This week, Sarah chats with author Mina V. Esguerra, a romance writer in the Philippines. They talk about how self-publishing has changed her career immeasurably, and her experience writing characters who endure sexual shaming to reach their happily ever afters. They also discuss the reading series she hosts wherein scenes from romance novels by local authors are performed by actors – and of course what books she’s reading and loving.
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Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:
So many links! You ready?
- You can see video clips from Mina V. Esguerra’s #RomanceClass, where actors perform romance novels, at her website. Her work was inspired in part by this video of Ashley Clements and Daniel V. Gordh reading The Fault in Our Stars.
- Mina also mentioned WOCInRomance, a resource of romances written by women of color run by Rebekah Weatherspoon.
- Mina’s writing on Wattpad in English and in Filipino
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The music you’re listening to was provided by Sassy Outwater, and you can find her on Twitter @Sassyoutwater. This is a band called Sketch, and this is “Eiggbound” from their album “ShedLife.”
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Sarah Wendell: Hello, and welcome to episode number 217 of Smart Podcast, Trashy Books. I’m Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. With me today is Mina V. Esguerra. She is a romance writer in the Philippines, and we are going to talk about her writing career, how self-publishing has changed that career immeasurably, and her experience writing characters who endure sexual shaming before they reach their Happily Ever After. We also talk about a reading series that she hosts, and this is so cool: they have a reading series called Romance Class where scenes from romance novels written by local authors are performed by actors. This sounds so cool. I will have links to videos. It’s really, really neat. And of course, I will find out what she is reading and loving.
There are going to be a ton of links from this particular episode, so if you’re looking for some of the information that we’re talking about, the books, or the videos, you can find them at smartbitchestrashybooks.com/podcast.
The podcast transcript for this episode is sponsored by Kensington, who is sponsoring all of the podcast transcripts this month. Thank you, Kensington! [gk: Yes, thank you!] They are the publishers of When a Marquis Chooses a Bride by Ella Quinn, part of the new Zebra Shout imprint featuring rising stars of romance at an affordable price of $4.99. This large Regency family saga is infused with humor, lively characters, surprising adventures, and Ella Quinn’s signature fast-paced plotting. Spicy, witty, and brimming with interesting history, When a Marquis Chooses a Bride reintroduces readers to the Worthingtons, a family who has seen their share of scandal and excitement, but nothing will prepare them for this. When a Marquis Chooses a Bride is perfect for fans of Julia Quinn, Tessa Dare, and Mary Jo Putney and is on sale wherever books are sold.
Speaking of books, if you would like to check some out, especially the ones that are in the podcast, you can go to iTunes.com/DBSA. There is a whole iBooks store page just for the podcast where you can find all of the books we talked about, plus the episodes themselves, ‘cause iTunes does all the things. It’s super cool.
And speaking of super cool, while you’re surfing the Internet, because that’s why we’re here, unless you’re, like, walking the dog or dyeing wool or on the treadmill or on the elliptical – if you’re working out, you can totally do this, and you should completely keep going. It’s the beginning of the episode, and you have totally got this workout, plus you’re going to feel, like, so awesome when you’re done. Like, endorphins are the best reason to keep going. You’ve totally got this. Anyway, all tangents aside – if you are curious about how you can support the show, you can have a look at our Patreon campaign at Patreon.com/SmartBitches. You can make a monthly pledge beginning with a dollar a month, and you’ll be making an enormous difference to help me manage, produce, and otherwise create the show and help me commission transcripts for upcoming episodes and episodes that are in the archives. One of the rewards for pledge levels is random but completely heartfelt and very silly compliments from yours truly, and I have some at the end of the episode, and they’re super fun, so I hope you stay and tune in.
And if you’re looking to find out what this rad song is, our music is provided by Sassy Outwater, and I’ll have information at the end of the show as to who this is, ‘cause I say that every week! I’m going to have to ask my husband if I say this in my sleep. Like, if I start reciting or, or practicing intro and outro while I’m sleeping, that, that’s, that would be a weird kind of stress dream, right? I mean, it wouldn’t be all the worst things. I mean, it’s not like I’m, I’m screaming or talking to people who aren’t there, but, you know, maybe I talk about the podcast in my sleep. I’ll have to find out.
I am all about tangents today. Are you enjoying this? Probably not. Should we get on with the episode? Yes, we should! Without any further delay, on with the podcast!
Mina V. Esguerra: Hi, everyone. My name is Mina V. Esguerra. I’m a, I’m an author and a publisher and a reading advocate, and I’m a Filipino living in the Philippines.
Sarah: I’m so excited to talk to you! Seriously, I have so many nosy questions.
Mina: [Laughs] Yes, go ahead with your nosy questions.
Sarah: All the nosy questions! So, how many books have you written so far?
Mina: I’ve actually lost count. It has to be –
Sarah: Oh, that’s the best answer!
Sarah: That’s, no better answer than that!
Mina: Yeah, it’s, it’s, I tried counting because someone told me that I should have, like, a thing for the twenty-fifth, but it’s probably twenty-four, and I’ve only lost count because I’ve done the thing where I’ve, I’ve serialized a book, and so I’ve released a book in three parts, so I used to count those as separate books, but now I’m thinking maybe I shouldn’t, so there’s that kind of confusion, but it’s definitely over twenty.
Sarah: Okay, that’s amazing. Congratulations!
Mina: Thank you.
Sarah: So have you always wanted to be a romance writer?
Mina: I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I didn’t realize that I was going to be writing romance until I think just, like, five, six, seven years ago, but it, it was something that I knew I was going to do but didn’t think I would make a lot of money doing, so I started studying more corporate communication, development communication, and then ended up writing romance as a hobby.
Sarah: You write mostly contemporary and Young Adult, is that right?
Mina: Yeah, very few Young Adult though. Probably, like, just, just five or six out of twenty, yeah. I was first published by a Philippine publisher, a local Philippine publisher in 2009. They were one of the few publishers here that were publishing chick lit written by Philippine authors, so I was fortunate to have my first book published by them, but they were only really publishing, like, four or five books a year, so it was difficult to imagine when my next book would be coming out if, if I gave it to them, and I did though. I, I wrote my second book. It was probably finished in the same year, 2009, and then when I sent it over, they were like, okay, we’ll look at it, but we’re not sure when this will come out, and I understood that, because they had several other authors and several other books, and I didn’t think they would really, like, ramp up their publishing just because people were submitting. So someone told me about self-publishing. I think at the time before then, you could self-publish on Amazon if you were in the US or certain territories, and then in 2010 you could publish from anywhere, and I did that, so my second book, I put it on, on Kindle, and then I couldn’t stop. [Laughs]
Sarah: Yeah, once you start it’s really, really hard when that market opens up to you, and in –
Sarah: – it must have seemed really amazing to have this incredible opportunity open up for you when your own market was so small and so slow-moving.
