Friday, March 30, 2007

You Know She Wanted It, Part, The Second

"Claiming the Courtesan" Author Anna Campbell GuestBlogs
Wed, April 25!

Bella MK -- who apparently pushes more books here than she does papers at her job -- says, "you've gotta read "Claiming the Courtesan," by Anna Campbell, cause it's got the whole 'is it forced seduction or is it flat-out rape thing goin." Well, if you know me, you know more irresistible words cannot reach these ears, or eyes, since it was by e-mail. Cause I loves me some forced seduction, yet I feel the FS/Rape debate is fascinating and important.

Anyway, "CtheC's" hero's Kyleborne, the most powerful duke in England, cold, gorgeous, lean -- but big in all ways that count -- and obsessed with his mistress of one year, the incomparable Saraya. It took him 6 years to earn her from her other protectors, and he's been enjoying her for a year when she cuts line, runs away w/out a word to live an anonymous life.

So Saraya -- aka Verity, country lass forced to prostitute herself when her parents died and left her to care for her two younger siblings (see? yummy and classic?) , hies herself away, finally achieving the physical autonomy that matched the emotional self-possession she'd kept locked away w/in her as she played the part of England's most renown courtesan.

But Kyleborn spends three, long, irate, celibate months tracking Verity. And when he finds her? He kidnaps her, drags her to the wilds of Scotland, where he attempts to break her spirit, so angry is he that she left him and took with her the only peace he's known.

But being a big, nasty bonehead, he goes about it all wrong. And because Campbell is an outrageously great writer who's just layered "CtheC" with psychodynamics evolved within mores of the day, there is a scene that could be read by the uninitiated romance fiction reader as flat-out rape.

Yet the novel's terrifically sensual. Campbell is gonna become a must-read for many, I'm guessin.

Yet the beauty of Campbell's "CtheC" is that the reader gets to use her brain when reading the book, and also call on her understanding of those things that make an historical romance historically accurate in all ways.

I think "CtheC" is an example of a the concept suggested by Ann Christopher a while back in her GuestBlog, "Sexify Their Love," when she wondered whether the classics, romances, Gothics, etc., wouldn't be better if we knew what went on after the "fade to black."
Now, "Veiled Desires," by Tracy MacNish, is an example of a wonderful historical novel that's very romantic and sensual and uplifting because of the choices the heroine makes with the help of a dashing Irish (again, delicious) hero. And there's no confusion over whether seduction is forced or consented to.

You see, Emeline has been repeatedly raped and abused by her step-father, then won in a card game by his best friend to become what amounts to that man's (another duke) sex slave. Nothing romantic about that. And Emaline can't run, because the price of freedom is too dear.

The duke's nephew, Rogan, travels to London because he's become the duke's heir. Rogan discovers the heroine behind the locked door to the room in which his uncle imprisons her, and begins a kind of blind friendship. Which works great, cause Emaline seems to have qualities and a face that inspire lust in men.

Does that imply Emaline deserves what she gets? Hardly. The message in this novel is clear: Emaline has been a victim, but she becomes what we'd today call a survivor. Does Rogan save her? No. MacNish is so talented, she resists the urge to have Rogan be the one who heals Emaline. She lets Emaline make all the choices, and does it so realistically and intelligently, we watch Emaline come alive emotionally and sensually.

In which case, Emaline gets exactly what she deserves.
What kind of learning curve did you have to experience before you understood the nuances of historical romance? What are some of the things you learned? Do you agree/disagree that what we call forced seduction is irresponsible?
Encore! Grazie Tom Irwin for taking our advice like a man, and for visiting yesterday. Congratulations and best wishes to you and your fiancee on your upcoming nuptuals!
Encore due! caroline linden, you've won a copy of Tom's book, "I Want a Girl!" Please send me your snail mail at Congratulazione!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Tom Irwin GuestBlog: I Want A Girl...

One LCB wins a copy of “I Want a Girl,” courtesy of Tom Irwin!
You might think I'm partial to Comedian and author Tom Irwin cause he's a Boston Red Sox fan, a nice Irish Catholic boy, and has served our nation, both in the military, and entertaining troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. And you'd be correct.

But I really like the idea that Tom's put some thought into which of the myriad qualities that are "woman" would make the perfect "Girl" for him. And anytime a guy puts some thought into male/female relationships, I think we need to reward him for the effort. Tom's new boo
k, "I Want a Girl: Thoughts on the Perfect Companion" is sweet, funny, and reminds one of how nice it is when I guy notices something unique about the woman inside each of us. Please offer Tom a warm Bella buongiorno...

