Sunday, January 27, 2013

Last #sixsunday February 5 release OnceUponASecondChance, the Muslim #1NS: What happened to Leila?

Hey beautiful people!

The sun is back out and shining with a vengeance. Seriously, growing tired of the extreme heat, no wind, muggy humidity, and light that kills your irises outside even when you've got sunglasses on. Apparently 'perfect' beach weather... if you douse yourself in SPF50 every 15 minutes.

Anyhow... it's Sunday, and cannot believe this - it's the last day ever of Six Sentence Sunday! I remember joining this bandwagon some 1.5 years ago, and I don't think I've missed one week since. SSS became an institution - cannot tell you how many friendships I forged by visiting the other participants at their blogs, and the sheer amount of books I've added to my TBR from those same visits.
And it's all coming to an end... Something, someone, is bound to come up to replace this regular spot with a new deal, but in the meantime, what do we do? Chime in and let me know.

As for today's snippet, I once posted this, if I recall properly. The week when I landed the contract for this story, I gave it the SSS spotlight. But neither will the story make sense (if you've been following it till now on here) if I omit these six, and neither will the story suffer if I recount this episode again. Win-win everywhere? Let's see!

Remember - Leila has come to Mauritius after knowing a decade of abuse in a forced marriage with a man much, much older than her; she'd literally been sold off as his 'slave' by her father. She escaped... and this is how. Sadly, Leila didn't get a happy ending here. Will this 1Night Stand date be her chance for HEA?


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


This one is coming out on February 5 with Decadent Publishing! Be sure to check it out - I'll be eternally grateful!

And don't forget to take a final lap around the official SSS list, and visit these amazing peeps, among others - Gem Sivad, Jessica E. Subject, Kimberley K. Comeau, Alissa Baxter, Sue Ann Bowling, Kate Warren, JM Blackman, Jess Schira, Karysa Faire.

Hope ye're all enjoying a fantabulous Sunday/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

Sunday, January 20, 2013

#sixsunday February release OnceUponASecondChance, the Muslim #1NS: Where is Leila?

Hey beautiful people!

Another weekend - where is the time flying, eh? Dunno if you've noticed something a little different around here... pretty chuffed with myself at the new layout of this site/blog (busted all my brain cells this week to come up with with the layout). Would love to know what you think.

Anyhow, back to the subject of the day - Six Sentence Sunday. I'm sticking to my February 5 release from the 1Night Stand line at Decadent Publishing. Increasingly coming to be known as "the Muslim 1NS", this one is garnering some attention already.

Remember Leila, the heroine? She's been on this spot for 2 weeks now. There was mention of her wearing a scarf, and last week, I gave a little snippet of the mystery behind the scarf.
But you might be wondering where Leila is, and what she is doing here. Read on for today's six.


'...
He’d made sure to buy her from her father as a virgin, to be assured of her being untainted by any other before him, like his two other wives.
Chérie? What’s the matter?”
Leila tore her thoughts from the dark memories and stared at the woman who had welcomed her into her home three months earlier. Before Carole, Leila had never known compassion existed, or that peace thrived on a small island called Mauritius in the southern Indian Ocean. All she’d known had been a life of fear in her Arab father’s house in London, and then the household of Bashir Al-Arif, the man who had bought her virginity in the United Arab Emirates.


...'


Will Mauritius be the hope of a new beginning for Leila? Is her heartache finally coming to an end? Catch the release on February 5 and find out! *grin*

Once again, don't forget to check the amazing peeps on the official SSS list - among others, Jessica E. Subject, JM Blackman, Taryn Kincaid, Angela Quarles, Sue Ann Bowling, Kate Warren - from the many authors on the list this week.

Hope you're all having a lovely Sunday. We have some wind and lots of rain here - perfect cuddly weather. :)

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

Sunday, January 13, 2013

#sixsunday Upcoming #1NS OnceUponASecondChance (Excerpt 2): The Mystery Behind The Scarf

Hey beautiful people!

