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REVIEW: Miles to Go by Connie Bailey

Miiles to GoDear Ms. Bailey:

Thanks so much for writing a novel that could be used as a writing manual entitled How Not to Write a Romance.   It’s an invaluable resource for all other romance authors out there. It must have taken considerable time and unknown talent to include so many stereotypes, mistakes, crushed conventions, and sheer bad writing as examples, or maybe as warnings, to other authors.

I was particularly impressed with the character list:

  • The gay cop who tries to prove himself by going undercover, without any authorization from his superiors, as the bodyguard and right-hand man of a new mob boss.
  • His Latina partner who uses so much Spanish slang and cursing, her dialogue is almost unreadable.
  • The crime boss whose evilitude is obvious because he’s a sadist! Of course, because you know about those dirty sadists! And he’s British, so automatically more evil!
  • The stunningly beautifully gorgeous rent boy who is the crime boss’s boyfriend. He’s fuckable! And defiant! Lonely! And out for revenge! He fucks anyone who asks. Except for the gay cop. Even though they Lurrve each other instantly! He’s got an awful horrible background that’s revealed in pointless info-dump, rather than through subtle hints and clues throughout text. But, Oh! So fuckable!
  • The huge, loyal, yet two-timing bodyguards.
  • The other mob boss with a heart of gold and a really cute nephew.
  • The savior cop with a heart of gold whose memory is inexplicably dragged up in the final third of the novel.
  • The ruthless sidekick who inexplicably shows up half way through the novel as an alibi for the crime boss.
  • The ridiculous skater gang that show up inexplicably half way through.
  • The other undercover cop who inexplicably shows up….well, you get the point.

Extra points, by the way, for introducing so many characters so late in the novel. I get the impression that they’re actually a planned part of the back story, but you just don’t manage to mention them until late in the story.

Double extra points for so many plot points that require super-suspension of disbelief:

  • The unauthorized undercover work.
  • The cops’ apparently close and personal relationship with the mob boss with a heart of gold. He may have a heart of gold, but he’s definitely still a mob boss.
  • The instant connection the gay cop and the rent boy feel that “felt so right on an almost molecular level.”
  • The unsafe sex everyone has.
  • The fact that the rent boy has oral and anal sex with everyone except the gay cop.
  • The fact that the gay cop goes around killing random gang members without worrying about repercussions.
  • The completely manufactured “conflict” between gay cop and rent boy after the plot tension seems over, a conflict that seems completely contradictory to cop’s entire previous character and actions

And congratulations on hitting every cliche in romance writing by someone who doesn’t understand what makes a good romance:

  • All the conflict is manufactured by the “suspense” plot, rather than the relationship between the main characters, who instantly fall into lust and love and perfect harmony.
  • Sex with anyone by one of the heroes must make it a romance!
  • Lust=Twu Wuv, naturally.
  • Instant and perfect understanding between the heroes, until the Big Manufactured Character-Contradicting Conflict.
  • The power of the hero’s Mighty Wang (TM SBTB) curing all sexual dysfunctions!

Super bonus for covering the biggest m/m romance cliches:

  • Gay men are insatiable.
  • Any hole will do and any sex must be hot.
  • Retaining the gender roles of TSTL heroine who needs saving from herself and big strong cop who does the saving.

I started the book because I’ve immensely enjoyed other books from Dreamspinner Press and because I liked the set-up for this book. I kept reading the book to try to figure out if it could get any worse, and I was never disappointed. Well done!

Grade: F

But as I said, its future use as a what-not-to-do manual is invaluable.

Best regards,

-Joan/Sarah F.

The book can be purchased in ebook format from Dreamspinner Press.

Sarah F. is a literary critic, a college professor, and an avid reader of romance -- and is thrilled that these are no longer mutually exclusive. Her academic specialization is Romantic-era British women novelists, especially Jane Austen, but she is contributing to the exciting re-visioning of academic criticism of popular romance fiction. Sarah is a contributor to the academic blog about romance, Teach Me Tonight, the winner of the 2008-2009 RWA Academic Research Grant, and the founder and President of the International Association of the Study of Popular Romance (IASPR). Sarah mainly reviews BDSM romance and gay male romance and hopes to be able to beat her TBR pile into submission when she has time to think. Sarah teaches at Fayetteville State University, NC.

78 Comments

  1. Emmy
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 13:12:33

    Oh. Ouch.

    But hey, there’s man titty on the cover! No points for that, or the ripped-from-famous-poem title?

    ReplyReply

  2. Lorelie
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 13:35:41

    Super bonus for covering the biggest m/m romance cliches:

    Gay men are insatiable.

    That’s a romance cliche in general, wether m/m or m/f. All Alpha Men in romances are insatiable.

