Monday, April 30, 2007

Once In A Lifetime(

God, I've just been I
dying to tell you this, because it wouldn't have happened without the way you've helped build this community, Bellas!

Beginning LATE JUNE, Romance: B(u)y the Book and This Blog can be found only one place:

Lifetime Television's !!!

In addition to weekly Features and AuthorViews with our favorite romance authors -- and daily chats when we move our blog there, too -- under the direction of Emmy Award-winning director Harriet Ells, I'll conduct on-cam broadband interviews you can watch at!

Lifetime is relaunching their site in Late June to become a premier destination for women and women's entertainment on the Internet. They've got a host of new "experts," digital capabilities like a wicked sharp tool that lets you watch Lifetime network programs on-screen in awesome clarity; iPod downloads; mobile text alerts about TV and .com content (like RBtheBook!); an awesome area with online games for women. For us? It'll be a place we can meet to learn, to play, and best of all, to talk about all the great things reading romance brings to our lives.

My "boss," Evan "The Greatest Guy Ever" Silverman, VP Online for Lifetime Television says this:

"We're delighted to bring Michelle Buonfiglio and Romance: B(u)y the Book
to in June. Romance Fiction and Lifetime are a natural fit -- as evidenced by the four Nora Roberts movies the network aired recently -- and we are excited to deepen that connection and celebrate romance with our online audience."

Bellas, I hop
e you'll be pleased to meet there, too, to welcome into our community the Lifetime online audience that already loves romance and HEAs. And I hope you'll enjoy getting to know that Lifetime audience, and playing at
Encore! I'll be back later, Bellas, with an update about this past weekend's WRW retreat. I missed you, and Dave let me know what was going on here...
Encore due! The winner of the weekend's contest will be announced later, too. :)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Long Weekend

Contest: One Lucky Commenting Bella Wins a Six-Pack of Romance!

Well, I'll try to follow up yesterday's title -- which what was surely the most sophomoric title in this blog's history -- with a classier day.

I'm on my way to the Washington Romance Writer's yearly retreat, "In the Company of Writers." I'm totally honored and jazzed that they've invited me a second year in a row, not just because it's cool to get to present there, but because the event's marvelous. A the "WRW Retreat," as it's known, writers published and aspiring meet to discuss craft, pitch to agents, and learn a little about the business of romance fiction. But the energy, oh the energy is lovely: calm, friendly, supportive -- which necessarily can't always be the case at larger gatherings because of stress of doing business.

The WRWs are a very fun group, and include the likes of Katherine Caskie and Sophie Jordan, Susan Donovan and a host of other notables you can check out at . But I really feel I must tell you, their crowning jewel is...La Nora.

Every year she speaks Sunday morning, just before the retreat is adjourned, and I kid you not, she's one funny woman. And, like last year, once again I get to be the warm-up act, as it were. This year, the title of my presentation is:

"Snaxy Guys, Smarty Pantses, and Love Online: How Romance B(u)y the Book Readers Built a Community."

So, I'm gonna talk all about you! How you came, you stayed, you kicked cyber-good karma butt. And you helped build yet another positive home for romance on the Inet.

I'm gonna be incommunicado til Sunday nite -- and one of the things I'll talk about at WRW is how you all hostess the place when I'm not around -- so I thought you might want to help me with something.

Tell me, what do you think you add to the
Romance: B(u)y the Book community?

See you Sunday Night!

Encore! See you Sunday night! BTW, The guy above is Wentworth Miller, one of "People Mag's" Top 100 Sexy Guys, and Bella MK's choice for Tohr. Prego. You're welcome. A little pretty-eyed boy gift because I'm gonna miss you.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Nice Ash

Carla Swafford, a nice woman who's the prez of Southern Magic chapter of Romance Writers of America, wrote me about this last night, and I wanted you to know for two reasons. First, half the proceeds go to Sherrilyn Kenyon's favorite charity -- and a grrrreat one -- Cure Autism Now.

