And if that’s not thrilling enough news, you can also have a good squizz at The Next to You Pinterest Board where you’ll find Fun facts, fashion, films, and frivolity from the book.
His milk chocolate eyes were a little on the buggy side. His ears were a tremendous feature, stuck up high on his little head, and he had a mole on his chin. A hair stuck out of that mole. I used to poke it with my fingertip. His hair was so soft.
From the start, he was there, when I first got into the writing scene, when it moved beyond keeping a sporadic journal, or writing letters. I would write and he was there, watching me, hoping at some point that I would get tired and peanut butter would eventuate. He liked to sit beside me, and by beside me I mean he got as close to the edge of the mattress as he could because my desk was right next to the bed. Later, when I moved the bed into another room and turned the front bedroom into my study, he’d hop up on the little couch and have a lie down, keeping his slightly buggy eyes on me as I hammered away at a story, hoping for peanut butter. Or a carrot, or cheese, but mostly for peanut butter.
My Little Buddy, my Budman was my companion for every book I have written. Every book. When I wrote him into Next to You he was 3. Caroline, the book’s heroine needed a companion, one who loved her unconditionally and fiercely. I gave her a Rat Terrier–my Rat Terrier. By the time I had three other books published, and Next to You was with my editor, Budman was almost 16, and he’d gone grey and blind. But he still sat beside me, his clouded, sightless eyes still set in my direction, hoping I’d break for peanut butter. He’s been gone since last August. I miss him, his warm little black and white body, his erect, bat-like ears, his slightly buggy brown eyes framed by a black mask that made him look like a canine version of Batman.
I didn’t realise that when I wrote him into Next to You, all those years ago, that I’d have such a bittersweet memorial to to my dog now. It’s weirdly fitting that Next to You deals with grief and the expectations that surround all that grief does or doesn’t entail, ideas of how one ought to behave when grieving, what’s considered appropriate, what’s considered crazy. Losing a companion animal, a dog, cat, ferret, whatever animal that was a loved part of your family hurts. A lot. The grief isn’t any different than losing a human family member. There is still an expectation of how one ought to behave when grieving, what’s considered appropriate, what’s considered crazy, yet there is also often an expectation that you only “lost a dog” and that you should “Get over it” or just “get another dog.”
Expectations blow as much as the asshats who tell you that you should be grateful that you only lost a dog.
Whether it’s for a human friend or a canine companion you lost, grief is different for everyone. It’s a mystery to why there are expectations around how to grieve and how to act when you grieve. I tried to show that as part of Caroline’s story. Part of her grieving process meant having Batman.
This post is part of my grieving process. It’s been nine months and it still hurts. I’m not ‘over’ losing my dog. I’m not done crying about it. I’m ready to get a another dog, but my husband isn’t. You know, in some way I’m grateful that my little peanut butter-loving dog lives on as Batman in Next to You.
I’ve immortalised him.
Next to You Coming July 25th.
A love of ‘70s Bubblegum pop music isn’t the only unusual thing about William Murphy—being a six-foot-three albino tends to make a man stand out. Will’s life is simple and he likes it that way. But when he meets his new next-door neighbor, complicated begins to look mighty attractive.
Caroline’s left the past behind and is trying to grab life by the balls, which means finding new friends besides her dog, Batman. Will offers her neighborly friendship, and as they bond over old movies, Caroline regains her confidence. Unexpected love blooms. But real life’s not like the movies.
Their cute romantic comedy goes all Fatal Attraction and Will learns that nothing about Caroline is quite the way it looks. His simple life turns more complicated than he could ever imagine.
Shyness is not introversion. There are those who mistake introversion for shyness.
In Next to You (see what I did there? A COVER REVEAL) It’s easy to mistake Caroline for shy. She has a sense of apprehension about moving back to Chicago, feels awkward, displays a lack of comfort, hesitates in social situations — and for good reason. No, I’m not telling you why because spoilers. However Caroline is anything but shy. Caroline is an introvert — like a lot of my fellow authors.
I’m not an introvert. I’m not an extrovert. I leave extrovert to my husband. He draws energy from social interaction. So then, what am I? What is Caroline?
