Adventure into Romance with Shelley Munro
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Wednesday, March 20th, 2019
Stranded With Ella – A tale of a ghost, a landslide, and pink hair…

Stranded with Ella by Shelley Munro

 

Stranded With Ella, book 4 in the Military Men series is out today!

 

Why should you read this book?

It has a quirky heroine with pink hair.

It has a grumpy alpha soldier hero.

There’s a ghost.

It’s set in New Zealand.

There is danger.

Romance and spicy love scenes.

A happy-ever-after ending.

Grab your copy at your favorite online book retailer.

Monday, March 18th, 2019
Chilling Out With The Hippopotamus

Hippo under water

I snapped this underwater shot of a hippo and loads of little fish at the San Diego Zoo earlier this year. He was standing on the bottom of his pool and every few minutes, he’d lift his nose to take a breath of air. We watched him for a long time.

While this hippo is in captivity, we’ve also been lucky enough to see hippos in Africa. Here is a link to a prior post about hippos that includes photos and facts about the animals.

If you’re a romance reader, think about checking out Hinekiri, the second book in the Alien Encounter series. Hinekiri and Richard, accompanied by Killer, the talking dog, visit Africa to check out the animals and the migration of the wildebeest.

Saturday, March 9th, 2019
Cover Reveal: Stranded with Ella, Military Men #4

At long last—a new addition to the Military Men series.

The Military Men series features three NZSAS soldiers who met during training and became close friends. There is love, adventure and a good dose of humor in the first three books. The heroes are all military men and their heroines are equally strong with a side of sassy determination.

I’m really excited to show you the latest cover in the Military Men series. Stranded with Ella features Dillon Williams (Summer’s brother) and Ella Liddington-Walsh, a woman with pink hair and a love of vintage clothing.

And NEWSFLASH, there’s a giveaway to celebrate my cover reveal. Scroll down for details!

STRANDED WITH ELLA

Military Men, #4

Release Date 20 March 2019

Stranded with Ella by Shelley Munro

Here’s an excerpt from INNOCENT NEXT DOOR that introduces Dillon and his brother to the reader. Note: There are a few F-Bombs in this particular excerpt.

“Summer!” a masculine voice hollered. The angry sound echoed and bounced off the walls in a too-familiar manner.

“Oh, no,” Summer muttered. Somehow, she didn’t think closing her eyes and pretending she was asleep would solve this one.

Nikolai slithered from the bed and pulled an ugly-looking gun from under the bed.

“Don’t go. Did you lock the bedroom door?”

“No.”

“Summer!” The second voice sounded a shade deeper but just as angry.

“Shit, there’s two of them,” Nikolai said, and he grabbed his jeans and yanked them on.

“Unfortunately.”

Nikolai cast her a strange look, but the thump of heavy boots outside the bedroom forestalled his questions.

“Don’t come in!” Summer shrieked. “I don’t have any clothes—”

The door burst open and crashed against the bedroom wall. Two huge men paused at the threshold, and the four of them stared at each other with varying reactions.

“Fuck,” Nikolai said in a fierce undertone.

Summer nodded.

Yep, this was a situation that called for a stronger word than “shit”.

She tugged the covers up to her chin and considered crawling right underneath to hide. She thought about it for all of two seconds and cast away the cowardly idea. Someone needed to referee. She was the lone candidate.

“What the hell are you doing?” Dillon, her oldest brother, roared. He balanced lightly on his toes, his biceps bulging beneath his T-shirt. His dark hair stuck up, appearing as ruffled as his temper.

Josh, her other brother, folded his arms across his broad chest. He didn’t smirk but the glint in his baby-blue eyes said he wanted to. “Oh, it’s obvious what they’ve been doing,” he drawled, confirming her supposition. The louse thought this was funny.

“Tarei.” A pulse throbbed at Dillon’s temple, and he looked as if he wanted to haul Nikolai from the room and beat him to a pulp. “Jake said Summer was here. Didn’t expect you too.”

“Sex,” Josh added helpfully.

Summer swallowed despite her best efforts to keep her anxiety contained. Her week just kept getting better. Murder, a little sex, and a fistfight chucked in for good measure. She had it all. Who needed to read the Sunday tabloids?

“I don’t want to think about my sister and sex in the same sentence,” Dillon snapped.

