Adventure into Romance with Shelley Munro
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Do You Do It In Public?

Ah, that made you look. Sorry if I’ve disappointed you, but I’m actually talking about reading – do you read romances in public?

I used to do a lot of reading while I traveled via bus or train to work. I’ll admit that although I’d read a romance, I’d pick one off my to-read pile that didn’t have a lurid cover. These days when I go out, I take my PDA and anything goes in the reading department. If someone asks what I’m reading they get erotic romance with all the naughty words when they ask for a closer look. I’m also more likely to just grab a book and read it, no matter what the cover.

I’m off on holiday in just over a month and considering which reading material to take with me. Along with my ebooks, I’ll probably grab two or three books from my to-read pile since it’s my mission to make the pile of books beside my bed disappear this year. Most of them are erotic romance, so I guess the folks at the holiday resort will have some interesting discussions ahead. Have you seen what that woman is reading over there? I’m not too worried. I’ll be relaxing by the pool with my book and a fruity little cocktail…

Do you do it in public? Why or why not? Do lurid covers stop you from reading in a public place?

Writing and Writer’s Tools

I have a selection of interesting posts and info today.

The first is a link to Holt Uncensored that talks about ten mistakes writers make. This post makes for interesting reading and serves as a good reminder of the basics.

For those of you who like gadgets, Paperback Writer has a post about shareware and freeware especially for writers.

At Novelist Inc. Joe Nassise tells us about another writing tool, one to help in backing up a work in progress and for syncing on two different computers.

And finally for both readers and writers: I did my answers for an interview today. One of the questions was: if you could choose one dessert, what would it be? My answer, after much deliberation, was ice cream. Which dessert would you choose?

Fingers, Butter and Choices

Mr. Munro is on the injured list at the moment. He jammed his finger in a shipping container after a fumigation yesterday and is feeling miserable. He has to go for x-rays tomorrow but meanwhile has it strapped and the doctors have given him drugs. I feel so sorry for him but there’s nothing I can do. He didn’t sleep well last night. Hopefully some of the drugs the doctor gave him will help with that tonight.

The Body Shop has a mega sale on body butter. I’m a huge fan of their body butter and have purchased a large supply to last me for the entire year. I use it in lieu of perfume and have, in times of desperation, used it to tame frizzy hair. It works like a charm. Does anyone else like body butter?

I went to the local mall today and saw a billboard sign. The text captured my attention rather than the product it was advertising. I think it was alcohol of some description. Anyway, the text said: would you rather walk in on your parents or have your parents walk in on you?

An interesting dilemma. I know which I’d choose. I’d rather have my parents walk in on me. Some things just sear to the eyeballs, and I reckon this is one of them. I’d rather it wasn’t my retinas imprinted with the scene!! What about you?

Love Scenes: Risque Business!

I’ve just finished reading a book by a fairly well-known author. The writing was solid. The characterization good. The dialogue made me chuckle in a few places, and then I reached the love scenes…

Most of the love scenes took place on horseback. Now I’ve ridden a horse before. I know anything is possible, but honestly, when the hero and heroine started having anal sex on horseback (the heroine was a virgin and they were in the middle of nowhere with the baddies after them) I was ready to throw the book at the wall. The love scenes were also really long. The characters chit-chatted for so long while doing the deed I became bored and lost track of who was doing what. Pages and pages of chit-chat during a love scene does not work. I fast forwarded to find more of the same. After that I became cranky and started to notice the plot holes in the story.

My love scenes range from a paragraph to half a page to several pages. It depends on the characters, the story and what stage the relationship is at. I like to change it up when it comes to length. When it comes to location: bedroom, kitchen, hallway, outside, spa pool, a tent, a vehicle, mountains, sea, space ship… A horse or other similar moving object such as camel or elephant–no, because it doesn’t strike me as safe or sane even though it might be possible. Animals are unpredictable creatures and I keep thinking about the injuries…

So, my question for you is: how long do you like the love scenes to be in a romance? What is the strangest location you’ve read/written in a romance? Are there locations that make you go ewww!?

A Reason to Diet

Last week I taped a travel show because hubby and I are considering where we might visit next and some of the destinations looked interesting.

Singleton in Australia is one of the places they visited. It’s in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales and is known for the wife carrying competition.

Wife carrying originated in Finland. The sport is thought to originate from two historic tales. The first is a 19th century legend has it that men stole wives from neighboring villages. In a second tale, an outlaw named Rosvo-Ronkainen made potential soldiers prove themselves in a race where they carried heavy sacks. The result is the wife carrying contest.

