Adventure into Romance with Shelley Munro
News About Shelley Blog Books Extras Contact Small Font Large Font

Archive for the 'Home Front' Category

M is for Middlemarch

M

Middlemarch is a small country town in the South Island of New Zealand. A few years ago I happened to catch a special interest story on our local news. The town of Middlemarch had a shortage of women of marriageable age. In order to attract more women, the town decided to hold a ball.

This idea struck me as brilliant and a good plot for one of my stories. My erotic romance series Middlemarch Mates was born—a series of twelve romances that feature a community of black leopard shapeshifters who live and love in the country town of Middlemarch.

Middlemarch

Middlemarch Cafe

Middlemarch1

ScarletWoman200x300

Emily Scarlet’s husband left her for his secretary and died in a car accident—all on the same day. Now, six months later, Emily has emerged from her chrysalis of painful memories. And to prove she has what it takes to attract a man, she’s determined to experience one perfect night of passion.

Feline shape shifter, Saber Mitchell has a problem with his four boisterous younger brothers. They’re out of control. It’s too late for him, but he hopes to get his brothers mated and settled, and the ball is the place to introduce them to marriageable women.

Unbridled sex is the last thing he plans on, but one glimpse of Emily Scarlet changes his mind. Sex with her is a necessity. They dance. They make love.

One thing is clear—a single night isn’t enough. Saber must have her for his mate, but Emily isn’t so easy to convince…or trust.

Take a visit to small town Middlemarch today Winking smile

L is for Lorde

L

Any music lover out there has probably heard of Lorde, the young New Zealand singer who is doing phenomenally well on the world stage. Since the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are currently visiting New Zealand, my choice of which of Lorde’s songs to feature was easy.

Here is Lorde singing Royals.

 

What type of music do you enjoy listening to?

K is for Kiwi

K

The kiwi is New Zealand’s national bird. In fact, the New Zealand people are also known as kiwis.

Here are some facts about the kiwi:

1. The kiwi is a flightless bird.

2. Kiwis live in pairs and mate for life.

3. They are mostly nocturnal and live in burrows.

4. They can live for between 25 – 50 years.

5. The kiwi has nostrils at the end of their beak.

6. The kiwi has one of the largest egg-to-body ratio of any bird. They’re huge!

7. The male kiwi does most of the egg incubating.

8. There are five different species of kiwis.

9. The kiwi is vulnerable to introduced pests and numbers have declined. The populations are carefully managed to ensure the bird doesn’t become extinct.

10. It’s our national icon.

bigstock-North-Island-Brown-Kiwi-Apter-37200184

Have you seen a kiwi before?

J is for Jaffas

J

A jaffa is a sweet with an orange flavored outer covering and a chocolate center. They are round in shape, and you’ll often hear jaffas rolling on the floor, especially in the movies. Their round shape makes them escape easily! They’re an Australian and New Zealand institution.

Jaffas

Each year Cadbury’s, the company that makes jaffas in New Zealand, releases 30,000 of their jaffas on Baldwin Street in Dunedin, NZ (the steepest street in the world). This occurs during their chocolate festival.

I like jaffas—it’s the combination of orange and chocolate that takes me back to childhood.

JAFA is also a slang term for an Aucklander. It is short for Just Another F****** Aucklander. I guess, by definition, I am a JAFA Smile

What is your favorite sweet?

I is for Idols

I

New Zealand might be a small country, but our people think big. We’re high achievers because we don’t believe in the words, “I can’t.”

At least that’s my theory.

Today, I’m going to mention two great New Zealanders.

Katherine Wilson Shepherd, known as Kate, was born in Liverpool, England, but she migrated to Christchurch, New Zealand in her early twenties. Kate Shepherd was part of the New Zealand women’s suffrage movement, and she and her group campaigned to gain women the vote. In 1893 New Zealand became the first country to grant women the vote.

Kate Shepherd is depicted on the New Zealand ten-dollar note. In September we have an election, and I intend to exercise my right to vote, since Kate Shepherd worked so hard to win me that right.

Sir Edmund Hillary was one of the first men to climb Mt Everest, the highest mountain in the world. On 29 May 1953 he, along with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, reached the summit and spent 15 minutes before descending. His famous words, “We knocked the bastard off.” always make me smile.

Sir Edmund attended primary school in Tuakau, the small town where I attended high school. Sir Edmund spent a lot of time in Nepal and built schools to give something back to the Nepalese people. Sir Edmund Hillary is depicted on the New Zealand five-dollar note.

Which one of your countrymen or women do you admire?

H is for Haka

H

The haka is a Maori war dance or a challenge, which is performed by males. The word haka actually means dance and in the past, women used to take part too.

