Podcast Transcript 76: Ugly-Cry Books, DNF books, and An Adorable Story

Here is a text transcript of DBSA Podcast 76. Ugly-Cry Books, DNF books, and An Adorable Story. 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 fabulous transcriptionist.

Here are the books we discuss:

Book Archangel's Storm - Nalini Singh Book Cry No More - Linda Howard Book Barbara Samuels - No Place Like Home Book Deborah Smith - A Place to Call Home

Book Laura Kinsale - Shadowheart Book Laura Kinsale - Flowers From the Storm Book Anna Campbell - Claiming the Courtesan Book Big Girl Pants - Stephanie Evanovich

Book Lucky Number Four Book A reason to breathe cp smith Book Kristen Ashley - The Will

Book Kristen Ashley - Sweet Dreams Book Dancing in the Moonlight Rayeanne Thayne Book Ride With me - Ruthie Knox


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, and today we’re going to talk to you about romance novels!  ‘Cause that’s what we do here.  We have a voicemail from younglibrarian, a discussion of DNF books, and two email messages from listeners, one of which is completely adorable and one of which has excellent book recommendations.

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.  I’ll have a bit more information at the end of the podcast.

The music that you’re listening to was provided by Sassy Outwater.  This is the Peatbog Faeries.  They are completely made of awesome, and I really like featuring their music.  I’ll have information at the end of podcast and in the podcast entry about where you can find this particular track, and at the end you can listen to me and laugh as I try to pronounce the name of the song, ‘cause I think it’s Irish, and one thing I am not is good at Irish pronunciation.

And now, on with the podcast, starting with a voicemail!


Hi, Sarah and Jane!  This is Katie Dunneback, a.k.a. @younglibrarian on Twitter.  I’m calling because the subject of ugly-cry books has come up twice this week for me.  Last night, I was re-reading Archangel’s Storm by Nalini Singh, and there’s a portion very close to the end where I just could not stop bawling, and that’s the section where Nalini reveals the whole story of Jason’s life as a child.  Whereas before she’d seeded it throughout the story, so I knew it was coming, but reading it in total, just, I couldn’t stop crying.  And earlier this week, Sarah posted that Cry No More by Linda Howard was on sale, and my response was, “Cry no more my ass.”  That ugly-cry section is at the very beginning of the book in the prologue, and I’ve never been able to read past that, because I was always crying so hard.  And I don’t mind ugly-cry books for the most part, but I very rarely re-read them, which is kind of funny for me with Nalini’s book, ‘cause I really love that series, and I’ve re-read a bunch of them, but I didn’t realize until last night that that was the first time I had re-read that book since I first read it.  So, my question for you guys is, what do you think of ugly-cry books?  Are they good re-reads for a lot of people or not?  And just your general thoughts, since, like I said, they came up frequently for me this week.  So, and if you have any other ideas as to iconic ugly-cry books.  So, talk with you later.  I love the podcast, and have fun!  Bye!

Sarah:  Now, her question was all about ugly-cry books and when we re-read them whether they make us cry a second time, but you told me you don’t actually cry over books.

Jane:  Rarely.  I can’t remember, I think the last time I remember crying was when I read a Barbara Samuels book.

Sarah:  Whoa!

Jane:  And that was, like, I don’t know, eight years ago.

Sarah:  Seriously?

Jane:  For real.

Sarah:  Wow!

Jane:  And I think it was ‘cause I was pregnant.  I was really teary during my pregnancy.

Sarah:  [Laughs] I was saying last night that if you look back at the reviews when I was pregnant with my kids, every review is, “And this book made me cry!”  Like it was some really high bar to achieve, but when I was pregnant, every book made me cry.

I wonder why some people are affected by books and other people aren’t?  I don’t mean to imply there’s anything wrong with you for not being a crier.  I am too frequently a crier; I think there’s actually something wrong with me.

Jane:  Oh, I know I’m coldhearted.

Sarah:  [Laughs] I actually think that’s true, but okay!

Jane:  It’s, it is true.  I mean, I rarely cry about anything.

