Friday, December 29, 2006

Lame Excuses

Contest!!! One lucky commenting Bella wins some new romances -- I dunno, six I guess? OK. Six. :)

Um, yeah. It's almost the new year, and I kinda forgot to ask what's probably the biggest questions most folks with a romance novel gig ask annually. But I've got a couple lame excuses. I've got kids. It was the holidays. Life got in the way. See? I promise lame and I don't disappoint.

So Bella MaryKate says, "Michelle, did it cross your mind that you should maybe ask what everybody's favorite book of 2006 was? Their favorite hero and heroine?"

Well no it didn't, Miss I Come Up With Blog Topics Cause Most Days Michelle Can't Think Of Em On Her Own.

I went back through the RBtheBook archives to think on what was my favorite book of 06 and I couldn't come up with one. I'm not sure why. Could be that I read one, then block it and all others out when I read the next. Maybe it's that I can find something to like in everything I read, so it there are too many to choose from? Probably, it's cause I'm getting ready to drive the last of the holiday guests to the airport and I'm distracted. I'll have to think about that.

What are your picks for 2006:

1. Best Work of Romance Fiction
2. Hero of the Year
3. Heroine of the Year
4. Hottest Erotic Moment or Scene
Encore! The past year at RBtheBook and RBtheBlog have been great fun, and one of the funnest things was learning about this cover model guy, Nathan Kamp, giggling over him like a schoolgirl, and hunting him down for an interview.
Encore due! Grazie mille to everyone who dropped in, or just lurked, yesterday at And thanks to the staff there for inviting me, and coordinating an always thought-provoking, really useful, and plain ol fun resource for readers and writers of romance fiction.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Keepin That Rezzie: Hot and Wet

Excellent Contest at the 70+ InternetBroadcasting TV, Inc. websites that syndicate RBtheBook: Click the pic for more info!
Is Nasty the New Naughty? Find out in my guest Blog today at

In the spirit of keeping my New Year's Rezzie to you, my Bellas:


and Wet

Say buongiorno to Aussie rules footballer, Campbell Brown, and Leslie Kwok, Singaporean national swimmer/businessman.

Prego, prego. You're welcome. There'll be more where that came from in 2007, if it kills me. Cause I'm here for you, my Bellas.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Lover Revealed, Or, Tohr: All's I Can Tell Is I Can't Tell U Much

Just like some of the best hooks in Country & Western, Dixie Cash always comes through with the good titles. "I Gave You My Heart, but You Sold It Online" is this week's feature on RBtheBook! Hop on over and read Dixie's AuthorView, too, as sisters Jefferey McClanahan ("Sweet Water," "Salvation, Texas") and her sister Pamela Cumbie teach us the genteel art of the non-put-down put-down.

Brenda Joyce's "The Prize" is the Old Flame, packed with that "oh, no, he didn't do that again" heartache.

OK. I just don't know how much is too much, OK?
Same quest as yest: what books are you looking forward to in the
New Year, ex-specially in January and February?
Or, just keep talkin smack, Bellas...

Encore! Azzuri, from Bella marykate, who's trying to bribe me any way she knows to spill dish about "Lover Revealed." She said it was to help me w/ my NY rezzie to show more pix of hot, wet guys, but I'm not so sure her motives were that pure. I mean, does sweat count as wet?
Encore due! Read my guest blog Tomorrow, Thursday, Dec 28, at

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Lover Revealed, Or: Don't Hate Me Cause I've Read It

Ah. Well. We've survived, now, haven't we. My favorite gift? A very romantic one from Dave: a luxe detailing of the mum-mobile, to scrape off all the gunk from schlepping around two children who insist upon being fed daily, often repeatedly in each diurnal cycle.

Very sexy stuff.

Those of you new to RBtheBook and RBtheBlog my find this hard to believe, but there are some Bellas who hang here who -- well, there's no gentle way to put it -- beg like lust-crazed virgins in medieval warlord romances when it comes to tidbits about Books Not Yet Released.

