some updates are a comin’

The story of these updates is that there are some updates that are happening right now. (Guess who’s been rewatching Parks and Rec)

Spontaneous Giveaway

So a thing that happened recently was that I lost my copy of Crush—this being one of my favourite collections, beloved to such an excessive degree that a fragment from ‘A Primer for the Small Weird Loves’ kicks off Pansies. Which is the sort of thing you have to write and ask someone for permission to do, and they can charge you for it, but in this case Richard Siken didn’t. Although my email was so delirious he probably just thought I was unwell and wanted to get as far away from me as possible. Anyway, anyway, I looked everywhere for the misplaced book, despaired, bought another one, and then found the original under my pillow. I have no idea what it was doing there—I can only assume Ducky hid it to torment me, or else I was reading in bed, and the book got shuffled under somehow.

Longish story short: I now have two copies of Crush and, as much as I love it, I only really need one. Hence the spontaneous giveaway. If you would like my spare (brand new) copy of Crush, alongside a bonus hard copy of Pansies, please do enter the Rafflecopter below. Giveaway is open internationally.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Audio Stuff

I’m super super super excited to announce that How to Bang a Billionaire is going to be released on audio, narrated by the insanely talented Joel Leslie. He’s narrated some of my favourite audiobooks, including Hemovore by Jordan Castillo Price, and can do all the voices. Yes, all of them. So basically Ardy is in safe hands. Hopefully more news about this soon.

How To Blow it with A Billionaire

So, Blow is coming out on Tuesday 12th December. I’m doing a weekly countdown teaser every Tuesday so if you follow me on one of the eighty million social media platforms I half-arsedly use please do keep an eye out for those. And I understand it’s currently available as an ARC on Netgalley so if you’re a reviewing type person you can request it over there.

As the book is in the hands of at least some readers, I’d better do my usual “buyer’s guide” spiel. Again, my purpose here isn’t to spoil the book or, uh, dissuade anyone from buying it (please buy it if you want to) but my feeling is very much that readers have a right to be informed consumers and I’d rather people knew what they were getting going in rather than discovering halfway through they were in, fact, getting something else that they wouldn’t have wanted had they known what it was.

First off, I’m afraid I have some pretty serious trigger warnings for Blow, which cover I guess discussions of sexual, physical and emotional abuse. There’s no on page depictions, nor any graphic descriptions, but it’s still a very prevalent theme. So please do take care of yourself when deciding whether or not the book is for you. If you have any specific concerns about this content (or anything really) you can email me (ajhatquicunquevultdotcom) or Mary (maryatquicunquevultdotcom) and we’ll do our best to address them.

I will say that—to me at least, but your mileage may vary—the prologue (which you’ll be able to check out just by downloading a sample of the text when the book is available) is probably the section most likely to be triggering. It’s narrated by the man Caspian was (forgive the euphemistic language I’m about to use here but I’m trying to tread a line between what is obvious from the text itself and what could conceivably constitute a spoiler) with before Nathaniel, and illuminates some of the discussions that take place later in the book. But if you were at all worried about it, I think you could read Blow without it and still have enough information to function. Which, err, is not me telling you that I opened my book with something completely irrelevant to the story, it’s just that the prologues to both Bang and Blow (and the same will go for the third book) are meant to sort of interact with the text in abstract ways that I hope readers find interesting, especially when looking back on the book they’ve just read.

I should also probably address the romancelandia elephant in the room which is the fact Blow ends with the central couple not together. I know this is a highly non-ideal situation for a lot of readers, which I totally understand. And if it’s that a deal breaker for you, then that’s okay. But I’m just going to take an opportunity now to tell you a little bit about the ending and why I chose to do it this way—not, let me make it very clear, to change your mind or convince you that you’re wrong for not wanting to read the book just yet (or at all)—but because if you are thinking that you want to come on this journey with me I want to offer you what reassures I can. I don’t know how to put this less-dramatically so I’ll just say it: but I do believe that reader trust is a sacred thing. It’s gift you give me when you pick up one of my books and I genuinely cherish it. I wouldn’t want to do anything to compromise or damage that trust.

So from my perspective (and yours may be different, and that’s okay), I don’t feel the ending of Blow is a cliff-hanger exactly. It’s a cliff-hanger in the sense that there is obviously more story to come, but the same was true of book 1 (Caspian and Ardy were, admittedly, in a better place but clearly the compromises they’d made and the peace they’d found at that point were short-term fixes to deeper issues) but not in the sense of suspense or uncertainty. There is absolutely no question about whether Ardy and Caspian will get their happy ending. It is, I promise you, 100% guaranteed.

