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Thirteen Tricksters & Meanies from the World of Mythology

Thursday Thirteen

Many romances, especially paranormal and urban fantasy ones, are based on the world of mythology. An example is Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Hunter series. Old myths and legends are rich in ideas for authors, so I thought I’d mention a few characters from within mythology for my Thursday Thirteen today.

Thirteen Tricksters & Means from Mythology

To start, mythology is a collection of stories that helped people make sense of the world. They were passed orally from generation to generation. Sometimes people wrote the myths down, and they were often celebrated in dance and art.

1. Chimera – a fire breathing monster made up of a mishmash of body parts of different animals.

2. Bacchus – the Roman god of wine and ecstasy. He gave King Midas the power to change everything he touched into gold.

3. Maui – he’s one of our New Zealand tricksters, and was supposedly responsible for fishing up New Zealand. He was a slippery one, and frankly, I’d run if I saw him. He pushed up the heavens and stole fire for mankind.

4. Cunning Hare – he’s an animal trickster that always outwits the other animals. He’s known in the US as Brer Rabbit.

5. Loki – the Norse trickster god. He caused the death of Odin’s son, Balder and is still being punished for it.

6. Baba Yaga – is a cannibal witch from Russia. She lives in a revolving hut that’s supported by hen’s feet, and she flies through the air in a mortar (grinding pot)

7. Guan Di – the Chinese god of war. Originally, he sold tofu, but he killed a magistrate and had to flee his home. He became a soldier and was promoted to the status of god of war.

8. Eshu – the trickster god of the Yoruba people in west Africa. He likes playing tricks on people – mischievous ones. He disguises himself as a naughty boy, a wise old man and a priest.

9. Kokopelli – another trickster. He’s also responsible for fertility of crops and the village women. I used Kokopelli as the basis for my story Seeking Kokopelli.

10. Tengu – a part man and part bird. They’re Japanese and have magic invisibility cloaks.

11. Sekhmet – a lioness god, sent by Ra to destroy mankind. Ra changed his mind and the only way to stop Sekhmet was to ply her with drink and get her drunk.

12. Centaur – half man and half horse they’re wild and savage. There are centaurs in the Harry Potter series.

13. Yen-lo – the ruler and judge of the dead in China. He weighs the souls first. Those who were virtuous had light souls while sinners possessed heavy souls. The souls must past several tests before they can be reincarnated.

All of these seem unfriendly to me. I’m not sure I’d like to meet them, but they certainly provide inspiration for stories.

Do you have any favorite stories based on mythology? Which of the above would you prefer to face? Write a story about?

Source: Mythology, an Eyewitness Book, by Neil Philip

Thirteen Latin Phrases in Common Use

Thursday Thirteen

Latin phrases are common in the English language. In fact some of them are so deeply entrenched we think of them as English.

Here are Thirteen Latin Phrases

1. Curriculum vitae – a history of work and school qualifications.

2. Carpe diem – seize the day!

3. Circa – approximately

4. Versus – against. Often abbreviated to v or vs

5. Status quo – the existing state of affairs

6. Modus operandi – method of operation

7. Ergo – therefore

8. Post mortem – after death

9. Terra firma – solid ground

10. Persona non grata – an unwelcome person

11. Stet – let it stand. Most writers know this one.

12. In flagrante delicto – caught in the act. Often used in relation to sex.

13.Veni, vidi, vici – I came, I saw, I conquered. Said b y Julius Caesar after a rebellion in Greece.

Source: The Dangerous Book for Boys (NZ Edition) by Gonn Iggulden & Hal Iggulden

Are you familiar with these? Can you add any others?

Corey, the Werewolf, Loves Chocolate, and I Do Too!

Thursday Thirteen

Lone Wolf, my fourth Samhain Publishing release is due out on 23 August. Corey, one of the heroes has a liking for chocolate, which R.J., the other hero indulges.

“Yeah.” R.J. gave him a quick kiss and pulled a small bar of chocolate out of his pocket. He tucked it in Corey’s waistband. “Take care, kid. I don’t want anything to happen to you.”

In honor of R.J. and Corey’s story, today I’m giving you a list of my favorite chocolate things.

