Sunday, September 30, 2012

#sixsunday Before The Morning #22: What is she up to...?

Hey beautiful people!

Absolutely knackered this weekend, especially because I've been into the writing cave for the whole week. Got deadlines ready to whoop me into shape the minute I falter... but I need a break. Join me in enjoying some fantastic snippets from Six Sentence Sunday?

Back in Vegas, in the 'bedroom' scene between Rayne and Ash. In case you're only now picking up six from this story, Rayne is actually a spy and assassin who's contemplating retirement... something that would imply being with the man she's always loved, Ash. Except for the tiny detail that Ash, a former cop turned ambulance worker, has no clue what Rayne has been up to for the past seventeen years. He thinks she's a humanitarian worker who's been involved in conflict-heavy regions like Africa and South America.

Rayne is having second thoughts about her 'plan' now... These six follow right after last week's excerpt.


'...
Ash turned toward her, and she gulped; he looked at her as if he could see into her soul. She prayed he never managed to do that, because no one should see the primeval darkness that blanketed her psyche—she wasn't a good person, and what she was about to do would cement that even further.
Ash could never know.
"I have to go out," she said. The sooner she accomplished her goal, the better. Only then would she be able to relax and let her life unfold.
...'


What is this woman up to, really? Curious? Then grab a copy of Before The Morning (Corpus Brides: Book Two) and find out!

Don't forget to check some awesome peeps on the official SSS list - Jessica Subject, Cara Bristol, Siobhan Muir, Kinberley K. Comeau, Sue Ann Bowling, Sara Walter Ellwood, Susanna Fraser - among many others!

Hope you're having a lovely Sunday!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, September 23, 2012

#sixsunday Before The Morning #21: Don't Trust Me...

Hey peeps!

Once again, a cold, dark, and dismal Sunday morning here. When on earth is spring gonna come in, eh? When, when, when? Sorry for that little outburst - I've been with a sick kid on hand 24/7 since last Wednesday, so my brain is absolutely fried right now (and I think I've regressed to kid brain, too... Gaaahhhh). Anyhow *pulls on adult mindset, takes a deep breath...* it's Sunday, and we all know what that means - Six Sentence Sunday.

Still with Ash, former good cop turned bad boy ambulance worker turned knight in shining armour, and Rayne, former spy & assassin turned good girl next door. Are these two dancing around each other? Both hide secrets; both are subtly lying to the other;... and both are about to step into a monumental mess.

They're in Vegas, and we know that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right? We pick up from where we left last week - in the stupendously gorgeous house they're staying at, Rayne has found Ash in the bedroom browsing the sports channels on the TV. Somehow, looking at Ash kinda pinches the heart she didn't know she still had...


'...
A twinge of unease slithered inside her chest; should she, or shouldn't she? She bit her lip—she didn't want to take risks any longer, and she wanted—needed—stability and predictability. True, there would be some hurdles to jump, but everything would be worth it...won't it?
She felt a cold, ghostly hand reach into her chest and squeeze tightly as she watched him, his bare feet, more precisely, because ditching shoes meant familiarity, trust, being comfortable. He didn't know he should never feel comfortable around her, because too often, Kali and her manipulations took over; Rayne had no control over herself, and he'd end up getting hurt.
If she had a heart—one in good, working order—she would let him go.
...'


Will she, or won't she, let Ash get away unscathed? Find out when you grab your copy of Before The Morning (Corpus Brides: Book Two).

Don't forget to check out some amazing peeps on the official SSS list - Jessica Subject, Jess Schira, Kate Warren, Monica Enderle Pierce, Cara Bristol, Sarah Ballance, Sara Walter Ellwood - among many others!

Hope you're enjoying a lovely (and warm! and sane, too!) Sunday, peeps!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Welcoming author CC Mackenzie!

Hey beautiful people!

Delighted today to bring you a wonderful author and even more fantastic lady, CC Mackenzie. The two of us met on that indie loop I told you about, and since we also have a mutual friend (my bestie, Natalie G Owens), we were soon setting cyberspace on fire with our ongoing conversation convos.

CC is a busy lady - being egged on by her readers to write the next book. And the next after that... But she's found time to drop by today, so why don't we all welcome her and get to know her a little better?

So, CC, tell us a bit about you, and something we don't know/wouldn't expect about you.

Years ago I danced with pompoms on top of a moving float through our town. There were four of us dancing to ‘Love Shack’. No way would that happen today with all the health and safety laws!

Lol, I hope you have pics!

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

In the early hours when the house is quiet. I get most of my writing done then.

