The Week: 15th – 21st April

Red Autumn Leaves Autumn Colours Canberra ACT Australia Sonya Heaney 17th April 2019 Garden Blue Sky Nature

Mid-autumn in Canberra, and it’s still summer dress weather. And I saw on the news that it is snowing on the other side of the country! What is going on?

Ibis Queanbeyan Lawn Cemetery New South Wales NSW near Canberra ACT Australia Autumn Heatwave Bird Sonya Heaney 17th April 2019

A random ibis at the cemetery in Queanbeyan on Wednesday afternoon. Actually, there were quite a lot of them around – but no kangaroos for once!

The tragedy of the loss of Notre Dame in Paris

Poor Notre Dame…

Happy Easter! I also have Ukrainian Easter next week.

Happy 203rd Birthday to Charlotte Brontë

NPG 1452; Charlotte BrontÎ by George Richmond

The Mister by E.L. James. Just… no.

The Mister by E.L. James. Just... no.

Recently Reread

devil-in-spring-ravenels-book-3-by-lisa-kleypas-uk-cover

“Dutch Artists Paint Giant Bookcase On An Apartment Building Featuring Residents’ Favourite Books”

Dutch Artists Paint Giant Bookcase On An Apartment Building Featuring Residents’ Favourite Books

Love & Desire at the National Gallery

John William Waterhouse The Lady of Shalott 1888

107 Years Ago: Titanic survivors rescued by the Carpathia

153177-004-E74B054C Survivors of the sinking of the RMS Titanic being helped abord the RMS Carpathia 15th April 1912

The Mister by E.L. James. Just… no.

The Mister by E.L. James. Just... no.

I wrote a full thousand words about E.L. Fifty Shades James’ new book (which came out this week), a book that turns the sex trafficking of Southern and Eastern European women – and the women themselves – into a fetish, but I’m thinking it’s something I’ll regret putting out there publicly.

So, instead I’ll simply say this: this book is racist. On so many levels. I’m offended on behalf of my Ukrainian family. And I’m sickened that the publisher only saw dollar signs and couldn’t care less about decency.

And now I will direct you to this review:

E.L. James’ The Mister is so much worse than Fifty Shades: EW review

Alessia Demachi is an Albanian immigrant, working illegally in England after escaping from would-be sex traffickers. Here are Alessia’s defining characteristics: She is a piano prodigy, chess master, and although she attended university in Albania to become an English teacher, she’s still befuddled by new words and speaks in the “charming” broken English of a helpless nubile sex-doll to be.

This contradictory depiction of Alessia is unbalanced and fundamentally inaccurate, reinforcing infantilising clichés about Eastern European women. As for the Albanian men in the novel: They’re all Neanderthalic thugs who are either kidnapping Alessia (something that happens multiple times) or selling her off in marriage to another kidnapper.

And this one:

‘The Mister’ by E.L. James is Bad, But You Knew That Already

Some people are not equipped to write stories of social realism that delve into topics like domestic abuse and sex trafficking. E.L. James is to these topics what Hannibal Lecter is to vegan cookery. The Mister features a heroine who was smuggled by traffickers from Albania to London to escape her abusive fiancé but escaped before she could be sold into sex slavery, and these matters are treated with the same care and focus by James as she affords to scenes where Maxim details his favourite music or the lavish meals they eat together.

Fifty Shades is still going…

I honestly forgot about Fifty Shades of Grey, so was surprised to see another film trailer on the television in the last few days. This is the final movie… correct?

I’ve since read a few articles discussing the Fifty fad, and one point comes up time and again: the story – about a kinky billionaire stalking a young woman – seems extra creepy now. This is because the United States now has a lecherous billionaire as President, and the #metoo and other movements have exposed how many men of Christian Grey’s ilk wield their power to become sex abusers.

In the space of only a few years, this series’ always uncomfortable power dynamic is coming off as ten times creepier than before.

So far, early reviews aren’t promising:

The Week: 28th March – 3rd April

Canberra Australia Sunset Sonya Heaney Autumn

One of our (unedited!) sunsets in Canberra this week.

