Dear Bitches, Smart Authors Podcast

74. Reader Email: Historicals, Pitches, Pronunciation, and Recommendations

Jane and I discuss an email from a reader looking for historical recommendations.  Plus, we find out what happens when an author emails us a pitch: Sarah does something terrible (unintentionally!) to Jane. This bit, which starts about about 9 minutes, is a bit of a spoiler, but the description is very intriguing. And we end with a pronunciation correction for Sarah (oops) and a glowing recommendation for a book – with a request for more like it.

Here are the books we discussed in this podcast:


Book The King of Threadneedle Street - Moriah Densley Book Song for Sophia - Moriah Densley Book Jennifer Ashley  Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie Book Courtney Milan - Unveiled

Book Courtney Milan - Unclaimed Book Courtney milan - Unraveled Book Zoe Archer - Sweet Revenge Book Zoe Archer - Dangerous Seduction

Book Julie Anne Long - A Notorious Countes Confesses Book Julie Anne Long - What I Did for a Duke Book Kate Noble - The Summer of You Book How to Wed an Earl - Ivory Lei

Book Bitter spirits - Jenn Bennett Book First to Burn - Anna Richland Book Secret - Brigid Kemmerer

Book Strawberries for Dessert - Marie Sexton Book Caught Running<br />


Book Come to Me Quietly - AL Jackson

This podcast is brought to you by New American Library, publisher of Come to Me Quietly—the brand-new New Adult novel from New York Times bestselling sensation A.L. Jackson.  

Aleena Moore is haunted by Jared Holt. It’s been six years since she’s seen her brother’s best friend, the self-destructive bad boy she secretly loved in high school. As the years pass, she knows it’s time to move on.

Time to decide between a practical nursing degree and her true dream as an artist. Time to get over Jared and give another guy a chance…

Just when she opens her heart to her friend, Gabe, Aly returns home to find Jared sleeping on her couch. The teenage boy she loved has grown into a man she can’t resist. Covered in tattoos and lost in rage, he’s begging to be saved from his demons—the memories of the day he destroyed his family.

As the two reconnect, their passion is hot enough to torch Aly’s judgment. But can she risk her future for a man who lives on the edge of destruction? Come to Me Quietly is a New Adult novel of one woman’s obsession: a man who’s as passionate as he is elusive—and as tempting as he is trouble. You can find Come to Me Quietly wherever books are sold.


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  1. 1

    Thanks for including my email, Sarah! I can’t wait to listen to the podcast; I’m holding off until I go for my afternoon walk! Nothing makes me want to walk more than listening to a new podcast!


  2. 2
    cleo says:

    m/m recommendations for the reader who liked Secret by Brigid
    Kemmerer: I agree with Sarah’s Marie Sexton rec, although I think
    Promises is way better than Strawberries for Dessert.  Marie Sexton is
    a great gateway into m/m.  So is Josh Lanyon – he writes in a variety
    of sub-genres and he has a huge backlist.  If you want a hot, sexy
    read, try Collision Course by KA Mitchell or Let it Snow by Heidi

    If you like fantasy/pnr, Irregulars is a wonderful shared world
    anthology by Nicole Kimberling, Josh Lanyon, Gin Hale and Astrid Amara
    ( – it’s kind of urban
    fantasy and it’s one of the best books I read last year.  And The
    Magpie Lord by KJ Charles is a wonderful Victorian fantasy.

    There are lots of m/m NA.  Three of my favorites are Social Skills by
    Sara Alva, Frat Boy and Toppy by Anne Tenino (both jock – nerd
    pairings) and Tailor Made by Josephine Myles (with art and design
    students in Bath, England and not a jock in sight).

    I think I’m going have to give the Brigid Kemmerer series another try
    – I really liked the first one (pretty sure I bought it when it was
    the SBTB book club book) but I didn’t care much for the second one.

  3. 3
    Gloria says:

    I’m not sure how good my recommendations will be since I didn’t really like any of the m/m books mentioned, but I do read a lot of m/m so I’ll give it a shot.

