Top 10 Lies of the Romance Blogger

This is just a goofy autobiographical meditation. I’m sure it has no applicability to any of you.

lie-main_Full

10. “I’m just going to stop at the bookstore to pick up that book I ordered. That’s it.”

Online version: “I’ll just click over to Amazon/Borders/Sony to browse, maybe add a few books to my wish list. Not buying anything.”

9. One day I will read every book in my TBR pile.

8. I never blog when I am supposed to be (a) parenting, (b) working, or (c) sleeping. See, like someone else’s chocolate cake, which has no calories (even when you’ve eaten half of it), blogging minutes, because they are virtual, don’t actually take up any time.

7. “This book didn’t work so well for me. Other readers might really enjoy it” (Translation: “This absolutely sucked donkey balls, but if you have shit taste, you might love it.”)

6. I feel nothing but sisterly affection and joy when a newbie blogger comes on the scene and generates more buzz and traffic than me.

5. That book was just too sexy for me. [Alternate: I skip the sex scenes.]

4. I no longer care – at all – about: (pick one) JR Ward/Laurell K. Hamilton/Linda Howard

3. Getting books from the library helps reduce my spending on new books.

2. I don’t notice blog traffic, especially not my own.

And the Number One Lie of the Romance blogger…

1. I am on a self-imposed book buying ban.

Version B: This purchase doesn’t count against my self-imposed book buying ban, because I pre-ordered the book weeks ago.
Version C: My self-imposed book buying ban doesn’t include novellas or shorts.
Version D: Oh, I meant that my self-imposed book buying ban will begin on the first of the month. Which month? Er….

*this post is dedicated to Pearl, who tweeted #1 and thus inspired this post.

A Short Musing on Attempting to Teach College Freshmen How to Write + Some Tacked on Stuff about Romance

A guest post by Angela Toscano, a graduate student in English who describes herself as an “elitist snob and misanthropic curmudgeon”, but who is actually slightly cuddlier than that. When I met her in New Orleans last year at the Pop Culture Association conference, I knew we had something in common. It turns out we are both Hug-averse Italian-American Women of Unexpected Religious Affiliation, a very rare breed.

Angela heard my plea for guest posts as I try to get my life in order after traveling for a few weeks. Here’s her post:

I wrote my first poem when I was five years old. It was a complex, metaphysical piece about Baby Jesus and the Christmas Star.

When I was ten years old, I wrote a play that my 5th grade class performed for the whole school.

I learned to write academically and scholastically during my junior high and high school years. A skill acquired through painful, excruciating episodes with my father in which he would sit at the keyboard and demand that I answer these sorts of questions: “What do you want to say about the Hopi Indians?” “I don’t know. I don’t know! I don’t know what to say.” “You have to say something.” “Ughhhhhhhhhhhhh! Uhhh, the Hopi Indians live in the Southwest.” “That’s not a thesis statement.” “Argghhhh! I hate this. It’s a stupid assignment”, cue throwing papers across the room in a fit of temper.  All these episodes involved tears, fighting and the eventual but inexorable dragging of the words from my mouth onto the page and into some eventual cohesive and logical format. As such, I could write an essay and a research report almost entirely by myself by the time I graduated high school. Although, not very well.

Now that I am in my third decade, I have the great pleasure of trying to teach 18 years olds how to write as a part of my graduate work.  I’ll tell you right off, and this is probably not a shock to any of you, but most of them can’t. Partially because they were never taught how, partially because they lack the inclination and the talent, and partially because none of them read very much; as such they have difficulty transferring their thoughts onto the page in a clear and coherent form.  They only vaguely know what a thesis statement is.  They don’t quite understand what the purpose of an essay is or what it means to cite sources. They have no concept of format or stapling. Worst of all, they have been consistently misinformed by high school English teachers about the Rules of Writing, which are nearly always wrong, wrong, wrong. For example, that you should never use “I” in a formal essay (untrue) or that you should never use the passive voice (not true) or, conversely, that you should always use the passive voice (equally untrue) or that you put a comma wherever you would take a breath (so, so, so not true).  All essays are five paragraphs long according to high school pedagogy, and of course, you would never be so bold as to put your thesis statement at the end of the essay. These are the same idiot rules I learned when I was in public school but I had the great, good fortune of being a child of intellectuals so I never really took them to heart. And when I did, there was always someone around to tell me no.

