Friday, December 14, 2012

#HolidayLove Blog Hop - The Holidays in Mauritius!

Hey beautiful people!

Awesome to be getting a chance to take part in yet another of Carrie Ann's lovely hops, and one about Holiday Love, too!

There are 200+ of us telling us about the holidays and romance in this hop. Goodies galore to be won at every stop, and don't forget - there's a chance to win the Grand Prizes by commenting at every stop. The more you comment, the better your chances. And look at this lineup - pretty swish, innit?

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $200 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!

So, what is it about holidays, and romance?

I don't do Christmas, not the celebration per se, but I do indulge in the holiday season. At this time of the year, in the southern hemisphere where Mauritius is located, the full of summer is blazing. So you're more likely to see everyone spilling out of their houses and hitting the numerous beaches on the island. Not to mention that the kids are on summer break, so the holidays become a prone time to spend treasured moments with your family.

There's a bash - usually a barbeque! - just about every weekend, family members taking the relay each week to host lunch or dinner. The kids all get to meet, and madness is magnified. :)

And that, to me, is what holidays are about. Ties, affection, love, a feeling of belonging while you let go of your day-to-day concerns and bask in a casual moment when you look at what really matters, and no longer sweat the small stuff.

Romance, too, in this time, is that to me - the notion of family, of ties, of finding a place to belong. Any romance that brings people together - the more unlikely the mix, the better - is a sure-fire bet for me to sit down with during the holiday season.

In fact, I started writing one such story two holiday seasons ago, in 2010. The idea came to me about a cold, reserved, and uptight forensic pathologist who suddenly lands custody of an 11-yr-old tween... which totally throws her orderly world and locked heart into a tailspin. The notion of family, of belonging, is alien to this woman, Margo Nolan, and Emma, the girl she must now care for, tests the frozen limits of her heart at every moment. Between cuddly moments and tantrums worthy of the most demanding diva, Emma rocks the life Margo had resigned herself to live. And when the handsome, very sexy, and much younger village doctor, Jamie Gillespie, starts to poke his nose into their affairs, things get even more complicated for Margo, because suddenly, the woman she had buried at the heart of her starts to batten down the hatches, eager to be heard, and given a chance at love...



I titled this story Calling Home - and it came out last year in December. To celebrate this anniversary, and to comfort the idea of holiday love, I am offering a download copy of this novel to a lucky commenter today.

Very different are my Corpus Brides heroine-centric espionage/romantic suspense series, or my 1NightStand offerings, but somehow, some way, family and ties play a big, big role in all my stories. I hope you'll deign take a chance on some of my books. *grin*

Tell me - what does Holiday Love spell out to you?

Leave a comment (and don't forget your email address! We can't add you to the prize draws otherwise) and let me know!

And don't forget to check the other 200+ participants on this hop - I'm certain they'll appreciate a visit. This is the link where you can find them all.

Thank you for taking some of your precious time to drop by!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Battle of the Sexes Playlist: in the current Pop Music scene, who wins - Girls, or Boys?

Hey peeps!

Ages since I last posted on a Tuesday, innit? Then with all my writing projects lately, I have barely had a minute to pop on here for longer than to put an interview doc or a guest post on. Last week, I even had to veg out and thus, missed a whole week's posting here. Apologies... and I hope the posts from today onwards will help with getting back into your good books. (Okay, a girl can dream, right? *wink*)

So, ye all know I'm hooked on Brit Pop. I even did a post a while back featuring Brit Pop tunes - I remember there were Adele and James Blunt on there. My fave spot to get my music fix is the UK Top 40 charts. Sales of Top Singles for the week in the UK. Music come and go really fast in there (though Gangnam Style has been in the Top 10 for like forever by now, lol! Seriously, who can resist that track?)

Anyhow, a few songs have hit me lately, and many come from a renaissance of girl bands. I'm from the Spice Girls era; so yes, I love girl bands. Totally moved beyond boys bands, because these kids are jail bait and I like my men a little more rugged. Still, doesn't mean their music is unpalatable (most of the time...)

Got me thinking - currently, who does it better? Girls, or boys?

Why don't you join me, and let me know your opinion? To do this, check out some vids of the tracks that have stayed with me and made it into my playlist lately. 2 from girl bands, 2 from boy bands (and/or boy groups)

First one to start the showdown - Something New by Girls Aloud! Peppy and gets you moving!



Second one - DNA from Little Mix. Powerful vocals from these girls, and the style is good, too.



Now on to the lads - Chasing The Sun by The Wanted. Those of you with kids might recognize this one as being on the soundtrack of Ice Age 4. Good beat and rhythm.



And, finally, Will.i.am of the Black-Eyed Peas joins the band named as The Script for the very 80s-sounding Hall of Fame.




What's your verdict? Who does it better in today's pop - girls, or boys?

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Friday, November 09, 2012

Autumn Harvest Blog Hop - What does Autumn mean to me, my characters, & my readers?


Hey beautiful people!
Excited once again to be joining another of Carrie Ann’s amazing hops. Love the rush of being together with so many fantabulous authors, and the chance to meet so many readers and bookaholics during those tours.

I’ll admit this one nearly ran past me – I’m up to my eyeballs in deadlines, and wasn’t planning to post on the blog today. Thank goodness for reminders, lol.

So... Autumn Harvest Blog Hop. 200+ participants, as many opps to win books & swag & other goodies, and as many chances to enter the draw for these fabulous Grand Prizes. Check them out: I know I am tempted... J

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains 10+ paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!
 

 So we’re supposed to be talking about Autumn, and what we like about the season. I’m a bit out of my depths here, because right now, where I live in the southern hemisphere, it’s spring, not fall. And on my tropical island, Mauritius, we have mainly two seasons – summer, & winter. There’s a brief transition between the seasons that we can barely label spring and autumn, though around April, all the big maple trees in town start turning russet. The air also gets crisper, especially at twilight time, and during the day, there’s a sparkling radiance that shines from the deep-blue sky.
I love this change of weather, because it usually means a respite from the horrendous heat of summer. Down the line, winter will be coming – bringing with it lots of cold and humidity as I live in the coldest town on the island.

But there definitely is something magical about our Autumn when it happens, a sense of hovering between two mighty shores, suspended in an airy bubble...

 
Now this got me thinking – what would the characters from my books have to say about Autumn, the ones who do experience this season at the time we’re speaking? I asked them the question; check out the answers.

From WalkingThe Edge (Corpus Brides: BookOne) – a romantic suspense thriller on the backdrop of amnesia and espionage:

Amelia Jamison – the ‘bored’ housewife with no memory of her past life, who however feels something is off in her existence: I barely remember seeing autumn strike in this year... With me not remembering anything about my past, I hoped this time would be a transition to the real life I’m supposed to live... Then, my ‘husband’ took me home, and my hopes crashed.

Gerard Besson – the Marseille police commissaire who reluctantly finds himself running to Amelia’s rescue: Autumn on the Mediterranean coast is magical. Marseille never looks any better, though with night coming in earlier, that does spell a more active lookout for us cops where crime is concerned.

From BeforeThe Morning (Corpus Brides: BookTwo) – a high-stakes, espionage thriller on the backdrop of childhood best friends reuniting through marriage and heavy-handed, crazy family involvement.

