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Fated Mates - A Romance Novel Podcast
58 minutes | Jun 29, 2022
S04.41: Unputdownable Romance Novels
We don’t even know, y’all, so this week, we’re doing a little bit of flailing and a lot of talking about books we found unputdownable when we read them the first time. We did our very best to avoid repeats — which is difficult this many episodes in! We talk about what makes a book unputdownable (we’ve got buckets!) and about other things too…like our annual reader survey and how skilled a musician Sarah is. Fated Mates Live, in person is happening — if you have tickets to the live show in Alexandria, VA on July 30th — let us know on our Twitter thread (and find friends!). If you didn’t get a ticket, but want to join the wait list, you can do that at Old Town Books! The event is mask required, so plan accordingly! Thanks to Avon Books, publishers of Julie Anne Long’s You Were Made to Be Mine, and to Leighann Hart, author of Darling Descent, for sponsoring the episode. Next week, we’ve got a Trailblazer coming your way, but our next read along is Talia Hibbert’s Get a Life, Chloe Brown. Get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, or Kobo. Show Notes Abortion is lifesaving healthcare. We are devastated and urge you to support the National Network of Abortion Funds, which removes financial and logistical barriers to abortion access by centering people who have abortions and organizing at the intersections of racial, economic, and reproductive justice. They partner with organizations already in place on the ground in places where abortions are banned to do the work of helping people who need abortions. We’ve talked about bodily autonomy in romance novels before, and in our trailblazer conversation with Elda Minger, she spoke extensively about what birth control and abortion were like for people back in the 70s. We remain Big Mad. Also, we are here for you, always. Find Jen (mostly) at Twitter and Sarah (mostly) on Instagram. Sarah broke her ukulele, which is a pretty cool instrument. It's Lizzo leading the charge to donate proceeds from her tour to Planned Parenthood, joined by (of course) Rage Against the Machine. Although Harry Styles did make a statement about the Dobbs decision. Don’t forget to take our Season 4 listener survey! London Has Fallen is a deeply silly and very entertaining movie that absolutely does not even try to pass The Bechdel Test. Back when Jen read the first Scorpius Syndrome book, she did notice a funny thing about the main character’s sense of smell.
56 minutes | Jun 22, 2022
S04.40: Royalty Romance Interstitial #2
We were going to do a deep dive this week, but then we read the book and decided that was a hard pass! So, we do a very shallow dive and then get to the good stuff this week…talking about Royal romances! We talk about the strange fascination the world has with royalty, about the way fake countries hit the spot, and about why it’s so rare to see a gender-swapped Cinderella story. Sarah also offers a peek at her newest research project, preliminarily titled—Alexbastian: Is Name, In Fact Destiny? It’s better than a deep dive, we promise. Fated Mates Live, in person is happening — if you have tickets to the live show in Alexandria, VA on July 30th — let us know on our Twitter thread (and find friends!). If you didn’t get a ticket, but want to join the wait list, you can do that at Old Town Books! Thanks to Adriana Herrera, author of A Caribbean Heiress in Paris, for sponsoring the episode. Thanks, also, to Lumi Labs, creators of Microdose Gummies. Visit microdose.com and use code FATEDMATES to get free shipping & 30% off your first order. Show Notes Turns out we are not reading The Dragon and the Jewel…because yikes. Eleanor Plantangenet and Simon de Montfort were real people, but this 1991 romance is too problematic for a full discussion. Yes, we talked about royalty in romance with Nana Malone back in season 1, but there’s always fresh content! The Oprah interview with Prince Harry & Meghan Markle is worth a watch, if you can stand all the commercials. The launch event for American Royalty will be in Richmond on June 28, 2022. Go check it out— Tracey will be joined by Kate Clayborn. There is a real His Royal Highness Prince Sebastian in Luxembourg, if you’re into that kind of thing. Order an avatar button from The Romancelandia Shop! This is a great way to announce your presence at in-person events and help people find you. It really works!
