Adventure into Romance with Shelley Munro
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Sunday, July 18th, 2021
Protecting the Bride: The Inspiration

Much of Stewart Island is uninhabited and still covered with native bush, making it a haven for many of our native birds.

Ulva Island is a bird sanctuary where some of our most endangered birds have been released and are thriving. It was a thrill and a privilege to wander through the bush and spot some of our rarer birds.

Ulva Island

The beach near the boat landing on Ulva Island.

Weka

A weka strolling along the beach.

Black Robin

A black robin, an endangered NZ bird.

Ulva Bush

The Clematis is a vine that climbs through the trees, and it is a member of the buttercup family. The flowers are white.

Shelley on Ulva Island

Shelley hugging a rimu tree on Ulva Island.

Native wood pigeon

A native wood pigeon.

Bellbird

Bellbird

The bellbird, one of NZ songbirds.

Tui

The tui is one of New Zealand’s more adaptable birds, and it is common in most parts of NZ. It’s still a very cool bird, and there were lots of them on Stewart Island.

Stewart Island is also one of the best places to go kiwi-watching. We went out at 9:00 pm and traveled to an uninhabited part of the island via boat. It was just amazing watching and hearing the kiwi feed. They didn’t seem to notice us and were unaffected by the special red light the guides use to help people spot them.

Kiwi

In my upcoming release, Protecting the Bride, Cullen and Grace visit Ulva Island to go birdwatching. They also spend an unforgettable evening looking for kiwi.

Protecting the Bride is available for pre-order and is out on 17 August 2021.

Sunday, July 11th, 2021
Stewart Island, Inspiration for Protecting the Bride

Stewart Island is the third-largest island in New Zealand, and it sits around thirty kilometers south of the South Island. Mr. Munro and I visited in 2020 and enjoyed our visit so much that I decided to set a book on the island. After percolating the idea for a few months, PROTECTING THE BRIDE sprang to life on the page.

Plane at Stewart Island
Transport to the island is via ferry across Foveaux Strait, which can be decidedly rough and rocky and not for the faint-hearted or poor sailors. The other method to get to the island is a quick fifteen-minute hop on a plane.

We traveled by both methods, taking the ferry over and the plane back to Invercargill. We had fantastic weather and didn’t experience the rock and roll that can give even those with a strong stomach big trouble.

Oban, the only township on the island, is small and quaint with a pub, a museum, a supermarket, a few other shops and tourism-related companies, a school, a café, and the Kai Kart, which does takeout food. It takes minutes to walk from one end to the other, but the setting is pretty with a white sandy beach and lots of native bush.

Pub and Oban township

Kai Kart for Delicious takeaway food

With only thirty-two kilometers of road, there aren’t many vehicles on the island. We walked a lot and learned to take a torch with us at night since the streetlamps are also limited.

Our accommodation was at the top of the hill. We had an incredible view of the township, the bay, and the sea beyond. The only downside was the steep hill that we had to climb each time we returned from sightseeing. I suspect my fitness levels improved during our holiday.

The steep hill

I used lots of our experiences in PROTECTING THE BRIDE, including that steep hill. Since I had to huff and puff up this hill, so did my heroine! Protecting the Bride is due for release on 17 Aug. Learn more details, read an excerpt, or pre-order here.

Friday, July 2nd, 2021
Grab a Copy of LONE WOLF on Sale for 99c #paranormal #romance

Lone Wolf

Lone Wolf, my gay paranormal werewolf romance is currently on sale for 99c. To read the blurb and for purchase links check out the Lone Wolf book page.

Saturday, June 19th, 2021
Cape Reinga, NZ – The Northernmost Point

Shelley at Cape Reinga

Last weekend, Mr. Munro and I visited Cape Reinga, a place I’d never gone to before. Cape Reinga is at the northern end of the North Island of New Zealand, and from here it’s possible to see where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean collide with currents going in different directions.

I’ve mentioned Cape Reinga in an earlier post, and it has cultural significance for the Māori people.

Lighthouse at Cape Reinga

Sign Post at Cape Reinga

Cape Reinga

The drive up to the cape offers some lovely views, but the road is twisty with countless turns and many one-lane bridges. The nearest town is Kaitaia, which is more than 100 kilometers south. Since it’s winter down this end of the world, everything was very lush and green. I enjoyed my visit to the far North very much, and I now have a bubbling book plot–an addition to my Dragon Investigator series featuring taniwha shifters. Watch this space!

Sunday, June 13th, 2021
Southernmost Spot in the South Island, NZ

The southernmost town in the South Island of New Zealand is Bluff. Bluff is also the place to catch a ferry to Stewart Island.

Shelley at Bluff

Sign Closeup

Before COVID struck, I’d hadn’t had a chance to visit this far south. Since we couldn’t travel overseas, we decided to explore some of the parts of New Zealand we hadn’t had time to visit. Here is a photo of me (Shelley Munro) in Bluff, plus a close-up of the sign.

