monique.p.author@gmail.com

Titles Are Hard

Every time I sit down to write anything, whether it be a blog entry or a poem or a story, the first thing I try to think of is the title. I type a word or two, erase it, type another, erase that, stare at the screen for several minutes, and then start the process again.

I hate titles.

Now that we’ve covered that small(ish) issue; here’s what I wanted to write about…..

THANKSGIVING

Someone eventually asks “What are you thankful for?” at some point during the day nearly every year. This year I decided to preemptively answer the question. It’s harder to answer than you might think if you don’t count the standard “Family and Friends” answers, but last night I spent my nightly hours of staring into the darkness with my mind racing while I should be sleeping working on this list.

  1. I’m thankful for unconditional love. Let me be a bit more specific; I honestly don’t think humans are fully capable of truly unconditional love. However, those 4-legged members of our families; the cats we accidentally lock in a closet for an entire day and the dogs we make pee outside when it’s so cold we won’t go outside ourselves without nine layers of clothes that still greet us like we are the best thing about their entire day/life/world. I have 4 of them. They calm my anxiety, they cuddle me at bedtime, they kiss away my tears, they keep me company when I’m not good company, they don’t complain about the documentaries I watch, they don’t talk to me when I read….well that’s not entirely true because my Siamese cat, Ziggy, talks to me pretty much all the time, but he doesn’t seem to mind that I mumble, “I know” or “Is that right?” while really not paying attention to what he’s saying. Do you know any humans that do all of these things? I surely don’t. I’m so thankful for my furbabies and how much love they bring to my daily existence. (BTW, Today is also the 9th birthday of my youngest chihuahua, Jasmine Rose. Happy Birthday, Punkin!)
  2. I’m thankful for medical science. Without it I couldn’t stand my own company, leave my house, get out of bed most days, sleep at all most nights, breathe around my beloved furbabies, hear out of my non-working ears, see out of my non-working eyes, or deal with half a dozen other things that don’t work properly on my genetically disadvantaged self.
  3. I’m thankful for authors; more precisely authors who continue to astound me with words that open new worlds, plots that make me think about things I never pondered, and while taking me out of my reality remind me I’m never truly alone as long as I have a book. Thank you, Authors, for continuing to share your gift with the world.

Happy Thanksgiving, My Friends. Be thankful today. If you can’t think of anything to be thankful for just remember we now have Google and that’s certainly something!

Monique P.

 

 

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Any Dream Will Do

As I type this post tears are streaming down my face so please bear with any typos you might find.

I just finished a new release by Debbie Macomber called Any Dream Will Do and for the first time in many months I’m moved to write and share with my readers a piece of myself.

I am a convicted felon.

This is not something I share with everyone usually, nor is it something I’m proud of, but it is a fact.

In 2007 I was charged with and convicted of embezzlement. As a result of this I lost many friends, most of my family, custody of my precious daughter, and all my hopes for my future. For ten years I’ve lived with the horrible choices I made and felt that each day was just the bridge to the next day since all my dreams of a future for myself, a career, and a family were forever lost. Most days I feel utterly and completely hopeless.

As a person who has battled depression and anxiety from a young age the added hopelessness occasionally pounds down around me like a blackness threatening to overtake me entirely. I try very hard everyday to remind myself I am exactly where I put myself and don’t wallow in the self-pity; some days I give in to it.

The hardest part of living with a felony is knowing who you can trust not to judge you for the mistakes you made. In my experience there aren’t very many people who fall into that category. I’ve been lucky to find a handful of new friends over the last decade that have embraced me and the history I bring with me with loving, non-judgemental arms. They have allowed me to show them who I am today without unpacking all the baggage I carry around. I’m also lucky to have just a couple of friends who have looked past my transgressions and have remained, unwaveringly, loyal and loving before, during, and following the worst years of my life. For all those people I am and forever will be eternally grateful.