84 minutes | Jun 15, 2022
S04.39: Superhero Romance with Barry Lyga
This week, we’re talking Superheroes! Why is it so rare to see a great romance in a superhero story? Is there really no room for love and capes? Do heroes eat? (spoiler: obviously) — We’re joined by author Barry Lyga, a comics and superhero expert, to discuss all this and more…and to chat about the new YA Superhero anthology, Generation Wonder, in which Sarah has a short story (it’s a romance). We also recommend some great superhero romances and comics, because of course we do. Do yourself a favor — be sure to check out show notes this week. The visuals are a delight. Fated Mates Live, in person, is happening!!! We’ll be in Alexandria, VA on July 30th — join us there! We’ll be joined by a ton of our favorites…find more information about the event and get tickets through Old Town Books! Thanks to Penguin Random House, publisher of Andie J. Christopher’s Thank You, Next, for sponsoring the episode. Thanks, also, to Lumi Labs, creators of Microdose Gummies. Visit microdose.com and use code FATEDMATES to get free shipping & 30% off your first order. Our next read along is Virginia Henley’s The Dragon and the Jewel, a deep cut from Sarah’s childhood. Check your content warnings and remember this one is from 1991, so we don’t even know, honestly. We’re flying without a net here. Get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo or your local indie. Show Notes Thanks to Old Town Books, we are going to have a real Fated Mates Live event at Apollycon at the end of July. It will be Saturday evening July 30th in Alexandria. Stay tuned for details. Welcome Barry Lyga, comics author and editor of the YA superhero anthology Generation Wonder. Sarah has a story in the anthology, and we’ll hope you’ll buy one for the young reader in your life. There was no kissing in Doctor Strange, but we’ve been promised there will be in Thor: Love and Thunder. In fact, Taika Waititi said Mills & Boon, so...that's official. Back in the day, romance comics were just as popular as superhero comics. Check out the site Sequential Crush to see the history of romance comics. If after this episode you think you might want to check out more comics, Suzanne’s site Love in Panels is the best place to start. Comics writer Mark Waid wrote about manhood and comics in an essay that is no longer available online, but Mark is also the author of Irredeemable, a comic about Superman turning villainous. Another essay about how modern superhero movies are romance and sex-free is called Everyone is Beautiful and No One is Horny. If you have little kids, check out the Mia Mayhem series of graphic novels. Jen was on Heaving Bosoms to discuss Cinnamon Blade. The TV Show about the superheroes going to work is called The Boys. Exactly one year ago (well, one year ago yesterday), Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker, co-creators of the DC Entertainment-HBO Max adult animated series “Harley Quinn,” told Variety that DC Comics removed a scene from the show of Batman "dining feline" (h/t bleedingcool for this delightful euphemism), saying "Heroes don't do that." As is right and just, the internet disagreed and #HeroesWhoEat and #BatmanGoesDown were born. It was a great day. For what it's worth, it wasn't just the internet that disagreed. Zach Snyder confirmed that Batman in fact does eat, with one of the greatest tweets of all time. At least, we think so. DC apparently did not care for it. While we like Snyder's version very much, here are some other NSFW images we like almost as much (eye headphones in): From artist @Mrs_Van_Damn; commentary from @realAgdtwinkie; from artist (with excellent commentary) @ArtKhobra; and this one, from artist @rpace, with special love for the pegging crew.
77 minutes | Jun 8, 2022
S04.38: These Books Bang: The Sexiest Romance Novels
This week’s episode is thanks to Julie Block, the Fated Mates listener who won an episode of the podcast in the Romance for Reproductive Justice auction sponsored by The Meet Cute Romance Bookshop and Fizzery in La Mesa, CA. Julie made a generous donation to the Collective Power Fund at the National Network of Abortion Funds, and in doing so, got to pick the episode topic — Books that Bang! Headphones in, y’all. We have sixty-nine (that’s right, 69, by pure unplanned luck!) recommendations for you this week — everything from bonkers to bloody to blazing hot…naughty bits that we believe deliver the whole banana (and sometimes no banana at all, if you know what we mean). Pencils ready…your time starts…now. Thanks to Melissa McTernan, author of Married to the Fae Queen, the second book in the Fairy Realm series, for sponsoring the episode. Thanks, also, to Lumi Labs, creators of Microdose Gummies. Visit microdose.com and use code FATEDMATES to get free shipping & 30% off your first order. Our next read along is Virginia Henley’s The Dragon and the Jewel, a deep cut from Sarah’s childhood. Check your content warnings and remember this one is from 1991, so we don’t even know, honestly. We’re flying without a net here. Get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo or your local indie. Show Notes Thanks to Julie Block for suggesting this episode and donating to abortion funds for the Romancing for Reproductive Justice Auction, sponsored by The Meet Cute Romance Bookshop & Fizzery, opening fall of 2022 in La Mesa, CA. It is not too late to donate to the Collective Power Fund at the National Network of Abortion Funds. While we name checked some Fated Mates classic recommendations like Tessa Bailey, Jessa Kane, and London Hale, somehow we recorded this episode without once mentioning the name of Charlotte Stein. So raise a glass to her and all the other authors writing super hot books that we forgot to mention. Probably you want to see Jen Porter's illustrations of the drilldo. (PS. Protip: you might put "drilldo" in the search field of twitter thinking that Jen's tweets will come up, and that would be a mistake unless you want to see it real and in action. Ask me how I know.)
