Sunday, January 24, 2010

Week 11

Hi everyone

I'm really sorry I didn't get to post on Friday. Without me realising the week had flown by and then I found myself (still do, btw) with an uncooperating Internet access. Add to it that in between writing on the WIP and with its looming deadline ahead, I was also chatting in Promo this week - daytime for the US readers and loop owners equals late evening for me. I was knackered senseless for most of the evenings and dragging the sleep deprivation all around during the days that followed!

So, here's a fast and furious recap of the past week for me on all fronts:

- Kid on the Block
 At a few months to turn seven, kiddo still had all his milk teeth and there wasn't a hint that any was loosening and about to fall any time soon. I was like, okay - when the permanent teeth will cut they'll dislodge the milk ones and all will be well.
Wrong! Brushing his teeth on Wednesday, what is it I see? Yup, it's a tooth, and it's cutting behind the milk teeth row! *gasp*
No way around it - the milk teeth will have to be removed to allow the permanent one to grow in as it should. And here comes the nightmare - have to take kiddo to the dentist! I get an appointment for Saturday 10 am, and in the time leading up to said appointment, I was living off worry and bitten cuticles!
But, thank goodness, all turned out well. Kiddo asked a lot of questions - Will it hurt? Will there be injections? What's she gonna do?
To which we answered as best as we could. And turns out we were right to do so. Seems like with the fear factor lifted from the whole episode - we were frank with him (yeah, the needle prick will hurt but I don't think it's gonna be worse than being hurt by a small chicken bone poking your gums!), kiddo went in like a big guy. Not one tear. Not one scream, even if he did tense up so much he looked 2 inches taller!
All in all, I was worried for nothing but gosh, did that wear me out!

- WIPed out
I had to make Willow shut up or she'd have taken the whole post for herself. She's ecstatic, btw. Why? Because I am writing! I have instilled the WIP Tuesday and Thursday evenings - nothing but the WIP on those nights, and so far it's working. Added close to 10K on the rewrite of WIP in question, and late on Friday I found the 'aha!' factor I needed to give my heroine's arc the proper direction and dimension it's needed. So far seems like all's falling into place nicely - keeping fingers crossed it remains this way all through. My deadline on this is February 5. I've reached a quarter of the full story right now. I'm also finding my feet in the whole ramped-up sexual tension in the book. Man, I've never had a H/h so intensely attracted to one another before and this is really an eye-opening experience for me to put through!
Oh yeah, ladies - the bloke in question has a devilish-looking tattoo on his right bicep all the way from his elbow to his collarbone. Talk of the bad boy you should never bring home to mom and dad. And now picture this - heroine's never done anything that's not in the parents' good book of girl behaviour. Dilemma, dilemma!

- Perception Tunnel
Fellow writer and CP Chicki Brown awarded me the Happy Award on Wednesday. I now have to post the Ten Things That Make Me Happy, and bestow the award upon 3 other people. Here we go with my list:
1. Hearing my son's laughter.
2. Being in the embrace of my husband.
3. A hug by a loved one.
4. Seeing people around me happy and knowing I may have had a hand in that!
5. Chocolate cake.
6. Waking up beyond 7 am and without an alarm blaring me awake.
7. Not having to cook and still getting a meal.
8. Writing and finding it all falling into place.
9. Seeing people enjoying my books.
10. Going to sleep knowing I accomplished all I'd set out to do during the day.
I am now bestowing this award on
Sandra K. Marshall
Carole Gill
GE Stills

- Reading Log
Indulged in my preferred junk food for the mind - Harlequin 3-book collection. It was about 'bought' brides. Oh well. I only finished one of the books, more for the writer's voice and prose than for the story itself. The other 2 in the compilation? Not exactly worth it. One I skimmed to the ending just to know what happened, the other I didn't even bother getting past Chapter 1 because it was terribly telegraphed and I hated the heroine! Oh well... Sigh.
Where are the good books?????