These days, many of our sports teams do the haka. The All Blacks, our rugby team, do the haka before each game against another country. It’s a challenge to their opposition. Our Sevens rugby team perform the haka if they win a tournament. You might have seen them during do their haka after their recent win at the Hong Kong tournament. They take off their shirts and…

*waving face*

More about the Sevens later. Our defence forces sometimes do a haka at a funeral for fallen comrades or during other ceremonial times, such as when they ship out of a country–a kind of a farewell.

Below is a series of videos featuring the haka.

 

And it’s back to my favorite haka – the one the New Zealand Sevens Rugby team does every time they win a tournament. This is the haka they performed recently, in the rain at Hong Kong.

 

Have you heard of the haka before?

F is for Fishing

F

New Zealanders love their boats and fishing. Fishing is a reasonably cheap activity since you don’t need a licence, except if you want to fish for fresh-water fish such as trout.

My husband’s family are all very keen fishermen. Me—not so much. I think the sport is cruel and I always feel very sorry for the fish. Not that my feelings stop hubby’s interest in the hobby. He goes out as often as he can. All of these photos were taken on the Hauraki Gulf, not far from Auckland.

Hammerhead Shark

This is a hammerhead shark, and it was released after this photo was taken.

Baby shark

Another shark—a different variety this time—released again after the photo.

Hubby Fishing

Busy fishing. The island in the background is the dormant volcano, Rangitoto. It’s an Auckland landmark.

Hubby with Fish

Hubby with some of his catch.

SIL Fishing

And my sister-in-law with her catch.

Do you like to fish?

A is for Auckland

I’m an A – Z virgin, and I’m looking forward to tackling this challenge. Since I live in New Zealand, I thought this would make a great theme for my posts. I intend to introduce you to my home country and also to some of my romance novels, which are set in my home country.

A is for Auckland

Mt Eden, Auckland

This is the view of the central business district of Auckland and the Sky Tower, taken from the top of Mt. Eden, a dormant volcano. In the foreground you can see the crater of the volcano.

Auckland Harbor Bridge

This is the Auckland Harbor Bridge that spans the harbor.

Sky Tower

Sky Tower can be seen from all over Auckland. It’s the largest tower in the Southern Hemisphere.

 

Six Things About Auckland

1. Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand, although it’s not the capital. The population is spread out over a big area.

2. The city of Auckland is built on and around a field of dormant volcanoes.

3. It’s also known as the City of Sails since there are so many boats on the harbor and has excellent fishing.

4. Auckland is the gateway to the rest of New Zealand. Both cruise ships and planes arrive in Auckland.

5. No matter where you live in Auckland, a beach isn’t far away.

6. The Sky Tower in Auckland is the tallest in the Southern hemisphere.

Auckland is my home, and I’ve written several romances, which are set here. The perfect way to armchair travel to Auckland.

There’s The Bottom Line, Past Regrets, Summer in the City of Sails, Make That Man Mine and One Night of Misbehavior.

Visit the A – Z Challenge blog

Gaudi’s Great Masterpiece

Of all Gaudi’s designs, I think the Sagrada Familia is probably one of the most ambitious and interesting buildings. It certainly dominates the skyline.

View of Barcelona

This is the Sagrada Familia as seen from a hilltop.

Exterior Queue

And here is a view of the Sagrada Familia from the other side of the road. All the people standing in front are in a queue to enter the building. The Familia is still under construction and tourist revenue is providing the funds to complete the building. As an aside, a New Zealander is responsible for completing Gaudi’s design and making any necessary adjustments during the building process.

We stood in line for an hour before we gained admittance. Hubby muttered a bit about the wait, but I stood firm. Everyone we’d met said how amazing the building was inside and I wanted to see with my own eyes.

Work in Progress

Exterior Figure

The exterior of the building is covered with carvings of people, animals and decoration.

Exterior near entrance

Here is some of the carving near the entrance to the interior.

Interior

The interior is full of marble columns. Some are pink and others are white. When I walked inside, I didn’t know where to look first. There are stained glass windows, dozens of columns and so much more.

If you’re ever in Barcelona, you have to put this on your travel itinerary. It’s well worth the wait to gain admittance.

Love and Weddings

Hubby and I attended a wedding over the weekend. We had such a great time. The weather was beautiful, the company great, and it was a gorgeous setting looking out over Karioitahi Beach.

 

Once in awhile,

Right in the middle of an ordinary life,

Loves gives us a fairy tale.

~ Anonymous

        Shelley Dressed For Wedding  Flowergirl

        View Karioitahi Beach  Cutting The Cake

Cute Wedding Guest and Rose Petals

How was your weekend?