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Thursday, January 29th, 2015
13 Animals and Birds that Mate for Life

Thursday Thirteen

As a romance author, I believe in happy relationships and happy endings. I live them everyday while write and reading my books. While some humans are monogamous, there is an equal number of those who cheat or move on to another partner for one reason or another.

The other day I was thinking about this and wondered what other animals or birds mated for life.

Thirteen Animals and Birds that Mate for Life

1. Swans

2. Wolves, which makes the werewolf the perfect hero/heroine in a romance novel.

3. Penguins

4. Gibbon Apes

5. Barn owls

6. Brolga cranes

7. Pigeons

8. Cockroaches

9. Bald Eagle

10. Termites

11. French Angel fish

12. Royal NZ Albatross

Albatros Colony

13. Atlantic puffin

Like humans there are exceptions with the above birds and animals, but generally the creatures in this list stay with the same mate throughout their lives.

You already know I adore a happy ever after story. When you read a book featuring romantic elements, do you enjoy cliffhanger endings, or do you like all the plot strands to tie up and the characters to walk off into the sunset together?

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
Revive Raw Salad

I visited one of the Revive restaurants in Auckland last week and had this salad as part of my lunch. It was delicious. On my arrival home, I checked the Revive cookbook I had and was delighted to find the recipe for the salad I’d enjoyed so much.

Revive Raw Salad

Ingredients:

2 medium beetroot

4 carrots

1/2 cup sultanas

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

fresh mint to garnish

Orange Dressing:

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons honey

juice of 1 orange

 

Method:

1. Place the sultanas in a bowl and pour on some boiling water.

2. Grate the carrot and the beetroot.

3. Mix all the dressing ingredients together.

4. Drain the water off the sultanas. Add these plus the sunflower seeds to the carrot/beetroot mix.

5. Pour over the dressing, combine and serve.

Shelley’s Notes:

1. I think when I make this recipe again I’ll replace the orange with lemon because I like a less sweet flavor.

2. I reduced the amount of honey and salt in my dressing.

Do you have a favorite salad recipe?

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
Weta Workshop in Wellywood!

Anyone who is interested in movie special effects will have heard about the award-winning Weta Studios. They’ve been involved with many movies and TV shows including the Lord of the Rings movies, King Kong, Avatar to mention a few and more recently Thunderbirds.

Weta Studios was started in 1987 by Richard Taylor and Tania Rodger. They initially worked out of their Wellington apartment.

It’s free to visit their shop and view many collectibles plus watch a movie detailing the origins and different things they work on at Weta. It’s also possible to do a tour, but since many of the things they work on are proprietary, only a small portion of the actual studio is accessible.

Troll

On arrival at the shop, you’re greeted by these huge trolls. I’m 5’ 9” so that should give you an idea of how big they are.

Gollum

Gollum – this model was just amazing. The face looks so real as does the fish he’s holding.

Weta Studios

The entrance to the studio, which is guarded by a huge genie!

Trolls

Me braving one of the other trolls. I’m so glad they weren’t real because they were so lifelike. You could see right up their noses…

The movie we were shown contained glimpses of special effects and indicated what some of the talented people work on each day. It must be such a fun job. The tasks ranged from making armor and working with leather to making swords, designing computer graphics and so much more.

I have to admit I have a fondness for action movies, and I always enjoy the special effects such as explosions and the fight scenes, especially those where the actors wear armor. I watched The Mummy movies again a few weeks ago. All those creepy mummies and the insects, the sand storms and plane flights. Good fun!

What is your favorite movie when it comes to special effects?

Sunday, January 25th, 2015
Captain Cook’s Cottage

During our recent visit to Melbourne, Australia we visited Captain Cook’s cottage in Fitzroy Gardens. This cottage, built in 1755,  is the oldest building in Australia, and although it is called Captain Cook’s cottage, the building was actually owned by his parents. It is thought that James Cook did spend some time there during his holidays.

The cottage originally stood in Yorkshire, and when it came up for sale in 1934 Sir Russell Grimwade purchased the building. The brick cottage was dismantled, each brick labeled and shipped to Australia. On arrival, the cottage was reassembled.

These days the cottage is a tourist attraction with the rooms furnished in a typical style. The cottage is surrounded by a cottage garden containing flowers and vegetables.

Cooks Cottage Notice

Cooks Cottage

The cute exterior.

Cottage Garden

Part of the cottage garden.

Cooks Cottage Lounge

Ground floor interior. Lounge room.

Cook Cottage Bedroom

Parents’ bedroom, off the lounge. At night the curtains would be pulled for privacy.

About Captain Cook

Click to enlarge.

Cook Brass

A brass of  Cook, out in the garden

Captain Cook is an important part of New Zealand and Australian history. He visited New Zealand three times, charted much of our coast line and named many of the coastal landmarks. He also discovered and charted the Australian east coast and named it New South Wales.

