Fated Mates - A Romance Novel Podcast

By Sarah MacLean & Jen Prokop

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 Mar 19, 2021

Description

Fated Mates is a romance novel podcast co-hosted by author Sarah MacLean and critic Jen Prokop. Weekly episodes include romance novel read-alongs and discussions of the work of the genre, highlighting the romance novel as a powerful tool in fighting patriarchy…with absolutely no kink shaming.


Episode Date
S04.41: Unputdownable Romance Novels
00:57:44

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.

Jun 29, 2022
Transcript for Episode S04.14: Elda Minger: A Trailblazer Episode
A full transcript is now available for season 4 , episode 14. Enjoy!
Jun 28, 2022
S04.40: Royalty Romance Interstitial #2
00:56:16

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!

Jun 22, 2022
Transcript for Episode S04.29: Nora Roberts: a Trailblazer Episode
A full transcript is now available for season 4 , episode 29. Enjoy!
Jun 20, 2022
S04.39: Superhero Romance with Barry Lyga
01:23:56

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.

Jun 15, 2022
S04.38: These Books Bang: The Sexiest Romance Novels
01:17:12

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.)

Jun 08, 2022
S04.37: Groveling in Romance Novels
01:52:12


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

Jun 01, 2022
S04.36: Jude Deveraux: A Trailblazer Episode
01:17:05

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.

May 25, 2022
S04.35: Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin: Some Real Hero Sh*t
01:21:32

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.

May 18, 2022
S04.34: Celebrity Romance Novels Interstitial
01:06:42

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.

May 11, 2022
S04.33: Something About You by Julie James: Jack’s A Good Name For A Hero
01:04:58

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.

May 04, 2022
S04:32: EE Ottoman: A Trailblazer Episode
01:26:58

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.

Apr 27, 2022
S04.31: Vampire Romance Interstitial
01:02:48

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.

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.

Apr 20, 2022
S04.30: Her Night With the Duke by Diana Quincy
01:15:14

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.

Apr 13, 2022
S04.29: Nora Roberts: a Trailblazer Episode
01:41:30

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 WinspearAnne MatherPhyllis WhitneyVictoria HoltMary StewartJanet DaileyKathleen E. WoodiwissRosemary RodgersRuth LanganDixie BrowningPatricia GaffneyMary Kay McComasElaine FoxMary Blayney.

Other people on Nora's team: Silhouette editor Nancy Jacksonagent Amy Berkower, editor Isabel Swift, editor Leslie Gelbman, and publicist Laura Reeth.

Apr 06, 2022
S04.28: Boss/Assistant Romance Interstitial
01:05:03

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.

Mar 30, 2022
Transcript - Beverly Jenkins: Trailblazer
A full transcript is now available for season 4, episode 10. Enjoy!
Mar 27, 2022
S04:27: Nine Questions about Nine Rules
01:05:34

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.

Mar 23, 2022
S04.26: Jeannie Lin: A Trailblazer Episode
01:30:20

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.

Mar 16, 2022
S04.25: The "Waking Up Married" Romance Interstitial
00:54:04

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 wunderkindJust ask Nate

Not that kind of Prince Albert

The Hangover is a very funny movie.

Mar 09, 2022
S04.24: The London Hale Oeuvre
01:25:58

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 bookstry Chloe Maine

There is not a Harlequin Presents called The Pregnant Billionaire’s Italian Mistress, but you can find The Italian’s Pregnant MistressThe Italian Billionaire's Pregnant Bride,  The Italian’s Pregnant CinderellaThe Italian’s Pregnant VirginThe 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 ToroIdris 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.

Mar 02, 2022
S04.23: Fake Dating Romance Interstitial
01:01:25

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 2The 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.

Feb 23, 2022
S04.22: Sarah J. Maas on Sailor Moon, Writing Sex and Second Books
01:19:46
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.
Feb 16, 2022
S04.21: Sandra Kitt: a Trailblazer Episode
01:30:44

Annnnd….we’re back! This week, we’ve got a new Trailblazer episode: Sandra Kitt—the first African American author at Harlequin (Rites of Spring, Harlequin American #43)—joins us to talk about the early days of writing category romance in the US, about writing for Vivian Stephens, about launching romance lines at Kensington and BET, and about her longstanding career. She also talks about writing the books that speak to you first and finding an audience for them later.

This conversation is far reaching and could have gone for hours longer — our hope is that it is not the last time Sandra will join us at Fated Mates. We are so grateful to her for making time for us.

Find the full list of trailblazer episodes here. For more conversations with Sandra Kitt, please listen to her episode of the Black Romance Podcast.

Join us LIVE tonight, Feburary 9th, for our special edition IAD celebration/Fated Mates funtime/Munro/Very likely Derek Craven too episode! Tickets are “pay what you wish” at live.fatedmates.net, you’re welcome to join us for free, or make a donation to help offset the costs of transcribing this season’s Trailblazer episodes.

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. Specific titles to follow, but Sarah is for sure going to want you to read Talk Dirty to Me, which is older mayor of the town heroine, younger firefighter and also phone sex operator hero because…obviously. The whole series is free in KU.

Show Notes

People Sandra mentioned: Vivian StephensElsie Washington/Rosalind WellesGeorgette HeyerWalter ZachariasBeverly JenkinsJennifer EnderlinJulie Moody FreemanKathryn FalkKathleen WoodiwissPatricia VeryanJanet DaileyJayne Ann KrentzAnita Richmond BunkleyEboni SnoeDonna HillGwynne FosterMarcia King-Gamble, Brenda Jackson.

Feb 09, 2022
Bonus: Rerelease of It's Derek Craven Day and We're Going Through Some Things
01:19:30

Happy Derek Craven Day!

In epically bad timing, Sarah is moving this week, so we’re celebrating our third Derek Craven Day quietly at home instead of throwing our annual public carnival (though there are probably Twitter shenanigans afoot, let’s be honest).

To celebrate, though, we are rereleasing last year’s Derek Craven Day episode with one of our very favorite people — Kate Clayborn! In it, we talk about Craven, we discuss the importance of this very serious holiday, and we tackle reader questions with a rousing game of: Derek Craven Would Never!

As always, thanks to Lisa Kleypas for her gorgeous book, for this outrageously outrageous hero, for a bespectacled writer heroine, and for ruining us for all men.

Read Dreaming of You at: Bookshop, Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple Books and Google Play.

Join us LIVE for next week’s episode, Munro, Book 18 of the Immortals After Dark series! Our special edition IAD celebration/Fated Mates funtime/Munro/Very likely Derek Craven too episode will be LIVE, February 9th at 8pm eastern! Tickets are “pay what you wish” at live.fatedmates.net, you’re welcome to join us for free, or make a donation to help offset the costs of transcribing this season’s Trailblazer episodes. Get Munro at Amazon, Apple, Kobo, or B&N.

Feb 04, 2022
Bonus: Rerelease of Dreaming of You
01:22:52

It’s February which means only one thing in Romance — Derek Craven Day is nigh! For several years running, unbeknownst to us, Jen and Sarah would tweet each other about Lisa Kleypas’s empirically greatest hero—Derek Craven (We will not be taking questions at this time) — on February 4th. We took this as an important cosmic sign that that date would forever be immortalized as Derek Craven Day, and then Google confirmed it. Seriously, Google “Derek Craven Day.” We’ll wait.

This week, in advance of Derek Craven Day, we are rereleasing our deep dive episode on Dreaming of You, which was our first readalong episode of Season 2, in which we featured the Books that Blooded Us, or made us the romance readers we are today. We hope you’ll enjoy this one — and this hero who was born in a drainpipe, only to steal our hearts. Read Dreaming of You at: Bookshop, Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple Books and Google Play.

Join us LIVE for next week’s episode, Munro, Book 18 of the Immortals After Dark series! Our special edition IAD celebration/Fated Mates funtime/Munro/Very likely Derek Craven too episode will be LIVE, February 9th at 8pm eastern! Tickets are “pay what you wish” at live.fatedmates.net, you’re welcome to join us for free, or make a donation to help offset the costs of transcribing this season’s Trailblazer episodes. Get Munro at Amazon, Apple, Kobo, or B&N.

Feb 02, 2022
Bonus: Rerelease of A Wolf Without a Foot
00:54:10

You can take the girls out of Monster Mash, but you can’t take Monster Mash out of the girls…This week is old home week for us here at Fated Mates as Kresley Cole releases book 19 in the Immortals After Dark series — the series that brought us together with you, Magnificent Firebirds!

Our special edition IAD celebration/Fated Mates funtime/Munro episode will be LIVE, February 9th at 8pm eastern! Tickets are “pay what you wish” at live.fatedmates.net, you’re welcome to join us for free, or make a donation to help offset the costs of transcribing this season’s Trailblazer episodes. Thanks, in advance!

Season 1 of Fated Mates was a very long time ago, so we thought we’d bring our many new listeners up to speed before our next read along episode (which is obviously Munro) by rereleasing Episode 1 of the podcast, entitled “A Wolf Without a Foot!“ In it, you’ll hear Jen without a microphone, the Season 1 theme song, and baby us feeling our way around this podcast thing. If you like it, you can keep going from there and listen to the whole of Season 1, reading along with us as we discuss this gorgeous series we love so much. In it, we will answer questions like: What the heck is IAD? Who the heck is Rune? Why on earth are the two of you always talking about MacRieve brain? and Is a hero bringing a heroine a bag of her enemies’ heads really a good grand gesture?

If you already know all these answers, have a listen to the new intro, and enjoy a fun trip down memory lane.

Our next read-along will be Munro, Book 18 of the Immortals After Dark series. Stay tuned for information on that episode…but also, if you’re inclined to go back to the beginning, here you go. Preorder Munro at Amazon, Apple, Kobo, or B&N.

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful! 

Show Notes

Munro by Kresley Cole

Munro is here! The newly released 19th book of the Immortals After Dark series has inspired us to go back to our roots, a sort of time machine if you will (but without any evil warlocks). A Wolf Without a Foot was our very first episode -- we were baby podcasters and had no idea what we were doing! 

We are celebrating the Magnificent Firebirds with a special Fated Mates Live episode on February 9, 2022 at 8pm Eastern. The event is ticketed and free, but if you'd like to make a donation, all proceeds with be used toward transcription, beginning with our Trailblazer episodes.

Jan 26, 2022
S04.20: The "Break In Case of Emergency" Romance Interstitial
01:00:14

Thanks to romance reading sisters Cait & Kara for their donation to the Romance for Haiti auction last year, and for this fabulous episode idea! We’re talking about the books we’re saving for the darkest of dark hours…the ones we know will be warm blankets of joy. What are the books we keep under glass, for serious break in case of emergency moments? We talk about them here. Also, Eric has informed us that this episode gave him big “up is down vibes” so here we go!

There are some big secrets here, too, so please share your own! Let us know which books you’re keeping in the vault by filling out the “What’s in the Vault” form on the main page of the website.

Our next read-along will be Kresley Cole’s Munro, Book 18 of the Immortals After Dark series. You’ve probably heard of this series because Fated Mates began as an IAD fan podcast. You can take the girls out of Monster Mash, but you can’t take Monster Mash out of the girls…so we’re reading Munro, obviously. Stay tuned for information on that episode…but also, if you’re inclined to go back to the beginning, here you go. Preorder Munro at Amazon, Apple, Kobo, or B&N.

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful! 

Show Notes

The Romance for Haiti auction was last fall. You can still support Haiti relief efforts via:

Ayiti Ademen: Haiti Tomorrow: providing disaster relief

St. Boniface Hospital: providing medical relief

Ayiti Community Trust: providing social services/long term recovery

How much does it cost to move your books?

Our next read along is Kresley Cole's Munro. Stay tuned for more information!

Jan 19, 2022
S04.19: Passion by Lisa Valdez: The Romance Equivalent of "I Have an Extra Stomach for Dessert"
01:08:34

 On this episode, we’re talking about a historical that we like to think of as the full banana. A descriptor which, now that we’re typing it, really covers a lot of ground. It’s Passion week — we’re talking about how Lisa Valdez shook up the traditional historical world in 2005 when she released this erotic historical featuring a widow and a dude who has an extremely large…you know. We talk about what it means for a romance to be erotic and about how this might also be inspirational. We also talk about this as a marker of a significant shift in the content of romance novels, and ask some questions about basic anatomy. Headphones on for this one, y’all!

Our next read-along will be Kresley Cole’s Munro, Book 18 of the Immortals After Dark series. You’ve probably heard of this series because Fated Mates began as an IAD fan podcast. You can take the girls out of Monster Mash, but you can’t take Monster Mash out of the girls…so we’re reading Munro, obviously. Stay tuned for information on that episode…but also, if you’re inclined to go back to the beginning, here you go. Preorder Munro at Amazon, Apple, Kobo, or B&N.

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful! 

Show Notes

Passion by Lisa Valdez was the first book in a series named the Passion Quartet, but only two were published. Passion in 2005 and Patience in 2010. 

Passion takes place during Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, commonly called the Crystal Palace Exhibition. The Great Exhibition was well-documented in the book Dickinson's Comprehensive Pictures of the Great Exhibition, which is available in its entirety online. Charlotte Bronte was a visitor and wrote about her impression of the exhibits.

Lisa Valdez wrote about sex in romance on Jess Michaels's blog back in 2014.

America is full of weird controlling shit about sex, like abstinence only education, and the fact that people don't know where the hymen is. You should follow Dr. Jen Gunter and tell your kids about Scarleteen.

Sarah mentioned that Marc is a hero very much in the model of Dain from Lord of Scoundrels.

Up next, Munro. Stay tuned for more details.

Jan 12, 2022
S04.18: Jayne Ann Krentz: A Trailblazer Episode
01:27:18

Our Trailblazer episodes continue this week with Jayne Ann Krentz, who has done it all: writing for Vivian Stephens, writing historicals, writing contemporaries, writing space-set, fantasy, and paranormal romance, writing nonfiction about romance. In addition to managing life as JAK, Amanda Quick, Stephanie James and more, she’s also a legend of the genre because of her vocal resistance to the way society, literature and academia talks about romance novels.

In this episode, we talk about her journey and the way she continually reinvented herself to keep writing, about the importance of writers’ core stories, about genre and myth making, and about the role of romance in the world. We could not be more grateful to Jayne Ann Krentz for making time for Fated Mates.

Next week, our first read-along of the year will be Lisa Valdez’s Passion, an erotic historical published in 2005 that is W-I-L-D. There is a lot of biblical stuff at the world’s fair. Also some truly bananas stuff that…sticks with you. Get it at Amazon, Apple, Kobo, or B&N.

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful! 

Show Notes

Welcome Jayne Ann Krentz, she has had lot of pen names, including Jayne Taylor, Jayne Bentley, Stephanie James and Amanda Glass. Now she publishes under 3 names: Jayne Ann Krenz (contemporary), Jayne Castle (speculative fiction romance), and Amanda Quick (historical). She has said, “I am often asked why I use a variety of pen names. The answer is that this way readers always know which of my three worlds they will be entering when they pick up one of my books.”

We read Ravished for the podcast in 2021, or three decades ago. You know how it goes in these pandemic times.

People mentioned by Jayne: editor Vivian Stephens, author Barbara Delinksy, author Amii Loren, agent Steve Axelrod publishing executive Irwyn Applebaum, author Susan Elizabeth Phillips, author Kristin Hannah, author Debbie Macomber, author Christina Dodd, author Rachel Grant, author Darcy Burke, editor Leslie Gelbman, editor Cindy Wong, editor Patricia Reynolds Smith.

Jan 05, 2022
S04.17: Roy Kent Redux, Happy New Year!
01:53:08

It’s New Year’s Eve and that means it’s time for a special episode of Fated Mates! Also, Ted Lasso Season 2 is complete and that means it’s time for another Roy Kent episode, so we’re saying, “Why not both?”

Both it is! Come for this two-hour deep dive on former AFC Richmond team captain and current AFC Richmond coach, Roy Kent and his bangin’ girl, Keeley Jones, Independent Woman…stay for the Bantr about Isaac, Rebecca, Ted and more. We’re talking about the whole season (except for that one episode we’re going to pretend doesn’t exist). Spoilers abound, so if you haven’t watched, do that first!

Happy happy new year, Magnificent Firebirds. You were the best thing about 2021 for us.

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful! 

We are starting as we mean to go on in 2022 — our first read-along of the year will be Lisa Valdez’s Passion, an erotic historical published in 2005 that is W-I-L-D. There is a lot of biblical stuff at the world’s fair. Also some truly bananas stuff that…sticks with you. We haven’t read it in a while, so we’re telling you to be careful because…honestly, it’s just good sense with this one. Get it at Amazon, Apple, Kobo, or B&N.

Show Notes

In January of 2021, sex columnist Sophia Benoit was our guest, and we talked about Ted Lasso. In June of 2021, we aired our first Roy Kent episode. 

Doc Martens have never been gone, but they are definitely back.

Cheers was one of the all great sitcoms, which aired from 1982-1993. 

Jen's Christmas gift from Mr. ReadsRomance was the BusyBox; Sarah’s Christmas present from her in-laws came from Spare Time Used Books in Paso Robles, California.

Hearst Castle is pretty wild, and not just because it has literal wild zebras roaming around on its grounds.

You, too, can make a donation to Flatbush Cats

To clarify, Jen watched The Bear Episode the first time around, but skipped in on this rewatch. 

The “Roy is sorry for not understanding keely” playlist on apple music and also on Spotify

Apple TV+ is available nearly everywhere people watch video. An Apple device is not required. You can binge both seasons with a seven day free trial.

Jan 01, 2022
04.16: (Short and) Sexy Christmas Recs
01:18:20


Holidays are about traditions and it's a Fated Mates tradition to rerun the previous year's holiday episode. So here we are! This year, we’ve added 30 minutes of chatter about two Christmas romances we loved in 2021. You can take Fated Mates to work, but you can’t take the very unsafe for work discussion out of Fated Mates, so headphones in!

Much love and many thanks for being with us!

Please enjoy this short playlist of holiday music featured on the podcast.

For full show notes, see: 

S02.16: Christmas Romance Novel Recommendations

3.5: Holiday Romances: Interstitial

Roy and Keely's Sexy Christmas.

Check out Whores of Yore. 

Seamen sing shanties. Sarah's talking about something else.

Jen did not make up this thing about St. Nicholas and shoes

The Black Forest in both a place in Germany and a delicious cake. 

Best Friend Kelly saved this baby's christmas ornaments!

TYRANNOSAURUS REX FOR CHRISTMAS!

Dec 24, 2021
S04.15: Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh
01:22:16


We’re back to paranormal romance this week — and so excited! It’s been literal years since we’ve done a deep dive like this one, talking about a beloved, long-standing, many booked, series — Nalini Singh’s Psy Changeling series. We’re deep diving on Caressed by Ice, which features a hero who literally experiences physical pain whenever he feels a feeling, so…of course he’s Jen’s favorite. We talk paranormal world building, patriarchy, hero’s feeling feelings, and try to explain the universe of this book. We’re not great at it, but there is about 20 minutes of bantr, so you’ll be fine!

There’s still time to buy the Fated Mates Best of 2021 Book Pack from our friends at Old Town Books in Alexandria, VA, and get eight of the books on the list, a Fated Mates sticker and other swag!

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful! 

We are going to set some wild intentions for 2022 with our first read-along of the year, Lisa Valdez’s Passion, an erotic historical published in 2005 that is W-I-L-D. There is a lot of biblical stuff at the world’s fair. Also some truly bananas stuff that…sticks with you. We haven’t read it in a while, so we’re telling you to be careful because…honestly, it’s just good sense with this one. Get it at Amazon, Apple, Kobo, or B&N.

Show Notes

Caressed by Ice is the third book in the Psy/Changling series by Nalini Singh. If you want more read-alongs and critiques, check out Melinda and Melanie’s write ups on the Psy/Changling channel at Smexy Books, and the Changeling Cast by Mara/BooksLikeWhoa on YouTube.

Johnnie Walker Blue is pretty fancy, and definitely wants to be served over an ice ball.

Jeremy Renner is a jerk

If there is a GBBO (which stands for Great British Bake Off, so no need to google it) and Ted Lasso crossover, they better bake biscuits with the boss. 

Speaking of GBBO, one of the hosts dressed up as Santa and that's nice.

We talked about the paranormal explosion of 2006 when we recorded our first IAD episodes, so just listen to season 1 again because Munro is coming. You might also want to listen to our fantasy romance episode with Zoriada Cordova.

More about the monster of the week model.

If you're having sexytimes with a telekinetic, the promise of the premise is that they're gonna use those powers during sex! Mad Rogan in the Hidden Legacy series knows his job.

Do you know how powerful serging is? If not, check out this story from Talia Hibbert about the time she did some [VERY IMPORTANT romance research.][14] 

Shadow Dancing is actually a song by Andy Gibb, younger brother of the other Bee Gees. You might want to watch the Bee Gees documentary. You can watch 6 hours about the Beatles, or this three minute clip. Your call! [14]: https://twitter.com/TaliaHibbert/status/992820004054761472?s=20

Dec 15, 2021
S04.14: Elda Minger: A Trailblazer Episode
01:30:04

The Trailblazer series continues this week with Elda Minger—author of contemporary and historical romances, including Untamed Heart, which is the first contemporary romance to feature condom use on the page.  

Elda talks about writing for Vivian Stephens, about writing about women’s bodies, about reproductive choice and about the way romance made space for women during the 70s and 80s. She shares a collection of gorgeous stories about her life as a reader and writer (and a particularly wonderful detour as a bookseller). About the boom of category and contemporary romance in the 1980s, and about the way writing made her who she is. 

We are thrilled to have found Elda, and that she took time to speak with us and share her wonderful perspective on the genre with us. We can’t think of a better week to share this episode with you.

There’s still time to buy the Fated Mates Best of 2021 Book Pack from our friends at Old Town Books in Alexandria, VA, and get eight of the books on the list, a Fated Mates sticker and other swag! Order the book box as soon as you can to avoid supply chain snafus.

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful! 

Next week, we’re reading Nalini Singh’s Caressed by Ice, number three (and Jen’s favorite) of the Psy-Changeling series. Get it at Amazon, Apple, Kobo, B&N or at your local indie.

Show Notes

Welcome Elda Minger, author of over 30 romance novels, including Untamed Heart, Harlequin American Romance #12, the first contemporary romance with condoms used on page. In 1987, Elda wrote a column in RWR (the Romance Writer’s Report, an RWA publication) defending the use of contraception in romance novels. 

Elda was selling Kathleen Woodiwiss's Shanna at the Chicago bookstore chain Kroch and Brentano’s.

Elda first Harlequin American Romances were edited by Vivian Stephens. In this interview with Vivian Stephens from the Browne Pop Culture Library archives, she describes the founding of RWA and her move to Harlequin.

Names Elda mentioned: Harlequin editor Evelyn Grippo, Harlequin editorial director Fred Kerner, writing coach Marilyn Lowery, Mills & Boon editor Frances Whitehead, Mills and Boon editor Jacqui Bianchi,Loveswept editor Carolyn Nichols, Harlequin editor Debra Matteucci, Harlequin editor Birgit Davis-Todd, Avon editor Nancy Coffey.

Dec 08, 2021
S04.13: AMA with Questions from Piper Rayne
1:04:14

We’re joined this week by author Piper Rayne, who is two authors! Elizabeth Grace (Piper) and Michelle Lynn (Rayne) have written dozens of wildly tropey, wonderfully romantic contemporary romances together. They join us for a few minutes at the start of the episode to talk about how they came to romance and how they write together, and then leave us with a list of questions about publishing, books, and romance recommendations.

There’s still time to buy the Fated Mates Best of 2021 Book Pack from our friends at Old Town Books in Alexandria, VA, and get eight of the books on the list, a Fated Mates sticker and other swag! Order the book box as soon as you can to avoid supply chain snafus.

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful! 

Our next read-along will be Nalini Singh’s Caressed by Ice, number three (and Jen’s favorite) of the Psy-Changeling series. Get them at Amazon, Apple, Kobo, B&N or at your local indie.

Show Notes

We are joined today by Piper Rayne, an author duo who are about to publish their 50th book, My Unexpected Surprise on December 14, 2021. They won the right to decide the topic of an episode after winning an item in Kennedy Ryan's Lift4Autism auction with Kulture City

We mostly talked about and recommended books today, so check out the photo array for all the books we mentioned in today's episode.

Dec 01, 2021
S04.12: The Men at Work Trilogy by Tiffany Reisz: Thanksgiving is a lot
01:09:06

It’s autumn which means it’s time to start talking holiday seasons and holiday romances here at Fated Mates, so this week, we’re talking about one of Jen’s favorite category trilogies—Tiffany Reisz’s Men At Work series from Harlequin Blaze. These are sexy, subversive romances that turn tropes on their head while delivering delight.

There’s still time to buy the Fated Mates Best of 2021 Book Pack from our friends at Old Town Books in Alexandria, VA, and get eight of the books on the list, a Fated Mates sticker and other swag! Order the book box as soon as you can to avoid supply chain snafus.

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful! 

Our next read-along will be Nalini Singh’s Caressed by Ice, number three (and Jen’s favorite) of the Psy-Changeling series. Get them at Amazon, Apple, Kobo, B&N or at your local indie.

Show Notes

Tiffany Reisz is the author of the Original Sinners series and several category length romances. The Men at Work series was a Harlequin Blaze, a line that ran between 2001-2017. The ghost story one is called The Headmaster, part of a tiny stand alone Harlequin eBook series called Shivers.

We’ve talked about the history of category romance on many episodes: our favorite bonkers old categories from the 80s/90s, with Steve Ammidown on the first acquisitions of Vivian Stephens, and with rare book dealer Rebecca Romney

Harlequin at the end of 2021 has 11 different lines: Desire, Heartwarming, Historical, Intrigue, Medical Romance, Presents, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Special Edition, Love Inspired, and Love Inspired Suspense. 

The Romance Wars section of Rebecca Romney’s romance catalog starts on page 125, and it’s fascinating. Amazon began in 1994, it had 180 thousand accounts in 1996 and a million accounts by the end of 1997. The Sony Reader was on the market starting in 2004, and the first Kindle was in 2007. Kindle Unlimited started in 2014.

The Invention of Thanksgiving is a video from The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, it features an interview with Paul Chaat Smith, a member of the Comanche tribe. Debbie Reese has a great thread with resources for children’s books with Native American characters to read or avoid.

Sarah recommends the TV show Happy Endings, and Flashdance is has a music video vibe rather than a movie with a plot.

Compare and contrast original Loveswept back cover copy to the updated version for Sunny Chandler’s Return by Sandra Brown. 

Here is an explainer about how there was a traditional belief that Judaism is matrilineal, it is not a belief held by all Jewish people. This essay explains how a 1983 decision from Reform rabbis made room for children of mixed marriages to claim patrilineal descent. 

Order soon if you want to make sure your Fated Mates Book Pack— 8 of our 10 Best Romance Novels of 2021— from Old Town Books in Alexandria, VA.

Nov 24, 2021
S04.11: Vincent Virga: a Trailblazer Episode
01:29:12

This week, we’re continuing our Trailblazer episodes with Vincent Virga—author of the Gaywyck trilogy, the first m/m gothic romance, and one of the first m/m romances ending with a happily ever after. 

He talks about writing gay romance and about the way reading about love and happiness change readers lives. He also shares rich, wonderful stories about his vibrant life as a picture editor in publishing, about the literary set in New York City in the 70s and 80s, about writing during the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, about the times in a writer’s life when the words don’t come easily, and about the times when they can’t be stopped. 

We are honored and so grateful that Vincent took the time to speak with us, and we hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did. 

There’s still time to buy the Fated Mates Best of 2021 Book Pack from our friends at Old Town Books in Alexandria, VA, and get eight of the books on the list, a Fated Mates sticker and other swag! Order the book box as soon as you can to avoid supply chain snafus.

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful! 

Our next read-alongs will be the Tiffany Reisz Men at Work series, which is three holiday themed category romances. Read one or all of them: Her Halloween Treat, Her Naughty Holiday and One Hot December.

Show Notes

Welcome Vincent Virga, author of Gaywyck, the first gay gothic romance, and one of the earliest gay romances with a happily ever after. It was published by Avon in 1980. He has written several other novels, including Vadriel Vail and A Comfortable Corner. He was also the premier picture editor in the book industry. He has been with his partner, author James McCourt, author of Mawrdew Czgowchwz, for 56 years. Their collected papers are housed at the Beinecke Library at Yale University

Today is the 41st anniversary of The Ramrod Massacre in New York City, where Vernon Kroening and Jorg Wenz were killed. Six other men were shot and injured inside the bar or on the streets near the Ramrod. 

Author Malinda Lo and Librarian Angie Manfredi sound the warning bell about the fights that we are facing around access to books and libraries and calls for book banning happening all around the country. Here is what you can do to help support your local library. Check out Runforsomething.net for ideas about local races where you live. 

Want more Vincent in your life? Here is a great interview from 2019 on a blog called The Last Bohemians, and this 2011 interview on Live Journal

Daisy Buchanan cries that she's never seen such beautiful shirts in The Great Gatsby, and We Get Lettersis a song from the Perry Como show.

People Vincent mentioned: Susan SontagMaria Callas, opera singer Victoria de los Ángeles, editor Elaine MarksonJane FondaArmistead Maupin, poets John Ashbery and James MerrillHillary and Bill Clintoneditor Alice Mayhew, Gwen Edelman at Avon Books,  Gwen Verdon and Bob Fosse, publisher Bob WyattJohn Ehrlichman from Watergate, author Colm Tóibín, poet Mark DotyTruman Capote, poet and translator Richard HowardShelley WintersJohn WayneLauren Bacall, and Kim Novak

The museum Vincent was a part of in County Mayo, Ireland, is The Jackie Clarke Collection.

The twisty turny secret book that made him a lover of Gothics was Wilkie Collins's Woman in White. Vincent is also a lover of Samuel Richardson's Clarissa, and Henry Bellamann's King's Row.

A few short pieces abaout the AIDS epidemic: the impact of the epidemic on survivors in the queer community, and how the American government ignored the crisis.

Nov 19, 2021
S04.10: Beverly Jenkins: a Trailblazer Episode
01:08:32

This week, we’re continuing our Trailblazer episodes with Beverly Jenkins—the first Black author of historical romance featuring Black main characters. We talk about her path to romance writing, about how librarians make the best writers, and about her role as the first Black historical romance novelist. We’re also talking about writing in multiple sub genres, about lifting up other authors, and about the importance of the clinch cover.

Thank you to Beverly Jenkins for taking the time to talk to us, and share her story.

There’s still time to buy the Fated Mates Best of 2021 Book Pack (which includes Beverly’s Wild Rain!) from our friends at Old Town Books in Alexandria, VA, and get eight of the books on the list, a Fated Mates sticker and other swag! Order the book box as soon as you can to avoid supply chain snafus.

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful! 

Our next read-alongs will be the Tiffany Reisz Men at Work series, which is three holiday themed category romances. Read one or all of them: Her Halloween Treat, Her Naughty Holiday and One Hot December.

Show Notes

Welcome Beverly Jenkins, the author of more than 50 romance novels, and the recipient of the 2017 Romance Writers of America Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the 2016 Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for historical romance. 

You can hear Beverly’s interview on the Black Romance History podcast, and last February, Jen interviewed her for Love’s Sweet Arrow when Wild Rain was released. Wild Rain was also one of our best of 2021 romance novels. 

Beverly Jenkins's first agent was Vivian Stephens. You can listen to Julie Moody-Freeman's interview with Vivian in two parts on the Black Romance Podcast. 

Some of the people Beverly mentioned: sweet romance author Laverne St. George, author Patricia Vaughn, author Anita Richmond Bunkley, publisher Walter Zacharius, editor Ellen Edwards, editor Christine Zika, cover designer Tom Egner, author Shirley Hailstock, author Donna Hill, author Brenda Jackson, editor Monica Harris, author Gay Gunn, marketing expert Adrienne di Pietro, editor Erika Tsang, agent Nancy Yost, Romantic Times owner Kathryn Falk, and Gwen Osborne from The Romance Reader

Here’s more information about 1994, the summer of Black love, and here’s a PDF of Beverly Jenkins’s 1995 profile in People Magazine.

Nov 17, 2021
S04.09: Best Romance Novels of 2021
01:08:56

It’s time for our favorite episode of the year — the one when we topple TBR piles! It’s our Best Books of 2021 episode — ten books that got us through this wild, not always great year—books with fabulous heroines, heroes who aren’t sure about feelings, delicious sexy bits, and stories that swing for the fences. You will not be disappointed.

Buy the Fated Mates Best of Book Pack in one fell swoop from our friends at Old Town Books in Alexandria, VA, and get eight of the books on the list, a Fated Mates sticker and other swag! Order the book box as soon as you can to avoid the snafus arising all over from supply chain issues.

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful! 

Our next read-alongs will be the Tiffany Reisz Men at Work series, which is three holiday themed category romances. Read one or all of them: Her Halloween Treat, Her Naughty Holiday and One Hot December.

Best Romance Novels of 2021

Hana Khan Carries On

Careless Whispers by Synithia Williams

Scoundrel of My Heart by Lorraine Heath

Run Posy Run by Cate C. Wells

For the Love of April French by Penny Aimes

All the Best Nights by Hanna Earnest

It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

Wild Rain by Beverly Jenkins

After the Billionaire's Wedding Vows... by Lucy Monroe

The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton

Show Notes

You can order the Fated Mates Best of 2021 box from Old Town Books in Alexandria. 