I also did my very best to leave our Ardy in a strong place for moving forward. I mean, obviously he’s sad, but he’s not broken on the floor with his life in pieces or anything. And, to me, that’s actually important enough to risk the couple being apart at the end of the second book. Obviously romance novels centralise love and that’s a wonderful thing to do, but for me (as a reader and a writer) I don’t believe that centralising love means diminishing everything else. It’s why I try (how successfully is up to you to judge) to give my characters a world to inhabit beyond their romantic relationships: I want falling in love with someone to be part of a character’s rich, satisfying, meaningful life. Not the only thing that matters to them.

And the Arden St Ives series is a sort of combination bildom / bildungsroman (bildomsroman – and I’m going to keep that using that terrible punmanteau until it happens, dammit) so it is as necessary for him to find a place in the world where he can thrive and be valued, as figure things out with his billionaire boyfriend. Ideally, of course, he would (and will) do both. But, right now, he needs to show himself (and the reader) that he doesn’t need Caspian’s wealth, power and belief in him to succeed. He can do it on his own. And, even putting aside Ardy’s personal circumstances, it’s sort of a requirement of the genre that your protagonist proves this: after all, while you could theoretically write a book where somebody solves all their personal and circumstantial problems by dating a billionaire, that’s not really the sort of thing most people want to read.

Of course, I could have shuffled things around so that the inevitable breakup section of the bildom trilogy happened another time and didn’t leave readers slightly in the lurch but, well, I honestly believe this is the right and time place for it. I mean, most bildom trilogies I’ve read (and, oh boy, have I read a lot) have the couple break up at the end of the first book and I did play with that structure originally but I decided against it in the end. One of the problems with writing a trilogy of any genre is making book two feel relevant to the overall arc, instead of just passing time until the exciting thing you’re waiting for happens. And I can’t really say if I’ve managed to do that, but, I’ve definitely managed to avoid the situation where book two is just waiting for the couple to get back together.

Except that now begs the question: will book three be just waiting for the couple to get back together? And I answer firmly: ummmm…I hope not? There’s a teaser for book three at the end of Blow and Caspian is back on page, and in the same room as Ardy, by chapter three. They’re not fixing things at that point (that would make the end of book 2 a bit like those episodes of Alias where you’re left being all like, oh noes, the heroine is falling off a cliff in a runaway minecart that’s on fire, how can she possibly survive and next episode they’re like wait, she wasn’t in the minecart at all, and is, in fact, totally fine in Prague!) but they will be strongly present in each other’s lives. So no random extended absences of the love interest which (despite having written a couple of such sequences, eek) are not my favourite romancelandia plot arcs.

All of which is to say: if you aren’t up for the main couple not being together at the end of the second book, that’s absolutely fine. I get it. If you’re okay to stick with me, thank you from the bottom of your heart for your trust. I hope by the time you get to the end of the book two, and you see why Ardy and Caspian aren’t ready to be together, where I have left them, and how their future story is likely to unfold, you will feel that trust has not been misplaced. If you do … oh God, I’m really sorry.

Release Run Up Stuff

There’ll be various things happening as we approach release day for both audio-Bang and text-Blow, including giveaways, teasers, deleted scenes, games, Q&As and other extras. I’ll try not to saturate my feeds in an annoying way but I’ll do my best to keep folks in the loop. Obviously you can opt-in or opt-out entirely freely, though probably my infamous newsletter is the best one-stop shop for significant updates—I only send a few out of these out a year, so you won’t be spammed.

Social Media Continues To Happen

Just a reminder it’s never too late to sign up to Alexis Crossing. And apparently I have an Instagram account now? Come for the pictures of Ducky. Stay for the, um, pictures of Ducky.

writing

10 Responses to some updates are a comin’

  1. Wendy Loveridge says:

    Glitterland is one of my favourite books/audio books…EVER! So, with that in mind, if what you’re writing now is thought provoking and mirroring life….bring it on… I love it and you – ducks and all

  2. Araminta says:

    Perhaps an answer to the ‘no happy ending (for now) conundrum is to wait until the final book is released. But that then creates a different problem – having the patience to wait!

