Friday, February 27, 2009

Karen Anders GuestBlog: T. G. I. SpyDay

CONTEST TODAY!!! One LCB wins a copy of "Up Close and Dangerously Sexy" courtesy of Karen!

From Michelle: Please welcome back to RBTB Karen Anders! We met three years ago when I first presented for the fab chicks of the Washington Romance Writers' Annual Retreat, and there Karen and I discussed our mutual respect for the oft-maligned keystone of romance (Good for romance news: H'quin profits up in '08, dont'cha know, and thanks to you, readers!) category/series novels. Please offer Karen your hardiest "TGISpyDay" Bella buongiorno...

From Karen:
James Bond. Michael Weston. Jack Ryan. Ethan Hunt. What is it about these spies that make them sexy?

Guts! Spying is not for the faint of heart. Spies find themselves in unpredictable and dangerous situations with only their raw skills and wits to keep them out of harms way.

Intelligence! Spies have to be smart. Some know numerous languages, skills and maneuvers. Got to fly a helicopter to save the world. Need to defuse a bomb? Infiltrate an enemy camp? A spy knows how to do all these things and his mind is his greatest asset.

Creativity! Spies find themselves facing all kinds of problems and most of the time have to figure out solutions on the fly. Using their creativity to solve a problem makes them versatile in the field and keeps them alive.

Fierceness! They’re fierce in the way these men interact with their women—protect them, treat them, and love them. Everything is on the edge and it’s sexy. Sigh.

Hot! These men are tall, well-built, with a cocky smile and the goods to back it up. He has a concealed weapon and he knows how to use it. Another sigh.

Does Drew Miller, my hero in "Up Close and Dangerously Sexy," have all these attributes? He sure does. He has to take a raw recruit and mold her into an undercover operative in two short weeks. He puts his life in her hands and trusts that the lessons he teaches her will keep both of them alive. But the teacher didn’t expect to be taught that letting go of that formidable control could lead to his salvation.

What makes a spy sexy? a lager-than-life personality, nerves of steel and a tender heart for the woman he loves.

Who's your favorite sexy spy? Come on you smart and sassy Bellas. Dish. I will give away to one lucky Bella an autographed copy of "Up Close and Dangerously Sexy."

I’d like to thank the Bellas and Michelle for having me at RBTB! It’s always a blast!
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Stacy~ said...

Hi Karen :) Nice to have you coming back for another visit.

I admit the spy has never been the hero of my dreams, but I can certainly understand his appeal. He is, for the most part, a loner, so right then and there, he has a vulnerability because he can't let anyone too close, even if he wants to. Then he goes and falls in love, and the choice is taken away from him.

I've only seen one Bond film, "Casino Royale", where Bond falls in love, I guess for the first time ever. He probably regrets that after what ends up happening, but it was interesting to see that softer side of Bond. It definitely made me find him more appealing.

Anonymous said...

Great blog title, Karen. Right now, my favorite spy is Michael Westen, so much so that when I saw the latest Bond movie, my first thought was "This was how Michael would've been in the field." He's my favorite for all those things you mention, but also for his light touch. I love the humor of his relationships, and then when a little emotion slips in -- magic. The thing I also love about spies is that they start out doing the least necessary: if guns blazing wouldn't work the best, they don't do it.

Portia Da Costa said...

I've always liked Bond, whether on the page or on the screen... but despite my longstanding preference for SeanBond, I've really, really taken to DanielBond... even used him as the template in a forthcoming Spice Brief, although not as a spy. Just a very hot guy... :)

I'm also mighty fond of the mysterious and troubled Jason Bourne. Have never read the books, just devoured the films with Matt looking so delish!

ev said...

Ah yes. Spies. I love em. Besides Bond and Weston and Bourne there is Lt Col Carlos G. Castillo, from WEB Griffin's Presidential Agents series.

I love Griffin's novels,even though they aren't romances, because there is always romance running through them, most of them ongoing HEA's from an earlier book.

Carlos is rich, hunky and smart. He also has a German persona, that he was born with- Karl Willhelm that is also rich, hunky, and smart. He comes by it honestly.

I love series books, especially when you become invested in a character or characters. I sometimes hate that after one book, they go away, when there is sooo much more story to tell, even after the HEA.

I will be looking for your new book too.

Karen Alarie said...

Hi Everyone! It's so good to be back with Michelle. ::waving:: Are you joining us at the Retreat this year, by the way?

