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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Episode 29: Machines Fueled By Spite

    Content warning: There's two pejorative terms/slurs for a promiscuous person (and a sex worker) mentioned in the episode.

    This episode tried its hardest to foil us: between meowing cats, barking dogs, ambient rain, and Amanda's recording mysteriously stopping at four minutes and forcing her to rely on a shoddy recording of the Skype call, it's a miracle we made it to the end.

    Our $10 Patron, Silas, prompted us to talk about media that has fed our creativity, and boy howdy did we have a lot to discuss. Somewhere along the way, we end up talking about why you shouldn't share a microphone, ever, various reactions to Alien: Covenant, and the pronunciation of "gaol."

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    Episode 28: The Long Con

    Ginn Hale's newest book, The Long Past, is out as of 10/3/17! She joins THR to talk about writing and researching alt Westerns, world building, avoiding the whitewash of history, and also chickens. The episode has a chicken thing.

    Also discussed is the miracle of modern plumbing, writing religion when you grew up outside of religion, and yet more chickens.

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    Episode 27: Hopeless After Dark #2

    Content warning: this episode contains references to fisting, actor Kim Woo Bin's cancer diagnosis, and our typical NSFW irreverence.

    Austin and Amanda bore the heat of summer in an enclosed space to bring you this episode of Hopeless After Dark. Hear them talk about Kdramas, deadlines, Doomfist, that time Amanda touched Harry Shum Jr but not in a weird way, and what books they've been reading lately. And check the full description for show notes!

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    Episode 26: Gay Elves and Sexy Lizard People

    Fantasy and speculative fiction is the topic of the day! Austin and Amanda throw around some loose definitions, give examples of their favorite queer fantasy (send Amanda more gaslamp manuscripts!). and writing fantasy with romance in it vs writing romance in a fantasy setting. They answer some questions from Twitter and wonder why people bother to transplant real-life oppression into fantastical settings.

    Austin and Amanda are big nerds who cry at Lord of the Rings, call out Mass Effect Andromeda, and demand more gay elves.

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    Episode 25: Avon & Roan

    Co-authors of the upcoming Heart of the Steal, Avon Gale and Roan Parrish, join THR to chat about their cowriting process! They also talk about working with an agent, hideous hotel breakfasts, and how they got their starts in the queer romance industry.

    Amanda reveals she cries at every episode of Friday Night Lights, Roan is not a food snob, no one really knows how to write serial fiction, and we had to cut twenty minutes of material because Skype made us all sound like robot demons.

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    Episode 24: Hopeless After Dark #1

    Content warning: this episode (briefly) mentions fisting and choking, calls certain Overwatch characters Daddy, and generally features a lot of irreverent filth.

    Welcome to Hopeless After Dark, a new subset of THR that isn't exclusively dedicated to queer romance. We reached out to Twitter to ask some of our listeners what they'd like to hear us talk about, and we tackled Overwatch and Austin's burgeoning obsessions, AUs of Peter Darling and the origins of Coffee Boy, and finally failed to create a Captive Prince coffee shop AU.

    We hope you enjoy our strange venture. If not, the next episode of THR will be back on brand.

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    Episode 23: Amnesia and Peril and Cowboys, Oh My

    Content warning: There are a few mentions of racism and a mention of rape in this episode.

    THR talks tropes! From their favorites (ask about Austin's love for cowboys and Amanda's for arranged marriage) to their least favorites, when a trope can be neutral, and when it can be potentially harmful. They also cover some tropes that intersect with or differ from those in fan fiction.

    Also, for some reason Austin attempts to say some stuff in German. Tune in to find out how that goes.

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    Episode 22: Kill Your (Peter) Darlings

    Co-host Austin Chant's novel Peter Darling was released in February, and Amanda and Austin break down the editing process over many months and three recording sessions. Hear them stress over deadlines, complain about talking whales and Hook's outfits, give props to the Captive Prince trilogy for various inspiration, discuss the versions of the book that weren't, and totally contradict themselves from session to session!

    The episode is an in-depth look at what it takes to bring a novel from first draft to publication. It does contain spoilers for the book.

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    Episode 21: Some Sort of Sad Dragon

    Megan Derr, CEO of Less Than Three Press and a prolific author of high fantasy and spec, covers world building, including where she starts, info dump, winging it, dialog, and languages. She also talks about ace rep, including what she's looking for at LT3 and as an ace reader.

    The group also discusses how Amanda's got a ton of unread books on her Kindle, but Megan's seated atop a mighty hoard of books and definitely has her beat.

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    Episode 20: The Captivating Pacat

    Content warnings: The Captive Prince series contains dark subject matter, including sexual and physical abuse, so please proceed with caution as we briefly discuss some of those elements.

