The Week: 23rd – 29th July

Friday afternoon drinks on the patio near the lake at the National Library. Canberra put on a sunny and surprisingly warm day. It was a gorgeous end to the week.

Australian Parliament from the car on Friday afternoon.

There was a terrible fatal accident involving a truck, three cars, and many people right near where I live yesterday morning. It’s on a patch of the Monaro Highway where, recently, I’ve seen a car run off into a paddock, a huge truck overturned, and, a few weeks ago, it was the exact spot we nearly got cleaned up by an aggressive male driver who ran a red light several seconds after ours turned green. And that’s before mentioning the endless kangaroos/foxes/wombats/possums that have been hit by vehicles and now line either side of the road.

We had to drive past the scene yesterday (and will have to travel past there twice today), and it wasn’t a pretty sight.

The Monaro Highway is the thoroughfare for interstaters going to and from the Snowy Mountains, the country, and Sydney, and is also where all the reckless ute-driving workmen (who’ve never met a road rule they won’t break) travel from early morning through to late afternoon.

I had a lot of posts this week, with all the news floating around!

#Cockygate Resolved

Tara Crescent Cockygate Resolved Thank You

The Bridgertons are coming to television!

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RITA Awards 2018

Forbidden River (The Legionnaires #2.5) by Brynn Kelly

A Buffy Remake?

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Dear Canberra Writers’ Festival: Barnaby Joyce is NOT a writer, and you know it

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The Trump Effect on Books

Tessa Dare Donald Trump Paper Costs Canada Trade War 1

Roswell Trailer

Roswell New Mexico 2018

On this day: Prisoners of War in Ukraine

20th Anniversary of Ever After

A Buffy Remake?

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When I first saw the news they are talking about remaking Buffy the Vampire Slayer, my first reaction was: can we please not?!

My second reaction: how about we come up with some new shows instead of ruining the old cult hits?!

It’s nothing new for Hollywood to recycle everything, but recently it seems they’ve gone mad on it. I mentioned Roswell before, but it’s not the only one. I mean… they’ve even remade silly MacGyver, with a man who looks like a child playing the lead. And then you have the possibly misguided reunion of the Downton Abbey crowd…

They’re giving Charmed the same remake treatment, too. Despite everyone’s crazy claims it was a feminist show, anything where the lead women make sexist “blonde jokes” every second episode is nothing of the sort, so I don’t care about that one.

But Buffy…? It was one of the best-scripted shows I’ve ever seen. In fact, we had to study it in our scriptwriting units at university.

Buffy was of its era. It was an important show that defined the 1990s. It also came at a time just before television started getting so sleek and high-tech that it started losing its humanity. I don’t want to see a fancier, updated Buffy.

Unfortunately now the show’s tainted with the discovery of exactly what a dickhead its creator, Joss Whedon, is. He’s not only not a feminist, but he spent years cheating on his wife – including with some Buffy cast members.

I just think that… leave Buffy alone! Come up with something different!

The Week: 23rd – 29th October

Misty the Cat Sonya Heaney Spring Flowers 26th October 2017

This week has been stressful and upsetting as I spent it trying – and succeeding – to keep the neighbour’s cat alive after she had a stroke while visiting us on Sunday night.

What we didn’t initially know was that the neighbour was in Queensland for the better part of a fortnight (the son of another neighbour was being paid to feed her). We went to his door with her just after 2am, and then tried again at 6:30am.

When we found out where he was I spent Sunday night to Friday morning with her, sleeping on the couch while she slept on the rug (because she kept falling off everything), giving her water through a dropper thingy, trying to get her to move again…

She improved a lot, but now – and she is back visiting for hours a day instead of living here full-time – she has lost her purr. She used to purr more loudly than any cat I’ve ever met before, and now she is eerily silent. She also sleeps a lot more.

The picture above was from Thursday, when we got her outside for a few minutes.

She is already so old she has gone blind and deaf, and I was given permission to have her put down, but there’s no way I could have done that unless she was really suffering. There I was, on the floor with her, crying buckets on Sunday and Monday…!!

She spends so much time here I sort of feel she is as much my cat these days (as I type this she is back here, napping next to me).

