Thursday, April 18th, 2013
Regular visitors to my blog will know how much I enjoy travel. When the travel is combined with seeing animals in their natural habitat, I’m there because there is something very special about viewing animals on their home turf.
Here are some of my favorite animal encounters:
Thirteen Favorite and Memorable Animal Encounters
1. Camel – I like camels, and I’ve met quite a few during my travels through the Middle East and Asia, but my favorite meeting was in Egypt. We met up with a herd of camels consisting of mothers and juveniles. Once we mounted our camels, we ambled along with the rest of the herd. It was fun and relaxing. This juvenile camel was very curious and wanted to investigate me at close quarters.
2. Giraffe – During a visit to Kenya we visited a giraffe reserve, not far from Nairobi. There you can feed the giraffes and observe them at close quarters. I’ll never forget their abrasive tongues and the feel of giraffe slobber. It was a fun visit!
3. Whale – I’ve been whale watching in lots of different locations including Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Alaska and Maine. These huge creatures are majestic, and it’s always thrilling to see them in person. This photo of a sperm whale was taken near Kaikoura in New Zealand.
4. Baboon – We stayed in cabins in Uganda, and they had a small shop where they sold chocolate including Mars bars. The local kids selling slingshots at the gate should have clued us in. Those baboons went around in gangs, and the animals actually mugged some of the people in our group and stole their Mars bars.
5. Dolphin – I went for a day trip from Auckland to dolphin watch. Once we found the dolphins we spent ages watching them play and surf the bow water.
6. Alpaca – These guys just have so much character. I’d love to own one of these. I guess I need to get some land first.
7. Moose – Hubby and I came across a queue of cars when we were driving through the Grand Teton area. They had stopped to check out this bull moose that was calmly grazing while tourists clicked photos.
8. Rhino – When we visited Chitwan National Park in Nepal, we were privileged to see this rhino and baby. It was worth crawling out of our beds early in the morning.
9. Snake – We don’t have snakes in New Zealand so any encounter is memorable. Hubby was playing a round of golf on Lindeman Island, which is in the Whitsunday group in Australia. We’d been told there were no snakes on the island. Someone should have told the snake I almost stood on while striding down the fairway! I started looking where I was walking after that.
10. Takahe – It was thought the takahe, one of New Zealand’s native flightless birds was extinct but they were rediscovered in 1945. They’re still very endangered, and are now mostly on offshore islands, which are pest free.
11. Elephants – we’ve seen elephants in Africa and also in Asia. They’re such cool creatures. This photo of the baby elephant was taken in Kenya.
12. Panda – We visited China two years ago. I wanted to walk on the Great Wall, see the terracotta soldiers and visit the panda. Not only did I see the panda, I got to hold one. The money raised from tourists goes back into the care and research of pandas. It was worth every dollar.
13. Gorilla – My number one animal encounter was with gorillas in Rwanda. I cannot begin to express how magical this was but can still feel the awe and excitement as I watched these animals in the wild. I have an essay about our gorilla encounter on my website.
Do you have a memorable animal encounter to share?
Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
Today I’m taking Sorrel Thyme, the heroine from Biding His Thyme, and setting off on a road trip to visit Rachel Firasek. We’re talking a little about herbs and spices since that’s Sorrel’s occupation, and we have an easy recipe to make Chocolate Bath Salts.
In other news, I’ve received a gorgeous cover for Past Regrets, my upcoming release from Samhain Publishing. I’ll share it with you next week.
I’m currently working on two projects: a follow-up story to Past Regrets and I’m doing a read through of a historical story that I hope to sub in a few weeks.
What are you up to at present?
Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
~ Grab your current read
~ Open to a random page
~ Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
~ BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
~ Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My teaser today comes from Wrapped in Your Arms by Grace Samuels. It’s a short historical erotic romance and is set in Egypt. If you liked The Mummy, you’ll enjoy this story as much as I did. I recommend it!
For the thousandth time, he asked himself what he was doing in Egypt. Had he really thought coming to this dry, dust-filled country would solve anything?
page 6, Wrapped in Your Arms
In 1922, Cairo is a city filled with French Foreign Legionnaires and treasure hunters seeking the lost wealth hidden beneath the ever-shifting Egyptian sands.
