Monday, January 30, 2012

Random Thoughts Monday: 7 Things About Me

Hello beautiful people!

Another week starts... and I hope & pray this one won't be a total fiasco like last week was. Oh well, the way last week was, anything will be better than that! :) Did manage to break an old ms out (making me go *gasp! I wrote such crap???*) and break out the Pilates mat once again - first time this year - which made some muscles in the backs of my arms, in my back, and my hamstrings, to complain along the lines of "We were doing perfectly fine not acknowledging our existence, so why did you have to go and make us work???"

Anyhow, the true point of today's post...

Last Tuesday, fellow SSS author Paula Martin bestowed me with a lovely "Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award". In line with that honour, I have to disclose 7 things about me you might not know.

I'm pretty much an open book, lol, but let's try to rack up 7 things:

1. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an accountant. Lol, no - not temporary madness; more like hero worship. I have an elder brother - he was 16 when I was born. So by the time I was a little kid, he was already a grown man on the town, and working towards earning his ACCA degree. I adored my big brother, and wanted to be like him, hence the desire to be an accountant like him.
Whole plan fell into the water when I
a) discovered maths and me made 3, and
b) in accounts classes in secondary school, I had a hard time distinguishing Credit from Debit, so strike accounts right there for me :)

2. I get my small stature from my mother. She's even smaller than I am, barely 5"1 tall. After 2 kids, she's 'rounded' up a bit, but back in her day, she was trim as a willow. She got married at 21, and to this day, I haven't managed to try on her wedding dress - the waist doesn't even pass over my shoulders!

3. When I was a kid, my hair trailed down all the way to my calves - a regular Rapunzel :)

4. I've always been story-inclined. Back in primary school, we had to write 120-words essays and picture compositions in English & French, and I always went over the word count. My teacher would often drop by my desk and go, "You writing up a novel again, girl?"
Guess he didn't know his words were prophetic :)

5. I hated soft drinks when I was younger. Then all went to hell in a handbasket when I got pregnant and craved Pepsi like I wouldn't live if I didn't have an ice-cold glass stat!

6. I was bullied in secondary school, all through the first 5 years. The mean girls clan, led of course by one mean girl, had it out for me because a chubby-limit-overweight girl like me couldn't have a life, let alone a boyfriend. So I was the object of their torment, taking on their snickering, taunts, and making-funs every day. Sometimes I wonder how I made it out without trying once to end my days - I dunno, maybe it was God helping me. What doesn't kill you does indeed make you stronger, and today I thank those mean girls for making me the girl I am now. (And then at 16, I lost the extra weight and in front of the whole word, got a gorgeous boyfriend who adored me, and that shut them all up *grin*)

7. Funnily enough, I had my first 'suitor' at 7 - we were both in the same class, 2nd grade primary. His name was Guillaume, he was cute but chubby and totally sweet, and he had severe asthma, which made him miss a lot of school days. Lord knows what has become of him today...

So there you are - 7 things about me :)

And now it's my turn to bestow the "Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award" to 10 other bloggers. Here's my list:

Natalie G. Owens
Rae Lori
Christine Warner
Sandra Bunino
JM Blackman
Angela Quarles
Guilie Castillo-Oriard
Sherry Gloag
Jessica E. Subject
Sue (Sassyspeaks)

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday - Calling Home Snippet #8

Hello beautiful people!

This Sunday, I'm back home and fending off a pack of hysterical hyenas with no swimming pool in sight to distract them from their super-loud gaming... Oh well, life could be worse, innit? Thank goodness for the lovely pick-me-up that is Six Sentence Sunday. To everyone who came over last week, even though I didn't get a chance to return the favour until way later in the week, thank you! Your dropping over here was much, much appreciated. :)

Okay, onwards and upwards. I'm still in the mansion's yard with sexy doctor Jamie and uptight forensic pathologist Margo, with a sulking tween Emma colouring the encounter. Or is she...? Because suddenly, something else, something way hotter and 'disturbing', is brewing between the two adults... Jamie appears to already be a goner for the icy blonde - what about her though?

Margo's never been caught being incompetent, yet this is exactly how she believes Jamie has seen her in her dealings with her headstrong daughter. On one hand, there's Emma who's been throwing daggers with her eyes and countenance since the morning; on the other, there's handsome Jamie who brings out all sorts of uncalled-for feelings inside her. What's a woman to do?


'...
Margo bit her lip and chewed on the soft skin, until she realized what she was doing and stopped - she'd abandoned that nervous tic long ago; at seventeen, to be precise, when Harry Milburn had waltzed into her world and made her yearn to be the kind of girly girl he obviously favoured. Biting lips meant eating the lipstick she'd started to wear, to be noticed by the dashing twenty-three-year old English and drama student at Cambridge.

Not the time to think of Harry.

Especially when Jamie stood just a few feet away.

        Turning to him, she raked her gaze over his tall frame. Dressed today in the torn jeans, and a red and black plaid shirt, his big body radiated solidity and quiet strength; gentleness, too.  ...'


Don't forget to check out the rest of the SSS posse - surefire stops for me will be Siobhan Muir, Jessica E. Subject, JC Martin, Angela Quarles, Patricia Green, Nicola Marsh, Liia Ann White, Sarah Grimm, Cera duBois, Sherry Gloag... among many others :)

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Friday, January 27, 2012

Progress Friday

So it's finally Friday! Though I cannot say I'm looking forward to the weekend (home with the boys - no going away this time, sadly...), I also have to admit I am so, so glad Friday is here, to finally bring a close to this week.

How awful can it get to be away for 2-3 days, eh? That's what I asked myself too. Then I came back to my 'usual' workload on Tuesday... and it took me Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and half of Friday, to clear up the backlog that'd accumulated while I was away. Good grief, people - there's something seriously wrong with my life! With my workload... With my awful management skills too, I suppose.

This week's been an eye opener. If I want to get work done (was supposed to have started revamping an old ms, and been done with it, by now!), I need to handle my email better. Which means, more stops online every now and then, so nothing has the possibility to snowball over me and leave me looking at a gobsmacking-awful mess!

So, order for next week - get something, anything, done writing-wise!

And would you believe it? Next week, we'll be in February. So January's gone and what do I have to account for it? Got it - a big old rollicking nothing! Do I dare say I was easing into the year? Yeah, I can kid myself. I seriously need to get back in the saddle and work!

Speaking of work, my bestie, Natalie Owens (you formerly knew her as Angela Guillaume - I didn't swing loyalties all of a sudden *grin*), and I have an ongoing writing project, and we've committed to writing a chapter a month on our respective stories, on top of our other works. So as from next month, look towards the progress metre for Against The Odds - the total should be growing steadily there. Not sure if Glory Days will see any significant progress, since I have 3 old mss to revamp, and I'm supposing that'll take me at least a month. But we'll see...

So, weekend... What are your plans? I have to catch up on some backlogged reading (Backlogged is my middle name lately!).

Right now, off to pack the hyenas to the gym - they're in the kitchen doing their hysterical laughs and wolfing down a bowl of dry cereal (yes, that's what I feed them as post-school afternoon snack!).

Have a lovely weekend, peeps!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Link Thursday: Things A Man Should Never Do In The Company Of A Woman

Hey beautiful people!

Last year, in and around November (if you want to check the archives), I posted a series of links and articles that pertained to etiquette for today's gentlemen. There were the etiquette rules of dating, dinner dates, general how-to-behave tips, and from the feedback I've been getting, it appears a lot of you enjoyed those posts. Women like them so they can 'groom' their men; writers like them so they can write more wholesome heroes; men (yes, I swear I've had a few male friends contact me over these!) like them for the tips and pointers they can apply in real life, and to, (sadly) be a hit with women...

In light of this popularity factor, I went looking for more articles in the same vein. Once again, Esquire.com has proved to be a treasure trove of information.

