Tag Archives: Chick Lit

Lisa Heidke: #Robinpedia

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Lisa Heidke is an Australian author, writing teacher and lover of colourful language. Like many writers her inspiration to write came from the bottom of a “writers’ juice” glass. It has been speculated by some that it was a Fluffy Duck, but I firmly believe that it was a white wine spritzer. Regardless, “writers’ juice” has proven it’s worth and value as a tax deduction yet again.

Lisa Heidke has published six commercial women’s fiction novels. Her works typically address the themes of career, family, rivalry, self efficacy, and love… a bit like life does. Her first published novel was Lucy Springer Gets Even published through Allen and Unwin in 2009. The initial manuscript had been short listed for the Varuna/HarperCollins Manuscript Awards in 2006.  Lisa Heidke then published What Kate did Next in 2010, also through A & U. This had been short listed for the Varuna/HarperCollins Manuscript Awards in 2005. Claudia’s Big Break was released in 2011 followed by Stella Makes Good in 2012, and then It Started with a Kiss in 2015, all through A & U.

The Callahan Split was also released in 2015. It is of special note as Lisa Heidke decided to self publish it. Lisa Heidke decided that if she was to learn about the realities of self publishing she was going to have to do it herself. From hiring editors and cover designers, down to running competitions, she did it all. This has undoubtedly given her unique insights to share when teaching. I offered to design her cover. She turned me down, I cannot imagine why…

Find Lisa Heidke’s website here.

Find Lisa Heidke on twitter here.

Find Lisa Heidke on Facebook here.

If you have any additional information you feel should be added please leave it in the comment section. I’m particularly interested in exactly what she was drinking that fateful New Years Eve that she declared she would become a writer.

Learn more about Robinpedia here.

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Lola Lowe: #Robinpedia

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Lola Lowe is an Australian writer, cake baker and lover of wine.

She is the author of Stuck Up which is a novel at the intersection of chick lit and mystery. Stuck Up was declared a page turner in May’s Cosmopolitan.

Lola has pioneered the technique of using cocktail swizzle sticks in order to plan out novels and over come writers block.

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Find her on Facebook here.

Find her on Twitter here.

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Please feel free to add a comment with any more information that you feel should be included about this author. I am always happy to update.

Find out more about #Robinpedia here.

ABC Book Club Season 10 Episode 9 #bookclubABC

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I’ve managed to make it to another live recording of the show, so it’s not just me and my wine, but me and the peoples this week. AND just quietly, sitting in the row in front of me is author C S Pacat. I turn to the person next to me and say, “Is that C S Capat.” My neighbour looks at me like I’m an alien and I realize that I have mispronounced the name. It’s like some sort of weird thing that happens in my brain every dang time I try to say Pacat.

JByrne appears before us. I have no time to correct myself and ask again because JByrne is here and fabulous. She is excited. She tells us that she has a book about 19th Century whaling that is “100% guaranteed to knock your socks off.” That’s a 100% guarantee people, you can’t really get better than that. And 19th Century whaling? What doesn’t scream excitement about that? Who doesn’t love a little Moby Dick?

Michael Robotham, AKA Robo-Tham, is allowed to introduce the classic being covered. He is obviously feeling a little nervous because he simply says the title, The Other Hand. He has to be coaxed for more details. You can sense the dread in his soul that his beloved classic will be savaged. But by whom? Will it be Marieke or Jason this week? Or JByrne herself? When she goes bad she goes all out. She makes dark-side Xena look like Rainbow Brite.

JByrne then moves on to note that Benjamin Law, AKA BLaw, is also on the panel and that he has bare ankles.

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OMG! I am completely losing my shit. She know that his ankles have become an obsession with book clubbers. JByrne has listened to our comments, she is here for us. I crane my neck to get a look at Stegersaurussex’s ankle region. He is wearing bright yellow sock. Oh, this is heaven. We’re on sock watch people. #sockwatch.

Oh, it’s dramatic recreation time. This is where they’ll show us clips that they think are representative of The North Water by Ian McGuire. I’d consider grabbing a cup of tea if I were home. It’s not my favourite part, nothing interesting ever happens… What in blueberry fuck am I seeing? There’s a whale being cut apart. I’m going to be sick. I’m dying. Somebody pass me my salts. The horror, the horror. This recreation is way more full on than usual. I was expecting some whales jumping about, instead I got blood and blubber. I need a bath.

Stegersaurussex says he loved The North Water. I’m still heaving and he’s talking about the novel. He says, “I loved it from the first paragraph.” The writing was electric, the characters were awful and it was fantastic. Noted, more awful people and electrical goods in all of my future writing.