Story time! Last year I went to the Moet and Chandon Black and White Ball. I got all dolled up in strapless black satin, did my hair like Grace Kelly, and put on eye makeup. I even wore a pair of pantyhose that were supposed to give my shapeless, flat ass shape. I looked good and I was ready to have a glamorous evening with men in dinner suits and women in splendid finery.
The fun of going to the ball with my dashing Dr Shrinkee husband lasted seven and a half minutes–the length of time it took us to get from the front of the building, have our photo snapped by some local magazine, and ascend the grand staircase to the ballroom.
Don’t know about you, but the word ballroom fills me with images of high ceilings, chandeliers, a dance floor, banquet tables… Despite the lack of a high ceiling, all those other things were there. Also present in the ballroom were seventy-five bajillion guests. It was wall-to-wall people and three bands, all using giant speakers, meaning it was crowded AND loud. No, wait. It was deafening.
After twenty minutes I was overwhelmed. My husband was IN his social butterfly element.
I’m what you’d call an Ambivert. I’m comfortable with groups and social interaction, but I need time away from the crowd to renew my energy. To be honest, my comfort level with groups reaches its limit at 6 people. I don’t like loud noises. A crush of seventy-five bajillion people and a wall of sound (not the Phil Spector music kind) wiped away my ambivertedness and transformed me into an introvert. It was loud EVERYWHERE. People were everywhere. Even the ladies room was packed. There was no place I could go to restore my psyche. For the rest of the evening, I did the only thing I could to save what Carl Jung would have called my my ‘mental energy’. I stood with my back to the wall, behind a speaker, with tissue stuffed in my ears, a deer in black satin caught in the twinkly, spinning lights of a disco ball. Acquaintances shouted small talk in my face. Nice men in dinner suits tried to get me to dance. People stepped on my feet.
This was an extreme case where I became an introvert, and for the next week, my very extroverted husband had to answer questions or field comments regarding his ‘shy’ wife at the ball.
Again, shyness is not introversion.
While being in such a large crowd of people made me apprehensive, while I was so far out of my comfort zone it surprised my husband, like Caroline. I do not have a social phobia. Sure, my social skill isn’t the greatest, and I can be awkward when there are more than 6 people at a dinner party, but I don’t fear rejection. I don’t care what people think of me. I don’t worry about being humiliated. I do not avoid social contact. I have friends. I enjoy the company of others. I can carry on a conversation. Although my ‘vert’ may shift in some situations, like when there are seventy-five bajillion people, I am not shy.
Neither is Caroline.
Next to You comes out on 25 July. You can read the first chapter on Wattpad for free.
All it took was one song from my music library and there he was, big, very fair, naked, standing in the shower shaving–and singing The Partridge Family’s I Woke Up in Love This Morning.
I saw him so clearly. Everything I needed to know about William Murphy was contained in two minutes and 38 seconds of a well-crafted but manufactured sugar-sweet bit of Bubblegum pop genius.
That moment doesn’t explain William’s albinism except that’s how I saw him and his very essence came down to a love of expensive suits and hook-driven, upbeat, teenybopper tunes from the 60s and 70s. And I knew I had to set him against the backdrop of a romance. That romance is Next to You and it comes out in July.
You might ask ‘What is Bubblegum pop, Sandra?’ or say, ‘Wait, I thought you said you were all about Powerpop, Sandra.”
To answer the latter: I am all about Powerpop, which isn’t as sweet (or saccharine) as Bubblegum pop, but William Murphy is all about Bubblegum pop.
Prepare for a music history lesson:
Intrinsically catchy, sunny, and targeted at a preteen audience –rather than middle aged men–Bubblegum Pop was simple and melodic, the music and lightweight lyrics often about happiness, love, and candy. With repetitive hooks, simple harmonies and simple chords, Bubblegum was often manufactured, created by record producers who hired session musicians—like Andy Kim and Ron Dante, to play and sing the songs.
