Steam Scenes

Show Notes

Amish porn led Sarah Burnard to romancelandia and she hasn’t looked back. But, Amish porn aside, she struggled with writing the naughty bits. To get comfortable, she wrote a “dirty, sexy, filthy” book, which got her into Pitch Wars and landed her an agent! See, filth works! 
 
Listen to the end, when I read a sneak peek naughty bit from Sarah’s “dirty, sexy, filthy” not-yet-published book Batteries Not Included.
 
Connect with Sarah:
Twitter @SarahABurnard 
Instagram: sarah_burnard
Web: SarahBurnardAuthor.com 
 

What is Steam Scenes?

Contemporary romance author Elle Greco is joined by her fellow romance authors to talk about writing all the naughty bits.

Elle 0:01
Sarah Burnard has always been drawn to love stories and the promise of an H EA. She writes laugh out loud stories about strong characters getting their asses kicked by love. Originally from Minnesota. Sarah lives in New Zealand with a silver fox of a kiwi and two rat bags are for kids. her day job and viticulture involves sunshine and yoga pants, listening to romance related podcasts, hopefully this one and chasing plot bunnies. She's a member of the Romance Writers of New Zealand and was a pitch wars mentee class of 2020. Sara, thank you for being here. Welcome to steam Sans.

Sarah 0:40
Thank you for having me on.

Elle 0:42
Um, I got from like, all the way across the world.

Sarah 0:45
Yeah.

Elle 0:48
I have to say the Minnesota like, drawl or accent has been like completely Kiwi dataview.

Sarah 0:55
Yeah, you think so. But then I will run into Kiwis who think I'm from Canada.

Elle 1:01
Oh, really? Yeah. Now, how long have you been there?

Sarah 1:06
A dozen years actually.

Elle 1:08
Oh, wow. And what came first the husband or the move to New Zealand?

Sarah 1:14
Well, sort of came to New Zealand backpacking when I was in my late 20s and met him here. And then I sort of went to Australia for a bit went home for a bit and then I moved back here and stayed here with him.

Elle 1:26
Wow. Oh, my God. That's a that's a romance novel in and of itself.

Sarah 1:31
Yeah, that's really cool.

Yeah. So nice here.

Elle 1:39
You guys aren't having the COVID issues that the rest of the world is having?

Sarah 1:42
No, but we did just have a lockdown a few weeks ago. And

Elle 1:49
that's about one case. Yeah, we do and you lock it down? Or how long do how long? Do they lock it down for 10 days?

Sarah 1:57
Oh, no, it was a bit longer than that. So I think we were in. I'm in the South Island. So I'm not anywhere near Auckland or anything. And that's where all the cases have been. We haven't had any cases in the South Island in quite a while. And I think we were for just over two weeks in level four, and then two weeks and level three. And now we're in a level two. So like schools back, daycares back, you can, you know, go out to a restaurant or a bar, but there's very limited numbers for how many people they can have in indoors, and you have to wear a mask and things like that. But I think Auckland is just now in a level three. So they've been in level four the whole time. Oh, wow. Yeah. So they've been like a full month. And so it's quite a lot, a lot of stress to people I think and are really, really hoping that they can soon, you know, go out and get a little bit of life back to normal.

Elle 2:52
Yeah, get on with their lives. Yeah, yeah.

Sarah 2:55
But I think we've got we've got the Christmas holiday season at the end of the tunnel. And like everybody wants their holiday at the beach. And there's like that big shiny thing of you know, if we can just do this, we can all get

Elle 3:08
through this. We will get to the other side. And we will have a holiday at the beach and that work for

Sarah 3:14
you know, it definitely is, you know,

I think we can do it. So

Elle 3:22
fingers crossed for you. I swear to God in the United States. We're all going to be in the hospital by Christmas.

Sarah 3:29
Yeah, yeah, I feel sorry, guys, especially, you know, people who are working in health care and you know, parents having to send their kids to school and yeah,

Elle 3:38
yeah, it's really bananas. So hey, let's talk about sexy things. Not Yes, sexy things are much better than COVID. Oh, okay, when did you realize you wanted to be a writer.

Sarah 3:56
Um, I kind of I'm one of those people I always have since I was, you know, sometimes I don't know, when I was a kid. But you know, maybe at the time I was 10 or so I really wanted to, to write and I just sort of daydream a lot and tell myself, you know, stories or whatever. I wasn't very good at sleeping or napping, but I'd have to, you know, go lie down have a nap. So my little sister would have a nap. And I just, you know, tell a story in my head or something if I didn't have my nose in an actual book. And, and so I kind of always wanted to, but I didn't really do anything about it. And then I hit, you know, high school. And then any thought of like writing just sort of went out the window because you know, job and, boy, all that stuff and university. And so it took me quite a while to come back to it.

Elle 4:43
What did you ever go to university for?

Sarah 4:45
I'm curious. Oh, I studied political science.

Oh, technically, my

major was global studies. And my emphasis was Latin American politics and law. So it's just a Blau. Yeah. It was quite good. I really wanted to travel and do something. I don't know, maybe in some international organization, or I don't know what I was thinking when I was in my 20s I've never done anything with a stick.

Elle 5:13
Oh, really? Oh my god. I was gonna say my, my kid is leaning towards that right now.

Sarah 5:19
Yeah, yeah. Fascinating. I'm glad I studied it. It was just so interesting to me, especially at the time. And I really thought international relations and stuff would be where I'd want to sort of end up and you know, anything that I could travel a lot. And, and just Yeah, but oh, well, I still try.

Oh, well. So.

Elle 5:45
So then when did you sort of end up? Like, how did you end up where you are? How did you end up writing?

Sarah 5:50
Ah, so. So I've got two kids now. And my oldest is six, and my youngest is four. And I was off on maternity leave for quite a while. We've got like, reasonable paid maternity leave, but you can also have a good chunk unpaid. And we just decided I'd stay home, you know, with the kids for a bit. And I wasn't, wasn't sleeping. Because small children. My children also weren't sleeping. And I just have all these stretches of just born. And I started sort of, again, telling the stories, you know, in my head daydreaming and, and that sort of thing. And I was talking to my sister one day, and she made a joke that she was gonna write a book. And she said she was gonna write Amish porn. And I was like, that's not a thing. This did it was I'm sure there is one somewhere because there's something somewhere. But I was like, Okay, you did not get to have my dream before me. So I'm gonna do this. So I sat down, and I started writing. And it was awful. It was just, I'm not even the first draft. I didn't know what I was doing. It was just a nightmare. But it was sort of like a women's fiction, but with a strong romance clean. And then I kept revising it, and it was more and more romance every time. When I really decided, okay, I need to get serious I, I looked for some critique partners and got a couple of those. And then I just, yeah, joined the RW and said and kept, kept going. And, and, yeah, that's how we got here.

Elle 7:24
Wow. No, okay, so you started women's fiction? Were you an avid romance reader? Or I'm just sort of like wondering where the veer off to romance ended up.