The link I feature today is self-explicit. Written by the editors of Marie Claire, every tidbit on here is spot-on!

Read on for an eye-opener! You can access the original article here.

*****

Things a Man Should Never Do in the Company of a Woman

The editors of Marie Claire advise against bad tips, blow-drying, and cleaning your gun. We'll take their word for it.

By The Editors of Marie Claire


Reveal how much your car cost.

Clean your gun.

Polish high school trophies (which you still have displayed).

Refer to your mother as your best friend.

Rap.

Check out our assistant/roommate/the baby-sitter.

Question our footwear.

Blow-dry your hair.

Tip less than 20 percent.

Celebrity impressions.

Impressions of us.

Forget to carry cash.

Flip it, flop it, swing it around, tug on it, adjust it, scratch it, or do anything that will remind us that it's just a goofy appendage and not a mystical source of pleasure and satisfaction.

Wii.

Boot and rally.

Scream -- at the dog, at the guy who just stole your parking spot, at Eli Manning. Because, no matter how much Eli deserves it (picked off again!), when we hear you raise your voice, we have an idea of what we're in for.

Talk about former exploits. Ever.

Use the words bitch, slut, tramp, or whore, unless referring to another man.

Stick anything in our butts, unless previous discussions have occurred.

Tell us you're going to kiss us. (Just get on with it!)

*****

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday - Calling Home Snippet #7

Hey beautiful people!

Sunday already - time flies, innit? I'm away this weekend, on vacation break with hubby & the hyenas, but I still wanted to have my six sentences go up and not disappoint the regular Six Sentence Sunday visitors who come over every week (my hugest, biggest, awesomest thanks for driving by and leaving me your comments! You don't know how much that fuels me to tackle on another hectic week *grin*)

Okay, so we're back in the yard of Dr. Jamie Gillespie's house in Camberry, Surrey. Jamie's just witnessed the nerve-wracking relationship between Margo and her daughter, 11-year-old Emma, as well as the mind game Emma is trying to drag her mother into. What's going on in his head?
Read on to find out :)


'...
Her eyes on Emma, she seemed to have forgotten he stood there. She bit her full lower lip, and in that gesture, Jamie saw all the frustration and puzzlement riddling her; he was sure she wasn't a woman who wore her feelings on her sleeve, yet right then, he could read her like an open book.

What he saw tugged at his heart and his compassion - she might be out of the question as a conquest and potential love interest, but she remained a person in need of help.

Of healing . . . .

He blinked. Where does that thought come from? ...'



Thanks for dropping by today, peeps. I promise to drive by your blogs and check your sixes when I get home on Monday.

Have a lovely Sunday!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Friday, January 20, 2012

Progress Friday

Hey peeps

Cannot believe it's Friday already, and my, what a week this has been! I started Monday as usual - not grumpy because school's in now and Monday means I get to pack the kiddo off and enjoy a few hours of peace and quiet at home to work (I know, bad. I'm a perfectly flawed & imperfect mum, remember? *grin*)

Was looking forward to a nice & easy week, where I'd hopefully get all my ducks lined up and finally be starting work on the staggering to-be-written pile of 2012. It was too much to ask, yet...

Monday took a different turn the minute I opened my inbox and saw an email from Valerie Mann of Decadent Publishing. A little while earlier, prompted and prodded by friends at Decadent (Jessica E. Subject, JoAnne Kenrick, & Rebecca Royce - yes, I'm looking at you, ladies!), as well my amazing beta reader & friend, Lynn Spangler, I had bitten the bullet and written a story for the 1NightStand line at Decadent.

And would you believe it - Valerie said they liked the story, and if I still wanted a contract, they'd offer one.

If I still wanted??? I'm like, seriously??? Lady, I'm ready to fall upon your feet to get a contract with your house and into the 1NS line!!! Back and forth we went that morning (I love it when US folks are at their work computers late at night - our times mesh just right when I get on in the morning!), and by the end of the day, I was...

A Decadent Publishing author!

How's that as a way to start the week? Next up came the sheets and sheets of paperwork necessary whenever you contract a story (and that's work I loooove to do, lol!), with me totally flying high... to having to crash yesterday when I burned and simply started to hyperventilate.

Not to mention that for once, I am so looking forward to the weekend, because
a) it's a long weekend, Monday being a public holiday here (Chinese New Year festival), &
b) we're making the most of the extra day by booking ourselves into a hotel for the next 2 days!

Yes, hubby, the hyenas, and I are going on a small vacation break this weekend, and I am so looking forward to that! Imagine - no cooking, for 2 days. No making the beds and cleaning. The gorgeous beach and sea... Gah, I wish I were there already, lol!)

So now I'm in that I-cannot-wait-for-cover-art stage where the 1NS is concerned - the title, btw, is Once Upon A Stormy Night, and the story takes place on my island. It's about the meeting of Lars Rutherford, a British/Swedish expat, and Simmi Moyer, a mixed race white/Indian career girl on a stormy night. Neither is looking for love, but love might just have found them nevertheless...

Hope you'll all have a lovely weekend, peeps!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Link Thursday: Oh No He Didn't! 27 Worst Dates Ever!

Hello beautiful people!

Now who doesn't like to laugh? *waits...waits...* Right - I knew it! We all love a good laugh, or at least something to make us smile. And what best than something funny to share with you through Link Thursday today?

Scouring my bookmarked links, I came upon these 2 articles (yes, I feature 2 articles today!). The topic was pretty much the same, so I combined them on here for maximum impact, though it's a little (okay, a lot!) long. The topic - bad dates!

We've all had at least one of those (even I have! Let's just say that the person who hooked me up with a blind date had to have been literally blind, because the bloke looked nothing like how she had described him *grin*).

And, I bet your heroine must also have been on an awful date. Want something to put in her backstory? Or, maybe, she's going through a string of Mr. Wrongs - how do you show how wrong these Mr. Wrongs are? Or, worse I know, but maybe your hero needs to slip up sometime, so he can be redeemed?

Read on for some amazing relationship fail & bad date stories! Warning: make sure you're not eating or drinking in front of your screen when you read this (yes, sometimes it's that bad and your laugh is that good!). Some are a tad risque too...

The articles are from Marie Claire (27 Worst Dates, and they don't give the name of the author), & MSN Lifestyle Love & Relationships (Oh No He Didn't! originally from Cosmopolitan Magazine)

Enjoy!

*****

27 Worst Dates Ever

The bad, the ugly, and the uglier — a collection of the worst date stories ever.

After a bad breakup, I let my mom set me up with the son of one of her friends. I knew nothing about him other than his name and the fact that he was 16 years my senior. I like older men, so I agreed. It ended up being the shortest dinner date in history — a total of 22 minutes, mostly consisting of him making outdated pop culture references in an attempt to relate to me. Every time I tried to steer the conversation towards his interests or some kind of mutual ground, he would come out with questions like "So what's your favorite show on MTV?" and "So how about that Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman?" (You're a little behind, buddy). I was bored to tears and couldn't wait to get out of there. —Dee, NJ

I once went on a date with a guy I met online. He looked normal enough, and I agreed to go on a date with him. We met for drinks, and things were really going well. Handsome, charming, seemingly normal, so I agreed to go on another date with him. We head to a really nice steakhouse, and after appetizers and his third martini, he starts to speak baby talk to me, as in "Would you wike a wittle kissy-wissy?" Our steaks arrive and he reached across the table to cut my meat for me! I'm completely freaked out, decide I'm going to the bathroom, and he asks if I need help wiping. (I wish I was making this up.) I make it to the ladies' room, where my waitress walks in after me as I'm planning my escape route, and she says, "Um, I was just listening in on your date. Your guy has put a pacifier on your plate. Do you need to get out the back?" She winds up sneaking me through the kitchen, and I slipped her a $20 tip. —Kristin, NY