Marieke says it was absolutely disgusting and she loved it. Doesn’t she know that she’s supposed to disagree with Steggersaurussex? Marieke says that it made her want to join a ship and then stab someone. That’s a lot of feelings right there. She says it was so deliciously bloody and disgusting that she felt like she needed a shower afterwards.

Robo-Tham raises her one shower and says he needed many showers during it. That it made The Revenant look like it was written by Beatrix Potter. I’m so intrigued by this book right now yet terrified. Can I handle something that makes The Revenant look like cuddly bunnies?

BLaw says, imagine if Ridley Scott’s Alien was set on a 19th Century whaling ship. I’m scared, hold me. I don’t even know if I can watch this episode about it let alone read it. But it sound so utterly brilliant that I want to be brave enough to try.

Robo-Tham only has one criticism of it, he wanted a goodie and the book is utterly lacking in the good, it just has the bad and the ugly. The lead character, Drax, is described so vividly as evil that the panelists actually start using his name as a descriptor. If someone is becoming very Drax, I gather it’s really not a good thing. To be described as being Drax is like being called the pinnacle of evil brutality. That’s such high praise for the book. That the panelists have engaged with it so much that they’re coopting words from it and giving them added meaning.

Stegersaurussex says he loves how McGuire describes odours. Everyone groans and clutches their noses. They’re having real, physical reactions to this novel. It must be excellent. He talks about the “roaring stench.” A simple, yet powerful description.

BLaw is utterly impressed with The North Water because it set up a world that he didn’t think he’d be interested in and sucked him right in with the evocative language and brutal characters. JByrne agrees, she says it’s like a historical fiction but far more visceral than anything that has gone before. Robo_Tham says that there isn’t enough fake blood in Hollywood to make this into a film. I can hear executives in Hollywood screaming CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

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Well, in a rare Book Club moment, it’s unanimous, everybody loves The North Water. It’s clearly a winner. Buy it if you dare.

 

Now it’s time for a little By the Bed, where the panelists talk about what they’re reading and we all imagine what Steggersaurussex’s bedroom looks like. Or is that just me?

JByrne is reading Katherine Carlyle.

Steger is reading Moments in Time.

Blaw is reading The Sympathiser

Marieke is reading My Name Is

Robo-Tham is ordered by JByrne not to talk about the book he is reading until later. He looks confused but obeys. He saw what happened to Virgina Gay when she spoke out of turn. She hasn’t been allowed back for weeks. WEEKS! Rumour has it that she’s going to have to wear a muted shoe colour when she comes back as punishment… I just made that rumour up then.

 

Now a fun section on how important covers are. BLaw being the expert answers the question, with very. Robo-Tham says yellow is big at the moment. We must start a show us your #yellowshelfie thingy. I shall take a picture of Jason’s socks for my next cover, it shall be a smash. Marieke says that she avoids anything with champers and heels on the cover. Marieke, you simply must download my free ebook, I think you’ll love it. We can discuss it over lunch.

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Love me!

 

… No? A little too pink? Whatever.

JByrne decides to test the panelists on their knowledge by holding up book covers and asking what the genre is. Jason is the first cab off the ranks, he accidentally says arse instead of ice in his answer so Ben is still laughing when it comes to his turn. Because accidentally saying anything bottom related is always funny. ALWAYS! Forget #sockwatch, we’re on #arsewatch now. Robo-Tham gets women’s fiction and answers correctly. Marieke gets a very obvious fantasy cover and asks if it’s for teenage boys who want to get erections. Coincidentally it’s a cover from the Rangers Apprentice series, which is written by Kitty Flanagan’s dad, and she’s rumoured to be on next episode. I did not make that one up.

Robo-Tham introduces his classic The Other Hand by Chris Cleave again. He’s saying he likes it, but after the passion oozing out of everyone for The North Waters it just feels flat in comparison. Ben says some nice things, but again they’re falling flat. It’s as if a void has been left by The North Water. My guess is that it must be a perfectly good book, but no The North Water.

Marieke, doesn’t like it. She says it’s Chick Lit dressed up as something important. I just know she’d love my ebook. But even though she’s saying that she doesn’t like it, it isn’t with as much vim and vigor as books that she’s previously hated. There is definitely a passion vacuum. I think everyone just needs a nap after thinking about blood and puss and stabbing each other in the face. Marieke even says that one of the characters may as well be Balky from Perfect Strangers. It’s meant to be a stinging insult but who doesn’t love Balky?

