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Thirteen Strange Allergies

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Many of our discussions this week have centered around allergies since our poor puppy has been very miserable with a mystery allergy.

I thought allergies would make a good topic for my TT this week.

Thirteen Strange Allergies

1. Money allergy – some people are allergic to the nickel in coins.

2. Vibration allergy – in some people the body mistakes the vibrations as an attack and the immune system responds with skin irritation, welts and rashes.

3. Mobile phones – can either be due to the nickel content or the low levels of radiation and microwaves.

4. Deodorant – sensitivity to the perfumes or other ingredients.

5. Water – experts believe those who are allergic, react to the additives in the water.

6. Shoes – some people react to the glue or resins or cement used to manufacture the shoes.

7. Underwear – some people are allergic to the fabric or elastic.

8. Kissing – kisses are okay, but if the person you are kissing has consumed something you’re allergic to there might be problems. A young Canadian girl died after kissing her boyfriend. The boyfriend had eaten a peanut butter sandwich for lunch.

9. Sex – severe reaction to male ejaculate is possible in some cases.

10. Hormones – estrogen and progesterone can cause allergic reactions in some women. The immune system mistakes these hormones as bad and attacks as a result.

11. Heat – some people break out in welts and swelling after taking a shower or becoming too hot with excess clothes.

12. Cold – severe cold can cause itching and welts. Sufferers need to keep warm.

13. Computers – some people are sensitive to electromagnetic sources while others react to emissions from plastic casings.

I’m very lucky. I don’t seem to have any allergies apart from getting a slight runny nose when I go outside. It seems to invite every bug in the vicinity to fly into my mouth, but I can deal with that Open-mouthed smile

Do you suffer from any allergies?

Source: Online Nurse Practitioner Schools.com

Thirteen Possible Hero Names

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I’m currently rereading an older book that I’ve received the rights back for, and I’m updating/amending as necessary. As I do this, I’m also percolating the second book in the series.

One of my weird writer ticks is that I can’t start writing until I settle on my main character names.

I know a little about my hero, but his name is proving elusive.

He’s an alien prince and is first in line to the throne. He’s a good guy who always does the right thing unlike his younger brother. He’s very proper and correct, and some people might call him boring. Deep inside is a rebel, but he hasn’t gone as far as to walk outside the lines. Yet.

Thirteen Names I’ve Discarded for my Hero

1. Kieran

2. Florian

3. Gaile

4. Jermyn

5. Jagger

6. Niran

7. Nairn

8. Shanahan

9. Brecon

10. Devon

11. Timon

12. Thane

13. Oberon

I’ve tried all the above names for several hours, some for several days and none seem right for my alien prince. I want a name that’s unusual and alien sounding, yet one that’s easy for readers to pronounce.

Do you have any suggestions for my poor nameless hero?

13 Items of Wickedness

Thursday Thirteen

In honor of the blog hop I’m currently participating in, today I’m all about wicked. See the post below to join in the Wicked Nights hop and go into the draw to win a $100 Amazon gift certificate.

Thirteen Wicked Things

1. Wicked is the name of a novel by Gregory Maguire. This book has been turned into a successful musical stage show — the untold story of the Witches of Oz.

2. Wicked Wee Dump near the Hump is the name of motel accommodation in Fiordland National Park in New Zealand. I’ve never stayed their before but it looks lovely. Nice area for walking too.

3. According to the Merriam-Webster Online dictionary wicked means…

morally very bad

4. or… fierce or vicious as in a wicked dog.

5. or… roguish as in wicked impersonations.

6. or… disgustingly unpleasant or vile as in a wicked odor.

7. or… going beyond reasonable or predictable limits or exceptional quality e.g. throws a wicked fastball.

8. The word might originate from Middle English. It’s thought the word is an alteration of wicke or it could be from Old English wicca.

9. The first known use of the word was in the 13th century.

10. Synonyms include black, dark, evil, nefarious, rotten, sinful, bad, wrong, villainous.

11. Antonyms include decent, ethical, good, honest, just, moral, sublime, virtuous

12. The Urban Dictionary says wicked is a slang word that adds emphasis. The synonyms are really, extremely and very. e.g. that tune is wicked hot.

13. Check out this recipe by New Zealand chef Annabel Langbein for Sticky Date Pudding with Wicked Toffee Sauce. Definitely sinful and wicked.

