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Does the romance genre owe society?
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

erika wrote:
I've read more romances with the gay best friend but can't recall romances with an ethnic best friend.


Erika, how about Kristen Ashley?

Linda
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that, by and large, what romance readers look for is what is familiar, including but not limited to, the HEA. The problem arises when someone states that there should be a concerted effort on the part of writers, publishers, and readers to change that, to cultivate "tolerance" for heroes/heroines with different skin colors, from different cultures. Immediately, for me at least, tolerance, in that context, takes on a pejorative connotation.

Furthermore, I don't think romance as a genre is a good vehicle for this kind of effort, for comfortableness of some sort is the whole point of reading it. If a reader reads a romance and he is made uncomfortable doing so, for whatever reason, I would think the effort would have a negative rather than the positive effect the author of the essay on DA thinks it would.
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bavarian



Joined: 16 Jul 2007
Posts: 175
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Romances IMHO primarily are for entertainment. I want to relax and forget all the real problems around me when reading romance. A good author may include some of these problems but I don't want lectures in my romance. Entertainment doesn't owe society. We do not speak of literature, or do we? Literature feeds us with all that we don't want when reading romance.
And doesn't do the romance genre its duty against society in using PC (even in historicals!)?

To MarianneM and Eliza:

I agree with MarianneM concerning the duke doing surgery. Acting as a physician may be possible but not as a surgeon. That would involve a very close and physical contact with people far beneath his status and moreover a very ugly and dirty job.
There were many dukes (in all of Europe) who had their hobbies: collecting art of every kind (Lord Elgin!) including traveling to places where the art was to be found, beeing patron of architects, initiating (!) famous gardens (not digging in them) or even travel the world as natural scientists (archduke Salvator (1847-1915), a Habsburg, comes to mind). The only physician I've ever heard of was a brother of the famous empress Sissi, duke Carl Theodor in Bayern: he was an ophthalmologist, but he lived in the second half of the 19. century just like archduke Salvator, when social strictures weren't as tight as before.
As for Schliemann, he was no high ranking nobleman. He had earned a fortune as a merchant and began his research in Troja after his retirement from his business.
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PWNN



Joined: 11 Apr 2010
Posts: 912

PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a big genre that produces a ton of books. There should be more variety. If some are made "uncomfortable" by diversification and variety then there would still be plenty of other books for those people to read. Why is the discomfort of those who already enjoy an overwhelming majority of books that supposedly reflect their world more important than those who have to scrounge around for something that even recognizes people like them exist in this genre?

Are readers owed this variety - no. But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be there. One of the reasons I don't read a lot of contemporary f/m romance (m/m does a better job of this) is the lack of racial, ethnic, religious and national diversity. The over homogenization feels alien and decidedly non contemporary to this native New Yorker.
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LordRose



Joined: 25 Mar 2012
Posts: 87

PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember reading an article by Tess Gerritsen a while ago about how when she first started writing romance, her editor recommended she not include major characters who were Asian, since they tended to flop. (Article here. Of course, that was in the eighties, but still.) Her first book with a major Asian character was published just last year, and she is Chinese American.

Being Chinese American myself, I would definitely like to see more Asian characters, but that doesn't mean I think that romance novels owe us anything. I'd (probably) rather see a well written white character than a cliched ethnic character written by a white author who has no idea about what makes a non-white character different other than cliches. That said, though, every time I do see an Asian character, I get rather excited, as long as they're not negatively portrayed.

erika wrote:
I've read more romances with the gay best friend but can't recall romances with an ethnic best friend.


I remember reading a book by Kerrelyn Sparks about a year ago where the heroine had a Chinese American best friend. Yes, he was a computer nerd and had a somewhat silly name that translates as "Golden Dragon", but he was still an Asian American character. (And I think it says something that I still remember even that much about the book.)
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jaime



Joined: 23 Sep 2011
Posts: 528

PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The romance genre seems very staid and conventional - at least from what I have read of it, especially the historical romances. That's why writers like Courtney Milan and Sherry Thomas who have a little bit of a fresh angle stand out to me.

One example: I am on a Liz Carlyle glom right now and it shocked me that one of her heroes is Jewish. While in real life I am around plenty of Jewish people I don't think I have ever read a historical romance with a Jewish hero other than the Carlyle romance and one romance by Patricia Gaffney. I think that's rather telling, yes? And I don't know of any interracial historical romances right of the bat.

I think one has a better chance of expanding certain boundaries and horizons with erotic romances and some contemporary romance only available self-published in e-format.

But in general I don't believe that the romance genre owes society/me anything but a good read.
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 1241

PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LordRose wrote:
...I'd (probably) rather see a well written white character than a cliched ethnic character written by a white author who has no idea about what makes a non-white character different other than cliches...

This. Exactly.


@ MarianneM and bavarian:
The examples I provided were intended to illustrate the potential of a Human Being, even a Duke Human Being, and that human beings are not always bound by societal roles or expectations. In any event, we're talking about FICTION here, which means...

From merriam-webster.com
a) : something invented by the imagination or feigned; specifically : an invented story
b) : an assumption of a possibility as a fact irrespective of the question of its truth
c) : the action of feigning or of creating with the imagination
Synonyms: fable, fabrication, fantasy, figment, invention
Antonyms: fact, materiality, reality


from oxforddictionaries.com
1. [mass noun] literature in the form of prose, especially novels, that describes imaginary events and people
2. something that is invented or untrue
Origin: late Middle English (in the sense 'invented statement'): via Old French from Latin fictio(n-), from fingere 'form, contrive'.

