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Archive for January, 2016

My Scarlet Woman on sale 99c #paranormal

Welcome to small town Middlemarch, New Zealand.

Meet Saber Mitchell and his brothers. Single and fancy free until the night of the Middlemarch singles ball…

ShelleyMunro_MyScarletWoman

My Scarlet Woman, book 1 in the Middlemarch Shifters series is on sale for a limited time. Grab your copy for 99c today.

Order e-book: Amazon| Kobo| Nook| iBooks|

Middlemarch Shifters series:

1. My Scarlet Woman

2. My Younger Lover

3. My Peeping Tom

4. My Assassin

The Ladder for Spirits

At the very top of the North Island of New Zealand is a point called Cape Reinga. This is a special site in Maori mythology. According to the tales, an old pohutukawa tree grows on the cliff, and it is said that the roots of this tree provide a ladder for spirits to descend into the tumultuous waters and the final underworld below.

A non-stop procession of spirits travels through the far North to reach Cape Reinga and the ladder path to the underworld. The northern Maori tribes used to hear the rustle and passing of countless people and especially after a big battle when many warriors were slain.

All the ingredients for a fictional novel, I think!

Cape Reinga Lighthouse, New Zealand

This is the lighthouse at Cape Reinga. The ladder for the spirits is supposedly on the cliffs beyond.

Source: Favorite Maori Legends by AW Reed, revised by Ross Calman.

The Lost Moa

The moa is a flightless New Zealand bird that became extinct around the arrival of Europeans. There were several types of moa, the largest of which was taller than a full-grown man.

They had long necks, big sturdy clawed feet, an ostrich-like body and soft brown feathers that were almost like fur.

Moa in Auckland Museum

In 1993, three trampers reported seeing a moa while hiking near Authur’s Pass in the South Island of New Zealand. They walked around a corner and came across a large reddish-brown bird. The bird ran off but former British Army Commando, Paddy Freaney took photos of the bird and the footprints it left.

The sighting made world headlines. The three trampers were questioned and their stories were identical. The photos were blurry and not positive proof of a sighting. Some people thought the sighting was a hoax to attract customers to Paddy Freaney’s nearby pub. Paddy died in 2012 and never admitted to a hoax.

I love the idea of big birds wandering the plains of Canterbury and other locations in New Zealand. There are still occasional finds of moa bones and sometimes rarer moa eggs. Visitors can learn more about the moa in our museums.

My fascination led me to use these birds in one of my House of the Cat books, Hunted & Seduced. My characters Ellard and Gweneth meet the giant birds while they’re in the jungle on the planet Narenda.

What do you think of the trampers’ report? Hoax or not?

Venice, the Romantic Destination #Travel

In a walk down memory lane, and because I’m planning to use a Venetian setting in an upcoming book, I was looking at some of the photos we took during our visit. Venice is a romantic city, and my favorite thing to do whenever I have a chance to visit is to wander and explore all the tiny back streets. Getting lost is part of the fun, although if I’m with hubby we’re seldom lost. He has an excellent inner GPS.

Here are a few photos of Venice:

St Marco Square

This is a view of the Doge’s Palace and the entrance to St Mark’s Square taken from the cruise ship as we arrived at Venice.

Venice Market

Regular visitors already know how much hubby and I love markets. These hot peppers caught my attention because they look like bunches of flowers. The market in Venice is amazing.

Bride and Groom, Venice

This bride and groom were having their wedding photos taken, just off St Mark’s Square. What did I tell you? Romantic.

Doge's Palace and Bridge of Sighs

This is a view of the Bridge of Sighs, which connects the palazzo with the prison. This photo was taken from the cruise ship. During our visit, we did a tour of the Doge’s Palace, which we pre-booked. Along with the palatial rooms, we saw the secret rooms where the “worker bees” hung out. We stepped through an ornate door from the palace proper into plan rooms that were very simply furnished. Photos weren’t allowed, but it was still very interesting, the contrasts between the two halves amazing. It was like stepping into another world. We also walked across the Bridge of Sighs and saw Casanova’s cell—the one from which he escaped. I highly recommend this tour, if you ever visit Venice.

Canal Traffic

The canal traffic was constant. Small ferries, barges loaded with cargo, baggage boats heading to hotels, gondolas, ambulance and fire boats. It’s amazing sitting at a cafe and watching the world pass by…

Canal traffic

More canal traffic.

