Monday, September 14, 2009

"A Christmas Ball" GuestBlog: Holiday Hearthrobs

CONTEST TODAY!!!* 3 Winners!

From the Christmas Ball Authors: Buon Natale, Bellas!

Yes, we know we’re rushing the season a bit, but we can’t help it! "A Christmas Ball" is coming out in just a few days—September 29th ! Thanks for being the first stop on our 12 Days of “A Christmas Ball” Blog Tour.

What does every girl want for Christmas? Why, an Alpha all wrapped up in a bow, of course! And we’ve got 3 of them for you. They’re all totally drool-worthy and all totally different.

First, there’s USA Today’s Best Seller Jennifer Ashley’s hero, Valentin in "The Longest Night." Dark and dangerous, he has half the ladies of the ton speculating on what he looks like out of his clothes. But he’s even more menacing than he first appears. He’s a logosh—part demon, part animal—which means he sometimes presents himself as a Nvengarian ambassador’s aide and sometimes as a black wolf. How’d you like to see him gazing at you across a crowded ballroom with hunger in his eyes?

Next, there’s Emily Bryan’s Ian Michael MacGregor in "My Lady Belowstairs." Hard labor has turned Ian Michael into a sight to set feminine pulses fluttering. He’s quick-witted, self-taught and not above crashing a party to keep his lady love from making a mistake when she’s called upon to masquerade as her well-born half-sister. But will he give her up when he sees the life of luxury that could be hers without him?

And last but not least, we have Alissa Johnson’s William Renwick, Earl of Casslebury in "Traditions." If you’re one who likes the meticulous, buttoned-down type of hero you can’t wait to see come unbuttoned, you’ll love William. He’s a man with a plan. Want to be part of unraveling him?

*As long as we’re thinking about Christmas, how about making a list and checking it twice of things you like to see in your heroes? Share them with us today and three of you, randomly chosen, will win your choice from Jennifer Ashley’s, Emily Bryan’s or Alissa Johnson’s backlist. Grazie, Bellas!
Back to School Week 2: Scholars on Romance
is in session Sept 21 - 25 at RBTB!


Karen H said...

Hi Ladies,

I can't wait to get my hands on this book. The stories sound really yummy!

I like a hero to have a sense of humor. Even a dark & smoldering alpha type needs to be able to laugh a little.

Cheeky Girl said...

I love two types of heros - the complete opposite of each other!

The first - I want a tortured, scarred dark hero who doesn't think he deserves happiness.

The other - a fun-loving supposed rake with a heart of gold who has quiet passion underneath.

Penny Watson said...

Howdy! I am tickled that I already got a sneak peek at this wonderful book...what a nice early Christmas gift for me! I think all three of the heroes in A Christmas Ball are delicious! My favorite hero is totally single-minded...all he can think about is the woman he loves! I've been recommending your book on the romance boards for xmas of luck! :) And, Merry Christmas, of course!

Carol L. said...

I'm counting down to the 29th because all three of these heroes sound awesome. I like them dark, brooding, a sense of humor,compassionate,tall and broad and extremely passionate. :) Good luck ladies on this tour and much success is wished for you all.
Carol L.

Lexie said...

Ohhh I want my christmas NOW! :D

What do I look for in my hero? Intelligence, humor, and that he shares a passionate interest with whoever he loves.

Judy said...

I love Christmas time, no matter what month it is! All three of these stories and their heroes are fantastic!! I love the alpha male, but he has to have a little bit of decency toward his women. Tall, dark, and sexy!!!

Myrin said...

Wow, this sounds really good!

I'm a big fan of the virgin hero. I know there aren't so many of these out there but that makes them all the more special.

And honesty. I can't abide liars, neither in real life nor in fiction. Because honest people, you can trust. Dishonest ones ... not so much.

EmilyBryan said...

Karen H--I agree. I like it when the dark, angsty guy learns to take himself less seriously, too!

