Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Emily Bryan GuestBlog: Eye Of The Beholder

CONTEST TODAY: One lucky commenting Bella wins an autographed copy of “Vexing the Viscount” courtesy of Emily!

From Michelle: Emily Bryan’s dreamy new hero isn’t only vexed because we damn Americans keep thrusting that supposed-to-be-silent ‘s’ in the middle of his title. So sue us! No, our man of science/logic, Lucien, is hot/bothered over a feisty miss-who-knows-her-way-around-a-archeology-dig, but who’s learned a court(esan)ly trick/two to interest clueless Lucien, whom she’s crushed on since girlhood. Looks like there’s more than one way to vex a peer… and deliver a delightfully engaging secondary love story w/in a super-entertaining new novel. Please welcome Emily “Her Diana Groe Viking Books Shouldn’t Be Missed” Bryan w/ your warmest Bella buongiorno…

From Emily: Buon giorno, Bellas! When Michelle invited me to join you today, your name (bella means beautiful, after all) got me thinking about how ideals of beauty change.

Marilyn Monroe was a buxom size 14 when she played in “Some Like it Hot.” Then Twiggy burst onto the scene and anorexia became the “gotta-have” fashion syndrome. The pendulum will probably swing back someday (perhaps in my daughters’ lifetimes!)

But women didn’t draw the short end of the extreme fashion straw. Men have been under pressure to conform to unrealistic expectations, as well. And no era was tougher on them than the time my “Vexing the Viscount” is set in—Georgian (Early 1700s up till the Regency Period).

Today, we like our men broad-shouldered and slim-hipped. If a Georgian gentleman wanted to impress the ladies, he had to have well-developed calf muscles. Even the exaggerated sweeping bow of the day was designed to display a man’s lower leg. Poor spindle-shanked fellows had to resort to carved wooden “falsies” in their stockings in order to “make a beautiful leg.”

Now we subscribe to a “bigger is better” philosophy of male beauty, but in the 1700’s, a man was considered exceptionally fine if he had very small hands and feet. Can’t you just hear the Georgian girl talk?

“I say! Did you notice how small Ichabod’s feet are?”

“How could I miss them? You know what they say about men with small feet!” (insert tittering laughter here!)

Over the years, fashion has dictated that men wear high heels (ever see a painting of Louis XIV?), wigs, cosmetics, beauty spots, mutton-chop sideburns, shaved heads, and pony tails. It has favored square chins, cleft chins and double chins! Even the Vikings had one very silly season when all the tough guys were sporting lace caps. In short, fashion makes fools of us all.

Anyway, even though “Vexing the Viscount” is set in 1731, you’ll be happy to know that idealized male beauty-wise, my hero Lucian would be more at home in our century. Manual labor has toned him. He needs no falsies in his stockings. And his feet are ENORMOUS!

So what fashion or beauty ideal has rubbed you raw or made you giggle? (I personally have a pic of my DH in orange plaid pants that is blackmail-worthy!)
GuestBlogs to Be: Friday 27: Karen Anders; March 2: Caroline Linden; 11: Megan Hart: 31: Jenna Petersen; 4.15: "Midnight Cravings" authors.
AUTHORS: Donate an item for the high-visibility RBTB Page in Brenda Novak's Online Auction for Diabetes! Write Michelle @ to donate! Suggestions: Lunch/cocktails w/you at RT/RWA; character in your novel named after winning bidder; personalized books; guest blog on your site; crafts/services made/offered by you; book gift cards...
Sign up in the sidebar for the NEW RBTB newsletter by 2.28 for a chance 2 win a $25 Borders card!
Authors: Wanna be a FOB? Link RBTB from your site/blog and send me your url @ I'll link you up on the Friends of Bellas page!


EmilyBryan said...

Good morning, Bellas! Thanks for having me.

Oh, Michelle! I forgot to mention that I will be giving away a shiny new copy of VEXING THE VISCOUNT to someone who leaves a comment or question!

Julie in Ohio said...

Good morning, Bellas!!

WElcome, Emily!!
LOL!! Orange plaid pants. That's priceless.
My hubby dressed up as a woman at a friend's wedding. I wish I had a picture of that. ;p

Cat suits really don't need to make a come-back. I have to say the only beauty ideal that has ever rubbed me wrong is fake eyelashes. I've never seen any look natural but many have tried.

Thanks for stopping by today, Emily.
Hope everyone has a great day!!

off to work...BLECH

Stacy~ said...

Hi Emily! Your book has definitely intrigued me, and now I must find out more. I just checked out your website and it looks like, for those of us who like to read connecting books in order, it would be best to read your pirate book first. Is the second book tied in any way?

Hey Miss Julie!!! Missed you lots. Glad to see you stopped by :)

Well this is more for those who spend significant dollars to make themselves look attractive, but I'd say collagen-inflated lips really creep me out. When I see these pictures of women who've intentionally fattened their lips, I think it looks hideous. And the botox.

Otherwise the mullet - men & women. I was working over the weekend at an RV show and the mullet-loving people came out in droves. So NOT a good look, especially 20 years later.

EmilyBryan said...

Julie--Cat suits? I must have missed that one!

I hear you on the eyelashes. I can barely tolerate a light brush of mascara!

Stacy--Though VEXING THE VISCOUNT and PLEASURING THE PIRATE share a few common characters, it's not necessary to read PtP in order to enjoy VtV. I've posted a freebie story on my website that bridges the two and gives readers an introduction to the major players if they haven't read PtP. Check out A Dragon Caern Christmas. Enjoy!

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Buongiorno, Bellas and welcome, Emily! Oh, i loved this book and the time period. I'm going to offer the opinion that one doesn't need to read the books in any particular order to appreciate VTV. And I really am saweet on the hero. The Georgian period is such a fun time for a romance setting, very refreshing.

