329. “Catching My Breath” – A Look Back and a Glimpse Forward With Beverly Jenkins

Sarah chats with Beverly Jenkins, known in the romance community as Ms. Bev, one day after she finished and turned in her latest book. So of course we talk about that! We also talk about her new film, adapted, directed and produced for screen by Iris Bolling, which premieres on Amazon on December 15 – and of course we have links where you can watch it.

We talk about the process of bringing Deadly Sexy to screen, what it was like to see the story she saw in her mind on a screen in front of everyone, and what surprised her in the transformation. We also discuss what she’s done in the past year, and what’s coming up in 2019. It’s the end of the year, so our conversation turns to looking back, and looking ahead. Ms. Bev has advice on learning what matters, about setting goals, and about being kind to yourself.

Plus she recommends a book that I immediately sent to my husband because it sounds amazing.

Read the transcript

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Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:

You can find Beverly Jenkins on the web at BeverlyJenkins.net, and you can sign up for her newsletter to find out what’s coming up next for her!

In this episode we mentioned:

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This Episode’s Music

Adeste Fiddles Album CoverOur music is provided by Sassy Outwater. Thanks, Sassy!

This is my favorite holiday album from Deviations Project, Adeste Fiddles.

This track is Lieutenant Kiji, originally composed by Sergei Prokofiev. You can find this album at Amazon.


Podcast Sponsor

The Rancher

This week’s podcast is brought to you by The Rancher by Kate Pearce.

One by one, the Morgan siblings find themselves returning to the northern California ranch where their troubled pasts first began. Together, they have a chance to leave the past behind and forge a new future based on family, hope, and love.

In this sixth installment of bestselling author Kate Pearce’s popular Morgan Ranch series, Rachel Ford Morgan comes home after finishing her degree intent on proving she’s just as capable of taking care of the ranch as her brothers. What she’s not prepared for is also trying to impress the son of a rival ranch owner.

Now that she’s completed her engineering degree, Rachel Ford Morgan is trying to find her footing around her birth father and her four brothers. She gets a chance to prove herself when she discovers worrisome fault lines around an abandoned silver mine. But they’re nothing compared to the cowboy who seems determined to shake up her world . . .

Cauy Lymond doesn’t take kindly to the woman nosing around his property—especially since she’s a Morgan. He came home just to keep his father’s failing ranch out of their super-wealthy hands. But he soon realizes that Rachel’s skill—and admirable courage—may be the only things that can shore up the old mine that threatens both their futures. Still, it will take pouring all of their blood, sweat, and secrets into saving the land—and ultimately, themselves—to bring their true feelings for each other to the surface . . .

The Rancher by Kate Pearce is now available wherever books are sold and at Kensington Books.com.

Transcript

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[music]

Sarah Wendell: Hello, and welcome to episode number 329 of Smart Podcast, Trashy Books. I’m Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. With me today is Beverly Jenkins, known in the romance community as Ms. Bev, one day after she finished and turned in her latest book. We talked about all sorts of things. We talked about her new film, which was adapted, directed, and produced for screen by Iris Bolling, and it premieres on Saturday, December 15th, so if you’re listening to this on Friday the Fourteenth, tomorrow on Amazon Prime, you will be able to watch Deadly Sexy. We talk about the process of bringing Deadly Sexy to screen, what it was like to see the story that Beverly saw in her mind on a screen in front of everyone, and what surprised her in the transformation. We also discuss what she’s done in the past year and what’s coming up for her in 2019. Since it is the end of the year, our conversation turns to looking back and looking ahead, and Ms. Bev has some advice on learning what matters, about setting goals, and about being kind to yourself. Plus, she recommends a book that I immediately sent to my husband because it sounds so awesome.

I will have links on the website in the show notes at smartbitchestrashybooks.com/podcast on how to connect with Ms. Bev, how to sign up for her newsletter, and when the links are available, how to find Deadly Sexy on Amazon Prime.

And if you want to email me, that is very cool! You can email me at sbjpodcast@gmail.com, or you can leave a voicemail at 1-201-371-3272. Leave a message, tell me what you’re thinking, ask me questions, leave me a terrible joke – I love those – but either way, I do love hearing from you.

This week’s podcast is brought to you by The Rancher by Kate Pearce. One by one, the Morgan siblings find themselves returning to the Northern California ranch where their troubled pasts first began. Together, they have a chance to leave the past behind and forge a new future based on family, hope, and love. In this sixth installment of bestselling author Kate Pearce’s popular Morgan Ranch series, Rachel Ford Morgan comes home after finishing her degree, intent on proving she’s just as capable of taking care of the ranch as her brothers. What she’s not prepared for is also trying to impress the son of a rival ranch owner. The Rancher by Kate Pearce is now available wherever books are sold and at kensingtonbooks.com.

Every episode of the podcast receives a transcript which is compiled by garlicknitter; thank you, garlicknitter! This week, our podcast transcript is being underwritten by a listener or reader of the transcript named Judy who loves to overspend on romance novels and perfume. What could be better? Thank you, Judy, for sponsoring this week’s transcript.

If you have supported the show with a monthly pledge of any amount to our Patreon, thank you very, very much. You are making every episode accessible to everyone, and you’re making sure that each episode is transcribed, plus you keep the show going every week. If you would like to join the Patreon community, it would be most excellent if you did. Have a look at patreon.com/SmartBitches. Monthly pledges start at one dollar a month. You’ll be part of the group who helps me develop questions and makes suggestions for guests for the upcoming year. We have a massive thread going on right now in the Patreon community with folks making idea suggestions for guests in 2019, and it’s really cool. You can join in at patreon.com/SmartBitches.

I also have a compliment this week, which is the most fun.

To Jennifer S.: You are the human embodiment of free cupcakes and cold lemonade in a tent in the middle of a fair, where all of the best flavors are still available. I would say go for the lemon cupcake; those are the best.

And if you would like a compliment of your very own, it is one of the reward tiers at Patreon, so have a look at patreon.com/SmartBitches.

The music you’re listening to is provided by Sassy Outwater. I’ll have information at the end of the show as to who this is – I bet you know – and what song this is – also, I bet you know – and I will be giving you a sneak preview of what’s coming up on Smart Bitches this coming week, and I have a terrific seasonal joke which is pretty bad, and of course I will have links to all of the books that we mention, as well as some of the podcasts and newsletters that we talk about. I’ll even have a link to the hoodie that I talk about wearing during the recording, because everyone needs a good hoodie, right? Right, obviously. So you can find that at smartbitchestrashybooks.com/podcast.

