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ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Thursday Thirteen

I’ve been pounding away furiously on the keyboard this week. My characters are constantly on my mind and, as a result, I haven’t been sleeping well. I’m short of Zzzzzzzs. Thought association regarding lack of sleep produced the letter Z for my TT topic this week. Americans pronouce a Z as zee while British/NZ pronounce a Z as zed.

Thirteen Words Starting With Z

1. Zoo – a collection of animals kept in captivity. These days the captive breeding programs conducted by zoos are the only thing keeping some species from becoming extinct.

2. Zest – if you have a little vim & vigor in your step, you’re said to have zest.

3. Zephyr – a breeze or a wind, normally from the west.

4. Zealot – a fanatic

5. Zone – this can be a netball term – I have the TV on and I’m watching the Commonwealth games and the netball in particular. When you zone you attempt to block the other team.

6. Zigzag – the netball players run from side to side as they zip down the court to escape their opposite number.

7. Zero – naught or nothing. I hope the Silver Ferns don’t come up with nothing during their Gold medal game against Australia.

8. Zebra – a black and white striped animal that looks a little like a horse.

9. Zipper – a fastener consisting of two rows of metal feet on a tape. The connected tab slides up and down fastening and unfastening the zipper.

10. Zinnia – a colorful flower.

11. Zucchini – a summer squash that’s usually green in color. I hope my hubby doesn’t plant too many this summer because I get zucchinied out!

12. Zoom – to move with a loud buzz or hum, usually at speed.

13. Zombie – these are all the rage in fiction at present and for Halloween. They are a reanimated dead body.

Now it’s back to writing for me. I have five hundred words to complete my target for today. Hopefully, I’ll get them done quickly because I’m tired and need to go to bed and punch some Zs.

I don’t use Z words very often in my writing. Zipper is probably the one I use most as an erotic romance writer :wink:

Do you have a favorite Z word?

Yummy Bread

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Types of Bread

1. Brioche

2. Bagel

3. Rye Bread

4. French Bread

5. Pumpernickel Bread

6. Sourdough Bread

7. Corn Bread

8. Croissant

9. English Muffin

10. Flatbread

11. Croutons

12. Whole Wheat Bread

13. Pita Bread

I like bread. I quite often have toast and vegemite or honey for lunch. My favorite bread is a NZ one containing lots of grains. It’s good eaten fresh and as toast. My husband is a dab hand at making bread and his speciality is focaccia (another addition for my list). There’s nothing better than fresh bread and homemade soup.

What is your favorite type of bread? What do you like to eat with it?

A Fairy Tale

Thursday Thirteen

I’ve been thinking about fairy tales recently, mainly because I have Tia Nevitt’s The Sevenfold Spell sitting on my hard drive, ready for me to read. The only thing that’s holding back my reading pleasure is my current WIP. I’m determined to finish that sucker by next week. Anyhow, back to fairy tales. For my TT this week I thought I’d give you a list of some of my favorite fairy tales.

Thirteen Favorite Fairy Tales

1. Cinderella (my all-time favorite)

2. Jack and the Beanstalk

3. Goldilocks and the Three Bears

4. Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves

5. Beauty and the Beast

6. The Elves and the Shoemaker

7. The Gingerbread Man

8. Hansel and Gretel

9. Little Red Riding Hood

10. The Princess and the Pea

11. Sleeping Beauty

12. Three Billy Goats Gruff

13 The Sevenfold Spell by Tia Nevitt

Here’s the blurb: Have you ever wondered what happens to the other people in the fairy tale?

Things look grim for Talia and her mother. By royal proclamation, the constables and those annoying “good” fairies have taken away their livelihood by confiscating their spinning wheel. Something to do with a curse on the princess, they said.

Not every young lady has a fairy godmother rushing to her rescue.

Without the promise of an income from spinning, Talia’s prospects for marriage disappear, and she and her mother face destitution. Past caring about breaking an arbitrary and cruel law, rebellious Talia determines to build a new spinning wheel, the only one in the nation—which plays right into the evil fairy’s diabolical plan. Talia discovers that finding a happy ending requires sacrifice. But is it a sacrifice she’s willing to make?

Sounds great doesn’t it?

What are some of your favorite fairy tales? Do you like fairy tales rewritten with a modern twist? Can you recommend some of your favorite modern retellings?

Baking Soda – The Must Have Kitchen Item!

Thursday Thirteen

Baking soda is one of the most useful things to have in the pantry. It’s also known as sodium bicarbonate and its chemical compound is NaHCO3

Thirteen Uses for Baking Soda

1. As an ingredient in cakes such as carrot cake or chocolate cake. Yum!

2. Sprinkle baking soda and spray over white vinegar to clean kitchen sinks.

3. Clean and whiten teeth – wet brush and dip in baking soda. Sprinkle over a little lemon juice and brush teeth as normal. You can use baking soda without the lemon juice, but I like the taste.

