Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hey, Babe

Dave and the kids and I saw "Shrek the Third" last night. Shrek's wife's with baby ogre, and it got me thinking babies. Not the "ohhh, wouldn't it be nice to have another" thinkin, because it wouldn't be nice to have a third, not for me, thankyouverymuch.

I was so glad when my kids started to become little people, as opposed to those little infant humans I feared dropping or not parenting to the standards of the Suburban Baby Policemoms.

Now, babies in romance novels, they's another story altogether. They're always a source of such happiness in epilogues, disappointment when the deflowered heroine who turned away from the hero finds she's not pregnant, even though being enceinte w/out a husband would surely bring ruin to her family and wreck the child's life.

Then, there's the way heroes always find their pregnant wives so sexy, can't get enough of the chicks' bods even though the gals have delivered a passel of young'ns -- nursing them all despite the aristocracy's horror at women who perform such an unnatural task. (Please, no letters; that's the ton's opinion, not mine).

There are secret babies, bastard princesses, and, my particular favorites, the stories like the one sent to me recently by Harlequin Presents author Sandra Morton, "The Italian Prince's Pregnant Bride," part of the "Billionaire Brides" series, with, perhaps the best tag line ever:

Billionaire Brides: Pregnant by their princes.

Yeah, I know some of you are writhing in happiness cause, that's just SOOOOOO classic dreamy H'Quin Presents. And you know how this one goes. Absolute bastard of an arrogant, misogynistic-yet-likable Italian prince/self-made billionaire has wet, hot, anonymous sex with a seeming ice queen -- forgetting in his passion the condom (because it's H'Quin Pres, we pronounce everything like BBC News Desk) -- and ends up learning her ID in a scene in which he embarrasses and debases her.

It's soooooooooo good.

So, what's your favorite baby scenario in romance? What do you like about baby story lines? How do you feel about the way pregnancy and body changes through pregnancy are dealt with in romance? How much of a lightskirt are you for "pregnancy" category romance?
Our very own Bella Kate Pearce GuestBlogs
Tuesday, May 23!
Wear your chaps, cause she's talkin cowboys...

Sabrina Jeffries GuestBlogs Friday, May 25,
with a topic that's absolutely so evil cool, you won't wanna miss it.


Kati said...

HI Bellas! Hope everyone is having a dandy weekend. Had 16 guests over for dinner last night. Went well. I served fajitas and blueberry pie (b-berries are in season right now).

Anyhoo, my very favorite baby related scenario??? Oh yeah, the secret baby. In any incarnation whatsoever. I just love that moment when the hero and heroine reconnect and he looks over at that gorgeous child, sees his eyes, and does some mental math. Mmmmhmmm. It's my absolute favorite!

Anonymous said...

Hey Michelle and Bellas :)

Oh, Michelle - I read the synopsis of The Italian Prince's Pregnant Bride and went straight to the library catalogue and reserved it. It sounds SO good!

Unfortunately, I don't think I can comment on the way romances deal with both pregnancy and the changes to a woman's body during pregnancy as I've never been pregnant and somehow I can't see it happening. However, I'll be reading the other posts with interest.

Have a great week all!


Julie in Ohio said...

Hey, Bellas!!

MK-- You are a braver soul than I. Just thinking about having people over for dinner gives me hives. :o\

Like MK, I enjoy the secret baby synopsis. I love the moment the hero sees the child for the first time and just knows he's the daddy.

Actually, Michelle, having delivered three babies, I find the way romance portrays pregnancy and post-pregnancy bodies to be the ultimate fantasy.
The babies are wonderful and precious in every way but what they leave you with (saggy breasts, a couple more inches on your saddle bags and of course, those beautiful stretch marks) is not the most swoon worthy of bodies. Having a man spout poetry over her womanly figure is almost laughable but I do so enjoy the fantasy... :o)

Keira Soleore said...

Yay, to Kate Pearce.
Double yay, to Sabrina Jeffries.
Looks like it's going to be a great week for the Bellas.

Stacy~ said...

