Adventure into Romance with Shelley Munro
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Wednesday, February 10th, 2016
Lavender Farm, Mt Cook #travel #NewZealand

There is a lavender farm on the main highway to Aoraki Mt Cook, and we stopped to check it out.

Lavender

Lavender

You could walk between the rows and the scent was beautiful. I’m a fan of the lavender scent. It makes me happy.

The owners had placed chairs between the rows for visitors to pose for photos.

Lavender

This is me sitting in the middle of the lavender field. All I could hear was the buzz of the bees as they collected pollen. Such a peaceful place.

There was a tiny shop there where I purchased some lavender soap plus some lavender and strawberry chocolate. The chocolate (delicious and different) is long gone but I have the soap, which I look forward to using.

Do you like lavender?

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016
Behind the Book: Lone Wolf

Throughout time writers have gained inspiration from places they’ve visited. Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express after taking a journey on this iconic train. Daphne du Maurier stayed at Jamaica Inn on Bodmin Moor in 1930 and used it as the setting for her popular gothic novel Jamaica Inn.

Following in the footsteps of these famous writers, I decided to set one of my books in Yellowstone National Park after visiting the park with my husband.

Several things factored into my decision for the setting:

1. It is beautiful with a varied landscape ranging from mountains to prairie grasses and thermal regions. A large portion of the park is a volcano caldera.

2. While we were there we stayed in cabins at Tower Roosevelt. In the early hours of the morning we heard wolf song. The howls were both eerie and beautiful.

3. Yellowstone is a wilderness area, but there are lots of tourists too.

I’d wanted to write a werewolf story for ages, but was having trouble coming up with a concept that made the writer inside me wriggle with enthusiasm. The second I heard the wolf song, the spark of an idea came to me. I stored it inside my head to pull out during a quiet moment.

We met up with friends in Albuquerque, and one of our weird conversations was about what would happen to nail polish when a werewolf shifted. We decided it wouldn’t end well, and I filed that snippet away too.

By the time we arrived home, my head was stuffed full with bits and pieces of several prospective stories. It was time to get to work.

Taking all the collected elements, I sat down and started writing, our visit to Yellowstone spawning my m/m story Lone Wolf.

Once upon a time werewolves took drugs to suppress their natural inclinations to shift to wolf. Current werewolf law forbade unregulated shifting.

Wolf

The door stood wide open when he arrived. He clattered up the two wooden steps leading inside and came to a halt in the doorway. His three roommates had already chosen their beds and stowed their bags. He claimed the last remaining spot—the top bunk nearest the door.

Yellowstone Cabins

“Making a kill is a natural thing and part of nature’s controls,” R.J. said. “The game populations swell to unnatural numbers if the regular cycle isn’t adhered to. It’s a fine balance.”

Another one of the girls raised her hand. “You mean we have to kill a Bambi?” Her voice rose to a squeak toward the end of her sentence.

Yellowstone Deer

R.J. slowed and came to a halt behind a line of cars, waiting for a herd of bison to meander across the road. As usual, a couple of dumb-ass tourists parked haphazardly, intent on approaching the animals, stalking them with digital cameras in hand. They wanted a souvenir picture to show the folks back home. Idiots.

“See those people over there,” R.J. called out.

“Yeah,” a few of the kids replied.

“They’re setting an example of what not to do with bison. The herd might appear slow and friendly, but they move fast if the desire strikes them. If they’re in the mood they can also take exception to vehicles.”

Yellowstone Bison

Corey tailed the group, taking in the trees and other surroundings with pleasure. He’d fought coming to Yellowstone, protested bitterly to his father, his mother and anyone who’d listen to him. The camp was okay and nothing like the prison he’d conjured in his imagination. The sights, the smells. The colors of Yellowstone. They spoke to the artist in him. His fingers literally itched to capture what he saw on paper.

Yellowstone Lake

What are your favorite places and settings for armchair traveling?

LONE WOLF

When you fall out of step, that’s when everything falls into place.

R.J. Blake begins a new session tutoring young werewolves in the old ways—before the introduction of the shift-suppressing drugs that allow their kind to live secretly among humans. He expects nothing out of the ordinary. Until sexy, smart, aggravating-as-hell Corey Wilson arrives. Older than the others, son of a powerful Los Angeles pack leader, Corey is an instant temptation he cannot afford.

The last thing Corey wants is three months stuck in the Yellowstone wilderness, followed by the stifling life his father has all mapped out for him. One glimpse of R.J., though, sparks a determination to seduce the older man before he leaves. Yet as R.J. guides him through the sometimes terrifying process of rediscovering his heritage, a deepening respect calls to his artistic soul and fuels a burst of creativity.

When their time comes to an end, Corey senses hesitation behind R.J.’s insistence that theirs was simply a summer fling. Inspiring him to take a leap of faith with consequences neither of them saw coming. A dangerous plot that reaches from the heart of their love to the highest office in the land…

Product Warnings
This book contains a young werewolf intent on seduction, an older werewolf determined to resist said seduction, werewolf politics and brutality, a little spilled blood, and hot, naked manlove in the great outdoors.

