Sunday, October 30, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - Walking The Edge: Snippet #20

Hey beautiful people

Back again on the Six Sunday bandwagon this week - the hiatus of last week made me yearn and crave for the snippets I've grown addicted to in the past few months. Trust me - Six Sentence Sunday grows on you, and I'm not the only participant who has been bitten by that bug. :)

So, onwards and upwards. Where had we left off? Right... hotel room in Marseille... Amelia had killed Gerard's assailant, and shock has settled into her...but only as long as it took until Gerard's heated, passion-filled gaze settled on her.
She's made him think of a woman from his past, and he wants nothing more than to forget now... while amnesiac Amelia is trusting her gut and her heart that are certain Gerard had looked at her exactly like this in the past.
What would happen if they got close...? Read on for today's six. :)

'...
Even through her damp towel and his shirt, she could feel the blazing temperature of his body reaching out to her, and she parted her lips when he drew closer. Tension sizzled between them, and she recalled that moment on the streets when he had stood so close to her and had touched her cheek.

As if he too recalled it, he brought his palm up; the warm skin settled firmly along her jawbone, cradling it in his grasp. She closed her eyes under the feeling of security that spread through her - This feels so right, she thought, pressing her cheek into his palm.

When his lips touched hers, the fire that had smoldered inside her blazed into a full-blown inferno - she opened her mouth to his kiss, and his tongue delved inside to coax hers into surrender. She yielded willfully, her arms going around his neck, because his kiss brought her alive, made her yearn for more, for everything, with him. ...'


Catch the rest of the Six Sunday crew and their awesome snippets here.

Hope you're having a lovely Sunday, peeps! Thanks for dropping by and reading my work, and double thanks if you leave a comment - you guys totally make my week with the words you leave here. :)

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Friday, October 28, 2011

Progress Friday

Hey peeps

See this here? Yes, the ice... That's what I'm craving right now! We've been slammed by a heat wave like I've never experienced in my whole existence during this past week! Temps way beyond 30C, flirting with 90F - which used to be inconceivable for where I live! If we got 25C we considered that hot weather! The sun out there - don't even mention. It will burn your retinas if you don't wear sunglasses, and liquefy your brain after 10 minutes out. Not to mention that said brain has already been scrambled and fried with the heat in the morning... and also at night when you simply. Cannot. Sleep! because it's way too hot and any fabric touching your skin feels like you're being skinned alive.

*side note - should I start writing zombie stories...? I got quite gruesome up there, innit?*

So, this week... Not much progress. At least not as much as I'd have wanted. 5,637 words... which is a far cry from last week's 15K+, but I didn't have the same routine this week as the past one. And the kids finished school earlier, which cut down on my writing time (and as I said, brain was scrambled and fried and ran the risk of liquefying).

Good news though - I'm nearly done with Chapter 12, and then I see at most, 3 chapters left to write on this before I can wrap up this story (hopefully! And preferably before this year is over!). Ever had a story grow on you? This is what happened with Before The Morning. It took a whole new dimension and I never thought I'd get so in touch with the characters. I hope that comes through, and not just as overkill, LOL. I'm jumping into that stage where I wonder what my editor will think of this baby - so I know I'm nearly done with a story when I'm contemplating this part.

Hoping to finish Chapter 12 this weekend, and get some reading and critting done. What are ye all up to this weekend? And how was your week?

Speaking of the past week, I wonder what my bestie has up on her blog today. Drop by later and let's check out what Angela Guillaume has been up to. :)

And don't forget to drive by my Facebook profile later - pic of the Tide-Us-Into-The-Weekend hunk going up. This bloke has inspired me a new story over the past few days.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Link Thursday: 10 Rules Of Good Taste

Hey beautiful people

We're literally in the middle of a heat wave here - just imagine: a few weeks ago, we were clocking as low as 17 degrees C and today, it's around 33 degrees C... at the coldest point on the island! I was telling my kids that 10-15 years ago, I would go to my aunt's place in the capital city here, Port Louis, aka The Furnace, and my eyes would go wide if I saw the thermometer at her place reading something like 31 degrees! To think we're getting worse here now - definitely global warming!

That being said, please excuse my brain being mush and me not able to talk a lot about the article going up today. Let's just say it's something all women - real and fictional - should know and bear in mind!

Without further ado, enjoy!

The article is from MillionLooks.com and you can find it online here.

*****

10 Rules of Good Taste

All women want to look good but some don’t know how to achieve that. To prove I’m telling the truth, just look at lots of women walking along the streets of your city.

Many of them wear tasteless, almost the same style clothes. I am sure the color diversity and mismatch of styles can make designers feel depressed.
In fact, they try to create nice collections for us, make up new trends and fashion tendencies but we still prefer something that is cheaper and brighter.
Of course you can say you do it because of lack of finances to purchase couture clothes, but as practice shows this factor is not determining.
If you have natural ability to choose the right clothes you are very lucky. In case you can’t don’t give up! Good taste can be trained, just follow some rules and everything will be all right.

