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Nemrut Dagi, Turkey ~ Inspiration for Star-Crossed with Scarlett

Nemrut Dagi, Turkey

Back in the early 1990s, Mr. Munro and I did an overland trip from England to Kathmandu. The trip proper started once we reached Turkey. It was my first visit to Turkey, the country where the west and east meet, and I loved the food, the beaches, the history, and the people we met.

We traveled around the Western coast, hitting the gorgeous beaches and then drove up the east coast of Turkey.

I’d never heard of Nemrut Dagi before, and to be honest, I wasn’t that impressed with our game plan once we arrived. We had to get up early to see the sunrise. I’d been promised a brilliant show before, and each time I’ve regretted the early start to get to the top of a mountain/hill to be in the perfect position to enjoy this magical time. The sunrise has never lived up to my expectations.

Mountains near Nemrut Dagi, Turkey

So, a little about Nemrut Dagi before I get back to the sunrise. You’ll find it in the Eastern Taurus mountains, and it’s a man-made funerary mound. The late Hellenistic King Antiochos I of Commagene (69-34 B.C.) made the mound, which consists of stone chips. The king had the structure constructed for his own use. Huge limestone statues face outward from terraces, and guardian animal statues stand at each end. Some of the giant heads have toppled while others stand in their original positions.

As I mentioned, I had no expectations of our visit, but I loved the weathered heads that stand taller than a person. I enjoyed wandering around the site. We were lucky because there were only a few of us—our group of eight in fact.

Heads at Nemrut Dagi, Turkey

Nemrut Dagi

Photos of some of the enormous heads at Nemrut Dagi. Note – it was still pre-dawn when the bottom photo was taken.

I remember feeling the cold, but for once the sunrise was pretty, the sky a wash of pink and pale blue. This time, the person who informed me a pre-sunrise slog up a mountain was a good thing was entirely right. Nemrut Dagi has remained as a bright memory, and when I started writing Star-Crossed with Scarlett, it was the perfect inspiration to add to the action and adventure of my plot.

Funerary Mound and statues

This is a shot of the burial mound and some of the statues (parts of them).

Sunrise at Nemrut Dagi

Sunrise at Nemrut Dagi

Two pics taken during sunrise. Of all the sunrises I’ve seen, this was my favorite!

Star-Crossed with Scarlett My memories of Nemrut Dagi inspired part of the plot for Star-Crossed with Scarlett, a paranormal, action-adventure romance. I don’t want to say too much. Spoilers, you know!

The Scarlet Macaw #research #travel

One of seventeen species of macaws, the Scarlet Macaw is becoming increasingly rare. In Costa Rica, Central America, we visited the Natuwa Macaw Sanctuary where they rescue, breed, and release the Scarlet Macaw.

I was very excited at the thought of seeing macaws. When our tour around the reserve started, my anticipation turned to disappointment because the Scarlet Macaw and the Blue and Yellow Macaw were in a huge aviary. Not great for photographic opportunities, although their aviary is HUGE.

But it turned out the sanctuary releases some of their macaws. Some of these pairs have returned and nest in boxes placed around the grounds. The Scarlet Macaw come and go as they please and have been successfully breeding, adding to the population. These ones provided excellent photographic opportunities.

The sanctuary houses many other animals such as jaguar, sloth, deer and other birds. Many of the animals are recovered from poachers or rescued when the animal butts up against man encroaching on habitat. Our guide was passionate and knowledgeable, and I enjoyed our visit very much.

Scarlet Macaw

Facts about Scarlet Macaws.

Scarlet Macaw

1. They live in the rainforest.

2. Their beak is perfect for cracking nuts and seeds.

3. The male and female look the same with white faces, scarlet and yellow.

4. They live to around 50 years of age in the wild. In captivity, they are known to live much longer than this.

5. They are intelligent birds and are popular pets but can be quite aggressive.

6. They usually mate for life.

7. Both the male and female look after the young.

8. Their bright colors help them to blend in the rainforest.

Scarlet Macaw Pair and Nesting Box

Star-Crossed with ScarlettI spent ages watching the macaws and found them fascinating. Already, they’ve found their way into my upcoming release Star-crossed with Scarlett. The birds make an appearance in the story and, of course, there is the heroine’s name, which is Scarlett.

Owls ~ The Research and Maori Lore

For the last year, I’ve been obsessed with owls. I have no idea why, except that I like their cute faces and huge eyes.

Owl

Photo by Rúben Marques on Unsplash

My current work-in-progress is Black Moon Dragon. I was writing away, and suddenly, an owl appeared. Since this dragon romance is set in New Zealand, the owl was a ruru or morepork as they are more commonly known. An owl made an appearance in Journey with Joe (this was a pink owl) and I also wrote one into Stranded with Ella. None of this was conscious, but I clearly have owls on the brain!

In Maori mythology, the owl is a bird of the Underworld. The Maoris thought this because the morepork is a nocturnal bird, it has big, round eyes, and is a silent hunter.

Before the arrival of the white man in New Zealand, the Maori considered the arrival of the ruru a bad omen—a sign of death. They dreaded its powers and the people thought the bird was connected with witchcraft or makutu. Rumor said the ruru ate dead men’s fingernails and these became part of the owl’s eyes, which is why no one ever ate an eye.

The Taranaki Maori used to eat owls, thinking that by eating the birds they would prolong their lives. They did not eat the eyes. The Maoris in other areas considered eating owls distasteful.

While some tribes thought the bird a bad omen, others considered the appearance of an owl a family protector. They could protect, warn, help and advise on important matters.

