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Wednesday, February 13th, 2019
A Stroll Up a Dormant Volcano #Adventure2019

Adventure 2019

The city of Auckland is built on and around a field of volcanoes, which I think accounts for my fascination with volcanoes. One day, I will use volcanoes in a romance. Somehow.

I’ve been lucky enough to see most of our New Zealand volcanoes, including the more active ones farther south of Auckland. (White Island, Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe, Tongariro)

On one memorable trip we visited an active volcano in Guatemala. It was almost dusk and we stood next to the glowing lava flow. The conveyer-belt glide of the molten lava, full of rocks and popping gases, and the heat that came off that shimmering ribbon lives with me still, despite the passing of years.

On Auckland Anniversary day, we had friends visit from Winnipeg, so we marched them up to the top of one of our dormant volcanoes—Mount Eden. Mt. Eden is interesting because it has a perfect crater and the view of the sprawling city below is fantastic.

Auckland weather was on its best behavior and the views were stunning. From the summit, it is easy to see the other dormant volcanoes that stud the landscape. One Tree Hill, Mt. Hobson, Rangitoto Island, and Mt. Victoria to name a few.

Mount Eden, Auckland

The crater as seen from the top of Mount Eden.

Auckland harbor bridge and Sky Tower

View over downtown Auckland. Spot the Auckland Harbor Bridge and the Sky Tower.

Rangitoto

This is Rangitoto, which is the youngest volcano in the Auckland region. It erupted around six hundred years ago.

Other dormant volcanoes

The grassy hills are also dormant volcanoes. These ones are visible from the top of Mt. Eden.

One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill is yet another volcanic cone.

Drinks to rehydrate after our sightseeing

Drinks to replace the liquid lost while sightseeeing. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

If you ever visit Auckland, this spot is the perfect one to get an overview of the city with 360 views. From here, you can see both coasts (the Manukau and Waitemata) but a warning—if the day is windy. Hold onto your hat!

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019
The Emotion Thesaurus – An Updated Issue on the Way!

Getting emotion into a romance is one of the hardest jobs of a writer. Stringing words together to make a story seem real and rounded, one that draws the reader into the world the writer has created is plain hard. A few years ago Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi wrote a book called the Emotion Thesaurus. I, along with many other writers, embraced this book, making it part of my craft library. Since then Angela and Becca have written several other guides just for writers on topics such as positive traits, emotional wounds in characters, and settings.

This year, they announced they’d done an updated version of the original Emotion Thesaurus, adding new entries and giving us new emotions to help with our book writing.

The Emotion Thesaurus, the updated version, is due out on 19 Feb 2019.

The Emotion Thesaurus

You can pre-order your copy at online retailers.

Monday, February 11th, 2019
Writing Update for February: What Is Coming Next?

Writing Update

2019. If you’ve read some of my other posts, you’ll know I started with a holiday, but writing was never far from my mind.

This is what I’ve been working on and these projects will be available for readers very soon.

So just how did the Mitchell family from my Middlemarch Shifters series get to Dunedin?

My Scottish Lass is a prequel to the series and answers this question. In this novella, you’ll meet Rory and Ainslie, ancestors to the present-day Mitchell family. This prequel will only be available for those who subscribe to my newsletter. If you’re already signed up to receive my newsletter, watch this space. Currently, I’m waiting for the cover.

Stranded with Ella, book 4 in my Military Men series:

I’ve just delivered this manuscript to my editor. It features Dillon Williams, brother of the heroine from book 1 in the series. We meet Ella Liddington-Walsh who is the opposite of pragmatic Dillon, yet they fit.

Currently working on:

Last week, I started working on Black Moon Dragon, which is book 3 in my Dragon Investigators series. The hero for this one is Manu Taniwha who we met in Blood Moon Dragon, book 2. The heroine is Jessalyn Brown who is part human and part dragon, although this comes as a huge surprise to her.

A freebie:

If you’re a contemporary romance fan, check out Secret Lovers. This is the first book in the Love and Friendship series and it is set in Auckland, New Zealand. Right now, you can get this book at your favorite retailer for free.

Wednesday, February 6th, 2019
Cooking Class in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico #Adventure2019

Cooking Adventure 2019

Our cuisine in New Zealand is a fusion of European, Asian and Pacific influences with an emphasis on our fresh produce and seafood. We don’t get much in the way of Mexican food in New Zealand, and Mr. Munro and I decided to attend a cooking class when our cruise ship visited the port of Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. We both love to cook, and this seemed like the ideal way to immerse ourselves in Mexico food.

