Blog Archive

Friday, August 23, 2013

Noble Romance Publishing closes...& I get 2 series/3 books back!

A few days ago, Noble Romance Publishing authors received an email stating the house was closing, and that rights for all stories by every author will be reverting to them automatically; books to be removed from sales outlet between now and October, tops. Authors who wished for an official Return of Rights letter simply had to request one, and it would be delivered.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Link Thursday: Raising A Girl - 16 Things You Wish You'd Known

Hey peeps!

Sorry for yesterday - Blogger would not let me in! I had this post lined up about letting your readers down; guess I'll have to post it another Wednesday now.
And if it's not one thing, it's the other. Today, Twitter won't let me in, giving me it's huge whale picture instead. Growing tired of seeing that one!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Kitchen Klutz' Recipes: Chicken Fajita Salad

Sorry, my camera doesn't have great resolution
But this is what the salad looks like :)
Hey beautiful people!

For a long time, I didn't know how to cook. Yes, I could whip up something so the blokes wouldn't starve, but I didn't know how to go about cooking and making dishes, etc. That's how I used to term myself an undomestic goddess, especially in the kitchen.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

At the PopCultureDivas today: An Indo-Muslim wedding in Mauritius!

Hey peeps!

Little update on my dad (since a lot of you asked - thank you!) - he's been discharged from the hospital and is coming home this afternoon. His surgery was a success, and recovery looks like a walk in the park, according to his doctor. :)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Rain Check!

Hey peeps!

I'm appalled to be pulling this card already, barely a week into my 'actively blogging everyday' stint. But as you know, life crops up, and we gotta go with the flow.

Just heard this morning from my mum that my dad has been called to the hospital, scheduled for surgery tomorrow (dunno yet what time yet). He's been on the waiting list for this benign operation for over a year. Everything is supposed to go well, but heck, I'm worried. My dad is not that young anymore, and he risks complications with his asthma from the general anaesthesia.

So instead of posting today, I'm gonna be with my family as much as I can, and frankly, I cannot for the life of me think of anything except this surgery tomorrow. I'll breathe again once it's over and everything's fine once more (God willing...)

Thanks for understanding. I'll be back tomorrow with regular content, but today, I need this rain check.

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Friday, June 07, 2013

Progress Friday: A New Contract!

Hey peeps!

Can you believe it's already Friday??? And lol, I spent this morning online...but ended up getting nothing done. How is that possible? True though that there is always something shiny on the Net, and it's so easy to get waylaid. That's why I prefer to have the wifi off when I'm writing or have work to do. Less temptation towards time perdition.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Link Thursday: 20 Britishisms Making Their Way Into American Culture


Hey beautiful people!

It's Thursday, which means... I'll be posting up a cross link from an article I read online, stuff that I believe might interest you.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

If the shoe fits...

My latest shoe splurge!
Hey peeps!

Was debating what to post today... Usually on Wednesdays, you'll find me blogging twice a month at The Pop Culture Divas. However, today is not mine to put something up, so I don't have a PCD link to share with you.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Playlist Mania: My Fangirl Crushing on Olly Murs

Hey peeps!

Told you I'd be back with more madness from my corner of the world. Yes, yes - run for cover! Do it already! Now! Or else....

Monday, June 03, 2013

Have you failed your readers?

Hey beautiful people!

Lol - strange to find me posting on a Monday, eh? I'm asking myself the same question...and I'll give you the answer in a few paragraphs (bear with me).

I remember I used to post every Monday, and every day of the work week, for that matter. When did this stop? Sometime about a year or a little more ago (I recall my last Random Thoughts Monday posting because I upped the post late. We'd needed to take kiddo to the dentist, and on the way there, we blew a tyre on the car. While we'd brought it to the garage to get a new tyre, super thunderstorms unleashed on the town. And it was our old car, the Suzuki Alto, which we sold last year in April for the Chevrolet Aveo we now own).

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

How to write about Africa...when you've never been there!

Hey peeps!

It was my turn today to post at The Pop Culture Divas, the group blog I belong to with a few other (awesome!) writers. I've been remiss in posting on my set day lately, so I apologize there...and put across a new post.

As ye all must know, I manage the Ubuntu line at Decadent Publishing. Geared towards African romance, with locations in Africa and characters hailing from or living in Africa and its societies, the line aims at giving reads that sweep you into a whole new world that is simply a continent or an ocean away.

But most authors think you need to be a native of Africa to write for Ubuntu, and the question I am often asked is this:

Saturday, April 13, 2013

2 British boys battle for the top spot today! *on my Playlist!*

Hey peeps

It's a cold and dismal Saturday here today. Cyclonic warning Class1 in force this morning when I'm writing this; hopefully we won't get much worse weather. Lotsa rain is not what we're looking for, esp after the recent floods in the capital city.

So what else is there to do except hunker down inside the house, maybe with a good book, or a good WIP? Yep, I'm writing a new story (more about that next week with the Progress Report).

But another thing you can do when the weather is awful = grab a nice afghan, settle in your couch or comfy sofa, and plug in the earphones! Yes, I mean relaxing with good music!

Now, ye all know I love Brit Pop and that's what I listen to, mainly. No surprise then that I have two talented British lads vying for the top spot right now.

Want to join in and help me weigh who will win? Then take a listen down here. *grin*

First up, he's the winner of the latest version of X-Factor. Lots of people diss him but I think he's got a lovely voice, and that song of his is just heartbreaking!




Then, we have Olly Murs. Another top lad in the British charts. Got an amazing style that reminds me of a cross between the popular vibe of Robbie Williams and the alternative/electro-reggae beat of Jamiroquai.



So, which one wins it for you? I'm having a hard time deciding...

And if anything, I hope these tracks brightened your weekend a little. I know I could do with a spark.

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Monday, April 08, 2013

Catching Up & musings about my 2013 release schedule!

Hey beautiful people!

Funny how I find myself with some time on my hands when the hyenas are on break. I usually go nuts and all kinds of crazy haywire when they're at home, but this time, I tried to clear my sked a bit to be able to spend some time with them.

Not that I've managed to, really... I mean, I've arranged my schedule to fit everything I need to do within the hours when the kiddo is at school, and though on the whole I've accomplished my goals, I still find myself with a full plate at times.

That's what happens when your work is more akin to freelancing than having a set 9-5 jobs. As an editor, I don't really control when a project will land in my lap, and then I also depend on the author I am editing to stick to a certain schedule/deadline and the two of us need to work together. And most of the time, an editor is not working exclusively on one project, which means she'll be free when the work has returned to the author - there are other projects vying for attention in that time frame.

Not to mention that I find myself with a hectic publishing schedule this year. Lol, not that I'm complaining, but the work of an author doesn't stop when the book has been written and contracted. Then start the edits, which can get quite taxing and time-consuming (esp when you have other jobs to fit in, too)... and you also have promo and social media and all that lovely hoopla. Thank goodness I am a social butterfly who loves to keep in touch and maintain relationships; otherwise I'd be a basket case.

But publishing schedule, here's what mine is looking like right now:

May - Inescapable, Book1 of Eternelles with Natalie G. Owens

July - The Other Side, Book 1 of the Island Girls Trilogy with Decadent Publishing

September - Light My World, Book 2 of Island Girls

October - Indomitable, Book2 of Eternelles

November - Winds of Change, Book 3 of Island Girls

In the middle of all this, I suppose Transient Hearts (Western Escape with Decadent) will come out, too. I still don't have a release frame for that title.

And I'm trying to score a release for a Christmas story, which will (hopefully) mean that December will have a release, too.

Busy bee, eh? But that's how I love it! I mean, I've been writing for 8 years, and it's now that I'm really feeling like an author with a release schedule. Like, I know where I'm going and what to do to get there.

Feels quite spiffy, actually... *grin*

Oh, and speaking of releases, I realize I haven't posted my latest cover here. My FB peeps and Twitter followers have prolly already seen this one, but to you my blog viewers, here it is (along with my apologies for being so late with this reveal).