Rayne Cheltham – the former espionage mastermind & skilled assassin who has just ‘retired’ and is looking forward to a peaceful, domestic life with the man she never stopped loving: Autumn is the time for slowing down and taking stock of your life, and the path you’ve taken. *sigh* For the first time in seventeen years, I’ll be able to do that, because this fall, I will not be undercover on any mission to rid the world of some of its biggest, baddest criminals.

Ash Gilfoy – the former policeman turned ambulance worker, who suddenly finds himself hitched in Vegas to a complex puzzle, the girl who used to be his childhood best friend, and now a woman with more secrets than all the secret services of the world combined: Autumn... Beer in front of a roaring fire inside the cosy comfort of your home. Doesn’t get better than that; not yet a biting sting to the cold, just enough chill to have your woman want to snuggle up with you in front of that fire. *grin*

From CallingHome (A Destiny’s Child Book) – a sweet, romantic contemporary tale between an uptight forensic pathologist who suddenly lands herself custody of a tween girl, and the young and sexy country doctor who steps in as a modern knight in shining armour.

Margo Nolan – forensic pathologist, clueless mother, half-dead/zombie-brained woman where love & relationships are concerned: Autumn? Kinda depressing. I mean, that’s the season when we get the most suicides, you know— *her ‘hero’ interrupts with a shake of his head here* Fine. The season where you bring the wide range of designer boots you own out. That’s the best thing about Autumn.

Jamie Gillespie – young, up-and-coming doctor who chose life in a quiet Surrey village over a lucrative career in London’s private practice world: Autumn is the time of hot chocolate with marshmallows, comfy afghans, and baking gingerbread men. Time well spent in the kitchen, making families tighter.

I think these people have it as for what Autumn truly represents...

What does Autumn mean to you? Answer in the comments to let me know – and enter to win a copy of one of the 3 books I feature above (winner’s choice!).
A comment here also gets you another entry into the draw for the Grand Prizes – just don’t forget to leave your email address, otherwise we cannot compute your entry in.

And check out the Blog Hop’s page with the list of all the participants here!

From Mauritius with love,
Zee

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Link Thursday: 15 Ways To Stay Married For 15 Years

Hey peeps!

Been a while since I last posted a Link Thursday article. It was in my best intentions to have one up every week, though, ... and since a few of you have let me know you'd love to see this coming back, well I am obliging. *grin* There should be a Link Thursday post every week now (or else feel free to come stalk me until I get a post up!).

That being said... I was faced with the eternal blogging question - What to post??? Then the answer happened while I was on Pinterest this morning. Saw a lovely pic, but it's the title and link that had me intrigued.

15 ways to stay married for 15 years... and apparently, the advice was true-to-life and not pulled out of thin air. Decided to check it out, and couldn't believe how much I was nodding all the way through.

Hubby and I are going on 11 years here. It's been full of ups and downs and lots of broken china, but the absolute certainty is that we're in this together, for better or worse, us against the world. Funnily enough, the things I have come to realize in the decade we have shared so far all strike very close to home to what the author of this article states.

When I got married, I was 19. I thought I knew everything, like youngsters usually do. More than once, I've nearly wrecked my marriage through my own fault because I felt entitled to this or that and stuff and feelings he owed me.

But that's not how it works! He owes me nothing except for the vows he took - to love, honour, and cherish, through sickness and health (and boy, has that one been put to the test!), poverty and riches, etc, etc. I not only shouldn't expect flowers on Valentine's Day or our anniversary (they would be lovely, but trust my hubby to forget!), but the point of an ongoing marriage is that you don't need flowers on V-Day/Anniversary to make it work.

Lydia Netzer who posted the original article says it all so well - I'll let you read on & come to the same conclusion I reached once I grew up and realised it was all in my hands!

The original article is by Lydia Netzer; however, I grabbed it off the GirlsGuideTo site, post penned by Katie Ostoich (link on the article title below).

Enjoy!

*****

15 Ways to Stay Married for 15 Years

posted by: Katie Ostoich
at 9:44pm on: July 5, 2012

So the world is blowing up with all the details of Katie and Tom's failed marriage and all that that entails. When I was sinlge, I devoured details of celebrity divorces. The scandal! The intrigue! Now that I'm married, it kinda just makes me sad. I hate when that ever popular 50% stat is proven right. So whenever I start to get a little down about my own relationship or the state of marriages in general, I pull up what is probably my most favorite piece of writing on the internet. I know, that's a bold statement. But it's true. Author Lydia Netzer has been married for 15 years. She and her husband aren't experts on marriage, just their own, and you can tell they are super proud of their relationship and totally still in love.

As Lydia says, she and her husband Dan got married when they were 25 years old. I love her self decprication: "Looking back I’m surprised we didn’t, as 25 year olds, self-destruct just for the heck of it. Now that we are older, we are perhaps surprisingly also wiser." Trust me, they are definitely wiser.

Here are the things they have learned over the years, that helped them stay married and -- gasp! -- even happy for fifteen years. (Beyond that, she says you’re on your own. She can’t promise another 15.) Their list does not resemble the one you will find in Cosmo or Ladies’ Home Journal. She says they have never had a regular date night, nor do they prioritize “communication” or play sex games or see a therapist. He doesn’t bring her flowers every Thursday, she doesn’t cook his favorite food very often. But they do have some other ideas. Here they are in Lydia and Dan's own words!


1. Go to bed mad.The old maxim that you shouldn’t go to bed mad is stupid. Sometimes you need to just go to freakin’ bed. “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath” is prefaced in the Bible by the phrase “Be angry and sin not.” So, who’s to say it doesn’t mean “Stay angry, bitches. Don’t let the sun go down on that awesome fierce wrath of yours.” Seriously. Whoever interpreted this to mean that you should stay up after midnight, tear-stained and petulant, trying to iron out some kind of overtired and breathy accord -- was stupid. Shut up, go to bed, let your husband get some sleep. In the morning, eat some pancakes. Everything will seem better, I swear.

2. Laugh if you can.In any fight, there is one person who is really mad, and one person who isn’t that mad. That person should deflect the fight. Make a joke, do something stupid or corny, make the other person laugh. If the fight is very serious for you and you feel like you really want to plant your flag and die on this hill, fine. Do it. But if you’re fighting for entertainment, or because you’re just reacting, then you be the one to deflect. Fights are bad. Deflecting a fight whenever possible is a good idea. When you’re the one who’s being pissy and raw, and the other person helps you get out of it and brings about peace, that feels fantastic. This was a hard lesson to learn, for me. Letting Dan deflect a fight is the best thing, now. He does it really well.

3. Don’t criticize. Ever.Here is a fact: Whatever critical thing that you are about to say to your wife is already being loudly articulated in her head. And if it’s true, she already feels like crap about it. Assuming you married someone intelligent enough to like you and sane enough to let you put a ring on it, trust that they are self-aware enough to know when they screwed up. It may feel good to you in that moment to say the critical thing, let it go ringing through the air in all its sonorous correctness, but it will feel awful to hear it. The only, only way it’s beneficial to give your wife criticism of any kind is if you’re absolutely positive she is completely unaware. And you better find the nicest, kindest way possible to tell her. And even then, good luck convincing her. Their recognition of the thing you are helpfully trying to point out will be INHIBITED, not facilitated, by your criticism. And then you’re the asshole. So be careful.

