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Pow, Pow, Take That Bitch!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007
Posted in: Uncategorized

Well Jane is spitting feathers over at Dear Author, and to be fair, I don’t blame her. I just experienced something very similar myself when I picked up a Kensington Aphrodisia book called Secrets and Sins, by that simply wonderful writer, P.F Kozak. (I absolutely refuse to provide a link, Google search it, if you must.)

Now I don’t mind menage’s, group sex, or even wolfie sex (well, as long as the wolfie isn’t in actual animal form, cuz ya know that’s well.. ya know, not my cuppa), but surely it can only be considered romantic, if the hero and heroine are both present, or at least aware that it’s going on?

Some bird from Aphrodisia told us ages ago, that the books are erotic romance, rather than straight erotica, which I of course have no problem with, but how can you call a book a romance where the virgin heroine is being felt up, fingered, sucked, etc etc, by somebody other than the hero, without the hero’s knowledge. Surely that’s called cheating? Surely that’s called straight effing erotica?

I don’t mind reading erotica, but like Jane says, why fucking lie and call it one thing, when it’s so obviously something else, and not a very good something else at that.

This is the second book of P.F. Kozak’s that I’ve read, and I’ve decided that enough is enough. Luckily, it wasn’t my money I spent on it. The Borders vouchers that the Tall Guy gave me for Christmas came in very handy. Although, safe to say, I will be returning said book tomorrow.

Something else that managed to ruin my day, was learning that a father actually slit his three year old daughter’s throat as a revenge against the mother. What a fucking guy.

May he burn in hell.

Now go and watch Jane going batshit crazy over Cameron Dean’s Candace Steele trilogy, it’s truly a sight to behold. (g)

30 Comments »


  • Nora Roberts
    January 9
    10:35 pm

    Here’s what grates my cheese.

    People who say: Oh God, we’d never actually READ a Romance. In fact, we wouldn’t be caught dead and buried in the Romance section of the bookstore. Eeeuuwww! BUT we like to call this whatever-romance because the books will contain a couple of the elements of the Romance genre–esp as WE see the genre we wouldn’t read with three pair of gloves and a gas mask. And just because it’s not a bodice ripper–oops, we mean Romance–which we find silly (But no offense, and go ahead and read that stuff if you want) the reader will figure it out, and really, they’ll be fine with our happy-ish-ever after endings, and our non-Romance genre death or parted ways endings because …. we just can’t think of anything else to call them and draw in the Romance reader.

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  • Karen Scott
    January 9
    10:57 pm

    Nora, jumping on the romance bandwagon seems to be the ‘in’ thing as far as other genres are concerned. It may not be cool to read romance, but the marketeers don’t mind having a slice the voracious-reader pie that generally comes hand in hand with romance books.

    And yes, there does seem to be a general perception that romance readers aren’t choosy, and have difficulty telling our arse from our elbows.

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  • Sarah McCarty
    January 9
    11:58 pm

    Ugh, I’m so with both you. I’m not the most retentive person, but I seriously expect my Romance to remain pure to the HEA. I’ve taken to waiting for reader reviews to see if there’s cheating, because I cannot abide cheating, it goes to character and I don’t care how many hormones are in full happy dance, I expect my hero and heroine to have the character to say no.

    And as for killing off my hero and heroine as Jane’s justifiably upset about, No. Just cannot happen. No way. No how.

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  • Anonymous
    January 10
    12:20 am

    Holy crap… I’m so glad I held off on getting this series! Whew. Like I said in my post, and to think I thought the first person thing would be the issue. Goes to show just how much I know. *snicker*

    Killing off the hero is just EVIL. That in no way, shape, or form is a romance.

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  • eggs
    January 10
    12:21 am

    I totally agree with you. I’m not a child who needs the comfort of a safe lie to cover up what I’m really reading. How patronizing is it to assume we, as readers, don’t know what we REALLY want to read when we buy a book? If the cover says “murder mystery”, there better be a dead body in that book, and if the cover says “romance”, there’d better be a romance inside, not just a fuck fest. If I want one of those, I’ll buy something with “erotica” on the cover.

    I understand the desire of the publishers to draw in the romance-buying market, seeing as we’re the biggest book buyers on the planet, but lying to me and assuming I’m too stupid to notice isn’t the best way to get me to buy a product.