Funny - most of us with households and families seem to value the 'quiet' times more than anything! I thought it was just me J

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

The colour of the sky in the Mediterranean in summer because it makes me very happy, relaxed and glad to be alive.

Why become a writer?

Writing romance has always been a secret dream. I told no one about it until I was asked for revisions on a story from a big publisher of the genre. Writing romance feeds my creative soul and I wish I’d started years ago.

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 let ideas simmer for months, even years. My ideas are always character driven. It takes time to understand and know a character really well. I always start a story with the big issue that tortures a character or has defined his/her behaviour and beliefs.

How do you develop an idea into a book?

It always starts with a single scene or a sentence or an event. It takes six weeks for me to hammer out a first draft and I try to do it all in one go without editing (not easy). Then I leave it for about a month and then I go through a character development edit making sure the structure is tight. Then I’ll go through an edit for emotional intensity and check scene structure. The love scenes are worked on too and I go through those six or seven times to make sure the pace and rhythm work.

Wow, that a tough schedule! But if it works, it works (and I think it does for you, coz look at you putting out the books! J)

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

I’d love to have written The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year by Sue Townsend. I laughed out loud at times and really ‘got’ it. And the reason for that is because I did go to bed for almost a year after surgery. The temptation to stay there was huge, but I overcame it!

Which is easier for you – narrative, or dialogue?

I don’t have an issue with either.

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

I use third person because I can change the POV in a scene for my hero/heroine. I loathe and detest writing and reading in 1st person present POV. I’ve been known not to buy a book because of it or toss one aside after one page. Too many new authors are doing it at the moment, especially YA and I seriously wish they would desist because a writer needs to have excellent skills to accomplish it well.  One writer who does do it well is the wonderful Tamara Ward – awesome character development.

Oh, I know! 1st person is the bane of my writing existence, too. Love reading it when done well, but cannot for the life of me write it!

Preferred genre to write?

Romance! No surprises there. But my big love is Paranormal because as an author I don’t need to worry about political correctness as far as my hero/heroine is concerned and I can let them off the leash.

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

By digging down into what, who and why certain events have defined him/her as a person, especially the character flaws which she/he will be an expert at hiding.

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

First draft is exciting and a roller coaster ride if it’s going well. A nightmare if it’s not and that’s when I go back and dig down into my character issues. Edits can be tricky –  Because I’m a perfectionist, for me the key is not to overedit and overthink. Polishing I love and adore because that’s the part when it all comes together. (I hope.)

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

Humour. Authentic emotional conflicts and a fast pace.

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

‘Enter a scene late and leave it early.’

Oooh, good one! J

Tell us about your latest release

A Stormy Spring

She didn’t want company. She didn’t want love. She wanted to forget.

…Music was her life, choreography her only passion…Becca had buried her heart with the love of her life…but when she spends a single night of scorching lust with a gorgeous Spaniard, the lonely dancer finds there’s a price to pay… To a man who refuses to take no for an answer…
Lucas Del Gards is a real hero in the very best sense of the word.  He takes risks. He’s madly in love and puts Becca’s needs up front and personal before his own, even if it means his heart might be broken. I love and adore his quietly domineering but loving ways and so do my readers.

In 5 words or less:

      Your book - A Stormy Spring
      Your heroine - Choreographer who loathes fame
      Your hero - PR guru working the press
      You as an author - Bad, mad, and good friend

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

Flashdance meets PS I Love You

What real-life actors are playing the roles?

Lucas would be Joe Manganiello and Becca would be Jessica Alba

Oh, goodness - you had me at Joe Manganiello! Absolute yum! *grin*

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

Enigma mix for the lurve scenes

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

Lucas would be in Ozwald Boetang and Becca would be in Chanel

Where can we find you and your books?

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13614741-reckless-nights-in-rome
http://amzn.to/OZRopA http://ccmackenzie.wordpress.com/

http://www.facebook.com/CCMzie
http://amzn.to/LCOHso
http://amzn.to/OMOvCx

http://amzn.to/LCP06N
http://amzn.to/O1vXi7

And here's what people have been saying about the book:

"The characters jumped off the page. I couldn't put it down.
 This is a fast paced emotional read and I swung between having a lump in my throat and laughing at Becca's stubborn resistance towards technology. The love scenes are hot and well written."
Amazon reviewer.


http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=A+Stormy+Spring
 https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/217331
http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/A-Stormy-Spring/book-dodoqHrLmEuZeLOq2NJW0g/page1.html?s=Cbny9yEWCU-a5doXm4mdoA&r=1
 https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-astormyspring-906272-149.html

Thanks for coming over today, Christine! Been a joy to have you here!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, September 16, 2012

#sixsunday Before The Morning #20: When Love Takes Over...

