The Week: 13th – 19th March

What you see above are two shots driving home – Jugiong to Canberra – from the book festival yesterday evening (obviously the second picture was taken before the first one – the sun was setting as we drove). This whole section of Australia looks like this: dry, yellow, bright light.

So, I spent Saturday afternoon  moderating at the wonderful, friendly Jugiong Writers Festival. I was stunned that a book festival in a country town could pull in both so many celebrities, and SUCH big crowds. It was a little bit intimidating!

The wonderful book launch at the end of the day (with essential, free sparkling wine!) was a nice bonus.

Also – they have a GREAT pub! I’ve already planned a weekend trip back with my brother and his partner.

I stole a couple of pictures from Sulari Gentill’s Facebook page.

Here is the worst photograph ever, of me (and also Margareta Osborn), looking like we want to murder each other. It was put online by ABC reporter Pip Courtney. I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw it!

(That weird stripe across my face is actually the pot plant next to me!)

Autumn light on Friday evening in Canberra.

Thursday evening.

Finnish Ski Troops in 1940

Monday was the anniversary of the end of the Winter War, when Moscow decided to randomly invade Finland and steal regions of their country while the world was distracted by Hitler. (Anything about this situation seem relevant to 2017 – just change Finland to Ukraine and Hitler to Trump!). The Kremlin’s hybrid warfare tactics then are near-identical to what they are currently doing to their neighbours.

History is constantly running on repeat.

My review of Someone to Hold (Westcott #2) by Mary Balogh

My review of Seven Minutes in Heaven (Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers #3) by Eloisa James

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Follow-up on Mem Fox

Happy Canberra Day!

The Week: 6th – 12th March

Bright Blue Sky Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney Autumn 6th March 2017

First day back home. Blue sky, sunshine, summer temperatures – and half a new deck!

We went to Canberra’s Enlighten festival last night. The national buildings (National Library – above, National Science and Technology Centre, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Old Parliament House etc.) are lit up. There are also bars and food stalls and opera performances and a whole lot of things.

I will find some better pictures tomorrow.

This possum has moved in (not our first one, but the smallest so far), right outside my bedroom window. The night-time fights with other animals kept me awake all night a few nights ago!

It has been absolutely gorgeous in Canberra this week. Temperatures up around thirty degrees, bright blue skies, sunshine. It feels more like summer than autumn most of the time.

Chris Miller 11th March 2017 Russia invaded Ukraine

A timely reminder from a very respected journalist in Europe.

A Ukrainian woman is behind bars in the United Arab Emirates at the moment because doctors found out she is pregnant to her fiancé. They are “testing” her to find out how long she has been sexually active, which sounds like an appalling abuse of a woman’s basic rights.

You’re not allowed to have premarital sex in the UAE, and women are imprisoned for reporting rapes. Please be aware that just because Dubai and Abu Dhabi look shiny and tourists love them doesn’t mean it isn’t an Islamic country with some terribly restrictive laws – especially for women.

I have to travel through there are few more times this year, and I really wish I wasn’t. Qantas sends their flights through there a lot now, and codeshares with Emirates, which is one of the worst airlines I have ever experienced.

Also on my list of “things that annoyed me this week”, this article:

Pope may allow married Catholic men as priests

The reason it annoys me? Ukrainian Catholic men – married, soon to be married, planning to be married – have ALWAYS been able to become priests. For centuries. Most of the priests I’ve ever known have been married – with children.

This is allegedly such a groundbreaking idea, but once again people totally ignore the fact this is already, and always has been, a thing.

Nobody knows anything about Ukraine, but you’d think a journalist or two might mention this extremely relevant fact!

And then there’s:

Muhammad Ali’s son detained at US airport for second time

He’s a flipping US citizen! What is wrong with Trump’s version of America??!

My review of Outback Cowboy (Hot Aussie Heroes Book 1) by Margareta Osborn

My review of Devil in Spring (Ravenels #3) by Lisa Kleypas

My review of A Temporary Family by Sherri Shackelford

Patricia Briggs’ New Book

Excuse me, cover designers…

The Week: 30th January – 5th February

canberra-summer-sunset-australia-sonya-oksana-heaney-31st-janaury-2017-sky-clouds-nature-heatwave-2

Tuesday sunset in Canberra

I am heading to Venice on Friday, and I have NOT packed! I am off to Spain again a few months later, and have just been in Europe for two months, and I’m becoming a bit blasé about it.

