Saturday, June 30, 2007

I Am SO Going Straight To Hell

One of the cool thing about posting comments on blogs is the anonymity quotient. You can lay out pretty much any secret and not have to worry about anyone you know in real life finding out your identity. I guess that's why sex blogs are so popular.

Though we often talk about sex, this isn't a sex blog, it's more a kaffee klatsch, where we meet cause we love reading romance novels, and stay cause we love to toss out our thoughts and be heard. Because we don't always feel listened to in life outside the monitor, do we?

One of the things I love best about reading through comments here every day, is the exchange between you all, not as much when you respond to what I say, as to when you begin to own the conversation.

Yesterday, Bella MaryKate told us a shawkah about an unexpected and kinda sexy perk she received recently when on a business trip. To which Bella Leeann replied: That’s a great story! I never have any good stories to tell. I think someday I might just make something up to see what other people's reactions would be. At least I know that I have an interesting imagination ;o)

So I'm thinkin, great ideer, Leeann! I mean, people make up stuff all the time on the Internet, usually to make other people feel dopey when they find out it's un
true. What if we do it for fun?

Go ahead, Bellas, tell us your most outrageous story. Funny, sweetly poignant, scary, whatever. Then, we'll try to figure out whether you're telling the truth, or just bluffing for our benefit!
Encore! I finally watched the 2002 version of "The Count of Monte Cristo." I hadn't seen a version of the Count since I was a kid, and really enjoyed the thing. Although, Luis Guzman's Brooklyn accent was a little unnerving. But the flick was fun, and half-way through I learned that I now have a crush on Jesus. Who knew James Cavaziel (above, right) played the Lord? Well, besides those millions of people who saw "The Passion of the Christ" smarty pants. I guess I should get to the movies more often.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Caught On Tape

The relaunch -- and hence, our move to those new digs -- may have been pushed back a week or so, but Jackie Collins' 25th novel, "Drop Dead Beautiful" still debuted Monday. To celebrate,'s posted the entire

Romance:B(u)y the Book
Jackie Collins Interview Series

(complete with a tour of Ms. Collins' manse worthy of "Lifestyles of the Rich/Famous." Cause she's, well, you know, famous and stuff.)

So have at it. Click the Pics. And please feel free to head over to to check my interview series with Miss Jackie (she'll be a Bella soon, when she GuestBlogs with us at our new home). Plus, there's an Original Serial Prequel to "Drop Dead Beautiful," written by JC exclusively for

I'm so excited to have had the opportunity to sit down with Miss herself -- so thanks Steve Troha and St. Martin's Press -- and am really lookin forward to interviewing a bunch of our favorite authors on-cam at RWA national conference in 2 weeks .

Wanna know who's scheduled so far? OK. I've been dyin to tell youz anyways:

Lisa Kleypas, Vicki Lewis Thompson, Christina Dodd, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Marjorie M. Liu, Jaid Black, Suzanne Brockmann, JR Ward, Stephanie Laurens, Teresa Medeiros, Eloisa James, Carly Phillips, Victoria Alexander, Linda Lael Miller, and Julia Quinn, with about 6 more tba.

Got any questions you'd like me to ask any of these authors specifically? What are they?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Down Home

Just started reading a book that's not a romance per se called, "Red House," by Sarah Messer. It's a very cool non-fiction about the oldest continuously lived-in house in New England. A friend of mine here in Minny, who's from back East, gave it to me because her family's mentioned in it.

The neat thing about this book is that the author's telling the story of her family within the home by relating the lives, successes, hardships of the folks who've lived within the structure. It's really vivid, and missing New England as I sometimes do, it's a quick trip back home. As it were.

Houses aren't homes -- my house, for instance, usually is more akin to a sty. But we can make houses homes by building ourselves little spaces in which to enjoy life's great fun, and triumph over the tragic stuff. Sometimes that triumph simply means cycling through another mundane 24 hours w/out forgetting it's great to be alive.

