Adventure into Romance with Shelley Munro
News About Shelley Blog Books Extras Contact Small Font Large Font

Archive for October, 2009

Naughty Bits

Thursday Thirteen

This week I have a naughty list – blame on my erotic romance writer background because I get to research this stuff. :grin:

Thirteen Names for the Male Genitals

1. Crown jewels (1960s)
2. Wedding tackle (1910s)
3. Bat and balls (1940s)
4. kit (19th century)
5. tiddley-hoy (1930s – Irish)
6. stock-in-trade (late 19th century)
7. dongs and gongs (20th century)
8. bag of tricks (mid 19th century)
9. barber’s sign – a standing pole and two washballs (late 18th century)
10. three-piece suite (1970s)
11. goodies (1950s – USA)
12. gear (late 19th century)
13. naughty bits (1970s)

Source: The Big Book Of Filth: 6500 Sex Slang Words and Phrases

Firing Up the BBQ

With the warmer weather here in New Zealand, we’ve started having barbeques. Last night our entire three course meal was cooked on the barbeque.

I’m a vegetarian, although I do eat seafood on occasion to keep up my protein levels. Last night was one of those days. We had grilled prawns (large) for a starter, for a main I had fresh salmon, baked potato, asparagus and zucchini. Hubby had chicken. And for dessert we had filo pastry with fresh strawberries and creme fraiche. The layers of filo pastry were sweetened with a little brown sugar and cinnamon.

I’m hoping Mr. Munro will feel the urge to either recreate this meal or do something similar because the entire meal was delicious.

Do you like barbeques? What is your favorite barbeque meal?

Pukeko

A pukeko is a swamp hen, part of the rail family. While some of our native birds have become extinct because of introduced predators such as rats, cats and stoats, the pukeko has adapted easily and is very common. They happily live in town and city reserves where there are swamps and ponds, living on vegetation, insects and frogs.

I’ve always thought of pukekos as stupid birds. When we lived on the farm I used to watch them flying into power lines and fences. They do fly, but are not strong flyers and usually only travel short distances. They also make a high-pitch shriek – it’s not a particularly musical sound. The pukeko chicks are very weird looking and cute at the same time with big feet – watch the ad below to see for yourself. It’s an ad for an electricity wholesaler and has won heaps of ad awards. It always makes me smile.

What is the strangest bird you’ve ever seen? Do you like bird watching?

Participation v Winning.

WinnerThese days people place a lot of emphasis on participation. In schools our children are asked to participate and are rewarded for joining in with the sport or activity. Often they receive certificates or rewards for merely participating.

What has happened to winning and striving to excel? What has happened to fostering the burning need to win?

When I was at school they taught us to join in, but winning—that was where the real reward was as far as we were concerned. Every Monday morning the captain of each sports team had to stand up in assembly and tell the rest of the students how the team had performed during the weekend. That was a really good incentive to try hard and win because none of us wanted to report a loss.

I hate losing. Coming last or toward the bottom makes me want to try harder and do better next time. It doesn’t make me give up. Winning and losing teaches me skills to take forward into life, inspires me to achieve the best possible result. Winning or doing well makes me strive to maintain that level of excellence. Winning means something. I remember coming first and feeling a sense of pride and achievement but how many times do you remember participating? Years down the track I remember the successes more than anything else.

I don’t agree with the political correctness that says we should reward people for participating. I’ve lost before and have been disappointed at my losses, but it hasn’t wounded me so much that I’m frightened to try again. I think it’s important to foster a society where we recognize winning. Competition is good because it teaches us to reach for the stars, it gives us a challenge and rewards for those who perform best.

What do you think? Is participation better than winning or losing? Should someone always win?

King of the Castle

Camera Critters

We were driving along the road, near Custer State Park, and came across a group of Big Horn sheep fighting on top of a rock. After about ten minutes the winner emerged and took his place as sole occupier of the rock — King of the Castle.

Big Horn Sheep

To see more Camera Critters.

Fast Food

Fast Food

Mr. Munro has worked late for the last few nights, which has meant I’ve had to dine alone. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like cooking for one. When it’s just me for dinner I tend to snack. Tonight I was tempted to make toasted sandwiches, but then I thought no – that’s not healthy.

In the end I went with pasta. The contents of our fridge were pretty sparse, but I managed to find onion and mushrooms. I added frozen corn kernels, part of a fresh tomato and the last quarter of a jar of pasta sauce. Everything was cooked and ready to eat in fifteen minutes. Add a glass of wine and it was fast food at its best.

My pasta meals are different every time. Sometimes I’ll add pesto or blue cheese and nuts – whatever I have in the fridge and pantry at the time usually works with pasta.

Another favorite meal is a baked potato topped with thick Greek yoghurt and a salad, although this takes a bit longer to cook.

Do you like cooking for one? What meals do you tend to have when it’s just you?

Lovable Characters

Thursday Thirteen

I picked up a copy of The Everything Guide to Writing a Romance Novel by Christie Craig and Faye Hughes the other day and came across a great list of how to make fictional characters lovable.