Stacy - I have always loved Bond and my favorite is Pierce Brosnan. I think he is the embodiment of what I think James Bond should be. It's that bad boy glint in his eye, I think. I hear you about spies, but have you ever seen Hopscotch? That's a spy movie featuring the wonderful Walter Matthau. He's a wonderful, cute spy and has the bad guys chasing their tails. It's an oldy but a goody. I think you'd love it.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Burn Notice. The characters and their interactions are so funny and wonderful. And all the personalities that Michael comes up with are also wonderful. He's what I call a reluctant hero. He doesn't want to get involved, but his conscience won't let him do anything else. My favorite show.

Portia - I haven't read the Bourne books, but I want to. I did devour the movies to. Yikes he was definitely dangerously sexy.

Ev - I haven't read these and how did I miss them. Thanks so much for adding to my TBR stack ::wink:: Thanks for picking up the book!

Karen Anders

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Buongiorno, Bellas! And welcome back, Karen. Can I just say that your post reminded me of one of my first crushes, the guy from 'Get Smart?" He was sweet on 99, no? But he was so bumbling. Yet his heart was so good. I'd forgotten about him.

You know, and this will be a shocker, but I tend to read more historical spy heroes. But I do love a good British contemp spy. I need to read more American spy heroes. And, of course, we've seen the surge in lady spies, no, even in historicals?

I have an old fave spy from an historical of Nita Abrams. It's a cool book, especially because the hero is Jewish, which is always a cool thing to add to a time period like the Regency. I wish she still were writing romance. She's written about how we've made heroes of spy characters from the Napoleonic Wars and Home Office, etc., but that in reality they really were considered scum by the folks who used them, as well as those they spied against.

Natalie, I love the point you make about the subtlety of spies. wonderful.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hullo, Karen! I'm hearing so much about Burn Notice. It almost makes me want to watch TV. And I really like Gabriel Anwar. I'd love to get back to WRW some time. It's a remarkable event. :)

Manda Collins said...

Welcome Karen--I love me some Blaze...AND some spies:) Great combination. I've got to say I've never really been into Bond, but Michael Weston is definitely growing on me. I love banter and that show definitely has some great banter!

Michelle, after you had Nita Abrams as a guest bella I went out and read her whole series of Regency spy novels and adored them. I think she really captured the essence of what it means to risk everything for your country and still be looked down on by the people who sent you. Plus she just writes some sexy heroes. I miss her books.

Marilyn Brant said...

Oh, Michelle, I LOVE the guy from Burn Notice--you should give the show a try... He's one of my favorite and, in historical spy lore, I'm also a big Scarlet Pimpernel fan :).

Lisa F. said...

Love to hear Sean Connery and watch the older Bond flicks. And does anybody remember the show, Matt Houston, P.I. I can't remember the guys name that played him, but I remember what he looked like. Just didn't like to see him run - not sexy at all!

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

LIsa, that's so funny about the running! I always joke about how Tom Cruise runs at some high-emotion moment in every movie he makes. "Is Tom feeling something? Get outta the way! He's gonna run!" I remember MH PI, definitely. :) And SeanBond, as Portia calls him, was awesome and sounded great as Bond.

Marilyn, SO many chicks adore SP and Blakeney. I've wanted to see the old movie.

hiya, Manda! Abrams' heroes really are sexy, even though the books are tame in terms of 'sex on the page.' She's a member of my "local' RWA chap and when the book, "The Spy's Reward " came out, she gave me acopy, opened it and wrote a page number. She said, "Because I know you, I though you'd like to know that this is the page where he touches her breast."

Shocking! But the two themes of 'disrespect' from his 'betters' in that final book -- his being a spy and being Jewish -- are so marvelously overshadowed by how great the hero's character is, and how much he's given for King/country. He could never be a 'gentleman' or an aristocrat, but they all pale in comparison to what he's got. Wonderful.

LizbethSelvig said...

Good morning Bellas!
Cool topic. I'm sort of a small time spy girl. I'm a lover of beta heroes and spies rarely fit that category - lol. Having said that, SeanBond is so my fave Bond and I'm one of two people I've ever mentioned it to who actually liked Timothy Dalton's Bond--he, like Daniel's JB, lost a true love and it shaped his character.

I also had a huge crush on Alec Baldwin as Jack Ryan in Hunt for Red October. The reluctant spy--now that was sexy. (Not to mention Sean was in that one too, drool.)

And, while he wasn't a spy per se, how 'bout Mr. Connery in "Entrapment" - yeah, he was a thief but the cat-and-mouse idea was the same. If you're gonna root for a bad guy, he might as well be dang sexy!

