So this weekend, we’re having a CP summit in Vegas, baby! Woot!

And as part of the festivities, we’re going to see Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian. I have never seen Phantom, so I’m psyched. But I know it means I’ll be singing it for weeks and weeks to come. Showtunes are mental peanut butter, aren’t they? They just stick in there forever. I saw Les Mis for the first time when I was in high school, and I think I still know good parts of that musical by heart. If anyone’s interested, we can have a sing-off in SF:

Before I became bizarrely shy, I used to sing in front of people, back in the day. (By this, I mean in high school concerts and church choirs and stuff – nothing actually good or impressive.) Now I just sing around my house, and in the shower – but it’s still those same songs. My go-to showtune is the song “Sailor of My Dreams” from the little-known and less-performed screwball musical Dames at Sea. I was in a civic theater production of it in high school (although I did not have this, or any, solo). It’s the dippiest song ever, but it is in my brain like peanut butter:

Side note: How fun is You Tube?

So, fess up. What do you sing in the shower? Which songs are permanently embedded in your gray matter?
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Was it really less than a year ago we were still hearing “Historicals are dead”? On this week’s New York Times bestseller list, 4 of the top 20 mass market paperbacks in the country are historical romances. (And 2 of those 4 are Ballantine releases – woot!) A few weeks ago, Victoria Alexander’s The Perfect Wife was number one on that list.

It’s a good time for historicals. Any theories why? (Despite, of course, the general awesomeness of the subgenre.) I’m guessing the recent success of books and films like The Other Boleyn Girl and the Jane Austen marathon on Masterpiece Theatre are part of the reason. Period romance is doing well, in all media. I only hope the trend doesn’t fade before mid 2009!

But speaking of future historical romance authors who’ll help keep it healthy–

Some squeeing is overdue.

First, for Courtney Milan, who is now not only a Golden Heart finalist, but a double finalist in the Chicago North RWA Fire & Ice Contest! Yep, she is 2 of the 3 finalists. Her odds look good. 🙂

And second, for Jackie Barbosa, (and former fanlitter Guavaln) who has some very, very exciting news today on the Manuscript Mavens blog!

SQUEEEEEE!… Read More »

Yikes. This has been a crazy-busy week. At the end of which, I have accomplished…nothing that can be quantified. Virtually zero forward progress on ALOP, and my taxes still aren’t even started. Ack. Ack. Ack.

But I feel a lot better than I did last Tuesday, which is good. Some weeks give us progress that isn’t precisely measurable, but important nonetheless.

And I found some time in there to watch a little basketball.

I just love the NCAA tournament. I’m from Indiana, and so a certain amount of basketball appreciation is required. But the reason I love March Madness is less about the basketball, and more about watching a bunch of men–players, coaches, fans–publicly display a whole range of emotion: courage, determination, exuberance, loyalty, heartbreak. It’s just riveting.

There’s no tomorrow in a single-elimination tournament; it’s win or go home. And for a lot of these guys, this is the end of their basketball career. As the final buzzer nears, it’s like the world is on the line in every shot. It’s all about those last-second miracles, like Mario Chalmers’ shot to tie the championship game for Kansas.

But mostly, I’ll admit it–I watch to see the guys cry when they lose. There are so few events at which it’s socially acceptable for a big, strong guy to just break down and cry. Sweating your heart out in the NCAA tournament only to lose at the last second is one of them, I guess.

Is there a topic here? Hmmm…… Read More »

April Fool’s.
Well, I am giving up blogging for the day.

Thank you so much to everyone who clicked over to Romance Bandits to say hi yesterday – it was so great to have so many friends in one “place”, and the Banditas were wonderful hostesses. I’ve been really bad lately about making rounds to all of your blogs. So today I decided to just concentrate on getting around to as many friends’ blogs as I can. It may take me a few days, but I’ll do it!

I’m even disabling comments on this post, so I won’t come back and recheck it.

Thanks again everybody, you’re the best!… Read More »

With the Banditas!

I’m being interviewed by Anna Campbell today over at Romance Bandits. Drop in for the chance to win some Amazon bucks!… Read More »

Latebreaking news –
Please join the SQUEE chorus for the following FanLit alums who are Golden Heart finalists!

Courtney Milan (Historical, Breath of Honor)
Pamela Bolton-Holifield (Regency Historical, Lost in Love)
Darcy Burke (Regency Historical, Glorious)
Liese Sherwood-Fabre (Strong Romantic Elements, Heads Up, St. Anthony)

And the following FanLit pubbed author participants who are RITA finalists:
Anna Campbell (a double final!! in Regency Historical for Untouched and Claiming the Courtesan)
Laura Lee Gurhke (Historical, And Then He Kissed Her)
Toni Blake (Single Title, Tempt Me Tonight)
Julia Quinn (Regency Historical, The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever)
Shana Galen (Historical, Blackthorne’s Bride)

I hope those lists keep growing!
And congratulations to everyone who entered this year – being eligible to enter the GH is an accomplishment in and of itself.
San Francisco is going to be awesome!