Teaching is terrifying.  I’m not a naturally extroverted person so every time I go into the classroom I have to psych myself up in the manner of Richard Gere in Chicago.  Razzle-dazzle ‘em.  The fake, teacher-me is chatty, friendly and assertive in a way that I am actually not.  Teacher-me is similar to public-me, who is also not really me.  My great fear is that I’m not actually teaching them anything, that despite the fact that I know how to write that I don’t know how to teach people to write.  I felt as if I saw an improvement in the papers of my fall semester students, but I’m not sure if this because they actually improved or because I was exhausted from the semester.  I felt myself getting weaker and less critical as the weeks rolled by so that by the time finals rolled around, I was not nearly as mean and precise a grader as I had been.  This worries me because I do not want to do a disservice to my students.  While I don’t believe that I am a natural teacher, I do want people to learn something, anything.  Even if it is just that they need to staple their essays before they turn them in.  Really, that was quite the problem.

In teaching people how to write, I am the one who has learned, mainly what I actually think about writing, if not something about teaching.  The first thing I learned is that you can’t teach people to write, but that you can teach people to write better than they do.  What I mean is that certain people are just by nature and talent better writers.  They do the things you are taught to do, but they do them naturally. This, I think, goes against what many believe, which is that anyone can write.  They can’t. But people seem to think this is true, especially of essays and genre fiction.  I don’t know why this is true.  I think it has something to do with how people regard language.  But I don’t understand why there are so many out there who believe they can write a novel or poem when they clearly can’t and moreover, never do.  It’s like believing you can be the conductor of the London Philharmonic when you’ve only ever conducted at church or a long with the TV.  Sometimes watching the arrogance of would-be writers, whether in class or out, is like watching a particularly cringe-worthy episode of America’s Got Talent, which should be re-titled Most of America Has Totally Deluded Themselves into Believing They Have Talent. I have had to learn how to puncture arrogance without actually breaking people’s spirits.

Writing well, so well that you actually move people—to tears, to new ideas, to action—is not something a person picks up simply by keeping a journal or going to workshops on the weekend, unfortunately. So just because I am awesome at Guitar Hero does not make me a suitable candidate for Julliard or even a garage band. Yet, unlike many other art forms, writing has been given the terrible reputation of being something anyone can do. To paraphrase a line from Ratatouille, not anyone can be a great or even good writer, but a great or good writer can come from anywhere.

However, most of my students know they can’t write. They just have no interest in writing. They think it is useless. A small minority of the students realizes the importance of clarity and grace in the written word and as they are good students and thoughtful people, wish to improve their skills. This is always the way I felt about math. I never innately understood it and none of my math teachers seemed to ever be able to make it any easier for me to understand.  It always seemed to me that math was taught as if you innately got it.  I don’t want to do that with writing. I would like to make sure that those students who don’t get it, naturally, can at least understand the parts and the structures of writing at the end of the semester.

Despite my belief that you can’t teach talent, I do think you can teach people to write better than they once did. You can better the little talent that is there. If nothing else, you can teach students to at least write clearly, even if you can never teach them to write beautifully. Several of my students wanted to know why they didn’t get A’s last semester. The real truth was because they just didn’t write well enough to deserve an A. Their writing was not interesting to read. It was not felicitous. Cruel and subjective but I do not believe in giving out A’s simply because a person tried and did a little more than the minimum expected. That’s bullshit and it’s unfair to the people who had to work really hard but for whom it doesn’t come easily or the people who have natural talent but for whom it is a honing of skills. If everyone deserves an A, then an A becomes meaningless. If college should teach you anything, it’s that you aren’t special at all and that you don’t deserve anything just because show up and do the work.

