Jan. 19, 2022

Sweet, sweet kissing books with Jody Holford

Sweet, sweet kissing books with Jody Holford

Is a kiss really just a kiss?

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Romance writer Jody Holford is this week’s guest and she’s bringing the sweet and the cozy! We talk about how to bring intimacy without writing naughty bits, the struggle with reader expectations, and I learn that the one kiss rule is Hallmark Sweet! And I read an exclusive (!!) advance excerpt from her book Home is Where the Body Is, which comes out on August 23, 2022. 


Connect with Jody online:

Where can listeners find you on the internet/social media? Please provide links.







Elle 0:00
Jody Holford is joining us today on Steam Scenes. Jody is a multi published author of contemporary romance with the Kendrick Place series, Love Unexpected series, For Love of the Game series and several standalones as well as cozy mysteries the Britton Bay series. Book one of her newest cozy mystery series will release from tool publishing in August 2022. She's unintentionally funny, and rarely on time for anything, but she was on time for this podcast, just saying. She has an equal amount of love for writing and reading the sigh worthy moments in a book. She also writes under the pen name Sophie Sullivan library reads pick 10 Rules for Faking It released December 2020. And that book filled my Instagram feed for weeks.

Jody 0:46
Did it really it did? Oh my gosh, that's amazing.

Elle 0:50
It did if I it was like everybody I knew was reading it. And I was like, oh my god, like So when I saw it on your bio I was like oh my god. Totally filled my IG. And and How to Love Your Neighbor, which I guess is gonna be a book too for that one, or is that it

Jody 1:12
is yeah, yep. It booked to another brother. And it comes out January.

Elle 1:17
January 2020 2022. My god that's happening, isn't it? It is.

Jody 1:22
I know. Doesn't that seem crazy?

Oh, wow.

Elle 1:26
When I was reading your bio was like, oh, man, that's such a long way away. Yeah. No, no,

Jody 1:33
no, it's not gonna be here before we know it.

Elle 1:36
Oh, my God. Well, Jodie, welcome.

Jody 1:38
Thank you so much for having me. And I was almost late. I had to get on track because you know what, and then I realized the reason I'm always late is because I'm like, Okay, I have two minutes. I actually looked, I'm like, Okay, it's 958. I have time to post this. This will be okay. And then a friend texted so I was like, Okay, I have time to answer that. And then it was 959. And then at 10 o'clock, I'm like, Oh, my God. I hadn't even plugged in the the earphones yet. So I was like, oh, and then when it went through, and I clicked on it, and it was still not 10 A one yet. I was okay. I did it. That's good.

Elle 2:11
Well done. It was close. I actually like one one time and thank God, it was only one time and thank God, Bethany Bennett, you're such a lovely, lovely human being. I was. So but I was doing the interview with her and I was editing. And before. And I did this, I basically did that. I looked at my clock and I was like, Oh, my, oh, I've got like an hour I've got I've got time to do. And then you know, when you're that in that editing mode, and you just get lost. Yeah. And I got lost. And all of a sudden it was like, it was like 10 after quarter after and I just happened to look at my phone. And I saw an email from her. And I was like, oh no.

Jody 2:52
Oh, that's the worst. It was the worst.

Elle 2:54
I felt terrible. I felt terrible.So and she was such, she was so lovely about it in such a sport. And I adored her for not absolutely hitting me and being like no kidding.

Jody 3:05
Well, and you know, it's really it's so easy to get caught up in something else. And we spend so much time multitasking and doing so many different things. Right? Yeah.

Elle 3:16
Yeah. I mean, it's, it's amazing actually how much we we do in a day because yeah, on the one hand, like we've got our writing time, and then maybe we're editing a book. And then we've got all sorts of admin stuff that goes along with it, which is such a time suck.

Jody 3:33
It's such a it's such a strange thing. And with tic toc and stuff. I've been spent, I spent a lot of time that summer thinking about that. I don't you know, it's hard because you do need to do all of those things and get your newsletter out. I'll spend like two hours on my computer doing getting my newsletter ready to go to my publicist and all these different things. It's like I sat down to write and I haven't written because I had to post on social media and I had to do this or should I be on Tik Tok? And, you know, it's, it's interesting, because when I started writing, all I want to do was write books.

Elle 4:04
Yeah, that's not what it is. Yeah, there is so much more to it. So are you on Tik Tok?

Jody 4:11
I am not because I made the decision. I just I don't think I can do it. I really don't think I can do it.

Elle 4:17
Okay, what's holding you back?

Jody 4:19
One, I think I'd be lousy at it. I'm not a performer. I, I I've watched so many of you know, because when you go on Instagram now, which I really do love Instagram. When you go on Instagram, those it comes up, you know, you'll see little snippets of people's tic tock videos. And they're, they're entertaining and they're funny and I don't know if it's scripted or what but I'm just like, I don't you know, I am unintentionally funny. If I go on there and try to be funny, or I try to do something a certain way I'll spend my time like, just thinking that you know, oh, this this isn't how I wanted it to be I'll spend so much time second guessing it yeah. I'm just not naturally, you know, I'm not I, you know, I love. There's so many authors I love and I'm seeing them go on there and do these dances and stuff. I'm like, I'm not dancing for you guys.

Elle 5:14
You guys don't want to see me.

Jody 5:16
I love I love you guys, and I am so grateful for readers, but I don't want to wreck things.

I want you to remember me fondly, like my dancing. Let's let's go with just I write and don't dance. So I just and I see these things, and I'm a teacher in real life, too. And so what the kids come in, and they're doing these tick tock dances and I teach grade six, and they are just adorable. It's a fun age, but they'll come in, they come on a sofa, like let's do this tick tock dance. And you know what, you know, when we were younger? The little hand clap thing that you know, you do those little songs and clap your hands and all these different? Yeah, I can't even do that anymore. So when they're trying to do these tic tock dances, and I know they're just laughing at me, but it's fine. I don't mean to be recorded doing that. Just I just can't. Hard no hard. Yeah.

And I was talking to Alexa Martin the other day, and I said, I can't believe you did. I can't believe you went on Tik Tok. She's like, it was hard. Is that? No, I? One of the things my agent said, when I first signed with her and this actually ties into another question you said, You sent about, you know, what I ever write steamy? Because I don't. And it ties into that so well is if you if it doesn't feel authentic, if you can't do it really well. Don't do it. And, and that applies to I think, for me, the social media, the steamy scenes, the you know, I'd rather focus on what I can do well, right. And it's not like I don't that I don't mean that, you know, I'd never branch out and try something new. But it's just yeah, I don't think it's a platform for me.

Elle 7:11
Okay, so I think I think now's a good time to sort of add for people listeners that don't know your your work. Yeah. Jody writes sweet.

Jody 7:19
I do.

Elle 7:20
She writes sweet. There isn't even a close the door. You know, I'm Samantha Chase came on. She's closed the door. And she's closed the door at the very last minute. So you do get a little bit of action.

Jody 7:33
I love her, by the way. I saw her at a conference and she was standing beside her. Just I think she was staying with Carly Phillips and I just I just looked at her. I'm like, I can't even talk to you. And she's like, yes, you can.

