Sunday, December 30, 2012

#sixsunday Before The Morning #35: A Spy Amid Family Chaos! (Last Six From Book2:Corpus Brides)

Hey beautiful people!

Can you believe it's the last Sunday of 2012? Where has this year gone??? I don't think I missed one posting of Six Sentence Sunday this year... and a good many of them gave come from Book 2 of my Corpus Brides espionage/romantic thriller series - Before The Morning.

So, to conclude the year, I'm posting the last snippet from this one. Sad to let Ash and Rayne go, but I have many more couples vying for attention in 2013. Yes, I know that at some point in January, Six Sunday will end, but why not keep up the tradition of a Sunday snippet throughout the year?

Quick recap - Ash is a former cop turned paramedic. Rayne is his childhood best friend whom he hasn't seen in 17 years. Somehow, they got together, and even got married in Vegas.
But Ash, and everyone from Rayne's family, ignores that she used to work as a clandestine asssassin in those 17 years when she was away.
She's left that life behind now... but sometimes, 'real' life can be more treacherous than undercover missions...

Case in point - Rayne has set foot on the family property after all these years, and the people she meets are not the ones she left behind. There are her parents, her brother and his fiancee, her sisters, Ash's brother (who's engaged to one of her sisters - they've come home for the family wedding), and her paternal grandmother (who is Russian).

No one knows yet how long Rayne has been back - they think she just landed. And, of course, no one knows she and Ash are married.
Until her grandmother notices her wedding ring, and a chorus of exclamations goes up, asking why she kept her wedding a secret...


'...
That's when she realised her faux pas; Russians wore their wedding bands on the fourth finger of the right hand, and wearing the ring on the left hand meant the person was married before—divorced, or widowed.
"I didn't realise, Babushka," she blurted as she started to pull off the ring.
"Nyet, don't ever remove your wedding ring; it is bad luck, and your husband should do that, if you don't want an unhappy married life."
In the silence that descended over the garden, not even birds chirped, until Shannon asked, "so, where is he?"
Was that smugness on the perfect face? Rayne couldn't help but think and brace herself at the malevolent gleam she saw in her sister's eyes—What have I done to her?
"Her husband is here," Ash said with a chuckle.
...'


If she thought clandestine life was chaotic madness, Rayne had no clue the family fold could be even more like a one-way trip to Bedlam!
Will negotiating the family proximity be her biggest mission yet? Check out Before The Morning (Corpus Brides: Book Two) and find out!

Don't forget to check the official SSS list, and the amazing peeps on it - JM Blackman, Sue Ann Bowling, Siobhan Muir, Sarah Ballance, Jessica E. Subject, Cara Bristol, Elin Gregory, Taryn Kincaid, C.C. Williams, Dee Carney, Tonya Burrows, Alexa Bourne, Lorraine Paton, Angela Quarles, Sarah Walter Ellwood, Krystal Shannan, & Gemma Parkes - among many others!

Taking this opp to wish you all a wonderful 2013 - Happy New Year, peeps!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, December 23, 2012

#sixsunday Before The Morning #34: A new beginning for Ash & Rayne?

Hey beautiful people!

Feeling all giddy and light here as the sun is back out once more (and we're sizzling and roasting, but I prefer that to the squelching humid grey dampness of the past few weeks *grin*)

Yes, I get high on sunlight - didn't you know most bubbly girls get this? :) Oh, you mean it's time for me to come back to earth? Okay... how about some serious yet entertaining reading? Join me for Six Sentence Sunday snippets?

Last time in Vegas for me and my star couple, Ash Gilfoy and Rayne Cheltham... who is now Rayne Gilfoy, actually. Remember - these two (childhood best friends who haven't seen each other in 17 years) got hitched, and Ash has no clue how. He finds himself with this woman who sometimes freaks him out with the intense observation she subjects him to.

Little does he know Rayne has loved him all her life... and had plotted to get to where they are today, putting her spy mastermind to work.

But feelings have a way of coming through, especially to people who know you better than you know yourself sometimes....