Though we had really hit it off on the phone, when we met in person, my blind date looked nothing like he said he did and spent our entire date talking about how unattractive he is and how women constantly reject him, asking me if I thought he was ugly. I cut the date short, declined a second date, and thought I was in the clear when I didn't hear from him for a couple of days. Then, I got an e-mail from him: not a single word, just a photo of his penis. —Diana, NJ

My date told me he wanted to take me to a restaurant out in a ritzy town that was pretty far from where I live. Less than a minute after I get in the dude's car, he's like, "I forgot that you lived so far out. Do you mind if we don't go to the place I suggested?" I said no, not at all. Then he says, "Good, 'cause I don't really feel like driving way out there and then bringing your ass all the way back home. I mean this is just a first date." I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, and we went to one of my favorite restaurants. We eat and he orders two drinks. He does not pay for my meal. Then once I pay for my half and leave my tip, he puts down $20 and asks me if i have any more small bills because he doesn't want to break his other $20. I told him to ask the waitress to change his damn $20. We leave the restaurant, and he says, "This always happens to me when I drink rum. It makes me have to pee." We keep walking, and then I realize I'm walking by myself because he stopped to pee in the alley, right in front of me. —Erin, DC

 A guy took me to the Tompkins Square Park dog parade on a date, followed by brunch, where he told me about how he can't have orgasms because he's on Prozac. And oh, could I cover brunch, because he makes like zero dollars. —Julieanne, NY

 It was my first date with a guy I met on an online personals site. We had a couple quick conversations online, but he said he wasn't a great writer so we had agreed to meet for coffee. As I sat, I imagined the really cute guy and unbelievable credentials, and was extremely excited to meet him. Finally a guy sat down and introduced himself as my date, but instead of the 25-year-old I was expecting and was pictured on his profile, he was overweight, balding, and at least 50. He ended up talking to me for at least a half hour about how he was a 25-year-old in a 50-year-old's body, and that the picture was from his youth. Needless to say, I didn't call for a second date. —Samantha, AZ

I was 25 and working at a restaurant in a busy mall. There was a guy who worked at the art store next door to us who asked me out. We went to a nice restaurant and had just ordered when he leaned over the table and said, "I shave my balls." I excused myself, went through the kitchen and straight out the back door to a bar to use the phone to call my friend to pick me up. —Viki, WV

 On my fourth date with a guy my mom set me up with, we were playing pool and enjoying a couple of beers when a girl came up to our table, introduced herself, and then threw her beer on my date. The girl left, and about 30 minutes later, the police showed up and arrested him. They then took me in for questioning and asked me how long I've known him, where I was on this day, and so on. I then found out my date had set his roommate on fire and thrown him down a flight of stairs. Now he's in prison, and I never accepted another blind date invitation again. —Kim, GA

The worst date I ever went on was with a guy I'd known in high school. Jack was the captain of the basketball team, an A+ student, and all-around good guy whom I'd only admired from afar during my senior year. I saw him at a party 10 years later, and we ended up having a conversation. By the end of the evening, we had dinner plans for a few nights later. He picked me up right on time and had the reservations made — all good signs, right? WRONG! The gregarious guy from the party apparently had left on a permanent vacation, and I was suddenly sitting next to Mr. Silent. Then, a couple Jack knew sat behind us, and he proceeded to turn completely around and have a conversation with them. He didn't even acknowledge my presence! It was horrifying. My saving grace was a friend of mine who happened to be waitressing that night. She saved me with an "emergency" phone call. Jack didn't even offer to drive me home when I announced I had to leave; he said "okay" and kept on talking! The best part of the story? He actually called me the next day and asked if I wanted to go out again! —Bethany, MA

 After sending a car to pick me up at the airport, the doctor I'm visiting who I met while on vacation in Brazil greets me at the door in scrubs and gives me the keys to his place. Then he puts some cash on the table. Weird — not sure how I should take that. He says he has to work all day but that we'll meet up later. After work, the doctor was tired, so we stayed in. I put on some lingerie. He seems to like what he sees but doesn't say — or do — anything. We watch TV. He asks if I want to sleep in his bed with him. I lie down next to him, and he falls asleep. The next day, we start kissing on his couch. I ask if he wants to go to the bedroom. He takes me into the guest bedroom — I don't know why. I go down on him, and he likes that. After a few minutes, he's done and I'm stunned. My last night there, I leave on only my underwear. We kiss, then he turns over. Back home, I e-mail the doctor to thank him for the wonderful weekend. He e-mails back saying he had fun and that we will stay in touch. I think about how he was barely present, and I realize I'm not that into him. And that I'm really glad I didn't have sex with him...thank God. —Talita, CA

Last weekend marked yet another futile effort at getting a date. It all took place at a brunch birthday party for my friend. After finishing brunch, we were having a few drinks. I sauntered over to a table where a really cute girl named Jessica was talking to her roommate and three of my buddies. I thought Jessica was cute as soon as I walked in. This does not explain why I started talking about a porn I had written in my head with my friend Luke. Luke and I are not a good combo. We egg each other on, and horrible thoughts that lurk in the depths of our minds somehow make it out for discussion. With Luke at the table, what should have been a done and done sentence about my porn turned into a full-scale discussion. We moved to another bar, and I decided that my porn discussion had not damaged my chances. What transpired next may have done the trick. At the bar, there were a bunch of beer-pong tables. As Jason and I took the table against Jessica and her roommate, we declared University of Delaware dominion and started sinking shots. With each shot, I peppered them with banter, infuriating them. By the time Jason and I had defeated them, a beating similar to Vikings raiding and pillaging a peaceful seaside town, Jessica was telling me to get away from her. She also smacked me. —Rich Santos, NY

After a late dinner, my date and I decided to take advantage of our remote spot in the parking lot and started getting hot and heavy in the car. Ten minutes later, I was putting my clothes back on while being escorted out of the car by a police officer. My date was behind the wheel and had to convince the cop that he was sober while I had to swear up and down that I was undressing of my own volition before he let us go. —DV, NJ

 I was out with a new man I'd met. We had a great time, and he suggested we go back to his house and watch a flick. So we were talking and watching a movie and were having a glass of wine when he mentioned something about going up to get a cigarette. He slipped away and I didn't think anything of it, until 30 minutes later when I realized I was still sitting on the couch in this stranger's home. Alone. To keep from bothering him, if he was talking to some friends or something, I texted him to ask him where he went. He texted me back 10 minutes later to tell me he was in bed. He left me, the first time in his home, alone. On the couch. For 40 minutes. And went to bed. I was so irked I just got up, put the wine away, and walked out quietly. Needless to say, I didn't call him again. —Ashley, CA

 My friend Carrie met a guy named Robert on Match.com, and the two went out on what started out as a normal, delightful date. Robert stretched the truth slightly, telling Carrie he lived on the Upper East Side. Turns out he lived in Harlem (at least another 1/2 hour from her place in New Jersey), so there was no way she was going to do the late night trip back to Hoboken. When they got to Robert's apartment, they were having some wine and discussing regular topics while sitting on the couch, when suddenly Robert flipped out about his career. He got up, paced about the room, and muttered to himself about his career failures. Carrie, creeped out by his sudden shift in behavior, decided to turn in for the night, went to bed, and pretended to sleep. Once Robert thought Carrie was asleep, he downed a handle of Jack Daniels, while his ranting grew more and more disturbing. Carrie tried to calm him down and urged him to come to bed and go to sleep, which he finally agreed to do. But he got up again and went back to his Jack Daniels, downing shots of it this time. After things had finally quieted down, she noticed a strange sound coming from the corner of the bedroom. She got up and saw Robert in the corner of the room where all of her stuff was sitting on the floor, peeing on it. Finally, Carrie made her way home to Hoboken at 2 a.m., clutching her urine-stained belongings. —Rich Santos, NY