Have you seen the stage show Wicked?

13 Facts About Trolls

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Later this year, hubby and I are doing a cruise of the Baltic region. One of the stops is Oslo, Norway, a place I didn’t know much about. Research and deciding what to see is always part of the fun for me, and I was intrigued to learn about the combination of trolls and Norway.

Thirteen Facts About Trolls

1. If you Google trolls, at first you’ll come up with lots of websites about internet trolls, which are a different beast all together.

2. The trolls I’ve been researching live in the mountainous regions or woodland regions of Norway. They’re known as mountain or woodland trolls.

3. These days they are a shy creature and there is great debate as to their existence.

4. Several places in Norway are named after trolls such as Trollfjorden, Trollveggen, Trollstigen.

5. Trolls are huge and ugly. They’re scary but according to local lore they’re a little stupid, and a clever man or woman can use this to manipulate them.

6. Trolls are one beast that a romantic woman should not attempt to kiss. She will not find a prince but rather a filthy creature with long, entangled hair. The troll is more likely to eat her than attempt to exchange a kiss.

7. It’s very difficult to discern reality from myth and legends, especially since there has been no documented sightings for some many years.

8. Some people say trolls possess shape shifting powers, so perhaps this is why they’re so good at eluding people. Maybe your best friend is a troll in hiding.

9. I understand trolls are mammals and they live to a great age – anywhere in the range between 1000 – 12000 years old.

10. Like vampires, trolls have a bad reaction to sunlight. Younger trolls turn to stone while older trolls explode on exposure to sunlight.

11. Whenever you see electric pylons in Norway, especially in isolated mountainous regions, they’re probably not there for electricity but are electric fences used to keep trolls within their territories.

12. Trolls are mostly seen on moonlit nights.

13. It’s very important not to make an enemy of a troll because they’re good at revenge. The best advice I can give is to keep in good standing with any trolls you might meet or you’ll be very sorry.

Have you visited Norway? Have any tips? Do you have any experience with trolls?

Thirteen Things That Would Make A Perfect World

Thursday Thirteen

I stole this idea from Next magazine, one of our local glossy ladies’ magazines. It’s a tongue-in-cheek list of things that would go toward making a perfect world. I picked my favorite ones from their much longer list.

Thirteen Things That Would Go Toward Making a Perfect World

1. If the best things in life were actually free.

2. If we had the confidence of a 50-year-old with the body and face of a 30-year-old.

3. If being kind burned calories, and reading made you fit.

4. If offspring did as they were asked.

5. If there was always a pen when you needed one.

6. If fertility increased with our readiness for children.

7. If wine made you smarter.

8. If sexy men really were interested in the beauty within.

9. If someone discovered 50 “never seen before” episodes of Friends.

10. In the same vein, if someone discovered new episodes of Firefly. Loved that show!

11. If there was one charger for everything.

12. If sun didn’t burn but simply highlighted your hair.

13. If 3D printers could make you a husband.

What would make your world perfect?

C is for Cook Strait

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things About Cook Strait

1. Cook Strait is the body of water separating the North and South Islands of New Zealand.

2. The strait is named after Captain James Cook who sailed through it in 1770.

3. Maori legends says Kupe (an explorer) discovered Cook Strait when he followed an enormous octopus across the strait.

4. Between 1888 and 1912 a dolphin christened Pelorus Jack used to meet and escort ships across the strait. Someone attempted to kill Pelorus Jack and a law was established to protect him.

5. The lighthouse at Pencarrow Head was the first permanent lighthouse in New Zealand.

6. It can be a very rough stretch of water. Several ships have wrecked in this region, the most famous being the Wahine disaster in 1968. The strait is part of the westerly wind belt known as the Roaring Forties, and it acts like a huge wind funnel.

7. The strait is 22 kilometers or 14 miles across at the narrowest point.

Cook Strait

8. The Narrows Basin is the deepest part of the channel with depths up to 350 meters.

9. There is a regular ferry service between Wellington in the North Island and Picton in the South Island. When it’s a nice day,the trip is fun, but when it gets rough – not so nice. I’m a good sailor but the scent of vomit isn’t pleasant!