4. Be the mirror.Your husband is the mirror in which you see yourself. And the things you say to him give him an image of himself too, which he will believe. You want him to believe it, so make it good. Be a mirror that reflects something positive: you’re smart, you’re successful, you’re fantastic in the sack, you’re a great provider, you’re the best. Can you MAKE him any of these things just by telling him he is? I don’t know, but consider this: the alternative really sucks. The things my husband says to me are 1000 times more convincing than anyone else’s opinion on earth. Don’t think he won’t believe you because you’re married and you’re contractually obligated to say nice things. He’ll believe the shitty, insulting things you say, and the gloriously positive things.

5. Be proud and brag.Let your spouse hear you talking about them in glowing terms to other people. Be foolish. Be obvious. It will mean everything. You will stay married forever.

6. Do your own thing.Dan races bicycles. I write books. I don’t race bicycles or have any desire to race bicycles. He doesn’t write books, nor does he even read the books that I write. Seriously. And I don’t care. My opinion is that he’s the fastest, coolest most awesome bike racer ever. His opinion is that I’m the bestest, coolest writer ever. We don’t have to know all about cycling or writing in order to form these opinions -- in fact knowledge of literature or actually reading my book might damage Dan’s opinion of me as “best writer since the dawn of time.” We can still support each other without being all up in the other person’s stuff. Doing your own thing, having your own friends, being completely insanely passionate about something that the other person has no idea, really, about, is awesome. It allows your spouse to be your cheerleader, uncomplicated by knowledge or personal investment. And it means you’ll always have stuff to talk about, because you’re not overlapping all the time. You don’t have to read the same books either. You don’t have to have the same friends.

7. Have kids.Kids stop you from being as crazy as you want to be. Because when you have kids, you can’t be that crazy.

8. Get really good at sex.You’ve got all the time in the world to get really really good, not just at sex in general, but at having sex with your one particular husband. You should make it your life’s mission to become the perfect sex machine exactly for him. And he for you. There is no reason to hold back, or be embarrassed, or not ask questions, and get everything working properly. There’s absolutely no excuse for letting years drag on without becoming fully skilled, gifted sex partners for each other. It makes everything so much better. Does talking about this make you uncomfortable? How uncomfortable would it make you to know that your spouse is secretly, silently “just okay” with your sexual performance? Yeah. You want to last fifteen years, remember? That’s a long time to be mildly happy.

9. Move.Live in different houses. In different parts of the country. Travel. Make it so that you can look back and divide up your life into the years you spent in different cities, or different houses. If you’re feeling stuck geographically or physically, you can confuse yourself into thinking you’re stuck romantically. See your husband in different places, in different contexts, in different countries even. Try it. Take him to a mountaintop and give him another look. Pretty sexy. Take him to a new city and check out his profile. Along the same lines, don’t be afraid to change personally, or let your wife change as a person. Don’t worry about “growing apart.” Be brave and evolve. Become completely different. Don’t gather moss. Stagnation is unattractive.

10. Stop thinking temporarily.Marriage is not conditional. It is permanent. Your husband will be with you until you die. That is a given. It sounds obvious, but really making it a given is hard. You tend to think in “ifs” and “thens” even when you’ve publicly committed to forever. If he does this, I won’t tolerate it. If I do this, he’ll leave me. If I get fat. If I change jobs. If he says mean things. If he doesn’t pay more attention. It’s natural, especially in the beginning of your marriage, to keep those doubts in your head. But the sooner you can get go of the idea that marriage is temporary, and will end if certain awful conditions are met, the sooner you will let go of all kinds of conflict and stress. Yes, you may find yourself in a horrible situation where it’s absolutely necessary to get a divorce. But going into it with divorce in the back of your mind, even in the way way way back of your mind, is going to cause a lot of unnecessary angst. Accept that you’re going to stay with him. He’s going to stay with you. Inhabit that and figure out how to make THAT work, instead of living with the “what if”s and “in case of”s.

11. Do not put yourself in trouble’s way.Leave your ex boyfriends and girlfriends alone. I’m sure you’re very trustworthy. Aren’t we all? The thing is, there’s absolutely no reason to test it. Your husband and your marriage are more valuable than any friendship. Any friendship that troubles the marriage should be over immediately. Protect it with knives and teeth, not because it’s fragile but because it’s precious. Don’t ass around with a “hall pass” or a “harmless flirtation.” Adultery isn’t an event, it’s a process with an event at the end. Don’t put your feet on a path that could lead someplace bad.

12. Make a husband pact with your friends.The husband pact says this: I promise to listen to you complain about your husband even in the most dire terms, without it affecting my good opinion of him. I will agree with your harshest criticism, accept your gloomiest predictions. I will nod and furrow my brow and sigh when you describe him as a hideous ogre. Then when your fight is over and love shines again like a beautiful sunbeam in your life, I promise to forget everything you said and regard him as the most charming of princes once more. The husband pact is very useful because you want to be able to vent to your friend without having her actually start hating your husband. Because you don’t really mean all those things you say. And she, the swearer of the pact, knows this.

13. Bitch to his mother, not yours.This is one I did read somewhere in a magazine, and it’s totally true. His mother will forgive him. Yours never will. If you’re a man, bitch to your friends. They expect it.

14. Be loyal.All the crap you read in magazines about honesty, sense of humor, communication, sensitivity, date nights, couples weekends, blah blah blah can be trumped by one word: loyalty. You and your spouse are a team of two. It is you against the world. No one else is allowed on the team, and no one else will ever understand the team’s rules. This is okay. The team is not adversarial, the team does not tear its members down, the team does not sabotage the team’s success. Teammates work constantly to help and better their teammates. Loyalty means you put the other person in your marriage first all the time, and you let them put you first. Loyalty means subverting your whims or desires of the moment to better meet your spouse’s whims or desires, with the full understanding and expectation that they will be doing the same. This is the heart of everything, and it is a tricky balance. Sometimes it sways one way and some the other. Sometimes he gets to be crazy, sometimes it’s your turn. Sometimes she’s in the spotlight, sometimes you. Ups and downs, ultimately, don’t matter because the team endures.

15. Trust the person you married.For two people who are trying to help each other, it can almost be harder to let the other person help you than it is to be the one who’s helping. It can be harder to let the other person deflect the fight than to be the one deflecting. It can be harder to believe that your husband is fully committed to a lifetime of marriage than to commit yourself. Harder to change yourself than to let the other person change. Harder to be loved than to love. Weird, but true. I’m saying this to everyone who’s newly married, and to myself: trust that person. Love them completely and let them love you. If it all goes to seed, it’s going to hurt either way. Better to have gone into it full throttle. Full throttle marriage is a thrilling ride.

This list is simply the best marriage advice I’ve ever read. It closely resembles a lot of what my parents live, and they are the best example of a happy marriage I’ve ever known. Like I said, I read this list often…do you agree with me that this is such smart advice? Do you do these 15 things with your husband or significant other?

{Lydia Netzer’s original article, complete with adorable pictures!}

*****

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Friday, October 05, 2012

Progress Friday: Let me reveal my latest collaborative project, ETERNELLES

Hey beautiful people!