Isn't this one a beauty? The designer, Valerie Tibbs of Tibbs Design, created the dreamy perfection I wanted to showcase in this cover. The models look pretty much exactly how Lara & Eric look like (Eric is slightly more blond,actually). But the whole effect is just perfect!

Here's the blurb for you, in case you have no clue what I'm referring to here!

Divorce paints a scarlet letter on her back when she returns to the culture-driven society of Mauritius. But this same spotlight shines as a beacon of hope for the man who never stopped loving her. Can the second time around be the right one for these former teenage sweethearts?
 
Lara Reddy left London after her husband dumps her for a more accommodating uterus—at least, that’s what his desertion feels like. Bumping into him and his pregnant new missus doesn’t help matters any, and she thus jumps on a prestigious job offer. The kicker? The job is in Mauritius, her homeland, and a society she ran away from over a decade earlier.
 
But once here, Lara has no escape. Not from the gossip, the contempt, the harassing matchmaking....and certainly not from the one man she hoped never to meet again. The one she’d loved and lost—white Mauritian native, Eric Marivaux.
 
Back when they were teens, Eric left her, and Lara vowed she’d never let herself be hurt again.
Today, however, they are both adults, and facing the same crossroads they’d stood at so many years earlier.
 
Lara now stands on the other side of Mauritian society. Will this be the impetus she needs to take a chance on Eric again? To take a chance on love?

Hopefully, I'll be back soon and posting regularly about my crazy mad schedule on here. You do know you can also join me on FB and Twitter (see blog side bar, left, for the widgets to join me) where I am always sharing a quick snippet about my life and career.

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Friday, March 15, 2013

7 Things You Might Not Know About Zee Monodee (via The Very Inspiring Blogger Award)

Hey beautiful people!

Once again I find myself up to my neck in edits and barely able to pop my head over the water level for long enough to take another life-sustaining breath. But with the weekend approaching, I'm starting to let myself bob up and down on those choppy waters, and the best thing to do in that state is... chill!

I don't have a progress report for you today (though if you check the WIP counters, you'll see the jump in work), but since I've been tagged for a blog award, I thought, why not chill with that?

The lovely and talented Rae Rivers tagged me on this round of The Very Inspiring Blogger Award (thank you, darling!! I'm honoured!). For those of you who don't recall, Rae was here a little while ago with her guest post "Has the cat got your tongue?" Take a peek at the quirky world of art and art theft she features in her latest book.


But anyhow, the award... This is how this works. I'm supposed to link back to the person who tagged me (done!), write up 7 things about me, and then tag a few very inspiring people. I'm not too sure about the tagging part, because everyone I find inspiring seem to have already been tagged, so I won't burden anyone with a tag. I will, however, tell you who I find inspiring lately. *grin*

So, 7 things you might not know about me.... I'm pretty much an open book, but the blog's been getting lots of new visitors lately who might not have been following my rambles from all the while back. I also have lots of new Twitter followers, so this might be interesting for them.

Let's get started...

1. I was a surprise baby, born when my dad was 48 and my mum 41, a few months before their 20th wedding anniversary. After having my brother 16 years earlier, my mum had been told she'd never have kids again. Then, *poof*, here I was.
I'll admit it was kinda strange growing up with my cousins' kids the same age or slightly older than me... Today, at 30, I'm already a "grandma" to a 16-yr-old girl... *gasp*

2. I'm a cancer survivor. 8 years ago, a week after my 22nd birthday, I was diagnosed with malignant ductal carcinoma in situ - in short, breast cancer. Thank goodness it wasn't the invasive kind, but given how it struck with me being so young, my oncologist took no chances and pumped me up with meds and therapy. I've thus been through horrid rounds of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
But as they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and cancer changed my life, taught me to enjoy every moment I have been blessed with on this Earth, and to not take for granted all the blessings God has showered on me.

3. I always 'dreamed' of being a writer someday. I thought a 'good' life meant a career in a sophisticated office environment and me as a power maven in that culture. Then I tried corporate working, and it kinda left a bitter taste in my mouth when it wasn't making me sick outright. Still, that's what was deemed as our society as 'making it', so I stuck to my guns.
But when I was diagnosed, by husband told me that "one day is right now; you make it happen!" I took his words to heart and put pen to paper, literally, and what emerged was my first novel, The Other Side, which is being re-published in July this year.

4. I'm a bully magnet. I don't know if it's because I'm naive, or trust too easily, or people take me for an airhead whom they think they can boss around easily... I've been bullied throughout my life. There was the out-and-out mean girl in secondary school, who thought she was the hottest stuff to walk the earth and thus anyone slumming it in a way unlike hers deserved her contempt and riling. Sometimes, I wonder how I survived her taunts... I think God gave me the strength to cope. When I think of what she put me through, today I ask myself how I didn't think of ending my life, the way some bullied kids do nowadays.
Then at work, my boss' PA offloaded all her work on me, and in a sweet way that no one would pinpoint at first, would bully me around to do her bidding instead of what the department required (hence the bitter aftertaste and nausea induced by the corporate world).
I was not at the end of my tether, though, because even online, someone I considered a dear friend abused that friendship and turned on me in an outright war of slinging mud when I dared say, enough is enough!
I'm pretty sure I'm not done with bullies. With my track record, I consider that a given. But hopefully, I am older and wiser now and can stand my ground.

5. The sight and smell of fresh fruit makes me sick. I know - weird. I cannot even run past the produce section at the grocery store without gagging once. Consequently, I don't eat fruit, either. And in case you're wondering, I get my Vit C from veggies or boxed juice or even multivitamin tablets. It's worked so far.
But my biggest nightmare is bananas. Just the sight of them even in a picture can make me want to throw up. And no, I have no clue where that phobia of bananas comes from.

6. Other thing that can give me nightmares - reptiles! As much as I adore shoes and handbags, I cannot even tolerate the idea of a shoe or bag in reptile skin *shiver, shudder, horror!* I cannot stand the look of those animals, and they totally, totally creep me out! I can kill a cockroach (while screming the whole time to keep the adrenalin bursting!) and I'll shoo spiders when I see them. But if my gaze lands on a lizard, I freeze, and only my vocal chords will work as I yell for whoever is at home to come get that beast away from me!

7. The first time I got married, I was 17. Today I know that what I had deemed a lifelong love (without which I'd die!) back then was nothing more than a burst of infatuation with a man who seemed to have everything (including a tendency to want to provide to more than one lady love at a time, if you get my drift...).
At 18, while all my peers were writing their A-levels, I was getting a divorce in a very messy courtroom battle because my ex refused to shoulder the blame of his infidelity as the reason for our breakup. Yes, today I know I was partly to blame in there because at the time I was a spoilt little princess who thought she was owed everything. I wasn't easy to live with, but what hurt was that he never had the courage to say to my face that I was driving him nuts; instead preferring to go find his solace in other women's arms before crawling back into my bed afterwards.
So at the wise age of 19, I remarried, and so far so good, this man and I have been going strong for 11 years, through thick and thin (cancer, remember? We also had our lean times when the money was only enough to buy potatoes to take us to the next paycheck, and we didn't have a car for many years, among other things...)

So here's a bit about me. I must've bored you stiff by now, and I apologize. It's just that even to myself, I am a complex puzzle made of facets and sides that somehow all come together to make 'me' who I am. And the quirkiest is... I'm not at the end of my tether. Every day, I discover something about myself, and uncover some wisdom about life... They say we never stop learning, and life's doing its fair share to show me that all the time...

Anyhow, back on track. As this is The Very Inspiring Blog award, I am not tagging people but will tell you who I do find inspiring in this big bad world out there. Some of them are:
author Natalie G Owens. My bestie, a wonderful author, and even more beautiful person with a heart of gold and the most helpful, guileless nature out there. Proud to know she is on my team!
author Karen Rock. A fabulous writer, but an even more fantabulous person! I recently met her but the friendship bond she has extended my way is the kind that reinforces in your heart that Good does still exist out there!
Decadent Publishing owners Lisa Omstead and Heather Bennet. Two insanely awesome ladies who go to bat for their authors, their friends, and their pub house. It's an honour to be part of their team, and an even bigger honour to consider them dear friends.
authors Lynn Spangler, Graylin Fox, and Rebecca Royce - for being amazing women, fantastic authors, and always being there for me despite whatever drama could be going on in their lives. They are my rocks!