Says Kenyon, "April is the national Autism month and many people don't realize just how widespread and debilitating this illness is. My son is one of millions who suffer with it everyday."

Second, if you're like me and are dyin,' dyin' ah tell ya' for Acheron's story in Kenyon's Dark Hunter series, you'll probably be interested in this:

With the permission of Kenyon, Southern Magic is auctioning off one (1) opportunity to have the pal of Ash's heroine named after you!

Bidding ends late this afternoon, April 27, and you can place your bid at:

Are you a Dark Hunter fan? Who's your fave?
What do you like about Kenyon's mythology?
Could the title of this post be more sophomoric?

Encore! Grazie, grazie mille Anna Campbell for talkin Old School with us yesterday. Lookin forward to your next novel, and your next visit!
Encore due! Here are the names Anna chose to win her prizes:
Caffey/Cathie - the book
Kerry Blaisdell - the coverflat
Orannia - the coverflat
Julie in Ohio - the coverflat

Please send me your snail mails, Bellas, at! Congratulazione.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Anna Campbell GuestBlog: The Honorable Ancestors

Contest!!! Anna’s favorite answer from one LCB wins a signed copy of “Claiming the Courtesan,” and 3 others win signed cover flats.

I invited Anna Campbell to visit with us the moment I realized that folks were chatting all over the romance b'sphere about her extraordinary new Avon release, "Claiming the Courtesan." "Chatting" is my polite way of saying: gnawing at an issue that, while important, disregarded the fact that Campbell's written -- and Lucia Macro at Avon's nurtured -- one of the most exciting romance novels released in ages, one which offers great hope that a new era of creative freedom for romance writers and readers is on the horizon.

To say that Campbell is "bold" or "takes no prisoners" in creating the novel implies that she wrote it to cause controversy. I believe she wrote it because she had to, and that the choices she made in imbuing her characters' actions/responses were authentic and
admirable in this atmosphere wherein even Pollyanna, here, wants to scream, "strap on your emotional intelligence, for God's sake, and stop the 'historical psychodynamics revision' madness that brands Campbell anti-woman, anti-feminist, and pro-sexual abuse." Since you know me well, of course, I'd be bellowing "with a cyber-smile," as we all do around here when we offer our opinions. :)

Today, Anna writes with fondness about the Old School novels -- and the women and men who wrote and read them -- which we often give props to here at RBtheBlog and RBtheBook. Please offer Anna your warmest Bella buongiorno as she visits us on Aussie time...

Firstly, Michelle, thank you so much for asking me to be a guest on Romance: By the Blog. I’m delighted to be here!

As many of you know, Avon has just published my debut novel, CLAIMING THE COURTESAN. Since then, there’s been an avalanche of Internet commentary about this book including accusations that it’s a throwback to the “bad old days of romance”.

My personal view is that phrases like this show a want of respect to the women who blazed the trail that romance writers now wander in such numbers. And never accuse me of avoiding a good cliché when it’s available!

Yes, those books were of their time in their attitudes and themes, but that’s an accusation you can level at any piece of art. I still remember how mesmerized I was when as a teenager I picked up my first historical romance, in the current sense of the words. It was THE WOLF AND THE DOVE by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I was transfixed by the energy and vividness of Woodiwiss’s writing and the fact that the heroine’s journey was utterly central to the story.

Those forerunning historicals were a publishing sensation, inspired a whole generation of writers and led directly to the huge variety of modern romance we enjoy now. Whenever I pick up a J.R. Ward or a Loretta Chase or a Nora Roberts, I’m grateful to those early writers who created an environment where I’m so spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a good romance to read.

What was the book that converted you
to reading romance?

My favorite answer gets a signed copy of CLAIMING THE COURTESAN and the three runners-up get signed coverflats. Good luck!