Take Black Dagger Brotherhood novels, for instance, the next of which, "Lover Revealed," I finished a week or so ago. Not for nothin, but, I'm lovin me some Butch O'Neil, and not just cause he's from Southie, still has some of his Boston accent, and has a big ol jones for Marissa, member of the Regency-like vampire aristocracy. But what can I tell you about LR without giving away big, fat spoilers? Hmmm...beg me and I might tell a few.
Anywayz, I'm wondering, what books are you looking forward to in the
New Year, ex-specially in January and February?
Encore! New Year's Rezzie: To post more pix of hot guys. What's happened to me, anyway, that I've let this slide? I'm so ashamed.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Buon Natale

You're busy, I know. But if you'd like, if you have a moment, if you want -- if you need to -- share with us that special thought of Christmas past, of that lovely person no longer with you whom you think of with bittersweet emotion and fondness every year at this time.

Pay tribute, pay homage, pay a compliment, say thank you. And know that since February, I've been honored and astounded that you've chosen to share with me so much of your lives, your struggles, your loves, and those daily triumphs that make life a blessing.

I'm thinking of my grandmother, Adina. She came to America at the turn of the last century, taught herself to read and write English, raised a family of folks who are proud of thier Italian heritage, but who count themselves fortunate to be Americans.

I have a cameo which belonged to her that looks similar to the one pictured. Dig the produce in the do? Anyway, it means a lot to me, and so does making special food for Christmas Eve and day which Nonni always made. She was a very simple woman. I miss her.

Merry Christmas, and Buon Natale, Bellas.

Encore! Felicitazione cathy, you've won Roxanne St. Claire's gifts from yesterday's Christmas and Clooney GuestBlog. Email me your snail mail address at .
Encore due! Grazie mille, Rocki, for getting us in the holiday spirit. Visit again soon!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Rocki St. Claire GuestBlog: Christmas And Clooney...What's Not To Love?

Contest!!! One lucky commenting Bella wins a signed copy of KILL ME TWICE -- PLUS -- a DVD set of "Oceans Eleven" and "Oceans Twelve" courtesy of Rocki!
A few months ago, Roxanne St. Claire admitted one of the most shocking things we've heard here at RBtheBlog -- and, Bellas, we've heard some shawkahs. So she offered to come here on this last business day before Christmas to set the record straight.

Her visit comes at a great time: None of us really feels like working today anyway, and Rocki's December reissue of the first novel in her Bullet Catchers series, KILL ME TWICE, has just hit the shelves. It's got an excerpt from each novel in the series, including THRILL ME TO DEATH (read the RBtheBook feature). So, grab a mug of office nog, offer up a warm buongiorno, and enjoy Rocki's #1 reason to get into the Season...

Buono Natale, Bellas! Can it be just two short months ago when I whispered my darkest secrets on a blog comment, right here at Michelle’s party? In case you missed that day, I blithely admitted that I don’t love Christmas. (Gasp!) I also admitted, a paragraph later, that I do love George Clooney. So, I’m not totally abnormal.

It’s not that I don’t love Christmas…I don’t love everything about Christmas. And, who knows? If given the opportunity to explore him in depth, up close, real personal and with two free hands, perhaps I could fi
nd a flaw on George, too, a little something I didn’t love. I’d welcome the opportunity to try. Right now.

My secret was revealed when I joked that I am the
least likely writer to do a Christmas story because it isn’t my favorite holiday, and yet, here I am, celebrating the release of not one, but two, seasonal anthologies this year.

And I was jazzed because I’LL BE HOME hit the NYT extended (thank you, Linda Lael Miller fans) and A NASCAR HOLIDAY had merited a wee mention in Vanity Fair…the one with George Clooney on the cover. And that’s how Clooney and Christmas came to be co-topics in one blog.

I can devour George in total (especially dressed like he is in the convertible) but I tend to take the holidays in bits and pieces, more like tableaux-style moments that I try to capture and appreciate. In between, there’s a lot of stress, a lot of crowds, a lot of guilt, a lot of work.

