Shelf Love

083. Earth is Ghetto: Joyless Hags Book Club

Short Description

1 Bonkers Book; 3 Joyless Hags. If you could escape earth, would you happily hitch your wagon to a lizard-man's space ship? When we scratch the surface of alien abduction romance, what do we find, and does insta-love exist? All of these questions are answered in the first ever Joyless Hags Book Club. I'm joined by Tasha L. Harrison and Katrina Jackson to discuss Alien Mate Experiment by Zenobia Renquist.


joyful hag book club, scifi and fantasy romance, romance novel discussion

Show Notes

1 Bonkers Book; 3 Joyless Hags. If you could escape earth, would you happily hitch your wagon to a lizard-man's space ship? When we scratch the surface of alien abduction romance, what do we find, and does insta-love exist? All of these questions are answered in the first ever Joyless Hags Book Club. I'm joined by Tasha L. Harrison and Katrina Jackson to discuss Alien Mate Experiment by Zenobia Renquist.


Show Notes:

Shelf Love:


Katrina Jackson: Twitter | Instagram | Kat’s Email newsletter | Buy Beautiful & Dirty

Tasha L. Harrison: Twitter | Tasha's website | Buy A Taste of Her Own Medicine


We Discuss:


083 Earth is Ghetto

Andrea Martucci: [00:00:00]Hello. And welcome to episode 83 of Shelf Love a podcast that unpacks romance novels with nuance. In conversations with scholars, readers, and other experts Shelf Love contextualizes the popular romance genre within the broader critical discussion of identity, culture, and love.

I'm your host, Andrea Martucci and my guests today are Katrina Jackson and Tasha L. Harrison. That's right. Shelf Love's esteemed editorial advisory board is here and I'm thrilled that today you get to listen in to the first ever Joyless Hags Book Club.

So let's start with some quick introductions. I'm Andrea host of Shelf Love. And today I'm a joyless hag because of the missed opportunities in today's book to more creatively explore for her pleasure alien genitalia. Tasha, who are you and why are you a joyless hag today?

Tasha L. Harrison: Ah, I'm Tasha L. Harrison, author and editor of romance. And I'm a joyless hag today because this is the first ever alien romance I've ever read. And hashtag I'm never reading another one of these books.

Andrea Martucci: Good to know. Uh,  Good to know where you stand as we enter this conversation. Katrina, who are you and why are you a joyless hag today?

Katrina Jackson: I'm Katrina Jackson, author and historian. And I'm a joyless hag today because I gave these two absolute ingrates a wonderful book recommendation. And you can already see how this is going.

(Tasha is snort laughing) Andrea Martucci: So today's Joyless Hag Book Club discussion is about Alien Mate Experiment by Zenobia Renquist. And Katrina, as you have foreshadowed, you were the one who recommended today's Joyless Hag Book Club pick.

Why don't you lay the groundwork here? When did you first read it? How did you find it? What do you enjoy about it and how sacred is it to you?

Katrina Jackson: Okay. So I found this book,  it would have been like late 2019 because  I was heading to the UK for a research trip. And I always load up my Kindle with like ridiculous stuff to read. And I don't remember how I found this one. So I was probably just looking for something ridiculous. And, as always happens when I travel, I have a day where I just don't want to leave the room. And I spent an entire day in the room I was renting only leaving to go to the bathroom and get some food, reading this book.  I was like so ecstatic I had bought this book cause I bought a couple [00:02:30] other books that were flops for me. And this was like, it just gave me so much ridiculous joy. I was in Birmingham. I think it was the first time I'd ever stayed there for a while. And I was like, I don't think I like this city, but (laughs) I definitely remember the city based on how much I love this book.

And I didn't write this book. It's not sacred to me. I don't really, like, I don't have any emotions, but  it did give me, there are so few alien romances with characters of color.  So I'm pretty certain, that's why I would have bought this book. But it also is irreverent at moments that it just made me and it's ridiculous throughout. And it just made me so happy. Like I was laughing out loud at some points. Yeah. I don't really care  how you feel about it because I feel very happy.

Andrea Martucci: So our critical engagement with this text will not reduce your enjoyment with the text.

Katrina Jackson: Hell no!

Andrea Martucci: Okay.

Tasha L. Harrison: Because that's not a thing that can happen anyway.

Andrea Martucci: Thank you for pointing that out, Tasha. I agree. So for those of you listening, let me give you a quick introduction to what this book is about, because I doubt we will actually talk about the plot really.

Tasha L. Harrison: What plot? (laughter).

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. So this was published in 2017 and here is how this book is described. I don't want to call it the back cover, the summary. It's an e-book. Abducted from her world and dropped onto his, she's as alien to him as he is to her. That doesn't mean they can't have some fun with their differences. Semeera needs a plan for starting her life over. After divorcing a controlling husband, she's ready to enjoy freedom at last last. Too bad she gets abducted by aliens before she can decide her next move.

Captain Kader is an alien warrior trapped in a dead end assignment where he will never see battle again, there are no more challenges to his life. No chances for glory. And then a dangerous experiment brings him an unexpected visitor who changes everything.

They're as different from each other as night and day, but those differences only entice Semeera and Kader into finding out just how physically compatible they are. What should have been a little fun, causes the resurgence of a disease long thought extinguished. If Semeera triggered it and Kader, will others sucumb? And will the scientists be able to get past Kader to find out? Most importantly, can a beautiful Black woman really love an alien male with scales, claws, and a tail? [00:05:00] Title is 69,000 words with an HEA. No cliffhangers and no cheating.

I personally love about this description that it specifies that there is no cheating in this alien romance. Like way to answer a question I did not have.

Katrina Jackson: Look, if your alien is out here, cheating on you, I assume that turning to this happy HEA where this alien is not cheating on its mate would make you happy.

Tasha L. Harrison: First of all, this is not okay. Listen, if I'm dreaming of alien abduction, I am not dreaming that they going to be as trash as real life men. No, this is not a fantasy that I want to indulge in. First of all, can we talk about how long that fucking book summary was? Like,

Katrina Jackson: it's a bit long. I don't remember most of those plot points.

Tasha L. Harrison: It could have ended right after "too bad she's abducted by aliens."

Andrea Martucci: I think that those plot points are written in such a way that don't align exactly with like how I remember the book, the disease. It's not really a disease. And like the whole experiment. I guess technically they're experiments, but it's not like she's on an, a dissection table the entire time.

Katrina Jackson: Yeah. But that's why I love this book because it doesn't really align partially because the book is actually a little bit more playful with all of these, so it's like the blurb sounds very serious and there's I don't think a single part of the book that is in any way serious, which is wonderful.

Tasha L. Harrison: Not a moment.

Andrea Martucci: So Tasha, what did you expect coming into this book based on the summary, which we can all agree is a little too long. It doesn't quite match the tone of the story that we actually read. And this is also your first alien romance, and I know you were intrigued by Strange Love, but you couldn't get over the insectoid alien thing.