But without any further delay, on with the podcast and another wonderful interview with Beverly Jenkins.

[music]

Sarah: So you finished a book yesterday?

Ms. Beverly Jenkins: Yeah, Rebel!

Sarah: [Gasps] Congratulations! Tell me all about it; you can start reading in the first chapter and just read it all out loud.

Ms. Bev: [Laughs] Erica’s still looking at it, who’s my editor. It’s set during 1867 –

Sarah: Ooh!

Ms. Bev: – New Orleans, so you’ve got a lot going on there –

Sarah: Just a little.

Ms. Bev: – with the post Civil War and all that, but we have a young lady who comes from New York, wants to help the freedmen by being a teacher, and it’s all of her, you know, her, her travels, her triumphs, her setbacks, and then the guy is from my LeVeq family, which we’ve had two books in that family, Through the Storm and Winds of the Storm, so I’m hoping readers will enjoy going back and looking at their, one of their favorite families and enjoying our new heroine.

Sarah: Is there a, a particularly delicious feeling of relief when the book is done?

Ms. Bev: Oh yeah. I mean, it’s like –

[Laughter]

Ms. Bev: – it’s, I mean, it’s like, it’s like coming back from, from being on another planet?

Sarah: Yep!

Ms. Bev: And, you know, and the world is sort of still here, but you’re not, and you look around, and your house is trashed, and yeah, it’s, it’s, yeah, and it’s, it’s crazy, but you know, I love what I do, so it’s part of the process.

Sarah: And when you, when you finish the book, do you ever feel like, oh, I, I – I mean, you, you get another chance to look at it, right? You don’t, you don’t have a –

Ms. Bev: Yeah, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s on its way to the copyeditor?

Sarah: Right.

Ms. Bev: So, you know, they’ll send it back, and you know, I have a tendency to, to lose names during the story. Somebody may start out as, you know, whatever whatever, and by page eighty-seven they’ve got an entirely different name, and then –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Ms. Bev: – by page 175 they’ve got then another different name, so it’ll go to the copyeditor, and then it’ll come back to me.

Sarah: And then you can make changes if there’s things that you want to add in. Or once you’re done, when you’re done with a book, are you pretty much done with it and moving on to the next one, or are there things that you add and change?

Ms. Bev: Yeah. Erica has already sent the revision letter. She’s always so good, making me look at things that, you know, little tweak here, how about deeper here? That kind of thing. So I’ll go to the copyeditor; they will look for, you know, continuation issues and sequences and all that, and then it’ll come back to me one last time in page proofs, and that will be for typos. So basically, I should have added everything that I have added right now, so, you know, there might be little pieces that I’ll need to do when the copyeditor comes back, but I’m pretty much done with it and on to the next Blessings book, which is due in March, so.

Sarah: So you switch between the historical romance with the sexytimes and the contemporary romance with no sexytimes.

Ms. Bev: With no sexytimes, just sexytimes off the page, at least with Trent and Lily, so yeah! So this’ll be book ten in the series. The last –

Sarah: Wow! Congratulations!

Ms. Bev: Yeah! It’ll be the last book on the, on the contract for the Blessings, but the book that I just finished yesterday is the first book in the Women Who Dare series.

Sarah: Oooh! I like women who dare. I, we recorded an end-of-year podcast last week, and I was like, I just want more alpha women; that’s what I want.

Ms. Bev: Yeah, yeah. She, she’s not really much, much alpha? I mean, you can’t really be much alpha when you’re dealing with the LeVeqs, but –

Sarah: [Laughs] This is true.

Ms. Bev: – she knows what she’s, she knows what she wants, and she goes after it, so I guess you could call her an alpha woman.

Sarah: Do you ever look back at your publishing career and go, holy cow? I mean, I know you might, might have done that when you received the lifetime achievement award, and I know that it is, and I know that it was probably something that came up when you were recording the, the documentary about romance, but do you make a habit of looking back at all the things that you’ve written and accomplished and just sort of go, wow, look at that?

Ms. Bev: You know, every now and then, you know, when someone asks me how many books you’ve written, and I go, oh, you know, thirty-five or forty, and then I go, damn! So –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Ms. Bev: ‘Cause that’s what they say too. They go, wow! You know.

Sarah: Wow!

Ms. Bev: But I’m, I’m more of a, a here-and-now kind of person?

Sarah: Yeah.

Ms. Bev: So, I mean, that, that, you can’t control the past. You just, you know, keep walking into the future, so. And, you know, try not to get caught up on the hype of, of, of who the Author Woman is, as my daughter calls me.

Sarah: The Author Woman!

Ms. Bev: Yeah, she calls me Auth-, calls me Author Woman and Little Girl. When she comes in the house she goes, good morning, you know, Author Woman! Author Lady. How are you? But I try and keep who she is separate from who I am, ‘cause you can get, you can get hung up believing all the shit that people write about you, and then there you are being a bitch, and nobody wants to be around you, so I try and keep those two separate.

Sarah: You try not to get drunk on your own hype?

Ms. Bev: Right, yeah!

Sarah: It’s a hard balance, I would think, though, because on one hand you’re kind of like, no, I don’t want to be an asshole, I don’t want to get drunk on my own press, and on the other hand it’s like, I am Beverly Damn Jenkins!

Ms. Bev: I know –

Sarah: Check me out! Look at what I did!

Ms. Bev: I know, you know, and, and, and I am proud of, of who I am. I would be, you know – I mean, it’s a gift, I think –

Sarah: Oh yeah.

Ms. Bev: – and I’m grateful every morning and every night before I go to bed and every morning when I get up, and I say, thank you, Lord, for, for the life that I have, but you can get hung up on the hype. [Laughs] A, a good example: I got a, there’s a couple at my church, and they’ve been there probably, maybe a year and a half, and I had a guy, one of the, the, the, one of the husbands who came up to me the last time I was at church, and he said, I didn’t know you were the Beverly Jenkins!

Sarah: [Laughs] The Beverly Jenkins! Oh, please –

Ms. Bev: And I was like, yeah, ‘cause I try and keep those two separate. You know, and I’m pretty active in the church.