Ash just found out Rayne has informed her mother she got married, but she didn't say to whom. He's asked her if she might be ashamed of him, and Rayne has stopped his words before they could leave his mouth.


'...
The conviction in her voice startled him, and if he were to probe deeper, he'd say he heard unfailing love in her words, too, but he didn't want to go that far, not when he hadn't completely defined his feelings for her . . . she might be his wife—Lord knew how, really—and all he felt for her at that moment was tenderness and affection; maybe with time, that'd grow into more.
When she lowered the hand she held over his mouth, he grasped her fingers and brought them to his chest, right above his heart.
"Promise me something," he paused, "no more lies, Rayne, not from either of us—if we're to make this work, we'll need to build everything on trust and honesty."
He thought he saw a flicker in her eyes when she listened to him, unblinking, but the emotion passed so quickly, he couldn't quite place it.
Was it fear, and does she have something to hide?
"I promise," she said.
...'


How complex does this couple get? Find out when you grab a copy of Before The Morning (Corpus Brides: Book Two). *whisper* The book is even available in print now!

Don't forget to check the following amazing peeps from the official SSS list - JM Blackman, Jessica E. Subject, Angela Quarles, Sue Ann Bowling, Jess Schira, Kate Warren, C.C. Williams, & Lorraine Paton - among the many others signed up there!

Hope you're having a lovely Sunday. I also take this opp to wish those of you celebrating this holiday season a very Merry Christmas!!!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, December 16, 2012

#sixsunday Before The Morning #33: The moment our hero crumbles into the heroine's palm...

Hey peeps!

Slow, lazy, sleepy Sunday morning here - it's actually quite cool with no sun and some drizzling rain on the whole island. So much for beach outings and all that summer hoopla this weekend.

Still, it means this is time to be spent indoors, in pyjamas and comfy slippers, and why not with a good read? And speaking of good reads, why not do some hopping for excerpts of Six Sentence Sunday?

I'm still with Rayne and Ash from Before The Morning (Corpus Brides: Book 2). There's something about these two - my most complex, twisted, and intriguing characters/couple to date - that makes me reluctant to let them go. So much I want to show ye all about the romance between them...

Speaking of romance, where are they at right now? Remember, they got hitched (with Ash not remembering a thing!) in Vegas. Right when he's come to grips with this idea, and decided to give Rayne a chance as his wife, real life has butted in, in the form of a call from Rayne's mother (last week's six).

Ash suddenly realises Rayne has lied to him, because her parents have no clue she has returned home, when she expressly told him she had called them.

If there's one thing Ash cannot tolerate, it's lies. Rayne wants to slither away from a confrontation, but he will not let her off the hook. He's caught up with her near the terrace door, and a fight has escalated. The only thing Rayne has 'managed' to say is that she is sorry...


'...
"Is that all you're bloody going to say all the time?"
He looked into her eyes and saw fear and apprehension—God, he was behaving like an arse, like his father, and too many times, he'd seen that haunted look in his mother's gaze when his father was home, between Geoffrey Gilfoy’s tours of duty with the RAF.
Ash balled his hands—the anger, and the fight, drained out of him at the realization that he was taking the path he'd sworn never to take . . . yet, he'd also sworn never to get married, and look where he was, one-hundred-percent hitched and to a complex puzzle, to boot.
He heard a small hiccup, and the rest of whatever volatile emotion that turned his blood hot evaporated; he couldn't make her cry, and he didn't know which was worse—terrorizing her or making her heart hurt.
"Baby, I'm sorry," he said as he reached out to pull her to him for a hug, and thought he saw her flinch under his touch. He made sure to keep his hands gentle and light on the delicate, rounded curve of her shoulders, and added, "I'm sorry."
...'


Boy, does she know how to play him right or what? Because, yes - manipulative Rayne is not showing her cards, but she is twisting him around her little finger, exactly as she would a target...

How far will this girl go? How long can she remain unscathed? Will Ash ever wake up to her mind games? And what of love between them...?

Don't forget to check the amazing peeps on the official SSS list, among them - Jessica E. Subject, Tonya Burrows, Jess Schira, Angela Quarles, Kate Warren, Lorraine Paton, & Sue Ann Bowling.