EmilyBryan said...

Cheeky--Those heroes sound great! Believe me, I'm taking notes today for the next story.

But I hope you'll find my Ian Michael a worthy alpha.

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks, Penelope!

Here's a link to her review of A CHRISTMAS BALL!

EmilyBryan said...

Carol--I like lots of different sorts of heroes but for me the constant they all need is single-minded devotion to the heroine. Thanks for stopping by!

EmilyBryan said...

Lexie--Sharing a passionate interest with the heroine is a good trait. It give you hope that the relationship will not only be passionate, but that it will last.

EmilyBryan said...

Judy--I agree. Alpha and "knuckle-dragger" don't have to be synonymous!

The Reading Frenzy said...

Good morning everyone and welcome you three, I have to admit that two of you I haven't read, but that will be remedied, but I do love Jennifer Ashley, I was introduced to her by her Immortals series with Robin and Joy and I loved them and then I really fell in love With Lord Ian Mackenzie.

Hmm what do I like to see in my heros, well for one thing vulnerability, then macho but sensitive (yeah right in real life right), and then I totally love it when love brings the big boys right to their knees.
And of course last but not least any hero starring in a Christmas tale, they are always full of magic and I just love, love at Christmastime.


EmilyBryan said...

LisaK--Virgin heroes are rare (probably why I wrote one in VEXING THE VISCOUNT!). Honesty is important too, but sometimes, characters behave in less than heroic ways. We'll accept it if there's a hidden heroic reason for the subtrefuge.

EmilyBryan said...

Good morning, Deb! I love Jennifer Ashley's work too. She's amazing.

Ah, yes, the "humbled by love" alpha. Don't we love to see them tortured by the heroine?

Tamsyn said...

Well, I love heroes who have a dark side to them. Tough, dangerous and an absolute alpha! :o)

Jane L said...

Good morning ladies! How exciting a new tour starting today! Yipee!!

I like my heros to be strong, alpha, almost cynical, but then have the ability to have some sensitivity. I like my stories to be more hero related, if that makes sense, or maybe I should say written more from the heros perspective. When I writeI tend to lean that way with my characters also.

I am so looking forward to reading your new project! Congrats to all of you!!

Julie Robinson said...

Hi Emily, Jennifer, and Alissa,

The blurbs for three stories have whetted my appetite for these delicious sounding heroes. I like a brooding hero with a dark past and a lust for vengeance, but who has a single minded passion for the heroine and a strong sense of honor, as well as witty dialogue with a dry sense of humor.

Thanks, Michelle, for having these ladies.

The (Mis)Adventures of a Single City Chick said...

Of course the Alpha male is top on my list, but I love a dangerous edge, mixed with a good sense of humor.

EmilyBryan said...

Tamsyn--The dark, troubled hero calls to the nurturer in us. We're just sure we can fix him. And we're sure he can take care of us as well!

EmilyBryan said...

Hi Jane L! Ah, you brought up the soft-furry underbelly we hope every big tough alpha secretly has--hidden sensitivity.

I know what you mean about hero's POV. I like knowing what's going on in the guy's head. And my DH is quick to point it out to me when I get it wrong. He reads my stuff and serves as my "guy-dar" (Kind of like radar, but this means he points out when I miss the mark in guy-speak and thought.)

cheryl c said...

I love Christmas stories, and I am ready to start reading them. Congrats on this new anthology. It sounds like such a FUN read!

I actually enjoy reading about all kinds of heroes. I mean, why limit myself, right? ;-)

EmilyBryan said...

Hi Julie! Sense of honor. You're the first to mention that, I think. I like it when a guy has his own code (which may or may not be the same as society at large!)

EmilyBryan said...

Hi Christina! (alisa Misadventures!) My New England critique partner favors beta men and she and I go around about it when we work together. I'm always trying to toughen her guys up and she's wanting to shave off the rough edges on mine.