    Probably my favorite one is The Legend of the Apache Kid by Sarah Black. The romance is a bit of a slow burn between a cowboy/English teacher and a Native American independent film maker. It is, in my opinion, and deals with what I call the “real modern West”

    The Dark Horse and it’s sequel The White Knight by Josh Lanyon. These two books are heavily influenced by Mary Renault’s The Charioteer, which I also recommend. The Charioteer was written not long after WWII so it was a contemporary at the time. It’s about a young air man Laurie who gets sent home after being shot down and crippled. In the hospital he meets up with his old crush from school, as well as meeting a young conscientious objector and having to choose between the two. If you like WWII historicals I really recommend this book. In the Dark Horse and The White Knight one of the mains is an actor angling to get the part of Laurie while being stalked by a crazy celebrity stalker. The other main is the police lieutenant assigned to protect him so there’s some nice body-guarding action.

    I’m hearing a lot of good things about Thorns by Feliz Faber, although I haven’t read it yet (my book budget is already blown for the month lol)

    Speaking of Historicals, Secret Light by Z.A. Maxfield.

    Authors to check out:

    I’ve already mentioned Sarah Black, Josh Lanyon, Mary Renault, Feliz Faber, and Z. A. Maxfield. Other authors I like:

    Kaje Harper/Kira Harp. Kaje Harper is the name this author uses for her more adult stuff (and she has a TON of free, high quality novels). Kira Harp is her pen name for her YA things. I don’t really like YA so I’m personally glad she split them up like that, but I really recommend her.

    Jordan Castillo Price. She writes most a lot of PNR and some Sci-fi, really creative stuff too. She has some of the best female characters to be featured in m/m, ever. Apparently she also writes erotica of all types, but I think she uses different pen names for that—at least I haven’t ever seen any of her non m/m erotica anywhere. She used to do a podcast about writing erotica that’s still on iTunes, although she no longer updates it. There’s something like 150+ episodes though so if you’re interested check it out.

    Neil Plakcy if you like mysteries. His Mahu series is gritty detective with a side of aloha, although it evolves into more m/m romance as the series progresses (the other hero doesn’t show up until a couple books in). It’s set in Hawaii.

    She might really like Ginn Hale and Nichole Kimberly, although the only thing I’ve really, really liked by them was the Irregulars. Ginn Hale wrote Lord of the White Hells which seems to be pretty popular among YA m/m readers. It wasn’t my cup of tea, but I just don’t like YA/NA period, to be honest (I’d call LotWH NA since it has too much sex to be YA).

    There’s a lot of other good authors out there, Harper Fox, Andrea Speed, etc, but if I list them all I’ll be here all day and my house won’t clean itself.

  4. 4
    Liz says:

    In reference to out-of-the-ballroom historicals, I’m surprised no one mentioned Cecilia Grant! “A Lady Awakened”, “A Gentleman Undone”, and “A Woman Entangled” are her 3 books so far, set in regency England about various members of the Blackshear family, but can be read as standalones.  Each romance is something of a misalliance between people that live slightly on the fringes of good society, and they are faaaabulous. I highly recommend!

  5. 5

    Thank you for all the M/M recommendations, everyone—I’m off to add them to GR. :)

    Since I originally sent the email (only 2 weeks ago, if that!), I actually did stumble upon a few M/M romances that caught my eye. They were on NetGalley, and I was lucky enough to be approved. I really liked both of them, for different reasons, and I plan on reading more by the authors. The books: No Such Thing by A.M. Arthur and Catch a Ghost by SE Jakes.


  6. 6
    Heather S says:

    For m/m historicals, I recommend Alex Beecroft and Lee Rowan – they both write Age of Sail m/m that is very enjoyable.

    Less explicit (but totally causes Good Book Sigh tm), I highly recommend “The Persian Boy” by Mary Renault.

  7. 7
    Heather S says:

    For “non-ball” historicals, I recommend “Summer Is For Lovers” by Jennifer McQuiston. It takes place in Brighton, and the heroine defies convention by swimming (which gives her an athletic swimmer’s build). I LOVED the heroine.

  8. 8
    Heather S says:

    Okay, now I have to come back (after listening to the podcast, lol) and rave about my favorite m/m series – the “Faith, Love, and Devotion” series by Tere Michaels. It consists of “Faith and Fidelity” (which I stayed up all night to read), “Love and Loyalty” (a bit of a spin off, not really necessary if you just want to follow the characters from “F&F”), “Duty and Devotion” (which picks up right after F&F left off), and finally a novella called “Cherish”. I have “Faith and Fidelity” in both Kindle and paperback, and I adore this book SO MUCH, and the characters, Matt and Evan.

