The Week: 10th – 16th June

We’re getting scarily close to being halfway through the year! I have so much to do, and no time to do it.

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

I handed in my manuscript on Friday, after a few rounds of edits. I think I’m owed some champagne! Yesterday I had another read through my contract to see what I’m actually allowed to do when it comes to sharing excerpts etc., so hopefully I’ll be able to do some of that soon.

Book Feature: Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright

Lies Jane Austen Told Me (Proper Romance) by Julie Wright

Recently Reread: Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega #1) by Patricia Briggs

Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs

Recently Reread: Tactical Strike by Kaylea Cross

Tactical Strike by Kaylea Cross

Recently Reread: Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega #1) by Patricia Briggs

My attempts to get back into urban fantasy and paranormal romance this year have so far been to reread old favourites.

Patricia Briggs is amazing. Her Mercy Thompson series is a little more in the urban fantasy realm, and Alpha and Omega is a little more paranormal romance (but the romance is still subtle).

These are still my favourite werewolf books; Briggs knows her world inside-out.

Despite the listing, I thinking nobody – NOBODY – should read this one without reading the introductory novella first, where main characters Charles and Anna meet and become mates.

I have a slight problem with the “nasty blonde” secondary character, but Briggs also gives her some complexity, so she gets away with my #1 pet hate – just.

If I’m going to be reintroduced to all things paranormal, this is a good way to start.

Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs

Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega #1) by Patricia Briggs

Anna never knew werewolves existed, until the night she survived a violent attack… and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she’d learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. Then Charles Cornick, the enforcer—and son—of the leader of the North American werewolves, came into her life.

Charles insists that not only is Anna his mate, but she is also a rare and valued Omega wolf. And it is Anna’s inner strength and calming presence that will prove invaluable as she and Charles go on the hunt in search of a rogue werewolf—a creature bound in magic so dark that it could threaten all of the pack.

It is recommended you read the prequel “Alpha & Omega” before reading Cry Wolf.

The Week: 27th May – 2nd June

I have a cover for my book! I can’t share it yet, but it’s FANTASTIC, and I keep randomly opening the file to look at it. I had to fill in a multi-page cover brief to give the designer an idea about what to do, and I was cautiously optimistic, but it is SO much better than I could have hoped for.

cof

The last day of autumn in Canberra.

So, now it’s winter in Australia. However, we’re still having such beautiful days.

The coming week is A BIG ONE for me. The Battle of Binh Ba 50th anniversary commemorations are going to take up all of my time (the 6th of June is the big day), so any plans to write/read/blog won’t happen. I know it’s the same date as the D-Day commemorations, but this battle was much more significant for the Australian military.

Binh Ba was one of Australia’s iconic battles in the Vietnam War, and my family is heavily involved in all aspects of the anniversary. (I know “iconic” is a bad choice of word, but I don’t know how else to describe it.) My father is one of the organisers of the whole thing – obviously, he fought in the battle – and I am going to have a chance to talk with the man who won a Military Cross for Binh Ba, a man whose book I am currently helping to write.

I am actually “moving into” a hotel here in Canberra for the duration of the events.

New Book for Joanna Shupe

Vintage Romance?

Recently Reread: Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs

Recently Reread: Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs

Patricia Briggs is an author who can draw me back to the paranormal subgenres in a way most others can’t. It has been years since I went near a Mercy Thompson book, and I remembered just enough for this first instalment in the series for it to feel both like an old friend and a new adventure.

The Mercy series is urban fantasy, with a relationship that develops in the background as the series goes on. It’s told in the first person, which I don’t usually love in adult fiction, but really enjoy here.

Mercy is a coyote shapeshifter who was raised by werewolves, but is never quite included in their society. She lives a working-class existence as a mechanic (but running her own garage), and she lives in a trailer that overlooks a mansion. The mansion is owned by the city’s Alpha werewolf, Adam Hauptman.

What’s so solid about this series is that Briggs knows her world inside-out. It’s fantastical, but also believable, and all of her characters are very distinctive. There are a few sad parts in this book, but it’s not a downer.

One thing urban fantasy has going for it over paranormal romance is how many risks an author can take without upsetting their readership.

We meet quite a lot of characters in quick succession in this book, and there is plenty of world building to be done, so in some ways Moon Called suffers from “first book syndrome”. However, Briggs has a very engaging writing style, and is really great at creating fascinating situations in the complex supernatural world most (but not all) of the characters inhabit – in an otherwise typical suburban American existence.

My only issue with this series (and Briggs’ writing in general) is that it – like the work of so many others writing with paranormal themes – has some really misogynistic themes. It’s a curse of all paranormal subgenres: authors seem to insist on making their heroines “special” by making the other women awful. All the women in this series – bar Adam’s teenaged daughter – hate Mercy. It’s too much.

Urban fantasy is not usually my thing, but Patricia Briggs made it my thing years ago. I’m happy to say I enjoy the books just as much now.

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) by Patricia Briggs

Mercedes Thompson, aka Mercy, is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy’s next-door neighbour is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she’s fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy’s connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water…

The Week: 6th – 12th May

Busy week this week. I have edits to do on my book (which has a new title, but I won’t share it until everything is confirmed), and I was editing a book for someone else. Plus something weird happened to my email and I lost some important things, while other important emails (i.e. from my publisher, HarperCollins!) started going to my junk folder and I missed them!