Greetings from Los Angeles. It’s Tom Irwin from “I Want a Girl: Thoughts on the Perfect Companion." Before I get started, I would like to thank Michelle for the opportunity to introduce myself and my book to all of her fans. I sent my book to her last month, and although it may not be a “romance novel” it is certainly “Romantic" in my humble opinion.

I'd like to tell you a little about the author (me) before I get started. I am a comedian who lives in Los Angeles, California. Before I got into the comedy business, I was a soldier in the United States Army out of Ft. Leonard Wood Missouri. I was in a combat engineering unit that spent most of its time in the field in many places across our great country and eventually the jungles of Panama.

After moving to
Los Angeles and working in the clubs here in Hollywood, I was asked to go to Iraq and entertain the men and women of the United States military. What an honor it’s been to do shows for those great men and women, who are currently in Iraq and Afghanistan!

I have been to Iraq and Afghanistan four times as I write this to you and I am scheduled to return sometime this summer. After walking through the war zone, I wrote a one person show titled “25 Days in Iraq: A Comedian’s journey through the War." I have toured the country trying to raise awareness for our troops in a non-partisan, human interest way. I was honored to be asked to perform my show at the White House in Washington, D.C. last summer.

I have always been a romantic, albeit a rather unconventional one. And that is how my book “I Want a Girl” came to be. When I moved to Los Angeles, I knew no one. I did not have that special someone in my life. So I started making a list of what I wanted in a soul mate. The list started out small, and I would add to it anytime I could think of something that I believed to be a quality I wanted in the “other” I was searching for. The list continued to grow and became the basis for my book.

grew up in an Irish Catholic household with four sisters. In doing so, you cannot help but be affected by how women tick. It took awhile, but I finally learned things such as saying “why don’t you just get a different one?” is not an acceptable answer when your sister tells you she's lost the backing to her favorite earring. No, you get up off the couch and pull all the cushions off and look for THAT backing. It’s a big deal. I just didn’t realize it at the time. My sisters and my mother have taught me a lot in my life, and I am eternally grateful for that.

So in learning things like the above topic, I decide to venture out as an author. And that is how my book came to be. I wanted to create a book that women could read quickly, and often as well and carry it in their purses if they wanted to. It’s simple, sentimental and for everyone. Here are some of my favorite sample pages from my book.

…Who laughs at the cheesy songs we hear at the laundromat.

…Who gives me a kiss and says “I love to watch you sleep”.

…Who sends me handwritten letters even though we live in the same town.

... Who encourages me to chase my dreams, while she is chasing hers.

…Whose favorite part of eating Chinese food is the fortune cookies.

…. Who laughs at the dirty emails I send her.

….Who thinks Christmas gifts should be opened with lots of drinks and the Elvis Christmas album on repeat.

So I thank all you Bellas for reading this blog, and I hope that you can all find yourselves in my book somewhere. It was written with you in mind. It’s not “War and Peace,” and Fabio isn’t on the cover, but I betcha it makes you smile.

What’s the best lesson a woman can teach a man?

Visit Tom at, and check out the wicked trailer for "25 Days in Iraq" at

Encore! CHRISTINA, you've won the copy of JR Ward's "Lover Unbound," which I'll send along the nanosecond it's released. Congratulazione, Bella! I've emailed you. Thanks everyone for stopping by to visit JR's GuestBlog!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Tell Me Something I Didn't Know

Comedian and Really Nice Guy Tom Irwin GuestBlogs Tomorrow to celebrate the release of his new book, "I Want a Girl: Thoughts on the Perfect Companion."
No. Really. I must be the only person on the planet, nay, universe who didn't know about this whole Quantas (think of it like Raymond in "Rainman" says it) flight babe/ Ralph Fiennes thing.

Well, duh. Are we shocked he's acting like the dirty boy we knew him to be? I mean, if I may quote myself from a long-ago blog praising him and 2 Davy Joneses, "he's definitely got that 'beneath the civilised British exterior kink goin on.'" Say amen.

OK. So, an UATMS/CC (Up Against the Mini Sink/Commode Combination -- definitely not worthy of the Lexicon of Love) might be ok for some rake in a romance, especially with the way we can SOD off on the whole communicable disease thing in some cases. But in real life? Just too creepy. But he's an actor, I don't know what happened on that plane, and so it's just something to chew on.

Now, Tom Brady on the other hand? I was devastated a while back to learn his ex was pregnant -- chagrined with both of em -- because it so goes along with my, "you are an ass if you're not using birth control, unless you really had planned to break up, then create a child" mentality. Not that it's my business, but I'm gonna bitch through my disappointment anyway.