Tasha L. Harrison: Number one, I didn't read that summary. If I had, I probably would not have bought this book or participated in this podcast. Number two, what did I expect? Between Katrina and Lucy Eden talking about other alien romances with the rape berries and all this other stuff.

Like, Yeah. I don't know what that book is. I will never be reading that book, but I feel like I was already like, okay, this is going to be bonkers. I'm ready to just not be super attached to anything going on in this book.

Andrea Martucci: Okay. All right. So you had low expectations?

[00:07:30] Tasha L. Harrison: Yes. They were. The expectations were in hell yeah.

Andrea Martucci: Okay. And I should also say that the way this all came about was like two days ago, I was like, Hey, you guys want to record with me this weekend? And you were both collectively like about what? And I was like, I don't know. And the topic of aliens came up, it sounded intriguing. Katrina was like, what about this book?

I love it. I talked about it for all of 2019. And so I think we got caught up in the zeitgeist. And so think the lack of time really worked for this, where it was just like, just throw yourself into it. We're just going to do this.

Katrina Jackson: Yeah.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah, I love that we did this, together.

Tasha L. Harrison: If I had time to think about it, I wouldn't have done it. I wouldn't have read it.

Katrina Jackson: That's kind of the point of, okay. So I love, Love alien abduction romances. That is my, or just alien romance. That is my literal jam. And that's the point though, you're not gonna buy one of these books and be like, Oh, I'm going to save my weekend for this. It's literally, Ooh, I found this mess on Amazon. Let me get into it right now with like a glass of wine. I love these books and they're like so quick, they move so quickly. You can get through them very fast. And there's not usually, sometimes it depends on how hard you want to think about them, there's not so much going on that it like, begs for a lot of criticism.

Although as a genre, I think of alien romances beg more criticism than they get. But like each individual book that I read, it's just a smooth four hours of joy.

Tasha L. Harrison: That is definitely a Katrina ism. I don't feel the need to find bonkers alien abduction books on Amazon to read with a glass of wine.

I tend to lean just more towards feelings and fucking type books, like just, this is going to be 65 pages of nothing but feelings and fucking, and then I'll be done.

Katrina Jackson: I can't do that. I do get why people like that. Some of those people will gravitate to my books. Thank you. But like, for my own  pleasure, like feelings and fucking books, it's just

Tasha L. Harrison: too many feelings?

Katrina Jackson: Too real. No, it's just too real. It's like regular people living regular lives, like fucking in, whatever, a Panera.

Andrea Martucci: having to contend with real life issues.

Tasha L. Harrison: No, there's no real issues. That would be a plot.

There's no feelings, they're feelings in your pants. What are,

Andrea Martucci: I thought feelings and fucking was like emotional feelings and physical fucking.

Tasha L. Harrison: Yeah, it can be, but I really am just looking for pants feelings.

Katrina Jackson: That's what alien romances are. It's nothing but pants [00:10:00] feelings because it's all biologic, all biological.

Andrea Martucci: It's all biological.

Tasha L. Harrison: This shit was the slowest burn for something that was supposed to been quick. There was a slow fucking burn and then it still didn't even get to the part where I was just like, are we going to discuss the fact that he's a fucking lizard and that his skin feels different?

There was no description of how he felt cold or scaly or lizardly?

Katrina Jackson: Yeah, I would have liked to lean into that.

Tasha L. Harrison: Yeah. Like it was just like all of this Oh, I am a strange human in a strange world, but not so much about, I want to fuck this giant alien who looks like a lizard.

Andrea Martucci: So first of all, I just want to address that Katrina. You were like, I like this because I don't expect to engage with this critically. And I just want to point out that I being a joyless hag don't actually know how to do that. So I engaged with this critically. I also would like to talk about some of those like alien romance as a whole questions, because I have some thoughts, but let's jump into the world building.

Specifically around if you can create a completely different world you're creating an alien race, you are creating the rules of space travel and a different culture and physical body of these aliens. I felt there was a bit of lack of imagination because it was like, he's like a lizard man, like a man with a lizard head.

Tasha L. Harrison: Like that part. Like I never could really figure out what the fuck his head looked like. Was it like a lizard head or did he just have like

Andrea Martucci: the text says a lizard head?

Tasha L. Harrison: No, bro. I'm not kissing that,

Katrina Jackson: but would you want a human head was like lizard skin.

Tasha L. Harrison: That would be more realistic to me. I'm not going yo. You talking about a dinosaur?

Katrina Jackson: Yes. Oh, this is like a super,

no remember the Super Mario brothers movie where it was, I forget who it was, that character, but he literally was like a human with scales and stuff and a forked tongue. Oh my God. But the live action movie was first of all, a thing of 1993 masterpiece. It was fantastic. But there was a character who I think was masquerading as a human. And then the big reveal in the movie was that like, he was actually a a lizard underneath. I forget who he was, but literally he looked like Just a human with a slightly ellongated mouth and like scales and stuff.

I can't believe, I never [00:12:30] thought of that. Oh, okay.

Andrea Martucci: Maybe this is hitting like your nostalgia buttons.

Katrina Jackson: Yeah. Oh absolutely. Absolutely

Tasha L. Harrison: You're a fucking weirdo.

Katrina Jackson: Thank you.

Andrea Martucci: Hey, let's not be judgy. We're not judgy hags. We're joyless hags.


Tasha L. Harrison: I wasn't really digging like the lizard head thing. The reason why I don't remember it is probably because I was like Nope.

Can't do it.

Andrea Martucci: Block that out. I kind of feel like there seems to be like a, how bizarre can we get with the creation of this alien species, but also use markers that are familiar enough to the audience where they can sort of picture something in their mind. Like it's like a lizard, like we can picture a lizard.

We can picture an anthropomorphicized lizard person. Familiar enough, but exotic and exotic enough that it's like, Ooh. Oh, she's going to have sex with a lizard man, that's bizarre. So there  seems to be that theme in alien romance where it's like, how different can we get?

But I feel like the author didn't do anything with that. Like there just seemed like a lot of missed opportunities to lean into like what Tasha was saying, like how did he feel different? And I feel like there was maybe more like behavior things like he thumps his tail when he's mad.

Tasha L. Harrison: Also when he's horny..

Andrea Martucci: Yes. How can one tell?

Tasha L. Harrison: I think I was also like when I started reading, I was thinking like that juxtaposition, like when you're watching Splice or some shit like that, you're like, okay. I recognize that men will be attracted to any weirdo type woman, but he also knows that she's an alien and gets really scared, like Species, Oh my God, are we reproducing?

He gets really upset, and frazzled when he realizes that she might be trying to breed. So like, there's a moment when they're concerned about it. Like, all I kept thinking was like, Oh my God, she's going to have eggs inside of her, like a frog. And then they're going to come out like tadpole eggs.

Like I was like, please don't (Katrina cracking up) please. God don't do that.