Ferry

10. Barry Devonport was the first man to swim across the strait in 1962. It took him 11 hours and twenty minutes.

11. The first woman swam the strait in 1975. She was from the US and took twelve hours and seven minutes.

12. Abel Tasman, the Dutch Explorer thought the strait was a bay when he entered the strait in 1642.

13. The passenger ferries started back in 1875.

Sources: Wikipedia, New Zealand in History

13 Things About the Mystery Genre

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Today, in honor of the contest below, my TT is all about mysteries and mystery writing.

Thirteen Things About The Mystery Genre

1. Mysteries as we know them, weren’t available to the reading public until Edgar Allen Poe introduced his fictional detective, Auguste C. Dupin in 1841.

2. His book, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, is an example of a locked room mystery. This is where the murder victim is discovered inside a sealed enclosure of some description.

3. Katherine Anne Green became the first woman to write and publish a detective mystery in 1878. Her book featured a detective who investigated a murder that occurred within a small group of people.

4. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduced Sherlock Holmes and his friend Doctor Watson in 1887.

5. The golden age of mystery fiction arrived in the 1920s.

6. Agatha Christie is probably the most famous mystery writer with 50 plus books to her name.

7. Police procedurals entered the market in the 1940s.

8. Some of the most popular mysteries have been written for children such as the Nancy Drew Mysteries, the Hardy Boys, Famous Five and Secret Seven.

9. The mystery genre is a popular one, and there are many subgenres including cozy mysteries, hard-boiled detective, police procedural, whodunits, capers and some mysteries drift toward thrillers.

10. It’s said that the lack of mystery fiction before the 1800s occurred because there was no organized police force.

11. Fictional detectives usually fall into four categories: amateur, private investigator, police detective and forensic specialists.

12. Sherlock Holmes is very popular at present with two television series featuring modern retellings. There is Sherlock and Elementary. Other detectives such as Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Miss Marple have also made our screen.

13. My favorite on screen mystery show is Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries featuring Phryne Fisher. It’s set in the late 1920s and is based on Australian Kerry Greenwood’s books.

Are you a mystery reader, and if so, which type do you prefer? Do you have a favorite series?

Sources: http://kids.mysterynet.com

CONTEST: Whether you’re a mystery reader or not, I hope you’ll enter the Not Your Usual Suspects mystery contest below. Complete the rafflecopter below to enter the draw to win a mystery.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

13 Facts About the Tower of London

Thursday Thirteen

If you’re a tourist in London chances are you’ll spend some time at the Tower of London. I’ve wandered through the tower, gawked at the crown jewels and checked out the ravens and beefeaters. It’s a place that breathes and sighs history.

Thirteen Facts About the Tower of London

1. The Tower was originally build by William the Conqueror and used as a palace and fortress.

2. It was never supposed to be a prison, but the inhabitants discovered that the fortress kept people in as well as keeping people out.

3. During World War II the tower was used to house prisoners of war.

4. Ravens have always been kept at the tower. At least six ravens are kept and they’re replaced if they die. It’s said if the ravens leave the tower bad luck will arrive.

Tower of London Ravens

5. The Tower of London is home to the crown jewels and has been for centuries.

6. Every night at 9:53 pm the ceremony of the keys takes place where the Queen’s Guards and the Chief Yeoman Warder lock all the gates.

7. On 6th November 2012 the keys were stolen. *gasp*

8. Only 22 executions have taken place inside the Tower of London. Most took place at nearby Tower Hill.

9. The last execution was of Lord Lovet, a Jacobite, on 9th April 1747.

10. The Tower housed the royal menagerie, which included lions, an elephant and a polar bear. The polar bear was allowed to hunt for fish in the Thames while on a leash.

11. The Duke of Wellington closed the menagerie in 1853. The animals became the first in the London zoo, which is in Regent’s Park.

12. Several ghosts haunt the tower, including Anne Boleyn, Henry VI, Lady Jane Grey, the Princes in the tower and a grizzly bear. I didn’t see any of these during my visit.

13. The Tower has been a tourist destination since Elizabethan times.

Source: www.royalcentral.co.uk

Have you visited the Tower? If not, what would you like to see?

13 Facts About Baboons and Frogs

Thursday Thirteen

Recently I’ve been plotting and planning a new series called Middlemarch Capture. One of the fun things about writing is you get to research all sorts of interesting things. This week I’ve been researching baboons and frogs for the first two books in my series.

