Podcast Transcript 100: More Books for Young Readers, Beta Heroes, and a Surprise for Jane

Here is a text transcript of Podcast 100. More Books for Young Readers, Beta Heroes, and a Surprise for Jane. You can listen to the mp3 here, or you can read on! 

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 Here are the books we discuss:

Patricia Wrede Dragon series Alvin Ho Diary of a Wimpy Kid  My Weirder School - Dan Gutman

Power Ranger books Captain Underpants Kate Willoughby's hockey book Across the Line

Echo's Wolf book 1: Prisoner by Leah Silver Phineas & Ferb Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

Trouble Twisters by Sean Williams and Garth Nix The Silver Brumby by Elyne Mitchell

The Coldest Girl in Cold Town Eleanor and Park Chrysanthemum Keven Henke Lily and The Purple Plastic Purse

Sheila Rae The Brave A Weekend With Wendell Sisters - Raina Telgemeier Lost and Found

The Goddess Girls series by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams The Wedding Planner's Daughter and Cupid Chronicles by Coleen Paratore Confectionately Yours Series by Lisa Papademetriou The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy


Sarah Wendell: Hello, and welcome to the 100th episode of the Dear Bitches, Smart Author podcast. Yay! I’m Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, and with me is Jane Litte and all of you again! In this week’s episode, we have more recommendations for young readers, because all of you are awesome, and I had some recommendations too, though they’re not as awesome as yours. Jane also has a few more beta hero recommendations from a prior conversation, and then at the end, I have a surprise for Jane for our 100th episode.

The music that you’re listening to was provided by Sassy Outwater. I will have information at the end of the podcast about who this is and where you can find this music.

And this podcast was brought to you by New American Library, publisher of Riding the Wave, Lorelie Brown’s sexy new Pacific Blue novel, on sale now.

As usual, this will be a very recommendation-heavy podcast, but you know where to find the links, right? In the podcast entry!

And now, on with the podcast.


Sarah: Any other books you want to recommend?

Jane Litte: – who have recommended Patricia Wrede, and I can’t get her interested in those at all.

Sarah: Oh, the, the, the woman who wrote the magic chocolate pot, but the books for young – Didn’t she write a dragon series?

Jane: Yes. For some reason, my daughter’s just not interested. I’ll – [laughs] To tell you how effectively I’m brainwashing my daughter –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Jane: – we have agreed that the Harry Potter series should have been named after Hermione, ‘cause she was clearly the coolest character in the entire seven books. [Laughs]

Sarah: I support that. Do you know about the Alvin Ho series?

Jane: No. I, I already know I wouldn’t buy it, ‘cause it has a male character.

Sarah: Ah, well, okay.

Jane: [Laughs]

Sarah: Sorry. [Laughs] He doesn’t have ovaries. For my older son, both of my kids went to sleep-away camp this summer, so before they left, I spent, like, a mother truckload of money on books and audiobooks because they don’t have any wireless connectivity at camp, so I sent them with books and also, on their iPods, a tone of audiobooks and eBooks and then added some graphic novels for both of them on a separate app and then put it on airplane mode, and when we went to see them last weekend for visiting day, it seems as if I did not buy enough, because my older son was like, yeah, I’m almost done! Are you going to send me more books? And I was like, okay, crap.

But for my older son, he’s almost nine and he’s going into fourth grade, [weeps briefly] he loves the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. Like, he adores them. He thinks they are great. He has read them a zillion times. He also told me at one point, just completely out of the blue with no lead-in, I really like that these books are in hardback. They’re awesomer that way. And I was like, o-, okay. So apparently, the hardback, for him, is preferable to the paperback versions. But he also has the audio and the digital versions, and he says he has all three so that he can read them whenever he wants. So apparently, that is the series that he loves more than anything.

But the other books that he read before he got into the Wimpy Kid were the Dan Gutman books which are My Weird School, My Weird School Daze, My Weird School something else. There’s three different series. They all have a slightly different name, and all the teachers’ names rhyme with something. So, Miss Daisy is Crazy!, Mr. Klutz is Nuts!, and they’re very short, and they’re probably more towards my younger son’s age, who’s, who’s going to be seven, as opposed to my older son, who’s kind of outgrown them. The great thing about them is that they break up the text with illustrations, so, you know, much like good web design, you don’t want to have a large, huge box of text, in these books, all of the text is broken up with an illustration or a sketch of something, so they’re beginning readers, but they also have a lot going on on them. In them.

