Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The Importance of Romance Novels In My Life
I read my first romance at the young age of twelve years. It was Fires of Winter by Johanna Lindsey. I was bored and my mom's box of books was right next to me. I browsed through and was attracted by the artwork on the cover. I was hooked by the first sentence....
And now I am thirty-five years of age (as of 2008). I have probably read thousands of books, most of them romances. I have been teased innumerable times for my tendency to read this "lascivious, unrealistic, sleazy, unredemable sex books" many times. But I am at the point in my life where I sing it out loud and proud: I LOVE ROMANCE NOVELS.
If I were to elucidate why I love them, it would take quite a while. I could have a website dedicated to romance novels and their authors. That is my intention some day. If you have read through my blog, you know by now that it is one of my favorite subjects. But I will endeavor to deliver a brief discussion on one of my favorite subjects. So I begin.
Why I love romances novels
1)Lover conquers all: In a good romance novel, love always wins. It doesn't matter how things begin, by the end of the book, the hero and heroine are together, in love, and spending their lives together: preferably with a few kids as well. Everyone knows that life is not necessarily this way. There are some romance books that don't have all the happiness, but lots of anguish and pain. But at the end there is the knowledge that love won the last round.
2)It's an escape from real life: I don't have a dashing hero sweeping me off for a night of love and desire. I don't have exciting duels or swing from vines. I certainly don't wear dazzling evening gowns and dance the night away. But the characters between the pages of romance novels do. They often face heartbreak and anguish but you can always tell yourself it's just a book, even though they characters are fond enough to be like well-loved friends.
3)Romance inspires us: If we can read a book where two people can find happiness in a crazy world, then it makes it just that easier for us to keep striving in our own lives. Whenever I feel like I have given up on love for myself, I read a romance that shows how special this bond is, and it helps me to keep hoping there is a man out there for me. And he doesn't have to be Prince Charming.
4)When I was growing up in a troubled family, a shy, overweight, awkward nerd with few friends, romance novels and other books were my friends. There were outcasts within those stories that found happiness. And reading an engrossing story took me out of my life and into a safe place. I didn't care if I got made fun of, or got picked last to be on someone's team. It could drown out the sound of my parents fighting, make time go by faster as I waited for my mother to pick me up on the way home from work. And when I was older, Saturday nights in were fun, because I knew I had a good book or two to look forward too. Even now, I don't get depressed about my non-existent social life. I look forward to a long weekend to catch up on my reading.

So I proudly hold up my Romance Fan banner. I defiantly say, "Yes, I love reading romance novels." And I hope that when I am a 90 year old woman, I can see well enough to read some of my most favorite romances again and again.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Interracial Romances List

Let me tell you one thing about me. I love interracial romance. I guess it's because I was raised to be open-minded about those things. But also I have some ethnic diversity in my background: African, Irish, English, Scottish, Native American. I think love is not about color, it's about a soul-deep connection. And I love books that show this. So I have definitely pursued these stories. Here is a list of some that I have read and enjoyed.

  • Fate by Pamela Leigh Starr--very old fashioned, sweet love story
  • Renee' And Jay by J.J. Murray--hip but heartfelt
  • Three Wishes by Seressia Glass--soulmates finding each other
  • No Commitment Required by Seressia Glass
  • Gone Too Far by Suzanne Brockmann
  • I'll Be Your Shelter by Giselle Carmichael
  • Something Real by J.J. Murray
  • My Forever Love by B.A. Isachor
  • At Last by Lisa G. Riley
  • Against The Wind by Gwynne Forster
  • Once Upon A Blue Moon by Dorriane Cole
  • Passion's Journey by Wanda Y. Thomas
  • A Twist of Fate by Beverly Clark
  • A Risk of Rain by Dar Tomlinson
  • Rendezvous With Fate by Jeanne Sumerix
  • From The Ashes by Kathleen Suzanne and Jeanne Sumerix
  • Shades of Desire by Monica White
  • Somebody to Love by Kate Rothwell
  • The Horsemaster's Daughter by Susan Wiggs
  • The China Bride by Mary Jo Putney
  • The Heart of the Dragon by Deborah Smith

Books with Secondary Interracial Romance

  • The Unsung Hero by Suzanne Brockmann
  • The Defiant Hero by Suzanne Brockmann
  • Over The Edge by Suzanne Brockmann
  • Sweeter Than Dreams by Olga Bicos
  • Fever by Katherine Sutcliffe
  • The Care and Feeding of Pirates by Jennifer Ashley

