Sunday, July 29, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: 1st Sneak Peek at my latest contracted #1NS!

Credit: www.123rf.com
Hey beautiful people!

It's a cold and dismal Sunday here, but guess what - I am flying high! Opened my email inbox yesterday to find a contract offer for the latest 1NightStand story I wrote for Decadent Publishing.

Too excited - I just had to share, and what better than a fell swoop with Six Sentence Sunday to introduce you to this new story I kept under wraps for the past few weeks?

Here's the story in a nutshell: You all know how a 1NightStand story works, right? Two people brought together on a blind date by Madame Eve.
My two people here are Leila and Khalid Al-Nadir. Yes, they're an estranged Muslim couple. Leila, a Londoner, was sold off to a much older man in the United Arab Emirates. Ten years of that miserable life, and something happens...

This six should enlighten you about what takes place (and yes, that picture is exactly how I imagined them!). Leila is in Mauritius, at Khalid's stepmother's house.


'...

A sliver of remembrance sliced through her; she did recall something else. Tenderness, caring, gentleness – all of which she’d found one magical night with the man who saved her from that existence, when her first husband divorced her out of the blue. The man who made her his wife....
To then drug her before morning came and take her all the way from Abu Dhabi to Mauritius, where he dropped her, still unconscious, into Carole’s house, before he vanished.
Don’t think of him. If she did, the tears would threaten to fall, the anguish would come back, as well as the desperation of knowing he’d saved her only to leave her even more alone than before.
...'


Why did Khalid abandon her? He hides a dark secret - his intentions when he married Leila weren't noble... He did end up falling in love with her, so what to do, except set her free?

Leila wants answers; Khalid wants salvation. Is this what they will find when Khalid's stepmother meddles in and sets these two up for a 1NightStand date?

Find out when Once Upon A Second Chance comes out!

Don't forget to check the SSS list for amazing snippets - especially from Jessica E. SUbject, Siobhan Muir, Samantha Paige, Monica Enderle Pierce, Cara Bristol, Carmen deSousa, Kate Warren, JM Blackman - among many, many others!

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend!

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

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: Before The Morning #13 - Aftermath of a Kill

Hey beautiful people!

It's a calm, quiet Sunday morning here, and for once it's not that blustery cold (though my nose decided to start a competition with my stack of handkerchiefs, as in, how many handkerchiefs can I blow through with this running nose?) Anyhow, things looking good, quiet, and peaceful... For how long, I have no clue, but I'll take it. And this works great because it's the weekend and time for Six Sentence Sunday! I'm looking forward to some nice snippets in the list.

Speaking of snippets, here's mine. We're back with Rayne aka Kali, the most efficient assassin in the clandestine Corpus agency. Sent to infiltrate, bring down, and then despatch notorious Russian criminal Nikolai Grigorievskiy, Rayne didn't count on meeting the one man she has always loved, London paramedic Ash Gilfoy, her childhood best friend, on that mission. Thankfully, he didn't recognize her, but everything's going down in a spin for Rayne.

Trying her best to do her job - we saw last week how she disposed of Nikolai and Boris, his right-hand man - reality is somewhat catching up with her....

After exiting the Nice villa, Rayne has triggered an explosion inside the house, which erased all traces of her presence and the killings. Everything is going as per the plan, but suddenly, her exit is compromised when the smell of Nikolai's cologne assaults her olfactory memory...

'...
Bad, bad, bad; she should've been able to wipe out any recollection of him, the imprint of his scent that took over her olfactory system—a rookie reaction. Lots of people expected killing to be hard; it wasn't, not for those trained to take out targets, as there were techniques for blanking out the visual memory of an assassination, for adapting to the sound of gunfire, for quelling nausea and disgust when blood and entrails gushed everywhere.
No one had learned how to get rid of the smell, though, especially that of the victim, and the longer an agent stayed with the target—the more he or she got to know him—the more he could haunt that agent when taken out. No one acknowledged that a scent burned through a killer’s nose and stayed with him, like a ghostly shadow that reminded the agent of what he or she had done, with every breath. A good assassin knew how to ditch the smell and get on with life.
Usually, she could do that, effortlessly, too, but not that time—ever since Ash had walked into her world....
...'