Storm Cursed Out Now

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Recently Reread: Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen’s most famous novel, Pride and Prejudice, was published on the 28th of January 1813. Here is the front page from a first edition copy of the book.

This Cover

Unleashed by Caitlin Crews

Storm Cursed Out Now

Storm Cursed, the eleventh book in Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series, is out now.

I’m nowhere near caught up with these books, but do love the earlier instalments.

One day soon…!

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In this new instalment in the No. 1 New York Times bestselling series, Mercy Thompson must face a deadly enemy to defend all she loves . . .

My name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic.

And a coyote shapeshifter . . . And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack.

Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn’t stood upon a bridge and taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who lived in our territory. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats, and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae.

The reality is that nothing and no one is safe. As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming and her name is Death.

But we are pack, and we have given our word. We will die to keep it.

The Week: 8th – 14th October

Sunny spring days in Canberra.

This week started out gorgeous, had some weird weather in the middle, and involved a trip to the city to pick up my passport for my next trip!

Plus, there was a gorgeous (and very sweet) royal wedding to watch on Friday night (our time). I’m not into the royals usually, but this one…

How is October already half over? It’s nearly time to start thinking about Christmas!

Most of my posts this week were about sexual assault, and how the topic is handled (or dismissed in some quarters) in romance publishing. I’m utterly disgusted by recent events in the United States, and by how these things have an effect on women the world over.

Romance authors, misogyny, and conservative conversations about men.

Russian Orthodoxy – GONE!

China…

Books to Counter Kavanaugh – Easy by Tammara Webber

Books to Counter Kavanaugh – Breaking the Silence by Katie Allen

Books to Counter Kavanaugh – the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs

Books to Counter Kavanaugh – Breakable by Tammara Webber

Books to Counter Kavanaugh – Whispering Rock by Robyn Carr

Books to Counter Kavanaugh – the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs

No, I’m not American, but the sexual harassment scandal surrounding Brett Kavanaugh – and the subsequent misogynistic victim-blaming movement emerging out of it – is reverberating around the world.

So, I’ve moved all my scheduled posts for the week, and instead will be recommending some books that deal with the reality of what women are up against when it comes to sexual harassment and assault.

Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series is an urban fantasy series that – a few books in – begins to deal sensitively with the aftermath of sexual assault. There is a great deal more to the series than that storyline, but Briggs’ handling of that plot really impressed me.

The Week: 6th – 12th March

Bright Blue Sky Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney Autumn 6th March 2017

First day back home. Blue sky, sunshine, summer temperatures – and half a new deck!

We went to Canberra’s Enlighten festival last night. The national buildings (National Library – above, National Science and Technology Centre, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Old Parliament House etc.) are lit up. There are also bars and food stalls and opera performances and a whole lot of things.

I will find some better pictures tomorrow.

This possum has moved in (not our first one, but the smallest so far), right outside my bedroom window. The night-time fights with other animals kept me awake all night a few nights ago!

It has been absolutely gorgeous in Canberra this week. Temperatures up around thirty degrees, bright blue skies, sunshine. It feels more like summer than autumn most of the time.

Chris Miller 11th March 2017 Russia invaded Ukraine

A timely reminder from a very respected journalist in Europe.

A Ukrainian woman is behind bars in the United Arab Emirates at the moment because doctors found out she is pregnant to her fiancé. They are “testing” her to find out how long she has been sexually active, which sounds like an appalling abuse of a woman’s basic rights.

You’re not allowed to have premarital sex in the UAE, and women are imprisoned for reporting rapes. Please be aware that just because Dubai and Abu Dhabi look shiny and tourists love them doesn’t mean it isn’t an Islamic country with some terribly restrictive laws – especially for women.

I have to travel through there are few more times this year, and I really wish I wasn’t. Qantas sends their flights through there a lot now, and codeshares with Emirates, which is one of the worst airlines I have ever experienced.

Also on my list of “things that annoyed me this week”, this article:

Pope may allow married Catholic men as priests

The reason it annoys me? Ukrainian Catholic men – married, soon to be married, planning to be married – have ALWAYS been able to become priests. For centuries. Most of the priests I’ve ever known have been married – with children.

This is allegedly such a groundbreaking idea, but once again people totally ignore the fact this is already, and always has been, a thing.

Nobody knows anything about Ukraine, but you’d think a journalist or two might mention this extremely relevant fact!

And then there’s:

Muhammad Ali’s son detained at US airport for second time

He’s a flipping US citizen! What is wrong with Trump’s version of America??!

My review of Outback Cowboy (Hot Aussie Heroes Book 1) by Margareta Osborn

My review of Devil in Spring (Ravenels #3) by Lisa Kleypas

My review of A Temporary Family by Sherri Shackelford

Patricia Briggs’ New Book

Excuse me, cover designers…

Patricia Briggs’ New Book

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Silence Fallen, the tenth book in Patricia Briggs’ hugely popular Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series, is due out now.

Briggs is one of my favourite urban fantasy authors, and if you haven’t tried her books yet, I’d highly recommend going back to the beginning of the series and starting there. This is a complex world with ever-evolving characters and a strong relationship at the centre.

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Coyote shapeshifter Mercy Thompson is attacked and abducted in her home territory. Fighting off a crazed werewolf, she manages to escape, only to find herself alone in the heart of Europe, without money, without clothing and on the run from the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world.

Unable to contact her pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, but first she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy needs to be at her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves – and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise. . .