That's it for my (very rambling) Friday peeps. No, I'm not drunk (I don't drink, what with being a Muslim and all that, lol) and I'm not also high on anything (recently cut off caffeine from my life. I know, crazy, but I had to for health reasons...).
Still, I hope this post gave you a glimpse into my existence. Thanks for sharing these parts of me now.

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

From My Playlist: British Chicks that run the show!

Hey beautiful people!

Popping in for a quick one to share a few things with ye all. I was listening to the MP3 player on my phone yesterday while cooking (music and lol, singing along, help me relax while *shocker!* being in the kitchen I now find soothing). So on comes a totally random playlist, but the thing is - these songs were all by amazing British female artists!

I must've mentioned quite a few times how my tastes veer more toward British pop and chart music. My favourite chart to follow and grab tunes from is still the UK Top 40 compiled through best singles sales by the BBC.

And since I realized that I haven't posted any music playlists on here this year *gasp!*(the last one was when I pitted boy bands and girl bands in a Battle of the Sexes playlist in December) I thought, why not share with you some of those rocken' tunes I was listening to yesterday?

Here goes! In my humble opinion, some of the best British tracks out there for 2012 and 2013.

First up - heard this one when I was at the hairdresser last week. With foils all over my head (coz I was getting highlights... Yay not, in order to cover the grey), the sounds resonated home even better. I didn't know the track, but the voice was the unmistakable one of Florence Welch. I captured some lyrics, Googled them once at home, and this was the track! Spectrum, by Florence and the Machine.




My go-to gal for an upbeat mood lift, Jessie J is this amazingly talented artist who rocks her own quirky style and always, always manages to put everyone in a good, jiving mood with her tracks. The vids are often psychedelic, but this just adds to her eccentric charm! Domino by Jessie J




These girls came together for X-Factor. Some say they're  the new Spice Girls. I disagree - there will only ever be one Spice Girls! Still, Little Mix have the kind of uplifting tunes with girl-empowering lyrics that made the success of former girl bands out there. This one is their latest single. Change Your Life by Little Mix




And finally, would a British playlist be complete without the British artist of the moment? Adele, of course, can channel heartbreak into a kick-arse anthem that makes women the world over go "Girl Power Rocks!"
I much prefer the rhythmic remix of this one, but the original itself has a great beat on an awesome tune. Set Fire To The Rain by Adele



Hope you had a good time listening to my tracks' selection, peep!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Monday, March 04, 2013

What readers really want from you!

(or my interpretation of it...)

Latest acquisition!
Hey beautiful people!

Back on board with a random thoughts' post today. A few things have happened over the weekend, leading me to a realization that I believe applies to everyone of us.

What do readers want? I know most of you are writers, so this is the question that never leaves your mind, but this conclusion can be applied to any area where something is being offered to an audience (goods, services, experience, whatever.)

Let me first explain how I came to this conclusion. Yesterday was my birthday (and yeah, I turned 30. Dunno if I should cry or rejoice, because I've finally reached this big number. Anyhow...)

I've actually walked 1 mile in this at a mall
& not gotten any blister!
So my husband knows something about me - I'm a shoeholic and a book junkie. Whether for my b-day, Eid celebration, Mother's Day, or when he needs to be forgiven for something, he knows he better take me directly to the closest ALDO shop. And it's ALDO and nowhere else (fyi - ALDO is a Canadian brand of shoes, handbags, accessories. Mainly known for their shoes, though. Nothing close to Blahniks or Choos, but good stuff, still.)

Now, I love shoes. Most of the shops here sell imported goods from China and India. At around 300-600 rupees a pair (that's roughly $10-20 in US currency), these are not exactly cheap. Compare to ALDO, where shoes start at the Rs2,300 benchmark (about $80). For one pair of ALDO shoes, you can get like 4-7 pairs of 'other' shoes.
ALDO also does handbags. Leather, fabric, suede - you name it, they have it. A regular handbag in a local shop here would cost you around Rs900($30). At ALDO, bags start at Rs1,600 (roughly $55, let's say).

My gift yesterday!
Over the past decade, I must've gone through an average of 13 handbags. I lug mine everywhere all the time - it's got all my stuff from wallet to hand sanitizer to makeup pouch to cell phone to tissues, moist wipes, a small bottle of lotion, lip balm, keys, a notepad, pens, and whatever else I need to carry with me. My bag sees a whole lot of action... and needless to say, one rarely lasts beyond 9 months. That's the most one of them has gone (the 'cheap' kind).

Kinda blurry but you get the
drift
September of 2011, hubby bought me a handbag from ALDO. Fabric, in a custom-made weave that had ALDO written all over the textile. Leather handles, and finished with leather piping all around. Price - Rs1,900. Yep, twice the price of a regular, 'good' bag out there.
Did it last more than 9 months?

Actually, I'm still using that ALDO bag. That's 18 months later... 18 months of daily wear and tear and being put through the worst wringer of Mummy-rush and me needing to cram everything in. Absolutely no sign of abuse on the bag!

And let's talk about shoes. All my shoes come from, you guessed it, ALDO. There's one pair I bought 3 months ago at another shop, for Rs800 (I loved the style). But that shoe, though I do wear it everyday to drive, is already having the trim on the espadrille wedge heel unraveling!

Yep, the sole is unraveling! Already!


My go-to shoes,
be it summer or winter
Contrast with the ballet flats I got from ALDO back in May 2011 - shoes that I must've walked miles in (grocery aisles and shopping malls), that I drove with all the time, that have been plunged into rainwater puddles more times than I can count during our rainy summers. State of those Kelli flats? Except for some scuff marks on the tip (that go away with some shoe polish), the shoes are almost like new.

My point being - ALDO has proved itself to me by now. I might get great stuff at other places (like, Longchamp for bags and Bella Donna for designer shoes), but I'll always, always go back to ALDO for what I need.

Reason? Because ALDO gives me value!

The perfect beach/summer
sandals!
 
And that, my dear writer friends, is what readers are looking for from you - VALUE!

My bestie knows I'm a book junkie so she sent me my birthday gift in the form of an Amazon gift card. I went on a total rampage, and got tons of books.

But what made me choose one book over another?

Simple - based on the Value of what the author/read would bring me.

I look for light-hearted comedy usually when I shop for books, and some names are a given for me. Example, Jill Mansell, Sophie Kinsella, Marian Keyes.
Each one of these authors is sure to bring me what I'm looking for - a good time with lots of twists and turns in an engaging read where I can lose myself. All 3 of them have proven to me that they deliver consistent value every single time, and it is now with eyes closed that I snatch up their books when a new one comes out.

Ask yourself this question - what value do you bring to a reader when you put a story out?

More than saving money, people look for Value out there in whatever they are consuming.

Why else do you think organic foodstuff is so hot right now? Because consumers know what they are getting from these goods - no chemicals, a return to traditional rearing, like it always should have been. This in turn will not affect their health adversely. Yes, organic costs more, but do you see people blinking twice before buying organic stuff? No. Because they know the value they'll get from these goods, and value is what they're after!

Here ends my ramblings, peeps! I believe I've found the key to unlock the secrets of what I should be offering to my audience. It just might happen that this same key unlocks the secret to what will work for you, too.

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Link Thursday: 6 Ways We're All Bridget Jones (& no need to be a chick-lit character to possess those traits!)

Photo from BettyConfidential.com
Hey beautiful people!

It's been ages since I posted something coming from me and not from a guest. I know my guest buddies are keeping you occupied when you drop by here, but I also know some are missing my ramblings (whoever would've thought, eh? LOL) and esp the Link Thursday madness & mayhem.
So here it is, back, and me tagging along.