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  • Bev (BB)
    January 10
    12:34 am

    …. we just can’t think of anything else to call them and draw in the Romance reader.

    Can I just say AMEN!

    I thought my eyes were going to cross a couple of times today. I need to go read a REAL romance. 😉

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  • Eve Vaughn
    January 10
    12:48 am

    Well, after reading Jane’s rant, I can’t say I blame her. Killing off the hero at the end of a ‘romance’ book, is like killing off Danny Zucko at the end of Grease in a freak motorcycle accient. That would, in Karen’s words, ‘suck donkey balls’ Call me a sap, but I want my HEA dammit. And if I don’t get it, I’m pissed. Another one of my pet peeves are the books where the hero is mean to the heroine the entire book and then on the last page he suddenly loves her. That’s another let down to me.

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  • Jane
    January 10
    2:29 am

    I guess I’ll be a little contrary here (bit surprise) but I would give the interviewer a pass. She wasn’t interviewing a romance author or a romance editor at a romance convention. She was interviewing a sci fi/fantasy publisher who wants to break into the romance market (by not selling romances).

    I place more of the onus on the publisher/editor of Juno Books, Paula Guran, for not really understanding the market and not really doing her homework.

    And Karen, the story you linked to, totally the reason I read romance.

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  • Kristie (J)
    January 10
    2:55 am

    I read the Dear Author post and all 91 (at last count) replies (and boy did that seen to happen fast *g*) I was in a meeting most of the evening and when I did my rather later than normal blog hopping, I felt almost like I’d missed the party. While I have a whole lot of thoughts rambling around upstairs it seems to me that it comes down to the basic thought that romance readers make up the majority of buyers of MM books and publishers are starting take note and throw a few cuckoos in the romance nest with the rest of the birds. But they didn’t do their homework first and realize how utterly important that little old HEA is to us – that’s why we read them in the first place.

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  • FerfeLaBat
    January 10
    3:14 am

    MY guess is that the HEA was written and then cut out to be published as a hardcover book segment later on. The ad copy will read: Rewrite the horror and make amends with your iPaq. You read the Brother’s Grimm version, now do Disney! Happily ever after can be had … for a price.

    It’s a perfect world.

    This is the literary equivalent of chasing a hit of amphetamines with Godivas and Valium. Think: Reading Rush

    Remember to read responsibly.

    One of my New Years resolutions is to give up reading the reader\review blogs and websites. I’m not doing so hot thus far.

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  • Bev (BB)
    January 10
    6:57 am

    Mmmm, yes, but, Jane, how many truly impartial interviewers actually jump into another discussion with both feet so readily like that?

    Ten foot pole and hazmat suit . . . grrrr. I mean, the ten foot pole, I could underdstand – our cooties are legendary you know – but a hazmat suit? Since when did they become toxic, too? ;p

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  • Nora Roberts
    January 10
    11:26 am

    I wouldn’t have given the interviewer a thought if she hadn’t made various comments including pole, hazmat, bodice ripper. Then she whined. You’re all mean–I’m going away–and I never said the things you said I said.

    Um: Pole, hazmat suit, bodice ripper, etc.

    But yes, absolutely, the main weight is on the publisher. She wants to label and market the books as Romance, but doesn’t–imo–have enough respect for Romance to understand or to educate herself on what the reader expectations of Romance are.

    I don’t let myself get riled up often over the slaps and pokes and sneers aimed at the genre. But this business pushed my bitch button.

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  • Dawn
    January 10
    11:32 am

    Thank you, Eve! Diana Palmer is a great one for the hero being a complete tosser to the heroine and then suddenly turning around and being all lovey dovey, and the heroine sucks it up with a straw (stupid bitch!).

    I would be spitting if I picked up a romance book and there was no HEA, because that’s what I want. There’s enough shit in the real world without me wanting to read about it.

    BTW, Karen, I saw Barefoot Soldier by Johnson Beharry and Nick Cook (about the black guy who won the VC in Iraq). I was going to buy it but it cost £18.99 but I didn’t have the money. It looked very interesting.

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  • Karen Scott
    January 10
    11:41 am

    Dawn, is that the same guy who’s wife left him? He was kinda cute!

