Friday, May 30, 2014

The Evolution of Striker

June 1st begins the week long blog tour for Striker. I think I chose some fun and interesting topics. I did finish all the sketches, although in a couple of cases, not the sketches I had planned. I moved some things around so that the drawings would coincide with the discussion topic. Some I definitely like more than others. Some I wished I had more time to work on but all in all, the selection pleased me in one way or another.

For those who have not followed my Alpha Trine posts, the idea for the story came from a story prompt. When writing, I came to a certain point in the story and I realized Zeus, Alpha, and Dargon had a much bigger story to tell and I was running out of time to tell it. So I halted the story after our three heroes came together and agreed to a solid relationship. Once I stepped back, I noticed I had written a story that was taboo times three over. A contemporary ménage was taboo enough in certain circles, but this love story was unconventional in many ways because it also included an unusual mpreg, and two of the characters were very alien in completely different ways.

I had this sudden thought that Alpha Trine would have perhaps ten readers, and no one would have any further interest in what would happen next. Later, when the questions started coming in, I was both shocked and humbled. Striker—then called Striker, Lord Of Thunder—was put on the writing schedule. Alpha Trine had taken me three months to write and that included the world building. I thought surely I could write Striker in the same amount of time. *evil laugh* What I didn't account for was life getting in the way. Stress and worry were huge detriments to the writing mojo, and I spent 2013 in a sort of professional limbo which affected my writing.

Midway through last year I rallied when Alpha Trine and Striker found a home. I had self-imposed a deadline for having Striker complete and that quickly came and went. I learned several things about myself then. 

1) I cannot simply put words on the page and then sort them out after the first draft is finished. To me, the first draft is the most important stage, with galley edits coming in second. I may go back and insert some asides later on but I don't usually add more than 3k after the first draft is complete.

2) I won't write a scene if I think that it will be removed later on. I will remove elements from a scene to streamline the story but never complete a scene if I suspect an editor is going to suggest to cut it.

3) I don't make up words for the page when the story halts in my head. In some ways, Striker wasn't ready to be completed when I tried to make my self-imposed deadline. There were problems with facts or I didn't believe the motivations or there where things I wanted to add but didn't fit. Some scenes I couldn't write fast enough to keep up with my thoughts, and other times I simply stared at the page waiting for something—anything to further the story along.

The Orion, Rhee, Zeus's friend
The Valespian-verse is huge and I constantly consider what not to place in the story. The Orions are one of my favorite races, and because I loved them so much I had to tone them back considerably to keep them from taking over. Even though I sorrowed over the decision, it was for the best.

In the end, Striker took five months to write and the story finished twice the length of the original version of Alpha Trine. In many ways, I believe Striker raises the bar. It's a little more dark and fretful than Alpha Trine, which had an edge of humor. Although there is humor in Striker, the circumstances they find themselves in gives it a slightly bitter edge that makes you hold your breath as you root for our heroes.


I am more than satisfied with the ending and the HEA. I hope you will be, too. 

Over this coming week I will have a rafflecopter giveaway. The giveaway begins June 1st and ends at midnight, June 7th. The prizes are a Kindle Fire and seven signed paperback copies of Striker.

Attached is the blog tour schedule. Striker's release date is Wednesday, June 4th at Less Than Three Press where is it on presale. It will be up on Barnes & Noble and Amazon on June 4th as well. 

June 1st – Hearts On Fire Reviews (http://heartsonfirereviews.com/) Striker: The next leg of the journey, Atlainticia, the Ancients, and Alpha
June 2nd – Ethan Stone (http://www.ethanjstone.com/guest-post-lexi-ander) The Makings of a Warrior
June 3rd – Prism Book Alliance (http://www.prismbookalliance.com/) Antiheroes
June 4th – GGR Reviews (http://www.ggr-review.com/) You Sunk My Battle Ship!
June 5th – Piper Vaughn (http://pipervaughn.wordpress.com/) Mixing Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Is It Still Sci-Fi?
June 6th – Read The Rainbow (http://readtherainbow.weebly.com/) Building Valespia-Verse, What Readers Don't See
June 7th – Allison Cassatta (http://allisoncassatta.blogspot.com/) Fal'Amorics, The Galaxies Best Kept Secret.

Here is a sneak peek sketch of a location in Striker. It's a *meh* elementary drawing because I was in a hurry, but it's enough for what I wanted it for.



Thank you for stopping by and reading!

Title Found!!

I want to thank everybody that participated in my search for a title for my current sci-fi WIP. 

Pat Nelson, learningmyself, Alison Mann, and Gary Leach all came up with some really awesome titles. (Sorry, Jason sweetie, you don't count because I'm married to you. Although, you gave me a great laugh.)

Since there are so few who participated, I'm going to go ahead and give everybody a $10 gift certificate of their choice from Amazon, B&N, ARe, or Bookstrand.

But only one will get a dedication....


Drum roll....