I eat a mainly vegetarian diet with a little seafood, so we were in luck when our visit coincided with seafood day at the cooking school.

Chef Enrique runs these cooking classes from his home. According to him, one day he was lying in his hammock and he thought there must be a better way to earn a living. He loved cooking and food, he liked meeting and talking with people and the idea for his cooking school was born.

The class starts with an excursion to the local market to buy supplies. We visited a tortilla factory where the tortillas are made from corn. Our next stop was the fish market where we purchase a white fish, octopus and prawns. Eek! Who buys octopus? What does one do with all those tentacles? Well, I can confidently tell you that I’ve learned how to deal with an octopus, and even better, it was delicious.

A grinding machine at the tortilla factory

First stop – the tortilla factory where corn is ground into a paste to make tortillas. Something learned. I had no idea that proper tortillas do not contain flour.

Red snapper at the fish market

The fish market was spotlessly clean with not a fishy stench in evidence.

We purchased fresh vegetables and fruit including tomatoes, avocado, limes, lots of fresh herbs, chilies, and pineapple gaining tips along to way as to what to look for in fresh produce.

So many chilies!

There are so many varieties of chilies of all colors and sizes. Chef showed us his collection of dried chilies and I have no idea how he keeps them straight. Many, many chilies.

Starting to fill up the shopping trolley

We soon filled this trolley!

Our shopping done, we piled into our van and headed off to Chef Enrique’s home to start cooking. On our arrival, we were introduced to his family, given an apron to don and made to feel at feel. Mi casa es su casa. Drinks including tequila were available but most of us wanted to learn and stuck to the non-alcohol drinks in order to concentrate.

Chef put each of us to work. I squeezed limes and chopped onion while Mr. Munro cut the fish into cubes for the ceviche.

Chef and his family

Our fresh cooking ingredients

Our fresh ingredients are ready for class to commence.

The first course consisted of ceviche, guacamole, fresh pineapple with spices and two sauces. Our second course was a cactus salad, prawns, octopus, and more sauces. Our meal ended with a slice of beautiful caramel tart made by Mrs. Chef. It was glossy and almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

Chopping the snapper

Mr. Munro chopping the red snapper for the ceviche.

Making the ceviche

The ingredients for the ceviche.

First course ready to eat!

This is our first course, and it was yummy!

Experiencing the tortilla press

The tortilla press – an amazing gadget but not one we use a lot in New Zealand.

Octopus and prawns ready to eat.

Prawns and octopus ready for eating.

We had a fun day, and if you’re ever in Puerto Vallarta please check out Chef Enrique at Cookin’ Vallarta and his cooking class. You won’t be disappointed.

Friday, February 1st, 2019
Interview with Debut Author Zoe Ashwood #paranormalromance #werewolf

Interview with Debut Author Zoe Ashwood
Today, I’d like to welcome debut author Zoe Ashwood.

According to Zoe, she is a translator by day, a romance writer by night, and a reader always. Her stories feature grumpy men, kickass heroines, and lots of kissing. Sounds great, right? So let’s dig in and learn more about Zoe’s debut release Trust the Wolf.

Zoe, congratulations on the release of Trust the Wolf, which I understand is your very first book. Please tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.

Hi, Shelley, thank you so much for having me here! Yes, Trust the Wolf is my first published novel, though it’s not the first book I ever wrote (we won’t talk about that first attempt, though, haha!).

I’ve been writing since forever, though my attempts at journaling and teenage poetry were seriously bad. But then I found out about NaNoWriMo and decided to give it a go in 2014, when my first son was two months old (crazy, I know). That book will never see the light of day, but I did win NaNo – and caught the writing bug. It’s been so much fun!

I’ve been a huge fan of paranormal romance before the genre even became popular (showing my age here!) What is it that drew you to write paranormal romance?

Oh, I think it’s because it’s a mashup of fantasy and romance, my two favorite genres. I love reading both, I’ve always been a fantasy reader but only discovered genre romance in college. I love worldbuilding, though I kept the world of the Shift series fairly simple. But the creative freedom that paranormal/fantasy genres offer is just something that speaks to me. Honestly, though, my love for this specific genre probably began by reading Twilight – and then searching for books with, um, steamier content.

What do you find is the hardest part about being a writer?

