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Archive for December, 2009

Almost the Kitchen Sink…Examining Handbags

I met two girlfriends for coffee this week and the subject of handbags came up. I’ve been thinking about doing a blog post on handbags and their contents for ages so I con…ah, persuaded them to let me photograph what they were carrying in their bags. Note – they both censored their contents a little!

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This is what my friend Tessa Radley had in her handbag.

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This is what my friend, Jo had in her handbag.

I’ve been carrying around my briefcase this week. It contains my alphasmart, wallet (credit cards, driver’s licence etc), house keys, flash drive, camera, Palm PDA (e-reader), small makeup bag, canvas bag (instead of using plastic bags), chewing gum, about five pens, notebook, a library book about Distance Relationships, bus ticket, iPod, tissues, sunglasses, business cards in silver case, and cell phone.

Maybe you should call me Gadget Girl. :grin:

The typical handbag of a typical woman in 1945 contained:

One or two lipsticks
A compact(the won’t close)
1 fresh handkerchief
2/3 crumpled handkerchiefs
A package of letters
The laundry bill
3 tickets from the cleaner
1 nylon stocking to be repaired
1 address book
1 pack of cigarettes
3 packs of matches
1 leather picture folder
All ration books (including expired ones)
Several cards with address of a furrier,
a wholesale place for children’s coats, a beauty parlor, a graphologist, etc.
2 scraps of paper with telephone numbers
and no names
1 hairnet
1 bottle of vitamins
3 samples of slipcovers
1 fountain pen
2 pencils
1 parcel of V-mail letters covering
several months held by a rubber band.

The typical handbag of a typical woman today:

ATM Card
Cell Phone / Blackberry
Change Purse
Checkbook
Crumpled Tissues
Hand Cream
Hair Brush
Keys
Lip Balm
Nail File
Makeup case filled to capacity
Pens
Wallet and credit cards

One bag is not enough
Our contents spill over into our totebags,
where you will find:
Agenda
Bottled Water
Paperback Book/Magazine
Newspaper
Shoes to change at work
Umbrella

I thought the differences were quite interesting.

Source: Accessory Web

Do you carry a handbag, and if so, what do you have in it? (note – if you’d like to send me a photo of your handbag contents I’ll post them next week)

Can You See Into the Future?

Albert Park, Auckland

This is a shot of Albert Park (named after Prince Albert) in Central Auckland. It’s not far from the university and on a fine day, it’s the perfect place for students to eat their lunch.

Mystery writer JA Konrath has a very interesting post about e-books and what he predicts will happen during 2010 in the e-book/e-reader world.

I’m actually feeling very positive about e-books at the moment. I love the freedom of writing for e-publishers, although the pirate issue does worry me. It’s truly disheartening when pirates put up books for free download on release day. It’s not only the e-authors who have a pirate problem though. The pirates have no compunction in making e-copies of paperback books and giving those away free too.

I think the increased competition in the e-reader market can only mean good things, driving the price down. Like Mr. Konrath, I’d like to see a standard industry format. What do you think will happen in the e-book world during the next year?

I’m guest blogging at the Samhellion blog today and talking about diaries and my upcoming release, The Bottom Line. While you’re there don’t forget to check out the special Christmas scavenger hunts to win either a Kindle reader or a Sony reader.

A Day in the Life

Camera Critters

“Careful! Watch the knot. Do I have to go to work today?”

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“Can’t we go faster?”

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“Ah! Dinner time at last.”

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“And maybe time for a snooze.”

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These photos were taken at our local farmers’ market where they give pony rides to the children. To visit more animal photos follow the links at Camera Critters.

A Stroll Through the Past

I’ve had a bit of a rough week and took myself off to the doctor today. Since I’m not feeling too clever, I thought it was the perfect time to revisit some of my favorite posts from the past.

1. Classic Romance Plots – The secret of writing a great romance is to take a classic plot and twist it to make the story unique…

2. Penises in Paranormals – the curious case of interesting bits…

3. Gifts for writers – is there a special person in your life who writes?

4. Collaborative Writing Partnerships – the wonderful Josh Lanyon and Laura Baumbach share their experiences…

5. Marcia James shares her views and ideas about promo for writers…

6. Do you like paranormal romances featuring feline shapeshifters? I discuss some of my favorites…

I leave you with a puzzle of sorts. Male writers are from _______, Female writers are from _______.