Congratulations Gary Leach! 
I picked The Aurora Conspiracy
It fits this story to a T. It's perfect.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Help Wanted: Title

Serial Anthology with Less Than
Three Press. Coming Oct 2014
I'm participating in a group sci-fi serial about white & blue collar workers of space (the laymen, scavengers, dockworkers, etc). I'm having a most difficult time coming up with a title. Usually, titles come pretty easily to me. The only other time I was stumped like this was when I wrote Ruby Red.

So I thought I would throw it out there and see what y'all could come up with. If I pick your title we could do something like a $10 gift certificate (for Amazon, B&N, ARe, Bookstrand), and a dedication at the beginning of the story. Sound good?

We need some clues, don't we? Regin is a remote crane operator for a mining company and our love interest is Makari, the investigating constable. Once they were deeply in love, until an accident that almost killed both of them, separated them. Now Regin is being investigated, and Makari's presence is reviving feelings Regin thought he had put to bed long ago.With a saboteur afoot, the chances of Regin and Makari making it off the station alive is beginning to dwindle. There's also a little bit of a mystery involved, not complicated because I only had 30k to work with.

Here's a quick, unedited excerpt.


Regin

I sat in the sterile room and waited. Waiting was the worst. I knew the constables did it on purpose for the guilty squirmed unless they were self-assured, or like me who had nothing to hide. I didn't know why I'd been brought into security for questioning but I was positive I had done nothing wrong. I couldn't get into any mischief when I kept to myselfmost of the time.

Tipping the cup back, I finished off the water. It had a slight mineral aftertaste but that was to be expected living on a space station orbiting an uninhabitable planet. Everything was recycled to the inth degree. I wasn't sure if the low-level tension sitting on my stomach caused the water to taste more chemical than usual or if I simply imagined it out of sheer boredom.

The veneer of the table top pealed, either from age or from those trapped in the room with nothing to do. I scraped a dark fingernail over the clear curling bits lacquer, mentally noting I needed to file my nails gain. They had grown out enough they were turning pointed.

The door to the interrogation room opened and two constables, a Nylithian and a Brakkain, wearing blue light armored environmental suits stepped in. Did they expect me to attack them? That I knew one of the constables, at one time deeply and intimately, should've caused an emotional reaction. 

I should've been relieved because after all of the time that had gone by, I still wondered if he was okay, or panicked because I wasn't ready to see him yet, or more than likelyno, definitelycussing because I had unwittingly been duped, and that caused me to give the constables a blank face. They wanted something from me, of that I was sure of now, but I wouldn't give anything away—I hoped.

I'd known they'd require I take a serum before the interrogation. They were constables from the Fraternity, and when they questioned you, they skipped over all the stages of the interview to 'give me the correct answers' in the first meeting. They were expedient. Constables didn't beat around the bush, they pulled it up by the roots to get to the meat of the matter. That I wasn't reacting to the sudden appearance of that particular Brakkain meant they had dosed me really good with more than something to loosen my tongue. Glancing at the glass of water, I called myself every kind of fool. I hadn't expected them to be sneaky about it.

I gave my attention to the Nylithian attempting to recall my humanitarian studies from college. Of the two, he was the real threat to me. I didn't move as I looked the reptilian over. His face—and I knew his gender because the females of their race had four arms instead of two—was partially obscured by a metal cowl that sat upon his head, with the gauze-like metal covering his large eyes. Only the flat nose and the wide thin mouth were visible. Glancing down to his hands I noted he wore gloves, at least for now. The danger would come if—when he removed them.

Reluctantly, I turned my gaze to the Brakkain. Perhaps, I was a wee bit thankful for the drugs that coursed through my veins. He wasn't surprised to see me which was understandable. No constable would enter an interrogation room without knowing the background of the person they planned to question. Any hope I'd harbored dissipated under the gaze of those dark eyes.

Purposely, I looked away, stowing my questions behind my many mental shields. Now wasn't the time to renew old acquaintances. I leaned back in my chair and simply waited as if I had all the time in the universe.

The Nylithian spoke first. "I'm Constable Kwan Warthunder and this is my partner, Constable Makari Gan'Sey. Do you know why you are here today?"

"No."

Kwan seemed to be waiting for me to say more. In any other situation, I might've laughed. In all honesty, I had nothing to give him. He moved over to the wall and activated a clear screen. The movement of his hands brought up and discarded files until my company documents were on display, including the five year old photograph. How young I had appeared when I signed on with Aurora Minerals and Rare Metals.

Kwan flicked a circular dial that began the recording. "Please state your name and occupation for the record."

I slouched in my chair, acquiring a bored air. "Shouldn't you have asked me if I knew why I was here after you started the recording?"

Kwan looked at me over his shoulder, as if I was supposed to know what his expression was with half of his face covered. "Please state—"

"Regin Valenta, crane operator."

"In the last 12 months, have you sent any electronic files to Aurora's board of directors?"

"No."

"Do you or have you claimed to have evidence of life on planet TN95623."

I scratched my nose to keep from making a rude noise. "No."

"Have you, acting as a representative of the union, issued demands to Aurora Minerals and Rare Metals to open up bargaining negotiations?"

I was so mellow I couldn't even lift my eyebrows. Even so, I quickly pieced where their questioning was going. "That's blackmail." Was I sliding down further in my seat?

