Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Romancing the romance novel

I have been quite the reader during my lifetime. I am also a collector of any number of hard-bound books. I have so many books, in fact, that I have actually run out of space in my two huge bookcases. (If you came to my house, you would probably think I am one of those poor obsessive-compulsive souls who hoard weird things; in my case, it's books. The girl can't help it. No wonder Books-a-Million gave me a discount card of my very own.)

The types of books I love to own and read run the gamut from Stephen King novels to historical tomes. The one genre that I have never really gotten into, however, is Women's Romance Novels where the women are all young and beautiful with no blemishes or cellulite and the men are tall, tan, muscular, with bulges in just the right places, with beautiful hair, and no blemishes or cellulite. The only thing on their minds is obviously, by the look of the book covers, kissing and hugging. You can use your imagination on what comes next.

Now, we have a friend who has been trying to get published in the women's romance novel arena. She is quite a talented writer and has worked at writing for most of her adult life. Within the last year or so, she quit her paying job as a writer on a magazine to stay at home and write full time with the hopes of getting published very soon.

I thought of our friend this morning when my husband pointed me to a blog that is on his favorites list. He insisted that it was very funny. I finally relented and tripped over to Franny's Fables. One of Franny's posts pointed me to the World of Longmire

This site's author has found his niche in taking women's romance novel book covers and remaking them into parodies of their former selves. Not to denigrate the efforts of the publishing companies that work so hard to publish and market these books, I couldn't help but laugh until I almost peed my pants and the tears were streaming down my face. The following will give you a taste of what you can expect if you enter this site.

I trust our friend who's a hopeful women's romance novel writer (and any others who enjoy this type of reading) doesn't take offense at this site if she visits it. I'm not making fun of the genre, just enjoying the parodies.

So, if you need a good pick-me-up today, or if you really, really like women's romance novels, do yourself a favor and jump over to Longmire's site. I guarantee that you will like what you see. They say that good laughter is the best medicine next to good sex. I've had my dose (laughter) this morning and it did wonders for me.

NOTE: For those unfamiliar with links, place your mouse pointer over the underlined words "World of Longmire" and click. This will take you directly to the linked site.


At January 11, 2006 2:58 PM, Blogger judypatooote said...

Wow! I'm into funny books, and my favorites are Miss Julia series, Dearest Dorthy series, and the Midford series.....Now these are all about older people and there life, and they are funny..... and cute.....a little romance but not to much.....dearest dorothy and midford series are revolved around these church ladies.....funny.... I use to read Romance novels when I was the old people work for ...but I am going to check out that sight....

At January 11, 2006 3:15 PM, Blogger susan said...

That site is hilarious! Finally a good thing to use those ridiculous romance novels for! Thanks for sharing!

At January 11, 2006 9:32 PM, Blogger Neo said...

Kitty -I'm the same way with my movies and songs. I'm gonna need to rent a garage soon to store it all!

I dread the day when I start shopping the two books I'm writing.

I thought that was fabio on that cover, then I realized it was billy ray cyrus. LOL

Thanks, for your comment.

Btw, in case you don't come back for the answer. That animal photo was a weasal. :)


- Neo

At January 12, 2006 4:15 AM, Blogger jellyhead said...

Ha! What a spectacular mullet hairdo!

I used to be partial to the odd romance novel, but they've lost their appeal for me. The men are always so annoying; the women are way too perfect. Plus you know me, Motherkitty, I need some bludgeoning and blood and gore!!
Actually that's a lie. With books I like drama, biographies or even a really well-written crime novel.

I also wanted to thank you for your very kind words to me on my most recent post. It is so nice to have you as a friend, Motherkitty.

I hope you are feeling better, too, and getting your 'spark' back.

:) Jelly

At January 12, 2006 4:12 PM, Blogger Alipurr said...

hey, don't knock mullets, i am married to Mr. Business Mullet :)

At January 13, 2006 3:28 PM, Blogger judypatooote said...

It's me again, I just thought of something to do with those book covers.....on a home makeover show, one time they took tv guide books and covered a wall with them....I think I'd rather have my wall covered with those romance novel least in my craft/computer room...

At January 14, 2006 5:24 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

Been too busy for blog reading for a few days, so I'm just seeing this. Okay, folks, I'm the romance-writing friend. :) I've been working at it for more than 10 years, I have a literary agent, and I've won regional and national awards. Hopefully, I'll sell something soon.

As for the common misperceptions about romance novels...they are not all about sex, the people are not always perfect, and I truly don't understand why they are thought of as trash. What's the one thing the vast majority of humans search for in their lives? Right, someone to love and be loved by. Romance, like everything else, has changed over time. Yes, back in the early '80s there were themes that would never fly today. The days of the helpless, witless heroine are no more. The romance genre has grown to include an incredible variety of books. There is everything from the hot and steamy in books like Harlequin Blazes to books with a Christian theme running alongside the romance where you're not going to see sex, particularly not sex outside of marriage. Personally, one of the subgenres with which I've had the most success is romantic suspense. I write this because I like happy endings, love stories and mysteries; in romantic suspense, I can wrap them all into one book. There are also historical romances, those set during England's Regency period and in the Scottish Highlands being two popular types currently. And there are paranormal romances which came out of the craze for television programs like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Romance Writers of America's national contests, the Golden Heart for unpublished manuscripts (which I won in 2004) and the RITA for published novels, recently added a new category, Novel with Romantic Elements, to include women's fiction novels that have a romantic element but also cover much more, like the heroine's relationships with her family, her friends, her career, etc. There is also chick lit, lady lit (for heroines 40+), romantic comedies, etc.

It is truly frustrating to those of us who are working our fingers to the bone that the genre is so denigrated. We don't just spit these things out at the rate of one a day. Like any type of book, there are bad books, there are average books, and there are truly stellar offerings of the type that make you stay up way past your bedtime to finish reading them, no matter you have to go to work in four hours. And the vast majority of us dislike those ridiculous half-clad contortionist covers too, but some publishing companies insist on using them because they sell -- and they have the sales figures to back up that claim. (BTW, I've cracked up at those World of Longmire parodies too.)

If you are looking for excellent authors to read to give you an idea of the quality of today's romance novelists, I suggest Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jennifer Crusie, Barbara Samuel, Deborah Smith, Stephanie Feagan and Elizabeth Grayson. My two critique partners are published: Annie Solomon (romantic suspense) and Beth Pattillo (funny Christian chick lit). And you might be surprised by some of the big names who began their careers as romance writers: Tess Gerritsen, Janet Evanovich, Lisa Gardner, etc. There is a reason why authors like Nora Roberts are hugely successful and routinely hit the New York Times Bestseller List -- romance accounts for 51 percent of mass market paperback sales.

Looks like I've taken up enough comment space. It's just a topic I'm passionate about, no pun intended. :)


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