Visit Anna at .
Encore! Please read this week's new Feature and AuthorView at Romance: B(u)y the Book!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tudors Down

Anna Campbell GuestBlogs Tomorrow

April 25
With a super day for lovers of
Everything Old School Romance!

I love it. I hate it. I love it. I hate it.

Oh, la donna e'mobile, and I am the ficklest of all women.

"The Tudors" is almost too cheesy and overwrought for words. But I live for those glimpses of His Grace, Suffolk (Henry Cavill), my new costume soap opera/Cliff's Notes' Hollywoodized History boyfriend.

Fie, but this new torridness (it's a damn word if I say it is) between Suffolk and Maggie, the king's sib, is almost nearly titillating. It's like a romance novel plotline -- as my husband astutely pointed out, quite looking for his "I'm a Perceptive Husband" gold star -- but at the speed of light, so the enjoyment of the quasi-sexual tension doesn't really give me enough Suffolk for my pence.

But that doesn't mean I'm not going to watch the next eppie, cause there's always a chance to see Chuck Brandon en dishabille, if not unclad. And I like to check whether our scruffy-headed music imp is actually conducting the correct rhythms of the spritely lays being plucked and sung. The music instruments seem to be pretty spot-on to this chick who studied early music, but hey, maybe one of the musicians bought his axe used and it's a late 1400s model.

See, I can get past the mistakes of any kind, cause I'm watchin me some eye candy. Suffolk, the clothes, the sometimes silly sets: it's just a nice way to spend an hour. But what bugs me in any minor way goes back to the first eppie, when the king selects a ripe, tasty morsel from the queen's retinue and just before the seduction whispers into the trembling young thing's ear, "Do you consent?"

Can it be the Henry VIII had a sexual harassment policy at court? It struck me as oddly revisionist, giving this guy who ripped at his country's moral and civic foundations so he could marry at liberty a little too much Alan Alda-ish feminist sensibility.

But I still don't care enough about that issue for it to supersede The Thing that Really Bugs Me About "The Tudors." There simply is not enough Suffolk.

Still watching "The Tudors?" What say you? And if you're reading
instead of watching, what'cha reading lately?
Encore! Grazie, Brenda Joyce, for visiting yesterday! Looking forward to your Masters of Time series, and to your visiting again, maybe to talk a little about historical romance fiction.
Encore due! Three winners to announce today: ann m; little lamb lost, you've won prizes from Janice Maynard! And diane, you've won the MOT prizes from Brenda! Send me your snail mail addies, please, at

Monday, April 23, 2007

Brenda Joyce GuestBlog: No Flesh-And-Blood Man Can Compete

Contest!!! Brenda's giving one Lucky Commenting Bella a Masters of Time t-shirt and DVD of both Masters of Time trailers!

Brenda Joyce's Devlin O'Neill, hero of "The Prize," is one of my favorite heroes of all time, and the type of guy many of us here at RBtheBook affectionately and unabashedly adore for his Old School "bastardliness." And his bro, Tyrell de Warrenne of "Masquerade" ain't deliciously far behind. They just don't/can't write em like that any more -- and Brenda just might have somethin to say about that. Yet today, Brenda's here (yippeee) to celebrate the release of her new paranormal time-travel series, "Masters of Time" with a subject near and dear. So won't you grant her a warm Monday buongiorno...

Come this May, in one more month, I will have been published as a romance author for NINETEEN YEARS. I take this business very seriously, but I love what I do. In fact, and after thirty-six books or so, I love what I do more than ever!

I am in a position where I could retire if I chose. Why on earth would I do that? I have a BLAST telling love stories, no matter which genre I write in. I vanish in the creative process. Every day I sit down at my desk and I time travel. If the phone rings, I am disoriented and confused, having been in medieval Scotland or some such other wonderful place, and it’s a moment before I know what year it is, and even what season it is.

Forget knowing the day! Even when its 110 degrees out here in Arizona I have wandered the grocery store in a total daze. I also become my hero and my heroine, in turns. I live every bit of dialogue and I experience every moment of tension, conflict, anger, joy, love, hate and passion, just as my hero and heroine do. Needless to say, I am exhausted when my first draft is done.

