Sunday, May 31, 2009

Calling All Elvii

The King may have left the building, but Bella fave Carly Phillips visits RBTB tomorrow to dish Sin City, the site of her sexy new read, "Lucky Streak." Three words may entice you on this one, as they did for me: Boston. Cop. Hero.

My work here is done, but yours begins tomorrow when you join Carly and me for fun and super contest!
FOB Toni Blake visits Wednesday. You must read her new bad boy/good girl romance, "One Reckless Summer." Hot and moving. Thursday, I'm off to Lori Foster's and Dianne Castell's Reader/Author Get-Together!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

It’s The Economy, Cupid

Lois K, you've won the 3 'graphed Last Stand books from Brenda's 5.29 GuestBlog! Please write me by 6.2 @!

Feel the love? That’s why so many folks – friends of romance and Brenda Novak all – donated great items to her Annual Auction for Diabetes Research. But the economic downturn means more folks are bidding less. If you’ve been saving pennies for this event, head to the site to STEAL these RBTB & Friends items, going for nearly half of what similar items brought in last year.

The Online Auction for Diabetes Research ends tomorrow, May 31, at midnight. Go to SITE for full details of what comes with each item, because MANY CONTAIN EXTRAS!
(Bids listed current as of 8.50 a.m. CTZ)

Once in a Lifetime!
Lunch 7.16 @ DC RWA National w/ Eloisa James…$145
Lunch 7.16 @ DC RWA National w/ Michelle Buonfiglio…$175
Lunch for 2 in Austin TX w/Jo Davis + ‘graphed FS 5 books…$34
Hank Phillipi Ryan’s Author Get Ready for Media Makeover…$46
Dinner w/Delilah Marvelle in Portland Posh French Rstrt….$125
Your name in Farrah Rochon’s Next Book…$46

For Writers
Critique of a Proposal by Isabel Swift of Harlequin…$190
GuestBlog @RBTB…$310
Read of Full Manuscript by Michelle Buonfiglio…$130
3-Chapter Critique by Delilah Marvelle…$102

For Readers:
RBTB BlogStar for the Day + Bella Bag…$84
Collection of ‘graphed Farrah Rochon books…$28
$25 Barnes and Noble card from Jo Davis…$29

For Everyone:
Toe Reading from Sherry Lee Devereau…$37
20-min Intuitive Reading from S. Devereau…$Be the first (Look in For Everyone)
$50 card/Vanessa Kelly…$50
Becke Davis’ Cool Bag ‘o Books...$68
10 AMBER stick child safety dvcs. w/software…$10-12
‘Regency Country House’ frm Miranda Neville…$44
3 ab-fab Author Sound Relations goodie collections…$30-31
Personalized, ‘graphed NATHAN KAMP 8X10…$22
$25 Barnes and Noble card from Farrah Rochon…$32

Autographed Books
Autographed Books from Emily Bryan…$27

Autographed Novels by Lorraine Heath…$80
Autographed Copy of MY FAVORITE PHANTOM by Karen Kelley…$15

Autographed Hardcover Copy of HOT MAIL by Janice Maynard…$20
Autographed ARC of MATING GAME by Janice Maynard (a July 09 release)…$25
Your Choice of 2 Autographed Books from Portia DaCosta…$27
Autographed Set of Liz Carlyle's "NEVER" Series…$45
Autographed Copy of TEMPTED ALL NIGHT by Liz Carlyle…$16
Collection of Autographed Books by Caridad Pineiro…$48
Autographed Copy of UNDER FIRE by Jo Davis…$17
Autographed Copy of TEMPT THE DEVIL by Anna Campbell…$35
Autographed Copy of SIMPLY SHAMELESS by Kate Pearce…$18
Autographed Copy of DRAGONBORN by Jade Lee…$16
Complete Autographed Collection from Robyn Carr…$56
Autographed Copy of SLEEPING WITH WARD CLEAVER by Jenny Gardiner…$16
Autographed Copy of COMING ON STRONG by Tawny Weber…$10
Autographed Copy of GOING DOWN STRONG by Tawny Weber…$10
Autographed Copy of THE FOOD TEMPTRESS by Rekaya Gibson…$10
Autographed Copy of KISS OF DARKNESS by Jennifer St. Giles…$14
Autographed Copy of BRIDE OF THE WOLF by Jennifer St. Giles…$20

Friday, May 29, 2009

Brenda Novak GuestBlog: Bid! For The End Is Near! (And We've Got Some Real Steals)!

CONTEST TODAY!!! One lucky commenting Bella (LCB) wins an autographed set of Brenda's Last Stand novels (Trust/Stop/Watch Me)! Thanks, Brenda!

My 5th Annual Online Auction for Diabetes Research is almost over. It’s become such an addiction for me I’ll probably have withdrawals. Soon I won’t have to figure out what cool new item to list as another Easter Egg (a freebie for my shoppers) or tally the number of bids to see who’s in the lead to win the amazing computer package that I’m offering as the grand prize. It will be time to wrap up everything and rest. For awhile. Until it’s time to start gathering amazing items for next year….