1. The fewer the better.
Avoid buying garments which don’t go with each other well. Opt for suit combinations. When I say ‘suit’ I don’t necessarily mean classic suit version (which is a must in every woman’s wardrobe). All your outfits should be combined in a suit way.
For example, when buying jeans select an appropriate blouse, a top or a sweater to go with them. And starting from that, choose shoes, bags and other accessories.
Work on your attire in details. It is often sad to see a girl wearing shoes completely out of her all-garments style, with a ridiculous bag that is far from being right in place.
It is better to have fewer items in your wardrobe which suit each other perfectly than many garments all in different styles.

2. Quality question
No matter how hard you try cheap clothes of poor quality will never look like those which cost much. Cheap garments make you look cheap as well, and there is no difference whether you choose to wear cheap gloves or shoes – everyone will notice something is wrong about you.
Invest into several good items rather than lots of cheap ones. We are not so rich to buy cheap clothes.
Garments of high quality can’t be cheap but they do serve and feel better.

3. Economizing
Despite the all said above sometimes we just can’t resist the temptation to purchase a few cheap items. If that’s right about you follow the rule: never try to combine expensive stylish garments with their cheap counterparts.
Pricy jeans will look cheap as well if you don them with a few-dollar top. As designers say, sometimes we can choose items of various costs for one outfit.
For example, never economize on shoes, lingerie, sweaters and makeup but you can opt for a bit cheaper trousers, a bit cheaper I’d like to repeat.

4. Choose what suits you.
Fashion tells us what to wear but this doesn’t mean we should blindly go for everything designers offer us. For example, low waist jeans which are in style at the moment don’t look good on women with shorter legs.
You should always think about your own appearance.
If something looks great on you wear it, but if you feel it isn’t yours, leave it. Every season we see plenty of styles and designs on the catwalks, and this allows us to find lots of things to look perfect on us.

5. Colors
The first thing a person’s eye perceives is a color, especially if it is wrong.
Ultra-lemon jacket and bright orange trousers combination will make everyone around you turn their heads back but this wouldn’t be a look of appreciation, it would be a look of surprise.
That is why it is of high importance to choose colors correctly. Most people who wish to look more or less elegant prefer wearing black and grey clothes, sometimes adding fresh fashionable color.
But this method has some drawbacks. Dark tones will make you just a part of a crowd hardly distinguishable from others, and the fresh color may be not good for you.
If the modern color doesn’t look well on you just put up with this fact and opt for some accessories in this tint while all the other clothes should be in another hue, more suitable for you.
Today we will continue speaking about rules determining good taste. I hope the information will help you understand what will look great and what will be a bad choice.

6. Lingerie
Lingerie is something that makes a woman feel like a woman. Some ladies think that if it is not seen under the clothes they can wear just anything. If you wear something old and unattractive this is seen through your actions.
But if you wear lacy lingerie and stokings even a business suit will look in a special way, a sexy way.
Throw away all your old lingerie and buy a few new sets. Besides, purchase a couple of expensive sets ‘for special occasions’.

7. Shoes
There is hardly a woman who doesn’t love shoes. Shoes are a symbol of comfort and beauty. They work as a final element in the attire. They help to hide our imperfections, such as make us look taller, our legs longer. Whatever the goal you use shoes for you should pay attention to their quality.
Good shoes serve longer, look better and don’t hurt your feet. Isn’t that enough to understand it is better to purchase shoes in good shoe stores?

8. Perfume
Perfume is a must for every woman. All of us are divided into two categories: those who prefer to use one and the same perfume all their life and those who tend to experiment and change fragrances very often.
The only rule you should follow here is to avoid cheap fake perfume as it will never smell the way you wish.
Every woman should treat herself with at least one bottle of nice perfume. All you need is to choose the right one. The aroma should go in harmony with you and your soul.

9. Right occasion
Your clothes are important but the occasion and place you want to wear them to are also essential. Lack of correspondence of attire and the occasion looks terrifying. Chinchilla fur coat will look ridiculous in a subway. So, make sure you know what you need to wear to an exhibition, lunch at a local café or New Year celebration.

10. Search for harmony
Only a woman can notice each separate detail of your outfit. Men perceive us as a whole on the basis of liking and disliking.
You can wear designer creations from top to toe but he might not even notice you. But he will notice a woman wearing a horrible polka dot dress because she looks in harmony with her polka dots while you don’t.
Famous labels are not important. The main thing is that the suit fits you ideally. Clothes should go in harmony with your mood, temperament, season, daytime, social status, etc. Only in this case they will make you look more beautiful, desirable and unique.

*****

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Friday, October 21, 2011

Progress Friday

Hey peeps

Sorry for the late posting today! I was on a writing spree! My son was on school break this week and I arranged to have him spend 2 nights and 2 days at my mum's place (blessed be my mum!). So he stayed over yesterday night and was at my parents' place all day today. Which gave me time to write...

