Adventure into Romance with Shelley Munro
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Archive for the 'Potpourri' Category

Colds, Flu and Winter Ills

On the whole, I’m a fairly healthy person. I don’t catch many colds or flu-type bugs. I think a lot of it is because I don’t have children. When we were kids we were always sick, and I’ve noticed that people with children tend to get sick more. There are a lot of bugs spread around at schools. At least that’s my theory.

My husband thinks we keep healthy because he puts garlic in everything and we eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables. I know garlic has medicinal properties so he could be right.

The coldest part of our winter doesn’t hit until July and August, so it’s possible I might get sick yet. I’ve never had flu shots. Mr. Munro hasn’t either even though his employer provides them free of charge. My father usually has a flu shot as does my MIL.

Do you get sick every winter? Do you have flu shots? What do you think of my theories?

I Love You

Since I discovered romance when I was about twelve, I’ve been a voracious reader. There’s something about the romantic journey and the growing intimacy between a couple that hooks me, and I’m a real sucker for a happy ending. Some people call romances trite and predictable, but I find the predictability comforting. I like knowing the couple will end up together, and I live for the moment when they admit their love for each other.

I like romances where the couple openly state their love and say the three little words—“I love you.” I’m not as keen on romances where the main couple end up happy-for-now and there’s a hint the relationship might not last. For me, it’s important the couple commit to each other. In all of the books I write, the featured couple admit their love and say, “I love you” because that’s the way I like it.

What about you? Do you need the main couple to state their love or are you fine with merely a happy ending and the implication that they love each other? Are the words important?

Looking Forward To The Future

Yesterday I attended a sales presentation for a retirement village. I’m a long way from retirement yet, but I thought it would be interesting to explore the local retirement village at closer quarters. I’m always ready to do something in the name of research because I never know when it will come in handy for a story. Oh, and did I mention there was a free lunch involved? That was the tipping point since I didn’t have anything better to do.

Like many people I’ve heard horror stories about the way these places work, but hubby and I often see the residents out walking and the grounds look beautiful – what we can see of them.

Let me start by saying that not all retirement villages are created equal. Some go bankrupt because of poor management while others have bad reputations. Some retirement villages include rest homes and hospitals. This one doesn’t, instead catering to those who are fairly independent. Buying into a village like this is not a monetary investment. Residents purchase a right to occupy a property. If they die or require the use of a rest home, their families receive 75% of their purchase price back. The other 25% of the purchase price gets written off over five years. If a resident leaves within five years they get a portion of this 25% back as well, worked out on a daily basis. Once a resident dies, the property passes back to village ownership and is resold.

In return for their money the resident receives security and companionship. They have a say in the running of the village via a representative council and can join in one of the thirty-three activities on offer or they can do their own thing. This particular village has a bus so those who don’t enjoy driving or can’t doesn’t need to depend on friends or family to take them out. There is 24 hour medical care available from a nurse in the case of an emergency. Family and friends are welcome to visit and use the amenities, and they also have a motel room that can be booked for visitors. The amenities include a gym, a heated swimming pool, a bowling green, a restaurant, a library and a bar. The village has an active social club that runs the bar and has happy hour several times a week.

Evidently the bar and happy hour is well attended, but the manager of the club laughingly joked they had a problem with drinking and driving. But, he commented, that was better than the problem of prostitutes some of the other villages experienced. I had to laugh at that. Erotic romance writer that I am, my mind went all sorts of places.

The village management are responsible for building insurance and maintenance, all property rates (taxes) plus water rates. Residents remain responsible for power, telephone and personal contents insurance.

I inspected several of the housing options, which range from apartments to two and three bedroom units. Most of them have beautiful gardens and decent sized outdoor areas. There are gardeners and grounds people to take care of lawns etc, but residents are welcome to do their own gardens. I ride past several of the tidy vegetable plots when I go for my daily bike ride.

I left after lunch and two glasses of red wine (that magically refilled when I wasn’t looking!) with a very favourable opinion of this style of retirement. While it’s not an investment opportunity, a village like this has much to offer a healthy and independent retiree. I’ll definitely be checking it out again once I near retirement age.

I know retirement is probably a long way off for most of you, but do you have any idea of how you would like to spend your golden years?

