Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, America!

As you know (if you live in our gluttonous nation), Thanksgiving is a holiday of excess. No one really celebrates it in its traditional sense; the day mainly functions as a segue into the Christmas season and an excuse to gorge ourselves.
Thanks to the inevitable food-talk, I added a new word to my vocabulary: egesta. With that, I bid you happy eating. Enjoy the rest of your holiday!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday Cheer, etc.: a Link Round-Up

Thanksgiving is this week. In fact, it's a mere four days away -- which means that everyone's favorite holiday, Christmas, is only 31 days from today.

Because corporate America told me to do so, I've already begun to formulate a Christmas list. And here's the first item on it.

The second? The Rancher's Family Thanksgiving, of course: Cathy Gillen Thacker's classic, possibly heartwarming, story of two long-time friends who fall in love over the gravy boat, or something along those lines. I'd like to imagine they come together over the process of making Thanksgiving dinner -- nothing's more romantic than a handful of offal.

A Randall Thanksgiving sounds promising, too. One commenter describes the plot as "so unbelievable that it was laughable." That's my kind of book. 

This is a bit outdated, but it's great nonetheless: a website documenting Walmart's ludicrous banning of a hijacking-themed romance novel. This spat between an angry e-mailer and Walmart/Dorchester Publishing's (probably automated) e-mailing system occurred about a year after the whole 9/11 debacle.

I've also found yet another blog dedicated to the ever-popular romance genre. Their mission statement says the blog's regular contributors consist of "readers, reviewers, aspiring authors, and bestsellers." I think I like the idea behind this one. Maybe this will shed some light on the qustionable mechanics of the romance novelist's writing process.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Live-blogging Tonight!

I probably don't need no hook for this, but I just wanted to make you all aware that I'll be live-blogging tonight in a city near you (if you live in Albany or the capital district -- if not, you're SOL). Where will I be? A party, of course -- most commonly understood as the mating grounds of today's college student.

I'll be keeping tabs via twitter, so I suggest you follow me here if you're interested in finding out how interpersonal relationships work. I'm expecting a pretty obvious contrast to the unrealistic expectations which have been set up by Walmart's romance department. If you can't figure twitter out, don't fret -- the entire night will be compiled into a legitimate blog post on Monday.

One more thing: If you want the exact coordinates of the event, feel free to contact me. I'm sure I'll need some moral support during this trying time, so don't be afraid to stop by.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My Bad, Guys

I try to make a point of being right most of the time.


Okay, all of the time.

It's a quality that sounds good in theory -- maybe something you'd whip out in a job interview -- but in practice is pretty annoying to everyone but me. Pair that with the inability to admit when I'm wrong, and we've got an obvious recipe for social success.

Having established that, I'm going to be frank and say that perhaps I was a bit quick to judge Christine Feehan's credibility in this post. No, I don't personally understand the appeal of a book trailer, but maybe that's just because I'm unfamiliar with the commercial aspect of being an author. That doesn't mean I think the whole thing is a good idea. I don't. It seems strange to me, and feels really inorganic and un-booklike -- especially the use of random pictures to portray the main characters. It's like the author is pushing us to have a set image of what each character should look like, pre-reading, and I'm not okay with that. Books are always described as "better than the movie" because they're so open to ambiguity. If you ruin that with a trailer beforehand, you're closing off gateways that could have made the novel so much more enjoyable to its prospective reader. Or so I thought, anyway. I suppose some people like to be fed ideas rather than go through the bother of creating them themselves.

All in all, though, I understand the perceived need for a book trailer. You want sales, I know! That's something fundamental to being a romance author! Christine, I apologize. It can't be easy to sell the caliber of work you're creating, and I suppose you've gotta do what you've gotta do. Godspeed. the future, try to be a little more discriminant in your tastes in trailers. They're not my thing, but maybe you can make them yours.

Am I saying this simply because I discovered that my professor has one too? Possibly. I'll leave that up to you to decide.

I Know Too Much

I thought this might offer some deeper insight into the person behind the blog. Excuse me while I toot my own horn:

One of my exes sent me this video yesterday, with the simple disclaimer of "this is exatcly how i feel about u" (spelling errors are his). We're friends, but somehow I don't think this was intended to be a compliment. Still, I was flattered. The literary references were gimmes, but it was the nod to Sophie Scholl and other mentionings of the Third Reich that really made it relevant to my interests.

Also, for the record, I don't know algebra. In fact, I can barely count above ten. Nor do I speak Japanese beyond understanding the words "Mitsubishi," "Toyota," "ramen," and "bukkake" (don't Google that).

