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Each week on Smart Podcast, Trashy Books, Sarah Wendell interviews authors, readers, reviewers, bloggers, publishing professionals, editors, and librarians about romance novels, which are among the most popular genres in fiction worldwide. Popular guests include: Ilona Andrews, Robin Bradford, NPR's Barrie Hardymon, Jaye Wells, and Rachel Aaron. Amanda, Carrie, Elyse, and RedHeadedGirl, the crew of reviewers at SB-TB.com, also make frequent appearances with maximum silliness. Frequent topics ...
 
This is a podcast for emerging writers, who are looking to improve their work with an aim to having it published, or anyone who would like a behind-the-scenes look at the publishing industry. Your host, Bianca Marais (the author of 'Hum If You Don't Know the Words' and 'If You Want to Make God Laugh') will be interviewing authors, agents, editors, publicists, copy editors, creative writing instructors, writing groups, book sellers, jacket designers, audio book narrators, and just about anyon ...
 
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In today's jam-packed bonus episode, Carly chats with author, Jael Richardson, and HarperCollins Senior Editorial Director, Jennifer Lambert, about the author/editor relationship. They also discuss having an outline to work with to keep you on track and feeling motivated; creating a fully developed dystopian world; working on one thing at a time du…
 
Tara joins me to talk about how reading lesbian romances helped them realize their sexuality after having grown up in a very conservative religious environment.Side trips include Robin Hood in many varieties, Don’t Stop Believing, and movies to watch while kinda stoned.Romances help people understand a lot of aspects of themselves, and I love heari…
 
In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss avoiding wordiness in your opening pages; how writing is a dance and you’re leading, but the reader is dancing with you; how important world building is; giving characters emotionality; being careful of writing dialogue of agreement; avoiding repetition and hand holding; the importance of …
 
In this BONUS episode, Carly is joined by her client and indie author, Kiersten Modglin, to chat about what it takes to be a successful indie author. Carly and Kiersten discuss why an indie author would need an agent; using social media effectively; why persistence pays off; how to get comfortable with TikTok; building an author brand and being con…
 
It’s part three of what I called “AMA with AMAnda and Sarah.” We’re chatting about our favorite recipes, cooking blogs, and cookbooks, favorite french fries, seasonal re-reading, contemporary cozy mysteries with romantic elements, trends, and adventure romance recs. Plus, how to snowboard while holding an onion.Thanks to Bransler, Cheri, Norette, M…
 
In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss giving your characters the opportunity to react to big events; only including what's essential to intrigue an agent in the query letter; not giving away spoilers; and not counting on backstory and secrets to do the heavy lifting in dual timeline narratives. After which, Bianca chats with A…
 
In this episode, our book is about one boy's adventures on the ocean. In Margi Preus's Newbery Honor winning The Heart of a Samurai, Manjiro is a 14-year-old Japanese fisherman. One day, he and his crewmates get blown off course by a storm and are shipwrecked. Come for the book talk, stay for the recommendations, all, as usual, in 10 minutes or les…
 
Bianca Marais, finishes her discussion with Lisa Cron, author of Story Genius and Wired for Story. In this second of two episodes, Lisa unpacks her approach to backstory. Weighing in with an opposing view, is bestselling author, Karen Dionne (The Marsh King's Daughter and The Wicked Sister) with her advice of how to work in backstory without draggi…
 
We’re back! With more of your questions! We’re going to talk about tv shows we recommend, book recs of course, mayonnaise of course, summer treats, and middle school favorites.Thanks to Laura B, Karelia, Christina B, and Phoebe for the questions!...Music: purple-planet.comBởi SB Sarah
 
In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss quiet plots; using the #MeToo hashtag; deciding what kind of author you want to be; plausibility in fiction; the 'looking back' vibe; and how comps intersect and are in conversation with one another. After which, Bianca chats with Mary Kole, founder and executive editor at Good Story Compa…
 
Bianca Marais, chats with Lisa Cron, author of Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere) and Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence. In this first of two episodes, Lisa disc…
 
Arielle Zibrak is the author of Guilty Pleasures, a new book in the Avidly Reads series from New York University Press. She’s also a former editor of romance fiction, and a professor of 19th century popular fiction. Her new book - which is terrific - examines the concept of the “guilty pleasures” and seeks to unpack and answer the question, “What i…
 
In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss prioritizing plot and character over voice in a query letter; giving an old trope a fresh twist; why love at first sight is so tough to write; how writing is a political act; and avoiding defamation or licensing issues in your writing. After which, Bianca chats with Emily Henry, author of …
 
In this BONUS episode, Carly is joined by Dana Murphy, an agent from The Book Group, and Addison Duffy, an agent from UTA, to talk about all things related to film and TV rights, including book to film, and book to TV adaptations; what intellectual property is; how agents get a project ready to shop around; how books get optioned; which books are a…
 
Today, we’re going to talk about food safety law, and the history of women who probably poisoned their husbands. Allegedly.Mikki Kendall, on Twitter as @Karnythia and the author of Hood Feminism, is an eager historian into the mysteries of what women got away with, and so we cover poison clusters, dying of fever, and the poisons hanging out in your…
 