Have you heard the news? There's a third Bridget Jones novel coming out in 2013. November, if I'm not mistaken. And there are rumors - almost confirmed - that a movie will follow. I saw an interview on TV the other day, quite old from a 2012 edition of Films & Stars, where Colin Firth dropped hints that a third movie might be in the making. I know I'll be gobbling down that book, and the movie, too.

I mean, who doesn't love Bridget Jones? Who hasn't identified, in some part or the other, with her? No, we don't all go screaming 'All by myself' to the top of our lungs while gettin drunk in PJs and socks (it's ABBA, all right. Not 'All by myself'...). And who has never had the misfortune of wearing granny knickers on any day, let alone one where you might've gotten lucky?

True - Bridget Jones is a fictional character that's somewhat over the top. But are we, 'normal' women, that much different from her?

Nopes... and this article here proves my point. Read on to catch what I mean.
(the article starts on Betty Confidential, and then the link crosses to YourTango).

*****

6 Ways We're All Bridget Jones
 
Singletons and smug marrieds, get excited-because the 'wanton sex goddess' is back

Attention, Bridget Jones fans: We are v. excited that a new installment of our favorite awkward heroine is in the works! Helen Fielding has written another chapter in the life of the quirky Brit, and the book is scheduled for an autumn 2013 release.

For the uninitiated, Bridget Jones' Diary — the tale of a desperate yet endearing everywoman and her clumsy and often hilarious pursuit of true love (or at least a good date) — debuted in 1996 and quickly became and international bestseller and cultural phenom. Two movies followed, with Renee Zellweger as our quirky protagonist, and single 30-something women everywhere found a fumbling heroine they could finally relate too. It was in Bridget’s constantly adorable flaws — namely her fixation on her body image, awkward approach to dating and penchant for wallowing in her misery (who can forget her onscreen rendition of "All By Myself"?) that we wach saw a bit of ourselves. We are all Bridget Jones to some degree — whether that makes us uncomfortable or not. Here are a few examples:

1. We go for the sexy d-bag. It’s hard to not want to be with the hottest guy around. And when our crush actually shows an interest, the tempation to follow through can be irresistible — despite the guy's less questionable reputation and aloof behavior. Bridget's obsession with Daniel Cleaver (played by Hugh Grant in the film) is perfect example of our tendence to torture ourselves with Mr. Wrong.

2. We fall down. Both literally and metaphorically, we all fall from grace. Whether it’s the result of a bottle of vodka or a heartbreak that is so devastating that our knees give out — or, in Bridget's case, a very unfortunate bunny costume misunderstanding — we’ve all found ourselves on the ground staring at the ceiling.

3. We’re dumb when it comes to love. Seriously. Who hasn’t had love stare them in the face and fail to realize it until it was too late? Sometimes it’s just not easy to pick up on even obvious hints — like the fact that Mark Darcy was in love with Bridget the whole time. Then again, real-life Mark Darcys don't always look like a young Colin Firth.

4. We tend to think that nice guys are boring. Who knows where it started, but women just love the bad boys. we all want the man who is challenging and infuriating at first; the one who probably sees us as nothing special at the beginning but yet we seem to win over right before the closing credits. Isn’t that the dream after all? To be loved for even your craziness? In the words of Mark Darcy, "I like you just as you are." It’s only after years of heartbreak that we finally understand that the "nice" guys aren’t so boring after all. They actually give a damn, unlike the bad eggs.

5. We obsess about our weight. It’s a painful truth, but many of us fixate on having a perfect (read: thin) body, often to our own pain and detriment. Bridget Jones would freak out if her weight surpassed 130 pounds — a perfectly non-fat size 6, in most cases.

6. We make scenes. Okay, so maybe most of us don’t stage the epic scenes that Bridget Jones is famous for, but maybe that’s just because we’ve learned from her mistakes because we’ve seen the movie too many times. Or because we're not fictional characters. Either way, we're all a little guilty of making the occasional dramatic outburst that we regret in the morning.

*****

What do you think, peeps? I might've been married for nearly 11 years and completely blipped over what it felt like to be a singleton out there looking for Mr. Right, but I still recall I had my Bridget moments throughout the years.

How about you?

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Friday, February 08, 2013

#HeartHop Why Heartbreakers Make The Best Heroes (& how you, the reader, can be featured in my upcoming series)

Hey beautiful people!

Absolutely delighted to be back on one of Carrie Ann's fantastic hops. And Heartbreakers... *swoon* Where do I sign up?

Seems like I'm not the only one with that wicked train of thought, because - get this! - there are about 300 participants in this hop! Nope, not kidding you. Check the hop's page and see for yourself.

Not only this - meaning like 300 giveaways, with one at every stop, there are also 3 fabulous Grand Prizes to win!

1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $100 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! (US only)


So what's the whole fuss about Heartbreakers, eh? How can a man who breaks a woman's heart be considered a hero?

Well, that's what it boils down to for me - a hero has to have the capacity to break the heroine's heart. Otherwise, he's not her hero, and he's not the love of her life.

Imagine a ho-hum guy with a written-in-stone routine who never notices when you've changed your hair colour from black to pink and shaved half your head in a faux-hawk. One day, he stands up and says, "I'm leaving."
You'd say, "Good riddance", innit? His leaving would totally not break your heart. Why? Because you never were in love with him, and he never seemed to love you or care enough to notice.

Now imagine a man who can, with a simple smile, turn your world upside down. A man who doesn't need to bring you flowers every day but shows his concern and feelings in more tangible ways. Like knowing you had an awful night so he wakes up early and takes the baby out on the run for your favourite coffee all so you can wake up to a great pick-me-up after getting some much needed shut-eye.

This man has the potential to break your heart, and you love him. You love for that, you love him because of that. He's your hero because he holds your heart, and he cares...


But what happens when the man you fall in love with really does break your heart... like Leila experiences in my latest 1NightStand romance, Once Upon A Second Chance.

This man saved her from a personal Hell and promised to love and cherish her. Through their short moments spent together, he's showed her he'll be her protector, that she's finally safe... And then he leaves without a word, Leila finding herself alone and not understanding what happened while trying to come to grips with living in a foreign country.

Does he redeem himself? Why did he leave?

Find out in Once Upon A Second Chance.



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?


Genre: Multicultural/Interracial/Inspirational (Muslim) Contemporary Romance
Length: Short (45 pages/12,000 words)
Publisher: Decadent Publishing, LLC

Available on:

Amazon, Amazon UK, Decadent website, AllRomance Ebooks, Barnes & Noble (Nook), Smashwords


What do YOU think? Does the person you love have to have the capacity to break your heart, for it to be called love?

Answer in the comments, and don't forget to leave your email address! Both Carrie Ann and myself cannot enter you into the draw and contact you if you're the winner without it.

And what am I offering in my giveaway? I'm doing something different on this hop. Here it is:

I'm currently penning a contemporary series about 3 sisters set in a fictional little village in North Yorkshire, England. This place is the unofficial hiding place for most of the young, hunky, and eligible billionaires of England, with a ratio 3:1 where the male population v/s the female is concerned. Mecca of hot, handsome goodies up for the taking for all single gals out there, innit?

My giveaway - the winner gets to create a character in this village. Whether a hot, hunky, and eligible billionaire, or one of the lucky girls who gets to come there and pick her choice of rich and intelligent beefcake.
OR - winner gets to make a cameo in one of the books.

Don't forget to check the other participants in the hop. You can find the list with all their names here.

Thanks for dropping by today, peeps, and I hope you're having a great Friday and an even lovelier weekend.

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Friday, January 25, 2013

I write because... (a rant amid an affirmation & progress)

Hey beautiful people!

Lol, doing my best to have posts up regularly here. Though my brain goes awol sometimes, I have a whole crew of guests lined up for the coming weeks to keep the postings flowing. So this week might've been some hit&miss, after the staggeringly knackered kinda day I had yesterday, I missed the Links posting. Forgive me, and here's a glimpse of what I went through.