Jules! Oh, so nice to see you! We miss you so much, and it's always a treat when you're able to stop by. You know, your aversion to cat suits and false eyelashes, to me, seems to call for some kind of poetic tribute on your part. I'm just sayin, is all.

'mornin, Stace! I'm with you on the botox. It took me a long time to figure out why so many woman had these flat, shiny, expressionless foreheads: Botox gone wrong. I guess in the rite amts it can work nicely. But the overboard goers, yikers. And it seems like women who are so young are using it. That just looks bizarre.

I alwas hesitate to take down anybody's hairstyle choice since I've made so many poor ones myself. But some incarnations of the mullet can be distressing, especially on little kids. shiver.

I guess the fashion thing that drives me crazy we talked about a while back, the pressure for men and women to be hairless. So much so that it looks weird of too 'swarthy' to see hair on men. And the pressure on women to brazilianize is ri-gd-diculous. It's a fun choice, but nobody should be implying or selling women on the 'fact' that it's more hygienic or sexier or whatever.

The other thing that creeped me out was that a while back, I saw a report on some docs who were surgically removing certain bones in womens' feet so the feet could look prettier in Jimmy Choo-type shoes.

Idiocy. plain/simple.

But men and fashion pressure? I think they do struggle with appearance and thinking they need to look buffed and young and thin, etc. But in reality, pretty average guys can look pretty good with not much work or pressure. And we chicks attest to that when we're all like, "ooh, yeah, clean man, tee and jeans, baybee. hawt."

Other than that, guys did have to suffer through leisure suits. And now, horrors!, skinny jeans are in for guys. poor bastards.

Stacy~ said...

Michelle, if you're gonna bring up the bones, then what about those who go to the plastic surgeon to "shrink" their va-jay-jay so they're like a virgin all over again? I know it's not a "fashion" statement persay, but it had to be said.

And obviously one of the most prevalent issues is weight, even for men. Guys get just as obsessed over that number as women. I have a co-worker who's stressed because he's 180, but he's over 6 feet. To lose pounds would make him too skinny. It's crazy. I think a person should concentrate more on being healthy than losing pounds.

Anonymous said...

Ok, This is such an appropriate subject today! I was shopping with my DH last night who is a BIG guy, tall, broad shoulders and a bit of a tummy, well for some reason I really thought these Argyle type vests would be nice for him, well they look so nice on that skinny maniquin and that nice looking man in the store, so I begged him to try one one,which he did grumbling
SOOO when I was sitting on the floor in hysterical laughter in Kohls he was NOT very happy with me! Some guys DO just look better in Jeans and T-shirts! LOL!

Chloe said...

Hi Emily...

I am traveling the blogs with you... I am determined to get the next book.. I just finished your debut and LOVED it!! I just adored Trev and Larla :). What a great couple they made and loved the spicy mystery thrown in!

Can't wait to get my hands on this new one!

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Jane, if we can't laugh at our husbands...why marry? :) Your story is sweet because it shows how you see your husband as handsome as he is, and envision him looking good in everything. I can remember picking out some clothes in International Male mag I thought Dave would look good in when we first were dating. He was the one who couldn't get up off the floor or stop his laughing fit... But sometimes I think argyle sweaters only look good on mannequins anywayz...

ouch, stacy. Forgot about that. God forbid we could just age gracefully. And that poor guy! 6 feet plus and he thinks 180 is too heavy? I remember as a young person, maybe 20, going to the doc and his telling me I should think about losing some weight. I weighed about 118 pounds and am 5.2. While I'm 'petite,' I'm not particularly 'delicate.' I didn't realize what a wack job he was, and actually believed him.

So many of us get silly ideas of what we "should" weigh based on magazines and bizarre new government standards for obesity or what people with no perspective say.

Emily sites a perfect example in one of the 'sexiest' women of all time, Marilyn Monroe. I don't know many men of any generation (who have had enough sex to make an educated assesment) who'd not consider her healthy looking and attractive.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

I'll avoid making any jokes about you getting your "just desserts" if you win, desserts. :) Good luck. You'll love the book. And thanks for joining us today.

Kati said...

Mornin' Bellas! Miss Michelle, I hope you're feeling much better!

Oh, fashion trends that should NEVER make a return appearance? One word for you -- knickers.

Anyone remember them? Oh, the horror!

As someone who has six teenaged nieces, the beauty ideal that I find most disturbing is the obsession with skinniness. I find it horrifying that Jennifer Love Hewitt was so vilified in the press for going from a size 2 to a size 6. That's just not right. I know that these girls really do emulate the stars who drive fashion and I find it really disturbing the obsession our country has with thinness. One of my nieces flirted with an eating disorder for a while. She never quite got there, but she definitely got skinny enough that my sister and her husband basically said, if you lose any more weight, you're not going back to college, you'll be right here where we can monitor your food intake. It's a slippery slope. We want to be healthy, but we shouldn't be able to see the bones under your skin. You know??

Caridad Pineiro said...

I so agree with you that the skinniness fad is frightening and has created too many young women with eating disorders. It's not normal that a Size 6 is considered too big.

As for orange plaid pants - I've got photos of hubby from his disco days! Polyester shirt with some kind of weird design and white suit ala Saturday Night Fever.

Laurie G said...

Emily Hi Lucien's story sounds fascinating!! I like strong, athletic heroes!!

I hated leggings! I happen to be athletic but my ankles looked terrible in these things.

I also hate those really, really wide bell bottom trousers.

I hated leisure suits.

I don't like micromini skirts.

I don't like fur coats.
I'm really into comfortable, casual clothes.


Nynke said...

