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

Wednesday News: Apple appeals the anti-trust verdict, SilkWords offers interactive romance...

Apple files appeal in e-book antitrust case – And here’s another surprise. Not. Apple has filed an appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (in New York), arguing that Judge Cote’s verdict “‘is a radical departure’ from modern antitrust law that will ‘chill competition and harm consumers’ if allowed to stand.” That’s right, kids; Apple is actually arguing that what they did HELPED make the market more competitive. Oh, and of course the company had no idea that publishers were conspiring to set prices.

Apple’s papers filed Tuesday refuted the antitrust finding, and said its entrance into the e-book market “kick-started competition in a highly concentrated market, delivering higher output, lower price levels, and accelerated innovation.” –Yahoo News

SilkWords offers short interactive romance and erotica – Founded in 2013, SilkWords is a subscription service that merges fiction and gaming environments that allows readers to choose the way in which the story unfolds and develops. With a third of gamers being women, the company’s founders felt that the immersive environment of gaming would pair well with a stronger story telling element:

So we came up with the idea of merging elements of romantic fiction (the most popular fiction genre) with elements of gaming, and SilkWords was born — a “choose your own” type of short story venue aimed at adult women. A place for smart, busy, adventurous women to unwind and have fun. –SilkWords

@GSElevator Tattletale Exposed (He Was Not in the Goldman Elevator) – After three years — practically a lifetime in Internet years — the creator of the @GSElevator Twitter account has been unmasked, and he’s neither en employee of Goldman Sachs or a resident of the Wall Street elevator in which he supposedly overheard any number of private, humorous, and scandalous conversations. A former Citigroup bond executive, he still has a book deal with Simon & Schuster, which apparently knew his real identity, or at least that he wasn’t a Goldman Sachs employee. Definitely not James Frey level misrepresentation, but it’s going to be interesting to see how much backlash the revelations unleash.

The ability of people like Mr. Lefevre to create anonymous Twitter accounts underscores concerns about the veracity of what is published and the identity of authors. It also raises questions about whether publishers are blurring the line between real life and the made-up kind. . . . 

He said his intent was neither to mock nor glamorize Wall Street. “I do not have an agenda to paint the people or this culture one way or the other,” he said, adding that he was “always a cynical banker” when he worked on Wall Street but “I loved it. We did a lot of crazy stuff. It’s not like I had a great epiphany along the way.”

Still, he said that working on Wall Street was an eye-opener. “I went into investment banking and I saw a group of people that aren’t as impressive as I thought they were — or as impressive as they thought they were. They defined themselves as human beings by their jobs.” –New York Times

Oppression by Omission: Women Soldiers Who Dressed and Fought as Men in the Civil War – Although this piece is a year old, I found the link in a recent Atlantic article about the treatment of women during the U.S. Civil War, and it reminded me of how many stories haven’t yet been told in the Romance genre. Here were women who passed as men under some of the most violent and extreme conditions possible, and in doing so “they gained access to social opportunities and privileges previously unavailable to them.” Some of these women were pregnant during their service, hiding their pregnant bodies under ill-fitting uniforms and giving birth to the surprise of their male peers. Not all went back to dressing as women after the war. There are so many possibilities here, for both m/f and f/f Romance, all potentially grounded in historical fact.

So why did women do this? For some, like their male counterparts, the motivation was purely patriotic. Others did if for love, taking to the battlefields in order to remain close to a husband, lover, fiancé, father, or brother. But for many, the reason was economic — an army private made $13 a month, roughly double what a seamstress, laundress, or maid would make. –Brain Pickings

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!

7 Comments

  1. ~ames~
    Feb 26, 2014 @ 09:03:25

    Rita Mae Brown wrote a book about a woman who followed her husband into war. It’s called High Hearts. It was excellent. I re-read it a few years ago and still enjoyed the heck out of it. The kicker, the heroine took to being a soldier better than her husband did. Ha!

  2. cleo
    Feb 26, 2014 @ 09:03:59

    Thanks for the Civil War link. I’s love to see romances explore this.

    High Hearts by Rita Mae Brown is about a woman who disguises herself to be a Confederate soldier – I’m not sure I’d call it genre romance but it has a romance and a hea for the main couple. I read it years ago (decades?) and I have no idea how well it holds up.

