Sunday, August 06, 2006

Shock 'n Awe


Our Miss Snark, the Treasure of the Blogverse, celebrated a million hits in her first year by inviting round-up nominations from her faithful Snarklings.
The categories included favourite poster.
I was astounded - there is no other word - to see myself listed as an Honourable Mention.

***
I'm still a little scatty-headed from seeing that....where were we?

Oh yes, the second book in my latest research.
Much stronger, more interesting, than the first novel regarding character and rules of engagement.
She's the body guard with a hot body. He's the Body.
A bit excessive description of the obligatory sexual attraction between them: A storm swirled in his eyes, reminding her of a deadly waterspout in the gulf...and ... stirred his blood like a chef with a swift wooden spoon.
Way too much backstory and exposition, and not nearly enough incidents where she saves him from rabid, lusting mobs of women.
The sex scene takes an entire chapter, about 20 pages of candles, mirrors and exotic oils, largely interspersed in with terms of flame of her desire, the essence of her heat, her pleasured cries, etc.
For me the most realistic part was when she had to move a votive candle that was burning her ass.
Seems as if exotic sex props are the titillating toys du jour in romantica. Very urban and sometimes a little plastic. Not sure I care for the jaded implications.
Now, the third book was entirely hwat - because it emphasized mind-sex seduction before it launched into the usual varieties.
Maybe I'm just hopelessly old-fashioned and not entirely comme il faut, but I have become tired of the "we want it but we shouldn't" sex scenario equality and prefer to read plots where the male is unabashedly the hunter. Don't think I'm alone or unique in this.
For this reason, I do suspect historical romance will definitely make a come-back, if for no other reason than the chauvenistic setting allows the hero to be bare-chested, an agressively, primitively, and traditionally pursuing male.
Thoughts?

32 comments:

Charity said...

Well, I’m not the least bit surprised of the HM. I discovered your blog through comments over at Miss Snark’s and Romancing the Blog. I’ve been lurking here a while, but thought I’d delurk to let you know how much I enjoy both your comments and your blog.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Charity!
~ still flabbergasted~
Please, you are welcome to join in.
They are a really nice crowd here.

Ric said...

Especially when we get Bernita to post about sex - like today!!!

The Modern Woman is rumored to be much more liberated in her approach to sex - that she will pursue, initiate, command. Never mind, as Bernita points out, that this flies in the face of thousands of years of male/female interactions. OR that the concept is strictly a Western invention.

Toss in the biological aspect that males are the ones on the prowl.

Still, I think the presence of twenty-something editors and agents will keep the strong female in our books. Bernita's bare chested hunks pursueing demure virginal females will be construed as decidedly old-fashioned.

MissWrite said...

Congrats on your mention. I found you, once upon a time, thanks to your responses on Miss Snark's blog, too.

As for the romances, I love finding unexpected plots in romances. It's hard to find. So many rely on tired gimmicks like the we want it, but shouldn't feelings.

What surprises me even more are how often things like excessive backstory, info dumps, dizzying head-hopping etc... occurs anymore.

When those types of flaws are pointed out to new writers, the caveat that authors who are cannonized in the business do it because they have always done it, and now have a name that allows them free rein to do whatever they wish regardless, but, you (the new writer) should still adhere to the rules because it will make the stories stronger.

It WILL make the stories stronger. What escapes me is why, not only the old cemented in stone authors are still allowed to present such sloppyish work, but that it even slides in with many new author's work.

Jaye Wells said...

At RWA, it was pretty clear historicals were making a little bit of a come-back. However, one publisher specifically mentioned they want really hot historicals. Historica?

Sela Carsen said...

Historica? Hysterical.

I don't think the Alpha Male will ever go out of style. Simply because he's so much fun to cut off at the knees sometimes. *gg*

Congrats on the HM! I think I may also have found you through Miss Snark's comments.

Bernita said...

Hee, Ric, just for you...

I'm not suggesting, however, that the females have to be innocent and virginal, just that the prowling male be allowed to be himself.
I'm all for strong females,but even non-virgins like to be pursued.

And I am so very glad that you did, Tami. You add so much.
~still astonished~
Yes, indeed. Having excised some pages of exposition and backstory in blocks from my own WIP - once I knew what it was - I understand a new writer being uncertain about terms. What I don't understand is why some editors allow it in excess.

As long as it's not, Hysterica, Jaye, and the historical details are reasonable wince-free.
Sela has a good post today on a"historotica" of the kind you mention gone very, very bad.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Sela. I am very glad you did.
Yep. Capturing the savage beast is total thrill.

EA Monroe said...

Congratulations, Bernita!
"When those types of flaws are pointed out to new writers, the caveat that authors who are cannonized in the business do it because they have always done it, and now have a name that allows them free rein to do whatever they wish regardless, but, you (the new writer) should still adhere to the rules because it will make the stories stronger."

Well said, Miss Write! That was the point I was trying to make yesterday. NYT "cannonized" authors allowed to get away with demolishing trees with bad writing when we're all trying to become better at our craft!

Women's lib. I don't think you'll ever get us stuffed back in the box. Maybe historica will be liberated females pursuing demure virginal males? ;-) Is that historical chick-lit? Or maybe it's a boomerang effect? Sometimes it's more fun being "pursued." What do I know anyway?! I don't read chick-lit and never watched Sex in the City. I suspect there's a whole audience of women readers (and men) who want to read bare-chested historical romance. It's all about the $$$.