Thirteen Things About Baboons and Frogs

We’ll start with baboons:

Baboons

1. The muzzle angles very sharply from the braincase and the face is free of hair.

2. The buttock area is naked of fur too.

3. All fingers have fingernails.

4. They hang out in troops of varied ages. If threatened the adults will protect those weaker and there are marked ranks within the troop.

5. They have powerful canines and are fierce fighters. Their main enemy is the leopard.

6. They are omnivores and eat grasses, insects, young gazelles and antelopes and sometimes others within the troop. They have also been known to kill human children.

Frog

7. Frogs are found on every continent apart from Antarctica.

8. A worrying number of frogs are becoming extinct each year.

9. Frogs are amphibians. They hatch as tadpoles and change to frogs. There are some frogs which develop directly and this enables them to live away from water.

10. Scientists call frogs an indicator species since they help to show how an ecology is functioning.

11. Frogs eat insects.

12. Different species of frogs have different shaped and colored eyes. They can be catlike, round or even heart shaped and the colors can be brown, bronze, green and red.

13. Frogs breathe and absorb moisture through their skin. Some frogs secrete a mucous through their skin. Some frogs shed their skin on a daily basis, while others stick to weekly shedding of skin. By all accounts this looks pretty freaky.

I found some very cool facts to twist and fit into my sci-fi romances. A very productive day!

What is the strangest thing you’ve researched?

13 Mistakes I made on the way to publication by Martha O’Sullivan

I’d like to welcome a special guest today – Martha O’Sullivan. Like me, she is a writer, and today she’s talking about mistakes she made on the road to publication. I’ve made some of the same mistakes. Have you? Over to Martha…

Thursday Thirteen

13 Mistakes I made on the way to publication by Martha O’Sullivan

1. I thought I needed an agent.

2. I thought I had to go through traditional publishing and print channels.

3. I thought Harlequin ruled the world.

4. I should have brought The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglist before I wrote my first book instead of when I was editing my second.

5. I underestimated how generous, supportive and welcoming writers were.

6. I should have gone to RWA Nationals the year I started writing. I should have joined TARA from the get-go.

7. I should have kept reading. I started writing at night instead of reading.

8. I should always write the last chapter first. I should have known this since I find myself reading the last few pages of a book midway through chapter two.

9. I should have joined a critique group.

10. I should have shouted that I was writing from the rooftops instead of keeping it to myself.

11. I should have known the last rejection hurts just as much as the first one.

12. I should have known that writing the book was the easy part.

13. I knew how bad I wanted it, so I should have known I would do it.

But the one thing I did right? I never gave up! And here I am!

Have you made any mistakes during your writing journey? Are there things you would have done differently?

The Chances Trilogy by Martha O’Sullivan

Second Chance Chance Encounter last chance cov

Second Chance, the Chances trilogy opener, is a reunion/love triangle romance that keeps the shores of Lake Tahoe blazing hot long after the sultry summer sun has set. Chance Encounter, the trilogy’s second installment, heats up San Francisco’s chilly days and blustery nights with white-hot passion and pulse-pounding suspense. And in Last Chance, the conclusion of the trilogy, the snow-packed Sierras melt into lust-fueled puddles despite the single-digit temperatures of the Lake Tahoe winter.

Please visit Martha’s web site at www.marthaosullivan26.wix.com/marthaosullivan for excerpts, reviews and more.

The Chances trilogy by Martha O’Sullivan (http://twitter.com/@m_osullivan26)  available at: www.marthaosullivan26.wix.com/marthaosullivan

http://eredsage.com/store/OSULLIVAN_MARTHA.html Also available on: Amazon, BN.com, AllRomanceEbooks, Kobo Books and Bookstrand

BIO:

Martha O’Sullivan has loved reading romance novels for as long as she can remember. So much so that she would continue the story in her head long after the last chapter was read. Writing her own novels is the realization of a lifelong dream for this stay-at-home mom. Martha writes contemporary and erotic romances with traditional couples and happy endings. She is the author of the Chances trilogy available now from Red Sage Publishing. Her current work-in-progress is a sweet and steamy Christmas novel set in Florida. A native Chicagoan, she lives her own happy ending in Tampa with her husband and two daughters.