BOOKMARKED is the name of our paper.li journal, but since not everyone is on Twitter and not everyone on Twitter likes paper.li, this is an adhoc round-up on the blog highlighting links and news that might be of interest.
It’s been a while since we posted a links round-up, but oh, my god, people, Romancelandia exploded last night! This post will be epic. I hope you brought your lunch with you.
Everything you know about romance book bloggers has been turned on its head. Jane Litte revealed on Dear Author that she has been writing books since 2013:
So I went ahead and created a penname, Jen Frederick, and published Undeclared with no expectations about what would happen. And, much to my surprise, it sold well. So I wrote another one. And another. And began to learn about the publishing industry from an entirely different perspective.
It was important that DA remain its own inviolate entity. I partitioned off the fiction writing from the blogging, keeping my writing identity private. I wanted as little connection as possible between the blog and the book, to protect the integrity of both.
I know many people will have conflicting feelings about this, but personally, I think we need more authors willing to review other books critically. I do wonder how some of the other Dear Author reviewers will feel about this revelation.
In any case, it’s a pretty great accomplishment for her to achieve success without using her blogging persona to help market her books. jenfrederick.com
Update 25/3/2015: My understanding is that Jane disclosed the information to the Dear Author bloggers just before she posted it on the blog, and that there was an opportunity for them to react and ask questions. It’s also my understanding that Jane herself declined to review her own book (when encouraged by another blogger who didn’t know of the connection) on the basis that she knew the author, but I haven’t followed Jen Frederick’s career closely, so I can’t say for sure whether or not the books have been promoted on Dear Author in a way that I might find unseemly.
I guess I don’t feel it’s a huge problem unless, for example, she reviewed her own book favourably or in any way tried to change other people’s opinions of the book using her blogger persona, or called in personal favours without those personal connections being disclosed during the promotion. My feeling is that it’s this uncertainty that will probably be the biggest issue for other readers, and it will basically come down to your opinion of Jane’s integrity.
Got a romance reader event coming up?
Jen and I have decided to use the Trousseau zine Tumblr to post upcoming romance reader events. It’s open to all locations, so if you’re an author, publisher, publicist or reader and you have an event coming up, let us know! Submit your event here. If you just want to know about the events, just follow the Tumblr. We’ll also be revealing more exciting news about Trousseau soon, so watch this space! trousseauzine.tumblr.com
A brief history of Harlequin
Confession: I recently read awesome academic Jodi McAlister’s thesis chapter covering the history of Mills & Boon, so Kelly Faircloth’s recent piece on Jezebel felt like an extension of that reading. This is what literary journalism should be like as applied to the romance genre. Here’s my favourite quote from the article:
This dovetails nicely with romance novelist Sarah MacLean’s feminist theory of romance as a broader genre. “If you look at it as heroine as hero, hero as society, at its core it’s the story of the feminist movement,” she told me. Which provides another way to read the novels of the 70s and 80s as products of their time: “You’re in the heroine’s head, even though it’s third person, and the hero is closed off to her. She has to break him open, like he’s a world she can’t be a part of,” said MacLean. “The heroines come at the hero in a distinctly ‘female’ way. They unlock the ‘female’ part of him,” and “when she’s doing that, she’s imbuing the hero with femininity. Right? She’s saying, it’s OK for you to love. It’s OK for you to care. it’s OK for you to cry.”
Even better were the Twitter conversations that ensued from this article.
Romance in academia
Speaking of academics, Emma Pearse asks at The Smithsonian, Why can’t romance novels get any love? The article gives a brief overview of romance genre scholarship, with some great quotes from academics. My favourite:
“I have to say, the science is dreary,” said Eli Finkel, a professor of social psychology at Northwestern University, citing studies that show romance inevitably dropping in marriages. “But, then again, the science says that the alpha male is, well, kinda hot. It turns out that everyone likes someone who is hot and ambitious.”
And on a more serious note:
“Women write and read romance heroes to examine, dissect, subvert, discuss, revel in and reject patriarchal constructions of masculinity,” said Sarah Frantz Lyons. “They’re not just cherishing the chains of their bondage. They’re figuring out what they are, figuring out how they fit.”
Call for papers: POPCAANZ
Jodi (see previous mention above) is the Area Chair for Popular Romance Studies at POPCAANZ. She has issued a call for papers for the conference in New Zealand at the end of June. The deadline is April 15. More info at Teach Me Tonight.
Goodreads: It’s complicated
Apparently, Goodreads recently changed the way readers and authors interact by removing friend relationships with authors. This has led to consequences that GR probably didn’t intend or, at least, didn’t foresee.
Apparently it escaped Goodreads’ attention that a member might be a friend of an author because they like the person while at the same time not having any interest the books that person writes.
I don’t know why GR missed it (other than that GR sees authors as things and not people)
That seems a bit idiotic. I mean, would it have killed them to beta test it with a segment of the community first? I don’t actually follow the entire explanation, for the simple reason that I don’t use GR for social interactions as much as as free database of books I’ve read. But if you’re an active GR member, it’s worth reading Nate’s post. (Source: The Digital Reader)
Author considers arts grants as thuggery; quits SFWA
The author is Holly Lisle. For some people, that might be enough context. If you need more, here’s the rationale.
Things I now want:
Floating sperm pen — Exactly what it sounds like, except it’s fake sperm. Obvs.
Jane/Jen’s first book — Free on Amazon!
P.S. More Fifty Shades of Grey stuff
When I was tweeting my thoughts after rewatching the film, @JanetNorCal tweeted me a link to this video, featuring Danny Elfman talking about the FSoG score. It’s pretty great, and the music is one of the best things about the film.