 My worst date was in 2006. I met a man, a singer in a band — and he called me to ask me out. He was without a car, so I picked him up. We went to a bar to have a drink. I ordered a bottle of water, and he didn't order anything. When the bill came, he told me he didn't have money at all, not even to pay for my bottle of water! I didn't have money either, so I came back to the bar the next day to pay my bill...and, of course, I never saw him again. —Daniela

 When my date picked me up, he was with his friend, and my sister told me that his friend was married to her archenemy. Great, I was going on a double date with a girl who hated my sister. When I got to the car, I saw a dog inside — it belonged to the husband of my sister's archenemy. After we were on the road for a few minutes, the dog climbed into the back seat where I was — yes, I was in the back seat — and threw up. I rode the rest of the way to his friend's house right beside dog vomit. The weirdest part of the date was that my date brought his camera and took pictures of the two of us like we were already a couple. I never spoke to him again. —Sharon, NC

 I worked at a gym and was introduced to one of the trainers at a different location. We decided to meet up for a date after work. The whole time we were eating all he kept talking about was his "special guy friend." We then walked around the outdoor boardwalk and headed back to my car. He told me he had some great CDs in his car, so I climbed in and we started listening to music. Then, he asks me if I want to see a trick. I say okay — and he pulls out his penis and begins to flex it and make it wiggle. We never spoke again. —Audrey, TN

 My blind date had been racking up major points throwing in French throughout the night (I don't speak it). We hit it off, but I declined when he asked me to come home with him at the end of the night. He said something in French in response but wouldn't translate. It wasn't until after our second date that I found out the translation of the word — turns out, he had called me a whore! —DV, NJ

 I'm a New Yorker and was seeing this guy from Connecticut. We didn't see each other very often, so we kept it pretty casual. For my last birthday, he invited me over, took me to a very fancy dinner, and then we headed back to his place to...catch up. We were in his apartment when the doorbell rang. It was his next-door neighbor. Apparently, she had a bad sunburn from going to the beach earlier that day and asked him to rub some lotion on her back. While I'm sitting in his bed, he goes into the bathroom with her and rubs her down. Without acknowledging me, he walked her into the hallway and started talking to her for a few minutes with the door cracked. As I'm sitting there all alone, fuming and texting my friend that I would be home in time to go out that night after all, he walks in as if nothing's wrong and wants to get back to business. Needless to say, I made it back to New York in record time. —Patricia, NY

On a visit to a theme park with an ex-boyfriend, we went on the Pirate Ship ride, and halfway through, he started vomiting over everyone. I'm still traumatized to this day! —Morag, NY

 John seemed sweet and romantic, and I had known him for years, so when he offered to take me out to a fancy Italian restaurant, I couldn't say no. I got all dressed up in my favorite little black ensemble and waited for him. He called and asked if I could just meet him at the restaurant. Arriving outside the restaurant, he came over laughing hysterically, and he had a friend with him. I asked him what he was doing, and he said he had been to the town bar next door drinking, and "oh my god, they had boiled eggs for 25 cents" and he had eaten a ton of them. Who wants to hear the words "boiled eggs" on their first date? His friend said goodbye, and we headed into the restaurant. John, however, had no interest in actually eating dinner. He wanted immediately to head to the bar. After asking if we were actually going to eat, John told me eating was "overrated." So there I am looking around while no actual conversation is taking place, and he turns to me and says, "Hey, you know what? You f***ing disgust me." Absolutely horrified, I had no idea what to say; I just sat there stunned. "What!?" John asked a little irritated, "Lighten up, it's a line from a movie." At that moment, although I had no idea which movie he was referring to or what planet he came from, I realized, hey you know what? I'm a smart, beautiful woman, and the last thing I need is some asshole alcoholic telling me I disgust him, joking or not. —Koty, MI

 He was a bartender with an unfortunate mustache. And that probably should have been my first clue. We had a one-night stand, and I didn't think much of it when he asked if he could take me on a date. I was a little surprised when he did call, and we actually made plans. We went to dinner, where he picked what I would be eating for dinner off the menu without consulting me. We then went to a movie, and he wanted to see a horror movie. I declined and suggested two other options: one comedy, one action. The man literally pitched a fit over the movie and caused a scene over it. I gave in to the petulant child he had become and watched a horror movie featuring a vivid and graphic rape scene within the first 20 minutes. After we left the movie, we drove to Wal-Mart. Why you may ask? Because Mr. Mustache needed to buy a gun rack. Yes, he took me on a date that involved buying a gun rack after two hours of on-screen rape and murder. It was delightful. And let me clarify about the mustache: it was pencil thin across the upper lip before jetting out into thick chops that ran down a 45-degree angle to his chin! —Leah, CO

In college, I found out from a friend that this guy who I never even met thought I was attractive. (Apparently, we frequented the same parties.) I finally talked face-to-face with him about a month later, and he asked me out on a date to a coffee shop near campus. About an hour and a $2.50 pot of some weird tea later, he explained that he had a girlfriend. Well, he lied, and afterward I found out that he wasn't into me because I wasn't "Asian" enough, and thus started dating some Japanese exchange student. Who knew I didn't pass this white boy's test of Asian-ness? Had I known he had some weird Asian fetish, I would have NEVER have gone out with him. —Arianna, NY

 As soon as I mentioned that I was in school studying psychology to my blind date, he started pressing me to psychoanalyze him — minutes after we'd met. I kept nervously laughing and told him I really couldn't, seeing as how I'd just met him, but he wouldn't drop it, even going as far as telling me a long-winded story about an ex-girlfriend of his that keeps calling. Meanwhile, as I was refusing to play Freud, he kept ordering drinks on my behalf, when I hadn't even made it through my first glass of sangria. At one point, I had three full glasses lined up next to my plate while I sipped water. When the check came, he used the calculator on his phone to add up his portion of the total, and told me what I owed to the penny...including the untouched drinks. —Diana, NJ

 My friend Margaret's debutante dinner was a gala event. Her on-and-off boyfriend at the time, Jake, "invited himself" to be her date, promising that he'd behave — despite his history of reckless behavior on dates. Jake's promise evaporated faster than a gasoline puddle in the sun. After dinner, Margaret went to her hotel room to change into her ballgown. In the meantime, Jake decided to "tailgate" the ceremony. He found Margaret's friends in a hotel room and proceeded to down an entire bottle of Goldschläger. Wasted, he headed back to the ballroom and accosted Margaret's grandmother. Margaret found him muttering about fishing and pried him away from her grandmother. After returning to their hotel room, he promptly got bored and left, informing Margaret that he was going to "look for drugs." He then walked up and down the halls of the hotel, asking guests in every room if they knew where he could score some Ritalin. Upon his return to the hotel room, his drug run coming up empty, he propositioned Margaret and her female cousin for a threesome. After Margaret turned down his romantic request for an incestuous threesome, he passed out drunk. —Rich Santos, NY

 My body betrays me during intense moments on the spot, such as first dates or fancy nights out. Here is a list of the ways my body betrays me and makes me look disgusting to my date:

1. Constant nose running: It's really tough when you're at a nice restaurant where they only give you those fabric napkins. I can get away with blowing my nose on paper, but blowing a snot wad into one of those fabric napkins is pretty foul.
2. Sweat: Body odor does not usually plague me, but I fear it. If I ever smelled body odor emanating from under my clothes, I'd just shut down the date and head home. Lately, also, I've been getting puddles under my pits. When this is happening, I just sit there like I'm in a straitjacket.
3. Breath: Why do I insist on eating garlic earlier in the day before my dates? It must be some sort of self-sabotage because garlic takes about 24 hours to exit from every pore in my body and get off my breath. There are certain things out there that you can eat that don't respond to toothpaste and mouthwash, and they just leave your breath on their own time.
4. Dry skin: When I get dry skin, I look like I have fleas, and I just can't stop scratching — not a very attractive thing to do on a date.
5. Spraying it: I usually don't do this, but when I'm drunk, sometimes I spray it instead of saying it. The worst is when food particles fly out during dinner. Again, one of these things that your date should just call out and laugh at. Covering it up is just as awkward as the act of spraying! —Rich Santos, NY