Palazzos

The canal view of some of the old palazzos and gardens. Some of them are beautiful and I can only imagine what they look like inside. Maybe next visit…

Looking through the photos again has given me some great ideas for my story. I can’t wait to get writing.

Have you visited Venice?

Cinderella Romance – One Night of Misbehavior @StacyJuba

Cinderella

Author Stacy Juba interviewed me today about my romance One Night of Misbehavior.

Check out the interview here.

Stacy has joined with several other authors who write Cinderella romances and produced a sampler called Cinderella Treasure Trove. It is free at most online retailers. Grab your copy at one of the following:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble (Nook)
iBookstore
Kobo
Google Play

Peanut Butter and Cat Burglars @CarinaPress #Romance

The Benefits of Peanut Butter by Shelley Munro

Most people think of peanut butter as a sandwich spread or maybe an ingredient in cookies. I like peanut butter on toast. My husband loathes the stuff and refuses to eat it. Peanut butter, according to him, is only fit as an ingredient for Bella’s dog biscuits. Our puppy Bella certainly doesn’t make any protests about the peanut butter.

Cat Burglar in TrainingWhile I was going through the editing stage of my contemporary mystery romance Cat Burglar in Training, I came upon a comment from my wonderful editor, Deborah Nemeth. She wrote, “Why didn’t anyone hear Eve (our cat burglar) break the window when she entered the building?”

“Heck,” I muttered. “How should I know?”

I continued with my edits, filing the problem away to mull over while I walked the dog. I returned from walking the dog none the wiser. Did Eve risk being heard and simply break the window, or did she open it with some handy-dandy tool from her cat burglar tool kit?

Eve is new to the job of cat burglar, taking over from her father who is unable to scale trees and walls because of his arthritis. She knows the basics but is definitely still finding her feet.

Yikes! How on earth is she going to enter the building? How am I going to fix this?

In the end I googled, and surprisingly, there was an answer.

Peanut butter! Who knew?

Here’s a brief excerpt from Cat Burglar in Training, showing how Eve managed to beat the problem without alerting the owners.

I scaled the wall in no time, stubbornly ignoring the pain in my arse. A ledge, a few inches wide, provided a place for me to collect myself. With a deep breath, I pulled a spoon and a jar of smooth peanut butter from my pack and plastered a thick layer on the window pane. Next, I retrieved a tube of cardboard cut to size—well, a fairly accurate guesstimate—and carefully pressed the cardboard to the peanut butter. A sharp tap with my hammer cracked the glass, but the sound was minimal. I replaced my tools in my pack, placed the glass-covered cardboard aside and reached through to open the lock. My entry via the nursery room window was clean and professional.

There you go. Problem solved. That’s how to enter a building without alerting the inhabitants.

What is your favorite use for peanut butter? Do you like it, or are you like my husband and avoid it at all costs?

Cat Burglar in Training is currently available for 99c at some retailers.

Purchase at: Carina Press| Amazon | All Romance eBooks | Nook| Koboicon| iBooks US|

13 Excellent Writing Podcasts

Thursday Thirteen

This year I’ve embraced podcasts and especially those that discuss writing or self-publishing.

Here are thirteen of my favorite writing podcasts.

1. The Creative Penn – this is one of my absolute favorites and I always learn a lot.

2. Rocking Self-Publishing – another favorite with information-packed episodes.

3. Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing – focus is mainly on fantasy but lots of good information.

4. Social Media for Authors – the latest in social media.

5. The Writing Podcast

6. The Smarter Artist

7. The Sell More Books Show

8. The Author Hangout

9. Online Marketing Made Easy

10. Romance Writer’s Rodeo – this one doesn’t have any recent episodes, but Ivy’s interviews are excellent.

11. Writing Excuses

12. Helping Authors Become Writers

13. Writing No Drama

Do you listen to podcasts? Do you have any favorites, either writing or for other subjects?

Lucien St Clare, The Spurned Viscountess @CarinaPress #historical

Meet the hero from The Spurned Viscountess, a historical romance set in 1720 England.

Lucien

Name: Lucien St Clare

Title: Viscount Hastings

Age: mid-twenties

Appearance: Tall, over six foot. Long dark black hair. Mahogany brown eyes. Tanned skin since he spends a lot of time outdoors. His face is scarred, the puckered scar running from his left eye to his jaw.

