050. Romance Myths Busted Part 2 with Tamara Lush, Charish Reid, Megan Erickson, Rosie Danan


Short Description

Part 2! Romance novel authors and readers bust just some of the myths and misunderstandings about romance novels. Are romance novels easy to write, vapid, mommy porn? Um, no. If you’ve ever heard this podcast, definitely no. But listen on for responses from Tamara Lush, Charish Reid, Megan Erickson, and Rosie Danan.


Show Notes

Part 2! Romance novel authors and readers bust just some of the myths and misunderstandings about romance novels. Are romance novels easy to write, vapid, mommy porn? Um, no. If you’ve ever heard this podcast, definitely no. But listen on for responses from Tamara Lush, Charish Reid, Megan Erickson, and Rosie Danan. 

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Shelf Love:

More Myths episodes:

The thread that started it all: Myths Twitter Thread from 12/11/19

Myth 9: They’re easy to write and anyone can do it because there’s a formula
Myth Buster: Tamara Lush

Tamara Lush:

Related Episode: 

025. Wattpad - The Love Riots by Noora Zaroon with Tamara Lush

Myth 10: They’re unrealistic and vapid
Myth Buster: Charish Reid

Myth contributed by JL Peridot.

Charish Reid:

Related Episode: 
031. White Whiskey Bargain by Jodie Slaughter with Charish Reid

Myth 11: Readers read romance just for sex.
Myth Buster: Megan Erickson

Myth contributed by Geri and Chelle de Notte.

Megan Erickson: 

Related Episode: 
035. Megan Erickson, Hope in Dystopia: Guardian by Emmy Chandler

Myth 12: Romance Novels are Mommy Porn
Myth Buster: Rosie Danan

Rosie Danan:


Full Transcript

Andrea Martucci: Welcome to episode 50 of Shelf Love. On most episodes, a guest introduces me to a romance novel worth reading, and we talk about identity, relationships, and romance as a genre. I'm Andrea Martucci, host of the Shelf Love podcast. And in this episode, I'm bringing you a potpourri of guests who give their wise responses to some of the myths and misconceptions around the romance genre.

Way back in episode 33, I released part one of this mythbusting series with contributions from guests like Kennedy Ryan and Talia Hibbert.  In part two, you'll hear from Tamara Lush, Charish Reid, and Megan Erickson, who all joined me for full episodes earlier in 2020, plus debut romance author, Rosie Danan drops in to bust a myth.

So here's the premise. Whether you're new to romance or have been reading it since 1972, it's hard to have walked around in this world and not heard the negative stereotypes about romance readers, the books themselves, and romance writers.

My mission on the Shelf Love podcast has always been to give the romance genre the serious, critical attention that I think it deserves and hopefully convert the hearts and minds of some non-romance readers in the process. Way back in December 2019, I created a Twitter thread asking the question: what misconceptions do you hear about romance novels from non romance readers? I got a ton of thoughtful responses and used them to curate a list of the most commonly heard myths, and I have been asking my guests whom I recorded with since then, to choose a myth to respond to.

I also put the call out for any listeners to send in their responses. In some episodes, I recorded the response to the myths question informed later parts of the conversation so I just left them in the full episode. So for example, you can listen to EE Ottoman, Adriana Herrera, and Bree from Kit Rocha bust myths in their recent episodes and you can find links to those in the show notes.

But first up, we've got Tamara Lush who joined me on episode 25, where we talked about Wattpad among other things.

Marker [00:02:06]

Which of the myths and misconceptions did you want to dig into?

Tamara Lush: I think the one that they're easy to write and anyone can do it because there's a formula. And I do have some thoughts on that, and obviously they're not easy to write. Romance novels are really, really hard to write. In fact, yeah. I've been a romance reader for a long time since I was a teenager. But when I first started writing, I kind of immersed myself into Harlequin Presents and I still do love Harlequin Presents quite a lot. And until you try to write a Harlequin Presents, you don't understand how difficult it is to do all of those things in 50,000 words, it's very difficult to ramp up that emotion and to have that punchy emotion, all throughout, and the sexiness and the character development and people doing things, the characters, doing things - it's so difficult.

I think that there is this idea that, Oh, we can just do a formula and it will work. And the flip side of that, and the sad part about it is I think there's a whole crop of internet marketers right now that are doing exactly that.