- Promo Maven
Last week I chatted a lot - been at Love Romances Book Club on Wednesday (its Yahoo loop) and yesterday I was at Love Romances Cafe (again the Yahoo loop), this time with a few other Eirelander authors.
On Wednesday too, I penned my every-other-monthly post for the Pop Culture Divas, on Kids' pop culture today. Come see some Mommy woe there!
I just got notified that I'm up in the spotlight at fellow author Rae Lori's blog, A Writer's Dream, all the way from now to mid-February. Drop by and check out the thought-provoking questions Rae put me through in her interview.

So that's it from me this week. Sorry, no hottie this time around. I didn't have time to look at any hottie these past few days (I know, it's a shame, innit?).
Other tidbit of good news - seems Storms in a Shot Glass is doing quite well in its sales ratings! Yay!!

Until next Friday, cheers!!

And don't forget:

Live. Laugh. Love. XOXO

Friday, January 15, 2010

Week 10

Big hello to everyone! Feels so good to be back - kinda normal to be blogging, you know?

I wasn't gonna have pics up this week but changed my mind at the hottie section! Come on - girls gotta have some lightness in their world, innit? Especially when you know that I've been in over my head, with... Promo! Yup yup, the wonderful world that's the other side of writing!

Mind you, I'm a social butterfly and love meeting new people, forging acquaintances, letting some develop almost automatically into friendships.
It's just the sheer amount of being in all places at all times that's totally exhausting! Yahoo loops, blog interviews, chat rooms - surge of energy when it's taking place but there comes a time when all you wanna do is crash and burn!

So what have I been up to promo wise this week? Check out Promo Maven for the links.

So yes too - Storms in a Shot Glass is out, and it doesn't seem to be doing too bad out there! In between friends who have been pimping the book and only letting me know they intended to do so after their post was up (thanks and wink to Chicki Brown & Bella McFarland!!), I also came across two very nice reviews of the book.

"...Storms in a Shotglass was a story chocked full of sweetness, love, passion and interesting developments. Everyone one even the older generation could learn a little in this book. Nolwynn Ardennes is a wonder to discover for me as a reviewer and reader. I, for one, will be keeping my eye out for any further books by Ms. Ardennes."

This is the gist of what Deb @ Dark Diva Reviews had to say in her fabulous review!

And this comes from fellow author and friend Rae Lori who had a chance to read the book when it was still in its galley form:

"...'Storms' not only centers on Jane Smithers and Michael Rinaldi but also the people that surround their lives. It's as much a contemporary romance as it is a story about coming into responsibility, finding love and forgiving and learning to love our families (parents) despite their flaws and past..."

Click the links to read more!

There you have it - my promo week in a nutshell, but lol, that's just the author's shoes! Here's some more as to what happened!

- Kid on the Block
... went back to school after a 10 week summer break that nearly drove me over the edge and nearly sent him skyrocketing with frustration at being 'at home' for too long. Seriously, what do those schools think - 10 weeks of break? Come on, I know they need a reprieve? Oh wait - I know! Make the kids so bored at home that they'll wish for school to start! Not a bad strategy, except that its us poor moms who may become addicted too too many soap operas or reruns of our favourite hunk's movies just to be able to take the edge off of having a kid 24/7 with you! And no, we don't have summer camp in Mauritius... Sigh.
Anywayz, kiddo is now in Grade 2, and boy has he grown up! Mommy moment here - they grow way too fast... But, he's out of my hair for close to 7 hours a day! Label me a bad mom if you want but this is bliss! Also happens that when he comes home, he just gets inundated with kisses and hugs and lots of sweet-sounding stuff like pumpkin, sweetie, and other French nonsense that I just invented in our baby-cooing days. Okay, I'm off this part before you all die of TMI Mommy episodes!

- WIPed out
Didn't manage to put finger to keyboard this week but that didn't mean the brain wasn't working! Kid-free time meant I could focus on story twists instead of Mommy this and Mommy that every 5 seconds! I've thus mapped out the first 3 parts of my sci-fi and have gotten a better grasp on my fantahistorical. Not allowing myself to think of other stories right now because these two are the to-be-absolutely-written in 2010 projects! So far, so good. Next week I'm ramping up the actual writing though, with rewrites on the ms to Neha's story, Book 3 of the Hemant sister series.

