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Archive for July, 2013

Lone Wolf and Yellowstone National Park


I’m visiting Harlie’s books and talking about wolves, Yellowstone National Park and my gay romance Lone Wolf. Check out the review for Lone Wolf and enter the giveaway while you’re there.

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Sightseeing on the Web

Sunset Key Largo Florida

I’ve packed my virtual bag and gone for a holiday. Today I have three stops.

At Author Missy Jane’s blog, I’m talking about leopards, which are one of my favorite big cats. I might also mention my husband in this post.

I’m also visiting author Vicky Burkholder where I let you know about my writing companion who keeps me on the straight and narrow while I’m working on my books.

I’m visiting Nights of Passion, the group blog of several authors. Here I’m discussing artist trading cards and my book One Night of Misbehavior.

And finally take the opportunity to enter my Historical Giveaway on the post below. Oh, I almost forgot – there is a giveaway. Enter at each stop to win Amazon Gift Certificates.

Recipe: Cinnamon Scrolls

I used to make cinnamon scones a long time ago, and after a couple of moves, I managed to lose the recipe. This recipe below is very similar and once I saw it arrive in my inbox as part of the Columbus Coffee newsletter, I had to make them straight away.

Cooked Cinnamon Scrolls

They’re quick and easy to make and much as I remembered.


3 cups self-raising flour

1/2 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar or confectioner’s sugar)

1/2 cup soft brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 egg

50 grams/2 ounces softened butter (cut in half)

3/4 cup of milk


1. Rub half the butter 25 grams/1 ounce into the flour and icing sugar.

2. Add the milk and beaten egg to make a soft dough.

3. Roll the dough into a rough oblong shape.

4. Spread the other half of the butter over the top of the dough.

5. Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over the butter.

6. Roll up the dough then cut in slices. Should make about 10 portions.

Uncooked Cinnamon Scrolls

7. Bake at 170C/340F for 10 to 12 minutes.

Shelley’s notes:

1. When I make this recipe again I’d mix the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon together and spread the paste over the dough. Doing it by the method in the recipe means that the sugar and cinnamon go everywhere. By mixing them with the butter there would be less mess.

2. The scrolls don’t keep well. Eat them the day you make them. Not a chore, believe me!

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13 Things to do in Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday Thirteen

Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand. It’s big in terms of population (32% of NZers live here) and spreads from Waiwera and Kumeu in the north to Runciman in the south. Auckland is also my home.

Here is a list of Thirteen interesting places to visit in Auckland.

1. Sky Tower – the phallic-like tower dominates the inner city skyline and can be seen for miles. This is an excellent place to get a view of the city and the braver people can bungee jump off for a quick descent. One of the restaurants at the top of the tower is a revolving one, and there are also displays about making the tower.

2. Mt. Eden – this is one of the dormant volcano cones within the city. The 360 view from the summit is gorgeous. From the top you can also look down the steep slopes of the almost perfect crater.

Mt Eden, Auckland

3. The Auckland Memorial Museum – the museum sits within the Auckland Domain. If you’d like to learn about New Zealand and the Maori people, this is the perfect place to start.

4. Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World – building the aquarium was a labor of love for Kelly Tarlton. He purchased old sewage tanks and turned them into an underground aquarium. The large Perspex tubes that you can walk through to look at the fish, and are now common in aquariums worldwide, were first used and designed here. Along with fish you can also see penguins.

5. Rangitoto Island – This is the “youngest” volcano in the Auckland region and it erupted around 600 years ago. Catch a ferry over to the island to explore the lava caves and walk to the summit.

6. Waiheke Island – Beaches, vineyards, walks and relaxation only a thirty-five minute ferry ride from central Auckland.

7. Devonport – a small village that’s a 10 minute ferry ride across the harbor. There is a nice beach, shops, cafes, lots of art galleries, more extinct volcanoes and walking tracks.

8. Waitakere Ranges Regional Park – Get out into the wilderness. Native trees, walking tracks and it’s not far from the central city. See some of our mighty Kauri trees here.

9. Beaches – The city straddles both the west and east coasts. In the west we have beaches with black sand and big breakers. (Tasman sea) On the east we have white sandy beaches and the Pacific Ocean.

10. Viaduct Harbor – This is a waterfront area full of restaurants and bars. You can sit with drinks and a meal and watch all the expensive boats. An excellent place to people watch. The Maritime museum is here too.

11. Coast to Coast walk – This walk is 16 kilometers long and goes from one coast to the other, crossing parks, passing volcano cones and going through the different suburbs.

12. Cornwell Park and One Tree Hill – The park donated by Sir John Logan Campbell for the use of the people of Auckland. Have afternoon tea and climb up to the obelisk at the summit of One Tree Hill. It’s also a working farm and during the spring you get to see all the lambs racing around. Very cute!

13. Go wine-tasting. There are several regions close to the city: Henderson, just north of the city, on Waiheke Island or visit the Villa Maria vineyard in Mangere. (not far from our international airport) Time it right and attend one of the many concerts that are held at the vineyard or just taste some of their wines and eat at their cafe. The cheese platters are good.

