We talk about, big surprise, podcasting, about writing, and then we celebrate together that we were both featured in Oprah Magazine online in an article, “21 of the Best Book Podcasts to Listen to When You’re Not Reading,” written by McKenzie Jean-Philippe.
Special thanks to Melonie Johnson for sharing her recording setup with me so I could create my own.
And, big news! Smart Podcast Trashy Books is part of the Frolic Podcast Network, a collection of some of the most innovative, interesting, and entertaining podcasts – including The Big Gay Fiction Podcast, too! You can find more outstanding podcasts to subscribe to at Frolic.media/podcasts!
↓ Press Play
This podcast player may not work on Chrome and a different browser is suggested. More ways to listen →
Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:
We also mentioned:
- The Creative Penn Podcast
- Podcast Movement
- GRL – GayRomLit Retreat
- The Love and Luck Podcast
- The Gay Future Podcast
- The Two Princes Podcast
- The HVAC School Podcast
- And you can see both this podcast and The Big Gay Fiction podcast in “21 of the Best Book Podcasts to Listen to When You’re Not Reading,” at Oprah.com, written by McKenzie Jean-Philippe.
❤ Thanks to our sponsors:
❤ More ways to sponsor:
What did you think of today's episode? Got ideas? Suggestions? You can talk to us on the blog entries for the podcast or talk to us on Facebook if that's where you hang out online. You can email us at [email protected] or you can call and leave us a message at our Google voice number: 201-371-3272. 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!
This Episode's Music
Our music is provided each week by Sassy Outwater, whom you can find on Twitter @SassyOutwater.
This is from Caravan Palace, and the track is called “Cotton Heads.”
This episode is brought to you by The Merry Viscount by Sally MacKensize.
Misfortune begets second chances in USA Today bestselling author Sally MacKenzie’s Widows Brew Regency-set series, filled with her signature wit, warmth, and humor. Scandal does not define the “fallen” ladies of Puddledon Manor’s Benevolent Home. Instead, it’s a recipe for an intoxicating new future as the women combine their talents to operate their own brewery and alehouse…this time with a bit of Christmas cheer and a wild holiday house party!
With Christmas around the corner, Miss Caroline Anderson hoped to persuade a London tavern owner to carry the Home’s Widow’s Brew—only to discover the dastard was more interested in her ankles than her ale! To her further annoyance, her stagecoach back to Little Puddledon is waylaid by louts and a snow-covered ditch. Amid a nasty storm, Caro seeks shelter at a nearby estate—only to be greeted by Viscount Oakland, aka Nick, her brother’s childhood friend—and her schoolgirl crush. Now he’s the half-dressed host of what is clearly a holiday bacchanal. Still, his house is irresistibly warm.
Ever the free spirit, Nick has invited the wilder gentlemen of the ton, and an assortment of London’s lightskirts, to celebrate Christmas in a more traditional, pagan fashion. So he’s surprised to find Caro at his door. Now, with a blizzard raging, he must take her in—despite his fear she won’t take to his guests, and worse, upend his party. But she may surprise him—and upend his life.
The Merry Viscount by Sally MacKenzie is on sale now wherever books are sold. For more information visit Sally MacKenzie.net.
❤ Click to view the transcript ❤
Sarah Wendell: Hello there, and welcome to episode number 374 of Smart Podcast, Trashy Books. Today I am chatting with Jeff Adams and Will Knauss from the Big Gay Fiction Podcast and the Big Gay Author Podcast. We’re going to talk about – big surprise here – podcasting. Also writing, and we’re going to celebrate together that we were both featured in Oprah Magazine, which was completely unexpected.
Now, I mention during the interview that I am currently, and also right now, speaking into a thirty-gallon tub lined with foam. The entire design for this setup comes from author Melonie Johnson, who’s been on the podcast before, and I wanted to specifically thank her for this amazing setup, because I really like how it sounds.
And I have big news! Large news. Extreme news! I should have sound effects, but I didn’t set them up. I still have big news. Smart Podcast, Trashy Books, along with the Big Gay Fiction Podcast and several other shows, are part of the new Frolic Podcast Network, which was just announced on the 20th of October. Yay! The Frolic Podcast Network is a podcast community of everything romance and romance-related, so if you’re into romance fiction of any flavor, the network includes shows that are book club style, author interviews, comedy, critique, pop culture, conversations, and it has really interesting and innovative podcasts. So what does that mean for you? It means there’s more shows for you to enjoy! And there’s more opportunities to introduce you to great episodes and new podcasts that you’ll love. Where do you find out more? Easy: frolic.media/podcasts.
This here episode of this here podcast is being brought to you by The Merry Viscount by Sally MacKenzie, and once again, I think you should get your catnip bingo cards ready; see how many squares you check off. You ready? All right, here we go: Misfortune begets second chances. In USA Today bestselling author Sally MacKenzie’s Widow’s Brew Regency-set series filled with her signature wit, warmth, and humor, scandal does not define the fallen ladies of Puddledon Manor’s Benevolent Home. Instead, it’s a recipe for an intoxicating new future as the women combine their talents to operate their own brewery and alehouse, this time with a bit of Christmas cheer and a wild holiday house party. The Merry Viscount by Sally MacKenzie is on sale now wherever books are sold. For more information, visit sallymackenzie.net.
Every episode of this here podcast receives a transcript, and that transcript is compiled by garlicknitter. Hello to garlicknitter, and hello to all the folks who read the podcast transcript. So you’ll be reading this at some point in the future: hello to you! [Hello from me too! Thank you for reading! – gk] This week’s transcript is brought to you by out Patreon community. Thank you, thank you, thank you. If you have supported the show, you help me transcribe every episode, you make every episode accessible, and you keep the show going, so thank you for that, and thank you for being part of the podcast Patreon community. If you would like to join, monthly pledges: dollar a month, most deeply appreciated. You can have a look at all of the tiers at patreon.com/SmartBitches.
I will have information at the end of the show about the music you’re listening to; I will have a preview of what is coming up on Smart Bitches; I will have an absolutely ghastly joke that was sent in by a listener, which are the very best kind of jokes; and of course in the show notes I will have links to all of the things that we talk about, which there are a lot of things that we talk about, and all the books we recommend.