In the end, we both stick to what we love.

EmilyBryan said...

Cheryl C--I so agree! Christmas is too grand to confine it to one season!

Portia Da Costa said...

Ooh, this book sounds gorgeous! With three very different but equally fascinating heroes. I love me some variety! :)

Seems odd to be thinking about Christmas in September, but in our supermarkets festive food and gifts have started to appear... so why not the Seasonal books too?

And anyway, even though I celebrate it quietly, I love Christmas!

Laney4 said...

Tough question. I guess my favourite heroes often start out rude, selfish, and/or rakish, but they eventually become gentle, loving, and possessive when they meet "the right woman".
I totally enjoy witticism and humour throughout a book. It isn't very often that I will outright laugh/chuckle while reading romances, but on those rare occasions when I do, I often set the book aside to read again later.
Honestly, though, I'll read ANY book with ANY hero in ANY setting. I used to read an entire book even if I didn't like how it was going -- after all, I had paid good money for that book! Nowadays, though, if I don't like the book, I skip a few pages, skip a few more, and finally just read the last 20 pages or so before chucking it. I won't pass it on to others. (I never recorded which books those were, but now that I "blog", I guess I'll have to record all that info since my memory won't help me!)

Maureen said...

I like a hero with a sense of humor who is tough, smart and willing to do anything for the heroine.

Booklover1335 said...

I am so excited about this anthology!

As far as my favorite types of heroes...I am completely with Cheeky Girl on this one.

*I like tortured heroes
*Bad boy rakes with a heart of gold
*but then there are also the quite heroes like Mr. Darcy he's alpha but in a more circumspect way.
*oh and then there are the heroes that are just plain good and you can't help but like them even though they aren't flawed, or bad boy

I guess you could say that pretty much as long as their alpha without being domineering then I am a sucker for them no matter what guise they take :)

scottsgal said...

I like a strong hero but one that has a soft side and isn't afraid to show it.

Can't wait to read these

msboatgal at

EmilyBryan said...

Portia--Yeah, I feel funny talking about Christmas in September, too, but when a book ventures forth into the world, I feel honor-bound to give it a bit of a send off!

EmilyBryan said...

Laney--I like humor in my stories as well. My DH, not so much. I'll be reading in bed and a chuckle/snort/smirk will escape. After one or two, he rolls over and says, "OK, now you have to either tell me what's so funny or turn off the light."

Did I neglect to mention he's an alpha?

EmilyBryan said...

Thanks, Maureen. I'm taking notes for the next book!

EmilyBryan said...

Booklover--Thanks for bringing up Mr. Darcy, the quiet alpha. If you like him, I think you'll love Alissa's William.

felinewyvern said...

I love my heroes to have a sense of humour, be loyal and have a morality I can agree with.

Oh and from my personal experience there is nothing wrong with Christmas in September. I usually have everything ready by then anyway (even have the meat cooked, sliced and in the freezer so as not to have to cook on the day).

EmilyBryan said...

Scotsgal--Balancing strength with sensitivity is a good trick. I'm always reminded of the line from ICE AGE--"All the sensitive ones get eaten!"

Becke Davis said...

Whew, this was an expensive post for me. I recently read The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie and LOVED it. I just went to all three of your websites, and found a lot more books I want to read.

So instead of just pre-ordering the anthology, I ended up placing an order for SEVEN books. Geesh, no wonder my TBR pile is so big. Well, you've made Barnes & Noble very happy and I have lots of good reading to look forward to!

EmilyBryan said...

Ilona--I can't believe you're all ready for Christmas already. Yikes! I'm usually still wrapping on the 24th.

EmilyBryan said...

Becke! You've made our collective days! Thanks so much for your support. Hope you love all your purchases.

housemouse88 said...

Hello Ladies,

I want my hero to put me first. He needs to have a sense of humor with an ability to put a smile on my face when I'm at my lowest. Yet, strong enough to actually sweep me off my feet. Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day.

chey said...

