Down Under Day 21: Welcome, Isabelle Rowan, and our AUS/NZ Facts of the Day



Welcome, Isabelle Rowan!

Isabelle Rowan’s book, A Note in the Margin, was my first introduction to Australia by way of a M/M author.  This novel is Australian with every bit of its heart and mind.   From the Australian Christmas to the venues in and around Melbourne, I learned as I read, wept and cried tears of joy.  It’s still one of my all time favorite stories to rec.  So please stop by Isabelle Rowan’s page, learn about all her stories, and about the author herself!  And guess what Isabelle Rowan is giving away for her contest! Yep, A Note in the Margin.    

And because she is from Melbourne, that’s where our Australia fact of the day looks in on:

Australia Fact of the Day – City of Melbourne!

Interesting & Fun Facts About Melbourne:Melbourne City

  • Melbourne is the capital city of Victoria, Australia.
    Melbourne is located in south-east Australia.
    A person from Melbourne is called a Melburnian.
    ‘The Story of the Ned Kelly Gang’, made in Melbourne in 1906, recognized as the first feature film of the world, running to five reels.
    About 90 tons of dog poo is left on the streets of Melbourne every day.
    According to the RSPCA, Melbourne is the “Fox Capital” of the western world, with 6-23 foxes every square kilometer in the metropolitan area.
    melbourneBefore Melbourne came to be known as the ‘City of Melbourn’e, it was called Batmania, Bearbrass, Bearport, Bareheap and Bearbury.  (I personally love Bearbrass or Bareheap!)
    Melbourne’s famous beer, Foster’s Lager, was actually produced by two Americans. – See more at:
    Luna Park, in Melbourne’s bayside suburb of St Kilda, is the oldest amusement park in the world under private management.Melbourne-Skyline
    Melbourne had the first gay and lesbian radio station in the world.
    The expression ‘call girl’ that is used for a prostitute, was invented in Melbourne. – See more at Melbourne Lifestyles

New Zealand Fact of the Day

New Zealand is made up of two primary isles, North Isle and South Isle, with further outlying isles known as the Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands, Bounty Islands, Campbell Isle, Chatham Islands, and Kermadec Islands.  The largest city in New Zealand is Auckland. auckland

Original Maori name for New Zealand: Aotearoa
Original Maori name for Auckland: Tamaki Makaurau

New Zealand has over 4.5 million inhabitants, of which 1/3 lives in Auckland. Auckland is the largest Polynesian city in the world and is also known as “the city of sails”. It has Auckland-new-zealandmore boats per capita than anywhere else in the world.


auckland spire

Down Under Day 19: Author Tony Griffin, AUS/NZ Facts of the Day!



Welcome, Toni Griffin!

It’s Day 19 of our Down Under Author Showcase and our featured writer today is Toni Griffin!  Toni lives in Darwin and write a number of supernatural romance series, including shifters!  Toni is also involved in a new publishing company along with Angel Martinez, Freddie McKay and Silvia Violet in Mischief Corner Books which put out one of my favorite holiday anthologies in 2014, Chestnuts Roasting, including a story from Toni Griffin!

Visit Toni Griffin’s page which  follows shortly, learn about Toni, her books and writing and don’t forget to enter her giveaway contest and find the Down Under Scavenger Hunt word of the Day.

Australia Fact of the Day!

Today’s Down Under Australia  fact will be about Darwin, Toni’s home town!Darwin map

Darwin is the capital of Northern Territory is a multicultural city famous for its huge thunderstorms, beautiful sunsets,mindell beach marketsDarwin_2324 colourful Mindil Beach Markets and excellent barramundi fishing. Places to see include the Northern Territory Parliament House, Fannie Bay Gaol Museum, Darwin Entertainment Centre and Botanic Gardens. Outside are Charles Darwin National Park, Crocodylus Park, Territory Wildlife Park and Berry Springs Nature Park.

Who was Darwin named after?  Charles Darwin, the man came up with the concept of natural selection and evolution.  darwin

Find out more about Darwin here!




New Zealand Fact of the Day!

