April with a touch of May (via Shallowreader

My hat’s off to the librarian who swears like an dinky-di Australian and talks about female comedians dropping the balls when it comes to being funny, being crass, and being an ageist stereotype of ‘what not to wear.’

Vassiliki Veros and I met and bonded on Twitter, before we met IRL. I love her. She’s a PhD candidate and, well, a librarian who reads a lot and loves, loves, LOVES books and reading.

She’s got it in her head that heroes would rive hatchbacks–by choice, but I don’t hold that against her. In this post she talks about deselecting books in the library (I’ll let you read her post to find out what that means), being in a reading slump–which happens to everyone I know who has done a PhD, myself included–presenting a paper at the upcoming  Genre Worlds conference, going to Canada & the USA  for the Romance Readers Meetup, where she’ll meet MORE acepants twitter folk (I’m totally jealous), gives an overview of what she is managing to read, gives us a cool pic of herself wearing AND ROCKIN’ pigtails with a pussy hat, before she gets down to a review of seeing comedians bitch about women of a certain age wearing pigtails.

Check out Vassiliki’s Shallowreader blog post.


I just realised that it has been a while since I wrote in my own shallows so I am going to use April’s Bingo sheet and SuperWendy’s super convenient TBR challenge topic of “Something Different” to describe my last 2 months of life as well as my reading:

Now (contemporary)

I have been incredibly busy. After a 12 month break, I am now teaching Digital Literacies at my uni’s pathway college. The content is really engaging and it is proving to be quite a different teaching space to what I am used to.

Dark Apollo

I continue to work twice a week at a public library in a ‘burb far far far away from my home. I am in awe of the excellent study culture in the community I work for. It is such a buzz seeing youth so deeply engaged in their studies. I am also a deselector for my…

View original post 1,916 more words

The Hippest New Thing?

Photo credit: Jessie Romaneix © / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: Jessie Romaneix © / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

March 12, 2015: Time Magazine’s Sarah Begley discusses How the Romantic Comedy for Senior Citizens Became Film’s Hippest Genre .The Time piece states, “that these stories are usually more grounded in the real world than many of their younger counterparts,” and that movies that show the diverse experiences of senior citizens is a good thing, both for the viewers who recognize themselves in the aging faces of Bill Nighy and Judi Dench in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and for younger audiences who can learn to see the elderly as the multifaceted people they are.”

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and its sequel do well to present mature-age in a romantic comedy, yet the really awesome thing would be to have Rom Coms for the over 40 crowd where sex IS a regular part of the narrative, where older adult sexual intimacy is shown as healthy, rather than a punchline. That is, there are no jokes about erectile dysfunction, Viagra or anything that views ageing as a running gag (as was the case with ‘old’ buddies Michael Douglas-Robert DeNiro meeting up in the movie Last Vegas) or a disease. Sexual intimacy lasts longer (no Viagra joke intended) than a few decades, and if we are mature enough (and I mean mature in the ‘we are all adults here’ way) to show BDSM relationships (even toned down ones) and explicit sex scenes on screen, then aren’t we also adult enough to view accurate portrayals of mature sexuality on screen as well?

Now, if we could translate ‘film’s hippest next genre’ to fiction, particularly to romance fiction, then we could about a real trend worth applause.



But wait. Is the mature-aged romance novel a trend?  On 8 March 2015, in a piece titled Forget Bridget Jones, divorce comedy is the new romantic fictionHannah Furness of The Telegraph reports that Man Booker Prize Nominee David Nicholls, believes that stories of unconventional families and romance in older age are likely to become more common to reflect “huge cultural change.

In the words of Matthew McConaughey ”Well, all right, all right, all right, all riiiiight!  In fact, Nicholls says that he wrote a protagonist to defy the stereotypes of middle-aged men in love. Well, gee, that sounds familiar, only I write about middle-aged women in love.


Thirty-one Days of Halloweenie Day 31: NEWSFLESH! THE RANDOM BOOK GIVEAWAY!

multipbudHowdy Halloweenies!

