Remember “Romantica”?

Wild Card (Elite Ops #1) by Lora Leigh

Around a decade ago, everyone in the romance community was talking about a new subgenre: “Romantica”. It was when romances started getting super-steamy, but they also had the classic romance-genre Happy Ever After. They weren’t erotica, but nobody had a better term for them.

Remember that? Because it was a term I used to use fairly often, and until a few weeks ago I’d totally forgotten about it. There’s not a great deal of purpose to this post other than to observe how quickly things in publishing change.

I was reminded of “Romantica” because I was rereading Smart Bitches’ hilarious 2009 review of Pregnesia, which was connected to a discussion about Lora Leigh’s Elite Ops series, which led me to read some old reviews of some of those books. I don’t remember much about them other than that the first one used the misogynistic term “dumb blonde” a lot, and ended with a scene involving surprise anal sex, where the hero commented that he’d finally “touched his wife’s soul”.

Things change so fast in Romancelandia that I doubt these any of these erotic romance books would be written the same way now, only a decade after they were first published.

In the years since, a certain Twilight fan by the name of E.L. James wrote some fan fiction about another blonde-hating brunette who got spanked by a billionaire, and suddenly “erotic romance” was in the mainstream everywhere.

Not all change is good. I’m growing increasingly annoyed with readers who one-star books – particularly historical romances – because the characters don’t perform like porn stars on the page, or because the heroine is a virgin (unmarried pregnant girls in the 19th century often ended up on the streets – or dead. There’s a reason there were so many premarital virgins). Amazing authors like Mimi Matthews have to self-publish because her books aren’t filled with the steamier stuff so many publishers demand.

I wonder what – another ten years on – we write, read, and talk about now will seem spectacularly outdated then.

Why “outing” someone makes you an utter arse – #1

In the ongoing trademark wars, it seems there’s a new drama every day.

In court last week, the lawyer for trademark troll Faleena Hopkins attempted to have the real names of authors under attack made public. From what I understand, this is an ongoing dispute.

Here is one reason why it’s so awful to take away an author’s anonymity:

Schooled by Deena Bright

In 2012, erotic fiction author Deena Bright was “outed”. Her real name was not only revealed to her employer, but she was dragged through America’s national news because of the genre she wrote.

Bright (that’s not her real name) was suspended from her job as a high school teacher because of this, and subjected to public humiliation for no good reason.

Hopkins would like to do this to other authors who she sees as competition. Already, she is forcing them into the courtroom to shut down their careers (good God, her me and nobody else attitude is such a reflection of the Trump era!).

Authors use pennames for a million and a half different reasons, which I’m sure I don’t need to explain here. Add in the misogynistic stigma attached to the romance genre, and the issues surrounding the use of real names double or triple – or quadruple.

That this is an inherently petty and nasty thing to try to do to someone is obvious.

Dragging innocent names into public view to “punish” people for doing nothing wrong can seriously damage an author’s life. Especially so if she’s a woman. And especially so if she writes romance or erotica.

Fifty Shades is still going…

I honestly forgot about Fifty Shades of Grey, so was surprised to see another film trailer on the television in the last few days. This is the final movie… correct?

I’ve since read a few articles discussing the Fifty fad, and one point comes up time and again: the story – about a kinky billionaire stalking a young woman – seems extra creepy now. This is because the United States now has a lecherous billionaire as President, and the #metoo and other movements have exposed how many men of Christian Grey’s ilk wield their power to become sex abusers.

In the space of only a few years, this series’ always uncomfortable power dynamic is coming off as ten times creepier than before.

So far, early reviews aren’t promising:

The Week: 3rd – 9th October

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Partially storm-damaged – but still pretty – flowers mid-week.

Wow. Something weird happened this week, and my half-done draft of this post went up days ago!

More or less back to proper spring weather here, apart from a freak storm that came rolling in over the mountains with over 100km an hour winds, lasted about ten minutes, and brought down trees everywhere. This year… record low temperatures for the months we were in Europe, and now record storms in Australia when it should be hot…

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Wednesday evening in Canberra

Many have people have died for many terrible reasons this week. Here are a couple of things that haven’t been making many headlines:

Marriage of former nuns saddens Pope, says Vatican Deputy Secretary of State.

The best part was this quote:

‘Federica, 44, comes from Italy and Isabel, 40, comes from South America. They said they could have done what other nuns did and live together in a convent while hiding their relationship, but said this would have been “false”.’

In other words: there’re gay nuns everywhere!

And this little new piece of Putin propaganda:

Giant Putin banner appears on New York’s Manhattan Bridge

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Authors MUST Use Social Media?

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Ellora’s Cave Closing…?

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Coming Up for Joanna Shupe

Baron (The Knickerbocker Club #2) by Joanna Shupe

My review of A Countess for Christmas (Maids Under the Mistletoe #1) by Christy McKellen

A Countess for Christmas (Maids Under the Mistletoe #1) by Christy McKellen

Sarah MacLean: Bashing Romance Novels Is Just Another Form Of Slut-Shaming

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Ellora’s Cave Closing…?

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I’m not going to outline it here, because this is a big, ongoing drama that has been unfolding for years.

