Rank #1: Episode 20: The Captivating Pacat
Content warnings: The Captive Prince series contains dark subject matter, including sexual and physical abuse, so please proceed with caution as we briefly discuss some of those elements.
The Captive Prince started life as a free online serial and became a best seller. Author C.S. Pacat talks process, plotting, her influences as a young queer person, what the 80s covers of the books would look like, Amanda's thing for icy blonds, and the delight that is Yuri on Ice in THR's longest episode to date. (We all had a lot to say about who we romanced in Dragon Age.)
Stay tuned for the bonus content after the credits!
Feb 14 2017
Rank #2: Episode 31: A Peach by Any Other Name
Content warning: part of this episode discusses a fictional relationship between a 17-year-old and a 24-year-old.
THR returns with a semi-revamped format! Austin and Amanda talk about the future of the show, delve into some of the realities of freelancing from their own experiences, and spend the last two-thirds of the episode talking about Call Me By Your Name and their wildly disparate reactions to it. (Warning for book and movie spoilers. There's a head's up in the episode when we get to spoiler territory as well.)
Stay tuned after the credits for the oft-mentioned recording of the hosts and friends watching CMBYN's most infamous scene.
Call Me by Your Name - Andre Aciman
Call Me By Your Name audiobook narrated by Armie Hammer
Call Me By Your Name soundtrack
The Shape of Water
Jan 30 2018
Rank #3: Episode 35: The State of Things
Content warning: This episode references sexual abuse and harassment, and generally a lot of toxic behavior and boundary crossing. None of it is explicitly discussed, but please take care of yourself if you might be triggered.
Austin and Amanda get serious and address racism, gatekeeping, abuse, amateurism, and other broken elements in queer publishing. Another major problem discussed is how a lack of boundaries can lead to those in the industry with power (authors, publishers, editors, etc.) transgressing against those with less power. There's some call-outs for publishers to pay fair wages to editors (including sensitivity editors) and some advice for authors to be wary of predatory contract clauses and author mills.
Rebekah Weatherspoon's Tweet re: a racist editorial director
Xen x Cole McCade: On Sarah Lyons and Why I Ended My Relationship With Riptide Publishing
Riptide Publishing: Our Statement on Sarah Lyons
Absolute Write Water Cooler
Mar 27 2018
Rank #4: Episode 4: Bi Bi Bi
Content warning: This episode of THR features some discussion of biphobia, transphobia, and other potentially sensitive topics.
Episode four, "Bi Bi Bi," has Austin and Amanda deconstructing bi tropes in LGTBQIA romance and beyond: Gay For You, slutty bisexuals, the conflation of poly (and menage) with bisexuality, and more are tackled.
During the episode Amanda gets real about internalized biphobia, Austin talks about gender essentialism, and it's revealed that bisexuals may or may not be sharks.
Calls for submission:
(Please review the guidelines thoroughly.)
Dec 17 2015
Rank #5: Episode 23: Amnesia and Peril and Cowboys, Oh My
Content warning: There are a few mentions of racism and a mention of rape in this episode.
THR talks tropes! From their favorites (ask about Austin's love for cowboys and Amanda's for arranged marriage) to their least favorites, when a trope can be neutral, and when it can be potentially harmful. They also cover some tropes that intersect with or differ from those in fan fiction.
Also, for some reason Austin attempts to say some stuff in German. Tune in to find out how that goes.
Apr 04 2017
Rank #6: Episode 5: The Anatomy of a Sex Scene
Content warning: This episode of THR features frank and explicit discussion of sex scenes (and a lot of swearing for bonus points).
"The Anatomy of a Sex Scene" has Amanda and Austin returning from their holiday hiatus to argue about dickscription, make impassioned pleas for the use of lube in fiction (and real life), and discuss the requirements of heat ratings.
Amanda condemns unrealistic beauty standards for genitals and Austin kinkshames literally everyone (he's sorry).
The Hopeless Romantic now has a Patreon account! Check it out in case you want access to exclusive content and the chance to request 10 minutes of Austin and Amanda discussing the topic of your choice.
Calls for submission:
(Please review the guidelines thoroughly.)
Jan 20 2016
Rank #7: Episode 26: Gay Elves and Sexy Lizard People
Fantasy and speculative fiction is the topic of the day! Austin and Amanda throw around some loose definitions, give examples of their favorite queer fantasy (send Amanda more gaslamp manuscripts!). and writing fantasy with romance in it vs writing romance in a fantasy setting. They answer some questions from Twitter and wonder why people bother to transplant real-life oppression into fantastical settings.
Austin and Amanda are big nerds who cry at Lord of the Rings, call out Mass Effect Andromeda, and demand more gay elves.
Authors and books mentioned in the episode, as well as some others to check out:
Sam Argent - Sebastian (Family of Lies)
KJ Charles - A Charm of Magpies
Cassandra Clare - Infernal Devices
Kirby Crow - Scarlet and the White Wolf
Lynn Flewelling - The Nightrunner Series
Rachel Haimowitz - Song of the Fallen series
Jesse Hajicek - The God Eaters
Ginn Hale (includes Lord of the White Hell, Wicked Gentlemen, and the Rifter series)
Jordan L Hawke - Whyborne & Griffin
Ellen Kushner (includes Swordspoint and Tremontaine, which also features Racheline Maltese and Malinda Lo)
C.S. Pacat - Captive Prince trilogy
C.M. Spivey - From Under the Mountain
There's also some Goodreads lists like this one, fantasy with gay MCs.