“Especially with him.” Josh shifted his weight and clenched and unclenched his fists. The ever-present humor in his baby-looking face riled Summer. Time to take control.

“Out,” she snapped, trying to ignore the fine tremor of nerves that shook her limbs.

“Fine.” Dillon glared at Nikolai. “He can come with us.”

“I don’t think so,” she returned sweetly. If they laid one hand on Nikolai, so help her… She would Tae Kwon Do her two soldier brothers. “Nikolai stays with me.”

Dillon and Josh exchanged a glance.

Summer narrowed her eyes. “He stays with me. He’s seen me dress before.”

“I don’t think they want to hear that, sweetheart.”

“Fuck, no.” Dillon jerked his head toward the door. “Out, Tarei. You’re coming with us.”

“You do know Nikolai?” Summer glanced from brother to brother. Their hard faces gave away little, but she guessed they weren’t telling her something big. Fine. She’d worm the information from Nikolai the minute she got rid of her brothers.

Summer sat and made a show of grabbing the covers. The sheet slipped dangerously close to flashing her nipples.

“Aw, Summer!” Josh said, starting to back away. He grabbed his brother’s arm and yanked.

Dillon resisted until Summer made another move. “The kitchen in five minutes,” he ordered. “A second longer and we’ll come back and drag you out.”

Her brothers exited the room, their remarks to each other peppered with enough swear words it was a wonder her mother didn’t make an appearance with her bar of soap.

The Giveaway:

One reader will win a paperback copy of Enemy Lovers, a cute plus Kiwi, and an olive soap that comes complete with an Evil Eye good luck charm all the way from Greece. (It’s the bar of soap Summer needed for her brothers!)

The giveaway is open to all readers including International. Complete the rafflecopter below with at least one of the options and you’re in the draw!

Stranded with Ella Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 4th, 2019
Owls ~ The Research and Maori Lore

For the last year, I’ve been obsessed with owls. I have no idea why, except that I like their cute faces and huge eyes.

Owl

Photo by Rúben Marques on Unsplash

My current work-in-progress is Black Moon Dragon. I was writing away, and suddenly, an owl appeared. Since this dragon romance is set in New Zealand, the owl was a ruru or morepork as they are more commonly known. An owl made an appearance in Journey with Joe (this was a pink owl) and I also wrote one into Stranded with Ella. None of this was conscious, but I clearly have owls on the brain!

In Maori mythology, the owl is a bird of the Underworld. The Maoris thought this because the morepork is a nocturnal bird, it has big, round eyes, and is a silent hunter.

Before the arrival of the white man in New Zealand, the Maori considered the arrival of the ruru a bad omen—a sign of death. They dreaded its powers and the people thought the bird was connected with witchcraft or makutu. Rumor said the ruru ate dead men’s fingernails and these became part of the owl’s eyes, which is why no one ever ate an eye.

The Taranaki Maori used to eat owls, thinking that by eating the birds they would prolong their lives. They did not eat the eyes. The Maoris in other areas considered eating owls distasteful.

While some tribes thought the bird a bad omen, others considered the appearance of an owl a family protector. They could protect, warn, help and advise on important matters.

One last thing about the owl—the first Maoris viewed the owl’s big, round eyes and adopted this wide-eyed look for their hakas (war dance or challenge).

While visiting England, my husband and I had a chance to fly owls, and we held a morepork. They are a small owl, much smaller than I’d realized. It was a rare privilege since although we often hear the owls call, they are seldom seen. Read about our visit to the Exmoor Owl and Hawk Center.

A morepork’s call is very distinctive. Early European settlers thought the birds where calling More pork. More pork, hence the owl’s common name.

Source: Maori Bird Lore by Murdoch Riley

Shelley and a Morepork (New Zealand owl)

This is a photo of me holding a morepork (ruru) during our Exmoor visit.

Friday, March 1st, 2019
Interview with Paranormal Author Nicki Ruth

Interview with Nicki Ruth

Today I’d like to welcome paranormal author Nicki Ruth.

According to Nicki, she is a romantic at heart who loves a bit of history, a splash of adventure, and all things paranormal. She enjoys stories about vampires, werewolves, and other shifters, with a healthy dose of romance. Her first book, Dark Blooded Desires, started as a dream and ended as a dream come true. She is currently writing on her balcony that overlooks a parking lot.

Nicki, hello and welcome. Please tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.