Thirteen Chocolate Treats That I Adore

1. Chocolate Chip Cookies – I like the ones with huge chunks of chocolate.

2. Pain Au Chocolate – preferably still warm from the oven and partnered with a latte.

3. Hot chocolate – nothing better on a cold winter’s day.

4. Chilli chocolate – very dark chocolate with the bite of chilli peppers. Very yummy!

5. Chocolate cake – rich and moist with thick chocolate icing and partnered with a glass of cold milk.

6. A chocolate milkshake – the thick kind that is hard to drink through a straw.

7. Choccywoccydoodah – I like watching this program on TV. The shop is in Brighton, England, and their cakes look amazing!

8. Whittakers Ghana Peppermint Chocolate – this is New Zealand chocolate. It’s dark chocolate with a mint filling. They have a very cool ad, which is on Youtube, but it has an over 18 warning on it because of nudity. Link to Whittakers’ ad.

9. After dinner mints – I love the combination of chocolate and mint.

10. Moritz ice creams – various flavors of ice cream with a thick coating of chocolate that crackles when you take a bite.

11. Chocolate truffles – hubby makes some delicious ones that have a hint of orange in them. Yum!

12. Double Choc Muffins – for morning tea with a cup of coffee.

13. Scorched Almonds – I usually only eat these at Christmas time. Almonds covered with a thick coating of chocolate. Very addictive because one is not enough.

What is your favorite chocolate item?

The 13 Step Guide to The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton

Thursday Thirteen

I have author, Miranda Neville visiting me today. She’s celebrating the release of her historical romance, The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton, which is out at Avon on July 26. Her heroine, Celia is taming a dandy, among other things. Please welcome Miranda and read on to learn about Celia…

The 13 Step Guide to The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton

1. The hero starts out needing a good kick in the behind. Tarquin Compton is London’s social leader, famous for his fine figure, perfect dress, and poisonously witty tongue. Someone needs to take him down a peg, or three.

2. Celia Seaton is the woman to do it. He ruined her marriage prospects and she’s angry.

3. When she finds him the wilderness, having lost his memory and most of his clothes, she tells him his name is Terence Fish and they are betrothed.

4. Tarquin isn’t pleased, but “Terence” turns out to be a different guy than she expected: kind, brave, amusing – and really hot.

5. In fact he’s just the man to help her escape across the moors, pursued by the villains who kidnapped her.

6. Tarquin happens to have a naughty novel with him, which Celia finds highly educational. And you know what happens when a man and a woman spend several days alone together. There’s a reason they used to have chaperones.

7. They fall in love.

8. Tarquin gets his memory back and the real trouble starts. He goes back to being the rude dandy she hates so much. Or does he? Perhaps he’s changed.

9. A house party in a ducal mansion provides opportunities for late night corridor prowling.

10. We find out why Tarquin became the way he is – and how he discovers the socially unacceptable Celia is the woman he wants and needs.

11. We learn what Celia’s kidnappers want – and how it relates to the shameful secrets of her past.

12. We meet the villains, some more desperate – and more villainous – than others and learn how our intrepid hero and heroine foil them (of course) as true love overcomes all obstacles (of course)

13. The thirteenth point I leave up to you. What would you like to know?

The Amourous Education of Celia Seaton Blurb:

Being kidnapped teaches Miss Celia Seaton a few things about life

LESSON ONE
Never disrobe in front of a gentleman … unless his request comes at gunpoint.

LESSON TWO
If, when lost on the moors, you encounter Tarquin Compton, the leader of London society who ruined your marriage prospects, deny any previous acquaintance.

LESSON THREE
If offered an opportunity to get back at Mr. Compton, the bigger the lie, the better. A faux engagement should do nicely.

LESSON FOUR
Not all knowledge is found between the covers of a book. But an improper book may further your education in ways you never guessed.

And while an erotic novel may be entertaining, the real thing is even better.

Purchase The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton

To learn more about Miranda and her books visit her website.

