by Caren Crane
While at the RWA national conference in San Francisco last week, I kept my eyes and ears wide open. Not only are there romance writing stars aplenty at conference, there is also plenty of goss to be heard (that's "gossip" for us Americans). Then again, sometimes you overhear good friends indulging in a treacly love-fest, completely adoring each other's work. I overheard one such conversation last week between Harlequin Presents authors Jennie Lucas and Trish Morey.
Lean in close and let me play the tape I conveniently made of their conversation:
JENNIE: Trish, you were a pal and fave author long before you became a mentor. It's because of you that I got my first sale to my dream line, Harlequin Presents. You wouldn't let me quit writing that book, no matter how much I whined, "But I'm wasting my time, they won't buy another American author!" I've never been so happy to be wrong! I can't thank you enough!
TRISH: Well you sent a big basket of flowers to me in Australia when you got the Call, that was a nice start! The bouquet was even bigger than the one in the bike basket on your website! Seriously though, Jennie, I always thought you'd make it. And now look where we are - from Golden Heart finalists in 2003 to Presents shelfmates this month. Awesome!
JENNIE: I know, I can hardly believe it! Your books rock, Trish. I can't wait to read The Italian Boss's Mistress of Revenge. And not only are we shelfmates, but our stories both feature Italian heroes!
TRISH: Well, Jennie, there's probably a reason for that, and here's one of them... It's such a chore writing about Italian heroes when they look like this guy, when they're not doing the Presents scowl of course. So tell me about your Caretti's Forced Bride. I heard it was about a secret child. Maybe a little too secret? There's no mention of that anywhere on the cover.
JENNIE: The most beautiful princess in the world secretly had a baby at eighteen, the result of an affair with a poor Italian-American mechanic. To hide the scandal, her beloved elder brother passed off the child as his own. Ten years later, Isabelle desperately needs help and turns to that mechanic, now a self-made billionaire. Paolo agrees to help - but only if she'll be his one-night mistress. She accepts because she's never stopped loving him, but she's terrified. If he learns the truth, her "nephew" - who's now king of the Mediterranean country - could lose everything.
TRISH: That sounds amazing, I can't wait to read it. And you're probably not going to believe this, because the title doesn't give it away, but my story also features a baby, or at least a pregnancy, something that nicely complicates the bargain Dante Carrazzo has made to get hotel manager Mackenzi Keogh into his bed. A baby is something neither of them bargained on.
JENNIE: Babies, babies! What is it about these Italian men, do you think, that they're all so amazingly virile?
TRISH: LOL. Well, it's certainly got to be something good that makes people forget about protection, or renders it useless.
TRISH: Mind you, with the likes of men like this, I suspect I might not only forget about protection. I might just forget to breathe...
JENNIE: Phwoar. I take your point. Although I’m a married woman so looking at that photo is making me blush — I’m covering my eyes. (I swear!)
TRISH: Yeah. I’m covering my eyes too. *grin*
JENNIE: Ahem. (*still blushing*) I was just in Italy in May, attending a creative writing course with Sharon Kendrick. It was my first trip there and there really is something about those Mediterranean men. Even the waiters were incredible.
TRISH: I'm green with envy! Although I will be in Italy myself in just two short months.
JENNIE: Oooh, lucky girl! I only had one day to be look around Tuscany, as I was mostly hard at work on the writing course. Next time I just want to be a tourist!
TRISH: It's been years since we were last there and we're looking forward to taking the tinlids back and renewing our Italian love affair with the country. Here's a very ancient pic of me and a couple of the girls at Pisa, and to illustrate how ancient it is - or how short I am - all my kids are now taller than me, not just the one in my hubbies backpack while he took the pic but even the one that wasn't yet born. No wonder I write short contemporary. :-)
JENNIE: LOL. And I thought you were only in it for the men!
TRISH: It's research, Jennie, research. Here's another I think you might like. I slaved hours over a hot google looking for this one...
And this guy is so versatile. Not only does he look good dressed but he looks equally good undressed...
Now that's what I call versatile. :-)
JENNIE: Looks like he's hero material to me! But the beauty of our job is that we don't just have to limit ourselves to Italian men. It's the whole Mediterranean region.
TRISH: And that’s why I’m off to Greece right after Italy.
TRISH: Don’t be jealous, Jennie. I promise I’ll be back with lots of photos! And then we can discuss our other favorite topic — Greek men! *wink*
Trish Morey's The Italian Boss's Mistress of Revenge and Jennie Lucas’s Caretti's Forced Bride are on sale now in the U.S. Bring some Italian hunkiness home today!
Well, Banditas, who knew we would get our tender ears burned eavesdropping - er, listening - to that conversation? Wah! I feel slightly naughty eyeballing those Italian hunks, don't you? There is a better than slight chance that both Jennie and Trish will be with us today (barring jet lag on Trish's end and total conference meltdown on Jennie's). They saw me sneaking off with the tape recorder and Jennie twisted my arm (really hard) until I told her they could be guests and defend themselves and their love of Italian hunks.
Graciously, Jennie and Trish have offered signed copies of their books to lucky Bandita Buddy commenters. So tell us BBs, how do you really feel about Italian hunks?