And they're dominating the charts on Amazon. And that to me is a very sad thing that it is just to make money that there's no, no thought for actual craft, that it's just this craven pursuit for money. I find that very sad. I've been very saddened as of late about the state of the indie authoring world. And so in some ways, because this perception that they are easy to write and that anyone can do it because there's a formula, and because people do use those formulas, they've used that to exploit the genre. And a lot of it is from men writing as women. And I find that super offensive. And I know that a lot of the internet marketers would just say, Oh, you're jealous. You're not making money. And you should be taking courses and you should be doing more ads and you should be doing this, that, and the next thing and upping your game and leveling up and hustling.

Well, that perhaps is true, but there's also, I do believe that writing is an art and it is something we do from our heart and soul. And when it becomes, you know, making widgets and just something you level up and hustle and internet market, and you sell more courses, I think that's kind of unfortunate and kind of crass.

Andrea Martucci: How much responsibility do you think readers have or the audience have in that situation? Where if these formulaic promotion-driven authors are actually selling books or making money in some way from this stuff, it means that there's an audience on the other end, who's receiving it and wanting it.

So, yeah, I mean, it's kind of an interesting question because somebody is theoretically getting value out of that?

Tamara Lush: Absolutely. I think that a lot of us in, especially the indie the authors and probably the traditional authors as well think, well, maybe people don't want to read what I'm writing and I do believe that on almost every level of readership and romance, people say they want certain things.

People say they want consent and respect and they say they want cinnamon roll heroes, but do they actually read them? I'm not so sure. My numbers don't bear that out, quite honestly.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. I feel that, and I feel that as a podcaster as well, you know, where I'm interested in having certain discussions, and I'm also aware that I could have much easier discussions and probably be more popular as a podcast.

Tamara Lush: Sure.

Andrea Martucci: I'm not interested in doing that, but I'm also aware of the other side of it.

Tamara Lush: Right. I mean, look, the whole RWA controversy with Damon Suede. And I don't know if you want to get into this, you can feel free to edit this out. But the reality is that he put out a book that compared a middle Eastern man to a gorilla. And there were a lot of people who loved that book. There are a lot of people who love say, Kristen Ashley. I think she's actually a really interesting writer. I know that authors are not supposed to say mean things about other authors. I'm not trying to be mean to Kristen Ashley. I think that she does what she does from her heart.

And I think that she's very passionate about it. And I think that she's wonderful. And I think that she knows her audience. However, there are people that love her books and who also say they want consent and respect. And after reading her books, it's hard to rectify that in my mind because when I read those books, I think Whoa, the men in this are really extreme.

And I know that it's not everybody's jam and that's okay. Whatever you want to read is okay with me. But I also think that we should be a little more intellectually honest about what, what our jam really is. And I do think readers want what they want. And the reality is readers don't want beta heroes, most of them, and they don't particularly want low angst books and they don't particularly want people who are decent people. I mean, my biggest seller was Constant Craving and it had a pretty much of a jerk as a hero. You know, just a jerk who was literally, I mean, it was written in the Harlequin Presents, vein who, and it was an allegory for the newspaper industry, but he was basically blackmailing the heroine to have sex with him and people loved it.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. So this is making me think of two things. So there's the difference between what people say they want and what they actually do. Um, so having done multiple surveys and then also having actual data on people's behavior, I can say that people absolutely survey saying they want things that are more morally upright or show something positive about themselves. But then if you look at their behaviors, you see there's either a self-interest or something that they don't want to acknowledge about their interests.

The second thing is around pseudonyms. So you mentioned what may be men writing under female pseudonyms, writing romance.

It's an interesting reversal because traditionally, a lot of women have written under ambiguous names or male names in order to be taken seriously as writers and for men then to take on the cloak of a marginalized group, because it's more acceptable to be a, or are they, they think that I, I guess they'll just be accepted into the fold under that name or not being questioned.