Hello, ladies! Hope you're having a nice day! Emily, thanks for another fun post (what *would* those ladies have said about small feet?).
Blown-up lips and mullets are definitely among my shivers (even though I thought McGyver was cute when I was a little girl!). Botox and foot surgery ( not to mention any other surgery...) are just a complete waste of time, as far as I'm concerned!
On the other hand, I kind of like the look of fake lashes. and I wish mustaches would make a comeback; my European newspaper tells me they have - but only among really hip young men in the capital, apparently - I haven't seen any in real life!


EmilyBryan said...

Michelle--Yikes! Bones removed for the sake of the shoes? What? Are we going to bind them now to make them smaller? I still remember some models having all their molars removed so they'd have deeper shadows under their cheekbones. Come on, folks! Self-mutilation is never sexy!

Stacy-About shrinking the playground surgically, they used to call those "hubby stitches."

Jane--You bad girl! Shamie on you! Dressing up the DH and then laughing at him is not fair (though it sounds like you had great fun!) I reserve my laughter for the fashion choices my DH makes on his OWN! (It happens often enough, believe me!)

Still, you have inspired me. My DH trusts me implicitly to help choose his outfits. (Hmmm. Wonder if I could get him back into those orange plaid pants?)

Anonymous said...

Good morning ladies.
I agree that men do have it hard when it comes to keeping up apperances too, but not as much as we do of course. My husband laughs every time i complain about face cream and those tiny lines around my eyes, or the laugh lines that he and my little boy have given me. I'm always looking for a cream to get rid of them, and he's always telling me i'm gorgeous no matter what, that he's happy he's given me laugh lines and not worry lines.LOL

I remember parachute pants, which i do have a pic of my husband in, along with a perm, lord i laughed so hard at that photo. All of his family had the same perm, of course he said the day after that photo he had his straightened because he looked stupid.
I used to do serious big hair, i mean i had the ab-fab patsy big hair that moved as one solid wall of hair when the wind blowed. and i lost alot of hair every night trying to brush it out. no more, no im more short, and enough spray to hold in some curl, if possible.

Good topic, i liked remembering all the silly trends that have passed and some that are coming back, remember pegged pants?

EmilyBryan said...

Desserts--Thanks for keeping me company on my blogtour! You'll want to bookmark Michelle and the Bellas!

I'm sooo glad you enjoyed DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS. I had a ball writing it. Heck! I have a ball writing all of them!

Michelle--Talk about believing what others tell you about your own body. The year Twiggy hit the world stage, my boobs came in with a vengence. I was so upset. Fortunately my DH assures me breasts never really go out of style!

Kati--I hear you. Nix on the knickers!

Caridad--Thanks for stopping by. In heaven, I will be a size 6!

Disco pics are hysterical, aren't they? And the Farrah Fawcet hair? Raise your hand if you didn't sport a pair of wings on both sides of your head then.

Laurie--I have to be into make-up today. I'm driving down to CT to tape a segment for a local access romance books TV show and the lights will seriously wash me out if I don't go in there looking like a drag queen on steroids.

Nynke--I married my DH with a mustache (clarification--when HE had a mustache!) and now that it's gone, I still miss the tickle once in a while.

EmilyBryan said...

Jody! Yes, I remember when guys got perms. Too funny!

My DH never did that, but his hair was so long when I first met him, I did wonder if he had ears for a while.

dbrown3400 said...

Hi Emily,

Your book sounds fantastic. Lucien is one of my favorite names for a hero.

The thing I hate most is a soul patch on a man. Of course, it would look REALLY strange on a woman. But it looks as though the man missed a spot shaving. Take Howie Mandel for example. He's bald, yet has the soul patch. I've talked to women who think that's sexy. It's just not my thing.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

LOL on the clarification, Emily. I laughed at the same w/Nynke, thinking, hey, I guess I don't have to spend so much on waxing; Italian chicks must be in. Oh. My bad. You meant mustaches on *guys,* nynke :) I love that you cop to your McGuyver crush. Have you seen the SNL takeoff on McG lately? Very funny.

Jody,you're making me howl. Parachute pants on guys? check. Pegged pants? check. and big hair? I've had short hair for 20 years and still managed to do it big. I used to use this hairspray called proforma and I think it actually had plastic particles in it. I could sleep in it and not have to brush my hair the next a.m. Gross but handy. And I so hear you on the creams. Forbes just had a list of what women still are buying despite economy, and good creams still are on the list. And if chicks only have 100 bucks left, what would they spend it on? Haircut. I guess they would if they don't have kids or rent or anything, anyway...

Oh, Emily, now you're just braggin. But, please don't go waste heaven on being a size 6.

I was just explaining this to Bella Stacy the other day, how as much as I talk about how romance novels are empowering -- and how great it is that we've got heroines who look more like real women as the norm now -- and how much I believe the truth of that. Sometimes, I still can find a way to have myself not measure up. Heroine's buxom? Aw, I wish I were buxom. Heroine's plain/mousy but hero thinks she's ravishing? Aw, how come I can't be more plain/mousy (well, maybe a little less trashy bleach job for starters). Heroine's got decolletage men die for? Aw, why can't I have -- well, I felt that way lonnnggg before I started reading romance. So, it's not just the "perfect, gorgeous, fabulous in every way" heroine of old that is admired now, for me, it's everything in between. Hard work sometimes. And I wonder, can I be the only reader who ever feels this way...

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Kates, I felt like that withthe whole Jessica Simpson thing. Far as I'm concerned, the only thing people needed to be up in arms over were those jeans. But she looks fabulous. And frankly, if Tony Romo were saying he wanted me to fatten up so he could have more fun with me? I'd be bellyin up to the Golden Corral.

azteclady said...

