Here is a text transcript of DBSA Podcast 74. Reader Email, Historicals, Pitches, Pronunciation and Recommendations. You can listen to the mp3 here, or you can read on!
This podcast transcript was constructed of excellence by Garlic Knitter, who is a wicked-fierce transcriptionist.
Here are the books we discuss:
Sarah Wendell: Hello, and welcome to another DBSA podcast. I’m Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and with me is Jane Litte from Dear Author. Today, we’re discussing an email from a reader who’s looking for historical recommendations, and then we find out what happens when an author emails us a pitch and Sarah unintentionally spoils a book for Jane. Oops!
We end with a discussion of male/male romance based on a recommendation from a reader and blogger, Danielle, the Book Queen, who adored a book and was looking for more like it. Maybe you can help us out there.
The music that you’re listening to was provided by Sassy Outwater. We’ll have more information at the end of the podcast as to who this is.
And this podcast is brought to you by New American Library, publisher of Come to Me Quietly, the brand-new new adult novel from New York Times bestselling sensation A. L. Jackson, available wherever books are sold.
I’ll have more information at the end of the podcast about the music, the book, and how to contact us, ‘cause you know what, you should totally email us.
And now, on with the podcast!
Sarah: So, Kim – this is an older email, and I apologize for that – Kim says she really enjoyed listening to one of the latest podcasts, especially the one about the bad football book.
Even though I avoid sports romances, I hope you’ll keep reading them and report back to us about all the really bad ones. I went to the University of Alabama – Roll Tide – I mean, I don’t care about football at all, but going to such a big football school in the south, you can’t help but pick up some things. You are absolutely right about dressing up and how it’s like a religion. We used to joke about people praying to Saint Bear Bryant for a good football season, and pretty much everything you said was right. I am cackling just thinking about how mad Coach – [S: Is it SaBAN or SAban? I have no idea. J: SAban. S: SAban] – how mad Coach Saban would be if one of the players not only threw the football in the stands but then proceeded to run off the field to cradle the heroine.
[Laughs] That would be awesome.
I figured I’d also take this opportunity to ask you a question. My preferred romance genre is historical, particularly Regency, but sometimes I get a little tired of all the balls. When I read Elizabeth Hoyt’s Thief of Shadows, it was like a light bulb turned on. I loved having the characters split their time between fancy society parties and actual social issues. I hunted down the rest of Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series, but I’m lost on where to go from here. Do you have any recommendation for historicals that tackle the inequalities of the time period, or at least get away from parlors and ballrooms?
Jane: I mean, the obvious one is Courtney Milan. I think that her books don’t take place a lot in that area. I’ll give you – this is probably going to be a terrible recommendation, but I’m going to give it anyway, ‘cause I think the book’s only, like, 99 cents. So, I’m trying to read and review one historical a month in 2014.
Sarah: I wanted to ask you about that, so I’m glad you brought it up.
Jane: And, so, one of the first books I read was Moriah Densley’s The King of Threadneedle Street. It was the number one Victorian historical; I think it was one of the number one historicals at the time that I bought it, back in late December, and it was a mess. [Laughs] But a number of people who said that it was a mess said that Song for Sophia was actually much better and that that’s the one I should read, so I have bought – it’s 99 cents – Song for Sophia by Moriah Densley, and then the other author that I would recommend, probably, is Jennifer Ashley. I really loved her The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie; I’ve talked about it on the podcast before. I think the entire series is really good, but it is Victorian, and I kind of like the Victorian time period because it was just a little more progressive. I don’t know how the reader would feel about that, but those are my recommendations.
Sarah: I have many. Definitely the Courtney Milan series, in part because they are Victorian, and they deal with social issues, but especially in the Turner Brothers series and in the current series, her characters are dealing with the consequences and limitations of status within various social classes. And in the Turner series, the first book is about the brother who has successfully argued in court that he should inherit the duke’s title, and so he is now a duke. His brother is still a practicing barrister in a town, and the difference in their opinion of what they, what one another does alone is fascinating, to say nothing of the way that they live their lives in those two books. So, definitely start with Milan.