I'm off work early, on my way to a cupcake place. A guy walking toward me flashes me a big grin, then passes by. The guy suddenly comes back and stops me. "Listen," he says, "I didn't want to regret not saying hello." He's strapping, short-haired, dark-eyed. We chat, and he asks for my number. I'm nervous about handing over my info, but he seems normal enough. So I jot down my first name and number on a scrap of paper. Heading home. There's a message on my cell phone from the guy on the street: "Call me back." I don't. The next morning, I see several missed calls from the same guy, starting at the crack of dawn. There's a more urgent tone: "I think we have a real connection!" Calls are pouring in, from two different numbers, one private. Then come the texts: "I thought you were special, but you are SELFISH and inconsiderate." In a cold sweat now, I turn off the phone. What have I done? I turn the cell back on, and a new text awaits me. "You are going to die ALONE. Bitch." Off goes the phone. The next day, more diabolical calls. I'm too embarrassed to tell anyone I gave my number to a guy on the street. The texts take a new turn: "My cock is hard. I want to lick your pussy." Payback, I guess, for being momentarily open to a stranger. —Maureen, NY

*

Oh No He Didn't!


Sick of everyone using Facebook and Twitter as a forum for bragging and humble bragging about their amaazing boyfriend or husband? Then this is for you. We got Cosmo readers to take to social media and share the #RelationshipFail they'll never forget. (Then be sure to read these #FirstDateFail and #SexFail stories!)

"Identical twins who liked to play mind games. 'Nuff said."
—@SpottdDog
"Just when I decided that I was in love with him, he confessed that he is married." —@KEYLANIEQ

"I dated a guy for almost three months over the summer. Then suddenly he acted like I didn't even exist. Literally. We saw each other out—he was walking toward me and we made eye contact from 10 feet away. The he turned a corner and kept walking, without saying a word to me." —Tanya

"He told me, 'I love you' on the third date." —@Meg_Lette

*****

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Monday, January 16, 2012

Random Thoughts' Monday: Getting there... & some news...!

Hey beautiful people!

It's Monday, and the start of a new week. In my ideal game plan, I should've been on top of the game right now - all caught up with email, breezing through FB & Twitter and talking lots more with my friends there, I should've been writing a storm and totally immersed in my characters. In short, working at full throttle on being an author.

Instead, my second work week of January looks like a train wreck that's just happened, and now I'm left to pick up the pieces from this wreck and try to steer the train back onto the rails...

Remember last week I asked to please not be a robot? I'm working on that, trying to be more present for my family. And, uhm, turns out my son wants cake, and I'm on a total out and out war against processed food (more about that next Monday - I got into a new book called Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food, and this has me totally revamping our food habits here. Will chronicle this surefire debacle next week, when I get my head fixed on straight on my shoulders).
So, yes, Hyena #2 wants cake, and how can I say No to his big Puss-in-Boots eyes (that doesn't work all the time though, esp not when we're out shopping). Now 'cake' is really innocuous thing the big scheme of things, and I found myself... baking! Cake's done, I didn't burn down the house (and sadly didn't get to call any hunky fireman over, not that we have hunky firemen in Mauritius - most of them have a potbelly!) - actually, cake 'looks' done. Haven't tasted it yet. Waiting for hubby to get home and act as the self-sacrificing guinea pig here *grin*

Okay, that's it for Zee The Mum & Family Gal. Now on to Zee The Author... Have I got news for you *BIG grin*

I am totally, totally pleased & stoked to announce that as from today, I am joining the Decadent Publishing authors, through their 1NS line!

Over the second half of December, my brain scrambled for purchase and begged to write something. Egged on by some wonderful Decadent authors whom I call super-friends, the idea to write a 1NS short story set on my beautiful island, Mauritius, germinated and took root. I took the plunge, and had an unlikely couple meet through Madame Evangeline's 1NightStand service. :)
Stay tuned for more details about Lars Rutherford & Simmi Moyer's story, tentatively titled Once Upon A Stormy Night.

My week's started awesomely well - I hope it has for you too!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday - Calling Home Snippet #6

Hey beautiful people

The week seems to zip by as if on warp speed, innit? Cannot believe it's time once again for Six Sentence Sunday. Looking forward to some really awesome snippets as I troll the list later on - join me? :)

As for me, today, I'm taking ye all back to the yard that surrounds the double-fronted Victorian house in Camberry, Surrey. Last week, Jamie found Emma outside his surgery window, and their conversation when he came out to meet her was staggering to say the least for Jamie. How will he take that information, when he had his sights set on Margo?

Today's six come from a little further down in this scene. A panicked Margo is looking for her runaway daughter, whom she finds with Jamie outside. And suddenly, Jamie realizes the relationship between the mother and daughter is tempestuous, to say the least... [FYI - Jamie's been steering a recalcitrant Emma to the house out back, and Margo's just grabbed the girl's shoulder]


'...
Her slender, manicured hand with the short fingernails brushed Jamie's, and he almost curled his fist on the frail, girlish frame at the burst of electricity that shot up his fingers and arm - he let go, as if burnt; dead end, he reminded himself.

"Emma, don't do that again, you hear me?"

Terror laced Margo's voice, and her face held a soft, pink flush, her hair in soft disarray where the locks brushed her Burberry trench - quite a departure from the composed woman she had presented just last night.

Emma twisted her body away from Margo's touch, then trudged away, toward the yard that opened in front of the other house entrance, at the back of the property, "Oh, Mum, I was just taking a walk; no big deal, okay?"

"I was worried," Margo said to the girl's departing figure.

"Yeah, whatever." ..."


Intrigued? You can grab your copy of Calling Home (A Destiny's Child Book) in a slew of formats here.

Don't forget to check out some amazing snippets later today at the SSS site - surefire goodies to be found at Siobhan Muir, EP Beaumont, Sue K, Lucy Felthouse, Layna Pimentel, Guilie Castillo-Oriard, Sandra Bunino, Rebecca Royce, Tory Michaels, Jessica E. Subject, Sherry Gloag, JC Martin, and at my sister's place, Natalie G. Owens. :)

Have a lovely Sunday!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Friday, January 13, 2012

Progress Friday

Hey peeps!

First week of being back on the 'job', so to speak... and not much to show for progress, sadly. Still in limbo over getting back into a productive work routine, and with that hacking cough shaking me every other minute, not exactly in the right frame of mind to concentrate. The plan was to be working already on Glory Days (Book #2 in the Destiny's Child lineup) but no such luck...

That being said, I did dust off an old project and sent it off to where it was supposed to be sent (my, aren't we intellectual today...). So at least there's that.

I guess life must be good on the whole, because I found myself humming this tune throughout the day. An upbeat song, and the lyrics are very much what we're having here - it's 72 degrees, zero chance of rain, it's been a perfect day...

Enjoy the song - I'll leave you with it!



And if we're friends on Facebook, drop by my page later today - the Hunk of the Week will be back, and I promise a treat *wink*

Hope you all have a lovely weekend, beautiful people!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Link Thursday: 27 Things Men Don't Know About Women

Hey beautiful people!

I have a fun one for you today. :) There's nothing I like more than enlightening the male brains in my house about what women want/think/believe... and I'm sure you must get a kick out of it too. *grin*

Now let's take it to another level - how about enlightening your reluctant and/or caveman hero about 'real' women? And need a peek into the female mind to better sketch that heroine of yours?