The good news about this year’s auction is that we had a lot more traffic, shoppers and publicity than ever before. The bad news is that the economy has taken its toll, even here. I’m pretty sure we’re not going to reach our lofty $300,000 goal. At this point, I’d be thrilled just to match last year’s total of $252,300. Currently, we’re at $195,000. So we’re going to need some strong final days. In order to entice you to jump in and help make that happen, I thought I’d list a few items that are an absolute deal.

Author Sherrill Bodine’s Champagne Reception for six at the RWA National Convention in Washington DC. What a party this could be for a group of friends planning to attend the convention. Why it’s been overlooked so far I can’t imagine. I’m ready to bid on it myself. At only $50, it’s a steal!

A $12,000 diamond and sapphire ring
. This stackable ring comes with the appraisal papers and everything, and it’s currently going for $2700. That’s only 10% of its value! Another bargain.

The edit of an ENTIRE manuscript by Donna Del Oro. This is an offer to do a tremendous amount of work. And it’s currently going for $105—the price of a dinner out with a friend.

Art. There are three fabulous paintings up for auction, all of which are going for 10-20% of their value. I usually buy an art piece every year. That’s how I’m building my own collection. They’re often the most valuable but overlooked things on the auction block, although I can’t imagine why.

All expense paid trip to Ellora Cave’s first convention in Akron, OH October 9-11, 2009. This covers hotel, meals, airfare, conference admission, a photo shoot with Ellora’s Cave cover mo
dels with an autographed copy of the photo of your choice. AND you’ll receive your picture with a Caveman on the cover of a special edition of the Ellora’s Cave book of your choice—with 10 free copies. This is definitely The Item for those who like their romance novels hot. And this amazing package is currently going for a measly $700.

For the romance fan who loves to hang online and make friends while commenting at romance blogs, be the RBTB BlogStar for a Day! Michelle will write a fun blog article about you, why you love romance and your fave book. Then you and Michelle will lead a mini-book club day about that book. Plus, you'll get the new "Bella Bag" w/ a 12-pack of new romances!

I could go on. There are over 2,000 fabulous items up for auction. Come on over, get involved in the fun and help me make a difference to my son and others like him. While you’re there, don’t forget to enter my drawing for a trip for two to Sonoma, California—beautiful wine country. The details of this trip are as amazing as anything on the auction, but this is something one lucky person will win for free! Simply go to my Web site to enter.

Here’s to making a difference! -- Brenda

Check out Brenda's next Last Stand book, "The Perfect Couple," out 7/28
Join Michelle's RBTB NEWs community e-newsletter (in the blue box in the right sidebar) between now and June 30 to win the new "Bella Bag" filled with 2 dozen new romances in the genre(s) of your choice! Plus, you'll get quickie weekly updates on what's NEWs at RBTB and in romance.(Opt in by 5.31 at midnight and you're in for the $25 B/N gift card, too).

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Tails Of Love" Pet Photo Mascots Announced!

Meet 'n greet the 12 "Tails of Love" Pet Photo Mascots and Pet Pals! Randomly chosen and ready to have their furry little ways with your heart, these critters' people are the lucky recipients of goodies from the "Tails of Love" authors and friends, including Virginia Kantra.

Nearly 200 pets -- and their loving keepers -- participated in the TOL Pet Photo Mascot Extravaganza. See the complete Gallery here. We can't thank you enough for sharing your love -- and little loves -- and for the sweet, funny and moving stories you sent along with your photos. But we'll say it again, anyway: Thank you so much for helping us help pets in need!

If your pet is featured below, you'll be hearing soon about how to claim your pet prize packages. Without further ado, please meet the TOL Mascots and Pet Pals:

Check out Michelle's new "Unabashedly Bookish" column on steamy love triangles here. Sign in at both b/ and book clubs to comment.
Friday: Brenda Novak GuestBlogs to bring you utd on the other big event you've been such a vital part of, her Online Auction for Diabetes Research. You've only got a few more days to bid and help make a difference!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Boys Rule, Chicks Drool

Ask a romance reader about “love triangles” among two heroes and a heroine, and -- whether she digs a sweet, “happily ever after” love triad, or a lusty m/f/m romp-- she’ll probably tell you the heroine’s clearly in the position of power. But what if the truth were that the guys care less about the chick than what happens between each other… Read more here.

B& tech tip: Sign in at b& and Unabashedly Bookish to comment. Like a comment or post? Give it a laurel!
"Tails of Love" Pet Photo Mascots
announced tommorow here at RBTB! Check out the gallery here.

Monday, May 25, 2009

They Also Serve Who Stand And Donate

We don't remember today only those who've served and fallen in battle, or worn a uniform and lived to return to "common" lives as uncommon heroes. Today we take a moment to think about our troops worldwide -- from the computer and administrative support to the front-line patrol, the highest-ranking officer and every man and woman in uniform in between.

Romance lover Laurie Damron collects thousands of dollars in donations for our troops each year in the forms of gift cards, toiletries, books and more. Think about helping Laurie. Contact her at to see what you can do for some of the brave men and women in our military!
"Tails of Love" Pet Photo Mascot Extravaganza ends tonight at 11:59:59 Central! Get deets here. Mascots'll be announced Wednesday right here!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Numbers Game

There's a purported "stat" about sexuality and romance reading that goes like this: Chicks who read romance have more sex than those among their gender who don't read the genre. Like, 74% more.