Another author you might like is Zoe Archer, and that’s a hard recommendation for me to make, because I think that her writing isn’t ideal for every reader. She doesn’t have a sort of broad, universal appeal. Her writing is, is very particular in the way that it’s constructed. I happen to love it because I really like the way that she takes so much attention with the words that she’s putting together, but she also explores different classes, and her new series, which is about a bunch of people who are trying to get revenge on the aristocracy for doing shitty things and then getting away with it ‘cause they’re aristocrats, and that’s the Nemesis Unlimited series. The first one I reviewed starts with the hero escaping from prison, which is supposed to be completely impossible. Because the first few chapters start with him escaping, they begin with high energy, and they continue. When he gets to the point where he’s captured by the people from Revenge Unlimited and they explain what they want him to do, it gets a little slow. It goes from being an action book very quickly to a strategy book, which was a harder transition for me to make, but they are dealing with the difference in class and the actual social issues of the fact that the aristocracy could get away with doing incredibly shitty things to people and have no consequences, and these people are trying to establish consequences for them, which was really satisfying when they pull it off.
The other thing that you mentioned, Kim, was that you don’t like nothing but ballrooms and parlors, which I totally agree; I have an entire category I call Historical But Not in a Ballroom. My two favorite Historical But Not in a Ballroom writers are Julie Anne Long and Kate Noble. Julie Anne Long is writing about two wealthy and/or titled families, but not every sibling and not every person in those families is wealthy, and they do explore, some of them, the differences in social class, particularly the one with the vicar and the courtesan who moves to town when she has inherited a piece of property. The stories are also all of things that I like about small town contemporary, only in a historical venue, because they all take place in this town called Pennyroyal Green. The fact that they are not in London, most of them, and the fact that they deal with each other in a small town setting means that you get a lot of the same characters, but you also get a different establishment of class boundaries in among those characters. Plus, if you like it, there’s, like, nine of them! So you have many months of reading.
The last author I want to recommend is Kate Noble. For me, she’s one of those writers that not enough people know about, and I love her books, that also could be, much like Zoe Archer, that they are particularly fine-tuned to my tastes. I love her writing. They live permanently on my Kindle. Her books are interconnected but don’t have to be read in order. My favorite was The Summer of You, which is about a young woman who leaves a London season to go out to the country to take care of a family member and how completely bummed out she is to be missing all the fun, and how she spends her summer in the home where she grew up, way, way, way, WAY out of town. Many of the other books in Kate Noble’s world take place in and out of London, but they deal with different members of the family, so they’re not all titled. Some of them get jilted, some of them are scholars who want to get into a particular academy for study that’s barred to women. One of them takes place in Regency Venice, which I found really fun. They don’t explore the social issues so much as they explore the emotional consequences of all of these social interactions, but I love them because they are slightly different and they aren’t all parlors and ballrooms.
But that is my list of historical recommendations, ‘cause I really like historicals. Jane, I think you need some better historical recommendations. Do you know what you’re reading in February?
Jane: Okay, I’m reading How to Wed an Earl by Ivory Lei. I started it. It’s going to be slow. [Laughs] Unless it – it’s pretty clichéd right now, so I don’t know. After that, I plan to read, does a 1920s book count as a historical?
Sarah: Oh, I think it totally counts.
Jane: After that, I’m thinking about reading Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett, which takes place in the Roaring Twenties, San Francisco, “a hotbed of illegal boozing, raw lust, and black magic.”
Sarah: Well, that sounds like fun!
Jane: What else am I going to read? That’s about it, so far.
Sarah: This is from Anna, who wants to tell us about a book that she wants to suggest, and it’s kind of spoiler-y about the book, so I’m not 100% sure I’ll put this in, but let’s give it a whirl. Anna says:
I’m an avid podcast listener; I defer my weekly laundry-folding extravaganza until you have a new one, and if you skip a week, we live out of plastic buckets instead of our closets. [Laughs] Over the years, I’ve exchanged email with Sarah, submitted the Wunder Boner fish tool video, and met Sarah at the Emerald City Writers’ Conference. When I heard your November 17 discussion about heroines with prosthetic legs, I had to write after I finished jumping up and down squealing, “My book! My book!” Carina Press will publish my debut paranormal/romantic suspense First to Burn on January 27, 2014. The heroine [and this is apparently a bit of a spoiler] is an army doctor in Afghanistan, and she loses her leg at the midpoint of the story. I didn’t want to reveal the plot spoiler or be a shameless self-promoter, so I didn’t post to the public comment section. Theresa doesn’t want the hero to see her body after. He is an immortal Viking, a man she’s watched heal from devastating injuries. His perfect body only deepens the contrast she feels when next to him. Without her leg, she loses her sense of being sexually attractive, her belief in her –
Jane: I’m reading this book!
Sarah: You are?!
Jane: You spoiled – ruined it for me!
Sarah: Oh, fuck!
Sarah: I’m so sorry! [Laughs]
Jane: ‘Cause I have not gotten to that point. In fact, it’s so ironic, because I was remembering this author had sent me this great pitch, and I was in the middle of reading it, and then I switched to something else, ‘cause I think someone asked me to read something.
Jane: And I meant to go back and read it, but I could not for the life of me remember the name, so –
Sarah: That’s First to Burn! Sorry! Are you going to continue reading it, or have I totally fucked it up for you?
Jane: No, actually, now I know where it’s going, I’m kind of intrigued. I have to tell you, when I first started reading the story, I was very, I am very confused, because I’m not sure whether everyone in his little group is immortal, or is it just him? I – It’s just not clear. So, I wish that spoiler had been in the email.
Sarah: Ooh, I’m sorry! [Laughs] Well, that’s funny, I spoiled the book for you. My bad! What I liked about her email was that she knows that her book has romantic suspense elements, which she knows that I don’t like, but it also has very virile Viking echoes, which she knows that I do, and it has the strong heroine and military realism that you liked in the Kaylea Cross Bagram Special Ops series. Because at least a third of the book takes place during leave in Rome or back in the U.S., the romance plot is at least equal to the suspense elements. So she’s actually thinking, Okay, well, Jane likes this and Sarah likes that, so maybe they would like this. And she’s [laughs], she’s really, really hoping that one of us would like to take a look at it [laughs], even though she’s worried that we won’t like it. I think it’s hilarious that you’re actually reading it now, and I totally spoiled it for you. [Laughs] God, I feel terrible!
Jane: I’m like, when you first, like, this is an army doctor, blah blah blah, and then when you flipped to the immortal, I’m like, that, that book, I know that book.
Sarah: [Laughs] Dude, I suck, I’m sorry.
Jane: That’s all right.
Sarah: Well, you’re going to read it and let me know what you think, right?
Jane: Yeah, I’ll read it before the next podcast.
Sarah: Based on what you’ve read so far, do you think I’d like it?
Jane: I don’t know. Like I said in the beginning, I was, I was really confused, and I still am, but I just need to read on. I’m only at the 22%…
Sarah: Oh, well, you’ll finish that in an hour.
I have another email, this time from Abby, who has to correct my pronunciation, which is kind of embarrassing.
Hi, Sarah and Jane. I’m a huge fan of the podcast, and I really love the episode on disappointing endings and improbably football player/twenty-year-old British philosophy grad student in Alabama who’s incidentally joining a sorority, what? romance. I just wanted to let you know that when you coined the term “Hadrian Collider Love” for the hyperaccelerated relationship, I think you actually mean “Hadron Collider Love.” The Large Hadron Collider is a highly appropriate analogy for the speed with which some romance couples fall in love, but it’s pronounced “Hadron” not “Hadrian” as in Hadrian’s Wall.
I was going to let it slide, but it’s such a good term that I want to hear it pronounced correctly. I’m also a scientist, and I twitched uncontrollably every time you said “Hadrian Collider.”
[Laughs] Sorry about that, Abby.
Thanks, and keep the podcast hilarity coming. You guys are great!
Hadron Collider. Large Hadron Collider. Hadron Collider Love. There are a lot of books with Hadron Collider Love, aren’t there? And now I’m going to get another email from Abby saying, “No, you’re still not saying it right.” I’m really sorry about that, Abby, but thank you [laughs], thank you for writing to us.
I also have a follow-up email from Danielle, the Book Queen, about a book that she extremely, highly, jumping-up-and-down, really-you-need-to-read-this-book recommends. So this is a bit of a long email, but I really love how she recommends the series. She’s talked about it before, so this is a bit of a repeat, but it’s cool.
Dear Sarah and Jane: Today while I was out walking I started listening to some of the older podcasts on shuffle, and which episode should come up but the one where I gushed about my love of Brigid Kemmerer’s Elemental series a few months back! Since book 4, Secret, will be out in a few weeks, I couldn’t restrain myself, and I had to share my love of this amazing book. I have never been one to read male/male romance. It was simply never a genre that interested me, nor was it one that I felt comfortable reading, but I think that has everything to do with the authors I’d tried in the past rather than the genre as a whole. After finishing up Nick’s story the other day, I now have this itch to find a really good male/male romance to try, something I never thought I would say.
Even though Secret is a YA, Kemmerer did such a fantastic job at creating a very sexy romance between these two young men. It never got graphic – pity, the dirty girl in me really wanted them to step over that YA line – yet it was still hotter than many erotic romances that I’ve picked up over the years. I’m not afraid to admit it made me “hot and bothered,” and there was nothing beyond some heavy kissing and a few stolen touches with nothing more than a mere caress or two below the waist. I can’t even begin to explain just how great these scenes were. You simply have to read it to understand, but she created such passion and desire with touches and blushes, kisses and banter, I never wanted the book to end, and as I mentioned, I’m ready to beg Kemmerer for an 18+ deleted scene or something. Hell, I’d take some sexy, well-written fanfic at this point. Unlike the previous books, Secret centered more around the budding relationship rather than the action. However, in true Kemmerer fashion, there were still more than a few twists and turns thrown in. Without ruining anything, I’ll just say this: Tyler.
Well, that sounds ominous. Anyway…
Anyhow, I loved watching Nick and Adam, they make such a sweet couple, and I’ll admit I even started to crush a bit on Adam, though I realize I am not his type. As soon as I finished the book, I wanted nothing more than to start all over again and mark up my e-reader with all my favorite quotes and scenes. I’ve pre-ordered my print copy, and when it arrives, I can promise you I’ll be locking myself up somewhere quiet to do yet another re-read, Post-Its at the ready. To your readers, I just have to say this: If you have not yet picked up the series, please do yourself a favor and do so. And Sarah, I know you’re horrible at remembering series [S: Yes, yes, I am], but I do hope you’ll find time to continue this particular series soon, and more importantly, I hope you enjoy it even a fraction as much as I have, although if you don’t, I do look forward to hearing why. I guess I’ll end this with a question for you and your readers: What are a few great male/male romances that I should try? I liked the relationship in Secret because Nick had never been with a guy; Adam had, but it wasn’t the best experience and he’d since avoided anything beyond a date or two. It was something new and very intoxicating for both men, and therefore for me, the reader, as well. Blushing was common, which I loved. I want something sexy, but I want tasteful sexy, not gay porno, if that makes sense. I received a few recommendations on Twitter and Facebook the other day, but I’d like to do some more research before I buy anything.
Danielle, the Book Queen
Okay, Danielle, you’ve totally talked me into it, I will re-read the series, and I’ll probably re-read the book that I already read because all I remember was teenagers and angst and some magic, and, you know, I don’t even remember what I was wearing yesterday, so, clearly I need to start over.
As far as male/male romance, though, there are a couple books you might really like. One of them is called Strawberries for Dessert by Marie Sexton, and what’s interesting about that book in particular is that one of the characters is gay and very quiet about it, and one of them is extremely flamboyant and makes no hiding at all about the fact that he is a very, very gay man. I believe that he is called a twink in parlance, but I could be wrong about that. I like the book because they both struggle with being honest, and it’s part of a larger series, but you don’t have to read it in order.
Another book you might enjoy is called Caught Running by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux. This book came out in 2007, and it is about two guys who go back to teaching at their old high school, one as a coach and the other as a science teacher, and they find themselves attracted to each other, and they have to manage that attraction. They are adults, so there’s obviously sex, but I thought it was both incredibly emotional and very, very powerful. It was one of my favorite male/male romances that I read.
Otherwise, do you have recommendations for Danielle? Do you have ideas of what we should have talked about? You can email us at SBJPodcast@gmail.com or you can post on Facebook, which is facebook.com/DBSAPodcast, or you can call and leave us a message on our Google voice number, which is 1-201-371-DBSA. Please don’t forget to give us your name and where you’re calling from so we can include your message into an upcoming podcast. And you really should call! Don’t be scared! We would like to hear from you, especially if you have recommendations or ideas of things we should talk about.
The music that you’re listening to is provided by Sassy Outwater, and you can follow her on Twitter @SassyOutwater. This is the Peatbog Faeries from their album Dust. This song is called “Passport Panic.” I actually met somebody with passport panic. She had gotten all the way to Newark Airport and realized that she didn’t have her passport and had to go all the way back to her home on public transportation and then come back and try to make her flight. She didn’t sound this melodic, but I can totally understand the feeling of “Oh crap oh crap oh crap.” So this is “Passport Panic” and you can find it on their album Dust at iTunes or on their website.
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Future podcasts will feature me and Jane actually together and some weird background noises I’m trying to get rid of. We’re going to talk about romance novels and authors and responding to reviews and things that people say, because, well, it’s fun, and we like talking about romance novels! Who doesn’t, really? I hope wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, you have the very best of reading. Thank you for listening.