But, oh those moments. Like when we sit down with dear friends to the overflowing Christmas Eve table to celebrate the Italian tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes. (And my husband, the Italian in the family, has cooked every delicious morsel – what’s not to love about that?) I get seriously cheery at the first few notes of Bruce Springsteen’s whimsical rocker version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town. I love the thrill of unearthing a particularly beloved ornament that has been tucked away in the attic, out of sight and mind, but still so much a part of the family that you wonder how you lived without it for a year.

And what’s better than the toe-curling delight of finding the perfect gift for someone you adore? Or that first sip of coffee on Christmas morning, that one last millisecond of suspended time before the room explodes into chaos and cooing and thank yous and hugs. I love opening cards with pictures of friends I partied with in my twenties, who now have grown children. And oh, yeah, I sure enjoy that first bite of an icing-lathered sugar star cookie.

Yes, Mrs. Scrooge, there are plenty of Kodak moments in December and I do my best to seize them all.

But to be honest…there’s a multitude of stresses that I don’t cherish. I really don’t appreciate it when my favorite oldies station switches to all holiday music the day after Thanksgiving. I’m not crazy about the pink flamingo lights that have become popular down here in Florida, and, to be honest, reindeer sweaters don’t look good on anyone. I loathe the “I fo
rgot somebody” panic, and I don’t relish having to park a mile from Wal-Mart when I’m on a hunt for the makings of a shepherd’s head gear– you know, the costume I found out I had to make the night before the pageant?

Like many writers, I dread December deadlines, and I always seem to have one. And, if you, as I have, ever lost a loved one during this season, you know the bittersweet pang of missing someone who would have made the moment even more perfect.

But when you weigh it all, there’s more to love than not about the holidays…it just ain’t all frothy nog and
mistletoe kisses.

And speaking of kisses, let’s go back to George.

All right, bellas, fess up…anything you don’t like about the holidays? How do you maintain joy during the season of stress? (Reading good books is always my suggestion!) What is your single favorite moment of the month? And, most important, how do you feel about George?

Ho ho ho and happy holiday moments and memories to all…

Visit Rocki at !
Encore! Grazie, Bellas, for teasing me out of the cranks yesterday, and cracking me up with your Canna quotes to go along w/ yesterday's Fabio Cannavaro photo. Out of all my faves, I chose the one that would most likely make me a happy girl -- and showed the quote's author was payin attention during Hot Topic Week. So, vivi anna, you win the copy of Jacquelyn Frank's "Jacob!" Vivi's Canna quote? "Michelle, you've been a naughty b*tch, haven't you? You get your pretty little *ss over here so I can spank it." You had me at naughty b*tch, Canna.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Cranky Commentary, Cannavaro, And A Contest

Tomorrow's the day we've been waiting for. Not only is Roxanne St. Claire here Fri Dec 22 to start the holidays right with "Christmas and Clooney," but she's offering one lucky commenting Bella a signed copy of her Dec release, PLUS a SET of Clooney DVDs, "Oceans Eleven" and "Oceans Twelve!"


If I seem cranky today, it's cause I am.

We just had that great chat yesterday with Jenna Petersen, deciding whether we're all about the h's or the hn's. Fine. Good. But let me tell you what I like best, cause a) I was buried yesterday and couldn't join in your fun (which peeves me), and, 2. It's my blog, so you should know this about me:

I like heroes. Unfeeling jerks -- bastards, really -- who in all ways are larger-than-life, are egocentric, privileged, and powerful, and who do mortifyingly abusive things to the women with whom they're falling in love.

I don't care if they're irredeemable through much of the novel. What I do care about is whether the author can convince me it makes sense that they're idiots, and that the women they're treating like crap are gonna wreak big, fat emotional havoc over the guys' boneheads before the epilogue. And I do like me some epilogue -- or final chapter alluding to the promise of Contentment Ever After, if you want to get all artsy.

Brenda Joyce writes some of my favorite Old School-type romances. She's not afraid to write a jerky bastard, and one of her best is Devlin O'Neill of "The Prize," (read my Old Flames review) book 4 in her deWarrenne Dynasty series. The series has it all, medievals, Regencies, lusty high-seas hijinx, and heroes who fall in love once, and for ever.