What would you put in the blank spaces?

The Miracle Can

Thursday Thirteen

The Rocket Chemical company scientists invented WD-40 to help prevent rusting and corrosion in the aerospace industry. NASA used it for their rockets. According to the WD-40 website, the original formula was so good that it’s still in use today. These days the product is used both commercially and around the home. On the TV ad I saw last night, the manufacturers stated it has thousands of uses, which made me decide to use it as this week’s TT topic.

Thirteen Uses for WD-40

1. Cleans piano keys.
2. Helps clean rust from wire shelves.
3. Removes silly putty from furniture.
4. Cleans lime scale from toilet bowls.
5. Removes crayon from wallpaper.
6. Frees stuck Lego blocks.
7. Lubricates and protects air conditioner blades.
8. Stops squeaky doors.
9. Cleans rusty bolts.
10. Lubricates baby buggy wheels.
11. Cleans gunk from pistons.
12. Cleans cell phones.
13. Removes oil and tar from hands.

Extras: Two fun facts from the WD-40 site

A bus driver in Asia used WD-40 to remove a python, which had coiled itself around the undercarriage of his bus.

Police officers used WD-40 to remove a naked burglar trapped in an air conditioning vent.

You can print out a handy PDF document listing some of the thousand ways to use WD-40 at the website.

I think I might include a can of WD-40 in the follow-up book to House of the Cat. It sounds like something Jannike might be able to use to get out of the jams I have in mind for her.

Have you used WD-40 before? What is your favorite use?

Best Romances of 2009

It’s the time of the year where everywhere looks back and thinks of their favorite and sometimes least favorite things for the year. I thought I’d list my top romance reads for both print and e-books. NOTE: Most of the above books came out in 2009, but a few of these are 2008 releases. I read them this year and therefore they’ve made my list.

Favorite Romance reads in no particular order.

1. Wicked Burn by Beth Kery (erotic contemporary)
2. Pleasure Unbound (Demonica, Book 1) by Larissa Ione (paranormal)
3. Able-Bodied (Harlequin Blaze) by Karen Foley (Blaze)
4. Amorous Liaisons (Harlequin Blaze) by Sarah Mayberry (Blaze)
5. Bound to Shadows (Riley Jensen, Guardian, Book 8) by Keri Arthur (paranormal)
6. On the Prowl (Tales of an Urban Werewolf, Book 2) by Karen MacInerney (paranormal)
7. She’s Got It Bad (Harlequin Blaze) by Sarah Mayberry (Blaze)
8. The Education of Madeline by Beth Williamson (historical)
9. Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, Book 3) by Ilona Andrews (urban fantasy)
10. Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas (contemporary)
11. Bound to Please by Lilli Feisty (erotic contemporary)
12. Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate) by Gail Carrigan (historical paranormal)

Favorite Romance e-books in no particular order.

1. Hard Fall by James Buchanan (m/m)
2. Branded as Trouble by Lorelei James (erotic contemporary)
3. High Line by TA Chase (m/m)
4. The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks by Josh Lanyon (m/m)
5. Rough Stock by Cat Johnson (erotic contemporary)
6. Happy Ending by LB Gregg (m/m)
7. Hara’s Legacy by Bianca D’Arc (futuristic)
8. Gray’s Awakening by Cameron Dane (m/m)

The interesting thing is that while I’ve read plenty of e-books this year, many of them have been by NY published authors. I’ve purchased far more books in e-format than print this year. There are some books in my to-read pile that I suspect would have made this list, if I’d had time to read them such as Tere Michaels’ Love & Loyalty and NJ Walters’ Alexandra’s Legacy. I’ve been drowning in edits for the last two months, which cuts into my reading time!

Which books made your “best of list” for 2009?