Lone Wolf is currently available in print and e-formats from Samhain Publishing and most online retailers. Purchase Links available here.

Monday, February 8th, 2016
Things have changed since you last dated…MY YOUNGER LOVER is out!

My Younger Lover, the second book in my Middlemarch Shifters series is now released into the wild.

ShelleyMunro_MyYoungerLover_600

You can grab your copy from the following retailers:

Amazon | Kobo| Nook | iBooks |

Sunday, February 7th, 2016
My Scarlet Woman – Last 2 days for 99c #sale #paranormal

My Scarlet Woman, book 1 in the Middlemarch Shifters series, is available for 99c for two more days, then the price will revert to normal. Hurry or you’ll miss out!

MyScarletWomanBlackCat

My Scarlet Woman Purchase links

Amazon US http://amzn.to/1W44Z2c

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1WQqIqX

Nook http://bit.ly/MyScarletWomanNook

Kobo http://bit.ly/MyScarletWomanKobo

iBooks http://apple.co/1WQqwrO

Friday, February 5th, 2016
Burano, the Colorful Venetian Island

During our visit to Venice we caught the vaporetto (waterbus) to nearby islands Murano and Burano. Murano is well known for glassmaking while Burano is famous for lace.

My favorite of the two was Burano with its colorful buildings.

Burano Buildings

Some of the buildings alongside the canal.

Burano

Laundry Day

And it’s laundry day…

Burano

A local on the canal.

Mask Stall

Colorful masks ready for carnivale…

Now tell me – if you could paint your house any color you wanted, which color would you choose? I vote for pink Smile

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016
The Famous Fairlie Pie, New Zealand #travel

Last weekend, hubby and I set off on a three-day adventure and flew south to Christchurch. I was very excited to learn we’d drive through the small town of Fairlie on the way to our final destination of Tekapo. Excited, because Fairlie has a famous bakery that produces excellent and delicious, award-winning pies.

Fairlie Bakehouse, New Zealand

I said to hubby, “We must visit.”

And being the perfect husband he said, “All right.”

According to our local news, the queues have been out the door all summer since now tourists, as well as locals, are in on the secret. We climbed from our rental car prepared to wait for our turn to order.

The line wasn’t too bad, but then came the first stumbling block.

They didn’t have any vegetarian pies.

“Never mind,” I said. “You have a pie.” I scanned the other offerings. Nothing vegetarian and I didn’t feel like a cake, even though they looked delicious.

You know how it is when you set your mind on something and only that will do? That was my mind set. I wanted a pie.

Hubby chose a pork and apple pie. He ate it with relish and proceeded to tell me how delicious it tasted.

Fairlie Pork Pie

I drank my coffee. Very good coffee, but not a pie!

Hubby said, “We’ll visit on the way back. The girl said they’d most likely have vegetarian pies then.”

Fast forward to Monday…

We drove through Fairlie, parked and joined the line.

The next stumbling block. No vegetarian pies on the menu today either.

“I’ll have coffee,” I said. Talk about disappointed…

Hubby chose the Venison and Cranberry pie this time.

Fairlie Second Pie

We dined in this time. Hubby cutting his pie.

Fairlie Venison Pie

The venison and cranberry filling revealed…

Fairlie Happy

And this…this is a Fairlie Happy Pie Face.

I think I must be the only person in New Zealand who hasn’t worn this face.

Me…I’m not so impressed with Fairlie pies and the Fairlie Bakehouse, although they do have great coffee.

Monday, February 1st, 2016
Meet Emily, new arrival to Middlemarch, NZ #paranormal #romance 99c

Welcome to the small country town of Middlemarch, NZ. I’ve brought a friend with me today—Emily Scarlet.

Excuse me, Shelley. It’s Emily Mitchell now.

Right! Sorry about that. I thought I’d start from the beginning. Why don’t you tell everyone how you first decided to visit Middlemarch?

Sure. It was an emotional time in my life. My first husband changed after our marriage. I was happy playing wife and homemaker, cooking for him and making sure everything was just so while he concentrated on his career. What I didn’t know was that Michael was having an affair with his secretary. I didn’t have a clue. The first I knew was at breakfast when he told me I was boring and he was leaving me for Tessa. Then, a few hours later, the police were at the door telling me Michael was dead. A car accident.

For six months I brooded and one day I decided, enough. The cheating louse wasn’t worth it. I went shopping, changed my hair and swapped my glasses for contacts. A poster for the Middlemarch Singles dance caught my eye and I decided it was fate. The perfect place to find a man to keep for one night of naughtiness. My girlfriend Maggie, who was also my sister-in-law, just about had a cow when I told her what I was going to do. She insisted on going with me and kept telling me I needed medication. She was wrong. It was the best decision ever!

Emily, I know the special man you met that night swept you off your feet, and you ended up marrying him.Tell me about Middlemarch. I know it’s a small country town. Don’t you miss the city?

I adore Middlemarch. It’s home, you know. Why don’t I give you a list of the reasons I love living in Middlemarch? Besides, the next Middlemarch Singles Ball is soon. The ladies reading this might like to attend. http://www.middlemarch.co.nz/events/singles-ball.html

Thanks, Emily! That would be great.