When I first got into the biz, a rumor was going around that Brenda Joyce was a man. I was pretty insulted, but when I write from the hero’s point of view—sometimes even in love scenes—guess what? I am the hero, and there is no way around it. (And it can be damned hard getting into his head, too.)

But I am a woman and I fall in love with every hero I create. This is a real problem in my personal life! No actual flesh and blood man can compete with Devlin O’Neill or Malcolm of Dunroch. Long ago I gave up on my hopeless infatuations with my own fictional creations. I need my heroes, and my life would be a bore without them.

I also don’t get why some readers prefer contemporary heroes to historical ones. Of course, I adore history (and have pure mainstream historical fiction on my agenda for the future.) And maybe my lack of real interest in contemporary men has to do with my having been a wild bachelorette in NYC for quite a few years; I have had my share of big egos and CEOs.

I will take an oversexed, medieval Alpha male who thinks the sun rises and sets on his time clock over an FBI agent any day. I only figured out why the other day. The more powerful, the more macho, the more Alpha the hero, the greater the challenge for the heroine—and the greater the struggle between them.

Do you prefer a contemporary or historical hero and why? I have other more personal reasons, which I will be glad to share, and I would like to hear yours.

Please visit Brenda and the MOTs at !

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Janice Maynard -- Wait, Make That Elizabeth Scott GuestBlog: When Good Girls Write "Bad"

Brenda Joyce
GuestBlogs MONDAY, April 23
with a terrific contest and dish
about her new heroes and the romantic life.

Contest!!! 2 LCBs each win copies of "Play with Me" and "Naughty Housewives," from Janice Maynard and Elizabeth Scott respectively. Check back tomorrow to see whether you've won!
I read Elizabeth Scott's "Naughty Housewives" a while back and though, "sheesh, this is hittin all my fantasy buttons," and, "too bad I can't feature it for my regular audience; It's just too hot". When I featured Janice's "Suite Fantasy" way back when, I described the flavor of the erotic romance as sweet, bubble-gum erotica. Well, I'm here to tell you, if that's the case, "Naughty Housewives" is a big ol hunk of Big Red. Hooo doggie. Please, give a splendid Saturday buongiorno to Janice/Elizabeth, who's come up with my favorite opening blog line to date...

I didn’t grow up Catholic, but I have the whole “guilt” thing down pat…“Methodist” version. It’s really funny, because I was a poster child for “Miss Goody Two-Shoes”… no smoking, no drinking, no losing my virginity under the bleachers with a handsome quarterback. (Oh wait… now we’re stumbling into the land of fantasy!  )

I dated… some. But mostly we guys and girls hung out in a big, happy bunch. Still, I was fascinated by the whole love/sex dance. I read my first Harlequin in the seventh grade, and the following summer I read Gone With the Wind. I was hooked from that moment on… I wanted passion and undying love. Lucky for me, I found them… but that’s another story. Today we’re addressing the issue of writing naughty books, and why it seems tough for some of us to be “out and proud”.

After I wrote Suite Fantasy, my editor asked me to consider doing something even more edgy. The result was Naughty Housewives, which came out in January under the pseudonym Elizabeth Scott. I planned to tell NO ONE. This was going to be my big secret. But I changed my mind. Perhaps after I got an unsolicited e-mail from a male editor at Barnes and Noble in New York who told me that Naughty Housewives was his new favorite book, having knocked “Ulysses” right off the shelf. And his wife was now reading it…

There are reasons why I will keep mum about Elizabeth is some circles, but I have decided that the romance reading community is not as squeamish about voicing their enjoyment of erotic books and I am about admitting their authorship.

I’d love to hear whether or not you “hide” the fact that you read naughty books, or whether you feel free to be “big girls” and say, “I like sex. I read about sex. Deal with it!”