I've yet to locate the Psychology Today study the stat's supposed to have come from. But based on the anecdotal evidence I've gleaned from romance readers, I can pretty unequivocally state that partners of chicks who read romance ain't complaining. Or, if I may dance upon the edges of TMI and quote my husband's comment online to erotic romance superstar Emma Holly after his reading a super-hot excerpt from her new book, "Kissing Midnight..."

CLICK HERE to jump to more "Mantastic Voyage: Guys And Romance"

Tech Tip:
Sign in to both B& and Book Clubs to comment.
Like a comment or post you read? Give it a laurel.
Encore! Thanks LisaK and MPG for helping make this week's b/ post possible.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Exclusive Excerpt: "Kissing Midnight," By Emma Holly

Just for you lusty, cheeky Bellas from our friend, Emma Holly, an exclusive, adults-only excerpt from her June 2 release, "Kissing Midnight," the first installment in Emma's red-hot “Fitz Clare Chronicles” vampire trilogy. Soak up the heat, cool down at your leisure, then snap up the trilogy fast as you can!

The Imperial

The Imperial was Sally and Ben’s favorite cinema: gaudy but comfortable. Families crowded it in the evening, but that didn’t bother them. They liked to whisper comments to each other during the film, and the general noisiness made it less likely that they’d be shushed.

Usually they sat together off on their own, toward the front or back depending on their mood. Tonight, to Edmund’s dismay, they’d chosen to sit bookending him and Estelle, with Graham taking the seat in front. Edmund adored his family, but their proximity made him itchy now. He’d become too used to hiding the existence of his sexual appetites from his children.

Determined not to let all his hopes for the night be dashed, as soon as the theater darkened, he took Estelle’s hand.

He smiled to himself when her fingers curled between his, amused by his own happiness. Such a simple pleasure this was. Human warmth. Human affection. Nothing could match its wonderful innocence.

And then Estelle crossed her legs, the faint rasp of her hosiery striking a match to his libido.

He clenched his jaw and ordered his eyes to stay on the screen, where a horde of women in bathing costumes were, for reasons unknown to him, forming their bodies into giant flowers in a deep blue pool.

Estelle crossed her legs the other way.

Blast, he thought. His touch must be arousing her. He had her right hand in his left, and flashes of her thoughts were shooting up the link. She was asking herself if he was hard (he certainly was then!) and remembering how warm and satiny his cock had felt on her tongue. That was disorienting, to say the least. He squeezed her fingers in the remote hope that this would...


Saturday, May 16, 2009

When I Grew Up

Cristina Scabbia of Milan's Lacuna Coil reminds me of a little of Ann Wilson of Heart back in the day. I wanted to be Ann Wilson when I grew up. I'll keep you posted if I achieve either of those goals.
Who'd you wanna be when you grew up?
Who do you wanna be when you grow up?
Read an Exclusive Adults-Only Excerpt from Emma Holly's "Kissing Midnight" Monday here at RBTB! RBTB NEWs members get a sneak peek Sunday night, so join now if'n you can't stand the wait to get to the sexiest scene in the first book of Emma's Fitz Clare Chronicles!
Virginia Kantra WINNER: LuAnn Morgan, you've won a copy of "Sea Lord" from Virginia! Please write me at with your snail mail. Congratulazione.
Check out the 'Tails of Love' Pet Photo Mascot Gallery here!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Virginia Kantra GuestBlog: Sex On The Beach

CONTEST TODAY!!! One lucky commenting Bella wins a copy of "Sea Lord" courtesy of Virginia!

From Virginia:

Sex on the Beach
- 1 1/2 oz. vodka
- 3/4 oz. peachtree schnapps
- 1/2 oz. creme de cassis
- 2 oz. orange juice
- 2 oz. cranberry juice
- orange slice, maraschino cherry

Shake all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and strain into a highball glass. Garnish with lime wedge. Recipe source here.

Summer at the beach. The crash of the waves, the caress of the sun, the tang of salt . . . and the lure of a hot romance. Who hasn't necked on a blanket on the sand or dreamed of strolling hand in hand along the water's edge?

So the beach should be the perfect setting for a romance novel, right?

Um...yes and no.

"Sea Lord," the latest book in my Children of the Sea series, is out this month--just in time to tuck into a beach bag. The series was inspired by the Celtic legends of the selkie, immortal creatures of the sea living apart from humankind but able to shape-shift into seductive human form. Set off the coast of Maine, the stories draw on the mystery and magic, power and passion of the ocean.

But sex on the beach...Well, it poses problems for an author. Not to mention her characters. First of all, hell-o? My books are set in Maine. It's cold. The water is really cold. This can have a very damping effect on a woman's mood, the need to get naked, and a man's, er, libido.

It never occurred to me three books ago how much trouble I was going to have getting my sea-loving selkies anywhere near a bed.
Most of the usual trappings of romance--flowers, candles, food, wine--must be carted in and packed out if I use them at all. (Can't leave litter on the beaches!)
Expensive hotels? No.
Five star restaurants? Puh-leeze.
Lobster dinner? Okay, my characters can eat as much lobster as Daryl Hannah in Splash. But don't even get me started on the subject of sand...