I'm not obsessed with homes, but the first home we bought was my favorite for lots of reasons that have nothing to do with it's size or location or opulence. It had this big yard with a perfect sledding hill for kids and friends to play on before heading in for hot chocolate (sangria for the parents). Deer tracked through the surrounding woods. Birds of all kinds chirped and flew by and stopped in for a treat from the feeder.

On nights when I was pregnant with my son, sick with a migraine but unable to take
meds, my husband walked my around our large, furnitureless, cathedral ceilinged living room until I was tired enough to sleep. My cats curled up in the windows of that same room, chirrupping at the wildlife while I re-read my favorite novels and awaited our baby's arrival.

The place just felt like home.

What makes your place "home?" What's your favorite thing about the space you live in? Where in your home is your personal sanctuary?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Binge And Splurge

It may come as a shawkah, but I often practice avoidant behavior. Yes, I have big fish to fry, but instead nail myself to the wall -- not to be confused with being nailed UATW -- by doing nothing but reading books Not For Professional Purposes.

The last few days I've been fairly swooning from reading nothing but our Bella Portia Da Costa. You know our Portia. She likes to act like everyone's slightly-pervy-but-touchingly kind favorite auntie. But we know the truth about the Vincenzo D'Onofrio obsessed purveyor of fine romantic erotica, don't we.

If you don't know, I'll tell you. Not only are her books remarkably sensual, and elegantly blatant in thier exploration of the fantasies nice girls didn't even know they had till they read the books -- oh, no.

Bella Portia's books are like primers for anyone who wants to study the art of writing well erotic fiction, and, for the uninitiated reader of erotica and romantic erotica, the books I suggest you try, even if you think you'll not like the genre/sub-genre. You may not come away a fan of the style, but you'll have tried it by reading examples of some of the best there is.

We're All Adults Here Warning: As Portia remarks on her site,, Please be aware that [her novels] contain sensual content that is only suitable for adult readers who are comfortable with frank language and descriptions of erotic scenarios.

But despite that, you need to know that, contrary to pure erotica, I've come away from every Portia DaCosta novel I've ever read feeling romantically satisfied, not just wildly aroused. Brava on that!
Have you read Portia? What's the last novel you read that left you romantically satisfied as well as feelin a little (or a lot) lusty?
Encore! Yep. I read these novels, and one more I couldn't fit here. "Suite Seventeen" is out in the States early August, and I think herself will be joining us at my blog.
Encore due! BTW, the relaunch has been moved back a couple days, so I'll let you know when to start packing.

Friday, June 22, 2007

I Like It Campy

Last night Dave, the kids and I trudged through the sweaty and buggy day camp the chitlins are gonna spend a few weeks at this summer. You know, Camper Orientation Night. The kids were hot and sticky and cranky, complaining about everything for the hour and a half we spent there. Dave and I were frantic, thinking we'd spent good money to send our kids to a place they thought was a hellish nightmare.

As we were leaving, they were, like, "wow, we can't wait for summer camp." Go flippin figure.

Now, I never went to summer camp, but I'm seen my share of "Friday the 13th" flicks, so I think that qualifies me as an expert. I've even read a couple romance novels set at summer camps or family vacation cottage, two memorable examples being Susan Wigg's "Summer at Willow Lake," and Susan Elizabeth Phillips "This Heart of Mine."

So if you're lookin for summer-themed entertainment this weekend, ditch the the camp horror flicks, and go for one of these babies.. There'll definitely be a happy ending. And while somebody'll probably have hot, furtive sex in the woods, I pretty much guarantee they're not gonna end up slashed
to bits in the end.

Ain't romance grand?

What were your summer camp experiences like? Are you shooing your kids out of the house to camp this summer? What are you planning to read this weekend?
Encore! What RBtheBlog summer camp experience would be complete without a hot and wet fantasy counselor. Oh, please -- he's over eighteen. And it is Friday after all...