Welcome to the bottom of the pumpkin! I’m all outta candy and pumpkin pie, and Halloween blog posts, but I still have goodies to giveaway.

No, it’s not a trick, it’s totally a treat. It’s a treat for those of you who love Halloween and it’s a treat for those of you wouldn’t want to touch Halloween, even if you’re wearing an Ebloa-rated HAZMAT suit.

Today (31 Oct 14) from 8:30am AustralianEST/6:30pm US EST) to tomorrow (1 Nov 14) 8:30am AustralianEST/6:30pm US EST,  I’m giving away RANDOM copies of my smartassed rom coms for grown-ups and peanut butter lovers.  In the next 24 hours you could win e copies of Driving in Neutral, For Your Eyes Only, or A Basic RenovationSandrabooks

Here’s what you do: Leave a comment (and this is SO TOTALLY EASY) about your favourite candy. Yep. Tell me what your favourite candy is and WHY you love it so. I’ll choose winners at random. Be sure to include your email address so I can contact you when you win. If you post anonymously I can’t contact you and call you ‘WINNER.’

candycornySee? No doorbells ringing, no kids knocking. No pumpkins, no Draculas, no kids dressed like Olaf from Frozen coming to your door. It’s simply HALLOWEEN MADNESS! Nothing scary about this random giveaway–except that it is scarily easy to WIN.

Thirty-one Days of Halloweenie Day 26: I Dare You To Eat This

SandrabooksCookies and peanut butter. They are my downfall. I love them. I put them in A Basic Renovation, For Your Eyes Only, and Driving in Neutral.  I am always on the lookout for new cookies, especially when it comes to holidays. In my great search for the ultimate cookie1Pumpkin-free Halloween cookie I could share with my Australian friends and family—because, if you don’t recall, Aussies aren’t much for sweet spiced pumpkin, and prefer it roasted with onions, garlic and potatoes—I came across a recipe for… Halloween Cat Poop Cookies.

Yes, You read that correctly.

I also came across Halloween Cat Poop Cookies II. And Cat Poop Cookies III.

Note the artfully placed scoop

Note the artfully placed scoop

Honest. You can find the recipes from All Recipes here.

Now, before your stomach turds—TURNS, I mean turns, the bar-cookie, or slice as we’d call it in Oz, does not actually contain feline doo-doo. Number one is a mix of honey, butter, unsweetened cocoa powder and a wheat bran cereal.

catpoo2Number two (tee hee hee) has honey, molasses, a mix of spices and the addition of Ramen noodles, for uh, added bulk I guess.

Cat poop cookie number 3 skips the molasses, includes the wholewheat flour, and adds in a wheat and barley ‘nugget-type’ cereal, for, let’s say ‘regularity.’

Holy smokes, kids, I know the photos sure ain’t appealing, but as a catpoo3Halloween cookie they sure are terrifying. And perfect.

The terror, that’s what the point of a haunted house is, right? Kids love the BOO! Kids Love to scream. Kids are ready to have the living culinary crap scared out of them. There’s the Halloween Bowl of Bloody worms (spaghetti with tomato sauce), the Bowl of Pirate Eyeballs (red or black grapes) and Freaky Fingers (Hot dogs wrapped in pasty), so TRY THE CAT POOP COOKIE!

If you dare…

I’m sure you’ve figure out by now that Halloween and Cat Poop Cookies IV, my own addition to the CP Cookie hall of fame, are in a Next to You, the book I’m currently editing. I’ve skipped the molasses and added in peanut butter, but not the crunchy kind.


Thirty-one Days of Halloweenie Day 25: Bek Turner Talks Pyschos and Ironing

SandrabooksI like smartass. I write smartass. I write smartass novels like Driving in Neutral, For Your Eyes Only and A Basic Renovation. I write smart-mouthed, smartassed heroines like Olivia, Willa, and Lesley.OldAd-wowe-e

I like Halloween

I like smartasses and I like Bek Turner because she’s a smartass who likes Halloween and hates ironing.