    ReplyReply

  3. Joan/Sarah F
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 13:50:53

    Oh, no, EVERYONE’S insatiable and fucking like bunnies, alpha, beta, gamma, whatever.

    And I find the juxtaposition of a sun-drenched pool scene with a poem about a snowy evening…well, strange. But it’s very nice man-titty, yes! :)

    ReplyReply

  4. azteclady
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 13:51:19

    0_0

    (translation: I’m speechless)

    ReplyReply

  5. Wendy
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 14:13:36

    If I read m/m I would buy this just for the awfulness. I know, musn’t encourage the author.

    ReplyReply

  6. cs
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 14:37:03

    The cover is nice, but the author is very…um well she has a lot to learn.

    This was an amusing review. Thank you for your honesty, I don’t think I’ve read a ‘F’ review of a book at DA since I started visiting.

    ReplyReply

  7. ArkansasCyndi
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 14:48:24

    YIKES!

    ReplyReply

  8. zippy
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 14:49:22

    OK, sometime today I must stop chuckling about this review! One thing I find so refreshing about DA is that you ladies tell it like it is – no make nice just to save an author’s feelings or to stay in good with the publishers. If it’s dreck, you say so. Bravo!

    ReplyReply

  9. Seneca
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 15:13:33

    Oh dear.
    I just bought ‘True Blue’, by this author.

    ReplyReply

  10. Katie
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 15:25:35

    This is such a great review, I felt the need to read it aloud to my husband. Thanks for our afternoon chuckle.

    I’m such a sick weirdo that I now find myself wanting to read this book. Sometimes, I love a literary trainwreck.

    ReplyReply

  11. stephanie feagan
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 15:43:53

    Please tell me the rent boy is named Miles. To Go.
    Oh, God, I crack myself up.

    ReplyReply

  12. Joan/Sarah F
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 16:04:18

    @stephanie feagan Bwahahaha!!! That’s just bad!

    ReplyReply

  13. Eva_baby
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 16:09:18

    How menacing can a skater gang be?

    ReplyReply

  14. Ann Somerville
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 16:14:10

    As I read your review, I was going, yep, read this one, read this one.

    Only it wasn’t this one, it was one just as bad. With almost identical plot and cliches.

    Sarah, Sarah, come on over to UP and pick out some good ones, will you? The m/m genre is drowning in crap, and sad to say, the problems you mentioned in this seem to be standard in too many of the stories being offered.

    Dreamspinner is yet another one of the ones started by authors who publish themselves (like too many other epresses, the identity of the author-owners is kept a dark secret) and acquire a few other writers to make it look less of a vanity operation. I don’t *think* Bailey is one of the owners. The output from this press is, I have to say, bloody expensive for ebooks, and I’m not convinced the quality of the product merits it in any way.

    ReplyReply

  15. Ann Somerville
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 16:14:44

    @Eva_baby:

    They could totally cut you!

    ReplyReply

  16. Jess
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 18:30:22

    Bless You! I’ve been sick and I needed the good laugh, I just read a book that made me cringe and put it down in disgust in about 30 pgs. If anything I felt it was demeaning to the male race, something I never thought I would ever say LOL

    I congratluate you on sticking it out for the entire book, I couldnt of done it. I’ve found a distressing amount of pure rubbish is being published these days. I am finding that I’m reluctant to try new pubishing houses, Torquere Press is my Favourite m/m publishing house and Samhain Publishing is my favourite general everything publishing site. Truthfully I think Samhain is producing much better quality then Ellora’s lately.

    I continue to find good reads at Loose-Id, Changling and New Concept Publishing but I’ve found a few stinkers with them to.

    Thanks for the refreshingly brutal review, Im impressed.

    ReplyReply

  17. Jim
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 18:56:56

    Your ghastly review of Connie Bailey’s book stank of salacious, malicious sarcasm and hubris, and made me sick to think that otherwise intelligent women ( I hope) would sink so low. There was nothing clever or funny in your review, and the fact that so many written comments seemed to find both those elements makes me wonder just what kind of mean and nasty people you cater to. Shame on both of you – I sincerely hope that Miss Bailey never visits this site, and that Joan/SarahF never get to write another review.

    ReplyReply

  18. Ann Somerville
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 19:04:37

    @Jim:

    Ooh, now you’ve made my day. All Sarah’s review needed was a ‘you’re all just haters!!!!’ troll.

    “Your ghastly review of Connie Bailey's ghastly book”

    There, I fixed it for you.

    “There was nothing clever or funny in your review Connie Bailey's book.”

    Fixed that for ya too.

    How exactly did you find this review, ‘Jim’? Married to the author, are you?

