Barking Kitten

Fiction, musings on literature, food writing, and the occasional Friday cat blog. For lovers of serious literature, cooking, and eating.


Close to forty. Not cool. Politically left. Atheist. Happily married. No kids.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Hairball of the week (or why I can't get published)

In fairness and a failed attempt at objectivity I admit here a hatred of romance novels. I wish the entire genre were extinct. Instead, like mold spores, it flourishes, and in the worst places. (That would be anywhere)

Lest you think I cast stones, I have actually read two whole romance novels. The first was a Danielle Steel, passed covertly around my sixth grade class. It was, I think, her first novel. It was about a girl who loses her face in a car accident, or something like that, and gets it rebuilt to look like the MAN's lost love, or some such. Suffice to say I was ten years old at the time and thought the whole thing idiotic.

More recently, around six years ago, I read a Nora Roberts paperback. I was curious to see what all the fuss was about. I forget the title; it was about a sexy violinist and incredibly predictable, but well written and paced to keep them pages turning. For all my revulsion, I had to admit Roberts was a master at the formula.


A mometary digression, before diving into sex among the racecars. Hockeyman and I occasionally take in the live hockey game.

Hockey draws what might politely be called a crowd with more dollars than class. They behave tribally, dressing in team jerseys, painting their faces team colors, wearing silly hats. Drinking way too much and shouting themselves hoarse at the players, who are likely immune to the phenomenal din a bunch of drunken sports fans can make.

Hockey draws a lot of single women. Sure, a few are looking to meet men in the audience, but more are into the players themselves. Hockey players are manly men, big rawboned boys who could just as soon throw a gal over one wide shoulder as smash an opposing player into the boards. They are not a handsome lot: many have varying degrees of dental deformity, noses permanently listing sideways, and slightly, ah, impaired IQ's. With a few notable exceptions, smart men do not play pro hockey. And the pretty ones usually don't stay that way for very long.

But the female fans are undeterred. Many are more than a little frightening. Somehow it seems we are always seated near a few, enormously obese ladies who shout down to their fave players at alarming volume. They always stand to sing both anthems, Canadian and US, and eat their way through the game: shiny plates of plastic nachos, cones of garlic fries, thirty-two ounce diet cokes.

It was these women who came to mind when I read of the wonderful new relationship NASCAR has forged with Harlequin.


Check it out:

"Last year, with Nascar’s approval, Harlequin successfully published three Nascar-theme books, including one in which the heroine, an ex-kindergarten teacher, falls in love with a Nascar driver after first being hit by his car and then driving his enormous motor coach from race to race."

Let's see...he began by hitting her car...then got her to drive his trailer?


"Booksellers and other publishers are following the Nascar-Harlequin hookup with interest, because romances are a hugely important genre, accounting for some 55 percent of all popular, mass-market fiction sold every year"

Fifty-five percent.

In interests strictly literary, a speed dating event was organized around the NASCAR/Harlequin hookup, but...

"It was not clear whether any of these participants experienced the same life-changing emotions felt by Kendall Clarke, the mousy-seeming heroine of the first novel in the new series, perhaps not coincidentally called “Speed Dating.” Clad only in a demi-bra, high-cut panties and a slip, she finds herself sitting in a sports car next to the fictional Nascar driver Dylan Hargreave on the night when she is supposed to receive the Sharpened Pencil Award given to Actuary of the Year. “She’d never done anything this wild in her life,” she thinks. “Oh, it felt good.'"

Mousy-seeming...until the glasses come off, the hair (dyed) comes down, and somebody takes her shopping at La Perla. And she's willing to sit half-naked in Dylan's car.

Right. Yep. I am so believing this. And secretly so wishing I were Kendall instead of my middle-aged, hanes-wearing, sharpened pencil self.

Harlequin spokeswoman Michelle Renaud is jubilant. After all, “Harlequin has a book for every woman’s mood.”

Michelle, darling, Harlequin doesn't have book for my mood, which is currently suicidal-but-sedated-by-beer-and-valium.

So many hairballs the racetrack needs to be hosed down.


Anonymous Diane said...

This made me laugh. =) I'm actually a huge fan of romance books, but don't like any of the books you've discribed. I can't pass up the opportunity to suggest a couple of good ones. Try one, you might like it. =)

Silver Lining by Maggie Osborne
My Dearest Enemy by Connie Brockway



February 22, 2007 12:00 PM  
Blogger Barking Kitten said...

Thanks--fair enough...certainly there must be good things in any genre!


February 22, 2007 7:28 PM  

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