Cover Love

I really do love the Australian/UK covers for historical romances. Pretty clothes and less nudity!

The book’s blurb is beneath the image.

What a Difference a Duke Makes (School for Dukes #1) by Lenora Bell

Wanted: Governess for duke’s unruly children

Edgar Rochester, Duke of Banksford, is one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in England, but when it comes to raising twins alone, he knows he needs help. The only problem is the children have chased away half the governesses in London. Until the clever, bold, and far-too-enticing Miss Mari Perkins arrives.

Lost: One heart to an arrogant duke

Mari knows how to wrap even the most rebellious children around her finger. But their demanding, wickedly handsome father? He won’t be quite so easy to control. And there’s something else she can’t seem to command. Her heart. The foolish thing beats so wildly every time the duke is near.

Found: A forbidden passion neither can deny

As his employee, Mari is strictly off-limits. But what if she’s the one breaking all his rules? In the game of governess versus duke, how can Edgar maintain his defenses when the only thing he wants to do is let the tempting beauty win?

Final Weekend of the Sale!

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

Just a reminder that The Landowner’s Secret is $1.99 in Australia and New Zealand until the end of this weekend.

Kindle Australia

Kobo Australia

Kobo New Zealand

Read the first two chapters.

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.

Florence Foster Jenkins

I randomly came across this movie when it was on free to air TV a couple of weeks ago, and it was amazing. Based on the life of a real person – and I actually looked up the real woman and was happy to see how historically accurate the movie is – Florence Foster Jenkins tells the story of a Gilded Age New York socialite who, near the end of her life, decides she has what it takes to become a famous opera singer.

The problem? She can’t sing to save herself. She becomes infamous rather than famous.

This is one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. You laugh and laugh … and then suddenly you’re crying because it really is a tragic story.

Meryl Streep actually trained as an opera singer (something I just learnt), and – much like the character of Carlotta in The Phantom of the Opera – in order to sing badly, you first have to learn to sing properly.

The real woman really was an appalling singer, and because she paid to have records of her voice made, you can listen to her even now. She’s even worse than in the movie.

The costumes in this movie are worth your time alone.

Streep was ROBBED of the Oscar for this performance (it went to La La Land that year), and both Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg (who is most famous as a sitcom actor, but who is actually a trained concert pianist) were nominated for Golden Globes for their parts. They’re both brilliant, too.

I’m so glad I stumbled across this.

How not to offend millions of people.

In things I can’t believe I’m typing this morning …

A reminder: the hammer and sickle/the Soviet Union represents evil.

After a “cutesy” episode of Australian Story on the ABC, in which a bunch of Anglo Australians waved a communist flag around and did a “retro kitsch” tribute to Stalinist Russia, in which modern-day Russia was discussed as if it – and Putin memes = cute …

The hammer and sickle flag is illegal in much of the former USSR, right alongside the swastika. It’s illegal because it represents the genocides of the Ukrainian and Kazakh people, the total ethnic cleansing of the native people of Crimea, the deportation of the people of western Ukraine (including everyone in my family’s villages) to Siberian gulags, the deportation of tens of thousands of people from the Baltics, too.

It’s illegal because it represents Russian colonialism and the suppression or elimination of other racial and ethnic groups’ languages and cultures. Because it represents a century of mass murder and horror.

It is now an ideology Putin is using in his invasions of Georgia (which began in 2008, and is ongoing) and Ukraine (started in 2014, and ongoing).

I can’t believe this is something I have to explain, but – to my own horror – Australian author after Australian author shared the story yesterday, all with a comment to the effect of “look at this happy, good news story!”.

To wave that flag around without a care in the world is hurtful and harmful to the non-Russian people of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. This is something we just went through with My Kitchen Rules, when they pulled their “cutesy Stalin and Putin” retro communist ad.

Do better, people. There’s no excuse to not know that Soviet Russia was as evil and genocidal as Nazi Germany was.