Elle 7:49
she's fantastic. I adore her. And she was one of the first guests on the show. And she was just so much fun to talk to. Oh, and just a really all around wonderful human beings. So yay. Um, so yeah, no, her

Jody 8:03
Yeah, well, she she wouldn't remember me just some random girl that was like I kept talking to you. And then I got on the escalator and my husband's like, what's wrong?

Elle 8:17
Oh, my God, you know, Bethany's, speaking of Bethany Bennett, that Bethany's husband was with her to con conference and she met a very famous historical romance writer whose name goes right out my head when I'm trying to think of it. And and it was basically like, she had the same thing. Yeah, we've gone where she was like, I can't even talk to you. And her husband was also with her. I'm finding it fascinating that your husband's go to these. I've never gone to a conference. So I'm really fascinated with the husbands are going with you.

Jody 8:45
Yeah, well, this one was in Colorado was my first RWA before RWA stop being a thing. And it was in Colorado, and he is a massive Denver Broncos fan like it's tattooed on his arm. And so of course, he was coming to Colorado. So it was a family vacation. And my oldest daughter actually writes as well. She was 14 at the time. So being surrounded by writers was just everything to her. And so he came but yeah, I gave him lots of opportunities from our mocking. Because he, you know, you think he's walking around with me just to be supportive, but I think it was just for amusement, because there were so many. You know, when when you when you're a writer, you like your rock stars or the other writers, right? Yeah. So my oldest daughter is like a agent savant. Like she, she knows every agent, you'd say a book, she'll tell you who they thanked in the acknowledgments and who that's amazing. It's amazing. But so she was like, fangirling, hard over, like, you know, the agents from nuleaf and stuff. And I'm fangirling over the writers and it was just it was, I'm sure it was very amusing for him. But yeah, he had a great time and he likes to talk to people. So that's so

Elle 9:55
cool. Well, Bethany's husband basically did the same thing he kind of liked was like poking her and was like

Jody 10:07
die right in front of

sort of like this really great story.

Elle 10:13
I was like, Oh my God, that's hilarious that I'm going to my first conference very small. Oh, since I've never done one before in the fall, which Yeah, hopefully doesn't get COVID canceled. And so when I booked it, I was I said to my husband, okay, I'm going to be away these days, I'm going to this conference. And he's like, can I go? And I was like, you want? Yeah, I'm happy to have you. But then he changed his mind.

Jody 10:37
Oh, that's too bad. Because it it's, it's I hadn't been to one like that, either. And it was all these Romance Writers. And it's just this. I was listening to something yesterday and somebody said, Oh, it was so neat to see Romance Writers fangirl over other Romance Writers. And that's what it is, right? Like, you spend so much time in your own head at your computer. Thinking and especially across social media is like such a double edged sword I spend, you know, I go on, I'm like, Oh, she got a book deal. She got a movie deal and stuff. And I'm so jealous. And then you meet them. And you're like, oh my god, I'm so in awe. I just want to talk to you and be near you. Yeah, I should meet thing because you see all these people that you love and admire and their words just, you know, change you and they're sitting there fangirling over the person next to them. Like it's just, it's a neat community. It's a it's a wonderful thing to be part of those conferences. I mean, I've only been to the one big one like that, but it was a, it was a really cool opportunity to you know, Kristen Higgins was walking around with books in her hand, and she was hilarious. And she was just so it was very cool.

Elle 11:44
Okay, I'm sorry. Like, I'm nervous. And I'm excited. And I'm excited. And like, I'm just, it's, it's gonna be really cool. I think because part of the reason why I started this podcast was because I felt so isolated. Yeah. Particularly during COVID. You know, I had I had promised myself 2020 I'd get out there and go on the conferences. And like I, but I just feel so I guess the imposter syndrome is strong me, you know, absolutely. So it was so hard for me to like, actually do it. And I was like, 2020 is my year. I'm gonna go out. Yeah, I'm gonna, I'm gonna go to a conference I'm gonna go to and then 2020 said absolutely not. You're gonna stay home.

Jody 12:25
Yeah, all year. With everybody else.

Elle 12:30
You're gonna stay home. So yeah, so So I forced myself to to book this conference. So I'm excited. I'm nervous. I think that'd be really cool. And I am looking, just looking forward to being around other writers.

Jody 12:43
He has Yes. And you end up in these great conversations and stuff. And I think, I mean, I think imposter syndrome is just, we don't realize how prevalent it is, no matter what stage we get to. And I actually had the honor of meeting Jennifer probes. I don't know if you've read her. Right, naked. But I read that at a time that it just was so strong, like, you know, I was a fluke, and I'm never gonna get it was before I got the St. Martin's deal for Sophie Sullivan. And I was like, this is in I'm done. And, you know, reading about her who is this literally signed a million dollar contract. And she was just like, and now instead of worrying if I'm going to get signed, I worry about am I going to hit the list? Because now it's an expectation, and it's just, it really made me stop and think, Okay, I need to appreciate these moments. Because, you know, whatever, two months ago, two years ago, I would have loved to be at the moment I'm at now. Yeah. Right. So it's a really hard thing. And I think a lot of people, especially with social media, and you know, it's wonderful to see things especially if you're friends with these authors, but it's, it's, it's a lot thrown at you, right makes me like you're not doing enough.

Elle 13:55
Mm. Yeah. Like there's always something more. Yeah, that we could be doing. There's always another book to write there's always another social media post. Yeah. Oh, is another, you know, and then just straight down to the TV deals in the movie deals. Yes. deals and I'm just going. I'm just you know, and it's, it's like I've really forced myself to put some blinders on. Yep. And, and just like force myself to kind of not even think about it and, and just sort of go if you just keep writing the damn book, something's going to break. Yes.

Jody 14:25
Yes. And that's just it, you know, with my oldest daughter, being a writer as well, I, you know, I try to really, I try to really follow what I say to her because it's one thing to say it, it's another to practice it, but just, you know, like, your journey is meant to be your journey. This is this is the path you're on. You got to just, you know, keep going and write what feels good and which is part of why you know, all those times where I'm reading these, I just read a Tessa Bailey book and oh my god, it was good. It was so good. But it is like graphic and I was like, you know, I don't Okay, I could do that. I wish I could. But, you know, I don't know if it's the steamy scenes that are actually hooking the people. I mean, they're wonderful to read. But it's also a fantastic book, right? Like, people aren't just picking it up for the steamy scenes, but they're there. And then I wonder, Okay, should I, you know, take a workshop and this or that, I think you just, I'm sure my husband would appreciate. benefits to that later. But, you know, but you just have to be true to what feels right for you to write. And for me, it's that kind of lead off the page where, you know, you know, where things are going, but you're not coming with them? Well, I

Elle 15:47
think well, okay. So I think that this is sort of interesting, because one of the things that I had been hearing was that there was a pivot to sweet romance. After question. Yeah, like after years and years of, you know, 50 Shades of Grey, and you know, and then really, that push into the erotic romance, is it? Is it romance? Is it erotica? You know, that sort of graphic on the page? Look, women, you know, women or women have sex? Yeah, yeah.

Jody 16:19
There's and enjoy it and enjoy it.

