Monthly Archives: May 2013

Release Day! FILTERS 2: Grayscale is out NOW!

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Hey, hey, it’s RELEASE DAY!!  That’s right, the next chapter in the FILTERS series is out!  Filters 2 focuses on the effects the little things we let slide into the gray area have on our lives.

For Veronica and Rick, it means their marriage is on the line.  But with her stuck at work, they have nothing but time to think about their actions.

Lacey, on the other hand, gets blindsided when she hands over the emails showing her boss was working with a rival company.  The last thing she expected was to find the spotlight turned on herself.

Theo just wants to find the girl with the blue eyes.  Realizing he’d let her slip through his fingers because he thought he had plenty of time, he makes it his mission to track her down.

Jonathan and Jessica are slipping into a romance they may never recover from.  Can they handle what is about to happen?

Check out these excerpts for a taste of FILTERS 2: Grayscale!

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Grayscale

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Russian Scientists Make Rare Mammoth Find

Russian scientists have unearthed a female mammoth, complete with blood and muscle tissue.  This is a very rare and excellently preserved find.  You can read more about it here.  We will be hearing about more and more rare finds of this type in the coming years as global warming continues to thaw the arctic.  Mammoth’s in particular, but artifacts in general, are already being exposed at an ever increasing rate as the ice melts, making it easier than ever for scientists to uncover the remains frozen there over 10,000 years ago.  But it isn’t just scientists taking advantage of the newly exposed mammoths… their tusks are make of ivory.

I Do Not Mourn a Life Well Lived

Death is often personified as the Grim Reaper, or some other being, stalking the living until they are able to steal our loved one from our world.  There is a reason for that, it’s how it feels.

Death is probably one of the most common themes of stories around the world, each trying to make sense of the phenomenon we will all one day experience.  Because death is an inevitable part of life, no matter how hard we try to avoid it, no matter how many fantastic scenarios we dream up in our books, death will come for all of us one day.

It has come to our family twice this year, my husband and I each losing a grandmother, and in both cases these wonderful ladies had what I consider to be one of the greatest gifts in this life: the opportunity to face death head-on and to say goodbye to their loved ones.

My greatest fear is of death coming as a surprise, of my life ending in the blink of an eye.  I am grateful that these ladies were able to say their goodbyes and leave this life with their loved ones at their sides.  That is a good death.  I hope to be so lucky when my time comes.

And neither of these ladies are simply gone.  Just because their bodies have ceased to support their souls does not mean that their existence, their influence, has vanished from this earth.  It is just the opposite, they will continue to live on in the legacy’s they left behind for many, many, many years to come.

Because they both left lasting impacts on the people around them.  Most importantly on their grandkids.  Their love and teachings are an integral part of my husband and I, and that has influenced not only our memories and the little things we can teach our own children, but (and I think this is the most important part), they influenced who we are.  Grandmothers in particular, but everyone in general, help mold our perceptions of ourselves.  They influence who we think we are, who we think we should be, what our place is in our families, and in our world.

By molding our sense of self, these ladies have influenced who we are as people, as spouses, and as parents.  And that teaching is being passed down to my kids right now.

Yes my Mimi taught me how to sew, bake cookies, and appreciate a good story.

Yes, she encouraged my imagination through dress-up, playtime, shadowing her in the office and kitchen, letting me type on her typewriter, and taking me on adventures.

But the most important thing she did was to teach me about life.  She taught me I was special, and to be kind because everyone was a person with their own struggles.  She taught me to see adults for who they really were.  She encouraged me to try harder.  She taught me about feminism and standing up for yourself.  She taught me the world is complicated and run by flawed people, that you have to see past that to the truth.  And that the truth is often too simple for the average person to grasp.

And it’s those things that have molded my world, the world I now shape around my own children.  Her teachings and legacy will mold who my children become because they molded me and who I am now.

Yes, of course the little things like tea cups and congo squares will always make me smile and think of her.  I will teach my boys how to make cookies and tell them stories about my Mimi.  But her real legacy is in the people she touched because it influenced each of them, and me, into more confident, understanding human beings.

We are sad and we mourn that these wonderful ladies are no longer here in body, but they are most certainly not gone.  I am so very happy and grateful to have known them and been blessed by their love.  I celebrate the long and fulfilling lives they were able to live and that they were able to say their goodbyes.