Imagine dealings with an ISP to make sense of their contract; banks conveniently 'forgetting' to cancel your standing order payments even after we've rolled into 2013; muggy heat and scorching sub with temps in and around 38degC at barely 10AM - and you have my day yesterday. On top of that, I had a scene to write in Inescapable, Book 1 of the Eternelles series, so my bestie and collab partner, Natalie G. Owens, could progress with her part on the project. Oh, and edits to finalize for not 1 but 2 clients.

In the middle of all this, I come across an email from my pub house's accountants, informing me that, as from February, they will be withholding taxes from all royalty payments, and any non-US citizen could fill in form whatever number to claim a refund under tax treaty laws.
Amount withhold? 30%
Issue for me - I'm from Mauritius... which doesn't have a tax treaty with the US.

Consequently, the IRS and US government just sent me a reeling 'up yours!' by chucking 30% of my earnings without any hope of me getting that money back.

Which made me wonder - if I lost 30% of what I made, was it worth it to continue working to earn a pittance? For a minute, I stared my projects in the face... Wouldn't it be the same for me to offer them all for free? After all the blood and sweat and time and energy that went into them, I also had to forego 30% of everything I would've made?

I must've hit the lowest pits of despair and self-doubt possible for an author yesterday. I had tons of projects lined up; in fact, so many projects I could derail my (somewhat fragile) health in trying to get them all on the rails. Was it all worth just 70% of what I can make on them?

But then I remembered. I recalled why I wrote, why I started writing, why I powered on when rejections were slamming me down from left, right, up, and down.

Why do I write? Because I want to share my stories with readers.

As simple as that. I won't go as far to say that I bring something totally unique to the book world - every author worth his/her salt does that. I won't say that my take on the cultural world of Indian-origin folks and Muslims in Mauritius is not seen elsewhere. Trust me, I know I have tons of competition out there.

But I also know that I have opened countless emails, and even met 'live' fans, who have told me I brightened their day with my stories. That they've loved reading what I have penned down. That my writing brought them something 'special' (whatever that might happen to be.)

I never thought I'd write for money. Yes, it's a dream of all authors to be rolling in the moolah brought in by fantabulous sales and a movie deal and all that hoop-la, but that's just what it is. A dream. Something we all aspire to. Doesn't mean we'll make it... I remember a quote that I'm gonna hash up badly coz I don't recall it exactly and also who said it originally, but the gist was:

"Knowing we'll never reach the stars doesn't mean we can't chart our paths by them."

I don't know if my sales will ever be fantabulous. I don't know how much money my writing can and will bring me. I don't know how many fans I'll ever get, how many lives I might get to touch...

I do know that I have stories in me, and that I'd die if I didn't write, and if I didn't share them with the world. If I can do that, and still earn something beside those lovely words from fans, then awesome. If not, well... It's all God's work, and I accept it. I know who I am and where I stand, and that's what matters.

And speaking of writing, there is some progress to show this week! Worked on Book 1 of the Eternelles series, that takes a jump of nearly 6,000 words this week through my addition to the plot. Now Natalie G. Owens must work her magic. Who knows - by next week, we might've crossed the half-way mark on this project!


Oh, and Leila, the heroine from my upcoming 1Night Stand release, Once Upon A Second Chance, (releasing February 5) is in the demon Bunny's hot seat today. Come read a bit about this Muslim girl who's not had an easy life till now, but who, nevertheless, allows nothing, and no one, to cull her spirit! Here's the link!

Looking forward to a nice weekend with the hubby & hyenas now. Hopefully, these temps will lower and we'll be able to sleep at night.

Hope ye all have a lovely weekend!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What are you listening to? Let's Move To Some Tunes!

Hey peeps!

Another week on the way. Yep, I didn't post yesterday, because it looks like I'm gonna need a more rigorous schedule to get all the work I need to do done, so blogging is (not getting the axe! LOL) but it will have to be more structured. Monday updates will come every other week now. I know I babble a lot, but I really don't have that much to talk about. *grin*

No guests visiting this week, so I thought I'd jolly up the place with some music. These are tracks that have been on repeat lately on my phone, tunes I really like (and yes, I like fluff. Never hid that truth!)

So rock on!!


Love this girl's quirky style and her energy levels are just amazing. I always end up energized when I listen to this track.




Who doesn't like a little bit of diva attitude? This one is perfect for those times we all wanna indulge the spoilt princess that lurks inside us. :)




Good-looking men, and good-looking men who sing amazing well... and in Italian! What more can a girl ask for?




Latest one on this list - just came out in the UK, from the winner of the X-Factor. It's a cover version, if I'm not mistaken, but it's beautiful, anyhow. Love the lyrics, and I'm definitely thinking how and where to use that as soundtrack for a story.




What are you listening to?

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Friday, January 18, 2013

Progress Friday Update! 3 new contracts & a brand-new-looking site!

Hey peeps!

Seen anything different here? No...? (what do you mean, No???) LOL.

Forgive me, but I'm absolutely giddy right now. Spent most of the morning tweaking with codes and all that lovely hoop-la to make an airhead and/or non-nerd cross-eyed, and this is the result. A blog that doubles up as a website and steers clear of the previous clutter I had displaying on all my pages. Found some nifty tips and tutorials on the Net (what can you not find on the Net???) and here's the result. Your thoughts?

Anyhow, it's been a really, really long time since I posted a Friday update. To tell you the truth, the reason is because... I didn't have any update to post. With the hyenas at home, it took nearly all my brainpower to work on the rewrites and edits/polish on my Island Girls series before I managed to sub somewhat on deadline. Then the real holiday season started, with hubby staying home half the time, and there went any hope of getting anything done. Not that I still possessed the brain cells necessary to write by then. To laze out seemed like the best choice while I let my synapses re-wire themselves.

Have they re-wired? I'm not too sure... because, you see, I'm opening WIP documents and staring at blank half-pages this past week. With kiddo back in school, I expected to ramp up and rev up all guns a'blazing to write, but it sorta looks like I've been away from my WIPs for too long and need to re-acquaint myself with them again.

Consequently, no writing progress so far...

But I have other things to talk about (and here you thought I was about to shut up. No such luck, sorry! *grin*)

Well, guess what? Those 3 Island Girls books I rewrote all through November and half of December... have been contracted at Decadent Publishing, for the African Ubuntu line! Seems like the editors loved the stories, and little me couldn't be any prouder.

You see, these are the stories that originally called me to writing. Book 1 in this series, The Other Side, was my first ever foray into the world of writing. It was pubbed by a local publisher here in Mauritius, did pretty well, too, but when the rights reverted to me, I took them. Why? Because I had grown a huge lot in the 7 years since I'd penned this book, and this progress showed in my writing (and was sorely lacking in that original version!).

The story of a divorcee of Indian origin, a girl born in London to Mauritian parents, it spoke of how she met up with her first love when she comes back to the island. The one that got away; a man she gave up on, because he is of a different race. On this backdrop of Mauritian society, I had their love bloom.

Though I'd set out to write only this book at the time I started penning stories, I met the heroine's (Lara is her name) 2 younger sisters. Housewife Neha, and spirited Diya. And of course, both suddenly had a story to share...

Diya had her story briefly published with a now-disbanded epublisher, but Neha never got the chance to tell the world her story.
Enter Decadent and their Ubuntu line... and these books seemed 'perfect' for the requirements. What did I have to lose, right?
Turns out... nothing! I only gained, and now have 3 more babies ready to come out into the world this year.

And speaking of my babies, one of them received its fantabulous cover over the past few weeks. Check out the gorgeous cover Scott Carpenter created for my first Western Escape book, Transient Hearts. The models are totally Shayne and Grayson, while the landscape portrays, to a T, a pivotal scene's location in the book.



So now we head into the weekend and I need to wrap my head again around the idea of writing. Of getting into my WIPs, more precisely. My bestie, Natalie G. Owens, is expecting me to write my part of a chapter in our collaborative Eternelles series, on Book 1, Inescapable, before she can work her magic on the ms. Then I have a brand new series I am starting (of course, you know me by now - I can never write just one book from a new concept/location!).