Since I chose a city for Australia, let’s take a closer look at New Zealand’s Christchurch.

Christchurch is New Zealand‘s second-largest city (question: can you name the first?) and the gateway to the South Island. christchurch cathedral new-zealand_zpse7b0c64dSumner Bay, Christchurch NZBordered by hills and the Pacific Ocean, it is situated on the edge of the Canterbury Plains that stretch to the Southern Alps. Christchurch, New Zealand is interwoven by two rivers linking parks, gardens and avenues. Bordered by the Port Hills and the Pacific Ocean, it is situated on the Canterbury Plains with the Southern Alps as a majestic backdrop. The award-winning Christchurch Botanic Gardens feature one of the finest collections of exotic and native plants found in New Zealand,

In February 2011, Christchurch was hit by a huge earthquake. Much of the central city with its classic neo-gothic architecture was destroyed.  This event was a major element in a book from one of our Down Under Authors.  Do you know which one? It’s still in the process of rebuilding, but the heart and soul of New Zealand remains the great people who live there. tram1

Down Under Day 13: Welcome, Beany Sparks, NZ/AUS Facts of the Day and Contest Details!



Its Down Under Day 13 and our featured writer today is Australian Author Beany Sparks!   Beany Sparks Author page follows this one.  Check out all  of Beany’s books, her interview and thoughts on writing!  Don’t miss out on her giveaway contest and search out her Scavenger Hunt word somewhere on her page.

Because Beany Sparks is from Western Australia, I thought it would be fun to have our Australia Fun Facts focus on Western Australia and Perth!

Australia Fact of the Day:

Perth is the most isolated capitol city in the world. The closest city, Adelaide, is 1,387 miles away.

The largest rock in the world is Western Australia’s Mount Augustus. Measuring 5 miles long and 2 miles wide.

Early astronaughts dubbed Perth as ‘The City of Lights’ since it’s bright lights stood out on our planet earth.

The largest city park in the world is King’s Park (1,003 acres) in Perth.thKings Park 1

The oldest living things on earth, our friendly organisms, stromatolites, also call Western Australia home.



New Zealand Fact of the Day:

World’s Largest and Heaviest Insect Calls New Zealand Home!

The Giant Weta is a large grasshopper type insect found only in New Zealand.  There are eleven species of Giant weta, all of which are examples of island gigantism.   Check out the many YouTube videos on the man who recently found the largest Weta to day.  New Zealand Weta

Down Under Day 14: John Terry Moore, AUS/NZ Facts, and Contest Info



Down Under Showcase Day 14 – Welcome, John Terry Moore!

Our second full week of our Authors Showcase starts off with Australian writer John Terry Moore, author of Black Dog published at Dreamspinner Press.  John is giving away 3 copies of Black Dog with his own mini quiz!  Check it out on his Down Under Author page linked above and following after this one.

As John Terry Moore has worn many “occupational hats”, including breeding Kelpies, I have tailored our Australia Fact of the Day to him:

Australia Fact of the Day:

Kelpies (how is John Terry Moore connected to Kelpies?):

Favored dogs of farms and stations all over Australia, the working Kelpies vary in size, ranging from about 19 inches to as much as 25 inches and from 28-60 lbs. The dog’s working ability is related to appearance, so stockmen looking for capable working dogs disregard the dog’s appearance.

A Working Kelpie can be a cheap and efficient worker that can save farmers and graziers the cost of several hands when mustering livestock. The good working Kelpies are herding dogs that will prevent stock from moving away from the stockman. This natural instinct is crucial when mustering stock in isolated gorge country, where a good dog will silently move ahead of the stockman and block up the stock (usually cattle) until the rider appears. The preferred dogs for cattle work are Kelpies, often of a special line, or a Kelpie cross. They will drive a mob of livestock long distances in extremes of climates andKelpie walking across the backs of sheep conditions. Kelpies have natural instincts for managing livestock. They will work sheep, cattle, goats, pigs, poultry, and other domestic livestock. The Kelpie’s signature move is to jump on the backs of sheep and walk across the tops of the sheep to reach the other side and break up the jam. A good working Kelpie is a versatile dog—they can work all day on the farm, ranch, or station, and trial on the weekends. Kelpies compete and are exhibited in livestock working trials, ranging from yards or arenas to large open fields working sheep, goats, cattle, or ducks

Famous Kelpie:  Red Dog, the hitchhiking Kelpie of Pilbarra:

Hitchhiking Kelpie of the Pilbarra Region

Red Dog was a fully paid member of the Transport Workers Union, an official member of the Dampier Salt Sports and Social Club, and had his own bank account.