Meet Adolfo. He's a University of MN exchange student from Sicily. He's also works as a poolboy at my neighbor Cissy's. Oh, don't we love our afternoon book groups now...

Encore due! Of course I'm kidding. Sheesh. I have no idea who he is. And I don't even belong to a book group. But a Bella can dream, cain't she?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

This Is Not A Super-Sized Manroot Post

As much as I'd love to keep up yesterday's post another day -- chatting and chatting and objectifying some of the things I love most about romance heroes and men in general -- I really need to get something off my chest, as it were.

You see, Tuesday, author
Toni Blake
visited, and was just a lovely, gracious hostess, as well as guest. I say hostess because, well, I never showed. Not once. Not one measly buongiorno.

Now, it's not like I have to be here; you all do a great
job of keepin the place together without me -- although I often find some cyberita mix in the trash when I get back. Then there was that one time I found the Nick Sparks cover "dart boards" tacked to the wall with cocktail forks, but I can't fault you for that.

So, I'm just offering my apologies to you, Miss Toni -- who deserve much better), and wondering:

What's the best party you've ever attended and what made it great?

Encore! orianna, you've won a copy of Kresley Cole's "If You Desire" from yesterday's Super-Sized Manroot Blog!
Encore due! maureen and lindsey, you've won a novel from Toni Blake and Lacey Alexander respectively! Everybody send me your snail addies at Congratulazione!
Encore tre! Josh. It's Josh Duhamel. Yet another reason why I can't wait to see the Transformers movie.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Read This Post At Your Own (Sensual) Peril

Contest Today!!!
Have you read this yet? I mean, I love
Kresley Cole's historicals to begin with, and was desperately awaiting its release. But then I find out it came out in May? Just shows how confused I am lately.

Anywayz, if you've not read the MacCarrick Brothers Trilogy, hie thee to the bookstore -- cause you don't wanna wait for a delivery -- and read these things. It's always cool when you can get a series all at once, no?

If You Deceive" specifically has some of the hottest scenes I've read in an historical in ages; Cole just does the dark, bone-headed, can't-see-his-own-feelings hero like nobody's business.

Yet, it begs me to ask this question, "what's up with all the ten-inch penises in romance lately?"

It seems like every strapping hero's sportin just nigh on a foot. Why not nine inches? Or, ugh, eleven? And, not that Cole does this, but how many times to we need to be told -- as if reading a page out of the real "Gray's Anatomy" -- that women's organs are designed to shift to accommodate the maniconda?

This is interesting, too: Somebody brought up during a guest blog I wrote at Romancing the Blog a while back, what's up with heroes becoming "impossibly [harder, longer, thicker, etc.]" Not that there's anything wrong with it.

Now, I make no secret of the fact that I adore penis imagery (or is that penile imagery) in novels. But maybe I'm somehow perverse and obsessive, and no other romance readers get turned on by the stuff or tend to catalog the ways authors describe and present it to readers.

A writing tutor I had once criticized some stuff I'd written, saying women who read romances simply didn't like references to male body fluids. Of course, I got rid of her, but I wondered whether there was something wrong with me.

What do you think about male genitalia imagery in romance? Have you noticed this trend toward super-sizing? Where's your comfort zone?

Be brave, Bellas! One LCB wins a copy of Kresley Cole's "If You Desire!"

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Toni Blake (Or Is That Lacey Alexander) GuestBlog: Toni, Or, Em, Lacy, Dishes The Dirt On Leading A Double Life

Contest!!! One LCB wins a copy of "Tempt Me Tonight," and another LCB wins "Voyeur" from Toni. And Lacey.
It's been fun making e-friends with Toni Blake over the last couple years. We met over her erotic romance, "Swept Away," (read my RBtheBook Feature and her AuthorView)and have forged a bit of a bond in our championing of novels erotic. Toni's new erotic romance is "Tempt Me Tonight," which has one of my favorite romance premises. You should ask her about it, after you wish her a warm -- or should I say steamy -- Bella buongiorno...