Well, I've always been the "badly dressed" one (read: I like to feel comfortable, fashion can go hang) so I don't pay a lot of attention to what's in fashion or not.

There are a couple of trends now that worry me, though--women undergoing plastic surgery to become 'virgins'?


Or, as I read somewhere I can't remember, having surgery to make their labia look prettier--to the point of taking pictures of porn stars and asking the surgeons to make them look like that.

I repeat, huh?

I mean, seriously now. Age does things to our bodies that we may not particularly care for (gravity, I hate thee), but time won't stop passing just because we go under the knife--and the clock sure doesn't wind back. What's the point?



sorry, got a little hot under the collar there.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

I hear you dbrown, yet I've always gotten the ideer the patch had other uses...

omg, laurie, leggins. I kept thinking if I just found the right pair. But I think there's a reason they're designed for long ballet dancer legs. And you know, I hate makeup, too. I'm deluded enough that I can convince myself I look better w/out. But with really good cream, of course. :)

Portia Da Costa said...

Hi Emily! Vexing the Viscount sounds like a fun book. I'm reading more historicals now, so I must look out for it. :)

Hi Queen Bella.. Hope you're feeling better today!

Must agree with everybody re. the trend for super skinniness. It's not healthy and it's not even attractive. Who wants to see bones? I've battled with weight issues all my life, but I'm so glad now that I've finally accepted my shape and my style and don't need to follow trends and fads to feel good about myself. :)

Spousal fashion disaster story? Himself has always had a thing for jackets, and not long after we met, we went shopping and he bought himself a faux fur bomber jacket in black and yellow stripes [this was the 70s] I hadn't the heart to tell him that it made him look a bit like a giant bumble bee! LOL

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

No, azteclady, I support you, and I love that we've started talking about the ridiculousness of the 'fashion' of reconstructive surgery of the -- good GAWD -- va jay jay! Really, as much as I adore men, and am not opposed to adult film, could we women have let ourselves be influenced by both any further than we have been?

Listen, girlfriends, as this wise old woman I read about once said, "When you're the only naked women in the room, you're the sexiest thing he's ever seen."

If you really know anything about men, you know it's totally true. And if you know anything about humans who are jerks, men or women, you know that if they are telling you that your genitalia aren't 'pretty', you ought not to be spending time with those persons/that person(or only spending time w/ them in couples therapy).

A while back online, there was a lot of talk about the romance novel 'magic hoo=hoo," the vagina so lovely and enticing that once the hero gets a gander, he wants no other for the rest of his life. So everyone's like, 'that's so bogus," etc. etc.

I don't think those women understand real men. Not guys who are addicted to porn or who aren't comfortable enough with themselves not to project their discomfort onto their partners.

Honey, I know real, good men who can wax rhapsodic about the beauty of their woman's vagina -- before, during and after childbirth -- and every woman deserves to be with that man. It has to do with how much they admire the average, everyday utilitarian aesthetics of female genitalia + their caring about the woman they love, or are committed to. And did I mention how extatic they are to be able to be in close proximity to the genitalia of the woman they care about on a regular basis plays into it?

No magic hoo-hoos? Girlfriend, we've all got that power!

And since it's my blog, I'm not gonna step off the soapbox. :)

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Oh, Portia! You are a wonderful, caring wife. And, yes, I'm sad that skinniness is back in for men and women. I feel really bad for folks who can't gain weight, because I know it's awful for them. But when celebrities and stars clearly are anorexic and claim they aren't? We're just not that gullible. Problem is, kids are.

Hey, did anybody here get cornrows after the movie "Ten" with Bo Derek came out?

EmilyBryan said...

Dbrown-I had a French teacher once who had a soul patch and the man couldn't keep from playing with it or (gak!) sucking on it all the time. Left a permenant "ew!" in my mouth.

Michelle--I was sooo not bragging. Believe me when I tell you how much I envied my friends their flat chests. I had a child's heart trapped suddenly in a woman's body.

Then there were a pair of jerky little boys in my class who used to chase me home, trying to catch me long enough to grab my new boobs. All I can say is, thank God for metal lunch boxes. They never bothered me again.

Aztec--It's a long road to self-acceptance and I'm still not there. But after having surgery for a REAL problem in December (colon cancer--doing great, they got it early, no chemo necessary, thank you, God!) I can't imagine going under the knife for something so silly as labia enhancement.

Portia--You win the "Made me snort Coke out my Nose" prize today with your big bumblebee story! LOL!

Michelle--It's all a question of personal metabolism, I think. I had a voice coach once who ate like a horse and couldn't gain an ounce. She had the grace to be chagrined about it while she watched me struggle with my yoyo diets. She'd have gladly taken a few of my extra pounds. It's the perversity of human nature that makes us want what we don't have.

No corn rows for me. Who could sit still that long?

Nynke said...

LOL, female mustaches! I had't even thought of that... Wouldn't it be a strange, if totally believable, scifi scenario if they *were* in fashion?

And that bumblebee bomber jack! How could anyone ever have designed that? Ever? :)


Kati said...

I have to say, one of the things as a reader that I'm *ALWAYS* panting for are romance heroines who are real. You know, the ones who get the random zit, or have fat-back, or don't have a "slightly rounded belly", they have an actual pootch. And the men who can't resist them.

I mean, I get that it's fun to write these teeny, tiny women, but given that the average American woman is a size 14, I love to read about normal sized women.

It seems though that many, many romance heroines are described as "lithe" or "petite". There's not a damn thing about me that's "lithe". I just wish we read more about women who are regular. Maybe I'm the only one who feels that way, but I don't think so.

Unknown said...

Hi Emily, I am just following you everywhere! Still looking forward to reading your book! You have also showed me a lot of good blogs to visit along the way.

Anonymous said...

The book sounds good, Emily!

