Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sabrina Jeffries GuestBlog: My Dirty Little Secret

Ach, where do I begin to tell you all the things I like about Sabrina Jeffries? She's a wonderful writer, but she's also a totally admirable woman when she's not making you laugh till you cry.

Even more, today she's giving you Bellas the first gander at the step-back art for her next "School for Heiresses" title, "Beware a Scot's Revenge." Totally makes me reconsider my "I just can't think of Nathan Kamp in that way anymore" declaration.

Please, Bellas, a warm buongiorno for Miss Sabrina. And if she starts that "I'm just an innocent little ol missionary's daughter" routine, SO don't buy it...

I'll admit my dirty little secret right here--I like heroes who smoke. And no, I don't mean they're hot, although I like that, too. I mean, they have a fondness for tobacco.

But here’s the thing. I am not now, nor have ever been, a smoker. My Southern Baptist missionary parents drilled into me that smoking was morally wrong, and although that
part of the training didn’t work, I never had any desire to try smoking. My husband doesn’t smoke, and neither does anyone in my immediate family. So why am I attracted to heroes who are smokers? No clue.

Maybe it’s the hazy memories of my great-grandfather, who not only smoked cigars, but reeked masculinity. Maybe it’s that throaty smoker’s voice. It may even be the smell. When other women complain about it as a filthy habit, I don’t understand. I adore the smell of cigars and pipes and cigarettes, even though my throat can’t tolerate the smoke for long. The point is, smoking is sexy to me in the abstract, in books, although I suspect that I wouldn’t find it sexy for long in a husband.

Lots of other things fit that bill for me—men on motorcycles (even though I have no fondness for bugs in my teeth), men going commando (although I would brain my husband if he practiced it regularly), sweaty laborers (nice to look at—not so great to smel

And I suspect I’m not alone either. So what turns you on in a book that wouldn’t turn you at all in real life? Or what turns you on that you wouldn’t tolerate in a husband?

Oh, and if the sweaty guys don’t appeal to you, I can give you one straight out of the bath. That’s what’s on my brand-new inside art for Beware a Scot’s
Revenge, scheduled for release mid-May of next year. Ooh, mama!
Visit Sabrina at!
Encore! "Only a Duke Will Do" is out now, and is currently on the NY Times extended Best Seller List, USA Today, Waldebooks Romance, and Waldenbooks Mass Market! Congratulazione, Bella Sabrina!
Encore due! I don't know about you, but I'm kinda addicted to step-backs. I think they're marvelous. And I love this model; she's so short. See? I totally can notice something other than cover model guys.


Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Ciao, Sabrina and Bellas! LOVE the new art, and your topic. I have to say that I've had to learn to appreciate smoking as part of the Regency culture, but I still can't make a comfortable leap from a hero just having smoked to immediately kissing the heroine. I've never smoked, and never even dated a smoker.

What I can understand is liking the smell of pipe tobacco or certain types of tobaccos.

Per your question? I totally love an alpha hero who's a jerk, a real bastard, kinda Old School. I would never put up w/ it in real life, but that;s why I like romance. I'm a woman who digs the forced seduction scenario, I love the bad-ass hero who has miles to go before he's even redeemable, let alone falls to his knees.

I can't wait to read what everyone has to say today! So, thanks again for joining us, Sabrina!

Julie in Ohio said...

Welcome to RBTB, Sabrina!! I have to first of all commend you on you lovely name. My oldest daughter's name is also Sabrina and although she doesn't like it because she is the only Sabrina in the fifth grade (her words), I have always found it lovely.
Secondly, that stepback is making me crave a smoke. HOT! :o)
I don't mind if a hero is a smoker. I actually like it better when they have a vice. Whether it's tobacco, alcohol, or gambling, that's what makes them more alive.

Julie in Ohio said...

Michelle- I, too, like a hero who is a jerk. I wouldn't put up with it for long but I think the HEA is more satisfying when he has to work at it more and is brought to his knees by the heroine.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

OK. I think this is the perfect time, speaking of "brought to his knees," JulieO, to say that Sabrina wrote a scene in the second of the Royal Brotherhood series, where the hero, who is this enormously big man in all ways, falls literally to his knees so he can be at the correct level to hold the heroine and worship her body as it were (and this in a private room or box at the opera). It is SUCH a sexy scene, and this new art reminded me a bit of it.