Elle 16:21
Imagine that. There's been actually, the pendulum has swung back to sweet. And I think it's really funny that you're, you're questioning that.

Jody 16:30
And when I was just looking over your questions, and I know, they were just samples or whatever, but I got stuck on that. Because I was like, is there? Is there a? Is there a shift back to sweet? And then of course, there's so much stuff on line about, you know, should we be calling it sweet? Does that mean the other one isn't? You know, the whole idea of clean romance, does it there's so much conversation about just even the terminology. But when I write you know, I honestly feel like I've pushed my own envelopes. And it's still very, very tame. I know when I talk to other sweet authors, which sounds terrible, they're all very sweet.

Elle 17:08
As opposed to the nasty ones.

Jody 17:13
Which doesn't happen. I'm so lucky to be surrounded by great people. But you know what? I know. And I'll say as an example, Sarah Adams, she's got her her book, the cheat sheet coming out. And she was like, oh, yeah, we talked about that. Because I was like, Oh, my gosh, I hadn't realized until she asked me to read that. She was, you know, off the page as well, and that wholesome romance or whatever. And I was like, Oh, my gosh, I thought, you know, like, I was kind of feeling isolated here. And she's like, No, no, this is, this is what I do. And I was like, I love that I love seeing another. There's so many great writers that are not putting it on the page. But I don't I haven't gotten that sense that it's the pendulum is swinging at all. And I don't mean one way or the other. I think right now, I don't know if it's COVID. or what, but I think people are just reading everything they can get their hands on by authors that they enjoy. Right? Yeah. Or authors that, you know, are recommended by other authors, which is, I mean, maybe I'm just thinking of that as a reader, because I picked up Tessa Bailey because I loved I hadn't read her before. I love Schits Creek so much. And it was, you know, comp to that. So I read it and I wasn't, maybe readers aren't picking it up for that. They're picking it up for what it's connected to, and the kind of joy it'll bring them. I don't know. I'm positive. Although I would imagine, if you're reading Tessa Bailey, you know that there's going to be steam. And if you're reading Sarah Adams or Jody Hofer, you know that there's not I don't know.

Elle 18:51
Yeah. Well, you know,

Jody 18:54
I want to say I don't know. Yeah,

Elle 18:56
I mean, I don't I don't know, either. I mean, that was just something that I heard and somebody said, Well, yeah, look at the look at the change in the covers, you know, the the illustrated covers, and I'm like, yeah, yeah, cuz I would never pick up and, you know, as a steamy writer, I would never put An Illustrated cover on my book. You know, I feel like that sort of, does it? You know, that's, I feel like that's gonna give the wrong message. Yeah,

Jody 19:17
yeah. Yeah. And I have friends who write, you know, on the page, and we do talk about that when we get our covers and stuff. It's like, well, this doesn't send the right message. It's like, you realize how much in that split second that a reader goes to pick up a book, you realize how much they are assuming by that cover, right? Mm hmm. Yeah. So and I don't think there's been a huge amount of conversation for readers around that. Okay. Because I know sometimes people I have read reviews of my own stuff where it's like, oh, there you know, there's no sex and that's when there's no you know, this is really tame and then other ones will be like, Oh, this book is just, you know, almost pornographic. It says the F word four times, right? Like it's, it's a funny? I don't know.

Elle 20:05
That's a trick.

Jody 20:07
Well, it is. It's it's a weird thing, right? Like you'll get chastised for not writing it. And then in the next review, which is why it's so hard to read reviews and you shouldn't, but then it's like, okay, well, you know, she could add more, it's like, and again, it just goes back to that, okay, I'm gonna write what I feel like, I'm good at, right. And even though, for me, I feel like the pendulum swings towards more of that, you know, open door, because maybe because I love like, I have no problem reading. I love I love. You know, I love reading everything. I just, it's not me for writing it. Right? Well, from the suite point of view, I feel like yeah, no, I'm like, do they have? Do they have the upper hand? Because, you know, that's, it's, I think there's, there's immense talent in both. It's hard to write a really sexy scene with nothing on the page. But it's also hard to write a really good sexy scene with everything on the page.

Elle 21:05
Right? What are you? What are your challenges when you're not putting the sexy stuff on the on the page? I'm really cute, because, you know, I'm, I have the excerpt you sent me, which was really fantastic. And we're going to talk about that. And I have I have thoughts. And maybe some assumptions, you know, so I would love to hear from you like, what I got, you know, what, what's, what is it? What's your process there? What's your

Jody 21:31
hurt for me? I think the challenge is getting enough on there. Because what you want to do I mean, I love Nora Roberts, I don't know, I just I love her. And when I read her, you know, that little dip, you get in your stomach, right? Like that, that you're reading and you're like, Oh, please, please do something. And it's not necessarily about, you know, reading them doing something, it's about that moment where you're just so hopeful that they will. And that's what I'm trying to get on the page with, you know, like subtle touches and glances and kisses and words, no way they're looking at each other. And it is I think it is hard. You know, I, I have now used the word breast in a couple of my books. And that was like, you know, big for me. And it. It's how to get that feeling across without actually, you know, naming the body parts or, and not because there's anything wrong with that, because it just for me, I don't know, it's just that zone that I stay in and it but it's hard to make sure that it's, it's that I want to make sure that the readers really hang on to that moment. It's like Oh, please. Yes, yes. And then Okay, good. They did. Right. I didn't see anything, but I know they did. It's hard to do that builder. When you know that you're not actually gonna let them see anything.

Elle 22:55
I think our dogs are talking to each other.

Jody 22:59
They're gonna start talking to you because my husband's driving my daughter to work. So yeah.

Elle 23:04
Everybody forgive us. We have dogs in the background today. For some reason. My dogs is usually pretty good about staying quiet. But today, they're like, No, we're gonna Wolf.

Jody 23:13
Like romance. They did the conversation

Elle 23:17
and apparently they like it sweet. Doggies. Um, I'm going to be honest, I don't read a lot of sweet and I think that's just because I think they just don't show up in my algorithm. Yeah, if that makes it, you know, because they do read a lot of steam. And so I actually am pretty reliant on the algorithm to, you know, for the next book that I'm going to read. Yeah, absolutely. You know, so So, I'm, I'm sort of fascinated, though, by how, you know, you can deliver because I'll admit, I feel like sometimes I use the sex is kind of a crutch. Okay, yeah. You know, to convey the feelings. Yeah. And so I'm sort of curious, you know, how you you know, you as a as a as a, I liked wholesome I did like that or, you know, non steamy writer, or, you know, do you struggle with conveying the feelings without the without that sort of level of physicality that happens in steamy? Or do you feel like you're able to accomplish that?

