Dear Bitches, Smart Authors Podcast

61. Listener Mail: First Person, Feeling Alone, and Whether You’re Weird (You’re Not!)

Reader mail! Mail bag! Jane and I answer and discuss listener mail about first person storytelling, books that everyone else loves but you, and more. Plus we talk about what we're reading right now.

Jane sounds a bit distorted – my apologies. I could make her sound like she inhaled six liters of helium, but that would have been worse. But if the muffled quality bugs the crap out of you, I'm sorry. My fault.

Also: a note to those who have subscribed: thank you! The podcast post date will move to Fridays starting now, and I'm going to do my best to continue to do weekly episodes. Cool? Ok, then.

Here are the books we discuss in this episode:


Book how to flirt with a naked werewolf Book Demon Angel - MelJean Brook Book Beyond Shame - Kit Rocha

Book Kelly Maine Book Storm Book Fearless

Book Spark - Brigid Kemmerer Book Breathless Book Spirit

Secret Cover Book What Angels Fear Book Bet Me

Plus, Jane mentioned: 17 Things only book lovers will understand



Book Sweet Erin McCarthy 
InterMix, our podcast sponsor, would like you to know about Erin McCarthy’s SWEET, a sexy new romance.

Jessica Sweet thought going away to college would finally make her free of her parents’ constant judgments and insistence she play chastity club role model for their church events, but if anything, the freedom has made her realize she can’t go home and be a hypocrite anymore. Tired of dodging their questions, she stays at school over the summer and lands in an unexpected crash pad: Riley Mann’s house.

Sarcastic, cocky, and full of opinions, Riley is also sexy personified with tattoos and biceps earned from working as a roofer all day. Not the right guy for her even if Jessica was looking for a relationship, which she is definitely not. But Jessica knows that Riley hides the burden of having to raise his younger brothers behind that grin and as she helps him get his house in order for a custody hearing, they begin to fall hard for each other, and she is forced to question what she’s hiding herself.

Jessica has never had a problem getting naked with a guy, but when it comes to showing Riley how she truly feels inside, her fear of rejection may just ruin the best thing—the best guy—to ever happen to her…

Download SWEET today!




Our music is provided by Sassy Outwater. This is The Shadow Orchestra's Sweet as a Nut. You can find more about Shadow Orchestra at their MySpace page, and their music is also available on iTunes.

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Want to suggest a topic or ask a question? Have an idea where the characters can keep their condoms? You can email us at (WE LOVE EMAIL! Send us some!!) 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!

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Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    CK says:

    Destiny! Destiny! No escaping that for me! :) Sorry, couldn’t help it.

    Another great podcast! I’m one of those readers who despise 1st person especially in romance. It’s interesting how people talk about the intimacy of 1st person. For me, that intimacy is icky esp during love scenes and impossible if I don’t connect with narrator. In fact, I feel like most 1st P are narrating for a bad reality tv show. My dislike for 1st P has basically cut me off Urban Fantasy because I couldn’t differentiate one series narrator from another.

    OAN, I was just thinking about interracial romance and why there aren’t more around. I recently picked one up that I really wanted to like…but really didn’t, so I went looking for Jane’s book club title only to discover I wasn’t interested. The time period was a big factor for me. I want contemporary or futuristic because I think it makes the romance both easier and harder. IMO, anything set in the past the protagonists are expected to face obvious derision, but in contemporaries, because of political correctness, bigotry is often more subtle and passive aggressive. I find that more interesting, as well as the fact that in contemporaries, race is usually just one of many issues a couple has to deal with.

    Sorry, TL;DR :)  Great podcast.

  2. 2
    library addict says:

    I’m sure it’s me, but I am not seeing the link to the graph/blog post about nerds etc.

    FTR I have a unisex narrator, too. Thankfully I do not hear audio book narrators for every book by an author because I’ve had some a few bad narrator experiences. It would drive me loopy if I heard their voices as I read.

  3. 3
    library addict says:

    I have a difficult time with 1st person. There are a few books I like but they are few and far between. Nowadays I only read it my my fave authors and am very happy most of them do not write it.

    I often don’t like really popular books. AAR is doing another Top 100 poll and I’ll be surprised if more than two of the books on my list make the final list once the results are released.

  4. 4
    cleo says:

    I usually “hear” a book in my head, in a gender neutral voice. I have a terrible ear for dialect, so I usually hear it in a neutral-ish Midwestern accent (my native accent) – even if I’m reading oach lassie type dialog.

    Occasionally I’ll have an author hijack my brain even after I put the book down, and I’ll feel like Nora Roberts or Jane Austen is narrating my life.

    I don’t mind first person, unless (like Sarah) I hate the narrator and I don’t want to be in their head.

