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Archive for June, 2010

Author Kathleen Dienne on Keeping Track While Writing Love Scenes

Writers – have you ever had trouble writing a love scene and keeping track of limbs? Carina Press author, Kathleen Dienne has written an excellent post about writing love scenes and making sure your characters don’t do the impossible.

Here’s the link to Keeping Track of Elbows: Writing Sex Scenes

PS. Don’t forget to check out Kathleen’s book Her Heart’s Divide

Ah Choo! It’s a Sneeze Fest

I was thinking about sneezing the other day because I scared the dog with a loud sneeze. We’ve all experienced the prickling, tickling sensation that heralds a sneeze. Sometimes they explode out of nowhere at the most inconvient times, such as when you’re driving. I was curious so I googled sneezing…as one does.

A sneeze is your body’s way of expelling an irritant from your nose. It can be dust, pepper, cold air, allergies or viruses that cause the explosion.

When you sneeze you use lots of different muscles — your abdominal muscles, chest muscles, the diaphragm, vocal cords and muscles at the back of your throat. You also use your eyelid muscles since sneezing makes us shut our eyes. Remember that sneeze while you’re driving? Yep, not so good because you automatically close your eyes.

Sometimes we want to sneeze but it doesn’t quite happen. There’s nothing worse! They say one out of three people sneeze when they’re exposed to bright light. I haven’t found that. They also say it’s an inherited trait and runs in families.

Do you sneeze after exposure to a bright light?


Colds, Flu and Winter Ills

On the whole, I’m a fairly healthy person. I don’t catch many colds or flu-type bugs. I think a lot of it is because I don’t have children. When we were kids we were always sick, and I’ve noticed that people with children tend to get sick more. There are a lot of bugs spread around at schools. At least that’s my theory.

My husband thinks we keep healthy because he puts garlic in everything and we eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables. I know garlic has medicinal properties so he could be right.

The coldest part of our winter doesn’t hit until July and August, so it’s possible I might get sick yet. I’ve never had flu shots. Mr. Munro hasn’t either even though his employer provides them free of charge. My father usually has a flu shot as does my MIL.

Do you get sick every winter? Do you have flu shots? What do you think of my theories?

Beware of the Bulls

Camera Critters

I took this photo during our last visit to my father’s farm. My father used to breed bucking bulls for the rodeo circuit here in New Zealand, and the sign comes from a time when it was dangerous to enter the paddock. These cattle are pretty friendly and it’s safe to walk up to them.

Beware of the Bulls

To see more animal photos visit Camera Critters.

Foster Dog One: Patch Adams

Last Thursday we picked up our first foster dog from the SPCA. He’s a Stafford terrier cross and is six months old. His name is Patch Adams. He had surgery on his left hind leg and was on cage rest until we brought him home.

Patch Adams

When Patch first arrived at our place, he was very timid. Our section is fully fenced but I had a few anxious moments when I couldn’t find him. He spent the rest of the day hiding behind the potager garden. When he did finally emerge from hiding, he claimed Scotty’s old kennel and made himself at home.

Our job as fosters is to build his confidence, teach him manners and get him used to a lead. We’re walking him every morning and night, giving him loads of affection and building his confidence by introducing him to new situations and noises.

He’s very good at sitting and is improving daily in the confidence arena. For the first few days he didn’t like leaving the section but now he’s eager to walk. The second day with us, he started chewing. Luckily the cannon bone Mr. Munro brought home has done the trick, and he’s concentrated on chewing that. My shoes and doormat are safe again.

Patch is a loving and very affectionate dog. He’s really sweet and will make someone a wonderful pet.

Elephant: A Great Way to Travel

Camera Critters


My photo this week was taken in Phuket, Thailand.

To see more animal photos visit Camera Critters

A Wealth of History on the Thames

Thursday Thirteen

I’ve read a lot of non-fiction books about England and England history recently. Thames: The Biography by Peter Ackroyd inspired my topic for Thursday Thirteen this week.