When death comes for me I hope I can wrap my arms around my loved ones and let them know how much they meant to me.

(I apologize for any typos or mistakes in this post.  As you can imagine, I didn’t feel like proof-reading it.  It is merely the story on my heart as I woke up this morning, poured out on to the keyboard.)

7 Questions With Heather M. Gardner

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Today I’d like to welcome Heather M. Gardner, author of the brand-spanking- new Maguire’s Corner, a fun, fast, steamy romantic adventure!

Heather and I met through Twitter thanks to a little contest called So You Think You Can Write.  We were both lucky enough to make the Top 20… and I have been waiting to find out what happens in her book ever since!  I am so excited it is finally here.

So just who is Heather?  Here are seven questions to help you get to know her:

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1. As fast as you can, tell us a little bit about Maguire’s Corner.

Maguire’s Corner is a small town in NY where the Town Sweetheart must put up with the hot new Police Chief while he tries to find out who is trying to kill her.

 2. I know that like me, you’ve got a soft spot for sci-fi and superheroes. Which one is your favorite and why?

 Tough question. Almost imposs…. OK, Tony Stark/Iron Man. Technically not a super-hero but take away the suit and he’s still a genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist. : )

 3. If you could go live in any ‘universe’ (books, tv, movies) which one would you pick and why (Not Maguire’s Corner!!)

 I think I’d like being a browncoat in The ‘Verse, it was my kind of world. Cowboys on spaceships? What’s not to like?

 4. Ok, I changed my mind. You’re allowed to go live in Maguire’s Corner now. What do like about living there?

 MC is loosely based on the town I live in now. We know each other but we don’t all know each other and everyone’s kinda related except for those of us who just moved here.

 5. If you could pull a Joss Whedon and add a strong, badass woman to the Avengers line-up, who would you create? (You know, so we could actually have fun playing Avengers with our sons.)

 Although Black Widow is awesome, she has too much baggage. No, not those. Emotional baggage. I would like more of a warrior with less human emotion. Like Sif but w/o the crush on Thor.

 6. What is your favorite part of writing romance?

 All of it. I love writing it and reading it and thinking about it. There is nothing better than a good love story.  Well, except a story with lots of explosions. Those are good, too!

 7. And finally, tell us one unusual or cool thing about yourself that you use in your writing.

 Well, I don’t know about unusual or cool but since I’m a coffee-aholic, so are my characters. So much so that they own a coffee shop!

Thanks Heather, for answering my questions! And best of luck with Maguire’s Corner (I know you have big things ahead!!)  Run (DO NOT WALK) to get Maguire’s Corner right now!

And check out her publisher Front Porch Romance while you’re at it!

Excerpt from Filters!

My first short story in the FILTERS series, Polarized, is out now!  Book 2, Grayscale, will be available this weekend.  The series tells the story of six people dealing with having their lives turned upside down when their private messages are publicly released by a group of hackers.

In the excerpt below you’ll meet television reporter Veronica Thomas.  She is married to divorce attorney Rick Thomas, and they have two small children.  But thanks to the hacking scandal, she now knows her husband cheated on her the weekend before.  Veronica is stuck working the story of a lifetime while her marriage is falling apart.  

I hope you enjoy reading the excerpt!

 

Veronica Thomas was having one hell of a day. Spectacularly good on the one hand, and phenomenally bad on the other. Talk about your opposites. One minute she was on Cloud Nine with happiness, the next she just wanted to crawl into a deep dark hole to cry.

The good was so, so good. A crew met her at the door this morning, she didn’t even get to wave good morning to the security guard.  And they’d been hitting it hard ever since. They went straight to a murder-suicide, but turned that over to another reporter almost immediately because just up the road a guy with a sword had gone on a rampage. All the networks had gone wall-to-wall with coverage so she’d been picked up by national. The package had been perfect. The videographer had managed to get some really spectacular footage of the guy just before cops took him down. And her stand-up had been dead-on.

They wanted her live for the evening shows. Live on national television.

Dream. Come. True.