I've always admitted I love a big hero and a petite heroine. But I'm sure in real life that would get so tiring, really, all that great big, strapping man all the time, looming over one, so demanding and, um, strapping, and um. Well, maybe it wouldn't get all that tedious...

Sabrina Jeffries said...

That's a good one, Michelle--the large hero and the small heroine. Sounds great in theory, but I wonder ... My husband is only slightly taller than I am, and we fit so nicely that I wonder how I could handle a guy who's a foot taller than I am. It seems it would be hard to maneuver certain things. I have to have my 5'10" son bend down just so I can kiss his cheek!

I like the alpha hero, too, but I had a guy on a date once trap me atop a fire tower refusing to let me down until I kissed him. Wasn't that sexy. Maybe that's why I have a fear of heights now. :-)

I personally think that alpha men can be tamed and managed in real life by the right woman, but it takes more work than I'm willing to do. But I think they're way sexy in the abstract, oh yeah. Just like vampires might be sexy to some people, but would you really want to live with one? I'm just saying . . .

Anonymous said...

Oh, I agree. MANY things that are sexy in a romance novel (smoking, alpha male behavior, vampires, shape-shifters, dodging bullets with a Navy SEAL, etc.) would probably lose some of their charm if you had to live with that every day of your life. But that's why we read novels, isn't it-- to get *away* from everyday life.

Think about a romance novel about everyday life... the couple arguing over money, going to peewee soccer practice or PTA meetings, bickering about whose turn it is to load the dishwasher, do laundry, or scrub the toilets...

Give me a smoking alpha vampire any day!! :)

Minna said...

I think Laura ticked off most things I find sexy in a book, but not in real life. Except smoking. I don't find that sexy even in a romance novel!

Vivi Anna said...

You hit it for me Julie. I like my fictional men to have a vice...but in real life, I married an alcoholic, and it was pure hell living like that. And they don't change FOR YOU, like they do in books, they have to change for themelves, it loses the romance that way! LOL

I like big big men in my romance, but in real life too. I have a weakness for tall strapping men with smoldering eyes, and big...hands. mmmmmmmmmm

Anonymous said...

Hi Sabrina! (waving)

I don't know about smoking- although I can still remember the smell of my grandfather's pipe- but I like gamblers. There's something edgy and dangerous and slightly calculating about gambling, that cool hand Luke sort of guy lounging at a card table, flipping his cards with every appearance of calm and then cleaning up! (OK, I like the part about winning a big pot, too) But I guess I only like it when it IS calculated, not compulsive, even in fiction. My husband puts money on his football team (sometimes...depending on how he feels about the game and how many points they're giving), but that's it- he's limited in what he can lose. Losing in fiction is one thing, real life is another.

As for tall hero, small heroine, I'm indifferent. It can sound really sexy and cool, but my mom and dad are a foot apart in height. In real life it looks weird. I'm taller than my mother and once got MISTAKEN FOR HER when out with my dad. Death would have been preferable (at age 15). So I like my heroes and heroines a little more complementary in size, just because it gives me the creeps to think they might ever be mistaken for father-and-daughter, this huge guy and a tiny little woman.


krissyinva said...

I also like my "romance men" to have a vice, because "perfect" is boring. My hubby is in construction so yeah when he gets home he stinks, but after his shower I get to enjoy all those wonderful muscles on his lean body.

robynl said...

Hi and welcome Sabrina.
I would tolerate a more Alpha male in books but not in real life.
I like my man to be taller than me but in books it would not matter if he was shorter or short.

Unknown said...

HEY SABRINA! Loved the latest book. No surprise. LOL! Can’t wait for the next one. *GRIN* Please may I have a yummy Scot?

I hadn't thought about the smoking thing, but all my heroes--so far--smoke. I actually did a ton of research to establish what they would smoke in the 1780s. What I haven’t written is a snuff taker, which is funny since snuff is SOOOOO period.

Being a tall girl myself, I find that the dainty little heroines tend to annoy me. I have trouble identifying with their perspective (on so many things/levels, no pun intended). A guy who’s a foot taller than me? Anyone got a spare professional basketball player? I’m lucky if they guys I date are tall enough for me to wear heels. LOL!

Monica Burns said...

Hey Sabrina! What a lovely treat to see you here!! You know I've been a big fan since Amy introduce us several years ago.

Great Question too! Smoking, I'm with you Michelle, not because I don't think people shouldn't smoke, but because the residual smell is yuck!

I don't think I'd have trouble with the Alpha thing because I'm an Alpha and I'd go head to head with a guy.