Yet somehow the setting works for me. It was that juxtaposition, after all, between the land and the sea, between the contemporary, pragmatic, workaday world of the islanders and the timeless, sensual, magical world of the Children of the Sea that originally hooked me on the concept.

In "Sea Witch" those seeds of conflict—the tension between land and sea, between the mundane and the magic worlds—are present even at the moment of first attraction.

A woman shone at the water's edge, wrapped in twilight and a towel. The sea foamed around her bare, pale feet. Her long, dark hair lifted in the breeze. Her face was pale and perfect as the moon.
For one second, the sight caught him like a wave smack in the chest, robbing him of speech. Of breath. Yearning rushed through his soul like the wind over the water, stirring him to the depths. His hands curled into fists at his sides.
Not okay. He throttled back his roaring imagination. She was just a kid. A girl. An underage girl in an oversize sweatshirt with--his gaze dipped again, briefly--a really nice rack.

The sea is primal. Powerful. A perfect metaphor for sex:

Lightning shattered the shadows as she gathered the storm, owned it, rode it. Rode him. Power pulsed inside and out. She shuddered. He groaned. He felt the crackle and surge as she closed around him, rising and falling like the sea.
His heart contracted. "I am yours," he had told her.
But he had not believed it until now.
When the wave came, the swell took them both. (from "Sea Lord")

Because the sea itself reflects the moods of the weather and the seasons, it's a good way to get the characters' moods on the page. It can even be a way to talk about love itself:

He picked her up in his arms and jumped with her over the side.
Water rushed over their heads, cutting off her shriek.
She surfaced sputtering and clutching at him. "You son of a bitch! Are you out of your mind?"
He buoyed her up, felt her shiver with shock and cold. "Scared?" he demanded.
She glared, her hair dripping in her eyes. "I'm wet."
"Out of your element."
"Over your head?"
She squinted, adjusting her grip on his neck. ""
"Me too," he confessed. (from "Sea Fever")

So what's your favorite romantic setting? Your least favorite? Do you like to see the classic trappings of romance in your novels? And did you ever read a story where the setting totally worked (or didn't work) for you?

Read Eloisa James' praise for 'Sea Lord' in her Barnes& Review column here!
Check out the "Tails of Love" Pet Photo Mascot gallery here! Grab deets on how to enter your pet in the Extravaganza by a click of the button in the sidebar.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I'm Too Sexy For My Porn

In so eagerly distancing erotic romance from "porn," are we saying men's fantasy doesn't count as much as women's? And if it gets you hot when you read it, why isn't erotic romance porn, anywayz? Join me at "Unabashedly Bookish" today and chime in on

TechNote: Sign in on the B/ site and the Book Clubs area to comment. Tricky, but no myLifetime, if ya know w'I'm sayin'.
Virginia Kantra GuestBlogs tomorrow! One LCB wins a copy of her wild new Children of the Sea novel, "Sea Fever." See what Eloisa James has to say about it here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Tails Of Love" Authors GuestBlog: Extravaganza Kick-Off!

From "Tails of Love" Authors: Thank you so much, Bellas and everybody, for stopping by to help us countdown to the June 2, 2009, release of "Tails of Love," a benefits romance anthology.

"Tails of Love" will help raise money for a no-kill animal shelter, the Animal Adoption Foundation, and awareness of the plight of abused and abandoned animals and pets.

We – Lori Foster, Stella Cameron, Dianne Castell, Kate Angell, Ann Christopher, Marcia James, Donna MacMeans, Sarah McCarty, Sue-Ellen Welfonder and I – each have contributed an original short story to "Tails of Love." That’s 10 original short stories in one really cute package. Have you seen the cover?

In addition, we’re donating all of our proceeds to the Animal Adoption Foundation. Our agents have pledged the same. That means with each copy of Tails of Love you purchase, you’re contributing to a very worthy cause. For your generosity, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

We’d also like to thank Michelle for hosting our Tails of Love Pet Photo Extravaganza to help us celebrate the anthology’s release. As part of the extravaganza, we’re inviting you to e-mail a photo of your pet (w/your full name/snail mail/pet's name) to Michelle with PET PHOTO MASCOT in the subject line to between 12:00:00 a.m. Eastern May 12 and 11:59:59 p.m. Eastern May 25. Limit two pets per address, please. The simple details and rules here.

You can see up-to-date photos here – as up to date as Michelle can keep em’ – of Extravaganza entrants here throughout the contest. (unentered grumpy-cat example, right). Then, May 27, right here at RBTB, we’ll announce the names of our 10 Tails of Love Pet Photo Extravaganza Mascots and two Pet Pals. That total of 12 pets’ll score really terrific prizes. In addition to prizes from us – the 10 anthology authors – and Tails of Love pet pals Virginia Kantra and Michelle also are donating prizes. Would you like to know what those prizes are?