- Perception Tunnel
2010 is supposed to be my last year at uni. Yup, been trudging that degree along for the past 7 years, even if I did have to take 1.5 years off due to health issues. Nevertheless, uni bureaucracy expects that since you registered in 2002, you have 8 years to complete said degree so 2010 is your make or break year. I have 5 more modules to go, on the 30 required to make this communications science degree. And man, they don't say uni final year for nothing! I just registered for semester 1 and got my books in, and the sheer amount of work to be done! Wowzers! I even have a portfolio that I'll have to work for a local school- an integrated comms campaign for them! Thank goodness that when I approached the people at kiddo's school, they were more than willing to help! Lol, in a way, why wouldn't they be happy? Hire a comms consultant to plan that campaign for you and shell out a hundred K at least! They'll be getting it for free from me! Oh well, never mind - what's good is that one thing's clear and I have the raw material to start this project.
So there I was yesterday looking at all the deadlines and then checking my diary to find which dates I'd booked promos, and when you know my mind that forgets everything unless a clear memo or alarm is set, guess what I turn to - the new phone that's got a spiffy calendar and PDA-like settings on it.
Start noting down dates and calculating how much time I'll need to allow this project over that one and adding in delays and stuff...
Result? I am booked solid for almost 3.5 months! Yups, you will be hard pressed to find a day on my phone calendar that doesn't have a markup for something before May 5, 2010!
If I didn't have a headache or I wasn't hyperventialting so far, I was when I looked at that!

- Reading Log
A bad thing's happened to me lately - I'm throwing books at the wall after like 25 pages in. Why? Because there just don't seem to be any good stories out there! They're all so cliche you feel you've read it all just by browsing page 1! Then when the blurb doesn't like give you the story till what happens at the next-to-last chapter, you find you've wasted your time reading a dry as dust voice! Or, the read is so all over the place you get mind-motion sickness just by trying to figure out which lead is what in chapters that change between 5-6 leads at every turn!
Where are the good books, people? In despair I turned to the 'old' names, and miracle of all found Julie Garwood. Slow Burn had me captivated, and I read it  over one single day! Yeah, that's how much I was starved for good books!
All this brings me to - traditional print books seem to be highly overrated today. There's nothing new or worthy there - finding a good book at the library is worse than trying to find a needle in a haystack! Which just gets me thinking - epublishing is the way to go! Just at my publisher Eirelander Publishing alone, I stumble upon books that are well-rounded and off the beaten tracks! I want them all actually!
Just as well my phone reads pdf files - I have a feeling you'll be seeing me lots more with the phone and not a physical book in my hands in the future!

- Hottie Alert
In the past 2 weeks I've seen Avatar (yes, finally got to see it!!) and Episodes 1-4 of the Star Wars series. Got 5 and 6 on the DVD rack waiting to be viewed. I wanted to do a lineup of all the hotties in those episodes but since I haven't seen them all yet, I'll wait until I can add my two cents (that you don't probably don't want to hear, lol!) about the whole series.
In the meantime (I know I showcased this hottie last month but he's just too good to pass up on!), here's the total babe from Avatar that has me completely ogling at the moment! Enjoy!

- Promo Maven
Here's where I was in the past week taking Nolwynn and Storms in a Shot Glass out! on January 8 - Melissa and crew at DDR gave me this gorgeous showcase for the book - big thanks to them!

Interview at Books by Pickles on January 11-12 - where Jen (one half of J&J) interviewed me and showcased the book! Oh, the contest there is still going on till January 17 - leave me a comment and you could win a download copy of Storms in a Shot Glass!

There you are - my past week in a (big!) nutshell!

From now till later, cheers!

And don't forget:

Live. Laugh. Love. XOXO

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sneak peek - Storms in a Shot Glass

Doing something a little different today. Why? Because I have this book that is releasing tomorrow.

