Friday, December 23, 2011

A Time For Thanks and Reflection

This has been an amazing year for me, probably the best one of my life. So many good things happened and went right for me (a change I'm not used to!), and I am extremely grateful for them all.

My readers--people who remembered me from my early days in print--and new buyers who were unfamiliar with my work and willing to try something new, all came together to contribute toward this success. I know what it means for me. Here's what it means for you. I will now be able to bring you new stories published on an independent basis, giving you the kind of tales you want to read but can't seem to find in print. The e-book revolution has made so many things possible.

Thank you for your support, your kind words, and your encouragement. You and I have a writer/reader partnership that is very dear to me.

May the peace and joy of the season fulfill your hopes and dreams as you've fulfilled mine. An author couldn't ask for a better readership. New things are already in the works for 2012 and I'm hoping the coming year will be as exciting as 2011 has been.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A New Face for Home By Morning

Here's the cover for Amazon's Montlake Romance imprint of Home By Morning. I first dreamed of writing this book years ago, and the dream finally came true last year when I indie published it. Then Amazon came calling. I'm hard at work on the sequel, Home By Nightfall, which will be out in July 2012.

Home By Morning makes its new debut in both paper and as an e-book on Christmas Eve. How great!

Take a look:

Kindle is selling all the major formats so, jingle bells, you can get the e-book on December 24. The paperback is available now for pre-order.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Silent But BUSY!

In October I attended the Novelists, Inc., conference in St. Pete Beach, Florida to party, um, I mean to improve my mind and learn the industry latest. It was not only very informative, but I got to see people who are usually only e-mail names to me. A good and smart time was had by all.

I was also fortunate enough to catch up with a very dear old friend whom I hadn't seen since 1997. That reunion was the best part of the whole trip (certainly the airport/airplane part was a drag, especially since it's a major distance for me).

But even more exciting news for my readers! On Christmas Eve, new Kindle-only and paperback editions of Home by Morning will be coming out through Amazon's Encore publishing arm. I am thrilled to be able to bring this book not only to my Kindle-owning readers, but also to those who've yet to make the leap to e-reading technology. This paper edition is available NOW for pre-ordering so you might very well have yours delivered to you on the release date. Check this out:
Home By Nightfall, the second book, will be out this summer. Even as I type this, I'm only taking a break from that project. And yay, Jackson, my beautiful but majorly energetic Great Pyr is off to doggy daycare tomorrow. Roxanne, who's mellow and content to sleep on the sofa in my office, will stay here with me.

As soon as I have a new cover to show you, I'll post it here first!

Stay tuned!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Object Lesson

One of the elements that is extremely important to writing fiction is conflict. For some reason, that was always a stumbling block for me. I never liked books in which the hero and heroine are always bickering, bickering, bickering--pointlessly. That's a clumsy use of the story building block and a lame substitute for true conflict.

I understood what it was, but I couldn't get the knack of how to make it work for me. In that way, it was like all the math classes I ever had to take in school. To this day, the idea of math makes me shudder. Just give me a calculator and I'll be okay. (I did actually see a friend use algebra once--for real--but she's got a science background so it doesn't count. And the weird thing is, she had her paper and pencil and foreign symbols, and I had the calculator and I got the answer first.) I did catch on, though, and while it's still not easy, I understand the use and importance of conflict. And it's more than just bickering.

Anyway, the other day I happened to have a camera handy for once and caught this picture. It made me remember the classic lesson I heard in a writing workshop many years ago. The simplest definition of conflict in writing is two dogs and one bone. There are a lot of nylon bones around the house for these two, but no matter which one Roxanne has (right), Jackson (left) wants it. It turns into a tug-of-war with lots of growling and shoving. It's not a fight, just a contest of supremacy. Jackson is definitely the alpha--he outweighs Roxanne by a good 40 pounds--but she doesn't just give in and slink away. She hangs in there to the end, and sometimes she even wins. When she doesn't, I give her something better--a cookie. Not exactly a strategic victory, but a reasonable substitute.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Technical Problems

Desperate Hearts reader reviews:

" . . . I absolutely love the story lines Alexis Harrington brings to life in her books. Strong characters, with lots of depth to them, that you discover as you read along. The only downside to her books is the horrible editing! This book was the worst one so far, it had words missing or turned around in a way that made it difficult to follow if you weren't absorbed in your reading of it. Such a great writer should not have so many errors in a book! The ONLY reason I gave this book a 4 Star rating was because of the number of grammar errors!"

" . . .My problem was that I bought the book on Kindle. It was soooo badly transcribed to kindle format that it was hard to follow. At one point Jace was kissing Kyle instead of Kyla! Give me a break! Buy the book. Don't buy it on Kindle until they fix the mess the publisher made of it."