Will Rayne aka Kali manage to work her way out of this tight spot? Police is closing in on the town, and thanks to her rookie reaction, she'd thrown her whole exit plan into jeopardy. What is she to do?
Grab your copy of Before The Morning (Corpus Brides: Book Two) and find out!

Don't forget to check these amazing peeps on the official SSS list - Jessica Subject, Siobhan Muir, Kate Warren, Jess Schira, Cara Bristol, Layna Pimentel, JM Blackman, Lila Shaw, Monica Enderle Pierce, & Samantha Paige, among many others!

Hope you're having a lovely weekend, peeps!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: Before The Morning #12 - A Killer On The Loose

Hello beautiful people!

Coming out of my writing cave today to post this one. Cannot believe it's already Sunday, and time for the Six Sentence Sunday snippet, too. Time is flying, and thank goodness, taking this awful winter along with it. One more month of cold and humidity and rain and extreme sleepiness/hibernation instincts to slug through. Even blogging is difficult in this kind of setup, but I wouldn't for the life of me give up on the Sunday post!

Let's go back to summery Nice, shall we? Except that, what I'm about to show you has nothing light and fluffy and warm to it... My heroine slash assassin slash spy slash borderline-sociopath is carrying out her mission - getting rid of her targets on this assignment.

Last week, we saw how she dispatched Boris, her "husband's" right-hand man. Today, it's Nikolai's turn to meet with death. Remember, too - Kali has paralysed them using a sonic taser, and time is running out before the effects wear off on Nikolai...

Once again - the scene to follow is not for the faint of heart.


'...
Rayne swooped down and grabbed the empty 9x18mm bullet case; if the second part of her plan didn't work, she'd need proof that Nikolai had fired—the empty case would have to be in the vicinity of Nikolai's body, not close to Boris.
She moved over to Nikolai, dropped the empty case at his feet, and then wrapped his left hand around the gun's handle. Next, she brought up his limp hand, pressed the silencer's tip to his temple, and then fired. Thanks to the suppressor and the short length of the Makarov's barrel, the bullet didn't carry too much velocity and pierced through his skull without a big spray of blood and gore. Still, she took no chances and jumped away when the shot fired, to take the least amount of blowback spatter possible.
Part one of the plan complete.
...'


Ridding the world of scum does not mean the one who made the kill can end up with a squeaky-clean conscience. Is this what Rayne aka Kali is about to experience?
Find out when you grab your copy of Before The Morning (Corpus Brides: Book Two) here.

And don't forget to check these amazing peeps on the official SSS list - Jessica E. Subject, Jess Schira, Siobhan Muir, Cara Bristol, Tory Michaels, Kate Warren, Gemma Parkes, Samantha Paige, & Angela Quarles - among the many, many others posting this week!

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: Before The Morning #11 - Kali at work...

Hey beautiful people!

Another insane week comes to a close (I know - when is it not insane in my world...? I wonder...) Anyhow, it's Sunday, and for once, the sun is shining despite the temps being cold (mid-forties, anyone?) where your breath is fogging up as much inside the house as outside. *sigh* I want an afghan, hot chocolate, and good reading. And since it's time for Six Sentence Sunday, I think I'm all set!

Back again with Rayne aka Kali, the clandestine super-assassin, in the living room of the Nice summer house. Kali is on a mission to rid the world of Russian criminal Nikolai Grigorievskiy - she infiltrated his entourage and even became his wife. But all along, she knew she had a job to do - kill him, and leave no trace.

Rayne was debating the decision last week, but now, the time has come... and Kali has neutralized both Nikolai and Boris, his right-hand man, through the use of a gadget from the Corpus agency, a sonic taser that paralyzes the person who hears the sound. Time is running out, because the taser's effects won't last beyond a few minutes...