The supply chain is a messespecially for books.

Why does it always seem like cosmetics companies are discontinuing your favorite products? 

“Big mistake, huge,” is a quote from Pretty Woman, of course. 

Dario is a psychopath, but Jen wasn’t about to let that stop her. 

Everyone loves Schitt’s Creek, but you don’t need to know about Alexis Rose to enjoy It Happened One Summer. 

A Star is a Born has a truly terrible endingno matter which version of the movie you watched. 

Author Aviva Blakeman wrote some really thought-provoking threads about groveling and the grand gesture. Jen still loves the grovel, but Aviva's threads are a great reminder of how many ways there are to write a romance. 

A Carl Sandburg poem about the fog. You know how Jen is.

Nov 10, 2021
S04.08: Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin
01:00:32

2021 has been kind of a mess, honestly, and Sarah hasn’t been reading as much as usual, because *waves hands at the world.* But Hana Khan Carries On is a total delight and exactly the book she needed this year, so we’re reading it with you! We’ll talk about romcoms, authorial voice, podcasting heroines, about how much we enjoy heroes who deserve a bit of cold storage, about writing contemporaries that reflect the time we live in, and about first person narration and why it works really well when it works really well.

Also, Sarah tries to get herself invited to hang out with Uzma Jalaluddin and tries to trademark a Ted Lasso reference all in one episode. It’s rough out here. Leave her alone.

Get ready for more trailblazers and our Best of 2021 episode this month! Our next read-alongs will be the Tiffany Reisz Men at Work series, which is three holiday themed category romances. Read one or all of them: Her Halloween Treat, Her Naughty Holiday and One Hot December.

Show Notes

This week’s book is Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin. Her first novel was Ayesha At Last, which was a Pride & Prejudice retelling. Mindy Kaling is adapting Hana Khan for Amazon

The Folio Society has a new version of Georgette Heyer’s Venetia. The introduction is by Stephen Fry, who is a real champion of poetry, including a great book about the joys of reading and writing poetry called The Ode Less Travelled.

The dating app invented for Ted Lasso is called Bantr

If you can’t identify different voices, maybe it’s because we all have podcast voice

In the ReadsRomance family, we call Toronto Clean Chicago….because well, I think it explains itself. 

The Golden Crescent might be an invented neighborhood for this book, but it seems similar to Toronto’s Crescent Town. If you’d like more information about what it means when food or a restaurant is Halal. Perhaps you do not know about  biryani, an Indian delicacy, or poutine, a Canadian one.

Jen was right about the meaning of the word pillory.

This book has aspects of the 1998 movie You’ve Got Mail with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, which had a terrible ending

From what we can tell, the NPR of Canada is CBC radio.

In some recent books, we get an unflinching portrayals of toxic white women on page---characters like Marissa in this book, or Misty in American Dreamer. Adriana Herrera was a guest on last year for an interstitial about the immigrant experience.

Our next read-alongs will be the Tiffany Reisz Men at Work series, which is three books. Read one or read them all: Her Halloween TreatHer Naughty Holiday, and One Hot December.

Nov 03, 2021
S04.07: A Conversation with Rare Book Dealer Rebecca Romney
01:12:52

This week, we’re thrilled to have Rebecca Romney with us! Rebecca is a rare books dealer and the woman behind The Romance Novel in English, a 100-lot collection of rare romance novels and other romance-adjacent paraphernalia. We had a great time talking to her about the collection, her motivation to develop it, her hopes for its future at the Lilly Library at the University of Indiana, and about how romance lovers can start thinking about collecting books! We hope you love this one as much as we did!

Our next read along is Uzma Jalaluddin’s Hana Khan Carries On. Find it at: AmazonBarnes & NobleApple BooksKobo, or at your local indie.

Show Notes

Welcome Rebecca Romney. She is the cofounder of Type Punch Matrix, a rare books firm based in Washington DC. She started out working at Bauman Rare Books in Las Vegas. You can also watch her in action from old appearances on Pawn Stars where she routinely broke people’s hearts about the values of their rare books.

Rebecca recently put together a collection that was purchased by the Lilly Library at the University of Indiana called The Romance Novel in English: A Survey in English 1769-1999. You can follow Lilly Librarian Rebecca on twitter; they sound like a great resource for romance, and for planning a visit! 

On the episode, we extensively discuss some of the general themes and specific items in the catalogue. Two authors that didn’t make it into the catalogue because Rebecca couldn’t find copies: Eliza Haywoodand Evelina by Frances Burney.

The Elizabeth Lowell book about a gold dealer in Las Vegas is called Running Scared and is part of the Rarities Unlimited series. Gold books aren't really a thing, but gold leaf and illumiated manuscripts are

Here’s an explainer on The Gutenberg Bible and a clip from Pawn Stars where an individual leaf is available, and here is a page from a 2021 auction site selling a leaf. But remember that bookmaking in China was far more advanced at that time. Or maybe you’d be interested in knowing more about Newton’s Principia

Although I couldn’t find an article about the history of Jewish booksellers, I did find an interview with Adam Kirsch, an author who wrote a book called The People and the Books, about the importance of books to Jewish people throughout history. On our Trailblazers episode with Radclyffe, she talked about the importance of queer bookstores. 

What is the difference between ARCs and first editions? Time to check and see if your copy of The Flame and the Flower to see if it's a first edition.

Jen called it a garage sale and Sarah called it a Tag sale, which is exactly right considering where they grew up

Foxing isn’t as sexy as you’d think when we’re talking about rare books.

The 2019 Rita ceremony included a video of romance firsts.

In John Markert’s Publishing Romance: The History of an Industry, 1940s to the Present, he discusses a series called Adam that failed because they were romances only from the hero’s point of view.

Time to shake all your Sweet Valley High books out of your closet, fellow Gen-Xers.

Oct 27, 2021
S04.06: Monster Romance Interstitial with Jenny Nordbak
01:24:13


We’re talking minotaurs and spiders and orcs and gargoyles…it’s Monster Romance week at Fated Mates! Jenny Nordbak of the Wicked Wallflowers and Bonkers Romance podcast joins us to talk about this explosive, extremely popular genre that both intrigues and perplexes us.

Our next read along is Uzma Jalaluddin’s Hana Khan Carries On. Find it at: AmazonBarnes & NobleApple BooksKobo, or at your local indie.

This episode sponsored by Radish: Bottomless content; one cute app. Visit radish.social/fatedmates for 24 free coins and to read your first Radish story.

Show Notes

Welcome Jenny Nordbak. Her first romance, His Leading Lady, was just released, (Jen did the final developmental edit!) and she just started the Bonkers Romance podcast with Melody from the Heaving Bosoms podcast. Check it out!

Although there is lots of crossover with paranormal or alien, Jenny defines monsters as: creatures who don’t shift into humans, you’d definitely scream if you saw them running down the street, but human enough to be able to bang. Although no one mentioned on the episode, here is the single greatest monster explanation ever seen on twitter

The cartoon Sarah refered to is called The Harkness Test, and it's a reference to Dr. Who. 

More about what it means to go into the Amazon dungeon--this, of course, is related to attempts to deplatform sex everywhere on the internet. Besialisty cartoon that Sarah is going to look for 

Baby Jenny imprinted on Fantasia, specifically the centaurs and Chernabog. She also loved the Gargoyles TV show and the orcs in Lord of the Rings.

What is Knotting?

Here’s listener Alyssa Long’s terrific thread about monsters and disability. Often, writers use ableist tropes in their monster-creation, and Alyssa’s thread talks about how and why this is harmful. (Any mistakes in the summarizing of this thread are Jen’s!) In that thread, Alyssa shared a great article about ableism in the horror genre, and although we loved The Witcher, it reinforced some of the most common problems with putting disabilities on the screen.

Sarah is hosting a writing workship to kick of NaNo--register here!

Oct 20, 2021
S04.05: Radclyffe: a Trailblazer Episode
01:06:32

This week, we’re continuing our Trailblazer episodes with Radclyffe—author of lesbian romances and founder of the LGBTQIA+ publisher, Bold Strokes Books. We talk about her path to romance as a reader and an author, and a publisher, about the early days of queer romance, about the importance of independent booksellers to the queer community, and about how readers find themselves in books.

Thank you to Radclyffe for taking the time to talk to us, and share her story.

S04.05: Radclyffe: A Trailblazer Episode

Our next read along is Uzma Jalaluddin’s Hana Kahn Carries On. Find it at: AmazonBarnes & NobleApple BooksKobo, or at your local indie.

This episode sponsored by Radish: Bottomless content; one cute app. Visit radish.social/fatedmates for 24 free coins and to read your first Radish story.

Show Notes

Welcome Radclyffe, romance author and founder of Bold Strokes Books. The internet archive has preserved her fanfiction site

Bookstores mentioned: Giovanni’s Room in PhiladelphiaWomancrafts in Provincetown, and an article about the current state of Queer bookstores in America. 

Publishing and Distributors Radclyffe mentioned: Naiad Press, founded by Barbara GreerSarah Aldridge, and Muriel Crawford; Regal Crest Enterprises is now Flashpoint PublicationsFawcettBella Booksfounded by Linda Hill; and Alyson Books.

Awards mentioned: Lambda Literary Awards, and the RWA Prism award

Further Reading: Creating a Literary Culture: A Short, Selective, and Incomplete History of LGBT Publishing, Part IPart 2, and Part 3 by Michael Neva in the LARB,

Oct 13, 2021
S04.04: Ravished by Amanda Quick: The difference between fossils and Fossils
01:08:46

At some point, we were going to have to talk about fossils, right? Ravished is the bluestocking book that started it all for Sarah, and an absolute classic for Jen. On the reread, we absolutely loved it, which just goes to show that Amanda Quick (aka Jayne Ann Krentz) is a total legend. We’ll talk about the appeal of big heroes who know what they want and just go for it, about how difficult it is to write two people who genuinely enjoy each other’s company from the jump, about how awesome it is when a heroine is totally down with doing it in a cave, and about the broad appeal of greatcoats.

Our next read along is Uzma Jalaluddin’s Hana Kahn Carries On. Find it at: AmazonBarnes & NobleApple BooksKobo, or at your local indie.

Sponsored by Radish: Bottomless content; one cute app. Visit radish.social/fatedmates for 24 free coins and to read your first Radish story.

Show Notes

Ravished was originally published in 1992 by Jayne Ann Krenz, who has a lot of pen names, including Jayne Taylor, Jayne Bentley, Stephanie James and Amanda Glass. Now she publishes under 3 names: Jayne Ann Krenz (contemporary), Jayne Castle (PNR), and Amanda Quick (historical). She has said, “I am often asked why I use a variety of pen names. The answer is that this way readers always know which of my three worlds they will be entering when they pick up one of my books.”

The Bluestocking archetype is about a woman who is interested in science and learning in her own right, and is a reference to the Bluestocking Society, which was founded in the 1750s by Elizabeth Montagu and Elizabeth Vesey. 

Some hallmarks of a gothic novel are “the discovery of mysterious elements of antiquity” and also handsome men in great coats. 

All about the waltz and why it was so scandalous

Jen’s thread about fossils, which are just a McGuffin

Maybe you are more interested than Jen and would like to learn about how to fake a fossil. 

Author Vanessa Riley is committed to reviving bananas regency names for men. In A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby, the hero’s name is Busick.

Oct 06, 2021
S04.03: Secret Baby Interstitial
01:03:08

We’re doing a big one this week — secret babies! We’re talking the babies and the pregnancies—and why they are such a juggernaut in romance. We’re talking about why people are all in on secret babies or absolutely all out on them, we’re pinpointing the itch they scratch and why have they installed such buttons in so many of us, and we’re getting to the bottom to why these secret babies are often sired by billionaires. It’s a ride.

Next week, our first read along is Amanda Quick’s Ravished—which Sarah describes as “Harriet, in a cave, with a rake.” It’s great. Get reading at: AmazonBarnes & Noble, Apple BooksKobo, or at your local indie.

Sponsored by Radish: Bottomless content; one cute app. Visit radish.social/fatedmates for 24 free coins and to read your first Radish story.

Show Notes

The secret baby trope can be broken down into secret baby or secret child. Secret pregnancy is just earlier on the timeline, while surprise pregnancy. Often, a secret baby plot happens because there is a fear that the baby is in danger. 

More about the word Interstitial

We recently re-released our bodily autonomy interstitial from 2019. 

If you are on Facebook, join Sarah’s OSCRB group (Old School Romance Book Club) if you want more romance talk. 

On some old school covers, you see lots of people with gravity defying hair. 

Sarah mentioned the “Four Js” and she meant these old school historical romance powerhouses: Johanna LindsayJude DeverauxJulie Garwood, and Judith McNaught

The most dangerous third rail in romance is cheating

More about “the heir and the spare.”

The Right Stuff is a movie about astronauts, but Terms of Endearment is the movie where Jack Nicholson plays an astronaut. The movie was released in late 1983, and Long Time Coming was released in 1988. 

The Cut went ahead and published two pieces about Sally Rooney’s latest book, and they loved the sex in Rooney's book and think folks want more, but somehow they’ve never heard of genre romance. 

Given that description of the book Sarah was looking for, Jen thinks if it exists, it could have been a Harlequin Blaze, rather than a Loveswept or a Desire. But who knows! 

Next week, we’re reading Ravished, a 1992 historical about fossils by Amanda Quick. Yes, actual fossils.

Sep 29, 2021
S04.02: Sandra Brown: a Trailblazer Episode
01:29:22

The Trailblazers conversations begin this week with the brilliant, fearless Sandra Brown—aka Erin St. Clair and Rachel Ryan. We talk about everything from her first books, acquired by Vivian Stephens for Candlelight Ecstasy, about how Slow Heat in Heaven was her personal game changer, about the beginnings of romantic suspense, and about what makes a Sandra Brown novel, the most recent of which, Blind Tiger, was released last month.

Thank you to Sandra Brown for taking the time to talk to us, and share her story.

We’ve got an interstitial episode coming your way next week, but our first read along (in two weeks) is Amanda Quick’s Ravished—which Sarah describes as “Harriet, in a cave, with a rake.” It’s great. Get reading at: AmazonBarnes & Noble, Apple BooksKobo, or at your local indie.

You have two weeks to read, but in the meantime, sit back, relax, and let us give you a preview of what's to come! Don't forget to like and follow in your favorite podcasting platform!

Show Notes

Welcome to our first trailblazer, romance legend Sandra Brown. Her latest release is Blind Tiger, which was her 73rd book on the New York Times bestseller list. Blind Tiger is a thriller set in Texas during the 1920s.

Prohibition went into effect on January 1, 1920. In Texas, the town of Glen Rose was the Moonshine Capital of Texas.

The Ford Model T was the first mass produced American car. Here’s a video of the actual driving experience of the 1915 model. If you’d like to see a bunch of Model Ts in the same place, you can visit the winter home of Thomas Edison in Fort Myers, Florida. Henry Ford visited so often that he eventually bought the home next door. Prohibition and moonshining gave birth to NASCAR.

Sandra’s first books were bought by Vivian Stephens for Candlelight Ecstasy under the pen name Rachel Ryan. She wrote for Silhouette under the name Erin St. Clair, and for Pocket as Laura Jordan. Carolyn Nichols at Loveswept wanted authors to use their real names, and now all of Sandra's books have been rereleased under her own name.

Sandra appeared on the cover of one of her own Loveswepts, The Rana Look, with actor Mclean Stevenson

Some of the romance authors Sandra mentioned: Paris Afton BondsCandace CampMary Lynn BaxerNora RobertsJayne Ann KrentzBarbara Delinksy

Some of the thriller/mystery writers Sandra mentioned: Helen MacInnesEvelyn AnthonyGayle LyndsDavid Morrell, and Lee Child.

Sep 22, 2021
S04.01: Welcome to Season Four: Trailblazers and More
00:41:27

Season Four starts today, you Magnificent Firebirds!

Season One gave us a full lAD deep dive (if you’ve never read Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark, general existential malaise is a really good reason to start), and Season Two gave us The Books That Blooded Us -- the books that made us the romance readers we are. Season Three was during a pandemic, so just let us live (but also, there was a Roy Kent episode)!

Now, Season Four is here, and we have — dare we say — a plan? We’re going to deep dive on books that are new and fabulous, old and transformative, and generally reveal how vast and magnificent the romance pool can get. We’ve got some great interstitials planned, including some fabulous, brilliant guests on deck…and when Munro is released, we’ll (obviously) drop everything and read with you!

But we’ve got something new and different to add to the mix — a collection of interviews with trailblazers of the genre—the people who have built the romance house over the last fifty years. We’re already blown away by who we have on deck, with many many more to come! Stick with us, it’s going to be a terrific ride.

We begin our read alongs in two weeks with a delicious book that did not bring romance the bluestocking, but definitely made sure we all knew who she was. It’s Amanda Quick’s Ravished—which Sarah describes as “Harriet, in a cave, with a rake.” It’s great. Get reading at: AmazonBarnes & Noble, Apple BooksKobo, or at your local indie.

You have two weeks to read, but in the meantime, sit back, relax, and let us give you a preview of what's to come! Don't forget to like and follow in your favorite podcasting platform!

Show Notes

The only Fated Mates episode where one of us was absent was back when Sarah was sick and Kate came on to talk about sickbed scenes--It was March of 2020 and we weren’t as Coronavirus-aware as we thought.

Keeping our fingers crossed that the FDA will approve the vaccination for kids between 5 and 12. 

Health care workers are facing increasingly hostile and frightening aggression from anti-vaxxers. 

We were ahead of the ball on calling Ted Lasso as a romance. You should follow Phil Dunster, the actor who plays Jamie Tartt, on Twitter. Last week, Roy and Jamie had a heartbreaking and perfect moment.

All about gaffing and scatting.

Hannah Waddingham is from the theater world, so maybe that’s why we didn’t realize her brilliance before this show. Apparently we just didn’t realize she was on Game of Thrones, which sounds terrible.

Kresley sent a newsletter and let everyone know that she might have news this month about Munro and the next book in the Arcana chronicles.

You can change the time zone of your Kindle, but I don’t think the books arrive any earlier. 

The Flame and the Flower was published in 1972. We will not do a read along of the book, but we will talk about its influence on the genre. 

Julie Moody-Freeman, host of the Black Romance Podcast, was a guest on Fated Mates at the end of season two

Here’s a New Yorker profile of Nora Roberts from 2009, and a People magazine story on Danielle Steel from 2014.

Many of romance's writers and editors have already passed. Two we mentioned: Carolyn Nichols, the original editor for Loveswept, died in 2017, and legendary author Johanna Lindsey died in 2019. 

24 ounces is a lot of fluid

Our first season four read-along will be Ravished by Amanda Quick.

Sep 14, 2021
Bonus: Rerelease of Bodily Autonomy Interstitial
01:28:28

We’re still big mad, and we stand by this episode from 2019 more than ever this week. Don’t miss a collection of new information & resources in show notes!

Season 4 begins next week! We love you!

Show Notes

You are listening to a rerelease of an episode we first aired in 2019, and you can find all the original show notes hereInformation related to Texas law SB8, which went into effect on Sept 1, 2021 is below. 

The new Texas law is a "heartbeat law" and effectively prohibits all abortions in the state of Texas. When the Supreme Court declined to block the billit effectively killed Roe v. WadeYou should read Justice Sotomayor's dissent here. 

Read Stop Being Stupid About Abortion by Charlotte Shane.

As always, these laws will have the most impact on the poor and undocumented people. If you can, please support Planned Parenthood and the National Network of Abortion Funds, which helps people find abortion providers in their state. If you would like to donate specifically to people in Texas, this ActBlue donation page will split your money between 10 Texas abortion funds: Support Your Sistah at the Afiya Center, Whole Woman's Health Alliance, Inc., Jane's Due Process, Clinic Access Support Network, Texas Equal Access Fund, the Lilith Fund, Fund Texas Choice, Frontera Fund, West Fund, and The Bridge Collective. 

For reporting, we recommend The 19th a nonprofit organization "investing in journalism that empowers women, women of color and the LGBTQ+ community." Also, the Texas Tribune has excellent reporting on everything you've heard about in the state, from coverage of SB8, to voter suppressionto COVID in Texas schools. You can support the 19th and also support the Texas Tribune with a donation.

As always, the impact of these laws disproportionately effects poor people, undocumented people, and queer peopleAt least 7 other states are expected to quickly enact similar laws. The Future Now Fundfocuses on local and state elections as a way of preserving democracy. 

We are working now to reactivate Fated States and find a way to join the fight.

Sep 08, 2021
Fated Mates LIVE! Bombshell Launch Event
01:47:20

We promised you fun stuff while we are on Hiatus, and here we are!

Last week, more than 700 of you joined us for a Fated Mates LIVE to celebrate Sarah’s new book, Bombshell! We had a great time talking to some of our favorite people, playing games, talking about thighsexuality, 19th Century surgery, and, of course, girl gangs in pop culture.

Thanks to our faves: Andie J. Christopher, Kate Clayborn, Alexis Daria, Adriana Herrera, Sophie Jordan, Christina Lauren, Diana Quincy, Kennedy Ryan and Joanna Shupe for celebrating with us, and to Northshire Bookstore, East City Bookshop, Katy Budget Books, Old Town Books & Mysterious Galaxy for being fabulous independent bookstores that always support romance novels.

We’re starting Season 4 in two weeks…we hope this helps tide you over until then!

For more from the event, check this Twitter thread.

Sep 01, 2021
S03.54: Bombshell has Landed!
01:25:40

Sarah has a new book out, so Jen is playing host this week, and Sarah is playing guest, and Jen is really extremely good at it…so pour yourself a glass of whatever you’re drinking and get ready! And don’t miss the first two chapters of the Bombshell audiobook at the end of the episode!

If you haven’t purchased Bombshell yet, you can find it wherever books are sold, and at Amazon, Apple Books, B&N, Kobo, or Bookshop.org.

This episode wraps up Season 3! Jen’s taking Lil’Romance to college, Sarah’s taking a break from social media, and we’ll be back in September with Season 4. Don’t worry, though, there will be a few little audio treats dropping on Wednesdays so you don’t miss us too much. (we will miss you, though. obviously.)

Thank you, as always, for listening! Please follow us on your favorite podcasting app, and if you are up for leaving a rating or review there, we would be very grateful.

Show Notes

Bombshell is here! The audiobook is narrated by Mary Jane Wells, and she’s one of Jen’s favorite narrators. 

Maybe you want to watch the Amazons fighting in the Wonder Woman movie, just for vibes. 

The Soiled S’s are the five Talbot sisters: Seraphina, Sesily, Seleste, Seline, and Sophie. Seraphina and Sophie each had their own books, and Seleste and Seline were married in the background of the series. 

series bible is used by writers as a reference document for the world they’ve made. 

Some of our favorite movies with a crew and/or a heist movies: The A-Team, Ocean’s Eight, and the Avengers.

The first of Louisa Edward’s chef romances is called Can’t Stand the Heat.

Queen Victoria was on the throne from 1837-1901, and here is an overview of the hallmarks of her reign and what it was like for women during that era.

Here’s a brief history of Scotland Yard.

The word bombshell dates back to 1708.

Aug 24, 2021
S03.53: Sports Romance Interstitial with Farrah Rochon
01:03:57

Today we’re joined by Farrah Rochon, author of The Dating Playbook, to talk sports romances! We talked sports way back in season 1 (links below), but this is one of those tropes we’re always happy to dig into! We get to the bottom of Farrah’s love of football, we talk about competence porn and the human body as a superior tool, and we recommend a LOT of B O O K S!

Don’t miss Fated Mates LIVE! to celebrate the release of Sarah’s next book, BOMBSHELL! Join us and some of our very favorite people on August 24th! Tickets are a copy of the book, and available at five participating romance friendly bookstores. Get them here!

NEXT WEEK IS BOMBSHELL WEEK! Get it at Amazon, Apple Books, B&N, Kobo, or Bookshop.org, or at one of the participating romance-friendly bookstores hosting the Fated Mates Live/Virtual Bombshell Launch! Orders will come with a Fated Mates Sticker!

Thank you, as always, for listening! Please follow us on your favorite podcasting app, and if you are up for leaving a rating or review there, we would be very grateful.

Show Notes

Welcome Farrah Rochon! Her newest book, The Dating Playbook just came out yesterday. She has another football series, the New York Sabres.

The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing begin on February 4th, 2022. 

Here’s an explainer for dressage, an Olympic equestrian event. The horse at the club dressage video on twitterSnoop Dogg and Kevin Hart watching the same video.

The 1984 category romance about a woman competing in Equestrian events at the Olympics was originally called Summer Games and later changed to Remember Summer (which is available as an eBook), and it was by Elizabeth Lowell not Iris Johansen.

How the horses travel to Tokyohow the ice is made, and other articles about new sports at this year’s Olympics

All about Rune, the Danish Destroyer

In season one, we did a fake engagement interstitial, but it’s a very popular trope in 2021

Texas football culture is legendary, just look at some Texas high school football stadiums, including the one in Katy. If you’re ever in Katy, we highly recommend a trip to Katy Budget Books.

You might be interested in this article with statistics breaking down the average age of professional athletes by sport, and this list of oldest professional athletes by sport. The question of which Olympics sports have the oldest and youngest athletes is always a fascinating one. This year, the youngest athletes were 12: Syrian tennis table player Hend Zaza and Japanese skateboarder Kokona Hiraki. The oldest athlete is Australian equestrian Mary Hanna, who is 66.

We interviewed Susan Elizabeth Phillips and also did a deep dive on the third book in the Chicago Stars series, Nobody’s Baby But Mine

Pitch was a Fox show that was cancelled before its time. 

It turns out there are two real life ex-NFL players, Brian Orakpo and Michale Griffin who opened Gigi’s Cupcake shop in Texas. So just read this article over and over again until we get all the deets on Jamie Wesley’s forthcoming series.

Aug 18, 2021
S03.52: Assassins and Hitmen in Romance Interstitial
1:07:08


Surprising absolutely no one, we love an assassin here at Fated Mates! We basically love any character who has been through the wringer and also can kill a man fourteen different ways before dinner. Even better if it’s a heroine, and she’s been hired to kill the hero (or vice versa). Anyway, we’re talking about why these books (and so! many! movies!) scratch that particular itch for us. Spoiler: It’s beautiful people blowing things up, obvi.

Don’t miss Fated Mates LIVE! to celebrate the release of Sarah’s next book, BOMBSHELL! Join us and some of our very favorite people on August 24th! Tickets are a copy of the book, and available at five participating romance friendly bookstores. Get them here!

Speaking of BOMBSHELL, it is our next read along! Get it at Amazon, Apple Books, B&N, Kobo, or Bookshop.org, or at one of the participating romance-friendly bookstores hosting the Fated Mates Live/Virtual Bombshell Launch! Orders will come with a Fated Mates Sticker!

Thank you, as always, for listening! Please follow us on your favorite podcasting app, and if you are up for leaving a rating or review there, we would be very grateful.

Show Notes

The game Assassin’s Creed first came out in 2007, and now there are so many different versions, and in many of them, you can garrote someone if you are so moved. Sarah's favorite is Assassin's Creed Syndicate, which is set in Victorian London.

We mentioned so many movies and TV shows with assassins: John WickThe Bourne IdentityGunpowder Milkshake (and its many weapons), Suicide BlondeCrouching Tiger Hidden DragonKill BillMr. and Mrs. SmithJames BondBlack WidowLe Femme NikitaThe SaintGrosse Pointe BlankDesperado, and The Witcher.

More about some of the super camera angles we are seeing at the Tokyo Olympics.

Jack Reacher isn’t as assassin as much as he’s a vigilante. Also, he doesn’t know how to use a washing machine. 

Rege-Jean Page signed up to make a remake of The Saint, and Donald Glover and Phoebe Waller-Bridge are remaking Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and we’re not sad about any of it. 

Iocane powder is from The Princess Bride, of course. 

Listen when you read Sweet Ruin you'll definitely want to go back to season 1 and listen to our deep dive epsiode. Because it is great. 

We also talked a bunch about romances with paid killers in the Spy Romance and Mafia Romanceinterstitials.

As Jen was working on show notes, she discovered the book Killing Sarai was adapted into a Spanish language action movie called “En Brazos de un Asesino,” which translates to “In the Arms of an Assassin.” You can stream it on any number of services, including Amazon Prime Video.

Check out all the programming for Bookstore Romance Day, August 21-22, 2021. 

We are having a live episode of Fated Mates to celebrate the launch of Bombshell on August 24th at 7 eastern, to get a ticket, you'll need to buy a copy from one of these indie bookstores. (If you already pre-ordered from WORD in Brooklyn, you'll get log in details in an email.)

Aug 11, 2021
S03.51: Mistresses, Courtesans, and Cheating in Romance Interstitial with Adriana Herrera
01:26:26

Adriana Herrera, a FIVE-TIMER, joins us this week to talk about the third-rail of romance…infidelity! We’re talking about cheating, and about all the other bits related to it: mistresses, courtesans, illegitimate children, sex work…and get your pencils ready because (of course) we’re toppling TBRs with this one.

Don’t miss Fated Mates LIVE! to celebrate the release of Sarah’s next book, BOMBSHELL! Join us and some of our very favorite people on August 24th! Tickets are a copy of the book, and available at five participating romance friendly bookstores. Get them here!

Speaking of BOMBSHELL, it is our next read along! Get it at Amazon, Apple Books, B&N, Kobo, or Bookshop.org, or at one of the participating romance-friendly bookstores hosting the Fated Mates Live/Virtual Bombshell Launch! Orders will come with a Fated Mates Sticker!

Thank you, as always, for listening! Please follow us on your favorite podcasting app, and if you are up for leaving a rating or review there, we would be very grateful.

Show Notes

Welcome to five-timer Adriana Herreraour very own Rizzo, and her Pink Lady jacket is on the way. PS. It was only in working on these show notes that Jen realized that Rizzo’s first name is Betty. 

The phrase “safe romance” is used in online spaces to describe books without a single molecule of infidelity energy. 

Infidelity in evangelical christianity (and everywhere, honestly) often places the blame on the wife if her husband strays and also on  “the evil other woman” -- in this model, you know who’s not to blame? Men.And that’s pure patriarchy. 

Lavender wasn’t invented because it’s a plant and its known history dates back 2500 years. 

Courtesan culture was inextricably tied to colonialism in Indiain China, and in the USA.

Summer Brennan’s patreon about The Book of Courtesans. Hallie Rubenhold's Covent Garden Ladies, which is the book that inspired the Hulu TV show Harlots, is about Harris's List of London "working girls." 

The Spanish word for wife is esposa, which means handcuffs or manacles, while the word for mistress is amante, which means beloved.

We have had some deep dive episodes where there is infidelity: Waking Up with the Duke by Lorraine Heath and Ravishing the Heiress by Sherry Thomas

There are so many bastards in historical romance, partly because it’s an easy on-ramp for creating a character who is an outsider.

Ethical non-monogamy is the practice of talking to your partner(s) about the boundaries of your relationship. Polyamorous and Open relationships would fall into this category. 

On Maryse’s Book Blog, there was a 2015 post about cheating in romance, and most of the titles are self-published and indie.

Sarah talked about Lorenzo Lamas and Dynasty and Jen and her brother Mike talked about Santa Barbaraon Adriana’s Instagram Live conversations about telenovelas and soap operas. 

We are having a live episode of Fated Mates to celebrate the launch of Bombshell on August 24th at 7 eastern, to get a ticket, you'll need to buy a copy from one of these indie bookstores. (If you already pre-ordered from WORD in Brooklyn, you'll get log in details in an email.) 

Aug 04, 2021
S03.50: Unmasked by the Marquess by Cat Sebastian: a Perfect Modern Historical
00:56:32

We’re nearing the end of Season Three and we are so happy to be reading one of the most delightful books in modern historical romance, Cat Sebastian’s Unmasked by the Marquess. We talk about Cat’s masterful plotting within a three-act structure, about friendship, trust and sacrifice in relationships, and about writing a modern historical while still delivering the bananas plots that made the early books in the genre the best.

We also announce our next Fated Mates LIVE! to celebrate the release of Sarah’s next book, BOMBSHELL! Join us and some of our very favorite people on August 24th! Tickets are a copy of the book, and available at five participating romance friendly bookstores. Get them here!

Our next read along is Sarah’s BOMBSHELL! Get it at Amazon, Apple Books, B&N, Kobo, or Bookshop.org, or signed via Sarah’s local indie, WORD, or one of the participating romance-friendly bookstores hosting the Fated Mates Live/Virtual Bombshell Launch! Orders from WORD or the launch sponsors will come with a Fated Mates Sticker!

Thank you, as always, for listening! Please follow us on your favorite podcasting app, and if you are up for leaving a rating or review there, we would be very grateful.

Show Notes

The virtual launch event for Bombshell will be on Tuesday Aug 24 at 7eastern/4 pacific. If you pre-ordered a signed book from Word!, keep an eye out for details for how to join the event.

Unmasked by the Marquess received excellent reviews from KirkusPublisher’s Weekly, and the New York Times

A guide to nonbinary pronouns.

The audiobook of Unmasked by the Marquess is great, and narrated by Joel Leslie. 

Cat Sebastian is a fanfiction expert and routinely talks about some of her favorite fics. If you don’t know, the Stucky ship of Cap & Bucky is the most written about ship on Ao3. 

“Natural child” was the nice way of saying that a child was born out of wedlock. The mean way, of course, is bastard.