So what, if anything, does this actually have to do with romance? Well, I believe that romance, like most genre fiction, suffers under the same misapprehension that college freshmen have coming into composition classes: namely, that it is something easy to do.  That if you are going to write, you should write romance because it will require less talent than another genre and you will be more likely to be published because romance readers are less discerning. Romance is easy because romance is trash.  Students regard art and writing classes in the same way as non-romance people think of romance.  They think it will be simple, that it’s just a matter of doing the work, of following the formula without thought or skill.  They believe, almost uniformly in my semester and 2 weeks of experience teaching, that if you can speak the language, then you can write the language, and if you can write the language then you are a writer and deserve a decent grade.  A thought as misguided as believing you should never use the passive voice or that a common belongs wherever you breathe.

In any case, my goals in teaching students how to compose an essay are similar to my goals for romance: 1) that I make clear to all that this is not simply a matter of putting slot A into slot B, stirring in some fancy adjectives and a few randomly placed quotes to create an essay but a matter that requires thought and yes, even talent to accomplish well.  And 2) that the pleasure of writing is the pleasure of telling a good story, even if that story is disguised as an essay or even as a romance.

Monday Morning Stepback: Solo vs. Buddy Blogging, and a few more Pics

It’s Monday morning somewhere, isn’t it?

1. Links of Interest (these may not all be super fresh, I’ve been away):

An article I missed was My Trouble With Courtesans, by Lynn over at AAR. Good reading, and yet another version of the “it’s just fantasy defense” erupts in the comments. I am starting to think, “It’s just fantasy” should be banned from Romanceland, since it is never used for any good purpose, and usually has the effect of misdirecting or ending the conversation, as if somehow the fact that something is fantasy means it is removed entirely from the realm of human politics, morality, relationships, actions, and indeed human significance and meaning in general.

Another oldie is Editorial Ass’s link to Fran Lebowitz telling us we’re doin’ it wrong when we read Jane Austen. As EA puts it:

Lebowitz says that Americans, who are generally unironic, think of Austen as a romance writer and an archetypal Victorian; they don’t realize she wasn’t a Victorian writer and furthermore was a moralist, not a romance writer. She wasn’t telling fairytales; she was showing us how to behave.

I came to Austen from Alasdair McIntyre’s After Virtue, so I always thought she was a moralist. but I don’t see that as in much tension with romance, since I think a lot of romance is thuddingly moralistic as well.

M/m writer Ann Somerville has been writing a terrific series of reflective posts on straight women writing m/m. I especially like: “Oh look, the straight woman is speaking again. Quick, make her stop.”

I am so excited to read Lessons in French that I am behaving like my English Shepherd with a new bone: he is so overwhelmed that he hides it under the sofa cushions and then paces around nervously. But thankfully, other readers have fewer hangups, and the reviews have started trickling in. This review by Nicola O. of Alpah Heroes pretty much gets at what I love about both Kinsale and Nicola.

I was so proud to see the blogosphere react swiftly and decisively over the whitewashing of covers in recent weeks, and few have been swifter or decisiver than the Book Smugglers. They’ve just debuted a terrific new feature, Cover Matters. In their words:

We want this feature to dedicate more separate space to a topic that has always intrigued, irked, and befuddled us. In these posts, we plan to touch on not only racist cover practices (as with Liar and Magic Under Glass), but other cover issues too (covers in poor taste, misleading or completely inaccurate covers, and, of course, covers that manage to get it right). We are writing these pieces because we do care about cover issues – whether they be about whitewashing, slenderizing, homogenizing, etc. Cover Matters does not have any agenda beyond creating a space for an ongoing discussion of book covers.

Who knows why Bloomsbury changed their minds this time around, and who knows what effect the blogosphere had, but I can’t help being at least a little bit reminded of the famous Margaret Mead quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Beverly at The Season Blog has published one of the few blog posts critical of self-publishing that I have seen of late. She explains why she no longer tales a chance on self-published writers.