The rules are fairly simple: everyone involved must have fun. Competitors don’t have to carry their own wives. Rules state that a part­icipant may carry his own wife, his neighbor’s wife or someone he found “farther afield.” The onl­y stipulation is that the wife must be more than 17 years of age and weigh a minimum o­f 108 pounds (49 kg). If the wife weighs less than that, she must carry a weighted rucksack to make up the difference. The official length of the track is 831 feet (253.5 meters). The surface of the track includes sections of sand, grass and gravel. There are two obstacles to climb over, as well as a 1-meter- (3.2-feet-) deep water obstacle to wade through.

Last year, Anthony Partridge and Angela Moore, both from Singleton, came fifth in the World Championship with a time of 70 seconds. The world record stands at 55.5 seconds and is held by a couple from Tallinn in Estonia.

There are three methods of carrying a wife – the traditional piggy back, the fireman’s lift and the Estonia lift, which is shown in the video.

Hubby took one took at the screen, he looked at me and then said, “I hope you realize I’d never lift you.”
I said, “I’d never let you carry me around like that.” We looked at each other, grinned and settled back to watch TV. Neither of us have any desire to try the sport.

Would you like to try wife carrying?

Books, Reading Challenges and Moms

I saw the Mom song at Leah Braemel’s blog last week and had to post it here because it made me laugh.

Early in January I posted about the Book Challenges I intended to do for this year. They’ve stalled a little because I’m judging a contest and need to read those books first, but I have two mini reviews of books for new-to-me authors I’ve read so far this year.

Love Undercover – Hailey North

Jenifer Janey Booth is a single mother, living in a small town called Doolittle. Her two twins have left for college and she’s on her own for the first time—apart from her family and relations. Despite being alone, she’s determined she doesn’t need a man. Of course that doesn’t mean that sometimes she doesn’t want one.

Eric Hamilton is undercover, trying to catch the people responsible for counterfeit money. Jenifer is his main suspect since she was witnessed chatting to two of the crooks on two occasions. He befriends Jenifer, trying to solve his crime. He’s happy with his life, moving from place to place and from one undercover assignment to the next, but he hadn’t counted on the friendly people of Doolittle and the way they embrace him into their lives. And then there’s Jenifer. That’s a definite temptation for a start. Soon he’s thinking she’s not a criminal, despite evidence to the contrary.

I chose this book from my to-read pile because I’m going through a contemporary stage after overdosing a little on paranormal stories. It’s a sweet romance rather than the spicy ones I prefer, but the characters really grabbed me. They’re loveable and very human. I cared what happened to them as they took me on a wild ride trying to solve the case. I enjoyed the small town setting and the secondary characters. The secondary plots were interesting. As a writer, I tend to analyze a book. I know it’s a good book if I stop analyzing and start reading for pleasure rather than as a research exercise. I stopped analyzing Love Undercover fairly quickly and enjoyed both the plot and pacing. This is a solid B for me.

When She Was Bad by Cindy Kirk

Jennifer Carman is a CPA. She spends all her time working, aiming for a promotion. When someone else gets the promotion she wanted, she goes to a pub with her friend Marcee. Her friend tells her she should have a one-night stand. She says no until she sees Robert Marshall. They hit it off and she ends up going home with him, but she tells him her name is Jasmine and invents a more exciting background for herself. The sex is incredible but she doesn’t intend to see him again. She meets up with Robert again and a relationship evolves. They talk about financial matters and have this side of their life in common, although Robert doesn’t realize it. Jennifer has opportunities to tell Robert the truth about herself but she keeps putting it off. Then it’s too late and Jennifer realizes she might have made the biggest mistake of her life.

Once again, I stopped analyzing pretty quickly with this book. This was a hot read with great characterization, although I thought Jennifer carried on her pretence for a little long. I liked the way she grew during the course of the book and the way her relationship with her younger sister changed and improved. The plot held my interest, and I enjoyed the financial careers of the main characters since that’s my background. I liked it enough to pick up the connected book about Marcee, Jennifer’s friend. Another B read for me.

Here’s the link to my updated new-to-me author list.

If you’re doing any reading challenges, how are they going? What are you reading at the moment? Does the video remind you of your mother?

Country Boy or City Sophistication?

So this track was playing on my iPod while Scotty and I wandered at our old-dog pace around the reserve this morning. It made me start thinking. Possibly a bad thing, but follow along…

I’m a country girl at heart, and my husband also grew up on a farm. The farming background gives us a lot in common. But I’ve also lived in towns and cities and met city boys. Their idea of dates are different for a start. A country man might take you to a rodeo, to an agricultural show or stock sales. Dinner out might be at the local pub and jeans are fine. In the city, dates are to nightclubs, nice restaurants or maybe a walk in a park. There are art galleries and museums and sexy dresses. Spiky heels that áre in no danger of sinking halfway to China when you walk beside your man. Try that in the country and see what happens!

In most of my writing, and especially in my Middlemarch series, the heroes are all country boys. Strong, capable farmers who don’t need to work out in a gym. An exception to this rule would be PLAYING TO WIN where my hero is a professional rugby player and businessman. He does a lot of promotion and charity work and is at home wearing a suit. While my Middlemarch men could do the suit thing, they’re more at home in the wide open spaces.

I like to read about both types of heroes, but I have a real soft spot for a cowboy, country male type. I like them because they’re independent, capable, usually emotionally strong and can turn their hand to anything. They’re not generally full of themselves. Maybe they’re not quite as good at romance, but we know the right woman can smooth the rough edges.

What do you think about real life – country man or a city man and why? And in fiction – which do you choose? Is your answer different and why?

This year Harlequin is celebrating sixty years of romance. They’re giving away free downloads of sixteen titles that represent most of their lines. If you haven’t checked out their free offer yet, run straight over and download the titles that grab your interest. I’ve already downloaded my share.
Here’s the link.

Penises in Paranormals

Okay. I’m totally borrowing/stealing this topic from Nicola O.

Nicola mentions in her post that penises in some paranormals are different from the norm. I’ve run across this phenomenon before. Most notable are Lora Leigh’s Breed books where barbs and knots appear during the sexual act, locking the hero and heroine together for long minutes. I remember reading this for the first time and thinking, well. That’s interesting. I’m glad it’s not me. Since this happens in nature I can accept it in a book, but it does make me squirm and not in a good way.

I remember reading ebooks written by Brenna Lyons (Kegin series) where a similar thing occured. In Brenna’s books, the heroines were a little astonished. Yep, that would be me as well.

I’ve also read a couple of sci-fi romances where the hero has two penises. For the life of me I can’t think of the title or author, but I remember that I had to read the paragraph twice. It could have been an EC book. The title will come to me, if I think about it for long enough.

Recently I’ve been reading some of Shannon McKenna’s romantic suspenses. I really enjoy Shannon’s books, but I’ve noticed that her heroes are all very well endowed and that they’re good with foreplay. They have to be because of their size. She also mentions the term “girl juice” several times, which just cracks me up.

In a more recent post Nicola also mentioned that her blog stats went crazy after her paranormal penises post, so I just had to experiment you understand and try my own penis post.

Now in my own writing I keep the size vague. I don’t go into great detail about length but I might mention appearance. My feline shapeshifters don’t have this mysterious barb, although the more I think about it, the more I want to introduce one. :grin: Watch this space.

Writers – I know most of my writer visitors write erotic romance so what do you do with the size and appearance thing?
Readers – what is your opinion of the barbs and knots and extra dangly bits? Do they make you go eek or do they just make you giggle? Do you skip those paragraphs?

Engagements: Long or short?

I have a quick question for you today, brought on by a family drama. I’m feeling all “Carrie Bradshaw” as I type this:

Do you favor long or short engagements?
How long is it before an engagement becomes simply living together?
And as for a party celebrating the event – do you think an engagement party should be held shortly after the announcement or is a large time lapse okay?

My own experience is this: Hubby and I had a short engagement of just under five months, and to be honest, if I remember it all in my next life, I’m going to elope. I found the entire experience very stressful because of all the family baggage I had to juggle. Yep, if I had the time over I wouldn’t bother with the hoopla and would head straight for the honeymoon.

What was your experience?

Politically Incorrect

Political correctness (commonly abbreviated to PC) is a term applied to language, ideas, policies, or behavior where people seek to minimize offense to gender, racial, cultural, disabled, aged or other identity groups.

Two members of the British Royal family have been in trouble recently because they’ve used words some members of the public think are out of place. Prince Harry used the word “Paki” when talking about a fellow cadet from Pakistan, and His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales called one of his friends, “Sooty”. The man he called Sooty is of Indian descent and has been known by this name for years. Here’s a link to the story.

Prince Harry apologized for his remarks, which were recorded in a private video three years ago, while the Prince of Wales’ friend Sooty has said he wasn’t offended by the long-standing nickname.

Here’s another link to a series of print ads from the past. Most of them are not very kind to women. They actually made me chuckle when I saw them, although I’m not sure I would have approved if I had been around at the time.

In New Zealand I’ve heard of children being taught alternative words to old and popular songs because the original songs are deemed inappropriate. e.g. Baa Baa Black sheep being changed to Rainbow sheep. Here’s a link to a story about the song at an English nursery.

Sometimes I just shake my head because I believe we try too hard to be politically correct. Sometimes we are too sensitive to words or ideas and forget to have a sense of humor. It must be a nightmare for people in the public eye, eg. the Royal family or political figures who have to walk the tightrope of correctness all the time. I’m not saying we should go around and use racial slurs or the like, just that we should use a bit more commonsense when it comes to political correctness.

What do you think? Do we go too far sometimes? Ladies, what did you think of the print ads?