Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Words of Wisdom and a Spotlight

Please join me in welcoming Zee Monodee and her new release, Light My World.

I had the pleasure of reading this wonderful story. It should be added to every one's to be read list!

Now, some words of wisdom from Zee herself. Take it away, Zee!



One of the first pieces of advice you pick up when you start writing is “Write what you know.” I’ll admit that when you are first picking up your pen to write, it is easier to write about something you have inherent knowledge of....
I wrote Diya Hemant’s story in 2007, when I was 24 – the same age as she. While I admit I had no plan at first to write her story (I didn’t even know she existed!), the minute she appeared in the narrative of The Other Side, Book 1 in the Island Girls trilogy and the story of her eldest sister, Lara, Diya proved herself a force to be reckoned with...and she left me with no other choice but to give her a happy ending after travelling along a rocky/twisted path.

I had never ‘planned’ her – she happened just like that. Sprightly, bubbly, so vivacious she could make you feel wiped out just by being around you, Diya just about wrote herself in with one of those takeover elbow nudges she can do so well when she wants something.
When it became time to write her story, I knew there had to be lots of aggravation for her. But how do you make life tough for someone who’s like a flighty butterfly and who only sees the good in everything?

Well, the idea came to compromise her plans...especially that of finding Mr. Perfect. The man who would land on her path would be everything except perfect, at least by Diya’s standards. So Trent Garrison became much of an oaf. Older and ‘wiser’ than her, jaded, pretty much discouraged by life after some setbacks in his past – he cuts her no corners. And, he came with family, to boot – he has 2 young sons.

Halfway through writing this story, it dawned on me how and why Diya’s story came to me so easily.
Because I was writing much of myself in her. Like I said, we were of the same age, and a few years prior, I had gone through a similar journey to find Mr. Perfect...only to land on an older man with a young kid and who, at first, seemed way off the idea I had of what my Prince Charming would be.

 So yes, “write what you know” was a big part of Light My World. I hope you’ll enjoy this glimpse into a (romanticized!) version of my own quest for Mr. Perfect turned out to be. I promise Diya’s is much more entertaining!
From Mauritius with love,

Zee
 
Now a little about Light My World!
 
Blurb:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that to find a prince, a girl has to kiss a few frogs along the way. But what happens when a modern-day princess comes across…an ogre?
So what if a girl has to kiss a few frogs to find her prince?
Tired of her Indian-origin mother’s relentless matchmaking, Diya Hemant is determined to find her Prince Charming on her terms. Armed with a definitive list of requirements, she is sure she’ll know her man when she meets him…
But looking and finding are two different things, especially on the tiny island of Mauritius…
When her path crosses surly British widower Trent Garrison’s, it’s hate at first sight. And though fate keeps pitting her against him, she’s certain he can’t be turned into a frog let alone a prince.
Can this modern-day princess overcome her own expectations and see beyond the ogre to the man beneath?


