Guest Post: Author Alma Alexander

We are human beings. Passionate, fallible, generators of wishes, dreams, regrets. We will, in the course of our lifetimes, fall in love many times – with people, with ideas, with passionately held beliefs. We will inevitably get our hearts broken when those people or those ideals break under the weight of our expectations, never quite living up to the  potential which we had envisaged for them.

That’s when the choices come, and make us face them. The choices that arrive after we shed our illusions and look the hard truths squarely in the eye. The choices that matter.

What if you were offered a fabulous and ideal job, everything you wanted in every way… but you had to move three thousand miles away to claim it, away from your friends, your family, everything you know, and you had to go alone? Would you have the courage? Is the dream that strong? Would you shy away from it, afraid, and then spent the rest of your life feeling hobbled by the fact that you had this opportunity and did not take it, that you could have grasped your dream but did not have the strength to try? Are you afraid enough of failure to turn your back on something that is not a guaranteed success? (IS there such a thing as a guaranteed success?)

If you were offered fame and fortune – would you take it? Could you handle it? Would it become onerous? Would it start to be a burden to you that you could not go out for a quick cup of coffee in the local coffee shop because if you tried there would be a mob of adoring fans kneeling at your feet, or following you home? Would you reject it – and then spend your days wondering what it would have been like, to be that famous? Do you truly covet the lifestyle of the rich and famous or do you just think you do? (Are you sure you aren’t just a titch grateful for the chance to have a bad hair day and that nobody would really notice or take an incriminating photograph which would surface on the Internet and haunt you forever more?)

If you had split from the love of your life when you were younger, but had since settled down with somebody else whom you might have come to care for – what would you do if your first love came knocking at your door and asking you to run away with him or her to live by some wonderful exotic waterfall in Hawaii? When do you stop loving someone – can you stop loving someone? Are you rejecting your heart and soul, or just temptation?

If somebody wronged you, once, and at the time you did nothing except take it – would you jump at the chance to do it over, to pay it back in kind, or to simply wreak an elegant revenge years later? Is there a statute of limitations on forgiveness?

We are human beings, you and I, and we’ve had our own choices to make along the line. Ones we were happy with, ones we regretted. We made those choices, and carried on. And yet, it is also ever so human to look back over our shoulder, to have second or even third thoughts, to remember, perhaps to grieve, perhaps to sigh in gratitude. It is human to choose. It is transcendently human to wonder – perhaps for years, perhaps forever – what would have happened had we chosen the OTHER path when we had come to our particular crossroads. And I think that most of us would find it almost irresistible not to take up an option of going back and walking a road again, coming up to the same crossroads, being given another chance.

Life doesn’t offer do-overs, and often we can only look at other people’s choices if we want to glimpse alternatives to the ones that we ourselves have made. Life doesn’t… but story does. And five people walked into my mind one day, sat down in a place which I remembered vividly from my own youth (yes, Spanish Gardens was a real place…), and demanded that I tell of their own choices, made at the end of the world, in a place where only truth could be told.

In their place, what would you have chosen?

And what, from where you stand right now in your own life, are YOU going to choose next…?

A year is ending, soon. A brand new year will begin, filled with new opportunities, new tragedies, new dreams and hopes and fears and catastrophes and disappointments and achievements – with new love, and new hate, and new understanding.
Choose wisely.

