The Week: 8th – 14th July

I did something spectacularly stupid on Wednesday: I tripped and fell onto the glass corner of a piece of furniture – WITH MY FACE! I’ve spent the rest of the week with the right side of my jaw badly bruised, and also sliced in two places. It’s made going out in public pretty embarrassing! I’m very lucky I didn’t do something much worse – or kill myself – so a funny-looking face is definitely the best option.

Lots of work this week – and the realisation I want to change something in my first book, but it’s far too late now! I’m having a bit of trouble balancing historical accuracy with not causing offence to twenty-first century readers:

Writing colonial Australia, and talking about Indigenous characters.

I’m also wading through the seventy-gazillion websites authors are apparently supposed to be on, such as BookBub.

Some of my travel plans have changed, and it now turns out I’d have been able to attend the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Melbourne next month, but it’s too late. (However, I definitely had an “Oh my God, I’m a published author!” moment when Harlequin emailed to ask what parties I’m attending. Apparently you get special – free – perks when you write for them!)

I’d like the opportunity to speak to certain people face-to-face about things, but it’s not going to happen this year. Instead, I’m busy stressing about pitching future books…

Oh, and here’s my review of Contracted as His Cinderella Bride by Heidi Rice.

Contracted as His Cinderella Bride by Heidi Rice

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!

Contracted as His Cinderella Bride by Heidi Rice

Contracted as His Cinderella Bride by Heidi Rice

From penniless delivery girl…

To billionaire’s bride?

The perfect summer Ally Jones spent with gorgeous French billionaire Dominic LeGrand was unforgettable, despite her unrequited feelings. Now Ally’s a struggling courier and is stunned when her latest delivery brings her to Dominic’s door. Yet what’s even more shocking is his proposal! Dominic needs a temporary wife, but with the enticing promise of his expert seduction teasing Ally to her limits, can she really just play the role?

Lose yourself in this tantalising marriage of convenience…

Contracted as His Cinderella Bride by Heidi Rice

When I picked this one up, Harlequin’s Presents line had been on my mind (due to discussions in a writers’ group). It had been ages since I’d read one of these, and I thought something by Heidi Rice was a good way to return.

The Presents line is, as some authors call it, “fairy tales for adults”. It delivers a steamy, larger than life story, with tropes galore.

Contracted as His Cinderella Bride worked for me. I actually enjoyed it a lot more than many Presents books because both hero and heroine approached their fake relationship like adults, and there was no melodrama. Rice delivered all the wealth and opulence – as well as the alpha male – without making the book seem “old school”. And this was a heroine who was a little down on her luck, but who had ambition, and a career in her future.

I loved the London and New York locations, and I especially loved that the author seemed to know her settings personally. They weren’t just window dressing. The reference to the overcrowded Trevi Fountain on the trip to Rome was also welcome, because, honestly, these days there’s nothing romantic about the place:

Trevi Fountain Rome Italy Tourist Crowds Sonya Oksana Heaney Summer 2016

From my last trip to Rome in 2016. You can’t even see the water!

There were a handful of things in the steamier scenes I could take issue with (we really need some new terms that aren’t “velvet over steel” and “bundle of nerves”!), but I did like how the author subtly changed her terminology when the characters went from England to the United States. In fact, I loved that.

This book delivered exactly the quick-read fairy tale (for adults!) I wanted.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

Release Day for Mary Balogh

Someone to Honour, the sixth book in Mary Balogh’s Westcott family series, is out now.

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

First appearances deceive in the newest charming and heartwarming Regency romance in the Westcott series from beloved New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh . . .

Abigail Westcott’s dreams for her future were lost when her father died and she discovered her parents were not legally married. But now, six years later, she enjoys the independence a life without expectation provides a wealthy single woman. Indeed, she’s grown confident enough to scold the careless servant chopping wood outside without his shirt on in the proximity of ladies.

But the man is not a servant. He is Gilbert Bennington, the lieutenant colonel and superior officer who has escorted her wounded brother Harry home from the wars with Napoleon. He’s come to help his friend and junior officer recover, and he doesn’t take lightly to being condescended to – secretly because of his own humble beginnings.

If at first these two seem to embody what the other most despises, they will soon discover how wrong first impressions can be. For behind the appearance of the once grand lady and once humble man are two people who share an understanding of what true honour means, and how only with it can one find love.

Release Day for Anne Gracie

Marry in Secret, the third book in Anne Gracie’s Marriage of Convenience series, is out now.

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

A rugged and ruined naval officer comes to claim his bride in an unforgettable tale of love, revenge and redemption from the national bestselling author of Marry in Scandal

Lady Rose Rutherford—rebel, heiress, and exasperated target of the town’s hungry bachelors—has a plan to gain the freedom she so desperately desires: she will enter into a marriage of convenience with the biggest prize on the London marriage mart.

There’s just one problem: the fierce-looking man who crashes her wedding to the Duke of Everingham — Thomas Beresford, the young naval officer she fell in love with and secretly married when she was still a schoolgirl. Thought to have died four years ago he’s returned, a cold, hard stranger with one driving purpose—revenge.
 
Embittered by betrayal and hungry for vengeance, Thomas will stop at nothing to reclaim his rightful place, even if that means using Rose—and her fortune—to do it. But Rose never did follow the rules, and as she takes matters into her own unpredictable hands, Thomas finds himself in an unexpected and infuriating predicament: he’s falling in love with his wife….