10 Extravaganza Mascot prizes from TOL authors:
Lori Foster: IMPETUOUS (reissued), doggy-themed T-shirt, hat, mouse pad, pen, keychain
Stella Cameron: CYPRESS NIGHTS, a luscious fur throw for a furry star and a collection of yummy treats
Dianne Castell: HOT AND BOTHERED, $30 Barnes & Noble gift card
Kate Angell: Books from her BOYS OF SUMMER BASEBALL SERIES and $100 Barnes and Noble gift card
Ann Christopher: TENDER SECRETS, ROAD TO SEDUCTION and SWEETER THAN REVENGE, an Ann Christopher book bag, and pet pillow/bed
Marcia James: AT HER COMMAND, gift basket of pet treats and toys
Donna MacMeans: THE EDUCATION OF MRS. BRIMLEY and assorted pet munchies
Sarah McCarty: PROMISES REVEAL and $100 gift certificate
Patricia Sargeant: YOU BELONG TO ME and $30 Target gift card
Sue-Ellen Welfonder: SEDUCING A SCOTISH BRIDE; DEVIL IN A KILT; TALL, DARK, AND KILTED; and $50 Petsmart gift card

Pet Pal prizes
Virginia Kantra: Gorgeous hand-casted Children of the Sea medallion on black-satin necklace! The warden's triskelion logo, commemorative of Virginia's hot new series.
Michelle Buonfiglio: 12 pack of new romances in sub-genre/s of your choice. If non-US resident chosen, s/he receives $25 e-gift card for books.

So, come on! Send us your pet photos, and help us celebrate the release of "Tails of Love."

What's your pet like? Do you/did you have a favorite pet?
Encore due! Please help get the word out about "Tails of Love" and the Pet Photo Mascot Extravaganza -- and help pets in need -- by copying and pasting the orange Extravaganza button (above, left) into your blog or site and linking it here:
Encore due!
Head to the Lori Foster Readers & Authors Get Together June 5-7, West Chester, OH. Lori, Dianne Castell and Linda Keller co-sponsor this amazing annual event. Michelle and many of the Bellas'll be hangin'! There's still time to register for this low-cost, high-good karma chance to meet and make friends with tons of your favorite romance writers and readers and lots of online pals.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Color Of Love

Whether you’re a mother, are trying to be, haven’t even considered it, or consider the notion anathema, the drive to be maternal or be ‘mothered’ and nurtured is strong. We don’t always realize we fill a maternal role in the lives of many around us: friends, office mates, our kids’ pals. It’s healthy and feels good and is a real honor when we realize someone’s placed us in that position and we’ve accepted the role.

My mom’s best friend died almost 12 years ago. She was a woman who had her own kids, but always had time for me when I needed to talk about stuff I just couldn’t share with my mom. I still miss her and hope my daughter finds the same with a woman I trust, perhaps a Chinese woman who can give her the insight into her culture her birth mother would have.

I think about our daughter’s birth mother often; I ‘met’ our daughter Mother’s Day weekend in China, nine years ago, a laughing, smiling yet serious little girl who was ‘abandoned’ where she would be found as her mother most likely hid and looked on as usually is the case.

A ‘finding notice’ was placed later in a local tabloid paper in the remote farming area where my daughter was found by a man arriving for his job at a construction company. The tabloid is one filled with “true romance” stories, some tragic, some happy, sold to excruciatingly poor, young Chinese girls and women with little to hope for in life. The finding notices are a last shot at determining whether a child may legally be taken into the care of the municipality and put up for adoption.

The finding notice read something like, “Baby girl found wrapped in a man’s suit with a red
paper pinned to lapel indicating birth date of one month.” Remember, in China, red is the color of good luck, happiness, prosperity.

A desperate mother and father willing to give up a child after caring for her for one month because of government restrictions and thousands-of-years-old-cultural issues ridiculously complex and difficult to understand and far too easy to judge. And parents do this for a chance that their child’s life will be healthier and happier with the possibility of adoption, yet without their love and care.

I see my daughter’s birth parents in her smile and eyes. I wonder if they struggled with the same tasks as she when they were young. But I don’t wonder whether they think of her often; they loved her so much that they sacrificed their happiness for hers – not something a parent forgets.

This morning, our daughter gave me a poem she wrote as a Mother’s Day gift, and I want to share it with you as a gift and in honor of her birth parents. And just so’s you can share the love this morning, too.

I love you the reddest!
I love you the color of your bright heart shaped necklace.

I love you the color of a strong rose standing tall.

The color of your sweet heart.
The color of red steaming sweet peppers.

The color of love and sweetness that spreads around the universe.

The color of a shiny and glossy ruby.

Love you more.
Encore! "I Love You Like Crazy Cakes," written by Rose Lewis and illustrated by Jane Dyer is a lovely and moving book that tells the story of a little girl's journey from orphanage to single mom's new home and life in America. Respectful and full of love and light, the book is a beautiful tribute to the making/blending of a family and international adoption. It's the perfect addition to any family's or classroom's library.
Lord Ian winners: heatherb; ashley ladd; Please write me @ w/your snail mail by noon 5.11.
Tails of Love Pet Photo Mascot Extravaganza begins Tuesday with "Tails of Love" benefit anthology authors GuestBlog including Lori Foster, Stella Cameron & Pals. Have fun 'n help pets in need!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Forget H1N1. This Is Contagious

Think of Trapt as a midlist author on the way to bestseller. This is kinda my fave Octane re-read these days.
Lord Ian winners: booklover1135; heatherb; caffey; ashley ladd; keira soleore
Final FS5 winner: JulieinOhio Congratulazione all! Please write me @ w/your snail mail by noon 5.11.
Tails of Love Pet Photo Mascot Extravaganza begins Tuesday with "Tails of Love" benefit anthology authors GuestBlog including Lori Foster, Stella Cameron & Pals. Have fun 'n help pets in need!

