My Secret Ingredient

My Secret Ingredient

by Xio Axelrod

How’s your Italian? Try rolling this around in your mouth: Colatura di Alici di Cetara.

Sounds sexy, doesn’t it? Like some exotic locale where you could race your Maserati along a road with curves to rival Sophia Loren.

Far be it from me to dash those sumptuous visions but, the truth is, Colatura di Alici di Cetara is an amber liquid made from…anchovies.

Yep.
Anchovies. [Read more…]

Red Carpet Season – What (Not) To Wear

Red Carpet Season – What (Not) To Wear

by Xio Axelrod

adele 2013Every time I decide to skip the Grammys and stay home, someone amazing is scheduled to perform. One year, it was Prince. This year, it’s Adele.

I. Am. Kicking. Myself. [Read more…]

Small Change That Changes Lives

Small Change That Changes Lives

by Xio Axelrod

‘Tis the season of giving, but also the season of big spending. And we’re spending more every year. Black Friday, once an American phenomenon, has spread around the globe prompting sales and discounts on everything from 4K televisions to stuffed toys to luxury cars. This year, an estimated $1 billion dollars was spent online on Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving! We seem to be in a rush to spend more, faster.

Mr. X and I enjoy our gadgets. We both enjoy wine and Scotch. Both love books (naturally) and our Kindles are always full. But come the holiday season, we’ve often found ourselves in competition with one another to spend more. Get the biggest gift. The biggest “oh, babe, you shouldn’t have” response. It was cute, for a time. And then it became…embarrassing. Big gifts sat in the basement, unused, until we either sold them or gave them away.

It really bothered me, the excess. And it bothered him too, so we stopped. We still exchange gifts – great gifts! – but we make sure they’re actually things we want and/or need. A new teapot, tickets to a sold out show, Russian candy. Things that mean something.

Around the time we made the decision to shop smart for the holidays, we redirected that energy into helping others.

[Read more…]

Creating a soundtrack…for a book?

Creating a soundtrack…for a book?

by Xio Axelrod

Forget Tomorrow features an embedded soundtrackA soundtrack for a book? It’s not really a new thing, but it isn’t done often. It seems like we may be seeing it more and more, though. Pintip Dunn’s debut release Forget Tomorrow was released with embedded audio. (Gorgeous stuff!) And Stephen King has been known to add music to his books from time to time. [Read more…]

The Truth Is Still Out There

The Truth Is Still Out There

by Xio Axelrod

If you need anything from me during the 4th weekend in January, I suggest you let me know now. That way, I can get it to you ahead of time. On Sunday, the 24th of that month, I will be completely unavailable – inaccessible, unreachable – between the hours of 7 and 10 P.M. Certainly that whole weekend, and the week leading up to it. Okay, who am I kidding? It’ll be hard to get me to focus for about six weeks. Why? The X-Files are coming back.

Guys! GUYS! I’m grinning too!

[Read more…]

Just a Taste from Xio Axelrod

Just a Taste from Xio Axelrod

Hello from sunny California! It’s fitting that it’s my turn to give you a taste of a forthcoming release. Set in Hollywood, Falling Stars is book one in a series that began life as a web serial on my Tumblr blog. Every chapter I posted about Sam Newman and Val Saunders, co-stars on a steamy new drama that find their on-screen romance blossoming into something far more complicated off-screen, seemed to ensnare more and more readers. Much to my delight and surprise, they couldn’t seem to get enough. Two years later, I finally have a chance to release it in larger installments. I’m nerv-cited, to say the least. [Read more…]

I’ve got a case of the ‘M’s

I’ve got a case of the ‘M’s

by Xio Axelrod

Hey folks! Does that title have you scratching your head? Let me ‘splainy.

Ever pull up a Pandora station, or set your iTunes/Amazon Music/etc to shuffle, and notice that there’s pattern to the music that they play? It’s random, of course, but it still seems to mean something.

sherlock universe
[Read more…]

The birth of summer TV.

