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Archive for June, 2021

Cape Reinga, NZ – The Northernmost Point

Shelley at Cape Reinga

Last weekend, Mr. Munro and I visited Cape Reinga, a place I’d never gone to before. Cape Reinga is at the northern end of the North Island of New Zealand, and from here it’s possible to see where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean collide with currents going in different directions.

I’ve mentioned Cape Reinga in an earlier post, and it has cultural significance for the Māori people.

Lighthouse at Cape Reinga

Sign Post at Cape Reinga

Cape Reinga

The drive up to the cape offers some lovely views, but the road is twisty with countless turns and many one-lane bridges. The nearest town is Kaitaia, which is more than 100 kilometers south. Since it’s winter down this end of the world, everything was very lush and green. I enjoyed my visit to the far North very much, and I now have a bubbling book plot–an addition to my Dragon Investigator series featuring taniwha shifters. Watch this space!

Southernmost Spot in the South Island, NZ

The southernmost town in the South Island of New Zealand is Bluff. Bluff is also the place to catch a ferry to Stewart Island.

Shelley at Bluff

Sign Closeup

Before COVID struck, I’d hadn’t had a chance to visit this far south. Since we couldn’t travel overseas, we decided to explore some of the parts of New Zealand we hadn’t had time to visit. Here is a photo of me (Shelley Munro) in Bluff, plus a close-up of the sign.

Fantastic Tools for Writers

These days there are many tools available to help in the writing of a book. Here are a few that I use and recommend. Some of the tools overlap, and I don’t always use everything in the intended way. I adapt my usage to suit my needs and writing habits.

1. 4 The Words https://4thewords.com/

I’ve posted about 4 The Words before since I use this to write my first drafts. This is an incredible community where the writing is gamified. You set goals and battle monsters while traveling through different territories. Discovering this online writing game has genuinely helped me to get down my word total every day.

2. One Stop For Writers https://onestopforwriters.com/

This is another tool I’ve mentioned before. From the thesauruses to the plotting and planning tools, there is plenty to help a writer structure, plan worlds and characters, keep timelines and map their stories.

3. Plottr https://plottr.com/

While I’m not a plotter or an outliner, I still need to have a basic framework before I start writing a new story. I use Plottr to do this and keep track of my characters and story bible. Check out their free trial if you’re a serious plotter because this is a fantastic tool.

4. Fictionary https://fictionary.co/

I’ve recently started using this editing software to analyze my scenes and try to knock my work into better shape before sending it off to my editor. Check out the Fictionary channel on Youtube as well. They have heaps of helpful advice when it comes to editing your work.

5. ProWriting Aid https://prowritingaid.com/

I use this grammar and style check during my editing stage and find it very useful. While I don’t always follow the suggestions, this helps me battle wordiness and other bad habits that can creep into my writing.

6. Grammarly http://www.grammarly.com/

Another grammar checker that I use in conjunction with ProWriting Aid. It checks grammar and style, and this app helps me with my comma problem. I have improved in this area tenfold!

While I use other tools, these are the ones I use regularly and, as such, recommend. Please note that they are all paid tools, but each has a free trial for the user to figure out if this product works for them. Do check them out!

Antarctic Icebergs

Icebergs are chunks of ice that have calved off glaciers and ice shelves. They vary in size from small to large enough to sink a ship. The Titanic, for example.

New icebergs are white while the older ones are blue or sometimes green. An iceberg comprises fresh snow and compressed ice. The light hits the iceberg particles and bubbles and is bent and scattered. If there are lots of bubbles, all the light scatters before it gets absorbed. If there are no or few bubbles, the red light gets absorbed and the blue light escapes the iceberg, making us see a blue iceberg.

During our time in Antarctica, we saw lots of icebergs, some of which dwarfed our ship. We zipped around some of the icebergs in zodiacs to get up-close views of them. The blue ones were my favorites.

Our Ship and Iceberg

Le Soleal, our ship, is dwarfed by this beautiful iceberg, and they can be much bigger!

Blue Iceberg

A beautiful blue iceberg.

Zodiac and Iceberg

We did a zodiac trip around the icebergs and checked out the wildlife and birds that lazed on the different icebergs.

Blue Iceberg

Another blue iceberg.

Lazing Seal

Some of the local fauna lazing on one of the smaller icebergs.

Champagne on the Zodiacs

We finished our zodiac tour around the icebergs with a glass of French champagne. The perfect end!