Often considered to be contrived and production-driven, Bubblegum groups were often given fake names to present the illusion that they were a ‘real band’—The Partridge Family and the Archies, for example. Some groups like The Monkees were real musicians brought together by producers, but played as real band. Occasionally a single artist would provide vocals for several groups, such as Ron Dante’s lead vocals for The Archies (some of you might remember The Archies cartoon) and The Cuff Links. Other artists like David Cassidy (who went on to later solo fame) and Shirley Jones appeared on The Partridge Family television series, and provided vocals for the eponymous musical act, while supported by session musicians.
Most Bubblegum bands were one-hit wonders, however, Bubblegum has a left long legacy of songs reflect the upbeat, catchy simplicity of the music and memorable titles such as Sugar Sugar, Yummy Yummy Yummy, Hanky Panky, Dizzy, Mony Mony, I Think I love You, and memorable acts like The Ohio Express, Tommy James and the Shondells, The Partridge Family, The Monkees, The Osmonds, The Jackson 5, The Bay City Rollers, The Sweet and so many more.
William is simple, upbeat, sweet — naturally I have a playlist for Next to You–and it’s full of William Murphy’s beloved Bubblegum pop tunes.
I bet you’re dying to know what’s on it.
By the way, THIS is Ron Dante, who gave a marvellous voice to cartoon Archie Andrews’s lead vocals. And what a totally bitchin’ sunny and catchy song it is. I bet you’ll hum it all day.
There are times I stand upon my soapbox and roll out the words about stereotypes. Usually I discuss ageist and sexist stereotypes of women. It’s easy for me to do that because I’m a middle aged woman and I see the rampant sexist and ageist bullshit all around me, but truth be told I’ve been championing women over 40 before I was even 40. I’ve been at it for so long that it’s second nature for me to be anti-ageist and anti-sexist, for me to present an accurate portrayal of a woman in her 40s, 50’s and beyond in the stories I write. But this time, in writing my forthcoming novel Next to You, I faced three additional challenges with stereotypes.
Challenge One, the hero: William Murphy is in his mid fifties.
I tend to focus on the older heroine, but OK, right. He’s middle-aged. Boom. I’m all over that mid-life thing. I’ve got that covered. I know how to do that. He’s a human being and I tell his story. Simple. Only…my battle with a persistent stereotype comes from how William Murphy looks.
Challenge Two: William Murphy has albinism. In other words, he’s albino. Uh-huh. How do I present a realistic very un-stereotypical portrayal of an individual with albinism unlike all the usual bullshitty evil albinos and bullshitty comic relief albinos, and bullshitty magical albinos one usually finds onscreen and in fiction?
There was a very nice man named Mike in the UK. Mike’s beautiful daughter Bianca has albinism. Mike and Bianca were both very kind in answering my questions and teaching me about albinism. As I wrote Next to You, I tried to be as accurate as possible while presenting an “Adult Contemporary Romance” (sounds better than a Mature romance). I also tried to be respectful of people with albinism. And now that the book is about to come out in July I am having a quiet panic attack, which for me means I pour a cup of coffee and only drink half whilst staring at my computer screen thinking, ‘what will Mike and Bianca think of me if I really fucked this up?‘
Challenge Three: Mental illness. How does one write mental illness and address the stereotypes and stigma associated with mental illness in a romance novel??
It helps (I hope) that I have a shrink husband and know lots of mental health professionals. I consulted them–and others who have experienced mental illness–for insight. As I wrote, I made sure to point out the stereotypes and stigma associated with mental illness. I avoided Fatal Attraction boiling bunny mental illness and Jane Eyre Mr Rochester-keeps-his-looney-wife-Bertha-Mason-in-the-attic mental illness. I tried to be accurate, respectful, and have a sense of humour.
Whether I pulled off these challenges will come to light in July, when Next to You is released. Maybe by then I’ll have drunk a full cup of coffee.
Just when I think Hollywood is starting to ‘get it’ I come across a bone-headed article that proves otherwise. When in being considered for the role of ‘the wife” in The Wolf of Wall St, Olivia Wilde, who was 28 at the time, was deemed to be ‘too old.’ A 28 year-old actress was considered too advanced her years to play that ol’ standard role of ‘the wife to a nearly 40 year-old actor. Hooray for sexism. Hooray for Ageism.
