Links: Saturday, December 14th

December 14, 2013 Links 11

Two white boys sit on the lap of a mall Santa. The five year old with brown hair smiles. The two year old with blond hair is crying and trying to get away.These 2 Kids Have Taken A Photo With Santa For 34 Years. – The last few pictures make the post.

  • Romance writers feel the heat from ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ – Is it me, or did this article have a smarmy, “I can’t believe how vulgar the ladyfolk are these days” vibe going on? Also? If your puff piece on romance references Fifty Shades and calls it shocking, it’s time to log off.

    Sarah MacLean‘s new instant bestseller, “No Good Duke Goes Unpunished,” opens with this strikingly unsubtle line: “He woke with a splitting head and a hard [barnyard fowl].”
    I happened to mention that opening line to Fordham University English professor Mary Bly, who writes wildly popular romance novels of her own under the name Eloisa James. Up till now, in her many bestsellers, Bly has resisted that particular word for the male sex organ, but that’s about to change.
    “I just used [barnyard fowl] in my first book ever,” she crows. (You’ll see it in “Three Weeks with Lady X” this March.)

  • Painted ladies: why women get tattoos – I don’t have any tattoos (yet) but I’ve always been fascinated with them and the reasons people get the ones they do. This Guardian article says some interesting things about what tattoos can mean for women in particular.

    For others, I suspect the vehement dislike of tattoos is really a fear of women’s skin. When a woman makes her own mark on it, she isn’t quite as available to receive whatever fantasies you might want to project on to her. If skin is a screen, and a woman writes on it, she is telling the world (or even just herself) that her own standards of attractiveness are more important to her than the standards of anyone else who might cross her path. She is taking ownership.

  • Justin Landon of Staffer’s Book Review on Gender Parity and Cover Art – Add this post onto the “tough out there” pile. The numbers of female illustrators are way out of whack compared to their male counterparts. There’s a ton of mansplaining in the comments, but Foz Meadows’ comment is illuminating.

    My first call was legendary Tor Art Director, Irene Gallo. From September 2013 to August 2014 in the Tor hardcover and trade list, 90 titles had commissioned illustration (or photo-illustration). 7 were done by women., which does a tremendous amount of original illustration for its short fiction, uses female artists 21% of the time. My next stop was Lee Harris with Angry Robot who offered 5 female artists out of 26 titles in 2013, or roughly 25%. Lou Anders with Pyr indicated they worked with two female artists this year. Other publishers were contacted, but were unable to generate the data.

    While my survey is hardly comprehensive or statistically significant, it raises some very disturbing patterns that demand further exploration.

  • The limitations of inspirational romance – Blogger/author Ros Clarke talks about the narrow scope of inspirational romance and how it limits the stories that can be told about faith and romance.

    I think that the inspirational subgenre is faced with an almost impossible task. It’s aiming for a particular target audience who can be easily alienated by all kinds of characters and tropes, including many characters of faith. It’s struggling with a fundamental narrative that outshadows romance, and an interior life that is incomprehensible to many readers. I’m not surprised that I’ve struggled to find inspirational romances that I enjoy.

  • A video game with nothing to see – This sounds terrifying (you may or may not know that I am an enormous wuss and once freaked out over a survival horror game so bad I started crying. I was 22.) but the audio-only gameplay seems interesting. I don’t know of any other games like that.

    BlindSide is a video game with an entirely aural environment—nothing to see, only sound cues to navigate through space. The story is framed as a horror fantasy: a player wakes up to find himself as Case, a professor suddenly blinded and in a now-destroyed city, with unidentifiable creatures devouring people everywhere. Wearing headphones, players attempt their escape by hearing spoken clues and subtler sounds, having to judge directional decisions based on cues coming from the left or right: traffic, for example, or a dripping faucet. The game is fully accessible for both blind and sighted users, with a story to appeal to all kinds of players.

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An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.

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11 Responses to “Links: Saturday, December 14th”

  1. nu

    That’s The Post for you. It was a little juvenile, considering that absolutely no fiction written by men would have ever come under the same scrutiny or expectation. “Oh, they’re cussing!” It’s true that the language in romance was pretty, hm, evasive, but women are under much more social pressure than men, and he never acknowledges that. What if a woman had written Catcher in the Rye or Clockwork Orange?

    Also, too bad about inspirational romances excluding religions outside Christianity because I’ve thought about writing one from time to time. Ah, well.

  2. willaful


    (Chuckling because I’m reading an erotic romance right now in which the hero gets a blowjob from another man in front of the heroine. Everything else seems tame. :-) )

  3. Ros

    @nu: I would LOVE to read a romance featuring people of a different faith. I have no idea who would publish it though – maybe that’s one way in which self-publishing could open up new markets.

  4. willaful

    @Ros: There was a lovely WW2 Hanukkah story in a recent holiday collection and being Jewish is very important to the characters. Found it: A Very Scandalous Holiday, published by Entangled.

  5. Merrian

    That point about tattoos and women’s skin and women marking out boundaries of self is so powerful. I know my tattoos helped me reclaim my body.

    Re ‘cock’ he’s never read any Ellora’s Cave then.

  6. nu

    @Ros: Really? That is good to hear. Hmm… *wheels turning*

    @Roslyn: Which book?

  7. Shannon C.

    I saw that video game article on Radish Reviews link spam post, and as usual it’s taken me a while to figure out why I object so strongly to it. It feels like a token effort for cookies. Like, oh, someone finally decided to think about the poor oppressed blind peoples and how we can’t play video games so they should make one for us. Never mind that oral-only games do exist already, at least in IOS. And never mind that that is not especially helpful for me. You know what would make me give you a cookie, game designers? If you’d let me play, oh, I don’t know, Candy Crush or Bejeweled, or, FFS, Words with Friends. Games the rest of the world is actually, actively playing. Instead, we get this audio only game, which is not unique in concept or execution, but which did get noticed by a major online news source, so… yay, more sighted people to give them cookies, I guess?

  8. Ros

    @Roslyn Holcomb: Because we were talking about books featuring people of faith, I assumed LI = Love Inspired. And I admit I was surprised but pleased, so I went to look for it and… ah. Loose Id. Which makes more sense. ;)