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Tuesday, February 7th, 2017
Spider Cures and Superstitions

While doing some research for one of my books, I came across several superstitions regarding spiders. On the whole spiders are considered positive, and many people protected them from harm because they were considered lucky.

Here are a few superstitions:

1. If a spider is sighted during the evening, expect a letter in the morning.

2. If you kill a spider, it will rain the following day.

3. If you see a spider running toward you in the morning, misfortune will follow.

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What I found slightly disturbing is that spiders were used to cure diseases such as ague, whooping cough and to treat bleeding.

The spiders were:

1. Swallowed as a medicine, disguised by jam or treacle. The spider was swallowed alive.

2. A type of pill was made enclosing the live spider in cobwebs and this was swallowed.

3. The spider was enclosed in a nut or a linen bag and worn around the neck until the spider died.

Not so good for the spider!

Spider webs were also used to bind wounds and stop bleeding. I’m not sure how well this works, but I think I’ll stick with plasters rather than experiment.

The use of spiders as medicine contradicts the idea that spiders were considered lucky.

An Orkney saying goes: If you wish to thrive, let the spider go alive.

While a Devon saying goes: Who kills a spider, bad luck betides her.

Where do you fall on the spider scale? Are they lucky or unlucky?

Source: The Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland

Sunday, February 5th, 2017
For Five Days Only, Playing to Win is #free #romance

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Playing to Win, my romantic suspense is free from 5 March to 9 March.

Get your copy from Amazon

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017
How Do You Get Rid of a Stuck Song?

Earworm

You know how you get those catchy songs stuck in your head? You hear them once and suddenly you’re humming or singing the song? It becomes the song that will not go away!

These songs are called earworms.

And they’re really annoying. The more you think about them, the more they stick in your mind.

I was waiting for my toes to dry after a pedicure and came across this short snippet in Women’s Health, Australian edition, about how to get rid of earworms.

The answer: Chew gum.

Why does it work?

The motion of your jaw interrupts the earworm by distracting the part of the brain that is responsible for repetitive thinking, according to Dr. Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis, Director of the Music Cognition Lab at the University of Arkansas.

A second way to stomp on an earworm is to play another song and listen to it all the way through. Of course, you run the risk of catching another earworm!

Can you remember your last earworm?

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017
The Tasmanian Devil, Australia #travel

During our recent visit to Tasmania, I was determined to see a Tasmanian devil. I have seen them before, and they fascinated me with their grunting and growling and their surly, cantankerous  natures. I knew that the population of devils has experienced difficulties during the last ten years, and I wanted to see them again.

A Tasmanian devil is a stocky black or brown mammal, about the size of a cat. They have short back legs and since their front legs are slightly longer this gives them an ambling gait. They are carnivorous and have powerful jaws and sharp teeth, used to tear apart their prey of snakes, birds, fish and carrion.

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Early settlers named them devils because of their spine-chilling growls that filled the night. At one time, farmers thought that they attacked their livestock, and the population was almost wiped out. Once they became a protected species the numbers of devil increased until the mid 1990s. A large number of devil died with an illness called devil facial tumor. It is a type of cancer that made lumps form on the animals’ heads. Once they were infected the tumors made it difficult for the devils to eat and they died in the thousands. Captive breeding programs have saved the species from extinction but they are still vulnerable.

We visited Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary where they take in injured animals. In most cases, they attempt to release animals into the wild, although they have a few animals that are unable to live in the wild due to ongoing injuries or problems. Along with Tasmanian devils, they had lots of kangaroos, wombats, emus and koalas. Hubby and I loved our visit here. The staff and keepers were friendly and helpful and answered loads of questions. Their enthusiasm was infectious.

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What do you think? Would you like to come face-to-face with one?

Friday, January 27th, 2017
Grab Your Free Copy of Spies Anonymous #contemporary #romance

My contemporary romance Spies Anonymous is FREE from 26 – 28 January at Amazon.

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Get your FREE copy at Amazon

WARNING: This is a spicy romance with mmf and gay love scenes.

Thursday, January 26th, 2017
Dark Legends Hits USA Today Bestseller List

This happened today.