Look no further! Today's Link Thursday features an article originally from Esquire.com which is a bible of behaviour and etiquette at most, and a trove of treasure articles on men & women. So, Esquire.com actually got female celebrities to dish about what things about women they wish men knew.

Can you say lots of goodies packed in this article? I sure can!

I accessed the article here, on the MSN Lifestyle, Your Life, website. You can check the original slideshow with gorgeous pics of the celebrities dishing the advice. :)

Enjoy!

*****

27 Things Men Don't Know About Women


Female celebrities offer relationship secrets and dating advice for the opposite gender. Now maybe they'll learn something.

Jane Krakowski
"When you break up with us, that means it's over, and we will only sleep with you two or three more times."

Courteney Cox "We pay closer attention to your hands than you think. It's bad enough if you don't have manly hands, but if your nails are longer than ours, forget it."

Cheryl Hines
"Everything sounds better when your mouth is next to our ear and you whisper it. Everything from 'Sorry about the smell' to 'I'm going to love you forever, m'lady.'"

Poppy Montgomery
"When considering whether or not to ask out the girl you're afraid to talk to, keep this in mind: No matter who you are or what you look like, it's always flattering when you hit on us. Always."

Leslie Mann
"We can tell how good you'll be in bed by how good you are on the dance floor."

Alyssa Milano
"Women are innately self-conscious. This is not a choice; it's a gender-wide condition. On a bad day, I look in the mirror and see my ten-pound-heavier alter ego. Her name is Bertha. On a really bad day, Bertha sees her two-hundred-pound-heavier alter ego. Her name is Brian Dennehy."

Connie Britton
"We want dessert. We want you to order dessert. What we don't want is for you to ask us if we want dessert."

Carmen Electra
"When we ask which outfit we should wear, humor us with an answer — just pick one already! — but expect us to go with the one you didn't choose."

Sanaa Lathan
"Men who wear sunglasses at night don't look cool, rich, or sexy. They look as if they should be holding a cane or following a dog."

Christina Applegate
"Call us back right away. That 'three day' crap does not apply. We're getting older and we don't have time to screw around. Wait too long and we'll lose interest. Trust me on this one."

Tea Leoni
"Supersecret: Unless we're blind or have no night-light in the bathroom, the whole toilet-seat thing is exaggerated and meant to control you."

Julia Louis-Dreyfus
"Of course we know how to work the TiVo. We're not stupid."

Maria Bello
"We're afraid of commitment, too. You may think we spend our time scheming ways to trap you into marriage, but many of us are quite happy being independent and autonomous. Besides, we're not in any rush to quit lusting after young Calvin Klein models."

Jennifer Love Hewitt
"PMS is not a lame excuse to be able to yell at you. It's a great excuse."

Emily Deschanel
"Even if we've only been dating a few weeks, don't introduce us as your 'lady friend' — or that's exactly what we'll become."

Ashley Jensen "When we fall asleep before the end of the film, it's because we are happy and relaxed, not because we're bored of Live Free or Die Hard."

Padma Lakshmi
"Some of us prefer boxing to yoga. None of us actually likes Pilates."

Jenna Fischer
"If we run into your ex-girlfriend in public, the first thing you should do is put your arm around us. And if we have to introduce ourselves, you are in big trouble."

Kerry Washington
"How sexy you look unbathed at a campsite first thing in the morning is as important as how sexy you look in a tux."

Maria Bartiromo
"Otis Redding said it perfectly: Try a little tenderness."

Melora Hardin
"We'd much rather try on bras than see them on surgically altered, airbrushed supermodels, but we know how much you enjoy the Victoria's Secret catalog. Consider it a gift."

Andrea Savage
"We hate baby showers as much as you assume a sane person would."

Julie Delpy
"We need you to be reachable at all times, but we don't always pick up our phones when you call. We realize this seems like a double standard; if you'd like to discuss it further, just leave a message."

Samantha Mathis
"Asking for directions is a really big turn-on."

Saira Mohan
"Pick the weirdest part of our body and compliment it. The left elbow, the forehead, shins. Just be creative."

Kyra Sedgwick
"Our friends are not your enemies, and our enemies better not be your friends."

Sela Ward
"Sometimes we think we really understand men. Then we regain consciousness."

*****

My personal favourite is Sela Ward's! Which one's yours? :)

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tidbit Tuesday: Where's my best-laid plan, and my brain...?

"Comme un grain de sable dans une mécanique bien huilée..."

That's exactly how I can summarise my coming back to the blogging world, work, writing, and all that. Uh, yes, what does it mean...? Sorry, told you my brain had gone AWOL.

So that line above translates to "like a grain of sand in a well-oiled mechanism". That's the gist of it; it's a French saying for describing when something tiny and insignificant happens and totally throws off something that was working brilliantly.

I had the plan right - kids into school; my free hours back during the day; my routine in place. Everything should've sailed through yesterday. But did it? Big fat NO! I didn't even get to look at my email, let alone post on the blog. And the kiddo did start school yesterday! Good grief! I kept saying my life would be back to normal once school starts again, but where was my 'normal' yesterday? Certainly not around here!

How on earth did I do it before the hyenas went on summer break, back in October of 2011? Surely I cannot have forgotten in just 9 weeks, innit?

And that's when I realized something - it's totally easy to have your well-laid routine spin out of your control... and it's not exactly easy to get back into a routine. What I mean is, in the end you're switching one routine for another, and that takes some coping, some managing. I've just been a regular summer soccer mum for 9 weeks - that's who I became. Though I'm still the writer, I haven't been the writer these past 2 months. So how can I expect to go back to being that in a snap of fingers?

Goodness yes, I know I'm not making much sense here, lol, but bear with me, please.

What's this post about? Best-laid plans.

I had it all figured out - drop kiddo off, come back, park myself in my chair, read email; at 10 AM, log off the Net and open the latest WIP/revision doc. My usual writing routine, in other words.

Except that I've forgotten how I haven't even had time to check but the most urgent of emails lately, how these messages are piling up in my inbox, how many friends and CPs are waiting for an answer from me, that I've been sick ever since this year started and my body is running at only 30% capacity while my mind is right back in overdrive.

Why do we forget all that? That we're human? That life and everything in it takes its toll on us? We're not superwomen (though on some days, I question that!)...

Whenever you have a best-laid plan, you can bet there will be hurdles and wrenches to spiral it out of your control - it's a law of best-laid plans!

So what do we do then?

I dunno... Stay human maybe? Accept our limitations... Show ourselves for who and what we are really... Count on people's understanding...

I want to say - sorry I didn't post yesterday. I'm not making excuses, but trust me when I tell you that life happens, and half the time, she's a hormonal b*tch on steroids!

What does this mean? I want to be the best I can be, but I will not always be able to achieve that. I'm not asking for permission to be human - I'm asking for your understanding that none of us is a machine. I'd prefer to deal occasionally with a 'live' person than everyday with a mechanical robot.

Can I not be a robot, please? And, uh, will someone notify me if they spot a brain wandering around? I think it might just be mine...

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday - Calling Home Snippet #5

Hello beautiful people!

It's Sunday, and I'm jumping like a Duracell bunny on steroids here because tomorrow my kids go back into school! Summer break is finally over for them, and I'm in the mood for celebrating - join me? :)

And since it's Sunday, what best way to party than with Six Sentence Sunday? I've been racking my brain trying to come up with a suitable excerpt for today, and that's when my editor's voice rang inside my head. Today I'll show you one of her favourite passages in the book, and I hope, bring on another laugh... while I show my soap-opera-fangirl roots.

So last week, we left Margo pondering about the raging libido of men younger than thirty, and how these men make perfect baby-making machines... Lol. If you thought that was 'twisted', read on for some more of the madness that is inherent to Margo's life. She might appear cold, rational, and totally unruffled, but mind you - appearances can be very deceptive...