    ReplyReply

  19. Joan/SarahF
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 19:12:00

    Ooh, now I’m REALLY a mean grrl. Go me.

    In commentary elsewhere, someone said something about how this review sounds angry, and yeah, I guess it is. I’m mad that I spent my time reading this book. And sure, I could have stopped, but I was really hoping it would get better, because I was really intrigued by the set-up and by the promise of the characters. I was mad that something that could have been very good ended up so very awful.

    @Ann Somerville: I’ve got some good ones coming up. M. King’s Breaking Faith, for one. And a…consideration/semi-review of some m/m series that I’m enjoying. So they’re out there. But I was so disappointed with this book. The set up with the hint/promise of some understanding/exploration of BDSM in the excerpt really intrigued me, but then to find that the BDSM was only used as typical signifier of Twu Ebil was so maddening, that, well, this was the result. Add to that the truly awful treatment of the rent boy–the blase narration of some pretty serious abuse–and the unacknowledged insufferability of the way the cop treats him, while claiming to love him…and, well, yeah, I was mad.

    If I felt that the author had put any thought into her craft, rather than just throwing up her vague story ideas onto a computer, I’d have dealt with it differently. But yes, there’s as much of an impulse to entertain as inform in a review as there is in a story. I think I’ve managed to do both here, IMO.

    ReplyReply

  20. Ann Somerville
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 19:20:57

    @Joan/SarahF:

    I was mad that something that could have been very good ended up so very awful.

    I get that. When an author takes an idea I wish I’d come up with, and makes a dog’s breakfast of it, I wonder why good plots come to lousy writers and go off to kick something small and helpless, like my husband’s testicles.

    But as a reader, I look at each new book as a wrapped gift. I’m waiting for the ‘Ahhhh’ factor. When I open the wrapping and someone’s thrown up in the Wedgwood bowl, and the bowl’s got a crack in it anyway, and on the bottom there’s a gift tag to someone else, the rage at being cheated can be mighty. And I don’t see why we should sanitise that reaction as reviewers. Reviewers are just readers with a platform. We’re entitled to our opinion.

    BDSM is something that’s done so badly so often. It’s a very difficult thing to get right, which is why it drives me nuts when inferior writers gaily whack it into their stories without thought or reason. It’s like it’s decoration or something, grrrrr.

    I thought it a very good review. I know the author will be crying into her whisky right now, because it will have stung like hell, but deluding the poor lamb that this one was a classic would have been truly unkind.

    ReplyReply

  21. Paul Bens
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 19:39:45

    In commentary elsewhere, someone said something about how this review sounds angry, and yeah, I guess it is.

    I think that may have been me saying that. =-)

    I was mad that something that could have been very good ended up so very awful.

    That’s what I was trying to to get across on the elsewhere site. I really need a lesson in being succinct. (In my writing and reviewing and commenting…but I probably babble on…I mean… ) =-)

    For me, reading the review, I just felt your frustration…probably because I’ve been there when reviewing stuff.

    And I don’t think you’re a mean girl.

    I do have a question about the book…and I’m not being snarky, it just made me curious. It was a roller skating gang, right? (Couldn’t be ice skates.) Because all I could think of when I read this was all of those 80s gang movies…but on roller skates.

    OK…I’m supposed to be working.

    ReplyReply

  22. Sparky
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 19:52:26

    Argh it makes my brain hurtttt.

    Just NOOOO. It sounds like a very very very bad porn movie. I mean, is this entire mafia organisation gay? And do they spend all their time having sex with each other? And then there’s the bottom who needs saving (a damsel in distress. But with a dick. Oh how tired I am of that one)? Ye gods books like this insult the Romance genre, gay fiction and everyone with half a brain (the other half has melted and ran to a corner where it rocks back and forth muttering “I can’t unsee it! I can’t unsee it!”)

    And can we have a side order of rant that kinky = evil. But only small side order, becuase if I ranted about everything this book seems to hqave done to annoy me I’d need a whole blog to do it in

    ReplyReply

  23. vanessa jaye
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 20:15:38

    I do have a question about the book…and I'm not being snarky, it just made me curious. It was a roller skating gang, right?

    I haven’t read the book, but I assumed skater= skateboarder.

    ReplyReply

  24. Paul Bens
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 20:27:26

    I assumed skater= skateboarder.

    LOL. I think I just dated myself because skateboard did not even enter my mind. That makes more sense to me.

    ReplyReply

  25. Joan/SarahF
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 20:29:09

    Like roller derby? That would have been cool! But no, sadly, just a skate-boarding gang. Called the Kookie Kutter Krew. No shit. They said “Dude” a lot, which obviously shows how evil they are.

