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

My book is on NetGalley!

This is mildly terrifying, but if you’d like to review my September book, my publisher has now put it up on NetGalley.

Here the link.

And here’s some information:

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

New South Wales, 1885

When Alice Ryan wakes to find thugs surrounding her cottage, on the hunt for her no-good brother, she escapes into the surrounding bush.

It is wealthy landowner Robert Farrer who finds her the next morning, dishevelled, injured, and utterly unwilling to share what she knows. With criminals on the loose and rumours that reckless bushrangers have returned to the area, Robert is determined to keep Alice out of danger, and insists on taking her into his home-despite the scandal it may cause. Convincing her to stay on with him for her own safety, however, is going to take some work.

What Robert doesn’t expect is his growing attraction to the forthright, unruly woman staying in his home. Before either of them can settle into their odd new situation, their home and wellbeing come under threat and they will need to trust each other to survive. But they are both keeping secrets, secrets that have the potential to ruin their burgeoning love, their livelihood … and their lives.

Writing colonial Australia, and talking about Indigenous characters.

There’s one thing you can’t do once your editor has sent your final, edited manuscript back to your publisher: change anything.

I’ve been agonising over a few things in my upcoming book for a while now. There will always be things some people hate that others love, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

However, what’s concerning me is how to write colonial New South Wales/Australia when there were so many ugly parts to it.

My first book mentions Indigenous Australians a number of times, but they aren’t featured characters until the next in the series. Even so, I’ve been stressing about language choices. Do you have your characters speak the way people did then, or do you modernise their speech so it sounds more like we approach discussions of ethnic groups today? (Obviously, certain words should never be used in a book written in the twenty-first century.)

Do you find a middle ground so that you’re not whitewashing and romanticising your colonial characters?

In this first book I’ve mentioned specific peoples and regions (Ngambri, Ngunnawal etc.), and will explore this more in the next instalment. However, I’m concerned about language used, and hope I’ve not managed to cause offence!

The parts I’m worrying about are all of a few sentences in an entire book, but I’m completely stressed!

The Week: 17th- 23rd June

My book is done! I’ve passed it back and forth with my editor six times, and now she has sent it off to the publisher. I plan to never read it again, in case I find glaring mistakes!

I was, however, rather excited to see myself popping up in advertising alongside some pretty big-name authors this week:

Sonya Heaney on Romance.com.au Coming Soon

On My Radar: The Last Days Of The Romanov Dancers by Kerri Turner

The Last Days Of The Romanov Dancers by Kerri Turner

My review of The Greek’s Pregnant Cinderella (Cinderella Seductions #2) by Michelle Smart

The Greek's Pregnant Cinderella (Cinderella Seductions #2) by Michelle Smart

Jennifer Weiner on the Power of Women’s Stories and Killing ‘Chick Lit’

Jennifer Weiner on the Power of Women's Stories and Killing 'Chick Lit' Mrs Everything.

On My Radar: The Last Days Of The Romanov Dancers by Kerri Turner

Now, I’m hesitant about this one, and at the same time I’m desperate to read it.

It does seem that The Last Days Of The Romanov Dancers makes no attempt to whitewash history, which I am thankful for.

Romanticising the Russian Empire is… Well, the Romanovs were really into cultural genocide (and actual murder) of all non-Russian ethnic groups of their realm. The repercussions of that are still being felt today. For some reason they always get a free pass when other historical empires do not.

Coming from one of those ethnic groups who had their language banned and their culture either suppressed or stolen, I’m a little touchy about it! Many famous Ukrainians’ (and others’) achievements have been appropriated – to this day some of the Empire’s most famous artists/composers/writers/dancers/etc. are called “Russian” when they were nothing of the sort.

And yet, author Kerri Turner knows her ballet. It’s so important for me – a former ballet dancer – that authors who tackle the topic know a lot about it!

Additionally, I’ve spent time in Saint Petersburg on several trips over the years.

In other words, I think this book looks fascinating, and it has some great reviews!

The Last Days Of The Romanov Dancers by Kerri Turner

The Last Days Of The Romanov Dancers by Kerri Turner

Petrograd, 1914. A country on a knife edge. The story of two people caught in the middle – with everything to lose… A stunning debut from a talented new Australian voice in historical fiction.

