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Friday, October 24th, 2014
Fright Night Blog Hop

Fright Night Blog Hop

For the next week I’m taking part in the Fright Night blog hop, which is sponsored by Simply Angela and Herding Cats & Burning Soup. It’s that time of the year when paranormal creatures breach the barrier between the worlds. It’s not safe out there for you and I—not with witches and ghosts, vampires and shifters, fae and goblins roaming the night.

Scared yet? You should be because it’s FRIGHT NIGHT!

As an author I adore writing about these creatures. In fact, my very first published book was called Aislyn and it featured fairies who lived in the bottom of an Auckland garden. It’s no longer available, but I graduated to shifters and ghosts. I’m currently writing a lot of feline shifters, but they’re not Earth bound. They roam the universes and work and play on far flung planets.

Here are a selection of paranormal titles from my backlist. Click on the links to read blurbs and excerpts:

Curse of Brandon Lupinus (ghost wolf)

Captured & Seduced (feline shifter)

Snared by Saber (feline shifter)

Lone Wolf (werewolves)

Stoned (wizard curse)

One of my favorite ways to procrastinate instead of writing is to play on Pinterest. I’ve been noticing lots of pictures of yummy foods with a Halloween theme and also some fun costumes. I sort of feel as if I’m missing out since we don’t celebrate Halloween in New Zealand.

CONTEST:

I’m giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate. All you need to do to enter the draw is to imagine you’re attending a special FRIGHT NIGHT ball where humans mingle with all sorts of paranormal beings. In order to attend you need to take a plate (food) and wear a costume otherwise the skeleton at the door won’t let you in!

Tell me what costume you’d wear and what type of food you’d contribute to the midnight feast. I can’t wait to read your answers. Party smile

To visit other blogs taking part in the Fright Night Hop follow the links below:

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
Thirteen Holiday Highlights

Thursday Thirteen

Hubby and I had an awesome holiday in September and visited the Baltic area along with parts of the Mediterranean.

Thirteen Holiday Highlights

1. Visiting St Petersburg, Russia and gawking at some of the many treasures displayed in the palaces and mansions. So many valuables everywhere!

Peterhof Palace

Peterhof Palace and the gravity fed fountains in front of the palace. They’re switched on a 11.00am each day.

2. Eating fresh wild blueberries purchased from a Helsinki market. Hubby ate the reindeer meatballs and some tiny fish.

3. Seeing the Viking Museum and the incredible boats, which are still mainly intact in Oslo, Norway.

Viking Ship

4. Visiting the Folk Museum with the range of old buildings that have been relocated to make a village. Loved the Stave Church and the buildings with grass growing on the roofs. Saw a man up on a roof, mowing the grass.

Stave Church

5. The Vasa Museum in Stockholm. The Vasa is an old ship that sank in the harbor on its maiden voyage. The king had ordered more cannons, which wasn’t a good idea! Who was going to argue?

Vasa, Stockholm

6. Dubrovnik  – a place I’ve wanted to visit for ages. We spent far too long in the heat, wandering around the walls of the old city and exploring the buildings inside.

7. Corfu – exploring the old fort and finding a taverna for lunch. Delicious!

8. Venice. I love Venice, and it’s never a hardship to get lost in the back streets. It was the Regatta on the day we were there, and we saw the parade of old gondolas down the Grand Canal. Discovered a fun place to have a drink (The Corner Pub), tried a peach bellini and had a hazelnut gelato. Yum, yum, yum!

Me in a Traghetto on the Grand Canal

9. Visited Gibraltar and caught the cable car up to the top of the Rock. Got up close to the Barbary apes that make the Rock their home.

10. Visited London where we lived for six years and hadn’t realized how much I missed this city. It was the same but different too, with lots of rebuilding going on.

11. Made quick visits to the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museums. So much history and lots of fascinating things to gawk at.

12 Walking around many of the London sights. Walking in Hyde Park and visiting the pubs where we worked in London. Walking, walking, walking until our feet ached.

13. Afternoon tea at the Ritz. Expensive but such a lot of fun and so memorable. Scones with jam and clotted cream, tiny sandwiches and lots of delicious cakes plus lots of tea. Oh, and a glass of champagne to start.

