Booksquare Has a Harlequin-Themed Temper Tantrum

February 1st, 2006 · 3 Comments
by Booksquare

Though we do not have time to check our archives (in fact, we are not entirely sure where we keep our archives, though something tells us they’re in that place we’re supposed to “clean out”), we believe we have volunteered to sit down with the brass at Harlequin and offer our free advice. We believe we have made this offer no less than one million times. Do we get a call? No.

And what happens? Well, let us suggest that there has been an unholy alliance between the romance publisher and NASCAR. We’ll give you a moment to absorb that.

Done? Great. Here’s the deal: car racing is apparently a fascinating sport. We have fond memories of indulging during our childhood, once we were tall enough to drive on the Autorama (and this height thing took far longer than one would expect). We understand that a lot of women enjoy either attending the races or watching them on TV. But we do not understand how any publisher in their right mind can think that a series of stories devoted to NASCAR is a good idea.

The first offspring of this new union, a racetrack romance entitled In the Groove by Pamela Britton, goes on sale Tuesday — just a few weeks before the Daytona 500 on Feb. 19. Two other NASCAR-themed love stories will be published this year: On the Edge by Britton in September and A NASCAR Holiday by Kimberly Raye, Roxanne St. Claire and Debra Webb in November. At least 17 more, by various authors, are planned for 2007.

We are sorry to report this. Very sorry. Because, and we must be brutal here, there is very little variety one can introduce into what we believe (and math is not something we do in public) will be 20 books (or 22 stories, if we have our anthology-counting right) about love and NASCAR. That is too many. It is gimmicky and silly and why can’t at least five of those drivers really be baseball players?

Such is our mood that we’re not even going to be nice to the poor person who wrote the article. First off, there’s either the most blatant cribbing of cover copy we’ve ever read or the mooniest book description we’ve ever read. Then comes the final two paragraphs, which we note because they make no sense — this is the result of throwing something out there without a follow-up. Always have a follow-up. We don’t care that sometimes editors chop off the ending. Our limited patience has reached the end.

And then there are the closet romantics.

“We always felt we have male readers who say they don’t read our romance novels — but they do,” Harlequin’s Stout says.

File Under: Publishers and Editors

3 responses so far ↓

  • Brenda Coulter // Feb 1, 2006 at 6:27 pm

    I’m impressed, Booksquare. I was waiting for you to go after the cheap laugh by commenting on racy romances, but you kept to the high road.

  • Booksquare // Feb 1, 2006 at 6:42 pm

    Only because I ran out of gas…

    And, no, there is no way I can keep up a game of puns. I do not have the requisite genetic material. Plus I take my car very seriously.

  • David Thayer // Feb 2, 2006 at 9:07 am

    Will there will be a General Lee tie-in? I mean the car of course. Anything else might be distasteful.