The main character, A.J., hates school, and so that’s the start of every book, my name is A.J., and I hate school, but what’s funny is that there, there are a lot of reviews on Amazon that dislike the fact that this kid doesn’t like school, he doesn’t like being in class, he doesn’t seem to have a lot of respect for his teachers, and that that’s a really terrible example to set in a book, and this is horrible, I’m never buying these books again. So, out of curiosity, I asked my older son, you know, what do you think? And he said, well, you know, I like A.J., ‘cause he’s funny, but I’m way more like Andrea, because I like school, and she likes school too, and I want to be a good student like Andrea, so I’m more like Andrea, but I don’t mind reading about A.J., and I was like, great! I don’t have to worry about any of these Amazon reviewers, not even as a parent. That’s very, very reassuring, ‘cause most of the time Amazon reviews are useless anyway.

The thing that he just got into is a series called Alvin Ho, and the first one is, it’s got a really long title, Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things. Alvin Ho is a second grader, and this is tagged for reading levels six through nine. I have no idea what the reading level is, but if he’s a second grader, I presume children around second grade will understand him. He is a Chinese-American kid who is afraid of everything. He doesn’t like school, he doesn’t like talking, he doesn’t like anything that is in his world outside of his home, and so when he’s at school, he never talks, but when he’s home, he turns into a very, very, very boisterous superhero called Firecracker Man, and he wants to be like his dad. He wants to be just like his father. The thing about Alvin Ho that my older son really likes is that it’s about fear and getting over your fear, but it’s also about knowing that it’s okay to be afraid of some things, and it’s okay to try to get over being afraid of other things, that fear is a normal thing to have. But because Alvin is the, sort of the focal narrator, everything is through his perspective, and it’s a lot of empathy that comes out of reading this character.

So when we were having trouble earlier this spring with a kid in their school who was not only being really unkind to other kids, but he would watch to see whose parents would have a word with the teacher and then figure out who had told on him and then go and make that kid’s life miserable some more. When we were talking about it and my, both of my kids said, well, that’s why we didn’t talk to you about it, because if you go talk to the teacher, then we’re going to get in trouble with this kid, and he, we’d just rather he’d leave us alone, my older son brought up the fact that, you know, he’s, he’s afraid of this kid for a perfectly good reason. Like, you know, mom, you should not tell me not to be afraid of him, and I said, I was not going to tell you not to be afraid of him, ‘cause if someone’s bigger than you and is pissed off because they think you snitched on them, you should absolutely be afraid of what they might do, ‘cause you already know that kid’s not very nice.

Later on, I heard my older son talking to my younger son, saying, well, you know, in the Alvin Ho books, this thing happened, and he totally handled it. And in the books, apparently Alvin deals with a bully similar to what they were dealing with. I always think it’s so cool when, like what you were saying, when, when you can relate something to a book that helps kids understand how a larger social process works. It’s a little easier to understand in fiction sometimes, I think.

For my young-, my younger son, who I said didn’t really get into reading until this year, he was always interested in what was familiar to him and that he was already into, so we have borrowed every single possible Power Ranger book from the library. If there was a book that had any mention of Power Rangers, we have had it checked out multiple times. And it didn’t matter that he’d already it and the story was not all that specifically great, but he liked the familiar and liked seeing something that he already knew he had mastered.

The next thing he got into, which I thought was really interesting, was Pokémon. He and his brother both are into Pokémon and the cards and games and crap and video games, but there’s also chapter books, which my older son thinks is awesome, and then there’s the indexes, which my younger son loves, so it’s a profile of all of these zillions of characters, but because there’s a little picture and each name has something to do with what their strength or evolutionary power will be, he likes to read the indexes and then remember what the different points of strength of each character are. So when he gets a new Pokémon index, he is gone for, like, two hours, and if you’ve ever met my younger son, you know that that is completely rare, because he likes to be around people talking at all the time. Like, he started to talk at nine months old, and he has not stopped. When he has that index of characters, though, he is really into it, because it’s not necessarily a narrative, but it’s visual facts and information that he can absorb. He likes that a lot better.