I am so thrilled and excited. A huge thank you to everyone who purchased a copy and helped us to achieve this milestone.

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Exciting times Smile

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017
Superstitions About Tea

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I picked up The Penguin Guide to Superstitions of Britain and Ireland at my local library and the section on tea grabbed me because I’ve written a romance with a tea-leaf reader heroine. I hadn’t realized tea came with so many superstitions.

Here are a few of them:

Tea pot lids – if you accidently leave the lid off the pot when making tea, a stranger will call soon. People from Suffolk believe leaving the teapot lid off means you’ll be sent for—it’s not clear by whom—while those in Somerset think the teapot lid means the services of a doctor will be required before day’s end.

Pouring the tea – It’s bad luck for two people to pour tea from the same pot. In some regions two people pouring from the same pot will result in a pregnancy (I presume there is a man and woman in the equation as well as a teapot!)

Tea Stalk or leaves – if you find a stalk or a leaf floating in your cup of tea a visitor will arrive. It’s possible the visitor will be a stranger.

Milk and sugar – If you put milk in your tea before the sugar you run the risk of losing a loved one.

There doesn’t seem to be any logic to the superstitions, but I found them interesting. The only one I’d heard of before is the one about floating tea leaves. My parents used to say to expect a visitor whenever there were floating tea leaves.

Have you heard of these superstitions or do you have any to add?

Note: The book featuring tasseography or tea leaf reading is Reformed Bad Girl.

Thursday, January 19th, 2017
Receipe: Mango, Feta and Avocado Salad

This year I’ve decided to try more new-to-me recipes instead of cooking the same old thing every week. To this end, I grabbed two recipe books from the library and started looking for enticing recipes.

The first book was Lorraine Pascale’s Fast, Fresh and Easy Food, which I chose because I’ve seen her on the Food channel and enjoyed her recipes. It’s summer here in New Zealand, and with the abundance of avocadoes and other salad ingredients, I thought I’d start with a salad.

Mango Salad

Ingredients:

Mango

Feta cheese

4 radishes

1 ripe avocado

Fresh basil

1 bag of salad greens or rocket

1 lime

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper

To Make the Salad:

1. Place salad greens on platter.

2. Slice radishes. Cube mango, avocado and feta cheese and arrange all on top of the salad greens. Tear the basil leaves and add to the salad.

3. Dress with lime juice and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Shelley’s Notes:

1. I didn’t have any radishes and improvised with some kobari (spelling?) It’s a large radish-like vegetable, which I grated. I think radishes would have been better for the crunch factor and the dash of color would have looked good.

2. Other than that, I enjoyed the salad very much and would make it again.

Sunday, January 15th, 2017
Interview with author JA Armitage #DarkLegends

 

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Two of Clubs by J.A. Armitage

@armitageauthor

Award-Winning and Int’l Bestselling Author

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Fifty-two weeks, four royal families, one war.

Week one – January 1st – January 7th

Rose (The Two of Clubs) is the youngest of all the Royals of Vanatus, and she has a lot to prove. Born a princess, but with the heart of a warrior, she struggles to keep her two lives separate. By day, a perfect princess, but in the dark of night, she slips out to practice being all she ever wanted to be, a warrior like her brothers. When a dragon kidnaps some children from the royal castle, she must act quickly, but the snap decision sets off a chain of events that lead to the first war in the history of Vanatus, spelling disaster for both her and her family.

Follow the lives and loves of the fifty-two members of The Houses of Club, Heart, Diamond and Spade in real time as they struggle to maintain peace in the world of Vanatus.

This is a New Adult fantasy series set over the course of one whole year. This particular book is the first in the series and is set over the first week from New Year’s Day to 7th January from the eyes of Rose Club. Each book in the series will be shown through the eyes of a different character, all within the world of Vanatus. Each book can be read as a standalone book (no cliffhangers), but the overall arc of the war will play in the background throughout.

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J.A. Armitage

Featured Book: Two of Clubs

Hi, I’m so excited to be amongst some amazing authors in this box set. It’s like finding myself at a party with Tori Amos providing the music, Jamie Oliver cooking the food, Stephen Fry sat at one side and Jack Black on the other.