Although I find it interesting that this article was published in the Fashion and Style section, the NY Times is reporting on a recent Pew Research Center study that shows that

Based on a study of Census data, Pew found that in nearly a third of marriages, the wife is better educated than her husband. And though men, over all, still earn more than women, wives are now the primary breadwinner in 22 percent of couples, up from 7 percent in 1970.

While the changing economic roles of husbands and wives may take some getting used to, the shift has had a surprising effect on marital stability. Over all, the evidence shows that the shifts within marriages — men taking on more housework and women earning more outside the home — have had a positive effect, contributing to lower divorce rates and happier unions.

In very very sad news, the NYT is going to start charging me for reading it online. *weeps*

Over at the Witchy Chicks, Anya Bast has advice on writing that, while it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, is so true and so clear, everyone who has ever tried writing anything should read it.

Heloise has joined the ranks of ebook readers, and reports on her brandy new Nook here.

And last but not least, Tumperkin is glomming Sarah Mayberry! Wheee!!

2. Solo blogging: the pros and the cons

It’s been very difficult to get back into the swing of blogging since I got back. I’m behind on work (missed a week of classes), the kids are very jetlagged and needy, and my husband is still in South Africa. I love solo blogging because it’s the one area of my life where I can express myself without worrying (much) about uptake, and I am in complete control — if I want to blog 10 times a day or 1 time a month, I can.

On the other hand, I could really have used someone to help pick up the slack. Someone who has “got my back”, who can help out, and whom I can help out when needed. Someone to brainstorm with, share good blog news with, complain about other people to, you know the drill.

Then again, I ask myself, why do I want someone to pick up the slack? Who cares of there are no posts for a while? Well, I’m not sure I can express this, but there’s a certain momentum you can feel when you have been blogging for a a while. It ebbs and flows, but I think everyone settles in to a certain pace (at least for a while). When I feel the blog slipping off that pace, I don’t like it. It’s like running: no one cares if you run fewer miles in more minutes one day in your little neighborhood, and it truly doesn’t matter … but YOU know the difference.

I know a lot of folks who read this blog are solo bloggers. I’d be curious as to how you would describe your experiences. Do you ever think the grass is greener on the group blogging side?

3. A few more pics from our South Africa Trip:

Mosque Durban

A Mosque in Durban

We happened to run into two young men here, whom we had sat next to the day before on a crowded Durban beach. They remembered us, and offered us sweet meats (which is a traditional offering).They had come from Johannesburg, but knew all about this mosque.

Bunny chow

This is called "bunny chow", but don;' worry: it's chicken

Ostrich carpaccio

Ostrich carpaccio

View of Cape Town from top of Table Mountain

View of Cape Town from top of Table Mountain

Our cabin at a farm in Oudtshoorn

Our cabin at a farm in Oudtshoorn

This seemed like such a great idea. And then we realized what it meant to have a tin roof and 160 species of birds dancing on it at 5:00am…

Shanty Town

Shanty Town

We thought about doing a tour of these shanty towns with their lack of electricity, clean water, debris and rat problems, violence, and unemployment, but decided against it. Just smacked too much of colonial privilege, although I can see the other side: that the money that comes in helps the people, and getting a first hand view would provide a more complete picture than the one I just described, gained from the windows of our rental car.

A postmodern display

A postmodern display

I was totally fascinated by this postmodern display at a Cape Town museum. Instead of scratching and redoing everything, the curators overlaid postmodern interrogation of the binary oppositions inherent in museumship (?). the result was the most reflective, transparent display I have ever seen. This was from a mixed media display by the artist, Fritha Langerman, which “aims to draw attention to some of the contemporary debates surrounding biomedical visual and material culture.” It tackled head on issues of cultural representation, and the tension between culture (mutable, organic, integrated) and museum classification (immutable, inorganic, divisive). Still thinking about it.

