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Archive for July, 2021

Exploring Stewart Island, NZ

In previous posts, I’ve mentioned that my visit to Stewart Island inspired the book Protecting the Bride. Mr. Munro and I had lots of fun during our visit and many of the things we did found their way into Protecting the Bride.

View over Oban township

Cullen and Grace sat on this same balcony and enjoyed the view of Oban township plus a glass or two of wine. We sat here and watched the native wood pigeons and the tui squabble over tree-sitting rights.

Fishing for Blue Cod

Cullen and Grace went fishing for blue cod, which is something I did, too. Blue cod is one of my favorite fish to eat, and I ate more than my fair share during our visit. Blue cod is a cold-water fish with firm white flesh, and it isn’t as readily available or as fresh up in Auckland. This photo is of me sitting on the boat and getting ready to fish for my dinner. Yes, we caught quite a few and took fish home.

Sunset Rock

This is Sunset rock, a spot Cullen and Grace visited, but during the day and not for the sunset. Mr. Munro and I watched the sunset and slapped at hungry mosquitoes the entire time. Not my idea of a good time!

Ulva Island

This is Ulva Island, home to lots of our native birds. As you can see, the island is small, and the distance from the mainland isn’t great. I loved wandering through the native trees and searching for native birds. Some of them are very shy and don’t enjoy posing for photos. Grace and Cullen walked the same paths we did and loved the experience as much as I did. Ulva Island is a wonderful place to visit.

Read an excerpt of Protecting the Bride or order your copy today!

Protecting the Bride: The Inspiration

Much of Stewart Island is uninhabited and still covered with native bush, making it a haven for many of our native birds.

Ulva Island is a bird sanctuary where some of our most endangered birds have been released and are thriving. It was a thrill and a privilege to wander through the bush and spot some of our rarer birds.

Ulva Island

The beach near the boat landing on Ulva Island.

Weka

A weka strolling along the beach.

Black Robin

A black robin, an endangered NZ bird.

Ulva Bush

The Clematis is a vine that climbs through the trees, and it is a member of the buttercup family. The flowers are white.

Shelley on Ulva Island

Shelley hugging a rimu tree on Ulva Island.

Native wood pigeon

A native wood pigeon.

Bellbird

Bellbird

The bellbird, one of NZ songbirds.

Tui

The tui is one of New Zealand’s more adaptable birds, and it is common in most parts of NZ. It’s still a very cool bird, and there were lots of them on Stewart Island.

Stewart Island is also one of the best places to go kiwi-watching. We went out at 9:00 pm and traveled to an uninhabited part of the island via boat. It was just amazing watching and hearing the kiwi feed. They didn’t seem to notice us and were unaffected by the special red light the guides use to help people spot them.

Kiwi

In my upcoming release, Protecting the Bride, Cullen and Grace visit Ulva Island to go birdwatching. They also spend an unforgettable evening looking for kiwi.

Protecting the Bride is available for pre-order and is out on 17 August 2021.

Stewart Island, Inspiration for Protecting the Bride

Stewart Island is the third-largest island in New Zealand, and it sits around thirty kilometers south of the South Island. Mr. Munro and I visited in 2020 and enjoyed our visit so much that I decided to set a book on the island. After percolating the idea for a few months, PROTECTING THE BRIDE sprang to life on the page.

Plane at Stewart Island
Transport to the island is via ferry across Foveaux Strait, which can be decidedly rough and rocky and not for the faint-hearted or poor sailors. The other method to get to the island is a quick fifteen-minute hop on a plane.

We traveled by both methods, taking the ferry over and the plane back to Invercargill. We had fantastic weather and didn’t experience the rock and roll that can give even those with a strong stomach big trouble.

Oban, the only township on the island, is small and quaint with a pub, a museum, a supermarket, a few other shops and tourism-related companies, a school, a café, and the Kai Kart, which does takeout food. It takes minutes to walk from one end to the other, but the setting is pretty with a white sandy beach and lots of native bush.

Pub and Oban township

Kai Kart for Delicious takeaway food

With only thirty-two kilometers of road, there aren’t many vehicles on the island. We walked a lot and learned to take a torch with us at night since the streetlamps are also limited.

Our accommodation was at the top of the hill. We had an incredible view of the township, the bay, and the sea beyond. The only downside was the steep hill that we had to climb each time we returned from sightseeing. I suspect my fitness levels improved during our holiday.

The steep hill

I used lots of our experiences in PROTECTING THE BRIDE, including that steep hill. Since I had to huff and puff up this hill, so did my heroine! Protecting the Bride is due for release on 17 Aug. Learn more details, read an excerpt, or pre-order here.

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Lone Wolf

Lone Wolf, my gay paranormal werewolf romance is currently on sale for 99c. To read the blurb and for purchase links check out the Lone Wolf book page.