Sarah 7:32
Yeah, I think I've always been drawn to the more romance stories, even though I'm not an actual, like romantic person. I just leave her. I don't know. I love it. I love

Elle 7:48
reading I love all of that. But it's like if my husband showed up for like, came home from work with like, roses on a box of chocolate. I would be like, What the fuck are you doing?

Sarah 7:57
For starters, you bought me the wrong chocolate? I don't actually like that one. sneezy things. Exactly. I was blown out. By the way,

Elle 8:12
why didn't you pick up some beer? Like

Sarah 8:13
oh, God, is it that is my love language? I mean, you buy me a 24 unit case of space and I'll be like

Elle 8:21
booze is our love language man. Yes.

Sarah 8:25
I know if you want to you know if you forget my birthday, that's fine. Just go pick up a case of beer that's very good.

Elle 8:35
I know when we first got together you make my husband so mad because I refuse to celebrate Valentine's

Sarah 8:41
Day. Yeah, what's the point of Valentine's Day?

Elle 8:43
I'm like if you don't know that I love you every other day then there's something wrong in our marriage. Yep.

Sarah 8:49
Hi Mark. I think you know the different Love Languages I'm more an active or acts of service person. So if you want to show me that you know you love me like do the dishes. Yes.

Elle 9:00
Show your love by doing the dishes

Sarah 9:01
exactly like take a look around and go oh gee, the bathroom needs a cleaning let's let's just get out with cleaner and do it

I don't want I don't want chocolate so I want to clean bathroom.

Elle 9:14
Flowers guy chocolates go straight to my ass a clean bathroom. I will

Sarah 9:19
be exactly at least until the next time it needs to clean.

Elle 9:27
Okay, so how I don't know how the hell did we end up writing romance?

Sarah 9:32
I don't know. I think I think for me a big part of it is the I just love that that tension the will they won't say like how are these two idiots going to get there and, and all that that goes into it. It's just It's fascinating to like reading a book or watching a movie. You know,

Elle 9:51
to write the part in your bio about you know, writing about characters getting their asses kicked by love I particularly enjoyed that and like, oh, you know, and I'm sort of sort of like sitting here going. So tell me more about getting your asses kicked by love, I want to hear about this.

Sarah 10:15
The best one, they just don't see it coming and they think everything's fine and they're happy the way you know life is or maybe they're not happy, but they don't think that that love is what they need. And then just out of left field, here comes this, you know, love interest, who just changes everything and knocks him flat on their ass. And that's just so much fun.

Elle 10:37
So I so I'm just like, jump back. Were you a romance novel reader? Or Oh,

Sarah 10:43
right. Um, yes. And no. When I was a kid, I was that person who would, you know, pick up my mom's harlequins? And I'd flip through and you know, especially read this teeny bits, and she let me read. She pretty much let me read them. Okay, I'm not sure she knew I was looking at as often as

I was, but

she would love them to me, but she had a lot of of the fade to black ones, you see, so she wasn't too worried, I don't think and I was a pretty advanced reader. But I'd also read other things, you know, I'd read like John Grisham and stuff. So it wasn't just romance, but I did like the love stories. And then I sort of fell out of reading for quite a while I think university burnt me out. I was, yeah, I was working 40 hours and going to school full time. And it just got to the point where, like, I just didn't want to read. And I started slowly getting back into reading after that, but it just I lived in Japan for a while teaching English and it was whatever English book was floating around the office. I you know, read that. Right. And so it wasn't, you know, it wasn't romance, but it was just anything to get back into, into fiction. And then after the 2016 election, I really went hard. Back into the politics side, I was reading a lot of books, on you know, sort of what was happening in the States because it hit me out of the blue. I didn't see it coming. But I also hadn't lived in the US for a little while. And, and so it was like, what, what is happening? So I went back to that. And then that was just sewing xiety inducing. And it was awful. And I was so stressed out all the time. And my cousin his wife had posted on social media about a series that she likes to read a guilty pleasure. And it was the Sookie Stackhouse ones. And I was like, You know what? I'm gonna I'm gonna pick it up. It's like, it's pretty cheap on ebook. I'm just gonna pick up one and read it. And just, you know, see, see what it's about? And oh, my God, it was great. And it was so relaxing. And, and I know, that's not, you know, specifically a romance sort of well, I mean, it has. It's a long series one, you know, yeah. I never actually finished the series. Maybe I'll go back to that sometime. But I got through quite a few of them. And I was like, Yeah, this is good. I want to I want to get back into into this and I didn't really know where to start. And you know, I eventually found you know, Goodreads lists. And then I found romance Landy on Twitter and romance podcasts. And, you know, now my TBR is like, close to 500 bucks. Yeah, I have a problem.

Elle 13:33
Are you on Kindle? Are you?

Sarah 13:36
Yeah, I do. Kindle. I, I live in kind of a smallish town and our bookstore doesn't really have a romance section. Maybe they've kind of got it. Yeah, that Yeah, they did have a bridgerton table for a while, but that's the closest I've ever seen to them having any, you know, we've got like a best selling author in this town. So I don't know they're missing out.

Elle 14:06
Anyway, you know, what, what stores we have left, you know, bookstores we have left I'll pop into every once in a while to just see what they've got on the shelves. And urban fantasy paranormal is usually and and romance are like the two shelves that are woefully like they're always so like, it's like a half shelf, you know, a quarters like they don't they're not given a lot of shelf space, which makes me go Oh, and maybe that's why brick and mortar stores are dying. They're not necessarily stocking the things that people are going to purchase.

Sarah 14:42
Yeah, well in this shop, it's not even just a bookstore. It's mostly stationery and office supplies and it's got some gifts and stuff like it's only about a third of the shop is actually books, maybe even a little less than that. And when I was in there last, I did find some romances. but they were on the bottom shelf in the far right corner. And there was like a couple of Christian romances. And one historical I think, and it was all under the thriller

like, Oh, there they are. That makes sense. That was a shock. Yeah. And also the the price of books in New Zealand is quite high. Oh, yeah. So,

Elle 15:32
I know, it's like that in Australia as well.

Sarah 15:34
Yeah. So I think if we hadn't used bookstore and town, or maybe, you know, I will buy hard copies when my friends books come out. You know, I have to I will do that. But otherwise, ebooks are just a lot easier on on my wallet. And they allow me to buy, you know, 500.

Elle 15:55
Yeah, and you can just take them with you wherever you go. Yeah, exactly. Yeah,

Sarah 15:58
it's so good. Yeah, my kids who got dance, I can just take, you know, my Kindle with me and just sit and read for a while. It's quite good.

Elle 16:09
So go back to the original manuscript that you were writing women's fiction, and then it sort of morphed into romance. Did anything ever become of that manuscript?

Sarah 16:17
Oh, God, no.

Elle 16:19
It's still sitting on a hard drive somewhere. Yeah.