I started writing in 2017 after an intense, steamy dream which included a lone vampire looking out into the vast blackness of space. That turned out to be my first book, the first six chapters I wrote in one night at 1 am. This, despite not having any creative writing background. A friend of mine asked their friend that edited professionally to take a look at what I’d done. I was blown away when they said I had the gift of story-telling (my punctuation is another matter. LOL)

Then 2018 came and took a pretty bad turn. I hated my job, my relationship imploded, and along with an emotional medical issue, I was incredibly overwhelmed. But I continued to write and it was my best therapy. It turns out that writing is my escape from the world and a major stress reliever. Now I want to provide an escape for my readers as well.

Dark Blooded Desires is the first book in the Bonds of Damurios Series. I scooped this next bit from your blurb: “Debut author Nicki Ruth weaves an action-packed vampire thriller that mixes blood, magic, and sizzling romance set in a new futuristic fantasy world.” By the sounds of this, you’ve twisted and woven several genres together, which I love as a reader. What was the spark behind your story?

I love dabbling in all types of myth and lore. You’ll often find me glued to the history or discovery channel with my own “what if” scenarios. But I wanted to go in another direction from typical vampire lore for my story. I started with Babylonian history which I briefly sampled. Many have asked, but aren’t vampires supposed to be cold, aren’t they dead. Well mostly. In my world, they have their own “blood” planet similar to our “water” planet, Earth. I kept their immortal, non-aging life and supernatural ability since that’s the best part of being a vampire (right?).

But I really start borrowing from Hindu and Japanese mythology, as well as my unique twist on the ‘genie in the bottle’ lore in book 2. As the series progress, I’ll also be throwing some gods into the mix so it’s going to be fun!

Vampires! What is it about vampires that made you want to include them in your writing? What’s the attraction?

What’s NOT to love about vampires! They’re my absolute vampire paranormal species. When I was a child I fell in love with Bram Stokers’, Dracula (the movie), and was heartbroken when (SPOILER ALERT!) he died. I wondered why Dracula couldn’t have his love? And what if he survived and had his happy ever after?

I prefer the True Blood type of vampires than the Twilight types, and I keep that theme in my books. My vampires are not afraid to shed blood and can be quiet ruthless. Who doesn’t love a vampire who would do anything for his/her love?

What sort of research did you do during the writing of Dark Blooded Desires?

I researched a good bit of mythology from Greek to Hindu to Aztec. This was no burden for me as I love history. But it does take up a lot of time. I once spent three hours researching male Babylonian names. Three hours!
I also rewatched Star Trek (the Chris Pine version) to re-familiarize myself with some futuristic concepts. This too was also no burden since I’m a Trekkie. I already read a lot of vampire stories, so I knew what I wanted to do with my vampires.

Who is your favorite fictional vampire and why?

OMG. Just one? I mentioned Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but for books I loved Kresley Cole’s Lothaire; Xadist from JR Ward’s BDB, and Eric from True Blood.

As you can tell if you’re familiar with these characters are very flawed and can get a bit bloody. LOL.

I understand you have a free prequel to Dark Blooded Desires. How do readers get their hands on this?

The free prequel, A Vampire Loves Forever, is available on my website, www.nickiruth.com. You can also look out for it in upcoming Bookfunnel or Prolificworks promotions

What is the best place for readers to learn more about you and your upcoming paranormal romances?

These days it would be social media. I’m usually active on Instagram and Facebook and tend to post updates there first. I’ve also had a couple of readers email me directly, and I was glad to answer their questions.

My Instagram is authornickiruth and Facebook is Nicki Ruth

Thanks so much for visiting today, Nicki!

Dark Blooded Desires He was just a ruthless vampire out for vengeance. Until her.

Alone, asleep, and adrift. That’s how Alexios finds the woman he takes aboard his ship. But she’s not all she seems. Her face is a reminder of a past he’d long tried to forget. A reminder of his failure to save those he’d sworn to protect. But he’s on a mission to find and kill his sire for years of torment. He can’t allow the beautiful creature to distract him from his centuries-long vendetta. Even though her teasing smiles and taste of her blood lights his body afire.

She hungers for blood, and him.

