The Week: 14th – 20th October

Spring Flowers Canberra Australia Pink Purple Garden Sonya Oksana Heaney 16th October 2019

Spring in Canberra

Big week as far as my writing went. Things are really starting to move ahead with my next book.

I started a new history/book Tumblr blog a few days ago. If you’re interested, it’s here:

Sonya Heaney Author

Also this week:

Book News!

Escape Cover Brief Header Sonya Heaney Second Book March 2020

Recently Reread: Virgin River and Shelter Mountain by Robyn Carr

Robyn Carr Virgin River Series

Book Feature: The Light in the Labyrinth by Wendy J. Dunn

Starting Over

After a few years and several thousand followers, I’ve decided to close my Tumblr blog and open a new, more book-focused one. It will still be heavy on the history (and pretty images!), but my other account was being hijacked by pro-Russian trolls, and after six years of it that’s something this Ukrainian doesn’t have the patience (or stamina) to deal with anymore – especially if it’s going to have an effect on my writing career.

It’s killing me to lose all those followers – all that publicity for my books! – but I have to do it for my own peace of mind.

If you would like to follow me, you can go here:

Sonya Heaney Author

The Week: 8th – 14th July

I did something spectacularly stupid on Wednesday: I tripped and fell onto the glass corner of a piece of furniture – WITH MY FACE! I’ve spent the rest of the week with the right side of my jaw badly bruised, and also sliced in two places. It’s made going out in public pretty embarrassing! I’m very lucky I didn’t do something much worse – or kill myself – so a funny-looking face is definitely the best option.

Lots of work this week – and the realisation I want to change something in my first book, but it’s far too late now! I’m having a bit of trouble balancing historical accuracy with not causing offence to twenty-first century readers:

Writing colonial Australia, and talking about Indigenous characters.

I’m also wading through the seventy-gazillion websites authors are apparently supposed to be on, such as BookBub.

Some of my travel plans have changed, and it now turns out I’d have been able to attend the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Melbourne next month, but it’s too late. (However, I definitely had an “Oh my God, I’m a published author!” moment when Harlequin emailed to ask what parties I’m attending. Apparently you get special – free – perks when you write for them!)

I’d like the opportunity to speak to certain people face-to-face about things, but it’s not going to happen this year. Instead, I’m busy stressing about pitching future books…

Oh, and here’s my review of Contracted as His Cinderella Bride by Heidi Rice.

Contracted as His Cinderella Bride by Heidi Rice

BookBub?

I’d (kind of, maybe) heard of BookBub before, but only just got around to investigating it. Apparently you can sign up to track current sales and freebie books of authors and genres you like…?

Apart from signing up for an account, that’s about all I know about it so far, but apparently it’s really popular.

HERE I AM if you’re interested in following me!

The Week: 12th – 18th November

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Some pictures from the Great Wall near Beijing, Jinan, and the Zibo district in China last week.

These past few months have been crazy. From winter to like-winter weather in Europe, to warm weather, to a heatwave in Canberra, to freezing China, to another heatwave in Canberra. I’m so confused where I am and what season it is! Now I’ve done my Christmas shopping (just in case things didn’t arrive in time), I sort of feel like it’s time for the year to end!

My review of A Holiday by Gaslight: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Mimi Matthews

A Holiday by Gaslight A Victorian Christmas Novella by Mimi Matthews

Another Book Community Gone?

A Jane Austen Christmas

Mr Darcy Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen Foil Christmas Card Sonya Heaney In the Past Zazzle Shop Silver Version 2

Poppies for Remembrance Day – 100 Years

Thousands of Poppies First world War One Sonya Heaney 11th November 2018 Australian War Memorial Canberra.

Long Tan Cross

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Armageddon Seventy Years On

Another Book Community Gone?

Romance University

Today Romance University goes on hiatus. The site is a trove of information about the genre, and – until now – had regular posts from authors and others in the industry, about the romance genre, and also about publishing in general.

In this case “hiatus” seems to mean they’re leaving the site forever. They are keeping the old posts up for a while, but the community itself will be no more.

