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Friday News: James Bond’s got a drinking problem; Americans value public...

“Excluding the 36 days Bond was in prison, hospital or rehab, the spy downed 1,150 units of alcohol in 88 days.

It works out at 92 units a week – about five vodka martinis a day and four times the recommended maximum intake for men in the UK.

The doctors’ report in the festive edition of the British Medical Journal concluded: “Although we appreciate the societal pressures to consume alcohol when working with international terrorists and high stakes gamblers, we would advise Bond to be referred for further assessment of his alcohol intake.”” BBC News

“Americans strongly value library services such as access to books and media; having a quiet, safe place to spend time, read, or study; and having librarians to help people find information. Other services, such as assistance finding and applying for jobs, are more important to particular groups, including those with lower levels of education or household income.” Pew Internet

“In the Olden Days of Georgette Heyer, writers alluded to a gentleman’s [barnyard fowl] only in the most oblique terms. Feron says, “Years later when I worked in category romance, there was a lot of substituting of words. Euphemisms like ‘globes’ instead of ‘breast.’ It always sounded a little odd to me, but that was a while ago. Time moves on. I think it’s really hard to shock readers these days, especially after ‘Fifty Shades’ — which is not a romance — has become so mainstream.”” The Washington Post

“Murray emphasized blooming growth of digital titles. Ebook sales have grown from $100 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2010 to $375 million in the second quarter of fiscal year 2013, a 275% growth rate, according to the American Assn. of Publishers. A PriceWaterhouseCoopers study shows ebooks commanding 14% of the market in 2013, rising to 18% next year and 23% in 2015. Overall, the global market for books is projected to remain ‘steady.'” Variety

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!


  1. Deborah Nam-Krane
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 05:35:53

    Thanks for the library link. Does this mean the majority of Americans are as geeky as I am?

    James Bond, sigh. He’s also apparently ageless; is there a correlation between that and the drinking? :/

  2. Ros
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 05:53:40

    I feel that if they’re not prepared to use the word cock, they oughtn’t to be running an article about the word cock.

  3. Lynne Connolly
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 06:44:29

    Georgette Heyer never, ever referred to breasts as “globes,” and you do find that one in erotic romances from time to time. It irritates me. Hard, circular, with Africa imprinted on its side?
    And someone hasn’t read Heyer. She often described thighs. Strong thighs, sinewy thighs, and she meant it, it wasn’t a euphemism, just a hint as to the joys that lay above.
    I shall faint dead away. You mean we’re going to see the word ‘hen’ in romances now?

  4. Ros
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 07:19:28

    @Lynne Connolly: Chicken, I assumed. Or maybe goose?

  5. DB Cooper
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 07:25:05

    @Lynne Connolly:

    I use hen (as in hen night) ! (I found this much more amusing to say than ‘I use cock!’ which was also going to be first response).

    …oh, but then again, I don’t pen romances.

    I find the whole situation ironic. One of the tips I often see on romance publishers sites are to “avoid purple prose”. Now, I’m not saying cock isn’t purple prose, or that it’s the only way to avoid it, but honestly, if an author (or publisher) is going to be upset that Fifty-flippin-Shades-of-Grey, pushed this mainstream word into mainstream “romance” reading, they should’ve had the courage to be the one to do it themselves–or stand tall and proud on their insistence not to use it.

    Not that I believe many of them are upset so much as they are just following the pack now. The article seems to me to be making a story out of a paragraph. I’ve got to toss my hat in with Ros on this one–there seems to be more (pretend?) indignation and embarrassment on the article’s part than anything else.

    So, now that my little ranty is over. Does anyone here read m/m a lot of romance? How common is the use of the word ‘cock’? And is it quite varied from author to author?

  6. Sunita
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 07:56:06

    I mostly really enjoy reading Ron Charles and following him on Twitter, but that article was terrible. He talked to one not very representative romance author and one editor, and from there made a sweeping generalization about word usage in romance novels? Even for a blog post, that’s shoddy, shoddy, background work.

    So James Bond is an alcoholic? I am devastated. What’s next, we find out that most men don’t get it up six or seven times a night? Oh noes, I won’t be able to take it.

  7. Jewel
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 08:08:21

    @DB – my experience with m/m is that the use of the word cock varies from author to author. I haven’t paid enough attention to the publishing houses the books I’ve read are from to note if that carries any weight. Granted, I haven’t read thousands of m/m, probably just 50-75 or so, but I have enjoyed them greatly.

    And I love my library! I can get ebooks for my Kindle from the Nashville Public Library and I think that’s fantastic.

  8. CathyKJ
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 08:28:53

    Do partridges count as barnyard fowl? Because I could see a good “partridge in a pear tree” euphemism scene in a holiday romance…

  9. Jennifer
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 08:42:36

    So Ron Charles is clutching his pearls over the word cock…. or that there can be frank descriptions of sex in a historical (or other) romance novels? This reminds me of the reviews on amazon by folks who are just offended that there is sex in a romance novel …. I don’t get it.

  10. Isabel C.
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 08:57:33

    I also used cock before it was cool.

    …now I want that on a T-shirt. Except I could never wear it.