I recently announced in the online romance community that in addition to writing super sexy romances as Toni Blake, I’ve also spent the last three and a half years moonlighting – by writing romantic erotica as Lacey Alexander. There were all kinds of reasons why I kept it a secret, and I’ve gotten all kinds of support since “coming out of the closet” and even discovered I have a strong cross-readership. But that’s not what this blog is about. This blog is about the perils of leading a double life, and there are many, let me tell ya!

First of all, there’s the secret-keeping. Without going into the details, it really wasn’t my fault it had to be kept a secret – a pesky contract clause made it necessary. That said, I thought keeping a secret would be fun – you know, very doubled-agentish/James Bondish without causing anyone any harm. What I learned, though, was – keeping a secret is hard. To maintain my double life, I had to do everything twice, and I had to remember which one of me I was at any given moment. That means having two e-mail accounts, two Yahoogroup identities for the chat loops I took part in, and, again – any time I sent a message, I had to be sure I remembered which one of me it was coming from – which can get confusing when dealing with lots of communication.

Keeping the secret was also hard because as the erotica portion of my career grew, heck, I wanted to tell people. Without telling people, I had no one to celebrate successes with. And I also think people were beginning to wonder why it was taking me so long to write a book. After all, no one realized I was actually producing twice as much work as they saw coming from Toni Blake, or doing twice as much promo work.

So it’s a huge relief to have the truth out, but I still suffer many of the perils of being two people – because guess what? I’m still doing everything twice. I maintain two websites, two MySpace pages, and I still have two e-mail addresses and two times the communication with editors and readers. I do twice as much promo work because I have twice as many books out under twice as many names. Name recognition is what promo is all about, so I really feel I have to work twice as hard to keep two names afloat in the minds of readers. Oh, and I have twice as many deadlines, from three different publishers, so I’m always juggling them and planning my writing schedule for a year or two in advance. And if that’s not enough, now that my erotica identity is out, I harbor what I hope is an irrational fear of being bothered by creepy men. (So if you’re a creepy man and you’re reading this, don’t even think about it, dude.)

Okay, so now that I’ve whined and complained for several paragraphs, you may be wondering – is there anything good about this crazy double life of yours? Well, of course!

I love the freedom to write what I consider two very different types of books. After I finish what I hope is a deep, complex, very-sexy-but- heart-wrenching Toni Blake novel, it’s fun to write a not-so-deep erotic romp as Lacey Alexander. It’s also fun to get twice as much fan mail and twice as many pay checks.

This spring/summer has been especially gratifying as I’ve had three books out in row: In May, Penguin released VOYEUR by Lacey, June saw Toni’s TEMPT ME TONIGHT from Avon Red, and in July, Avon is re-issuing a mass market version of SWEPT AWAY, which was the first single title to launch the Red line last fall. Oh, and TEMPT ME TONIGHT was excerpted in Cosmo, which was kind of a dream-come-true thing for me! So it’s been a super exciting time in my career, full of fun and fanfare and all that good stuff!

So what am I next looking forward to? Well, to be honest, August. Because as wonderful and exciting as it is to have so many books on the shelves at once, at heart, I’m a writer and a bit of a hermit, too, and I’m just about ready to crawl back in my cave and get down the serious writing of books so that you guys will have something to read from me next year, too. When all is said and done, that’s what it comes down to in the end – I’m still that little girl in rural Kentucky sitting on my bed and writing stories in notebooks that I hope someone will read someday. They’re just a lot hotter than they were then. And I’m just glad I have a computer now, so I don’t have that ugly spot on my index finger anymore ; )
Do you lead a double life?
What do you do or love that would surprise your friends if they knew?

Encore! To check out Toni’s super steamy, super sexy, heart-tugging romances, visit, or you can discover your inner bad girl at Or have twice the fun by checking them both out!
Encore due! Toni's got a great article about the differences between erotic romance and erotica in this month's "Romance Writers Report." And I'm not just sayin it's great cause it includes my timely, expert -- and, ok, maybe sometimes indecipherable -- opinions.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Can U Forgive Me?