Great contest!
My favourite heroes have a sense of humor, compassion
and common sense.

Jennifer Ashley/ Allyson James / Ashley Gardner said...

Hey ladies! I wanted to drop by and say howdy, and that I'm reading all your responses with interest!

I JUST... NOW... finished Mac Mackenzie's novel (next oldest brother of Lord Ian). Mac is the wild rake type--lots of humor, charm, cockiness, wickedness, and yet he's generous and protective--and vulnerable. He was such a wonderful guy to write! I fell in love with him.

I admit it's a bit early for Christmas--it's still 100 degrees where I live! LOL But we all hope you enjoy an early present of Christmas Ball. Does it not have a gorgoeous cover? It's even more beautiful in "real life."

The Reading Frenzy said...

Oh Jennifer, I can't wait to read the next Mackenzie adventure.
And I can't wait to read Christmas Ball too.

Anne said...

Julie kinda said it all for me:

"I like a brooding hero with a dark past and a lust for vengeance, but who has a single minded passion for the heroine and a strong sense of honor, as well as witty dialogue with a dry sense of humor." Since this is fantasy, him being a nice piece of eye candy would be a definite plus!

Alissa Johnson said...

Hello Ladies!

Thanks so much for having us here today! And for sharing your ideal heroes. It seems we enjoy them in all their wonderful varieties. Like many of you, I have a soft spot for heroes with a sense of humor. Nothing melts my heart faster than a man who can make me laugh.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Buona sera, Bellas, and welcome Christmas Ball authors! OK, I just giggle every time I read or write that. It's very clever, so I don't know why, but I just do.

sorry I'm just checking in, but i got a last minute assignment, and am in the midst of it. Now I'm checking in to read.

It's so nice to see everyone here, some new friends and some folks stopping by whom it's always fun to see. :)

The Reading Frenzy said...

Michelle you are such a potty mind. lol

EmilyBryan said...

Chey--Common sense. Yeah, that can be sexy. I want my hero to be smart.

EmilyBryan said...

Anne--Eye candy is nice. I posted a pic of my inspiration for Ian Michael at Quite fine!

EmilyBryan said...

Hi Housemouse,
Glad to see you here today!
I agree with your hero trait. We all love to be put first.

EmilyBryan said...

Ok, just so Michelle doesn't feel lonely, will everyone who thought something naughty when they first read the title A CHRISTMAS BALL please raise their hands?

The Reading Frenzy said...

I have never had a naughty thought in my head and everyone here who knows me, knows thats true.


ok my nose is growing

Julie Robinson said...

Thanks, Anne. I did forget that little part. O should I say big part. My hand is raised, Emily.

And true, if the hero has a lust for vengeance with a dark past, then, yes, his sense of honor would be his own code of ethics. Thanks for clarifying that in my mind!!

Alissa Johnson said...

Well, I didn't think anything naughty the first time we talked about the title, but I certainly will now!

Ilona--Ready for Christmas so early! I'm not sure if I feel impressed or just lazy. What would it take to get you to handle Christmas arrangements for my house?

Becke--Thank you! Thank you! I hope you enjoy them all!

Michelle--This is a wonderful blog. Thanks for hosting us!

Jane said...

Welcome ladies,
I also love alpha heroes, but a sense of humor is a must, too. I'm also a sucker for tortured heroes because we feel we can be the ones to save them.

Anonymous said...

I want a strong tortured hero that can be serious and funny at the same time.
Can't wait to read your new book.

Alissa Johnson said...

Oh, the tortured and serious hero with a surprise sense of humor is irresistible. So is his counterpart--the fun and easygoing guy with hidden wounds. Yum to both.

EmilyBryan said...

Jane& Kimmyl--An alpha who can laugh and a candidate for reform. Got it!

Hi Alissa! Glad to see you here. Can you tell us more about your William?

