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Archive for 'contemporary'

Matau, the Giant

Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown

Like most countries, New Zealand has myths to explain the formation of various lakes and mountains. This is the legend of how Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown, New Zealand was formed.

Renowned beauty Manata lived in Otago in the South Island of New Zealand. She was popular with neighboring men and many of them wanted to take her as their wife. Manata’s father didn’t consider any of the suitors husband material.

One of her suitors was called Matakauri. He loved Manata and she loved him in return.

One day a giant called Matau stole Manata from her home and carried her away into the mountains. Manata’s father told Matakauri that if he could rescue his daughter, he’d approve of a marriage between them.

Matakauri knew that the giant always turned sleepy when the wind blew from the nor’west, and once conditions were right, he set out to rescue his love. When he arrived the giant was sound asleep.

“Come with me,” Matakauri said. “I’ll take you home.”

“The giant has tied me to him with a rope made from the skin of his two-headed dogs. It is impossible to break,” Manata cried.

Matakauri tried to cut it, but to no avail. Manata started weeping and when her tears fell on the rope it dissolved. Freed, the lovers fled to safety.

As promised, the couple married, but Matakauri worried about the giant returning and stealing his new wife. When the wind blew from the nor’west again, he sneaked up to the giant’s home and found the giant curled up and sleeping on a bed of bracken. Matakauri set fire to the bracken and the giant suffocated before he regained consciousness. The giant’s body sank deeper and deeper into the ground until he created an enormous chasm many kilometers long. His entire body was consumed by the flames, except the heart, which kept beating.

Rain began to fall and it flowed into the new chasm. The heat generated by the fiery giant bonfire melted the snow on the nearby mountains. Soon the chasm was full of water and it remains as a lake to this day—a lake shaped like a giant who has drawn up his knees in sleep.

Meanwhile the giant’s heart still beats beneath the surface of the water, sometimes so hard that the waves thunder against the shoreline.

I didn’t realize we had giant myths in New Zealand, and I’ve been enjoying reading through Taniwha, Giants, and Supernatural Creatures by Aw Reed and Ross Calman. Do you have any local giant myths?

Today I’m visiting Lissa Matthews where I’m discussing Maxwell’s, the fictional club in Past Regrets. There’s a giveaway too.

Stepping Back in Time

Shelley, Bangui, CAR

I’m stepping back in time today with a photo of me taken in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. Several local ladies visited our camp and offered to braid hair. I kept mine in for about three weeks. When I’d had enough of braids and unfastened them, I had the hair style from hell. The worst hair day ever!

Today I’m visiting Keira Kohl with Julia Maxwell, the heroine of Past Regrets. There’s also a giveaway.

Have you ever had your hair done in braids?

Earthquakes and Art Deco!

I’m visiting Heart-Shaped Glasses where I’m talking about earthquakes among other things. Heart-Shaped Glasses has a travel theme this month and there are lots of excellent posts to check out.

Shelley’s Tip for Lazy Zips

I love my jeans. During summer I enjoy wearing shorts. Unfortunately most of my jeans and shorts end up with the same problem—a zip that keeps falling down.

The last thing anyone needs is to walk into a room with their zip at low mast. Who knows what people will see?

Maybe it’s the fact my puku sticks out—that’s Maori for stomach—but whatever the reason, it’s totally frustrating.

Then, a brainwave!

Jeans

Instead of struggling to replace the zipper or paying someone to do it, why not find a cure? This is the answer to my lazy zips.

Paper Clip

The humble paper clip.

I chose one of the feet paper clips because I liked the funky look. I hooked it into the zipper tag.

DSCF1497

 

I pulled up the zipper and hooked it around the stud/button thingie.

 

Jeans and Paper Clip

 

Then fastened the button hole over the top of the paper clip.

Tamed Lazy Zipper

Result: One tamed lazy zipper!

You could probably make a loop with a piece of waxed string, but I think the funky paper clip looks better. I can remove it easily when I want to wash my jeans.