"Why would that be blackmail, Regin?" I scowled, or thought I did, at Kwan. Didn't he know it was rude not to look at someone when he spoke to them?

"Because there is no indigenous life on that planet. Mining a planet that contains life is against the law. The company investigates thoroughly before they send down the mining equipment."

I scowled at the water glass again. I was surprisingly wordy when a 'no' would have sufficed.

"Are you a member of the union, Regin?"

I snorted. "You know I am. Why are you wasting my time, Constable Warthunder—"

"Kwan."

I blew out a breath, suddenly weary. "Kwan," I said, relenting. I attempted to push myself up, to sit straight and my muscles had the consistency of water.

Constable Makari finally moved, pushing up off the wall from where he leaned. I tried not to watch him, but suddenly I didn't care if looking at him hurt. His healthily gray skin seemed to shine. His long hair hung loose to his waist in hues of gray, white, and silver. I remembered all too well how it felt in my fist and I longed to slip my fingers through it again, to remind myself it was a detail I recalled correctly.

*****

So what do you think. I did consider "The Space Between" but when I searched GoodReads, there was 16 pages of books with that exact title or close to it. So I stowed it away.

I'll take suggestions all week until Friday's (May 30th) post comes up.

Whatcha got?  I'm all ears.  ^_^

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What Am I Working On with Excerpt

Keeping Faith is one of the stories that I'm working on and it will probably be the longest one I'll write this summer. I expect it will be 90k. It is the sequel to last year's short story, Playing For Keeps, and one that Ms. Mandy is highly anticipating. I'm broadening the scope a bit, not only giving an account of what happens afterwards but deepening the back story that will include the families of AJ, Trent, and Brock, adding a bit of suspense.

I did debate whether I would write this in first or third person. We'll see if the guys are as adamant as they were back in February about the POVs. But for now, it's in 3rd. I've included an unedited excerpt from Chapter One.

Keeping Faith 
Copyright 2014 Lexi Ander

CHAPTER ONE

Sammy applied more powder to the bruise below her left eye. The blue-green swelling sat atop the apple of her cheekbone. The dark smattering of freckles that usually covered her cheeks and nose were barely visible under the thick foundation, and powder and yet the bruise was still faintly visible. She had already reapplied the eyeliner twice now but couldn't control the wayward tears that streaked the meticulously applied make-up. She couldn't appear before Paul less than perfect.

Taking a deep fortifying breath to steel her nerves for the meeting she would have with her boyfriend, Paul Bishop. Her packed suitcase sat on the foot of the bed. Soon she'd leave, out from underneath his controlling thumb. She had known what she was getting into when she became involved with the head of the west coast mob. She hadn't realized that she would be with him this long. The more time she spent with Paul, the more she wanted to take a gun and riddle him with holes, especially after last night. A small shiver shook her body at the memory.

Two more deep breaths, she picked up the tube of lipstick and applied it to her bow shaped lips with a surprisingly steady hand. Paul served a purpose, she reminded herself. Her search was almost over if she could make it through seeing Paul one more time, without slipping up. The thought of her trip to Miami pushed away the dark memories causing her to smile at her image in the vanity mirror. After all of this time, of all the sacrifices would be worth what waited for her in Miami. She was so close to her goal.

Running the hairbrush through her long wavy brunette locks one last time, a light squirt of Paul's favorite perfume she rose from the vanity and approached the black Gucci dress hanging on the back of the closet door. The sleeves were long, perfect for hiding the additional bruising on her forearms and upper wrists. The scoop neck would showcase the heavy necklace Paul had selected before he left her alone this morning. The skirt reached her knees but she didn't have to worry about covering dark blemishes on her legs.

Slipping the dress on, it hung in perfect silky waves. She tugged gently on the cuffs ensuring no mars on her skin were revealed. It wasn't her fault she bruised but if one of Paul's colleagues caught a glimpse of one, Paul made her surfer for making him appear bad to men he respected or who he needed to respect him. Beating a woman was passé nowadays, something only thugs did, not men as influential as Paul Bishop. She promised herself never again would a man raise a hand to her.

Ever.

Donning black Prada heels, the tasteless necklace Paul used to proclaim his ownership of her and her handbag and exited the bedroom suite. The shoes clacked against the marble floor. Sammy allowed herself a moment to detest the noise, just as she despised the mansion and all the evil hidden by the glamour and money. The place had been sucking the life out of her soul but another half an hour and she would be free.

One of Paul's musclemen, Marco Kinsley, stood outside the office double doors. He was one of the few of Paul's men who never made her feel like a piece of meat. Paul required those who entered the house or who would be seen with him to wear suits. As always, Marco appeared very monochrome in his black suit, black shirt, and black tie. He never wore another color. Once when Sammy felt a little bold, she asked him why he chose all black. Black, he had said, hides the most gruesome of messes at first glance. After that, Sammy didn't ask him anymore questions. "Good morning, Ms Teasdale, the boss is waiting."

Sammy gifted him with a bright smile. "Thank you, Marco." He hurriedly open the door and stepping aside to allow her to enter the room.

