Everybody's Got a Story
Genre: Woman's Literature
Date of Publication: July 3, 2013
Number of pages: 247
Word Count: ~84,250
Both personally and professionally, Alexa knows all too well the power of words. Two years after her boyfriend Christophe's vicious attack, she's still trying to see herself as more than simply 'his victim', still trying to figure out her own story.Excerpt:
After his trial, she moves from New York City to Toronto in an attempt to start over, but his words cling to her and even in a new country she can't see how to move into relationships with the new people in her life while hiding the secret of Christophe's worst offense.
She can't hide that secret from her coworker Jake, though, because the news buff has recognized her from the coverage of the assault and trial and knows every word she can't bring herself to say about her ordeal.
With Jake's help, can Alexa reclaim her story and her life?
This excerpt is the beginning of Chapter Six, in which Alexa starts work at her new office in Toronto.
At five to nine the next morning I cautiously opened the front door of the Warren Press office. The office in New York was all heavy antique furniture and oil paintings and exactly suited Fred's style. Here I saw pale blue walls and lots of glass and mirrors and furniture made of light wood in sleek lines. The place felt clean and fresh. It felt good. Comfortable.
A woman of about my age detached herself from the small group near the coffee maker in a corner and came over. Lucky for her she didn't completely resemble her dad, but she had his warm brown eyes and friendly smile so I knew who she was even before she held out her hand to me and said, "I'm Rhonda. Welcome to Toronto."
We shook hands as I said, "Thank you. And thanks so much for arranging my apartment. It's great."
"I'm glad. Not too beige for you?"
"It is pretty beige," I admitted, smiling, "but it's still nice."
"Good. Now, I have a phone meeting at nine-fifteen so I'm thinking I'll do super-fast introductions so we can talk for a bit before I have to make that call. We can chat again in the afternoon once you've had a little time to get settled."
I agreed, of course, to my new boss's first request, and she led me over to the coffee maker crowd.
"Everyone, this is Alexa. She's transferring from the New York office, and she'll be taking Carly's place as my assistant part-time and editing part-time once her first author delivers his book, which should be late this week or early next. Once Carly comes back Alexa will go full-time with the editing." She turned to me. "Right?"
"Great. Wanted to make sure I understood Dad right. All right, let's do this. We're not a big office, not yet anyhow. These three are the whole staff, besides Carly. And you now, of course. Howard here is another crime fiction editor."
Howard turned to me, his eyes intense, and shook my hand firmly. "Nice to meet you, Alexa. Let me know what I can do to help you."
"Thanks," I said, and withdrew my hand as soon as I thought I could without being rude. He was good-looking, although I didn't usually go for that red-hair-blue-eyes type, and touching him made me feel strangely panicky.
"Rosanna is our art editor." As I shook hands with the pretty brunette and envied her sleek chin-length bob, Rhonda added, "My idea to move the company into non-fiction, and art to boot, scared my poor father half to death but Rosanna and Jake are doing a great job of it."
My final coworker smiled, said, "Actually, I mostly just get in her way," and held out his hand to me as Rosanna chuckled. "I'm Jake."
Touching him didn't give me the 'get away from me' feeling I'd had touching Howard, probably because Jake's brown eyes didn't seem to be devouring me in the same way. While he seemed friendly enough, Jake had a reserve about him that I liked.
We released each other's hand and he went on. "I'm a sculptor, at least in my spare time, and I wouldn't know good writing if it bit me. I do know art, though, so I go looking for pretty things and Rosanna gets them made into books."
Rhonda laughed. "That's the worst description of your jobs I've ever heard, but it's basically right." To me she said, "That'll be your desk," gesturing at an open one not far away. "Let's go talk now and then you can get yourself arranged there while I'm having my meeting."
"Sure." I smiled at the others, who smiled back, and followed Rhonda to her office.
Once the door was closed and we'd taken seats she said, "I don't want to beat around the bush, Alexa. Dad told me about what you've been through."
My stomach twisted. I'd so hoped he wouldn't.
"I haven't told anyone else," she added quickly, perhaps seeing my discomfort. "Nor will I. It's up to you who should know, of course. I think Dad just thought it'd be better if I knew. If you find any part of that is making your tasks here harder, it'll be easier for me to help this way."
I had to admit that was true, but still wished she didn't know. The more people who knew about my past, the harder it would be for me to forget it.
Rhonda walked me briefly through the phone system and provided me with everyone's full names and email addresses and cell numbers to put in my brand new phone in case I needed to get in touch with them outside of work hours. Then she gave me my computer access codes, explained my first few tasks, and said, "Any questions?"
I shook my head. "I think I'm good."
She smiled. "Dad certainly thinks so."
I smiled back and headed for the door. Halfway there, it occurred to me to thank her for taking me on at such short notice on her dad's insistence, so I turned back to find her staring with fascination at the hem area of my basic black calf-length skirt.
My face went hot in an instant and I said, more sharply than I probably should have to my new boss, "They're higher up."
She jumped. "What?"
"I always wear longer skirts, or pants, so nothing will show. You won't see them."
Her face turned a fierce red. "God, Alexa, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to, I--" She stood up. "I am really sorry. It won't happen again. Can you ever forgive me?"
My face burned too, but I made myself nod. "Everyone's curious. I get it."
She shook her head. "My curiosity doesn't trump your privacy. I promise, it will never happen again." I knew she meant it. "Thank you."