Yup, the day is finally here - Storms in a Shot Glass is about to come out! I cannot tell you how excited I am about this! I started this story in January itself, two years ago! I spun through loops and twists and holes with the first 3 chapters and then the first chapter, to give up on it 6 months later, focusing my attention on another work. Then at the end of that year, I decided to dust off this WIP and see what I could do about it.

Surprisingly, it all flowed! Sat down in December with a new draft of Chapter 1 and before I knew it, it was January again and I had written all the chapters of this book. The End was there, in bold type, in front of my eyes!

How did I get there? Well, I found the right 'path' this story had to take. Its name? Tabloids! Coming across all the nonsense that tabloids were filling up everywhere in newspaper and magazine stands, on the web, on television - I kept thinking, those poor people being stalked. Lightbulb moment! Why didn't stalk my characters?

That's how I got the direction I needed for Storms in a Shot Glass, and to make it live true to its name, I cooked up even more madness and mayhem in the plot, created a wacky and totally out-of-this-world secondary characters' cast, and then unleashed my main protagonists in this chaos!

The result? This book! Here's some more about it:

Book blurb:

A little bump is about to cause a lot of ripples.

Personal Assistant Jane Smithers needs a baby as much as she needs the immature boss, bitchy mother and lunatic Russian models cohabiting peacelessly around her. What she also doesn’t need is a man who pops out of nowhere, intent on taking over her accidental pregnancy.

Cold logic and hard facts rule the world of millionaire corporate lawyer Michael Rinaldi. Until he meets Jane, and the insignificant-looking woman plunges him head first into the churning waters of tempestuous emotion and hot-blooded impulse.

Unlikely feelings crop up at the same time relentless gossip escalates. Both realize their respective world has irredeemably changed. The question is - will they be able to live with this reality?

Want a little more? Check out this little excerpt:
Connie Burton knew a good thing when she saw one. She had a flair for sniffling scoops, and right now, she had the feeling she had stumbled upon something major.
Huddled in the seat of her beat-up little car on the outskirts of Tabitha’s Cove, she hadn’t missed the sight of Michael Rinaldi with an unknown woman going into the eatery.
So Nitro Mike, as his nickname went, had someone in his life. The man was known to be as explosive and as unpredictable as nitro-glycerine in the world of corporate law. And in his private life, it was rumored he didn’t have blood but liquid nitrogen flowing in his veins. Now, after a drought of many, many months, one of the most eligible bachelors in London appeared to be on the road to being soon a very taken man.
Connie knew scoops didn’t come much bigger than that. Of course, she had also had a feeling about the football player and that Page 3 model even before anyone had a hint of what was going on. She had, however, made the rookie mistake of telling her suspicions to a reporter friend. The bitch had stolen the rumor and reaped the rewards when she had splashed the story on the front page of Viewstand, the tabloid they worked for.
This time around though, Connie wouldn’t make the same mistake. She’d keep this story under wraps until she had all the details and then she would reap the spotlight for her front-page article.
Being the first one to know who the mystery woman in the life of Nitro Mike was would surely be ‘the’ scoop of the year.
From her first glance, Connie knew the woman was rich. Her leather tote screamed French designer label, and her green knit dress was on display at a high-end shop in Knightsbridge just last month. She appeared classy, aloof even, but then again, she probably had to be when dealing with a cold-hearted magnate like Michael Rinaldi.
Right now, Connie was sure this woman, if the world came to know about her, would be the most envied woman in England after those who would land a royal prince.
The question was - who was she?
Visual-inclined? View the trailer!

There you go! Join me as I countdown the hours towards the release of my debut release as Nolwynn Ardennes!

Till then, don't forget:

Live. Laugh. Love. XOXO

Monday, January 4, 2010

Weeks 5,6,7,8 and a half

Hi everyone!

I cannot believe it's been exactly a month since I last posted on the blog! Ashamed of myself...

We're in a new year too, a new decade actually. So many changes, innit? Where did the time fly?

I have a hard time recalling the past few weeks. Most of them were spent being sick as a dog. Ever happened to you that you do something to make you better but it ends up making you worse? Well, that's what happened to me. On the Friday of Week 4, I took a medical test that is supposed to confirm that I am in good health. What no one tells you is that the test has some, let's say, slight side effects - I was knackered senseless and could hardly lift any limb for the two weeks that followed!