112 minutes | Jun 1, 2022
S04.37: Groveling in Romance Novels
If there isn’t a grovel, is it even a romance? This week, we’re getting to the bottom of one of our favorite moments in a romance novel — the grovel. Love it or hate it, some of the best loved books of the genre go all in on hero (because let’s face it, it’s almost always the hero) on his knees…and we are here. for. it. We talk about the hows and whys of the grovel, about the reasons we love it, about the difference between a grovel and a grand gesture, and about the books that installed this particular button for us. This episode is sponsored by Janna MacGregor, author of Rules for Engaging the Earl, and Adriana Herrera, author of A Caribbean Heiress in Paris. Our next read along is Virginia Henley’s The Dragon and the Jewel, a deep cut from Sarah’s childhood. Check your content warnings and remember this one is from 1991, so we don’t even know, honestly. We’re flying without a net here. Get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo or your local indie. Show Notes We love a good grovel here at Fated Mates, and back in 2018, Jen wrote an essay on groveling for #RomBkLove Merriam Webster is the world’s greatest dictionary. We don’t come from chimpanzees, but we do have a common ancestor. If you think a character hasn’t suffered enough, you can leave them in cold storage. You have the power! Jen did the entire breakdown on Kiss an Angel with Erin & Clayton from Learning the Tropes We did a deep dive on Milla Vane's A Heart of Blood and Ashes because we love it so much. We also did episodes on Lothaire, Sweet Ruin and The Master. The first five seconds of the Sweet Ruin epsiode are a straight shot of Sarah's joy, if you are looking for that sort of thing. More about the problem of captive (and presumably lacking telepathic prowess) Tigers in America. Molly Bloom totally would love a good romance novel, btw. The American President is a pretty great movie, but it also came out back in 1995 when we some of us were still capable of positive feelings about politicians. Our next read along is The Dragon and the Jewel by Virginia Henley. Books Mentioned This Episode The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord
77 minutes | May 25, 2022
S04.36: Jude Deveraux: A Trailblazer Episode
Our Trailblazer episodes continue this week with Jude Deveraux, an early historical romance author who broke several publishing barriers over her more than forty year career. In this episode, we talk about her journey through the Wild West of romance in the late 1970s, her publishing career at Avon Books, Pocket Books and Ballantine. We talk about the judgement and misogyny that circles romance, the buying power of readers, and the way the genre and bookselling has changed. We also talk about her writing process, and what it’s like to be Jude Deveraux. This one is a real joy for us, as we wouldn’t be the readers or writers we are without Jude Deveraux. This episode is sponsored by Avon Books, publisher of Joanna Shupe’s The Bride Goes Rogue, and Amazon’s Kindle Vella, publisher of Eloisa James’s The Seduction Series. Our next read along is Virginia Henley’s The Dragon and the Jewel, a deep cut from Sarah’s childhood. Check your content warnings and remember this one is from 1991, so we don’t even know, honestly. We’re flying without a net here. Get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo or your local indie. Show Notes Like many of our trailblazers, Jude Deveraux’s first brush with romance was Kathleen E Woodiwiss’s The Flame & the Flower. The publisher with “the prettiest covers” in the 1970s she references was Woodiwiss’s publisher, Avon Books. Books of Jude Deveraux’s that we talk about in depth include: The Enchanted Land (her debut novel), A Knight in Shining Armor (early time-travel romance), Sweet Liar, The Providence Falls series with Tara Sheets, The Girl from Summer Hill, Twin of Ice (the twins!!), and “The Matchmakers” a short story in The Invitation collection (featuring Cale & the angel sex scene). The Four Js were Jude Deveraux, Julie Garwood, Johanna Lindsey and Judith McNaught. People mentioned in the episode: Kate Duffy, editor at Silhouette Books and Pocket Books; Joan Schulhafer, publicist at Pocket Books; Richard Gallen, publisher & packager; Ronald Busch, publisher of Pocket Books; Robert Gottlieb, agent; Linda Marrow, editor at Ballantine/Doubleday/Dell; Kathryn Falk, publisher of Romantic Times Magazine; Kathe Robin, reviewer at Romantic Times Magazine.
82 minutes | May 18, 2022
S04.35: Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin: Some Real Hero Sh*t
This week, we’re talking about one of our favorite historical romances, Jeannie Lin’s Butterfly Swords. This is one we’ve mentioned on previous episodes, and discussed at length during Jeannie’s Trailblazer episode, as it is the first own voices Asian-set historical romance. Aside from setting the standard for adventure romance, it’s also a near-perfect road trip romance with one of the hottest slow burns you’ll ever read. We talk about all of it, including the absolutely devastating first kiss—one that should go down in romance history. TL;DR: We love this book hard. Thanks to Charlotte Howard, author of Secret Verses, and Mila Finelli, author of Mafia Mistress, for sponsoring the episode. Stay tuned after the episode to hear the first chapter of Mafia Mistress in audio! Our next read along is Virginia Henley’s The Dragon and the Jewel, a deep cut from Sarah’s childhood. Check your content warnings and remember this one is from 1991, so we don’t even know, honestly. We’re flying without a net here. Get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo or your local indie. Show Notes This week, we’re reading the debut novel Butterfly Swords by romance trailblazer Jeannie Lin. This is the first book in her Tang Dynasty series. It’s not too late to see Sarah with Christina and Lauren in Connecticut on May 18th, 2022, or Jen with Christina, Lauren, and Sonali Dev in Naperville on May 19th, 2022. We’re looking for an artist to draw us a magnificent firebird. Maybe it’s you? So, it’s classic Jen to get titles wrong. Farewell, my Concubine is a movie, and the third book in the Tang Dynasty series is called My Fair Concubine. But, that’s not Li Tao’s book, either–it’s The Dragon and the Pearl. We talked about Road Trip romance back in season 1. Time for an interlude from The Princess Bride. Our next read along is The Dragon and the Jewel by Virginia Henley, first published in 1991.
