Monday Morning Stepback

The weekly links, opinion, and randomness post.

1. Links of interest


YA author Justine Larbalestier (of the Liar cover controversy) on The Blank Page Heroine, with a link to Demon’s Lexicon author Sarah Rees Brennan’s musings about the romance genre, with discussion of Meredith Duran, Sherry Thomas, and Tessa Dare. (thanks to The Book Smugglers for the link)

Good discussion of Rape as a Plot Device at KMont’s Lurv a la Mode. As an aside, KMont is an exemplary blogger when it comes to responding to comments.

I’m always fascinated by the history of Romland. Romance Dish has a post on Squawk Radio — a kind of “where are they now” (poor things, all abject failures). The contest is over, but the many comments are worth a look.

Katie Mack is talking about The First Person Narrative Problem from the reader’s point of view at Kiss Me Goodnight. Technically, she lists more than one problem, but it is such a neat post, we’ll let it slide.

An interesting post on how cover art influences one reader’s decision to buy, featuring two very different John Scalzi covers (thanks to @NadiaLee)

Some concerns about m/m from Sparky, a self-described “rambling activist”, which I found via a link Ann Somerville provided on twitter.


Harlequin comics are now available for Kindle and via Verizon and AT&T subscription. The initial batch is only $3.99 (about 25% off), but of course it’s all black and white. It’s optimized for the larger Kindle DX, so I don’t know how it looks on the smaller screens. I stood in the bookstore today trying to talk myself into buying a paper version, but the graphic novel craze just leaves me cold. And yes, I’ve tried the Buffy, the Death Note, the V for Vendetta. I think I am just too old.


From Feministe, a Danish advocacy group has launched Hit the Bitch, a site that encourages users to hit an image of a woman, with her sustaining visible injuries after each hit. Surprisingly, the group doesn’t actually advocate violence against women, but hopes its little interactive website will discourage it. Hmmmm…. Due to high traffic, the site itself is closed to anyone outside Denmark.

2. Bloggers Responding to Comments

How do you feel about making comments on someone’s blog and not getting a nod from the blogger? Do you expect a response every time? At least some of the time? Does it matter if it’s a really long thread? If you “know” the blogger? If you are a frequent visitor?

If you are a blogger, do you feel compelled to acknowledge every comment? Do you give yourself slack if it’s a long thread? Does it matter who has commented? Would you leave Laura Kinsale hanging?

For my part, if I am asking readers for input (as in this paragraph) I feel I have to respond. But replying to comments takes me a long time, and I have usually already spent a long time writing the initial post. I enjoy reading every single comment, but sometimes I am just tired of the topic, or spent. I have to ask myself which I would rather do: write another blog post or respond to comments, and sometimes, it’s the former.

I added a comments policy, by the way. <a href=";I just learned that you own your comments. I am not allowed to delete or alter them without your permission, unless I have a stated policy, so I added one. It’s in the footer.

PS. You didn’t know I had a footer, did you?

3. Bloggers staying on their “home turf”.

From inspirational romance author Brenda Coulter’s RtB column:

I don’t think its wise for us to troop over to blogs we don’t ordinarily read and “tell off” bloggers who are complete strangers to us. When we rush into battle every single time somebody maligns the books we love, we risk appearing insecure and pathetic.

I agree that “telling off”, if it means being insulting or rude, is not a good idea, but the larger question of whether it makes sense to make a comment on a blog you never visit for the sole purpose of criticizing a post there is more interesting. Of course, you have the “right” to do it, whatever that means, but what purpose does it serve? Is it better to do that than to bring it to your own blog (like I’m doing right now. Maybe it’s more brave? to face them on their turf?). I think I’ve only had one post that drew nonRomanceland critics and I can honestly say that I didn’t enjoy it. But perhaps it was good for me to hear what they had to say?

4. Blog news

A. My column last week for Romancing the Blog was my final one. I get stressed out blogging for other people, on their schedule. In the interest of acknowledging my boundless capacity for hypocrisy, however, I should admit that I just agreed to write a Smugglivus post for The Book Smugglers.


B. This week I will start an occasional “open blogger self-promotion post” in which you can pimp upcoming events on your own blogs or blogs you follow, talk about successes or struggles with blogging, call attention to brandy new blogs, announce retirements or hiatuses from blogging, or whatever. At first, I thought I would call it “Wazup Wednesday” but recalled that Wednesday is already taken by a feature so powerful that I have only dared deploy it 3 times in 17 months (What (Not) To Do Wednesday). Plus, I am too lazy to type “Wazup” when I can just type “Sup”. So, Sup Saturday will begin this week.

C. I have been reading some really atrocious m/m recently. I plan to do a review each night for Hannukah, a word which you can spell pretty much however you want, since there’s no literal translation from the Hebrew. So look for the Eight Nights of Ham/mukah in a couple of weeks. I’m sure my Rabbi would approve.

5. Personal

A. I gave a talk on Medicine 2.0 last week (basically, the uses of social networking in clinical practice and research), with a psychiatrist who used her time on the panel to rail against the dangers of internet addiction. I was happy to learn that we romance bloggers can relax, since only three types of internet addiction have been identified: sex, gaming, and text/email. Anyway, out of nowhere, she started criticizing, of all things, ebooks. She complained that one can’t smell or touch ebooks, and that a digital book is less permanent than a paper book. Naturally, I whipped out my iTouch and pointed out that if the conference room burned down, taking my iTouch with it, I could retrieve all of my books, while hers would be in ashes.

B. I am hosting Thanksgiving as usual this year. We have three days off, as do the kids, with no classes, no homework, no soccer, no music lessons, no NOTHIN’, and, even though I have work to do while at home, I am so looking forward to it! Our Slankets should arrive Tuesday, which is perfect timing.

I like the idea of being at “home” in real life so much, that I plan to replicate it in cyberspace. For the next week I won’t be on Twitter or checking email. You’ll find me holing up in my virtual home.

Happy Week!

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