Trying to build up steam and not run out halfway through the week. Tough job, especially when you now have a job to handle on top of being an author who wants to take the world by storm. *grin* But we're making do, innit, and now's the time for some laid-back fun and enjoyment. Join me for Six Sentence Sunday?

I'm taking to Mauritius once more. Last week, you all met Leila Hassan Al-Nadir, the heroine from my upcoming 1NightStand story. A few of you have asked what the mystery around the scarf is - why is she wearing this scarf, and hiding it from Carole, the woman she is staying with?

Today's six might shed some more light on this matter. Get a sneak peek at what Leila's life has been like for the past decade...

Carole asked her why the scarf, to which Leila babbled that she wanted protection from the sun.


'...
“We have hats for that,” Carole intoned with a hint of humor in the tart reply.
They did; to wear anything that wrapped around the neck spelt an invitation to roast under the scorching tropical summer sun. But Leila couldn’t help it for the past ten years, she’d worn a scarf, sometimes even a burka that only showed her eyes, around her home and outside.

A snort escaped her; her home... More like her prison, the place where her father had sold her off to be a fifty-five-year-old man’s broodmare. Thank goodness she’d been barren and the old bastard never got what he sought from her – a male heir.

...'


She hasn't had it easy, poor girl. Will this 1NightStand date be her chance at finding happiness? Stay tuned for when Once Upon A Second Chance releases in early February from Decadent Publishing.

Don't forget to check the official SSS list for some amazing authors & their snippets - among others, JoAnne Kenrick, Jessica E. Subject, Angela Quarles, Karysa Faire, Sue Ann Bowling, SE Gilchrist, Kate Warren, JM Blackman, Sara Walter Ellwood, & Lorraine Paton.

Hope you're enjoying a fab weekend, peeps! It's raining after a night of thunderstorms here.

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

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Back on board! So much to come in 2013!!!

Hey beautiful people!

After 9 weeks of staying at home for the summer break, kiddo has finally gone back to school today! Yay - deliverance! I'd say that qualifies for me sitting down with a slice of awesome cake and savouring the whole deal, for once in 9 weeks not having to hide in my pantry so no little inquiring minds can know I am enjoying a forbidden moment when I'm not being their mental chew toy. *grin*

I always underestimate the impact of school breaks - I keep saying, the boys are grown so they'll leave me alone for a few hours a day and I can get my stuff done. Wrong! Having kids inside your house, with just a wall separating you from their loud (and often violent!) video games soundtrack and their very own bickering and ourbursts that would put the biggest cat-fighters to shame - tata, sanity!

But thank goodness that is now over. Kiddo starts 5th year in primary. Kind of a big step, because 6th year is the last of primary in the Mauritian education system, and there's a huge national exam to sanction the end of primary years. Foundation work for that milestone started last year when he did Year 4, but it is now in Year 5 that the heat will start to be felt... and since neither myself nor the hubby wanted to give in to the pressure to add extra lessons (which is a huge and totally warped culture in Mauritius. Kids in private tuition/lessons before and after the school day, sometimes even on weekends. When will they get to be kids, for goodness' sake???) So, yeah - this means I'll be having to monitor the little one with his lessons. Thank goodness I wasn't that lousy at school, and hopefully, can help coach him some so he can shine (without pressure and extreme expectations).

That takes care of my weekends, which will now be family time. But the weekdays... Oh, baby, do we have stuff going on in the weekdays too, now. :)

2012 was a fantabulous year for me. I signed contracts for 4 books - 2 of which came out the same year; the remaining 2, that I wrote during the year, coming out shortly in 2013. There have been ups, and some downs (namely a huge upheaval at one of my publishers. Thank goodness they seem to have gotten back on their feet quite quickly, and I look forward to working with them again this year).

