There have been a number of posts in the last week or so that caught my interest.
First off, Emily Veinglory had a guest post at Bam’s, Authors and E-Publishing: Time for Tough Love. It’s a thoughtful piece, worth reading.
These publisher-specific sales levels show that readers have learned to detect and select the best presses and once they find them, they tend to stick with them. It is well past time that writers took the same approach.
Then Candy posted at Smart Bitches about Feminism and Masculinity. As is a regular occurrence at SBTB, there were a slew of comments. Even if you can’t get through them, the post is worth reading.
And most interesting of all is the conflation of certain effeminate traits–lack of body hair, slimness–with sexual submission and/or lack of sexual vigor. What does this say about the way we see femininity and feminine sexuality, and how we view sexual submission as somehow being less than sexual domination?
I will add, even though it’s a such a small, even pointless, point, but I don’t quite agree that lack of body hair is today perceived as lack of manliness, etc. Given that none of the cover models these days appear to have any body hair. I have the distinct impression that male body hair is way, way out.
Devon posted about the failure rate of condoms in romance novels. This, of course, made me smile. I didn’t know it was a common romance trope. Then again, I didn’t know Seth was a common romance hero name. I guess I’m just plugged in to the world without knowing! (I will say there was a baby-bearing time in my life where women around me, left, right and center were living proof of the failure rate of all forms of contraception.)
Finally, back to Smart Bitches, Sarah reviews The Leopard Prince (which I also liked). But what caught my interest particularly was this line at the beginning of the review:
There’s one book I read recently wherein the full story behind the trauma of the hero was introduced so late in the story that while he got over it quickly due to the magic power of the heroine’s love, I was left heartbroken and sad, so much so that the lasting image I have of that story is one of a tragedy that’s sharp enough to make me teary-eyed.
I guess ultimately that’s a pacing problem? I recall a book, a category romance, though I no longer know the title or author, where right near the end the heroine discovers that her mother was murdered in a snuff film. I was so bothered by this that the book, which I had basically enjoyed (not great, not bad) was quite ruined for me. I think if this plot point had somehow been introduced earlier, I (and the heroine) might have recovered. But, really, it’s not good when the romance gets overshadowed by tragedy.