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Gift Ideas for the Avid Readers in Your Life

Gifts for Christmas
Looking for some fun gift ideas for the avid readers in your life?

Good news. You’ve come to the right place.

I’ve teamed up with some fellow authors to share our picks for the perfect gifts (in a variety of price ranges!) for readers to cozy up with. The only other thing they’ll need is a great book.

Without further ado, here is our roundup of the top gift ideas for readers:

Huhuhero Fineliner Color Pen Set

These color pens are perfect for bullet journaling, coloring and notetaking in general. At just $6.98, they come in a 10-pack of vivid colors. They write smoothly and are just plain fun!

Product suggested by L. Danvers, YA Paranormal Romance Author

Literary Candles

Have you ever seen anything so adorable? These bookish candles feature custom scents designed to evoke fond memories of your favorite literary tales – from Sherlock Holmes to Jane Eyre. Sixteen bucks for a gift your loved one will rave about? Yes, please!

Product suggested by Cecelia Mecca, Paranormal Romance Author

Long Distance Friendship Lamp

This gift is on the high end, price wise, but as I have several loved ones who live far away, I love the idea behind it and it seems like a lovely way to touch their heart!

Product suggested by D.M. Marlowe, Paranormal Romance Author

I Love Reading Fleece Luxury Blanket

Know an avid reader who simply wants to snuggle up with a good book and be left alone? Then this blanket is sure to make them smile. (Mental note to self: do not mess with L.G. Castillo when she’s reading.)

Product suggested by L.G. Castillo, Paranormal Romance Author

Mismatched Fingerless Mittens

Keeping your hands warm doesn’t have to be boring. These fingerless gloves are colorful with a bit of whimsy. Perfect for long winter nights.

Product suggested by Beth Caudill, Paranormal Romance Author

Aqua Love Notes Waterproof Notepad

Since I do all my best thinking in the shower…

Product suggested by Shelley Munro, Paranormal Romance Author

 

We hope you found this list helpful. We’d love to know – are any of these products on your Christmas wish list this year? Let us know in the comments below.

PARANORMAL ROMANCE AUTHORS | GIFT IDEAS | GIFTS FOR READERS | CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS FOR READERS PARANORMAL ROMANCE AUTHORS | GIFT IDEAS | GIFTS FOR READERS | CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS FOR READERS

Cats and Romance – Check Meowt! #books #romance #cats

Kitten

September is the month of the cat.

Cats—both wild and domestic—come from the Felidae family. Around eight to twelve million years ago cats evolved into two categories, which scientists called Old World and New World species. The cat family was also classified into two further groups. Big cats that roared e.g. lions, tigers etc were Panthera while the smaller cats that didn’t roar were placed in the Felis group.

Our modern-day domestic cats evolved from the Felis group. Experts think the African wildcat chose to live close to humans in Egypt and became domesticated. From here traders took cats into Italy and they spread through Europe and western Asia.

These days many of us own cats. They’re excellent companions. They entertain us. And who doesn’t enjoy the purr of a cat. It’s very relaxing to listen to a content cat.

Cats are independent, full of curiosity and they love to explore. They’re fastidious and self-cleaning. Many people are convinced they’re the perfect pet.

With so many cat lovers around, it’s not surprising that cats have found their way into romances.
If you’d like to read a romance featuring a cat, try one of these https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/36815.Cats_Wonderful_Pets_in_Romance

Personally, I’m a fan of feline shifters—the roaring group of cats—and I’ve written leopard, lion and tiger shapeshifters.

If you’re a fan of feline shifters check out one of my Middlemarch Shifters series, Middlemarch Capture series or my House of the Cat series.

And if you enjoy historical romances, my heroine in The Spurned Viscountess adopts a stray cat.

Sleep and Tips for Getting a Good Night of Rest #sleep

A dog sleeping
Humans spend one third of their lives sleeping, and recent research suggests that we’re sleeping one to two hours less per night on average.

I watched a British documentary on sleep this week and found it interesting. As I get older, I find I have more trouble sleeping, and I’m not alone. Sleep problems are common among all ages. Instead of sleeping, we watch television, play with our phones, computers and other gadgets.

Too little sleep can be dangerous. Your mind isn’t quite as sharp. There is a risk of falling asleep while driving or operating machinery. When we’re tired we often crave sugar so lack of sleep can lead to obesity and diabetes.

So what are some tips and tricks to aid sleep?