Robo-Tham is allowed to finally reveal his bedside reading, it’s another Chris Cleave book.

We then cut to the audience member who read a really long book that JByrne gave him weeks ago and we’ve all forgotten about… he liked it. But I’m too busy losing it because you can see C S Pacat in the shot in front of him. That’s a writer celebrity siting!

And we’re done.

Next week is about books that transport you. It is featuring my favourite comedian Kitty Flanagan, Noel Pearson, John Birmingham, and C S PACAT. SPECULATIVE FICTION AUTHOR C S PACAT. I am so excited. Spec fic authors are rarely allowed to interact with other authors. So that’s why she’s here. She’s casing the joint.

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For last week’s recap go here.

View previous episodes on iView here.

What Happens in Book Club… reviews are coming in

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WHIBCE3Hooray. I’m starting to get some reviews for What Happens in Book Club… and they’re fabulous. I am so excited that I am just going to have to share them with you. And please, if you love my book give it a review. It’s up on GoodReads as well. Love to hear your thoughts… and of course download What Happens in Book Club 2!!! I’m really excited about bringing out parts 3 and 4 next month.

A funny tongue in cheek read

on July 20, 2015
Laugh out loud read. Gwyn is a teacher who belongs to a book club that discusses books and drinks wine sometimes more wine than discussion. Until one meeting when it comes to a stuttering standstill with shell shocked women after reading 50 Shades. It’s after most of the club leaves that the fun begins when Gwyn admits quietly to her friends that the book was quite a turn on. Her one friend who was 50 shades of wine, exploded loudly with her response to everything in the conversation “Get her a vibrator!” I was laughing so hard. Gwyn’s sexual misadventures turn into fodder for her friends. This author takes the meaning of tongue in cheek to a whole new level. I hope for Gwyn’s sake that she meets up with the silver fox again. He was too hot to handle! sigh…

on July 19, 2015
I really enjoyed What Happens in Book Club… Robin Elizabeth’s sharp wit as she tells of heroine Gwyn’s unlucky love life is hilarious, and that mixed with the fact that Gwyn’s men seem to resemble the leading men from her book club’s monthly read is just too funny. After reading Fifty Shades of Grey the book club decides some classics might be order, a year of them, and in Episode 1 of What Happens in Book Club…, they begin with Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre. Who hasn’t wanted to see what it would be like to find your Mr Bingley? Or your Mr Rochester? Gwyn does, with hilarious results! And I loved the funny dialogue between Gwyn and her friends Mac and Selene. But who does Gwyn really want – the mysterious man from the very beginning of the book, the sexy silver fox who lingered at the bar after they discussed Fifty Shades of Grey, the man Gwyn calls Mr Grey. I can’t wait to read who Gwyn hooks up with next in Episode 2. Downloading now!

Fantastically fun, compact read. You can probably knock it over on your morning commute and chuckle about it all day; Then complete with episode 2 on your way home. Can’t wait until the author starts doing audio editions too.
 

New Release: What Happens In Book Club…: E2 (I’m Just Not That Into You)

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Fresh from the oven, What Happens in Book Club: E2 (I’m Just Not That Into You) is here! Get it while it’s hot.

WHIBCE2Following on from a disastrous encounter with a gassy Mr Bingley and a damp Mr Rochester, schoolteacher Gwyn just doesn’t seem to be able to keep herself out of trouble. Her mind is full of career ambitions but also of literary super hunks, especially a certain silver fox. What part of her brain will win?

And what’s even better, her best pal Maureen is back in town. Maureen is always a sure fire way to kick both fun and trouble up a notch. How will Gwyn’s steadfast friends, Mac and Selene, cope with the competition?

Enjoy the second part of Gwyn’s adventures where you get to find out if she encounters her knight in ‘silver’ armour again and if Shelley gives her more love than Austen. And don’t forget, what happens in book club, stays in book club.

Get it on: AmazonKobo / Scribd. / Inktera / Oyster / GooglePlay / Barnes&Noble / iTunes – for $1.99 USD

Find out where it all started in What Happens in Book Club…: E1 (It’s Not Me; It’s You) for FREE on iTunes / Kobo / Scribd. / Inktera / Oyster / GooglePlay / Barnes&Noble

Also available on Amazon

New Release: What Happens in Book Club: E1 (It’s Not Me; It’s You)

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It’s happened. It has finally happened. My book What Happens in Book Club… has been released out into the wild. Download it!!! Oh you want to know what it’s actually about and won’t just download a free copy because you love me… pout. Okay, I shall tell you all about my book and give you the links below in an official looking releasy thingo… but seriously download my book and give it a fabulous review. Things like “It was my cup of tea and my shot of tequila – 5 stars!!!!!” are welcome. “I liked it. I’ll be reading the next one. 4 stars!!!!” also appreciated. I’ll be your bestest friend!

