The Week: 5th – 11th August

This has been… quite a week. So many good things happened (I’d love to share NOW, but can’t) that I’m worried there’s a disaster on the horizon!

We had t-shirt weather for the first half of the week, and then on Friday night it snowed. I am so mad I didn’t see it, because (and despite nasty stereotypes about Canberra) we NEVER get snow. A little bit settled on the mountains, but by Saturday morning the sun was back. It’s going to be around 17 degrees (about 63 Fahrenheit) by the end of next week, so I guess that’s winter finished.

I spent the second half of the week stalking the Romance Writers of Australia conference (in Melbourne this year) online. I really should go in 2020.

Crazy Cat Canberra Australia Thurday 8th August 2019 Sonya Heaney Cats Cute Grey Cat

Someone broke the cat!

P. L. Travers’ 120th Birthday

australian p. l. travers in the role of titania in a production of a midsummer night's dream, c. 1924 state library of new south wales. mary poppins

Cover Love

Then Comes Seduction (Huxtable Quintet #2) by Mary Balogh

P. L. Travers’ 120th Birthday

australian p. l. travers in the role of titania in a production of a midsummer night's dream, c. 1924 state library of new south wales. mary poppins

P. L. Travers in the role of Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, circa 1924.

State Library of New South Wales

Today would have been the 120th birthday of the Australian creator of Mary Poppins, P. L. Travers.

Born Helen Lyndon Goff in Maryborough, Queensland on the 9th of August 1899, she moved to Bowral, New South Wales in 1907.

As an adult she travelled Australia and New Zealand, and later England as an actress, changing her name to Pamela Lyndon Travers.

Travers created Mary Poppins while renting a cottage in Sussex, England in 1933, and the first book was published in 1934.

The eighth and final book in the series was published in 1988.

Travers died, aged ninety-six, in April of 1996.

The Week: 29th July – 4th August

 

Queanbeyan Lawn Cemetery New South Wales Australia near Canberra Australian Capital Territory Sonya Heaney 2nd August 2019 2

Queanbeyan Lawn Cemetery New South Wales Australia near Canberra Australian Capital Territory Sonya Heaney 2nd August 2019 1

A trip to the cemetery in Queanbeyan, just before the border with Canberra, on Friday afternoon (my grandparents are buried there). If you ever wonder what landscape inspires my writing, take a look at it.

Sonya Heaney Library Books Santa Montefiore Christy Reece Sophie Barnes Historical Costume

Sonya Heaney Library Books Mary Balogh Julia Quinn Lisa Kleypas USSR Ukrainian Costume

I visited the library again on Monday. After figuring out the scary returns scanner, I sent two (of six) books back, and came home with eight more!

Yes, I’ve already read Marrying Winterborne, but I wanted a look at the hardcover version. I’m going to return it for someone else to borrow at the start of next week.

The USSR book is actually a 1980s encyclopaedia of Eastern European costumes, and the section about Ukraine was so fantastic (and strangely accurate, considering Russian propaganda – the only information crossing the Iron Curtain to get to the west – was [and still is] so anti-Ukrainian) I just had to borrow it. I actually want to buy it!

Flock of Galahs Australian Birds Queanbeyan near Canberra Australia 2nd August 2019 Sonya Heaney Grey Pink

Lunchtime at my aunt’s house in Queanbeyan the same day I visited the cemetery.

Tuggeranong Canberra Australia Blue Winter Sky Sunny Warm Afternoon Sonya Heaney 30th July 2019

My amazing writing view in sunny Canberra this week.

New Cover for Lisa Kleypas

Chasing Cassandra (Ravenels #6) (2020) (The sixth book in the Ravenels series) A novel by Lisa Kleypas US Cover 2019

Happy 201st Birthday, Emily Brontë!

Emily_Brontë_by_Patrick_Branwell_Brontë_restored Emily Brontë, as painted by her brother Patrick Branwell Brontë (died 1848), from a portrait with her sisters.

My review of Consequences of a Hot Havana Night (Passion in Paradise #6) by Louise Fuller

Consequences of a Hot Havana Night (Passion in Paradise #6) by Louise Fuller

New Cover for Lisa Kleypas

Chasing Cassandra, the sixth book in Lisa Kleypas’ Ravenels series, now has a US cover:

Chasing Cassandra (Ravenels #6) (2020) (The sixth book in the Ravenels series) A novel by Lisa Kleypas US Cover 2019

Everything has a price . . .

Railway magnate Tom Severin is wealthy and powerful enough to satisfy any desire as soon as it arises. Anything – or anyone – is his for the asking. It should be simple to find the perfect wife – and from his first glimpse of Lady Cassandra Ravenel, he’s determined to have her. But the beautiful and quick-witted Cassandra is equally determined to marry for love – the one thing he can’t give.

Everything except her . . .

Severin is the most compelling and attractive man Cassandra has ever met, even if his heart is frozen. But she has no interest in living in the fast-paced world of a ruthless man who always plays to win.

When a newfound enemy nearly destroys Cassandra’s reputation, Severin seizes the opportunity he’s been waiting for. As always, he gets what he wants – or does he? There’s one lesson Tom Severin has yet to learn from his new bride:

Never underestimate a Ravenel.

The chase for Cassandra’s hand may be over. But the chase for her heart has only just begun.

Consequences of a Hot Havana Night (Passion in Paradise #6) by Louise Fuller

Consequences of a Hot Havana Night (Passion in Paradise #6) by Louise Fuller

A scorching encounter in the Cuban heat…

Now she’s carrying her boss’ baby!

