Regency is NOT Victorian – which is NOT Edwardian!

Santos-Dumont_flight_around_the_Eiffel_TowerSanto Dumont circles the Eiffel Tower on 13 July 1901 in Dirigible No. 5 Paris 1901 airship zeppelin edwardian era.jpg

Paris in 1901 – a time of photography and airships.

All right, I’ve had it. If I see one more book or television show or movie about the Tudors or Marie Antoinette or World War One labelled as a “Regency romance”, I’m going to scream!

Even if you use a slightly extended version of the term “Regency” to describe historical romance books (say, 1800 to 1830), I think it should be made illegal to call stories set a full century before or after the era “Regency romances”.

A popular author’s new historical romance series is allegedly set in the early 1900s, and yet it’s being labelled “Regency” by readers and publishers alike, and fails to include any of the massive changes that happened in the world in those ninety years between one era and the other. I’m seeing this so often in historical fiction that it’s driving me bonkers!

Here’s how it works:

Regency era:

1811-1820

Jane Austen, skinny dresses, Napoleon, and a man too mentally unstable to rule on the British throne.

Mailcoach England 1827

Transport in 1827

First_electric_tram-_Siemens_1881_in_LichterfeldeFirst electric tram- Siemens 1881 in Lichterfelde

Transport in the 1880s

Victorian era:

1837-1901

Trains, photographs, telegrams, telephones, big sleeves and even bigger skirts, Christian morals hiding dirty lifestyles, and a short, (allegedly) grumpy lady on the British throne.

Flatiron_Building_under_construction_II,_New_York_City,_1902Flatiron Building (at the time still called the Fuller Building) in early stage of construction, Fifth Avenue and Broadway, New York City. edwardian era

New York City in 1902

Edwardian era:

1901-1910

Cars, airships, early feature films, and a large, sickly man on the British throne.

Labelling an Edwardian book set nearly a century after Jane Austen died as Regency is like setting a book in 2019 and including the first Academy Awards (with Emil Jannings – born 135 years ago – winning best actor), Stalin’s purges, the birth of Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and the death of Wyatt Earp. Oh, and while we’re at it, we might as well include the Wall Street Crash and the beginning of the Great Depression, and pretend the internet doesn’t exist. In 2019.

Absurd? Yes. So please, please stop it. The past is a little more complicated – and interesting – than that.

Book = Sent!

One year after submitting The Landowner’s Secret to the publisher I eventually sold it to, I sent off edits for my next book this morning.

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

It was a marathon to get it done (hence this neglected blog!). I started work at 11pm last night and worked through to 9am without a break. Now I’m sort of wandering around the house, sending random emails and eating biscuits!

It’s 1:45pm here on Monday afternoon and I’m starting to get tired. What a strange way to start the week!

Book News!

Escape Cover Brief Header Sonya Heaney Second Book March 2020

^^^

As much cover information as I can share at the moment!

The first lesson any author learns about publishing is that you’ll go weeks without hearing from anyone – and then you’ll hear from everyone at once.

It’s been a busy twenty-four hours, with a tentative title for my next book decided on (I’ll share it when I know for certain what it is), and the information for my cover designer submitted.

So, I thought I’d share a few pieces of information about the next book:

 

  • It will be out in March 2020.

 

 

thumbnail_landownerssecret

 

  • You haven’t met the hero yet.

 

  • The story begins in September of 1887, which is two years after the first book ended.

 

  • There is more engagement with the Indigenous community than in book one.

 

I actually didn’t set out to write a trilogy. However, after I got working on the first one I realised there were other characters whose stories were unfinished. “Second Book Syndrome” is a term in the publishing world to imply the second one is the hardest. I’ll see how I go!

The Landowner’s Secret in Other Formats

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The Landowner’s Secret is available to order in large print, dyslexic, braille and DAISY formats.

You can order them here:

Australia

New Zealand

United States

United Kingdom

Canada

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.

International Cover for Chasing Cassandra

Here’s the UK/Aus cover for Chasing Cassandra, the sixth book in Lisa Kleypas’ Ravenels series. It’s very different to the US one.

51vgtERYNfL.SX316.SY316

Everything has a price . . .

Railway magnate Tom Severin is wealthy and powerful enough to satisfy any desire as soon as it arises. Anything – or anyone – is his for the asking. It should be simple to find the perfect wife – and from his first glimpse of Lady Cassandra Ravenel, he’s determined to have her. But the beautiful and quick-witted Cassandra is equally determined to marry for love – the one thing he can’t give.

Everything except her . . .