If you were to visit Auckland, what would you want to see first?

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Sleep, My Friend!

Sleep, Shanghai

Sleepy Worker, Shanghai

Today I’m really excited to visit my friend Mary at Dark Thoughts….Without sleep we become tall two-year-olds. Read more at Dark Thoughts

About once a month I blog over at Not Your Usual Suspects, which is a blog about romance, mystery and suspense. If you like a dead body in your fiction, you need to visit us.

So… we are going to celebrate by giving away lots and lots of downloads from the multi-published, multi-talented NYUS writers. To enter, just go to

Not Your Usual Suspects

and leave a comment at the announcement post or email our Fearless Leader at

CLARELONDON11 at YAHOO . CO . UK (you know how to make that work). Just one email, please…

On THURSDAY 25 JULY we’ll make the draw. Clare will contact each winner in turn by email, and then it’ll be. FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED for the winner’s choice of author’s work. So take a look at the announcement post and have your first few choices in mind!

I hope to see you during my visits!

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Using Real Life in Your Story

I’m thrilled to welcome Amber Skyze to my blog today. Grab your favorite beverage, pull up a chair and settle back to hear about Amber and her latest release. Isn’t the cover gorgeous? Over to Amber…

I’m often asked if I use any real life events in my writing. The answer: sometimes.

AS_OperationSecondHoneymoon_coverinI’ve been writing for almost twenty years and of course something from life has to creep into my writing. Back when I started writing everything from my life or the lives of family and friends went into stories. I wrote for Modern Romance and True Confessions, they wanted real life. Now don’t get me wrong I know not everything is “real”. After ten years of writing for them, I’d ran out of true stories and began making them up.

Once I wrote a story about a woman who was in love with a drug addict. She wanted out of the relationship, but he was so controlling he’d rather kill her than let her leave. He handcuffed her to a radiator and started a chair on fire. My editors loved this story. Sadly, it was a true story that happened to a very good friend of mine. With her permission I wrote and published the story.

Not all true events will pass though. Years ago I read a “too crazy to be true” article about a woman who grew tired of her husband’s nagging and shot him. The bullet lodged in his false teeth and he lived. I wrote a short story about it and my editor said, “This isn’t true. No one will believe this.” LOL Really?

When I published my first erotica book, Unwrapped (formerly Mistletoe Studs), I made the mistake of giving my heroine’s best friend the same name as a good friend. It really wasn’t supposed to stay Lisa. It was more of a place holder, but somehow I went through edits and forgot to change it. What a mistake that was.

After Lisa read the story she whined and asked why her character didn’t get to have sex.

Hmmm, it wasn’t about her!

This taught me a valuable lesson – leave out friends names and stop using real life events. Besides, when you escape into a book you want a fantasy, right?

My newest release is about Avery and the loss of her father. In her grief she pushes her husband away and even suspects infidelity. Cole fights to save his ten year marriage. This too happened to me when my husband and I lost our newborn son. Grief and depression can mess with the mind. Thankfully, we’ve gotten over the hurdle, but not in the same way as Avery and Cole. ;)

I hope you enjoy my newest ménage a trios.


From a very young age, Amber began making up stories – the only child syndrome. She grew up reading sick and twisted murder mysteries. Romance was for little kids and their fairy tales. One day her grandmother died and she inherited a boat load of romances and she found a new genre to love. Then she discovered erotic romance and found her calling.

When not creating sexy, seductive stories Amber can be found at the ocean or floating around in her pool, with music blasting in the background. Her love of music inspires many of her stories.


After a tremulous six months of clawing their way back to happiness, Avery is ready to seek the help she needs to fix the marriage her husband has fought so hard to save.

Avery and Cole are on the verge of their tenth anniversary. Cole is planning a surprise gift aboard a boat. Bathing suits are optional – preferably left behind. The only other thing they need to make this weekend perfect? Owen their next door neighbor.

Out on the open sea, Avery will find herself tied to the rails being tortured in the sweetest ways imaginable. The men take her to delicious heights, only to leave her hanging – if only momentarily. When she demands an orgasm she oversteps the boundaries Cole and Owen have to put her in place. The two men spank her back into submission. There’s nothing like red cheeks to ignite the flames of desire in Cole.

Will a weekend of hot, sweaty sex be enough to rescue them?


“Smells good.”

“Thanks, Owen.” Cole flipped the steaks as the flame on the grill flared, threatening to char the meat.

The heat from the grill, coupled with the mid-August humidity, caused sweat to form on his brow. A droplet fell into his eye. Cole placed the fork on the side shelf and wiped it away with his apron.

Avery walked out of the house in her hot-pink bikini. Her blonde hair was pulled back, the way she wore it whenever she went down on him. He admired her beautiful face. Cole’s dick instantly stiffened. His wife knew he loved when she wore her hair away from her face. It carried a hot echo of their dating days when Avery would surprise him after work and tease him until he was painfully hard. And that bathing suit. Sweet Jesus. He liked seeing all her beauty displayed for his hungry eyes and the neighbors. Avery was a prize, and he loved having others look.