Jenn--So glad to hear you finished your MacKenzie book. Now just a novella and a galley to work through, huh? You have an amazing output!

Michelle--You know I love RBTB, but I also really enjoy your B&N blog. You're always so inventive.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Jane L writes: . I like my stories to be more hero related, if that makes sense, or maybe I should say written more from the heros perspective.

You know, Jane, my friends keep trying to convince me there are these thngs, oh, what aer theycalled, em, heroines?, in romance books. I think it's all urban legend. I mean, it's all about the heroes, right?

Alissa Johnson said...

Hi Emily!

I think “Buttoned-down” describes William perfectly. Responsible and organized to a fault, he has a detailed, step-by-step plan for courting the woman he desires for his countess. Naturally, he’ll have to learn to loosen up a bit if he expects the lady to want him back.

I loved developing the contrast between William’s sober nature and his unexpected moments of humor.

What about you, was there a particular aspect of Ian Michael you really enjoyed exploring?

Should we place bets on how long it will take for someone to turn that question into something naughty? : )

mrsshukra said...

I like a hero who treats his heroine like a queen.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

I'm kinda w/Laney: I guess my favourite heroes often start out rude, selfish, and/or rakish,

and I like it when they're not completely reformed in the end, also. I do like them to have learned all the manners they need by the end, however. They can start out nice and bastardly and end up still a little rough around the edges, but they can't continue to be rude to the heroine. It only 'hurts so good' in the beginning when it shows how far he's got to fall.

As portia says, waheyyyy, Jennifer! Can't wait for more mackenzie!

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Oh, Alyssa, I do so love a hero who needs to have his, em, composure,uh, ruffled! Welcome to RBTB!

Mary said...

Hello everyone. All three of these books sound simply wonderful and I cannot wait to get my hands on them :).

My favorite type of heroes are:

1. I really like it when the hero is moody and very straight laced. It is always refreshing to see a fiery heroine bring a little spice into the hero's life.

2. I agree with CheekyGirl :). I also like a darker hero who may feel he doesn't deserve happiness. It adds more depth to the story and it is always wonderful when the heroince brings light into their dark life.

3. I also really appreciate the rakes. They are so full of life and are maybe a dash too carefree. I always enjoy seeing how they finally realize that it only takes one woman to truly make them happy.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

mary, i love this:
1. I really like it when the hero is moody and very straight laced. It is always refreshing to see a fiery heroine bring a little spice into the hero's life.
Cause he so hates that he wants her so much. delicious. :)

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Thanks, Emily, for at least trying to find one other person who found the title reminded them of that old rock fund raiser, The Secret Policeman's Ball. I know I'm pathetic. But I also giggle because Christmas Ball also just reminds me of Christmas balls, the ornaments, which is why I posted the pretty pic of one.

No, really. oh, just stop it; it is too the truth!

Chelsea B. said...

I look for different things in my heros! And I've actually never come across one in a book I didn't like! Says something about all the great authors out there :)

EmilyBryan said...

Alissa--The thing that I love about Ian Michael is that he really loves Jane. He wants her happiness more than he wants his own. But he's not the sort to give her up without a fight.

EmilyBryan said...

Etirv--ditto! I'm all in favor of the royal treatment.

Michelle--You hit it! We don't want to reform the alpha out of the guy. If you do that, you're left with a beta.

Mary--I like rakes too, but the reason they hide their hearts in mindless shallow relationships is what interests me.

EmilyBryan said...

Michelle--Oh, I wasn't thinking of THE SECRET POLICEMAN'S BALL. I was thinking more along the lines of "Good golly, miss molly!"

EmilyBryan said...

Chelsea, bless your heart!

Alissa Johnson said...

Michelle—Thank you for the warm welcome! I've had a great time!

Emily—That certainly sums up Ian Michael, and boy do I love him for it.

Chelsea B.--I’ll second Emily—Bless you. : )

Mari said...