Bought Bride for the Argentinian by Sharon Kendrick

Bought Bride for the Argentinian by Sharon Kendrick

The Argentinian returns…

With a shocking proposal!

Alejandro Sabato, the unforgettable man from Emily Green’s past, has hired the PR executive to redeem his playboy reputation. She suggests he take a convenient wife to show he’s changed. What she doesn’t expect is Alejandro’s insistence that she take on the role! Emily is dangerously aware of the enduring desire still sparking between them. But can she risk her heart again when she’s only a bride on paper?

Turn the page and begin this marriage of convenience…

Look for 8 new titles from Harlequin Presents every month!

Harlequin Presents: Glamorous international settings… powerful men… passionate romances.

Bought Bride for the Argentinian by Sharon Kendrick

I nearly didn’t read this one because the woman on the cover reminded me too much of Ivanka Trump. Actually, even after completing the book I think she looks completely wrong for the heroine!

I was going through a bit of a Harlequin Presents thing recently because of discussion in a private writing group, and I worked my way through the review copies of upcoming books.

Bought Bride for the Argentinian is classic Presents – as you would expect from Sharon Kendrick. I liked a lot of things about it, and I liked that the author came up with a way to make her “down on her luck” heroine have a lot of strength and ambition, despite her circumstances.

Reunion romances are my favourites, so I loved that aspect of the story, too.

There were some editing issues that created inconsistencies. An example: the heroine tells the hero about her job in PR – and then a few pages later, during the same conversation, she’s shocked that he knows she works in PR! Harlequin has some of the best editing in the business, so I was a bit surprised by these little issues.

A portion of this book takes place at the Melbourne Formula One Grand Prix, and as I’ve attended almost every one of those races since the mid-2000s, I could definitely nitpick, but I won’t. The one thing I’ll say: drivers don’t go out partying the night before they have to *race a car* at hundreds of kilometres an hour. They get paid tens of millions for their skills, and they take it seriously!

However, this book delivered on the Presents promise, and will be a fun, quick read for fans of the line.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

The Week: 24th – 30th June

Foggy Winter Morning Canberra Australia Crazy Cat Sonya Heaney 28th June 2019

The neighbours’ crazy cat, sleeping on my back deck instead of in his house on a very foggy Friday morning! (The day turned out sunny and bright in the end.)

I had some unexpected interruptions this week, which means I haven’t achieved everything on the dot-point list stuck above my computer!

My problem with not meeting my self-imposed writing goals is that I wanted to have two manuscripts completed and strong enough to send to editors before I head off mid-August for two months in Europe. Every day I miss a goal the stress piles on more. Oh dear…

I have many, many things to say about the rampant corruption in Western Europe that led to Russia being reinstated into PACE (the Council of Europe), but at this point I’ve pretty much given up on everyone. The West is being gleefully ignorant as they stumble right into World War Three.

Release Day for Sabrina Jeffries

project duchess (duke dynasty #1) by sabrina jeffries

100 Years Ago

Release Day for Sabrina Jeffries

The first book in Sabrina Jeffries’ new Duke Dynasty series is out now.

project duchess (duke dynasty #1) by sabrina jeffries

Project Duchess (Duke Dynasty #1) by Sabrina Jeffries

From New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries comes a sparkling new series about an oft-widowed mother’s grown children, who blaze through society in their quest for the truth about their fathers . . . and in the process find that love just might conquer all . . .

A series of stepfathers and a difficult childhood have left Fletcher “Grey” Pryde, 5th Duke of Greycourt, with a guarded heart, enviable wealth, and the undeserved reputation of a rogue. Grey’s focus on expanding his dukedom allows him little time to find a wife. But when his mother is widowed yet again and he meets the charmingly unconventional woman managing his stepfather’s funeral, he’s shocked to discover how much they have in common. Still, Grey isn’t interested in love, no matter how pretty, or delightfully outspoken, the lady . . .
 
Beatrice Wolfe gave up on romance long ago, and the arrogant Duke of Greycourt with his rakish reputation isn’t exactly changing her mind. Then Grey agrees to assist his grief-stricken mother with her latest “project”: schooling spirited, unfashionable Beatrice for her debut. Now that Beatrice is seeing through Grey’s charms to his wounded heart, she’s having trouble keeping him at arm’s length. But once Grey starts digging into her family’s secrets, she must decide whether her loyalties lie with her family . . . or with the man whose lessons capture her heart . . .

The Week: 17th- 23rd June

My book is done! I’ve passed it back and forth with my editor six times, and now she has sent it off to the publisher. I plan to never read it again, in case I find glaring mistakes!

I was, however, rather excited to see myself popping up in advertising alongside some pretty big-name authors this week:

Sonya Heaney on Romance.com.au Coming Soon

On My Radar: The Last Days Of The Romanov Dancers by Kerri Turner

The Last Days Of The Romanov Dancers by Kerri Turner

My review of The Greek’s Pregnant Cinderella (Cinderella Seductions #2) by Michelle Smart

The Greek's Pregnant Cinderella (Cinderella Seductions #2) by Michelle Smart

Jennifer Weiner on the Power of Women’s Stories and Killing ‘Chick Lit’

Jennifer Weiner on the Power of Women's Stories and Killing 'Chick Lit' Mrs Everything.