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Archive for May, 2012

13 Snippets About Life in 18th Century England

Thursday Thirteen

This week I’m time traveling back to 18th century England and Georgian life. I’m reading Behind Closed Doors, At Home in Georgian England by Amanda Vickery as research for a historical I’m planning to write.

Thirteen Snippets About 18th Century England Life

1. Locking the house was done with ceremony each night, with boarders, servants etc locked inside. People who loitered out on the streets late at night or early in the morning were looked upon with suspicion.

2. Most people owned a locking box where they kept valuables and other important articles.

3. Poor people tended to carry all their valuable items on their person in pockets and pouches.

4. Keys were the emblems of authority, which is why housekeepers or the women of the house would carry their bunches of keys on their person.

5. A single man in London would eat his meals in taverns, pie shops, coffee houses and chop houses. He’d pay women to do his washing.

6. Young men wanted a housekeeper and, therefore, entered the state of marriage. Young women entered the state of marriage because they wanted to rule their own house.

7. Many families exploited their unmarried womenfolk as unpaid housekeepers, nursery maids, sick-nurses, tutors, chaperons, companions and surrogate mothers.

8. Before 1750 the average age of marriage for a woman was 26. This dropped to 25 in the latter part of the century.

9. A husband’s death restored a woman’s full legal personality under common law. They were more respectable than spinsters and often were welcomed in and enjoyed society.

10. A young widow with children usually remarried quickly while an older widow with many children sometimes inherited large debts and poverty. She fell on the mercies of the parish.

11. In 1675 only 9% of households owned clocks, but by 1725 34% had a clock.

12. Thomas Chippendale was the first to publish a catalogue of furniture designs in 1754. Other London cabinetmakers quickly followed suit.

13. The culture of visiting began in the late 17th century but the introduction of tea took visiting to a new level in the 18th century. Visiting was cheap to stage and became a ritual for women alone or en masse. In May 1767 Lady Mary Coke made eighteen visits a day while in town. (that’s an awful lot of tea and gossip!)

Some interesting things – what do you think of the eighteen visits in a day?

Climbing Mt Kenya

Mr Munro has been scanning more of our print photos into digital format. Today I’m going to share some photos from our trip to Kenya.

It’s quite strange finding a mountain in the tropics, but Mt Kenya is definitely a mountain and a challenge to climb. We almost made the top, but the weather closed in during our final push to the summit. It’s difficult to walk when it’s raining and the mist closes in and obscures vision.

Mt. Kenya Base Camp

This is me at base camp. I can’t believe how skinny I am here!

 

Vertical Bog, Mt. Kenya

While climbing Mt. Kenya you have to navigate a vertical bog. It’s quite hard work jumping from tuft to tuft. The vegetation is unusual too, and it made me think of alien planets. I’m the second person back with the red on my coat.

Mr. Munro, Vertical Bog

Mt Kenya vegetation

Mt Kenya

Mt Kenya, camp after vertical blog

I don’t like this photo of me, but Mr Munro said I should add it to show how high the second camp was, nearer the top of the mountain.

Me on Mt Kenya

We had an awesome time during our Mt Kenya visit. It was tiring and definitely hard work climbing the vertical bog but very rewarding once we made camp. It’s a pity we didn’t make the top, but it was still fun. A great experience to tick off the bucket list.

Do you think you’d like the challenge? Do you like walking or trekking?

A Day in the Life of Bella

The other day Mr Munro found a dog toy in the cupboard, one we’d purchased and saved for later. Bella was very excited since she is definitely still a puppy at heart.

Bella

 

This is what the toy looked like after about five minutes.

 

Puppy Toy

 

This is what our floor looked like after a few minutes of playing. Exhibit A.

 

Toy Stuffing

 

She had a lot of fun playing with her toy, and over the course of several days I picked up lots of stuffing. It was a magical toy, and the stuffing went forth and multiplied! Trying to separate Bella from her toy—not gonna happen!

 

Bella and her Toy

 

After playing all day Bella was exhausted. She retired to her bean bag for a nap.

 

Bella on her Bean Bag

 

She looks so cute when she’s asleep. No one would ever guess how naughty she can be during her waking hours.

 

What mischievous antics do your pets or children get up to during the day?

Fan-Fiction with Melissa Lopez

My special guest today is Melissa Lopez who is talking about a topic I find fascinating, that of fan fiction. Welcome, Melissa!

Hi, Shelley, everyone. Thanks for having me.

My road to publication actually started off as a hobby. Although during my college days I wrote children’s stories, it wasn’t until 2002, when I bought Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Fantasy Lover, that the writing bug got me. I was captivated by the Dark-Hunter world Sherri had created. So one night I visited Sherri’s website. Immediately I was curious about her chat-room and, once inside, two very special people (Mo and Mama Lo) drew me into Dark-Hunter role-play and writing fan-fiction.