  11. Christine
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 09:01:57

    Regarding the influence of 50 Shades, I’d say it’s probably true to a degree. Once something gets “out there” in popular culture it becomes more accepted and commonplace. The biggest example I can think of is the effect “Sex And The City” had on popular culture, especially for women. That series, particularly in the early days, put more sex and sex related talk out in the mainstream than anything I’d heard or seen in my lifetime before. I’ll never forget a professional women who headed a branch in another state for the company I worked for, and who had never alluded to much personal information before in any of our conversations remarking on a “new” and scandalous series we both happened to catch on HBO. After one episode aired she told me (much to my surprise as she always seemed to me the stereotype of the married, settled woman in her fifties) that she sure could related to Carrie waking up in the guy’s apartment and not knowing where she was for a moment in her younger days. I cannot imagine that conversation ever would have taken place if the series wasn’t out there. Ditto with women openly speaking about vibrators etc. Once the “shock” value wears off, the vocabulary enters the popular, acceptable lexicon for the average woman.

  12. Isobel Carr
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 09:02:34

    Um…a lot of us have been using “cock” in our books all along. I certainly have. Since the very first one (copyright 2006, and “cock” was in there when I finaled in the Golden Heart in 2005, too). Never had a single complaint from a reader. Never had an editor mention it (though I have also never written for Avon). The ONLY thing I’ve heard is that Apple’s iBookstore is apparently not a fan of the word and some indie authors had issues. Not sure if that’s still true or not.

    So, welcome to the party, even though you’re very, very late.

  13. pamelia
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 09:11:57

    Call me jaded, but I’ve always preferred the term cock over say “manhood” or other euphemisms. I agree with Isobel Carr– it’s been in use for a long time now in lots of romance novels.
    Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought one of the many criticisms of FSOG was that it used vague terminology like “down there” and “sex” rather than more descriptive terms? So why wouldn’t FSOG have inspired more discreet terms instead??

  14. Liz Mc2
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 09:43:03

    I don’t see that Bond study as taking “fantasy” stories literally or assuming that readers do. It’s in a “festive edition” of the journal and clearly tongue in cheek (setting: the researchers’ homes, in a comfy chair). I didn’t think it focused on the idea that readers are sheep who would copy Bond, though I suppose that’s an implication of their point that his character glamorizes such behavior. It mostly seemed like they were looking for a humorous way to get media attention for their “seasonal” message about excessive drinking. And it worked. I believe in some middle ground between “readers/viewers are mindless sheep copying everything they see” and “the stories we consume have no effect on us” and for me this piece falls into it.

    Apparently over 70% of residents in my city used the library last year. In our house, we conform to the statistics: my daughter and I are regular users, son and husband are not.

  15. TaraL
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 10:02:27

    All these different barnyard fowl never occurred to me. I immediately assumed turkey since it was inspired by 50 Shades.

  16. Evangeline Holland
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 10:50:21

    But the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy wasn’t even that explicit! The terminology used changed as Ana grew more comfortable with sex and their bodies, but over all, the language was on par with general erotic romance.

    Sex terminology varies from sub-genre to sub-genre, from author to author, as well as from romance imprint to romance imprint. For example, the sex scenes in Liz Carlyle’s historicals for Pocket were blunt and sometimes crude (but in a good way), whereas her historicals for Avon are more romantic and sensual. Many romance readers gravitate towards certain types of books because of their preferred sensuality levels and language, and it’s not rare to find reviews for the same book where a reader felt there was too much sex or crude language AND another reader felt it was just right!

    This was a very lazy article.

    As for libraries, yup yup yup. I wouldn’t be the reader I am today if it weren’t for access to them. And the interlibrary loan system is awesome for my research.

  17. cleo
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 11:15:55

    The cock story is hilarious (and the comments here have me loling) but I don’t get what the fuss is about. This just seems like the continuation of a trend towards more explicit, less euphemistic language in mainstream romance that started at least a decade ago.

    Thanks for the link on the double standard – I enjoyed the article’s links, especially the Oprah interview about the Heidi /Howard case study. The author (not of the study but of a book about it) commented that the good news is that the Harvard students found both Heidi and Howard equally competent and in previous generations they prob wouldn’t. But the bad news is there’s still a gap.

  18. Isobel Carr
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 11:23:55

    @Evangeline Holland: Perception of heat levels has certainly changed since I started publishing. My Kalen Hughes books were both labeled “scorcher” by RT, but my current books (which are, IMO, dirtier) were merely “hot” on their scale. So something changed right about 2009.

  19. Brigid
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 16:06:30

    @Isobel Carr:
    Does it really need to be a “who did it first” thing? I mean a lot of authors have been using the word cock besides the romance genre.

  20. Isobel Carr
    Dec 13, 2013 @ 17:15:21

    @Brigid: I make zero claim to have done it “first”. In fact, I’m 100% positive tons of people were doing it long before me (so much so in fact that it never occurred to me NOT to use it). I’m merely pointing out that this is by no means “new” usage on the scene as is implied in the article.

  21. Caroline
    Dec 14, 2013 @ 09:42:24

    @Isobel Carr: Well, I’ve written for Avon since 2009 and have used the C word in nearly every book. If there is/was an Avon policy, no one ever told me!

    Carrie Feron is not my editor, though, so it may be an editorial preference. I find it very hard to believe I was the first Avon author to use it.

  22. Stumbling Over Chaos :: ‘Tis the season to linkity
    Dec 20, 2013 @ 02:07:37

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