Snarkling Clean

Snarkling Clean- because you don't have to cuss to make fun of stuff. Two dedicated readers discuss romance novels- from what made us weep with joy to what made us want to poke pencils through our eyeballs.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I Gave Up Johanna Lindsey Clinch Covers For This?

My family and I went to our favorite place the other night. The place the kids always beg to go to, where we spend many happy hours:

Barnes and Noble. Books and Starbucks. What more do you need?

My kids run for the fantasy section, while hubby scours the bargain shelves. Me?

You don't really need to ask, do you?

My darling husband of almost 20 years (August 8) took great pleasure in showing me the cover of a romance he found on the bargain shelf. He howled over it. This one.

It's not that bad, but I had the feeling I'd seen this guy before.

I had.

Here, as a matter of fact.

And here. This guy gets a lot of work, and you can understand why. Look at his range!

Le Tigre AND Blue Steel. I wonder if he can do Magnum?
Now, I loved me some Fabio. He always took the work and the fans seriously, but not himself. And John DeSalvo, well...even if he had the exact same expression every time, at least he had some action shots.
But they were de-throned for THIS GUY?? It's like art departments everywhere decided to do the romance cover novel version of superhero costume generators.
You start with shirtless semi-hottie. Then, customize!
1. Add your choice of background- urban, jungle, or forest.
2. Add weapons to fit your hero.
3. Choose drippy font and random laser beams.
Presto! You've got your cover!
In a way, it makes me nostalgic for the headless Highlanders.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother

Places I have Actually Been

Things I Have Witnessed People Doing (and Would Have Done Had I Drunk Enough)

A Thing You Probably Think is a Joke

Something I'm Afraid Isn't a Joke

People Who Could Be My Relatives
I've never been there, seen it personally, but I know it's not a joke. And I do have a relative there.

To my cousin, Major Rick Williams, who grew up redneck like me: thank you for making sure I can make fun of our upbringing on the internet. Come home soon.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I'm Enjoying This Too Much

What editors want is a thing like unto the Holy Grail for writers. We'd love to know what they want. What some of them need, however, is a primer on English literature.

A cheeky writer in England sent off barely disguised manuscripts of Jane Austen's best known works to major publishing houses, to see if Jane could get a contract these days. He even left intact perhaps her most famous line, which opens Pride and Prejudice: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."

He received universal rejections, but only one had the nerve to call him on his blatant plagiarism. Penguin's editor even wrote that his ideas seemed really original!

I had to stop and wonder why I'm enjoying this so. It seems like karma has run over their dogma, if you follow. After scolding writers on everything from adverb usage to 'you used the word that too much' to heroines' hair color, they can't even pick up on a plotline from Jane Freaking Austen?

It's funny. C'mon, you know it's funny! Of course, it isn't funny when I realise that somewhere along the line I started viewing editors as the enemy. Not a professional who knows exactly what her line needs and looks for the best candidate. Not a hard-working book lover who has to slog through a slush pile two feet deep. Not a partner to help me publish the best book possible. But the enemy, whose gates I have to storm because he is keeping me from getting my prize.

Which leads me back to my original question. What do editors really want, anyway?

Monday, July 16, 2007


A couple of nights ago, I couldn't sleep. No particular reason; my brain just wouldn't shut off. When that happens I typically will read or write, even though what I wind up writing falls under the "What was I smoking?" category.

But neither of those was happening, so I turned to the age-old remedy: channel surfing. Late night television is a world all its own, one filled with bad old movies, reruns you've already seen twenty times, and infomercials. Good God Almighty, the infomercials. A little sponge on a drill that will make your face look ten years younger. A ladder that morphs from a step stool to a scaffold that will work wonderfully for the do-it-yourselfer. Who also happens to be a NASA engineer. I lusted after the Magic Bullet Personal Blender System after seeing Mick and Mimi's party. Who wouldn't want to make two kinds of breakfast muffins, gourmet chicken salad lunches, and two different pasta sauces all without dirtying a single pot or pan?

But I happened to view something else that night. A dating show. Good. Lord.

Now, I remember The Dating Game. Bachelors 1, 2, and 3 had to answer really stupid questions from a nervous bachelorette hidden behind a screen. She made her choice based on those equally stupid answers, and the moment we all wanted to see? Her face when she saw exactly what her date looked like. And how the two guys she didn't pick looked. You could practically see in her eyes, "Why didn't I choose him? Or him? These two guys are fine. I'm going to get stuck with a nerd, I just know it." But it had rewards; the men were usually very nice, and they went on an all-expense paid cruise to Puerto Villarta or something.