It's been a while since I last posted a progress report. The thing is, I didn't have tangible progress to show on my work. Yes, I've dabbling in a few projects, none less getting the brand-new Africa-centred line, Ubuntu, up with the folks at Decadent Publishing (more on that soon, I promise!). But I haven't been writing, not actual words to make sentences to make paragraphs and pages and chapters...

That being said, it's been a hectic time full of new things and ideas, and today I can tell you more about one of them. :)

Guess you do know by now that Natalie G. Owens, the wonderful author with a writing voice that gets you to sigh and wonder how any words can seem so lyrical when strung together - well, you all know she's my bestie. The sister I never had. We found each other rather late in life (some 4-5 years ago, actually), and despite me living in Mauritius and she being first in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and then on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean, over a few emails we 'clicked' and never looked back.

So sometime during the past months, after Natalie went indie, we started talking about, maybe, why not write a series together. We thought of an anthology with a similar theme ... and before we knew it, we had moved into whole new territory and were talking of a truly collaborative work, one co-written and that we could have as an ongoing series.

I cannot tell you at what point and how or when we came up with the ETERNELLES project. In the true spirit of collaboration, we wanted each of our talents to shine. My voice is much more active and in-your-face, while Natalie's is more lyrical and deep, like a rambling stream of which you find the depths little by little, every time you look more closely.

The solution came to us in the form of a story with 2 heroines - one written by me, one by Natalie. Two heroines, each with her distinct personality. We talked, we must've emailed each other 25 times a day over weeks, we compiled and we searched and we dug and we imagined...

...and this is how the ETERNELLES series came into being. That word is French for "the eternal ones/women" - fitting, as our heroines are immortals.

Today, I tell you more about this project - here you are with the blurb, and the cover.

INESCAPABLE: Book 1
Eternelles: The Beginning

For more than 2000 years, an immortal woman has looked for a reason to live...
Beautiful and ruthless,
Adrasteia 'Adri' Dionysios is the only mythical being of her kind, the unlikely daughter of the god of wine and revelry, Dionysos, and a maenad. Banished to Earth from Olympus during the Greek Dark Ages, she has roamed the world fending off the attentions of men and the petty jealousies of women while putting her knowledge of battle and her immortality in the service against Evil. Until the day she finds a mysterious baby girl in her backyard. Her life is finally complete... but now unknown forces are after her daughter. Furthermore, the dubious role of an elusive man in her life only serves to complicate things further.

A young woman who never asked to exist...
Born with phoenix and gypsy blood, and with superior mental prowess,
Seraphine 'Sera' Dionysios' origins are as yet shrouded in mystery. Her very existence defies Nature, just like Adri's. As a woman who has loved and lost, she would rather have died after a vampyre tried to make her his. But, Adri made the only choice a true mother would make: the one that would save her child. Torn between a mother whose blood she doesn't share, and a man who now possesses her soul, the only thing Sera can still cling to is her heart...

Adri and Sera fight for the innocent, but who will fight for them?

When the forces of Evil breach the lines of Shadow Bridge, the town where the mortal human world ends and the supernatural realm starts, it is up to these two women to find out the answer behind a prophecy as old as time itself.

The citizens of Shadow Bridge know one thing above any other: always protect the portal. In a place where anything can happen, the very worst will take place... unless Adri and Sera can stop the prophecy.





Yes, the women on this image reperesent the heroines - Sera on the left with the Phoenix on her face, Adri on the right with the ripple of water above her image. And FYI, Natalie is writing Sera; I am writing Adri.

We just finished with the full character profiles and the outline, and have started writing Book 1, Inescapable, which will come out in April 2013 on all major indie platforms (Kindle, Smashwords, Nook, Sony, etc).

Both Natalie and I cannot wait to share more about the series with you all. We'd eager to share how this one is different - we're both TV nuts, and this series mimics season arcs of popular shows like Supernatural, Grimm, Once Upon A Time, Charmed, True Blood, Vampire Diaries.

Get ready to meet Adri and Sera; along with a slew of other mythical characters as you'll uncover the hidden depths and nooks and crannies of Shadow Bridge. And, be prepared to meet the men in these two women's lives. I can promise you both Des and Rafe are heroes that'll bring you to your knees!

I'm so, so excited to share all this with you today! It's been killing me to keep this on the hush-hush, and now we can finally let the (squirming!) cat out of the bag!

Hope you all have a lovely Friday and weekend, peeps!

PS The Progress reports should come in more regularly now. Feel free to ask me about progress if you don't see me chime in here every Friday! :)

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Friday, August 31, 2012

Romancing The Hop Blog Hop: I'm Fluffy & I know It (my romance tastes! What are yours?)

Hey beautiful people!

Once again, I am joining Carrie Ann’s hops; when I saw the topic for this one, I couldn’t resist! I mean, romance, in all it forms? How and where do I sign up ASAP?

I think lots of romance authors had the same reaction, because will you just look at the turnout for this blog hop? 200+ authors!!! And check out the prizes – that’s enough to send your mind reeling.


1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $130 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: The following Swag Pack!
(US only for the swag pack)
 



But yeah, romance... I love romance, in any form. And yes, the fluffier, the better – I’m fluffy and I know it. *grin*

I started reading romance when, in an effort to get me to read the classics and big-name British authors, my father (to whom I credit my life-long love of reading and my love affair with words and writing) started a library membership for me and for the first few months afterwards, already told the librarian what to add to my card every week. These authors’ names were Jane Austen and Barbara Cartland. Yes, I know – my father made me read romance! I couldn’t have been older than 10 at the time... and thus, for the past 20 years, I have been gorging on romance books.

Over the years, I discovered there were tons more types of romance, not just genteel, historical types. And though the heroes were not the exact definition of Austen’s and Cartland’s gentlemen, they were all noble men with beautiful hearts. Action, adventure, humour, tours of the world through exotic locations and settings, fantasy worlds that totally blow away at your imagination – who knew there was all this hidden away behind those racy, make-me-blush covers that had Fabio on them?

And then I discovered chick-lit, and a whole new world of romance opened up to me. Here I was, a young and single gal, looking for love & Mr. Right... and I loved designer clothes and shoes and handbags and... you get my drift. At the same time, life was getting harder, and I needed an escape. Chick-lit, and light romance, became this escape for me.

To this day, I still love a good fluffy book – I’ll pick this over dangerous heroes and dashing doctors and far-flung worlds anytime. But anyhow, give me romance, and I’m set.

Try as I wish to emulate my favourite genre, I can never write light or humourous. I have thus resigned myself to committing by some deep themes and dark characterization... But someday, somehow, I will write my very own fluff... and scream to the world how I’m proud of having done it!

In the meantime, check out my unfortunately-not-fluffy romances:

TRANSIENT HEARTS: A Western Escape foodie romance, from Decadent Publishing, Coming Soon!

Wills, dreams, and desire clash and come together when two transient hearts meet in the town of Freewill, Wyoming. Indo-British chef Shayne Morea and prodigal son & New York Forex broker Grayson Warner discover they have much more in common than they thought... but both are in transit in this town. Can they both make Freewill their final port of call?