Sarah: Yeah.

Ms. Bev: He said, well, you’re doing a good job! He said, I had no idea.

Sarah: [Laughs]

Ms. Bev: So I said, okay, my job here is done, you know.

Sarah: Yep.

Ms. Bev: So yeah. I mean, the, the other lady has her own wardrobe. I mean, you know, I’m sitting here in, in my sweats and, you know, dressed very badly, and I mean, she’s got her own closet and –

Sarah: Oh yeah.

Ms. Bev: – that, so yeah, I try and keep the two as separate as I can –

Sarah: Yep.

Ms. Bev: – in my real life.

Sarah: Yep. I’ve, I often joke that I have two classes of clothing. I have I Am at a Conference Right Now, and then my other class of clothing is Someone in My House Is Probably Sticky, and those are two very separate groups!

Ms. Bev: And, and, and in my house, the person who’s sticky is usually me. ‘Cause –

Sarah: Yeah, it, I try to avoid it, but it is often me too. [Laughs]

Ms. Bev: Yeah, yeah.

Sarah: So ma’am –

Ms. Bev: It’s so good to talk to you.

Sarah: It’s so lovely to talk to you. I love doing these conversations, and I realized, to my deep and unending embarrassment, that the last couple of times I’ve had you on has been in February, and I was like, no, Sarah! You fell into the trap! Nooo!

Ms. Bev: No, it’s okay. You know, I would, I would, I would much rather it be someone who actually knows me?

Sarah: This is true.

Ms. Bev: You know, rather than somebody who’s, oh, it’s Black History Month! Let’s get the, the Black History, you know, and I’m a two-for-one.

Sarah: Yes, you are!

Ms. Bev: You, you get Black history and you get romance.

Sarah: Yep.

Ms. Bev: So, but it’s usually somebody who, you know, hasn’t read the books or, you know, asking me questions that, you know, very, very easily answered if they did, like, a half a minute worth of research.

Sarah: Yep.

Ms. Bev: So I don’t –

Sarah: Two seconds of Google.

Ms. Bev: – I prefer to talk to you.

Sarah: Oh, thank you! I do love, I love chatting with you. I want to ask you about your new movie! You have a movie premiering soon!

Ms. Bev: Yay!

Sarah: Speaking of things that you can look back on at the end of this year, like, look at what you did! That’s amazing!

Ms. Bev: I know, and –

Sarah: Please tell me about bringing your book to film and what this has been like for you, because I think it’s just so exciting.

Ms. Bev: It’s been exciting. Iris is like – Jesus. I’m talking about Iris Bolling, who is also an African-American romance writer, but she is just, just so awesome. I mean, it’s like, when she’s decided to do this and we started raising the money, and you know, it’s so exciting, and then she did the directing and the producing, and she’s got an amazing team, and I just tried to stay out of her way. You know, I’m the person sitting over in the corner going, you know, doing the cheerleading with the pompoms. But it’s been an amazing journey. I was on set for just one day, ‘cause of course I’m always on deadline, but she shot in April in Virginia, and I got to see, you know, a day’s worth of shooting. She did it in ten days.

Sarah: Ten days?!

Ms. Bev: We didn’t have a whole lot of money, you know.

Sarah: That’s astonishingly quickly.

Ms. Bev: I mean, they make ‘em, in Hollywood, you know, they use millions. We were doing good with the little sixty grand that we had. But to see something that you created – I think this book came out in 2006 or 2007 – and here we are ten years later, and it’s on screen! Truly amazing!

Sarah: Yep.

Ms. Bev: She’s such a blessing and such a powerhouse.

Sarah: So what was the process like to bring this book to film? I know you had a Kickstarter, and I know that you were both deeply involved. What were some of the things that you did?

Ms. Bev: Well, she did the screenplay, and it was amazing, because she’s a big fan of my work, as I am of hers, and when I read the script, I was just so happy because she stayed with the book!

Sarah: Right, yeah.

Ms. Bev: I mean, it’s a very, very visual book anyway, so you know, she didn’t do any kind of, oh, we’re going to change this and do this, and then we’re going to have this do – you know, she, she went page by page, which I found was, was an amazing thing. So for that, and then, like I said, I just stayed out of the way. She did everything, she has her own film company, you know, and she’s, she’s very, very focused and very, very set on how she wants things done.

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Ms. Bev: You know, me, I’m scattered, I’m all over the place, but she’s very focused. So to go from there and then trying to get places where she’s going to do shoots, and I mean, I couldn’t have done all that, because I’m not that organized. So to have somebody who actually knows what the hell they’re doing?

[Laughter]

Ms. Bev: You know, captain, being the captain of the ship was, was just a great, great, great, great thing, so we’ll always be, you know, grateful and, and, and bow down to her and all of that. So we raised some money. We, you know, and I want to thank everybody out there who sent, you know, everything from a dime to a thousand dollars, and you know, and there were those, of course, who, you know, could not contribute but sent prayers and blessings and, I mean, it all mattered. In fact, she’s right now sending out the incentives. If you’ve got a T-shirt coming, you know, she’s in the process of, of mailing out all that stuff right now. So just the idea that we were able, and she was – like I said, I just stayed out of the way – that she was able to put this on the screen and get great actors and great actresses. The young woman who plays our heroine JT Blake, who’s a sports agent, this was her first film, and she did an amazing job! Travis –

Sarah: Wow!

Ms. Bev: – Travis didn’t have to speak. I mean, you know, he’s so gorgeous, he could’ve just walked around and not said a word and still been fabulous.

[Laughter]

Ms. Bev: Yeah, I know, is, is, you know, it’s, it’s – I’m just over the moon. I’m just over the moon.

Sarah: When you got the script or the screenplay –

Ms. Bev: Uh-huh.

Sarah: – was there anything in it that surprised you? Did you recognize your story, or had it evolved into a different medium?

Ms. Bev: No, no! It was, it – you know, I’m, when I’m writing, the story’s playing in my head.

Sarah: Oh, so it’s, it’s a lot like seeing your own internal movie.

Ms. Bev: Exactly.

Sarah: Wow, that must’ve been wild!

