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RWA Cancels 2020 RITA Awards

More drama. The RITAs cancelled.  Major publishers dropping support as well and distancing themselves from the organization until changes are made.  Read Here

The U.S.’s foremost writers association for romance writers has announced that it will postpone the 2020 RITA Contest, the country’s top prize for romance fiction, until next year.

Source: RWA Cancels 2020 RITA Awards

Articles Historical Romance

Updates on the RWA (Romance of America) Meltdown

From accusations to resignations, it’s a bit of a mess. “RWA itself acknowledged in a public statement last week that the organization was at a turning point and that we have lost the trust of our membership and the romance community.”  Read More at The Guardian article published 12/31/19 below.

Trade group representing 10,000 writers decided to punish author Courtney Milan, prompting a reversal, fierce debate and resignations

Source: A romance novelist spoke out about racism. An uproar ensued

Articles Author News Industry News

Romance Writers Drama: Courtney Milan’s Suspension Rescinded, 8 Board Members Resign

Drama in romance writers land. . .

Chinese-American romance writer Milan had been suspended earlier this month for criticizing other novels as being racist.

Source: Romance Writers Drama: Courtney Milan’s Suspension Rescinded, 8 Board Members Resign

Articles Industry News

Romance Writers of America Suspends Novelist Courtney Milan for Calling Rival’s Work ‘Racist Mess’

UPDATE: Read the link to the article regarding the rescinding of the decision and resignation of board members.

Source: Romance Writers of America Suspends Novelist Courtney Milan for Calling Rival’s Work ‘Racist Mess’

Articles

the ask@AAR: Does Historical Romance Have a Quality Problem?  

This is a very interesting article with lots of comments that deserves re-posting. I, for one, even as an author, lament the rut that Historical Romance has been in for some time.  I wrote about it last year, posting that thought. Read Here.

Some of the comments bring up good points about overused tropes, historical inaccuracies, and characters sounding and acting far too modern. Authors struggle with the fact that the days of bodice rippers are over and the “me-too” attitude should now be in books. That’s a hard task to accomplish when people want historical accuracy but they don’t want to read about women who in reality had very little rights.

Sure, there were pockets of strong women who accomplished much in life in spite of living in a man’s world.  Nevertheless, it’s like the constant focus upon aristocrats in historical romance when only ten percent of the population was in that class in England.  What happens to the ninety percent without titles? I suppose it doesn’t satisfy the need for the fantasy of the rich lifestyles and the titled duke when falling in love with a farmer or bricklayer is no doubt a boring prospect.  We cannot always blame the authors who try to write beyond those constraints because of the lack of interest, although we do have those occasional pirates, cowboys, and Vikings to freshen the mix.

Whatever the thought, you might enjoy the hot comments on All About Romance.

We listen to you, we really do. And we’ve noticed that you, along with several of our reviewers, aren’t all that happy with most – not all, but most – of the historical romance that’s been published in the past year or so. Using our Power Search feature, we looked at all the Historical Romance reviews we’ve written in 2019. We’ve given out 19 As, 47 Bs, 21 Cs, 13 Ds, and 2 Fs. Getting Cs, Ds, and Fs were several authors we’ve reviewed positively in the past: Victoria Alexander, Lorraine Heath, Madeline Hunter, Anne Gracie, Marguerite Kaye, and Laura Lee Guhrke to name a few. Several of the DIKs are debut books are are by lesser-known authors. So, is there a problem with historical romance right now? And, if so, what is it? There was a very strong response to this column, both on Twitter and in the comments below. AAR’s publisher has written a response to the […]

Source: the ask@AAR: Does Historical Romance have a quality problem? : All About Romance

Articles Historical Romance Reader News

Johanna Lindsey, Master of Historical Romance Novels, Dies at 67

Johanna Lindsey, a romance novelist whose best-selling paperbacks ranged through the centuries, chronicling passionate and independent women in pirate ships, Viking forts, medieval castles, the American West and on a distant planet called Kystran, died Oct. 27 at a hospital in Nashua, N.H. She was 67. She published her first book when she was 25 and sold more than 60 million copies.