Halloween was never on my radar. Only in the recent years, with all the spruiking from the shops (Buy this mask! Buy this costume! Buy these lollies!) , has it really bek-profile_2come to my attention. Not that I haven’t been very aware of the holiday. In fact, it’s often the theme of the movies I turn to when my well of inspiration has run dry. That, or when I have to do the ironing.

I love to write dark fantasy stories, and revisiting old horror classics provide great inspiration. Naturally, some of the best movies arChweene based around Halloween and of course, one of my favourites is the John Carpenter classic Halloween.
Grrr! Ironing!

Who doesn’t love a psycho in a mask movie? Though I stress I’m talking about the classic versions. I’m not that keen on the modern, gritty versions of the horror genre, where it seems like everyone ends up dying gruesomely. Not nice! Not nice! And if you’re looking for some recommendations of great spooky movies to watch this Halloween:

Trick R Treat: Four interwoven tales about one spooky Halloween night! Very Trtentertaining.Petsem

Pet Sematary: Stephen King! Zombie cats!(and zombie kids, Bek. Zombie kids saying “I played with Mommy, now I want to play with youuuu”. –Sandra)

The Exorcist: Terrifyingly brilliant! Watch through your exorfingers!


But rest assured, my books, Chaos Born and Chaos Bound, keep to horror killer rules. More or less. My heroine isn’t exactly a blushing virgin, but a cranky bitch with a heart of gold who fights the hordes of evil. If she can’t drink them under the table first.

chaos-born_cvrYou can find a copy of Chaos Born here

And Chaos Bound herebound

Rebekah lives in sunny Queensland, Australia. An avid writer since she could scrawl on her bedroom walls, she has progressed from rainbow unicorn tales to stories of dark fantasy with lashings of romance and a sprinkling of horror.

Her vices include in-depth critiques of B grade action and horror movies and buying stationery she doesn’t need.



Thirty-one Days of Halloweenie Day 24: No One Gnomes Halloween Like Rachel Bailey

Eight more days, Kids! Eight more days til the pumpkin drops! In addition to all those lovely peanut-Sandrabooksbutter cups you bought to hand out to Halloween trick-or-treaters, why not save those for yourself and give the treat of an e-book? You know, like A Basic Renovation, For Your Eyes Only and Driving in Neutral? Dentists, those watching their waistlines, and readers would LOVE YOU!

Or you could give them a copy of Rachel Bailey’s Cover Story, a romantic comedy tale of love and gnomicide.Yes. GNOMICIDE.

I’m assuming by now that you’re ready for Halloween. You’ve put up the decorations, ordered your costume, purchased the candy, planned your tricks. You’ve probably even found the perfect costume for your dogs and cats. You’re all set.Rachel3

But what about those other little members of your household – your garden gnomes? Those little guys don’t want to miss out on all the fun.

(Hang on, did someone just say they don’t have any gnomes in their garden? Get thee to the local store! You’ll never look back after your first gnome.)

There are two ways to get into the Gnomey Halloween spirit.

GnomeZombieFirst – the easiest – you can purchase a gnome who’s already in the Halloween mood. The interwebs are full of zombie gnomes, and other variations on the theme.

The second way is by far the most fun – dress your own gnomes. Not only is this guaranteed to be fun for all the family, but you can undo your work after Halloween and get them ready for Christmas. Bonus!

So now you’ve decided to make your own costumes for your gnomes (you have decided that, haven’t you?). The only question is what character.

The fabulous Tracey O’Hara, author of scary vampire novels, once bought me a gnome, then painted all the coloured bits black and put toothpick ends at the corners on his mouth, with bits of redbat-gnome paint dripping off. She called him Gnomula. I wish I could show you a photo of Gnomula, but worryingly, I can’t find him. Tracey has assured me he’s hiding somewhere in my house, waiting…

I have to tell you, that wasn’t the most reassuring thing she’s ever said to me.doggnome

But what about a less frightening option? How about tying a red cape / piece of red material around his neck? Super Gnome! A little black mask with pointy ears? Bat Gnome! A pretty doll’s party dress? Cindergnoma!