More about the three act structure.

This is a great interview with Cat Sebastian in Jezebel about writing queer characters in historical romance.

Jul 28, 2021
S03.49: YA Romance Interstitial with Nicola Yoon
01:00:17

Two episodes this week! Huzzah!

Today we’re joined by the extremely delightful, extremely brilliant Nicola Yoon to discuss her extremely romantic new book, Instructions for Dancing, and YA Romance in general! We talk about Nicola’s love of romance novels (which she shares with the heroine of her book), about her history with them, and about what makes YA Romance so extremely delicious. We also talk about her new project with the Obamas and her new imprint for young readers at Random House.

Our next read along (next week! we told you it was coming!) is Cat Sebastian’s wonderful Unmasked by the Marquess. Get it at Amazon, Apple Books, B&N, Kobo, or Bookshop.org

Thank you, as always, for listening! Please follow us on your favorite podcasting app, and if you are up for leaving a rating or review there, we would be very grateful!

Show Notes

Welcome Nicola Yoon! Along with Instructions for Dancing, she and five other Black women authors just published the Blackout anthology, which has been picked up by the Obamas for TV and film for Netflix.Nicola and her husband David Yoon are also creating the Yooniverse, including a new YA romance imprint called Joy Revolution at Random House.

Poltergeist and its infamous curse scared everyone back in the 80. 

Nicola wasn’t sure what imprint she was reading when she found her first romance under her aunt's bed, but she mentioned Harlequin Blaze, one of our all time favorite imprints which was shuttered in 2017. 

Just a quick reminder that HFN means “happy for now” and HEA means “happily ever after.” 

YA has evolved over time, a process which has ramped up in the past 20 years and is now a publishing juggernaut. YA is far more progressive that adult romance, but also grapples with the influence of adultreaders of all kinds and gatekeepers who want to stop kids from reading about sex & gender, race, and other issues around identity

According to the Library of Congress, most of the earliest entries from Urban Dictionary date back to 2003.

Before Covid, It used to be hard to explain the terrifying rise of HIV was in the 1980s, along with the way the Reagan administration ignored the epidemic. This timeline tells the history of the HIV/AIDS crisis, and here is an explainer for why Covid vaccinations were developed so fast when we still don’t have one for HIV.

The Heads of Your Enemies as love language appears in Shadow’s Claim, when Trehan literally gives this gift to Bettina while they are courting. 

The Wrath and the Dawn is a retelling of the Scheherazade story, which is the framing device for The Arabian Nights

If you are GenX or Millenial and were a reader, you’ll love the book Paperback Crush: The Totally Radical History of 80s and 90s Teen Fiction. It's full of images, so read it in paper or on a full-color reading device!

Jessica Trent is a different thing entirely than Jessica Wakefield. Along with other changes, the Sweet Valley High twins are size 4 now, which we don’t like at all. 

I Believe in a Thing Called Love was also just optioned for Netflix, but they aren’t going to have much luck checking The Wirecutter for road spike recommendations, because this was the closest thing I could find to them.

The Hellmouth or whatever,” is a reference to Sunnydale, the setting of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 

You can pre-order signed copies of Sarah's Bombshell from WORD in Brooklyn, and you'll get a Fated Mates sticker with your signed book!

Jul 22, 2021
S03.48: The Ted Lasso Interstitial: Is Roy Kent a Romance Hero?
01:41:26

“Hang on,” we can hear you saying, “isn’t this a romance novel podcast?” It absolutely is, and that’s why we’re dropping a very special episode about the character who is the most perfect on-screen version of a romance hero that ever there was: Captain of the AFC Richmond team, Roy Kent. Added bonus, we’re joined by Jen’s brother Erik to talk sports stories (and check in on Jürgen Klopp).

Spoilers abound, so if you haven’t watched Season 1, do that first!

Our next read along is Cat Sebastian’s wonderful Unmasked by the Marquess. Get it at Amazon, Apple Books, B&N, Kobo, or Bookshop.org

Thank you, as always, for listening! Please follow us on your favorite podcasting app, and if you are up for leaving a rating or review there, we would be very grateful! 

Show Notes

Ted Lasso season two starts this Friday, and the reviews look great. Also, if you haven't read this GQ profile of Jason Sudeikis, you are missing out.

In season 2, we talked about Cinnamon Roll heroes, as compared to Alpha heroes. Grunting is definitely an alpha hero trait. 

We love Hannah Waddingham (Rebecca) and Juno Temple (Keeley) and that’s all we have to say about that. 

Apparently, there are ways to watch Apple TV Plus shows even if you don’t have an Apple Device. Who knew! 

You, too, can bake Ted’s biscuits

USAians have a different relationship with Soccer than the rest of the world. Perhaps you need a primer on the Premier League, promotion and relegation, the average age of Premier League players, and just how popular is Premier League football really is.

Fated Mates has a favorite team, it’s Liverpool, and it’s basically because of our favorite stern brunch daddy TMJürgen Klopp. Stern Brunch Daddy(tm) is the invention of Andie J. Christopher, friend of the pod, who has a new book out this week! 

Richmond is a fake team, but that won’t stop you from buying gear to show your team spirit. This year, London was home to six Premier League teams: Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Tottenham, and West Ham United.

Yes, Jen hates it when young characters make ancient pop culture references in romances, but in this case, Indiana Jones is appropriate for people our age! Go ahead and write I Love You on your eyelids! 

More about the story of how Brett Goldstein got the part of Roy Kent

Jen’s sister-in-law Janine writes for TV and she’s kind of a big deal! 

Susan Elizabeth Philips was a guest a few weeks ago, and she talked about the trope of the grizzled veteran at the end of his career and how it’s a hallmark of the Chicago Stars series.

Jen mentioned a series of soccer romances--it’s the Atlanta Skyline series by Rebecca Crowley.

You know, Roy Kent really should have tried to get that Rolex back

In a New York Times article about adapting romance to TV and film, Outlander showrunner Matthew B. Roberts “found that voice-over sequences left actors standing around with nothing to play against. Interior monologue has to become exterior dialogue. ‘That’s our biggest challenge always.’

“It’s witched” was a joke from our very first episode, in case you’re into that sort of thing. 

That German word (phrase?) is sturm und drang and it means turmoil.

No topping from the bottom.

Maureen Murdock’s Heroine’s Journey is an archetype that values community building over individualism, we like the latest iteration from Gail Carriger.

Rupert Mannion is the woooooorst. That darts scene is awesome though, and if you want to read a contemporary romance set in a pub that includes darts playing, Sarah wrote one!

Other sports TV shows and movies we mentioned: Friday Night LightsSports NightThe LeagueBull Durham, and Major League

Maybe you didn’t know that the character of Ted Lasso originated in a series of TV commercials for NBC. 

Bill Lawrence was a producer for Spin City and Scrubs, which were other funny workplace comedies. 

In the past few weeks, Italy won the Euro 2020 and Argentina won the Copa America. And the Olympics football competition will be interesting since men’s teams are limited to players under 23 years of age. FYI, the US Soccer Federation is pretty awful

For Generation X and Millenials, soccer was a big deal. If you are interested in a family friendly sports outing, maybe your city has a professional soccer teamThe Chicago Fire is awesome, and New York has two teams

The 1994 World Cup was played in the USA, and Sarah remembered the name of defender Alexi Lalas. Now he’s a commentator and we would like him to do better

So there are trick plays in football and . . .  well, football.

The last few decades of television have focused on the antihero, and lots of people wonder if that didn’t help create our recent political moment. 

It’s hard to beat the fan experience of singing You’ll Never Walk Alone at Anfield; but Erik recommends this 2019 video of the team and fans singing after Liverpool defeated Barcelona. The version in the last episode of season 1 of Ted Lasso is this one by Marcus Mumford. 

Follow AFC RichmondTed LassoHannah Waddingham and Brett Goldstein on Twitter. Jürgen Klopp does not have Twitter because "he is a grown man with a job."

You can preorder signed copies of Bombshell from Word in Brooklynbuttons and stickers from Best Friend Kelly, and Fated Mates merch from Jordan Dene.

Jul 20, 2021
S03.47: Taboo Romance Interstitial with Nikki Sloane
01:15:39

It’s Taboo Romance week! We’re thrilled to be joined by Nikki Sloane, whose books we’ve adored for years here on FM. We talk about what makes a romance taboo, about why readers are drawn to taboo stories, and about whether taboo romance is empirically erotic.

Our next read along is Cat Sebastian’s wonderful Unmasked by the Marquess. Get it at Amazon, Apple Books, B&N, Kobo, or Bookshop.org

Thank you, as always, for listening! Please follow us on your favorite podcasting app, and if you are up for leaving a rating or review there, we would be very grateful! 

Show Notes

Welcome Nikki Sloane! We discussed her novel Three Little Mistakes in season two. Her latest release in the Filthy Rich Americans series, The Redemption, won the Holt Award from the Virginia Romance Writers Association and has been nominated for the inaugural Vivian Award from the Romance Writers of America.

We had an episode about age-gap romance, but when the woman is older sometimes we use the phrase Cougar, which I do not recommend googling! 

Taboo romance is difficult to define. But on the episode, we talked about three major ideas: it explores power dynamics, it contains an element of the forbidden, and is makes readers viscerally feel that the relationship is “wrong.” However, Nikki also used the phrase “universal taboos” to describe topics so forbidden--beastality and incest--that they could never be a part of romance. 

In a Florida high school, the necklines of women and girls were photoshopped (without their knowledge) if there was too much cleavage.

We’ve been digging the priest taboo since The Thorn Birds, and it was revived in pop culture by the TV show Fleabag. We discussed Sierra Simone’s Priest in season two. 

As we reckon with #MeToo, we are all thinking about and redefining power dynamics in our culture

Incest is a common trope in horror and other gothic stories, it didn’t originate with Flowers in the Attic

Don’t forget to preorder signed copies of Bombshell from Word in Brooklyn.

Jul 14, 2021
S03.46: Interview with Susan Elizabeth Phillips
01:08:15

We are so excited to have absolute romance legend Susan Elizabeth Phillips with us to discuss every fangirly question we had for her! We talked about her new book, When Stars Collide, the latest in the Chicago Stars series, about her role in inventing the sports romance, about the opera and the way she thinks about her career after a few decades of writing. We had the BEST time.

Our next read along, sometime in July, is Cat Sebastian’s wonderful Unmasked by the Marquess. Get it at Amazon, Apple Books, B&N, Kobo, or Bookshop.org

Thank you, as always, for listening! Please follow us on your favorite podcasting app, and if you are up for leaving a rating or review there, we would be very grateful! 

Show Notes

Welcome Susan Elizabeth Phillips! We talked about an earlier book in the Chicago Stars series, Nobody’s Baby But Mine in season two. 

Speaking of amazing stories about opera singers, last week, an opera singer in Pennsylvania gave birth in the car while her husband was driving. 

As it turns out, the Opera in Verona is a pretty big deal! If you’re ever in Chicago, go to The Lyric Opera and then let Jen know because she wants someone to go with her. The Chicago Children’s Choir is amazing, too and they often collaborate with the CSO and Lyric Opera.

All you need to know about the totally awesome Chicago Flag, and why it's better than most city flags

The Dangerous Men, Adventurous Women anthology, which explored the genre from the perspective of romance authors instead of academics, was published in 1992.

Jen was on Learning the Tropes to talk about Kiss an Angel if you want to hear more about it. 

There are really cool things and really bad things about the Chicago River. 

You can preorder signed copies of Bombshell from Word Bookstore in Brooklyn.

Jul 07, 2021
S03.45: Dark Romance Interstitial: Monsters Need Love, Too.
01:51:38

We promised you an episode on Dark Romance and truthfully we’re pretty proud of how well we’ve delivered. We’ve got Kenya Goree-Bell, Nisha Sharma, Joanna Shupe and Jo Brenner with us today to dig deep on this subgenre that we don’t read regularly. We are endlessly grateful for their guidance through this end of the romance pool! 

We talk about what makes a romance “dark,” about how dark romance differs from morality chain and taboo romance, and about why dark romance resonates with so many readers. Oh, and yes, if you’re curious, we fill your TBR pile (obvi). Stay tuned at the end of the episode for additional reflections from Sarah & Jen.

CONTENT NOTE: Because Dark Romance can include all sorts of problematic content, we don’t shy away from many of those topics in this episode. Proceed with caution, both in listening and in reading.

Our next read along, sometime in July, is Cat Sebastian’s wonderful Unmasked by the Marquess. Get it at Amazon, Apple Books, B&N, Kobo, or Bookshop.org

Thank you, as always, for listening! Please follow us on your favorite podcasting app, and if you are up for leaving a rating or review there, we would be very grateful! 

Show Notes

Welcome our panel of dark romance experts: Kenya Goree-BellNisha SharmaJoanna Shupe, and Jo Brenner.

The hallmarks and tenets of Dark Romance

All dubious consent and non-consent romance is dark romance (although not all dark romance has dubcon or nonconsensual elements).

It’s about what the HEA is made up of: If the non-aggressor or non-villian moves into the dark (rather than pulling the other into the light), then it would qualify as dark romance.

Often the aggressor/villain is static, while the non-aggressor finds their light or strength in the new world they exist in. This person does all the work and learns how to navigate a life around the aggressor and their world. These are not stories of love redeeming, but rather of learning to find love and happiness with the person (people) in front of you.

The characters are suffering from current or past psychological or physical trauma. The non-aggressor represents the last bits of humanity that the aggressor has to hold on to. Dark romance explores a relationship where only one person has strains of humanity and the impact it has on a person without it.

The evil and violence of the aggressor must take place on the page.

Some Terms we'll use on this episode

Consensual non-consent (non-con): is when romantic partners engage “in behaviors that may include role-playing nonconsensual behaviors, or may involve negotiating sexual behaviors where one partner agrees to give up consent during certain behaviors or relationships.” This can include fantasizing about rape and kidnapping, and lots of women have complicated feelings about these fantasies. 

Dubious consent (dub-con): is the gray area between full, enthusiastic consent and rape. A person hasn't give outright consent to having sex and might not consider it rape; however, some other factor prevents them from saying no. 

The Aggressor: rather than use hero/heroine, Jo started using aggressor and non-aggressor as a way of talking about chracters who exhibit very non-heroic behavior. 

The skin suit: What Jen calls the experience of reading a book where she wants more distance between herself and the main characters.

The Murder Meal: Sarah noticed that a common trope of dark romance is a meal where blood is shed and people still continue to eat.

Notes and Other Links

You may have listened to our Morality Chain episode, where we made a graphic explaining how it differs from dark romance. Next month, Nikki Sloane will join us to discuss taboo romance. 

It’s not Mordor unless you’re a hobbit. Sarah is not opposed to elevensies, so it's fine.

Earlier this year, there was a Saturday Night Live skit about women watching The Murder Show. Why do women like reading about serial killers? Did you see this essay in Slate about a woman who thinks she slept with a man who went on to be a serial killer?

Game of Thrones and it’s penchant for sexual violence is still influencing pop culture. 

The only thing that’s forbidden in dark romance is cheating, which shows how firmly these books are rooted in the romance genre, as compared to the rampant cheating by male characters The Godfather and other mafia movies, but this is often rooted in obsession rather than a belief in monogamy. 

While there's very little (possibly no) research on readers of dark romance, but there's lots of research on the horror genre. Sarah’s friend Micol Ostow, who writes YA horror recommended this essay about  the "spectacle of the ruined body." Meanwhile, Jen follows Becky Spratforda librarian and horror expert, who says that one thing romance and horror have in common is they are both “genres of emotion.”

There’s some research on horror and spoilers from Jonathan Leavitt & Nicholas Christenfeld which indicates that spoilers might allow people to enjoy a story more fully. Perhaps dark romance readers, regardless of what terrible things happen, can safely continue reading because they know there will be an HEA.

Why do we like to watch and read media where characters are undergoing trauma? In The Paradox of Horror: Fear as a Positive Emotion, Katerina Bantinaki explains how readers experience reading about fear and trauma. Related: [(Why) Do You Like Scary Movies? By G. Neil Martin. 

A highly gendered kind of world exists in many m/f Dark Romances, and the article Her Body, Himself: Gender in Slasher Films by Carol Clover explores how similar themes play out in horror movies. As Nisha said, there are queer and polyamarous dark romance and a few the panel recommends are  Soul Survivor by Daniel de Lorne, the Wicked Villains Series by Katee RobertTrouble or the Darkness trilogy by Nora Ash, and Manipulate by Pam Godwin.

Stockholm Syndrome isn’t real, quelle surprise, but it still a popular idea in pop culture of all kinds. Many dark romance novels show characters using extreme or maladaptive coping strategies in an attempt to heal themselves or others without the help of therapists or medicine, a particularly American problem since so few people have adequate (if any) coverage for mental health.

Dark romance runs long, they’re all “Zack Snyder cut” books. We speculated that there are two reasons for the length of many of these books: 1) The books are long because the trauma on page must have an equal or greater redemption arc. Readers must believe that the non-agressor has fully accepted the bad deeds of the aggressor in order to believe the HEA. 2) Many of these books are on KU, which means authors are getting paid by the page. Like Charles Dickens, the incentive is to write longer to increase their pay.

Jun 30, 2021
S03.44: The Stage Dive Series by Kylie Scott: #HeroesWhoEat
01:21:04

We’re back to read alongs this week! We’re big Kylie Scott fans here at Fated Mates, and we talked about her Stage Dive series all the way back in Season One on our very first interstitial, and now we’re doing a deep dive. We’d intended to do book three, Lead, but we ended up talking about all four, and honestly, rereading this was pretty great for us. We hope it was great for you, too.

Our next read along, sometime in July, is Cat Sebastian’s wonderful Unmasked by the Marquess. Get it at Amazon, Apple Books, B&N, Kobo, or Bookshop.org.

Thank you, as always, for listening! Please follow us on your favorite podcasting app, and if you are up for leaving a rating or review there, we would be very grateful!

Show Notes

Sarah has a book coming on August 24th! Preorder Bombshell now. You won't regret it.

Everyone is struggling with getting dressed again. 

It’s a 1001 in the 1001 Dark Nights series as an homage and allusion to Scheherazade, the story-teller of the Arabian Nights. 

We also love the VIP series by Kristen Callihan, and the 4th book in that series, Exposed, comes out next month, July 2021.

On our upcoming episode with Susan Elizabeth Phillips, where she told us that back in the day, “rock stars, actors, and athletes” were not allowed in the early days of romance. We aren’t sure why, but we speculate that it was fear of putting “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” and other high roller lifestyles on page. 

If you want to join the OSRBC group (Old School Romance Book Club) on Facebook, make sure to answer the three questions if you want to be admitted.

Beverly Jenkins liked the Stage Dive series, too.

Andi Arndt is the narrator of all Kylie’s books, including the entire Stage Dive series, and Jen thinks she is terrific. 

The Captains’ Vegas Vows has a similar set up to Lick: waking up married in Vegas, and only one of them remembered what happened. 

“Retcon” is a word that started out as shorthand for retroactive continuity, and here’s a piece from Merriam-Webster explaining its remarkable elasticity.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is the medical term for severe morning sickness, which affects about one percent of pregnant people. 

DC comics claims that Batman doesn’t go down, but the internet and everyone else on twitter and even Zach Snyder disagred. But in all seriousness, maybe it's just another interesting data point about America turning back towards the Hays Code and continuing to remove sex from all kinds of media.

Thelma and Louise does have a great ending, you can’t argue with that. And since 2021 is the 30th anniversary of the film’s release, there are lots of interesting retrospectives on the movie.

Desmond Morris is an English zoologist who outlined the 12 stages of intimacy -- hey, humans are animals, too! 

Our July interviews will be with Susan Elizabeth PhillipsNicola Yoon, and Nikki Sloane. Our July read-along is Unmasked by the Marquess by Cat Sebastian.

Jun 23, 2021
S03.43: Writers in Romance Interstitial with Tia Williams
01:11:24


We’re welcoming Tia Williams, author of the wonderful Seven Days in June, to talk about her delicious book, about writing writers, about romances set in New York City, about her youth as a romance reader, and about Drew Barrymore as inspiration, and about The Joan Wilder?!.

Our next read along is Kylie Scott’s Lead, one of our longtime favorites. Get it at Amazon, Apple Books, B&N, Kobo, or Bookshop.org! Get the others in the series, too, while you’re at it, because you’ll probably want to read the whole thing.

Thank you, as always, for listening! Please follow us on your favorite podcasting app, and if you are up for leaving a rating or review there, we would be very grateful!

Show Notes

If you want a signed copy of Bombshell along with a Fated Mates sticker, preorder from Word Bookstore in Brooklyn. 

Welcome Tia Williams! Her new release, Seven Days in June, is Reese’s Book Club pick for JuneIn this article in Ebony, Tia talks about her commitment to putting Black love on page and creating rich, interesting lives for Shane and Eva. 

Eva’s website is EvaMercyMe, and her vampire hero is Sebastian. And according to Twitter, all romance Sebastians are good Sebatians

Slow Heat in Heaven by Sandra Brown is quite the read, and we talked about it on the Texas!Chase episode.

The question of “what if Romeo and Juliet met as grown-ups” was also the idea behind Kate Clayborn’s Love at First, and we talked about it with Kate on an episode about retellings in romance

Drew Barrymore’s memoir Little Girl Lost is the story of her childhood in Hollywood, and definitely was hugely influential and shocking, and it still is worth a read if you can find a copy. It hasn't been digitized! 

Jen talked to Adriana Herrera about how people might self-harm, cut, and use other extreme coping mechanisms if they have experienced trauma. 

The Brooklyn Book Festival is not for the faint of heart. 

More about the quote “Easy reading is damn hard writing.”

The Argeneau series by Lynsay Sands started with started with A Quick Bite in 2005, and book 33, Mile High with a Vampire comes out in Sept of 2021. 

Want to watch that TikTok about The Unhoneymooners? 

Romancing the Stone is a great movie from the 80s, and “The Joan Wilder!?” is a line from the movie. And, friend of the pod Linda has a t-shirt you might like. What’s looking like a great movie with a similar set up is The Lost City of D with Channing Tatum and Sandra Bullock. 

Next week, we’ll be discussing Lead (and the other books in the Stage Dive series) by Kylie Scott.

Jun 16, 2021
Transcript: Jessa Kane New Year's Eve Extravaganza
A full transcript is now available for season for our New Year’s Eve extravaganza. Enjoy.
Jun 11, 2021
S03.42: Fantasy Romance Interstitial with Zoraida Córdova
01:25:39

This week, Zoraida Córdova (aka Zoey Castille) joins us to talk about fantasy romance and why it is so hard to find it in the romance pool. We talk about speculative fiction, high fantasy, low fantasy, urban fantasy, contemporary fantasy, paranormal romance and more, all while trying to figure out just what makes something fantasy and not paranormal (we think we’ve cracked the code). We also talk world building, about maps, and about merman junk.

Our next read along is Kylie Scott’s Lead, one of our longtime favorites. Get it at Amazon, Apple Books, B&N, Kobo, or Bookshop.org! Get the others in the series, too, while you’re at it, because you’ll probably want to read the whole thing.

Thank you, as always, for listening! Please follow us on your favorite podcasting app, and if you are up for leaving a rating or review there, we would be very grateful!

Show Notes

Welcome Zoraida Córdova! Zoraida writes MG, YA, and adult speculative fiction, and also romance under the name Zoey Castile. 

Puerto Rico is a US territory and residents of the island are American citizens.

Why Moscow Mules are served in copper mugs.

We love Norma Perez-Hernandez who is an amazing, exuberant editor at Kensington, and if you don’t follow her on Twitter she should. Norma also was on the 2020 Publisher's Weekly Star Watch List. 

Zoraida’s book The Vicious Deep answers the age-old question of “where does it go,” a similar answer is in Guillermo del Toro's movie The Shape of Water

Speculative fiction asks the question “what if” and is the big umbrella category for science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy (now Black authors in particular suggest we rename this contemporary fantasy), and paranormal. 

Reading strategies are for everyone: We love maps in fantasy, so why not in contemporary fiction?

Victoria Avyeard was on Sarah Enni's First Draft podcast talking about world building.

The Hero’s Journey, or maybe the heroine’s journey

NK Jemisin’s lecture about the cultural iceberg shows writers how to build a world that goes beyond what’s on the surface. 

An interesting thread from a YA librarian, and another from author Elizabeth May, about why and how romance plots in SFF are pushed into YA. 

Zoraida hosts a writing podcast with Dhonielle Clayton called Deadline City.

Relevant music perormed by: Twin TempleMarike van Dijk + Katell KeinegKing MissileDr. Octagon, and Led Zeppelin. Listen to the full Fated Music playlist on Spotify. 

Jun 09, 2021
Bonus: 99% Invisible Podcast on The Clinch
00:44:58

Monday Surprise! We’re so excited to share last week’s episode of 99% Invisible with Fated Mates listeners this week — Sarah’s favorite podcast did an episode about romance covers, and it was thoughtful and respectful and perfect….and not only because she was on it.

She’s so grateful to the team at 99% Invisible for having her, and we’re so grateful to them for letting us share the episode with all of you. Enjoy!

Show Notes

Sarah was a guest on last week's 99% Invisible podcast called The Clinch. We're huge fans of the podcast, but it's especially because their episode about locks called Perfect Security was the inspiration for Felicity Faircloth in Wicked and the Wallflower

Although we haven't talk about the cover of Tender is the Storm on Fated Mates, we did discuss another Johanna Lindsey fan favorite, Gentle Rogue

One of Jen's favorite episodes of 99% Invisible is about flag design, probably because it was very complimentary to the Chicago flag. Sarah's is obviously Perfect Security, but she also loved this one on water fountains.

If you're looking for other great reads about romance covers, Kelly Faircloth wrote about clinch covers for Jezebel and it is a must read. And Jen wrote about the art of the Harlequin romance cover for Kirkus.

This episode of 99PI was produced by Katie Mingle and inspired by her mom, Pamela Mingle, who writes historical romances. Try her debut (with that gorgeous clinch!), A False Proposal, or her most recent, Game of Spies.

Jun 08, 2021
S03.41: Spy Romance Interstitial with Nana Malone
01:31:08

You are in the right place! Your eyes do not deceive you! We’re actually talking about spy romances this week and no Sarahs were harmed during the discussion, but that’s probably because it was a discussion with one of her favorite people, the fantastic Nana Malone!

We talk about Nana’s immense career, about how she took matters into her own hands and started making the covers she wished to see in the world, about her Brown Nipple reading challenge, about her latest book, a Kobo original, The Spy in 3B, and about porny ferris wheels. Real ordinary stuff. We also get to the bottom of why Sarah doesn’t like spy romances generally, but why she can’t get enough of Mr. & Mrs. Smith retellings.

Our next read along in some number of weeks (three? four?) is Kylie Scott’s Lead, one of our longtime favorites. Get it at Amazon, Apple Books, B&N, Kobo, or Bookshop.org!

Thank you, as always, for listening! Please follow us on your favorite podcasting app, and if you are up for leaving a rating or review there, we would be very grateful!

Show Notes

Welcome Nana Malone back to the pod, and if you want to hear more about the Brown Nipple Challenge, check out her Instagram. She is an amazing author and recently became her own cover model after failing to find good stock photos for her books.

If you don’t know how stock photography works, here’s a brief primer on how they can be used to make book covers and teasers. The problems with finding stock photography that is truly diverse is a well-known problem. For most authors, custom photography is cost-prohibitive. Nana’s favorite photographer is Wander Aguiar

If you want to hear more about romance covers and their history, Sarah was interviewed on an episode of the 99% Invisible podcast about covers this week. Head over and have a listen after you listen to this! 

Just in case you need a quick review, there are currently three paths in publishing: self-published, indie, and traditional. It’s common to use “indie” and “self-published” interchangeably, which why Nana described an author as “their own business.” Strictly speaking, Indie means small, independent presses, such as Violet Gaze Press. And Trad, or traditional publishing, refers to the Big Five (Big Four?) New York publishing houses: Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster. 

A little about the history of Kobo and why it’s worth supporting them. 

No one likes it when the Mary Sue character has no idea what’s going on. 

Turns out that Ferris Wheel sex is a real thing at Coachella. And Myrtle Beach. And Vegas. And Kindle Unlimited.

Daniel Craig jumps on a trainPierce Brosnon catches a plane.

Faberge Eggs have a storied history and are very fancy

The hero of Night Magic is not that John McClane. If you like a Cold War thriller, you might enjoy a bonkers 80s spy thriller, The Charm School by Nelson DeMille

Jen did love Lies, but had some thoughts about the ending and unreliable narrators that you can read after you finish the book. 

Miss Moneypenny.

We also mentioned some movies and TV shows about spies: Mr. and Mrs. SmithLa Femme NikitaSpyJames BondTrue LiesThe AmericansKingsman, and The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Jun 02, 2021
S03.40: Tangled Lies by Anne Stuart - Who Flies in White Linen?!
01:21:15

Continuing our conversation about Bright Bananas on the Romance Tree — this week we’re reading an extreme oldie, Anne Stuart’s Tangled Lies, famous for being a story about a heroine falling for her brother…except he’s not really her brother! It’s a RIDE. We talk about just how odd romance could be back in the day, about how this book might be an ancestor to dark romance, and about how alpha alpha heroes could really get. And then we talk about modern contemporary romance and how things are changing in traditional publishing.

Our next read along in some number of weeks (three? four?) is Kylie Scott’s Lead, one of our longtime favorites. Get it at Amazon, Apple Books, B&N, Kobo, or Bookshop.org!

Thank you, as always, for listening! Please follow us on your favorite podcasting app, and if you are up for leaving a rating or review there, we would be very grateful!

Show Notes

Bombshell comes out on Aug 24th. You should preorder it from WORD in Brooklyn, which will for sure come with some cool swag, including a special edition Fated Mates sticker. Best Friend Kelly did a Twitter poll asking people about their experiences ordering books + swag from Indie bookstores. Speaking of which, the art by Liz Parkes for The Soulmate Equation is the cutest! 

You might need this page as you are reading Tangled Lies.

Speaking of books from your grandma’s attic, look at what HEAapologist found this week! If you want this feeling without having relatives cool enough to leave them lying around, just order a big lot of random romances from eBay. For individual titles, Jen thinks Thrift Books is better than Amazon because you don’t pay shipping for each individual title.

Rob Imes has a page on his blog where he keeps track of all the category lines through 1989. In the case of Tangled Lies, it was first published as Harlequin Intrigue #5, then it was rebranded in the Men Made in America series, and finally part of the Famous Firsts Collection that celebrated Harlequin's 60th anniversary

Fiction DB is the place to do if you're looking for an author's backlist. Here is Anne Stuart's page, the one where the soldier and the nun have a baby together. Also, Catspaw.

Check out Adriana’s Instagram Live Series about telenovelas. Sarah was on to talk about Falcon Crest, because she imprinted on Lorenzo Llamas in his swim suit. His character's name was Lance Cumson. Sure.Speaking of Adriana, now is the time to preorder One Week to Claim it All. Jen and her brother Mike will be on to talk about Santa Barbara.

In case you don’t remember the movie Sneakers a very similar situation happens when Robert Redford is out for pizza in the 60s. And it looks like Jen & Sarah aren't the only ones who love this movie. 

Why we were all afraid of piranhas and quicksand in the 80s. I don’t know why.

The Pondering Padre (from the original cover) looks like Friar Lawrence, but not like Friar Tuck. Please note: not that kind of Priest.

In the introduction, Anne Stuart mentioned being inspired by an old movie called Miss Tatlock's Millions (1948) but when it comes to "ope, maybe we're related" in pop culture, it seems hard not to talk about the influence of Flowers in the Attic and its famous incestual relationship. More recently, it was the Lannister twins in Game of Thrones or the folks in this Slate column.

In romance, it was more common that these attractions were the mark of villainous men lusting after their sisters, such as Prisoner of My Desire by Johanna Lindsey, and others by Bertrice Small and Stella Cameron. A more updated story is Mister Moneybags by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward.

In film, along with Miss Tatlock's Millions, Sarah metioned Crimson Peak (2015), and Jen is kicking herself for not bringing up the terrific movie movie Lone Star (1996).

Jen wrote about paratext on Twitter, which of course turned into a cover conversation. 

We have a lot of fun interviews with authors coming up in June, and our next read along (in a couple of weeks) will be Lead by Kylie Scott. 

Vulture TV Critic Angelica Jade Bastién wrote a thread asking why she's bored, and wondering what happend to interesting failuresDonald Glover returned to Twitter to blame cancel culture for boring art, but then he canceled his own tweets later. 

A few think pieces about why sexual content is being deplatformed on the: who is doing it, and who it impacts. I bet you're shocked to learn its about capitalism and right-wing politics. Why Sarah's Facebook group OSRBC keeps getting dragged into the net.

We have a lot of really fun guests coming up in the next few weeks: Tia Williams, Zoraida Cordova, and Nana Malone. Our next read along (at some point in June) will be Lead by Kylie Scott.

May 26, 2021
S03.39: The Soulmate Equation & Trope Death Match with Christina Lauren
01:09:03

It is release week for some of our favorite people, and we’re here to celebrate with them! Join us for a wild conversation about the books Jen refers to as “the brightest bananas on the tree” — each of us has selected a truly wild ride of a book, and we’re going to share them with you! We also talk about their fabulous new release, now Sarah’s favorite CLo book, The Soulmate Equation. Preorder it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Bookshop.org, or signed from Vroman’s bookstore!