    The Captive Prince started life as a free online serial and became a best seller. Author C.S. Pacat talks process, plotting, her influences as a young queer person, what the 80s covers of the books would look like, Amanda's thing for icy blonds, and the delight that is Yuri on Ice in THR's longest episode to date. (We all had a lot to say about who we romanced in Dragon Age.)

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    Episode 19: Advice for New Authors (Part Two)

    Taking up where [part one][1] left off, Amanda and Austin discuss contracts and what some of their clauses may mean, the rundown on royalty rates and payment schedules, the editing process from start to finish, social media etiquette for beginners, and even how to address your submission email.

    (Pretty obviously, no one at THR is a lawyer, and we can't give you legal and/or tax advice. We're relaying very general info from our personal experiences of working in the queer romance industry. Please seek appropriate professional guidance when it comes to contracts and taxes.)

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    Episode 18: You Only Liver Once

    Content warning: Austin and Amanda are tipsy/drunk in this episode. They also discuss the TV shows Hannibal and Attack on Titan briefly, which feature morbid subject matter. (Amanda's generally a creep, too.)

    It's THR's one-year anniversary! In celebration, Austin and Amanda got drunk and talked about abandoned projects, tried and failed to plot a project, and discussed how Korean dramas are basically just serial romance novels. Lots of inappropriateness was had.

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    Episode 17: Do Ask, Do Tell

    Content warning: There is a brief mention of slurs in the episode.

    Richard Comspon Sater retired from the US Air Force Reserves having served twenty-four years under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." His debut M/M romance novel "Rank" deals with a second lieutenant in the Air Force falling in love with a brigadier general. Richard talks about writing, serving under DADT, how its repeal changed the book, and it's determined that Austin's father is the personification of a soft, old sweater.

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    Episode 16: Advice for New Authors (Part One)

    For anyone new to the queer romance industry or thinking of joining it, this episode, the first of two, is basically a 101. Part one covers what authors need to know prior to submission--everything from defining the genre, HEA vs HFN, the role of editors and betas, author mills, and the community itself. Part two will cover everything authors need to know after submitting their work.

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    Episode 15: Self-Publishing with Jordan L. Hawk

    Author Jordan L. Hawk brings her expertise to the program to talk about her own beginnings in self-publishing, the decisions authors must make in regards to what they can do themselves, and the group discusses the importance of treating publishing as a business.

    There's also a call to action for more queer romance in the historical-specfic genre. Go get writing!

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    Episode 14: Grim Jim

    THR returns from summer hiatus with Jim Grimsley. He's the LAMBDA Literary Award-winning author of "Dream Boy" and "Comfort & Joy." The group discusses the tragic and ambiguous endings Grimsley is known for, the history of publishing's attitude toward queer fiction, and everything from the North Carolina bathroom bill to how your family lies to you.

    Be sure to listen to the bonus content after the credits!

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    Episode 13: Heidi Below the Covers

    Content warning: This episode of THR contains frank discussion of sexual assault, sexual violence, and similarly dark, potentially triggering subject matter.

    Heidi Belleau joins the show and Gets Very Real with THR about her history of writing grimdark fiction and the growing pains of leaving some of that behind. She talks about the perils of using the same penname for drastically different works (romcoms and dark fiction like The Flesh Cartel), what her personal limits are, bringing humor into darker material--and when it's best to pull back.

    Heidi compares the process of growing as an author, in public, to the reality of contemporary teenagers growing up on tumblr. (Anyone with a defunct Livejournal and a long fandom history can probably relate.) Most authors can probably relate to the quandary of growing as an artist in such a public sphere.

    The important and validating realization for Heidi, and maybe for other authors who feel pigeonholed into a darker genre, has been that she can write lighter stories and people will also appreciate them.

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    Episode 12: There Goes My Anti-Hero

    Villains, antagonists, and anti-heroes are the topic of the day. Austin and Amanda critically run through a roster of their favorite queer or queer-coded villains in media. Cartoonish homophobia and transphobia, coded Disney villains, the lack of female villains, how queer villains are seen as especially evil for their sexuality, redemption stories, how a main character can be the antagonist of their own story, and bisexual murder pits are all discussed.

    Amanda has a revelation about how straight people consume media while discussing Lex from Smallville, Austin recounts the suffering he endured while watching Downton Abbey for Thomas Barrow, and the two roll around in their general love of villainy.

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    Episode 11: Disability Representation

    Tracy Timmons-Gray, the director of Gay Romance Northwest conference, joins THR to discuss characters with disabilities in queer romance. The gang shares recs, talks about tropes, including the love interest grappling with the reveal of their partner's disability, the narrow span of disabilities portrayed, the sanctification of disabled people, and how often disabled fiction is inspiration porn. The conversation tackles sex scenes, A/B/O, disabled characters in fandom, and resources for writing disabled characters.