One last thing about the owl—the first Maoris viewed the owl’s big, round eyes and adopted this wide-eyed look for their hakas (war dance or challenge).

While visiting England, my husband and I had a chance to fly owls, and we held a morepork. They are a small owl, much smaller than I’d realized. It was a rare privilege since although we often hear the owls call, they are seldom seen. Read about our visit to the Exmoor Owl and Hawk Center.

A morepork’s call is very distinctive. Early European settlers thought the birds where calling More pork. More pork, hence the owl’s common name.

Source: Maori Bird Lore by Murdoch Riley

Shelley and a Morepork (New Zealand owl)

This is a photo of me holding a morepork (ruru) during our Exmoor visit.

The 99c Book Fair #sale #giveaway

Book Fair

Check out the 99c book fair. A genre for everyone plus a chance to win a $50 gift card.

Go to the book fair today

Paranormal Lovers – Get Book One in Series Free #romance #free #pnrlovers

If you love paranormal romance skip straight to the Paranormal Romance Lovers website to check out the first in series free promotion.

Discover new books.
Discover new series.
Discover new authors.

Go to Paranormal Romance Lovers now

FREE – Favored by Felix #paranormal #romance

Favored by Felix

Favored by Felix is FREE for a limited time. Grab your copy now before the deal ends.

Amazon

Free in Kindle Unlimited Book Blast #books #kindle #KU

Free in Kindle Unlimited Book Blast Graphic 1

Looking for something new to read? Want to try a new-to-you author?

Check out the books in the Free in Kindle Unlimited Book Blast now. You might find a new book boyfriend.

My contribution to the book blast is Snared by Saber.

New Release: Lost With Leo #paranormal

ShelleyMunro_LostWithLeo_600x900

I’m excited to announce that Lost with Leo, the third book in the Middlemarch Capture series, is now out! Purchase your copy today for 99c. Limited time price!

Here’s the blurb:

Leo Mitchell wants to contribute to the operating expenses of the new family-run Middlemarch resort, which specializes in capture fantasies for female guests. Betrys Torins offers what Leo thinks is a wonderful opportunity, but in reality is potentially deadly. He hungers for revenge. A capture might be the perfect payback…

In order to protect her son, Betrys must procure men for her alien employer Iseult Orna. She hates her job and loathes the guilt she feels at trapping the sexy Leo into signing an irrevocable contract. Even worse, she has started dream walking and sharing passionate sex with the gorgeous man. She’s smitten, yet knows they have no future, because when Iseult catches up with Leo, he’ll die.

Inside scoop: Iseult’s appetites for men are extreme. Because of that experience, shifter Leo starts out as a sourpuss, but Betrys knows he’s just the cat’s meow.

Order ebook at: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook |

New Release: Favored by Felix #paranormal

Favored by Felix, the second book in my Middlemarch Capture series is out today. The paranormal sci-fi adventure continues…

Here is the blurb:

ShelleyMunro_FavoredByFelix_200px

A new resort specializing in capture fantasies—the perfect place for Captain Casey Seonaid to blow off steam. To embrace her feminine side, possibly for the last time. And just as she’d hoped, it’s not long before she finds herself “kidnapped”. Let the sexual hijinks begin.

Attractive yet with an air of sadness, Casey snares feline shapeshifter Felix Mitchell’s attention at first sight. As feelings deepen, he comes to realize Casey just may be his perfect mate. But despite their shared passion, something is amiss with his intriguing lover, something that keeps her from giving herself fully…something she won’t share.

Unexpected troubles plague the resort, drawing the couple ever closer. But the biggest danger comes when soldier Casey finally shares her secret, revealing a familial enemy—and his shocking plans for Casey’s military future.

Order ebook at: Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo |

The third book in the series, Lost with Leo is also available for pre-order.

ShelleyMunro_LostWithLeo_200px

Leo Mitchell wants to contribute to the operating expenses of the new family-run Middlemarch resort, which specializes in capture fantasies for female guests. Betrys Torins offers what Leo thinks is a wonderful opportunity, but in reality is potentially deadly. He hungers for revenge. A capture might be the perfect payback…

In order to protect her son, Betrys must procure men for her alien employer Iseult Orna. She hates her job and loathes the guilt she feels at trapping the sexy Leo into signing an irrevocable contract. Even worse, she has started dream walking and sharing passionate sex with the gorgeous man. She’s smitten, yet knows they have no future, because when Iseult catches up with Leo, he’ll die.

 

 

Order ebook at: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook |

Favored by Felix: Now available for pre-order! #paranormal

 

ShelleyMunro_FavoredByFelix_600x900

Book 2 in the Middlemarch Capture series is now available for pre-order. Favored by Felix is a paranormal sci-fi romance.

Here’s the blurb:

A new resort specializing in capture fantasies—the perfect place for Captain Casey Seonaid to blow off steam. To embrace her feminine side, possibly for the last time. And just as she’d hoped, it’s not long before she finds herself “kidnapped”. Let the sexual hijinks begin.

Attractive yet with an air of sadness, Casey snares feline shapeshifter Felix Mitchell’s attention at first sight. As feelings deepen, he comes to realize Casey just may be his perfect mate. But despite their shared passion, something is amiss with his intriguing lover, something that keeps her from giving herself fully…something she won’t share.

Unexpected troubles plague the resort, drawing the couple ever closer. But the biggest danger comes when soldier Casey finally shares her secret, revealing a familial enemy—and his shocking plans for Casey’s military future.

Inside Scoop: Felix may look big and bad, but Casey knows her shifter mate is just a big pussycat.

Pre-order ebook at: Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo |



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