2 writing sprees this week! I clocked down 23 pages and 5,425 words today alone! The WIP count jumped from 63.7K to 79K today. Well past my expected 70K word goal... which means I'll have to move the target to at least around 100K on this story now. I'm nowhere near done with it, and I think I'll need to rename Before The Morning as The WIP That Didn't Want To End. :)

A little more than 15,000 words written over the past 7 days! Not bad, I say (and tout my own horn, lol!). Based on the new goal now, I'm 79% into the story. I don't know if it'll reach 100K, but anywhere it reaches till that number, I'll take. I'm already well past my expectations, I who thought I wouldn't be able to even write 70K on this story.

So the other good thing about this past week is that it has shown me a working/writing routine that I can put in practise when the 10-week summer break will roll around on November 4. Gonna have my son go to his grans twice a week for the night and the upcoming day, and I get to work non-stop when he isn't home from morning till afternoon without interruption.

It's been a good week, I have to say! Jumped with huge progress on the WIP, and I even managed to take a day 'off' yesterday and spend some time with my son. We played games on the Playstation and watched High School Musical again, like the good ol' days. :)

Looking forward to a nice weekend now. Will try to clock some words down but not gonna sweat it if I can't. Gonna take the boys out a little tomorrow, and on Sunday is the birthday lunch for my father-in-law's seventieth birthday.

Plan is to catch up on some writing and get some crits done too.

What are ye all up to this weekend?

My bestie, author Angela Guillaume, has had a busy week too - I hope you'll drop by her blog later and take a look at her round-up.

And, if we're friends on Facebook, drop by my profile later and check out the Tide-Us-Into-The-Weekend-Hunk pic. :)

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Link Thursday: 10 Beauty Shortcuts

Hey beautiful people

I usually gear this Link Thursday post towards an online article that helps with characterization and writing romance in general. There's a big Lifestyle component to these articles too, and everyone - writer and non-writer alike - can find something from these words.

Today, I'm doing something a little different. Yes, it's still an online article, but... it's not exactly geared towards characterization.

Instead, it aims to help you ladies out there!

When I read this, I thought the tips and advice were a Godsend! You'll definitely find something handy in there. And if not you, ladies, then maybe one of your heroines could benefit from these little tips in her day-to-day life. :)

Enjoy!

The article is from MSN Lifestyle, Beauty & Fashion section, and is written by Stephanie Abramson. You can view it in its original slideshow here.

*****

10 Beauty Shortcuts


The fastest way to dry nail polish, grow out a bad haircut, and more.

By Stephanie Abramson

1. The Fastest Way to Dry Nail Polish

Dunk your hands in a bowl of ice-cold water. "The cold water freeze-dries polish, sealing and hardening it quickly," says Belinda Rivera, a nail specialist in Austin, Texas. Allow nails to air-dry for two minutes, then submerge in ice-cold water for three minutes, which is enough time for the polish to harden completely.

Another option: Blast nails with cool air from a hair dryer in between coats. This helps each layer of color dry as you go.

Quick tip: Old nail polish can take forever to dry, since time can turn polish gooey and thick. Toss bottles when the polish begins to change color or separate. At that point, the lacquer has probably thickened and become unusable.


2. The Fastest Way to Minimize a Facial Flush

Place a cool, wet towel on the back of your neck. "When your face flushes during exercise, it's a normal physiological response to your body overheating," says Lydia Evans, a dermatologist in Chappaqua, New York. "Your blood vessels dilate and increase blood flow to the surface of the skin to cool it, which gives it that red appearance."

A cold towel on the back of the neck constricts those blood vessels, numbs the nerve endings there, and helps lower your body temperature quickly, says Debra Luftman, a cosmetic dermatologist in Beverly Hills. Splashing cold water on your face will have the same effect.

Quick tip: Carry a spray bottle filled with cold water to the gym. When you feel your face getting warm, spritz it with water. This will help keep the redness to a minimum.


3. The Fastest Way to Depuff Eyes

"Wrap a bag of frozen vegetables in a thin towel and place it over your eyes for 10 minutes," says Debra Luftman, a cosmetic dermatologist. A night of sipping Champagne or eating salty foods can lead to fluid retention around the eyes. The cold of the bag stimulates circulation under the eyes, which helps bring down that fluid. (Why a bag of vegetables? Because it conforms to the contours of the face. Peas or corn works best.)

A soft washcloth soaked in cool chamomile tea will also do the trick, since chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties.

Quick tip 1: If you know you’ll be drinking alcohol or eating salty foods, be sure to drink lots of water. You’ll be less likely to puff out the next morning.

Quick tip 2: To help prevent puffy eyes, prop up your head on two pillows when you go to sleep. Gravity is your friend when it comes to fluid retention.


4. The Fastest Way to Soothe Post-Waxing Irritation

Apply a 1 percent hydrocortisone cream, which calms inflammation, quells itchiness, and reduces redness. The force it takes to pull hairs out from the roots can inflame skin. Lydia Evans, a dermatologist, says, "Since coarse and thick hairs are more stubborn to remove, you'll probably experience more redness in areas where they grow," such as the bikini line and the underarms.

