My first really helpful link I got from Smart Bitches, a site that writes very critical reviews of romance novels. This was one of the first sites I stumbled upon that gave me a sort of vindication... here was a site that was not afraid to give a book a really bad review. Here was a site that held romance novels to the same standards as any other type of novel. I felt like I had finally found a place, a group of people that felt the same way that I did... that just because romance novels are popular fiction didn't mean they had to be badly written.
For a long time I lurked, and then was lured into commenting. And then my second break happened. In reference to a Romance Writers Association award, SBTB linked to Teach Me Tonight, a blog about scholarship on romance novels!!! Really, things just don't get better than that.
So, following a variety of links, these are some of the websites that I found helpful:
The RWA's Academic Research Grant Homepage, where they list the past recipients. I'm definitely looking these people up to see what else they've written.