Monday, November 16, 2009

Appealing to an Audience: a Link Round-Up

I've been sick with what I'm assuming is just a minor case of polio, tuberculosis, or a fatal strain of influenza for a few days. Naturally, being solely focused on my task as a blogger, this crippling illness sparked a train of thought. As I sat in bed, nasal passages clogged, chest full of fluid but heart aflame, I wondered if any romance author had yet taken it upon herself to write a disease-related novel. Lo and behold, Patricia Cabot had.

Not only that, but I later discovered that GravityGirl had already saved me the effort of reviewing it, too. Lucky me.

The existence of the 19th-century-Scottish-countryside-riddled-with-disease romance is sort of unsurprising considering the amount of niche fiction that gets published under the guise of romantic literature.

You want questionably historically-accurate historical romance? You've got it.

Paranormal activity more your thing? Okay, there's a site for that, too.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find any websites dedicated strictly to churning out bodice-rippers which center around medical anomalies. Why hasn't anyone written about two star-crossed lovers, separated only by debilitating IBS? I can almost guarantee that there's a market for that. I could see myself getting into leper love as well.

On a more exciting note, I stumbled across this site (to which Teresa made a reference last week) while on a wayward google search for "romance novel ebola" (fruitless -- I call dibs on this idea). Admittedly, the authors are a bit more generous in their appraisals of romantic fiction, but I can appreciate what they're doing.

The Ja(y)nes over at Dear Author,... are working on a somewhat similar project as well, albeit with an even more approving tone than the Smart Bitches. I wonder how long it will take for Nora Roberts to be officially  inducted into the literary canon.

All things considered, I'm not sure how to react to the large amount of positive attention these novels are receiving in the blogosphere. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it irrelevant? Does this bode well for the future of literature as a whole? I don't know, but it certainly makes me feel funny.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen: The Spray-On Condom (by Reese)

(image via

Click the dick to find out more.
C'mon, you know you want to.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Goodbye and Goodnight (by Reese)

Okay, so this isn't my last post. But this is my last post where I'm actually speaking to you (the real last one I have, scheduled for Saturday, defies any description I could give it; sometimes a picture truly is worth a thousand words). And I think there's a few thing I should own up to.

I've read a few romance novels before. I'll probably continue to read them in the future. I wouldn't identify myself as a "rabid" or even "avid" reader of these fine pieces of literature, but I do admit I'm no virgin (ha, ha) to the inner workings of 450 pages of pulsing, sweating sexual detail.

And I'm also aware that I've been making fun of all this, so in honor of my exit from this blog (and at the suggestion of a certain author as well as The Romance Reader Top 100 List) I've selected a few titles that I might pursue reading for my future enjoyment.


1. Montana Sky by Nora Roberts. I love Montana, I would like to move there. This is justifiable reason to me.
2. The Last Hellion by Loretta Chase. Hellions are much more my style than damsels in distress. I think I could enjoy a hellion quite more than I could enjoy a helpless blathering wench.
3. Deeper by Megan Hart. Yes, I have posted on this one before. And that's why I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is and see what it's really all about.
4. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. This does not sound particularly appealing to me, as it is a one-world, non-descriptive title that says little about plotline or sexual content, but the List rates it as number one, so my curiosity is piqued.
5. The Windflower by Tom and Sharon Curtis. The title interests me, but its more the fact that this appears to have been written by a couple (I dearly hope they're not a brother-sister team) that makes me want to read it.

That's it for now (don't want to get too crazy) but I'd like to thank you guys for listening to me ramble on for the past week--if, in fact, you have been listening and not just following Lizzie in her waitressing escapades at Waiting On Wisdom.

So if you've been following along, my gratitude is sincere. And I have to say, the, erm, pleasure has been all mine.

On that note, dear readers, goodbye and goodnight.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A New Release in Nonfiction Romance

I'm not ready to make a full return to this blog just yet, but I wanted to make you all aware of this e-mail scandal between two members of Cornell's faculty.

Looks as though they were trying to pen a romance novel of their own. It was looking good, too, guys -- I'm sorry society had to go and bring a good thing down.

Books That Sound Like Romance, But Aren't (by Reese)

Oh, Amazon. The place to find whatever you want to buy, whether it be used Converse sneakers or an amusing list of dirtily-named literary works that are actually about very, ahem, rigid topics. Here are a few favorites:

Penetrating Wagner's Ring by John Louis Digaetani. Reviewers found this expert take on Opera "stimulating, but a bit sloppy". The writer of the Most Helpful Favorable Review was, at least, in on the joke.