I just finished "A Lady at Last," and loved it. Joyce manages to make Cliff deWarrene a total jerk, but also moral and honorable, and, a stunning mess of emotion beneath his gentleman privateer exterior.

So, I'm stakin my claim to the Bastard Hero. Yeah. And on top of all that, it's been ages since we've had some wet guy photos -- ANY hot, barely clad guy photos for that matter -- so I'm giving you some alpha Canna, cause I knows what's good for my Bellas.

Happy flippin holiday rush.

Are you all about the Bastard Hero? Why/why not?

Contest!!! I believe Canna's trying to tell me something (because it's all about me, isn't it?). Whomever comes up with the best Canna quote for this pic wins a copy of Jacquelyn Frank's "Jacob." ***

Encore! Jenna P Winners: brownone, you win the copy of Jenna Petersen's "From London with Love," and flip you've scored the copy of "Desire Never Dies." Email me your snail mail w/ Jenna P in the sub line @

Encore due! Grazie, grazie Jenna Petersen for yesterday's terrif GuestBlog. You were as gracious then as I am cranky today. You are welcome back any time! I, however, may find myself banned from my own blog today if I don't perk up.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Jenna Petersen GuestBlog: In Praise Of Strong Heroines...And The Men Who Love Them

Contest!!! 2 Lucky commenting Bellas win either a copy of Jenna Petersen's DESIRE NEVER DIES or FROM LONDON WITH LOVE courtesy of Jenna!
I e-met Jenna Petersen when she kindly helped me (and her publisher HarperCollins/Avon, publicize some GuestBlogs over at Plus, she's kind of our unoffial Avon hostess here at RBtheBlog. But what you need to know most about Jenna -- aside from the fact that she's really nice -- is she writes great romances, the kinds of historicals we talk about here all the time.

Oh! If you love writing, you need to visit Jenna's site for writers, , which receives 200,000 page views a month! So, after you've wished Jenna a warm Bella buongiorno and chatted a while here, you'll wanna go read one of her novels...

There are two kinds of romance writers (okay, there are hundreds of KINDS, but we’ll just stick with two for the purpose of discussion). Hero writers and Heroine writers. Hero writers are the ones who make us drool over their men like nobody’s business. They heal them and drive them and by the end, you really want them to be happy. Heroine writers more often give us the kind of heroines we all wish we could be.

I always thought of myself more of a Hero writer. In my books I wrote before being published and in my debut, SCANDALOUS, my storylines seemed to grow more naturally from my heroes. I loved to break them, then heal them. I loved to make them slog and work and grow in order to have their happy ending. They were my men and I loved writing every single one of them.

And then I got this little idea for a new series. Picture it: Charlie’s Angels… but in Empire Waists. And suddenly, I became a Heroine writer. It wasn’t that my series doesn’t have yummy men. They were there, too, with all their broken spirits and rakish charms. But really, these books were about my girls.

And none more so than Anastasia Whittig, the heroine of my January book, DESIRE NEVER DIES. I started with a shy, intelligent woman who is happier breaking codes and inventing items for her sister spies. Then I threw her into every situation I could that would shake her, mold her and change her. And you know what? I loved every moment. I loved how her own desires shocked her. I loved how falling in love shook her to her very core. And I loved how she started to see her own strength through her hero Lucas’s eyes.

So, readers I ask you, is it all about the hero for you or the heroine? Or does it depend on the book? The author? Who do you think writes the best ‘hero’ books and the best ‘heroine’ books? Any favorites from either category?

Please visit and !

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

You Know She Wanted It

I've heard so many women abashedly admit that THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER is either their favorite romance of all time, or the one that made them fall in love with the genre.

But the novel, as well as Woodiwiss' THE WOLF AND THE DOVE, have been pretty controversial because when viewed with contemporary sensibilities, the sexual power dynamic is offensive to many.

