Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

About Jane Litte

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

Posts by Jane Litte:

Podcast 51. An Interview with Drs. Joanna Gregson and Jen Lois about the Gendered Community of Romance (and some thoughts)

Podcast 51. An Interview with Drs. Joanna Gregson and Jen Lois...

I’m behind in posting the podcasts. This one is with Drs. Joanna Gregson and Jen Lois about the gendered community of romance.  Given the discussion  in the comments to the review of Suddenly You by Sarah Mayberry where the issue of gender and hetero normativity arose, I thought this podcast would be of particular interest.

One of the things I’ve always struggled with is outsider’s criticism of romance.  We argue that both romance is equal to all other genres in terms of quality but also that certain types of stories can only be appreciated when you understand the paradigm.  Does literary fiction require paradigm shifts in order to understand and measure its quality?

Some of the books referenced in the podcast aren’t even good examples, in my opinion, of romance as a feminist structure.  I always find it odd when Brockmann, for example, is used to portray feminism in romance. Brockmann’s heroines, particularly in her earlier works are weak characters and Brockmann herself has been known to state that she was more interested in the male characters of her books than the females not unlike JR Ward who was inspired by Brockmann.

I have had increasing discomfort with Higgins who, of all the authors I’ve read, seems to reinforce heteronormativity.  And frankly that is what makes listening to this interview so interesting.  The viewpoints of these two sociologists and their research into the genre and how they are interpreting it, even at this early stage, is sometimes at odds with my own opinions and sometimes aligned with them.

I’m not sure either of us are wrong but rather shows how complicated this whole issue is.

The following is from SmartBitch Sarah.

I sat down with Dr. Joanna Gregson and Dr. Jen Lois, two professors of sociology who are doing a years-long study of the sociology of the romance writing community. I attended their session at RWA and tweeted the pants off it (you can read the Storify collection of tweets if you’d like to learn more about their research and data). Later I begged for a few minutes so I could interview them further.

We talk about about their research, the things they’ve learned about the romance community and the patterns of behavior they identified as they gathered data. We also discuss whether romance is feminist, which led to discussion of valued work and devalued work, plus maternity leave policies in the US vs. other nations. It’s a fascinating discussion, and I hope you enjoy it.

Some of the terms we mention come form their presentation and I wanted to make sure I defined them so you knew what we meant:

Altercasting: You can read the Wiki definition, but for more details, I asked Prof. Jen Lois for some help with this definition. She wrote: “Altercasting refers to an interactional dynamic where you try to cast the other (“alter”) into a specific role or identity.  It can be intentional or ignorant, explicit or implicit, but it basically amounts to “offering” a role to someone else during an interaction.  We found that those outside the romance community tried to confer a shame-deficient identity on writers because of the sexual content of their work–in other words, outsiders altercast writers as sexually ‘shameless.’”

Prof. Gregson adds, “An example often used in Soc 101 textbooks is when parents say to children ‘I know you can be a big girl when we go to the doctor (or wherever)’; they don’t actually know that, they’re just hoping to convince the kid that they can be that person because that’s who they (the parent) want them to be.”

Contagion of stigma is another term I was unfamiliar with, though now that
I know what it is I have seen it live and in person in so many forms. Prof. Joanna Gregson explains it as “the idea that we not only stigmatize deviants, we also stigmatize those who interact with or are otherwise associated with them. It’s like being guilty by association.”

Here are some of the books we discuss in this podcast:


Book  Crazy for You - Jennifer Crusie Book Kate  Brady - One Scream Away Book Kristan Higgins - The Best Man

Book  Suzanne Brockmann   - The Unsung Hero Book Sarah MacLean  - A Rogue by Any Other Name

And here are their published books:

Book  Home Is Where the School Is: The Logic of Homeschooling and the Emotional Labor of Mothering Book Heroic Efforts:  The Emotional Culture of Search and Rescue Volunteers Book The Culture of  Teenage Mothers


Our music is provided by Sassy Outwater, who is awesome. This track is called “Percolator” and it’s by The Hanuman Collective from their album Pedal Horse. You can find them at iTunes as well.



Our podcast is proudly sponsored by Penguin, and they’d like to tell you about this new book
from Intermix:

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Download Jessica Clare’s BEAUTY AND THE
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If you like the podcast, you can subscribe to our feed, or find us at iTunes. You can also find us at PodcastPickle.

