Shelf Love

Covering Romance: John Ennis's Art & Thoughts on Fandom

Short Description

In this episode, host Andrea Martucci embarks on a journey with Dame Jodie Slaughter to the Covering Romance exhibition. The event showcases romance novel cover art by award-winning artist, John Ennis. Interviews with John Ennis and other attendees, including author Nisha Sharma, romance fan Mary Lynne Nielsen, and Fin, owner of Wolf and Kron books, a genre bookstore. Andrea purchases several pieces of cover art and reflects with Jodie on the cultural significance of fandom and passion for the genre.


genre discussions, fandom

Show Notes

In this episode, host Andrea Martucci embarks on a journey with Dame Jodie Slaughter to the Covering Romance exhibition. The event showcases romance novel cover art by award-winning artist, John Ennis. Interviews with John Ennis and other attendees, including author Nisha Sharma, romance fan Mary Lynne Nielsen, and Fin, owner of Wolf and Kron books, a genre bookstore. Andrea purchases several pieces of cover art and reflects with Jodie on the cultural significance of fandom and passion for the genre.

Fellow Traveler: Dame Jodie Slaughter, International Fandom Criticizer

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Andrea Martucci: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to Shelf Love, a podcast about romance novels and how they reflect, explore, challenge, and shape desire.

I'm your host, Andrea Martucci, and on this episode, I'm joined by a few people. However, Dame Jodie Slaughter was my traveling companion to go to Covering Romance, an exhibition and sale of romance novel cover art by John Ennis. Jodie and I traveled to the reception on Friday, February 9th.

There was like a bourbon and chocolate reception, which was the first time that this art was shown to the public. The gallery was also open this whole weekend and next weekend, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, February 16th through the 18th, 2024.

This took place at Artists of Yardley Art Center in Yardley, Pennsylvania, you might remember that I live in the greater Boston area.

So Dame Jodie Slaughter joined me on this hundreds of mile journey to go to this show Covering Romance and along the way we talked to some other people, you'll hear conversations between Jodie and I on the train before we got there, at the event, you'll hear John Ennis himself speak, and you'll also hear some interviews with some other folks who were attending the event.

And then I think Jodie and I were having a lot of thoughts about fandom, and so we also think a little bit more about what it means to be a fan, and the ways in which our society views fandom, particularly things that are perceived as being frivolous.

When I met John Ennis at the event, I asked him to sign a couple of books that I had with his cover art on it, so as I read his inscription on Touch of Fire, he said, "Dear Andrea, thank you for being a fan, John Ennis," which could not have been a more perfect inscription given the topic of this podcast.

Before we dive in, I am just going to read a little bit more about John Ennis and his work. I'm going to read this directly from the little card that I got at the event that they used to promote the event.

" Covering Romance features a collection of over 150 oil illustrations by award winning artist John Ennis, originally published as paperback romance novels.

A Bucks County native, Ennis began his first art career as a book cover illustrator in the early 1980s in New York City, specializing in cover art for romance novels. These original oil paintings are being seen for the first time after being sequestered in the artist's studio for 30 years. Celebrated for his mastery in capturing human emotions on canvas, Ennis brought these love stories to life.

His 20 year illustration career ended in the early 2000s when he moved on to establish himself as a fine artist and eventually a portrait artist. He earned numerous national awards for his figurative paintings and commissioned portraits. His work has been celebrated in galleries and private collections worldwide, and his emotive masterpieces [00:03:00] continue to inspire.

Find out more at"

And also, I have taken a very lo fi approach to this episode, and I am literally recording this into my iPhone right now. My husband has taken the trash out and was washing his hands in the sink, which maybe you just heard. My cat was pushing around a little ball that made noise.

So I hope you appreciate the charm of coming along on this journey with me and Jodie.

Hey Jodie, we're here at South Station waiting for a train to Trenton, New Jersey to go to the John Ennis gallery party thing. What are you most excited about?

Jodie Slaughter: The bourbon.

Andrea Martucci: What else?

Jodie Slaughter: The chocolate.

Andrea Martucci: What else?

Jodie Slaughter: The hotel bed. I know what you're, I know what you're goading me to say. I'm obviously most excited about just being here with you, Andrea.

I'd go anywhere with you. I'd go to hell with you, I'd go to scary, swervy Uber rides with you. I'd go anywhere.