Please visit Janice at


Grazie, Megan Hart, for visiting yesterday and talking about one of the best things about romance, the falling in love. And for raising the question, "How Happy Does Your HEA Have to Be?" Looking forward to another visit in the future.
Encore due! Congratulazion, robin. You've won a copy of "Broken" from M! Please send me your snail mail at

Friday, April 20, 2007

Megan Hart GuestBlog: Falling In Love...Again And Again

One LCB (Lucky Commenting Bella) wins a copy of "Broken" from Megan! Don't forget to check back tomorrow to see whether you've won, please.

Don't have to remind you how much I dug Megan Hart's "Dirty," and how much fun we had the last time she GuestBlogged with us. Today, she's asking us about what I think is the central reason why many women read romance: the novels let us experience the best things about falling in love -- remembering what it was like with our current squeezes, or what we hope it will be like when we meet our next RLRH (real life romance hero). Megan's newest, "Broken," is out now from Spice. Please offer Megan your warmest TGIF buongiorno...

How many times have you fallen in love? Are you a true romantic who says (with dewey eyes and knowing smile) “Once, just once!” Or are you a little more cynical, with the answer “Until I got it right?”

I’ve fallen in love hundreds of times, and I think every time was the one that got it right.

No, I’m not talking about my love life, though I’ve been married for almost twelve years to the same adoring husband. I’m talking about reading (and writing) romance novels. Love stories. Passion-filled tales of love, lust, action and romance.

You know what I mean, don’t you? How it feels to pick up a book and follow the hero and heroine on their journey from strangers to lovers? For me, the most satisfying stories are the ones in which I can identify, at least on some level, with the heroine and totally fall head over heels for the hero. If I can’t fall in love with the hero, I can’t understand why she does, and the book simply doesn’t resonate for me. It might not be a wall-banger, but it won’t be a keeper. On the other hand, the books with heroes who set me afire are the ones I return to over and over. They hold a place of pride on my shelf where simply looking at them can make me smile.

When I started writing, I quickly discovered the same to be true. If I, the author, couldn’t fall in love with the hero, there was absolutely no way I was going to convince anyone else to. So, even though all my heroines are in some way a part of me (sometimes a very, very tiny part and other times a much larger one) ALL my heroes have to make me swoon.

What makes me swoon, though, has changed as I’ve gotten older. Now I find a man who can change a diaper as sexy as one who can change a tire. Heck, if I’m being honest, the man who can change a diaper is way, WAY sexier than the one who can change a tire, because I have AAA and can hire someone to do that for me, but when my husband takes over some chore so that I don’t have to….SWOOOOOOOOOON!!!!

Because my tastes have changed, my heroes have changed, too. Oh, I still go for the broody bad boys, don’t get me wrong. I’ll confess to wanting to redeem them. But I’ve also found myself writing heroes who are more comfortable with themselves. They joke more. They’re okay with wearing pink, or cooking for the heroine, or letting her know they need her. They’re all right with being a little vulnerable even while they’re being strong.

Dan in Dirty starts off affable and a bit controlling in the beginning, but it’s his consistent ability to be there for Elle that proves he’s a man she can trust. No matter what she throws at him, he can take it because he’s got enough self-confidence for both of them. Joe in Broken (and I’ll confess, I love Joe to death…loveloveLOVE!!) seems to be a typical playboy and a cad, but one of his women sees him for who he really is. Because he’s telling Sadie a story, Sadie sees him for who he is, too, but is it really the other woman revealing Joe’s truth or Joe himself? Is the story true? I fell in love with them both, and I hope you do, too.

How about you all? What books or heroes
have made you fall in love all over again?

Thanks for having me here again!  Keep up with me at my online journal where I mostly blather on about writing and other sorts of stuff, including who I’m falling in love with at the moment.