Jun 27 2017
Rank #8: Episode 14: Grim Jim
THR returns from summer hiatus with Jim Grimsley. He's the LAMBDA Literary Award-winning author of "Dream Boy" and "Comfort & Joy." The group discusses the tragic and ambiguous endings Grimsley is known for, the history of publishing's attitude toward queer fiction, and everything from the North Carolina bathroom bill to how your family lies to you.
Be sure to listen to the bonus content after the credits!
Aug 23 2016
Rank #9: Episode 11: Disability Representation
Tracy Timmons-Gray, the director of Gay Romance Northwest conference, joins THR to discuss characters with disabilities in queer romance. The gang shares recs, talks about tropes, including the love interest grappling with the reveal of their partner's disability, the narrow span of disabilities portrayed, the sanctification of disabled people, and how often disabled fiction is inspiration porn. The conversation tackles sex scenes, A/B/O, disabled characters in fandom, and resources for writing disabled characters.
Amanda, Tracy, and Austin try their best to be positive despite being Cranky Fans. Also, Tracy details GRNW's inception and history and how the conference will change going forward. (Fun fact, GRNW is how Amanda and Austin met!) Tracy and Amanda talk about the upcoming GRNW conference and the charity anthology "Magic & Mayhem."
(Pssst, put GRNW 2016 on your calendars! 9/24/16 at the Seattle Public Library! It's freeeee.)
Follow GRNW on twitter: @gayrom_nw
Book recs mentioned in the episode:
Gives Light by Rose Christo
Think of England by KJ Charles
Mnevermind by Jordan Castillo Price
The Adrien English Mysteries by Josh Lanyon
Speechless by Kim Fielding
Brute by Kim Fielding
Winter's Bees by E.E. Ottoman
Dead Ringer by Heidi Belleau and Sam Schooler
Glitterland by Alexis Hall
Support The Hopeless Romantic on Patreon!
Apr 11 2016
Rank #10: Episode 9: Boy Meets Earl
Content warning: There is a mention of an ethnic slur in the episode, as well as some discussion of historical racism (including slavery).
KJ Charles joins THR for episode eight, "Boy Meets Earl". Author of historical fiction and historical fantasy, and an editor, KJ describes her methods of research, discloses fun facts about Victorian and Edwardian body modification, and discusses not wanting to belabor period-accurate racism, sexism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism.
The group talks about why sidelining queer romance and other so-called 'niche' romance categories is unacceptable—and makes poor money sense on the part of publishers and distributors.
Also, Amanda asks pervy-minded questions about the Society of Gentlemen series and reads aloud embarrassing texts about her and Daria's excitement for the upcoming conclusion to the trilogy.
The Hopeless Romantic is on Patreon!
Retweet to enter to win Rag and Bone!##
Mar 08 2016
Rank #11: Episode 18: You Only Liver Once
Content warning: Austin and Amanda are tipsy/drunk in this episode. They also discuss the TV shows Hannibal and Attack on Titan briefly, which feature morbid subject matter. (Amanda's generally a creep, too.)
It's THR's one-year anniversary! In celebration, Austin and Amanda got drunk and talked about abandoned projects, tried and failed to plot a project, and discussed how Korean dramas are basically just serial romance novels. Lots of inappropriateness was had.
Nov 22 2016
Rank #12: Episode 33: If I'm Wrong, @ Me
This episode contains spoilers for God's Own Country.
Celebrate Valentine’s Day two weeks late with the always-prepared THR! Amanda recommends a podcast and tells a story about how she wins friends and influences people, which is followed by the hosts struggling to contain laughter over romance titles generated by a neural network (the punishment for laughter is blurbing said titles). There's discussion about the emotions, authenticity, and sheep in God's Own Country, and then, at long last, Austin's crying journey through the Adventure Zone has come to its end. R.I.P. Austin.
Be the Serpent Podcast
Dates II anthology
Kai Ashante Wilson - A Taste of Honey
Bei Tong - Bejing Comrades
Towards Data Science: Romance Novels, Generated by Artificial Intelligence
AI Weirdness: Letting neural networks be weird
God's Own Country
Patrick Wolf - The Days
The Adventure Zone Podcast
My Brother, My Brother and Me Podcast
Feb 27 2018
Rank #13: Episode 25: Avon & Roan
Co-authors of the upcoming Heart of the Steal, Avon Gale and Roan Parrish, join THR to chat about their cowriting process! They also talk about working with an agent, hideous hotel breakfasts, and how they got started in the queer romance industry.
Amanda reveals she cries at every episode of Friday Night Lights, Roan is not a food snob, no one really knows how to write serial fiction, and we had to cut twenty minutes of material because Skype made us all sound like robot demons.
Heart of the Steal is out July 11!
Jun 13 2017
Rank #14: Episode 28: The Long Con
Ginn Hale's newest book, The Long Past, is out as of 10/3/17! She joins THR to talk about writing and researching alt Westerns, world building, avoiding the whitewash of history, and also chickens. The episode has a chicken thing.
Also discussed is the miracle of modern plumbing, writing religion when you grew up outside of religion, and yet more chickens.
Oct 03 2017
Rank #15: Episode 15: Self-Publishing with Jordan L. Hawk
Author Jordan L. Hawk brings her expertise to the program to talk about her own beginnings in self-publishing, the decisions authors must make in regards to what they can do themselves, and the group discusses the importance of treating publishing as a business.
There's also call to action for more queer romance in the historical-specfic genre. Go get writing!
Sep 20 2016