Delicate spots, like the brows, are also prone to irritation. Apply a pea-size dab of hydrocortisone cream to red zones right after waxing.

Quick tip: Don’t schedule a waxing within three days of the start of your period, when skin tends to be extra sensitive.


5. The Fastest Way to Repair a Torn Nail

Patch it with a tea bag. Nails can tear for many reasons: They're weak; they're soft; they've been soaking in water for too long, which softens them further.

Whatever the cause, cut a tiny piece of paper from a tea bag (it should be big enough to cover the entire tear), apply a bead of nail glue to the paper (Krazy Glue works in a pinch), then press it on top of the tear, says Essie Weingarten, founder of Essie Cosmetics. Allow the glue to dry, then gently file the top of the paper so that it is smooth and flush with the nail. Finish with a layer of base coat, two coats of nail polish, and a topcoat.


Quick tip: Wear rubber gloves when washing dishes or using cleaning products. Water and chemicals can weaken nails and make them more likely to tear.


6. The Fastest Way to Fix a Streaky Tan

Sweep a cotton ball soaked in 100 percent lemon juice over stripy areas. "Citric acid from the lemon is a natural skin lightener and exfoliator," says Drita Ramadanovic, a spa manager at the Wynn resort, in Las Vegas. "It smooths away unevenly applied tanner by sloughing off overly tanned skin cells."

Another option: Massage plain baking soda onto damp skin with small, gentle circular motions. Like lemon juice, baking soda will slough off freshly dyed cells and reveal untanned skin underneath.

Quick tip: Cut your self-tanner with moisturizer. Mix equal parts of each in your palm and blend them together before applying. The diluted tanner will give you a more natural color.


7. The Fastest Way to Grow Out a Bad Haircut

Sadly, there's no fast way to grow out a bad haircut. That said, there are things you can do to minimize the nightmare until your hair grows back (which it does at a rate of about half an inch a month).

First try washing and restyling your hair yourself, since the way a stylist does your hair can make it look worse than it really is, says Eric Fisher, owner of the Eric Fisher Salon, in Wichita, Kansas. Then rely on accessories to help you through the growing-out phase. A headband or a barrette can hold back too-short bangs, and a ponytail or a loose bun can camouflage too-flippy layers.

Quick tip: If you’re really unhappy with a cut, voice your dissatisfaction to the salon manager that day. Ask for a different stylist, who can help reshape the cut. Most managers will be happy to oblige.


8.  The Fastest Way to Dry Hair

Blow-dry from underneath, starting with the underlayers. "If you start drying your hair with the top layer, you end up scooping up wet hair from underneath and pulling it through the brush, rewetting the layers that are already dry," says Inez Gray, owner of the Habitude Salon and Spa, in Seattle.

First apply mousse, which will coat the hair shafts and prevent them from absorbing more water. Then flip your head over, or clip the top up, and aim the dryer at the bottom layers first. Once the bottom layers are dry, use a brush to help dry and smooth the top layers. This technique will cut drying time by about a third.

Quick tip 1: Don’t blow-dry sopping-wet hair―you’ll need to use high heat, which will lead to damage. Blot with a microfiber or terry towel first.

Quick tip 2: To make your blow-dry even speedier, choose a dryer with at least 1,800 watts. A high-powered dryer gets the job done in less time than a lower-wattage one.


9. The Fastest Way to Conceal Grays

Cover them with mascara. As women age, hair follicles lose the ability to produce pigment; the result is gray hair. To cover up a single gray, swipe mascara that matches the rest of your hair onto it. (Or use a touch-up product, which is temporary color that comes in a mascara-like tube and washes out with your next shampoo.)

If you begin to see a larger smattering of grays throughout your hair, try adding volume when you style. Spritz some volumizing spray onto the roots of the gray sections before you blow-dry, or back-comb sections to get them to stand away from your scalp. "Flat hair makes grays even more noticeable," says Eric Fisher, owner of the Eric Fisher Salon, in Wichita, Kansas.

Quick tip: Get a cut with lots of layers. Fisher says, "It eliminates definitive parts and gives movement to the hair," both of which hide grays.


10. The Fastest Way to Smooth Away Pillow Creases on Your Face

Splash warm water on your skin, then massage in a moisturizer. Skin cells contain fluid that acts as a cushion to keep the skin plump. When you're lying with your face smushed into a pillow for eight hours, that fluid seeps out of cells and is absorbed by your body. "This leads to creases," says Lydia Evans, a dermatologist in Chappaqua, New York.

Once you get out of bed, skin cells will gradually plump up with fluid. The warm water speeds this along by enhancing blood flow to the area, and moisturizer rehydrates it. Massaging the moisturizer in helps to smooth creases away manually.

Quick tip: Sleep on a smooth-fitting satin pillowcase instead of a cotton one. Satin won’t bunch up under your skin, so you may be spared morning creases. (It will not, however, eliminate long-term wrinkles.

*****

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday: On My Music Playlist...

