Links: Tuesday, February 11th

February 11, 2014 Links 1

A looping animated gif of a cat moving across a carpeted floor, wiggling its butt.Butt wiggle cat gif

  • Sex and intimacy – Author Joanna Chambers writes about sex scenes and the roles they play in romance.

    That’s not to say that I need the sexual content of a novel to be a huge and graphic element of the narrative – I absolutely don’t. One of my favourite writers, Josh Lanyon, often writes fairly low-key sex scenes, but I find them amongst the most effective and satisfying ones I’ve read – I actually remember them, which is saying something, isn’t it? When you really think about it? All those thousands and thousands of identikit, paint-by-number sex scenes that have been written? You read them and some are good and some are awful but most fade away very quickly. There are Lanyon ones I remember years after reading them, because he did something that was genuinely meaningful in terms of plot or character development and it stayed with me.

  • Romance Novels Sweep Readers Off Their Feet With Predictability – I shouldn’t even link to this trash, but I’d hate for anyone to miss out on the drama. Some guy attends a romance convention run by male cover models and writes an article about it, mixing in the news story of a violent kidnapping, for Harper’s and NPR has him on as some sort of authority on romance. Male supremacy, writ large.

    Romance novels are a $1.4 billion industry, dwarfing the literary book market by millions.

    Last summer, Harper’s editor Jesse Barron attended the Romance Novel Convention in Las Vegas. Emceed by a handsome novel-cover model named Jimmy, the event helped professionals and novices alike to pool resources, share ideas and generally have a love fest.

    Barron wrote about the gathering and the industry in this month’s issue of Harper’s. He tells NPR’s Arun Rath that readers of romance novels have specific expectations, particularly about the heroine.

    He recounts this important piece of advice from an instructor at the gathering: “She’s gotta be tough, but she can’t be cold, she can’t be whiny … and if she’s got those walls up, you must show her vulnerability. She is just like the reader.”

  • Oh Dear: SFWA Bulletin Petition – SFWA’s old guard is at it again, pining for the good old days of casual bigotry as small talk. This time around it takes the form of a petition to secure the SFWA Bulletin from the scourge of “censorship.” Bless their hearts.

    Then Truesdale embarks upon a long digression on how ogling objects of desire is something that everyone does (well, not exactly everyone) and how it should be completely okay. You know what? Not in a professional context–which the SFWA Bulletin is. The SFWA Bulletin should be about publishing and writing speculative fiction in an increasingly volatile marketplace, not about the good old days when the female editors were smokin’ hot in a swimsuit and didn’t let themselves be offended by red-blooded American male approval. Or, at least, didn’t let on that they were offended.

    Ladies these days. Just don’t know anything about quiet dignity.

  • A Birthday Everyone Can Celebrate! – This is basically a press release from Entangled, but I thought this section about pricing new releases at $.99 was interesting. I’ve liked the books of theirs that I’ve read so far, including a BWWM book I’ll review later this week.

    Frontlist Titles for Only $0.99
    Our readers want to read more books than ever! So in February, Entangled will be shifting to an even more competitive pricing strategy by offering our frontlist titles from our recognizable, high-quality brands at an introductory price of only $0.99! This price will remain in effect for at least the first two weeks of release to give readers enough time to discover these great new titles at the discounted rate. With 35 to 50 high-quality titles from well-established brands releasing each month, we’re sure to have more than a few amazing titles to satisfy any reader.

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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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One Response to “Links: Tuesday, February 11th”

  1. nu

    “Bad Romance” says it all, doesn’t it? Jesse Barron obviously has a low opinion of romance in comparison to literary novels. “…valued in that genre are not the same things that are valued when we read something like literary fiction.” Must be funny and easy, he says. I’ve read quite a few with dense prose and the unfunniest dialogue ever. I say that with relief because that’s my work, and I’ve never thought of it as distinct from literary work. I have high standards for my prose and experiment with it as much as a “literary” author. He says, “And it’s because those writers know what they’re doing every time,” and I say, Go watch Cindy Gerard’s interview on Project Romance. He paints the industry as devoid of creativity. Also, I would love to read more about cover models, but they don’t need to frame it this way, as men beating women at their game. He went to a con organized and devoted to models -rather than RWA, which is significant- so I would rather have seen more about what succeeds on covers.

    I like the Chambers article! She reminds me that sex scenes can be really meaningful for the characters, sex-positive, and uplifting. We shouldn’t underestimate them. As an example, I read Skin Game by Ava Gray recently, and while the sex scenes aren’t extended, they deliver some important information, like the hero noticing that the heroine likes a little D/S and delivering that for her. It was touching, actually, because the purpose of the scene, since it’s not detailed, is that he’s paying attention and responding to her needs. It was all about her. It was one of the few softer moments, ironically.