Tis the season – it’s Valentine’s day, when media’s attention turns to romance authors for the scoop on all things Valentiney (or just tiny). Romance authors and the day of chocolate, flowers, and romance (and more chocolate) seem to go hand in hand this time of year.
So here’s a brief round up of the good and the WTF.
From the WTF: Oh, Canada. The CBC rounds up the most ‘romantic’ cities in the Great White North by analyzing which cities buy more romance novels, sex and relationship books – and CD’s by Michael Buble – on Amazon.ca. The winner? Victoria, British Columbia.
Not to be overlooked, there’s a US version of this estimable list based on sales of romance novels and Barry White albums. I’ll let you digest that comparison (Buble vs Barry – who wins?) and spoil the surprise by announcing that Alexandria, Virginia, wins the dubious “most Romantic” title. (My fine hometown of Pittsburgh is #13. Heh.)
The Extreme WTFery rolls in the comments of the CBC article. As a rule, I advise never reading the comments to any news story on any news website. For some reason, extreme self-important asshattery gathers in the comments of news websites, particularly when said news articles are about romance. When meardaba emailed me this link, she was Most Displeased with the tone of the comments, but we both agreed adding to the asshattery would only make the assclownage worse.
So let’s move on to the good, shall we? Here are some articles where I kept waiting for the tone to turn snide, but it didn’t. Wooty! Could it be that journalism about romance is slowly changing for the better? Have I cursed the progress by saying so? Let’s pretend I didn’t say that.
Gold Coast has an article about what makes the ideal hero featuring Robyn Grady, Rachel Bailey, and Anna Campbell. While the parallel of happily married romance authors and marvelous romance heroes makes me cringe a bit, I like that the authors kept the focus on how the heroes of romances aren’t overblown (ha) fantasies that real men couldn’t possibly emulate.
And oh, happydance begins… now! USA Today ran an article today about beauty and romance, featuring Maya Rodale, Beverly Jenkins, and Nalini Singh, titled Romance By the Book: Never Judge by the Cover.
Awwwww, yeahhhh. That’s more like it. Rodale, Singh and Jenkins talk about their own books, and the beauty of the heroines and heroes within them – which is found in their personalities and not their physicality. I’m quoted in there, too, but my favorite quote is from Beverly Jenkins:
“I have women who are the first African-African doctors, journalists and business owners in my stories,” Jenkins says. “I don’t really do that whole physical beauty thing, whether it’s 10 tons of hair, big boobs or whatever else men are supposed to be attracted to. My heroes are attracted to what she’s got going on underneath all that.
“We are more beautiful under the surface than we are on the surface. I try to tap into that.”
The authors also offer tips for looking good and feeling beautiful, which could so easily have gone the way of snark and snide but wow, did Rodale, Singh and Jenkins hit that out of the park, too.
I know there’s a few very romance-savvy folks working at USA Today, and I am so, so happy to see articles like this one that address the stereotype of the genre and then examine what’s going on behind the covers and within the motivations of the women who write them. The print edition, if you can still find it, is worth checking out, since there’s pictures of all three authors, including Rodale pictured among what has to be fourteen bazillion romance novels in her apartment.