What I wouldn't like would be the DH paying the bills and monitoring how much I spend on this and that. I'm a control freak.

I also wouldn't like the double standards. I told the DH up front we weren't going to have that in our relationship. Fortunately for me, he's a Beta guy and totally sweet.

Great to see you here Sabrina. Missed seeing you at National this past July.


Playground Monitor said...

I first met Sabrina several years ago when I was still reviewing books and an RWA chapter mate of hers arranged a lunch for a group while I was visiting relatives in North Carolina. Then the next year, she was the guest speaker at my own RWA chapter's Romance Readers' Lunch. And yeah, yeah... I heard that missionary's daughter routine. *g* I'm married to a Southern Baptist preacher's son so I know all about PKs.

My husband and I both smoked. I quit 20 years ago and he quit about 8 years ago. And now I can't tolerate much smoke. Smells nasty. And kissing a smoker is like licking an ashtray. Blech!

My husband also rides a motorcycle -- his mid-life crisis for 2004 -- and I've never had a bug in my teeth. But you do have awful helmet hair.

Going commando? Mmmmm that's sexy but I won't say whether mine does or not. TMI. LOL!

Freshly bathed men? Now I can dig that, especially if they use some yummy-smelling shower gel.

Back to the grindstone.


Sabrina Jeffries said...

Hi, Marilyn, Monica, Kalen, Caroline . . . wow, so many people I know! I didn't think about the alcohol thing, but I find that sexy, too--the guy drinking brandy or, in the case of my new Scottish hero, whisky. I drink, although pretty moderately, but I'm so aware of alcoholism these days (plenty of friends dealing with it in their families) that when I'm around a guy doing serious drinking it makes me a little uncomfortable. It just seems more normal in historical romances.

I think my love of vices IS a missionary kid thing--a strict upbringing does help to breed a fascination with whatever is different from you, whatever is taboo.

Snuff, Kalen? Ugh. I can't go there. That's one thing I've never been attracted to--the effete lace-on-the-cuffs type hero. Does nothing for me.

And thanks, y'all, for all the lovely compliments about my books!

Jennifer Y. said...

I love Sabrina's books and that step-back is great!

As to the question...smoking, drinking, dangerous habits (motorcycle included in this), and overbearing personalities are things that wouldn't turn me on in real life, but don't bother me in books.

Unknown said...

Snuff just makes me sneeze. But then so does cigarette smoke.

Unknown said...

As to the question...smoking, drinking, dangerous habits (motorcycle included in this), and overbearing personalities are things that wouldn't turn me on in real life, but don't bother me in books.

I guess I kind of think of life as a dangerous habit, at least if you live it right. *GRIN*

There's nothing like rounding a corner on a motorcycle so fast you have to lean out to balance the bike, so hard you scrape your knee. Nothing like it. Except maybe taking a BIG fence on horseback, or surfing (which I suck at, but it was fun to attempt it).

I totally get the adrenaline junkie thing.

Monica Burns said...

There's nothing like rounding a corner on a motorcycle so fast you have to lean out to balance the bike, so hard you scrape your knee. Nothing like it. Except maybe taking a BIG fence on horseback...

SOOO with you on the motorcycle experience. I keep threatening to buy me a Hawg, and the spouse and the kids are revolting at the idea. Primarily because I'm rebellious enough to not want to wear a helmet. Nothing better than a crisp fall day with the wind stirring up the hair.

As for the big fences...loved it, but the buttocks screamed the one time I had a gelding balk at a fence. I went over the fence alone. *sigh*

Sabrina, I remember vividly your comments about missionary life and the discussion we had about snakes and how you were used to having those around when you were overseas with your folks. I still admire you for that nonchalant manner you have about those creepy things. Ugh! Nerves of steel is all I can say!

Unknown said...

If you've never been thrown, you're not really a rider.

Jennifer Y. said...

I guess the reason I thought of motorcycles as a dangerous habit is because a friend of my father's lost his son because of a motorcycle accident. I have never been on one, but they kind of scare me. Who knows? If I rode one, then my opinion might be different. Ya never know.

It is true that life in general could be a dangerous habit, but taking additional (or unnecessary) risks just doesn't turn me on in real life. I am a wimp. LOL

Anonymous said...

In books sex in the sand is sexy but real life. Yuck! Sand should not go there unless is is very soft sand.

I definately don't do the hero smoking.