Source: Johanna Lindsey, master of historical romance novels, dies at 67

Read More:

Fabio pays tribute to ‘incredible’ romance novelist Johanna Lindsey 

Articles Jane Austen

Sanditon – Review, News, and Update (Inserts Tears)

UPDATE: Sadly, in spite of my encouragement written below, ITV has decided to axe Sanditon for a second season, stating the series struggled in ratings.  It’s a shame, frankly, because ITV made a huge mistake with this fantastic potential of a Jane Austen adaptation.  Sadly, the writers gambled on a second season and therefore left the story open and unresolved, which is now their shame and defeat.  Unless another network picks it up, I’m afraid this will go down in history as the most disappointing period drama ever filmed.  (News released December 10, 2019)

(Republished from my blog Popcorn Entertainment Reviews) January 12, 2020, PBS Masterpiece will be showing Sanditon in the United States. It has already aired in the United Kingdom and a few other places.  Those who have watched the series are biting their fingernails, waiting for the reaction across the pond that may or may not determine an announcement whether there will be a season two.  Hold onto your hats, ladies, and gents, because the ocean breezes can be strong. So what’s all the fuss about this fictional seaside resort? Well, let me explain.

Sanditon is based on Jane Austen’s unfinished novel. She died before finishing the tale. Screenwriter Andrew Davies decided to finish it, along with other writers who worked on the script and brought it to ITV in the United Kingdom earlier this year. The result of those eight episodes has stirred a storm like none other Jane Austen adaptation on screen thanks to the number of viewers that fall into two camps.

The Jane Austen purists were aghast at the storyline, as it contained nudity (bare male behinds running into the cold waters), too many sexual innuendos, free-flowing hairstyles, and men and women acting non-Regency style. (How dare he kiss her and not propose!) The ending added to the horror of it all, which I will discuss later.

In the other camp are throngs of women who have lost all senses and become absolute fanatics about the series. If you don’t believe me, you need to check out the Sanditon Facebook fan group.  I make no judgment about their often desperate and humorous posts. They only want one thing in life – a second season. Andrew Davies had the nerve to leave its viewers heartbroken in a very un-Jane Austen like ending with no happiness in sight.  How dare he? Well, the women of Sanditon fandom will hear none of it, and they have been on a mission to hound ITV, Red Planet Pictures, the stars, the producers, and whoever they can find to continue the story.  Will they?  Apparently, no announcement will be made until after it airs in the United States. Today the following was posted from the official Sanditon websites:

“We are so happy you enjoyed your trip to Sanditon! We are setting sail for the US and won’t have news to share with you on a second series until the show has aired there. In the meantime, thank you so much for all your support and love for Sidlotte!” (Official Sanditon Facebook Page)

Therefore, it is imperative that you, the viewers, become incandescently obsessed with this show or otherwise a deep depression will circle the earth because Charlotte and Sidney have no happy ending.

So, who are these characters? What is the story about?  Is it because dreamy Theo James, who plays Sidney Parker has actually given the infamous Mr. Darcy and run for his money?  I will let you be the judge of this man who at first has no redeeming qualities. However, in period clothing and with that face, what woman can resist him in spite of his faults? And he will flash his bottom as well, that is if PBS doesn’t edit that scene out. They better not, or there will be hell to pay!  {fans self}

Now that I have regained my senses…

Charlotte, the heroine of the story, in a chance encounter meets the Parkers who invite her to Sanditon. She’s innocent, outspoken, and absolute joy of a character, the eldest of more children than you can count. Her father allows her to accompany the Parkers to Sanditon but not without warning. “Be careful, Charlotte,” he says.  “Careful of what, papa?”  “Everything.”

Yes, there is much to be careful about, because the rest of the characters will leave a lasting impression. There are the grumpy aristocratic lady and her relations that can’t wait for her to die to get her money. Mr. Tom Parker, with tunnel vision, is the town’s entrepreneur who thinks only of himself, along with two hypochondriac siblings. There’s the mysterious Sidney, his other brother, whose slight twitch of a smile will make you swoon. He’s guardian to a rich heiress worth 100,000 pounds who can be a handful. Of course, what story doesn’t have its antagonist you love to hate? You will want to strangle Mrs. Campion, who by the way is married in real life to Theo James. Then poor Stringer, the victim of unrequited love. Many other characters will come onto the screen as well.

The series is well-acted, to say the least. Theo James and Rose Williams, who plays Charlotte, are fantastic in displaying their emotions. Andrew Davies and the writers have woven symbolism throughout the tale that you won’t pick up on until it’s all over and you lean back in your chair, grab a tissue, and sob. Then you’ll begin to ask yourself, what just happened? Why am I blubbering over this show? What has it done to me? Why can’t I sleep? Why do I need to buy a pineapple? Why do I have to run off and join the Sanditon Facebook Fan Group to find solace and comfort among others around the world?