Saturday, June 5th, 2021
Fantastic Tools for Writers

These days there are many tools available to help in the writing of a book. Here are a few that I use and recommend. Some of the tools overlap, and I don’t always use everything in the intended way. I adapt my usage to suit my needs and writing habits.

1. 4 The Words https://4thewords.com/

I’ve posted about 4 The Words before since I use this to write my first drafts. This is an incredible community where the writing is gamified. You set goals and battle monsters while traveling through different territories. Discovering this online writing game has genuinely helped me to get down my word total every day.

2. One Stop For Writers https://onestopforwriters.com/

This is another tool I’ve mentioned before. From the thesauruses to the plotting and planning tools, there is plenty to help a writer structure, plan worlds and characters, keep timelines and map their stories.

3. Plottr https://plottr.com/

While I’m not a plotter or an outliner, I still need to have a basic framework before I start writing a new story. I use Plottr to do this and keep track of my characters and story bible. Check out their free trial if you’re a serious plotter because this is a fantastic tool.

4. Fictionary https://fictionary.co/

I’ve recently started using this editing software to analyze my scenes and try to knock my work into better shape before sending it off to my editor. Check out the Fictionary channel on Youtube as well. They have heaps of helpful advice when it comes to editing your work.

5. ProWriting Aid https://prowritingaid.com/

I use this grammar and style check during my editing stage and find it very useful. While I don’t always follow the suggestions, this helps me battle wordiness and other bad habits that can creep into my writing.

6. Grammarly http://www.grammarly.com/

Another grammar checker that I use in conjunction with ProWriting Aid. It checks grammar and style, and this app helps me with my comma problem. I have improved in this area tenfold!

While I use other tools, these are the ones I use regularly and, as such, recommend. Please note that they are all paid tools, but each has a free trial for the user to figure out if this product works for them. Do check them out!

Tuesday, June 1st, 2021
Antarctic Icebergs

Icebergs are chunks of ice that have calved off glaciers and ice shelves. They vary in size from small to large enough to sink a ship. The Titanic, for example.

New icebergs are white while the older ones are blue or sometimes green. An iceberg comprises fresh snow and compressed ice. The light hits the iceberg particles and bubbles and is bent and scattered. If there are lots of bubbles, all the light scatters before it gets absorbed. If there are no or few bubbles, the red light gets absorbed and the blue light escapes the iceberg, making us see a blue iceberg.

During our time in Antarctica, we saw lots of icebergs, some of which dwarfed our ship. We zipped around some of the icebergs in zodiacs to get up-close views of them. The blue ones were my favorites.

Our Ship and Iceberg

Le Soleal, our ship, is dwarfed by this beautiful iceberg, and they can be much bigger!

Blue Iceberg

A beautiful blue iceberg.

Zodiac and Iceberg

We did a zodiac trip around the icebergs and checked out the wildlife and birds that lazed on the different icebergs.

Blue Iceberg

Another blue iceberg.

Lazing Seal

Some of the local fauna lazing on one of the smaller icebergs.

Champagne on the Zodiacs

We finished our zodiac tour around the icebergs with a glass of French champagne. The perfect end!

Sunday, May 23rd, 2021
A New Cover For Middlemarch Shifters, My Plan B

Last month, I decided it was time for a new cover for MY PLAN B, book 11 in the Middlemarch Shifters series. This book features an older hero and heroine, and I’m thrilled with the end result.

My Plan B by Shelley Munro

Here is a short excerpt from the book:

“I’ll follow her,” Jacey volunteered. “You said that the logical place for her to stay is in the holiday cottages. Why don’t you two go back to the vehicle and bring my clothes?”

Leo gave a decisive nod. “If she glimpses you, she’s more likely to assume she saw a dog. If she sees me, Saber and the Feline council will get pissed because a sighting might spark rumors of black cats again.”

“You’ll pick me up near the holiday cottages?”

“Yes,” Leo confirmed.

“See you there? Henry, you’re taking Geoffrey?”

“Yeah. I’ll whistle for him once you’re closer to her.”

“Plan,” Jacey said, and seconds later, he sneaked from behind the schist in his wolf form, every sense focused on the orange-blossom woman. Behind him, Henry summoned Geoffrey, had a whispered exchange with Leo before the pair, too, shifted to animal.

Jacey used the available cover, a few longer clumps of grass and smaller schist rocks, to creep closer to the woman. The scent wafting from her filled his senses, filled his thoughts with unexpected ideas of seduction. He wanted a clearer view of her face.

She scanned the panoramic view in front of her, her gaze flitting over him. Jacey dropped and froze in position, praying she hadn’t glimpsed the paleness of his belly and chest. As a youngster, his fur had been a glossy black. These days, a fair amount of white decorated his belly and chest. In his human form, his hair and stubble when he didn’t shave was silver.

His heart pounded, a fraction faster than normal, and he frowned as he absorbed the information. Strange. Something in this human woman pulled at his senses and drew him. Part of the reason he’d volunteered for this job. Curiosity and the urge to regain his balance.