But now let’s get started with Jeff and Will and the Big Gay Fiction Podcast interview.
Sarah: Would you please introduce yourselves and tell the people who will be listening who you are and all of the Big Gay things you do.
Jeff: All of the Big Gay things we do!
Sarah: And that’ll be, like, the whole interview, right?
Sarah: That’ll be the whole thing!
Jeff Adams: Oh goodness! I’m Jeff Adams. I am an author of gay romance that usually has a hockey player at the center of the story, and I also co-host the Big Gay Fiction Podcast and the Big Gay Author Podcast.
Will Knauss: I am Will Knauss. I am married to this handsome fellow right there.
Will: I am a wannabe author, and I co-host with him those shows that he just mentioned. [Laughs]
Sarah: So how many podcasts do you guys have right now? And I just want you to know, my show notes draft is, is titled “Big Gay Interview,” so I am temporarily under the Big Gay umbrella with you; I’m very excited about this. [Laughs]
Jeff: Welcome under the umbrella; it’s a lovely place to be.
Sarah: Thank you! How many podcasts do you have now, and what led you into developing new shows?
Jeff: So currently we’ve got two. Big Gay Fiction Podcast will celebrate its fourth birthday the first Monday of November –
Jeff: – with over two hundred episodes to its name so far.
Jeff: And then – [laughs] – in August we got crazy and decided to start the Big Gay Author Podcast.
Will: So –
Sarah: Well, why the heck not, right?
Will: Yeah! The Big Gay Fiction Podcast is mainly about us as readers. We talk about gay romance and the books that we love, and we also interview authors every single week. And we kind of started the Big Gay Author Podcast as sort of a branch that sort of speaks more to the authors of the genre that we love. So it’s really for writers, and it, plus it’s a, well – [laughs] – it, it’s a bit narcissistic, ‘cause we’re basically going to be talking about us and our author journeys every single week as well.
Sarah: Well, I mean –
Jeff: And it’s –
Sarah: – what part of podcasting is not in some way narcissistic?
Jeff and Will: Exactly! [Laughter]
Jeff: And, and the author podcast also kind of evolved out of the fiction podcast. If you go back to the early episodes of Fiction, we’ve initially billed the show as for authors and readers, and it certainly still is, ‘cause all authors should certainly be readers, but back then we were actually looking a little bit at the business side too.
Jeff: There are episodes back there where we talk to publishers about how they do their business and how they operate, and with folks like Joanna Penn about author mindset and stuff, but eventually as we, that show found what it should be – [laughs] – and evolved, we stopped doing that, because there was such the reader-centric. So I think for both of us it’s nice to get back to the author side and start talking to authors and other creatives on the business side, ‘cause it helps us learn even more.
Sarah: One of the things I think that is so great about your shows is that you consider your audience, and you have a very specific direction for where your shows are going: who are they for; who will be listening; what are you going to learn? How do you organize yourselves around your production? You have an amazing scheduler, which I super love, but you are really well organized. Not only do you know who your show is for, but you know how you’re preparing for it. How do you organize yourselves around the production of two, two different shows? What is your Big Gay organization like?
Will: Well, truthfully, hanging up on the wall behind us at this very moment in Jeff’s office is our ginormous calendar, and it lays out the entire year, and we basically got, like, dry erase scribbles all over it, and that’s essentially our planning. [Laughs]
Will: That’s what we use. If, if you’re asking about how we get the work actually done, Jeff is essentially the producer of both our shows, and since we’ve been doing this a long time, he’s essentially created his own system. He’s systematized the production of the episodes so that it goes much more quickly and much more smoothly. Every Sunday morning we record the show, and then I sort of like putter around the home doing chores while he sits in the office doing his production thing, and, like, by the end of the afternoon he’s, like, made all of the little Xs on his list and he’s finished for the day.
Jeff: Yeah. And that’s, the fiction show is, is Sunday, and it drops on Monday. For the author show, we took a much more quick-and-dirty approach to it, and we record that Saturday morning, and it’s up Saturday afternoon.
Sarah: Again, wow!
Jeff: [Laughs] And the organizational stuff, I’ve spent the last twenty years of day job being a project manager, so –
Sarah: Oh yeah, that’ll help, won’t it?
Jeff: I know how to make a list and get it done, but certainly the system-, systematization of everything is key, and I’m sure you’ve got your systems, ‘cause you’ve done your show far longer than we’ve done ours, and you just have those things that get you through the cycle.
Sarah: Yes. My calendar is actually a spreadsheet, so I have a different tab for each year, and I can be like, oh, I just interviewed that person! No, no, Sarah. You have no concept of time, and you interviewed that person in 2016. You can go back; it’s okay.
Sarah: It’s fine! I have no concept of time. Like, all of my systems, in every respect, whether it’s, whether I’m managing my house or dinner or my kids or my podcast or my website, everything rests on the idea that I don’t know what time it is or what day it is or what year it is. Like, I really never do; I’ve no clue. I have to stop and think about how old I am anytime I’m asked, which thankfully is not often. So all of my systems are, did you hit the deadline you needed to hit? because you don’t know what day it is. I have this wonderful to-do app where I can say, okay, every other Tuesday remind me to do this, and it’s like, sure, no problem! What day is it? I have no idea. It is Tuesday, right? Yeah, it’s Tuesday. I have no idea, really! But one of the things I have learned is, like you said, making it quick and dirty? The thing I love about podcasting as a, as a form of media is that it’s very forgiving. The audience expects it to be sort of homegrown, and it’s okay if my dog barks or the cat meows. In fact, the, the, the audience rather likes that part. And the, the quick-and-dirty getting it done means that it’s done! Like, that’s the part that people want! The part that it’s done, so however you get there works!
Will: Exactly. I think when it comes to your audience and our audiences specifically, I think part of it is sort of the home- – well, I don’t want to say homemade, but it’s – [laughs] – it’s artisanal. It’s handcraft –
Sarah: It’s handcrafted, yes! Exactly!
