Did you ever bounce off a book when you first picked it up only to discover later that you loved it? Back in high school that happened to me with To Kill A Mockingbird. Really. I’d picked it up during the summer to get a jump on the next semester, but it took until the [...]
I always get a boost of industrious energy this time of year, and a renewed sense of purpose. All those years of back-to-school excitement have left me with a nigh-Pavlovian response to Labour Day. I’m one of those (apparently rare) few who actually liked school from kindergarten onwards, so the beginning of a new school [...]
Despite my whinging last month, I do in fact both read and love a lot of young adult Romance. I may not be fond of the ‘Supernatural Boyfriend of the Week’ subgenre (and no, Stephanie Meyer did not invent it; it’s been out there for decades), but that still leaves me with a large field [...]
Shakespeare claims it’s April, psychologists say it’s December. But I think July is the cruellest month. It’s hot; it’s grossly humid; I never manage to swing a proper holiday. This year I have the added irritant of lacking air-conditioning both at home and at work. Argh.
Like many in the book business, I get most of my books for free or at cost. While I rarely have the patience or skill to bargain for any other object, when it comes to books the thought of paying retail is, to me, rather absurd. The major exception to my self-imposed rule is in [...]
Some titles are born great. Some titles achieve greatness, usually through the hard work of an editor, agent, or author (who probably ripped out chunks of her own hair in the process). And some titles will never come closer to greatness than possibly containing some of the same letters.
Every April at the Gutter, the editors write about something outside their usual domains. This month, Romance Editor Chris Szego writes about animated movies. When I was a kid, cartoons were a real treat. I didn’t watch much TV, but Bugs Bunny and friends were mandatory viewing. We watched the show as a family, [...]
Trash. Hackery. Beach reads. Genre fiction gets a lot of derisive description in the public eye. Mysteries are ‘formulaic’. Fantasy is for the credulous. Science Fiction is all lasers and improbable rocketships. (I run a science fiction and fantasy bookstore, and once had a patron tell me condescendingly that she only read ‘real’ books*). [...]
Romance readers go through a lot of books. We’re somewhat spoiled by Nora Roberts’s amazing ability to produce five or six new novels every year. She’s an outlier, of course, but Romance readers are voracious, and very vocal about delays. Publishers have learned to recognize and even harness this eagerness in their readers. They’ve developed [...]
Previously, I wrote a column about Meredith Duran, who got her start in publishing when her first novel, the astonishingly good Duke of Shadows, won the Gather.com First Chapters Romance Writing Competition. I liked the interesting and collaborative nature of the online contest. Entrants posted their first chapters on the Gather.com site for the community [...]
So many books, so little year left. Thus, I give you my list of the best Romance reads of 2010. I’m always looking for suggestions, so if I’ve missed any, please feel free to chime in
For all his various meanings, attributes and forms, the hero of a Romance novel is really just the male protagonist. He can be heroic in nature, of course, and he often is, but it isn’t required. Sometimes the actual heroism, should there be any, falls to the heroine. And sometimes it falls to the writer.
Canadians and Australians tend to go together well. Our affinity makes sense: we have so much in common. We both have a lot of British in our backgrounds. We both live on the edges of our very large countries. And our climates are quite extreme (although in opposite directions). Plus there’s all that beer drinking. [...]
There are lots of people out there who have excellent memories for things they read, provided that reading isn’t purely instructional. At least, I hope so: I’d hate to be the only one. It’s kind of embarrassing — I can remember the plots of books I read when I was eight, but the second I [...]
Despite being the largest piece of the trade publishing pie, there’s a lot of good stuff to read out there that isn’t Romance. And I try to get through as much of it as possible*. Funnily enough, though, much of the other fiction I read tends to have some sort of romance in it somewhere. [...]
Apparently, once I get started on archetypes, I can’t stop. So having touched on the archtypes found in stories and in heroes, I’m going to have to complete the trifecta. Theories about the nature of the modern Romance heroine are legion. She’s a placeholder. She’s an expression of modern femininity. She’s an aspect of human [...]
I recently read a column by Ilona Andrews about heroes, which A) though light-hearted was also informative, and B) I immediately decided to steal use as a springboard for an article of my own.< There’s a lot of discussion as to the role of the hero in modern Romance. Is he a placeholder for the [...]
Once a year this column turns cranky. Lucky you: today’s that day! The Romance genre sells a lot of books. It dominates the paperback trade. When it comes to mass markets, Romance outsells every other genre and subject combined. It stands to reason, then, that it would likely also contain more bad books than any [...]
I just read an article in The New York Times that filled me with hope — hope for my relationship with cilantro. I’m in that small percentage of the population that tastes something abominable in the herb. I find cilantro not only digusting, but also annoying, because it renders several international cuisines fraught with difficulty. [...]
There are lots of great modern romance novels out there. And there are plenty of wonderfully romantic movies. Oddly enough, the latter aren’t usually based on the former (modern romance novels; in this one instance, Jane Austen doesn’t count). Which is not to say there aren’t any at all, but Twilight aside, most of them [...]
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