Monday, March 14, 2005

It's Monday morning and ....

I'm having a hard time getting started today. Have spent time blog-hopping, reading email and staring blindly at the monitor. Just realized I have the write three book reviews today as well. And my sinuses are screaming at me again *sigh*.

Found a couple of interesting blog entries, though.

Via Emily's Ramblings, I found a rant by Diana, with whom I agree completely. She sums up many of my own pet peeves about a small number of my fellow-writers.

Had to chuckle of Amy Garvey's list of pet peeves of romance types the other day. I was nodding as I went along, then was brought up short by two of them:

* Anything, strangely, set in France. I don't know why. I'd like to go to France. Paris, for sure. It's romantic, there's lots of wine, good clothes. Maybe it's all those fake pseudo-French-sounding names that make it sound like you're choking when you try to pronounce them. And the Terror just isn't sexy, sorry.

* Most medievals. Call me strange (many have) but unless it's an author whose children I would agree to have, this era always makes me think of the Rutger Hauer movie Flesh and Blood, in which his mercenary Martin kidnaps Jennifer Jason Leigh's noble-born Agnes, and much bawdy buggering and barehanded eating of chicken drumsticks ensues. Also, they're never really clean in the movie. I know, I'm weird.

Then had to laugh. It really is true, what works for one person, totally turns another off.

You see, I write books set in France, during, yes, you guessed it - The Terror. Yep, that's right, I'm one of those strange people who can find romance during one of the most topsy turvy and violent periods of history. And I haven't even read A Tale of Two Cities - only Susanne Alleyn's wonderful retelling, A Far Better Rest (it's from Sydney Carton's pov). Anyway, I don't use pseudo-sounding names in any of my stories (though I've seen plenty, so I know of what Ms. Garvey speaks) and while the Terror itself is pretty horrible, the people who experienced it lead as normal a life as they could, under the circumstances. And that included finding love. I think that's the one of the things that keeps me going as a historian - knowing that, despite all horrible circumstances, people still fell in love. Not that their relationships all ended happily, but I do believe some of them did. Which is why I can write love stories set in France.

As for medievals, well, yep, I write during that period too. The Middle Ages are my favourite period. Absolutely. But this doesn't mean I love all books set there. And, sadly, I LOVE the nitty-gritty stuff - so here again, Amy and I part ways. I can't explain why I enjoy books with lots of the real stuff left in there - maybe it's the contrast that appeals. Or the fact that their difficult lives, fraught with the danger of death from pestilence or war, led them to love passionately. For there's no doubt that, just as today, despite arranged marriages, early deaths and separation due to war/crusade/occupation, couples then, as now, fell in love, married and remained devoted to each other. (I normally don't indulge in BSP - but you can find a prime example here:
Romantic Couples in History - Richard II and Anne of Bohemia and another here:
Romantic Couples in History - King Stephen and Matilda of Boulogne.)

There was far more to the period than bawdy buggering *g*, and more bathing took place than we imagine.

That said - I respect Amy's opinion and her reasoning. If we ALL liked the SAME thing, this world would be a boring place indeed.

And, as I said, the other "types" she lists, strike out with me too, especially this one:

* Historicals in which women must dress up as boys. For one, the hero often strikes up a relationship with her as a boy for a while before the Big Reveal, which just smacks of homoerotic pedophelia, since the heroine usually resembles an actual boy rather than a man. I'll take my homoerotic stories straight up, please, with two actual men.

I don't read books with this plot for the most part for precisely the reason above. It's just an "ick" thing for me. Only one of my heroines ever dresses up as a boy and the hero recognizes her right away - wasn't fooled for a moment. And she only did it because she was riding by herself. That ms, btw, is now permanently on the shelf. Not sure I'll ever be able to make it into anything but my practise ms.

On another topic entirely, please visit Maili's blog and send her good vibes. She needs them today. UPDATE - All the vibes worked - crisis over.

Now, before I get carried away, I'd best post this, then get on with my book reviews. I saw enough out there in blog land to keep me happily typing away for at least another hour or two, but those reviews won't write themselves.


1 comment:

McVane said...

Oh, bless you! Now look at what you've done, went and made me cry. :D Thank you so much for those good vibes, too. :P