Top 8 Hot Summer Songs List

sunshineThe very talented author, Michael Gerard Bauer, posted a link to a summer song on Facebook today. His choice was Daryl Braithwaite’s One Summer. And it sparked a yearning in me to create another list, the Top 8 Hot Summer Songs List (inspired by the heat wave currently bearing down on SE Qld). Why? Because I love a good list.

(Why 8 not 10?  Because 10 was soooo 2012!)

  1. At the top of this list has to be Gangajang’s Sounds of Then (This is Australia) and brought even more sharply into focus for me today when I just had to have a cold Coke and thought of the fabulous Coke ad featuring this song, which I still maintain is the best Coke ad of all time.
  2. For a cruisy jazzy song, I don’t think you can go past Summertime, this version by Ella Fitzgerald. (Doesn’t it just make you want to pull up a wicker deck chair with a martini and watch the workers in the fields as the sun sets?)
  3. Okay, this next one’s a bit daggy, but it’s here for my husband, who’s an unwaivering romantic and die-hard 80s fan, and loves Belinda Carlisle. Here’s Summer Rain. (Come on, admit it, you can’t help but sing along!)
  4. And while we’re stuck in the 80s, let’s not forget supergroup Bananarama’s Cruel Summer. Better yet, this song featured in another great 80s production, Karate Kid. (Yes, I know, I’m showing my age… and my ‘coolness’ factor is rapidly declining.)
  5. Back to the world of modern music, I’m including Hot N Cold by Katy Perry for whimsical reasons, because our weather has been so psychotic this year that as soon as I’ve packed away the doona and heaters I’ll be needing them again before you know it.
  6. And just because it’s funky and catchy and has the air of reckless abandon, Kid Rock’s All Summer Long.
  7. Admittedly, this is a long bow to draw, but I’m including The Offspring’s Why Don’t You Get a Job?, because it starts with a sprinkler on a green lawn and has a great Jamaican vibe. I do love short bursts of The Offspring every now and then, which is totally unlike me, but these guys can carry it off (in small doses!). Great when you’re tired or feeling a bit tetchy to just blast it out of your system 🙂
  8. I’m including Birds and Bees by Ben Lee because it just feels like summer–that time of year when the prospect of taking off layers of clothes isn’t daunting and romantic outdoor dinners and flirting in dresses without shivering is possible. (As an aside, I do love Ben’s albums, Awake is the New Sleep and Ripe.)

So there’s my Top 8 summer songs, complete with romance, whimsy, humidity, fun and heartbreak. What would you add to this list?

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In-house Writing Retreat

When I think of a writing retreat, I think log fires, mountain cabins, massage, gourmet food and days of uninterrupted writing glory. Well, sometimes life is a wee bit more complicated than that, say, when you have a three-and-a-half-month-old baby. What’s a girl to do when she desperately needs intense writing time?

Thankfully, my Love came up with the most timely and inspired gift this weekend just gone and played cook, cleaner and baby sitter while I had an in-house writing retreat: the retreat you have when you can’t go out for a retreat.

He made me gourmet pizza. He massaged me and ran me a bath. He bought me chocolate and coffee, made me fresh apple and orange juice, cooked me pancakes for breakfast, and made me chocolate cake and reminded me to take my vitamins in the morning. In short, he was an absolute angel.

It was just what I needed to forge through some editing and writing of new scenes in this latest draft of Take a Chance on Me. My lovely husband, Alwyn, I cannot begin to thank you enough.

Today, I’m completely shattered. My tailbone hurts from sitting on it. My wrist has RSI. I’ve barely slept for three nights in a row and am now playing mummy on my own so need to get those toothpicks out to keep my eyelids open and on the job (the coffee’s long since stopped working). I’m trying to be nice to myself and simmer in the warmth of knowledge that my book is on track and all will be well.

But it doesn’t mean I can’t whip out the credit card and order a year’s worth of books online, does it? 😉

Take heart in the journey to love and publication

I often say to people that, for me, the journey to publication is just like the journey to love.

It is at times exhilarating; at times devastating; at times the cause of a pounding heart and sleepless nights; at times the cause of neglecting my practical ‘real world’ duties; and at times the activity that prompts the most soul-searching, journal writing, navel gazing and even the odd drunken night.

The pain of each rejection of a manuscript is as familiar to me as every romantic rejection, unreturned phone call, dead-end relationship and broken heart, because my work is me. There is no difference. Every time I receive a letter that says, “we really liked this manuscript, we liked this and that but we don’t feel it’s quite right for us” it feels very personal. And yet I also know that it’s not so much personal as it is a mismatching of fate.

In my personal romantic life, I found The One. And I look back on all the years of searching, heartbreak, Bridget Jones-type hilarity and doubts that I would ever find The One and I realise that all of those broken relationships were opportunities to learn and grow. And if I could go back in time and tell myself not to worry and that it would all be okay, it would certainly have eased the pain. But would it also have taken away the growth and important lessons? Would I have simply stopped trying and sat around waiting for it to fall into my lap and therefore not have been the person I was when I did finally meet The One?

We cannot see the future and so we feel stuck in this limbo world of unrequited love.

Until it happens, for real.

I tell myself to take heart, a phrase that seems to mean “to gain courage”. The courage to keep going. The courage to keep believing. The courage that I will find The One. And The One will love me just as much.

Romancing the tome

I am in love.

My husband may not see me for many weeks. He will have to compete for my attention. Tolerate my vagueness as my mind overflows with my new love. And watch as his favourite meals are pushed aside for a quick toast-and-baked-beans dinner. Because who has time to prepare meals when there is another calling me to surrender to the joy of new love?

I have begun my fourth novel. As such I am well aware of the emotional similarity of this phase to a new romance. The beginning stages are exciting. Filled with promise. I cannot sleep at night for thinking of my new love. My heart beats with anxiety when we are separated. And I am filled with joy while we are together.

BUT… As the novel progresses things tend to shift. Affections waver under the routine and predictable nature of day-to-day life living together. Problems that were at first overlooked become increasingly annoying. The long term viability of the relationship seems questionable. At its worst it disintegrates into misery and an abandoned dream.

However I am heartened by an article that I read earlier this year in which scientists have proven that a percentage of relationships manage to not only keep that first rush of hormones alive but can actually increase them over time. They are the same hormones found in animals that mate for life such as swans.

So I am off to settle down with my swan and grow this love into something beautiful and long-lasting. (Fingers crossed!) 

(p.s. I know ‘tome’ actually refers to a non-fiction book but it was such a catchy line that I couldn’t resist!)