Our next read along is out of print (but available in audio!), so you will have to do a bit of a used bookstore hunt to get it! Get Anne Stuart’s truly eye-widening Tangled Lies at your local library or via a used bookseller near you. We recommend checking Amazon, eBay & Thrift Books.

Thank you, as always, for listening! Please follow us on your favorite podcasting app, and if you are up for leaving a rating or review there, we would be very grateful!

Show Notes

If you'd like to order signed copies of The Soulmate Equation, check out Vroman's Bookstore or the other book shops on CLo's virtual book tour. Tonight, 5/19/2021, Christina and Lauren are celebrating the launch of The Soulmate Equation with Sarah, Xio Axelrod, and Rachel Epstein. 

If you want to dive into the Theranos story, Lo recommends the book Bad Blood by John Carreyrou, and the New York Times has a list of recommended things to read and watch. 

23 & Me and other DNA Ancestry tests can tell you some things: whether or not you think cilantro tastes like soap, and about the size of our hair follicles, but as of right now, science can’t tell you much about your fated mate, I mean soulmate.

Questions about the future of technology and how it intersects with humanity make for great television in shows like Black MirrorThe One, and Casual.

I don’t know, maybe you’ve heard about there being a fundamental incompatibility between science and religion, but others are pretty sure we can work it out.

If you’re not a sportsball fan, Michael Jordan is a kind of a big deal. 

Aphrodisia was a short-lived Kensington imprint that focused on erotica and erotic romance, it ran from 2006 to 2014. Jen asked if it was Ellora’s Cave, which was another powerhouse erotic romance publisher that shuttered in 2014. 

A satyr is a magical creature from Greek mythology, so we’re not sure if they 1) have two dicks and 2) if they are covered in soft fur. You’re going to have to use your own imagination.

We all hope that Nicholas the satyr is a little sexier that Mr. Tumnus from the movie version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Slate had a woman asking for advice about her pandemic threesome with two brothers, and you can tell a romance reader didn’t write that advice, because probably they could work that out. Jen alerted Jenny Nordbak immediately, of course. 

Are you also looking for monster fucking romances

If you need a quick review on alpha traits, listen to our episode from season two.

Knotting isn't just for A/B/O, it's also in romance. Same with mPreg romances and DP (which no one has made a list of!), in case you need a primer. Lo is looking for a romance that she thinks is called Passionate Ink about an octopus shifter tattoo artist...Maybe? Christina wants your favorite mPreg romance recommendation. We'll also take marriage of convenience recs and secret scar recs if you're in the mood.

More about the word "quim" and how it was used in that Avengers movie. 

Next up, Tangled Lies by Anne Stuart. Buy it used because it's not avaible as an eBook.

May 19, 2021
S03.38: Ravishing the Heiress by Sherry Thomas: She's Good
01:17:19

We’re talking Sherry Thomas’s beautiful, unrequited love/marriage of convenience story Ravishing the Heiress this week — we’ll talk about angst, about why we love yearning so much, about our feelings about heroes who are dummies, about homes vs. houses, and about Victorians being E X T R A.

Next week, we’re back with the delightful Christina Lauren to play a very fun game with bananas romance novels and celebrate the launch of their fabulous book (now Sarah’s favorite CLo book), The Soulmate Equation. Preorder it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Bookshop.org, or signed from Vroman’s bookstore!

We’re also going to announce our next read along now, because it’s out of print (but available in audio!), so you will have to do a bit of a used bookstore hunt to get it! Get Anne Stuart’s truly bananas Tangled Lies at your local library or via a used bookseller near you. We recommend checking Amazon, eBay & Thrift Books.

Thank you, as always, for listening! Please follow us on your favorite podcasting app, and if you are up for leaving a rating or review there, we would be very grateful!

Show Notes

This is the Eurographics Moon Puzzle that Jen is doing, and it’s too hard. 

There is a very funny tweet thread trying to drag the Shadow and Bone TV show, but the replies are terrific. 

Jen was texting Sarah in the middle of the night about Ravishing the Heiress, because of the angst! 

Here’s an interview where Sherry Thomas talks about how reading romance influenced her as a writer.

We talked about time slip quite a bit on the episode for A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh.

Millie is 16 at the beginning of the book, and because Jen forgot to talk about it, she wrote a thread about Sherry’s deep respect for teenage girls. 

A little bit about the history of tinned food and the rise of advertising in Victorian England.

All about the dormouse and keeping them as pets, if you’re into that sort of thing. Give us some credit for not making a joke about Of Mice and Men, thank you. 

The Victorians were super extra. Here’s a primer on women in business in the Victorian era. Floriography is the Victorian name for the language of flowers, which ascribes meanings to flowers and plants. For example, chrysanthemums and lavender (and yes rosemary is for remembrance is from Hamlet) have very specific meanings. If you’re interested, check out the book Floriography: An Illustrated Guide to the Victorian Language of Flowers by Jessica Roux. 

Bees that make honey from the nectar of lavender flowers is a different thing than people who make lavender-infused honey. Now you know!

Infidelity in Romance is tricky, and Sarah’s book Day of the Duchess is an example, and there really aren’t that many out there. 

The myth of Cupid & Psyche in literature and art

In Season 4 of The Crown, the scene where Camilla Parker-Bowles takes Diana is based in truth, but the name of the restaurant was not Menage a Trois

Raise a glass to the incomparable Olympia Dukakis.

Next up, we’re dialing the banana phone with Tangled Lies by Anne Stuart. 

Join BestFriendKelly’s Sticker of the Month Club. If you put Fated Mates in the note, she’ll send a free sparkly Fated Mates sticker. If you’re already a member, drop her a note and she’ll include it with your next sticker.

May 12, 2021
S03.37: Widows in Romance Interstitial
01:17:22

We’re toppling TBRs this week with widow romances! We’re talking widows of all shapes and sizes…from virgin widows who murder their husbands in old school historicals to modern-day widows who are looking for love because they know how good it can be. If widow romances are your thing, we’re about to make you very happy!

Next week, we’re back with an interstitial, and in two weeks, we’re reading Sarah’s favorite Sherry Thomas book —Ravishing the Heiress. Find it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, or Kobo.

We’re also going to announce our next read along now, because it’s out of print (but available in audio!), so you will have to do a bit of a used bookstore hunt to get it! Get Anne Stuart’s truly bananas Tangled Lies at a used bookseller near you. We recommend checking Amazon, eBay & Thrift Books.

Thank you, as always, for listening! Please follow us on your favorite podcasting app, and if you are up for leaving a rating or review there, we would be very grateful!

Show Notes

Last week, we talked about Big Pharma, and if you want more of that, read Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe. It’s about the Sackler family and how they made billions on Oxycontin which was a huge factor in the creation of the opioid epidemic.

Daisy Jones and the Six is a great novel, and the full-cast audiobook is supposed to be amazing. The Reese Witherspoon book club is the definition of the full glow-up.

Sarah made some Maple Oatmeal Muffins, and maybe you want the recipe. Why food bloggers include some pre-recipe chatter.

The question of freshman year dorm room decoration is of new significance to Jen since Lil Romance will be heading off to college in the fall. Might we recommend a Pulp Fiction movie poster or some Absolut Vodka ads?

If we’re talking skyscrapers, meaning buildings over 150M (about 500 feet) tall, when this was recorded in April of 2021, Cleveland has 4Denver has 7,  Chicago has 127, and New York has 284. According to wikipedia, only nine cities in the world have over 100 buildings 150M tall. The other seven are Hong Kong (355), Shenzhen (289), Dubai (201), Shanghai (163), Tokyo (158), Chongqing (127), and Guangzhou (118).

Check out the Sassy Podcast and the Babysitter’s Club. No, not that kind of babysitter

We love the movie Widows

The merry widow is an opera and a kind of sexy lingerie

We did an episode on Prisoner of My Desire with Joanna Shupe way back in season one. 

Primogeniture laws are all about who inherits titles and money and estates, and wasn't changed in England until 2013

Apparently there are lots of misconceptions about Arabian horses

More about Victorian era mourning requirements.

Historically you couldn’t marry your brother’s widow

All about gorillas and where the live, and actually it turns out a gorilla really could kill you in a fight. Sarah was on Learning the Tropes talking about The Earl Takes All, in case you need more of that.

Spoiler alert about The Power Broker in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

We have two read-along books in May. On the 12th, we’ll be reading Ravishing the Heiress by Sherry Thomas. On the 26th, we’ll be reading Tangled Lies by Anne Stuart. It’s out of print and not available as an eBook, so order a used copy from Amazon or ThriftBooks, or check out the audio. 

Join the "Romance sticker of the month" club

Preorder Bombshell, which comes out August 24th.

May 05, 2021
S03.36: Whiteout by Adriana Anders: You and Me Against the World
01:12:30

This week, we’re tackling Romantic Suspense and reading one of our favorite books of 2020, Adriana Anders’s Whiteout! We talk about all the things romantic suspense has to nail (ha!) to knock it out of the park, why we would literally never be characters in a book set in Antarctica, and the wild feeling of reading a romantic suspense about a virus during a pandemic. Also Sarah talks about how much she loves Adriana Anders’s writing and recommends lots of backlist.

Next week, we’re back with an interstitial, and in two weeks, we’re reading Sarah’s favorite Sherry Thomas book —Ravishing the Heiress. Find it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, or Kobo.

Thank you, as always, for listening! Please follow us on your favorite podcasting app, and if you are up for leaving a rating or review there, we would be very grateful!

Show Notes

It’s tenterhooks, not tenderhooks. 

Apparently Jen needs more sleep, or else it’s gonna be a real drag on future seasons of Fated Mates. 

Jen tweeted about Whiteout a lot, put it on our Best of 2020 list, and even made a meme about it last week. 

Reading a book about a virus during a pandemic is kind of wild! 

Jen and Sarah are not campers, but we support you. We do like reading books about people doing extremely cold outside things: Into Thin AirInto the Wild, and a new book on Jen’s TBR is The Next Everest by Jim Davidson.

Let Sandra Brown explain romantic suspense to you, and maybe you’d like to read Jack Reacher if you’re into that sort of thing.

We learned some things about Antarctica and staying warm while reading this book: 

How cold did you say it was again?

Why are frostbite and hypothermia so dangerous?

How fast can you get hypothermia?

What would really happen to a penis in super cold weather?

What's the deal with the red puffy jacket?

What was all that other gear Angel and Ford had?

What are fat bombs?

Do people really burn 6000 calories a day there?

Can you really go 300 miles on foot?

What is an ice core and why do scientists study them?

Are ice tunnels real?

Why is flying a plane in Antartica so dangerous?

What about driving vehicles?

Or swimming?

There are mountain ranges in Antartica?

What's the terrain like? Is that cravasee thing real?

Can you really make a heater out of a tealight candle?

Why are there seasons??

What is Polar Night? Was it just a coincidence that you released this episode concurrently with the onset of Polar Night in Antartica?

Outside of murdering people for their ice core samples, are people doing crimes in Antarctica?

How accurate is the movie Arctic with Mads Mikkleson?

How's Antartica doing in global climate change?

Thanks to Amy, one of our listeners, we now know that Antarctica TikTok exists

The two ice stations in the book McMurdo and Vostok are real research stations, and actually there are way more of these stations than you’d think. 

Angel calls Ford the Iceman, but not that Iceman

If you want to read more about racism and greed in American pharmaceutical companies, you might be interested in Empire of Pain, Patrick Radden Keefe’s new book about the Sackler family, about Pfizer and Moderna and the COVID vaccine, Henrietta Lacksthe Tuskegee experiments, medical colonialism, and the list goes on and on

Big Bad Wolf by Suleikha Snyder isn’t a critique of big pharma, but it is a fierce critique of the American system of justice. 

Chekhov's Gun is an axiom by the playwright about how props on stage must come into the plot. 

You can still order the Fated Mates Best of 2020 pack from Old Town Books

Music

Zager & Evans - In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus), Duran Duran - My Antarctica, Deltron 3030 - Virus, ZZ Top - Sleeping Bag

Listen to the full Fated Mates music collection.

Apr 28, 2021
S03.35: Second Chance Romance Interstitial with Priscilla Oliveras
01:14:34

We’re thrilled to be joined by the wonderful Priscilla Oliveras to talk about second chance romance and her new book (out next week!), Anchored Hearts. We talk about our favorite second chance romances and dig into the Venn diagram of second chance, marriage in trouble, secret baby, childhood sweethearts, and one night stands. We also talk about the hard truths of face transplants, the way characters in romance have to do their own emotional work, and how we love it when they remember every bit of a kiss from a decade before.

Preorder the delightful Anchored Hearts at Amazon, B&N, Apple, Kobo or from your local indie.

Next week, we’re we’re reading a romantic suspense—Whiteout by Adriana Anders. Find it at Amazon (free in KU!), Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, or from your local indie. You can also get it along with our other picks for best books of 2020 as part of the Fated Mates pack from Old Town Books in Alexandria, VA!

Thank you, as always, for listening! Please follow us on your favorite podcasting app, and if you are up for leaving a rating or review there, we would be very grateful!

Show Notes

Welcome Priscilla Oliveras! Her next novel, Anchored Hearts comes out next Tuesday, April 27th. You can order signed copies (bookplates) with recipe cards from Love’s Sweet Arrow. The first in the series, Island Affair, has the fake relationship trope. 

Key West things Priscilla mentioned: the half marathon in January, and the Cuban restaurant El Mason de Pepe.

This Goodreads list of second chance romance has over a thousand titles! 

Operation Peter Pan moved over 14,000 unaccompanied minors from Cuba to the US between 1960-1962.

We think cliff diving might be a bad idea.

In Wild Card and The Highwayman, the heroine doesn't recognize the hero, but the absolute pinnacle of this is the 1997 movie Face/Off with John Travolta and Nic Cage. You honestly have to see it to believe it. 

Theodosia is a name we all know from Hamilton. Aaron Burr married Theodosia Bartow Prevost, and it was an age gap romance! she was a decade older than he was. Their daughter Theodosia was their only child to survive to adulthood. 

Here is a very nice video of NWSL players sliding on their knees after scoring goals

That person you liked in high school? You're the one that got away, not the other way around. 

Next week, we'll be discussing Whiteout by Adriana Anders.

Apr 19, 2021
S03.34: Captain of All Pleasures by Kresley Cole: There's Only One Bunk
00:45:21

Rounding the corner on Season Three, and we’re missing Kresley Cole! This week, we read a book neither of us have read before — Kresley’s Captain of All Pleasures. A Victorian pirate book about a ship race. We talk about the magic of the debut romance, why pirates are often times icky, and why setting a book on a boat is risky business.

Next week, we’re back with an interstitial, and in two weeks, we’re reading a romantic suspense—Whiteout by Adriana Anders. Find it at Amazon (free in KU!), Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, or from your local indie.

Thank you, as always, for listening! Please follow us on your favorite podcasting app, and if you are up for leaving a rating or review there, we would be very grateful!

Show Notes

The requisite coronavirus chat: Sarah was very sick in 2020 and Kate and Jen did a “sickbed scenes” interstitial without her. Jen said someone is going to make a jingle out of “Fauci Ouchie” and it already happened. 

Sarah’s upcoming book is available for pre-order. The title is Bombshell and it comes out August 24, 2021. You can read this interview with Sarah when EW did the cover reveal. 

Check out Season one, which is all about Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series.

Quite a few of Lisa Kleypas’s earliest novels are out of print and not available as eBooks, but you can probably find them used on eBay or Amazon. 

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake is Sarah’s debut, you should read it. 

Borders was a bookstore that closed in 2011. Goodreads was invented in 2007 but took a few years to become popular, but once it was bought by Amazon, it completely stagnated

Sarah was probably talking about Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours of practice rule, but how many words would that actually be?

The Stephanie Plum series is now on book number 27, and all Jen has to say is #TeamRanger forever. Don’t @ her.

Here’s Kresley’s FictionDB page for a complete list of her books in order. 

Ships vs. boats, if getting those names is important to you, I guess. 

The Amazing Race arc of IAD takes place over two books, No Rest for the Wicked and Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night

Again the Magic was actually published in 2004, a year after Captain of All Pleasures. 

The golden age of pirates was between 1650 and the 1730s, and of course our actual knowledge of pirates and piracy is limited. But most recently, of course, there are the Somali piratesThe race in Captain of All Pleasures was probably based on the Great Tea Race of 1866. 

The history of henna tattoos

A marchioness is a higher rank than an earl

Dr. Gunter has some information for you about the hymen

That’s what she said. 

Hattie ties Whit to a mast in Brazen and the Beast, in case you want more of that. 

Next up, Whiteout by Adriana Anders.

Music

Apr 14, 2021
S03.33: Age Gap Romance Interstitial
01:16:46

Silver foxes, May/December, older heroines/younger heroes, look, Sarah’s buttons were installed young, ok? We’re talking age gap romances, how they played out in the early days of the genre, how they remain popular today, and what has happen (or not!) in the books to make them viable romance in 2021. We try to keep this one taboo but not dark, sexy but not erotic…but by the end, we’re not making any real promises.

Check all your Content Warnings before you begin with these books!

Whether you're new to Fated Mates this month or have been with us for all three seasons, we adore you, and we're so grateful to have you. We hope you’re reading the best books this week.

Next week, we’re reading Kresley Cole’s debut, The Captain of All Pleasures. Neither of us have read it, so we’re all jumping into the deep end without a mask on this one! Find it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or Apple Books. Or find it from your local indie via bookshop.org.

Show Notes

You can buy Iris Johansen’s mansion in Cartersville, GA for a cool 8 million. 

Maybe Chaotic Evil isn’t the best writing plan.

Here’s some pop psychology about the May December romance. By the way, the phrase May-December romance apparently dates back to Chaucer. In The Merchant’s Tale, a young woman named May marries a much older man and a confusing idiom was born. 

As it turns out the “half your age plus 7” rule is not something Jen made up, because once you google it, you get charts and graphs and articles and everything

Sarah’s reference to “Every terrifying post on that reddit board” is r/relationships, although r/amitheasshole is always available with some new tale of terrifying bad behavior. 

This problems presented from lack of sex ed are pervasive though historical romance, but how much better are we doing by our kids? 

Jen was talking about Marvin Gaye when she mentioned "Everybody wants their own piece of clay" shit.

Diana Palmer has a long, storied romance career, and none of it involves that kind of DP. The first book in the Long Tall Texans series, Calhoun, was published in 1988, and the latest one is #57 in the series, Texas Proud, and was published in October of 2020. 

All joking about the Pioneer Woman aside, she does have some great recipes. 

It turns out that the “boiling frog” analogy is just a myth, so keep on reading! 

The movie Carol is based on Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt. 

The Jessa Kane book with the dirty version of the talk is called His Prize Pupil, in case you want to read it yourself. For science

Our next read-along episode will be The Captain of All Pleasures by Kresley Cole. If you want more Kresley, all of Season One is for you. 

Music

Pee Wee Crayton - Long Tall Texan, Standard Fare - Older Woman, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg - Nuthin' But A "G" Thang, Cibo Matto - Know Your Chicken, Dr. Octagon - Waiting List

Apr 07, 2021
S03.32: You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria: A Textbook for Human Relationships
01:13:32

We named Alexis Daria’s You Had Me At Hola one of the best romances of 2020, and for good reason. This week, we’re talking about how great romances can be handbooks for great relationships, about why taking risks in romance writing can pay off big time, about what it’s like to be bilingual in America, about why intimacy coordinators are amazing, and about normalizing lube. Enjoy!

Next week, we’re back with an interstitial, and in two weeks, we’re reading…honestly, we don’t know. Stay tuned! Thank you, as always, for listening! Please follow us on your favorite podcasting app, and if you are up for leaving a rating or review there, we would be very grateful!

Show Notes

If you need to manifest, Sarah's surprise crystal kit came from Crystal Rising

We had a Best of 2020 box available from Old Town Books in Alexandria, and it looks like you can still order it. You can listen to the whole Best of 2020 episode here.

The Applying to College Reddit is probably not a real healthy place for high school seniors to hang out, so I guess if you must, you can be the person who just says reassuring nice things. But if nothing else, portal astrology shows just how desperate people are to make meaning out of the tiniest of clues.

Telenovelas vs. soap operas

The bilingual spectrum--from receptive to equilingual--and the ways that this is a particularly American issue. Jasmine in YHMAH is a dominant bilingual (so is Sarah). The ways in which writers put languages on the page has changed a lot in the past decade. Watch this video of author Daniel Jose Older explaining why he doesn’t put Spanish in italics

In the movie Selena, there’s a scene where her father worries about her Spanish skills as she is about to meet Mexican reporters. Although this scene may not be accurate, Selena learned the phonetic Spanish for all her songs since she wasn’t fluent. A more recent series about Selena’s life is on Netflixcheck for reviews because neither of us have watched it

Being an Intimacy coordinator is a real job!

Breaking the 4th Wall is a phrase from TV when the actors directly address the audience. In You Had me at Hola, we see Jasmine or Ashton fall out of character and become themselves during the filming of a scene. 

The Penn & Teller cup and ball trick, which we also talked about in the Bet Me Episode

Little Red Corvette and Sugar Walls are songs about sex, so don't worry about the pop music your kids are listening to these days. It's all gonna be fine.

Mar 31, 2021
S03.31: Morality Chain Romance Interstitial
01:18:18

We’re so thrilled to be talking morality chain romance! We’ve owed this episode to Katee Robert for nearly a year, and we have no excuses for how long this has taken, except that time in 2020 was a flat circle. Here, we get down to business—we tackle the definition of Morality Chain, and how it differs from Dark Romance, how it connects with mafia, criminals, pirates, highwaymen, and the original Alpha.

Check all your Content Warnings before you begin with these books!

S03.31: Morality Chain Romance Interstitial

Whether you're new to Fated Mates this month or have been with us for all three seasons, we adore you, and we're so grateful to have you. We hope you’re reading the best books this week.

Next week, we’re reading Alexis Daria’s You Had Me At Hola, one of our Best Books of 2020! Find it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or Apple Books.

Show Notes

One very important note: we highly recommend doing a thorough search for content warnings for all the books and movies we mention this week. 

We love Katee Robert, who we had on as a guest for the menage interstitial. Katee bid on this item at Kennedy Ryan’s Lift 4 Autism auction. It happens every spring, so keep an eye on this page for the 2021 auction if you’d like to pick the topic for a future interstitial. 

This week, Katee released Seducing My Guardian, the 4th book in her SUPER HOT Touch of Taboo series. If you'd like to read a morality chain romance written by Katee, we recommend The Bastard's Bargain.

“In springtime, the only pretty ring time” is from Shakespeare’s As You Like It. It's also possible Sarah knows it from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. She would like you to believe that it's from the former, but we'll leave you to draw your own conclusions. Either way, “If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it,” is from Beyonce. 

As it turns out, Chicago is a great town for beach volleyball.

It’s hard not to talk about morality chain & dark romance together, but we think they are inverse tropes. The internet definition of Morality Chain is “is a character who is the reason another character is Good.” Jen and Sarah’s current definition is that in morality chain romance, the Love Interest pulls a hero towards humanity and goodness, while in dark romance, the love interest is pulled down into the hero’s lawless world.

Some examples in pop culture are Spike from Buffy and maybe Barney in How I Met Your Motherr. Also, check out a movie called The Professional, where a child (played by Natalie Portman!) befriends the assassin next door. The Jason Statham one with a kid is called Safe

The Hero’s Journey is very common character archetype in literature and pop culture, but Sarah and Jen are both very taken with Gail Carriger’s description of the alternative archetype, The Heroine’s Journey

If you want more about morality chain, so many of Kresley’s books from The Immortals After Dark series will work, so please listen to season one! Our favorites are Dark Needs at Night’s EdgeLothaire, and Sweet Ruin

We were divided on whether the character has to be a danger to others in order to qualitfy as morality chain. In the Gamemaker series: The Professional is about an assassin who is a danger to others, while in The Player he’s only a danger to himself. 

Jen Porter wrote a long thread about what she thinks of as PEA, or problematic ever after, romance.

Mickey is "kind of a Fagin-y" as a character, but without the antisemitism. In interesting historical facts, Dickens rewrote Oliver Twist later in life to remove all anti-Semitic characteristics from Fagin, after he'd been criticized for the portrayal of the character. Of course, it's not that simple. Read more about it from Deborah Epstein Nord

Scottie is the main character of Managed, and is classified more as grumpy one/sunshine one, which we argue is just morality chain dialed down. 

More about how most writers have a “core story."

Next week, we'll be reading You Had me at Hola by Alexis Daria

Mar 24, 2021
S03.30: A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh: It's Grown Up!
01:01:22

We’re headed back to 2007 this week, to talk about Mary Balogh’s A Matter of Class, which Sarah’s editor gave her as assigned reading when she was writing A Rogue By Any Other Name. We’re leaving plot and character aside here and really digging into structure, so expect conversations about timelines, about language and yes…about tense. Because, Jen.

Whether you're new to Fated Mates this month or have been with us for all three seasons, we adore you, and we're so grateful to have you. We hope you’re reading the best books this week.

Next week, it’s a morality chain romance interstitial! After that comes our next read along, which is still in discussion—stay tuned!

Show Notes

For what it’s worth, this is our 119th episode, so time to clarify the pronunciation of MacLean. Say it like the last name of famous movie badass, John McClane from Die Hard. Jen is now very mad at herself and thinking of renaming herself Jennifer Diesel in honor of Vin Diesel and the Fast & Furious movie franchise

If you liked A Matter of Class, check out Balogh’s Bedwyn and Westcott series. PS, Jen thinks she deserves a lot of credit for not cracking up at “A quiet, stiff hero.”

Sarah’s editor at Avon is Carrie Feron. 

Time slip is a narrative structure where stories are not told in chronological order. Here is an entire website about time

Although Jen couldn’t find the article for “I write what I can’t draw, I draw what I can’t write,” a few people on the internet also give credit to Marjane Satrapi, author of the amazing graphic novel Persepolis.

Sarah’s friend Carrie Ryan writes YA, and she’s the one who talked about the difficulties of secrets in first person narration. Butterfly in Frost by Sylvia Day is a book in first person that didn’t work for Jen. It seemed like the narrator was dissociating, which is different than keeping a secret. Although she never mentioned Butterfly in Frost in the piece, the book inspired Jen to write about the problems with unreliable narrators in romance for Kirkus.

The Crown is a Netflix series that is well-regarded, but the difficulties of portraying the modern years of the monarchy has been well-documented. Read this in case you want to know about Princess Margaret's love lifeIn Oprah’s interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, Meghan talked about the difference between Hollywood and the monarchy. They also routinely referred to “the Institution” and “The Firm” to distinguish the monarchy from individuals. 

A few weeks ago, Kate Clayborn joined us to talk about retellingsA Matter of Class gave Jen some Romeo & Juliet feelings

Sarah's dual timeline books are The Day of the Duchess and "The Duke of Christmas Present," which is in the How the Dukes Stole Christmas anthology. Sherry Thomas's Private Arrangements is a fabulous example of it, as well.

Music

Alice Cooper - School's Out, Nine Inch Nails - I Do Not Want This, Steve Miller Band - Fly Like An Eagle

Mar 17, 2021
S03.29: Your Romance Questions Answered
01:34:24

Sarah is *still* on deadline (WE KNOW), but we’re answering your questions about romance novels, publishing, writing and more. In this episode, we’re talking about stand-alone romance series, heroes who do bad stuff, Jane Austen, cover reveals and more.

Whether you're new to Fated Mates this month or have been with us for all three seasons, we adore you, and we're so grateful to have you. We hope you’re reading the best books this week.

Next week, it’s Mary Balogh’s A Matter Of Class — this is the truth. Get it for only $2.99 at AmazonBarnes & NobleApple BooksKobo or Google Books.

Show Notes

Sarah and Eric, Sara and Derek

Jen recommends Let’s Make Art if you’re looking for something fun to power you through until we’re all vaccinated. Check out Kelly’s Romance Sticker of the Month Club.

Next week, we’ll be reading A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh. WE PROMISE. 

Why aren't there more Fantasy Romances? Later this spring, we’re having an episode with Zoraida Cordova about fantasy romance. Until then, maybe you’ll be interested A Court of Silver Flames, the newest release from Sarah J. Mass.

When did Series becomes so Popular? We talked about this in our episode about romance families, so you might want to check that out for a longer discussion of this topic. 

Perhaps you are like Jen and want to know more about how to turn off the “popular highlights”series on your Kindle. 

Oh the 80s and 90s: Lovesepts series with the Delaneys, or Elizabeth Lowell’s series with heroes named after states

What's the State of Publishing? What are the different Trim Sizes? One of the reasons mass market paperbacks (MMPB) are harder to get is because of a merger between printers, which explains the transition to Mass Market Max.

All about stripped or remaindered books and what happens when a bookstore returns a book to the publisher

How Can You Afford Your Romance Habit? Kindle Unlimited, obviously. 

You should absolutely get the Libby app (managed by Overdrive) and use it to check books out of your local library. If your library system has Hoopla, you should check it out. Here’s a quick primer on the differences between these apps.

It’s essential to subscribe to the BookBub daily email, you can choose from a number of categories. Also, you should follow The Book Queen on Twitter, who posts a daily thread of what's on sale. 

Finally, you should use eReaderIQ to track authors and specific books, and they will email you when the prices drop. 

Who do we want to write our Life Story? Kleypas and Kresley

What are the Best Romance Craft Books? OH-IO is what all the Ohioans say. And there’s nothing more midwestern than “ope.” It's "Ope There Goes Gravity" and we will not be taking questions at this time

Sarah recommends the following craft books: Romancing the BeatSave the Cat, and The Heroine’s Journey(And here’s the Hero’s Journey).

Can a Hero by a Known Kidnapper? Ask St. Vincent, although he doesn’t kidnap the heroine. It depends on the reason for the kidnapping--for example, his childhood home is part of her dowry, meaning A Rogue by Any Other Name or try Dark Mafia Prince. But these stories are less common in contemporaries, unless it’s “dark romance.”

Why aren't there more Vibrators? It's such a good question, and we are slowly seeing more of them. Check out Elia Winters' blog where she reviews sex toys. Other books to check out: It Happened One SummerHappy Endings, and You Had Me at Hola

Why Are there so Many Dukes? Because people buy them.

Why don't we have better names for different types of Illustrated Covers? Because we're readers and don't know enough art words? The word cartoon has a childish connotation, and so we think that's why we started using illustrated. Sometimes we hear the phrase "photo-realistic" to describe the previous illustrated style

Did Jane Austen write Contemporaries? Yes.

Historical romance are set in the past, and an example of one set in the recent past is Loud is How I Love You by Mercy Brown.

Why are Cover Reveals Important? Publicity, and if you want to see a great new cover, check out the new cover for The Kiss Quotient.

Can You be a Casual Romance Reader? Yes! You can. Please just tell us to calm down, and maybe just start with our best of lists. Have fun! 

Where are the Curvy Heroes? It's so tricky, but we like Marie Liscomb's Champion's Heart series. There's a few from Jessa KaneBut body image issues are present even in children's toys

What does "Two Ps in V" mean? It's two penises, one vagina. Usually, one P waits its turn, but in The Architect by Nikki Sloan and also Ready and Willing by Cara McKenna, (which is no longer available) it's actually happening simultaneously. Romance really does have everything!

Mar 10, 2021
S03.28: What makes a Romance Novel a Romance Novel?
01:10:30

Ok, so it’s that time of year and Sarah is on deadline, which means we’re just kicking our next read along episode down the road until she’s done (which she swears will be very soon). So, this week, we’ve got a freewheeling episode that we’ve been thinking about for a while — let’s talk about what makes a romance novel a romance novel (hint, it’s not when the heroine is run over by a train).

Whether you're new to Fated Mates this month or have been with us for all three seasons, we adore you, and we're so grateful to have you. We hope you’re reading the best books this week.

Our next read along is Mary Balogh's A Matter of Class, a short historical novel. Get it for only $2.99 at AmazonBarnes & NobleApple BooksKobo or Google Books.

Show Notes

We keep putting Mary Balogh in the corner, but swear to God, our next read-along will be A Matter of Class. Also, we've been pronouncing her name wrong -- it's "Bah-log" not "Bay-lo" We'll get it right on the read along we promise.

A couple of weeks ago, Jen asked about what articles romance readers share with people new to genre, and the results were interesting.

The Bridgerton effect: Regé-Jean Page on SNLthe Bridgerton musical on TikTok, and the brilliant Patricia A. Matthew in the Los Angeles Review of Books

The Happily Ever After (HEA), or the Happy For Now (HFN), is a requirement if you want to categorize it as romance.

Nicholas Sparks doesn’t write romance (per the previous item), but this kiss between Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling was great on film and great on the MTV Movie Awards

Me Before You has horrible disability rep and shouldn't ever appear on anyone's list of Best Romances. 

Oubliette is a great word. Surprising no one, Sarah likes it because of Labyrinth, obviously.

In WandaVivsion, Vision (played by Paul Bettany) asks Wanda, “What is grief if not love persevering?” And it struck a chord with a lot of people. 

If you're interested in the book about the speed skater and the figure skater, it's Fire on the Ice by Tamsen Parker. It's HOT. 

In the New York Times, Matthew B. Roberts, a showrunner for Outlander said that one of the difficulties of adapting romance is that "You can’t film a thought."

Deus ex Machina never works in a romance novel. I said what I said. 

