1) oddly specific erotic novel
2) Cringey And Concerning Cop Sentiment
3) a literal wall of funko pops of the creepy doll from toy story 4 and no one else?? these have all been here for months
4) a creature exercising dangerously and fabulously
from savers in las vegas NV
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I think Fabio is the single biggest figure of the 1990s in need of re-evaluation.
The biggest misconception people have about the community surrounding romance novels in the 1990s, is that people were unironically into Fabio. Romance novel readers were always savvier and more ironic and smartassed and “in on the joke” than people realized or gave them credit for being. Romance readers thought of Fabio with the same affection that Generation X has for Gary Coleman, or how comic book fans have for Adam West: a strange mixture of ironic appreciation and sincere delight for his cheeseball ways and campy goofball antics.
To be clear, Romance novel fans were “in on the joke” with Fabio in a way the greater culture didn’t realize, and they were, for the most part, pretending that Fabio, this Italian demigod who was 6’3” but who nonetheless acted and sounded like Tommy Wiseau, was the most handsome man in the world and the ultimate lover.
Whenever Fabio made the news for things like ramming into a duck at full speed on the inaugural ride of a roller coaster surrounded by women dressed as Greek goddesses (yes, this happened), the Romance novel fanzines treated it with a near avuncular “hey guys, guess what our favorite goof uncle is up to, now.” Likewise, the response to the “Fabio-written” novels was very much like the response to those KFC-promotion novels where Colonel Sanders is a stud lover, more like a “ha ha, can you believe this is a thing?”
The Adam West comparison to Fabio is especially good because it shows how appreciation can sometimes be this weird mixture of sincere and ironic. Adam West’s antics made me groan sometimes, but I’m sorry to say I never met him, and if I did, I would shake his hand. I laugh at Adam West, but I like him. Other people in this weird zone would probably include Shatner and David Hasselhoff. Adam West is my hero, and someone I chuckle at affectionately simultaneously (the Batman the Animated Series episode guest starring the Grey Ghost played by Adam West, where Batman said “I used to watch you with my father, you were my hero. And you still are” brings me to manly tears).
The comparison between Adam West and Fabio gets stronger when you consider that a lot of romance novel fans who were deeply insecure about their hobby (all the girls in black who read romance novels, in other words), hated Fabio with disproportionate and unearned intensity and were embarrassed he was the symbol of this entire genre, the same way the more insecure and pseudo-intellectual comic fans get mad at the 1960s Batman show.
Another person I would compare Fabio to would be Brendan Fraser, who is a big goof but who ladies are unironically thirsty for because he’s gorgeous and brawny, and the fact he’s a beautiful cornball is actually a part of the appeal. Again, the taste for Fabio was a mix of ironic and sincere, to the point you no longer know which end is up. Yeah, I said that romance novel readers were in on the joke and people didn’t “really” think he was a God of Love or the World’s Greatest Lover, but nonetheless, there was lots of thirst for Fabio, because a lot of girls, fully aware of his cheesiness, thought his muscles and long hair were cool, and being his girl would actually be neat and probably a lot of fun…though you’d have to hold back a laugh when he’s on the bed with a rose between his teeth, that bizarre version of human sexuality.
The story of Fabio is actually kind of interesting. Fabio did the Steve Holland or Lynde route and modeled for covers, and not all of them were romance, incidentally. He was Tarzan a bunch of times, and Casca, the Eternal Warrior, too. Eventually, he posed for a few hundred before Romance Times, in 1990, did an inquiry on who the heck this ubiquitous cover model was. The person who discovered her was superfan Kathryn Falk, essentially the Bjo Trimble of romance novels, and who founded the first Romance Novel conventions in 1982.
(That reminds me, one of these days, I have to write about Romance Novel conventions because it is far far more insane than it looks.)
Fabio, by all accounts, was not the symbol for love and romance the world over, cooing love poetry in his Wiseau accent. He had that role thrust upon him when the Romance Times analysis put him in the limelight, and like a good pro wrestler, now lives his gimmick entirely in kayfabe, but at the time he became known, his publicist had to keep secret he was dating Shoshanna Lonstein, who was…shall we say…well, well under 18. If her name sounds familiar, it’s because she dated the 50 year old Jerry Seinfeld at 19. His publicist threatened to blackmail Fabio with this in the early days of his career if he didn’t play ball. Whether the stories about Fabio by his manager are true or not (or if the Lonstein story is true - there was an insane story in his manager’s book about Fabio trying to defraud the Cuban government that is so weird, I doubt its credibility), nearly everyone agrees that pre-discovery, Fabio was kind of a fuckboy.
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Fantasy romance readers be like
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You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit.
- Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
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You’ll pry my historical romance novels from my cold, dead hands.
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10 Factors of Healthy Relationships
If you’re familiar with my account, you’ll know I talk a lot about toxic relationships in literature, but what, on the flipside, constitutes a healthy relationship?
Trust - If A says they’re going to hang out with friends, B should not be ‘checking up on them’ or demanding texts while they’re away. Jealousy isn’t cute.
Honesty - But, of course, trust needs to be earned. This is with honesty. Lying to protect someone is still lying and that is not a good foundation for a loving relationship.
Independence - In a healthy relationship, both parties have the freedom to do things on their own. Co-dependent situations, even ones built on love, are not healthy.
Respect - “I won’t let you do that” --> “I respect you and trust your judgement.” Even if A doesn’t like B’s decision, they should have enough respect for one another to discuss the decision until both parties understand one another.
Communication - If you want to discuss decisions you’re going to need good communication. Arguments don’t need to be screamed in a “passionate rage” for things to be said with emotion and heart. Yes people get emotional, but that is not the time to discuss important things.
Equality - Power imbalances can lead to toxicity. If both parties have mutual respect and understanding for one another, this can be avoided, but the 200 year old immortal x the 18 year old girl is a little weird don’t you think? What’s next, 90 year old mortals and 15 year old boy?
Empathy - When arguing, both A and B should be able to empathise with the other. If that means A shelving their agenda so that you can hear B out and then deal with their side later, that’s a healthy approach.
Taking Accountability - Even people in healthy relationships do unhealthy things sometimes. What matters is they take responsibility for it and give meaningful apologies, not grad gifts when they already have a billion dollar trust find.
Comfort - Both A and B should feel comfortable around each other. When they’re reunited after a long day or time apart, they will feel at ease by being around one another, not on edge and fearing an argument.
Fun - Healthy relationships are fun! A&B will have so many in jokes that end in laughing fits. They have things that they love to do together, things that they both love to do. Not A forcing B to watch the notebook on repeat.
So there you have it, 10 things that make a relationship healthy.
Links to my posts on toxic relationships are below:
Romance with Toxic Undertones
Stop Romanticising Toxic Relationship Red Flags #1
Stop Romanticising Toxic Relationship Red Flags #2
[If reposting to Instagram please tag @isabellestonebooks]
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We read to know we're not alone.
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The queen defends her library.
(Said library is currently relocated to the floor due to painting. We apologise for any inconvenience.)
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found in various thrift shops in Idyllwild
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Slashing Your Word Count
A guide for over-writers.
So there I was, sitting in front of my 120,000 word YA Fantasy manuscript having a breakdown. Why? you ask. Well, because I want to be traditionally published and no one will buy a YA debut that long.
Why not? This answer would a post on its own. Or a 24 minute video. Luckily Alexa Donne has already done that work and you can watch it here.
Now I’m going to summarise all the advice I was given that had lead to me doing a brutally cut down draft in two sections, the big cuts, macro level, and the small cuts, micro level.
Micro Level Cuts
Reduce each description by 1 or 2 words - @coffee_loving_artist
Reduce dialogue. Single spoken words can carry more emotional weight than elongated lines.
Cut down on dialogue and action tags. If it’s clear who is speaking, don’t use anything! - @parisandherbooks
Cut repeated sentences. It’s not as dramatic as you think it is.
Simplify convoluted sentences - @jade_d_brown
Cut words like very, quite, sort of, kind of, it was, there was, that, now, then, suddenly and any crutch words you have - @just.a_simple_writer
Change passive language - @laurenkayzles
Macro Level Cuts
Chop off the beginning and the end of long scenes.
Cut info dumps
Never get lost in internal monologue. Keep it to a small para at most.
Cut fluff scenes - @teen_writing_101 & @cakeyboy
It doesn’t take 1000 words to make a small point – condense it!!
Cut unnecessary dialogue or chit chat
Merge scenes that feel repetitive
Cut the prologue
Cut the epilogue
(Remember that those can go back in after your book has been bought)
If you’re desperate, delete a POV - @thewritingfirebird
Ask your Beta’s which subplots/characters could go - @howwhyandsowhat
[If reposting to instagram please credit @isabellestonebooks]
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If I am what I have and if what I have is lost, who then am I? Nobody but a defeated, deflated, pathetic testimony to a wrong way of living.
- Erich Fromm, To Have or to Be? The Nature of the Psyche
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a progressively smuttier lineup of romance novels from 2nd and Charles
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"I care more to be loved. I want to be loved."
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♫ two friends, on a perfect day ♫
I know all my things are lowkey shippy, but- Them being friends first and foremost is the most important thing to me.
Could this be one year in their relationship? Like. Looking at this chronologically I didn't plan it that way, but now...
I feel like this could be its own story of Jaskier, finally telling Geralt that he's in love with him and Geralt... turning him down.
It isn't that he isn't reciprocating but. Jaskier deserves someone gentle and kind and happy, and he is not. And he doesn't know how to change, how to fix this, and he fears that might be it, he destroyed their friendship-
And urghh, I have so many feelings, and I love stories where all the tension explodes between them and they fall into bed and fuck, but I am SO SOFT for the concept of them going slowly and steadily and choosing each other, and-
[FIRST] - [PREVIOUS]
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lol could never be me
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You have bewitched me body and soul.
- Pride and Prejudice (2005) dir. Joe Wright
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Don’t seat Valerius next to Nazali unless you want to host an academic forum on medical ethics.
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