  5. 5
    Joane says:

    I don’t like first person narrative, in general fiction as well as in romance books.
    I prefer a story with different points of view. I like the rule ‘show, don’t tell’ and it looks to me that usually a first person narrative tends to tell a lot of things more than showing them.
    And it’s very difficult to do such a narrative in a good way. I mean, you have to accept that the first person is not God but a character in a story so what that person tells must be his/her feelings thoughts and believes … that can be biased and wrong and the reader has to be able to discern that the reality is different from what we are being told. And there’s the tricky part.
    The first person usually acts as the omniscient narrator nor as a character.
    So as it is very difficult to do it well, I prefer the conventional traditional old fashioned third person and omniscent narrator.
    As a matter of fact, now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t remember a good novel with a first person narrative. Really. Not even one. Classic or romance or mainstream or bestseller, I cannot think of even one.

  6. 6
    A. says:

    Your discussion of internal narrators really made me think. I’ve never thought of having an internal narrator at all. Unless I’m conciously reading to myself like Sarah describes proof-reading. For me the book just happens as I read it, and are voiced only by the characters whose viewpoint we see.

    And when I think of books I have read I see what happens in the book as images. Do others see books like this? I don’t think I’ve ever thought of discussing this with anyone before.

  7. 7
    TheMistWalking says:

    You know, I’ve never given much thought before to 1st person versus 3rd person narration, so I guess 1st person doesn’t bother me.  I DO freely admit that I need to like the protagonist(s), though, (1st person or not)—especially in romance novels.

    RE: Disliking books that other people “lurve.” 
    Lord of Scoundrels was actually my first Loretta Chase book, and I started with that one mostly because of all the glowing recommendations it received. Unfortunately, I didn’t really care for it.  I got a kick out of the hero and heroine’s verbal sparring (which was often amusing), but when it came to their ‘real’ sparring (trying not to be too spoiler-y here ), I lost a lot of respect for the heroine. I had a difficult time enjoying the book after that point.

    I ended up not reading another Chase book for about 5 years, at which point I picked up Lord Perfect on a whim, and I ADORED it.  So… you never know.

    I think I’m still trying to figure out what ‘tropes’ or topics bother me in the books that I read. A little bit of violence doesn’t trouble me, but when it’s the hero against the heroine (or vice versa), that earns a big ‘NO’ from me.  And, I swear, sometimes one little thing will just bug the crap out of me (like a mental pebble in my cranial shoe), and it ruins the rest of the novel for me.

    Maybe that makes ME weird.

  8. 8
    cleo says:

    @TheMistWalking – I had the same reaction to Lord of Scoundrels.  It was my first Chase, I read it b/c of the glowing reviews and, eh, I didn’t like it.  Much later I read Mr Impossible, and that made me a Chase fan because I LOVED it.

  9. 9

    Woohoo—-that will make every Friday AWESOME! :D

    Sorry Sarah for the damage to your credit card. (…Okay, I’m not really that sorry…Hehe) But should you find that the rest of the Elemental series doesn’t live up to my raving recommendation, I’ll take the blame. :D Thanks for including my (very long and rambling) email in the podcast! :)

    It can be tough liking (or not liking) a book; I’m just glad that it’s a common problem among readers, though that doesn’t make it any easier when it happens, I’m afraid.


  10. 10
    Aislinn says:

    What was the author you were talking about at the end? Someone McKenna? I didn’t quite catch the name and it isn’t in the list…

  11. 11
    Samantha says:

    It’s funny to hear you talking about “hearing” a book in your head – I don’t have that at all unless I’m deliberately doing it to mull over a particular passage.  I think it’s because I don’t actually read every little connecting word most of the time.  But if I do it deliberately, I tend to think in a male or female voice depending on the author’s gender.

    As for first person, I love it and might even go so far as to say I prefer it.  But I do have to like the narrator or else it doesn’t work for me at all.  I don’t want to spend time that closely with a character I don’t like.

  12. 12
    Karen Wapinski says:

    another great podcast :D
    I actually love first person because I feel the immediacy and I feel more…open? forgiving? of the characters mistakes when I can see the thought process making them up. I had to agree with you on 50 shades though, the entire series was a lesson in self-punishment for me in a very nonfun way because I spent half the book wanting to possess Ana’s body so I could get a restraining order against Christian and force feed her chocolate. But third person works really well for me too, it depends on the author and the story. I had to laugh at the Choose Your Own Adventure books though. Did anyone else ever read the What If… series by Liz Ruckdeschel and Sara James which is like CYOA for teenage girls?

    That’s so funny too about your friends loving/hating a book. My best friend and I have alot of overlapping tastes but sometimes we really can’t get into each other’s favourites and some times we have that exact conversation where we’re saying ‘this was such an awesome book I loved the hero but don’t buy it it’s not your thing.’ lol

  13. 13

    Re First Person: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” So good I rarely noticed the first person. Gothics do lend themselves to that point of view. 

    As for second person, Sarah said it! Choose Your Own Adventure! Ack. I loved them as a kid, but not I get to “read” them as a parent. “Do you investigate the flashing lights or do you stay in your tent?”


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