The Week: 18th – 24th September

Spring Flowers Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 21st September 2017 Garden Nature Red

Spring in Canberra

Mostly gorgeous week here. We had temperatures up to 30 degrees, which makes it nearly ten degrees warmer than Barcelona a couple of weeks ago. The difference? In Barcelona everyone dresses for summer. In Canberra a lot of people dress like it’s mid-winter. People are weird.

We booked a group family trip to Thredbo in the Snowy Mountains this week. We’ll be going over New Year. It will be summer here, so hopefully the mountains won’t be too snowy at that time of year!

Yesterday the highway between Canberra (as in Australia’s capital city) and Sydney (as in Australia’s biggest city) was closed because of a bushfire. We knew people who had to turn around and come back to Canberra.

In September.

Just after winter.

We also had the hottest September day in history, and they are predicting a catastrophic bushfire season (yes, here “bushfire season” is actually a thing) for us. But – hey – climate change doesn’t exist…?!

Floriade is in full swing, but I haven’t been this year (so far). I really need to go earlier one year before half the flowers have died!

New (AWFUL!) cover for Lisa Kleypas

My review of Amish Christmas Twins by Patricia Davids

Hunger Games and Twilight are getting theme park lands in South Korea

Truth?

Pride and Prejudice Anniversary

Hunger Games and Twilight are getting theme park lands in South Korea

Twilight star Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen

This news is actually from a few weeks ago, but in case you didn’t see it before:

Hunger Games and Twilight are getting theme park lands in South Korea

Of all the book-movie franchises to choose! One is about kids fighting to the death, and the other is about an obsessive vampire stalker!

The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1 Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth.

The Twilight and Hunger Games film franchises may have come to a close, but movie studio Lionsgate will soon offer fans a new way to engage with both thanks to new theme park expansion lands. Today the studio announced that it will be opening Lionsgate Movie World, a 1.3 million-square-foot theme park in South Korea dedicated to its various movie properties.

The park will be part of Jeju Shinhwa World, a luxury resort on South Korea’s Jeju Island. Movie World will be made up of seven different “zones,” each devoted to a different Lionsgate film. Along with Twilight and The Hunger Games, the magic-themed Now You See Me franchise will receive an area, as will the studio’s upcoming Robin Hood remake. According to the press release, guests will be able to “experience actual movie scenes” with a combination of rides, recreated environments, themed restaurants, and live performances. The park is scheduled to open sometime in 2019.

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!

The Week: 12th – 18th October

Friday Sunset Gowrie Tuggeranong Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 16th October 2015 Spring Sky Clouds Grey Pink Orange Nature

Friday sunset in Canberra.

Garden Gowrie Tuggeranong Canberra Australia Spring Lilac Sonya Heaney 16th October 2015 Flowers Purple Nature

The gorgeous lilac is coming out in the garden. It smells so nice!

1999 Ballet Giselle Act Two - Sonya Heaney

Sixteen years ago this week since I danced the full-length version of Giselle for the first time. Wow, that’s a long time! The picture is from the dress rehearsal the night before, and the one the newspapers ran with in the end.

I guess you could say I like serious books now because I always preferred ballets where my character faced a tragic end!

Hotel Hotel Canberra Australia Entrance Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney 25th July 2015

We had lunch with Ukrainian embassy staff on Thursday, at Hotel Hotel. Got news on the war everyone has forgotten about…

Russian propaganda in an occupied region of Ukraine this week, explaining why Russia should be fighting and killing in Syria.13thOctober20152

Russian propaganda in an occupied region of Ukraine this week, explaining why Russia should be fighting and killing in Syria.

Surf life savers rescue drowning kangaroo in Lake Burley Griffin

On Friday morning, Canberra-based surf lifesavers rescued a drowning kangaroo that had been swimming in the lake in the city centre. I have no idea why the kangaroo was in the water!

Reasonable expectations of authors.

Sylvia Day Crossfire Series Books 1-4

Twilight Take #2 – Take #2!

Stephenie Meyer E.L. James

Cover Love

Falling at the Surgeon's Feet by Lucy Ryder

How to annoy a Jane Austen fan!

How to annoy a Jane Austen fan in three easy steps.

My review of Tall, Dark and Wicked (Wicked Trilogy #2) by Madeline Hunter

Tall, Dark, & Wicked by Madeline Hunter

My review of The Amish Midwife by Patricia Davids

The Amish Midwife by Patricia Davids

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.

The Week: 5th – 11th October

Floriade Canberra Australia Spring Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney 5th October 2015 Purple Flowers Garden Nature

At Floriade on a very hot Monday afternoon.

Qeanbeyan New South Wales Australia Queanbeyan River Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney Spring Nature

And on the Queanbeyan River on Friday.

This week started with another public holiday, and we went to the Floriade flower festival and then out to lunch. It was too hot for the flowers, and very hot walking around!