Andrea Martucci: It was a Lyft, but I'm so sorry. I just want to know why you're excited to go to this gallery and see this art for books that you have not read.

Jodie Slaughter: Actually, genuinely, I was telling someone the other day that I was really excited to take in romance novel art. It's been a while since I've been immersed in romance fandom culture, so I'm excited to get back into that.

Andrea Martucci: That's cool. What are you gonna do on the train?

Jodie Slaughter: I guess I'm gonna work on a romance novel. Yeah, I think that's what I'll do. I mean, I'm gonna try at least.

Andrea Martucci: Ain't nothing to it but to do it.

Jodie Slaughter: I'm gonna just send that email to my editor,

Andrea Martucci: there is no try, only do.

Jodie Slaughter: You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.

Andrea Martucci: Exactly.

Jodie Slaughter: Yeah, there you go.

Andrea Martucci: Here we are on the train. Jodie, how do you like the train?

Jodie Slaughter: I mean, it's a moving. I don't know, how many miles per hour do you think we're going right now?

Andrea Martucci: Five thousand.

Jodie Slaughter: Oh my god. What's the speed of light?

Andrea Martucci: I don't know.

Jodie Slaughter: I think we're faster than the speed of light. Don't Google that because it is the truth.

Andrea Martucci: You heard it here first. Amtrak travels faster than the speed of light , especially when it's taking us closer and closer to a bunch of romance novel cover art.

Jodie Slaughter: That's true. Like our nerdy endeavors,

Andrea Martucci: it's like rocket fuel.

I am here in Yardley, Pennsylvania, at the Artists of Yardley Art Center, at the John Ennis portrait gallery opening Bourbon and Chocolate etc, and with me here I have Nisha Sharma, author of romance novels.

Nisha, thank you so much for joining me. How are you tonight?

Nisha Sharma: I'm wonderful, thanks for having me.

Andrea Martucci: Oh, you're welcome. Why are you here?

Nisha Sharma: I'm here because I'm a romance novelist, and I feel like it's important [00:06:00] to support the artists that have It's been a part of our storytelling journey and our history. And I also think it's important to, as part of like my civic duty, to engage in romance community events like this. So that's why I'm here.

Andrea Martucci: How far did you travel to come to this event?

Nisha Sharma: Five minutes.

Andrea Martucci: Wow. Truly stunning.

Jodie Slaughter: Sacrificially.

Andrea Martucci: That's Jodie Slaughter.

Jodie Slaughter: Hi!

Andrea Martucci: Nisha, have you purchased any art tonight?

Nisha Sharma: I haven't, and that's because at the time that John Ennis was covering romance novels with his wonderful portraits, a lot of the stories that he was painting for was centered around glorifying colonizers.

And as much as I appreciate the work and the part in the history that, you know, of history that he has, I'm not putting a colonizer on my wall as a woman of color.

Jodie Slaughter: Jodie Slaughter does agree.

Andrea Martucci: Would you put a pirate on your wall?

Nisha Sharma: It depends if the pirate is also a colonizer.

Jodie Slaughter: A black one, maybe. A black one, a brown one, Indo Caribbean, Afro Caribbean.

Andrea Martucci: So an Indo Caribbean colonizer?

Jodie Slaughter: No.

Andrea Martucci: Pirate?

Jodie Slaughter: No, no, No. Indo Caribbean pirate. Non colonizer.

Andrea Martucci: Gotcha,

Nisha Sharma: yeah. I prefer like rebel pirates over colonizer pirates.

Jodie Slaughter: Yeah.

Andrea Martucci: I think pirates by definition don't colonize because they only inhabit the seven seas.

Nisha Sharma: It depends on the story you're reading because quite a few of the ones in our romance history are like dukes in disguise who are rejecting their place as like the second son and they can then like put back on their wonderful uniforms and resume their place in society. You know because money solves everything. Money is the deus ex machina in a lot of these historical romances with pirates.

Andrea Martucci: You heard it here first: money solves everything. Signing off: Andrea Martucci


John Ennis: Welcome, and I'm just so flattered that all of you came out to see the show. I've had these paintings for 30 years sequestered away in Joanne's studio, and so she's been kind of bugging me to do something about it. Anne and Amy approached me last year with the idea that I should have a legacy show.

They felt that it was sad that my career was disappearing into obscurity, and we should do something about it. And so the idea came from Joanne wanting to get rid of these paintings, and Amy wanting to give me a legacy show.