Mina: Yes, exactly, and I actually sort of, it was slow in the beginning too. Like, when, when I, I, the book I had written had Filipino characters, was, was set in the Philippines mostly, and it was written exactly for the market that my original publisher had intended it to reach out to, and I was just trying the whole Amazon thing out, and it was slow. It was, like, ten copies a, a month or less for, like, the first –
Mina: – eight months. Yes, and then, and then Christmas that year and January the, the following year came along, and then it really took off, and that, and then I realized that now I had a lot of people discovering this book and actually reviewing it, and I didn’t have a second book on Amazon for them to buy, now that they had read my work, because I kind of had thought it was a failed experiment at the time. So, yeah – [laughs] – that was a lesson learned.
Sarah: And when, once you have one, and then you have two, having a backlist is an incredibly important part of self-publishing.
Mina: Yes, yes, so that was, that was the thing I, I kind of realized that I – there was a momentum that I didn’t exactly get to maximize, and yeah, so now I keep writing. Even when, even when a book starts out slow in terms of sales, I just have to, to let that go and keep writing, because you never know when something’s going to gain momentum again.
Sarah: Oh, absolutely, especially because –
Sarah: – I know readers who are Filipina here in the States are looking for Filipino authors.
Mina: Yes, yes! [Laughs] We kind of learned that along the way too.
Sarah: So I want to ask you about your books, but because they were serialized, I’m not sure exactly which one is your last, most recent book that’s available. What’s the last one that you published? And forgive me for not being able to figure this out.
Mina: Okay, the, the most recent one I published is called Iris After the Incident. Okay –
Sarah: Can you tell me about that book?
Mina: Okay. Okay, this is a bit, I keep going, I keep introducing this book as, like, a little darker than my other books, because if you, if you’ve read most of my books, especially the ones set in Manila, they, they were kind of created for chick lit, for a chick lit audience –
Mina: – back then. They’re very pink. [Laughs] They’re very happy. They’re, they’re –
Sarah: [Laughs] You know what? That’s the best description of chick lit. They’re very pink –
Mina: Pink? [Laughs]
Sarah: – and they’re very happy.
Sarah: And you know what? That’s exactly right!
Mina: That’s, it’s, it’s just, I think it’s just an, an attitude that the books have, and, and you kind of, you kind of feel it when you read it, but that, those were, that is the personality that people attach to my books, especially the ones that were set, that are set here in the Philippines, and I think – but I kind of wanted to tell a different story, especially with this one, and so Iris After the Incident was my attempt to, to tackle some difficult things about being Filipino and being a woman, and even if – the, the way, for example, that we can’t talk about sex. We can’t, in polite company. We can’t –
Sarah: ‘Cause it’s a very, very Catholic, observant culture, right?
Mina: It is. At least, I think we make the appearance of being ashamed of certain things –
Mina: – or being, like – we, we just know that certain things we actually do shouldn’t be talked about with certain people. [Laughs]
Sarah: Culture is hard to go up against.
Mina: Yes, exactly, and, and also that there’s shame involved when, for example, this, the, the, the premise here is that there’s a, the, the main character takes video of herself doing something. It gets leaked on the Internet, and –
Sarah: Oh, God.
Mina: – and she, she’s with someone, she’s with a guy, she’s with her boyfriend, but, but for some reason he gets to continue with his life and be fine, and she is the one that’s, who is completely shunned by her family, and, and she has to start over, get new friends, everything. And, and this all happens before, like, the, before page one, so page one is, like, the beginning of her life and finding, of this new life after the incident, and –
Sarah: Hence the title.
Mina: – and trying to get it back – yes – and trying to get it back, and that was difficult just because people who know me know I’m very, like, I, I am a happy person –
Mina: – positive person in general, so writing this was difficult but also, I felt, really important because when you, when you actually go through something like this and – it’s, it’s, it’s not fair. It’s not fair for –
Mina: – for guys to experience it one way and for, and for women to experience it a totally different way, so this was just my way of addressing that. And with romance also, so, yeah. [Laughs]
Sarah: I love that one of the reviews says, I love the romance; it’s so hot. Which, that’s awesome. The only thing better than that is a review that says, one star: this book had too much sex in it? Then you’re guaranteed –
Mina: Exactly! [Laughs]
Sarah: – to sell, like, six thousand copies. But then there’s –
Sarah: – another reviewer who says, the best thing about the novel isn’t the sex, although those scenes made me deliciously uncomfortable –
Sarah: – and I’m like, that’s, that speaks volumes!
Sarah: Deliciously uncomfortable, like, I totally understand what that person is saying, and the way that it’s written reveals so much, especially because when you’re reading someone who is recapturing their own sexuality and their own pride in their sexuality after having been so hideously shamed, I think just about every female who is conscious and breathing has had that feeling of shame put on them that they didn’t want.
Mina: Yeah. I, I love that. I read that, I read –
Sarah: That must have been hard to write.
Mina: It was! It was difficult. I, I actually, there were several books that helped me along. I had this idea in my mind. I wanted it to be set here because of certain, just the way the culture and society would view something like that. I read some books that were, that were set in the US that dealt with something similar, but, and then I actually talked to one of the authors who, who wrote one of those books that I think kind of tackled similar things.
Mina: And then I tried to, to form it in a way that would make sense here, but even then it’s, I mean, even then when someone, when a Filipino reads it, someone who’s familiar with the culture, they still kind of step back and go, okay, this is a little different. This is not –and, and that’s all I need really? It’s, it’s, that’s all I need. It’s like, because the book is still, like, almost unapologetically sexual –
Mina: – so she’s not, it did not work. Like, this thing that you tried to do to her to make her ashamed of herself, she kind of just, it, it made her, it did not fundamentally –
Sarah: It didn’t work.
Mina: Yeah, yeah!
Sarah: It didn’t take. Sorry, guys!
Mina: [Laughs] It didn’t take. Like, she’s, she’s going to eventually find her way back, and, and that’s okay, so, so just, just that, that basic, like, part of her personality, that was a little difficult to, to write because I – if, if you try, if you look up, for example, real-life stories of that happening here, and that happens a lot, you never hear from them again, actually. They –
Sarah: Oh, my gosh!
Mina: Yeah. They, they drop out of, if, if it, if it’s a celebrity, they, very few of them would ever bring this up again if they’re still in the industry, because they, they were probably, they stopped working after a while. Very few would have stayed in the industry if they were celebrities or – yeah, just stuff like that. It’s hard, so I kind of had to create this thing using fiction. [Laughs]
Sarah: Yeah. So sexual shaming can really decimate someone’s career.
