Saturday, August 27, 2005


Well, Tod Goldberg sure had an interesting post on his blog. Go to, and scroll down to (you guessed it!) "The Romance Writers Are Really Fucked Now." I do take exception to that Mary Kay remark--I only use Clinique, thank you very much. :) When I can be bothered to put on makeup at all!

So, whaddya think? Should authors review other authors' books? Would we even want to?


Kelli McBride said...

Obviously, this guy is an ignorant jerk. He may have book smarts, but his consistent use of stereotypes in many contexts (not just romance) reveals that he wants to push buttons rather than have a serious discussion. And even suggesting that literary fiction is in part superior to popular fiction because of the reviewers is, again, ignorant.

His liberal sprinkling of lines that he "thinks" sounds like romance dialogue and attribution clearly shows that he has not read extensively in the romance genre. And if he did, it again reveals that he's only out for reaction not for true communication.

What a "fucktard."

Rinda Elliott said...

But he was right. It was a completely inane discussion. Well, not the discussion, but people getting upset that other romance writers "honestly" reviewed their books.

I followed it on several blogs and since I visit Goldberg's blog daily, I expected he would jump on the bandwagon -- I think he has friends within the romance writing community. It's more like RWA has earned his disgust-- as well as a handful of seriously ridiculous writers.

I don't think he meant to imply that literary fiction was superior, just that these kind of discussions don't seem to happen in other genres. They don't -- they have other sorts of inane discussion I'm sure.

But, I do hang out with some sci fi crowds and these things don't come up. Of course a sci fi writer is the best person to do sci fi reviews-- they seem to recognize this.

But someone did actually use "the sisterhood" on one of their blogs. He's making fun and well, even I snickered. RWA has not felt like a sisterhood for a while.

All the ridiculous crap going on with RWA this year has given us a bad rep. Lots of romance writers have been acting like fucktards.

But, as a romance writer myself, I still love the community and still have faith in it. Part of it anyway. I think some of the insanity going on nationally has just trickled into our tight little world and shaken things up. heh heh

Kelli McBride said...

Oh, I agree Rinda with his basic argument, but I think he too often falls back on damaging stereotypes that do not truly reflect the majority of writers in the romance field that I know personally. It seems that he could really make his point better by speaking more honestly about the issue rather than bogging it down in tired old cliches. That's what I was objecting to. So even though he makes a good point, he's going to turn off a lot of people with the manner in which he presents it.

I guess that's the English teacher in me coming out. I have to deal with students who have good positions and yet they undermine themselves by spitting out cliche and hasty generalizations. What a waste of writing space. ;-)

BTW, I still haven't seen a post about your opinion on my #1 sexiest guy. You and Mandy are curiously quiet on my choice. Hmmmmm.

Megan Frampton said...

I have to admit, I'm prejudiced in this area. When I started writing my book, I also started reviewing for All About Romance. I don't think it's a betrayal at all to write reviews. In fact, I think it's way too cozy and mega-feminine of romance writers to insist we all be nice to each other. We won't get respect from the outside until we stop treating each other like sorority sisters from the inside.

Rinda Elliott said...

Well, I like your first choice. I never missed an episode of MacGiver and thought he was the hottest thing ever. I didn't even consider that a mullet. I liked most of your list actually. There was only one that never rocked my boat. heh heh

I guess I didn't take offense with Goldberg because I've been reading his blog a while and I'm used to his tongue-in-cheek ways. He's definitely a smart ass and I find it amusing. Right now, unfortunately, with the current board trying to "define" romance--which is so subjective it's impossible -- and with the poor revelation of the graphical standards issue, they've made the whole group look a bit ridiculous. Not fair but what can we do? Getting our feathers ruffled doesn't help.

You know, I've never understood the whole "trying to get respect" from other genres. Instead of worrying over that, we should be writing fantastic books. Good books get fans. Plain and simple.

