Adventure into Romance with Shelley Munro
News About Shelley Blog Books Extras Contact Small Font Large Font
Wednesday, March 4th, 2009
The Wait Between Books

Last week Kaye Munro did a post about writing and author productivity. I’ve been thinking about this, and I want everyone to put on their reader hats while they read this post about author releases.

It used to be that authors would write one book a year and sometimes one book every two years. These days authors tend to have a higher rate of productivity. Some authors write three or four books a year, depending on the line they write for and also if they write for traditional or e-publishers.

The good thing for readers is this means there are a large number of books available to choose from. We’re spoiled for choice. I don’t know about you, but as a reader, I love the trilogies or connected books by the same author that come out in three successive months. I think that’s reader heaven. I like my favorite authors to have releases at least every six months. That’s a good length of time for me. If the wait is much longer, I forget to look for the next release because I have a lot of favorites. If I can’t find a book written by one of my favorite authors, I tend to look farther afield, and I explore the books of new-to-me writers. Sometimes I find new favorites, so there’s a danger if an author doesn’t have frequent releases, they’ll lose me to another writer or writers.

How long are you willing to wait between books? Can an author have too many releases in one year? Do you think quality is sacrificed in favor of quantity these days?

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009
NZ: Bluff Oysters

The Bluff oyster season has recently opened in New Zealand, and oyster fans are clamoring for a taste of the new season’s oysters.

Bluff is a small coastal town at the bottom of the South Island. It is this town that the oysters take their name from, but they are also commonly known as flat oysters and are available in other parts of New Zealand. The actual Bluff oysters are taken from Foveaux Strait. Boats operate under a quota system to protect the oysters, and in past years pickings have been lean because of a bonamia parasite attack. Scientists report that this is a bumper year after a warm summer, and the oysters are fat and healthy.

Oysters are big business and increasingly expensive due to shortages in past years and transport costs. This year helicopters whisked them away to markets as soon as the boats reached the shore, which adds to the cost.

Most people eat them raw. They loosen the meat, tip the shell and let the oyster slide down their throat. You’re not meant to chew, merely swallow.

Pacific Oysters

This is a photo of farmed Pacific oysters, taken by moi. Mr. Munro and his brothers go on a day outing every Christmas so they have oysters for Christmas day. I’m not an oyster fan at all so I watch the drama of the Bluff season with bemusement. A raw oyster sends shudders of horror through me, although I’m quite happy to eat cooked oysters. I think they look like snot, and the taste is not much better. Probably more than you wanted to know! Mr. Munro usually humors me and cooks a few at Christmas, putting them under the grill with a tasty topping or making fritters. I can handle them cooked and think they’re quite tasty eaten that way!

Have you eaten oysters and do you like them?

Saturday, February 28th, 2009
Author Photos: Yes or No?

I always enjoy the Novelist Inc. blog, and the most recent post is one by Pati Nagle about Five Should Haves on a Website. It’s a great post and well worth reading.

One of the things Pati mentions is an author photo on the home page of a website. She says readers feel more connected if they can see a photo of you, and this might lead to them remembering your name when they’re browsing for books in a store.

I don’t have a photo on my home page because I wanted to focus on my books. I might post photos on my blog and I have my picture in the photo section, but for me, a website should be about the books. Yes, I agree, a website needs a personality, but I don’t believe I need my face to be part of that personality.

In the past, I’ve heard of agents and publishers rejecting older authors because their faces/age/sex isn’t marketable. I don’t know if this is an urban legend or not, but it’s a sad fact of life that models and most people who feature in ads to sell products are young and glamorous. Does this extend to authors? I don’t know.

I wondered what everyone else thought. Obviously there’s no right or wrong answer, merely opinions. What do you think? Author photos – yes or no? Does knowing what an author looks like affect your buying decision?