Sarah:  Wow.  And, I mean, you really enjoy new adult, which is all kinds of ugly-cry!

Jane:  No, I mean, I don’t really, I don’t, those aren’t the books that I’m reading.

Sarah:  Oh, I see.

Jane:  I know that you think that all of new adult is that –

Sarah:  No, I don’t think all of new adult is ugly-cry, but the, the new adult that I hear the most about is often the ugly-cry.

Jane:  Oh, yeah.

Sarah:  I had all the feels, allow me to show you with 12 gifs in a row.

Jane:  Right.  Well, that’s just not, that just not what I’m interested in most of the time.

Sarah:  Wow.  I have been known to ugly-cry about some books, but there’s also authors that, they’re tendency to make me ugly-cry means I can’t read them or re-read them.  I have to be in a really specific kind of mood to sort of almost prepare myself.  Like, if I’m going to read an older Laura Kinsale, there’s either a reason that I need to read it, like, I need some catharsis by proxy, or I have to sort of prepare myself.  Okay, this is going to hurt, and it’s going to be awful, and you’re going to cry.  You have tissues.  You’re all good.  Okay.  Now you can read.  But I actually have to get myself to that point in order to read a book that I know is going to make me cry, and I rarely re-read books that make me weep.  Oddly, sometimes when an author builds up a lot of backstory that’s very traumatic, that will make me cry afterward.  Like, Nalini Singh, I have a really hard time re-reading her books because she injures a lot of children in the backstory, and I just, I, I can’t do it.  I am, I am weak where the injured children are concerned.

What was it about the Barbara Samuels book that made you cry?  Was it just hormones?

Jane:  Oh, no, it was terribly manipulative.  This whole story is about a woman and her best gay friend who dies in the end.

Sarah:  Oh, no.

Jane:  Yeah, it was, it was really sad, because you really enjoyed this character who inevitably dies.  I could care less about the romance.

Sarah:  [Laughs]

Jane:  And I was just like, maybe he can pull through.  He dies from AIDS, I believe.  So, yeah, that was the last book I remember being really moved by.  Deborah Smith, A Place to Call Home, I remember being pretty touched by that one.  But, like, Laura Kinsale, like, objectively, I understand what a brilliant writer she is, but I have never been swept away, swept away to the point that my emotions would be somehow involved.


Jane:  But, I mean, I recognize, you know, how talented of a writer she is; it just, she doesn’t engage me on that deep emotional level  that she engages so many other authors on.

Sarah:  That’s really interesting.  What authors do engage you on that level?

Jane:  None that I, I mean, none that I can think of.

Sarah:  I very rarely re-read ugly-cry books.  I really don’t like the ugly-crying; it’s actually, I feel sort of emotionally hung over if I go through a book that makes me ugly-cry.  And I know that’s sort of a thing right now, that people are really into the intense emotional experiences of some books, be they new adult or historical, and that’s one of the things that I like to figure out about a book when it’s recommended to me, like, okay, is this going to make me cry, is this super emotional, is this, like, Laura Kinsale or, who’s the one who always makes me weepy-weepy, like I know, oh, Anna Campbell.  I’m going to feel many feels.  The feels will be intense when I read this.  This is emo-angsty historical.  I have to prepare myself to read those.  So, any, any mentioning of ugly-cry that you want to bring up, or anything else you want to say about that topic?

Jane:  No, I mean, I know that it’s very popular, and people talk about the feels and stuff, but I think my feel-meter is broken.  I enjoy story, and there are certain stories that stick with me over time, but I, I just don’t have emotional reactions that way.

Sarah:  It might help you connect with your emotions if you look at more animated gifs.  Have you thought about that?

Jane:  Well, I –

Sarah:  [Giggles]

Jane:  I’ve tried that.  I, I do have a Goodreads account, and I, some of them are amusing, although someone sent me a link to Bookish.com.  You know, Zola Books had bought that from the publishers –

Sarah:  Yes.

Jane:  – and they, the article is about eight couples that reminded them of Jane Austen –

Sarah:  Right.

