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Tuesday, January 6th, 2009
Can You Swim?

When I was a kid, the school I attended had a swimming pool and each summer we had swimming lessons as part of our school day. I can swim. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but if I fell into water, I’d have a good chance of saving myself because of those lessons. These days, the education dollar doesn’t stretch as far, and schools have closed their swimming pools, doing away with swimming lessons. Each year the number of children who drown seems to be higher. Officials seem to think there’s a direct connection between the two, and many parents don’t or can’t afford to teach their children to swim.

I’m curious about how things happen in other countries. Can you swim? How did you learn? Can your children swim? If so, how did they learn?

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009
Guest Blogging at Jennifer’s Random Musings

I’m over at Jennifer’s Random Musings today. I’m talking about keeping tabs on the books I read during the year. I’m also giving away a download of either Scarlet Woman or Cat Burglar to one lucky commenter.

Here’s the link for Jennifer’s Random Musings.

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009
Birthday Bash Winners

Firstly, thanks for helping me to celebrate my birthday. I had so much fun and loved having such great company.

Here are my list of my 2008 releases and my winners:

Playing to Win – Darby Lohrding
Fancy Free – Julie Robinson
Wanderlust – Julia Smith
Lovers at Last – Lindsey Ekland
Price of Love – Tami Cullen
Middlemarch Mates: Assassin – Fedora
Tea For Two – Rosemary Simm
Middlemarch Mates: Cat and Mouse – Jennifer McKenzie
Fringe Benefits – Michelle N
Middlemarch Mates: Cat Burglar – Karin

Congratulations all! I’ll email you all in person, but feel free to email me too. I’ve had problems with emails going astray in the past. I need to know which format you’d like your downloads in and once I know that, I can email you your prize.

Note – there’s still a copy of Middlemarch Mates: Cat Burglar up for grabs in the Triple D contest. The winner of the last prizes in the Deliciously Decadent December contest will be announced very soon.

Second note – don’t forget to pop back next week to visit with Emily Bryan. Everyone who comments will have a chance to win her new book, Vexing the Viscount.

Happy Reading!

Friday, January 2nd, 2009
Vexing the Viscount with Emily Bryan

Author, Emily Bryan is doing a 50 day/50 blog whirlwind cybertour to celebrate the arrival of her historical Vexing the Viscount.

Emily will be at my blog on 9 January, and she’ll be giving away a copy of Vexing the Viscount to one lucky commenter. Here’s a link to Emily’s itinerary

Thursday, January 1st, 2009
Retail Therapy

Happy New Year!

Last week I told Mr. Munro I would like to go shopping on New Year’s day. I backed up the suggestion with additional information, saying the sales were on and I thought it would be quiet.

“Okay,” Mr. Munro said.

“I want to buy some summer clothes. A skirt or something.” I watched him closely, and to his credit, he barely flinched.

This morning he brought me a cup of tea in bed. That was about eight o’clock. Not long after, I wandered into the office. A sort of a hint to tell hubby it was my turn on the computer. I wanted to do a few promo things.

“You should hurry,” he said.

“But it’s only eight and the shops don’t open until ten.”

“We’ll have a coffee. I don’t want to be late and face crowds of people.”

I decided I wouldn’t argue the point and went off to have a shower. Updating my website etc could wait. We arrived before ten but most of the shops were open.

“I think I’ll check Stax first,” I said.

Hubby followed me into the dress shop that happens to be my favorite because everything is NZ made. I looked at a few things and he gave his commentary. I walked down the end of the shop and looked back at Mr. Munro. He was standing by a rack of dresses with his arms folded across his chest and an expression on his face that a wife doesn’t really like to see.

“Don’t fold your arms,” I said. “It’s annoying.” He did a sort of grunt and unfolded his arms.

We moved on and after a coffee, stopped at the next shop on my list.

“What do you think of this?” I demanded.

“Too busy.”

Finally, armed with a couple of outfits I went to the dressing room. I put them on and went out to show hubby. He nodded, which is short-speak for good. I noticed he didn’t cross his arms again. Definite Brownie points. About twenty minutes later we left with two skirts and a top.

“You were very good,” I said to Mr. Munro. “Thank you.”

He grinned and said, “It might have been different if we’d gone to a third shop.”

We stopped at Borders for a while and then to the grocery shop. Mr. Munro enjoys food shopping and he was positively cheerful by the time we left the shopping center.

How is your husband/partner/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend at shopping? Does the experience turn into a nightmare or is it a fun excursion? Who does the grocery shopping in your family?

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008
Reality in Romance

Angela James did a great post at Romancing the Blog a few days ago about reality in romances. “How is it,” she asked, “that the hero and heroine don’t suffer from morning breath in most romances?”