In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss the difference between urban fantasy and magical realism; using a scalpel in writing surgery; delivering answers to readers' questions; coming-of-age stories vs YA fiction; and knowing who your audience is. After which, Bianca chats with May Cobb, author of The Hunting Wives, about writing…
 
I asked the Patreon community what they’d like to ask Amanda and I, and howdy damn, I got some really thoughtful and fun questions! In this conversation, we’re talking about astrology, apps, allergies, and all the book recs. If you like hanging out while we chat, this episode is for you. Thanks to everyone in the Patreon community for their questio…
 
In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss making it clear what's at stake, and what the hook is, in your query letter; how important readability is; not leading the reader too much; pitching plot as opposed to feelings; limiting your use of punctuation; and guarding against white saviorism. After which, Bianca chats with Jessica P…
 
Catherine and I chat with Lois McMaster Bujold (!!!) about The Assassins of Thasalon. If you like the Penric & Desdemona books as much as we do (which is a LOT) you’ll love this episode!We cover the origin story of Penric and Desdemona, how her retirement partially rests on self publishing, and how much manga she’s reading and watching - with recom…
 
In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss the heartbreak of the querying process; the power imbalance between agents and authors; giving agents an idea of whether your novel is commercial or literary fiction; picking your comps and inciting incident; and avoiding two heroes' journeys in one query. Bianca also challenges Carly to n…
 
Author and actor Preslaysa Williams joins me to talk about her new book, A Lowcountry Bride, which she calls “a love letter to Charleston.” We discuss the beauty and pain of complicated history, the process of writing this book over ten years, and the weirdness of seeing your younger self in animated gifs.Find the books and show notes: ...Music: Pu…
 
In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss leaning into unlikable characters but how to make them relatable; avoiding info dumps, especially in dialogue; starting at the right place; and trusting both yourself and your reader. After which, Bianca chats with Uzma Jalaluddin, author of Hana Khan Carries On about writing rom coms; the…
 
Tara and I exclaimed at each other about Dr. Jen Gunter’s latest book, The Menopause Manifesto, so we figured we should exclaim at her, too. In this conversation, we cover the book, the facts and science about menopause, and the history of how predatory patriarchal bullcrap has influenced how we think, talk, and learn about menopause. We also talk …
 
In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss being more explicit about genre and tone; establishing emotionality in your main characters rather than just having them being observers or vessels; giving your reader access to your character's thoughts and feelings, while balancing show vs tell; setting not just the story stakes, but sce…
 
In today's bonus content episode, Bianca, Carly and CeCe take all your questions about agents' and publishers' contracts; finding a reputable agent; being out on submission; the etiquette of querying; why agents might offer R&Rs; the kinds of revisions you'll be expected to do, etc.Bởi Bianca Marais, Carly Watters and Cecilia Lyra
 
My guest this week is author Hudson Lin (she/her) whose new book Hard Sell is out 25 May! Hard Sell is a trope-tastic queer romance between Daniel and Tobin, who have a secret affair while working opposite sides of a business deal. Lin and I talk about the writing process and how she portrays Daniel’s professional burnout in the story (no spoilers,…
 
In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss falling in love with a story before falling in love with an author; what constitutes a memoir and the different types of non-fiction; giving time frames for your manuscripts; and using the present tense for more immediacy. After which, Bianca chats with publishing phenomenon, Jeffery Deave…
 
Colin Dobson-Fox is the co-host and producer behind one of my favorite YouTube channels, Foxes Afloat, which recently reached over 100k subscribers (a very big deal in YouTube Land). Colin and his husband Shaun live aboard a narrowboat in the UK, and produce weekly vlogs of their travels, and their lives, including Colin’s life with autism and with…
 
In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss using pseudonyms; the difference between women's fiction and book club fiction; beginning your book with adult characters in adult novels; giving agents trigger/content warnings; how to propose sequels; and how to find the most compelling entry point into your story. After which, Bianca ch…
 
Sing along with us! Reach into the deep vault of your memory, and sing TV themes as we attempt to stump one another. We also start by talking about cat vomit because of course we do. We cover all the great children’s tv themes, teen crushes, songs that come with instant Pavlovian responses, and more. So if you were craving some bizarre and enjoyabl…
 
In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe discuss the issue of swearing in novels; how characters feel about the action playing out on the page; and moving around the puzzle pieces of a story. After which, Bianca chats with Katie Wall, a book coach at Craft Better Books, about what you can learn from your rejections; why patience will pay…
 
My guest this week is Vanessa Riley, whose newest book, An Earl, The Girl, and a Toddler is out now! We talk about reframing history, interrogating the fantasy of historical romance, and the overlap between mechanical engineering and writing romance. We also talk about the narrators for her books, including Bahni Turpin and Adjoa Andoh (aka Lady Da…
 
In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe fall in love with another submission; discuss writing from perspectives that aren't your own; what the 'arrogant win' is; how to write prologues; and writing second person PoV. After which, Bianca chats with Kristin Beck, author of COURAGE, MY LOVE, about writing and researching historical fiction…
 