A Taste of Heaven reader reviews:
" . . . As the title of this review suggests the Kindle version of this book is not formatted properly to the point of interferring [sic] with the reading of the book. I would not recommend it for Kindle."

Now then. Authors of all sorts and across all genres are accustomed to lacerating reviews. We don't like them--we work hard to bring the best story we can to our readers--but they go with the job. For all the glowing and truly appreciated reviews, there are always a couple of clinkers. Sometimes they are downright vicious. I admit to a certain amusement to read a hurtful review that is so badly misspelled and constructed I sometimes think, back atcha, dear reader.


Julie Ortolon, author extraordinaire, has a few answers to the type of complaints above. I found her blog to be very informative because I've wondered how I could have slaved and proofed, and proofed and slaved over a file, only to incite these sample reactions.

I don't want to repeat her words or steal her thunder. So take a look and learn something even I wasn't aware of.

Why Do Ebooks Have So Many Typos???

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Quick Update About Facebook

In case there has been any confusion about my personal page and my fan page, I want everyone to know that it's all been worked out.

If you're a personal friend, you should go to the same place you've always gone. If you are a fan or would like to become a fan on my book page, go here:

Sorry about this--it took me a while to figure out how to separate these.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Old Titles, New Life?

I know a lot of people (including me) have embraced e-reader and e-book technologies. But not everyone has. I still get snail mail letters from a few readers who don't even have computers.
Yes, my old titles are still out there somewhere, being sold used, both online and in musty used bookstores. Either they sell for a few cents, or once in a while I'll come across one of my books that is going for some ridiculous price like $50 because it's "new" (i.e., never read). So I began to wonder if some readers who are new to me and don't have an e-reader would be interested in new paperback versions. And I decided the best way to figure that out would be to take the question to you.
If you don't buy e-books, would you be interested in seeing my back list in new versions? Or do you not much care if a book is yellowed and old because the story is still the same?
Tell me what you think.

(P.S. The diet was a bust--of course, most of the time they are.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Another Family Member

Jackson Harrington
Last December I got Roxanne. After losing sweet Chrissie and Lucy (cat) within six months of each other, I thought I wouldn't want another kid for a while. Of course, I was wrong and so I adopted Roxanne, a Great Pyrenees mix from a rescue group that does wonderful work in saving these amazing dogs. As with all new additions, we had some pretty bumpy months early on. Roxanne's biggest problem was that she hadn't been house-trained and to her, the entire carpet, upstairs and down, was a lawn. We finally got past that and she's a loving and devoted sweetheart.

Then a couple of weeks ago, I visited some friends at the Oregon Coast, and they have two purebred Bernese Mountain dogs. My friends wanted me to bring Roxanne so they could all play. I hesitated. Roxanne tends to be a little timid. Her two or three outings to an off-leash dog park proved to be semi-successful. She'd play for a while with the others, but they were strangers and some of those dogs play pretty rough. She'd end up standing behind me and watching. But I took her along anyway to meet the Berners and she did very well. They had fun, everyone was playful but mellow. We proud parents drank a lot of wine. So then I thought . . .

Well, you know what I thought.

Maybe Roxanne would do well with a playmate here. I spend a lot of time here at the computer and thought she might like some company of her own species. So I contacted the rescue coordinator again and made arrangements to choose her buddy.

All the dogs, about 10 of them, stank to high heaven after their five-day trip in the heat from Houston. I mean really PEE-YEW. Once I got Jackson—and these events are a chaos of people, tired, nervous dogs, and tangled leashes—we drove directly to the DIY dog wash near my house. The guy who brings them up here in a livestock trailer tries his best but conditions are difficult, especially at this time of year. So Jackson, who has a longer coat than Roxanne, had some nasty mats on his hind end. Again, really PEE-YEW. I did my best to cut them off with a pair of dull scissors they had at the bathing station but I couldn’t get everything. I stank too but had to wait till I got home to take a shower. The $20 fee covered only him, no tag-alongs.

So now I have Jackson. He’s much bigger than Roxanne by about 30 pounds, and a lot more mischievous, curious, and determined. He figured out his way into the laundry room, despite bungee cords and other tripwires, where I keep the cat box. The cat is hiding under my bed again. He’s tall enough to table/counter surf and grab things from higher surfaces. I found a lipstick on the living room floor this morning when I came downstairs.

So that’s the non-writing news for now. I think I did a good deed, but I’ll feel better about it once I’m rested again. In about three months.