I’ve wondered this myself. Other things bother me, too, not usually enough to stop reading, but I do pause to consider. The issue of condoms bothers me, depending on the circumstances and the plot. In historicals I wonder about bathing. People didn’t used to have many baths because they considered it unhealthy and having a bath inside was plain hard work. The water needed heating and then servants needed to transport it to the bath. I don’t know about you but I’m wondering exactly how smelly things were. I like it when the hero or heroine take the time to swim in a river or lake.

I think about the feasibility of some sexual positions (can we say dislocated joints?) and wonder what happened to clothes. As my editor has points out to me it’s difficult to undress if you’re still wearing boots! Funny that…

What things bother you when you’re reading a romance? Are they enough to make you stop reading a particular book or author? Do you think I’m being hypersensitive because after all it is only fiction?

Monday, December 29th, 2008
Forgot to Mention…

I’m the guest blogger over at Erotic Muses today. I’m talking about cat burglars and mentioned my upcoming release, Cat Burglar in passing…

Here’s the link: Erotic Muses

Monday, December 29th, 2008
Sweet Nothings

Yesterday I purchased Everything is Fine by Josh Turner for my iPod. His singing voice is amazing – all low and sexy and it gives me the shivers. The man could sing me my latest rejection letter and I’d say, “Yes, please. More.” Of course it doesn’t hurt that he’s cute as well. Here’s the Youtube of him singing the song live at the Ole Opry so you can judge yourself.

Thoughts of sexy voices led me to accents. A guy could whisper a rejection letter to me in French or Italian and I’d ask him to say it again. Irish and Scottish accents are pretty sexy too, although since I’d understand what they were saying I mightn’t ask them to repeat it. Josh Turner is the only one who can get away with a repeat in English.

Here’s a Youtube of a girl talking in 21 different accents. She’s pretty good, but please, those of you who have met me in person – please tell me I didn’t sound like her version of a New Zealander!

PS. I listened to it again. Maybe the NZ accent isn’t too bad. Besides, I live in Auckland and not Wellington.

Which voices and accents do you find sexy? Who would you like to whisper sweet nothings in your ear? Who could read you bad news or a boring shopping list and you’d enjoy it?

Saturday, December 27th, 2008
Women Take a Stand

I’m an avid traveler and a recent article in the travel section of the New Zealand Herald caught my attention. It spoke to me. It made me laugh.

In some countries, you still have travel with a father or a husband before being allowed to enter i.e. Saudi Arabia. In other countries I’ve visited, such as Iran, women have to wear head scarves, covered shoes and a long sleeved coat. I have a photo somewhere of me and two girlfriends in the back of a cab in Esfahan, Iran. We’re dressed in black from head to foot and wearing huge grins. We wore a black chador during our visit plus headscarves. I remember being uncomfortable and hot for the full seven days it took us to drive through the country. That said, it was a wonderful experience and we met some lovely people.

In other countries such as Pakistan, India and Turkey, a woman needs to dress with care to prevent giving local males the wrong idea, i.e. that’s she’s available and ready for sex.

But there’s one other thing about travel that’s an even bigger problem for women, and that’s going to the loo. (Restroom for those of you in the US) Sometimes it’s hard to find one and at other times, they’re plain disgusting. A man can go anywhere – choose a spot, take aim and go. For a woman it’s not that easy. Take it from me, I have firsthand experience with this dilemma!

When we traveled overland in India, we’d pull up in the middle of nowhere for lunch. The first thing all the girls did was dive off the truck and find a tree to squat behind because within minutes the locals would appear. Many a time, we’d turn around and find a stranger getting a good view from behind. We learned to be quick.

That’s why this article fascinated me. It was about a new product called the Shewee that allows women to relieve themselves while standing up. To pee with a Shewee you unzip your trousers and push your underwear to the side. The Shewee is placed against your body and the spout angled toward the toilet or ground. A quick shake of the liquid resistant plastic and it’s dry and ready to store for the next time. At 17cm long and being very light, it can be stowed easily.

Here’s the link to the New Zealand website where it sells for NZ$19.90. (there’s also a US website – follow the links from the NZ one)

What do you think?

Friday, December 26th, 2008
Contest!

I love my husband. I love cycling. Logic would dictate that cycling with my husband would be lots of fun. In a word–no!

Something about the combination of husband and a bicycle brings out the competitive gene in him. He has to beat me to our destination. Of course, it probably doesn’t help that, at times, I have a competitive streak, too. Some days it doesn’t bother me if he cycles off into the distance, leaving me behind.

Today wasn’t that day. My beloved husband irritated me.

When he cycled off into the distance, I took a shortcut, then I waited for him. He took a long time because he’d gone back to see where I was. He worried that I’d fallen off, which made me feel bad for about…um…two seconds.

Do you have a competitive streak in you? Do you like to win?