The Romance Genre on the Web

Researching online romance genre communities and their perspectives

Outback (mis)adventures, and reading lists

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bron at 9:26 pm on Monday, May 28, 2007

After two weeks with only occasional, very brief (and expensive) internet access, I’m now back home and trying to catch up!

Our trip didn’t turn out quite as we’d planned it. On the third day, we arrived in Innamincka, in the north-east South Australian area of the Outback, just as it began to rain. Innamincka is a tiny town, with probably about 5 permanent residents, and all roads leading into it are dirt, hundreds of kilometres long, and with no such conveniences as bridges or even causeways across the many creek beds, which can fill rapidly after rain. The rain came down quite heavily for an hour, and we watched from the porch of our little cabin while the guy from the shop drove up to the large road status sign on the road out of town and changed all the ‘road open’ signs to ‘road closed’ – which meant that no-one could get in, or out, of town.

To cut a long story short, along with about 150 other tourists, including a bus with 18 seniors, we were stranded in Innamincka for a week. After the second night, we had to move from the 2-’bedroom’ cabin we were sharing with the couple we were travelling with into a motel-style unit – yes, it was somewhat crowded with four adults, but fortunately we’re good friends!! The hotel had plenty of food (and beer, not that we put much of a dent in that supply!) so the experience wasn’t too daunting, although by day 7 we were starting to suffer from cabin fever – there’s only so many walks that one can go on around ‘town’.

All in all, it was something of an experience, and we had the opportunity to get to know some of the people we were stranded with, which was great. My writer’s imagination received plenty of inspiration to play with, as well as ‘research’ data about the realities of such outback situations. A week after we arrived, we were finally permitted to leave on the one passable road out of town, the convoy of vehicles escorted by a police vehicle, to ensure that everyone drove carefully on the very boggy roads and the creek crossing which was still up. That road took us back along the route we’d come, but since the road south we’d planned to take was going to be closed for days longer, we had to give up the plans for the rest of our trip and improvise – so we saw a number of Queensland outback towns and areas instead of South Australian ones!

One of the upsides of a week of enforced idleness was a chance to do some reading – fortunately I’d taken four books with me from my TBR pile. I’ve now filled some more gaps in my romance-genre experience by reading (finally!) Laura Kinsale’s Flowers from the Storm and Nora Roberts’ Naked in Death, and have increased my sampling of more recent releases by reading Nora’s Angels Fall and Anna Campbell’s Claiming the Courtesan.

I love the fact that my reading now counts as ‘research’ :-)

Which brings me to a question – given that a researcher should be well-read in the genre, what books do you think a romance researcher should be familiar with? What books or authors would you suggest represent the various aspects of the genre – classics, ground-breakers, standard-bearers, or good examples of various sub-genres?

Research vacation

Filed under: General — Bron at 10:42 pm on Friday, May 11, 2007

This blog will be a little quiet for two weeks, as I’m off on vacation – in the Outback. We’re heading into the north-west corner of New South Wales, then across into South Australia.

It’s amazing country, and I’m looking forward to the trip. We did a similar trip last year – there’s a series of photos from that trip on my photoblog.

I’ll have few opportunities, if any, to access the internet, so I’ll have to catch up with news and happenings in the romance bloglandia when I return.

(NB – if any potential burglars are lurking, let me just say – housesitters, with dogs.)

GuestBlogs, Bellas, and heroines

Filed under: Discussion questions,General — Bron at 8:42 pm on Thursday, May 3, 2007

I’m GuestBlogging over at Romance By the Blog today, so if you haven’t come from there, please pop on over and join the wonderful RBTB Bellas in some lively discussion.

And for the Bellas who’ve come over here to visit – a big welcome! All the discussion questions are open for comment, so please feel free to browse through and add your thoughts and views

Also, another big ‘welcome’ to students from my uni’s COMM 323/423 New Media unit, who I’m looking forward to working with next week. (After you’ve had a browse around here, click that link above to RBTB – a great example of an active, positive, and warm online community. There’s also some links to other romance genre sites in the links over on the right of this page – have an explore, and we’ll talk about some of them next Thursday.)

Last week’s post about heroes and the responses to it got me thinking more about heroines in romance novels. Like heroes, much of our discussion uses only a few labels, that probably kinda work okay for our ‘insiders’ purposes as a kind of shorthand, but not so well for those who don’t read the genre, or who want to explore it more thoroughly. And some of the commenters on the previous post agreed that we seem to label heroines more negatively – TSTL, Mary Sues, ‘feisty’.

So, if we were to think about the types of heroines we see represented in romance novels, what would those be?

I’m just brainstorming here, but I’m coming up with:

The Innocent
– she’s usually young, with less experience than those around her, but she’s got courage.

The Nurturer
– she looks after everyone else, and cares deeply
The Battle Maiden – well, Maiden’s probably the wrong word; this is the kick-butt, take-no-prisoners kind of heroine
The Capable Woman - she gets things done, often behind the scenes, but can neglect her own needs because of her ‘duty’
The Artist – she’s a free-thinker, often unconventional, sometimes quirky, and will probably turn the hero’s ordered world upside-down.
The Scientist/Genius/Scholar – this is the dedicated, very intelligent heroine. who because of her special gifts has focused on her talents and missed out on other aspects of ‘normal’ life.
The Princess – she’s rich, privileged, adored by many – and she knows there’s more to life than money and fame.
The Crusader – she’s passionate, and dedicated to a cause

What do you think? Do these broad ‘types’ fit the heroines in romance books you read? What others would there be? What ones don’t you agree with? Or are heroines really too diverse to even contemplate identifying ‘archetypal’ characters?