 
Excerpt 1
 
He heard more than felt the car hit the back of the SUV, which had halted in a screech of tyres. The smell of burnt rubber filled his nostrils when the calm came back. He expected the airbag to blow from the wheel, but none released.
Better and better. The car wasn’t only tiny, it didn’t even have an airbag.
A wave of concern washed over him. He wasn’t hurt. At least, he didn’t feel any pain. But what about the other driver?
However, as he stepped out of the car, the worry drained away as another, stronger emotion settled in. Anger.
What sort of inconsiderate driver stopped like that in the middle of a main road?
The bloke should be tagged as a public danger. To top it all, he was going to be late to see his children.
Bloody hell!
His tall height allowed him to peer into the vehicle without much difficulty. He swept his gaze over the top half of the interior, and puzzlement replaced his fury.
The car couldn’t be empty. Where was the driver? When had he had the time to get out of the vehicle?
Walking around to the front of the hood, Trent stopped in his tracks.
The body of an unconscious—or worse, dead—dog lay sprawled on the street. Sunlight glinted off its shiny, metal-studded collar. Must’ve been the reason behind the streak of light that had blinded him and the other driver, too, probably.
As he ran a hand in his short hair, he cursed again. How did the locals respond to accidents here? Especially when there was a death involved, even of a dog? Not something he wanted to find out, and not as a participant in this involuntary homicide.
With his hand on his mouth, he goggled at the dog that picked itself up and hobbled across to the other side of the road, before disappearing in between two rows of sugarcane.
What the hell? What was it with this strange island? Couldn’t anything be predictable on it?
The muffled opening click of a car door broke the silence, and Trent stepped back to glare at the person getting out, more like slithering out, of the SUV.
A slim pair of legs emerged and wobbled for a second after the sandal-clad feet hit the asphalt.
When the door closed, he glimpsed a short denim dress hugging a tiny frame. Straight black hair brushed the shoulders and the lapels of the collar, and framed a lovely, delicate face.
He had to blink a few times. The woman, or the girl, could pass for a life-sized doll. She stood no taller than five feet, so small he could probably encircle her waist with his hands. Her eyes were deep-set and dark, rimmed with black kohl. Her golden skin struck him as somewhat pale underneath her makeup, and she bit her full, pale lips, as if trying to work some colour into them.
“Thank God the dog is alive,” she said in a light, youthful voice. “I sure would’ve hated to have killed it. Lucky there isn’t any damage.”
Her voice reminded him of laughter, and the tinkling of fragile crystal flutes.
Shaking off the bizarre notion, a slow throb built in his blood. The overwhelming feeling settled as a twitch in his cheek, and he winced when a stab of pain shot from his clenched jaw.
No damage? What about his car? “Miss, you demolished my car.”
Nothing betrayed her cool composure when she checked out his car before staring at him again.
“Sorry, but you hit from behind. You’re at fault.”
He’d started to think that the delicate motion with her frail shoulder could topple her over, so much she seemed fragile. But the concern sputtered into outrage once her words registered. The cheek of the girl.
She’d stopped dead in the middle of the road. How the heck could it be his fault? “If it weren’t for you, none of this would’ve happened,” he snapped in a low growl.
She pursed her full lips, and jutted her pointed chin out in a fierce way as she settled her hands on her hips. Craning her slender neck to peer into his face, she stood her ground.
“Well, I should’ve killed the dog? This is what you wanted?”
“No, but—”
“And you wouldn’t have jammed into my car if you hadn’t been tailgating me.”
“I wasn’t tailgating you—”
“Yes, you were.” She poked a finger into his chest. “And you were speeding, at least a hundred where the limit is sixty.”
Could this girl be for real? “Miss, you were going faster than me, so don’t get on your high horse here.”
She poked him again. “Stop evading the issue. It’s your fault.”
Disbelief strangled his throat. She glared back, not in the least bit intimidated by the fact he towered above her by more than a foot.
At the same time, he flinched under her accusing words. Kill the dog. Right. Like he’d have wanted to kill a poor animal. What was it about this scrap of a girl that had him so ruffled?
A thought struck him. “Are you old enough to drive?”
“I’m twenty-four years old, for your information,” she said, spitting the words out at him.
So she could be held responsible for the accident. “My car is damaged, and it’s your fault.”
Blimey. They sounded like little children during kindergarten recess in the schoolyard.
He should drop this matter, deal with her like the adult he prided himself to be.
If she’d let him, though. Her dark eyes grew even darker as they narrowed on him. Fire, or ice, burnt in them. Her voice dripped with frost when she next spoke.
“I thought British men were supposed to be courteous.”
“I beg your pardon?” She’d done it again, struck him speechless. Unbelievable.
She fluttered her hand before her in an evasive gesture as she shook her head. “You know, proper British manners. Can’t say you’ve shown any so far.”
How could she sound so righteous, as if she were the injured party?
“How do you know I’m British? Does it read not-from-Mauritius somewhere on my face?”
“Your accent,” she said. “You speak just like Hugh Grant.”
Hugh Grant? That pasty-faced pin-up?
Even better. Not. “Thanks. It’s a very positive compliment.”
Trent had the pleasure of seeing his sarcasm unsettle the unnerving Miss Know-it-all. Her chest rose and fell in rapid succession as she glowered at him.
“You’re so….” She paused and seemed to search around for the proper word. “…obnoxious.”
And she was a brat. Nothing more.
Her barb hit home, though. He’d been called many things in his life, but this one was a first. And coming from a tiny lady like her, he didn’t know whether to laugh or be annoyed. He couldn’t remember the last time, if ever, he’d had such a verbal joust with someone. Loath as he was to admit, but tangling with her tickled him as stimulating as the encounter unnerved him.
Blimey, he had no time to dwell upon that. He was getting late. And he itched to shut the little spoilt princess up.
“My, incredible,” he said. “A pretty head as yours came up with such a big word. I sure hope you won’t get a nosebleed from too much brain activi—”
Yes, he’d been callous, but the sight before him horrified him more. He stood there, his jaw slackening as his mouth fell open.
“What?” she asked.
He pointed at her face. “Your nose. It’s bleeding.”
 
Tidbits about the Island Girls series
 
- Book 1, The Other Side, was the eldest sister, Lara’s, journey to find herself after a painful divorce in England. Back in Mauritius, where her divorcee status makes her a pariah, her path crosses that of her very first love, Eric Marivaux. Eric is white...while Lara is brown. Colour codes shouldn’t exist in modern times, but they’re still very much alive and thriving on the island! Released June 30, 2013.
- Book 3, Winds of Change, follows Neha as she must come to terms with widowhood and the fact that her marriage has always been a sham. In waltzes a man with the ability to make the perfect, ‘saintly’ widow she is burn with passion like she never suspected existed. Will the saint turn into a sinner, or find her rightful place simply as a woman? Coming soon in 2014.
Buy Links:
Trailer:
 
 
 
 
 
About the author
Stories about love, life, relationships... in a melting-pot of culture
Zee is an author who grew up on a fence – on one side there was modernity and the global world, on the other there was culture and traditions. Putting up with the culture for half of her life, one day she decided she'd stand tall on her wall and dip toes every now and then into both sides of her non-conventional upbringing.
From this resolution spanned a world of adaptation and learning to live on said wall. The realization also came that many other young women of the world were on their own fence.
This particular position became her favourite when she decided to pursue her lifelong dream of writing – her heroines all sit 'on a fence', whether cultural or societal, in today's world or in times past, and face dilemmas about life and love.
Hailing from the multicultural island of Mauritius, Zee is a degree holder in Communications Science. She is a head-over-heels wife, in-over-her-head mum to a tween son, best-buddy-stepmum to a teenage lad, an incompetent domestic goddess, eternal dreamer, and an absolute, shameless bookholic. When she isn’t penning more stories and/or managing the Ubuntu line at Decadent Publishing, you can bet you’ll find her with her nose in her tablet, ‘drinking in’ a good book.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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