Tag: Casee Says

Retro Post: Should an author push their personal beliefs in their books?

Posted April 19, 2017 by Casee in Discussions | 22 Comments

Today I’m bringing you a post from 2009. Suzanne Brockmann was a big voice in romance back then. She was a big voice for gay rights. She definitely brought her voice into her books.

This was originally posted on August 25, 2009.


If you read between the lines as you’re reading, you can see that some books do reflect the author’s personal belief(s) (i.e., Political, Spiritual, etc.). I think that’s natural. I’m not an author, but I would assume that writing is very personal. So I don’t think it’s wrong if it doesn’t really impact the reader. However, after reading Hot Pursuit, I have to put my reader foot down and say enough is enough. Not that she’s going to listen to moi.

I’ve met Suzanne Brockmann several times. I’ve listened to her speak. I lurrrrve her. I’ve read her Team 16 series from the beginning. I waited forevah for Sam & Alyssa’s book to come out. I was disappointed with it, but it didn’t stop me from continuing the series. I now get her hardcover’s from the library, but I still read them. Hot Pursuit didn’t make me decide to stop reading the series. It just annoyed the ever living hell out of me.

Suz’s readers should know that one thing she is extremely passionate about is gay rights. Her dedication to her son in Hot Target made me cry. Srsly. I was thrilled when she wrote Jules’ story in All Through the Night. If any of her characters deserved a happy ending, it was Jules. Occasionally her newsletters will inform readers of certain things that pertain to gay rights. To each her/his own, right?

I started noticing it several books back. If you pulled every passage having to do with what rights gay people do/don’t have out of all the books and put it together, that would be a book by itself. The point here isn’t whether or not I agree with her. The point is that all the facts and opinions she inserts really takes away from the story. Robin (Jules’ husband) was so glad he was married to Jules because if he wasn’t and Jules was hospitalized, he couldn’t see him because he wasn’t family. They live in Massachusetts because their marriage is recognized there. On and on about what they could/couldn’t do. And if that’s not bad enough, she also brought a new character into Team Sixteen. A gay SEAL. So now she’s going to be tackling the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that the military has. It’s not the character that I protest, it’s the reason she brought the character into the series.

After reading Hot Pursuit, I also have a good idea of her political beliefs. I’m reading a fictional story. If I wanted to read a political book, I would pick one up. So while I did like the book, I was thinking about this all the way through.

What do you think? Should authors push their “agenda” into their books? When is it going too far?


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Retro Post: Forced Seduction or Rape?

Posted March 15, 2017 by Casee in Discussions | 22 Comments

A lot has changed in publishing since 2008, but forced seduction and rape haven’t gone away. If anything, I think we’ve seen even more of this in contemporary novels.

This was originally posted February 25, 2008.
Casee: The other night, Holly and I started talking about the ever controversial topic–rape in romance novels.

The topic came up when I mentioned that I was going to start reading Claiming the Courtesan by Anna Campbell. (I’ve since finished it and hope to have my review up in a few days.) Holly asked if CtC had the “forced seduction” in it, which yes, it does. There are several reviews on Amazon taking the author to task for daring to call her book a romance when the hero rapes the heroine. Whether it was rape is another story altogether. One reviewer told her that CtC was a throwback to the bodice-rippers of the 80’s.
Hello? Have these reviewers ever read Stormfire by Christine Monson? That is indisputably rape. That book is one that doesn’t neatly fit into the “romance” slot it’s supposed to. I’m sure that almost everything that has read Stormfire would agree that there is no question of forced seduction or rape. It was rape.

Then you have the books where it’s rather murky. It basically is left to the reader to decide for themselves b/c it’s far from cut and dried.

The few books that came to mind when Holly and I were talking were Once and Always and Whitney, My Love, both by Judith McNaught. Holly is insistent that Jason raped Tory in Once and Always. Me, not so much. As a matter of fact, I had to go back and read a few pages b/c I don’t remember ever thinking it was rape.

No means no. Right? It’s not so black and white when it comes to the written word (please remember that we’re talking about this topic in regard to reading). As far as Whitney, My Love goes, I think it was rape. Clayton raped Whitney. I don’t even have to think about it.

Then you have books like The Duke by Gaelen Foley. The rape of the heroine turned the plot. It changed who the heroine would have been if the rape wouldn’t have happened. Does that make it less a romance? No, that makes it life. It made the heroine change her life choices, sure, but it didn’t make it less of a romance. That doesn’t mean it’s any less tragic, it just showed the reader that something like that changes a person’s life.

Holly:

There’s definitely a fine line between what I consider “acceptable” forced seduction and just flat out rape. While I agree with Casee about Whitney, My Love, I disagree with her about Once and Always. In my opinion, Jason raped Tory, same as Clay raped Whitney, it was just written prettier in O&A.

You see, Tory said no. She said no at the beginning and continued to say no throughout. Even as her body responded, she told him no. No is no. I don’t care what your body says. If your mouth says no (and it’s clearly not what you want) that’s rape. Plain and simple.

