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13 Excellent Writing Podcasts

Thursday Thirteen

This year I’ve embraced podcasts and especially those that discuss writing or self-publishing.

Here are thirteen of my favorite writing podcasts.

1. The Creative Penn – this is one of my absolute favorites and I always learn a lot.

2. Rocking Self-Publishing – another favorite with information-packed episodes.

3. Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing – focus is mainly on fantasy but lots of good information.

4. Social Media for Authors – the latest in social media.

5. The Writing Podcast

6. The Smarter Artist

7. The Sell More Books Show

8. The Author Hangout

9. Online Marketing Made Easy

10. Romance Writer’s Rodeo – this one doesn’t have any recent episodes, but Ivy’s interviews are excellent.

11. Writing Excuses

12. Helping Authors Become Writers

13. Writing No Drama

Do you listen to podcasts? Do you have any favorites, either writing or for other subjects?

Thirteen Quotes About Bodies, Weight and Exercise

Thursday Thirteen

Body image is constantly in our media and front and center. Here are some interesting quotes about body image, weight and exercise.

1. I would rather be called funny than pretty. ~ Nia Vardalos

2. Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick. ~ Gweneth Paltrow

3. Even the worst haircut eventually grows out. ~ Lisa Kogan

4. Happiness is the best facelift. ~ Diana Krall

5. If you want to look young and thin, hang around old fat people. ~ Jim Eason

6. I’m not overweight. I’m just nine inches too short. ~ Shelley Winters

7. Be happy in your body… It’s the only one you’ve got, so you might as well like it. ~ Keira Knightley

8. I really don’t think I need buns of steel. I’d be happy with buns of cinnamon. ~ Ellen Degeneres

9. I’d rather be a few pounds heavier and enjoy life than be worried all the time. ~ Drew Barrymore

10. The most beautiful makeup for a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy. ~ Yves St. Laurent

11. I don’t exercise. If God had wanted me to bend over he would have put diamonds on the floor. ~ Joan Rivers

12. The word aerobics came about when the gym instructors got together and said, “If we’re going to charge $10 an hour, we can’t call it jumping up and down.” ~ Rita Rudner

13. Life is too short to eat vanilla ice cream and dance with boring men. ~ Unknown

Which quote speaks to you most?

Source:  Reader’s Digest Quotable Quotes

13 Quotes About Success

Thursday Thirteen

Most people would like to enjoy success. Here are some inspiring quotes to set you on your way…

Thirteen Quotes About Success

1. There is no point at which you can say, “Well, I’m successful now. I might as well take a nap.” ~ Carrie Fisher

2. Anybody who’s really successful has doubts. ~ Jerry Bruckheimer

3. Do or do not. There is no try. ~ Yoda

4. Don’t just stand there; make something happen. ~ Lee Iacocca

5. To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone. ~ Reba McEntire

6. Celebrate what you’ve accomplished, but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed. ~ Mia Hamm

7. Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces people into thinking they can’t lose. ~ Bill Gates

8. Inside of a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It’s staying down that’s wrong. ~ Muhammad Ali

9. Success is more permanent when you achieve it without destroying your principles. ~ Walter Cronkite

10. Success is falling nine times and getting up ten. ~ Jon Bon Jovi

11. The key to success? Work hard, stay focused and marry a Kennedy. ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger

12. You only have to do a very few things right in your life—so long as you don’t do too many things wrong. ~ Warren Buffett

13. The person who knows “how” will always have a job. The person who knows “why” will always be his boss. ~ Diane Ravitch

Which quote speaks to you most?

Source: Reader’s Digest Quotable Quotes

13 Random Travel/History Facts from Britain

Thursday Thirteen

Recently, I’ve been reading editions of Britain, one of my favorite travel magazines. It’s full of articles about different places in Britain and covers heritage, culture and various happenings in the UK. It’s a great magazine to read when planning a visit, which is why I’m busy reading back issues at present.

Here are thirteen random things that grabbed my interest:

1. In the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang the car flew for the first time when it fell of Beachy Head.

2. The 3rd Earl of Egremont had 42 illegitimate children and the “Wyndham nose” can still be spotted in the streets of Petworth.

