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

Tuesday News Roundup:

emoticon_happyFor your Tuesday viewing pleasure check out the paper craft work of Su Blackwell who turns books into sculptures. Not to be missed.   (Via @sara_lindsey)

Wendy, the Super Librarian, brings up the issue of elitism in romance press coverage  and wonders if the coverage of that extreme (Ivy league educated individuals writing and reading romance) can be a bad thing.

I’ll be honest, I really couldn’t get too worked up over any of this. Generally speaking, I found the USA Today article positive, and I do find it interesting that someone with Eloisa James" background turned out to be a very successful romance writer (and I say this only because holy cow, the level of condescension in a lot of university English departments is enough to make my brain bleed :)   ). But ultimately I can see why some people were annoyed by it. Because as positive as the article was, it was reporting an extreme. Just as painting all romance readers as uneducated and sexually unfulfilled, who get their rocks off fantasizing about Fabio, is an extreme. But that’s the media. If they can’t turn it into an extreme, it’s not a story. It’s not worth reporting. If it bleeds, it leads.

emoticon_evilgrinKatiebabs blogged about LKH’s claim in Entertainment Weekly that LKH pioneered the vampire genre.

EW posted part of the article on their web site. Stephenie Meyer and Anne Rice were both interviewed of course. Laurell K. Hamilton was also interviewed and look what she said about the Twilight phenomenon:

“Stephenie Meyer has come and she’s taken the genre that I sort of pioneered.”
….
Okay, LKH go on believing you pioneered the vampire genre. Can we say, tone down the ego? Where would you be if not for Mary Shelley, Bram Stroker, Anne Rice, Charles De Lint, Stephen King and Poppy Brite?

emoticon_waiiLKH responded (maybe to Katiebabs and maybe not) that she didn’t pioneer Anne Rice’s genre, but she did pioneer the vampire + sex subgenre. (LKH needs to brush up on her classics then because Bram was all about the sex and the blood and the biting. Ditto for Anne Rice).

Second is what I consider my genre which is mixed genre, a horror thriller/romance, but that doesn’t really say what I write. The closest description of what I consider my genre is Paranormal Thriller. In both the Meredith Gentry books and the Anita Blake novels I take thriller or mystery, mix it with horror and fantasy elements, then add a strong dose of sensuality, romance, and sex. I’ve yet to hear a single word that described it.

None of these early books have the sensuality that I chose to put in mine, and to my knowledge none of them would add the sexual content that I’ve become known for in both of my series.

….

Why do I say I pioneered the genre if there were books before? I’ve never said I invented the sub-genre, only that I pioneered it or popularized it.

Agree or disagree with LKH, you have to admit that her posts are highly entertaining.

eyeLooking for an ebook reader? It’s not time to buy one, it’s time to wait.   There are the new Sonys coming out, the new Apple Tablet, and now the news of the impending Plastic Logic device that will allow you to purchase books from the Barnes and Noble ebookstore. As an aside, if Forrester research says that the new wave of ebook readers are voracious female readers who are retailer agnostic (aka the romance reader), why don’t these ebook reader manufacturers design something a WOMAN would be interested in buying.

emoticon_tonguePublishers Weekly claims that Chick Lit is getting an update. I will tell you that I highly enjoyed the pink chick lit books but if this is the grown up version, no thanks. The lede made me throw up in my mouth a bit. I think it’s supposed to reflect a more self aware womanhood but instead reads self indulgent, spoiled, and stupid.

In one telling scene, Karen and Matty are having sex, but he can’t climax. While he masturbates, Karen thinks about a bid they recently put in for a three-bedroom co-op. She imagines Matty’s sperm as "millions of hungry apartment hunters all bidding against each other for a mint 3BR with DFPS, SS appliances, and a WD on a pk blk." If Matty could just put aside his financial anxiety, she muses, "one of those millions of apartment hunters could break out of the throng into the warm waiting floor-through, and find a way to make himself at home."

