Cynthia Sax And The Hard News
In Exposed by Moonbeam, the heroine, Storm, is a struggling news reporter. She works freelance for a television station, seeking to report that big story, breaking her into the big time. Readers realize right away that she hasn’t the heart to cover wars, crimes, and other hard news.
When I covered stories for a daily newspaper (ironically close to the very real town of Moonbeam), I realized the same thing.
This daily newspaper needed a reporter to cover town council meetings for our small town. I didn’t have any reporting experience or training but I loved to write and I needed the money to pay for university so I applied.
I arrived at my first town council meeting, having no clue as to what I was supposed to do. I sat in the press box beside a gruff seasoned reporter. The Mayor talked. The seasoned reporter made notes. I did the same.
I was sixteen. Writing about potholes and new traffic lights didn’t interest me. I wrote about the side conversations the town council members had. I wrote that the Treasurer was late because the pie his wife made had to cool. I wrote that one council member teased another council member about his fancy new tie.
I sent the article to my editor, expecting it to be the last article I ever wrote. My editor made a few changes (cutting it off because it was too long) and he printed it.
I went to the next council meeting and was teased about my article. The seasoned reporter pointed out what I should report on. I reported on these items and I included the side conversations.
After a couple of months, I had a column in the daily paper with my headshot. Residents would stop me in the streets. When I went to Timmins, a larger city near my small town, I’d be recognized. People would say they didn’t know anything about my town but they couldn’t stop reading the column. They felt they knew the people. They cared about the Treasurer and his pie-baking wife.
I was asked to cover harder news such as crimes and accidents. I did it because I needed the money and that news had to be reported but I disliked it. I had nightmares. I’d cry when victims cried.
I knew that, like Storm, I didn’t have the heart for reporting. When I was offered a full-time position, I politely declined and went to school for business. Storm went even farther. She leaves the planet.
Exposed By Moonbeam Blurb
For months, the mysterious Ary has been teasing Storm with sexy tales of aliens. The intrepid reporter arrives in Moonbeam to investigate the story, and within hours of meeting the aristocratic Ary, Storm sees, feels and tastes his hard, vibrating proof. She’ll do anything to keep her source happy, including voyaging to the ends of the known universes to nail an exclusive.
Ary, a ruling prince of Sila, prides himself on being cool and unattached. Storm’s constantly moving mouth tests that resolve. Under her enticing touch, Ary’s primitive passions erupt, releasing his inner beast, freeing him from the restraints of tradition.
Not all Silans are happy their ruler has a mate and the enemy is poised, ready to attack. The last story Storm covers could be her own.
Barnes And Noble:
Exposed By Moonbeam Excerpt
“This Moonbeam place is in the middle of nowhere.” Howard, the television station’s most experienced cameraman, hunched over the steering wheel and peered through the bug-splattered windshield, the van’s headlights illuminating the lonely stretch of highway. Tall pine trees lined the pavement, their fresh scent mixing with the aroma of coffee. Stars sparkled above them, a vivid reminder that they might not be alone in the universe, a theory Storm would soon confirm.
“What are you going to do if your source doesn’t show?” Howard’s wrinkled face twisted into a scowl.
“My source will show,” Storm assured her overprotective friend. “He was scheduled to arrive in Moonbeam a week ago last Friday.” She glanced at the tiny screen of her handheld. Still no messages. “Don’t worry.”
“I have to worry because you’ve taken no precautions. Meeting with a strange man in a strange place.” He clucked his tongue. “Not everyone is your friend, Storm.”
“No one is my friend.” She recited her new mantra, undeterred by Howard’s worrying, an investigative reporter’s job to venture where others feared to tread. “I’m cool, calm and detached.”
“Right.” The older man snorted. “Who are you trying to be—Brenda?”
Storm’s face heated. “She did land the fulltime position with that attitude. Or it could have been her perfect blonde hair or her extensive coverage of the war in the Middle East that did it.” She nibbled on her bottom lip, a nasty habit she had been unable to break. “I need a war.”
“You’d cry over every death.” Howard reached over and patted her hand, his comment unfortunately true, her sympathy serving as a liability in the news business. “If your source has spent the last two weeks and a day in Moonbeam, why hasn’t he emailed you? How well do you know this guy?”
“Well enough.” She shrugged, unwilling to admit her fascination with the mysterious Arystokrata Nazwisko extended past the potentially groundbreaking story. “We’ve been in contact online for months. He claims communicating close to the rendezvous date is a security risk.” She sighed softly, missing their correspondence, Ary’s detailed stories of exotic alien worlds the highlight of her day.
Storm stared out the window at the night sky. Win says his stories are plausible and she’s the best astrobiologist I know. A meteor shot across the blackness. Is there truly life out there?
“Security risk? You’re meeting in Moonbeam, the Roswell of the North.” Howard tugged at his thin gray ponytail. “If he was so concerned about security, you’d think he would put more thought into the location.”