If you share my love of interracial romance, please feel free to join my Yahoo group:

Fans of Interracial Romance

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fansofinterracialromance/

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

When life gets wacky...turn to Buffy

I've been rediscovering my love of the wonderful show Buffy The Vampire Slayer lately. My sister and I watched the sixth season the past month. Nothing better than watching television shows on DVD. The second time around I totally got the message. Life is the big bad!!!!! It's totally true. The hardest thing about life is living, as Dawn said. And life isn't bliss, life is just living, Spike sang eloquently. Well I can feel that big time. I can understand the isolation and desolation that Buffy felt because I feel it often. Getting up and going to work is like saving the world sometimes. And poor Buffy. She has to do both. Okay I don't have crazy hot sex with a fine, studly vampire or man for that matter, but I did lose my father like Willow lost her true love Tara. I have to struggle to pay bills like Buffy did too. I've dealt with the pain of letting go of something that feels good and comfortable but just isn't right for you like Xander has to do with Anya, and Buffy with Spike. This season takes the viewer and the character to ugly places, where we see the absolute worst of the characters we know and love.The first time around I hated Willow because of her behavior. This time I felt more sympathy for her. I both renewed my love for Buffy and felt deeply disappointed at her also. She truly suffered as she hasn't before. Her friends tore her from the only place that she has had peace, assuming that she was in a hell dimension. But she was in heaven. Now she has to pretend that she's happy to be back. The anguish she must be feeling to go through the motions and to fight to be alive. I felt deep sympathy for her. But I didn't like the way she dealt with Spike. Not the affair part. That was fine and I didn't see it as a big deal at all. No it was how she treated him. She was cruel in many ways to Spike, using him as her punching bag/scapegoat instead of confronting her friends for their selfish actions. She threw his love back in his face instead of accepting it as a gift that it was. He gave acceptance as her other friends didn't. As you can see I fell in love with Spike. He is the best character on Buffy from season five and on. Not perfect but endowed with a humanity that seems lacking at times in the humans on the show. I wasn't crazy about his cruel insistence that Buffy "came back wrong." But I understood that it gave him license to pursue her because she was "a creature of the dark" like him. It was not the thing that Buffy needed to hear in her insecure state. But he was good for her in other ways. He took tender care of Dawn and was always there when she needed him although the group tended to reject him, especially Xander. But their destruction passion isn't good for either of them, as we see in "Seeing Red," when Spike goes to far trying to get Buffy to want him again, leading to a violent altercation in the bathroom that comes far to close to attempted rape to the viewer. For me, I thought of it as his misunderstanding of their sexual relationship. It was violent and passionate and reluctant on Buffy's part. This time her reluctance is downright rejection and he can't seem to see that. This episode was like eating glass to me. Pain on top of pain seemingly is the tone for the season. Season six marked the departure of two favorites: Giles and Tara. Giles' leaving was painful for all, but we knew that he would be back. We even understand that he leaves because he knowws that it's the best thing for Buffy. She cannot go on depending on him to solve her problems. And she will if he's always there. But we know that he's a call away. Unlike Tara. Tara dies horribly and stays gone. And the pain of her absence is acute, gouging and stark. We feel the void that she had left behind as much as Willow and the other Scoobies. Her gentle yet steady friendship, her innate goodness and sense of right and wrong. Her tender humor. All gone away so suddenly. Never to return. We see the continual evolution of Buffy's young sister Dawn as well. Dawn grows into full-blown teenage angsthood, bad attitude and all. What a beautiful young woman she is but so insecure in her role in life and in the Scoobies. So afraid of being left behind again. With the death of her mom, absentee father, and Buffy's sacrificial death, who can blame her? She turns to cleptomania as a solace. It is empty and leaves her aching just as the other Scoobies ache for a sense of purpose. Her pain escalates into a wish heard by a Vengeance demon who happens to be in the right place at the right time. She just wants everyone to stay with her. And thanks to Halfrek, they cannot leave the house the night of Buffy's birthday party in "Older...And Far Away.". But Dawn learns that you can be in the room with a lot of other people but still be alone. We see Xander move on further into adulthood. He has a steady job working construction where he is liked and respected. He even has enough pull to get Buffy a job on "Life Serial". And his relationship with Anya has progressed. They