As a lot of you would know, I've had a fine art career the last 20 years I've been doing gallery painting, but mostly I've been doing portrait painting.

And if I'm being honest, I was trying [00:09:00] to keep my history with romance illustration kind of, under the covers, and maybe this was not a legitimate fear, but I was a little worried that people like the president of Harvard would not think that me painting Fabio was, the right guy for the job, so I kind of kept that on the QT, but I retired from portrait painting a couple years ago, and now I'm out of the closet.

And so are my paintings. Yeah, I'm uncovered, that's right. Anyway, this particular period of my career was a great time of my life. I was young and I was afraid and I was unsure whether I was ever going to be successful as an artist. And then I started to get this commissioned work. And then when I started to see these book covers on the bookshelves, I felt like I'd gotten a ticket into the major leagues.

I just couldn't believe that this was really happening. And it went on for a long time. I did these oil paintings, which was how I was trained. I did that for 12 years. And then I switched in 1994 to doing digital illustration. I did another thousand book covers digitally.

It was a great career.

I left around 2001 to other things, but I'm so happy that you're all here to share it with me. And thank you for coming, enjoy the bourbon, and I think we're doing a door prize. Ann, would you get the bowl? Thank you.

I fell in love with them all over again. I'd forgotten how much I loved what they were doing back then, and how beautiful they were. Alright, so we're gonna pick a winner of Desert Eden, which is the door prize that's framed up there.

Amy DeLeo. This is a coincidence. We are going to there was this photographer in New York City who specialized in photographing the reference that we used for the paintings. Fabio and other models would show up in the period costumes would show up and we'd take pictures of them for an hour.

Amy just happened to work for Bob Osange (sp?).

unknown: Are you kidding me?

John Ennis: No, in a situation like this, she's even in Bucks County. And now she's won the door prize. Congratulations, Amy.

Andrea Martucci: Hi, I'm here with John Ennis. John, you just told a really interesting story about this cover of Touch of Fire with Fabio on the cover.

John Ennis: Yeah this was the first book cover that I used Fabio on, and I wasn't smart enough to expose his chest, I stuck him behind the woman and when I brought it into the publisher, I think this was Warner Books, the female art director, her response was, oh my god, he's so handsome. So I decided I'd be using Fabio from now on.

Mary Lynne Nielsen: I'll be intimate.

Andrea Martucci: All right. Who are you?

Mary Lynne Nielsen: My name is Mary Lynn Nielsen. I'm a romance reader and have been for over 45 years. [00:12:00]

Andrea Martucci: And you also write about romance, do you not?

Mary Lynne Nielsen: I do write about romance, primarily on Instagram and also through a blog that I have.

In my opinion, the genre is something that deserves study, analysis, criticism to recognize the value that it brings to the broad community that reads it.

Andrea Martucci: So how far did you travel to come to this event?

Mary Lynne Nielsen: This, for me was about an hour 15 minute drive. . But I have with me a friend who I've made on Instagram who I met coming here, it's just for this who came in from Duluth, Minnesota, over a thousand miles. When the program is right it draws it.

This is the first time that I have seen an art show utterly devoted to romance covers. While I have seen them in other exhibitions, it might be two, three, maybe six. To see an exhibition of over 170 pieces of art devoted specifically to the romance genre is, in my opinion, an amazing and unique opportunity to see what the artist brought to the genre with his particular style, his particular approach to what the genre demanded at that time in illustration.

Andrea Martucci: Now, Mary Lynne, I know you have been diving deep into John Ennis artwork on your website recently. What thoughts do you have on his style and his oeuvre.

Mary Lynne Nielsen: I think the interesting thing about John is that there are several hallmarks to what he does. There is a cleanliness to his work. His work is sleek, clean, precise. You do not get the blurring of lines or the suggestion of an image. Everything in an Ennis picture is given to you exactly with precision and with that kind of dedicated perfection that makes it stand out.

Some of the elements he uses for that, particularly are color. John's color is unlike anyone else's color. His color is bright, vibrant. It's stands out. Many times when you see a cover, you're going to see, oh, this cover's red. Let's have a red background and a red dress and red this, red sheets on the bed.

And what you have on an Ennis cover can be eight to ten colors on the cover, and yet it works. You can see a cover that starts with extreme hot yellows and oranges, and yet on its other side is lavenders and pastels, and you can see that even in this room that we have this in. Huge element, his hair. His hair has a life of its own.

