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: 18th – 24th March

So. I have news. BIG NEWS. However, I’m not going to share it until everything is finalised. In the meantime, here are some silly pictures:

From my home office window in Canberra on Thursday afternoon. One of Australia’s scruffiest baby birds (that is about half a metre in length – so not so little). What a cute mess!

St Patrick's Day Dancing Canberra 2019

St Patrick’s Day dancing in Canberra last weekend.

Out Now: The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner

The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner

My review of What Makes Girls Sick and Tired by Lucile de Pesloüan

What Makes Girls Sick and Tired by Lucile de Pesloüan

My review of Penguin Bloom: The Odd Little Bird Who Saved a Family

10 Romance Clichés

Uh, Book Depository?

Penguin Bloom: The Odd Little Bird Who Saved a Family

Penguin Bloom The Odd Little Bird Who Saved a Family by Bradley Trevor Greive, Cameron Bloom (Photographer).

Penguin Bloom is an extraordinary true story full of hope and courage, featuring Cameron Bloom’s exceptional photographs and a captivating narrative by New York Times bestselling author Bradley Trevor Greive.

Penguin the Magpie is a global social media sensation. People the world over have fallen in love with the stunning and deeply personal images of this rescued bird and her human family. But there is far more to Penguin’s story than meets the eye. It begins with a shocking accident, in which Cameron’s wife, Sam, suffers a near fatal fall that leaves her paralysed and deeply depressed.

Into their lives comes Penguin, an injured magpie chick abandoned after she fell from her nest. Penguin’s rescue and the incredible joy and strength she gives Sam and all those who helped her survive demonstrates that, however bleak things seem, compassion, friendship and support can come from unexpected quarters, ensuring there are always better days ahead. This plucky little magpie reminds us all that, no matter how lost, fragile or damaged we feel, accepting the love of others and loving them in return will help to make us whole.

Penguin Bloom: The Odd Little Bird Who Saved a Family by Bradley Trevor Greive, Cameron Bloom (Photographer).

Despite the title, this is a book about an Australian magpie (totally different breed to magpies in other countries) called Penguin, who was adopted by a family as a baby and then went on to become famous.

The (true) story went “viral”, and is soon to be released as a Hollywood movie.

I came across this book while on holiday at the coast, and read it in one sitting, though it was surprisingly long and with a lot more text than I was expecting – I was initially in it for the cute bird pictures!

penguin the magpie

Speaking of those pictures, they’re brilliant, and there are lots of them. The book is worth it for the photography alone.

However, there’s more to this story.

The mother of the family had an accident in Thailand which left her disabled and confined to a wheelchair. The book is as much about her coming to terms with her disability (which also left her without her senses of smell and taste) as it is about the bird, and the book begins with a chapter written by the husband, and ends with one written by the wife.

I’ll admit: the attempts to tie the relationship with Penguin to the woman’s personal journey were pretty flimsy. I doubt the bird actually had much at all to do with it, but I was willing to forgive it.

I’ve been living with a local family of magpies for years. Each spring they bring their babies to us, and they hang out on the front and back decks, singing, sleeping, occasionally attacking other birds in their territory. Never would I ever let one into the house, though twice a bird has sneaked inside, which was… interesting…

Which leads me to… it’s madness to keep a magpie inside. They make the most disgusting mess (yes, what you’re thinking). I was wondering about this family and their magpie, and it turns out that after a while they came to the same conclusion, and they moved her outside.

I’m dubious about the family’s behaviour taking the bird in in the first place. Once they leave the nest, baby magpies live on the ground for some time. Every spring, wildlife organisations beg people to leave them alone – they don’t need rescuing. Animal shelters fill up with “rescued” magpies that didn’t need rescuing in the first place, leaving vets completely frustrated.

However, my doubts aside, the story is an interesting one, and the photographs of the bird interacting with the magpie are brilliant. Australian magpies have a terrible reputation, as there are a few violent birds who attack humans in their territory in springtime. However, most magpies are lovely creatures – especially if they know you – and this book goes a long way to proving it.

The Week: 25th February – 3rd March

One of the cockatoos who lives in the front garden, coming to investigate the other birds on the back deck on Wednesday morning.

Australian Raven Bird Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 25th February 2019 2

A raven trying to steal my plastic container at lunchtime on Monday – caught in the act!

Argh! How is it already autumn?! We’re still having temperatures in the low to mid-thirties in Canberra (in the nineties, if you measure in Fahrenheit), but the leaves are starting to change.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Melbourne Production

My review of Lady Notorious (The Royal Rewards #4) by Theresa Romain

SYTYCW Blog: “Banish stylistic clichés!”

The Week: 15th – 21st October

The gorgeous Friday we had in Canberra!

1 Currawong Garden Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 15th october 2018 Australian Birds Nature

2 Currawong Garden Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 15th october 2018 Australian Birds Nature

We had some beautiful spring weather in Canberra this week, but every time I tried to work outside, this currawong would steal my chair the second I stepped away from it!

What a stunning by-election result in Sydney last night. Maybe a message to the Federal Government to remind them Australia didn’t vote for the far-right government we were handed behind closed doors a few weeks ago…? May we please have an election NOW?!

