Dear Bitches, Smart Authors Podcast

43. The DABWAHA, What We’re Reading, and Listener Voicemail and Email

Sarah and Jane talk about the 2013 DABWAHA: what it is, what it means, and how it works! We also talk about what we're reading, plus we answer listener voicemail and email.

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


Book Wait Until Dark - ML Buchman Book Wally Lamb She's Come Undone Book Mike Greenberg - All You Could Ask For

Book Kelli Evans One Lucky Deal Book Flesh  Kylie Scott Book Zombie Combo - Bonnie Dee

The music this week was provided by Sassy Outwater, and the track is called Calgary Caper and it's by the Peatbog Faeries from their album Dust. You can find them at their website, or at iTunes.

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You can email us at, or you can call and leave us a message at our Google voice number: 201-371-DBSA. Please don't forget to give us a name and where you're calling from so we can work your message into our next podcast. Thanks for listening – and for all your email! 

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  1. 1
    Liz H says:

    DABWAHA! So excited! I’ve been sitting on my hands to keep from asking about it. I suck at it, and so don’t really care about the results. But I’m hugely excited just about seeing the list; this is by far the best “Best Books of the Year” list I’ve found anywhere.

    By the way, Jane sounds just like Jenny from The Bloggess.

    Is there a list somewhere of the nominees for past years? I’d love to see all of them.

  2. 2
    Liz H says:

    Rather than the grand prize, what’s the prize for the worst bracket? Probably far more important to most of us ;)

  3. 3
    BacknGrooveMom says:

    looking forward to the tourney – probably gonna like it better than a basketball tournament (shhh)

  4. 4

    It’s DABWAHA time! I can’t wait to see who makes the brackets this year. Let the trash-talking begin!

  5. 5
    laj says:

    I loved DABWAHA last year, it was so much fun!!

    I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it!

  6. 6
    CK says:

    I have to say that I’ve overcome my knee jerk distrust of a romance written by a male. I totally enjoyed and look forward to more of ML Buchman, but I don’t disagree that what he writes is not a typical romance. I call it ‘mushy-free’ romance or at least minimal internal wangst. The characters still have deep emotions, but they don’t feel the need to talk about them to death. The romance/courtship are very important but not the center of the plot. But then again, that’s how I prefer to read my military/action romances. I want Tom Clancy/W.E.B Griffith with romantic smut.

    I could be totally wrong (shocker but known to happen ;) but I thought the heroine of Wait Until Dark was borderline Aspergers. It was difficult to immediately warm up to her and my disconnect with her would have probably made me chuck the book if it wasn’t for the military set up that I had totally enjoyed from the previous books. Which makes me wonder, if the roles had been reversed, the hero being difficult to relate/like/connect and the heroine being the supportive, relationship driven character (ie, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie) if I would have been more accepting earlier in the story. ¯_(?)_/¯ (love the podcasts, btw)

  7. 7
    Kelli Evans says:

    I love Leigh Greenwood but I do remember being SHOCKED to find out he was a man. I mean more than just pleasantly shocked. I began to wonder if I’d be able to tell if I went back and reread my favorites by him. It took me awhile to convince myself that it didn’t matter. I think it’s definitely do-able for a man to write really wonderful romances but do I think there is a disconnect between male romance writers and readers willing to pick them up – definitely.
    I think the remedy for that, although it may seem counter-intuitive, is for male romance authors to stop writing under gender neutral pen names, or even typically female names. The only way to build that bridge of trust between a male romance novelist and their predominately female fanbase is to put it all on the line, let them see that you’re a man who can write a really great romance.
    The more we see of that, the easier it’ll be for a reader to pick up your book for the first time – at least in my humble opinion.

    & Sarah, I’m glad you didn’t absolutely hate One Lucky Deal, I do hope that some of your questions might be made clearer by reading the first two. If you do decide to go a head and read them I hope you continue the pattern of not absolutely hating them ;)
    Thanks so much for taking the time to read me at all, and then to actually go and talk to the world about One Lucky Deal. I really, from the bottom of my heart, appreciate it. 