Hollywood Old is now 28.
We’re all aware of Hollywood Old, but, as, I keep observing in the industry, there’s also Romance Fiction Old. While Hollywood Old develops at 28, in romance fiction the continuum of old appears to be on some kind of sliding scale. Honest, there is a sliding scale of old.
I belong to a Facebook group that champions ‘older’ heroines in romance fiction. This is a vibrant group started by an author who, like me, is weary of the idea that reaching a certain age means women are invisible, heartless, and dead below the waist. The group, Seasoned Romance (fab name, innit?) consists of authors and readers who want to challenge the status quo of Hollywood Old and Romance Fiction Old. The thing is within this group of like-minded challengers the sliding scale of old is obvious. What is considered ‘mature’ shifts. There are members who think that 35 is mature. There are members (like me) who think that any age over 40 is the real mature, particularly when I have no trouble finding a 35 year-old heroine in romance, but struggle to when it comes to finding women 40 and beyond depicted as leads in romance fiction.
While mid-twenties remains the age norm for a romance heroine, there are heroines pushing 40—but few romance heroines have crossed that magical number that leads to invisibility. The 40-something heroine is becoming more popular (YAY!), more authors are writing heroines who have hit 40, or are just over 40, yet those books are not easy to find, which is why I have my list of Contemporary Romance Older Couples and keep adding to it.
Have you forgotten about my BOOK LIST? Keep your suggestions for the list coming, as many of you have—but please, no Women’s Fiction. I want romance, where the love story is central and the leads are both over 40.
Just spit-balling, here, but I suspect this sliding scale may be related to the age of the writer/reader. The variation is part of looking at age through the eyes of youth—when you’re 16 anyone 30 is ‘old’, and 30 year olds having sex is so gross, but once you reach 30, you wonder how you ever thought 30 was old because it’s 50 that is really old, and people in their 50s don’t have sex because they’re almost dead, and that’s so gross, and so forth… Hello ageism.
What do you think? The sliding scale; I’m curious to find out if there is a generally accepted idea of ‘old’ in romance fiction. Do you set a limit to what is ‘old’ depending on how old you are, or do you, like me, think that people, women fall in love at all ages, and those stories deserve to be told? If romance publishing is discussing diversity across the board, there needs to be dialogue regarding sexism and ageism in romance fiction, doesn’t there?
You may say I’m simply bellyaching. You may say, Look, Sandra, it’s happening. Sally Field is 69 and playing a romantic lead in Hello, My Name is Doris. That’s way, way , way past Hollywood Old! Be grateful Hollywood said yes to a 69 year-old actress having a younger man love as her interest.
Yes, I’m grateful that an amazing actress other than Meryl Streep is playing a woman of a certain age.
Yeah, kudos for Sally being THE OVER 40 LEAD! I love Sally and she needs a hell of a lot more roles. However, did Doris have to be an ageist stereotype, did she have to be just another version of kooky older lady? Okay, okay. I’ll leave that for another time.
But COME ON.
Are you a reader?
Are you reading RIGHT NOW?
Well, of course you are.
So why aren’t you playing Shallowreader BINGO?
Anyone can play. And playing is so easy!
All you gotta do is READ, and You can read ANYTHING YOU WANNA– Romance, science fiction, non fiction, the back of a box of cereal, operating instructions for a Bosch Rotak 32R-r Electric lawn Mower, picture books, song lyrics. subtitles–ANYTHING!! All you gotta do is READ and fill in the very pretty Bingo (was his name-o) form below.
It’s FREE! All the cool kids on Twitter play! Also, it’s so much fun to shout out BINGO! I should know because I won February’s Shallowreader Bingo.
I dare you try to guess my contributions on the March game card.
Writing takes time. Lots of time.
Getting published takes time. Lots of time.
Submitting queries and manuscripts takes time. Lots of time.
This book’s taken time. Lots of time.
And by lots of time, I mean this books’s taken me 12 years to get accepted for publication.