67 minutes | May 11, 2022
S04.34: Celebrity Romance Novels Interstitial
We’re tackling one of Sarah’s favorite tropes this week — the celebrity romance! We talk about all the ways that her buttons were installed (thanks Judith McNaught) and about how rare movie stars are in romance even now, all these years later. We discuss The Chrises, the appeal of celebrity/normal person pairings, the difference between film/tv romance and rockstar/sports star romance, and about why Americans especially love a celebrity. Oh, and we get into our own existential despair. Visit fatedmates.net/fatedstates for past episodes of us being Big Mad if you want some inspiration. Thanks to Avon Books, publishers of Eloisa James’s How to Be a Wallflower for sponsoring the episode. Thanks, also, to Lumi Labs, creators of Microdose Gummies. Visit microdose.com and use code FATEDMATES to get free shipping & 30% off your first order. Our next read along is Jeannie Lin’s Butterfly Swords. Get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, or Kobo. Show Notes A leaked memo from The Supreme Court makes clear the fate of Roe V. Wade, and the other civil rightsthey’re looking to eliminate next. We’ll be reactivating Fated States soon, and you can listen to some of our previous episodes (RBG, bodily autonomy, elda minger) related to these topics. It’s terrifying and feels like its all unraveling, so just fight where you can, remember we’ve been here before, and you should organize in your local community to help others. Check out the Auction for Reproductive Rights being organized by The Meet Cute Book Shop, and donate to an abortion fund near you. Good Chrises only, please: Hemsworth, Pine, Pang, and Evans. As we say, name is destiny. We feel bad about it, but both of us thought about the book Perfect after hearing about the shooting on the movie set Rust. Here is a timeline of how Alec Baldwin ended up with a live weapon. Perfect takes place is some part of Texas where it snows, and Judith McNaught partnered with Coors to raise awareness of and adult literacy. We love it when Normal people and movie stars get together. Harry Styles will be on tour later this year, everyone. I’m not sure why photographers love “the wet suit photoshoot”, but it’s definitely a thing. If you think you've bought a book before on Amazon, but it's showing you the buy button. Go to Your Content and Devices and search for the book. You can also search your digital orders. Charlevoix MI is a cute tourist town on the shores of Lake Michigan, which is very big by the way. Unsure about whether or not merpeople live there, but there are lots of shipwrecks. The final girl is a horror trope. Our next read along is Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin.
65 minutes | May 4, 2022
S04.33: Something About You by Julie James: Jack’s A Good Name For A Hero
This week, we’re talking about a beloved contemporary romance, the first in Julie James’s FBI/US Attorney series — Something About You. This one is a fascinating look at a series connected by not the romance standard of friends or families, but by work. Set in Chicago, it contains all the mystery of a romantic suspense without ever straying from the contemporary romance path. The characters are sharp, the writing is clever, the structure is fascinating, and it will likely make you read the rest of the series almost immediately. Thanks to Avon Books, publisher of Lynsay Sands’s Immortal Rising, and Kelly Cain, author of An Acquired Taste, for sponsoring the episode. Show Notes Julie James is the author of 9 books in the FBI/US Attorney series. They are stand alone novels in the world of the Chicago criminal justice system. The Hyatt Lodge in Oak Brook has a lap pool with lane lines in case you’re into that sort of thing. The U.S. Attorneys are federal prosecutors and there are 94 districts. Saying out each letter separately “A-U-S-A” is in fact the right way to shorten this title. Jen confirmed it with Erin. The Peninsula is a fancy hotel in Chicago. Jen is unsure of whether or not it has a lap pool. After refinishing hardwood floors, you really do need to wait a while before walking on them! Vocation vs Career vs a bunch of other things. “Taste her blood in her throat” as someone (ahem, Nora Roberts) might say. You definitely want to see that scene Jen referenced from The Old Guard with Nicky & Joe. Unfortunately, Channing Tatum’s stirring defense of romance in The Lost City is not yet available on YouTube. Watch thisas a placeholder. Or this. You’re welcome. Christina Lauren is going on a book tour! You can see them with Sarah in Connecticut on May 18th, or in the Chicago suburbs with Jen on May 19th. Join us! Spiaggia has closed, but it was very fancy in its heyday. It’s not weird pizza, okay.