Ms. Bev: It was wild, because, like I said, she stuck to the script! She started from page one and took us through the journey, you know, and you can’t – of course in a film you don’t get that internal stuff –

Sarah: Right.

Ms. Bev: – that you get in, in books, but she took us from the murder at the beginning of the book to the, to the thing at the end when, you know, they’re on the beach in, in, in Hawaii and all the – and it’s a twisty, turn-y, very, very multilayered plot in that book.

Sarah: There’s a lot that happens in that book.

Ms. Bev: There’s a lot going on in that book. And I mean a lot, from, you know, yeah, a lot. If you haven’t read the book, you, you got three days before, you know, you can see the movie. But she hit every note. Hit every note, and I was, I was just amazed.

Sarah: Wow. So have you seen it? I know the premiere is this week, right?

Ms. Bev: Yeah, the premiere for Amazon is this week. The premiere for the film was done – what month is this? This is December?

Sarah: Yeah.

Ms. Bev: The, the premiere for the movie was the 15th of, of the weekend in November; I think it was the 15th. They, they had the premiere, the red carp-, it was a red carpet event at the African-American museum in Richmond, Virginia, which is an, just a fabulous facility. If you ever get a chance to go in and see their collection, please do so. But there was food, and there was music, and everybody was all dressed up, and they had the red carpet, and it was cold that day. We were outside, you know, trying to, trying to look cute and freezing our, our butts off outside.

Sarah: [Laughs]

Ms. Bev: But there were two showings that day. The cast was there. I got to see the first showing. They did a showing at, like, six, and then their last one I think was at nine. And just watching it on the screen and, and, you know, I wanted to sit in the back just so that I could see people’s reactions, but Iris was not having that. I was in the front of –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Ms. Bev: So – and sat next to one of the guys who plays our villain, one of our villains, ‘cause there’s a, a, a few.

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Ms. Bev: But it was amazing, and then to see the joy on the faces of the readers who have not only read the book but contributed and, and, and walked with me on this author journey, just to see the joy on their faces and, and after it was over, them saying how much they loved it.

Sarah: Oh, that’s lovely.

Ms. Bev: Yes, it was, it was quite, quite, quite an evening, quite an evening.

Sarah: When you saw it on the screen, was that emotional for you? Not just the reaction of the people, but seeing your story, out of your brain, up on a screen: was that an emotional experience?

Ms. Bev: It was. It was sort of like an out-of-body experience? I mean, I didn’t cry, and every- –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Ms. Bev: – you know, everywhere I go, when I’m on a mic, you know, people, rooms are weeping, but I didn’t cry. I think it was just all so, so much, I had to just sort of, you know, do a woosah kind of thing and, and then just watch. But very emotional in the sense that Hollywood hasn’t really embraced African-American romance.

Sarah: What?! The devil you say.

Ms. Bev: Yeah, wow, right? So that was one of the reasons that Iris formed her, her production company.

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Ms. Bev: She has done two, two of her movies, two of her books that she turned into movies, before she tackled Deadly Sexy. So to be able to sit there and see this love on the screen –

Sarah: Yeah.

Ms. Bev: – in a way that was done well. I mean, yeah, we could’ve used a whole lot more money, and, and it could have been, you know, even more stellar than it is, than the movie is now, but –

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Ms. Bev: – you know, to actually see, you know, people who, you know, who are loving and people who have good jobs and people who have interactions with their families and, and all of the things that Hollywood sometimes doesn’t get right –

Sarah: Yeah.

Ms. Bev: – to actually see it on the screen in a, in a, in a wonderful way, it, it was, it was amazing.

Sarah: Congratulations!

Ms. Bev: Thank you!

Sarah: Now, this is a terrible question to immediately follow up with, but –

Ms. Bev: That’s okay.

Sarah: – are there any other of your titles you would want to see on film?

Ms. Bev: I want to see everything I’ve written on film. [Laughs]

Sarah: I don’t blame you. That’s a very excellent plan; let’s do it.

Ms. Bev: Okay, you know, and, and when people are like, well, we need to do this one! I say, well, you know, it – I always figured that the suspense would come first –

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Ms. Bev: – because it’s not necessarily cheaper to do, but it’s less crazy? ‘Cause when you –

Sarah: Yeah, and you can pretty much put it in the world that exists already, whereas for historical, you, you need to construct a world.

Ms. Bev: Yeah, you got horses; you got, you know, ranches; you got, you know, costume, settings, and, you know, all that.

Sarah: There’s, yeah, oh, hold, wait for a minute, there’s a plane flying overhead. Okay, now we can go again.

Ms. Bev: Right, exactly, right, or, you know, an ambulance coming through with the sirens.

Sarah: Yeah.

Ms. Bev: So I always figured that the, you know, if I ever did get film, it would be the, the suspense. But I would like to see, I’d like to see my Westerns.

Sarah: Oh gosh.

Ms. Bev: Okay, because there are no African-American Westerns out there. I’d love to Jessi Rose; I would love to see Something Like Love. Because there’s nothing out there like it that’s fresh and, and accurate, number one. So, yeah, I’m, I’m – Hollywood, I’m here! You know, so.

Sarah: It’s my favorite game, Where’s My Venture Capitalist?

Ms. Bev: Right, exactly, exactly.

Sarah: I think if I was voting, I would probably want to see Indigo?

Ms. Bev: Yeah, yeah.

Sarah: Because the, the visual of color has so much to do with the story, the color of the dye that stains their hands –

Ms. Bev: Yeah, yeah.

Sarah: – the mud; the, the medical care; the, the conversations that, that, that the characters have that are all, like, a lot of them are in code?

Ms. Bev: Mm-hmm, yeah, yeah. I would like –

Sarah: That kind of –

Ms. Bev: – I’d like to see that.

Sarah: That would be gorgeous to see.

Ms. Bev: Yeah.

Sarah: Of course, it’s historical, and that’s hard.

Ms. Bev: Yeah, it is. I mean, like I said, you got sets; you got costumes; you got, you know, all of that. But I would like to see, I’d like to see the new series, I’d like to see Edge of Midnight; I really, really would like to see Edge of Dawn, which is, because you got a lot of action in that. That’s one of my daughter’s favorite ones. We’ve got a scene where the heroine drives an SUV through the front of a, a 7-Eleven, so she –

Sarah: As you do.