Be prepared - the scene that follows is not for the faint of heart.


'...
She closed the door as she stepped over his hulking body to reach the desk, where she retrieved Nikolai's semi-automatic Makarov pistol. She fished in the drawer, looking for the integral suppressor that turned the PM into a PB, a silent pistol; mafia lords usually carried the PM without a suppressor, but she had convinced Nikolai he needed the PB—better for his image to carry the gun that had been standard issue to agents of the former KGB. She'd known the silencing device might come in handy when she took him out.
After assembling the silencer on the gun, she unlocked the safety at the side, then stepped toward Boris. The firearm was heavy in her hands, heavier than most commercial handguns she liked to use, still, she welcomed the weight, an anchor into the moment that allowed her to focus on the gun and not on the act of using it. She stopped next to Boris' prone body, aimed, and then squeezed the trigger—the shot went straight through his heart.
...'


Catch some other snippets from amazing peeps on the SSS list - Jessica E. Subject, Siobhan Muir, Cara Bristol, Carmen deSousa, Mae Clair, Jess Schira, Sherry Gloag, Sue, BL Bonita, Monica Enderle Pierce, & Kate Warren.

Hope you're having a lovely Sunday (and that my excerpt today hasn't upset you too much... *grin*)

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Thursday, July 05, 2012

#1NSHop: Meet Lars & Simmi from Once Upon A Stormy Night + a chance to win a copy of the book!

Hey beautiful people!

So excited today - it's my first blog hop, and lookie, it's one dedicated to the 1NightStand line at Decadent Publishing. Big thanks to fellow 1NS author, Jessica E. Subject, for putting this together.

For 3 days, between July 5-8, 32 authors are taking part. Chances to win a book and/other swell prizes at every stop, and there are 3 grand prizes to win! Take a look:

1st place – A Kindle Touch

2nd place – a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate

3rd place – a box of Goodies from Coffee Time Romance – US ONLY (books, swag and other goodies)

Plus, win prizes at every stop of the blog hop!


My contribution to this amazing ongoing line - where a lady with a gifted touch, Madame Evangeline, pairs kindred souls together for one night through her 1NightStand dating agency service - is a multicultural romance set on my native island, Mauritius. Titled Once Upon A Stormy Night, it is the story of Simmi Moyer and Lars Rutherford.

Today, I invited these two over for a little chat, and to enable you to get to know them better. Here we go!