Hope ye all enjoy a fabulous weekend with your loved ones!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Link Thursday: 4 Things You Think Are Sexy, But Aren't... (& don't make your heroine do them!!!)

Hey beautiful peeps!

Lol, looks I'll really be able to do a whole week of posts, after all. Giddy feeling (which has been lingering since Monday, when I got some pubbing good news. More on that tomorrow!).

But yup - back on this Thursday with a new linked article. Browsing through my stash, I found this one and it called to me. Since last week, we went after 44 places where you can find eligible men, it comes to mind that you (or your heroine, in your book/s) will be doing everything you can to snatch up the attention of that elusive creature called the 'eligible bachelor'.
Somehow, can we end up doing too much...?

Seems the case. I mean, we've all been single at some point, and even in our relationships, there are times when we've wanted to come across as sexy to our partner. And with hindsight, you realize you've gone a little too far. How? Check out those 4 things that might clock us on the head as sexy (esp during brain-AWOL moments such as late partying nights or, even, a bad day!), but really aren't.

And trust me, after reading these, you'll at least kinda agree with these article authors... When I was younger, I've played the helpless princess too many times to count, and it's a wonder how my man has not simply dumped me for being such a brat. He must have the patience of a saint (or be really in love... I'll settle for that, lol).

Article came from Betty Confidential, written by Elizabeth Marie, posted in and around August 2012. Find the whole thing online here.

*****

4 Things You Think Are Sexy That Really Aren't
 
Sometimes what with think is a sexy turn-on is actually a major turn-off!

Have you ever thought you were being so ultra sexy and alluring, only to look back days, weeks or months later and cringe, thinking “WHAT was I thinking?” We have too, so we've compiled a short list of the common things women do that they think are sexy, but just...aren't!

1. Showing all your skin at once.

Sometimes women get a bit overly excited when choosing what to wear, or more specifically, what not to wear and we think it's a genius idea to wear the tiniest articles of clothing in our closets if we want to attract a man. I think it's because we all saw the movie Clueless one too many times and really took it to heart when Cher said, "Sometimes you have to show a little skin. This reminds boys of being naked, and then they think of sex." While, yeah sure, it's always fun if the guy you have a crush on thinks of sex when he see's you, but you're more than sex; You're funny and interesting and fun to talk to and make a damn good omelet. Don't blind him with so much skin that he forgets all the important stuff.

2. Sexting.

Does this word make anyone else wildly uncomfortable? I mean, we're adults right? And we're having sex...via text message? Ok, got it. Texting is probably the number one form of communication these days, which is a whole other depressing topic, but of course we couldn't leave well enough alone...we had to go and spice it up and turn it sexual! The thing is though, if you're dating someone and like, actually see them or talk to them all the time, what does a hot sexting session bring to the table? Not to mention, my iPhone likes to embarrass me on a daily basis with it's absurd auto corrects, and that's just when I'm texting my best friend. If you've gotta get your rocks off and you're not with your man, get thee on Skype and at least see each other while you tell him all the naughty things you'd do to him if he were there. Or just go read Fifty Shades Of Grey like every other pent up woman in the world!

3. Body oil…everywhere.

When I was growing up, I'd sit at my grandmothers vanity for hours, mesmerized by her collection of beautiful bottles and jars from Charles of the Ritz, Chanel and Escada....and Neutrogena. Neutrogena light sesame body oil, to be precise. For my entire life I believed that body oil was something very glamorous and a must-have if I wanted to be a beautiful woman with the softest skin in all of the land. Um, you guys? That crap gets everywhere! You can't get dressed for an hour after you put it on, and sometimes at the gym later on in the day I'll look down and realize I'm glistening...and not in a sexy way, more like a “holy crap I look like a disco ball exploded” way. Sure, it makes your skin soft, but what's the point if your man can't touch you for hours after you put it on? My advice? Jergens. Not glamorous, not sticky.

4. Acting helpless.

Isn't it so hot when you're in a time of need and a sexy man swoops in and rescues you? It feels good to feel protected and taken care of, so good in fact that some women pretend to need rescuing when they really don't. Getting a flat tire on the freeway during rush hour is an emergency, and calling your boyfriend in tears is perfectly acceptable. Forgetting to put gas in your car and complaining that you have no way to get to work in the morning is completely unacceptable. Sure, guys love helping their girl out, but they don't want the two following things to happen:

1. They begin to feel taken for granted and used and

2. They begin to realize that the woman they've been dating can't take care of herself. So let him save your day from time to time... just not everyday.

Elizabeth Marie is the social media manager for We Love Dates, a worldwide online dating site and maintains their popular We Love Dates blog. Liz can be found sweating it out at her favorite hot yoga studio or laying on her couch watching copious amounts of reality television. One of those things is not like the other. Keep in touch with We Love Dates on Facebook or Twitter!

*****

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Monday, January 14, 2013

Routines & what-not: How to be an author, an editor, a mum, & everything else at the same time!

Hey peeps!

It sure has been ages since I last dropped on here for Mondays' Random Thoughts. Can we say life crept up on me? I also didn't have the best of plans in 2012, just aiming at dilly-dallying at writing and see where that would take me. That might've been Mistake #1.

For, you see - to be good at any role, you cannot dilly-dally with it.

If you're an author, you write (and finish projects!). That's your job.
If you're an editor, you edit (and work around deadlines and the like).
If you're a wife, you don't happen to be married to that other person only so-many hours of the day.
If you're a mum, you're on call & on duty 24/7 at every second of every minute of every hour.

And yes, first of all, you're a woman... and one who also happens to be all the above, too. All rolled into one. And yes again - you have only 24 hours in a day to work aaaaall these miracles you're expected to achieve (new stories, promoting releases, edit deadlines, a clean house, dinner on the table and lunch boxes in school bags. Oh yeah - you're expected to sleep, too, somewhere in there!)

Are we women running right into a brick wall by trying to be Superwoman? But here's where it hurts - the average woman DOES have at least 90% of the above tasks to tackle daily. Being an average woman nowadays equals having to pull up your knee-high boots and skin-tight costume and put on the tiara - tada! Superwoman's on the scene!

Over the course of the weekend, I've waded through 1400+ emails in my inbox (that's the result of having 2 hyenas at home 24/7 for the past 9 weeks!). I have no clue where I've read what I might've read as I went through these emails, but something stuck in my head and I'll tell you what it is.

Somebody (I don't recall who, or where) said that routine gives us a time frame that rolls one into the other until the edges blur and everything is the same, regurgitated all over again. That why, apparently, we see time rushing past us (who else has asked, "Where did 2012 go???").

I don't agree... To me, routine allows you to get to everything on the tasks' list, allows you to rush that Superwoman cape through all the roles you have to endorse on a daily basis.
Proof in the pudding - I had the boys at home for 9 (looong!) weeks. Routine shot to the lowest pits of hell and me getting nothing done (hence the 1400+ emails accumulating, the dust bunny families in and around the house, the increased grocery bills as I fell on semi-prepared stuff and even *gasp* processed food to cope with the demands of 2 growing boys who are always hungry.) Oh yeah, too - NO writing done! How's that for progress???

So don't underestimate the power of routine, peeps. Routine + Scheduling = Accomplishing something (even if not everything).

How can you do that? A few tips:

1. Find a time for everything (aka - Schedule!)
At different times of the day, I am focusing on a specific role in my repertoire of existence. Waking up till 8.30AM, I'm the over-her-head mum trying to get the kiddo to school. While he's in school, 8.30AM to 3PM, I'm the author who writes and/or the editor who edits. That's also the only time in the day I can hear myself think, so I compartmentalize that 7.5 hours bracket to include some exercise without anyone laughing at my two left feet during Zumba. From 3PM to the time the kiddo goes to bed, I'm the housewife, the mum, the cook/washer/driver/teaching coach. Evening is 'my' sacred time when I get to indulge in some TV or a good book.
So throughout a day, I've managed to be author, editor, mum, wife, woman (well, on most days...) Why can't you do it?