Ms. Bev: – she says, Mom, I want to see this one on the screen! She says, I want to drive the SUV! So –

[Laughter]

Sarah: Actually, now that I think about it, Indigo would make an outstanding stage play –

Ms. Bev: Yeah –

Sarah: – like a live play.

Ms. Bev: Yeah, it would. It would.

Sarah: That would be wonderfully adapted for the theater.

Ms. Bev: Yep, yep. So, yeah –

Sarah: It’s really easy for me to have all these ideas, because I don’t know how to do that.

Ms. Bev: Well, you’ve just got to have a little bit of money, girl. That’s, you know, we, we need –

Sarah: Isn’t that the truth?

Ms. Bev: – then we can turn into all we want to be, so. But I’m content with, with what I have and what I’ve been given and, and the blessing that Iris has brought into my life, so I’m just happy. Happy to be finished with this book and catch a breath and clean my house and –

Sarah: [Laughs] When you, when you saw the movie in the theater –

Ms. Bev: Uh-huh?

Sarah: – were there any scenes during the movie that really surprised you? Were there any moments you were just like, wow, I wrote that?

Ms. Bev: I do that a lot with a lot of stuff. I was like, who wrote this?

Sarah: [Laughs]

Ms. Bev: Not really, because, you know, for me, just, just the idea and the visual that it, the whole book had come to life.

Sarah: Right.

Ms. Bev: I was more captivated by that than, than anything else. But the scene at the end – I don’t know if you’ve read the book or not, but there’s a, a scene at the end that takes place on the internet. I mean, I did the – here’s a spoiler for you – I think I did the first – this was ’07 – where somebody getting killed on the internet, and that scene is done so incredibly well. I mean, it was, like, jaw-dropping. I was like, whoa! That one surprised me. I didn’t, I mean, not surprised, because I knew it was coming, but just the way it was shot, and how she did it and how she set it up was, was just amazing.

Sarah: With the film –

Ms. Bev: Mm-hmm?

Sarah: – and with your book that you just finished, what else are you, are you working on? What’s coming up for you in 2019? As if 2018 didn’t have enough stuff in it –

Ms. Bev: Oh God, yes!

Sarah: – what’s next, ma’am? [Laughs]

Ms. Bev: Oh Lordy. I, you know, I, I lived in airports. I lived in airports; I lived on planes. I think I met with every RWA chapter from Boston to Seattle. What’s coming up?

Sarah: What do you talk about when you go to an RWA chapter? What do you talk about usually?

Ms. Bev: Usually I’m doing workshops. I’m also, you know, I never met a stranger –

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Ms. Bev: – so I’m also building relationships. Thanking people just for writing romance and, and pumping up, you know, authors who need a little hug or a little shove or, you know, just a little push. Mostly I’m having a good time, you know.

Sarah: [Laughs]

Ms. Bev: That’s what I’m doing. I’m having a good time. So I did that. The RWA in, in Denver. I was all over the place; I know I was on a plane every weekend in April, was on a plane every weekend in October.

Sarah: Oof.

Ms. Bev: Did a couple libraries. I mean, I was just here and there, and you know, and my editor’s like, um, when are you going to write a book?

Sarah: [Laughs]

Ms. Bev: Bless her heart, you know, she is just the best. So we had to move books around and stuff. So 2019, I’m just going to sit home. I’m going to –

Sarah: You know, that sounds like a good plan.

Ms. Bev: Good gosh! I’m going to try and – ‘cause you know, I’m not getting any younger, so I’m just going to sit home and do some writing. I’ve got a, a marathon to do to try and get this next Blessings book done, ‘cause if I don’t get it to her on time, they will not get a Blessings book next year, and they will be out in front of my house with signs and, and grenades. So –

Sarah: And you don’t want that.

Ms. Bev: No, we don’t want that, not at all. So I’m going to get that done, and then I’ve got another historical due next year, and then I want to do some, maybe some stuff for my own. I’ve got a suspense that’s been, the ladies have been waiting for for, like, fifteen years, and I keep promising ‘em, promising them it, so we do a self-publish on that. But just, just to catch my breath, I’d like to look out in September and not see weeds all in my garden ‘cause I haven’t been here to, you know, to beat them back, not for a long –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Ms. Bev: So, you know, just to, to catch my breath, because you know, I, I am supposed to be an author, and just see what, see what God brings for 2019.

Sarah: It’s hard to balance the, the business part, the writing part, the promotion part, because they all take place, a lot of the times they all take place at very separate times, and you can’t do two at the same time.

Ms. Bev: Yeah, well, and you know, and, and in my life, some of it is like, everything’s on one day.

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Ms. Bev: You know, I had a, last, last week, I had an editor call me and, and say, you know, one of the, one of the Hollywood types wanted me to get on a plane the next day –

Sarah: Hmm?!

Ms. Bev: – and come and do a podcast, and I’m like, are you trying to get me killed? You know, the book’s late already, and here you are wanting me to drop everything – no, I’m not doing that! So –

Sarah: Why would you need to hop on a plane to do a podcast? The whole point of podcasting is you don’t wear shoes! Or sometimes even a bra!

Ms. Bev: I know! I know! So I’m like, no, I’m not doing that, ‘cause I’m in the middle of a book! Well, so sometimes, you know, life comes at you fast, but I’m learning to say no, which is also my, my mantra for next year. And just catch my breath and breathe and, and be able to take my suitcases out of the living room.

Sarah: [Laughs]

Ms. Bev: Which is where they are now.

Sarah: Savor your contentment.

Ms. Bev: Yeah, my suitcases have been in my living room since July, so, you know, I just want to do, sit down and do some writing, maybe do some novellas, do work on this, you know, this dragon book I’ve been threatening to give people for, like, the last twenty years, and then just –

Sarah: I’m sorry, did you just say dragon book?

Ms. Bev: [Laughs] Yeah, I’ve got a –

Sarah: I’m, I’m, I’m, dragon, dragon book.

Ms. Bev: Yeah, I’ve got a, I’ve got a dragon book.

Sarah: You know I’ve got a thing for dragons, right? I, I am now like –

Ms. Bev: Yeah, I do, I do, I –

Sarah: – I am now in the front of the line for this book.

Ms. Bev: Yeah, I do have a, I do have a dragon book. But you know, who has time to write when you’re trying to write and you’re all over the country –

Sarah: Yep.