The woman stood and shoved the white pad—a plastic bag—into a pocket. Her coat and winter gear still hid her identity and shape, giving him peekaboo glances of her profile and flashes of blonde hair, but her scent…
Jacey breathed deeply, his wolf and his human part wallowing in orange blossom. Now that less distance separated them, there was an underlying earthiness to her aroma. A familiar wolfish scent. No. That made little sense. Another wolf would have scented them, become aware and likely bristled at their intrusion into her solitary state.
No, the woman was human.
This imaginary mystery scent was a puzzle to fill his mind with business. He liked puzzles.

She walked with her shoulders hunched, her head bowed. She sniffed and dragged a hankie from her pocket.

He couldn’t see what she was doing, but seconds later, she thrust the hankie back into her pocket and hurried along a narrow path that wound through a stand of native bush. Or at least, Henry had told him the trees were native to New Zealand. Their pungent scent made him want to sneeze.

The path turned, and he glimpsed her face as he followed. She swiped the back of her hand over her eyes with an impatient sigh, knuckling away moisture.

The woman was crying. Ah. That accounted for her absently snapping photos. Her mind lay elsewhere, treading in misery.

Sympathy engulfed Jacey. Empathy. He’d wanted to cry for Henry’s loss, for his son’s obvious pain. Without a second thought, he let out a doglike whine.

The woman’s head snapped up, her shoulders tense, even beneath the heavy jacket. She whirled around, and he glimpsed her blotchy face. The woman was older than his first guess, possibly ten or fifteen years younger than him. Blue eyes like his. Blue eyes swamped with unhappiness.

He whined again, trying to making himself smaller and more doglike. A handy skill. He wagged his tail, wriggled his body. Without taking his gaze off her, he inched closer and tried not to scare her.

“Hey, boy.” Her soft voice caressed, even though it held a layer of tears. “Do you belong to the farm or are you lost too?”

Read the blurb and another excerpt. Check out Plan B!

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021
A Visit to Grytviken, South Georgia

The island of South Georgia was first discovered in 1675. It was named Roche after Anthony de la Roché, the ship’s commander who found the island. In 1775 Captain Cook made the first landing, renamed the island after King George III, and it subsequently became a British territory.

The first whaling station was founded in Grytviken in 1904 by Norwegian Carl Anton Larsen. Grytviken was one of seven whaling stations on the island and the largest. During the summer months, from October to March, up to 300 men worked at the station.

By 1960 whalers had depleted the area of whales, and the station became unviable. Grytviken closed in 1964. Much of the equipment and several ships still lie where they were left.

These days, Grytviken is a popular stop for cruise ships. There is a museum, a shop, and a post office, and the cemetery here is the last resting place of the famous explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Rusted ships at Grytviken

Old Rusted Ships.

Equipment for the Processing of Whale Blubber

Old Storage Tanks

Some of the Local Residents

View of Settlement

View of Grytviken Settlement and the Locals

A view looking back toward Grytviken with some of the locals.

Shackleton's Grave

Frank Wild

Sir Ernest Shackleton and Frank Wild, his friend, are both buried in the Grytviken cemetery.

Shop and Post Office

The shop and post office do a brisk trade with the tourists.

The Church

The church.

Shelley

A pic of me exploring the area beyond Grytviken. As you can see it’s very barren and craggy. I loved our visit to Grytviken, and it turned out to be an inspiring one, because I used the settlement as the setting for my recent release. While it’s difficult to travel to South Georgia, try an armchair visit and check out Snow Moon Dragon today!

Saturday, May 8th, 2021
A New Book in the Dragon Investigators Series

Yay! At long last, I have a new addition to my Dragon Investigators series: Snow Moon Dragon. My trip to visit Antarctica and the island of South Georgia gave me the inspiration for this story, but as always there is also a touch of my home country New Zealand.

Here is the cover, designed by the wonderful Kim Killion at Killion Publishing.

Snow Moon Dragon

The blurb:

Love is a curse but also a blessing…

Dragon shifter Nyree Wirihana escapes an abusive relationship and travels to the far-flung island of South Georgia for a fresh start. No more dating for her. She’s finished with men. Instead, she’s content to work and explore the island while photographing the cute penguins and seals.

Dragon shifter Tāwera suffers from a curse, and for hundreds of years, he has lain in a rock pool with no hope of escape or revenge on the brother who turned him to stone.

A chance encounter changes everything, and suddenly Nyree is experiencing unique problems. Dragon problems. Romantic problems. Her peaceful man-free life becomes complicated, then danger strolls into her sanctuary and the situation becomes so much worse.

You’ll enjoy this dragon romance because it contains a sexy tattooed warrior from the past plus a strong heroine who has regained her mojo and isn’t afraid to kick dragon butt and face threats head-on. Sit back and enjoy the sensual sparks.

Snow Moon Dragon is available for pre-order from your favorite online store, and releases on 18 May 2021.