I just did a major HP glom over the last week and boy oh boy, the hero can still be an alpha bastard, but you know what, the heroines are really starting to rock. Seriously, a lot of those silly misunderstandings have been traded in for some kick*ss heroines who don't put up the heroe's crap, and I'm lovin' it.

Okay, not a huge fan of secret baby stuff, not since I read Rachel Gibson's book (can't remember the title, maybe Daisy's Back In Town") where the heroine kept the father of her son in the dark for years, years! Absolutely hated it. Now I love Gibson's books, but this one set me off. Even when the baby is a newbie, I have a bit of a hard time with it. I'll still read them because HP is famous for babies in their books, but it's not a fave scenario.

Speaking of fave scenario, saw Deja Vu with my guy Denzel. Good movie, but the ending threw me off. Has anyone seen it? Could you email me off-list with your theory(ies)? Appreciate it :)

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hey, Keira, I'm looking forward to it, too. Both GuestBlogs are really fun. When I start answering the author's blog discussion question in the email telling her I got her GuestBlog and art, etc., I know we're gonna have fun w/ it. That's the case w/ both.

Buongiorno, Bellas!Romance babies, romance babies, romance babies. They're everywhere, and I gotta say, I get the warm HEA fuzzies, the "I'm Havin His Baby" heart whomp when I read the heroine's delight at gestating the hero's offspring.

Which, in reality, Orianna, lasts a few months for lots of pregnant women. During delivery? Not so much that I've heard.

Marton has two other novels in this trilogy -- the heroes buddies who said they'd never marry. One's a Greek prince ("The Greek Prince's Chosen Wife") and then theres's "The Spanish Prince's Virgin Bride"). Thank God there's a virgin in there somewheres, cause you know I loves me my virgin heroines succombing to the bastard heroes.

I love the birthing scenarios, the heroes who hold the hns in their arms while the chicks give birth, or the formerly overbearing, bastard heroes reduced to mewling little children, except they drink and pace with thier alpha buds, waiting for their kids to be born.

Secret babies? How did I know you were going to bring that up, MK? Soooo unlike you to repeat yourself around here. But I didn't know you were a Secret Baby fan, too, Jules.

What'd you think of the famous Secret Baby in "Forrest Gump?"

I actually buy the heroes finding their pregnant heroines sexy, though I'm not totally sure that's not our applying today's sensibilities to the issue. I mean, now we're allowed to dress in things other than muu muus while pregnant, docs don't discourage sex during most/all of pregnancy (can't remember), and lots of guys really do find the emotional bond of the whole thing really sexy.

And guys can be terrific about still loving their partners' bodies post-childbirth. It's harder on women who've given birth, I think, cause the physical changes can be hard to take, and we're not always kind to ourselves, no?

But when the heroes start spouting about how stretch marks and sagging breasts give character and are beautiful, my Suspension of Disbelief starts to waver a little.

And, what about when the heroine's older, had a bunch of kids, and the hero can't get over how hot and tight she is? I'm like, she's had how many kids? I mean, he's got tobe a maniconda, isn't that the term, MK?

Although, come to think of it, the only reference I've ever read to changes in a woman's vagina post-pregnancy was a Kenyon Dark-Hunter. It was one of those scenes where the heroine and another chick have managed to see the hero asleep, or concussed or something, and, of course he's nude. And the wacky best friend says something like, "sheesh, he's equipped -- could probably still go wall-to-wall even after a girl's had a bunch of kids."

Hmm...have I gone too far even for our No Such Thing as TMI at RBtheBlog maxim????

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hey, Stace. Help me. HP?

Stacy~ said...

Harlequin Presents, dear.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

grazie. As always, I am happy to overlook the obvious. Just haven't been right since Baby Brain set in...

ev said...

I am so glad I only had one. That was enough. Not everyone is cut out to be mama to a herd. Like me.

Sometimes I like the baby scenarios, sometimes I don't. All depends on the story line and my mood.

And for men thinking that giving birth makes a woman sexier, b.s. I never believe it. And I hate that everywoman in every book always goes back to pre-pregnancy figure/weight/etc no matter how many kids they have had or how many problems they had while pregnant.