2. Plan
I'm not a fan of surprises. The only surprise I would tolerate are a) finding a contract in my inbox, and b) finding the latest Sophie Kinsella chick-lit for sale on Amazon.uk.
So I plan my work week, even my weekends. This also allows me to see if I'll really be in over my head, or if I can fit everything in. For example, I have something specific planned for every day of the work week. Edits on this ms for Monday; Chap whatever on this WIP for Tuesday; Chap whatever again for other WIP on Wednesday; edits on own story on Thursday; etc.
Have something  - and only that! - on your schedule for a specific length of time. Trust me, it keeps you from being a headless chicken running all over the place.

3. Allow for contingencies
At any time, a kid might get sick (or, God forbid, the hubby might get sick and think he's dying!). I myself don't have stellar health, so at any point, a cold can creep up on me and leave me on the floor.
Allow for these in your schedule. If you manage to get through without having to call on your 'carry me through' card, great. If not, you won't stress, and know you allowed yourself time to slack off.
Example - say you can write 3,000 words a day. At this rate, with 5 writing days a week, you can expect to finish a 50K ms in 19-20 days tops. One month, or 4 weeks.
Tack on an additional 2 weeks on this expectation, and give yourself some breathing room! You'll be glad for it, believe me!

4. Be dedicated
You're the only one who can do everything you have to do. No one will write your story for you (unless you can pay a ghostwriter!). No one will edit the piece you have to edit (turn it in with barely any work done and run the risk of losing your job. This applies to all jobs, btw). No one will be a mother to your kids (no, not even the nanny. She's the nanny, not the mum. And Grandma is just that - Grandma!). No one will be the wife of the man you married (unless you wanna run the risk of him finding someone else who'll better fill those wifey shoes? No? I thought so.)

5. Set goals (and reward yourself when reaching them!)
I'ev already told myself that, for the next paycheck I receive from my editing job, I'll treat myself to a pair of shoes from ALDO. That's motivation for me to hand the work in well ahead of deadline so I know I will earn that paycheck. *grin*
Reward can be something as simple as taking a week off of writing, etc, when, say, you finish a WIP.
Work towards a goal - your combative spirit will rise up to the challenge. And imagine how proud you'll be when you'll be savouring the reward you promised yourself!

6. Establish a routine!
One that works for you. My schedule can seem like a nutter's diary to you, or it can look like a walk in the park if you're even more ADD/hyper than I am.
No one knows YOUR life/existence as well as you do, so start making that knowledge work for you!

Hope this rambling above helps you find a way to a more productive 2013! If you have any tips along these lines, please, do share them!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Link Thursday: 44 Places To Meet Eligible Men (...or where your heroine can next find her hero!)

Hey beautiful people!

Back on board with the Link Thursday articles. Feels good to be here again. *grin*

Was browsing through the endless string of links I've accumulated for this slot, and came upon this one.

Whether you're a single girl looking for a bloke, or you're an author racking your brain to come up with where to make your heroine find your next hero, check out these tips!

The article is from All Women Stalk and can be read online (with its lovely images!) here. It was written by someone named Mercy, and as she mentions, 'some time ago'. :)

Enjoy!

*****
44 Best Places To Meet Eligible Men

Places to Meet Eligible Men become more and more scarce these days. Heck, even eligible men as they are have become a rare species. And what do we single ladies do about this? Well, my guess is it can go 2 ways – either we sit and wait for the good men to sweep us off our feet or we simply take the first step toward our destiny and check out the best places to meet eligible men to see if our future boyfriends or husbands might be there? Well, if you are like me and you are choosing the second option, let’s get ready for some action and take a quick look at this fabulous list of 44 Best Places to Meet Eligible Men!

1. The Bar
This may be one of the oldest ways to meet a man, but it still works. Free flowing beer makes it easier to approach your target! However, if ‘commitment’ is on your mind, then look elsewhere!

2. The Market
Whether it’s the shopping mall or the supermarket these places are loaded up with good looking folks. Chances are you’ll find someone who lives in your neighborhood and likes coffee the way you do. A bookstore is another place to meet someone with similar tastes – at least in literature!

3. Online
This is the latest method of meeting single men. There are several online dating sites where you can check out profiles and photographs. The best one I’ve heard of is PlentyofFish.com, because all the services there are free. But there are others like Match.com, Chemistry.com (Limited time offer – 7 Day Free Trial) or Perfectmatch.com that too seem to be pretty good, although you’ll have to spend some money on membership. Online dating became a relatively safe method as you can get to know your date before you go out with him.

4. Church
Church is a good place to meet men who share the same faith and moral grounding. If you’re a single mom, this may be a good place to find serious men who are looking for a life partner rather than a night out on the town.

5. The Water Cooler
If you can get past the gossip, the office is a place where romance can be sparked. Being in such close proximity with colleagues can lead to an office romance. Finding someone of the same intellectual level may be easier at the workplace than at the bar!

6. Newspapers
Check out the newspapers for announcements regarding neighborhood picnics, square dances, tours and special events. These are great places to meet new people, especially single men! Go ahead strike up a conversation. You might end up meeting your spouse.

7. College
If you’re taking some classes at the local college this could be an opportunity to meet eligible men. There are seminars and short courses that you can participate in. Not only can you get an education but you can find that perfect someone perhaps sitting right next to you.

8. Friends
Get your friends to help if you’re serious about finding a man. Attend parties where there is a good mix of singles. Be friendly, outgoing and be seen! You can even throw a party yourself and tell friends to bring their friends along.

9. Gym
While you exercise your muscles you can exercise your heart as well. The gym is a great place to meet single men, specially the hot men! You’ll know in advance that they value their health and you know what to expect when thir expensive suit comes off, so that’s a good starting point!

10. Favorite diner or restaurant
Notice the guy who’s having dinner by himself at the far corner table? Well, what you waiting for? Get a waiter to introduce you or do it yourself. Either way, make a move.

11. Work
Either in your office or in the accounting on the 19th floor there must be that cute, nice, good-looking guy who makes your heart tick. Figure out where exactly he works, what’s his name, if he’s available, and let the flirting beging! Who knows, maybe the guy in the next cubicle is the one you were looking for all this time!

12. Vacation
I know they say that relationships that started on vacation never last, but that was way back in the 20th century! Now that air fares are getting lower and lower and Internet live video chats is the most common thing out there – why not to give a great man you met on a vacation a chance? Who knows, maybe in a couple of months you’ll decide you want to live together?

13. Parks
When I say parks I mean day time, safe places downtown, where people go to get some fresh air during lunch break, after work or on weekends. For your own safety, please don’t stay there after dark. But during the day, you’ll be surprised at how many young good looking men spend an hour or so sitting on a bench reading, working on their laptops or just watching other people. Just sit next to the one you like the most and if he is in the mood for conversation, you’ll know it!

14. Airplane
These days we spend a good couple of hours every month flying here and there. Next time you have a flight, look out for cute guys who might too be flying the same plane. And who knows, maybe your seat will be next to his!

15. House party
Any party is always a fun way to meet people but with a house party, everything is so much more in your control and it’s comforting to know that common friends are involved. So throw a fun little party, invite all your friends and tell them to invite their friends (preferably single). You never know who you may end up meeting and if nothing, at least they’ll be grateful for the awesome party!

16. Acting workshop
If you’re not shy and love an audience, why not join an acting class. You will meet tons of taleneted, fun, outgoing men and you’ll have a ready excuse to flirt with them. What? You’re only playing your part! Besides, you’ll figure out quite early on who you do and do not share chemistry with and the rest will be history.

17. Art Exhibits
They say that without art, the earth is just “eh”. Sorry I read that somewhere today and had to share. Back to the point, art exhibits are one of the best places to meet eligible men. Whether you are an art lover or not, an exhibit will give you an opportunity and an excuse to chat with different men, get to know them, perhaps flirt a little and if the chemistry is just right, maybe you could take the party elsewhere.

18. Book Club
If you love reading, one of the best ways to meet like-minded men is through a book club. Think about it. You read, you share opinions, you find similarities, you hit it off, you fall in love…Okay, I’ll stop.