Friday and Saturday we went out to dinner and to various theatre shows. In all, I haven’t achieved all that much this week!

2013 Noosa Long Weekend FestivalMACQUARIE Day 7Tourism Noosa© 2013 Barry Alsop PhotographerEyes Wide Open IMAGES

The show we saw on Saturday night.

On the way back from the theatre (the hugely underrated and spectacularly fantastic Expressions Dance Company’s production) in Queanbeyan on Saturday night, we had to pass my late-grandmother’s house. The new owners have moved in, and apparently don’t have curtains yet.

We were so horrified by what they’ve done to the place we circled back and went past again! Yes, it was stalkerish, and yes, we know we can’t control what they do!

However, the house was built by a bricklayer, with all special, expensive, handmade bricks throughout, and a big feature – REAL – fireplace. It’s all gone, and instead now everything is plastered over, and the lounge room wall now has the biggest flat screen television I’ve ever seen (it must have cost about half the price of the house again!). That’s it. Plastered walls, knocked down walls, covered-up fireplace, and a giant TV playing the football.

Poor Baba. Her house has been ruined!

Release Day for Madeline Hunter

Tall, Dark, & Wicked by Madeline Hunter

So, Stephenie Meyer celebrated the ten year anniversary of Twilight…

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

Cover Love

Pride and Prejudice Book Cover Jane Austen

My review of A Daddy for Christmas by Linda Ford

A Daddy for Christmas by Linda Ford

My review of A Reluctant Bride (Amish of Birch Creek #1) by Kathleen Fuller

A Reluctant Bride (Amish of Birch Creek #1) by Kathleen Fuller

So, Stephenie Meyer celebrated the ten year anniversary of Twilight…

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

…By releasing Twilight, rewritten with almost all the genders reversed:

A celebratory release from an international bestselling author – with new anniversary material, “Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined,” the gender roles of the series’ main characters are reversed, turning Bella into the male lead Beau, Edward into Edythe and Jacob into Julie.

This is apparently her attempt to stop people calling her original lead female character weak – she said so in interviews.

How did I not know of this until days after the book’s release? Is that a sign that dead horse has finally been beaten down, or am I just so out of the loop these days?

What infuriates me is Meyer’s insistence she’s a feminist and that her characters are feminists because “it’s all about making choices”. Because here’s the thing: feminism isn’t about writing a series full of slut shaming, stereotyping, and blonde “jokes”.

I will not be reading this, but the current Goodreads rating sits somewhere around 2.5 stars – even with the diehard fans’ input – so that probably says all you need to know.

The most important thing though: imagine the fanfiction E.L. James will make out of this one!

My Mistress Film Movie

The Week: 6th – 12th July

Kangaroos Lawn Cemetery Queanbeyan Australia 11th July 2015 Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney Winter

Kangaroos Lawn Cemetery Queanbeyan Australia 11th July 2015 1 Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney Winter

Visiting the cemetery yesterday. The Canberra region has a serious kangaroo plague, and it’s getting worse and worse!

Winter Night Ice Skating Canberra City Australia Civic Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney 5th July 2015

Outdoor ice skating in Canberra a few days ago

On Monday the Christmas review books started appearing. Even for review books is this not a little premature??!! All the same, I’ve already started reading them. I guess at least it’s winter here, so all that talk about snow and fires makes a bit of sense.

For some reason I don’t seem to be getting notifications from a lot of sites anymore. For example, no matter how many times I switch my Pinterest notifications back on, I don’t get them! So I’m having a little trouble responding to people all over the internet at the moment…

I seem to be reading a million Western historical books at the moment, and a glance at my review books shows I have another thousand lined up. I have no idea how that happened.

I’ve written multiple times about how racist a significant portion of Anglo Australia is. This week, Australian “legend” Dawn Fraser went to the press with extremely racist comments about the children (not even the actual immigrants) of European and Asian immigrants. This woman lives on the same street as my aunt. The next time I see her…

Apparently “real Australians” are 100% British blood. I wonder what these equal opportunity racists think of Aborigines…

Things that do NOT make your romance heroine better than other women

new-moon-hq-stills-bella-swan-26178243-2560-1703

Clichés of Attraction

Heterosexuality.

Pride and Prejudice Adaptations: BBC’s 1980 Production

Pride and Prejudice 1980 Elizabeth Garvie David Rintoul Elizabeth Bennet Mr Darcy

My review of The Best of Both Rogues by Samantha Grace

The Best of Both Rogues by Samantha Grace

My review of The Marriage Agreement (Charity House #9) by Renee Ryan

The Marriage Agreement (Charity House #9) by Renee Ryan

My review of Danger Wears White (The Emperors of London #3) by Lynne Connolly

Danger Wears White (The Emperors of London #3) by Lynne Connolly