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*.)
Rank #2: Episode 34: Manic Pixie Scottish Banana
At the top of the episode, Austin and Amanda briefly address the ongoing revelations of misconduct and abuse within queer publishing. We stand with authors. Austin and Amanda go digging for comedy gold in ancient Harlequin blurbs, then get serious and talk about how damn hard beginnings can be. Amanda talks about what she typically finds missing in beginnings as an acquisitions editor. The hosts take a moment to address the diversity in romance publishing statistics released by The Ripped Bodice and chat current reads and Disneyland pipe dreams. Finally, it's Amanda's turn to have too many emotions over a D&D podcast.
Rank #3: 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.
Rank #4: 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. [KJ Charles' website] KJ Charles on twitter: [@kj_charles] The Hopeless Romantic is on [Patreon]! ## Retweet to enter to win [Rag and Bone]!## RT for a chance to win an ebook copy of KJ Charles' newest, "Rag and Bone"! @kj_charles @theHRpodcast— Hopeless Romantic (@theHRpodcast) March 8, 2016 : http://kjcharleswriter.com/ : http://twitter.com/kj_charles : https://www.patreon.com/thehopelessromantic : https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/5753/rag-and-bone
Rank #5: Episode 12: There Goes My Anti-Hero
Villains, antagonists, and anti-heroes are the topic of the day. Austin and Amanda critically run through a roster of their favorite queer or queer-coded villains in media. Cartoonish homophobia and transphobia, coded Disney villains, the lack of female villains, how queer villains are seen as especially evil for their sexuality, redemption stories, how a main character can be the antagonist of their own story, and bisexual murder pits are all discussed. Amanda has a revelation about how straight people consume media while discussing Lex from *Smallville,* Austin recounts the suffering he endured while watching *Downton Abbey* for Thomas Barrow, and the two roll around in their general love of villainy.
Rank #6: 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.
Rank #7: Episode 29: Machines Fueled By Spite
**Content warning:** There's two pejorative terms/slurs for a promiscuous person (and a sex worker) mentioned in the episode. This episode tried its hardest to foil us: between meowing cats, barking dogs, ambient rain, and Amanda's recording mysteriously stopping at four minutes and forcing her to rely on a shoddy recording of the Skype call, it's a miracle we made it to the end. Our $10 Patron, Silas, prompted us to talk about media that has fed our creativity, and boy howdy did we have a lot to discuss. Somewhere along the way, we end up talking about why you shouldn't share a microphone, ever, various reactions to *Alien: Covenant*, and the pronunciation of "gaol."
Rank #8: Episode 22: Kill Your (Peter) Darlings
Co-host Austin Chant's novel *Peter Darling* was released in February, and Amanda and Austin break down the editing process over many months and three recording sessions. Hear them stress over deadlines, complain about talking whales and Hook's outfits, give props to the *Captive Prince* trilogy for various inspiration, discuss the versions of the book that weren't, and totally contradict themselves from session to session! The episode is an in-depth look at what it takes to bring a novel from first draft to publication. It does contain **spoilers** for the book.
Rank #9: 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 explicit, 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.
Rank #10: 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.
Rank #11: 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.)
Rank #12: 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.
Rank #13: Episode 10: Poly Yammery
Author Racheline Maltese joins THR for episode 9, "Poly Yammery," to discuss poly and ménage romance. Racheline discusses her upcoming poly book, which leads to deeper examination of writing poly: writing multiple dynamic characters, whether having a co-author helps, how different people do poly differently, and how Racheline feels about the perception that writing bi characters as poly is a negative trope. The group is bemused by the trend of M/F/M ménage stories where there can be absolutely no content construed as "gay." Racheline weighs in on whether being poly is inherently queer, and ultimately the group agrees that demanding receipts for someone's identity is icky. Finally, it turns out that in order to discuss tropes in a genre, there has to be enough content in said genre for there to be tropes in the first place. Get writing, folks.
Rank #14: Episode 16: Advice for New Authors (Part One)
For anyone new to the queer romance industry or thinking of joining it, this episode, the first of two, is basically a 101. Part one covers what authors need to know prior to submission--everything from defining the genre, HEA vs HFN, the role of editors and betas, author mills, and the community itself. Part two will cover everything authors need to know after submitting their work.
Rank #15: 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.