In this week’s podcast episode, we’re looking at the advertisements and features inside the July 2004 issue of Romantic Times, aka RT Book Reviews. Or, in this issue, Romantic Times Book Club.
How many names did this magazine have?!
Special and massive thanks to Kay Sisk for sending me this issue!
Ready for an absolute mile and a half of WTFery from nearly 20 years ago? Oh, this is a weird memory lane, y’all. Brace yourself, hold on to your butt, and maybe also grab hold of someone else’s butt to get ready.
You can also find all the RTRW content at our category page for Romantic Times Rewind. And if you want to read the whole issue, if you join the Patreon, you’ll get access to the entire magazine as a PDF.
And, most importantly, if you want to listen and follow along with this entry, you can click play and listen and read and absorb all the visual goodness:
Not only are we taking a nice long look at this cover. There’s a whole entire unicorn.
But to quote Amanda, “Peep those French tips!”
I haven’t seen nails in that style in a long, long time.
This ad for a Diana Palmer was absolutely confusing to us both.
It’s only page 3, but we’re still stuck on the ads.
This ad for I’m No Angel brought back memories. This was such a common illustration style back in the early-mid 2000s, right?
The illustration is so sharp and thin and stretched out and pointy! So many covers with this style.
And here we go. This is an AD.
ALLIGATOR PANTS AND KNEE ARMOR.
What a gift of a cover, huh?
Oh, hey, remember author blogs? Sorry, WEBLOGS?
And look who wrote in – hey, Fatin!!
When you track your ship using your Nipple GPS.
Remember author cruises? Wow, weblogs and cruises.
A romance cruise would be VERY fun. We’d all be sacked out in lounge chairs reading and peeking at the covers of everyone’s books, and then drinking. Or both at the same time.
One of several ads for digital presses that no longer exist: Awe-Struck E-Books.
At this time, RT was coordinating Booklovers Day at bookstores around the country, and I think one result of that effort was a large number of bookstores featured in this and other issues.
And yet, SO many bookstores that are still going strong! Including BooksNMore in Denton, Texas, which I am absolutely going to visit. Look at their website!!
LOOK! Here’s a screen cap. LOOK AT THIS IT IS PERFECT.
I shall be visiting. I shall be visiting and I shall be checking my suitcase home. Vinyl and Romance.
There was a whole gossip column in this issue! Check this section out:
Erotic romance publishers were limited by PayPal – was it because of Janet Jackson’s breast?! Holy time capsule.
That Familiar Touch was indeed released, and then updated with a COVER. One of the most memorable covers.
The Series Rap Sheet page had this sidebar about Authors on Location. A book release party on the Atlantic City boardwalk casino, and book signings at intermission of I Love You. You’re Perfect. Now Change – what a different time it was.
There’s one book being sought that led us to some real-time volunteering: YACHT LIBRARIAN.
The text, since the type is so small:
Book Sleuth! Seeking…
A young red-haired woman goes to work for the mother of a millionaire as a librarian and to help out on his yacht. The woman and the millionaire marry, despite each thinking the other is not in love.
The unhappy couple moves to a remote island, where she’s isolated from everyone, and he’s always traveling. In one scene, there’s a birthday party for the hero. In the end, she attempts to leave the island via the only boat. He stops her and they reconcile.
Do you remember the book with the yacht librarian? I feel like that’s a profession that’s pretty rare. The libraries in this post on Boat International seem in need of professional assistance, oh, for sure.
Sidenote: do you know how fast I’d consume a series about a yacht librarian?
Look at this marvelous profile of The Book Barn!
RT BOOKclub got this answer so right:
“Our reviews are categorized by genre, not format.” Remember when that was a big debate?
Also, moment of silence for presses which no longer exist.
I also remember this promotion from Kensington:
$3.99 debut authors! Endorsed by NYT bestselling authors!
And then, the ad we could have done a whole episode on:
Here are some of the covers so you can get an extensive look:
Remember when so, so many covers were like these?
And speaking of covers.
Are these people mid-coitus?
I almost subtitled this episode, “The hypotenuse of the fucking triangle.”
This cover was part of an ad for New Concepts publishing, and the other covers are equally wild:
Are these Jonas brothers??!
Amanda thinks this looks like Matt Dillon:
There were SO many articles on writing, craft, prose, etiquette.
And Clip Art.
The Sex, Lies, and Videotape ad – promoting three authors, their books, and and book tour:
And high fives to Deborah Donnelly, whose book was made into a Hallmark movie!
Inside the article outlining what sleuths are in what parts of the country or the world:
A sleuth named Bubbles Yablonsky, from Lehigh, PA. As a person raised in western Pennsylvania, this struck a particular warm nostalgia in my heart that I can’t articulate. The first book is Bubbles Unbound.
“Fueled by Velveeta, Doritos, and Diet Pepsi.”
Hand on my heart, I love this so much.
Men. With. Pens.
Kings of the Jungle. OK. Oh, and another reference to “Lad Lit.”
This is the original masthead font for SBTB!
And another bit of SBTB nostalgia:
BooksFree, which is now BookLender.com, was one of the reasons I had romance novels to review when the site started. I was reading the romances I had from BooksFree.
What. Does this even. MEAN.
“Harlequin Temptation’s inline subseries Heat…” A sizzling red border!
And speaking of publishing announcements:
Do you remember when SO MANY THINGS had that loopy font?
Did you know there were people writing fantasy? WOMEN writing fantasy!
I had to grab this ad because Amanda loves Juliet Marillier.
Continuing our exploration of FONTS OH MY.
Time out for “The Wishin’ Boot!”
We had a lot of questions about this ad:
That is the most generic romance ad.
This ad is also a time capsule!
There was a tiny, tiny picture of this cover in the magazine, but seeing it in a larger image doesn’t help.
Book Quest would find hard-to-locate romances for you – what a neat service.
Rereadables.com is still going!
This ad is bizarre.
We think this is an ad for the press? Like the horny dragon was doing acquisitions?
And in the section for RT Book Lovers Convention, check out all the PARTIES.
And these panel discussion topic divisions are really odd: Paranormal, Mystery & Suspense, Chick Lit…
Meanwhile, in the reviews for this issue, there wasn’t even a paranormal section. It was ‘New Reality.’
Wow, that was a trip back through time!
And remember, if you join the Patreon, you’ll get access to the entire issue as a PDF. ALL THE UNICORN COVER PDF YOU CAN HANDLE.
What do you think? Do you remember all these digital presses? And all the Poser covers?