Free Digital Romance Festival

This weekend HarperCollins will be running their first ever digital Romance Festival, in conjunction with some of the world’s best known publishers of romance, to bring you two days of discussions, tips and giveaways for writers of romance and fans – all focused around some of our best loved women’s fiction authors!

The line-up has now been announced on the festival blog here, authors include J. Lynn/Jennifer L. Armentrout, Lori Wilde, Eloisa James, Jay Crownover, Kerrelyn Sparks, Molly McAdams, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips,among many others, but for full timings and schedules of discussions, please register for free at the link below:

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Bella Andre | Cover Choice — Sexy Chest or Attractive Couple?

Bella AndreEarlier this week, I asked the following question on twitter/facebook: What catches your eye more on a cover of a sexy contemporary romance – a hot guy or a couple (man/woman)?

I’ll use two of my books, TAKE ME and LOVE ME, as examples. TAKE ME, which was released as a trade paperback five years ago, has a couple on the cover. Do they look like the characters in my head when I was writing the book? Sort of. The hero, Travis, definitely looks like the model in the picture. Big, hunky, gorgeous. But the heroine? Well, considering TAKE ME is a book about a full-figured woman who finally finds her HEA with the man she’s been in unrequited love with her entire life, then, no. I’m afraid she doesn’t really look like the version of Lily that I have in my head. To me, Lily is smaller, curvier, softer. That being said, the art department at Pocket did go back to the drawing board several times with this cover (probably because I freaked out when I saw the initial cover and she looked like a size 2. Barely.) and ended up with this model on the cover. She isn’t exactly full-figured, but she isn’t tiny either.

With my newest trade ppk/ebook release, LOVE ME (the sequel to TAKE ME), I was hoping to go in a different direction. For five years, readers have been asking me for the TAKE ME sequel. And for five years, I’ve been walking around with Luke and Janica (Travis and Lily’s brother and sister) in my head. Which means I know what they look like, probably better than most of my other characters. It was very important to me that the cover of LOVE ME reflect that. Do I think Luke Carson looks like the guy on the LOVE ME cover? Heck yeah! In my head, that picture was taken right after a game of pick-up basketball with his brother, Travis. :)

In any case, when I posted my question about covers earlier this week, I was hoping readers would chime in with their thoughts. I wasn’t dissapointed. Based on my informal poll, couple covers won 2 to 1 over solo hot guy covers. Even more interesting, was the fact that people kept saying the same thing: They want the people on the cover to match the descriptions inside the book. I couldn’t agree more. I’m constantly referencing the cover as a read a book, even thought I know what ends up on the cover is frequently completely out of the author’s hands.


I’d really love to hear from you now! Are you more likely to pick up a book with a sexy couple on it? Or do you gravitate to the hunky guy covers? Also, does it matter if it’s an ebook vs. a paperback. Are you drawn to different kind of covers depending on format?

Please let me know your thoughts. I’ll be giving away a copy of one of my earlier books – TEMPT ME, TASTE ME, TOUCH ME – to someone who comments.

Thanks so much,

Bella Andre has always been a writer. Songs came first, and then non-fiction books, but as soon as she started her first romance novel, she knew she’d found her perfect career. Since selling her first book in 2003, she’s written thirteen “sensual, empowered stories enveloped in heady romance” (Publisher’s Weekly) about sizzling alpha heroes and the strong women they’ll love forever for Simon & Schuster, Random House, and Hachette Books. Her books have been COSMOPOLITAN Red Hot Reads twice (GAME FOR ANYTHING and WILD HEAT). Her books have been translated into German, Thai, Japanese and Ukrainian. If not behind her computer, you can find her reading, hiking, knitting, or lunching with her favorite romance writing ladies. Her latest release is LOVE ME, the long-awaited sequel to TAKE ME.

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Summer Blockbusters…Books, Films and more in July

candace havensWhat are you guys thinking about the new season of “True Blood?” I like that executive producer and creator Alan Ball takes liberties with the story. And what did you think of “Eclipse?” I’m a fan of the film franchise and the series of books. I feel like director David Slade did a great job with pacing in the film. There’s angsty romance, but it’s mixed with some stellar action. He took the best elements of the books made some twists here and there, and created what may be my favorite of three films. In fact, I liked the film better than the book.

There are several other books made into films this summer including BEEZUS AND RAMONA BEASTLY, EAT, PRAY, LOVE, SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD and “The Switch”. It’s always interesting to see how the adaptations work. Out of all the films coming out this summer, I’m most looking forward to “Eat, Pray, Love.” I really hope they don’t screw it up.

0425233138One series I wish they would turn into movies or a television show is Annette Blair’s Vintage Magic. The third installment is DEATH BY DIAMONDS. “I was having a discussion about my second mystery with my Berkley editor,” Blair says. “I had finished the book, but we couldn’t settle on a title we both liked. Finally, she came back from speaking to the publisher and gave me two choices. ‘It’s either LARCENY AND LACE or DEATH BY DIAMONDS,’ she said, and flash! I chose Larceny and Lace for book two, because having heard the words, Death by Diamonds, I had a plot for book three. It was as simple as that. I reserved the title because it told me who the third mystery would be about, how the victim would die, and why. I wish all plots came that easily.