Hey peeps

It's been a while since I last did this - so I thought I'd rummage through the playlist on my phone and share with you some of the songs I'm listening to (a lot!) lately.

I featured one of Adele's songs a little while ago, Rolling in the Deep. Loved the tempo and the lyrics were powerful, and quite different from usual Adele fare that is more slow/blues-y and not really my cup of tea.
Until I got to listen to this, and the song totally blew me away. I heard the story playing in those lyrics, and believe me, they grip you by the throat and I found myself crying once when I was listening to this tune. Can so, totally, see this one going up as the soundtrack for a story somewhere. And didn't think I'd say this, coz I love Rolling in the Deep - this song really could be Adele's best! Take a look at the video (starkly simple but so potent!) and listen to those lyrics *shivers guaranteed!*

Adele - Someone Like You



Now this one I found completely by chance - stumbled upon it on the music channel on TV. I'd forgotten to switch the channel to the cartoon ones and when I started the TV, this sound came up a few seconds before the images loaded.
What can I say? I was hooked! Love the music - the beat is just awesome, and the voice of Julian Perretta ain't half bad either. :)
(Lol, surprise - he's a Briton too!)

Julian Perretta - If I Ever Feel Better



And, this one - no surprise this time, lol, for those who know me - is not British but he's French, and probably the most popular DJ in the world! I love me some good David Guetta vibes, and did we Guetta fans have an awesome year, what with all the singles and musical collaborations he'd slotted.
This is one of his latest, featuring (other Briton! ROTF) Taio Cruz on the lyrics, along with Ludacris. Love Taio Cruz's voice, btw - will share one of his vids sometime. :)

David Guetta feat Taio Cruz & Ludacris - Little Bad Girl



So there you have some of the beats rocking my world lately. What ye listening to right now?

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Monday, October 17, 2011

Random Thoughts' Monday: How the ideas' process works

Hey beautiful people!

It's the start of a new week and I'm over at The Pop Culture Divas, adding my contribution to the amazing Divas' posts about the writing/publishing biz.

Wondering what that's got to do with the pic here? Take a look at the title for the post:

Hit Me Baby One More Time...or how the ideas' process works

My 'muse' and idea whisperer is a loud, sadistic, whipcracking dominatrix - she takes my ideas' process to a new level where I'm often left 2 bricks short of a patio!

What's your idea process like? Come on over and tell me.

Here's the start of the post:

"... I dunno about you peeps, but when ideas come to me, they arrive on the sting of that whip you see right here. Yes, my 'muse' is a sadistic dominatrix.

And what are we writers without ideas? The next book, the next series, the next plot point, the next scene, heck, the next line you're about to write, all spin from the ideas that simply 'happen' into your mind.
..."

Read the rest here

And let me know what the whole ideas' business is like for you over in the comments at The Pop Culture Divas blog!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - Walking The Edge: Snippet #19

Hello beautiful people!

It's a bright, beautiful & sunny Sunday here in Mauritius today. Still a slight chill on the wind though, otherwise this would've been perfect weather to go laze under the shade on a sandy beach while the boys go off to explore the grand bleu of the lagoon here.

So, short of getting the wind to stop blowing, I won't get to go laze on a beach, but let's swap that for lazing on a sofa in the sun-basked living room, laptop on my thighs, a glass of ice-cold green tea with a splash of juice in hand, and awesome Six Sentence Sunday excerpts to read.

This week, I'm still in that hotel room in Marseille, located along the iconic Corniche JF Kennedy road that borders the sea and which overlooks the superb, upscale beaches of the Prado.

Remember - Gerard's gut tightened when he watched Amelia come out of the bathroom clad in only a skimpy towel. She makes him yearn... like he'd yearned for someone before...

Today, we go into Amelia's POV, and here's a little explanation to put you into the picture. She has amnesia, and the man who pretends he is her husband plies her with psychotropic drugs to keep her biddable. During a drug-filled haze, Amelia dreams of her French lover... who turns out to be Gerard, whom she recognizes on a news clip on TV. She come to Marseille to see him, and the first thing she tells him when they meet is "You and I were lovers."

But he doesn't recognize her, yet she is sure he is a part of her past, and not a figment of her imagination.

"...
Amelia saw how coiled tension made him stand rigid and tall - his face was hard, and the fire in his eyes took her breath away.

While she'd been under the cascade of water, she'd tried hard to blank the thoughts from her mind, and she had managed, focusing only on the warmth that flooded over her clammy skin.

The cold had blanketed her as soon as she'd stepped out of the shower, but now, under his intense appraisal, heat started building from deep and low inside her.

He would make things right, with his touch, with his heat, with his love...like he always did, like only he could.

The certainty settled inside her of its own volition, soothing her mind, pacifying the storm raging inside her.

The surroundings blurred around her peripheral vision, taking her to a place and moment when he had looked at her that way, and she had experienced that same irresistible pull toward him. ..."


Thanks for coming over to read my excerpt today, and double thanks if you leave me a comment (and brighten my week's start!).