4. Add baking soda to the bath to relieve itchiness from chicken pox or measles.

5. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with your shampoo to remove product buildup in your hair.

6. Clean a burnt pot with a mixture of baking soda and water. Soak overnight.

7. Use a little baking soda on a damp cloth to clean and deodorize your fridge.

8. Sprinkle on carpet and vacuum up to deodorize.

9. Mix some with a little oatmeal and use as a facial scrub.

10. Remove strong odors from your hands by washing with baking soda and water.

11. Put a small container of baking soda in the fridge to absorb odors.

12. Put a small container of baking soda and add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil to use as a room freshener.

13. Sprinkle some in your cat litter boxes to help absorb the odor

I use baking soda all the time in my cleaning and cooking.

Do you use baking soda often? Do you have any added uses for baking soda?

Puffins: The Clowns of the Sea

Thursday Thirteen

I’ve always been interested in puffins. I think it’s because they’re so cute with their bright bills. I have seen puffins in the wild during our trips to Britain, but I haven’t had a close encounter so they’re still on my list of things to see one day.

Thirteen Facts About Puffins

Puffin and Fish

1. Puffins spend most of their time at sea, only returning to land to breed during spring.

2. Puffins are known for their distinctive black and white coloring and their bright orange beak. The beak is actually gray while they’re at sea and turns orange when it’s time to return to land. They’re the cutest thing.

3. Puffins are strong swimmers and can dive to 200 feet. They don’t stay underwater for long.

4. Puffins eat small fish e.g. herrings.

5. On land, they live in colonies.

6. Birds usually mate for life.

7. The females lay a single egg.

8. The parents take turns feeding the chick

9. Over 60% of the puffins are in Iceland.

10. They supplement their meals by drinking seawater.

11. Puffins choose a partner when they’re around 3 – 5 years old.

12. When a couple reunite they knock their bills together. This is called billing.

13. The puffins nest in burrows and return to the same one each year.

Source: National Geographic http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/atlantic-puffin/
http://www.animalfactguide.com/animalfacts/atlantic-puffin/
Puffin with Fish © Paul Edwards | Dreamstime.com

Have you seen a puffin before?

Nineteenth Century Words

Thursday Thirteen

I’ve been in a real historical mood lately, both in my reading and my research. It’s good to be writing another historical romance. My favored time period is the Eighteenth century—pre-Regency in the 1700s, and if it has a gothic tone that’s even better.

For my TT this week I thought I’d give you terms or words you might come across while reading a historical romance or a historical fiction novel. These words are Nineteenth century words and my source is the book What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool

Thirteen Words in Usage During the Nineteenth Century

1. Trap – a small light carriage with springs

2. Turnkey – a jailer

3. Weeds – mourning garments, the word “weed” meaning simply clothes

4. Vinaigrette – a little box made of silver containing vinegar and having holes in the top. A vinaigrette was used to revive ladies who had fainted.

5. Washballs – little round balls of soap used for washing or shaving

6. Wafer – a small round made of flour and gum or a similar substances, which was dampened and placed on a letter to seal it.

7. Turtle – turtles were eaten and were a popular dish, so popular it spawned lots of imitation foods called “mock turtle”. Turtle was a staple at official banquets.

8. Tosspot – someone who drank a lot

9. Note of hand – a promissory note

10. Negus – Colonel Francis Negus cooked this drink, which consisted of sugar mixed with water and a wine such as sherry or port. It was a popular drink at balls and dances.

11. Mute – a person hired to come to a funeral and mourn

12. Season – the London social season, in which the fashionable high life of the nobility dominated the city. Although families returned from their country houses to London in February, the real season—of balls, parties, sporting events like Ascot and so on—ran only from May through July.

13. Sennight – a contraction of “seven night” meaning a week.

Are you familiar with these terms? Do you like historical romances? Do you like historical fiction? Do you have an recommendations?

A Taste of Honey

Thursday Thirteen

Honey has been a big topic around our house recently. It’s winter here In New Zealand and with the cold weather comes cold and flu. My husband has been sick, as have my father, sister and mother-in-law. So far, I’ve avoided getting sick. I’ve told everyone it’s all the honey I’ve been eating, and I thought honey would make a good TT topic.

Thirteen Facts About Honey

1. Honey is collected by bees. It’s a 100% natural sweetener and the bees store it in honeycombs until humans collect it.