Paul's office was designed to intimidate. His large walnut desk and chair were austere enough to impress a first time visitors into thinking Paul sat on a throne, a place of power. Sammy had witnessed both good and bad men crushed in this very room. As a house rule, murder was never conducted within the mansion or on its grounds, but that didn't mean the demise of an individual wasn't planned here.

"Samantha, dear, the care is ready to take you the airport." Paul merely glanced up at her from the contents of the manila file he studied.

Sammy gave him a wide smile but only after faltering for a moment. He caught the hesitation. "Are you still upset over last night? Did James not deliver my apology this morning?"

She fingered the ring, a five carrot sapphire set in a circle of diamonds. She hated it. "You're gift is beautiful and I am thankful. You are too generous. I only worry I'll upset you again."

Paul finally sat straight and gave her his full attention. He was a handsome man with a charming smile and cold eyes. He was in his mid-forties but he had turned prematurely gray after he turned thirty. Now his hair was silvery white and instead of taking away from his appearance, the look added the air of refinement to him. Paul held out a manicured hand to her. Sammy forced her feet to move, loathing to touch him, if only briefly.

Once her palm slid against his, he pulled her down into his lap. "I already explained last night it wasn't your fault. William Harte will pay for what he made me do last night." He ran knuckle under the covered bruise on her cheek.

His cellphone rang and after glancing at the name on the screen he answered. "Your status?"

Sammy wanted to move from his lap but his firm grip on her hip told her to stay. He would tell her when he wanted her to get up.

"What do you mean he hasn't touched his accounts? Harte is a pampered elitist. He doesn't know the meaning of going without. He must have other accounts you haven't found. Dig deeper, I want that man found!"

Her gaze scanned the desk. A silver five by seven framed photo of Paul's elegant wife, Patricia, sat next to the computer monitor. At first she had been guilt ridden when she discovered Paul was married. That was until she met Paul's wife. Patricia came from an influential family in Europe. For two weeks every year, Patricia came to the states to visit with Paul. On one such visit, Patricia had walked into Sammy's suite of rooms in a flourish of expensive silk and designer accessories. She appraised Sammy as if she were an item up for auction. "You're a pert one, aren't you? (need to give Sam's age here) As always, Paul, your tastes are impeccable." With a pat on the cheek, Patricia accepted Paul's proffered elbow, the two leaving Sammy standing in the middle of the room in stunned silence.

Paul hung up the phone with an angry growl.

"Sweetheart, I'm going to miss my plane." Sammy refrained from trying to wiggle away. Patience was the key when dealing with Paul.

"I won't be joining you in Miami with this unfinished business with Harte. You will cut your trip short and be back here at Christmas Eve." Paul stroked her thigh, his fingers stopping at the edge of the dress's hem.

"Of course," she replied as if it were already a given.

Paul patted her leg, the signal for her to rise. Dutifully she leaned forward to give him a kiss. He caught her chin. "Not now, you're wearing lipstick and I'll never get all of it off." He grasped her chin and turned her head where he pecked her on the cheek. "Now, go."

Sammy moved from his lap and adjusted her skirt so it fell properly. "I'll call you when I arrive," she promised. Not that she would be returning.

Paul grunted in acknowledgement and she knew he had already mentally dismissed her, the manila folder opened once more. Before she could cross the room again, the oak door opened and man only known as The Gentleman, Gent for short, entered the room. He paused upon seeing Sammy. Her steps faltered. Of all the people to run into before leaving.

She was one of a handful of people who knew The Gentleman's name and relationship to Paul. Sammy never ever let on she knew their secret for it was something they closely guarded. She doubted she would live long if they suspected she knew Paul's personal assassin was his sister's only child, Aldrich.

Sammy's heart pounded in her chest. Even knowing what she did, Sammy couldn't bring herself to dislike him too much. Aldrich had always been kind and courteous. She knew he was dangerous for she had heard the rumors, bits of conversation here and there that hinted out the viciousness of Paul's 'dog'. Maybe she had spent too much time living in this world of ambiguous morals, black deeds, and cut throat business. When she looked at Aldrich she didn't see the monster others claimed him to be. She guessed him to be around her age of twenty-five but she couldn't be sure. She found she would miss seeing him, even if he sometimes scared the hell out of her. Not because of what people said about him, but because of everyone who associated with Paul, Aldrich was the only one who'd possibly discover her true identity and why she had become Paul's mistress.

"Samantha, I'm glad I caught you before you left."

She held out both of her hands, a ritual since she first met him four years ago. A head taller than her, he bent at the waist slightly to claspe and kiss the backs of both of her hands. A lock of wiry dark brown hair fell to cover one of his crystal blue eyes as the soft hair of his close cropped beard brushed her knuckles. She held her breath as his thumb brushed the cuff of her sleeve, barely revealing a purple bruise. He stared for a second before his lips brushed the discolored skin, his thumb covering it back up as he straightened. Whereas Paul wore a dark blue pinstripe three piece suit, Aldrich wore a tan Gucci jacket and vest, with a plaid button up shirt and a blue and red striped tie. His white trousers were rolled up at the ankle to reveal he wore no socks with his two tone brown and white wingtips. She knew Paul detested his nephew's choice of clothing and she suspected Aldrich dress as such to annoy Paul.