Sarah: It’s artisanal podcasting, damn it! [Laughs]
Will: Exactly! We’re, we’re not NPR, and we don’t have, like, a thousand producers backing us up, you know. We’re not, we’re not a Kardashian who, like, comes into the studio and, like, talks about their nails for five minutes and then leaves and –
Sarah: That’s it.
Will: – they turn that into a, a year of podcast episodes.
Will: That’s now how it works for us, and I think people understand that, so they’re –
Will: – they’re, they’re very kind and very forgiving –
Will: – if, if the shows don’t come out super fancy.
Jeff: Yeah. I think all we try to do is to clean up obvious flubs. As, as Will calls it, just make me sound smart.
Will: Do, you do – well, he’s not a miracle worker, but do the best you can and make me sound as smart as possible.
Sarah: I, I want to tell you that I am currently speaking into my microphone, which is parked in a thirty-gallon storage tub lined with mattress foam, because I have upgraded my sound box. I used to have an Amazon box with foam, and now I have a thirty, thirty-gallon tub lined with foam, because I’m trying to create a more isolated sound. It does not get more artisanal than a twin-mattress foam inside a box that still a little bit smells like spray adhesive, so it –
Sarah: – kind of makes me a little dizzy? Like, it’s really fun to sort of stick my head in here and be like, ooh, it smells really good! It’s like a mimeograph from elementary school in here!
Jeff: Oh, mimeographs were the best smell, too.
Sarah: Weren’t they? I mean, how is that not a smell we encounter anymore? It’s not fair!
Jeff: Where’s the candle for that?
Sarah: Right? I don’t, I don’t need any more wood smoke and musk; I want, like, Mimeograph: the candle. This is my favorite game! Where’s my venture capitalist?
Jeff: [Laughs] I did hear the sound upgrade for you this week. I think this week was your, the past week was your first in the new sound box, and there was a little difference. (FLAG _____ 12:59) –
Jeff: – massive, but I’m like, I think Sarah sounds different, and then sure enough, you talked about the new sound box.
Sarah: Trying new things over here. Thank you! I appreciate that!
With your show, what do you think makes for a good author interview? I love talking to people who do interviews, because the art of preparing and doing an interview and listening and developing a conversation, it can be a real challenge sometimes, and it’s also really fun! So what do you think makes for a good author interview?
Will: For us primarily it’s all about the conversation –
Will: – and just seeing where it naturally goes? There is generally a list of standard questions, especially if it’s an author we’re not super familiar with, but an author that we like or have talked with or met, and we invite them on the show. We have a kind of a, a standard set of questions, and we kind of just hope for the best! We really just –
Sarah: [Laughs] Yeah!
Will: – we just kind of let it see where it goes and, and hope that the audience gets the sort of natural feel of who the author is and what their viewpoint is all about.
Jeff: Yeah, I, I think most of the actual heavy lifting on a good interview is on the interviewer. Like, you need to have researched to know what you want to talk about. You need to have a good set of questions ready to go. And we share those questions, you know, and that helps the author relax a little bit, the, to know the broad strokes of what they’re going to talk about, ‘cause most authors are, you know, introverts who would rather not maybe talk to people at all. And then it’s to listen and to, to hear what that author tells you and let the tangents develop that you might keep in the show or you might edit out, because – heh – as a recent interview where I went down a hockey rabbit hole way too long, I’m like, okay, nobody else needs to hear that!
Jeff: Cut that out.
Sarah: That’s the hard part of editing for me: like, am I the only one who thinks this is interesting, ‘cause I – maybe I’m going to cut myself out of here. And then, like, where did you go? You were in this episode for like twelve seconds. Like, oh! Oops. Darn. [Laughs]
Jeff: And Will’s a good second arbiter on the interview, ‘cause most of them I do solo, and then he comes behind me and works on the transcript, and he’s like, really? Maybe cut that.
Sarah: I only recently, within the last year or so, started sending questions in advance, because I realized this is, like, we’re, we’re all very nosy and also a little narcissistic as podcasters, so I’m super nosy, and I just presume that people are going to want to talk about themselves and that they’re going to be, you know, able to BS on the fly, like I can make up an answer if I have to. Not everyone wants to do that on a recording with me, especially if I don’t know them very well, so I –
Sarah: – I only recently, within the last year or two, started sending questions in advance, which of course upgraded the interview, because the person I was talking to had a, time to think about what they were going to say and maybe write things down. But like you said, the listening is so important, because then you get to sort of pull a tangent out. What are some of your favorite tangents? Other than hockey, obviously.
Jeff: I can do big tangents sometimes on process?
Sarah: Like the process of writing?
Jeff: Yeah. Like, if I get to talking to somebody about, especially in, like, romantic suspense of sci-fi/fantasy, urban fantasy, like, how you worldbuild, how you balance – like in romantic suspense, how you balance your suspense plotline against your romance plotline –
Jeff: – and stuff like that. I could totally go down rabbit holes, and then sometimes it’s totally like, I was talking to Ginn Hale for next week’s show, and turns out some of her favorite books growing up were the dictionary and the encyclopedias, and I’m like, okay, we’ve got to talk about that for a little bit more –
Jeff: – I, I love that answer!
Sarah: Oh, that’s cool!
Jeff: Do you have a rabbit hole?
Will: I think, for me personally, I think sometimes the most interesting stuff is stuff you can say off the record after you’ve stopped recording?
Sarah: Oh, so true!
Will: Because not only are we sort of doing the podcast as a service to readers, and that’s sort of how we look at the show itself, but we’re also authors, and we want to learn the latest gossip about, you know, the biz, so if, if an author we’re talking to has a certain piece of gossip or juicy news, then I’m all for talking about that!
Sarah: Now, you have been to some podcasting conferences, which is not a thing that I have done, and you have learned so many cool things, and I just want to ask you about them. Which ones have you attended, which ones did you really love, and what are some things that you were excited that you learned about? Just go down that rabbit hole. It’s like eight feet wide; just dive on in.
Will: Well, I’m, I’m glad you think we’re such a font of knowledge. To, to be truthful, we have only been to one podcasting conference.
Sarah: I thought you’d been to more than one! What was I –
Will: No, just –
Sarah: – maybe I was thinking of GRL because you were podcasting there. I bet that’s where my brain was.