Red Dog was, of course, a dog, a red kelpie born in the mining town of Paraburdoo in 1971, and a much-loved member of the Pilbara community.

Known simply as Red Dog, the red kelpie was known for stopping cars on the road by walking right in the path of an oncoming vehicle until it stopped and then he would hop in and travel to wherever the car driver was going.

He took bus rides as well and, once, when a new driver pushed him off her bus, the passengers all disembarked in protest.

Red Dog’s travels bought him as far south as the Western Australia capital of Perth but mostly among the mining communities of the Pilbara and the coastal towns of Dampier, Port Hedland and Broome.Australian Red Kelpie

He was quite well known as the Pilbara Wanderer.   Dog pictured is a red kelpie but not Red Dog.

New Zealand Fact of the Day:


Flightless Birds of New Zealand!

With over 40 species of flightless birds worldwide, New Zealand is home for a majority of the species, including some that are found nowhere else in the world.

Among New Zealand’s flightless birds are the kiwi, takahe, kakapo and several species of penguins. It is thought that these New Zealand birds never developed the ability to fly because they had no land-based predators to escape from – until the arrival of human beings. Isolated from the rest of the world for millions of years, these flightless birds adapted to their environment in a way that would most benefit them.
One species calling New Zealand it’s home of origin is the kakapo (Strigops habroptila) is a flightless, nocturnal parrot. Its speckled yellow-green plumage acts as a camouflage for the ground-dwelling herbivorous kakapo. It is the world’s onlykakapo parrot flightless parrot, as well as being the heaviest parrot in the world, and very possibly the longest-living bird on the island with an average life expectancy of 95 years. It is also the only parrot to have a lek courtship and breeding system, where males gather in an arena and compete with one another to attract available females. The female chooses her mate, presumably based on his performance, they mate and go their separate ways, with the female raising the young.
Once thought to be extinct, and rediscovered in 1948, the takahē (Porphyrio hochstetteri) is another of New Zealand‘s flightless birds. Primarily deep purple-blue in color, the adult bird has a red frontal shield and reddish-pink bill, with pinktakahe legs. These monogamous birds are very territorial, laying their eggs in nests under bushes. Conservationists have relocated small groups of the birds to some offshore islands – Kapiti, Maud, Mana and Tiritiri Matangi – considered to be predator-free, where birding enthusiasts can view them in the wild.

Once thought to be extinct from over-hunting and the introduction of predators, a few pairs were discovered in the Murchison Mountains of South Island, New Zealand in 1948. The population is around 220 birds, and is now carefully protected.


Now don’t forget to enter John’s contest for 3 copies of big dog while meeting another wonderful 
Down Under author.  Locate the Down Under Scavenger Hunt word of the day.  

Enjoy your week, check in with us all month long and happy reading!


Mid January (already?), STRW Down Under Showcase continues, Our Schedule This Week!

  • DownUnder_January Is Banner

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words’ Down Under Author Showcase continues this coming week, starting off with John Terry Moore, author of Black Dog, published through Dreamspinner Press.  I hope you all have been discovering new authors and great stories as the month progresses.  I know I have added immensely to my TBR pile and auto buy authors.

I’ve posted interesting facts about Australia and New Zealand every day this week and today is no exception.  Here are our Australia and New Zealand Facts of the Day:

Interesting Facts about Australia:

It is thought that Aboriginals have called Australia home for between 40,000 and 80,000 years.