Fan-fiction is stories about characters, people, settings, and worlds that are written by super-fans of the original work/shows, etc, rather than by the original creator. These fans can’t get enough of their fixes and write about them.

The practice of writing fan fiction has been popular since the mid-sixties, when sci-fi fans couldn’t get enough of their favorites. The only difference today is, with modern technology and the Internet, there are now fan-fic hubs where you can share your stories. My youngest daughter has written both Justin Beiber and Twilight fan-fiction.

Some authors/creators support—or at least tolerate—the hobby, others vehemently oppose it. I totally understand the reasoning behind their dislike of fan-fic, monetary issues and feelings of personal violation are probably involved, along with a sentiment that can be translated to, “Come on, seriously? Not smart enough to write your own stuff?”

I wrote official Sherrilyn Kenyon Dark-Hunter fan-fic until Sherri’s critique partners (Tasha and Mama Lo) encouraged me to pursue my own original stories and worlds. I wrote two years of fan-fiction. It was a wonderful learning experience. I learned a great deal about characterization. Writing fan-fic was practice for me. It was that novel shoved under my bed that every author is said to have.

Personally, I’d be honored if people read and loved my characters and stories enough to write about them. I’d be truly flattered if I were ever popular enough for people to play in my worlds with any frequency. Conversation and word-of-mouth sells books. As long as the original authors are the ones making money and earning a living from their worlds…it’s cool.

To find out more about my very own worlds please visit my website.

Melissa Lopez

www.melissa-lopez.com

Journeys of Love Every Woman Needs To Take

QUESTION FROM SHELLEY: Do you read or write fan-fiction?

The Lure of Romantic Suspense

AuthorPic_RebeccaSmithMy guest today is Rebecca Lee Smith. Rebecca lives with her husband in the beautiful, misty mountains of East Tennessee, where the people are charming, soulful, and just a little bit crazy. She’s been everything from a tax collector to a stay-at-home-mom to a house painter to a professional actress and director. Her two grown sons live nearby, still have the power to make her laugh until she cries, and will always be the best things she’s given back to the world. It took her a lot of years to realize that writing was her true passion. When she’s not churning out sensual romantic mysteries with snappy dialogue and happy endings, she loves to travel the world, go to the Outer Banks for her ocean fix, watch old movies, hang out at the local pub, and make her day complete by correctly answering the Final Jeopardy! Question.

I asked Rebecca to tell us what attracts her to writing Romantic Suspense and what challenges she faces while writing one. Over to Rebecca…

My mother named me after the book, Rebecca—she was looking for a three syllable first name to go with my one syllable last name (Lee)—so maybe that has something to do with my lifelong attraction to mysteries and romantic suspense. If she’d named me Chatterley, my writing might have gone in a decidedly different direction.

I have always loved mysteries, probably because I’m a puzzle person, but I’d never read any adult romantic suspense until high school. I know this will date me, but I was looking at the titles on a friend’s bookshelf when she pulled out a copy of Bride of Pendorric by Victoria Holt and said, “You would like this.” She was right, and from that moment on, I devoured every romantic suspense I could get my hands on: Gothics by Phyllis Whitney and Daphne du Maurier; contemporaries by Mary Stewart and Emily Loring; classics like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. I also love humorous contemporaries, and thought that’s what I would write someday (my son thinks I’m more funny than mysterious), but when I started writing my first book, my past reading life came back to haunt me, and the plot just naturally evolved into a mystery.

I’ve often wondered why a dead body insists on showing up in the manuscript I’m writing. I can’t seem to get away from it. Maybe I find it easier to propel the plot against a mystery/suspense backdrop and keep the conflict alive between the hero and heroine. At some point, if they work together to solve a murder, they must learn to trust each other. This can create all kinds of issues for them to address before getting their Happily Ever After. And no matter what, the H & H have to get their HEA. In my books, anyway.

In A Dance to Die For, my heroine, Annabel, is an off-Broadway dancer who suffers from a condition known as dancer’s hip. She injures herself and destroys her career, trying to save her friend Quinn from falling off a platform. Determined to find out the truth about Quinn’s death, she follows a clue to a North Carolina inn where she falls in love with Trent, Quinn’s ex-fiancée. Depending on her level of activity, Annabel is in some form of pain throughout the book, and one of the biggest challenges I faced was depicting her as a strong, resourceful person who never thinks of herself as a victim, and handles her own challenges and setbacks with humor and spirit. How could the hero not fall in love with her? I wish I was more like her.