Encore! Janice Maynard GuestBlogs TOMORROW, Saturday, April 21 in our First-Ever Saturday get-together. Stop by, meet her mystery friend, and you could win a cool prize!
Encore due! Brenda Joyce GuestBlogs MONDAY, April 23. Contest!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ten Things You Know About Me

1. I have a crush on Italian footballer Fabio Cannavaro.

2. There is no better romance for me than one in which the hero knows little-to-nothing about his emotions and, because of that, has to travel an enormous emotional arc from big, arrogant, overbearing bonehead to big, arrogant, overbearing bonehead who feels somewhat mortified by his treatment of the woman who emotionally sissy slaps him into recognizing his heart is also big in all ways.

3. Getting to do what I do -- hang out with other romance readers and hook us up with new and established authors, support romance scholars and the industry -- is the coolest thing ever, and I never take it for granted.

4. I don't mind if heroines are TSTL. See Lexicon of Love.

5. If it were possible, I'd eat every meal in a restaurant.

6. I don't believe a romance has to be beautifully written to be fabulous.

7. I'm happy -- and Eric Selinger of Teach Me Tonight/Romance Scholar Listserv reminds me I'm a nudge about it -- when romance scholars include in their studies the novels/authors masses of readers love, not just the novels and writers that appeal to smarty pantses. :)

8. A great-fitting, comfy pair of jeans are the most important -- and sexiest -- item any
woman can include in her wardrobe.

9. I loves me some forced seduction, sammiches a la Bella Vivi Anna, giggling like a school girl over hawt, pretty boys, sharing ideas, and everything else we do here every day.

10. I tell you what I think, not what
to think.

Yesterday, I helped "interview" 4th and 5th graders who were "applying for jobs" at a Junior Achievement program in which they'll learn to run "Exchange City" for a day. They'll be disc jockeys and bank presidents, sales associates and business managers, etc.

One of the list of questions I was told to ask was:
what are your hidden talents? I added, what are the things you think are cool about you that your friends probably don't know?

I think those would be fun to explore here today.
Big Fun Saturday! Janice Maynard GuestBlogs
and brings along a Mystery Friend!
It's our first-ever Saturday GuestBlog.
Hope to see you there for the fun.


Encore! Grazie Mary Buckham for GuestBlogging yesterday and getting us to talk about all the reasons we love the heroes we do. Looks like we've all got new TBR, TBreR, and TBViewed piles! And thanks to the KOD members who stopped by, too.
Encore due! stefanie, you've won the fabu prize from Mary and KOD! Please send me your snail mail in the next 3 days at

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Mary Buckham GuestBlog: The Tall, Dark, & Dangerous Kiss Of Death

Contest!! One Lucky Commenting Bella wins a nifty Diana Love Snell tote bag filled with novels by Kiss of Death RWA chapter members including: Mary Buckham, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kelly St. John 'n more! Don't forget to check back tomorrow to see whether you've won!
Mary Buckham and I met over a snack at the RWA national conference in Atlanta last summer, and I liked her immediately. She was very excited about writing and romance, and she was awfully nice, too, especially as she explained how the week's informational workshops were planned and executed.

Perhaps executed's just the right word to use today, as Mary tells you all about the Kiss of Death chapter of RWA. Please, your warmest Monday am buongiorno for this woman who knows a lit-tle bit too much how to plan the perfect crime...

Tall. Dark. And many times deadly.
These are the men of romantic suspense and mystery. Hi! I’m Mary Buckham, romantic suspense author and member of Kiss of Death [KOD] the only Romance Writers of America chapter dedicated specifically to writers of romantic suspense, mysteries, suspense and thrillers. With nearly 700 members spread around the globe we gather on-line to ask questions one can’t always ask just anybody. Questions such as: what type of weapon would an FBI agent carry or how could you poison someone without leaving evidence?

And we also talk about heroes. The tall ones. The wounded ones. The
charming ones. The actual term hero comes from a Greek word meaning to serve and protect. Natural that many of the heroes we write about do just that.

