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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Top 10 Favourite Romance and Romantic Comedy Films

The lovely Anna Campbell recently guest blogged at ALOHA and was asked to name her top 7 romance films. And don’t we all love a good list making? I’m the sort of person who makes lists all the time and, yes, I have been known to add something I’ve already done just so I can tick it off. Totally inspired by Anna’s list, I decided to write my own.

I like a good dash of comedy in with my romance, so I’ll be focusing those, but I do

Ever After, my favourite romantic comedy of all time.

have an occasional favourite romance and have allowed those too, almost entirely so I can include Dirty Dancing, which I would estimate I have seen no less than thirty times. “Nobody puts Baby in the corner!” (By the way, did you see the extras on the DVD that was released after Patrick died? Did you see the love scene that didn’t make it into the film? Holy cats!!!!!!!!!)

In no particular order:

  1. Dirty Dancing. Really, no explanation needed there. This film is as near to a perfect film as you can get.
  2. Love Actually. But I really only love the romance storyline between Colin Firth’s character and his cleaner, who can’t speak English. Such wonderful, captivating tension between them. I was working on my manuscript on the verandah just yesterday and a gust of wind blew the papers all across the yard and I thought of that delightfully funny scene where they both end up in the water chasing his manuscript. Gorgeous.
  3. Sense and Sensibility. Starring Emma Thompson as Elinor Dashwood. You can’t go past Jane Austen for great romance and this is a visual feast as well. Emma Thompson is such a star.
  4. Never Been Kissed. I think I might just have a bit of a girl crush on Drew Barrymore and will watch anything she is in. I just love her. This is one of the many, many Drew romantic comedies I love, and it’s a good one.
  5. The Holiday. An incredibly under-rated film starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black. A wonderful combination of actors, a funny and engaging script, gorgeous locations, charming. Another gorgeous film I could watch again and again.
  6. My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I saw this film on the plane on the last leg of my return journey from the UK, so maybe I was delirious with fatigue, but I laughed and laughed and laughed in this film. You know, the kind of laughing that becomes embarrassing when you’re only one of a few people awake and the rest of the plane is quiet. (“What do you mean he don’t eat no meat? Oh, it’s okay, I make lamb.”) And what a clever, clever woman Nia Vardalos is to write and star in the movie! An inspiration to all us writers.
  7. Father of the Bride. What a beautiful and funny film this is, with romance on all levels, starring the wonderful Diane Keaton and Steve Martin.
  8. Something’s Gotta Give. Also starring Diane Keaton, this is a highly amusing and entertaining love story involving (shock, horror!) people over 50.
  9. The Princess Bride. Wonderful fairy tale about love that simply will not die. (“As you wish…”)
  10. Ever After. Although I put this list in no particular order, I might just have to say that this is my favourite romantic comedy of all time. And… gasp!…. it stars Drew Barrymore as a Cinderella but one that gets a good dose of feminist power and humour and gets to save her prince as much as he gets to save her. Funny, funny, funny. Fairy wings. A guest appearance from Leonardo da Vinci. And Anjelica Huston bringing home the evil stepmother. A rollicking good film.

Gosh, it’s hard to end there… I really also want to sneak in Titanic because it has such a powerful love story alongside the visual wonder, humour and historical interest.

What would you add to this list?

Anna Campbell Workshop: Seven Hours in an Author’s Head

(Okay, so it was six hours but I’ve worked on that title for almost a week now so I’m taking my literary license and running with it.)

Last weekend, I had the immense pleasure of attending Anna Campbell‘s romance writing workshop at the Queensland Writers Centre. Now, you may remember that I was hysterically sleep deprived, and within minutes of my arrival I managed to lose the critique that Anna had done on my first ten pages of Take a Chance on Me, lose my sunglasses, fail to master the hot water tap for a cup of coffee, fail to find the sugar that was sitting in a jar right in front of me, and probably unnerve the gentle QWC volunteer who greeted me when my baby brain refused to allow words to move from my brain to my mouth and so moved my jaw noiselessly up and down while making some sort of fish noises in reply.

So that was me.

Now for Anna.

Anna so kindly said to me, ‘oh I don’t know why you’re here really, your story is wonderful’. I smiled and nodded my thanks, but I knew that (a) my story needed help and you never stop learning and why wouldn’t I learn from a master of the craft, and (b) I was a total mess (refer to previous paragraph) and needed some professional therapy to get my head back on track.

And learn I did. Yes, romance writing contains pretty much the same structural elements as any good story, but there were at least two huge lightbulb moments in that workshop for me that had me gagging on my coffee and thinking, ‘oh golly, I have a bit of work to do’. And one of those lightbulb moments was on the importance of the first kiss. My characters have rushed right over that little gem and I’m going to go back and ask them to indulge the reader.

Almost as wonderful as Anna’s workshop was the PILE of free books I came home with!! And… we got free chocolate as well!! Come on. I would have gone just for those two things alone 🙂

Anna’s latest book, Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed, is now available and I can’t wait to get my hands on that steamy little number.

Thanks Anna for a wonderful day.

Nappies and Vomit Do Not Romance Writing Make

Let’s face it, there isn’t much that’s either romantic or sexy about motherhood. If it’s not the pervasive stains (and odour) of regurgitated formula, or the endless repetition of This Old Man playing knick-knack-paddywhack (what on earth is that anyway?), or the continual sense of chaos in the house, or that you ran out of facial scrub a month ago and keep forgetting to get more, it’s the fact that through sheer exhaustion and the fact that you have five minutes before your baby needs you again that you can’t even manage to wash your hair.

How then does a girl live the writer’s dream and conjure up images of romance and sexiness when the only fantasy she harbours is for four hours (let’s not be greedy) of uninterrupted, deep sleep?

I plan to take my bedraggled self to the Queensland Writers Centre this Sunday for a Masterclass in romance writing with prolific romance author, Anna Campbell. I’m hoping Anna’s expertise can help me contact my inner romantic woman, who is currently helping my characters, Leila and Lucas, strengthen their compelling storyline.

The littlest man romance

Anna, your timing couldn’t be more perfect. But please know that if I yawn the whole way through your masterclass it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the littlest man in my life with whom I’m having a romance of an entirely different kind.

Woodford Virgins climbing to 5000 views

cover-artI just checked into Scribd today to see how my romance novel was faring in the free market and was delighted to find that Woodford Virgins has reached almost 5000 views online, averaging about 22 views a day.

I really didn’t know what to expect when I uploaded the document; it was all an experiment. I’m looking forward to Scribd allowing users from outside of the USA to upload documents to sell. Imagine if my 5000 viewers had all donated just $1… Not bad. Not bad at all.

For now, you can still view and download Woodford Virgins by clicking on the links in this site.

Free novel

cover-art Woodford Virgins

a novel by Joanne Schoenwald

I am giving away my novel, Woodford Virgins, for free!

Woodford Virgins is a novel about love, laughter and friendship and our ability to be tested and come back stronger, set against the backdrop of the annual Woodford Folk Festival.

You can read a full synopsis and download it by clicking on one the Woodford Virgins page on this site, or on the Scribd icon to the right of the screen.

Enjoy!