Thanks for the update and warning PW.   I’ll be passing on these. Note to publicists, please don’t send me any books about Park Slope moms. Stories about self indulgent New York women is what made chick lit tired and boring.

emoticon_evilgrinAlso from PW is an article about sex and vampires (the genre that LKH pioneered).   I’m quoted in it. I bet there will be people who disagree with my definition of erotica v. erotic romance but save it for the poll comment thread tomorrow because I’ll be basing the poll on what you think erotic romance is or is not.

emoticon_surprisedAnd in a study done to debunk the entire scope of Lass Small’s career (not really but she did write about redheads ALL the time in her TEXAS! based books), redheads are more sensitive to pain than other follicly colored folks.

exclamationAnd finally, because commercial developers have their heads up their asses, a single individual has taken it upon himself to develop a free and open source epub editor.   Way to go.

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

26 Comments

  1. Shiloh Walker
    Aug 04, 2009 @ 15:06:55

    LKH responded (maybe to Katiebabs and maybe not) that she didn't pioneer Anne Rice's genre, but she did pioneer the vampire + sex subgenre. (LKH needs to brush up on her classics then because Bram was all about the sex and the blood and the biting. Ditto for Anne Rice).

    Even aside from Bran and Anne Rice, If I recall correctly, Linda Lael Miller and Maggie Shayne had vamps+sex back in the early 90s… before the AB books, I’m pretty sure. Vamps+sex is nothing new to romance and hasn’t been for quite a while.

  2. jenreads
    Aug 04, 2009 @ 15:13:40

    Loved the Lass Small reference. Thanks for reminding me of her and one of my favorite contemporary romances, Odd Man Out. Yes, it features a redhead.

  3. Alison Kent
    Aug 04, 2009 @ 15:22:30

    I have three redheaded children. I can tell you all about the pain thing.

  4. Moriah Jovan
    Aug 04, 2009 @ 15:32:04

    And finally, because commercial developers have their heads up their asses, a single individual has taken it upon himself to develop a free and open source epub editor. Way to go.

    This is only in alpha and it’s beautiful. I’m making a punch list as I go along, because, yes, it’s a little buggy.

    I’ve only tweaked an already-built EPUB file with this, so I haven’t built an EPUB file from scratch with it, but I’m in love.

    The extensive metadata you can plug into one of these files is one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Hyperbole? I think not!

  5. SonomaLass
    Aug 04, 2009 @ 16:28:53

    I’m only a volunteer redhead, but can I use that as an excuse to be a wuss about pain? Pleeeez?

    I totally agree about spoiled NY women & chick lit. In fact, my feelings involve more bitter hissing!

  6. Chrissy
    Aug 04, 2009 @ 16:53:06

    Didn’t LKS invent the internet, too?

  7. katiebabs
    Aug 04, 2009 @ 17:01:56

    If only LKH responded on her blog because of my post! That would shock the crap out of me.

  8. anon
    Aug 04, 2009 @ 17:14:39

    I am one reader who has no problem distinguishing between LKH and the rest.

    Bram, Brite, Rice et al write (or wrote) vampire erotica. LKH writes vampire porn. And I do mean porn. I personally don’t find anything erotic about her work.

    YMMV.

  9. Diana
    Aug 04, 2009 @ 17:18:55

    I read the opening in the PW article and thought…um…this book wouldn’t be for me.

  10. (Jān)
    Aug 04, 2009 @ 18:13:09

    Even aside from Bran and Anne Rice, If I recall correctly, Linda Lael Miller and Maggie Shayne had vamps+sex back in the early 90s… before the AB books, I'm pretty sure. Vamps+sex is nothing new to romance and hasn't been for quite a while.

    *nods* She started the Anita Blake series before they wrote their vampire romances, but she didn’t start adding the erotic elements to her books until 1996, and their first vampire romances came out in 1993.

    And let’s not forget JAK wrote one in 1984 called Nightwalker.

    Aside from them, what about Dark Shadows? Vampire soap opera? And Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s Hotel Transylvania was a vampire story with an erotic romance that came out in the late 70s.

    (But Charles de Lint? Did he really write a vampire story? Because I want to read it!)