Also, what stunning news out of Queensland. I didn’t expect it.

So many terrible things in the world this week. A question: when a Russian guy goes on a shooting rampage in Ukraine’s Crimea, killing more people than in high-profile Parkland, Florida, why does nobody seem to care? Why do we treat lives in one country as so much more important than lives in any other?

In fact, I was taught in *first semester* journalism at university that the media DOES consider people of different countries to matter more. We were taught (in one of the top two journalism courses in Australia) to start thinking of different countries as holding different levels of importance. It disgusted me back then, and it disgusts me more with each year.

Judy Blume on the Big Screen

My review of The Makings of a Lady by Catherine Tinley

Want to Read: Dominion by Peter Ackroyd

Royal Wedding

12 October 2018 Newlyweds Princess Eugenie of York and Mr. Jack Brooksbank leave following their wedding at St George_s Chapel in Windsor, England. © Getty Images +

Coming Up for Madeline Hunter

A Devil of a Duke (2018) (The second book in the Decadent Dukes Society series) A novel by Madeline Hunter

The Week: 30th July – 5th August

At Lake Burley Griffin in the centre of Canberra on Saturday’s sunny afternoon.

Kangaroos near the Royal Australian Mint Canberra Australia Night Christopher Heaney July 2018

Kangaroos near the Royal Australian Mint Canberra Australia Night Christopher Heaney July 2018 2

We have a slight kangaroo problem in Canberra. This is in the grounds of the Royal Australian Mint – not out in the suburbs!

I am pretty busy at the moment because I’m flying to Ireland in a few weeks, and I have heaps of things to finish first. From now until mid-November I’m not going to have a lot of time to get anything done (as I am also going on trips to England and China).

Authors who I owe reviews: I promise they’ll be up before then!

New Cover for Lisa Kleypas

Devil's Daughter (Ravenels #5) by Lisa Kleypas

Happy 200th Birthday, Emily Brontë!

Yes, we need libraries.

Rosanna Leo Libraries Romance Author

Tasmania is part of Australia!

Map of Australia

The Week: 29th January – 4th February

Wednesday summer sunset in Canberra

One of our (still fluffy!) young magpies hanging out on Friday afternoon.

Who Gets A Happily Ever After In 2018?

jemima-khan-impersonates-melania-trump-for-halloween-2016

My review of His Sinful Touch (The Mad Morelands #5) by Candace Camp

His Sinful Touch (The Mad Morelands #5) by Candace Camp

My review of Honor-Bound Lawman by Danica Favorite

Honor-Bound Lawman (Love Inspired Historical) by Danica Favorite

Rereading Tammara Webber

Easy by Tammara Webber

Formula One (finally!) gets rid of “grid girls”

Formula One Race Podium Melbourne Australia Sonya Oksana Heaney 20th March 2016 Lewis Hamilton Nico Rosberg Sebastian Vettel F1

For Chinese New Year

Chinese-themed Book Sculpture

 

The Week: 15th – 21st January

Saturday sunset in Canberra. One of many 39-degree days we’ve just had or have forecast for the next week. The garden is dead!

Blue sky and heat on the anniversary of the 2003 Canberra firestorm.

A sulphur-crested cockatoo watches me water the garden at sunset. Look at the orange summer light…

This has NOT been a productive week, but is has been very hot! We have a serious heatwave around here at the moment – forty-ish degrees every day.

After days of high temperatures, I didn’t really need to see this on Saturday night: Canberra will be the hottest city in Australia on Sunday and Monday.

There are a few authors I was supposed to be in contact with, and I am sorry for not doing that.

I became sick at the end of last week, with something that reappears every so often. From there I became sick in general. For a few days this week I was literally only eating a third of a piece of fruit a day, and struggling to keep that down. As you can imagine, it didn’t exactly leave me with the energy to get out of bed! In the end, all I could do was drink sugary drinks to try and get some energy out of them.

I am sure people have heard of the enormous paedophilia story going on in US gymnastics at the moment. It’s a long read, but this is an important article about it:

The U.S. Gymnastics System Wanted More Medals, And Created A Culture Of Abuse To Get Them

Also, this horrifying development – silencing victims by threatening lawsuits:

USA Gymnastics won’t seek fine if McKayla Maroney discusses abuse

And:

Hear Larry Nassar’s victims in their own (powerful and brave) words

This week marked fifteen years since the horror of Canberra’s 2003 firestorm. It was even hotter that year, and we had a severe drought, and – combined with the dangerous winds – there were never “better” conditions for a catastrophic fire.

The rest of this week:

The West just does NOT get it.

MKR-russian-ad-social Hammer and Sickle Communism

My review of Marrying His Cinderella Countess by Louise Allen

Marrying His Cinderella Countess by Louise Allen UK Australian Mills and Boon Cover

My review of Miracle on Ladies’ Mile (A Gilded Age Holiday Novella) by Joanna Shupe

Miracle on Ladies' Mile (A Gilded Age Holiday Novella) by Joanna Shupe

Cover Love

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill (Tales from Ivy Hill #1) by Julie Klassen