Mostly, there have been ups - with me joining the author lineup at Decadent Publishing back in January of last year, I never dreamed where this association would take me. I ended 2012 as the Managing Editor of a brand new line Decadent had rolled out during the year. Ubuntu is its name, with stories, mainly romance, focusing on the African landscape, culture, and horizons. The very first book from this line is coming out this week, btw. Stay tuned for more on that.

I know I said someplace on this blog itself that, at one point, I let go of editing to focus on being an author. And that's exactly what I did. But the call to edit was strong, too, and I think I might just have been waiting for the right opportunity to arise. It came up the day Heather Bennett, co-owner of Decadent Publishing, "innocently" pulled me into a conversation about Africa and precisely, what modern Africa looked like (she'd heard I lived on the continent. Yes, Mauritius is considered part of Africa!). We got to talking... and then, Bam! She dropped the bomb - she and Lisa Omstead, the other DP owner, wanted to start a line geared toward African romance, and they needed someone to steer it. Would I agree to be that someone?

After speaking about this with my family, I got their green light... and haven't looked back. Never would I have thought when I started 2012 that I'd end up where I did. My goal was to write a few stories and get them published. What's happened has soared beyond my hopes.

Another dream of mine started to take shape last year, when I joined hands with my bestie and the woman I consider my soul sister, author Natalie G. Owens. We finally got down to starting a book series we're co-writing. The progression on that one beat all our expectations, and now we're cruising toward the finishing and release of our first book from that venture, called Eternelles.

2013 promises to be an even greater year. I also promise you much more of me (okay, you have my permission to run for the hills right away screaming "Gaaaahhhh!!!" LOL) on this platform. The posts should return daily, and I'll also be blogging 3 Wednesdays a month at the Pop Culture Divas blog. Gonna try my best to book some fantabulous guests to visit this year also, with more books for you to discover.

On the whole, 2013 will, I hope, be MY year, even more than 2012 has been. It will be my greatest joy to go on this journey with ye all right by my side, in this blog's audience, and also on my Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest journeys.

Big thank you to everyone who is reading this, and/or who visits my little slice of Zee-land on this blog here. After having my family with me, I am nothing without all of you.

Best wished for a rocken' 2013, peeps! Let's set the world on fire!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Sunday, January 06, 2013

#SixSunday Once Upon A Second Chance: A #1NS story (Excerpt #1): Meet the heroine, Leila!

Hey beautiful people!

New Year, New You? Not too sure about me, coz I'm a total klutz at making my resolutions stick. So I don't even make resolutions, now, ye know. :)

But here, I can guarantee it's a whole new era. Starting with... a brand-new story that earns the Sunday spotlight from here on.
Slated for release in February this year, Once Upon A Second Chance is my second contribution to the 1NightStand line at Decadent Publishing. Hopefully, it'll be the first of a few releases from my pen this 2013. :)

So, what's this story about? It takes place on my island, Mauritius, and explores a segment of the community that doesn't get much exposure usually. Why? Because the characters are Muslims...

Yes, Muslim people fall in love, endure heartbreak, yearn for another. We don't get to see that often, and also, the Muslim world is also a bit of an enigma for many. This story is my attempt to dispell some myths and perceptions about this religion and culture.

Come meet Leila - she's been living in Mauritius for the past 3 months, after a decade spent in the United Arab Emirates. Adapting to the island culture is proving to be quite a challenge...
These are the opening lines from the story.


'...
“You didn’t have a scarf on when you left.”
At the gravelly voice of her benefactor, Leila Hassan Al-Nadir bit her lip and hastily pulled the thin muslin cloth she’d wrapped around her head. She bunched the fabric and stashed it into her canvas tote.
“It’s the sun,” she mumbled, eyes downcast. How could she have forgotten to discard the scarf once she got in? That way, Carole Laroche’s intense grey eyes wouldn’t have focused on the white strip of cloth that hid her hair.

...'