Mina: Yes. Yes.
Sarah: Yikes. Because here, you know, we’ll have shame and, and sex tapes, and those people, it, it doesn’t seem to permanently make them disappear; if anything, they’re more prominent.
Sarah: And here –
Mina: Or, again, it might be a cultural thing or –
Sarah: Yeah, it is def-, well, I mean, we’re, in the States, we have this really weird relationship with sex where we’re not supposed to talk about it –
Sarah: – but everyone’s having it, so everything is sold through sexual, overt sexuality, but we’re not supposed to be having it or talking about it, and it, it’s just very complicated and horrible. So the idea that you would have a sex scandal completely obliterate your career to the point where you have to sort of drop out of your career and drop out of public life is, that’s terrifying!
Mina: Yes, it is, and I think, in many cases, well, again, in writing this book, because I could, I, I was using fiction, I, I could design the character. I, I also consulted with people, with lawyers –
Mina: – with therapists – [laughs] – in writing this, so I kind of had to find a way for, for certain things to be talked about and for certain things to not matter at all –
Mina: – because I can imagine, I can imagine, like, someone saying, if she worked with kids, yes, this would matter.
Mina: If she, if she worked in, in certain industries, yes, this would matter, so I kind of had to find –
Sarah: The right way.
Mina: – the right way –
Mina: – to show that certain things don’t matter. It should not have affected your, your life, and the only reason why it is is because certain people are, are, are idiots.
Sarah: And it’s particularly galling to think that –
Sarah: – if she worked with kids this would, this would ruin her career because –
Mina: I know, yeah.
Sarah: – I mean, how do you think those kids got made?!
Mina: [Laughs] Exactly.
Sarah: Like, how do you think they appeared? Magic? [Laughs]
Mina: Oh, but, but this is – yeah, exactly, and – but this is, this is something like, just talking to people who, who work in, in either providing support –
Mina: – for, for people who have gone through this or, or at least would have, you know, been part of a legal team who would, who would be dealing with something? Yeah, they, so they told me, they told me certain things, and then I realized that, okay, if I, if I went this way, then it would go, it would have to, like, we’d have lawyers involved, and I didn’t want to do that.
Sarah: Yeah, of course.
Mina: If I went, if I went this way, we’d have more therapists and, involved, and I didn’t want to do that too. I had to find, I had to find the right combination of factors –
Mina: – so that the story could be told, like, in, in a way that, that wouldn’t be too sensational, wouldn’t be too specific to, to a person. Like, it, it wouldn’t seem like, like the life-, like I was fictionalizing some other person’s, some other real person’s scandal, so, yeah. [Laughs] We had to do that. It’s just difficult. I mean, usually, usually I, I write, I write these romance books. The, the most fun research I’ve done was hanging out with, like, for one book, I wrote about a rugby player, and I, I watched –
Sarah: Oh, that’s terrible. You had to watch rugby?
Mina: I know! I know. I had to watch them practice. [Laughs]
Sarah: Oh, no! Oh, that’s terrible!
Mina: And that was like, oh, that, and it’s, like, one day of watching these guys. [Laughs] So usually my life is like that. So this, for this new book, it’s just a little different. And of course, once I was done with it, I couldn’t wait to go back to, like, the happy stuff.
Sarah: Of course!
Mina: Let’s go back to that! Yeah.
Sarah: You know, in, in, one thing that a lot of romance authors experience in the States and a, and pretty much everywhere I’ve spoken to them, romance authors are often greeted with derision or a sense of, you know, you should be ashamed or embarrassed or – people will ask the most offensive questions and, and treat writing romance as if it’s sort of a, a deviant behavior or there’s something very, very wrong with this being your job. Do you encounter that as well in the Philippines? Is there a stigma attached to being a writer or a romance writer?
Mina: I guess not in the sense that they mean it?
Mina: Okay. I think, I think, I, I’m starting to recognize it when, when I was reading, like, the experiences of other authors, like, like what you mentioned –
Mina: – because my family, for example, has always been happy for me, so when I was first published, that’s a big deal, they –
Sarah: That is a big deal!
Mina: It is a big deal; I mean, they, they kept talking, be-, before, when, when I was published, I think, there was a, the impression that Filipinos didn’t like reading or whatever – they’re wrong! – but, or that they didn’t, Filipinos didn’t value authors and books, but they do. I mean, that’s what I experienced when I was first published. People are genuinely happy for you.
Mina: They, they are impressed that, that they find out that you’ve been published or that you’ve finished a book. They, they’re happy for you; they like that. Now, later, when I started being more participative in, like, discussions about romance or just the literary community in general, then I saw that, okay –
Sarah: You see that, that behavior show up.
Mina: I, I start seeing, yes, I start seeing, for example, people who would come up to me and say, it’s great you’re an author, but you know, I would never read romance. [Laughs]
Sarah: Yeah, that sounds familiar.
Mina: And I was, …thanks. [Laughs] I don’t know, I mean –
Sarah: Uh, good for you? [Laughs]
Mina: – I’m glad you’re happy, I’m glad you’re happy for me, but, you know, I don’t know what to say, and then –
Mina: – and then – but it’s a lot of things; it’s not just the genre. I’ve actually, if, if I, now that I’ve become more aware of it, there’s an actual, I don’t know if it’s stigma or, or what, but I started noticing, like, all these little comments that probably, like, it just comes out, but they probably mean something, and now I’m trying to put it together. For example, like, they were surprised that I look so young – [laughs] – and –
Sarah: Uh, okay?
Mina: Yeah, and I, I don’t, I don’t even know what that means. Like, what? Yeah.
Sarah: That’s a little odd.
Mina: Exactly, or, or one time I showed up in this literary conference, I was at a panel with some very esteemed authors, and, yes, of course, like, I was the youngest person there. I’m not exactly, I’m in my thirties –
Mina: – so I’m not the youngest person, like, in the world, but – [laughs] – but, but still, like, they’re, if, I guess, for, for respect in a certain field you have to be, like, I don’t know, it’s prob-, and it’s probably also because they, they weren’t even aware of me. My first book was 2009, and in, in, I guess, a more established literary tradition, that’s young. I would be in a panel, for example, I would get those questions, like, I’ve seen articles like this, like, the, the annoying things people ask romance authors like, yeah, is this your story? Is this how your –
Sarah: Did you research your sex scenes personally?
Mina: Exactly. Is this how you met, is this how you met your husband?
Mina: [Laughs] And then, and I was like, okay, I’ve written twenty books, and they can’t all be how I met my husband, right?
Mina: And can’t we, can’t we have imagination? Can’t we have –
Sarah: No! Gosh, what are you, kidding me? Can’t have imagination!