The possibilities are endless, and I’d love to hear your ideas for gnome Halloween costumes. Also, tell me, have you ever dressed up an inanimate object for Halloween or other festivities?

Rachel latest release, Cover Story, follows journalist Tobi Fletcher as she reluctantly covers the story of suburban gnomicides: the wanton destruction of garden gnomes.

It’s out now from Momentum.CoverStorysmall





For ONE Week you can get Cover Story for 0.99 cents! CoverStorySale2(ends 31 October 2014).

Thirty-one Days of Halloweenie Day 22: Nicole Flockton’s UnHollywood Halloween

driving smallA Romantic Comedy, like Driving in Neutral, A Basic Renovation or For Your Eyes Only, has certain expectations that come attached to it: that cute meet, the sharp, snappy, smartass dialogue, the kiss, the happy ending. Sounds easy, right? Lately, in Hollywood, something’s gone wrong with the rom com. It’s as if all the HOLLYWOOD has been removed, as well as the comedy and romance.  Halloween, on the other hand, is something Hollywood keeps doing right. Halloween is a GIANT multipbudPARTY on TV and in movies. Everyone wears a costume, goes trick-or treating, gets candy, meets Dracula, carves a jack-o-lantern, and stops in at the Haunted House on the way back from the hay ride.  There are expectations up the wazoo for Halloween and Hollywood gives ’em to you, but it seems that for Nicole Floctkton, as it is with me the rom com, her Halloween was anything but Hollywood.

It’s Saturday 31st October 2009 and you know the significance of that date – Halloween!!

We’d moved to Houston, Texas in August and after seeing how much fun Halloween looked on all the American TV shows, as a family, we were excited to experience it.

We’d just moved into our new house and the kids wanted me to decorate the garden. Seeing as iflocktont was right on Halloween there wasn’t a lot of good stuff left. But I found some things and the kids were happy. I did notice that no one near us had any decorations in their garden but didn’t give it a second thought.

Having seen the TV shows my husband and I thought we had to get dressed up as well. Like decorations, decent costumes were scarce but we found some and all of us got dressed up.

We decide to venture out around 7pm. It was starting to get dark and the kids were anxious to get going. We hit the street all dressed up flockton2and were shocked to the core. The street was empty!! Where was everyone? Where were all the large groups of kids in costumes wanting candy?

We’d been told to only go to the houses that had outside lights on. The houses surrounding us were all dark. What was going on? We persevered and continued on our way and found a couple of houses with lights on. The kids got their candy and really they had no idea that my husband and I were in a state of shock. They were having fun and that’s all that mattered.

We were still the only people in the street but we found a group of people who were having a party outside. Finally a little bit of the Halloween spirit was alive.

In the end we only went around the block and the kids were happy with their stash of candy.

When we got home groups of people started to filter into our street. We had people come to the house and we handed out the supply of candy I’d bought. The kids enjoyed giving it as much as receiving

All in all I can honestly say that our first experience of Halloween in the US was really disappointing. And I also learned that, like anything, TV exaggerates everything!

Flcok3However, we still decorate the house each year – even if we are the only ones in the street that does.


Thirty-one Days of Halloweenie Day 18: Roz Groves’ 5 Star Review of Halloween

SandrabooksRoz Groves of My Written Romance, loves a good silver fox hero like Driving in Neutral’s Emerson Maxwell, Skippy peanut butter, is a foot shorter than her husband (who isn’t?) and  reviews (plug) books, like Driving in Neutral. Today, rather that give you a new review of a fantastic romance novel, Roz gives us her take on Halloween…in Canada.