If you’re ever in Melbourne Cook’s cottage is an interesting place to visit. I recommend it. Smile 

Do you enjoy visiting historical houses? Do you have a favorite?

Saturday, January 24th, 2015
Felix and Casey: Their First Meet

My Sexy Saturday

This week’s theme for My Sexy Saturday is “You’re So Sexy”. It’s all about the sexiness of characters, how they relate to each other and how they relate to us as readers. We all love those characters, and this week we’re aiming to put them front and center.

Favored by Felix is a new sci-fi romance, which is due out on 13 Feb.

The man walked—no, prowled was a better description for his gait—closer and came to a halt a few feet from her. He flashed a grin full of white teeth, and she found herself returning the expression. A natural smile instead of the conscious ones she forced for her best friend while she pretended everything in her world was perfect.

“Let me see.” He pretended to ponder while his gaze slid over her in a way that made her feel like a woman instead of a soldier. “I’ve heard there is a race of aliens who have a shortage of women. They’re out to steal themselves mates.”

“I’m all a-shiver,” she said, returning his gaze of interest.

There was much to be admired. His black hair hit his shoulders and was three—phrullfour or five times longer than her own black locks. Even in the dim light cast by the astral moon and the resort’s artificial illumination, she could see his gorgeous green eyes. Just a few shades darker than the color of the jade sea that surrounded Ione. His broad shoulders were garbed in a loose white shirt, his lower half in tight black trews and black boots, and he was taller than her six feet by a few inches.

“And what if I’m one of these alien males?” His voice held a smoky tone that reminded her of late nights and smooth aged liquor on ice. He stood close enough now for her to feel the heat coming off his solid body.

“I should start running?” Gods, was that flirtation? She’d thought she’d forgotten how, since one didn’t fraternize romantically with fellow soldiers. She cocked her head a fraction. “Scream for help?”

“You’re lucky, sweetheart. Tonight, all I’m after is a kiss.”

Favored by Felix

BLURB:

A new resort specializing in capture fantasies—the perfect place for Captain Casey Seonaid to blow off steam. To embrace her feminine side, possibly for the last time. And just as she’d hoped, it’s not long before she finds herself “kidnapped”. Let the sexual hijinks begin.

Attractive yet with an air of sadness, Casey snares Felix Mitchell’s attention at first sight. As feelings deepen, he comes to realize Casey just may be his perfect mate. But despite their shared passion, something is amiss with his intriguing lover, something that keeps her from giving herself fully…something she won’t share.

Unexpected troubles plague the resort, drawing the couple ever closer. But the biggest danger comes when Casey finally shares her secret, revealing a familial enemy—and his shocking plans for Casey’s future.

Inside Scoop: Felix may look big and bad, but Casey knows her shifter mate is just a big pussycat.

Goes on sale on 13 Feb 2015

To read other My Sexy Saturday excerpts follow the links below:

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015
Run Wild With the Wolf Pack!

Wolf Pack Promo

Dear Alpha Lovers,

GIVEAWAY ALERT! I’m part of a group called the Wolf Pack, and we’re doing a joint giveaway – see below for all kinds of fabulous wolfy-awesome stories to try!

The Wolf Pack: For Readers Who Like A Good Howl - join the Facebook Group! 

All the books on sale (99cents or FREE) are listed below – remember, prices can change without notice so verify before you buy!

Captured & Seduced

Amazon

iBooks

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

All Romance eBooks

Google Play

 

 

 

 

Read the rest of this entry ?

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015
Egypt: Worthy of a Painting!

We visited Egypt quite a few years ago now and had a brilliant time. Egypt is a country full of fascinating history. Mummies. I gravitate to them in museums! But I was also taken by the scenery. The Nile, which is like a backbone, provides a lifeline for the people living along its banks. They rely on the water in the river to irrigate their crops and to feed their animals.

There is a distinct band of green on both sides of the river. Farther away, the dryness of the desert takes over. It makes for an interesting photo—one of big contrasts.

Cruising the Nile, Egypt 

This is the view we saw from our boat as we sailed down the Nile from Luxor to Aswan. Isn’t it amazing? Almost like a painting, but I can assure you this is real.

I have a new release – a boxed set of my contemporary romances called Ain’t Misbehaving.

ShelleyMunro_Ain'tMisbehaving3D_200px

The boxed set contains:

Lovers at Last

One Night of Misbehavior

Blindside

Fringe Benefits

Wild Child

So far this set is available at All Romance ebooks. It should be available at other online retailers very soon.

Have you been to Egypt? Do mummies fascinate you? And a question about boxed sets – do you read all the books contained in a boxed set or do you just read the ones that interest you?

Monday, January 19th, 2015
Summer Means Flowers

I felt in the mood for flowers today. Here are a selection of flower and vegetable photos, which I took at our local Botanic gardens.

Botanic Artichoke

The artichoke – good enough to eat!

Botanic Purple Flower

I’m not a gardener and don’t know the proper names for half these plants, but I can appreciate the pretty. Smile

Botanic Daffs

Any eagle-eyed people out there will know that this is a spring flower, not a summer one!