New finds and discoveries are found and brought to the Museum of Antiquities almost daily—only to be packed in crates and hidden away. Pieces of an ancient puzzle not yet ready to be put together.
Howard Carter is on the verge of finding King Tutankhamun’s tomb in the desert sands of the Valley of the Kings.
It’s a time of great excitement and discovery.
However, Daniel Livinghouse is in the historical City of the Living for an entirely different reason. He’s not seeking treasure—he’s looking for a woman. A woman who has reached through the millennia to haunt his dreams for the last decade.
On the day of his eighteenth birthday, Daniel dreamed of her for the first time. Initially the dreams were random, but over the last year—a decade later—they had become more frequent to where she visited him almost nightly. Her shoulder-length black hair decorated with silver beads, the honey tone of her skin. They stood under a star-filled sky, amongst giant stone structures. He could feel her fingers caressing his face, tracing his brow and cheekbone, stroking down the side of his arm until she reached his fingers, wrapping them within her own…
Too bad he doesn’t know she’s been “dead” for over five thousand years.
Book details: This book contains the Book of the Dead, a curious Howard Carter, a naked woman determined to seduce, a man willing to give in to all that seduction—after a little resistance of course *wink*, and ancient gods. Oh! And a mummy. Can’t have a paranormal story like this without at least one mummy.
Purchase Wrapped in Your Arms
Monday, April 15th, 2013
The other night I tried this new recipe for a chocolate pudding. It is from Allyson Gofton’s Slow, a book of recipes for a slow cooker or crockpot. I’ve adapted it slightly for my own purposes.
Self-Saucing Chocolate Pudding
3 cups of self-raising flour (I only had plain flour, so I added 3 teaspoons of baking powder)
1/4 cup cocoa
100 grams/7 tablespoons/3.5 ounces butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
3 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup dark rum or coffee liqueur (I used Kahlua)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1. Pre-heat your slow cooker on low.
2. Sift the flour and cocoa into the bowl and rub in the butter. (I always grate my butter instead of rubbing it in).
3. Add the sugar and combine.
4. Make a well in the center. Beat the milk, eggs and vanilla and mix into the dry ingredients.
5. Pour the boiling water, the rum/liqueur, sugar and cocoa into the slow cooker. Mix together until incorporated.
6. Spoon the batter into the liquid and cover with lid.
7. Cook on high for one hour then switch to low and cook for another hour.
1. This pudding is large and serves eight. There are only two of us so we supplied pudding for the neighbors and everything worked out nicely.
2. We served ours with yoghurt, but cream or ice cream would work just as well.
3. This is excellent comfort food on a cold winter’s night.
4. It was yummy!
5. I’m sorry the photos didn’t turn out as well as I hoped. It was quite late and there was no natural light left.
What is your favorite dessert to have during winter?
Friday, April 12th, 2013
Click on the badge above to move to the next blog in the hop.
I’m thrilled to take part in the MFRW’s erotic romance blog hop this weekend. Don’t forget to check out the contest below and visit the other participants who are all posting about luck and getting lucky.
Luck – my dictionary defines luck as a force that brings good fortune or adversity. It can also be a circumstance that operates for or against an individual. With good luck a person can prosper and succeed, but if they strike bad luck all bets are off.
In order to attract good luck, some people carry a “good luck” charm while others believe certain animals or objects work to attract good fortune.
A Few Things Said to Bring Good Luck
Four leaf clovers
A rabbit’s foot (not so lucky for the rabbit)
Rainbows (because of the pot of gold at the end)
Horseshoes (hung above door)
Kissing the Blarney stone
Buddha (rubbing his belly)
Some people are naturally lucky. My husband is one of them, and he’s always winning raffles and the like. I never win things. In fact, I always look upon raffle tickets etc as a donation and never an opportunity to win something.
Some people get lucky, which is different again since there are sexual connotations in this context. If a person gets lucky, they manage to score with the opposite sex.
My latest release, One Night of Misbehavior, is a modern retelling of Cinderella.
The hero, Ash Marlborough gets lucky at the masquerade ball.