Mina: Yeah –
Mina: Stuff like that, and, but, and then I have all of the, and then I get all of this, but – so I, I, I, like, gradually started to form, like, what, the impression of what people actually think of romance authors, because there weren’t a lot. There weren’t a lot, there weren’t a lot of romance authors. There, there’s a, a very huge group of authors and also a huge group of readers for Tagalog romance, for romance in the Filipino language, and it’s a smaller group for, for the people who write in English, so that, that’s still, like – and even, even the communities are, are different for that, so the way that, that Tagalog romance writers –
Mina: – get treated also is a, another thing, but they, they get, they get similar, they get similar comments. [Laughs]
Mina: Like, yeah. And then, and then we have variations of that also.
Sarah: Now, I know your books that I’ve seen, that I see access to are in English. Do you also write in Tagalog?
Mina: I don’t. I don’t. Unfortunately. What I, what I do is, I, when I started participating on, in the Wattpad online community, I realized that, I thought, there were a lot of readers there, so I thought I’d put some of my books there, and there are a lot of Filipinos on Wattpad, Wattpad’s very popular in the Philippines, but –
Sarah: Oh, I’ve heard about this! They had their own television show for a while, right?
Mina: Yeah, yeah! It’s, they still do. I mean, it’s, it’s a, it’s a network that sort of picks Wattpad books that made serialized or, or make a TV movie out of, like, on a regular basis, yeah. And, but it’s really popular, but all the popular stories are in the local language. It’s in Filipino or Taglish – I mean, we call it Taglish because –
Mina: – it’s a mix. [Laughs]
Sarah: Yeah, we have that in the States with, with Spanish and English; it’s Spanglish.
Mina: Yeah, yeah, exactly. So it’s, it’s not entirely, because there’s, there’s formal and academic Tagalog which is still different from what these kids are writing that’s really popular, so I, when I went there and saw that that was popular and my books that were entirely in English weren’t being read as much –
Mina: – what I did was I started writing an, a writing and publishing advice column, in Taglish so that the only, that’s pretty much the only work off Tagalog that I have, and it’s writing advice for these kids on Wattpad, and of course that’s my most popular –
Sarah: Oh, of course!
Mina: – story on Wattpad!
Sarah: Of course it is!
Sarah: And you know, you could compile all that and sell it as a 99 cent eBook.
Mina: Exactly! [Laughs]
Sarah: There is no stopping you!
Mina: There you go.
Sarah: So I have another question. I know from your website that the Manila International Book Fair either just happened, or is still happening?
Mina: It just happened. It, it, the last day was Sunday.
Sarah: So you’re tired.
Sarah: That must be an exhausting experience.
Mina: I think I just, like, I woke up this morning, like, it’s Friday, it ended on Sunday, and I woke up this morning, and I thought, I’m still tired.
Mina: I’m not over it. Yeah, but –
Sarah: So you have a romance reading series where book scenes are acted out.
Mina: Yes, yes, we do that.
Sarah: I want to know all about this, because this is so interesting. I mean, we have a reading series called Lady Jane’s Salon that is in a couple of cities, but it’s mostly the authors reading a specific section or scene from their books.
Sarah: I have not seen romance novels or portions of them acted out in a live reading. This is so cool!
Mina: Really? I can’t believe no one has ever done this. I mean –
Sarah: If they have, I missed it entirely, and I feel bad.
Mina: – someone, I mean, someone has, someone has to have done this, because, well, I mean, so, okay, let me tell you how that started. It’s, it’s, we, we started this almost a year ago, so September last year. What, what happened there is I, I do workshops also, so that’s the thing that I decided to start doing to, so I could be more involved in publishing and writing –
Mina: – and earn from it, was I, I work with, I work with local institutions and offer workshops, so, so that time, there was a workshop scheduled for September, and I decided, you know, let’s try to make things exciting for the people who are participating. Let’s, I, I am going to hire a male actor and a female actor to come in on the last day of the workshop and read scenes from their stories to them, and I thought that was going to be a good, like, it was going to freak them out – [laughs] – but, but I thought that it would be a nice surprise for them, and then the workshop got cancelled, but I had already hired the actors. I didn’t want to waste, like, a perfectly good chance to, to have this happen, so what I did instead was I got a room in, near where I live there’s this, like, tutorial center, like a training, training facility that’s really nice, and I got one of the rooms there and invited authors from my community. So I’m part of this community called #romanceclass. It’s a community of authors of Filipino romance in English –
Mina: – and readers of those books too, so I told them, I have this thing that I’m going to invite you to. It’s going to be at this place; it’s on a Wednesday night. It seems random, but –
Sarah: You should come.
Mina: – but just come. Yeah, you should come; it’ll be fun.
Mina: Something like that. And then secretly with the two actors I chose four books, and, and I chose books by people that I knew were going to be there, so, so I chose scenes, I gave them to the actors, they rehearsed, and then, and then we went to the room, and they were like, about twenty people were there, and they started reading, and it was magic! [Laughs]
Sarah: So you had actors come in and act out scenes –
Sarah: – for the, of the books, but you, of, of the authors who were in the room, but you did not tell them that this was going to happen.
Mina: I did not tell them, yeah. I did not –
Sarah: Oh, my God, I would have lost my mind.
Sarah: I would have cried and turned, like, nine shades of purple. That’s amazing!
Mina: We have video of that happening to, like, three authors, so that –
Mina: But it was fun, so we kind of discovered something there, and it was so helpful and educational for several, for several reasons, because first of all, when you’re an author, I didn’t, I usually don’t like doing readings, like, in public of my own books. I, I always feel –
Sarah: Oh, it’s hard, right?
Mina: It’s difficult, and especially, like, if you’re an introverted author and you’re writing a personality that doesn’t match yours, it just, it just, it always feels to me that I’m shortchanging the, the listener when I perform my work, so, so there’s that level of, at least I’m not reading my own stuff, and then there’s another level of, in rehearsal, the actors, who had never encountered this text before, it was very telling which words they would trip, they would trip up on, because we, we have the saying that we try to call out each other on, for example, like, words that only writers use –
Mina: – but people don’t use in real life.
Mina: So we actually get, we actually get to experience that when someone who has never read your book starts reading it aloud and cannot, cannot –
Sarah: What is this word?
Sarah: Who says this?
Mina: Exactly. Like, who says these words?
Sarah: Romance heroes, that’s who says that.
Mina: This sounds like you, this, this sounds like you because you read these books or you went to that school, so, but your character did not, so, anyway, so you kind of, you kind of get that. The other thing is, I al-, I always have a guy and a girl reading because then, because we, we also have a thing where, do guys, because all of the authors are female –
Mina: – do guys sound like guys? Like, this is the guy dialogue –
Sarah: This must be so incredibly illuminating for readers and listeners.
