Rank #1: 321. Royals Both Real and Fictional, with Lindsay Emory
We also discuss her new book, her creation of a country in which to place her royal family, and the research she did into the world of royalty. Plus, we try to compose romance plots about the royal timekeeper. You know, for fun.
Rank #2: 344. Burnout – A Feminist Book about Stress: An Interview with Emily and Amelia Nagoski
Their own description of this book might be the best one. On Amelia’s Medium bio, it says “A feminist book about stress” On Emily’s website, the description reads, It’s for women who feel overwhelmed and exhausted by all they have to do, yet worrying that they’re not doing “enough.”
Emily’s name you might recognize from previous podcast interviews. She writes romance fiction as Emily Foster, and is the author of Come As You Are, about the science of arousal and orgasm.
Amelia is a choral conductor, and during our conversation, we take a side trip into self awareness of one’s own voice, the policing of women’s speaking styles, and then the larger picture of being aware of one’s entire body.
The section on stress and emotional processing in Emily’s book Come As You Are partially inspired this book, along with the personal experience of Amelia and Emily using the information in their own lives.
We talk about how wellness has become an achievement and how we as individuals can allow wellness to happen
There is so much practical advice, too! Such as things we can do to smash the patriarchy a piece at a time - including and especially SLEEP. Oh, sleep is everything.
We talk a LOT about what stress is, what it does to your body, and what you can do to better handle the effects of it through the Stress Response Cycle. Short version: stress isn’t solved or dissolved by dealing with what caused the stress. Stress is a cycle that is completed by action, that we have to complete within and through our physical bodies, and incomplete stress cycles accumulate. But good news: reading romance is one way to help complete stress cycles and emotional cycles. To quote Amelia: “Romance novels are a nutritious part of this Burnout Prevention Strategy.”
Spoiler alert! At about 43:20 - 44:30: I spoil the ending of How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World as we talk about the importance of completing emotional cycles in the entertainment we consume - and yes, this is part of why cliffhangers are so deeply upsetting.
Basically, your body is trying to take care of you, and there’s a lot more we can do to help ourselves out. Learning to take care of one’s own body is difficult, and this interview talks about some of these concepts, but the book explores them in greater detail. If you read our review, and yes, I’ll link to it in the show notes, you know that reading this book changed a number of the ways I treat myself, talk to myself, and care for myself, to be more patient and gentle and understanding of what my body is trying to do. I can’t recommend this book more highly.
And I can’t recommend this interview more emphatically. Amelia and Emily are, in their own words, trying to encourage us to "change the world by caring for each other and not letting the world demand of us what we are unable to give."
Rank #3: 346: Fuchsia has Followed Us Everywhere: Deep Diving Into Romance Cover Art with Kelly Faircloth
She takes a deep dive in that article into the knowledge gap between what we think we know about romance cover art history, and what her research has revealed about what is presumed and what happened. Kelly also examines the individual women whose leadership and artistry shaped what romances looked like then, and now.
Special bonus: my top four almost-titles for this episode:
- Fuchsia, Teal, or Both
- Busting Open Historical Bodices
- Sarah and Kelly Hunt for Boners
- Fuchsia is indeed a Genre Descriptor
Rank #4: 302. The Value of Talking To Book People: Amanda Reports on BEA and BookCon 2018
We talk about what BEA and BookCon are, what the differences are between them, and what or, more specifically, who each one is for.
Amanda talked about some of her experiences at BEA and her experience at BookCon, the wonderful and the execrable.
We answer some fun questions, such as:
What’s the difference between BEA and BookCon?
What comics and books did Amanda learn about this year?
How much does Sarah dislike the Javits?
Will cats interrupt the podcast?
What bookish Brooklyn-based vendor did Amanda fall in love with?
And why is Sunday the best day of BookCon?
We also talk about a book Amanda loved so much, she’s pretty sure it’s her best book of 2018. Yes, it’s that good.
Rank #5: 257. Bitches Assemble: Our Favorite Recommendations and the Expectations of Tentacles
And because we’re, well, us, we talk about weird sex scenes we’ve read, wonderful and funny sex scenes we’ve loved, managing chronic pain and reading BDSM stories, and interesting female inventors in history. Plus, we discuss at length (heh) the expectations of tentacles, and what new books we’re going to end up recommending frequently.
Note: Elyse is a little fuzzy, and I think she might have been in a wind machine.
Rank #6: 273. Sex Toys, Self Love, and Erotic Romance: A Very Bawdy Podcast with Thien-Kim Lam
Rank #7: 243. Discovering Romance and Navigating Approval: An Interview with Faith Salie
And! I'm giving away four copies of Approval Junkie, Faith's book, now out in paperback. Head over to SmartBitchesTrashyBooks.com/podcast and enter to win a copy! Open until 27 April 2017.
Rank #8: 220. New Books and Deep Dives into History: An Interview With Loretta Chase
Rank #9: 213. The Books That Made You Romance Readers, and Super Honest Brave Sharing Time
Rank #10: 296. Acting, Narrating, and Writing: An Interview with Julia Whelan
This is a full score production: dogs barking! Car horns! The street sounds of midtown Manhattan! We cover her start as a child actor, and how she moved through acting to audiobook narration to writing screenplays and then a novel.
Among the topics we discuss:
What makes a good narration?
What are the differences between screenplays and novels?
How does being an audiobook narrator and actor influence her writing, and vice versa?
I also ask some vague non-spoiler questions about the characters in My Oxford Year, and we get a teeny sample of her performance of the audiobook and some of the key characters. We also discuss my very strange idea that Gone Girl and YA have some elements in common, and of course, I ask what she’s reading.
I really enjoyed this interview - I almost titled it English Major Nerds Talking. I hope you enjoy it, too.
Rank #11: 218. Ghost Stories and Romance (Readers): We Discuss All Books Creepy and Good
Rank #12: 250. Being A Writer, and Being Yourself: An Interview with Sara Flynn and Meg Tilly
Trigger warning: 48:25 - 48:35 min
Earlier books published under the name Meg Tilly deal with child sexual abuse, and she mentions the plot of one that may be upsetting. So skip ahead if that might upset you, k? I want you to feel safe.
Rank #13: 281. Alyssa Cole and Alisha Rai: Romance and the Resistance from Politics and Prose
Rank #14: 229. Romance, Dating, and Very Real Expectations: An Interview with Alisha Rai
Rank #15: 313. Tracking Changes: An Interview with Bowling Green Browne Pop Culture Library Archivist Steve Ammidown
We talk about what Steve’s job means, what he does, and what the Browne Popular Culture Library has within its collection. Board games, liquor decanters, promotional items, pogs, pins, cookbooks, marketing ephemera, books, and many, many other cool things live in the Pop Culture Library. We discuss some of the most interesting parts of the collection (Fanzines? Yup) and the parts he’s developing currently.
March 2019 is the 50th anniversary of the library, so they’re also looking at what more they can do in the future, including focusing on their romance collection, which is hella substantial. (That’s an official library term, btw.)
We also discuss the challenges of being an archivist in a digital age, and how the idea of a manuscript collection is changing with all the changes in the way in which we write. We also talk about the library’s RWA collection, their category romance collection, their manuscript and papers archive from about 45 different romance writers, and, obviously, their romance genre collection as well. Plus, Steve tells us about romances he’s reading, and his impressions of the genre as someone who discovered it as an adult.
In one of the library’s recent tweets, Steve quoted Elizabeth Designer, who said, “It is a feminist act to preserve stuff that women have done and written.” I entirely agree, and would love to visit this library someday. So let’s take a road trip, shall we?