The 3 or 5 Hats of Sandra Antonelli

hatsjpgLast week was a busy one. Like Bartholomew Cubbins, I wore a lot of hats– not quite 500 hats, but  3 or 5, which is a lot of hats when you’re a little over 5 feet tall.

My first hat was a holiday hat. Dr Shrinkee and I flew to Adelaide–a city in South Australia that was NOT settled by convicts transported for stealing a loaf of bread. We rented (or hired as we say here) a Toyota Something Silver Sedan with a giant trunk (boot) far too large for the ONE piece of luggage we shared, and drove around wine country where I took lots of photos of bees doing their bee thing because bees are awesome.Bee1

The holiday hat was put away when I went to attend the Romance Writers of Australia Conference in the seaside Adelaide suburb of Glenelg. I was at the conference to do the sort of stuff writers do at writers conferences such as meet romance industry types, like agents and editors. Hat No. 2 was kind of something of a fedora that I did a nervous Jimmy Stewart-esque fumble with while I pitched At Your Service, the story of a butler, her boss, her dead husband, a missing trust fund, and a deadly toilet brush to an editor at a well-known romance publishing house.

I wasn’t half as nervous about the pitch as I was the fact I had interviewed the editor back in 2012, when I was in the middle of my doctoral research on why publishers wrinkled their noses at older romance heroines. The mind-blowing thing about the pitch was the fact the editor remembered me. The other mind-blowing thing is that she wanted to read the full manuscript about the butler, her boss, her dead husband, a missing trust fund, and a deadly toilet brush.

The third hat was one I shared with Dr Shrinkee as we presented a a workshop together at the Romance Writers of Australia Ain’t Love Grand conference.  The workshop was titled  Personality Goes a Long Way: Is Your Bad Boy a Psychopath or A Dude with ‘tude? As you can imagine, what with Dr Shrinkee being a psychologist at a WRITERS conference, the workshop was all about crafting characters with believable personalities–good guys and bad guys.

Hat No. 4 was one of those English style floppy bonnets university graduates and academic types in the UK and Australia wear because I presented an academic paper at the University of Love conference that ran concurrently with the RWAus’ Ain’t Love Grand.  You know my paper was ALL ABOUT placing women over 40 as protagonists in romance fiction– the stuff that I discovered in my doctoral research, the stuff I go on about ALL THE TIME.  The paper was titled The (Saggy) Bottom Line: Women of a Certain Age and Romance Fiction.

Aside from speakiBee2JPGng a little too fast (I was excited) and not being able to hear the awesome clip from Amy Shumer’s Last Fuckable Day (Go watch it RIGHT NOW), I did rather well. I was surprised by the number of questions I fielded. I still sometimes think that I’m shouting into the wind about ageism, stereotypes, and the need for broader representation of women of a certain in romance fiction. However, the questions I was asked provide more evidence that readers want to see themselves, or people like them, represented in romance fiction. I was very HAPPBEE to learn that.

See what I did there?

Side note: I am grateful that Kat from BookThingo kindly tweeted bits from my presentation. Thank you for that Kat. Thanks also to Kaetrin from Kaetrin’s Musings and Dear Author for giving a wonderful wrap-up of the RWAus Ain’t Love Grand and University of Love conferences, as well as mentioning our ongoing differences of opinion on whether Gone With the Wind is a romance or not–I say yes, Kaetrin says NOOOOOOooOooOo!

I never saw hat 5 coming. It was half hidden by the ENORMOUS mountain of laundry and dust bunnies that had accumulated after a week away from home. I am happy to say I washed (an ironed) everything and vanquished vicious dust bunnies like a badass in a laundry drudge’s bonnet.

Thirty-one Days of Halloweenie Day 5: A Fun-size Peanut Butter Halloweenie

reese-miniMini, snack-size, FUN-size whatever you call the chocolates or candy that comes in the bags of 100 pieces, the size you’re supposed to buy for handing to Halloween Trick-or-treaters, I was convinced that those bags of chocolate joy were named after me.

Reesesknow12

Mini-me, AKA Fun-sized, second from right

Well, not convinced exactly.

I did believe, at age 12 (when I moved to the USA,) with a 12 year-old’s logic, that the Halloween bags of Reese’s Peanut butter Cups, were made for smaller people who were fun.

This of course meant the one-bite peanut butter cups were expressly for me, seeing as I was small, and you know fun. This was, of course, before they began marketing the Halloween peanut butter cups in a pumpkin shape.

I am mini, not pumpkin shaped.

The love I have of peanut butter is obvious in the books I write; the creamy delight  makes an appearance in all my books. This  has a lot to do with, not so much my adoration for peanut butter, as much as it does that for years I could not get what I considered good peanut butter in Australia–unless I paid a small fortune and purchased it from a fantastic little import store in Melbourne. I PeanutBuddyconfess to doing that on a regular basis.

As a result of paying such a high price for my fix, I would ration my peanut butter. I’d keep a careful eye on how much was left in the jar. I would get cranky at Dr Shrinkee when he’d smear MY beloved peanut butter on HIS toast. So fixated was I on peanut butter, I’d wax lyrical, and find myself creating characters and scenes that touched on my love of peanut butter.

Mostly I’d worry that my 2 pound jar of Jif wouldn’t last to the importer’s next shipment.

Those days are behind me now, thanks to Costco and the jars Skippy readily available. These jars are not snack sized or mini, but always, like me, Fun-sized.

If you like, you can read more about characters and WHOLE stories inspired by my love of peanut butter and find them here.Sandrabooks

 

A Day in the Writing Life of Sandra Antonelli– That’s Me

I bet you’re ALL so desperate to know about a day in my writing life. Hands up. Who thinks cookies and coffee play a part? Hop on over to the RWAus blog and see more and find out if you’re right.

Let’s give a good coffee fuelled morning to Sandra Antonelli, whose book Driving in Neutral is out now!

Antonelli pink sweaterIn one or two sentences, please tell us what genre you write in and what made you decide that particular one is your calling.
I write contemporary, smart-assed romantic comedy for grown ups who aren’t really very grown up at all, which is due to my smartassed nature. Although, I do have a dark side…

Romance Writers of Australia

Let’s give a good coffee fuelled morning to Sandra Antonelli, whose book Driving in Neutral is out now!

Antonelli pink sweaterIn one or two sentences, please tell us what genre you write in and what made you decide that particular one is your calling.
I write contemporary, smart-assed romantic comedy for grown ups who aren’t really very grown up at all, which is due to my smartassed nature. Although, I do have a dark side…

What time of the day do you write? Are you a morning, night-owl or anytime writer?
I get most of my writing done from 8am to 1 pm, at the office I manage. I got in this habit when I was working on my PhD in romance fiction. Basically, I have three jobs, I manage the psychology practice we own, I write romance fiction, and make my husband lunch. I have a lovely view of swaying palms…

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We’re Talking Romance!

If you’re not doing anything this Friday night, and you’re down Sydney way, (that’s Sydney, Australia) why not drop by the Ultimo Library for a night of:

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SEX, LOVE AND PASSION- THE APPEAL OF ROMANCE NOVELS

Kick off your Friday night talking about Sex, Passion and Love with our romance panel discussion. Join Mills & Boon author Annie West, book blogger, Kat Mayo (from BookThingo) and me, along with Ultimo’s romance reading librarians, such as the extraordinary VaVeros (from the Shallow Reader), in discussing romance fiction in the 21st century.

Love, passion and romance have inspired authors throughout the ages from Homer to Shakespeare, Jane Austen to Nora Roberts. Whether you go for Mr Darcy, Vampire Love, or cougars on the prowl, join our readers for a night of Happily Ever After. A free romance book will be provided on the night!

It’s a FREE event, but bookings are essential

Friday 11 February from 18.15PM to 19.00PM

Arrive at 6.00pm for a 6.15pm start.

Ultimo Community Centre, 40 William Henry Street, Corner Harris Street, Ultimo 2007

For further details check out the link: whatson.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/events/9488-sex-love-and-passion-the-appeal-of-romance-novels