2020 Begins …

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. I was in a little hamlet near the Victorian town of Bright for a week – with no Wi-Fi – and that area now has bushfires everywhere. And now I’m home the fires keep knocking out the phone lines and the internet.

My city, Canberra, currently officially has the worst air quality in the world, thanks to the smoke from the bushfires. The southern part of the city is the worst, and the reading for the worldwide worst air is being taken a few streets from my house. We’re covered in smoke and brown dust.

1st January 2020 Canberra Worst Air Quality in the world Bushfires.

Before and after:

Walk to the shops Tuggernanong Valley Brindabella Range Canberra Australia Winter Sunshine Blue Sky Sonya Heaney 21st July 2019 Sunny Warm Afternoon

Severe world-record bushfire smoke Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney Tuggeranong 2nd January 2020

The national parks around me are being evacuated as I type because they’re worried the fire is going to hit us. And the holiday I’m supposed to soon go on the to NSW South Coast, to research for an upcoming book, is in doubt as Mogo – the gold rush town I wanted to visit – burnt down on New Year’s Eve:

Mogo Bushfire Destruction

When I returned home from Victoria I discovered that the neighbour hadn’t fed his cat in recent memory, and the little sore on his chin had grown to the point he no longer has any fur on his chin, neck or ears – just red-raw sores.

Here he is before he was sick:

Stinky the Cat

I’ve taken control of the cat at the moment, and my time these days is taken up with emergency visits to and phone calls with the vet, and battles with the poor guy to try and get medicine in him and medicinal cream on the wounds – he hates it. I’ve at least managed to get the infection to stop stinking, and he’s gained a bit of weight.

I’ve had a charity approach me to try and help with his recovery, and his owner, who refuses to pay for any medical treatment, needs to be in prison.

I got a lot of typing done while I was in Victoria, but it’s been hard to work since, with our whole region on fire. I can’t even work on a few of my manuscripts, because the locations I was using no longer exist!

This is an extraordinary way to begin the year. It’s horrifying, and it has only just begun.

 

The Week: 7th – 13th October

Back to normal here – crazy cat is still crazy…

So, here I am, back home from Europe. Even though my unpacking still hasn’t been completely successful, I already feel like I’ve been here for a year!

Now the “fun” begins. I’m doing some huge edits on my next book, which at the moment my editor and I are calling “The Landowner’s Secret 2” (because I don’t want to come up with a title, and she hasn’t yet, either!). I plan to add several thousand words into the manuscript to expand on a few things, which is going to be a big task to have done over the next two weeks.

I also have the third book to finish, and I want that done before Christmas (which is frighteningly close now!).

Harlequin’s Free Reads

Recently Reread: The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott

Book Feature: Silver Silence by Nalini Singh

silver silence (psy-changeling trinity, #1; psy-changeling, #16) by nalini singh

HOME!!!!

So, I’m back in Canberra, and the sun is shining (strongly), all the birds I’ve known since they were babies have reappeared on the front and back decks and have been looking at me desperately for food (it’s baby season in the Southern Hemisphere, and they had to eat CHEESE until I could get them some raw mince), and two paperback copies of The Landowner’s Secret were waiting for me on my front doorstep!

It was a fantastic decision to end the overseas trip in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital – and where I’d been only a few weeks ago – because it’s such a friendly city, full of great food, lots of culture, and some great cats!

Sonya Heaney Author Tbilisi Georgia Black Cat Saturday 5th October 2019

I made friends with this half-grown black kitten. I wanted to adopt him! This is me with him on our front balcony in Tbilisi two afternoons ago. Also: check out the steep streets in the old town!

The trip home was partially great, but largely full of the kind of people I want to – and probably will – base nasty characters on in the future. It’s so disheartening when you do nothing wrong, but people just choose to be horrid to you anyway. I came home shaking mad, but a glass of wine or three will fix that!

I’ll say this, though: major kudos to the African guy at security in Doha, Qatar, who was so wonderfully blasé about the whole thing! (88% of the city’s residents are expats.) He made the trip home for me. Also, the Qatar Airways staff are always great.

I have major, MAJOR work to do. One book to finish edits on by the end of October, and two more I want to have finished by the end of December. I planned to start tomorrow, but I’ve already done some work – in my jetlagged state!

What to do…?

After visiting the enormous, almost abandoned citadel at Rupea earlier today (picture below), we arrived in Brașov this afternoon. It’s a beautiful place, but when we arrived at our rental apartment in the historic centre there was a little black cat behind a nailed-closed wooden shutter on the floor below us, reaching out to us with both paws.

We didn’t think much of it, but every time we came past the cat was still there. And then when the sun set, and the mail still wasn’t collected from that doorstep, and no lights came on there, I went back down to investigate.

From what my rudimentary Romanian reading skills told me, the letters were all “final notice” electricty-type bills, and the last two were dated the 10th of September (it’s the 17th here).

The cat is trapped, and is STARVING, and even more desperate for water. It can’t meow anymore. We took some sliced ham and a bottle of water down and got as much to it as we could (which wasn’t much through the shutters).

Two young Romanian men in a car stopped and came to help, but nobody here speaks English, and even though my family is Ukrainian, the two countries (they’re neighbours) only have about two words in common in their languages.

