<i>Full Throttle</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Full Throttle: Exclusive Excerpt Julie Ann Walker "There was no use trying to hide the hunger in her expression..." <i>Mine to Take</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Mine to Take: Exclusive Excerpt Jackie Ashenden "A subtle heat that rested on his skin like a ray of sun. Dangerous." <i>The Highland Dragon's Lady</i>: Exclusive Excerpt The Highland Dragon's Lady: Exclusive Excerpt Isabel Cooper "His lean body snapped to attention and his eyes blazed with silver fire." <i>Rocked by the Billionaire</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Rocked by the Billionaire: Exclusive Excerpt Mandy Baxter "He (looked) so self-possessed, so goddamned gorgeous after so many years..."
From The Blog
November 26, 2014
Families and Holidays
Lucy Dosch
November 26, 2014
5 Reasons You Need to See Beyond the Lights
Rebekah Weatherspoon
November 26, 2014
Dirty Talking in Romance
Laura Kaye
November 25, 2014
The Busybodies of Romance
Marina Adair
November 25, 2014
Gifts for Your Singular Reading Tastes
Team H & H
Showing posts by: Jamie Brenner click to see Jamie Brenner's profile
Thu
Jul 17 2014 1:00pm

First Look: Daisy Goodwin’s The Fortune Hunter (July 29, 2014)

The Fortune Hunter by Daisy GoodwinDaisy Goodwin
The Fortune Hunter
St. Martin’s Press/ July 29, 2014 / $26.99 print / $12.99 digital

In 1875, Sisi, the Empress of Austria is the woman that every man desires and every woman envies.

Beautiful, athletic and intelligent, Sisi has everything - except happiness. Bored with the stultifying etiquette of the Hapsburg Court and her dutiful but unexciting husband, Franz Joseph, Sisi comes to England to hunt. She comes looking for excitement and she finds it in the dashing form of Captain Bay Middleton, the only man in Europe who can outride her. Ten years younger than her and engaged to the rich and devoted Charlotte, Bay has everything to lose by falling for a woman who can never be his. But Bay and the Empress are as reckless as each other, and their mutual attraction is a force that cannot be denied.

It's impossible to discuss The Fortune Hunter without addressing the big question: as follow up to the magnificent The American Heiress, does it deliver? The answer is yes. But in this novel, Daisy Goodwin gives us not one, but two heroines: Elizabeth, called Sisi, the glamorous but jaded and calculating Empress of Austria, and Charlotte Baird, a plain but idealistic British heiress. Both are based on true-life women.

Caught in between these two women is a dashing young cavalry officer named Bay Middleton—also based on a historically true person. (And yes, he is a distant relation to Kate Middleton.)

[Past and present collide...]

Tue
May 6 2014 11:00am
Excerpt

Ruin Me: Exclusive Excerpt

Jamie Brenner

Ruin Me by Jamie Brenner

The sexy New Adult e-original from Jamie Brenner, in which Lulu has everything except the one thing she never knew she desired—until now.

Lulu Sterling thinks she has it all figured out: with one more year left at NYU, she’s spending her summer interning at her mother’s iconic art gallery, determined to overcome the long shadow of her father’s suicide and prove herself to her critical mother. With her boyfriend, rising artist Brandt Penn, Lulu also hopes she will finally experience the love and desire that have always eluded her.  But passion comes where she least expects it in the form of a brilliant, reclusive street artist known only by the tag GoST, and Lulu must decide how much she is willing to risk – and how far she is willing to go —  to claim it.

Get a sneak peek of Jamie Brenner's Ruin Me (available May 6, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt of Chapter 1.

Chapter 1

There’s a thing that happens at these art gallery parties filled with the beautiful people. Everyone orbits the room pretending not to look at the one person they all want to notice them. They pretend that her glance isn’t the ultimate prize.

I’ve been playing this game my entire life.

[Log in or register to read the full excerpt of Ruin Me...]