Having the discipline to sit down and write instead of browsing Facebook! Also editing. Editing is hell. I had to delete so many crutch words from my most recent WIP! I invent new ones with every first draft I write.

Trust the Wolf features werewolves. How much research did you do during the writing of your book? Have you ever had a close encounter with wolves?

No, I’ve never been lucky (or unlucky?) enough to have a close encounter with wolves. My shapeshifter world has various species of shifters, though, and I have seen a bear in the wild more than once! It’s not something I’d want to repeat, though, they can get pretty scary. And I did lots of research – mostly through internet, about wolf (and bear) eating habits, mating habits, pack life etc. I watched documentaries. I like doing research like that!

Often, in social situations, writers meet people who say “I wish I could write a book.” What is your best advice for an aspiring paranormal romance writer?

I think it’s super important to find your tribe. I have two critique partners who have been with me for more than two years, and my work is better because of them. We support each other, sprint together, and chat a lot (even though we all live on different continents). And I would recommend learning as much as you can about the craft of writing because knowing what you’re doing makes the actual doing part easier. There are loads of free resources floating around, especially writing blogs and podcasts. Some of my favorites are Well-Storied, Helping Writers Become Authors, and The Creative Penn, and for romance writers specifically Jami Gold’s blog and beat sheets. My favorite writing books are 2k to 10k by Rachel Aaron and Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes.

I understand you have a free prequel to Trust the Wolf. How do readers get their hands on this?

Yes, Bearly Married is a free 30k-word novella with a full happily-ever-after story set approximately 25 years before Trust the Wolf. It features a couple that appears in the present-day series! It has a marriage of convenience, bear shifters, and 90s wedding dresses.
You can get it by signing up for my newsletter here: https://zoeashwood.com/newsletter/

What is the best place for readers to learn more about you and your upcoming paranormal romances?

My website is a good place to start – it has all the links to my social media and information about my books. https://zoeashwood.com

Thanks so much, Zoe!

Trust The Wolf by Zoe AshwoodReaders, here is the blurb for TRUST THE WOLF. Check it out today.

You never forget your first wolf.

Emilia’s first encounter with Jason is memorable: it’s not every day you see a stranger change into a wolf. Her attraction to him is undeniable, but the secret he shares shakes the foundations of her life.

Jason’s need for Emilia unnerves him. It’s his job to report shifters without proper ID, yet he can’t make himself do it this time. The decision bites him in the tail when he discovers exactly who she is. He must keep his distance—or there will be hell to pay.

Their fates entwine when rogue shifters learn of Emilia’s identity and will stop at nothing to get to her. Emilia and Jason will have to fight together or risk losing everything.

But most of all? Emilia must learn to trust the wolf.

Purchase Trust the Wolf (also available in Kindle Unlimited)

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019
2019: The Year of Adventure #Adventure2019

Adventure 2019

At the end of 2018, I decided it was time to shake things up a little in my everyday life. I’m a creature of routine, and sometimes routine equals boring. Enough of that, I thought. It’s time to try new things and savor different experiences.

My plan for seeking adventure started this month, and I’ve been having fun trying new-to-me things both big and small.

My January adventures include:
Hula dancing
Line dancing
Zumba
A Panama Canal cruise, traveling from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale
Climbed Mt Eden in Auckland
Cooking class in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Saw a baby sloth
Saw a toucan

Toucan

Toucan

I’ll be back with posts about some of these adventures and my ongoing mission to step out of routine.

Do you enjoy doing new things? Have you tried doing something new this year?

Wednesday, December 5th, 2018
Gift Ideas for the Avid Readers in Your Life

Gifts for Christmas
Looking for some fun gift ideas for the avid readers in your life?

Good news. You’ve come to the right place.

I’ve teamed up with some fellow authors to share our picks for the perfect gifts (in a variety of price ranges!) for readers to cozy up with. The only other thing they’ll need is a great book.

Without further ado, here is our roundup of the top gift ideas for readers:

Huhuhero Fineliner Color Pen Set

These color pens are perfect for bullet journaling, coloring and notetaking in general. At just $6.98, they come in a 10-pack of vivid colors. They write smoothly and are just plain fun!

Product suggested by L. Danvers, YA Paranormal Romance Author

Literary Candles

Have you ever seen anything so adorable? These bookish candles feature custom scents designed to evoke fond memories of your favorite literary tales – from Sherlock Holmes to Jane Eyre. Sixteen bucks for a gift your loved one will rave about? Yes, please!

