Librarian Spotlight: Frannie Strober Cassano

Hiya Folks!

I wish I could say I’m writing this post from some exotic location since tomorrow is a holiday and it would’ve been awesome to have a four day weekend, but alas, I’m sitting in my office. *cue the sad trombone* 

It’s okay though. I’ll be on vacation in exactly three weeks. THREE WEEKS AND I WILL BE HUGGING SOME OF MY FAVORITE PEOPLE AT RWA NATIONALS! I AM SUPER GEEKED!!!! It’s going to be my first time attending, and I can’t wait! 

Anyway, enough about me being excited over my upcoming vacay. Aside from dreams of being an entertainment reporter, there was a time when I wanted to be a librarian. I figured I spent so much time at the library, and I loved reading books, why not make a living from it? Sounds good, right? Except I wanted to be too many things. #overachiever

The list of career aspirations: Entertainment correspondent, librarian, scientist, social worker, bookstore owner, back up dancer for Madonna, gymnast, pop star (even though I can’t sing a lick), but who needs to sing to be a pop star nowadays? LOL. Okay, that was mean. But true. Not everyone has the chops, but I digress. 

When Frannie joined the RWA NYC chapter, I was thrilled!!! I’d been following her on Twitter for some time and met her in person at RT (we both attended the Smart Bitches Trashy Books live podcast taping) but unfortunately we didn’t get the chance to chat. That was quickly remedied when we had some downtime at our RWA spring brunch. Frannie has been a vocal champion for the romance community, and I couldn’t think of a better person to spotlight this week. HARPER HAS A SUPER SPECIAL PLACE IN HER HEART FOR LIBRARIANS! ♥♥♥

Get to know Frannie. She is the bee’s knees.

I posed this question to authors and bloggers, and my first librarian interviewee should have a shot at it as well. I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. I’m sure the same can be said for librarians. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?

Oooh…If I had an evil doppleganger, I bet she’d want to reveal that I have a pretty dirty mind. Like, I might look all innocent or in constant thought…but yeah, my mind could make some people blush.

Aside from being a lover of books, why did you become a librarian?

It’s funny…I became a librarian because in my previous “life” (in film and TV), I always ended up organizing internal departmental “libraries”. No one else wanted to do it and I found it such fun. So, some relatives told me I should look into going for a Masters…and now here I am, happily peddling “The Ends” of a different sort. 

Favorite book of all time?

Such a hard question! My favorite book of all time really is Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. I came to it for the dynamic between the sisters, but stayed for Colonel Brandon. To me, Brandon is the most perfect hero ever crafted. And it doesn’t hurt that Alan Rickman plays him in the Ang Lee/Emma Thompson film version.

What’s the most obscure thing you’ve ever found in your library?

Ok, there’s this thing that librarians find strips of bacon and $20 bills in books, both of which are true by the way…But, in my own library, the most obscure thing we’ve found were a pair of brand new panties in the Reference area. The patron/owner actually winked at us when she came back to retrieve them. It could have been total squick, but it ended up being pretty funny.

You’ve attended a few book conventions. Tell me about your favorite one and your most memorable experience.

Oh, wow. All of the conferences I’ve attended so far have been my favorites for different reasons. But my most memorable experience was at RT17. They asked me to be the librarian on a panel for Diverse Read-A-Likes. While I had presented locally, I never presented at a national conference/convention before. The moderator/author is someone super fab. I really couldn’t wait to meet her. The other panelist was great, too. And I had ladies that have become very good friends there, cheering me on. Plus, talking good freakin’ books is something I’ll do anytime, anywhere.

You and your husband recently celebrated an anniversary! Congrats! Tell me about your honeymoon.

Aww! Thank you! And thanks for remembering that :-) We got married at Walt Disney World, in Epcot. So, while we were down there planning the wedding, we also ended up taking a sort of pre-honeymoon Disney Cruise. We love Castaway Cay so much, we will find any excuse to keep going back.

Most favorite meet-cute scenario in a book?

I have SO many favorite meet-cute scenarios. How do I pick just one? LOLOK, let me rec Olivia Dade’s Lovestruck Librarians series. Those meet-cutes are great fun. And of course, a librarian would adore a Librarian Romance series, right ;-) While I’m at it, Victoria Dahl’s Taking the Heat has a great one, too! Also with a librarian. 

Loaded question! Do you have any regrets?

Oh, I have a mountain of regret. A mountain. Life can be so serious. So, I try not to take myself so seriously. We should all enjoy one another in the midst of everything happening all around us. I intend to never let good times, or more importantly, good people, pass me by.