Beyond that, though, one of the things that I have, I have struggled with, in terms of figuring out what to have them read, is the things that I try to get them to read never works. I have tried to get them to read some of the early Beverly Cleary books, like Mitch and Amy, which I loved, and they were like, yeah, mom, this is really boring. So apparently, my love of character-driven stories is not what they like. They need more explosions and swords and things, so I have to become more fluent in explosion and swords. I’m working on it.

Do you have anything else you want to add in terms of recommendations?

Jane: No, I did, but I forgot. Oh, yes, here!

Sarah: [Laughs] Glad I asked!

Jane: My daughter loves the Captain Underpants books. Have you – ?

Sarah: Oh, God, yes, how did I forget to mention those?

Jane: And for any adult who hasn’t read them, they’re actually quite clever and very progressive in their tone.

Sarah: [Laughs]

Jane: There’s, there’s a part where the two kids kind of go into the future, and due to lack of conservation back in their regular time, the future is a desolate, treeless landscape. It’s actually pretty funny, along with being socially conscious, so I, I think that those are great books with a little crude humor. My daughter thinks that they’re just hilarious, and you know, they’re, they, they are about boys, but we still let her read them.

Sarah: [Laughs] Boys in their underwear, my God!

Jane: I know.

Sarah: I’m shocked! Shocked! Deep to my core, I am shocked. [Laughs]

Jane: It, it’s, it’s interesting – she’d be willing to read anything if I read it to her.

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Jane: She would not read certain books alone, but we have great memories of reading together. We read The Secret Garden, like I said, early on, and I would make up these fake Yorkshire accents, and then she and I would talk in our fake Yorkshire accent and pretend like it was a different language –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Jane: – all the time, and then her dad would pretend to be annoyed by it. She actually has a really good British accent after having watched the seven Harry, or eight Harry Potter movies.

Sarah: [Laughs]

Jane: She can pull it out, and she’s pretty good at it.

Sarah: That’s a good talent for her to have.

Jane: I’m sure. I’m, I can see it being very useful.


Jane: Since our beta discussion, I ca-, I had two more books that I thought I should recommend.

Sarah: Oh, betas? Yes, bring it on!

Jane: Well, have you read Kate Willoughby’s hockey book?

Sarah: I saw you tweeting about it, was it last night or the night before?

Jane: Well, I was reading this, I’d just got done reading the second one. I mean, you like sports books; I think you would like her. She writes – and I, I don’t like to use, I saw Liz McCausland, @Liz_Mc2, tweet today that she wanted to eradicate the words alpha and beta from romance discussions, and I am completely on board with that, because I really dislike the term beta. I feel like it’s emasculating, and it shouldn’t be. That, that they’re somehow second-tier male characters.

Sarah: That’s really interesting, because that’s not how I perceive of the term, but I was having a conversation with my husband about beta males and alpha males, and he perceives it as emasculating and negative and, and, and as trying to say that someone is weak without saying that, which is not how I perceive of betas at all, ‘cause they’re my favorites. That’s really interesting.

Jane: Well, I do think that the, the, the general perception is, you know, if they hear beta, readers’ brains turn to, turn off. So, I, I think that we have to think of some new terms to describe individuals. Nonetheless, I think Kate Willoughby writes heroes that are nice and caring while still being manly.

Sarah: Strong and manly?

Jane: I don’t really know what to say. So anyway, her first book is already out, and it’s about Tim Hollander who was traded from his Stanley-cup-winning team to this, I think they’re in San Diego, Barracudas. And then the second one is coming out, it looks like in August, and the title of that is Across the Line, and I just really like her heroes. They’re very, they’re entertaining, funny, they kind of know what they want. They’re not afraid of relationships, and the –

Sarah: You mean, like, one bad breakup hasn’t sworn them off of women forever and ever?

Jane: No, not at all.

Sarah: Yay!

Jane: And then an, the book, this book I was – which one is it, now? Okay – Echo’s Wolf, called Prisoner, by Lia Silver. One of my readers gifted this book to me. It’s Astara, and she, I was complaining on Twitter a while back, just a week ago, that I didn’t have anything to read. The cover is really terrible. She has another cover inside the book that’s better. I don’t know why she’s using this awful cover. Lia Silver, I’m sorry, but your covers are really bad. You need to – you’ll sell more books, I promise you, if you get a better cover. But it’s about a dyslexic marine who’s also a werewolf.