Ms. Bev: – and being Ms. Bev and, you know, being, and being Author Woman and, you know, so –

Sarah: Got to say no to things.

Ms. Bev: I’ve got to say no to things, and, you know, like I said, I’m not getting any younger, so I’m going to eschew all the travel next year, and I think I’ve got, have to be in Charleston in February, I’m in Chicago in March, I’m doing Avon’s Kiss Con in April, I have a date in Baton Rouge for a library the first weekend of May, I’m doing my pajama party in June, and then that’s it for my travel schedule for the rest of the year, so.

Sarah: So your goal is to say no and keep it clear between June and December.

Ms. Bev: To keep it clear and get some work done and catch my breath, you know, so we’ll see how it goes.

Sarah: Now, I have one more looking-back question for you. One of my favorite memories of you in the past year was at RWA when you were announcing Best First Book –

Ms. Bev: Yes.

Sarah: – and you opened that envelope, and you said, oh yes!

Ms. Bev: [Laughs]

Sarah: And I immediately knew who it was, ‘cause we were apparently both rooting for the same person, and you got to announce Alexis Daria’s win –

Ms. Bev: Uh-huh.

Sarah: – and just the, the look of absolute delight on your face, like, oh yes! I like this envelope! Was that one of your favorite moments too, and what other moments this past year?

Ms. Bev: It was, it was! You know, only because, you know, we, you know, number one, she’s a great writer, you know.

Sarah: Yes.

Ms. Bev: She’s a great writer. And, and number two, because nobody of color’s ever won one before! You know, that was, that was it, too. You know, I’m, I’m all about supporting everyone, but also supporting the authors of color. So when I opened that envelope, you know, it was like, oh yeah. Oh hell yeah! That’s what I almost said. To, to have that moment and to, to see these young women coming up who are women of color, who are, you know, writing these fantastic books. You know, Alyssa just got that movie deal.

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Ms. Bev: You know, I feel like, you know, and I’m taking it personally. You know, I feel like, you know, I’ve, I’ve been out here, you know, toiling in the wilderness, you know, for, for twenty years, and, and you know, and finally, finally, somebody’s starting to pay attention. So it’s amazing to me that it had to take this long. You know, that, that’s the amazing part, but I’m just so proud of these young women. I mean, it is just, I cry looking at them and the, and the strides that they’ve made and the, the ceilings that they’re breaking. You know, and it’s just, I just want to hug ‘em all. I just want to, you know, they’re all my daughters and, you know, all of that, so, yeah, I, I was very, very pleased when I opened that envelope.

Sarah: If I could have, like, a, like, a, a one little tiny, little tiny sound file of the year, it would be you going, oh yes!

[Laughter]

Sarah: It was like, oh, I know exactly what that envelope says. Yes! Yes, indeed! Oh yes!

Ms. Bev: [Laughs] You know, and I, I probably wasn’t supposed to do that.

Sarah: Oh well.

Ms. Bev: – probably supposed to be very, very, you know, whatever, you know, calm and cool and, and detached and all of that, but, you know, you know that’s not who I am, so.

Sarah: No. So at the end of the year, at the end of the year, beginning of the next year, so recording this in December, a lot of people think about goals and achievements. What are the things that you are the most proud of in the past year and the things that you’re, think you’ll, think that you will remember going forward?

Ms. Bev: I’m still here!

Sarah: [Laughs]

Ms. Bev: That’s all I can say: I am still here! I am still writing; I’m still loving what I do. Still have family and still have people I love. Ready for the next book to write. I mean, I, I try not to, to, you know, and I – setting goals, because you know, we plan and God laughs.

Sarah: [Laughs] It’s so true!

Ms. Bev: So, you know, I’m the girl that buys a planner every year, then can’t find it, so I just do a day-to-day thing and, and, and just be grateful, and that is my goal is to, is just to continue to write and, and, and the things, like I said, I’m most proud of is, is that I made it! I made it through the year, and I still know who I am. Knock on wood, haven’t had, you know, health issues. So I’m just glad to be here. I’m just glad to have made it through, and it’s been a hell of a year for everybody.

Sarah: My gosh, yes.

Ms. Bev: You know, the fact that we, all of us are still here is a blessing.

Sarah: Yes.

Ms. Bev: You know, we, you know, so, ‘cause a lot of people didn’t make it this year.

Sarah: Nope.

Ms. Bev: So that is the, the thing that I’m most proud of, and the career is part of that.

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Ms. Bev: But I’m just glad to be sitting here talking to you at, you know, what is this, December the 11th, 2018?

Sarah: Yep.

Ms. Bev: That’s all. I’m, I’m, I’m just glad.

Sarah: I know that feeling. Every day I wake up and I think, I love my life. I am so thankful that this is my job and this is what I do, and I hope I get to continue it another day and another month and another year.

Ms. Bev: It could be so much worse! It could be so much worse. So, you know, the fact that I’m sitting here in my Angry Bird pants – [laughs] – and a very, very ratty T-shirt, because I don’t have to –

Sarah: I just, I just want you to know, I’m wearing a hoodie that says Read or Else, so –

Ms. Bev: Okay, so you –

Sarah: – yeah, I’m with you!

Ms. Bev: Yeah.

Sarah: I’m with you.

Ms. Bev: You know my husband was, my hus-, my late husband, you know, would, would see me on deadline, and he said, y’all should have a convention where y’all just wear what you work in.

[Laughter]

Ms. Bev: They’d probably put us out of the hotel.

Sarah: Oh my God!

[Laughter]

Sarah: So if someone came to you and asked for advice for setting their own writing goals in the coming year and asked for advice from you, what would you say to someone who’s looking to write in the coming year? What would you say?

Ms. Bev: Be kind to yourself. Write what you want to write. If you want to set goals, then set goals, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t meet them, because life will step on you like Godzilla on Tokyo. And just have fun with it. You know, sometimes we take ourselves so seriously that, you know, we trip ourselves up because, you know, you’re just so anxious and anxious and anxious and anxious, and I understand that. But just write. Write from the heart. Don’t write trends – unless you’re writing a trend book that comes on trend, but you know, just don’t take yourself so seriously, and don’t – and I always say this – don’t compare yourself to others! Somebody else’s success does not make you less. They’re on their path; you’re on yours. Just stay on your path. Be grateful that you have the gift of writing. So I don’t know; I’m not good at this. I don’t know, I don’t know. Not good at giving advice and stuff, but be you! Write you. How’s that for a very, very nonspecific, vague kind of advice?