Jane:  – and, like, a couple of them were from Harry Potter, which I thought was strange, but each of them had one or more gif under a little paragraph, and it was very visually distracting.


Sarah:  So, this is a topic we’ve touched on a little bit, and this email is from Jacqueline:

I recently emailed Smart Bitches a book rant I wrote about a terrible book called More than a Mistress by Mary Balogh.  I had to share the hate because I DNFed that thing so hard I got frickin’ whiplash.  But such got me thinking about the concept of not finishing a book.  I’ve heard readers from both sides of the war, some claiming that you can’t accurately review or have an opinion about a book that you don’t finish, while others (raises hands, points to self) think that some books are so bad that “Ain’t nobody got time for that,” and bad books can go night-night.  So, my topic query:  At what point do you and Jane say, “Nope!  Screw this,” and abandon the story.  Do you two believe in DNFing, or do you think it is a major sin?  Do you think it’s legitimate to not finish a book and still be able to review it?  Both as a personal Goodreads reviewer and/or professional, legitimate goddess book website review, what books, if any, stand out as a memorable DNF in your and Jane’s memory?  I’d love to hear what you two have to say on the subject, and please just stick a straight pin in my voodoo doll as punishment if you and Jane have already covered this as a podcast subject.

So.  Well, how do you feel about DNFing a book?

Jane:  I don’t feel bad about DNFing a book.  I don’t review books that I DNF, though, and generally speaking, I DNF a book within the first three chapters.

Sarah:  So if you stop reading something within the first three chapters, you’re not going to review it –

Jane:  No.

Sarah:  – but you’ll say I didn’t, I couldn’t finish it.  I couldn’t get into it.

Jane:  If someone would ask me, sure, but it doesn’t – generally, it doesn’t go on my Goodreads account or anything like that; it’s just a book that I’ve forgotten about.

Sarah:  [Laughs] What makes you give up on reading a book within the first three chapters?  Is it almost always a similar set of things?  Or is it just, okay, this isn’t for me?

Jane:  Could be a whole host of things.  I’m bored, I can’t stand the characters, the editing is really terrible.

Sarah:  That’s always a big one for me.

Jane:  So, who knows?

Sarah:  As far as my DNFing a book, I will review a book; if I get past 45% and I want to stop, usually what I’ll do is start skimming, so I can figure out what happens, or I will go into great detail as to why I did not finish and why I could not overcome all the things that I disliked, but I will get to near halfway or past halfway before I will post a review that is a DNF because I couldn’t stand it.  I think that reviewing a book that you did not finish is still a legitimate exercise, because the reasons you stop reading are just as valid as the reasons why you continue reading something that you like.  So, if I stop reading a book because there’s a particular type of character that I can’t stand or the story is taking a twist that I don’t like, I always know that someone’s going to read that and say, oh, that’s all of my catnip!  I would like to read those things right now!  And that, that is a legitimate exercise, I think, because I’m explaining what did not work for me, but if I do it in enough detail, someone will be able to think, oh, but all of those things work for me.

At one of the book blogger conventions at BEA three years ago? maybe four, I remember hearing Bethanne Patrick say if you don’t finish a book and you write about it, you can’t call it a review, and I, I still disagree with that.  I hope I’m remembering what she said correctly.  It wasn’t like she said anything, like, earth shattering, but I don’t want to misquote anybody.

I do think it is legitimate to not finish a book and still write about it and explain why you didn’t finish it, but I don’t generally grade books that I don’t finish.  That gets a DNF – that’s actually a grade listed in my, in the software that I use – because I can’t grade something if I haven’t finished it, but I can explain why I didn’t want to finish it and why it made me so mad.  And there’s a, there’s a fine line between a Do Not Finish book and a book that I finish because it is so completely awful, and I am so angry I want to see if it could possibly get better.  Like Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich was one of those books for me, like, I hated that book so much early on, and I kept going and going and going, and it turned into a hate read, like a raging my-underpants-are-on-fire hate read for me.  I hated that book!  Grrr!  Hated it!

