My book is on NetGalley!

This is mildly terrifying, but if you’d like to review my September book my publisher has now put it up on NetGalley.

Here the link.

And here’s some information:

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

New South Wales, 1885

When Alice Ryan wakes to find thugs surrounding her cottage, on the hunt for her no-good brother, she escapes into the surrounding bush.

It is wealthy landowner Robert Farrer who finds her the next morning, dishevelled, injured, and utterly unwilling to share what she knows. With criminals on the loose and rumours that reckless bushrangers have returned to the area, Robert is determined to keep Alice out of danger, and insists on taking her into his home-despite the scandal it may cause. Convincing her to stay on with him for her own safety, however, is going to take some work.

What Robert doesn’t expect is his growing attraction to the forthright, unruly woman staying in his home. Before either of them can settle into their odd new situation, their home and wellbeing come under threat and they will need to trust each other to survive. But they are both keeping secrets, secrets that have the potential to ruin their burgeoning love, their livelihood … and their lives.

Writing colonial Australia, and talking about Indigenous characters.

There’s one thing you can’t do once your editor has sent your final, edited manuscript back to your publisher: change anything.

I’ve been agonising over a few things in my upcoming book for a while now. There will always be things some people hate that others love, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

However, what’s concerning me is how to write colonial New South Wales/Australia when there were so many ugly parts to it.

My first book mentions Indigenous Australians a number of times, but they aren’t featured characters until the next in the series. Even so, I’ve been stressing about language choices. Do you have your characters speak the way people did then, or do you modernise their speech so it sounds more like we approach discussions of ethnic groups today? (Obviously, certain words should never be used in a book written in the twenty-first century.)

Do you find a middle ground so that you’re not whitewashing and romanticising your colonial characters?

In this first book I’ve mentioned specific peoples and regions (Ngambri, Ngunnawal etc.), and will explore this more in the next instalment. However, I’m concerned about language used, and hope I’ve not managed to cause offence!

The parts I’m worrying about are all of a few sentences in an entire book, but I’m completely stressed!

The Week: 1st – 7th July

Tuggeranong Valley Brindabella Range Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney Mountains Nature 30th June 2019

The amazing Brindabellas that surround Canberra, at the end of last weekend.

The mountains are one of the inspirations for my book.

A crazy collection of noisy miner birds on Friday morning.

Busy week. I tried to get a lot of writing and editing done, but also this:

I swear, there is nothing more frustrating in this universe than trying to organise documentation and get through the red tape of a former (or current) communist country! The hoops you have to jump through are maddening, and I’ve done it twice in less than twelve months, first with communist China last year, and this week in preparation for two months (from August to October) in the former USSR. And it’s that difficult even with me knowing the staff at the embassy here in Canberra!

Why do I do this to myself? I’m not sure of the answer at the moment!

I got mansplained at by a twenty-one year old English guy this week. Not knowing I was Ukrainian, he spewed a whole lot of revolting Russian propaganda at me (what’s with the resurgence of under-thirty tankies?! It’s no better than being a Nazi.).

I was “informed” that Ukrainians want to be part of Russia (they don’t), that Ukrainians love Russians (they don’t – ethnic cleansing and genocide tend to sour people’s feelings). He also “informed” me that there’s nothing wrong with re-forming empires, and that England should be doing the same thing. I was further “informed” that Putin hasn’t done anything wrong (he has), that he wants good relations with the West (he doesn’t), and that it’s only the mean behavior of the EU that’s stopping Russia being good (uh, no).

What it all boils down to is that the whole world is capable of outrage about anything and everything that happens in the United States, but tens of thousands of dead Ukrainians don’t matter.

You know the term “seething with rage”? That’s what I was doing a few days ago.

Release Day for Mary Balogh

Someone to Honour Someone to Honor (Westcott #6) by Mary Balogh

Release Day for Anne Gracie

Marry in Secret (Marriage of Convenience #3) by Anne Gracie

Cover Love

My review of Bought Bride for the Argentinian by Sharon Kendrick

Bought Bride for the Argentinian by Sharon Kendrick

The Week: 3rd – 9th June

Here are a couple of images from the day-long 50th anniversary commemorations for the Battle of Binh Ba in Canberra on Thursday, which were broadcast live on TV. (If you’re an avid war history fan, you can still watch the whole thing online!)

The first one shows the Minister for Veterans and Defence on the left, and Vietnam veterans from the official party on the right. My father is the veteran in the centre. It was SO sunny that we were all blinded and melting by the end, despite it being the first week of winter!

Battle of Binh Ba 50th Anniversary Anzac Parade, Canberra, Australia 6th June 2019 Ray De Vere Chris Heaney Vietnam Veterans Vietnam War

The second image is from the Last Post ceremony at the Australian War Memorial the same evening. The ceremony was dedicated to Binh Ba veterans in general, and to the sole Australian killed in the fighting in particular. (There was also a British D-Day veteran present.) Afterwards, veterans and their families were lined up for a photograph – I’m one of the dots on the left of the picture!

Veterans and the families of those who served. Battle of Binh Ba, Vietnam, 50th anniversary. Last Post Ceremony #awmemorial cbr.

We had a formal dinner that night. You don’t know what it’s like to party until you’ve done it with Vietnam veterans! We overstayed our welcome in the ballroom, were moved up to the rooftop bar – and then overstayed our welcome there!