This excerpt is taken from Chapter 2. It's the next day after the happenings in Chapter 1 (which you can read here, and from which all my previous SSS snippets from Calling Home are taken).
Hunky village doctor Jamie Gillespie is staying in his uncle's double-fronted Victorian house in Camberry, Surrey. The other half of the house is up for sale, and would you know it - Margo Nolan is looking for a new house that can also accommodate a live-in nanny for her 'daughter', Emma.

Jamie has found Emma kicking stones outside his surgery window. He's come out, they've started talking, and Emma's complaining that her mum - who is not her "real mum" - has totally ruined her life. Jamie is intrigued - is Emma adopted?

Read on for Emma's revelations:


'...
"No, silly, Margo Mum and my mum used to live together before, when I was a baby, then my mum—my real birth mum—left Margo Mum. Margo Mum stayed back in London—" she paused "—some people say my birth mum wanted Margo Mum to have me if she died, but that Granny Ednah didn't agree, so Granny kept everything a secret, and Margo Mum only found out when Granny died."

Say that again? Jamie blew out a deep breath; that exposé was worse than Cliffs Notes for EastEnders. And Emma's mother and Margo lived together?

Margo is a lesbian? ...'


Quite a bummer for the sexy doctor, innit? :) Question is though - is it true? Grab your copy of Calling Home (A Destiny's Child Book) and find out *grin*

Catch amazing SSS snippets over here - a few I'm sure to visit every week are Natalie G. Owens, Siobhan Muir, JM Blackman, Guilie Castillo-Oriard, Layna Pimentel, Jessica E. Subject, Sherry Gloag, Graylin Fox, Rebecca Royce, Lucy Felthouse, Gem Sivad, Lex Valentine, Romancing Alix,  Cate Masters, Joanne Kenrick, Lexcade, Sandra Bunino, Sue K, Tory Michaels (among others! Yes, I told you that list is chock-full of goodies!! *grin*)

Thanks for coming over, and double/triple thanks if you leave a comment. Come on, make my week, will ye?

Have a lovely Sunday, all!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Link Thursday: The 15 Defining Moments in a Relationship

Hey beautiful people!

Link Thursday and its (somewhat relevant to you!) article is back. I dunno about you, but Thursday is one of my favourite days, because I get to share with you all some of what my trips around cyberspace look like. And I get to share with you information that I think might be helpful to you as a writer (come on, we all know we get ideas, yes, but then we gotta research and back these ideas, don't we?); or as a woman out there in the world, whether you're single, married, in a relationship, a mother, a friend... in short, a heroine in your own right. :)

So today's link is something that has intrigued me ever since I saw the post, and I thought it was highly relevant both to our own lives, and to those of the characters we pen in our romance novels.

Are there defining moments in a relationship? You know, when things suddenly look 'serious' and going toward a more definite direction...

Here's a list of 15 defining moments in every relationship. You might not have had all of them yet; you might not experience each and every one; you might have your own version of what makes a defining moment in your relationship.

I grabbed this from MSN Lifestyle, Your Life segment, a few days ago. You can access the link and check out the slideshow in its original form. The article is by Amy Spencer.

*****

The 15 Defining Moments In A Relationship


By Amy Spencer


Your first kiss isn’t the only milestone you can enjoy. Take and step back to examine just where you are on the road of your relationship and take pleasure in all your firsts-- from fighting to murmuring those three little words.
First times come in many forms. But which of these great moments should you relish and remember and which ones are just you being mushy? In relationship world, we say they all count. Here’s our top 15.

1. First Talk

Your first talk till dawn
Astronomers say it takes just over eight minutes for light from the sun to reach the earth. And that's about how long it feels you've been talking, though it's been over eight hours. "My God, look at the time!" you both say, cursing the violet sky. But it's a good sign if all you want to do is talk for a few million more trips into space and back.

2. First Kiss

The first kiss
We know: Duh. But how could we not mention that Big Red moment? It's like no other feeling in the world.

3. Girlfriend?

When he introduces you as "my girlfriend"
It's so utterly high school that the title still straightens your spine. But how can it not? You're now officially pinned, picked, branded, wanted.

4. First Morning

The first morning after
Some guys you wouldn't share a beet salad with, let alone a whole night. "You want coffee?" he asks the next morning, tossing the duvet your way as he pads to the kitchen. Please, he's saying by the ease of his actions, stay.

5. I Love You?

Finding the nerve to say "I love you"
Jessica Simpson seems content to do so through national magazines. For the rest of us, though, the moment is fraught with anxiety: What if he stares at us blankly? What if we're saying it too soon, and…Sorry, what was that? You do? Oh, thank God.

6. First We

The first time you write "we" in an e-mail to your friends
And they don't write back, "We? Who the hell is we?"

7. First Fight

The first time you fight and make up
Let's be honest: If you never fight, someone's not speaking up. Consider it like an oil change: a healthy way to clean out gunk so you can get back to the joy ride.

8. First Trip

That first trip together
What better way to gauge how you'll fare on your journey through life than to see how you survive hours of snaking security lines? It's also when you establish who'll get the window seat for the duration of your relationship--so act fast, woman.

9. First Grocery Shop

The first time you grocery shop together
You know how his lips taste after a workout and a cold beer. You know to give him five minutes alone when he shakes his head in a "work sucked" kind of way. But to watch this man slip a family-size Fruit Loops into the basket with a dopey grin on his face--that's when you realize you still have worlds to learn about each other.

10. First Control

The first time he lets you control his car/remote/iPod
Seriously, you don’t know how hard it is for him to hand over something he worships so much. Not as much as he worships you, of course, but close. Scary close

11. The Future?

The moment you see a future with him
Some women could imagine having a future with the guys in a J. Crew catalog. But with the man you love, the future you see is sure-footed and sane: A foot rub after a long day. A laundry basket and a loving squeeze (though if he's folding, you really are dreaming).

12. First Notice

When you notice you are no longer primping for him
Whoops! You're sitting on the couch in your time-of-the-month undies. Yet he's looking at you more lovingly than when you're all gussied up. Clearly, my dear, this is the real deal.

13. First Doctor Visit

Going to the doctor together for the first time
Need reason number 652 to stay fit? Have a long sit in a waiting room for someone you love. You'll vow never to have to be there for something worse, because now you need to be healthy for each other.

14. Caring Together

When you care for something together
It doesn't really matter if it's a tomato garden or Rufus the drooling French bulldog. But when you're both responsible for taking care of another living thing, your pairing becomes much more important. Be proud as you watch it grow.

15. Your Commitment

When you commit--we're talking long-term commit--to each other
On the one hand, it feels a bit like picking partners in the schoolyard. ("You want me on your team? Really? Me too!") On the other, it's a watershed moment, when you find yourself so profoundly lucky that someone you adore so much feels exactly the same way about you.

*****

I add my own Defining Moment here - Silence. The first time there's utter silence between you, & you don't feel the need to rush and fill it with words.
When you're alone for the first time (not on a date, say at your place or his), and what should've been an awkward moment is suddenly the most natural thing in the world, when the quiet is just another way you two are communicating. :)

What constitutes a defining relationship moment for you? Drop me a comment and let me know.

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Writing Wednesday: Robyn Carr Visits!

Hey beautiful people!

To me, nothing exemplifies a good time as well as sitting down with a deep, love-inspired and relationship-driven contemporary romance, and one of the epitomes of such a good time happens to be named Robyn Carr. I love her books - her stories are profound and there's always a feel-good factor to them. Ms. Carr's books are pretty much an auto-buy for me, now imagine how thrilled I was to be asked to review her latest story, Hidden Summit, and on top of it, have a chance to feature a Q&A with her on my blog!

I posted the review yeaterday (just scroll down the page to read it!), and here's the answers Robyn Carr has been gracious enough to provide.