More to come next week and beyond! Stay tuned for the release date for this one - I, for one, am excited to be able to share this tale with ye all.

Don't forget to check the official SSS list, and visit these amazing peeps - Jessica E. Subject, JM Blackman, Sue Ann Bowling, Kate Warren, Sara Walter Ellwood, Karysa Faire! - among many others!

Hope everyone had a lovely New Year that you spent with your loved ones! May 2013 be a total rocking year for ye all!

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

#2013 New Year's Blog Hop: Fireworks galore + a chance to win my very first book, WALKING THE EDGE (Corpus Brides: Book One)


Hey beautiful people!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Can you believe it's already 2013? I'm like, OMG, because this is the year when my 5-year writing plan concludes (and when I need to write up a new one *Gaaahhhh!*), and also the one where I'm gonna hit the big 3-0. Getting old...? Only just *wink* We are as young as we believe ourselves to be, innit?

Something that always wins me over at new year's time is the fireworks that go off at midnight on January 1. I don't think I'll ever stop to marvel at the display of amazing colours and light no matter how old I get!

And yes - just like the US folks have July 4th for fireworks, and the British have Guy Fawkes Night to get the fancy rockets blasting in the air, in Mauritius, we have New Year's Eve. Around every street corner as from December 20, you can see fireworks vendors selling their wares.
While it used to be mainly about ear-splitting fire crackers in the past (did you know that firecrackers are a Chinese tradition to usher in a new year, the noise supposed to scare away evil spirits?), over the years, more and more fancy fireworks and other light fountains have come on the market. As a kid, I lived for December 31, when my big brother would buy a huge array of those (dangerous!) stuff and set them off in our yard. There were light fountains that shot 5-feet in the air; flower-shaped little bowls that twirled like brightly-lit lotus when set off; never-ending sparklers that we kids would hold and write our names in the air with the fancy light effect.

Is there anything more marvellous than fireworks? I don't think so...

And when fireworks, albeit of a different, but none less dangerous, kind happen in romances, many of us are happy readers.

This brings to my mind Book Two of my Corpus Brides espionage/romantic thriller stories. Young love that never died... like banked embers that just needed a whiff of oxygen to burn bright again. Magical connections between a woman who had given up on love but finds it, like a second chance, with the man who never left her heart... their coming together like the roaring explosions that light up the darkest of nights. Lethal danger because of the life she left behind in the name of love... a life that is not ready to let her go, threatening to explode under her and shatter everything she's ever built like a lit sparkler atop a barrel of gunpowder...


Rayne Cheltham, aka Kali - a deadly, mastermind clandestine assassin - has never wanted anything more than ending up with the man she's always loved, her childhood best friend, Ash Gilfoy. Circumstances compel her into enrolling into the cut-throat and lethal spy world, until the chance to be set free appears before her and she grabs it.
But a spy should know that she can never leave the life, the profession, and the mindset, behind...
Nobody knows her secret, none less her husband. Those same secrets will be her undoing... unless she can neutralize the threat that's biting at her heels, and save her marriage in the process...

You can find Before The Morning (Corpus Brides: Book Two) here, and the print version is also available on Amazon.

Happy New Year, everyone! What better way to celebrate the crossing into 2013 than by scoring a ton of goodies? You can do that by visiting the many, many blogs signed up for this hop (find the list here).
There are giveaways at every stop, and 3 Grand Prizes to be won! Don't forget to comment with your email address for a chance to win.

My favourite moment of the New Year celebrations are the fireworks. What's yours?

Answer me in the comments (don't forget your email address!) and enter to win an ecopy of Book One of the Corpus Brides series - Walking The Edge.


A romantic suspense novel, wherein an amnesiac woman is on the quest for her forgotten memory... Escape from London all the way to Marseille, France, and discover the secrets, deceit, danger, & the powerful love, she uncovers during her search!

(Remember to check out the other participants in the hop!)

From Mauritius with love,

Zee
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