How long have you been a writer and how did you come to writing? I first hit the publish button in January 2014 but I’d spent a whole year writing my first book before that. Nowadays I write much more quickly but back then it was a slow process. It probably didn’t help that I was single parenting two very young children and being a surrogate for a friend. It was a lonely time so I wrote when the kids went to bed. My life is pretty great now and I’ve brought my writing with me into the good times.

How did you come up with this storyline? I’ve always loved fantasy so it was a no brainer that I’d write fantasy sooner or later. This particular story came to me as more of a concept than a story later. It occurred to me that there are 52 weeks in a year and 52 cards in a pack. One card for each week. I then thought that it would be pretty cool to write a story about the cards. In my book the cards are Royals. This book follows the Two of Clubs as she accidentally starts a war between the four ruling families, The Clubs, The Hearts, The Diamonds and The Spades. Each book is written as a different member of each family. Each book is a stand alone but they follow the arc of the war as it unfolds. Each book has seven chapters – one for each day of the week. Eventually, I hope to have 365 chapters over 52 books!

What are the best and the worst aspects of writing? I love writing. I wasn’t much of a writer as a child but I was a voracious reader. I read to escape reality. I write for the same reason but I get to chose what direction the characters go in. The worst part for me is the lack of time. I want to write more and more and more!

What inspires you to write? Nothing inspires me to write as such. I just have stories rattling around in my head all the time, fighting to get out!

How did you conduct your research for The Two of Clubs (War and Suits book1)? 30 years of reading other author’s work. As it’s a fantasy, I’ve made up a lot of stuff. You’ll meet new creatures and new food and new customs amongst other things.

What are 3 of your favorite quotes from The Two of Club? Thinking about it…

This is my favourite bit: ~ “She’s a Heart!” I stated the obvious, knowing that Tarragon was fully aware that she was a Heart, and that was more than likely the reason he’d bedded her in the first place. ~ “Isn’t this whole party thing to get the clans together so we can cooperate and live in a peaceful land? This is why we all come together at this time of year.” He gave that leisurely grin that women of all races seemed to fall for. It wasn’t going to work on me, though. I was mad! ~ “Yes, but I don’t think that you are supposed to come together quite so literally!” “Or quite so many times,” grinned Tarragon.

More Favorites from Two of Clubs: The Heart District is awesome in a steampunky kind of way – I’m not saying any more – You’ll just have to read it.

What would your friends say is your best quality? I don’t give up. Actually, that’s what I say my best quality is. My friends would probably say my best quality is bringing them cake and wine! (If you can call that a quality!)

Are reader reviews important to you? My reviews keep me going. It’s amazing just how much some nice words from a complete stranger can pick me up for the rest of the day. They inspire me to keep going.

What do you do when you don’t write? I’m a graphic designer and wedding photographer as well as a mother. I also renovate houses. My favourite hobby is sleep lol!

Tell us about your other books? I have a Paranormal Romance series called Guardians of The Light which begins with a girl in a locked room. Her biggest problem isn’t the door, it’s what lies beyond. Talking of locked doors, my next series (The Labyrinthians) features plenty of them in the form of an underground maze with danger lurking around every corner. Finally, I’ve started a Cozy Mystery series (Murder at The Bite Cafe) which I hope to write book 2 in next year once I’ve written the first twelve of The Clubs stories.

If you could share one thing about yourself that you would like readers to know what would it be? I love getting emails oh and I’ve crush on Jack Black…shhh, don’t tell everyone! Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy the book. If you sign up to my mailing list, I’ll let you know about an exclusive competition I’ll be running throughout the whole series of War and Suits books. author-bio1 j-armitage1

Born in a small town, J. Armitage longed for adventure and travel. Age 20 she moved to Dublin, then to San Diego, then Sydney and back to California where she did a brief stint working at Universal Studios being a minder to Sponge Bob.