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009
Baby Bear…


Sunday, February 22nd, 2009
Hiding in the Writing Cave

I’m busy with edits at the moment and have worked all weekend on writing. It’s keeping me out of trouble, that’s for sure! I have edits on two manuscripts. One down, and I’m thirty pages into the second.

Tomorrow I have a special guest. JK Coi is visiting and talking about her latest release. I hope you’ll pop by to visit.

Despite being busy I still have a book on the go. I’ve just finished Only Pleasure by Lora Leigh. This one wasn’t one of my favorites of hers, and I actually found myself skimming. Next off the pile is Body Language by Suzanne Brockmann.

If you’re in the Northern hemisphere, enjoy the rest of your weekend. Southern hemisphere – welcome to Monday!

What are you reading at the moment?

Friday, February 20th, 2009
The Author Persona

Barbara Vey at Publishers Weekly has a recent post about authors, actors and the like called Does It Matter If They’re Nice? while Samhain editor Tera Kleinfelter has a post about professionalism.

We all know how to behave in public or online, or we should. Writing is our job or business and as a writer we need to promote ourselves in a positive light. We’re all human and sometimes, the smile might slip. Sometimes we have a bad day.

I have a confession. I’m a fairly easy going person, but there are a couple of authors whose books I would never purchase or read because they made a really bad impression on me when I met them. Quite frankly, they were rude. I’ve heard others make the same comment about authors, actors and singers.

If an author is rude to you at a conference or booksigning, or they behave badly online, does this create a bad impression with you or do you give them the benefit of doubt and give them a second chance? Does rudeness stop you buying their book, music or watching their movies?

Thursday, February 19th, 2009
Shades of Brown.

Thursday Thirteen

I think brown is such an ordinary color. According to my Merriam-Webster’s dictionary brown is any of a group of colors between red and yellow in hue, of medium to low lightness and of moderate to low saturation. Brown is the color of chocolate though, so it can’t be all bad.

Here are thirteen shades of brown:

1. Nutmeg
2. Chestnut
3. Bronze
4. Mushroom
5. Cocoa
6. Rust
7. Earth
8. Mahogany
9. Mocha
10. Coffee
11. Raisin
12. Copper
13. Umber

Do you like brown? What’s your favorite color? Your most hated color? And a question for writers: when you give your characters brown hair, do you call it brown or use an interesting description such as those above?

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009
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?

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009
New Zealand: Cabbage Tree

I’ve mentioned the cabbage tree in several of my books. It’s a native New Zealand tree and part of the lily family, the largest one in fact. The official scientific name is Cordyline australis and the Maori name is Tî râkau or Tî kôuka. It has a single trunk and the leaves are long strips. The leaves hang in rounded bunches and look like huge pom-poms.

Early settlers used them as a subsitute for cabbage (the heart part of the leaves), hence the common name cabbage tree. They grow in various parts of the world and tolerate the cold. I’ve seen them when I’ve visited other countries. There’s even one on Alcatraz Island. We have some growing in our garden, although it’s not good to run over the leaves with the lawn mower because they’re fibrous. That’s asking for trouble!

The trees grow up to forty feet high, although the ones around where I live are on the short side. They’re not very old. During recent years lots of cabbage trees have died because of a disease called ‘Sudden Decline’, caused by the pathogen Phytoplasma australiense. The disease makes the leaves fall, leaving a pathetic looking trunk behind.


This is a cabbage tree – the one with the long strip-like leaves.


These are mountain cabbage trees. Hubby and I took this photo during our recent trip to Tongarairo National Park.


This is a shot of our Parliament buildings in Wellington, affectionately known as the Beehive because of its shape. Notice the row of cabbage trees planted in front.

When I think of New Zealand trees a cabbage tree is one that always springs to mind, along with the mighty Kauri tree (a topic for another post), the pohutakawa and the kowhai trees. (both pretty flowering trees).

When you think about plants and trees native to your area which ones do you think of? Have you seen a cabbage tree in your country?

Saturday, February 14th, 2009
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?