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Q: As a writer, what kinds of books inspire you? Do you ever find time to read when you aren't writing your own novels?
A: I read every day. I work long hours, but in the evening after dinner I read—and I am inspired by everything I read, whether it’s mainstream or non-fiction or some other genre. I have a particular taste for contemporary romance and women’s fiction. My favorite authors are Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis, Susan Andersen to name a few. For my reading pleasure I enjoy intelligent, romantic, humorous, sexy novels with strong heroines.


Q: What is the underlying message you want women to take away from this new Virgin River trilogy—Hidden Summit, Redwood Bend, and Sunrise Point?
As in all Virgin River novels, it’s never too late to create your own happy ending. You are the heroine of your own life and you never never never settle for less than the most optimal experience, the most perfect partner. Men and women thrive when they find positive, mutually respectful relationships.

Q: What would you tell someone who is coming to Virgin River for the first time? What do you want them to know about the town as they jump into HIDDEN SUMMIT?
A: Virgin River isn’t an easy place. It calls on a person’s deepest sense of adventure to live there, which at least partially explains the strong sense of community one finds there. Sometimes neighbors have to rely on each other to get through the day, sometimes for their very survival. Not only does Mother Nature challenge this mountain town with snowstorms, floods, earthquakes and mud slides, the landscape is rugged, the wildlife plentiful and fearless, but there are more illegal (and sometimes dangerous) marijuana growers in that area than anywhere else in the US.


Q: It must be hard to come up with characters and string their life stories through multiple novels. How do you keep everyone straight when you go from book to book?
A: Notebook! Very LARGE notebook! By now, I live in Virgin River in my mind – everyday is like going home.

 
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From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Monday, January 02, 2012

Random Thoughts' Monday: It's A New Year!

Hello beautiful people!

Can you believe we've crossed into 2012 already? I still have a hard time with it - reminding myself to use 12 instead of 11 whenever I fill in the dates on official papers, such as bank slips. A new year tiding in is a time of change, innit?

Speaking of change, I cannot believe how much has happened to me in 2011. It's been a fast & furious year, totally fantabulous and with more highs than lows. I was sitting at my desk this morning and taking stock of the past year, and some of the things that have happened, well, I still can't wrap my head around them.

For instance, I am now a published author. Yes, I've had books out in the past, under my pen names. But it's not the same as looking at a book and seeing your real name on there; like having people saying they've read your books and recommending it to others; getting fan mail (totally giddy factor here!), people putting two & two together between the book and little ol' you ...

...and the sheer amount of amazing people I have met throughout the year! The clan at Noble Romance, and then the striking posse of Six Sentence Sunday! You guys totally, and I mean, totally, rock!

Good friends have become even better friends (my soul sisters Natalie G. Owens & Rae Lori showed me even more that I don't need to bemoan the fact that I don't have a biological sister - sisterhood happens across blood lines and geographical borders!);
some people I've met, I've felt like I've known them all my life after barely a few words/lines exchanged (Jessica E. Subject - I'm looking at you specifically here! Then there'd be Noble's JS Wayne, Ingrid Michaels, Lucy Felthouse & Elizabeth Morgan; Sue from Sassyspeaks, Layna Pimentel, Cate Peace on Twitter, among so many others, and I apologize for not citing your names here. You know who you are though, & I love ya all!).

So much has happened... and it all started on that day in December 2010 when I was dashing out to go to the beach and the bungalow my brother-in-law had rented for the holidays... and email-addict me just had to check her inbox before she went out. That's when I saw the request from an editor at Noble Romance Publishing, asking if the full of Walking The Edge was still available for their consideration.
Fast forward a few weeks in February, and *Gasp!*, they wanted the story! Acquisition, contract, meeting the fab folks at Noble (Owner & CEO Jill Noble, submissions editor Becky Dampier, my very own editor, the fantabulous Mary Harris who has become a dear friend on top of the one who pushes me to be better, brighter, & stronger, the awesome Fiona Jayde who does the most fantastic covers ever!).

Hint of a cloud health-wise though - and the scare that I would need more surgery to keep any possibility of cancer at bay again. Pulled from the irreversible point by my team of fabulous doctors (Dr. Mrs. Thacoor, a gifted ob/gyn who actually listens to her patients, & Dr. Mrs. Poorun, a fabulous, kind, & compassionate oncologist with whom there's never any b*llsh*t!) who have never let me down. They both did everything they could to find out how to make my life easier, and erase the spectre of cancer that hangs like Damocles' sword over my head. That's how, after consultation with specialists in South Africa and in Switzerland, they got me on a hormone-therapy regimen that's to stave off the prospect of recurrence.
Now the side effects are a total b*tch (menopause at 28? Seriously???), but hey, I'm alive, and I get to see a new dawn every morning; to see my kid grow up; to spend time with the wonderful man who decided, despite my basket-case neuroses, to make me his wife and stand by my side through thick, thin, and hormonal madness; to live one more moment and do what I want to do...
I started 2011 after another brush with breast cancer, and through daily trips to the hospital for radiation therapy treatments, a time during which I had an hour to kill every day in the waiting room, and my trusted qwerty phone came to the rescue... Add to it fatigue and the need to race through life at 150mph while your body can only go to 50 mph - well, that made for an interesting time :)

Then in the maelstrom of hot flashes, drenched-type night sweats punctuated by terrible bouts of insomnia, I was working on edits for Walking The Edge, which *gasp again*, morphed into a 3-book series. So much I learned through that edit, through this process of getting my book out by fantabulous professional people who were behind me 200%! Had to stop fiddling with certain writing projects and wrap myself around the concept of writing to a deadline, to finish specific WIPs before I jumped into new ones. All through that, the to-be-written list got bigger and bulkier as I wrote down all the ideas I could pursue but just not right now!

Did I add that I had my last university exam during that period? Menopause doesn't only make you got postal, it also scrambles your brain and plays with your memory. Now I understood why people say that it's better to learn when you're still young - age (whether real or brought on by, say, your medication regimen) really does play a part in how mentally fit you are to undertake certain tasks, like studying.

And then June was here - Walking The Edge (Corpus Brides: Book One) came out, and I haven't had a minute to look back. Amid subtle reminders that I better bust my a*se to get Book 2 written and sent ASAP, another world of possibility opened when I asked my editor if I could submit another story to Noble.

Remember the 1-hour to kill in the waiting room back in January, and the trusted qwerty phone? So it turns out that I did what I do best during that time - I wrote...

And the result was a 50K sweet romance story between a cold & uptight forensic pathologist whose world takes a spin when she lands custody of an 11-year-old girl, and who meets the handsome & sexy village doctor next-door... Yes, that was Calling Home (A Destiny's Child Book)! This one was snagged again by Noble, and came out in December!

1 year, 2 book contracts & 2 releases, and a 110K story completed (and currently on the editor's desk *gnawing cuticles here*). Not bad for someone who'd started the year with the goal to simply 'be out there' as she worked towards publication...

There have been some lows too, like the death of one of my uncles after his courageous battle with cancer. I didn't use to be close to him, but battling the same disease brought us together in a way someone who's never had cancer will not really understand... It was a blow to lose him, especially when he seemed to be doing so well with his treatments.

So all in all, it's been an eventful 2011 for me, and generally, a good year...

I plan to make 2012 even better - what about you? Starting with, giving back. I'm not rich, I haven't got awesome amazing fantablous resources, but what I can give back, I will.

In this light, I'm opening my blog to authors who want to come promote their books or themselves. I've already met with a wonderful response (check the box at the top left of this page - that's where you'll see who'll be visiting me throughout the month!).

The blog will be open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, & Saturdays. Still have some slots open in January, so if you're interested, don't hesitate to get in touch. I want to help my fellow authors as many have been a tremendous help to me, so please help me out here :)

Here's to a magnificent 2012, peeps! I wish you all the best, nicest, brightest, and most beautiful for each and every day of this new year.

From Mauritius with love,

Z
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