Toni Blake GuestBlogs Tomorrow, June 19

Celebrating the Release of her Hot Hot Hot
New Novel, "Tempt Me Tonight!"

Ugh. How kind of you to keep returning yesterday and today with absolutely nothing new to read or talk about!

I woke this am, fresh and rested from vacation, eager to write a new, entertaining blog for you. Well, at least a blog that was new. But my computer was a mess, and I had to spend a great deal of time on the phone with a very nice computer nerd -- and I mean that with the greatest admiration -- named Neo.

Anywayz, since I'm only back on now, here are a couple pix to say "mi scusi," as well as some winners from last week's GuestBlogs:

Leigh Court has chosen: leanne
Debbie Guisti has chosen: JulieinOhio and CherieJ as her winners.

Please send me your snail mail addresses at! Congrats!
Now, I knowwwww this photo is a tad suggestive, but he is hot and wet, and he's kind of in celebration of the fact that Toni's here tomorrow and her novels are, well, hot. And sometimes pay homage to men who are wet. And who have sexy tats in naughty places which are inspired by strapping men who act in seriously nasty films...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Take Me Out To The Club Box -- Or -- What I Did On My Summer Vacation

When Dave and I were first dating, he was all like, "I can't wait to take you to Fenway for a Red Sox game." But we never got there for some reason until a couple years ago, and the first time wasn't in the bleachers where he and his buddies would sit after they'd scraped together enough dough for the tix and some beers. Oh, no. My first BoSox MLB experience was in the cushy comfort of the WCVB-TV lux box.

I ask you, how can I possibly see the Sox any other way now? Believe me, I don't take for granted the opportunity for one sec, even though Dave finds my allegiance to the Sox odd because I didn't grow up in MA (New state motto: When we say equal, we mean equal), and I'm not a nutcase about the sport itself. I just like choosing a team and sticking with it through thick/thin.

I remained true to the team even after we moved to the Midwest, and Dave jumped ship to become a MN Twins fan. He said he'd had 40 years of being fan of a losing team, after which my Boys from Boston promptly won the Series. Ah, the sweet smell of "I told you so..."

Tonight, we're headed to Brookline to watch Boston play some team from Cali, oh yeah, the Giants. And even though I love watching the players -- cause, sheesh, they're so strong, and such fine specimens of the the body human in it's glory (and I love the pants) -- I have to admit I've got a little crush on BoSox cutie GM, Theo Epstein.

What else have we done on our vacation this week? Slept. A lot. Ate. A lot. Watched E. Read. Vegged. And yester
day I had lunch with Bella/author Caroline Linden, who's got a new novel coming out in September. And Tuesday, I hooked up with Suzanne Brockmann to chat about "Force of Nature" and some of the cool stuff we're planning at for its release in August.

So here's a few
pics of BoSox guys, Theo, Twins pitcher, Joe Nathan, who's a thing of beauty on the field, and, well, Hugh, just because we haven't seen him in a while.

So I ask you, can you be a fan of a team without being a fanatic for the game? And, who's your favorite hottie athlete?
Encore! Check back Monday for Debbie G's winner!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Debby Giusti GuestBlog: Red, White, And Blue Heroes

Contest!!! 2 LCBs (Lucky Commenting Bellas) each win a copy of “Nowhere to Hide” (Steeple Hill Inspy Romantic Suspense) from Debby!

Debby Giusti is a terribly sweet woman.When we shared a ride to a party at RWA last year, we spoke pretty much non-stop about romance and her writing, yes, but mostly about how crazy we are for our troops, and how nice it is when we're able to combine thing
s we care about in real life with the work we're lucky enough to do. Her Inspy Romantic Suspenses are terrific, and I'm so pleased I finally get to introduce her to you. Please give a warm Red, White, and Blue buongiorno to our new Bella...

Hi, Bellas! Grazie, Michelle, for inviting me to Romance: By the Blog!

