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Thirteen Things About Grapefruit

Thursday Thirteen

Firstly, I’m visiting NJ Walters’ blog today, where I talk about love and friendship. There’s also a giveaway.

My topic today was inspired by my new body butter, which smells like pink grapefruit.

Thirteen Things About Grapefruit

1. The grapefruit is a cross between the pummelo and a sweet orange.

2. They’re thought to originate in South Asia.

3. They are part of the citrus family.

4. It’s also thought to be a hybrid that has occurred naturally rather than one that is “designed” by man.

5. Their name comes from the fact that they grow in clusters on the tree, a bit like large grapes.

6. Grapefruit come in several colors – pink, red, golden and white.

7. 75% of the grapefruit is juice.

8. A half of a grapefruit contains around 41 calories.

9. They are a high source of vitamins A and C plus fiber.

10. Most people eat grapefruit for breakfast.

11. The trees can reach up to thirty feet in height and a single tree can produce more than 1500 pounds of fruit.

12. Grapefruit reacts with cholesterol medication and my husband can’t eat them.

13. This is a poem I learned at school and have never forgotten.

I wish I was a grapefruit,

And here’s the reason why,

When you came to eat me,

I’d squirt you in the eye!

Do you like grapefruit? Or is there another type of citrus fruit that you prefer?

Fear of Flying

Thursday Thirteen

Our neighbors are currently on a plane and heading to the US for a holiday. Mrs. Neighbor is desperately terrified of flying and intended to go straight to the bar. Mrs. Neighbor isn’t alone in her fear of flying, and I thought flying would make a great topic for my TT

Thirteen Things About Fear of Flying

1. Fear of flying is quite common. A variety of factors play into the fear. Fear of heights, small spaces, traveling over water, vomiting, hijacking, and turbulence all contribute.

2. The chances of a plane crashing are very low. It’s much easier to get run over by a motor vehicle.

3. Some airlines run courses to help people cope with their fears.

4. Some people take sleeping pills and zonk out.

5. Some people have several drinks to help themselves cope.

6. Avoiding flying isn’t the best way to approach the problem.

7. Focus on the positive parts of the journey.

8. An easy way to make sure a strange noise isn’t a problem is to see if the cabin staff have suspended cabin service.

9. Experts say it’s best to keep hydrated and eat little and often to maintain energy. Evidently alcohol isn’t a good idea!

10. Out yourself and tell the cabin staff you’re a bit nervous. Get support. This is way better than suffering in silence.

11. Don’t let negative thoughts take over. If you’re not asleep keep yourself busy. Watch a movie. Listen to music. Chat with your fellow passengers.

12. Familiarize yourself with the process and noises of flying.

13. Give yourself a little treat. Buy your favorite magazine or treat yourself to that book, audio book or e-book you’ve been wanting to read but haven’t had time for yet. Buy a box of your favorite chocolates at the duty-free shop.

The more I fly, the less I like it. I need to take some of the above advice, I think, because I have no intention of staying ground-side in New Zealand. I adore traveling and exploring the world, but I’m always happiest when I arrive at my destination.

Are you a good flyer?

13 Facts About Shipboard Food on the Pacific Pearl

tt_minimal3

I’m home again after our cruise aboard the Pacific Pearl. Those who have been on a cruise before will know about the sheer amount of food available. It’s very tempting to have a little of this and a little of that and before you know it, clothes strain at the seams. I’m afraid I am physical proof of this fact, and I’m officially on a diet. Sick smile

The catering is a huge operation, and I found the food related facts they gave us fascinating.

13 Facts About Shipboard Food

1. 3000 dozen eggs are used during a 10 day cruise.

2. Plus 1000 kg of lettuce

3. 4000 litres of milk

4. 2000 kg of watermelon

5. 1400 kg of steak – hubby ate quite a few of these!

6. 7500 tea bags are dunked and drunk

7. 600 kg of cheese is consumed – I like cheese.

8. 12500 plates, 10000 glasses and 15000 items of cutlery are washed each day

9. There are 29 people on the dishwashing brigade

10. Fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry and fish are delivered when the ship is in port

11. On average 90 tons (180 pallets) of food are loaded on board after passing inspection by the Food and Beverage Director.

12. There are five butchers on board to prepare different cuts of meat

13. 99% of the passengers put on weight. Unfortunately, I didn’t fit into the 1% category. I blame the pastry chef!

Do you tend to eat more when you’re on holiday?

The Eyes Have It

Thursday Thirteen

Eyes give me problems. During the writing of my books, my characters change eye color regularly. Sometimes I don’t catch it, but luckily my editor is on the ball. In the book world there are lots of heroes and heroines out there with green eyes. Lots. Quite a few heroines have violet ones too. Not so common in everyday life. I’ve been thinking I should pick a color and allocate that color to all my characters. It would solve my problem!

Thirteen Interesting Facts About Eyes

Fotolia_1925148_M

1. The colored part of the eye is called the iris. It contains pigmentation that determines the color of the eye.

2. Eye colors are determined by the parents, but a child’s eyes aren’t a combination of the parents. The eye color depends on the genes and there are lots of possibilities as to the end result.

3. Most babies are born with blue eyes. A color change occurs if a brown pigment called melanin develops as the baby grows.

4. Darker colors dominate so brown beats green and green wins over blue.

5. Emotions can change the iris color and the pupil size.

6. Eye color can also change with age. This usually happens with those who have a light eye color to start with.

7. If the eye color of an adult changes dramatically it can be an indication of a disease. Check with your eye doctor!

8. The human eye blinks around 4,200,000 times a year.

9. Blinking helps keep our eyes moist.

10. Only one-sixth of the eyeball is visible.

11. The eyeball remains the same size as it was at birth.

12. Our eyes can detect 10 million color hues (not sure who counted this), but we can’t see ultraviolet or infra red light.

13. The human eye can distinguish 500 shades of gray. (not 50 as a certain book would have us believe!)

According to an online survey about eye color the most popular color is green followed by light blue. Hazel, dark blue, gray, honey, amethyst and brown came next in descending order.

My eyes are light blue.

What color are your eyes? For you writers out there, do you vary your character’s eye colors from book to book or do you tend to stick to the basic brown or blue? Readers – do you care what color eyes the characters have?

Thirteen Facts About Pigs

Thursday Thirteen

Since many of my discussions with my sister this week have centered on farming and animals I thought I’d do a TT on pigs.

Thirteen Facts About Pigs

Pig, Royal Easter Show, Sydney

1. The domestic pig are descendants of the wild boars of Europe and Africa.

2. Male pigs are called boars. Female pigs are called sows. Baby pigs are called piglets. A group of pigs is a herd.

3. Pigs are highly intelligent and can be taught tricks. Remember the movie, Babe?

4. Pigs can be very dangerous, especially wild pigs, and they’re very speedy when they want to be. Just ask my sister!

5. Some pigs have curly tails while others have straight tales.

6. The valves from pig hearts are used to replace damaged ones in humans.

7. Pigs have an excellent sense of smell. They’re expert at finding truffles.

8. Pigs live for 9 – 15 years, although some of the sows my father owns are much older  (around 20)

9. Pigs are very clean animals in that they don’t soil their sleeping areas or where they eat.

10. Sows bear 8 – 12 piglets in a litter and can have two litters a year.

11. Pigs can get sunburned (especially pink pigs) and require shelter from the sun.

12. Pigs don’t have sweat glands, and they wallow in mud to cool down.

13. Pigs make good pets, but a prospective owner should definitely do their research first.

Do you like bacon for breakfast? Crispy or not?

My answer: No, ’cause I eat a mainly vegetarian diet. I do like the smell of bacon cooking though. Hubby likes bacon but not crispy.

Thirteen Favorite Animal Encounters

Thursday Thirteen

Regular visitors to my blog will know how much I enjoy travel. When the travel is combined with seeing animals in their natural habitat, I’m there because there is something very special about viewing animals on their home turf.

Here are some of my favorite animal encounters:

Thirteen Favorite and Memorable Animal Encounters

1. Camel – I like camels, and I’ve met quite a few during my travels through the Middle East and Asia, but my favorite meeting was in Egypt. We met up with a herd of camels consisting of mothers and juveniles. Once we mounted our camels, we ambled along with the rest of the herd. It was fun and relaxing. This juvenile camel was very curious and wanted to investigate me at close quarters.

Shell's Camel, Egypt 

2. Giraffe – During a visit to Kenya we visited a giraffe reserve, not far from Nairobi. There you can feed the giraffes and observe them at close quarters. I’ll never forget their abrasive tongues and the feel of giraffe slobber. It was a fun visit!