Electronic walk in Tsitsikamma forest

Electronic walk in Tsitsikamma forest

I have to giggle when I see this photo. It looks like a nature loving family out for a hike, right? In fact, our cabin safe wasn’t working, so my husband insisted on putting every electronic device we had with us in my backpack. He’s “wearing” a Kindle, 4 iPod Touches, a Sony PSP, a Nintendo DSi, a netbook, and two cell phones. We got lost about 10 minutes after this picture was taken and returned to our cabin to read and play video games.

4. This post was written in memory of James Mitchell. I haven’t watched All My Children for 30 years, but I still can’t believe Palmer Cortland is gone!

s-JAMES-MITCHELL-large

I am working on a post — really! I’m like 500 words in! — connecting moral repair to the moment of ritual death in romance. I have reviews of Victoria Dahl (Lead Me On), Lauren Dane (Laid Bare), Joey Hill (Natural Law) in the works, as well as a N.E.A.R. review of a nonfiction book about the Columbine school shooting.

Happy week!

Review: Proof by Seduction, by Courtney Milan

PBS

This is a debut novel from an author who has gotten a lot of buzz, thanks in part to her popular novella in a Christmas anthology. It’s the story of Jenny Keeble, a woman of uncertain and unhappy origins — she doesn’t know who her parents are, but someone sent her to a boarding school where she was treated badly — who has made a career for herself as Madame Esmerelda, a fortune teller, and Gareth Carhart, the humorless Marquess of Blakely. Jenny and Gareth are brought together by his young cousin, Ned, who suffers from what today we would call depression, and who has relied on Jenny’s predictions of his future happiness to get through dark times. Gareth, a man of science, hopes to discredit her. He agrees to allow her to try to prove herself, knowing she’ll fail. At the same time, he finds himself attracted to Jenny almost immediately.

I appreciated the uniqueness of this story, the romance across socio-economic positions, and the sensitive treatment of Ned’s mental illness. There were some very touching and funny scenes, like when Gareth tries to be “just one of the guys” for a moment with his man of business, or when he sings a song of his own creation in public. I also appreciated it very much that the author didn’t resolve the mystery of Jenny’s origins by making her a duchess or something equally convenient.

Overall, though, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I hoped.

I think if I had to put it down to one thing, it would be that the book seems kind of permeated with a very modern psychology. Jenny and Gareth psychoanalyze themselves and each other with 21st century precision, and this had the effect of creating a kind of clinical distance for me as a reader from the characters and the action. In lit review speak, I guess it’s a variety of “telling not showing”.

For example, Jenny doesn’t have to figure out why she went into a life of deception as Madame Esmerelda: she tells the reader point blank that

She’d known since she was a very small child that she stood alone against the world. That had brought her to this career — the sure knowledge that nobody would help her, and everyone would lie to her. Lying to them instead had only seemed fair play.

And Gareth:

He’d left London eleven years ago because polite society nearly suffocated him. It was the rigor of scientific thought, the clarity of observation, the control he gained over the universe as his understanding bloomed, that kept some vital part of himself in motion since his return.

And later,

What had started as awkwardness and isolation had soon become superiority and a fierce reclusiveness.

Jenny says life coach things to Gareth like “You see, there is nothing on this earth so powerful as a lie that can come true.”

And Gareth, this cold scientific man, suddenly starts saying things like, “I need someone who can look at a man and move him to become more. I can’t do it alone.”

I was jarred at several points by specific things that didn’t work for me. For example, Jenny and Gareth butt heads on their first meeting. So why, when he shows up at night at her door, does she open it and allow him to mack on her? We are told that “something vitally feminine deep inside her chest insisted she stay” and then a few paragraphs later, we are reminded that, “everything warm and womanly in Jenny welled up” but it wasn’t enough for me to believe in her reaction, because the reader has been given no indication that Jenny finds Gareth attractive. Would she have responded that way if the local rat catcher or butcher showed up? (Also, as an aside, there is no “seduction” in this book. Gareth and Jenny have sex early and often. but I’ve long since stopped trying to use covers or titles to clue me in to anything.)