Davina, if that’s even her name, wakes up having no clue of who she is. All she knows is that dreams of fire, blood, and destruction stalk her waking moments. Something sinister churns within but she refuses to succumb to its dark desires. Only Alexios, the handsome vampire Captain, calms the roiling waves of her urges and kindles her passion.

The answers are closer than they think.

When Davina loses control, it becomes imperative Alexios help her control the darkness within. But ancient forces plot to destroy them both and time is running out. Will they solve the mystery of who she truly is and stop her from becoming the monster she fears? Or will the world be ruled by her dark blooded desires?

First in the Bonds of Damurios Series, debut author Nicki Ruth, weaves an action-packed vampire thriller that mixes blood, magic, and sizzling romance set in a new futuristic fantasy world.

Purchase Dark Blooded Desires from Amazon (or borrow from Kindle Unlimited)

Monday, February 25th, 2019
The Writer’s Map ~ An Atlas of Imaginary Lands

The Writer's Map

I adore maps. All maps, but especially antique and fantasy maps.

A few months ago, I spotted a book called The Writer’s Map, An Atlas of Imaginary Lands. The cover drew me in, and I had to check out a copy. The book, edited by Huw Lewis-Jones, features a series of articles by experts in the map-drawing arena. And of course, it’s full of colorful illustrations of maps from books such as Treasure Island, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and other maps from popular classics.

I particularly enjoyed the section about the creation of the Marauder’s Map from the Harry Potter series and the design of the original letter inviting Harry to attend Hogworts.

I think this is a book that most readers and writers will love. I certainly did.

You can check it out here at Amazon.

But, given the price showing of $249.94, you’ll probably want to check your local library or The Book Depository where the price is much more reasonable.

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019
The Emotion Thesaurus is Here. Grab your copy today!

As writers, we all have our favorite writing methods. For instance, some swear by Scrivener, while others write in Word or Google docs. Some prefer to draft longhand, using colorful gel pens and notebooks.

Most of us have a favorite writing book (or ten), too. These books have helped us understand storytelling better, demystifying certain aspects of writing. Well, today I’m taking part in welcoming a new writing guide into the world: The Emotion Thesaurus (Second Edition).

You may have heard of The Emotion Thesaurus before, or even have a copy. The original’s lists of body language, thoughts, and visceral sensations for 75 unique emotions made brainstorming character expressions and reactions so much easier. It quickly became a bestseller.

Now, there’s a bigger, better second edition. Angela and Becca have added 55 NEW emotions such as Euphoria, Vindicated, and Schadenfreude. (And that’s not all that’s new, either…the book is almost twice the size as the original.)

Anyway, if you’re interested in checking it out, you can read some of the reviews on Goodreads or find information here.

One more thing to tell you about…are you ready for this?

GIVEAWAY ALERT!

Wish you could attend a free writing retreat, go to a conference, snag a seat at a workshop, or have your professional membership to a writing organization paid for? Of course you do!

Well, at Writers Helping Writers, one lucky winner will get one of the above, up to a $500 US value.

This is the giveaway of a lifetime, so hurry over to enter!

Monday, February 18th, 2019
Cruising Through the Panama Canal

Although I’ve visited Panama before via land (around thirty years ago) and peered at the canal from the shore, I was looking forward to actually sailing through. A small part of me wondered if I might get bored—I mean, an entire day of canals then lake then more canals before we hit the ocean again. I needn’t have worried because there is a lot to see and photograph.

We watched the men driving the mules, which are large vehicles that are used to keep the ships centered in the lock. They’re a bit like train locomotives since they run along tracks on the edge of the canal. We spotted birds and crocodiles sunning themselves on muddy banks and we watched the canals fill and empty of water, lifting and lowering our ship. It was also interesting watching the ship that sailed in the adjoining canal.

Here are a few facts about the Panama Canal:

1. The canal connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

2. It was built by the Americans and opened in 1914.

3. Complete control of the canal passed to Panama at the end of 1999.

4. Each ship is charged a toll, depending on their freight weight or passenger capacity.

5. The toll must be paid before the ship enters the canal.

6. Gravity feeds the flow of water that raises the level of the locks.

7. The average transit time to pass through the canal is ten hours but this can depend on the volume of shipping.

8. Pilots board each ship at the start of their journey through the canal.

9. The French attempted to make the canal first and lost over 20,000 workers to tropical diseases. Yellow fever and malaria in particular.