ONCE UPON A SECOND CHANCE: A 1NightStand story, Coming Soon!

Leila & Khalid Al-Nadir, an estranged Muslim couple, must come together and face the turbulent, dark, and devastating past that brought them together before it tore them apart. Could Madame Eve’s meddling work here, when she sets these two on a blind date?


ONCE UPON A STORMY NIGHT:  A 1NightStand story

Two people who live their lives as lonely ships in a tumultuous ocean are set for a collision course when Madame Eve pairs them together for a one-night date.  Lars Rutherford, a British shipping director, and Simmi Moyer, a Mauritian corporate lawyer, signed up for one night of pleasure with a stranger. But they end up finding much, much more than they expected. Can this spell the start of a brand-new future for each of them?




CALLING HOME (A Destiny’s Child Book)

Margo Nolan, a cold and rational forensic pathologist from London, slams right into a wall named Emotional Chaos when she lands custody of a tween girl. Completely at a loss as to how to deal with another human being, let alone a child, Margo feels the jaws of Hell close in on her. She is so not cut out to be a mother, or even a woman... But Jamie Gillespie, the sexy young doctor from next-door, has a different opinion. Can he convince Margo to take a chance on impulsive emotions, and on him?



WALKING THE EDGE (Corpus Brides: Book One)

Amelia Jamison wakes up after a car accident with amnesia, but the life she goes back to feels forced and unnatural. What secret is the man claiming to be her husband hiding? What secret does her buried memory hide? On a wild impulse, Amelia sets out for Marseille, where she is certain a man she remembers from her past will be able to fill in the blanks for her. But what she finds is more secrets, more danger, and desire so scorching she will be burnt before recovering her memory. Gerard Besson, the Marseille police commissaire, is the key to unlock her past... but will there be a chance for the two of them to have a future, once they discover who she really is?


BEFORE THE MORNING (Corpus Brides: Book Two)

For as long as she can remember, Rayne Cheltham has been in love with her childhood best friend, Ash Gilfoy. Her one dream was to marry him and bear his children. Yet, life didn’t turn out that way... and Rayne ended up becoming a ruthless assassin and efficient spy for a clandestine agency. But then she meets Ash again, and there’s a chance for them to have a future once more. Together again, married, in love, everything should be perfect... except that a spy cannot leave that life behind her so easily. And worse – Ash has no idea she used to be a killer. How will Rayne confess who she used to be, and how will Ash react? But worse of all – how does she keep them both alive in the cat and mouse game a rogue faction of her agency is playing with her?


What’s your romance confession? Are you fluffy like me? *grin*


Comment (with your email address! Or else we cannot enter you into the draw!) and you stand a chance to win a copy – your choice! – of one of my books listed above! You also enter the draw for the Grand Prizes this way.

Find the list of the 200+ authors taking part in this hop here! And special mention to Natalie G Owens, Jessica Subject, Sheri Fredricks, HC Brown, Dana Delamar, & Savannah Chase!

Thank you for coming over!

From Mauritius with love,


Zee

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Link Thursday: 4 Things Women Do That Men Will Never Understand

Hey beautiful people!

There's finally some brilliant sun accompanied by a dose of warmth here on the island! Not a cloud in the blue, blue sky, and no hint of rain or humidity! Whoo-hoo! This is making me giddy and I'm flitting around like a carefree butterfly... and in the process, the blokes here are looking at me as if I've just sprung up from a beaming light coming from a far away, unknown dimension...

I keep telling them - that's girls for you. This is who and how we are, but I suppose they're never gonna get it, poor souls.

And then I saw this article and thought it was perfect to illustrate my point!

As applicable to real-life ( just like my guys don't 'get' me, I'm sure yours don't, too) as it can apply to fiction and romance; some aspects of your heroine, well you poor hero is totally not gonna understand!

So here we go with this list. I grabbed the article from BettyConfidential, and you can view it online here.

And yeah - here they have to slug through Gossip Girl, not The Bachelorette. *grin* And I totally 'get' the pinning and 'stuff'...

Enjoy!

***
4 Things Women Do That Men Will Never Understand
 
TV shows we obsess over, the joys of Pinterest, the need for chocolate...these are things that boggle a guy's mind.

Updated on July 15, 2012, 12:57 pm ET

Communication and understanding are crucial in relationships. However, some things just can't be explained...to a man. Here are the four things women do that men will just never understand.

1. Have PMS.

Lets break it down. EVERY month like clockwork certain things happen. And every month you're surprised. You can't understand what it's like to have your body and mind taken over by an overly emotional, starving devil woman with a sweet tooth, so just call me on the 15th of every month and don't worry, I'll let you know. I'm fairly certain many men think PMS is some mystical party trick we bust out when we're feeling especially feisty...or hungry. As shocking as many men might find this, women don't like the joy ride our hormones take us on once a month and we don't understand it that much either! We don't have any idea why we burst into tears when you said, “You look nice” or called you an a-hole when you brought us breakfast in bed (egg whites? are you trying to tell me something? I'm fat, right?), but what we do know is that it doesn't last forever. Pro tip: If a woman is PMS-EY (medical term) more often than she's not, it's not hormones. If it is just a once a month thing, be grateful! You dodged a bullet, bro! Now give us a snickers and a hug.

2. Watch The Bachelorette.

I wonder how many men in America are being forced to spend two hours every Monday night watching Emily say, “I'm so excited” and make-out with guy after guy. My boyfriend watches it every week, meaning that he sits next to me reading Lakers news, occasionally making fun of the guys on the show. ”Jef...with one 'F'?” He also asks such riveting questions as, “Do any of these people actually get married and stay together?” or “You do know this is totally scripted, right?” First of all, YES! Trista and Ryan got married on T.V...umm...oh and Jason and Molly. So that's something. As for it being scripted and fake, of course it is. Women know that. We just don't care. Here's the secret--we aren't watching it because we think it's real. Quite the opposite--it's such a departure from real life that we enjoy zoning out in front of the TV, watching a pretty lil’ thing with a great wardrobe stylist fall in “love” in exotic locations, laughing at the cat fights and taking bets on who won't get a rose. We do this all the while knowing that real, true love is messy-true love takes more than a few fantasy dates to develop, and we feel pretty grateful that the guy on the couch next to us doesn't have 19 other girlfriends.

3. Waste time on Pinterest

When a guy asks you what you're doing and you're all, “I'm PINNING!” Don't be surprised when he stares at you blankly. It's safe to say that Pinterest was developed for the ladies. We love stuff. Wanting stuff. Being inspired by stuff. Planning for stuff. Pretending we're going to bake stuff, which is usually some random combination of bacon, blueberries and bourbon. And Pinterest is place to organize all of this stuff...into boards of more stuff! In other words, it's a time waster of epic proportions that sometimes gives us ideas on what to wear, what to cook and what to stuff next into a mason jar. With an arsenal of Pinterest boards at our disposal, we feel equipped to tackle any crucial challenge life might throw our way, like perfecting the fishtail braid or painting plaid onto our nails.

