Saturday, September 23, 2006

He don't know DICK.

Wow. HUGE blow-out over on the All About Romance "At The Back Fence" board. Seems a male poster of long and varied history with the site made some disparaging moral judgments about Fat Girlz. Or Fat People, to be more precise.

Now, I'll admit I'm not a huge fan of the AAR boards, though I like their reviews. But too many of the folks who post there tend to be a bit on the...hmm...come on, you can find a polite term for this if you really try, Selah...

Conservative. Yes, I'll go with "conservative" versus what immediately popped into my mind, which was "tight-assed sticks-in-the-mud." Because I'm just THAT POLITE.

ANYWAY...I've been reading there for a few years, on and off, and have taken a sincere dislike to one poster in particular. It turns out, he's the one who began the battle by shooting off his mouth on the topic of "fat as a moral issue." Quoted Dante's "Inferno" and everything...but he's an English teacher and does have a tendency to like to strut his stuff for the unwashed masses.

In the past, he's been equally offensive on the topics of the proper place of women in society and relationships as dictated by biology, and how Gay Romance can't really be Romance at all. An equal-opportunity bigot, he's now taken on fat folks. And all of it in this supercilious, uber-arrogant tone of "I'm clearly better educated than all of you cute, fuzzy little Romance-reading women put together."

His name? Dick.

No. Really. I couldn't make this shit up on my BEST day.

Well, Dick got his dick knocked in the dirt by a whole tour-bus full of folks who've had about enough of hearing how their weight problems are all in their heads and/or moral characters, and if they'd simply exhibit a little self-DISCIPLINE, dammit...

And Dick has apparently left the field of battle. Supposedly forever.

Which means I might actually visit the AAR boards a little more often.

S'all good. :) - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Thursday, September 21, 2006

News and Reviews

Still buried up to my eyebrows in my submission to the Ellora's Cave "Cavemen" anthologies. I swing wildly between loving my story and knowing it's good (whether or not it gets accepted) and hovering over the "delete file" key because it's all worthless crap no one will ever want to read and I should just go back to scrapbooking to fulfill my creative urges.

I'm still having a moment, in other words. But I'm confident it will pass.


For ADIOS TO MY OLD LIFE, by my dear friend and crit partner, Caridad Ferrer...from BOOKLIST, no less. Because she's the SHIT.

Ali Montero, 17, has been brought up by her father, a music professor in Miami, to be a good Cuban American girl as well as a talented singer and guitarist. But he’s not pleased when she makes the finals in a nationwide TV competition to find the "next Latin superstar." Could she win? Caught up in the performance rush with makeup, wardrobe, and publicity, she is helped by cute Jaime Lozano, a smart production major from NYU, who loves her. Ali’s first-person colloquial narrative is "totally" with it. But there’s also a real story here, with frenetic action, romance (including some hot sex), pop-scene fantasy, and surprises to the very end. What shines through in Cuban American writer Ferre’s first novel (part of the MTV Fiction series), though, is the rich diversity of Latino culture, and the celebration of music and its universal connections.



And for my own TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT, from

4 KISSES (out of 5) and 2 PEPPERS for heat (out of 3): Fifty years from now, the Breach has been catalyzed by global warming, destroying a good portion of life on earth; and for the remainder, the Change has arrived. Those who choose to embrace it have become nocturnal, creatures of the night. Jack is one of those; to conceal his undercover activities he pretends to be a male escort. He’s decided it’s time to leave the monster-ridden nightmare that Baltimore has become, and he’s going to ask his girlfriend, Laura, to go along.

Laura never knew Jack before the Change, before he became a vampire. Laura is convinced that Jack considers her no more than a blood donor and sometime partner, but she is no more aware of that than she is of his work for the Resistance in Baltimore. When the big-break up scene comes, magic will interfere with fate, with surprising results.

Selah March is a skillful writer of futuristic fantasy, creating a world, which we all might hope we never have to experience. Shallow on the surface, the protagonists, Laura, Jack, and Ellie, prove to be much deeper than expected, and hope triumphs despite the horrible conditions of the story line. To Have and Have Not is a story well worth reading as an introduction to this author; caution to the reader, there is some violence and graphic narrative included.


I've got a couple reviews for LIE TO ME on the way, which is scaring me shitless. I suspect it's the kind of story that readers will either love or hate, so sending it out for review is a crapshoot. It took every fiber of my willpower not to stock the freezer with Haagen Dazs in preparation to receive these reviews...