10. Once the Americans took over, they still lost 5609 workers to disease and accidents.

11. Nicaragua was also considered as a place to build the canal. The volcanoes in Nicaragua were part of the reason Panama was the preferred choice.

12. A swimmer swam the canal in 1928. He was charged 36c for his weight of 68kg. The toll charge for most ships is in the hundreds of thousands. The toll for our cruise ship was around $300,000.

Bridge of the Americas

Almost at the canal. It’s time for our adventure to start.

Ferrying lines

Despite our high tech times, these two men row out to the ships with lines. The big ships dwarf the tiny boat.

Entering the Miraflores Locks

Entering the first lock – the Miraflores. I was wondering how we’d fit as the lock didn’t look very wide!

Inside the canal lock

We’re partially inside the lock. It became more obvious that we would fit, but it was a tight squeeze.

One of the mules

One of the locomotions or mules that are used to guide the larger ships into the locks.

Crocodile Enjoying the Sun

A grazing deer

Some of the wildlife we saw while on the canal.

Inside the canal

We’re just about fully inside the canal and ready for the gravity-fed water to lift us up a level.

The gap between the canal wall and ship

Mind the gap! Check out the tiny gap between the wall of the canal and the ship. The rail tracks are those used by the mules.

Mimosa Time

Mimosa time! It was hard work watching and photographing the trip through the canal.

Gutan Lake

This is Gutan Lake, the man-made lake between the two sets of locks.

Gutan Lake Traffic

This is a shot of some of the other shipping traffic waiting on Gutan Lake for their turn to go through the locks. If you’re in a hurry, you can pay an extra fee to get through faster.

The last set of locks

This is the Gatun Locks, and it was easier to see because the locks went “downhill”.

Almost through the Panama Canal

Almost at the Atlantic Ocean. The final part of the Gatun locks.

Traveling through the canal on a cruise ship was a fun way to experience the workings of the Panama Canal. In truth, I thought the engineering and technical stuff would get boring, but the day went surprisingly quickly and I enjoyed it immensely. If you ever have a chance to do this cruise, I highly recommend it.

Thursday, February 14th, 2019
A Valentine’s Day Promotion – Romance Titles, Calorie Free!

Valentine's Day Promo

Over 50 romance titles on offer at FREE and Bargain prices. Fill your reader today with some calorie-free treats.

Binge on Romance Treats for your E-reader

P.S. While you’re there, sign up for the Feed Your E-Reader newsletter. Each month readers receive a free romance!

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019
A Stroll Up a Dormant Volcano #Adventure2019

Adventure 2019

The city of Auckland is built on and around a field of volcanoes, which I think accounts for my fascination with volcanoes. One day, I will use volcanoes in a romance. Somehow.

I’ve been lucky enough to see most of our New Zealand volcanoes, including the more active ones farther south of Auckland. (White Island, Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe, Tongariro)

On one memorable trip we visited an active volcano in Guatemala. It was almost dusk and we stood next to the glowing lava flow. The conveyer-belt glide of the molten lava, full of rocks and popping gases, and the heat that came off that shimmering ribbon lives with me still, despite the passing of years.

On Auckland Anniversary day, we had friends visit from Winnipeg, so we marched them up to the top of one of our dormant volcanoes—Mount Eden. Mt. Eden is interesting because it has a perfect crater and the view of the sprawling city below is fantastic.

Auckland weather was on its best behavior and the views were stunning. From the summit, it is easy to see the other dormant volcanoes that stud the landscape. One Tree Hill, Mt. Hobson, Rangitoto Island, and Mt. Victoria to name a few.

Mount Eden, Auckland

The crater as seen from the top of Mount Eden.

Auckland harbor bridge and Sky Tower

View over downtown Auckland. Spot the Auckland Harbor Bridge and the Sky Tower.

Rangitoto

This is Rangitoto, which is the youngest volcano in the Auckland region. It erupted around six hundred years ago.

Other dormant volcanoes

The grassy hills are also dormant volcanoes. These ones are visible from the top of Mt. Eden.

One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill is yet another volcanic cone.

Drinks to rehydrate after our sightseeing

Drinks to replace the liquid lost while sightseeeing. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

If you ever visit Auckland, this spot is the perfect one to get an overview of the city with 360 views. From here, you can see both coasts (the Manukau and Waitemata) but a warning—if the day is windy. Hold onto your hat!