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Remember this post? Of course you don’t. I barely remember it myself.

Anyway, the post was about a reader who was basically dissing romance, but I wasn’t actually dissing the blogger, for dissing romance. (Erm, did that even make any sense?) No, I was just highlighting some of her comments, the majority of which I actually agreed with.

Anyway, it took nearly two years, but the original author of the quoted piece, found my post yesterday, and decided to leave a long-assed comment.

She starts:

I’m the one who wrote that review. Would have been nice if you’d addressed any of the salient points in a rational manner.

She doesn’t appear to have even read my comments, or else she wouldn’t have started off on the defensive so soon.

She continues:

And, if you must know, I’ve had long discussions about writing and publishing and public perceptions of genres with numerous writers, many of them romance writers.

I know what the pitfalls are with the business. I know what the demands are. And I know what the view of romance is.

You see, she sounds reasonable doesn’t she?

Well, at least she did until she wrote the following:

Answer one question: How many romance writers have the reputation of Ian Rankin, Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly, Peter Robinson or George Pelecanos, just a few of the mystery writers who are considered top-notch by any reader, no matter what the genre?

This one has elitist book snob written all over her.

As for being considered top-notch by any reader, the only Ian Rankin book I’ve read is Exit Music, and although I liked it, I could think of several romance writers whose prose I much prefer. This is just a personal thing you understand.

I’ve never read Michael Connelly, but I’m willing to bet none of his books would resonate with me the way a Dorothy Koomson book would. As for George Pelecanos, never read him, (I heard that The Wire is great though) so I couldn’t possibly pass comment, but I’m willing to bet, I wouldn’t find his books half as interesting as some of Linda Howard’s early stuff. *g*

Anyway, Aquaria continues:

How many romance writers have been nominated for book of the year awards, or even a Pulitzer like, oh, mystery’s James Lee Burke?

Although I concurred with many of her original comments, she’s delving into the realm of Deep-Seated Book Snobbery now, methinks.

Does she honestly believe that being nominated for a Pulitzer automatically means that that book was the best in its genre? If so, then I think she’s deluded. Oscars anybody?

So many books win these prizes because of marketing spin, and buzz created by the publishing house, and sometimes the media. You go and talk to Average Joe or Jane on the street, and you’ll find they have no idea who won Book of The Year in 2007, but they can tell you what Harry Potter was thinking in the third book, on Chapter eight, paragraph 6.

Winning these great literary awards don’t automatically equate to financial success. Remember my post about Mary Gaitskill? The National Book Award nominee who was broke, and living in a student dormitory with her hubby? There was a write-up about her plight in the New York Times, as I recall.

Aquaria continues:

If you’d read any of these authors you would understand why they aren’t just thriller writers, but serious artists as well. Or how about Ursula K. Le Guin, Arthur C. Clarke, Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, Terry Pratchett, Jim Butcher or Neil Gaiman from Sci-fi? How many romance writers have been nominated for book of the year awards, or even a Pulitzer like, oh, mystery’s James Lee Burke?

So, Gaiman is an artist, but Nora Roberts isn’t, by virtue of the fact that she writes romance?

She says that she knows how romance novels are perceived by people outside the genre, yet she sarcastically asks how many have been nominated for book awards? Anybody who knows anything about the romance genre, wouldn’t even bother asking such a ridiculous question.

BTW, I have no idea who James Lee Burke is. Does that make me an ignorant slut? *g*

Romance doesn’t get a fraction of the respect that those two genres get. But, as postulated in my blog, writers and fans in those two genres also don’t get raving lunatic hysterical if you point out flaws in their genres. They have some semblance of critical analysis going on.

What? Is she truly saying that there aren’t lunatic fans within mystery and sci-fi?

Look, I left the genre and came back to it. It took only six months to realize that things had changed–but for the worse. I see no mention here of the increasing dumbing down of the heroines of these books. The writers are so inept that they think TELLING us their heroines are smart is the same as having a smart heroine. It’s not. It’s pretty dang sad when one of the dumbest heroines of the 70s is a frickin’ rocket scientist in comparison to the average romance heroine of today.

Hey, I’m the first one to complain about pussy-arsed heroines, who are as dumb as rocks, but they aren’t all like that. Methinks she’s generalising a bit too much here. If all the heroines were like that, I’d have given up reading romance books years ago.

It’s sad when most of the writers keep trying to re-write Pride and Prejudice, and can’t begin to have characters as smart, strong and fully-developed as Jane Austen did 200 years ago, when women were literally chattel. I don’t expect every writer to have her skill at the craft, but, jeez, can’t they give their characters some backbones and brains?

She has a point, but once again, this doesn’t apply to all romance writers. Plus, it’s all subjective anyway, one reader’s dumb bitch, is another’s nuclear physicist.

I found this next bit a bit presumptious:

By the way, why do so many romance writers leave the genre? Publishing is rife with them–Tami Hoag, Sandra Brown, Catherine Coulter, Janet Evanovich, and so forth? Could it be because it limits them as writers (Janet Evanovich says as much, outright)? That they have to adhere to a ridiculous formula with very little wriggle room, book after book after book? Could it be that they hate having their books taken from truly beautiful and poetic stories of 200,000 words and shoehorned into bare-bones formulae of 80K? Do any of you even understand a fraction of how this business works?

Patronising much? I guess she’s talking about the old HEA huh? So many people seem to have a problem with that particular romance staple, don’t they?

Another thing: Do you think I haven’t been to AAR and all the other places? I have. I’ve seen the female pack mentality at work when discussing romance books. Criticize anything, and it’s hysteria all around. It doesn’t take too many instances of that before someone just leaves thinking that romance readers are a bunch of immature Heathers.

She makes a good point, after all, we’ve witnessed some of J.R. Ward’s RFGs haven’t we? But it’s not like readers throwing hissy fits is exclusively a romance genre thing, is it?