Emily Mitchell’s Top Reasons to Visit Middlemarch, New Zealand

1. The ratio of men to women. There are eligible bachelors in every direction you look. That’s the reason the ball started—to bring more women into the area.

2. A large majority of the men have special abilities. *glances over shoulder* Sorry, I can’t tell you exactly what they are but if you spend any length of time with one man and love is in the air, he’ll let you in on the secret.

3. There’s a real sense of family and community. The Mitchells are a big family, but all their friends are like an extended family. Trouble brings them circling the wagons, I can tell you!

4. The scenery is gorgeous in all seasons and the air is crisp and clean.

5. The town is safe, a good place for kids. *pauses* We’ve had a couple of problems…no, Middlemarch is usually a safe place.

6. The city isn’t that far away. We can drive there in an hour if the need for a fancy dinner or a bit of culture strikes.

7. The Middlemarch Rail Trail and the Taieri Gorge Train bring lots of tourists. They’re both fun activities even for the locals.

8. The local café, Storm in a Teacup, makes brilliant coffee. The meals are excellent too. Of course I am biased since I own the place. (I think Shelley has attached a photo of the real Middlemarch café that inspired her to write Storm in a Teacup for me)

Kissing Gate Cafe, Middlemarch

9. The local pub is a bit rough and rustic, but they serve a good beer. Excellent on a hot summer’s day like today.

10. It’s where my husband Saber was born, and he’s a man in a million.

What is one thing you think you’d like about living in a small country town like Middlemarch?

ShelleyMunro_MyScarletWoman_200px

One perfect night of passion…

Emily Scarlet’s husband left her for his secretary and died in a car accident—all on the same day. Now, six months later, Emily has emerged from her chrysalis of painful memories. And to prove she has what it takes to attract a man, she’s determined to experience one perfect night of passion.

Feline shapeshifter, Saber Mitchell has a problem with his four boisterous younger brothers. They’re out of control. It’s too late for him, but he hopes to get his brothers mated and settled, and the ball is the place to introduce them to marriageable women.

Unbridled sex is the last thing he plans on, but one glimpse of Emily Scarlet changes his mind. Sex with her is a necessity. They dance. They make love.

One thing is clear—a single night isn’t enough. Saber must have her for his mate, but Emily isn’t so easy to convince…or trust.

Order e-book: Amazon| Kobo| Nook| iBooks|

My Scarlet Woman is on sale for 99c at all retailers for this week only.

Sunday, January 31st, 2016
My Scarlet Woman on sale 99c #paranormal

Welcome to small town Middlemarch, New Zealand.

Meet Saber Mitchell and his brothers. Single and fancy free until the night of the Middlemarch singles ball…

ShelleyMunro_MyScarletWoman

My Scarlet Woman, book 1 in the Middlemarch Shifters series is on sale for a limited time. Grab your copy for 99c today.

Order e-book: Amazon| Kobo| Nook| iBooks|

Middlemarch Shifters series:

1. My Scarlet Woman

2. My Younger Lover

3. My Peeping Tom

4. My Assassin

Friday, January 29th, 2016
The Ladder for Spirits

At the very top of the North Island of New Zealand is a point called Cape Reinga. This is a special site in Maori mythology. According to the tales, an old pohutukawa tree grows on the cliff, and it is said that the roots of this tree provide a ladder for spirits to descend into the tumultuous waters and the final underworld below.

A non-stop procession of spirits travels through the far North to reach Cape Reinga and the ladder path to the underworld. The northern Maori tribes used to hear the rustle and passing of countless people and especially after a big battle when many warriors were slain.

All the ingredients for a fictional novel, I think!

Cape Reinga Lighthouse, New Zealand

This is the lighthouse at Cape Reinga. The ladder for the spirits is supposedly on the cliffs beyond.

Source: Favorite Maori Legends by AW Reed, revised by Ross Calman.

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016
The Lost Moa

The moa is a flightless New Zealand bird that became extinct around the arrival of Europeans. There were several types of moa, the largest of which was taller than a full-grown man.

They had long necks, big sturdy clawed feet, an ostrich-like body and soft brown feathers that were almost like fur.

Moa in Auckland Museum

In 1993, three trampers reported seeing a moa while hiking near Authur’s Pass in the South Island of New Zealand. They walked around a corner and came across a large reddish-brown bird. The bird ran off but former British Army Commando, Paddy Freaney took photos of the bird and the footprints it left.

The sighting made world headlines. The three trampers were questioned and their stories were identical. The photos were blurry and not positive proof of a sighting. Some people thought the sighting was a hoax to attract customers to Paddy Freaney’s nearby pub. Paddy died in 2012 and never admitted to a hoax.

I love the idea of big birds wandering the plains of Canterbury and other locations in New Zealand. There are still occasional finds of moa bones and sometimes rarer moa eggs. Visitors can learn more about the moa in our museums.

My fascination led me to use these birds in one of my House of the Cat books, Hunted & Seduced. My characters Ellard and Gweneth meet the giant birds while they’re in the jungle on the planet Narenda.

What do you think of the trampers’ report? Hoax or not?