We are ALMOST at the end of our nonstop run of present-giving events for another year. We have two Christmases (old and new calendars), and then almost every family birthday – all in the space of a month and a half. By the end it is nearly impossible to think of anything to give.

We finish with my birthday on Tuesday, but when we get back from Europe in March we start up with Easter (again – we have two)!

ukraine-conflict-evacuation-planned-in-frontline-town-of-avdiivka-in-freezing-temperatures-31st-january-2017-2

The war in Ukraine FINALLY made it back into the news this week, because Russia picked the Donald Trump distraction as an excellent time to step up their invasion of Ukraine. Now the media is calling it “Europe’s forgotten war” – and here I am thinking: no European should ever have “forgotten” that thousands of people are dying on their own continent while they pay attention to others!

whod-have-thought-it-was-possible-to-blow-the-us-australia-relationship-its-childproof-but-not-trumpproof

Donald Trump is on a roll. He is making enemies of pretty much everyone on the planet, and again took a swipe at Australia this week. Not that he needs to work hard: we already hate the man!

My review of Mogul (The Knickerbocker Club #3) by Joanna Shupe

mogul-the-knickerbocker-club-3-by-joanna-shupe

My review of Wed by Necessity (Smoky Mountain Matches #10) by Karen Kirst

wed-by-necessity-smoky-mountain-matches-10-by-karen-kirst

Coming up for Lisa Kleypas

devil-in-spring-ravenels-book-3-by-lisa-kleypas-uk-cover

New Cover for Madeline Hunter

the-most-dangerous-duke-in-london-decadent-dukes-society-1-by-madeline-hunter

Book to watch out for?

a-note-yet-unsung-belmont-mansion-3-by-tamera-alexander

Cover Love

someone-to-hold-westcott-book-2-by-mary-balogh-uk-australian-cover

The Week: 23rd – 29th January

canberra-sunset-australia-summer-24th-january-2017-sonya-heaney-sky-clouds-nature-dscn0492

canberra-sunset-australia-summer-24th-january-2017-sonya-heaney-sky-clouds-nature

Some of our amazing skies in Canberra this week.

Canberra: summer is making it hard to achieve much. It’s too hot inland, where there obviously is no sea breeze. The winter weather in Europe in less than a fortnight is going to be a shock!

canberra-australia-summer-weather-forecast-january-2017-heatwave

I am behind on my review books because the Australian branch of Amazon has gone down, and I cannot send ANYTHING to my Kindle, nor download a lot of it on my computer. I had a book I was really excited about that was just released, and I can’t access it! It’s driving me insane.

trump-putin-russian-aggression-us-inauguration

This has been a horror week for the entire world. Anyone with sense and a skerrick of world knowledge was aware Trump would screw things up for all of us, but I think many were shocked by the speed with which it happened.

Trump sent all of us (including Australians) a strong message: WE DON’T WANT YOU HERE. Not even to visit.

Day One: axe the trade deal with the Pacific region (including us). On Australia Day on the 26th, Trump sent some rubbish message about us being great friends of America – at the same time as discussing dumping the visa waiver program, which means it will be difficult for us to even visit the US as TOURISTS!

c3p4yaaxaaaecfy

If he wants to only let Christian refugees into “his” country now, perhaps he might consider helping the two million displaced Ukrainians. We had lunch with friends from the Ukrainian embassy again this week, people waiting for orders to join the war against Putin.

For something better: historical costume site Frock Flicks has been hosting Snark Week again. If you are a reader who cannot stand all the anachronisms in too many historical romances, you’ll appreciate it. They analyse all the crazy – and sometimes hilarious – liberties film and TV take with historical costumes.

snarkweek2017_site5-focrk-flicks-snark-week

 

carnival_venice_2015_160-9th-february-2015

I am a little bit freaked: I’m heading to Italy in only a few days, and I have literally not organised a thing yet. We were only just in the country, and soon will be spending time with friends who are locals, but I still think I should have planned something – anything! Everywhere I’ve been in Italy in recent times has been hit by horrific natural disasters, and I can only hope there are no more; how many can one country have?