So, Simmi and Lars – in one line, who are you?
Simmi: I’m the 33-year-old, half White, half Indian, Vice-President, Legal Affairs, of the biggest conglomerate group on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.
Lars: 34 years old half British, half Swedish regional director for the Indian Ocean of Elriksen Shipping, based as an expat in Mauritius.
Let me get this straight – neither one of you is looking for love, or ‘The One’, right?
Simmi: Does Prince Charming even exist?
Lars: Not actively looking for ‘her’, but if she lands into my lap, well, we’ll take it from there. Though I doubt I’ll find her here.
You both refer to the island’s culture, innit?
Simmi: *nods* No man on this island sees me for who I am really, for Simmi. All they see is the super-executive climbing the corporate ladder with apparent ease and confidence.
Lars: I’m not looking to get married just yet. Mauritius still seems to be stuck in Austen times, when the only thing women seem to want is to get married to a good ‘prospect’ *shivers*
Okay, let’s move on to lighter fare – we’re here to get to know you a little better. J
Chocolate or vanilla?
Simmi: Chocolate. One word for you – Decadence. Vanilla does not compare *wink*
Lars: Why not have both? You have to choose, Lars! Okay... Let’s see. Vanilla. There’s something sweet and fragile with that flavour and its fragrance.
Strawberries or blueberries?
Simmi: Strawberries. Less decadent than chocolate, but somewhere close on that scale.
Lars: Blueberries. The Smurfette look can be sexy.
Uh... O-kay... Moving on...
Heels or flats?
Simmi: Heels. High heels on killer shoes are a woman’s power core.
Lars: Flats. Though if my woman wore heels, I doubt she’d tower over me – at 6”5, that’s kinda hard to happen. But I like my woman to be small and dainty. I’m gonna sound like an oaf but to have her tiny and delicate in my arms brings out the protective caveman in me.
Spicy or mild?
Simmi: Depends on what... Pick one, girl! Fine... spicy, then.
Lars: Oh, definitely spicy! *wicked grin*
Good girls/boys or bad girls/boys?
Simmi: *shrugs* Just a man who’ll love me for who I am. I don’t care if he’s a good boy or a bad boy, as long as his heart is honourable.
Lars: A good girl gone a little bad wouldn’t be too much J
Boxers or briefs? Lingerie or plain undies?
Simmi: Boxers. Though he’s gonna lose either very quickly once the night gets under way. *smile & wink*
Lars: Lingerie doesn’t hurt, but whatever the lady feels comfortable in will work for me.
Lol, thanks guys. That was fun. Last question...
What are you looking for in this ‘one night’?
Simmi: I’ve said it before. Just a man who’ll see a woman before him. Not the executive VP or the career girl.
Lars: To tell you the truth, I really don’t know. I’m waiting for Madame Evangeline to surprise me.
So does Simmi find that man who will love her for who she is at her heart, and does Madame Eve’s surprise live up to Lars’ expectations? Find out when you pick a copy of Once Upon A Stormy Night here.
More about the book:

British billionaire Lars Rutherford came to the tiny island of Mauritius to take over directorship of his best friend’s shipping company. He’s not here for anything but the job, or—to the chagrin of the many matchmaking society mamas in the country—to find the ‘right woman’ for him.

Corporate legal affairs specialist Simmi Moyer is rich, beautiful, successful, and climbing the executive ladder with tremendous speed. She’s got it all—or does she? Mauritian society shuns her for being single and childless, and nothing she accomplishes will ever be enough.

Lars isn’t looking for a woman; Simmi isn’t looking for a man. Both just want one night to forget their precarious position in this traditional, culture-driven society.

The tempest brewed by uncalled-for yearning in their hearts when they meet, and the desire for something more substantial than one night of pleasure, builds between them, while outside, a real-life cyclone storms on the island and ensconces them in a world where only the two of them exist.

Before the night is over, both Lars and Simmi will have to decide whether each will walk out the next morning alone, or if they can put themselves on the line to step out together.

Want a chance to win a copy of Once Upon A Stormy Night? Then tell me what you would look for, if you ever contacted Madame Eve's dating agency?

Leave your answer in a comment - a random commentor will win an ecopy of the book. BONUS: leaving a comment enables you to enter the draw for the 3 Grand Prizes, too! So don't let this opp go to waste - drop me a line!

More chances to win fabulous goodies and enter the draw for the Grand Prizes here, on the list of the participating authors!


The question once again - What would you look for, if you ever contacted Madame Eve's dating agency?

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Author Elizabeth Morgan visits today!

Hey beautiful people!

I have the pleasure of welcoming the lovely Elizabeth Morgan to the blog today! An amazing lady with a wicked sense of humour and a heart of gold, Elizabeth is one of those authors who write riveting tales and make you go all "how on earth did she come up with this idea???"

Hopefully, she has the answer to that question for us today! Elizabeth is promoting her latest release with Noble Romance Publishing, Cranberry Blood. Isn't that cover pretty? I just love the kick-arse heroine on there. Oh, and did I mention there are vampires in the story...?

Here's Elizabeth for you, peeps!

Tell us a bit about you and something we don't know/wouldn't expect about you.