To me it always seems like they are saying that anyone who doesn't, it's their own fault.

down off my soapbox.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hey, ev! Good to see ya. I agree about the figure snappin right back thing. When a writer addresses the body change issues realistically, I always applaud it. But then, sometimes I like to fantasize that everything really does snap right back into place... like you say, it depends on the book and the scenario.

As for real life? Vive le modern lingerie engineering.

That's all's I'm sayin.

I had an awesome pregnancy, in that I was really healthy and my husband was great about it. We were both so shocked it happened; we'd gotten married thinking we'd adopt cause of my kidney stuff. So the whole thing was a little surreal. We laughed and joked and he was really playful about the whole thing.

Then the baby was born and I could barely stand to look at him for, like, the next five years. Lack of sleep makes me really cranky.

And I'm like you, ev, not a herder.

Julie in Ohio said...

Mornin', Bellas!!

Being pregnant/post pregnant, IMO, is the most vulnerable time of a woman's life. You are horribly hormonal and more self conscious than you would normally be. To have a guy say the right things at the right times is a fantasy under good conditions. You throw in the ever changing moods of pregnancy and the poor guy doesn't have a chance.
The fact that the hero does say the right things at the right times, is what I enjoy most out of these books. Talk about suspending reality. But, after all, it is my fantasy... :o)

Playground Monitor said...

Love, love, love babies and children in romance. They add such an extra layer of emotion to a story. And secret babies. LOVE that too.

However, after birthing two babies, I have to say that romances are fantasy. They fail to mention puking your guts out or they make it seem romantic -- the hero kneeling beside the heroine, holding her hand and wiping her brow with a cool cloth. What about the guy who watches you puke and then pukes too?

They don't mention colic, leaking milk in public or breast infections and no sleep for years. And then there's puberty, where my sons turned from sweet boys to absolute monsters. Of course, at about age 21 they became human again and I adore them once more.

But I read for enjoyment and a baby or two just adds to the enjoyment. I'm just a sucker for a baby romance (except HP cause I don't like those uber-alpha guys).


Sandra Marton said...

I just love all these comments about babies and pregnant heroines!

Having been there, done that--I've been pregnant, had babies, and I've written several Harlequin Presents in which the heroines have done the same things--I absolutely agree that babies can be fantasy time in romance novels. Even if the heroine upchucks, she does it with dignity--and with the hero beside her, etc.

But it's such a great fantasy, don't you think?

And I also love the secret baby thing. Every time I write a scene in which the hero discovers The Truth, I just smile with delight.

LizbethSelvig said...

Hi Bellas,
I not only love babies in romances, but I'm even more in love with heroes interacting with the slightly only kids, say three to four. There's absolutely nothing like a macho guy lowering himself to the level of a child and making him/her laugh or come out of a shell -- the whole daddy thing. It's especially good when it's not even his child, and he makes the perfect father anyhow (perhaps you tell I have one of these in my current WIP?).

Yup - guys and babies/kids definitely go together in most womens' minds.

As for a woman's body during and after pregnancy and birth: I'm one of those lucky people who had easy pregnancies and quick labors, and one of the really strange chicks who liked her body better pregnant than not. So, I totally love a hero who likes his pregnant heroine. Weird, huh?

Fun topic. BTW - sounds like you had a great time in LA, Michelle. Sorry I missed you when I was in the land of the Bella Queen!

Monica Burns said...

I really don't have a preference about babies in a book as long as it fits and the story's good. Babies can be a great connection between a couple.

As for bodies, well, I have to admit that I was totally HAWT WHILST I was pregnant. My skin was unbelievable. Pregnancy suited my looks. Now my temperament? The DH just kept telling everyone that aliens had kidnapped his wife to experiment on how he could deal with a bitch. LOL

As for after the baby fact, well men look at women's bodies differently than we do. Particularly guys who're are in love with their wives. I think they truly don't see the differences all that much. Whenever I complain about my weight, the DH just looks at me with this lusty gaze and says, "do you hearing me complaining?"

As for a woman who has had several kids and not being tight. Well, that can be rectified somewhat. They're called Kegels. Not just the front ones, but the back ones too (yeah I thought there was only one kind too! LOL).