    ReplyReply

  26. Ann Somerville
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 20:30:09

    They said “Dude” a lot, which obviously shows how evil they are.

    But did they say it with a British accent?

    ReplyReply

  27. Joan/SarahF
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 20:34:42

    No, no, that was the really bad guy. British=evil. Sadist=REALLY evil. A British sadist?! OMG, hide the knives!

    ReplyReply

  28. Jess
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 20:37:05

    Well I dont think it was mean I thought it was honest.

    I could tell you were frustrated that that book was even published and that it had promise but didnt pan out. I also thought you did it in a slightly sarcastic but refreshingly honest way.

    Congrats

    ReplyReply

  29. Ann Somerville
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 20:37:21

    @Joan/SarahF:
    Oh I figured because they were evil, they’d be British too.

    Just how many crime bosses in America are Brits, exactly?

    ReplyReply

  30. vanessa jaye
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 20:39:08

    LOL. I think I just dated myself because skateboard did not even enter my mind.

    They both came to mind. My son is 20, but I remember going rollerskating at the rink on weekends back in the day. So there, I’ve date myself too! ;)

    ReplyReply

  31. Emmy
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 20:51:13

    A gang called the KKK that goes around terrorizing people? Hey, I’ve heard of them!

    Didn’t know they used skateboards now though.

    ReplyReply

  32. Barb Ferrer
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 21:42:35

    alled the Kookie Kutter Krew. No shit.

    I…

    I…

    Okay, I got nuthin’ other than really?

    *is boggled*

    ReplyReply

  33. Paul Bens
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 22:39:10

    Called the Kookie Kutter Krew.

    Nothing says romance better than a KKK reference. I’m hoping that was unintentional.

    And Kookie Kutter? Are they 12 year old mafiosos?

    ReplyReply

  34. Ann Somerville
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 22:43:52

    I'm hoping that was unintentional.

    Can you imagine the conversations?
    “Dude, we’re the KKK.”
    “Forshizzle, the Klan? Way cool!”
    “No, dude, not the Klan, the other KKK.”
    “How many of these fuckers are there?”

    Are they 12 year old mafiosos?

    Nothing says ‘cool’ like illiteracy.

    Isn’t ‘dude’ a bit Wayne’s World for mobsters?

    ReplyReply

  35. Catherine
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 23:27:32

    Call me dense, but what’s a rent boy? I’ve never heard of one of those. Is it like a pool boy but without the whole pool thing?

    ReplyReply

  36. Ann Somerville
    Jan 10, 2009 @ 23:29:44

    @Catherine:
    rent boy – male prostitute. Boyfriend for hire.

    ReplyReply

  37. West
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 02:07:27

    Okay, see, now I just have to read it. I can’t help myself. It sounds like this big, beautiful opportunity for my holy trinity- Mockery, Derision and Scorn. It’s been a few months since I’ve read a book that allowed those three to come out and play (either Carol Lynne’s Men In Love series, or Marilyn Lee’s Night of Sin, can’t remember which I read last).

    But if this review is anything to go by (and I’m sure it is), I’ll probably need to read a Josh Lanyon book right after, to help my IQ recover. May I suggest this for Joan/Sarah F?

    ReplyReply

  38. Serena
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 04:16:48

    When I read the title I thought you were reviewing the new Miley Cyrus autobiography. Well, I guess it can’t be worse than this!

    ReplyReply

  39. Joan/SarahF
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 05:29:40

    Don’t you have to at least be 21 before you get a biography? I mean, really? Sigh.

    ReplyReply

  40. Karen Scott
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 06:05:06

    Your ghastly review of Connie Bailey's book stank of salacious, malicious sarcasm and hubris, and made me sick to think that otherwise intelligent women ( I hope) would sink so low. There was nothing clever or funny in your review, and the fact that so many written comments seemed to find both those elements makes me wonder just what kind of mean and nasty people you cater to. Shame on both of you – I sincerely hope that Miss Bailey never visits this site, and that Joan/SarahF never get to write another review.

    I think it’s called having an opinion, dickwad sweetie.

    ReplyReply

  41. Seneca
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 06:58:22

    I don’t think the review was mean in any way.
    If you want, I can direct you to some bloggers who actually are snarky, rude and mean.

    This review does not fall into that category, imo.

    ReplyReply

  42. Seneca
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 06:59:32

    Rent boy= hooker!
    I thought rent boy stood for a tenant on the bad guys property or something like that. lol

    ReplyReply

  43. Anon76
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 12:10:13

    Wow!

    A definitive review and one I never hope falls on my head! But truth be told, sometimes “authors” need a dose of reality.

    Wow!

    ReplyReply

  44. Julia Sullivan
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 12:26:28

    This sounds like the OH JOHN RINGO NO of m/m romance. Yikes!