I was born and grew up in Manchester, England. I’m half northern Irish. From the age of four I wanted to be an actress. I went to drama clubs etc. and studied Musical Theatre in college – yep, I can sing, but I’m not a great dancer lol – and then during college I turned my attention to writing scripts, which always had way too much detail. So I started writing books.
I moved to a little English village two years ago. I have two cats called Phantom – after The Phantom of the Opera, which is my favourite musical – and MJ – I adore Michael Jackson’s music. I grew up listening to my mother’s records.
And I am a huge Sims fan. Yeah, I love computer games, especially the Sims. I’m super excited because I just found out the next expansion pack is “Supernatural” and you can create Werewolves. Oh yeah. Needless to say I will be buying it and possibly making Owen and Clare Sims. What? That’s not sad. O_o

Lol, it's not sad at all! Sounds like something I would do *says the one who's addicted to Angry Birds...* J

What’s your favorite moment of the day, and why?

I like early evenings. I just like being sat at my computer when the sun is a little lower and it’s warm. I find it’s easier for me to write in the evening and at night. Everyone is relaxing or heading off to bed which means I won’t get disturbed.

That's a huge thing, innit - not being disturbed.

You're a color – which one are you and why?

Black - which is a shade more than a colour, I know – because I am sophisticated yet casual. A sexy little number when I want to be, but an everyday comfortable type of gal. I can go with all occasions . . . . Yes I realize I am talking about myself and not clothing. :-P
What can I say? I prefer nights. I love gothic love stories – Dracula and The Phantom of the Opera as two examples – and I have a dark and somewhat dry sense of humor.

Black rocks!  J

Why become a writer?

I wanted to be an actress for a long time. I loved performing, but my mind was so full of stories and random ideas that I wanted to give them the attention they deserved. When I decided to sit down and write a book and actually found I enjoyed it, I started worrying that I might run out of ideas, but that thankfully hasn’t happened. *knocks on wood* It’s better to spend your time doing what you enjoy than doing something you hate. And I love writing, a lot. I love the process, even the stressful parts, because the work is always worth it in the end. :-D

And you do get to 'act' all the parts when you write, innit? *wink* Best of both worlds, I'd say...

As writers, we are bombarded with ideas every minute of every day. How do you sort through these ideas, to stick to the 'viable' ones?

I have writing journals. If they are stray ideas or pieces of dreams, I make a note of them. If the ideas are meatier I create a new folder in my “slush pile” folder on my computer and whip up a story plan and some basic character profiles. I never push ideas. I try my best to let them simmer until they consume me. Sometimes the idea consumes me straight away, which I prefer. But yes, writing journal. It’s always good to carry one with you, because you really never know when something brilliant will hit you in the head.

Sounds like a good plan.

How do you develop an idea into a book?

This is actually a really hard question, because I don’t really have a process. I’m very naughty like that. I am a huge panster, possibly the worst kind.
If I have a story idea I usually know how I want it to begin, or I wait until I see the opening scene in my head; then I sit down and start writing, and it basically goes from there. I plan as I write, but I do always have an idea of how the story should go and what the outcome will be. I just don’t plan it. I let my characters take me on their journey.

You lucky git! I wish I could write like that!

If there's one book you wish you had written, which one is it and why that book in particular?

The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook. I read that book and I was just like, “wow, will I ever be able to write something so awesome?” The world of The Iron Seas is just so real, and so cool, and despite the Zombies etc. I would totally live there.

Which is easier for you – narrative, or dialogue?

I am going to go with dialogue. I have a constant argument with myself when it comes to the narrative. I never know if I’ve done too much or not enough and . . . eh. Dialogue, in a sense, is a lot easier.

POV of predilection? Which POV mixes with you like oil and water?

I love that first POV lets me and the readers get in the characters head, which is why I prefer to write it. As readers we want to connect to a character and I think first POV lets us do that, but I don’t dislike third.
And male and female POV is dependent upon the characters. Being a woman I naturally worry my heroes will sound feminine. And then at the same time, being a woman, I have to make sure my heroines all stand apart. So I honestly don’t dislike either of those POV’s either.
Ha. I’ve gone round the houses with this answer, haven’t I? Basically, there are no POV that I feel I have a huge problem with.