PT's say that women who've had babies and/or weight gain find that the strain on the pelvic floor makes things go south in more ways than one. Front and back Kegels make the pelvic floor stronger to provide more support for all the internal items, PLUS there's the added benefit of increasing sexual pleasure during intercourse. A woman who's been practicing can squeeze to make it more pleasurable for the man. Now for us, well it's gonna depend on the woman. If you practice all the time, eventually the muscles will get back into shape and you WILL experience that tighter sensation. But then there are toys that can help if you don't. *evil grin* Trust me, get the humming bird attachment. BEST damn thing I ever bought! ROFL Okay so that IS TMI, but I think women are entitled to lots of pleasure too. And the older you get, the more you're gonna believe it!


Kati said...

I LOVE when Mon teaches biology!!

Hmm, the Hummingbird huh? That sounds interesting. Now where did I put that toy catalog??

flip said...

I spent the first four and half months of every pregnancy constantly throwing up. I always lost weight. Then the nausea went away and I gained weight....lots and lots of weight I gain 70 lbs my first pregnancy. I did not have a 30 lb baby.

So I really hate the glowing pregnant woman,who is more desirable than ever. I would really love to see story in which the hero is convinced that evil fairies took his lady love and replaced her with a fat grumpy troll.

The only thing worst than the gorgeous pregnant heroine is the perfect children in romance novels. No one has colicky babies in romance novels. No one has asassy three year old who can open every child proof lock ever created. No one ever has preteen who text messages a huge cell bill in one month.

I love my kids, but parenting is not for the faint of heart.

Playground Monitor said...

I did read one romance where a precocious little girl, with the help of her scheming grandmother, found an e-mail order bride for her father.

That texting preteen reminds me of that commercial where the kid talks in text lingo. Just what authority decreed that kids need cell phones anyway?


Unknown said...

I'm so excited to be guest blogging this week!! Me!!

I love secret baby stories!

My mother had 6 kids, all girls and often complained that she had lost her figure. My dad used to give her a little hug and say "Well you can only blow up a balloon so many times."
I think I got what he meant but eww!

LizbethSelvig said...

Totally funny! And too true about pre-teens, cell phones and no realism with colic, spitting up and sassing in romance novels. But then again, that's why they call it womens' fantasy - it's what we'd LOVE to see happen!!

Keira Soleore said...

Chiming in a bit late here...

Kate: Your dad's hilarious!

Michelle: I'm so with you there with the pregnancy-newborn thing. Pregnancy? Piece of cake. Labor? Difficult, but over and done with. Then comes the months of no sleep. And that was always the killer. I need my sleep. All eight hours of it, nine if I can get, ten--bliss.

Michelle wrote, "We were both so shocked it happened; we'd gotten married thinking we'd adopt cause of my kidney stuff."

Oh hey! I didn't know that. I'm so sorry to hear that.

Keira-who-hates-when-nasty things-happen-to-the-nicest-people

Kati said...

Keira - Can I say how glad I am that you're hanging with us these days!

Bellas - Keira blogs on Weds over at (where our own Vivi hangs too), she's a wonderful, thoughtful blogger. You should visit her over there!


Vivi Anna said...

Mon, I too was a HAWT pregnant chick. I glowed like crazy. Men hit on me when I was was very weird.

And horny....OMG, I was crazy. Too bad my now ex-hubby was a workaholic and was never home...

Monica Burns said...

Vivi!! That's when you should have had that humming bird!! ROFLMAO

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hey, Keira, it's actually all good: I have a kidney transplant that's extraordinarily healthy. My bro gave me the thing.

PSA: Hope everbody will talk to their families about organ donation, then sign an organ donor card. :)

Keira Soleore said...

Awww, MK. You're so kind. Thank you!!

Michelle: So glad to know you and your family is healthy.

I have organ donation on my driver's license as well as in my will. In fact, I have a "use whatever you want" sort of thing. There are far too many people on the list and far too few donors. I don't see why I shouldn't help out. I guess, the same reasoning works behind volunteering my time.