The way he uses highlights and shading, his hair has dimension, it has weight, it has heft. You can practically feel it coming off of the page on you. These are very distinct elements to Ennis's art that helps any reader recognize when they look at a book cover that's a John Ennis piece.

Andrea Martucci: Now that you're here what is it like to see it in person?

Mary Lynne Nielsen: Somewhat overwhelming. There is so much here, so much that you could study and analyze and it's all up against one another. You could spend so much time with one, and yet there's so much to do.

They beautifully balanced this. They're [00:15:00] common combining certain authors, for example, sometimes it's a certain artistic style, and all of this adds up to a rather amazing exhibit. To see the support in the community that John Ennis has received from local people who know him from the. To community here at the AOY Art Center, and then also from readers who have come from all over because of the unique nature of this event has made this a really enriching experience.

And I think the most wonderful thing is to see the joy that John Ennis has rediscovered in his own art. He spoke to us a few moments ago and said, I wasn't proud of this. I was doing fine art, and you kind of wanted to push it aside. How many readers have felt the same? How many readers have bought covers to put on their books? Or you don't want someone to know that you read romance. We struggle with that as readers every day.

What we see John doing. turning around now and embracing this art. He said, I realize this is really good stuff. Looking at it again, finding it. And I think we as readers need to take that message and say, take pride in what you find in romance. Embrace it. Enjoy it.

Romance readers are dynamic, talented, and can do so many things in this world. And yet we are constantly belittled for what we do. Instead, we own it, and by showing the amazing, capable people that we are, we start readjusting the image of what a romance reader is.

So instead of someone thinking of a woman in curlers dragging her six mewling children behind her as she wanders the corridors of Walmart, look at who we are, and how we love this genre, and what it brings to us.

So to have an event that's celebrates the genre, which is what this is. Although it is focused on the art, it celebrates the genre of romance, the love of romance, and what romance can bring to anyone.

Andrea Martucci: Mary Lynne, did you purchase any art tonight?

Mary Lynne Nielsen: I'm about to. I have a couple things set aside. I will absolutely be purchasing.

My husband was forewarned and forearmed that this would happen, but I already have art at home by a couple of artists. I do have James Griffin and a couple of others, so yes, add to the collection. The art should be praised just as the books are.

Fin: My name is Fin. I'm the owner of Wolf and Kron Books and you can find me as Wolf and Kron Books or Asynchronous Book Club or feminist underscore underscore sci fi on the Instagrams And as my Instagram name might bring you to believe I've been a sci fi reader for a very long time specifically sci fi, not fantasy, because I was really interested in that hard science space and I didn't like the sort of frivolity that I saw in fantasy, and likewise that was another reason that I didn't read romance until I did.

And a lot of the sort of dismissiveness that I had toward fantasy was a similar reason for romance, where it was like, oh, it's just blah blah, no substance to it books and then I read some [00:18:00] and I am obsessed with the space that romance holds in, how it has helped women deal with their plight I think is the most delicate way to say it, but issues of forced marriage, which is an actual reality or abusive partners, an actual reality that women would and still do have to deal with.

And helping them understand through reading about it in a book, Oh, I'm not the only one. I'm not alone. This isn't my fault. And maybe giving them a way to cope with a situation that they don't have any way to get out of, but finding a way through it. And I think it's really beautiful and amazing the way that romance authors have offered that up to their readers.

And reading more modern stuff like Eloisa James has just absolutely gobsmacked me. I wish that I had read her stuff when I was 16, when I needed to hear about oh, a first time. Ha Ha. It's not all gonna be like roses and puppies. It's a little bit more intense than that, and giving people ways to talk about stuff.

I, I think it's just amazing.

Andrea Martucci: How far did you travel to come to this event?

Fin: Not very far, it was a 45 minute drive right from Farmingdale, which is where my store is right now so it was a quick drive but I did think that I was about to go and wander into a cornfield and possibly get stabbed, but I'm here.

Andrea Martucci: And you didn't get stabbed?

Fin: No stabbing, only consensual.

Andrea Martucci: Only consensual activity?

Fin: Activities, yes.

Andrea Martucci: Okay, now are you purchasing any artwork tonight?

Fin: I am. I'm purchasing a stunning piece. Moonlight Rhapsody which was written by Nancy Kane, a futuristic romance, and it has one of my favorite male models on the cover, or in the painting.