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
Golden Square, London

Visitors to London will notice there are lots of green areas in the Westminster and central city areas. Some offer workers a breath of fresh air and a place to while away their time during a lunch break while others are a private oasis available to the surrounding homeowners.

London’s squares date back to the mid 17th century. They were an English concept, copied by other cities and countries.

Golden Square (thought to originate from Gelding Close when the land was used for grazing horses) began life in 1673 when John Emlyn and Isaac Symball initiated development here.

Early residents of the thirty-nine houses that surrounded the square were the Duke of Chandos, the 1st Viscount Bolingbroke and the Duchess of Cleveland. During its early years the square was a political centre and a sought-after address. This changed by the 1750s when newer and more fashionable addresses to the west on the Burlington estates became favored.

Foreign diplomats moved in from 1724 to 1768 and later 18th century residents included dancer Elizabeth Gamberini and singer Caterina Gabrielli.

Charles Dickens used Golden Square as a setting for one of the houses in his novel Nicholas Nickelby in 1839. The woollen and worsted trade moved in toward the end of the 19th century.

During the Second World War an air raid shelter was dug beneath the garden and the iron fence taken for salvage. Restoration work took place after the war and the garden was opened to the public in November 1952.

We visited on a sunny weekday and the square was full of workers eating their lunches. Not a bad place to be during a lunch break.

Golden Square

Golden Square Sign

Golden Square

Sources:

Informational sign at Golden Square

The London Square: Gardens in the Midst of Town by Todd Longstaffe-Gowan

Saturday, October 18th, 2014
Sexy Thriller: Cat Burglar

My Sexy Saturday

This week’s theme for My Sexy Saturday is A Sexy Thriller. Quite a few of my books contain a mystery element, and after much deliberation, I’ve picked an excerpt from Cat Burglar, one of the stories from my Middlemarch Mates series.

Here are the first seven paragraphs from Cat Burglar

“Hold it right there. You’re under arrest.”

The man froze in the bright stream of moonlight, his muscular bulk rigid like a marble statue. Laura Adams scanned him anxiously, alert for the slightest sign of trouble. A head taller than her with tawny hair, he appeared more than capable of causing a disruption. She’d spied him when he’d prowled past the wooden display case in the Miller’s formal lounge, each studied move laced with leashed power and grace. She was pretty sure she hadn’t seen him during her two weeks of working at the Middlemarch police station. Him she’d remember. Her gaze skimmed his broad T-shirt-clad back and drifted over his tight ass, lovingly showcased in black jeans that fit like a second skin. What she wouldn’t give to strip away the cloth and stroke the firm, rounded globes of his butt. She’d bet his cock—

Her breath hissed out in horror and her head jerked in a sharp shake of denial. What the hell? Since when did she start fantasizing about ripping clothes off men in the middle of a bust? A criminal, caught red-handed, dammit!

“Put your hands in the air where I can see them.” Thankfully her voice emerged on a steady note, hiding every sign of her disorientating sexual awareness. Laura grabbed the handcuffs off her belt and stalked closer, her boots a whisper on the thick carpet.

“Are you gonna cuff me?” the man drawled, his rough intonation raising a series of goose bumps across her arms and legs. Not a shred of concern tinged his voice.

How had he known she’d shifted position? She hadn’t made a sound. Perplexed, she dragged in a deep breath, cursing inwardly seconds later. Since when had criminals obtained all these sneaky secret weapons? The man had a form she’d love to explore and he smelled good. Crime number two.

Laura stretched, standing on tiptoes to cuff one thick wrist. He was a tall sucker, topping her by six inches and she wasn’t a shrimp. She jerked his arm down behind his back and reached for the other, trying to ignore his seductive scent of something vaguely Oriental. It sure made a change from vomit-scented Friday-night drunks.

Cat Burglar

Here’s the blurb:

Middlemarch Mates, Book Six

Laura Adams is a cop with ambition, and a job in Middlemarch isn’t what she wants for her future. Hooking up with the wrong man is responsible for the wrong turning, and she refuses to repeat the mistake, especially with a sexy thief.