CONTEST: Miranda is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift card to one commenter during her blog tour. The winner will be drawn at the conclusion of Miranda’s tour. For full details and more chances to win follow the VBT for The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton

How To Write a Love Letter

Thursday Thirteen

I came across a book called Good Old Fashioned Advice by Michael Powell. It includes a section on the proper way to write a love letter. It’s a dying art, but one I think is very romantic because it demonstrates thought and takes an effort when these days it’s far easier to fire off an email, telephone or send a text.

Mr. Powell suggests the following steps will produce a successful love letter:

1. Write from the heart. If you are sincere, honest and caring, your words will find a natural rhythm and music.

2. Use high quality parchment and handwrite in ink.

3. If you have poor handwriting find someone who has good, tidy writing to write your letter for you. The visual impression will create a romantic disposition in the recipient even before they read the letter.

4. Check your spelling and punctuation. As the author says, love may be may be blind but it notices bad grammar.

5. A love letter should not be written lightly because toying with the affections of another is uncool.

6. Avoid purple prose. Simple writing is easier to read and more sincere.

7. Start your letter writing by placing a photo of your loved one in front of you. It’s good for inspiration.

8. Take your time. Don’t rush your letter writing.

9. Listen to some romantic music. The author suggests Chopin, Beethoven, Wagner or Tchaikovsky. I think we could probably go a bit more modern than that.

10. Write as you speak and think. A letter can be playful, flirtatious or witty, but it should carry your voice.

11. Be specific. Point out twelve unique qualities about your beloved.

12. Focus your letter on the two of you and nothing else.

13. End the letter by looking to the future. You want this relationship to last forever and to grow year by year. Let them know your thoughts and hopes for your life together.

Have you sent or received a love letter?

Thirteen Haunted Inns of Britain

Thursday Thirteen

The last time I visited my local library a book called Haunted Inns of Britain & Ireland by Richard Jones caught my eye. It’s full of info about ghosts and haunting, and I found it fascinating. I’ve even visited a couple of the pubs.

A list of Thirteen Haunted Pubs

1. The Mermaid Inn, Mermaid Street, Rye, East Sussex
The Mermaid has several ghosts, including a gray lady. Early one morning a resident woke to find a pair of phantom duelists, dressed in doublet and hose. They thrust and parried with their rapiers until one received a fatal wound.

2. The Chequers Inn, Smarden, Kent
In room 6, the staff sometimes see a clear impression of a person on the bed even though the room is empty. Dogs dislike the room with one dog requiring a tranquillizer to calm him. A female guest was woken by something scratching her back. Another woman woke to find a man standing in the open doorway. She shouted at him and he vanished.

3. The Spaniards Inn, Hampstead, London
Dick Turpin is one of the pub’s ex-customers and he stabled his mount Black Bess here. People hear Black Bess’ ghostly hoof beats gallop across the car park in the dead of the night.

4. The Ostrich Inn, Slough, Berkshire
A landlord used to ply his rich guests with drink, and once they were asleep in his best room, he’d unbolt a special trapdoor and tip them from their beds into a vat of boiling oil below. Then, he’d sell their horse and belongings. He did very nicely until a guest saw his bed tilt and shouted for help. Staff at the pub complain about a sinister atmosphere while loud noises wake the landlords. It’s said one of the victims causes the noises.

5. Jamaica Inn, Launceston, Cornwall
Made famous by Daphne du Maurier’s novel Jamaica Inn. Several ghosts wander the old hostelry. A ghost stands outside near a particular wall. He doesn’t answer greetings, but will slowly dissolve and vanish.

6. The Knife and Cleaver, Bedfordshire
A male and a female ghost reside here. One day a barman watched the pages of the booking diary turn by themselves. Then a ghostly hand appeared over his shoulder. He wasn’t sure which ghost it was and didn’t wait to find out.

7. The Bull Hotel, Suffolk
Doors open and close by themselves. Objects fly across the room and chairs move during the night. It’s said Richard Everard, who was stabbed to death, is the cause of this activity.

8. The Lifeboat Inn, Thornham, Norfolk
The landlady decided the pub was missing a resident ghost and made one up. The staff were shocked when they actually started seeing a tall, dark stranger as described by the landlady in her pub brochure.

