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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Spotlight author; Zee Monodee

Please join me in welcoming fellow Decadent author, Zee Monodee as she talks about her Island Girl Trilogy.

Why you should follow your heart....

Hi Teri; hello everyone! Pleasure to be here today!

I racked my brain to come up with a topic for this blog post...and kept coming against a wall. Trust me – I have more plot bunnies than possible in my head, but ask me to pen a guest post and I freeze up, unable to find a topic! And yes, I’m supposedly a blabbermouth when you get me going.

So, this got me thinking – what’s the underlying message behind Light My World, and ultimately, the Island Girls Trilogy?

You have these 3 sisters born to Indian-origin, Mauritian parents in London. Fate brings them all back to this tiny island located in the southern Indian Ocean, and each finds her life unfolding in this place.

But on the island, there is ‘society’ – yes, in the olden, historical, Austen-type manner – and this involves conventions, traditions, mores, values, a certain set way of doing things... Not to mention eagle-eyed aunties watching for every girl to fall and fail and ‘bring shame to her family name’; society mamas on the lookout for the perfect daughter-in-law for their (supposedly!) illustrious sons; and of course, gossip, gossip, and more gossip!

How do you find your place, then, in this kind of setup? How do you break free (if that’s even possible) and come into your own? Goals and dreams – big, empty words?

And that’s where listening to your heart comes into play...because your heart will never let you down, and it will always shine a beacon on that path you should take for your fulfillment.

Join Diya Hemant in Light My World as she decides to listen to her the quest to find the modern-day version of Prince Charming!

From Mauritius with love,


Title: Light My World
Series: Book #2 in the Island Girls Trilogy
Author: Zee Monodee
Line: Ubuntu (geared to African Romance)
Publisher: Decadent Publishing, LLC
Release date: April 8, 2014
Genre: Romantic Comedy/ Interracial Multicultural Romance/ Interracial Romance/ Bollywood/ Humour/ New Adult
Length: 262 pages
Heat Level: Sensual/ 2 flames
Cover Image: Attached (300x450 size compressed for easy loading on web pages)


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?

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About the author
Zee Monodee
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.

- The Island Girls trilogy follows the 3 Hemant sisters – Lara, Neha, Diya – over the span of the 2000-2010 decade, chronicling the changing face of the Mauritian society over that crucial period.

- What makes the perfect man? Should he be handsome, rich, have a great job, good manners, be suave and sophisticated? Light My World touches upon this question, and young women the world over will probably find themselves in Diya and her quest for Mr. Perfect.

- At the heart of Light My World is a situation that wasn’t very prominent or even talked about back in the first decade of the 2000s: children from another union. Anyone who came with children was regarded as a second-grade prospect...and the very idea of combining families was almost an aberration!


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.”

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Where Do My Heroines Come From? by Teri Riggs

I’ve talked about the way I choose my heroes and who my first real life heroes were in an earlier blog. I’ve never shared how I come up with my heroines…cue dramatic music…until now. Grab a glass of wine and sit a spell.

In The Eyes Die Last, book one of my Kennedy O’Brien series, my heroine is a homicide detective. She deals in death every day and is frequently chasing after killers who lack any morals. It’s her job.  In order to do her job, I had to give Kennedy a strong and independent persona. She has no fear or least hides it well…except when she rides in an elevator.
Kennedy has to be able to take down criminals, armed or not. A cop needs to have the strength to slap a pair of hand cuffs on her perpetrator. Big or small, it doesn’t matter. It’s part of the job. A duty she does well.
She has to have a brain. I prefer for Kennedy to actually unravel the mystery through clues and not stumble across the solutions. I couldn’t have a weak woman with no apparent gift for solving puzzles become Las Vegas Metro’s most successful homicide detectives of all time. Kennedy does have her oops moments. She has flaws. She breaks down occasionally. And God forbid, she needs help sometimes. But our heroine wouldn’t be human if she didn’t have a few issues or screw up every now and then. What reader wants a perfect female character shoved down her throat for three hundred pages? And how could the hero’s love help the heroine grow into a better person if she’s already picture-perfect?
Next, I threw in a traumatic past, her Irish cop roots, and a few of her quirks, and bingo, Homicide Detective, Kennedy Marie O’Brien was born and ready to take down the criminals of Las Vegas and tangle with a certain hunky businessman.

In Resolutions, my heroine is a DEA agent working with the International Drug Enforcement Agency (IDEA). In the book, she battles drug lords and terrorists in Colombia. She’s captured, tortured, and nearly dies. No wimpy, girly-girl type woman is going to pull off surviving the awful things that happens to my heroine in this storyline.
I made DEA agent, Eve Taylor, a kick-ass operative, and computer know-it-all. In order to make her crazy desire for action and danger believable, I gave her a past that included being raised by four alpha brothers after her parents died. She hated the control they held over her life. As soon as she graduated from college she moved away, joined the DEA, and started her new life. She’s enjoys her newfound independence until she falls in love with a man who turns out to be another alpha male. Enter Resolutions operative, Mac McKenna. He gives her an ultimatum, the job or him. She takes the job, gives him the boot, and is off to prove her bad-assness. Of course she’s captured and who else would show up to rescue her, but Mr. Alpha Male Boyfriend. Eve finds she needs another type of strength now. She has to resist her desire for Mac.
I had to throw in a bit of softness and vulnerability to Eve’s personality. She can’t be all hard nails and hammers. The key was to not make her too soft. After all, even when she’s little Miss Romance, she has to stay on her game.

In real life my heroines are not just cops or DEA agents. I’d say my sister who has battled breast cancer and kicked its ass, is one of my heroines. My mother who worked full time and still managed to be a great wife and mother is another.  She too battled breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. She didn’t win either battle, but she gave them one hell of good fight. 

Other true life heroines? I see women serving in the armed forces. There really are female cops, DEA and FBI agents fighting for our freedom every day. There are single moms out there who are doing a great job raising great kids, and making it look easy. We know better. Raising children is a tough job when two parents are involved. Women who walk away from abusive relationships are another group of women I admire. What strength it must take to leave.
At the end of the day, there are a lot of strong, female role models I can base  my heroines on. I love writing a strong woman protagonist. Best of all, I love to give them a happily ever after.

     ****If you have a strong female heroine you admire in real life, tell us about her in the comments below for a chance to win an e-book copy of The Eyes Die Last or Resolutions.****

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