Amanda and I talk food, Key West, more food, writing bilingual characters, family drama, food, baseball, and writing with Priscilla Oliveras. Her latest book, Anchored Hearts, is out now, and there is SO much to discuss. This book made Amanda full on sob, and we have a really good time talking to Priscilla about it (don’t worry - no spoilers!).If y…
 
In today's Books with Hooks segment, Carly and CeCe fall in love with one submission; suggest using a different PoV for another; discuss how characterization can be revealed through what a character notices, and how a writer is an artist who doesn't get to see their audience. After which, Bianca chats with Daniel Ford, author and podcast host, abou…
 
Uzma Jalaluddin joins Amanda and me to talk about Hana Khan Carries On, which caused one of us some Bad Decisions Book Club membership. We discuss the book (no spoilers, don’t worry!) and the fabulous podcasting heroine, Hana, who’s got a You’ve Got Mail kind of relationship with the owner of a rival Halal restaurant. We cover representation, gorge…
 
Carly Watters and Cece Lyra are now co-hosts of the podcast (Yay!), who will be doing the Books with Hooks segment every week, in which they discuss your query letters and opening pages. This week's segment specifically looks at how to trust both yourself and your reader. After which, Bianca Marais chats with author, Kerry Clare, about how to be a …
 
[bookaside slug="a-wicked-conceit"] The latest book in Anna Lee Huber’s Lady Darby series is out, and she’s my guest this week to talk all about it. If you haven’t read this book yet, there are no spoilers, so fear not! And if you haven’t read the series, this might tempt you to try it (it’s great) because we’re going to talk about history. A Wicke…
 
In the regular Books with Hooks segment, author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with P.S. Literary agents extraordinaire, Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra about query letters and opening pages that listeners have submitted. After which, Bianca interviews Traci Thomas, Bookstagrammer and host of the wildly popular podcast, The Stacks, about the value of B…
 
Victoria Helen Stone has a new book out! The Last One Home is a dual-timeline domestic thriller in the genre of “Earl Had to Die.” In this conversation, we discuss her moving from writing romance as Victoria Dahl to writing domestic suspense and thrillers, growing up in poverty, and the power of nostalgia. Then Victoria figures out a key reason why…
 
In the regular Books with Hooks segment, author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with P.S. Literary agents extraordinaire, Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra about query letters and opening pages that listeners have submitted. After which, Bianca interviews bestselling author, Susan Wiggs (author of The Lost and Found Bookshop) about staying relevant; treat…
 
This week I am joined by Shani and Bridget from the Romance at a Glance podcast! We talk about their current season, where they’re focusing on dark romances, and about podcasting.Then, we talk about a book. For this episode, we all read Draekon Mate: Exiled to the Prison Planet.Check this blurb: “Crashed spaceship. Prison planet. Snarling, lethal p…
 
Author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with P.S. Literary agents extraordinaire, Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra, in their regular Books with Hooks segment, in which listeners submit their query letters and first pages to get advice on grabbing their dream agents' attention. After which, Bianca interviews South African author, Keletso Mopai, about writi…
 
As a follow up to last week’s podcast, I share the broadcast of Amanda and I making peanut butter and mayo sandwiches, inspired by folks who have shared strong opinions.Yes, we eat PB and Mayo sandwiches. Live on air. I’m sorry.But we also talk a LOT about cookies so if you’re hungry, maybe have snacks before you press play?We also cover:Good roomm…
 
Author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with P.S. Literary agents extraordinaire, Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra, in their regular Books with Hooks segment, in which listeners send in their query letters and first pages to get advice on grabbing their dream agents' attention. After which, Bianca interviews author, and food and travel writer, Ann Mah, ab…
 
Need a break? How about highlights from another Stereo broadcast with Amanda and me! We started by asking what keeps folks feeling happy (pizza FTW), but when we bring up mayonnaise, things go way off the rails. Way, way off the rails. We are going to cover crucial debates and fundamental food opinions such as: the egg-continuum of quiche to pie wh…
 
Author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with agents extraordinaire, Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra, in their regular Books with Hooks segment, in which listeners send in their query letters and first pages to get advice on grabbing their dream agents' attention. After which, Bianca interviews bestselling author, Marissa Stapley, about why being a writer…
 
[bookaside slug="a-court-of-silver-flames"] Sometimes I’m fortunate enough to do an interview with an author I’ve never met, but with whom there’s an instant connection. That happened for Amanda and me last year when we interviewed Sarah J. Maas in Episode 395..And now, Sarah J. Mass is back, nearly one year later to the date, to talk about her new…
 
Author and host, Bianca Marais, chats with agents extraordinaire, Carly Watters and CeCe Lyra, in their regular Books with Hooks segment, in which listeners send in their query letters and first pages to get advice on grabbing their dream agents' attention. After which, Bianca chats with Alexandria Brown, co-owner of indie publisher, Rising Action …
 
Caroline Perny, Publicity Manager at Tor, joins us to talk about what books are coming out in 2021. We recorded in mid-November, so we start by talking about carbs, which is a perennial subject, and about genre descriptors, which are perennial as well.But the books? OH we have a LOT to tell you about. If you like sci fi, fantasy, speculative,We tal…
 
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