Guest Jayne Denker on C***k L*t

Hello hello! Saturday is here and this month is just flying by! Today we have Jayne Denker – a first time ALBTALBS guest! We’ve chatted on twitter about TV and such, and that inspired her to write a post about that topic! … Kinda ;) So without further ado … Jayne!

Chick Lit: You Cannot Kill It (But Why Would You Want To?)

Picture ThisI’m a “contemporary romance” writer, but whenever I can get away with it, I write chick lit. Not out in the open, though, because the official party line is chick lit is dead. Stone cold. Six feet under and pushing up daisies. Nobody wants to read stories about young or young-thinking, strong women making their way in the world!

Yeah, all right. *wink*

Oh, the entertainment industry did believe it drove a stake through chick lit’s heart a while back. Well, first they created the monster by encouraging it to flourish in the ’90s, in the wake of Bridget Jones’s Diary. Then came the dark days, when the entertainment industry (yes, book publishing, but mostly I’m looking at you, Hollywood) threw gobs of money at anything remotely resembling chick lit. Even the bad stuff.

And lo, the dark days spread and overwhelmed the earth.

Horrified at what a Frankenstein monster chick lit had become, the publishing world and Hollywood rose up against it and killed off their own creation. Never again, they said, shall the beast that is chick lit be allowed to propagate. Yea, those who speak its name shall be put to death.

And so the edict stands. The foul term “c***k l*t” is no longer uttered. No, really. Try it—I dare you. You’ll see. You’ll end up with the business end of a stiletto in your temple.

However, as with all good sagas, forbidding something doesn’t mean you can kill it off entirely. Come on, we all know that chick lit is about as unstoppable as a zombie that’s scented freshly-exposed brain matter. Better yet, let’s call it the hydra genre of literature—chop off its head, and it grows two more. Ooh! Ooh! How about the Obi-Wan Kenobi genre? Strike it down, and it becomes more powerful than you could possibly imagine.

Yeah, that’s it: Chick lit is the Zombie-Hydra-Obi-Wan-Kenobi genre. You just can’t kill it, It’s not hiding in a dark cave, Gollum-like, either. (Why yes, I am the equivalent of a pop-culture-reference oil spill. Proudly mixing memes since 1978.) That so-called forbidden chick lit is actually all around us. Right now. And you probably don’t even know it!

Down on LoveBecause the publishing industry still considers chick lit The Genre That Shall Not Be Named, now we call it “romantic comedy.” Kind of like how Blackwater gets a new name every couple of years, in the hopes that everyone forgets what it was responsible for back in the Aughts. It works, too. Who doesn’t like romantic comedies, right? Sometimes it’s called women’s fiction, although I always think of WF as a bit more serious overall. Could just be me, though.

Chick flicks are still verboten, and with good reason. Wow, there were some real stinkers at the end there, weren’t there? Phew, the memories are still polluting the joint! But the genre is still in Hollywood, and not lurking in dark alleys off Sunset, either. Nope, “visual chick lit” is operating right out in the open. What, you go to the multiplex in search of a decent romcom, only to end up drowning in the glut of superhero flicks? You’re right. So think smaller.

I’m talking TV, people. It’s all over the small screen. And it’s popular! A young (or, hey, not so young—the genre is nothing if not elastic), single woman struggling with the challenges of getting her career rolling, navigating the social scene, hanging with her besties, trying to find a guy who’s not a total cretin? Oh, it’s there, baby.

It’s always been there, really. I could go into the history of young-female-centric TV shows down through the ages (I’m old enough to remember That Girl and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, although *koff* I was a mere zygote at the time), but if I got that thorough, I’d end up writing a thesis—or a book—instead of a blog post. Ain’t nobody got time for that—wait. Come to think of it…dibs on the history of chick lit! Called it!

TV’s recent history has been filled with chick-lit-type shows. I don’t care that Lorelai Gilmore had a teen daughter; there’s chick lit at the bottom of that Luke’s Diner coffee cup. Ally McBeal? 30 Rock? Durr. And those four women in New York…what was that show called, again? (I keed, I keed.)

By DesignBest of all, there’s been a huge resurgence of chick lit on TV, like, right now. The Mindy Project. Hart of Dixie. New Girl. Girls. 2 Broke Girls. Young & Hungry. I’d even throw in The Mysteries of Laura, although it’s mainly a detective procedural. And Parks and Recreation, even though it’s an ensemble comedy, because Amy Poehler.