And today we’re asking you—our readers – to share your favorite heroes. Is he a knight of old or a charming thief turned protector? What heroes have stayed with you long after you’ve set a book down or walked away from a movie?

For all of those who take a moment to share, your name will go into a drawing for a classy canvas tote bag from Dianna Love Snell [a RITA winner] chock full with books by the following authors: Mary Buckham, Caridad Ferrer, Rita Herron, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dianna Love Snell, Catherine Mann, Kelley St. John and Gayle Wilson!!

So jump right in and let us know your hero. I’ll start. NYPD Detective Mike Chapman from Linda Fairstein’s mystery series. Any of Suz Brockmann’s Navy SEALS. Malcom, the ship’s captain from the movie SERENITY. Now it’s your turn…

Visit Mary Buckham at , and her Kiss of Death pals -- who are just a bit too interested in murder and mayhem, if you ask me -- at !

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

So Many Books. So Little Time.

The crazy wild success of yesterday's online class with Bill Gleason's Princeton University students was all due to you! Grazie mille to everyone who visited and took the time to create thoughtful, insightful, and often very amusing comments.

And thank you, too, to my Bellas, for sharing RBtheBook. I know you were out there, and while many of you dropped in to help teach our class, still more stood aside to let some new visitors have a say. What lovely cyber-manners. :)

So many great points were made, and many Princeton students delurked to ask terrifically brave and interesting questions. One of my faves was simply:

What's your favorite romance,
and why do you like it?

I know we've probably asked this question before, but the answer can change from week to week for some of us. So, let's give it another shot, shall we?

And, again, to Bill Gleason -- and the students of "The Best Seller" -- thanks for allowing us to teach your class for the day. I think I speak on behalf of much of the romance community when I say, thanks, Bill, for offering your students yearly the opportunity to explore the influence of romance fiction, as well as the critical myths and biases regarding the genre.


Something Cool's Afoot
Tomorrow, Wed, April 18!
Author Mary Buckham GuestBlogs

and brings along the Kiss of Death chapter of Romance Writers of America. KOD is 700 members strong worldwide, and the only RWA chapter devoted exclusively to authors of romantic suspense, mystery, suspense, and thrillers.
OMG, OMG, OMG! I am the luckiest woman in cyberspace. I just got the next installment in Brenda Joyce's DeWarrene Dynasty series, "The Perfect Bride." (Aug., H'quin). It's Rex DeWarren's story and, oh dear God, let Rex be the complete and utter bastard Joyce is so capable of making him. Brenda Joyce GuestBlogs right heeyah next Monday, April 23.

Encore! Curses! I didn't see "The Tudors" Sunday night! Someone please tell me, did my boy Suffolk get into any worthy mischief?
Encore due! My goodness. We were all such smarty-pantses yesterday, I feel like I need to sufficiently lower the tone of the blog so I can get things back to normal quickly. So, do feel free to caption this shot of JR-M. And, what's the hyphen rule again? Like, if two people marry who are hyphenated, do the progeny use only dear Pater's appellation, or do they combine his and Mummy's?
Encore tre! And, si, I was simply missing my Canna. If those were romance novels, I wonder what the titles would be...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Tigers, Tigers, Burning Bright

Last summer, I guilted and embarrassed family friend and Princeton University prof Bill Gleason into writing a GuestBlog for Romance: By the Blog’s Scholars on Romance Week.” His contribution was such a success that Bill and I thought it might be fun if the RBtheBlog readers’ community hosted for a day Bill’s Princeton U undergrad “American Best Sellers” class.

Bill’s ABS class [About 1/4 shown in photo, left, after watching 1st half of "Gone With the Wind" last night] examines popular works of American literature in their historical contexts, starting with the Puritan era, working through novels like “The Last of the Mohicans,” “Little Women,” “Tarzan of the Apes,” and wrapping up with “Gone With the Wind.”