Tamara Lush: It's more lucrative. I do find it interesting men who write under femme pen names. And I see some on Facebook who clearly, you know, they ask like sexual questions and would women be as eager to answer the questions on Facebook if they knew a man was asking them? I don't know. It seems very icky to me, but I'm coming at all of this from you know, I'm a journalist first and foremost, even before I'm a romance writer. So some of this seems odd to me. It's a different world to me.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. It's definitely that I think there are expectations that a woman can write a better romance or that commercially you can be more successful if you have a particular identity and when it's not your true identity - I think that when we hear about women doing it to be taken seriously as writers, that seems acceptable to me, that's like, Oh, I'm honest about sexism. I just want this work to be taken seriously for what it is. That's very different to me than taking on, I think particularly a marginalized identity, right?

Marker [00:09:37]

  Now, Charish Reid busts the myth that romance novels are vapid. You can also listen to Charish in episode 31, where we read White Whiskey Bargain by Jodie Slaughter.

As we record this, we have just entered February and no doubt there's going to be some breakout, terrible articles this February written by some ignorant people who don't know anything about romance. One of the misconceptions about what romance novels are, is that they are vapid and lack substance or depth.

So JL Peridot said that something she's heard people say is that "they're unrealistic, vapid, unwholesome, lousy story. That they're women books." (Charish Laughs) Yeah. Which is getting into a whole other thing too. But What's your comeback? What's your rant to those people who think that romance novels are vapid?

Charish Reid: Yeah. Oh Jesus. So.

I'm taken aback by women books.

Andrea Martucci: I know.

Charish Reid: And I think,

Andrea Martucci: Gross!

Charish Reid: I think we've always had a fear of women reading too much as, in Western societies, but I would say all of those, I guess those pejorative insults towards romance feel to me, like they boil down to a lot of misogyny and a lot of gatekeeping because I always wonder, well, who, who are these people who determine which literary texts are deep and substantive or whatever?

And I just wonder if you know, those are the same voices that subscribed to like a really old fashioned canon that excludes a lot of voices. And I wonder- I don't wonder, I know this - uh, literature is supposed to reflect the human experience. You know, whether it's good or bad, beautiful, triumphant, uh, ugly and horrific.

I feel like romance can and does do all of that. And if my voice starts climbing, uh

Andrea Martucci: it's okay to get heated about this.

Charish Reid: Yeah. I'm like well then what exactly do you think is, you know, not vapid? What, what do you consider deep in, is it. Is it Moby Dick? Because I've read that like four times and Oh God, there's an entire chapter devoted to penguins. (Andrea laughs)

I'm getting, I'm getting worked up in a lather, but I will say this I've read romance novels that have tackled some really serious human experiences.

And I believe if romance or literature is supposed to reflect the human experience, which most art is supposed to do, you know, romance does a really beautiful job with that.

I'm thinking of Kennedy Ryan and her novel long show. Uh, she tackled some really, really tense stuff, you know, domestic violence and whatnot. I'm thinking of not something so intense, but Alyssa Cole, I read her Duke by Default and I learned a lot about my ADD or ADHD because she was able to take this character and walk her through the steps, sort of realizing, Oh, I'm not a worthless human being because I can't do X, Y, and Z on time or whatever.

I don't know. Well, that's how I feel now and now I'm angry.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. Sorry. I don't want to make you angry before we talk about other things.

Charish Reid: No, you're fine.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. I get angry too. I think it's so funny. Like Moby Dick comes up so much as like the stereotypical, like, Oh my God. Why is this canon? And I, I feel like there's a lot of backstory to why it actually happened and all of that, but recently I described Moby Dick, like, like what, it's just a book about some guy who's obsessed with killing a whale and basically drives himself and his crew into ruin. Right? Like, I don't know. It's it's man versus nature. Yeah.

Marker [00:13:50] If you're looking for something to read that's not Moby Dick, there are a few curated book lists on the Shelf Love website, all romance of course. The latest one is actually a collection of romance audiobooks that are both amazing romances, as well as great vocal performances.

These were all recommended by listeners who are big fans of audiobooks, so whether you are yourself a big fan or you want to dip your toes into audiobooks, check out the list of 15 Romance Audiobooks. And the link is in the show notes.

Our next myth is brought to you by Megan Erickson who joined me in episode 35 to discuss hope in dystopia and she busts the myth that readers read romance just for the sex.

I have some quotes from people.

Megan Erickson: Oh God,

Andrea Martucci: These are things people say in response to finding out that somebody they know reads romance. "Oh, so you like porn? Oh, like That 50 Shades shit? So your husband must be happy, eh? Nudge, nudge, wink, wink." That's from, uh, Geri Reads Stories with HEA.