I do understand that the people running RU put in a huge amount of time and effort, and I can understand stepping away, but it’s yet another book community gone.

The more the internet takes over everything, the deader online book groups seem to become. Goodreads groups are practically a wasteland now, and most popular book forums and blogs have been shut down (e.g. Harlequin’s decision to move all their discussion over to awful Facebook, where nobody gets any anonymity).

Twitter? Useless. All the authors and bloggers moved over there, but all anybody discusses on Twitter now is Donald Trump. There’s very little in the way of meaningful discussion about books to be found.

I’ll be sorry to see Romance University go.

Monday Thoughts

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I got a bit mad in the comments of a few blog posts in the past week, but I can’t take it back now!

Basically, I’m a little bit frustrated with the power bestselling authors have over their readers, and that certain authors post some absolute nonsense online – with no facts to back their stories up – and everyone believes them. One blog I’ve been following for years posts lengthy history posts a few times a week, and not once have they ever provided a link to show their posts are based in fact.

Please, if you’re posting something that will get your readers commenting: ‘Wow! I never knew that! Thanks for sharing!’…?

Then, please, please link to at least one thing to prove what you’re saying is true.

We live in the age of Trump, Putin, and far-right Facebook memes. Everyone (including me) can and should do better.

I did something crazy…

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And I deleted my old Twitter account. My new one is HERE, if you want to follow me. It looks a bit suspect at the moment, because I have no profile picture or anything!

I opened my old account not long before Russia invaded Ukraine, and what was going to be an account about books turned into something different. Then on came Donald Trump, and things got worse!

Recently I’ve been thinking that I had a lot of tweets I didn’t want to be around forever, but I also had too many to go through individually.

This seemed like the best option!

Does a Fiction Author Need a Blog?

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Recently Romance University had a great post:

Does a Fiction Author Need a Blog? by Anne R. Allen

It is really worth a read.

I use Twitter for news, and avoid Facebook most of the time, but it seems the entire book community has shifted to those sites and almost totally abandoned decent discussion. (Plus, Twitter is all about the cliques.) Worse, social media sites now (including others like Instagram) don’t run in chronological order, so you might not see something until days after it has been posted.

The almost total collapse of book message boards – and message boards in general – means that blogs are about the only place left for readers and authors – and yet so many people seem to be abandoning those, too.

I really, really, highly recommend giving the article a read.

Amazon’s Forums Now Closed

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Forgive me for the lateness, but this was news to me only a couple of days ago.

Amazon – in following with movie/television site IMDB – has closed its message boards, eliminating a couple of decades of conversation, recommendations, and themed discussions in an instant.

I am really disappointed about this for two reasons.

#1 Because, while everyone still obsessively uses the likes of Facebook, the online book community is shrinking at an alarming rate. Goodreads groups that used to be crazily active now only get posts every other month. Other forums – such as Harlequin’s – are almost completely dead (though I suspect some of that is the fault of Harlequin itself, who keep “revamping” their site needlessly, and booting long-term users off it so they have to sign up all over again – many do not).

The Amazon forums were amazing for book recommendations, with some threads many years old and many thousands of posts long – and now it’s all gone forever.

And – #2

What I said in the last sentence: it’s all gone.

I’m thinking specifically of the romance fiction community here, but also the other book discussions – *especially* those where self-published authors asked for assistance and advice.

Some discussions were many, many thousands of responses and recommendations long. There were threads for everything. If you had a favourite theme or trope in your reading you could find years and years of recommendations. People searching for a book they read thirty years ago but could no longer remember the title or the author invariably found the information they needed from long-time posters there.

I haven’t been active on the Amazon forums for some time. I didn’t really have the time to keep up with that – and Goodreads, multiple blogs, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr etc. etc. etc. But I always felt safe knowing it was there when I wanted it.

Sure, the place had some crazy trolls, and the likes of Anne Rice herself – she of Interview With the Vampire fame – caused some absolutely ridiculous drama there over the years.

However, it may not have been perfect, but it was a huge community. And now it’s a huge loss.