I think it's a very well-rounded answer (wish I could be so eloquent...)

Preferred genre to write?


Most of the stories I have written so far have been Paranormal and it would be because I love this particular genre. The reason being that there is just so much room for interpretation; it’s limitless. Most people love the supernatural and can’t get enough of Vamps or Shifters despite how many stories and films have been made. I think it’s just because a person can mold such beings and stories any way they want to because everyone views them differently. And no matter what those beings will still be interesting, because there is a fresh take on them despite the fact we know how they work.

True - it always amazes me how paranormal authors are able to bring a fresh spin on the genre each and every time!

How do you get into your characters' heads and shoes?

*Holds a gun to their head and demands they remove their shoes.*
That pretty much covers it. Ha. Erm, some characters have strong voices, distinct voices that I can grab straight away. The ones who are a little harder I just have to sit and think about them for a little while or read over scenes with them in, just to refresh myself.
I find that you will always get some characters that are louder than others. I suggest sweet talking the quite ones and gagging the rest.

Gagging the rest... Good idea. Or else, I'm gonna have to go buy that gun. J

Drafts, edits, polishing – love or loathe? Can you please explain?

I am a mixture of excitement and loathing during the process. I love the task once I am doing it, but the thought of having to do it just makes me cringe. Ha. I think it might be that once I have written a story – and naturally read it – I get slightly nervous reading my work again, because I tend to pick it to pieces. I know you have to be critical of your work, but I go to the extreme of picking it apart. Luckily, I have great Beta Readers. :-D

J

What unique factor do you think you bring to the book/story market?

Great question and I wish I had an answer. Ironic humour? Or at least, more Ironic humour? Hopefully I will/am bring(ing) something interesting to the market. Or at least I am writing stories that people are enjoying in some way. I’d be very cool with laughter in any form.

Best advice you've received, and that you'd want others to know?

Excuse the way this will sound, but the best advice comes from my great-grandmother. In response to any worry that a person could have, be it relationships, work, money problems, anything. She would say . . .
“Balls to them/it.”
Haha. Basically, to hell with people putting you down and telling you your work is no good. Or you’re no good. If you are happy with what you are doing and who you are then that is what really matters. And if what you do makes other people happy, then what else could you ask for?
We can’t make everyone happy. It’s hard enough making ourselves happy. And I think we sometimes forget that we are constantly learning as we go along in life. We can’t be perfect, we weren’t made that way.
So to hell with everything and just live and follow your dreams and your heart.

I totally agree with your great-gran! J

Tell us about your latest release.

Cranberry Blood is the first book in The Blood Series – and the sequel to She-Wolf (The Blood Series Prequel.)
I wrote the first draft of this book in 2009. My beta readers read it and with their helpful suggestions I mentally ripped that version to shreds, and wrote this version. I like this one a lot more than the original, but I am still very nervous about the release since this book is very close to me.
She-Wolf was mainly a love story that contained mostly Pack politics, and, well, it gave readers an introduction to one side of the world of The Blood Series. In She-Wolf,we see that the Pack are having trouble with “Rogue” Werewolves who are leaving mutilated bodies all over the alpha’s land. But there was something very off about these “Rogues.” Not the usual types.

Cranberry Blood is set six weeks after the end of She-Wolf – and yes, I am so mean for the mini cliffhanger at the end of the Prequel, but hopefully you will forgive me? – and it is the first installment of Heather’s story. She is a Vampire Slayer, but oy, the girl does not have it easy. Some readers may recognize the leading male, Brendan, the gorgeous – and somewhat moody – copper blond, emerald-eyed Werewolf. *Melts* I can only hope you have room in your heart for both Owen and him. ;-P
So Cranberry Blood is basically opening the world a little wider as we venture into Vampire territory, so to speak.