The Golden Ass by  E.J. Kenney is a based on a premise not unlike that of Kafka's Metamorphosis (rather lighter, though): a jerkish man is transformed into a donkey.. The most promising thing about it? The keyword is "inserted stories". Oh, I bet they've done some insertion.

Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson. With a name like Winterson, it has to be frigid, right? Not necessarily. Customers are calling her everything from "inventive and imaginative" (oh baby) to "tedious and unsatisfying". But the best title of all? Queen of Fantasy (scroll down).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Original Digital Dating Service (by Reese)

(video via

Come on, ladies. These are the kinds of guys you've been waiting for.
"At night, I operate a damsel in distress hotline"
"My favorite food is pizza.... and sugar and spice and all those things that are nice."

Oh baby. Sign me up.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Language of Love (by Reese)

As I have yet to get my hands on one of Lizzie's most precious hot-and-heavy romance novels and do a "true and deep" analysis of it, I thought I'd occupy my time by revealing to the hungry eyes of all you readers the pulsing, heaving extent of, um, "descriptive" language used in every inch of the romance novel--even the summaries of books themselves, which don't explicitly refer to sex. Consider this example, from


by Megan Hart 

Twenty years ago she had her whole life spread out before her. She was Bess Walsh, a fresh-scrubbed, middle-class student ready to conquer the design world. And she was taken. Absolutely and completely. 
But not by Andy, her well-groomed, intellectual boyfriend who had hinted more than once about a ring. No. During that hot summer as a waitress and living on the beach, she met Nick, the moody, dark-haired, local bad boy. He was, to put it mildly, not someone she could take home to Daddy.
Instead, Nick became her dirty little secret— a fervent sexual accomplice who knew how to ignite an all-consuming obsession she had no idea she carried deep within her.

Bess had always wondered what happened to Nick after that summer, after their promise to meet again. And now, back at the beach house and taking a break from responsibility, from marriage, from life, she discovers his heartbreaking fate—and why he never came back for her. Suddenly Nick's name is on her lips…his hands on her thighsdark hair and eyes called back from the swirling gray of purgatory's depths.

Dead, alive, or something in between, they can't stop their hunger.

She wouldn't dare.

(my highlights)

Of course, not all romance writers adhere to this particular philosophy. Take this, er, confident woman from, in response to an inquiry about what sort of language should be used in in writing this sort of book:

"Personally, I'm not a fan of the flowery filler-words used in older romance novels. I'd rather them just get straight to the point with the real word."

Well, okay then.

(image via

Monday, November 9, 2009

Roundup: The Best In Smut (by Reese)

Here's the no-brainer: Walmart's website will give me access to the full collection of, uh, quality reading.

This romance-novel directory promises to get "a little on the wild side." Sounds appropriate. Let's take a peek.

Oh, the mother of all woman-oriented crap: Lifetime wants to show me the ropes.

It may sound innocent, but Public Bookshelf promises me that I can read tales of "southern bells longing for lost lives or steamy, hot romance stories" for free online. Oh goody.

Apparently, this delectable variety of fiction is so intoxicating to some that they would go so far as to call it addiction. Not one, not two, but three different women in the first few entries of Google claim marriage problems and addictive habits as a result of their obsession with "written porn" (they claim they didn't know it was bad for them).

I always wonder about the people writing these things. Are they shut-ins with no other way to connect with humanity? Are they savvy businesswomen who know they can make big bucks cranking out 450-page bundles of "throbbing" and "quivering" sex scenes? I'm not sure, but they do have a website.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself (Reese's Turn!)

Hi, I'm Reese. You may have heard of me in the infamous interview that Lizzie conducted last week, but since I'm going to be taking over here for the next week, I think you deserve a few more details than my love of avocados and my hatred of cats.

I'm a junior in college and I'm trying to be a writer. I work as Arts and Entertainment editor of the school newspaper, The Chronicle, and write for it weekly (my stories are linked on my blog). I'm writing, or attempting to write, a memoir about my exploits as Most Likely To Run Into A Ridiculous (and Hilarious) Situation And Tell All My Friends. I work every summer writing, editing, designing and doing photography for a travel publication about summer travel in New York State called Upstate Summer Fun. I enter tons of essay contests, start innumerable freelance projects that may or may not wind up being fruitful, and stay up late at night writing things that may never see the light of day but might end up making me rich (who knows?). My dream is to move west and publish a travel magazine based out of my Jeep. With my dog as co-editor.

