Well, inspired by a recent Pub Rants Post, I decided to branch out into a genre of books I have reviled for ages as silly, ridiculous, and in general, not worth the paper they're printed on. My own form of book snobbery, my anti-romance stance (snerk).
So, I made a trip to Walmart to see what the big deal was. I found one with a dragon on the cover. It caught my eye, and I decided not to travel TOO far out of my comfort zone; I chose a romance in a fantasy setting. Dark Demon, by Christine Feehan. Vampire thing.
Dubious, but determined to go through with this experiment, I glanced at the cover. $9.99? For a paperback? Even reduced to $7 according to the Walmart price tag, that's still more than I 'm used to paying for a book. Still, I decided to give it a try.
It sat in my suitcase for the next four hours. After a climb into the North Georgia mountains, a long, irritating day with my family, and booking ourselves into a not-bad hotel room, we got the baby ready for bed, and I curled up and peeled the cover to the first romance novel I have ever read.
The first page was not impressive. Not even a little bit. I had expected tripe, but this cover proclaims Ms. Feehan to be a New York Times bestseller. Surely she could find an editor worth a damn? Adverbs abound, and the lack of description is appalling. 500 pages later (exactly), and I STILL don't know what the primary love interest looks like. He does have long hair (of course) and is apparently very warrior like and muscular, but don't ask me what the color of his hair is. I'm fairly sure that the main character has hair that likes to randomly "band" itself orange and red like a tiger or something, but I'm still not sure what her actual hair color is.
During the first few pages, she actually dons a brightly colored vest, which is described as such not once, but twice. No mention of what those bright colors are, only that they aren't the dark colors favored by the women of this village. This stuff literally reads like I used to write back in my middle school days.
The main character is a super-perfect determinedly strong warrior, and of course her lifemate (can't have a fantasy romance novel without some form of eternal love bond, now can we?) spends the entire book keeping her from being just that. And the main character spends most of the book denying their destined love. Naturally.
I'm really trying to give this stuff the benefit of the doubt, but I'm NEVER going to look at the word "channel" the same way again.
One question, if any of you are regular romance readers: Why is it that words like "velvet folds" and "tight channel" must be used to describe female genitalia in purple-y euphemisms (always preceded by the word "feminine") but there's no problem throwing in a random "scrotum" for your viewing pleasure? Why not the "tender mound of his masculine roundness"? Fits the formula, doesn't it?
I still don't get it. And all I have to say is this: if this chick can get on the NYT bestseller list, I'm writing the wrong stuff.