I’m always in a patriotic mood this time of year. Two weeks ago, we celebrated Memorial Day, tomorrow’s Flag Day and the Fourth of July is right around the corner. That’s why I want to pay tribute to the heroes who are near and dear to my heart--the men and women in the United States Armed Forces.

Michelle and I first “connected” over a book drive for soldiers when my son was deployed for a second tour in Iraq. Not a day goes by that I don’t offer prayers of gratitude and safekeeping for those who put duty, honor and country first. I’m so proud of my son and the thousands of dedicated soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who continue to answer our country’s call. They’re heroes in my book!

Knowing the Bellas like pictures, I posted a few from that touched me. Steadfast and courageous, real-life military heroes are take-charge guys with a can-do attitude. And those are the kind of men I like to have in my stories.

Matt Lawson, the hero in my debut novel, NOWHERE TO HIDE, is a Gulf War veteran, and while Nolan Price in SCARED TO DEATH (out in August) isn’t in the military, he possesses the strength and determination that define a guy in uniform.

My third book, MIA: MISSING IN ATLANTA, a March 2008 release from Steeple Hill, features Captain Jude Walker, a returning war hero assigned to the 101st Airborne Division, the unit my son served with in Iraq. The book is dedicated to the brave men and women who defend our nation. God bless them all!

So, Bellas, who are your real-life heroes?

And what makes your patriotic fervor soar?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Leigh Court GuestBlog: The Beauty Of Anthologies...

Contest!!! Leigh's giving one Lucky Commenting Bella a copy of Secrets Volume 15, which includes her Victorian erotic romance The Disciplinarian…

Leigh Court wrote me way back when RBtheBook first began to tell me about her publisher, Red Sage. At that time, RBtheBlog didn't exist, so I had no way to present erotic romance to my viewers. Well, we changed all that here, didn't we, Bellas? And now, Leigh's here to tell us about her latest story in an RS Secrets anthology, plus brings along a guy we all know and lust, em love. A warm, "Michelle's on vacation, so let's raise a ruckus" buongiorno for the delightful Miss Leigh...

Many thanks to Michelle for letting me stop by and talk to everyone today!

My road to becoming a romance author is fairly unique, so I thought I’d share it… I was a television news reporter who had a particularly depressing week at work, covering both the death of a good friend/ABC news reporter who was killed on his way to cover a story, as well as the particularly gruesome death of a New York State trooper on the Thruway in an incident called “dusting.” That’s the week I picked up my first romance novel -- to try and cheer myself up. LOL, I've never looked back...

I was inspired to try and write a romance myself, and I was lucky enough to sell my first story to Red Sage Publishing

Red Sage publishes what I consider the best line of erotic romance novellas with its Secrets anthology series. There are four different novellas in each Secrets volume: one historical, one paranormal and two contemporary stories. There’s something to please everyone’s taste, in a length that’s perfect for reading before bedtime (and inspiring pleasant dreams, if you know what I mean)… Best of all, when you finish one story, there are three more delicious tales waiting for you!

I wrote a sexy Victorian romance called ‘The Disciplinarian’ for Secrets Volume 15. Here’s the premise: what happens when a headstrong young Victorian wife is sent to London’s notorious Disciplinarian for instruction in wifely obedience? His surprising lessons soon have her writhing in pleasure instead of pain! You can read an excerpt at

My black-haired, blue-eyed, devilishly handsome Disciplinarian prompted one reviewer to write about my heroine: “If this is discipline, I want what Clarissa Babcock is having!”

I’ll be at the Literacy booksigning at the RWA convention in Dallas on July 11 if you can stop by!
So… anyone here ever fantasize about trying a little discipline
with their partner?