Karen Alarie said...

Michelle - I have to confess that I've never read a historical spy, but now I'm intrigued. You are a TBR instigator, too! I did love the Scarlet Pimpernel, though, Marilyn!


Karen Alarie said...

Lisa - LOL on Matt Houston (Lee Horsley played him) running! He certainly did not look sexy and a big LOL on Tom Cruise, Michelle. Now that you mention it, Tom is always running in his movies.

Karen Alarie said...

Lizee - Red October was a major drool fest. Loved that movie and Entrapment is high on my list of favs.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

hmmm, lizeee, i guess gun does nudge a guy into alpha territory, no matter how laid back,no? Sean is great no matter what. Loved when he played Indy Jones' dad.

Karen, looks like you/I are gonna start reading in ea others' fave spy sub-genres! Caroline Linden's new book has a cool spy, Loretta Chase's last (oh, quiet, cheeky Bellas, everyone knows I can't remember titles, you don't have to snigger). OUr own Bella Jenna Petersen has a female spy Charlies' Angels in Empire Waisted Gowns series. Oh, then there was the one from last year, what was it, em, oh ,yeah, The Spymaster's Lady. Spy vs Spy. Very cool.

Anonymous said...

My favorite spy was Michael Vaughn from Alias (even though he married that icky blonde woman after thinking Sydney was dead). He was boyishly handsome and rugged out in the field.

David B. said...

Best spy ever?

Ausin Powers-the International Man of Mystery.

He put the "ger" in swinger, baby!

Just a quick note from Male Perspective Guy....


Anonymous said...

Oh, I almost forgot another Michael that's drool worthy. That would be Michael Samuelle from La Femme Nikita. He was smokin' hot! Actually maybe I have a thing for the name Michael, since I love Michael Westen too.

Karen Alarie said...

Jody - Michael ::swoon:: He was smokin hot. I loved their relationship. All that angst and danger and out there emotion. It was such a good show.

Karen Alarie said...

Michelle - you're killing me and my TBR stack is starting to groan.

Jane said...

Hi Karen,
Looking forward to your new mini series. My favorite spy from the movies is James Bond(as portrayed by Daniel Craig.) In books, my favorite spies are from Stephanie Laurens' Bastion Club series.

Estella said...

My favorite spy has always been James Bond----fron Sean Connery to Daniel Craig!

Fedora said...

Hi, Karen, I definitely have to agree with Jody--Vaughn from Alias was extremely yum (in spite of some bad decisions he made!) As for literary spies, I've heard really good things about Andrea Pickens' lady spies series, but haven't managed to read them yet. And for contemporary, Alison Kent's got a whole series on the covert operatives in her SG-5 line... Love those covers! ;)

Congrats on your latest, Karen--it sounds like a terrific start to your series!

dbrown3400 said...

I'm in the camp that prefers Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. IMO, he's the epitome of suave and debonair. In historical fiction, Gaelen Foley's Lord Lucien Knight gets my vote. The total Liar's Club by Celeste Bradley run a close second.


ev said...

Karen- Griffin is usually considered "guy" fiction, which I have been reading forever! LOL I fist picked up his Brotherhood of War Series at a garage sale. Now I own them all in HC,MM,audio and now digital. Can you tell he's one of my faves?

And everyone is always adding to my TBR pile. sigh.

Manda Collins said...

V. true about the lack of bom-chicka-bow-wow in the Abrams, Michelle. I actually thought about writing-in those sex scenes myself because darn it, those characters were great! Does anyone else ever want to do that? It's basically what fanfic is in some cases, I suppose.

Speaking of WEB Griffin, he lives not too far from me. I have a friend who was a librarian near him and they would get excited when he came in to check out books or order books for research purposes:)

Karen Alarie said...

Bellas - It was such a good time. Thanks again for your warm welcome.

Michelle - you instigator, you, I'm going to Amazon and look up all those books. Thanks for having me again. It was fun!

Santa said...

Sorry to be so late to post! Can I nominate all the hawt men from MI5? Yes, m'am!

And one of the yummiest spies was a rather reluctant one (and who can blame him). Nicholas from Jo Beverley's utterly brilliant "An Arranged Marriage".

I love discovering new authors! Looks like I'll be busy for a while, lol.

Laurie G said...

I liked Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible..loved the scene where he's hanging upside down and that drop of water just hangs on his face. Also in the beginning when h's hanging on the side of the mountain OMG!!

I also loved Matt Damon as Jason Bourne.