Mina: Exactly! [Laughs] It’s, it’s, it’s awesome because, again, they, does this, does this guy sounds like a guy when he’s saying your words, like, the guy dialogue? And, so there’s that level, and the other level of appreciation that we suddenly have is because we’re writing in English, so –
Mina: – this is, the thing here, when, when I was first published I made a decision to write entirely in English, or I mean ninety-nine percent –
Mina: – of my book is in English. Prior to that, the chick lit books being published that were kind of similar to mine were not entirely in English because there was the impression that since we don’t, since we speak in Taglish, like, comfortably with friends –
Mina: – dialogue should reflect that, and –
Mina: – the, the decision I made, even with my first book, was no – [laughs]
Mina: – I can, no, this is something, this is a language I’m entirely comfortable speaking in. Yes, there are some untranslatable words, and I do include those –
Mina: – so, so that’s fine. I think a reader can get the context or they can Google, and – [laughs]
Mina: – and, but –
Sarah: Google is your friend.
Mina: Exactly. The decision I made was, I wanted readers to feel that this was a translation, so it’s, the way that we accept translated work, like, we, we know this is happening in another country where people are speaking a different language, but we read it in English and it’s fine.
Mina: It’s, it’s fine; we can, we can imagine, I think, readers, so I told myself that, yes, we can do this, we can imagine that, readers, we can imagine that they’re probably speaking some language, and it’s being translated in the language that we understand, I hope. I mean, at least that is what I was going for, and in the beginning that was, I think, when I was reading reviews for my early books, some people couldn’t, couldn’t, it was an adjustment for them –
Mina: – that switch, that, that you’re, that you know the, the author’s Filipino, but you’re reading dialogue that’s entirely in English, but the actors and the readings completely, like, obliterated any doubt for me, because they, they sounded fine. [Laughs] They sounded, they were, they were delivering the dialogue, and in English, pretty much entirely in English, and, and it didn’t sound like, it didn’t sound inauthentic to me, so – but, but it, this is case to case, and it’s something that we, that we kind of discover –
Mina: – once we hear, when we hear the actors perform, and then they’re, and then they’re good-looking, so – [laughs]
Sarah: The pictures that you show and the videos that you’ve posted, which I will, I will link to, they’re –
Sarah: – they take this very seriously. Like, they are into it!
Mina: Yes! They are into it, yeah. They’re, they’re actually professional theater actors, so they –
Sarah: So what do they think of what they’re reading?
Mina: – they do this for a living.
Sarah: What, what is, what is their reaction to these readings? Like, do they have opinions about the books they’ve read? Do they go out and buy them? What is, what is their reaction to reading this, this dialogue that isn’t probably what they usually run into?
Mina: Oh, that was, that was a very interesting part of the first session that we did, because we actually got to spend time with the actors and talk about it. We talked about the experience of doing this, and the actors shared some interesting things. For example, they, they enjoyed, they enjoyed being able to play these roles because, for example, I think what, what they said was, in theater or at least in acting, the physical appearance is what matters first, like, in casting –
Mina: – so, so if they don’t physically match a role, they will not get that role. So they, so they said, for example, during that first time, they read four, they read from four books, so one of the actors said, this is really interesting because if this were a play I wouldn’t have gotten these parts, he said.
Mina: He wouldn’t have –
Sarah: This would not be me.
Mina: Exactly. Like, he, he is, I guess, just, and also because he had been – his name is Gio – he had been acting in all, like, Tagalog performances, all Filipino performances –
Mina: – and, and there are people you cast who can speak a certain way, so they, so it kind of also gave him a boost because he realized that he could still, like, act in English, in fact – [laughs] – and I didn’t realize that that was a thing. I didn’t realize that also, because, yeah, voice, the way they speak matters, the way they look matters, but here we didn’t need that. We just needed them to be able to say the words.
Sarah: Right, because, I mean, for me as a reader, I have my own imagination of what things look like and what characters look like, and having, having a person who has to look exactly like what’s described in the book doesn’t even occur to me in terms of, of hearing the book. You just want to hear someone perform the words in a way that makes emotional sense.
Mina: Yes, and that’s what happened the very first time that we did it. The –
Sarah: That’s so cool!
Mina: [Laughs] In, in video, I mean, I remember seeing them, but there’s video evidence of it. They were not looking at the actors. Like, the, that first, that first session? It was, they were, they were, there was a table. Everyone was sitting around the table. The actors were off on one corner, and many of the people who were there when, when the performance was going on, they were looking down at the table.
Mina: They weren’t –
Sarah: They were listening; they weren’t watching.
Mina: – they weren’t, they were sitting, yeah. They were just, it was like they were pretending that it was an audio book that they were listening to, so I thought that was really interesting, again, that, that it didn’t matter what they looked like. And then of course, because they’re actors, they started doing these little acting things. Suddenly you missed something –
Mina: – if you weren’t looking at them, so –
Mina: – so now we look at them. [Laughs] Now we do.
Sarah: Yeah, you don’t want to miss the, miss the expressions and the gestures.
Mina: Exactly! Oh, and, and one thing in particular, like, there was, it was a scene, it was one of those, it was one of those scenes where, you know, that sometimes happen in romance novels where, you know, it’s raining, and, and the main character and her love interest are, like, running in the rain, and, and their shirts get wet, and the guy changes his shirt? And – [laughs] – it sometimes happens. So they were reading that scene, and, and Gio lifted his shirt!
Sarah: Oh, that must have gone over very well.
Mina: Yeah, he did. I mean, it’s just, like, a peek. He lifted it, and then it fell back down again, but, like, only half the room saw it because, because the rest of them weren’t looking at the actors, and then later they were like, oh, my God. I’m not doing that again. [Laughs] And I’m not, I’m not not looking at the actors again, so –
Mina: Yeah, so, yeah. That’s fine.
Sarah: So how many – [coughs] excuse me – so how many of these readings have you done so far?
Mina: We’ve, this is, like, I, that, I think, like, this is the fifth? Fifth time?
Sarah: Oh, that’s so great!
Mina: Yes, yes. In, in one year, and we’ve, we’ve been getting different actors because, because sometimes certain actors aren’t available on the day that we need them to be there because they, they are working actors?
Sarah: Right, of course.
Mina: So, yeah, so, so that’s fascinating too, because we get suddenly a different combination of, of voices, of just general interpretations of the characters.
Sarah: Right, of course.
Mina: Yeah, and, and that’s fun. That’s fun. Like, the, the last one that we did at the book fair on Sunday, we had two new female performers that we’ve never had before, so –
Sarah: And it looked like it was a pretty crowded room, too.