Botanic South African Garden

The garden is set out in sections and this photo of the protea was taken in the South African garden.

All these flowers combined with the beautiful weather outside are tempting me to go for a walk or a bike ride. Not a bad idea and a boost to my diet efforts, but no. I must withstand the temptation. I’m going to eat my calorie-counted breakfast and get to work on finishing Seized & Seduced.

Are you a gardener or are you, like me, happy to enjoy the efforts of others? Is anyone out there busy dieting away the excesses of the happy season?

Saturday, January 17th, 2015
My Sexy Saturday: Enemy Lovers. I’m So Sexy!

My Sexy Saturday

This week’s theme is I’m So Sexy and there’s nothing more interesting that someone who exudes sexiness but doesn’t flaunt it. These are those who are naturally sexy, like the girl or boy next door. Or the boss who acts like a nerd. Or maybe one who wears something that makes someone want to strip them bare. Those are the characters we want to read about. Those with city, country or maybe even other-worldly charm that knocks our socks off every time…

Today I thought I’d feature Enemy Lover, my upcoming release from Samhain Publishing. It’s due out on 10 February 2015 and is currently available for pre-order. This short excerpt comes from the start of the book when Dallas O’Grady and Laura Drummond—from families who are at war—meet for the first time. Laura has a flat tire and her spare has gone missing.

“Yep, I’m screwed,” she said.

No, she wasn’t—not yet, but he’d love to take that thought to its logical conclusion. While their families might harbor long-standing grudges, his dick wasn’t sticking with the program. The skinny Laura Drummond from his vague school-day memories had grown into a classy woman. Her brown eyes glinted with intelligence while her mouth…

Dallas tore his gaze off her because his inappropriate thoughts bore repercussions. For one—a painful hard-on. And two, no way could he cozy up with the enemy.

He cleared his throat. “What do you want to do? I can give you a lift to Clare and hope we’ll make it past the slip, or I can ring for a breakdown truck.”

The rain was coming down harder now, icy crystal pellets pummeling his cheeks. She caught her bottom lip between her teeth, worried it then nodded a decisive agreement.

“Let me grab my purse and overnight bag,” she said. “I’ll grab a ride and chance my luck. The slip might have been cleared already.”

Dallas told himself not to look, but when she bent over to retrieve her bag, his eyes zeroed in on her arse.

EnemyLovers72web

BLURB:

Love might be waiting in enemy territory…

Clare Chronicles, Book 2

When Dallas O’Grady’s attention is hooked by a sexy rear end bent over a flat tire, he naturally pulls over to help. Then he gets a look at her face and realizes she’s one of those Drummonds.

The Drummonds and the O’Gradys might both live in the town of Clare, but they’ve never played nice, not since a generations-old feud started over a cache of stolen gold nuggets.

Laura Drummond has fought long and hard to grip independence by the throat and avoid her mother’s bulldozing attempts to control her life. She’s always admired Dallas from afar, and she’s pleased to discover that up close, he’s gorgeous, sexy, and nothing like the monster her family has painted.

When the road home is blocked, she’s forced to accept his offer of a bed for the night. One thing leads to another, and soon burning hot-desire melts into thoughts of forging a permanent relationship—damn their families’ disapproval.

But the feud isn’t the only thing conspiring to keep the lovers apart. And the clock is ticking…

Warning: Contains lovers determined to challenge the status quo, lots of sexy times, and a feud that just might destroy all their hopes for a happy future.

Order ebook at: Samhain Publishing| Amazon| All Romance| Koboicon| iBooks| Barnes & Noble

NOTE: Although this is book two in the Clare Chronicles, this book stands alone nicely.

To read more My Sexy Saturday snippets, follow the links below:

Friday, January 16th, 2015
The Otago Peninsula – World Famous!

On Christmas day we spent time in Port Chalmers. The sail away was beautiful with fine weather – very different from the last time we were there when the peninsula was covered with fog and visibility was nil!

The scenery was gorgeous – blue skies and this group of people cheering and waving as the cruise ship sailed past.

Farewell_PortChalmers

This is me seeing the sights and waving back…

Shelley_PortChalmers

You get an idea of the scenery. New Zealand really is pretty. I hope you all get an opportunity to visit one day.

The Otago peninsula is special because it’s the only mainland colony of the Royal Albatross. Hubby took some awesome long range photos of the albatross on their nesting sites.

Albatros Colony

An albatross flies for long distances across the seas and oceans, but they always return to the same place and the same partner. Isn’t that romantic?

Albatros Love

A matched pair…yes, I think that’s romantic. Smile

At the farthest point of the peninsula there is a lighthouse, shown below.

Lighthouse

The endangered yellow-eyed penguin also makes its home on the Otago peninsula, although we didn’t see any of those.

Is New Zealand on your bucket list? As me some questions or tell me where you’d like to visit first when you come.