Sunday, November 25, 2012

#sixsunday Before The Morning #30 - And Ash's secret is...

Hey peeps!

Beautiful Sunday here, but thanks to the heat wave raging on our island right now, everyone's beat by the absolute level of warmth. Nothing better to imagine than sitting down in an air-con room or in front of a blowing fan... and reading. :) Join me for Six Sentence Sunday?

Back once more in Vegas - because this chapter/scene is a pivotal one in the book.

Last week, I'd hinted that Ash, former cop turned ambulance worker, carried a heavy secret. A new beginning with his childhood best friend beckons. Marriage, and a partnership between them... Yet, how can Ash allow all this, when he bears this secret?

What is this secret? Read on to find out.


'...
Maybe—just maybe—there might be one person who'd never abandon him if she knew what he'd done, and that person would be Rayne, because she'd always been by his side, her presence quiet, steady, and unobtrusive. He'd grown up a turbulent teenager, punch-happy and with his father's terrible, volatile temper, and when he was in one of his unpredictable, almost bipolar funks, no one dared approach him. . .he'd had no friends, and not even his brother had stepped up, though they were thick as thieves in everything else, as that would mean going up against their father—the father Duncan idolized but Ash hated for charting out his life even before he'd been born.
So he'd rebelled, but Rayne had never let him down, though—she was the only person who had cared for him during those troubled days. She always knew where to find him, and she was just there; he couldn't explain it any other way. Rayne saw through him, and she reached inside to the part of him that had needed acceptance and love, never questioning, never trying to make him do what he didn't want to do.
And that was why he couldn't taint her life, because Rayne was all things good, like hope and the prospect of a wonderful tomorrow, while he was only darkness, a fact he’d had confirmed the day he had shot and killed Matt Dearborn, one of his closest friends.
...'


Don't forget to check these following amazing peeps on the official SSS list - Alix Cameron, Jessica E. Subject, Angela Quarles, Sherry Gloag, JM Blackman, Lorraine Paton, Sue Ann Bowling - among the 150+ particpants on the list this week.

Hope you're all enjoying a lovely Sunday!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Friday, November 23, 2012

#DecadentBFHop When Love Needs A Little Push - #1NS stories from Zee Monodee

Hey beautiful people!

Been waiting for this Black Friday Decadent Publishing Hop ever since the lovely Jessica E. Subject threw the notion into the ring of Decadent Authors. It's been a few, looong, weeks, in arriving, but here we are...

...and I have no clue what to talk about! Yes, Zee is speechless. And no, it's not Turkey Coma, or crashing from a super-high of Black Friday Shopping and haggling (sadly... I'd always loved, loved, loved the equivalent in the UK: Boxing Day, on Dec 26. Anyhow...). The reason is, I'm smack in the middle of deadline hell with a sh*tstorm about to hit the fan if I don't get all my ducks lined up reaaaal fast! Gaaaahhh!

Though I must say, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I must give thanks to my wonderful husband, who is holding the fort together while I'm crumbling from all the seams. If I've done one thing right in my life, it is to have snagged that man up when he came onto the market. *grin*

And, you see, I knew the minute I saw him that I would do everything I could (short of breaking up a relationship, if he happened to be in one back then!) to make him mine. This happened at a function in my cousin's house - I was inside, and across the window, I saw this tall, big man with absolutely breathtakingly wide shoulders leaning forward to talk to his diminutive-stature mother. Yes, I had no clue who he was at that point, but seeing these two in profile, the family resemblance jumped out, and I put two and two together.

Two weeks later, on Valentine's Day, he proposed. Yes, I worked fast. LOL. I had found the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with; I wasn't going to dally around.

But I also know I've been lucky....Not everyone gets to meet the right person in a luck-by-chance stroke, have that love-at-first-sight deal work from the get-go.
Sometimes, you need a little push, some gentle steering in the right direction.

Something like what Madame Evangeline from the 1NightStand agency delivers.

I love love stories; nothing I crave more than a good romance (probably the reason why I started romance). I thus get to play matchmaker, and make Happily-Ever-After happen.

And occasionally, help comes in the form of people like Madame Eve. She's "helped" me pair two couples, already. Check out who these people are, and how this lady has played a part in their romance:


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.
Get the book here


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?



Do you believe in love at first sight? Or do you think feelings should be given time to grow?