Valentina Yershova’s position in the Romanovs’ Imperial Russian Ballet is the only thing that keeps her from the clutches of poverty. With implacable determination, she has clawed her way through the ranks, relying not only on her talent but her alliances with influential men that grant them her body, but never her heart. Then Luka Zhirkov – the gifted son of a factory worker – joins the company, and suddenly everything she has built is put at risk.

For Luka, being accepted into the company fulfils a lifelong dream. But in the eyes of his proletariat father, it makes him a traitor. As civil war tightens its grip and the country starves, Luka is torn between his growing connection to Valentina and his guilt for their lavish way of life.

For the Imperial Russian Ballet has become the ultimate symbol of Romanov indulgence, and soon the lovers are forced to choose: their country, their art or each other…

A powerful novel of revolution, passion and just how much two people will sacrifice…

The Week: 3rd – 9th June

Here are a couple of images from the day-long 50th anniversary commemorations for the Battle of Binh Ba in Canberra on Thursday, which were broadcast live on TV. (If you’re an avid war history fan, you can still watch the whole thing online!)

The first one shows the Minister for Veterans and Defence on the left, and Vietnam veterans from the official party on the right. My father is the veteran in the centre. It was SO sunny that we were all blinded and melting by the end, despite it being the first week of winter!

Battle of Binh Ba 50th Anniversary Anzac Parade, Canberra, Australia 6th June 2019 Ray De Vere Chris Heaney Vietnam Veterans Vietnam War

The second image is from the Last Post ceremony at the Australian War Memorial the same evening. The ceremony was dedicated to Binh Ba veterans in general, and to the sole Australian killed in the fighting in particular. (There was also a British D-Day veteran present.) Afterwards, veterans and their families were lined up for a photograph – I’m one of the dots on the left of the picture!

Veterans and the families of those who served. Battle of Binh Ba, Vietnam, 50th anniversary. Last Post Ceremony #awmemorial cbr.

We had a formal dinner that night. You don’t know what it’s like to party until you’ve done it with Vietnam veterans! We overstayed our welcome in the ballroom, were moved up to the rooftop bar – and then overstayed our welcome there!

My Cover!

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

My review of Resurgent by Brynley Blake

Resurgent by Brynley Blake

My Cover!

I now have a high-resolution, un-watermarked cover for my upcoming book to show you. I love it, and I think it really represents the story.

Here’s what my book is about:

New South Wales, 1885

When Alice Ryan wakes to find thugs surrounding her cottage, on the hunt for her no-good brother, she escapes into the surrounding bush.

It is wealthy landowner Robert Farrer who finds her the next morning, dishevelled, injured, and utterly unwilling to share what she knows. With criminals on the loose and rumours that reckless bushrangers have returned to the area, Robert is determined to keep Alice out of danger, and insists on taking her into his home-despite the scandal it may cause. Convincing her to stay on with him for her own safety, however, is going to take some work.

What Robert doesn’t expect is his growing attraction to the forthright, unruly woman staying in his home. Before either of them can settle into their odd new situation, their home and wellbeing come under threat and they will need to trust each other to survive. But they are both keeping secrets, secrets that have the potential to ruin their burgeoning love, their livelihood … and their lives.

Here are some preorder links:

HarperCollins AU US

Amazon AU US UK

Romance.com.au

Kobo AU NZ US UK CA IE IN ZA

Barnes and Noble

Apple Books

Google Play

Booktopia

And here it is!

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney

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?

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

One I’ve been excited about for months now, Susan Meissner’s The Last Year of the War is out now.

The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner

Elise Sontag is a typical Iowa fourteen-year-old in 1943–aware of the war but distanced from its reach. Then her father, a legal U.S. resident for nearly two decades, is suddenly arrested on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathiser. The family is sent to an internment camp in Texas, where, behind the armed guards and barbed wire, Elise feels stripped of everything beloved and familiar, including her own identity.

The only thing that makes the camp bearable is meeting fellow internee Mariko Inoue, a Japanese-American teen from Los Angeles, whose friendship empowers Elise to believe the life she knew before the war will again be hers. Together in the desert wilderness, Elise and Mariko hold tight the dream of being young American women with a future beyond the fences.