I've also enjoyed reading through the discussion. I've never been a fashion plate. I'm into comfort all the way.

I hate the push towards extreme skinniness. My dh is 6'10" and his doctor told him he needed to weigh 200#. *rolls eyes* Talk about a stick! Thank goodness my dh knew this wouldn't be healthy and ignored the doc.

I love reading about "normal" women in books, Kati, especially when the hunk adores her because of it. ;-)

Jessa Slade said...

Yay Emily and your metal lunchbox, striking a blow (literally) for little girls everywhere.

And what odd timing on this post. I was just telling my XY last night about calf enhancers for men because he was complaining about how he wished he had "country musician" legs (?!?).

I guess no one is satisfied with how they are. But maybe that can be good sometimes as it makes us strive to improve ourselves. Balance in all things, perhaps?

Tiona said...

Hey, Bellas! Welcome Emily! Funny thing, Emily, I think you're from the same town I live in, about a hundred miles from Springfield, MO. Great to have you here. fiasos. There've been plenty of those. Leg warmers, balloon pants from our day and those curled wigs from the Georgian era. I'm sure I could go on and on, hehe. Funny how fashion changes. I hope I never look back and think 'I wore that?'

scottsgal said...

I have yet to read on of your books but will say I'm now definitely intrigued. I was laughing reading your fashion blurb - I have a pic of my husband wearing these short shorts that were made of corduroy no less - he'd die if I surfaced those pics.

EmilyBryan said...

Nynke--I think even a sci-fi scenario with a mustache wearing heroine would be a hard sell. Maybe a few whiskers for a race of catpeople, but otherwise, I can already see my editor rolling her eyes.

Kati--I hear you. I have to keep reminding myself that at its heart, romance always has a touch of fantasy. Love however comes in all sizes.

Virginia--Hey, girl! Didn't get enough on the 50 day tour, huh? Thanks for coming today!

Marcy--I watch WHAT NOT TO WEAR sometimes, and the positive spin they put on fashion there is that how you present yourself is a reflection of how you feel about yourself. Which may be true.

But sometimes, I really just wanna wear my sweats and uggs!

Jessa--What in the world are country musician legs?

Princess Bumblebee--If you're talking about West Plains, MO, YES! I used to live there. It's a terrific little town, complete with a storybook square around the courthouse--and a fellow who keeps 3 or 4 adult chimpanzees just a block away. You can hear them pitching fits in the summer time. (I may be a fiction writer, but I am NOT making this up!)

I'm in Boston now, but we still have family in the Ozarks and go back every chance we get.

Scottsgal--Corduroy short shorts! LOL! We have a tie for the "Shooting Coke Out My Nose" award!

EmilyBryan said...

Michelle--You mentioned waxing before. Removing intimate hair is NOT a new fad. In VEXING THE VISCOUNT, my heroine Daisy goes through a waxing, removing "all the small hairs on her body." When she decides to masquerade as a courtesan, her Great Aunt Isabella, who used to be a courtesan, orderd "the full toilette a courtesan must endure" in order to teach Daisy that being a "woman of pleasure" isn't "all bon-bons and feather boas."

No, wait a minute! I mean "all opera boxes and midnight dinners." Bon-bons and feather boas is a romance writer. ;)

EmilyBryan said...

Well, Bellas, I'm just about ready to hit the road for a little bit. I'm taping a 30 minute show on romance books in CT this evening, but I will be back and I promise to check in on you.

Thank you, Michelle for having me! (Blowing kisses)

While I'm gone, I want you to think about the fashion fad you wish would come back. Or maybe there's one you'd like to create. For women or men. Or both!

I'll share mine when I get back to Boston tonight! Ciao, Bellas!

Maureen said...

Oh, what a wonderful blog! Thank ye, Jane, for directing me here.

Hee, hee. I met my DH in high school, late 1970's. Wearing his pimp hat, ala Bootsy Collins and all the funkadelic style stuff... Black hat, with feathers, sunglasses that were wa-a-a-ay too reflective. I thought he was divine!

Now we both know the heighth of style needs a pirate tri corn and great coat!

MaureenB aka 2nd Chance

Kati said...

Oh! Fashion fad I wish would come back? Remember those jeans that had the zippers at the ankles? I *loved* them!

And 80's hair! I had terrific 80s hair. Big boufy curls? That was me.

Nynke said...

Ooh, if we're turning into a real item, I've got some more stuff besides (mens!) mustaches that I'd like to return: Magnum P.I.-style short shorts (but only on selected men), maybe petticoats for women, and how about the pot belly? I hear they were fashionable somewhere during the Middle Ages - and I've almost got one :).

azteclady said...

Emily, yikes!!!

I'm very glad it all was good with the surgery. My s.o.'s mother just got diagnosed last October and... well, we are taking things one day at a time.

I'll keep you in my prayers!

Bella Michelle, yes, indeed! We hold that power--but it's not based on any one physical attribute. It's the essence of who we are--and what we mean to the people in our lives.

David B. said...

Kilts for guys! They make me laugh, particularly when the wind whips them up.

A quick check-in from Male Perspective Guy (MPG).

orannia said...

Morning Michelle, Bellas & welcome Emily!

I'm late - sorry! I had to take the cat to the vet. I completely agree with Kati :-D The fashion or beauty ideal that really gets my back up is this obsession with size...or lack thereof. And it's not just on the catwalk and in Hollywood and the magazines, but it is in books too. Honestly, how many heroines are described as 'slender' or 'lean'. Why can't heroines be curvy and perhaps have non-perfect hair?

