots of genres. Andrea's spending her birthday with us today, so Buon Compleanno, bella Andrea!

It's quite an honor to be a guest blogger at Romance: By The Blog. It's one of about five blogs that I regularly read and that's a huge problem at times.

I have to run Armchair Interviews and that means I don't always get to read what I want. I read what's sent, what's left over, or what must be read to fill out the genres. That means that when I read Romance: By the Blog and hear about a book I'd like to curl up with in the evening, I often can't because, there's no time or someone else is reviewing it. I've had to discipline myself. There are far too many good books and not enough time.

At Armchair Interviews we review most genres, including Romance. One of the things we've found interesting is that we never have enough reviewers for Romance. I don't understand that phenomenon because of the popularity.

So if anyone out there loves Romance and would like to get free books, please contact me at I'll be happy to send you our FAQ for reviewers. It's soooo easy. The only cost is your reading time and writing a review. Hey, the books are delivered right to your door. How cool is that?

What would you like best about reviewing romance novels?

When I do read Romance, I enjoy Kathleen Eagle, Judy Baer and Connie Brockway. Unfortunately that's all I have time for and they are read almost exclusively on planes.

We're starting our own blog soon. There will be notification on our home page when it's up and running in about three weeks. Check it and us out at

We'd love to hear what authors you want to see reviewed or interviewed. And we hope Michelle will visit and fill us in on what's new, what's hot and give us a little more info on some of the cover models.

A grandmother can dream!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Ti Amo Fabio Cannavaro e Italia!

Ti Amo, Italia!

Grazie, Bellos!

Sure, at times it seemed like they weren't doing much more than defending and falling to the ground in the dramatic agony footballers do so well.

Still, with Canna and Buffon shining, Italia played 90 minutes of grueling, aggressive, and admirably clean soccer.

As my mother-in-law put it, "they're such good boys. And so handsome."

I must say, at times I forgot there was a match going on at all, so distracted had I become with Horacio Elizondo, the ref for the match.
With Canna-like definition to his hot, 42-year-old body, the Argentinean Elizondo was oh so masterful as he gave France's most revered player, Zinadine Zidane, a red card, eliminating him from the game for really bad behaviour.

We may have to see more of Elizondo in our post-World Cup coverage. Out of a sense of balance, of course. Canna's 33, and the average age of the World Cup footballer is 29. But I suspect Elizondo's extra years of maturity tend to make up for, em, youthful exuberance. Although he is awfully fit...

Which are sexier and why, younger or older guys?
How do you feel about "much older guy" heroes, especially in historicals?
Encore! The cover of Italy's "Sports Gazzette" reads: It's True! They're the Champions of the World.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I Canna(varo) Wait for Tomorrow

"I don't love soccer, I love the World Cup." -- The Sports Guy, ESPN

Yup. Couldn'ta said it better. It's just so damn exciting, especially here in Revere, MA, a diverse suburb just north of Boston. Here in Revere there's a very large Italian population which is crazy for Italia and Cannavaro.

My inlaws have the Italian flag waving from the back porch -- because the American flag always waves from the front -- to show support for Canna and the boys.

Tomorrow, we'll head to my sister-in-law, Linda's, to watch the match, wish azzuri buona fortuna, and eat way too much of her awesome cooking.

What food draws your family together and "says love?"


Encore! They say Fabio Cannavaro will probably win the World Cup equivalent to the NFL MVP award, The Golden Ball.

Friday, July 07, 2006

My New Old Flame, Fabio Cannavaro

OK, I did it. I managed to turn this week's feature review of Tracy Anne Warren's "The Bride Trap" into a tribute to Fabio Cannavaro. You can check it out now at Romance: B(u)y the Book! Per favore.
I'll admit it. I'm running out of great novels to feature as "Old Flames" at Romance: B(u)y the Book. I need your help desperately.
What romance novels
-- published 6 months ago or more --
should I be reading?
Thank you, Kathleen Eagle, for your GuestBlog yesterday, and thank youz, Bellas, for dropping in to make Kathleen feel welcome. We'll hear from her again when "Ride a Painted Pony" is released. Don't forget to visit Riding with the Top Down.
Encore! Forza Italia! Go Azzuri!
Encore due! Yes. I am going to be intolerable when Italy wins. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Kathleen Eagle GuestBlog: Crazy, But Sane

First off, a hot guy for the Bellas. I had to do a googling for the oogling. Discovered that if you google “hot guys,” they turn up naked. No, I mean totally. But I found this cutie (Duane Loken) under American Indian actors. I’ve always thought I’d cast Jimmy Smits as Jesse in THE NIGHT REMEMBERS, but Jimmy seems to be sporting facial hair these days, which doesn’t do for my heroes. Not that I wouldn’t be happy to give him a shave. I’d be careful.