4. Say they have nothing to wear while standing in front of a closet full of clothes.

First of all, most of the time women don't mean this literally. Pointing out that there are tons of clothes hanging right in front of her is only going to get you yelled at. It doesn't matter if her walk in closet is bigger than a department store, when she feels like she has nothing to wear, is trying on every outfit she owns and is near tears, what she's really saying is, “I feel ugly in everything today.” Maybe it's PMS (see #1), or maybe it's just an off day. Instead of retreating to your man cave, help the girl out. If possible, find her yoga pants immediately! Or if she has to leave the house, scavenge for her softest, stretchiest, oldest pair of jeans and a black v-neck tee. Even dressier? The black dress that hugs her in all the right places. Then look her in the eyes and tell her she looks beautiful.

Tell us: what are some things men do that you'll never understand?

Elizabeth Marie is the social media manager for We Love Dates, a worldwide online dating site and maintains their popular We Love Dates blog. Keep in touch on Facebook or Twitter!

***

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Hero's Hop: What's the recipe for the perfect hero? #HeroHop

Hey beautiful people!

It's my second blog hop, and the first of Carrie Ann's in which I am taking part. Totally stoked and absolutely excited to be joining the 128 other authors who signed up for this hop... and also to meet all the readers and visitors who will be doing the rounds. Welcome to my place, peeps!

So, what's the hope about? Heroes. As simple as that. *are you sure?* Nope, not that simple, as you'll see when you browse all the posts that will be going up. Come read what everyone of us authors conjures up in her mind when we heard the magic word "hero".

129 authors = 129 chances to win the Grand Prizes!

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $50 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A magnificent swag pack you can check on the official hop page

AND there will be giveaways at every stop on the tour! So that means, 129 chances for you to win more goodies!

Want to enter to win in my giveaway? Then, let's get rolling with the post!

*****

Immediately when I think "hero", I imagine coming up with the perfect hero for each book. But is there a recipe for that?

Got me thinking – how do I go about creating the perfect hero in each of my books?

First of all – the hero 'works off' the heroine, and vice versa. I'm not a hard-core feminist; when I say "a woman doesn't need a man to be happy", I mean it. But I also say that, "a woman doesn't miss a man until he walks into her life", and that's when things change...

So based on these notions, I set out to imagine the perfect hero. And like a good dish (forgive me here – I am so not a cook and as far from domestic goddess Nigella Lawson as you can get!), you need some set ingredients:

Sugar
Spice
And all things nice!

Simple, innit? Not so much. Let's elaborate.

Sugar – we all agree; the hero is the foil of the heroine. He is her "good times", her "rock", her "anchor", the one she runs to. Faced with a box of Godiva chocolates and a plate of lime slices, which one would you choose? The Godiva, of course! And that's sugar...

But too much sugar gives you a high and then makes you crash; it's also bad for your teeth! In the same way, a hero who's too nice/good/sweet/awesome is bad for you. Yes, we women are masochists, and we love nothing more than a roller coaster ride of emotion... which you won't get with someone, well, too nice...

So what you do then, is spice things up a bit!

Anyone know what a jaffa cake is? If not, I'll wait until you Google it! A jaffa cake is a slice of heaven brought to earth for us common mortals, to allow us to know what decadence and indulgence are all about. Imagine a crackly shell of smooth, dark chocolate; slightly bitter, hard under your teeth, a hint of sugar that nevertheless gives you a total rush... Then you get to a fine layer of orange-flavoured jelly; tangy, and this jolts your taste buds, makes you sit up and notice; another little rush of sugar, a brush of coolness on your tongue... And finally, you sink your teeth into the softest, moistest, crumbliest sponge cake layer ever; feeling it melt in your mouth, that elusive hint of cake, and another layer of vanilla-like sweetness...

To think that so far you've just taken a bite! Now, go on, and actually eat the jaffa cake... An explosion of tastes, of sweetness, of tart orange tang, of rich chocolatey smoothness...

What's a jaffa cake, you may ask? It's sugar, and spice, and all things nice... exactly what your hero should be! Layers, contrasts, that merge to form a whole that is decadent and indulgent, and oh so good for you!

That's a hero, people! There's a subtle hint in this makeup, like a jaffa cake's, that stops the whole deal from giving you sugar and sweetness on all levels. There's a dose of spice, of tang, of a contrasting taste, that ramps up the sugar rush and gives you an experiment from a different dimension. Your hero is human; give him some flaws, some 'humanness", that all men have (dirty towels on the bathroom floor, anyone? *grin*)

And as for the "all things nice", what would they be?

Well, as I like to say, your hero can be anything in any time – a rogue, a cad, a doctor next door, a quiet best friend, a dangerous cop, a con man, a geek, a nerd, a secret agent, a starship captain – but one thing he always, always, is: Noble!

What's noble to you? And what's noble in your heroine's eyes?

Another thing in this "all things nice" category – good manners! Let me list a few here, grabbed from Gentleman Etiquette posts on Esquire.com, to give you an idea:

- a gentleman always stands up when a woman is coming to the table or leaving it.
- a gentleman always pays for a date.
- a gentleman sits on the men bench when he takes his lady shopping, and uses the time to reply emails on his Blackberry, but never to talk on the phone in public places.
- a gentleman takes his mother out for dinner a few times a year.

So there you have my recipe for the perfect hero! I'm curious to know what ingredients go into making yours! Why don't you leave me a comment and tell me about it?

And let me introduce you to my heroes:

Gerard Besson: Former undercover cop, recently promoted to the status of police commissaire in the French city of Marseille. Behind the appearance of the efficient cop, hides a beaten soul... because he lost the one woman who managed to worm her way into his cold heart. 7 months later, when a suspicious woman starts to trail him, Gerard is intrigued, because she reminds him of that woman who died... Who is she? And what does she want with him?
Get the book, currently FREE:  https://www.nobleromance.com/Books/304/Walking-the-Edge



Ash Gilfoy: Ministry of Defence cop turned paramedic, Ash hides a deep, dark secret - he killed a man. Investigation cleared him as he acted in self-defense, but Ash knows he's always wanted to murder the abusive man who ended up killing his wife when she tried to leave him, at Ash's behest. The prospect of hope, and a new beginning, of salvation, appears when Rayne Cheltham, his childhood best friend, walks into his life again. A humanitarian worker who's been away for 17 years, Rayne is everything good and bright in this world... Or is she? Because she seems to be hiding secrets, too, and they just might be deeper and darker than Ash could ever imagine...
Buy Link: https://www.nobleromance.com/Books/420/Before-the-Morning


Jamie Gillespie: A 29 years old trauma doctor, Jamie turns his back on the life his money-hungry father wants him to pursue when he comes to Surrey to fill in for his sick uncle. But just as he is settling, his uncle calls, to say he will not be coming back to his rural practice - it's Jamie's decision now to stay and embrace the life of a country doctor, or go a more lucrative private practice in the heart of London. But then the decision to stay becomes clear when forensic pathologist Margo Nolan and her headstrong tween daughter, Emma, settle into the other half of Jamie's house. Older than Jamie, cold and uptight, Margo is an Ice Queen. Or is she...? Jamie sees the woman in her, the struggling mother, the lonely heart. Can he convince Margo they could have a future together, and form a family?
Buy Link: https://www.nobleromance.com/Books/369/Calling-Home


Lars Rutherford: Half-British, half-Swedish expatriate living on the island of Mauritius as the regional director for his best friend's shipping company. Lars is not looking for love, and certainly not in this land that seems stuck in Austen times where marriage and trysts are concerned. His best friend, Magnus, convinces him he's in "dire need of a shag" and contacts Madame Eve's 1NightStand agency to arrange a date for Lars. Who will he find on that blind date? What woman will agree to spend that one night with him, no strings attached? Could everything be so simple? Lars does indeed find out that nothing is so simple, because Simmi, his date, awakens protective, lustful, and dare he admit it - loving! - instincts in him. Has he found his woman, here, on this island labelled as paradise on earth?
Buy Link: http://www.decadentpublishing.com/product_info.php?products_id=553&osCsid=joff4lkh610umgtpmk3mg4qvr4


MY GIVEAWAY: Leave me a comment, along with your email address, about what "ingredients" go into making your perfect hero, and let me know which one of my heroes wins your attention - you could win an ecopy of his book (in case I didn't spell that right *sorry, hormone-brain* I'm offering a random commentor a copy of the book of her choice from my releases, based on which hero is her favourite).