She strutted across the patio in her high-heeled sandals and rubbed against him. She placed a kiss on Cole’s lips. The sweat didn’t faze her.

“Can’t wait for one of your juicy steaks,” she said.

Cole stepped back and gave his wife’s body the once-over.

“Damn, you’re sexy.” He wanted to bend her over the picnic table and fuck that gorgeous ass. He reached around, pulled her closer again, and copped a feel.

“Don’t start something you can’t finish,” Avery said.

Cole noticed the twinkle in her blue eyes and knew she was baiting him. She wanted him to bail on the steaks and ravish her inside the house. Tension ticked in his chest, and he wished he had an excuse to send everyone home.

“Get a room, guys.”

Owen’s comment pulled the lovers apart.

“Oh, Owen, someday you’ll find your own woman, and when you do, you’ll be just as in love as Cole and I.” Avery turned to Owen and patted his chest in the affectionate way one shared condolences.

“Thanks, Avery. You always know how to make me feel better.”

Cole knew his neighbor was being sarcastic, but playfully.

Do you have any questions for Amber?

Recipe: Sugary Lemon Cake

Our lemon tree is laden this year. There is so much fruit, the tree is looking sick, and we picked most of it before our tree decided to give up and die. One can drink only so many lemon drinks, and since it’s winter the idea of lemonade isn’t very appealing.

After perusing recipes to use lemons, I chose a recipe on the Baking Makes Things Better site.

Piece of Sugary Cake


110 grams (4 oz) butter

1 cup sugar

3 x eggs

Grated rind of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup flour

120 gram (4 oz) sour cream

Lemon Glaze:

Juice of 1 large lemon

1 Tablespoon hot water

1/4 cup of granulated white sugar plus a little extra for final dusting of cake


1. Cream the butter and sugar

2. Add the eggs and the lemon rind and beat.

3. Sift the flour and baking powder.

4. Fold in the flour a bit at a time, alternating with the sour cream.

5. Mix and pour into a greased tin.

6. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 160C/320F for 35-40 minutes.

7. Leave cake to cool for five minutes.

Sugary Lemon Cake

8. To make the glaze add the water and lemon juice to the sugar. Stir well to dissolve.

9. Poke holes in the cake with a skewer and pour the glaze over the top of the cake.

10. Sprinkle a little sugar on top of the cake for decoration.

11. Remove the cake from the tin once it has cooled.

Cooked and Sugared Cake

Shelley’s Notes:

1. I didn’t have any sour cream. Instead I used some thick Greek yoghurt.

2. I heated my glaze for 10 seconds in the microwave so that the sugar dissolved properly.

3. I cooked my cake for 40 minutes and used bake rather than the fan-forced setting.

I served my cake with yoghurt. For dessert tonight I’ll be using cream. A scoop of ice cream would work well or even custard.

What would you serve with your cake?

A Visit to Akaroa, New Zealand

In February hubby and I took a cruise from Auckland to Sydney on the Diamond Princess. I love New Zealand. Even though I live here, I’ve done a lot of travel, and my country of birth compares well with most countries.

One of the stops was Akaroa, which these days—since the earthquake at Christchurch—is the main port of call for cruise ships. The previous port of Lyttelton sustained extensive damage.

Akaroa is surrounded by hills and used to be a volcano. One of the walls broke, letting sea water rush in to create the existing harbor.

Akaroa Harbor

This photo shows the entrance to the harbor where the sea breached the volcano.

The area was settled by French and many of the streets have French names. It’s a small town—a very charming one. Each summer the population swells since it’s the perfect place for a summer holiday.

While we were there, hubby and I went dolphin watching to see the rare Hector dolphins. They’re a small dolphin and their fins look like Mickey Mouse’s ears.

Akaroa Dolphins

This is me on board the dolphin boat before leaving the wharf. If anyone visits Akaroa, I totally recommend this company. The owner and his family have been in the area for generations—five, I think he said from memory. He’s very knowledgeable about the area and the fauna.

Murphy Akaroa Dolphins

This little cutie is Murphy who works onboard the Akaroa Dolphin boat. His task is to look for dolphins and he does an excellent job. If you see him run to the side of the boat, follow because there will be dolphins!

Hector Dolphin

Hector’s dolphins are extremely rare and are only found in New Zealand. The dolphins were a bit shy on the day we went out, but we did see a small pod.

Akaroa Township

This is the main part of the township. There are a few shops, some very nice cafes and restaurants plus the usual amenities such as supermarket, butcher, and church. On the day we visited there was a market at the church and I purchases a really pretty cameo-type pendant.

Fish and Chips

There is also an excellent fish and chip shop. Guess what we had for lunch?

Akaroa from Ship

This is the view from the ship after our day ashore. As you can see, it was beautiful weather and our day was memorable. If you’re ever down this end of the world, do put Akaroa on your must-visit list.