New title: Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

lainey

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I just finished Marriage of Convenience by Anne Gracie and I loved it!
I have to agree with Scottie, that the first part of the book dragged a little, it wasn't as stirring as the Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley, BUT I think the ending was way, way better and my heart felt like it was positively beaming with joy during the last few pages.
Onto the next book in the series :lkj:
 

Doug

Padawan Learner
Well I just finished book three, "What a Duke Dares" of the Son of Sin series by Anna Campbell. I'm not much of a speed reader and have been quite busy lately however for me at least I've read this series quite fast! I've certainly enjoyed reading them and have now twice stayed awake super late to get to finish the happy endings not wanting to be left in the middle of emotional turmoil. At this point I very much look forward to reading them when I come home late from work as I find they make an excellent nightcap.

In terms of 'Imagining a new reality' I've noticed some changes in myself since reading the series. First, I'm just enjoying life a bit more and perhaps even a lot more. I find myself laughing at the absurdities in the world that used to make me depressed. I think these books are genuinely assisting in the process of emotionally distancing myself from some of the inevitabilities of the world that I have no control over. Secondly, I would say that my sexual energy has changed positively as well. It seems as though my sexual energy has become less frantic, anxious, self-centered and distant and in turn has become more wholesome perhaps? It's like I genuinely and actively think about engaging in a loving relationship rather than cynically listening to the noise in my head that screams, "never in this lifetime... the world is to cruel and stupid..." so on and so forth with rational explanations as to why love doesn't exist in this reality.

Anyway, if in 4d we get to 'create our own reality' if we know how or something like that I'd very much like to learn how to manifest one of these lovely ladies from the books!
 

Neil

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
Yeah, it's not so difficult to just highlight the center of your post and "spoilify" it.
Otherwise, we're gonna start calling you The Despoiling Duke!
:lol:
I thought I had addressed this issue when I wrote...
I can see why people wouldn't like like my review of Seven Nights. It was my first book and on the whole it really didn't do anything for me, quite honestly, and I felt I needed to do a blow by blow description of it to salvage some value out of the time that I invested in it. It was a pretty spoiler heavy review. Since that one, I have adopted a more generalized approach, only addressing the specifics which really moved me or stuck in my craw. I have tried to keep the details limited exclusively to what I want to discuss and stay vague on the various intrigues that move things from A to B. The format I have adopted opens with my overall impression, then proceeds to a plot summary and my reactions to various points, with the next to last paragraph being my general emotional reactions irrespective of specific events in the books, and the last paragraph sort of wraps everything up and discusses where I'm going next. Given how I interweave my reactions into the plot summary, I would basically have to block out the entire main body of my posts, at least the third and fourth paragraphs in the last one for example, as I'm not going to go through word by word and try to parse what one person might consider to be a spoiler and what might be generalized enough to not be considered a spoiler. My suggestion to readers who want to go into a story totally "virgin" is to only read the first and the last paragraphs of any reviews I write. That way you will know what I've read and my overall impression of it, and if you want to come back at a later date and compare how what you got out of it relates to what I got out of it, it will be there for you to do so.

I personally took her post as a bit of a facetious or sarcastic statement. "You mean he emphatically proclaims his undying love to her in some dramatic, romantically stimulating way and marries her by the end of the book? Shocking! Who would've ever thought these books could end like that?"
...but asking some members to take the initiative to read and follow basic instructions is apparently asking too much. I will just hold their hand and block out everything but the first and last paragraphs. As you said, it doesn't require much extra effort and should eliminate any whining and keep everyone happy.
 

Keyhole

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
I thought I had addressed this issue when I wrote...
...but asking some members to take the initiative to read and follow basic instructions is apparently asking too much. I will just hold their hand and block out everything but the first and last paragraphs. As you said, it doesn't require much extra effort and should eliminate any whining and keep everyone happy.
I am not sure if you are aware or not, but there is an actual button which can be used to insert a "spoiler" tab.

It looks like this:

1600351384426.png


And in-text, it would appear:
Like this

And the inline spoilers looks like this.

It is really not much effort at all to do that, and if it avoids unintentionally ruining the pleasure and curiosity of others who are reading these books, it is only fair to do so!
 

Turgon

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
...but asking some members to take the initiative to read and follow basic instructions is apparently asking too much. I will just hold their hand and block out everything but the first and last paragraphs. As you said, it doesn't require much extra effort and should eliminate any whining and keep everyone happy.

You mean, like when it’s asked of members to add in a spoiler alert in the way it’s been used a number of times on this thread? :whistle:
 

Chu

Administrator
Administrator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
...but asking some members to take the initiative to read and follow basic instructions is apparently asking too much. I will just hold their hand and block out everything but the first and last paragraphs. As you said, it doesn't require much extra effort and should eliminate any whining and keep everyone happy.

