Smut Reporting, The Duke Project

In Which We Discuss the Similarities Between Dukes and Spider-Man

You know the line. It’s been repeated so many times, in so many reboots and memes and jokes about rice: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Spiderman’s mantra is so cliché, but it also points to a central component of our cultural understanding of what it means to Be A Man. 

Let’s start by talking about how Spider-Man gets to this point. (Thanks to my husband for talking through Spider-Man’s origin story with me in excruciating detail.) He is bitten by a radioactive spider, which results in him being able to climb walls and other spider-y abilities. This is the power, which he spontaneously gets without much effort. And what does he do with it initially? He climbs walls for funsies, and he uses his newfound skills to make money. He wants to impress Mary Jane, or be cool, or just goof off. In the throes of his self-indulgent stage, he lets a criminal go, because catching him is inconvenient, and plus, he’s feeling a bit petty – and that criminal goes on to murder his beloved Uncle Ben. Uncle Ben had given him a lecture on power and responsibility just recently, but it took a personal tragedy for Spider-Man to decide that he is personally responsible for making the world better – because he has the power to do so – and to start fighting crime. 

So what does this have to do with dukes? Well, I’m glad you asked.

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Smut Reporting

Reading Realism in Romance: The Question of Genre

This post has been percolating in my mind for months now, ever since this year’s RITAs were announced, and there was tremendous backlash about the lack of recognition for authors of color (for a good overview about the controversy, see Jessica Pryde’s write up for Book Riot). In response to list of winners (and the fact that many romances by authors of color were docked points for being “unrealistic”), author Courtney Milan tweeted the following:

If you’ve been following The Duke Project, then you’re probably aware that we’re trying to figure out that whole Duke obsession that Romancelandia has. Why ARE there 20,000 dukes in romance novels? But to the broader point of what is “realistic” in fiction, I figured I’d dust off my academic hat and talk about defining “realism” more specifically. What does it actually mean to say that something is realistic?

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Smut Reporting, The Duke Project

Dukes and Their Moms; Or, What the Romantic Heroine Will Become in Forty Years

A few weeks ago, we talked a little bit about Dukes’ Dads, and how a duke’s relationship with his father could potentially be a source of angst, as the young duke assumes the mantle of responsibility that comes with the title.

However, while the Senior Duke may cast a long shadow, he rarely appears as a walking, talking character. The Dowager Duchess, on the other hand, frequently appears in Duke stories, ready to meddle in his love life, for good or, more commonly, for ill.

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Smut Reporting

Why we read old books

In Internet World – especially the weird section that we inhabit called The Blogosphere – it’s all about the new. New things are **shiny** and **exciting.** And we definitely feel that! We were super excited when we got approved for our first book on NetGalley, because it meant that we got to read the new, shiny, exciting stuff too. We had made it!

Even as we jump into this world, however, we also want to keep reading and reviewing and promoting older books. And not just the truly Old School romances (so we can see how far we’ve come), even though they’re fun, but also books that were written five or ten years ago. Books that we are just now discovering at the library or at book sales, or old favorites that we just want to share with all of our delightful readers. Or even oldies that stuck with us that we want to try on again now that we’re older and wiser to see if they really were that special.

Because here’s the thing – the publishing world right now is a weird place, and some troubling trends are at work making it harder to make a living as an author. (Not that it was ever easy, let’s be real here.)

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