I let one of the guys into the courtyard and he knocked on the apartment’s door and talked to the neighbours and tucked a note into the door, and the other mentioned calling the police – because what if the cat’s owner is hurt or dead in there? However, when she heard the word “police”, the maniac neighbour lady came out and yelled at all of us and shooed the men away.

I guess I’ll try and feed the cat for the next few days, and then get our apartment’s owner to help when we leave? If the cat’s owner has been missing over a week…?? I can’t just leave it…

Maybe we’re overreacting. Anyway, here are some pictures:

The ENORMOUS, tourist-free citadel in Rupea:

Brașov’s old town, complete with a Hollywood-style sign on the hill above:

There are stray cats everywhere. They’re gorgeous, and most people in restaurants etc. feed them:

The Week: 12th – 18th August

End of Winter Flowers Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 13th August 2019

First signs of spring (however, there’s one last blast of winter on its way over the coming few days!)

I am VERY busy at the moment. VERY. That is all I have to say this week! (Except that if you’re having a bad week, maybe watch this Belarusian man driving his horse-drawn car!)

thumbnail_landownerssecret

It is now less than one month until my book comes out, and you can read the first two chapters HERE or HERE.

Hannibal Brown Burmese Cat and Grey Crazy Cat Sonya Heaney Canberra Australia 13th August 2019

Hannibal Brown Burmese Cat and Grey Crazy Cat Sonya Heaney Canberra Australia 13th August 2019 2

Hannibal from next door now comes to hang out with Crazy Cat.

Crazy Cat (the grey one) is ENORMOUS.

Danger Close

Danger Close Long Tan Movie Vietnam War Travis Fimmel Australian Army 1966

Children’s Book Week

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen cover

The Week: 5th – 11th August

This has been… quite a week. So many good things happened (I’d love to share NOW, but can’t) that I’m worried there’s a disaster on the horizon!

We had t-shirt weather for the first half of the week, and then on Friday night it snowed. I am so mad I didn’t see it, because (and despite nasty stereotypes about Canberra) we NEVER get snow. A little bit settled on the mountains, but by Saturday morning the sun was back. It’s going to be around 17 degrees (about 63 Fahrenheit) by the end of next week, so I guess that’s winter finished.

I spent the second half of the week stalking the Romance Writers of Australia conference (in Melbourne this year) online. I really should go in 2020.

Crazy Cat Canberra Australia Thurday 8th August 2019 Sonya Heaney Cats Cute Grey Cat

Someone broke the cat!

P. L. Travers’ 120th Birthday

australian p. l. travers in the role of titania in a production of a midsummer night's dream, c. 1924 state library of new south wales. mary poppins

Cover Love

Then Comes Seduction (Huxtable Quintet #2) by Mary Balogh

The Week: 15th – 21st July

WinterVention Canberra Austrlaia OutDoor Ice Skating Canberra Theatre Centre Sonya Oksana Heaney 20th July 2019

burst

Winter outdoor ice skating and fairy lights in Canberra last night.

Blue Sky Sunny Winter's Day Queanbeyan to Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 19th July 2019 Nature

Crossing the state border from Queanbeyan (NSW) to Canberra on Friday afternoon.

Crazy Cat Grey Cat Sonya Heaney Canberra Australia 19th July 2019

The neighbour’s cat napping in my office on Friday. Despite what it looks like, he does actually have a head. And he’s so big he fell off the couch just after I took this picture!

My book is on NetGalley!

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

Five years since MH17

298-mh17-candles

The Dancing Plague of July 1518

Die_Wallfahrt_der_Fallsuechtigen_nach_MeulebeeckEngraving of Hendrik Hondius portrays three women affected by the dancing plague

Book Feature: London’s Best Kept Secret (Midnight Secrets #2) by Anabelle Bryant

London's Best Kept Secret (Midnight Secrets #2) by Anabelle Bryant

Browser the Library Cat

I’ve just seen this story making the rounds of social media, and decided it was important to share it here!

Here is Browser(!) the library cat from Texas.

Bng-rMHc Browser Library Cat

He is a rescue cat, and a few months ago a grumpy councilman who wasn’t allowed to bring a dog to work tried to get the cat fired from his job as the library’s pest control officer.

Browser got his job at a Texas library when he was just a kitten. Library Cat

In the end, the councilman lost his job in the next election, and Browser stayed!

Claw the System: Poems from the Cat Uprising by Francesco Marciuliano

Claw the System Poems from the Cat Uprising by Francesco Marciuliano

Cats are done with humans’ crap. For too long they have put up with baby talk, the humiliation of holiday costumes, and the social injustice of being told, “No.” They will not sleep through this anymore. We humans have woken the beast, and in this book they have gathered together to reclaim their voice, loudly and repeatedly until we pay attention. Watch the uprising unfold, through anthems such as “Redefine Terms,” “Accepted,” “Decide,” “A New Dawn,” and “Just What Do You Think You’re Doing?” Show support for your feline friends and try to understand why they’re so spitting mad.

Claw the System: Poems from the Cat Uprising by Francesco Marciuliano

I’m not a poetry person. I had to spend a whole semester at university studying it, and I hated every moment of it!

However, this isn’t your usual poetry book! Grumpy cats are always hilarious (to me, at least!), and you don’t need to be a fan of poetry to enjoy reading Claw the System. I knew I would like it as soon as I saw the cover.

This is the kind of book any cat owner would appreciate.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.