Friday, January 13, 2012


I'd been wondering when the current economic climate might begin to affect the Greek and Italian tycoons who inhabit romances, and recently I came across this in Sara Craven's Wife in the Shadows (Mills & Boon, June 2011):
any kind of open scandal should be avoided, particularly at this moment. The quality of the Galantana brand of clothing had saved the company from the worst effects of the global recession - indeed, they were planning expansion - but for that they needed extra finance for more new machinery at the Milan factory, as well as buying another site for workshops near Verona.
Which was principally why he had accepted Silvia's dinner invitation, because he'd learned that Prince Cesare Damiano, head of the Credito Europa bank would be present [...].
He and Prince Damiano had spoken briefly but constructively, and negotiations were now proceeding. And while the banker was a charming, cultivated man with a passion for rose-growing, he was also known to be a stickler for old-fashioned morality.
Any overt lapse on Angelo's part could well blow the deal out of the water. (14-15)
The situation described in the first paragraph fits rather well with the reality described in an article on the BBC website, from 1 November 2011:
There are no price tags on the clothes in Brunello Cucinelli's showroom in Milan.
The people who shop in the designer's store do not need to worry about how much they are spending.
And Mr Cucinelli doesn't feel he needs to worry about talk of a double-dip recession in Europe.
"This is the century of China," he says.
"This will mean billions of human beings coming towards us and asking to live in a different way. These people are fascinated by our quality, by our culture, by our craftsmanship."
Too true, says Italy's luxury goods trade group Altagamma.
It sees sales in European markets growing by 3.75% next year.
Jeannie Watt has taken a look at the changing trends in Supperromance covers, from 1980 to the present.

I've been guest-blogging at She-Wolf's (about medievalism and how it's shaped my approach to reading Harlequin Mills & Boon romances), at Read React Review (about "high" art and the way it's been defined in opposition to works which are commercially successful) and I've also received some nice comments about For Love and Money from Kate Walker.

I've also been updating Teach Me Tonight's look, in response to C. M. Kempe's plea that I "consider adding share buttons to the end of every post to make the redistribution easier." There are now share buttons at the end of each post and there are also some on the sidebar. This did involve redesigning the blog a little: we're still pink, but the look of the new template's a bit simpler.

The Popular Culture Association of Australia and New Zealand (PopCAANZ) 2012 conference will be held at the Langham Hotel in Melbourne on the 27th, 28th and 29th of June. More details can be found here.

[Edited to add:
I don't want to connect with my readers over a landscape of commercialized sex. When they read a piece of my erotic work, I attempt, as far as possible, to ensure that what they're imagining calls to their real memories and lived abstractions, not a porn flick. Because I feel that the story will resonate at a deeper level if my words are associated with their real, felt, lived erotic experiences.
I thought we'd gone over this in the past few years enough times that folks knew this information already. But it seems like we need a review because authors still don't seem to know where the hell the hymen is." As Dani A. points out in the comments, "Bad anatomy in romance isn't just aggravating, it's probably causing real harm and anxiety to people who don't know better and think that the books are right and somehow it's their bodies that are wrong."]


  1. Thank you for the mention. I have avoided writing about deflowering for that exact reason. Who the hell knows were it is. I've never had one.

  2. I've never had one.

    Yes, but authors often write about experiences they haven't had themselves. You wrote in that post that

    When we read about something we've never experienced, we hybridize the portions of the events we have experienced and enhance it with whatever information we have that might be close. For instance, we've never been in a spaceship, but most of us have been in an elevator, have sat in front of a computer, have looked out a viewing window of some kind.

    Do you think writers should do something similar when they write about something they've not personally experienced?