Speed is a romance and Jeff Daniels does great eye work

Miss Scarlet and the Duke is a TV show that follows a lot of romance conventions, and Sarah says the sexual tension is terrific. Also, this beard.

Jen used Working Girl as an example of a movie where the woman's journey is more important than the romantic arc. Yes, she's dating herself, but whatever, it's an age-appropriate pop culture reference for her!

Mar 03, 2021
S03.27: Retellings in Romance Novels with Kate Clayborn
01:21:32

We are joined by the fabulous Kate Clayborn — the first in the Fated Mates five-timer club! — to talk about about retellings in romance and to celebrate the launch of her new book, Love At First, which you can get wherever books are sold. We talk about the difference between retellings and homages, about Shakespeare and mythology and retellings of classic texts versus modern ones. And of course, we fill your TBR.

Whether you're new to Fated Mates this month or have been with us for all three seasons, we adore you, and we're so grateful to have you. 

Next week, we're back with a read along of Mary Balogh's A Matter of Class, a short historical novel. Get it for only $2.99 at AmazonBarnes & NobleApple BooksKobo or Google Books.

Show Notes

Welcome Kate Clayborn, our first five-timer. She was with us for the Best Friend’s Sibling InterstitialKresley’s The Player, the Sickbed Scenes InterstitialDerek Craven Day 2021, and today’s interstitial on Romance Retellings. 

Texas and the rest of America got hit with some espically bad winter weather this FebruaryThis is climate change

Kate released Love at First this week, which is an homage to Romeo and Juliet. Kate’s 2020 book, Love Lettering, is an Overdrive read. Get it today with no wait! 

Dr. Jill Biden loves Valentine’s Day.

JK Rowling is a problem, and it’s changed the way many Harry Potter fans think about her books

Yes, yes, the English Teacher memes are so funnyWell take that. 

Tl;dr: archetypes are about character,while retellings are about plot. 

In Where Dreams Begin, Zachary Bronson is a hero that follows the Beast archetype, and Jen saw it in the scene where Holly first enters his house. 

Story can be a safe way to explore terrifying ideas about society and people. For example, both La Lloronaand Medea are about mothers who kill their children, but have a kind of distance that the story of Andrea Yates does not.

Dr. Jennifer Lynn Barnes writes about storytelling and the universal ID. 

Our next read along episode will be A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh.

Feb 24, 2021
S03.26: What to Read if You Loved Bridgerton
01:05:08

So you watched the Bridgerton Netflix series and you've torn through the books, and now you're desperate for more historical romance while you wait for Season 2 of Bridgerton? 

Don't worry, dear readers, these podcasters have you covered. Tuck into our What to Read if You Loved Bridgeron episode for a massive list of historical romance recommendation based on what you might have loved in Bridgerton! Is it boxing? Is it I don't know how sex works? Is it the wigs? Is it the scene with the spoon?! Whatever it is...we've got you covered. And when you're done with this one, go check out our episode on romance series featuring big families!

Whether you're new to Fated Mates this month or have been with us for all three seasons, we adore you, and we're so grateful to have you. 

Please join us next week to chat with the fabulous Kate Clayborn about retellings in romance and to celebrate the launch of her new book, Love At First, which you can preorder now or get wherever books are sold (even your local indie!) next Tuesday, February 23, 2021. 

In two weeks, we're back with a read along of Mary Balogh's A Matter of Class, which is one of Sarah's favorite historicals. We'll talk about why then. Get it for only $2.99 at AmazonBarnes & NobleApple BooksKobo or Google Books.

Show Notes

We have some ideas about winter sports, which is that maybe they are best left to other people. But here are some photos of Chicago’s ice skating ribbon and the sledding hill at Soldier Field, which even has its own snowmaking machines! When the Obama Library is built, Michelle Obama requested they include a sledding hill because she remembered wanting to sled closer to home when she was a kid. 

In the 90s, they really let Hugh Grant do anything

The Luxe is a gilded age YA series, and the original covers were so gorgeous, as compared to the rejacketing. We are not taking questions at this time. We can't find the video Sarah talks about, probably because it was THIRTEEN YEARS AGO (lolsob), but you can watch this fun one about the cover shoot for Splendor, the final book in the series, here

The comedian who did the Bad TV Impression of Bridgerton is Kieran Hodgson. His YouTube channel was recently emptied of content, which makes us think he's got his own TV show coming, but in the meantime, you can watch the Bridgerton hilarity on his Twitter feed. We recommend you do this immediately. 

Speaking of rakes, Sarah explained them to Oprah Magazine. We aren’t the only ones who thought the Bridgerton brothers were indistinguishable.

A collective noun is the name for a group of things. A Cache of Jewels is a very charming picture book about collective nouns if you’re into that sort of thing. 

If you love Queen Charlotte’s wigs, you can read this piece in Glamour about the hidden meanings in Bridgerton hairstyles, or follow the wig-maker on Instagram

Here’s a great timeline of the books in the Beverly Jenkins universe made by Scentsational Rynnie. Jen interviewed Ms. Bev on Wild Rain’s release day for Love’s Sweet Arrow.

In Heart and Hand, Julie is a member of The Four Hundred, the most exclusive society families. She attended Vassar College, which opened in 1865. To watch Jen’s interview with Rebel Carter, KJ Charles, Caroline Linden, and Amalie Howard, join the Facebook group, The League of Extraordinary Historical Romance Authors.

Gunter’s Tea Shop is a real place if you liked that scene with the spoon.

Tell us about your historicals where there are duels: We've already got Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a RakeThe Lady Hellion, and The Serpent Prince on our list.

Sarah didn’t know Jen was going to bring up Boxing, or she would have been ready to recommend Piper Huguley’s A Champion’s Heart, which is a beautiful inspirational romance. 

If you want to know more about the connection between writing and boxing, Sarah recommends the Library of America's At the Fights: American Writers on Boxing. Here's more about the fascinating history of boxing gloves.

Jen enjoyed two movies about women who box: Girlfight with Michelle Rodriguez and Million Dollar Baby with Hillary Swank

Next week, we'll have Kate Clayborn on to talk about retellings and her new book, Love at First. Our next read along book is A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh.

Feb 17, 2021
S03.25: The Blackout Billionaires by Naima Simone: They actually do it in the foyer
01:25:15

We are talking about Naima Simone this week — and honestly, we could have picked any of Naima’s series to read because she’s just. that. good. We chose the whole series so we could talk more about the complexities of category romances, about wild plots, about alpha heroes, and about how Sarah is absolute trash for a rich hero and the working class girl on the other side of the tracks. Don’t @ her.

Next week, we’re back with an interstitial, and in two weeks, we’ve got Kate Clayborn joining us to talk about her upcoming book, Love at First! After that, we’re back to read alongs, but we’ll announce our next read on next week’s episodesee you then.

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful!

Show Notes

We had such a great time on Derek Craven Day. Check out our dedicated Derek Craven Day page. On Derek Craven Day, Lisa revealed the cover of her upcoming release, The Devil in Disguise, which comes out summer 2021. 

The article in the New York Times about three mothers during the Pandemic was a hard, hard read. 

We are all experiencing the strange time warp of the pandemic, but some of us even lost a hot year

Maybe you would like to watch the Jem and Holograms movie

Here are some fancy places: The Main Line, the Gold Coast, Park Avenue, and ScarsdaleLake Forest is fancy, but it was also an actual sundown townso yikes to that

Here’s a quick primer about category romance from Love in Panels. Right now in February of 2021, Harlequin publishes 66 titles every month in 12 different series

We’ve had two previous episodes that were specifically about category romance: a fun one with bananas old school categories, and another with Steve Ammidown about how Vivian Stephens invented the American category. Check out Steve’s new blog about the history of romance.

Pre-pandemic, Jen interviewed Tony Horvath from Harlequin about Harlequin’s branding and cover art

Light a candle for Harlequin Blaze.

The Military Industrial Complex is a lot to unpack, but maybe you have the time.

Jen is not the president and CEO of Great Lakes Cold Storage, but they are hiring. 

Heterochromia is a thing, but David Bowie just got punched in the face.

Naima's newest release is Back in the Texan's Bed.

Movies we mentioned: GI Jane, where Demi Moore becomes the first female Navy SEAL. Mystic Pizza, which is not only about dumping fish into a convertible. Four Weddings and Funeral, which has a woman everyone calls Duckface, which is not great!

Music: Youngblood by Jem and The Holograms

Feb 10, 2021
S03.24: It's Derek Craven Day and We're Going Through Some Things
01:16:12

Happy Derek Craven Day!

We’re wearing our t-shirts and buttons, and spending a whole lot of time talking about what Derek Craven would and wouldn’t do with one of our very favorites — Kate Clayborn. Thanks to everyone who played our silly Derek Craven games this year — don’t forget to visit our Derek Craven Day page for charts, graphs and hilarious memes made from your submissions! Also, if you haven’t read Dreaming of You, now’s your chance to get it at a special Derek Craven Day price — $2.99!

We love you, and we’re thrilled we can celebrate this, the best of all holidays, with you.

Next week, we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming with Naima Simone’s Blackout Billionaires series (With a little Derek Craven Day excitement in there, too!) In order, the books are: The Billionaire's Bargain, Black Tie Billionaire, and Blame it on the Billionaire. Find them at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or Apple Books.

Show Notes

Here's the history of Derek Craven Day in tweets, but also our mantra: there are 2 kinds of Lisa Kleypas readers.

Jen was shitposting about Kleypas heroes. 

Mary Jane Wells and Rosalyn Landor are great audiobook narrators. 

It’s not Talk Talkit’s TikTok

All About fabric and paper scissors.

No one should test the patience of Nora Roberts, part 231.

Kate has strong feelings about Irish Spring.

Don’t ever reply all

In case you need an explainer of what happened with Reddit and the stock market last week. We think Derek Craven would enjoy this story. 

Why backup cameras were invented

They say you can't buy your way onto the Bestseller lists, but it's been done.

Kate's question about romance heroes and Halloween.

Lisa Kleypas revealed the cover for her new book, Devil In Disguise, today. Take a look!

Feb 04, 2021
Bonus: Rerelease of Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas (2019)
01:22:23

This week, we’re releasing a new episode on Thursday with guest Kate Clayborn in honor of Derek Craven day, so today we’re rereleasing our Dreaming of You episode from Season 2 so that people can be all caught up before our extremely niche episode for the holiday itself!

For full show notes, see:

S02.3: Lisa Kleypas Does Spectacles Better than F. Scott Fitzgerald: Dreaming of You

Next week, we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming with Naima Simone’s Blackout Billionaires series (With a little Derek Craven Day excitement in there, too!) In order, the books are: The Billionaire's Bargain, Black Tie Billionaire, and Blame it on the Billionaire. Find them at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or Apple Books.

Feb 03, 2021
Fated Tropes AMA!
01:12:32

Back in July we had a very fun crossover episode with Erin and Clayton of Learning the Tropes. It was a delight and you should absolutely listen to it. During the event, we received so many questions from listeners that we didn’t have enough time to answer them all…so here we are, answering them! We talk about the kinds of romances we love, Normal People, morality chain and villains turned heroes, COVID and Romance Novels, Ted Lasso, and romance main character names.

And, of course, we talk about our mutual adoration for Lisa Kleypas, which is extremely timely, as next week, on February 4th, we will be celebrating Derek Craven Day 2021! So look for a very special episode on Thursday instead of Wednesday next week…and if you want to be a part of it, visit fatedmates.net and take our “Would Derek Craven?” poll (questions change every day until the 4th!).

After that, we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming with Naima Simone’s Blackout Billionaires series (With a little Derek Craven Day excitement in there, too!) In order, the books are: The Billionaire's Bargain, Black Tie Billionaire, and Blame it on the Billionaire. Find them at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or Apple Books.

Show Notes

Sarah and Jen both adore Blackwing Pencils, but Sarah has really achieved new heights of nerd with her Carl CC-2000 Custom hand crank pencil sharpener.

Tessa Bailey is a Fated Mates favorite, and has a new, very charming book out this week called The Sweetest Fix. You should read it.

Stay tuned for more show notes later in the week.

Jan 27, 2021
S03.23: Curvy Heroines Redux
01:31:44

Nearly two years since our first Curvy Heroines interstitial, which was short and sweet, we’re back with another that is longer and more meandering, but absolutely chock full of recs! We love a curvy heroine, and so do you all, apparently, as our original Curvy Interstitial is our most popular episode of all time!

Next week, we’ve got a special crossover episode with Erin and Clayton from Learning the Tropes, and the week after, we’re back to the deep dives with Naima Simone’s Blackout Billionaires series (With a little Derek Craven Day excitement in there, too!) In order, the books are: The Billionaire's Bargain, Black Tie Billionaire, and Blame It on the Billionaire. Find them at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or Apple Books.

Show Notes

This piece in Book Riot by Carole Bell argues that fat representation is different than fat acceptance, which is something we grapple with as we’re talking. She also wrote this list of romances with fat representation.

If you haven’t read books by Charlotte Stein, you should. Which ones? ALL OF THEM. Fat Monicaif you don’t know, is a reference to the TV show Friends. 

Watch Olivia Dade talk about where we are now with fat representation in romance. 

Cult of Glory, a 2020 book about the true history of the Texas Rangers paints a grim picture of the storied law enforcement agents. 

In case you’re interested, last week Jen was googling “anal hook” and this week she landed on a bunch of Christian websites when she googled the Magi, so she got freaked out and just used a wikipedia link. It's fine. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Thea de Salle is one of author Hillary Monahan's pseudonyms. Back in the day, Jen wrote about Catholicism in romance based on a later book in the series, The Lady of Royale Street.

Luciana Barroso is married to Matt Damon, and she’s a regular person.

In Get a Life, Chloe Brown, the heroine suffers from fibromyalgia., and so does the author, Talia Hibbert.

We did a whole episode on Alisha Rai’s Serving Pleasure in season two. 

Jen recently read The Ravenels series by Lisa Kleypas. She’s obsessed with Rhys Winterborne, and West Ravenel is pretty great, too. Don’t worry, Derek Craven is still her favorite, and if you haven’t ordered yourmerch for our upcoming Derek Craven holiday, what are you waiting for?

On the show Bridgerton, Penelope Featherington is a curvy girl; however, in the books, she loses weight in the 10 years between when she comes out and when she finally gets her HEA with Colin. 

Iman is one of the most famously beautiful supermodels in the world, and she married David Bowie in 1992

“That’s what he said” is a long running joke from the sitcom The Office. 

The Queen’s Gambit is a Netflix show about chess, and Crash Landing on You is a K-Drama about a woman who accidentally paraglides into the DMZ in a tornado.

Jan 20, 2021
S03.22: For Real by Alexis Hall: Jen had to Google Some Things
01:01:25


It’s 2021, and we’re back on the reading train with one of Sarah’s favorite erotic romances ever, Alexis Hall’s For Real. We dig into sex on the page, how sex and identity work together to make an erotic romance an erotic romance, power dynamics, and the difference between fear & risk. Enjoy!

You still have time to buy the Fated Mates Best of 2020 Book Pack from our friends at Old Town Books in Alexandria Virginia, and get the seven traditionally published books on the list, a Fated Mates sticker and a candle from the bookstore! Order here!

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful! 

Next week, we’re returning to Curvy Girls for an interstitial, and then we’re headed on to Naima Simone’s Blackout Billionaires series! In order, the books are: The Billionaire's Bargain, Black Tie Billionaire, and Blame It on the Billionaire. Find them at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or Apple Books.

Show Notes

We won Georgia, but then white supremacist terrorists attacked the Capitol. If you want to talk to your kidshere are some suggestions from Facing History and Ourselves, this is a resource for teachers but I think any parent with tweens and teens will find it helpful. If you have little kids, Jen’s friend Elisa is a children’s librarian and recommend the books When a Bully is President and What We Believe: A Black Lives Matter Principles Activity Book. 

Answering machines don’t exist anymore. (Well, they probably do, but no one we know uses them.) 

For Real won the 2016 RITA for Best Erotic romance, and Alexis Hall wrote a blog entry about it

Fear vs. Risk, the short version. Or maybe you want to read whole book about fear, called Nerve by Eva Holland. Jen knows Eva from another online space, but they've never met in person.

Bluebeard’s attic had some things Jen had to google

Eric Selinger is a romance guy, but also a poetry guy at DePaul. Jen took a workshop with Eric a million years ago (before she started doing romance stuff), and the guy who said “poetry is a laboratory for sentences” was poet Baron Wormser, author of the best book Jen’s ever read about teaching and learning poetry, A Surge of Language. 

Jen was thinking about what happens when romance authors are forced to read the sex scenes instead of the feelings scenes, like when Stacey Abrams on Stephen Colbert

Sarah talked about chastity belts at the end, and we here at Fated Mates strongly advise against giving the internet the power over your chastity belts and cock cages. SAFETY FIRST! 

Derek Craven Day is coming, do you have you merch ready? T-shirts and buttons and listen to our discussion of Dreaming of You, of course.

Jan 13, 2021
S03.21: An Interview with Sex Columnist Sophia Benoit: Prom is Cancelled
01:27:28

This week, we’re thrilled to be joined by the fabulous Sophia Benoit, sex columnist for GQ magazine and romance novel lover! We talk about romance, about why it’s so hard to talk about sex in the world, about the books Sophia has written and is planning to write, and about Jimmy Butler. Because, obviously.

Happy New Year!

Next week is our first read along of 2021, Alexis Hall’s For Real! Get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, or Kobo.

Show Notes

Welcome GQ sex columnistSophia Benoit. She’s absolutely great on twitter and writes an amazing advice column, which is available as a Substack. Her book of essays, Well, That Was Exhausting will be out in the summer of 2021.

The Sex and the City reference, of course, it to Carrie Bradshaw’s job as a dating columnist

Captain Sit on my Face.

America has a sex education problem

Lollapalooza is very fun and the music is great and every time she’s attended, it has made Jen feel like she’s a million years old. 

Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina has a famous first line, but the rest of it is very long. 

HoCo, FauxCo, and Prom is Cancelled

If you’re looking for paranormal, all of season one is a read-along of the Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole. 

The Tom Selleck and Burt Reynolds mustaches of the 80s were quite a thing. And if you look at the original covers of romances from that time, you'll see them in action.

Wigs were big in the 1700s.

Reddit’s Am I the Asshole (AITA) is a cultural touchstone for so many people. 

We are adding Jimmy Butler to our list of favorite athletes, which started with Jurgen Klopp. Here is a bunch of Jimmy Butler information for you: about the trade from The Bullsabout his minivanabout his love of country musicabout his coffee companyabout his teamwork, and about his fashion sense. The third member of the Fated Mates sports team is Ted Lasso.

Next week, we’ll be reading For Real by Alexis Hall.

Jan 06, 2021
Jessa Kane New Year's Eve Extravaganza
01:27:28

WELCOME 2021!

As is customary on Fated Mates, we’re releasing a special New Year’s Eve episode that requires headphones if you’re in mixed company! We brought some of our most favorite people together for a very special crossover episode of Fated Mates and Andie J. Christopher’s Instagram TV Juggernaut: Drunk Romance History, during which we drink a delightful mix of alcohol and talk about a delightful mix of erotic romance by the queen of the quick and dirty novella—Jessa Kane.

We’re talking priests and daddy kink, mafia hitmen, billionaires, husky heroes, stepbrothers and what Joanna Shape refers to as the Kane-Trope-Wheel. Tracey Livesay has a mug with penises on it. Bring in 2021 right. (Also, if you, like Joanna and Jen have read all of the Jessa Kane’s, no worries! She released a new one today—BURLY—just in time for this episode! Shero!)

Head over to Andie’s IGTV channel for the video version.

Next week, we have a special guest episode, and in two weeks, our first read along of 2021, Alexis Hall’s For Real. Get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, or Kobo.

Show Notes

One more chance for phone-banking is Monday 1/4/2021 at 5pm central

Listen to last year's New Year's Eve epsiode on Pegging with special guest, Sierra Simone!

Have we mentioned Drunk Romance History on Andie's Instagram

We are joined today by our friends: Andie ChristopherAlexis DariaAdriana HerreraLaQuetteTracey LivesayNisha Sharma, and Joanna Shupe

Get Tracey's penis mug here.

Normalize sex toys. Today's guests are big fans of LELO products and recommend: The Ora2The Sona2, and The Gigi2.

Dec 31, 2020
Another AMA with Sarah and Jen
00:31:45

It’s the Holidays and the end of 2020 and we don’t really know what’s happening, but Eric is keeping us honest with another AMA! This one was recorded during our Fated States postcard writing party for Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock — the Democratic candidates for the Senate Runoff in Georgia — answering reader questions that came in during the live recording!

We talk about pen names, working class heroes, whether or not you should DNF books, and Rasputin’s penis.

Come back tomorrow for a special treat, and get ready for our first read along of 2021, Alexis Hall’s For Real. Get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, or Kobo.

Show Notes

One more phone banking opportunity for the Georgia Senate runoff is coming up on January 4, 2021 from 5-7 central. Join us!

You should watch Drunk Romance History on Andie's Instagram.

If you want more romance novels made into TV shows, you should watch Virgin River and BridgertonBut everyone is watching Bridgerton, so that's great

Jen thinks you should DNF

We rattled off a bunch of historical romances with working heroes. Dreaming of You, of course, and American-set historicals, like Indigo by Beverly Jenkins. In England, A Matter of Disagreement by EE Ottoman, The Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem by Manda Collins, Thief of Shadows by Elizabeth Hoyt, The Lawrence Browne Affair by Cat Sebastian, Honeytrap by Glen Aster Gray. Almost every KJ Charlesbook would qualify, as well as many by Sophie Jordan and Anne Mallory. Also, don't forget Sarah's Bareknuckle Bastards series. 

Annika Martin writes all the best bananas books. 

Rachel Hawkins is writing contemporary adult witches under the name Erin Sterling

Some historicals with characters from Imperial Russia? That's tough, but Sarah suggests the Stokehurst Duology from Lisa Kleypas, the first is Midnight Angel. And if you have kids interested in this time period, check out The Family Romonov by Candace Fleming. There is nothing about Rasputin's penis in that book, be assured.

Dec 30, 2020
Bonus: Xmas recs (from 2019) + Holiday recs (from 2018)
00:45:30
Holidays are about traditions and it's a Fated Mates tradition to rerun the previous year's holiday episode. So here it goes!
Dec 25, 2020
S03.20: Romance Families Interstitial
01:13:13

It's the holidays and we're talking family romances because many of us are with our families or thinking about them this week. No matter whether you have a perfect family life or one that's a bit more of a journey, romances focusing on families have been around from the beginning -- this week, we're talking royal houses like the Westmorelands and the Malorys, the LeVeqs and the Montgomeries, and the Holmeses and the Hathaways. We also talk a lot about our own families...which was unintended, but there it is.

You still have time to buy the Fated Mates Best of 2020 Book Pack from our friends at Old Town Books in Alexandria Virginia, and get the seven traditionally published books on the list, a Fated Mates sticker and a candle from the bookstore! Order here!

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful! For the next week or so, we've got a lot of fun stuff in the hopper -- be on the lookout for a few extra episodes! 

And, if you're celebrating this week -- Merry Christmas!

Show Notes

Richard Gere wasn’t old when he filmed Pretty Woman, even though he was going gray.

Samantha Jaxon posted a very upsetting TikTok, and that's all we have to say about that. 

The days of the big and small envelope in college admissions are over, but they do have the Common Appand that seems nice. 

Maybe, you too, would like a karaoke microphone for your future weather-person. 

The 1987 movie Roxanne with Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah is a Cyrano retelling, and it has lots of very funny jokes and one-liners

There is one more phone-banking opportunity on January 4, 2021. You should join us!

Bridgerton drops on December 25th, along with Wonder Woman 1984Virgin River is another Netflix show based on a romance series. 

Just a heads up about the photo array, I’m just including the first book of a family series because otherwise it will be overwhelming! 

70s and 80s Old School romance series with families include: the Malorys by Johanna Lindsey, The Montgomerys and Taggerts by Jude Deveraux, and the Westmorelands by Judith McNaught. 

90s families: the LeVeq family by Beverly Jenkins, The Cynster family by Stephanie Laurens, the Rocking M series by Elizabeth Lowell.

2000s families: Brenda Jackson’s Westmoreland familythe Essex Sisters by Eloisa James, The Holmes Brothers by Farrah Rochon, and the Hathaways by Lisa Kleypas. 

2010s families: The Blackshear family by Cecilia Grant, The Ravenels by Kleypas, the Duke’s Daughters by Megan Frampton, the Mackenzie series by Jennifer Ashley, the Greene sisters in the Uptown Girls series by Joanna Shupe, the Talbot sisters in Sarah’s Scandal and Scoundrel series, the von Hasenberg sisters in the Consortium Rebellion series by Jessie Mihalik, the Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews, and the Sullivans by Bella Andre.

Brenda Jackson was the first Black romance author to hit the New York Times bestseller list with the book Irresistible Forces in 2008. It's not a Westmoreland book, but the Westmoreland series is currently 30+ books and growing.

Dec 23, 2020
S03.19: The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn: Because everyone else is doing the Bridgertons
01:04:18

BRIDGERTON is nearly here! Make sure you have batteries in your remote and your Netflix subscription is up to date, because on 12/25, Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series is coming to your TV courtesy of Shonda Rhimes! We are EXTREMELY EXCITED, and in honor of the series, we’re reading Sarah’s favorite Julia Quinn romance which, *surprise!* isn’t a Bridgerton book!

If you want Bridgerton deep dives, do not miss the series at Learning the Tropes with our amazing friends Erin & Clayton. But we’re reading The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever, and we’ve got a LOT to say!

Content note: This book and episode discusses miscarriage and pregnancy.

You still have time to buy the Fated Mates Best of 2020 Book Pack from our friends at Old Town Books in Alexandria Virginia, and get the seven traditionally published books on the list, a Fated Mates sticker and a candle from the bookstore! Order here!

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful! Next week, we’ve got an interstitial, and the following week…honestly, who knows? It’s December! It could be ANYTHING!

Show Notes

Can we brag for a minute? Our #FatedStates phone bank appeared in the Washington Post this week! Also, if you're looking for phone banking opportunites, we have one tonight 12/16 at 5 central, and another on 1/4/2021. Join us. 

December 25th is going to be a great day. Bridgerton drops on Netflix and Wonder Woman 1984 will be on HBO Max. 

If you want a podcast tackling all of the Bridgerton books, check out Learning the TropesSarah was on the episode for Sir Philip with Love, which is her favorite. Jen’s favorite is The Viscount Who Loved Me, and if it’s yours maybe you’d like a “mallet of death” t-shirt from Linda. Her shop is on hiatus right now, but she'll be back in the new year. 

Here’s the Ted talk with Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. 

Does Olivia get her own book? Of course she does, it’s called What Happens in London. 

Sarah’s favorite Jane Austen is EmmaJen’s favorite Jane Austen is none of them

If you want to see some house party games in action, watch Season 4 of the Crown.

Megan Markle recently wrote about her miscarriage in the New York TimesJen wrote about miscarriage back when she blogged for The Book Queen, and it includes discussion of Sarah’s book, Day of the Duchess.

The book with all the former heroes sharing their childbirth war stories is...well, we don't remember. If you do, please tell us!

Dec 16, 2020
S03.18: Julie Garwood Interstitial: Damnit, Sara! (Not our Sarah!)
01:11:58

This week, we tried something a little different—recording a live interstitial episode! We’re talking about Jen’s formative queen, Julie Garwood, and we dig into dialogue, alphas who are instantly gone for their heroines, heroines who tame wild animals, arranged marriages between children, and why every Garwood historical feels medieval whether or not it actually is.

We recorded this episode live during a Fated States postcard-writing party to get out the vote for the January 5th runoff election in Georgia. If you’re a Georgia voter, please vote for Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock, and let’s finish what we started with the blue wave! If you’re up for it, please consider joining us for a phonebanking session on the evening of January 4th!

Next week, in advance of the launch of the Bridgerton series on Netflix (coming December 25th!), we’re reading Sarah’s favorite Julia Quinn novel, The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever. Get it at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple or at your local indie via bookshop.org.

Show Notes

Fated States is gearing up to phone bank on the evening of Jan 4 from 5-7 central time. Join us if you can! 

In Sarah’s OSRBC facebook group, there’s a longstanding search for a book where two people are on a beach and a wave throws them together, and then “oops they’re boning.” A few folks have suggested that maybe it was Pirate by Fabio. So check it out. His co-writer (a ghost writer is when they are unnamed) is Eugenia Rielly

A teenage horror/romance that both Jen and Kelly loved was called The Ghosts of Departure Point. Probably came from the Scholastic Book Club, if we’re being honest. 

In case you’re wondering, the copyright page will tell you if you’re holding a first printing or first edition. Here’s a bunch of people talking about why the edges of paperbacks were dyed

RT Book Reviews and the RT conference once had Julie Garwood and Jude Deveraux on stage at the same time, and YouTube has the video! When Coronavirus is over, I highly recommend going to KissCon

Nora Roberts is our Queen and last week a poor unfortunate soul named Debra learned that the hard way. 

Obviously, Luke grew up on TatooineHoth was that ice planet place, which is why the women in the Ice Planet Barbarians series call their new home Not-Hoth

We’d be interested in hearing your interpretation of The Bechdel Test. Jen thinks the women can still talk about men AS LONG AS they also talk about other stuff, but Sarah thought it required no discussion of men at all which is pretty tough to find in romance. FWIW, Jen mentioned it in regards to The Bride because Jamie is so isolated and largely without women friends. 

We like prologues and epilogues here at Fated Mates, but we understand not everyone agrees. 

The feud between the families in The Gift is “like the Montagues and the Capulets, but worse.” Speaking of which, Kate Clayborn’s upcoming book, Love At First, is an homage to Romeo and Juliet.

This isn't exactly about the life expectancy in Scotland was in 1100, but it's close enough. 

Vanessa Riley’s site has a great explainer about Black people during the Regency on her site. We talked about the Carribean in the Regency when we read Gentle Rogue.

It wasn't a "rip off" of Home Alone, it was just an allusion. Similarly, Nathan's whip reminded Sarah of Indiana Jones.

Are these books on audio? Why yes they are and Jen listened to The Bride in between recording and release of the episode and greatly enjoyed it. 

Boats vs ships.

Next week, we're reading The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn

Dec 09, 2020
S03.17: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne: Lucy! Obviously Danny didn't send the roses!
01:16:50

There aren’t many recent romances you can point to and categorically label as game changers, but Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game definitely fits this bill. We talk about all the ways we love it, about sparkling dialogue and witty writing and what makes a romcom and how this book changed the cover game for a generation of romance. Oh, and yes, we get to the bottom (jk, there is no bottom) of Jen’s issues with first-person present.

You still have time to buy the Fated Mates Best of 2020 Book Pack from our friends at Old Town Books in Alexandria Virginia, and get the seven traditionally published books on the list, a Fated Mates sticker and a candle from the bookstore! Order before December 5th for Christmas delivery!

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful! 

Next week, we’ve got an interstitial, and the following week, in advance of the launch of the Bridgerton series on Netflix, we’re reading Sarah’s favorite Julia Quinn novel, The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever. Get it at AmazonB&NKoboApple or at your local indie via bookshop.org.

Fated States

We were really thrilled to be interviewed by Kelly Faircloth for her article about How Romance Novelists Are Mobilizing Voters in Solidarity With Stacey Abrams.

Show Notes

The Hating Game was a juggernaut and will soon be a movie

Bridget Jones’s Diary came out in 1996 and the movie came out in 2001. 

Enemies to Lovers is a completely beloved romance trope. Rivals to lovers lives within the larger trope and is very fun because it is often a perfectly matched pair on an even playing field. Sarah wrote Brazen & the Beast after being inspired by The Hating Game.

Here’s what we mean when we say situational comedy.

What is the plural of arch-nemesis?

Jen hates present tense, but of course everyone should write what’s right for them. 

Is it chick lit or is it women’s fictionWhy do these labels even exist? Just go back and read The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing or Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner

We don’t talk about voice that much, but maybe we should

There was a short lived Harlequin chick lit line called Red Dress Ink in 2001. 

Here’s what Jen teaches her kids about characterization

The Slate article about interiors and a very thorough rebuttal from Felicia Davin

We talked about another hero who came up through Twilight fanfic. 

If you like a scene where one main character tells off the family on behalf of their beloved, you should read Her Naughty Holiday by Tiffany Reisz.

In two weeks, we'll be reading The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever. We are getting ready for Bridgerton and Wonder Woman 1984

If you're interested in the Fated Mates Best of 2020 book pack and you want it delivered by Christmas, make sure you order it by 12/5.

Dec 02, 2020
Transcript for Episode S03.06: We Are Grateful For You - Freewheeling with Sarah & Jen
Enjoy.
Nov 28, 2020
S03.16: Best Romance Novels of 2020
01:11:50

The Best Romance Novels of 2020!

It’s the best and worst task of the year for us, because we read so many AMAZING books over the course of the year, and choosing ten and not one hundred is hard for us, ok? But here they are — ten gorgeous books that we adored—books with badass heroines, larger-than-life heroes, brilliant structure, and outstanding writing.

Buy the Fated Mates Best of Book Pack in one fell swoop from our friends at Old Town Books in Alexandria Virginia, and get the seven traditionally published books on the list, a Fated Mates sticker and a candle from the bookstore! Support fabulous authors and a woman-owned independent bookstore all at once!

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful! 