As I turned to go again she said, almost shyly, "Alexa?"
I forced myself to look back, though I felt sure she was going to ask for details I didn't want to give.
Her blush deepened. "Please don't tell my dad I did that."
I had to laugh. "No problem."
Relief flooded her glowing face. "Thank you. Thank you very much." She shook her head. "He already questions whether I can handle ramping up the Toronto division enough as it is."
I smiled. "It looks good to me so far."Interview:
She smiled back. "Glad to hear it. Okay. I will behave and you will go work on those tasks. Deal?"
Today, we welcome Heather Wardell to Musings and Ramblings. Let's all give her a big Geeky welcome!
I have some questions for you that are writer specific as well as some fun stuff so that we can really get to know the real you. *grin* Plus we will finish things off with round of Think Fast. Ready to begin?
1. Tell us something about yourself that's not in your bio.
I have five tattoos, three of which are polar bears (and one of which features in my book "Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo". :)
(The other two, for completion, are a bracelet of twisty lines with a star on my right wrist and a star with the words 'lovely little things' from my book "Planning to Live" on my left ankle.)2. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I read, crochet, play drums in a concert band, and run (though it would be entertaining to watch, not all at once).3. How did you choose the genres you write in?
I think it chose me. :) It's just how I think and how the books seem to want to come out. I occasionally get ideas in different genres but they don't stick with my like my women's fiction ideas too. I believe women are so often stronger than they think and I love writing about women who are discovering that about themselves.4. Is there any particular author or book that has influenced you or your writing?
Stephen King's "On Writing". I think he and I operate similarly as writers even though he obviously writes very different books from mine, and I love reading about how hard his road to success was because it makes me feel like I can keep going too. Novel-wise, I love Maeve Binchy's "Tara Road". There was a twist partway through I absolutely didn't see coming and I aspire to someday do something like that to my readers. :)5. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I had a literary agent say she wanted to drown all the characters in my "Seven Exes Are Eight Too Many". While it did make me laugh, it's a bit rough. :) Just this week someone told me that books like my newest "Everybody's Got a Story" make her glad she knows how to read, and that stands out as an amazing compliment!Fun Stuff
6. If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, fictional or real, who would it be and why?
Marian Keyes, Maeve Binchy, Stephen King, and Oprah. Imagine the book discussions we could have!7. You are going to be stranded on a deserted island and bring 3 luxury items. What would they be?
My Kindle, a solar-powered battery charger for it, and my favorite teal nail polish. (If I'll be looking at my hands holding the Kindle, they might as well look nice. :)8. Pick two celebrities to be your parents. Who are they and why?
I honestly have the best parents already, and I truly can't imagine who'd replace them. (Aw... and it's funny how when I was 17 I thought they were terrible. Somehow they've gotten so much smarter over the years.)9. What would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Luckily for me the fridge is only a month old because the old one died, so nothing too horrific. I'm not at home so I can't check but I'm picturing eggs and bacon and leftover meatloaf from last night. Probably some salad dressing. A wild child I am not.10. If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
I think I used it already - "Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo". It would suit me as well as it suits my first book. :)Think Fast
Summer or Winter? Winter - I AM a polar bear freak, after all.
Coffee or Tea? I want to say tea but I'm currently drinking a latte, so...
Cake or Pie? Neither! Dark chocolate please.
Car or Truck? Car, preferably sporty.
Print or Electronic? Electronic - I can carry a thousand books with me to that desert island!
Thanks for coming by and spending some time with us. Any final words of wisdom to pass along?
Were any of the earlier ones wisdom? :) Thank you so much for having me on your blog, and I hope your readers will pick up my "Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo" which is a free download from http://www.heatherwardell.com/polarbear.shtml.Giveaway:
Everyone who leaves a comment on the tour page be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card!
Anyone who purchases their copy of Everybody's Got a Story before November 4 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.
Book Tour Info:
Don't forget to check out the other stops on the Book Tour:
Keep Calm and Blog On – Review
Mrs. Mommy Booknerd’s Book Reviews – Guest Post & Excerpt
The Book Fetish – Review & Q&A
Storm Goddess Book Reviews – Review & Q&A
Everything Books and Authors – Excerpt
Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Guest Post & Excerpt
Michelle’s Book Nook – Review
Michelle's Book Nook- Guest Post
Musings and Ramblings – Q&A & Excerpt
Sam’s Happy Ever After – Review
Every Free Chance Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt
Karma For Life Chick – Review
Chick Lit Plus – Review
Growing up, I was an avid (rabid?) reader. I am a natural speed reader, regularly clocked at about 1200 wpm (I read Harry Potter 5 in just under three hours), and always have several books on the go, nearly all in e-book form on my Kindle.
I have always made up stories in my head, but never considered becoming a writer. Instead, I intended to be a high school music teacher. I was sidetracked by my enjoyment of my psychology courses in university, and ended up with a psychology degree with a concentration in computer science.
This took me to a major Canadian bank as a software developer. I stayed there for just over four years, and then went back to school to become an elementary school teacher. After four years teaching elementary school computer science, I took up the National Novel Writing Month challenge and attempted to write a novel in a month.
I succeeded, and the first draft of "Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo" was the result. I realized I love writing. I left teaching, and I haven't looked back since!
In my non-writing time, I read, run, swim, crochet, take care of my 55 gallon aquarium and my cat Trinity, and play drums and clarinet. Generally not all at once.
To connect with the author online:
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