Mina: Yes. [Laughs]
Sarah: That’s so great!
Mina: It was! Yeah, yeah. I think they realized why we like doing this. [Laughs]
Sarah: I, I find this so interesting and so unique, and I, it’s, seriously, it’s – [laughs] – it’s so cool!
Mina: Thank you!
Sarah: Like, I saw you tweeting about it, and I was like, wait, they get up and they read the scenes? Like, they act them out? Why is this not a thing we are doing? This sounds amazing!
Mina: Exactly! Exactly. [Laughs]
Sarah: Oh, that’s so cool. And then you have a, a book signing afterward. Or a book sale afterward.
Mina: Ah, yes, and we sold, well, yeah, we sold the books that were performed, because again, that’s what we realized was happening. Sometimes, these are, most of these are indies, so in the Philippines –
Mina: – people don’t buy, if it’s not in, in the large bookstore chains –
Mina: – peep-, most people would not have heard of it. They, buying a book, an eBook on Amazon is not yet a thing here.
Sarah: As common as it is here.
Mina: Yes, exactly, so, so even if the book’s been out for years, if it was mainly on Amazon, they wouldn’t have heard of it, so, so we’ve done this, and we, over the, like, several times that we’ve done this, we realized that most of the people in the room would not have read the book yet, but now they want to buy it.
Mina: Like, after the scene –
Sarah: You need to have copies.
Mina: – after seeing – exactly – after the scene, they’re looking for it, so that was a thing we learned, as, as these things go on. We, they do want to read the book, and if they haven’t read, if they haven’t read the book yet. And if they have, suddenly they have, like, their feelings, their happy feelings there. [Laughs]
Sarah: Yes. And you can think, oh, my gosh, I need to give a copy of this book to my friend right now!
Mina: Exactly, exactly, so we sold out, most of the books that were performed –
Mina: – sell out. Yes! [Laughs] It’s the best thing!
Sarah: That is the best. Selling out is the very best thing.
Mina: Yes! And what, what I love there is that these are books that don’t get, I mean, they, they don’t, they don’t get covered in, we don’t have, we don’t have journals here that, that review books –
Mina: – that people would normally – I mean, there are, there are, there are still newspapers that publish book reviews, and that could probably –
Sarah: Yeah, but they’re not going to review romance.
Mina: Yeah, and indie. I mean, that’s it.
Sarah: No. What? Indie?! God! Bah!
Mina: Exactly. Exactly, and I was told that because I was, that was explained to me because, for example, like, getting a huge, getting that kind of huge exposure and nationwide in this country means that it, it would be a lost opportunity if it were an indie and copies weren’t available in bookstores, because as soon as people read this review, they want to go to the bookstore and buy the book, so –
Sarah: Of course!
Mina: – so there’s a thing where it’s kind of, you know, chicken or egg. Now you don’t get reviewed because you’re not in bookstores, but you’re not in bookstores because you’re not popular, and – [laughs] – yeah. So there’s that. But this, this, it, it, sort of platform that we discovered that, that people actually go in, and they want to experience something that they’ve never experienced before, and they, and they end up wanting to buy the book and read it after.
Sarah: So I want to ask you about the romance market in the Philippines. What kind of books do readers really want? I mean, I know that there’s, there’s some in English, there’s some in Taglish, there’s some in Tagalog. That, that, the romance market seems to be growing, because I know, I follow you on Twitter, and you’re, you are engaging with more and more authors, like, every week.
Mina: Yeah, yeah. It’s huge, yeah.
Sarah: What do readers – it’s so good! I love this – what do readers look for in, in Philippine romances?
Mina: Okay –
Sarah: What, what subgenres are the – I mean, that’s a very broad question; let me try that again –
Mina: I know, I know, I’m, I’m trying to, I try –
Sarah: Like, do, is it contemporary, or are they also interested in, like, paranormal? Do historicals have a big market there? Like, what are the different subgenres of romance that are, are most popular that you’ve seen?
Mina: Okay, I think the, the most popular that I’ve seen at least, I’ve seen in terms of – okay, there’s, there’s a lot going on because, yes, there, there’s, there’s a huge readership for, for Tagalog romance –
Mina: – and sometimes these groups are, like, mutually exclusive and you’ll have, like, if it, if you Venn diagram it, there’s probably, like, a little sliver of overlap –
Mina: – with, with these, but, but there’s huge, a huge, huge Tagalog romance market. These are books that are really, like, I think fifty new titles a month? They’re –
Sarah: Holy smokes!
Mina: Exactly. They’re, like, half a dollar, the paperbacks, like, cost, cost less, like a dollar or less. They’re in –
Mina: – they’re in convenience stores. Their, their authors are superstars. I mean, it’s, it’s really, and it’s a, it’s a huge, huge market, and they, when they have, when they have gatherings, like, they’ll fill, like, it’s hundreds, thousands of people, it’s, easy, and then –
Mina: – and then the new thing that came out, that I became aware of was the Wattpad. They’re, they’re, they’ve been calling it Wattpad books, but it’s not, I mean, it, it’s authors who write romance who started out on Wattpad, I guess, is the, is, is how to describe it, because they, they gained their following online before a published picked them up, and then eventually a publisher picked them up. Their book that was serialized on Wattpad is released as either a book or as several volumes of something, and then when they have gatherings, those are also, like, hundreds of people, and, and, and it might be a different group entirely from the Tagalog romance, and then, and then you’ll have people like me, I grew up reading, reading English language books.
Mina: And there’s, there, there, I mean, there are a lot of, lots of reasons why people grew up reading different things, but my first language growing up was English, so –
Mina: – so I grew up reading books in English, and that’s an entirely different group of people too, so you have, you have YA authors. I think the – and New Adult authors – I think one of the largest groups that I saw come in for romance is Colleen Hoover. Colleen Hoover came here for a, came to, to Manila for a book signing with Tarryn Fisher and Christine Brae, and I think they cut off the signing line at nine hundred or something.
Sarah: Good grief!
Mina: Exactly. Like, and there were rules, like only this much people, only three books, and she has a lot of books, so her, so her –
Sarah: Her fans were making really painful choices.
Mina: Exactly, exactly! They were like, oh, or they were, like, getting their friends in line so – [laughs] – so their friends would carry, like, and, and –
Mina: – the, the other three books.
Sarah: Oh, my gosh.
Mina: Exactly! And it’s, it’s, I mean, it’s, it’s that too! So I don’t know if these are also people who would line up, who would attend a Tagalog romance gathering or would attend a Wattpad author gathering. Some, I, I, I try to visit these things, and I think it’s mostly a different group altogether. So if you lump them all together, that’s entirely, that’s, like, super huge! And then Tessa Dare – so you mentioned historical. Tessa Dare came over to Manila last year, I think, so I, I actually hosted her, her book signing in, in the bookstore that hosted it here.
