- Character Catnip – This was a lovely post from Ana Canino Fluit about what she looks for in a book’s characters.
I ended up thinking about that post for a long while. I was particularly struck by the fact that she seemed to be saying that the flaws and vulnerabilities are there to make the character seem attainable.
I know everyone has different kinds of character catnip, but attainable is probably the last thing I look for in romance novel protagonists. While rock-stars, billionaires, sports-stars and CEO’s are all over the place, I personally really enjoy blue-collar or no-collar protagonists the best but not because they are more attainable. While I might be inspired to sigh at a romantic gesture or find a particular character incredibly swoon-worthy, they are in the end fictional. My enjoyment of romance is not tied to whether I think or dream about that story happening to me. Some of my favorite romances have been ones set in times/places completely apart from my life experience and when I judge my satisfaction with the romantic arc I care a lot more about whether they are attractive & attainable to the other protagonist, not to me personally.
- Tropes to Read By and Tropes to Drive By in Romance – RRRJessica talks romance tropes over on Book Riot, and it made me buy one of the books she mentioned. (Sleeping with Her Enemy by Jenny Holiday)
In romance, titles and blurbs often indicate which tropes are in a book. And, actually, we aren’t that far from the philosophical definition because in fiction the tropes are the basic elements, and thus skeleton, of the book. In a cabin romance, there will be a lot of hero and heroine together time. In a friends-to-lovers (like A.M. Arthur’s Getting it Right) or marriage of convenience book, there’s usually a lot of sexual tension. In a marriage in trouble romance, I expect a detailed psychology of a relationship. Knowing what tropes are in book doesn’t spoil it for me because tropes are fundamental properties, not the whole story, and a talented writer alters, twists, inverts and even subverts them anyway.
- The Diversity Gap in Children’s Publishing, 2015 – Well, this looks promising. Maybe we’re making some actual progress.
This February, the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) released its statistics on the number of children’s books by and about people of color published in 2014. The issue of diversity in children’s books received a record amount of media coverage last year, in large part due to the success of the We Need Diverse Books campaign. Many people were anxious to know if the yearly CCBC statistics would reflect momentum of the movement.
The biggest takeaway from the new statistics was positive: in 2014 the number of books by/about people of color jumped to 14% (up from 10% in 2013) of the 3,000 to 3,500 books the CCBC reviews each year. Though not as high as it should be, the number shows definite improvement.
- My letter to the RWR – I’m not an RWA member, so I haven’t seen this month’s Romance Writers Report, but it sounds like it had some particularly terrible advice from a social media “expert.”
As a romance writer, queer woman, and someone who has been an active Internet user since 1990, I was disappointed in and offended by Jennifer Fusco’s Marketing Insider column focusing on social media tips.
Overall, the tips seemed to be fear-based and defensive. Don’t be happy, don’t be sad, don’t talk about your real life, and don’t talk about controversial topics.
While it is always important for everyone to remember the consequences of their words online, identifying issues that impact the basic civil rights and equality of marginalized groups as topics to be avoided is naive, hurtful, and implies that LGBTQ+ people and people of color don’t read and write romance. It was particularly ironic for RWR to include such advice in an issue that also focused on diverse romance. Is RWA truly committed to diversity?
- How Connecticut Girls Ice Hockey Got 2 Winners And Many Losers – You know there’s no way a Div. 1 boys state championship would get called a tie to clear the ice for another game. Girls sports are continually disrespected, and I hate it.
What’s worse than losing the state title game?
Not having any outcome at all.
That’s what happened Saturday afternoon at Terry Connors Rink in Stamford, Connecticut, site of the girls hockey state title game between Simsbury and East Catholic/Glastonbury/South Windsor, known as ETB.
The two Division 1 teams were declared co-state champs after playing just two overtimes. The game ended in a 2-2 tie.
According to some in attendance, after the game was called, the captains for each team were announced, a quick picture with both teams was taken and the two squads were ushered off the ice to make way for the start of a boys’ FCIAC conference championship game between Darien and Greenwich.
Some said they believed the girls were cleared off the ice to make room for the boys, while others said arena officials were simply following protocol.
- EA Shuts Down SimCity Developer Maxis – Between The Sims and SimCity, Maxis basically had a license to print money. This should prove to everyone that DRM does nothing but alienate paying customers, but I won’t hold my breath.
Originally founded in 1987, Maxis was best known for the Sim franchise, which began with Will Wright’s SimCity and expanded to include a number of other games, including the popular The Sims series, which is handled by a separate developer called The Sims Studio.
In 2013, Maxis released an online reboot of SimCity that was plagued with all sorts of problems, which may have been what led to this final closure. Neither SimCity nor the recent release of The Sims 4 performed very well, according to a person familiar with goings-on at the studio.