Sun
Mar 2 2014 11:00am

First Look: Stephen Leigh’s Immortal Muse (March 4, 2014)

Immortal Muse by Stephen LeighStephen Leigh
Immortal Muse
DAW / March 4, 2014 / $24.95 print, $11.99 digital

An immortal Muse whose very survival depends on the creativity she nurtures within her lovers… 

Another immortal who feeds not on artistry but on pain and torment... 

A chase through time, with two people bound together in enmity and fury…

Magic and science melded together into one, and an array of the famous and infamous, caught up unawares in an ages-long battle… 

In Stephen Leigh's Immortal Muse, Perenelle Flamel is a woman who spends centuries as a muse to the greatest artists of every era, while struggling to escape the brutal husband who thrives on her suffering.

When we first meet Perenelle, it is current day Manhattan, and her new name is Camille Kenny. She’s at a Lower East Side bar called the Bent Calliope, where she is a regular. Here, she gathers with other artists—writers, photographers, painters—who aspire to greatness and all seem to mysteriously benefit by proximity to her.

[Please don't ever leave, Muse!...]

Sat
Jan 4 2014 10:00am

First Look: Alma Katsu’s The Descent (January 7, 2014)

The Descent by Alma KatsuAlma Katsu’s 
The Descent
Gallery  / January 7, 2014 / $16.00 print, $11.66 digital

Alma Katsu’s acclaimed supernatural trilogy that began with The Taker and sparked a chase around the world in The Reckoning—comes to a stunning conclusion, and brings Lanore McIlvrae to a final encounter with Adair, her powerful nemesis. Dismayed by Adair’s otherworldly powers and afraid of his passionate temper, Lanore has run from him across time, even imprisoning him behind a wall for two centuries to save Jonathan, her eternal love. But instead of punishing her for her betrayal, Adair declared his love for Lanore once more and set her free.

Now, Lanore has tracked Adair to his mystical island home to ask for one last favor. The Queen of the Underworld is keeping Jonathan as her consort, and Lanore wants Adair to send her to the hereafter so that she may beg for his release. Will she honor her promise to return to Adair? Or is her true intention to be reunited with Jonathan at any cost?

From the start of Alma Katsu's truly epic Taker trilogy, it’s clear that Lanore is a complicated, morally ambiguous heroine. One of the things that make these books so compelling is that it’s impossible to predict where Lanny’s heart—or body—will lead her. This continues to hold true in the third and final book in the series.

[What's next in her journey?...]

Wed
Oct 30 2013 3:30pm

First Look: Renée Rosen’s Dollface (November 5, 2013)

Dollface by Renee RosenRenée Rosen
Dollface: A Novel of the Roaring Twenties
NAL / November 5, 2013 / $15.00 print, $7.99 digital

America in the 1920s was a country alive with the wild fun of jazz, speakeasies, and a new kind of woman—the flapper.

When Vera “Dollface” Abramowitz captures the attention of two high rollers, a handsome nightclub owner and a sexy gambler, she enters w a world filled with bootleg bourbon and money to burn. Vera thinks her biggest problem is choosing between them, until the truth comes out…

Her two lovers are really mobsters from rival gangs during Chicago’s infamous Beer Wars, a battle Al Capone refuses to lose – shattering Vera’s life and sending Chicago hurtling toward one of the most infamous days in its history, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

The most delicious aspect of jazz-age novels is that they offer the perfect setting for passion-seeking, independent heroines who get themselves into a whole lot of trouble.

Renée Rosen’s Dollface offers just that kind of complex, fascinating leading lady with Vera Abromowitz, an eighteen-year-old, newly independent young woman living with her best friend in 1924 Chicago. Vera, an only child, was raised to be a nice Jewish girl in Brighton Park. But any hope that she would have a normal life was dashed when she was four years old, the year her father’s body was found behind a saloon: “His head, hands and feet were missing. Butchered like an animal.” The murder, an act of organized crime, cast a pall of fear over her entire childhood.

[That's certainly understandable...]