It is also all exciting when he gets all Alpha and jealous wanting to fight people but real life it just doesn't work if you have to ask permission to go Wallmart alone.

Unknown said...

I guess it's about what your definition of "unnecessary risk" is.

I’m going to Morocco in January for work. I travel around Turkey by myself (and I can’t really say more in Turkish than “Can I get a beer, please?” and one very dirty word). To many people traveling in these kinds of places falls in to "unnecessary risk". Hell, it seems lately that some people think all international travel falls into that category.

Motorcycles are dangerous. No two ways about it. Most drivers don’t see you, and the ones who do are pretty much trying to kill you. Yet I don’t feel like I’m taking all that huge a risk when I’m on one, or at least I think the risk is worth it.

Horses are dangerous. You can fall, get thrown, get kicked. Look at Christopher Reeve. I still love ‘em. And if I could afford one, I’d still own one.

Getting into the ocean is dangerous (sharks, riptides, jellyfish, etc.). Yet the beaches are crowded.

Most of the things that make life worth living are dangerous.

Playground Monitor said...

I'm a wimpy motorcycle passenger. Even in the middle of August, I'm wearing that leather jacket and gloves. The first time I rode with the DH he gave me the ground rules: keep my feet on the pegs (he's since bought me floorboards; isn't he a dear???), sit still, try to lean with him and no matter what, do NOT put my hands over his eyes. Well duh!

We ride backroads and avoid major streets and especially interstate highways. I've nicknamed his bike "Fu Manchu" from that line in Tim McGraw's song about spending "2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu."


Kimberly said...

Coming out of lurkdom to say how much I LOVE all of Sabrina Jeffries books!!!! I'm really excited about Colin's upcoming story, but the book I really can't wait for is Beware a Scot's Revenge (May is so far away). The cover's gorgeous by the way :)

As for heroes....hmmm. In books I like the hardcore protective alpha males. In real life, I'd either give them the raised eyebrow, or (if they were really pushing it) probably kick them so fast their grandsons would feel it. ;) Smokers in books are okay too, but in real life totally gross me out (plus smoke sends my asthma into a frenzy which is also a major turnoff). The sweaty laboring or working out guy is great as well, but in real life the bath is definitely necessary.

catslady said...

Hate smoking real or not.

Now the idea of someone taller and well formed is very exciting. Maybe cause I married someone close to the same size as me. My one daughter who is 5'2 is dating someone 6'3". Oh and long hair can be nice but very few real guys can carry that off. I like dangerous guys in books but wouldn't have anything to do with it in real life.

I'm looking forward to reading one of your books some day :)

Anonymous said...

I've dated men who smoke and bad for me to say but I think it's got its allure. Not chain smoking mind you. But alas I was in France and it added to the whole French male experience :)

I love chauvenist heroes of the Harlequin Presents variety but the thought of being personally attracted to one IRL puts me off chocolate.

I also like heroes who sleep around a bit.. but again doesn't work so well off the pages of a novel.

AND I'm a huge fan girl of Sabrina Jeffries. I adored the Royal Brotherhood series (the last one has been reread so many times the cover fell off) Where do I start on Gavin Byrne....

And now a scotsmen. I hope we learn what's under the hero's kilt.

Sabrina Jeffries said...

Y'all are so wonderful! I've been home with the flu for several days now, and this was just the thing to cheer me up.

About the sand, yes, that's another one that looks great in theory and not so hot in practice. Actually been there, done that. I have a friend who swears you can also do it against a wall, but I've never managed that maneuver. Sigh.

Yes, you will learn what lies under the kilt, at least for my guy. :-) And both Lachlan's (he's the Scot) and Colin's stories are very hot. Or at least as hot as I ever get.

Oh, and Nearhere, I seem to be one of a minority who finds Frenchmen terribly sexy. I married a New Orleans Creole (French and Spanish descent), so that may be part of it. But I've discovered that few romance readers share my fascination. :-(

Playground Monitor said...

Haylofts. That's another one that sounds real sexy but is in fact real itchy. :grin:

Unknown said...

Frenches can be super sexy (those noses!). And I fully believe in gear when I'm on a bike! I value my skin. But then I'm a BMW girl, not a Harley girl.

Dannyfiredragon said...

Welcome Sabrina,

good to see you here. I love Alpha heroes in book, but I guess I could never tolerate a 100% Alpha in real life.

Stacy~ said...