For example, there's a scene in the beginning of F and F in which -- and taken out of context it's not much creepier than within -- our fair heroine is mistaken for a prostitute by the hero and deflowered by him efficiently and without much finesse.

It ain't even close to forced seduction, but I'm not about to jump critical on anybody who digs the book, cause it's all about the fantasy, baybee. I mean, I've got puh-lenty of Old School novel faves with ripped bodices and borderline rape and forced seduction that are on my Don't Loan Out shelf.

So, what's your "Flame and Flower?"
Name the novel/s you're mortified to love.
Jenna Petersen GuestBlogs tomorrow, Dec 20 with a great contest!
It's "Christmas and Clooney," Fri, Dec. 22, as Roxanne St. Claire visits with a faboo contest: One lucky commenting Bella wins a signed copy of KILL ME TWICE (12/06), PLUSSSS a Set of "Oceans Eleven," and "Oceans Twelve!"
Daily Squawk Radio Week + a Day contest winners: Mon/evesilver; Tues/adriana; Wed/pj; Thrs/littlelamblost; Fri/Maggie Robinson; Mon/sally (send your snail mail to
Grazie mille SQUAWK RADIO CHICKS !!!
for visiting with us the past week + a day! We've laughed, we've cried, we've regifted. Good times. You are, all of you -- even Connie -- welcome any time.
Encore! MK suggested the topic. Grazie, Bella.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Connie Brockway SquawkBlog: Connie Explains The Gentle Art Of Accepting An Obvious Regift

Contest Today! Each day of Squawk Radio Week + a Day, one lucky commenting Bella wins a gorgeous Italian glass picture frame courtesy of the Squawk chicks!

What can I say about Connie Brockway that I haven't whispered behind my hand at an RWA meeting followed by the words, "But she'll kill me if she knows I told you."
Just kidding, cause I know that kind of thing makes her laugh. It's evident in her writing -- especially in her new contemporary debut, HOT DISH -- but you must know that Connie Brockway has a wicked smart, and at times evil, sense of humor. It's part of the reason I love her novels -- well, that and her heroes like Harry and Kit. Bellas, please offer Connie a warm buongiorno, as she's visiting us from frozen Minnesota...

I have some experience with accepting regifts. Lisa Klepas is notorious for re-gifting “gently used” lipsticks; Christina Dodd sends me underwear so old the shredded elastic looks like lace ; After transferring them to her Ipod, Elizabeth Bevarly sends out her latest CD acquisitions. I’m not sure that Teresa Medeiros’s annual “gift” counts as a “regift” as it’s a CD screen saver of her current year’s favorite Russell Crowe pictures but I am sure that Eloisa James counts because she has confessed outright to buying shrink-wrap to spruce up the decades old Pepperidge Farm Holiday Gift Paks she seems to collect.

As an expert, I’ve compiled a few pointers on the art of regift getting.

1>If you are receiving back the gift that you gave the giver last year, say something like, “Wow! This is the same Pepperidge Farm gift box I gave you last year! You must love this stuff as much as we do!” At once you will have gained important moral high ground which you can use to your advantage for the rest of the year.

2>If the box is dusty, blow off the dust, if the lipstick has, say, a little auburn hair in it, pluck it off and exclaim about how much you love vintage. See earlier comment regarding higher moral ground.

3> A friend of mine regifted a bottle of wine. When we turned it over, we saw a label on the back that said, “Chuck and Alice, June 12th, 2002.” As we were alone with our friends we did not hesitate to loudly and exhaustively decry their attempted deception, it being not only our right but our duty to protect the higher moral ground we spoke of earlier.

Had this exchange taken place in a crowd, we would have had to decided whether the amusement factor in making a public scene would have outstripped the higher moral ground we would have climbed to by staying discreetly mum. While of course we would have pointed out our discretion later, we opted to go for the amusement factor. But that’s us.

4>If you receive clothing items that are not only worn out but two sizes too small, thank the giver for being shrewd enough to realize no one can have too many cleaning rags. Screw the moral high ground. You’re tired of her ratty underwear.