What are your thoughts on anthology stories -- too short to be, er, satisfying, or just the right, um, size? Any Red Sage fans here?
Encore! Grazie mille SHOMI authors Liz Maverick, Marianne Mancusi, and Bella Eve Silver for visiting us with your anime-ted GuestBlog yesterday. Can't wait for theSHOMI line and your books to debut!
Encore due! wylie kinson; tetewa; danetteb, you've each won a prize from the SHOMI GuestBlog. Please send me your snail mail at
Encore tre! Debbie Guisti, Inspirational romantic suspense author -- and a favorite person of mine -- GuestBlogs tomorrow, Wed, June 12 with a tribute to real heroes.

Monday, June 11, 2007

SHOMI Authors GuestBlog: Fresh Twist On Romance

Bella Eve Silver thought it might be fun if she and her fellow debut SHOMI authors visited to talk about the new manga-inspired line from Dorchester, so of course I asked them over to hang while I'm on vacation. I've read Eve's book, "Driven," and now I'm hooked on the line. Won't you please offer a nice Monday buongiorno for the SHOMI chicks...

Good morning, Michelle and Bellas! Thanks for inviting us to come chat about WIRED, MOONGAZER, DRIVEN and the new Shomi line from Dorchester (

And we came with goodies! 3 Lucky Commenting Bellas win one of the following: Liz has a copy of her July Shomi WIRED to give away, Marianne’s got an arc of her August Shomi MOONGAZER. Eve has an arc of her September Shomi DRIVEN, and her upcoming DARK PRINCE by her alter ego, Eve Silver.

First up – a little about the books…

Liz Maverick, WIRED (July 2007, Shomi Book #1): is sort of my dream book. It takes the things I liked about writing the futuristic-flavored Crimson City romances along with the snappy banter and strong female friendships from my early chick lit books and rolls it all into one novel. I think it could have been disastrous if it hadn’t gelled properly, LOL, but it turned out to be the kind of genre hybrid I was always meant to write.

Marianne Mancusi, MOONGAZER (August 2007, Shomi Book #2): My editor, Chris, always teases me that my Shomi book, Moongazer, is much like The Matrix, to which I always reply—but I thought of it first! I’d actually conceptualized Moongazer back in college and originally wrote it up for a screenplay class I was taking.

It’s changed a lot from the original. My heroine got younger and switched jobs—from magazine photographer to videogame designer. My original hero had been castrated—but my editor didn’t really think that would play well in a romance novel. And lastly, my angsty, indy college girl written screenplay’s third act got a complete makeover and now has that mandatory romance happily ever after.

Eve Kenin, DRIVEN (September 2007, Shomi Book #3): DRIVEN is definitely different, a departure from the historicals and even the contemporary paranormals I write as Eve Silver. In fact, I was a little stunned when a post-apocalyptic tale of truckers, ice pirates and a deadly villain with a personal vendetta flowed from my fingers, not to mention an amazingly hot hero and a heroine who can handle absolutely anything. She was the biggest surprise of all: Raina Bowen, the kick-butt heroine of DRIVEN.

And a Little Something About the Characters…

Liz Maverick, WIRED: Getting the characters just right for this book was tricky. I wanted a “Moonlighting” sort of push and pull, but I also wanted to get into some really deep emotions. And going first person meant that only the narrator (in this case, Roxanne) had her heart out on a platter; everyone else’s feelings had to be filtered through interpretation, assumption, and what the characters themselves offered up (which might not be the truth.) So with WIRED I had to work extra hard to deliver a great love story alongside the other elements that make the book a well-balanced hybrid.

Marianne Mancusi, MOONGAZER: I always like to write fish out of water characters. Moongazer is more of an alternate reality time jump than a time jump -- but it's still the same concept. Skye, my heroine goes from the familiar -- her life as a videogame designer from Manhattan goes for the familiar -- her life as a videogame designer from Manhattan to the strange -- an underground post-apocalyptic nightmare world. She has to adapt to survive in this foreign environment, even though she’s not sure where she is–or even who she is.

Eve Kenin, DRIVEN: Incredibly strong heroines aren’t anything new. Take a look all the way back to Greek mythology and the goddess Artemis. When Zeus asked Artemis what she wanted for her birthday, she precociously requested such treasures as a bow and arrow like her brother's, a hunting outfit and the chance to disdain dressing like a lady. Raina Bowen and Artemis would have agreed on those choices.