See, I thought Tom was one of those athletes who was this awesome roll model, one I could pretend understood the p.r. of keeping one's nose clean in public, inspiring little kids to greatness along the way. I might want to think ( a lot ) about his intimate life, but he's got as much right as anybody to be a bonehead.

So, I've been thinkin and thinkin on this, askin everyone not what they think about the sitch, but why the heck am I so torn up about it? I've heard the, "well, if you're an almost-40 actress (whose bio clock is tic-tic-tickin) and you want a piece of Brady, why wouldn't you go 'get yourself pregnant' to hope for more commitment or funds." Which is shocking in this day and age. I mean, as much as I love a 'surprise baby' scenario in a romance, women don't really do that "trapping" thing anymore, do they?

Then there's the, "she's a single woman who wants children and thinks Tom' got some prime DNA." Perhaps. And believe me, this ain't about judging just what combination constitutes a family.

Of course, I just think of the romance novels with star athlete heroes who always,
always use condoms until the very moment they're ready to make the biggest commitment of their lives. Not cause they're great guys, necessarily, but because they're into self-preservation on lots of levels.

And maybe that's what bothers me about this, that I just expected my hero to be more like a romance hero: flawed, but perfect. You know what I mean?

So, why can't I get over my disappointment? Why do I feel like I must be totally out of touch with reality to think blessed events-as-press release ops are only marginally less creepy than Ralph in the commode?
Encore! Grazie, Sari Robins, for helping us remember just what heroes really do get us going. Looking forward to seeing your soon. Congrats on "When Seducing a Spy!"
Encore due! pearl and monica burns, you've each won a novel from Sari! Congratulazione! Send me your snail mail addies at
Encore tre! Romance: B(u)y the Book
Encore quattro!
Winner of "Lover Unbound" prize will be announced after noon CT today!

Sari Robins GuestBlog: Calling Daniel Craig -- Inspiration, Please!

Contest! Sari's offering 1 LCB a graphed copy of "What to Wear to a Seduction," and another LCB a copy of "One Wicked Night!"

It could have been the darling-but-too-tight strappy four-inch heels I'd chosen for my RITA Awards ensemble. Or the fact I didn't get to eat dinner. But when Sari Robins saw me starting to, well, loose a little consciousness after the RWA event, she rushed to my rescue, bringing me food and drink when she could have been hobnobbing. I'm glad I got to meet her, because I really enjoy her novels, and had been looking forward to telling you more about them since she first GuestBlogged with us last spring. Sari's "When Seducing a Spy" is next week's Feature at Romance: B(u)y the Book.

So please, welcome back with a warm buongiorno the now RBtheBlog veteran as she dishes about the stuff of fantasies...

Calling on Daniel Craig, Colin Firth, George Clooney, Sean Bean--Inspiration Please!

I’ll confess it--writing can be really hard sometimes. It’s takes a certain kind of stamina to write those hundreds of pages. And often I need a little inspiration to keep me going. Watching a good movie, reading an interesting book and talking to a friend about her problems are all things that keep my ideas fresh and keep me writing. But sometime it needs to be more elemental than that.

For me, watching Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice makes me want to run to my computer and start typing. But that inspiration is very different from what one gets from watching Daniel Craig’s hot washboard abs as he rises out of the cool blue waters in a skimpy swimsuit in Casino Royale. Or better yet, those 007 fight scenes where Daniel Craig moves more like a leopard than a man. Sparks fly!

And that kind of inspiration is just that- a spark- then my hero, the character I’m writing, takes over for me. In my latest book, When Seducing A Spy, I fell in love with Heath Bartlett long before the heroine did. I admired how he struggled to make a better life for himself. I appreciated what a good friend he was to Bills. I empathized with his efforts to fit in with the family he so desperately wanted to call his own. I admired his keen mind- and certainly appreciated the lovely packing in which it came. The man is smart, sexy, tortured and ambitious – Heath Bartlett became my inspiration -- and When Seducing A Spy is the result of him!

What men spark your passion? Are they actors in a movie? Characters in a book?



Encore! Winners from JR Ward GuestBlog below! Please note: winner of "LU" will be chosen tomorrow at noon CT from all RBtheBookClub members registered on or before 3.26. So return those acknowledgement of your registration, Bellas!

leeann -- Autographed copy of LR from JR Ward
angie-la; rachd; spectrajoy; mujerluminosa; s-byte -- Copy of LR from PenguinBooks
Winners: Send me your snail mail addies at, please.