Those light blue eyes pinned her when a small slip of paper was pressed into her palm. "This place won't be the same without you around. You do bring a ray of sunshine to this tomb."

"Quit flirting with Samantha, she needs to catch a plane and doesn't have time to dawdle with you." Paul sighed in exasperation.

Aldrich gaze squinted slightly as the back of his knuckles grazed her sore cheek under the hidden bruise. For a breath, his eyes turned to ice and just as quickly the look disappeared. She couldn't stop the shiver that crawled up her spine.

"I won't keep you. Have a safe trip." His low voice held a hint of warmth that Sammy dared not analyze.

"It was nice seeing you," she replied before leaving the room. The butler stood at the foyer and opened the door for her. The Mercedes waited at the bottom of the steps, with her bodyguard holding open the rear door. Gracefully she slid into the buttery soft leather seat. She didn't dare glance at the note until sat on the plane.

"Don't come back." Was written in an elegant hand along with a bank name and account number. She tucked the slip of paper into her purse swallowing down the nausea that threatened her suddenly delicate stomach.


Thank you for stopping by and reading!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Hearts On Fire Reviews Giveaway

Just a quick note that a giveaway for Striker is going on over at Hearts On Fire Reviews (--> click here ). Enter before 5/24.

If you miss that giveaway, the week of Striker's release, Jun 1st thru June 7th, I'll be giving more away on the blog tour. So keep an eye out for the fun.

June 1st – Hearts On Fire Reviews (http://heartsonfirereviews.com/) Striker: The next leg of the journey, Atlainticia, the Ancients, and Alpha
June 2nd – Ethan Stone (http://www.ethanjstone.com/) The Makings of a Warrior
June 3rd – Prism Book Alliance (http://www.prismbookalliance.com/) Antiheroes
June 4th – GGR Reviews (http://www.ggr-review.com/) You Sunk My Battle Ship!
June 5th – Piper Vaughn (http://pipervaughn.wordpress.com/) Mixing Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Is It Still Sci-Fi?
June 6th – Read The Rainbow (http://readtherainbow.weebly.com/) Building Valespia-Verse, What Readers Don't See

June 7th – Allison Cassatta (http://allisoncassatta.blogspot.com/) Fal'Amorics, The Galaxies Best Kept Secret.

Y'all Rock! Thank You For Reading!

Friday, May 16, 2014

A Bit Of Flash Fiction: Imperfections

I was looking at the WIPs switching things around based on dues dates and such so that I could be a little bit more organized (and a realist) on my writing time table. I'm currently working on three WIPs, Keeping Faith, Leap of Faith, and an untitled Sci-Fi.

The only one with a hard due date is the sci-fi piece and I'm hoping to have it completed by the end of the month. Keeping Faith is an M/M/M drama/thirller and will be the longest of the group at an estimated 90k. Leap of Faith I'm reworking from the existing short story which is currently 9k. I'm keeping the first chapter and expanding it to around 40k. I'm also considering renaming it to When You're Not Listening.

There was a flash fiction piece that I wanted to make into a story this year, Perfect Imperfections, (update 5/17, looks like I'll need to come up with a different title) but with Sumeria's Sons now slated for re-release, after the titles listed above are finished I'll start writing the last two books for the series.

So Perfect Imperfections is moved back, probably until next year unless I get done early with my other projects. I thought I would share this quick story again. I hope you enjoy it!

Lexi Ander
Copywrite 2014



February 16th

Anyone who tells you that walking away is easier is a liar. And those who heckle you for doing so, with their snide comments about cowards, yeah, well, fuck you. What do they know about it? Nothing.

When someone you love is hurt, scarred inside and out, they change. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. Sometimes so much that the person they used to be is no longer there and a stranger looks out at you from their yes.

Life it's not like in the books where love conquers all if you just persevere. One day your partner is fine, and the next, the trauma slowly steals them from you until the only things left are memories. One day you are everything they ever want, and the next there is nothing about you they like or need. It seems suddenly you're not enough and your love can't fix it. That's not how it works in the real world. I have learned that love, it fixes nothing. Pouring your love into a relationship or a person gets you nowhere.

I thought if I stay long enough this trauma would pass and we would have a deeper, stronger relationship, because we're soul mates, aren't we? I mean, that's what we said, what he said. I believed him—right up to the end when Adam burned all my belongings on the front lawn.



Six months earlier

I had come home and all the things Adam thought I cared about, he had set fire to making an illegal bonfire in the front yard of our condo. The neighbors stood on their porches and the street curb watching in rapt fascination as Adam burned me out of his life. I had continued to believe there would be an us. I had thought that one day he would heal.

"Adam?"

He stood off to the side watching the fire with no expression, occasionally he'd squirt the blaze with lighter fluid, kicking the flame up.

"What are you doing?"

Adam took a drag off his cigarette, a habit he'd picked up after the night that fucked up our lives.