What do you think? Do you have clever tips to share?

Want to win a print copy of Summer in the City of Sails? Check out my giveaway at Goodreads and enter the draw.

Summer in the City of Sails

Summer in the City of Sails – Goodreads Giveaway

Review: Hollywood Ever After

Hollywood Ever AfterHollywood Ever After

By Sasha Summers

Inkspell Publishing

Release Date July 14, 2012

She wasn’t meant for movie stars, Hollywood, or happy endings. And then she met him.

Blurb:

Happy Endings are for fairy tales. Or the movies. Not for real life. At least, not Claire’s life. Even though she’s starting over, she knows better than to want too much this time. But when she falls, literally, into the strong arms of Hollywood’s ‘it’ boy Josh Wiley, Claire’s in for some surprises.

Her plans for rest and relaxation are forgotten as one incredible night with Josh becomes two…

And her heart begins to want him as much as her body. Will two kids, one bastard ex-husband, and Josh’s juggernaut career mean the end of their affair?

Or can Claire find her happy ending after all?

InkSpell Publishing Link:

http://www.inkspellpublishing.com/store.html

 

REVIEW:

Hollywood Ever After is a first person contemporary romance featuring an older woman/younger man scenario and is set mainly in Los Angeles and for a few chapters in London.

Claire has come out of an abusive marriage and is starting to get her life together after her divorce. She travels to Hollywood to spend a few days with her friend, Shannon who works in the movie industry. Shannon treats Claire to some new clothes to wear to the premiere of a movie and this is where she meets Josh, an English actor who is the newest sensation in the film world.

At first Claire can’t believe Josh is interested in her, but he gradually talks her around and shows her with both actions and words that it’s Claire he wants. Even after she returns to her normal life with her kids he continues to pursue her.

The ongoing conflict in this story comes from Claire’s ex-husband and Josh’s burgeoning fame as an actor plus Claire’s recovery from her husband’s abuse. This story is Claire’s journey from abused wife to independent woman.

I loved this story from page one and read it in a couple of days. Although Hollywood Ever After deals with some weighty issues, it was very much a feel good story and had me cheering for the hero and heroine. I enjoyed the main characters and the way their relationship developed during the course of the story. The slight suspense element added to the story, although it was easy to guess what would happen in this respect.

If you’re a fan of contemporary romances, I think you’ll like this one. I’ll be looking for more from this author.

This book was received from Bewitching Book Tours and the author in exchange for an honest review.

Wedding Do’s and Don’ts with Catherine Bybee

Thursday Thirteen

I have a special guest today – New York Times and USA Today bestselling writer Catherine Bybee. Catherine is celebrating her new release Married by Monday, book two in her Weekday Bride series, and I’m thrilled to have her here to visit. Over to Catherine and her wedding advice…

13 Wedding Do’s and Don’ts

1. If money is tight, invite only people you plan on being friends with on your 10th wedding anniversary.

2. Don’t get married at a county office with bullet proof glass separating you from the person signing the paper.

3. Have who you want standing up with you…not who your family ‘thinks’ are the right people.

4. Don’t compromise. It’s your day.

5. Don’t get drunk.

6. Brides: Wear a button up shirt when getting your hair and makeup done, easy to get out of before getting into your dress.

7. Take a moment throughout your wedding day to run down everything that has happened…Helps you remember everything long after the day is only a picture.

8. Don’t have a full mass if you’re 8 months pregnant…people laugh at that shit.

9. Pick a wedding day away from other holidays…no need to group in all the presents for the rest of your life!

10. Grooms: Send flowers to your bride the morning of your wedding. Let her know she has made you the luckiest man in the world.

11. Don’t put your wedding on a credit card.

12. Put your maid of honor or best man to work. Have them watch out for ‘Great Aunt Drinks A lot’, or the clock so you don’t miss your flight. They can party after all the work is done.

13. Take a look at #4 – Use what I have here only if it works for you and throw away the rest.

Oh…one more thing…make sure you’re truly in love with the one you’re saying ‘I Do’ to… Unless he offered you millions of dollars for a one year contract…then WTF, do what you want!

