Thursday, December 01, 2005

Love. Ew.

This month's RWR (Romance Writers Report) includes an interview with Dorchester editor Chris Keeslar. Mr. Keeslar has the usual things to say about his "ideal" romance manuscript submission: "perfectly realized, needs very little cleaning-up, has a great hook with broad appeal...has potential for more books of a similar nature that aren't derivative." His answers to the other standard RWR editor-interview questions are fairly prosaic as well, and why shouldn't they be? Everybody is looking for essentially the same thing: a good book that sells.

But there's one query--the dreaded (paraphrasing here) "Why does Romance Fiction have so many image problems?" question--that Mr. Keeslar does address with something akin to a fresh perspective. He says:

" many other forms of genre fiction get less of a bad rap, I have to believe that a greater problem is the general American spurning of the validity of emotion. Good luck working past that. Until people believe and are unashamed to admit that finding fulfillment through a personal sexual relationship is valid, romance as a genre is going to have problems."

Well, hello and howdy do. Basically, what he's saying is that we Americans have a huge stick up our giant collective ass when it comes to romantic love and sex. (I refer you to my very first blog post, from way back in the spring of the year.)

And in the end? It doesn't really matter if you're writing smut...sorry, EROTIC ROMANCE...or squeaky-clean, no-kisses-before-wedding-bells-and-no-sexual-tension-or-references-whatsoever romance. I've spoken to folks who write for everything from the hardcore Erotica market to the Inspirational market, and they ALL say they take crap all the time for what they write. And they take that crap from an array of critics, ranging from rightwing uber-religiosos to leftwing super-snobs.

Why? Well, because, silly. Romantic love, sexual attraction, and their attendant issues are:

a) a necessary evil that exist to encourage procreation, but not something to be glorified in print

b) a gift from the Creator, and therefore a thing of beauty...but also sort of icky, and VERY private, and wouldn't it be better if you did something like...oh, I dunno...the Left Behind series? Now THAT would be cool, Praise Jesus.

c) a part of life, certainly, but the lowest common denominator and therefore nothing to ponder in any depth, much less kill perfectly good trees over

d) girly, dammit, and SO beneath the notice of real men, and therefore negligible in terms of value

e) all of the above

Funny how the folks--men, usually--who write gory thrillers featuring as many detailed scenes of destruction and bloodshed as, for example, I do of sexual congress, don't hear the same criticism. (And yes, Watcher, I'm looking at you.)

Ah, America, where violence is sacrosanct, but love is gross.

Our Puritan forefathers would be so proud.


In other news, "MOONDANCE" continues to be well-reviewed:

"Selah March opens this short story in the midst of panic and quick decisions, and does not let up there. Although this story is short, readers will be engrossed in Zoey's crisis immediately. The character of Johnny is a wonderful contrast to the one of Lou. I enjoyed the wonderful addition of musical elements to this story. It only makes it more humorous and goes to show that Selah March has worked diligently to add subtle hints along the way...Readers will find a wonderful story within a small number of pages..."

5 FLOWERS and a "SUPERIOR" rating from MAY REVIEWS:
"Ms. March has written a fantastic story. I was gripped with suspense, and couldn't wait to read what was going to happen. The characters were great and it also points out the dangers of trusting merely because of a handsome face. The story was smooth, the sex intense. Although a short this is a great story am happy to recommend."


Anonymous christy M said...

great ecerpt & reviews on this nice one to add to my list of to be read! popping in from wrr today

12/04/2005 3:02 PM  

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