My sister likes to remind me of back in the days when I used to read nothing but horror novels and bodice rippers. And yes, this was when it was not considered politically incorrect/heresy to refer to historical romances as 'bodice rippers.' The days of Rosemary Rogers (Ah, Sweet, Savage Love and Wicked Loving Lies...how you warped my idea of romance at an early age...) and Kathleen E. Woodiwiss (The Flame and the Flower, The Wolf and the Dove), et al.
I was a bathroom reader (I like baths, what can I say?) and always had at least one, sometimes two, books waiting for me on the top of the toilet tank. Stephen King's The Shining and Woodiwiss's Shanna, for instance, was a typical combo. Lisa (and our mom) would try to read some of romances, but generally didn't much further than 'his throbbing WHAT?' before stopping. Although Mom did read all of Shanna amidst much giggling over the hero's perpetually bare chest and cut-off breeches.
My point here is I read a ton of historical romances (and Regency romances, Harlequins, and...yes...EVEN Barbara Cartland, whose propensity for having her heroines...speak with...frequent...pauses... was rather like the dialogue equivalent of a strobe light) and, like many females, was quite taken with the idea of a handsome, ruthless, yet eventually loving and devoted man, who would swordfight, ride horses, and clasp me to him in a ruthless, yet impossible to resist embrace.
Use that term now at your peril. I used it on a well-known romance reader/writer chat forum and was promptly ripped (heh) a new one. I apologized, pled shoddy upbringing, and slunk away to lick my wounds (drink a glass of wine) off line. The incident, while bringing me up to date on what you don't call historical romances, also inspired me. I'd been trying to think of another title for what was then called Passion's Purple Prose, my (then) current WIP for Ravenous, about a female Walter Mitty type, obsessed with vintage romances and more interested in her fantasies than the real world. Ripping the Bodice just seemed...well, perfect. And so you have it.
There's more to the RtB background...but I'll save it for my next post. I'm about to piss Zin (my muse) off and get back to work on the non-fiction project, due a week from Sunday. In the meantime, if you enjoy humor and a bit of satire mixed with a loving homage with your erotic romance, I hope you'll give Ripping the Bodice a try!
Tags: ripping the bodice | bodice rippers | rosemary rogers | kathleen E. woodiwiss | harelequin romance | regency romance | barbara cartland
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