Jennifer Ashley GuestBlog: Betcha' Can't Look Me In The Eye And Say That

CONTEST TODAY!!! 5 Lucky Commenting Bellas, randomly selected, each win a copy of Jennifer Ashley's "The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie" from Dorchester. Check back tomorrow to see if you've won.

From Jennifer: Hi all. Thanks, Michelle and Bellas, for giving me the opportunity to come here and talk about Madness of Lord Ian!

A question I’ve gotten since I conceived this book is “why on earth did you write about a hero with Asperger’s?” A man who has trouble relating emotionally to others? Who will have great difficulty saying the three little words, I love you?

Romances, to me, are about the power of love getting you through anything—about two people finding their strengths by coming together. The more difficult the problems are to get through, the more poignant the romance. Ian faces not only the problem of relating to other people, but also doing it in a time (Victorian England) when people had no idea what Asperger’s was, nor were they tolerant of anyone who was “different.”

With Ian I wrote a man who believes he will never find the joy of falling in love (or having a “normal” life in any way). He wishes for a fulfilling relationship but is convinced it will never happen for him (sex, yes; love, no).

Enter Beth, who has experienced a fulfilling relationship (with her late husband), and can’t imagine how Ian believes he’ll never have that in his life. The memory of her happiness with her husband gets her through lonely times, and her heart goes out to Ian no matter how much he unnerves her.

It was very difficult writing Ian because he couldn’t do some of the things romance heroes are supposed to, in particular, pin the heroine with his powerful and manly gaze! (Ian can't look anyone directly in the eye.) Plus Ian firmly believes that his feelings for Beth are purely physical (he wants the relationship very, very much and will do anything to get it, but he doesn’t believe it’s love).

How to make this guy say the magic words and mean them?

Ian believes he can’t feel love, but from the moment he meets Beth, he worries about her, wants to be with her, and wants to protect her. And slowly, through the story, he allows Beth to draw out of himself things no one else has been able to (a Beauty and the Beast story). Beth teaches Ian a lot about himself, life, and love and makes him see, in the end, that he is perfectly capable of loving her.

Every second of writing this book was both joy and frustration. Ian was not easy to pin down, and he wanted to do many things I didn’t want him to! But I also loved writing Beth, a resilient heroine who doesn’t take crap from anyone. Together these two found their happily ever after (and it wasn't easy for them). You'll them again in future books.

I hope everyone enjoys Ian’s story!

If the hero literally doesn’t know what ‘I love you’ means, when and how do you think he might realize he’s in love? How does this jibe with the idea that the hero in romance always has to say ‘I love you’ for the romance to be successful? How do you feel about romances w/ heroes/hns w/disabilities?

Encore! Book 2 of Jennifer's Highland Pleasures series, "Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage," is out mid-'10. You'll meet Isabell and Mac in "Lord Ian" and'll be dyin' for their story. Check out Jennifer's Allyson James and Ashley Gardner reads and Tudor historicals, too.
Encore due! Learn more about Asperger's Syndrome (AS) here plus a mom's take on loving a child with AS here.
Encore tre! Read more about heroes like Ian here.
"Tails of Love" fund-raising anthology authors Lori Foster, Stella Cameron, Diane Castell & Pals GuestBlog Tuesday! They're kicking off the
Tails of Love Pet Photo Mascot Extravaganza!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Friday Madness

Jennifer Ashley GuestBlogs tomorrow, Fri, May 8!

5 Lucky Commenting Bellas each win a copy of this marvelous, intelligent and deliciously erotic new read, first in her Highland Pleasures series.

Ashley also writes as Alyson James and Ashley Gardner. Have you read her paras or Tudor historicals? Faves? What do you want to ask Jennifer about Lord Ian, her 'beastly' hero with Asperger's Syndrome?*
*Lord Ian's father had Ian committed to an asylum for the insane because of his 'unnatural' intelligence, intense focus, sensitivity to sounds, temperatures, etc., and issues with anger. Read a contemporary mother's simple take on the key raising a child w/Asperger's Syndrome here.
Lori Foster, Stella Cameron, Dianne Castell and Friends GuestBlog Tuesday to kick off the Tails of Love Pet Photo Mascot Extravaganza! Get your pretty pet pics ready!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Leave The Crown; Take The Fur Coat, Please

For many of we romance fiction fans, the hearty strains of “Be our guest!” and “Put our service to the test!” would have been more meaningful – and ever so slightly, raucous and ribald – had the damn beast never turned back into pretty, prissy, princely form, and instead remained big, bad, overbearing and, mmmm, beastly… Read more...
Brenda Novak reports the Online Auction for Diabetes Research has raised $96K since it opened Friday the first! Head on over and join the bidding wars!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

I Likes Em Beastly

Dunno. I'm thinkin' you'll dig this one. Remember, sign in at both b/ and the book clubs section. Don't be ascared; it's not like myLifetime.
Feliz cinco de Mayo, otherwise known as "Under Fire" Drop Day!!! Congrats to Jo Davis, and thanks, Bellas and everyone who made the past five weeks waiting so much fun! Yesterday, especially, was a blast.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Party In The House: Zack Knight Bares All! (Well, Almost)

INSTANT WIN CONTESTS ALL DAY!!! We're tossin' out FS5 trivia questions all day. Be the first to answer correctly in the comments to win the prize offered! Check out the hot prizes below, right. You only can win one trivia prize, but all trivia winners get a shot at a final copy of Jo Davis' "Under Fire," out tomorrow!