Hope ye're all enjoying a lovely Sunday with your loved ones...

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Friday, December 14, 2012

#HolidayLove Blog Hop - The Holidays in Mauritius!

Hey beautiful people!

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

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

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

So, what is it about holidays, and romance?

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Next Best Thing: A Sneak Peek into my latest series, Havisham Park

Hey beautiful people!

The lovely Charisma Knight tagged me last week in her TNBT post - today, it is now up to me to answer the 10 questions of this gigantic, exponential hop, and tell you a little more about my current WIP.

I've just finished putting finishing touches to my Island Girls series, but no rest for the wicked, innit? I'm already delving into a new one. This one has been a while in the making, have had this idea brewing for a long time, and suddenly, a few weeks ago, it seemed like the right time to give in to these characters.

So let's get on with the questions and answers!


What is the working title of your book?

This one is Book#1 in the Havisham Park series. The title is Whisk Me Up

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I had an idea to write a light, comedic series with a small-town British feel, and that would follow the lives and loves of 3 sisters. From there, the "world" would be built for the Havisham Park series - the stories set in and around Havisham Park, a stately North Yorkshire residence, and the collection of villages around it in the Yorkshire Dales.

What genre does your book fall under?

Contemporary romance, small-town romance, romantic comedy

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

The characters actually came into being through images of actors/famous people, so this question is really easy for me to answer. :)

The heroine, Mary Beth Beresford, is an anorexic model who's been whisked to Havisham Park so she can recover her health and purge her life of the crazy demands of the international modelling world. At the same time, Mary Beth is at heart a fragile and gentle young woman who hopes to find love one day.
Actress Yvonne Strahovski struck me as the perfect Mary Beth - with the beauty to be a model, but the fragility of a vulnerable woman, too.



The hero, Nyall Barry, is a chef who owns the local pub in the closest village to Havisham Park (as in, the actual residence). A huge man, he is more comfortable in his kitchen and behind the stoves than in the public spotlight.
I've had a crush on wrestler Triple H ever since the first time I saw him, so Nyall immediately painted himself with the face, body, and long hair (!) of Triple H when I imagined him.



What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?

The recipe for a fulfilled life always involves love...and trust...

Will your book be self published or represented by an agency/publisher?

I hope to offer this book, and its whole series, to my current publisher, Decadent Publishing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

No answer to this one as I haven't yet started the first draft, lol. I'm looking at 6-7 weeks tops to have a first draft in hand, though.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold series, as well as Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor series.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Castle Howard, this immense, stately residence set in North Yorkshire. This image here is the front view, and the above image at the post's start is that of the south/back facing facade and gardens.



I've been in awe of this place ever since I saw it in the movie Garfield:A Tale of Two Kitties. Just knew I had to use that place as a location for a story. It's only logical that when I planned this series, it decided to happen in one such castle.

What else about your book might interest the reader?

Most small-town romances are set in the US; there are very few that showcase England and English life.
I also plan a slew of quirky characters... and did I mention there's a street called Millionaire's Row in town, where only hot, handsome, and very rich single men live? *grin*


So here's a sneak peek at my latest project, peeps! I'm eager to hear what you think about this one!

I'm not tagging anyone to continue this hop - usually, they would've had to answer the questions next Wednesday, Dec 19, and tag 4 people of their own. But everyone I've contacted has already played the game at some point in the past, so I'm afraid I'm at a loss of options here. Forgive me for not continuing this forward, in this case.

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

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

Hey peeps!

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

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

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

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

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

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



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



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



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




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

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, December 09, 2012

#sixsunday Before The Morning #32: And the plot thickens, thanks to...

Hey beautiful people!

Goodness, been ages since I last been here... I also apologise to everyone who visited last week, because I haven't been able to acknowledge your comments and visit back. It's been an insane past 10 days, with me scrambling to put 3 submissions together, and after managing that on Wednesday, I just crashed.

But time to pick myself up and get on with everything, ditch this zombie persona for a more lively one. Starting with Six Sentence Sunday!