In closing – a few words about me, and a few more about the book –
My main website is at www.AlmaAlexander.com  (take a look at the bibliography page!) and I also have a website dedicated to my YA series, Worldweavers, at http://www.almaalexander.com/worldweavers/, and you can find a book trailer there, as well as excerpts from those books and also ordering information.  I blog regularly at http://anghara.livejournal.com  and if people want to get to know the real me that’s the more dynamic site right now. I’m also on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/alma.alexander, or https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alma-Alexander/67938071280) and if you want to read more literary and writerly essaylets you might visit www.StorytellersUnplugged.com  on the 30th of every month and keep up with me there.
If you want to look into purchasing any of my books, you can go to several places:
(if you are after actual books) or

(if you’re after a Kindle ebook)
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/anghara  for other ebook editions (and go there to keep an eye on the Alexander Triads project, themed collections of short stories…)

Or visit your friendly neighbourhood indie store and ask them to get my books for you if they don’t have them…

Book 268: 2012: MIDNIGHT IN SPANISH GARDENS Review

Imagine you can go back in time and live an alternate life. You make different choices and have different experiences with potentially different people. Perhaps it means no kids, a different career choice, a different spouse or perhaps no spouse at all. Are you willing to make that choice? You only have a few seconds to decide, so what do you do? This is the dilemma that faces five friends on the eve of 12/21/2012 in 2012: Midnight at Spanish Gardens by Alma Alexander.

Olivia, John, Quincey, Ellen and Simon have no idea what’s in store for them on this wintry December evening. They haven’t really been in contact with one another since college and that’s been over twenty years ago. It seems quite fortuitous that they agree to meet at an old college hangout, Spanish Gardens, on the evening that the world is supposed to come to an end. They are all greeted by an enigmatic gentleman, ostensibly the bartender, Ariel. Ariel doesn’t really intrude in their evening but he does seem to provide them all with interesting yet profoundly insightful statements. And it the mysterious Ariel that provides all five with the ultimate decisions of go back in time, live an alternate life and stay in that alternate history or return and continue with the present history.

Simon is the last to enter the restaurant and the first to experience an alternate past. In this life he suffers through the premature death of both parents due to a car accident and is raised by his maternal grandmother. He becomes a respected university professor and restarts a world-renowned, university-founded literary magazine. He also becomes instrumental in the success of several students turned authors. His choice is to stay in this life without children or spouse or return to his life with a wife, children and fame as an author. Is his fame more important than his students? What choice will he make?

John was the proverbial wild child. Once he learned about his inauspicious origins and his father’s behavior he no longer wants to be the good child that follows in his father’s footsteps or so he thinks. In his alternate life he does become a doctor and eventually gives his life over to philanthropy by working with Doctors Without Borders. It is rather ironic because with the exception of working as a physician in one life, John’s lives mirror one another. In one he is alone and travels the world as an organizer for aid and relief with UNESCO and in the other he is also alone and travels the world to give aid and relief as a doctor. Which life is preferred since they are so closely aligned?

Quincey and Ellen are both faced with truly life altering alternate pasts. Quincey must decide if marriage (even the one that didn’t work out), children and being a single mom are more important that an unexpected but deeply rewarding love. Ellen is also faced with the choice of children vs. no children, but her choice is even more difficult as her alternate past is as a completely different person altogether. Olivia is the first person that we meet in this tale and her alternate life is the last presented. Her choices are just as difficult, but she seems to have a better grasp on what mistakes not to make in this lifeline. I won’t mention the details of her alternate life or the choices that she has to make, but it is Olivia’s story that ultimately ties the others together and provides clarity. All five friends are faced with impossible choices. Fortunately once they make a final choice their alternate life becomes nothing more than a blur of possibilities.

Everyone likes the idea of going back and changing things, possibly righting the wrong decisions or simply making a different decision. Ms. Alexander shows that this is not always as easy as we think. I have to say that I rather enjoyed this story. There were moments when I wasn’t sure about the story simply because of long and rambling sentences, use of terms such as susurrus and serried (yes I had to look them up, see below), or seemingly disjointed conversations. But even with these issues I continued on and was pleasantly surprised by the intriguing stories. I became invested in learning more about the characters and wanted to see what choices they would make. In the end I was thoroughly and pleasantly surprised by just how much I liked 2012: Midnight In Spanish Gardens

Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



Susurrus: a soft murmuring or rustling sound; whisper.
Serried: pressed together or compacted, as soldiers in rows: serried troops.