Jody 24:24
I struggle to at this point, I think I struggle to make it seem different. Then the last book that I did, like, sometimes it feels like there's only a certain number of ways for him to have gazed at her longingly, right? So I feel like with as many books as I do have and they are all even, you know, in 10 rules. They didn't actually get together till the end, and I did I felt like I pushed it in that one as well. There's a scene where they're kissing and she's up against the door and for me, that was like that was that was a bit push. But I do think I do think that I have a few phrases and things that I kind of rely on. So the challenge is making sure that you know, it's different every time. Every couple is different, every book is different. And I want to make sure that that, you know, whether there's physicality or not that that that moment doesn't feel like the last moment you read in my other book, or even the last moment before in that book, right. Like, yeah, so it's a lot about, about teasing about the Yeah, about we, I try to pay attention when I'm when I'm watching TV and stuff are gone. I'm, I'm MuscleTech such a creeper. But when I when we were out the other night, and it's such a natural thing for me. And we were, we're at this place. And I'm watching people not too far from us. And it just it had that moment that was like all giddy about it. My daughters were laughing at me, I'm like, I think they like each other, you know, one person work there, and the other person was a customer and but she kept talking to him, and she sat on the side of his couch. And so I like watching these moments, and I'm like, what makes me think they like each other? Well, you know, like, how many times is she gonna brush her hair out of her face? And you know, those little moments? So yeah, I've watched those things. And I think and I try to relay that in my writing.

Elle 26:28
Okay. Yeah, but yeah, but

Jody 26:30
probably just looks like I'm just stalking people. I do like to watch. You know, she likes to watch. Write about it. To be experts.

Elle 26:46
I think it's really fascinating, though, that you said that you struggle with you know, making it original, making it different because it's it just about everybody that I've talked to. For the podcast, we talk about when we're writing the sexy bits, yeah, that we struggle to make it not be repetitive from the last seen or the last book, like, you know, it's sort of an IT justice, I guess it just is a different thing. It's more like positions or you know, or even even that sort of idea of gays like I've been sort of like tripped up by gate like, I'm like, how many cases are we going to have here? People will just stop gazing? Yeah, another close. But it's it's so funny, because it's the same problem. We don't want to repeat ourselves in these intimate moments. And that's like our biggest fear, like, Oh, didn't we do it that way, the last time.

Jody 27:36
Or even in the last scene, I had this conversation just a couple days ago with a historical writer, romance friend, Renee and Miller and she was saying she's like, she, you know, she I hope it's okay to say this. I'm not giving anything away here. But she just said she's like, I think I wrote this exact same scene. When I did it last time. I'm like, Well, you know, there's people like Jill shalvis, who, like when I was reading Jill, shalvis, religiously, they? There were I could because I was reading them all in a row. I could pick out lines. It's like, yep, that's a gel Chava slide because she is one similar. And I think that rather than that being a, like a bad thing, because we do worry about it's like, oh, did I do this already? It's maybe that's your signature? Like maybe that's your you know, your signature line like Jill shalvis always says, says in her books, the crack of dawn, right. Oh, right. And there's like, I only picked up on it because I read so many in a row. Right. But, you know, I don't know that unless readers are reading multiple of our books. And depending on how many books you have, and things like that. I don't know that they're picking up on it. But I think there's definitely that that voice in our head all the time that I'm just saying the same thing over and over again.

Elle 28:47
Yeah, yeah. So funny. I caught myself I caught a sentence in book one. That in my first book that I repeated in my fourth book,

Jody 28:57
oh my gosh, see, and it's, you don't

Elle 29:00
realize you're doing it? I mean, to two different characters to different situations. They just happen to say the same thing. Yeah. Yeah, it was kind of wild. I was like, Oh, crap.

Jody 29:10
What made you realize that you did it like did it just jog your memory or,

Elle 29:14
um, because in my my fourth book, it actually turned out to be one of my favorite lines, and one of my favorite moments. And I'm going back over the first book for an audio version. And so it actually was stuck in my head because of the fourth book because it was one of my favorite moments in that book. And then as I'm going through the audio, for Book One, I was like, well, crap, I

Jody 29:39
used it before. Yeah, there it

Elle 29:40
is. Yeah. And I didn't use it as well.

Jody 29:42
Yeah. I've improved. Improved that look at their evidence. Yeah. And

Elle 29:52
I do feel like I could be completely off base with this. I'm also fun fact, I love cozy mystery.

Jody 30:02
They are the best of some several words, worlds.

Elle 30:06
I absolutely adore them. Um, so I, I'm wondering if there's a connection between your writing romance and your writing cozies because there is something sort of like, warm and enveloping about them. For me

Jody 30:19
there absolutely is if I highly recommend if somebody wants to cross genres, the the worlds that I'm in are the best ones for it. Because what I love is I hate conflict, right? It is terrible. I mean, you need that conflict enrollments or rom com to pull the characters apart, but I don't like it. I don't I want them to be together all the time, and just happy. And that doesn't make for the best story. But when you write a cozy mystery, the romance isn't the story. It is the side story. So you don't have to break them up. You don't have to, you can have this wonderful little mystery happening. And then you get the romance and I get to put it in there. And it's like, Ha, they're fine. Right? They are totally okay. And, you know, you can have these cute sweet moments where the characters support each other or they figure things out with each other. And you know, your kissing and all your all your things. It's like, I don't ever have to pull them apart. I love that.

Elle 31:15
That's really fantastic. I need to I'm definitely gonna read some of your cozies Have you read the Thank you. Have you read the big ship? Big Shot, Big Shot Mystery Series by Ellie Alexander. I have not no, it's wonderful.

Jody 31:27
I'm gonna write that down.

Elle 31:29
It's wonderful. She's fantastic. I actually, when I was writing urban fantasy, I tried to do a podcast that I did. But it just became a little too much back then. And she and I spoke to her about it. It was just all about like I was it was a little bit too broad. I think it I just wanted to talk to genre writers, just any genre, whatever. Like if you're writing genre I want to talk to you. And and I talked to her and she was really fantastic. And I read. I read some of her books, and they were just so much fun.

Jody 31:54
I'll have to I'll have to read her. I've been reading a lot of Who do I love Sarah Fox and Agatha frost? Lynn Cahoon, there's so many I was part of a Facebook group of these wonderful, cozy mystery authors. But it was I find sometimes I find being part of those groups as an admin is a little bit how you're doing one night, yeah, just one of 12. But I just you know, I, again, it was one of those moments I get overwhelmed easily. And I just, I want to focus on the writing when I'm worried about what I have to post in another group and things like that. I got really overwhelmed. And so, so yeah, so I backed out of that, but that was just you know, it was these 12 Well, 11, including, you know, plus me, writers. Math is not my thing. But it was so cool, because there's so much talent. And it's weird when you said that steam was what's usually on your radar. I always find I'm, I'm looking through Instagram or I'm on Goodreads and stuff. And I feel like I'm a really well read person. Like I read a lot of books. And I go on there like there is sorry, that's my there's so much that I haven't read. There's so much out there to explore, right?

Elle 33:13
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I don't think I could. I don't know. I I don't think I could read all the books that I want to read that. I don't think yeah, physical books sitting in my library. Yeah. You know, ebooks sitting on my Kindle. There's just so there's no way and I'm still buying new ones.

Jody 33:30
Yes. Yes. Because they Yeah, it's wonderful. You just they've just need to be on your shelf or on your Kindle. You just have to have them. Yeah, I

Elle 33:36
just want to hold them. Yes.

Jody 33:38
Yes. Just one of them. Yeah.