Severin is the most compelling and attractive man Cassandra has ever met, even if his heart is frozen. But she has no interest in living in the fast-paced world of a ruthless man who always plays to win.

When a newfound enemy nearly destroys Cassandra’s reputation, Severin seizes the opportunity he’s been waiting for. As always, he gets what he wants – or does he? There’s one lesson Tom Severin has yet to learn from his new bride:

Never underestimate a Ravenel.

The chase for Cassandra’s hand may be over. But the chase for her heart has only just begun.

Release Day for The Landowner’s Secret!

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

Happy release day to me! If things have gone to plan I’m in Romania at the moment, so I’m not home to celebrate.

You can read the first two chapters of The Landowner’s Secret HERE.

Here are the links to order it:

HarperCollins AU US UK

Amazon AU US UK CA IN

Kobo AU NZ US UK CA IE IN ZA

Barnes and Noble

Apple Books

Google Play

Booktopia

And here’s what it’s 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.

Six Months Ago; One Day to Go!

On this day six months ago, at 5:57pm, this extraordinary email popped up in my inbox and changed everything. (Sue Brockhoff is Harlequin’s Publishing Director.)

Sue Brockhoff Sonya Heaney Offer 11th March 2019

Even though the email’s subject was “Offer”, I still braced myself for the worst. Instead, I discovered that my dream publisher had just made me an offer to buy my book, countering one made from another publisher.

Initial suggestions that The Landowner’s Secret (Or Secret Land as it was called then) would be published early next year were soon scrapped, and instead my book is now out tomorrow – the 12th of September.

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

Here’s a link to the first two chapters.

And here’s what it’s 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.

The Landowner’s Secret Excerpt

The Landowner's Secret by Sonya Heaney blog-sized

Terrifying to think about it, but my first book with Harlequin/HarperCollins, The Landowner’s Secret, is out next week.

 

Here is what it’s 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.

 

And here are the first few pages:

 

Chapter 1

Southern Tablelands, New South Wales

Late April, 1885

 

Alice Ryan woke at the first shout, and sat bolt upright at the second.

With her mind still muddled by sleep, her body shook with fright before she even realised what was happening. She felt the unease, the disturbance in the night. This far out the bush was usually still, the quietness punctuated only by the odd scuffle of a possum or rustle of wind in the trees. But right now there was an energy that didn’t belong.

Curling her fingers into the counterpane, she waited in dreadful anticipation.

There. A voice—faint, but distinct—reached her ears, becoming louder as she sat frozen in place.

Someone was out there, in the dark.

‘Ian?’ she whispered, uncertain. Who else could it be but her brother, and yet … Some instinct stopped her from calling out and confirming she was home. And just as it took complete hold, a second voice joined the first.

Slipping free of the blanket and pressing her bare feet to the floor, she clutched the bed’s footboard and waited. And waited.

The light of a flame—so dim at first she thought she’d imagined it—flashed not too far beyond the cottage’s small window. It wasn’t much, but it was so foreign in the darkness of the scrub.

She strained to make out any sounds that weren’t meant to be there, but heard next to nothing over the pounding in her ears. Moments later the light flashed by again. It was closer this time.

Alice startled; clapped a hand to her mouth.

This was all wrong. Nobody had a reason to be there, on a road that led to nothing but her home. This far out she was all alone, except for—

Endmoor.

If she could slip out unnoticed, she could reach the big homestead beyond the trees on foot—thieves or troublemakers would be mad to try anything with Robert Farrer. The landowner was too wealthy, with too many men on his property, and no doubt he had better weapons than she did if it came to that.

Alice made her decision in an instant.

Moving fast, she struggled into her frock and grabbed her shawl from the end of the bed before slipping a hand beneath the mattress for the small packet she kept hidden there. She stuffed it down the front of her bodice, shaking with fright and determination.

Trying her best to be quiet, she scrambled across to press her back against the cool wall near the door.

One of the men spoke again but she still couldn’t make out the words. There were at least two of them and they weren’t just talking, but laughing. Whacks echoed through the night air, as though they were hitting at the scrub with sticks, and then she heard more laughter in amongst the other sounds of the night.

Whatever they were about, it was a game to them. Likely a drunken game …

Alice curled her toes against the freezing floor and hugged herself tightly, willing them to just go, just leave her be and make their fun elsewhere. The voices came more loudly from the front of the house. Her only way of escape was through there.

Cursing her rotten luck, her absent brother, and all the trouble life brought down on her, she took a big breath for courage and lurched past the window as fast as she could, scrambling in the darkness for the small knife she’d left on the table.

‘Ian, you bastard!’ The call came from so close by her heart nearly stopped.