So last weekend, I came down with a nasty migraine. Once some meds had started to kick in, and the pain dulled to the point where I could better tolerate the flickering light of the TV than I could cope with my own boredom, I flipped channels and found The Sound of Music playing on cable. Ah, what better to soothe an aching cranium than the sweet voices of the Von Trapp children?

But something strange happened as I watched the movie for the umpteenth time since my own childhood – for the very first time, I found myself sympathizing with the Baroness. I … Read More »

Pop quiz: What do these things have in common?

Latin conjugations
Cranial Nerves
Millipedes and other creepy-crawlies
Snow and other things that are cold
Multiples of seven

No, they’re not the categories on Jeopardy tonight. They’re all mental cold showers – the topics that heroes in either my or my CPs’ books think about when they’re trying not to think about ravishing the heroine.

Now, I love to write and read these little bits, where the hero is heroically reining in his desire by reciting the Gettysburg Address backwards or whatnot…they’re actually great ways to work in characterization and backstory. But I’m wondering, do guys really do this stuff in real life? Do girls? How do your favorite heroes (in RL, your own books, or others’) divert their attention?… Read More »

Here’s another Tuesday topic Vagabond Lindsey suggested a while back.

In my second book, Surrender of a Siren, there’s a scene where the hero, Gray, fesses up to a slew of misdeeds in an effort to discourage imprudent affection on the heroine’s part. You know, he’s your typical bad-boy hero–plenty of pleasure-seeking and profit-seeking in his past. So part of this confession involves his sexual history. Which is considerable.

When I originally wrote the scene, I had him estimate the number of his lovers. I wanted it to be a reasonably shocking number, because his entire purpose in saying it was to shock the heroine. He’s not bragging, he’s not proud of it. He’s rather squicked by his own pattern of behavior.

However, my CPs, in their infinite wisdom, counseled against actual quantification. We argued it back and forth, but I eventually came around to their side. They thought a number might be too effective in squicking not only the heroine, but the readers, and they wouldn’t be able to get past it and fall in love with the hero. So I revised the scene to make it more vague, along the lines of “a lot”. (BTW, when I read this chapter on Ervin’s blog, it seemed to confirm that I’d made the right call.)

But then I keep thinking of that scene in Four Weddings and a Funeral, where Andie MacDowell’s character rattles off the details of all her thirty-some lovers over lunch with Hugh Grant. The … Read More »

Last night, Mr. Dare and I (and like a billion other screaming people) rocked out with the Foo-Fighters at The Forum, and it was amazing. So today, I’m all about the rockstars. Here’s a little Friday footage for your viewing pleasure. (I like to do these fangirl photo spreads in black-and-white, ’cause it all feels a bit classier and less adolescent that way. Yeah, that’s what I tell myself.)

Here we have the one-man foo-fighting force that is Dave Grohl. (I think he wore that shirt last night!)

And here, a new addition to my crush collection – the Florida punk power of Against Me! (They played the first set last night and were flippin’ awesome.)

My current pretty-boy altrock obsession would be Brandon Boyd of Incubus. (And he’s really not that much younger than me, I swear!)

But before all these, there was Bruce. I sigh for Bruce. He’s still the hottest of them all.

I’ve heard that you can’t sell a contemporary romance with a rockstar hero? Why the heck not? Are there any out there anyhow?
Who’s your rockstar crush, past or present?
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Toby, the hero of my current book (oh, and right now I think I’m leaning toward A Lady of Persuasion as a working title, in case you’re wondering) has something most romance heroes don’t – a mother. And she’s a mother who isn’t vindictive, backstabbing, jealous, drug-addicted, murderous, manipulative or otherwise evil… she’s just a very strong, intelligent woman who cares deeply for all her children, and she and Toby have a very close, affectionate relationship.

So be honest – is this an automatic turn-off?

I mean, there are reasons I need my hero to have this relationship, both for his characterization and plot. And he’s not overly dependent on her–she doesn’t meddle in his romantic attachments or ever come between him and the heroine. I want to make sure I walk the line without crossing it, though. So I’m trying to think of other romances where the heroes have strong-yet-affectionate mothers who actually play a role in their lives…and I’m coming up kinda empty. There are the Bridgertons, of course. And the Carsingtons have both parents living, right? Any others?

And what do you prefer? Do you love a RL guy who’s close to his mom, or does it make you suspicious he’ll always put you second? Any particular incidents that crossed the line from Responsible Son territory to Relationship Reject? I’m looking back on my own relationships, and I’m realizing all my bf’s have always been pretty close to their moms…interesting.Read More »