    ReplyReply

  45. Robin
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 14:39:50

    If you want, I can direct you to some bloggers who actually are snarky, rude and mean.

    The one constant in the “they’re so mean” march seems to be the mind-blowing irony of some of the protesters who have hosted their own mean-fests without a qualm (my mouth was agape while reading a comment thread elsewhere on this review). Of course, when they do it it’s not mean, it’s just *honest*. Yeah.

    ReplyReply

  46. Ann Somerville
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 16:09:37

    my mouth was agape while reading a comment thread elsewhere on this review

    I just read what you read, and even though the hypocrisy of the person in question has long been on display, I’m amazed she’s broken cover from the secrecy of mailing lists to expound her views on DA in that way. (Remember, she learned to review at school. No one can teach her a thing – not even a literature professor. No sirree. If you don’t review to spare the feelings of authors the way they taught her not to upset other children, then you’re a failure.)

    Not to mention all the other people tut-tutting over nastiness. I threw up a little.

    What was fascinating was the twin ideas of ‘authors shouldn’t write nasty reviews of other authors, they should have more respect’ and ‘non-authors shouldn’t write reviews at all because they have no idea about writing’, sitting side by side. So much stupid.

    ReplyReply

  47. Robin
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 19:57:19

    I'm amazed she's broken cover from the secrecy of mailing lists to expound her views on DA in that way.

    Well, I think that’s more honest, at least. Even if I find the ethical objections to DA a wee bit hypocritical.

    ReplyReply

  48. Sparky
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 20:34:07

    A British sadist?! OMG, hide the knives!

    This is totally why I can’t find any knives, isn’t it?

    Just how many crime bosses in America are Brits, exactly?

    All of them – well, except the Italian and the Russian ones. It’s actually one of our major exports – crime bosses with refined accents and suave demeanors. We have a training school and everything

    I’m still trying to wrap my head around the gay skateboarding nymphomaniac crime gang, myself. Oh and I bet none of them are ugly.

    ReplyReply

  49. Joan/SarahF
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 20:57:48

    Sparky! Oh, no, one of them’s borderline…mentally retarded? Autistic? It was actually another godawful example of the worst type of stereotyping (is there a best type of stereotyping?). I was so incredulous by the time I got to the Kutters (as they prefer to be called), it all just kinda rolled off me. There’s only so much bad writing I can absorb, apparently.

    ReplyReply

  50. Barb Ferrer
    Jan 11, 2009 @ 23:08:03

    You know, I’ve hesitated asking this, Sarah, because the little bit you mentioned in the review sparked all sorts of bad fears, but given how stereotypical everything else was…

    The Latina partner? How bad?

    ReplyReply

  51. Joan/SarahF
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 06:17:11

    Well, she used ALL the Spanish slang (diminutives and swear words) I’ve ever read in other books, and then a whole bunch I just coudn’t figure out, not having any Spanish at all. I’d say at least every word in ten was Spanish. It was just so distracting. And she gets hot and heavy with another cop towards the end, too, so everyone gets happy.

    I guess the problem was that it seemed that her personality, rather than well-drawn as an individual, was just “the Spanish one.” That’s how we told her apart from everyone else. Well, that and the fact that she was the only woman.

    One truly funny part of the book, though, both because it was really funny, and also because, OMG! was that the rest of the police department had a nickname for the pair that was part of what they were trying to overcome with this ridiculous unauthorized undercover stunt: Beanie and Weenie. Beanie b/c she was Latina (and therefore eats beans, stereotypically, I guess) and Weenie b/c he was gay.

    ReplyReply

  52. Barb Ferrer
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 07:59:29

    >Beanie and Weenie. Beanie b/c she was Latina (and therefore eats beans, stereotypically, I guess) and Weenie b/c he was gay.

    *facepalms*

    ReplyReply

  53. Chicklet
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 10:11:34

    Beanie b/c she was Latina (and therefore eats beans, stereotypically, I guess) and Weenie b/c he was gay.

    Just when I thought this book couldn’t be a bigger trainwreck, they added a second caboose.

    ReplyReply

  54. lane
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 10:32:23

    @comments 45-7:

    Ok – I actually just reread all the comments, and I have to admit to still being a bit lost.

    I see the one ‘scold’ from ‘Jim’ @17, but nothing there that indicates who ‘Jim’ may be. The two of you sound as if you recognize who this person is, or at least are referring to comments I must have missed somehow. Can either of you extrapolate?

    ReplyReply

  55. karmelrio
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 11:58:07

    Beanie and Weenie. Beanie b/c she was Latina (and therefore eats beans, stereotypically, I guess) and Weenie b/c he was gay.