Desperation took over then, and she chose speed over silence. Fumbling in the shadows with frozen fingers, shoving her way through the bits and pieces she’d left on the table that evening, she patted about desperately until they hit a strip of cold metal. The knife.

‘Help me, help me,’ she whispered to a God who’d never listened before, and gripped the handle firmly, her other hand shaking, while she once again backed up against the wall.

Bracing herself for anything, she pulled back the curtain only enough to get a glimpse of the clearing around the porch. In a sliver of moonlight she could just make out the figures of grown men dotted around the clearing. Further down the trail, near the road, she saw more forms and shadows. Horses, she realised with even more dread in her belly. She sure as hell couldn’t outrun those.

Shaking more, she cast her mind out beyond them all, mapping herself a route of escape. If they were here for Ian, they were out of luck. As usual he was nowhere to be found.

She let the curtain slip back through her fingers and then bent to grasp the laces of the boots left beside the door. There was no time to tug them on, nor to find her stockings.

She nearly shrieked with surprise when something whacked directly against the outside of the house, but held fast and slapped a hand over her mouth again as she waited for what’d come next.

‘Are you comin’ out, or are we comin’ to get you?’ one of them called. It was not a familiar voice.

‘We don’t have all night!’ yelled another.

There was more laughing. More jokes.

Alice rose carefully, quickly tugging the shawl more tightly around herself without letting her grip on the knife loosen. She edged the door open the tiniest amount, trying to peer beyond the intruders to find the fastest direction into the trees. The boots banged lightly against the old wood, and she pressed her lips tightly together in frustration.

‘Maybe there’s no-one ’ere. I swear, James, if we’re out ’ere freezin’ our bloody arses off for no reason …’

‘Someone’s ’ere. There’s smoke comin’ from the chimney and I saw movement at the window just now.’

‘Bloody hell,’ Alice whispered, becoming number and shakier than before. ‘Bloody, bloody hell.’

There was silence then except for the shuffling of shoes in the dirt. And then a third man spoke.

‘Maybe it’s the sister.’

‘There’s a sister?’

An awful pause followed. And then, ‘Is she pretty?’

Alice wished the bottom of the floor would open up and swallow her whole. Fear icier than the chill in the air ran over her from head-top to heels. She knew more about physical fighting than any proper lady ever would, but she was still a scrap of a thing and not likely to get far before they …

‘There’s only one way to find out.’ The first man said. ‘James? Kick in the door.’

‘Not bloody likely,’ she whispered. She’d go to the devil before she let that happen or let a single one of them put his grubby paws on her.

And with those thoughts giving her fresh determination, she flung the door open and ran.

 

You can order it at these links:

 

HarperCollins AU US UK

Amazon AU US UK CA IN

Romance.com.au

Kobo AU NZ US UK CA IE IN ZA

Barnes and Noble

Apple Books

Google Play

Booktopia

The Week: 26th August – 1st September

Nearly Spring in Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney Oksana Heaney End of August 2019 Garden Nature Blossom Blossoms Wattle

It’s starting to look and feel (and smell!) like spring in Canberra.

Goodbye to winter! It’s spring here, it’s sunny, everything is blossoming! I have allergies, of course – as ever – but that’s fine.

I need to have a little fangirl moment: a few nights ago one of my absolute favourite historical romance authors “liked” my author page on Facebook, and that made an otherwise appalling week pretty bright for a few hours! My page doesn’t have much there yet, but will after my book comes out.

I worked harder this week than I’ve ever worked in my life, and that includes back when I was a ballet dancer. I’m about to send the sequel to The Landowner’s Secret – out in two weeks! – off to my editor, but the process has not been without drama.

The hours I’ve been putting in these past few days have been unbelievable. I thought 13.5 hours on Monday was bad, but then Thursday happened. I started working at 4am and didn’t stop until 11pm (that’s NINETEEN hours). I slept on the couch for two hours, started working again at 1am, and then emailed my editor at 4:30 in the morning in a state of panic!

What happened, you ask? Well …

In the past fortnight I decided to completely rework the structure of the second book (totally my idea – I can’t blame my publisher for this!). I got myself into such a situation that the timeline and continuity were completely messed up. Every change I made to one scene meant I had to change every other scene in the book.

The process was … not … fun.

With me heading off to Europe on Saturday, I had to get this book done NOW.

I haven’t been reading, replying to emails, or even eating or sleeping this week, and now I’m drifting in the sort of weird, exhausted haze caused by of one of those mega 40+ hour international trips Australians often have to take – but worse.

Here’s my post about inspiration for my September book.

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