9. The Scole Inn, Scole Diss, Norfolk
A husband suspected his wife of having an affair. He murdered his wife in a fit of rage. Fast forward in time and visitors to the inn have reported sightings of a sad lady in room 2.

10. The Fleece Inn, Evesham, Worcestershire
It’s said the ghost of Lola Taplin, a previous landlady, haunts the inn. She always banned food and only served alcohol. Customers have watched their sandwiches tossed in the air and thrown across the room. Ghostly footsteps are also heard.

11. Ye Old Black Bear, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire
A headless figure has been seen walking across creaking floors and dragging his chains behind him. It’s thought he is one of the Lancastrians defeated by a group of Yorkists at the Battle of Tewkesbury.

12. The Puesdown Inn, Compton Abdale, Cheltenham
This used to be a coaching inn frequented by highwaymen. One of the ghosts is said to be a highwayman who was shot. He returned to the inn and knocked loudly on the door, demanding entrance. Ghostly knocking is often heard while one landlord saw a ghostly coach pulling into the yard.

13. The West Arms Hotel, Llangollen, Denbighshire
The hotel is haunted by a blue lady. It’s said a woman was killed in a fire that broke out in the pub. If a fire is lit in the front lounge, the blue lady appears.

Have you visited any haunted places? Have you seen a ghost?

Thirteen Ways to Help a Bad Head Case

Thursday Thirteen

Sometimes a few drinks at night can end up in a hangover the next morning. There are lots of theories and tried and true methods for curing a hangover. In truth, the only way to cure a hangover is limit the number of drinks you have.

Thirteen Hangover Cures and Hints

1. The hair of the dog – i.e. drink more of what you drank the night before.

2. The French drink thick and hot onion soup the morning after.

3. In Switzerland they drink a shot of brandy with a hint of peppermint.

4. In Russia they try heavily salted cucumber juice and black bread soaked in water.

5. In Norway they recommend double cream.

6. In Outer Mongolia they recommend a pickled sheep’s eye in a glass of tomato juice. Can I say yuck?

7. In Haiti they cure a hangover by sticking thirteen black-headed pins into the cork of a bottle that got you that way.

8. Don’t mix alcohol types.

9. Carbonated drinks affect people faster i.e. those bottles of bubbles.

10. Drink a pint of lightly-salted water before going to bed.

11. Drink an isotonic sports drink but not the fizzy, carbonated kind.

12. Eat a banana, honey and peanut butter sandwich. The honey and banana contain potassium and glucose. Bananas contain magnesium, which may help to relax the blood vessels in the head.

13. Go for a brisk walk or have a long and hot powerful shower. The powerful shower is to relax the muscles and helps if you’re a fiend on the dance floor between drinks. A hot bath will also help.

Do you have a favored hangover cure?

Source: Her Magazine, December/January 2011 and Hangover Cures by Ben Reed

Thirteen Tips For Living Life Well

Thursday Thirteen

I’m all about living well and enjoying life. Here are a few tips to help you live well.

Thirteen Tips For Living Well

1. Laughter is really the best medicine. A good chuckle helps to increase the blood flow and can decrease the risk of heart disease.

2. A wide brimmed hat is a good alternative to a baseball cap. It keeps the sun off the neck, ears and shoulders as well as the face.

3. Getting out in the sunshine is important during the winter months. If you aren’t getting enough, try eating your lunch outdoors during the week for a quick Vitamin D boost.

4. Something as simple as using positive words in everyday conversations and also in your thoughts can help ease stress and anxiety.

5. Prevent the spread of viruses by regularly wiping down keyboards, telephones, bench tops and any other commonly touched surfaces.

6. Skip the high heels. A three-inch heel stresses your foot seven times more than a one-inch heel.

7. Protect your hearing by limiting use of equipment louder than 85 decibels. Most hairdriers, lawnmowers and motorcycles exceed this limit.

8. Sunflower seeds are a rich source of vitamin E, one of the primary antioxidants that helps decrease the decline of memory as you age.

9. Keep expanding your social skills by sparking a conversation with someone you normally wouldn’t. It’s great for confidence and gets you out of your comfort zone.