3. Every coronation since 1066 has been held in Westminster Abbey. William the Conqueror was crowned King of England on Christmas day, 1066.

4. The Scottish people celebrate Burns Night on 25 January to commemorate the life of poet Robert Burns who was born on this day in 1759. Lots of traditional foods such as haggis, neeps (turnips), tatties (potatoes), whisky and shortbread are served during the celebration.

5. Mary, Queen of Scots, was fond of a crisp, buttery shortbread made with caraway seeds.

6. In Norman times the word “forest” referred to a legal system in place to protect the venison.

7. While in prison in England, Mary, Queen of Scots, became adept at secret handwriting to communicate with the outside world. She used alum dissolved in water as invisible ink and wrote messages on bills. Recipients dropped the paper in water and the writing appeared.

8. There is no single copy of the original Magna Carta document. Multiple copies of the charter were distributed throughout medieval English towns.

9. The Magna Carta documents were written in Latin on parchment made from dried sheepskin.

10. A first edition of the novel Emma by Jane Austen was dedicated to the Prince Regent.

11. The term “livery” has come to denote the uniforms of certain servants, but in medieval times it meant a living allowance that included food, money and other rewards.

12. A tax on male servants started in 1777, raised to help fund British fighting against North American colonists after their declaration of independence, lasted until the 1930s.

13. John Russell, a servant to the Duke of Gloucester, wrote advice for servants in the book “The Book of Nurture.” Would-be servants were given the following advice – Do not pick your nose or let it drop clear pears, or sniff, or blow it too loud, lest her lord hear. Do not retch, nor spit too far.

I don’t think a servant’s life would have worked for me, but I’d love to attend Burns Night, and I’ve never met a piece of shortbread, I didn’t like. Caraway seeds would totally work for me. What say you?

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.

A Field Guide to Dragons

Thursday Thirteen

Dragons were a popular subject with scholars, especially Victorian ones. They took on the task of cataloguing dragons.

The categories are as follows:

1. The Wyvern:

The name orginates from the Saxon word wivere or serpent. Its large body coiled, it had eagle’s legs and huge wings. Feared for its vicious nature and the pestilence it carried to northern Europe, Greece and Ethiopia.

2. The Amphiptere:

A legless, winged serpent found along the banks of the Nile and in Arabia. They are known to guard frankincense bearing trees, causing a threat to those who wished to harvest the resin.

3. The Heraldic Dragon:

Widespread and formidable, this dragon has massive fangs, four clawed legs and a ridge of sharp spines that stretch from nose to stinging tail.

4. The Guivre:

Wingless and legless, it has a massive dragon head, horns and a beard. They live in forests and wells and near water.

5. The Lindworm:

Has a serpentine body with one pair of legs. It is flightless

6. Cave Dweller:

Dragons like the dark, coldness of caves. They were private and easily defended. Caves close to towns (and food) are best.

7. Mountain Predators:

The elevation of mountains allows a dragon to spy on their prey and swoop down without warning. Their inaccessibility offers safety.

8. Aquatic Denizens:

These dragons live in seas, rivers and lakes and dine on fish and unlucky fishermen and sailors. The water allows them to approach towns and food sources undetected.

9. Swamp Beasts:

They live in marshes and swamps, some of which are rumored to be bottomless. The swamps are cold during the summer and don’t freeze in winter.

10. Celestial Guardians:

These dragons protected the heavens and also the mansions of the gods. These dragons have five claws instead of the normal four.

11. Treasure Keepers:

Subterranean dragons are responsible for all the precious jewels and metals buried in the earth. Each of these dragons owned a pearl, which reputably multiplied whatever it touched.

12. Weathermakers:

These spiritual dragons governed the wind, clouds and rain. They floated across the sky and the locals took care to appease them in case they took offence and created bad weather.

13. River Lords:

Earth dragons determined the course of the rivers. They regulated their flow and maintained their banks. Every river in China had an earth dragon that controlled the waters.

Source: The Enchanted World: Dragons

Which dragon would you prefer to meet?

13 All Black and Rugby Facts

Thursday Thirteen

The World Cup Rugby tournament is currently underway in Britain, and as I write this the quarter-finalists have been decided after several weeks of pool play. I’ve been cheering for the New Zealand team.