What Happens in Book Club: E1 (It’s Not Me; It’s You)

WHIBCE1Your book club reads books? That’s adorable, Gwyn’s book club drinks wine and rates the hunks from classic literature. Sure they were once a regular book club, full of feisty discussions about Proust, but that all changes after the most awkward book club meeting of their lives. When schoolteacher Gwyn’s generally conservative book club covers a popular novel of a more suggestive nature, Gwyn can’t help but think of all the literary hunks in a suggestive fashion.

Enjoy the delicious sunny Australian setting as Sydney schoolteacher Gwyn learns all about lust, love, friendship and herself. And always remember, what happens in book club, stays in book club.

Get it FREE here: iTunes / Kobo / Scribd. / Inktera / Oyster / GooglePlay / Barnes&Noble

Also available on Amazon

Excerpt:

It’s over. I shift awkwardly in my seat, and we all stare into space, deliberately not making eye contact. Our book club is silent. Not a good kind of silence, an awkward silence. The dirty deed had been done; empty wineglasses sit on the dingy bar table between us, and we do not quite know how to move forward from this point. There needed to be empty shot glasses lined up as far as the eye could see for the girls and me to be able to meet each other’s gazes again. But alas, there are only a handful of empty wineglasses, and to be honest, most of them belong to my friend Mac.

“I think now that Fifty Shades is done, we should cleanse our loins with a classic of some sort,” Selene finally broke the silence. Bright red lips, slick black hair, and dark brown eyes. If she would just wear short black dresses instead of business suits, she would fit right in on the set of a Robert Palmer video. She is the unofficial leader of our little book club. After all, she is the one who put the post on Facebook asking for members.

“I think about a year of strong women is in order,” Mac agrees vigorously. Her face is almost as red as her hair. Wine flush or embarrassed blush? She dabs absentmindedly at a wine stain on the frilly long-sleeved blouse she is favouring of late. It must be another pirate phase or, failing that, Shakespeare? Mac is one of my dearest friends, so I should know all about her fashion wants and needs, but she changes fashion more often than I change my knickers, so it is hard to keep track of. “A year of classic, strong heroines.”

The rest of us still just stare at our hands, too embarrassed to look at one another. We would agree to anything at this point if it would just get us out of here. Some had skimmed through Fifty Shades and only read the sexy bits, desperados; some had flicked past the sexy scenes, prudes; and others had stopped reading because the sentence structure made their brains hurt, snobs. And then, of course, our snobbiest of all snobby members, Catherine, had failed to show up at all because she didn’t “do” commercial fiction. Either way, Selene’s own choice of Fifty Shades had stirred up something inside of us, and not just our judgemental attitudes, that nobody wanted to name or discuss.

Our book club is usually so boisterous that we disturbed other patrons. Thank God we know how to drink; otherwise we would be far too much bother. Instead, we are welcomed each month. Well, at least our wallets are. However, our once-a-month shrill disturbance at the Longie is practically a whisper this evening. We should have drunk more wine. All that is on the table between us tonight are those pitifully few empty glasses and a single copy of E. L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey paperback standing erect in the middle of them. It almost seemed to pulsate and call out to people, “Look what these naughty girls have been reading.” Shut up, book!

“So, Pride and Prejudice?” Selene asks.

There was a general murmur of agreement with calls for a year of classics and then everyone but Selene, Mac, and I fled the scene.

“Well, that was awkward.” I finally found words.

Liked what you read? Read more for free on iTunes / Kobo / Scribd. / Inktera / Oyster / GooglePlay / Barnes&Noble

Also available on Amazon

Loved it so much that you want to read the sequel? Get it on: AmazonKobo / Scribd. / Inktera / Oyster / GooglePlay / Barnes&Noble / iTunes for $1.99 USD

Be what you wanna be. Do what you wanna do. Read what you wanna read. Yeah!

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You know what I am tired of? The need for articles coming out in defense of Women’s Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Genre Fiction in general. Every day my newsfeed has multiple articles on this phenomenon, and sadly, they are still needed. For some reason people just cannot seem to get the point that we do not live in an English classroom where book titles are dictated by necessity so that knowledge and understanding can be tested in a standardized way that the government requires. In real life people can read and enjoy whatever they want… AND WHO THE HELL ARE YOU TO TELL THEM THAT THEY CANNOT!