I asked Blair to give us some more details about the series and new books.

Q. Is it true that there is a certain kiss in DEATH BY DIAMONDS that became secondary to the search for Dom’s killer, to everyone except perhaps the man Madeira kissed?

A. There is, and while Madeira has some explaining to do, she turned her mind to solving the mystery of how Dominique DeLong Broadway Star, one of her dearest friends, was murdered on stage, in front of hundreds of people, during the final act of the final performance of Diamond Sands.

Q. Where does the book take place?

A. It takes place both in Mystic Connecticut and in New York City, on and off Broadway.

Q. What did Dominique DeLong call her ‘hangers on,’ a group of people who sucked her dry in every way possible, and lined up for more, like every dime they could get, at the reading of her will?

A: Those would be The Parasites, her ex husband, her catty best friend, her understudy, her sponsor, leading man, hairdresser, and makeup artist. They’re a good-sized group of leeches.

Q. Is it true that you were recently interviewed in Mystic, Connecticut by the official student documentarians for the Library of Congress because you set your Vintage Magic Mystery Series there?

A. Absolutely. We met at Mystic Pizza, across from Madeira Cutler’s vintage dress shop, for an interview that will be aired on public television in the coming months on a date to be announced. It was an exciting adventure for me.

There is a great deal in the mailbag this week, so let’s get to it:

0373176694Next time Susan Meier has to work on a book, I’m inviting her to my house. “I actually scrubbed (or housecleaned) most mornings before I began working on the two books ‘MAID FOR THE MILLIONAIRE and MAID FOR THE SINGLE DAD, says Meier. “I wanted to be able to freshly smell the scents of cleaners and soaps and feel what a maid would feel. Sounds silly, but there’s nothing like bringing reality into a story!”

1420111744Jodi Thomas, Linda Broday, DeWanna Pace and Phyliss Miranda have a new anthology out, GIVE ME A TEXAS RANGER. Who could resist a title like that? I began work on ‘One Woman, One Ranger’ with a duel purpose,” says Miranda. “I didn’t want to write just a romance with a Texas Ranger hero, but about one who found love. I wanted my story to reflect the ideals that brought peace to the untamed frontier; the strengths and traditions that made the famous, respected organization the lawmen they are today.”

“When we decided to write an anthology featuring Texas Ranger heroes,” adds Linda Broday, “I knew my character Ranger Stoney Burke needed a big challenge. So I put a woman in his life that would really get under his tough skin in a huge way. I had so much fun making him squirm.”

Bella Andre has a new one out called LOVE ME. “Five years ago, TAKE ME, my first full-length novel was published,” says Andre. “As Lily and Travis fell in love in, Lily’s sister, Janica, and Travis’s twin brother, Luke, met a couple of times over the course of the story to do some strategizing regarding their siblings relationship. There were, as you might imagine, pretty big sparks between Luke and Janica. Not only have I’ve wanted to write Luke and Janica’s story for five years, but readers have been emailing me about it for five years, asking when it was finally going to be out. Honestly, I enjoyed writing this story so much – especially after thinking about these characters for so long – that I almost didn’t want to have to finally write ‘the end.’”

Other books to check out in July include Gena Showalter’s THE DARKEST LIE, Juniper Bell’s My Three Lords, Lex Valentine’s TALES OF THE DARKWORLD, and Yasmine Galenorn’s NIGHT MYST.

Until next month…

Candace Havens is a columnist for FYI Television, an online news and media service, where she writes five weekly columns for an overall audience of 44 million readers. She is also an entertainment reporter for 96.3 KSCS in Fort Worth. She lives in Fort Worth, Texas. She is the author of the Charmed & Dangerous series including CHARMED & READY, CHARMED & DANGEROUS, CHARMED & DEADLY, and LIKE A CHARM as well as the Caruthers sisters: DRAGONS PREFER BLONDES and THE DEMON KING AND I. Her latest book, TAKE ME IF YOU DARE is in stores in February 2010.


You can visit Candy daily at her blog or her website

Fresh Pick | WILD HEAT by Bella Andre

Wild Heat

Hot Shots: Men on Fire #1
May 2009
On Sale: April 28, 2009
Featuring: Maya Jackson; Logan Cain
352 pages
ISBN: 0440245001
EAN: 9780440245001
Mass Market Paperback

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Romance Suspense, Romance Erotica Sensual
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Bella AndreWild Heat
by Bella Andre

Addicted to risk-and to each other. Danger doesn’t get any hotter than this.

He’s a hotshot firefighter addicted to risk.
She’s the sultry beauty he never saw coming.

Maya Jackson doesn’t sleep with strangers. Until the night grief sent her to the nearest bar and into the arms of the most explosive lover she’s ever had. Six months later, the dedicated arson investigator is coming face-to-face with him again. Gorgeous, grinning Logan Cain. Her biggest mistake. Now her number one suspect in a string of deadly wildfires.