10. Sitting or standing all day can be bad for your joints. If sitting all day at work, be sure to stand up every 30 minutes and stretch. If you are persistently on your feet, sit down for five minutes and give your feet a rest.

11. There are four simple steps that help facilitate a good night’s sleep. The magic words are dark, quiet, comfortable and cool. Sleep in a dark, quiet room that is cool in temperature and wear comfortable clothes.

12. Brushing your hair doesn’t just keep it knot-free, but also stimulates blood flow to the scalp, helping your hair to grow faster. The best times to brush are before bed and before shampooing.

13. Dog owners lead a healthier lifestyle. Dogs help buffer stress and also assist in facilitating more physical activity. I’m living proof of this because I’ve lost weight since we adopted a puppy in January.

Bella

Do you have a tip to live life well?

Source: Alive Magazine, Issue 7

Thirteen Ways to Look Instantly Slimmer

Thursday Thirteen

I attended a craft show last week and sat in on several lectures. One of them was on fashion and styling, which didn’t really fit with crafts, but it was still interesting. Kate Elizabeth, the fashion stylist talked about ways to look slimmer and I thought I’d pass them on.

1. Wear non-shiny fabrics. Matt fabrics work best since they don’t scream “look at me!”

2. Wear clothing items with as many vertical elements as possible. They lengthen the body.

3. Wear dark colors over areas you want to disguise e.g. black trousers to cover a large butt.

4. Make sure your underwear fits perfectly since this is the foundation for your garments. Make sure the said underwear keeps everything in its place.

5. Large is not necessary best. Stick to medium size accessories and patterns.

6. Wear one color on the top and bottom e.g. black T-shirt with black trousers or jeans

7. Wear fabrics that drape rather cling.

8. Wear fine or medium weave fabrics rather than chunky ones.

9. Wear shoes with a medium to high heel to add height.

10. Wear prints that don’t have an obvious pattern i.e. abstract patterns

11. Wear garments with elbow length sleeves.

12. Wear clothes with some shape to them rather than going for a boxy look.

13. Wear eye-catching accessories to direct the eye away from problem areas.

What do you think? Do these solutions work for you?

Thirteen Disasters Waiting to Happen

Thursday Thirteen

Since the earthquake in Christchurch and the one in Japan, our larger cities have been under the spotlight. According to records, many buildings in Auckland (where I live) are not earthquake proof. For the last few years we’ve had a series of ads on TV and other media about being prepared with an emergency kit. Like most people I pretty much ignored the ads. Not now. Experts say we have earthquakes every day in New Zealand. Who knew? I didn’t. I’ve never experienced an earthquake, and I really don’t want to lose my virgin status in this respect.

In our local paper this week they listed disasters that could strike those of us who live in Auckland. They included the likelihood of a hazard occuring and the possible impact on the Auckland population.

Thirteen Auckland Disaster Risks

1. Power failure – very high risk/possible/catastrophic (a problem with power crippled the central business district a few years ago)

2. Human epidemic – very high risk/possible/catastrophic (we’re big travellers with lots of planes coming and going each day)

3. Distant volcanic eruption – very high risk/likely/major

4. Cyclone – very high risk/likely/major

5. Flooding – very high risk/almost certain/moderate (flooding seems to be a problem in many areas during high rainfall)

6. Erosion: Coastal Cliff – very high risk/almost certain/moderate (there are lots of expensive homes perched on cliffs)

7. Auckland volcanic eruption – high risk/rare/catastrophic (I knew this was a possibility since Auckland is built on a field of volcanoes)

8. Animal epidemic – high risk/possible/major

9. Aircraft crash – high risk/possible/major

10. Earthquake – high risk/unlikely/major

11. Hazardous spill – high risk/likely/moderate

12. Erosion: Landslide – very high risk/almost certain/moderate (we’re quite a hilly city, but I wouldn’t have thought of this one)

13. Dam failure/Rural fire – low risk

Source – Manukau Courier, 15 Mar, 2011
Are you prepared? – a link to a website about being prepared for an emergency.

What disasters could strike where you live? Are you prepared with an emergency kit?