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Reading through 800 pages or so raises expectations in a way other reading doesn’t come close to. All that time given to a book – it had better be more than a gimmick, a trick, a post-modern conceit. It had better be a story we haven’t heard before, or already read in another version. It had better change us, make us different to how we were when we started – make us bigger, somehow, ourselves.

I’m currently reading Anslie Patton’s White Balance. It’s a longer book. Meljean Brook’s Guardian Demon was pretty much two books (close to 200,000 words). Patton’s book was a weekend read for me. It wasn’t one I could gulp down in an afternoon or an evening, but I really enjoyed the time I spent immersed in her world. I wouldn’t say I came away changed, but I don’t begrudge Patton the time I spent reading her book.

It’s not like I had something more important to do. I could’ve blogged, watched TV, or played Candy Crush. Instead, I spent around six hours reading White Balance. I’m okay with that. But Gunn is right. The longer the time I have to spend with characters, the more that they have to engage me on every level. Books | theguardian.com

The Strong Female Character has something to prove. She’s on the defensive before she even starts. She’s George from The Famous Five all grown up and still bleating with the same desperate lack of conviction that she’s “Every Bit As Good as a Boy”.New Statesman

That does put a damper

 

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The conference itself is a half-day event and will be a series of panel discussions with gay romance authors and publishers from around the region. Afterwards, we are hosting a “Happy Hour” book fest across the street from the library at the Hotel Monaco which will feature author signings, author readings, giveaways, etc.

There are over 30 gay romance authors and publishers involved, including Blind Eye Books head Nicole Kimberling, Total E-Bound editor-in-chief Devon Rhodes, Less Than Three Press founder Megan Derr, Ginn Hale, Daisy Harris, Anne Tenino, and Rick R. Reed.

(Tickets for the Meet-Up are $25, which includes both the conference and post-con book fest.)

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Roppé also interviews top book bloggers and Goodreads reviewers about what they are reading and what’s trending in romance. And no, they’ve never contacted me which is shocking because Goodreads sent me an email saying I was in the top 2% of all Goodreads reviewers. I say this tongue in cheek because this email was sent to virtually every blogger and reviewer I know on Goodreads. I actually really like they are including bloggers and reviewers in their podcasts.  Amazon

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

11 Comments

  1. Junne
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 05:20:28

    About the “strong,independent woman” trope, Lindsay Ellis aka Nostalgia Chick makes an interesting case out of it in her review of the 2000 movie Charlie’s Angels. Interesting and funny video ( also, Lindsay is awesome):
    http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/team-nchick/nostalgia-chick/36358-charlies-angels

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  2. Anne
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 07:19:07

    I read the Strong Female article and I understand and agree with what she’s saying, though my perspective is a little different. I suppose “strong” is a loaded word. The thing is, in the books I read (primarily romance) having a female character who is independent, confident, and able to self-rescue isn’t a common thing. They are some of my favorite characters, though!

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  3. Akua
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 07:49:42

    The article about strong heroines resonated with me. It’s not often I come across heroines (esp in UF and PNR) who aren’t like the article described. While there is nothing wrong with that, I do think we need a bit more balance.

    One of my favorite heroines is Meg Murry from A Wrinkle In Time, who is quite weak IMO. She didn’t go talm about how not-fragile she was or how she didn’t need rescuing. She didn’t square her shoulders and keep going. In fact she is whiny, has low self-esteem and quick to place blame on others. She would have taken being rescued if she could. But in the end, she she finds it in herself to get the job done. She is human. She is like me, and many other people I know. I could identify with her, much more so than say – Cat Crawfield. Eh :/

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  4. Tina
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 08:50:26

    I get what the author of the “strong female” article is trying to say. And to some extent I agree. But I have a problem in that all of her examples seem to be from action or superhero movies. Of course if you are talking about action hero/comic book movies aimed at a 13-24 y.o men that is what you are going to get. Female agency in these types of things have always been a problem.

    That said, I wish she had looked at other examples where “strong” does mean more complex: Joan from Mad Men, Skyler White from Breaking Bad. And then we have all the women in Orange is the New Black which actually does meet her wish list (the one she writes about Richard II).

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  5. Mary
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 10:40:01

    @Junne:
    Nostalgia Chick is awesome. Not liking her current series though.

    I dunno though, I think the “I can be every bit as good as the boys” thing can be annoying, but is also kind of a thing in real life. Even though more girls go to college than boys, there is still the expectation that the boys will be better, and so trying really hard to catch up is a thing.

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  6. anon
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 10:40:05

    Big books are in? Tell that to the major online presses who are still rejecting anything over 120,000 words, and encouraging writers to keep it under 100,000.

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  7. Carolyne
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 13:55:02

    @anon: Alas, what anon said seems to be true. Some presses are accepting serials, which can exceed their usual maximum word count.

    I enjoy investing in a long, good read. On the other hand, common wisdom (and probably reality) is that it’s easier to make a living writing 4 short books a year than one long one, especially in certain genres and in eBook-first publishing.

    P.S. – Have I bragged everywhere on the internets yet that I literally walked into Dread Pirate Roberts–erm, I mean, Cary Elwes–a few weeks ago? Should I be bragging about plowing into the poor man? Probably not. But it was an excellent fangirl moment, and I don’t get many of those anymore. He was not wearing either a mask or a pencil-thin moustache at the time.

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  8. Susan
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 16:17:46

    @Carolyne: I am having a vicarious fangirl moment. Details!

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  9. Carolyne
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 17:06:42

    @Susan: Why, I’m glad you asked! I was at San Diego Comic Con of all places–for work–and attempting to cross the crowded show floor while trying to get a signal my phone, took a step back waving the phone around, right into the poor man’s arms. He and his lady handler (I mean a female handler, not a handler to scrape the ladies off him) were very unperturbed by it all. I must say he is looking extremely fit. You’d be very proud of how I didn’t scream or pass out, but merely stared at his badge then grinned like a lunatic and made apologies and complimentary polite murmurs, then took many photos as he went on his way. Most of them blurry. Some after he was safely area high above the crowd in the network booth. Apparently excessive uncontrollable fangirling causes a magnetic field that disrupts the focus on a phone. So, not exactly a meet-cute, but… an anecdote. He’s much slimmer than on his recent appearances on Psych and Leverage, which of course I hope is from healthy dieting and cliff-climbing and swordfighting, since he looked quite nice on the shows, too.

    On topic, hmm… I’m pretty sure one of the first romances I bought with my own allowance (as opposed to the box of short Harlequins someone gave me and my cousins one summer) was a chunky mediaeval epic. About which I remember nothing except the line “she had teats to put a milk cow to shame.” (Maybe “breasts,” but I remember it being pretty shocking to my tween eyes.) Which line was 100% why I bought the book from the supermarket checkout-line rack, in spite of the horror of my friends. I just had to know what sort of world had narration like that in it.

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  10. Cyndi Weatherhead
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 19:45:03

    I see her point about the strong heroine, but I still find thm refreshing. And at least in romance female characters HAVE been everything but strong. I guess having read the genre for so long I can recall the all too often instances when all the heroine did was wait to be rescued by the hero. Resue fantasies are fun and I still enjoy those, but I like the self rescuers as well, and the ones where she rescues the hero are just awesomesauce!

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  11. Sage
    Sep 19, 2013 @ 16:20:12

    @Tina:

    It seems to me that every article I read about “strong” female characters and the lack thereof always ends up talking about comic books and/or action movies as if they’re the only stories in existence. I keep wanting to shake the writer and tell them that there’s a lot more out there and you might find what you’re looking for if you gave other things a chance.

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