5>Should you get the gift of music, transfer the CD to your computer, and buy some shrink wrap. Yes, if you get caught next year you’ll have slipped down the moral slope, but you’ll have saved a few bucks and let’s face it, if it’s not taking the high road to let someone else claim the higher ground at Christmas, what is?

How about you? Do you have any tips on how to react upon opening
that giant HOT DISH casserole you thought you’d gotten rid of last year?

Happy Holidays!
Visit (cool HOT DISH trailer) and
Reviews, interviews, more...Exclusive "Sugar Daddy" excerpt,
feature review & Kleypas AuthorView!

Daily contest winners thus far: Mon/evesilver; Tues/adriana; Wed/pj; Thrs/littlelamblost; Fri/Maggie Robinson (send your snail mail to

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Diabolically Diabolic Debacle

Connie Brockway visits
Monday, Dec. 18th!
She's the coup de grace, the piece de resistance,
the -- well, she's the last chick to squawk during
Squawk Radio Week + a Day


Jacquelyn Frank's "Jacob" is this week's Feature Review at "Romance: B(u)y the Book!" I think you'll enjoy reading about it, and Jacki's AuthorView.

OK, so I'm like anybody else who writes, I try to get it right. And I try to make each column I write a special tribute to the author and her book. All of this, in language romance fiction readers recognize, one that speaks to them and -- maybe, if I get it just right -- makes em laugh.

But my editor, who's a nice guy, don't always get my jokes, or see immediately what we romance readers understand pretty much intrinsically.

So, in this week's Old Flame tribute to Loretta Chase's, "Lord of Scoundrels," I try to convey the theme running throughout the novel of the hero's being compared to Beelzebub in various incarnations, including the ways he courts the heroine. And I come up with a line that I thought was fairly clever, but in retrospect I could have lived w/out. Here's the line:

"Lord of Scoundrels" is nearly quintessential in its blend of unabashed sensuality, deft writing, witty dialogue, and diabolically romantic love story.

Admittedly, not as inspired as I thought when I jammed it out. Yet it's been edited to:

"Lord of Scoundrels" is nearly quintessential in its blend of unabashed sensuality, deft writing, witty dialogue and diabolical romance.

I was told the proofer felt the phrase diabolically romantic love story was redundant.

Well, yeah. Like, maybe if you've NEVER READ A ROMANCE?

Does a love story have to be hearts-and-flowers, moon and June, to be romantic? What are some decidedly not romantic romances you've read and enjoyed?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Teresa Medeiros SquawkBlog: Teresa Shares Her Favorite Holiday Movies

Contest Today! Each day of Squawk Radio Week + a Day, one lucky commenting Bella wins a gorgeous Italian glass picture frame courtesy of the Squawk chicks.
Teresa Medeiros is one of the Angels in Residence at Squawk Radio, but don't let the halo fool you. Running through every wonderful romance novel she writes is a delicious undercurrent of absolutely shocking, ah say, shocking sensuality. I mean, the Bella knows hot and emotional, especially in her latest, "The Vampire Who Loved Me." So please, Bellas, a rousing Bella buongiorno to the sweetly naughty Miss Teresa...
To me, nothing says Christmas like watching Billy Peltzer's mom stuff a murderous little monster into a blender and push "Puree," which is why GREMLINS tops my list of favorite holiday movies. When you just can't bear to face another jolly mall Santa or hear another cloying chorus of "Frosty the Snowman," pop GREMLINS into your DVD player and enjoy a black chuckle or two. You can still get your dose of warm cuddlies because no elf or red-nosed reindeer could possibly be cuter than Gizmo! (Just don't feed him after midnight!)

If your idea of Christmas cheer is watching hot guys save the world from the criminal element (or Gary Busey), try plugging in the action-packed duet of DIE HARD and LETHAL WEAPON. Their Christmas settings only add to their delicious irony. LETHAL WEAPON sports a pre-ranting Mel Gibson at the height of his masculine beauty
(And hey, Danny Glover is no slouch either!) while DIE HARD has Bruce Willis literally walking over broken glass to save his woman. (With the added bonus of Alan Rickman in full-on evil mode. Yummy!) Instead of crooning "White Christmas," you'll soon be shouting out "Yippee-ki-yay, mother--" Wait—you'd better make sure your mom is in the room first.