The heroine, Charlotte Dixon also gets lucky at the ball, but for her it’s a one night stand, a chance to get away from her normal drudgery.
Gran, Charlotte’s step-grandmother, makes luck for Charlotte. You’ll have to believe me on this because I don’t want to give away spoilers.
Elizabeth, Charlotte’s stepmother is making her own luck and it’s rooted in jealousy.
Jenny and Rachel, Charlotte’s stepsisters get lucky all the time with men. They’re very lucky Charlotte is in charge of household matters, and they don’t need to lift a finger.
There’s a lot of luck and good fortune in this book. Some bad luck too. Read it and find out for yourself.
He wears his scars on the outside. She keeps hers safe inside.
Charlotte Dixon ignores her stepmother’s edict and, in an act of disobedience, attends one of the social events of the year—a masquerade costume ball. Charlotte’s naughtiness escalates when she dances and smooches with a sexy mystery man. The night of anonymous passion that follows makes her yearn for a different life, but the next day she’s back to her dull routine of household management.
Advertising tycoon, Ash Marlborough is about to set a private investigator on the trail of his nameless princess when she waltzes right into his place of work. Charlotte is shocked to meet her masked man in the flesh, and even more perturbed when he asks her out on a date. Despite craving another night of sexy loving, she doesn’t have time for a man, not when she wants to reinvent herself and grasp a new, improved life with both hands. But Ash knows what he wants, and he’s determined to win the heart of his princess. Let the dance of seduction commence.
Warning: Contains a conniving stepmother, selfish stepsisters, a grandmother with fairy godmother tendencies and a sexy masked man who is willing to face them all for the love of a good woman.
Read an excerpt | Amazon | All Romance ebooks | Smashwords
CONTEST: Answer one or both of these questions, fill in the rafflecopter and you’re in the draw to win a $20 Amazon gift certificate or a $20 All Romance ebooks gift certificate.
1. Are you a lucky person? Give an example
2. Do you wear/own a lucky charm, and if so what is it?
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thursday, April 11th, 2013
Bella, our dog is a Jack Russell, and our first dog Scotty was a fox terrier. Both came from the Humane Society and were of mixed parentage i.e. they both have a mystery element in their background. Hubby and I like terriers because they’re small and intelligent with big personalities.
Thirteen Facts About Terriers
1. Most breeds of terriers were developed in Great Britain.
2. They were bred to catch rats, rabbits, foxes and badgers (larger terriers). They hunted both above and under ground.
3. They’re excellent for vermin control. Scotty was a champion mouser, and if any came inside she sniffed them out. I was the one who stood on a chair.
4. Terriers range in size. Our fox terrier was fine boned while Bella is a sturdy wee thing. You know when she plops on your lap.
5. The term terrier is latin and it means earth.
6. 26 types of terriers are recognized in the US.
7. Terriers are brave and confident and make great watchdogs.
8. They’re also stubborn!
9. Sometimes their bravery gets them in trouble since they won’t back down, even if the other dog is much bigger.
10. Terriers are intelligent.
11. They like to keep very busy and get bored if left alone with some sort of activity. The boredom tips over into chewing and digging.
12. They might be small, but they need a lot of exercise. I always get tired before Bella starts lagging.
13. They’re personality plus.
Are you a dog person? If so, what breed do you prefer?
Wednesday, April 10th, 2013
The town of Sloan, featured in my Talking Dogs and Fancy Free series, is an imaginary one. The photo above is how I envisage the country that surrounds the town.
Today I’m visiting Delilah Devlin and my post is about the town of Sloan. There’s also a contest. I hope you have time to pop over and say hello.
Tuesday, April 9th, 2013
I saw this recipe to make granola and thought I’d try it out. The end result was delicious, and I will definitely make it again.