  11. Jet
    Aug 04, 2009 @ 18:17:24

    Oh LKH… somedays I have to shut my eyes and focus on her books. I constantly find myself asking if reading her books is worth supporting such a fabulously cultivated ego.

  12. Sarah Mayberry
    Aug 04, 2009 @ 18:29:34

    I stumbled on Su Blackwell’s book art sometime last year – absolutely breathtaking stuff. It sent me off on a book art jag via the net, and the following are my four other fave finds, for anyone who is interested in this kind of thing. I particularly love the last guy, Thomas Allen. Highly amusing and clever.

    http://inventorspot.com/articles/book_art_brian_dettmer_carves_aw_9450

    http://www.carabarer.com/gallery.php#

    http://www.donnaseagergallery.com/art_of_the_book/artists/Doug_Beube/index.htm

    http://www.thomasbarry.com/allen_c1.html

  13. Bonnie
    Aug 04, 2009 @ 18:41:57

    Oh LKH… somedays I have to shut my eyes and focus on her books. I constantly find myself asking if reading her books is worth supporting such a fabulously cultivated ego.

    I had actually been thinking about starting to read her books, but eh… not so much anymore.

    The sour grapes aren’t working for me. That’s unfortunate.

    It’s not just this either. It’s other stuff I’ve read.

  14. Gennita Low
    Aug 04, 2009 @ 18:45:34

    The guys have their James Bonds and Bourne Identities. I myself pioneered female spy-fy with sex, so there. ;P

  15. LauraJ
    Aug 04, 2009 @ 19:55:52

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who didn’t find “the new chick lit” books all that appealing. I’ll take the stories about women looking for Mr. Right over Park Slope moms any day.

  16. Robin
    Aug 04, 2009 @ 21:11:37

    @Chrissy: Bwahahahaha

    The more LKH explains, the worse it gets.

    And now I’m wondering how much classic vamp lit she’s actually read. I mean, it’s ALWAYS been about sex (the sacred and the profane, the spirit and the flesh, mortality and immortality, etc.). I’m not sure where the debatable premise is, precisely.

  17. Samantha
    Aug 04, 2009 @ 21:57:33

    LKH lost me after Obsidian Butterfly, and I no longer read her books, but I do have to say this.

    For the past couple of years, publishers have been begging for more Hamilton-esque stories. If that doesn’t give anyone an idea of how she’d changed the literature of vampire+sex, then I don’t know what will. Don’t get me wrong. Her ego is probably as big as her bank account, and she’s definitely said some things she probably would’ve been better off not saying at all. But, hot damn, I’ll just bet she laughs all the way down to the bank.

    :P I know I would.

  18. dotty
    Aug 04, 2009 @ 22:01:44

    You know it’s interesting to hear about poor old New York from the other side of the world (Australia).

    Once upon a time Frank Sinatra sang about it like “she was a grande dame” now media seem to spend their time letting us all know what a selfish, narrow and shallow city it is.

    I think the truth is more likely that New York is like any other city in the world. Bigger of course than most, but full of a variety of people good and bad.

    I’m tired of reading about shallow women no matter where they are situated.

    Why is it not possible to write books about a woman who is a thoughtful mum, has a good career doesn’t have to sacrifice her first born to find a man who loves her as much as she loves him.

    Well of course it is possible, we romance readers have had them forever.

    It’s no wonder lots of women, of all educational levels, have read the wonderful stories of Georgette Heyer, Nora Roberts, Elosia James and all the myriad of authors who take women in all kinds of situations and treat them with dignity.

    Thats all I ask as a reader that my gender is treated with dignity, no matter what their situation.

    Really so desperate to have an orgasm you have to stop what your doing to go sneak into your sleeping childs bedroom and then insert batteries and pick up from where you left off at all times maintaining this magical high that has to be absolutely
    finished off at all cost. On what planet is that believable.

