Thursday, January 14, 2010

Steamy Reading & Hot News

As many of you know, I have a bunch of pals who write romance, so my latest column for BitchBuzz celebrates their success, which has been in the news a bit lately. Here's a snippet:

While you may still have in your head a picture of the old-fashioned bodice ripper of decades ago, one of the true advantages of modern romance is the wealth of types available for every taste. Not only are they not all about "alpha males" but there are romances specifically designed for older women, for gay and lesbian readers, for sex-shy Christians and for the kinkiest of BDSM folks. In short, they run the gamut.

And more people all the time are admitting that reading about attraction can be fun. Laura Clawson came out in the Daily Kos as an unashamed reader of romances. Busting up many of the myths about romances, Clawson throws down the casual contempt widely held for the genre. It's an easy target because in this supposedly advanced and futuristic century the one group of people you can get away with disparaging without any fear of repercussion is women.

Oh, and bankers...

As always, read the rest at BBHQ. Best of luck to my pal Saranna in the Dorchester Best-Cellar textnovel contest; I stole her name for my latest publication because it's so pretty - and she's such a hoot!

UPDATE: Saranna won!!

I have some exciting news to share soon, but I can't quite let it out of the bag yet. It sure put a spring in my step today!


Linda C. McCabe said...

The best explanation I've seen about the range of category romance novels is done by Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan. They run the blog and wrote a book called Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels.

It is laugh out loud funny, but informative at the same time. For the first time I realized why I had such a negative attitude toward romance novels. It is because I read one too many "Old-Skool Romances" back in the 1970s/80s when the heroine was routinely raped by the hero and then grew to love him.

Storylines are much different today.

C. Margery Kempe said...

That book has a lot of good information in it, though they seem at times to be far more interested in snark than in information.

Things have changed a lot. I admit to the same biases -- added to my already finely honed contempt for all things girly, being the only girl in the family -- which I have since been schooled out of. I suppose it shouldn't be surprising: as women change, so do the narratives that appeal to them.

Todd Mason said...

Though variety wasn't recently invented...pulp magazines in the romance field were pretty diverse, as well, back in the '30s and '40s, and as part of the "Friday's Forggoten Books" meme, Laurie Powers takes up major romance-fiction (and DETECTIVE STORY among others) magazine editor Daisy Bacon's book on her career and the state of romance fiction at that time:

Todd Mason said...

"Bodice-busters" were "innovative" in the '70s and '80s...though of course they had been with us at least as far back as the SPICY pulps (one of Robert E. Howard's most ridiculous stories comes to mind). But who's more Old School than Austen and her heirs, Heyer most obviously? Meahwhile, I've always been ready for the likes of Margaret Atwood's LADY ORACLE or Maggie Gee's LIGHT YEARS, or Jack Finney's "The Love Letter" or much of the work I've seen from "Alison Tyler"...oh, wait, Those Aren't Romances, Because The Publishers Didn't Put "Romance" On Their Spines. Except for some of Tyler's.