I cannot remember his name right now, so you're going to have to for give me on that, but I know that Mary Lynne would be able to tell us.

Andrea Martucci: He's the hot one.

Fin: Yes, he is the hot one. He also has an amazing range of characters and once, it's a sort of thing of once you've spotted his face, you can't unsee it and he just amazingly goofy looks on some covers or very serious ones and it's fun to track him through his career.

Andrea Martucci: Do you think you're gonna read this book now that you're buying the cover?

Fin: Oh, definitely. I'm pretty sure I've got a copy at the store.

Andrea Martucci: Perfect.

Hello, I'm here on the train returning to Boston. Dame Jodie Slaughter, tell me your recap of the events of the last 24 hours.

Jodie Slaughter: A lot happened. There were epic highs, there were epic lows there was a lot of art. There was. There were tears. There was a traumatic brain injury. We met people, new people we had Bonefish grill,

Andrea Martucci: Those are all true things. Okay, let's start at the beginning. So we get to. Trenton, New Jersey. We get to our hotel in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. Get ready. We get snazzed up.

Jodie Slaughter: Yeah.

Andrea Martucci: So then we get to this event John Ennis Cover Art at Artists of Yardley, Pennsylvania. Tell me your first impressions of the [00:21:00] show. We walk in the door. What do you see?

Jodie Slaughter: We walk in the door. I am surrounded by clinch covers. It is like lush. It is colorful. It is gorgeous. I think my first thought was I was impressed at the sheer number of them, and then realizing that there was an upstairs and realizing that there were even more. And there were also a lot of people there, which was like a very pleasant surprise, because I didn't think there would be.

Andrea Martucci: So then we were perusing the art. We had some chocolate, we had some bourbon, we had some wine. Thank goodness they had some little edible foods that we could eat because we did not eat dinner. Whomst did we meet at this event?

Jodie Slaughter: We met Nisha Sharma. Met Emma Kearney and Brianna Bancroft. We met a lot of people. You met even more people, but those were definitely the highlights of the introductions that I made last night.

Andrea Martucci: Fabio was there.

Jodie Slaughter: Fabio was there. Fabio looks straight out of, 1987. He was glistened up and shirtless and covered in chains.

Andrea Martucci: Correct. Now what were your motivations to come to this?

Jodie Slaughter: You.

Andrea Martucci: Fair enough. And then, we had a delightful dinner afterwards with some folks who were there for the event. I bought a lot of art. As an outside observer, what was it like watching me buy art?

Jodie Slaughter: You were on a tear.

There was a hunger in your eyes that likes to which I have genuinely never seen. There's just nothing anyone could do but get out of your way and just let you, go at it, go ham,

Andrea Martucci: Just like voraciously

Jodie Slaughter: Very voracious I feel like at one point I had to be like, go get something from the food table, please.

Okay, you're gonna get lightheaded buying all this art if you don't eat any cheese and grapes. Yeah, it was really cool.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah, it was. And then Nisha Sharma kindly drove us back to the hotel. Would you like to share what happened next?

Jodie Slaughter: Sure. Andrea was getting her precious baby artworks out of the trunk of the car, and I put my hand on the trunk in an attempt to be helpful that turned into me accidentally bringing the trunk door down on the top of Andrea's soft little skull.

Andrea Martucci: If the intellectual quality of this podcast goes down from this point forward, we know who or what is to blame?

And then, yeah, so now like here we are turning around on our way back. I did have to go out to OfficeMax this morning and get boxes and bubble wrap to keep my artwork safe because I'm not letting out of my sight, but I can't wait to get home and oh it is technically out of sight right now, I can't wait to get home and unwrap it and gaze upon it and find walls.

Are you gonna help me find walls to hang it on?

Jodie Slaughter: Sure, I'll help you. I will do what it is you need me to [00:24:00] do, which is you say, what do you think of this wall? And you say that knowing that it's exactly the place you want to put it. And so I will say that is a great wall.

The question for you is, what are the next steps? Next steps for this artwork, re: framing.

Andrea Martucci: Ooh, yeah, I'm going to have to find a local framing company where I can bring it and they can consult with me and just really find the appropriate frames to let these beauties shine to their full capabilities, right?

Because you don't want a frame that's going to overpower the art. You need something that's going to complement it, and I want them to all kind of look cohesive, but I don't want them to all have the same frame. Yeah, of course. Yeah, of course. So anyways, I mean that's, I suppose that's my next project so we have that to look forward to.