This doesn’t mean the book that took me 12 years book is published. It means it took me 12 years that consisted of 9 months of writing it, a week where a well-respected and very dear author friend of mine read it and thought it was better than the first book I wrote (Bless you, Megan for getting through that piece of shite), a year of sitting on it, a week of my very lovely one-time critique partner Gabrielle reading it, and 9 years of sitting in a box under the bed before a writers’ weekend at Rachel Bailey’s house made me think to drag it out to see if it could be resurrected, followed by rewriting, editing and rewriting, and submitting and pitching, and submitting pitching, and submitting until….
Yes, kids, my Next Big Thing is about a motorcycle-riding albino hero who loves 60s Bubble Gum Pop. it’s called Next to You. Don’t know about a release date, seeing as I just got the ‘we’d be delighted to accept Next to You for publication’ email, but you know publishing is all about waiting.
And I can’t wait for you to meet William.
The current buzzword is diversity. There’s been discussion about the diversity of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender and age discrimination in Hollywood. There’s been discussion regarding diversity in romance fiction as well. In an open letter to its members, the Romance Writers of America has addressed the importance of the romance industry being diverse and inclusive of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and disabilities.
Kudos to the RWA and thanks for coming to the party. Just one thing with your diverse list. You forgot to be inclusive of age.
Are you over 40 and feeling invisible in romance? Don’t. Someone’s thinking about you.****
You all know how I have books and short stories published and out there.
You know how all my books and short stories all feature heroines and heroes over 40.
You know how I blog regularly about grown ups in romance and run something I call the ‘Mature Content Stockpile‘ on this website. I need to add to that stockpile, and I’m looking to YOU THE READER for help because AGE DIVERSITY MATTERS!
I have been wanting to collect a list of romance novels that feature ‘mature’ ROMANCE Heroines and Heroes, specifically Heroines and Heroes over 40 in CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE. This is because of how contemporary society views older women, places them in stereotypes roles, or renders them invisible
Let me be clear: I am not interested in couples under 40. I am not interested in couples who are secondary characters. I want characters who are IN their forties, fifties, or beyond, characters who are the LEADS! I am not interested in ‘women’s fiction’ or ‘romantic elements.’ I am looking for romance, where the love story is the focus of the novel, rather than a mere piece of the tale. I want HEA or HFN.
The All About Romance website has a list of Older Couples books that needs updating. I modified the AAR list and included it my PhD research. The AAR list got me started, and includes novels where characters over 40 appear as secondary characters, which I include on my booklist because those secondary romance (and short stories that feature an older couple), form a foundation where older has been ‘acceptable’ as a side tale, however, I will not include secondary romance from this point on. There is a list on Goodreads Best older hero AND older heroine romance books (the main couple has to be over 40!) and it is FAB, but it does include books some consider Romance as there is no happy resolution or Happily For Now, e.g. Kazuo Ishiguru’s Remains of the Day (a book I love SO HARD).
Allow me to reiterate. For the purposes of continuing my book list, I am only interested in Contemporary romance novels where the leads are over 40. I include my list at the bottom of this post.
If ANYONE can give me more examples of ROMANCE FICTION that feature heroines and heroes over 40, please let me know by leaving a comment on this post!
