More and more I've been noticing a marked difference in my reactions to blogs that center on romance fiction. The well-established, high-profile sites I used to visit regularly, like Dear Author and Smart Bitches, have begun to seem stagnant and are starting to bore me. It's the laidback "upstarts" toward which I've recently been drawn, like Reviews by Jessewave, Well Read, Kris 'n' Good Books, and several others.
I'm sure the shift in my reading and writing tastes has something to do with this -- I've developed a deep appreciation for m/m fiction, little of which is explored by the major blogs -- but there's also something of the "Old Guard" versus the "New Guard" at play here.
Frankly, I couldn't care less about Harlequin's various lines. Category romance has never appealed to me. Even a lot of the non-HQN romance print titles have a category "feel," which means I'm not interested in those, either. E-book publishers have, as far as I'm concerned, been putting out the most compelling fiction.
Yeah, okay, there's plenty of derivative material issued by e-publishers, as well, and quality can be hit-or-miss. But I find so much more variety in their output, so much more explorative risk-taking, whether serious or lighthearted, that reading an e-pubbed book has become much more of an adventure than reading the safe and predictable stuff that's sandwiched between two paper covers.
Ever more frequently, I find myself groaning and beating a hasty retreat whenever I click onto a post that has to do with some Harlequin or Big NY Print Publisher release. I'm sick of seeing the same names turn up, sick of the whole RWA/RT mindset that lauds workmanlike (i.e., boring) writing, cardboard-cutout characters, and connect-the-dots plotlines. I'm REALLY sick of standard heroes and heroines, including and especially the new breed of chick who's sexy, sensitive, and self-assuredly violent, all at once. ("Oh shit, do I want to be Paris Hilton or Vin Diesel? Guess I'll be both!")
Spare me, forever, the kickass heroine, whom I find just as revolting as the TSTL heroine!
Anyway, I can't help but wonder if there's a division forming in Romanceland, if certain bloggers/reviewers will continue to give more space, time, and credence to works originally published in print rather than works originally published in pdf, or to m/f fiction rather than other types of pairings/groupings. Will the lip service they pay to e-publishing and to GLBT romance ever be accompanied by genuine respect (for publishers other than Samhain, that is)? Or is the mainstream becoming increasingly more distanced from its tributaries?
Are we going our separate ways?
JMHP (just my humble puzzling)