Do you have any wedding advice to add?

clip_image002Carter Billings:

Sandy blond hair and Hollywood good looks, Carter Billings could have any woman he wants. However, when he makes his bid for the Governor’s seat in the state of California, he needs to settle down and become a family man. Eliza, the woman he secretly adores, embodies the perfect amount of spice and passion to suit his marital needs, but she’s not interested in becoming Mrs. Billings. She can’t even stand to be in the same room with him.

Eliza Havens:

It’s much easier to drive Carter away than to give into desire. Matching couples is how she earns a living, but getting married isn’t an option. The secrets she carries are too dangerous to entangle anyone else. When her hidden identity and past threaten her future, she’s left with little choice. Carter is quick to offer solutions to both their problems, but saying yes could mean endangering the man she’s growing to love.

Author of New York Times Bestseller, Wife by Wednesday presents, Book Two in the Weekday Bride Series

Purchase Married by Monday – Barnes & Noble / Amazon / Smashwords

New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author Catherine Bybee has been addicted to romance since her teens. After spending a decade of her life working as an RN in urban emergency rooms, Catherine is now dedicated to writing happily-ever-afters for the world to love. Catherine is married and raising two sons in Southern California.

She loves hearing from her readers so feel free to visit her at:

Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter

A Day in the Life of Eve Fawkner, Cat Burglar in Training

Cat Burglar in Training

Today I’m visiting Romancing the Book where Eve Fawkner, my heroine from Cat Burglar in Training is running the show. There’s also a copy of Cat Burglar in Training up for grabs by one commenter. Here’s the link to Romancing the Book.

A Random Post About T-shirts

As I sit here writing this post, I’m wearing a T-shirt (purchased at Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo-Jump in Canada) and shorts. My favorite summer outfit. When the days grow shorter and the temperatures become cooler, my uniform changes to a T-shirt and jeans. I love T-shirts. Read more at the Carina Press blog.

The Dreaded Sagging Middle with Rachel Leigh

My guest today is Rachel Leigh. Rachel lives in the UK and has been married to her own sexy hero for thirteen years. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her reading, running after her two daughters or…playing with her husband.

Rachel is celebrating the release of her erotic romance, Coming Back, which is now available from the Wild Rose Press. Today she’s talking about a subject that I suspect more than a few of us worry about…a horrid sagging middle! Over to Rachel…

Coming BackI am nearing the halfway mark of my latest work in progress and while for some writers that will be something to celebrate, for me it is the opposite. Why? Because it means the dreaded ‘sagging middle’ is right around the corner. Thus bringing my writing/plotting/creativity to a grinding halt and causing me to bang my head up and down on my desk all day, every day until I see light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

Now most of you would have heard of this ‘sagging middle’ phrase and know what it means, others won’t. Let me explain.

It is the part of my story writing that I hate the most and occurs every single time, with every single book. I am a blend of two kinds of writer. I am half plotter and half pantser. I always have a two to three page synopsis written as well as character sketches for my hero and heroine before I start writing. However, from page one to the end I continually write the first draft without stopping or editing. The hard work comes in drafts two and three.

The problem is no matter how much detail I feel I’ve put into the synopsis, no matter how much I have written it with my ‘sagging middle’ weakness in mind, there it always is. Bam, like a grinning little cartoon devil poised to poke me in the behind with his shiny trident as soon as I am about halfway through.

So the question is, how do I deal with it? The only way I know how. Keep writing. I dread going to my desk for these days. Have zero enthusiasm or belief in myself or my work. I sit my backside in the chair anyway. These days writing is like pulling teeth but I force myself to write at least a thousand rubbish words a day. The beauty of it is when I feel the sun reappearing as I climb out of the middle and start heading for the home run, I read back what I wrote through those torturous days and I can be guaranteed to keep at least half of it. Result!

So what about you writers out there? Do you suffer with the same weakness as me? Yes? What’s your trick for beating this particular devil?