My husband said the other day, he's like, What is going on with your your pile of books? I'm like you leave it alone. He's like, it's gonna fall over. It's next to your bed and it's gonna fall over. I'm like, not if you don't touch it. It's just fine. Just there. I like looking at them. I don't know how many I'm gonna read but they're fine.

Elle 34:01
They're fine. next to my bed on the floor beside my bed.

Jody 34:07
Yeah. Wonderful. I love I posted a picture earlier this summer because I have this absolutely gorgeous dining room table. I love it so much I had before we moved in this house, all I ever wanted was like a table that took up an entire room. And so I have a nine foot dining room table. I love it. We never eat at it at like Christmas and when we have friends over because it's always covered in books and writing stuff and pens and books and and I just love it like I love walking into a room being like oh, there's a nice book I'm not going to read right now but there's a whole bunch of choices.

Elle 34:45
I know my husband's always yelling at me because I always have so much paper like don't you you know you're on the computer all day. Why do you have all this paper as wonderful because I love my paper. I love my books. I love my I just I like that I like

Jody 35:01
and pens

Elle 35:02
and pens. Yeah, and pens. I love my pens. Yeah, you can never have enough really

Jody 35:07
fun. No, it's wonderful. So table looks like pens and books and no food.

Elle 35:13
That sounds really? Yeah, that sounds good. I mean, you have you have a lot going on because you've got under your name. God Hallford you've got a bunch of series your contemporary romance. Yeah. Plus your cozy is. And then you have Sophie. Yeah. Is Now did you now I'm curious. Why did you go with because your your writing still sweet. So why did you go with a um,

Jody 35:39
that one that one that was St. Martin. So when I signed the deal with St. Martin's which Academy it was, it was like the dream moment for me, right? Like the big five press. And I have a wonderful editor and they are just a fantastic house. But when they were reading through and stuff, and you know, they go they go to acquisitions, and they read with their team and stuff when they came back and said, you know, we love this and stuff. But some of the things we're considering is we want to make you stand out we want to put you in with it is rom com versus romance and cozy mystery, which I didn't truly understand the nuances of how that was different at the time. But they said, you know, we want to we want to launch you as a debut author, because I have like 25 books out already. They wanted me to stand out in, in a market that is really heavy with wonderful writers. So they suggested a pen name. And I was like, Okay, well, this is you know, that's fine. You know, when you do things, you're like, Okay, this sounds good. And you never really understand the implications. And it's been wonderful, but it's a little bit weird for me. And I mean, you have a pen name as well. So I don't know if you feel this, but I'll go on line and see something. And then I'm like, Oh, hey, that's me. Right? Like, or, or when I'm in a in I did a like another interview. And she's like, right, Sophie? I'm like, who was on a clubhouse chat. And someone was like, oh, yeah, I loved Sophie Sullivan's book. And I was like, Did you mean me? Right. Like, it's it's this weird thing that I didn't think of all these different things that happened. But yeah, it's been a really, it's, I mean, for me, it's been a really positive experience. It's opened me up to a whole new world of readers and books to grammars and Instagrammer. And people have been so lovely. And it's yeah, it's I've had nothing but positive. Positive things come of having a pen name, but I could see how it'd be a little bit tricky. And there's, you know, I don't know if you've read Bree Baker, she's cozy mystery writer. She has like four pen names. She's amazing, by the way. This how to manage? Yeah, well, this

Elle 37:55
is what I was gonna ask you, are you uh, do you have everything? Like, do you just promote Sophie's books under Jodi? Or do you promote Jodi under Sophie? Or do you? Or do you have two different, like, well, I

Jody 38:09
love everything. I do have a publicist who helps me with my social media for Jodi. So I ended up probably neglecting that one a little. If I'm going to post usually, typically, and I the crossover happens all the time, because I forget, but if I if I'm going to post my daughter's I tried to post on Jodi, but then I'm like, well, they're still Sophie's daughters too. And so, you know, I ended up posting, I thought, oh, I'll just keep Sophie Sullivan all professional stuff, but it's like, you know what people wouldn't people want to know who you are. So I end up having that crossover, but then it feels kind of funny, right? It's like I just posted this on Jodi over and how much attention do I need? Right? I'm gonna post this on Sophie Sullivan now. My my assistant helps me with social posts, you know those daily things for Jodi Holford? funny memes and book gifts and things like that. And then for Sophia, I tend to I, I do most of that myself. But yeah, I have to have to Facebook's to newsletters to Instagrams and it's okay for the you know, on your phone with a social media, it's really simple to go back and forth. That's not a big deal. But I do find when I get those, I try to do a monthly newsletter. I do find trying to make the content different. And building the you know, Sophie's newsletter is not read widely. I think there's like, you know, 14 followers or something. It's hard to do that. Right. Right content, they want to make it different than what you're getting is God Holford? So, I don't know, I don't know if there's a trick to that. Do you do both?

Elle 39:43
Well, my other because the other. The other name I write under is an urban urban fantasy. Okay. And I've been really focused on romance. So that name has kind of gone gone dormant. So I was probably and I'm probably just gonna Leave that series at this point. Oh, really? Yeah. I feel like I've kind of outgrown it. It was like my first. It's my first and as much as I love it, I think that I've moved. It's time to move on. Yeah. And I had a spin off idea for a really long time. And now I think and I've actually got that going. A certain Avella going into an anthology. Oh, no, I'm not sure when that's coming out. That was part of like a Kickstarter thing. Yeah, that's fine. Um, so I actually put that under my romance name. And I, you know, and I was like, you know, maybe I'm just gonna, because I just think it's too hard. You know, you have a day job. I have a day job. You know, it's like, there are only so many hours in the day. And I don't think that I could juggle successfully juggle two different names. No, I really don't.

Jody 40:46
And that's Yeah, and that's, that's part of the whole tick tock thing, too, right. It's like, you know what, I can jump back and forth on Instagram, just with the push of the button. I'm managing. It's, it's working. Maybe I'm not getting as many followers maybe I'm, you know, I could be exploding on tick tock, but this is what I can keep up with. And, you know, I mean, I think I can keep doing it, simply because I have a little bit of help with it. But yeah, I think you just have to kind of you. We try so hard to do everything. And in the end, the writing will suffer because of that. Right.

Elle 41:22
Right. Right. I'd like to jump back for a second when your your publisher suggested the pen name, and that you had mentioned that there was a difference between the contemporary romance that you're writing at under God and the rom com and I just would love for you to sort of like, talk about a little bit. What what did that? Yeah, what did they mean? What did that mean to you? Like, what, what is the difference? Because I kind of figured kind of the same thing.

Jody 41:49
That's and you know, it's funny, because I've been, I've been trying I was I was unsure if I wanted to write another romance is Jodi Holford right now. And then so I was like, Oh my gosh, do I know how to write romance? So I was actually looking up the differences between them and, you know, which is no hardship looking at rom coms versus romance and things like that. And for them when they first when I first started writing, so 10 Roses about, you know, when I started, I had this moment, she is severely severely anxiety ridden, and she it's mostly social anxiety is a big thing for her. And so she's a producer on a radio station. And the worst thing that could ever happen to her in her mind happens where she blurts out her failed love life on the air.

