Sunday, August 12, 2018

Yes, Yes Nanette!


(This ran yesterday on RomanceDailyNews.com, but I wanted it to be searchable, so I'm putting it here too.  You should ALL read it).

Everyone is talking about the Nanette comedy special by Tasmanian lesbian comedian Hannah Gadsby, which quietly landed on Netflix about two weeks ago and has been getting the kind of buzz I can only remember for 50 Shades.  “Have you seen Nanette?  What do you think?”

Now you may already be asking yourself, “What the hell does this have to do with romance?” and you’d be surfacely justified, but in this age of #MeToo and TimesUp, everything in the life of contemporary women has to do with romance, or the total lack thereof.  And it’s time we, as romance readers, start connecting the dots (as Hannah Gadsby does brilliantly in this performance).

So, back to Nanette. This made headlines because the comedian said she was doing this comedy special to announce that she was leaving comedy, and then, to her surprise, the powerful, gut-retching and side-splitting performance she gave was so timely and honest that it literally launched an international career that she could never have imagined. So, of course, she is not quitting comedy (there’s your HEA).

Ok, so, if you haven’t seen this special (and maybe even if you have) let me tell you why it’s so perfectly zeitgeisty.

We have grown accustomed to female comedians doing their shticks about dating, marriage, children, shopping, their bodies, each other, men, etc.  We expect the humor to be self-deprecating.  If there’s any anger at all, it is usually aimed at ourselves, or society, or the patriarchy. And women on stage usually don’t get very angry because we have been told a thousand times that angry women aren’t fun or funny.

So here comes Hannah, a bordering on middle-age out lesbian who makes it clear to us that she doesn’t care what we think of how she looks because she’s spent the whole of her life not fitting in as a girl, as a woman, as a comedian, and even, sometimes, as a lesbian. We’ve laughed a few times because we’re trying to get to know her, and she’s being so incredibly forthright that we think we know where this is going… and then she just completely takes us elsewhere…a place we weren’t even thinking we would go on a comedy special.

And she does it so eloquently with a lesson from art history featuring Van Gogh and Picasso (and I have an art history degree, so this really got me where I live).

And where she takes us is to her teenage rape, but she does not dwell there.  She dares us to see her as so many men over the centuries have seen her and most women they encounter as objects for their pleasure telling us about 50-odd year-old Picasso’s bon mot about how his 17 year old lover was at her prime, as was he.  And Hannah then double dog dares us to see her for who she really is – a middle aged out Tasmanian lesbian – who is only now in her prime.
And then she utters this line (you will quote forever), "There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who's rebuilt herself."

Just so powerful.

There has never been another comedy performance like it.

I hope it sets the bar.

Now, go watch that special again. Grab some friends and watch it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Romance Daily News Launches!


Romance Daily News, a New York-based daily online magazine for romance readers, has launched today. Romance Daily News will give the more than 30 million romance readers throughout the world the latest news on their favorite genre, as well as customized bestseller lists and free eBook downloads through the site’s exclusive partnership with Smashwords, the world's largest distributor of indie eBooks.

Romance Daily News will give readers a daily dose of romance in media such as books, films, TV, and theater, as well as lifestyle topics like fashion, travel, food & drink, relationships, and romance in art, history, gaming, sex, politics, and science.  The new online magazine’s unique features include:
·       An exclusive Membership Program that entitles romance readers to receive every day a free romance eBook powered by Smashwords.  The regular annual rate of $14.99 will be discounted through October 31st for Smashwords members to $9.99 for the first year.  In addition, the first 90 free Book of the Day giveaways include some of the biggest names in romance including NY Times and USA Today bestsellers Natasha Preston, RL Mathewson and Evangeline Anderson. Each eBook is accompanied by a Q&A interview with the author.
·       Multiple exclusive bestseller lists from Smashwords. Romance Daily News will feature nine dynamic bestseller lists, with a different list appearing each day and some alternating week-to-week.  Romance Daily News will feature book reviews, interviews, and sample chapters of books.
·       New original columns such This Day in Romance, an editorial cartoon by Last Kiss artist John Lustig, and articles by editors, agents, librarians, book sellers, etc.
·       Horoscopes by Sephera Giron, a noted metaphysical author of the bestselling book House Magic

Romance Daily News Publisher and Editorial Director, Lori Perkins is a published author, book editor and literary agent with three decades experience in publishing newspapers and books. She was the owner and publisher of The Uptown Weekly News in Manhattan’s Washington Heights and Inwood in the 80’s, as well as an adjunct professor of journalism at NYU. She has written or edited 30 books, most of which are in the romance genre.

An online magazine partnering with a book delivery platform to offer lovers of romance a free book every day is a game changer,” said Publisher Lori Perkins. “Our data partnership with Smashwords allows our subscribers to enjoy curated content that matches what readers are buying and reading.”

”We’re thrilled to partner with Romance Daily News for this multi-faceted partnership,” said Mark Coker, founder and CEO of Smashwords. “For Smashwords authors and publishers, this is an exciting opportunity to reach new readers.  For romance readers, it’s an opportunity to discover and enjoy an amazing diversity of high-quality, curated romance.”