Sarah: Like you do.

Jane: It’s got some great little pack politics, but he’s taken captive by these evil scientists where he meets a woman who’s this amazing assassin. He can’t figure out what kind of shapeshifter he is, or she is, but she smells kind of like nature, so he says, so he asks her if she’s a tree shifter, and she’s like, are there even tree shifters? And he’s like, well, I’m a werewolf. Why would I assume that there’s not? And I thought that was a great –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Jane: – I thought that was a great response, and they have these –

Sarah: [Laughs more]

Jane: They have these funny little exchanges about what, what kind of shifter she is, and at one point he asks her if she’s a platypus –

Sarah: Oh, God.

Jane: – shifter, and she says, she feels like that would be offensive, and he says no, that they’re cute but deceptive.

Sarah: [Laughs] Okay, I think I need to read this. This is really cute!

Jane: It is, it is cute. I – And he has this tendency to talk a lot –

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Jane: That’s how, kind of, his PTSD plays out –

Sarah: Right.

Jane: – and so there’s one point where he says, what’s, so, what’s it like being a platypus shifter? And she says, awesome, and he said, I knew it.

Sarah: [Laughs]

Jane: So, I just thought that was a fun book. There’s another book called Laura’s Wolf, which is the first one –

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Jane: – and I didn’t like it as much. It was okay, but I felt like she was going on and on about the PTSD. The, the author, apparently, is a, a therapist for, I think she might specialize in PTSD in, in military PTSD patients.

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Jane: And the way she describes it is really down to earth and very accessible. I just felt like in the first book, in that Laura’s Wolf, it just got to be too much. And, and it’s not like it’s a bad story; it was definitely better than a lot of what I’d read, but it wasn’t as fun and sweet and cute as the Prisoner with the terrible cover.

Sarah: So, good book, not good cover.

Jane: Yeah. And, you know, the hero and platypuses – I think he was Filipino, if I remember correctly, so I think she was trying to – it’s hard to find stock images of ethnic people, so I think that that was her problem –

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Jane: – but still.

Sarah: So, which book is the platypus shifter? Echoes of the wolf?

Jane: It’s Echo’s Wolf, book 1, called Prisoner.

Sarah: Oh, Echo is a person.

Jane: Yeah, Echo is the heroine.

Sarah: I wrote echoes, as in more than one echo. Sorry. [Laughs] I was writing plural, not possessive.

Jane: No, Echo is the heroine who’s the platypus shifter. She’s not a platypus shifter, but –

Sarah: Aww! Well now I want a platypus shifter.

Jane: And she’s, and she’s not a tree shifter, either.

Sarah: Oh! Oh, bummer.

Jane: But anybody who’s watched Phineas and Ferb knows that platypuses are very capable –

Sarah: – of ass kicking!

Jane: – and many other things, so –

Sarah: Yes! Including being secret agents.

Jane: Yeah, so, you know, I think DJ’s right, the platypus shifter is a compliment.

Sarah: I completely agree!


Sarah: Are you ready for more reader letters? ‘Cause I got reader letters, and they’re awesome! This first email is from Kathryn. She says:

Hi, Sarah and Jane

I have a couple of recommendations. Fortunately, the Milk by Neil [S: Guy-man, Gaiman? Gaiman, Guy-man, I have heard conflicting reports, so I’m saying it both ways, just to keep it safe] had my nine-year-old nephew laughing nonstop at the dinosaur space police, and an eight-year-old niece missed her favorite cartoon to keep reading.

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch. It’s an oldie, but a goodie for younger kids.