Mon
Oct 21 2013 12:45pm

Better With Age: The Lusty Delight of the Older Heroine

Now or Never by Logan BelleToday we're pleased to welcome Jamie Brenner to Heroes and Heartbreakers, today in her alter-ego, erotic author Logan Belle. Logan's new release, Now or Never, is the story of an older woman who decides to embark on some new adventures, so to speak, with the help of a younger man. Logan (and Jamie) is here to discuss the appeal of older heroines.

We’ve seen a lot of young, virginal heroines in the post-Fifty Shades of Grey romance world. And while I’ve enjoyed the dip into the angst-filled pool of young lust as much as the next reader (and writer), I’m also a big fan of the more mature heroine. Older women know what they want. Through trial and error, they’ve figured out for themselves what’s hot, and what’s not. They know their minds, they know their bodies. Of course, the often wide gulf between knowing what you want and finding Mr. Right to fill those shoes, and fitting a man into a life already filled with careers, children, and ex-husbands, creates lots of juicy drama. These are a few of my favorite older heroines in books and movies:

The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller: With fifty million copies sold worldwide, this book proves that an older heroine can go head-to-head with her younger counterparts. Married but lonely Francesca Johnson, at home by herself while her husband and kids visit the state fair in 1960s Madison County, Iowa, meets divorced Robert Kincaid, a National Geographic photographer who is visiting town for a photographic essay on the covered bridges. Neither of them expects their encounter to turn into an affair, but their attraction and connection is as undeniable as it is irresistible. No spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read this gem, but it is bittersweet. (The 1995 film stars Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood.)

[What's age but a number?...]

Wed
Jul 24 2013 1:00pm

First Look: J. Kenner’s Complete Me (July 30, 2013)

Complete Me by J. KennerJ. Kenner
Complete Me
Bantam / July 30, 2013 / $10.98 print, $9.99 digital

Our desire runs deep. But our secrets cut close.

Beautiful, strong, and commanding, Damien Stark fills a void in me that no other man can touch. His fierce cravings push me beyond the brink of bliss—and unleash a wild passion that utterly consumes us both.

Yet beneath his need for dominance, he carries the wounds of a painful past. Haunted by a legacy of dark secrets and broken trust, he seeks release in our shared ecstasy, the  heat between us burning stronger each day.

Our attraction is undeniable, our obsession inevitable. Yet not even Damien can run from his ghosts, or shield us from the dangers yet to come.

Demons from the past cast a long shadow in Complete Me, the third installment of J. Kenner’s Stark trilogy. The secrets that once challenged the intimacy between Nikki Fairchild and Damien Stark now threatens their lives together, as Stark faces trial for murder.

Complete Me opens on the eve of the trial, with Nikki Fairchild, a former Southern beauty queen turned LA transplant, alone in their luxurious German hotel room. She is agonizing over the fact that even as Damian’s fate hangs in the balance, he stubbornly refuses to reveal his past. In refusing to tell the courts how his former coach abused him — by protecting his secrets — he is sacrificing their life together. But she realizes that his fierce protection of his dignity is part of who he is and why she loves him. He tells her: “You are my everything. But I can’t be true to you if I’m not true to myself.”

[Sometimes you've gotta look out for #1...]

Mon
Jul 1 2013 3:30pm

Romance 101: What New Adult “Girls” Don’t Know About Love

The cast of Girls~In the new novel Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess, twenty-two year old Pia Keller says, “I hate romance. And love doesn’t last!”

In the HBO show Girls, Hannah Horvath finally gets the guy, then decides she doesn’t want the guy. Guy responds: “Is this the game? You chase me like I'm in the f**king Beatles for six months, and then when I finally get comfortable with things you wanna shrug?”

Welcome to the world of New Adulthood.

There’s been some debate about what distinguishes a novel “new adult” versus simply romance or commercial fiction featuring a heroine in her early twenties.

[Let's discuss...]