But I think this was a very successful art buying tour. And also, just a community building event like us getting out into the community, spreading the word of

Jodie Slaughter: we're pro, we were prothleticizing,

Andrea Martucci: proselytizing,

Jodie Slaughter: proselytize. Is that really how you say it?

Andrea Martucci: I think. Proselytizing? How have you been saying it?

Jodie Slaughter: We were evangelizing, rather. Not like that.

Andrea Martucci: Anybody knows how to correctly say this word?

Jodie Slaughter: I'm assuming that the way you are saying it is the right way.

Andrea Martucci: I'm going to start and finish editing an episode right now. So that's why I had to get Dame Jodie Slaughter's thoughts on this event.


Jodie Slaughter: Andrea.

Andrea Martucci: Tell me your thoughts on fandom.

Jodie Slaughter: Deep sigh. My thoughts on fandom are complicated. It's been something I've been engaging in for most of my life. I think I was in my first fandom when I was like 12 years old for the British boy band McFly.

Andrea Martucci: See the episode on Bridgerton for more information on that.

Jodie Slaughter: Exactly. and, there's a part of it where it's incredibly cool and it's really fun. It can be incredibly fulfilling to, be able to engage with, people around a thing that you all like, a thing that you all have in common.

Different fandoms have brought me genuine lifelong friends, people that I consider family, but also I think like any community, it's rife with a ton of bullshit, and over the years I have grown incredibly tired of engaging with it at all, which is why I tend to steer clear of all fandom now.

Andrea Martucci: What do you think people did before pop culture? if you think about like the 17 hundreds, is that why people were really into like religion?

Jodie Slaughter: Yeah, probably. We don't want something to be zealots about, and whether that's like God or

Andrea Martucci: work.

Jodie Slaughter: work, or, Tom Fletcher from McFly, we all want to be kind of like rabid and foaming at the mouth about something, and I am rabid and foaming at the mouth [00:27:00] about some things, it's just not fandom anymore.

Andrea Martucci: I mean, it's good for us to feel passionate about things, isn't it?

Jodie Slaughter: It's necessary. It's a necessary part of having joy.

Andrea Martucci: So why do you judge people in fandom so much, Jodie?

Jodie Slaughter: Oh, I don't judge you. I am you. I'm just.

Andrea Martucci: I didn't say I was in fandom.

Jodie Slaughter: She is in fandom, mind you. You all are. I don't know if you guys knew this.

You are all in a fandom. If you are listening to this podcast, you are consuming fandom content because romance novels are fandom.

Andrea Martucci: Does fandom have to revolve around people and specific people? Because let's talk about sports. Okay. So you can be a fan of a person, like a player or a team. But what if you're just a fan of sports. Like football. Can you be a fan of football or do you have to become a fan of a team or a player.

Jodie Slaughter: No you can just be a fan of football my grandfather was like one of those people. He enjoyed sports and i would ask him like what's your team and he was like oh that's not why I do this i just like to watch them play

Andrea Martucci: so you could be a fan of literally any activity, or whatever, right?

Okay, so isn't fandom, or being a fan, literally just having an interest and a passion?

Jodie Slaughter: Yeah, I'd say that, being a part of fandom is an interest in a passion. It's showing interest and a passion in a thing. But I don't think that having an interest and a passion automatically means you are in a fandom. No.

Andrea Martucci: Okay. So to be in a fandom,

Jodie Slaughter: it is like quite an active thing.

Andrea Martucci: Interesting if you're making the claim that this is a human desire or motivation for us to be passionately engaged in something and the way it manifests now could be in being part of fandom I'm just curious like how that might have manifested in the past and why it's different now with pop culture compared with, being a fan of God.

Jodie Slaughter: Oh, sure. I think that we need to be passionate about things. I do not think that those things have to be consuming. I would say that, if you're not passionate about anything akin to sports, or shows, or movies, or books, you can still be passionate about things. You can be passionate about going and playing pickleball every Sunday.

Do you know what I mean? So that's the thing you're passionate about.

Andrea Martucci: But it sounds to me like you're making a moral distinction between being passionate about an activity, and being passionate in a fandom.

Jodie Slaughter: It's not a moral distinction. It's just a distinction.

Andrea Martucci: Okay.