To take another example, Ned believes in Madame Esmerelda, a gypsy fortune teller, with the voluminous skirts and and scarves and incense. So why doesn’t he bat an eye when she attends a ball with him and Gareth, and knows exactly how to comport herself?

Gareth complains constantly that “the specter of his title robbed everything good and convivial from his life”. We are told that Gareth feels at odds with English society, but in scenes where he is in it, he seems totally at ease and in command. I guess he just didn’t gel for me as a character, having so many overlapping explanations for why he was the way he was: was it shyness? A hyper-rational mind? Childhood trauma? Rejection of the superficiality of English society? The burdens of wealth and privilege? I had a pretty hard time sympathizing with the last one, although luckily Jenny did too, saying at one point (way too late for my tastes) “Do listen to yourself, Gareth. Poor Gareth — forced to be a marquess.”

The writing wasn’t lovely enough to distract me from the things that didn’t work. For example this is the kind of line I personally felt did not do a service to the story: “Pleasure propagated down his stiff cock and out his groin.”

I will work myself up into something if I keep going, and then this review won’t reflect the fact that I did, overall, enjoy the book, mainly for the uniqueness of the story, so I’ll stop here and suggest you check out the following positive reviews:

All About Romance, B-

Azteclady at Karen Knows Best, 8 out of 10

Babbling About Books, B+

Book Pushers, 5 stars

Dear Author, B+

Mrs. Giggles, 83

Smexy Books, B+

Except for JMC, who had reservations.

Review: Someone Like Her, by Janice Kay Johnson

Someone Like Her

2010-TBR-Challenge-Icon-180x135

This is my first review for my first challenge: Avidbookreader’s TBR Challenge, and already I am one day late. Sorry Keishon!

This month’s challenge theme is categories, and I chose a book by a SuperRomance author I really enjoy. Johnson takes on pretty heavy personal topics — PTSD from the Iraq war, surrogate motherhood, and, in this one, serious mental illness and homelessness — which makes her categories much less fantasy driven than most, and also less focused on just the romance. She tends to write very realistically. Her romantic couples tend to be about pretty average, pretty flawed people. Perhaps because of her serious subject matter, there isn’t much humor beyond a few wry comments in her books, so I have to be in the mood for them. This is just not the author to turn to for a sexy, escapist read. But when I am in the mood for a dramatic, emotional, story about two people who find love while dealing with very challenging personal crises, I find her books extremely satisfying, and Someone Like Her is no exception.

Lucy Peterson owns a cafe in the small Washington town of Middleton, a few hours and a ferry ride away from Seattle. Lucy has always lived there with her large family, and while she yearns to travel, and sometimes wonders if she has made the right choices in her life, she is pretty content. When the book opens, we are introduced to “the hat lady”, an elderly homeless woman whom Lucy, and the other townspeople, have grown attached to. The hat lady is mentally ill, and appears on any given day as a different “Elizabeth” in literature. No one knows her real identity, and she refuses more than casual assistance. Together, the people of Middleton who sympathize with the hat lady (there are others who fear and mistrust her, the kind of realistic touch I appreciate in Johnson) manage to keep her safe and fed, until the day she gets hit by a car and ends up in a coma in the hospital.

Lucy takes it upon herself to find “the hat lady’s” family. Because I am reading a Harlequin, I am not surprised that Elizabeth’s son is a good looking, successful partner in a large Seattle law firm. He’s a workaholic, known for being ruthless in court and tyrannical in the office. When he comes to Middleton, Lucy doesn’t know what to make of him: he doesn’t seem all that sympathetic to his mother, and his low opinion of small town life is grating.

But Adrian’s perceptions of the town are not just easy stereotypical snap judgments. He’s a thoughtful guy. Here’s an example:

There was another thing, Adrian realized, making this town feel so backward: there were definite gender roles here that had mostly been abandoned by his friends and contemporaries.

