Dear Bitches, Smart Authors Podcast

34. Study in Seduction, Listener Mail, and the DoJ

In this podcast, Jane and Sarah disagree mightily about a book they've both read, Study in Seduction by Nina Rowan. Jane liked it, Sarah did not, and we debate the reasons why some parts of the book worked for one but didn't work for the other. We disagree so many times in this podcast, you might think we're going to meet out back and start dueling. One of us might have thrown a glove.

We both love quirky and intellectual heroines, but as usual our reading tastes do not line up – it's a rare thing when we both like the same book.

We also answer some more reader mail about our podcast episode on serial fiction, and Jane answers some of Sarah's questions about the Department of Justice settlement.

Here are the books we discuss in this week's podcast: 

Nina Rowan - Study in Seduction Alpha Omega Graphic Novel Version


We also mention a reader picture in the podcast – and have a look. It's the desk drawer of magical plenty! 

A long desk drawer FILLED with romance novels lined up in order.


Another picture of the desk drawer of magical plenty


The music this week was provided by Sassy Outwater, and this piece is “Sonata for Piano, Op. 26: Fuga: Allegro Con Spirito” by Samuel Barber, and it's performed by Jade Simmons. It's from her album Revolutionary Rhythm, which is on sale as an mp3 at Amazon or iTunes.

Many huge thanks to Harlequin for sponsoring the podcast. They have things to tell you! Here's one:

Harlequin Logo


Go retro with Harlequin Treasury, with over 2,000 vintage Harlequin books from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. Visit               


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Thanks for listening – hope you enjoy the podcast!

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  1. 1
    JW Ashley says:

    I think I agree with you by the way. The math theorems should be connected to the character’s emotional situation. While it makes sense that one repeats a mantra, the mantra always has a relevance to the connected situation. Still, it is possible, though, that she recites math to calm herself, as a distraction. In that case, its disconnectedness might be reasonable. I’ll have to read the book or a part of it… The logic you’re using, though, seems objective. As you two discuss superficiality or quick resolutions, you go round and round. It seems you’re talking about the narrative treatment / the work of the writer. Jane, though, is talking about the character’s reality. In a sense, you could both agree with each other, but you aren’t really answering the same questions. The other big difference seems to be that you expect a book to stand on its own. She fills in narrative blanks with her own knowledge of the world. On this, I agree with you. A well-developed narrative explains its own logic.

  2. 2
    Rebecca says:

    Could “A Study in Seduction” be a book by someone who (like me) saw and/or read Tom Stoppard’s “Arcadia” and fell in love with the isolated mathematician heroine (absent father, distant/hostile mother) and wanted a happy ending for her?  (My high school self had a massive crush on Billy Crudup after seeing that play.)  Based on my memories of how Arcadia uses mathematics, I think you argued your case better Sarah, though I agree with JW that I’d have to read the book to form my own opinion.

  3. 3
    Lozza says:

    Aww, that’s my book drawer! Thanks for sharing it. It has now practically doubled in size- after a few additional trips to various used book stores and sales, we’re having to now use TWO drawers- one for historicals, and one for paranormals and contemporaries :)  (keeping a book drawer at work is also a handy way of making sure my husband doesn’t fully appreciate the ridiculous number of books I own)

  4. 4

    Lozza, I’m in love with your book drawer.

  5. 5
    Ros Clarke says:

    I want to work with Lozza!

  6. 6
    Ros Clarke says:

    I totally need to read this book now.  I wonder if the point is that the maths is true and reliable and something certain to grasp hold of in the middle of a scary, difficult emotional situation. Doesn’t matter what that theorem is so long as you know it to be true and provable.

  7. 7
    Ros Clarke says:

    Gah. Not available in the UK. Who can I shoot?

  8. 8
    MissB2U says:

    What are your fav paranormals?  I’m always looking for a new one. Awesome book drawer BTW, and fiendishly clever to boot.

  9. 9
    Reverie_in_md says:

    I am happily one of Lozza’s co-workers and have access to these magical book drawers.  Since I also have a husband that needs to be kept unaware of the ridiculous number of books that I’ve acquired/bought, this drawer has become a receptical for some of my bounty.  Love our trashy book club and all the suggestions – I have read far better books in the past couple of months because I have peeps who understand me…LOL!

  10. 10
    K.M. Jackson says:

    How much do I love Lozza’s book drawer? Fantastic!

  11. 11
    Sam says:

    ROOF. (Podcasts need more canine exclamations and jingling tags.)

    Really, “blaming fanfic” for the serial stuff? I guess there is some popularity for chapters posted over time or works in progress (though I think no more than a finished story posted all at once)…but I and pretty much everyone I know won’t read a WIP unless it’s REALLY really good (often then only we know that author (almost) always gets their stories done) or if the story is finished and is just being posted in parts.
    But while with fanfic you can’t always be sure the story will get finished (or not take a break for a couple years in the middle) it’s FREE. Anyone who posts a couple chapters and then asks for money will get laughed at by most of fandom. :-/ (I get you gotta pay for pro stuff, but 30p for $2 that is crazy expensive, depending on how many parts make the whole thing.)

    Personally, I even like reading my comics in collected works…and I often wait to watch a tv show until a whole season is done (and I know more will come or that it finishes well.)

    So…I guess I’m not about to try any serial books. :P

  12. 12
    Lozza says:

    MissB2U: We tend to define “paranormal” pretty broadly, encompassing urban fantasy, steampunk, etc… Three of us are currently making our way through Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series and enjoying it, and we’ve all really liked Meljean Brook’s (steampunk) Iron Seas series. A few of us would also recommend Patricia Briggs’ werewolves, and anything by Ilona Andrews, as well as Gail Carriger for more steampunk. Also had a recommendation for Christine Feehan’s “Dark” series, and I personally love Jeri Smith-Ready’s WVMP series.

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