87 minutes | Apr 27, 2022
S04:32: EE Ottoman: A Trailblazer Episode
Trailblazer episodes continue this week with EE Ottoman, the first out trans author of romance novels. EE joins us to talk about his journey into romance, about the evolution of trans romance novels, and about the importance of representation in romance. This is a fascinating conversation, and we’re so grateful to EE for joining us to tell his story, and the story of trans romance to date. An important note: While books by LGBTQ+ authors have been targeted by book bans across the country for decades, the recent bans on books and language around queerness in schools and public spaces make this issue even more pressing. This episode was recorded in the fall of 2021, which is why this specific issue is not a part of our discussion. Thanks to Kelly Cain, author of An Acquired Taste, and Ava Wixx, author of Virtual Reality Bites, for sponsoring the episode. Our next read along is Julie James’s Something About You. Get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, or at your local bookstore. Show Notes Welcome EE Ottoman, a romance trailblazer for being the first trans writer to write romance with trans characters. You can watch the RWA video of romance firsts here. People and publishers mentioned: Less Than 3 Press; We discussed the shifting landscape of LGBTQ bookstores during our trailblazer interview with Radclyffe and Oprah daily has an extensive list of LGBTQ bookstores searchable by state. The zine bookstore in Chicago is called Quimby’s. EE Ottoman mentioned authors KJ Charles and May Peterson as being especially supportive on his journey through romance, and notes that Carina Press has been several trans romance titles. Books with queer characters continue to be the target of book banning across the country, and books with trans characters are the most likely to be targeted.
63 minutes | Apr 20, 2022
S04.31: Vampire Romance Interstitial
At the request of Instagram, we’re talking Vampires today! We’re doing some deep cuts, returning to Kresley Cole for a minute or two, and then digging into worldbuilding, morality chain, why these books lend themselves to massive series, and ultimately…why we love these big toothy jerks. If you’re a paranormal reader, get your pencils ready — especially if you’re new to it, because we’re taking everyone way back to the beginnings of the subgenre! Thanks to Kelly Cain, author of An Acquired Taste, and Alyxandra Harvey, author of How to Marry an Earl, for sponsoring the episode. Our next read along is Julie James’s Something About You. Get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, or at your local bookstore. Show Notes We’ve talked about vampires on past episodes: Kresley’s IAD vampires (Conrad is our favorite); Dark Lover by JR Ward; and last fall, we had Jenny Nordbak on for a monster interstitial. If you’re in Brooklyn and looking for a bookstore that carries lots of PNR, try The Bookmark Shoppe. In film, after 9/11, the rise of the anti/superhero to reconcile America's participation in a war. After the economic downturn, it was the rise of zombies to justify the way America was leaving poor people behind. And in this TikTok by Virgolikebeyonce, she suggests we're about to see media that reconciles our obsession with work/capitalism. We at FM have been noting a rise of the regular, blue-collar hero, which would track with this. A hegemony explainer. Tessa Bailey hit #1 on both the USAToday and New York Times bestseller lists with Hook, Line, and Sinker. The Sherilyn Kenyon situation is truly weird. Even eBooks can go out of print, for example, The Faustian Brothers series by Evie Byrne. Our next read along is Something About You by Julie James.
75 minutes | Apr 13, 2022
S04.30: Her Night With the Duke by Diana Quincy
This week, we’re talking about one of Sarah’s favorite recent historicals, Diana Quincy’s beautiful Her Night With the Duke, which was on our 2020 Best Romance of the Year list. This one fires on many cylinders, and the conversation it inspired covers a lot of ground. We talk about how you won’t get a better Bridgerton read-alike than this one, about the third-act breakup, why it works and the work it does in a romance, about why widows are allowed to be sexy, about responsibility and aristocracy, about hot golf, and about how modern historicals are really doing the business. Thanks to Avon Books, publisher of Eva Leigh’s The Good Girl’s Guide to Rakes, and Kelly Cain, author of An Acquired Taste, for sponsoring the episode. Our next read along is Julie James’s Something About You. Get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, or at your local bookstore. Show Notes Diana Quincy has written many romance novels, and she also published Regency era mysteries under the name D.M. Quincy. You can find information about her books on her website, on twitter, or on Instagram. Her Night with the Duke was one of our best of 2020 romances. Leela taking her knife to her evil brother-in-law's face was just as satisfying as this great scene with Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride. Here's a brief overview of the history of the Arab community in Manchester, England. Craft in the Real World by Matthew Salesses dives into storytelling around the world, makes the case that conflict-driven plots are not universal and advocates for making diverse storytelling traditions welcome in literary spaces. This essay from LitHub is a good primer to his argument.