Will: Yeah, yeah. This past year we went to Podcast Movement in Orlando, which took place in August. So we went to Orlando in August by our own free will, which was, like, something we’ll never consciously do ever again, but –
Sarah: Yeah. [Laughs]
Will: – the conference was lovely. Truth be told, we got a message from Joanna Penn from The Creative Penn Podcast, and we’re sort of like internet friends. We –
Will: – we knew her sort of like through the podcasting biz, and she messaged us and asked if we were going to Podcast Movement, and we were like, huh? What’s that?
Will: So we looked into it, and we thought, yeah, that sounds cool! And we decided to go. 2019 has been a really interesting year for us? Despite the fact that the world is completely on fire, we’ve experienced some really wonderful and new things. We’ve sort of said yes to a lot of things, and Podcast Movement was one of them. So we went and we hung out with Joanna Penn – let me name-drop her one more time –
Will: – and it was really, really interesting, because we’d never experienced anything like this before. Like we were just talking about, our podcast is very artisanal. It is literally just the two of us who work on it, so going to a conference, especially one that’s the size of Podcast Movement, and learning about, you know, all these people who do these shows in such a, a vast array of, of different, different areas, different subjects, so many remarkable things that are being done and being said by so many different amazing, intelligent people, it was pretty eye-opening, pretty wonderful.
Jeff: Yeah. The, the span of the things that we got to do, we got to go to a Patreon workshop that they put on for their creators to learn more about how to, you know, utilize the platform.
Sarah: Oh cool!
Will: That was crazy informative!
Will: So good.
Jeff: So many notes got written in that –
Jeff: – in that seminar. We got to learn more about audio fiction, which is utterly fascinating, these shows that get crafted specifically to become episodic podcasts in the fiction space. We know one. There’s one that has been around doing, as gay romance for a while called Love and Luck –
Jeff: – which has recently passed its hundredth episode.
Jeff: But then got turned onto things like Gay Future and The Two Princes, and these are wonderful storytelling methods that are also very artisanal. The, the Gay Future Podcast, as produced as it sounds, with the sound effects and the music, is like three people in a bedroom who admitted they passed around, like, one or two mics the entire season – [laughs] – among the people that were doing it!
Jeff: And, and so seeing that aspect of creativity, and then learning in the weirdest places – we went to this, having a niche podcast and what that means and how to, you know, manage your expectations around it. This was taught by Bryan Orr, who does the HVAC School podcast, and yes, you heard me say that right. He runs a podcast about learning about your heating and air conditioning unit. It was the single best session I think that I went to the whole time, not only from his presentational presence to the information that he dropped.
Sarah: That’s so cool! Seriously so cool! I had no idea there was an HVAC podcast. But I mean, I’m the type of person who will watch documentaries about how people manage their garbage disposal and, and their, their refuse and, and their trash in their county and how they reduce waste. Like, there’s a documentary, I think, about the garbage of Prince Edward Island and how they all, like, make a pint of trash every year, and I’m like, how do you do this? Tell me everything.
Sarah: So that’s amazing! What did you, what did you learn from him?
Jeff: He really set up – I mean, there’s the usual stuff like, you know, the why that you –
Jeff: – do something is so important –
Jeff: – but then just breaking it down on how to measure yourself when you’re in a niche and what that means and to focus on the audience and who that audience is. It was –
Will: Specifically for him, he, he was talking about his specific, very specialized niche, and he just started doing it kind of just, you know, for the hell of it, but then he started getting listeners and people who were really genuinely devoted fans, primarily because there was nobody else in the whole entire world who was speaking to this segment. There are actually a whole lot of people in the HVAC industry, and this is, this was one guy who was speaking directly to them about things that they knew and love and experienced every single day of their working lives, so he was talking about serving your audience and how to grow that audience, and how that can lead to ancillary business and a whole bunch of stuff. He, he was really fascinating.
Sarah: Wow, that’s cool! Because, I mean, you and I, we all sort of operate in a niche audience.
Sarah: It could be a big niche audience, but it’s still a niche audience, and I imagine there’s also a language that you share with your audience –
Will: Exactly. Yeah.
Sarah: – that connects you to them that, you know, you’re going to use words and terms and concepts that nobody else uses, whether you’re talking about romantic suspense with two guy protagonists or, you know, your seasonal cleaning of your ductwork. That’s so cool! Oh, that’s so cool!
Will: Yeah. What was really unique about this experience is, you never, well, you don’t know what to expect. You don’t, you don’t know what you don’t know –
Will: – until you know it, and going to Podcast Movement really opened my eyes to the broader world that is podcasting and all the different ancillary stuff that goes into making a show. Like most conferences, there were specific tracks to kind of match whatever your interests might be?
Will: So there were, there was a track about the, like, hardcore technical details that go into sound and creating a podcast. There were, you know, there was a beginner track for people who are just now thinking about starting a podcast who have, or only have a few episodes under their belts. There are people who were talking about the business side and the marketing and growing your audience. There were also several different main stage presentations from, like, some of the podcasting rock stars. So it was all really fun and genuinely interesting.
Will: We, we took a lot, took a lot from the experience, I think.
Jeff: And I think the reason, one of the reasons that triggered us going – it was a very apt part of our dialogue with Joanna Penn about going – was, one of the reasons she wanted to go, and she’s been in the podcast biz for like ten years now, similar to you –
Jeff: – and almost all the events that she ever goes to are author-centric, and she wanted –
Sarah: Yes, that’s very true.
Jeff: – to break out and learn something new, especially since she did, you know, she podcasts every week. She’s episode four fifty-something these days.
Will: Yeah, yeah.
Sarah: It is so amazing when you put a bunch of people who do the same thing from different angles in the same place because you, you can learn from each other? I, I still remain wary of gatherings, but I think I need to get over it. [Laughs]
Jeff: Podcast Movement’s in Dallas next year. Just saying.
Sarah: In August, right?
Jeff: July, August, something like that.
Will: Something like that.
