The world is almost okay again.

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What I am sure most of you are unaware of is that the moment Ukraine named a Crimean Tatar singer as their Eurovision entry, Russia applied to have Ukraine banned from the song contest.

https://canberraandbeyond.wordpress.com/2016/05/15/the-world-is-almost-okay-again/

Capital life and random beauty…

What I am sure most of you are unaware of is that the moment Ukraine named a Crimean Tatar singer as their Eurovision entry, Russia applied to have Ukraine banned from the song contest.

Ukraine didn’t even enter after Russia invaded, and that year, Russia nearly won. Ukrainians were being massacred, and Europeans (and Australians) were voting for the people responsible for it!

So this win is a Major, MAJOR win against Vladimir Putin’s propaganda campaign and ongoing invasion.

Also funny that if the runner-up had won, next year Eurovision would have been hosted in my hometown, Canberra!

Why did anyone vote for Australia? We have no business being in the contest!

However, it makes me sick to my stomach that Russia came close to winning – for the second year in a row. People who voted for Russia: do you remember these words: Georgia, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin, Syria, gay…

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In Kyiv

We flew into Ukraine’s capital city this morning  and visited the main square for the first time since the revolution (the square where there were the burning tyres, and had the drums, and then all the demonstrators were being shot by the pro-Russian authorities).

We are now in a Crimean cafe on the square, one we have visitied plenty of times in the past. They are flying Ukrainian and Crimean flags together; the Crimean Tatars don’t want to be ruled by Russia!

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The Week: 31st August – 6th Sepetmber

Sunset Tuggeranong Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney Spring 3rd September 2015 Clouds Sky Nature

You know it’s spring in Canberra when the sky does this every evening…

The first sunset of spring. Mostly spring, and not much sunset! #Canberra #Australia #flowers #blossoms #garden #nature Sonya Heaney 1st September 2015

First day of spring!

Happy Father’s Day (to people who celebrate it today)!

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Tuesday – the first day of spring – was the second anniversary of my father’s mother’s death.

Wool world record 40kg fleece shorn off overgrown sheep in Canberra6743386-3x2-700x467 Wool world record 40kg fleece shorn off overgrown sheep in CanberraGiant-woolly-Sheep-AFP-2

This week, here in Canberra, a stray sheep was found. Its wool broke the world record. Also, notice the paddock full of kangaroos. We have a plague of them here. Every time you get in the car and drive somewhere you’ll see a gazillion dead kangaroos on the side of the road, and more preparing to jump. Our last car was destroyed by one!

Canberra gymnastics coach Zou Li Min killed in fishing accident

A former champion gymnast from China, who was a coach here in Canberra in recent years, has died. My family was heavily involved in gymnastics (I competed in state championships and later worked as a coach, but my brother was actually training for the Olympics here at the Australian Institute of Sport), so this is yet another loss that hits close to home for me this year… Nowhere near as close as the other deaths, but still enough for me to wonder what is going on at the moment! If people could stop dying for a few months…

New Police Kharkiv 4th September 2015 with US ambassador322

Ukraine launched yet another Western-style police force in yet another city. The US flag is there because the fantastic, amazing, intelligent, great (I am seriously a fangirl over him!) US ambassador was there.

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Crimean Tatars keep getting grabbed off the street by the Russian authorities, tortured, and murdered. Ethnic cleansing was a hobby of Stalin’s in Crimea during Soviet times, and now it’s happening all over again.

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And, a bit more Putin propaganda going up in Crimea at the moment…

That whole misogyny thing…

Hell or High Water (Deep Six #1) by Julie Ann Walker

This Cover…

Bewitching Hour by Anne Stuart

My review of The Rogue You Know (Covent Garden Cubs #2) by Shana Galen

The Rogue You Know (Covent Garden Cubs #2) by Shana Galen

My review of Wolf Creek Widow by Penny Richards

Wolf Creek Widow by Penny Richards

My review of Wagon Train Proposal (Journey West #3) by Renee Ryan

Wagon Train Proposal (Journey West #3) by Renee Ryan

What IS this?

Sea Treasure by Johanna Hailey

The Week: 27th July – 2nd August

19th July 2015 Lake Burley Griffin Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney Reflection Winter Nature Sunset 

Random shot of the lake in the centre of Canberra. Taken from the car, so if it’s not perfect…

I did so much work on the computer this week I think I’ve gone blind and developed a couple of long-term wrist injuries! I boasted a couple of weeks ago about typing 36 000 words from Monday to Friday. This week – Monday to Friday – I typed 41 000 words! I feel like bragging about it!

This week my late-grandmother’s house was listed for sale, and real estate agents are… Lord, real estate agents really have no idea.

So Beijing was awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics. However, almost all the other contenders had to drop out! It was a foregone conclusion. Ukraine was a top contender for 2022 until Russia invaded, and they had to pull their bid. A pity, because I’ve been to the ski resort in the beautiful Carpathian Mountains where it would have been – a number of times. It breaks my heart Russia got their Games, and then stole Ukraine’s chance the week after Sochi finished, when they invaded Crimea.