101 minutes | Apr 6, 2022
S04.29: Nora Roberts: a Trailblazer Episode
The Trailblazer episodes continue this week with the Queen herself! Nora Roberts joins us today to talk about her longstanding career in romance—from her extremely relatable roots as a mom going mad in a snowstorm, to her deep rooted work ethic, to the plagiarism that rocked the publishing world. We talk about her place in the romance pantheon, about the reasons she thinks her books are so beloved, and about that one time her publisher called to tell her she was writing too much. It was an absolute pleasure to have Nora Roberts personally explain things to us; we’re beyond grateful to her for making time for Fated Mates. Thanks to Piper Rayne, authors of Sneaking Around With #34, and Kenya Goree-Bell, author of California Love, for sponsoring the episode. Our next read along is Diana Quincy’s Her Night With the Duke, which was on our Best of 2020 year-end list! Get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, or at your local bookstore. You can also get it in audio from our partner, Chirp Books! Show Notes We are thrilled to have Nora Roberts on the podcast today. Take a moment to read this 2009 New Yorker profile about Nora and her career. This 1982 article from the Washington Post, Sharpsburg Writer Turning Romance into Profits, is one of the earliest mentions of her career in the mainstream media. Nora’s bookstore Turn the Page is located in Boonsboro, Maryland. She hosts a community of readers at her website Fall into the Story, which includes a definitive list of things Eve and Roarke will never do. Nora Roberts is a staunch defender of writers who have been victims of plagiarism, starting in 1997 when Janet Dailey stole from several of her books. In December 1997, Romantic Times wrote about the plagiarism scandal, and the previous month there were several letters to the editor from romance readers. More recently, Nora sued a Brazilian writer who plagiarized the work of more than 40 romance novelists authors. Nora Roberts took some time to explain the process to Debra. Listen to our deep dive episode of Nora Roberts's Born in Ice. Authors mentioned: Violet Winspear, Anne Mather, Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, Janet Dailey, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Rosemary Rodgers, Ruth Langan, Dixie Browning, Patricia Gaffney, Mary Kay McComas, Elaine Fox, Mary Blayney. Other people on Nora's team: Silhouette editor Nancy Jackson, agent Amy Berkower, editor Isabel Swift, editor Leslie Gelbman, and publicist Laura Reeth.
89 minutes | Mar 30, 2022
S04.28: Boss/Assistant Romance Interstitial
We’re on a roll delivering interstitials about all our very favorite wild tropes, and this week we’re tackling boss/assistant romances! We’ll unpack the problematic bits, discuss the book that installed these deeply troubling buttons in us both, and fill your TBR pile to overflowing. Get your wallets and library cards ready! Thanks to Avon Books, publisher of Nisha Sharma’s Dating Dr. Dil, and Piper Rayne, authors of Lessons From a One Night Stand for sponsoring the episode. Next week, we’ve got a trailblazer episode! Our next read along is Diana Quincy’s Her Night With the Duke, which was on our Best of 2020 year-end list! Get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, or at your local bookstore. You can also get it in audio from our partner, Chirp Books! Show Notes The Scholastic Inc. succession drama is honestly deserving of it's own Netflix series. Learn more about it from The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and Vanity Fair. Publishing loves drama but this is honestly almost too much. If you're not receiving the Bookbub daily romance deal emails, you should be. Follow Sarah while you're there! Killing the dog is a very bold writing choice. Harlequin Blaze was a high heat category romance line from Harlequin that published monthly romances from 2001 to 2017. It was replaced with Harlequin Dare, a high-heat digital line. Mystic Pizza remains a pure problematic fave here at Fated Mates, but we will always stan pouring fish bait in your rich boyfriend's Porsche. He should have told you he had a sister, Kat.
66 minutes | Mar 23, 2022
S04:27: Nine Questions about Nine Rules
It’s a Very Special Episode™️ of Fated Mates today, celebrating the rerelease of Sarah’s first book, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake! We talk about the book that started Sarah’s romance career, about why it still resonates, about new covers during a pandemic, and yes…we get to the bottom of the age old question: Will Benedick Ever Get a Book? You can buy the new Nine Rules at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop, and get signed copies at WORD. This episode is sponsored by Adriana Herrera, author of The Duke Makes Me Feel and The Romancelandia Shop. Our read along next week is Diana Quincy’s Her Night With the Duke, which was on our Best of 2020 year-end list! Get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, or at your local bookstore. You can also get it in audio from Chirp Books! Show Notes This tweet about Car Talk made Jen laugh. It really was the greatest NPR show of all time, and since they are no dummies, they have in fact made it into a podcast. Buy the books with stepbacks now, because we aren’t sure how long they are going to last. Lots of folks participate in #StepbackSaturday on Twitter and Instagram to share their favorites. Sarah's agent at the time was Alyssa Eisner-Henkin, who is still a great YA and children's agent! Sarah's editor is still Carrie Feron, who has edited romance for her entire career. Authors she has edited include Lisa Kleypas, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Sally Thorne, Jude Deveraux, Elizabeth Lowell and Eloisa James. The name of the documentary about romance is called Love Beneath the Covers (2016), which is a fascinating look at the romance genre. Where's My Hero is a romance anthology that featured some of the good guys, and it's available in eBook and print.
