- Mar 24, 2020
Charish Reid (author: Hearts on Hold: A Librarian Romance) is my guest, and we talk about why we should stop shitting on majoring in English and ah-ha! moments in teaching. The Romance Worth Reading (™) that we discuss is White Whiskey Bargain by Jodie Slaughter. Discussed: Low-angst romance, marriages of convenience, just once bed, owning land as the American dream. Plus: female leadership in a male-dominated field, people of color in Appalachia, and mutual self love.
- Mar 18, 2020
Romance novelist Emma Barry is my guest, and we read A Seditious Affair by KJ Charles. This male/male Regency romance features a cross-class romance that gets us discussing if there is an element of coercion in most cross-class romances. Plus, does this book end with a happily ever after, or just a happily for now? What is “ever after” anyway? What is permanence? It’s possible I had an existential crisis in the middle of recording this one, but thank goodness I had Professor Emma Barry to guide me through this discussion. We talk about how academics are intellectual colonizers, plus how one of the best oral sex scenes saved Emma from the trauma of the ‘90s, and I ask the question: Is it bad to read escapist trash?
- Mar 16, 2020
Tonight’s theme is KINK and my guests are Katrina Jackson, Katee Robert, and Karelia Stetz-Waters. Decameron Quarantine Romance Book Club: part 1 of a 10-episode mini-series of short, casual conversations with romance experts, who are here to spread the joy of romance novels so that we can all stay home and NOT spread the Coronavirus. Stay safe, stay calm, and keep reading romance.
- Mar 10, 2020
Longing, Connection, and Friendship as Foundational to Romance Kennedy Ryan is back to discuss Emergency Contact by Mary HK Choi, a book that LJ Shen (lovingly) forced Kennedy to read. It’s the story of two lonely protagonists who become obsessed with contact and their love story is about friendship, trust, and understanding as the foundation for a relationship. We also talk about meeting your writing heroes, Kennedy’s influences and her nomination for the romance canon, and why love is a hazard to your health. Plus, a cameo from Penny Reid. Also, did you know that tonight on March 9, 2020 it is the beginning of Purim? Whether you celebrate this holiday or not, you’re going to love this enemies to lovers rom-com Write This Book from Hannah Hearts Romance at the end of this episode.
- Mar 3, 2020
Talia Hibbert, best-selling author of romance novels like Get a Life, Chloe Brown, and Work For It, joins me to talk about how Disney’s 1998 film Mulan explores genderqueer themes, Talia shares her nomination for the romance canon, and we discuss how Therese Beharrie is a master of the condensed timeline, as explored in her sweet Harlequin romance: Island Fling with the Tycoon. Also, if you enjoy Derek Craven, puns and romance novels, you’re going to love a special surprise at the end of this episode involving my favorite Tweet Artist, Ash Dylan.
- Feb 25, 2020
Is power a pie that once eaten, disappears? What’s the opposite of toxic masculinity? And, most importantly, what is a cinnamon roll hero and why are they all the rage right now in romantic fiction? Denise Williams (How to Fail at Flirting) is back to discuss Teach Me by Olivia Dade, which is about two very passionate, mature, and respectful high school history teachers. It's a super hot romance between an emotionally-distant ice queen heroine and a cinnamon roll hero. Also: Preview of the April 2020 NECRWA Conference with Sionna Fox, and what options local RWA chapters are considering in the wake of the national chapter's massive failure to address racism and lack of diversity.
- Feb 18, 2020
Tamara Lush (romance writer and AP journalist) and I discuss Wattpad and Radish, where you can find serialized fiction by writers and for readers that are international, young, and diverse. We also talk about pacing yourself as a writer and what’s troubling Tamara about indie publishing. The text we discuss today is a Wattpad story called The Love Riots by Delhi Belly, aka Noora Zaroon. This cross-genre story reminds us of the bonkbusters novels by Sidney Sheldon or Danielle Steel, and tells a gritty and sometimes uncomfortable story about a toxic inter-religious Romeo + Juliet relationship between a Hindu woman and a Muslim man in India. While this story explores a relationship, it is NOT a romance novel, and the ending is definitely not emotionally satisfying. We also discuss issues of dubious consent within the story.
- Feb 14, 2020
An exploration of weight loss and body image themes in romance novels. First, I talk to Kennedy Ryan, RITA-award winning author of Long Shot, as well as Block Shot, which we talk about in this episode. Then, I share a related clip from a previous episode with Esme Brett when we discussed plus-size representation in Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean, plus some ways in which fat women are treated differently in the world.
- Feb 11, 2020
Katrina Jackson, erotic romance author by night, historian by day, joins the podcast once again to talk about polyamory in romance novels, how these relationships challenge genre conventions, and how communication is key in ALL relationships. We also discuss how happily for now is more like real life, and about why combining or discussing finances as a couple can be full of conflict - and how we’d like to see more romances that explore these issues. You can also hear Katrina on episode 17 in which we discuss An Unconditional Freedom by Alyssa Cole, about reluctant spy partners working to bring down the Confederacy in the Civil War.
- Feb 4, 2020
Tif Marcelo (romance & women’s fiction author writing joyful stories of Filipino relationships without the oppression) and I read Thirsty by Mia Hopkins. This sexy contemporary explores outcasts, anti heroes, and forgiveness. We also discuss communities, how communities aren’t always what they seem to outsiders, and the personal calculus one makes about wanting to continue belonging to a community - when do you stay, and when is it time to go? This Episode is sponsored by Owner of a Broken Heart by Cheris Hodges (Kensington Books).