Or are you a reader? Have you noticed a ‘sagging middle’ in books? Maybe you see them more often than editors do, lol! I love to hear from you.

Rachel’s latest release is “Coming Back” available now from The Wild Rose Press. Here’s the blurb:

Kelly Hampton loved once…and lost. After two years of looking for Sean MacKenzie in other men–and failing miserably–she takes a vow of celibacy. No sex until she finds love. Then Sean strolls back into her bar, reigniting old flames. No one has come close to understanding or satisfying her like he did. Her body burns for the passion they once shared, but her heart still remembers the pain.

Sean escaped Jessop Hill and his father’s fists in the middle of the night without a word–even to his love, Kelly–to protect his battered mother, but he never forgot the explosively erotic relationship he left behind. Now his father is dead and Sean is back for the only woman he’s ever wanted. Their reunion is full of fire – but can sexual attraction and noble intentions overcome years of heartache or will Kelly walk away to protect her heart this time.

Purchase Coming Back

Rachel can be found here:

www.rachelleigh.co.uk
www.rachelleighromance.blogspot.com
www.twitter.com/rachelwriter

Stop To Smell The Roses

My special guest today is author, Casey Sheridan who is celebrating the release of her new book Ruby Red Metallic. Over to Casey.

After spending eight hours at the daytime dungeon the other day, I was mentally pooped, but I knew I needed to sit down and write this post, or at the very least come up with a theme.

Ruby Red MetallicI did some serious contemplation that lasted a whole three seconds. I decided to procrastinate by doing a bit of yard work instead. I changed into some old clothes and armed myself with a pair of gardening gloves (I don’t like the thought of touching bugs) and my loppers, then headed out to chop down unwanted greenery growing in unsightly places throughout my yard.

This procrastination only lasted twenty minutes as I had a neon sign inside my mind flashing “BLOG POST, BLOG POST, BLOG POST” in a most annoying way.

I put my stuff away, cleaned up my mess and went inside to write, you guessed it, my blog post.

I don’t mean to give the impression that I didn’t want to write this post because that certainly isn’t the case. I was just tired. I spend fifty hours a week at a day job, then there’s house cleaning, yard work now that spring is here, laundry, shopping, helping out my mother and trying to figure out when I can do some actual writing. It all gets a bit much sometimes.

Anyway, I sat in my comfy chair and looked out the window at the apple tree in the backyard. It’s filled with large glorious blossoms and its soft fragrance wafted through my open window. It felt good to just sit there and admire the beautiful tree, to watch the rich orange and black colored Oriole hop along the branches sucking nectar from the delicate blossoms. I held my breath when a jewel colored humming bird hovered at some of those blossoms right in front of my window. Those birds are so small and so beautiful.

Those few moments made me realize how many things I miss. There are times I’m so focused on getting things done I forget to stop and take a breath. Does that ever happen to you?

Even Alaina in Ruby Red Metallic took some time to appreciate the park like setting that Scott took her to.

Alaina got out and strolled around the car, making sure to examine the well-shaded rest area. Many trees surrounded it, flowers bloomed in pots placed around the little building that housed the bathrooms, and a light breeze passed by. The air smelled fresh and sweet. – from Ruby Red Metallic

From now on, I’m going to try and take some time every day to “stop and smell the roses” (as the saying goes).

How about you? Do you take time out from your busy schedule to “smell the roses”?
****
Casey Sheridan began writing erotica on a dare, and she loved writing it so much she never stopped. Her work has been published by Breathless Press and Cobblestone Press, and has appeared on The Erotic Woman, Every Night Erotica, and RSVP-Erotica.

Read an excerpt from Ruby Red Metallic

Purchase Ruby Red Metallic

You can find her on the Web at:
http://www.casey-sheridan.com
http://casey-sheridan.blogspot.com
http://www.facebook.com/authorcaseysheridan
http://twitter.com/casesheridan
http://www.myspace.com/officialcaseysheridan