Hangouts: He currently lives at Castle St. Clare in East Sussex, England. Prior to this, he lived in Italy, near Naples on the Bacci estate with his wife, Francesca.

Reason for the move: Fragments of his forgotten memory have started to return to him, memories that place him in England. He can’t remember much about St. Clare at all. Yep, he has nasty amnesia.

Reason for staying: Someone from the area murdered his wife and their unborn child. He’s desperate for revenge.

Big problem: The Earl of St. Clare expects him to go through with an arranged marriage to Rosalind, a small English mouse of a woman.

In Lucien’s words.

“Everyone tells me my name is George, that I’m the long lost heir, Viscount Hastings. I could leave and return to the Bacci estates in Italy, but I burn for revenge. Those bastards who murdered my wife and unborn child must pay for their crimes. Someone called Hawk ordered her murder. It seems a coincidence there’s a Hawk operating the smuggling ring—too much of a happenstance in my opinion. I’m investigating, looking for clues, but meantime I have to deal with my new wife. She’s small, blond and reminds me of a mouse. I tried to put her off the idea of marriage to me, but she was set on the marriage.

She’s not very good at following orders and I’m forever running across her in places I told her not to visit. Trouble is her middle name. She’s stubborn, frustrating, irritating and she’s getting under my skin. I find myself thinking about her at the oddest moments…”

The Spurned Viscountess Blurb:

The Spurned ViscountessShe must marry him.

Cursed with the sight and rumors of witchcraft, Rosalind’s only chance at an ordinary life is marriage to Lucien, Viscount Hastings. She doesn’t expect love, only security and children of her own. Determined to go through with the wedding, she allows nothing she encounters at the gloomy Castle St. Clare to dissuade her.

He wants nothing to do with her.

Recently returned from the Continent, Lucien has no time for the English mouse his family has arranged for him to marry, not when he’s plotting to avenge the murder of his beloved Francesca. He has no intention of bedding Rosalind, not even to sire an heir.

Dark secrets will bind them.

Though spurned by her bridegroom, Rosalind turns to him for protection when she is plagued by a series of mysterious accidents and haunted by terrifying visions. Forced to keep Rosalind close, and tempted into passionate kisses, Lucien soon finds himself in grave danger of falling in love with his own wife…

Currently on sale for 99c at some retailers.

Purchase at: Carina Press| Amazon Kindle| All Romance eBooks| Kobo| iBooks| Nook|

The Nocturne Falls Series by Kristen Painter

The Nocturne Falls Series

The Vampire's Mail Order BrideLast month I picked up a copy of The Vampire’s Mail Order Bride, book 1 of the Nocturne Falls series and I loved it so much, I emailed Kristen Painter, the author, and asked her about her paranormal series.

Tell us a little about the town of Nocturne Falls.

It’s a fun place that celebrates Halloween 365 days a year, which gives all of its supernatural citizens the perfect cover to be themselves.

I love your Nocturne Falls series. How did you come up with the idea?

Thanks! I spent Thanksgiving in a town called Helen, GA, once. It’s basically a place that decided to re-invent itself as a German hamlet for tourist purposes. I thought, hey why not do the same thing with Halloween?

So far you’ve introduced vampires, werewolves, gargoyles and witches. Can you give us a little clue about what is next for Nocturne Falls?

More vampires, werewolves, witches, a dragon shifter, a panther shifter, and who knows, maybe even a mermaid. Anything’s possible!

If you were to live in Nocturne Falls, what paranormal character would you be and why?

I’m going to have to go with vampire. Preferably one with the Ellingham “gift” of being able to walk in daylight.

Where can readers find you?

Besides my website (www.KristenPainter.com) and Twitter (Kristen_Painter) and Instagram (Kristen_Painter), I’m pretty active both on my FB page:https://www.facebook.com/KristenPainterAuthor and my FB reader group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/kristenpainterreaders/
Can you tell I love social media? (It’s a great way to procrastinate.)

Happy reading!

Kristen.

Dawn at the Taj Mahal

20070617094730_tajmahal

This is a much younger me sitting in front of the Taj Mahal in India. The Taj Mahal is the perfect place for a romance writer to visit since it is a symbol of love. Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

It was freezing when we visited, but it was worth it since there weren’t many tourists around. The marble mausoleum looks different, depending on the time of day, and we also visited at sunset. A truly beautiful place and very inspirational.

What is the most romantic place you have visited?



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