Cranberry Blood Blurb:

Killing Vampires? Easy. Tracking someone? Simple. Helping, and protecting a Vampire slayer... Bloody hard work!
Thirteen years ago, Brendan Daniels made a deal with a psychic. In exchange for information on the whereabouts of a Rogue Werewolf, he promised to help and protect Sofia's granddaughter. Unfortunately, he had no idea what he was getting himself, or his Pack, into.
Nothing about Heather is simple, from her weird dietary needs to her life’s mission. The girl can handle herself, but the promise to protect her soon becomes a need, and one that he can't fully understand.


Vampire Slayer. Born Infected. Blood addict... but not by choice.
Heather Ryan is the most recent slayer in a long family line. Like all before her, she has spent her life searching for her ancestor, Marko Pavel, the Vampire her family has sworn to kill. If that isn't complicated enough, Heather is also a born "Infected", and to keep her from becoming insane or giving in to her darker side, she is on a very strict diet.


Grandmother Sofia has passed, so now it is up to Heather to take the family legacy into her own hands, all alone: or at least, it would have been, if her Grandmother hadn't sent a Werewolf to help her.

What is the irritating Brendan supposed to help Heather with? Sofia never told either one of them. But it doesn't take long for Heather and Brendan to find out that the Vampires have big plans, and that the fiends have waited a long time for them both.

Buy Link: https://www.nobleromance.com/

OMG - you've got me literally salivating to read this one! I love Clan and Pack politics in PNR books - sounds like you've got a full range of that in there!

In 5 words:

      Your book: Irony, with blood and fangs
      Your heroine: Issues with blood, and Vampires
      Your hero: Deliciously moody and badly scarred
      You as an author: Extremely twisted with dry humor

Let's say your book is a movie – which one does it most closely resemble?

Oh gosh, I don’t know. I don’t want to say and end up offending loads of people. Erm, I wouldn’t say it’s one particular movie, more like the possible off-spring of a ton of them.
Shaun of the dead in the sense that it is set in London and the story is dark/dry humour.
Underworld 1 and/or 2 – which are brilliant movies – for one particular side of Cranberry Blood, but I can’t tell you without spoiling the story. So, if you read it you will get why I have added these films to the list.
Cursed, mainly because of the Werewolf in that. She is a perfect example of how my Wolves look – though they have longer muzzles – and how they move like humans.
Salems Lot, my vampires aren’t pretty when they transform. They look like the blue vampire master in Salems Lot (and I mean the old movie, because I believe a TV show was recently done?)
American Werewolf in London, it is set on the moors at the beginning, and there are moors up near the Pack keep in Scotland. Plus it is set in London. But the Werewolf is too small and too much like a Wolf. My guys look like the Werewolf from Cursed and/Underworld or Van Helsing.
Being Human, which is a British paranormal show – brilliant – because it’s English and funny and can be a little cheesy and unbelievable, but in the best possible ways. It’s awesome!

You had me at Shaun of the Dead - I just love that kind of British humour! J

What real-life actors are playing the roles?

The lovely Lucy Felthouse recently asked me this and I honestly don’t know. I didn’t use actors or actress as inspiration while I wrote it; I just have a particular idea of how all my characters look.
So, I think I will leave this questions for readers who have read She-Wolf – and who may read Cranberry Blood – because I would honestly be interested in hearing which actors and actress’ they imagine when they read these stories. J

It always amazes me how readers see our characters - everyone projects something different.

Now this movie needs a soundtrack – what songs/tracks best fit your book?