And lest you fear me completely devoid of Christmas sentimentality, I'm going to pick IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE next. Not only is it a magnificent movie, it also boasts one of the hottest love scenes in cinematic history. There are no rumpled bedsheets. There are no naked, stra
ining bodies. There is simply George Bailey and Mary Hatch sharing a phone in her mother's living room. An overtly hostile George is torn between his dream of escaping his hometown while there's still time and his desperate desire for young Mary. I don't have to tell you which one wins and in that moment when he drops the phone and grabs Mary, the chemistry between them is so sizzling it may very well melt your heart and your DVD player.

also gave me and my husband one of our favorite catchphrases. When George is raging through the house after Uncle Billy has lost the bank's money, he shouts, "If we're such a happy family, why do we have all these kids?" which can be easily adapted to "If we're such a happy family, why do we have all these cats/recyclable plastics/Christmas decorations???"

So how about YOU? What are your favorite holiday movies? Do you like to wax sentimental over MIRACLE ON 34th STREET or chuckle over SCROOGED? And can you think of any other classic romance moments in the holiday classics?

Visit & !

Connie Brockway, Mon, Dec 18

on Squawk Radio Week + a Day
Please read Romance: B(u)y the Book!
Reviews, interviews, more...
Exclusive "Sugar Daddy" excerpt, feature review & Kleypas AuthorView!
Daily contest winners thus far: Mon/evesilver; Tues/adriana; Wed/pj; Thrs/littlelamblost (send your snail mail to

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christina Dodd SquawkBlog: Xtina Says, "Duck!"

Contest Today! Each day of Squawk Radio Week + a Day, one lucky commenting Bella wins a gorgeous Italian glass picture frame courtesy of the Squawk chicks.
Christina Dodd once said, "Michelle, you and I will be chained to the same rock in Hell." I don't think she understood I'd take that as a compliment. I mean, she's got this totally irreverent and smart sense of humor, and since she didn't follow the statement with a "bless your heart," I figured I was gettin me some praise. Her books make us laugh and cry (remember selkie boy?), and dream about heroes for whom most of us would trade Heaven. And Xtina's much anticipated December release, THE PRINCE KIDNAPS A BRIDE (marriage of convenience. prince in disguise. read it.) the grand finale of her Lost Princesses series is #19 on the NY Times bestseller list! Bellas, felicitazione and buongiorno to La Principessa...

Last year, we got this tree. It was too tall for our great room ... and the ceiling's 16' 8". Listen, don't laugh, our friends Donna and Monty gave it to us, so it was free and we didn't have to chop it down. Scott cut a foot off the bottom and a foot and a half off the top. We carried it in. (Our manly neighbor was conveniently not home to help, so I got elected to carry the "light" end. My contribution consisted mostly of saying, "Wait! I'm standing on a branch!")

When we stood it up, the tree hit the ceiling. So Scott got the loppers, stood on the ladder and cut off another foot and a half. Some might say it smelled like a Xmas tree in here. Actually, it smelled like the whole damned forest. We had to buy garlands, bulbs and lights (ya think?), and we risked our lives to decorate the tree by using extendo-pinchers and really tall ladders. But 2005 was our first Christmas in our new house, and everyone in the family thoroughly enjoyed the tree.

So … a few days after Christmas, we invited Donna and Monty to dine with us, drink with us, and admire our gorgeous tree — and that makes the evening’s events so much more appropriate.

We were all in the great room after dinner, chatting and relaxing. Donna and I sat on the couch, Monty sat on a chair facing us, Scott was on the other couch, also facing us. The tree was off to our right. And right in the middle of the conversation, Monty who is a very erudite, articulate, learned man, suddenly shouted (and I’m quoting him exactly), “Ptrmmble! Shxzmnrt! Argk!”

Later he said he couldn’t find the right words. Actually, the appropriate phrase would have been, “Timber!”