So that crosses out Weeks 5 and 6 off the sked. The rest of the weeks? Well, new year hoopla + kids at home + hubby at home because of the holidays = madness! You know my blokes are beach babes, so guess where I was dragged to most of the time? You got that right - the beach! Not to mention that the family got involved and there we were gallivanting around the south of the island like tourists! Gave me a good morsel for an upcoming WIP, more about this down!

So what else has happened? Check out the down sections:

- Kid on the Block...
... became a real smartmouth. Never underestimate the importance of the father figure - little boys will do what the big guy is doing. Case in point - when you watch a romantic movie or any movie with some bits of romance in there, do not have such blokes close. Hubby aka the role model here, will usually make an obnoxious comment that is meant to totally ruin the moment for me (I'm his favourite teasing project, sigh...), and guess what the little blokes do? Right, no need for me to spell it out. The past weeks made for some heavy temper bursts from me. And yes, the blokes all got the just desserts!

- Weepy Willow Woes
In the words of Willow:
She is writing! What more can I want???

- WIPed out
You may be sick as a dog but work goes on, innit? I have an amazing editor who told me to take it easy, but I also knew I couldn't abuse upon her patience with me.
That's how I found myself doing that Angelina Jolie/Bourne meets Wanted meets Casablanca rewrite on Walking on the Edge. Outcome? 2 brand new start chapters that hit the ground running, a stronger and tighter arc for both the heroine and the hero, and a whopping 14.7K added to the ms!
Now, bitten by the writing bug, and seeing 2009 turn into 2010, what else happens to a writer? She wants to write, especially when her muse decided not to go haunt any new years' eve party and hang with her.
That's how I crossed into 2010 writing a new wip that will be kind of my magnum opus for this year. It's a sci-fi (yes, I decoded enough science stuff to get the basics right on this one!) and one that features a somewhat impossible love story that is however written in the stars by a greater power.
Doing research for this story, which I expect will clock in well past the 100K mark, I needed a music theme to take me along. Did some digging, and I came up with this amazing tune by Finnish band Apocalyptica. Check it out - I hope it blows you away just like it did me!
And yeah, I'm 6.7K into that wip already, prologue and chapter 1 written!

- Perception Tunnel
This brings me to my above mention of gallivanting in the south of the island. A place of rugged and wild beauty that seems untouched by civilization. I can almost imagine this is how it was in the 1800s, when Mauritius was just starting to wake under British rule.
In the past 2 weeks, I've been to places I never thought I'd see. Raw and primal looking coastlines with crashing waves. Roads that border a mountain and that sea water laps on the other side. Indigenous forest where I spotted bats and monkeys just the same way I would expect someone in a carriage in 1840 would've seen them. A nature trail that has like 5 waterfalls one more beautiful than the next that would make a dramatic estate for a landowner in 1840.
Which led to - a story idea, which will be my other big project for 2010. A fantahistorical, that takes place circa the year 1842 in Victorian British ruled Mauritius.

So there you have it, what I've been up to in the past few weeks. I'm getting all revved up for the new year, and I hope you'll continue to join me as I trail down the weeks of this new decade!

- Promo Maven
Speaking of which, do you know this week is when Storms in a Shot Glass comes out? Yup, that's for Friday! I'm so excited I cannot stand still!
In light of this release, I've been at some locations in December and presented my 'case' in a somewhat different manner. Check them out:
At Romance Alley, I made Diya of Light My World meet Jane of Storms in a Shot Glass. Girly gossip? Not that much - come find out what these two very unique women spoke about!
And at Sandra Sookoo's blog, during her 12 Days of Christmas event, all the characters of my previous and upcoming releases came together under my roof for dinner. The result? Uh, chaos... Check it out, and find out how very much of a non-hostess I am!

So that's it for my first post of 2010!

Happy New Year to all, and don't forget:

Live. Laugh. Love. XOXO