Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Category Romance

There are three possible parts to a date, of which at least two must be offered: entertainment, food, and affection. It is customary to begin a series of dates with a great deal of entertainment, a moderate amount of food, and the merest suggestion of affection. As the amount of affection increases, the entertainment can be reduced proportionately. When the affection is the entertainment, we no longer call it dating. Under no circumstances can the food be omitted. ~ Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behaviour

I've been reading some catagory romance over the past few days. I copied down all the Rita finalists and found the ones my library system had, interested in what other RWA authors considered the best romanctic category fiction. I also picked up several others that sounded interesting (or that my DD handed to me -- she always likes to "help" at the library, and I typically pop whatever she gets into my bag. It's as good a system as any!) or authors whose blog I read and enjoy.

Mostly, aside from the inspirational stuff, the focus is on sex. I'm sure they consider it showing romantic attraction, but really -- let's call a spade a spade. It's sex.

One book that I read (well, mostly... I just couldn't finish it and tossed it aside about 2/3 through) had the hero rescuing the heroine at the very beginning (it's how they meet), and as he's dragging her to safety, electrical sexual attraction zings through his body.

In another, that has a decent enough plot and H/H for me to finish (I think... I'm only halfway through), the H/H are being hunted by the bad guys, and still have time to exchange sexual innuendos constantly.

It's not that I have an objection to sex or sexual attraction -- I LOVE Jennifer Crusie and Nora Roberts and they have sex (uh... in their books, not with each other as far as I know), but it's tied to emotions and that's where these category romances failed IMHO.

I think it's even possible to feel a "zing" when you're being pursued by the bad guys, but not every freakin' second.

I keep returning to category romances to see what they are publishing because in my brain, it seems that's where I've always wanted to see my name in print. To be honest, sometimes I find some category stuff that I really like. But it's tough sifting through the dross.

Still, I have a pile of books. I'm going to try to make it through them and see what I find.

Anyone know of some good category stuff they can recommend?

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Allie Boniface said...

Um, no. I've tried category and can't enjoy it. Although I read a few excerpts from some of the new Harlequin Everlasting line, and it seemed OK. Good luck.

anno said...

I don't read category romance either, but I do read a lot of blogs of women in their late 20s- early 30s, and it strikes me that MOST of them seem awfully put off by casual hook-ups or expectations of instant sex. They seem cynical, and sad.

Maybe, just maybe, women might be ready for a different story than the ones they've been getting. Why not find the next trend rather than trying to fit into something that might already be feeling stale?

Shauna said...

Uh, yeah, I think there needs to be a relationship there. Otherwise the book and plot can't grow. It becomes nothing but a series of sexual interactions with no...well, anything. Boring and meaningless.

Judy said...

You know where I stand on this. Sex without a relationship is... just sex and, frankly, in a lot of the category romances I've read... not very good sex (description-wise) either.

Oh, btw, this line: "It's not that I have an objection to sex or sexual attraction -- I LOVE Jennifer Crusie and Nora Roberts and they have sex (uh... in their books, not with each other as far as I know)," made me LOL.

Melissa said...

Have you tried reading some of the more traditional lines like the now defunct Silhouette Romance and Harlequin Romance or Avalon Romances that are in libraries?

I just picked up Blind Date Marriage by Fiona Harper. she's a new author from Australia and is a RITA finalist for both the Traditional and First book categories. Haven't read it yet, but have heard good things about it which is why I bought it.