2. Honey was the main sweetener used in cooking until the end of the Middle Ages.

3. Honey production reduced radically after Henry VIII closed the monasteries. The monks kept bees to make beeswax candles.

4. Early man collected honey by smoking out the bees. This method was illustrated in Egyptian tomb reliefs.

5. When honey ferments and is mixed with water honey ale is produced. Also known as mead, this was produced in countries that didn’t grow grapes or ale-making grains.

6. Egyptians used honey as a sweetener. They also used it as a gift to the gods and during the embalming process.

7. Honey is useful in the treatment of sore throats, coughs and also cuts and burns.

8. Honey never goes off. Jars of 2000 year old honey have been discovered in Egyptian tombs.

9. The flavor of the honey depends on the variety of flowers the bees collect their nectar from. There are lots of flavors available. I like clover honey, manuka honey and pohutukawa honey.

10. Honey comes in different forms – comb, liquid, or solid.

11. Honey is said to have a calming effect.

12. Honey is easily digested and it helps rid the body of foods that don’t pass through as easily.

13. Winnie the Pooh loves honey.

I like honey on toast. Do you like honey?

Oooh, Baby! with Kris Starr

Thursday Thirteen

Greetings, all! Kris Starr here. I write erotic romance and erotica, and I am so very happy to be hanging out today at Shelley’s blog – thanks, Shelley, for the opportunity!

Lovely by Kris StarrI am also thrilled to be a Carina Press author along with Shelley and a bunch of other absolutely fabulous folks. There are some great books available from CP, so if you haven’t checked ‘em out yet, do so! My novella is called Lovely, and it’s an erotic historical set in Paris in 1900.

But I’ll get to that shortly.

Lovely launched on June 21st, and as some of you may know, I got the best launch-day gift ever. On June 22nd, I gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl. So needless to say I am slightly brain-dead as a result, and I hope you can forgive me if this blog post meanders into the realm of “WTF is she talking about??”

Shelley suggested a baby-related TT, and I figured, that’s a great idea, and hey, how hard can it be to come up with thirteen baby items?

Um, remember that brain-dead comment from earlier?

Yeah.

But I did plug along, so without further ado, here’s your Thursday Thirteen!

1. Your brain somehow atrophies with the birth of your child. Or disintegrates. Or completely vanishes. Or, or…something. Whatever it is, I forget.

2. Time becomes like something out of an episode of Star Trek – before baby arrives you’ve got more of the damned stuff than you know what to do with. You read books! Spend time on your hobbies! Linger over lunches with friends! After baby arrives you can barely squeeze in five minutes for yourself to have a shower, toss in a (neverending) load of laundry or unload the dishwasher – and which activity you choose can be determined by whether you have any underwear left, just how gross your hair has become, or if there are any plates in the cupboard.

3. You no longer have anxiety dreams about appearing naked in your high school chemistry class, late for your final exam – you now dream about forgetting/losing/dropping the baby.

4. Five straight hours of unbroken sleep is the most decadent, delightful thing on the face of the planet.

5. You can no longer go anywhere without fifteen minutes of prep time before you go out the door, and you now must lug seventy-three extra things with you. Every single time. Because if you don’t have extra diapers, wipes, burp cloths and clothing with you, you’re screwed.

6. It’s only when you’ve got the baby bundled up in a wrap/carrier that she spits up all over herself…and you.

7. Along the same vein as #6 — all known infant bodily fluids (drool, poop, pee and spitup) now become a part of your regular, everyday life and you are guaranteed to get at least one of them (more likely two or three) on you on a daily basis.

8. And along the same vein as #6 and #7 — you thank whatever higher power/spiritual being you believe in that you have access to a washer and dryer and are not required to scrub baby clothing and other items on rocks in the riverbed.

9. Just as you sit down to dinner, the baby begins to fuss. You forget just what hot food and/or eating with the rest of your family feels like.

10. Forget makeup, hairstyling and dressy clothes. Now it’s sweats and tees, ponytails or headbands and that “natural” look. For all occasions.

11. A receiving blanket or burp cloth becomes a fashion statement that goes with anything. Trust me. Bunnies, daisies and hearts are hot this season.

12. Sex? What’s that?

But most importantly…

13. There is nothing more beautiful or precious on this planet than the sweet, tiny angel asleep in your arms, and you realize every time you look at her just how lucky and blessed you really are.

And that none of the other stuff matters in the least.

Now, to Lovely…

As mentioned earlier, Lovely is set in Paris in 1900, and it’s the story of a prostitute named Angelique. Here’s the blurb:

They call me Lovely. But I know I am not.

Once I had another name. Now, as Angelique, I do what I can to please les messieurs. What would they say if they knew I felt no pleasure? To them I am wanton, insatiable. I alone know the truth.