Sarah: Oh, that’s so cool!
Mina: Yes! So I got to meet her. I got to – and that group, so this is, this is a little different because the, the bookstore that brought them in, they usually bring in YA or New Adult and, and they don’t bring in a lot of, like, historical romance or –
Mina: – or adult, we call it adult romance because, just because YA, it’s just so huge here. So they don’t have a lot of adult romance, and it was still, like, it was, it was, the group there who came in for the signing for Tessa Dare was again a totally different group from the people who attend YA, and they had, like, they were set, and they were lining up with fourteen, like a dozen books, so –
Mina: – so again, it’s like a totally different readership altogether. And I can imagine, so you asked about paranormal, and I can imagine it happens if, if, I think, I think it’s also huge. I, I, I don’t actually remember being at a, at a signing for, for para-, for a paranormal romance author –
Mina: – so I can’t, like, tell you what –
Mina: – what the room felt like, but I’ve been, I’ve been in the room for, like, a Jenny Han signing, a Marie Lu signing, and it’s just hundreds of people, and – [laughs] – and hearing about book sales, like 50 Shades of Grey does really well here, and, so people read – I, I mean that, I, it’s like I’m just saying stuff, but it’s, people read a lot, and they read, and all sorts of, of subgenres are, are being read. Yes.
Sarah: Wow. And it sounds like the, the readers who are there are really into the genre. They’re, they are the, the most voracious readers.
Mina: It feels like it, yeah.
Mina: Yeah, yeah.
Sarah: So my, my question that I always ask people, the last question I always ask is, what are you reading that you want to tell people about?
Mina: Oh! I just finished reading The Hating Game.
Sarah: Oh, my goodness! What did you think?
Mina: Yeah! I loved it! I loved it.
Mina: I – [laughs] – it’s, it’s like, it just, it just felt to me like movies. Like those movies that are, but movies aren’t like that anymore. Like –
Sarah: Yes! It was like a romantic comedy, and there –
Sarah: – people aren’t making them anymore, much to my great sadness.
Mina: Yes, yes. It felt like, it, just that, that banter. I miss that. I mean, I, I love, I love watching stuff like that. I love reading books like that. I still, I, I still go for that trope, pretty much – [laughs] – every time, but that one really felt like, it felt very cinematic, and it was fun, it was fun. It was really fun. I just finished it, like, last night, so, yeah.
Sarah: Oh, it’s wonderful.
Mina: [Laughs] Yeah.
Sarah: Have you read –
Mina: And –
Sarah: – Act Like It by –
Mina: Yes! Yes!
Sarah: Did you like it?
Mina: I loved it too!
Sarah: Yes! Okay, I’m really glad!
Mina: [Laughs] I love that too! Yes, yes. And again –
Sarah: I think those books sort of go together.
Mina: You’re right. You’re right. Yeah.
Sarah: They’re a good set.
Mina: Yes. I, I like, I mean, in, in the Philippines we call it, I mean that it’s called something else, I think, in, in romance, in Romance Land, but in the Philippines we’re, we’re starting to call it sungit hero. Sungit is like – [laughs] – sungit is like this, a guy who’s like, he’s not, he’s not rude, but he’s, he’s just like, it’s, it’s just, like, an attitude he has. Like, he, it’s like he’s not friendly. It’s a guy who’s not friendly, so there’s –
Sarah: So standoffish and, and, and –
Sarah: – and like a little cold?
Mina: Yeah, yeah, but see, but, but it’s kind of like, so, so we like doing that. We like breaking down – [laughs] – I like, personally I like breaking, I like reading about sungit guys and, and how, and how they’re broken down.
Sarah: Yeah. It is really satisfying, isn’t it?
Mina: Yeah, yes, it is. Yeah. [Laughs]
Sarah: Are there any other books that you’ve read that you want to tell people about?
Mina: I recently read – wait, let me, let me make sure I get that title right. It’s by Lyd-, Lydia San Andres. The Infamous Miss Rodriguez. It’s a novella by Lydia San Andres. It’s, it’s historical, set in a, set, set in the Caribbean, in a, in –
Sarah: You can’t see my face, and I’m like, what? What? What?
Mina: Yeah! [Laughs]
Sarah: Tell me more, please!
Mina: It is – yes, okay. So I started becoming more – it’s a decision I made, I think the past two years, to read, because I, I really felt, I felt so, it, it just feels great to have, to have people who don’t live in my country or, or are not Filipino reading about us. It just feels great.
Mina: So, it just feels like, like you exist? [Laughs] And that, and that people want to know who you are, so I kind of am trying to, to, for the past two years, I’ve, I’ve changed the way I read to, to be more inclusive of stories that, again, I probably would never see in, in bookstores or, or –
Mina: – just, just because I’m not aware of, of, I, I just want to try new things, so Lydia San Andres is an author that I, that I picked up. She, she has a series that’s set in, I think it’s sort of the Dominican Republic, sort of, Puerto Rico. It’s, it’s similar. It’s, but she’s fictionalized, like, an island nation.
Sarah: Oh, it’s Ciudad Real.
Mina: Yes, yes! Ciudad Real.
Sarah: Right, that’s –
Mina: Ciudad Real, yes! [Laughs] That series, so I recently read a novella set in, in that, in that series, in that universe. It’s The Infamous Miss Rodriguez, and I really enjoyed it, and I think my country has a history of being under Spanish rule. It’s very similar, and it’s, a lot of the things are similar, and, so I kind of recognize what she’s doing in terms of, like, what, what, what she’s trying to show in, in the way that she’s writing this, and because that’s, that’s a tough nut for us to crack here as Filipino authors writing historical romances –
Mina: – set in that time because, just the idea of the Happily Ever After is – [laughs] – it’s, it’s difficult to process.
Mina: It’s, it’s a lot to, it’s a, there’s so much going on, and it’s a lot for us to process. In that case, I mean, since I’m talking about that, I’d also like to recommend Under the Sugar Sun by Jennifer Hallock. She, she is a, she’s based in the US. She’s an American author. She writes historical romances set in the Philippines, but the time period she chose was the American colonial period, set in 1902, and I, I feel, it’s a book that may make people uncomfortable, because again, I mention, it’s, it’s, it’s difficult for Filipinos to write about that period and have it be, have, like, a romance.
