Adventure into Romance with Shelley Munro
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Monday, April 20th, 2009
I Want My Book Fix Now

My special guest today is friend and fellow New Zealander, Tessa Radley. Tessa and I were aspiring authors together. In fact, Tessa and I had a competition where the person with the least rejections by the end of the year had to buy the other lunch. It was a contest to make sure we both sent lots of submissions to editors and agents. I won. I forget how many rejections I received, but it was a lot! The lunch was very tasty. :grin:

Over to Tessa…

Tessa RadleyShelley, thanks for inviting me to guest blog today!

I’m Tessa—and I write for Silhouette Desire. I’m going to confess that I’m a bit of a dinosaur. I don’t have an e-reader…but I’m thinking of getting one. But there are so many choices…it’s enough to do my head in. So if any of you have any advice, feel free to tell me which e-reader you prefer.

Part of the reason I’ve procrastinated about getting an ereader is the fact that I ADORE going to a real bookstore and browsing around. Last Saturday night we went to the city center and I persuaded my long-suffering family to indulge me…much eyerolling…and I visited Borders. Heaven! My family—very sweetly—scanned the shelves for my April release, The Untamed Sheik (if any of you have read my Saxon Brides series, this is Megan’s story). The Untamed Sheik

Yet I have to admit that my fetish for bookstores is probably more costly than buying on line—so often I go to buy a book that I want NOW. I want instant gratification. But when I get there it turns out that the one copy they had in stock actually can’t be found. And my eye alights on another title…oh, must have that! By this time a copy of the original book that I’m after has been sourced—at another bookstore. Sigh. But because I really, really want that book…now, today…I’m off. By the end of my spree it’s cost me the book I originally came to buy, the impulse buy, plus two books out the specials bin and half-a-tank of gas!

So why do I do it when online ordering is so much less stressful, less time consuming…and usually much cheaper? I honestly don’t know. Maybe it’s the outing. It’s certainly an event. And there’s still something about going to a brick-and-mortar store. Seeing the piles of books…and paging through them. I love it. And if there’s a coffee shop, then that’s even better!

So what’s your favorite way of getting your hands onto books…or your eyes onto print? Bookstores? Online stores? Ebooks? And if you read ebooks…let me know which ereader you prefer—and why.

Mistaken MistressI’m giving away 10 copies of Mistaken Mistress, Joshua Saxon’s story. So if there are 10 comments are less everyone gets a copy. Otherwise I’ll draw ten random names from the commenters.

Tessa
www.tessaradley.com

Saturday, April 18th, 2009
A Contemporary Binge

During the last six months, I’ve read heaps of contemporary romances. I seem to have burned out on paranormals and have become really picky about what I read in this genre.

And of course, my love of the contemporary genre fits in nicely with the books written by the authors below. These three ladies are all wonderful writers and you can’t go wrong reading one of their books.

Do you enjoy contemporary romances, and what is the title of your most recent read?

Friday, April 17th, 2009
Stereotypes

Have you seen the YouTube featuring Susan Boyle? The judges took one look at Ms. Boyle, listened to her talking and decided she wouldn’t be able to sing. The music started, Ms. Boyle started singing and smashed apart every one of the judges’ preconceptions, showing true talent. The audience loved her. Millions of people have watched the performance on YouTube. I’m one of them, and I smiled the entire way through. Her performance was amazing.

It made me think about stereotypes when it comes to the romance community. Don’t authors lounge around wearing flowing pink dresses (sometimes with ruffles) and eat lots of chocolates while they’re writing about arrogant alpha males and quivering virgin heroines? And don’t romance readers wear thick glasses, fluffy bathrobes and stay at home with their fictional friends on a Saturday night, eating lots of chocolate while they’re reading their chosen genre?