1. Make your bedroom a place to sleep. Remove the TV and the gadgets. You don’t want the blue light from gadgets interrupting your sleep or a text message waking you.

2. Are your bed and mattress comfortable? This can make all the difference to your sleep quality.

3. Have a warm bath or shower before going to bed. This will help you relax.

4. Don’t have naps in the afternoon. Try and hold out until it is bed time.

5. Try and stick to a schedule when it comes to your sleep. Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time.

6. Get out in the sunshine in the morning and avoid bright light in the afternoon to get your body clock in rhythm.

7. Wind down during the hour before sleep. Listen to music or read a book. Reading a book is my favorite way to unwind.

8. Stay away from alcohol, heavy meals and cigarettes for two to three hours before sleeping. Caffeine can stop your body from relaxing. Alcohol can affect your ability to sleep.

9. Temperatures can affect sleep. Around 20C/70F is about right but experiment what works for you. I sleep much better when it is cooler.

10. Daily exercise can help regular sleep patterns, but don’t try to exercise just before bed time.

How is your sleep? Do you have trouble getting a good night of sleep?

Moon Called – Facts and Superstitions About the Moon

Moon

The moon is fascinating—at least I find it interesting. There is nothing more romantic than a walk under a cloudless sky with a full moon.

Facts about the moon:

  1. The moon is the Earth’s only natural satellite.
  2. The moon is 384,403 kilometers from the Earth.
  3. It takes the moon 27.3 days to orbit the Earth.
  4. Neil Armstrong was the first person to step on the moon. He is one of 12 people who have walked on the moon.
  5. The surface of the moon is covered with craters from collisions with comets and asteroids.
  6. The Earth’s tides are caused mainly by the gravitational pull of the moon.
  7. A lunar eclipse causes when the Earth is between the moon and the sun.
  8. The moon is shaped like an egg. The larger end points toward Earth.
  9. A survey was conducted in 1988, and 13% of those questioned believed the moon was made from cheese.
  10. The moon has no atmosphere.

Moon1

Sometimes the moon is visible during the day, which was when this photo was taken.

Moon2

There moon is the subject of many superstitions.

Here are a few:

  1. A full moon is when men transform into wolves.
  2. A full moon is a good time to start a new job or finish old business.
  3. A full moon can make you crazy. Police and hospitals will confirm that there are more problems around a full moon.

Do you have anything to add?

Spider Cures and Superstitions

While doing some research for one of my books, I came across several superstitions regarding spiders. On the whole spiders are considered positive, and many people protected them from harm because they were considered lucky.

Here are a few superstitions:

1. If a spider is sighted during the evening, expect a letter in the morning.

2. If you kill a spider, it will rain the following day.

3. If you see a spider running toward you in the morning, misfortune will follow.

araneus diadematus

What I found slightly disturbing is that spiders were used to cure diseases such as ague, whooping cough and to treat bleeding.

The spiders were:

1. Swallowed as a medicine, disguised by jam or treacle. The spider was swallowed alive.

2. A type of pill was made enclosing the live spider in cobwebs and this was swallowed.

3. The spider was enclosed in a nut or a linen bag and worn around the neck until the spider died.

Not so good for the spider!

Spider webs were also used to bind wounds and stop bleeding. I’m not sure how well this works, but I think I’ll stick with plasters rather than experiment.

The use of spiders as medicine contradicts the idea that spiders were considered lucky.

An Orkney saying goes: If you wish to thrive, let the spider go alive.

While a Devon saying goes: Who kills a spider, bad luck betides her.

Where do you fall on the spider scale? Are they lucky or unlucky?

Source: The Penguin Guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland

How Do You Get Rid of a Stuck Song?

Earworm

You know how you get those catchy songs stuck in your head? You hear them once and suddenly you’re humming or singing the song? It becomes the song that will not go away!

These songs are called earworms.

And they’re really annoying. The more you think about them, the more they stick in your mind.

I was waiting for my toes to dry after a pedicure and came across this short snippet in Women’s Health, Australian edition, about how to get rid of earworms.

The answer: Chew gum.

Why does it work?

The motion of your jaw interrupts the earworm by distracting the part of the brain that is responsible for repetitive thinking, according to Dr. Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis, Director of the Music Cognition Lab at the University of Arkansas.

A second way to stomp on an earworm is to play another song and listen to it all the way through. Of course, you run the risk of catching another earworm!

Can you remember your last earworm?