My Cover!

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

My review of Resurgent by Brynley Blake

Resurgent by Brynley Blake

My Cover!

I now have a high-resolution, un-watermarked cover for my upcoming book to show you. I love it, and I think it really represents the story.

Here’s what my book is about:

New South Wales, 1885

When Alice Ryan wakes to find thugs surrounding her cottage, on the hunt for her no-good brother, she escapes into the surrounding bush.

It is wealthy landowner Robert Farrer who finds her the next morning, dishevelled, injured, and utterly unwilling to share what she knows. With criminals on the loose and rumours that reckless bushrangers have returned to the area, Robert is determined to keep Alice out of danger, and insists on taking her into his home-despite the scandal it may cause. Convincing her to stay on with him for her own safety, however, is going to take some work.

What Robert doesn’t expect is his growing attraction to the forthright, unruly woman staying in his home. Before either of them can settle into their odd new situation, their home and wellbeing come under threat and they will need to trust each other to survive. But they are both keeping secrets, secrets that have the potential to ruin their burgeoning love, their livelihood … and their lives.

Here are some preorder links:

HarperCollins AU US

Amazon AU US UK

Romance.com.au

Kobo AU NZ US UK CA IE IN ZA

Barnes and Noble

Apple Books

Google Play

Booktopia

And here it is!

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney

Hey – Australians!

Batlle of Binh Ba Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Canberra Australia 5th June 2019

Everyone in Australia: at 2pm tomorrow the 50th anniversary commemorations for the Battle of Binh Ba – a major battle in the Vietnam War – are going to be broadcast live on television from Canberra, and then repeated the day after.

My father has played a huge part in organising this event, and hundreds of soldiers, past and present, are flying in to participate. My parents are in the official party, and will be obvious on TV, and I’ll be sitting… somewhere…! We’ve all been too busy to finalise this.

Afterwards, there’s a function at the Australian War Memorial, and then there’s a huge dinner tomorrow night, and I’ll be staying at the hotel in the city, because there’s just so much going on!

The Week: 27th May – 2nd June

I have a cover for my book! I can’t share it yet, but it’s FANTASTIC, and I keep randomly opening the file to look at it. I had to fill in a multi-page cover brief to give the designer an idea about what to do, and I was cautiously optimistic, but it is SO much better than I could have hoped for.

cof

The last day of autumn in Canberra.

So, now it’s winter in Australia. However, we’re still having such beautiful days.

The coming week is A BIG ONE for me. The Battle of Binh Ba 50th anniversary commemorations are going to take up all of my time (the 6th of June is the big day), so any plans to write/read/blog won’t happen. I know it’s the same date as the D-Day commemorations, but this battle was much more significant for the Australian military.

Binh Ba was one of Australia’s iconic battles in the Vietnam War, and my family is heavily involved in all aspects of the anniversary. (I know “iconic” is a bad choice of word, but I don’t know how else to describe it.) My father is one of the organisers of the whole thing – obviously, he fought in the battle – and I am going to have a chance to talk with the man who won a Military Cross for Binh Ba, a man whose book I am currently helping to write.

I am actually “moving into” a hotel here in Canberra for the duration of the events.

New Book for Joanna Shupe

Vintage Romance?

Recently Reread: Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs

Vintage Romance?

I don’t want to talk about old-school romance books right now, but romances that are too modern to be classed as historical romance, and too old-fashioned to be classed as contemporary romance.

This has been on my mind a bit recently for a few reasons:

  • In an authors’ group I’m part of I came across several people who wanted to submit manuscripts set in the 1960s and the 1970s and the 1980s, but they had no idea who would even look at them.
  • I am currently working on my father’s Vietnam War commander’s memoirs (my father was in the armoured corps of the Australian Army), and I have the 60s on my mind.
  • June this year sees the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Binh Ba – considered the second most significant battle Australia fought in Vietnam – and my father is helping to organise the entire national service/memorial (he also did the 40th).

There is so much potential for so many good stories set in the second half of the 20th century. It was a time with so much upheaval. The Cold War, the rise and fall of communism, Korea, Vietnam… Not to mention all the changes at home, with women’s changing roles in society etc.

And yet… where are these books?

I do know of one publisher who has actively been seeking these sorts of stories for years and years: The Wild Rose Press.

However, isn’t it time we start a wider market for these books?

The Week: 20th – 26th May

My book is up for preorder, complete with new title and blurb. See it on Kobo.

A note: I am spreading the posts I already have scheduled out over the coming months, rather than posting pretty much every day as I have been for ages. One of the main reasons for this is that this blog now feeds into my Goodreads author page, and it’s starting to seem like spam!

How is it only a few days until winter – we’re still having t-shirt weather! (It’s due to change in the coming week, however.)

R.I.P. to Niki Lauda. The Formula One paddock won’t be the same. I used to sit near pit lane at every Australian Grand Prix, and he was always, always there.

Here are some pictures from last weekend. The first is Victorian architecture in Goulburn, New South Wales, where we stopped for lunch on the way home from Sydney (Goulburn features in my books). The second is the approach to the Sydney Opera House the night before:

Happy 20th Birthday to Notting Hill!

NottingHillRobertsGrant Movie Poster

Book Feature: Leopard’s Blood (Leopard People #10) by Christine Feehan