The Landowner’s Secret is still only $1.99!

Just a reminder that readers in Australia and New Zealand can buy The Landowner’s Secret (Brindabella Secrets book #1) for only $1.99 on Kindle and Kobo (AU/NZ) until the end of the month!

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

Read the first two chapters.

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.

 

Rereading Old Favourites

Her Best Friend by Sarah Mayberry

I know I’m not the only one who’s been rereading a lot of favourite books in the past few, pandemic-stricken months.

One book I picked up (well, opened on my Kindle!) is Her Best Friend by Sarah Mayberry, which was published ten years ago, and which is the book that convinced me to read more category romances.

The book is due to be rereleased in a few months.

A recent discussion amongst authors showed the general consensus is the Superromance line was amazing and should never have been discontinued. Australian author Mayberry and Kiwi author Karina Bliss were two of my absolute favourites, writing realistic, complicated characters.

Her Best Friend is about a woman who stayed in her hometown to pursue her dream of buying and restoring an Art Deco theatre. It used to belong to her family and is now under threat from developers. Amy has been in love with her best friend for sixteen years, but he married another woman from town and moved away to live in the city and have a big, flashy legal career.

Cue angst!

What makes this book stand out is how real the characters feel – from their conversations to their choices to their mistakes. I’ve read more books than I can count, but this one still resonates with me.

My only complaint: how heavily the editors Americanised the language and terminology. There’re a lot of words (and systems of measurement!) we don’t use here!

Out Now: The Austen Girls by Lucy Worsley

British historian Lucy Worsley does some great TV shows, but she is also the author of historical fiction aimed at young adult readers. I’ve mentioned one of her books before, but this one, about Jane Austen, is out today and looks really interesting. (It is already available in the UK.)

The Austen Girls by Lucy Worsley

The Austen Girls by Lucy Worsley

Would she ever find a real-life husband?

Would she even find a partner to dance with at tonight’s ball? She just didn’t know. Anna Austen has always been told she must marry rich. Her future depends upon it. While her dear cousin Fanny has a little more choice, she too is under pressure to find a suitor. But how can either girl know what she wants? Is finding love even an option? The only person who seems to have answers is their Aunt Jane.

She has never married. In fact, she’s perfectly happy, so surely being single can’t be such a bad thing? The time will come for each of the Austen girls to become the heroines of their own stories. Will they follow in Jane’s footsteps? In this witty, sparkling novel of choices, popular historian LUCY WORSLEY brings alive the delightful life of Jane Austen as you’ve never seen it before.

 

 

Edits Edits Edits

Without giving too much away, I started edits on The Artist’s Secret at about 3am (now it’s nearly seven in the morning). Don’t ask me why I chose that time to begin!

The manuscript is still a bit of a mess, but in this screenshot you can see what it looks like “behind the scenes” when you’re working with an editor on a book: lots of highlights and shifting of words and comments in the margins!

Edit Screenshot The Artist's Secret by Sonya Heaney Historical Romance

Eurovision Revisited

The Eurovision final should have taken place this weekend (stupid virus), so it’s time to revisit the best performance the competition has ever seen: Ukraine’s Verka Serduchka in 2007!

As I say every year, I’m a dot in the video. I was travelling with my brother at the time, and I think we were the only people in Finland who were accidentally in Helsinki on Eurovision weekend!

How Reader Behaviour Is Changing During the COVID-19 Crisis

How Reader Behavior Is Changing During the COVID-19 Crisis

This article turned up in my email today, and it makes for an interesting read. Because each week feels like a year at the moment, it’s probably already a little out of date (it’s dated the 24th of April), but it shows that while people are still buying books, readers’ habits are changing.

Of course, this is a US-focused piece, so things are likely different in other countries. Australia is in a good position to start opening up again (and some of our restrictions have already been lifted), so I assume readers here are likely to return to in-person book shopping faster than – say – the US or the UK.