I have playlists for all my projects and there were a few for this book, but the top four tracks are:
Hands down The Hoosiers – The Trick to Life. Mainly because the tagline of that song is, “The trick to life is not to get to attached to it.” And it really sums up what Heather has to deal with and understands.
30 Seconds to Mars – Beautiful Lie. Brendan and Heather haven’t lead great lives and have/had crazy things to deal with; especially Heather who has her own way of dealing with the cards life has dealt her.
Black-Eyed Peas – Pump it. I know, this sounds totally random, but I was on the bus going to work one day and it came on my mp3 player and I just saw Heather fighting a load of Vampires in a nightclub while this track played. It cracked me up and I loved the idea, so I added to the book. So when you get to that particular scene you have to imagine that song is playing in the background. :-P
And last, but not least, Nickleback – Burn it to the ground. Naturally there would be a Nickleback song in this playlist. There is also a fire in this book, big and devastating, but this song isn’t some sick sadistic background music for that chapter. I’m not that evil. This song is on the playlist because it simply reminds me of The Pack. I have crazy movie montage moment of them all kicking the shit out of their enemies when I hear this and I just think it suits them lol Plus, it’s an amazing song.

I can totally imagine Pump It as the background song to a kick-arse fight! Sounds like a great soundtrack!

Your characters end up in a world where everyone's a fashionista – how do they dress and what are they wearing?

Ha. Honestly they would still be in their casual gear and if anyone said anything they would rip their throat out, claw them to death, drink their blood, or possibly ram a sword in their gut.
Yeah, it would be best not to insult their clothing lol

LOL, indeed! J

Where can we find you and your books?

Blog: www.xxxxmyworldxxxx.blogspot.com 
Joint Blog:
www.notjustastiffupperlip.blogspot.co.uk
Facebook: Elizabeth Morgan
The Blood Series Facebook Page:
www.facebook.com/TheBloodSeries
Twitter: @EMorgan2010
Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/ElizabethMorgan
Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Morgan/e/B006WR1WLQ/ref=sr_tc_2_rm?qid=1339876094&sr=1-2-ent

Thanks for the answers, and for coming over! I'm totally stoked to have you visiting J XOXO

Thank you for having me, Zee. I’ve loved hanging out with you and your readers! J

I cannot wait to check out Cranberry Blood - this one's going on my TBR very soon! How about you?

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Six Sentence Sunday: Before The Morning #10 - Will she, or won't she?

Hey beautiful people!

Can you believe it's already the first day of July? Half the year has gone by, and it seems that with every day that passes, we're all getting busier and busier. That's why breaks mean so much more - and what better than downing copious doses of fantastic excerpts while visiting the peeps from the Six Sentence Sunday list?

After June being dedicated to my 1NS story, I come back to my Corpus Brides series today. Do you guys still remember Rayne aka Kali? Elite operative of the clandestine Corpus agency, she is on a mission to rid the world of one of its worst ever criminals, Russian mobster Nikolai Grigorievskiy. To get close to him to gather intel and eventually kill him, Kali has wormed her way into his entourage and his life as Irina, a young call girl from Moscow... whom Nikolai married soon after she lured him to her bed.

The plan was to kill Nikolai and not leave any trace behind. Standard job for Kali... except that, on this mission, she has come face to face with the man she never stopped loving - Ash Gilfoy. Since meeting again, Kali/Rayne is doubting her ability to be a remorseless assassin.

She's facing Nikolai in the living room of their summer residence in Nice, on the night she is supposed to do away with him. Can she go ahead with this mission?


'...
Would he be so relaxed if he knew Interpol and the local police of every European country would storm through every one of his operations' locations in the next hour? With Nikolai and Boris dead, no one would stand in their way.
Nikolai trusted her, and for a second, she faltered—she knew that man intimately, knew every secret corner of his mind. He hadn't always been the bad guy, circumstances, and extreme poverty after the collapse of communism, made him what he was today; he also loved with all his heart, cherished his wife, and desired a family, above all else.
Nikolai is a criminal; what am I thinking?
The kill —she had to do it.
...'


Don't forget to check the peeps from the SSS list - Jessica E. Subject, Siobhan Muir, Monica Enderle Pierce, Elin Gregory, Jess Schira, Cera duBois, JM Blackman, Cara Bristol, Dee Carney, DeAnna Felthauser, Jazmine Devyne, Babette James, Jessica K, & Gemma Parkes.

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee
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