  8. 8
    Fran S. says:

    I actually watched some Yaoi anime once, out of curiosity.  What really disappointed me was the way the relationships were portrayed.  The characters were mostly saying things like “oh, I’ll do this until I get married”.  It can’t be a traditional romance story unless the couple ends and stays together ….which the characters make clear they didn’t intend to do.  Their homosexuality was treated like a phase. 

    Yes, this is one example.  But it was enough to turn me off from Yaoi.  I simply enjoy reading about/watching people fall in love, and It’s disappointing to see things like that show, which support the argument that homosexuality is being fetishized in romantic stories.  I love the idea of M/M and F/F broadening the romance novel spectrum, making it clear that all love between people is healthy, but I can’t appreciate it if it turns an entire group into objects instead of people.   

  9. 9
    Anna Cowan says:

    I’d say that’s not typical of Yaoi – or rather it is, but was probably just the beginning phase of their courtship. There is A LOT of denial in Yaoi :-). They have to go through the whole “you made me do this, I don’t want to do this” – all the way to admitting it’s what they want. I think that’s mostly to do with Japanese culture and cultural expectations.

  10. 10
    cleo says:

    Just listened to this.  The question about male romance authors is really interesting – I’ve just discovered a prejudice I didn’t know I had.  My first, gut reaction, is that it’d be tough for a man to convince me he could write m/f romance without degrading or demeaning the heroine. I have enough trouble with women writing misogynistic romance and I’m afraid a man would be worse.  Which isn’t exactly fair, I realize.  And I’ve certainly read male authors that aren’t misogynistic, but I’ve read enough that are to make me gun shy.

    I’ve had mixed experiences with male authors writing romances within other genres (mostly SF/F and mysteries) – from the permanently scarring experience of reading Friday by Heinlein (rapey and misogynistic doesn’t begin to describe it) to the WTFry of Sydney Sheldon to really loving Dick Francis and Tony Hillerman.  I particularly love Charles DeLint – I think he writes women and romance well – hell, I just think he’s a great writer and writes well, no matter what.  And I do read m/m romance written by both male and female authors and I don’t really notice a difference.  But call it the Heinlein effect – I’m still a bit gun shy when it comes to male authors writing about women.

    Now that I’ve examined some of my assumptions, I might try a romance by a man, but it’d have to have some buzz and some good reviews.  It might be easier for a man to break into a sub-genre of romance, like paranormal romance or romantic suspense, rather than straight contemporary.  I almost bought a steampunk romance by a male author, but didn’t – because it got a bad review, not because of the author’s gender.

  11. 11
    cleo says:

    One more thing, about the question re: how readers relate to the heroes in m/m romance and if (western) female romance readers identify with the “bottom” hero more than the “top”.  I don’t know.  I’ve read a lot of m/m this past year and I don’t know if I do that.  I know that when I read m/f romance, I read for the heroines more than the hero – I’m not sure that I put myself in the heroine’s spot but I definitely care more about the heroines. 

    When I read m/m, I’m not aware of a preference for one protag based on who’s more sexually dominant or more traditionally masculine or whatever it means to be the “top” – I think it depends more on the rest of the character development.  I do tend to identify with geeky or intellectual or artistic heroes – whether or not they bottom during sex or are dom in the relationship – because I’m geeky and artistic myself.  I’ve read a fair number of m/m where an athlete or other really physical and trad masculine profession is paired with an artistic or intellectual type, and usually the athlete / cop / mechanic tops, but sometimes he doesn’t, and occasionally we don’t know (ie Tigers and Devils, which has fade to black sex scenes).  I actually enjoy m/m that messes with the top / bottom dynamic – just as I like m/f that messes with traditional gender roles, both in and outside of the bedroom.

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