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Struttin’ My Stuff #animal #cute

Camera Critters

I took this photo at the Sydney Botanical Gardens in December of last year. He was strutting around and posing for all the tourists.

Cockatoo

To see more animal photos visit Camera Critters

The Tasmanian Devil, Australia #travel

During our recent visit to Tasmania, I was determined to see a Tasmanian devil. I have seen them before, and they fascinated me with their grunting and growling and their surly, cantankerous  natures. I knew that the population of devils has experienced difficulties during the last ten years, and I wanted to see them again.

A Tasmanian devil is a stocky black or brown mammal, about the size of a cat. They have short back legs and since their front legs are slightly longer this gives them an ambling gait. They are carnivorous and have powerful jaws and sharp teeth, used to tear apart their prey of snakes, birds, fish and carrion.

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Early settlers named them devils because of their spine-chilling growls that filled the night. At one time, farmers thought that they attacked their livestock, and the population was almost wiped out. Once they became a protected species the numbers of devil increased until the mid 1990s. A large number of devil died with an illness called devil facial tumor. It is a type of cancer that made lumps form on the animals’ heads. Once they were infected the tumors made it difficult for the devils to eat and they died in the thousands. Captive breeding programs have saved the species from extinction but they are still vulnerable.

We visited Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary where they take in injured animals. In most cases, they attempt to release animals into the wild, although they have a few animals that are unable to live in the wild due to ongoing injuries or problems. Along with Tasmanian devils, they had lots of kangaroos, wombats, emus and koalas. Hubby and I loved our visit here. The staff and keepers were friendly and helpful and answered loads of questions. Their enthusiasm was infectious.

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What do you think? Would you like to come face-to-face with one?

Behind the Scenes: Summer Encounter #Kindle #Romance

Summer EncounterA few years ago my husband organized a golf trip to the Gold Coast of Australia for members of the local New Zealand RSA (Returned Services’ Association). I’m not a golfer, but the lure of sunshine, half naked lifeguards on the surf beach, great shopping, and the chance to relax and do a little writing was all the incentive I needed. I packed my bags, ready to tag along.

Most of the group was a lot older than us, although I hasten to add, very fit and lively and definitely switched on. Our group consisted of couples plus three elderly bachelors. We called them “the boys”.

On the first day we arrived late morning and checked into our holiday apartments. We lazed around, deciding to meet up in the bar later that evening before going out to dinner in a group. The three boys were in the bar when we arrived for drinks. We purchased beer and wine and sat down outside to enjoy them while waiting for everyone else. The boys had already been out exploring.

“We’re going to the Burleigh Bowls Club for dinner,” one of the boys said.

“Yes,” another agreed. “Cheap meals. The beer is a good price as well.”

We nodded.

“And,” said the third boy, “There’s a dance at the Bowls Club tonight.” He paused to waggle his eyebrows. “We’re gonna grab us a granny!”

We roared with laughter. Not terribly P.C., I know, but I still grin each time I think of the three elderly men going off to the dance.

The next day, while the others were out playing golf, I pulled out my laptop and started pondering about what to write. The phrase “grab a granny” popped into my head and refused to leave. I decided to blend fact with fiction and write about a woman on a golf trip meeting with a younger man. Of course, the phrase “grab a granny” was in the story, although it wasn’t in relation to my heroine. I called my story, Grab a Granny.

Of course, the title Grab a Granny isn’t terribly romantic, so after consideration, my story became Summer Encounter.

Believe me, ideas are everywhere!

Shelley

Here’s the blurb for Summer Encounter:

Sophie Walker is on holiday in Australia when a hot and handsome cutey kisses her right in the middle of the Burleigh Bowls Club. The man fires slumbering sensual fantasies and sends her hormones swooping. Sophie wants to take a bite before she realizes it’s Isaac Shepherd—one of her daughter’s ex-boyfriends. Chastened, Sophie tells herself to forget the younger man, but it seems the attraction is mutual.