Katrina Jackson: I would have loved that.

Andrea Martucci: I feel like if you're going to make an alien and it's all going to be biological, don't you do more with the penis? It had some ridges,

Katrina Jackson: So to be fair, I, on the one hand, absolutely agree. I think that the fact that there are so many alien romances where the alien has a tail and it never gets involved, always annoys the shit out of me or like the alien romances where they have hemipenis and that doesn't get involved,

Andrea Martucci: I'm sorry, what? Has what?

Katrina Jackson: Hemipenis, where it's like the

Tasha L. Harrison: I don't know, I don't know what this mess is called.

Katrina Jackson: Let me [00:15:00] look it up.

Andrea Martucci: Is it like a two in one deal?

Katrina Jackson: Yeah. There's a like Ice Planet Barbarian. Okay. Wait, is that even the right? That might not be the right phrase, whatever. In Ice Planet Barbarians, there's a little smaller, I don't know what it's called.

And the fact that it never gets involved, even if they're like doing it. They're like very rarely very rarely in that series. And I'm like, I'm sorry. Anal is asking to be had, it literally is positioned correctly. And I think there's one time there's one time in this. And it is sensitive as well.

So cause it sometimes gets involved in like head and there's just this one moment where like it accidentally happens and Oh, interesting. But other couples in the series don't do that. And I'm like, for why?

Andrea Martucci: Let's never tell anybody about this. Let's never share this. Let's never discuss it again.

Katrina Jackson: It's ridiculous. But yeah, no, I think that there is a failure of these alien romances to fully delve into the literal, like physical particularities, of like inter-species romance. And that always really annoys me. Cause I think you're right. It is something about making them seem or look really differently.

But then once you scratch the surface, it is like reading any other kind of like human romance. And I would also say part of that to go back to my literal favorite thing to talk about, part of that is because most of these people are literally just writing a straight up MF romance, like human MF romance.

And the men are very often coded in the same way that white men are. So there is. There is this way that like they are doing something that's very familiar and I just, I can shut my brain off about that because I have an active imagination. But no, I would argue that a lot of the people writing alien romances are really writing white coded characters, even the aliens.

And so they want them to seem different enough, but still very familiar in other ways.

Tasha L. Harrison: Interesting.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. I want to come back to that. I want to come back to is this basically an interracial powerful white man, Black woman romance?

Tasha L. Harrison: Oh yeah.

Katrina Jackson: Yeah, absolutely. And I would also like to point out as all of the, the self published authors know, you can go to the interracial list and see,

Andrea Martucci: This is, I actually looked, this is on the multicultural and interracial romance.

Tasha L. Harrison: How? How? How?

Katrina Jackson: Technically it  is interracial.

Andrea Martucci: It is literally, it's inter species, I guess

Tasha L. Harrison: Interspecies, not inter racial,

Katrina Jackson: Technically, they're [00:17:30] different cultures, I am not in favor of this, I actually literally hate this. I also hate it because if you look at the cover art, they've essentially just taken a cover art of a white man and painting him blue or red or whatever. It's ridiculous.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. Yeah. Going along with the sex, and Tasha, you were talking about how, like the slow burn of where you would expect this to be like, highly focused on isn't the whole appeal of this, that we're going to see her have sex with an alien. And like, why not have more fun with the genitalia?

Why not explore this more? Or aren't they going to have crazy, wild sex going on. But they, it was just like, it was always like P in V, instant orgasm, no description. Like every sex scene was like a paragraph long.

Tasha L. Harrison: Facts.

Katrina Jackson: This is one of the few alien romances that is not basically alien erotica with a small plot. It leans, at least for me, a little more on the like science fiction fantasy part, but that's actually why I really like this book because it is so irreverent, if you have read like a lot or even watched a lot of the like science fiction abduction or like space shows, there are parts in here that are based expressly on that. And you can see her  playing with some of those tropes. And part of why I like this book is because she makes it seem all very normal.

Like it actually isn't leaning in the way other books do on the sort of foreignness of it all. It is just okay, if I were, if I were, a broke,  newly divorced woman, trying to figure out what to do with my life, and someone was like, let me abduct you out of the world you're in.

And then you can be with me and I'll like, take care of you, you don't have to think about

Tasha L. Harrison: I don't even have to be broke. Get me off this planet.

Katrina Jackson: So there is a, there's a sort of a mundane quality to this. Cause it's like the realities of this situation, if you are someone like me, who loves, literally, if you follow me on Twitter, I am praying for the alien invasion and I'm writing all you humans out in a heartbeat to my alien lover don't care.

Like if you are that kind of person, it's not the fantasy or it's not the fantastical nature of the fantasy. It is the mundane quality. I can just leave my life behind part of it that actually is appealing. And she writes, I think, that really well, she also really writes for those of us who just hate this planet and are not huge fans of humanity because they're terrible.

It's yeah, I would leave in a heartbeat.

Tasha L. Harrison: I think that was one of the only things that I really did enjoy about it. It was like, okay.

It's grounded in reality.  At the beginning, like her everyday life is unsatisfactory and it [00:20:00] taps into that very real desire to be like, just to check out, to have an alien come down and suck you up into this fucking spaceship. And like the only thing you have to worry about is like eating and fucking that's it.

So that part makes sense. One thing I did enjoy was like, at the beginning, when they're doing the examination and they're in his POV and he's talking about soft and cute, and I was just like, this is ridiculous.

Andrea Martucci: Damn his weakness for cute, soft, cuddly things.

(laughing) Tasha L. Harrison: It was so ridiculous, but Oh, but back to the sex. Okay. The major issue I had with the sex. It's like she has spent all this time giving that tail a whole fucking personality, right? Like it can grab people, it can hug them, you smack it against the floor if you're mad or you're like exerting dominance.

And then this whole explanation for how the underside of the tail was sensitive. And then sex happens and the tail is not involved at all.

Katrina Jackson: Yeah.

Tasha L. Harrison: But how, why?

Andrea Martucci: Do you know what I was more upset about the lack of, was the tongue also was constantly in play.

Tasha L. Harrison: There was no foreplay. .

Katrina Jackson: So part of the reason that tongue, but part of the reason that tongue wouldn't be involved though, is because it's how they smell.

Andrea Martucci: So you're saying it's too highly sensitive to be all up in there?

Katrina Jackson: No, it just doesn't have the same function. Like humans use their tongues.

Andrea Martucci: To him.

Katrina Jackson: So that's what I'm saying. Like he wouldn't use his tongue to kiss or to

Tasha L. Harrison: but she showed him how to kiss.  Why can't she show him how to do the other  thing,

Andrea Martucci: That's the point, sharing cultures, come on

Katrina Jackson: in a multicultural romance, if you do not share your culture, how you use your tongue,

Tasha L. Harrison: Then why are we here?