Sarah: All right, I have to interrupt and tell you this was my first celebrity encounter when I was really little. The Munsch family is from Pittsburgh, which is where I grew up, and my grandparents lived across the street from Robert Munsch’s parents, and they kept talking about how their neighbors’ son was this famous author, and I was, I don’t know, like, five or six. I had no idea what that meant, and I got a signed copy of this book, and it was my favorite book for years. It was, like, a treasured possession, and then the cover fell off, so I taped it back on with, with the kind of tape that when it gets old, it turns yellow. Like, it’s not even tape anymore, it’s, like, the suggestion of adhesion, like, there’s not even any tape left, and I still have it. I – that was my first author celebrity encounter, Robert Munsch. ‘Cause he’s very shy, apparently, and I’ve never met him; I only met his parents, but they always had cookies, which was totally fine. Anyway.

Troubletwisters by Sean Williams and Garth Nix, about twins who find out they have magical powers and have to stop the evil from invading their new hometown. They live with their grandma, who is known as Grandma X, because they blew up their house when their powers manifested. Any children’s books by Garth Nix are worth looking at.

Now, as I’m Australian, I thought I might add a book set Down Under that I read as a child: The Silver Brumby by Elyne [S: Elaine?] Mitchell. [S: It’s E-L-Y-N-E, Elyne? Elaine. Elyne? Elyne Mitchell.] It’s about a wild horse, or brumby, called Thowra. (The O is pronounced as in owl.)

Sarah: Okay, this entire paragraph is like, hi, Sarah, you don’t know how to say these words. [Laughs] Thowra. Okay. So I’m going to try that. You ready? I’m not even going to take this out, because this is really fun.

It’s about a wild horse, or brumby, named Thowra that is thrown out of his herd as a colt by the head stallion. He grows up and falls in love with a captive mare and goes about rescuing her from the man who owns her and standing up to the head stallion, the Brolga. It’s set in the Australian bush, with kangaroos, wombats, and my favorite, a bird called a mopoke. It is the first of a series which was started in 1958, and it is still in print today. It works for girls who love horses, talking animals, and the outdoors. A movie was made based on the book, but it stunk. There is a cartoon that matches the book closely, but I think it only airs in Australia.

I love the podcast, and thanks for doing it each week.

Okay, Kathryn, this is awesome, and I totally want to read about silver brumbies, like, right now. Right this minute. That is so cool. Thank you!

This next message is from Carrie, and she writes:

I hope it’s not too late to give recommendations for new readers. I’ve been on an audio YA kick lately and have really liked the Raven Cycle series (third out in the fall, I think), the Curse Workers series, and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. I also listened to Elinor & Park, which started this rash of YA. What a perfect book, and the narrators were fantastic. Dare Me was good, but I’m not sure at what age this would be appropriate reading.

Sarah: Thank you, Carrie. Those are all really good, and yes, Elinor Park, Elinor & Park is amazing.

And I have one more email. I have more than one more email, but I have plenty of email. I’m going to read you another one! Are you ready? This one is from Tanya:

I’ve just finished listening to all of your podcasts, and in your latest you asked what kids were reading. I am a 54-year-old mom of Isabella, a 10 year old. (I know, I’m an extremely late bloomer in many ways.) [S: Hey, no shame! You have your kids whenever the heck you want.] I’ve loved books forever and worked as a page in our local library when I was a teen. To this day, I love walking into our library; there’s such welcome. I’ve tried to share my love of books with Isabella, and I’m keenly aware of the messages that they broadcast, whether quietly or dogmatically.

Let’s start with the picture books, because I love picture books. While The Paper Bag Princess is more outwardly “revolutionary,” Kevin Henkes’ little mouse girls are warriors for sure. Try Chrysanthemum or Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse; Sheila Rae, the Brave; or A Weekend with Wendell, and you’ve got some pretty kickass heroines.

Isabella has liked the graphic novels of Raina Telgemeier, and the middle-schooler heroine finds passion in behind-the-curtain theater work. Even in Maya Gold’s riff on Cinderella, Cinderella Cleaners series, about a girl working in her father’s drycleaner, the female character finds a way to live her life. True of these books, and older ones like Beezus and Ramona, which I grew up with, and the Babysitters Club, girlfriends and solid friendships are highly valued. Girls who find their way to love themselves, that theme is a constant in all of the stories that I love. As we, my daughter and I, move into juvenile and young adult stories, I look forward to the adventures to come in the pages.

Sarah: Thank you for those suggestions, Tanya, I really, really like them. And I know somebody listening is like, oh, oh, oh, I love that book! That book is awesome! I have a feeling that this whole series of podcasts is going to be people in random places going, oh, I love that book! We’re just, you know, inspiring good book noise in random, odd, potentially out-of-place locations. Yeah.

