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Archive for July, 2015

Reasons to Read a Feline Shapeshifter Romance

I’m a real fan of paranormal romances–both reading and writing them. Although I’ve written a couple of wolf characters most of my shapeshifters are feline.

So, why do I like feline shapeshifters? Let me tell you…

12 Things to Consider When Choosing A Cruise

Dawn Princess Bora Bora

Cruising is a growth industry within the travel sector, and hundreds of thousands of people spend their holidays in this manner. When I was younger, I dreamed of cruising to warm climes and interesting destinations. I collected brochures, but this type of holiday seemed like a dream to me. Too expensive for a Kiwi girl for a start, and there was the annoying fact I wasn’t old enough to get a job!

These days, cruising is more affordable than ever. Pick a destination anywhere in the world, and the chances are a cruise company sails there.

So, how do you choose a cruise? What factors should you consider?

These are the things you should consider before forking out your money.

1. What do you want from your cruise? Are you looking for relaxation or a party? Some lines cater for the younger crowd while others attract more retirees. Some of the shorter cruises are party cruises. Check it out first!

2. Are you traveling with children? Most cruise lines have a kids’ club and also one for teenagers. Some provide babysitters (for a fee)

3. What time of the year are you traveling? If you want relaxation don’t travel during Christmas/New Year or school holidays because most ships will be teaming with children. Children = noise.

4. Do you want sunshine and beaches? Stick to a cruise around the Med, the Carribean or perhaps the Pacific.

5. Do you like to dress up for dinner? Some lines expect a higher standard of dress, so if you like to wear shorts and a T-shirt all day go for one of the lines that are more casual. No Queen Mary for you.

6. Does the ship have a launderette available to the public? If you have a longer cruise this is important. Laundry and dry cleaning can be very expensive if you pay the ship staff to do it.

7. Do you want/enjoy sea days? Some cruises have several sea days, sometimes in a row, so if you loathe sea days check the itinerary carefully.

8. Hidden costs. The price of the cruise includes travel, onboard entertainment and meals. Be aware that travel to the port, alcohol, special coffees, signature restaurants, internet, ship excursions, and some hobbies will attract extra charges.

9. Room service – some cruise lines charge extra while others provide this service for free.

10. Incentive program – most cruise lines run an incentive program for frequent travelers. Instead of chopping and changing cruise lines, sometimes it is better to stick with the same one and reap benefits like free laundry and internet.

11. Are tender boats used at the ports? Some ports are not equipped for large ships to berth at the wharf, and passengers must be ferried ashore on smaller boats (tenders). This can take some time if the ship is a large one with several thousand passengers.

12. Don’t like a crowd? The ships vary from a few hundred passengers to several thousand. If this is important to you, choose your cruise accordingly.

Want to learn more? Check out Cruise Critics http://www.cruisecritic.com/ and their forum http://boards.cruisecritic.com/ for advice and tips.

Shelley Munro is a romance writer who lives in New Zealand and loves to travel. You can learn more about Shelley and her books at www.shelleymunro.com

Inspirational Holidays

Filling the creative well…

Malta

The run-up to our recent holiday was wrought with tension and stress, and there was a moment there when I thought we’d never get on the plane. We had a death in the family plus my father had an unexpected op and a month-long hospital stay. He has subsequently been diagnosed with dementia, so we have a new set of problems, which are ongoing.

However, despite the setbacks, we did get on the plane and flew off to Barcelona and the start of our Med cruise.

I have to say that this is one of our favorite parts of the world. We love the food, the spring temperatures and the wealth of old buildings and history. Centuries of history, which I’m envious of. New Zealand is a young country and while we have gorgeous scenery the breadth of our history isn’t quite as impressive as the European one.

For once, I didn’t pay much attention to the online world. I scanned my emails since I had a few business coals in the fire, but mostly, I ignored the internet and what was happening in the rest of the world.

We embraced the local food and culture and had a blast.

Here are some of the highlights, which I’ll blog about in greater detail in the weeks to come.

1. Visiting the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, which was full of gorgeous art deco features.

2. Tapas in Barcelona

3. Sicily and Mt. Etna

4. Herculaneum and Mt Vesuvius

5. Santorini, the donkeys, the scenery and the food

6. Kotor, Montenegro – a welcome surprise

7. Food tour in Istanbul, Turkey. Awesome!!!

8. Italian food – pasta and pizza. Wow!

9. Rhodes, Greece. History, castles and gorgeous food.

10. Mdina, Malta. More history and good food.

We soaked up the culture, and I took notes and many, many photos as ideas for future romance novels exploded in my mind like popcorn. Watch this space.

I’m slowly getting back into writing and have several projects underway. The writing is going fine, although I’m still on a bit of a go slow when it comes to the internet. I’m sure I’ll get with the program soon, although it has been good to switch off from online drama.

When you go on holiday, are you able to switch off from the internet and social media?