Thirteen Ways to Make Characters Lovable

1. Make your character an underdog. Give them a handicap and have them refuse to give up.

2. Have your character willing to admit he made a mistake and set out to make amends.

3. Make your character hurt emotionally but remain strong for others in his life.

4. Make your character kind to the underdog, small children, elderly people or animals.

5. Have a character who is self-sacrificing.

6. Have a character who is able to laugh at his or her own mistakes.

7. Have a character who is levelheaded.

8. Have a character make a mistake but for the right reasons.

9. Have a character who is the strong, silent type and means well but is unable to express it.

10. Have a character who takes risks and is willing to pay the price.

11. Have a character who has depth, layers and secrets.

12. Have a character who is able to forgive.

13. Make your character work against the odds to succeed.

Source: The Everything Guide to Writing a Romance Novel: From writing the perfect love scene to finding the right publisher–All you need to fulfill your dreams (Everything Series)

What makes characters lovable for you? Can you think of other reasons to add to the list?

I Know That Face…

The other night Mr. Munro and I were watching Psych on television. A new character appeared in the scene and we both said, “Who is that?” I recognized both the face and the distinctive voice.

Neither of us could remember which show we’d seen the actor in before.

“It’s a detective show,” I said.

Hubby just nodded. “It’s gonna bug me.”

And it did bug us—both of us to the extent that we were discussing the actor rather than watching the excellent plot.

“The Closer,” I said. “I think he’s on The Closer.”

“Yeah,” hubby said. “He’s the father.”

We both nodded.

“But that’s not where we know him from,” I said.

We both agreed and went back to being bugged.

At the end of Psych we watched the credits, found the actor’s name, which was Barry Corbin, and Googled him. Thank goodness for the Internet. It certainly solves questions like this quickly.

“One Tree Hill,” I said in triumph. “He was the basketball coach on One Tree Hill.”

Both satisfied, we moved on to the next television show and our cup of tea.

Does it bug you when you can’t recall a name? How are you at remembering names?

Fear!

FearFear–it’s the gut-wrenching anxiety that strikes us all in moments of extreme stress, when our limbs tremble, our face goes pale, and we scream until we’re hoarse.

Some people dislike flying, Indiana Jones hates snakes, and I fear fairground rides. I’m sure you know the ones I mean—rides where you hurtle down steep hills, turn upside down and spin around against gravity. An adrenaline junkie I’m not!

When I was a child, one of our middle-age aunts visited Disneyland. She loved it and her description of the hair-raising rides and the way she’d said naughty words while screaming her head off made us bug-eyed with astonishment. It was difficult not to laugh at the vision my aunt painted.

Fast forward several years to my visit to Disneyland with my husband and sister.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” my husband asked.

“I’m at Disneyland,” I said firmly. “This is what people do when they come to Disneyland.”

I should have known better. While I was projecting confidence, I should have been crying “Fool! Fool! Stay far, far away. Run!”

So we queued up with everyone else for Splash Mountain. The entire time I laughed and chatted with my husband and sister, told myself I would be fine. No problem. If Aunt X could do this then so could I. We came to our turn and climbed into the hollowed out log. Off we went…

From the moment the ride started, I wanted to get off. My hands didn’t rise jubilantly into the air like everyone else’s—they held the safety bar in a white-knuckle grip. Even now, countless years later, I remember the paralyzing fear that squeezed me when our log went down the final steep incline. While everyone else shrieked with enjoyment, my throat constricted so tight that not a sound emerged. I closed my eyes and hoped for the best. At the bottom, wet but still in one piece, my legs trembled as I scrambled to stand on solid ground again. The contents of my stomach sloshed around uneasily, and I swallowed a lot…you probably get the picture without more graphic descriptions.

I don’t remember any of the rides after Splash Mountain. Actually, I think my mind blocked the horror of it all, but I was determined to try the different rides and get my money’s worth. Yep, it’s the curse of the thrifty farm girl. I had to finish what I started even if it scared me half to death.

Of course, no one is getting me on one of those rides again. I’m older, wiser, and not afraid to state my terror. No, I won’t stop my husband going. I might even go with him, but I’ll be hanging out in the kid’s zone and chatting to Mickey Mouse. Really, no one is talking me into going through that again!

What do you fear?

When Scribbit: a blog about motherhood in Alaska posted details of a contest about Fear, I decided this was the perfect time to confess my greatest fear. If you would like to do a post about Fear it’s not too late to enter the contest, which closes on 21 October. Here’s the link to the details.

That Darn Cat…

Disaster! Our giant pumpkin seeds haven’t germinated. We’ll have to go back to the Farmers’ market and buy more seeds so we can try again. My father’s seeds have, of course, sprouted and are growing busily. I’ve no idea what went wrong, but all we have are little punnets of dirt.

And even worse, since our little dog died we’ve been over run with cats. Scotty used to enjoy chasing them and they knew not to enter our section. No longer. One particular cat called Austin has taken to doing his business in Mr. Munro’s vegetable garden. Understandably this makes Mr. Munro very cranky. The steps to deter Austin have gradually grown more determined. It’s Austin v Mr. Munro and what Austin lacks in size, he makes up in intelligence.

Hubby’s latest strategy is to cover his garden with netting, and he’s also set up a sprinkler system. I have strict instructions that the moment I see Austin near the garden I’m to creep to the tap and turn it on full force. Luckily Austin wears a bell and my hearing is good. We had our first run in yesterday. I heard Austin’s bell and headed straight for the tap. Unfortunately he wasn’t in the garden so he didn’t get wet with the sprinkler, but I did give him a fright.

Yes–it’s the Munros v Austin. And so far, we’re losing.

Does anyone have any tips to deter an adventurous cat?