Jodie Slaughter: They are different. (Andrea says mmmm and we both giggle because the mmmm is loaded.)

Like being passionate about raising a family is different than being passionate about MTV Network seminal show Teen Wolf.

Andrea Martucci: Okay. But it sounds like maybe you're saying that one of those things has more value or should be valued more.

Jodie Slaughter: Yeah, that depends on you. I was [00:30:00] at one time very passionate about MTV seminal show, Teen Wolf.

Andrea Martucci: But do we as a society view being passionate about raising your family as more productive than being,

Jodie Slaughter: of course we do.

Andrea Martucci: Passionate about Teen Wolf,

Jodie Slaughter: of course, we do. Anything that involves our actual labor is something that we as a society moralize and consider as more valid. That's why fandom is still a thing that is, I wouldn't call it counterculture, it's not counterculture.

It isn't necessarily on the fringes of culture either, but it is a thing that is often consigned to the internet.

Andrea Martucci: it's supposed to be frivolous.

Jodie Slaughter: Yeah, it's frivolous. Just in a way that like being passionate about your work, whatever you do, if you're a lawyer, if you are a teacher, whatever your job is, is seen as like a moral good, and the other thing is, if not a moral bad, it's just that's just your little thing, Yeah.

Andrea Martucci: I think we really just got to the heart of it though, that in our society we want to be passionate about things, but certain things are seen as productive to be passionate about. Mm-Hmm. while other things are seen as frivolous. Where it's like, why are you getting so worked up about that? Like Teen Wolf or romance novels.

Jodie Slaughter: I agree. My tiredness of fandom does not come from a place of why are you so worked up about this, re other people. It comes from a place of I don't have it in me to be worked up over this.

Andrea Martucci: And you're asking the kids to get off your lawn.

Jodie Slaughter: No, I, no, I just stay inside the house and they can play on the lawn all they want. I just don't want to go out there.

Andrea Martucci: So what are you doing inside the house?

Jodie Slaughter: I'm just like having peace for once.

Andrea Martucci: Dame Jodie Slaughter Play to Win is out now. What's your next book?

When's it coming out?

Jodie Slaughter: My next book is called Call the Clock, release date, specific release date TBD, but it will be fall 2024.

Andrea Martucci: it's sapphic, right?

Jodie Slaughter: It is, yes, it is a sapphic romance.

Andrea Martucci: with sports

Jodie Slaughter: with sports. Football the american kind

Andrea Martucci: football

Jodie Slaughter: not football

Andrea Martucci: football okay. All right you heard it here first i think we clinched this cover right open

Jodie Slaughter: we stepped it back

Andrea Martucci: we did

Alright, I did actually edit the majority of this podcast on the train, but also I am now home, I have unwrapped my artwork, and I will tell you what I purchased. If you'd like to see pictures of any of this artwork, please check out the Shelf Love Instagram, which is at shelflovepodcast.

First, I did purchase Touch of Fire, which is the cover that John Ennis mentioned was the first he used Fabio for. This is a book by Emily Carmichael, and if you read the beginning of the back of the cover, "The proud heiress to a West Indies plantation dot dot dot." So, um, I do actually have the physical book because it came with the painting. And I'm going to [00:33:00] try to read all of these but this one is definitely going to be problematic. So, very cool painting from circa 1989. We have Fabio holding a very chesty, raven haired woman who resembles Jennifer Connelly. Also a ship. A tempestuous pink sea and some seagulls in the background. I got a lot of ship art because I like ships.

I also purchased artwork for the 1989 cover of The Windflower by Laura London. So actually thematically very similar to Touch of Fire. We've got a ship in the background, we've got a tempestuous pink purple sea, we have one seagull instead of three, we've got a pirate flag, we have two very blonde people a buxom blonde woman with flowing golden blonde hair, her bosom crushed in the embrace of a golden haired man, with, I don't know, flowers along the bottom. Also very cool.

And to round out the ship art, I also have Sea Mistress, a book by Candace McCarthy. This is a Zebra romance from September 1993.

And this one I purchased because there's a couple, like the guy has a rope wrapped around his hand and she's holding on to him. It almost looks like they're in a sinking ship. There's just a that wheel you use to steer a ship, behind him. Very sexy.