Jeff: Dallas is usually better than Orlando, though. Just, you know –
Sarah: Yeah, well, R –
Sarah: – RWA is always in July, and it’s been in Dallas, and it’s been in Orlando multiple times, so I’m sort of like, yeah, okay. I can, I can do it. I’ll just, you know, scurry from air-conditioned location to air-conditioned location.
Jeff: Yeah, we just never left the hotel, except for that one moment –
Jeff: – one morning where there was a fire alarm, and we were told to leave?
Jeff: Like, really? We have to go outside now.
Sarah: So what, when you were at the conference, was there any equipment or software or tools that you were like, oh, how did I not know this existed? I need this in my life immediately.
Will: Oh yes.
Jeff: Oh my.
Jeff: Not only was it the moment for me to put my hands on and mess around with all the equipment that you’d shown us at RWA?
Jeff: ‘Cause there were demos. The Descript software for transcripts and editing –
Sarah: Oh, this sounds amazing!
Jeff: – is mind-blowing. It has so much streamlined our editing for interviews, because you can see ums, and you can see the words, too. Like, if you need to trim up somebody’s words, instead of having to try to read the waveform, you can just see what they said and then, I’m going to cut that part out. It’s –
Sarah: So the words are right next to the waveform.
Jeff: Well, they’re right above it, so essentially you’ve got, like, the word processing document at the top of the document and then the waveform under it, but also, you’re right, the, the words are actually right on top of the waveform, so you can’t always read those, but you can kind of see what words line up with that piece of the waveform, which is pretty cool.
Jeff: What they’re working on now that’s in private beta too is the ability to actually edit voice.
Jeff: So if I say, you know, please come see us at GRL in November, but oops, that’s in October, and I don’t catch it until I’m editing it, I would be able to use, the AI would know my voice and be able to compose the word “October” for me, so I don’t have to re-record it. It’s crazy (FLAG _____ 28:35) –
Sarah: Holy crap! [Laughs]
Jeff: – and it was insane!
Sarah: Holy crap! That’s incredible.
Jeff: Yeah. And they’re being cautious about it, too. Like, if you use Descript, you, Sarah, would be able to tell, have the AI learn your voice, but you couldn’t edit us, ‘cause it’s not going to let you edit voices that aren’t yours.
Sarah: Oh, very smart!
Sarah: Wow! That’s incredible! Holy smoke!
Jeff: But I think that, that was the piece – oh, and Adobe Audition, too; I totally geeked out over the Adobe Audition –
Sarah: You are –
Jeff: – editing software.
Sarah: You are tempting me with this so much, because I’ve been using GarageBand. In fact, I got a new computer ‘cause my old one died a very dramatic death, and the version of the Mac I have, the version of GarageBand that I have doesn’t include podcasting options. They took it off of GarageBand, which makes me think that Apple’s coming out with their own podcast editing app or program or whatever, so I had to go find an older version of GarageBand on someone’s Google Drive that they were kind enough to make public, and I use that for editing. The little bubbles of the waveform work really well for me visually. It, it, it, Audacity and I never clicked, but GarageBand, happy little colored bubbles of, you know, things, that worked really well, but it’s, it’s very limited, and the way you were talking about Audition, I am, I am, oh, it, it, it’s very tempting. But what, like you said, once you have your system set up and once you have the way of doing things and it goes quickly, the idea of slowing down to learn something else can be very intimidating.
Jeff: Yeah, I’ve, I think I’ve climbed, I’ve, I think in the last six to eight weeks I’ve re-systematized myself pretty well, because we’ve essentially turned over the equipment we record on on a normal basis, and I’ve changed over the editing software, and –
Sarah: Whoa! That’s a lot of change!
Jeff: It was, but, but the audio geek side of me loved it!
Sarah: Yeah, when the audio geek is happy to renovate your autopilot, I guess it’s okay.
Will: I think since we’ve been doing the show for a couple of years, this past summer, it was really time to, you know, make an upgrade.
Will: We’ve been kind of doing it the same way and had gotten comfortable doing it, and since we started the brand-new show, we figured, you know, why not now? This seems like the best time to get, you know, new recording equipment, new mics, which we’re still learning how to use properly.
Sarah: Y’all sound fabulous, by the way. You sound great right now.
Will: That’s very kind.
Jeff: We’re really looking forward to taking these mics and the equipment to, to GRL and doing group interviews the right way, instead of, like –
Sarah: Oh, it’s the best!
Jeff: – the ad hoc way that we’ve done it before. [Laughs]
Sarah: Just wait until you can bring your equipment, and say you’re doing an event with someone at a bookstore or at a, at an event you’re doing a panel, and you get everyone’s permission to record it. You can hook the recorder up into the sound system – usually there’ll be a very knowledgeable person around to help you do that – and then you can record the whole event.
Jeff: Yeah, I don’t think we’re doing that at GRL. I think we’ll get to that probably at Coastal Magic in February?
Jeff: But at this one we’ve got, Will’s doing an interview with four authors, I’m doing one with three, and then one with a, a duo, and it’s going to be pretty cool. [Laughs]
Sarah: It’s so cool to just hand everyone a mic and just get all of the tracks into this one little – it’s such a small device, right? Like, it’s so little!
Jeff: And it’s like a tricorder; it makes me think Star Trek.
Sarah: [Laughs] It does have the little bend and everything!
Jeff: It does. It’s, it’s a Star Trek: The Next Generation tricorder that just doesn’t fold completely up.
Sarah: It’s adorable. I love it so much!
So you guys were at RWA this year, and you were on stage presenting an award, and when I saw you guys came out I was so excited! How cool was that? What was that like?
Will: It was really unique. As I mentioned before, I think 2019 kind of became our year of Yes, and we just said yes to different experiences, and RWA was going to be one of them! We decided since it was going to be in New York and we like to take an annual trip to New York to see theater anyway we said, yeah, let’s give it a shot! And honestly, we had no intention of actually attending the RITA Awards ceremony, but some friends in the industry floated the idea past us of presenting at the ceremony, and so of course we said, yeah, sure, let’s give it a shot and see what happens! So that’s what we ended up doing. When we finally got word that we would in fact be presenting an award for romantic suspense we were like, yay! But then we were like, oh man, we’ve got to go buy us some clothes!