It is estimated that at the time of British settlement there was about 300,000 Aboriginal people who spoke around 250 languages.Botany-Bay-Australia.12

British settlers aboard the 11 ships of the First Fleet arrived in Botany Bay in 1788 but moved north to Port Jackson (Sydney Cove) a few days later when they found the Botany Bay site unsuitable. They arrived at Port Jackson on the 26th January 1788 (now Australia Day).

The number of convicts transported to Australia was about 162,000; they were transported in 806 ships.

About 98-99% of the convicts sent here were from England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland but some were sent from other British colonies like Canada and India, while others came from New Zealand, Hong Kong the Caribbean and other countries.

A lot of soldiers were also transported here for crimes like mutiny and desertion.

The Transportation of British convicts to Australia ended in 1868.

Find out more here at Australian Tales!

New Zealand Fascinating Facts!


Summer Christmas

Christmas in New Zealand follows soon after midsummer’s day. Many northern hemisphere traditions prevail in NZ, including tinsel-covered pine trees and christmas cards portraying snow & reindeer. The pohutukawa tree comes into peak-bloom in late December and is known as New Zealand’s Christmas tree.

(Plus did you see those cool Glowworm caves in an earlier Fact? No, go back and see what you missed each day of the month!)


Our Schedule This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words:

Monday, January 12:

  • Down Under Day 12 Intro-Welcome, John Terry Moore, AUS/NZ facts and 
  • Down Under Author : John Terry Moore (interview/contest)
  • A Dangerous Reality by Layla Wolfe Book Tour and Contest
  • ‘The Harvest: Journey’s End’ by MA Church – Excerpt tour and contest
  • A Sammy Review: Down and Dirty by Rhys Ford

Tuesday, January 13:

  • Down Under Day 13 Intro-Welcome, Beany Sparks! AUS/NZ Facts of the Day
  • Down Under Author  Beany Sparks (contests, interview)
  • Review: Beany Spark’s Paws and Magic stories
  • Book Blast: Tristan’s Lover by Nicoline Tiernan” (contest)
  • HL Foster ‘A Valet’s Duty’ book blast and contest

Wednesday, January 14:

  • Down Under Day 14 Intro-Welcome, A.B. Gayle, AUS/NZ Facts of the Day
  • Down Under Author: A. B. Gayle (contests, interview)
  • A Sammy Review: Red+Blue (Opposites Attract #1) by A.B. Gayle
  • A Sammy Review: Leather+Lace by A. B. Gayle

Thursday, January 15:

  • Down Under Day 15 Intro-Welcome, Lisa Henry, AUS/NZ Facts of the Day
  • Down Under Author Lisa Henry (contests, interview)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Two Gentlemen of Altona (Playing the Fool, #1)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Merchant of Death by Lisa Henry and J. A. Rock
  • A MelanieM Review:  When All The World Sleeps by Lisa Henry and JA Rock
  • Burnt Toast B&B (A Bluewater Bay novel) by Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz (tour and contest)

Friday, January 16:

  • Down Under Day 16 Intro-Welcome, Meredith Shayne, AUS/NZ Facts of the Day
  • Down Under Author Meredith Shayne (contests, interviews)
  • A MelanieM Review:  Whitewater by Meredith Shayne
  • A MelanieM Review:  Cutting out by Meredith Shayne
  • A Barb, the Zany Old Lady Review: Burnt Toast B&B by Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz

Saturday, January 17:

  • Down Under Day 17 Intro-Welcome, Pelaam!
  • Down Under Author Pelaam (contests, interviews)
  • A MelanieM Review: Angel in a Bookshop by RJ Scott

Down Under Author Showcase Day 10: N. R. Walker



Day 10: N. R. Walker

It’s Day 10 of STRW Down Under Author Showcase.  Our featured author today is N. R. Walker.  Her Red Dirt Heart series which concludes with yesterday’s released Red Dirt Heart 4 is on ours and many other’s Best of 2014 Lists.  I expect that with this final story, it will be on this year’s Best of Lists as well.Best Books of 2014

So don’t miss out on her giveaway, read our interview and check out all the books she has written to day.  It will make you want to book a flight, jam a Akubra (Australian cowboy hat), climb into a Ute, and head out into the gorgeous red dirt country that she writes about so lovingly and well.