Mon
May 20 2013 4:00pm

You Never Forget Your First Time: Erotica Authors Recall Their First Hot Reads

Chances by Jackie CollinsAre erotica authors born, or made? After a lifetime of reading sex-drenched novels, I finally took the plunge two years ago and published one of my own. Now, five steamy (and occasionally raunchy) “Logan Belle” novels later, I’m still thinking about the books that started it all: the juicy, passionate, explicit, heart-stopping novels of my youth that made me hide my books under my bed and set my imagination (and other parts of me) on fire.

As a pre-teen, I devoured any book with even a hint of sex. I think the first “erotic” scene I ever read was in Judy Blume’s Deenie, in which the heroine Deenie was hooking up with her crush Buddy Brader and he tried to feel her up but she was wearing a back brace. A shockingly short time later, I read D.H. Lawrence's  Lady Chatterley’s Lover—easy to sneak past the parental censors because of the classic-looking cover. Emboldened and hungry for more, I progressed to Jackie Collins’s Chances. I swapped the jacket cover featuring the photo of the vampy brunette for something innocuous. Well-worth the subterfuge: the sex scenes were scorching hot. Those first “erotic” novels are unforgettable—imprinted in my head like nothing that has followed. I recently asked fellow romance and erotica authors if they remember their first erotic read. The answer was, of course, emphatically “yes!”

Stephanie Draven (It Stings So Sweet): “My first erotic novel was the Story of O, which captivated me with its beautiful prose and strange, seductive, foreign sexuality. Alas, when I reached the end and learned that O was to be abandoned by her lover after having transformed herself into everything he desired, I threw the book across the room and wept. Maybe this is why all my erotic novels have happy endings.”

[What's the first erotic novel you read?...]

Fri
Apr 12 2013 9:00am

First Look: J. Kenner’s Claim Me (April 23, 2013)

Claim Me by J. KennerJ. Kenner
Claim Me
Bantam / April 23, 2013 / $10.99 print, $9.99 digital

For Damien, our obsession is a game. For me, it is fiercely, blindingly, real.

Damien Stark’s need is palpable—his need for pleasure, his need for control, his need for me. Beautiful and brilliant yet tortured at his core, he is in every way my match.

I have agreed to be his alone, and now I want him to be fully mine. I want us to possess each other beyond the sweetest edge of our ecstasy, into the deepest desires of our souls. To let the fire that burns between us consume us both.

But there are dark places within Damien that not even our wildest passion can touch. I yearn to know his secrets, yearn for him to surrender to me as I have surrendered to him. But our troubled pasts will either bind us close . . . or shatter us completely.

Claim Me, the second novel in J. Kenner’s bestselling Release Me trilogy, wastes no time bringing the reader back into the erotic dance between Nikki Fairchild and billionaire Damian Stark. It opens with Nikki standing naked and bound at Stark’s magnificent Malibu home, her raw sensuality being transformed into a nude portrait commissioned by Stark.

[This sounds interesting...]

Mon
Mar 18 2013 1:30pm

Out of the Closet: Our Romance with Fashion on the Page

Scruples by Judith KrantzWhat is it about romance and fashion that make such an irresistible combination? I’ve always had a soft spot for “sex and shopping novels” (or, as an editor I know once so eloquently put it, “shopping and f*cking novels.”)  We talk a lot about the sex…but what about the shopping part of the equation? In some novels, the passion for fashion is as potent as anything that happens between the sheets. As we get ready to open our closets for spring cleaning, here’s look at a few of the most satisfying sartorial reads this side of Sex and the City.

Scruples by Judith Krantz

A fashion-filled, sexy take on the classic duckling into a swan story, Scruples follows the rise of Wilhemina “Billy” Winthrop Ikehorn Orsini. Billy is an overweight and style-challenged girl who turns into  beauty after a life-changing trip to Paris. Her glamorous ascent continues with her marriage to mogul Ellis Ikehorn. When Ellis dies, he leaves her a very wealthy widow.