LOL, try not to hate me too much for asking this question. If you had to give up reading books for a year or sex, which would you choose? 

Harper, this is awesome. Sex! C’mon, I could *never* give up reading books for a year! Imagine all the fun I’d miss on *those* pages, LOL.

Favorite breakfast cereal as a kid?

LOL, my favorite breakfast cereal as a kid was Frosted Mini-Wheats and Lucky Charms.

**Bonus Question**

Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?

Ooooh. I never kiss and tell ;-) But yes. I would try totally it.  


Frannie Strober Cassano first stumbled into the romance section of her local drugstore as a teen, and then found herself back there during the Fifty Shades of Grey “phenomenon”. You can find her gleefully discussing book boyfriends, tropes, and Happily Ever Afters over at her Reference Desk or on Twitter.

Social Media:

Twitter: @NBPLRomance

Instagram: nbplromance 

Blogger Spotlight: Back Porch Reader

I currently exist on two cups of coffee. I’ve already attended one meeting, and I may have another this afternoon. This weekend blew by quickly, but boy was it insane. I spent most of Saturday writing and editing and then yesterday I had a cover shoot for an upcoming release, so I was busy all day. The bright side? The photo shoot took place poolside!

Why aren’t weekends three days? *whines* all I need is one more day. Anyway, we resume our regularly scheduled programming. 

Today, I’m happy to feature one of my most favorite bloggers to have ever blogged, Katie! People, Katie is amazing. AMAZING! I began reading her blog when she first started out, and I love her reviews. We share the same interest in books, and it makes our fangirling connection even stronger. LOL, I swear at RT we were ridiculous. I can’t express how much I adore this lady. She is a gem. 

Get to know Katie! ☺

I usually ask authors this question, but bloggers are not immune! I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. I’m sure bloggers have their fair share of dirt as well. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?

I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m delightful in all the ways.

Way to put me in the hot seat from the start.

Okay. Real Talk. I’m not always polite and well-behaved, despite my southern upbringing that included tenets of ladylike behavior such as smile and nod even when you’re angry or unhappy, keep your knees together at all times, use the proper fork, etc. I’m not so good at not sharing what I think.

There might be the fact that I worked as a guard in a men’s medium security prison right after college that tends to surprise a lot of people. That’s a part of my past best left alone. 

Annnnd, then for all the romance and erotica that I read, I could not care less if I ever date again or get re-married. The thought of either makes me a bit ill.

What’s the last book you read?

By the time anyone reads this my answer will be grossly outdated since I read three to five books a week. I recently finished Santino Hassell’s Illegal Contact, and I was BLOWN AWAY. I cannot wait for this book to be unleashed in August.

What pisses you off when it comes to review requests? What’s the right way and the wrong way for an author to submit a request to your blog?

When the person submitting hasn’t done just a little bit, like glance at my info page, to make sure I’m the right fit for their book. I’m kinda picky and hesitant about some genres, and I don’t keep that a secret. Chances are huge that I’m not going to read a memoir by a twenty-year-old, or a poetry collection, or werewolf-shifter space odyssey. Yes, these were real requests I’ve gotten. I’m sure they’re lovely, but they’re not what I’m drawn to or the types of books I’ve committed to sharing with readers.

If you could have any two of your favorite authors collaborate on a book, who would they be and what would they write?

I love the writing team of Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell in the Cyberlove series and have my fingers crossed for a lot more books. They’re amazing together. I’m also looking forward to Heart of the Steal, by Roan Parrish and Avon Gale. Otherwise, I’m not sure I’m comfortable playing matchmaker with my favorite authors. I love being surprised when I hear about new collaborations though. 

Finish this sentence: In order to be successful you have to ______. 


Which is hilarious. I’m a huge procrastinator because my mind is always trying to sort through all the things I have to do before I can get to the thing I want to do. Also, I’m easily distracted by books, so time gets sucked away. But, with anything you’ll never know if you can be successful with something unless you just start doing it, and then keep at it until you get it right.

What were your favorite TV shows as a kid?

Prime Time TV was a big thing in my house growing up. Except, I didn’t know our habits were strange until I was way older. 

Okay, so first off, we had one TV, didn’t have a den, and my mother doesn’t believe TVs belong in the living room. Therefore the only TV was in my parents’ bedroom. 

Secondly, we always ate late — the earliest would be around 8:00. I’m still this way, a 10 PM dinner is not uncommon for me. 

So, because of the later dinner hour, the location of the TV, must-see prime-time lineup and that DVRs hadn’t been invented, every night we’d eat dinner in their room. Mom and my step-dad sat up on the bed, propped against pillows with trays in their lap. I’d sit on the floor at the foot of their bed and eat off of a tray with the TV probably less than three feet from my face, then lay there vegging on the floor until bedtime. (Yes, we had a kitchen table and a dining room table, but those were for other meals or when we had company.) 

