Thursday, August 28, 2008

Further Mormon Romance Links

Those of you who haven't seen my last post are probably wondering about that "further."

Eugene Woodbury's Angel Falling Softly is a romantic vampire story written by a vampire, but one which wasn't actually marketed as LDS fiction, which I learned from Moriah Jovan's post.

And this is Moriah Jovan on genre. I seriously want to read her book now, even though it sounds VERY Mormon and I may miss some references because of that: "The story takes place over the course of 5 years and oh, by the way, they’re all in their late 30s and early 40s and wow is that so not part of genre romance." I mean, yes, that's her blog so obviously that's a self-promotional post, since SELLING her book is part of her job and all, but I think it sounds like a potentially interesting read. I want it. (Also found via her blog, though it has nothing to do with anything I'm trying to find right now: there is a Conservative blog called Absinthe and Cookies.)

And a blog post that suggests a purpose for LDS erotica.

I'm still seeking pre-existence/Mormon romance novel links, so if you find any and care to hand them along, I'd be delighted.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Eternal Love

Okay, I was going to post about the Visionary Daughters today, but then Tharain and Amy Star linked me to an informative post about Twilight, and I fell down a rabbithole, and so instead you're getting links about Pre-Existence. I'll get back to the Daughters next time.

1. First up, Saturday's Warrior, a musical which begins...oh, let me just quote Wikipedia: While waiting to be born in the pre-existence, a family of seven promises each other that they will always be there for each other ("Pullin' Together"). The youngest, Emily, is afraid when her turn to be born comes around, their parents will be tired of having kids, and she won't be born into their family. But moving swiftly along, there's also romance: Julie, the second-oldest daughter, and Todd, another spirit in the pre-existence, promise each other that, while on earth, they will somehow find each other and get married. (You guys, at this point I would basically give a limb to hear the soundtrack to this. Or, okay, not a limb, but something.)

LDS romance novels, if they exist, must have a great time using this "love in the pre-existence" idea. Don't you think? I am obviously not the only one to wonder about this; I wonder if certain aspects of Mormon theology and history (polygamy, agency, eternal marriage, pre-existence) lead to any interesting and/or significant differences between the Mormon and the mainstream novels (and how those markets developed). (That's from the comments, not the main post.)

2. Okay, googling this ("lds pre-existence romance") brought me to a semi-coherent Harmonian LDS blogpost: Some people have a flesh romance. The other person's body appeals to them, and the relationship is mostly built on that focus. Others feel that looking at the person's face and eyes appeals to them, and the body being a reasonable shape is sufficient. It is a pleasing to the eye experience. But then there are those who's relationship doesn't focus on either of these aspects. They feel a mental oneness with the person, and couldn't care less what they look like. Actually, that does perfectly explain some aspects of Harmonianism as well. Coincidence? I think not.

3. But back to LDS romance novels: In Your Place is pre-existence-y. As is The Path of Dreams, reviewed here.

C'mon, there have to be more than that. Links, anyone? Recommendations? There are fascinating things a romance novelist could do with that whole pre-existence thing. Deseret have a romance novel section, but I can't tell which ones meet my specific criteria of being based on the idea of pre-existence being a factor in romance and marriage.

4. Somewhat off-topic, but funny: Seriously, So Blessed! is a parody of LDS "mommy blogs."
Also, a Mormon Dating Horror Story: He attempted the yawn and stretch to get his arm around her, made it PAINFULLY obvious he wanted to hold her hand by putting his and palm up on his knee and then opening and closing it repeatedly, and so forth and so on. The retelling is hilarious.

5. And this post wouldn't be complete without at least one thing you wish you hadn't seen, so here, have some Mormons Exposed.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Romance Covers: Special Careers Edition

I freely admit I'm cheating with this first cover. It doesn't depict a "career girl," or even a working girl (or a stripper--more about that later). I just wanted to stick it in as an early version of "The Runaway Bride."
Bride in Flight

She looks overjoyed, doesn't she? Heartwarming, really.

