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

Archive for the 'Potpourri' Category

Fear!

FearFear–it’s the gut-wrenching anxiety that strikes us all in moments of extreme stress, when our limbs tremble, our face goes pale, and we scream until we’re hoarse.

Some people dislike flying, Indiana Jones hates snakes, and I fear fairground rides. I’m sure you know the ones I mean—rides where you hurtle down steep hills, turn upside down and spin around against gravity. An adrenaline junkie I’m not!

When I was a child, one of our middle-age aunts visited Disneyland. She loved it and her description of the hair-raising rides and the way she’d said naughty words while screaming her head off made us bug-eyed with astonishment. It was difficult not to laugh at the vision my aunt painted.

Fast forward several years to my visit to Disneyland with my husband and sister.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” my husband asked.

“I’m at Disneyland,” I said firmly. “This is what people do when they come to Disneyland.”

I should have known better. While I was projecting confidence, I should have been crying “Fool! Fool! Stay far, far away. Run!”

So we queued up with everyone else for Splash Mountain. The entire time I laughed and chatted with my husband and sister, told myself I would be fine. No problem. If Aunt X could do this then so could I. We came to our turn and climbed into the hollowed out log. Off we went…

From the moment the ride started, I wanted to get off. My hands didn’t rise jubilantly into the air like everyone else’s—they held the safety bar in a white-knuckle grip. Even now, countless years later, I remember the paralyzing fear that squeezed me when our log went down the final steep incline. While everyone else shrieked with enjoyment, my throat constricted so tight that not a sound emerged. I closed my eyes and hoped for the best. At the bottom, wet but still in one piece, my legs trembled as I scrambled to stand on solid ground again. The contents of my stomach sloshed around uneasily, and I swallowed a lot…you probably get the picture without more graphic descriptions.

I don’t remember any of the rides after Splash Mountain. Actually, I think my mind blocked the horror of it all, but I was determined to try the different rides and get my money’s worth. Yep, it’s the curse of the thrifty farm girl. I had to finish what I started even if it scared me half to death.

Of course, no one is getting me on one of those rides again. I’m older, wiser, and not afraid to state my terror. No, I won’t stop my husband going. I might even go with him, but I’ll be hanging out in the kid’s zone and chatting to Mickey Mouse. Really, no one is talking me into going through that again!

What do you fear?

When Scribbit: a blog about motherhood in Alaska posted details of a contest about Fear, I decided this was the perfect time to confess my greatest fear. If you would like to do a post about Fear it’s not too late to enter the contest, which closes on 21 October. Here’s the link to the details.

Recipe For A Family

Today I’m participating in a mass blogging! WOW! Women on Writing has gathered a group of blogging buddies to write about family relationships. Why family relationships? We’re celebrating the release of Therese Walsh’s debut novel today. The Last Will of Moira Leahy: A Novel
(Random House, October 13, 2009) is about a mysterious journey that helps a woman learn more about herself and her twin, whom she lost they were teenagers. Visit the Muffin to read what Therese has to say about family relationships and view the list of all my blogging buddies. And make sure you visit www.theresewalsh.com to find out more about the author.

Family –there’s no doubt families can be fun, irritating, supportive, encouraging or they can be a pain in the neck, causing total misery. When it comes to families the saying the good, the bad and the ugly certainly fits.

My own family is complicated. My parents divorced when I was a teenager and that marital split changed the design of our family. I think this personal history shows its face in the sometime theme that shows up in my writing. I tend to write about people seeking security and often that security takes the form of a newly formed family. It might not be a traditional one, but it’s a family none the less.

Most of us would define a family as a group of persons with a common ancestry, but Webster’s dictionary says a family can also be a group of individuals living under one roof. That’s right! Individuals don’t need to be related to each other in order to become a tight-knit unit or family.

Robyn Carr writes the Virgin River series, which is one of my favorites. The first book Virgin River (Virgin River, Book 1) tells the story of Melinda Monroe, a nurse practitioner, who starts afresh in the township of Virgin River. It’s a small town and as the series progresses, it’s a joy to experience the sense of family that Robyn Carr evokes in her books. Only a few of the characters are blood relations but they learn to depend on each other in both good and bad times. This is to me what a family is about.