Then there’s the queen mother of all current chick-lit-on-TV: Jane the Virgin. Have you seen it? (If you haven’t, there’s the door. Go forth and do not return until you’ve caught up with all the eps. Most of them are on The CW site and Hulu. I don’t care how you get them—just go! Go now!) Sure, the premise put people off—a young woman, who was “saving herself” till her wedding to her detective fiancé, is accidentally artificially inseminated and is now carrying the baby of a guy she had a crush on five years before—but it works. Seriously. Not kidding. It’s crazy-funny (if you don’t laugh out loud at Jane’s goofy estranged father, somebody’d better check your pulse) and it also has heart. You find yourself pulling for Jane as she tries to figure out who she is and where she’s going in life. Best of all, she wants to be a romance writer!

Of course, not every chick lit-flavored show escaped the wildly swinging Cancellation Axe of Doom. RIP A to Z, Carrie Diaries, and Selfie. (*Sob!* Selfie!) But thanks to the hydra effect (ooh, that’d make a great title—dibs on that too), we’re getting more soon, including The Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt, and Younger. I’m sure there are more; it’s just difficult to keep up with the onslaught.

Onslaught is good. It means that no matter what you call it, quality entertainment featuring laughs, good plots, and clever women is always in style.

About the Author: Jayne Denker divides her time between working hard to bring the funny in her romantic comedies and raising a young son who’s way too clever for his own good. She has published four rom coms with Kensington (and another is on the way). Jayne lives in a small village in western New York that is in no way, shape, or form related to the small village in her Marsden novels Down on Love and Picture This. When she’s not hard at work on another novel, the social media addict can usually be found frittering away startling amounts of time on Facebook (Jayne Denker Author) and Twitter (@JDenkerAuthor). She’d like to say she updates her website, quite often, but most of the time when it crosses her mind, she shouts “Can’t you see I’m writing?!” and puts it off till another day. But you can find links to all my books there.

Hey, One of My Books Is on Sale:

I got away with writing pure chick lit once. It’s a Hollywood-set romcom called Unscripted, and it’s on sale for 99 cents for the entire month of December. Here’s the info:

UnscriptedOne of Hollywood’s hardest working women is about to discover there’s a lot more drama behind the camera than in front of it…

Faith “Freakin’” Sinclair probably shouldn’t have called her boss a perv…or grabbed his “privates.” But as creator of the hit dramedy Modern Women, she’d had enough of his sexist insults. Now she’s untouchable in the industry—not in a good way. The only way to redeem herself is to convince Alex, the wildly popular, wildly demanding former star of her show, to come back. But there’s one obstacle in her way—one very handsome, broad-shouldered obstacle…

Professor Mason Mitchell is head of the theater department where Alex is studying “real” acting. The only way he’ll let Faith anywhere near Alex is if she agrees to co-teach a class. It’s an offer she can’t refuse—and as it turns out, the professor just might end up teaching Faith that there’s more to life than work—and that real-life love scenes are way more fun than fake ones….

 

What do you think? About chick lit? Or “chick lit”? Or any of those shows on TV? :D

Testing

Just a quick note to say … well I know I’m behind – but also – what you don’t know, is since ~January or so some jackwagon(s) have been trying to hack into my blog and it is annoying as fuck and also apparently screwing things up so …

Yeah. Beyond that, there is just a lot going on in “Lime’s world.”

After RT I’m pretending I’ll have more time. And maybe believing that will make it happen?

I also need to know if posts are finally going to FB again. So … does anyone get here from my FB page?

And what book recommendations do you have for me?

My Visit to the High Museum of Art

While I was in Atlanta, I obviously scheduled a few excursions outside of the hotel, because it’s what I like to do as I go stir crazy. (And to be honest, people hate-y, although this time wasn’t bad more for the reason I felt like I didn’t see anyone at all.) Anyway, while just chatting on twitter, someone (sorry! I can’t remember who!) told myself and Isobel that we had to go to High Museum of Art Atlanta (HIGH) because Girl with a Pearl Earring was there as part of a special collection (Dutch Paintings from the Mauritshuis). Well, I love the Dutch Masters. I’ve had the opportunity to see a special collection of Rembrandt’s works and it was amazing, so I knew I had to go.

I already had a busy schedule, but I started asking people how they felt about high art. I finally found a victimfriend, and Beth said she was excited to go. Whee! I contacted HIGH about my visit, and it was arranged so they provided me with tickets! Which was awesome! In fact, fortuitously two! (Thank you, HIGH Museum of Art!)