Moving right along. This next cover is clipped, but I love it anyway. Partly for the title, which not only calls to mind girls' books of the "Cherry Ames, Army Nurse" variety, but is also defiantly capslocked and stubbornly devoid of dash or a colon. It's CAROL TRENT AIR STEWARDESS, damn it, she doesn't need punctuation!
Carol Trent Air Stewardess

You have to love the way he's staring directly at her chest. I mean, he's not merely casually checking her out, there. He has an expression of intense concentration such as you or I might wear when doing calculus.

I've come to the conclusion that it used to be considered very romantic to depict people--or, really, just their heads--staring off into space and not noticing one another at all.
Fly Away, Love

I was going to comment on the attractions of pilots and uniforms, but I hardly need to. Even in disconnected cover art which looks like it was drawn with crayons, he looks good. Damn.

You know what else is awesome about pilots in romance novels? They're responsible and manly and yet don't have quite the same duty of care towards their passengers as, say, doctors do towards patients. Why am I bringing that up? You'll see.
Cobweb Morning

Sorry, but yes, the cover really is JUST THAT YELLOW. And you're not going to understand why this made the list without a quotation from the back cover.
Alexandra Dobbs knew just how she felt about the inscrutable doctor, Taro van Dresselhuys--but their young patient, Penny, seemed to feel that way about him too. Unfortunately all the cards were stacked in Penny's favor.
And by "all the cards were stacked in Penny's favor," the author apparently means "Penny is not only pretty and possibly under-aged, but an amnesiac!" I'm imagining an inscrutable Ethics Committee probably had to get involved to sort that out.

In contrast, the Doctor and Nurse on this next cover positively exude professionalism.
The Mercy Heroes

...professionalism and heavy makeup.
I'm not entirely sure this is a romance novel, really, because in addition to the standard "brilliant surgeon, devoted to his calling" and "a competent and beautiful nurse, in love and afraid to show it," we have action, and lots of it:
Together they brave a night of blinding snow to pick up an accident case suffering from severe head injuries. They fly through the storm-tossed sky, subdue the crazed patient, race against time...all to save the life of a destitute tramp.
Notice how he has to be brilliant, while she merely has to be competent (and, not coincidentally, beautiful; if she'd been plain, would she have had to be brilliant too? How does the scoring system work in romance novels, does anyone know?).

The bar is lower for our next hero.
Gregor Lotharian Surgeon

Not "brilliant surgeon" or "dedicated surgeon;" it's enough that he's a surgeon. That alone makes him sufficiently desirable, or it did back in 1962, anyway. Nowadays women would probably expect him to have an adequate personality or to dress well or something, God, WHAT DO WOMEN WANT? It was much easier when the rules were clear: go to med school, get chicks.
I also keep misreading that title as "Gregor Lothario," but that's because I'm confusing him with Doctor Woodward, below.

You know, the title of this one made me expect it to be about a nun, which, yes, I know doesn't make any sense for a romance novel.
Heaven is Gentle

It didn't help that the back cover refers to "Sister Eliza Proudfoot," which I stared at in complete confusion for several minutes before the phrase "nursing sister" surfaced from somewhere deep within my memory, dispelling my horrible suspicion that someone had written a romance novel featuring a nun.
I should have guessed, though, from the stethoscope around the man's neck; clearly he is a doctor, so of course the heroine is a nurse. Or an amnesiac. I DON'T EVEN CARE, as long as she's not a nun.

But that's nothing to the misreadings this next cover lends itself to.
Sister Pussycat

Back in the days when there were no helpful websites to generate your stripper name, it was completely possible to read that title with a straight face.
Bonus: the unattractive hero in the vest made from a tablecloth is, of course, a doctor. "Doctor David Jasper," to be precise.