CONTEST:

Rebecca is giving away a $20 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during her tour. To increase your chances of winning, check out the rest of Rebecca’s tour here.

And now a question from Rebecca: When you are reading (or writing) about a character who has admirable qualities you wished you possessed, does it inspire you to incorporate those qualities into your own life? Don’t laugh, watching Jessica Fletcher on Murder, She Wrote taught me to nod, smile, and keep my mouth shut.


Cover_ADancetoDieFor

BLURB:

Annabel Maitland believes in destiny and following her heart—Trent Sheffield realizes his destiny is to believe in her.

Annabel destroyed her Broadway dancing career trying to save her friend Quinn’s life. Convinced Quinn’s death was no accident, Annabel follows a clue to a North Carolina mountain inn and discovers that everyone who knew Quinn—the real Quinn—wanted her out of their lives, including the sexy innkeeper whose laid-back charm and megawatt grin take Annabel’s breath away. The physical attraction between them is undeniable, the cerebral attraction irresistible. But trusting her heart means ignoring evidence that plants him firmly on the list of suspects.

Determined to keep his family’s financially strapped inn afloat, the last person Trent needs working for him is a stubborn, impossibly long-legged dancer whose sharp wit and silver eyes keep him scrambling to stay on his toes. He’s falling hard, and he wants to trust her, but Annabel’s connection to his ex-fiancée makes him question her motives at every turn. When a string of mysterious accidents threaten Annabel’s life, they must unearth Quinn’s killer before it’s too late. But what if Annabel was the target all along?

Purchase A Dance to Die For

Visit Rebecca’s website

Camel Fair, Pushkar, India

Pushkar, India

Pushkar, India

The Pushkar camel fair takes place once a year in November. We visited Pushkar just as the people were starting to arrive with their camels. They say around 200,000 people view the 50,000 camels and cattle on sale, and most of the buying and selling takes place before the official start of the fair. The top photo shows camels as far as the eye could see. I can only imagine the sight once all the people and camels arrive!

Gone Wine Tasting!

Today I’m playing hooky and going on a wine tasting tour on Waiheke Island. The island is a short ferry ride from Auckland city. Here are a few photos from a day trip my husband and I did around this time last year.

Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island

Beach, Waiheke Island

Vineyards & Olive Grove, Waiheke Island

Waiheke has a slightly warmer climate than Auckland and is excellent for grape growing. I’ve never tried Waiheke wines before, so I’m looking forward to my tour. Have a fun day – I intend to!

Statue of Liberty, New York

Statue of Liberty, New York

The Statue of Liberty, New York, USA plus me!

Elephant Ride in Thailand

Elephant Ride, Phuket

Hubby and I during an elephant ride in Phuket, Thailand.

Thirteen Examples of Kiwi Speak

Thursday Thirteen

As a New Zealand author, I’m afraid I’m a bit of a trial to my editors. I keep slipping Kiwi speak into my manuscripts, mainly the contemporary and paranormal ones. When I get my edits back there are comments about “head scratching” and lots of question marks. Here are a few you probably haven’t heard before.

Thirteen Examples of Kiwi Speak

1. “Haven’t seen you in yonks!” – This means ages. i.e. I haven’t seen you for a long time.

2. Sweet as – this means yes or I agree. i.e. Do you want to go for a drink? Answer – sweet as.

3. Were you born in a tent? – I heard this one often as it kid. My mother’s way of telling me I’d left the door open and was letting in cold air.

4. He’s on his OE, earning big bikkies in London now. – translation: The man is on a working holiday in London, has a job and is receiving a good wage. OE = overseas experience.

5. Come on, ref, are your eyes painted on? – the referee is making decisions that the audience don’t agree with.

6. Got any chuddy? – they’re asking if you have any chewing gum.

7. Nine girls are running under a wharf and here I am – this is the way we learn to spell Ngaruawahia, the place where the Maori King lives.

8. You make a better door than a window – this means you’re standing in the way of something the speaker is trying to watch i.e. the television or at a sports match.

9. No need to pack a sad – means that the person is having a tantrum or sulking. The speaker is telling them that there is no need to sulk.

10. Oh, give me a break – means that something has gone wrong i.e. you’d say this if you were mowing the lawn and run out of petrol with just a little of the lawn left to mow.

11. Your turn to shout – means it’s your turn to buy a round of drinks.

12. It’s puckarooed – means that something is broken and can’t be fixed.

13. You couldn’t organize a piss-up in a brewery – means the person is useless.

A bonus – Ka pai – this is Maori and means good. Puku – Maori for stomach. I often say, “My puku is full.”

Have you heard of any of these?

Source: Kiwi Speak by Justin Brown.