Next week, we get back to doing what we do best: Reading Romance! We’re deep-diving on Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game. Get it at AmazonB&NKoboApple or at your local indie via bookshop.org.

The Best Romance Novels of 2020

Fated States

Interested in phone banking or writing postcards to voters in Georgia? Join us for our upcoming Fated States events: phone banking on 12/2/20 and 1/4/2021 and postcards on 12/5/2020.

Show Notes

Consider buying a Fated Mates pack of 7 of our 10 books (it doesn't include the self-published books) from Old Town Books in Alexandria, Virgina. You can also check out our Bookshop link.

Can you believe that RWA debacle was 11 months ago? 

So you want to hear us talk about A Heart of Blood and AshesLike Lovers DoQueen Move, or The Devil of Downtown

Cold War history is fascinating. Not only all the nuclear stuff, but Sarah's story about K Blows Top sounds fascinating. 

Some LitFic novels that play around with dual storylines are The French Lieutenant’s WomanPossession, and the more romance adjacent Secret History of the Pink Carnation

All about danger banging. And of course there’s a button for that. 

Tammany Hall is often used as a historical example of total police corruption. 

Up next week, we'll be reading The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.

Nov 25, 2020
S03.15: Menage Romance Interstitial with Katee Robert
01:00:50

It’s getting colder out there, so we’re getting hot in here! We’ve got the fabulous Katee Robert with us to talk about ménage romance and why she writes them so well. We get to the bottom of why it always gets shoved into the taboo corner of romance, the fantasy of the trope, and why we like it so very much. Also, we topple the TBR (as usual)!

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful!

Slight change of schedule to accommodate a fun thing we’re up to…next week, just in time for your Thanksgiving sloth, we’re announcing our best books of 2020! The following week, we’re reading Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game! Get it at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple or at your local indie via bookshop.org.

Show Notes

Welcome Katee Robert!

You can’t just make wikipedia pages about yourself.

High fantasy has real meaning.

When talking about romance, M and F (and NB for nonbinary) are used to inform readers about the gender identity of the main characters. This is an imperfect shorthand, but at this point in our understanding of sex and gender, it seems like the most respectful way to acknowledge that there is a huge range of sexual identities that exist for people of all genders. For example, if we call a book with two women “a lesbian romance” it might not take into account that one character is bisexual, which adds to bi-erasure. So if a romance is labeled M/F, we know there is a man and a woman in a romantic relationship, but that leaves room for the sexual identity of the characters to be fully explored in the book. In romance with more than two people, the order of the letters matters. A book that is MFM would mean that the two men do not have a sexual relationship with each other, while FMM or MMF means that they do.

There is nothing taboo about polyamory.

Jen liked the progression of menage in Elle Kennedy’s Out of Uniform series. The series starts with a non-swords crossing threesome, Hot and Bothered. The observing one was Heat of the Night (available in the Hot and Heavy anthology), where Ryan watches Annabelle have sex with his roommate. But as the series progresses, there is contact between the SEALs in Feeling Hot and a fully formed menage relationship in Hotter Than Ever.

Ellora’s Cave and Samhain were two of the original (and now shuttered) indie publishers that specialized in erotic romance and/or taboo romance.

That article in Harpers about how men don’t have friends.

The Anita Blake series went through a lot of changes, so just go with Katee’s method and start with #9, Obsidian Butterfly.

Katee will be back to talk about morality chain in 2021.

Next week, we’ll be airing our Best of 2020 episode, and then the first week of December, we’ll be discussing The Hating Game.

Nov 18, 2020
S03.14: Our 100th Episode! Fated Mates Live
01:55:22

ONE HUNDRED EPISODES!

You’ve seen us through Immortals After Dark, through Books that Blooded Us, and through a presidential election, so if there was any doubt that you’re stuck with us, put that right out of your mind! We love you so much for listening…and we hope you have as much fun listening to this episode as we had recording it!

Thanks to Tracey Livesay, Andie J Christopher, Kate Clayborn, Christina Lauren, Adriana Herrera, Nisha Sharma and Joanna Shupe for joining us, and to Steve Ammidown for popping in to say hi!

Next week, we have an interstitial coming, and the following week, we’re back on read alongs with Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game! Get it at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple or at your local indie via bookshop.org.

Show Notes

In between when we recorded and when you're listening, something great happened

How did Hollywood Squares work? What did the theme song sound like? What does Whoopi Goldberghave to do with it?

Fated States will be back! One of our dedicated phone bankers and the head of the OSRBC-IAD book discussion, Caroline, had an amazing experience when she was phone banking the week before the election. And we are not at all jealous about her amazing gift basket from Kresley Cole! 

Check out Milla Vane on the Wicked Wallflowers podcast

Andie Christopher hosts Drunk Romance History on her Instagram feed every Saturday and it’s hilarious. Sarah joined her Saturday after a full day of Election drinking to talk Suddenly You.

Do you know the book where a wave causes accidental penetration for a couple on a beach? NEITHER DO WE! 

Here’s the link to all the slides for Fuck, Marry, Kill and Would Derek Craven. And here are all the Title Smash slides. 

We invented a holiday. No big. 

We love Philadelphia. Gritty was an unexpected hero of the 2020 election. Now you know all about the Philadelphia Left

The Danielle Steele thread from Steve Ammidown at the Browne Pop Culture Library. 

We really need to talk about the 80s blockbusters The Thorn BirdsClan of the Cave Bear, and Flowers in the Attic (and powdered donuts).

It was Buffy and Spike in the mausoleum, not Buffy and Angel.

We can't find the TikTok of Paul Rudd and his son, but instead we'll discuss if anyone knows where Michael J. Fox got his cloning machine? 

We’ll leave you to contemplate the whole “hero pooping” theory on your own, but we all know for sure that Elvis poops.

Nov 11, 2020
S03.13: Fated States Author Recommendation Interstitial
01:37:52


The last six weeks have been rough, but Fated Mates listeners and a wild number of Romance Authors made them easier by being a part of Fated States, our weekly phonebanking initiative with Indivisible Action. We don’t know how yesterday went, but we know we are so incredibly proud to have worked alongside so many listeners who volunteered their time to phonebank, and so many amazing authors who donated books to phone bankers!

On this episode, we rec books by every author who donated free books to Fated States — all 49 of them! Your TBR is going to be full for years after this one! We promise! Special shout out to Julia Quinn, Suzanne Brockmann, AJ Cousins, Carrie Ann Ryan & Cassandra Carr, who each donated books to EVERY phonebanker, once a week for five weeks.

Below, in Show Notes, you’ll find a full list of the books we recommend, and links to Amazon. You can buy print versions of books and support independent bookstores at our bookshop.org shop!

AND…thanks to our sister pods, Heaving Bosoms, Learning the Tropes and The Wicked Wallflowers, who donated podcasting swag, and to BestFriendKelly for stickers!

IMPORTANT UPDATE: This Thursday, November 5th, we’ll be recording our 100th Episode LIVE on Zoom, and we want you to be there! Join us and special guests, for games, laughter, romance recommendations, and as much joy as you can handle. Sign up here.

Next week, we’ll release the 100th Episode for those of you who can’t make it Thursday, and the following week, we’re back on read alongs with Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game! Get it at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple or at your local indie via bookshop.org.

Nov 04, 2020
S03.12: The Immigrant Story and Joy in Romance with Adriana Herrera
01:15:44

The fabulous Adriana Herrera is here for her fourth time to talk about Joy! We had a great time with one of the greatest people this week — talking about the American immigrant experience, how hope and bravery make for beautiful love stories, and listing a huge number of books that we love.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Next Thursday, November 5th, we’ll be recording our 100th Episode LIVE on Zoom, and we want you to be there! Join us and special guests, for games, laughter, romance recommendations, and as much joy as you can handle. Come on…you know you want something to look forward to next week! Let it be this! Sign up here.

We’re putting read alongs on hold for a bit to spend the next few weeks hanging out with some of our favorite people and talking about books and tropes that give us joy, so we hope you’ll join us and keep a pen handy so you can add to your TBR list as needed!

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful!

Fated States!

Join us this Saturday, October 31st at 3pm Eastern to flip the country blue! It’s easy, not scary, and there will be prizes! Sign up at the link, watch the video, and come hang out!

Remember: "Despair is not a strategy."

Donate Donate Donate (if you can). We're thrilled to support "Get Mitch or Die Trying" via ActBlue -- donations to this are immediately split evenly between Senate candidates in elections

Text bank

Phone bank

Vote early by mail if you are planning to vote by mail. At this point, the USPS is so slow that your best bet is to drive/walk/bike/rollerskate your ballot to the nearest polling dropbox rather than put it in a mailbox.

Vote early in person if your state has early voting.

Stay fired up!

Show Notes

Welcome back, Adriana Herrera! She’s been on a few times so far: Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night, the food romance episode, and she and Jen talked about trauma in romance. This week, her March 2020 release American Sweethearts appeared on the Publisher’s Weekly Best of 2020 List.

Normalize pegging at all costs.

If you’re going to come to the phone bank this weekend dressed as a romance heroine, might we suggest you drape a mantilla over your head and carry a pistol? You’ll be a dead ringer for Jessica Trent from Lord of Scoundrels. Sarah was on a panel with Loretta Chase a few weeks ago, and I guess the only blessing of these Zoom times is watching these things online. IS THERE A LINK TO THIS?

Adriana has written a few pieces about immigration in romance, one for Bustle and one for Remezcla.

Just a quick primer, because we didn’t clarify these definitions on the podcast and it’s complicated, because both terms are widely used to describe the same group of people--American-born children of immigrants. While Sarah grew up thinking of herself as "first-generation," many modern academics & the Census label her as "second-generation." Here's a cool article on all the terms, and how they've evolved.

Also, it’s useful to know the difference between push and pull factors that drive immigration.

If you want to read a terrific immigrant superhero story, Jen recommends a graphic novel she teaches to her 7th graders, The Shadow Hero by Gene Yang. She’s also really loved his recent release Dragon Hoops.

Adriana loves the podcast On Being, hosted by Krista Tippet. The episode with Ocean Vuong, author of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, features some interesting discussion of his own immigrant story.

We do not recommend reading American Dirt, but you should know the story of how and why it was published, some ideas about why publishing was so eager to sell this particular story from a variety of Latinx authors and thinkers.

When Adriana mentioned “the fun kind of thrust” she is referencing Jenny Nordbak’s best advice for finding a sex scene in a book: search for the word “thrust.”

Diacritical marks are symbols added to letters which tells the speaker how to correctly pronounce the word. In The Bride Test, the same words have diacritical marks when spoken by Esme, a character newly immigrated from Vietnam, but do not have them when spoken by Vietnamese-Americans. Also, language loss in the children of immigrant families is a well-documented phenomena.

The Worst Best Man has recently been optioned as a movie!

Take a look at the cultural iceberg.

Nigeria and SARS and what you can do about it.

Jeannette Ng’s piece, Critiquing Cultural Appropriation in Books That Are Kinda Meh, is about the pressure to research and how it undermines the lived experience of #OwnVoices authors.

Jen mentioned a piece in Kirkus called 100 books by Cynthia Leitich Smith, which argues “Before trying to write any character outside one’s lived experience, I recommend reading at least 100 books* by authors from that community. To start.” By the way, Smith is the author of a terrific YA novel called Hearts Unbroken if you’re interested.

Trujillo was terrible! Don’t steal Adriana’s idea to write a story about the Japanese-Dominican people who were living on the border of the Domenican Republic and Haiti.

Ethiopia and its capital Addis Ababa are fascinating places. Adriana and her partner lived there for five years. Also, the lions of Ethiopia are genetically distinct from other lions.

When it comes to holiday shopping, October is the new December. Sarah wrote a long thread of some of her favorite local indies that carry romance. Support them if you can.

Oct 28, 2020
Transcript for Episode S02.44: Freewheeling with Kennedy Ryan
A full transcript is now available for season 2, episode 44. Enjoy.
Oct 23, 2020
S03.11: Comfort Reads with Dani Lacey
01:06:15

It’s comfort read week! What makes a comfort read, why do we turn to them, what do we want from them, and why on earth do blue aliens fit the bill?! This week, we all need a comfort read, and we’re joined by Dani Lacey, host of Ice Planet Pod and Black Chick Lit Podcast, to talk about all things comfort reads!

We’re putting read alongs on hold for a bit to spend the next few weeks hanging out with some of our favorite people and talking about books and tropes that give us joy, so we hope you’ll join us and keep a pen handy so you can add to your TBR list as needed!

Also! please join us for a Fated States phonebanking session with Indivisible.org on Saturday — it’s so fun! We love seeing so many of your amazing faces there, hanging out, and lifting each other up through absolute anxiety! Please join us, fellow Fated Maters, and special guests for Fated States Phonebanking Part 5 this Saturday, October 24th at 3pm Eastern to call South Carolina! It’s easy, not scary, and there will be prizes!

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful!

Fated States!

Join us this Saturday, October 24th at 3pm Eastern to call Iowa and make sure it turns up blue! It’s easy, not scary, and there will be prizes! Sign up at the link, watch the video, and come hang out!

Remember: "Despair is not a strategy."

Call Your Senators. Tell them you want "the McConnell Rule" enforced, and no confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court until January 22.

Donate Donate Donate (if you can). We're thrilled to support "Get Mitch or Die Trying" via ActBlue -- donations to this are immediately split evenly between Senate candidates in elections

Text bank

Phone bank

Write postcards

Vote early by mail if you are planning to vote by mail. Be sure to check that your ballot has all the correct information, and is returned accorting to the instructions (this goes double for people in NYC and Pennsylvania).

Vote early in person if your state has early voting.

Stay fired up!

--

Show Notes

Welcome Dani Lacey, host of Ice Planet Pod and Black Chick Lit podcast. Black Chick Lit is a podcast Dani hosts with her friend Mollie, and the focus is books by and about Black women. Ice Planet Pod has different guests every week, and Jen has been on and Sarah will be on!

Some of the specific Ice Planet Podcast episodes that Dani mentioned: she did one with her friend Mollie from Black Chick Lit, Jen talked about what would happen if Wedding Magazines existed on that world, and the latest release was with author Katrina Jackson.

All about Hoopla and the difference between Hoopla vs Libby (Overdrive). If your public library doesn't have Hoopla, it's probably becasue they can't afford it.

You, too, can have a banana phone. Don't tell Sophie, but Sarah's definitely getting her one of these.

In the Ice Planet books, the khui is the magic thing that “resonates” to tell the two people that they are a destined to be together--it also allows these shipwrecked humans to survive the ice planet, and also to speak the same language.

A couple of times, Dani mentioned “Harlow’s book, and the title of that one is Barbarian Mine.

Jen's friend Julie was a little worried about Chuck Tingle being sad when he released Chuck Tingle Pounded in The Butt by a Knockoff Book that Glorifies a Deadly Tragedy and Doesn't Prove Love is Real Then Accepting This as a Sad Side Effect of Making Wider Positive Impact as an Author, but the following week it was Mike Pence Pounded in the Butt by His Handsome Werefly, so he’s probably fine.

Magic Mike XXL is a pure, beautiful movie about men and their feelings. We highly recommend it.

If you’re a fan of the Stage Dive series, there was a new novella that was released yesterday called Love Song. It’s the book about Adam Dillon, a character that the band mentored in later books in the series.

How the Reddit forum AITA (Am I the Asshole) reveals the sexism of everyday life.

The two audiobook companies are Tantor and Brilliance, but with the huge rise of popularity in audiobooks, lots of audio in now produced in house.

When it comes to the Ice Planet audio, Dani loves the two narrators Hollie Jackson and Mason Lloyd. The Ice Home series, a spin-off of the Ice Planet Barbarians Series, has two new narrators Sean Crisdenand Felicity Munroe. But Jen recently listened to a book narrated by Sean Crisden and it was awesome. So we think you should give the Ice Home audio a try, Dani!

Welcome to Night Vale is a podcast and also a book.

Books and Series We Mentioned: Ice Planet Barbarians by Ruby Dixon | Barbarian’s Mate by Ruby Dixon | The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon | Grace Goodwin's Interstellar Bride Series | Barbarian Mine by Ruby Dixon | A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane | Sweet Ruin by Kresley Cole | Lead by Kylie Scott | Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas | Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas | Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins | A Chance at Love by Beverly Jenkins | The AI Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole | Brothers Sinster Series by Courtney Milan | Her Halloween Treat by Tiffany Reisz | Love All Year a holiday anthology |Halloween Boo by Sarah Spade | A Winning Season by Rochelle Alers | Hidden Legacy Series by Ilona Andrews | Jack Reacher Series by Lee Child | Welcome to Night Vale is a book based on the podcast |

Oct 21, 2020
S03.10: Mafia Romance Interstitial with Nisha Sharma
01:27:48

This week, as part of joy month, we’re joined by Nisha Sharma, author of The Takeover Effect and The Legal Affair, to talk about her favorite trope — Mafia Romances! We talk about why organized crime works in romance, fill your TBR to the brim…and share some real life mafia stories. Or, at least, Sarah does. It’s a lot.

We’re putting read alongs on hold for a bit to spend the next few weeks hanging out with some of our favorite people and talking about books and tropes that give us joy, so we hope you’ll join us and keep a pen handy so you can add to your TBR list as needed!

Also! please join us for a Fated States phonebanking session with Indivisible.org on Saturday — it’s so fun! We love seeing so many of your amazing faces there, hanging out, and lifting each other up through absolute anxiety! Please join us, fellow Fated Maters, and special guests for Fated States Phonebanking Part 4 this Saturday, October 17th at 3pm Eastern to call Iowa! It’s easy, not scary, and there will be prizes!

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful!

Fated States!

Join us this Saturday, October 17th at 3pm Eastern to call Iowa and make sure it turns up blue! It’s easy, not scary, and there will be prizes! Sign up at the link, watch the video, and come hang out!

Remember: "Despair is not a strategy."

**Call Your Senators. Tell them you want "the McConnell Rule" enforced.

**Donate Donate Donate (if you can). We're thrilled to support "Get Mitch or Die Trying" via ActBlue -- donations to this are immediately split evenly between Senate candidates in elections

**Text bank

**Phone bank

**Write postcards

**Vote early by mail if you are planning to vote by mail. Be sure to check that your ballot has all the correct information, and is returned accorting to the instructions (this goes double for people in NYCand Pennsylvania).

**Vote early in person if your state has early voting.

**Stay fired up!

Show Notes

Welcome Nisha Sharma! She is the author of some of favorites: the YA romance My So Called Bollywood Life, and the Singh family trilogy.

The Fifty Shades movies are lying about lipstick.

Maybe you’d like to learn more about organized crime in Rhode Island, Cleveland, and Scranton. Sarah grew up in Rhode Island and recommends you listen to Crimetown if you're interested in learning more about how far-reaching the mob is there.

How car crushers work.

When it comes to Capone, we recommend the Chicago tour (if life ever returns to normal) but not the movie with Tom Hardy.

Nisha mentioned a 1970s Bollywood movie. It’s called Sholay, and Nisha said, “Technically it was like this small village bad guy...think old westerns but he had like a gang of hoodlums.”

The big Western movies seem to pop up every ten years, and Brokeback Mountain was 2005!

The list of mafia romance from Goodreads is here, and the queer mafia romance list is here.

Does your gender determine how you relate to mafia movies, books, and TV shows? Or if you participate in real life?

Maybe you want to watch Weeds or Traffic and see some kickass women who are antiheroes?

Erin from Learning the Tropes is on the hunt for books that have heroines that are named Erin, so let her know if you’ve read any. Jen’s list is Ivan and an old Loveswept by Barbara Boswell called Sharing Secrets -- the hero’s name is Rad Ramsey!

Speaking of Ivan and Erin, while working on show notes for this episode, Jen discovered that a second story with these two is coming out in a few weeks!

It is MMA fighting, which stands for Mixed Martial Arts.

We did a deep dive episode on Kresley Cole's The Master in Season 1. Listen to it here.

Jen’s love of Russian mobsters started with Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises.

Sons of Anarchy actually does predate the MC romance. The TV show aired from 2008 - 2014, and one of the first MC romances was Motorcycle Man (2012) by Kristen Ashley. After Sons of Anarchy ended, the MC romance genre did grow exponentially, including books like Reaper’s Property by Joanna Wylde (2016).

Jen said the Molly O’Keefe book with the mafia guy and the secret baby was Bad Neighbor, but it’s actually Baby Come Back. You should just go ahead and read them both.

All about the myth of the minotaur.

The Oscars released a diversity rubric.

The big, bad Russians influenced American media for decades.

Online Advertising is the new cement shoes.

Sarah learned about money laundering because of pinball machines. Today's kids get to learn about it because of the President. Sure.

Books Mentioned in the Podcast

My So Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma

The Singh Family Trilogy by Nisha Sharma

The Professional by Kresley Cole

The Master by Kresley Cole

The Player by Kresley Cole

The Bastard’s Bargain by Katee Robert

The Marriage Contract by Katee Robert

The Corruption Series by CD Reiss

Ivan by Roxie Riveria

Lies You Tell by LaQuette

The Fighter’s Prize by Jessa Kane

Baby Come Back by Molly O’Keefe

The Devil of Downtown by Joanna Shupe

Dark Mafia Prince by Annika Martin

Luca by Theodora Taylor

Judgment Road by Christine Feehan

Turbulent Sea by Christine Feehan

Oct 14, 2020
Transcript for Episode 14.5: Space Romance Interstitial - There Are No Wallflowers in Space!
A full transcript is now available for season 1, episode 14.5. Enjoy!
Oct 13, 2020
S03.09: Christina Lauren on FanFiction and Romance: Blissward is How it Should Be
01:09:28

It’s joy month! We’ve got two of our very favorites with us — Christina Lauren is here with us to discuss fan fiction, romance, their romance origin stories, what they love about fic and how fic makes romance better! We talk about about a thousand books and authors, and do a little giggling too, so strap in!

We’re putting read alongs on hold for a bit to spend the next few weeks hanging out with some of our favorite people and talking about books and tropes that give us joy, so we hope you’ll join us and keep a pen handy so you can add to your TBR list as needed!

Also! please join us for a Fated States phonebanking session with Indivisible.org on Saturday — it’s so fun! We love seeing so many of your amazing faces there, hanging out, and lifting each other up through absolute anxiety! Please join us, fellow Fated Maters, and special guests for Fated States Phonebanking Part 3 this Saturday, October 10th at 3pm Eastern to call Wisconsin! It’s easy, not scary, and there will be prizes!

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful!

Fated States!

Join us this Saturday, October 10th at 3pm Eastern to call Wisconsin and make sure it turns up blue! It’s easy, not scary, and there will be prizes! Sign up at the link, watch the video, and come hang out!

Remember: "Despair is not a strategy."

Call Your Senators. Tell them you want "the McConnell Rule" enforced.

Donate Donate Donate (if you can). We're thrilled to support "Get Mitch or Die Trying" via ActBlue -- donations to this are immediately split evenly between Senate candidates in elections

Text bank

Phone bank

Write postcards

Vote early by mail if you are planning to vote by mail. Be sure to check that your ballot has all the correct information, and is returned accorting to the instructions (this goes double for people in NYC and Pennsylvania).

Vote early in person if your state has early voting.

Stay fired up!

Show Notes

Christina Lauren has a new, delightful holiday romance out this week! Find In a Holidaze at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple or at your local indie.

When we recorded, the wildfire situation was particularly grim in California, and it’s still a huge problem facing many Western states. We hope you're all being safe out there.

A brief overview of CLo’s story from fandom to bestselling authors. The first of their published books came from Christina's fic "The Office," and was published as Beautiful Bastard. Sarah loves it a lot.

Wonder Woman 1984 has been postponed because of COVID, and according to the director the film is best seen in a theater. It is not because Robert Pattinson got COVID (He's back to business now). Sarah loves the preview of the new Batman movie.

Our love of Days of Lives couples Jack & Jennifer and Patch & Kayla is eternal and everlasting. (Ps. Jen's favorite scene is not in that video, her search continues.)

The Twilight fandom was vast, as we discussed in this episode. And there are important reasons why many folks are drawn to fandom. Last summer, Alexis Daria and Adriana Herrera talked about fanfiction and fandom on Instagram Live, and it's a great watch.

Christina and Lauren mentioned “canon” and “AU” and AO3 and livejournal and fandom bootcamp and maybe you want a primer on some fanfic terms.

Maybe you also need a primer on a cinnamon roll character.

These hugely popular romance writers came up through fanfic: Sally Thorne, Alice Clayton, Nina Bocci, Tara Sue Me, Amanda Weaver, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Helena Hunting, Daisy Prescott, EL James, and Ruth Clampett. Present-tense, stream of consciousness flow, and intense character work are some of the hallmarks of fandom writing, and some of those stylistic choices have influenced mainstream fiction in multiple genres, including romance.

Did you miss the community experience of The Submissive? Lucky for you, it's now available as a stand alone novel, and the next books in the series The Dominant and The Training also started as fic.

Christina and Lauren and Nina Bocci worked on the Fandom Gives Back fundraiser to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

Jen said she loves Beautiful Player, but honestly no one will be surprised that she got the title wrong and her real favorite is Beautiful Stranger. Just read all of them. You won't be disappointed.

The question of who owns these stories and the legalities of fanfic is so interesting, and specifically the history of Fifty Shades of Grey as Fanfic.

As promised, a list of CLo recommend fics:

Tropic of Virgo by in.a.blue.bathrobe (aka Kira Gold)

The Blessing and the Curse by theblackarrow (Sally Thorne)

The Best I Ever Had by whatsmynomdeplume

Mr. Horrible by algonquinrt

Creature of Habit by ezrocksangel

The Art Teacher by spanglemaker9

Summer of Salt by lolapops

A Murmur of Fire in the Vein

Scotch, Gin, and the New Girl by wtvoc

Sarah, Christina, and Lauren will be joined by Kennedy Ryan at an event on Oct 21st for a zoom event at Northshire Books.

Oct 07, 2020
S03.08: Serving Pleasure by Alisha Rai: He didn't buy curtains, so frankly it's on him.
01:09:20

This week, we’re talking about a book and author who has given both of us a whole lot of joy — Alisha Rai! We’re reading Serving Pleasure, which is the story of the most relatable of heroines and the outrageously hot painter who moves in next door! Voyeurism, sex positivity and family in romance are all on the table here. We love it.

We’re putting read alongs on hold for a bit to spend the next five weeks hanging out with some of our favorite people and talking about books and tropes that give us joy, so we hope you’ll join us and keep a pen handy so you can add to your TBR list as needed!

Also! We had our first Fated States phonebanking session with Indivisible.org on Saturday — it was great and we loved seeing so many of your amazing faces! Please join us, fellow Fated Maters, and special guests for Fated States Phonebanking Part 2 this Saturday, October 3rd at 3pm Eastern to call North Carolina! It’s easy, not scary, and there will be prizes!

Thank you, as always, for listening! If you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful!

Fated States!

Join us this Saturday, October 3rd at 3pm Eastern to call North Carolina on behalf of Biden/Harris and Cal Cunningham! It’s easy, not scary, and there will be prizes! Sign up at the link, watch the video, and come hang out!

Remember: "Despair is not a strategy."

Call Your Senators. Tell them you want "the McConnell Rule" enforced.

Donate Donate Donate (if you can). We're thrilled to support "Get Mitch or Die Trying" via ActBlue -- donations to this are immediately split evenly between Senate candidates in elections

Text bank

Phone bank

Write postcards

Vote early by mail if you are planning to vote by mail. Be sure to check that your ballot has all the correct information, and is returned accorting to the instructions (this goes double for people in NYCand Pennsylvania).

Vote early in person if your state has early voting.

Stay fired up!

Show Notes

It was March of 2015 (a kinder, gentler time) when Jen first Sarah Wendell talking about Alisha Rai on NPR. Later that summer, Sarah put Serving Pleasure in her Washington Post romance column. It was the first self-published book ever reviewed in the Post.

Just this week, Carole Bell wrote about why readers don't pay enough attention to indie and self-published romance for Shondaland.

Pregnant people don't actually get the greatest treatment in the workplace, so thanks Akira.

Birth order seems like a real thing, but is it?

Is it all that great to be an artist's muse?

Alisha Rai loves a cute purse.

Sep 30, 2020
S03.07: An Interview with Julie Moody-Freeman from the Black Romance Podcast
00:50:53

Two episodes in one week! We are doing what we can to take care of you, Fated Maters!

This week, we’ve got Julie Moody-Freeman, professor, self-proclaimed romance nerd, and host of the new “Black Romance Podcast” with us! We’re freewheeling about the importance of oral history, Black romance, romance and academia, her life as a romance reader, her favorite books and authors, and her dream interviews. Subscribe to the Black Romance Podcast at Apple, Overcast, Spotify, or your favorite podcasting service.

We’re back on our regular Wednesday schedule next week, and with a deep dive on Alisha Rai’s Serving Pleasure, a fantastic erotic romance. Find it at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple Books or Bookshop.org.

Also, we had our first Fated States phonebanking session with Indivisible.org this week — it was great and we loved seeing so many of your amazing faces! Please join us, fellow Fated Maters and special guests for Fated States Phonebanking Part 2 on Saturday, October 3rd at 3pm Eastern to call North Carolina!

Show Notes

This week, we interview Julie Moody-Freeman, a professor of African and Diaspora Studies at DePaul University. She's the host of the Black Romance Podcast. Julie wrote a chatper in the newly released Routledge Companion to Popular Romance Fiction.

The Black Romance Podcast is an oral history podcast which has interviewed some of the greatest voices in Black romance both past and present.

If you're interested readings some books of non-romance oral history, Jen recommends Voices from Chernobyl, Tower Stories, and anything by Studs Terkel. You might also enjoy the podcast Bughouse Square, which pairs interviews from the Studs Terkel Radio Archives and Eve Ewing interviewing poeple today. It's terrific.

The era of the mall bookstore--Waldenbooks and B. Dalton-- is over. But then again, malls might be over.

Vivian Stephens was the woman who revolutionized the American cateogry romance. You should listen to her two-part interview on the Black Romance Podcast, read this terrific profile of her in Texas Monthly, and listen to us read and discuss some of her early aquistions with Steve Ammidown.

Julie teaches a class called Romance, Women, and Race at Depaul. On the reading list: Make it Last Forever by Gwyneth Bolton, Gabriel's Discovery by Felicia Mason, A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole, Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins, and The Brightest Day Anthology.

Although Season One of the Black Romance Podcast will be coming to a close soon, she listed some of the women she'd love to interview: Shirley Hailstock, Donna Hill, and Rochelle Alers.

Rosalind Wells and Francis Ray are two Black romance trailblazers who are no longer with us.

Next week, we'll be reading Serving Pleasure by Alisha Rai.

Sep 27, 2020
S03.06: We Are Grateful For You - Freewheeling with Sarah & Jen
01:01:50

This is a tough week for everyone, so we did what we could do to make ourselves feel a little bit more ourselves despite existential despair—we recorded a podcast. We’re all over the place (we promise this won’t be a theme for the whole season!), but we recommend a TON of books, which is basically all we can do.

Next week, we’ve got an interstitial for you! And the week after, we’re deep diving on Alisha Rai’s Serving Pleasure, which is a fantastic erotic romance. Find it at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple Books or Bookshop.org.

Also -- Sarah has a contemporary novella out September 15th! Preorder the Naughty Brits anthology, wherever you get your ebooks: Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Apple, or in print at bookshop.org.

First Things First

"Despair is not a strategy."

Call Your Senators. Tell them you want "the McConnell Rule" enforced.

Donate Donate Donate (if you can). We're thrilled to support "Get Mitch or Die Trying" via ActBlue -- donations to this are immediately split evenly between Senate candidates in elections

Text bank

Phone bank

Write postcards

Vote early by mail if you are planning to vote by mail.

Vote early if your state has early voting.

Stay fired up!

Show Notes

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls is available wherever books are sold, and you can listen to the podcast wherever you listen to podcasts. The RBG episode is here.

You can watch a documentary about RBG, or read the Notorious RBG book, or wear the RBG dissent collar now.

RBG's "When there are nine," quote is: "When I'm sometimes asked 'When will there be enough {women on the Supreme Court}?' and I say 'When there are nine,' people are shocked. But there'd been nine men, and nobody's ever raised a question about that."

Tom Hardy might be James Bond and we're fine with it. Melissa did some great work pairing pictures of Tom Hardy as Sarah MacLean covers. Here's a thread of Henry Cavill as Sarah MacLean covers, too. Let it be known Sarah has the best readers around.

The Jurgen Klopp thread from comedian Laura Lexx is a thing of great beauty.

These Fifty Shades movies are terrible but we can't stop watching them and we don't understand it either, you guys.

Masquerades are great. We talked about how historicals do masquerades more than contemporaries, and we couldn't name any contemporaries with masquerades, but then Sarah immediately picked up the Dark Fairy Tales anthology, which is brand new, 99 cents, and in which all the stories are connected by a masque. You should get it. You deserve nice things.

Also, the fact that we didn't mention Sweet Ruin is causing Sarah some pretty deep shame.

You should wear your undies over your garters. Dita Von Teese confirms this. Apparently this is referred to as "The French Way."

The lining is silver.