Catch the rest of the amazing SSS posse here with their awesome tidbits.

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Friday, October 14, 2011

Progress Friday

Hey peeps

It's already Friday afternoon! Where did this week go??? I've got only one hyena at home today, and he's been bribed into submission with the prospect of watching the DVD of his choice this afternoon (and knowing him, I'll bet it'll be Godzilla or some other icky stuff!). Not out of the woods, I assure you!

So, yeah, where did te past week go, people? I blinked and it was Monday (weekend over!) and next time I fluttered my eyelashes again, five days have gone. And thank goodness I don't need to say that I got nothing done. I'm chugging along with the first draft of Before The Morning, and despite a setback yesterday of my husband behaving like a typical bloke and getting on my nerves, I managed to clock down some work.

Total for this week = 7,803 words (not there yet, but not bad either. *other sigh*)
Which brings me at a WIP total word count of 63.7K, at 91% completion. But like I might've mentioned before, the story looks like it'll go beyond 70K in all.
I saw the remaining parts of the book unfold in my head like in a total brainwave over the past few days and I know I'm not close close to done yet with it. So hopefully next week I'll get to that and actually finish this thing.

Good thing I did plan for contingencies (and my editor is really patient and understanding!) - my plan was to have the ms finished, beta-ed, revised, and polished by mid-October. Still on target somewhat, but will need to crack the whip again next week.

In the meantime, there's a weekend to savour. I finally get a chance to sink my teeth into Only His, the latest from Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold series, and my idea of chocolate-bliss-in-book-form.

Not much else planned on my end - what are ye all up to?

And speaking of what we're up to, don't forget to check out what my bestie, author Angela Guillaume, has been doing this past week.

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Monday, October 10, 2011

Random Thoughts' Monday: The Writer's Diet Is... Surprising!

Hey peeps

It's the start of a new week, and I'm trying to lead a healthier lifestyle (hence why I am dunking like 5-6 cups of green tea a day!). Nevertheless, the point of today's post being:

It's awfully hard to eat well when you're a writer!

1st constraint - time. Or 'lack of', actually. In a typical day, the writer who's also a mum & a homemaker, has to fit in everything that needs to be done around the house and write on top of that.
24 hours is just not enough - and ain't it a b*tch that we need 6-8 hours of sleep every night. I could really see that time going towards writing, but alas, I cannot function without sleep.

2nd constraint - we're not Nigella. She seems to be able to throw a feast together with leftovers. Not to mention that we hardly cook that way to even have leftovers on hand! (especially in a house where there's a grown man and 2 growing boys, what on earth is the concept of leftovers, I ask you!)

3rd constraint - we get in the zone, and if lunch time comes and goes when we're there (in that perfect la-la-land), forget the thought of food.

Side note - it would appear getting in the zone is a great diet strategy. Don't test it though...

So yeah - all of the above make it hard to follow a super duper diet and eat well and prepare fresh food and-- Arghh! Who does all that, except for Bree van de Kamp???

And I dunno about you, but whenever I write, I crave sugar! Here's my (unscientific and totally baseless) theory:
writing=using brain
ie brain fuel= glucose
ie glucose=sugar in any form, preferably very sweet as opposed to complex carbs that will take time to break down

I could literally kill for something sugary - chocolate cake, anyone? - after a writing spree. But I'm trying to write everyday, and let's face it - you just cannot dunk a slice of chocolate cake with extra frosting every single day and expect to get away scot-free.

Enter the spare tyre that overnight seems to balloon around your hips, said hips that sit in your writer's chair everyday chasing against time to get those words down before the kids come home, before the house becomes a health hazard because you haven't cleaned in ages, before chaos breaks when your husband cannot find his socks...

What's a writer to do, for goodness' sake?

And then I find the perfect solution - my ideal writing food. It's sweet, it's not that much of junk, it's filling, and it takes just 2 minutes to put it together, and about 5 more to dunk it down.

What is it? A bowl of cold cereal with milk! My poison of choice is Special K Red Berries with skim milk.

On days when I'm writing, you can bet your paycheque I'll be falling on a bowl of cold cereal for lunch. If I'm lucky and my mum has taken pity on me and sent food over, then I just reheat whatever she's sent (my mum makes amazing Indian food! Whatever she sends, I know I'm in for a treat. Too bad her domestic goddess skills didn't deign inscribe themselves in my gene pattern...). But that's like, once a week, and the other days, well, I'm screwed. :) Cold cereal it is!

What do you turn to? Do you have a specific writing food? And if you manage to cope with writing and making lunch, how on earth do you do it?
Share your strategies in the comments, please. :)

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - Walking The Edge: Snippet #18

Hey beautiful people

After a blazing hot week, the weather has turned cool and blustery in Mauritius today. Ack. I was looking forward to some sun, but guess I'll have to settle for a different kind of warmth - you guessed it... Six Sentence Sunday snippets!

Whew, time flies, innit? I never realize that more than when I have to jump on here to post my six' excerpt.