As far as what makes me stop reading, usually it’s characters, especially characters who don’t talk like people.  I hate when characters don’t sound like people.  You could have the most awesome plot in the world, but if the characters sound like they’re playing buzzword bingo in a high-level conference call?  Forget it.  I cannot stand unrealistic dialogue.  That’s always the first thing that makes me rage.  That, and really bad editing, which seems to be a more common thing.

Jane:  We have the DNF rating on our blog, too, and I think it’s a perfectly legitimate grade or category.  It’s just not something I personally believe in.  I don’t think I, I can’t remember the last time I reviewed a DNF on Dear Author.  My feeling is, if I’m going to review, I’m going to finish it, and that way I can have a full book to complain about, and that’s just my personal opinion.

Sarah:  Do the other reviewers that review for you, do they also DNF a book?

Jane:  Rarely.  But Janine does it; I think Jayne has done it, Jayne with a Y.  So, it’s just, it’s rare, but it happens.

Sarah:  Mm-hmm.

Jane:  I think Janine does it quite a bit because she takes a long time to read things –

Sarah:  Right.

Jane:  – and so I guess she feels like, well, I, I, you know, I can’t really speak for her, but I believe that she’s expressed that she reviews the DNFs to share her reading experience, and I think that’s a, totally legitimate, just something I don’t do, because I read fairly fast, and so I can finish that book even if I don’t like it.

Sarah:  Right.

Jane:  And sometimes it takes me weeks, like I just read this book not so long ago, and it took me several days of forced reading.  I was going over the Goodreads reviews, and one person had commented it was the longest short book she’d ever read.

Sarah:  [Laughs]

Jane:  She just felt like it took her forever.

Sarah:  What book was this?

Jane:  Lucky Number Four.  It was, it’s in the top 100, has a ton of reviews, and many of them are bad, and it sold for 99 cents.  I think that the price of it just went up to a princely $1.99.

Sarah:  [Laughs]

Jane:  But it’s a pretty bad book, like really bad.

Sarah:  Is it in the top 100 because people keep buying it and then people try it because it’s in the top 100, despite the reviews, or are people reading the bad reviews and thinking, oh, I have to try this?

Jane:  Oh, no, I don’t think there’s a lot of hate readers who are purchasing books at the top of the Kindle list.

Sarah:  No, I don’t think so either.

Jane:  I think, you know, there’s bloggers and reviewers, and then there’s millions of casual readers –

Sarah:  Yep.

Jane:  – and those millions of casual readers buy books because they’re cheap, they might have a good cover, title, blurb, and they don’t read the reviews, because at 99 cents, what do you need to know?  It’s, you know, 20 on the list, or it’s recommended to me by Amazon 15 times.

Sarah:  Right.

Jane:  So, they buy it, and they read it, and many of them probably never leave a review, or many of them never finish because it’s just such a ridiculous story.

Sarah:  [Laughs] The longest short story in the world?

Jane:  But, nonetheless, visibility is everything on Amazon.  Once you reach a certain level –

Sarah:  It’s all about visibility?

Jane:  Once you reach a certain level on Amazon, Amazon’s automatic algorithms start recommending you at a, with greater alacrity.  So, one of the most important features for an indie author, for example, are these things called the “also boughts,” which is the list of books that are right underneath the blurb, and it says customers that bought this book also bought these books, and Amazon will start sending out mailers, depending on, you know, your ranking, and these are all kind of automated things –

Sarah:  Right, and you want to trigger them.

Jane:  – so once your book achieves a certain number of reviews in a certain amount of time with a certain amount of sales, it all just takes over, and that’s why books that are in the top just perpetually stay there.

Sarah:  Yes, that’s true.

What books are you reading right now?

Jane:  A terrible one, and I read –

Sarah:  A different terrible one or the same terrible one?

Jane:  Oh, I read a couple terrible ones.  In fact –

Sarah:  Oh, no.

Jane:  – there was this book that was 99 cents on sale yesterday, and we were talking about it on Twitter, and Tori from Smexy Books is like, but I just read this awful book, and I said, but I just read two awful books because someone else wanted us, some one of us to read it.  So Tori conceded that she would, she would be the one to take the hit on that.

Sarah:  [Laughs] It’s good that you have friends like that.

Jane:  Yeah, ‘cause it was, it was a book where [laughs] the blurb says the character’s involved in an illegal frat club.

Sarah:  What?

Jane:  Now, I think that that is a typo, and she meant to say illegal fight club, but I could not stop laughing when I read it.

Sarah:  [Laughs] Illegal frat club?

Jane:  Yes.

Sarah:  So, what, is it, like, a non-approved fraternity?

Jane:  I don’t know.  [Laughs]

Sarah:  This fraternity is against the rules!  Oh, gosh.

So, what other horrible things have you read?

Jane:  A Reason to Breathe by C. P. Smith.  This was recommended as a Kristen Ashley-esque, and it, with an older heroine and not hero.  They were in their late 30s and early 40s, and in fact, I’m really excited about Kristen Ashley’s upcoming book Magdalene series, ‘cause my understanding is that they’re all going to be characters in their 40+, so I think that’s really exciting.  Anyway –

Sarah:  It is cool!

Jane:  So I was interested in reading this book by C. P. Smith because people who read it had said it reminded them of Kristen Ashley, and it does remind me of Kristen Ashley.  It’s like she took out the favorite parts of all of her Kristen Ashley books and put it together.  And she, and she, the author dedicates or acknowledges the influence of Kristen Ashley on her, on her writing, so I, you know, it’s, it’s not like I’m drawing some illogical conclusion.  The author states it out front, at the beginning of the book, that she’s, she finds Ashley inspirational.  But the heroine is this 39-year-old lifestyle reporter in a tiny Colorado town.  She’s never been a reporter before, her husband died, and she has an 18-year-old daughter, and she’s kind of restarting her life again.  And so there’s a couple women that die, and she decides that she’s going to investigate this serial killer crime, and she starts researching serial killers by reading newspaper articles in the library, and she is amazed to discover things like they collect trophies and that they are, have a certain type of profile, and I just –

Sarah:  What?

Jane:  Yeah!  I mean, I –

Sarah:  [Laughs]

Jane:  I said to, I said to one of my friends, reader friends, I said, you have to be totally intellectually incurious to not know those things, because serial killers are a huge part of entertainment.

Sarah:  Oh, my gosh.

Jane:  In fact, I think there are TV shows called Profiler and stuff, so.  But it gets worse –

Sarah:  Oh, of course it does.

Jane:  – because she keeps, she keeps interfering with the investigation.  She, she presents a list of suspects to them.  She talks about her own profile that she made up.  It’s not like the FBI goes to, you know, have specialists for this who go for years of training and have studied actual case files of serial killers instead of just newspaper articles.  And it’s, I, I think it’s supposed to be endearing, like she’s supposed to be really cute, but I felt like she acted like a juvenile, and so she’s always getting into danger, and he’s always coming to rescue her.

Sarah:  Idiocy is not cute.

Jane:  No.  So, I thought that was really terrible.  I don’t know, for some reason I gave it a D, but as I think about it, I feel like I should have given it an F.

Sarah:  Wow.  Did you already write the review?

Jane:  Yeah, I posted it the other day.

Sarah:  Oh, I want to go read it, ‘cause I saw you talking about how she’s a reporter and possibly the most stupid reporter ever.

Jane:  Yeah, I did feel, I mean, she’s a lifestyle reporter, so I just, like, why, why is she interfering.  Like, what – I don’t get it.

Sarah:  That’s horrible.  I actually read a Kristen Ashley over Martin Luther King weekend.  So, we went up to ski and snowboard for a holiday weekend, and when we travel to a new place, I think everyone – I don’t know if this is true of everyone, but I think in my family, it’s definitely true – we all have a little bit of trouble getting to sleep in a new place because it’s not home, especially me, so I started reading Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley, and I didn’t have any cell service, so I couldn’t text you and Angie about this book, because there were some things about it that made me so frickin’ mad, especially the slut-shaming.  Epic fucking slut-shaming in this book, bugged the crap out of me.  But the thing about the book that kept, kept me reading was that it was really easy to enter and exit the world.  Everything is explained on the page, I can take everything sort of at face value.  It was, oh, this, I, how do I describe this?  It’s not as if I need to imagine and come up with things on my own because every single step and every single detail is explained, which is part reason why the book is, like, a hundred and some thousand words.  Everything is explained.  I can just let the book tell me the story, and I don’t have to engage or, or use my own imagination to come up with things look like, because I’m going to be told every single last detail about what’s happening.  Like, I could probably create a very sizable liver-damaging drinking game out of every time the heroine brushes and flosses her teeth.  Every.  Other.  Chapter.  And the times that she puts lotion on her skin, ‘cause she’s in Colorado, and the time that she moisturizes, and then she brushes her teeth again, and then about her hair.  And I didn’t dislike her, and I didn’t dislike the book, but I realized that what was so perfect for me at a time when I was easily distracted and only had a few moments to read was that everything is spelled out, so I don’t have to come up with anything.  I can just let it tell me the story, and as long as I’m down with what’s going on, it was a very easy book to jump in and jump out of.  Usually when I’m reading and someone interrupts me, I get really surly, because I don’t want to be here, I want to be in the book.  That book just told me all the story, and it was fine.


Sarah:  Before we go, Jacqueline also had a second part to her email that I wanted to make sure that I shared with you.

Firstly, before I get to my topic, I want to take a second to plug something that’s not really a plug but rather a tool that might be helpful for any readers who love [S:  I think this is IRL] In Real Life books.  [S:  Wow, I’m so trendy.]  I adore all forms of novels, digital and non-digital alike, but I tend to use tangible books more frequently than my Kindle.  Sadly, touchable books, like all things, can get expensive.  I live in a small town with a teeny-tiny library, the closest bookstore to me is a 45-minute drive away, and used books, while cheaper than the new ones, can still be a bit costly, depending on the shop.  Until five years ago, getting even new-to-me novels wasn’t easy, until, that is, I found a website called paperback swap.  This site has saved me so much money and given me all the books I could want and more.  The website operates on the basic principle that for every book you give away, you get a free book.  By signing up with the site, which is free, and listing books you’d like to swap with other members, you simply wait until a book gets requested, pay to mail it to them, and then in return receive a book credit to use in choosing from the as-of-now 4,701,244 and counting available books.  Paperbacks, hardbacks, mass-market audiobooks, you name it, it’s there.  Books you request are mailed to you for free.  There are no fees or hidden charges, and even better, when new members post the first 10 titles they’re willing to part with, they automatically get two book credits for free.  I know, I know, I sound really pushy and obnoxious saleswoman right now and one would think I’m being sponsored or something equally as self-serving, but I’m truly not.  I just want to share the awesomeness with others that I ostensibly pay on average less than three bucks for a used and sometimes new book utilizing the post office media mail option, have far better selection to choose from on the site than I would in a brick-and-mortar bookstore, and I get to keep my book hoard vault purged.  It’s like Christmas, Hanukkah, and Valentine’s Day every week in my mailbox, and I’m still going on about it even after having used the site for five years.  I’m not sure if this is something you’d share with your podcast listeners in romance reader podcast listening land or not, but if so, it might help others like it did me.

You know what’s really funny, Jacqueline ?  [Laughs] I used to be part of a similar program, only you had to pay.  It was called Booksfree, but the books weren’t actually free because you had to pay for a membership level.  So you would sign up for a membership level, I think it was like bronze and silver and gold, and then you would get to pick a certain number of books from that selection, and they would send them to you media mail, which is super-duper cheap.  But back when I first started the website with Candy, I was a member of Booksfree, and I was reviewing books that I would get through that exchange service because any obscure book that somebody said I should probably read ‘cause it would be good, I could find it on Booksfree and I could read it.  The problem was, I read faster than I could use my credits, but I didn’t have enough money at the time to upgrade my plan, so eventually I started buying books online and things like that, but I used a similar service for a really long, long time, and it’s awesome when you get to purge the book vault and get new books.

I am curious if you use Booksfree or if you like it, and I hope you tell me over email, and thank you, Jacqueline for emailing us.

I have another email to share with you, and this is from Meg.  Meg writes,

I meant to send this to you when you did the episode a while back about heroines with prosthetics, and then I was catching up on the last few weeks’ episodes just now, and you mentioned it again, so it sparked my memory – sorry for the delay.  The Harlequin book Dancing in the Moonlight by RaeAnne Thayne has a heroine who lost a leg serving in Afghanistan.  She goes back to her family’s ranch and has to deal with her injury as well as the hero, a local doctor from a family with whom her family has been in conflict for a long time.  It’s been out a few years since I read it – I think it was one of the free eBooks they were giving out for Harlequin’s 60th anniversary – but I liked the heroine and her struggles a lot.  Thanks for a great podcast.

Thank you for the suggestion, Meg, that is most awesome of you!  I’ll make sure to link to that in the entry for the podcast, in case you guys want to check out that book.

This last email is from Divya, and I’m going to try to do my best to do justice to this message, because it is so freaking adorable.  This is the cutest thing:

Dear Sarah and Jane, I just wanted to say how much I love your podcast and that I eagerly visit your site every day to see if a new one has been uploaded.  I have a story to tell you.  In mid December, I visited my friend in California, and we were invited to her neighbor’s house for dinner one night.  It turned out that my very handsome and single host was a professional cyclist, and of course I immediately remembered your previous podcast about professional cyclists in California, and since I have no etiquette whatsoever, I instantly started laughing like a loon, much to the confusion of my friend and the cyclist.

After I came up with some dumb excuse to explain my laughter, we awkwardly sat down to dinner.  It soon became apparent to me that the cyclist had a complete crush on my friend, and that was why he had invited us to his house.  In the spirit of all the matchmakers from Romancelandia, I decided I needed to get those two together.  I very badly feigned illness and escaped the house, claiming my friend needed to stay so the cyclist’s efforts in making dinner wouldn’t go to waste, and this is the edited text exchange my friend and I had 10 minutes later.  I took out all the abbreviations, names, and bad grammar.

Me:  So, you do realize that sexy cyclist wants a little bit more than dinner conversation from you.

Friend:  What?

Me:  He likes you, dumbass!

My Friend:  WHAT?

Me:  Yup.  Are you seriously telling me that you didn’t know?

Two minutes later…

Friend:  I’m in the bathroom so he doesn’t suspect anything.  Are you sure?

Me:  Have I ever been wrong?

Friend:  Yes.  Nearly always.

Me:  Not about this!  Do you like him?

Friend:  Well, yes, but I wasn’t going to make a move.  Remember the Barney Stinson rule, never, never love thy neighbor?

(This is a reference to the platinum rule from How I Met Your Mother.)

Me:  You are going to live by some dumb rule on TV?  He likes you, you like him, I think the way forward is pretty clear.

Friend:  I don’t know.  I need to process this now.

Me:  OK.  Go back to dinner.

She didn’t make a move that night, but after a long conversation with me, she decided to invite the cyclist to go cycling with her in the morning, and last week he finally asked her out.  I have been bursting to tell this story to my fellow romance readers, and especially you guys, because all of the cyclists in California, after my attempt at matchmaking, I have to ask, are there any books with cyclist heroes, because I really, really, really need to read one now, despite my hatred of Lance Armstrong, and if there is a scarcity in the cyclist hero trope, could you convince your author friends to write some?  I feel that this is an untapped market with a lot of potential.

On an unrelated note, are you going to RT this year?  I was just wondering because some of my favorite authors, Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Tessa Dare, are going to RT, and I think it would be really cool if you interviewed some of them.  My favorite podcast of all time is still the one with Nalini Singh where you talk about everything from extreme coupons to Marmite shortages.

Anyway, thanks for reading my long-ass email.  You guys totally rock and are my favorite parts of the romance community.


p.s. My friend wanted you to know that she gave me permission to send this to you.

Okay, that’s the cutest story ever!  I love this so much, I can’t even tell you how much I love this!  Oh, my gosh!  I hope they’re still dating.  I mean, I really hope they’re still dating.

There is, however, a cyclist romance that you would like.  It’s called Ride with Me by Ruthie Knox, and I think it was her first contemporary romance.  It’s about a young woman who wants to cycle across the country and has been posting messages looking for a partner to cycle with and allowing people to think that she’s a male, because every time she posts under her real name, then she gets hit on.  She ends up partnering with a guy who really doesn’t want to be partnered with her and really doesn’t want to do this, and they end up cycling together, and it is a fantastic book!  And the hero is also a cyclist.  You would totally like this, and so would your friend, I think.  It is really funny, and it is a really well-done story, but more importantly, cycling, and yes, they start on the west coast, although I think they are not in California, I think they’re in Oregon.  But, you know, it’s the same side of the country, right?  Totally.

As for RT, yes, Jane and I will both be at RT this year.  I am going, and she is going.  We’re both running our blogger one-day symposium conference, and then I will try to tackle Nalini Singh, because it’s really fun to interview her, and we’ll see if I can find Ilona Andrews and Tessa Dare.  I will try to interview Lisa Kleypas if she can sit still long enough, and if there’s anything else or anyone else you think that would be interesting for coverage from RT, I will do my best.  Sometimes it’s really hard to do a podcast from RT because it can get very loud in a hurry and, hey, you want to come to my hotel room and speak into my giant phallic microphone doesn’t always come across well with total strangers.  But I will do my best to get some interesting interviews.

Thank you again, Divya, for this message, because this is adorable and it totally made my night.  Thank you so much!


And that is all for this week’s podcast.  Thank you for listening.  The music that you’re listening to was, as always, provided by Sassy Outwater.  This is the Peatbog Faeries from their album Dust, and I am really struggling with how to pronounce this [Abhainn a’ Nathair], but Zoe, who is on Twitter as @duckgirlie says that it is most likely pronounced Ah-Vain A-Nather or A-Naither.  And Abby Green on Twitter, who was kind enough to answer my plea for help says that it is Owann a Naher.  Now, I am probably screwing this all up, but thank you very much, Abby and Zoe, for trying to help me.  Either way, if you like it – and I totally do – I will have the information and links in the entry about the podcast where you can find out where to buy the song, and if you know how to pronounce it and you’d like to correct my pronunciation, please feel free, ‘cause Irish pronunciation?  Not something I’m so good at.

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.  This is a novel of one woman’s obsession:  a man who’s as passionate as he is elusive – and as tempting as he is trouble.  I’ll have further information about this book in the podcast entry so you can check it out.

And thank you to New American Library, also known as Penguin and also sometimes known as Berkley, for sponsoring the podcast.  It is totally awesome that you do!

And now it’s time for me to tell you all the ways that you can contact us, because we so love it when you do!  You can email us at SBJPodcast@gmail.com, you can come find us on Facebook at facebook.com/DBSAPodcast, or you can call our Google voice number, which is 1-201-371-DBSA, and please tell us who you are and where you are so we can include your message in an upcoming podcast like we did today, ‘cause it’s totally fun!  And if you have ideas of things that we should talk about, we’d love to hear it.

I have a few more messages coming up this week, including someone who was asking for recommendations of things to read from Jane, and we have a podcast about romantic suspense coming up soon, too.  And also, I will be quizzing Jane because Danielle The_Book_Queen has sent me a book description that is just so incredible I’m prepared to build a quiz around this one book, because it is that incredible.  Trust me, it is epic.  It is just so much crazy sauce I can’t believe the alphabet was used in this manner.  It’s amazing!

So, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, Jane and I wish you the very best of reading.  Thank you for listening.



General Bitching...

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  1. 1
    EmilyAnn says:

    Thank you so much for the transcripts!

  2. 2
    SB Sarah says:

    @EmilyAnn: You are very, very welcome!

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