Thirteen All Black Facts

1. The All Blacks are New Zealand’s national rugby union team.

2. They start each International game with the haka, a Maori war dance.

3. Their name, the All Blacks, comes from their uniform, which is a black jersey with a silver fern and black shorts. They were first referred to as the All Blacks in 1905.

4. The All Blacks won the inaugural World Cup in 1987.

5. The next time they won the cup was in 2011, and the team is attempting to be the first team to win back-to-back world cups.

6. The All Blacks were the 2014 Rugby Team of the year and are presently ranked the number one team in the world. I hope that record stays in place for the rest of the year!

7. The current captain, Ritchie McCaw is the most capped player in the world. He has played 145 games (probably more by now!)

8. Rugby union was introduced to New Zealand by Charles Monro in 1870. He discovered the sport while attending Christ’s College in Finchley, England.

9. The first recorded game in New Zealand took place in Nelson between Nelson Club and Nelson College.

10. A New Zealand representative team toured Britain in 1905. They are known as The Originals.

11. An Originals rugby shirt recently went to auction in Cardiff and sold for $275000.

12. International rugby was suspended during the First World War but a New Zealand services team competed in the King’s cup, a services competition.

Rugby Jersey

13. All Black Dan Carter holds the record for the most points scored – 1552 as at the beginning of October and hopefully more by the end of the World Cup tournament.

What is your favorite sport to play or watch?

Sources: Wikipedia and AllBlacks.com

13 Facts About Dragons

Thursday Thirteen

I’ve been in a dragon frame of mind recently, and I’m excited to be part of the Flight of Dragons box set, which came out this week. In honor of the release, my TT this week is about dragons.

Thirteen Facts About Dragons

1. Dragons can be grouped into three groups: Earth dragons, Water dragons and Fire Dragons.

2. Dragons are warm-blooded creatures since they control their body temperatures internally. They are not dependent on the sun in the same way as other reptiles.

3. Dragons live for a long time and are more likely to die from an accident than old age.

4. Dragons prefer a natural environment rather than cities filled with pollution.

5. Dragons are the largest known flying creatures.

6. Dragon bodies are covered with tough, shiny scales. They can make them stand on end if they want to preen or groom themselves.

7. Dragons are fastidious and take care to keep skin and scales immaculate.

8. Dragon colors come in three broad color groupings. Blue – ranging from mother-of-pearl and silver to dark blue. Red – copper red to dark red and reddish black. Green – every shade of green, yellow, dark brown and burnished gold.

9. The dragon father or king is the head of the family and other dragons pledge their allegiance. He adjudicates in disputes.

10. Water dragons live in salt and fresh water and are extremely agile in the water.

11. According to legend, water dragons only eat human virgins and if they can’t find suitable food, they suffer excruciating indigestion, which can lead to death. This dietary need has contributed to their dwindling numbers.

12. Dragons are skilled in the art of magic. They also have a love of music and possess an excellent sense of rhythm. A dragon’s voice has a bewitching effect on humans.

13. Dragons love treasure and acquire valuables through fair means or foul.

Flight of Dragons

Flight of Dragons is available for 99c for a limited time from all online retailers. Grab your copy today!

Read an excerpt of Blue Moon Dragon, my contribution here.

Soruce: The Book of the Dragon by Ciruelo

Sea of Change: 13 Facts About Killer Whales

Thursday Thirteen

This week, my latest book went live at most online retailers. Sea of Change is a paranormal shifter romance featuring orcas.

Thirteen Facts About Killer Whales

1. The killer whale is also known as an orca.

2. They are a toothed whale and are actually the largest members of the dolphin family.

3. They are a mammal and eat a carnivore diet. (fish, seabirds, squid, seals and other whales)

4. They can live up to 80 years in the wild. The females usually live longer than the males.

5. The killer whale lives in a pod of family members, and these pods can contain as many as 40 orca.

6. Killer whales can be divided into resident pods and transient pods, a fact I used in my Sea of Change story.

7. Resident pods tend to frequent one area while transient pods have much larger territories.

8. The pod members work together to hunt for food.

9. Each pod communicates in a distinctive manner using echolocation.

10. Female orcas give birth every three to ten years and the pregnancy lasts for 15 – 18 months. The mother nurses the calf for at least a year.