Teaching Young People To Save

When I was a child, we had a weekly banking day at school, and we’d take along a small deposit for our savings account at the local town bank. It wasn’t a large deposit—usually somewhere along the lines of 20 or 50 cents, but it was surprising how much our bank accounts grew. It was a great lesson in saving, and one I took with me into adulthood. When I started my first job, I saved part of my wages each week as well—a good decision as it happens, since I returned to “school” and trained in accountancy, paying my own way for two years before getting a job again.

Money Tree and Saving

These days, I’m constantly surprised by the way people live from week to week and spend their entire wage. When I worked at McDonald’s and did the wages, the mainly young crew were always short of money, blowing their wages well before it was pay day again. My sister-in-law paid the wages for an older workforce and they behaved in much the same manner.

My twenty-four-year-old nephew spends all his money, usually because of a huge phone bill and socializing. The only reason he saves any money is because he still lives at home and his mother takes part of his wages and banks it. He can’t withdraw the money without his mother’s signature.

From my observations, the lack of saving for the future happens outside of New Zealand too. I think it’s important to save a little, either to cover emergency expenses that hit us all at times or for a special treat for the family such as a holiday or a new gadget. Does this make me an old fuddy-duddy, because most youngsters don’t seem to care and expect their parents to fix the problem?

Quite frankly, I think there is a point where we, as parents, need to step back and let our kids stand or fall on their own, and this includes the arena of personal responsibility with money. Maybe some of these firms who lend money or offer interest free loans to purchase consumer goods should also have to back off a bit instead of making the lending process so easy. Maybe instead of giving loans for one hundred percent of a consumer item, the purchaser should have to come up with a larger deposit.

What do you think about saving? How to you teach your children to value money and save for a rainy day?

Blink. Blink.

The other night I was watching some coverage of the Olympic Games on television. I observed the announcer, and suddenly, all I could focus on was him blinking. Blink. Blink. Blink. Honestly, his eyes reminded me of a warning light flicking off and on. It was weird.

EyeIt’s natural for people to blink. We do it to keep our eyes moist and in good health. We also blink to stop foreign objects such as dust or tiny insects getting in our eyes. A great analogy is that blinking is like the action of a windscreen wiper on a car. On average, a person blinks 10 – 20 times per hour. (I had difficulty finding an answer that everyone agreed on.)

In body language terms, excessive blinking tends to mean that a person is thinking hard. Often, a person who is lying blinks a lot since they need to concentrate to maintain the lie. I heard that body language experts counted the number of times Mr. Clinton blinked when he was busily denying things.

A single blink might indicate surprise. If a woman is blinking excessively while in the presence of a man, then she’s probably flirting with the gentleman.

Have you noticed excessive blinking before?

Trust

A common theme in romance novels is building trust or in some cases rebuilding it enough to make a relationship work. In my book Scarlet Woman, the heroine Emily discovers her husband has had an affair with his secretary. Her husband leaves her and subsequently dies in a car accident. For Emily, trusting another man is difficult. While she’s willing to have fun with the hero Saber, it takes her time to believe in him and accept he’s trustworthy enough to enter into a commitment and a permanent relationship.

Trust can be many things. In After the Affair by Julia Cole, Ms Cole says trust can include the following:

1. Reliability – if a person or partner carries out or commits to a promise, then you’re more likely to trust them.
2. Predictability – knowing how a person will react in a given situation makes it easier to trust them. Predictability isn’t always boring.
3. Honesty – people who tell the truth are more likely to gain our trust. Those who are caught out in lies immediately break the bonds of trust.
4. Loyalty – remaining loyal to a partner is essential to build trust.
5. Commitment – caring for a partner through both good and bad times builds trust.
6. Common boundaries – having shared goals and attitudes helps build trust.

For me, trust is being able to rely on someone and knowing they will do the right thing in the face of temptation. It’s being able to believe in a person without a single doubt and feeling confident about their probable actions. Trust is a leap of faith.

How do you define trust? Writers—have you written a story where trust is a big part of the conflict? Readers—have you read and enjoyed a story where trust plays a part in the plot of the story?

Birth Order Part Two

I’m continuing my post on birth order today and talking about last born and only children. Go here for the first part of the post on birth order.

Last borns have fun personalities. They’re usually good communicators, but they can be selfish and manipulative. They’re trustworthy and open and tend to hog the limelight. Sometimes they’re dreamers. I actually see a little of my sister in this description, although I wouldn’t call her selfish.

According to the article I consulted, last born children think the Nike wrote their famous ad slogan for them. They love to “just do it.” The youngest child in the family often wants to prove to everyone else (especially older siblings) that they’re capable of doing anything they set their mind to. Last borns love to talk and like to show off, hogging the limelight.

Some last borns have big egos and with that comes impatience. They can be temperamental and spoiled. They make excellent actors and often work in the sales arena with much success.

Only children are good decision makers. They’re well-organized and problem solvers. They believe in themselves. On the downside, they can be self-centered and too critical of themselves. They’re sometimes lonely.

Only children have many of the traits of the first born child. Additionally, they will often make out that they’re in the right and ignore the opinions of others. Like first borns, an only child makes an excellent company director.

Source: Lifestyle Magazine June/July 2000, The New Birth Order Book: Why you are the way you are by Dr Kevin Lernan.

Do you fit in either of these categories? Do these character traits ring true?

A Post of Random: Olympics, Chocolate Creme Eggs, Books by Theme

I’ve been watching the Olympic games and enjoying the mens’ speed skating plus the downhill skiing. Nice suits, that’s all I’m saying. :mrgreen:

How do the sports announcers manage to get their tongues around some of the contestants’ names? Talk about tongue tangling. Just as well I don’t have the job.

The little widget on our computer says 45 days to go until our holiday. I can’t wait to head out for our Pacific cruise, but I keep thinking about all the things I need to do before I leave on holiday. Lists are good!

I’ve added some new photos of Britain and New Zealand to my website photo album.

I’ve also added a new books by theme page to my website. If you enjoy certain plot lines, such as reunited lovers or menage a trois, or settings such as small town or cities, check out this page for easy reference.

Mr. Munro and I have been watching Nestle Hottest Home Baker, a local reality show to choose the best baker. Last night they baked scones and pavlova. The great thing is that there’s one guy in the final lineup. I predict I’ll be trying out some of the recipes in the future.

And finally, the New Zealand public are in an uproar because Cadbury have changed the recipe for their Cadbury Creme Eggs. The eggs are now being made in the UK and imported to New Zealand instead of being produced here. They taste different, and I’m not impressed. Last year they started using palm oil in their chocolate (they changed this after adverse publicity) and they’ve discontinued a lot of our old favorites. Cadbury – this is the reason I purchase Whittakers chocolate now.

Notes on Thinking

I do my very best thinking in the shower. I think about my day. I think about my current work-in-progress and plotting problems. I think about my goals. The only problem with doing my thinking in the shower is that I can’t take notes. By the time I get out of the shower, some of my brilliance is forgotten. So, imagine my excitement when I saw Stepcase Lifehack’s post on Productivity PrOn: 5 Unusually Useful Nightpads and found a mention of some special notebooks.

Here they are — Aqua Notes – the waterproof notepad.

Photobucket

I wonder if they ship to New Zealand because I want some!!

Where do you do your best thinking?

Things About Shelley

I received a Kreative Blogger award from Debra Kayn this week. Thanks so much, Debra!!

Kreativ Blogger Award

Now, I’m meant to list seven random things about myself – things that you might not know.

Seven Random Things About Shelley Munro

1. My all-time favorite destination to visit is India. It’s a fasinating, colorful, full-on country with friendly people, delicious food, interesting stops, white sandy beaches, lots of history. The complete holiday destination.

2. My husband and I are going to foster dogs and maybe rabbits this year. We both miss Scotty so much, and we’re not ready to replace her yet.

3. I go for a walk with hubby most days – summer and winter – after dinner. The weather has to be really bad before we forgo our walk. It’s nice chatting about our days and things we want to do or have done. We see animals and birds and the stars or a sunset. It’s all good.

4. I’m a good cook, quite capable of making just about anything, but don’t do much in the way of cooking because hubby enjoys it. Cooking relaxes him after a stressful day. I can live with that, although I need to train him to give me smaller portions this year.

5. I work better with a routine and schedule. Things coming out of left-field throw me off stride and upset my day.

6. I get irritated when my husband keeps beating my Wii scores. Yep, I confess. I’m a bad loser when it comes to the Wii.

7. Tomato sauce is one of my favorite condiments. It’s the best invention ever. Freshly ground black pepper is also acceptable.

This month I’m doing an online course with Allison Brennan via the Kiss of Death chaper. The class is called Breaking Rules to Break In or Break Out. I figure I might as well get in the mood and do things my way, so instead of following the rules, I’m going to make my own. We’ll go random.

Tell me two random things about yourself.