    As for Diana Palmer stories, it’s been years since I read her for that very same reason, I hate stupid heroines, and hers were more stupid than most, Grrrr!

    Nora, you’re up early this morning!

    I know that the publishers are usually the ones to blame, but I can’t help but think that, the author must have had some say, after all, it is her story, and I’ve been told time and time again that authors are responsible for the majority of their own marketing.

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  • Karen Scott
    January 10
    11:45 am

    our cooties are legendary you know

    Speak for yourself, my coochie only gets used during weekends, and holidays. (g)

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  • Nora Roberts
    January 10
    12:47 pm

    I have to admit–hate that–I don’t know how much say an author might have over the labeling and marketing of her book. In a labeling discussion some time back I had to go look at the spines of my books. I’d never thought about what was on them, category-wise.

    I have cover approval, and have for a very long time. Marketing stuff gets passed by me at some point. I don’t remember ever being approached about or asked what I wanted on the spine–but this could have gone into the black hole of subjective memory.

    I tend to doubt many writers–unless they have big muscles–have any particular say in how the publisher labels the book. BUT there are many, MANY authors who are more involved in those details than I am. Who want to be more involved than I do. So I could be wrong–also hate that.

    But I just can’t see Sally Author, selling her first or second book to Publisher X being consulted about the label. But it will be Sally who takes the heat from the annoyed reader if that labeling isn’t correct.

    The reader plunks down her bucks for a book, and settles down to read it with certain expectations due to where it was shelved, how it was packaged, how it was labeled and marketed. If those expectations aren’t met–particularly any of the key expectations in genre–books and IPAQS fly. Sally has disappointed and annoyed the reader.

    I often take the heat because Silhouette repackages and reissues my Romances. They are, of course, clearly labeled and packaged as Romance–but it’s not always clear to Average Reader that this isn’t a NEW book. Even if it is, many readers see it on the shelf and assume I’m repackaging and reissuing it–and aren’t I the greedy one? When the fact is I have no control over this. None. Zero. Zip. But it’s my book, with my name on it, so I take the heat.

    That’s the way it goes. Readers aren’t required to know this stuff–why should they be?

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  • Desiree Erotique
    January 10
    2:38 pm

    If this discussion reflects the Romance reader consensus in whole, it seems that some Romance readers either can’t or won’t admit the possibly be a real romance within an erotica story even if it is the crux of the story. For the sake of readers of contemporary Romance and alternatively those readers -such as myself- who enjoy finding the romance within the Erotica, then yes the labeling issue needs to be re-addressed. Perhaps a label such as Romanticized Erotica?

    But in defense of Erotica, I must say that contrary to some views, they are not all or patently just “f*ck fests”.

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  • Bev (BB)
    January 10
    3:30 pm

    You know, I don’t think I’ve ever actually blamed an author for the way a book was marketed because logically I know there’s way too many “people” between them and me in the generally scheme of things.

    This line business, though, is mind-boggling. I mean when a publisher or in this case an editor comes right out and says that they’ve created this line of books to be something that it’s not . . . and then gets irked because we call them on it. Oye.

    I honestly couldn’t figure out whether she had no clue or not yesterday.

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  • Jane
    January 10
    3:33 pm

    I don’t really understand what you are saying Desiree Erotique. Isn’t the search for increased eroticism within romance resulting in the rise of erotic romance?

    As for Erotica, i don’t know if I’ll ever understand what it is and what it isn’t. I finished Megan Hart’s Dirty the other night and even though everyone says its erotica, it didn’t comport with my understanding.

    Bev, I think in some ways I know that the author and the marketing is not the same, but I do tend to blame the author because that is with whom I identify the book, rightly or wrongly.

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  • Bev (BB)
    January 10
    5:23 pm

    Well, I suppose it might have more to do with my printing background than anything else, Jane. Knowing how many stops there are between copy and ink tends to put things into a completely different prespective. And that’s not even taking marketing and bookstores into account. 😉

    But seriously what blew my mind about the discussion yesterday was the impression that they weren’t even trying to change romance but were simply using “romance” to label some books willy-nilly – as repulsive a term as it was to them – because they couldn’t figure what else to call them. Can you imagine the outcry if, say, Harlequin or Silhouette suddenly started labeling some of their books as science fiction or fantasy regardless of what was in them?