Monday, June 27, 2011

It's Not a Diet--It's a Lifestyle

That's what every diet plan says, right? And yet, my diet and my lifestyle don't mesh very well. So here I am, on the weight-loss-go-round again.
I can't say I've tried them all. Some plans just sound plain dumb or impossible to stick with, even for a few days. That cabbage soup thing? I wouldn't consider it. Grapefruit--nope. All those pills of questionable ingredients, safety, origin and hype sold on TV? Forget it.

That pretty much leaves me with two viable choices: count points (Weight Watchers) or carbs. I've done both and had success with both, but y'know, most of us have faced this at one point or another and pretty soon, we fall back into our sloppy ways. Yes, I want my wine. Or my Jack Daniel's, depending on my mood. Oh, cheeseburgers and fries? Yes, yes. Pizza, yes, yes, yes!!! Chips, I try not to let them into the house but they get in sometimes. And there isn't much that can be done to a potato that I won't eat. Mashed, baked, fried, boiled, casseroled, au gratined, scalloped--heavenly potatoes. Doughnuts, cookies and such, nah, not really. I do LOVE salad, and especially love salad bars where you can get things that are so not salad they shouldn't even be in the trough. "Chocolate mousse," which is really more like chocolate Cool Whip. Bread and muffins? Mmmmm, bring them on! Still, I'm not as young as I used to be and I have a job that keeps me at a keyboard most of the time, so I've got to take a step back to consider my condition.

Which plan is the winner this time? Low carb. You get more variety with Weight Watchers, but all that measuring and points counting and journaling and obsessing . . . geez, talk about a hassle. I'm one of those people who has a closet full of clothes in a variety of sizes. Lucky for me, the styles are fairly classic so I'll be able to wear any of them without looking like a refugee from any particular decade.

Sunday was Day 1. Two hard-boiled eggs, a handful of almonds, a can of tuna, seared yellow fin tuna steak, salad with sensible dressing, and a kosher hot dog (no bun). And I'm still full from dinner even though it's almost 1:00 AM. That's the plus side to the low carb thing, so I'm hopeful.

They say any fool can lose weight. Sure, look at me, I've done it lots of times. It's the keeping it off that's tricky. As soon as my knees stop creaking, I'll be out there pounding the sidewalk again with the dog.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Restart the Presses!

While I still consider myself an indie author, about six weeks ago Amazon Encore, the publishing side of Amazon, sent me an e-mail, expressing interest in contracting with me for two books. After some back and forth, I agreed and last night I signed the contract and sent it off.

What this means for readers: This contract is for Home By Morning and the sequel, Home By Nightfall. If you have a Kindle, nothing will change. The e-book price will stay at $2.99. If you don't have a Kindle, this title will be available at all the places I sell my e-books until December. After that I'll have to pull it from all e-tailers except Kindle. But . . . if you don't have an e-reader, both of these books will also be available in trade paperback. I'm not sure about the details of that yet, but certainly it will be available through Amazon.

I'm really excited about this new phase of publishing and I'm looking forward new adventures. I'd better get back to my sequel!

Friday, June 3, 2011

My New Look

I am very pleased to announce that both my blog and my website have a brand new look. Now, before anyone asks why there's a cowboy and a sailing ship in the montage, it's because while most of my historicals are westerns, some are Americanas. A Light For My Love and the Home duo are what I consider Americana. I wanted to reflect that with this new art.

I hope you'll take a minute to visit my new website too: If you still see the old site, you can either cold-boot, or give it a little time to deactivate. Check back here for more news. As always, thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Isn't Technology Grand?

Not always, but think of the super ways technology has improved your life. There was a time when if you had car trouble, especially at night, you had some risky obstacles to overcome just to get help. Now, if you're like most, you have a cell phone and you aren't cut off from the rest of the world. (Well, some people venture into very remote areas where there is no cell phone service, but I'm not talking about that.) We've been presented with ways to organize our time, arrange our lives around immoveable schedules, and entertain ourselves. One of those technological advances is the e-book. I know, I know, some of you are opposed to surrendering the physical paper-and-ink printed word. Guess what? I was one of those people too, and it wasn't all that long ago. Now I love my e-reader.

Of course, everyone who ever said to me, "I've always wanted to write a book," can do that now. Some new authors who couldn't get a traditional publisher to even spit on them if they were on fire are now revealing talent and wonderful stories that might not otherwise have been seen by anyone but themselves, or maybe a family member. And there are those out there who should remain in their computer caves, period. One way to find out which author is which is to download a sample from the online retailers carrying e-books.

