Ill & Silly Dispatches from the WTF Department

Thanks to an anonymous tipster, we have a title that literally makes me ill to my stomach:

Innocent Wife, Baby Of Shame

Seriously. The title makes me ashamed and nauseated.

And on the flip side, from the same tipster:

The Sheikh’s Chosen Queen

Teddy Pig, what’s your comment on that one?

My comment:

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Hey!

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  1. 1

    Sweet baby Jesus and his pet panda.  Have you read the excerpt?  I want to shoot that bastard “hero” right in the nuts!

  2. 2
    Sarah Frantz says:

    The Sheikh’s chosen queen apparently has no lower legs.  SRSLY, look at that picture!

    And yes, that other title is just wrong.

  3. 3
    Julianna Buck says:

    Oh, dude.  I just read the excerpt, too.  How’ pitiful is this woman?  Also, how dumb is the premise that throws them back together?  Answer: beyond my capacity to measure.  Let us simply say that the stupidity is immense.

  4. 4
    Teddypig says:

    The Sharif dont like it
    Rock the casbah
    Rock the casbah
    The Sharif dont like it
    Rock the casbah
    Rock the casbah

    The king called up his jet fighters
    He said you better earn your pay
    Drop your bombs between the Harlequin Presents
    Down the casbah way

  5. 5
    Deb says:

    What the hell did that poor baby do that was so shameful??

  6. 6
    NHS says:

    The Guy on the Sheikh cover is so a white boy. And aren’t all babies innocent?

    Spam -foreign47: There’s less an a 47% chance that model is foreign.

  7. 7
    Helen M says:

    Teddypig, ILU.

    That first book though…whut? Just…ugh.

  8. 8
    oakling says:

    That guy’s name is Teddy Pig?
    That is exactly as over-the-top as these book titles.

  9. 9
    Trac says:

    I would be ashamed too if I were hanging out with somebody named Garth.

    I’m particularly struck by how much that “sheik” looks like the high school basketball star that I had a crush on. You know, pale, muscular, crew cut?

  10. 10

    I’m holding out for “The Sheikh’s Chosen Baby of Shame”.

  11. 11
    mlg says:

    The title alone is nauseating. Read the excerpt and you will throw up in your mouth.

  12. 12
    willaful says:

    They’re used the “baby of shame” title motiff several times… truly revolting.

  13. 13
    lisabea says:

    Teddypig you’re so under the top.

  14. 14
    jessica says:

    Ugh. I threw up a little. Can I kick the so called hero in the nuts? That would really make my day.

  15. 15
    MaryKate says:

    Do you suppose that Melanie Millburne threw up a little in the back of her mouth when she got a gander at what the publicity gurus at HQP were titling her book??

  16. 16
    anthrophile says:

    Maybe the husband-of-shame gets a horrible comeuppance and must apologize on bended knee?  After which she runs off with a hot doctor, after denouncing him and his mistrustful ways? *is hopeful*

  17. 17
    Leslie says:

    Shameful is the editor who either came up with this title or allowed it to stay.  Yikes!!!!!!

  18. 18
    Leah says:

    A baby is a wonderful, wonderful thing—sometimes scary and confusing, but ultimately wonderful.  I hate it when anyone, fictional or otherwise, condemns a pregnancy, no matter what the circumstances.

    spam detector:  above 92—as in, that title was above 92% insulting

  19. 19
    SB Sarah says:

    If my five month old could talk, he’d agree with you.

  20. 20
    Chicklet says:

    I just about to buy the Harlequin Blaze that Jayne really liked, but after seeing that Presents title up there, the thought of giving money to any division of Harlequin makes me ill.

    Memo to Harlequin: STOP DOING THIS SHIT.

  21. 21
    Ri L. says:

    Last month, when my company was converting these little steaming piles into eBooks, I was hoping I’d see some righteous snarking go down here.

    There are some real screamers coming up next month, but sadly I think I’m contractually prevented from sharing them.