    Would Harlequin even be able to get away with “romantic fantasy” as a label? It’s just a ridiculous situation.

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  • Jane
    January 10
    5:32 pm

    Well, my blood pressure is up again. I went to the Juno Books blog by Paula Guran.

    http://www.juno-books.com/blog/

    Despite her claims at not wanting to redefine romance, she refers to historical referential material to justify the use of romance in her marketing.

    I then went on to read the link to Cindy Ward’s article on Paranormal Romance

    http://www.irosf.com/q/zine/article/10337

    Agh. Ward even quotes the RWA definition but goes on to say . . .

    “One of the many parents of paranormal romance is horror. Horror is dark and disturbing, intended to terrify. Horror is generally set in an unfair (if not downright malevolent) universe. And horror doesn’t often end happily.

    Like its horror parent, paranormal romance can be dark and disturbing, even terrifying. Paranormal romance can take place in an unfair or malevolent universe. And a paranormal romance novel or story can end unhappily.”

    WTF! Can you imagine how many fewer books readers are going to buy once these new “paranormal romances” hit the shelf where the books don’t end happily? Gah, I feel more ranting coming on.

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  • Nora Roberts
    January 10
    5:50 pm

    As I said neither respect nor understanding of the genre they’re co-opting, nor for the readers of that genre.

    And, apparently, considerable casual disdain as well.

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  • Bev (BB)
    January 10
    6:27 pm

    Yeah, and Jane, Ward’s sign-in page says right at the top that it’s a sub-genre of science fiction & fantasy.

    NOT ROMANCE.

    These people don’t even understand adjective/noun relationships!!!!!!!!!

    Of course that was obvious yesterday. I knew then this was the same issue as the erotic romance one.

    Can I help with the rant??? Huh, can I? 😀

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  • Bev (BB)
    January 10
    6:32 pm

    WASN’T

    wasn’t the same issue as the erotic romance one.

    ARGH!

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  • Anonymous
    January 11
    1:43 pm

    Is a love story a romance? You said that the Time Traveler’s Wife didn’t have a HEA, but that it was a love story. You didn’t say if you considered it a romance.
    Was it labeled a romance?
    What about the Outlander Series? I recall Diana Gabaldon saying her books were NOT romances, and yet I see it in romance forums and readers seem to classify it as romance.
    Was it the erotica that killed the romance for you in the books you described above?
    So many questions, lol, sorry! Just curious.
    Sam

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  • Anonymous
    January 11
    1:44 pm

    Is a love story a romance? You said that the Time Traveler’s Wife didn’t have a HEA, but that it was a love story. You didn’t say if you considered it a romance.
    Was it labeled a romance?
    What about the Outlander Series? I recall Diana Gabaldon saying her books were NOT romances, and yet I see it in romance forums and readers seem to classify it as romance.
    Was it the erotica that killed the romance for you in the books you described above?
    So many questions, lol, sorry! Just curious.
    Sam

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  • Tara Marie
    January 11
    5:41 pm

    Ten foot pole and hazmat suit . . . grrrr. I mean, the ten foot pole, I could underdstand – our cooties are legendary you know – but a hazmat suit? Since when did they become toxic, too? ;p

    It was the 10 foot pole and the hazmat suit that got me–LOL.

    Sam… not Karen, but I’m posting anyway–LOL.

    No Love Story isn’t a romance it’s, well, a love story. A HEA is required for a romance but not for a love story, love stories have romantic elements and can end have HEA endings but the HEA isn’t required. So that would mean romances can also be love stories but not all love stories can be romances.

    I also think there’s a certain expectation when you pick up a book expecting a romance and get something else entirely.

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  • Anonymous
    January 14
    10:33 pm

    eggs wrote:
    I’m not a child who needs the comfort of a safe lie to cover up what I’m really reading.

    The assumption is that if you read romance, you are a silly child who isn’t smart enough to see through a lie.

    I feel bad for the writer who likely had nothing to do with this but who will suffer the most.

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  • Lady Aeval
    April 6
    7:06 am

    That would be a dark romance. There are specific groups of people who enjoy dark romance books, but to be honest to the readers the books should always be labeled as dark romance so no one is led astray.

    Rebecca
    who is always jumping in on the conversation late.

    ReplyReply

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