The aforementioned Lothario:
Doctor Woodward's Ambition

From the front cover, you'd guess that Dr. Woodward's ambition consisted of marrying a nurse, and living happily ever after on a diet of fruit and pep pills. Seriously, no one looks as perky as these two without the aid of medication.
But then you read the back cover, and suddenly it all seems so much more sordid.

Why yes: I could resist him. I'm resisting him RIGHT NOW, aided by the nausea induced by his sleeziness and his cartoon moustache.

And I can't end this without something more recent, something from an era which offers something new:
A Doctor in her Stocking

Yes, I know: another damned doctor. That wasn't the "something new" I meant.
What I meant is, the heroine is a pregnant waitress (not a nurse!) with a dead (and formerly deadbeat) husband, and there are explicit sex scenes between her and "Reed Atchison, M.D.," who offers to let her live at his place because he's lost a bet. The sex scenes are especially special since the entire book spans less than two weeks, not to mention the whole "hugely pregnant" thing. Sex during pregnancy, imho, takes more trust than can be established in two weeks.
Also it all takes place at Christmas. And "it all" includes the heroine giving birth, right before the requisite proposal. *facepalm* I don't even know where to start with explaining why I find this all profoundly unromantic...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Ghost Fandom

You know what else I like? Ghost-entertainment schlock.

I like ghost stories, and haunted hikes, and Ouija boards. I like creepy movies, especially that whole based-on-a-true-story genre, wherein 'based on' usually means, as far as I can tell, that someone associated with the film heard of an incident that led them to write a really creepy fictional work. I like the poorly-lit ghost hunt television shows, the ones where various groups of people wander around in the dark screaming at cobwebs and flickering lightbulbs.
Shot with the ubiquitous paranormal night vision camera -- which means you can't actually see anything -- the episode shows the investigative team wandering about in the woods at 3 a.m.[1]
I mean, c'mon, how could I not love Girly Ghost Hunters? It has cute young people, scenes so dark I can't see anything, and, as far as I can tell, nothing ever happens, but there's a lot of shrieking. It's like they filmed a series of sleepovers. And they drive around in a Winnebago.

Something I like way, way less than entertaining ghost schlock? Half-assed scepticism. I don't want anyone to convert to a belief in ghosts; I just wish adult people would stop acting like edgy twelve-year-old atheists showing off their newfound cynicism. Seriously, watching adults trot out the 'anyone who believes this stuff must be stupid' argument bores me. Be as sceptical as you want, but, you know: chill. Unless you're the fraud squad or Harry Houdini or a character from the classic Scooby Doo eps.,* chances are you're just poking the bereaved (or, even less productively, the genuine crazies) while you fail to entertain or enlighten the rest of us, however much you claim to be helping the ignorant. Seriously, we know already that belief, proof, and entertainment are different categories. No, honestly, we do. And we heard you the first time.

Besides, if all the sceptics were as bright as they want us to pat them on the back for being, they'd move on to other questions: what purpose do these beliefs serve? Why do people believe this stuff? Wait, do people even believe this stuff, or is it a kind of shared social activity, a gleeful willing suspension of disbelief?

Because my own scepticism jacks right through the freaking roof when I see people lazily equating watching these shows, or joining paranormal groups, with actual belief.
Following the airing of television shows like “Ghost Whisperer,” “Medium,” “Paranormal State,” and “Ghost Hunters,” many Americans have been organizing their own ghost hunting groups. As reported in a recent article on, ratings for “Ghost Hunters” have doubled in the last four years, as have memberships to local chapters of paranormal investigation clubs. ...1. Are ghost investigation programs making believers out of viewers, or have the believers always been there?[2]
I'm not even convinced everyone sitting in their church-or-temple believes what they say they believe; I sure as hell don't automatically think everyone on a ghost hunt is serious.

*Actually, if you think you're a fraud investigator, Harry Houdini, or someone off Scooby Doo?** Consult a trusted medical professional.

** Helpful hint: one of them is dead, one is a cartoon, and quite honestly I doubt you're the other one either.