What does Billy do with her heartbreak and loads of money? She channels both into creating the most exclusive, successful clothing boutique in the history of Beverly Hills: Scruples.

Gets the red carpet award for: Scruples, published in 1978,  is the original. It’s the Godfather of fashion novels.

[What else made the guest list?...]

Tue
Feb 12 2013 12:30pm

(Not So) Bizarre Love Triangle: The Timeless Thrill of the Love Triangle

The Age of Innocence by Edith WhartonThe lyrics of the 1976 hit song “Torn Between Two Lovers” by Mary McGregor captures the agony and the ecstasy of my favorite romantic dilemma: the love triangle. What is it about the love triangle that rouses such passion, both in the fictional characters embroiled in them, and in us, the readers?

While contemplating this post, I asked my friends about their favorite love triangles. Not surprisingly, everyone had an opinion, though it was often followed with the question, “Wait—is that technically a love triangle?” Geometry has never been my strength, so I consulted Wikepedia for some parameters. This is what I found: “Two main forms of love triangle have been distinguished: there is the rivalrous triangle, where the lover is competing with a rival for the love of the beloved, and the split-object triangle, where a lover has split their attention between two love objects." Either way, it makes for great story-telling, which is why the love triangle has been a staple in books going all the way back to the Old Testament (Remember Jacob gets tricked into marrying Leah although he is madly in love with her sister, Rachel?) and more recently, of course, in Twilight. Below, a look at a few of my favorites in between:

The Classic  Triangles

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton: Oh, poor Newland Archer. He’s a perfect New York gentleman in the height of New York’s Gilded Age, all set for a proper life with perfectly lovely May Welland; until he meets her intriguing, highly improper cousin, Countess Ellen Olsenska. His is an gut-wrenching choice, made all the more difficult by the strict mores of the time. (That’s what makes classic triangles so fantastic!)

[All that beautiful angst...]

Thu
Jan 24 2013 4:30pm

First Look: L. Marie Adeline’s S.E.C.R.E.T. (Febuary 5, 2013)

S.E.C.R.E.T. by L. Marie AdelineL. Marie Adeline
S.E.C.R.E.T
Broadway / February 5, 2013 / 
$15.00 print, $9.99 digital 

Cassie Robichaud’s life has been filled with regret and loneliness since the death of her husband. She waits tables at the rundown Café Rose in New Orleans, and every night she heads home to her solitary one-bedroom apartment. But when she discovers a notebook left behind by a mysterious woman at the café, Cassie’s world is forever changed. The notebook’s stunningly explicit confessions shock and fascinate Cassie, and eventually lead her to S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T, an underground society dedicated to helping women realize their wildest, most intimate sexual fantasies. Cassie soon immerses herself in an electrifying journey through a series of ten rapturous fantasies with gorgeous men who awaken and satisfy her like never before. As she is set free from her inhibitions, she discovers a new confidence that transforms her, giving her the courage to live passionately. Equal parts enticing, liberating and emotionally powerful, S∙E∙C∙R∙E∙T is a world where fantasy becomes reality.

When L. Marie Adeline's S.E.C.R.E.T. opens, thirty-five-year-old Cassie Robichaud’s life is at a stand-still: She is widowed, hasn’t had a date—never mind sex—in years, and her days are spent waiting tables in a New Orleans café. At night, she goes home alone to her one-bedroom apartment in a building nicknamed the “spinster hotel.”

[Not the most complimentary of names...]

Mon
Jan 7 2013 4:30pm

First Look: T.J. Brown’s Summerset Abbey (January 15, 2013)

Summerset Abbey by T.J. BrownT.J. Brown
Summerset Abbey
Gallery / January 15, 2013 / $15 print, ~$10.93+ digital

Reminiscent of Downton Abbey, this first novel in a new series follows two sisters and their maid as they are suddenly separated by the rigid class divisions within a sprawling aristocratic estate and thrust into an uncertain world on the brink of WWI...