Sarah 16:21
No, I deleted it. I am one of those people. Like, I don't need this anymore. It's rubbish. It's gone.

Oh, my God, oh, my God.

I delete a lot of stuff. I went through and did some spring cleaning and deleted a ton of stuff. And then I realized I deleted some stuff I needed. And I was like, no,

Elle 16:42
no, this is why I don't delete anything, including my emails. And it makes my husband crazy, like 60,000 emails in my inbox, and he's like, What are you doing? But he just gets to the point where I'm like, it's so many. I'm like, Do you know how long it's gonna take me to actually clean this out?

Sarah 16:57
Quickly, I cleaned my net when I got a new computer. So like a year ago, I went through and I cleaned and I organized stuff into folders, and I haven't really kept up with. But

Elle 17:11
someday, yeah,

Sarah 17:13
get out the search function. Like I can find an email if I need to.

Elle 17:19
I was gonna ask in that first book, was there a steamy scene? Yes. Okay,

Sarah 17:23
there was and well, the very first, um, so it did have a happily ever after. So technically, it probably, you know, was still a romance, but it didn't really follow a lot of the genre conventions, because I didn't really know what those were I was still I was writing blind. So I'm not gonna say full on. I mean, it more focused on the heroines journey than it did the hero or their role. Yeah, either way. So there was one it was at the very end, and it was like a paragraph long. And the whole time I was writing it, I could not look at my computer. I was like,

blushing like crazy cringing, like, I can't believe I'm writing this, like gonna have to write Yeah, Paul. I can't do it. I can't do it. I cannot do it.

Elle 18:13
I've read that paragraph. So oh, God, no. one paragraph long. I love it.

Sarah 18:19
Oh, my God, it was awful. I didn't know what I was doing. And the thing is, I wanted to get better. So when I revise that, that was the very first draft before I started working with anyone. And then I rewrote it, because I realized what a pile of crap it was. And I wanted to get better at writing. And so I did include more scenes. And it did go more and more. And I did get a little more comfortable with it. But I was still pretty awful at it. I sort of was more about you know, parts A and Part B kind of thing. And I just didn't figure out like, I need to write you know, emotions into this maybe some physical sensations or you know, a little something more. And then, what am I CPS that I was so lucky to find she are my critique partners, I should say. She was really good at writing sex scenes. And so she was like, okay, so this is how you do? Like, yes. Yes. Find your people who know how to write sex, if you, you know, are struggling at all because oh my god, it's like, it changes everything.

Elle 19:29
But that bad first paragraph, right. I feel like we need to do that because I don't even think it's like a measure of your abilities. As a writer. I think writing your first sex scene is so awkward and uncomfortable and weird. Yeah. I mean, some people can just do it. Like I've talked to writers who were just like, Yes, fine. I just did it. Like any other machine. I just did it and I'm like, I'm lying.

Sarah 19:57
Yeah, the very first one has to feel weird, right?

Elle 20:01
I mean, to me, I think so. I mean, my 50th one felt well, it still feels a little weird to me sometimes to be writing these really intimate moments between these two people and sort of laying a barrel. It's kind of like what I leave the shades open while I'm having sex with my husband. No. Like a little bit of that, I think going on in my head, right. But you still need to have that that one. That first one paragraph bad, bad seksyen? Because I think that that's part of like, it gets you over the hump, right? It gets you over that initial, I don't know, fear of right. Yeah.

Sarah 20:37
Yeah, no, I think and, for me, especially the first draft, it's allowed to be bad. It's supposed to be bad. It's a first draft. You know, it's me telling the story to myself. It's me, trying to figure out how these two characters are going to smash. And I don't know really how it's gonna go before I go into the into it. So I think a lot of times, yeah, that first time it is a little bit like you

Elle 21:05
are knocking at the door like, hello, hi, I know you're having sex. But can I come in and watch?

Sarah 21:11
Exactly. And it's like, sometimes, you know, you write it, you're like, oh, this doesn't actually feel true to the characters. And it's like, Well, okay, that's gonna be my second draft problem. I'm moving on. You know, I think that first, the first one, you know, even if it's later on, I mean, in your writing career, it's fine. If it's not, not great. And if it's still awkward, you're still a bit like, don't know about.

Elle 21:33
Yeah, I mean, because even now, I don't even know how many sex scenes I've written at this point. And I'm sort of like, even now, when I when I get to one. I kind of clam up a bit. It actually is the hardest for me to write.

Sarah 21:49
Yeah, I found it's getting easier. And now here's the interesting thing, and maybe interesting thing, my second book, so I scrapped that first one, I was like, No, I'm done with you. Moving on, I'm going to write a book right away, throw it away. I didn't throw it away until more recently. Like, okay, so this next one, I'm going to, I'm going to focus on writing sex scenes, I'm going to get comfortable with them, I'm going to write really dirty, sexy, filthy, like wonderful stuff. And so the whole point of writing the second book, which is the book that got me into pitch wars, and the book that got me an agent, was in the book that you'll read this the steam scene for that whole point of writing that was to get comfortable with sex scenes. So that's sort of where I started, I was like, and I was like, Okay, I'm gonna take two characters, and they're gonna hate each other. And I am going to write a hate book. So I was like, I'm going for it. This is what I'm gonna do. And it was actually quite fun. Yeah, I don't expect it to be as fun as it was. But it really was.

Elle 23:01
I mean, I have to say, the premise to that book is fun. Like when I when I read the description, nevermind the sex scene, but when I just read the description, I was like, Jesus Christ. I want to read this book. I want to read this book.

Sarah 23:14
Yeah, I loved writing it like it wrote it.

No other work was ever like effortless, like,

I mean, I haven't done too many like rochem Only on like, my, we'll call it third or 3.5. But it's absolutely yeah, this this Petros book was just so easy. I don't know. I haven't been able to capture that again. But I hope I do one day because that was fun. Yeah, yeah. Well, I

Elle 23:40
think also, I don't know, I think after you do have that experience, and with the with the writing, and they're some of that book catches on and has some level of success. I feel like that then the pressure is on. Yeah, right. The first one? I mean, obviously the first not, you know, the first real one. Not necessarily your Miss starts right. The first one, you know, yeah. I don't know. Like, it's so it is there's something like, I'm just doing this thing. I've never done it before. Oh, let's see what happens. And then you have a little bit of a success with it, then it's kind of like the pressures on after that.

Sarah 24:16
Yeah, yeah, I've definitely felt more pressure with my work in progress at the moment than anything else. Like, oh, God, I hope my agent likes.

Elle 24:27
This was your pitch Wars book. This is what got you into the mentorship program for 2020. Did you work? Did you rework the book through pitch wars? Or is that when you started writing the next book? No, I

Sarah 24:40
reworked the

book through chores. Yeah. So um, I had when I started this book, I had enhanced it. I had no, I was just writing it to see how much you know getting comfortable writing sex scenes. It was 2020 it was a shit year. I was like, you know, I'm just gonna go All right, I'm gonna write what I want to write, I'm gonna write something choppy, I'm gonna write something. I mean, you can probably tell in the tone that I was, well, maybe you can tell because you don't really know me. But like, I was not, not in a happy place most of 2020 I was a bit angry at times, and it probably came through a bit. And my writing is a lot sharper. And, yeah, so anyway, it was fun to write very cathartic and in nice to have a bit of fun and crap pile that was last year. But it was

it was also supposed to be a novella. It was supposed to be a Christmas novella, and I hit 40k. And I was like, not even halfway. And I was like, Oh, well, I guess. I just kept going. Yeah, yeah. So So I did have quite a bit of work to do.

So the things I did, basically, I ended up cutting, like 20,000 words or so like, all of that three had to go because it wasn't quite fitting for the characters because now I just passed it and I didn't know what I was doing. And and so Trisha really helped me build that back up. And I added like, yeah, 330 1000 words. I'm not sure the exact number but quite a bit, and I changed the whole thing from third person past to First Person past. And that so so really, I rewrote, that's a

Elle 26:29
that's a Dalton change.

Sarah 26:31
I rewrote the whole book, basically, for five weeks. So

Elle 26:37
that Yeah, that's really daunting. Holy shit.

Sarah 26:40
Yeah. But it was actually it was quite good. Like, working with Tricia was amazing. So Trisha Lin, before

Elle 26:51
write on the podcast,

Sarah 26:54
is really, really great books, which you should all go out and read. Because yeah, if you want a strong heroine, she writes really strong heroines who just absolutely kick ass. And yeah, she's amazing.

Elle 27:09
So she was your mentor, and she sort of guided you through this whole process now? And did you get the when did the agent come in?

Sarah 27:17
Okay, so pitch wars, for, we'll start there, maybe. So it's an organization that does happens once a year, it's actually going on, as we're recording the windows about to open, I know, this will come out much later. So it'll be all closed and said and done by then. But it happens into September. So right, so the submission window opens. And you can choose up to four authors, or editors or industry professionals who have volunteered their time that you think you'd want to work with, and you check out like their manuscript wish lists, and you know, the sort of things they're into and what they want to mentor. And whoever fits, you know, you can submit to, and so you send in a submission package, which is quite similar to a query package. And then you wait, and then you wait, and you wait, and you wait. And eventually, they choose the mentors. And that's announced. And then once that happens, it's sort of like working with an editor. So you'll get an edit letter, which basically, you know, assures assures you that, yeah, they loved your book. And here's all the things that are wrong. Well, not necessarily wrong, but all the the ways you can make it better. And so then you've got, you know, a couple of months to fix it. And you can, some mentors are more involved than others. And there can be quite a bit of variation there. But they all have to do a certain amount of work with you. And then at the end of this period, in February, it's like the second week of February, there's an agent showcase. So what happens is the everybody in the adult category, or the young adult category, or the middle grade category, you know, that you've each got your own day, and up on the pitch wars website, on your day, they post up a thing that's got some metadata for you. So your title, you know, how many words are in it, your genre, and then it's got a pitch, and the roughly the first page, so between the pitch and the first page, I think it can be like 300 words, I think, total. So you know, you want to have a shorter pitch, or as concise as you can get, but not necessarily because some books need a longer one. And then you've got that page there, right? And so agents can go on and they can look and they can read it. And then they leave a comment saying yes, send me the full or send me a partial or, you know, that sort of thing, and they provide the information. So then you've got to wait, I think like three or some some days, and then that showcase closes and once it closes, you send that stuff off to the agents and then you're free to send to any other agents that you want to work with as well. And then you wait again The process it is and it can be quite stressful. So pitch wars, like it was great for me. I didn't really struggle with it too much. And I one of my critique partners also got in so having her around was like, really good. Great, you know? Yeah, yeah, absolutely somebody that I'd already known for a while and had worked with. And so it was quite good. And I found it okay. But like, I also got an agent off the showcase. And I got my dream agent. So I was really, really, really lucky. And, you know, not everybody does. I think somebody did the math on Twitter a while ago, and I think it was, like, 25% or so, roughly, of the mentees got an agent out of the showcase. And then like another 20 or so percent, got one in the months after just from cold querying. Okay, that's not a bad. It's not a bad number. But it doesn't happen for everyone. And, you know, you go into the showcase thinking, Oh, my God, what if nobody requests anything? Or, you know, what if you get all these requests, and then you just get rejection after rejection after rejection, and, you know, some people that happen, some genres have more agents looking at them than others. So romance does pretty well. But like science fiction doesn't do as well. There's just not as many agents looking for that, that genre that participate, you know, so. So it can be quite hard as well. So definitely worth the experience for, you know, writers who are hoping to improve and you know, just need that little extra step. But, you know, it's also something that I think people need to go into, you know, realizing it's going to be a lot of work, it's going to be a lot of stress, it can be quite hard on you.

Elle 31:53
Yeah, yeah. Well, I know that you had said that your agent created the book that we set the scene from, and this was your first book, and this was the book where you said, I'm gonna learn how to write a sex scene. Yeah. And so you know, I'm assuming these characters must be having fabulous monkey socks. Because you said that a lot of the rejections came back that it was too steamy. And there's such a thing as too steamy? I don't think so. Like, what? I'm kind of curious about that feedback.

Sarah 32:26
Yeah. So we were mostly shooting for, you know, the big five, I guess, right? Before whatever, you know, whatever number it's gonna be. And a lot of those imprints, well, not a lot, but a few of them did come back saying yeah, it was just too hot for them print too steamy. Don't think it was much the number of sex scenes or anything, it wasn't, you know, too bad. I had cut a couple of them out during the chores. Because you know, sexing should probably, you know, do something, move the plot forward, whatever.

Elle 33:03
Lay them. Like, oh, my God, I only put one sex scene in this book. I better put another one in there.

Sarah 33:11
Well, yeah, you need another one. Yeah, but you probably don't need eight. No. said some books do have that many have been traditionally published. No, I don't. I'm not quite sure if it was just that it was the sex in particular, but I had a lot of very raunchy humor in the book. So not like, oh, not using ranch. Like it was a problem with the sex positivity or anything like that. But there was a lot of dick jokes. And I think, okay,

Elle 33:45
okay. I'm gonna jump the I'm gonna, I'm gonna jump the fence for a second because I will say this. Description. It's like the first sentence. There's the word deck right there, right?

Sarah 33:58
Actually, taking my query.

Elle 34:03
Great, but you have you're dealing with the person you're our heroine is a graphic designer for a sex toy company. I mean, come on. Folks write themselves like he had I thought this was such a great promise.

Sarah 34:17
Yeah, it was. It was a lot of fun. And you know, one of the things that the heroine does a couple of times she does build like giant snow sticks out and her her parents yard. Oh my god, this

Elle 34:28
is so much fun. Yeah,

Sarah 34:31
it really was. I didn't have a lot of fun with that. But maybe it was, I don't know if that might have contributed to it. Or if it was maybe maybe more than just that because the more I thought about it, like a sex scene can be toned down pretty easily. You know, if an editor loved the story, they could be like, yeah, maybe let's drop some of you know the words and make it a little bit more, you know, emotional and intimate and stuff instead of, you know, quite so explicit. And that would be Couldn't reasonably easy fix. But maybe it's a bit you know, other stuff too. Maybe that.

Elle 35:08
Yeah, I mean, I don't know I well, I mean, well, the listeners can judge for themselves a bit from your scene. But I make some comments there that I was like this was a bit of a head scratcher to me with the two steamy because it was steaming. No, yeah. But um, but it definitely wasn't erotica, by any stretch.

Sarah 35:28
No, no, it's not in there actually is see me or scenes. That's not the steamiest. I was like,

Elle 35:37
for a copy of this,

Sarah 35:39
I can probably send you a copy. Just being a word, Doc. Just

throw it on your Kindle?

Elle 35:49
Well, I mean, I did want to sort of throw out there that I've been hearing that there's a pendulum shift to sweet. Yeah. You know, that the the readers were publishers. I don't know about readers. I don't think it's readers. I think it's publishers. Yeah. And I'm not quite sure where this is coming from? Because I don't know. I feel like the readers still want that that heat level. Um, but the publishers are moving towards making sure that that door is like slammed shut at the moment.

Sarah 36:20
Yeah, yeah. And it's really quite annoying. Because obviously like right now, I think what in Indy like the the Alien and Monster romances are really taking off. And those are definitely not, you know, close door thing. Oh, dark romance has been making like a bit of a comeback. Right. So. So all these things that are quite, you know, steamy are really doing well. So readers, I think definitely have an appetite for that. But I think maybe, with publishers, they're wanting to go for that book club appeal. You know, they want they want something, and especially rom coms are sort of, I'm not gonna say they're all not steamy, because that is definitely not true. There's lots of steamy ones out there. But I think maybe what they really are wanting to do right now is to, to have that cross market appeal and to really, you know, get that get that money there.

Elle 37:18
That's a good point. Because if you have a book club free, that's a lot of eyes on one book, right? Yeah, guaranteed, you know, group purchase, right? Like that's gonna move those.

Sarah 37:27
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And it's gonna appeal to women who aren't just romance readers. And I think people, like they really want to appeal to that women's fiction market, or I guess there's all sorts of names that I've heard thrown out more lately, like romantic fiction, or, you know, things like that. And I think maybe there there's a bit of a desire to have the next beach read or the next, you know, I don't know, those sorts of books, which, you know, it's great. They're wonderful. There's definitely, you know, place for that there's also a place for it for the high steam books, too. And, yeah, hopefully, the appetite will swing back to the to the extra steamy. But

Elle 38:14
are you gonna keep querying this book? Or are you and I'm kind of curious now? Are you? Are you moving to the next tier of sort of like maybe going to into like away from big four? And maybe more into that sort of the the more independent publishers or the Kensington's or, or what have you? Are you looking at that, or

Sarah 38:33
I'll leave, I think

there's a couple of options. And I think I'll need to, probably, we need to talk and figure out what we want to do next. But I'm quite happy to actually just leave the book for the moment, to let it just sort of sit aside and to go on. So with the next book, which I'm revising now. And I think if we can do that, because the book I wrote, I pantsed it I didn't plan it that much. I am I didn't really have a vision beyond let's write a fun holiday novella that then you know, turned into a monster. I wrote a character who I absolutely love, and it's a heroines brother, and he is like, I just I love him. I can't not write his story. And his story would be a prequel because he's getting married in the pitch Wars book. So I want to write his story. And I think if I wrote the prequel, that maybe that would work better for this one, too. Maybe this one would have a shot, it might need some revision work, you know, just to to make sure it still makes sense. By the time I'm done with timelines and things like that, but no, I think it would be a good idea. Good to do that. So and my agent loves this family that I created, she was really happy to see to see that book too. So we might actually try that. And then you know, if the book that I'm revising now, that one will be out on some I'll work on this, you know, other thing, and then you will see what happens.

Oh, that's so cool. I love that you have a plan.

Elle 40:21
You know, they right, like, it's so cool to have that plan and to go well, okay, I'm gonna shelve this for a minute, work on this other thing, and then we can go back to it. And now but now you've got two books in that world. And I think that that could actually also show how expansive that world can be.

Sarah 40:36
Oh, yeah. And it could be hugely, like I had to come up with a couple of spin off ideas for it. So a couple of pitches, and one of those I'd really love the chance to

Oh, very cool. Oh, yeah. So I've got like, my, my fingers crossed that.

Maybe I can, but you know, what, if it doesn't, if it doesn't sell on, portrayed pub, if the publishers don't want it, I will self publish it. It's just a matter of when I can actually get my ducks in a row. Yeah, yeah. So my agents happy if I if I do some, you know, self publishing, that's not a problem. So it is, it is definitely going to, you know, get out into the world one day, one way or another.

Elle 41:19
Oh, that's good. Because it's honestly, it's a great read. I mean, just from that little scene that I got. It's a great read. So I would like to see it out in the world someday. So yeah,

Sarah 41:30
yeah. And actually in a similar, I'm not gonna say it's in a similar vein, but sort of it is with a holiday sort of ranch calm. There was announced the other week, CRO Simone, and I think Julie Murphy are doing a holiday sort of rom com about a porn star who is having to make like a sweet holiday movie with her boyband crush, I think from from childhood, and that sounds so good.

Elle 42:02
Wow, what a Palmer.

Sarah 42:03
And this was this was for? I think it's sold for high six figures.

Elle 42:08
So my god, yeah.

Sarah 42:11
So I have like, really strong hopes that, you know, that goes out there. It's gonna do well, because I mean, hello, serious. She's amazing. And I think yeah, maybe that could help open the door for more, more, you know, good, raunchy comedies.

Elle 42:29
Well, now this, this sort of actually begs the question, and I think that it also picks up on something that I found on your website that I loved. You had read on your website you had written I love an unlikable heroine who knows who she is, and owns it unapologetically. And the heroes who rocked their worlds from the alphas to the Seminoles and everything in between. And it really like stood out to me and unlikable heroine and it just sort of like, you know, now like the wheels are turning right, like you have a woman who works for a sex toy company, that is a woman who granted the book hooked up, but like she's a porn star, like these are women who are working in a kind of alternative fields, shall we say? That make? I think makes publishers I don't think it makes readers. I think it makes publishers a little uncomfortable.

Sarah 43:19
Yeah, I definitely think there's definitely been that in the past. But then you've got like Rosie, Dan and the roommate, which was, you know, quite, quite successful, I think. And that had to do with the, the hero was important star. Yeah, the hero was. Yeah, yeah. And, and they were working together to make sort of like sex educational, like a YouTube kind of thing. Focused on especially, you know, a pleasure for Yeah, so I think maybe that's gonna start to turn a bit more. I hope so. Because, and oh, Jenny Nord, Beck's got a I don't remember the title of it. I pre ordered it. And I think that does involve the sex worker too. But I don't remember the blurb now. Okay. Oh, anyway. Looked good. I did. I did preorder that. And yeah, so maybe, maybe we'll get more of those sort of non traditional jobs. Yeah. Yeah.

Elle 44:24
Because, I mean, I just find that was super fascinating. And I do wonder if that makes, but if that makes publishers a little skittish.

Sarah 44:32
I think it probably definitely used to but I do think that's changing as more and more people recognize that, you know, like sex work is work. Right. And, and I think, yeah, maybe maybe people will clutch pearls a little less. No, no, not probably not. But now maybe. I don't know. I've got hope. Yeah, hope that we can get more of that. But I don't know that that is what most people think of when they think of unlikable heroines either. Well, I

Elle 45:06
think that sometimes that can just that can just trip people. Yeah. Like, I don't I don't like points. Like, I don't like porn stars. Oh, yeah. I mean, that's sort of

Sarah 45:14
yeah, they're the ones that probably aren't going to pick up the book in the first place. And they're not going to be the one leaving the review of Oh, I hate this heroine.

Elle 45:21
But so in terms of unlikable, what what do you mean?

Sarah 45:25
Oh, um, I think a lot of times, the heroines I most love to read are the ones that are really quite tough, and they're ballsy. And maybe they're a little bit like mouthy and they've got attitude for days, and they don't really take a lot of shit from people, they know what they want, and they kind of going and try to get it. And just, there's sort of like a confidence thing. I don't know. I think a lot of times, those very independent, you know, once they're the ones that maybe get the, the readers don't really we're not the reader, like some readers might get all up in their reviews and be like, Oh, I hate this heroine. She's the worst. I've gotten that. Yeah. And really, you're like like, I'm sorry, they deserve to be mean to them sometimes, like, coming. Actually, that's

Elle 46:21
usually a reason, right? Like, there's a guardedness I think that some Yeah, especially, you know, quote, unquote, stronger, more independent women. You know, there is a certain guardedness that they take when they're falling in love, because they don't want to they're afraid of losing their independence. They're really you know, they're afraid of losing that power. And it's usually a power dynamic, but they've worked really, really, really hard over the course of their lives to sort of achieve. And, and so sometimes, like, just falling in love can threaten that. And of course, a woman is going to make it difficult.

Sarah 46:56
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I would 100% I love those stories. Like, I just put them in my veins. I love the unlikable heroines just give them to me. And I actually did have to tone down my heroine a number of times, Jesse is a time super mean to Nick. And it's completely justified from her standpoint. But you know, Trisha was like, maybe not. And then my agent was like, maybe soften her a bit. And I was like, just just a tiny bit, though, because like, really, he has it coming. This is a man who needs to be put in cold storage for a while. Yeah, what let her be mean? He can take it. Right. Take it, then he's the wrong hero for her.

Elle 47:52
Exactly. Exactly. But I mean, I do think that even though you know, that idea of like the unlikable heroine as being somebody who is strong and who is maybe in charge of herself, her body, her sexuality, all of those things. Like I do think we also see that in certain female sex workers, they are very much in control of their bodies, and they are but you know, assuming that they're doing a job because they want to do it not leaving for Stoker. Right. Right. Right. Right. But there is sort of a level of competence and a level of power there that they carry that I do think will make readers uncomfortable, just by the very nature of of who they are, you know, because yeah, you know, do you know what I mean?

Sarah 48:41
Yeah, no, I know exactly what you mean. And honestly, I like it. If a heroine on page if she's like, Yep, I've had sex before. I've enjoyed myself before. I have no problems with my sexuality, I will happily go. And you know, ask for what I want from whoever I want. Like, I like that. I think that's quite powerful. I don't always like the ones who are like, Oh, I've never, you know, and yeah, I get it. Okay. In real life. Yeah, probably, there's quite a large number of, you know, people who've never really had that sort of pleasure from from from a partner who cares enough to, you know, that that probably is quite realistic, but I just, I like seeing it in a book where yeah, she's not afraid to be like, Yeah, I know how to get it. And I'll get it when I want

Elle 49:26
it. Right. Right. Well, let's dig into your see. And this is, like, never been read before. This isn't like an exclusive so Oh, yeah.

Sarah 49:37
And the thing too, with that is if this book does get picked up, like the scene, it might, it probably will change. You know, I'd have an editor, I'd have an actual editor go through and be like, okay, grammatically What are you doing here? But you know, that that's alright, that's okay. could change. It might not be there one day, but there'll be something else Okay, we'll be fine.

Elle 50:01
This is from its batteries not included is the book. Can you set up the scene for us?

Sarah 50:08
Okay, so we've got Jessie, who's our, you know, graphic designer for the sex toy company, right. So she's come home for the holidays, and she's hoping to just relax and spend some time with her family. But unfortunately, her brother's best friend who is her arch nemesis, really, he's the star of like, a superhero franchise, you know, really big in Hollywood, blah, blah, blah. Anyway, he's spending the holidays with the family. And they pretty much her family loves him. She does not. She's like, you know, hey, Marie, took away my family. Everybody loves you, but in the mean, not too happy with him. So they've had this sort of antagonistic relationship, but goes back, like 20 years, right? So they're very much set patterns. And before this scene, they've had a few run ins, you know, a few like, times, and they're sort of noticing each other and then like, oh, well, I don't really like that. I'm sort of attracted. But whatever. I'm not from you. Okay, fine. You can be cute me. Maybe your sex on a stick, but I don't have to like you. That sort of that sort of thing. So before the scene so Jesse has been fighting with her brother. And she's sort of not too happy. She's a bit kind of moping around the house and everybody's out of the house, right? Her sister and her wife and the kids. They're visiting someone else. Her brother's picking up his future wife from the airport. And so it's just her parents she thinks and her dad's operating in this other room, her mom's in the kitchen cooking because her mom's a celebrity chef and so she's making mulled wine for her mom, it's the one thing she's allowed to do in the kitchen. And she spills a bottle all over her favorite clothes like the softest white us you know, like nice pants and shirt and she just sweater and she just loves these clothes so much is not happy really bad day. So she goes off to the laundry room and you know she thinks she's fine drips, you know, down her knickers which are like holiday themed because it's Christmas and she's a little bit extra. And so she's in there like trying to scrub out the stain from her clothes. And then and then Nick comes in and she did not know he was in around and nobody knew where he was or what he was up here. Yeah. And actually, he's been hunting down for some ping pong balls that are that they need for a game for the Bachelor bachelorette parties. And so he comes in and just drops him everywhere. Okay, so that is my setup, so I went a little

Elle 52:43
Okay, so I'm gonna get started. Nick's voice cut through the noise in my head. You're hopeful. I glanced down at him fully prepared to give him a quick kick in the ass. But the expression on his face shocked me. He was crouched next to me his eyes hooded, staring at a spot on my panty is a smug little smirk on his face. Fucking mistletoe. Fire surged up to my cheeks down into my stomach. My fingers trace the embellishment on my panties. I snickered when I bought them, but they seem pretty stupid now soaked thanks to the way he was looking at me. Hopeful I finally shrugged leaning against the dryer looking down at him. Season for miracles going to give me a little kiss neck, that should be enough to get rid of them. Except he wasn't moving. He stared at my panties with an intensity that could easily cause combustion. Hell, I hadn't exactly been lying about not seeing an adequate dick in a while I simply neglected to count him because he didn't count if he was messing with me, I would give. I would give as good as I got making him regret walking into the laundry room. Jesse, the way my name carried off his lips, a warning on a breath, cause the temperature to jump a good 10 degrees. Goosebumps peddled my arms, neck. That couldn't be my voice. A desperate whimper where I'd meant to sound annoyed. He dropped a ping pong ball slowly bringing his hand up toward me. More than enough time to step back to brush his hand aside is the ping pong balls stop bouncing. I did neither frozen in place by what his eyes were doing to my body. Next fingers lightly brushed over the mistletoe sparking a flash of desire and my cork, clenching my lungs tight. Before I had time to process Nick Fontana is touching my panties. He stood up lifting me onto the dryer, his hands grip the machine on either side of my legs, his eyes darkening as he brought his nose to mind. My mouth opened but nothing that this was a fabulous lead into an intimate scene. Thank you. It was so it was funny. It was exposing particularly for Jessie and a lot of ways. Yeah, it was really fun. But it also served to kind of get the reader into the mood like there's a there's a tension here. that sort of, I'm assuming was building throughout the book. Yeah. And right now it's really ready to snap and you can feel it.

Sarah 55:09
Yeah, yeah, definitely, definitely. There's a lot of tension between the two of them. So much fun to write really,

Elle 55:17
and very fun to read.

Unknown Speaker 55:20
A little bit more

Elle 55:23
about my mouth open, but nothing, I couldn't find the appropriate words, or the inappropriate ones for the situation. I hadn't been this close to him in years. He smelled everything I love best about home leather, wood, and fire from the great room. Cinnamon cardamom pink pepper from my mother's spice rack and something more something refer uniquely him all layered over the smell of clean linens. Oh my god, that description just about did me and

Sarah 55:51
I need to make this into a candle. i

Elle 55:56
It was so vivid and so beautiful. And I was like, wow, and I think I remember correctly. This is set in Connecticut, right? Yeah. And I was like, now that like from New England, I was like, yeah, that is what New England smells like.

Sarah 56:15
Is very fortunate because I have never been to New England.

Elle 56:18
Really? Now that is that it's like that leather the wood the fire and especially the fire when I especially like when I walk through my neighborhood. You know, starting really this time of year everybody has some Everybody's got something burning like some logs burning in there. Oh yeah. can smell that fire.

Sarah 56:32
That's how we heat our house here. We don't have central heating or we don't even have a heat and electric heat pump or anything like that. We have a wood stove. wood burner thingy in the house. So. Oh, wow.

I spent a lot of time playing with wood. Yes, I've got an axe. That's as long as my leg. Oh. To be fair, I'm short. Yeah,

Elle 56:59
it's it's good times. Wow. Yeah. But I was like, Oh, man. Yeah, that that smells like Connecticut. Right? Yeah, it was really pretty fantastic. And definitely like this time of year, it's autumn now. You know, things are getting chillier. And these are short of warm scents that you do smell and a house when you walk in. So I was like, Oh my God, this was absolutely. I thought it was I thought it was just like the best way to describe like, what he smelled like and also the fact that she's talking about what she loved best about home to him or to her. He's home with says a lot about how she feels about him. Really even though I will fight you.

Sarah 57:39
Yeah, and she will

get a definitely. Yeah, have that. That sort of like they've probably always known right? They've Yeah, that sort of each other but yeah, that's what Yeah, exactly. It's like I can't believe it was you?

Elle 57:58
Yeah, like you're my best friend's sister. Like why you?

Sarah 58:01
Yeah. Although to be fair, like her brother is 100% like, behind this protective brother. He's like a Yeah. Frickin time. Like it's been 20 years.

Elle 58:19
You finally figured it out. Finally. Like I was going crazy. Okay, now now we're gonna get to the naughty bits. We'll see. Oh, this is really too naughty for readers. I don't think it is.

Sarah 58:32
Yeah. Wow, that seems not too bad.

Elle 58:36
The delicious drag of his hands against my legs, his ears my panties off had my heart something in my ears when he pushed my knees apart. When the cooler air hit my exposed flesh and he crouched down. My heart doubled its efforts. It stopped altogether. When he kissed my inner thigh, his breath hitching as he gazed at me. Oh god. The logging in his eyes would undo me. It took me away from the gentle hum of the dryer from the stroke of his hands from everything else until his grip on my thighs tightened his breath returning to my skin rough fast. I trembled as his hand slipped further up my legs, his fingers slipping under the cheeks of my ass. His thumbs hooked on my thighs and he opened my legs wide are holding me in place with his strong hands. He finally took his gaze away and met my eyes. Jesus Christ. He could melt the camera on a movie. That was such a look. I was wound so tight the moment the heat of his mouth touched me I nearly fell off the dryer. His tongue circled my entrance the tip pushing teasing before slowly sliding up to flick over my clip. Warm slick and firm capturing my breakfast as metallic guys helped me. It was too much I close my eyes tipping my head back the swirl of his tongue the softness of his lips the gentle suction. I melted into the sensation gripping the edge of the machine for dear life sending a silent apology to my boss to my boss. Sorry, but no toy can be too well trained mouth. Dammit Nick knew what he was doing. Why the hell had Addison strange when she had a man who could do this waiting for her at home. There was no more room for thoughts about Addison or work or anything else the moment he shifted from leisurely to something desperate, all thought drained from my head every cell in my body straining for his tongue as he loosened his grip to allow my hips to rock and rock they did. Across between a groan and a growl buzz from his mouth. That sensation making me moan, bringing my gaze down from the ceiling to him. He watched me still, I was already close, so close. The hunger and his eyes shoved me directly into a wall of an orgasm that shattered me into a million bright crackling sparks. The noise of the dryer swallowed myself cry, nicked it and let up changing the pressure from his tongue. Those embers bubbling to life sustained by his mouth. coaxed along until I finally burnt out with a whimper my body going slap. I floated a lazy snowflakes slowly coming down. The soft rumbling dryer and is uneven breath against my thigh left me feeling safe, unable to process anything beyond the full sense of satisfaction.

Sarah 1:01:07
Oh, yeah.

Elle 1:01:12
Yeah, it's so funny. When we sort of started this conversation, me and you talked about that first scene you wrote and that, that that one paragraph? Yeah. And how you were so focused on insert, you know, slot? Yeah, into slot B. Right. One of the things that struck me when I was reading this was how little choreography was, was part of it. Like, there was very little choreography going on here. And it really was about sensations and feelings. We, you know, we we were getting the picture was being painted without actually saying, like, you know, he was lapping me up or whatever. Yeah. Like that. Like, that wasn't part of it, though. That that just but you. I mean, obviously, you knew what was happening. But you envision it through sensations and not redirection. So, um, you know, you've come a long way, baby.

Sarah 1:02:13
Thank you. Really? Yeah, like Mission

Elle 1:02:18
accomplished. But this book, learned how to read the sexy

Sarah 1:02:23
Yeah, yeah. This, they are hard to write. Like, they'll always be, you know, a little bit challenging, I think but it definitely. I'm definitely a lot more comfortable now than I used to be. Okay.

Elle 1:02:35
All right. So so that this book did actually sort of like do what it was intended to do.

Sarah 1:02:42
Oh, yeah. Yeah, I did. It's job.

Girl good now.

Elle 1:02:51
So okay, I'm curious about one thing though, would you ever would you close the door after after all

Sarah 1:02:58
this? Um, no, I don't think so. I do think I don't have any plans to write in any different genre or anything like that. And I do think there if I did, there could be a situation when Yeah, you know, close door fits better. But I don't have any plans for that. I don't I don't want to now I will. The book I'm working on now. I'm trying to tone it down a little bit so I'm not using you know the words as much and I'm definitely trying to focus more on on the sensations and especially the emotional connection because you know, the next thing I've written it's a friends to lovers there's not you know, it's a softer softer sort of story. And yeah, I don't want to go close to I think I'll always have sex on page cool, it just might not be just might not be quite as you know explicit but no, definitely keep it it's definitely got to be something steamy you know. Yeah, I do. If I'm not responsible for at least a few people texting their partners with us up that's why we do this. That's cool. Don't work for the people. Where is

Elle 1:04:22
where can people find you online? Where's the place you like to hang hang out the most?

Sarah 1:04:26
Okay, you can find me on Twitter. That is where I actually spend most of my time although I'm not overly active with tweeting but if you ever want to get a hold of me especially quick like that's where I will be and it's at Sarah a Barnard. And actually, if you go to my website, which is www dot Sarah with an H Bernard with a U and an N A author.com. If you go there, you've got links to all my social medias. So I am trying to do more on Instagram. I'm not very good at it. It's definitely a place. I'd like to spend more time though. I'm not really on Facebook, I have a page but I just don't use it and I am not going to tick tock

Elle 1:05:18
tick tock I'm trying and I'm failing hard

Sarah 1:05:27
for you to make fun of me.

Elle 1:05:30
I didn't want to be on Instagram. I resisted Instagram for a really long time. And now it's probably my favorite place to be so I don't want okay, like reject tic tock out like, like, outright is really hard for me to do video.

Sarah 1:05:42
Yeah, I think I'd be better if I did video where I'm not in it. So I could do some something else. I don't know. I haven't really put a lot of thought into it. But you know, maybe, maybe there's some other way I could do it. But I just don't see myself really getting into it.

Elle 1:06:01
feel so awkward. Yeah.

Sarah 1:06:04
Yeah. Just like Don't look at me.

Elle 1:06:10
I will have links to socials and your website in the show notes as well. So people listening, you can go grab that when you have a minute. Sarah, thank you so much for being here. It's been really fun to talk to you about.

Sarah 1:06:25
Thanks. It's been really fun talking to you, too. And, yeah, I was just gonna ask if you don't mind if I could maybe plug it since I don't have a book to plug. I could just plug a couple of friends books that are just really super quick. Yeah. So um, the first one I'll recommend is called bend to the sun by Jen Devin. And it's out August 9 next year. And oh, it is so steamy. Like if you want a really steamy book full of angst. It's basically a botanist who doesn't believe in love. You want to talk about unlikable? You know, strong heroines and Rohan is 100%. That bitch and she is

Elle 1:07:04
wonderful. And is that on preorder. Or not?

Sarah 1:07:08
Yeah, you can pre order it for ebook. I don't think you can pre order a paperback yet. And so she goes out to work in this family vineyard and one of the family's sons is there and he's, you know, doctor who's been through some tragedy and he's got, like, these wounds, and she's got these winds and they're just so angsty, and they just sort of fall for each other. And it's just really, really moving and plus, super, super steamy. Definitely high on the heat there. And then another one, which I don't think is available for preorder yet. But definitely if you're a fan of Austin retellings, keep a lookout for pride in protest by Nikki pain. So she came out of pitch wars, same class as me. And she's, it's sort of Pride and Prejudice meets Blackish. And Liza Bennett, and she says she's the DJ who gives the jam, you know, and she's protesting this developer coming into her neighborhood. And so she sort of sneaks into this like, high profile event that the developers holding and she sees this hot waiter. But it turns out, he's the CEO. And then you know, her sister falls for his friend and they're sort of forced together and oh, it's absolutely delicious.

Oh, yeah, that sounds like

you definitely want to look out for that one. And another one, if you're after like a queer holiday rom com, that's, you know, homework was sex, in the event of love by Courtney K is also out in fall of 2022. And that is just such a good book. It's this la event planner. She's going back to her rustic Mountain Home, she's got to like, save her her job by saving this other, you know, tree farm, Christmas Tree Farm. And it's run by the lumber Jane, who broke her heart a number of years ago. And yeah,

it's good. And I love her. Yeah. So

Courtney is also out of pitch wars from the last year and yeah, her her book, if you didn't know if you want a beautiful holiday story, go for that. And then Regina, Black has got a book called The Art of scandal, and that won't be out until summer 2023. So it's always out. But it's basically her editors sort of pitched it as if everything you love about Shonda Rhimes TV was in a book. It's super steamy kind of soapy. Basically, a woman who agrees to play the role of a perfect black trophy wife or a cheating husband, who you're going to want to murder this man is awful. So she'll get a big payout. If she can just you know, pretend the marriage is okay for a little while longer until his campaign is done. But then she meets this super super hot younger man. Oh, oh, it's so good. And like his family are like political donors. And they're quick, you know? So it's really high stakes. It's super steamy as well. And love that book was so good. So Regina was also out of pitch wars as well. So there's a lot of good things coming out of pitch wars, probably even more that I don't know about. But yeah, definitely something to look out for.

Elle 1:10:15
For me with these writers points on my direction, too.

Sarah 1:10:20
Well do

Elle 1:10:22
any recommendations, the premises sound all sound terrific.

Sarah 1:10:25
Yeah, there's a little bit of something there for everyone, I think and I've read all these books, and they're just so good.

Elle 1:10:32
Yeah, and when you're ready, like please come back because I'm sure

Sarah 1:10:35
I have to talk about Oh, absolutely. That'd be wonderful. Thank you. Thank you.

Elle 1:10:40
Well, thank you for being here.

Sarah 1:10:42
Thank you so much l

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