    (Jaw drops. Stays there.)

    ReplyReply

  56. Louise van Hine
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 12:03:54

    I am familiar with this author as she is a long-time staple in the fanfic world – I ran across her in the Brokeback fandom as one of their well-respected “published” authors. She had converted a pair of Brokeback fanfics converted to original fic published by Dreamspinner a couple of years ago, “Line Squall” and “Paso Doble” and it got panned in the Amazon review for poor editing (she, or the editors, had neglected to get all the Jack and Ennis refs out of the story before it went to print.) She has also written a number of RPS (real-person slash) stories about Heath Ledger and Jack Gyllenhaal, as well as fanfic and RPS about the principals of the LOTR trilogy, featuring a lot of group celebrity mansex. I tried to read one of her LOTR stories and had a fit of giggling that turned too quickly into an asthma attack reading about Legolas’ “elfhood.” I was astonished that anyone could write that with a straight face. Considering her well-respected reputation in the fanfic world, it might actually do some good to point out some of the warts.

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  57. Louise van Hine
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 12:24:05

    For anyone who wants to take a peek without having to pay, the author has posted Chapter 1 on her Livejournal site as a promo.

    http://baileymoyes.livejournal.com/132854.html

    You’ll also get an idea in the comments of just how universal the fandom adulation is for her. Elsewhere on that LJ site are free postings of her LOTR and Brokeback fanfics including the previously mentioned “elfhood” references.

    Also, a minor correction to my previous comment, her 2006 book “Paso Doble” was published by Sybaritic. I thought sure it was Dreamspinner. It encompasses two stories, “Line Squall” and “The Green Horn,” both of them M/M stories that were originally Brokeback fanfics.

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  58. Barb Ferrer
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 13:39:03

    Hombre.

    Because that’s just so commonly used. Okay, hand to God, y’all, I don’t speak for any Latinos except myself and the people I grew up around, but I never knew anyone who actually used “hombre” in conversation. Other than John Wayne.

    *sigh*

    Stereotypes. Please, let me show them to you in glaring Technicolor.

    ReplyReply

  59. Rebel
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 13:54:03

    I’m a firm believer in the 1st ammendment – I also believe in shooting from the hip and speaking your mind in an honest manner.

    A bad review is a bad review – period – if you don’t like her writing style, approach, dialog then say it.

    But I’ll be damned if I understand why you all take such pleasure in ripping into a book and author like you have here. The author of this review and many of the ‘commentors’ come across as vindictive bullies.

    So who did Connie piss off so much that ya’ll wanted to rip her a new one here?

    And to answer a question that was asked of “Jim” – No I’m not her husband. And I discovered this page because another reader was appauled at it’s content as I am. Because yes, men do read M/M, and some men even write it (amazing eh?).

    This is my first visit to this community/review site.. and it will be my last.

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  60. Louise van Hine
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 14:13:40

    @Rebel: one question – did you read any of the story? If not – you might want to try the sample chapter before laying into the critics. I posted the link to Chapter 1 and.. it is some of the purplest prose in the rainbow.

    A good two inches of fawn skin showed between the hem of the beautiful young man's tight red T-shirt and low-cut black pants. Gareth's fingers spread across the dimpled belly button, the beginning of a dark treasure trail and a tribal style tattoo that led the eye downward. Rick quickly dragged his gaze back up to meet Gareth's and the other man's lips drew back in something that looked like a grin. Rick saw it for what it was: an alpha male baring his fangs at a rival, establishing his territory. Rick smiled back in his best aw-shucks manner.

    “Sorry if I was staring,” he said. “But, shit, that's the prettiest guy I've ever seen.”

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  61. West
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 15:18:44

    So who did Connie piss off so much that ya'll wanted to rip her a new one here?

    Well, speaking for myself, and no one else here, she pissed me off- by writing a bad book full of stereotypes. And yes, I read it. I threw up in my mouth a little. And by the way, we’re ripping her book a new one, not her personally (although, IMO, if you perpetuate bad stereotypes, it’s open season on your uneducatated, narrowminded ass).

    Oh, and I’m not coming from a biased place. I’m not gay, male or latino.

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  62. Ann Somerville
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 15:33:54

    @Louise van Hine:

    I have to be honest and say that particular excerpt doesn’t strike me as too bad (apart from the ‘telling’ aspect.)

    Now this is rubbish:

    Gareth Carey, known as “Hairy Carey” behind his back, stared at Rick in cold appraisal. At any moment, he could have the trespasser thrown out onto the street, but the brash golden stud intrigued him enough to stay his hand for now. His chilly eyes flicked toward his soldiers, Levere and Epiphano, in a subtle signal. Aside from sheer muscle mass and unchecked aggression, what set Gareth's men apart was their sexual orientation. The self-styled crime lord preferred to hire only gay men. It wasn't because he was gay; he still wasn't quite sure which category he fit into. But he believed homosexuals were less easy to tempt into disloyalty. He was probably fooling himself, but it brought him some badly needed peace of mind.