Thank you for hopping over here today, and don't forget to check the other 128 participants! Here's the link to view the whole list http://carrieannbloghops.blogspot.com/p/a-heros-hop.html

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Link Thursday: 7 Ways To Tell If He's A Good Match Or Not

Hey beautiful people!

I'm having a crazy somewhat-delusional week (yes, somebody please fling the dreaded H word. You know, it goes like h-o-r-m-o-n-blahblahblah) and I badly need a laugh, or at least, a chuckle. Figured you too could use one, so here we go for this week's linked post.

I suppose we all already know the following info, but it never hurts to stress the point. :) And yes, there's a chuckle or two in there. I'll settle for that right now.

Don't forget - authors: do not template your hero off this Bad Match list. Real gals: these are the signs you need to look out for where Mr. Possibly Right is concerned.

The article can be viewed in its original form online here.

Enjoy!

***
7 Ways to Tell If He's a Good Match - Or Not
 
How can you tell whether he's a good match for you? We've got seven ways to help you figure it out. Get those smartphones ready!
Updated on July 16, 2012, 9:11 am ET

Dating in the digital age sure can get complicated, can’t it? People used to complain about having to wait by the phone -- at least they didn’t have to try to decipher text-message, glean the hidden meaning behind Facebook updates, and get rejected before even meeting each other in person!

What’s a gal to do? Have no fear: We can help! We’ve put together a handy-dandy guide of seven tech-savvy ways you can your technology to tell if you’re latest guy is a good match—or if you should give him a good, old-fashioned kick to the curb.

1. Good match: He looks like his online dating profile photo! Bad match: His photo looks like Brad Pitt; he looks like Mr. Bean.

2. Good match: On a date, he only texts to let you know he’s on his way. Bad match: He texts other people all the way through your date.

3. Good match: He uses his smartphone to actually call you. Bad match: He never turns off the ringer, and answers his smartphone constantly ... no matter WHAT you're doing!

4. Good match: His phone has apps for great date suggestions like Picksies and he asks you your opinion. Bad match: He has the Fake Girlfriend app.

5. Good match: He uses Facebook to show off adorable pics of the two of you. Bad match: He uses Facebook to keep track of his exes, upload embarrassing photos of you, and/or get tagged in pics with other girls.

6. Good match: He's interested in your Pinterest boards (even the ones about cupcakes and overly intricate nail art). Bad match: He's competitive about your Pinterest boards and is trying out "pin" you.

7. Good match: If he's out and spots something cute, he sends you a photo of the puppy or kitten or funny sign he sees. Bad match: He accidentally includes you on a mass text forward of Octomom's latest pin-up photo.

Happy dating!

XO

***

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tidbit Tuesday: On my playlist right now...

Hey peeps!

Been a while since I was last able to do this. Missed sharing my fave music with you, and since I have a free Tuesday slot today on the blog, why not showcase some of the tracks on repeat on my player right now, and that refuse to leave my brain no matter how much I try to forget? Maybe I could get those tunes in your brains too *mwahahah!*

So, let's kick off...

I happened to watch the DVD of the movie Wanted again this weekend... and in the process, recalled that this was the movie that triggered my Corpus storyline idea and that inspired me to have an agency of assassins and spies in my debut book and series. I'd also forgotten what a cool action movie this one is - well-rounded, and with an awesome soundtrack. Take a listen (and look-see here! The video cannot be embedded)





My son and my nieces love this one! I admit I didn't like it or get the fuss the first time I heard it, but damn if this song doesn't grow on you... I have no idea what the lyrics are saying, or even how to pronounce half the words in there, but this is a good one.




"Bouncy, bouncy" is how many refer to the tone of this track. I love this girl's voice - she's from Wales, and this song is simply too good to pass up on!




And of course, we gotta have a totally British singer in the mix (yeah, Marina & the diamonds is Welsh, but here we're talking England...). I love her voice and vocal range, plus this girl knows how to move. In a collaboration with the greatest DJ of them all, David Guetta, I'm loving me some Jessie J.




What are you listening to right now? Share with me, will ye? :)

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Saturday, June 16, 2012

When you're a writer, you WRITE! Full stop!

Hey beautiful people!

Didn't get to post my usual progress Friday report yesterday because I was on the final lap of finishing Transient Hearts. Finished Chapter 9 on Thursday, and I was just one chapter short of the end. No matter that this chapter would surely clock in at 5K+, I knew I had to finish it yesterday. I couldn't take the risk of stopping halfway and pushing this into next week, where I knew I would lose my drive if I didn't go insane from not writing during the weekend. And no, I cannot write in weekends because a) it's family time, and b) that's when I allow myself a break too.

So there I was staring at the last 4-5 scenes that made up the outline of the last chapter. Beside a note here and there that H does this and h does that while H speaks with cousin and h gets a call from home, I didn't have more prompts to write this one. Which is why it was daunting, and why I found myself for the past few days mulling over this chapter and how it was supposed to take place based on those notes I had penned and the synopsis I had sent in with my proposal.

There's something strangely weird about figuring out everything that's to happen in your story, even down to the last detail. I'm a complusive plotter - I plan and plan and plan, yet when I write, the story will almost always 'turn' on me and something I hadn't expected happens or gets said.

Here I was yesterday morning, with that chapter set in my mind, yet at the same time I had no clue what I was doing. I simply sat down and started writing, and lo and behold, I got that chapter done... to the point where I even wrote "The End" on the last line of that ms.

I did mention this in my "I wrote 10K in a week" post last Friday, but I'll say it again here. All it takes is you sitting down and starting to write. That's the first step; that's the only step. You're a writer so your job is to simply sit down and start writing.

After seeing what I've been able to do these past two weeks, I no longer believe in writer's block and all those things we tell ourselves is blocking us. Here's what I mean:

I've gone weeks when the most I wrote was 1K, 2K at best. I kept telling myself I couldn't do any better, that the story wasn't flowing, that I'd lost my way with the characters, that I needed to think it all through again.

Bollocks!

In the past 2 weeks, I've written over 25K on this story.
10,061 words last week;
16,886 words this week.