Encore due! Grazie, grazie mille, JR, for teasing us with a little V, and getting us goin on all the reasons we love "Lover Revealed," and our man, Butch. Can't wait to see you again at "Lover Unbound" time, with a special treat for Bellas TBA...
Encore tre! Read all about Vivi Anna's "Blood Secrets," and her AuthorView, at Romance: B(u)y the Book !

Monday, March 26, 2007

JR Ward GuestBlog: The Butch and V Connection

So I was kinda nudging when I suggested to JR Ward that you might wanna hear a little about the wicked hot dynamic between Butch and V in her new bestseller, "Lover Revealed." I mean, who here at RBtheBook/Blog doesn't dig a little m/m bonding?

But she did it, she hooks us up with some tantalizing Butch/V food for thought. Cause the only thing we love more than the torture between Black Dagger Brotherhood releases is JR's taunting us with hints of Bros to come as we wish her as restrained a buongiorno as possible...

Since LOVER REVEALED was released about three weeks ago, I’ve received a ton of emails from folks about the dynamic between Vishous and Butch. There’s all kinds of speculation going on about them and their relationship- the vast majority of which falls into the Good-Lord-they’re-hot,
how-far-is-it-going-to-go category.

I happen to agree with the Good-Lord-they’re-hot people.

And I would like to delve further into their relationship here- but I really can’t. How can I with V’s book still not out on the shelves? LOL I know, I know... just give a few hints. :) But I really have to save the deets for LOVER UNBOUND. Otherwise, folks will just end up reading that book for the scenes where V gets out the black wax and-

Well, ANYWAY... *clears throat*

I will say this... V couldn’t have fallen in love with his shellan if not for Butch having come into his life. Just wouldn’t have happened. Of all the Brothers, V was, and to some extent remains, the most reserved and closed with his emotions. It’s a product of his upbringing (if you could call it that) in the warrior camp and something that will take decades if not centuries to get over. See, during his formative years, survival required detachment and V learned that lesson very, very well.

Kept it with him, too. By the time Butch came around, Vishous had been shut off for so long, I don’t know if he even recognized at first what the friendship with the cop meant to him. But when we see them together in LOVER REVEALED, V is pretty dayumed clear that he needs Butch in his life: he’s formed an attachment to another person for the very first time.

I believe this Lewis and Clark routine with Butch paves the way for what V comes to feel for Dr. Jane Whitcomb. Without it, I think V would have just walked away after he and Jane first met- because he would not have recognized the telltale signs of an attachment.

Yeah, the smartest one in the Brotherhood can be kind of clueless. :) Personally, I love V even though he and I didn’t really get along all that well. What do you think of him?

Hang with JR and the BDB at!

SPOILERS? Go 'head, but please write SPOILER ALERT at the top of your post so folks who haven't read LR yet can pass on by that comment. Tx, Michelle :)

Encore! Vivi Anna's "Blood Secrets" Feature and AuthorView are new at Romance: B(u)y the

Sunday, March 25, 2007

JR WARD Visits Tomorrow

Monday, March 26

With 3 Awesome Contests:

1 Lucky Commenting Bella wins an autographed copy of "Lover Revealed" from JR.

5 LCBs win copies of LR from PenguinBooks

And One LCB who joins Romance: By the BookClub tomorrow (entry form to in sidebar at your right) is entered with BookClubbers to win an exclusive drawing for
a copy of "Lover Unbound,"
the very minute it's released!
What are you gonna ask JR?

Encore! Grazie Karen Anders for visiting with us yesterday and talking the butt-kickinest womens around! So great of you to drop in, and especially at such short notice. :)
Encore due!
loisa edwards and laurie, you've each won a prize from Karen Anders' blog yesterday. email me your snail mail at Felicitazione, Bellas!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Karen Anders GuestBlog: Blazing a New Trail

JR Ward GuestBlogs Monday!
March 26
Contest!! 2 LCBs win copies of the steamy New Orleans-set “Deliver Me” from the “Red Letter Nights Anthology,” and “Give Me Fever,” courtesy of Karen Anders!

Karen Anders has graciously stepped in today, for our scheduled GuestBlogger, comedian Tom Irwin, who was called away to do a fund raiser. He's rescheduled w/ us for 3.29. I met Karen Anders last year when I was a guest at of the Washington Romance Writers' chapter of Romance Writers of America, the oldest local chap of RWA. (They've kindly invited me back this year. Yipee)!

Not only was Karen welcoming and friendly, she also took the time to talk with me about "category" romance, which I was trying to figure out how to feature more often. So if you have questions about category, today's the day to get em answered while having some fun, too. Please, a warm Bella buongiorno...

It’s been a while since I’ve had a book out. My last Blaze, Give Me Fever was released in December 2005 to be exact. I’ve decided to blaze a new trail with my writing and it takes time to cut through underbrush and find a new path.