****EXCITING NOTE! As of May 4 2017, Entangled has put out a call for romance fiction WITH LEADS WHO ARE OLDER!
A Basic Renovation (2013) by Sandra Antonelli
For Your Eyes Only (2013) by Sandra Antonelli
Driving in Neutral (2014) by Sandra Antonelli
Next to You (2016) by Sandra Antonelli
Band of Gold (2014) by Maggie Christensen
Triumph (2017) By Cecilia London (Bellator 6)
Out of Control (2002) by Suzanne Brockmann (secondary romance)
Breaking Point (2005) by Suzanne Brockmann (secondary romance)
Hot Dish (2006) by Connie Brockway
For Auld Lang Syne (1991) by Pamela Browning
Eve’s Wedding Knight (1999) by Kathleen Creighton
I’m Your Man (2007) by Susan Crosby
Anyone But You (1996) by Jennifer Crusie
Fast Women (2001) by Jennifer Crusie
Full Bloom (1994) by Stacey Dennis
Fanning the Flames (2015) by Victoria Dahl (novella)
Talk Me Down (2011) by Victoria Dahl
There Is a Season (1999) by Margot Early
Comfort and Joy in Santa’s Little Helpers (1995) by Patricia Gardner Evans
Luring Lucy in Hot and Bothered (2001) by Lori Foster
Fall from Grace (2007) by Kristi Gold
The Star King (2000) by Susan Grant
Hot Wheels and High Heels (2007) by Jane Graves
Contracted: Corporate Wife (2005) by Jessica Hart
Marriage Reunited (2006) by Jessica Hart
Colorado Golden Sunrise (2017) by Jill Haymaker
Love for the Matron (1962) by Elizabeth Houghton
Where Destiny Plays by Regina Kammer (erotic)
The Westerman Affair by Regina Kammer (erotic)
The Second Chance Neighbors series by Josie Kerr
Only Yesterday (1989) by Syrell Rogovin Leahy
Dissident (2015) by Cecilia London (Book 1 Bellator Saga; characters age to mid 50s)
Conscience (2015) by Cecilia London (Bellator 2)
Sojourn (2015) by Cecilia London (Bellator 3)
Phoenix (2016) by Cecilia London (Bellator 4)
Rhapsody (201) by Cecilia London (Bellator 5)
Cold Tea on a Hot Day (2001) by Curtiss Ann Matlock
Love in a Small Town (1997) by Curtiss Ann Matlock
Stitch in Snow (1984) by Anne McCaffrey
Carved in Stone by Donna McDonald
Never Too Late by Donna McDonald
The July Guy (2019) by Natasha Moore
The Standby Guy (2019) by Natasha Moore
The Goodbye Guy (2020) by Natasha Moore
Suburban Renewal (2004) by Pamela Morsi
The Fourth Wall (1979) by Barbara Paul
Down in New Orleans (1996) by Heather Graham Pozzessere
No More Wasted Time (2014) by Beverly Preston
Black Rose (2005) by Nora Roberts
A Piece of Heaven (2003) by Barbara Samuel
Count on Me (2001) by Kathryn Shay
Promises to Keep (2002) by Kathryn Shay
Sweet Hush (2003) by Deborah Smith
Bygones (1992) by LaVyrle Spencer
The Hellion (1989) by LaVyrle Spencer
Home Song (1995) by LaVyrle Spencer
Barefoot Bay & Timeless series by Roxanne St. Claire
Nerd in Shining Armor (2003) by Vicki Lewis Thompson (secondary romance)
Without Saying A Word by Amada J Ward
The Bed & Breakfast Man by Amanda J Ward
Wings of A Dove by Amanda J Ward
It Must Be Love by Amanda J Ward
Champagne and Catnip by Amanda J Ward.
The Love Game (2018) by Maggie Wells
Play For Keeps (2018) by Maggie Wells
One Fine Day (1994) by Theresa Weir
Snowfall at Willow Creek (2010) by Susan Wiggs
At Your Service (2018) by Sandra Antonelli
Your Sterling Service (novella) by Sandra Antonelli
Forever In Your Service (2019) by Sandra Antonelli
For Your Eyes Only (2014) by Sandra Antonelli
True to Your Service (2020) Sandra Antonelli
Next to You (2016) By Sandra Antonelli
The Will by Kristen Ashley
The Long Way Home (2010) by Jean Brashear
A New Lu (2005) by Laura Castoro
Bachelor’s Puzzle (1992) by Ginger Chambers
The Sand Dollar by Maggie Christensen
The Dreamcatcher by Maggie Christensen
Broken Threads by Maggie Christensen
The Life She Deserves (2019) by Maggie Christensen
The Life She Chooses (2019) by Maggie Christensen
The Life She Finds (2020) by Maggie Christensen
This Time Forever (2017) by May Cooney Glazer
French Twist (1998) by Margot Dalton
Remember Love (1992) by Stacey Dennis
Return to Love (1993) by Martha Gross
Rode Hard by Lorelei James (erotic romance)
Turning Twelve-Thirty by Sandy James
We Were Gods by Moriah Jovan
Hot Blood (1996) by Charlotte Lamb
Choose Me (2016) by Natasha Moore
Rescue Me (2016) by Natasha Moore
Lucky Me by (2017) Natasha Moore
The 90 Day Rule by Diane Nelson
Heaven, Texas (1995) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (secondary romance)
This Heart of Mine (2001) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (secondary romance)
Natural Born Charmer (2007) By Susan Elizabeth Phillips (secondary romance)
The Women of Willow Bay series by Nan Reinhart
Thunder Basin by Nya Rawlins (western Rom-Suspense)
Familiar Stranger (2001) by Sharon Sala
The Best Medicine (1993) by Janet Lane Walters
A Taste of Heaven by Penny Watson
Three Little Words by Maggie Wells
A Will and A Way by Maggie Wells
A Bolt From the Blue by Maggie Wells
Tomorrow’s Promise (1992) by Clara Wimberly
The Vow (2008) by Rebecca Winters
The Duke of Olympia Meets (2016) His Match by Juliana Gray (he’s 74 she’s 50+)
Julie and Romeo (2000) by Jeanne Ray
Eleanor and Abel (2003) by Annette Sanford
Apples Should be Red by Penny Watson, novella (60s/50s)
Trust Me on This (1997) by Jennifer Crusie (secondary romance)
Late Fall (2016) by Noelle Adams
The Duke of Olympia Meets (2016) His Match by Juliana Gray
Colorado Winter Moon (2017) by Jill Haymaker (60s/70s)
Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure (2019) by Courtney Milan (f/f)
Oh YEAH MAMA! I won a game that wasn’t a trivia contest!
I just took the February round of ShallowreaderBINGO (was his name OH!), which I have to say is way more exciting than winning a trivia contest or winning the meat tray at the Italian Club because:
I’ve been playing the Shallowreader’s reading Bingo all year. I got close to winning last month, but I wasn’t quite able to do it because I only read four books. This month, I had six going. I thought I’d get shot down by Lust and/or Netflix and Chill since most of my reading selection wasn’t what you’d consider romance fiction.
The squares I took were:
A Flower Amongst Flowers—that one was easy. I re-read S. Morgenstern’s (William Goldman) The Princess Bride and HAWOAH Pwincess Buttercup! Get it? Buttercup—a flower—the most beautiful woman in the land marries that son of a bitch Prince Humperdinck and is saved by Farm Boy/The Dread Pirate Roberts Westley in The Kissing BOOK!
Reading Flagellation: I took this to mean a book that was painful to read. And I am sorry to say it was Susan Donovan’s Sea of Love. It was my second attempt to read this book. I failed the first time after three chapters. Or maybe it was two. Anyhow, I started again and finished it, but only because I kept the book in Dr Shrinkee’s car, and read it whenever Dr Shrinkee said he’d only be 5 minutes, and was more like 20.
Wildcard: This free space was a FREE SPACE and FREE IS GOOOOOD!
Ethically Iffy: Mary Roach’s sublime nonfiction book Stiff The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. The book discusses the “good deeds of cadavers,” advances in medicine and science, and how modern day cadavers are treated with respect. It’s really quite amusing and eye-opening about what happens to people who donate their body to science. However, one chapter is all about “Crimes of Anatomy” where doctors resorted to, well, ethically iffy means to procure cadavers.
Green: Never saw this one coming. I started reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s annotated autobiography Pioneer Girl. The third or fourth chapter in, Ma got a library book from Sunday school and read a little poem to Half-pint and Mary. Hey, look Sandra, it’s VERSE, only I knew there was no way I was going to get that line with Verse, seeing as it was in the same row above Lust and Book Boyfriend, but holy crap, Ma read the word GREEN in that poem and….BINGO!
Come on and play along, read along with the Shallowreader’s Book Bingo because reading and shouting BINGO is so much more fun than a Meat Tray!