Of course, there are a lot of gray areas there. Because if well written, a forced seduction can be a turning point in a novel. And if extremely well written, I – who considers the “forced seduction/rape” issue a major hot button – will love the hero anyway. That doesn’t happen often, but it has happened.

But back to Jason and Tory. The thing is, I liked Jason. A lot. He was a good hero, and to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure Tory deserved him. She wasn’t totally TSTL, but she did come close. Regardless of that, however, that one scene, the scene where he forces her to submit to him, wasn’t sexy, or hot, or something I’d ever want to experience. Maybe it’s because I’m fairly independent. Or because I’m a modern day woman. Or maybe it’s just I can’t imagine having all control taken away, but when Tory told Jason, “I’ll hate you if you do this” and he did it anyway..well, a part of me hated him, too.

I have to give Judith McNaught credit, however, because even though I hated that one scene in the book, I didn’t end up hating the book as a whole. Nor did I hate Jason or Tory. Honestly? I’m not even sure if I can explain exactly why that is. I imagine it has something to so with JM’s ability to make her characters 3 dimensional and real.

Of course, we’re still not talking about rape. We’re talking forced seduction. Rape, well, that’s something all together different. I don’t think there’s any coming back from rape.

What do you think? Do you think there’s a place for Forced Seduction in romance? What about Rape? I’m not talking about the heroine being raped by someone other than the hero, either. I’m talking about the hero forcing the heroine, against her will.

I think Forced Seduction has it’s place. There are times – though I’m loathe to admit it – when it really needs to happen for the story to progress, or the characters to develop. Rape? I don’t know. I have yet to read a novel labeled romance where the hero actually raped the heroine. There have been a couple close calls, but not an actual rape.

Casee:

I really believe that in the cases of the McNaught books or Claiming the Courtesan, it really is left up to reader interpretation. In books like Stormfire or Island Flame by Karen Robards (those come to mind first), it is clearly rape and those books are not for everyone. I agree with Holly that Forced Seduction does have it’s place.


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Retro Post: So Tell Me What You Want, What You Really Really Want

Posted January 26, 2017 by Rowena in Discussions | 24 Comments

This week, I’m posting an old post that Holly, Casee and I wrote back in 2009 together. I’m sad to say that we still don’t have answers for some of these. Still, it was a fun post to write and for me, still completely relevant today, Ha.

This post was originally posted on July 22, 2009

Rowena: A long time ago, I came across a review for All Through the Night by Suzanne Brockmann over at Jill D.’s blog, Romance Rookie, and I commented on her review about something that I really want Suz Brockmann to write about. That was where my thoughts about starting this post came from. So because of course I had to blog about my comment on Jill’s blog, I emailed my blogging buddies and we started laughing, throwing thoughts out there and then we got to work.

Yeah, we obviously stopped working on this post but because I want to post this up, I resurrected it and finished it off because it’s still something that I’m mighty curious about and would like to discuss with each of you readers out there.

So, we all have read many books and wondered what happened with certain characters, wished for other characters to get their happy endings and wanted the authors to write certain things to satisfy you. This post will be all about what we want, what we really, really want from our romance authors, books and whatever else we can think of.

I really wish that Suz Brockmann would write a book where Team 10 had to team up with Team 16 to save the world. I’d like to see Joe Cat and Blue kickin’ their feet up with Stan and Cosmo and the rest of Team 16, while Crash and Wildcard make a beer run and Christian, Harvard beat up Gillman and Lopez and Zanella trade football stats with Frisco and you know, I’d like to see something like that…bringin’ everyone together. That would be so frickin’ cool to have both teams working together to fight the bad guys and then afterward, shootin’ the breeze with each other.

I also want to know what the heck Judith McNaught’s hero Noah Maitland from Night Whispers does for a living.

I want to know if Faith ever wandered off Church grounds and if Quinlan ever caught her in Julie Garwood’s The Wedding?

It’d be cool to find out whatever happened to Thurston and little Ulric. Did Justin ever get to tell Thurston off for abandoning him on the battlefield? Whatever became of baby Ulric? Did Nicholaa ever get to see them again? This is all from Julie Garwood’s The Prize.

Holly’s Turn:

I think Julie Garwood left us with a lot of unanswered questions.

I also want to know:

Whatever happened to Maggie Shayne’s romantic suspense series? The last book came out in 2005 and I’ve heard nothing about it continuing. She really left us hanging though and I want her to finish it out.

Casee:

I am totally w/ Rowena about Julie Garwood. I want to know what happened to Faith. Did she get her happily ever after w/ Quinlain? I also wouldn’t mind finding out what happened with Crispin. To me, those are the two most memorable secondary characters Julie Garwood has written.

Way back in 2003, Katherine Sutcliffe wrote a romantic suspense titled Bad Moon Rising. J.D. and Holly were some hellsa tortured characters. The way the book was written, it seemed as if Sutcliffe was planning to continue there story. Then she dropped off the face of the earth.

Suzanne Brockmann–I want her to write Jazz’s story. I’ve read she intends to do it in the future, but I really wish she would bump it up.

Judith McNaught–I really want that time travel story. You know, the excerpt in the back of Remember When?

Those are just a few I can think of off the top of my head. I’m sure there are more, but we’ll leave it at that for now.