Sarah: I think it’s actually really good advice to be kind to yourself. I listened to a podcast earlier this year with Stephanie Beatriz, the actress from, she plays Rosa on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. She was doing an interview with Cameron Esposito, and she talked about how, you know, if you, if you’re successful and you’re shitty to yourself, then you’re going to think, oh, I’m only successful because I’m shitty to myself. I’m only successful because I’m mean to myself and I beat myself up for my failures, and they’re actually two separate things.

Ms. Bev: Yeah.

Sarah: You, you can be successful without being unkind to yourself, and that’s a hard realization to, to –

Ms. Bev: Yeah!

Sarah: – to work through, that you, you can be kind to yourself.

Ms. Bev: Yeah, and I think, at least for me, it comes with age. I mean, when, when you get to be a certain age, I think, at least for me – I, I can only speak for me – I learned what mattered –

Sarah: Yes.

Ms. Bev: – and that life is, is, is going to do what life is going to do, and you have no control over it. So, you know, it, you just, Wayne Dyer used to say, you know, you just, you get on the bus and you just hold on to the strap and, and, and go.

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Ms. Bev: And, and that’s a lot of it. You know, I, the more you try to control things, the more out of control things get.

Sarah: Yeah.

Ms. Bev: So I have to sometimes just tell myself, step back, take a deep breath, and let God drive today. You know, sometimes you just need to sit shotgun, ‘cause you know, we have a tendency to drive, and we wind up in the bushes.

[Laughter]

Sarah: Yes.

Ms. Bev: So sometimes you’ve just got to, just got to not try and, and just, just be kind to yourself. Just be kind to yourself and, and know that, I mean, if you are a, a believer in the universe and, and all of that, that the universe wants you to be happy. At least that’s been, been my take on the world: you know, life wants you to be happy. Be happy to yourself and stop beating yourself up because why? Why are you beating yourself up? Accomplishes nothing.

Sarah: Yeah. I often struggle with the, the, the balance of, you don’t have to be in control of this; you don’t have to be in charge of this; just let go. This is not something you are in charge of. And then the absolute terror of realizing, no, I am in control of this part. This part here, I can seize control, and I can do what I want.

Ms. Bev: Yeah.

Sarah: There’s almost like a push-pull of, of fear and acceptance.

Ms. Bev: Yeah.

Sarah: That’s a hard balance, you know?

Ms. Bev: It is, it is! But you know, it’s going to happen. It’s going to happen the way it’s going to happen, regardless, so, you know, I try not to – and I tell myself, okay, it’s either going to be this or this. You know, and you can deal with it which, whatever it is, so just step through the door! Step through the door.

Sarah: Yep. Do you have any advice that you would give yourself for the coming year?

Ms. Bev: Quit smoking!

[Laughter]

Sarah: Okay, yeah, I think that’s good advice.

Ms. Bev: That’s the advice I give to myself: quit smoking. And, and to just continue to be amazed and surprised by life. Continue to be kind to people. Continue to find joy in, in your day. Continue to, to find time every day to just sit, catch your breath, and be thankful. And try to get a book in on time, so –

Sarah: [Laughs] Somewhere your editor just sat up in her chair very, very alert and doesn’t know why.

Ms. Bev: Yeah, she knows, she knows, God bless her. She knows. But yeah, I mean, just keep, keep, keep fighting the good fight, as they used to say on, what is it, it was an old musical on Broadway in, in the ‘60s and ‘70s called Purlie Victorious, and they’d say, yeah, just, you know, write me in care of the post office, so.

Sarah: So I always ask this question: what are you reading right now that you would want to tell people about?

Ms. Bev: Right now I am reading nothing. Right now, you know, I’m just, I’m, I’m too busy writing, but what did I just finish? Oh, Naima Simone, oh my God, girl!

Sarah: Oh no.

Ms. Bev: I’m looking at my Kindle to see what I just finished. I read some of her stuff, but I did that on a plane, and she writes some pretty hot stuff, and –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Ms. Bev: – amazing, amazing writer. I’m opening up my Kindle to see what I got in here. I have a lot of stuff that I want to read. I’m going to take a couple days. I just finished, oh, I just finished this book by Nicholas Eames called – oh, what’s the name of the book? – called The Band – called The Band? It’s a paranormal. Okay, say, okay, this is the, this is the, okay, take the Avengers right now and say they age –

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Ms. Bev: – and pick ‘em up twenty-five years from now.

Sarah: Oh my.

Ms. Bev: They’ve all gone and done their lives. You know, some of them are, you know, doing this, doing that, one’s a king, and all of that. So – and they’re all, these guys are mercenaries – so –

Sarah: Mm-hmm?

Ms. Bev: – one of their, one of the guys’ daughter, his daughter, he’s raised her to be a mercenary, she’s caught up in this siege in this city. He wants to go rescue his daughter, so he gets the band back together to go and rescue, and they fought monsters.

Sarah: Right.

Ms. Bev: The book is amazing! It’s laugh-out-loud funny in some parts. The writing is wonderful. So that was what, that’s the last thing I read, and I have to get the, the title, because obviously I took it off of my Kindle, but I do have the second book, which is called Bloody Rose, and it’s about the daughter. But it was just –

Sarah: I think it is Nicholas Eames, Kings of the Wyld?

Ms. Bev: Yes, yes, yes!

Sarah: The Band. Yep, I have it right here.

Ms. Bev: That’s it.

Sarah: I’m going to send it to my husband and be like, Ms. Bev says that you will love this, ‘cause he loves fantasies.

Ms. Bev: Oh, it was so great! I mean, and one of the guys is a king, and he’s out of shape, and, you know, and, and they, you know, in a bad marriage, and it is, it’s, it’s wonderful. It is absolutely wonderful, so that’s what I, that’s what I just read.

Sarah: That sounds really cool.

Ms. Bev: It is. And there’s a dragon involved.

Sarah: You have my attention.

Ms. Bev: [Laughs]

Sarah: I want to know about this dragon book. How have I not heard about this dragon book?

