El on Adventure: Visiting The Ripped Bodice

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I am traveling over the next two weeks on a very nerdy (and very book-filled) adventure, so I figured I’ll drop in from time-to-time with some fun pictures and stories!

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Big News and Exciting Changes for JLR!

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I’ve been teasing some big news over on Twitter lately, but had to delay while I was on vacation… so here it goes!

I’ve been running Just Love Romance solo since I started it more than ten months ago, and have loved the experience. And while I’ve gotten some jabs for “reading too much”, I haven’t felt any stress about maintaining such a regular posting schedule on my own.

But JLR has grown, and I’m incredibly proud of everything that I’ve managed to achieve. So here’s the first big change:

I’m bringing on some additional reviewers!

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Please welcome our first new reviewer: DMac! She’s a long time sports fan who has broad reading interests that can only be explained by looking at her goodreads account. Her favorite romance novels involve sports and/or people who snark at each other.

seeking-reviewersI’m also seeking more reviewers to come on. Interested? Shoot me a message through my contact page! I’m looking for people to commit to at least 4 reviews per month (more is fine!), and please include a link to sample Goodreads, Amazon, or blog reviews that you’ve written.

And that brings me to the big news:

I’ve signed a contract to publish a novel in early 2017 through Riptide Publishing!

I’ve always loved reading and writing queer romances, and publishing with Riptide is a dream come true. I can’t wait to share these stories with the world! This is the first in a four book series, and will be an M/M romance. The other books in the series are still in talks, so I can’t say much; Book 2 is an F/F asexual romance, Book 3 will be F/F, and Book 4 will be M/M.

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I won’t be talking about my books here, as I want to keep reviewing and writing separate. Instead, you can follow book news over on my author twitter (@ElyseSpringer) for more info.

So what does that mean for JLR? Right now, nothing. I’ll continue to be the lead reviewer and blogger here, and will continue to bring you honest reviews and news on upcoming releases. I’ll also be attending RT Convention in two weeks as a blogger, so I’ll be reporting back on that!

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But as my writing amps up, I do anticipate needing to step back a bit. I’m not giving up on JLR; this blog is so important to me, and I’m so proud of what I’ve achieved here. But I’m also excited to be bringing in new voices and opinions, and hopefully to keep expanding JLR to more and more readers.

So that’s all for now!

Why We Need Asexual Romances

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I’ve been thinking lately about asexual romances, and having asexual characters in fiction. After writing about the discrimination that the asexual community faces, and the reactions from allosexual people when they encounter a fictional ace character, I realized something:

Asexual romances are necessary. In fact, they’re essential to maintain the balance in romance genre.

No, wait, hear me out. You’re thinking, “But I don’t want to read a book about two friends who don’t do anything for 250 pages. That sounds boring!”

But not only does that thought process slight the asexual community… there may already be more asexual characters and romances than you know about.

There are two reasons we need asexual characters and relationships in our books.

1. Human sexuality is a spectrum. The romance genre is, for the most part, centered on the spectrum, in the range of ‘average sexual attraction’ for a ‘typical’ relationship. But there are erotica novels. Lots of them, in fact. Books with only sex, and no plot. Books that are textual porn. Books with sex addicts and promiscuity galore. So we should have books on the opposite end of the spectrum as well, right?

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2. The romance genre is defined by a few very specific things. Per the RWA (one of the preeminent authorities on romance, I’d say), a romance novel must contain two things: “a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.” (Source). And many asexual people are capable of both of those things.

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Happy New Year 2016!

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Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year, filled with warmth, joy, and all the amazing books you can dream of!

2015 was an interesting year for me, filled with some fantastic high points. While I did struggle professionally, I also made some amazing friends and was fortunate enough to discover book blogging, which became one of the highlights of my year! So, thank you to my fellow book bloggers who were so welcoming and friendly… you’re all amazing, and I can’t wait to see what the new year brings you!

2015-achievements

I started blogging earlier this year because I was reading so much. It became a way to process the books I read, and to connect with the authors and publishers that I love and respect.

In 2015 I read:

  • 315 books (not including re-reads)
  • 84,000 pages
  • First book of the year: Ball & Chain by Abigail Roux
  • Last book of the year: Rock N Soul by Lauren Sattersby (out Jan. 18, 2016)

While I didn’t start blogging until May (and didn’t get serious about it until August), I think I did really well on the blogging front this year as well. I managed to blog consistently, and to keep up with my reviews as I read.

 

2016-goals

I have a lot of hopes and dreams for 2016. After years of contracting for the US Government overseas and traveling the world, I’m hoping to move to NYC and finally get a job in publishing like I’ve always dreamed. So here are my New Years Resolutions:

  • Read at least 200 books. (I’m not sure I can hope for 300+ again, since a job like my previous one is unlikely to fall in my lap.)
  • Buy a house with a spare room for a library.
  • Travel, always. I’ll be going to Japan, London, and RT Booklovers in Las Vegas.
  • Live a life with no regrets. Don’t look back at the end of the year and feel bad because you skipped over an opportunity.
  • Get a job I enjoy. Sounds easy, right? I suspect this will be the hardest one…

Wishing everyone a safe, warm, and very Happy New Year! I hope all of your resolutions and dreams come true!

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The Mythical Unicorn of LGBTQIA Novels (Or, the A doesn’t stand for Ally.)

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I read a book last week that made the breath catch in my throat, made me pause and re-read a dialogue exchange once, twice, and then punch the air and shout “YES AWESOME!” That book was Part & Parcel by Abigail Roux. The scene that affected me so strongly was this one:

“Are you asexual?” Kelly asked carefully.

“That mean I don’t really like having sex?” Digger asked, and Kelly shrugged and nodded. “Then I guess so.”

I’ve discussed this a few times previously here on my blog. I am asexual. I am part of the approximately 1% of the world that is*. Think about that. 1% of the entire world is ace. That’s more than 70 million people. By comparison, only about 2% of the male population in the world identifies as gay. And yet there are thousands of books with gay romantic pairings, and only a handful with ace romantic pairings.

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* It’s entirely possible that this number is much higher.

Look, asexuality is a real thing. There are literally tens of millions of people out there who identify as ace (or gray-ace, or demi, etc). So… where are the books about asexual characters?

And more importantly: why are people so upset whenever an asexual character is written?

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Redefining BDSM Romance

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Romance sub-genres, and the BDSM sub-genre in particular. I’ve read several fantastic novels in the last few months that are categorized by publishers and booksellers as BDSM, but I’m starting to realize that the term is not one-size-fits-all when it comes to romance novels.

So I’m going to ramble on for a bit about how I define BDSM romances. Possibly this is something that no one else will care about. Possibly many people will tell me that I’m wrong. Maybe someone else will agree with me. But this is a topic that matters to me, and affects how I read and process romance novels, so I really want to get my thoughts out.

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Top Ten Tuesday: What I’m Thankful For

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Thanksgiving is very much an American (and Canadian!) holiday, but the entire concept of being thankful, and spending the day with family, friends, and good food, is something we can all relate to.

I’m thankful for a lot this year. Mostly, I’m thankful that I’ll be moving home, after years overseas, next month.

But keeping with the blog theme, here are a few bookish things that I’m thankful for this November (in no particular order):

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