    Amanda, Tracy, and Austin try their best to be positive despite being Cranky Fans. Also, Tracy details GRNW's inception and history and how the conference will change going forward. (Fun fact, GRNW is how Amanda and Austin met!) Tracy and Amanda talk about the upcoming GRNW conference and the charity anthology "Magic & Mayhem."

    (Pssst, put GRNW 2016 on your calendars! 9/24/16 at the Seattle Public Library! It's freeeee.)

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    Episode 10: Poly Yammery

    Author Racheline Maltese joins THR for episode 9, "Poly Yammery," to discuss poly and ménage romance. Racheline discusses her upcoming poly book, which leads to deeper examination of writing poly: writing multiple dynamic characters, whether having a co-author helps, how different people do poly differently, and how Racheline feels about the perception that writing bi characters as poly is a negative trope.

    The group is bemused by the trend of M/F/M ménage stories where there can be absolutely no content construed as "gay." Racheline weighs in on whether being poly is inherently queer, and ultimately the group agrees that demanding receipts for someone's identity is icky.

    Finally, it turns out that in order to discuss tropes in a genre, there has to be enough content in said genre for there to be tropes in the first place. Get writing, folks.

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    Episode 9: Boy Meets Earl

    Content warning: There is a mention of an ethnic slur in the episode, as well as some discussion of historical racism (including slavery).

    KJ Charles joins THR for episode eight, "Boy Meets Earl". Author of historical fiction and historical fantasy, and an editor, KJ describes her methods of research, discloses fun facts about Victorian and Edwardian body modification, and discusses not wanting to belabor period-accurate racism, sexism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism.

    The group talks about why sidelining queer romance and other so-called 'niche' romance categories is unacceptable—and makes poor money sense on the part of publishers and distributors.

    Also, Amanda asks pervy-minded questions about the Society of Gentlemen series and reads aloud embarrassing texts about her and Daria's excitement for the upcoming conclusion to the trilogy.

    KJ Charles' website
    KJ Charles on twitter: @kj_charles

    The Hopeless Romantic is on Patreon!

    Retweet to enter to win Rag and Bone!

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    Episode 8: A Freshet of Feels

    Episode 7, "A Freshet of Feels," features guest Nicole Kimberling, author and editor at Blind Eye Books. Nicole brings her expertise and wit to the table to discuss editing, the editor/author relationship, and her propensity for wacky ideas.

    Other topics include the international market for queer romance, how you should never think about the comment section of Goodreads if you're writing a book, and how second person is the voice of passive aggression. 

    Also, Nicole Kimberling wants to kill your dad.


    Nicole Kimberling on Facebook
    Nicole Kimberling's website

    Call for submission:

    Please read the guidelines thoroughly.

    Magic & Mayhem (a charity anthology to benefit Gay Romance Northwest)

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    Episode 7: Bonus #1

    Episode 6.5 is the first bonus episode prompted by a Patreon subscriber. Patrons of $10 or more per month can request that Austin and Amanda discuss a subject of their choice for a minimum of ten minutes. This patron asked how to create convincing and dynamic romantic leads.

    The hosts go over strategies for fleshing out characters as well inventing them from scratch, and ways to make their conflicts sing--whether you want characters who complement each other or oppose each other.

    The Hopeless Romantic on Patreon

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    Episode 6: 2 Become 1

    "2 Become 1", episode six of The Hopeless Romantic, is the first in a series of episodes that will tackle co-writing. Austin and Amanda cover their co-writing styles, including Austin's preciousness over privacy and tendency to write garbage the first time through, and Amanda's control-freak habits and horrible tendency to edit as she writes. Also, THR's own audio producer, Daria Defore, joins to discuss co-writing with Austin.

    More topics discussed include Amanda's true-crime references in her choice of co-writing penname, Daria's role as the witty co-writer (and Austin's as the one rolling around in feels), and the ways that original universes spin out of control.

    Daria Defore: @dariadefore and her website.

    The Hopeless Romantic's Patreon account can be found here!

    Call for submission:

    (Please review the guidelines thoroughly.)

    Bella Books (lesbian romance)

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    Episode 5: The Anatomy of a Sex Scene

    Content warning: This episode of THR features frank and explicit discussion of sex scenes (and a lot of swearing for bonus points).

    "The Anatomy of a Sex Scene" has Amanda and Austin returning from their holiday hiatus to argue about dickscription, make impassioned pleas for the use of lube in fiction (and real life), and discuss the requirements of heat ratings.

    Amanda condemns unrealistic beauty standards for genitals and Austin kinkshames literally everyone (he's sorry).

    The Hopeless Romantic now has a Patreon account! Check it out in case you want access to exclusive content and the chance to request 10 minutes of Austin and Amanda discussing the topic of your choice.

    Calls for submission:

    (Please review the guidelines thoroughly.)

    Pride Publishing
    Evernight Publishing

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    Episode 4: Bi Bi Bi

    Content warning: This episode of THR features some discussion of biphobia, transphobia, and other potentially sensitive topics.

    Episode four, "Bi Bi Bi," has Austin and Amanda deconstructing bi tropes in LGTBQIA romance and beyond: Gay For You, slutty bisexuals, the conflation of poly (and menage) with bisexuality, and more are tackled. 

    During the episode Amanda gets real about internalized biphobia, Austin talks about gender essentialism, and it's revealed that bisexuals may or may not be sharks.

    Calls for submission:

    (Please review the guidelines thoroughly.)

    Less Than Three Press 
    Vitality (short, positive LGBTQIA+ themed works)

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    Episode 3: You and Me Could Write a Trans Romance

    Content warning: This episode of THR features some discussion of transphobia and dysphoria and other potentially triggering subjects.

    The third episode of The Hopeless Romantic, "You and Me Could Write a Trans Romance," features the podcast's first guest, author Sam Schooler. Amanda and Austin ask about Sam's experiences as a genderqueer author, discuss ways cis authors can respectfully represent trans characters, and how presses can better market trans books.

    Other topics include writing contemporary vs historical trans literature, not writing trans characters to meet a diversity quota, and Sam and Austin's favorite trans books.

    Follow Sam Schooler on twitter: @samschoolering

    Trans submission calls: (Please review the submission guidelines thoroughly. Please note that these calls may not be romance-specific.)

    Topside Press
    Trans-Genre Press

    As mentioned in the episode, many LGBTQIA romance presses accept trans romance. Below is a partial list:

    Riptide Publishing, Less Than Three Press, Bold Strokes Books, NineStar Press, Dreamspinner Press *, Torquere Press, LooseID, Pride Publishing

    * trans m/m only

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    Episode 2: 50,000 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

    The Hopeless Romantic is an queer romance podcast hosted by Austin Chant and Amanda Jean. Episode two discusses National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which challenges authors to write 50,000 words in a month. Austin, a multi-year Nano winner, covers strategies best suited for Nano, while Amanda covers the structural conventions of 50,000-word romance novels.

    Also, the hosts dissect using sex scenes as shorthand, and classify romance as a bad boy on a Vespa scooter.

    The next episode will feature THR's first guest, author Sam Schooler, who will join Austin and Amanda in a discussion of trans romance. 

    If you enjoyed the episode, please rate and review on iTunes. 

    Links discussed on the podcast:

    Beat Sheet by Jami Gold's Acting Up: Three Act Structure

    Kaye Dacus: The Seven Story Beats


    Submission calls mentioned in this episode (remember to thoroughly review the guidelines of each):

    Riptide (Riptide, Triton, and Anglerfish)

    The Book Smuggler: Year of the Superhero

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    Episode 1: Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

    In The Hopeless Romantic, hosts Austin Chant and Amanda Jean talk about the queer romance genre. In this debut episode they talk about the foundations of the genre, from the pulp tragedies of the 1950s to the shamelessly romantic ebooks of today.

    Future episodes of The Hopeless Romantic will feature industry guests. The next episode will be about National Novel Writing Month, so be sure to tune in!

    If you liked this episode, please rate and review us on iTunes.

    The Hopeless Romantic can be followed on Facebook and Twitter:

    Email us at with your questions and feedback!

    Art by Keezy Young

    Music by Carly Ann Worden


    Amanda Jean

    Amanda Jean is an editor, publicist, and occasional writer of queer romance. She grew up devouring het romance novels and shifted to LGBT romance as a teen when her thirsty queer nature revealed itself. Amanda has worked with Less Than Three Press, Torquere Press, NineStar Press, Evernight Publishing, Siren-BookStrand, and serves as the LGBT Director for Alternating Current’s The Spark. When not wrangling manuscripts, you can find her watching documentaries, reading too many books on true crime, and caring too much about fictional characters.

    Find her on twitter (@amandahjean) and at

    Austin Chant

    Austin Chant is a bitter millennial, avid gamer, and a queer, trans romance writer. His interests include cooking everything, petting friendly dogs and cats, and writing about all kinds of rad queer people. He lives in Seattle with his partners in crime, a pleasant collection of game consoles, and an abundance of tea. In the regrettably large amount of time he spends not writing romance novels, he works in interactive media as a game designer and does his best to stay awake through college. 

    You can follow him on Twitter (@austinchanted) and his website is

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