Risking his life on a daily basis is what gets Logan up in the morning. As the leader of the elite Tahoe Pines Hotshot Crew, he won’t back down from a blaze—or from beautiful, lethal Maya Jackson. She may have seduced him with her tears and her passion, but it’ll be a cold day in hell before Logan lets down his guard again. But when Maya’s life is threatened, his natural-born-hero instincts kick in, and Logan vows to protect the woman sworn to bring him down. And as desire reignites, nothing—not the killer fire nor the killer hot on their trail—can douse the flames.…

Explosive, sizzling start to a great new series about hot and sexy firefighters.

Previous Picks

Bella Andre | The one where she becomes a romance writer….

My mother and I don’t always see eye to eye, but the one thing we always have agreed on are romance novels. We absolutely love them. One of my main memories as a child was going to the library with my mother every Sunday, where she’d exchange her stack of hardcover romances for a new stack of books. As soon as I was old enough to have run through the Judy Blume books, I made my way over to romances. And was hooked. Little did I know that I would be writing them one day. (And that my mother would be reading them. But that’s another article, entirely!)

Like many writers, I took the long way around to becoming an erotic romance author. I graduated from Stanford with an Economics degree in 1994, but really, I knew I was never going to become a management consultant. No, I wanted to be a rock star. So I recorded 4 CDs, played 1,000+ shows throughout North America, had a turn at being a star in Brazil, and then said, “Okay, what’s next?” Somewhere along the way when my bank account was looking worse for the wear, I worked as a Director of Marketing for a dot com. No, I didn’t get rich, but I did decide that come hell or high water I was going to make a living with creative pursuits. So I wrote two books on the music business, sold them, joined a local writer’s group and uttered the words, “I could never write fiction. I can’t believe that characters just start having a conversation in people’s heads. How weird.”

Click here to leave a read the rest of Bella’s blog, leave a comment and enter her blog contest.

Bella Andre | The Idea Bank

Have you ever read a really great book and asked yourself, “How’d she come up with that fantastic idea?” I know I have. Which is why I thought it’d be fun to ask myself the same question. Here goes:

TAKE ME (in which a full-figured heroine gets the guy in Italy): I had a dream about a woman who had lusted after a guy her whole life, but he’d never noticed her. And then one day, the tables turned completely, and he had to chase her. Once he caught her, while in a very passionate embrace, he said, “You’re mine, all mine.” MINE, ALL MINE was the working title of the book – and the title I sold with. The dream gave me the theme. From there I had to figure out characters and plot.

TEMPT ME, TASTE ME, TOUCH ME (three women on a road trip to the Wine Country find love with three local men): I had just finished watching the move “Sideways” with my husband when I turned to him and said, “Wouldn’t it be interesting to flip that movie on its ear and make it a girl’s road trip through the wine country instead?”

RED HOT REUNION (old flames reconnect at their ten year college reunion): I had just gotten the invite to my ten year college reunion. 😉 And I thought, what if two young lovers who parted badly met again where they originally fell in love? Especially if the heroine is desperate to escape her life.

GAME FOR ANYTHING (first Bad Boys of Football book): Swear to god this one came to me in the shower! I suddenly thought, what if an image consultant is brought in to clean up a star quarterback’s act – but it turns out they have a secret past?

GAME FOR SEDUCTION (second Bad Boys of Football book): The hero of Game For Anything is quick with the lines, almost flashy. I knew the hero of this book would be his opposite – tall, dark, and handsome, of course, but a man of fewer words. Silent and steady. But who to match him with? And what kind of situation could I put him in that would be both fun and sexy? My sister-in-law, Kathy, came through for me one day when she said “Older hero, younger heroine? What about a Bull Durham story with a love triangle?” Once she said that, the story started to flow like crazy.

WILD HEAT (first book in my Hotshots: Men of Fire romantic suspense series, coming May 2009): My agent and I spend a lot of time on the phone chatting about ideas. For years she’s been saying, “What about firefighters?” I started researching different kinds of firefighters and once I found out about Hotshots – elite wildland firefighters who fight the fires everyone else runs from – I knew I had to write about them. They thrive on a adrenaline! They’re bound by the brotherhood. As far as I’m concerned, they’re the SEALS of firefighting. From there, it wasn’t difficult to find the right story about an arson investigator and the lead Hotshot, who also happens to be her primary suspect for a wildfire raging through Lake Tahoe.

EXTREME HEAT (2nd book in the Hotshots series, coming late 2009): I’m writing this one right now. It’s got a lot of Man vs. Wild elements.

Some ideas certainly come faster than others. The dream that turned into TAKE ME, for example, was a much-appreciated gift. Where and how do you get your best ideas?

Please drop by my website and blog at! And be sure to sign up for my contest (I’m giving away a beautiful necklace and earring set) before the end of the month.

😉 Bella Andre

GAME FOR ANYTHING ~ Cosmo’s Red Hot Read!