Now *That's* Kinky--veinglory

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


I am pretty blase about genre. If you want to write fiction about fetishistic mudwrestling with aliens who look like a cross between a My Little Pony and Priapus: more power to you. If you want to write PG Little Home on the Prairie fanfiction: that's fine too. But there are some things that can still manage to boggle my mind.

And Harlequin's Inspirational line guidelines (for Steeple Hill books) fall into that category.

For example, I find it truly hard to imagine a world (post turn of the last century) where the waltz is forbidden as "“sexy” dancing". And what is with the inverted commas? The directive is clearly not meant ironically.

Add to that a list of forbidden words that includes dagnabbit, bet, for Pete's sake, gosh and "Undergarments - of any kind".

Not to mention that one is not to mention of changing clothes or being in the same house as a man overnight unchaperoned (not bed, not room... house).

Also forbidden is "playing cards"--unless "used in connection with bad guys or disapproving of them or such." ("or such"?)

Finally: "Bodily functions, like going to the bathroom, should be mentioned as little as possible and some euphemism may be necessary but we don't want to sound quaint or absurd."

No, well, of course not.

20 comments:

Nonny 9:51 PM  

And people wonder why I refuse to read "inspirationals."

Tuscan Capo 10:10 PM  

The one that screams out is the word, "bishop". Now explain that one to me -someone, PLEASE?? LOL Unless its in context of flogg'n the ole bishop, how is the word BISHOP going to corrupt, hurt or offend their virtuous readers? And gollygeewhiskers, without that word how the heck do they expect their writers to throw in a good chess game for their characters? Holy heck Jehosaphat, surely even Jerry Falwell didn't see any evil in a game of chess!

Tuscan Capo 10:22 PM  

Ah ha! You can't use the word, "priest" either. Guess that leaves out submissions from Catholics.

kirsten saell 12:16 AM  

You papists. Always complaining. Sheesh.

Oh wait, am I allowed to say "sheesh"?

megleigh 12:38 AM  

LOL! umm is this their westboro baptist line?

*eg* couldn't resist.

Erastes 5:13 AM  

It's not often something makes my jaw drop, but that list did it for me!

*stunned*

fiona glass 5:28 AM  

And this is the turn of which century, precisely? The unchaperoned bit might just about pass muster as late as the 1930s (I've just read a book set then where the heroine was floating about the hillsides on her own and it didn't ring very true) but um, gosh, a waltz? What do they make of the Charleston, for heaven's sake? :D

Angelia Sparrow 6:52 AM  

I'm guessing differently-abled gay men who find deep meaning in their paganism are RIGHT out, despite the fact it is technically an Inspirational Romance (just not a Christian one)

I couldn't even write Episcopalians or Methodists under those guidelines. Both have bishops.

They clearly want only Baptist and fundamentalists. Hence no dancing or card playing.

Angelia Sparrow 6:58 AM  

And since you can't be in the same house with a man overnight, that leaves out all modernized retellings of Ruth.

She goes to Boaz on the threshing floor and sleeps with her head on his "feet" (common euphemism for genitals) all night. He marries her the next day.

Can't retell Hosea either.
Hosea was commanded by God to marry a prostitute. He names his kids "Not my people," "Not Loved" and the Hebrew equivalent of "Pearl Harbor." His wife leaves him for a pimp. He takes care of her even while she's away and she comes back.

Can't retell any of the good Bible stories. Bummer.

Treva 7:42 AM  

Son of a bishop! (Which is part of the punchline of a very old joke that probably couldn't be told with these stories.)

Teddy Pig 9:15 AM  

I guess those Catholics are not very inspirational or historical.

K. Z. Snow 12:35 PM  

What, precisely, are these books supposed to "inspire" in readers?

"Ooo, this is so inspirational! Now I have the courage to condemn people who dance, gamble, play cards, have bodily functions, and use blasphemous exclamations like 'dagnabbit' and -- let us not forget -- 'dadgummit'." (The last, from my Floridian ex-husband; surely an oversight on the guideline-writer's part.)

Or, "Ooo, this is so inspirational! Now I can use words like shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits . . . 'cause they're not on the banned list!"

Anonymous,  2:26 PM  

Looks like the entire Song of Solomon is right out, too.

I actually know someone who writes inspirationals solely for the money. (they sell extremely well, especially since Wal-Mart stocks them). In real life, she is an atheist.

Stephani Hecht 9:23 PM  

Great, now I'm going to have to replot my whole inspirational idea. While all my bad guys were cha-cha dancing, bridge playing, bishops who love angel food cake, the hero's name was Pete Sake and heroine, Luvuv Mike. Fiddle sticks!

Angie 11:39 PM  

Wow. It's pretty clear the intention is to "inspire" only a particular subset of Protestant Christians. They might as well just list the handful of sects which dictate all this stuff and be done with it; easier if writers can be told exactly whose restrictions they're operating under and then do their own research. [wry smile]

Angie

Anonymous,  10:53 AM  

Inspirationals are aimed at Evangelical Christians, who don't consume any popular culture unless it meets their rigid standards. Non-evangelical Christians will generally read secular books, hence they don't need their own line.

And can we say fetish fiction? Yecch.

Teddy Pig 6:51 PM  

Now see, I learned something.

I always thought anything called Inspirational Romance was simply non-denominational Christian Romance.

Not something so narrowly defined as a specific sect of Fundamentalist Christian.

They really should label that better.

Anonymous,  1:25 AM  

Uh.........

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. That shit is un-fucking-real.

And nauseating in an oh-so-not good way.

And I'm with Teddy. WTF? Might as well put Catholic Inspirational need not apply at the top of the page.

Wonder if it has anything to do with Catholics could do all those *bad* things, like play cards and waltz, then go to the *title redacted* and get some penance, then absolution.

Oy.

Signed,

Not batshit crazy enough to ever read Inspirational.

Xandra Gregory 4:31 PM  

LOL! umm is this their westboro baptist line?

Maybe the Landover Baptist line and we're all having our ah...bishops pulled. ;)

Tymber Dalton 8:09 AM  

ROTFLMAO!!!!

So the characters can't visit St. Peter's square either. (Can't mention saints.) Can the story be set in St. Petersburg? How about living on Bishop Street? ROTF!

Think I could make an editor's eye twitch with that one.

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