Like most Aussie kids of the 80s, Halloween was only something you saw on American TV shows Roz-@-MWRor in books. To a sweet­toothed youngster like myself, the concept of rocking up to someone’s door and leaving with a bounty of sugared confection was like manna from heaven.

My first direct experience with Halloween was when I was living in Vancouver, Canada in 2003. The tall man and I took to the ghoulish festival with glee. We’d been invited to a Halloween do, so off we went shopping for our costumes. After much inappropriate laughter in the dollar store, our gear was set.

I loved that we could catch public transport dressed as aliens ­ masks in place ­ and no one batted an eyelid. If we’d tried that at home…..out would come the men with the white jackets!

Everywhere was into it, which was fabulous. Even our condo manager set up in the lobby to dole out the sweeties.

hpbcNow, 11 years later, Halloween has well and truly hit our shores on this side of the Pacific. However, nothing will ever really top that first one for me.

Would someone please pass Roz the Pumpkin-shaped Peanut butter cups?

Thirty-one Days of Halloweenie Day 13: What’s All the Halloween Hubbub, Bub?

If you ask me why Halloween is so freakin’ amazeballs-o-riffic I’ll tell you it’s because:

hpbc1. Pumpkin-shaped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups because peanut butter.

2. Costumes, costumes, costumes! Ever wanted to be a pirate? Thought it would be cool to get your cheese on and channel a Slice of Pizza? Thought cross-dressingheroween would be fun, but worried what your friends would think? Now’s your chance to do one or all of these things because it’s Halloween and wearing a costume, a mask, and makeup is totally acceptable!

3. Pumpkins. Lots and lots and LOTS of pumpkins… and Jack-o-lanterns: Carving them, seeing them, and ahem, even smashing them. OH! The Power of Pumpkin! The appeal of pumpkin is, sadly, misunderstood Down Road Trip 87 Under, and only eaten as a roasted with potatoes, garlic-n-onions savory dish, rather than a cinnamon-nutmeg-ginger Festival of Pumpkin-spice Everything in the USA.

4. This is most important. I cannot express this vehemently enough. I bet you might agree with me on this too. I’ve come to understand this importance more and more every year: Halloween provides a much-needed buffer between the end of Summer (or beginning of Springpunpkin, depending on what hemisphere you live in) and the Christmas advertising onslaught, which, I kid you not, started here in Australia on September 12th.

5. Finally, I must remind you of Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett’s The Monster Mash. My friend Cindy does this right. She combines all that is Halloween in lights and song! EVERYBODY DANCE NOW!


When you’re done enjoying that little ditty remember I write smartassed romantic comedies for grownups. You can find out more about them here.



The Day Before the Coming of the Thirty-one Days of Halloweeenie


Yes, we clowns want to kill you.

Remember how last month and the month before I was all in your face with phobias and other irrational fears, and how so many of you were irrationally afraid of spiders and clowns, because everyone knows clowns are made of pancake makeup and pure evil?


The Bride of FrankenBud

You may recall that I like to write about fear, especially when it comes to falling in love.  Perhaps you’ll also recall how the previous 75 Days of Phobias series theme highlighted a cavalcade of horrors ranging from clowns, antique jewellery (because you just know it’s cursed), the dark, sharks, lighthouses, and aprons. Starting Tomorrow, 1 October,  it’s gonna be a (mostly) Clown-free Freaky Festival o’ Facts, Fun, Frankenstein, FrankenBud, Frankenbrides (like Ella in Driving in Neutral), and Fear, finishing on Friday 31 October.


I am delicious!

I play with fear a lot in Driving In Neutral and For Your Eyes Only. October continues with that theme of terror because, you know, it ends with Halloween, and it’s only 31 days long, and has clowns, things that go BOO, Reese’s Peanut Butter items, and candy corn is involved. And candy corn, as you are well aware, is delicious.

Join me and my guests for a little friggin’ fun. There will be coffee, cookies, candy corn (if I can find any Down Under) giveaways, treats, and maybe even a couple of tricks. Oh, YEAH MAMA!Sandrabooks