I hope everyone around here remembered about daylight saving! I know it’s easier now with so many devices updating themselves, but it seems every year I hear of a funny mistake!

Apparently we’re not going to have autumn this year. It’s still in the high twenties (Celsius) and the leaves aren’t really changing colour.

I had a dismal reading week this week. So many historical romances I tried to read, but couldn’t cope with; some I could not finish. Maybe that means I’m due for some good books now!

Parliament House Canberra Australia 2nd April 2016 Sonya Heaney Back-Burning..

Smoke over Australian Parliament during fire reduction burns in the city over the weekend.

The entrepreneurs bringing the Great Moscow Circus here – again – have been obscenely spamming the streets with advertising, and paying many people to put huge signs up on their own houses. Whole streets in Canberra and neighbouring Queanbeyan are lined with the things – three signs per house. Sad that people have already forgotten Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (and Georgia, and the bombing of civilians in Syria, and the human rights abuses, and the extreme homophobia, and the… you get the picture) and will do anything for a few dollars. Even the house next to my late (Ukrainian) grandmother’s has them.

So some people who will remain unnamed have been adding some things to a few of the signs:

 protest for ukraine anti-putin great moscow circus advertisementsprotest for ukraine anti-putin great moscow circus advertisements.

The collapse of the Wisconsin State Capitol

In one of history’s more successful April Fool jokes, in 1933 it was reported in the Madison Capital-Times that the Wisconsin State Capitol had collapsed. 1st April 1933.

One week until One With You

One With You by Sylvia Day

No more copies of Fifty Shades of Grey!

But now it looks like everyone’s love affair with Fifty Shades of Grey is well and truly over.

My review of Edge of Surrender (At the Edge #1 Part 2) by Laura Griffin

Edge of Surrender (At the Edge #1 Part 2) by Laura Griffin

My review of The Hunter (Victorian Rebels #2) by Kerrigan Byrne

The Hunter (Victorian Rebels #2) by Kerrigan Byrne

My review of Portrait of a Forbidden Lady by Kathleen Bittner Roth

Portrait of a Forbidden Lady by Kathleen Bittner Roth

No more copies of Fifty Shades of Grey!

I know, just from walking around the shops here, that used copies of Fifty Shades of Grey have been piling up in second-hand shops for a while now.

Now, an Oxfam shop in Swansea, Wales has so many used copies of the book accumulating that they’re begging people to not bring in any more of them – and they’ve turned the copies they already have into a fort!

But now it looks like everyone’s love affair with Fifty Shades of Grey is well and truly over.

Charity shop begs women not to return used copies of Fifty Shades of Grey.

I have been seeing some on the set pictures of filming of the next Fifty Shades movie, but if they’re only just filming it now, I have a strong suspicion the fad is going to be well and truly over by the time the film comes out. They really should have filmed all three together and made the most of the popularity at the time.

 

 

The Week

I will be in Sydney when this post goes up, but plan to add to it when I get back!

storm-sydney-harbour-bridge-circular-quay-australia-6th-december-2014-sonya-heaney-christopher-heaney-1

UPDATE: So, back in Canberra and the heatwave that won’t seem to go away! Weirdest thing that happened in Sydney: I dislocated my right knee for (I think – as far as I can count) the eleventh time. It is a very common ballet injury, where is why it started happening to me. It’s not as bad an injury as it was the first few times, but still annoying and stupid.

The Razzies

Jamie Dornan Dakota Johnson Fifty Shades of Grey Movie

Catholic school tells gay author Will Kostakis his speaking visit no longer ‘appropriate’

Young Adult Author Will Kostakis

10 Romance Covers Reenacted by Real People

gallery_nrm_1416581996-nrm_1416522476-gentle-rogue Johanna Lindsey Funny Romance Cover

My review of Taking Fire (One-Eyed Jacks #4) by Cindy Gerard

Taking Fire (One-Eyed Jacks #4) by Cindy Gerard

My review of I Kissed a Rogue (Covent Garden Cubs #3) by Shana Galen

I Kissed a Rogue  (Covent Garden Cubs #3) by Shana Galen

My review of Wedding Night With the Earl (The Heirs’ Club of Scoundrels Trilogy #3) by Amelia Grey

Wedding Night With the Earl (The Heirs' Club of Scoundrels Trilogy #3) by Amelia Grey

The Razzies

Okay, this is mean. However…

Jamie Dornan Dakota Johnson Fifty Shades of Grey Movie

Fifty Shades of Grey won! And won! and won! And won! And won!