11. The killer whale has very distinctive black and white coloring. They are intelligent and acrobatic, frequently breaching, spyhopping and slapping their flippers.

12. It’s easy to tell the difference between the male and female. The males are longer and bulkier. Their dorsal fins are much larger, reaching higher than a metre in height.

13. Sea of Change

Sea of Change by Shelley Munro

BLURB:

A sexy face in the crowd…

Orca shifter Asia Bolino can’t believe the gorgeous cutie is Roman Anderson. They belong to enemy tribes, but she’d love to run her fingers over his…assets. Roman doesn’t recognize her, and in a moment of weakness, Asia agrees to a late-night date, a little forbidden pleasure.

Someone attacks Roman while he waits for Asia. Aware of his shifter status, Asia does the only thing she can—she takes him back to her apartment. The problem is when he regains consciousness, he thinks they’re married. He parades around her apartment wearing nothing but a smile, and Asia is weak. She succumbs to his charm and skilful loving. Hip-deep in lies, she’s aware the sensual bubble might burst at any moment. That might mean bloodshed, and she can’t allow that to happen. Worse, Roman doesn’t seem to recall he’s a shifter.

Asia struggles with guilt while melting at Roman’s touch. Nothing can come of their relationship, and now it seems someone knows the truth and they’re both in danger.

Order at: Amazon| All Romance ebooks| iBooks US| iBooks NZ| Kobo| Barnes & Noble

Sources: National Geographic.com and Department of Conservation, New Zealand

13 Eerie American Destinations

Thursday Thirteen

I picked up a copy of Eerie America: Travel Guide of the Macabre by ER Vernor & Kevin Eads at my local library. An interesting guide. I’ve picked out thirteen spots that appealed to me for my TT this week.

Thirteen Macabre American Destinations

1. The Body Farm, Tennessee – a place used to study changes that occur in bodies after death. There are usually around fifty bodies in various states of decay. Some are submerged in water while others are exposed to the elements. A very important place that helps forensic scientists to learn.

2. The Bullock Hotel, Deadwood, South Dakota – Seth Bullock and Sol Star opened a hardware store on this site and later added a hotel over the store. It’s said that Seth Bullock haunts this hotel. He’s often seen while staff are standing idle, and it’s said he expects his staff to work hard!

3. Extraterrestrial Highway, Nevada – popular with UFO enthusiasts who drive along this highway hoping to see evidence of UFOs.

4. Bannock Ghost Town, Montana – A gold town established in 1862. Visitors to the Hotel Meade and the hospital have encountered strange apparitions.

5. Ball Cemetery, Springfield, Nebraska – One of the residents, Rattlesnake Pete, is said to wander the cemetery and torment visitors.

6. Moore House, Villisca, Iowa – The residents of the house were discovered dead, murdered by an axe to the head. Visitors have heard children playing and laughing and whispering.

7. Idaho State Penitentiary, Idaho – this is a popular place with ghost hunters. Visitors say they can feel the presence of the inmates and the guards, and some visitors have aborted their tours because they can’t stand the creepy atmosphere.

8. Alcatraz, San Francisco, California – a well-known prisoner that is said to be full of restless spirits. I didn’t see any when hubby and I visited many years ago, but it certainly had an atmosphere!

9. The Bird Cage Theatre, Tombstone, Arizona – this was considered one of the wildest places in the wild west. It was the scene of over twenty-five murders. Visitors and employees have seen ghosts of cowboys and prostitutes. Hearing music and yelling coming from different parts of the building isn’t unusual.

10. Sing Sing Prison Museum, New York – this museum houses genuine weapons taken from inmates. Visitors can have their photos taken in cells.

11. Ford Theater, Washington, DC – Some people say the assassination of Lincoln replays here. Other people have heard gunshots or running footsteps.

12. Lake Champlain, Vermont – it’s said a beast inhabits the waters here much like the Loch Ness Monster. Locals have nicknamed the beast Champ.

13. Nemacolin Castle, Pennsylvania – Visitors have captured strange images on film, and it’s said that up to ten different ghosts inhabit the castle. Some believe the castle is a portal to the spiritual world.

Have you visited any of these places? Do you have any favorite creepy places to recommend?