Will: ‘Cause, ‘cause when I say we’re jeans and T-shirts kind of guy, I literally mean that is all that we own, so – [sighs].
Jeff: Yeah, I mean, I own some day job clothes, but we’re talking, like, polos and khakis and stuff. It’s not, it’s not fancy, dress-up, go-to-the-awards-show. [Laughs]
Will: So yeah, we did spend one arduous afternoon at the mall picking out our outfits, but yeah, it was a really wonderful, unique experience. I was so glad that we were there this year! Oh, one of the things that I was genuinely worried about is that we went to RWA, but we didn’t quite feel comfortable spending money to actually stay at the host hotel.
Will: We actually stayed, we had a room downtown, so every day we took the train up to, up to midtown, up by Broadway, which is where the conference was –
Will: – and my biggest concern, I wasn’t worried about walking on stage or anything like that. My biggest concern was the fact that we were going to have to go back to our room and get cleaned up and get all fancy and then take the subway back to the host hotel, and, since this was happening in New York City in July, I didn’t want us to arrive at the ceremony, like, all schmutzy and covered in sweat and –
Will: – all gross? That would –
Sarah: Yeah, which is, which is a valid concern!
Will: [Laughs] But the weather that particular evening was actually quite lovely. We arrived at the hotel daisy fresh, and –
Will: – we were raring to go.
Jeff: Yeah, it was, it was an amazing experience, and I’m, I’m thankful to our friends who, who put us out there and said, Jeff and Will could maybe do this thing, and that we got approved and we did it. It was so surreal, ‘cause, I mean, for, for the rehearsal, you know, it’s an empty ballroom, right, and you’re up there, and yeah, you’ve got your teleprompters going and your figuring out how to read off those panes of glass and doing that, but then you get up there – that was a lot of people in that room!
Sarah: Oh, it’s a very big room with a lot of humans.
Jeff: And it’s like, you get up there and, like, dang! This is, like, wow! And then the, the applause was like, the amount of applause that we got kind of overwhelmed me a little bit, ‘cause I’m like, none of these people really know who we are – [laughs] – and yet –
Sarah: I know about that!
Jeff: – it was kind of like this roar of applause. It was like, I, I’m glad we got through it without screwing it up!
Jeff: And then to have –
Sarah: At least you (FLAG _____ 36:24)
Jeff: – Radclyffe’s speech right after us was so awesome.
Sarah: It was such a good speech, too.
Jeff: Yeah, her speech and LaQuette’s speech at the end, and some of the groundbreaking award winners that night? I’m so glad we were in the room for it, and getting to present was just like a cherry on top, I think, of the evening overall for us.
Sarah: It was really, really cool, and I was extremely excited when you guys walked out on stage. And you looked fabulous, by the way. Excellent job with the, the outfit decisions.
Jeff: Will dresses us well.
Jeff: I can’t be trusted to pick out more than jeans and a T-shirt, so.
Sarah: [Laughs] When you’re at GRL – which you said was both in October and November; is it November?
Jeff: It’s October. It’s actually –
Sarah: October, thank you! [Laughs]
Jeff: – next week.
Sarah: I told you I don’t know what time it is. So when you are at – I really don’t – when you’re at GRL, what are some of the things that you do, aside from interviewing massive groups of people with really cool equipment?
Jeff: [Laughs] It’s different this year, at least for me, ‘cause I’m not going as an author? So I’m there as what they call the industry pro representing the podcast, which is what Will has done the last couple years? But at, at its core, I mean, I’m just as much of a fanboy as anybody else. The fact that Gregory Ashe and Layla Reyne are going to be there is going to be like, I’m going to have to not just, like, flail all over them. Even though they’ve been on the show and I’ve talked to them, it’s like, you’re in person, you’re right here, and oh my God!
Sarah: Yeah, I have that feeling sometimes too!
Jeff: But you know, it’s a time to see the readers, it’s a time to see our author friends, make some new friends, interview cool people with fun equipment, and it’s, it’s a delightful four days. It’s a, it’s, it’s more chill than, like, an RT or an RWA. It’s a lovely weekend.
Will: Yeah. For those who don’t know, GRL is the GayRomLit Retreat, and it’s been going on for several years now, and it focuses mainly on the gay romance genre, and we originally went our, our very first year just as readers, and over the years that has evolved to Jeff going as an author and then us sort of appearing with our little podcasting hats on. I think it’s generally and most importantly geared towards readers of the genre, so that’s its primary purpose, and we’re, of course, readers as well, and like Jeff mentioned, we love meeting and getting to talk to these amazing people in person. It’s a really wonderful and unique experience, but also from a business perspective, especially when it comes to the podcast itself, it’s really wonderful to have a, a, a plethora, a wonderful pool of potential interviews, like, right there in front of you –
Will: – so we get to talk to lots of really wonderful, amazing people, and we get to meet and learn about brand-new authors or, or books that we hadn’t come across before, so for us it’s a high point of the year.
Sarah: It’s also, I find, very restorative to be with the people who love the things that you love?
Will: Oh yeah, definitely.
Sarah: So it’s very replenishing in a way?
Jeff: It’s such a hard landing coming back afterwards.
Sarah: Oh, re-entry is the worst! And you have to, like, do things that aren’t devoted to this thing that you love, and you have to, like, you know, wash things. It’s super not fun.
Sarah: So you mentioned that you’re focusing more on the podcast and not attending as an author, but you are, are you still writing?
Jeff: Oh yes.
Sarah: Okay, good. So what are you working on in your writings?
Jeff: I am currently working on – [laughs] – not unsurprisingly, a hockey romance.
Sarah: [Laughs] Ah!
Jeff: I’m, I’m quite happy to be part of a shared universe that I can’t talk a lot about right now, ‘cause we haven’t made all the official announcements, but there’ll be some cool stuff coming out in March 2020.
Jeff: My particular book is an NHL player who finds the love of his life, it turns out, who, with a guy who happens to be a tech entrepreneur. It very much plays on some of the, some athlete/geek tropes along the way and, yeah, I’m having a lot of fun with it. I’m about twenty-five percent through with the writing; I’m looking to have the first draft done by the end of the year.