Next, Michelle, I want to say that your column is the best thing to happen to Romance since male point of view. (Who knew they had one?) Seriously, it’s hip, entertaining, insightful, and hardly any blood is spilled. (Sucked from the neck on occasion, but rarely spattered all over the walls.) Pink is the new red. So, from my heart, thanks for persevering and making “Romance: Buy the Book” blossom and bloom.

But about this blogging. It seemed really scary to me at first, and I stayed away for a long time. But I like the idea of getting together with girlfriends, and that’s how “Riding With the Top Down” was conceived. I started writing and published my first book in prairie isolation, pre-PC. Back then my friends were teachers. Now most of them are writers. There’s no teachers’ lounge, no staff meetings, and I haven’t been to a Home Interior party in ages. Anyone remember those?

But women will make connections, trade stories, and dream out loud somewhere, some way. In my mother’s day it was the kitchen table. Telephone, telegraph, tell a woman, remember? Letters, diaries, and now it’s the blog. I couldn’t resist. We’re a group of writers, each trying to make her living, keep her home fires burning, and feed the need for dish. It’s a new medium for a story as old as time, and I’m there.

I’m finishing up the page proofs for RIDE A PAINTED PONY (11/28/Mira) and working on the sequel, which is Nick Red Shield’s partner’s book (wasn’t planned, but by the time the book was finished I knew I had to find out more about Dillon) but has a strong women’s relationship thread.

It’s a story with three important female characters and one guy. Reminiscent of THE LAST TRUE COWBOY, but with a very different dynamic. I love all my heroes and have no interest in writing a story without one, but I’m fascinated by women’s relationships and how they make us crazy but also keep us sane. I know you know what I mean.

I’ve begun to put teasers up on my website about RIDE A PAINTED PONY, and there’s more to come at But I really hope people will joyride with us at

And what do the Bellas have to say about women’s relationships?

Is it a theme that brings something to the table in a Romance, or are we headed off into the realm of women’s fiction?

Kathleen Eagle Says: Cannavaro & Italia Are SO Gonna Spank France

OK. She didn't say it, I did. Because Italy faces France in the big match Sun
day, July 9.

Kathleen Eagle visits Romance: By the Blog tomorrow July 6. She's gonna check in and answer your questions throughout the day. Don't forget to ask her why Barbie Rules.

Ooops. Did I post a photo of Francesco Totti instead of Canna? My bad.

Me, You, And Cannavaro, Of Course

August 11 marks the one year anniversary of my nationally-syndicated romance novel column, Romance: B(u)y the Book.

I cannot believe how it's grown, but I'm very clear that it wouldn't have started, or flourished, without the help of many people who gave me hands up.

Kathleen Eagle is one of those folks. And she's here tomorrow, July 6, to talk about something she thought we'd love to gab about: well, snaxy guys, of course. And she kind of says some nice things about me, so it's kind of a lovefest, too.

But mostly, she just wants to dish about our favorite subject: us.
Who gave you your "big break,"
changed your life immeasurably, or in some small, quiet way?
Hooray for Italia, who yesterday defeated Germany 2 - 0! Canna, Totti, Buffon, et al will face the winner of today's semi between France and Portugal July 9.

I'm just crazy for these Italian boys.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Discovery 07.04.06: Liftoff!


Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off about 30 minutes ago, "paving the way for future missions beyond."

All the more moving because the launch signals the rebirth of the Shuttle program, and the diligent work of our best and brightest.

Currently traveling at a speed of 4,000 miles per hour, its external tank separation complete, the Shuttle Discovery enters its initial orbit, well on it's way to Thursday's hook up with the International Space Station.

This Fourth of July launch is spectacular, and every bit as exciting as those Apollo missions I remember as a kid.

Only thing missing? A nice cool glass of Tang.

God, I love being an American.

What do you love about being American?


Encore! Italia, Italia Uber Alles! Well, hopefully. Canna and the boys just took to the pitch against Germany in the Semifinals of the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Julia Quinn BlabFest: On the Way to the Wedding!

We're talking OTWTTW. Read it? Reading it?
Tune in and turn us on to what your thinkin'...

I still say it's the Best JQ ever.

Encore! Canna and Italia Over the Ukraine 3 - 0 as Italia makes final four in FIFA World Cup '06!
Encore due! Prego, Bellas. You're so very welcome.