Art Following Life or Life following Art?

A reader’s perspective on reality (TV that is).

As I mentioned last month Maggie is running with a slightly revised 2019 version of Lesbian Book Bingo. She doesn’t have a website but does have a Facebook page and the community looks to be all in again to support this year’s challenge. You can find more information at Maggie’s Lesbian Book Bingo 2019.

This past week saw Valentine’s Day come and go. Not a day that we really go out of our way to celebrate, this year probably in part because we were busy shoveling our way out of the most recent snowstorm. I initially thought that books about being snowed in/stranded would be a timely theme for this month’s blog given we’re up to around 10 feet since its early arrival here in October, but, changed my mind (again). This happens regularly in the weeks leading up to this blog so if you have a topic you’d like to read about here and related books I can recommend, just let me know in the comments section. You’d be doing me a favour, really.

Earlier this week during a conversation with my mom we commiserated about the fact that we were both psyching ourselves up to call our local cable (internet, home phone and cellular service too) provider. In my area we have two major providers and every couple of years most of us have to get up the courage to make “that call” you know, to renegotiate your discounted rates that have now expired and your new rates are double or triple the amount you were paying: the rates that new customers automatically get and loyal decades long customers have to call and fight for? My mom was lamenting the fact she had lost a couple of channels that she now realizes she watched regularly and by the way, “Who in the world would pay $5.99 (plus tax) per month for a 24/7 Reality Show Channel?” Who indeed? Feel free to share why you watch or don’t watch – no judging here.

That said, I’ve never been a big fan of reality shows. I watched one season of Amazing Race back in its early days and couldn’t take the stress of watching my favourites suffer through all the trials and tribulations. Yep, that was me yelling at the screen, “No, not that haystack again!!!” Despite this, a few weeks ago I accidentally came upon the first episode of America’s Got Talent: The Champions and was hooked – just like that – the PVR was programmed for the rest of the series. This week saw us binge viewing the rest of the episodes. BTW just saying, I could kiss whoever invented the fast forward function. Although this AGT binge is a one-off I realize that I have quite enjoyed some of the reality TV show based lesfic novels I have read. Perhaps it’s because I could better identify with the participants, or I don’t have to commit to an entire season, or even the played down drama or voyeuristic component in these novels but they were fun to read. Three (well four to be technical) that quickly come to mind are loosely based on the bachelor/bachelorette shows.

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Queen of Hearts (2018) is the most recent release from Canadian author Sheryl Wright who has a couple of wonderful series already under her belt. This novel is an enjoyable lighter read than I’ve seen from Wright but she’s done some neat things with the format. It is set in Toronto and she has us enter the world of a woman-centric lesbian bachelorette production that despite hitting some snags along the way ends in “ a wrap”.

The Final Rose (2016) is by Eliza Lentzski a talented indie writer who also has a couple of 51P1gX-TRcL.jpgseries and standalone novels to her credit. The Final Rose is a slow burn romance set within a bachelor reality show production. Nokomis Reed finds herself one of twenty contestants thanks to her mother a devoted fan of the show. Lentzski does a good job to set the stage and provide enough background to allow me to get well and truly into the story. Along the way we are given details that felt realistic with some really fun characters. What happens when it is another contestant and not the bachelor that Nokomis finds herself falling for? And, if this sounds familiar, you have a couple of cases of life following art as this actually happened in Australia and more recently Asia.

51ISPRMT6IL.jpgKelly is also an indie writer on my watch list that has released a wide variety of books. I’m pretty sure that the Q stands for quirky and I mean that in the nicest way possible – I suspect that there is something for everyone in her backlist. Kelly puts her toe into the reality TV show waters with Reality Lesbian (2013) and its follow-up Reality Lesbian 2 (2015). In the first book we follow “straight” Lucy Marshall who ends up on a lesbian dating show as she discovers well, maybe she isn’t so straight after all and how do you move forward when you have deceived everyone from the start? Kelly introduces some interesting twists to this story and it can certainly be considered a slow burn compared to some of her other works. In Reality Lesbian 2 we follow one of the original contestants and the producer – again some storylines or twists with interesting characters.

There are a number of other reality TV show based lesfic books – do you have a favourite you want to share?

 Oh, and just in case you were wondering, today is National Do A Grouch A Favour Day.

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5 comments

  1. Hey Danielle, thanks for the kind words on Queen of Hearts. I had fun writing it but I promise I’ll soon deliver some meatier stuff. Are you ready for Las Vegas? My next book, Cause and Affection is on the way. Sheryl

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    • Hi Sheryl, I look forward to your next release. Vegas is one of my favourite places to visit and I use it as my starting point for most of my travels on that side of the country. You won’t remember me, we met at one of the recent GCLS conferences. Perhaps again in Pittsburgh, it would be fun to chat about the book.

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  2. I wish I could post a picture of our winter weather, but I don’t want to be that mean!
    I think my favorite reality TV show take-off is Castaway by Blayne Cooper and Ryan Daly. The first line of the blurb reads: Where “Survivor” meets “Gilligan’s Island” in the “The Twilight Zone.” There were LOTS of laughs in this one!!

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    • Thanks for the small mercies. But at least it is sunny here right now.

      I’d forgotten about Castaway (it really was a hoot) probably because its a “real” book and not on my kindle. I did a binge read of Blayne Cooper’s backlist and had to search for a paperback – even paid for shipping lol. Worth the trouble though.

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