However, it seems that revolutionary erotic romance publisher Ellora’s Cave (who invented the – now largely redundant – term “romantica”) is closing. Mind you, if you Google them, the top result is still a call for submissions:

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And apparently authors are being given the option of getting their rights to their books back as long as they give up the money they haven’t been paid.

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Ellora’s Cave has been in all sorts of trouble for a while now, and when Dear Author reported on it a few years ago, they ended up being taken to court over THAT (read it, if you already haven’t).

It’s all a big mess, but head to the big book blogs – and the Twitter hashtag #notchilled – to find out what’s going on.

The Week: 26th September – 2nd October

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Stormy sky on the way home from Queanbeyan, NSW on Friday afternoon.

We had a public holiday on Monday, and I went out to the pub on Friday, so this seemed like a very short week! We have ANOTHER holiday this coming Monday, too!

I spent the public holiday visiting the Australian War Memorial, and then the Kingston Foreshore. It was a nice (if windy) day, but then the craziness started. South Australia had this freak storm, and the entire state lost power – South Australia is 1.5 times the size of Texas. The tail end of the storm reached us a couple of days later, which meant our Floriade spring festival and night festival had to be closed for a couple of days.

This time last year I was in full summer dress!

Congratulations to my cousin, who danced her final National Irish Dance Championships yesterday, held in Hobart this year.

This article disgusts me. Having been to school through the early John Howard years, where public education was stripped and stripped and stripped of money, to the point they couldn’t even afford to maintain the toilets, and all our textbooks were fifteen years out of date hand-me-downs from the private schools… I’m so angry about this:

Some private schools receive nearly three times the funding they are entitled to

In other countries it’s illegal to use government funding for private education!

That’s my rant for the week!

Australian War Memorial Canberra

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Lisa Kleypas’ Upcoming Book

Devil in Spring (2017) (The third book in the Ravenels series) A novel by Lisa Kleypas

The thirty-second anniversary of…

Ghost of a Chance by Jayne Ann Krentz

My review of Dark Fancy (Noble Passions #1) by Sabrina York

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My review of A Fabrication of the Truth by Katie Kaleski

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Elizabeth Gaskell’s Birthday

1832 portrait of English writer and biographer Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-65)

Dark Fancy (Noble Passions #1) by Sabrina York

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When Lady Helena Simpson flees an unwanted marriage to a revolting lord, she finds refuge with James, a charming, handsome man unlike any she’s ever known. Helena concocts the perfect solution to her problem. She asks—begs—James to ruin her. Surely her betrothed will repudiate her if she is no longer pure. And if all her efforts fail and she still ends up married to a horrid man until the end of her days, she will at least once have known true passion.

But James is not all he seems. He is, in fact, a wicked lord with a dark fancy. When Helena awakens his desire, he becomes determined to take everything she has to offer and more.
No matter the cost.

Dark Fancy (Noble Passions #1) by Sabrina York

I think there might be too many Sabrinas writing historical romance! I started off this book expecting one sort of story, and ended up with something totally different. The beginning, with the runaway bride who accidentally runs straight into the clutches of the man she’s escaping, was a great one.

However, I was expecting romance, and instead I got erotica! (A note: it is not listed on review sites as anything other than historical romance.)

Once hero and heroine had met (where he mistakes her for a child), they take about an hour before they start having sex – all kinds of sex.

I put the book aside, slept, and when I woke up in the morning I had a light bulb moment: I was thinking of Sabrina Darby, not Sabrina York!

I sort of wish I’d read the book I’d been expecting, because it would have been a great story. Don’t get me wrong; this is well-written erotica. However, I didn’t realised I’d signed up for the hero watching the heroine be spanked by a duke!

Well-written if this is what you’re looking for, but it’s an ARSE, thank you very much!

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Uh… Hmm…

So, this book exists. Here is an extract from the blurb (funniest bits highlighted by me):

Socially awkward for as long as he can remember, Harold feels his enormous package is just one more thing to be embarrassed about. Especially once hunky and popular Owen McKenzie notices it in the showers.

Owen knows he’s bi, but he keeps that secret close to his chest. He likes Harold, and wants to help him shed his dorky image and maybe even find a boyfriend. Still, Owen can’t stop obsessing about Harold’s equipment. And much as he doesn’t want to flip-flop on his sexuality, Owen does want to test-drive what Harold has between his legs.

My Fair Dork (Men of Holsum College #8) by Daisy Harris

No more copies of Fifty Shades of Grey!

I know, just from walking around the shops here, that used copies of Fifty Shades of Grey have been piling up in second-hand shops for a while now.

Now, an Oxfam shop in Swansea, Wales has so many used copies of the book accumulating that they’re begging people to not bring in any more of them – and they’ve turned the copies they already have into a fort!

But now it looks like everyone’s love affair with Fifty Shades of Grey is well and truly over.

Charity shop begs women not to return used copies of Fifty Shades of Grey.

I have been seeing some on the set pictures of filming of the next Fifty Shades movie, but if they’re only just filming it now, I have a strong suspicion the fad is going to be well and truly over by the time the film comes out. They really should have filmed all three together and made the most of the popularity at the time.