But thekick-butt heroine was new to me, and we had a very cool journey together (both figuratively and literally, given that DRIVEN is set in a frozen wasteland). Along the way, I discovered that the most engaging strong heroine has equally strong human failings. Raina has those in spades, shadowy corners of her soul, bruised and aching places that make her human. It is the balance between her strengths and weaknesses that makes the hero fall in love with her, and oh, Bellas, does he ever fall hard.

Talk to Us…

Liz: What do you think about the idea of genre hybrids? Does it worry you or make you sigh with relief that fresh twists on the romance genre are going to be on the shelves?

Marianne: Do you have a story you wrote a long time ago that just stayed with you? One you’re still dying to tell in one way, shape or form? Tell us about it.

Eve: So tell me, what sort of hero would be the perfect match for the kick-butt heroine? Strong and silent? Alpha male (LOL, can you imagine the sparks there?)? An easy-going jokester?

Find Out More...;;

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Show Me The Vinny

SHOMI Authors Eve Kenin
Liz Maverick and
Marianne Mancusi
GuestBlog tomorrow, June 11!
Grazie mille, Portia Da Costa, for visiting us this weekend. Check within Portia's GuestBlog if you'd like two hot sneak peeks of "The Devil Inside," and at her August 7 Black Lace release, "Suite Seventeen" at and

julieinohio, you've won a copy of "Suite Seventeen" from Portia. Please send me
your snail mail at Congrats!
Encore! For you, Portia, just one more Vincenzo!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Portia Da Costa GuestBlog: My Red Hot Love Affairs

Contest!!! One LCB wins her choice of ANY TWO Portia Da Costa novels mentioned below. Thanks, Portia!
Posture, Bellas, and brush that Krispy Kreme residue off your keyboard, for you're in the presence of erotica royalty. Sure, she's one of us, but when you ask big-time fans of women's and romantic erotica whom they adore, Bella Portia Da Costa's name usually comes up on their short lists. If you haven't tried erotica, brace yourself for pleasure, then pick up a Da Costa. Please, a warm, TGIF buongiorno for madame...

I’ve never met Vincent D’Onofrio. I’ve never met Kevin Bacon. I’ve never met Andre Agassi. I have met James Marsters, but I was only one of hundreds of women he met that day, so I probably didn’t make much of an impact.

But I have had red hot love affairs with all these gorgeous hunks… in between the pages of my novels! These fabulous men are all my hero templates, and they help me write my stories, especially my love scenes.

Everybody says you shouldn’t base your characters on real people. And, I don’t. Not really. My heroes look like these famous hotties, but they have personalities – and quirks - that express my ideal of a challenging fantasy lover rather than reflecting any real world man.

So, who’s been who? Well, in Entertaining Mr Stone, the divine Vincenzo (above left) played Robert Stone, my heroine Maria’s debonair and deliciously pervy boss.

In Continuum, Kevin B played Kevin Steel, best friend and lover to Joanna, the man who helps her understand her sexual journey.

In Gothic Blue, Mr Agassi played melancholic but beautiful Count Andre Von Kastel. And in Lessons and Lovers, Lady Henrietta’s enigmatic manservant Starr bears a startling resemblance to a certain blond, British vampire.

But what of Suite Seventeen, my forthcoming Black Lace release? Well, the main squeeze is a tall, dark, handsome, super-kinky Italian stud called Valentino - who could easily be taken for Signor D’Onofrio as he appeared in the indie movie, The Velocity of Gary. The fact that ‘my’ Valentino and the film Valentino are both dangerously sexy bad boys with questionable pasts is purely a happy coincidence.

So, Bellas, when you’re reading/writing… do you cast famous heartthrobs as the leading men? Or do you picture your own perfect imaginary heroes,
tailored to your personal requirements?