  3. Sophie says:

    Is it bad that I’m actually really happy that Arden and Caspian break up, at least temporarily? Not because I don’t want them to be together (I really do), but because I think that there’s such a power imbalance there that they do need to confront those issues directly and have some time apart, so that Arden can have a full bildomsroman experience. Thanks for not breaking Arden, though. 😉

    Also, this audio book is going to be amazing. I’m so excited!

  4. Mary Pat Stiefer says:

    I’m so much looking forward to the audio presentation of “Bang” and counting down the days to the release of “Blow”.

    A pic for our beloved Ducky (not to mention Xmas pressie idea?)the Lord Nelson Duck from the Royal Navy’s National Museum:

    https://shop.nmrn.org.uk/collections/christmas-gifts-for-kids/products/lord-nelson-duck

  5. Askewe says:

    I have to disagree here – multiple copies of favourite books is definitely something our household is absolutely in favour of. It began when my partner and I decided to cohabit, but both refused to be the one to sacrifice their copy of Good Omens (which was probably a good portent of things to come (sorry bout all the names, kids)). And then I was given a special edition hardcover of Good Omens. Ditto Picture of Dorian Grey, which between bequeathed copies, copies to complete sets (those pocket money penguins were cute, damnit!), and a gift of a special leather-bound edition, we are, I believe, now running at five copies. (Although The Very Hungry Caterpillar probably wins most copies? Between board books, standard softcover, small softcover, colouring book edition (The.Best.Ever!) etc).

    However! I digress! Point being, it has proven to be fortuitous: as our elder offspring reach the age we can hand them our favourites; which inevitably leads to incessant rereading by one or more of them, quoting, travel in schoolbags, sharing with friends, and yes, sleeping under the pillow or at the bottom of the bed (you are a book finding amateur; always check the bed, dining table and (school)bag, in that order, sorry ;-)); we will still be left with a copy where the pages aren’t falling out in despair and surrender at gross overuse. I’ve also taken to buying hard copies of beloved eBooks, for similar reasons of indoctrinating, sorry, ahem, *sharing* quality literature with my children as they reach an appropriate age.

    At any rate, I’m pretty sure the Askewe Hierarchy of Needs reads: food, shelter, safety, industrial strength pharmaceuticals; books, lego, WiFi, google and YouTube; food that isn’t really the basic essential type, additional copies of books for sharing/avoiding fights; self actualisation*.
    *may have skipped some boring/less interesting steps, which is fairly representative of the household approach in general, come to think of it

    Despite disagreeing with you on this one (and I think was mentioned on your insta, your clear violation of the rules about scribbling in books (yes, I went and had a look after reading bout it here, but I’m pretty sure I’m going with team rabbit; sorry ducky)) you’ve won me over on Billionaire #2. Since I’m feeling reassured I won’t be left with Ugly Cry face at the end of it, and it’s avoiding being one if those books where I actually find myself hoping the couple doesn’t reconcile by the end, I’ll jump sooner rather than later. (Also possibly because I suck at delayed gratification and would have broken soon anyway, and now I can feel much less conflicted doing so ;-)).

    Bring on the Bildomsroman! And hand me my second copy, I have just the place for it 😉

  6. Lennan Adams says:

    Yay, audio, so exciting! I’ve really loved listening to your books after reading them, and that isn’t true for me of most authors for some reason. I have a copy of Crush that I bought a while ago when you recommended it, or at least said it was a favorite of yours. The poetry is beautiful but hard to read–it gives me major uncomfortable feels–which is likely the point. :p And I’m so excited for Blow and am not even that concerned about the ending, although talk to me again when I’ve just finished it, haha. Anyway, all great news! <3

  7. WendyAbraham says:

    Audio Bang and text Blow sounds like a great name for a band? A book? A pair of Peking Ducks?

  8. Sheila says:

    Hello, Alexis. I’m happy to know that we’ll have an audio for Bang. I wish we could also have one for Pansies, I read it so many times I can’t count anymore, is my favorite although I like others as much, but I keep returning to Pansies between books when I’m deciding wish one will be the next. And Yes!! I want that copy!! 😉 Wish you the best! Xxx

  9. K says:

    Thank you for the trigger warning and the extended explanation re: the ending of book 2. I’m a sap with anxiety, so I appreciate knowing I need to wait for #2 and #3 to be out so I can read them together and know at the end that Everyone Is Fine, It Is All Good.

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