A bit over the top, don't you think? Nobody is whining. I know that you are taking this exercise seriously, and that's good, but the way you gave "instructions" for reading your reviews sounds a bit as if you think that all people have to do is read your reviews because they are the most awesome ones, or something. If each of us did that and made requests of our own for people to "follow basic instructions", it wouldn't be very practical/considerate. Especially when writing long posts. It's not "holding people's hand", it's actually more clear that way, for those who are actually interested in reading your take on the books, and having the choice to read the spoilers or not.

That said, having read your review, allow me to recommend that you read the Marriage of Convenience series. :love: You may get something different from those.
 

Anthony

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Maybe it might be useful to think of this reading experiment as a sort of exercise, in that it doesn't really matter whether we subjectively like the plot, the characters, or if there are some cliches, inconsistencies, nonsense and so on. Like with a physical exercise, it isn't exactly supposed to be pleasant, but designed to produce a certain effect. I think it's easy to get lost in the plot and start behaving like literary critics and whatnot, though a certain degree of it is obviously welcome. Besides, from what I've noticed in myself, the effect that this literature produces is largely subtle, almost like it's doing something on a subconscious level. I've recently copied a few of Laura's post about this reading project just to remind myself what the aim is, and what to look out for when reading:

Remember, it's not so much about the story itself, as what the story DOES TO YOU
in the process of being told. It's all symbolic.

****

- certain values and principles and ethics are conveyed rather strongly, utilizing the "bait" of a bit of titillation.
[This literature] attracts readers in specific ways - emotional energy and creative/sexual energy is being heightened.

****

- But mainly, what interests me is the potential for arousing and
transmuting energies especially at a time when it appears that emotions
have gone "hyperkinetic" all over the world. How best to combat that?

****

My thought was that, if I am right and these books are as good as I think they are in terms of
heightening and focusing emotional and creative energy, they just might be effective for
focusing that energy on creating a new reality during this very specific and frightening
time. While one has to be very careful with sexual energies, they can also be utilized
along with emotional energy to focus on values and principles that are positive.
God knows, they are being used in negative ways every day with porn and violence.

****

One hint I will give at this point is this: the books are designed to
stir up the sex center; to engage some emotional suffering (Cs said suffering
can modify DNA and that might be even more the case with some sexual energy
fuelling the process); and then bring the two (sex center, emotional center energy)
up into the heart/mind with appropriate resolution toward true love, giving, devotion, etc.

****

[This reading experiment is an] effort to generate the emotions that might help to create a conduit of transformative energy.

****


You are not just re-wiring yourself, you are learning some darned good
psychology and a LOT about internal and external considering.

****

it can quite possibly transmute lower emotions to higher ones.

****

You are supposed to be affected on those levels [sexual and emotional] and let the story take you to the higher level.

****

just keep reading and full-bore enjoying and see what happens.

****

that inner voice, the inner parent or whatever you want to call it,
can ruin a person's life. And then, there are the false
personalities! Hoo boy! On full display! What's beautiful,
as you say, is the transformation process, how the individuals
come face to face with their false personalities and vanquish them,
or how they are healed from the negative introjects by both their
own efforts and by the love of another.

****

Mary Balogh does one heck of a job of going through the mental processes of the main characters,
exposing their internal considering in graphic detail and showing how, gradually, they are
brought to more objective perspectives.

****

people getting over themselves for the sake of others.
And they do so in spite of just agonizing internal considering!

****

In any event, there are processes in the body that produce substances and one of the main one is
sexual arousal - especially if it is prolonged and not discharged.
Discharge is not forbidden, but each individual is different
 

Jefferson

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
Maybe it might be useful to think of this reading experiment as a sort of exercise, in that it doesn't really matter whether we subjectively like the plot, the characters, or if there are some cliches, inconsistencies, nonsense and so on. Like with a physical exercise, it isn't exactly supposed to be pleasant, but designed to produce a certain effect. I think it's easy to get lost in the plot and start behaving like literary critics and whatnot, though a certain degree of it is obviously welcome. Besides, from what I've noticed in myself, the effect that this literature produces is largely subtle, almost like it's doing something on a subconscious level. I've recently copied a few of Laura's post about this reading project just to remind myself what the aim is, and what to look out for when reading:

Thank you Anthony for articulating this as it sums up what I've been thinking when reading some of the posts here. When some of the sub/unconscious processes are activated, it is difficult to find words to express what is going on, as there is something deeper to these stories, deep in the substrate of the plots, settings, themes, characters and particularly the interactions between the characters - something symbolical, allegorical, and metaphorical is going on that I myself have trouble articulating.

For one, I've specifically tried to stop intellectualizing the stories in terms of a book reviewer's analysis (partly as my average brain power doesn't do it justice), and also keep myself from anticipating potential endings. Sure, connections are made with the tons of readings and concepts this Forum has covered, but this time I take the emotional state caused by the reading to 'feel through' what is going on - not easy to describe as this is new to me, and I'll leave it there so as to not begin making a word salad.

However, I have not forced myself to 'get to the happy ending' either. I will stop reading during the emotional turmoil to just feel it, let it sink in for some time or overnight, until I get back to reading the next evening, trying not to just-finish-the-book (kind of letting the 'vagus nerve do its work' in an emotional context).

At this rate it will take quite a bit of time to read many of these, but I don't feel rushed or anything, just enjoying the beauty and the positive emotional state these books are conjuring in me. :-)
 

Neil

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
A bit over the top, don't you think? Nobody is whining.
This is why I generally keep emotion out of my posts and stay generally aloof. Since my emotions are somewhat heightened at the moment, I was unable to keep them separated from the matter at hand, keeping in mind that this is a research forum, and my feelings are irrelevant unless directly related to the topic. The emoji that Mrs. Peel used connotes anger, so I interpreted her post in a tone of shouting or complaining. I wondered why she was angry, as I considered my plot summaries very superficial except for the first one, while also spending a fair amount of time addressing the concerns of people who did not agree with that assessment and what I planned to do about it. That post sat for several days and lots of people read it, and there didn't seem to be a problem with it. Suddenly the same issue comes up again with the same person, and I concluded that she never bothered with what I wrote and just wanted to "nag," which I found rather irritating. "Why did I even bother," I thought, hence my rather barbed response. This is all emotional thinking that is not related to the facts of the matter.

I thought that my "spoiler warning" was sufficient but it has been brought to my attention that obviously it's not. The facts of the matter in my mind when I wrote the previous post were this:
It's not so difficult to follow basic instructions,
It's not so difficult to use the spoiler function,
Due to the nature of this exchange, the spoiler function has greater utility,
Therefore I will use the spoiler function.
It's simple, and I will ensure that my emotions stay in their place in the future. I'm not spending any more energy on this tempest in a teapot.
That said, having read your review, allow me to recommend that you read the Marriage of Convenience series. :love: You may get something different from those.
Yes, I planned to read that some time before Huxtable Quintet.
Maybe it might be useful to think of this reading experiment as a sort of exercise, in that it doesn't really matter whether we subjectively like the plot, the characters, or if there are some cliches, inconsistencies, nonsense and so on. Like with a physical exercise, it isn't exactly supposed to be pleasant, but designed to produce a certain effect. I think it's easy to get lost in the plot and start behaving like literary critics and whatnot, though a certain degree of it is obviously welcome. Besides, from what I've noticed in myself, the effect that this literature produces is largely subtle, almost like it's doing something on a subconscious level. I've recently copied a few of Laura's post about this reading project just to remind myself what the aim is, and what to look out for when reading:
I've thought about this too, but my point about this is that there has to be a certain degree of "literary excellence" for me to stay interested and for it to not become drudgery. For me to enter positive dissociation, I have to at least somewhat like the book. I came up with a grading scale for this to place the books in general categories, but obviously it will vary a bit from person to person. I've considered not writing any reviews unless one really knocks my socks off, and taking a more holistic approach when I get to the end of the books I've selected. While I had initially planned to wait awhile and see how the thread evolves, this is probably what I'm going to do.
 

ryu

Jedi
FOTCM Member
I finished "the wicked deeds of Daniel Mackenzie" from Jennifer Ashley and wow! This was the best so far IMO. I even thought, while I was at work "if I ever have a son, I'll just un plug the wifi one day and give him that book to read. The kid will thank me later".

Like others said, these books are shameless in destroying absolutly everything about post-modernism, and really, young men and women would probably have it much easier if 1) they saw their elders behaving like this. 2) if they came familiar with those male and female heros archetypes throught all forms of art (tales, theater, songs, films etc...).

That book left me wondering how we could better nurture our youngs, how we could help heal those of us who are wounded by life, while respecting their free will, how to be just instead of judgemental, how to be compassionate instead of pity the others. It even made me think that I'd like to be a mother one day, which is new to me. I don't have a partner or the means to raise a child, and with the World going nuts, it's hard to imagine having a baby. But those thoughts gave me a warm feeling. As a result I was a bit in the clouds these last days.

This book is a joy to read, especially if one is sick and tired of hearing that men are useless and women perpertual victims. For example,

Daniel has been raised by his father who risked his life to protect him from his wife who tried to torture and kill her own flesh and blood . Before that, he endured beatings and sexual abuse at her hands, because he refused to abandon his son. Violet's mother on the other hand was perfectly okay with the Idea of sacrificing her daughter and then run away while her child endured the consequences of her actions. Many predators in the story are women😈

Violet and Daniel were both wounded by their parents, or parental figures (Jacobi) people they love and/or admired. As the story progress, you see them come to term with what happened and see their parents as people, individuals with strenghts and weaknesses. By seeing this, they free themselves and take responsability for their lives.(Violet more than Daniel. Daniel had pretty much come to terms with it.)

Another point where the book nails it is the portrayal of PTSD and how it can be healed through love.
Violet had been sold to pay the debts of her husband-to-be, brutally raped, fell pregnant as a result and miscarried while on stage.
what is touching is that Daniel never belittles her by treating her like a broken thing or take advantage of her.

They also both embody archetypes. Daniel embodies the knight (obviously😁) who defends and protects his beloved.

Violet, despite her trade, embodies the pure maiden (she does what she does out of necessity, she's doesn't revel in it).

Regarding sexuality, I think there is also an archetype for men and women that goes throught those types of books. It took me a while to see it as more than a "romance trope".

There's a saying " a woman's love is shown when her man has nothing. A man's love, when he has everything".
There's a polygamous aspect to male sexuality and a hypergamous side to female sexuality. Those stories show men who are wealthy, handsome and powerful for a reason: they have all of what triggers that hypergamous side in women, and as a consequence, they have no shortage of potential lovers. The fact that they are able to stay faithful to their beloved is a badge of worth, a sign that they are in control of their sexuality.

For women, their worth is shown throught the story, when they show some backbone in the face of adversity in order to protect their lover, when they show that they love the other's real self, and not just some idealized version. That's how they show their worth.

Men ( and women) behaving with love and respect are so rare. All the while reading this story, I thought, what a beautiful world we could have if we could treat each other like this.
 

Mrs. Peel

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
This is why I generally keep emotion out of my posts and stay generally aloof. Since my emotions are somewhat heightened at the moment, I was unable to keep them separated from the matter at hand, keeping in mind that this is a research forum, and my feelings are irrelevant unless directly related to the topic. The emoji that Mrs. Peel used connotes anger, so I interpreted her post in a tone of shouting or complaining. I wondered why she was angry, as I considered my plot summaries very superficial except for the first one,

Yeah, the reason I was annoyed was because it's been asked before to please use the spoiler function. As for "plot summaries" in general, do we need them? Won't we find out the plot when we read the book for ourselves? Even if you are only giving a"superficial" summary, it can ruin it for somebody who wants to read the book fresh, without knowing anything about the plot. If you want to quote specific parts of the plot and explain how they made you feel, or what you've learned from them, that's fine, just use the spoiler function.

Thank you.
 
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Ageeva

Jedi
This may be a more suitable post for the dream thread but I can't help feeling my experience was connected to my reading of, and connecting with, the recommended romantic fiction. I had just finished the third book in the 'Sons of Sin' series, 'What a Duke dares' by Anna Campbell. My reading is a bit slow, mainly because I'm trying to fit it in after other recommended book and thread reading and working on other posts. But I am finding some time for it because I can see it's 'opening' up some things for me in an emotional way.
Anyway, about the dream. As I wrote I'd just finished 'What a Duke Dares' and was really emotionally engaged with one protagonist's letting go and been able to finally overcome his/her buffer and admitting how he/she really felt. (won't give any spoilers away as I did in my first post, apologies for that but thanks to forum members I know how to cover spoilers now)
After I finished I spent some minutes thinking about it, went to bed, meditated and turned off the light. My crystals had arrived a few days earlier (thanks to Chu and ladies at the Chateau!) and my dream stone was under the pillow.
What a beautiful dream I had! It was quite simple. I was with the person I was totally in love with, as she was with me. We were just looking at each other and naturally smiling and totally enjoying each other's presence. Nothing at all physical was happening. I just had this overwhelming feeling of been unequivocally in love with my soulmate and she was reciprocating that feeling. The energy between us was balanced, giving and receiving in equal measure. That was it: pure love and presence. Never had a dream like this before. Any other intense dream I had about relationships usually involved physical passion but none of that was present in this dream. I'm still thinking about this dream days after.
 

genero81

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
I also tend to agree, 'Romance Novel' book reviews is not really the purpose of this exercise. (And that's not meant as a jab at anyone just my opinion) We're not writing cliff notes here, we're attempting to engage the centers to creatively imagine a non pathological reality where genuine human love and principled behavior are the predominant driving forces. And to share our personal experiences as we shake off the pathological influences we've all been subjected to. And to hopefully get some real higher center activation going within ourselves. That's my interpretation, at least.

I just finished 'The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie' I was supposed to be reading another book for an upcoming meetup but dang it! I wanted to read that one instead! Not to worry, I will get the other read in time :whistle: These books are not a chore to read! And I've also done the after work late night reading thing as well, and I agree it makes a nice night cap.

So I will start the Huxtable Quintet Series and come back to the Mackenzie series later.
 
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