Previously, I’ve written steamy relationship stories for Blaze and I’ve enjoyed them. But during this time, I’ve had to fend off the many kick ass heroines in my head who want to be featured in their own action/adventure stories. I finally gave in and embraced those voices. They threatened to get me in a headlock if I didn’t, so I had no choice. Actually they don’t really need to get tough with me. I love writing stories that are plot- and heroine-driven. That’s why I decided to take my Blaze heroines (Come to think of it, some of them were pretty tough.) into new territory—thrillers, suspense, mystery, and action/adventure.

I was in this territory briefly when I wrote my Women Who Dare mini-series for Blaze. I loved those strong heroines and I’m thrilled to be embarking on a new path. In addition to the new Blaze stories hopefully hitting stores in late 2007 and early 2008, I’m in the process of taking my stories into the single title world. I’m working on a dark superhero fantasy and a mini-series full of courageous heroines and to-die-for heroes.

Speaking of heroes, my confident babes need tough guys to work and play with—ones with muscles, charm, and skills. Believe me, my hard-as-nails women know exactly how to handle a man with skills. Take them down to the mat and show them who’s the boss.

From Lara Croft to Jackie Kessler’s hard-hitting Succubus, Jezebel, who are some of your favorite kick-ass heroines and their tough guy counterparts in both books and T.V.?

Visit Karen at

Encore! Johnny's the inspiration for Karen's Cajun brothers in both novels she's giving away today! He's inspired more than one Bella, too, Karen!

Encore due! Grazie mille, Cathy Maxwell, for visiting. We love talking romance, especially why we love it. And thanks for staying on an extra day while I was under the weather. Hope you'll visit again.
Encore tre! stephanie d and rhonda stapleton, you've each won a copy of Cathy's "Bedding the Heiress!" Send me your snail mail at ! Congrats!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Cathy Maxwell GuestBlog: It's All About The Boots

Contest!!! Cathy's giving one LCB a copy of "Bedding the Heiress!" And, I'll toss one to a second LCB, only cause I have an extra. No way I'm giving up my copy.

What a great day! Cathy Maxwell's here to celebrate the release of her hot new historical, "Bedding the Heiress!" I remember binging on on Cathy's novels when I first started reading romance, and I recall fondly a crush on a certain roguish Irish hero.
Today Cathy posits a theory about why we read romance, and I for one agree enthusiastically, which is how I know you'll want to offer Cathy your Bella buongiorno this morning...

“It’s the tall boots,” is how I usually respond when I’m asked why I read “those” books.

But it’s more than that, isn’t it?

I love being swept away by a story whether it is about female vampire slayers, sassy career gals, or women taking on society or the prairie. I’ll read anything as long as the story includes a great relationship.

Reading is “my” time. I open a book at night before I go to bed, and my mind relaxes. I get to lose myself in someone else’s problems for a spell.

Besides, someplace between fourth load of laundry for the day and the need to make still another trip to the grocery store where I’ll spend time answering calls from my boss and my mother, it’s at that moment when I need to be reminded why I decided to crowd my life with all these people to love.

You know the answer. It had to do with that first thrill of love and a very special connection with a man who has made juggling it all worthwhile.

And I don’t care if he wears tall boots or not . . .

So what about you? When is “your” time for reading? And why Romance? What draws you to “our” books?

Visit Cathy at !

Encore! Evil tech malfunctions are running rampant at Romance: B(u)y the Book. For that reason, Vivi Anna's "Blood Secrets" Feature and AuthorView will appear Monday. Mi scusi.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Oh, BTW...

Cathy Maxwell GuestBlogs Tomorrow, Wed., March 21 to celebrate the release of her terrific new novel, "Bedding the Heiress!"
JR Ward visits Monday, March 26!
I asked her whether she might dish a little about the whole Butch/Vishous thing -- and to lead a little BlabFest -- so it'll be cool to see what she comes up with!
My girlfriend and assistant, Michelle, loves Old School romance, and every so often tosses one my way with a command to, "Read. Discuss." Which leads to hours of giddy confabs of bastard heroes (figuratively, perhaps literally), dreamy forced seductions, and lively, exciting, and morally ambiguous character actions.

The other day Michelle says, "you haven't read Linda Howard?" Then Bella Janice Maynard says, "you haven't read Linda Howard?" Then, like, two more people say the same thing, and, well -- you know the saying about the second time someone calls you an ass you should saddle up? -- I figured it was time.