Megan Erickson: I love her too.

Andrea Martucci: Oh, good. Okay. Yeah. I love, I love how we're a completely incestuous community and everybody knows everybody else.

And then Chelle de Notte said, "some people think they know exactly why I'm reading romance and it's not for the storylines." So yeah, we could, we could basically summarize this as people think that readers are reading romance for the self pleasure aspect, I guess so. Yeah. What's your, what's your comeback to that?

Megan Erickson: So I think it's shortsighted.

Well, I think first of all, that sure. There's a lot of people who read romance novels for the sex, but I also think it's not the sex. It's the sexual connection. And, you know, I say, cuz my parents sometimes are like other people will be like, well, what's so great about like romance. And I'll say, I think you're underestimating too what a happy ending is. You know, there's a lot of things that happen in the, in the world that don't have happy endings. And I think there's a level of trust there with readers that they want to read, they take risks. What do I want to say? They accept risks in a novel because they know at the end it's going to come out okay. And it makes them feel good. And I, you know, I kinda like say to my parents and other people, not that my parents accept romance novels, but they're just curious, you know what I mean? And I say, you know, the happy ending is like, why can't we be happy? Like what's so - why is there so much stigma against romance novels just because it ends in a happy ending? Like what's so wrong with being happy?

You know, The Book Thief killed me at the end and made me sob for like five days straight, you know? And that's fine too, but I think, I think the sex is more about the connection. Like I think if we want to read a book where two souls come together and we want it to be well rounded. So that includes the sex too.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah, I think you're totally right. When I was in undergrad, I was in this course that I was writing this big research paper. Of course, I'm writing about romance novels. And my premise is romance novels are feminist, and this is why and rereading the paper now, it only sort of holds up. Like, I think I started getting into some ideas and then shied away from fully exploring them. But then again, it was only a 20-page research paper, but the professor I was working with on that, when I started talking about this, she actually made, she made a comment once, like, well, don't women just read it as masturbatory aids? And I was taken aback, I was like, what? Like,

Megan Erickson: yeah,

Andrea Martucci: I was completely shocked because it seemed to, I mean, it totally bought into that, this is just porn for women and, and there's a little bit of like gender essentialism there where it's like, well, women, I guess, don't want to watch porn. They just want to read about it. And I don't know, there's, there's a lot kind of wrapped up in why the assumption is, is that if there is a book with sexual content in it, it must be purely for like sexual gratification.

Megan Erickson: Right. And why is that? Right.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. And I think, I think you're so right. Like it's the same way that when reading a romance novel -and we are we're insiders and so we get, this is, - yeah. Okay. Like, look, some things are very sexy and if somebody did use it as an aid in, uh, you know, sexual pleasure

Megan Erickson: that's also okay.

Andrea Martucci: That's fine. Yeah. That's totally fine. But. I feel like some books that are just sex and there is absolutely no emotional connection or those two things are disconnected, I feel like that's a very unsatisfying romance novel.

Like it, it could be kind of like good erotica, you know, but, but I feel like even good erotica really

Megan Erickson: still has a journey. Yeah. It still has a journey. And I think that, that it is it's, it's the journey of the, of the characters. And I think that's why, I mean, when I want to read a romance novel, I do prefer sex in it, but that's because I want to read about the full spectrum of the relationship and I like to see, cause lots of like, I've written a couple of books where they have like one night stands and I love writing about how the sex kind of like changes from like a one night stand to like when they really start to love each other. I think that's super interesting to write about and to read about.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah.

Megan Erickson: And so it might seem like, Oh, you're just writing a lot of sex scenes. Well, yeah, but I'm trying to show something, you know what I mean?

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. I think sex is an incredibly vulnerable state for people like you are, you're literally naked. You are exposed, you're on display. You're, you're sharing something incredibly intimate with another person or other people.

And yes, like people have one night stands and you know, nobody's saying that those two people like intimately trust each other at that point, but then those two people, leaving that encounter, I feel like it sets up this connection.

Megan Erickson: Oh, yeah. They still shared something for sure.

Andrea Martucci: Exactly. Yeah. I think, I think that what good romance novels do is if the couple is having sex early on, you have to show the evolution of those sexual encounters.