Thirteen Facts and Interesting Tidbits About the Thames River

1. The Thames is the longest river in England but not the longest in Britain. The Severn is approximately five miles longer.

2. The Thames is 215 miles long, 191 miles of it navigable.

3. The royals used the Thames as part of their celebrations. During the sixteenth century Henry VIII and Elizabeth I sailed down the Thames in luxurious barges. It was a way of interacting with the people. When Anne Boleyn sailed down the Thames for her coronation, it was said that the barges following her stretched for four miles. She also sailed down the Thames a few years later to get to the Tower.

4. During the sixteenth century the Thames was full of ships. People said the Thames looked like forest of masts. In 1724 Daniel Defoe calculated that at any one time around two thousand vessels were on the water.

5. The Mayflower sailed from Rotherhithe on the Thames.

6. In 1665 and 1666, during the time of plague and the Fire people took refuge on the Thames.

7. The river was linked with excess and bad language, smuggling and theft. People who worked on or near the river were considered disreputable.

8. The workers in the grain and corn warehouses of Milwall Docks were known as “toe-rags” because of the sacking they wore over their boots. The word became a synonym for a despised individual.

9. Mud-larks were usually very young children or old women who spent their days wading through the mud banks during low tide for bits of coal, wood or metal.

10. Venetian galleys brought in sugar, spices and silken garments and returned to their home ports with raw wool from England. By the fourteenth century around one hundred thousand sacks of wool were transported each year.

11. The first steamships appeared on the river in 1801. They were used mainly for towing larger sailing vessels.

12. The Thames is a tidal river, which means high tides and floods are a danger to Londoners. There were major floods in 1809, 1823, 1849, 1852, 1877, 1894. In 1927 fourteen people drowned during floods. The Thames Barrier was built to counteract the effects of the tide. The barrier can hold back 50 thousand tons of water, but it’s said it will be obsolete by 2030. Meanwhile the tides keep getting larger.

13. Between the seventh and seventeenth centuries the Thames froze on eleven occasions. The worst was in 1434-5 when the river froze from the end of November to mid-February. When the Thames froze Londoners celebrated with Frost Fairs. There was food and entertainment on the ice, the last taking place in 1814. When the thaw started, it always happened quickly and the ice broke up in hours.

Have you visited London and seen the Thames?

Myths & Legends: Seeking Kokopelli

I’m blogging over at Access Romance today where I’m talking about myths and legends and my story Seeking Kokopelli. Here’s the link to Access Romance.

The Australian Outback – Feel the Heat!

My special guest today is Australian, Suzanne Brandyn. She is visiting today to tell us about her new release Heat in the Outback as well as a little bit about outback Australia. Over to Suzanne…

Suzanne BrandynHi Shelley,

The Australian Outback intrigues many. It is a land of vast red plains, miles and miles of dry heat, and little or few faces. I call it the red dust country. The outback begins and ends in different places according to many people. It is the remote and semi-arid interior of Australia. The term outback can cover any land outside of the main urban areas, but it generally refers to places that are more remote than what one calls the bush. Some people even say it starts at Nyngan in NSW. I believe if it is beyond large cities and if you travel long stretches of land with endless flat terrain, and it takes some time to get there then you’re definitely in the outback.

I lived on a wheat, sheep and cattle station in the outback for some time. The summers were scorching hot, the winters freezing cold. Red dust got into everything, even tinting our white clothes. I soon learned not to wear white. A windmill, missing a tooth pumped up bore water, although not drinkable, it kept a few flowering plants alive. I had to use rainwater for washing my hair (that’s when we had some) as the bore water was so hard, and it’s a problem for lathering any type of soap or shampoo.