Enter my friend Michelle's Linda Howard selection, "The Touch of Fire." It's not exactly OS, but it does have the hardened, mesmerizing crystalline-eyed former Confed soldier outlaw hero, Rafe, kidnapping the lady doc at gunpoint and forcing her into the mountains to care for his life-threatening wound. On the lam with the guy who frightens, yet intrigues and awakens the feminine passions she thought she'd never feel (look, I'm tryin to write purple here), she, like, takes this guy on as a big ol healing project. But don't mistake me, she's a damn strong heroine. And I like her despite that fact.

So, I'm loving this book: the story's exciting, the sex is emotional, and therefore hawt, and I can't wait to read more Linda Howard.

So, which Linda Howard should I read next, and why?
Encore! Grazie Bella Vivi Anna for showing us such a good time yesterday! We're so glad you're writing in many styles, and wish you great success with "Blood Secrets." Hope you'll visit along with Lyra, too...
Encore due! Vivi Anna and "Blood Secrets" are featured tomorrow at Romance: B(u)y the Book!
Encore due! Congratulazione winners from Vivi's GuestBlog: carolanne/Blood Secrets; nikki philton/anthology; ann christopher/Romance 6-pack! Please send me your snail mail at !

Monday, March 19, 2007

Vivi Anna GuestBlog: Elegant, Reserved, And Freakin' Hawt!

Contest/3 Prizes! Vivi Anna's giving One LCB (Lucky Commenting Bella) a copy of "Blood Secrets," and another LCB a copy of the spicy "Alluring Tales" anthology with her saucy story, "Quick Silver." Yet
another LCB wins a 6-pack of romance from me!

Oh, but we love us some Bella Vivi Anna here at Romance: B(u)y the Blog! Not just because she hung with us every day, always commenting as an actual reader, then, wham! We find out she's this unbelievably hawt -- as she's say -- writer who's got a wicked style all her own.

You can read my feature of her smashing new hit, "Blood Secrets," Wednesday, at RBtheBook, but for now -- as part of what I'm certain will become 'The Year of Vivi Anna,' please welcome our own, the always naughty, the not-suprisingly nice, Vivi Anna. Buongiorno!

To write Blood Secrets for Silhouette Nocturne, I had to put away some things, some naughty delicious things. While I still dreamt about sammiches and dirty Irish men, or sammiches with dirty Irish men, I had to file away my desire to write about them. The Nocturne line is not about sammiches, however yummy and satisfying the may be, or kick ass heroines kicking ass and sleeping with every sexy hunk of beefcake coming their way. The line is about those strong, sexy, heroes that women would die for.

So, for this line, I had to adapt. Was it hard for Vivi, the well known lover of tough talking ass kicking heroines — not that type of lover!-- you may ask? Um no, surprisingly it wasn’t. I had no problem creating Caine and putting him at the forefront of the book. I liked it in fact. And I admit I fell in love with him in the process.

Caine’s one of those alpha males who didn’t need to show that he was an alpha male. He exudes power and strength just by the quirk of his perfect eyebrow. I modeled Caine after Gil Grissom from CSI. I love me some intelligent understated man that has a quirky sense of charm to him. But I had to add more to Caine because well he’s a vampire and close to 300 years old. So I added in a dash of Christian Bale. Mysterious, reserved, elegant. Plus, he’s freakin’ HAWT!

I also needed to change my heroine traits a bit. She had to be strong but not overpowering and she had to be beautiful inside and out. So out came Eve Grant and I adore her. She’s tough, independent but not stupid. She knows when she’s outmatched. She knows that there are some things she just can’t do especially in the strange Otherworlder city of Necropolis. And I loved that about her. She’s feisty but not arrogant. She turned out, in fact, a perfect match for Caine. And I couldn’t have been happier.

Now, you might be asking yourself if that’s the end of Vivi’s kick ass heroines. Will there ever be another book with action and sex and smart mouthed bitches? Of course there will be!! In fact, the third Valorian Chronicles is about the female member of the OCU, Lyra Magice. Let me say, I’m having a ton of fun with her. And the man she’s matched with…mmmm, so yummy, and French. I’m also working on a couple of urban fantasies featuring my trademark type of character. So, don’t worry, you can’t keep a tough kick-ass writing author like me down. Viva la Vivi!!!

How do you feel about your favorite author’s adapting to the market
and changing their type of stories and characters?

Can you still hear their voice even if they write in a completely different genre?

Visit Vivacious Vivi Anna at!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Wearin O The Dirty Green

I was gonna post photos of hot Irish actors. I was thinking to tell you my favorite St. Patty's day joke. The easy one would have been to list my fave Irish-themed romances.