Elle 42:36
So, yeah, that would kill me. Yes.

Jody 42:39
Right. Like, I was like, Oh, my God, what would be the worst thing that could happen? And so she does this, and she's just mortified. Not only does she do this, but then she ends up to save the radio station and the ratings and all these things, she ends up basically dating listeners. And so it's huge for her. But when I wrote that, when I started that I had that scene, right? Like, this is what I had. And then when I, you know, then it was like, Okay, well write a few more chapters, show us what you've got. And I did that. And then my editor said, Okay, well, let's see a little more of her on the page. First, it's, you know, in a romance, and this is, maybe I can't isolate the specific things about the romcom. But what I can say is that in a romance, which is what she said to me, you've got those key beats those markers, right? It's like at 25%, they're going to kiss up 50%, they're going to get all the way together, it's gonna be like, Oh, this is wonderful till 75%. And then they're going to hit that dark moment, and then it's going to get better at the end. So you have those key markers. And with romance, or with rom com, it's a little bit different, because I really needed to set up this who this Everly is and if you're thinking about if you're thinking about a rom com movie, like say, the proposal or something, and even in just the opening scenes where there's no talking, they set up who those characters are, you know, Sandra Bullock is not a nice person, you know, that Ryan Reynolds is, you know, doing all her bidding. So that's kind of what's happening. It's not about them being together, he clearly hates her at the beginning, right. Whereas in a romance you you get them on, page together as quickly as possible. They, you know, I've read everything from on the first page to the first five pages, get them together. That's who the love interest is. And when I do the rom com, that's not what it was about. It was about establishing whoever they was and what is the what is the difference if she blurted this out on the on screen, right? And we introduce Chris, it was interesting because he, she, she's very when you're when you're socially anxious, you're so sure that everybody is looking at you thinking what's wrong with you? You look awful. You sound awful, you're dumb. And so it was really hard because she's, she thinks he dislikes her. So to in a romance, it would be so straightforward. It's like oh, you know, their eyes met right that gaze again across the thing and the heats there. But with this, it was like, you know, she's in her head. She's worrying about oh my God, what did I do? Great. Now my boss is here. He doesn't like me. Oh, he does kind of look good today, but whatever, right like setting up those moments, but it not being a it had it. She had to be aware of him physically because he is going to be the love interest, but not as quickly as say with the roadmap. I could be totally wrong. I could be doing this wrong. So, but no, I notice my understanding, right? No, no, this makes total sense to me. So yeah, so yeah, so when I so when I do the rom com so I was trying to write this new book as a romance like, okay, he they have to meet right away. And then I decided it would be a rom com. So I was like, well, they don't have to talk right away. Right, right, right. Oh, yeah. So it's just kind of establishing those boundaries. And I think romance has such clearly defined points, right. Like, you know, what you're getting, you know, they're gonna kiss soon, which I think was hard because people said, you know, all they in, in a rom com Well, with 10 rules, and there's me reading my reviews. Again, people like they don't kiss till the end. This is you know, it takes too long. It's so slow burn. But if you look at any rom com, I mean, yeah, the proposals a little different, but a lot of them they don't don't get together. Yeah, right.

Elle 46:23
There's a lot of like, slapstick that goes on. Yeah. Notice, right. Yeah. Yeah, Mister shouldn't be mistaken identity. Yeah, no, whatever it is. Yeah. Yeah, though. That's true. But you know, it's very funny because I always thought my understanding of sweet was you only got one kiss.

Jody 46:41
That Hallmark sweet. Ah, I really Yeah. hallmark is this, this? This thing of its own its own entity. Right. And it is, it is like all those moments that lead up to that kiss. That's what you're leading up to? And but yeah, it's a different kind of sweetness again, because it is really like, you know, your hands are touching while you're baking gingerbread cookies. And that's it, right? Yeah. Yeah. It's hard. I I really I don't I don't know that there's any easy way to convey the emotion to people feel when they're falling for each other? Or learning each other. Right? Like, I didn't get any of the routes are

Elle 47:23
easy, no matter how dirty we got.

Jody 47:25
No, not exactly right. Like, I can't imagine. I mean, for me, maybe it was easy for Tessa Bailey to write those scenes. But me that would be so hard. Right. And I thought pun was not intended it.

It just worked out that way. It just

worked out that way. Right. So I can't imagine that. You know, I don't know I I would never say oh, yeah, well, it's a lot easier if you can put the sex on the page. Because for me, I don't think it is. And I know that the writers that that I know that put the sex on the page. It's not easy for them. It's not easy for me, right? And again, it's the same thing that you struggle as much as I do with how do you make it different? How do you make it new for the reader?

Elle 48:10
Yeah, and also how do you convey you know, because I know for me when I write the naughty bits I get I can get a little too zoomed in on the on the choreography and yeah, we've got about the emotional parts of Yes,

Jody 48:23
I saw an author. Oh my gosh, this made me laugh. I don't even know who it was. It was on Twitter and I think it was on Twitter at the time. And she posted a picture of Barbie doll she's like people always ask how I work out the choreography. This is how she used larious I was like, That is so good. I mean, we are all a little bendy er than Barbie dolls. But still.

You get the idea.

Yeah, that is Larry. Yeah, yeah, absolutely genius. Can imagine though I get

kids walking with my mom, what do you do now? Myself? Yeah, with

Lego figurines right I'm really into Lego right now Ross and Rachel are enjoying each other right now. Nothing

Elle 49:17
Well, I want to get to your scene. Okay. What is this from what what book is this from?

Jody 49:24
I believe I sent you the snippet of Ben and Annie from his from home is where the body is which I recently well I guess I don't even know when it's been a while now. I signed a three book deal with truly publishing their I love their cozy mysteries. Candice havens has just the most adorable cozy mysteries with them so I was really excited to sign on with them. The first book doesn't actually come out until next August though. It's called Homeless where the body is and Annie has any has like the best setup ever because her parents have decided to use their website I are meant to sail around the world but they've also just moved into a Oceanside house. And they want someone to house it. Oh, it's like the Wow. So yeah, it's wonderful. So she's there in this tiny little town. And she stumbles upon a murder. Well, actually, what happens beforehand is she is she hears these weird noises in the garage, and she's kind of freaked out. And she's not sure if it's a raccoon or what. And it's a tiny little town, so she doesn't know who to call. So she calls a local vet. And Ben shows up and he's quite amused by you know, this girl who's from Portland, but way bigger city than they're in. And she's her her fears are, are interesting to him. It's pretty funny to him, because she's clearly a city girl.

Elle 50:49
Okay. So this has not been released yet. So this is

Jody 50:53
not this is sort of like a it's a complete sneak peek. Yeah. Cool.

Elle 50:58
So where are we in the story? Can you set this up a little bit for us?