Dang, I missed it! I went out to dinner and a movie with a girlfriend - we went to see "The Departed" which I thought was great. Violent and bloody, but now I understand more the Leonardo DiCaprio appeal, and his talent. Jack Nicholson was typical, priceless Jack. Loved it.

Hi Sabrina - I've heard tons of great things about your books, and I have a few in my TBR. Next time I'm on a historical kick, your books are one the top of my choices.

I also don't care for the smoking hero - does nothing for me and I don't think it adds anything, but to each their own :)

Someone said, Julie I think, about their heroes having a vice, and I totally agree on that. Adrenaline junky, or maybe he even has a little bit of a sweet tooth (a lot of guys I know don't care for sweets - I just can't relate!) yet they don't gain the weight like women do. I totally love the motorcycle thing - very hot.

ev said...

gone all day yesterday but trying to catch up-

I am just over 5 foot tall, and most of the men in my life have all been at least a foot taller than me. I love it. Makes for many interesting possibilites. Not only that it makes me feel physically secure. Of course, since most of them carried guns, I am sure that helped too!! ;)

I can deal with a hero who smokes, although it makes you wonder what will happen in the years to come, but I can not stand one who chews. Ick. Ick. Ick. Gross.

Jennifer Y. said...

I have to agree with catslady...long hair in books is sometimes sexy, but not all men can pull it off in real life.

Sabrina Jeffries said...

Ooh, ooh, guns, yes! Heroes with weapons are so sexy, but if my hubby packed heat every time we went out, I might get a bit nervous. On the other hand, I think cops are very sexy, so maybe I'd learn to deal with it. :-)

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hi, Bellas! Slinking in, then back out. I love love this discussion, but I've got this migraine and so I'm begging off, yet again.

Big, tall guys -- yes.
It's all about the bikers. yes.
Automatic weapons/mercenaries, etc. yes. yes. yes.
Long hair. yes.
Long comb-overs. no.

Some lucky tall girl said she doesn't like the short heroines and her reaction is exactly mine, but opposite. But I get over it. I just really love the whole placeholder thing, and it's always cool to read about someone I'd like to be like. So short and curvaceous does it for me.

Sabrina, thanks so so much for being with us. You are so awesome for visiting, and I'm glad it's made you feel good, cause you sure make us feel that way. :)

Gotta go rest, Bellas. Don't forget the TiVo DiVa tomorrow.

Carry on with your nasty guy fantasies...

Unknown said...

I love tall men with long hair and I don't mind them smoking cigars and drinking brandy -(although not at the same time they might choke) obviously this is in Romance novels not real life as very few men can carry them off.
I love alpha heroes and bad boys but again wouldn't want to live with one!

Jennifer Y. said...

Hugs Michelle! I feel for you on the migraine...I get them frequently and have Chronic Daily Headaches.

Sabrina Jeffries said...

Michelle, thanks so much for having me. It's been a blast! Go rest your head--I spent half this week sleeping with this flu, so I totally understand slinking into bed. Fortunately, I think I'm finally getting over it!

ev said...

Michelle- go turn out the lights and get some sleep. We get them too and they suck big time.

jennifer- one of these days I'll get a damn bust reduction and maybe the chronic daily ones will go away!!!

Julie in Ohio said...

Oh, Michelle. I hope you feel better. Migraines are a bitch. The only suggestion I can give is to turn off all of the lights. I've only had one migraine before but I remember that light is a killer.

Feel better, sweety!!!

{{{{BIG HUGS}}}}

Julie in Ohio said...

Sabrina, I hope you feel better, too. I'm always willing to lay around the house but it's alot more fun when you're *not* sick... :o)

Sonja Foust said...

GOD, that is one sexy post-bath dude.

I agree that I think the IDEA of smoking and going commando are kind of sexy, but I dated one guy who smoked and one guy who went commando, and really, it's not sexy in practice. I promise. Smokers have skank breath ALL the time and the no underwear thing just leaves you wide open for plumber's crack. It ain't pretty.

Motorcycles now? Motorcycles are sexy.

I also think being able to swear in a manly, dangerous way is sexy. I mean, I can swear with the best of em, but I just sound like a sweet little girl with a potty mouth when I do it.

Abby Gaines said...

Hmm, things that I love in books but not in real life...? I really enjoy Regency-set books - but in real life I often give thanks that I was born in the era of modern plumbing! When I read historicals I have to try not to worry about those poor women eating / drinking / dancing all night long with few options for a quick comfort break and no chance of a hot shower to revive them next morning...