19. Blood drive
This one is definitely not for the squeamish! If you watch The Office, you’ve probably seen the episode where Michael runs into this pretty woman while donating blood and hits it off instantly. That could be you. Strike up a conversation with someone who’s next to you or if you see a cutie by the snack table, ask him what he recommends for strength building.Who knows, you may end up deciding that dinner is the best option. And even if you don’t end up meeting someone, you’ve at least helped save a life.

20. Rock climbing center
If you’re adventurous, a rock climbing center is one of the best places to meet eligible men. According to a study, nearly two-thirds of wall climbers are male so imagine your chances of meeting someone wonderful and exciting. Plus rock climbing is fun with lots of scope for “accidental” touching and flirting and such. Ah I’m just a pervert sometimes.

21. Wine/scotch tasting
If a bar is much too loud and chaotic for your liking, how about going to a wine/scotch tasting event? It’s a lot calmer, quieter and not to mention, sober. Whether you actually know your wines or feign innocence, you are bound to meet an eligible bachelor or two. Besides, it gives you plenty of time to “work the room” and figure out your options.

22. Running Club
A friend actually met his current girlfriend through a running club so if you’re into outdoor sports, find a local running club, put on your shoes and get out there! Men in running shorts are so cute and if nothing else, at least you’ll get back in shape.

23. Community service
Giving back to the community is always a great thing and who knows, your karma might actually earn you an eligible man. There are plenty of places where you can volunteer so take your pick and give away. At the end of the day, you know you’re going to meet someone who cares…

24. Weddings
I know that the common belief is that all single men at weddings just want to get laid but I beg to differ. Some of them are perfectly charming, pre-bride approved gentlemen that are out there looking for eligible women. You just need to give them a chance. Just don’t get too drunk and you’ll see what I mean.

25. Dance class
I know you’re probably wondering why dance classes are on the list of best places to meet eligible men since they usually have more women than men but it’s definitely worth a shot considering you will be forced to physically interact with potential hotties. If you feel the chemistry and if the small talk is intriguing enough, hang back, get to know him better and see where it goes…

26. Laundromats
The only thing that makes the idea of laundry bearable is the possibility of meeting a cute guy and if you run into someone who fits that description, do not hesitate tochat him up. What could it hurt right?

27. Jury duty
It may sound boring but think about this. Other bored, possibly wonderful eligible men could be out there and they have nothing to do but chat you up. Sound good? So yep, don’t ignore your civic duty the next time you receive a summons in the mail.

28. Ski resorts
You might probably need to wait till winter for this one, but hey, it’s great to have a B plan if you will be looking for a hot date to take to all the Holiday parties. Knowing how to ski is not necessary, you can try and learn, but if you just go to the resort to relax or have fun with your friends, you’ll be surprised at the dozens of sporty good looking eligible men having a hot drink in the bar after an exhausting day of skiing. And is there a more romantic place to find the man of your dreams than under the stars in the middle of snow covered mountains?

29. Reality shows
If all else fails and I mean ALL else, reality shows like the Bachelorette seem like a fun way to meet a lot of men who want to make you the center of their attention. I mean, who wouldn’t want that! Oh wait, this is about eligible men… I need to cut down on T.V.

30. In the Navy
One of the best places to meet eligible men is, unquestionably, the Navy. Even if you don’t want to make the commitment of joining the Navy, you can make yourself available during shore leaves and Fleet Weeks. These men are brave, handsome, and generally dying to get away from all those boys!

31. Walking the dog
Most guys love dogs, so when you’re walking your pooch, you’ve got a great opportunity to meet one. Big dogs like Labradors and Retrievers are always a great draw, but if you have a little dog, don’t worry. Many men have a secret love for the little dogs as well. If you’re friendly and make eye contact (and if your dog doesn’t try to mark his territory in an awkward spot), you should be golden!

32. The hardware store
You’ll be surprised at what a great place it is to meet men. First of all, almost all the clients are men and so are the sales assistants. And being a woman, you’ll find it natural to ask for help that cute stranger who will gladly explain you the difference between this and that tool. Who knows, he might ask you out for coffee to continue the conversation…

33. The tech store
Tech stores are men magnets. I do not know a single guy who would pass on the opportunity to come and take a look at some new weird plasma TV or sound system or whatever it is he’s read about on his favorite tech blog. So take it from me, most customers in tech stores are also men, and many of them are very good looking. Now, you’ll surely see a couple of married guys (of course), but you’ll be surprised at the number of single guys browsing these stores. Give this one of the best places to meet eligible men a try and you won’t regret it.

34. Museums
Now, I know this might sound a little cliche, but what’s the best way to meet someone, when you are visiting a new city than going to a local museum. There are hundreds of single men who, just like you, want to check the museums off their lists when they travel to a new city and believe me, they’ll be happy to have a conversation with a cute girl, especially when there are so many conversational pieces around. Museums are also fantastic for meeting artsy guys and foreigners, so if you are feeling adventures, this is the place to meet eligible men.

35. The bowling alley
I know you probably think, how old the guys in the bowling alley would be? 60? 70? But don’t be so quick, I have personally seen a couple of times guys coming in in groups for a little game. And may I say, some of them were very cute.

36. The golf course
Ditto on this one, although golfing can be quite a bit more boring than bowling. The difference is, the course isn’t so loud and crowded either, and you can really get a chance to talk to a guy. If he looks really into the game, let it pass, but if he’s with some friends and they’re chatting together as much as golfing, go for it!

37. Casinos
Although loud, casinos can also be great places to meet eligible men. You don’t want to talk to a guy when he’s right in the middle of a heavy game or anything, but if you’re both playing Blackjack, if you’re sitting at the slots, or one of you is throwing dice, then you can start a conversation. It’ll be casual, but that can lead to other things.

38. Concerts
Concerts are a fantastic place to meet eligible men, especially if it’s your favorite performer. You will instantly have an interest in common and when you are a fan of something it’s so easy to bond with the other person. The connection sparks instantly, so try this place to meet eligible men and see who you meet!

39. At a club
Now, many guys just go to clubs to hook up. A lot of them aren’t necessarily looking for someone to date. However, there are exceptions to every rule, and that is the only reason nightclubs made it onto the list. You have to have an eagle eye, but if you spot this guy, you’ll be glad. He likes to dance and hang out and have a good time, but he isn’t the boy who’s only into ranking up as many one night stands as possible.

40. The beach
The beach is not just a great place to meet eligible men, it’s a fantastic place! See, guys who go to the beach generally fall into three different categories. They go alone, and depending on what you see them doing, that probably means they’re single (so if you can think up an approach, do it!). They go with a group of guy friends, and again, you can typically tell by their behavior if they’re single. Or, they go with their wives or girlfriends. If you see a guy spreading lotion on someone else, just play it safe and scratch him off your list!

41. At a cigar bar
I don’t know many girls who like cigar bars, but I know plenty of guys who do! Sure, you’re going to be entering forbidden territory, but it might well be worth it. These places have tons of eligible guys, and the kicker is, most of them think any girl in a cigar bar is automatically cool!

42. A sushi bar
Surprisingly, more and more men start loving sushi. And nowadays, when you pop into a nice such restaurant you see more men and women. Some of them are having business dinner, others are meeting with a friend, but there are those, sitting at the bar, having dinner after work on their own – and those are you could easily sit next to and perhaps strike a conversation if you feel like it. Or he’ll be the first to talk, guys are usually like that – they catch your eye and they just start talking to you.

43. The bookstore
Meeting men at a bookstore is just tops, especially if you’re a big reader. You know he shares your interests, you automatically have plenty to talk about, and since most bookstores provide little chairs and comfy couches, you already have a cozy spot to get to know one another. What could be better?

44. A networking event
A networking event can be dull as hell or it can be fun and interesting. To make sure it’s the latter, take a friend of yours from work with you, make sure your hair’s done and you are dressed nicely and you’ll definitely turn a few heads. A lovely place to meet eligible men, if you ask me!

So, do you ladies know about other great places to meet eligible men? Please do share …

*****

From Mauritius with love,

Zee