We know these stereotypes are wrong. Lots of people don’t and accept the above descriptions (or something similar) because they don’t know any better. Well, the chocolate part might be right, but you understand what I mean. We’re all individuals who love the written word and reading/writing about love and romance. Stereotypes are wrong, and we should wait before judging anyone. First impressions aren’t always right, but we’re probably all guilty of judging or applying sterotypes at some time or another. I know I have.

A few days ago, Julia tagged me with a meme called Keeping It Real. I had to post a photo of myself taken without primping and doing ordinary things. The photo caught me on a day when I wasn’t wearing pink, but I’m in my second office i.e. my chair with my laptop. As you can see – no stereotypes here.

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I’m meant to tag people, so if you’re brave enough, consider yourself tagged. Follow the Keeping it Real link above and scroll down to the bottom of the post. I have to say that Julia takes a great photo.

How would you describe a writer or a reader? (You can have fun making up a stereotype or you can do a truthful description of a writer/reader as you see them)

Thursday, April 16th, 2009
Nothing.

Thursday Thirteen

I’m feeling really tired today, and I can’t think of a topic for my TT. I decided to google “nothing” and this is what I came up with…

1. Nothing is something that doesn’t exist.

2. You can buy “nothing”. It costs US$4.84 here and is actually a vial of emptiness. They advertise it as the present for someone who has everything.

3. Director Vincenzo Natali made a movie called Nothing in 2003. Read about it here.

4. Nov 29 is Buy Nothing day, a strike against comercialism. I think my husband would approve!

5. Sinead O’Connor sang about Nothing Comparing 2 U

6. There’s a tattoo and body piercing place in Atlanta called All or Nothing Tattoo and Art. They’ve won awards.

7. My sales ranking on several of my books at Amazon this week was nothing. I’m glad they’ve fixed that!!

8. Tristan Campbell is a landscape photographer based in Harrogate. He’s posted some of his photos at his blog Absolutely Nothing. They’re amazing, and I wouldn’t have found them if I hadn’t googled nothing.

9. I found Nothing Bundt Cakes here. They look yummy even though I’m not sure what they are exactly.

10. And while we’re on the subject of food, I found Nothing but Noodles. Sounds good to me!

11. Shakespeare went on about Much Ado About Nothing

12. Nothing ventured, nothing gained – means if you don’t join in or start then you can’t achieve anything.

13. Nothing to crow about – there’s nothing special or to feel good about.

Do you think nothing is a negative or a positive word?

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009
Random Thought…

Butt cracks in a public place. Not a pretty sight…

Guy in Jeans

Big shudder. I need to scrub my eyeballs. Just sayin’…

What say you?

Monday, April 13th, 2009
Interview with Meankitty

Cats Next 10 Miles

I visited Jody Wallace and Meankitty today. Meankitty asked me some tricky and probing questions. My interview is here.

Monday, April 13th, 2009
Froggie Went A Courtin’

Look what Mr. Munro found in our garden during the weekend…

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Isn’t he handsome? We don’t live anywhere near a pond and it’s a big mystery as to how he arrived in our garden. He made Mr. Munro start when he jumped from beneath a bag of compost. Hubby thought he might be lonely, so he found him a friend…

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He stayed around for a while before hopping away into the depths of our garden. The only problem is that I have this song inside my head now.

Did you find anything interesting in your garden during the weekend? Did you do anything exciting during the weekend?

Thursday, April 9th, 2009
Childhood Memories

Thursday Thirteen

We always had a lot of books around us when we were kids. My brother, sister and I knew our nursery rhymes and read a lot. I remember boxes of books in the back of the wardrobe that belonged to my parents – mainly mysteries and westerns. My mother was a teacher who taught new entrants (five-year-olds) and she used to have heaps of books that she’d use in her teaching. She’d show us her new purchases and of course, I’d read them. She died in an accident when I was 21 and I kept a few of my favorites. I was looking at my bookcase today and pulled out one about a rabbit finding an egg. It made me smile.