So, without further ado, let me take you a little bit more into the world of danger, suspense, and intrigue that is Walking The Edge (Corpus Brides: Book One). I promised something 'softer' for this week - I'll let you people be the judge of how soft we do go from here on. :)

As always, huge thanks to all who drive by to read my six sentences, today and every week, and double thanks if you leave me a comment.

On to this week's six... Remember the fight scenes, first in the alleyway next to the bistro near Boulevard Michelet in Marseille, then the attack on police commissaire Gerard near his house a few blocks away. An "expressionless and focused" Amelia didn't hesitate to step in to save Gerard's life...by killing his assailant with two direct gun shots to the heart.

The police have come and gone, gotten Amelia's statement, and now Gerard has taken her back to her hotel. Sometime during the trip, delayed shock has settled into her, and he sends her to take a hot shower when they get in, while he takes the opportunity to rummage in her handbag for any clue as to who she really is.

Gerard is set on getting answers out of her before the night is over. Will he manage to?

"...
There was good to be attributed to adrenaline, but there was also bad to be ascribed to it, like the way his gut tightened when he saw her with the skimp of terry cloth covering her tiny frame. Freshly washed, her face looked younger, her eyes huge and darkly lashed - so it hadn't been makeup that had given her gaze its intensity. He suddenly wanted her with the desperation of a thirsty man catching sight of an oasis in the desert, as if he craved her, needed her for survival...like he had craved someone else before—

Don't think of her, not now. This woman is Amelia. Not her. ..."


Catch the rest of the amazing SSS posse and their fantastic excerpts here.

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Friday, October 07, 2011

Progress Friday

Hey peeps!

It's Friday and everyone in my household is going TGIF! Except that the boys are so excited they're using the walls to bounce off as if the house was one of those inflatable jumping castles, and they just won't shut up! I left them in the kitchen, bribed with cookies and chocolate milk, because the only time they're not talking/jumping around is when they're eating. So I might have 10 minutes tops to get this post done and uploaded. *sigh*

So, progress... Where do we start? I wrote a chapter this week that just went on and on and didn't seem to want to stop. :) The word total for this past 5 days is just a little under 9K! Woot - finally getting closer to my ideal writing goal.

But now my brain is fried, and I have to regroup and recover to be able to write the next chapter, all while I have to set my mind to "perk" mode so I can figure out the next sequence of scenes and all that's supposed to take place now.

So the first draft of Before The Morning sits in at just under 56K this Friday, ending the week at 80% completion! WOOT! I'm getting there!

Life-wise, I celebrate some progress today! Remember a while back I was complaining about my medication making me put on weight (and so I had to exercise daily and go on a diet, etc). Well, a little more than one week into the new customised eating plan a nutritionist has devised for me, I've lost close to 3 pounds and have just another 4 or so to lose. Whoo-hoo - go me! Lol.

And speaking of progress, I wonder what my bestie, author Angela Guillaume, has been up to this week. Drive by her blog if you get a chance.

And too, if we're friends on Facebook, drop by my profile later today for the Friday Tide-us-into-the-weekend hottie pic. :)

What have you all got planned this weekend? I'll be sitting down with some good reads - Lori Foster's When You Dare (that I'm about halfway through) and Susan Mallery's Only His (that I've been dying to read ever since I finished Only Yours last month *grin*). Plus I also have a beta read for a CP.

Have a lovely weekend, wherever you are in the world!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Link Thursday: Why He Hasn't Proposed Yet - Commitment Issues Men Run Into

Hello beautiful people

*wringing hands with glee* A hero with commitment issues... Sounds like most of the romance books descriptions out there, innit? You run into the same old, same old conflicts (burned by an old flame, won't give up independence, that sort of thing).

Want to keep your story, and your hero's conflict, fresh? Then take a look at this article down here. It lists some more reasons why some men are reluctant to commit and tie the knot.

And for all you single ladies out there - or even those waiting for a proposal - here's some insight into that elusive creature called 'Man'.

The article is from MSN Lifestyle, Love & Relationships, and is written by Brenda Della Casa. You can access the slideshow online here.

*****

Why He Hasn't Proposed (Yet)


Think every man who doesn't propose is afraid to commit? Don't be so sure. Read on for eight very real reasons even a man in love might not pop the question.

by Brenda Della Casa

His Parents' Marriage Didn't Make It

Our parents' relationship offers us our first glimpse of the pros and cons of marriage, so if his mom and dad communicated best through lawyers, saying "I do" might be a huge don't. "I know a few guys who remember their parents' relationship as being full of poison, and the idea of marriage brings up the pain they felt when their parents divorced," says Steve, 31, of Boston. "So instead of proposing to the women they loved, they broke things off when it got to that point in their relationships."

Many men place the same emphasis on their career as some women do on their relationship status, which means that unless he's made a name for himself at the office, he likely won't be asking you to take his. Lisa Daily, author of How to Date Like a Grown-Up, says, "Most men want to have all their ducks in a row before proposing — they want to feel secure about their career prospects and financial situation before taking on a wife."

