The Hunger of Lord Ian…

 …Or One More Reason to Like My Nook

 

Back in 1990, while eight months pregnant and more than a little miserable, I came face-to-face with the king-of-the-romance-cover, Fabio Lanzoni.

Actually, it was more like nose to chest.

Fabio came to my office for a book signing (I worked at the headquarters of a major book retailer). The announcement of his presence didn’t send me off the deep end, although plenty of the women around me swooned over the news.

On day of his arrival, moments before the scheduled event, I’d waddled around a corner to return to my office. Crashing into a small group of people, I stopped and couldn’t move. Fabio stood in the center of them. He wore a button-down shirt, conveniently left opened a few buttons further than most men would’ve dared. My gaze landed on the smooth, tan skin of his muscular chest. I struggled to stop staring. Instead, my vision detoured to his chiseled cheekbones then shifted to his crystal blue eyes.

Intimacy those days — thanks to humid July weather and the final weeks of pregnancy — had been very far from my thoughts. Yet for those few seconds, my hormones received a zap they hadn’t felt in some time. I uttered “Excuse me,” fanned myself and continued to my office. I’d officially joined the ranks of my swooning co-workers.

It’s a moment I’ve never forgotten. One I’m certain the gorgeous Italian model doesn’t even remember.

I thought of Fabio recently when a friend offered a bunch of paperbacks to a group of us that she’d already read. The cover of a scantily clad Scotsman, à la Jamie Fraser from Outlander, caught my eye. I grabbed it without even thinking.

In the days that passed, I picked it up and peeked through the first few pages. However, if someone entered the room, I’d drop the book and hide it like a twelve year old boy caught with a Playboy.

As a writer of women’s fiction with romantic elements, I’m a proud member of the Romance Writers of America and a true romantic at heart. Thirty years ago, the staple offering for romance centered one type of book. Yet the genre has blossomed, still carrying plenty of great titles if you want your bodice-ripped (who doesn’t), but now offering suspense, mystery and time travel, to name a few.

So why was I acting so weird?

Was it because my high school and college-aged daughters might not want to think their fifty-two-year old mother was interested in that stuff anymore? Or have my husband think I was running around day-dreaming about scantily clad men in kilts. Especially when he seemed to have more intellectual pursuits on his reading list.

I was dying to read the darn thing. The book appeared well written and I happened to enjoy the story-line along with the, ah-hem, developing romance. So I simply plopped in the living room one night and buried my nose between the covers. Nobody said a word.

Then I spotted my Nook on a nearby table and it hit me…to the outside world, one piece of downloaded material looked as innocuous as the rest. Reading a title such as The Hunger of Lord Ian — a made up title but one where I’d expect to see a long-haired Scotsman grace the cover — could be confused for War and Peace on the Nook or Kindle.

Guess I’ll add one more thing to the list of reasons I’m glad Santa stuck that Nook under the Christmas tree for me this year.

Last night, I admitted to my husband about my hide-a-book theory. He laughed. Turns out he isn’t always downloading War and Peace either.

The news stunned me almost as much as the time I bumped into Fabio.

Fabio

Fabio Lanzoni

 

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12 responses to “The Hunger of Lord Ian…

  1. Perhaps, you should write The Hunger of Lord Ian for other people’s Nooks. Maybe there’s a secret fictional Hot Scot in your future.

  2. Terri-Lynne DeFino

    I think I remember you telling this story at the very first meeting I attended. 🙂
    Sometimes I feel self-conscious about the covers of a fantasy novel I happen to be reading. I’m an intelligent, modern woman! Why am I reading something with a wizard on the cover? Shouldn’t I be reading something “important” like the newest Margaret Atwood novel? Or the sequel to Pillars of the Earth? Well, because it’s what I like to read, dammit, and just because it’s genre doesn’t mean it’s not worthy. So there.

    I imagine romance readers, no matter how dedicated, sometimes feel the same way. It’s silly, really, but…

    • It is silly. But… Since I started writing fiction — esp. with some romance — I’ve had to concern myself less with what other people who know me will think and write what feels right. Thanks for posting, Terri.

  3. It really is so silly, and for all of my enlightenment on the topic, I too have hidden books from select people for fear of judgement. Not so much any more, but it’s happened. And, of course, it’s only romance that’s singled out for this silly treatment (well, mostly romance – I think sci-fi and fantasy get kicked around a bit, too). But for whatever reason, no adult, myself included, was embarrassed to proclaim how much they loved Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and that book was written for nine-year-olds. They would even defend their choice against those who dared to be anti-Harry. So it’s okay to want to read children’s books, as long as they are well written, but it’s not okay to read about a couple building a relationship, well written or not. Weird.

    Great post, Sharon. Like Mary Beth, I will be eagerly awaiting the release of The Hunger of Lord Ian. Oh, and I had a similar nose to chest encounter with Mark Gastineau. I’m sure he doesn’t remember it either, but it was a definite hubba-hubba moment for me! 🙂

  4. Maybe I should get a Nook for my Cowboy books! haha

  5. SEX IS GOOD… at any age! And it’s all over the place here in France, so even little kids get bored with it. The teens I know here aren’t nearly as fascinated by sex as the ones in the USA. They reach a certain age, experiment a little and wonder what all the fuss is about. Some of us grown-ups need to grow up! I love writing sexy scenes. And after a couple of years at it, I no longer blush! Anne

    • Good point, Anne. That’s why my women’s fiction is geared towards the 40 and above readers. I’m tired of every heroine in a romantic situation being 28 and cellulite free. Older gals need love, too. And if it comes in the form of a under thirty, shirtless scotsman then all the better.

  6. Nose to chest with Fabio! I think there may have been divine intervention. Someone upstairs knows how hard that 8th month of pregnancy can be.

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