Leopard shifter Jonno Campbell takes one look at Laura and desires her as his mate. He’s enthralled with the fiery cop, and when she arrests him, he’s ready for a strip search. Convincing Laura he’s innocent and that they should work together to capture the thieves stealing from Middlemarch residents isn’t easy. A kiss laced with his easy charm does the trick and sparks fly. Passion escalates into primitive hunger. A night of hot loving convinces Jonno. He wants forever with the gorgeous Laura, but her ambition, his feline heritage and a gang of thieves stand in the way of his progress. Then there’s the ex-boyfriend who wants Laura back. This time charisma and erotic promises mightn’t be enough to win the lady.

This story stands alone and is available in both e-book and print formats.

Order e-book: Ellora’s Cave (eBook) | Amazon Kindle | All Romance eBooks| Barnes & Noble Nook
Print: Barnes & Noble| Ellora’s Cave| Amazon | Book Depository

To visit more My Sexy Saturday excerpts click on one of the links below:

Thursday, October 16th, 2014
13 Facts Learned from Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England

Thursday Thirteen

I’m currently reading Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England, How Our Ancestors Lived Two Centuries Ago by Roy & Lesley Adkins. While the title mentions Jane Austen and there are excerpts from her correspondence, this book really deals with birth, life and death during the period of Jane’s life – 1775 to 1817. I find some non-fiction titles a bit dry, but I’m actually reading a lot of this one. A good sign!

Thirteen Interesting Facts Learned from Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England

1. Armed with the might of the Bastardy Act (1733) parish overseers would take unmarried mothers to the magistrate where they were forced to reveal the name of their baby’s father. The father was then offered the choice of marrying the woman or paying the parish with the costs of raising the child or a prison sentence

2. Forced marriages were commonplace – either in the case mentioned above or one arranged by parents to ensure their children were secure. Happiness was secondary to wealth.

3. Finding  a suitable husband was difficult and stressful since men were in short supply due to war injuries and fatalities.  Also those in apprenticeships weren’t allowed to marry.

4. Weddings took place in the church, and they were low key compared to our modern day weddings.

5. Weddings took place in the morning due to a canon law, which endured until 1886

6. Divorce was difficult. There was, however, a poor man’s version of divorce where a man could sell his wife. It was thought if a man tied a rope around his wife’s neck and led her to a public place then sold her this was a binding and legal transaction. Sometimes these sales were pre-arranged. Sometimes the wife was agreeable to the sale.

7. When a woman lost her husband she could be thrust into dire straits because property and wealth was generally passed to a male heir. Therefore many widows remarried fairly quickly.

8. A successful marriage was one that produced children. Women were constantly pregnant and many women died in childbirth.

9. Multiple births were rare and were to the people of the time, remarkable. The news of a multiple birth would make the paper.

10. Living conditions were crowded and privacy scarce since most of those with modest incomes housed their servants. Life was a constant round of banging doors and chatter.

11. Servants could be found at hiring fairs or by recommendations from friends or family members. In 1777 there was a tax on male servants and in 1785 those who employed female servants were also taxed.

12. Coal was the main fuel for households and a fire was the central point of each room, providing heat and light. Smoke could be a problem, filling rooms on windy days or if the chimney became blocked.

13. Unattended candles caused a lot of house fires. In larger towns there were fire brigades who mainly dealt with insured properties (those with a fire mark to prove they’d paid their insurance). 

I’ve only read a third of the book so far, and I’m sure there are many interesting facts in store for me. I really need to write a story featuring a wife sale! If you’re interested in checking out this book here is the link to Amazon – Eavesdropping on Jane Austen’s England

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014
Writing Update

Since arriving home from holiday I’ve been busy writing and catching up on things that accumulated during our time away.

Claimed & Seduced, the second book in my House of Cat series is currently with my editor. I’m now working on Merry & Seduced and should get this to my editor in the next week or so. I told you I’ve been working hard! I’m hoping to get both of these releases out before Christmas.

Check out the cover for Merry & Seduced, which was designed by Kim at The Killion Group.