This book is as much about Adrian coming to terms with how he lost his mother as it is about his relationship with Lucy. Adrian’s loss of his mother at age 10, his memories of what life was like with a mentally ill, loving, creative, unusual, parent, her departure from his life, and the long term emotional ramifications form the core of this book. And if you think Adrian’s mother suddenly wakes up and is miraculously cured of her mental illness, reconciling with perfect harmony with the son she hasn’t seen in decades, you haven’t read this author. The ending is bittersweet but very satisfying.

As Adrian falls in love with Lucy, and with Middleton, and begins to come to terms with his mother’s reappearance in his life, the conflict emerges over how to reconcile his Seattle lifestyle with his new relationships. In so many romances, we see a heroine giving up her city career for a simple life with the hero. in this one, the dynamic is the opposite. I loved the fact that Lucy, while she had the occasional reasonable doubt about her attractiveness to the Armani wearing Adrian, never apologized for Middleton or her life there. She was pretty clear on who she was and what she wanted. The significant character arc here is Adrian’s.

Like the previous Johnson books I have read, there isn’t much focus on the sexual relationship, and there are only a few intimate scenes, with a lot of euphemisms (Lucy can’t even form a definite noun, using the word “there” for Adrian’s genitals). But I did find them unusually intense and a bit more frequent in number for this author. I wonder if that has to do with the fact that this book was published in 2009, and the others I have read by her were older.

If I had one gripe about this book, it would be that I did not quite understand why Adrian never sought his mother out as an adult.

I really enjoy Johnson, and I think Someone Like Her may be my favorite of hers.

Monday Morning Stepback: South Africa Pictures Edition

Greetings! We are just back from our trip, which was wonderful, and I thought I would share a few photos (plus I am too jetlagged to string two sentences together). I took 1000, so consider this an awesome feat of restraint. Some of these are romance related — things I found in SA bookstores — and a few are personal. I hope to get back to real romance blogging later this week.

In Durban, pron is considered romance?

In Durban, pron is considered romance?

(Note the Penthouse volumes on the top right)

We ate incredibly well.

We ate incredibly well.

I don't make them dress alike.

Not "the wild" exactly, but kids loved this.

A Christian bookstore (giggle)

A Christian bookstore (giggle)

My youngest knows what sex is now.

My youngest knows what sex is now.

Lovely covers in Joburg

Lovely covers in Joburg

On safari. Waiting for a herd to pass.

On safari. Waiting for a herd to pass.

So beautiful.

So beautiful.

Afrikaans romance. Whites only?

Afrikaans romance. Whites only?

I tried to find a translation for the intriguing sounding “My Liefling is ‘n Wolkeman”. I am guessing that this attempt (not mine) was not all that successful:

Severe Danie de Wet has six daughters, about whom he is like a volstruismannetjie watch. Anke is his “probleemkind” because of her love for Braam Venter, who won Euro’s Dublin, but he wishes ill to his meat-Merino and his girl. By Nora Roberts

Well, hello!

Well, hello...

Just like in Maine!

Just like markets in rural Maine!

Cape Town restaurant

Cape Town restaurant

I hope you all had a great few weeks.

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Heloise Merlin's Weblog

Virtual people read books, too!

Victoria Janssen

Just another WordPress.com site

Bblog Central

Your source for book blogging.

Insta-Love Book Reviews

Deflowering romance - one book at a time

A Striped Armchair

Bookish thoughts from a woman of endless curiousity

Sonomalass's Blog

Another day in paradise

RR@H Novel Thoughts & Book Talk

Featuring Author Interviews and Commentaries

Something More

my extensive reading

The Romantic Goldfish

"Cheapest mother fucking goldfish on the planet"

Shallowreader's Blog

...barely scratching the surface of romance literature, reading and libraries

Joanna Chambers, author

Historical romance

THE DAILY RUCKUS

ROYALTY, ROMANCE NOVELS, AND A LITTLE RUCKUS

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