Just as you want to enjoy the excitement of something new and mysterious, so do men. "A lot of guys realize they are going to live to be 80, which means they will have to deal with the same person for 50 to 55 years," says Dave, 32, of Chicago. "And unless there's an effort to keep things exciting, that can get monotonous."

He's Turned Off by Weddings

"A lot of men think the whole wedding industry makes a mockery of marriage, and they get really turned off by how obsessed women get with it," says Harold, 34, from Chicago. "It's really unattractive when a woman you love freaks out about napkins, and it makes a lot of men wonder why women are so into getting married. Is it the diamond and the party or him?"

He's Not Ready to Be a Dad

Mark, 33, from Sacramento, California, says his uncertainty about wanting kids at all is keeping him from popping the question. "I don't know if I want to have children, and I don't want to make a life-long commitment until I know where I stand," he says.

He's Not Done Sowing His Wild Oats

You might be The One, but some guys have a hard time letting go of the possibility of being with other women. "The most common thing I hear around marriage from men is, 'If I get married, this will be the last woman I ever sleep with,'" says Daily.

He's Afraid He'll Have to Give Up His Dreams

"The thing that stands out for me is the fear of settling down and forgoing my dreams," says Eric, 27, of Ann Arbor, Michigan. "I saw my guy friends get married, immediately buy a house, have kids and eventually let go of their dreams. I feel that I still want to pursue my career goals, have adventures and be able to make last-minute decisions without informing someone. I'll propose when I get that out of my system … or meet a girl willing to work with me on that."

He Can't Afford the Ring

"My girlfriend wants at least a one-carat ring. I'm starting to find out that my new career paths are not likely to make me a great deal of money, and that aggravates my worries that she will not want to stick around for life," says Frank*, 32, of Los Angeles.
*Name has been changed

He's Afraid Marriage Will Change You

"A lot of guys hear that a woman will change once she gets married and that the happiness and mystery you enjoyed in the marriage goes away when the honeymoon is over," says Steve, 33, of Charlotte, North Carolina. "When you think about that and combine it with the idea that you no longer have an easy out if it goes sour, it can be a deterrent."

*****

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

It's October aka Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Hey guys!

Had a hectic start of the week what with having to drag my husband to the ER when he complained of chest pains (thank goodness it was only bad heartburn!) and all this left me wiped (and hence why there've been no postings so far this week).

But today I'm doing something special that's very close to my heart, and I hope you will share it with me.

I'm talking about Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer Awareness over at the Noble Romance Authors' blog. Please drop by and take a read, and forward the information to the women in your life. This is information that could save a life, so please heed it and drop by.

I address some common perceptions and misconceptions about the disease, such as:

  • It happens after you turn 40.
  • It happens after menopause.
  • If there is a history of breast cancer in your family, get yourself checked.
  • If you're on the pill, the risk for breast cancer increases.
  • Have a mammogram every 3 years after 30, yearly after 40.
  • To have breast cancer, there needs to have a family history of it.
  • The more excess weight you carry, the higher your risk of getting breast cancer (especially after 40 and/or menopause)

Here's the link - come on over and please help me share the info about breast cancer. And side note - commentors will be entered for a draw where one of them will win a copy of Walking The Edge.

Looking forward to seeing you over there!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday - Walking The Edge: Snippet #17

Hello beautiful people

Chilly and dismal today - the sun is trying to peek through the clouds, but I don't think it will win this battle. Never mind though - I know how to bring my type of bright sun to the day. Yes, you guessed it - it's time for Six Sentence Sunday. Snazzy and sassy snippets from published works or WIPs - what more can you ask for a nice relaxing day to end the weekend?

This week, I'm concluding the attack scene from Walking The Edge. Thanks to everyone who comes by, and double thanks if you leave a comment. I love reading your takes on my work, and any suggestions are more than welcome. :)

I'll up the ante next week - because this book is, after all, a romantic suspense, and we have yet to see the romance between Gerard and Amelia so far. But before this, today's snippet.

Remember - Gerard met Amelia at the bistro, and in a fight where he behaved like a total chauvinistic macho pig, believes her to be a lure sent to catch him in a compromising position. He leaves her in the dark alley, but when he gets home, he is assaulted by a thug who is about to kill him... when Amelia steps out of the shadows and swiftly dispatches the assailant to kingdom come. This is last week's excerpt, and this continues from there...
(includes a POV break, but I want to show you a bit of the latent conflict in the book)

"....
Finally, she lowered the gun and stepped up to him. From his previous deduction, he hadn't expected her to be trembling or bumbling her way about, but still, the efficiency with which she sidestepped the body and crouched at Gerard's side sent warning bells off in his head.

"Who the hell are you?" he asked, aware the thought had made it into words.

* * * * *
That's what I'd like to know too. Amelia didn't reply even as the thought crossed her mind. Now wasn't the time to look for answers. ..."


Catch the rest of the super SSS crew and their amazing excerpts here.

From Mauritius with love,

Zee
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