By now, if you haven’t been living under a rock or had more important things to do with your time, you would have heard that William and Kate are the proud parents of a baby boy weighing 8 lbs, 6 oz. While this is no doubt very exciting, what does it have to do with books? Well, if history repeats itself, whatever name they give to the bub will have a massive spike in popularity. It stands to reason that this trend will probably carry over into books. The favourites amongst punters according to the Herald Sun are George, James, Louis and Charles. I began to wonder what the implications would be if the royal couple used their considerable popularity to reinvigorate some classic names that have fallen out of favour over the years. I have taken the liberty of penning some suitable options. Continue reading
Mobile phones must be the bane of authors trying to create a suspenseful situation. Trapped in a dark, dank cellar? Abandoned on a deserted road in the middle of nowhere? Vampire hunting you? Run out of chocolate? All the protagonist has to do is pick up their mobile and help is on the way. Mobile phones are the number one buzz kill of this decade. So I started wondering what authors could do to solve this tricky problem. Now don’t expect me to offer you sensible advice and suggest things like poor network coverage, a dead battery or phone damage as that would be an affront to my sense of whimsy. Instead I offer you some highly impractical but never before seen solutions (probably for a very good reason). Continue reading
Penguin and Random House’s respective parent companies have decided to merge them – if this is anything like Transformers it should have a cool theme song and special effects. The new company is going to be called Penguin Random House. I started wondering about the implications of this merger for both readers and the book industry as a whole. I can’t claim any expertise in this area so this is just what has been swirling around in my head. Continue reading
I attended a regional book fair on Saturday and was hoping to snaffle some bargains. I thought I was a pro as I’d attended a two million book one in the city a few times. I made several faux pas however within a short space of time and ended up fleeing without purchasing anything (very unusual for me). As I quickly vacated the premises, I wondered if there was some sort of unwritten set of rules that should be followed at book fairs and if so, what they should look like. Here are my proposed rules. What do you think? Any more that are needed? Continue reading
The inspiration for this post came not from a romance novel funnily enough but from the A Mind for Murder mystery series by Rochelle Staab. Liz’s ex lied to her and repeatedly cheated on her yet is set up as part of a love triangle. It made me wonder how you should deal with lying, cheating men. I thought the best way to attack this was to provide examples from three novels I have read recently from three different genres. Be warned, spoilers lurk within this post for Hex on the Ex, Silk is For Seduction and The Blue-Ribbon Jalapeno Society Jubilee. Continue reading
I meant to post this last Wednesday but I forgot I had written it until a few minutes ago. Oops!
There was one kiss that left me giggling when I read My Sky Cowboy as the heroine had tangerine flavoured lips. I’m sure you’ve come across this trope before as well. It got me wondering why so many romantic heroes taste fruit when they are kissing the heroine. Continue reading
A colleague forwarded a link to “Does Great Literature Make Us Better?” from the New York Times. The author, Gregory Currie, queries whether reading great literature can actually “refine our moral and social sensibilities”. This article got me thinking and I thought I’d jot down my thoughts. Continue reading
I stumbled across Ann Aguirre’s blog entry on GoodReads. For those of you who don’t know, she is a fairly prolific science fiction writer of series such as Razorlands and Sirantha Jax. She’s been receiving criticism because as a female she has dared to write science fiction. According to her post, this is just one example out of many where she has been belittled and made to feel ashamed because of her lady bits. She has even started receiving hate mail since writing this post. The fact that such a popular author is taking a stand makes me wonder how many others are quietly suffering the same form of discrimination. My wondering wall for today though is whether an author’s gender really matters. The short answer is yes. Continue reading
Lip biting is one trope I have noticed in many of the romance novels I have read. I was curious about whether it was just a literary device or recognition of a genuine medical condition. Here are my findings… Continue reading
There are a lot of blogs commenting on the change in the rise of minimalist cover art for romance novels such as Smart Bitches Trashy Books. The prequel, if you like, seemed to be the Twilight series which was followed and popularised by the erotic Fifty Shades of Grey. Given the success of this style, it isn’t too surprising that other erotic novels such as those by Sylvia Day and Beth Kery have followed suit. I don’t read this genre but I can’t help wondering why this shift is occurring. I came up with what I think are plausible reasons:
- They don’t look like romance novels so you won’t be embarrassed buying them, reading them on the train or bus or even leaving them lying around at home. It also helps to distance the reader from the stereotypical romance reader
- It is cheap to produce. You don’t have to hire models or photographers etc and get international rights to the pictures. You don’t have to mess around in a design program trying to touch up the images. Simply find a stock image, add the title and author in a simple font and you are done
- The publishers think people are bored of the bodice rippers and the guys with impossible abs. The problem is that they are simply replacing one trope with another
- Simple often works best at attracting an audience. Why confuse them with lots of colour and distracting images, when you can settle for something simpler. Case in point is Macy Beckett’s new novel Surrender to Sultry. The original image was very busy and the main characters got lost in the background. The publisher decided to commission a new one and the author is ecstatic with the simplicity of it
- Publishers have decided to stop objectifying women and men in particular for the instant but non-PC gratification of their audience (snicker).
The Twilight series:
50 Shades of Grey and a couple inspired by the approach:
Macy Beckett’s Surrender to Sultry. Old is on the left.