Of Michener and McCullough: A Brief Remembrance, with Links

4 Feb

I wish I’d written this. I was the same age as the author with all the same reading touchstones, including a deep love of James A. Michener. It’s hard to convey how much these books meant to those who weren’t around when they first hit, but this does am excellent job.

Badass Romance

download (1)In 1977 when The Thorn Birds was published I was fresh off a junior-high year of obsessively re-reading Jane Eyre and addictively consuming hundreds of Barbara Cartland category romances for my 7th grade reading log (fortunately, I had some understanding of the quality/quantity distinction, which is probably why my English teacher let me inflate my numbers so cravenly as long as there was a diversity of other literary selections mixed in with the formulaic Cartlands). I was also sneakily reading Harold Robbins paperbacks and other similarly torrid material I found stashed in the guest room. And I’d discovered James Michener and the lengthy escapism of the place-based epic historical novel/family saga. I still have an incredibly dog-eared copy of Centennial with heavily doodled inside covers – I was practicing signing my name in different handwritings, and designing monograms. I loved that book.

But I think Colleen McCullough’s sweeping Australian saga of…

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Directed Reading? The Romance Author and Her Audience

29 Jan

Something More

There’s been lots of tweeting about this Ravishly interview with Kathleen Gilles Seidel today, and I said it would be a great topic for further discussion on a blog post, so of course I found myself volunteering to write one that could be a place for discussion.

First Things First

I am not interested in discussing the interviewer or the interviewer’s place in romance criticism in this space. I have not named the interviewer because I am hoping to avoid having that take over the conversation. I also find the name tends to act as a bat signal and then that person arrives and shapes the subsequent discussion and no thank you.

If I have any bias here, it’s that I adored Again and plan to read more of Seidel’s work.

The Parts that Interested Me Most 

(and I think I’m not alone) were Seidel’s comments on her relationship to her audience.

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My characters care about safe sex because I have to

26 Jan

Thank you for this. One of my biggest pet peeves in erotic romance is inconsistent condom use.

Ella Dawson

IMG_2249 Celebrating a very special anniversary.

A few weeks ago, Tamsin Flowers wrote a thought-provoking post about whether or not erotica authors have a responsibility to incorporate safe sex in their fiction. A reviewer noted that Tamsin’s characters hadn’t use condoms, and that this seeming disregard for safe sex had nearly ruined the story for her. Tamsin’s articulate response was that erotica provides an escape from real world concerns of sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy, and her fiction is in no way intended to be educational. She argued that whether or not to incorporate condoms in erotica should be up to the individual author and relative to the work itself, and plenty if not most erotica authors and sex bloggers agree with her. Remittance Girl, K D Grace, and Molly Moore have written their own takes on the topic, making various points to reach the same conclusion.

I’ve wanted…

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Kathleen Hale and the right to privacy

23 Oct

Blogger Black-out at MBRR

23 Oct

Miss Bates Reads Romance

Miss Bates is going post-less until October 27th to support fellow bloggers’ protest against The Guardian‘s choice to publish an account of an author’s self-admitted stalking of a reviewer-blogger. Miss Bates Reads Romance is tiny potatoes; her stance will not influence, or effect the situation, nor will she link to it. It’s been talked to death and she’s mighty tired of giving the piece more space than it’s already taken. She links, however, to some fellow-bloggers in comradeship:Vacuous Minx, Romance Around the Corner, Love In the Margins, Book Thingo, Sonomalass’s Blog, Wendy the Superlibrarian, andKaetrin’s Musings.

In light of this distasteful mess and the less recent news that romance blog Dear Author is being sued by a publisher, Miss Bates soul-searched her blogging. She takes her blog-title as a renewing point, returns to her modest roots: primarily, Miss Bates reads…

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Gallery

Hale vs Harris, and the Breach of Online Ethics

22 Oct

Memoirs of a Time Here-After

[10/22: This post has been edited to include new information regarding Hale & Harris’s Twitter conversations, and the dissemination of Harris’s physical address. Many thanks to commenter Cheryl for the updates.]

Over the last couple of days, fingers have been flying across keyboards all across the book industry in response to the October 18th article in the Guardian, titled Am I being catfished?’ An author confronts her number one online critic. If you have any ear turned towards author, book, or book blogger news, you’ve probably already been introduced to this story. Many prominent bloggers have thrown their weight into the ring, and what perhaps began as a largely “on the author’s side” argument, is now firmly in the realm of “what was she thinking?”

In case you aren’t aware of what happened, feel free to read the article above, or any of the others listed below. However…

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Blog blackouts and minor adjustments to VM

22 Oct