Isn't it hard for you to read these trashy books with all of the infidelity, etc.?
How do you relate to it if you've been betrayed? I'm asking respectfully. I've always wondered this when reading this thread.
I did post in General about how I'm less affected by infidelity now in the What Movies to Avoid thread.
But these books sound over-the-top sometimes...
I'd love to hear your comments. I don't care for Erotica or porn, especially...but I'm just trying to understand Y'all on this thread...
Nothing could be farther from the truth! Please realize that at the very deepest heart of these they are 'romance' novels.
There is nothing romantic about infidelity.
I can count on three fingers the amount of books I have read with infidelity in it (with the main characters) and that is out of thousands and thousands of books that I have read.
If there is infidelity it is usually a side plot with bad people or something.
I can't explain it any better than to just say that it is really a non issue.
LadyV will say it better, I'm sure.
1. Infidelity - except used as tragic backstory or to demonstrate the vile villainy of the villain(s) - is actually still on the "banned" list with many, if not most, publishers. I don't think Ellora's Cave "Exotika" even allows it. Infidelity is inherently unromantic. It is almost unheard of for hero(ine)(s) to have sex with anyone outsiders past their first *meeting* with their designated mate(s). Submission guidelines count very heavily in romance. Genre rules are firm because readers react very poorly to that which falls out of form. This is probably why I like romance and dislike so much literary fiction. I also dislike free verse, but drop into a swoon for a villanelle. I thought I was gonna die the first time I read One Art.
2. I am certain I have read more than once incident in which characters involved in evolving menarriages have paused to clutch the pearls over infidelity going on amongst villains and express righteous anger at anyone outside the menarriage daring to attempt to seduce any participants away from the menarriage.
3. As of three weeks ago, Google told me that menarriage has not previously been used by anyone so it is mine. This is my second post using it. I wonder if what would happen if I posted it three times while looking in the mirror...
Erotica, as a literary category, is not necessarily categorized as romance. The Story of O, for example, or the Beauty novels. My Secret Life and other Victorian confessionals. Erotica can be highly erotic yet not contain a bit of romance.
Erotic romance is what you get when you have erotica that is as dependent upon the romantic element as it is upon the sexual element. You couldn't take away either without completely changing the work.
And romance - erotic or YA or any point in between - is a bit like knitting. It is done almost exclusively *by* women for the appreciation and enjoyment of an audience that is considered almost exclusively to also be made up of women. That doesn't mean that no men knit, nor does it mean that no men benefit from the existence of sweaters. Just means one can assume the knitting fandom is women crafting for the delight and appreciation of other women, and that any male approval garnered is unnecessary, though certainly not unappreciated, which any man who has ever immersed himself in knitting or romance fandom can attest, since he'll be popular and appreciated for even his most basic thoughts, much the way a dad can find himself lauded as a superhero if he changes diapers and spends any time at all with his kids.
And it is written to cater to women's fantasies. Women's fantasies are certainly broad and varied, and that which is considered acceptable or even desirable has certainly changed a lot since I began reading romance in junior high school. When I was 16, I regularly read about girls my own age being pursued by men 35 and up (in historicals, of course, and heinous Linda Howard category romances). However, I certainly never encountered any threesomes of *any* variety, and nary a hero displayed even a hint of appreciation of other men's attraction to them, much less took it as their due onaccounta being so hot, and my *god* certainly never expressed an attraction to other men, and M/M would never enter anyone's mind. Rape? Could happen. Not *commonly*, but certainly. Reconciling a couple after such a thing consisted of the man realizing that she was not, in fact, a gigantic cheating whore, and feeling bad because he was wrong about that. Not about the rape, but because he did it for the *wrong reasons*.
Nowadays, 20 year age differences are uncommon and you certainly do not find underage (for our times) girls engaged in such. No one would publish that, because no one would buy it, and the romance reading world is highly active online, and *everyone* would know to avoid it. However something else you didn't find in the 80s - 200 year age differences, for example - are quite popular! But we didn't have paranormals back then. Rape? The hoops that are jumped through to ensure that even in the most extreme scenarios *all participants are consenting* is sometimes oddly disconcerting. One of the most popular romances of the 80s - "Whitney, My Love" - was rewritten for re-release to *take out the rape*, and people have never stopped talking about the original, because browsing through one's bookshelves sometime during the 90s and going "holy fuck, Clayton RAPED WHITNEY!" is something of a touchstone event in most of our lives.