However, there have been so many more, from lovers to friends, who have refused to see me as anything more than the mistakes I have made. The hardest of those who judge are definitely potential employers. As a convicted felon any job I am qualified for and more than capable of doing and succeeding at comes with a background check that I cannot pass. If you tell an employer up front that there’s a felony charge in your history you will never get a foot in the door. I’ve learned this repeatedly over the last decade. It doesn’t matter what your experience is, your level of intelligence, or your skill set. Employers are unforgiving of money based crimes and will not give you the opportunity to show your value as a potential team member. I wish this weren’t true, but I have yet to experience anything else.

In Any Dream Will Do, Shay Benson finds a program that not only teaches her to stop being so angry about her past, but also teaches her to dream again for her future when, like myself, she feels her hopes and dreams are gone. She makes a series of connections that give her the opportunities to prove her worth both to them and to herself. She finds love and forgiveness in friends and a man she cares for. Drew Douglas shows her that she can trust her heart to someone who won’t always jump to the wrong conclusions about her because “once a thief…..”

I almost feel foolish in letting this book give me a renewed spark of hope, but it has. These types of programs don’t exist where I live, and I am not a religious person as Drew is, but somehow this story touched a piece of my heart that has been closed up for a long time; the part of my heart that holds my dreams.

I am not a young woman, nor am I in any of the same types of circumstances or community that Shay was in, but this book has reignited some hope. I can’t even begin to explain how that feels. For now it’s enough just to reconnect to that feeling.

Thank you, Debbie Macomber for writing Any Dream Will Do and for reminding me you have to dream something, anything, or it will never have the chance to come true.

Monique Pearson

 

I just finished a movie called To Write Love on Her Arms and I have to tell you it touched me more than almost any movie I can remember.

Let me start by saying I do not struggle with drug or alcohol addiction. I am not bi-polar. I am not a cutter. I am not suicidal.

I am also not religious and for me this was not a story about any god or religion.

What I am is a person who battles depression and anxiety. I am a person who has struggled in life, at times, to find a reason for waking up another day. I am a person who has felt lost within herself. I am a person who believes in hope. I am a person who KNOWS beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I NEED other people in my life for me to be okay. No matter what anyone believes about themselves, we all do.

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To Write Love On Her Arms is the true story of a young lady named Renee Yohe. It all started with a blog post by her friend Jamie who, after meeting her and helping her detox, found her story to be encouraging. He wasn’t encouraged because she had already triumphed, but because she was damaged yet still not broken. She was beyond help in the eyes of most of the world but surrounded by a small group of people who loved her enough to help her put her life back together; even if they had to keep gluing the shards of her hope over and over again.

Sometimes that’s all you need in life; that person or those persons who stick. The ones who see your scars, visible or not, self-inflicted or not, and don’t flinch. The ones who love you when you feel unlovable. The ones who hope for you when you feel hopeless. The ones who see you plain as day when you feel completely lost. Everyone needs those people. EVERYONE.

There have been days when the war being waged in me felt like it could rip me to shreds. I can only thank my own fear of being controlled, by persons or substances, that I didn’t use drugs and alcohol to escape to some place away from myself.

Renee’s story reminded me just how much I depend on my people. My best friend, my internet friends, and my chosen family are all intricate stitches in the fabric of my being. When my edges are frayed I just turn to any one of them and their kindness and love and acceptance weaves the hope back in until I’m whole again. For me; that love and that hope are my religion, my higher power. I turn to these things like a flower turns it’s face to the sun.

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Some might look upon this young woman’s face and wonder how could a young life be so bad or so difficult that addiction and pain feel better than merely existing. But I get it. Sometimes just waking up to exist another day is the monster beneath the bed, the unknown thing you fear the most. Perhaps it’s true that “it’s never as bad as you imagine it will be,” but then again maybe that’s the lie we tell ourselves to get out of the bed and step foot in front of the beast waiting to devour us. Until it’s your bed, your feet, your monster, you don’t know for sure.