Still hoping for a better bet? Then try this:

Backlist Ebooks is a site that promotes established authors, and e-books that were once physical books and are now out of print. They're enjoying a new life in this age of wonder. Maybe you missed the books the first time around. Maybe (ahem) you weren't even old enough to find them interesting in their first incarnation. I've heard from new readers who have vague memories of their older relatives reading my work, and they're now enjoying it too.

We have something for everyone at low, low, low prices and on most platforms. Come by and take a look. Get acquainted. We're always open.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Visit to A Lost Friend

Most of my friends know that I mourn the loss of one of Oregon's oldest shopping heavens, Meier & Frank. It had something for everyone in all price ranges. It was sold in the 1960s to the May Company, but that organization made the smart decision to keep the name everyone knew. Then the end came. The store closed a few years ago when a competing retail giant bought them out, along with some other beloved department stores around the country including Foleys, Filene's (not Filene's Basement) and a few more. Because M&F's flagship store, built in 1908, is on the National Historic Registry, someone decided it was worth "saving." The first five floors are occupied by the retailer. The upper floors were gutted, an atrium was installed, and it was turned into a luxury boutique hotel, The Nines. The exterior might look the same--the inside, well, no attempt was made to preserve the history of the building. This photo is very old, taken before the top floor was expanded to cover the whole building.

A friend of mine had ankle surgery nearly six weeks ago and hasn't been able to sleep in her own bed (on the second floor of her home) or take a shower (also upstairs) in all that time. She's been sleeping on a fold-out and taking sponge baths in a kiddie pool in her kitchen. So I had a brainstorm. Let's go see about The Nines.

The staff was great, as was the service. But the interior seemed minimalist. The only thing I recognized in my room were the windows, painted shut and still bearing the same hardware on the window frames. The rest of the decor was eclectic. In my head, when I hear words like eclectic, or whimsical in reference to food or decor, I tend to wince. Okay, so I'm a hopeless romantic and traditionalist--I love beautiful china, glassware, silver, linens, etc. One of the vacations on my bucket list is a trip to the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina. And one of my favorite local spots is the Pittock Mansion, which has been meticulously restored to its glory days of the early 1900s. What can I say? I write historical fiction for a good reason.

Meier & Frank belongs to the ages now. To paraphrase Rose in Titanic, it was the department store of dreams.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Don't Miss This!

This week only, catch all my e-books at for 99 cents! Just use the coupon code listed with each title. Find more great titles at

Desperate Hearts - $.99 - SM46Y
Home By Morning - $.99 - GM59Y
A Taste of Heaven - $.99 - JY76R
A Light For My Love - $.99 - XQ37X
The Irish Bride - $.99 - EV42L
The Bridal Veil - $.99 - VR95T
Montana Born and Bred - $.99 - DD72U
Allie's Moon - $.99 - JY76R
Homeward Hearts - $.99 - FQ47S
Harper's Bride - $.99 - PX56G

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Every year in the US, partly in thanks to retailers and the greeting card industry, on the second Sunday in May we stop to observe Mother’s Day. The restaurants fill, florists do landslide business and phone calls fly across town and around the country. And this is great. It’s an honorable and well-intentioned observance.

But some women don’t have children, the standard requirement for inclusion in hoopla, and never did.

About twenty years ago I realized that all women are mothers in one way or another.

With children or without, we nurture friends, we mourn with them at moments of grief and celebrate their triumphs. We care for them during illness, help see them through difficult passages of life, and are strong for them when they need a shoulder to lean on.

So whether or not you have children, Happy Mother’s Day.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Royal Ballyhoo

I’m not particularly an Anglophile. There are a number of things I admire about England—its fascinating, lengthy history, Queen Elizabeth I (an amazing woman who ruled for years while escaping people who sought to do away with her, marry her off, or assassinate her). There is that 800 years’ worth of outrageous business with Ireland that still rankles, but I digress.

It’s England’s talent for pageantry that I really enjoy. As an observer noted recently during one of the dozens of TV shows building up to this week, “This is what we do best.” So because I’m on the West Coast, beginning at 1:00 AM Friday I’ll tune into the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

When I mentioned it to my mother, she thought I was nuts. “Royalty is such an outdated notion. What do those people actually do now?” When I explained I enjoyed the pomp, she replied, “It’s not realistic. It’s just a fairytale.”

Ah ha! And that’s what makes it special. It is like a fairytale, a magnificent spectacle. The precision, the beautiful table settings, the flowers and gowns, carriages and horses. Plus I have a very soft spot in my heart for the late Princess Diana and her children. I watched her wedding to Charles (well, who knew what was really going on behind the scenes back then?), I stayed up for her funeral and wept with the mourners lining the route of her cortege, still dumbstruck that she was gone. And I will see William and Kate married, hoping for them the joy that eluded his mother in her short life.