First off, it’s really easy to get there. We took a cab there, but MARTA back. There are a lot of great restaurants nearby as well, so you can get lunch, dinner, or brunch at any point surrounding your visit. Beth and I had a tiny bit of a walk around to find the entrance of the museum, but once in, it was easy to get to “the good stuff.” The exhibit was on the second floor, and the elevators were right there. We took the audio tour, which was nice. It wasn’t like other audio tours I’ve ever listened to. There were a number of people speaking, and although they each gave their credentials, I don’t remember who they were. (Oops.) Beyond giving some information about the work, oftentimes the speaker also did a sort of casual “art crit,” remarking on parts that they liked, which people may not have noticed. It was a fun personal touch that I’m sure encouraged people to look at the paintings more carefully.

It was a lovely collection, and there were a number of works that I’d never seen before, which was awesome. I don’t know if it was possible, but I wish the lighting had been slightly different, because there was often a reflection or glare on the protective glass which made the paintings difficult to observe. Otherwise, I feel lucky to have had a chance to visit HIGH because the exhibit was only in San Francisco, Atlanta, and will be heading to New York. There were a few Rembrandts I got to “revisit,” as well as works from Frans Hals, Jacob van Ruisdael and Adriaen van Ostade. (Beth and I also felt the Rachel Ruysch was a favorite.)

Of course the culmination of the tour was Girl with a Pearl Earring, which got its own room complete with foot barrier, and dim lighting. I stood there for quite some time, and had a moment. <3

It was very clever for the exhibit to open into a small gift shop that had books, cards, the usual museum store items, and even a chocolate bar with Girl with a Pearl Earring printed on the wrapper. There were even magnetic Girl with a Pearl Earring finger puppets. (In fact I’m now wondering if I can find a book of the collection “out in the wild,” as I didn’t buy one there…)

Then, we went downstairs, and found what felt almost like a gallery, with all (I believe) the pieces created by local artists, which opened into a room of African Art. It was a fun display that I think children would like. They had two or three ceremonial masks mounted on a wall, with two screens showing video of the actual ceremonies. Certain this wasn’t all to be see, Beth and I and asked about the HIGH’s general collection, and what the “must see” works were. (I’m not sure if we were asking volunteers or staff.) We did this because we had lunch plans, and Beth had previously informed me she was forced to endure countless hours at museums, so we weren’t going to spend all day there, but didn’t want to miss anything.

You have to go through something of a walkway, and then into what I’d personally call the “main building” of the museum. We were actually a little surprised by how “small” the museum is. I suppose I’m spoiled when it comes to museums, but for Atlanta being such a large city, Beth and I were a bit perplexed. Nevertheless, there’s an interesting mix of modern art, American Art, and European art from various periods. (In fact I realized you can browse the museum collection online! Super cool!)

We found two Monets, one from his Houses of Parliament series, and one landscape. I hadn’t seen either before, so that was nice. (The Monet had been our goal, because the girl told us there was “a Monet” so it was a bit of a scavenger hunt.) After walking through a few floors (it’s a really cool open layout with a winding ramp between floors), we were hungry and decided to leave. I do want to note the American Art (I did a project on it in school so it’s got a special place in my heart), as well as a Degas I don’t remember seeing in any art book. Another find! There were some gorgeous displays of crystalware on the walk up, and some whimsical British china with a lot of cute motifs. Lots of “the four seasons” and items shaped like fish, frogs, and the like.

I like that the museum has the “open layout” but with the ramps, there are some nooks that can house the smaller collections with a particular theme in its own space. It’s really nice because the open layout gives you a general idea of the collections so you can have a specific target if you’re “on a mission” like we were.

The grounds for the HIGH museum are very nice, and the architecture is gorgeous. I can totally see a number of wonderful events being held there. If I visit Atlanta again I’d like to see how the collection is developed. Also, on Thursdays they have “Thirsty Thursdays.” Who wouldn’t like half price tickets and drinks available for purchase? If you’re in the area, I definitely recommend seeing if there’s a special exhibit that catches your interest. Or, if you’re looking for something to do on Thursday evening. [Oh, and if you’re wondering why this is so text heavy, you need a special permit to take pictures in the museum, and I didn’t think to apply for one previously, so sorry – none from me this time!]