All the best with the release of Vexing the Vicsount Emily :)

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Emily, it's very nice of you to have a blog tour, because, as Virginia says, we Bellas get to meet lots of new friends while new romance fans get to check us out, too. :)

I totally hear everyone's frustration w/ 'perfect' heroines. And I probably read 10+ romances/week average. That's a lot of heroines. And I have to say that I'm seeing a lot more "real" heroines, though I think the trend can run away from describing actual size/shape to speaking in terms of other body qualities that authors are taking pains to write about.

Now, the body "placeholder" fantasy is big for chicks who read romance. We've talked, some of us, about how we disregard an author's description and make the heroine shaped like us to make the read more fun and personalized.

Yet, some women like to fantasize about being 'prettier,' 'more shapely,' a 'pocket venus,' a 'bold, strong Amazon goddess" and myriad shapes/styles/sizes of heroines. Sometimes I feel for women who have 'great bodies' who read us writing how we resent reading about bods like theirs and I wonder if they feel bad?

I guess my point above was that authors are doing such a great job trying to extol the beauty of so many kinds of heroines now, I sometimes find myself wishing I were [fleshier, lusher, more buxom, willowy, bursting the seams of my foundation garments...]

There's a thesis in this somewhere...

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Oh, no wonder MPG won't go for the Highlander role play I've been hinting at... Note to self: Buy plaid trews...

So funny, 2nd chance. Know your strengths, I always say. And welcome! Glad you're here!

scotsgal, yours and Portia's husbands win today's awards for best blast-from-the-past outfits. :)

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Oh, Emily, I know you weren't. :) Whether we have or have not (stop laughing at me, Kati!), we feel pressure. but stories like yours make me so angry, because clearly those little boys got the impression from somewhere that what they were doing was ok or, at worst, just mischievous.

I wonder, what kind of school lunch box did you have? I mean, that was fashion, too, when we were kids right? I'll bet it was a Wonderwoman! :)

Oh, and I loved the courtesan's lessons Daisy proscribes to in the book. Her naughty plans totally do vex Lucien, no? Well, of course you and I know, now everyone else'll have to read the book to find out why... :)

LJ White said...

I personaly think that the powdered wings was one of the silliest fashion statements in history.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

I'm not so much wishing anything'll come back in style. I'm more praying the kinds of jeans I love stay in style... Oh, and that trashy bleach jobs never go out, either. Although MPG still says the trashier the better.


Orannia, How's your kitty doing? I love kitties. Hope s/he's feeling ok. When stacy and I were talking about the body type thing the other day, she brought up the great point that even the new "real-sized" and buxom heroines never (or very rarely) have cellulite. I do remember in a Sabrina Jefferied novel, her voluptuously sized heroine's guy removes her stays and kisses the deep gores left in her flesh. He's like, do NOT do that to your magnificent body anymore. I'll send you the title if you want it...

Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Miss Emily,

For me, it was the mini skirt! It was bad enough the first time (Mom,
I can see that lady's underpants!),
this past several years "showed"
us more than we cared to see with
an even shorter version in dresses
as well as skirts!

Pat Cochran

Julie Robinson said...

Hi Emily,

These comments were as funny as your blog. You have a way of doing spreading the cheer.

When i read about the calves today, i realized that's why you mentioned the calves in Distracting---I believe it was. It had stood out for me because I like a man's legs myself, but most romances focus on the 'taut pectorals.'

As for fashion, I was never one to care. I prefer to wear what I like to wear, so I don't like a guy who's overly concerned about appearances. When I hear about moms whose spend fortunes keeping their daughters happy, I'm so thankful I have a son whom I have to drag to the store for clothes shopping. At least for now!

One day I was in the store in the razor aisle and this 20ish year old guy was perusing hair removal formulas. He asked my advice because he wanted to take the hair off his chest and arms for his girlfriend.

Now I like hairy men and told him so, but quickly followed that statement with the fact that my dh is a hairy man and I wouldn't have it any other way because I loved that about him! This poor young fellow had been misled by all the Chip and Dale calendars and all the other pre-pubescent looking, hairless men that society upholds as the ideal right now.

Another case in point are all the young girls who dye their hair. One day I told a group of girls squabbling over the different colors in the hair dye section that they should be happy with the beautiful natural color God gave them because they were going to have dye their hair soon enough! Why rush it?? !

I agree with azteclady about going under the knife. Just because you may look younger due to surgery doesn't make the inside of your body---your health and true age indicator---any younger.

I guess you could say I like the natural look no matter what's in fashion. Now don't get me wrong. A little hair dye for when the locks turn white or a little make-up to make you feel more dressed are
good to make you feel better about appearance because people do judge. I think, though, that most people who go under the knife or who are obsessively concerned about fashion are really not happy with who they are inside. So they want to change or spruce up the outside.

Again, don't get me wrong. I love beautiful clothes and am always dressed for the occasion, but mostly I like the FEEL of clothes and the way clothes can make you feel about yourself, though most days around home will find me in a tee, a flannel shirt, and leggings with my hair in a bun. So really, fashion doesn't matter so much as taking care of yourself and your health, whether you're a man or woman.

See you Friday :-)


Anonymous said...

Hi, everyone!

I adore fashion! Colors, textures, long, short, fitted, flowing, and accessories!! Gawd! Gotta love the bling! And no matter what your body type, in today's market, there really is something for everyone. Thank you 5-7-9 Shop and Anne Taylor for the Petite Ladies and(finally) Avenue, Lane Bryant and Catherine's for the Plus Princesses.

My biggest fashion gripe is the "stuff her in the box" mentality! We are not all Twiggy or Jane Russell or even Joan Jett. No one, my loves, is gonna be identical - not even twins. So be YOU - big and proud, petite and sweet, shapely, curvy, slender, toned - whatever you are. And the industry is finally getting it.