Bernita said...

It IS about the $$$.
Publishing is a business.
No dollars and they fold.
These writers have proved they are money makers, sloppy technique or not.

The thing is to look at what they do right, while avoiding what they do wrong.

Jeff said...

Congratulations on your honorable mention, Bernita. Like Charity, I'm not surprised. Your posts are well articulated and thought-provoking. Add to that your delightful personality and you have the recipe for a popular blog. :)

Bernita said...

So tizzied, I forgot.
Thank you, EA.

My cheeks feel hot at the moment...thank you, Jeff.
~feeling also very humbled~

kmfrontain said...

Sela Carsen said: "I don't think the Alpha Male will ever go out of style. Simply because he's so much fun to cut off at the knees sometimes. *gg*"

ROTFL! Good one.

Congrats, Bernita! :D

Bernita said...

Hmm, why, indeed, should we be denied that pleasure?

Thank you, Karen!

December Quinn said...

Wheee! Bare-chested hot historical romance! Yay! (BTW, looks like The Black Dragon will be out in December.)


Wow, there's certainly alot of us dissatisfied with the current state of romance, isn't there? Are things reaching critical mass?


And congrats on the HM, Bernita!

Bernita said...

Is that the one set in Wales, December?
With the perfect ( to my taste, anyway), masculine hero?

Now, if the general readership feels the same as we do, and our objections are solidly based, it may indicate a sea-change is coming -
always providing that agents and editors have their ears to the sea-floor.

Thank you, December!

MissWrite said...

Quote:It IS about the $$$.
Publishing is a business.
No dollars and they fold.
These writers have proved they are money makers, sloppy technique or not.


Point taken (considering my own blog entry today, lol)... still ...

You'd think that those 'cannonized' authors would want their writing to be stronger, and regardless of past success, at least make an attempt to tidy up a bit. Hell, I know I would.

I've read many an interview where an author has said how they hate to read their old work, because it makes them cringe a bit at things they did in the past that they'd not do again. Errors, ommissions, stupid stuff. That's completely understandable, by the way, I understand the feeling completely. But for God's sake, FIX IT in current work! LOL

Okay, rant over for today.

Bernita said...

Not a rant, Tami, an excellent question.

Why don't they?

Some of these people give talks and workshops on writing,I assume.
Do they feel that though this or that is a good rule/guide for beginners and other assorted plebs - they know how to successfully break/ evade it?

Dennie McDonald said...

the hero to be bare-chested, an agressively, primitively, and traditionally pursuing male.


WAHOO!!!

oh sorry was that aloud... *blushes* ...been writing too much today - sorry -

Robyn said...

*bangs gavel*

Card carrying members of Chest Thumping Alpha Males Fan Club will now come to order.

You know how we agree on this subject, Bernita. I also agree with Miss Snark- you are a treasured poster on my blog, and any other.

December Quinn said...

It sure is, Bernita!

That really is a good point--why some of the biggest authors still write sloppily. Personally, I think there's two reasons (The reasons are twofold, ma'am): One, perhaps they have reached a point where they think they don't need to improve (or are lazy, which I believe is the case with some writers whose later work shows a definite downturn in quality), and/or Two, they're afraid to.

If what they do works, what would happen if they changed? Their readers might not like it.

Bernita said...

Sentiments exactly, Dennie!

Thank you, Robyn...er... Madame President.
Have I said recently that I love your blog?

Hoped that was the one, December, but you had a rash of sales and I wasn't sure.
Your reasons probably cover many cases.

archer said...

[Bowing and grasping your fingertips]

Donn' Bernita! My respects!

Caeseria said...

Hey there! I'm new to blogger but I found you while trying to answer my own question regarding whether someone with French could understand Norman French, so thanks from the bottom of my heart for getting me an answer where those profs at Universities can't! *G*

Anyway, I applaud the idea that men should be the hunter. I'm sick to death of reading stuff where there's so much pussyfooting around with should we/shouldn't we.

I've just started a new novel (like, yesterday) and I do try to write strong characters. My men (I hope) come across as men and not as buttertarts. Kill me if they do. *G*

Shesawriter said...

Congrats, Bernita! That's wondeful. We like you. We really like you. :-)

archer said...

As to well-established writers who write sloppily, this happens everywhere: People who don't feel they have to prove themselves any more get careless. It's almost always the well-established doctor with the wall full of testimonials and awards who sews you up and leaves the tweezers in your duodenum.

MissWrite said...

*leaves the tweezers in your duodenum*

Still laughing.

crabbycows said...

Sub offer on the blog for today only if you’re interested.

As I’m on a week’s holiday and spending it at home, a game is also on offer if interest is high enough. You’ll need to leave a comment if you want a game to run this week. The game will run from tomorrow until Friday.

#1.

Bernita said...

That's sweet, Archer. Thank you.

Delighted to see you, Caeseria!
While certainement there would be words and inflections that would escape the listner, I do think phonics would allow one to understand the basics of a conversation.
"buttertarts" - good line.
Sign her up, Madame President!

Awww, Shesawriter...thank you.

Thank you for the notice, Dear Cow.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

You should have been number one on the list. You have more talent and say more interesting things than does that twit who was listed as "winner."

Just my opinion, I know, and don't tell that idiot I said this. She might say mean things to me. Oh, then again, she might not.

I love your drawings.

Bernita said...

That you, Sha'el.
I am still astounded and have checked that post several times, thinking I must have imagined my name on it.

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