Surrounded by Death

I posted an update (wow exactly a month ago) although we all know I’ll pre-date this post. :P Anyway, my “things have been crazy” was a more vague and nicer way to say… all these people are dying. In the past ~2 months at least 8 people have died. Some in my family, some family of friends. It just hasn’t been a good time. There might actually be more, but I’m actively trying to not think about it, yet at least that many immediately come to mind.

Anyway I thought it was ok just to leave it with the July post, but then I kept getting all this crap about shit. So even though I didn’t want to – more because I didn’t want to think or talk about it than to awkwardly drop this into conversation and upset someone’s delicate sensibilities although that was part of it… I had other stuff to be dealing with, other than romance world and ALBTALBS.

Compounded by additional other bad stuff with work and general life excluding those tragedies.

So.

That’s why I’ve been dropping the ball.

And a little bit of my upset and anger is at myself for not being more on top of things, but you know what? I think I’m going to have to give myself a pass. And as part of that, considering… I think I’ll also have to say a succinct “fuck you” to people who aren’t ok with that.

I do however plan on posting things that I missed on their original dates. I’m working out how to go about doing that – writing up a post with all the “hey look at these posts that won’t appear on the sidebar.” Or what? They should all still go to my Facebook, I’ll tweetlink them, and it should go to tumblr as well.

And I also want to make some changes with information updates, and make a few details even more abundantly clear, such as ALBTALBS communications and the way I [attempt] to run things.

But I guess this counts as an update and my rantypants. The above is also why it’s all more and more guest posts. I do want to have more general posts and less author things (although what do I know – “me” posts will mean less giveaways because I can’t afford that. :P) but I’ve said numerous times, I never intended for this to be solely (or even primarily) a promo site. In a way though it’s helped me out, because it’s been a mutually beneficial relationship, especially when I couldn’t have handled all the content on my own.

Annnnnddd to end at least on a marginally less awkward note – or an attempt to – do any of you follow me on twitter? Would you be interested in a different account solely dedicated to only ALBTALBS posts and updates? (As in, every time a post goes live here, it would post from say, “@ALBTALBS” – and that account would talk about nothing else?

[And sorry for being bitchy.]

SWAG Questions + Updates

Hi friends! I’m back at home base. :D

Still behind, but that’s not new. Right? :\ And, I know I’m really flippant about it… but it does bother me a lot. And I’m sorry about it.

Actually, I have a few questions. First, I’m gearing up for Social Media for Social Good again. (SMSG). I’m debating between an ALS Charity, or *ETA decided on a Human Trafficking one. Unless something big comes up (and I hope not, because that means there is a global tragedy, you know?) – so, anyone have strong feelings one way or another? [Or if Romance Man has his 501c3 set up, I already agreed last year on his…]

Anyway. Hopefully I’ll be posting winners soon, and emailing everyone and catching up on those.

My question is though – s.w.a.g. – “stuff we all get” – what’s your favorite from authors that you’ve seen or received? What would you like to get? I’m gearing up for another post, and I’d really like any feedback and suggestions. And I’m sure authors would too. (And hey, speak up! Cuz that means it might be happening, and you might get it!)

ETA: Ok guys? … you do know that books aren’t swag right? Swag is the promotional type items authors hand out – there is very little likelihood an author has hundreds of copies of books s/he can just give away to everyone. That’s a different topic – when I ask about prizes. Swag does not mean prizes. (Or, some authors give it as a prize… but that’s another shoddy story.) Thanks! :)

ALBTALBS Update

Hi Friends!

Just wanted to let you know – things have been crazy. And mostly crazy in a not so great way. I wanted to apologize for the sporadic postings. A lot has been going on, and then internet, and being ill, and then burn out. You might be surprised at how much diva attitude there is behind the scenes. And how quickly that makes you not want to do a damn thing.

I am trying though. And hope to back date and post a lot of reviews when I get back. There are supposed to be Thursday and Saturday posts, but I am not sure how the formatting went. (Maybe I’ll get access and be able to confirm, but I’m going to be without any sort of personal computer for a week.)

Next – for previous prizes; I recently noticed there were a lot of emails that got buried – so please know that from the ~February on? I’m going to double check. My apologies – that’s on me.

It’s 3:20 AM and I need to be up in 2 hours. … What up with you?

[Obviously being up SO late with such little prospective of sleep makes me really bitchy.]

Hopefully the rest of this week will be more of a recharge. And winners will be posted when I have computer access again as well.

And for your entertainment, remember to check the tags. We haven’t done this in a while.