MFM (means the guys are straight) and MMF (means the guys are bi) is the *most popular* subgenre of erotic romance. One would think it was BDSM, but BDSM in *some* form is basically a given these days (which I find tiresome), and hardly counts. And very popular authors in mainstream romance often write erotic romance under different names, and now I'm seeing hints of bisexuality and threesomes bleeding over from that work into the mainstream work.
Aside: NA - Jennifer Ashley's latest, Cameron's book...I swear from that one set of supporting characters that she's getting ready for some Highland Shareem. Also, LotU, Strider's book? We already knew about Paris, but I was truly surprised to see Strider go all Hello, Nurse! over that archangel, no matter how weird he felt about it, which leads me to think that the follow-on series is Going to Go To There. This is appropriate since LotU is the most bromantic Supernatural Skittles series I've ever read. I'm just surprised it took them thousands of years to get to this point.
But to answer your question about *infidelity*, SM:
How large in women's fantasies do you think being *cheated on*, having another woman *chosen* over you, actually looms? Check back in a thousand years and I think you'll get the same answer. When one *does* see that storyline, it's going to be part of a complex backstory, and the book is going to be about reconciliation. That hardly counts as "trashy books with all of the infidelity." It takes a mature author to write that, and a mature reader to read it, and many mature readers still read to escape such things, so you still don't see that very often.
That leaves the woman as the only possible cheater. Female leads have to do a number of things. They have to not be boring, but also not so specific that they irritate the reader and interrupt her self-insertion, should she desire to read that way. They have to not be of any "type" that *enrages* women. This includes stupid women, Mean Girls, and guess what? Women who cheat on their own relationships or in someone else's. So, you don't find it there, either. No amount of inner monologuing, no amount of current-husband villainy, excuses it. No one wants to read active scenes of husbandly villainy anyway. Backstory sure, but suffering in the moment? Gah, no.
The emotional argument must make sense to a *female audience*. A woman is not fooled by another woman's excuses. I normally don't speak in extremes, like "never" and "always," but when I write these things, I'm not relying upon my (admittedly vast and comprehensive) reading experience but upon what actual editors at the actual publishing houses reject.
An argument that romance has to win is "Why these people? Why him for her? Why her for him?" Especially that latter. Why *her*? Do you see how a heroine that the female reader *dislikes* is going to destroy that argument? Hell, I don't like it IRL when men of any value whatsoever end up with women I dislike. I'm certainly not going to pay to *read* that.
Remember romance is about a *relationship*. It has to be emotionally satisfying. This no longer means it must have a HEA for all involved (though usually, it still does). But it means it has to make sense to one's understanding of human emotion and of the patterns and forms of, quite frankly, limerence. So some (like the Black Tar Heroin I mentioned upthread) may clearly, if one considers it, be infidelity waiting to happen. But it's simply not going to be part of the storyline.
Some may consider multiple partners involved in a romantic relationship to be cheating, and I can't help that. I don't. I consider consensual relationships of any configuration between any number of indisputably un-coerced adults to be perfectly above-board. One thing that makes this possible in romance - well, in books period - is that neither in film nor in life does one have access to the interiors of all involved. In books, all points of view are available. I can know, with absolute certainty, that everyone participating is on board. Otherwise it is not emotionally satisfying. It's vexing, and I have to worry about people. I don't think I've ever read a menarriage where you didn't have access to the inner monologue of all parties involved. There was one time I thought that's what was going on, but it turned out there weren't really five guys, just split-off aspects of one guy waiting to be re-integrated, which became obvious about 1/2 through.
So, in conclusion: no, not even in "erotica," where that erotica is supposed to be romantic.
I'm not really sure why anyone would assume that in order to have romance, there must be loads of infidelity, anyway. Especially on an infidelity site. A romance - like a marriage - can be very exciting and satisfying and fulfilling without anyone cheating on anyone else.
BTW, NA, on the subject of 20 year age differences. That is basically my biggest turn-off, but...really, "What I Did For a Duke"? I should not have rejected it out of hand. It is brilliant, and it could not be what it is *without* that age difference. RECOMMEND.
[This message edited by ladyvorkosigan at 1:40 PM, October 4th (Tuesday)]
LadyV, it will be very interesting to see what happens in the LotU followups. You don't just introduce some hot angel action like that and then set them on the shelf.