In the middle of all this, I was battling a cold with a super-runny nose, a sore throat, an ear infection, and consequently pain in my jaw and sinuses. The weather was a total bitch - if I managed to see 4 hours of sunlight this week, I'll count myself lucky. My husband was working on another job site that had him out of the house for 14+hours a day, leaving me to deal with the kid/s single-handedly without a hand to help with homework, fight breaking, dinner preps, and getting everyone ready in the morning.

I realized that I'm a writer, and a writer writes. Full stop. Yes, the deadline on my head contributed to that, but seriously? If we say we are writers, then our job is to write. Writing is not a hobby. When you have a job out there in the corporate world in an office or on site or wherever, what do you do every single work day? You buck up, get on with it, and head to work, where you work. What's any different when you're a writer (except that you don't have to get out of your PJs)???

The answer is Nothing!

If you are a writer, it's your job to write, and you better do it every single day whether you feel like it or not! The first step - the only step - you have to take is to start writing!

And just like an accountant brushes up on tax laws when tax season creeps up, or when a lawyer reads his case file notes over and over before stepping into a courtroom, as a writer it's your job to make sure you know what you are doing. This means knowing what story you are writing, what your characters are like - how they think, behave, react, where they are starting and where they should end, and most importantly, how they get there. You don't have to become an anal plotter like I am, but it would certainly help you to know what the heck you're doing with a story instead of simply having an idea of boy-meets-girl; let's see where they take me. If you're writing as a hobby, then you can afford to do that. Not if you consider yourself first and foremost a writer! Otherwise, you'd thus start in London and then find yourself in Paris with no clue how you got there, and have to backtrack to find that way. But instead of landing back in London, you find you're now in Cornwall, where the story should've taken place all along. Or, wait - is that Yorkshire? If you'd known your journey, thought it through even a little, you could've ended up in Yorkshire directly without the need to visit all these places and scrape all those trips from the final journey.

I'm no different a writer than you are, peeps. I'm a wife, a mother, a whiner, a procrastinator, a TV-show junkie, and there's nothing I love more than a day of doing nothing.

But I know I also chose to become a writer, and now it's no longer merely a choice but a responsibility I took with myself, with my publishers, my editors, and more importantly, with my readers. I cannot let any one of these people down... just like you too cannot.

It doesn't matter what you have to do to start writing. Polish your craft, learn the art of writing, read like a fiend, plot out every single detail, know your H/h better than you know your spouse...

Just write! That's the secret!

That's how I finished Transient Hearts, how I conquered my doubt demons and came up with an ms that sits at 61,186 words on the 1st draft. Just by writing!

You too can do it!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Link Thursday: Real Friends v/s Fake Friends - How to tell the difference

Hey beautiful people!

Surfacing from my WIP (I'm on the final chapter, peeps! Final. Chapter!). It's been a heck of a ride these past few weeks to get this story in shape and actually written. Something I wouldn't have been able to do without the support, cheering, urging, prompting, and encouragement from those absolutely fantastic writing friends of mine!

I've been blessed with the friendships that fill my life. Most of these women (and a few men!), I've never met in person. But across the Net, we've reached out to one another to weave strong, resilient ties that withstand a lot of stress and long-distance and time-difference pressure.

I've known a few 'fakies' too, but thank goodness, I know I can count on everyone in my life today, and none of them will let me down. I hope they know/feel they can count on me just as much.

So, are your friends fabulous, or fakies? I was reading this article just this morning, and thought ye all would probably love this. And don't forget your heroine's BFF in the story, or the hero's bromance with his best buddy - these are all great pointers to sketch those characters. :)

I got the article from Betty Confidential, at this link.

Enjoy!

*****

Real Friends vs. Fake Friends: 20 Ways to Tell the Difference
How do you tell a real friend from a fake friend? Let us count the ways!
Updated on June 12, 2012, 10:34 am ET

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that friends are awesome. During the good times and the bad, through thick and through thin, your best pals are there for you—and you’re there for them. But sometimes, friends may turn out to be “friends.” You know: Those poisonous relationships that look great on the surface, but leave you feeling all icky underneath. So how do you tell these fake friends from your real friends? We’ve put together a handy guide to help you figure it out. If you’ve got anyone that fits one or more of these profiles, get rid of them, stat! The last thing you need in your life is the sort of negativity that arises from that sort of relationship. Embrace the positive—your real friends will help you do it!

1. A fake friend will expect you to drop everything for her if disaster strikes, but will brush you off if the same thing happens to you. A real friend is there for you just as much as you’re there for her.

2. A real friend makes time for you because she genuinely adores hanging out with you. A fake friend will only make plans with you if her other, “better” plans fall through. (PS: You’re totally better than her other plans!)

3. A real friend will help you look your hottest for a big night out. A fake friend will help you look hot—as long as she thinks she looks hotter.

4. If a fake friend asks you to help her move, she makes you do all the heavy lifting and then refuses to lift a finger when you ask her for the same favor in return. A real friend not only helps you move unasked, but also helps you pick out the best color paint for your walls—and has a painting party with you to get the work done!

5. If you say you need some space, a real friend will give it to you. A fake friend will either crowd your or start bad-mouthing you behind your back—or both.

6. If you've got a celeb crush, a real friend will help you meet him or her (even if it's Zac Efron and he looks like this). A fake friend will make fun of you.

7. A real friend will be there for the important moments in your life. A fake friend will try to make those moments all about her.

8. A real friend will encourage you in your dreams, no matter how crazy they sound. A fake friend will tell you, “That sounds great! But ...." and subtly sow seeds of doubt.

9. When you've broken up with a guy, a real friend will volunteer immediately to come over with ice cream, Kleenex and booze. A fake friend will suggest you calm down.

10. A real friend will lend you her expensive bag when you've got a big event coming up unasked. A fake friend will tell you where you can buy one like it.
11. A real friend will sit in the dressing while you try on a thousand pairs of jeans and encourage you until you find the right pair. A fake friend will tell you to shop online.

12. A real friend will not only sit with you through the thousandth time you've watched Dirty Dancing, she'll say the lines along with you. A fake friend will suggest a DIFFERENT MOVIE!

13. If you're going on a blind date and you're nervous, a real friend will be at the bar ahead of time to make sure you're okay. A fake friend will tell you to call and let her know how it went.

14. A real friend will totally not think it's crazy that you want to drive by his house just to see if he's home. A fake friend will call you a stalker.

15. A fake friend loves to hear all about your failures and disappointments. A real friend gives you a shoulder to cry on, but then reminds you about all the great things you've done -- and will go on to do.
16. A real friend will volunteer to come over and take care of your kitty while you're on vacation. A fake friend will suggest a cat-sitter.

17. A real friend can laugh now about the fights you've had in the past. A fake friend harbors resentment -- you know what we're talking about.

18. A real friend sends you links to articles she knows you'll love, or that reminds her or fun time you've had together. A fake friend only forwards you those passive-aggressive chain-letter emails!

19. A real friend would rather stab her eyes out than flirt with your boyfriend. A fake friend will laugh, "It's all in good fun!"

20. A fake friend is someone in your heart you know you wouldn't miss if you never saw her again. A real friend? She's the one you hope will grow old with you so you can be crazy little old ladies playing gin rummy and drinking martinis together!

*****

From Mauritius with love,

Zee