Instead, Bella author Michele Hauf made the decision for me when she sent me a special gift related to RBtheBook/Blog's Favorite Irish Actor Who Always Plays British and Remains So Marvelously Dirty and Androgynous in the Process, Jonathan Rhys-Myers.

And so, bonny, bonny, Bellas, please click on JR-M's photo below -- and use the not-so-secret password KING -- to view the first two epies of "The T

Grazie, Michele!

So, what did you think?
Vivi Anna GuestBlogs Monday, March 19 to celebrate her new novel, "Blood Secrets," next week's Feature at!
Encore! Mille grazie, Leslie Carroll, for your lovely and funny GuestBlog yesterday. It was a very special day for us, and we welcome you to return. :)
Encore due! angel, ellie, traveler -- you've each won a copy of Leslie's "Herself," and a clover charm from Avon!
Encore tre! And, yes, Bella MaryKate, you may think of it as your birthday gift (and an early one to JulieO!)from your girlfriends here at RBtheBlog.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Leslie Carroll GuestBlog: Senses, Sensibilities, And The Emerald Isle

Contest!!! 3 LCB’s win a copy each of Leslie Carroll's “Herself” and an Avon clover charm from HarperCollins/Avon!

One of my favorite publicists ever is HarperCollins' Buzzy Porter, a guy I make excuses to email cause he makes me laugh. He also knows his way around books -- a former bookseller, he -- so when Buzzy says "this book is great and the Bellas would love getting to know the author," well, I listen and make it so. Please, offer a warm, almost-St. Patty's-Day buongiorno to the very talented Miss Leslie...

Buongiorno, Bellas!

With Saint Patrick’s Day right around the corner, what better time than to talk about how the magic of the Emerald Isle affects our senses and sensibilities!

Normally, if you’re one of those glass-is-half-full people, when life gives you lemons, you get out the juicer and make a refreshing beverage—right? And when you’re an author, when you are suddenly inundated with falling citrus—you write a book about it!

I’d had this idea for a while to send one of my feisty NYC heroines off to Ireland. Why? Because I’d always wanted to go there. Because I have Irish ancestors. Because I’d never tried Guinness the way it’s supposed to taste. Because Jane Austen and countless English teachers always remind you to write what you know—and when you don’t know about something, research, research, research!

So there I was in April of 2005 and my lover of nearly four years (he hated the word “boyfriend”) had recently dumped me for, oh, maybe the third or fourth time. I kept taking him back because the sex was so amazing—I sense that you Bellas know what that’s like, right—and well, yeah, because I was crazy about him. (Maybe I was just crazy—you’re welcome to chime in on that.)

And then I got the green light from Avon to write what I’d been calling “my Ireland book.” This was going to be so wonderful: exploring a magical, romantic country I’d only been able to dream about. What I saw in my too-brief five days there was an eye-opener; some of my expectations about the land of shamrocks and leprechauns were met—but in many other ways they were completely shot to heck and back, and my experience in the environs of Dublin became that of HERSELF’s protagonist, Tessa Craig. HERSELF is a woman’s journey; when life hands Tessa lemons and she loses all perspective on romance and career (which in her case are tied into one messy little package), she jets off to Ireland to clear her head and find herself.

Being an actress as well as an author, as I write, I’m always making movies in my head. Even as I was plotting HERSELF, I thought of the novel as a film vehicle for Diane Lane. The novel describes David Weyburn, her Congressman boss-boyfriend as “having the looks of JFK Jr. [why do I always think of him shirtless?] and the vision of Barack Obama.”

And if HERSELF were a movie, I’d be very tempted to pressure the producers to hire George Clooney for the role. But then again, Clooney could play the irrepressibly adorable and irresistibly charming Jamie Doyle, who worms his way into Tessa’s heart. And if Clooney doesn’t play Jamie, I guess the role might go to “Dr. McDreamy,” even though I’ve never seen his TV show.

Back to real life as I know it … that lover I mentioned? He got jealous of all the charming and adorable men I might have met in Ireland, and came back to me. But he only got three more strikes before I refused to stamp his passport anymore. And not only does HERSELF have a romantic happy ending, so do I! I met a fabulous guy and we’re getting married in May. And no, he’s not Irish.

What would you do if you had the chance for a “do-over”?

If you realized some pieces were missing, how would you find yourself?

Where would you go to discover that pot of gold that is your own fulfillment?

Would you go there alone, so that you had the chance to meet someone new?

Thanks, Michelle and the bellissima Bellas, for having me here today!


Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent? Huh Bowd It.