For many of us the thing that gets us past the monster, the fear, is the person or persons waiting outside the door for us. Our children, our spouses, our families, and our true friends give us the courage to hope that our exposed limb won’t be snatched. Not today at least. Trying to find that courage when there’s no one waiting on the other side of your fear, whose mere existence in your life is the reward for getting there, is damn near impossible.

https://twloha.com was founded by Jamie after the overwhelming response to Renee’s story showed him just how many people were in desperate need of someone in their corner. Because honestly the only thing worse than hating yourself, hurting yourself, being afraid, and suffering from mental illness of any kind is doing it all alone. There’s enough people on this big ball we all live on that no one should have to do it all alone.

My hope is that even just one of you will read or watch Renee’s story, now that I’ve told you about it, and you will think of someone who needs to know they aren’t alone in life, and you will SHOW them you are there for them; you will find time in your busy life to help someone hold their pieces together.

And if you are a person who needs to connect to someone who sees you through your own fog; who needs someone to hand you the hope and love you can’t quite grasp on your own; who needs someone to hold the pieces in place as you glue them back together for maybe the hundredth time; who needs a reason to face the monsters that lurk around the corners and behind your eyes…I beg of you…reach out.

I promise you that someone doesn’t have to have walked in your shoes to be exactly who you need. They only need to be let inside your walls. No one can be your person if you don’t allow them to be. Surround yourself with people who want to be there for you and then let them.

Have hope. Be brave. As Renee said, “The stars are always there but we miss them in the dirt and clouds. We miss them in the storms. Tell them to remember hope. We have hope.”

See the blog post that started the To Write Love On Her Arms movement here: https://twloha.com/learn/story/

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AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT

AMY L. GALE

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HOT ROCK STAR ROMANCE

How would you fair out dating a Rock Star?

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Ambitious 22-year-old Lexie Waters is intent on taking the advertising world by storm. When she’s offered the soon to be open position she’s been vying for at a swanky advertising agency, there’s only one last summer separating her from dreams of corporate success. Still bitter from catching her boyfriend cheating, she heads out for a night of fun to see her favorite band, Devil’s Garden, but fun turns into utter embarrassment when she insults the enticingly confident lead singer, Van Sinclair. Van is intrigued by Lexie’s ability to resist his charm and secretly obtains her cell number. Shocked but eager to get to know this captivating rocker, Lexie accepts Van’s invitation to see his next show, which requires an overnight stay. The overwhelming feelings that follow take them both by surprise, and with two months left before starting her sought after new position, Lexie joins the tour. As she’s catapulted into the world of groupies and wild parties, she questions Van’s commitment to her. So what happens at summer’s end when time runs out?

Amazon http://amzn.to/2nAGl9I

Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/blissful-tragedy-amy-l-gale/1118598512?ean=2940148116790

Itunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/blissful-tragedy/id826054128?mt=11

BLISSFUL TRAGEDY AUDIOBOOK

http://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Blissful-Tragedy-Audiobook/B00V9LU1W6/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1428016192&sr=1-1

Blissful Disaster

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One night stands.

Career-driven Ali Whitman, never dreamed of having one, until she finds herself waking up next to a handsome tattooed man she knows nothing about. After celebrating her promotion to field reporter at Entertainment Rocks! magazine, she breaks her number one rule – to focus on work without the distraction of the opposite sex.

Rules.

Tyler Young lives by his own set. As bassist for Devil’s Garden, he exudes sexual energy and lives for the moment; no strings attached, no regrets, and no looking back.

When the two are brought face to face during an interview it goes sour, sparking a string of disasters. As their feelings for each other grow, they find themselves living by a new set of rules, but demons from the past haunt their new found love. Is it possible to crawl from the ashes of the aftermath or will it all go down in flames?