    “What are you looking for, mate?” Gareth's British-accented voice was as smooth and rich as hot fudge. “Lost your top?”

    POV switching without warning ==FAIL. And if he’s using ‘mate’ then he’s coding as a ‘souf Londoner’ or Eastender. Which means his accent is going to be less hot fudge and more billygoat pissing in a tin. Oy.

    But she’s from LOTR fandom? That and HP fandom are two of the worst sources of the most undertalented, wanky, useless writers on the internet.

    And I discovered this page because another reader was appauled at it's content as I am.

    Yeah, Rebel, we know where you came from. If you’re talking about vindictive bullies, that post’s comments showcased m/m’s best and brightest thugs perfectly well. You realise that one of the pearl clutchers over there actually set up an entire LJ comm just to rip J K Rowling a new one because they didn’t like the last HP book? You think that’s a proportionate response?

    Because yes, men do read M/M, and some men even write it (amazing eh?).

    You know what’s amazing? The depth of my not caring. You would have to search a very long time and some very dark places to find someone who cared less than I do about your XY ownership. M/m doesn’t *need* men – real or ones with pasted on penises – to validate it as a genre. We manage just fine without your blessing. So go pull your balls in, put on your make up and sock bra, and suck it up, girly.

    This is my first visit to this community/review site.. and it will be my last.

    Absolutely heartbroken about that, let me tell ya.

    I'm not coming from a biased place. I'm not gay, male or latino.

    West, the assumption that someone who’s gay, male or latino can’t give a story a fair shake is rather insulting. All you need to know this story reeks or not is to be literate, and human.

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  63. Louise van Hine
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 17:00:07

    I singled out that quote as an illustration of the “instant falling in love” referenced in the review, along with the cliche-filled description of the rentboy with his telltalle downward-pointing “treasure trail” and tattoo. Rick needed a “schwing!” at that moment. The dialogue is also very labored.

    Yeah, Rebel, we know where you came from. If you're talking about vindictive bullies, that post's comments showcased m/m's best and brightest thugs perfectly well.

    where is this? I don’t know.

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  64. Ann Somerville
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 17:40:20

    @Louise van Hine:

    http://dakotaflint.livejournal.com/68941.html

    Mind you, the guilty parties will now clamour for the post to be locked so their bitchiness can be conducted undercover, as usual.

    ReplyReply

  65. Louise van Hine
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 20:22:39

    @Anne Somerville:

    thanks for the link.

    ReplyReply

  66. B
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 20:23:31

    In cases like this, I think it best authors and not complain publicly about “mean” or bad reviews. It never turns out well for the complainers, whether they be right, wrong or somewhere in between.

    ..but I am not seeing any “thugs,” “bullies” or vindictiveness on that lj link.

    ReplyReply

  67. Ann Somerville
    Jan 12, 2009 @ 20:58:05

    @B:
    Treasure the ignorance while it lasts.

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  68. Barb Ferrer
    Jan 13, 2009 @ 12:30:26

    Yeah, it’s after the fact, and probably no one cares, but that one chapter I read stuck with me and had my blood pressure slowly rising all day with respect to cultural stereotyping.

    Rather than bring it back over here, because really, that’s not at the heart of Dr. F’s review, I ranted on my blog. My own little primer on how not to buy into cultural stereotypes and the responsibilities writers have.

    Just my own opinion on the subject.

    http://fashionista-35.livejournal.com/458976.html

    ReplyReply

  69. West
    Jan 13, 2009 @ 12:58:57

    West, the assumption that someone who's gay, male or latino can't give a story a fair shake is rather insulting

    That wasn’t what I said, Ann. I was pointing out that I am not a member of the groups who were stereotyped, and I still found the book to be a complete piece of crap. My intention was to cut short any arguments that might be made that only members of those groups would be offended.

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  70. Robin
    Jan 13, 2009 @ 15:12:25

    Rather than bring it back over here, because really, that's not at the heart of Dr. F's review, I ranted on my blog. My own little primer on how not to buy into cultural stereotypes and the responsibilities writers have.

    I’m going to drag it back here for just a minute, because one of the points of your post is that when authors write about an unfamiliar culture, the respect they seem to hold for that culture can be communicated in their portrayal. I totally agree with this, and I know that as a reader little makes me angrier than the thought that the author has little or not respect for what he or she is writing, whether that be a culture, a sexual orientation, a race, even genre tropes.