Once back in Britain she got married, had babies and decided to write about the adventure she was now missing out on. She works full time, is a mum to three kids and has had a surrogate baby. She has skydived twice (and survived), climbed Kilimanjaro and hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. She has also worked as a professional clown and banana picker amongst other jobs. Somehow she finds time to write. J. Amitage’s second book, Infinite Spring, was nominated for a iFestival of Reading Award. Socail Links.jpg

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Saturday, January 14th, 2017
Interview with GK DePosa #DarkLegends

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Wilder: The Guardian Series by G.K. De Rosa

@vampgirl923

Award-Winning and Int’l Bestselling Author

 

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All that Celeste Wilder ever wanted was to find someone who would sweep her off her feet like she had seen in countless romantic movies.

When she meets the gorgeous and mysterious Constantin brothers her senior year of high school, she gets much more than what she had bargained for. As they introduce her to an exciting supernatural world that she never imagined existed, she makes a startling discovery about her own family legacy and is forced to make a decision that will change her life forever.

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Finally, she found the romance novel she wanted, the newest one from the series she had been obsessing over, and made her way to the checkout desk. She turned the corner and abruptly collided with someone. She dropped the book, which slapped against the marble floor with a disconcertingly loud thud, echoing through the cavernous room.

“Oh, I’m so sorry!” she blurted, without looking up as she bent down to pick it up. As she stood back up, her heart skipped a beat. Before her stood a towering, well-built young man with wavy, raven hair, chiseled jaw, and eyes as blue as the summer sky. Celeste felt her cheeks grow hot. Embarrassed, she flushed even redder.

“No problem. Sorry, I should have been watching where you were going, I guess,” the stranger said, eyes twinkling.

Looking into those deep blue eyes, Celeste was completely at a loss for words. She watched helplessly as he walked away, disappearing further into the library.

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G.K. De Rosa

Featured Book: Wilder: The Guardian Series

Hi all! I have to start off by saying I’m so glad this isn’t an in-person interview or else you’d be seeing the huge bags under my eyes from all the sleepless nights I’ve been currently having. Nope it’s not from spending hours at the computer writing – I like to think of them as my new mom badges of courage J I thought writing was hard until I had a baby! So there’s a little bit about my personal life and now onto the fun bookish stuff.

How long have you been a writer and how did you come to writing? Technically speaking I’m pretty new to writing as I just wrote my first novel, Wilder in 2015. But when I was younger I used to love my Literature and English classes and wrote many essays, short stories, poems, etc. not to mention I did a ton of reading. I guess I got back into writing when I moved to NYC and started a restaurant review blog – food is my other passion J It reminded me how much I loved writing and then when I moved back to Florida (my hometown), I felt the creative juices flowing and decided to write a novel. It was really on a whim, I just sat down at my laptop and started typing.

How did you come up with this storyline? I’ve always been a fan of YA novels so that was a given, and I’m a total romantic at heart so there had to be some cute love story. Then coupled with my fascination of all supernatural TV shows, the idea for Wilder was born. I grew up watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer (tv show, not movie), Angel, and Charmed then got into The Vampire Diaries and True Blood. I’m a huge TVD fan and love the Elena and Damon storyline which is where I got a lot of inspiration for Celeste and (*spoiler*). But I didn’t want Celeste to just be some powerless girl, I wanted her to be the kick-butt heroine.

What are the best and the worst aspects of writing? The best is definitely the ability to get lost in your imagination. It’s such a cathartic experience to create characters and worlds that are instilled with bits and pieces of your own life. The worst is probably the editing! Going back over and over again until it’s perfect – which we all know it never is.

What inspires you to write? My over-active 15 year old imagination. It’s just so much fun for me and I absolutely love it!

How did you conduct your research for Wilder: The Guardian Series? Luckily I didn’t have to do much research for Wilder. That’s the beauty of fantasy, it doesn’t have to be based on anything real. I was quite familiar with the vampire folklore and I added a few twists here and there. The Guardian mythology was also something I created so again not much research involved. In subsequent books in the series my main characters travel to various European locations that I’ve visited so again it’s all from my personal experiences.

