Tag Archives: Commercial Women’s Fiction

Newtown Review of Books: Dead in the Water by Tania Chandler

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My very first review for Newtown Review of Books is up. It is for Tania Chandler’s new release Dead in the Water. I am so excited. Go read it. It’s here. I feel like a legitimate member of the Australian writing community now. 
I really have nothing more to add to this entry because I already say everything in the review. So here are a series of gifs to sum up my feelings whilst reading Dead in the Water.



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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.

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.

Book Review: Gucci Mamas by CATE KENDALL ( @lisajblundell & @shellwrites ) #AWW2015

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9781863255653This is escapist Chick Lit. If you’re after the meaning of life please go see the works of Douglas Adams or Monty Python. If you’d like to have a guilty giggle over posh Melbourne socialites then read Gucci Mamas. I have to say I love the name, and all the names of the Cate Kendall books. It really let’s you know that you’re in for a book of high class, high fashion and high drama. And yes, the book does deliver. There are laughs, there is mayhem, there are tragic issues which some of us can’t relate to but do get to live vicariously through for a bit. An absolute, switch your brain off and just be entertained delight. Loved it.

Warning there are some genuine issues faced in this novel some of which you may find upsetting if you have ever had an unsuccessful pregnancy. And despite the fact these characters do seem vapid on the surface you do grow genuinely attached to them, so you will feel for their circumstance. But generally it is a light and entertaining read. Perfect for those ladies who don’t have time to lunch but wish we did. aww-badge-2015