    Evan is a widower with four young kids and a cop. Matt is a disgraced former cop who exposed corruption in the force and lost his job – he’s single and goes from woman to woman. Both are lifelong heterosexuals, but they meet and become friends, then become lovers. It’s a secret thing – Evan worries about his kids, his in-laws, and his coworkers finding out about Matt. Matt is less concerned about keeping things secret. They have a VERY hot weekend when Evan’s kids go to stay with relatives for a couple of days. Matt slowly involves himself in Evan’s family life. I’m not going to say anything more about it, but I promise – this story is fantastic and you’ll be pressing the “One-Click” button so fast for the rest of the books that you’ll sprain your finger.

    I usually hate plot moppets – especially if they’re kids. However, this was really well done and I actually thought the kids added to the story. My only complaint is that Tere doesn’t write faster! (Seriously – if you want contemporary m/m that is sexy but has a very strong emotional component, RUN, don’t walk, to buy this series!

  9. 9

    I don’t have anything of quality to add. I just want to say that I just love your podcasts with Jane. One of the best 30 minutes of my week.

    My favorite M/M romance was about two NYC firemen. It was romantic, intense but did have quite a bit of “porno” sex. It is called Hot Headz.

  10. 10
    elianara says:

    I read a lot of MM, but thanks to this thread my TBR pile has gotten a few new additions.

    Here comes a few more MM romance suggestions. I’m gonna keep to favorites from the last couple of years.

    In a contemporary setting I like guys with family and or kids. A favorite author is Andrew Grey, and last years favorite was Love Comes Silently.  I also like his Farm series, especially the first two in the series: Love Means… Courage and Love Means… No Boundaries.

    I can agree with the Marie Sexton recommendations, and add my favorite Between Sinners and Saints.

    If you read fantasy I warmly recommend Brute by Kim Fielding, and my all time favorite Snowflakes and Embers by SA Payne. I also often reread The Vanguard   by TA Chase so have to count that in as a favorite.

  11. 11

    I completely and enthusiastically endorse the Cecilia Grant recommendation.

    I also really like Rose Lerner’s In for a Penny and A Lily Among Thorns. They’re hard to find right now b/c they were with Dorchester, but I think the author recently got the rights back and is reissuing w/Samhain in June 2014.

    And Susanna Fraser’s The Sergeant’s Lady (Carina Press) is set in Spain during the Napoleonic wars, so it’s definitely out of the ballroom! She has a wonderful blog about all kinds of books, ranging from cookbooks to romances to research books – I can always lose myself there for ages.

    [Um, deep breath, waving at Wulf up there on my cover – First to Burn – but I’m chicken to listen. Can someone tell me, should I drink first? Or after? Whatever, I will not return to this particular thread to post b/c I know authors aren’t supposed to do that … but I like Cecilia’s and Susanna’s and Rose’s unusual Regencies so much I had to mention them and then it seemed a little bit silly not to say HI to my hero.]

  12. 12

    Oh my goodness, thank you for the shoutout on the Podcast!!

    I read a lot of M/M books to try to get in the right mindset. Some were great, some were not. Some of the great ones:

    Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg (YA Contemp – VERY funny and poignant)
    Don’t Let Me Go by J. H. Trumble (Mature YA Romance)
    Hushed by Kelley York (Mature YA Thriller – Could NOT put it down)
    Kamikaze Boys by Jay Bell (Self-pub YA so there are some mature themes of sexual exploration, yet still true to YA)
    The Year of Ice by Brian Malloy (YA Contemp, no real romance, but a great read)


  13. 13
    Julie says:

    Laura Kinsale (the queen of writing the tortured hero) does terrific historicals sans ballroom with strong female heroines:
    Flowers from the Storm
    My Sweet Folly
    The Shadow and the Star
    The Prince of Midnight
    For My Lady’s Heart
    Midsummer Moon

    By the way, the audiobook narrator, Nicholas Boulton, is terrific.

    Loretta Chase’s Carsington Brothers series is a fun read. Mr. Impossible is set in Egypt and reminds me of a Victorian road movie … if there were such a thing.

    If you like pirates, lady pirates, Marsha Canham’s books are really great.

    Other authors I would recommend would be Sherry Thomas, Judith Ivory, Meredith Duran, and Judith McNaught, and Lisa Kleypas.

    By the way Sarah, according to Dan Savage and Wikipedia (how’s that for a pairing), a “twink” is not a flamboyant gay man, but a very young appearing man with little to no facial or body hair and a slender build. As you might guess, I am a fan not only of the DBSA podcast, but of Savage Love as well. There IS overlap.



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