So I am mystified by my reaction to my latest caller. Alexandre. Handsome. Well-bred. With an air of innocence that intrigues me. And true pain in his eyes. A mere kiss on the hand inflames me as never before. In moments this man disconcerts me like no other, and soon I can think of nothing, no one else. And yet, he barely touches me.

I know my true purpose is to mend his wounds, but I wonder what lustful appetites are buried deep within him. I will do what I can to discover his secrets…

Lovely is available now from Carina Press.

Well, the baby is starting to fuss in her cradle, so that means it’s time for me to wrap up. Thanks again to Shelley for having me, and I hope you’ll swing by my blog or shoot me an email and say hello or let me know what you thought of Lovely! You can also follow me on Twitter (I don’t Tweet much yet – I’m still trying to get the hang of it in general. That brain thing, y’know?).

Cheers!
Kris

Kris’ Bio:
Kris lives in the wilds of Northern Canada with her two daughters and science geek husband. She spends her time attempting to control household chaos, indulging her crafty side with various knitting, sewing and miscellaneous handmade projects, and creating stories for Carina Press and Ellora’s Cave. Kris has been writing since the age of ten, beginning with a Nancy Drew-style mystery story featuring herself and a couple of her friends. Future leanings became clear, however, when she started penning naughty stories for high-school friends, featuring Scott Baio, Rick Springfield or any member of Duran Duran.

Kris’ blog
Twitter ID
Kris’ email

CONTEST: Everyone who comments on Kris’s post will go into a draw to win a download of Lovely. Tell us about your baby memories, comment on Kris’s baby thirteen or about her new release, Lovely

The Food Show Experience

Thursday Thirteen

I’m off to The Food Show tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it very much because food is one of my favorite things.

Thirteen Things About The Food Show

1. See, Taste, Buy: The Food Show is a bit like Christmas, a birthday and a giant dinner party rolled into one.

2. I get to watch some of the superstar chefs doing cooking demonstrations, including Josh Emett who runs Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants worldwide, Ray McVinnie who is a MasterChef judge down this end of the world, and others.

3. I have a chance to enter a contest to win an Electrolux fridge full of goodies to eat.

4. I’ll check out the Manuka Eggs, which are cold-smoked eggs unfused with a subtle, smoky flavor.

5. I’ll probably have a coffee, maybe one with the Heilala Vanilla syrup.

6. I’ll haunt the stall with artisan bread. They have new spicy carrot cake. Yum!

7. I might have a glass of wine. Heck, who am I kidding? I’ll have a glass of wine. Red, I think, so I can test the claim about the new wine aerator making red wine taste better.

8. I won’t be able to resist the fudge stall. Plain chocolate or flavored? Decisions. Decisions.

9. The Spice n Easy stall sounds interesting – packs of spices packed ready to use for specific dishes.

10. I won’t sample the mussels at the Omega Sea Food Stall, (Yuck!) but I might be tempted by a clam.

11. I’ll check out the Pomegranate juice stall. This is supposedly a wonderfruit used to lower blood pressure, fight stomach bugs and for its anti-ageing properties.

12. The Tasty Pot stall sounds enticing – ready made meals packed full of vegetables, whole grains, fresh herbs and spices and served in a tasty sauce. Hmmmm, healthy fast food…

13. I’ll go early to avoid the crowds and the people who use their kid’s pushchairs like dodgem cars. They run over your toes and don’t even say sorry. I don’t really like crowds.

Do any of these sound good to you? How do you like crowds?

Feelin’ Blue

Thursday Thirteen

Blue is my favorite color, and since I returned our foster dog to the SPCA today, I’m definitely feeling blue. I figured I’d go entirely blue for this week’s Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Blue Things

1. Blue Suede Shoes – a rock ‘n roll number first recorded by Carl Perkins in 1955.

2. Blue whales – the largest known animal.

3. Sky – there’s nothing prettier than a clear blue sky on a summer’s day.

4. Sapphires – my favorite gemstone.

5. Blue moon – when two full moons fall during the same calender month, it’s called a blue moon, hence the saying, once in a blue moon.

6. You can have a blue – in this case it’s an Australian expression that means you have a fight or disagreement.

7. Smurfs – are funny little blue creatures who have a whole franchisee going on.

8. Blue jeans – my favorite apparel.

9. Ocean – you can go sailing on the deep blue sea.

10. The Na’vi in the movie Avatar are a pretty blue.

11. Blue mood – when you’re feeling a little depressed.

12. Blue man group – a theatrical group that performs music and comedy.

13. Blue Danube waltz – a romantic waltz by Johann Strauss.

Do you like blue? Do you have any blue things to add to my list?