From the desk of Eve Marshall, firefighter/paramedic…

When Jo first asked me to interview my best friend and colleague, Zack Knight, I have to admit I wrung my hands in glee. The one guy at Station Five whose experience with women can fit on sideways on a grain of rice, and he’s going to be surrounded by them today. And I get to be his tormentor—er, interviewer. How perfect!

Now I’ve got the man here in our clutches, blinking amazing laser-blue eyes at me behind those wire-rimmed glasses and blushing furiously. Poor boy looks as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Shall we go easy on his poor, hunky self, ladies?

Hell, no! I think under that Clark Kent exterior beats the heart of Superman, so he can take anything we dish out. Let’s get started!

Eve: (I turn to Zack) Did you think I was going to make it that easy on you, buddy?
Zack (smiling shyly): Nope, but I’ve got a whole posse of ladies to help me out if I get into a tight spot, right? Hello Jo, Michelle, and Bellas!
Eve: Hmm, this is true. You’re always able to charm women with that cute, innocent face of yours. We’ll just have to make sure they know there’s more to you than meets the eye. To being, tell everyone, what made you decide to become a firefighter?
Zack: I’ve always wanted to be the guy behind the wheel of the big quint. I tell people that most boys outgrow playing with fire trucks, but I never did.
Eve: That’s very cool you were able to achieve your lifelong ambition and enter such a worthy career. But most don’t know that your father wanted something different for you. Would you mind sharing a little about that?
Zack: Well, okay. It’s not exactly a secret that my father wanted me to use my academic achievement to enter a more high-profile career. He had dreams of me being a doctor, lawyer, or even building the next space shuttle or something. I could’ve entered whatever career I wanted with scores like mine, but I wanted to be a firefighter. I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t be one anymore.
Eve: Thankfully, you won’t have to worry about that. What about your childhood? What was daily life like for young Zack?
Zack (laughing ruefully): Truthfully? Absolute hell. I never knew my mother—she dumped me on my father’s doorstep when I was a newborn and we never heard from her again. My father wasn’t the easiest man to please. Actually, there was no pleasing him. Ever.
Eve: But surely school was a reprieve of sorts. I mean, you were such a good student and a nice kid, too.
Zack: School was worse. There, I was ostracized for being smart, short, and fat. The three deadly sins, in my case. I lost count of all the malicious pranks they played on me.
Eve: In the end, however, success is the sweetest revenge. You’re smart, and grew into handsome, successful man. Right? (I’m wondering why there’s a flash of dismay in his eyes, why his gaze drops momentarily to the floor before recovers, offering me a wan smile)
Zack: Right. I know there are tons of kids like me in schools all over and my advice to them is to keep plugging. Ignore the bullies (to a point—go to a higher authority such as a teacher, school counselor, or parent if they persist) and pursue what you’re best at in spite of the taunts. One day you’ll be in college, vocational school, or in a job you enjoy, surrounded by people who share your interests and totally get you. Don’t give up.
Eve: Great advice. Now let’s talk about Zack today. Obviously, being sexy and intelligent, you’re a great catch. So how is it that you’ve made it to the ripe old age of twenty-six with no—how can I delicately put this?—experience with women?
Zack (bristling a little): Hey, I’ve dated! It’s just that the thought of sleeping with someone I don’t love…well, it leaves me cold. I’m waiting for my special lady. The one who stops me dead in my tracks, makes my head spin and my heart pound. Is there something wrong with waiting for love?
Eve (shaking my head): Not at all, my friend. I think that makes you a wonderful man any woman would be proud to call hers. And on that warm note, I want to thank you for being here with us today to visit with Jo, Michelle, and the Bellas.
Zack: No problem. I mean, I may be inexperienced, but I’m not dead! Look at all these gorgeous women…
Eve (laughing): Not dead at all. But you’re hardly a typical single man…and for that we’re extremely grateful! Ladies, you have the floor.

*Ask Zack, Eve, or Jo anything, OR share your views on the perfect single man today. Whether you’re single and looking, involved or not, experienced or not, what is your ideal of what a man would have to be like today to catch your eye—and capture your heart?