Sorry guys, I know I went all caps there. It got scary, I was even a bit scared of my own emotions but this book shaming is really starting to get my goat. And if there is one thing regular followers of this blog know, it’s that I don’t like anyone looking at or touching my goat, let alone taking it. Don’t make me go all Liam Neeson on your arse over my goat. I have a terrible Irish accent and nobody will benefit from this scenario. Now let’s get back to the heavy stuff. You’ve had your levity break!

This morning a picture captioned “A call for respectful discussion of Fifty Shades of Grey – It is okay to and welcome to criticize a book. It is not okay to be a terrible person” was on my newsfeed. Yesterday an insightful article by Marian Keyes entitled, “Please can we stop saying ‘chick-lit'” caught my attention. For the former here’s what I have to say, love it or hate it, you have no right to dictate to someone what they enjoy reading. I love reading James Joyce. People often tell me I am a shameless wanker and that Joyce is likewise a wanker and hence we should just die in wankerhood together. It isn’t going to stop me loving James Joyce. His writing just really sits well with me. As does Julian Barnes. It doesn’t matter what you say, I will continue to love them, and read them and reread them. And although I quite happily debate the merits of Barnes and Joyce with people and am fine with people not loving them, when people resort to name calling and put downs it’s a bit much. Those people are poo poo heads, yes I get the irony. Same thing with Fifty Shades, lovers, if it vibes with them, if they enjoy it, if it gives them a moment’s escape from their lives, go for it. Love it, read it. Get inspired, go read more books, yeah! Go ahead, don’t like Fifty Shades, criticize it, but when you start being nasty to people who like it, well you’ve lost the argument, you’ve lost respect, you’ve lost yourself.

As for Marian Keyes plea – please stop saying Chick Lit, I both agree wholeheartedly yet disagree at the same time. Does Marian Keyes, hate chick lit? No, of course not. Is she saying it sucks? No, of course not. Is she pointing out that the term is used as a put down? Yes. Is it a put down? Yes and no. The term Chick Lit is often used by men and women alike, to put down works that focus on women. Novels in this genre tend to have successful female leads, with professional ambitions and a quirky group of friends, add to this a man often comes along and catches the lead characters eye. Then things of course get complicated, job goes to shit, fall out with friends, love interest goes all skewwhiff, then the strong female leads, pulls herself together, gets her groove back, gets her job back, gets her friends back and then the cherry on the cake, last of all, gets her man. Sounds a lot like real life, professional woman + career goals + crazy friends + a bit of romance. Hardly something that should be put down. I mean people rave about the Bronte sisters. They write about the same stuff. “Oh it is just silly fluff, about love,” you hear people say. Yeah, because love is just so stupid. Having meaningful connections is just ridiculous and would never happen in great literature. Dickens, Shakespeare, Virgil, none of these dudes would ever write about silly love stories. To be honest, typically in Chick Lit the love interest is actually the icing on the cake. Don’t get me wrong, frosting is important, I like me a big chunk of butter cream. If I have the choice between frosted or unfrosted… well let’s just call me Elsa. But the female lead tends to have to sort out her career and friends first. That is the priority, it’s not that the love interest doesn’t get a lot of the word count dedicated to them, but the priority, the first things first, goes to career and bat shit crazy friends. Where would we be without out friends? How could we pay rent without our job? It’s a bit realistic isn’t it? Sure it gets mashed up with wit and humour but there’s a lot of deep stuff in Chick Lit, but there is a lot of truth and tragedy included. So why put it down? The answer is quite simply, because we live in a society that trivializes women and their experiences, and for women to get ahead they almost have to turn on their own kind. The bagging of the term Chick Lit is simply a manifestation of that. So as far as I can see you can call it whatever you like, Commercial Women’s Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Chick Lit, Clit Lit, Vagraphy (okay I made that one up, I just wanted to use vag somewhere for my own amusement), the same issue will arise. People will put it down. People, what a bunch of bastards. Hopefully society progresses, that’s what needs to happen, and we are getting there, but until then, no matter how many terms we throw at stories for and about women, they will get trivialized. They’ll sell, because us bitches be smart and good with the books and the learning and stuff, but it’ll be marginalized.

Whoa. Robin, what just happened? Did you just go all overt feminist on our arses. Yeah, I kind of did. Commercial Women Writers tend to do that. Sorry. We give you plenty of shits and giggles, but we give you a message too. Let’s just take a deep breath and hug it out.