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2oVX7kJ

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/709439

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/blissful-disaster/id1213006702?mt=11

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/blissful-disaster-amy-l-gale/1126013983?ean=2940157595142

🏈Christmas Blitz🏈

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Small town real estate agent Holly Clifford is counting the seconds until she pays off the debt incurred from caring for her sick mother and can move out of Hilldale Vermont forever. After forfeiting her college scholarship to law school to be at her mother’s side, she obtained her real estate license and took a position at Trust Reality. Nick Shaw is on the path to victory. As a high school football hero turned rookie star wide receiver of the newest NFL team, the Iowa Talons, success is all he knows. But sometimes there’s things fame and money can’t buy. When Nick returns to Hilldale, he puts an offer on a lakeside mansion up for sale by Trust Reality and turns Holly’s life upside down. Can she stay on track and resist Nick’s charm or will she be blitzed by Hilldale’s football hero this Christmas?

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2oW1Wul

💖✫BLISSFUL VALENTINE: A NOVELLA✫💖

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Straight-laced 19-year-old Brooke Powers has two goals: First, avoid the party scene and all the drama and disaster that go along with it. Second, focus on attaining her Marketing and Business degrees. When her roommate begs her to attend a fraternity party she reluctantly obliges, but gets more than she bargained for when she meets enticingly charismatic fraternity brother, Dean Parker. After a mishap causes her to wake up in the worst possible place she can imagine, she vows to stay away from anything or anyone fraternity related. Staying away from Dean is a daily battle, one she’s slowly losing. When her feelings conjure up old demons from the past, her strategically planned future turns into chaos. Brooke is desperate to keep herself on track. Will Dean be her downfall or is he exactly what she needs?

Valentine’s Day isn’t always complete bliss.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2oVTUBP

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Romance author by night, pharmacist by day, Amy Gale loves rock music and the feel of sand between her toes. She attended Wilkes University where she graduated with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. In addition to writing, she enjoys baking, scary movies, rock concerts, and reading books at the beach. She lives in the lush forest of Northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband, six cats, and golden retriever.

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/Amy-L-Gale-540928695977160/

Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/amyg618

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/amzie13793/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7770893.Amy_L_Gale

Wanna spread the word for Blissful Tragedy, Blissful Valentine and other works of Amy L. Gale?

Sign up for my street team and join the Gale Groupies. Get your backstage pass here http://www.authoramygale.com/the-gale-groupies.html

Happy New Release To Lily Ryan!

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Every good girl needs a bad boy to set her free!

To anyone on the outside, I had a picturesque life, like a scene on the inside of a snow globe.
I didn’t realize how I longed to be set free, until a set of blue eyes looking in, shook things up and shattered the glass around me.

It’s been five long years since I’ve seen Dylan Stark. The man who owns my heart. Five years since we last spoke. Touched. Kissed. Because, Dylan confessed to a murder he didn’t commit.

Everything changed since he’s been gone. There are things I need to explain. Secrets I’ve been keeping.

Now Dylan is back, and he’s dangerous as ever, because he still owns my heart. He shakes up my world and makes me want to confront the truth.

I don’t know if he can forgive me, so I’m not sure if this is our story’s end, or if we are at the start of a new beginning…

Stark Me is a second chance romance between a bad boy gone good, and a good girl gone bad.

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 Excerpt

“What the fuck happened?”

Sirens blare. My head hurts. No, it doesn’t hurt, it feels like it’s bursting at the seams. It’s about to blow into a million tiny pieces any second now.

I blink my eyes a few times to clear my blurred vision. Two sets of worried blue eyes stare back at me.

“Thank the fucking Lord,” Shea Sullivan says, gathering me into his arms. I want to push him away, because this only makes the sharp pain in my head worse, but I can’t.

It’s the other pair of eyes I can’t pull my stare from. The blue eyes with a storm, more savage than the tornado that tore Dorothy from Kansas, brewing in them. The deep blue eyes that narrow on me with anger and suspicion. The blue eyes that I long to see a hint of compassion in, even if it’s only for a moment. The eyes of bad boy Dylan Stark.