I like unscrupulous rogues who are transformed by the women they reluctantly fall in love with.

runningmatey at hotmail dot com

Pam P said...

Can't wait to attend this Ball, ladies!

I like all kinds of heros, from the tortured types to the nerdy, cute guy. Whichever, I like them smart in some way, some kind of humor, even if subtle or dry, and no matter how bad, some code of honor. Love seeing that bad boy who thinks he needs no one take the fall and have to learn how to deal with it.

Patricia Barraclough said...

This book certainly has a hero for everyone. They actually have three of my favorite types. Good planning, Ladies. I like my heroes determined, caring, honest, and it doesn't hurt if he looks great. All three heroes seem to fit the bill in very different ways.

Asylumgirl said...

A man with emotional scars is always a clencher for me.

deidre_durance at hotmail dot com

Stacey Smith said...

Congrats on Your Book.I like a Dark,Brooding,Sey Male Whit a sense of Humor that is very Passionate and has a Deep sense of Honor.

Jennifer Ashley/ Allyson James / Ashley Gardner said...

Wow, look at all these comments! Thanks for having us on your blog, Michelle. I always enjoy it over here. :-)

Unknown said...

I love all heros in their own special way and I can't say I have a favorite. There is nothing better then a flawed hero.


Anonymous said...

I love a hero that has a sense of humor. He should be loyal to family and friends. And of course lots of passion for his lady love. :D

I can't wait to read this one. I love holiday stories.

Mitzi H. said...

I like different types of heros.

I think my favorite is the strong take charge kind of guy.

I love a hero that likes to talk to his woman while he makes love to her (describes what he wants to do, etc.)

I also love a hero with a good sense of humor and likes to spare with the heroine.

My least favorite is the tortured guy that has lots of emotional problems to overcome.

mitzihinkey at sbcglobal dot net

Great contest, Thanks!!!

lindseye said...

Love a hero who is strong but know when to back down. I want him to push the heroine not mow her over and not let her get an opinion in. Then smart, well-read and likes the Sunday funnies.

maered said...

I love the tortured hero - as long as he's angsty about something legitimate.

And I also love the hero with a sense of humour. Who makes the heroine and reader laugh.

Laurie G said...

tall, dark and handsome
humor is a plus, considerate
reformable, lovable

Anna Carrasco Bowling said...

There is no such thing as too early for Christmas, and a good Christmas anthology is a must to make the season complete.

For heroes, give me a complicated man with a strong sense of honor and some conflict that leaves him between a rock and a hard place, and I am there. A hero who can put the heroine's needs above his own, well, swoon.

Though I must also the happy dance I do whenever I see Hugh Grant in a romantic lead. Something about that British reserve gets me every time.

EmilyBryan said...

Wow, Michelle! We got tons of comments after I went to bed last night here on the east coast! And it's time to name some winners!

Tamsyn--You've won your choice from Jennifer Ashley's Backlist.

Debbie Haupt--You've won your choice from Emily Bryan.

Virginia--You'll receive one of Alissa Johnson's titles.

Thanks to Michelle for kicking off our blog tour so beautifully. Thanks to everyone who shared what they love in a hero. If you didn't win today, the tour goes on. Please join us at Love is and Exploding Cigar today and check my blog so follow along on the coming days leading up to our release on Sept. 29th!

The Reading Frenzy said...

Wow Emily Thank you so much. I'm honored to be a winner for one of your books.
Just let me know how to let you know the particulars and I'll tell you which book I would like.
And I can't wait to read Christmas Ball (giggle)

Thank you, thank you, thank you ;-)

Pat L. said...

Alpha with a good sense of humor.

susan said...

What do I want to see in my alpha..good sense of humor, adventure, daring to be with, just a wee bit of mystery and of course a nice body and great looks. A man who appreciates, soft music, low lighting and loves to cuddle..for starters. ha ha