Ms. Bev: Editors have heard about it, ‘cause I’ve been talking and promising and lying about it for fifteen years. Yeah, it, it’s a, it’s in my, you know, to-be-written pile, you know, whenever I get around to it, you know, hopefully in this lifetime. But you know, that’s one of the things I’m, like I said, one of those things that maybe we’ll get at least a look for 2019 when I’m sitting my behind down in my house and not in an airport. So we’ll see.

Sarah: Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today, and thank you for what you do. I know your books are a blessing to so many people, myself included, so it is, it is always an honor to talk to you, and I love hearing what you’re up to. It’s, it’s very inspiring to listen to you, so thank you for that.

Ms. Bev: Well thank you! I’m glad that, you know, we, we weren’t able to do it yesterday, ‘cause about at this time yesterday I was typing like the, the Kermit meme with type, Kermit is just going at the typewriter? Right, that was me yesterday –

Sarah: [Laughs]

Ms. Bev: – at about this time. In fact, I turned it in, like, three minutes from now. So I want to thank you for being flexible and, and patient with my schedule. But you just –

Sarah: Oh, always.

Ms. Bev: I mean, your, what you do for the romance community is just, there are no words. Your support, your, your writings, your take, your interviews: you are a blessing to Romancelandia, my dear, for the –

Sarah: Oh, thank you. Now I’m going to cry.

Ms. Bev: Don’t cry. There’s no crying in Romancelandia.

[Laughter]

Ms. Bev: Unless I’m on the mic.

Sarah: Where have you –

Ms. Bev: Unless I’m on the mic.

Sarah: Yeah, I was going to say, I’ve seen you, I’ve seen you on stage. What are you talking about, there’s no crying? [Laughs]

Ms. Bev: One of my superpowers. [Laughs]

Sarah: What, making other people cry?

[Laughter]

Sarah: It’s probably a good superpower for a writer to have.

Ms. Bev: When she speaks, they weep. You know, so.

Sarah: [Laughs]

[music]

Sarah: And that brings me to the end of this episode. Thank you to Beverly Jenkins for hanging out with me in her Angry Birds pajamas.

If you have questions or suggestions or thoughts on this episode, I would very much like to hear them. You can find me at sbjpodcast@gmail.com, or you can leave a message at 1-201-371-3272.

You can find Beverly Jenkins at beverlyjenkins.net, and I will have a link to her newsletter so you can sign up and find out when she has a new release or another new release or big news like a movie. You know, she’s got a lot of stuff going on. If you don’t want to miss out on any of it, you can sign up for her newsletter and find out more.

This week’s podcast is brought to you by The Rancher by Kate Pearce. One by one, the Morgan siblings find themselves returning to the Northern California ranch where their troubled pasts first began. Together, they have a chance to leave the past behind and forge a new future based on family, love, and hope. In this sixth installment of bestselling author Kate Pearce’s popular Morgan Ranch series, Rachel Ford Morgan comes home after finishing her degree, intent on proving she’s just as capable of taking care of the ranch as her brothers. What she’s not prepared for is also trying to impress the son of a rival ranch owner. The Rancher by Kate Pearce is available now wherever books are sold and at kensingtonbooks.com.

Our transcript this week is being underwritten by someone who loves the transcript, so thank you to Judy, who loves to overspend on romance novels and perfume. What could be better? Judy, you are wonderful. Thank you for underwriting this week’s transcript.

If you have supported the show with a monthly pledge of any amount, thank you very, very much. You are helping to keep the podcast going into the new year, and at the end of this year I will be reaching a rather astonishing milestone. If you would like to join the Patreon community, it would be great to have you. Have a look at patreon.com/SmartBitches. Monthly pledges start at one dollar a month, and you’ll be part of the group who helps me develop questions and makes guest suggestions for the upcoming year. If you have a look right now at patreon.com/SmartBitches and you join the community, we’ve got a big thread going on right now with guest ideas for 2019, and it is pretty epic.

The music you are listening to is provided by Sassy Outwater. This is Deviations Project; this is their album Adeste Fiddles. This is “Lieutenant Kiji,” which was originally composed by Sergei Prokofiev. You can find this album at Amazon, and you can find out more about Deviations Project at their website.

Coming up on Smart Bitches this week, we have many things. On Saturday we have Hide Your Wallet, Part 2, where we recap and highlight books that we’ve learned about, heard good things about, and are pretty sure that you want to know about too. We also have reviews, both lightning quick ones and longer length. We have a new edition of Squee from the Keeper Shelf and a new Caption That Cover contest. Amanda is taking over the Gift Guide this week with many of her most favorite things, and of course we will have Books on Sale and Help a Bitch Out. I hope you will come and hang out with us.

I will have links to everything we talked about in this episode and some past episodes with Ms. Bev, as well as links to her website and her newsletter signup, and you can find that at smartbitchestrashybooks.com/podcast. I of course will also have links to all the books she mentioned, especially that last one, because it sounds really good!

And now you know what time it is, right? It’s time for a terrible joke. I really like all the bad jokes I get in the email; it’s pretty great! This is from librarian James Stubbs. James sent in an awesome joke – actually, a couple of them, but this is the one I’m using this week.

Why are Christmas trees so fond of the past?

Give up? Why are Christmas trees so fond of the past?

Because the present’s beneath them.

[Laughs] I have this great image of, like, this really snobby Christmas tree. Like, ugh, ugh, the presents. Ugh! I’m so over it. [Laughs more] Thank you to James Stubbs for this joke.

Thank you to Beverly Jenkins for hanging out with me. Thank you to Zeb for not barking. Oh my gosh, his brother is outside, and he does not like it that his brother wants to be outside and he doesn’t, so he just stands at the door and yells at him, so thank you to him for not barking, and thank you very, very much for listening. We wish you the very best of reading, and we will see you back here next week.

[sprightly music]

This podcast transcript was handcrafted with meticulous skill by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks.

Transcript Sponsor

Our transcript this week is sponsored by Judy, a listener overseas and generous supporter who loves the transcripts and asked if she could sponsor one. She tends to overspend on romance novels and perfume — what could be better?  She really values our efforts to make the transcripts available.  And thanks to Garlic Knitter, maybe more than she knows.

Thank you, Judy! You are incredibly kind, and I’m so happy to know that you enjoy the transcripts. 

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