    Now I understand that this judgment is somewhat of a projection, and that authors will protest up and down that *of course* they respect their work! I would argue that there are certain objective markers of this, despite the very real and very legitimate differences people can have about what constitutes “authentic” representation. But even if it is entirely subjective, it’s a conclusion that — when supported through examples in a review — can fuel a very angry review of a book, a feeling not simply of having one’s time wasted as a reader, but of being disrespected as a reader (regardless of any personal identification with the subject matter at issue).

    I disagree strongly with those who insist that an angry review is not professional or acceptable — IMO there is a substantive and substantial difference between a review that is thoughtful and reflective (objective to whatever degree a subjective judgment can be) and a review that lacks emotion or passion about the book and about the task of reviewing. I do not think a review has to be lacking in emotion to be good; in fact, I’d argue it’s the opposite.

    I understand that talking about whether an author shows respect for his/her subject seems to push the line past evaluation of the work, but IMO it is still a judgment very much *of the work* because it comes from reading the work and is reflected in how the reader responds to the work. In this sense, a review that addresses these issues is not, IMO, personally directed at the author any more than a review commenting on ungrammatical prose, sloppy plotting, inconsistent characterization, and the like is a personal attack on the author. As long as the reviewer’s reaction is a) grounded in the text, and/or b) explained as a hot button of the reader — as some readers who dislike, say, forced seduction or certain types of characters explain — I think that reader’s reaction is still firmly grounded in and reviewed from the tex as it works in conversation with that particular reader/reviewer.

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  71. Ann Somerville
    Jan 13, 2009 @ 15:55:11

    I do not think a review has to be lacking in emotion to be good; in fact, I'd argue it's the opposite.

    No, no, Robin. Don’t you understand?

    A reviewer should realise that they are just that, nothing more than a “notice board” to share a book.

    Feeling anything other than unalloyed joy is inappropriate to a ‘notice board’. Reviewers should have no emotions at all – after all, they’re not really *qualified* to comment. It’s not like they’re *customers* or anything. They didn’t learn in *school* how to read.

    Me, I like a good angry review. Tells me the reviewer is capable of honesty and sharing her honest reactions. Give me that over the sparkly ‘five unicorn poos’ any day.

    ReplyReply

  72. Ann Somerville’s Journal » Blog Archive » Attention, search engine users
    Jan 13, 2009 @ 16:01:50

    [...] have no interest in or knowledge of Connie Bailey beyond what Sarah Frantz’s review and the comments tell [...]

  73. Becca
    Jan 20, 2009 @ 04:09:13

    OH. DEAR. GOD.

    Thank you so much for writing this review so I won’t have to waste my time reading anything by this author. Just dreadful.

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  74. Rebekah
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 13:38:43

    Great review and great comments (for the most part lol). I’m sure there are many a writer out there that has gotten bad reviews and has used it to their advantage- by writing better. Let’s hope that’s the case for this author! lol I mean, jeez, hasn’t the m/m genre been through enough? The last thing it needs is crappy writing, er, more crappy writing. It’s an insult to everyone involved.
    Thanks again for the great review!

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  75. Huitzilopochtli
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 18:29:29

    O.o

    Wow…just wow.

    The review while through was not insightful.
    You offer no constructive criticism about the work and fill the review with your personal opinion instead of detached professionalism.

    The review comes off like you have a personal grudge against the author, but I hope I am mistaken. I have read bad reviews (which offer constructive criticism like a professional would do) but nothing like this, its laden in malice. Which gives me the impression that this is beyond you not liking the style of the author, it goes much deeper than that.

    I understand that not every cares for a Picasso, but that doesn’t make him less of an artist. I personally dislike the art, but that is my personal opinion and I dont have to offer anything berating just because I happen to not like his art.

    And if someone defends the work on this blog why is he ridiculed (are you married to the author) those types of comments make it difficult to take your review seriously.

    A professional reviewer in the paper or on T.V. would not stoop to such low levels. I suggest you be a little less impartial next time you review in order to achieve better credibility to your work.

    Huitzilopochtli

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  76. Bill
    Oct 20, 2009 @ 02:06:37

    I enjoyed it. I went in knowing that the writing quality wasn’t ping to be on the same level (or even the same planet) as Shakespeare, but that’s really the way that you have to go into a book like this. All in all, I would read it again. The author of this review is too harsh on the book. I’d give it a C-

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  77. RebeccaJ
    Jan 05, 2010 @ 20:01:04

    Thanks, I loved this review as I needed a good laugh…;)

    ReplyReply

  78. Unity
    Apr 15, 2011 @ 23:54:40

    That’s really thinking out of the box. Tnkhas!

    ReplyReply

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