Australia Fun Fact of the Day:

Anna Creek Station






The largest cattle station in the world is Anna Creek Station in South Australia at over 34,000 square kilometres is the world’s largest cattle station. It is even larger than Belgium.


New Zealand Fun Fact of the Day:

From the driest to the wettest!

Enough Drinking Water for a Whole Country – From One Spring!

The Te Waikoropupu Springs in Golden Bay are record breakers.Pupu springs NZ

They push out more fresh water than any other springs in the world, producing one to two billion litres of water a day.

If required, the springs could provide enough drinking water to supply the entire population of New Zealand.

As if that wasn’t enough, the spring waters are the clearest natural water in the world outside of Antarctica. You can see an average of 63 metres when you look down through the water.


Are contests today are N. R. Walker’s giveaway, find the Down Under Scavenger Hunt word and don’t forget to enter Bottom Drawer Publications contest on the Down Under Showcase page on the menu!

Down Under Showcase Day 9: Author John Wiltshire, AUS/NZ Facts of the Day and Contest Details



 Day 9 – John Wiltshire!

G’Day!  It’s Day 9 of our Down Under Author Showcase and today’s featured writer is John Wiltshire.  John is the author of contemporary fiction, action/suspense, romance, and much more.  Check out his standalone stories and series along with our interview at the link above.  There is his contest to enter and Down Under Scavenger word to find.  Reviews of several of his stories follow his post.  It’s a full day so lets get started with our Australia and New Zealand facts of the day.

Since a dog figures prominently in one of John’s series and in his life, I thought I would include it in today Aussie fact.

Australia Fun Fact of the Day:

Dingo or Warrigal, Wild Dog of Australia:

The origins of the dingo are obscure and there is much controversy. It is not truly native to Australia but is thought to have arrived between 3500 and 4000 years ago. Whatever its origins, the dingo was a highly valued companion to the Aborigines. They were hunting companions, guard dogs, the dingos kept them warm at night.

Some believe they were brought here on rafts or boats by the ancestral aborigines. It has also been suggested that they came with Indonesian or South-East Asian fishermen who visited the northern coast of Australia.

The dingo can be found in all areas of Australia – from harsh deserts to lush rainforests. The highly adaptable dingo is found in every habitat and every state of Australia, except Tasmania. In deserts, access to drinking water determines where the animal can live. Pure-bred Dingo numbers in the wild are declining as man encroaches deeper and deeper into wilderness areas, often accompanied by his domestic dog.

(Hmmm…did the dingo eat the baby?)
The dingo is different from the modern dog in several ways: it yelps and howls, but it does not bark, it has a different gait, and its ears are always erect. Dingos are naturally lean and they are usually cream to reddish-yellow with white points, some are black with tan points. An adult dingo stands more than 60cm high and weighs about 15kg. It is slightly smaller than a German Shepherd.


New Zealand Fun Fact of the Day

No Native New Zealand dogs. New Zealand has many unique native fish, insects, birds, lizards and frogs but the only native mammals are bats and marine mammals.

So onto other facts:

Caves with Stars – Glowworm Caves of Waitomoglowworm caves of newzealand

Tourists flock underground to visit the unforgettable Waitomo Caves in New Zealand’s Waikato region to see the glowworms (fireflies). The Waitomo River runs underground through the caves, which natural light cannot reach. Tourists take boat trips along the river, where there are so many of these tiny insects high above that it creates a night-sky effect, with groups of glowworms looking like stars.


Down Under Week Day 8: Author Renae Kaye, AUS/NZ Facts and Contest Details





Welcome to Day 8 of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Down Under Author Showcase.  Today’s featured author is Aussie writer Renae Kay, author of The Shearing Gun, Safe in His Arms, The Blinding Light and more.  Look for the reviews of those books to follow Renae Kaye’s author page.


Australia Fact of the Day!

One of the interesting facts about Australia is that Australia is the biggest island and the smallest continent in the world. And

Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth, the driest of all

is Antarctica.  Find out more about Australia here.