So what about you? If given the chance, what would you ask your favorite authors to write? What are you curious about in any of your favorite authors worlds? Anything at all, sound off!


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Authors I can’t give up on

Posted August 11, 2016 by Casee in Discussions | 4 Comments


Christine Feehan: Christine Feehan started my journey into paranormal romance with Dark Prince, so I will always be loyal to her. It doesn’t matter how many books are misses, misses, misses, I just can’t let her go. Because she has hits, hits, hits. Someday, I hope soon, she’s going to need to bring her Carpathian series to an end. I hope sooner rather than later because honestly, how long can you beat a dead horse? If you read the series, you know how long it took Skylar to get her book. Now, there are more Carpathian children and that’s going to drag on for years and years and years. So there is no end in sight at this point. Even then, I will remain a faithful follower.

Linda Howard: Cry No More was her last Linda Howard book, IMO. They have all been misses for me until Troublemaker. I heard she had some health problems and my heart really goes out to her. Health problems or no, I still wouldn’t give up on her. With books like After the Night, Son of the Morning, and Heart of Fire? How can you give up on that? Honestly, people.

Sherrilyn Kenyon: I don’t know where she went off the reservation with the Dark-Hunter series. I think it was before Acheron‘s book. Even then, I faithfully (I’m very faithful), stayed and read the books. Then things didn’t make sense. Like she lost her notes or something. Her world building was contradicting what she had already built and it confused me and then made me angry because I thought I understood, then I thought I was just losing it. Then when she did Stryker’s book, I had it. Anti-heroes can be okay, but I honestly believe they don’t belong in the Dark-Hunter series. She also drags along what heroes we really want (Nick and Savitar to be precise). Yet again, I picked up Dragonbane and liked it a lot and will be picking up Dragonmark from the library and may not even wait until then. But I did skip a lot in between.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips: What happened to the days of Kiss an Angel? I stopped reading her stuff when Lucy’s book came out. I was never really interested in Lucy as an adult. And I can’t even remember the book before that. But I always go back. I’m going to read First Star I See Tonight because 1) I love football and 2) She’s never written a detective. Plus it’s a Chicago Stars book.

J.R. Ward: Everyone here knows that I can’t get off the train. I’ve tried. I stayed off The Bourbon Kings train until just recently but I’m so glad I read it because it’s probably better than the BDB right now. But I can’t give her up. I wish someone could tell me why. Except I have a problem. Because I know I have a problem and I just can’t figure out why. I think I hope she will go back to Dark Lover and the first 5 or so books. The new series with the trainees was really reminiscent of the beginning of the series, so I’m hopeful. I would say that I don’t know if that will be enough for me, but we all know that she could write a two paragraph article in a magazine and I would read the damn thing.

 

 

How about you? What authors can you not give up on?


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Casee’s RWA16 Highlights

Posted July 27, 2016 by Casee in Miscellaneous | 4 Comments

Holly and I went to RWA16 in San Diego a few weeks ago and let me just say…omg. I’ve met Nora Roberts before, but there is nothing quite like walking by her and her entourage. She always seems so put together, so classy. Then you read this letter from her and realize that she’s just almost the same as we are. She’s not a peon like the rest of us, but she loves to eat, shop, and relax. And she loves her fans.

Holly was my guide as this was my first RWA conference. Unfortunately I had to leave early, but in the time I was there, it was jam packed. I met some wonderful people including Rosie, KristieJ, and Wendy the Librarian. I met authors that I’ve read…Carolyn Jewel, Jaci Burton, Lauren Dane (hilarious!), and Jessica Scott. Jessica Scott was my absolute fav because that bee-yotch tells it like it is and makes no bones about it. She is amazing.

The absolute highlight of the whole trip was lunch with Nalini Singh. Yes, I had lunch with effing Nalini Singh. And Holly and Nalini were in on the surprise. Holly tricked me into thinking we were having lunch with some editors. Those who don’t know me, well, I like to be extremely prepared. So I was grilling Holly about what we were going to discuss, who was going to be there, anything I could think to ask, I asked. Then we were waiting at the concierge desk and up walks Nalini. Holy shit. Or Holly shit. I couldn’t love her more than I did at that moment. Nalini and I have been friends via email since Slave to Sensation came out, but that is nothing compared to sitting down with her for lunch.

mandiecaseenalini

Then, what did Nalini do, but pull out a copy of Archangel’s Heart then take it away. Holly wanted to borrow it then use the restroom (I have no doubt she could have read it in 10 min), but alas Nalini would not give it up. She said all she had was one copy. Yep, she looked us in the eye and said that. That was so not the case. At the Berkley signing, we naturally begged for her only (uh-huh) copy and she pulled out another copy and offered it to us because she spilled tea all over it. Being the awesome BFF I am, I shouldered Holly aside and took it for myself. I felt bad for two seconds, but got over it quickly. I read it on the plane home and finished it the next day. You guys, it was amazing. I’ve already written my review and can’t wait to share it.

archangelsheart

All my highlights revolve around Nalini and I don’t care because I LOVE HER. I’m a total fangirl and I’m not afraid to admit it.


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