Product suggested by Cecelia Mecca, Paranormal Romance Author

Long Distance Friendship Lamp

This gift is on the high end, price wise, but as I have several loved ones who live far away, I love the idea behind it and it seems like a lovely way to touch their heart!

Product suggested by D.M. Marlowe, Paranormal Romance Author

I Love Reading Fleece Luxury Blanket

Know an avid reader who simply wants to snuggle up with a good book and be left alone? Then this blanket is sure to make them smile. (Mental note to self: do not mess with L.G. Castillo when she’s reading.)

Product suggested by L.G. Castillo, Paranormal Romance Author

Mismatched Fingerless Mittens

Keeping your hands warm doesn’t have to be boring. These fingerless gloves are colorful with a bit of whimsy. Perfect for long winter nights.

Product suggested by Beth Caudill, Paranormal Romance Author

Aqua Love Notes Waterproof Notepad

Since I do all my best thinking in the shower…

Product suggested by Shelley Munro, Paranormal Romance Author

 

We hope you found this list helpful. We’d love to know – are any of these products on your Christmas wish list this year? Let us know in the comments below.

PARANORMAL ROMANCE AUTHORS | GIFT IDEAS | GIFTS FOR READERS | CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS FOR READERS PARANORMAL ROMANCE AUTHORS | GIFT IDEAS | GIFTS FOR READERS | CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS FOR READERS

Saturday, November 17th, 2018
Renee’s Mates Celebration Giveaway #romance #giveaway

Renee’s Mates, the third book of my Churchill Polar Bears series is out today, and I’m having an end of year giveaway to celebrate.

The prize:

A New Zealand T-shirt
Decadent Whittaker’s Chocolate from New Zealand
A leather keyring from Italy
A New Zealand plush kiwi
A 2019 Diary – She Thought She Could So She Did
An Alaskan-set mystery (since I couldn’t find a Churchill one :-)

Renee's Mates Giveaway

ENTER HERE

And to check out Renee’s Mates, a werewolf reverse harem paranormal romance read an excerpt here.

Monday, October 29th, 2018
Join in on the Spooktacular Blog Hop and have a Howling Good Time #Spooktacular #BlogHop

While the fall nights are getting colder, you might need something to keep you warm!

If you love heat like we do, you’ll love the fantastic romantic fiction that can be found on the blogs of this hop.

From sweet to downright sizzling, you’ll be sure to find something that you will fall in love with!

Thank you to the authors who are in the hop, and a special thank you to you, our readers!

Now go on…. get your hop on!

Friday, October 12th, 2018
Weekend Read: Wolf Tamer by Yumoyori Wilson #romance #reverseharem #PNR

Here is a new paranormal romance for you. The cover grabbed my attention first, then I read the blurb. Wolf Tamer sounds intriguing, and I’m looking forward to some reading time this weekend, in the company of werewolves, of course!

Don’t forget to check out the connected giveaway. Details below.

Wolf Tamer
Yumoyori Wilson
(Claiming My Pack #1)
Publication date: October 6th 2018
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

An Orphan Girl. A Group of Wolves. A Destined Fate for War.

Don’t you ever wish to find where you belong? A place where you can rest your head without worrying about being jumped or your possessions being taken from you? Not like I had much, to say the least.

A pendant, an ancient blade, and a picture of my murdered family were all I had left when I was five years old. Foster homes to homeless shelters, I never found a place of refuge. I simply didn’t belong, and everyone made it their duty to remind me of my predicament. Until I finally came across a place that felt like home.

Sacred Moon Shelter for Endangered Wolves. I’d stumbled upon the sanctuary when I was near death, but I was miraculously saved.

Since then, I’ve become a Wolf Tamer; the only one who can get close to touching the six rare breeds. When I’m with them, I feel safe and sometimes wish I could be like one of them and escape this cruel world.

But such inhumanity strikes home, a group of hunters shows up, ready to take my wolves to an unknown place or murder them in cold blood. I won’t allow them to kill the only true family I’d ever known.

My name is Harper Blake, and I vow to claim and protect my own.

Wolf Tamer is a new Wolf Shifter Reverse Harem Romance. Recommended for 18+ Audiences.

Goodreads / Amazon

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Author Bio:

Yumoyori Wilson is from Toronto, Ontario. She’s a Full-time author who loves to write many different genres. On her down time, she bothers her Mom and likes to drink bubbletea while reading and playing video games.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook Page / Facebook Group / Twitter / Instagram


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