Saturday, September 16, 2006

Romance Novels

rn1.jpgMy reading material has always leaned heavily towards non-fiction; biography, history, science, news, opinions, and DIY. I had never gotten into romance novels. I had never even read one, until this summer. The kids and I vacationed at the beach, in a motel room with no phone, no TV, and no internet access. I took a few trashy novels to fill those insomniac hours while the kids slept and I waited for the sunrise over the Atlantic.

Once I started, I couldn't put them down. Hooboy, is it hot in here or what? Even as I read and beamed into fantasyland, I also found myself deconstructing the romance formula. Yeah, I already knew the formula, but I didn't expect it to be SO cheesy, and so consistant from book to book. And I learned the formula required much overuse of the word "somehow". I finished three novels in four nights.

When I got home, I bought a few more. Easy to do, since they are about a quarter, used. It was a totally different experience at home! As I was reading the revolutionary history of some far off country, along with the description of the main character (a willowy but spirited creature once again named Kate), I wondered if the washing machine was done. Or reminding myself to balance the checkbook. It just wasn't the same. A waste of time. Now I know where the term "beach reading" came from. So I skipped to the end, where the sexual payoff is always waiting. Yep, there it is, but that's not the same, either. For the Total Romantic Fantasy Experience, you need the buildup, the sexual tension, the conflict, desire, and jealousy. Without it, erotica become pornography. Its a woman thing. The deux ex machina happy ending always pisses me off, but its part of the formula.

rn2.jpgSo I am no longer reading romance novels. But I can still have fun with them! Mark Longmire had lots of fun photoshopping romance novel covers. The images in this entry are his. His results inspired others to do the same and submit to his website. You'll find a button for the dirty ones at the bottom of this page.

If you want to see how the latest romance novels stack up, Mrs. Giggles has a site full of reviews, with a sense of humor.

You can have a romance novel written with yourself as the main character, and your husband/wife/lover/stalking target as the love interest. The perfect gift for that someone special in your life. Of course, as cheap as I am, all I've done is email myself previews featuring me and my fantasy lust object (you know who you are).

Missy had to admit he was a rather attractive man, neatly attired in not much of anything. She scanned his athletic frame and stopped at an arresting pair of blue eyes peeking out beneath a rather large cowboy hat, set atop blonde hair. The stranger approached the bar, wearing a smoldering smile across a handsomely rugged jaw.
     "What can I do for you?" she said coolly.
     "What's your specialty," he flirted, leaning against the bar, flashing his big blues.
     "Sarcasm," was the sharp reply. "Care for a double?" Missy had spent the morning cleaning the saloon's eaves troughs and was feeling filthy, embarrassed and annoyed all at the same time. She was in no mood for flirtation.
cowboyromancebook.gif    Put in his place, Naked cleared his throat and introduced himself as The Naked Cowboy, a foreman with the Grand Humber railroad. "Ma'am, just call me Naked," he said, trying to make amends.
     "Well the guy you're looking for? The hotel manager? That's me. I'm also the owner, Miss  Cellania," she said coolly, giving a little and extending her hand. 


Bad Romance Novel Opening Lines

15 "Hers was a dark and stormy loin."

14 "The T. Rex stopped to stare at the female, its tawny pecs
rippling in the dappled light."

13 "Her eyes were a beautiful bright blue. Her lips full and sensual. And her legs strong and firm, all four of them."

12 "Nick Adams held the corset in his hand. It was a good corset. It would rip when he ripped it. Nick liked that."

11 "Her habit clung to her body like leather to a bible."

10 "Her voice quivered like a plate of Jell-O on a fault line, and her body was soon to follow."

9 "Flinging her abusive husband's genitalia out the car window, Lorena felt a long overdue sense of freedom."

8 "Long auburn hair flowing out behind her, dress billowing in the breeze, Cassandra had given in to gravity's pull and hit the pavement like a bag of fresh phlegm."

7 "I couldn't take my eyes off of his rippling physique, his dark leonine mane, his sensual lips, and his skim, no foam, double cappuccino, half-caf, half-decaf eyes."

6 "The very sight of him made me forget Paris & long for New Jersey."

5 "With great trepidation, Richard Jewell walked the six flights of stairs to the apartment he shared with his mother."

4 "Her bosom was heaving uncontrollably; she doubted she'd make it to the toilet on time."

3 "I blushed as the Captain strode toward me in his manly way, took me in his arms and whispered, 'Make it so, Number One! Engage!'"
2 "The man probe dug in deep while NASA engineers gawked in lecherous pleasure."

and the Number Bad Romance Novel Opening Line...

"Marv strutted into the Ritz with a twinkle in his eye and a gleam in his incisors."

Thought for today: Men fantasize that their wives DON'T fantasize.
This post originally appeared on September 20, 2005