Posted by Jo Robertson Apr 30 2008, 4:01 am in Euphemisms, Jo Robertson
by Jo Robertson
Warning: The following material may be inappropriate for some readers.
Last night I crawled into bed beside Dr. Big. I was finishing up Deanna Raybourne’s Victorian mystery SILENT IN THE SANCTUARY, and closing in on the denouement, when I heard muttering to the side of me.
I ignored it. Raybourne’s a fabulous author and I did SO want to find out if Nicholas Brisbane would kiss Lady Julia Gray again, so far the extent of their physical engagement.
More muttering to my right, but now the words began to penetrate my consciousness.
What you say? Flying balls and stiff shafts?
There’s not a romance writer in the world who will fail to identify with my curiosity at the tenor of those words – flying balls and stiff shafts? What other meaning could be attached to them but a bit of naughtiness?
“What are you talking about?” I asked, dragging my eyes from the printed form of Nicholas Brisbane.
Dr. Big waved a giant golf magazine in front of me. “My golf game, what else? A golfer’s most important tools are flying balls – gotta get loft and trajectory, but not too much or the ball will . . .”
At this point my eyes glazed over. “Hmmm,” I murmured noncommitally. I gave up Nicholas Brisbane for THIS?
“And of course the shaft of both the woods and the irons,” intoned Dr. Big, “must be hard, stiff, solid, not too flexible. Otherwise the . . . ”
He slanted a sly look at me. “What did you think I meant?”
What did I THINK he meant?
Am I not a romance writer? Obviously, there’s only one answer to that.
The conversation got me to thinking. Would the mind of a normal person (by that, insert – a non-romance writer) flit precisely to the same place as mine did?
That idea led to euphemisms and YES, that’s my topic. We writers talk about purple prose and unrealistic and ridiculous stand-ins for body parts and functions, but what do we really mean? Should we call a spade a spade – er, a shaft a shaft?
Before I was a mother, my delightful nephew Bryan had an accident in which his tiny penis had a serious confrontation with the toilet seat. Said toilet seat assaulted the poor boy and, honestly, it’s a wonder the kid ever got potty-trained. Three-year-old Bryan raced screaming into the living room where his mother and I were talking. “I hurt my wee-wee tickler,” he bawled.
Wee-wee tickler? Good grief, was my sister actually going to let her child call his penis a wee-wee tickler?
But I now realize there’s a place for such ridiculous euphemisms. The first time I used the word “penis” in front of my father-in-law, he had an apoplectic fit and stomped out of the room, muttering something about bad language. Hmm, I’d rather thought the word was simply . . . anatomically correct.
The other day my five-year-old granddaughter flashed me a sad little look. “Grammy Jo,” she said, “my vagina hurts.”
“Oh, really?” I tried very hard not to laugh.
She nodded theatrically. “I didn’t wipe the right way,” she confided. “Now I have an infection.”
Her younger brother has his own troubled story to tell. At the tender age of three, he raided his father’s nightstand drawer looking for the candy stash. Apparently the little blue pill looks like . . . candy.
Now a stiff shaft on a three-year old is not a pretty sight. Poor little guy complained about his penis hurting all day. After the poison-control hotline lady stopping laughing, she assured Max’s mother that the sensation would subside in a few hours. I was proud of Max. He never once spoke of shafts or wee-wee ticklers. “Mom, my penis is too big,” he said. “It hurts. A lot.”
Fighting the euphemism battle is a difficult task for parents. Even when we use the medical terminology for body parts and functions, children are like dirty little sponges. They soak up whatever “potty” word is going around at the moment.
It is an uphill and, I suspect, losing battle.
Wee-wee tickler is beginning to sound better all the time.
What about you? Do you shudder when a romance writer uses a silly, demeaning term for a body part or function? Any funny experiences with your own children? Are you sick of that purple prose or do you prefer the euphemism to the harsh glare of reality?
Posted by Anna Campbell Apr 29 2008, 4:30 am in Anna Campbell, Jane Porter, Odd Mom Out, RITA
by Anna Campbell I first met the fabulous Jane Porter at Romance Writers of Australia’s 2003 conference. She was our keynote speaker and I was blown away by how smart, sincere and perceptive she was. Since then I’ve become addicted to her stories. If you want an honest, compelling, passionate read, I can’t recommend her writing highly enough. And it seems this year’s RITA judges agree with me as ODD MOM OUT is a finalist in the Novel with Strong Romantic Elements category. Congratulations on the RITA nomination, Jane! I have trouble keeping up with everything you do! You’re amazing.