And now they were down in the business district following the arrests of five different men and women on charges of corporate espionage. Two were CEO’s. Sure the suicides, murders, fights, and brawls were all spectacular, but they were so ordinary. The everyday common problems brought to a boiling point. But this, this was juicy. Secrets, lies, and money. Lots of money. Even the big and bad were being brought down thanks to Hacktastrophe.

And thanks to this late-breaking story, the networks were having a fit over which stories to cover. At the moment she was doing both.

Two stories on national television in one night.

It didn’t seem real.

But then she remembered her personal life. And well, that brought her right back down to reality. Rick had cheated on her. At least he had this weekend while he was in Atlantic City. More than likely there were others.

But that one email had been enough for Veronica. She didn’t need to read the rest. At least not today. She had work. National television, to be exact. Her broken heart could wait.

The worst part was she wasn’t surprised. She was shocked, yes. But the reality was she expected this. They were miserable shadows of their former selves. It only seemed fitting they’d also started living separate lives.

Didn’t make it hurt any less.

What were they going to do? Even though she hated her life and, at least at the moment, wanted to kill her husband, she found it impossible to imagine a different life. A life without Rick. She couldn’t picture Sundays without all four of them. She couldn’t picture holiday’s without her kids because they were with their dad. It just wasn’t right. They were supposed to be a family.

Where had they gone wrong?

It had been a fairy tale. Maybe that was the problem. Fairy tales weren’t real.

Rick had just passed the bar, she had just landed her first top ten market. They were perfect for each other. Young, ambitious, living life to the fullest. He had worshipped her and she had adored him. He was going to work his way up to partner and maybe start his own firm. She was going to land an anchor job and start a serious series of investigative reporting. They were going to have two adorable children, a boy and girl. They were going to live happily ever after.

At least they’d gotten the adorable children right. And Rick was a partner in his firm. And she was weekend anchor. But everything else had stagnated. She knew it had, but was clueless how to fix it.

Sometimes it felt like they were puppets. They looked the part and were moving, but it was hollow. They were empty. The life that once made them who they were was just… gone.

And neither of them seemed to know what to do about that.

So maybe it was for the best she’d opened that particular email first. Maybe she needed that shock to the system, to awaken her from whatever slumber she’d allowed herself to drift into. Because in the end, their lives weren’t real and it wasn’t fair to anyone. Not to them or their kids.

She just didn’t want to go home. She didn’t want to face Rick and see the betrayal in his eyes or hear those final words ending their marriage.

She wasn’t ready. Not yet.

“Veronica, we need you out here. Something is going on…”

She hopped out of her hiding place in the passenger seat of the live truck just as five more cop cars came barreling up to the building. They began waving at the news trucks lined up along the road. They were waving them away. Her instincts told her to run, but her body stayed frozen in place as her brain debated what it thought was happening. There was a story here, if she ran she would miss it. Of course if she stayed and died, it would be pretty damn hard to report it.

Her kids probably wouldn’t appreciate their mother being the idiot reporter who wouldn’t get out of harm’s way for a story.
So she screamed at her legs until they finally moved. Across the street, up the sidewalk, and in with the throng of others being herded away from the buildings. Her videographer, Ed, was slamming the doors shut on the van- she should have stopped to help him with that- and clicking the key fob to activate the alarm as he ran toward her with his camera.

That was when the explosion hit. It was probably a bomb, if she had to guess. It came from the inside of the building, exploding cement and brick and god knows what else, outward toward all of them. It was loud and powerful enough that she felt the waves of energy as they ripped through the air, pushing her and everyone else back, knocking them to the ground.

Sound seemed to lose all meaning for a while. She was covered in gray and rubble. The eyes of everyone around her were large and round with shock. She imagined hers looked the same.

Ed was already on his feet, his camera intact and on his shoulder, rolling. She should be helping, she knew that, but her first priority wasn’t reporting to the world. It was reporting to her family. She fumbled through her pockets until her hands closed around the sleek comfort of her cell phone. But as she glanced at the screen and pulled up Rick’s number, she paused. Should she call him? Was he really the best person to call first given the circumstances?

Her thumb wavered over her call log, the first five numbers were all work. But the next one was Jessica. She could call her. Jessica would let the kids know mommy was alright and she could answer Rick’s questions.

But if the kids heard her on the phone, they might want to talk. And there was no way Veronica was having a conversation with her kids right now. They might get scared.