Hey beautiful people!

Cannot believe it's already Sunday - where did this past week go? Once again it's time for Six Sentence Sunday and an absolute smorgasbord of story snippets from a huge bunch of extremely talented authors!

I'm getting ready to snuggle down with an afghan and a cup of hot chocolate (with marshmallows! Just re-discovered the glory of marshmallows *grin*). Spring seems to be coming in but looks like it hasn't made up its mind yet - so today we're stuck with barely tolerable temps again. Anyway, I was saying... Snuggling down with some good reading. Join me?

Today, I'm back again with Rayne and Ash of Book 2 of my Corpus Brides espionage series. In case you're just picking up, Rayne is a former spy & assassin who went by the name of Kali. On one of her undercover missions, she met Ash, her childhood best friend, and the man she never stopped loving. Ash doesn't know it was her, though.
When she reappeared into his life, he thought she was Irina, the woman he had saved that fateful day, and now guilt has him wanting to atone for that lapse of judgement.

They're in Vegas, where Rayne has come to proceed with a brush pass for her agency. Ash thinks they're on holiday. They're staying at a humongous, ultra-sophisticated, and super-rich dwelling in the Henderson area - Rayne has fibbed that the house belongs to a 'friend', but it is really hers. Ash knows nothing about her past, and how she could have this kind of money?

What is going on in Rayne's mind? Read on to find out.


'...      

           She discovered him in the main suite on the upper level, sitting on the rug at the foot of the bed, the TV remote in hand, his head against the mattress, ash-blond hair fanned out on the sable comforter.
Rayne smiled—a man's instincts would never fail him; he'd already clicked on the sports channels and was busy surfing the offered programmes.
She took in the perfection of his features in profile—the smooth forehead, straight nose, pointed, determined chin, and the rough stubble gracing his jawline. He'd rolled up the sleeves of his jumper to reveal strong forearms dusted with blond hairs, and he had ditched his shoes.
There was something about seeing a man barefoot that called to her woman's heart.
In the past, Kali believed she no longer had a heart, but Rayne knew the truth, because her heart—as flawed and twisted and black as it had become—started beating again when Ash had entered her life once again and revived her from her living death.
...'


Curious to find out what she is plotting? Then grab a copy of Before The Morning (Corpus Brides: Book Two) and read all about it. *grin*

Don't forget to check those amazing peeps from the SSS list - Jessica Subject, Carmen deSousa, Cara Bristol, Tory Michaels, Jess Schira, Kate Warren, Monica Enderle Pierce, Lila Shaw - among many, many others!

Hope you're all enjoying an awesome weekend!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, September 09, 2012

#sixsunday: Before The Morning #19: Secret Agent at Work

Hey beautiful people!

Had to take a break from blogging this week to get over the bad cold that slammed into me over the past weekend. Thank goodness feeling just shy of human now. And I am so looking forward to Six Sentence Sunday and doing the rounds to see what my fellow sixers are up to!

We're back with Rayne and Ash from Book 2 of my Corpus Brides espionage series. Last week, Ash kinda messed up (okay, that's an understatement!), and now he's feeling guilty as hell. Rayne knows something is amiss, but like the true manipulator she's been trained to be, she knows she can use that guilt to her advantage.

We're a week down from that fateful reunion scene; Rayne has convinced Ash to accompany her to Las Vegas. The official reason is that she is to meet with an eccentric benefactor for her aid agency in Sin City; the real reason is that the Corpus have sent her to deliver an agent's exit papers and equipment, in what is known in the clandestine world as a brush pass.

How does this take place? Read on to get an example.


'...
As Rayne left the baggage claim area and walked to one end of the terminal, where the restrooms were located, she reached up and touched the scarf that pulled her hair back, a white silk Hermes with the bow tied above her right ear—her contact would wear hers with the bow over the left ear; given that production of those particular scarves had stopped a few years earlier, there wasn't much risk that someone else would wear the same thing and confuse the exchange.
She passed a wide-eyed young woman with an iPhone and a Louis Vuitton Speedy 30 satchel in her hands, exactly like the one Rayne carried; the woman also wore a white headscarf with the bow above the left ear—Rayne walked to a wide pillar and stopped, dropped the bag at her feet, and pulled out her cell phone.
The woman drew closer, waving her phone as if trying to catch a signal, and dropped her bag next to Rayne's as she asked, "Any luck getting a signal?"
Rayne glanced up when she heard the cue, and said, "Barely enough coverage to send a text message," to confirm the script.
"Just my luck," the woman sighed as she reached down, grabbed the Speedy, and left.
Rayne pocketed her phone, reached for the satchel at her feet, and with the handle firmly in her grip, moved to the restrooms—one glance at the bag, and she smiled in satisfaction when she saw that the padlock was silver, and not gold, as on the one she'd brought over from England; the brush pass had gone as planned.
...'