You were, you were mentioning this where, you know sure. Like the first sexual encounter might be fairly impersonal in some ways, but, but then to be emotionally satisfying by the time they're having sex at the end of the novel, once they have a deep and emotional connection, it's a very different encounter.

Megan Erickson: Yeah. And it's so fun to explore.

Andrea Martucci: Yes. It's so fun. And I think that, you know, one thing you said earlier where like, why are happy things sort of derided and seen as less serious? I don't know why sadness is considered serious.

Megan Erickson: Right. And why is sadness considered like that's serious literature. Like, why is happiness not serious literature?

I just think, I think people underestimate the security of romance and that's sometimes why, you know, there's obviously a discussion like, well, I'm edgy and I wrote a romance where a character dies at the end. It's like, it's totally fine that you wrote that.

Andrea Martucci: All right, Nicholas Sparks.

Megan Erickson: Yeah. But you have to understand, I truly think you're missing the point of romance because to me, romance is security. So - the romance genre. And I think it's not fair to take away that security without a warning. So that's just, that's again, that's me, my opinion, but that's yeah. That's how I feel about that.

Andrea Martucci: But that's, that's why we have the boundaries around, like, what is a romance novel?

Like books can have romance in them and not be a romance novel, but a romance novel must have an emotionally satisfying ending, and you're not going to have an emotionally satisfying ending with a dead main character.

Megan Erickson: Right. Exactly. I mean, just no. And so, yeah, and I feel pretty strongly about that. I, I, you know, I love happy endings.

Well, in my books, I should say there are some movies where they end totally terrible. And I love it, but what I would say, but again, I'm prepared. It's a little bit different.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. And a lot of, a lot of things that happen in romance are sad.

Megan Erickson: Right.

Andrea Martucci: Do you know what I mean? Like the journey can be full of like highs and lows and like you are emotionally being taken all over the place.

Our only request is that at the end,

Megan Erickson: it's just one little measly request come on. Yeah. Yeah, totally. yeah, it's all about the journey. And then it's all about the security at the end. And I mean, that's why sometimes I like, I really like to read even like romance novellas at night. Cause I can read them really quick and I can like go to bed happy and like,

Andrea Martucci: yeah.

Megan Erickson: What's wrong about that? What's wrong about going to bed with a smile on my face? Because these two fictional characters are going to live happy happily ever after. Like that's just so fun and so happy in this crazy world.

Andrea Martucci: So, so would it be fair to say romance novels are emotional masturbation?

Megan Erickson: I love that. I love that. Yes. I would say yes, because I go, I go to bed feeling satisfied emotionally. And I totally agree with that. Yeah. And also it takes you on like a journey where you're like, Oh, I'm getting there, I'm getting there, you know, and then yay. It's happily ever after that.

Andrea Martucci: And then the big payoff, the happy ending as it were.

Megan Erickson: Yeah. Yeah. I love that. I never thought of it that way.

Andrea Martucci: I'm putting it on a tee shirt,

Megan Erickson: do it, do it. I never thought of it that way, but I totally agree.

Andrea Martucci: I'm like, Ooh, Andrea, that might be the smartest thing you've ever said

Megan Erickson: That is brilliant.

Andrea Martucci: I don't think anybody would ever wear that t-shirt.

Megan Erickson: I would. I was totally wear it, especially to like a book signing.

Totally are you kidding me?

Andrea Martucci: That's a - That's a niche market: romance authors at book signings.

Marker [00:23:04]

Please definitely let me know if you'd buy that t-shirt, by the way. And now here's a submission by Shelf Love listener, Rosie Danan.

Rosie Danan: Hi there. I wanted to respond to the myths and misconceptions around romance novels. And specifically I wanted to talk about the prompt that says that romance novels are mommy porn. And I wanted to talk about that because I want to examine why mommies or mothers, if you will, are the face of romance readers, like how did they become that face?

Is it true that that's the core demographic of readers? And I bring that up because I think that women don't necessarily start reading romance novels when they become mothers. I think, you know, certainly women do, but I started reading romance novels in my adolescence. And I know that Andrea has talked about that in the origins of the Shelf Love Podcast.