Here are Thirteen of My Favorites (that are still in my bookcase)

1. Because a Little bug went Ka-Choo by Rosetta Stone and Michael Frith

2. Bears in the Night by Stan and Jan Berenstain

3. Travels of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting – this version adapted by Al Perkins. As a kid I had the actual Hugh Lofting series, which is probably what started my fascination with talking animals.

4. Hubert’s Hair-Raising Adventure by Bill Peet

5. The Bunyip of Berkeley’s Creek by Jenny Wagner

6. The Berenstain Bears and the Missing Dinosaur Bone by Stan and Jan Berenstain

7. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss – I just love the rhyming. :grin:

8. The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree – I loved these bear books and still do!

9. Jim and the Beanstalk by Raymond Briggs

10. The Golden Egg Book by Margaret Wise Brown

11. The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss – still one of my favorites. I like the message.

12. Shelley and the pony of the year by Ellen Bosworth. How could I resist this story? I see that it’s out of stock and a used copy is on sale for $45.

13. Proud Riders by Josephine Pullein-Thompson. Like lots of other little girls I liked pony stories.

I noticed when I did the Amazon links that many of these books are still popular and highly rated. A good book never goes out of date.

What stories do you remember from your childhood? Do your children or grandchildren have some of these?

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009
Messy!

As part of his job my husband has to go into people’s houses. He’s always amazed at how messy some of the teenagers’ bedrooms are with so much stuff on the floor he can’t do his job. I think he’s actually scared to go into some of the bedrooms because of the lurking laundry and undies around the place. He’s never sure exactly what he might find.

I’ve always tended to pick up after myself, even when I was a teenager. I shared a room with my sister. She wasn’t as tidy as me and we argued. When my mother suggested we tidy our room, it truly wasn’t my fault. Really!

When it comes to my writing stuff, it all looks fairly tidy, but the sheer number of piles on my desk irritates my hubby. I tell him I know where everything is, but he thinks one pile would be best, or better yet, no piles at all.

How are you when it comes to tidiness? How are your children?

Monday, April 6th, 2009
Running The Sheep.

In Spain, they have the running of the bulls. In New Zealand we have running of the sheep.

Mention the small town of Te Kuiti and most New Zealanders automatically think of sheep. It might have something to do with the fact that the NZ Shearing championships are held there or the fact that David Fagan, a world champion shearer comes from Te Kuiti. They have a huge statue of a shearer in the town centre. Each year they host the annual running of the sheep. The run took place a few days ago, and they had a few problems this year. The sheep ran amok, leaping over barriers designed to protect the spectators. One woman was knocked out. Around 1500 sheep were released and only 400 crossed the finish line.

Here’s a Youtube from a previous year showing images and live footage plus some foot-tapping music. Enjoy!

When people think about sheep and New Zealand, they often start with sheep jokes. I couldn’t find any definite figures on the number of sheep in NZ, but the numbers have definitely declined in recent years due to a surge in dairy farming. I know my father used to have quite a few sheep but has scarcely any these days. My sister has a pet lamb (now fully grown) called Pandora who terrorizes our little dog every time she visits. Scotty knows to keep far, far away from Pandora. I had pet lambs when I was a kid and entered agricultural shows. I still remember my pet lamb, Belinda. She was a real champion.

Some sheep facts from An Encyclopedia of New Zealand 1966 for the historians among us…

– New Zealand’s first sheep were set ashore by Captain Cook on 20 May 1773.

– Rapid sheep population growth in the 1850s and 1860s was mostly attributable to permanent immigration rather than natural increase. In 1864 alone, 13,000 sheep arrived in Canterbury from Australia. Droughts meant that sheep could always be bought cheaply from Australia. Drought continues to affect Australian farmers and sheep numbers.

– The first shipment of frozen lamb and mutton sailed to London from Port Chalmers aboard the Dunedin in 1882.

What would you do if a sheep came charging at you during the running of the sheep?