Writing for "The Walmart Novels" will be a treat because it's so far off from what my blog is generally about. Reese In Pieces is the tangible evidence of my life as a writer; to date, there have been few opportunities for me to post pictures of penis-themed knitwear or review novels where a man shape-shifts into a leopard when he approaches his lover (metaphorical?).

At any rate, I'm looking forward to letting loose a little and exploring some of the fun and funny stuff that the smut world has to offer.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Refreshing News and Billy Idol

I'll be on waitressing leave next week (guest-blogging over at Waiting on Wisdom), so I'm leaving you fine people in the hands of my most trustworthy and reliably bitter colleague: Teresa. What are you in store for? Let's find out.

The following answers are quoted verbatim:

What are your least favorite styles of music? Why?
Fucking opera, because I can't stand loud, screechy noises.

What was the last thing you bought at WalMart?
I don't remember. Why don't I remember!? Avocados. I think it was avocados. Say it was avocados.

What is the ideal name for a dog?

What is the worst book ever written?
Oh my god. Give me a moment to think about that one. Dude, what is the worst book ever written? There's this one by Danielle Steel that sucked so bad, but I forgot the name of it. 

How old were you when you got your first cell-phone?
Sixteen. It had flames on it.

How do you feel about Billy Idol?
I have no comment on Billy Idol.

Are swim-up bars really a good idea?
Yes. They are the best invention of humankind.

Where is the last place you would want to go on vacation?
Siberia...or China. Or Africa. Yes, Africa. Africa's worse than everything because they have Ebola. And female circumcision.

If you could only drink one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? might be coffee. I would probably drink espresso forever. Espresso or Jack Daniels.

How do you feel about cats?
I fucking hate cats. Spawn of Satan.  [Why do you hate cats so much?] I just do. You're either a cat person or a dog person, and I'm a cat person. Cats are stand-offish, bitchy...I don't want them and I don't like them. That's like trying to convince me to have children. It's not going to happen.

Have fun, guys. I think I'm leaving you in good hands.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Something Is Fundamentally Wrong with Me

Often, I wonder how and why I turned out the way I did. What exactly made me so full of rage? For a while, I'll pretend as though I don't know the answer. Then, I'll watch this video from my childhood. I subsequently realize that I've been this way all my life, and I sit back and accept it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Gone But Not Forgotten: the Top Six Old TV Shows

 Though some have tried, no one can convince me that this was not both the best and most inappropriate children's cartoon ever aired. Yeah, the newer version is terrible, but in its prime, Ren & Stimpy was fantastic. As a huge proponent of toilet jokes, I feel no qualms about ranking this number one on this list. Also, one of the main characters was a Chihuahua. Chihuahuas are one of the most popular dog breeds in America -- I've even got two myself. I rest my case.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Twelve Things Fat Guys Shouldn't Wear

I am not only a connoisseur of fine literature and master in the art of romance; I've also got my finger on the ever-changing pulse of the fashion world.

And lately, I've noticed a problem:  fat dudes don't know how to dress themselves. Gone are the days of the jovially rotund robber-baron. 21st-century fat people are just dumpy. There's no longer any happiness to that lifestyle. Nowadays, it's perfectly normal to throw on a muumuu or sweatpants and be on one's way. This has to change.

 William H. Taft, one of Fat's biggest names, impeccably dressed and sittin' pretty.

Luckily, I'm here to help. Here's a handy list of things I hope to never see a fat man wearing. Feel free to distribute this advice around the office, at church, at your nearest Denny's, on a billboard, or wherever else you see fit:

1. Nothing. This is especially applicable if you are covered in bedsores or cellulite. Bonus level of repulsion if there's an excessive amount of hair.

2. Their hearts on their sleeves.

3. A feedbag.

4. Crocs. Crocs are gross on just about everyone.

5. Footie Pajamas.

6. Fewer than three chins. Go big or go home.

7. Ladies. Most fat guys don't have to worry about this.

8. Cargo shorts. Nobody should wear cargo shorts, but when fat guys wear them, the end result is someone who resembles a butternut squash.

9. Food stains or residue.

10. Pounds and pounds of fa-...oh, wait. I guess that's a lost cause.

11. Speedos.

12. Bibs. A bib implies a person who is serious about their food. Your body shape precedes the bib in making clear your enthusiasm for eating. The bib is just redundant.

Hope this helps!