    Dignity

  19. medumb
    Aug 05, 2009 @ 02:51:02

    by Gennita Low August 4th, 2009 at 6:45 pm Reply to this comment

    The guys have their James Bonds and Bourne Identities. I myself pioneered female spy-fy with sex, so there. ;P

    pmsl And that is why you rock Gennita!

    on LKH, realistically yes she certainly has had an impact on the genre, but I would argue not necessarily a pioneer. Anne Rice, Tanya Huff, Quinn Yarbro, PN Elrod would be the ones I would call that.. (and would also argue that LJ Smiths Vampire Diaries, which have remained popular with teens for many a year now – was also more of the pioneer for Meyer)
    Being on the otherside of the world, I don’t think LKH really took off here until around the 2000 mark, yet we had all the other authors and soaked them up, it wasn’t until paranormal romance got popular, and they started marketing LKH as romance *coughjokecough* that I started selling her regularly here.
    And I would even argue that it would be Maggie Shayne etc that opened the doors for her to get as massive as she has. Though again this is my experience from the bottom end of the world, not sure how big she was pre 2000 in the US.
    Just my two cents.

  20. Mora
    Aug 05, 2009 @ 04:35:31

    I’m not quite sure why LKH thinks Stephenie Meyer is doing anything in the same universe as what she’s doing… Unless the 100+ pages of terribly written sex scenes were ripped out of my copy of Twilight.

    In any case, her work has definitely influenced the direction of urban fantasy novels out there. That’s as much as I’d give her credit for. The vampire trend in general is something else entirely.

    I'm tired of reading about shallow women no matter where they are situated.

    Amen. Especially when this is treated like some kind of ideal that other women should aspire to. Barf.

  21. Simone
    Aug 05, 2009 @ 06:04:56

    “Why is it not possible to write books about a woman who is a thoughtful mum, has a good career doesn't have to sacrifice her first born to find a man who loves her as much as she loves him.”

    You’ve just reminded me why I’ve been hooked on Harlequin’s Superromance line lately. I think I’ll go get another one from my shelf.

  22. DS
    Aug 05, 2009 @ 07:09:41

    NPR this morning had a bit on the new Sony readers. They also mentioned that Sony will be reducing hardcover prices to match Amazon’s $9.99 price point.

  23. Susan/DC
    Aug 05, 2009 @ 16:06:29

    The Su Blackwell works were astonishing. I don’t know if knowing they are made from books adds an additional layer, but they are so evocative — one is immediately drawn into another world. While their styles are different, her works remind me a bit of Joseph Cornell’s boxes in how they speak so immediately to one’s imagination.

  24. Stumbling Over Chaos :: Books and links and books and links and books and…
    Aug 12, 2009 @ 06:05:19

    [...] Dear Author always has informative and thoughful posts. Some that caught my eye recently were on buying ebook readers and a wonderfully snarky book news roundup. [...]

  25. PartyHarder
    Nov 30, 2009 @ 04:17:27

    I wouldn’t say that they’re asking for “Hamilton-esque” to be honest. People were already releasing books that were similar back when she was releasing in the 90s, so calling it “Hamilton-esque” is sort of a slight towards all of the authors who were already established during that time, like Simon Greene, Anne Rice & such. In fact, Anne Rice was already writing about much of the same types of books, so why shouldn’t we call this “Rice-esque”?

    I’m not saying that Hamilton didn’t impact the genre, but I am saying that Rice is more visible & was more of a name at the time that there was a huge explosion of UF. Not only that, but there’s also names such as L.J. Smith & Christopher Pike that also undoubtedly fueled the UF genre as well.

    Not only that, but to date I’ve only seen one person (minus the people on LKH’s forums) mention the term Hamilton-esque & that was LKH herself. Anyone else that has used the term has gotten it from LKH’s blog where she mentioned that publishers were looking for more people to put out books like hers. I’ve yet to see an actual industry person mention it or to see someone mention it & have heard it from somewhere other than LKH herself or her forums.

  26. Jess
    May 25, 2011 @ 03:54:17

    Ummmmm I feel compelled to point out that the first 10 books of Anita Blake series are almost prudish.

    I should point out that I used to follow LKHs blog and she would tell us about how her publishers were pushing her to write more sex into her stories.

    (bet they regret that now)

    LKH is an odd one LOL

%d bloggers like this: