Adventure into Romance with Shelley Munro
News About Shelley Blog Books Extras Contact Small Font Large Font
Tuesday, September 9th, 2008
Covered Bridges and Lava Fields

Another short post today. Yesterday we drove from Prineville to Cottage Grove, passing through lava fields and in the afternoon driving around to see covered bridges. We’re staying the night at a lovely resort called Village Green. We have our own private garden plus there are 14 acres of garden for resort visitors to wander around. It’s really lovely and deserving of a post of its own.

Here’s a shot of the lava fields. You can see where they have flowed around some trees, leaving them standing while the rest of the area was destroyed.

Photobucket

And here’s a shot of the Stewart Covered bridge with our rental car. The bridge was constructed in 1930 and restored in 1996.

Photobucket

We’re off to Crater Lake National Park tomorrow. Unfortunately there are wildfires around and some of the roads have been closed. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.

Monday, September 8th, 2008
John Day Fossil Beds, Oregon

The internet link is really slow today but I think I can load one photo. We visited the John Day Fossil Beds yesterday, which were really fascinating. Scientists are still discovering new species of plants and animals on a regular basis.

Photobucket

This is a shot of one of my favorite beds. The minerals in the soil (from volcanoes) make the rocks look blue/green in color.

We’re off to look at covered bridges today. Guess what will be in the next blog…

Friday, August 15th, 2008
The One About Animals

No photos today since I’m tired and can’t summon the energy to download my camera to my laptop. Last night we stayed at Grand Lake – actually outside Grand Lake – at a campground called Elk Creek in some darling little cabins. Mr. Munro has been very clever with our accommodation and we’ve stayed in a real mix. I was sitting our our terrace having a beer and watched a mouse run across the steps. Mice don’t scare me (unless they choose to run over my feet) so I continued sipping my beer and casually mentioned it to hubby. When he investigated, he found more mice. A family of the wee things. Later that night I kept hearing noises and at one stage shot upright in bed and woke Mr. Munro. It was raining and the patter on the roof had woken me. The mice hadn’t decided to come inisde out of the cold, so I went back to sleep.

Today we drove through the Rocky Mountain National Park. I purchased a book on mountain lions and questioned the ranger for some time. Ranger Michelle was lovely and my story idea is fermenting nicely after all the info she gave me. We saw some moose and stopped to take photos. We also stopped to take photos of some elk. Their antlers were HUGE. I don’t know how they manage to hold their heads up. When we traveled farther into the park, it started sleeting – freezing when you’re wearing shorts! I yanked more clothes out of the suitcase and layered. It worked all right and a hot cider at the information center at the top of the mountain completed the thaw. We enjoyed all our wildlife sightings. Next on the list is bison and beers. We have a list and we’re ticking it off. :grin:

Tomorrow we’re driving into South Dekota. Deadwood – here I come!

Oh, I forgot to say that we had a fun time in Cripple Creek and for the first time in history Mr. Munro and I won some money at one of the casinos. Me – the last of the big spenders who puts $1 at a time in the machines, played poker and won. I’m still in shock.

Sunday, August 10th, 2008
The One About the Wallet

We’re in New Mexico at the moment and visited Santa Fe yesterday. It’s a beautiful old town and my credit card received a bit of a work out since the shopping was excellent. I’m crossing my fingers that I win lotto because there are a few other things I would have liked to purchase. The art galleries had some amazing stuff – paintings and sculptures.

While I’m talking shopping we also visited the Hubble Trading post. (That’s in Arizona) The original buildings are the same as they were in the late 1800s to early 1930s. The floor creaked underfoot with every step, and as well as things to buy, there were displays of rifles and memorabilia. I like the way the buildings blend into the setting. The outbuildings were interesting too and smelled of hay and horses. They even had a chicken coop. I didn’t get close enough to smell that.

Mr. Munro lost his wallet yesterday. He was frantic and couldn’t remember when he last had it. We turned the hotel room upside down and retraced our footsteps by going to the bar where we’d had a drink. No luck. He didn’t have a lot of cash in it, but the credit cards and driver’s licence were a problem. Last night we did a final search before reporting it to the police. And this is where I start blushing…he discovered it inside my laptop bag. I’ve no idea how it got there, but we were both so relieved we had a celebratory drink. Talk about a stressful day!

No photos today since I need to jump into the shower and pack. We’re heading off to another National Park. Don’t forget I have a guest blogger coming tomorrow, so do pop by to say hello to Nancy Henderson.

Thursday, July 31st, 2008
Middlemarch, New Zealand

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about The Real MIDDLEMARCH

1. Middlemarch is a small country town, in Central Otago, New Zealand. It is about 80 km West of Dunedin. It’s located in the Strath Taieri Valley.

2. Several suggestions exist about how the township was named. One is that Mrs Alice Humphreys, whose husband Edward Wingfield Humphreys owned and had surveyed for sale of sections in this new township, was reading George Eliot’s novel Middlemarch. Another is that the name is from the obsolete English term “march” meaning a boundary – in this case a middle area between two rivers.

3. Middlemarch is the setting for my feline shapeshifter series, Middlemarch Mates.

4. Each year Middlemarch holds a singles dance and a special train (nicknamed the Love Train) carries women and men to the dance from Dunedin.

5. HOW IT ALL BEGAN – the dance.

In November last year our Community Board was presented with some statistics about rural health and other services in this area. As part of her presentation, Pauline Carruthers, the local Plunket Nurse, District Nurse and at that time only local practise nurse in the area, noted that we needed more nurses and made the flippant comment that we should marry some of our bachelors off to some nurses.

The Community Board took the idea one step further and suggested to the local A & P Society that it would arrange for the sponsor of the Dance for its Centenary Show. We contacted Country & City Contacts (NZ) Ltd. They are an Amberley-based dating service that has had huge success in the rural areas, especially of the South Island. Henk & Joy van Leir were enthusiastic and supportive of the idea of publicising the dance as a good place for their clients to meet each other and also some of our bachelors.

6. The area has some rare creatures – the mountain weta, the Otago and Grand skinks and the NZ falcon.

7. The area is also home to the Sutton Salt Lake. The water in the lake evaporates during the summer.

8. There are also special clouds in the area called the Tairei Pet. A cloud formation reportedly found only in one or two places in the world. It is formed by high north westerly winds being forced upward over the Rock & Pillar range – spectacular and unnerving by its sheer size and its association with the high winds.

9. It is the start of the 150km Otago Central Rail Trail, a path that stretches from Middlemarch to Clyde. People can walk, cycle or ride horses along this path, staying overnight at stops on the way.

10. As I mentioned earlier, there’s a train from Dunedin. It travels through the spectacular Tairei Gorge and is popular with tourists.

11. Scarlet Woman, Peeping Tom and Stray Cat Strut are all set in Middlemarch and feature various members of the Mitchell family.

12. Go here to learn about how the series was born, plus there are photos. There are also Middlemarch photos here.

13. Assassin, Middlemarch Mates book 4 is coming on August 6.

Assassin

Here’s the blurb:

Feline shifter Leo Mitchell is the pretty brother who attracts women with ease, but he’s turned picky. He suspects the mystery blonde hanging around Middlemarch is the one for him. If only he could grab the elusive female and seduce her. Oh yeah. He craves some hot, sinful lovin’ with the lady in black leather.

Assassin Isabella Black has harbored a huge crush on hunky Leo for ages. Because the timing sucked she’s watched him from afar, praying another woman won’t snatch the hottie away before she’s free to stake a claim.

Finally the pair meet. Isabella offers her naked body but Leo counteracts with a cup of tea. Seems Leo likes to call the shots when it comes to sex. A day later they’re finally dancing horizontally. It’s smokin’ hot, steamy, delicious—everything she’s ever wanted. Isabella is ecstatic until another assassin threatens to ruin her happiness. It’s life or death now. One wrong move and her secrets will destroy the Mitchells along with everything that has become dear to her…including Leo.

Do you like small town settings or do you prefer sophisticated city settings for your romances?

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!
View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008
What A Tangled Web We Weave with Lorelei James

Tied Up Tied Down My special guest today is Samhain author, Lorelei James. She’s talking about family trees and books. Over to Lorelei and her Western men!

Shelley contacted me after she’d finished, TIED UP, TIED DOWN, the latest book in my Rough Riders series from Samhain Publishing, wondering if I’d ever considered creating a family tree for the characters as a reference point for readers.

I’ll admit I hadn’t thought of it. I’ll also admit I have lots of characters in my books — no one really is an island, even in the middle of nowhere Wyoming. The Rough Riders books are a Western saga, if you will, featuring a large ranching family. Each book can be read as a standalone, but each book builds on the entire arc of the series, both forward and backward, and each one features a different McKay or West family member.

***Complete disclosure; if I had it to do all over again, I would not have so many ‘C’ and ‘K’ names in this series – although it is something families do frequently out here in the Wild West, begin all offspring’s first names with the same letter. As sort of a wink wink nudge nudge to my readers and myself, in TIED UP, TIED DOWN, Skylar complains about the excessive use of the same consonant in the McKay family. And Kane asks his twin brother Kade why their mother gave them such similar names.***

I remember a series by a famous author in which the first couple in the series birthed one kid in the epilogue. Then in the next connected book that same couple were blessed with twins…but no mention of the first child. In the 3rd or 4th book, that same couple had triplets, not twins, still no mention of that poor little forgotten first kiddo. The inconsistency pulled me out of the story. Readers might think it is the copy editor’s job to double check facts and character lineage, but I wonder if the whole incident could’ve been avoided had the author created a family tree.