Want to suggest a topic or ask a question? Have an idea where the characters can keep their condoms? You can email us at [email protected] (WE LOVE EMAIL! Send us some!!) or you can call and leave us a message at our Google voice number: 201-371-DBSA. Please don’t forget to give us a name and where you’re calling from so we can work your message into an upcoming podcast.

Thanks for listening – hope you enjoy!


Daily Deals: A collection of starter books courtesy of a BN promotion & Amazon’s price matching

Daily Deals: A collection of starter books courtesy of a BN...

I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies Series #1) by Pittacus LoreI Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore. $ 2.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Nine of us came here.

We look like you.

We talk like you.

We live among you—but

We are not you.

We have powers you dream of having.

We are the superheroes you worship in movies and comic books—

But we are real.

They caught Number One in Malaysia. Number Two in England. And Number Three in Kenya.

They killed them all.

I am Number Four. I am next.

Quite the blurb. For romance fans, several of the reviews wish the the love story was omitted so yes, there is a romantic element.

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Night Pleasures (Dark-Hunter Series #1) by Sherrilyn KenyonNight Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

The Dark-Hunters are ancient warriors who have sworn to protect mankind and the fate of the world is in their hands. . .

He is solitude. He is darkness. He is the ruler of the night. Yet Kyrian of Thrace has just woken up handcuffed to his worst nightmare: An accountant. Worse, she’s being hunted by one of the most lethal vampires out there. And if Amanda Devereaux goes down, then he does too. But it’s not just their lives that are hanging in the balance. Kyrian and Amanda are all that stands between humanity and oblivion. Let’s hope they win.

Last week, twenty one books in the Dark Hunter series was on sale. Almost all except the first one. But now thanks to BN’s “firsts” sale and Amazon’s price matching, you can round out your collection.

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Simply Irresistible (Lucky Harbor Series #1)by Jill ShalvisSimply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis. $ 1.99

From the Jacket Copy:

Maddie Moore’s whole life needs a makeover.

In one fell swoop, Maddie loses her boyfriend (her decision) and her job (so not her decision). But rather than drowning her sorrows in bags of potato chips, Maddie leaves L.A. to claim the inheritance left by her free-spirited mother-a ramshackle inn nestled in the little coastal town of Lucky Harbor, Washington.

Starting over won’t be easy. Yet Maddie sees the potential for a new home and a new career-if only she can convince her two half-sisters to join her in the adventure. But convincing Tara and Chloe will be difficult because the inn needs a big makeover too.

The contractor Maddie hires is a tall, dark-haired hottie whose eyes-and mouth-are making it hard for her to remember that she’s sworn off men. Even harder will be Maddie’s struggles to overcome the past, though she’s about to discover that there’s no better place to call home than Lucky Harbor.

I know I’ve featured this book before. It’s been on sale several times. However, given that book 3 was on sale yesterday, I figured some people may not have picked up book 1 before. Jill Shalvis writes about nice people having romances but the tension can sometimes be a little manufactured.

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Blood of Requiem (Song of Dragons, Book 1)  by Daniel ArensonBlood of Requiem (Song of Dragons, Book 1) by Daniel Arenson. $ .99.

From the Jacket Copy:

Song of Dragons — a trilogy of blood, steel, and dragonfire. For fans of epic fantasy like A Game of Thrones and The Lord of the Rings.


Long ago stood the kingdom of Requiem, a land of men who could grow wings and scales, breathe fire, and take flight as dragons. Requiem ruled the sky.

But Dies Irae, a tyrant leading an army of griffins, hunted Requiem’s people, burned their forests, and shattered their temples. Requiem fell. This ancient land now lies in ruin, its halls crumbled, its cries silenced, its skeletons littering the burned earth.

In the wilderness, a scattering of survivors lives in hiding. The griffins still hunt them, and every day promises death. Will Requiem’s last children perish in exile… or once more become dragons and fly to war?

I found this BN review rather amusing “This book is an acceptable story that kept me interested enough that i purchased the 2nd and 3rd books. I do not always have time to read sweeping epic tales with so much going on. (I have a 3 year old)”

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