In romances, I started out reading Georgette Heyer, and I loved that Frederica was taller and "self-possesed", and that Grand Sophy had grey eyes and a "determined" nose. Oh, and the clothes! Both her Georgian and her Regency - primrose crepe, silver net, cherry silk brocades! Not to mention the satin slippers with pearl clusters and kid half-boots, lace tippets and ells of ribbon! Powdered hair - in colors, not just white, or twisted loosely on the top of the head with cascades of curls charmingly gracing the shoulders (sigh!). Sorry - got lost in the closet there for a minute! Still her heroines were not perfect or cookie-cutter.

There was a book I read when I was in college, sorry can't remember the author or the title, and it was the first time the heroine had - get this - SHORT hair!

I realize that we (women in particular) have been fed and sometimes adhere to, the "fairy tale" images of flowing blonde tresses, slender figures, petite height, Delft-blue eyes and alabaster skin as being the "Ideal Beauty" - heck, even Barbie was introduced as a blonde. Yet, beauty surrounds us in it's infinite combinations. Dark beauties, frekles, bronze skin, graceful heights - I'm so glad we're passed all that. Although.....every once in a while, it's fun to have a "classic" - perfect, blonde, blue-eyed beauty - for a heroine. LOL!

My cousin Marti was so pretty growing up - in that classic blond-blue-eyed style - and all the guys at school thought that she was "too perfect" or "must already have a boyfriend" so she didn't date til college! Another of our cousins - Doug - took her to Senior Prom! Poor Dear! (Actually, she probably had a better time 'coz she was less stressed!)

Oh!, and I am SO on board for that "No Botox" concept. Ladies, injecting your skin with botulism?! Yes, non active culture, but - eeewww!!

And Jimmy Choos should come in WIDE!!

Thanks for sharing, Emily! Thanks for hosting, Michelle!!

Farrah Rochon said...

:::waving::: to Emily! Congrats on Vexing the Viscount (I totally said the "s" for years, too. Still catch myself doing it).

In answer to the other question: Skinny Jeans. No doubt about it!

ev said...

While I am not big on the surgery thing- anyone else see that woman who wanted even bigger boobs- up to a KKK????-WTF??-I myself would consider a reduction. And probably a tummy tuck when I finally lose the rest of this weight. Otherwise I look like Dolly Parton when I am skinny and have done so since I was 16.

Hot Pants- I never, ever want to see them again. Along with the Cat Suits and Mullets and fake eyelashes.

And painted on eyebrows. Badly done ones at that!

Martha Eskuchen said...

Fun blog! Have you ever noticed some of those bulked up males do go to flab! I have a pic of my DH in lederhosen - oh so cute!

Lynn Reynolds said...

Emily - first of all, so glad to hear you are recovering from your surgery.

I loved Distracting the Duchess and Pleasuring the Pirate is in my TBR pile, so I'lll certainly have to get Vexing the Viscount as well. (I shudder to think what might happen if there's a Duke in the next title.) I'm enjoying the lighthearted tone of your Emily Bryan books, but I do hope we get to see some more of Diana Groe's Medieval romances soon! Michelle is right that they shouldn't be missed.

As for disturbing fashion trends - I really hated the big hair and big shoulders in the late '70's and early '80's. I have very unruly curly hair that does what it wants, and I can remember literally being in tears trying to blow dry my hair according to the hairdresser's instructions. Fortunately, eventually I found a guy who liked my hair and the rest of me just the way I am. But I heard on the news that those big shoulders were all the rage at Fashion Week this year - I sure hope the big hair doesn't follow!

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

OMG, lynn! Big shoulders. Big shoulders! How could I have forgotten! You have me sniggering out loud about your [blanking] the Duke comment.

ev, I'm actually a bit pro-plastic surgery. I think there are many, many times plastic surgery can help individuals' confidence and, in some cases, is necessary post-operatively. Breast reduction or enhancement, for example can be life-changing for women (sometimes men have reduction surgery, and imagine what they've gone through emotionally) who've thought long/hard about it and are doing it for their own needs (and not all women do it for men). Skin reduction for folks who've lost great deals of weight for medical necessity. Even minor reconstruction, etc, all with much soul-searching and forethought.

Going crazy with botox and continually 'tweaking' generally is a sign of deep-rooted emotional issues that aren't going away regardless of how much or what kinds of surgery one has.

Thank you, jacqueline, for putting this in the context of romance in such a lovely way. You've found a way to make it kind of ok to like/admire any time of heroine, even the 'perfect' ones.

hi, marthaE We've just added your husband to the list with Portia's and scotsgal.

julie, i lovethat you helped that guy! (I'm in the guys w/hair camp, too). :)

Oh, gawd, pat! I can remember how hard it was in grade school to sit cross legged on the floor in short skirts! Do you remember the midi/maxis? You could zip off part of the long skirt to make a shorter one. They usually were in patent pleather. :)

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

si or no on the skinnies, Farrah?

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Emily, I had no idea you'd had that surgery! We should do a blog day about the importance of colonoscopy for women. It's so great to hear how well you've come through. You're fabulous!

And I agree, you certainly do know how to share the cheer. :)

ev said...

That's what I was trying to say Michelle. I can understand wanting to tweak- hell, one of these days I will, but not the frozen faced crap they have out there on some of these women and men. You can go overboard.

Big hair and shoulders??? No, please, god no. I am 5 foot tall. My shoulders and hair don't need to be bigger than I am

EmilyBryan said...

Buona sera, Bellas! I'm ba-a-a-ck!

I think one of the reasons I was on this fashion kick today is because I had to tape this TV show. Though I have voice for radio, I fretted terribly about going in front of the camera. (Another 10 pounds is the last thing I need!) I stressed about what to wear and changed my mind half a dozen times.