Sunshine. A hot, young stud. Steamy sex. The perfect recipe for total relaxation until the end of the vacation looms and Sophie doesn’t want to let Isaac go.

Purchase or Borrow at Amazon

Gold Coast Beach

Gold Coast Beach

Taking in some sun on the Golf Course

Taking in some sun on the Golf Course

13 Things About Anything Goes

Thursday Thirteen

Last weekend, we flew over to Sydney in Australia to go to a show at the Royal Opera House. We saw an oldie but a goodie—Anything Goes.

Thirteen Things About Anything Goes

1. Anything Goes is a musical.

2. The music and the song lyrics were written by the famous Cole Porter.

3. The show debuted in 1934 at the Alvin Theatre on Broadway (now known as the Neil Simon Theatre)

4. The show has been in many theatres around the world and has been filmed twice.

5. The story takes place on an ocean liner (cruise ship) during the voyage from New York to London.

6. Some of the famous songs include Anything Goes, I Get A Kick Out of You and You’re the Top.

7. The original book was written by Guy Bolton and PG Wodehouse.

8. Once the passengers board the ship shenanigans ensue. Billy Crocker has fallen in love at first sight with a woman who he discovers is an heiress. She is aboard the ship with her mother and is going to marry Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. Billy stows away in the hope of winning his love. Throw in a few gangsters, a stern mother, a fake minister and a missionary plus a nightclub singer and everything goes wrong before it goes right again.

9. We attended the 2015 Australian revival, which stars Caroline O’Connor as Reno Sweeney, the nightclub singer. She was fabulous.

10. Ethel Merman played Reno in the 1954 television version of the show.

11. The show has been nominated and has won many awards and accolades since it first played in 1934.

12. The songs from the show have been performed in other movies and television shows such as Blazing Saddles, Evil Under the Sun, Gilmore Girls, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Mission Impossible to name a few.

13. And here is a video of Anything Goes with Caroline O’Connor in the lead. This particular video was shot in Melbourne, early in 2015.

By the time I left the Opera House, my feet wanted to tap.

Have you seen this show? Are you a fan of live shows?

Source: Wikipedia.

Wild Child–Unrequited Love

My Sexy Saturday

This week’s theme for My Sexy Saturday is A Long Sexy Time and it’s all about those who have loved another for a long time. This love could have started when they were kids, when they were dating or even from afar. The point is that one character has loved the other for what seems like forever. In some stories, it is forever. The possibilities here are endless.

I’m showcasing Wild Child today, the very first book I self-published. Zoe has loved Matt for a long time, and she’s taking this last chance to prove to Matt that they have a future together. This scene takes place when Zoe arrives at Matt’s apartment in Australia unexpectedly.

Zoe wanted to laugh at the shock on Matt’s face. She shivered inwardly as pleasure surged in a molten rush to the achy spot between her legs. Her nipples were tight and crying out for attention. Tim, her childhood partner in crime and the only man she’d ever had sex with, had never made her feel like this with just a touch. Oh, they’d enjoyed their experimenting and remained close friends, but this… This was in a whole other league.

Her gaze slid over his naked chest, drifted up and down then settled on his biceps. “The Celtic tattoo is new. I like it.”

Matt didn’t answer, and she fought bubbling humor as she turned for his bedroom, putting an extra sashay in her steps. She’d never felt more feminine, more aware of her needs and power. In the bedroom, a secret smile curved her lips as she undid the robe and let it drop to the floor. She had loved him forever and instinctively knew what she felt wasn’t the love of a sister for a brother. It was more. Bigger. Now that she was here, she realized he was the reason she found every other man lacking.

Despite what people might say, there was no familial relationship between them. She was old enough now. Love between them wasn’t a sin. Nothing this beautiful could be a crime.

“You can’t—For God’s sake! Put some clothes on.” Matt had followed her, and now he looked as if he’d taken a bite from a sour apple.