Answer me in the comments - and enter to win the very first copy of Leila and Khalid's story when it comes out in a couple of months!

And don't forget to check the other wonderful authors taking part in this lovely hop - sadly, the code isn't working for me today, but here's a link to the page where you'll find a list of participants.

Goodies galore, peep - indulge in a Decadent book or two this Black Friday!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, November 18, 2012

#sixsunday Before The Morning #29 - And our hero, Ash, opens up a little...

Hey beautiful people!

For once, a beautiful, gorgeous summer sun is shining down on us during a weekend. We'd been treated to god-awful windy, rainy weather these past few weeks, and to have a small blast of heat with lots of brightness is a boon.

There's something about bright lights that gets me all revved up - what about you? Care to join me on a Six Sentence Sunday trip?

I'm still in Vegas, in the wedding night bedroom. Last week, Ash Gilfoy, former cop turned ambulance worker in London, woke up to find himself hitched to his childhood best friend, Rayne Cheltham, a woman he no longer really knows, though, as Rayne has been gone for the past 17 years.

After the shock and confusion of finding that ring on his finger (read that snippet here), Ash has outright asked Rayne what's going on... and her reply was that it "appeared" they got married. She "admitted" to not remembering, and "thinks" she must've asked him to marry her...

How does Ash react to this confession? Read on for today's six!


'...
How could she have done that, and, oh yeah; never mind that he'd agreed—how could she have even broached the subject with him? She knew, for God's sake....for close to two decades, she'd known marriage was not a path he contemplated, and she wasn't even aware just how much he believed in the notion that he should not taint another's life with the depths of the darkness that ran inside him.
Rayne had no idea what he'd done after she'd left—she'd gone on to save the world, to make it a better place, while he'd fought the same battle, but lost to his own demons. Demons he'd inherited from his father, that he'd seen crush his mother down into a shadow of herself. He'd never wanted to take the chance he'd do the same, even against his will, to a defenceless woman. But he’d never known how deep his darkness went, until....
...'


Can Ash be hiding a dark secret, too...?

Don't forget to check these other peeps on the official SSS list - Jessica E. Subject, Jess Schira, Monica Enderle Pierce, Siobhan Muir, Sue Ann Bowling, JM Blackman, & Callie Hutton - among many others!

Hope you're all enjoying a lovely Sunday, peeps!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, November 11, 2012

#sixsunday Before The Morning #28: The spy wife strikes back!

Hey peeps!

Hope you're all doing good. Absolutely awful weather here - it's suddenly summer, and with it comes one of those tropical cyclones our region is known for. Nothing dramatic or huge, but enough to throw the weather into a rainy tailspin and pump the humidity to nearly 100%. Hate this... so I need a breather and something to take my mind off the rain. Join me for some Six Sentence Sunday excerpts?

Last week, I featured the snippet from my hero's POV (read it here). Ash Gilfoy, a man who doesn't like complications and who is striving to live a normal, simple life, finds himself waking up in Las Vegas... with a wedding ring on his left hand! How did this happen? And who to...?

Turns out the bride is Rayne, his childhood best friend. She's recently come back into Ash's world after an absence of 17 years, time during which she was working in war-torn areas as a humanitarian aid helper.
But this is what everyone believes, what Rayne has led them to believe... as it turns out, she's in fact a skilled, trained assassin who was taking out deadly criminals all these years.

But Ash thinks she's a sweet, traumatized, innocent girl, and Rayne's not doing anything to shift his perception of her. Manipulative? Only just...


'...
"I . . . I knew you'd think we made a mistake."
He saw the shimmer of tears in her big, blue-grey eyes . . . damn it, she wouldn't cry, would she, not because of him? He’d been curt with her, but he'd just woken up to find out he'd gotten married; try as he might, he couldn't remember getting hitched, or even proposing, or agreeing, to marry her. Bloody hell—most men would've gone bat shit ballistic for less.
She gave a small hiccup and rubbed her open palm against her nose; bad signs—she was about to unleash the waterworks.
"Rayne," he said as he pulled himself up on the mattress, into a sitting position, before he placed his hands on her shoulders and squeezed gently, "calm down . . . just give me a minute here, okay?"
...'