The birth of summer TV.

by Xio Axelrod

When I was a kid, summertime television was, well, dire. Networks didn’t bother with new content because summer was vacation season. And no one wanted to spend the warm weather indoors, glued to a TV screen. We wanted to go to the beach!

Mr. Robot on USA (yes, that is Christian Slater!)

[Read more…]

Just a Taste from Xio Axelrod

Just a Taste from Xio Axelrod

Today I’m sharing a wee snippet from the follow up to my debut novella, The Calum. In Calum Me Maybe, the bloom is definitely off the rose as Lovie and Duff navigate the choppy waters of their long distance relationship. Shifting priorities and startling revelations will either push them together, or tear them apart. Here’s a peek! [Read more…]

I’m in Punta Cana and you’re not.

I’m in Punta Cana and you’re not.

by Xio Axelrod

Did my title make you a wee bit jealous? It should because the Dominican Republic is awesome and everyone should come here.

woman in punta cana

Wheee! See, she’s having a blast. Come on down.

I took this while riding on a cable car in Puerto Plata. Down is far.

As you read this, I’m probably sitting in a cabana on the beach in Punta Cana, sipping freshly made mojitos underneath a cloudless sky. At least, I hope I am. Vacation weather can be unpredictable.

Take the spring of 2012, when Mr. X and I were on our second trip to the D. R., it rained. A lot. And not the “oh, this is a soft and beautiful shower” or “it’s pouring buckets, but will be over in fifteen minutes” kind of rain. It was a duck and cover rain. A run for the hills rain. At one point, we decided to sit on the beach anyway because, why not? For once, there were plenty of loungers. And wet is wet, right? Naturally, the sun decided to return on the day we flew home. Whatever, it was still quite relaxing. And mojitos!

Fortunately, most of our trips down here (this is our fourth) have been delightful and I’m hoping this one is the same. We arrived late Saturday afternoon and it’s now Tuesday. By now, we’ve settled into our daily routine.

loungers

First come, first serve.

Up by 8am to “reserve” a spot on the beach. [Read “claim.” We leave our towels and a few other accessories as unofficial notice that those particular loungers are occupied.]PC food

Then we head to the buffet for a yummy breakfast filled with fresh fruit, local delicacies and international fare. [Germans love cold cuts. I’m just saying.]

11am is mojito time. Don’t judge, it’s the D.R.

Line ’em up. Mojitos are yummy, refreshing and full of rum!

Around 1pm, we start feeling guilty for the 2 hours rum infusion and we grab some lunch, usually somewhere close to the beach.

Nighttime activities abound. You never know what you’ll find.

After lunch, it’s back to the beach until around 4, when we head to the pool for an hour or two. Mr. X is an ocean swimmer, I prefer the predictability of a pool. I like to know what I’m stepping on underwater. Also, there’s a bar. [I’m beginning to sound like a lush!]

Around 6-ish, we head up to our room, shower, change for dinner, and decide where to spend our evening. There’s always something going on somewhere: a live band, karaoke, a musical revue filled with celebrity impersonators, “Cirque de Sol” [only a hint of copyright infringement there], the list is really endless.

The real reason to come down here is the people. They’re all so warm and friendly and happy to share paradise with you, for a nominal fee. Honestly, for the food, the service, and every other thing there is to enjoy in the Dominican Republic (swim with dolphins!) it is remarkably inexpensive. We stay in moderate-but-gorgeous all-inclusive resorts, so food and drink are readily available. The only cash we carry is for tipping and souvenirs. Sure, you could go crazy and spend a mint in one of the “five star” properties, but there’s no need. Sun in the sky, sand in your toes, and mojitos on tap. What more could you ask for?

Mama Juana

Mama Juana is sweet, spicy and STRONG.

Mama Juana. You could ask for Mama Juana, and they will pour it for you. Just don’t plan on operating any heavy machinery afterwards. Salud!

I’m going for a swim.

 

 

xio sig1