Rowena and Victoria, daughters to the second son of the Earl of Summerset, have always treated their governess’s daughter, Prudence, like a sister. But when their father dies and they move in with their uncle’s family in a much more traditional household, Prudence is relegated to the maids’ quarters, much to the girls’ shock and dismay. The impending war offers each girl hope for a more modern future, but the ever-present specter of class expectations makes it difficult for Prudence to maintain a foot in both worlds.

Vividly evoking both time and place and filled with authentic dialogue and richly detailed atmosphere, Summerset Abbey is a charming and timeless historical debut.

Turning the opening pages of this Edwardian drama, T.J. Brown's Summerset Abbey, I could not help but hear the Downton Abbey theme song. And that’s not a bad thing.

It’s 1913, and the lives of the Buxton sisters, Rowena (age twenty-two) and Victoria (age eighteen), are upended by the death of their beloved father. Despite their aristocratic lineage, their father raised them in an unusually progressive household. Everything changes when they are sent to live under their uncle’s guardianship at Summerset Abbey, the family estate outside of London.

[Juicy drama coming right up?...]

Tue
Jan 1 2013 11:30am

First Look: Julie Kenner’s Release Me (January 1, 2013)

Release Me by J. KennerJ. Kenner
Release Me
Bantam /January 1, 2013 / $8.99 print / $7.99 digital

He was the one man I couldn’t avoid. And the one man I couldn’t resist.  

Damien Stark could have his way with any woman. He was sexy, confident, and commanding: Anything he wanted, he got. And what he wanted was me.
 
Our attraction was unmistakable, almost beyond control, but as much as I ached to be his, I feared the pressures of his demands. Submitting to Damien meant I had to bare the darkest truth about my past—and risk breaking us apart.
 
But Damien was haunted, too. And as our passion came to obsess us both, his secrets threatened to destroy him—and us—forever.

On the surface, recent Los Angeles transplant Nikki Fairchild has it all: beauty, ambition, brains, and a Texas oil money pedigree. But Nikki is a woman with secrets, and her move to the City of Angels is not purely for professional reasons—it’s her chance to leave her demons behind and start over.

[And what does her fresh start bring?...]

Mon
Dec 31 2012 10:00am

Ring in with Romance!: Best of 2012, Day 5

Touch of Crimson by Sylvia Day

May old friends be forgot? We don't think so! We're celebrating our favorite reads with five days of the Best of 2012. We asked our bloggers for their favorite recommendations of 2012, with one stipulation, they had to be new to them and not necessarily new to 2012. We know we got a few recommendations to add to our to be read piles and it's a great way to feed those readers!

Don't miss out on the shopping list for these great recommendations once you finish reading, and check out the recommendations from Day One, Day Two, Day Three, and Day Four, too! Click here to view the Day Five shopping list.


Sage Spelling:

The Renegade Angels series by Sylvia Day.
A dark and dangerous world where vampires are fallen angels, and lycans and vampires rebel against the elite Special Ops unit of the seraphim as each race struggles for power over one another.

[Struggles for power, you say? That sounds fun!]

Thu
Dec 13 2012 4:30pm

Scorching Stocking Stuffers: The Essential Erotic Novel Gift List

Mistral’s Daughter by Judith KrantzHave you been naughty, or nice?

If the answer is nice, then it’s time to remedy that with something dirtier than a lump of coal in your stocking this Christmas: my essential erotic novel gift list. These books all have two things in common: they will make St. Nick blush redder than his suit, and they are as timeless as tinsel on your tree.

Mistral’s Daughter by Judith Krantz

An epic novel of art, fashion, super-hot sex, that begins with an erotic romp through sumptuous 1920s Paris and follows three generations of super-fab redheads.

Why it makes the list: The anti-hero, Julian Mistral, who seduces and betrays the heroine, Maggie, only to fall in love with her daughter twenty years later.

[That sounds...complicated...]

Sun
Nov 18 2012 3:00pm

Homeland Heartthrob: Make Way for the Mid-Season Hottie!