ShelleyMunro_MerryandSeduced_600

No blurb yet, since I haven’t written it, but in this book Camryn and Ry from book one (Captured & Seduced) plus all the crew of the Indefatigable visit Camryn’s family in New Zealand for Christmas. The main characters in this story are Marcus, an Earth businessman and Amme, one of the crew. I went with with Christmas colors and there are stars in the background to give a sci-fi flavor.

What do you think?

Saturday, October 11th, 2014
Another Sexy Moment: Scarlet Woman

My Sexy Saturday

This week the My Sexy Saturday theme is about “another sexy moment”. Since I featured Snared by Saber last week, I thought I’d go back to the original Middlemarch Mates series, and the original Saber Mitchell. Here is a snippet from Scarlet Woman – it’s a scene where Saber and Emily get sexy for the first time.

Scarlet Woman

A gurgle escaped Emily when they slipped past into the growing darkness outside. After the foot-stomping gaiety inside, it seemed very quiet. Private. A sliver of disquiet stalked down her spine. She was doing the right thing, wasn’t she?

Saber squeezed her hand, seeming to sense her unease. “We don’t have to do anything. Yet.” The light cast shadows across his face but it was difficult to miss the decidedly carnal smile.

Sex. She could cope with that. No commitments. No need to get hurt because there were no promises made. Impulsively she headed for the shadows cast by a stand of poplar trees. Dried leaves crunched underfoot, her heels sinking halfway to China with each step. She yanked free and rolled her eyes in exasperation. “I didn’t think about walking on grass in heels.”

“How about taking them off?” Saber knelt in front of her, his calloused fingers sliding across her ankle. Emily inhaled and held her breath. He undid the tiny buckle and slid her bare foot from the shoe. Emily grasped his shoulders to balance, her heart pounding. A balmy breeze blew, tugging at her loose curls. Saber undid the other buckle, and she lifted her foot for him. Instead of standing, he remained kneeling in front of her. Her heart skipped a beat. Her sex clenched, and she was very aware of the arousal dampening her panties.

Saber could smell her excitement. Hear the racing of her heart. She tensed when he massaged the arch of her foot, but Saber took his time until she relaxed and a whimper of pleasure escaped her parted lips. He continued to massage her foot, noticing the sexy red toenails. Jo was a strange contrast—skittish at times, and yet, strangely forward and wanton at others. Would the real Scarlet woman step forward? He slid his palm across a heel and up her smooth calf, savoring the silky skin and the floral scent of the lotion she’d smoothed onto her body. His cock throbbed, large and eager, pushing insistently against his fly and Saber was right there with his lower brain. Interested. Desperate to bury his cock in her warm, luscious heat. Desperate to taste her natural juices and watch her shatter in his arms.

His hand rose to the sensitive skin behind her knee, surprising a giggle out of her before drifting higher across her warm inner thigh. Slow—when what he really wanted was hard, fast. Hot and heavy with not an ounce of gentleness involved. Saber struggled with wooing her instead of demanding. Taking. Because the closer they came to consummation, the more he thought Sid might be right. After all this time, his mate had sashayed into his life, and she’d almost escaped because he hadn’t noticed, he’d become used to being alone.

His Scarlet woman.

 

Here’s the blurb:

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 shape shifter, 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.

Available in e-book and print

Order at: Ellora’s Cave (eBook) | Amazon Kindle | All Romance eBooks
Print: Ellora’s Cave | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

If you’d like to read other Sexy Saturday Snippets, follow the links below. Authors, if you’d like to join in the hop check out the My Sexy Saturday blog.

Saturday, October 4th, 2014
A Sexy State of Mine – Snared by Saber

My Sexy Saturday

The theme this week is a sexy state of mind…

So what constitutes a sexy state of mind? It could be the knowledge that you’re preparing for a date with a new man or maybe it’s an upcoming date night that helps you get in the mood. Maybe it’s the purchase of sexy new lingerie or those gorgeous shoes. It might be that new guy you spot at the pub or a club or the man who draws a second glance—the one who steals your breath when you sight them across a crowded room. The possibilities are endless.

