Friday, August 9, 2013

Author Shelley Munro Stops By

I've gotten a chance to interact with some awesome authors because of the interwebs. Shelley Munro is one I've grown to respect and admire. Plus her writing can be quite the.tantalizing experience. So it is my pleasure to give my blog over to her today.

Take it away, Shelley :-)

The Love Train to Middlemarch

Writing is like cooking. The author takes a pinch of this, a pinch of that, stirs and mixes and a plot pops out the other end.

My Middlemarch series (paranormal shapeshifter) emerged like that. I gathered together interesting snippets and spun them into a plot. First there were the mysterious alien black cat sightings in the Canterbury area of New Zealand and then came the Middlemarch Singles Dance—a real event to attract women to the small country town of Middlemarch. They even have a special train that goes from Dunedin through the Taieri Gorge laden with single women who hope to find love with a Middlemarch farmer.

Excellent, I thought. I can use that in my series.

The third part of the plot equation was my interest in leopards and feline shapeshifters. Mix, stir and voila!

I’ve visited the real town of Middlemarch a couple of times, but I’d never had a chance to do the train trip through the Taieri Gorge until this year.

Building started on the railway in 1879, but lack of money meant that the first part of the line didn’t open until 1889. The tracks follow the Taieri River as it twists and turns through rocky valleys and past towering hillsides. The scenery is stunning. In 1990 it was decided to close the Otago railway line, but a private company purchased the railway and since then it has become a popular tourist route.

The carriages are all original, but they come from different eras so they are not identical. The carriage we rode in was the oldest with wooden seats and tables and lots of windows to appreciate the scenery. There was a volunteer hostess in each carriage and they came through with drinks and food and answered questions. We made a couple of stops and disembarked to better appreciate the views and stretch our legs. I was a little disappointed that our particular train didn’t go all the way to Middlemarch, but we still enjoyed the trip.

So, if anyone is searching for a husband, come to New Zealand at Easter and ride the special Taieri Gorge train—dubbed the Love Train—all the way to Middlemarch to attend the Singles Ball. You never know what might happen!

Here are some photos of our trip on the Taieri Gorge train:
Getting ready to board the train at Dunedin.

Inside our carriage.

Another interior shot of one of the original carriages.

View out the window as the train approaches the Taieri Gorge.

An arty shot from the door of our carriage.

The gorge and the river below. You can see a viaduct in the distance.

And here’s an earlier photo taken in Middlemarch during an earlier holiday as the train pulls into the station.

The Middlemarch Mates series consists of twelve books about the Mitchell family and their friends. The series started with Scarlet Woman. Lightning Strikes Twice is a free read and it takes place at the same time as Scarlet Woman. To learn more about this series http://www.shelleymunro.com/series-guide/

*Now, here comes some extra fun*
CONTEST: Leave a comment, ask a question or just say hello, enter the rafflecopter and go into a draw to win an Amazon gift certificate.

a Rafflecopter giveaway Shelley Munro is tall and curvaceous with blue eyes and a smile that turns masculine heads everywhere she goes. She’s a university tutor and an explorer/treasure hunter during her vacations. Skilled with weapons and combat, she is currently in talks with a producer about a television series based on her world adventures.
Shelley is also a writer blessed with a VERY vivid imagination and lives with her own hero in New Zealand. She writes mainly erotic romance in the contemporary, paranormal and historical genres for publishers Carina Press, Ellora’s Cave and Samhain Publishing.
Links:
TWITTER: http://www.twitter.com/ShelleyMunro

34 comments:

  1. Thanks for having me to visit today, Angela. :)

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    1. My pleasure to have you here, Shelley :-)

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  2. Replies
    1. And such a cool thing to learn...the love train :-)

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    2. Sounds like fun - a train ride to a dance :)

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  3. Don't you love it when all the things around you combine for a great story! As always, I love your pics, Shelley

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    1. Totally agree with you, Brinda :-)
      Shelley's pics are always a joy. Makes you feel like you're travelling the world with her.

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    2. Thanks, Brinda. I love discovering things and twisting them to fit into my stories.

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  4. What a great trip. Love the pictures.

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    1. It was a fun outting and the volunteer hostesses really looked after us.

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  5. The pictures were so enticing--I imagined myself taking the trip! Really enjoyed this guest post.

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    1. Thanks, Catherine. Train trips are always fun.

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  6. That looks like so much fun! One of the things on my bucket list is to take a train ride across the country.

    I have to ask though--did the cars have air conditioning?

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    1. LOL - we opened the windows. The carriages were pre-air conditioning.

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  7. I always love seeing the pics you post, they are always so interesting.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the virtual train trip, Mary.

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  8. What a great train ride! The pictures made me want to pack a bag and find some railroad tracks. Thanks for introducing this author and her book. Very interesting.

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    1. Thank you. Don't you love train rides?

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  9. Thanks for sharing the train ride and the awesome pictures. I was wondering, I love the residents of Middlemarch and if I was to visit, especially if I could make it to the singles ball, would they give me a tour and introduce me to everyone. Thanks for sharing. evamillien at gmail dot com

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    1. I'm sure they would, Eva. Although you'll probably have to guess which ones are feline shifters :)

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  10. Loved the pictures- what a view! I would LOVE to visit New Zealand!

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Coranne,

      I hope you get to visit New Zealand one day. We have really pretty scenery.

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  11. Replies
    1. It was a lot of fun and something I've wanted to do for a long time.

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  12. Fun! Loved the photos. I'm off to look at a map to see just where all this is :)

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    1. We caught the train at Dunedin the the South Island. Middlemarch is about an hours drive from Dunedin via car. The train trip was a bit longer, but they stopped the train and we got out a few times.

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  13. What a charming train. I've only ridden in modern ones, but I like the look of this.

    I think it's interesting to take dashes of different elements for a story. I do it myself.

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    1. I wouldn't want a long ride because they made the seats hard in those days. My personal experiences definitely color my stories - a bit like spices. A pinch of this and a spoonful of that :)

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  14. I love that...a pinch of this, a pinch of that, stir...viola :D

    Was it a steam engine? Shelley, your pictures are amazing. And the series definitely intriguing.

    Angela, thanks for hosting Shelley :)

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    1. Hi Raelyn,

      We had a diesel electric engine pulling the train, although it would have originally been a steam engine. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos :)

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  15. The train ride would be so inspirational... for that next great story :) I always love your traveling photos:)

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    1. You have some pretty great travel photos too :)
      Travel has definitely broadened my horizons!

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  16. Now I totally want to take that train trip! A big thanks to Shelley for sharing her inspiring experience with us.

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