I have one more email! I know that you’re excited too, right? Of course you are! This email is from Darth Clavie, or Clay-Vee. I’m guessing Clah-Vee. And you know, let’s just pretend I’m right.


When I was listening to the outro of the Kate Noble podcast and heard the request for titles for younger readers, well, I rushed home to write this email because, boy, do I have some recs. Most of these books I read myself and then recommended to my mom friends for their kids, and these were the ones that got the most love:

For the very young readers, I recommend Lost and Found and Up and Down from Oliver Jeffers. They are about the friendship that forms between a boy and a penguin, and actually, he has two other books featuring the same boy that are also pretty adorable. It’s a picture book.

And now for the elementary and middle-grade kids: The Goddess Girls series by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams – this is a pretty long series telling the story of Athena, Aphrodite, Artemis, and Persephone as 12 year olds that attend Mount Olympus Academy. They are super fun and deal with stuff like being jealous of a friend or hiding your true self for fear people won’t like you and adapting to new people and new friends. And there’s no cattiness in these books. The girls fight and they talk and make up without backstabbing each other. My personal favorites out of the series are Persephone the Phony, Medusa the Mean, and Pandora the Curious.

The Wedding Planner’s Daughter and The Cupid Chronicles by Coleen Paratore about a girl whose mom is a very good wedding planner but who is nursing a very broken heart. Willa, the daughter of the title, is a reader and a dreamer and delightful, though in later books she does get a bit preachy. The first two of the series are great.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, told from the story of a silverback gorilla who lives at a circus-themed mall. This one will make you cry.

Sarah: This was part of our last podcast, someone mentioned, I think it was Jane mentioned The One and Only Ivan, and I received an email that not only is Ivan a true story, but he was one of the iconic animals of the Atlanta Zoo, and if you go to the zoo, there is a statue of him. Back to the email.

The Confectionately Yours series by Lisa Papademetriou, which has many, many cupcakes in it. [S: I should hope!] It’s about a girl adapting and getting over her parents’ divorce as she navigates middle school.

The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy. If you haven’t read this one, you must! The series just recently concluded with its third volume, and it tells the story of princes charming, Liam, Gustav, Frederic, and Duncan, who are all the nameless princes of Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Snow White, respectively, and how they try to make a name for themselves. Highly recommended getting the audiobook for it, because it’s most excellent. Liam gets an Irish-Italian accent, Gustav sounds German, Frederic is a very posh Brit, and Duncan talks like a surfer dude but in a good way. [S: Yeah, I think I’m going to be reading that.]

And this one is for Aussie readers, because this book is so hard to get on this side of the pond, but The Gorgon in the Gully by Melina Marchetta is the story of Daniel Griggs, brother to Jonah Griggs of Jellicoe Road, as he tries to prove he is indeed brave, mostly to himself.

So that is my very rambly email about books for younger readers.

Sarah: I think I need to go book shopping, like right now. And much like the last podcast, where, which had zillions of recommendations, I will list all of these books as well in the podcast entry, so you can all be as purchasefully inclined as I am.

Okay, one last email, and then I have a surprise! This email is from Danielle, better known as The_Book_Queen:

Of course, even with all your reminders, I keep forgetting to email my suggestions for young readers. Now, all of mine are for older readers. By that I mean late pre-teen and early teens, not books for the under-10 crowd, although who am I to put an age limit on book recommendations? I was reading sexy romances by 11, and even now I still dive into the occasional YA. Anyway.

There are two series that I loved as a teen, and I feel like they are not recognized often enough. The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray, a historical setting with some magic and great worldbuilding, plus a budding romance, and the Kiesha’ra series by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, a fantastic fantasy world, and one that I love to revisit from time to time, also has a romance element to it.

Sarah: Nice! That’s, like, a whole series! That’s, like, you know, 25 hours’ worth of books. Thank you, Danielle, that’s most awesome.

And now it’s time for one more thing. This is our hundredth episode! This is our 100th podcast episode, yay! And to celebrate, I have something for you. Well, first it was for Jane, and then, now, it is for you.