Don't forget to check out the other excerpts on the official SSS list today, and these peeps among them - Cassandra Dean, Jessica E. Subject, Tonya Burrows, Veronica Scott, JM Blackman, Adaline Raine, Gemma Parkes, Susanna Fraser, Sue Ann Bowling, & Sherry Gloag.

Enjoy your Sunday, peeps! Send me some sun if you have it! *grin*

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Friday, November 09, 2012

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Mauritius with love,
Zee

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

A Review of BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE, & author Sheila Roberts answers some questions!

Hey beautiful people!

Look at the pic here - it says, "Better Than Chocolate." Is that even possible? That's the question I asked myself... and immediately was tickled pink to check this one out. Was getting ready to delve into that book (my first from Sheila Roberts!), when I got asked if I wanted to review this book and have the author on my blog.

Where do I sign on the dotted line? was all I asked. Seriously, the very name Sheila Roberts is a mark of romance and good reading, or so I'd gathered (not having read her books yet, I didn't know for myself. But I was determined to find out...)

But let's start first off by stating that never in the course of the communication asking me to host the author and review the book, was it suggested/implied/bribed/asked that I provide a glowing/positive review. Any and all opinions henceforth are mine and mine alone.

So let's get started, but first, an idea of what this book is about:

Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company has been in the Sterling family for generations, ever since Great-Grandma Rose literally dreamed up her first fabulous recipe. But now it looks as if they're about to lose Sweet Dreams to the bank—and that would be a disaster, not only for the family but for the town of Icicle Falls, Washington. Can Samantha, the oldest daughter and new head of the company, come up with a way to save it?After Samantha does some brainstorming with her mother and sisters, inspiration strikes. They'll have a chocolate festival! Time's running out, but the Sterling women are determined and the town's behind them, so everything's bound to go smoothly….

Or not. Events seem to be conspiring against Samantha, and her mother's attempts to help aren't helping. To make matters worse, the fate of her company is in the hands of her archenemy, Blake Preston, the bank manager with the football-hero good looks. It's enough to drive her to chocolate. But Blake's also enough to convince her that (believe it or not) there's something even better than chocolate.


My Review:

I'm a goner for chick-lit. Everyone knows that. At least, I'm a goner for any story that features heavily on the life and trials and tribulations of the heroine/s in the book. Yes, if it's not chick-lit, you can call it women's fiction. Let's just say that Better Than Chocolate straddles that line between genres. No, there's no mention of shoes or shopping in it, but there are ample doses of chocolate. Enough to turn any woman into a raving chocoholic!

I loved this book. Though the focus wasn't much on the romance or the attraction between Samantha and Blake, Ms. Roberts had me enthralled. I cheered for Samantha and her sisters, Cecily and Bailey. I got angry at her mother, Muriel, and more than annoyed at the deceased stepfather, Waldo, the one who got them into the mess they find themselves in. These characters really felt like people you could know - their story a slice of life you're getting to witness.

And the chocolates mentioned (some of the recipes look easy!) - let's just say I'm kinda glad Sweet Dreams Chocolates don't exist for real, because, a) I'd rant that the goodies are available only in Icicle Falls, and b) none of my clothes would continue fitting me coz I'd be totally indulging in that kind of chocolate. *grin*

Little tidbits in this book made it even more interesting - sometimes sweet, sometimes hilarious. Yes, I have the "Mr Dreamy" contest in mind. Let's just say I totally would've voted for the man who won, because he was an absolute sweetheart.

If you love soap operas and that kind of character-driven drama, you're bound to enjoy this book. I know I loved it!

And now I cannot wait to delve into Merry Ex-Mas, Sheila Roberts' next book from Icicle Falls that'll feature characters we already root for in Better Than Chocolate.

And also - I'm praying Cecily gets her story! The battle between sweet widower Luke and bad boy Todd? Sign me up ASAP - I need to see that!


Now here's Sheila Roberts for ye all, peeps! She was lovely enough to answer some questions of mine.



Tell us about your Better Than Chocolate:

This book is the first book for my new series. In it you’ll meet the Sterling family – Samantha, her sisters Cecily and Bailey and their mom Muriel. They own Sweet Dreams Chocolates... so far. Sweet Dreams is in danger of getting taken by the bank. Samantha’s stepfather Waldo ran the company into the ground and now Samantha has to save it. The town of Icicle Falls isn’t doing much better than Sweet Dreams Chocolates due to a lack of snow and tourists. What they all need is... a chocolate festival! Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? But for Samantha the road to chocolate success is almost as difficult as the one to true love.