"I told you to get out. I don't want you here anymore." He kicked a duffle bag toward me. "If you don't take this and leave, I'll torch it too."

On one hand, I was stunned. I didn't want to believe he could, and yet, he did. He stared at me with eyes so full of anger and hate. There was animosity in his words, it seemed to be a constant nowadays, but I could always read his eyes. They never matched the behavior he used to sometimes lash out at me. But this time was different; the hate wasn't only in his words but in his eyes as well and directed solely at me. Seeing that look took my fucking heart out.

"Why?" I choked. I'd done everything the doctors had said I should, every goddamn thing and none of it helped.

"Because every time I look into your face, you remind me. I'm sick of it. I've done everything I can to get you to leave. I made your life fucking hell, and you hung on like a bull dog, like you believed every stupid line I ever told you. So I'm making sure you hear me loud and clear. Take the bag and get the fuck out of my life." Adam flicked the butt of the cigarette and it bounced off my chest before he strode up the walk and sat on the porch chair, lighting up a new cigarette.

Numbly, I picked up the duffle bag and hefted it to my shoulder. I didn't remember how long I simply stood there, waiting for God knows what.

"If you don't get off the front lawn, I'm calling the fucking cops." Adam called from the porch.

Every step I took tore a piece of my heart out. The hard pavement under my feet, the cool night air, nothing really registered. That neighborhood had been home to the both of us for several years. It bordered my favorite strip of ocean but I noticed none of it as I left, putting it behind me. Everything that I loved was gone and I had nothing left.

So once again, I did what Adam wanted, and I left.



See, trauma affects everybody differently. Some of us just show it more than others. So while Adam burned me out of his life, I would walk him out of mine. Because, you see, Adam hadn't been alone when he was drugged and attacked. Everything that happened to him—yeah, it happened to me too. I had done everything I could to be there for him because there was no one who could be there for me. But I couldn't save him, not then, and not now. So go ahead. Judge me for leaving, for not sticking it out to a happy ever after. Walking away wasn't easy, even when it was the last thing I could do for him.

Thank you for stopping by and reading!!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Something new going on at Mischief Corner Books


The small press Mischief Corner Books is announcing this weekend they are opening up their first call for submission. What I liked best when I read this over was there doesn't have to be sex, it doesn't have to have and HEA/HFN ending. The call is for 10k or less, and for someone like me, who can't write a short story to save my life, will have a little difficulty meeting such a small word count. But I hear all the time how publishers ask for sex or won't take a tragedy, and depending on the length, this could be a good fit. It's worth a look. :)


What:

Mischief Corner Books is putting out a call for LGBTQ short stories 10K and under. Stand alone stories only (universe stories welcome). This is truly a LGBTQ call. We want well written, solid fiction short stories featuring all kinds of LGBTQ characters to share with readers. *Erotic content will be accepted but is not a requirement. Neither are HEA/HFNs. Stories will be paid per word at the time of contract (per industry standard), and released quarterly as a bundle.

When:

Ongoing. First release Spring 2015.

How:

Submit stories in their entirety to:
submission.mischiefcornerbooks@gmail.com
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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Wrapping up Fate & Destinies

The one thing about hand writing the first draft that can be daunting is typing the manuscript when I finish. When I can, I will type up what has been written every couple of days, but when I'm going into that final stretch, and I can practically taste the finish line, I will push until it is complete.

When I returned from RainbowCon I wrote an estimated 20-30k in less than a week. I can only calculate a rough word count per page hand written, so I never quite know the real numbers until everything is typed up. I usually step away for a couple of days before I go back and enter the rest of the first draft into the computer. If I missed a point or something needs to be fleshed out, then it will be fixed as I type it up.

Last night Fate & Destinies was completed. The estimated 20-30k in reality was almost 40k giving the manuscript 106k total word count.


Now the behemoth is in the hands of the beta, and I wait on pins and needles for some kind of response. Last night I had a tough time sleeping because I kept going over the plot points, wondering if I should have added more here and there. I know better than to start any serious editing until I hear back, but sometimes it's hard--more so with this book.

Fate & Destines is the fleshed out version of the free story, Fated, that I wrote last summer for the GoodReads M/M Romance group. It was the second story I picked as an emergency prompt. Really, I had no business picking up the prompt because I knew zilch about historical Scotland, unless you count watching the movie Braveheart. Three days of research, plus what I could research as I wrote the story, was all the time that I had because it had to be finished in 14 days so I could to send it to an editor.

You may have seen a post or two about how I botched up the story because a good deal of my historical facts were completely wrong, wrong, wrong. I was so embarrassed. Regardless of the mistakes, Kevin and Lucy loved their story, and in the end, that was what mattered.

BUT. When I turned the story over, it had focused on Ewen and Roi's relationship, and getting them solid while leaving the overall plot unfinished. This gave me the chance to go back and fix the historical mistakes, straighten out what I didn't like about the way Ewen and Roi's relationship played out, as well as completing the overall plot.

So now with the manuscript ---> <--- close to being ready to send to an editor, I'm really nervous. I believe I have all the historical facts taken care of so that part isn't what worries me.