These days I can’t even imagine eating a meal in bed unless I’m too sick to move. Also, my folks have a den now, and they laugh at the memories of the old days of dinners in bed.

BACK TO YOUR QUESTION. I had a lot of favorites. CheersThe Cosby Show and Golden Girls were main events. Others that come to mind are Welcome Back KotterTaxiOne Day at a TimeBarney Miller, and WKRP in Cincinnati. But Friday nights were not complete without The Incredible HulkDiff’rent StrokesCHiPs, and The Facts of Life…And geez, does this whole paragraph show my age.

I’ll also add that for the last handful of years I’ve let Golden Girls reruns on the Hallmark channel lull me to sleep each night. I don’t know how much lulling happens though, those ladies still crack me up. 

What word repulses you when it comes to sex scenes?

In romance or erotica, it’s cum as a verb. I don’t particularly care for it as a noun either. Wow, it’s porny. I spend so much time trying to educate people about the difference between porn and erotica, and this one word has the power to blur the lines between the two no matter how strong the plot.

Nothing against porn. I love porn. Cum all over porn is perfectly fine.

Do you have any bad habits? If so, what are they?

Tons of them. Which is probably why I’ll never re-marry or have a long-term relationship. Gah. I’m awful. I smoke, drink, cuss like a sailor, and the thought of exercise makes me tired. I frequently say inappropriate things. I’m kinda lazy. I procrastinate even worse with things I don’t want to do, like laundry — I’ll wait until my only clean option is my tacky prom dress from 1990 before doing laundry. 

What are your thoughts on trigger warnings in blurbs?

For things like flagging violence, abuse, and non-consent, I’m all for them. The fad of using trigger warnings to mention things like snark or sass to be cute, or as an advertisement, is a major peeve. Making them cutesy downplays the importance of the ones that are necessary for a reader to make informed decisions about buying or reading books with content they know they’ll find unbearable.

You attended GRL last year, and RT this year. What were your most memorable moments from both cons?

GRL was my first book conference ever, and the perfect size to get my feet wet. The Cock Walk — a fundraiser-slash-raffle of hand-made, penis-themed items — was the most I’ve laughed in years. The MC was author Edmond Manning who is outrageously hilarious without even trying, but more so with the condom hat he wore. I won a quilted, stuffed cock made by author Anne Tenino that is truly a work of art and has pride of place on a shelf in my office. I’ve considered sleeping with it but don’t want to chance ruining it by my puppy deciding it’s a chew toy. I also won a hemp necklace with a winged-cock charm made by someone I met on the first day at GRL who’s become a very dear friend — I didn’t know she’d made it until after the event. But my favorite had to have been hanging out in the hotel lobby and the bar and shooting the breeze with authors and readers, it was totally casual, and the divide between Author and Reader was completely stripped away.

RT was…massive. Most memorable was meeting you, Harper. Probably because you were the main reason I even attended. (Thanks for letting me be such a tag along and including me with Laurel & Taria!) While the size of RT made it kind of daunting, and that my preferred niche of LGBT romance & erotica only made up a fraction of what was showcased, it was incredible to see SO MANY people who are committed to Romance. Because here in my daily circles I’m kind of alone and an oddity. The Blogger Symposium gave me TONS of ideas that I’m working on bringing to fruition to take Back Porch Reader to another level. Communing at the bar in the evenings was probably my favorite because, even if crowded and loud, it was totally casual and chill. OH! But also, sitting three feet away from Tiffany Reisz (OMG!) during a panel and being smushed up against Kristen Ashley (OMG!!) in the elevator were AMAZING fan-girl moments. Even if I had to ask Kristen to scooch over so I could press the button for my floor. 

Looking at these two events side by side, it seems I might be developing a pattern of being happiest at conferences sitting around socializing with a cocktail within reach. Yep, that sounds like me.

**Bonus Question**

Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?



Why Back Porch Reader? Because I literally do 90% of my reading from a cozy wicker lounger on my back porch — in all seasons and all weather (excepting temps below 38° F and category 5 hurricanes). That other 10% is wherever I happen to be with a book.

Porches are a southern staple, and for me, it’s a natural extension of my home. It’s a comfy little place where I can kick off my shoes, keep an ear on the sounds of suburban nature, and get lost in books. It’s also the place to entertain my neighbors when they pop ’round for a gab.



Twitter: @vakatiebug

Facebook: BackPorchReader

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