Books mentioned in the podcast:

The Notorious RBG

The RBG Workout

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls

Sweet Ruin, Kresley Cole

Mine Till Midnight, Lisa Kleypas

Warrior, Elizabeth Lowell

The Raven Prince, Elizabeth Hoyt

Blackout Billionaire series, Naima Simone

Naughty Brits Anthology

The Blindfold Club series, specifically Three Little Mistakes, Nikki Sloane

Run to You, Charlotte Stein

The Crossfire series, Sylvia Day

Holt, Theodora Taylor

The Pleasure Principle, Jane O'Reilly

Slave to Sensation, Nalini Singh

Good and Mad, Rebecca Traister

The Seven Necessary Sins of Women & Girls, Mona Eltahaway

Sep 21, 2020
Transcript for Episode S02.30: Nobody’s Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips : Grandma has her Shotgun
A full transcript is now available for season 2, episode 30. Enjoy!
Sep 18, 2020
S03.05: A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane: Because Moon Reasons
01:36:38

This week, we begin the Season 3 read alongs, and we announce the first wave of work of romance we want to honor -- joy. Romance is supposed to be fun, and sometimes, especially now, as 2020 rages around us, it can be difficult to remember that.

So, we begin talking about joy this week with a book that gave us both immense joy, Milla Vane's A Heart of Blood and Ashes. This one is a long one, y'all, so get ready. We're all over the place because we loved it so much, and it's a ride. Eric wants us to tell you that this is going to feel like an old-school IAD episode, so if you haven't read the book, good luck! We love you!

Next week, we’ve got an interstitial for you! And the week after, we’re deep diving on Alisha Rai’s Serving Pleasure, which is a fantastic erotic romance. Find it at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple Books or Bookshop.org.

Also -- Sarah has a contemporary novella out September 15th! Preorder the Naughty Brits anthology, wherever you get your ebooks: Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Apple, or in print at bookshop.org.

Show Notes

Please listen and suscribe to the Black Romance Podcast, a fascinating oral history of Black romance authors. For more recent interviews with authors, check out The Wicked Wallflowers podcast. There are so many amazing romance podcasts for every type of listener.

After her death, readers shared their memories of their first Johanna Lindsey novels using the hashtag #MyFirstJohanna.

Alisha Rai, we demand to know the name of your hairdresser.

California and the entire West Coast and experiencing the worst fire season in 100 years. Climate Change is real.

Sarah asked for maps, and Jen said "reading strategies are for everyone" because they are! While we're at it, making mental movies, models, and visual images of what you read is one of the best reading strategies out there and if you have little kids, teach them to do this and it will help them be better readers their entire life.

This amazing thread by Alexandra Erin is about how sometimes genre is determined by plot and sometimes it's determined by setting.

The audiobook for A Heart of Blood and Ashes is great, but Jen really recommends you slow it down to .9 if you want it at "regular" speaking speed.

Ilona Andrews writes amazing books, and Jen wants you to read the Hidden Legacy series. IN FACT, NEVADA AND ROGAN DO KISS in the first book, but they don't do the business until the second.

If you missed our bodily autonomy episode, we were real mad about ridiculous anti-abortion laws and we talked about how romance taught us about birth control and our bodies.

Some interesting thoughts about poison, and the myth of the woman as poisoner and who is likely to use it. This is realted to the idea that manipulation (or as Maddek might call it, "sly tongue") is often used by the powerless as a way of getting around patriarchal power structures that silence them.

"She rescues him right back" is, of course, a reference to Pretty Woman.

Up next, Serving Pleasure by Alisha Rai.

Buy Fated Mates swag by clicking on the Merch link at the top of this page.

Did someone say map?

Milla Vane's website had it!

Lost Limb Count (SO MANY SPOILERS!)

For those listeners who missed Season One of Fated Mates, Kresley Cole really enjoyed removing limbs from her characters (They mostly regenerated). She liked it so much, that we tracked the lost limbs from the books in what is now an epic lost limb counter.

Also, if you missed Season One, it's our pure joy in your earholes. We recommend it.

Legs & Feet

Years earlier, Yvenne attempted to escape with her mother. In retaliation, her father and brother shatter her knee. It never heals properly and she will never run again.

At the end, Yvenne is trapped in her tower, and from that window she shoots her father Zhalen right through his knee and calf with her arrow, shattering his knee as hers had been.

Arms, Hands, and Fingers

Immediately before the book begins, Yvenne used a bow and arrow to kill her brother Lazen. To punish her, her father cut off the first and second fingers of her right hand so she can never draw a bow again.

Head, Face, and Eyes

Yvenne throws a dagger at her brother Bazir’s eye. Although her aim is perfect, the handle hits him in the eye rather than the blade. Later that night, Bazir and his men attack, and Maddek rips out Bazir’s tongue, stabs and kills Bazir with his own poisoned sword.

Torso

When Zhalen realized that Yvenne sent a message to Maddek’s parents, he whipped her back and left numerous scars.

When Maddek kidnaps her from the wedding caravan, Yvenne stabs her brother Cezan in the back with her dagger.

When Zhalen’s men come for her and kill Banek, she rips the arrows from the fallen bodies around her in order to shoot back at her father’s men.

Total Body Destruction

After Yvenne’s brother Aezil poisons Maddek, he is too weak to wield a weapon. He crawls to the edge of the cliff, drops his sword into the drepa (an evil bird dinosaur kind of thing) nest which causes them to attack and kill Aezil while Maddek and his wolf play dead.

Zhalen tricks Yvenne into drinking three doses of half-moon milk. She was not sure she was pregnant, so it forced her to have a heavy period or perhaps an abortion. She is overcome with grief.

After Yvenne shatters Zhalen’s kneecap with her arrow, Maddek rips out his tongue, shreds his cock and balls with his silver claws, and then tears out his heart. He then uses Zhalen’s own axe to cut off his head, which he then presents to Yvenne as a sign of his love and devotion.

Sep 16, 2020
S03.04: Friends to Lovers Interstitial with Tracey Livesay: Handstand, Hammock, and Horse
01:06:45

Two years in the making, we’re finally talking to one of our very favorites, Tracey Livesay, about friends-to-lovers romances! Ironically, for a group of people who say they don’t love friends-to-lovers, we sure had a lot of books to recommend! We’ll also peel back the curtain on Tracey’s feelings about Jamie Dornan, talk about the strangest places romance couples have sex, and get to the bottom of why this trope works so well when it works.

Sarah wrote a contemporary novella during a pandemic, and it's coming out September 15th! Preorder the Naughty Brits (an anthology with Sophie Jordan, Sierra Simone, Louisa Edwards and Tessa Gratton), wherever you get your ebooks: Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Apple or Google, or in print at bookshop.org.

Next week, we’re deep diving on Milla Vane’s A Heart of Blood and Ashes, which is a long fantasy romance. If you are a reader who needs content warnings, you might want to check out reviews on Goodreads.

Find it at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple Books or Bookshop.org.

Thank you, as always, for listening — we hope you’re having a great (and safe!) summer! While we’re apart, if you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful!

Show Notes

Linda is keeping a calendar of romance events. You should subscribe.

The Fifty Shades movies aren’t well reviewed, but really who cares. We definitely recommend the unrated version if you have the money (editorial note: would we say "recommend?"). Some interesting facts about the movies, including the director change from Sam Taylor-Johnson to James Foley. The soundtracks for the movies are terrific, especially two Beyonce songs: the remix of Crazy in Love and the song Haunted. May all of your contract negotiations look like this. Tracey said “we see more of Jamie” in the next two movies, so maybe she didn’t know about his modeling career. All further 50 Shades questions should be directed to Nisha Sharma.

Unrequited love is way more stressful than friends to lovers.

In Like Lovers Do, Ben's ex-girlfriend is racist to Nic in a way that Ben doesn't quite understand, including a reference to Courvoisier, which Ben thinks is referring to an SNL skit.

Unsurprisingly, we adore Like Lovers Do, but we're not sure we can give it a better review than this one by LaQuette, who really hits the nail on the head with the promise of this particular premise (aka, hammock sex friends-to-lovers).

Martha’s Vineyard is for fancy people.

A New York Times article about Interracial romance in media in 2020.

Handstand. Hammock. Horse.

Are bachelor auctions even a thing?

A history of taxidermy.

Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher are amazing in all ways in When Harry Met Sally, and the "pesto is the quiche of the 80s" scene gets quoted more than anyone in Sarah's house would like.

Up next: A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane.

Buy shirts and totes or buttons and stickers.

Books discussed in the episode:

Like Lovers Do, Tracey Livesay

Sweet Talkin' Lover, Tracey Livesay

The Navy Seal's Christmas Bride, Cora Seaton

Scoring off the Field, Naima Simone

Trust Fund Fiancé, Naima Simone

His Until Midnight, Reese Ryan

Goddess of the Hunt, Tessa Dare

My Fake Rake, Eva Leigh

An Unseen Attraction, KJ Charles

Josh & Hazel's Guide to Not Dating, Christina Lauren

Beautiful Player, Christian Lauren

Beautiful Stranger, Christina Lauren

Sep 09, 2020
S03.03: Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James: Romance Has Gotten Hotter And I Think I Like It
01:25:32

If we’re going to talk about the last 10 years of romance — what we’d call modern romance — it’s basically impossible to do that out in the world without someone who doesn’t know much about the genre asking about EL James’s Fifty Shades of Grey. This week, Fated Mates is talking about Fifty Shades. Or, rather, we’re talking about what we're really talking about when we talk about Fifty Shades of Grey.

At no point in this discussion do we talk about tampons. You’re welcome.

Next week, we’ve got an interstitial for you! And the week after, we’re deep diving on Milla Vane’s A Heart of Blood and Ashes, which is a long fantasy romance. If you are a reader who needs content warnings, you might want to check out reviews on Goodreads.

Find it at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Apple Books or Bookshop.org.

Show Notes

There are honestly so many articles about Fifty Shades that Jen couldn't possibly even link to them. But the one about the increase in ER visits, necktie sales up 23%, and Jen wrote about the history of romance between Fabio and Fifty Shades.

Drunk Austen went through a rather spectacular break-up last week; we promise never to do this and swear we are full legal partners in our current venture.

Fanfiction brought Christina Lauren, Tara Sue Me, Sally Thorne and so many others to us. And lots of great BDSM was written after Fifty Shades by too many authors to count, but many think of The Original Sinners series by Tiffany Reisz as being truly excellent.

There's a reason why women hate dealing with car salesmen and mechanics. Jen wants you to know that if you're in Chicago and looking for a mechanic, the guys at Ashland Tire and Auto will never treat you like that.

Perhaps you're interested in whether or not Fifty Shades of Grey was copyright infringement?

The 2010 He-cession vs the 2020 she-cession.

Sarah reviewed Grey for the Washington Post, and just a few weeks ago, Midnight Sun (Twilight from Edward's Point of View was released.

Ope. We forgot to talk about Thomas Hardy, so just read this article from The Guardian instead.

Mrs. Robinson refers to a character in the 1967 film The Graduate.

Flat Stanley is a character in a children's book, but here we are talking about the theory that readers insert themselves into a book and become the main character. Many people believed that teenage girls reading Twilight imaged themselves as Bella, for example, but that's deeply rooted in misogny. In Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women, Laura Kinsale suggested that women reading romance imagine themselves as the hero rather than the heroine.

Fifty Shades of Grey sold a lot of fucking copies. A lot. A lot!

Lori Perkins was the editor of Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades of Grey. You can also check out Hard Core Romance: Fifty Shades of Grey, Bestsellers, and Society by Eva Illouz.

Jen refers to Christian as the Marlboro Man, a symbol of a kind of gruff, male, American renegade loner.

BDSM contracts are a thing!

Where does Kink come from? And what Fifty Shades gets right and wrong about kink and BDSM.

In two weeks: A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane. Has at The Book Pushers has a reviw with content warnings, so check that if you need to.

Sarah has a contemporary novella in the Naught Brits anthology which comes out September 15, preorder today!

Sep 02, 2020
S03.2: Summer Reads Interstitial: the "Sarah was Right" edition
00:59:24

We’ve been gone for many weeks, as you know, and during that time we read a whole lot of books. In this, our first interstitial of Season Three, we’ll talk about some of those books…and also Jen will spend some really important time confirming that Sarah is, in fact, right. About everything. That’s canon now.

Next week, we’ll read Fifty Shades of Grey. We'll talk fan fiction, Christian Grey, 1st person POV, billionaires, the early 2010s, why the book mobilized so many readers, why it made so many others angry, and what we talk about when we talk about Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s Season Three. We’re back on our bullsh*t. Find Fifty Shades of Grey at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, or at your local indie.

Show Notes

Cats like boxes! Dogs like to chew things! Speaking of Rube Goldberg machines, if you're ever in Chicago, you should really see the one at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Who is the CJ Craig of "Bless her cotton socks" fame, you ask?

Speaking of Vivian Stephens...We mentioned our episode with Steve Ammidown on the books she aquired was one of our favorite episodes, but you should really read this terrific interview with her that was published in the September 2020 issue of Texas Monthly magazine.

The iHeartRadio podcast awards are a thing, and Jen just wants to be recognized.

Milla Vane also writes as Meljean Brook, check out The Iron Duke if you like steampunk. But all of us recommend against using blood as lube.

John Cusack's starring role as a hit man was in the 1997 movie Grosse Point Blank.

Laquette left a perfect review on Goodreads of Like Lovers Do in case you need more convincing.

Subscribe to Linda's calendar of virtual romance events.

Did we mention there are Fated Mates t-shirts now? Check out the shop at JenReadsRomance for Kelly's romancelandia buttons, stickers, and cards, and her Resistance Buttons shop for Biden Harris 2020 buttons.

Next week, Fifty Shades of Grey. Our next read along book is going to be A Heart of Blood and Ashes. That's the way we want it.

Oh, and this hadn't been announced when we recorded, but Sarah wrote a contemporary novella during a pandemic, and it's coming out September 15th! Preorder Naughty Brits (an anthology with Sophie Jordan, Sierra Simone, Louisa Edwards and Tessa Gratton), wherever you get your ebooks: Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Apple or Google.

Aug 26, 2020
S03.1: Season Three: Back on our Bullsh*t
00:49:40

SEASON THREE!

It’s here, we’re back, and we’re back on our bullsh*t because it’s 2020 and it’s all we have, honestly.

Season One gave us a full lAD deep dive (if you’ve never read Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark, pandemic anxiety is a really good reason to start), and Season Two gave us The Books That Blooded Us -- the books that made us the romance readers we are.

Season Three will pick up where Season Two left off. This season, we'll tackle 15 (or so) books that did heavy lifting for the genre and for readers. Some of the books are transformative, some are juggernauts, and some are just truly excellent romance that shows how vast and magnificent the romance pool can get. All of them will show just how the genre works, and how it’s always changing the game.

We’ve also got some great interstitials planned, including some fabulous, brilliant guests on deck…and when Munro is released, we’ll (obviously) be here for you!

So...where do we begin? We begin in two weeks with a text that no one can deny transformed romance and the way the world looked at it: Fifty Shades of Grey. We'll talk fan fiction, Christian Grey, 1st person POV, billionaires, the early 2010s, why the book mobilized so many readers, why it made so many others angry, and the work it did to set the genre spinning in multiple directions over the last decade.

Get reading, y'all, we've got a lot to say. You can find Fifty Shades of Grey at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, or at your local indie.

Note: We are focusing on the first book in the trilogy, not the whole trilogy, though we will likely discuss the entire thing.

You have two weeks to read, but in the meantime, sit back, relax, and let us give you a preview of what's to come! Don't forget to like and subscribe in your favorite podcasting platform!

Aug 19, 2020
Representation of Trauma Survivors in Romance: Adriana Herrera and Jen Prokop
01:00:52

Surely the silverest lining of the Pandemic is how many fabulous conversations are happening all around us. A few weeks ago, Jen had an incredibly important conversation about the work of romance and writing trauma and trauma survivors. You can follow Adriana on Facebook and watch the video of the conversation there!

Representation of Trauma Survivors in Romance: Adriana Herrera and Jen Prokop

Fated Mates

Download

As you know, Adriana is one of our favorite people…preorder her next book, Here to Stay—you deserve a treat!

Thank you, as always, for listening — we hope you’re having a great (and safe!) summer! While we’re apart, if you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful!

Oh, and did you know Sarah has a new book out? Daring & the Duke is officially here! Get it at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Books-a-Million or from your local indie.

We’ll see you next week, for the first episode of Season 3!

Aug 12, 2020
No Write Way With VE Schwab and Sarah MacLean
01:03:34

Since the start of the Pandemic, brilliant VE Schwab has been hosting authors from across the spectrum of genres on Instagram Live Saturdays at 3pm et for her No Write Way series, talking about books, writing, the world and whatever else comes at them. Several weeks ago, Sarah joined her, and they had a great conversation about romance and writing, and we’re thrilled to share the audio with you this week!

Follow VE on Instagram, preorder her next book, The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, and don’t miss her lives on Saturday afternoons!

Thank you, as always, for listening — we hope you’re having a great (and safe!) July! While we’re apart, if you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful!

Oh, and did you know Sarah has a new book out? Daring & the Duke is officially here! Get it at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Books-a-Million or from your local indie.

Aug 05, 2020
Fated Mates on the Deerfield Library Podcast
00:54:50

We're still on hiatus between seasons, but your earholes don't have to be! This week, the Deerfield Illinois Public Library turned the tables on us and interviewed us for their podcast! We had a great time talking about romance and why it's the very very best. Subscribe to the DPL Podcast for more great interviews!

Thank you, as always, for listening — we hope you’re having a great (and safe!) July! While we’re apart, if you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful!

Oh, and did you know Sarah has a new book out? Daring & the Duke is officially here! Get it at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Books-a-Million or from your local indie.

Jul 29, 2020
Fated Tropes! A Live Episode with Learning the Tropes
01:34:12

We are on hiatus for the rest of July, but never fear! We're still bringing fun content to your earholes!

In June, we recorded a live crossover episode of Fated Mates/Learning the Tropes, during which we played delightful games, talked about books, and got to the bottom (or maybe not) of Learning the Tropes's Clayton's interesting romance kinks. We are delighted to share that episode with you this week!

If you subscribe to both of our podcasts, this will be a duplicate episode this week. If you *don't* subscribe to both podcasts...you definitely should. Find Learning the Tropes wherever you listen to podcasts! Erin and Clayton are two of our favorite people.

Thank you, as always, for listening — we hope you’re having a great (and safe!) July! While we’re apart, if you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful!

Oh, and did you know Sarah has a new book out? Daring & the Duke is officially here! Get it at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Books-a-Million or from your local indie, or order it signed from the wonderful independent bookstore, Savoy Bookshop in RI, where she is through the end of July!

Jul 22, 2020
S02.45: Vivian Stephens' Acquisitions with librarian Steve Ammidown
01:20:00

It felt fitting that our final episode of Season 2—during which we celebrated so many of the vintage romances that blooded us—would be with someone we could fully geek out with! We are thrilled to have Steve Ammidown, romance nerd and archivist at the Browne Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University, with us today to talk about Vivian Stephens and early category romances. To prepare, all three of us read some of the earliest American category romances, and wow were they a ride! We’re talking women who work, marriage in romance, older heroines, the impact of Vietnam on 1980s romances, and more. Strap in!

We’re on hiatus for the next three weeks, but you’ll hear some great alternative content on Wednesdays — including crossover episodes and interviews we’ve done in other places. Thank you, as always, for listening — we hope you’re having a great (and safe!) summer. While we’re apart, if you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful!

Oh, and did you know Sarah has a new book out? Daring & the Duke is officially here! Get it at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Books-a-Million or from your local indie, or order it signed from the wonderful independent bookstore, Savoy Bookshop in RI, where she is through the end of July!

Show Notes

Welcome Steve Ammidown, the Manuscripts & Outreach Archivist at the Browne Popular Culture Library at the Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Vivian Stephens was one of the original founders of RWA and one of the most important editors in romance. At the Browne Pop Culture library, there is a special Vivian Stephens collection. Vivian was instrumental in bringing category romance to America and created the Candlelight Ecstacy Romance line, which put sex on page in a new way. She also created the Harlequin American line.

Vivian recruited a series of authors who changed the face of romance: Jayne Castle/Jayne Ann Krenz, Sandra Brown, and later Beverly Jenkins. Here is an early interview with Vivian about her work and the world of romance.

At the last RITAs ceremony--in the future, it will be the Vivians!-- there was a great video of romance firsts. You should watch it.

Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women was a 90s era collection of romance essays by romance writers to combat a lot of not great academic research on romance.

The late 70s and early 80s were a tumultuous time in American history: the return of Vietnam soldiers, a finacial crisis, and a huge divorce boom.

The mall bookstores, B. Dalton and Waldenbooks, were alive and well in the 80s. The buyers at these bookstores, including Sue Grimshaw, were powerful gatekeepers who had a great amount of power over the romance genre.

Kathryn Falk and Romantic Times and Flavia Kngightsbridge was a famous RT columnist, and at RT conventions there was something called the Mr. Romance Competition, and everyone who has ever seen it is like...whoa.

Marisa de Zavala, whose real name is Celina Mullan, also wrote as Ana Lisa de Leon and Rachel Scott. See more about Marisa on this great thread about her from Alexis Daria!

Entwined Destinies was one of the first category romances with Black characters by a Black author, Elsie Washington writing as Rosalind Welles. Although it's very difficult to find a copy of Entwined Destinies, but BGSU has a great photograph of Vivian and Elsie together.

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Jul 15, 2020
S02.44: Freewheeling with Kennedy Ryan
01:22:16

We’re so excited to have Kennedy Ryan with us this week — someone who was blooded not once, but twice by old school historicals! Listen to us talk powerful heroines, her brilliant Queen Move, how so much romance is political and why those old romances are still worth reading — problematic and all.

Summer is here, and next week is the final episode of Season Two, with a few others to come while we take a few weeks off. To read romance novels. Obviously. Season Three begins in August!

While we’re apart, if you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful!

Oh, and did you know Sarah had a book out last week? Daring & the Duke is officially here! Get it at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Books-a-Million or from your local indie, or order it signed from the wonderful independent bookstore, Savoy Bookshop in RI, where she is for the. month of July!

Show Notes

Welcome Kennedy Ryan! You know what they say about pastors' kids. Just kidding, she was a late bloomer.

Teacher Jen would like a moment to talk about vocabulary acquisition: Parents can help kids learn new words by modeling, but reading is really the X factor. You can take this vocabulary test to see the rough size of your own vocabulary, but this information about how kids acquire new words is actually pretty simple: read lots of fiction when you're young.

Believe it or not, there was never a Carole Mortimer book titled Frustration. But perhaps you might be interested in her other single word titles: Untamed, Gypsy (yikes!), or Witchchild.

Prince had lots of protégées, including Vanity (Rick James's ex-girlfiend! thank you for that info Cheris Hodges!), Sheena Easton, and so many others. Speaking of Sheena Easton, Prince wrote the lyrics for Sugar Walls and it is pretty dirty. Ava DuVernay was slated to direct a documentary on Prince for Netflix, but stepped down over "creative differences." And if you can ever travel again, Jen highly recommends going on the tour of Paisley Park.

Jen mentioned that Iris Johansen, Fayrene Preston, and Kay Hooper wrote several series about a family called the Delaneys, and Kay Hooper tells the story of how it happened on her website. PS. the original covers for The Delaneys: The Untamed Years are amazing. And in case you're looking for a house to buy, maybe Iris Johansen's place might be to your liking?

Going back to the archives, Candace Proctor (who also writes as C.S. Harris) and Penelope Williamson are sisters?

So, in romances, being a wet nurse is just a plot device. But the history of wet nurses is, to no one's surprise, rather grim. Sunset Embrace is the Sandra Brown book with the wet nurse. In Vanessa Riley's newest-- A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby -- the heroine has to sneak in to feed her own son and manages to get herself hired as his wet nurse. In Romeo and Juliet the nurse said that Juliet was "The prettiest babe that e’er I nursed." In a pinch, Enfamil is the way to go.

Mary Queen of Scots didn't come to a good end. So maybe just read Shadowheart?

The Tragic Mulatto is a harmful anti-Black trope.

Meagan McKinney defrauded the government during Katrina and landed in jail, which is why we are never going to read one of her books for Fated Mates.

Jul 08, 2020
S02.43: Daring & the Duke: It's Grace and Ewan Week!
01:08:34

Sarah has a new book out, so Jen is playing host this week, and Sarah is playing guest, and Jen is really outrageously good at it…move over Terry Gross! Find Daring & the Duke wherever books are sold, including Amazon, Kobo, B&N, Apple Books, Books-a-Million, or at your local indie via Bookshop.org.

Show Notes

You can listen to all of our walk-up music suggestions on the Fated Mates Spotify playlist. But in case you've never seen The Music Man, the song Marian the Librarian is very cute.

Sarah wants to be a guest on Fresh Air. (Jen obviously does, too, but has to actual cause to be interviewed. So #TeamSarah.) Do we know anyone who knows Terry Gross?

If you can't wait, you can listen to us on the Deerfield Public Libary podcast, but we're going to drop it into our own feed later this month. So no worries.

Jen thinks Sarah is in her imperial period--a phrase Jen learned from listening to the Hit Parade podcast.

The past year have had some great books about rage and feminism: The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls, Good and Mad, and Hood Feminism are three we recommend.

We put children in factories all day, so of course kids fought, too. Sarah recommends The Fair Fight, a historical novel, about bareknuckle fighting kids.

Statler & Waldorf are the two old dudes up on the balcony during The Muppet Show.

The Victorian Age wasn't so great for women and other marginalized people.

That Jeffrey Epstein documentary is on Netflix.

Ewan's year-long break was inspired by The Player.

The myth of Apollo and Cyrene, and also a little about neo-classicism. One of our favorite myth retellings of the past few years, is Circe by Madeline Miller. Jessica Avery presented a paper at the Popular Culture Association about mythology in Sarah's books.

The Master's Tools will Never Dismantle the Master's House is the name of the essay by Audre Lorde. You should read it.

Jul 01, 2020
Transcript for Episode 16: Was It as Good For You as it Was For Me? Sweet Ruin
A full transcript is now available for season 1, episode 16. Enjoy!
Jun 29, 2020
S02.42: Freewheeling with Joanna Shupe -- Unusual Historicals
01:15:10

This week it's one of our very faves, Joanna Shupe is back! Joanna has a new book out June 30th -- The Devil of Downtown -- which is basically perfection, so we're talking about why Gilded Age romance is the best, and why everyone should be reading unusual historicals (historicals set outside the Regency in England). Get ready, your TBR will groan after this one!

Oh, and did you know Sarah also has a book out June 30th? Order Daring & the Duke from Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Books-a-Million or from your local indie, or order it signed from her local indie, WORD Bookstore, and get a special edition Fated Mates sticker with your purchase!

As summer approaches, if you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful!

Oh, and did you know Sarah also has a book out June 30th? Order Daring & the Duke from Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Books-a-Million or from your local indie, or order it signed from her local indie, WORD Bookstore, and get a special edition Fated Mates sticker with your purchase!

As summer approaches, if you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful!

Show Notes

This is Joanna's second time on Fated Mates. The first was to discuss the enemies to lovers trope in Prisoner of My Desire and Kiss of a Demon King.

Speaking of IAD: ever seen the IAD spreadsheet of Wonder, created be Sarah Hawley from the Wicked Wallflowers Podcast? Oh, and if you haven't read it, why not do it this summer? There's a group read going on right now on a subgroup of Sarah's Facebook Book Club!

All about Homage, allusion, and allegory in case it's been a while since you were in an English class.

Modern Library! Where are our romances?

Sarah has a bunch of online events this summer.

Many of the old American historicals support an ahistorical white settler, Manifest Destiny, story of Westward Expansion. Savage Thunder was a particularly problematic one, and Jen only read it for the "sex on a horse" scene. Maybe watch some Deadwood instead?

Which came first? Eurocentrism or the Anglophiles?

Gone With the Wind is just Lost Cause propaganda. Don't at us. Speaking of wars: The Napoleonic Wars took place during the Regency, but no one ever really talks about them in Regency romances.

Romance's Regency blueprint was created by Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer.

Nipple piercing has been around for a long time. Look for it in Joanna's next book.

Joanna's fascination with The Gilded Age started with Edith Wharton. The time period is the setting for the Uptown Girls series, but the Gilded Age also has lots of uncomfortable parallels to today. If you're looking for more information about The Gilded Age, you should know that Jack Mulligan was based on real life mobster Paul Kelly. Joanna also recommends the following books: Low Life, The Gangs of New York, and Incredible New York. If you want to hear Joanna talk about The Gilded Age, join her Facebook Group on July 9th, 2020 for a virtual tour!

If you haven't ever been to Ellis Island, it's excellent. It's a dynamic museum with tons of interesting facts about European immigration to New York. Speaking of history, if you're interested in learning about The Great Migration, the setting of A Champion's Heart, you should read The Warmth of Other Suns.

Food is everyone's love language until the jello molds and casseroles start to arrive.

You actually can read lots of books about the 60s.

What do you mean you haven't seen The Hudsucker Proxy?

Jun 24, 2020
S02.41: Audiobook Interstitial with Voice Actor Justine Eyre
01:22:03

This one’s for you, audio readers! We’re thrilled to have a freewheeling episode this week featuring the fantastically talented Justine Eyre, who has narrated Sarah’s last seven books! Sarah & Justine had never talked until this conversation, when we were able to ask all the questions we’ve always had about how audiobooks work, and what makes them so great. And stay tuned until the end of the episode, when you can hear the first two chapters of the audiobook of Daring & the Duke, available wherever audiobooks are sold, June 30th!

We might not be doing read alongs until August, but that doesn’t mean your TBR won’t still be groaning under the weight of our recommendations — we’ve got a bunch of rec episodes lined up for summer…

Oh, and did you know Sarah has a book out in two weeks? Order Daring & the Duke from Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Books-a-Million or from your local indie, or order it signed from her local indie, WORD Bookstore, and get a special edition Fated Mates sticker with your purchase!

As summer approaches, if you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful!

Show Notes

Welcome Justine Eyre! Justine has narrated all of Sarah's books since Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover.

Join Sarah's Old School Romance Book Club (OSRBC) on Facebook.

Is Jane Eyre really "our favorite Jane"? Jane Austen would like a word.

Justine talked a lot about how audiobooks are made, but here's another great explainer about the role of narrators and audiobook production.

We recorded this before J. K. Rowling's latest terrible TERF rant, so take Jen's praise of Jim Dale's narrationwith a grain of salt.

Justine mentioned Scott Brick as a mentor, and his site has a guide for those interested in becoming narrators.

Jun 17, 2020
S02.40: A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught: A Romance Reader's Romance
01:30:34

It’s the last read-along of Season Two! We’re reading Judith McNaught’s A Kingdom of Dreams, which is the actual book that blooded Sarah when she was wee. This week we’re talking old-school romance, what McNaught was doing with this book and this hero who is so unlike all the heroes who came before him, and why (book) Jennifer is the perfect namesake for (our) Jennifer.

We might not be doing read alongs until August, but that doesn’t mean your TBR won’t still be groaning under the weight of our recommendations — we’ve got a bunch of rec episodes lined up for summer….oh, and did you know Sarah has a book out in three weeks? Order it from Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Books-a-Million or from your local indie, or order it signed from her local indie, WORD Bookstore, and get a special edition Fated Mates sticker with your purchase!

As summer approaches, if you are up for leaving a rating or review for the podcast on your podcasting app, we would be very grateful!

Show Notes

Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox, was the main character in an excellent 1985 time-traveling movie called Back to the Future.

Sarah's next book, Daring and the Duke, comes out at the end of the month. Preorder from WORD in Brooklyn and you'll recieve a limited edition yellow Fated Mates sticker.

Whitney, My Love is an early McNaught historical romance that the author changed because in the original text, the hero rapes and horsewhips the heroine. The hero of A Kingdom of Dreams, Royce Westmoreland, is one of Clayton's ancestors, but we think he is McNaught correcting the record on the Alpha hero. In the IAD novella episode, we talked about the changes in Whitney, My Love. Whitney also came up in the Alpha episode that started the season, because it's impossible to talk about the primordial alphas without talking about the early Alpha.

More on the four books that comprise the Westmoreland series.

Who do we talk to get A Kingdom of Dreams on audio? Oh, you can email a request to Audible.

Jen learned about 1497 on Wikipedia. As one does.

Women could inherit a title in Scotland.

Margaret Tudor was Henry VII's eldest daughter, married to James IV of Scotland to bring peace to the border. Fun fact, once James IV died (thanks for nothing, Henry VIII, you were the worst), Margaret acted as Regent until James V of Scotland, but when that didn't work out, she married two other dudes and also staged a coup, so we don't really know why we don't all sing her praise always. Yeah, we do. Patriarchy. Anyway. Sarah didn't learn about Margaret Tudor on Wikipedia, but you can.

All about the bliaut. Sarah would like you to know she looked up bliauts on Wikipedia after we recorded and now she's an expert. High-fives to all Wikipedia editors. Nothing without you.

Tinctures, tonics, and teas is Fated Mates shorthand for historicals where medicine women knew various herbal remedies for preventing or ending pregnancy. Or in this case, causing life-long impotence.

We talked a little bit about the freedom of setting a romance in Medieval times on our Scottish Romance episode, so head over and listen to that if you're interested.

Jen's obsessed with the idea of the Vietnam Hero, but doesn't know where to start. Probably with finishing the Ken Burns Vietnam documentary.

Jousting. WTF.

What would Jurgen Klopp say?

While we're talking about Judith McNaught and Wikipedia, do not sleep on her page. Divorce celebrations, Coors Brewing Company tie-ins, the invention of the non-clinch romance cover, moving to Dallas after going there on book tour...it has it all.