Mina: Just, just the, just the feel that romance books have, it’s difficult, because it was, it’s a very traumatic time for many Filipinos, but I think she found a way. She found a way to, to discuss it, but even then, the hero is a Filipino sugar plantation owner, and the heroine is a, an American schoolteacher, because they did, Americans were the first public schoolteachers in this country, so, so it is plausible that, that that scenario would have happened. I think she, she kind of found a way to, to do historical romance in the Philippines, but the way that it’s done, it’s still, it’s, and it doesn’t, it doesn’t gloss over. I think that’s the –
Mina: – the problem that a lot of us have is that if we try to write something like that, we might gloss over a lot of the difficult and ugly things that –
Mina: – that happened at the time and involving those characters, especially because it’s romance, but it doesn’t, and we kind of still want happiness for them, so when I read it I was like, okay, I’m glad someone did this. [Laughs] I’m glad someone did this, and, and, yeah, so –
Sarah: And found a happy ending for these characters.
Mina: But see, I, I, I, it is a happy ending in the book –
Mina: – but, but just as someone who knows the history of what –
Sarah: What happened afterward.
Mina: – of what happened after, I was like, how, I, I mean, it was still, like, bittersweet for me just reading it –
Mina: – because you kind of know, like, a few decades down they’re going to lose everything. They’re going to –
Sarah: Oh, goodness.
Mina: Like, war, like, war’s going to happen, but even as I was reading it I was telling myself, but this is, like, all historical romance books are like that. There’s, like, there are, like, several years from the next war –
Mina: – or several years from, from something horrible that, that happens –
Sarah: Yes. If you know world history, it’s really hard to sustain the, the, the happy ending –
Sarah: – after the end of the book when you know what’s coming.
Mina: And then I thought, okay, it’s okay.
Mina: Like, I can be happy for them. I can be happy for them in this novel and try not to think about, like, I think, I’m just going to think that they, they all made it out okay. [Laughs]
Sarah: I think in romance, I think in Romance Land, that is absolutely true.
Mina: I guess, like, for example, reading Under the Sugar Sun, like, what, what really made it hurt for me, like that point where the, where the hero, like, sacrifices something.
Mina: I mean, it happens in every book.
Mina: It, like, he, he does something to prove himself. He either gives something up or, or gets over himself, but just because of what I know of, of, of that place and that time, it just really felt so, I just felt so bad for him. [Laughs]
Mina: Yeah, so, and then I realized later, and it gave me appreciation, an appreciation of other, of historical romance novels set in other places because, yes, that is exactly what it’s about. It’s, it’s, that’s exactly what every-, everyone, all, in, in every time period, in every, in every country, they are giving up something, like, in the greater context of history and things that, it, it is, it matters.
Mina: It matters. Yeah. [Laughs]
Sarah: And reading about history that’s outside of where most historicals are set matters.
Mina: Yes. Yes, I, I’m, I’m so glad that I’m doing this now, that I’m reading, I’m reading books that, that are just set in all these places, and I’m glad that there’s a community recommending, recommending it to me, so I, I, I’m very active in WOC in Romance, so I, I pick up recommendations from them, and try to read as much as I can.
Sarah: And that is all for this week’s episode. I want to thank Mina for hanging out with me. I am twelve hours off of the Philippines local time, so finding a time where we were both available and also awake was a little bit of a challenge, plus the whole International Date Line thing, which I struggle with, so I want to thank Mina for being flexible and accommodating and helping me make this interview happen. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
I will have links to everything we talked about, including some videos of her live readings for #romanceclass, links to her work online and on Wattpad and to her website, plus the books and movies that we mentioned as well, in the podcast entry at smartbitchestrashybooks.com. You can also find it on our iTunes page at iTunes.com/DBSA.
And I have compliments, and they are so much fun. I cannot wait to do these. Are you ready? Here we go. All right.
Lander: More people than you could possibly count admire you and think you are the best part of their day, especially when you wear that hat.
To Sherry P.: When anyone talks about you, they smile so widely everyone else does too. They don’t even know why. People who aren’t even part of the conversation, they are just suddenly happy. That is how powerful you are.
And to Rachel A.: You are the human equivalent of a brand-new box of cookies, a stack of books, and nothing on the schedule but reading time.
Now if you’re wondering what is happening, you can have a look at our podcast Patreon. For certain pledge levels, you are awarded a most excellent, random, silly, but truly heartfelt compliment from yours truly. You can take a look at Patreon.com/SmartBitches to find out all the details. All of your pledges and your support and the fact that you listen are hugely, hugely helpful, and I appreciate your help, the reviews that you leave for the podcast – those are so cool – your support on Patreon, and that you’re here every week hanging out with me, so thank you very much for that.
Our podcast transcripts this month are being sponsored by Kensington. Yay! Thank you, Kensington! They are the publishers of When a Marquis Chooses a Bride by Ella Quinn, part of the new Zebra Shout imprint featuring rising stars of romance at an affordable price of $4.99. This large Regency family saga is infused with humor, lively characters, surprising adventures, and Ella Quinn’s signature fast-paced plotting. Spicy, witty, and brimming with interesting history, When a Marquis Chooses a Bride reintroduces readers to the Worthingtons, a family who has seen their share of scandal and excitement, but nothing prepared them for this. When a Marquis Chooses a Bride is perfect for fans of Julia Quinn, Tessa Dare, and Mary Jo Putney and is available wherever books are sold and at kensingtonbooks.com.
The music you’re listening to is provided by Sassy Outwater. You can find her on Twitter @SassyOutwater. This is Shed Life. This is the band called Sketch. Their album is Shed Life, and this track is called “Eiggbound.” You can find it at Amazon, you can find it on iTunes, or you can find it wherever you find your fine, fine music!
Now, if you have comments or questions or ideas or suggestions, you can email me at [email protected]! Or you can call the Google voice line at 1-201-371-3272. I love hearing from you guys ‘cause you’re so cool!
So, whatever you are doing, on behalf of Mina and myself and everyone here, including my cat who is somehow taking up the entire sunbeam on the floor – it’s really impressive – I wish you the very best of reading. Have a great weekend.
This podcast transcript was handcrafted with meticulous skill by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks.
The podcast transcript this month is sponsored by Kensington, publishers of WHEN A MARQUIS CHOOSES A BRIDE by Ella Quinn – part of the new Zebra Shout imprint featuring the Rising Stars of Romance at an affordable price of $4.99.
This large Regency family saga is infused with humor, lively characters, surprising adventures, and Ella Quinn’s signature fast-paced plotting. Spicy, witty and brimming with interesting historical details, When a Marquis Chooses a Bride reintroduces readers to the Worthingtons, a family who has seen their share of scandal and excitement. But nothing has prepared them for this…. Perfect for fans of Julia Quinn, Tessa Dare, and Mary Jo Putney, WHEN A MARQUIS CHOOSES A BRIDE is available where books are sold!