Dear Bitches, Smart Authors Podcast

50. RWA, Audiobooks, Condoms, and Nerds: Sarah Answers Listener Mail

This week Sarah answers some listener email about issues such as the differences between the RWA National Conference and the RT Book Lovers' Convention, and some excellent romance audiobooks to try out. She also discusses condom use and storage in romances, plus a reader named Susan tempts Sarah (and by extension, you) with a contemporary comedy about scientific research into the orgasm.

Here are the books (and audiobooks!) discussed in this week's episode:


Book Chemistry for Beginners Book Love Irresistibly Book Kill and Tell

During the discussion of condoms in wallets, I read a portion of the following article on condoms from Go Ask Alice, part of the Columbia University Health Center website (and it's awesome).


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The music this week was provided by Sassy Outwater. This song is called “Room 215″ and it's by the Peatbog Faeries from their CD Dust. You can find them at their website, or at iTunes.

If you like the podcast, you can subscribe to our feed, or find us at iTunes. You can also find us at PodcastPickle.

Want to suggest a topic or ask a question? Have an idea where the characters can keep their condoms? 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 an upcoming podcast.

Thanks for listening – hope you enjoy!

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  1. 1
    Carrie G says:

    I hope it’s okay to post a link to a great audiobooks website. will help anyone interested in audiobooks and in learning some of the tech side of things as well, like how to burn CDs from digital files, or how to load CDs on your MP3 player.

  2. 2
    library addict says:

    Thanks for another fun podcast.

    I would rather read the guy has a condom in his wallet than no mention of one at all in contemporaries. I am rather tired of the recent trend of “I’ve been tested, I’m clean.”/“Me, too and I’m on the pill just to regulate my period so no need for a condom” variations I’ve seen in numerous books in the past few years.

  3. 3
    Karen Wapinski says:

    so true. I always think “and I always have that level of blind faith in people I’ve known for two days”

  4. 4
    LadyRoy says:

    At risk of TMI, it is totally not mood breaking when my husband has to run upstairs to the drawer in the nightstand, or both parties could fumble in the direction of said nightstand in which protection is stored.
    Doesn’t solve the “couple is in neither party’s home” problem, but I would still rather see the couple in question put a lid on their extreme horny-pants long enough to go to a gas station, drug store, SOMETHING. This leaves a bit of room for furthering the tension in a scene, anyway.
    For example: As a young couple, my husband and I were in a long distance relationship, and so things were often….intense. Once upon a time, we wound up driving from gas station, to Walgreens, to grocery store in search of condoms. (Apparently on the same night everyone else in town had the hotpants.) In a torrential downpour. It was hysterical. It’s one of our favorite memories. Authors should be creative about their condom-use.
    And I agree with library addict: enough of the “I’m clean/on the pill.” exchange. Enough.

  5. 5
    Kate L says:

    Thanks for the audio recommendations. I’ve never tried them, thinking my book budget was better spent on new books rather then buying audio versions of books I already own. But now maybe I’ll explore this option.

    Oh and, he wore a condom for an hour and figures she’ll be impressed? grateful? what exactly? I’m with you, that behavior would be a major stopping point for me with a hero.

  6. 6
    Kaetrin says:

    I cannot recommend the Kinsale audiobooks highly enough.  Nicholas Boulton quite possibly has the sexiest voice in the known universe.  But more importantly, his characterisations are superb – he has a vast array of accents and character voices and he uses them perfectly.  So far Prince of Midnight, Midsummer Moon and Flowers from the Storm is out, with The Dream Hunter out shortly I believe.  All of Laura Kinsale’s books will be out in audio over the next few months.  Also, no geo restrictions! :)

    I’d also recommend Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, narrated by Davina Porter.  She is another with superb characterisation – even though I know it is a woman’s voice reading Jamie Fraser, I still get all swoony! LOL

    Also, Pamela Clare’s I-Team books and very shortly, her historicals are out in audio and the narrator,  Kaleo Griffith, is very good.

    I enjoy the Elder Races books on audio like you said (Sophie Eastlake narrates) and the Psy/Changeling books on audio too (Angela Dawe).  And, I completely agree regarding Richard Armitage’s Heyer narrations.

    Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series (Renee Raudman) and Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson (Lorelei King) and Alpha & Omega series (Holter Graham) are also excellent on audio.  Really, there are so many…  :D

  7. 7
    Kaetrin says:

    @Kate L – many libraries have a fair selection of audiobooks for download these days so you might be able to try audiobooks without breaking your budget :)

  8. 8
    Ellie says:

    I can suspend a certain level of disbelief for a good book, so even though I know that a wallet is not proper storage for a condom, I’d rather see that than have to suspend a ton of WTF if they forgo protection. And I would get the terminal giggles if I ever found my man, uh, pre-wrapped? in the situation described in the Linda Howard book. Which would be a huge mood killer, I’m sure.

  9. 9

    If you have Kindle copies of certain books, you can get the Audible editions of said books for lower/reasonable/total steal prices. Frex, I just bought the Kindle copy of Laura Kinsale’s MIDSUMMER MOON for $3…then hopped over to Audible and got the audiobook for $2.29. That’s an audiobook for less than $6! (Note: the accounts have to be for the same user/email. Easiest if you just sign in to Audible with your Amazon account.)

    Audiobook tip: Before buying, ALWAYS LISTEN TO THE SAMPLE! Then check what the reviews say about the narrator. Because the narrator totally makes or breaks a story. (There are narrators I avoid like the plague. There are others whom I love love love in one series that I wish hadn’t narrated another.)

  10. 10
    Kaetrin says:

    Is it a problem if the condom has just been put in the wallet that night for example?  Because I’ve read books where the hero puts one in his wallet before the big date.  It wouldn’t have time to deteriorate then would it?  Or is a wallet a no-no anytime?

  11. 11
    Evamaria says:

    Re: condoms. I read a lot of fanfiction and there the “oh shit, we need protection” is often addressed either as a slightly humorous interruption (“mad scramble to the bathroom/drawer/etc.”), a thoughtful gesture (“no, I don’t want to hurt you, just wait a second”) or something a character has “stashed in his bag” (exact method of storage unspecified), along with lube in the case of m/m. (Speaking of lube, omg, the next time I read a dry/just spit anal sex scene I’m going to scream – just as annoying as ignoring safe sex!)

    I like all of these ways, because it’s just strikes me as more believable and just as sexy – but then I also enjoy it when small accidents happen and laughter ensues, like in real life.

  12. 12
    SB Sarah says:

    I don’t know who it was on Twitter or here at SBTB, but someone recommended the Darynda Jones/Charley Davidson series in audiobook, and OH MY GOD THEY ARE FABULOUS. I had to drive Baba O’Riley to meet his grandma, and I knew I would get stuck in traffic (hi, Tappan Zee, you are SLOW) so I loaded the series onto my phone. FREAKING AMAZING. So whomever recommended them – thank you!

  13. 13
    LisaJo885 says:

    This is Lisa, the letter-writer from the podcast. Thank you all for the recommendations! I can’t wait to load up my iPod and listen to these fabulous stories!

  14. 14

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