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1/4 cup wheatgerm
1 cup of your favorite nuts, roughly chopped (I used walnuts, pecan and almonds)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1. Preheat the oven 150C/300F
2. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl (apart from the cranberries)
3. Add the maple syrup and the olive oil and mix thoroughly
4. Whisk the egg whites until frothy
5. Stir the egg whites into the granola and combine well
6. Place the granola on a lined tray and spread it evenly
7. Bake for 45 – 55 minutes until the granola is golden brown and it’s dry to the touch
8. Cool then break the granola into clusters
9. Add the cranberries and combine carefully
1. Don’t chop the nuts too small because they might burn.
2. I didn’t add as much salt as the recipe said.
3. If you don’t like cranberries, replace with the dried fruit of your choice.
4. Watch your granola carefully because you want it golden brown, not burnt!
5. I like my granola with yoghurt and sometimes make a yoghurt parfait, which is delicious.
In this parfait, I’ve layered thick Greek yoghurt with raspberry coulis and topped with a sprinkling of granola. Perfect for a weekend breakfast or brunch.
What is your favorite thing to eat for a lazy weekend breakfast?
Monday, April 8th, 2013
Way back in 2003, I was an aspiring writer. After many, many rejections I’d come up with a new plan and had started targeting e-publishers instead of traditional publishers. My reading tastes had also changed, and I found I was reading hot and spicy stories rather than my usual sweet/sensual fare.
One day, a mental bombshell changed my thinking. If I was reading erotic romance and enjoying it, then wouldn’t it make sense to write hotter too?
That was the start of my journey into writing erotic romance. I wrote three chapters and a synopsis and sent it away to Ellora’s Cave. I was so convinced I’d receive a rejection, I stopped writing the story and moved onto another project.
Imagine my surprise when I received a request for a full. Elation, excitement, and a healthy slice of fear came too because the manuscript wasn’t written yet. (To this day I’ve never confessed to my editor, although if she reads this, I’m busted) For the next two weeks I wrote REALLY fast and completed the rest of the manuscript in record time.
It wasn’t long until I received an offer email. It was official, and I became an Ellora’s Cave author.
My first book with Ellora’s Cave was Talking Dogs, Aliens and Purple People Eaters. I still adore that book, although looking back it wasn’t as hot as the books I write these days. My backlist at Ellora’s Cave is also quite extensive now since I’m still writing for them.
So why this nostalgic walk down memory lane?
This month all Ellora’s Cave titles are available for a 50% rebate at All Romance ebooks. The nice people at All Romance ebooks invited Ellora’s Cave authors to do a guest post at their cafe. I did a very good post about shifters and sent it off, then I read the instructions. We were meant to write something about Ellora’s Cave. Oops!
I blame it on edit-brain and that’s the excuse I’m sticking with.
So, hopefully you’ll have read my intro above and will have time to hop over to the ARe cafe to read my most excellent shifter post.
Unfortunately I don’t have a direct link at present, but follow the one for ARe Cafe and scroll down a little. I believe you need to register if you wish to comment.
See you there!
Sunday, April 7th, 2013
This week my sneak peek comes from House of the Cat, a sci-fi/shapeshifter romance, which (Promo Alert!) is currently available at a 50% rebate from All Romance ebooks. Just as an aside, I’m busy working on follow-up stories for this book and all going well, this will become a series.
Camryn forced her eyes open, her heart drumming like the thunder of horses’ hooves during a race. Her gaze lit on a large black shape on the floor. Camryn carefully closed her eyes and moved her head in a cautious shake, wincing at the sharp throb. When she opened her eyes again, the object came into focus. A large black cat lay on the floor near her. It stared at her with its green eyes. Its mouth lay open and sharp white teeth glittered in the bright light. Camryn swallowed. A dream. No, a nightmare. She wasn’t awake.
Maybe Max was right—she’d started drinking too much alcohol.
The cat stood, stretched just like her mother’s used to, extending front legs and sticking its butt in the air. Then it prowled toward her, black tail swishing from side-to-side. A panicked whimper escaped Camryn. She wanted to flee but couldn’t move.
Not her arms or legs.
The cat stalked closer until she felt the creature’s hot breath through the denim of her old jeans where her brother’s heavy coat had fallen away. The cat let out a sharp, fierce grunt, raising the hairs on her arms into a distinct prickle. Camryn whimpered, the cry weak and thready. The cat moved closer still. It opened its huge maw, globules of saliva clearly visible. Oh heck. This was no dream. It intended to eat her.
Purchase House of the Cat
To read more sneak peeks visit the Sneak Peek Blog, hosted by Sara Walter Ellwood