Support Black Lives Matter and bail funds in your city or state.

Shop and support Black-owned Indie bookstores.

Register to vote. Already registered? Double check.

Jun 10, 2020
S02.39: Childhood Friends to Adult Lovers Interstitial
01:07:02

One of readers’ very favorite tropes this week…sometimes it’s friends-to-lovers and sometimes it’s friends-to-enemies-to-lovers and sometimes it’s friends-to-attempted-murder-to-lovers….we’re talking childhood friends to adult lovers and we will get to the bottom of it! Get ready for way too much music from The Saint. But first things first….Black Lives Matter.

Next week, we’re officially OFFICIALLY reading Judith McNaught’s A Kingdom of Dreams! Get ready for Sarah’s favorite historical of all time. It’s HAPPENING. Find A Kingdom of Dreams at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, or Kobo … and don’t forget your favorite indie, which is probably shipping books right now and definitely needs your patronage!

Also, if you love the music in this or any of our episodes, check out our Spotify playlist, which includes it all!

Show Notes

Looking to donate? Here's why supporting community bail funds is so important. The Minnesota Freedom Fund has raised millions of dollars for protestors who have been arrested, and here is an exhaustive list of other collectives and organizaions spearheaded by Black activists.

Sarah donated to The Brooklyn Bail Fund and Jen to the Chicago Community Bail Fund. Find one in your city or state through the National Bail Fund Network.

Bookshop.Org has a special link if you want to shop and support Black-owned Indie bookstores.

Register to vote. And make sure you're still registered. You can also donate to Stacy Abrams's nonprofit, Fair Fight, which is dedicated to ensure voting access for all Americans..

Jen's friend Susan is putting together a service to help parents keep kids busy this summer, it's called My Camp Box.

Maybe you'd like to find some more unrequited love romances? And, by the way, Requited is an actual word.

Jacob imprinting on a baby in the Twilight series was...a thing. But in the MG (middle grade) graphic novel Fake Blood, a bookish boy has a crush on the coolest girl in school, and she just happens to be a vampire slayer.

Friend of the Pod @Bandherbooks led a read along of Again the Magic a few weeks ago.

Sarah loves The Saint, a Val Kilmer classic. The author of that NYTimes profile, Taffy Brodesser-Akner also wrote a LitFic novel Jen loved called Fleishman is in Trouble.

Next time you need details about the exact details of what's happening in a movie, TV show, video game, or book for your kids, check out Common Sense Media.

Mulan II is a romance. Don't @ Sarah; Alvin and the Chimpunks is a not a romance. Don't @ Jen

Preorder Daring and the Duke from WORD in Brooklyn and score a special edition yellow Fated Matessticker.

Next up, A Kingdom of Dreams.

Jun 03, 2020
S02.38: Three Little Mistakes by Nikki Sloane: I Think About Kool Aid A Lot
01:13:21

We’re talking about one of the best writers in erotic romance this week—Join us for a deep dive into Nikki Sloane’s Three Little Mistakes, which is one of Sarah’s favorite romances. We’re talking about kink, kink shaming, how to make sex discussions less awkward with new partners and how erotic romance is doing some of the best work in the genre right now…and we’re also going to talk about fruity drinks.

In two weeks, we’re officially OFFICIALLY reading Judith McNaught’s A Kingdom of Dreams! Get ready for Sarah’s favorite historical of all time. It’s HAPPENING. Find A Kingdom of Dreams at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, or Kobo … and don’t forget your favorite indie, which is probably shipping books right now and definitely needs your patronage!

Here's Jen Porter on Twitter talking about erotic romance. But just this week, Robin Bradford (winner of the RWA Librarian of the year!) was also talking about why it's a problem that we don't have a clear definition for erotic romance.

Getting RWA to recoginize erotic romance was such a struggle that there was actually a petition! But now we can (hopefully) all move on to bigger and better things with The Vivian.

YA books with queer characters are some of the most challenged books in America.

Sarah also mentioned Sordid, which has non-consensual sex and therefore needs a content warning.

Ron Charles is cool.

Nikki Sloane used to live in Chicago and now lives in Kentucky. Looks like Jen's friendship plans have just been foiled.

Having sex in a porche sounds excruciating, and so does having sex with a porche (WTF!), but Men's Health Magazine to the rescue with this handy (lol) list of best cars to have sex in.

If you're interested in breath play, please do it safely.

RIP Tumblr. We miss you.

Decriminalize sex work.

Maybe when we can go places again, you might want to rent or buy a yurt in Hawaii.

Avoid those sugary drinks for yourself and your kids. If you are in Chicago and looking for a dentist, Jen LOVES her dentist Dr. Deaver and Dr. Casimir at Classic Smiles on South Wabash. And she really buried the lede and forgot to mention that Dr. Deaver is not only an amazing dentist, but he was President Obama's dentist!

Next time: A Kingdom of Dreams.

Preorder Daring and the Duke from WORD in Brooklyn and you'll get a sweet limited edition yellow Fated Mates sticker.

May 27, 2020
S02.37: Partner in Danger Interstitial
01:06:00

It’s one of our favorite tropes this week — get your pens out, because we’re talking about about a thousand books that tackle Partner in Danger! You know what we’re talking about: “Oh no! This person I sometimes bone is in danger! WAIT! I am feeling feelings!!!” It’s great. We’re going to talk about why. Sarah would like to apologize in advance, because it was really hot in her house when we recorded, and it scrambled her brain.

We love having you with us! — subscribe on your favorite podcasting platform and like/review the podcast, please!

Next week, it’s erotica week! We’re reading a book that Sarah loves, Nikki Sloane’s Three Little Mistakes, which we’ve talked about before on the podcast, but we want to deep dive on. Get Three Little Mistakes from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, or Kobo … and don’t forget your favorite indie, which is probably shipping books right now and definitely needs your patronage!

Also, if you love the music in this or any of our episodes, check out our Spotify playlist, which includes it all!

Show Notes

As of last week, going outside looks like a pretty safe thing to do.

In fact, there is less central A/C in New York City. So watch out for the window units.

Zoom fatigue is real.

You know, there is quite a large assortment of "Dorothy in the Sheets, Blanche in the Sheets" merch on Etsy. In case you need to talk a call from your editor.

We all struggle with the illusion of control.

The trope of the damsel in distress has been around for a long, long time. So let's not fridge more women, mm'kay.

Friend of the pod Adriana Herrera has some words of wisdom about writing trauma in romance. And also Jen and Adriana did a Facebook Live chat on the topic. (link & audio forthcoming).

Pour one out for planes. And cars. And alcohol from mysterious European lands.

In case you missed Blood Blow Jobs: please refer to Fated Mates Season One, Lothaire and Rune.

Jen looked it up a map. In Reborn Yesterday, the heroine is dropped onto the Belt Parkway, not the Long Island Expressway. Still seems bad.

Edward saved Bella from a careening van in the school parking lot. And from a bunch of drunk guys.

The Most Dangerous Game is a pretty great short story, classically used to teach person v. person conflict.

Morality Chain is a great trope. Look for an upcoming interstitial on this topic soon!

In Pretty Woman, she rescues him right back.

Preorder signed copies of Daring and the Duke from WORD bookstore in Brooklyn and you'll get swag from Sarah and this special yellow Fated Mates sticker.

Books referenced this week:

Judith McNaught's Perfect

Lisa Kleypas's It Happened One AutumnDevil in Winter & Dreaming of You

Joanna Shupe's The Prince of Broadway & The Devil of Downtown

Kresley Cole's Lothaire

Milla Vane's A Heart of Blood And Ashes

Tessa Bailey's Reborn Yesterday

Emmy Chandler's Hunter

Claire Kent's Hold

Stephenie Meyer's Twilight

Molly O'Keefe's Everything I Left UnsaidThe Truth About Him, Burn Down the Night & Wait for It

Sarah's Wicked & the WallflowerBrazen & the BeastDaring & the DukeThe Rogue Not Taken, and No Good Duke Goes Unpunished

Sierra Simone's American Queen

Kati Wilde's Hellfire Riders

HelenKay Dimon's The Secret She Keeps

Robert Munsch's The Paper Bag Princess

Nana Malone's Protecting the Heiress

Kresley Cole's The Master

May 20, 2020
S02.36: Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie: I wanna mash their faces together.
01:12:38

It’s a Jen week this week! We’re reading Bet Me this week, the book many people put right on the top of Best Contemporary Romance lists — one of Jen’s favorite books and a book Sarah liked to tell people she loved but has now discovered she’d never actually read. Minerva and Cal are absolutely terrific, as is this book, and we’re having a rollicking conversation about fat rep, about friendships in romance, about food (Sarah’s love language), about shoes, and about why grown people at little league games are a weird thing.

Show Notes

We're big fans of Carly Lane-Perry from SyFy Fangirls. We especially like her newsletter, Kissing Books--Jen wrote about grandmothers in romance.

Is it criticism if it's all positive?

Baby Foot is sold out, but there are lots of other terrifying alternatives you can try.

Janet Dailey is famous for plagiarizing Nora Roberts. Before that happened, she wrote the Americana series, with one book set in every state. The one set in Ohio was called The Widow and the Wastrel, and Jen's twitter thread about the book unearthed several early covers for the book.

Sarah asked if Jenny Crusie is from Ohio? She is.

This was Sarah's first time reading Bet Me, just like it was Jen's first time reading Gentle Rogue.

Minerva and Diana probably wish they weren't named after Roman goddesses.

So: you want to be an actuary. You want to learn about chaos theory. You're wondering about the gender essentialsim of a book with a title like Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus. You want to learn more about the band Cake.

Love Me Tender is a beautiful song.

Penn and Teller explain the Cup and Ball trick. Oh, and did you hear Sarah mention it's going to appear in Daring and the Duke? Pre-order from WORD in Brooklyn, and you'll recieve a free limited edition yellow Fated Mates sticker.

With these many characters, it might as well be a Robert Atlman movie.

Learn about dyslexia, our understanind of which has dramatically changed over time. Erin McCarthy's Hard and Fast (2009) also has a dyslexic hero.

Another utterly fantastic family dinner gone wrong scene is in Her Naughty Holiday by Tiffany Reisz.

Jeanne Lin knows how to write some really sexy kissing.

The fairy godmother is a hallmark of Cinderella, and Sarah's own magical modiste is Madame Hebert.

There are so many homages to great rom-coms of the 90s. Diana loves the music from Julia Roberts movies. Elvis Costello's She appeared in Notting Hill, the lead up to the big wedding was like Four Weddings and a Funeral, and of course Diana turns into a Runaway Bride. Min's visit to the magical modiste is like one of the greatest makeover sequences in movies, Pretty Woman. The "I love your shoes" was like The American President. All the wolf references, of course reminded us of Moonstruck. Cynthie's sexy clothes at the little league game were reminiscent of this great scene in Bull Durham.

Order buttons from Kelly in Jen's shop, and t-shirts from Jordan Dene.

Next up, we'll be reading Three Little Mistakes from Nikki Sloan.

Books We Mentioned This Week:

Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie

Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

The Widow and the Wastrel by Janet Dailey

Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey

Daring and the Duke by Sarah MacLean

Hard and Fast by Erin McCarthy

May 13, 2020
S02.35: Freewheeling with Sophie Jordan: The "Taking the Finger" Explainer Interstitial
01:06:28

Sophie Jordan is back again! She’s got a new book out, The Virgin and the Rogue, and she’s back with us to freewheel about old school romances, aphrodisiac plotlines and just what do we mean when we say “taking the finger?” It’s a delightful hour. You won’t regret it.

We love having you with us! Subscribe on your favorite podcasting platform and like/review the podcast, please!

Next week, we’re reading a book that blooded Jen, Jenny Crusie’s Bet Me! Which you can get bundled with Welcome to Temptation (get this one — it’s $2. cheaper than getting Bet Me alone!) from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, or Kobo … and don’t forget your favorite indie, which is probably shipping books right now and definitely needs your patronage!

Also, if you love the music in this or any of our episodes, check out our Spotify playlist, which includes it all!

Show Notes

Welcome Sophie Jordan, who was last on the pod talking about The Master. Come on five times and you get a Pink Ladies jacket.

How are the Introverts faring during the pandemic?

Chewy.com will deliver your cat litter and also massive bags of cat food.

Annika Martin's Dark Mafia Prince inspired Sophie and Sarah to coin the phrase "taking the finger," which Jen has co-opted with glee. Not sure what counts as worthy of "taking the finger"? The Simone Scale TM is here for you.

Jen's "control rods" metaphor is because she's a big old nuclear nerd.

Aphrodesiac books we know of: The Virgin and the Rogue; Robin's Lovett's Planet of Desire series takes place on a planet where the atmosphere is an aphrodesiac; in A Taste of Her Own Medicine by Tasha Harrison, the grandmother whips up a "come to me" potion; Johanna Lindsey's Secret Fire sounds bonkers; Wild Card is one by Lora Leigh that Joanna Shupe recommends. Does the shortbread in How the Dukes Stole Christmas count? What else have you got?

Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune taught Jen everything she needed to know about the backbone of good criticism, everything else she's making up as she goes along.

We talked about bodily autonomy in season one.

Sarah talked about watching the trailer for this very terrifying 60s movie The Lady in a Cage.

Order Sophie's signed books from Katy Budget Books and Sarah's from WORD in Brooklyn -- including pre-orders for Daring and the Duke.

Oh, you want to read Sophie's story about a stablemaster and a maid? No horses were harmed, so it's fine.

May 06, 2020
S02.34: Texas! Chase by Sandra Brown: The Original Sexclamation Point
01:24:04

Sometimes there’s a writer who’s so transformative to your experience as a reader that you forget she even was a part of it until you remember, and then you remember every book she’s written. It’s Sandra Brown week here at Fated Mates, and we have loved so many of her romances that we just didn’t know what to read, so strap in, because both Jen and Sarah read Texas! Chase, and then two roads diverged, only to discover some real deep-rooted kinky stuff. Strap in. This one left Eric shellshocked!

We love having you with us! — subscribe on your favorite podcasting platform and like/review the podcast, please!

In two weeks, we’re reading a book that blooded Jen, Jenny Crusie’s Bet Me! Which you can get bundled with Welcome to Temptation (get this one — it’s $2. cheaper than getting Bet Me alone!) from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, or Kobo … and don’t forget your favorite indie, which is probably shipping books right now and definitely needs your patronage!

Also, if you love the music in this or any of our episodes, check out our Spotify playlist, which includes it all!

Show Notes

Jen's been thinking about how we're going to archive the Quarantine Times and so are historians. Steve Ammidown was kind enough to make some videos about archiving for Jen's TikTok.

Turns out that tweet about the Spanish epidimologist was not true! Blessed be the fact checkers.

Lori Lightfoot is Jen's mayor and her Coronavirus memes are the best.

Everyone knows who Tom Brady is, but not many people seem to like him.

Sandra Brown was in the first class of authors acquired by Vivian Stephens. Her Loveswept #1 was Heaven's Price, and her Harlequin American Romance #1 was Tomorrow's Promise. Steve Ammidown was also kind enough to dig into the archives and pull out some early interviews with Sandra Brown and about the founding of Loveswept.

Benjamin Dreyer definitely wants you to know the difference between the em dash, en dash, and the hypen.

The Rana Look cover has the author and McLean Stevenson from MASH as the cover models. Whoa.

You can still join the Doubleday Book Club. Who knew!

Jeff Wright has a very funny TikTok (which he crossposts to Twitter and Instagram) and a very distinctive way of saying Oh Wow.

Sheikhs & Native Americans in romance are full of racist, harmful stereotypes.

Jennifer Porter took the hit on Texas! Lucky for us.

Oil Futures aren't looking good for the Tyler family; it's not looking great for the rodeo, either.

The primordal 80s Don. Not him. That was the 70s.

Sunny Chandler's job as a Mardi Gras costume designer seems pretty sweet. Here's a cool interview with Patricia Halsell-Richardson, a woman who designs Mardi Gras costumes in Mobile.

A quick primer to the waves of feminism and what people thought about working women in the 80s.

Sandra Brown's house was blown up for an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger. A show that is making a comeback, as it turns out.

Ann Richards was pretty great, and so is her daughter Cecile.

GQ has some instructions on how to be a DILF, but our current favorite is by Katee Roberts.

Slow Heat in Heaven has a plot about dogfighting, but Sarah mentioned a romance where the dogs fall in love back when we talked about non-Sandra Brown category romances.

The 80s Primetime Soap Operas were a force to be reckoned with.

Next time, we'll be talking about Bet Me by Jenny Crusie. For some reason, it's cheaper to buy it bundled with Welcome To Temptation. /rolls eyes at eBook pricing on a 20 year old book.

Apr 29, 2020
S02.33: Enemies to Lovers Interstitial with Tasha Harrison
01:07:34

Tasha Harrison is joining us this week to talk about an old reliable trope — enemies to lovers! This is one of those that we return to again and again — and of course, since it’s a Pandemic, we have to ask…if you’re into enemies to lovers and you haven’t read Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark, what are you waiting for? Season 1 is here for you! Otherwise, we’re freewheeling with Tasha on everything from the best Chris to the real inspiration for The Wire, so strap in. It’s a ride!

We love having you with us! — subscribe on your favorite podcasting platform and like/review the podcast, please!

Next week, we’re reading Sandra Brown! Jen and Sarah will be reading Texas! Chase, but it’s dealers’ choice! Pick your favorite old Sandra Brown or ask us for a rec on Twitter or Instagram! Maybe you want That Rana Look? Or Slow Heat in Heaven? Or French Silk? You can find them wherever books are sold (but the Texas! series isn’t in ebook format yet, sadly) — and don’t forget your favorite indie!

Also, if you love the music in this or any of our episodes, check out our Spotify playlist, which includes it all!

Show Notes

The internet is so slow.

Remember that time when Michelle from Destiny's Child felland then got right back up?

The Fraggle Rock Trash Heap.

Jen wrote about Enemies to Lovers for Kirkus.

Apparently, it's called a Proprietary Eponyms when a brand name becomes a verb or common noun.

The question of whether or not fiction should be "timeless" is one that authors deal with in different ways.

Robert Redford was a snack. Kevin Costner was named The Sexiest Man Alive, but Jen thinks the only time he was truly sexy was in Bull Durham.

Can there ever be a definitive ranking of the Chrises? Jen likes Pine, Sarah likes "the Australian one," and Tasha isn't interested in any of them. Sarah has Chris Evans blindness, but Tasha points out that he's got a little of the wild one in him. Check him checking out this reporter's boots.

We just had Christina Lauren on our show! Beautiful Bastard is better than Fifty Shades in a lot of ways, especially for that elevator scene. Either way, it's a good illustration of the myriad problems with a workplace romance.

Speaking of Lucy Eden, she and Jen had THE STRANGEST thing happen at the 2019 RWA conference.

Babies are complicated in romance and complicated in real life. Maybe what we're really going to see is a boom in "marriage in trouble" romance. Kids are complicated, too, especially if you buy the wrong poop bags.

Tasha's dad inspired the character of Norman Wilson on The Wire! The Baltimore paper The Afro-American can be read online. The real life Baltimore Mayor he worked for was Martin O'Malley.

These Italian Mayors want you to stay inside. If only all the American governors and mayors were the same. Cardi-B is worried about Coronavirus-- so stay home and stay safe!

Apr 22, 2020
S02.32: Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl: Perfect Books are Perfect
01:04:51

We’re back to a more recent book that taught Sarah about contemporary romance, Victoria Dahl’s Taking the Heat. Use headphones for this one, because we’re talking about the best BJs in romance, the power of a great sex scene, and how we want you all to be in a sex pantheon. We’re also talking about flawed characters, true cinnamon rolls, and why Victoria Dahl is a fricken great author.

We love having you with us! — subscribe on your favorite podcasting platform and like/review the podcast, please!

In two weeks, we’re reading Sandra Brown! Jen and Sarah will be reading Texas! Chase, but it’s dealers’ choice! Pick your favorite old Sandra Brown or ask us for a rec on Twitter or Instagram! Maybe you want That Rana Look? Or Slow Heat in Heaven? Or French Silk? You can find them wherever books are sold (but the Texas! series isn’t in ebook format yet, sadly) — and don’t forget your favorite indie!

Also, if you love the music in this or any of our episodes, check out our Spotify playlist, which includes it all!

Show Notes

Sure, Sarah's new computer makes her feel like Lightning McQueen, but it's her new version of Scrivener that is the most exciting thing.

Jen isn't the only one who likes Starburst jelly beans.

Sarah has planner envy. We both love Blackwing pencils. If you also love Blackwing pencils, we highly recommend this video by comedian David Rees on Artisinal Pencil Sharpening. There's also a book! We don't quite understand washi tape, but we're happy for those who love it. If you want to talk planners, Nisha Sharma, Kate Clayborn, and Tracey Livesay are your people.

RIP BEA 2020, we look forward to 2021.

Jen is addicted to jigsaw puzzles, just like everyone else in the world.

The city junk problem is actually pretty great.

Victoria Dahl also writes as Victoria Helen Stone. Jen rediscovered contemporary romance with the Tumble Creek series, and also the Fast Track series by Erin McCarthy.

Gabe's job was to introduce eBooks to the library. We've come a long way, baby.

Jackson, Wyoming is the setting of this book, and apparently there's a lot to do there -- like skiing and rock climbing. It's all outdoorsy, so we can't really speak to it.

The big city to small town trope is a cornerstone of romance. It's just not a corner we visit that often.

The advice columnist is experiencing a huge resurgence these days, and in the age of the internet, everyone can give advice.

Some useful resources if someone you know is sharing their thoughts of suicidal ideation.

That Elizabeth Hoyt book with Winter Makepeace is called Thief of Shadows, and it also has a great blow job scene. In case you're into that sort of thing.

Watch the Ending of Crocodile Dundee if you've never had the pleasure.

If you are looking to try a new podcast app, we both love Overcast. Along with being a great listening device, you can use it to find and share any podcast clips online!

Preorder Daring and the Duke! Support your local indie bookstore, Sarah's is WORD in Brooklyn and Jen's is 57th Street Books in Chicago. And everyone's is Love's Sweet Arrow or The Ripped Bodice.

Next time, it's choose your own Sandra Brown adventure. We'll both read Texas! Chase, which believe it or not isn't on Kindle, but it is on audio! We'll also post a thread of some other Sandra Brown favorites. And if straight thriller is your thing, try OutFox, which is the one Sarah's mom enjoyed.

Apr 15, 2020
S02.31: Forced Proximity Interstitial with Christina Lauren
00:50:52

This week, we’ve got two tremendous guests and we’re coming to you from four different time zones! Coronavirus silver lining — time has literally no meaning any longer. We’re talking to the brilliant duo Christina Lauren about their new book, The Honey Don’t List, and forced proximity romances — which is a crowd favorite…or at least was a crowd favorite until we were all forced into forced proximity!

Next week, we’re reading Victoria Dahl’s Taking the Heat. We know it’s tough to get it in print, but find it in e at your local library or at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, or in print, mailed from your local indie (which is probably still shipping!)

We hope you’re staying safe!

Show Notes

Welcome Christina Lauren! Check out their new release, a forced proximity romance called The Honey Don't List. Perhpas, like Sarah, you need to understand the "honey do" list.

If you're worried about zombies running, there's an app for that.

Christina and Lauren said their cover reminds them of Lizzo's big inflatable butt at the 2019 AMAs.

Jen wrote a Kirkus column about why "only one bed" is one of the most delightful subsets of the "forced proximity" trope.

Amanda Diehl reviews for BookPage and also for Smart Bitches Trashy Books. Here is her inteview with Christina Lauren.

Sarah mentioned the great New York City Blackout of 2003, but it turns out a field in Ohio caused the problem.

"He is poison to everyone but her" is of course a reference back to Sarah's favorite IAD book, Sweet Ruin.

All about wheelwrights.

Wondering what it's really like for scientists on Antarctica is no place you'd want to be trapped, and certainly no place for a danger bang.

Outbreak and Contagion are the top movies on Netflix right now.

You can order The Honey Don't List with signed bookplates from Books a Million, not sure directly how to order from the one in Hunstville, AL, but try calling the store. Check out the audiobook of the Honey Don't List, starring Patti Murin and Jon Root.

While you're whiling away the hours in self-isolation, don't forget to check out our Spotify playlist, which includes the full versions of every song we've ever used on Fated Mates -- or head over and watch all the music videos of all those songs on our site!

Apr 08, 2020
S02.30: Nobody's Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips : Grandma has her Shotgun
01:10:48

We are feeling really proud of ourselves this week because Nobody’s Baby But Mine was the perfect isolation read for us both. The reread confirmed to both of us that this is, beat-for-beat, one of the best romcoms of all time. We’re talking problematic plots, the 90s, what we expect from jerk heroes and how Susan Elizabeth Phillips is better at flawed characters than anyone else in the game.

We love having you with us! — subscribe on your favorite podcasting platform and like/review the podcast, please!

In two weeks, we’re reading Victoria Dahl’s Taking the Heat. We know it’s tough to get it in print, but find it in e at your local library or at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, or in print, mailed from your local indie (which is probably still shipping!)

Show Notes

Americans are stress buying chickens. Yes, eggs are more expensive, but this is not a good idea.

Speaking of chicks, now that Jen knows what happens to the chicks in the hatchery at the Museum of Science and Industry, she's back on Team Train Room.

One day, we'll be able to visit the Butterfuly exhibit at the Museum of Natural History again.

Nick Heath and Conor McGahey have figured out a way to keep those announcing skills sharp.

Jen's interviewing YA authors on TikTok.

When it comes to the SEP-Multiverse, we like the whackadoodle one at the circus (Kiss an Angel), the one with Bobby Tom (Heaven Texas), the one with the lazy golfer (Lady Be Good), and the one with Sugar Beth (Ain't She Sweet).

What happened to the Lamont House romance collection?

Charlotte Stein has a suggestion for authors of contemporary romance.

Last year, Sarah wrote about technology in romance for the Washington Post.

We talked about Prisoner of My Desire with Joanna Shupe, which is another book about a heroine who has done something very wrong.

Maybe you're looking for actual secret baby books.

The one with bad sex is Call Me Irresistible.

After 9/11, Saturday Night Live and The Onion had to figure out how to be funny again.

Our next book is Taking the Heat (aka Cunnilingus Gabe) by Victoria Dahl.

Apr 01, 2020
S02.29: Health Care Workers Interstitial
00:53:02

We are very pro health care workers these days — we love all of you…doctors, nurses, EMTs, home health aides…if you know how to work a stethoscope, we’re into you. This week, we’re taking about some of our favorite medical romances. Listen for Jen getting thoughtful, and Sarah getting wildly inappropriate. We’re all just doing our best.

We love having you with us! — subscribe on your favorite podcasting platform and like/review the podcast, please!

Next week, we’re reading Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s Nobody’s Baby But Mine, and we cannot WAIT. We know it’s tough to get it in print, but find it in e at your local library or at: Amazon (free in Kindle Unlimited!), Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, or in print, mailed from your local indie (which is probably still shipping!).

Show Notes

As we all shelter in place, romance twitter has been very entertaining. Julia Kelly posted a thread where she posed her pets as romance novel covers, and everyone had fun with it. Sarah also loved this one about a dog who howls along with the Law and Order theme song.

We forgot to tell you last week when we talked about Devil's Bride that Stephanie Laurens has a new book out, The Inevitable Fall of Christopher Cynster. We also have added information about how to pronounce Honoria and details about peach silk.

Now is the time to get the BookBub daily romance email. Here's Sarah's Bookbub page.

The nurse and doctor books were the backbone of early Mills and Boon romances, and the forerunner of the modern Harlequin Medical Romance; whereas Americans often find big, soapy hospital dramas on TV.

Budleigh Salterton looks like a very nice place to hang out unless you are a bored American 12 year old.

The roots of American and British romance are different, as proven by this absolutely WRONG LitHub romance essay. (They're wrong about romance a lot.)

Sarah has talked about Radclyffe and the origin of Bold Strokes Books, but many of her romances are about doctors or set in hospitals.

Jen doesn't really care too much about job details. Sorry not sorry.

No one likes a Bloodletter. We want our historical doctors to be foreward thinking. Or as Eloisa James does in When Beauty Tamed the Beast, use a modern TV character like House as model for a hero.

In Tempest, Jen spoke out inequities in acess to medical care for black patients, and that's still true today.

If you're looking to see some "don't fuck your doctor" romances that definitely fall somewhere on the Simone Scale. Wrong by Jana Aston and Medicine Man by Saffron Kent.

Jurgen Klopp wants you to put your hands away, and this amazing thread by comedian Laura Lexx and support all the Liverpool fans out there (especially Jen's brother).

Jen's cool TikTok project is up and running, she's interviewing YA authors and hoping to get kids to read while they are sheltering in place.

You can order buttons from Kelly and t-shirts from Jordandene.

Next time, we'll be reading Nobody's Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

Mar 25, 2020
Transcript for Episode S02.6: Cinnamon Roll Romance Heroes Interstitial with Andie Christopher
A full transcript is now available for season 2, episode 6. Enjoy!
Mar 24, 2020
S02.28: “It’s Sinister, right?! - Devil's Bride by Stephanie Laurens
01:16:13

This week we’re reading a favorite of both Sarah & Jen — Stephanie Laurens’s Devil’s Bride! We’re so excited to talk about ridiculous (we mean amazing) nicknames, about 30 page sex scenes, and about how we crushed our SATs thanks to romances like this one! We’re also hoping you are keeping a safe distance from others and washing your hands lots!

We love having you with us! — subscribe on your favorite podcasting platform and like/review the podcast, please!

Next week, we’re reading Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s Nobody’s Baby But Mine, and we cannot WAIT. We know it’s tough to get it in print, but find it in e at your local library or at: Amazon (free in Kindle Unlimited!), Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, or your local indie.

Show Notes

Please stay inside and stay safe if you can, and remember not to believe screenshots from your cousins.

Here are some interesting and well-sourced tweets about coronavirus from a Fos (Friend of Sarah).

Want to know the other books Jen ordered back in 2001? It was Grand Passion by Jane Ann Krennz, Prince of Swords Anne Stuart, and Innocence by Suzanne Forester. She still swears she didn't read any of them.

Captain Jack's Woman was Stephanie Laurens' debut novel, not Devil's Bride. But it's the Bar Cynster that made her such a popular writer.

Sometimes (ok, a lot) Jen shit-posts on twitter about conflict and writing. Sarah can't always have eyes on her, sorry.

Jen thinks it was Amanda Quick that brought back old-fashioned names, but the only truly great Sylvesteris from disco.

"Eyes on stalks" is a real phrase, and so is rapaciously. On the other hand, here's a bunch of sex scene euphamisms.

The Cynsters were at Waterloo, so we're not sure why busting through the hymen is such work for them.

All about the Greek chorus.

Lady Osbaldestone does have her own books, as do Devil and Honoria's kids.

Veronica Mars illustrates the fan service problem.

Jen is obsessed with the idea of "the imperial period" for musicians--and other kids of artists.

Next time, we'll be reading Nobody's Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

Mar 18, 2020
Transcript for Episode S02.2 The Alpha in Romance Novels - Interstitial
A full transcript is now available for season 2, episode 2. Enjoy!
Mar 15, 2020
S02.27: Sickbed Scenes in Romance with Kate Clayborn
00:31:54

Sarah has the flu! She wants you to know it’s absolutely terrible and you should all get your flu shots even though she got one and still got the flu but vaccines are good for you. Also, we all want you washing your hands and air high-fiving your friends because it’s wild out there. But you are IN FOR A TREAT this week — as our fave Kate Clayborn is pinch hitting for Sarah, and we’re talking romance sickbed scenes this week! If we have to be hyper focused on sickness, shouldn’t there be yearning and vigiling and a veiled death threat against a doctor (don’t threaten doctors)?

We love having you with us! — subscribe on your favorite podcasting platform and like/review the podcast, please!

Next week, we’re reading Stephanie Laurens's Devil's Bride, starring Devil Cynster, who also happens to be the only romance hero Sarah's husband can name (yes, even now). Find it at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo, or your local indie.

Show Notes

Welcome Kate Clayborn! She joined Jen this week since Sarah was down and out with the flu.

Kate loves a sick bed scene. When we talk about acute vs chronic illness, the sick bed scene is acute rather than chronic. And, as Jen points out, these are almost always about physical rather than mental illness.

Some of Jen's favorite sickbed scenes are in Indigo by Beverly Jenkins and Managed by Kristen Callihan -- but we've talked about those books already! Same thing with The Master by Kresley Cole.

Kate is a lot more interested in work of all kinds than Jen. It's okay. We're still friends. We even made a hashtag, #Claykop, so we can find all our discussions.

We recorded this on Sunday March 8th, so who knows what the coronavirus situation will be by the time you listen to this.

Andie Christopher was the first to bring the I'm Baby meme to our attention when she joined us for the cinnamon roll episode.

Jen and Kate both suffer from insomnia. Sarah sleeps like a rock.

Jen was procrastinating about her report cards--but they're all done now, it's fine.

The bedside vigil is kissing cousin to Jen's cold storage fetish, and the way Kate loves it when a hero suffers.

Endomitriosis is no joke.

The man flu phenomenon.

Wash your hands! Don't touch your face!

We'll be back next week with Devil's Bride by Stephanie Laurens.

Mar 11, 2020
Transcript for Episode 13.5: Freewheeling with Sarah and Jen: We’re Big Mad