“What the fuck happened?” Dylan repeats, anger heavy in his voice.

His words hit me like a slap in the face. I don’t know what he’s talking about. I look around, and that’s when I see it. Blood. All over me. Smeared on my shirt. Covering my hands. A scarlet-streaked knife beside me.

Panic settles into my brain, clawing its way into my soul.

“Jimmy,” I whisper. “Where is Jimmy?”

No answers are given before the police storm the front door, guns drawn, arms extended ready to shoot.

“Hands where I can see them,” a voice booms.

We do as we’re told, and I notice that I’m the only one with blood on me.

My eyes are glued to Dylan, because whatever went down here, it’s going to affect him most of all.

“Where is Jimmy?” I demand.

Dylan doesn’t answer. He just stares at me, jaw clenched, a cold, hard look in his eyes, as he’s read his rights and a pair of handcuffs is slapped tight on his wrists. He’s angry, unresponsive, as they shove him out the door.

“Are you hurt?” An unfamiliar voice directs the question at me.

“Yes.” I touch my chest instinctively, but all seems fine. No cuts. No stab wounds. “No.” I’m confused. I look back down at my hands. If I’m not hurt, where did all this blood come from? “I mean, I don’t really know. My head is a wreck.” A new set of eyes evaluates me with scrutiny.

Shea’s taken outside, but unlike Dylan, he goes of his own free will, without the aide of cuffs or anyone pushing him forward. The officer watching me presses a button on the communication device attached to his shirt collar and speaks. I don’t know what he’s saying; it’s all jumbled, and my mind is on Dylan.

A team of two men come in. A penlight is flashed in my eyes, and sharp pain sears through my head.

“Fuck!” I say, screwing my eyes up tight and holding my head between my hands. “That hurts.”

After a brief examination of my body, one of the men asks if I can walk.

“Sure,” I answer, getting to my feet.

As soon as I’m halfway up, a wave of dizziness and nausea sweeps over me. I extend my hands to break my fall, because I’m going down and the floor is coming at me at warp speed.

The men are talking. I don’t know if it’s to me or to each other. Sound has left me. Sight, too. Darkness creeps in from the corner of my eyes and spreads inward until I can’t see anything but the comfort of nothingness it offers.

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Purchase links- Stark Me will be on sale for 99 cents through the weekend.  

Amazon https://bitly.im/oYMwQ

iTunes https://bitly.im/tZV3I

B&N https://bitly.im/6Qdyj

Kobo https://bitly.im/MtPc9

Where To Stalk Lily Ryan:

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lilyryansreads/

Twitter https://twitter.com/LilyRyanAuthor

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/lilyryanauthor/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16225133.Lily_Ryan

Rafflecopter Giveaway:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/42ab7c271/

 

In Honor of Star Wars Day

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I had the incredible experience of spending a lot of my childhood evenings just down the street from The Admiral Twin drive in movie theater in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

My aunt would make a trash bag full of popcorn and my cousins and I would sit on the front lawn, tune into the movie through the radio, and watch all the new releases. The one that I remember the clearest was the original release of Star Wars in 1977. I’m sure the number of times I watched it originally was into the teens, if not more. I devoured the sequels with just as much enthusiasm.

This is definitely one of my earliest memories as I was not quite 5 years old. My mother was really into science fiction; although it wasn’t until decades later that I even knew what that meant. She was even a Trekkie WAY before nerdy was cool. I grew up watching Carl Sagan talking about the billions of stars, watching all the versions of Star Trek, and my family took in every different kind of sci-fi and fantasy movie we could get to. That was the one luxury I remember us having right up until I was 15 and my parents divorced. (The very last movie we saw together as a family of 4 was Batteries Not Included.)

I was enthralled by the possibility of other worlds, princesses from distant planets, the battle between good and evil, villains and heros, lifeforms different from my own, vehicles that could fly, and, of course, robots.

40 years later I’m just as thrilled when a new Star Wars movie comes out. Or any other sci-fi or fantasy movie for that matter. From Harry Potter to The Avengers to Avatar; I’m there with bells on ready to be taken out of this world and into one less bogged down with reality.

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As both a reader and a writer I’m in awe of the powerful and vibrant imaginations of those who create these worlds both on the page and on the screen. As Zoe Saldana said, during an interview about Guardians of the Galaxy and her love of science fiction, “The writers imagine the unimaginable.” This is a gift I’ve never been able to understand, but I’m okay with that as long as the movie makers keep making the movies. Even reading about these worlds on the page leaves me wanting because I can’t picture it in my head no matter how brilliantly it’s written. When I read it plays like a movie in my imagination, but when the world or item or being is outside my realm of comprehension it becomes a blank space on my mind’s screen. However, the movie makers, the visionaries who bring the pages to life before my eyes, can take me to those worlds and introduce me to those beings and give life to the machines that become characters as alive as their human counterparts. For these people and their teams of creators I’m forever grateful for the worlds I’m able to visit on the big (or little) screen.

If you’ve never sat down and watched the Star Wars movies (the original 3) I greatly recommend them. No, the special effects aren’t as fancy as they are today, but the story is still brilliant and funny and powerful, and even a bit romantic, and all the things that make great movies great.

(And lets not forget the badass teddy bears known as Ewoks!)

In Memoriam of Carrie Fisher

Princess Leia was and will always be the most iconic princess ever written and I cannot imagine a better actress to have played the part. Leia wasn’t the kind of “damsel in distress” princess so many of us grew up with, but a gun wielding, action taking, beauty who would do anything for her people including facing off with the worst kind of evil.

Her portrayer, Carrie Fisher, was the fantasy girl of most 70s and 80s teenage boys. She penned several incredible fiction and non-fiction novels and though life in the spotlight took its toll on her at times, even at the end of her too short life, those of us who grew up with her as our princess still saw her as the strong, dark side kicking, princess we all wanted to be.

R.I.P. Carrie

 

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I am in LOVE with this cover of A Handful of Fire by Alexis Alvarez!

PREORDER NOW!
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2ob1tIa

Release Date: April 11th
Cover Designer: Okay Creations
ADD TO YOUR TBR: http://bit.ly/2mPPn72

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A taboo relationship…steamy passion…and secrets that can ruin everything.

Single father Gabriel Baystock is rich and powerful, educated and handsome – and helpless when it comes to ensuring his son Michael recovers fully from a childhood cancer. He’ll do anything, even hire award-winning child therapist Shai Bonaventura.

Shai is drawn to brooding, sexy Gabriel, and while she falls in love with the little boy she’s hired to help, she loses her heart to his father. Their powerful chemistry is off the charts hot, and Shai thinks he might be the one to help heal her own demons, even if it means crossing professional boundaries.

But when old secrets from Shai’s past are revealed, it’s not clear if their fragile relationship can survive the harsh reality of the real world…or whether they have the courage to fight for what they really need?

A Handful of Fire is a full-length stand-alone romance (about 80K words) with an HEA. It’s a contemporary love story with a high heat level and gorgeous, poetic prose.

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AUTHOR BIO:

Alexis Alvarez writer erotic fiction. Her books feature strong, intelligent sassy heroines who may enjoy being submissive in the bedroom, but are never doormats or pushovers.

You can find more about her work on her website www.graffitifiction.com, where she and her two real-life sisters – who are also romance writers – blog about their books.

In addition to being a romance author, Alexis is also a photographer and digital designer. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and making really inappropriate jokes.

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AUTHOR LINKS:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2bjS9vm
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlexisAlvarezAuthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14127116.Alexis_Alvarez
Website: http://graffitifiction.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlexisAlvarezWr

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