Here is a snippet from my latest release – Snared by Saber (sci-fi shapeshifter romance)

Snared by Saber

To anchor you in the scene: Eva and her friend Casey have just arrived at the Middlemarch resort, and they have a run in with the locals…

 

“They bite?” Casey asked, looking dazed by the man and his sudden appearance. Not to mention the huge black cat, which luckily had displayed more interest in the zylon.

“Yeah, their bite is poisonous, which is why we’ve fenced the resort to keep them out.”

Poisonous? “There’s a hole in your fence. I-I saw the-the creature crawl through,” Eva stammered.

“We’ll get it fixed,” the man said. “I’m glad you weren’t injured. That wouldn’t be a good way to start your holiday. Let me get reception to send you refreshments to make up for the inconvenience.” The man tucked Eva’s hand on his arm and escorted her to the door of their chalet, where Casey waited. He disengaged and shunted them both through the open door, then closed them inside.

“I don’t think he was a bot,” Eva murmured.

“The men here are sexier than in my wildest dreams,” Casey said. “Bring on the captures, I say.”

Eva’s legs gave out, and she toppled onto the edge of a sleep-bed. She couldn’t find the right brain cells to formulate an argument, let alone voice one. Hard to dispute the truth when it frisked you in such a delightful manner.

Currently available at Amazon and Kobo. Snared by Saber should be available at other online retailers very soon.

If you’d like to read other Sexy Saturday Snippets, follow the links below. Authors, if you’d like to join in check out the My Sexy Saturday blog

Friday, October 3rd, 2014
New Release! Snared by Saber

I have a new release today.

Snared by Saber is the first book in my new series Middlemarch Capture. For those of you who enjoyed my Middlemarch Mates series, Middlemarch Capture features the descendants of those characters.

Snared by Saber_350x450

Here’s the blurb:

When a feline virus on Earth wipes out much of his race, Saber Mitchell moves his shifter family to the jungle planet of Tiraq. To provide an income—and keep the testosterone-fueled males from killing each other over the lack of mates—Saber opens Middlemarch Resort, specializing in women’s capture fantasies. Unbeknownst to the women, some captures will be more permanent than others.

Saber has no plans to find a mate himself…until a capture goes awry, landing both him and “kidnapped” guest Eva Henry on the other side of the huge island. Saber must face birds, beasts, hungry natives and Eva’s own penchant for escape to see her safely back to the resort.

Keeping his hands off her proves impossible…even after Saber learns mating Eva comes with bigger, more dangerous troubles than all their jungle perils combined.

 

Snared by Saber features all my favorite elements – a sci-fi setting, feline shapeshifters, family and adventures. I hope you like it.

Currently available at Amazon and Kobo. Snared by Saber should be available at other online retailers very soon.

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
Southampton, Winchester and Jane Austen

During our recent visit to Great Britain, we stayed in Southampton and did a day trip to Winchester. These are both places with Jane Austen connections, and as a writer I was intrigued.

After Jane’s father died, the family had to move to Southampton for financial reasons. Jane, her sister and mother moved in with a married son. We stayed at the Dolphin hotel in Southampton, which is where Jane reportedly went dancing. Jane Austen’s 21st birthday party was held in the ballroom at this hotel. We also wandered along the city wall promenade where Jane Austen walked with her family.

Dolphin Hotel, Southampton

Jane lived in Chawton, Alton from 1809 to 1817 with her mother, her sister Cassandra and a friend Martha Lloyd. Jane became ill with a mystery disease (some sources say it was her kidneys) and Cassandra and Jane traveled to Winchester in order to receive better medical treatment. They stayed in a Castle Street house (currently a private residence) and Jane died at age 41 on 18 July 1817.

JaneAusten_CastleStreet

Jane was laid to rest at the Winchester cathedral. Her memorial stone doesn’t mention her writing and a brass plaque was added in 1872 to rectify this shortcoming.

Memorial Stone, Winchester Cathedral

Double click for larger version

JaneAusten_BrassPlaque

Brass Plaque commemorating Jane Austen’s writing.

There are lots of Jane Austen landmarks in Winchester and the surrounding Hampshire countryside. I visited only a few, given my limited time, but it was a pleasure and a privilege walking in Jane’s footsteps.

Are you a Jane Austen fan?