Ah, for those days. This particular show had a mini The Bachelor quality to it, with one guy being fought over by 5 girls. I find the whole concept of The Bachelor insulting- any guy who thinks he's worthy of having 25 beautiful women fight over him has too bloated a self image to be attractive. And IMO, any woman who participates in such drivel deserves to have her heart broken. "But, but, I LOVED him! ~sob~ I only knew him for two weeks, and in that time he was sucking on ten other girls, but I LOVED him!"

So why did I watch this dating show? Because Mick and Mimi's party was over, and I just couldn't take the guys from Air Supply hawking Time-Life's collection of 70's easy listening classics. (I'm all out of love, I'm so lost without you...)

This guy, Adam, what someone younger than me would consider a hottie I suppose, finally pares it down to two girls. One, Jessie, is a feisty little thing, who practically full-on copulates with the guy on the dance floor. The other, Blair, is more shy, dancing on the fringes, hoping to actually talk to him. The 'interview' portion made my blood boil. Adam says, "Blair is the nice girl you want to take home to Mom. Jessie is the bad girl." At this, he smirks and almost giggles. "I don't know which way I'm going."

I've never wanted to smack anyone worse in my life. No, not him. Men apparently still have the madonna/whore complex fully in place, with all our vaunted equality. Guys still know a slut when they see one, I guess. Adam did; he chose Jessie. What got me was that Jessie knew exactly why he chose her. She knew he respected Blair, and wouldn't be ashamed to take Blair home. But he only wanted Jessie for one thing, and there was no way she was 'good enough' to meet his mother. AND SHE WAS HAPPY ABOUT THIS. SHE WAS HAPPY SHE'D WON. And not because she won anything more than the rest of the night with Adam- they didn't even get a rattan chair out of the deal. My hand actually itched. Could she not see the diss? Have we come to the point where our equality has turned to bite us in the butt? Even if she just wanted a night of anonymous sex, would she really want it with a guy who thinks she's not a sexy woman, but a whore?

The world has never needed romances more. There was a Romancing the Blog post last week about a single lady's family who worried that her reading romances was causing unrealistic expectations for her. I say more power to her. Dreaming about a man who wants her, who will be smacked down if he treats her wrongly, about holding out for everything she wants- including a gold ring, and getting it? I'd much rather dream about that than Adam in his shiny shirt, smirking over his one night stand.

On second thought, yeah. I want to smack him too.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I Had a Dream...

In our fair city, there is a beautiful rose garden.

Every year, it blooms in a riot of colors so brilliant that it dazzles the eye and lifts the heart.

When I was pregnant with my girl, I imagined dressing her up and taking many wonderful pictures of her romping amongst the flowers in this special garden. These pictures would be heartwarming and touching and worthy of being blown up and framed. We as her doting parents would look back on these pictures years later with tears in our eyes remembering what wonder and awe she expressed visiting this lovely place with all the "fwowers".

And so I present to you now what I call Alison Amongst the Roses...

What are you doing? Why are you taking my picture?

I find you and your intrusive camera distasteful.

Lemme get this want me to smile by these flowers right here? Yeah, right.

My husband couldn't figure out why we have one child who is a complete ham-bone (most of the time)...

and another child who looks like she smells something putrid...

Gee, Honey...I have no idea.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Ever Notice...Cute Guy Monday?

Ever notice when an older lady stumbles across a mystery and solves it, an inordinate number of murders start happening in her previously quiet, quaint small village?

Ever notice that news networks talk about how "real news" only covers hard-hitting stories, not celebrity pap, then pretend that talking to experts about the Paris Hilton jail phenomenon isn't really talking about Paris Hilton?

Ever notice how the heroines of historical romances are usually "a slip of a girl" that barely comes up to the hero's sternum, yet the hero gets hot and bothered over her long, long legs?

Ever notice that kids cannot hear you when you are speaking three inches from their ears, but if you barely whisper that you are thinking of going to the movies while they are downstairs with the computer and the tv on and you are upstairs in your bedroom with the door closed and the radio playing, they'll hear you?

Ever notice that competition shows (American Idol, etc.) only prove one thing: when America gets to vote, they're sure to screw everything up?

And since I haven't done this in a while, here's something worth noticing- from Desperate Housewives, James Denton.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Movin' On Up

Tomorrow is moving day for us.