See how Fifty Shades would look if Christian Grey was made from CAKE

Go, Twilight fanfiction!

Fifty Shades of Grey Movie

“Fifty Shades of Grey may have been largely overlooked in the Oscar nominations, but it was a big winner at this year’s Razzies.

 

The awkward adaptation of author EL James’s erotic novel nabbed five prizes at the Golden Raspberry awards, including a share of the year’s worst film award with the superhero flop Fantastic Four.

 

Jamie Dornan picked up the worst actor award and his co-star Dakota Johnson took worst actress. The pair also pinned down the worst screen combo award. Fifty Shades also won worst screenplay.”

 

Read More

 

My #1 book wish for 2016

Walking-Disaster-Cover-2 by Jamie McGuireWild Wolf Claiming (Bloodrunners, #8) by Rhyannon Byrd

Stupid Girl by Cindy MilesWicked White by Michelle A. Valentine

In 2016 I don’t want to read any more romances with things like this in them:

The busty blond wearing a too-tight tank top squeals as she approaches my table.

Most of these women have no shame and will flop their tit out on a dime.

Wicked White by Michelle A. Valentine

Or this:

The question came from the skinny waitress who’d just stopped beside his table, blocking his view of Skye. The woman’s perfume was so heavy it almost made his eyes water, the hungry way she was looking at him was so blatant he was surprised she didn’t lick her lips. ‘Because I’m willing to offer you something a heck of lot better than anything you’ll find on that menu.’

Wild Wolf Claiming (Bloodrunners, #8) by Rhyannon Byrd

Or this:

She instantly scowled. “Your loss,” she muttered, before cattily adding, “Especially if you’re saving it for Skye. That girl wouldn’t know how to please a man even if she had a sex manual for fat chicks.”

unlike the scrawny bitch who had been so rude about her

Wild Wolf Claiming (Bloodrunners #8) by Rhyannon Byrd

Or this:

‘That’s Pop’s type- dive bar skank.’

The lady’s hair screams, “just been fucked,” and she hops from one foot to the other, tugging on a stripper-girl shoe…

…My skin crawls.

Only for Him (Only #1) by Cristin Harber

Or this:

It was always so noticeable when girls flirted, and it always looked and sounded stupid and immature.

“Ladies,” he said. They all walked away, giggling and whispering.

“It was quite apparent I was having a good time, hanging all over Kelsy and acting like…” I shrugged. “Like so many other girls do at parties. Like a complete fool.”

“I know I’m atypical, Brax. Most girls my age are having casual sex like there’s no tomorrow.”

Stupid Girl by Cindy Miles

Or this:

The WAGs – a selection of vacuous anorexic Wives and Girlfriends.

Operation White Christmas by Nicki Edwards (a book I otherwise liked)

Or this:

I nodded. “Ladies.”

They hummed and sighed in harmony. Vultures. Half of them I’d bagged my freshman year, the other half had been on my couch well before fall break.

She leaned forward on her elbows to make better eye contact. I felt the urge to shudder with disgust.

Walking Disaster (Beautiful #2) by Jamie McGuire

The romance genre so far: empowering for women as long as they’re not thin, blonde, or wearing makeup or a dress!

Reasonable expectations of authors.

A lot of readers say they never start a book series until the final book is written, but the only times I’ve done that have been by accident, when I discovered a series later that other people did.

There are plenty of series, such as those by J.D. Robb and Robyn Carr, that you’d never experience if you waited until the end.