Because the tree fell on us.

It fell in slow motion (the plastic base cracked and the half-inch metal screws in the trunk bent) so Donna and I were able to scramble out from underneath, laughing wildly. (That’s Donna holding the coffee cup and Monte holding the tree while Scott gets a rope.) The guys righted it, tied the trunk to the stair railing and we all sat down and laughed some more. And every Christmas should have a miracle — only one ornament broke!

This year, of course, we’re going to be a lot wiser about our tree. No more of the trees that touch the ceiling. We’ve learned our lesson …

What absolutely marvelous mistakes (like my turkey that wouldn’t cook — I swear he died of old age) and accidents does your family remember and laugh about at Christmas? Tell all!

Please visit and !

Teresa Medeiros tomorrow,
Fri, Dec 15
Connie Brockway, Mon, Dec 18 on Squawk Radio Week + a Day
Please read
Romance: B(u)y the Book!
Reviews, interviews, more...
Exclusive "Sugar Daddy" excerpt, feature review & Kleypas AuthorView!
Daily contest winners thus far: Mon/evesilver; Tues/adriana; Wed/pj

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Elizabeth Bevarly SquawkBlog: Family Holiday Survival Guide

Contest Today! Each day of Squawk Radio Week + a Day, one lucky commenting Bella wins a gorgeous Italian glass picture frame courtesy of the Squawk chicks.
I've only met Elizabeth Bevarly once, and I'll never forget the warmth with which she greeted me. It could be Southern charm, but I'm thinking she's just a very lovely person who's got it all and is happy to share her happiness with others.
Judging from her GuestBlog today, it's clear maybe, just maybe, my family isn't the only one that turns into a bunch of fruitcakes (or mixed nuts?) during the Season of Light/s. So, please, Bellas, a warm buongiorno for Miss Elizabeth...

My family, in lieu of gifts every Christmas, prefers to exchange grudges and petty differences. It’s a tradition that goes back generations. As kids, while my brothers and I were off from school for Christmas break and my father was still at work, my mom would sneak us off to visit my great aunt Sissy, making us swear not to tell Dad, because Aunt Sissy and my paternal grandmother hadn’t spoken to each other since 1948, after a bitter dispute over--wait for it--dish towels.

Over the years, I’ve gotten pretty good at orchestrating (okay, contriving) some creative ways to keep the peace on Earth in our holiday gatherings. (I gave up on the good will thing a long time ago.) Herewith, I give you some of my favorite tips for keeping the season merry and bright, when one’s relatives make that a tad challenging:

--Keep your expectations low at family gatherings. Remember when you were a kid and tried to dig a hole to China? That’s how low I’m talking.

--When [insert name of most annoying relative here] says you’re [insert least favorite adjective here], just remember that the polite response is, “I know you are, but what am I?”

--Never underestimate the power of a little Grand Marnier in the eggnog.

--When you feel yourself reaching your breaking point, get out of the house for a long walk. I actually do this before anyone even comes over. And, um, I don’t come back until they’re gone.

--Speaking of which, popping in a DVD of “Pee Wee’s Playhouse Christmas” will ensure early departures. By the time Charo breaks into “Feliz Navidad,” any stragglers will be hitting the door. Trust me. I KNOW.

Have a peaceful Holiday Season, everyone! (And if your family is like mine, don’t forget to hide the cutlery!)

Okay, I know I’m not the only one with difficult relatives. Who else has found some surefire ways for dealing with those little differences that can escalate to thermonuclear warfare during the holiday season? Are there any infamous disputes in your family that took years to iron out? Or were never ironed out? (My grandmother and Aunt Sissy both went to their graves without ever making amends.)

Please visit and !
Christina Dodd tomorrow,Thurs, Dec 13 on Squawk Radio Week + a Day
Please read Romance: B(u)y the Book! Reviews, interviews, more...
Exclusive "Sugar Daddy" excerpt and feature review , plus Kleypas AuthorView!
Daily contest winners thus far: Mon/evesilver; Tues/adriana