I have a new release called House of the Cat out on Wednesday. My hero Ryman Coppersmith is adopted into a loving family as a child. Unfortunately there’s jealousy bubbling under the surface, his stepbrother sets him up and he’s accused of a murder. Ry is forced to flee for his life. We first meet Ry several years later. During the passing years, he’s become captain of a spaceship. He’s a good man and tends to collect people who are down and in trouble. They usually end up as part of his crew, their loyalty to Ry and each other blending them into a family. When Ry decides it’s time to take revenge on his brother and clear his name, they’re there for him one hundred percent. Ry and his crew will do anything for each other. It’s all for one and one for all. A true family.

How would you define a family?

Scootin’ Along

When we were in Phuket the first thing we noticed was the large number of bikes and scooters. They were a very popular mode of transport and it was a common sight to see the entire family–father, mother and two kids–all loaded up on the bike and scootin’ off to their destination.

Students used them to travel to school. Parents picked up their kids after school. Workers used them to travel to work. I even saw a man and his dog off to conduct their business with the dog calmly sitting on the front. They even ride them when it rains, wearing cheap blue raincoats to keep off the worse of the water. The parking areas were always full of bikes.

Bikes and scooters are also popular in many of the Pacific Islands and you’ll see some quite large people squeezed on them, their bodies sort of overflowing…

Here are some of the photos I took while in Phuket.

Photobucket

Father and daughter on bike

Photobucket

Mother, father and daughter.

Photobucket

Modified bikes for trade.

Photobucket

Bikes for hire.

Photobucket

Pretty Pink!

Have you ridden a bike/scooter?

Newsflash: Tomorrow I have an interview with agent Holly Root from the Waxman Literary Agency. I hope you’ll stop by and visit.

Fake Friends

I always find intriguing human interest stories when I buy the New Zealand Herald, and the one I found this week has given me some great ideas for a new plot.

The story is about young professional people in Japan. They’re so busy working that they don’t have time to make friends. The new trend is to hire actors or fake friends to fill out party numbers and make themselves look popular. When a man or woman is getting married, and they don’t have a large family, they hire people to swell family numbers. Here’s a link to the story in the Telegraph.

Our Prime Minister John Key is currently in New York for the United Nations summit. Today he’s been on Letterman and he also rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange. I really like our Prime Minister. He’s very down to Earth and has a real gift for chatting to people. He’s also doing a good job.

Do you think you’d ever hire fake friends? Did you see our Prime Minister on the telly?

Menace in the Kitchen.

I feel as if I should cue the creepy “Jaws” music because today I’m discussing a very serious topic…

Dangerous kitchen equipment.

There’s loads of potential for injury in the kitchen, but the one bit of equipment that has injured me the most, the one piece I fear is the…

Grater

Yep, the humble grater.

I’ve grated my knuckles on numerous occasions, drawn blood and bled on the cheese. These days I steer clear of it because grated knuckles take forever to heal!

Which piece of kitchen equipment do you fear most?

AUGUST BLOG PARTICIPATION WINNER
The winner of my August blog participation contest is Patsy Hagen. Congratulations, Patsy! I’ve emailed you about your prize.

Don’t forget every month I give away a prize to one person who visits my blog and posts a comment. You never know–this month it could be you!

Super Humans

Recently I watched the FBI drama Eleventh Hour and the episode dealt with super soldiers. In a coincidence, I’m reading the second book in Bianca D’Arc’s Resonance Mates series. (You know the one I mentioned in yesterday’s post—the one I don’t have time to read!) The series is about the Alvian race who takes over Earth. The only humans who survive the attacks are the ones with psychic gifts. The Alvians have taken genetics to the max and have no emotions. Anyone with emotions is suspect and the few remaining humans are subjected to experiments, some of which are horrid. Ms D’Arc writes a great book with awesome world building.

Nalini Singh’s Psy series also deals with something similar- the Psy race have managed to cancel out all emotions in order to make a “perfect” life.

In fiction I can live with this scenario, although I’m not sure I understand the drive behind a race seeking the perfect being. My personal opinion is that disease etc is nature’s way of limiting population. Emotions, both good and bad, bring color to life.

Anyhow, my question is do you think a super or perfect person is a good thing? Does anyone have any recommendations for sci-fi romances in a similar vein?

I have a guest spot at coco & kelley about travel. This blog is a new discovery for me and I enjoy my visits there, indulging my love of pretty clothes, interior decorating and the like. Here’s the link.

On That Farm There Were Some Hens

Mr. Munro and I both agree. On that alpaca farm, we’ll have some hens.

Hen and Chicks, istock

There’s nothing better or more satisfying than eating the fresh eggs you’ve collected. Of course, I know from experience that some hens take issue with egg stealing and they fight back. Hen pecks aren’t much fun. They hurt!

I also know (from experience) that if it’s meal time you don’t muck around with dispersing those vegetable scraps or hen pellets. Get in and get out. It’s no fun being mobbed by a flock of hungry birds.

At egg eating time, make sure you crack that egg into a cup first because there’s always the chance, especially if the kids have collected the eggs, that the egg might be a bit old. It’s no fun having to start measuring the baking ingredients again because the egg was off.

But there are good times as well. Picture that fresh breakfast egg and the way it tastes. It’s fun watching the chicks peck their way from eggs and seeing the hens with chickens pecking for grubs in the paddock. Ah, yes. Fun times on that farm.

Do you have any experiences to share? Do you like eating eggs?

I Wanna Be An Alpaca Farmer

A few years ago, during a trip to the Gold Coast in Australia, we went on a tour of the Hinterland. Part of the tour was a visit to an alpaca farm. I fell in love with the alpacas then and told my husband I wanted one.

Alpaca, Clevedon, NZ

Alpacas are the smaller cousins of llamas and camels and are natives of the Andes region. These days they are found in many different parts of the world including Australia and New Zealand and are prized for their fleece. Garments made out of alpaca fleece are soft and beautiful. Quite expensive too.

Alpaca Herd, Hamilton

Alpacas are herd animals and are happiest with others of their kind. They are quiet and intelligent, fairly easy animals to handle and disease resistant. They are known to spit, which apparently isn’t very pleasant, and this is their only method of defense.

Alpaca, NZ

So, the first thing I’m going to do, should I ever get a windfall, is buy a few hectares of land and stock it with some cute alpacas. Yeah, I’d really like to be an alpaca farmer.

Where Do You Hide Yours?

FYI – I hide mine in the fridge. :grin:

When was your last?

Um…I have to think about that…

What More Could I Wish For?

Ooh yes…I’ll take one now… :mrgreen:

Timtams are an Australian invention–one of their best, I have to say. And I don’t think we can take credit for the clever ads either. Hmm, I think it’s time. I’m going to add a packet of Timtams to my shopping basket this weekend.

What are your favorite store-bought biscuits?

#8 Wire

Number eight wire is a gauge or thickness of wire used for fencing. In New Zealand it’s also a term used to indicate a can-do attitude. A number eight wire mentality means that a person can turn their hand to anything or will attempt to do anything even though it seems impossible. This term comes from the fact that #8 wire was used to repair almost everything when a better alternative wasn’t available.

I like to think I apply #8 wire mentality towards my writing. I try to never give up, no matter how many knockbacks I receive. After a rejection, I dust myself off and leap in again with both feet. Insert wry grin – I’ve had a little practice at this recently…still ticking along…

Here’s the link to a Tim Finn song called Couldn’t Be Done which always cheers me when I hear it. It’s a song about doing the impossible. (Note – for those who think Tim looks familiar, he was in bands Split Enz and Crowded House)

Recently this new Toyota ad has started playing on our TV screens. It’s a cute look at the New Zealand can-do attitude.

What is your favorite inspiration for times when things are a bit tough? A saying? A favorite book? A movie? A person?