Also: another possum has moved into the tree just over a metre from my bedroom window. Hearing Exorcist screams all night (possums are cute, but terrifying!) is not much fun…

Enlighten Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 11th March 2017 National Library of Australia Canberra Women's History Reflection Night

This week Lonely Planet named Canberra the third best place in the world to visit in 2018. I agree – I love this city. However, the nasty newspapers in other cities here will be churning out editorials insulting us (it’s a favourite Australian pastime to insult the national capital). Australians are weird like that. It’s like each state and territory is a different country instead of being part of the same one.

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They also named Seville #1 – and I also agree. It is my favourite city in the entire world, and I’ve spent anything from a week to a month there at a time on many visits over the years, including a ten-day visit only a couple of months ago. I hope it doesn’t now get totally ruined by touts and illegal traders and tour groups like Barcelona etc.

R.I.P. Miranda Neville

Frances Mallary

Coming Up for Mary Balogh

Someone to Wed (Westcott #3) by Mary Balogh

Out Next Week

A Daring Arrangement (The Four Hundred Book #1) by Joanna Shupe

Amazon’s Forums Now Closed

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Buffy for Halloween

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Adult Colouring Book Cover

Tiny Bookcase

Paper Art - Miniature Library with tiny books - Diorama

Are We Still Doing Vampires?

On a trip to the Gold Coast a few months ago, I found myself without anything to read. So we made a trip to the newsagency down the road, where they had a bunch of “beach read” kind of books. One of the books I ended up buying was Veil of Midnight by Lara Adrian. I’m not sure blood and violence counts as a beach read, but I definitely had fun with it. (Apart from some brief anger at seeing Ukraine called “the Ukraine”. I live in hope that one day people will finally learn that is completely incorrect!)

Veil of Midnight was a reminder of how enjoyable vampire books were before the tweens (and their mothers) turned it into a global “thing”.

I’d read the first couple of books in Adrian’s series, and this is #5, so I was a little lost, but it was such a great escape. It also reminded me why this genre became so popular in the first place, and made me wonder why I’d been giving paranormal a bit of a wide berth in the last couple of years.

The sacrifices that come with immortality, the strengths and weaknesses, the struggles with darkness; vampires can throw up some great plot ideas.

Where did all this women’s book vampire stuff begin? With Christine Feehan? She was doing vampire-human relationships, magical mates and all the rest in the 1990s. People like to pick apart her series now, but for me it is so significant because it set the groundwork for all the books that came after. Dark Prince – the first book – may not be everyone’s favourite, but I love it for its originality, and the fact you can see so many later authors’ themes within those pages.

I also love that her creatures are “Carpathians” who live in the Carpathian Mountains – I have family from there, and will be visiting for the second time in a few months!

But vampires didn’t always mean there had to be hearts-and-flowers kind of romance.

I’m technically the same age as Buffy Summers. The year her character graduated from high school was the same year I did. She started university at the same time as me. Buffy was the anti-Twilight, and I kind of grew up with her and loved it (still do, when I catch an episode).

I never liked Twilight. Between all the sparkling and the nasty stereotyping of blonde women, I spent so much time being offended on behalf of vampires and non-brunettes that it was hard to enjoy the books. Also, there were NO sacrifices or struggles. Not only did Bella get immortality, but she also got a husband, a baby, all her friends became immortal, she could go out in sunlight, she had no weaknesses… Four phonebook-length novels for a fairytale ending with sugar on top? Without any struggle, there didn’t seem to be any point.

At the same time Twilight was taking over womankind, Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse was taking off, aided by the popular television version of the books. I was mildly obsessed with both, until the show lost the plot, temporarily killing my interest in the books. One day soon I hope to pick them up again, because her vampires did vampirish things like drink blood and act naughty, and it was great fun before Hollywood got their claws into it and turned it into another “thing”.

There’re other authors whose vampires added great things to the genre too. Jeaniene Frost’s Buffy and Spike-esque Cat and Bones. J.R. Ward’s phenomenally popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

But are we still doing vampires anymore? Every time I see them discussed these days, everyone seems tired. The market was saturated with sparkling schoolboys and angsty brunettes, and people seem to be running onto the next fad.

However, before vampires became a “thing” they were fun. Maybe now that Hollywood and the drive-by readers have moved on, we will once again have a chance to enjoy the genre.