“I always sleep in the nude.” She wanted to laugh so much her chest hurt. Then his gaze lit on her boobs and lingered. As he stared, her breasts prickled. The humor inside dropped away, replaced by growing lust. She trembled, sensual need winding her tight inside. With great daring, she gave into her need and stroked the palms of her hands across the taut peaks.

“Stop that,” he said. “God, I’ve fallen down a bloody rabbit hole. It’s the only explanation.”

Wild Child

BLURB:

Zoe Underwood is one sexy disruption.

From the moment her father married Matt’s mother, Zoe has tempted Matt Cantrell with her seductive curves and driven him crazy with her flirting and provocative manner. The thing is they have no future because Zoe is his stepsister. Determined to dodge trouble, Matt leaves Auckland to live and work in the Gold Coast of Australia. A sea between them should do the trick and let him move forward without the “Zoe” distraction in his life.

Matt Cantrell is one stubborn dude.

No one presses Zoe’s buttons like the tall, dark and gorgeous Matt. In fact, every other man pales in comparison. One last play. Zoe decides to invade Matt’s territory and make her move before some other clever woman snaps him up. She’ll bust through emotional walls and push boundaries. By the time she’s finished, Matt won’t know what hit him. Yes. Good or bad, she’ll stir things up and take a chance on love.

Purchase at Amazon | Nook | All Romance |

To read other My Sexy Saturday snippets follow the links below:

Captain Cook’s Cottage

During our recent visit to Melbourne, Australia we visited Captain Cook’s cottage in Fitzroy Gardens. This cottage, built in 1755,  is the oldest building in Australia, and although it is called Captain Cook’s cottage, the building was actually owned by his parents. It is thought that James Cook did spend some time there during his holidays.

The cottage originally stood in Yorkshire, and when it came up for sale in 1934 Sir Russell Grimwade purchased the building. The brick cottage was dismantled, each brick labeled and shipped to Australia. On arrival, the cottage was reassembled.

These days the cottage is a tourist attraction with the rooms furnished in a typical style. The cottage is surrounded by a cottage garden containing flowers and vegetables.

Cooks Cottage Notice

Cooks Cottage

The cute exterior.

Cottage Garden

Part of the cottage garden.

Cooks Cottage Lounge

Ground floor interior. Lounge room.

Cook Cottage Bedroom

Parents’ bedroom, off the lounge. At night the curtains would be pulled for privacy.

About Captain Cook

Click to enlarge.

Cook Brass

A brass of  Cook, out in the garden

Captain Cook is an important part of New Zealand and Australian history. He visited New Zealand three times, charted much of our coast line and named many of the coastal landmarks. He also discovered and charted the Australian east coast and named it New South Wales.

If you’re ever in Melbourne Cook’s cottage is an interesting place to visit. I recommend it. Smile 

Do you enjoy visiting historical houses? Do you have a favorite?

A Tourist Paparazzi at the Zoo!

A few months ago hubby and I were in Sydney. It was a gorgeous day, and we decided to visit Taronga Zoo. We caught the ferry across the harbor and at the other side rode up the cable car to the top of the hill. The view from the zoo is incredible, especially from the giraffe enclosure.

Room With a View

Room with a view for the giraffes.

I joined the rest of the tourist paparazzi and roamed the zoo taking photos.

Kookobura

First up was this kookaburra. He didn’t seem to mind posing.

Koala 

Mr. Koola wasn’t very cooperative. In fact, he was a bit grumpy.

MountainSheep

Mr. Mountain Sheep was cooperative.

Meerkat

So was Mr. Meerkat

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For a time. Then he turned his back and refused to pose.

Snow Leopard

Mr. Snow Leopard just wanted to snooze…

We had a fun visit, despite the uncooperative animals. Taronga zoo is in a gorgeous position, although comfortable shoes are a must.

Tell me about your favorite zoo experience.