So I took Shelley’s suggestion to heart. Not only would an official roadmap be a bonus for readers, it’d be an easy way for me to keep track of my own characters. I checked a couple of author sites to see how they structured their family trees to get an idea of what I wanted. Then I posed the challenge to my readers loop, The James Gang, and two fabulous ladies volunteered to head up the project. Honestly, I think they’re afraid if I’m dinking around with working on a family tree I won’t actually be writing, and they’re sort of antsy for me to get the next book finished :grin:

These fans, Joy Roett and Carla Hartman created not one, not two, but three separate family trees. Immediately I sent the finished project to my website designer to post. Check out the results here.

Question of the day for readers: Do you look at family trees in the beginnings of books? Or skip over them entirely? Or would you go to the author’s website for more information?

Lorelei James writes erotic Westerns set in the modern day Wild West. For more information on books, contests and the James Gang readers yahoo group, visit Lorelei’s website: www.loreleijames.com

Thursday, July 24th, 2008
Lemons: Yellow Sunshine

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about LEMONS

This year our lemon tree has produced heaps of fruit. Our fruit bowls are full of them. They’re a bright sunshine color and remind me of summer, despite the winter gloom outside.
Read the rest of this entry ?

Thursday, July 17th, 2008
Packing For Travel

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about PACKING for a Trip

With my trip coming up soon, packing is looming…

1. Make a list a few weeks beforehand of the things you think you’ll need to take with you.

2. Lay out the clothes you think you want to take, along with toiletries, shoes etc.
Read the rest of this entry ?

Saturday, July 12th, 2008
Crunchy Lemon Muffins

After a solid week of edits, I’ve decided to have a lazy weekend. I’ve just made a batch of one of my favorite muffins and thought I’d share the recipe with you. It’s taken from New Zealander Alison Holst’s Marvellous Muffins recipe book, and it’s one I make often.

2 cups self-raising flour (I didn’t have any so I used 2 cups of flour and 2 teaspoons of baking powder)
3/4 cup of sugar

75 grams butter
1 cup milk
1 egg
grated rind of 1 large or 2 small lemons

1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar

Measure the flour and sugar into a bowl and toss to mix. Melt the butter, add the milk, egg and lemon rind and beat well with a fork to combine. Add the liquids to the dry ingredients and combine only until the dry ingredients have been lightly dampened but not overly mixed. Divide the mixture evenly between 12 medium-sized muffin pans. (I used paper muffin cases since I hate both greasing the tin and cleaning it afterward!)

Bake at 200 degrees C for 10 minutes. (I find the time depends on the oven. I cooked mine for 10 minutes and found they needed a couple minutes more)

Stir together the lemon juice and sugar without dissolving the sugar and drizzle this over the hot muffins as soon as they come out of the oven. Leave to stand in the pan for only a few minutes after this since the syrup hardens and sticks to the pan when it cools.

Notes: As always I improvise. I use mainly white flour but add a little wholemeal as well. These are also good served with a little fresh fruit and Greek yoghurt. Yum!

I really like muffins. Blueberry are my favorite. I like these lemons ones and also another recipe I make with raspberry jam in the middle and a sugary cinnamon topping. I’ll save that recipe for another time. Strangely, chocolate comes down the list for me, that’s unless it has lots of chocolate chips inside!

Do you like muffins and if so, what is your favorite kind?

Monday, June 23rd, 2008
Handbag Security

This might seem a random topic to blog about, but last week, not far from where I live, a woman was killed during a handbag robbery. Most women carry their lives in their handbag. I know I’m guilty of carrying way more stuff than I need. I thought a refresher of some commonsense rules wouldn’t go astray.

Here are a few things we can do to keep both our possessions and ourselves safe.

1. Be aware of your surroundings. When exiting your car in a carpark look to see who is around.

2. Walk with confidence and display positive body language.

3. Avoid walking in badly lit or isolated areas, especially if you’re alone.

4. Keep your bag close. Zip it shut and be wary of anyone who tries to distract you. Don’t leave your bag unattended. e.g. in a supermarket trolley.

5. Keep your car door locked while driving, and avoid leaving valuable items in your car when you leave it, if possible. Secure valuable items in the boot (trunk) before arriving at your destination.

6. Have your keys in your hand before you reach your vehicle. Secure your handbag first before your shopping.

7. Watch your handbags while in restaurants, public toilets. If you’re at a club and dancing have someone you know look after your bag. I’ve done a lot of traveling and I know how quick thieves can be. When I’m traveling I have my hand on my bag at all times. Sitting on the seat beside you is not a good place to keep your bag.

8. Keep your bag in front of you or in your hand while you’re at the bank or a ticket counter.

If you have any other suggestions please let me know.