Okay, so one last thing. So I have a quiz. Are you ready? Seven questions, very easy. Okay? You ready?

Jane: Yep.

Sarah: All right. Which of the following vaguely inappropriate title is not a vintage Harlequin? (a) The Man on Half-Moon, (b) The Girl at Eagle’s Mount, (c) Greenfingers Farm, or (d) Deeper in the Forest.

Jane: Greenfingers Farm.

Sarah: No, that is by Joyce Dingwell. The answer is Deeper in the Forest. The Man on Half-Moon is by Margaret Way, and The Girl at Eagle’s Mount is by Margaret Rome. I am fascinated by the idea of Greenfingers Farm by Joyce Dingwell, myself.

All right. Which of the following books is not real? Two of these books are real; one of them is not. M’kay? (a) Passion and Ponies, a contemporary romance about a young man who loves My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and a woman who may unwillingly inherit her family’s cupcake and sex toy business. (b) –

Jane: I, I think that first book is by Tara Sivec.

Sarah: It totally is! Oh, my gosh! How did you guess that? [Laughs]

Jane: Because that woman totally illegally uses the My Little Pony thing on the cover of her book, as well as in her blurb, which is, you know, trademarked, but –

Sarah: Oh, my. Yes, you’re correct, so that one is real, and I’m really – [laughs] – I’m really in awe of it. All right, (b) Ice Bound in Single Town, a contemporary romance about a research vessel full of single, mysteriously horny arctic scientists who become trapped in the ice near the north pole, or (c) The Big, Not-So-Small, Curvy Girls Dating Agency, a contemporary romance about a big, not-so-small, curvy girls’ dating agency.

Jane: Well, it’s clearly (b), ‘cause I know that (c) is a huge subgenre.

Sarah: Yes, it is. You are correct. Ice Bound in Single Town is not real. I do want to read it, though. See, the problem with doing these it then I’m like, oh, well, now I want to read it. I should, I should – yeah, I’m not going to do that. I can’t write that.

Okay. The book Fresh Cut Romance by Dee Dawning was previously published under what title? (a) The Pool Boy and the Landscaper, (b) Sister Laurel and the Atheist, or (c) Java Jeff’s Fresh-Baked goods.

Jane: Ww.

Sarah: [Laughs] So Fresh Cut Romance was originally released under which of the following titles? The Pool Boy and the Landscaper, Sister Laurel and the Atheist, or Java Jeff’s Fresh-Baked Goods?

Jane: Sister Laurel and the Atheist.

Sarah: You are correct! Nice! You’re, like, three for three, or two for three. I’m amazed.

M’kay –

Jane: Me too.

Sarah: Which of the following is not a real title? Taken by Tuesday, Taken by an Older Man, Taken by a Nympho Nymph, or Taken by the Billionaire Alpha Wolf.

Jane: I’m going to say the Nympho Nymph.

Sarah: Very good! This is not nearly hard enough! The rest of those are all real. And if you look up “Taken by” in the Amazon search field, you get an amazing array of titles.

Okay. Now, the following question is extremely Not Safe For Work. I have to say that. So. Which of the following is not a real book? (a) Cunt: A Declaration of Independence, (b) a Cunt Coloring Book, (c) Cuntgasm, or (d) The Cosmic Cunt?

Jane: What was the second one?

Sarah: A Cunt Coloring Book.

Jane: That’s the one.

Sarah: No, that is a real book. It includes over three dozen cunts of every size and description for you to color, and then it has a special note that crayons are not included. [Laughs]

Jane: I’m so sad.

Sarah: I know. Cunt: A Declaration of Independence is by Inga Muscio [S: Moosh-ee-oh or Musk-ee-oh], and it is a really good book. The Cosmic Cunt is a, is a work of fiction, and the tagline is, To fuck for love is better than to fight for freedom. And I made up Cuntgasm. The best review, though, was for the coloring book? Four stars, and this is all it says: “This is a coloring book full of full-page drawings of women’s vaginas. Four stars.” Okay! [Laughs]

Jane: Well, someone like it.

Sarah: Yep, and that’s all that matters! One four-star review is all you need. You’re one step closer to the great powerful algorithm.