Consider today’s RBtheBlog event a grand experiment in which romance readers and industry folks get to educate an interested, fairly captive “outside world” audience. These young men and women are newbies to romance fiction.

Please, oh, please be kind and gentle in interpreting their queries, for they’re being courageous in meeting us on our hallowed turf, this safe haven where we talk about romance “like it matters,” and with no apologies to nobody.

As is ever the way here at RBtheBlog, there’s always room for varying thoughtful opinions, but, please, offer them with respect and a cyber-smile.

When you comment, please let us know whether you're one of Bill’s students, or what part you play in the romance community: reader, writer, academic, industry, etc.

Although they’re not reading a romance novel per se, during the unit on “Gone with the Wind,” Bill introduces the romance genre, talks a bit about how varied and influential the genre is today, and has the students read short pieces by Jennifer Crusie and Pamela Regis about romance, especially focusing on the critical myths and biases about the genre.

So, his students would like to start with the question, “Why isn’t ‘Gone With the Wind’ a romance?”

Next, they come up with several intuitive questions that we discuss here and throughout the romance community including:

“What’s your favorite part of a romance novel?” Followed by the old standby we discuss often, one that begs discussion when attempting to define many types of artistic or literary expression, “Do you consider romance novels a form of pornography?”

Students also are interested in knowing, “Are you comfortable being seen reading romance novels in public,” “Do you feel the novels objectify women/men, and, if so, does it bother you,” and a terrific one, “Would you rather read about a character who’s the epitome of physical perfection, or someone “normal?”

One of Bill’s students notes that male characters in many of the romances s/he’d read, usually have an almost animalistic sexuality, while the female characters are generally more delicate -- though the heroines are often also strong-willed and intelligent, and appealing to the male for those reasons. "Is this the usual scenario? And what does it mean to have the male played up this way?"

And another student finds in Regency romances that the male is usually more sexually experienced character. S/he wants to know, "is there a difference in how women are portrayed in historical romance than, say, in novels set in the present?"

Wondering whether there’s a construct or form specific to romance novels, one participant wonders whether there “are there other traces of formal elements at play in [romance] novels that might give them greater literary status than the typical mass-produced, formulaic fiction?”

Finally, we’re asked a particularly relevant question in light of the increasing number of male readers of romance, “what’s the appeal of romance to men?”

These are great starting points for today’s class. Let’s have at, professors for a day, and see where our journey takes us! And do take the opportunity to learn as you teach.

Read not to contradict and confute,
nor to believe and take for granted...
but to weigh and consider. -- Francis Bacon

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Romance Readers Needed!

Please join us tomorrow,
Monday, April 16 as
RBtheBlog welcomes
Princeton U Prof Bill Gleason

and the students of his
"American Best Sellers" class.

The students have some questions to ask us about why we love romance fiction, what makes it important, what makes it cheeky, what it is, and what it's not.
Think of it this way: here's a chance to help some smart students of literature develop responsible, informed opinions about the value of romance fiction.

And they're coming to our turf so, as you'd imagine, I'm proud they'll be learning from romance fiction readers, writers, and academics with no axes to grind -- our great RBtheBlog community which celebrates every day the value and potential of romance fiction. And hot, wet men.

Bill and I will start the day off posing a few questions and parameters for how to keep the discussion, fun, smart, lively, and -- you know Pollyanna's gonna say it -- positive. Then, it's up to you to keep it going, to explain why romance fiction rocks.

Everyone has something of value to add -- especially if you're "just a reader." You're integral to this discussion.

And, as we say here at RBtheBlog, no matter what opinion you offer, please, just offer it with respect and a cyber-smile. Dig?


Encore! As if I'd miss an opportunity to post a pic of Princeton cutie smarty-pants, Billy Carlos Wms. haiku spoofer David Duchovny. He writes:
My Speedo.
So much depends upon a wet speedo
Covered with rain.

Encore due! Bill Gleason was our guest during "Back to School Week: Scholars on Romance." You can read his GuestBlog here.