It’s too hot here to bother trying on any winter clothes to pack, but I really need to.

I will be in London only briefly after that, with no idea whether I’ll be there longer-term in the near future or not. However, because of my historical fiction reading I have so much I want to do, and not enough time.

I did live in London for quite a while, but have not been back for years.

Moving a Library

ghent-library-moves-home-via-human-chain

My review of Lost in Shadows (Lost #2) by Anita DeVito

lost-in-shadows-lost-2-by-anita-devito

Kissing or Hitting…?

the-princess-bride-1987-westley-nearly-slaps-buttercup-domestic-abuse

100 Objects – Victorian Tea Set

wedgwood-tea-set-made-in-stoke-on-trent-staffordshire-england-early-victorian-1840-45-100-objects-british-museum-canberra-visit

Is there ever a point?

ditter-kellen-oz-enigma-book-five

This Disturbing Book Cover…

penal-colony-eliza-callaghan-by-robert-s-close-eliza-callaghan

 

The Week: 16th – 22nd January

canberra-australia-summer-sunset-18th-january-2017-sonya-heaney-sky-clouds-nature

canberra-australia-summer-sunset-18th-january-2017-sonya-heaney-sky-clouds-nature

Wednesday evening in Canberra

canberra-australia-hot-afternoon-16th-january-2017-sonya-heaney-blue-sky-eucalyptus-tree-gum-tree-garden-nature

Canberra’s heatwave continues…

canberra-summer-too-hot-for-roses-australia-sonya-heaney-17th-january-2017-garden-nature

And kills our garden!

So, apparently the new thing people do when they turn seventy is go on trips to Europe – or, at least my relatives seem to think so. With two people in my family turning seventy this year, both decided to celebrate that way – and take me along!

This week we booked a trip to southern Spain and Barcelona for August. I get to spend more time in one of my favourite places in the world: Seville. The trip came completely out of the blue. I still have to go to Italy in a few weeks, and to London after that!

national-museum-of-australia-canberra-21st-january-2017-sonya-oksana-heaney

We went to the National Museum on Saturday to see the visiting exhibition from the British Museum: A History of the World in 100 Objects.

We had to queue for over an hour – I don’t even want to know what it’s going to be like when we go to the Versailles exhibition at the National Gallery!

It is much more “the history of the world according to the British Empire”. There’s so much from certain parts of the world, and NOTHING from the whole eastern half of Europe (including the Black Sea and the whole of Slavic civilisation – none of my heritage!), huge parts of Africa, etc.

bushfires-australian-capital-territory-new-south-wales-18th-january-2017

The fires active on Wednesday afternoon.

Our region of Australia has had bushfire, after bushfire, after bushfire this week. Hot weather and strong winds make the worst fire conditions.

Firestorm in Canberra, Australia. 18th January 2003.

This week was the fourteenth anniversary of the firestorm that destroyed huge parts of Canberra. The picture above is what my city looked like for a whole day (except the sky turned black after a while – and then bright red). We had those water-bombing helicopters right over us. They saved our street.

trump-putin-russian-aggression-us-inauguration

I could go on about the terror of Trump – but what’s the point? I am TERRIFIED for Ukraine.

His wife steals Obama speeches, and the man himself steals an Obama cake!

pastry-chef-duff-goldman-of-charm-city-cakes-suggested-on-twitter-that-someone-copied-the-cake-he-made-for-the-commander-in-chief-ball-in-2013-without-his-permission

We’re a day ahead of the US (so I’d done this post before the Women’s Marches across the world), so I’ll just add this on at the end!:

gettyimages-632287522

boston-womens-march

chicago-womens-march-becomes-too-big-for-actual-march

this-is-texas-yall-an-anti-trump-march-this-evening-in-austin-on-the-ann-richards-bridge

Recommended Read

BurningLiesFrontCoverLR1

Victoria the Great – for fans of anything Victorian

anna-neagle-victoria-the-great-1937-coronation-scene

My review of A Woman of Spirit by Kate Loveday

a-woman-of-spirit-by-kate-loveday

Cover Love

The House in Quill Court by Charlotte Betts

Reindeer Romance?

blitzens-fated-mate-arctic-shifters-1-by-r-e-butler