Peter Quinn in Homeland Season 2Halfway through the second season of Homeland, It doesn’t take a CIA agent to detect the love triangle brewing.

While Carrie’s recent vindication brought her back into the scorching orbit of Brody, it also brought a new Agent into the fold: CIA agent Peter Quinn, played by Rupert Friend, the show’s first official hottie. I know, I know—Carrie and Brody’s chemistry could power a small country. But as mentioned in Tara Gelsomino’s post Shipping When You Shouldn’t: Homeland’s Carrie and Brody, this came as somewhat of surprise to the show’s producers—who then, wisely,  decided to run with it. With Quinn, they clearly weren’t sitting around waiting for lightning to strike twice: This guy is love-interest casting if I ever saw it. (Rupert Friend might be known to some viewers from the films Pride & Predjudice and The Young Victoria, or his former real-life role as Keira Knightly’s boyfriend.)

We first meet Quinn in episode four, when Carrie walks into new surveillance center for tracking Brody. A dark-haired guy with chiseled good-looks and a cocky demeanor asks, “Who are these guys?”  

Carrie’s back is immediately up. “Um, the same guys who already watched Brody for 300 hours. Who are you?” 

“I’m the guy running things.”

[Say whaaaaaat?...]

Wed
Nov 7 2012 9:30am

James Bond: Romantic, Tragic Hero (+Skyfall Anticipation)

Skyfall posterI’m counting the days until Skyfall hits movie theaters and I’m reunited with my first hero, Bond—James Bond.

Growing up, while other girls my age were hanging posters of Rob Lowe and Matt Dillon, my romantic ideal was Roger Moore, a British guy who was five times my age. I blame my parents, who brought me to every Bond film from the time I was in elementary school. I don’t know if my parents thought that “love 'em and leave 'em” Bond was an appropriate male example for me at age, oh, I don’t know—seven. Maybe they just didn’t feel like paying for a babysitter.

Either way, when a Bond film came out, I was there.

It took many films for me to realize that I was supposed to care about Bond catching the criminals and saving the world. For years (okay, still) all I cared about was Bond’s relationship with the woman du jour. The spark of that romance, no matter how brief the encounter, no matter how cheesy (this was the '80s, after all), is how I rate Bond films.

[Seems perfectly reasonable to us...]

Thu
Oct 18 2012 12:30pm

Author Jamie Brenner: “Everything I Needed to Know About Life and Love I Learned From Soaps”

The Gin Lovers #3: Society SinnersToday Heroes and Heartbreakers is pleased to welcome author Jamie Brenner to the site. Jamie's Gin Lovers, set during Prohibition and the Jazz Age (unusual historical, anyone?) is also a serial, and it appears Jamie is already a big fan of the serial format, since she loves soap operas so much. Plus, she explains below, you can learn a lot about life by watching soaps. Thanks for joining us, Jamie!

It’s a sad fact that the words “soap opera” garner as much respect in our culture as the words “processed cheese.” So up until now, I have been reluctant to admit that the trashy travails of daytime dramas, primetime soaps, and some spectacular, sudsy novels—have in fact taught me some of life’s most valuable lessons.

It took me hours of viewing and decades of reading to glean the following nuggets of wisdom, but they have served me well. Below, the ten tartiest and true things I have learned from soap operas and their literary counterpart, trashy novels.

1. The more miserable the childhood, the more spectacular the adult success

Case in point: In Jackie Collins's Chances, young Lucky Santangelo discovers her murdered mother’s body floating in the family swimming pool. She is later shipped off to boarding schools and ignored by her gangster father before being married off at age sixteen. She grows up to be gorgeous, fabulously wealthy, and the head of her father’s empire. In Judith Krantz's Scruples, Billy Ikehorn Orsini suffered a childhood of obesity and isolation, only to become rich, beautiful, and the wildly successful owner of Beverly Hills’ hottest boutique. The list goes on and on. The point is, misery is life’s great motivator. I try to remember this when my children complain.

[+ 9 more valuable lessons...]