The next one is a Regency, it is a Diamond Regency Romance. The book is called A Perfect Arrangement by Ellen Rawlings. I can't see the year on it right this second, but we've got a young regency woman in a very pink dress being held by a handsome guy who I think looks like Norm MacDonald, from certain angles in sort of a dark wood. And the reason I purchased it, though, is because there is a black cat with little white feet on a branch above them just like looking down on them, and I thought it was really cute, so that's why I got that one.

Next, kind of a simple painting compared to the other ones that have such lush backgrounds.

It's for an anthology called My Spellbound Heart, featured work by Cheryl Biggs, Amy J. Fetzer, Amber Kay, and Sarah Orwig. This was an anthology from October 1994, or at least that's when John Ennis painted it, and it's a couple in an embrace with, I don't know, like a kind of a orangey moon or sun, I don't know, behind them.

She appears to be wearing a regency style gown and long gloves, and he kind of has a mullet, but it's also, it's very sexy. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Last but not least, I got Knight of a Trillion Stars, which is a book by Dara Joy. That's Night with a K. This was a futuristic romance. (in the distance Jodie says, "what happened, why'd you stop?")

No, I'm looking for the year.

This is a futuristic romance. I don't see the year on it [00:36:00] right now. I could go look it up. Oh, Jodie's looking it up right now. We've got a raven haired woman tipping her throat up seductively, wearing some emerald earrings and an emerald choker, very futuristic looking, beautiful flowing blue robe, and looking into the eyes of a Very chesty.

He's he's got a white shirt that's open and black leather pants man with flowing blonde hair. Jodie says 1995. We've got kind of a purplish moon behind them with purple night sky, dark sky, and kind of like a mysterious red mist and a tree trunk coming from below. It's also very sexy and I look forward to reading this one.

I've read some of Dara Joy's and I definitely read some a long time ago and recently I was reading Rejar, which is the one with an immortal shape shifting being who becomes a cat. And Lord Byron, so Dara Joy I know is fun.

And yeah. So the plan is, I have two of these books. I'm gonna try to hunt down the rest of them, just to kind of round out my collection, and I hope to read them, at least to have said I have read them, but, again, if you want to check out photos of these, go to my Instagram.

Hey, thanks for spending time with me today. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate or review on your favorite podcast app or tell a friend. Check out for transcripts and other resources. If you want regular written updates from Shelf Love, you can increasingly find me over at Substack.

Read occasional updates and short essays about romance at Thank you to Shelf Love's $20 a month Patreon supporters: Gail, Copper Dog Books, and Frederick Smith. I have a great day. Bye!

Jodie Slaughter: I almost said something. I can't like do my awful jokes because some of them are awful.

Andrea Martucci: We're surrounded by people.

Jodie Slaughter: Yeah, we are. I kind of sometimes feel like we're being very loud.

Andrea Martucci: Are you saying we're loud people?

Jodie Slaughter: I think so. Yeah. Andrea's like a Northerner, which is to say she's like kind of inherently loud.

Andrea Martucci: I actually was just in chorus and I learned how to breathe and project from my diagram.

Jodie Slaughter: She's an alto.

Andrea Martucci: Diaphragm.

Jodie Slaughter: Isn't that a thing you put in your vagina for birth control?

Andrea Martucci: There are multiple definitions of the same word. So one, yes, but the diaphragm is, I believe that the diaphragm that you put in your vagina is so named because it is very similarly shaped to the diaphragm.

Jodie Slaughter: Oh.

Andrea Martucci: And has a similar function to the one inside of you that kind of supports your respiratory system.

Jodie Slaughter: How interesting. I didn't know that. I've never seen one. I first heard about it on that episode of Seinfeld where Elaine realizes that they're not like making the sponge anymore or something. And that's what she uses. So she's running around New York trying to gather up all the sponges she can so [00:39:00] that she has her birth control and they talk about diaphragms, and that's the first time I heard it.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. I have questions about why nobody seems to use them anymore, but I think it's probably because of first of all, the pill became much safer.

Jodie Slaughter: Yeah.

Andrea Martucci: And then there's IUDs became much more common and other things. . So I think it's probably just not in high demand.

Jodie Slaughter: Yeah. What birth control do you use Andrea?

Andrea Martucci: I'm not answering that on this train. . You know what? Also learning to speak with authority and projection is part of being a podcaster.

Jodie Slaughter: That's true. Learning to lie easily, quickly, and unfazed is also a part, as a pundit.

Andrea Martucci: Exactly.

All right, this interview is over. Goodbye.