Cripes. If we can't have an imaginary white duke, forget all about trying to do something with imaginary ethnic characters. Just imagine those debates.
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LordRose



Joined: 25 Mar 2012
Posts: 87

PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jaime wrote:
...And I don't know of any interracial historical romances right off the bat...


I can think of a few (but only a few...) Most of them are part Indian characters, which would actually have been quite possible. Lord Liverpool, who was prime minister from 1812-1827, was part Indian, though you wouldn't know it to look at him. ( http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/41/Lord_Liverpool.jpg )

The China Bride by Mary Jo Putney - has a half Chinese, half Scottish heroine who grew up in China.
Loving a Lost Lord by Mary Jo Putney - has a half Indian duke, except he's amnesiac for most of the book, and has no idea.
Nowhere Near Respectable by Mary Jo Putney - the heroine is the aforementioned duke's sister, and raised in India.

One Touch of Scandal by Liz Carlyle - has a part Indian hero who is also a lord (I haven't actually read this one yet, though.)

Those are all I can think of at the moment, although I know I've read a few more.
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple of Ann Stuart's have Asian heroes, Ice Blue and Fire and Ice, both really good books. Seems to me a couple of Suzanne Brockmann's books have had Asian heroines, she also had a gay hero didn't she? One of my favorite books that's along the romantica lines is The Chronicles of Stella Rice but you can only find it used now, if features a African American heroines (author is as well) and two hot guys (white, mixed race), some male on male action, lots of threesome action. A review here prompted me to pick it up.

I'm all for more diversity in the romance genre, it is so suffocatingly narrow at times. Like most things it will change and evolve with time and that's fine, it should. But I don't see it as something that is owed or that should be mandated. I don't read romance for it to be 'thought provoking' or for an education. I'm not looking to read an author's social, political or religious agenda either. I read it for escapism, purely for fun. That is why it's a much loved 'guilty pleasure' for many.

Linda
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Not Quite Nicole



Joined: 29 May 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple of people have posted that they read for escapism and entertainment but not to be lectured or read about issues. What makes you think that a romance with h/h who are POC would be about issues or teaching you something? It's not like we sit around all complaining about how The Man is holding us down. We're out living lives like everyone else.
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not Quite Nicole wrote:
A couple of people have posted that they read for escapism and entertainment but not to be lectured or read about issues. What makes you think that a romance with h/h who are POC would be about issues or teaching you something? It's not like we sit around all complaining about how The Man is holding us down. We're out living lives like everyone else.


I don't think it necessarily would, just stating a preference that I would prefer it not to be. I think it was Eliza that mentioned in an earlier post that she feels the best art is thought provoking, for me the best art would simply be that which makes me smile. Although I like male/male romance novels, which sadly I have had to look outside the genre for, I purposefully avoided Suzanne Brockmann's books with her gay hero because I've been read over and over how she gets preachy about it. I don't read inspirationals because I'm not looking for a book with emphasis on that aspect. I didn't think this discussion was only about POC, forgive me if I was mistaken.

Linda
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lor



Joined: 30 Mar 2007
Posts: 51

PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Longwarden Saga by Anne Weale starts with the book, Flora, about a half-chinese girl rescued from China by an English Lord at around the turn of the last century (1983). It was followed by All My Worldly Goods in 1987 and Time and Chance aka The Fountain of Delight in 1989. Longwarden is the name of the family estate. I believe these books are properly classified as women's fiction rather than romances but I remember enjoying Flora very much and re-reading it several times.

I never got my hands on AMWG however I did read the last one but didn't enjoy it nearly as much as Flora. I did wonder if missing the second book contributed to that feeling.

Lor
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 1241

PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not Quite Nicole wrote:
A couple of people have posted that they read for escapism and entertainment but not to be lectured or read about issues. What makes you think that a romance with h/h who are POC would be about issues or teaching you something? It's not like we sit around all complaining about how The Man is holding us down. We're out living lives like everyone else.


How helpful/useful are the tabs for multiracial romances on Amazon, Goodreads, Fresh Fiction and the like? Or the tabs for interracial romances on Goodreads or Smartbitches?

What do you think of this site? http://multiculturalromancewriters.com/bookpage.cfm

What are the best or better sites for multiracial or interracial romances in your opinion? Anyone?


Last edited by Eliza on Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:45 pm; edited 2 times in total
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NoirFemme



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1481
Location: America

PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jaime wrote:
And I don't know of any interracial historical romances right of the bat.


I can name a few I've loved:

Buttercup by Sienna Mynx
Harmony by Sienna Mynx
Again by Sharon Cullars (set partially in modern-day Chicago)
Gold Mountain by Sharon Cullars
A Bed of Spices by Barbara Samuel (Jewish hero)
Somebody To Love by Kate Rothwell
Zoe by T. A. Ford

Eliza wrote:

What are the best or better sites for multiracial romances in your opinion? Anyone?


Goodreads groups are the best, IMO. Most MC websites tend to lump all genres together (romance, women's fiction, urban fiction, Christian fiction, etc).

Fans of Interracial Romance: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/13439-fans-of-interracial-romance

Interracial Multicultural Romance Readers: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/32045-interracial-multicultural-romance-readers


Last edited by NoirFemme on Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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NoirFemme



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1481
Location: America

PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not Quite Nicole wrote:
A couple of people have posted that they read for escapism and entertainment but not to be lectured or read about issues. What makes you think that a romance with h/h who are POC would be about issues or teaching you something? It's not like we sit around all complaining about how The Man is holding us down. We're out living lives like everyone else.


Exactly!

There are a ton of romances published every month with POC protagonists. Romance in Color lists those with African-American protagonists: http://romanceincolor.com/.

I don't understand how or why a "good story" or "escapism" or "entertainment" =/= romance with a non-white h/h.
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