  22. 22
    Lorelie says:

    *is hopeful*

    Is naive.

  23. 23
    RfP says:

    the thought of giving money to any division of Harlequin makes me ill.

    Chicklet, that’s how it strikes me too.  I’m all for including category romance in critical discourse, and I’m sure someone will (very reasonably) say “Don’t punish the author for the marketing”, but.  BUT.  Every time I see these titles, I’m less inclined to support the company.

    I don’t see Harlequin changing their marketing any time soon.  These titles have been on the rise for a decade.  As I said a few weeks ago,

    In Harlequin Presents titles from the 1980s and early ‘90s few heroines, and few actions, were “owned” by the hero, and titular “virgins” were fairly rare; Brittany’s Castle was as likely a title as Taggart’s Woman.)

  24. 24
    JaneyD says:

    So THAT’s is why HQ sales are down.

    http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=94300

    I strongly suggest a number of hugely wanking letters directed to the HQ editorial department for putting the words “shame” and “baby” together in the same line.  (Keep in mind it might not have been the writer’s title.)

    Let them know they are asshats and you’re not buying any book that indicates such a disgusting concept that a baby is a bad thing.

    And tell them to stop recycling those old Harum-Scarum 1950’s movies for their “Presents” line.  They’re bloody insulting to women of the 21st century.

    Sure, it’s fine to cultivate a safe read for great-grandmama, but the old girl’s not going to last forever.  Her daughters and their daughters are not interested in turning back the clock to the bad old days when an asshat hero was about the best that could be expected.

    Now WHERE did I put my eye-bleach and spork….?

  25. 25
    JaneyD says:

    Here’s where to write if you don’t like something.

    public_relations @ harlequin.ca

    I suggest being polite, but firm.  Let them know how you feel, just no cussin’ and name-callin’.

    Save the more entertaining wankage for here!

    (omg—the word I have to put in is “blood64.”  HA!)

  26. 26
    RfP says:

    It’s not the baby part that bothers me the most.  If anything, surely it’s the mother who’s shamed in that title and blurb.  My outrage is stronger on behalf of the enormous number of “virgins” and “mistresses” than for this fictional baby.  But in all cases, what bothers me is the apparent yearning for the (elegantly fictionalized) bad old days when women were property, women and babies were to blame for everything, etc, etc, etc.

    I do believe that what’s *between the covers* of category romances may subvert these awful messages in ways not apparent from the titles and blurbs.  But that doesn’t at all reduce the wrongheadedness of the titles.  It’s pretty difficult to claim that romance is a woman-oriented, woman-friendly genre when the most visible publisher puts out this kind of marketing—and people buy it, by the thousands.

  27. 27
    Mollyscribbles says:

    I don’t care what it makes me, I still hope that the ‘innocent wife’ gets together with the guy she had an affair with, finalizes her divorce, and they make a nice, quiet life for themselves in a town where the gossips are few and far between, and he turns out to be an awesome dad.

    If she hooks up with the guy who, in the preview, speaks to her like she’s a child, I’ll have to punch something.

  28. 28
    Genevieve P. says:

    I think I’ve just thought of the best romance title ever.

    The Shiek’s Virgin Mistresses’ Shameful Pregnancy.

    No?  Not doing it for you?

    Hunh.

    Honestly, what are these people thinking?  Reading the excerpt, all I could think is that this guy is such a jerk, no wonder she had an affair.  And why is an affair catagorized as a “final act of defiance,” isn’t the implication that as her husband, he’s been giving her orders, the further implication being that she was wrong to ever defy his orders in the first place?

    That is so wrong.

  29. 29
    Mollyscribbles says:

    Hmm . . . what about The Virgin Shiek’s Demanding Mistress?  The CEO’s Boardroom Boytoy?  The Mad Scientist’s Pregnant Husband?

  30. 30
    Rebecca says:

    I love you, Molly.

    And I hate myself for being so addicted to Harlequin Presents.

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