Travel Ready Packing

Travel-Ready Packing: Pack Light, Dress Right—Anytime, Anywhere
by Julie Ann Martin
Publisher: Argo & Cole Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-9791186-1-6
Publication Date: 1 Jan, 2010
Website: www.travelreadypacking.com
Amazon link: Travel-Ready Packing: Pack Light, Dress Right – Anytime, Anywhere

Any of my friends or family or people who visit my website knows how much I enjoy traveling and exploring different parts of the world. Since my marriage, my husband and I have spent months in Africa, America, Europe, Central America, India, Asia and Australia. Sometimes we traveled with our backpacks, and at other times, we went more up market. You’d think with all my experience in traveling that packing would be a breeze. Not so. It’s one thing that remains a bit of a trial for me, so when I saw that Ms. Martin’s publisher was offering Travel-Ready Packing for review, I grabbed the chance to learn from an expert.

Travel-Ready Packing has an intro which discusses things such as culture in different countries, fabric types and types of climate. The next part of the book is split into sections for each country or region of the world. Each of these sections gives the temperatures for different months of the year, a list of recommended clothing for both males and females, the risk of danger at the destination, recommended colors to wear and how casual or formal the dress-code is in the country being visited. There are also sections for business travelers and those who travel to adventure destinations, multi-climate packing and also a list for expatriate packing. At the rear of the book there’s a world map, which makes it a simple matter to find the country you’re visiting and look up the corresponding page reference. In fact the book covers everything I could think of from clothes to bags to accessories.

When I decided to “test” the book and relive my trip to Africa, the packing list was spot-on—exactly what I should have taken for my trip. It was also very accurate for my recent trips to Samoa and Phuket, Thailand. The only gap I could see was for a cruising holiday, but I think the lists for the South Pacific, which is where my cruise holiday is taking place, will do the trick nicely. I found the book easy to use, very readable, and as I mentioned very accurate with the suggested packing lists. No more back-breaking suitcases for me!

I recommend this book for anyone who intends to travel for work or pleasure. And romance writers, if you’re heading to a conference and you’re not sure what to pack, this is the book for you.

Shelley Munro

You can see from above that I’m all sorted with my packing now since I have this book to refer to. How do you approach packing for a trip or a holiday? Are you a good packer or do you forget half the things you need?

I’m doing a guest spot at The Rainbow Studio (part of the Romance Studio) and talking about reality shows and Fallen Idol. Here’s the link to my post at The Rainbow Studio.

Savoring the Sun

Camera Critters

This photo of sunbathing sea lions was taken at Pier 39 in San Francisco last year when hubby and I attended the Romance Writers of America conference.

SeaLions

To see other animal photos visit Camera Critters.

Blog Participation Winner for Nov 2009

Congratulations to Mary K who is my blog participation winner for Nov 2009. Mary, your prize is in the mail.

Congratulations also to Ilona F, Carol B and Jacqueline R who are my newsletter winners for Nov 2009.

Remember, if you would like to receive my newsletter, complete the signup form to the right of this post. Your address will NEVER be sold, nor will I do anything shady with it!

Things about Vampires and Vampire Slayers

Thursday Thirteen

This year I’ve watched Buffy, the Vampire Slayer for the first time, and with all the hype about Twilight and New Moon I decided to do a thirteen about vampires and vampire slayers.

Thirteen Things I’ve Learned About Vampires and Vampire Slayers

1. Vampires are very pale and don’t like sunlight.

2. Vampire Slayers wear cool clothes and are kick-ass tough. e.g. Buffy Summers

3. Slayers hang around in “Scooby” gangs.

4. Slayers fall in love with guys who are totally wrong for them.

5. Vampires are ugly in vamp form.

6. Werewolves aren’t very sexy – all that hair!

7. Slayers don’t seem to need much sleep, and they’re not afraid of things that go bump or growl in the dark.

8. Some vamps have a great sense of humor. I just love Spike.

9. I want to shake Bella.

10. Vamps should run if they see a pointy wooden thing instead of hanging around to sneer. Run Vampire! Run! It’s a stake and it will make you go “poof”!

11. Sleeping in the dirt doesn’t look like much fun. I prefer my cozy bed.

12. Joss Whedon rocks.

13. I’m on team Jacob. Angel can come into my house any time! Open invitation. Yep, David Boreanaz you’re welcome too. :mrgreen:

Have you seen New Moon? (I haven’t yet) Did you like it? Do you have any things I can add to my list?