024. Body Image in Romance Novels with Kennedy Ryan and Esme Brett

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.


023. Katrina Jackson: Communication, Polyamory + Financial Conversations

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.


022. Thirsty by Mia Hopkins with Tif Marcelo

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).


021. Secret Baby in Romance with Kini Allen

Jan 31, 2020

Minisode! Kini Allen and I talk about the secret baby trope in romance novels, I share all the ones I forgot I had read, and then she shares some favorites. Then, listeners weigh in on the trope and I make the case for representing other reproductive choices in romance. This episode may not be for everyone. Content Warning: We talk about unintended pregnancy in the course of this episode, and in the outro I talk about contraception, abortion, and miscarriage in romance novels.


020. Denise Williams on Teaching Romance Novels

Jan 28, 2020

Denise Williams (Golden Heart Finalist, author of forthcoming How to Fail at Flirting) and I discuss the class she’s co-teaching called “Moving Past Bodice Ripping Toward Shredding the Patriarchy: Romance Novels as Tools for Justice.” We discuss her work in student affairs and diversity training, how to fail at naming your debut novel, and how to silence your inner critic. Also: are the kids these days less snobby about romance novels than previous generations? Is romance an inherently feminist genre? Denise will be back in a future episode to discuss Teach Me by Olivia Dade and Cinnamon Roll heroes.


019. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas with Penny Reid

Jan 21, 2020

Penny Reid (Knitting in the City Series, Winston Brothers) and I discuss A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. It’s a dark fairy tale that blends Beauty and the Beast, the Hades/Persephone myth, and the Hunger Games. In addition to asking the deep existential questions - At what cost freedom? Freedom at what cost?! - we talk about how your first love isn’t always your last love, YA, and how there’s strength in being a marshmallow. Penny will be back in a future episode to discuss her new publishing venture, Smarty Pants Romance.


018. Kennedy Ryan: The RITAs and Breaking Through

Jan 17, 2020

Kennedy Ryan, best-selling romance author, responds to this listener question: "How do you feel about the recent troubles at the RWA in light of being a RITA award winner and a woman of color?" (Question via Karelia Stetz-Waters on Twitter)


017. An Unconditional Freedom by Alyssa Cole with Katrina Jackson

Jan 14, 2020

Katrina Jackson, erotic romance author by night, historian by day, joins the podcast. We read An Unconditional Freedom by Alyssa Cole, about reluctant spy partners working to bring down the Confederacy in the Civil War. Katrina shares her thoughts from her own research into love as an integral part of radical Black politics, the definition of “diaspora” and “interwar,” as well as all sorts of things you probably didn’t learn in history class. CW: We talk about the treatment of enslaved people in the Civil War, including a character’s PTSD as a result of being enslaved. This character has suicidal ideation.


016: Sanctuary by Rebekah Weatherspoon with Norma Perez-Hernandez

Jan 7, 2020

Norma Perez-Hernandez, an assistant editor at romance publisher Kensington, warms my heart as we talk about working in publishing, how rom coms are returning to the city, and how people of color pursuing a career in publishing experience systemic inequality. Our Romance Worth Reading is Sanctuary by Rebekah Weatherspoon, which is part of the Beards and Bondage series. We discuss recovery, hating your job, sweet dogs, delicious romance tropes, and how this book is both like and very much NOT like a Hallmark movie.


015. Listener Favorites Read in 2019 with B. And Her Books

Dec 31, 2019

2019 is the Year of the Ginger Beard! “Best Of” lists are extremely subjective, so leaning into the idea that “best” is really a personal measure, I proudly present the Superlatives Episode. My guest, Romancelandia Librarian B., joins me to share listener’s favorite romances and their very personal reasons for why these books were the best reads of the year. The only requirement was that they READ the book in 2019. Games. New Exciting Sound Effects. A Printable Reading List you can download if you sign up for the newsletter list. We are ending 2019 with a bang.