Posted by Suzanne Ferrell Apr 28 2008, 8:00 am in Erotica, firefighters, Jo Davis, Suzanne Welsh, Tracy Bernstein, vampires
interview by Suzanne Welsh In this industry many times you meet people through connections or friends. Today’s guest, Tracy Bernstein, comes to us through a conversation I had with my dear friend, Jo Davis. Jo’s debut book of her sexy firefighter series, Trial By Fire, will be released in August by New American Library (NAL). While we were munching away on southwestern spring rolls at a favorite restaurant and discussing PR for her book and the Romance Bandit blog, Jo kindly offered to approach Tracy, her editor, about blogging with us. I was thrilled and jumped at the chance to
Posted by Susan Sey Apr 27 2008, 4:12 am in home improvement, perspective, Susan Seyfarth
by Susan Seyfarth Every year when we get our tax refund, we tackle a house project. It’s a long standing tradition, & since we have an endless list of Highly Desirable Home Improvements, I imagine it’ll stand for years to come. But this year was special. This year we finally replaced our kitchen floor. Happy, happy day. I have hated my kitchen floor with a virulent passion ever since I first laid eyes on it ten years ago. It was yellow & white linoleum with a fake brick print & 30 years of dirt ground into every stinkin’ crack &
Posted by Nancy Northcott Apr 26 2008, 4:30 am in Banditas, Gap period
a group effort No, this isn’t about banditas endorsing a retail chain. Not this time, anyway. This is a visit with the banditas who’ve sold their books but haven’t yet had the joy of seeing them released. Participating banditas are Trish Milburn, Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy, Kate Carlisle, Beth Andrews, and Jeanne Adams, whose books are coming to a store near you! How long is the gap between the day you sold your book and the day of its release? TM: I sold on July 24, 2007, and my first book will come out Sept. 9, 2008. However, the
Posted by Kate Carlisle Apr 25 2008, 5:51 am in Uncategorized
I recently crawled out from the depths of the deadline cave and am proud to say I met my very first deadline as a published author. Yay! But ever since I sent the book to my editor, I’ve been thinking about adding chapter titles. I like them. My book is the first in a new mystery series featuring a rare book restorer, and I’m thinking I’d like to start each chapter with a quote from the book she’s working on. Personally, I love to read books in which each chapter begins with some tidbit of fun. A quote, a song
Posted by Guest Apr 24 2008, 10:52 am in Uncategorized
by KJ Howe American Title finalists from several years in Pittsburgh: (left to right) Janice Lynn, Lindsey Brookes, Michele Ann Young, Jenny Gardiner, Judi Fennel, Raz Steel, Trish Milburn, KJ Howe The theme on the Bandits this week seems to be conferences. While many professional organizations have conventions where attendees fall asleep in industry-related panels, romance writers are guaranteed a good time when they meet up with fellow fans, writers, and publishing professionals. RT is the perfect example. Unless you’ve experienced one of these extravaganzas, it’s hard to describe. Picture cover models sweet-talking soccer moms, Fabio strutting through the lobby
Posted by Donna MacMeans Apr 23 2008, 4:40 am in Uncategorized
by Donna MacMeansI’ve just returned from Pittsburgh, PA – the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Steelers, and the 2008 Romantic Times (RT) Convention. This was my first time attending RT (Yes, I was an RT virgin) but I wanted to share the experience with you. The RT convention is primarily for romance readers, so it’s fun, fun, fun. I’m talking lots of free books, fun romantic fantasy events, and opportunities for readers to meet and interact with writers. I started out my first day with a trip to the goody room, where attendees were invited to select an armload
Posted by Anna Sugden Apr 22 2008, 4:30 am in Anna Sugden, Earth Day
by Anna Sugden It’s a beautiful spring day — the sun is shining, the birds are singing and squirrels and chipmunks scamper (at least they will until my cats go outside). The sky is bright blue with white wispy clouds. The trees and bushes, which only last week were winter-bare, have exploded in a profusion of leaves and flowers. The air is fresh; summer’s humidity hasn’t set in yet. A perfect Earth Day. Is it too much to hope that future generations — our children’s children and beyond — will be able to enjoy the Earth as much as we
Posted by Caren Crane Apr 21 2008, 4:01 am in Caren Crane, guest blogger, Jennie Lucas
by Caren Crane Trees dressed in red and gold climbed the foothills of the Appalachian mountains and descended in glorious splendor to the terminus of the Appalachian Trail: Amicalola Falls, Georgia. From the Piedmont of North Carolina and the foothills of the Rockies in Idaho, two starry-eyed Maggie finalists descended upon the Moonlight and Magnolias retreat center, with hopeful hearts and steely ambition. The two met, bonded and became fast friends when one whispered to the other at the awards ceremony, “We don’t have to win. All we have to do is make third place and we’ll have our names