Yes, Sanditon will do one of two things for viewers in the United States.  First, the purist Jane Austen camp will complain and refuse to accept this story with all the faults they can pick out. Others will lose their senses, get lost, swoon, go gaga over Theo James, and lose sleep until an announcement comes that season two will be filmed and released. After all, the story must go on! We need a ripe pineapple! Tom Parker’s debts have to be paid but not with Eliza Campion’s money. Sidney needs to come to his senses! Charlotte needs a happy ending!

Enjoy, Sanditon. Oh, and be careful.  Be very careful, of everything starting January 12, 2020.

 

Articles Historical Romance Regency Romance

Vanessa Riley’s New Regency Romance

Vanessa Riley on how ‘The First Wives Club’ inadvertently inspired her new Regency romance.

We reveal the cover for Vanessa Riley’s new romance ‘A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby.’

Read More at Entertainment Weekly. Source: Vanessa Riley on how ‘The First Wives Club’ inadvertently inspired her new Regency romance

Articles Historical Romance

We Have History: 15 Historical Romance Novels About Estranged Lovers

“Dive deep into these drama-free (hah!) historical romances about estranged lovers. Every romance reader has their favorite tropes, and estranged lovers is definitely one of mine. For one thing, in the vast and interconnected web of romance tropes, estranged lovers touches so many of my other favorites: forced proximity, secret baby, crash the wedding, reveeeeenge. For another, estranged lovers is such an emotionally laden trope.”

Read More At

Source: We Have History: 15 Historical Romance Novels About Estranged Lovers

Articles

Blame Jane: Romance Novels 2019–2020 (Publisher’s Weekly)

What’s so great about Regency romances anyway? Even with a forthcoming romance novel whose characters could promenade the same ballrooms as Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley, Anna Harrington, author of An Inconvenient Duke, doesn’t lower her voice when she says it: “I hate Jane Austen.”

Source: Blame Jane: Romance Novels 2019–2020

Articles

Jane Austen’s Sanditon ‘Sexed Up’ in Andrew Davies Adaptation | The Guardian

Screenwriter says he used all the material from Austen’s work in first half of first episode.

Source: Jane Austen’s Sanditon ‘sexed up’ in Andrew Davies adaptation | Television & radio | The Guardian

I guess we have plenty of sex in Regency romances in book form.  What do you think about taking a Jane Austen book and sexing it up?

Articles

Julie Andrews To Voice Lady Whistledown In Netflix ‘Bridgerton’ Series – Deadline

Julie Andrews is set to voice Lady Whistledown in Netflix and Shondaland’s Untitled Bridgerton Project, based on Julia Quinn’s bestselling series of novels.

Source: Julie Andrews To Voice Lady Whistledown In Netflix ‘Bridgerton’ Series – Deadline

Articles Historical Romance

Grande Dame of Historical Romance Comes to Kensington: Spotlight on Sabrina Jeffries

For her latest series and her first with Kensington, Duke Dynasty, Jeffries chronicles the lives of the children of a thrice-widowed duchess. (Sponsored)

Source: Grande Dame of Historical Romance Comes to Kensington: Spotlight on Sabrina Jeffries

Historical Romance Articles

Outlander is Based on Books by Diana Gabaldon – Here’s Everything to Know About the Epic Series from The Oprah Magazine

Interesting article. Netflix has picked up the first two seasons.  Diana is working on another book. This article was published in Oprah Magazine on May 15. Follow link to read.  Though not a true “historical romance,” as even Diana admits, I’m sure readers will enjoy the news.

Gabaldon is currently working on the series’ ninth book titled Go Tell the Bees I’m Gone.

Source: Outlander Based on Books by Diana Gabaldon – Outlander Books in Order

Historical Romance Articles

The Hunchback of Notre Dame Has Risen to Bestseller After Fire

The tragic fire of Notre Dame has risen Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame to the bestseller list. In France, it’s currently number one in Gothic Romance and number 26 on Amazon USA Historical Romance Best Seller list!  Read more below at one of the many articles being published about its resurgence to fame.

When it was first published in 1831, the novel led to the restoration of Notre Dame.

Source: ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ has risen to the top of France’s best-seller list following Notre Dame fire | Deseret News