Superstitions About Tea

ReformBadGirlCup

I picked up The Penguin Guide to Superstitions of Britain and Ireland at my local library and the section on tea grabbed me because I’ve written a romance with a tea-leaf reader heroine. I hadn’t realized tea came with so many superstitions.

Here are a few of them:

Tea pot lids – if you accidently leave the lid off the pot when making tea, a stranger will call soon. People from Suffolk believe leaving the teapot lid off means you’ll be sent for—it’s not clear by whom—while those in Somerset think the teapot lid means the services of a doctor will be required before day’s end.

Pouring the tea – It’s bad luck for two people to pour tea from the same pot. In some regions two people pouring from the same pot will result in a pregnancy (I presume there is a man and woman in the equation as well as a teapot!)

Tea Stalk or leaves – if you find a stalk or a leaf floating in your cup of tea a visitor will arrive. It’s possible the visitor will be a stranger.

Milk and sugar – If you put milk in your tea before the sugar you run the risk of losing a loved one.

There doesn’t seem to be any logic to the superstitions, but I found them interesting. The only one I’d heard of before is the one about floating tea leaves. My parents used to say to expect a visitor whenever there were floating tea leaves.

Have you heard of these superstitions or do you have any to add?

Note: The book featuring tasseography or tea leaf reading is Reformed Bad Girl.

Terms of Endearment

Endearments

“Hello, darling.”

“Stop right there, sweetheart.”

“Lookin’ good, babe!”

“Sugar-pie, honey bunch, you know that I love you.”

“Aw, snookums.”

Endearments and pet names have always been part of our vocabularies. They appear in movies, on television, we see them in books and magazines and hear them in our daily conversations. Some are cute. Some are private, kept for tender moments between lovers. Some are over-the-top saccharine-sweet and make us cringe.

As a romance writer, I sprinkle sweetheart or babe in my dialogue. It’s a good way of adding characterization. A man might use the casual “babe” because a woman’s name escapes him and he doesn’t want to look stupid. Our male character might never utter a sweetheart or love until he meets the one. Perhaps the first time the heroine hears an endearment she realizes our hero is serious about their relationship. The ceasing of endearments could be the signal that the relationship is important, or it might mean it’s over and the person doesn’t care enough to use a pet name.

I’m not averse to the odd sweet nothing. A sweetheart or love works for me, maybe babe in some situations, but if anyone calls me snookums they should watch out!

When I’m reading, I don’t mind endearments as long as they’re not overdone. If they’re used on every page I want to yank them out of the book. Violent, much? But it’s true. They can bug a reader if they’re used too often.

What do you think about endearments? Do they irritate you or make you smile? Are there any that make you cringe?

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.

Breakfast at Twenty 8 Acres, Sydney

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. It is an easy meal for a vegetarian, yet there is plenty for the meat lover too.

During our recent trip to Sydney, we checked Trip Adviser while flying over (Air New Zealand has a cool in-flight app) and came across a cafe called Twenty 8 Acres. They specialized in breakfast and lunch, and we decided to try them out since the reviews were excellent.

When we arrived, the restaurant was packed—a good sign. We waited ten minutes before securing a table. The owner/cook is Irish and the breakfast menu had an Irish flavor.

Mr Munro went straight for the full Irish Breakfast while I decided to try the Botanist and we ordered a pot of Irish Breakfast tea. The owner, with his Irish accent, was charming and efficient, a trait possessed by the rest of the wait staff. The service was excellent.

The meals were delicious. Mr Munro enjoyed his breakfast of black and white pudding, sausages, eggs, beans, potatoes and toast immensely. Mine, which was greens with poached eggs, avocado and toast, was enjoyable but there was a bit much kale for my liking. I hadn’t tried kale before, despite its current popularity, and to be honest, it’s not a vegetable I’ll ever want to have on a desert island!

Irish Breakfast

Hubby’s Irish Breakfast

Irish Breakfast Happy Hubby

A happy hubby.

Botanic Breakfast

My The Botanist breakfast with eggs, greens, avocado and seeds.

I’d be happy to visit Twenty 8 Acres again, but I’d try something else on the menu since I’m not a kale fan. Other offerings include fruit and cereal, eggs done in numerous ways. The full menu is here.

The seating area isn’t large, so I’d suggest going early, since Twenty 8 Acres is very popular with the locals for breakfast. They also do lunch. The rating on Trip Adviser is well-deserved, and I certainly recommend this restaurant.

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?