What I did was go a bit deeper into the archaic word usage, which is harder than it seems. Finding that balance where readers can read and enjoy the story, and yet, be able to indulge in little-used words and sentence structures. Now, I didn't go as deep as Paul Kingsnorth in his book The Wake. He used an updated version of old English that he dubbed "the shadow tongue". You have to read it out loud to understand it, or at least I did. It's beautiful, really, but freaking hard. Fate & Destinies isn't that deep but I'm afraid it will be one of those stories that the reader will either love or hate.

With the word count being what it is, the number of publishers who might be willing to take on the manuscript dwindled. The word usage may also be a stumbling block when it comes to subbing to a publishing house.

Last night at dinner, I was talking to my husband about possibly self-publishing Fate & Destinies. Even if the MS was accepted by a publisher in 90 days, the release date still wouldn't be until probably next year. The downside is editing, cover cost, and managing the third party postings. I don't know. I'm still thinking it over. I don't have to decide yet since it needs polishing, but I'll have to make a decision soon.

Well, I didn't intend to talk your head off without giving you a treat. Here's an unedited excerpt of Fate & Destinies. Maybe you can tell me if the language works or not! It is entirely possible I'm using some of these words wrong. :)


Excerpt of Fate & Destinies
Copyright 2014 Lexi Ander


I followed the foul men through the muddy streets, praying they noticed me not. They came in to town separately, biding their time as they awaited for others to arrive. The stench of sorcery clung to them, the smell of rot clinging to them speaking of a darkness I could smell even if I beheld it not. I dared not let them catch me watching. This be not the first time they came to me village, leaving a trail of innocent bodies behind. The first time I thought it be only coincidence, but the second time, the itch betwixt me shoulder blades ignited. The last time I felt so be when I were very small, and me village raided. I had heeded that niggle to be the only one spared whilst all others were slayed or taken off to the slavers.

Always the sorcerers came to the village and awaited for the fifth man. He reeked not of dark magic but his aura be stamped with the sign of an old curse. I recalled him well for that be the day sweet Iain came me, a crushing tragedy landing him in me care.

That day, many twelvemonths ago, dark magic had hung in the air around the sinking ship, the signs be there for anyone with a knowing eye to see. When the red-haired maiden surfaced with Iain, she came to me as if she knew I would be there. She placed the boy in me arms, and pushed me to the edge of the shore. When I glanced back she be gone.

I had carried Iain into the longhouse to get him warm. That be the first time I noticed the cursed man, though he seemed alone. Now, I be hard pressed to believe it be of no coincidence the boat sunk the day the cursed man came to the village. Since then, he continued to come back, seemingly searching from someone, if the bodies left in his wake be an indication of his purpose. It escaped me notice not that many of the victims be ones who had been in the longhouse with us that night. Every time he returned, worry lay heavy upon me over Iain's future well-being.

When the men arrived this time, the pinch betwixt me shoulders sharpened. I heard them asking about the sole survivor of the shipwreck four years back now. People be willing to talk, their tongues wagging about the blessed survivor, sweet Iain, not giving a thought to the strangeness of the outsider's questions. With haste, I packed a bundle of necessities, and with Iain in tow, we wove behind the buildings, peering around corners for a sign of the dark sorcerers. Iain said naught, staying close as if he knew we be the prey in a hunt.

We slipped down the road without another taking notice, and I ushered my boy into the forest, away from the village. When the road be no longer within view, I urged him to run. It be as if I could feel them coming, even though I espied them not. I ran until me legs burned, and then we ran more. I know not how Iain kept up upon his small legs, but he complained not.

Coming to a small glen we halted and leaned against an old tree. I dared not drop the bundle for I carried what we would need in the coming days of travel, if I only knew whence to go. Iain caught his breath and looked at me with eyes too old for one his age. He would not reach his majority for another couple of twelvemonths, but I would see him as the small boy pulled from the depths of the ocean evermore.

The sudden appearance of the old woman gave us both a fright. I clutched Iain to me, afraid he would be taken, but she made shushing noises, pointing a gnarled finger toward the opposite edge of the glen whence the five men stepped from the forest's canopy. Her cold hard fingers clutch me arm as if to keep me from running. I dared not whisper for I be rooted in place by fear, like a fat doe staring at the hunter waiting for the tip of an arrow to pierce me breast.

In me fright, I noticed not forthwith the shadows about us had lengthened until it be too late. The gloom enveloped Iain and me in a cool embrace. I espied not the old woman but her hand upon me arm turned dry and hot, reminding me we were not alone in the darkness.

The sorcerers walked by us as if we were not there. I smelled the stench of their bodies and beheld the sweat upon their brow. If I so desired, I could have reached out and plucked at their cloaks. Me brave Iain buried his face in me stomach, stifling any noise that would have given us away.

We awaited. Long after I lost sight of them moving through the forest, we remained hidden in the shadow of the tree. When I thought they be far away, I moved to step into the light, but Iain drew me sight, pointing a finger in time for me to see one, then two of the sorcerers step from the low brush not far away.