Sarah: What are you reading that you want to tell people about? Bring me all the books.
Jeff: Let you go first.
Will: Since it’s the season, I decided to dive into some paranormal romance, and I recently read a book called The Vampire’s Club by X. Aratare. It’s the first book in their series. Actually, let me rephrase that. It’s not actually a series. The way that this author has sort of positioned the books is they’re more like a, a continuing story, more like in serialized format?
Will: Each book ends with a kind of a cliffhanger, and these, it’s the first time I’ve read this particular author, and I really like the way they worldbuilt without it being, like, heavy-handed or annoying, but this author was really smart and very judicious about their details of the club where the head vampire hangs out and the nice guy who shows up one day looking for a job. I really like this book; I thought it started off the series on a really interesting concept.
Also, just like a few minutes ago, I just got back from the gym, and I started listening to Safe Harbor by H. J. Welch, and it’s the first book in her Pine Cove series, and it’s so sweet; I’m enjoying it so much. It’s about a nice guy who has to go back to his hometown for a high school reunion, and he somehow wrangles his “straight” roommate – I’m using, those are really big air quotes.
Sarah: I felt those air quotes.
Will: He’s managed to get this ex-Marine to pretend to be his boyfriend for the week. It’s really charming and really lovely, full of all sorts of trope-y goodness, and I’m really enjoying that one.
Sarah: That was like a catnip bingo description.
Will: I know, right?
Sarah: Right? Like, somewhere there’s a catnip bingo card, and people are like, yep, yep, yep, yep, yeah, okay! Win! [Laughs]
Jeff: For me, I got to start this hockey season with an amazing hockey romance. Goalie Interference by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn? Oh my God! It’s an enemies-to-sort-of-kind-of-friends-to-oh-my-God-steaming-hot-lovers, and it’s between these two goalies who are vying for the starting position on the same team. So you’ve got all the workplace stuff too, on top of them trying to get this romance thing maybe going?
Jeff: And wonderfully diverse characters. Ryu is Japanese-American, Emmitt is African-American, and it’s the diversity that romance needs and that frankly the NHL could use a little bit of too! [Laughs]
Sarah: I was going to say, that’s a lot for the NHL.
Jeff: It’s so brilliant, and I’ve heard a little preview of Kirt Graves’s audio performance, and I’m sure I’m going to go back and have to reread it to get that, but if audio’s your thing, I think you’ll love Kirt’s take on it too.
The other book I’ll call out, which has become one of my favorite books, probably of all time, is Wilde Love by Lucy Lennox. I adore her for Forever Wilde series. This book in particular is the story of Doc and Grandpa, who we’ve seen in the books. I believe Wilde Love, I think it was the fifth book in the series? So we’ve seen these guys in their Happily Ever After as, you know, they’re older guys running this ranch, but Wilde Love goes back to how they met during the Vietnam War and brings their romance, and you see how they became friends and this relationship built over decades. It is so amazingly good. It just ticked, like, all the checkboxes for me. It’s amazing how you, she took two characters who you know have had their happy and have been living their happy for a while, but then goes back to the origins of it and then writes a very compelling story forward when you know beyond the shadow of a doubt how it’s going to end. Beyond the fact that romance must end happy, you’ve already seen their happy in four other books!
Sarah: So it’s almost like the prequel that really, really works.
Jeff and Will: Yeah. Yeah.
Will: It’s really –
Sarah: That’s –
Will: It’s really wonderful. Hey, Sarah.
Sarah: Yes, sir.
Will: You forgot to mention something.
Sarah: What’s –
Jeff: Oh, that’s true; she did!
Sarah: What did I, what –
Will: I, I would be remiss if I didn’t hijack this interview and pat not only ourselves but you on the back, because we are officially #OprahCertified.
Sarah: Oh my God, that’s right! I forgot! [Laughs] Oh my gosh! Yes, that’s so true. Highest of fives, gentlemen! That’s amazing!
Will: [Laughs] Have you mentioned that to your audience yet?
Sarah: No! I don’t know if you know this, but I suck at talking about myself? Like, I’m real bad at it. Like, superbly terrible, to the point where I edit myself out of the episodes too much, and people are like, dude, where were you? And I’m like, oh yeah; oops, my bad. No, I have not. We were both in an Oprah Magazine roundup of literary podcasts, and I’m scrolling through it, and I’m like, wow, that’s a good one, that’s – then I saw mine, and then I saw yours, and then I had to stop, put my head between my knees, ‘cause I could not believe how amazing it was. [Squees]
Sarah: Yes! It was so cool.
Will: How did, how did you learn about that? Did you know beforehand, or did someone –
Will: – send you a link?
Sarah: Ohhh, no, no one sent me a link. It was, when I use Chrome on my phone and I open a new window, Google gives me, like, a list of things it thinks I’m going to be interested in, based on my browsing history, and sometimes it’s like, yeah, I am really not that interested; I don’t care about the Swedish royal family, but thanks anyway.
Sarah: And then it was like, these are, these are literary podcasts, and I was like, oh, that’s somewhat relevant to my interests! It was completely random, Google giving me things that I think it was learning from my algorithm.
Jeff: Way to go, Google!
Sarah: I know! I was very proud of the Google. But yeah, how amazing was that? Congratulations, dudes!
Jeff: Congratulations to you too! I –
Sarah: [Squees] You’re right!
Jeff: Oh, epic to be in there with those other podcasts.
Sarah: Holy crap, right?! Holy –
Jeff: And you were right there alongside stuff from the New York Times and The New Yorker magazine and –
Sarah: And Overdue and podcasts that have been going for ages, and oh my God, it was so cool. So cool!
Will: I thought, Jeff showed it to me that morning, and I think I disappointed him because my reaction was so underwhelming?
Will: I, I think it was just because it didn’t quite compute!
Will: Have you seen that GIF where the cute German Shepherd puppy, like, tilts his head one way –
Will: – and then he tilts it back the other way –
Will: – and he just went arrr? Like that? That’s what I did! It just –
Sarah: [Laughs] Yeah.
Will: – it didn’t make sense! I’m like, I, I was like, I was happy, but I was just like, in what world does that happen to (FLAG _____ 47:58)? It was a very odd experience!