The part of Ukraine the Olympics would have been:

ukraine_in_the_carpathian_mountains_postcard-r603308c25a02437b99525c4953f8b0f5_vgbaq_8byvr_512sunset-angel-ukraine-note-card-sonya-heaney-zazzlep-store Ivao-Frankivsk

Got this from Dear Author, but in London they were supposed to be building a women’s history museum, and instead turned it into a Jack the Ripper museum – so, instead of a museum about women’s rights, it’s now a museum about murdering women:

“Residents claim that council planners had been “hoodwinked” when they approved two planning applications submitted last year.

A document sent by Mr Palmer-Edgecumbe’s architects, Waugh Thistleton, last August to support the building’s conversion from a disused Victorian shop and flats into a museum included pictures of suffragettes and equal pay campaigners and designs for a museum called the Museum of Women’s History.”

I usually hate it when silly, pointless news stories take all the attention away from important stuff, but this one had me laughing for half an hour, so I’m going to mention it:

Mom Throws Dream Party for Personal Injury Lawyer-Obsessed Toddler

Mom Throws Dream Party for Personal Injury Lawyer-Obsessed Toddler

Prairieville family celebrates son's second birthday with Morris Bart-themed party.

Children in romances, and more children, and more…!

The Rebel Cowboy's Quadruplets by Tina Leonard Harlequin American Romance

Cover Love

By Winter's Light by Stephanie Laurens

Sabrina Jeffries’ Next Book

The Study of Seduction by Sabrina Jeffries

Book Cover Issues

The Cowboy SEAL's Triplets by Tina Leonard

My Review of Frontier Engagement by Regina Scott

Frontier Engagement by Regina Scott

My review of Wild Thunder (The Wild Series) by Cassie Edwards

Wild Thunder (The Wild Series) by Cassie Edwards

Russians in Romance

The-Professionalby KresleyCole

Edit on 3rd of May: Since I posted this, Russians have hacked at least one of the sites I linked to. I’ll be optimistic and keep the links up just in case anything changes.

You know this current trend in the romance genre for books about “sexy” Russian criminals? It’s actually making me sick. I do think poorly of people who are seeking these books out and enjoying them, despite what Russians are currently doing to Ukrainians and other people in Eastern Europe.

The argument that it’s just a fantasy? Sorry, doesn’t cut it. It’s like saying, “Gee, I know Germany just invaded Poland and started killing the locals, but those Nazi bad boys are just so hot.”

Vladimir Putin Adolf Hitler

I’m very close to the situation in Ukraine. One of my family members is high up in the Ukrainian Catholic Church and has been conducting the funerals of Ukrainians murdered by the Russians. I was watching the live video feed the day the snipers came out and started slaughtering the people. I saw them die. I have relatives who were guarding the barricades in the capital city. I’ve stayed on the main square in Kyiv – the heart of this conflict – many times, including only a few months ago. One of the times – late at night – our building was investigated by those awful military police who were doing the killing. I just accidentally saw the crime scene photos of the latest Ukrainians who have been abducted, tortured and murdered by the Russians (in that picture, one of the victims is a well-known politician; the other is a teenage boy).

This torture and murder has been going on for months, and more and more people are disappearing.

And yes, I even have family in Russia. Of course they’re not all bad, but they are citizens of a country that runs entirely on misinformation and propaganda – and most of them believe it.

Russian soldiers invading Crimea Ukraine

Russian soldiers in Crimea in the early days of the invasion.

I know that when it comes to romance books all kinds of things get written off as ‘they’re just fantasies’. But this is one line I will judge people for crossing.

“Hot” is an odd way to describe the average man in today’s Russia. I’ve been to Russia multiple times – and not for the prettied-up, propaganda-laden tourist experiences most people see on their riverboat cruise. One of the times, our building was stormed by two jeep-loads of men with machine guns. The building is on Nevsky Prospekt, for God’s sake – the most famous and touristy street in the whole bloody country! A HUGE proportion of Russian men are drunks who beat their wives. They carry bottles of vodka and beer (at the same time!) around the streets at ten in the morning. They all chain smoke. Their life expectancy is lower than third world countries, due to the drinking, smoking, drug use and the rapidly-rising AIDS rate. I’ve personally witnessed more than one anti-gay parade.

And – get this – so many of them hate Westerners and have no qualms about saying it to your face.

What’s so sexy about that?!

Russia R.I.P. Ukraine Russian Propaganda

American Jounralist Reporting on Ukraine Abducted by Russians

That second tweet? It is from an American journalist, quoting a Russian, and shortly afterwards he was abducted by the Russians.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, almost without fail every time I post a picture of Ukraine or Ukrainians somewhere – my blog, Pinterest, Tumblr – I get Russians making stupid or even nasty comments on it, very often informing me all of Ukraine is Russia (funny, because Ukraine existed for centuries before Russia did!). I posted a picture of my ninety-one year old Ukrainian grandmother holding a little Ukrainian flag, and cruel things were said about her. My grandmother, who lost half her village to Russian gulags!

I’m sorry, but I’m just so over all the gushing Russian criminal romance book fans I come across on Goodreads and blogs and everywhere else. Vladimir Putin has turned his country into a cancer on the world, the Soviet Union take #2, and there’s a war on the horizon. I know, because I have family and friends who are going to be recalled to fight it.

I was telling the truth – this fad is making me sick.