Jody 51:02
Um, can you remind me,

Elle 51:05
Ben is walking through the door? There's a coffee table, somebody set a table for them? It's like,

Jody 51:11
Oh, yeah. Okay. bruises. Yeah, that's yeah, that's close to the end of the book. And it's that moment where it's, the The lovely thing about causes is, you know, they're going to get together be, it doesn't matter which book, you know, that they're going to have a love interest. And before this happens, and I do tend to throw the romance into the cozy mysteries way earlier than most people would like, but I love it. So you know us some people, it's by book five, they're finally together and stuff. And, and that's wonderful, too. It makes me anticipate it, but for me it been and he knew early on, it was like, Okay, this is instant chemistry. I'm equally fascinated and amused by you. And so they knew they liked each other. But of course, you're there in that moment where they're not pretending they don't like each other, but just kind of trying to focus on the fact that there's murder happening. And, you know, she's been hurt and things like that. But the fun part is, obviously other people see the sparks between them too. So her very nosy pushy neighbor. She's had a very rough day, and I won't give that away, but decides, you know, to give them a little nudge. So she's, you know, there's dinner in the kitchen for you guys. And she just really wants to find a bed. She is sore and tired and doesn't want him to leave. And she doesn't know how to say all those things. And they walk into the kitchen and you know, it's kind of sad for them because obviously their sparks are not invisible. Right.

Elle 52:42
Okay, cool. This great setup. That was Thank you. So yeah, I'm gonna, I'm gonna read I'm gonna be reading. It was a short excerpt you sent so I'm just gonna read the whole thing. So buckle up, everybody. Here we go. When Ben walk them to the door, he came. When Ben walk them to the door. He came back, sat on the coffee table and sat on the coffee table across from Annie. How are you really doing he took her hand ran his fingers over the bruises on her wrist. I'm tired, really tired. I thought I was good at figuring these things out. But I was blindsided. With one hand he tucked her hair behind her ear studying the bruise on her chin. He ran a finger along it gently. It wasn't your job to figure it out. You'll feel better after a good sleep. It was going to take more than a solid 12 hours to erase the memories of today. Ben's fingers Gray's Danny's neck she had bruises everywhere. But when he looked at her the way he was now she couldn't feel them. His face inch close enough that she could feel his his warm breath when he spoke. Our town is going to seem pretty boring after all of this. And he lifted her chin just a bit putting them in the perfect position for seeing if this chemistry was real. Somehow I doubt it. It's over now and I'm definitely not bored. They must have moved at the same time because with the next breath there weren't there was no more space between them is handcuffed her head fingers tangling softly and her hair is they kissed he pulled back before she would have pressing a kiss to the center of her forehead. herself smile spread warmth through her entire body. Let's get you something to eat. He stood holding her hand. I'm not sure I'll eat much but Something smells good. They walked to the kitchen where Annie stopped stared at the table. When she glanced at Ben she saw it was once again his turn to blush. He dropped her hand so he could run it through his hair. I didn't know she set the table, and he stepped forward to where Mark Margie had left to places had set to places wine glasses and candles creating an obvious ambience. The candles flickered softly reflecting off the glass and the darkness settling outside. She looked at Ben then step closer to him putting her arms around him. She rested her head on his chest. His arms close. His eyes closed around her like they belong there. Like they fit. I'm glad you're okay. He was pretty against her hair. Me too. She wasn't sure how long they stood there but when they stepped apart and he felt calmer she sat Well Ben serve them. Then they talked over candlelight about anything and everything except neighbors. Or murder. Oh,

Jody 55:16
you have such a great voice you should read audio but as I'm like tripping over words that voice Oh my God, thank

you. It's awesome.

Elle 55:29
I got it. Okay. One of the things that really stood out to me while I was reading through this, um, was touch. There, there was a lot of touch. She took her I think, I think I counted like six instances and one page. He takes her hand, you know, tucks hair behind her ear, studies, the bruise grazing her neck, like there's a lot of, of gentle touch happening. That is really kind of expressing those feelings that like I mean, at this point, I would have legs tangled.

Jody 56:03
Oh, Eddie wanted to but Ben's innocent?

Elle 56:06
And was like, no, no, we're taking our time. Dinner. So so that was the thing that sort of jumped out to me where I said, Ah, okay, I see where the intimacy is now being conveyed in a much more subtler way. Yeah. And I

Jody 56:23
think it's about just conveying on the page. And I don't know, this is just popped in my head, but for he has to show he cares through everything, but following through. And I think in a lot of the romance or the, you know, the steamy romances I've read, you've got that alpha male, right. And he doesn't know how to convey that. Right. So that's the sex is the, the not, I mean, it's not the only way they show they care. But it's always in those subtle things that people do, right? Yeah, it's, you know, this, the the on the page is fun to read. And it's, it's great. But it's the way he holds her after that hooks the audience is the way he you know, grabs her glass of water or the way he you know, kisses that bruise on her wrist. It's, you know, like, it's, it's those other moments. Yeah, right. But that really convey I think that emotion regardless of steamers, sweet, right,

Elle 57:24
right. And I completely agree, because even though like, in a steamier part, we're gonna have like, you know, hard this and what that right. But But ultimately, what it is conveying. And it's actually not through the choreography, but through the various ways of touch. And the way they know each other, right. Yeah, the way they know each other the way that they respond to each other's, you know, bodies and the way you know, and the things that they do say to each other, even if it is the moment of passion. And then afterwards, it's about the aftercare as well, and sort of you know, what happens with the pillow talk? Yeah, speak. Yeah, yeah. But I think you can still convey it clearly without any of that going on, as you've sort of expressed here.

Jody 58:19
Yeah, I mean, the end for me, like if I was a different kind of writer, and again, I really admire like, I couldn't pull off this the truly steamy scenes, but I think you know, it, I don't think it would, it would for the cozy mystery reader takeaway, if you threw a sex scene in there. But for me when I'm reading, it's like, okay, I, I would be okay, transferring to that sexy moment, if it was written properly. So for me when I'm writing, it's not because it's just because, you know, so many years ago, my agents just said, you know, if you can't, if you can do it, well do it. If you can't, then leave it to the experts. And, and I don't think at all that was a you know, because people can change and grow. And I'm certainly writing better than I did when I started. It wasn't about you know, you can't do this. It was about you know, just be true to what feels right to you. But for me, it's, you know, stopping where they have Yeah, you know, in the in the next book, Ben wakes up at Danny's house, I'm pretty sure people know what happened.

Elle 59:21
Right? Like, he slept on the couch. He's

Jody 59:29
a neighbor shop around. You know, like, I just I'd rather give that it needs to be there for me because I want that. I want that intimacy. You know, it's, I can't write the scene of what they did before he woke up in the bedroom, but they woke up in the bedroom together and he got her coffee. And so there's that right.

Elle 59:48
Now have you tried? Oh,

Jody 59:52
I have a seed like you can't see me but I'm like almost blushing. do it and you know what? It's funny because I didn't I swear on the page in not in cozy mysteries, but in my other books when it feels authentic to the character, but I am a teacher and my staff when I worked at one school for 10 years, and we were very, very close, but they used to tease me so much they used to try it they used to write down dirty words, you know, the kind of words that you probably use, and they tell you the body words and seven they tried to get me to say them in the staff room and I can't even I'm blushing right now talking but I don't even know why. I got

Elle 1:00:32
this whole new meaning too hot for teacher at the moment.