Sarah: This is a thing that happens in this reality? Really? For reals?
Will: I know, right?
Sarah: Oh my gosh! [Laughs] You were –
Will: Well, we want to take this opportunity to congratulate you. I think it’s well deserved.
Sarah: Oh, thank you so much! And congratulations to you guys right back!
Will: Thank you!
Sarah: I could not be happier to share that with someone. Like, you guys, like, that’s just the best. Like, oh my gosh, look!
Jeff: It was crazy. You Slacked it to me, and then I went to look at it, and right as I was doing it, Will was coming back from the gym, and I made this squeak. And he wasn’t sure if I was in distress or if maybe there was a bug in the office or what the hell just happened?
Sarah: So the Oprah Magazine squeak is somewhat ambiguous! [Laughs]
Will: Yeah, exactly.
Jeff: A little bit.
Sarah: Oh, that’s funny! Well, congratulations, dudes! Well done!
Jeff: So now you have to leave this in the show a little bit so you can talk about it on your show.
Sarah: Okay, I will leave this in the show, I promise. [Laughs] I, I pinky swear promise. Is there anything –
Jeff: You can edit around it a little bit –
Jeff: – but –
Sarah: Yeah. I can shape. Is there anything else that you, that you want to add or mention? Anything that you want to promote or say before we go that I forgot to ask you about?
Will: If any of your listeners are curious about the gay romance subgenre, be sure and check out the Bit Gay Fiction Podcast. We have a brand-new episode every single Monday, and if anyone listening –
Will: – is an author and is interested in the gay romance subgenre – although I think the things that we talk about on the Big Gay Author Podcast aren’t necessarily, frankly, gay-centric. They’re pretty –
Will: They’re pretty – what’s the word I’m looking for? They’re –
Will: They’re, they’re, they’re universable – universabl-bl-bl? They’re –
Sarah: That’s totally a word now.
Will: They’re universable, u- – I can’t actually even say it anymore!
Jeff: They’re universal for all authors!
Will: [Laughs] Exactly! What he said!
Sarah: And that brings us to the end of this week’s episode. I want to thank Jeff and Will for hanging out with me and reminding me to talk about myself more, because I’m really not very good at it. You can find the Big Gay Fiction and the Big Gay Author Podcast at jeffandwill.com and at biggayauthorpodcast.com. They are on Twitter @BigGayFiction and on Instagram @jeff_and_will. They have new episodes every week, and you can find both of us in the Frolic Podcast Network at frolic.media/podcasts.
If you want to get in touch with me you can email me at [email protected], and if you want to email me a terrible joke it is extremely likely that I will laugh my butt off, and then I will use it like I am doing in this episode this week. I love hearing from you, so if you would like to email me, please feel free.
I also, because I was compiling links to make sure that, you know, housekeeping, everything was in order, we have so many reviews on iTunes and Apple Podcasts and whatever Apple is calling itself these days. Thank you so much for leaving these amazing reviews! I’m absolutely flabbergasted. Thank you for reviewing the show wherever you listen. It is so very appreciated.
This episode is brought to you by The Merry Viscount by Sally MacKenzie. Bingo cards ready? We’re going to do this again: Misfortune begets second-chance romances in USA Today bestselling author Sally MacKenzie’s Widow’s Brew Regency-set series filled with her signature wit, warmth, and humor. Scandal does not define the fallen women of Puddledon Manor’s Benevolent Home. Instead, it’s a recipe for an intoxicating new future as the women combine their talents to operate their own brewery and alehouse, this time with a bit of Christmas cheer and a wild holiday house party. The Merry Viscount by Sally MacKenzie is on sale now wherever books are sold. For more information, visit sallymackenzie.net.
Our transcripts are compiled by garlicknitter, and this week’s transcript is brought to you by our Patreon community. Thank you, folks! If you have made a pledge at patreon.com/SmartBitches, you are helping me transcribe this episode and every episode so that all of them are accessible. Thank you so much for your support!
The music you are listening to comes from Sassy Outwater. This is Caravan Palace, and this track is called “Cotton Heads;” it’s one of my favorites. You can find it at Amazon, at iTunes, wherever you get your music, whatever Apple is calling itself – I still can’t keep up – or you can find out more at caravanpalace.com.
Coming up on Smart Bitches this week, oh, do we have some stuff. First off, Saturday, tomorrow, Whatcha Reading? It is our monthly column where we tell you what we are reading and you tell us what you are reading, and then we all buy more books because that’s really the problem we all have, is buying too many books, right? We also have a Guest Squee, we have reviews of new and exciting books, we have a Cover Snark, and it’s time.
It is time for the Smart Bitches Holiday Gift Guides – yay! – which is when I basically go shopping for everyone who reads the website and then post links to things, and it is super fun! So if you have something that you love that you want to tell people about, you should absolutely email me at [email protected] or [email protected]. Tell me all about your favorite Etsy store, the thing you bought this year that you love, your favorite gift that you love to give people. I love compiling the weekly gift guides between now and the holidays and it is time to get started. I’m very excited.
Plus, of course, we have Books on Sale and Help a Bitch Out every day, so I hope you’ll stop by and hang out with us.
We talked about a lot of things. I will link to all of them, including the HVAC School podcast, ‘cause you know I’m curious about that one, and all of the books we talked about as well.
As usual, it’s time for a terrible joke, because this is how I end every episode. Now, this joke comes from Lynn. Lynn, thank you. You are wonderful. This joke is extremely making me happy. [Clears throat]
Why aren’t koalas considered bears?
Why aren’t koalas considered bears?
Because they don’t have the koala-fications.
[Laughs] This charms the dickens out of me, because the college that I went to in South Carolina, the mascot was the koala, which I still find completely hysterical. Thank you, Lynn! [Laughs again] Koala-fications!
And that brings us to the end of the episode. On behalf of Jeff and Will and everyone here, we wish you the very best of reading. Have a wonderful weekend.
Smart Podcast, Trashy Books is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. You can find more outstanding podcasts to subscribe to at frolic.media/podcasts.
[strangely charming music]
This podcast transcript was handcrafted with meticulous skill by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks.