The Hopeless Romantic

The Hopeless Romantic

Amanda Jean delights in wrestling manuscripts for her day job, worships at the altar of tropes, and has never met a villain or sexy alien she doesn’t like. Austin Chant writes books about gay magic and toxic masculinity, likes his queer stories with a slice of anguish, and kinda wants to be a pirate. Together, they discuss queer romance fiction and the broader world of queer media.

  1. Thumb 1528245203 artwork

    Episode 39: What's in a Pen Name?

    Content warning: This episode mentions the Killing Stalking manhwa, discusses problematic elements of dramas (such as non-consensual grabbing, stalking, kidnapping, and misogynistic behavior), mentions drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana, fictional suicide in Orphan Black, underage relationships with regards to Queer as Folk, microaggressions and exclusionary behavior re: Pride events, fake suicides and hate crimes, and deals with a complex and potentially tender subject―that of pen names and pronouns in queer romance being policed. We also mention Santino Hassell.

    Austin and Amanda talk about stuff they've been consuming―including a strangely enjoyable but deeply problematic Chinese BoyLove drama―and also discuss gatekeeping and accessibility issues at Pride events. The last half of the episode is dedicated to the subject of pen names in queer romance, and how policing what pronouns someone uses in their author life can be harmful. Though there are genuine examples of people appropriating experiences for artistic cred and social capital and using that to cause real harm, we need to focus on the harm done and not what pronoun the person used while doing it.

  2. Thumb 1527577504 artwork

    Episode 38: Problematic Gay Stuff

    Content warnings: This episode references potentially triggering topics, including abusive relationships, gaslighting, murder, cannibalism, sexual assault, violence, incest, Real Person Fan Fiction, and age differences--a lot of triggers that constitute "dark" or "problematic" fiction. While we don't dwell on many of these subjects, they are referenced, and people may want to protect themselves accordingly. Also, there are mild spoilers for Hannibal and other pieces of media referenced.

    Don't miss the very important announcement about the future of THR and our other podcast ventures! We have exciting news to share and want feedback from our listeners to give you the best experience possible.

    This episode, we head over to the Dark Side of queer publishing and fan fiction (and give you several more TED Talks). Austin and Amanda think that the widespread use of content and trigger warnings in fandom and queer fiction give readers the ability to curate their own experience and examine their reactions to fiction in ways that mainstream media doesn't typically allow for. Amanda talks about her own journey through dark media and how she's drawn and redrawn her own lines, and Austin does the same. Ultimately, both hosts believe there is no consensus as to what constitutes "good" fiction versus "problematic" fiction, that policing other people's engagement with media is impossible and reductive, and that humans are complicated and messy by nature.

  3. Thumb 1523514146 artwork

    Episode 37: Meet Nasty

    Content warning: This contains a trigger warning for a dead dog in Killing Eve and also mentions mild spoilers for the endings of Time Was and Person of Interest.

    After repeated technical failure, Brooklyn Wallace finally manages to chat with Austin and Amanda about her upcoming black F/F romance Sugar and Ice. Predictably, the group is sidetracked by Cockygate, bad 1920s New York accents, Smokey the Bear's racism, and messy characters in F/F. Amanda Hollywood—Amanda Jean's brand-new and far superior successor—has high praise for Killing Eve and a murderous robot, and Austin has two book recommendations.

  4. Thumb 1521583842 artwork

    Episode 36: Chekhov's War

    Content warning: We discuss (though not in any detail) Amanda's current ear infection and a staph ear infection Austin had a few years back, as well as general health/medical stuff. Skip to 9:38 if this is a potential trigger or squick for you. There are also some spoilers for The Ring/Ringu and the video game Until Dawn.

    (First off, apologies for Austin sounding like he recorded in a toilet. Podcasts are hard.)

    This episode focuses on craft, specifically on how Amanda and Austin wrangle their stories and write what they want to write—which involves tuning out the voice in their heads that tells them to make only Serious Fiction. But first, they chat recent life and medical shenanigans, Austin talks comics, Amanda gives fic recs and quizzes Austin on his rudimentary Star Trek knowledge, and there's a discussion of horror tropes and how to subvert them a la The Ring/Ringu.

  5. Thumb 1521411928 artwork

    Episode 35: The State of Things

    Content warning: This episode references sexual abuse and harassment, and generally a lot of toxic behavior and boundary crossing. None of it is explicit, but please take care of yourself if you might be triggered.

    Austin and Amanda get serious and address racism, gatekeeping, abuse, amateurism, and other broken elements in queer publishing. Another major problem discussed is how a lack of boundaries can lead to those in the industry with power (authors, publishers, editors, etc.) transgressing against those with less power. There's some call-outs for publishers to pay fair wages to editors (including sensitivity editors) and some advice for authors to be wary of predatory contract clauses and author mills.

  6. Thumb 1517416544 artwork

    Episode 34: Manic Pixie Scottish Banana

    At the top of the episode, Austin and Amanda briefly address the ongoing revelations of misconduct and abuse within queer publishing. We stand with authors.

    Austin and Amanda go digging for comedy gold in ancient Harlequin blurbs, then get serious and talk about how damn hard beginnings can be. Amanda talks about what she typically finds missing in beginnings as an acquisitions editor. The hosts take a moment to address the diversity in romance publishing statistics released by The Ripped Bodice and chat current reads and Disneyland pipe dreams. Finally, it's Amanda's turn to have too many emotions over a D&D podcast.

  7. Thumb 1517416474 artwork

    Episode 33: If I'm Wrong, @ Me

    This episode contains spoilers for God's Own Country.

    Celebrate Valentine’s Day two weeks late with the always-prepared THR! Amanda recommends a podcast and tells a story about how she wins friends and influences people, which is followed by the hosts struggling to contain laughter over romance titles generated by a neural network (the punishment for laughter is blurbing said titles). There's discussion about the emotions, authenticity, and sheep in God's Own Country, and then, at long last, Austin's crying journey through the Adventure Zone has come to its end. R.I.P. Austin.

  8. Thumb 1517416340 artwork

    Episode 32: Waiting for My Emotions to Run Out

    Warning for very mild spoilers for The Adventure Zone podcast. We warn in-episode and it's nothing earth shattering.

    Austin and Amanda reminisce about their experiences at Read With Pride, which recently announced its end, and try to describe the Lynchian quality of the Seattle Public Library's fourth floor. There's also discussion of New Adult stories and how aromantic and asexual people may feel alienated by the levels of sex and romance in the genre, which sparks a bigger conversation about the benefits and drawbacks of queer romance as a catch-all space for LGBTQIA stories. Finally, Austin cries a lot about the Adventure Zone podcast and how it fulfills his needs for queer, romp-y speculative fiction, and Amanda is effusive about the McElroys in general.

  9. Thumb 1516983980 artwork

    Episode 31: A Peach by Any Other Name

    Content warning: part of this episode discusses a fictional relationship between a 17-year-old and a 24-year-old.

    THR returns with a semi-revamped format! Austin and Amanda talk about the future of the show, delve into some of the realities of freelancing from their own experiences, and spend the last two-thirds of the episode talking about Call Me By Your Name and their wildly disparate reactions to it. (Warning for book and movie spoilers. There's a head's up in the episode when we get to spoiler territory as well.)

    Stay tuned after the credits for the oft-mentioned recording of the hosts and friends watching CMBYN's most infamous scene.

  10. Thumb 1511072947 artwork

    Episode 30: Beefman

    Content warning: Austin and Amanda are tipsy/drunk in this episode again. Weird stuff happens. If drunkeness or people talking about being drunk (and hungover) bugs you, take care to skip this ep and we'll be back with another regular one soon.

    THR celebrates its second anniversary with another infamous drunk episode! Or that was the plan, anyway. Austin and Amanda got a little too drunk and the material ranged between boring rambled stories and helpless wheezing about Beefman, The Exorcist TV show, The Couch Anecdote, and the origins of our friendship. We've hacked and slashed the best bits and stapled them onto a sober recording to flesh the whole thing out. We hope you enjoy, and thanks so much for sticking with us for two whole years.

View Older Episodes