Jody 1:00:37
That and then it's so funny because I couldn't say them. I just it's ridiculous. And then this summer, my oldest daughter is 18 My youngest daughter's 15 started watching shits Creek. And of course I crack up every time they use the F word because down me is just ridiculous and adorable and funny. But they think is so silly that I laugh right. And so then I was like, because I don't swear because I'm like, uh, you know, I sound like a 12 year old Disney Princess and I decided that it's funny. So my teenagers didn't like it at first, but like they you know, those tea. I don't know if you have teenagers, but it's like, you can't win here. Right? Like, you're, you're having a conversation that is gone in so many circles. You're dizzy. And I'm like, oh my god, I can't believe I just said that on this thing. But I wish my daughters would be like, like, it would just wrap them up. And my husband was like, what just happened? So I said COVID was the year I learned to swear. It was cuz we're stuck in this house. Yeah, there's so many of these conversations. And on the few times, we've been able to go see my mom who was like, swore like a drunk sailor like, Oh, my whole life. Like, I love it. She wouldn't let me watch Eddie Murphy map. My husband thought that was a funniest thing. Because one of our Christmas videos it was f this f that and it was. So they thought it was funny. So when my daughters go up there, they're like, you should see how much my mom swears. And she's like, Okay, uh huh. Yeah, like nobody believes that, but it's just like, No. This is the year of swearing. So I'm trying to make it natural. But even when it comes out, I'm like, Oh my gosh, why did I just

Elle 1:02:18
say you dropped an F bomb before. Just so great, because usually I'm salty. I am so salty. And I've held back on this.

Jody 1:02:30
And then my cheeks are sore now because like giggling ridiculous.

This is perfect. This this is corrupting you. It's so funny, though.

Elle 1:02:50
I'm, I'm kind of dying to know. Do you remember the first romance book that you read? And I'm kind of curious if it was steamy or if it was sweet.

Jody 1:02:57
Okay, I'll tell you two things. First romance I read but the first one I consider actual romance. And I don't mean any disrespect to the writers when I say that the first romance I read was heaven. By Victoria Anders or VC Andrews. Okay. Okay. Okay. So there was stuff in that I was 11 years old. And it was like, Oh, my gosh, what are they doing? Oh, so there was stuff in it. But it was like I had no comprehension or understanding what it was. I just knew it was fun to read. But the first time I actually read a romance book, it was Nora Roberts and she has varying levels of steam. Yes. had, you know, some heat but not a huge amount? Like certainly not? No, nowhere near 50 shades. It was one of the Chesapeake Bay series. Okay. And, you know, it was that it was I can still feel it. Like I was reading it. It's funny. We were, we were on strike as teachers now I was reading it right. We're sitting out there on the cold. And I'm reading this book, and I'm, I've got that look that I have on my face right now. Like, I hope nobody's watching this. Right. And I just he was so good. And I didn't want anyone to talk to me. And I just it was so good. It was just it was awesome. I just and I just love Nora Roberts. So and the only reason I say that that really was my first is because I had no comprehension really of what a romance was. Right. Right. Right. At a young age. You know, when you're reading Sweet Valley High and well, I guess those were romances to at the time.

Elle 1:04:33
I think at the time they were I mean, I guess they were kind of like why a romances, right? I mean, yeah, yeah. And then there was another series that Isabel Jolie who I had on, oh, another author of ages ago, she reminded me of of the series, and now I can't remember what it was. And I said, and I started going, Oh, my God, I read that series. I'd completely forgotten about it and it was not connected, but something was a through line between all of them. I don't remember what but they was sort of sports angles and one was I was swimming in Yeah. All and yeah, and I don't remember what it was now but yeah, I think those were romances but sort of my voice my Weinstein Pascoe, I think it was Francine Pascoe. Yeah. Yeah, there you go. She introduced me to romance. But in truth, it was like that. I didn't expect it. I didn't expect it. So I'm god, I'm almost gone like Jody. Sophie, I'm calling you both. Yes. Yes. What? What is coming up for you? I know you've got January 22. You've got how to love your neighbor.

Jody 1:05:46
Yes. I'm excited about that. So if anyone's read 10 rules for faking it. Noah is the main the heroes brother and helps him for comedic relief. And he this is his book. And so that's coming out January 18 2022. It's so weird, because you know, we were talking earlier about how it seems so far away people. Lots of people have already read this book. It seems bizarre to me. But

Elle 1:06:10
I noticed that there were reviews on Goodreads already. And I was like, wait, wait, how does that happen?

Jody 1:06:15
Yeah, so I get advance copies. And yeah, so it's coming out January 18 2022. I also have August, I'm not sure what day in August, but August 2022 will be my first cozy mystery from truly, which so it'll be neat to start a brand new series because Britain Bay is no longer. I did four books in that series, but that one's done. So it'd be really fun to start something new. But that's that's next year. And then I guess after. I mean, I'm working on things right. Like I'm working on several things that I hope to pitch to my editor and I'm actually working on a picture book as well. I like to I like to write everything I really well. Except steamy apparently. Not steamy, but

it's okay.

Not paranormal, not fantasy, not a few interests. I do you know, and I like that. I like that. I like that there's options in this world.

Elle 1:07:10
Well, yeah, and I'll tell you, you know, we're gonna hang out with you. Yeah, steamy folks will hang out.

Jody 1:07:16
Oh, totally. Yeah. Yes, that was that's good. I like it. Right. And,

Elle 1:07:21
and you don't I know you don't do tick tock. But where is your favorite, favorite place to hang out on the internet.

Jody 1:07:27
I'm really enjoying Instagram right now. So I you know, that's where I'm on there. Like physically, like, I'm staring at my phone waiting for somebody to Instagram me. You know, I'm like, Hey, nobody's notified me of anything today. But yeah, I like it. Twitter's a funny place right now. I do go on Facebook all the time. You know, I'm not on Snapchat or anything. But I am definitely on Instagram. I am on Twitter. I check it every day. I checked my Facebook every day. Part of my family's Hi, sorry about that. That's my, you know my newsletter every now and again, I get these emails from I don't know if you can hear them. They're being ridiculous. I get these emails from people. Like I really love your book. And I'm like, I can't believe you email me. I love that. So I love emails. It's so amazing. Like you actually went to my website and emailed me. Yeah. So I always you know, I always make sure I respond to that. I've been doing this fun little thing with my newsletters where I ask a question, and then you know, I'm just giving away stickers and stuff. Because yeah, like those things, but it's like a lot of questions. And then they answer and I'm like, I love that you took the time to answer me. You know, and so I respond to that stuff. Yeah, I

Elle 1:08:45
know. I've got an email conversation going with a reader who I think is sorry, she engaged.

Jody 1:08:51
I know. They were just sitting here alone or something waiting for something. Right? You have a family and people like me in real life, but I want to talk to you. I was

like, okay, yeah,

yeah. So I met this author online, and she's a little nuts. Yeah. We all are. That's what they're learning. If we weren't before COVID We are now

Elle 1:09:19
we absolutely are now. Jody, thank you so much for being here. This was a super fun conversation. It

Jody 1:09:25
was wonderful. Thank you so much. I can't wait to look up your book. So thank you thirsty me. I will enjoy

Transcribed by https://otter.ai