After that, we moved not until the sun set and the moon rose fat and heavy in the night sky. I had forgotten the grasp the old woman had upon me arm until she pulled us from the shadow. Instead of releasing me, she pulled me along a faint path in the forest. Now and again, she made us halt and hide among the trees. I saw and heard naught but refused to gainsay the woman who had saved Iain's and me.

All nighttide we walked, not daring to stop for too long. When we emerged from the forest we be leagues away from our village. A Viking longboat sat off shore, a campfire lit the beach. When I would have halted and hidden again, the old woman hailed the camp, dragging Iain and I behind her, albeit warily now.

Me poor Iain dozed upon his feet, and I held him close, attempting to stave off me own weariness whilst the woman haggled for passage. I know not why I trusted her, some say only a fool would. Since the red-haired maiden laid Iain in me arms, I have trusted no one. Me husband and babes were lost to the illness that swept through the village, leaving me behind, alone and bereft. I toiled, bidding me time, waiting for the reaper to claim me as well. When the boy came into me life I gave up the wait for now I had something—someone to live for, to protect.

Why would I trust the crone who had spoken not more than three words to me? When I be younger than Iain, I recalled this very same woman when came to the aid of me mother's mother. Naught about her had changed from the colour and cut of her dress to the tattered patches of her cloak. I know not if she be a goddess guised as the aged or one of the Christian angels the abbey monks bespoke of. All I knew, she gave us aid in evading the dark sorcerers.

"Passage be paid." Her face be lined by time, but her eyes were clear—and the same blue as Iain's. I noticed not the similarity afore. "They shall take you to an isle far to the north and you shall seek out a priest called Alric. Leave the boy at the temple and then go west upon a Viking route." A satchel be pressed into me hand afore she turned to leave.

Of a sudden I be afeard. Me home, the life I had would be forever gone once I stepped upon the Viking longboat. "Mother." Me throat closed over the word, revealing the turmoil I felt flutter in me breast.

She glanced not back but her steps slowed. "Be vigilant, Ebba. Continue to trust your eyes for they shall evermore show you what be true."


Thank you for stopping by and reading!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop

First, I would like to thank Eloreen Moon for involving me in the blog hop. She posted her writing process story a couple of weeks prior.  Be sure to check out her story too.

What Am I Working On? :  Several things right now. I just finished the first draft of Fate & Destinies. I will be starting revisions for it soon. With Fate & Destinies coming to an end, my writing has picked up for Keeping Faith, the sequel to last year's freebie, Playing For Keeps. And I'm world building a blue collar Sci-Fi short story (okay, short for me because it will be under 30k) for a serial call at Less Than Three Press.

How does my work differ from others of its genre? I write LGBT Romance that crosses several genres with most of my titles blending two or more genres together. Sci-Fi/Fantasty, Paranormal/Fantasy, Paranormal/Historical. There are a wide range of protagonists who are gay, genderqueer, and transgender and much of what I write tends to lean more towards what some would consider the taboo realm. Menage. Aliens. Mpreg. Anthropomorphic characters.

Why do I write what I do? I write what I would like to read. I had quit writing when I was nineteen but continued to read voraciously until five years ago. I read several different paranormal stories where the alpha character was always an ass, and the mate always forgave him because of the mate bond. I was so frustrated that I penned the first two chapters of Twin Flames just to have a character leave the mate bond...and I didn't stop. I love reading menage stories, and I'm one of those people who believe that poly relationships can be successful. People love for different reasons. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I believe that we can look at a being dissimilar from us and they can be pleasing to the eye or have the personality to draw us in. So I write about aliens and anthropomorphic characters. Two people from different walks of life can find or create a common ground, so that a self made man can fall in love with a tattoo artist. Why do I write what I do? Because I believe all is possible. I tell a story that needs to be told. Nothing more, nothing less. ^_^

How does your writing process work? I write by the seat of my pants, otherwise known as a pantser. I cannot plot to save my life. I've tried, but I either don't write the story after plotting, or after the first paragraph, everything is completely changed and gone in a different direction. It is writing with a constant litany of  "what happens next" or "how would he/she react".

Not to say that I don't do any world building before hand. It is important to know what the rules of the world are, otherwise, I would end up writing contradictions. Depending on how complex the story, the length of time it takes to build a world can vary. Once it is created, I rarely have to go back and add anything. If I do, it is because while writing I discover that rules clash or I needed more in depth information than I had anticipated.

My first draft is hand written, always. I've tried typing the first draft and it simply does not work for me. Penning the story by hand is less distracting and I can do it anywhere without lugging around equipment.

Once finished and the first draft has been typed up I have to leave the story for a couple of weeks to put some distance between it and me. I've learned if I didn't have that breather, then I begin to be over zealous with the 'red pen' because I've started to hate the manuscript. When that happens nothing is right and I become too critical of the prose. By the time it's all wrapped up with a pretty bow, I'm past ready to send it off so I can start the process all over again.

Thank you for stopping by! Be sure to check out Eloreen's blog. I was told that a ninja would not sneak through my window and do away with me for not having three people for you to hop to. If I die mysteriously, well, you know what happened. I hope you guys have a great weekend. ^_^