Vivid Festival 2013 Sydney

Sydney harbor is an impressive sight most days, but during our recent visit we saw things in a new light. Our visit coincided with the Vivid Festival where lights and patterns are projected onto the buildings around the CBD. There are also lots of hands on displays around the waterfront for people to touch and play with.

The Pacific Pearl was our hotel for the two nights we were in Sydney, and the ship became part of the display. I took a movie of the ship, but it’s a bit long to show here. Just believe me when I say that like the photos of the Opera House below, the patterns projected onto the ship were very impressive and I, along with everyone else, went Ohhh!

Opera House Day

This is a shot of the Sydney Opera House, taken from the public walkway on the Sydney Harbor bridge. The following photos show some of the colors and patterns that were projected onto the Opera House during the evening.

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Opera 1

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Opera 2

Crowds of people came down to the quay to check out the lights, and the waterfront was a busy place, despite the rain on the first night. I’m sure the organizers are pleased with the success of their festival.

What was the last festival you attended?

ANZAC Day

Tomorrow it’s ANZAC day (25 April) where New Zealand and Australia remember those who fell at Gallipoli during World War 1.

A few years ago, Mr. Munro and I visited ANZAC Cove and Chunuk Bair in Turkey. We walked from ANZAC Cove up to Chunuk Bair. It was sweltering hot and we were exhausted by the time we reached the top. We didn’t have packs. We didn’t have people shooting at us. I don’t know how the soldiers managed during the heat of battle.

Every year they hold a special service at ANZAC Cove where Australians, New Zealanders and the Turkish people remember.

Here are a few photos. (They’re scanned so the quality isn’t as good as it could be)

Trenches_ANZAC Cove

This is taken from Chunuk Bair and is of the view out toward ANZAC Cove. You can see the trenches in the foreground.

Chunuk Bair

This is the New Zealand memorial.

ANZAC Cove 

This is ANZAC Cove (click to enlarge photo)

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

From Laurence Binyon’s poem For the Fallen, written in September 1914

Please take a moment to remember the fallen from past battles. Without their sacrifices our lives would be very different.

13 Places to Visit in Sydney

Thursday Thirteen

In a couple of months hubby and I are visiting Sydney. It’s a great city with a gorgeous harbor and lots to do. I highly recommend a visit if you’re heading down this end of the world.

Thirteen Places to Visit While in Sydney

1. The harbor bridge. Walk across it, climb one of the pylons or if you have a head for heights, do the bridge climb.

Sydney Harbor Bridge

2. Do a tour through the Sydney Opera House.

3. Wander around Darling Harbor and have a snack or meal at one of the many restaurants.

4. Visit the Rocks area, once the home of convicts, but now full of shops selling crafts.

5. Catch a ferry and visit Manly.

Manly_The Beach

6. Wander through the botanical gardens and walk out to the point where Mrs. MacQuarie liked to sit, known locally as Mrs. MacQuarie’s Chair. It’s a bench carved out of sandstone.

Sydney Harbor View

7. Go swimming/people watching at Bondi Beach. Don’t forget to swim between the flags.

8. Visit Taronga zoo where the animals have one of the greatest views of the around.

9. Check out the art gallery or one of the museums. Lots of local artists.

10. Visit the Queen Victoria Building, an old restored building and now home to shops and restaurants.

11. Go to the Paddington Markets, which have been trading for 39 years. Open on Saturdays only and a perfect place to find that unique item of clothing or a souvenir.

12. Visit Hyde Park, the oldest park in Australia. There are loads of trees and plants for keen gardeners to exclaim over.

13. The Sydney Tower Eye, visible from most of the inner city and a great place to go for a 360 degree view of the city.

Of course, this is only a taste of the places to visit. There are lots of places outside the city such as the Blue Mountains and wildlife parks.

Which place would you visit first? If you’ve visited Sydney before what was your favorite part of the city? What would you recommend?



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