But the interview with Toni Andrews (She writes for Mira!) was fun. It's going to air on several TV stations here in New England and if she gets it posted on YouTube, I'll be sure to put a link on my website!

EmilyBryan said...

Maureen--I love pirate hats too. In fact, I was just telling the DH I wished hats would come back in fashion for men. I'm thinking classy fedoras a la Humphrey Bogart.

Kati--I had difficulties with 80's hair because mine hangs straight as a horse's tail!

Nynke--I look at Reubens hanging in art galleries and decide I was born in the wrong century. I could've been a goddess! LOL!

Azteclady--Thanks for your prayers. I was fortunate the cancer was caught early. Will say a prayer for your so's mother.

MPG--I'll cast a vote for kilts too! My DH would look great in one, but I'd never get him into it unless he was unconscious.

Orannia--My "writing assistants" Susie and Mack send "woofs" to your kitty and hope all is well.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Glad your taping went great, Diana! I'll bet you were wonderful. I'm not sure the Bellas know that you're a bona fide opera singer (all that presence and acting experience pays off)!

LJ, I'll bet the guys who had to wear em couldn't've agreed w/you more!

EmilyBryan said...

Michelle--When I write a heroine, I hope my readers will want to walk in her shoes (or in Daisy's case 6 inch high platforms!) But my focus isn't so much what she looks like. I want to make her someone I'd like for a friend. Someone with the guts to do things I'd only imagine.

I don't remember what cartoon character was on my metal lunch box, but I certainly remember putting it where it would to the most good to the most bad! But here's the kicker! When I reported those boys who were trying to cop a feel, the vice principal called ME into his office, demanding to know what I'd done to make those little worms act like that! I was humiliated at the time. Now I feel only fury and wish I could talk to that man again and set him straight. He might wish I was only packing a metal lunch box by the time I was done!

LJ--If you think the wigs were silly, you should hear about some of the elaborate, weveral feet high hair-dos the women wore. Using wire to shape the coiffure, adding padding and horsehair to suppliment a woman's tresses, and the occasional stuffed bird set amid the do for good measure, these monstrosities were impossible for a woman to lay down in, so she had to sleep sitting upright in order to save her hair-do! I think that might trump powdered wigs for ridiculousness.

EmilyBryan said...

Pat--I'm so with you on the miniskirts, but when I asked my DH which fashion trend he'd like to see return miniskirts were at the top of his list!

Julie--I too favor male chest hair. Why was that young man trying to remove his ARM hair? I could see it if it was on his back or shooting out his ears or nose . . .

Jacqueline--My mother is the Queen of Bling! She sparkles everywhere she goes.

EmilyBryan said...

Farrah--Thanks for coming by! I'm hearing great things about your newest release RESCUE ME!

Ev-I agree. Hot Pants were only hot if the wearer was!

Martha--Lederhosen! What fun! My DH and I were in a production of Camelot once and he looked wonderful in a tunic and tights!

Lynn--Thanks so much for the kind words about my work. I loved writing my medieval Diana Groe stories. The 3rd "Song" book, related to MAIDENSONG and ERINSONG, is already written. We'll just have to see if the market turns back to the Dark Ages. In the meantime, I've sneaked my Diana voice into Vexing the Viscount. Part of this story is set in LOndinium 405AD--perfect for my darker, more dramatic style.

EmilyBryan said...


I would love to do a colon cancer blog day. It's a very survivable cancer if it's caught early. I HAD NO SYMPTOMS! But I did have a sharp GP who insisted I "deserved" a screening colonoscopy.

Lots of folks feel embarrassed about colon cancer, but if I can encourage one person to get a screening who needs to, heck! I can stand a blush or two!

Just let me know when!

amy kennedy said...

So Late to the runway. Loved all the comments. Laughed out loud. I can remember arriving at work literaly looking like Maddona (1980s maddona) Big curly hair with a scarf, lots-o-jewelry, and thick eyebrows.

I'm still shuddering.

Emily, your book sounds wonderful.

EmilyBryan said...

Amy--Too funny! A "Material Girl" at heart! Thanks for stopping by!

Michelle, this was such fun! Thanks for having me for this 50blog tour "afterglow" party. It was just what I needed. Are you picking the winner of my signed VEXING THE VISCOUNT or shall I press the DH into service one more time?

Today, I get to talk about somebody else for a change! I'm interviewing Marie-Claude Bourque, one of the remaining American Titlists at my blog. Head's up, aspiring writers! This is one writing contest where all the critiquing is public, the contestants have to scramble for votes and it's all rather like taking your bath in public, but the prize is a contract with Dorchester (my publisher!) Hope you'll drop by!

Thanks again, Michelle!

Ciao, Bellas!

Playground Monitor said...

I was busy yesterday finishing my very first novel and typing THE END and missed this. My husband's fraternity had a womanless beauty pageant as a charity fundraiser. The DH entered and got first runner up. Not to be deterred, he entered the next year and won. He was lovely in the long blonde wig and red velvet halter dress and high heels the size of rowboats.

He also had one of this disco shirts -- his had a picture of a woman on the back.

The mullet is alive and well here in Alabama. Ugh.


EmilyBryan said...

Marilyn--"High heels the size of rowboats!" Thanks for my morning snort! :)

orannia said...

Michelle - kitty (he) is feeling a little more bouncy this morning, which is a huge relief! Oh, and yes please to the book title! I know I'm generalising, but the majority of books I read seem to have 'perfect heroines' who are all carbon copies of each other, which is rather depressing when you are anything but....

And Jacqueline - a heroine with short hair? YAH!

EmilyBryan said...

Orannia--Glad to know your kitty is better. I have a 16year old poodle/papillion/chihuahua (Papi-oodle-huahua, as near as we can figure) that is my geratric little sweetie. Pets become such a part of us, don't they?