became engaged on the eve of the end of the world last season. But Xander isn't ready to tell everyone. This troubles Anya yet he cannot let go of his insecurities. His parent's bad marriage has left scars. He isn't too keen on embracing Anya's demon origins as she is, and it's sure to have an effect on their marriage. He loves Anya but does he love her enough to pledge his life to her? He thinks so until all his doubts culminate on his wedding day in a heartbreaking fashion on "Hell's Bells." Things are helped along by a vengeful ghost from Anya's demonic past. In the end, those insecurities conquer him as they do the other scoobies, and he leaves Anya at the altar. Watching Anya practice her vows is so heartwrenching knowing that Xander won't be there to hear them. For all her sins, her selfish and avaricious nature, Anya's love for Xander is true and real. He's her best friend, she says in her practiced vows. But her best friend rejects her when he tells her he isn't ready for marriage. Anya turns back to her old way of life as his love lets her down. And she also turns to the rejected, heartbroken Spike as consolation and they have sex. More pain for the viewer as these events play out in "Entropy". Xander is enraged enough to come after Spike with an axe. Buffy is upset too, although she has broken things off with Spike. Spike is dismissed as a soulless monster. Yet his heart cannot let go of his love for Buffy no matter how much he wants it to. Anya finds no consolation in Xander's jealously, after all he didn't want to marry her anyway. It's an ugly scene that lingers in my mind. Let us examine the villains of this season: Warren, Jonathan, and the one nobody remembers: Andrew. Three nerds who unite to take over Sunnydale and to become supernatural kingpins. Why? Because they are tired of their geekdom and nobody status. They start out harmless, although annoying in their relentless plaguing of Buffy. But their criminal actions escalate rapidly into violence when Warren kills his old girlfriend and uses demonic powers to trick Buffy into thinking she did in in "Dead Things.". And they seem to grow more and more formidable. Warren is the more dangerous of the trio in his selfish and cruel nature. He has crossed beyond the pale with his first murder but he becomes public enemy one with the Scoobies and Willow, and the loyal viewers when he kills Tara in the act of trying to assassinate Buffy in "Seeing Red.". Little does he know the Pandora's box that he opens, revealing the one villain that truly has the power to end the world. Willow! Willow's sliding descent into a magic addiction is painful to watch as she manipulates and hurts others around her. It draws comparison to a drug-addicted family member or friend but there is the supernatural element to take things to the next level. She is high on the power of her magic, but all highs end. It seems worth it at first, after all she goes from nobody to the biggest Wicca in the Western Hemisphere. Is it really when she loses the one person she loves more than anything, Tara? And just when she makes the effort to give her magic and turns back into the Willow I adored from the early years, then Warren takes the one person who gives her the strength to change away. All bets are off. She gives into the darkness and absorbs all the magic she can to feed the black-hearted vengeance that drives her. But soon vengeance isn't enough. She wants to hurt everyone like she was hurt. She wants everyone's pain to end permanently. She turns against those who love her the most, but in the end it's Xander who saves her with that love that she spurns initially. After the last episode of this season, I was left spent and drained. Uncertain yet hopeful for the future, but knowing that everything has changed. Season six is about mostly pain...but a little joy and some great laughs thrown in. Because life is the big bad. It always was. Here are my favorite and least favorite episodes.
The Favorites....
1.Smashed
2.Wrecked
3.Older...And Far Away
4.Hells Bells
5.Bargaining
6.Tabula Rasa
7.Gone
8.As You Were (Riley's back!!!!! Alas it's too short. But I'm happy that he's found the one in Sam. And who can hate her. Even if Willow tells Buffy she's fully prepared to hate her with every ounce of her being)
9.of course...Once More With Feeling! So cool on many levels, including it's a MUSICAL!

The Least Favorites...
1.Seeing Red (just stab me with a butcher knife and get it over with)
2. Flooded (because Buffy finds out how broke she is and it pisses me off that Willow/Tara lived off of her money and didn't contribute anything to the household. I was deeply annoyed at Willow's thinly veiled threat to Giles)
3.Normal Again (Buffy got on my nerves on that one)
Conflicted about...
1.Villains (Willow as exhilirating to watch as she gives into the dark side)
2.Two To Go (Hip horray at Giles' pithy line "I'd like to test that theory..." )
3.Grave (Willow descends into pettiness in some of her lines to Buffy)
4.Entropy (pain, pain, pain!)
5.Dead Things (I found Buffy beating up Spike deeply disturbing, as well as Warren's evil actions)


I give this season an A on second viewing. Cannot wait until Season 7. I'm hoping I will like this one better the second time around.

Thanks for reading...