What are 3 of your favorite quotes from Wilder: The Guardian Series? Ooh that’s a tough one! The most popular quote according to my readers is: ~ “Roman inhaled deeply as she walked in, her scent intoxicating. He could hear her heart racing and the blood pumping through her veins.” And here are two of my favorites – of course they’re lovey dovey ones: ~ “You are the one that needs to be careful Roman. You are falling in love with her.” ~ “She smiled looking into his deep blue eyes feeling as though she were being swallowed up inside of them – wanting to be.”

More Favorites from Wilder: The Guardian Series: A favorite excerpt: Finally, she found the romance novel she wanted, the newest one from the series she had been obsessing over, and made her way to the checkout desk. She turned the corner and abruptly collided with someone. She dropped the book, which slapped against the marble floor with a disconcertingly loud thud, echoing through the cavernous room. “Oh, I’m so sorry!” she blurted, without looking up as she bent down to pick it up. As she stood back up, her heart skipped a beat. Before her stood a towering, well-built young man with wavy, raven hair, chiseled jaw, and eyes as blue as the summer sky. Celeste felt her cheeks grow hot. Embarrassed, she flushed even redder. “No problem. Sorry, I should have been watching where you were going, I guess,” the stranger said, eyes twinkling. Looking into those deep blue eyes, Celeste was completely at a loss for words. She watched helplessly as he walked away, disappearing further into the library.

What would your friends say is your best quality? Probably my perpetually happy personality. I’m generally smiling and an easy going person. I love to laugh and have fun. Why spend your life being so serious all the time?

Are reader reviews important to you? Absolutely! As an author it’s the only way to get feedback from your readers. Sometimes reviews can be harsh, but that’s how you become a better writer.

What do you do when you don’t write? I watch way too many TV shows! Well let me backtrack, I used to anyway. Now that I have a three month old, I spend every waking moment with him. I also have a German shepherd who was my first baby – our fur baby if you will and I love going on walks with him and my husband or sitting on the balcony in the sun.

Tell us about your other books? I finished the entire Guardian Series in July. There are 4 books in total – Wilder, Wilder Destiny, Wilder Revelation and Wilder Legacy plus a novella Finding Wilder. Writing the last book was bitter sweet, I didn’t want it to end. The characters became like family to me and not writing about them anymore made me sad. And so I’ve decided to start on a spin-off series in the next few months. I’m super excited!

If you could share one thing about yourself that you would like readers to know what would it be? This is just a little something fun – as I mentioned I’m a huge Vampire Diaries fan and I totally love Ian Somerhalder (my husband is totally not jealous), who plays Damon Salvatore. So my friend and I went to a TVD convention right before I published Wilder and I brought a copy to give to Ian as a gift since it was his character and show that inspired my book. He was such a sweetheart and was really appreciative when I gave it to him and he asked me to sign it for him. So my first signature as an author was to Ian Somerhalder! And we even took pictures with him and Wilder

Thank you for this great interview and a huge thank you to all of my Wilder fans out there. Writing Wilder was the most fun I’ve ever had and the fact that I am now able to make a career out of it is incredible. It’s proof that you can really love what you do. So everyone out there, follow your dreams and work hard and they’ll become a reality. And of course go buy the Dark Legends collection – there are so many amazing authors and stories that you won’t want to miss out on!

I love hearing from my readers so please feel free to reach out! Contact me: Website: www.wilderbook.com Email: email hidden; JavaScript is required Facebook: www.facebook.com/wilderbookseries Twitter: @vampgirl923 or for Celeste herself – @CelesteWilder18 Instagram: GKDeRosa Goodreads: G.K. DeRosa

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From an early age, G.K. De Rosa showed a passion for reading and a very vivid imagination. She was instilled with a love of storytelling by exemplary teachers in her early years of Catholic school and that first love was never forgotten. Though she pursued a degree in International Business from the University of Florida, she eventually came back to her creative writing roots years later. Drawn to young adult novels and being an eternal romantic at heart, an urban fantasy romance was a natural choice for her debut series. She currently lives in South Florida with her real life Prince Charming and their newborn as well as a fur baby, Nico, the German shepherd.

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