Like you, I do get sick of people making fun of romance writers but it will not change. Not without an entire culture shift.

I read the blog of a local horror author and he talked about sitting at a table at a book fair and watching people come toward the table and backing off when they saw it was horror writers. It isn't only us.

And really, if we think about it, who are we trying to impress? People who look down at others? Why?


Amanda McCabe said...

OK, I saw your list, Kells, and while I have to agree with some of the choices, I can't say I really see the attraction of #1! I never really had lustful thoughts about MacGiver. :) Not sure who I WOULD pick, though. And BTW, where is the dude who plays Sawyer on LOST??? :)

On the whole "author as reviewer" thing--I myself wouldn't want to be a reviewer. I'm just not all that great at articulating what I think is right/wrong about a book. But I have no objections is another author wants to wear the reviewer hat. Really, who better to analyze characterization/theme/plot/etc. than someone who works with the same elements every day and knows the genre? And (go ahead and shoot me if you want!), the idea of all romance writers as one big happy warm-fuzzy "sorority" is an absurd one, especially in light of all the divisions that have broken out in RWA lately. I have many good friends I've made through writing, and I cherish my personal "support network", but all is not always happy and rosy and "let's hold hands and sing Kumbaya" in romance-land. I for one would not want it to be. I'm here to write and sell books, not be in some kind of "in group." And I hated summer camp when I was a kid. HATED it. I'm not much a joiner. Maybe that's my problem. :)

What I object to in the Goldberg post is exactly what Kelli said--his retread of a tired, lazy cliche that some people drag out when they want to show how Literary and Intellectual they are. I expected more from him. It's so very old and stale that I can't really summon energy to be all that indignant anymore. It's incredibly ignorant to judge a large segment of society (hundreds of authors, millions of readers) by reading one Harlequin Mills and Boon book. And then preening as if it was an original and witty observation just puts the cherry on top. I've seen catty, vicious behavior among "Literary Fiction" folk (and read horribly florid, pretentious prose from them) that puts anything a romance author could come up with to shame.

I know we've all met people like this many times before. I think I blogged a while back about a date I found myself on with one of them (a Goldberg wannabe, I'm sure!). :) So, what is the best way to deal with them? I myself generally just laugh and then get back to work. Or blog about it.

Kelli McBride said...

Rinda, I have also recently wondered why we care so much. With such a large percentage of the market, we're obviously pleasing the people that count - book buyers. Why do we feel the need to get the approval of a bunch of prejudice yahoos?

And who didn't rock your boat? I'm dying to know!

Tod said...

You are correct, Kelli, I am an ignorant jerk. That's never been in question. What I'm confused by are what cliches I happened to use. Are you saying that a great preponderance of romance novels do not use odd dialogue tags held up by excessive adverbs, he queried feverishly. Because I assure you I can send you 50 books from my very home that have things just like that from all corners of the romance genre, he noted with pointed exasperation, exasperatedly. And I've never, ever said that literary writers are in any way better than romance writers. In fact, if you look back over the archives of my blog, you might notice that I even asked the editor of the LA Times Book Review why they don't review romance. You might have also noticed that I really dislike air quotes and the incorrect usage of quotation, in the future, simply call me a fucktard sans quotes. Embrace the insult as your own and I assure you that good fortune will come your way.

Kelli McBride said...

I guess I shouldn't scold Tod for doing to romance writers what I've enjoyed him doing to other people acting moronically. That makes me a fucktard. ;-)

Rinda has a good point - who cares what these people think. And I have certainly taken my shots at poorly written romance, but I also know that really well-written romance is out there as well. All genres have their overly formulaic writers, but no other genre seems to get hit as hard about it than romance, and that's why many of us are sensitive to stereotypes. Too many people outside the genre don't give romance equal treatment.

But Tod is equally insulting to all who behave ridiculously, and I admit many people in romance are opening themselves up to ridicule in various ways. Tod is the Henry Higgins of blogging. ;-)