I was driving back to the property late at night, and I had to go through at least four gates. These gates had to be closed otherwise stock would get out. I opened the fourth gate and heard a noise behind me. When I turned around, I got the fright of my life. Through the darkness, a red kangaroo stood probably two metres away. I moved my head up slowly, and kept moving it up. He was so tall and so big, talk about almost die. Lol. I bolted to my car and slammed the door. I never closed the gate. Kangaroos can grow very big, and they have been known to attack. Their long toenails are sharp weapons. They say the red Kangaroo is adapted the big open plains covering the dry interior. The one that silhouetted against the darkness behind me seemed to like a few trees.

Apart from running into red, belly black snakes, foxes, and kangaroos, I had many experiences with the wildlife. The outback holds a quiet beauty, a glorious place on earth where nature is truly remarkable. After a few years of excellent wheat crops, we left when the first big drought hit the area.

‘Heat in the Outback ‘is based in the area I used to live. I’ve used the homestead, the river and surrounding areas to make it authentic.

If your readers would like to find out more about my novels, or where to purchase them you can find it at, or I’m also on face book, Suzanne Brandyn.

Thank you for having me Shelley. You’re very welcome, Suzanne!

:grin: Suzanne

Heat in the OutbackBlurb: Heat in the Outback

The soaring temperature in the Outback is not the only heat Sarah Munro faces when she returns home for her father’s funeral. She wants to settle his affairs, sell the family’s homestead, Munro Cattle Station, and return to Sydney, and her fiancé, as quickly as possible. Sarah doesn’t want anyone to find out what she’d done in the past. She wants to close this chapter of her life for good. Then there will never be a reason to return to this dusty one horse town. She is wrong!

Ethan Wade, her first love is at the homestead. Ethan claims he owns half of Munro Station. Sarah wants him out! As they try to settle their differences, a raging attraction ignites.

Will Sarah and Ethan find each other again as their past explodes before them?

Excerpt: Heat in the Outback

“Red alert, red alert! Hot babe soon to materialize on Main Street.”

Almost the entire town’s population of hot-blooded males received the text message on their mobile phones. They dashed for closer observation of the strange silver convertible crawling through town.

Jack was at the bowser. Pete strummed a spanner in his hand, as his mechanic Dylan peered over his shoulder. Dan from the bakery took an admiring glimpse through his window and Sam leant on the edge of the architrave of the local real estate agent. Many more enthusiasts partook of the pleasurable sight.

Summer sun reflected off honey blonde hair, swaying in the breeze of the open top convertible.

“Sure is a hot one. Where in the hell did she come from?” Pete said, his mouth easing into a grin.

“The text message was from Bill,” Dylan stated. “Guess he’s hallin’ hay to Tamworth. Sure has city written all over her.”

The convertible disappeared, leaving mouths gaping, and eyes widening with disbelief.

“What’s everyone so hell-bent about? Looks like you’re all in overload.”

“That’s right Ethan, you wouldn’t have got one.”

“Got one what?” Ethan came to a standstill and leant on the bowser.

“A text from Bill alerting us of the major babe attack.”

“Where, what?”

“Too late; she’s already gone. You know you should invest in a mobile phone. It’ll keep you up to date.”

“Waste of time, talkin’ and textin’. I like the good old-fashioned telephone, one anchored to a wall…was the woman alone?”

“Yeah, she looked like that Sarah Munro girl. You know the one that got engaged to that actor guy, the big time model on the television. She was all polished up like one of those gals on our calendars. You wouldn’t understand, Ethan.” He let out a roar. “She gave us a smile that had our hearts stoppin’, I can tell you that.”

Ethan understood all right, more than he was willing to admit.

Visit Suzanne Brandyn’s website.
Purchase Heat in the Outback from Eternal Press

Dinner Time at the Goat Pen

Camera Critters

I took this photo at the Royal Sydney Easter Show at the start of our cruise holiday. I can’t remember the name of the breed, but they were very cute.

Goats, Sydney Easter Show

To see more animal photos visit Camera Critters.

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