In other news, my daughter's third grade teacher passed away suddenly over the weekend, and so we've had to broach THAT subject. In my family of origin, the discussion of death was at least as verboten as the discussion of sex, so I don't have much training in how to talk about buying the farm with a nine-year-old.

My sister, who rebelled against our clan's bizarre handling of death (and by bizarre I mean not telling my twelve-year-old self that certain a family member had died for MONTHS, until said family member didn't show up for Christmas and I had the bad taste to ask, "Where's Aunt Mae?"...or insisting that all dead pets had actually gone to live on a farm, far, far away...or neglecting to call me at college to tell me yet another aunt had croaked, thereby making it impossible for me to attend the funeral) by going to work for Hospice and running a practice as a grief counselor on the side, is coming in from Tacoma this weekend. I may hand the dirty work off to her, now that the initial shock has worn off. sister bucks the denial of death and becomes a grief sister rejects the denial of sexuality turns to writing smut...we're really quite the mutinous bunch, aren't we? Can't wait to see what the baby of the family does to piss my mother off. ;)

Happy Thursday! - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

That story about me and my dad in the grocery store...

...coupled with yet another shameless plug for LIE TO ME can be found at the Amber Heat authors' blog.

Other than that, I got nothin'. Busy working down to the last possible second on my Ellora's Cave "Cavemen" anthology submission. I'm thinking that sending it right at the deadline will make the wait for the inevitable rejection that much shorter.
Yeah, I'm having a moment. It'll pass.

Hope your week is going better. - Romance of Dubious Virtue

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Inevitable Market Corrections and How They SUCK

So, sometime in the next few days I'll tell the story of how my father, God love him, managed to humiliate me in a tiny, farming-community grocery store by telling everyone within earshot that I write dirty stories for a living. The highlight of my week, really.

But in the meantime, the talented and lovely (seriously, check out that smokin' headshot) Jordan Summers has blogged about the state of the Erotic Romance market. She talks about reading books that have little-to-no worldbuilding, shit characterization, nothing-to-speak-of plot and no believable foundation for the strung-together sex scenes, all of which appear to be in competition for The Kinkiest Literary Encounter of the Year award.

Says Jordan:

"I've been reading a ton of ebooks lately and to be honest they've all began to blur in my mind... Maybe I'm getting old (wg), but it seems like things are being thrown into books for 'shock value' and/or 'salable' reasons.

I realize that BDSM, M/M action, Anal, and Menages are big right now, but why does every book have to have them? I can't tell you how many times I'm reading along and then bam out of nowhere there's an anal scene, a menage, or whatever. Nothing leads up to the scene. It's just dropped into the book. WTF?"

In other words, it's all "three holes, no waiting," and screw the story.

I haven't had a great deal of time for reading lately, and when I do get to sit down with a book or ebook, I've been tending to gravitate toward non-fictional history (great for sharpening those mad world-building skillz) and the occasional male-author-penned thriller. They tend to refresh my palate and help me keep my own prose lean 'n' mean.

But if Jordan and the other folks I've heard speak on this same issue are right--and I've no reason to believe them to be mistaken--the deluge of plotless, shallow smut is about to drown the EroRom market. And that just sucks for those of us still trying to break in. Especially those of us who work overtime on 3-D characters who engage and plots that entertain in addition to love scenes that arouse. I know I'm not alone in spending much more time on the scenes that build up to the sexual encounters between my protags than on the actual sex itself. Because if my mind and emotions are not engaged by the characters, then no matter how hot their boinkage, it won't move me on any level. And I'm egotistical enough to believe that most readers are a lot like me that way.

The really disturbing stuff is in Jordan's comments section. Editors are sending back manuscripts, asking for more, more, MORE and kinkier smut, while readers are tossing aside books unread, disgusted by the lack of effort on anything but the sex.

I guess we saw this coming, yes? The pendulum always swings, and now it's nearing its furthest point in the direction of "give 'em everything, all the time, so long as it's hot and involves the exchange of bodily fluids." The inevitable correction in the other direction will tighten the market, cut the chaff from the wheat and ultimately be good for everyone...even if it makes the market tougher for those of us still fighting to break in.


And while I'm here, I should mention that Amber Heat at Amber Quill Press is having a sale on Erotica and Erotic Romance in the month of September, which means LIE TO ME is now available for the bargain-basement price of $4.50. It's the perfect back-to-school gift for mature, college-aged daughter who happens to like erotic romantic suspense and reads ebooks. Or you could just go on ahead and buy it for yourself, I guess.

Yeah. I just KILL at this promotional stuff. - Romance of Dubious Virtue