New Zealand Fact of the Day


There are no snakes in the country even though 18. 30% of the country is forest.  Even more impressive?

Highest Mountain, Aoraki Mount Cook!120-mount-cook

New Zealand’s (and Australasia’s) highest mountain is Aoraki Mount Cook. It is 3,754 metres (12,316 ft) high. The mountain formerly appeared on maps as Mount Cook. In 1998, the mountain was officially renamed Aoraki Mount Cook to incorporate its Maori name. The renaming was part of a settlement in which the Crown also returned ownership of the mountain to the Ngai Tahu tribe, who then gifted it back to the New Zealand nation. Aoraki translates from the Ngai Tahu language as “cloud piercer”.  This takes on even greater meaning when you understand that the Maori name of New Zealand is Aotearoa which means the land of the long white cloud.

Learn more about New Zealand here.

Now, while you are learning about Renae Kaye, her story and books, make sure to find the Down Under Scavenger Hunt word of the day, enter Bottom Drawer Publications contest listed on the Down Under Author Showcase Page on the menu.  And if you know of anyone who has traveled to either or both New Zealand or Australia and would share their favorites sites, or memories, let them know that we would love to have them share them with us.

Down Under Day 7: Author Michelle Rae, AUS and NZ Facts and Contest Info





Today’s Down Under Author is Michelle Rae.  Check out Michelle Rae’s books, bio, and giveaway.  And don’t forget to find the Scavenger Hunt word of the Day.

Have you been to New Zealand or Australia?  We are looking for stories, pictures and memories to post for the rest of this month!



kiwi and NZ countryDown Under Interesting Facts:AUS flag over country


Australia Facts of the Day:

Two facts actually because I couldn’t decide (much like Sydney and Melbourne) which to post:

1.)  Canberra was selected as the capital because Sydney and Melbourne could not stop arguing which city should be the capital of Australia.  

CanberraCanberra is the capital city of Australia. With a population of 381,488, it is Australia’s largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory, 280 km south-west of Sydney…

Population: 381,488 (2013)
Area: 314.36 sq miles (814.20 km²)



2.) Australians refer to English people as Pome (Pomes plural?), which is actually the acronym for Prisoners of Mother England.


New Zealand Interesting Fact of the Day:

Where Have All The Sheep Gone?baby sheep

From the early 1980s, when NZ was home to over 70 million sheep, the population has declined to around 31 million (2013 data). This means the oft-quoted statistic, that NZ has 20 sheep for each human, is wrong! Nowadays it’s only about 7 to 1. This decline hasn’t stopped NZ from cornering 50% of all international trade in sheepmeat.

Unlike the human population, the majority of New Zealand’s sheep are based on the South Island, where there are more than 20 sheep for every human! The decline in the number of sheep has been caused by increasing dairy cattle numbers.

Down Under Day 5: N. J. Nielsen, AUS/NZ Fun Facts and Contest Info




Welcome to Day 5 of STRW Down Under Author Showcase.  Our Featured Author today is N. J. Nielsen, a prolific author of multiple series and stand alone romances.  Make sure you visit her page, check out her bio and books. And don’t forget to enter her giveaway contest and search out the Scavenger Hunt word of the Day.

Australian Fun of the Day:

Uluru (Ayers Rock):
Uluru is one of the largest rocks in the world as well as one of Australia’s best known natural formations is located in Central Australia.  It is also a place of great spiritual signifigance to the aboriginal peoples of Australia and visitors have have to abide by new regulations to protect the site.

ayers rock


New Zealand Fact of the Day:

2 National Anthems:New Zealand is one of only three countries that have two official (and of equal standing) national Anthems. The first is God Save the Queen (the English National Anthem) and the other is God Defend New Zealand. The other two countries with two anthems are Denmark and Canada which both have a Royal Anthem and a State anthem

New Zealand 1

 Don’t forget to visit our Down Under Author Showcase Page for all the authors participating and their scheduled dates.  And be sure to enter Bottom Drawer Publications contest found there as well.