Sylvia Day Crossfire Series Books 1-4

However, then there are those series that were meant to be a certain length from the outset, and the author struggles to deliver.

Books take a lot of work, much more than most people give authors credit for. However, I think there’s a point you reach where it’s reasonable to be annoyed with an author when they drag their feet.

I am deeply in love with Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series, even though it’s not only not my usual sort of thing, but also has at least one subpar book to it. It was supposed to be a trilogy, but then Day dragged it out, and now it’s supposed to be concluded in five books.

Except – we still don’t have book five!

Day has had a busy year. She was here in Canberra for the convention in March, and then all over Australia on a book tour after that. As soon as she got back to America (I follow her Instagram) she was making appearances on television shows all over the country. Then there were more conferences and conventions to attend.

However, a brief glance at any reviews or discussion forums for this series reveal almost all her fans are frustrated, bordering on angry, or they’ve just given up entirely.

How long is it reasonable to expect your readers to wait for a promised book? Is it okay that the fifth book in this series was originally supposed to be released months ago, but as of October 2015 still doesn’t have a release date set? Worse, it was promised for 2015, and now even the release year has been revoked!

My guess is mid-2016 if we’re lucky, and by then a whole lot of fans will have jumped ship.

Of course Day isn’t the only author to put their readers through this, but this is the one I care about at the moment.

Fiction genres, and especially romance genres, are fickle and change fast. While I hate comparisons being made between Crossfire and Fifty Shades (because I love one and despise the other), they are from the same recent trend. It seems though that the trend is heading right on out of fashion.

Grey by E.L. JAMES2

The Fifty Shades movie was widely panned (and I can’t blame people with that awful cast!), and it seemed to spell the beginning of the end for the angsty-kinky-billionaire-romance fad. E.L. James’ attempt to rewrite her Fifty series from Christian’s perspective was not well-received.

Life and Death Twilight Reimagined (Twilight #5) by Stephenie Meyer

People are looking for something new. This is going out of fashion as surely as teenage vampires did; just look at how well Stephenie Meyer’s attempt last week to revive her flagging Twilight franchise went.

If we don’t get the final Crossfire book soon, Day will have missed the boat.

I can’t tell authors what to do with their lives, but when you’ve crafted a hugely popular series, I promise you, readers would rather have the next book than see you doing yet another publicity tour!

Twilight Take #2 – Take #2!

Stephenie Meyer E.L. James

Just to add a little extra to last week’s post about Stephenie Meyer’s new book. Or, should I say Stephenie Meyer’s attempt this month to revive the Twilight franchise on the ten year anniversary of the first book’s release…

Many fans were upset that instead of her releasing the long-awaited Midnight Sun (Twilight from Edward’s point of view), she rewrote Twilight with the characters’ genders reversed.

Well, I’ve read read a little more on the situation.

According to interviews, Meyer was all set to finally (since her promise a hundred years ago in 2008) get Midnight Sun finished.

And then Fifty Shades author E.L. James came back again, releasing Grey, her version of Fifty Shades written from HER hero’s perspective!

That’s right, folks, E.L. James even plagiarised Meyer’s half-finished idea!

Stephenie Meyer has no plans to release Midnight Sun after EL James' Grey

Meyer gave up.

Ever since the mainstream media got their claws into Fifty Shades of Grey (at least a year after readers knew all about it!), people have been asking: why didn’t Stephenie Meyer sue E.L. James? James became a gazillionaire from unethically publishing fanfiction of Meyer’s books.

Meyer (whose books I do not like, by the way, but who I think has been wronged here) played the nice guy (girl) and just said she was happy for James’ success and that was that.

Now, though, I think she’s starting to feel a little differently.

She listed her reasoning as a lack of time for Midnight Sun, but during New York Comic-Con, she gave another reason - Grey.

I reckon the average reader would much rather have read Midnight Sun than Grey. I cannot stand the Twilight franchise, but I guarantee you I would pick up Meyer’s book over James’.

And now, it seems, because Meyer didn’t want to be tough about it, readers will never have that book.