90 minutes | Mar 16, 2022
S04.26: Jeannie Lin: A Trailblazer Episode
Our Trailblazer episodes continue this week with Jeannie Lin, one of the first authors to write historical romance featuring Asian characters set in Asia. Her debut romance, Butterfly Swords, is set in Tang Dynasty China. In this episode, we talk about the craft of romance, about preparing for and resisting rejection while finding her own path to publication, about how she honed her storytelling, and about the way cultural archetypes find their way to the page. We also talk about the lightning fast changes in romance over the last twelve years. Thank you to Jeannie Lin for making time for Fated Mates. This episode is sponsored by The Steam Box (use code FATEDMATES for 10% off) and Chirp Audiobooks. Next week, we’re talking Sarah’s Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, which will release March 22 in a new trade paperback format. After that, our next read along is Diana Quincy’s Her Night With the Duke, which was on our Best of 2020 year-end list! Get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, or at your local bookstore. You can also get it in audio from our partner, Chirp Books! Show Notes This week, we welcome romance author Jeannie Lin, whose newest book in the Lotus Palace Mysteries series, Red Blossom in Snow, comes out next week on March 21, 2022. Hear us talk about Jeannie Lin's books on our 2020 Best of the Year episode, our Road Trip Interstitial, and our So You Want to Read a Historical episode. The Tang Dynasty lasted from 618-907, and Empress Wu reigned from 624-705. RWA's Golden Heart Award was phased out in 2019. Twitter was launched in 2006 and Goodreads in 2007. Goodreads was acquired by Amazon in 2013. Borders Books closed in 2011. People mentioned: author Jade Lee, who also writes as Kathy Lyons; author Barbara Ankrum; author Shawntell Madison; author Amanda Berry; author Bria Quinlan; author Eden Bradley of Romance Divas forum; author Kate Pearce; actor Tony Leung; Piatkus editor Anna Boatman; agent Gail Fortune.
54 minutes | Mar 9, 2022
S04.25: The "Waking Up Married" Romance Interstitial
We’re still doomscrolling, so we’re still releasing goofy, bantr-y episodes about tropes we cannot quit! This week, we’re talking about a very specific one that we adore — Waking up Married! We talk about Vegas, about why you shouldn’t drink and espouse, about The Hangover, and about how…when a trope ain’t broke, you definitely shouldn’t fix it. This episode is sponsored by Christi Caldwell, author of For Love of the Duke, and BetterHelp Online Therapy. Next week, we’ve got a trailblazer episode! Our next read along is Diana Quincy’s Her Night With the Duke, which was on our Best of 2020 year-end list! Get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, or at your local bookstore. You can also get it in audio from our partner, Chirp Books! Show Notes You might be wondering how Las Vegas became the wedding capital of America. Jen and Sarah have some strong feelings about phones! The rotary phone was a real trip. Back in 1996, when Jen was in Houston doing TFA, they added 281 to the Houston area codes (yes, she said zip code on the pod, but you know what she meant!), but by now we’re over having area code pride. Meanwhile, we still want to know why international dialing is so expensive. I’m sorry to report that we don’t ever think we’ll have a Fated Mates Discord, and whatever Quordle is, that’s not the way Jen’s brain works. Help us make a Fated Mates glossary by filling out this form. You should all listen to On Being with Krista Tippet, which is a podcast dedicated to answering questions about what it means to be human. It’s not wonder kid, it’s wunderkind. Just ask Nate. Not that kind of Prince Albert. The Hangover is a very funny movie.
86 minutes | Mar 2, 2022
S04.24: The London Hale Oeuvre
Welp, we’re back in a doom scrolling spiral this week, so why not take a visit to a small town full of hot single dads and firemen? We’re reading London Hale this week, and talking about the appeal of the quick and dirty romance! We’ll also talk about the value of a genuinely hot read and where all the stops are on the romance-to-erotica spectrum. We’re also talking about kinks and why daddies are installed in so many of us. Basically, we’re telling y’all to read these London Hale books so they’ll write more of them for us. Thanks for listening! This episode is sponsored by Kennedy Ryan, author of Reel, and BetterHelp Online Therapy. Our next read along is Diana Quincy’s Her Night With the Duke, which was on our Best of 2020 year-end list! Get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, or at your local bookstore. You can also get it in audio from our partner, Chirp Books! Show Notes Authors Ellis Leigh and Brighton Walsh are the two authors who write as London Hale. Sarah talked about their books back on the Quick and Dirty interstitial in Season 2. You should read Circe. And Jack Reacher. If you've run out of Jessa Kane books, try Chloe Maine. There is not a Harlequin Presents called The Pregnant Billionaire’s Italian Mistress, but you can find The Italian’s Pregnant Mistress, The Italian Billionaire's Pregnant Bride, The Italian’s Pregnant Cinderella, The Italian’s Pregnant Virgin, The Italian’s Pregnancy Proposal, and The Italian’s Pregnant Prisoner. Robert Redford was a snack. So was Richard Gere both in Pretty Woman and in “the one where he’s an Air Force pilot.” (An Officer and a Gentleman, and it was the Navy. Fine.) We also admire the silver fox good looks of Benecio del Toro, Idris Elba, and George Clooney. Andie J. Christopher coined the phrase “stern brunch daddy” and we’re all better off for it. Unfortunately, she’s the kind of person who deletes old tweets so you can't see that picture of Oscar Isaac with an eating utensil that inspired it, but luckily they talked about it on Reddit and Andie talked about it on the Wicked Wallflowers Podcast. We’re constantly trying to explain the difference between Romance vs erotic romance vs erotica. The Great Stepbrother Explosion was mostly 2015-2016, but I’m willing to talk some more about it or cite sources if you have them. The 2020 Netflix movie 365 Days was originally released in Poland under the name 365 dni and was based on a book by Blanka Lipinska. Apparently, there will be a sequel. It doesn’t have a release date, but we’ll keep you updated, baby girl. Jo Brenner and her friends have a gray scale for dark romance, and I hope she’ll explain it all on twitter so I can link to it. Does calling a stranger for phone sex still exist–I bet you’re shocked to find out that there was an uptick in demand during the pandemic. In editing, TK means “to come” as in I’ll fill it in later. In Fumbled by Alexa Martin, it stands for Trevor Kyle. Eucalyptus is native to Australia and was introduced to England in 1774. You should follow the Male scent catalog on twitter, and if you want to read more about it, check out the book Nose Dive: A Field Guide to the World’s Smells.