The wild vibrancy of Kitty’s new home in Havana must be infectious. Why else would the naturally cautious rum distiller have succumbed to the sudden desire to seize one night with a stranger? But if it’s shocking to learn that César is actually her powerful, elusive boss, it’s nothing compared to Kitty’s latest bombshell—she’s pregnant!

Lose yourself in this sparkling pregnancy romance!

Consequences of a Hot Havana Night (Passion in Paradise #6) by Louise Fuller

This was a good little book, and has the most sensible, mature (in behaviour, not age) characters I’ve ever come across in an instalment in Harlequin’s Presents line. There was no manufactured melodrama. However, it gets a bit hard to believe in a “sexy billionaire” story set in a communist country.

Perhaps some readers will find the lack of major conflict in Consequences of a Hot Havana Night a little too tame, but it was nice to come across a Presents hero who didn’t go around treating the heroine like garbage and accusing her of random things she didn’t do. Even though he had a “bad ex” in his past, he also didn’t take those issues out on the current woman in his life.

Also, this was a heroine with an interesting career, which was a nice change!

Now…

I love Cuban culture – who doesn’t? And Havana is a colourful, exciting choice to set a Presents instalment.

However, Cuba is also one of only five communist countries left in the world (alongside North Korea, China, Vietnam and Laos). And the realities of communism are ugly – very ugly. This story could never happen, because Cuban citizens are unable to live the lives depicted in the book. It doesn’t matter how pretty Havana looks in the tourist brochures.

There is a review on Goodreads by someone who is actually Cuban that succinctly illustrates why the setting is problematic.

On the other hand, I doubt the communism issues will enter the minds of most readers (my family escaped the Soviet Union; it’s a touchy subject for me). Don’t let that dissuade you from reading this book.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 22nd – 28th July

Walk to the shops Tuggernanong Valley Brindabella Range Canberra Australia Winter Sunshine Blue Sky Sonya Heaney 21st July 2019 Sunny Warm Afternoon

This was actually last Sunday afternoon, when I walked to the local shops. The mountains around Canberra are beautiful.

This was a supremely busy week. I’ve been trying to get a new manuscript written in an impossible space of time (in addition to the other books I’ve been working on). From mid-morning on Tuesday to the early hours of Sunday I managed to type just under 30 000 words – about a third of a book!

I did, however, go into the city last night to see The White Crow, a movie about Rudolph Nureyev (and starring a few Ukrainians!). That was followed by an amazing dinner at Morning Glory.

The White Crow is the only ballet movie I’ve seen that is realistic. It also did a good job of reconstructing life in the Soviet Union. In fact – as someone with family and friends from one end of Ukraine and Russia to the other – it depicted life as it still is for many.

I hope to write a post about it soon, but I’m guessing that I’ll be too busy to remember!

Oh, and my publisher sent me this:

thumbnail_landownerssecret

What I did today.

Books Library Julia Quinn Miranda Neville Josephine Moon Jennifer McQuiston Lisa Kleypas Stephanie Laurens Sonya Heaney 22nd July 2019

Book Feature: Lady Rogue (The Royal Rewards #3) by Theresa Romain

Lady Rogue (The Royal Rewards #3) by Theresa Romain

Book Feature: Lady Rogue (The Royal Rewards #3) by Theresa Romain

Note: I am featuring some of the review books I’ve had for a while, but run out of time to do a review for. That’s not to say I’m not going to read them; it’s just that I’ve fallen behind, and think the authors deserve an appearance here!

Lady Rogue (The Royal Rewards #3) by Theresa Romain

Lady Rogue (The Royal Rewards #3) by Theresa Romain

Her Secret Scandal

As far as London’s high society knows, Lady Isabel Morrow is above reproach. But the truth is rarely so simple. Though the young widow’s passionate fling with dashing Bow Street Runner Callum Jenks ended amicably months ago, she now needs his expertise. It seems Isabel’s late husband, a respected art dealer, was peddling forgeries. If those misdeeds are revealed, the marriage prospects of his younger cousin—now Isabel’s ward—will be ruined.

For the second time, Isabel has upended Callum’s well-ordered world. He’s resolved to help her secretly replace the forgeries with the real masterpieces, as a…friend. A proper sort of friend doesn’t burn with desire, of course, or steal kisses on twilight errands. Or draw a willing lady into one passionate encounter after another. Isabel’s scheme is testing Callum’s heart as well as his loyalties. But with pleasure so intoxicating, the real crime would be to resist.

What I did today.

I had a “startling” revelation a few weeks ago: I live in walking distance of one of Canberra’s biggest public libraries! Now, this is definitely a revelation I should have had years ago, but I hadn’t actually used a library since I was at university, and so here I was, happily walking to and from the nearest shopping centre every week, and forgetting I could have access to seventy-gazillion books and magazines and newspapers.

So, last Monday I finally went in and got myself a new card ($3 for library access definitely seems fair), and today I walked back (blue sky, sunshine, and temperatures in the mid-teens – not bad for mid-winter!) and took a look at everything I’ve been missing out on all this time.

My timing could have been better. It’s the first day of semester two in Canberra, which means there were teenagers everywhere (it also functions as a college library). However, I was in Heaven all the same!

Now I’ve figured out that the fancy new laser-scanner devices you have to use to check your books out are actually ten times easier to use than an ATM, I’ll go back and pick up another stack of books.

For now, here’s my stash:

Books Library Julia Quinn Miranda Neville Josephine Moon Jennifer McQuiston Lisa Kleypas Stephanie Laurens Sonya Heaney 22nd July 2019