Hands Off My HEA: Talia Hibbert

There’s a great article over at frolic that I read a little while ago. This is hardly a new topic for the romance genre, but Talia Hibbert takes on the book snobs in a refreshing way.

Hands Off My HEA: Talia Hibbert

When someone says “Romance doesn’t require a HEA!” I don’t hear: “Help me, I’m confused”. I hear: “I enjoy romance, but I don’t want to face the misogyny that romance-lovers face,” or: “I enjoy romance, but I struggle with internalised misogyny that says I shouldn’t.” To me, these people are trying to twist the meaning of ‘romance’ so our genre can fit alongside more respected forms of writing.

I don’t want the respect of anyone who can’t respect romance. Because they’re often misogynistic, usually ignorant, and frequently snobs. Their respect means nothing. Romance is above their respect. It’s about love, connection, caring, and hope. It’s about strength and power, about difference and kindness, and most of all, about everyone’s right to live happily ever after. It’s a trailblazing genre that constantly shakes the table. Anyone who tries to undermine that in a desperate grab for societal standing can go and debate their mother, because they certainly ain’t debating me.

Click on the link to continue reading…

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TIME Magazine: The Famous Women Writers Whose Friendships We’ve Forgotten

Pride and Prejudice 1980 Chalrotte Elizabeth Episode Three

Interesting article over at TIME Magazine:

The Famous Women Writers Whose Friendships We’ve Forgotten

“…After all, writers have always turned to each other for creative and moral support. The alliance between Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth is enshrined in literary lore. A mention of Lord Byron immediately brings to mind Percy Bysshe Shelley. And biographies of F. Scott Fitzgerald are incomplete without reference to Ernest Hemingway.

But where are the women in this roster of legendary friendships? Jane Austen is mythologised as a shy and sheltered spinster; the Brontё sisters, lonely wanderers of windswept moors; George Eliot, an aloof intellectual; and Virginia Woolf, a melancholic genius.

Skeptical of such images of isolation, we set out to investigate. We soon discovered that behind each of these celebrated authors was a close alliance with another female writer. But, to this day, these literary bonds have been systematically forgotten, distorted or downright suppressed…”

Out Now: The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross

The Beast's Heart by Leife Shallcross uS Cover

Released elsewhere in 2018, The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross – a retelling of Beauty and the Beast – is out in the United States now.

The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross

A luxuriously magical retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in seventeenth-century France–and told from the point of view of the Beast himself.

I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.

I am the Beast.

He is a broken, wild thing, his heart’s nature exposed by his beastly form. Long ago cursed with a wretched existence, the Beast prowls the dusty hallways of his ruined château with only magical, unseen servants to keep him company—until a weary traveler disturbs his isolation.

Bewitched by the man’s dreams of his beautiful daughter, the Beast devises a plan to lure her to the château. There, Isabeau courageously exchanges her father’s life for her own and agrees to remain with the Beast for a year. But even as their time together weaves its own spell, the Beast finds winning Isabeau’s love is only the first impossible step in breaking free from the curse . . .

Happy Birthday, Judy Blume.

On classic children’s and young adult author Judy Blume‘s eighty-first birthday, I’d like to remind people of the importance of “controversial” books for teens.

For some young people, these books – that conservative groups try their best to get banned – are the only way they learn about important issues in their lives. Blume’s Forever, published in 1975, taught some teens things they needed to know about sex when their parents and teachers refused to fill in the gaps.

A few years ago, in the ballet world, I came across a group of homeschooled Christian ballet students from America’s Mid-West.

These young teens had been blatantly lied to by their parents, and told that: #1 only gay men could get AIDS, and #2 that AIDS could only be contracted by men having sex with monkeys.

And this is a perfect example of why we need authors like Blume, and why libraries shouldn’t be pressured to ban them.

A side note: dance is possibly the world’s most gay-friendly profession. The parents might have been in for a surprise!

Here’s The Australian Ballet onstage, openly campaigning for marriage equality during curtain calls (before the law was passed):

Out this month: Mr Jones

mr. jones is a 2019 drama film directed by agnieszka holland. soviet union ussr ukraine stalin's genocide holodomor in ukraine movie poster

Historical film Mr Jones – about a Welsh journalist who risked his life to tell the truth about Stalin’s 1930s genocide in Ukraine – is out this month, beginning with a premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.

Unlike the Holocaust, the Kremlin’s forced famine genocide – known as the Holodomor – escaped the world’s notice mostly because Western journalists, many of them advocates of communism, spent decades denying it.

Conservative estimates of the death toll put it on par with the Holocaust, while others place the numbers much higher; up to ten-million Ukrainians killed between 1932 and 1933. The numbers vary so much because, unlike the Germans who documented every aspect of the Holocaust, the Russian authorities have done everything in their power to hide their crimes.

(It should be noted that the Kremlin committed another genocide, in Kazakhstan, at the same time, killing 42% of their population.)

Gareth Jones, played in the movie by English actor James Norton, saw the Holodomor firsthand, and went against the lead of Stalin-friendly journalists like The New York Times’ Walter Duranty to try and get the truth out beyond the Iron Curtain.

Jones was only twenty-nine when he was murdered, one day shy of his thirtieth birthday.

This film seems incredibly important in this day and age, with people once again reacting to rising fascism by identifying as communists and sympathising with Russia. As this Variety article points out, we live in a similar age to the 1930s, with propaganda and “fake news” dominating much of the press, and most of the world turning a blind eye to atrocities being committed by the Kremlin, and by the regimes in countries like Syria.