I've just been informed Before The Morning (Corpus Brides: Book Two) will be coming out in print this week or next week - the proofs and everything have been sent and we're only waiting for Amazon to give the green light. Can I say I am absolutely chuffed by this news? *grin*

This one is probably my favourite book in all I've written. It's got espionage and danger and a kick-arse heroine, but there's also a whole other dimension of family ties and relationships woven in. Anyone who's seen Burn Notice will know what I mean - this book has been described as Nikita meets Burn Notice.

So, this week, let me show you a little of that family madness and drama. Yes, it's still the Vegas bedroom scene. Last week, Ash accepted his fate of being married to Rayne...until his phone rang and shattered through the moment.

Who was calling? Check it out!


'...
So Maura thought Rayne was still abroad—his beautiful new wife had some explaining to do; he gripped her hand tighter, in a crushing hold.
"You will not believe this, Ash, coz she said she was coming home for Shannon's wedding."
"Did she?" he asked as he narrowed his eyes at Rayne, who looked toward the sliding glass pane to the terrace.
"And Ash, she mentioned something else," Maura paused, "she . . . she said she's gotten married . . .did you know?"
"Did she say to whom?"
Maura sighed, and continued, "she didn't, and that's what's got me worried; I know Rayne has travelled a lot and seen a lot in her life, but what does she know about real life, and I mean, what if the man is not right for her, especially if she made a precipitate decision . . . oh, dear Lord"—she gasped—"you think she might be pregnant?"
...'


Turns out Rayne, who's been back in England for 2 weeks, has not let her family know that she's returned. Guilt has totally got her cornered now, and she wants to escape from Ash, because she told him, while looking him in the eye, that yes, she has called her parents and informed them of her return.

What's a girl to do in such a situation? Can Rayne wheedle her way out? Can Ash forgive her...? Grab your copy of Before The Morning here and find out!

Don't forget to check out these amazing peeps on the official SSS list - Jessica Subject, Lorraine Paton, Angela Quarles, Monica Enderle Pierce, Sue Ann Bowling, & Jess Schira - among many others!

Hope ye're all having a wonderful Sunday!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, December 02, 2012

#sixsunday Before The Morning #31: And they lived happily ever after...?

Hey beautiful people!

My brain is absolutely scrambled right now, thanks to the awful heat wave going on here. Remember - I told you that, once summer comes around, you'd hear me complain of the heat when this is all I wanted during the dreary cold winter months. :)

But, it's Sunday, and I've finally managed to curb the blokes' enthusiasm here and got them to stay home for a day. So here's me finally able to sit down with a Virgin Mojito while downing Six Sentence Sunday snippets in front of a blowing air-monster fan. Join me? *grin*

And... we're still in Vegas. Told you this one was a pivotal point in the book, so I'm still taking you to that moment when Ash discovered he and Rayne are married. Last week, he disclosed his secret to you readers... Will he tell Rayne? And what happens if he does tell her?

Will he... or won't he?

Check this week's six to find out.


'...
He might have only darkness in his soul, but Rayne would be his light. . . Ash didn't have much to give her, yet he knew he would protect her with his dying breath, if he had to, would do everything he could to make her proud of him.
“Trust me,” she said, and he knew he should, because Rayne had always made what was wrong in his life right in the past.
"Hello, wife," he said.
She pulled away, and he tightened his grip on her hand, breached the distance between them and placed his lips over hers, shushing her. After a second or two, she returned his kiss, a chaste meeting of her mouth with his, and he smiled; so, she was suddenly a shy bride, after all they'd done—and what had they not done—in the past week?
The realisation clamoured for attention, before his mobile phone rang and vibrated on the clear glass of the bedside table, shattering the silence.
...'


Don't forget to check those peeps from the official SSS List - Jessica Subject, Carmen deSousa, Jenna Jaxon, JM Blackman, Krystal Baird, Mae Clair, Sherry Gloag, Lorraine Paton, & Sue Ann Bowling - among many, many others!

Hope ye're all enjoying a fabulous weekend & amazing Sunday! I'm off to go dry out to jerky state in this heat. LOL.

From Mauritius with love,

Zee
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