Try not to be jealous.

I don't have the time or energy for a well-written post about the goings-on in our lives lo these past few months, so here are the main points to bring you up to speed:

1. Put house on market thinking it would take a few months to sell.
2. House sold in 3 weeks.
3. Used neighbor whom we love as realtor.
4. Could have sold house ourselves and saved paying neighbor whom we love eight thousand big ones.
5. Currently kicking ourselves over that one.
6. Thought husband's job situation would be resolved by now and we would be moving to some other locale.
7. Husband's job situation not resolved, so moving within a mile of current house.
8. Moving within a mile of current house in order to keep son in same school with same friends until we move to another locale.
9. Almost had to go on anti-psychotic meds due to trying to find house within one square mile to rent that had a) enough room, b) right price, and most importantly, c) no other people's pet pee stained carpets.
10. Found out that property management companies by and large suck pondwater.
11. Finally found rental house ACROSS THE STREET from son's school so he will be able to walk there.
12. Yay. Get to live in school zone.
14. Exact same house has 300 more square feet and a bonus room over garage, which will be my office. It's our house, only on steroids. And reverse floor plan. Much bumping into walls to commence.
15. Yay. Stairs. To my office. My legs should look great after this summer.
16. Little to no boxes packed due to husband's plan of, "We'll just load up the car, take to new house, unpack immediately since everything will go in the same place, and come back and pack more boxes."
17. Husband turns down help from all able-bodied male friends saying, "Missie and I can handle it."
18. Currently looking for new husband, see numbers 16 and 17.
19. Since MOVAPALOOZA 2007 wasn't enough to have going on, I also decided to celebrate the "Yay I'm Not Pregnant" Festival this week.
20. Much suckage of life to commence.
21. Also planning my parents' 50th wedding anniversary party to take place at the end of this month. Long Distance. As in not in my town. As in doing everything over the phone. As in I am the only one of their three children planning, executing, and paying for any of this. As in getting more gray hairs every day. As in "crap, what did I get myself into?" As in Happy Anniversary Today to my mom and dad since today is the actual date of their wedding but we couldn't do it this weekend since most people wouldn't be able to come. As in someone pull me away from my keyboard before I type anymore run on sentences that aren't making sense oh my goodness I have had too much caffeine and now need adult supervision and my daughter has a runny nose and my son has allergies and I want to go take a nap. After eating copious amounts of chocolate.
22. Wah.
23. The end.
24. The children say, "Send Help."

Sunday, July 01, 2007

I Love It, I Hate It

I love it when my kids laugh. It’s the most beautiful, healing music in the world. I hate it when one of them screams angrily because the other has directed the beautiful healing laughter in derision for an inconsequential mistake.

I love it when I can take the dog on a walk and stop to kibbutz with the neighbors. I love coming away from those short encounters knowing that I’ve been witty and smart. I hate it when I realize I conducted the whole conversation, complete with hand gestures, smartly and wittily holding a plastic baggie full of dog poo.

I love it when I can get lost in a book from another generation. Don’t get too excited, I mean the eighties. I love reading an Alpha hero who is all hot and bothered by the heroine and thinks (a quote from Loving Evangeline by Linda Howard) “By God, he would have her!” I thought, there is my new standard for romance heroes. Call it the By God I Will Have Her Factor. Even if the story’s PG and the love scenes fade to black, I want the BGIWHH Factor. I hate it when I decide to read more books from that era and wind up slogging through ‘masterful’ heroes who are little more than rapists that blame the heroine for being too appealing.

Most of all, I hate needing the escape because my husband went to the doctor with chest pains and the doctors aren’t quite sure what happened. Not a huge pain that radiates down the left arm kind of thing, so we weren’t totally worried. They think he had an ‘episode’ where his heart didn’t get enough oxygen. A mini-heart attack, kinda. I hate it that his blood tests came back showing that genetics and heredity are vengeful witches that will bite you in the privates. On top of everything, he’s got diabetes.

I love it that he is a hard-working man who provides for his family. He is like the Energizer Bunny that way; he never stops. He is a poster boy for Great Work Ethic. I hate it when he still carries that Must Work Now thing through times when he doesn’t feel well and still has twinges of pain. I hate not knowing when to bite my tongue and be supportive, and when to let my head a-splode and beg, cajole, and threaten him if he doesn’t take it easy. I just plain love him.