And I also know that I read it all the time and author bios, you know, I stole my first romance novel from an aunt, or I read my mom's romance novels in my closet, like this is something that I hear all the time from people who are passionate about romance novels. And so if people are starting to read them in their adolescence, but they don't become necessarily the stereotypical reader until let's say their thirties or their forties, what is happening in that 20 year, age gap for a rough estimate? And I think that what's happening is that not that there's, the behavior doesn't exist, the romance reading behavior, but that it is a solitary act in those age groups and that it becomes a social act or it becomes a more publicly-facing act later in life.

And I think that the decades long gap is driven by different sources of patriarchy and shame that comes from men at both a societal level and at an individual level. And so I, you know, I can only speak to my experience obviously, but when I was in my teens and I was reading romance novels, like in high school, I was ashamed of it because of my dad, you know, I lived at home with my parents. My dad would still want to buy me books or would see them on my bookshelf. And because romance novels at the time, and even now a lot of them still e-readers didn't become big until I, you know, was later in high school or even college.

So it was really about the physical books and the physical books had depictions of desire and the female gaze. So shirtless men, the clinch, all of that kind of thing. And my dad was uncomfortable with that. And so I, I felt uncomfortable with it. And then when I was in my twenties and I was dating and I was single, men I dated didn't approve of reading romance novels, which was really interesting cause it's sort of like the Madonna / Whore paradox, little bit, in the sense that, you know, I'm meeting men on Tinder. They're asking me if I'm quote unquote down to clown, god help us, and the same time they would come hang out and see my bookshelf and be like, well, you don't have a lot of books. And what they meant was you have a lot of books, but they're romance novels, so they don't count.

And I think that women and readers of kind of all marginalizations and populations who do find themselves reflected in romance are being shamed by those stories outside of mass media's definition of culture that is acceptable because reading romance falls outside of the male gaze.

And so I think that there they're really important for people in those developmental stages both before you start dating as a model of what healthy intimacy can look like and then after. But I think mothers are the only ones, because they're already right in the sense attached perhaps, they're no longer looking for that male approval because they have children, they don't care and they feel brave enough to be reading these books more publicly and to find friends that are doing so because it becomes a lot more acceptable when you've stopped trying to be an object of desire for men, and you can actually think about your own desires instead.

  Andrea Martucci: Now I definitely want to dig a bit deeper on some of the points Rosie made, specifically about moms being immune to the male gaze, but alas, this was a one-way recording.

However, I think Rosie raises some interesting points in this submission. I also recently finished an advanced review copy of Rosie Danan's forthcoming book, The Roommate, which is out in September 2020. I appreciated the discussion about sex work, the porn industry, and normalizing sex education with the female gaze.

You may be like what? That's in a romance novel? Yeah. It's definitely exploring things I haven't personally seen before. So if you are intrigued, go check that out: the Roommate, by Rosie Danan.

So that's all. Over the course of this series we've dug into 12 different romance myths, and I wish that was all of them, but unfortunately there's lots more we haven't even touched on. Big thanks everyone who took part in this from my mythbusting guests to the folks on Twitter who provided the raw material for this exploration. I very much appreciate you.

So that's episode 50. Thank you for listening to Shelf Love. As I mentioned in episode 49, I'm going to take a wee break soon and come back with an official season two that will have a new format, which I'm super excited about.

If you enjoy Shelf Love, here are a few ways you can support the podcast. So to preface this, I want to be clear that I do not make any money from this podcast. And actually I recently cut ties with the podcast network I was working with. I used to occasionally get ads through network, which you might've heard in the past. But I really do this because the podcast brings me a lot of personal creative satisfaction. And I want to acknowledge that I'm privileged to have the discretionary time and money that's necessary to run Shelf Love so I don't need to try to monetize it. I think that allows me a lot of freedom, particularly when it comes to not pulling punches when it comes to my more critical opinions.

So while I'm not asking for monetary support, one way I would love for you to support the growth of the podcast is to spread the word about Shelf Love. Literally just sending the link to a friend or someone who might be interested, sharing your thoughts on an episode you enjoyed on social media, or if you have a platform of your own mentioning on your blog or in your email newsletter. Also leaving a review may help complete strangers decide to download an episode because you made it sound so cool.

Thank you so much for listening and for being on this journey with me. Black lives matter. Stay safe, stay mad and keep reading romance.