Robin Schone's "Scandalous Lovers" is this week's Feature
at Romance: B(u)y the BOOK.
Author/Actress Leslie Carroll celebrates St. Patty's Day with us tomorrow, Fri, March 16, to chat about her fab new romantic novel set in Ireland, "Herself!" She's bright and bonny, and you're gonna love her and the Avon Clover Contest!
So if you haven't read Lisa Kleypas' "Devil in Winter, " you should. But if you have, as Bella MaryKate -- my Un Bel Typo procuress -- suggests, Becks here fairly channels the lascivious lord for whom we love to lust.

And lately I've been finding myself responding in the affirmative to questions like, "don't you think Becks is St. Vincent?" with a resounding, affirmative, "how 'bout it."

But before you insert that little gem into your daily lexicon of hipster lingo, you must know that it needs to be enunciated the same way we did when we started using it in the seventh grade at Phillip Lauer Middle School, desperately trying to achieve the coolness we assumed was our older siblings.

So say it with me phonetically: huh . BOWD . it , bow being pronounced as in, "what sound does puppy make?"

What totally cool, yet mortifying words and phrases did you use
when you were growing up?

What ones are slipping into your speech these days?
Encore! Grazie, grazie mille Robin Schone for visiting yesterday and confirming our belief that women get better -- and sexier -- as they get older! Please come back again!
Encore due! Felicitazione azteclady! You've won Robin's "Scandalous Lovers." sue a., you've won "The Lady's Tutor!" Please send me your snail mail at

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Robin Schone GuestBlog: Why A 'Mature' Heroine? Why Not!

Please read my Feature of Robin's "Scandalous Lovers,"
and her AuthorView, at Romance: B(u)y the Book!

Contest!!! Robin is giving one LCB a hard-back edition of “Scandalous Lovers,” and another LCB a mass paperback of “The Lady's Tutor,” the 1999 version printed w/ the holographic heart!
I knew Robin Schone was somthin special when I read "The Lover," and was immediately compelled to buy every other RS title available. I was looking for hot, and ended up with some of the most searing, raw emotion and sensuality I've read. And for the true fan of historicals, it doesn't get more authentic than Schone. A warm buongiorno for Robin's second, much anticipated visit...

Hello Michelle and Bellas! Thank you for inviting me into your net home. And thank you, Michelle, for posting my brand new author photo! Isn’t Manne (pronounced Mannie) pretty? I walked into a furniture store seeking year-end bargains, took one look at her, and fell in love. My mother wants to stuff her into a corner between my hutch-desk and the wall, and my husband keeps shaking his head and asking, "Why a mannequin, Robin?"

Which leads into my topic: Why a 49 year old heroine?

My answer: Why not?

Is art restricted to porcelain figurines and canvas paintings?

Is love and sexual fulfillment restricted to the young and beautiful?

Waaaaay back in the 80s, Jude Deveraux's The Velvet Promise featured the heroine's mother as a secondary love interest. Even then, in my 20s, I found the mother intriguing. She had endured more, sacrificed more. With all that capacity to love, why wouldn't she feel passion more deeply than the young daughter she'd protected? And having lived through so much more, why wouldn't her happy ending be that much more sweeter?

Why, when the largest generation of Americans are Baby Boomers - the youngest who is 43, and the oldest who is 61, all of whom comprise the "fastest-growing population of singles"* - are romance publishers falling over backwards catering to teens, while ignoring this huge segment of readers?

Or does this "growing population of singles" want to be reached through romance and erotica?

Yesterday I received a lovely letter from a 53 year old woman. She purchased Scandalous Lovers for hot sex, but upon learning that the heroine was near her own age, she didn't expect to like the sex scenes. I'm happy to report that she enjoyed the book very much . . . sex included! . . . and wrote that it helped confirm her belief that a "woman's sexual peak is at whatever age she understands her own desires and has the confidence to seek fulfillment."

What age do you prefer your heroines? Do you think that romance novels featuring "mature" heroines - while perhaps appealing to older readers (or perhaps not), automatically excludes younger readers?
Or does age not matter to you, it's all in the story and writing?

Encore! *"Dating is not just for the under-40 set,",CST-FTR-berman05.article
Encore due! Grazie mille Amanda Brice for bringing us the news about some of the great things women do and the Freya's Bower "Dreams and Desires" anthology. Special thanks to all the D&D authors who stopped in to keep the convo lively, and make the day special.
Encore tre! Amanda randomly selected yesterday's winners, who are: playground monitor/e-copy of D&D; amy s./bound copy. Email me, Bellas!
Encore quattro!
Please buy the anthology: 100% of proceeds go to a shelter for battered women. And look for another Freya's Bower anthology to support battered women in 2008.