61 minutes | Feb 23, 2022
S04.23: Fake Dating Romance Interstitial
You can’t throw a stone in romance in 2022 without hitting a fake dating story, so we figure it’s time to do an interstitial on it! We’re talking about when it works, why it works, how it works, and by whom it works, so get your library cards ready because this one will topple your TBR! While this one is, as always, for the readers, there’s lots of goal/motivation/conflict here for the writers, too. Thanks for listening! This episode is sponsored by Isla Moore, author of The Jennifer Files, and BetterHelp Online Therapy. Our next read along will feature some of Sarah’s favorite quick & dirty books by London Hale, the pen name of authors Ellis Leigh and Brighton Walsh. Their Temperance Falls series is full of kinks and tropes and HEAs and while we won’t be talking about all ten books, we’ll definitely be talking about a few of them, including Nanny With Benefits, Reunion, Daddy’s Best Friend and Sarah’s favorite, Talk Dirty to Me. The whole series is free in KU. Show Notes Hey, dating during the pandemic was, and still is, hard! Sarah suggest that there are 3 questions an author must address for each character in order to make the fake dating plot work: Why is this happening/why a fake relationship the only option? Why this person and not some other person? What happens if it all goes south? In other words, what is the the stake, the thing the reader has to care about? In other words: goal, motivation, conflict. One of our very earliest interstitials was on Escort romances, and another was on fake engagement/marriage of convenience, tropes that has a lot in common with fake dating. #RomanceClass is the name for a group of authors from the Phillipines writing in English. You can learn more about the romance class authors and their story, which is strongly influenced by the fact that divorce is illegal in the Phillipines. Fuck Me Gently with a Chainsaw is something from a very dark 80s teen movie called Heathers. There is a Canadian equivalent to the Navy SEALs, it's called Joint Task Force 2. The Mounties (which stands for Royal Canadian Mounted Police) definitely do not have that same vibe, but here is a nice video of a gentleman talking about his the training of the RCMP dogs. Fake Dating Romance Novels Hell Breaks Loose by Sophie Jordan Hold by Claire Kent Gigolo All the Way by JN Welsh Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveras Totally Engaged by Mina Esguerra Like Lovers do by Tracey Livesay Luck of the Draw by Kate Clayborn A Caribbean Heiress in Paris Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur Worked Up by Tessa Bailey The Penalty Box by Odette Stone Beauty and the Baller by Ilsa Madden-Mills Fake Fiancee by Ilsa Madden Mills Sponsors This week’s episode of Fated Mates is sponsored by: Better Help online therapy. Fated Mates listeners get 10% off their first month at betterhelp.com/fatedmates. and Isla Moore, author of The Jennifer Files, available free in KU.Visit Isla at islamoore.com, or follow her on Instagram at @islamoorebooks or Twitter at @islabooks.
80 minutes | Feb 16, 2022
S04.22: Sarah J. Maas on Sailor Moon, Writing Sex and Second Books
Oh boy have we got an episode for you! We’re thrilled to have Sarah J. Maas with us to celebrate the release of the second in her Crescent City series, House of Sky and Breath — in this episode, we talk about second books in series, why second books are often so unique and different from the other books in the series, and about how fandom informs Sarah’s work. And of course, because it’s Sarah, we talk about fantasy, about worldbuilding, about moving between YA and adult fantasy, and about writing romance (and sex) on the page. All this, and we talk about some favorite second books, too! This episode is sponsored by Sara Wetmore, author of Brush Strokes, and Mila Fanelli, author of Mafia Mistress.
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