Katrina Jackson: Some people share food. We share

Tasha L. Harrison: With our alien friends, we share how to do cunnilingus with a forked tongue

Katrina Jackson: Yeah, no, I mean, you're right. It is a missed opportunity.

Tasha L. Harrison: The tail was cause he basically turned into like a lizard lab puppy by chapter nine and I'm like, Oh, this tail is very interesting. What is going to happen with this tail? Nothing happens with the team. All this build up, nothing.

Andrea Martucci: So yesterday as I started reading this book, I was like, there's like this trope in romance where one main character is really drawn to the other immediately. They've never been drawn to anyone else this way before.

And like this person just somehow is checking all the boxes that they've always been looking for in a [00:22:30] person. And they're immediately devoted to them. And I was like, what's that called? What's that called? And I put this poll out on, I'm laughing at myself here. I put this poll out on Twitter and I'm like, what do you call this?

Do you like it? Are you indifferent? Do you hate it? And everyone instantly is like instalove. It's called instalove in this genre that you purport to be aware of. Um, Also, in paranormal romance fated mates is often used to describe this. And there's overlapping with Insta lust. Where the characters are instantly physically attracted to each other and probably refuse to acknowledge their emotional attachment. But instalove is more like, Oh my God, you're like perfect for me. And I want to be with you together forever.

I just want to share the poll results before I ask you two how you generally feel about instalove slash, if you think this is Insta Love or Insta lust. I've got like 256 votes here. So I think we have a pretty wide sampling from my Twitter followers, I guess.

40% love it. 32% are indifferent and 28% hate it. So I'm going to say leaning towards Love it, but mostly equal lovers haters and people who literally don't give a shit.

So let's see how we fall. Let's start with Tasha. Is this Insta love. Is this instalust? How do you generally feel about that trope in romance?

Tasha L. Harrison: For this book I don't think it's really insta love. I don't think it ever really becomes love, it's instalust, because if there's like all these pheromones and shit involved at removes consent, you know what I mean, it's we're not doing this because we want to, we're doing this because biologically our bodies are horny for each other and that's it. So I think it's insta lust. Do I like insta love and instalust? I do. I don't think this book was insta love. I thought so at first. But then when the whole musking came in ,  when he said Musk, all I kept thinking about was elephants going into musk.

Andrea Martucci: Elephants go into musk?

Tasha L. Harrison: Oh my God. And they're super, they're violent when they're in it. And they walk around with their business hanging out.

Stench. I feel like there he's stinking!

Andrea Martucci: Musk is a scent you can taste.

Tasha L. Harrison: Yes.

Katrina Jackson: That is the most disgusting thing I have ever heard. I'm off.

Tasha L. Harrison: Clearly I'm watching too much National Geographic, because when I said, when I read musk, I was like, like elephants?

Andrea Martucci: Katrina, how do you feel about insta love and instalust?

Katrina Jackson: I'm a huge fan of Insta lust. I think I want [00:25:00] to always read it I believe in it. Do it. Enjoy that. Would, that would also to explain why alien abduction romances, because so much of it is just literally like strange biology, what's happening? I feel things. And I'm like, yeah, you do.

Tasha L. Harrison: In your pants.

Katrina Jackson: Well in your loincloth. I don't know where you're wearing whatever


Andrea Martucci: But don't think too hard about it.

Katrina Jackson: Yeah. I don't believe in instalove. If I read something that even purports to be instalove, I just shut down. Cause it's just not real.

Cause I think we've talked about this before. I feel the same way about an HEA. I don't really care or believe in HEA unless we like come back to this couple over time, where we're like seeing them whatever at the end of their relationship, when one of them is dying, like love is an action.

So you can't love someone instantly in my opinion.

Andrea Martucci: Okay. So I'm sorry. Are we talking about bell hooks even though you said no, to talking about bell hooks?

Katrina Jackson: I believe this outside of bell hooks, but I do agree with her on this. Like it is an action, right? So Insta love is not a thing that is realistic for me. Instalust? Absolutely. An HFN? Absolutely. Yeah. I try to be consistent.

Andrea Martucci: Okay. Yeah. I think where I fall on this is I don't like Insta Love. Although I like Insta lust because I think obviously it creates a situation where our characters are going to be in close proximity and like sexy times earlier.

And it gets the ball rolling so that then they are close enough to explore their feelings and for stuff to get complicated. I think what bothers me about Insta love is that it's less believable from the standpoint of, do they know enough about each other? And do they accurately understand what they appreciate about the other person enough to?

Katrina Jackson: No.

Andrea Martucci: Why are you drawn to this person immediately based on seeing them? Probably based on physical attraction and that's not love?

Tasha L. Harrison: Not only that people are generally on their best behavior. It's like they've been sending out the representative all this time. It takes some time to peel away that veneer where I'm going to be on my best behavior when I'm around this person.

Katrina Jackson: Even just that your feelings for someone deepen as you experience things together. So the way you feel about someone a year into your relationship is actually, and it should be, in my opinion, be very different than how you feel five years into your relationship.

And that can go either way, right? Like you can be like we had a good run. I am out. Or it could just be this sort of we have experienced all of these good and bad and mundane things together. And now there's just so much more context for my feelings.

And I think that's why I [00:27:30] really can't invest in instalove

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. I think that, that's why, Katrina, the point you made earlier about this book leaning heavier into the scifi stuff, more so than the romance, yeah. I don't know like how interested this book is in exploring how people deepen relationships with each other.

Sure. And like what is love, I don't think this book cares about that at all.

Tasha L. Harrison: No.

Andrea Martucci: We hear abstractly about them, like having great conversations and laughing at each other's jokes and getting to know each other,

Tasha L. Harrison: When?

Katrina Jackson: But we don't ever see. Yeah. We don't see that.

Andrea Martucci: We never see that. And I think what sort of bothered me about the characterization of their relationship was that he's initially drawn to her because she's cute and little and and soft which, which as a warrior, he's not supposed to like because of toxic Khartarn masculinity, that's the lizard people race.

Tasha L. Harrison: I'm glad you can pronounce it, because...

Andrea Martucci: Khartarn. (We are cracking up.)

Katrina Jackson: You see all this joy this book is giving you? Do you see this? This is happiness. I just want you to remember this.

Andrea Martucci: Is this happiness? I've never felt happiness before?

Tasha L. Harrison: This is absurdity!

Katrina Jackson: I know this might be new to both of you. But this is happiness.

Andrea Martucci: Okay. All right. I will file that away to think about later, intellectualize later.

So yeah, so there's the sort of I was not supposed to feel this way because I've had it drilled into my head that certain things are attractive. And then she's attracted to him like almost instantly because he exudes power and he's bigger than everybody else.

And people listen to him and she likes when he like verbally abuses other people and physically intimidates them. And I'm sorry, I say people other Khartarns.

Tasha L. Harrison: She said people too. So

Andrea Martucci: She did. They're a people, that's fine.

Tasha L. Harrison: Are they?

Katrina Jackson: Yes!

They're sentient beings.

Andrea Martucci: Is that not a people?

But I just, I feel like if you're going to get away from the garbage pit that is earth,  she made a big point about like part of what she wants to escape on earth is  her ex being a manipulative asshole and wanting her to be a particular way.

And she's been transported off of earth and is attracted to all these sort of like toxic traits, but he treats her really nice and likes her for the way she is. So it's okay.

Katrina Jackson: Yeah. But I think you could read that two ways, right? You could read that a few different ways, but I think on the [00:30:00] one hand you could read that as she's a human, so she's looking for the familiar and to a certain extent that is familiar, right. And then the other hand, the sort of less gracious reading is she probably has PTSD from her former marriage and she is like still unable to see that those are probably negative sort of personality traits for someone you want to be with.

And that's the thing, right? If he were a human and this was just straight up contemporary, you'd be like, Oh no, girl, this rebound is not going to turn out well, move away. But one, she doesn't have the option, it's not really a thing. Her dating prospects on the spaceship are low.

And then it's also the sort of so many of these romances - I read  Ice Planet Barbarians. So that gives you aliens plus barbarians. But so much of the characterization around these like male characters is that they are physically intimidating, aggressive, except when, or they learn how to turn this off when they're with their female companions. And to a certain extent and for a certain selection of romance, that is just how they write male characters.

That's just what they look like.

Tasha L. Harrison: It's a specific fantasy, it's an alpha fantasy. And also like, when you think about like the whole fated mates aspect of it, of course, like all of this is getting stripped down to who would be the best possible person in this room to couple with so I can be protected, sort of thing? She's looking at him like, Oh, this is the biggest strongest male in here. I'm attracted to him because he's bigger and stronger than everybody else. And verbally abuses everyone.

Katrina Jackson: If we're thinking about attraction as biological, Yeah.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. I was going to say if this was a contemporary romance she would show up for work and runs into the CEO in line for coffee. And is like, Oh wow. He's just like real sexy. Then walks into a big meeting and sees him taking charge and yelling at people and asking for the final reports and stuff.

Oh, wow, like I'm real turned on by his power and dominance here. Do you know what I mean?  It just felt, it felt like that.

Katrina Jackson: This is what a lot of this is banking on. Like you feel uncomfortable about that to a certain degree. Like when it is a straight up MF contemporary with humans.

But the structure of the world...

Andrea Martucci: But it's aliens!

Katrina Jackson: It's aliens. So you don't feel uncomfortable about it.

Andrea Martucci: No, I still feel uncomfortable.

Katrina Jackson: But she's alone, of course you should want someone who's going to protect her, she's an experiment.

Tasha L. Harrison: Also too, in context, like the thing that makes sense , too to me, like we can't say that we all respond negatively [00:32:30] to the guy who takes charge because there's certainly amount of competence porn that goes into seeing someone handle their environment.

They don't have to be an asshole to do it, but there are times when I see the men in my life to handle things. I'm like, yes, that's hot. This particular like the asshole, his version, the alpha version. I don't really care for that. Like just being,

Andrea Martucci: he wasn't necessarily good at anything. He just happened to be bigger and stronger.

Tasha L. Harrison: He didn't do anything. What was his job? But what was his job?

Katrina Jackson: Wasn't he like the lead scientist though?

Andrea Martucci: No. He disdained scientists. He was a warrior.

Katrina Jackson: Oh, that's right.

Tasha L. Harrison: You should have re-read this book.

Katrina Jackson: No!

Andrea Martucci: Okay. So let's talk about the beauty and the beast aspect of this, because it's clearly also drawing on that.

Like he's a beast to everyone and she's trapped here and she's his prisoner. There was no resistance from her. There was none of that like I'm not coming down for dinner, she's instantly like, Oh, I'll have dinner with you. And he's like,  be my guest anyways. There were some very, there were some very heavy handed beauty and the beast references here.

But it didn't but it was definitely that taming of the beast, right? Like that he's mean to everybody else, but not only will she get him to be gentle with her, but she'll soften him for other people a little bit.

It didn't quite pan out. I don't know. We're obviously, obviously over intellectualizing

Tasha L. Harrison: yeah. I don't think it's that deep. I don't think it's that deep. But one of the things that I did like when they were talking about courting and she was like, when were we courting, he was like, you asked and I did it.

I was like, that's it? That was the courting? Like, Oh, demonstrate your prowess, swim. And he swam. How many times? Keep doing it until I say stop. Like that was the courting?

Andrea Martucci: Okay. So speaking of that scene, she gets so turned on by seeing him swim so much faster than all the other Khartarns.

Tasha L. Harrison: Don't say it.

Andrea Martucci: I love saying it. She gets so turned on that she's like exuding intense arousal, and every body is flicking their tongues out.

Tasha L. Harrison: They can smell it

Andrea Martucci: and smelling her and getting closer. And I was like, no, thank you. This is not part of my fantasy.

Tasha L. Harrison: It's actually kind of humiliating, and she just rolled right over that. Everybody can smell that I'm turned on. Oh no, this is horrible. Please take me to a secret place where only you can smell that I'm turned on. What the fuck? Like where's the humiliation factor. I'm just like you sit here creaming in your panties and everybody knows? That's supposed to be secret. We can, we're supposed to be able to hide our arousal!

Katrina Jackson: Can we be slightly more sex positive here, because [00:35:00] I feel like if you're the only human on a spaceship, what is the point of being embarrassed?

She's a different species. A different lesser species, by the way, they think that they're animals essentially. So it's who gives a shit? Who cares?

Andrea Martucci: you're right. There's a sex positivity angle of this. I think the fact that she suddenly realized that people, that the Khartarns could smell these things and know them about her.

I don't know. It does feel a little invasive because it's not consensual.

Katrina Jackson: I think you hit on the point though. It's not a part of your fantasy. And I think that's the thing. Like some people clearly I can read this bullshit and I'm just like, this is fantastic.

This scene is absolutely ridiculous. I love it. Give me more. And then you're like, Nope, don't want to ever

Tasha L. Harrison: It wasn't so much that he could smell it. It was that every

Andrea Martucci: everyone could smell it. Yeah, that was the problem.

Katrina Jackson: I know.

Tasha L. Harrison: And I'm like, I have no problem with that. Like in shifter romances, because

Katrina Jackson: I hate it in shifter romances, actually. So I think I have said that I don't like shifter romances. I absolutely prefer alien to shifter. And I think what I don't like about shifter romances is that, and why this scene, this kind of scene would annoy the shit out of me is because those shifters live part of their lives as humans.

So that feeling of this should be embarrassing. And you should know that it should be embarrassing. That is what I would read into that scene. But for aliens I'm like, they don't fucking know, their code of like literal socialized interaction is totally different.

The fact that there's no ability for these aliens or these aliens have had very limited contact with humans,  they would not see a problem with tasting the air, smelling her arousal. But like a Wolf shifter who has spent most of its life living in  human communities are near humans.

They know something, right. So when this random human, starts to feel aroused and they're like, commenting on it or smelling it, it just seems too close to reality.

Tasha L. Harrison: Like the musk, like the musking.

Andrea Martucci: I think we can agree we should stop using the word musk  Okay. So here's my theory about alien romance writ large. I think we've touched on some of these already. I think there's two main threads of alien romance. Some are more like earth sucks and the people here don't value the right things.

And the person, usually almost always, as far as I've seen, the earth woman who is taken to an alien planet or on an alien spacecraft is devalued on earth [00:37:30] for who she is. And when she is taken to this alien culture, she is valued for who she is.

In Strange Love, she was like riddled with debt. She didn't really have any close family or friend connections. And she was like a childcare worker and the things she was interested in were not like monetarily valuable or useful on earth or rewarded properly. But then when she goes to this alien planet, they're all like, Oh my God, she's awesome. We value these things that she can do.

She was not for this world. And, was much more successful elsewhere and wasn't leaving anything good behind.

I think the other strain of alien romance is more of this gender essentialist fantasy of cis women being sort of like valued for their ability to bear children and then confining them but they're loving being able to revel in this like domestic motherly bliss. So where, yeah, the human women are more seen as like vessels for children and you're going to be a mother. Yay.

Tasha L. Harrison: Came all the way to an alien planet just to give birth, what the fuck?

Katrina Jackson: Because usually the set up  for that is an alien race is like dying out, or hasn't been able to reproduce for a few generations. So this there's like the value placed on reproduction.

Tasha L. Harrison: Sounds like Darwinism y'all should just die.

Katrina Jackson: But, I mean like that as a set up as Andrea said, this sort of like cis-gender essentialist, the value placed on reproduction. I said it before, it's just breeding, like just breeder fic right? Yeah, I think you're right. I think those are the strains in alien romances that I've seen.

Andrea Martucci: I think what troubled me about this book is it hit both of those like,

Katrina Jackson: come on, multitasking

Andrea Martucci: so on the one hand it was like artist Semeera wow, like your talent as an artist, which obviously is devalued on earth. You can get a patron and be valued for this. And then she did you guys like her bringing capitalism to creating a Hallmark company scheme on Home Planet?

Tasha L. Harrison: What in the fuck?

Katrina Jackson: Literal capitalism.

I love that so much because that little twist at the end is what the fuck is going on?

Tasha L. Harrison: She literally  became a reality TV star. Like what the fuck?

Katrina Jackson: Like the little classic aliens who are weird as hell?

Andrea Martucci: Jesus. So let's talk about the end. Let's talk about the end here. So this book. [00:40:00] Somehow jumps the shark at the end.

Tasha L. Harrison: I don't even, I don't understand how we got there. I'm just so confused.

Katrina Jackson: It's slightly Metta. I do want to point that out. It is slightly meta.

Andrea Martucci: That there are aliens who are like our concept of aliens who sorry please expand on that.

Tasha L. Harrison: Explain, how it's meta please.

Katrina Jackson: Okay. So like part of what's happening in the end.

Whatever they leave the ship where they are. I'm not giving that away, mostly because I don't remember all of it does happen. It doesn't happen very quickly.  Oh, okay. We are on a different ship now. But basically, they discovered that there are various experiments, blah blah blah.

Tasha L. Harrison: Her friends got kidnapped too.

Katrina Jackson: Right. And our main couple are essentially like taken in by the classic,  gray, big eye big head, small body aliens that we have in like popular culture. And they give everyone like a choice what do they want to do? They want to go back to earth? Do they want to like, do all these other things?

And I think a couple of people go back to earth. Someone else stay with their lover. I don't know if they

Andrea Martucci: How do they meet them? I, we won't go there, but how, okay. Please continue.

Katrina Jackson: And then the main character and another female character essentially become these ambassadors on this entertainment like network

Andrea Martucci: Traveling sideshow freaks. (laugh break)

Tasha L. Harrison: So ridiculous.

Katrina Jackson: So what I loved about it is that it's taking this idea, so everyone always says about the alien abductions, like, why would they steal humans? What are they doing with them? And then this is the sort of meta part where it's like, Oh they're taking humans. But also just other species from other planets. This is the implication here. That these aliens are creating. It is like a reality TV show or like some reality TV, like network. They're just taking all these different species of people. And they're just like traveling around being, yeah, like side show acts,

Andrea Martucci: A speaking tour!

Katrina Jackson: It's Oh look humans. This is what it's like to be human. Or this is what I look like. Please look at my human body, like that kind of like weird kid. But what I love from that is, so again, this meta part assumes that you probably were the kind of kid, like I was, who loved reading the alien abduction stories in National Inquirer when you were a kid.

Andrea Martucci: And also ghost sightings. There's like that section of the library that has all this like weird shit.

Katrina Jackson: I didn't like ghost stuff.

Tasha L. Harrison: I liked all of that extra terrestrial shit, all of it. I read all that stuff I still do.

Katrina Jackson: But so when I was a kid, I would always read those stories of people who had been like, [00:42:30] quote unquote, like abducted and they would be like, and then they sent me back and I would always think, why the fuck did you come back?

What is wrong with you? And what I loved about this ending is that it's okay, the, like whatever sentimental or whatever, went back to their lives to be like side shows at home and be like broken in National Inquirer. But the smart ones became sideshows in this alien traveling roadshow and they got this like cool life where they got to explore the universe with their alien lover and their inter-species children.


Tasha L. Harrison: I don't know. I don't even want to have a conversation- if I'm abducted by aliens. This was my major issue. It was like we had established, it was too far from earth. Y'all motherfuckers can't get back. That was out. Going home was out. And then all of a sudden going home is back on the table.

Again. No, I don't want to go home. I don't even want to have this conflict about, should I go home? What about my family? I don't care. I've been abducted by aliens now

Katrina Jackson: because your life will never be the same.

Tasha L. Harrison: Now you can remember being abducted by aliens. There was no conversation about the MIB, wiping their memories.

Andrea Martucci: There was they were going to wipe their memory.

Katrina Jackson: Yeah, they were going to, the aliens said that if they went back they'd wipe their memory.

Tasha L. Harrison: Then what was the benefit of the other ones going back, then?

Andrea Martucci: Because they thought earth was the shit. And yeah, it was, I think it was very much just they were like, my culture is the best culture. The way they set up the friends.

Katrina Jackson: They also had different experiences.

Tasha L. Harrison: Yeah. Like that man, that was scared of the lizards man. That would have been horrific.

Katrina Jackson: Oh my God.

Andrea Martucci: Every time we talked about the friends, I put in my notes, friends in scare quotes because the one friend who was scared of like snakes and reptiles. I felt for that guy this was obviously not the place for him.

But then like her friends instantly turn on her and called her a whore. And it was intense.

Tasha L. Harrison: Hold on though. Andrea, this is a hostage situation. She was the only one that got treated well. So it's just if you all of us got arrested, and me and Katrina are still sitting in a police station, being questioned. And then the cops come in and say, Andrea went home because she cooperated. We automatically gonna turn on your ass. What the fuck you doing telling everybody everything?

Andrea Martucci: That's a complicated example for reasons.

Katrina Jackson: This is a complicated example -

Tasha L. Harrison: No it's the same thing!

Katrina Jackson: - because it Andrea was the only one of us who went home, I'm calling racism. What's happening here.

Tasha L. Harrison: We're not -excluding rates, like true. She probably would go home anyway.

Andrea Martucci: I'm sorry!.

Tasha L. Harrison: She would just have to look soft and small, so scared.

Andrea Martucci: Okay. So imagine one of the other male characters in this example, because I think we are talking about so [00:45:00] much of this boils down to that biology and like this gender essentialism where men act one way women act another way and people's genders are how they were assigned at birth. This book starts where they're like, we think she's a female, she has ovaries. Like this book is so explicit about doing that thing.

So let's say one of her male friends wakes up on the table. Is Captain Kader gonna think he's small and cute and adorable and want to fuck him?

Like how much did that impact -

Tasha L. Harrison: He wasn't squishy.   

Andrea Martucci: Yeah. Like the muscle guy, is the muscled guy not squishy enough to be considered cute, even though he's smaller than them? If he had been cooperative from the beginning, would he have had a different experience or was her experience solely wrapped up in not only her cooperativeness, but like her initial attraction to Captain Kader, who was the only person in this entire situation who was in the position to give her super preferential treatment.

Tasha L. Harrison: Yes.

Katrina Jackson: I think the other thing too, is that straight up, I like these stories and I do not enjoy being forced to think about them. I'm joking. I love it. But yeah, so many of these stories do totally preclude mostly by avoidance, a possibility of homosexuality or any other kind of sexuality.

And then there is this something that happened like Ice Planet Barbarians, but that, it seems obvious in a lot of these is that if you have someone who is infertile on earth, they become fertile, so in like Ice Planet Barbarians, whatever, the little like alien thing that keeps them alive, like fixes quote unquote fixes them.

Andrea Martucci: The Sakooi?

(I know this isn't how it's spelled but I spent a good 5 minutes trying to find it by googling and sorry, gave up.)

Katrina Jackson: Oh that's right. I can't say it.

Tasha L. Harrison: What is it?

Andrea Martucci: It doesn't matter.

Katrina Jackson: I love those books though. But there are a whole bunch of like really problematic, like biological narratives. So it like quote unquote fixes, whatever, like health issues you have, including infertility, that's a problem. Right. And then there, the only other infertile human character in that series is an older woman who had children, left her children at home.

And then she eventually adopts a little alien orphan or something like that. So anyway, there is this sort of like narrative in a lot of these stories that is entirely based on the sort of. Heterosexuality, even in an inter-species relationship because it's all about reproduction.

Andrea Martucci: So like the end of the book, the little gray aliens are like, Hey, guess what? Despite the fact that we never talked about this with you, overriding your consent, we created 13 children where we spliced your DNA together. They'll be [00:47:30] here in two weeks. Hope you're ok with that.

Katrina Jackson: There's our tadpoles.

Andrea Martucci: And yes, it had been covered that she had her

Tasha L. Harrison: she had a hysterectomy.

Andrea Martucci: She had a hysterectomy for some medical reason. And that is why her ex-husband divorced her, which is traumatic. I think this is just and

Katrina Jackson: waving hand-waving all of that.

Andrea Martucci: It was all handwaving and they never really addressed her emotions around that. And then she finds out she's going to have 13 children and she's just okay. It's (frustration sound)

Okay so I think like this book is enjoyable. It's obviously, like I read it quickly not just because I had to talk about it  36 hours after we first talked about it.

But it's interesting. There's a lot to think about, and it is laugh out loud funny at some parts there's wordplay. It's like there's a misunderstanding about the word meat at one point, which as you can imagine, but it is hilarious, but it also strikes me that this book can be incredibly harmful, particularly for some people.

And I think around that sort of gender essentialism, around that assumed heterosexuality, and around the magic fertility.

Tasha L. Harrison: Okay. So I feel like a lot of people who read these alien abduction or alien romances are reading them to escape that in a way, which after reading this, I don't understand how you're escaping it because it's still very much read like a male-female.

Yeah, romance to me. I, I have lots of complicated thoughts about it. I don't think it's harmful, but I do feel like it's like a self insert sort of thing too.

Katrina Jackson: They all are. that was my point. That was the point I was going to make almost all of these heroines, all these female characters are not like other girls. That is literally the sort of point.

And that varies. So in like Ice Planet Barbarians, and sometimes it's like, I'm not like other girls because I'm fat or I'm Black, or I'm infertile or whatever. It's always that sort of there is something, as Andrea said something about me and my home planet that like made me like, quote unquote, undervalued or devalued, but like here I am valued.

And that becomes a problem when you also think about -Like I remember when I was reading Ice Planet Barbarians, which also explains why I would have looked for this kind of book, is that so much of what also makes these female characters attractive is their whiteness, like there is this point in Ice Planet Barbarians where the first like few books or whatever I believe, they're all white women. And I think one of them [00:50:00] remarks on that and then you also see that in the way that like the aliens  talk about their  yellow hair or their  rosy skin. And so there is this sort of way, and there is a sort of way in which I think some people and I'm going to say some because I read these, messy ass books too, and love them.

I feel what I feel. But there is the way that like, everyone always says that there are certain genres of romance that people go to get that sort of like old feeling of romance, you know what I mean? that sort of

Tasha L. Harrison: I don't have to be responsible for the problematic shit in here. This is baked in, it's aliens. Of course, it's going to be problematic. It's kinda like shifters too. Like you just allow certain things that you wouldn't with like with contemporary romance, you just you're like, Oh, of course. There's no real consent here because there's musking, of course, she's going to be happy about the 13 tadpoles that the baby aliens made for her. These are things that you're just like, Ugh,

Katrina Jackson: That you would be squeamish about in contemporary, but like here you almost, not even you're okay with them. You expect them. That's the only thing. I can absolutely read these books for enjoyment, but I also can read these books for enjoyment and then also have this other level of investigation,  and then I make decisions within that about what I will and will not read.

So I have not read books or I have put books down that are even more explicit about the lack of consent. And in that, they're just describing rape for a smooth third of the book or something like that. Or I have decided not to read books that are, again, even more explicit about the sort of white supremacy of it all, because I also do realize I don't care what anyone says. I don't care how good their world-building is. Most of these people are writing in the male aliens are just writing white men. And some people do a better job of hiding that or not. But to a certain extent, everyone is doing that. There are a few who are not, Nicky Sloan, I think.

Yeah. There are a few who also explicitly are not, but those characters are also raced in other ways. I make decisions to go where I would like, but there is a way that I think a lot of these books end up operating as self insert in very particular ways, but then they also end up operating also as like incredibly white supremacists in other ways, and et cetera.

And so I wish there was a little bit more conversation about that, but in the conversation about romance, however faulty they are, we leave a lot of PNR, like out of the conversation.

Tasha L. Harrison: Facts. I also think that it hits a lot on all of those fantasy tropes, like the fairytale tropes, the beauty and the beast rescue, like someone, this woman is being rescued from her life, like a magic fixing of [00:52:30] infertility. Like it hits on all of these tropes that are buried, but they're also baked into a lot of romance. So we don't see them as much. If you're paying attention and you're reading critically, of course, you're going to see it.

But if you're not realizing that, more than a third of a contemporary romance is just white men rescuing people.

Andrea Martucci: Yeah.  I am not shaming anybody for reading anything. I do think though it's important to critically look at this stuff and see that sleight of hand that's going on, where it's yeah. Just because you put it on an alien planet doesn't mean that it's actually getting away from the stuff that we find problematic and other genres. It's just trying to hand wave away. Oh no, it's not white supremacy. They're aliens. They don't have race.

Katrina Jackson: We don't have race, but every human girl they stole is thin, straight sized

Tasha L. Harrison: like blonde, blue-eyed.... Yeah.

Andrea Martucci: They don't have race. And yet he's the cream colored one with a pink penis.   Okay.   But as soon as I read that, I was like, excuse?

Tasha L. Harrison: All this time. You said lizard. I'm thinking green and then you talk about cream color with a P

I'm just having reactions over here,

Katrina Jackson: She's just disgusted.

Andrea Martucci: So I feel like we're going to know what Tasha is going to say here, but good artists borrow great artists steal. You're both romance writers, which parts of this book are you like, Oh, I'm going to steal that for my books?

Tasha L. Harrison: None of them.

Andrea Martucci: Katrina?

Tasha L. Harrison: Kidnapping, maybe.

Katrina Jackson: I am planning an alien series and so there are parts of this that I really love. I think the part that I love that I wouldn't say that I would be stealing it because I had this idea before I read this book, but it was nice to see it executed is a character who's like a human character, who's like, no, my God earth is terrible. I do not want to go back there. Like why would I ever in my entire life want to? That is also deeply that's myself insert. A character. Who's take me off this like ghetto rock and let's go somewhere else.

Andrea Martucci: That's fair. That's fair. So if people are silly and haven't read one of your books yet, what is a good intro to your oeuvre Tasha?

Tasha L. Harrison: I don't know cause people just be having real weird reactions to how I've been writing lately. I guess if you're going for insta [00:55:00] love, insta lust, insta love romance, you can go with A Taste of Her Own Medicine. It's an older woman, younger man. Big old cinnamon roll hero. Yeah, that's a good entry.

Andrea Martucci: He's got big strong shoulders that can carry her troubles.

Tasha L. Harrison: Yes. His name is literally Atlas. It's ridiculous.

Andrea Martucci: Was that intentional, Tasha?

Tasha L. Harrison: I don't know. Maybe it's on the nose.

Andrea Martucci: What about you Katrina? Now I would define your oeuvre as thin walls.

Katrina Jackson: Oh, okay. So a good introduction to thin walls.

Tasha L. Harrison: Every book she's ever written,

Andrea Martucci: every book,

Tasha L. Harrison: The fact that you didn't realize it until we pointed out is hilarious to me.

Katrina Jackson: Oh, so I was having this whole conversation with Lucy Eden about how I don't remember anything in my books. And like I saw someone recommend The Tenant and they were like, it's a ghost story. It's a haunted house. And I was like, it's not a haunted house. And I was like, there's a fucking ghost. Who is the,

Tasha L. Harrison: wow.

Andrea Martucci: Can I also just point out that in this conversation, you said you don't like ghosts?

(laughs) Katrina Jackson: No, I didn't like those ghost stories, but I, I wrote it. Yeah. I wrote a ghost. I liked Casper, like kid. I would say a read thin walls. The Hitman has like a pretty good thin wall scene. And if you like mafia, if you like, he's not really an alpha though I don't know, nevermind

Andrea Martucci: He's like spinning a pizza. He's like, can I bring you some cappuccino?

then he's like fingers in the back room, but

Tasha L. Harrison: He's like how I imagine Eric Roberts is like the ultimate bad guy in the nineties. It's yes, with his broken nose and he's breaking fingers, but also -

Katrina Jackson: Oh no, this is terrible. -,

Tasha L. Harrison: no, it's the bad guy in every lifetime movie. He's horrible, front-facing and then he's all soft and like cuddly with his female and by cuddly, cuddling his penis into her vagina.

Katrina Jackson: I guess that's a definition of cuddly. Okay. All right. That's your definition of cuddly, I do realize.

Tasha L. Harrison: It's a definition of cuddly.

Andrea Martucci: To be fair. That was the definition of this book. Alien Mate Experiment.

Tasha L. Harrison: So cuddling his penis in her vagina

Andrea Martucci: to be fair. Any final thoughts on Alien Mate Experiment?

No final thoughts?,

Tasha L. Harrison: It was a thing that happened.

Katrina Jackson: I'm looking at Tasha.

Tasha L. Harrison: It was a thing that happened. I don't regret it, but also I'm never doing it again.

Andrea Martucci: Katrina how much regret do you have sharing this with us?

Katrina Jackson: None, this is amazing. I don't know why people don't like having their friends trash books they love.

It's hilarious. I'd also like to point out again that we have been laughing for a smooth two hours because of this book. [00:57:30] So thank you, Zenobia Renquist.

For being absurd.

Andrea Martucci: And after this, after we get off, I will spend two hours journaling about what joy feels like.

Tasha L. Harrison: I don't know joy. I'm not entirely sure I tapped into it now.

Andrea Martucci: So I think we cracked this nut wide open. Thanks. (laughs)

I think we cracked this space ship... nope. I'll workshop it.

  Thanks for listening to episode 83 of Shelf Love and thank you to the joyless hags for joining me. A transcript and show notes for this episode can be found on Shelflovepodcast.Com.

Thanks for joining me today. If you have any thoughts on the show, I would love for you to reach out to me. You can send an email to [email protected]. This episode is produced by me, Andrea Martucci. Thank you to Shelf Love's editorial (messes up and starts over). Thank you to Shelf Love. (laughs)

This is a look under the hood ladies.

Thank you to Shelf Love's editorial advisory board members, Katrina Jackson and Tasha L. Harrison here with me now.

That's all for this week. Black lives matter, stay safe, stay mad and keep reading romance.

But first, how are you going to sign off editorial?

Katrina Jackson: Bye bye.

Tasha L. Harrison: Bye. (3 seconds of obnoxious "Byeeeeeee" alternating between joyless hags)