  3. wikkidsexycool
    Feb 26, 2014 @ 10:05:15

    Hi Robin,

    Thanks for including the link and mentioning this fascinating book about women posing as men during the Civil War.
    I thought this Washington Post article might be of interest also, since its about the same book:

    “Confederate Loreta Janeta Velazquez, disguised as Lt. Harry T. Buford, fought along with five other women soldiers in the Battle of Shiloh. Maria Lewis, an African American passing as a white male soldier, served in the 8th New York Cavalry and “skirmished and fought like the rest,” a fellow soldier wrote. Four Confederate women were promoted to the rank of captain. At least one was a major.”

    Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/women-soldiers-fought-bled-and-died-in-the-civil-war-then-were-forgotten/2013/04/26/fa722dba-a1a2-11e2-82bc-511538ae90a4_story.html

    It’s given me a great idea for a story.

  4. KZoeT
    Feb 26, 2014 @ 10:32:09

    Though it’s not a romance, Revolutionary by Alex Myers tells a fictionalized story of Deborah Samson, a Revolutionary War soldier who disguised herself as a man to fight the British. I recommend it to anyone looking for a woman-disguised-as-soldier novel.

    I’m on the hunt for more Civil War-era romances with strong heroines so I’ll be seeking out High Hearts. If anyone has other recommendations, please speak up.

  5. Darlynne
    Feb 26, 2014 @ 10:56:26

    I had no idea what to expect when I clicked on the link to SilkWords (Is it a book, is it a game?). The About Us section was interesting and funny, a certain lure to my reading tastes. So I took at look at their Collection.

    The graphics above each story seemed to hit all the usual and unfortunate aspects of romance novel covers: scantily and anachronistically dressed doe-eyed, pouty-lipped women. But, c’mon, the intro to the writers was great, so I kept going.

    I chose Mon Coeur Est une Ecchymose by Leigh Cowart, primarily because I had no idea what an ecchymose is (a bruise, I think) and am always keen to learn.

    Short answer: Gah, people are waiting at the door for me, but I had to say that I loved the first section, especially when I got to this:

    Before the drink is over, I make a man cry. (He used an explanation of Stockholm Syndrome as a pickup attempt, so I was mean to him until he wanted my approval.)

    When I get back, I absolutely want to look at more. Thanks for the link.

  6. AlexaB
    Feb 26, 2014 @ 14:39:59

    Silkwords reminds me of “Chose Your Own Adventure” books. And I liked the books as a kid. But I don’t see why Silkwords is supposed to appeal to female gamers. Not a lot of reading in most games, for one. But maybe I’m missing something.

    To me it sounds like a bad product development meeting:

    Product Development Analyst #1: “Hey! Didja know video games are played by GIRLS?! Who knew? But this research report says 1/3 of gamers have vaginas!!!”

    Product Development Analyst #2 looks up from another market research report: “And you know what else the womenfolk apparently like? Romance novels! With lots of sexytimes!”

    Product Development Analyst #1 takes a bite of his Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup. His eyes widen and he glances down at the candy in his hand. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

    Product Development Analyst #2: “According to this third report, females also like chocolate?”

    Product Development Analyst #1: “NO! We mash up gaming and romance novels! It’s a can’t miss!”

    Product Development Analyst #2: “But don’t interactive novels and chose your own experience books already exist? And so far no one has managed to crack the adult market.”

    Product Development Analyst #1: “Those weren’t sold as a gaming experience. Now, go research 3-D printers so we can spit out chocolate rewards for playing. It will be the trifecta of girly things! The women will never be able to resist us. MWA-HA-HA!”

    (No offense to Silkwords. I hope they find an audience. I’ve just been exposed to many similar meetings. )

    I wrote a report on Deborah Sampson in fourth grade and still remember learning about her fondly. I third? fourth? the call for using the real stories of women serving as soldiers in the 18th/19th centuries as inspiration for historical romance.

  7. AlexaB
    Feb 26, 2014 @ 14:42:24

    @AlexaB:

    Responding to myself because I mean to write “choose,” not “chose.” I blame the lack of coffee in my day so far.

%d bloggers like this: