This podcast transcript was personally made by Garlic Knitter, purveyor of fine handcrafted transcripts. Many thanks.
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 today it’s me and RedHeadedGirl. We talk about the fandoms online that she loves, the shows and television shows and movies and books that she loves. What is it about fine, quality crazysauce that is so alluring, and what is she never going to ever read again? I’ll give you a hint: it begins with “dinosaur,” and it ends with “porn.”
Speaking of porn, I should warn you: this is a supremely not-safe-for-work or safe-for-riding-in-your-car-
The music that you’re listening to was provided by Sassy Outwater, and I will have more information at the end of the podcast as to who this is, ‘cause it’s awesome!
And our sponsor, New American Library, would like to tell you don’t miss J. R. Ward’s The King from New American Library, the highly anticipated new book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series.
And now, on with the podcast!
Sarah: I have questions!
Red: Oh, God.
Sarah: The Internet has many questions for you.
Red: Many questions – Jesus fuck!
Sarah: Yeah. Yeah, I hope you have wine.
Red: We’re, we’re – [laughs] we’re still allowed to swear, right?
Sarah: Are you kidding? Yes!
Red: Fuck, yes.
Sarah: I had to change the name of the podcast.
Sarah: I did not change the content of the podcast.
Red: Okay, good. Good, ‘cause at this point, I can’t actually control potty mouth.
Sarah: Right, because, you know, iTunes can’t have a podcast that’s called Dear Bitches, Smart Authors, but they can, like, sell songs like, you know, Hey, Let’s Go Fuck a Yeti. That’s fine.
Red: [Laughs] Is that an actual song?
Sarah: I, I’m betting so. Would you introduce yourself to the lovely people at home and tell them who you are and what you do?
Red: I am known on the Internets as RedHeadedGirl. It’s true, that icon in my Twitter, that is my actual hair.
Sarah: Nice! Is that chemically enhanced?
Red: Uh, yeah. [Laughs]
Sarah: ‘Cause, damn, that’s some red!
Red: Yeah, it is chemically enhanced, and that was, that was a really good sun day – day of sun. I don’t remember what day of the week it actually – The lighting was fantastic that day, and a friend of mine took that picture, and that’s been my icon all over the place. I have many different names, but I stick with the same icon so people can follow me, but not that easily, ‘cause I’m from, I’m of that generation of Internet users who’re like, don’t use your real name!
Sarah: Yeah, right.
Red: Oh, my God, don’t use your real name, and –
Red: – my real name is really distinctive.
Sarah: Yeah, I have never met anyone else who has your name.
Red: And, and you’re, you’re not going to. [Laughs]
Red: There’s, there’s a handful. I’m actually friends with Facebook on someone with my real name, and I don’t know how he got it –
Red: It is an actual name in Norway, but my mom spelled it wrong, so… The uncommon first name, the uncommon last name, we’re –
Sarah: Yeah, you’re easily findable.
Red: I am literally the only me in the world, so that’s why I’m a little bit edgy about not using my real name like everyone else on Smart Bitches does, and I’m just like, nope! I’m me!
Sarah: Well, Elyse –
Red: I’m RedHeadedGirl!
Sarah: Elyse doesn’t use her last name, and I was too dumb to pick a pseudonym. Like, Jane Litte is a pseudonym. Sarah Wendell is my actual name.
Sarah: Oops! Yeah, I missed that memo.
Red: So, yeah, I occasionally, at times, write reviews.
Red: Woo! And it’s fun. It’s been so much fun. I read books, and I watch a lot of TV, and I’m looking for a big girl lawyer job, so if anyone has one, I am licensed in Massachusetts.
Sarah: So, let’s talk about romance novels, because those are way more fun than law.
Red: It’s true.
Sarah: All right.
Red: Well, most things are more fun than the law.
Sarah: So –
Red: And then you do like Courtney Milan and the law, and you mix the two together, and it’s amazing!
Sarah: Yeah, and then, and then math, like, ‘cause she also has an advanced degree in math –
Sarah: She’ll plot her books out mathematically and then take a picture, and I’m just like, wow! That’s numbers –
Sarah: – with some squiggly lines.
Sarah: You started reviewing for Smart Bitches because you wrote me with a Help a Bitch Out.
Sarah: And it was somebody who’s – you, you read the book at a rest stop –
Red: No, I read the back of the book at a rest stop.
Sarah: [Laughs] It was just like the biggest needle in a haystack. I was like, there’s no fucking way anyone’s going to find this book.
Sarah: You read the back of the book at a rest stop, and emailed me as many details as you could think of, including the fact that the heroine went looking for something like a cookie or some hair or something.
Red: Or something, I don’t know.
Sarah: Yes, and –
Red: She was in the hero’s room for some –
Sarah: And as many of the comments were about the fact that people could, were trying to figure out the book as people who were saying, I remember that rest stop.
Sarah: Like, half the population of the website has driven through Minnesota.
Red: Yeah. Yeah, well, it’s the only place to get a decent cinnamon roll between Minneapolis and Duluth.
Sarah: Of course!
Red: So –
Sarah: And look, when it’s that fucking cold –
Red: Toby's shout out, people!
Red: The cinnamon rolls are amazing! The caramel pecan rolls are good too, if you’re into that kind of thing; I’m really not. But they’re good. The coffee’s shit.
Sarah: Well, yeah, but you know, when it’s that cold, you drive as long as you need to to get a good roll.
Red: Yeah! Yeah, yeah.
Sarah: So then we found the book.
Red: Oh, yeah. We found the book, and it -
Sarah: And then you read it.
Red: – it was insane. [Laughs]
Sarah: Yeah, but those are the kinds of books that you like.
Red: I love those books!
Sarah: Like, if there’s fuchsia and teal and some sort of explosion in the background, you are all up in that.
Red: It’s, it’s RedHeadedGirl bait is what it is.
Sarah: Yes, it is. I will sometimes read Help a Bitch Out submissions and think, wow, somewhere RedHeadedGirl just sat up and doesn’t know why.
Sarah: [Alert noise]!
Red: It’s true, it’s true.
Sarah: So now you read Old Skool crazysauce.
Red: Old Skool crazysauce.
Sarah: As often as possible.
Red: Pretty much.
Sarah: And we did a cover snark last week, and you bought one of those books.
Red: Based on the cover alone. I couldn’t find a synopsis of the book, but I needed –
Sarah: Oh, you don’t need that; it was fuchsia.
Red: [Laughs] But I needed to read it. It’s called Silken Chains. It’s not as crazy as some of the stuff I’ve read. I mean, first you have the British viscount who’s actually Te-, from Texas –
Sarah: Of course.
Red: So, I mean, there, that’s a bar.
Sarah: Of course!
Red: That is a high bar.
Sarah: Of course!
Red: There’s the one that – I don’t remember the title, but I think it started with a B, but I did review it a couple years ago – where the heroine decides that she needs to figure out exactly who murdered her father, so engages in a cross-country trip across the old West disguised as an old woman with stage makeup.
Sarah: That’s always better than when they disguise themselves as a boy –
Sarah: – because somehow these nubile, gorgeous, 18-year-old women fit in 12-year-old boys’ clothes.
Sarah: I have never understood that.
Red: Right. Well, at least in Silken Chains, the heroine does disguise herself as a boy, but the hero’s like, really? I can totally tell those are hips and boobs.
Sarah: Right, like –
Red: Like, you’re not even trying. [Laughs]
Sarah: And then there’s always the part where she binds her breasts, and it’s so uncomfortable. They still show.
Red: I have seen some modern binders –
Red: – intended for trans men –
Sarah: Of course.
Red: – that work pretty – that, that seem to work pretty well, but they’re also really not comfortable.
Sarah: Right, and you don’t want to hang out in those in a place with no air conditioning.
Sarah: And more importantly, when you have a chest to waist to hip ratio that is of some significant difference, and all of these heroines are always quite curvy, and, and the hero’s just, you know, like, like in a Bugs Bunny cartoon when the tongue comes rolling out and their eyes go WHOOGA-WHOOGA!
Sarah: You know, that’s the wait to hip ratio we’re talking about here.
Red: Yeah, yeah.
Sarah: You know, you need to fill in the waist to hip ratio. Forget binding your breasts; you need to wind, like, five bed sheets around your waist!
Red: Yeah. And they never do.
Sarah: Of course not, because you put on a pair of 12-year-old boy’s clothes, obviously you look like a boy.
Sarah: Now I have an eight year old. There’s no way on God’s earth I could get one of my arms into his pants.
Sarah: Yeah, he’s a tall, thin, little dude. When he’s 12, forget it. I mean, I’m 38, so it’s quite a ways from 18, but still! There’s no way.
Red: There’s no way. I, when I was first introduced to the concept of romance novels, back in my misspent youth, the friend, who had been a crack pusher our entire friendship –
Sarah: [Laughs] Those are always the good friends to have.
Red: She, she was the first one to put fantasy books in my hands, so she’s been a crack pusher my, our entire friendship.
Sarah: Of course.
Red: And she started reading romance novels, and I started reading them too, because wherever Hannah went, I went. And she really, really likes the ones that had heroines dressed as boys –
Sarah: I have a weakness for them. I completely understand this.
Red: And I remember kind of giving her a side eye and going, how does that, like –
Red: -work? And she said, I think it’s because people just see what they expect to see, which, okay. I can go with that.
Red: To a point, if I need to. But, I mean, we were very, very knowledgeable 12 year olds at the time.
Sarah: Oh, yes, once you break into the romance novels –
Sarah: – you become a very, very knowledgeable person.
Red: Yeah. [Laughs]
Sarah: Oh, yeah. Like, you know allll the secrets.
Red: All the secrets, although I will be honest that I didn’t actually figure out what a female orgasm was for several years after that.
Sarah: Well, its waves and cresting!
Red: It’s waves and cresting! I did not know what that meant.
Red: I had no idea until sometime later, and it was like, oh –
Sarah: And you were the one who said, in an entry a long time ago, that romance novels convinced you to have sex for a second time, because the first time –
Red: Oh, my God.
Sarah: – was two virgins and no lube.
Red: Two virgins, terrible idea, don’t do it.
Sarah: Two virgins, unlubed condom, ain’t no good.
Red: No. [Laughs] No, and I literally had the thought going, this has to get better, because –
Sarah: There’s waves. Where are the fucking waves?
Red: It, it had nothing to do with the waves –
Red: It, it had everything to do with, all these romance novels indicate that sex is awesome.
Sarah: Right, of course, it’s waves and cresting.
Red: That was not awesome; ergo, somebody’s doing something wrong, so we have to try this again. We need, we need to run the experiment again.
Sarah: [Laughs] We need a better control group.
Red: [Laughs] Well, there were a couple of variables that were wrong.
Red: Let us just say.
Sarah: Of course.
Red: We can go on from there.
Sarah: And you figured things out.
Red: And I figured things out.
Sarah: Of course!
Red: One of which was dumping his ass, but anyway. [Laughs]
Sarah: Well, you know, that is a point which you have to reach, and, because once you figure out that someone is not heroic, get the fuck out!
Red: Yeah, pretty much. Or you just go, oh, wow, you’re actually an asshole.
Sarah: [Laughs] You’re not a dark –
Red: People, don’t date assholes. If you look at someone and go, wow, you’re kind of an asshole –
Sarah: You’re a complete fuck.
Red: – maybe you shouldn’t date them.
Sarah: Yes, this is a good strategy.
Red: Yeah, and that would be why I’m perpetually single. [Laughs]
Sarah: No, you just haven’t met the right hero yet.
Red: Obviously not.
Sarah: Or, you know, group of heroes, or Hannibal. Whichever.
Sarah: Which leads me to my first question. This is my question.
Sarah: You’re part of many different fandoms online.
Red: I am.
Sarah: You’re part of the romance fandom, you’re part of the Hannibal fandom, you have a lot of fandoms. Which – of all of the fandoms that you’ve been a part of, which are your favorites and why?
Red: Well, I –
Sarah: It’s an easy question, right? You’ve had wine.
Red: Right, [laughs] exactly. I’m going to start with the, the Hannibal, Hannibal’s Fannibals, because –
Sarah: Is he on American Idol?
Red: No, this is –
Sarah: Hannibal’s Fannibals?
Sarah: That’s like Carrie’s Care Bears and –
Red: I, I understand –
Sarah: Taylor’s somebodies and – That’s adorable.
Red: I’m not too sure who came up with the Fannibal name. At one point, very early on in the first season, Cleolinda was like, man I hope, I hope we’re not going with this, and then Bryan Fuller was like, we’re totally going with this!
Red: You are Fannibals! I love my Fannibals! And we’re like –
Sarah: Somewhere in Alabama, there was a howl, a howl of rage. [Laughs] Nnnooo, fuck!
Sarah: So you’re a member of the Fannibals.
Red: The Fannibals, yes. And what I like best about that particular fandom is that the show is dark. It is angsty, it is heavy, it’s emotionally just exhausting, and the fandom – and Bryan Fuller really kind of helps sort of steer it in this direction – is determined to be like, okay, we’re going to have as much fun with this as possible. So people started Photoshopping flower crowns on the characters just to, to make him a little bit happier.
Red: And, like, bringing the flower crowns to, like, Comic-Con. Then Fuller and Hugh Dancy were wearing them, and then Fuller took the one that was given to him and took portraits of everybody involved in season 2 and would post them with their flower crown.
Red: Because they appreciate the fans, and they’re doing it in a way that doesn’t belittle us for being super passionate about the show.
Sarah: It is very much an equal high five.
Red: Yes. As opposed to other shows I could name that seem to, to look at their, their fans and go, you are way too invested in us, without really understanding that fans are kind of what keeps them going, so –
Sarah: So which shows do you think have the wrong attitude?
Red: Doctor Who. And I, I don’t –
Sarah: You don’t say.
Red: I don’t want to say the show; the current show runner does. I think Russell T. Davies didn’t really care. Steven Moffat –
Sarah: I, I get the feeling that Moffat doesn’t quite know what to do with anyone who has a vagina.
Red: I agree with you.
Sarah: What the hell.
Red: You need to balance it. Like, have, have respect for your fans and enjoy them, and if you feel yourself getting in that, God, you people are just too into this, walk away and don’t, don’t engage. Sleepy Hollow is another show that’s done really well with the fan involvement. Orlando Jones, who plays a supporting character, jumped in to fandom. He’s like, okay, I ‘ship everything.
Red: Everything? I ‘ship it. Show me the fanfic!
Sarah: Right, of course!
Red: I want the dirty stuff, and we’re like, really? Do you really, wait – Give it to me! I want it! I want it now. He’s dubbed himself Trollando Jones, and we love him for it. I feel like I’m repeating myself now. The shows that have a healthy respect for their audience do the best.
Sarah: And that are aware that the audiences exist but don’t look at them from a place of, what’s wrong with you?
Sarah: Orlando Jones is brilliant!
Sarah: And he’s just having a really good time, like, hey, we’re watching my show together! This is awesome!
Sarah: And it’s not even, it’s not even hate watching –
Sarah: – which is, like, a totally different thing.
Red: [Laughs] Yeah.
Sarah: What shows do you hate watch?
Red: I have actually kind of cut out the hate watching at the moment.
Sarah: You’ve got enough hate reading, right?
Red: I’ve got enough hate reading.
Sarah: Of course.
Red: There are so many, like, actually good things on that I don’t feel the need –
Sarah: Television has gotten really good, hasn’t it?
Red: It really has. I think that a lot of the risks that used to be taken in movies and storytelling in movies is now moved over to TV.
Sarah: Oh, I totally agree with you. Breaking Bad would not have been a film.
Sarah: Mad Men would not be a film. Masters of Sex would not be a film.
Red: Yep. Well, actually, this season of The Amazing Race I’m kind of hate watching.
Sarah: I saw a lot of, I don’t watch a lot of reality television ‘cause I lose my patience with people way too quickly – it is a flaw – but the, the number of people on my Twitter feed who were hate watching The Bachelor was amazing.
Sarah: Like, wow, this guy was the biggest fucking tool! And everyone was tuned in!
Red: Yeah, I know! I, I’ve read some of the articles. I didn’t watch any of it, but, wow. And I did see a clip from behind the scenes or before the final rose or –
Red: – something, where all the women were like, no, he’s, he’s a dick. [Laughs]
Sarah: Yeah, we, we have no interest in him. Please don’t pick me. [Laughs] Oh, girl. Girl, you didn’t get a rose, come sit over here, it’s all right, let’s hold onto each other, it’s okay, we’ve got to, we’ve just got to pray. So you like the Hannibal fandom.
Red: I like –
Sarah: What other fandoms do you love?
Red: The Sleepy Hollow fandom, definitely.
Sarah: That show just amazes me.
Red: It, it totally should not work. It shouldn’t work.
Sarah: Yes! Like, how’d you do that?
Red: I listened to a Nerdist writers’ panel podcast –
Red: – with the, the creator –
Red: – and the, the head writer, and he’s like, literally, I was looking for stuff in the public domain I could bastardize –
Sarah: [Laughs] Yeah.
Red: – and I saw Washington Irving, and there was Sleepy Hollow, and there was a time travel story, but networks really don’t like time travel because it’s very confusing, so I went with the Rip Van Winkle version and put it all together, and here it is. And –
Sarah: And the, and the police officer is a woman of color.
Red: Is a woman of color who’s, like, 5 foot nothing –
Red: – and –
Sarah: He’s married.
Red: He’s married.
Sarah: He has this very Old World formality.
Sarah: Like, he has – it’s amazing when I see the, the, the .gif sets – he has a physical boundary that he maintains with her –
Sarah: – at all times.
Red: At all times, and, and yet the fandom’s like, now, kiss!
Red: And he’s like, but I’m married! And the fandom’s like, noooo!
Sarah: We don’t care! And he’s like, no, I’m sticking to my 12-1/2 inch boundary.
Sarah: And there was one, there was one set where some – I think you posted it – where someone was analyzing him helping her across –
Sarah: – something, and he didn’t close his hand over hers, because that would be too –
Red: Too familiar.
Sarah: – too, too familiar –
Sarah: – and I was like, holy shit, that’s amazing!
Red: Exactly! Like, the, the level of detail and, like, I could just watch Ichabod engage with the modern world all day long.
Sarah: Do you remember that shit-tastic movie with Hugh Jackman and Meg Ryan?
Red: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah! Kate & Leopold!
Sarah: Yes. Okay, I love the Sting song, every treacly, cheesy minute of that song, I adore, and I was so ready for that movie until, like, there was Meg Ryan, and she was just bitter and angry. His interactions with the modern world were the best part of that show.
Sarah: The whole movie, the whole movie was him interacting with, like, frozen chicken patties. That would, that could have been, like, 25 minutes. It was wonderful.
Sarah: And then that is so much of Sleepy Hollow.
Sarah: My, my kids go to sleepaway camp, and I tend to save up shows for the summer, and I’m thinking I’m going to binge watch Sleepy Hollow this summer.
Red: You, you should. You should; it’s delightful.
Sarah: I’m going to get addicted, aren’t I?
Red: You are. You are, and we’ll, we’ll welcome you.
Red: It’ll be fun.
Sarah: The other thing that’s interesting about the fandoms that you’re in is that they’re very friendly and welcoming.
Red: Yeah, I –
Sarah: There’s no posturing, like, I’m the biggest fan.
Red: I’m too fucking old to deal –
Sarah: [Snorts] How old are you?
Sarah: You’re not that old. I’m thirty-eight.
Red: [Laughs] Whatever.
Red: I, I’m, I am too old for Internet drama at this point. Like, there are plenty of times where I will, you know, cheerfully sit back and just watch, but I don’t want to get involved in it, and I don’t want it, I don’t want it involved in my fandoms.
Sarah: So you have no interest in, like, posturing drama.
Red: Oh, God, no. I’m secure in my, my little corner of the Internet.
Red: I don’t need to keep people out unless they’re being assholes, at which point I will show them the door.
Sarah: Exactly. Life’s too short for assholes.
Red: Yeah. And, you know, there are times where – it’s not really getting involved in Tumblr drama; it’s more like, your idea of what happened in this legal case is wrong.
Red: Let me tell you a couple of times.
Sarah: And then you can have, like, an engaged debate.
Red: You know, an engaged debate, and if they get snippy, then I’m like, eh, I’m done. It took me a long time, but I’ve learned to walk away from an Internet fight.
Sarah: Oh, yes.
Red: It was a hard-fought lesson.
Sarah: It’s very difficult.
Red: That xkcd cartoon of “Somebody is wrong on the Internet.”
Red: Totally accurate. It’s totally, 100% accurate. But there’s a point of diminishing returns.
Sarah: It is so true. When you have an Internet-connected device with you at all times –
Sarah: – it’s really easy to deliver just one more “Fuck you.”
Sarah: And all of things you rode in on. Okay. So. Ready for questions?
Sarah: All right. Favorite romances. You have 10 seconds.
Red: Oh, fuck you!
Sarah: RedHeadedGirl reaches through Skype and smacks me!
Red: [Laughs] Pretty much. Oh, God. The Spymaster’s Lady.
Sarah: I love that book.
Red: I love that book too.
Sarah: It’s such a gentle, friendly mindfuck.
Red: Yes! Yes, and she –
Sarah: It’s mindfucking with respect.
Red: – writes in dialect!
Sarah: Yes! And she writes in dialect, and it’s not offensive!
Red: Yes! It’s amaz-, like, I can tell, oh, you’re speaking German now, even though all the words are English.
Sarah: Because you rearranged the words in order.
Sarah: And I realize that because I speak Spanish, and I learned Spanish in Spain, and there’s a, there’s a completely different way of ordering the parts of speech, so if I translate directly from Spanish into English, that’s what it looks like.
Sarah: And she, and, and she did that with three different languages!
Red: It’s incredible!
Sarah: I love that book.
Red: Pretty much anything by Courtney Milan. The Heiress Effect, like, made me feel all of the feel-, like, she’s, Courtney constantly makes me feel all the feels. The Heiress Effect, like, it didn’t make me cry, but it made me so angry at Uncle Tennis Elbow.
Red: So – I’m still pi-, like, I haven’t read it for months –
Sarah: And you’re still mad?
Red: I’m still pissed off at him! I want to smack him!
Red: What a Rogue Desires by Caroline Linden. I think that was my first A+ review that I wrote for you –
Red: – where I was like, I’m squeeing all over the mop, oh, get a mop, there’s squee everywhere!
Sarah: Yes, I call that setting the squee cannon to stun. Just everybody duck!
Sarah: [Explosion sound effect]
Red: Season of the Sun by Catherine Coulter, not because it’s objectively good. It’s, it’s really kind of not. But it was –
Sarah: She’s very purple.
Red: She’s very purple. But it was the first romance I bought for myself.
Sarah: She is, oddly enough, the first romance I read. Midsummer Magic by Catherine Coulter was the first romance I read. When I was in school, I have very bad eyesight, and I was not interested in reading, and I kept getting moved backed in reading groups, and so I got it into my head that I was not very intelligent, and in high school, we knew who the valedictorians were by, like, end of sophomore year, and one of them was this wo-, was this girl, and I saw her in the library, and she was reading this really thick paperback, and I was like, well, of course she reads the thick paperbacks, ‘cause she’s a valedictorian and she’s really smart. So I work it up, like, my one little nerve, like my one little piece of bravery, ‘cause I’m a, you know, very shy, dorky high schooler –
Sarah: – and I ask her what she’s reading, and this is what she says: [Valley Girl accent] It’s a romance novel. Oh, my God, I cannot believe you have not read these, they are so good.
Sarah: You must come over here right now, like, oh, my God! [Normal voice] So she drags me over to the little spirally spindle rack of all the romance novels, and she has read every one and dog-eared the rape scenes, so you can skip those, and she goes, but if there is a dog-ear on the bottom, [Valley Girl] that’s like totally awesome sex scene, you should totally read it, ‘cause they’re amazing, but if it’s on the top, just skip it, ‘cause it’s gross. [Normal] And, like, she’d read every single one of them, and it was like, you have to read them, they’re amazing, I can’t understand why you haven’t read these, they’re so great. So she goes to the girl-, goes to the Ladies room, and I pick up the book she’s reading, and I start reading it, and I am sucked in so fast that I checked it out of the library and ran out the door before she got out of the toilet –
Sarah: – and I stole her book.
Red: [Laughs] Oh, my God!
Sarah: Midsummer Magic by Catherine Coulter, and within, like, four pages, I was like, this is the crack I have been waiting for all of my life. Where have you been? And I’ve read that book, like, four or five times since then, and there are so many objectionable things about it, I love every goddamn, purple word.
Sarah: And I met Catherine Coulter at an RT a couple years ago, and all I could do was make squeaky noises at her. I was just like, beg hib aibi [squeaky noises].
Sarah: Which is not as bad as the noise that I made at Loretta Chase, but it was way up there.
Red: Well, speaking of Loretta Chase, Lord of Scoundrels.
Sarah: When that book dropped to $1.99, I felt like the entire romance Internet went, G-buh?
Sarah: Like, it was on the New York Times bestseller list. That book was, like, 24 years old or some crazy shit!
Sarah: I’m like, Avon, just do it again and watch the Internet go, G-zuh?
Red: Yeah, pretty much. [Laughs]
Sarah: What is the proportion of books read, bought at price, on sale, used, libraried, or borrowed from a friend? And this question is from Laura Xixi.
Red: Yeah, I saw that one, and, like, that’s, that’s a lot of math. I try not to buy anything at full price.
Sarah: Lucky for you, all the fuchsia romances are available online for about 65 cents.
Red: Or I paid four bucks, and it’s Prime, and it gets in my door, like, in two days.
Sarah: [sighs] Oh, Prime, Prime.
Red: Fortunately, NetGalley loves me.
Sarah: Oh, that’s awesome, ‘cause I have had two instances this week where an author has emailed me and been like, here, I want you to read my book! Here’s the NetGalley link, and then I apply, and I get turned down!
Sarah: I’m like, oh, well, I’ve got other books; it’s all right.
Red: Yeah. I don’t borrow many from friends because they expect me to return them.
Sarah: What’s that about?
Red: I don’t know.
Red: It’s like they’ve never met me.
Sarah: What is – this is from Jen – what is your go-to trope and your least favorite trope?
Red: Well, quote-unquote feisty heroines who show their independence by being bratty little snots and –
Sarah: But that’s like the best thing ever!
Red: – setting stupid shit on fire –
Sarah: Oh, but that’s so fun….
Red: Like, if you’re going to set something on fire, like, own it. Don’t, don’t make it be a box of underwear.
Red: You know, you set, you set something on fire. Boom! I, I don’t like feisty heroines for – quote-unquote feisty. I mean, there’s feisty and then there’s, oh, my God, shut the fuck up. You know what I’m saying? You know what I’m saying. Go-to trope: I am deeply fond of, on TV tropes it’s kind of called Slap Slap Kiss, without the actually slapping. I don’t think people should slap each other.
Sarah: Yep. Fight ‘em and fuck ‘em.
Red: But fight ‘em and fuck ‘em and argue and ssss –
Sarah: Like Julie James. Banter, banter, banter, kiss.
Red: I have not read any Julie James, but sure.
Sarah: Ohhh, you would like. Contemporary and funny, and she is a former attorney, so she gets the legal stuff right, which is, alarmingly, apparently quite difficult, but her main series takes place between a lot of characters who are in the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago. You can read them out of any order, but the two, there’s two that go together. One of the heroes goes to jail because his girlfriend dumps him and he’s a computer genius, so he goes to Mexico, he gets completely drunk off his ass, and because she’s tweeting pictures of herself in the pool with her new boyfriend, he brings down Twitter for, like, two days. Because he was in Mexico and because he brought, brought it down with a hostile attack, it was a federal case, and he was prosecuted by this particularly ambitious attorney who dubbed him the Twitter Terrorist. And –
Red: Dude! Unfollow and block is a lot easier.
Sarah: Yes, but you don’t get two books out of it if you don’t take down Twitter.
Red: Well, that’s true. [Laughs]
Sarah: But both of those books are wonderful, because the first one is his sister gets offered a plea, a deal for her brother, like, they will, they will help shorten his sentence if she would help them with a particular case, and she’s like, fuck you, you put my, my brother in jail for fucking Twitter; I mean, you’re stupid. But then the next one is him getting out of jail and how he deals with having the little bracelet on his ankle, and he’s a felon, but he’s like a really smart guy, and he – Oh, it’s, oh, they’re just so good – And then the last one was actually about work-life balance, but it was interesting. It was amazing.
Sarah: I know you usually read fuchsia historicals with, you know, girls in pants, but this will rock your world.
Sarah: So what else are the tropes that you adore?
Red: Well, you know, cross dressing.
Sarah: Of course!
Red: I’ve become really quite enamored with spies. Historical spies.
Sarah: There were a lot of spies. There were almost as many spies as there were dukes.
Red: I know, it’s really quite –
Sarah: How did that happen?
Red: Ffff, not arguing.
Red: Not arguing. I win. [Laughs]
Sarah: Sure, right.
Red: Look, the Napoleonic bad guys – and it’s always a Napoleonic bad guy –
Red: They got up to a lot of bad shit, so…
Sarah: Short and angry, every last one of them.
Red: So, there needs to be a lot of spies, and there need to be a lot of traitors.
Red: Like, the French Revolution just fucked everything up.
Sarah: What trope – this is from Mia West, and this is a really good question.
Sarah: What trope would you most like to see gender flip? ‘Cause you’re a big fan of the gender flipping.
Red: I’m a big fan of the gender – Okay, I’ve been thinking about this question since I saw it on Twitter –
Red: – and I still don’t, like – I do, I do homework for podcasts. [Laughs] It’s what we do.
Sarah: Of course you do!
Red: And I still don’t have an answer for this, ‘cause I generally don’t know what I’m going to like or not like until I actually read it in a book.
Sarah: It’s hard to answer.
Red: It’s hard to answer, so I don’t have a good answer for it. I’m sorry.
Sarah: Did you read Anna Cowan’s, I think it’s Untamed, where the hero is disguised as a woman?
Sarah: Ohhh, you need to read that book. She is an Australian author, it’s her debut book, and in it, the hero is try-, I don’t remember the particulars, but he is hiding out in plain sight, and he is a very convincing woman.
Sarah: Oh, yeah.
Sarah: And it’s historical, so –
Red: All right.
Sarah: – it’s fascinating. This is from Kevin O’Shea. Why is a Boston cream pie neither cream nor a pie? You’re from Minnesota; you don’t know the answer to that.
Red: I’m from Minnesota. I don’t, I don’t actually know the answer to that. I just live here. [Laughs]
Sarah: Do you have a recipe for hot dish?
Red: I have many recipes for hot dish.
Sarah: [Laughs] Do you have the recipe for the salad that’s actually ice cream and whipped cream and cookies? Snickers salad or candy salad or whatever the hell it was?
Red: No, but I can get it.
Sarah: Oh, okay. Good.
Sarah: Because, see, I grew up in Pittsburgh, which is very Midwestern in attitude, despite being part of a mid-Atlantic state, and so all of these Midwestern customs are both foreign and familiar at the same time.
Sarah: Because we didn’t have, like, the hot dish and the giant dessert, but we have sandwiches where you put the French fries and the coleslaw in the sandwich. All right, last question: Whatcha readin’?
Red: [Laughs] This one I am prepared for!
Sarah: I know you did your homework. That’s why I saved it for last!
Red: All right, so, I just finished In Her Corner by Vicki Essex.
Sarah: How did you like it?
Red: I liked, I liked it for a contemporary.
Sarah: But you’re not big of a, not a big contemporary reader.
Red: I’m not a big contemporary fan, but I am a, well, at this point, former martial artist, so –
Sarah: Wait, you’re not marshalling your arts anymore?
Red: No, I, I blew out my knee –
Red: – a couple years ago and then was trying to rehab that as I was finishing my last year of law school, and, like, the anxiety of going to the dojang where I blew out my knee –
Sarah: That’s not going to help.
Red: That was not helping, so I had, so I had to back away.
Sarah: What martial art did you – ?
Red: I’ve also done ballet and belly dance. [Laughs]
Red: So I’m a very well-rounded person. So I, I liked the, the martial arts aspect of it. For anyone who has not read this – and if you’re a contemporary person, totally check it out! – the heroine is a mixed martial artist, which is fun. And she also has a trans character. It’s just a secondary character, but still, sensitive depiction of a trans person. The hero is actually a rape survivor, so there’s, there’s kind of a lot going on. I think that’s, the main weakness of the book is there’s just a lot going on.
Sarah: That’s one of the problems I have with the Superromance line. They pack a lot into one book, and it’s like, okay, you can’t do all of this justice. The cover is ridiculous. That guy has a creeper grin on his face.
Red: [Laughs] I’m not going to blame her for the cover.
Sarah: No, that’s not her fault.
Red: [Laughs] I also just finished To Charm a Naughty Countess by Theresa Romain.
Sarah: [Gasps] Did you like it?
Red: I did. I didn’t like it as much as I liked her Seasons books. I mean, it didn’t quite grab me as much as, like, you know how much I loved Season for Scandal.
Sarah: The Seasons books are just so incredible.
Sarah: They’re just – It, it’s, you get, it’s like the same feeling you get with Courtney Milan where you’re reading it, and you think, every word is here for a reason.
Sarah: There’s no skimming.
Red: There’s no skimming, and, like, when I read Season for Scandal, I was dangerously close to being in tears because I just wanted these people to be happy.
Sarah: Of course!
Red: They weren’t being happy!
Sarah: Use your words.
Red: Use your words, please, for the love of God.
Red: You could be so happy if you would just figure out how to relationship. Yeah, I thought the, the hero in that couldn’t quite figure out how to make social interactions work.
Red: So the heroine was like, okay, so here’s how you fake being social interactions.
Red: When in doubt, just talk about the weather!
Sarah: That’s right.
Red: The weather’s boring, yes, but it smoothes the way.
Red: And no one will actually expect you to say anything else.
Sarah: You know who had the best advice for social situations, and I have used this so many times? You know who Valerie Plame is?
Sarah: Somebody once asked her, ‘cause her husband is, you know, they were both very well connected in D.C., and someone once asked her, how did you remain a covert operative in D.C. where everyone’s up in your business? And she said, there is nothing more alluring and powerful than having someone say to you at a cocktail party, “Really? Tell me more.”
Sarah: So just keep asking questions about – and people are like, you really want to know about me? That, and it’s, and it’s not like I’m trying to be deceitful. I am genuinely interested in people, but whenever I’m feeling awkward, I just turn on the Oprah and be all up in your business.
Red: Exactly. Which –
Sarah: This is why I like podcasting, ‘cause I get up all up in your business.
Red: Exactly, and you’re, you’re a really good interviewer.
Sarah: Oh, thank you, I appreciate that.
Red: I mean, that’s –
Sarah: I do my homework too.
Sarah: I have a list.
Red: Excellent. Excellent. I mean, that’s like Andrew Carnegie. How to Win Friends and Influence People is –
Red: – When in doubt, ask people questions about themselves, because nobody likes anything better than talking about themselves.
Sarah: Oh, of course. And, and you know what, most people are genuinely interesting.
Sarah: Especially the people that you meet online, because when you enter different Internet communities, if you’re venturing outside of a prescribed social media collective – like Facebook is sort of like the, the sort of general news of everyone I’ve ever known ever – once you venture out of a prescribed social media boundary like Facebook, you’re going to encounter people in the communities that you’re in that are interested in the same things that you are, because that’s why they’re there.
Red: It’s really kind of been interesting, and this is totally stealing another one of Cleolinda’s lines, that Twitter has revolutionized and brought back appointment TV.
Sarah: Oh, it so has! She’s completely right about that.
Red: There are some shows that I will move heaven and earth for to watch live –
Sarah: On Twitter!
Red: – so that I can be on Twitter.
Sarah: Award shows are, like, 25 times more fun –
Sarah: – on the Tw-, as my mother-in, mother-in-law says, awn the Twittah.
Sarah: But yes, she’s completely right! You, you’re, you’re, you make an appointment to be on Twitter –
Sarah: – with all the same people watching the show.
Red: Exactly, and, like, the, the Dracula show that NBC had over the fall? Terrible show.
Sarah: Of course.
Red: Awful. Way more fun to watch it live with everybody else.
Sarah: Yes, ‘cause everyone else and their sofas –
Red: I was like, really?
Sarah: – in their jammies is like –
Red: That’s a thing that just happened!
Red: What the fuck is happening right now? I don’t understand.
Sarah: Okay, Adele Dazeem. What the fuck was that?
Red: Okay, so those are the books that I’ve just finished.
Sarah: Okay, whatcha readin’ next?
Red: I am trying to finish A Song of Ice and Fire before the next season of Game of Thrones.
Sarah: Oh, good luck with that.
Red: I’m some portion of the way through book five, ‘cause I got it in the, the giant five-book Kindle file, so I know that I have, like, 80% of the file left. I don’t know how much that is. [Laughs]
Sarah: That’s like when I was reading 50 Shades of Gray, and my indicator would never move forward, and I kept turning pages, and I was still, like, only 8% in, and I’m like, this book never ends.
Red: [Laughs] Pretty much. That’s how I felt about The Wolf of Wall Street.
Red: This movie is never going to end! And I’m never leaving this theater! [Laughs]
Sarah: It’s just going to go on and on. I live here now. My ass is going to grow roots into the chair.
Red: I’m also, ‘cause I read many things at once, ‘cause you never know what kind of mood you’re in.
Red: I’m also reading Sapphires Are an Earl’s Best Friend by Shana Galen. I’m really enjoying it. I mean –
Sarah: Every fluffy minute.
Red: I mean, it’s more spies, but –
Sarah: Yes, of course –
Red: I like spies!
Sarah: That’s the, that’s the, that’s the spy series!
Red: Yeah. I have a book that is by Louisa May Alcott that’s like, apparently, a crack-filled Gothic romance, and I’m totally vamping as I pull up her bibliography, ‘cause I don’t remember what it’s called. A Long Fatal Love Chase.
Sarah: The Long Fatal Love Chase?
Sarah: That sounds promising.
Red: [Laughs] It’s a suspense that she wrote two years before Little Women. It was only published in 90-, in 1995.
Red: Apparently, like, like Jo March, she liked writing these, you know, horrible flood, murder, and crazysauce, and that’s how she kept herself sane, even though what everybody loved was Little Women. That’s on my list next. A friend of mine sent it to me.
Sarah: Wow! That’s cool!
Red: So this could be, this could be fun.
Sarah: So, one last question.
Sarah: What pitches have really worked on you, now that you’ve been, you know, sort of out and about in the romance world where people want to be reviewed. Has there been a pitch or a, a proposition of reading a book that has really worked on you to the point where you were like, yes! I will read this immediately.
Red: Well, the dinosaur porn certainly did.
Sarah: Yes, that was particularly your catnip, wasn’t it?
Red: And never again.
Sarah: You know, people still email me, like, do you know there’s dinosaur porn? I’m like, oh, yes, I do.
Sarah: Of course I do.
Red: Yes. Basically, anything that’s, any pitch that starts off with this book is so crazy.
Sarah: I should have you go through the HaBO files.
Sarah: You’re going to think I’m crazy, but this is what I remember about this book. Oh, that’s not crazy –
Sarah: – that sounds totally plausible. That could be, like, 10 books.
Red: Exactly! [Laughs] Exactly. She left the disturbing evidence. I mean, I think that’s what got people to remember exactly what my HaBO was, was that I remembered the language from the back of the book so distinctly.
Sarah: At a rest stop.
Red: At a rest stop!
Sarah: With the lifelong regret of not having bought it.
Red: [Laughs] My mom wouldn’t have let me.
Sarah: And that’s all for this week’s podcast. I hope you enjoyed my conversation with RedHeadedGirl. I had a lot of fun; I hope you did too. Did you count the F-bombs? I probably should have edited more of them out, actually. There were many left on the cutting room floor, the floor of my hard drive, or however it works when you do this digitally. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed that, ‘cause it was really fun.
We’re going to continue our interview series. We have other interviews coming up soon, including more reviewers, including Carrie, who is a lot of fun to talk to, and I also have an interview with Marjorie Liu about her book and her movie. Yeah, she wrote a movie; it’s totally rad!
This podcast was brought to you by J. R. Ward’s The King from New American Library, and let me tell you, if you wanted to look at .gifs of excited readers, excited about a book and using every possible cult television show in .gif form to illustrate the depth of their Kermit flail, you should go to Goodreads and look at the page for The King by J. R. Ward, because there are people completely crapping themselves with joy about the fact that this book is coming out, and I just lost, like, 12 whole minutes looking at them all, because there were .gifs I’d never seen, and I’d never seen so many happy people in .gif form in my life on one page. If you’re having a bad day, go look at how excited these readers are. It’s pretty cool. Anyway, New American Library wants you to know about the highly anticipated, fully .gif activated new book from the #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series from J. R. Ward.
The music in each episode is provided by Sassy Outwater. This is called “Mackerel & Tatties.” I don’t know what a tatty is, but it sounds really kind of fun and like something you shouldn’t say in front of your mother-in-law. This is Michael McGoldrick from his album Aurora. You can find this album online, and I will have information about where you can buy this song in the entry that goes with the podcast.
If you like the podcast, you know what you should do? You should email us. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can call us at 1-201-371-DBSA. Please don’t forget to give us your name and where you’re calling from, and if you want to make suggestions as to who we should interview, please email us!
But wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, Jane and RedHeadedGirl and I all wish you the very best of reading.
Red: Okay. Sorry.
Sarah: Please explain to me –
Sarah: Please explain, are you, like, delivering a curse on to me now –
Red: No –
Sarah: – When I know about the avocado, I will therefore have to make sacrifices to the avocado? ‘Cause avocados are expensive.
Red: I know. I know. It’s a thing, and hopefully you will not need it, but if you ever anger the podcast gods, this is how you appease them. You sacrifice an avocado. And this happened because back in, I think it was August, my podcast and our parent podcast and another podcast within our podcasting amoeba hub thing all had massive recording fails. Like, my end of Skype was spitting out demonic noises –
Red: It, it was pretty incredible. And a whole, entire recording was lost. We ended up having to re-record the entire episode, and we said, okay, well, we’re going to try this again next weekend, and I put it out on Twitter: What do you do, what is the proper sacrifice for the podcast gods? And Alina said, an avocado? And I said, sure, we’ll go with that; that sounds good. So I bought an avocado, and I cut it in half, and I put it out on my back porch and said, I hope this is sufficient. Please work. And then we had no problems recording.
Sarah: So I have to put an avocado on the back porch?
Red: Yes. Cut in half.
Red: And we didn’t do this this month because I figured that –
Sarah: Ah, it requires monthly renewal.
Red: It does! I mean, we did it last month, ‘cause Kayleigh dropped from the call, and we all went, oh, God, we forgot the avocado, and I realized that I had one that had been intended for my lunch that day when we were done recording, and I put it out on the back porch, and everything was fine, and the recording went perfectly.
Sarah: See? You know…
Sarah: That just ain’t right.
Red: Yeah. And before we recorded this podcast, I did not have an avocado, so I did go out on the back porch, and I poured out a little bit of wine and said, I understand this is not an avocado, but it’s wine. It’s good, you’ll drink it; it’s fine.
Sarah: But it wasn’t sufficient?
Red: Well, the recording that you and I have done seemed to go okay.
Sarah: Yeah, things seem to be fine, although I haven’t fully examined the audio –
Sarah: – and now I have great fear, ‘cause I don’t have any avocados. I already did my grocery shopping.
Red: And then our episode we recorded on Saturday, and there was a good 30 minutes that, out of the middle, that just wasn’t there.
Sarah: Ohhh, bugger.
Sarah: That sucks.
Red: Yeah. So we had to re-record it.
Sarah: That sucks!
Red: Yeah. I mean, I think the re-recording was possibly better, since we’d already rehearsed it –
Sarah: Of course!
Red: – but, but yeah it’s still going to be an awkward edit.
Sarah: That’s all right!
Sarah: But before you go and before I start to worry about whether I have avocados in my house –
Sarah: – I need to read you a book description.
Sarah: So, recently someone asked me if there were any romances set in the Canadian Maritimes, and I put the question out, and whoever runs the Harlequin books social media feed, which I believe is Jane, responded and said, let me go to the database. Unfortunately, she entered it into the database that the database returned every book that was ever set in Canada –
Sarah: – including the Maritimes, but she did remember two particular ones, and I think this might appeal to you.
Sarah: All right, this was –
Red: Is it fuchsia?
Sarah: No, actually, it’s a Harlequin Historical called The Bride Ship by Deborah Hale. It’s published in 2012, but the cover copy is fan-fucking-tastic. All right?
Sarah: A ship full of women could only cause trouble!
Sarah: Of that Governor Sir Robert Kerr was certain, just by considering their chaperon! Though a widow, Mrs. Jocelyn Finch was young, vivacious and utterly determined to have her own way—especially with him!
Challenging the governor of Halifax, Nova Scotia, to a duel was obviously a poor way to introduce herself. But when Sir Robert accused Jocelyn and her charges of something, well, less ladylike than husband-hunting, what else could she do? Besides, someone had to show this straitlaced, yet gloriously compelling figure of a man that there was more to life than doing one's duty!
But as governor of Nova Scotia, Sir Robert Kerr has worked hard to bring order to the Canadian colony. So when he receives word that a “bride ship” is sailing into Halifax Harbor, he plans on sending the shipload of strumpets back from whence they came.
Shipload of strumpets!
Red: Yeah, I clicked buy this book –
Sarah: Like, 22 seconds ago, right?
Red: – like 22 seconds ago.
Sarah: Yeah. It, it’s a ship full of ladies, and she challenges him to a duel, and he thinks it’s a boat full of strumpets. This is, this is like, yeah. This is your click bait.
Red: Yeah. Yeah, pretty much.
Sarah: I’m glad I could help your evening.
Sarah: I mean, who else doesn’t want a ship full of women in the, you know, Canadian Maritimes?
Red: It was apparently a problem.
Sarah: Yeah, they did it in Australia. I didn’t realize they’d also done it to Canada. Putting all those women on a boat?
Red: Yeah. Good times.