So, Rayne's mission is accomplished in Vegas. Or is it...? Knowing her, there's bound to be a hidden agenda behind this trip... What has she got planned? Grab your copy of Before The Morning (Corpus Brides: Book Two) and find out!

Don't forget to check the following peeps on the official SSS list - Jess Schira, Jessica Subject, Krystal Shannan, Kerrianne Coombes, Dee Carney, Elin Gregory, Monica Enderle Pierce, Sue Ann Bowling, Taryn Kincaid, Sarah Walter Ellwood, Gemma Parkes, Samantha Paige - among many others!

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend & Sunday!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Monday, September 03, 2012

Squeee! Check out the cover for OnceUponASecondChance, my upcoming #1NS from @DecadentPub

Hey peeps!!

I'm happy dancing yet having to do soundless squeeeees here, as my voice is still AWOL. But guess that's a good thing, coz I would totally have brought the place down with the shrill sounds. I mean, will you look at the absolute gorgeousness of this cover?

From the talented hands of Valerie Tibbs at Valerie Tibbs Designs comes this dreamy perfection image to highlight my upcoming 1NS! That picture of the couple is exactly how I pictured Leila and Khalid, the protagonists. And the image of the beach and sea is just what the North coast of Mauritius looks like.

Okay, I'll stop rambling, and let you see the real deal...




Isn't it just beautiful? *squeee*

I don't have the release date yet for this one, but it is supposed to come out in late 2012. And here's a little glimpse of the storyline:

Leila Hassan Al-Nadir spent ten years in a forced, abusive marriage in the United Arab Emirates, before her husband divorced her... and another man stepped into his place to make her his wife. But before she can look at a future with this new man, he abandons her, dropping her off on the island of Mauritius in the care of his stepmother.
 
Khalid Al-Nadir wants nothing more than to be with Leila, his wife. But he hides a deep, dark secret – his intentions when he made her his weren’t noble. Despite falling in love with her in the end, he knows she will be better off without him.
 
Leila craves answers; Khalid desires salvation. Fate, in the form of Khalid’s stepmother, intervenes and sets this estranged couple up for a one night stand date with Madame Eve’s agency.

Can Leila and Khalid have a second chance, once they both face the truth that brought them together?

From Mauritius with love!

Zee

Sunday, September 02, 2012

#sixsunday Before The Morning #18: Oops!

Hey beautiful people!

Recovering from a bad cold here, and today I have no voice. Needless to tell you, the hyenas are ecstatic! All I wanna do is head back to my bed and quilt, but since I already signed up for Six Sentence Sunday, I owed it to the list owner to pop in here and post my six.

Anyhow, I'm jumping a little in the story this week. Same scene, but I'm skipping the part where Ash and Rayne are doing the naughty (I know, wicked of me, but, read today's six and you'll know why I rushed to this excerpt).

So, yes - remember? When the story opens, Ash goes all knight in shining armour on Irina, a Russian woman whose husband beat her right in front of Ash's eyes. He did recall how Irina made him think of Rayne, his childhood best friend whom he hasn't seen in 17 years... but Ash has no idea "Irina" was actually Rayne on an undercover mission for the Corpus, the clandestine espionage and assassination agency she works for...

This is where this reunion (last week!) and love scene ends, a cliffie to lead to the next chapter. Throughout the love scene, no word has been exchanged, and during post-coital bliss, Rayne has piped up that if she knew coming back would be like this, she'd have returned a long time ago. The words, and the accent, have startled Ash...

Would love to hear your thoughts!


'...
"I took you by surprise, didn't I?"
What could he tell her, and how could he explain?
"Yeah," he said with caution, "You could say that."
She smiled, a tremulous, guarded curve of her mouth, and said, "I'm so happy to see you again."
"Me, too," he reassured barely above a croak.
As she reached out and hugged him, Ash wanted to kick himself and run away as far as possible—he'd fucked up, because the woman in his arms was Rayne, not Irina.
...'


Surprise, surprise, innit? Poor Ash - he's in a pickle! And master-manipulator Rayne aka Kali is not about to let him off the hook.

Don't forget to check the official SSS list, and the following peeps - Jessica Subject, Cara Bristol, Carmen deSousa, Alexa Bourne, Tory Michaels, Christine Warner, Monica Enderle Pierce, Taryn Kincaid, Sue Ann Bowling, Kate Warren, & Samantha Paige.

Hope you're having a lovely weekend!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee
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