I will not have it.
Also, have the latest Ashley in my TBR pile. Just been working my way towards it.
Oh, and haven't read any of the Long yet but it has been talked up by so many people I'm going to grab one right now and add it to the pile.
I really liked the Strider/Kaia thing. I like how she has a little theme going on in the book that maps to the demon in question. Like in this one, the theme is "If you're in love, when one of you wins you both win." Simple but effective, this device of hers.
I'm so dubious about Sienna. I know she's inevitable but my god, am I tired of watching Paris mope around. I understand, you're tired of being a manwhore, but it's gone on too long for me and you knew her like a half hour, damn. Now I want it to turn out to be someone else, someone he's overlooked. I'm sure I'll change my mind next book when I'm reminded about how she's not pretty. If you're going to wind up with Paris you just cannot be pretty. He's got that covered.
I read Long's entire backlist over the weekend, and all but one of the Pennyroyals was good (skip Chase's). One or two others were good. To Love a Thief comes to mind. It's nice to have a hero who has a regular job. He's a barrister. He's not a gambling den owner who grew up in the rookery of St Giles, he's not titled (yet), he has to have a job to live.
But What I Did for a Duke is the only one that's magnificent. It's the fifth Pennyroyal but I read it first and barely noticed.
I think the new Elizabeth Hoyt comes out soon! Like 2 weeks!
[This message edited by ladyvorkosigan at 3:16 PM, October 4th (Tuesday)]
That isn't going to be pretty.
She is going to spill the deets of a LotU spin off in another month or two.
So jacked up about the Hoyt. I have been DYING to read Silence's story! You just know it's got to be awesome since the "hero" is of such dubious character.
I know, this particular set-up in the Hoyt is one of my favorites.
Who do you think the Ghost of St Giles is? I think it's Winter. Another one of my favorites is the Sexy Minister type. He's not a minister, I don't think, but he counts what with being all noble and dedicated to his cause and such.
Do you read Liz Carlyle? Cole, from A Woman Scorned. THAT is what I'm talking about.
[This message edited by ladyvorkosigan at 4:04 PM, October 4th (Tuesday)]
The next book has to be about him.
It's called Thief of Shadows.
Hello Thea Harrison!
Also, I started timing out Ghost appearances to Winter appearances and there was only one time where it seemed like he couldn't have gotten changed quickly enough.
I see Good Reads has it marked as Winter's book. Absolutely has to be him. He's not frail. He's the goddamn Batman.
Now I'm all impatient for that one. I'll be reading the Silence/Mickey book and not really enjoying it fully because I'm waiting around for Winter. I've liked him the most all along!
[This message edited by ladyvorkosigan at 4:17 PM, October 4th (Tuesday)]
Hmmmm, but what about Winter?
Don't tell me he is going to be left to be some kind of afterthought side story?
Just thinking out loud now...
While it would be nice if it were Winter what does it really matter?
Isn't it enough that Winter is a truly lovely man (albeit horribly beta) who does wonderful things with his life?
Why do I have the want for him to be 'more' than he already is?
I think I just gave myself a little reality check re. heroes.
Regardless that book can't come out fast enough!
On a side note, I noticed the guy on the cover of Winter's book is a nice blondie for you.
That's exactly what I was thinking. Why am I disappointed at the idea that it's not Winter? Can't he still be attractive without secretly being anything other than what he is?
Yes, well, vicars, like virgins, should be blond. And I like beta heroes. A *lot*.
Wait...hey, Winter could be a virgin! He really should be, come to think of it. Relevant to my interests!
But where did you see the cover?
He's definitely not being relegated to a side story. She has it up on her site that it's Winter's book.
I'm gonna say that the girl is the thief. Generally we do provide Mary Magdalen types to the sexy vicars. Somebody has to be bad.
But okay, now I'm looking at a scene where the timing doesn't work out for Wakefield, but it's similar to a scene in book 1 where the timing didn't work out for Winter so I'm torn.
Re-read them, NA, see what you think.
[This message edited by ladyvorkosigan at 8:49 AM, October 5th (Wednesday)]
And if he's blond she shouldn't be.
Re: the new Thea Harrison. Aww, Desmond and Penny.
[This message edited by ladyvorkosigan at 11:07 AM, October 5th (Wednesday)]
That was one trippy ride!