Visit Jo Davis and all the firefighters of Station Five at!
Encore! Read a 5-Alarm Exclusive Excerpt from "Under Fire" here!
Encore Due! Check out the RBTB Feature Review (FR) of "Under Fire" here.
Encore Tre! Get intimate with Lt. Howard Paxton's story, "Trial by Fire!" FR here.
Please read a new romance column from Michelle tomorrow at b/'s "Unabashedly Bookish" blog! Check out Michelle's current UB here.
Join the RBTB NEWs list by 5.31.09 for the quick/dirty on what's new/now at RBTB -- and for a shot at a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card. Thanks!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Heat Is On

Jo Davis, Zack and Eve will toss out the FS5 trivia throughout the day and tell you which prize is up for grabs for the first commenter correctly answering their question. Prizes from Jo: $50 Barnes & Noble Gift Card; Autographed set of FS5 books: "Trial by Fire," and "Under Fire"; Hoyt collectible firefighter bear ($30 value). Plus: $25 Borders Gift Card; Pedicure set; Manicure set and final weekly draw for a copy of "Under Fire."
Rainy and Buffie please write by 11:59 pm 5.4 if you'd like to receive your copy of "Under Fire."

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Feature Review: "Defender," By Catherine Mann

My considerable obsession with male genitalia aside, you may be surprised to learn the membrum virile ain’t the body organ for which I hold the most admiration.

Oh, no. I’m far more egalitarian than that. The mound of flesh and cells, the glorious, pulsing-with-life collection of tissues and blood vessels that really gets my senses all aflutter is a bit more pedestrian, perhaps a little more hard workin’ a lot more of the time and – truth be told – not hardly as sexy.

Yes friends, even though it can be described as ‘roped with a big vein,” the unisex organ of which I speak is one that -- when my brother coughed up one of his to save my life – became my forever fave…the kidney.

In my uniquely self-absorbed way, I assume whenever an author writes about organ transplantation in a romance – I know, gets me hot, too – she’s doing it just for me. So imagine my state of unbridled euphoria when I read Catherine Mann’s awesome new novel, “Defender,” based on the highpoints of my very own transplant story:

Musician heroine one year post-transplantation takes part in sexy, hi-profile performing gig? Check! Heroine’s feeling a little squeamish about whether men might be able to relate to her “issues” even though the transplant gives new life and excellent health? Check!

Super-gorgeous jet jock rescues fair maiden and new organ from shark-infested waters, catches a glimpse of her all curvy and wet in her pageant-type gown and decides he can overcome his PTSD, save the day with her help and show her he’s strong enough to be the man of a woman who’s ‘been to the mountain’ and lives life with a new perspective? Che -- um, well, my guy still refuses to wear the “Top Gun Role Play” gear I bought ‘im, but he’s got the last part in spades to this day…

OK, so maybe Mann doesn’t know I exist – and “Defender” isn’t a tribute to chicks who go to the Miss America Pageant a year after renal transplants. But “Defender” most definitely is the gripping, timely and slow-burn sexy start to her Black Ops romantic suspense series that’s gonna take over that place on your bookshelf reserved for Shamelessly All-American Heroes and The Women They Live (and would die) For.

Test Pilot Jimmy Gage is a guy focused on a mission: Find and save a fellow Black Ops team member who’s been kidnapped and most likely won’t survive being tortured. Gage’s life’s a little more simple when he’s got a task that keeps his mind off the people he’s let down and couldn’t save – and the time he spent being tortured behind ridiculously hard-to-define enemy lines.

Smack dab in the middle of inching closer to finding his team member, Gage and crew are sidetracked plucking out of the Mediterranean a bunch of USO entertainers whose ship’s been blown apart – one of whom is an irritating blonde sweetheart Gage tries to convince himself is nothing but an armful of sequins and hairspray.

Symphony conductor/USO singer Chloe Nelson would rather larger-than-life, intimidating and arousing flyboy Jimmy Gage think her an airhead than pay attention to their attraction. If he gets close, she fears he’ll be like the other men who run when they figure out she’s got the focus and intensity of spirit that comes from surviving debilitating illness and earning a new lease on life – yet with no guarantees.

Yet Gage and Chloe are survivors, drawn to one another despite their demonstrated fear of few things in life except emotional connection. They tenuously explore a relationship against a backdrop war and of danger fomented by a sadistic rogue extortionist/murdress. Soon, Chloe becomes as embroiled in the sitch as Gage and the Black Ops team and both she and Gage learn whether their desire to help “save the day” is as much about doing right by their country, as it is about finally doing right by their hearts.

Catherine Mann’s Black Ops series is sharp and engaging and is just gonna get hotter. Like your favorite “Band of Brothers” (BOB) series, Mann’s created well-and-truly drawn guy’s guys who seem to think and thankfully communicate like men while getting cold cocked emotionally when the right woman comes along. And Mann keeps the love story tension high w/out sacrificing the suspense plot, a gift to the romance reader “all about the love.”

Competing at the Miss America Pageant -- I remember thinking, “I just may have a shot at this thing. Unless that gorgeous Miss Mississippi has a damn heart transplant.” Luckily, the big prize I won was reaching millions of folks on the Miss A broadcast, telling them how important it is to consider organ donation and talking to one’s family about it.

So, please, head to and check out the deets on organ donation. Then do yourself a favor in the here and now –

Buy the book.

What do you love about Band of Brother (BOB) series? What are your fave Catherine Mann books -- (Mann has long written for Hquin Silhouette and is a RITA winner)? And, what's your favorite body organ and why?

Check out “Hot Shot,” Mann's May Black Ops novel. He knew her when she was young. ‘nuff said.
Zack Knight visits along w/ his BFF, Eve, Monday for the "Under Fire" Drop Day Partay! Prizes!