In a few words:

      Your book

Is fun

      Your heroine

Is stressed

      Your hero

Really isn’t the bad guy

      You as an author

I’m fun, too!

Let's say BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE is a movie – which one does it most closely resemble?

“You’ve Got Mail”

What real-life actors are playing the roles?

Ryan Reynolds. Hmm, as for the heroine, help me out here. Any suggestions?

Oooh, yummy... Hmm, she's a bit young, but Leighton Meester would totally fit the feisty, determined picture I have of Samantha!

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

Hmmm. Let’s include “Sweet Dreams” by the  Eurythmics

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

Blake, Mr. Bank Manager, will have to be in a three-piece suit. (Don’t you just love a man in a suit?!) Samantha will be in Icicle Falls business casual – dark jeans, cool top, great jewelry.

The suit is lethal - I'll grant you that!

As writers, we are bombarded with ideas every minute of every day. What’s the idea behind this book, and how did it come about?

You know, I wanted to write about a woman needing to resurrect some sort of business – at first I thought maybe a B & B. But then I got to thinking, what business would be more fun to save than a chocolate company. And I went from there. I wanted the message behind this book to be about picking yourself up when life knocks you down. We all go through times like that, don’t we?

We sure do, and this book is a perfect message of hope!

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

I’m ridiculously social, love to hang out and play games with friends. And I want to go on Dancing with the Stars! Don’t you think writers can be stars?

Well, writers are readers' stars! I am still having a fangirl moment here, being able to ask you questions! *grin*

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

When everything on my to-do list is checked off. Love that feeling!

Oooh, yes - perfect feeling!

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

Magenta – because it’s warm and fun.

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

Laughter and encouragement. I hope!

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

Never give up.

Where can we find you and your books?

I hope you’ll find me on Facebook (Sheila Roberts, author) and check out my website, http://www.sheilasplace.com
Oh, and if you want to see me in action, check out “Merry Christmas Mama” on Youtube.

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

Thanks so much for having me. Great fun!

One more time, I'll say: Grab this book! Hard to believe, but some things can be Better Than Chocolate - proof in this heartwarming story here.

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, November 04, 2012

#sixsunday Before The Morning #27: Wishing You A (Not!) Happy Wedding Life!

Hey beautiful people!

Surfacing from my edits/rewrite/deadlines cave to post up a little something of my own today. As always, I'm up to my eyeballs in drowning with deadlines swirling all over me. I need a break - so anyone wants to join me for some Six Sentence Sunday excerpts?

And we're still in Vegas. Remember - super-spy Rayne got back together with the love of her life, her childhood best friend, Ash Gilfoy. And would you believe it? They even got married!

Except for the tiny detail that the groom has no clue he's tied the knot... Rayne is dreading what'll happen when Ash realizes this. Last week, she was quaking on her boots.

Today, we finally get to see what Ash is going through. We switch to his POV from here on. Read for his reaction...


'...
Ash blinked; he had to be dreaming, except that the metal band on his finger felt all too real—heavy, smooth, warm, and tight. He glanced at the ring, then at Rayne—it took two people to get married, and she was the other half of the equation...he didn't need to see the glinting piece of gold on her ring finger to put two and two together.
Except that here, two and two equalled a whole muck up of twisted shit. They were married—since when, how, and worse, had they consummated the union? He snorted softly; Who am I kidding? Of course, they'd consummated their wedding, because the only thing between him and Rayne was sex, the strings of their friendship pale, sketchy ghosts grappling for a hold where there was none to be grasped.
...'


Poor man, innit? But Rayne loves him... and love makes everything better, doesn't it? What will this marriage be like? Do these two even stand a chance? Grab a copy of Before The Morning (Corpus Brides: Book Two) and find out.

Don't forget to check some lovely peeps and their excerpts on the official SSS list - Jessica E. Subject, Gem Sivad, JM Blackman, Kate Warren, Monica Enderle Pierce, Jess Schira, Veronica Scott, Siobhan Muir, & Sue Ann Bowling - among many others!

Hope ye all are enjoying a lovely weekend! It's spring-easing-into-summer here, aka allergy season. So I'm not out of the woods yet... *grin*

From Mauritius with love,

Zee
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