And it was probably not entirely fair to Rick. He was still her husband and, more importantly the father of her children. The adult and responsible thing to do would probably be to let him know she wasn’t hurt.

She hit the call button before she could debate it for another second. It was just a courtesy call.

“Are you ok?” he shrieked.

She couldn’t remember ever hearing such fear in her husband’s voice. Not the time she forgot to call him after Hurricane Katrina. Not the time she called him from the back of a cop car. Not even in the delivery room when nothing seemed to be going right.
“I’m fine. They got us across the street before the bomb went off. Please let everyone know we are all fine.” She was going to simply hang up, but he was too fast. She caught his words as she pulled the phone away from her ear.

“Baby, please get out of there.”

He hadn’t called her baby in months. “Rick, this is my job.”

“You have no idea what else might explode around there. This isn’t worth your life, get the hell out of there. And don’t go back to that station. That place will probably go up too. Just go home. I’ll meet you there.”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t take orders from my philandering husband. This is my job, genius. If you wanted to order someone around you should have married an empty-headed bimbo. I am perfectly capable of judging what I can and can’t do and I’ll thank you to stay the fuck out of my job, out of my bed, and out of my life. If and when you can keep you pants zipped I might have time to listen to something you have to say. I called to let you know I was fine. Please let our nanny and our children know for me. I have work to do.” She would have thrown the phone across the street if she didn’t need it desperately for work. But she did. So instead she mashed the red ‘End Call’ button as forcefully as her thumb would allow.

It wasn’t nearly as satisfying as throwing the damn thing.

That was when she realized she’d been yelling. And that every one around her was watching her with wary eyes and raised eyebrows.
But hey, the world was coming down around them. Did it really matter who knew her husband had paid a hooker to give him a blow job in the back of a limousine?

Her phone vibrated again. This time it was the network.

“Can you do a talkback live over the phone? Right now?”

Veronica looked at the chaos around her. She had no idea where Ed was or what the hell was going on. But she sure as hell had time to talk to the world about what she was seeing. “Yeah, let’s do this.”

 

Thanks for reading!  If you want to read the rest, follow these links:

http://www.amazon.com/Filters-Polarized-ebook/dp/B00CSG8XSA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1369249228&sr=1-1&keywords=filters+polarized 

Or on Nook:

http://bit.ly/110gZ1R

And be sure to keep a look out for Book 2: Grayscale! 

Thanks and much love! xoxo

 

Updates on FILTERS

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My husband calls my short stories “Riders” because they are a quick fun read, i.e. you can read them in the car rider line at school, on your lunch break, or Saturday morning.  I think I like that, so I’m gonna stick with it.

The good news is that FILTERS is now available as an ebook on both Kindle (Amazon) and Nook.  And my favorite little bit, it’s now listed on Goodreads.  I don’t know why that part is my favorite, but it is!

If you read it and like it, please take a second to leave a review.  Reviews and word of mouth are the bread and butter of the author world. It’s the only way a stranger knows if something totally sucks or has potential.  You have no idea what a thirty second review can do for an author!

Here are the links in case you are interested in taking a peek!

Amazon: http://amzn.to/10AeWl6

Nook: http://bit.ly/110gZ1R

Thanks and much love!

xoxo

It’s National Short Story Month… So Check out Filters!

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A funny thing happened one night as I was chatting back and forth with a friend through Facebook… looking at the sidebar of conversations I’d had, I was suddenly struck by how mortified I’d be if anyone ever saw those messages.  They were private… but is anything online ever truly ‘private’?  How easy would it be for any of these social media sites to screw up and accidentally post all of our ‘private’ messages to the world?

What would come out?  How would people react? As an anthropologist I’m always studying human behavior, so this particular scenario really caught my interest and wouldn’t let me go.

The next thing I knew, I had six characters.  All intertwined, all different.  And all dealing with having their secrets on display.

I probably enjoyed writing this story way more than I should have.  But dang it was fun to write!  I hope you take a second to check out Filters: Polarized and enjoy it as much as I did.  It is available on Amazon today and Nook (hopefully!) tomorrow.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CSG8XSA/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_cp7Krb1WMPBN1

Thanks, and much love!

Alexis

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