Okay. Last question: Which of the following is not a real description of a cock, or chicken, in a love scene? A glistening snake, a tree trunk, a fountain pen, or a frail bud she could crush if she wanted to. A glistening snake, a tree trunk, a fountain pen, or a frail bud she could crush if she wanted to.

Jane: A fountain pen.

Sarah: You’re correct! Well done!

Jane: It’s too thin to be describing a –

Sarah: I should have gone with, like, a cucumber.

Jane: Yeah. But I’m sure a cucumber has been used.

Sarah: A toy, an oil tanker. [Laughs] There was also, when I was searching on Google books for descriptions of cocks, ‘cause this is what I do, the, this, this sentence came up, no pun intended, and I had to write it down. “Eventually, my cock would have given up the ghost and become more manageable within my pants.” [Laughs] ‘Cause, you know, it’s got to be more manageable, you know, it takes, it takes direction later, after it’s given up the ghost. Ah, manageable pants.

That is all for the quiz. You did really well. I’m sad. I have to do harder next, I have to, I have to work harder next time.


Sarah: And that is all for this week’s podcast, our 100th episode. Yay! If you’ve been listening to us for that long, thank you, and if you’ve just found us, well, guess what, there’s a hundred other episodes, or 99, not counting this one.

This podcast has been brought to you by New American Library, publisher of Riding the Wave, Lorelie Brown’s sexy new Pacific Blue novel, on sale now.

The music that you’re listening to was provided by Sassy Outwater. This is Shadow Orchestra, and this track is called “Sweet as a Nut.” I will have information on the podcast entry, both at Smart Bitches and Dear Author, about where you can find their music and more about them, and also their MySpace page, because, you know, that’s, this is the place where I say MySpace the most, and I love it every time I do.

You know what we should all do. We should all go find Friendster and, like, reactivate it and make it, like, our thing. I mean, I started my own social media network for April Fool’s Day; why shouldn’t we do it for real, right?

If you like the podcast, and I hope that you do, you can subscribe to our feed, you can subscribe to us on iTunes, we’re also listed on PodcastPickle, and also Stitcher, which many people are telling me is pretty awesome for podcast listening.

And if you have ideas for recommendations for young readers or you want to suggest a quiz idea for me to torture Jane with or you just have a comment or an idea, you should contact us. You can email us at sbjpodcast@gmail.com – that’s S for Sarah, B for Bitches, J for Jane, podcast at gmail dot com. You can call and leave us a message at our Google voice number, which is 1-201-371-DBSA. Please don’t forget to tell us who you are and where you’re calling from so we can include your message in an upcoming podcast. And also, you can talk to us on Twitter! Jane is @dearauthor. I am @SmartBitches. We’re usually on the Internet, because I’m pretty convinced at this point that if we are not connected to the Internet, we will start to wither and fade.

I am off to RWA, or I’m at RWA when this episode will go live. I will be interviewing Renée Raudman, the audiobook narrator of awesomeness with more of your questions for her, and then we’ll have more young reader recommendations, because you have sent us so many, and they are so great! So, where you are and whatever you’re doing, Jane and I wish you the very best of reading. Thank you for listening.

[groovy music]


General Bitching...

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  1. 1
    Elinor Aspen says:

    If the opposite of misanthrope is philanthropist, then the opposite of misogynist should be philagynist. That apparently isn’t a real word (at least, I can’t find it in Merriam-Webster online), but it should be. Perhaps we should use that term in place of “beta” to denote a hero who likes and respects women in general (as opposed to one whose default response is distrust and resentment).

  2. 2
    Caty B says:

    Elinor, I like philagynist just because it gets tons of points on the fun-to-say front.

    I’m all for coming up with different words for alpha and beta, since they both appear to have become pejoratives for different people – if anything, for me, I’ve started avoiding most books with alphas. I’ve never seen anything emasculating about the betas – in that interview you had with the person in the FBI, didn’t they say that the quality most agents have is the ability to recede in a situation? Just observe and deduce and then act based on that, rather than steam ahead and assume that bravado alone will save the day? And the number of times a reviewer has to stipulate, “He’s an alpha, but not a jerk,” sort of indicates that the original definition is broken. So I’m all for replacing the terms…I’ve just got no idea with what or whether there should still be two terms or three or four or none.

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