Giraffe_nairobi

3. Whale – I’ve been whale watching in lots of different locations including Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Alaska and Maine. These huge creatures are majestic, and it’s always thrilling to see them in person. This photo of a sperm whale was taken near Kaikoura in New Zealand.

Sperm Whale

4. Baboon – We stayed in cabins in Uganda, and they had a small shop where they sold chocolate including Mars bars. The local kids selling slingshots at the gate should have clued us in. Those baboons went around in gangs, and the animals actually mugged some of the people in our group and stole their Mars bars.

5. Dolphin – I went for a day trip from Auckland to dolphin watch. Once we found the dolphins we spent ages watching them play and surf the bow water.

6. Alpaca – These guys just have so much character. I’d love to own one of these. I guess I need to get some land first.

ChattyAlpaca

7. Moose – Hubby and I came across a queue of cars when we were driving through the Grand Teton area. They had stopped to check out this bull moose that was calmly grazing while tourists clicked photos.

GrandTeton_moose

8. Rhino – When we visited Chitwan National Park in Nepal, we were privileged to see this rhino and baby. It was worth crawling out of our beds early in the morning.

Rhino & baby, Chitwan National Park

9. Snake – We don’t have snakes in New Zealand so any encounter is memorable. Hubby was playing a round of golf on Lindeman Island, which is in the Whitsunday group in Australia. We’d been told there were no snakes on the island. Someone should have told the snake I almost stood on while striding down the fairway! I started looking where I was walking after that.

10. Takahe – It was thought the takahe, one of New Zealand’s native flightless birds was extinct but they were rediscovered in 1945. They’re still very endangered, and are now mostly on offshore islands, which are pest free.

Takahe

11. Elephants – we’ve seen elephants in Africa and also in Asia. They’re such cool creatures. This photo of the baby elephant was taken in Kenya.

Baby elephant, kenya

12. Panda – We visited China two years ago. I wanted  to walk on the Great Wall, see the terracotta soldiers and visit the panda. Not only did I see the panda, I got to hold one. The money raised from tourists goes back into the care and research of pandas. It was worth every dollar.

Panda Shelley

13. Gorilla – My number one animal encounter was with gorillas in Rwanda. I cannot begin to express how magical this was but can still feel the awe and excitement as I watched these animals in the wild. I have an essay about our gorilla encounter on my website.

Gorilla, Rwanda

Do you have a memorable animal encounter to share?

Thirteen Facts about Terriers

Thursday Thirteen

Bella, our dog is a Jack Russell, and our first dog Scotty was a fox terrier. Both came from the Humane Society and were of mixed parentage i.e. they both have a mystery element in their background. Hubby and I like terriers because they’re small and intelligent with big personalities.

Thirteen Facts About Terriers

1. Most breeds of terriers were developed in Great Britain.

2. They were bred to catch rats, rabbits, foxes and badgers (larger terriers). They hunted both above and under ground.

3. They’re excellent for vermin control. Scotty was a champion mouser, and if any came inside she sniffed them out. I was the one who stood on a chair.

4. Terriers range in size. Our fox terrier was fine boned while Bella is a sturdy wee thing. You know when she plops on your lap.

5. The term terrier is latin and it means earth.

6. 26 types of terriers are recognized in the US.

7. Terriers are brave and confident and make great watchdogs.

8. They’re also stubborn!

9. Sometimes their bravery gets them in trouble since they won’t back down, even if the other dog is much bigger.

10. Terriers are intelligent.

11. They like to keep very busy and get bored if left alone with some sort of activity. The boredom tips over into chewing and digging.

12. They might be small, but they need a lot of exercise. I always get tired before Bella starts lagging.

13. They’re personality plus.

Bella cooling off during mid-summer

Puppy Porn!

Are you a dog person? If so, what breed do you prefer?

Thirteen Cinderella Facts

Thursday Thirteen

Cinderella is my favorite fairy tale. I like the idea of Cindy getting ahead of her horrid stepfamily and snagging the prince to live happy ever after. Recently I’ve written a contemporary romance that’s a modern retelling of Cinderella, and I thought Cinderella facts would make a perfect topic today.

Thirteen Factoids about Cinderella.

1. Charles Perrault first published the story in 1697. The Brothers Grimm later included it in their collection of tales—Grimm’s Fairy Tales (source: Wikipedia)

2. Cinderella is also known as The Little Glass Slipper.

3. When Disney released Cinderella they hadn’t had a hit since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. If Cinderella hadn’t been a huge hit, it’s likely that the Disney franchise would have gone bankrupt.

4. Cinderella was released by Disney on Feb 15th in 1950.

5. In the original Cinderella story, the glass slippers were made from fur.

6. Cinderella’s original name was Ella. One night she fell asleep while cleaning near the fireplace and her face and clothes became smudged by the cinders. After that she was known as Cinderella.

7. Lots of countries have their own version of Cinderella. China has one of the earliest ones.

8. One of the original issued taglines was “Midnight never strikes when you’re in love.” ~ source: Yahoo

9. Julie Andrews and Whitney Houston have both played the role of Cinderella.

10. Walt Disney’s favorite scene is said to be when Cinderella’s torn dress transforms to the white ball gown.

11. Cinderella is a very popular choice with romance writers when it comes to retelling tales. I’m in good company.

12. Here’s my cover:

One Night of Misbehavior

13. Here’s my “Cinderella” blurb from my upcoming release, One Night of Misbehavior

He wears his scars on the outside. She keeps hers safe inside.

Charlotte Dixon ignores her stepmother’s edict and, in an act of disobedience, attends one of the social events of the year—a masked costume ball. Charlotte’s naughtiness escalates when she dances and smooches with a sexy masked man. The night of anonymous passion that follows makes her yearn for a different life, but the next day she’s back to her dull routine of household management.

Advertising tycoon, Ash Marlborough is about to set a private investigator on the trail of his mystery princess when she waltzes right into his place of work. Charlotte is shocked to meet her masked man in the flesh, and even more perturbed when he asks her out on a date. Despite craving another night of sexy loving, she doesn’t have time for a man, not when she wants to reinvent herself and grasp a new, improved life with both hands. But Ash knows what he wants, and he’s determined to win the heart of his princess. Let the dance of seduction commence.

Warning: Contains a conniving stepmother, selfish stepsisters, a grandmother with fairy godmother tendencies and a sexy masked man who is willing to face them all for the love of a good woman.

What is your favorite fairy tale?

13 Places to Visit in Sydney

Thursday Thirteen

In a couple of months hubby and I are visiting Sydney. It’s a great city with a gorgeous harbor and lots to do. I highly recommend a visit if you’re heading down this end of the world.

Thirteen Places to Visit While in Sydney

1. The harbor bridge. Walk across it, climb one of the pylons or if you have a head for heights, do the bridge climb.

Sydney Harbor Bridge

2. Do a tour through the Sydney Opera House.

3. Wander around Darling Harbor and have a snack or meal at one of the many restaurants.

4. Visit the Rocks area, once the home of convicts, but now full of shops selling crafts.

5. Catch a ferry and visit Manly.

Manly_The Beach

6. Wander through the botanical gardens and walk out to the point where Mrs. MacQuarie liked to sit, known locally as Mrs. MacQuarie’s Chair. It’s a bench carved out of sandstone.

Sydney Harbor View

7. Go swimming/people watching at Bondi Beach. Don’t forget to swim between the flags.

8. Visit Taronga zoo where the animals have one of the greatest views of the around.

9. Check out the art gallery or one of the museums. Lots of local artists.

10. Visit the Queen Victoria Building, an old restored building and now home to shops and restaurants.

11. Go to the Paddington Markets, which have been trading for 39 years. Open on Saturdays only and a perfect place to find that unique item of clothing or a souvenir.

12. Visit Hyde Park, the oldest park in Australia. There are loads of trees and plants for keen gardeners to exclaim over.

13. The Sydney Tower Eye, visible from most of the inner city and a great place to go for a 360 degree view of the city.

Of course, this is only a taste of the places to visit. There are lots of places outside the city such as the Blue Mountains and wildlife parks.

Which place would you visit first? If you’ve visited Sydney before what was your favorite part of the city? What would you recommend?

13 Ways to Look at a Situation

Thursday Thirteen

Whenever I’m in editing mode one of the words I cut/prune from my manuscript is “look”. Look isn’t a bad word, but my characters tend to look here and look there. They look all over the place.

Thirteen Words To Replace Look

1. Gawk

2. Ogle – I do love this word!

3. Contemplate

4. Peruse

5. Regard

6. Examine

7. Leer

8. Inspect

9. Peek

10. Observe

11. Study

12. Monitor

13. Glower

Writers, what word/s do you tend to overuse in a manuscript? Readers, does repeated use of the same word throw you out of a story?