For more romance, please visit RomanceDailyNew.com.  Any inquiries can be directed to info@romancedailynews.com

Thursday, February 8, 2018

50 Shades of Bland

So I went to a press screening of Fifty Shades Freed, the third installment in the Fifty Shades erotic romance saga last night with my movie reviewer friend.  It's been our pre-Valentine's Day date  for the past three years.

Now maybe it's that we've had a year of living in Trumpland and that's just dulled our reactions to everything, or that it was a cold and rainy night, or that anything to do with BDSM has become yesterday's thrill, but that movie was just tepid.  Sure, I got a few nice shots of Jamie Dornan's well proportioned ass, and there were multiple visits to the red room of pain, even one that involved glimpses of stainless steel butt plugs, but it was spectacularly forgettable, as was the music, and the acting by so many really amazing cast members (why did they even bother to hire Marsha Gay Harden and Rita Ora).

And they know it because before we get to the end credits there's actually a montage of the greatest hits form the previous movies set to a remix of the theme song from the first movie to remind you that this was once something that anyone cared about, or that millions of women throughout the world were obsessed with.

It was like a bad Hallmark movie, or the last installment of one of those made-for-TV movies from the late 70's and 80's where something that should have been two hours is stretched out to six.

The one truly amusing part of the film for me was the portrayal of Ana's publishing job.  There are manuscripts piled high on her desk (we ALL read digitally now - that is so 1990's).  The first novel she's acquired has a print run order of 200,000 (also so 1990's). But, hey, I have to remember that this is fantasy!

But I am glad I saw it.  I'm a completest that way.

If you're a real sucker for the this kind of thing, I hear some of the Alamo Draft houses are offering a Fifty Shades three-movie marathon tonight (my local one in Yonkers starts at 6:00.)  Enjoy!


Monday, April 17, 2017

Please Welcome New Agent, Ben Grange


(New York, NY – April 17. 2017) The L. Perkins Agency is thrilled to announce that Ben Grange, formerly the assistant at the JABerwocky Literary Agency, has joined the Agency where he will be representing authors of both fiction and some nonfiction.

Before joining the L. Perkins Agency, Grange had a varied publishing experience.  He was a publishing intern at a small publisher in Salt Lake City, Utah, and then completed internships at three literary agencies before his most recent position as the assistant at JABberwocky.

At the L. Perkins Agency, he will be representing middle grade fiction of all types, and is particularly on the lookout for exceptional author-illustrators who write middle grade or young adult. Grange has a penchant for young adult science fiction and fantasy, particularly weird or slightly dark stories (à la The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater). He loves epic fantasy and science fiction, and although his focus is on middle grade and young adult, he won't say no to a great fantasy or sci-fi. He is also interested in pop culture nonfiction for authors with established platforms.

  “I'm thrilled to take this next step in my journey as an agent, and can't wait to roll up my sleeves and get to work. There are big things happening in children's fiction right now, and I'm glad I get to be a part of it."

Said Agency founder and President, Lori Perkins, “We are excited to have Ben join the team, as his interests compliment those of the existing six agents.  This is going to be  wonderful expansion of the agency’s place in the publishing industry.”

About the Agency
Founded in 1987 by Lori Perkins, a former newspaper publisher and editor, the L. Perkins Agency specializes in many different genres with seven agents representing approximately 100 authors to the publishing industry. The agency also has agents in many foreign territories and works with an established film/television agency to maximize exposure for our clients. The L. Perkins Agency’s seven acquiring agents have a diverse range of tastes and are currently looking for material in a wide spectrum of genres and subjects. Lperkinsagency.com

Friday, February 10, 2017

50 Shades Darker: Exactly What You Want for Valentine's Day

I was lucky enough to go to screening, since I edited Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey (still a really good book in case you still have questions about why this novel series took the world by storm (https://www.amazon.com/Fifty-Writers-Shades-Grey-ebook/dp/B00A6D5C2C/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1486711611&sr=1-1&keywords=fifty+writers+on+fifty+shades+of+grey).  I was honestly a little trepedacious about the second film, because I knew the original director had been fired, and there was talk about a distinct lack of chemistry between Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan.  And all sorts of meddling by EL James.

But the movie is good in the way that Lindt chocolates and Nora Roberts novels are good - consistent pleasure givers, not necessarily the best you've ever had, but delightful nonetheless.

The movie holds no surprises.  It follows the plot of the second novel in the series to a T, right down to the Ben Wa balls and the lemon martini thrown in Mrs. Robinson's face (one of my favorite scenes in both the book and the novel).  And Kim Basinger as Mrs. Robinson is worth the price of admission alone.

And because I knew what was coming and what to expect, I could focus on other things that delighted me like the fact that Christian Grey owns an Edvard Munch Vampire painting which he hangs in his bedroom (it's a female vampire) or that the publishing talk in the movie is definitely a fantasy.

So if you loved or liked the books, ignore the bad reviews (because there are many of them), and go.

Personally, I am looking forward to the third installment, so I can binge watch the movies together.