“Who says he didn’t? It’s the perfect site if he wants this initial encounter kept off the record,” Storm guessed, not knowing Ary’s reasoning. They exited Highway 11 and she leaned forward. The small town appeared dark and deserted, the ideal backdrop for a midnight exchange of top-secret information. “No one would believe he met with me here.” Especially with proof aliens exist.
It would be proof only she’d have access to, Ary promising her exclusivity. Storm’s lips curled upward as she envisioned her gracious acceptance of the News And Documentary Emmy Award, her proud journalism professors and jealous rivals standing in the audience, clapping enthusiastically and murmuring about how she broadened their horizons, making a difference in the world.
“Your source is right about no one believing you.” Howard interrupted her reverie. “It’s hard to take a town known for aliens seriously.” The van rolled to a stop in front of the town’s landmark, an illuminated, silver nine-foot-tall model of a UFO. “What did I tell you?” He waved his hand at the empty space. “There’s not one car in the parking lot.”
“He’ll show,” Storm repeated, trusting Ary to keep his word.
“And when he does, I’ll be here to film your meeting.” Howard unbuckled his seatbelt. “I’m not leaving you in the dark alone.”
“You’re leaving me because the station will have your ass if you stay. Freelancers aren’t assigned cameramen, you know that.” Storm summoned a smile, irked by her lowly status. “And you have a forest fire you need to film.”
“The forest fire can wait,” Howard groused.
“No, it can’t. Don’t blow this opportunity for me.” She wagged her index finger at him. “I need this. I don’t want to be covering human interest stories forever.”
“You like human-interest stories.”
“I want to make a difference.” Storm pleaded for her friend to understand, needing to do this, to prove she was a great reporter. Howard opened his mouth and she rushed to clarify. “A big difference. That’s my dream, my destiny, what I know I’m meant to do.”
Howard sighed. “Who am I to hold you back from your dreams?”
“Thank you.” She opened the door and hopped down, her sturdy military boots crunching on the gravel surface. “I’ll be begging you for editing assistance on this story.” Storm swung her heavy backpack over one of her shoulders. “Consider yourself warned.”
“You do that.” Howard shook his head, chuckling. “And call me if you need help. Remember—”
“We cover the news, we don’t make it,” Storm recited and she laughed, closing the door with a solid thud. “Now get going before you scare my source.”
Howard waved as he drove away, a smile on his weathered face. Storm watched the dented cube van until it faded from view. A peculiar clicking noise filled the night air.
“I’ll filter that out of the audio afterward,” she noted. “Don’t let it bother you, Storm. Be professional, unemotional.” She checked the time on the handheld. She was six minutes early. “Audio.” Storm flicked the recording feature on and the handheld beeped. “Check.”
She walked to the flying saucer and stood directly underneath it, as instructed. “I’m in position.” She plunked her backpack down and scanned her surroundings. The landmark was isolated from the rest of the town, with no houses built nearby. Shadows stretched across the freshly mowed grass, providing plenty of places for her contact, Arystokrata Nazwisko, to hide.
I trust him. Storm rolled her shoulders back, her joints cracking. He didn’t spend months sending me hundreds of messages simply to lure me to a remote northern town and kill me.
She extracted her compact from the backpack and primped, pushing back wayward strands of red hair, her short curls never falling perfectly in place as Brenda’s longer, light-catching golden tendrils did. Storm grimaced, her untamable hair adding more stress to an already stressful situation.
“Not that I have video.” She twisted her lips. “I should have asked for permission to record video.” An unusually large meteor flashed across the midnight sky. “Brenda would have asked for permission.” Storm tucked the compact away and wiped her moist palms on her khaki cargo pants. The annoying clicking noise increased in volume.
“Storm Mackenzie?” The voice was male and disappointingly nasally, Storm expecting Ary’s voice to be deeper and sexier. A shadow separated from the others.
She narrowed her eyes, peering into the darkness, the silhouette strange, almost insect-like. “I’m Storm Mackenzie. Is that you, Arystokrata Nazwisko?” She was proud of how the difficult name fluidly flowed off her tongue, having practiced the pronunciation for hours.
“No.” He stepped into the light and she gasped. The man…creature resembled a giant red ant, guns unlike any she’d ever seen clasped in his four hands.
Don’t run. Storm’s flesh crawled and her heart beat frantically in her chest. Great reporters don’t run. She inhaled, counted to five and exhaled.
It’s a story. It isn’t real. Film the story. Storm fumbled with her handheld, found the video function, and activated it, positioning the camera to frame the ant man. An ant man. She trembled with excitement and fear. “W-w-who are you and what do you want?”
“I am a Mravenec warrior. I want you, Storm Mackenzie, mate of Ruler Arystokrata Nazwisko, and I want revenge upon all of Sila.” He pointed one of the guns at her feet and tapped a button. Red electricity flared from the muzzle and snapped toward her.
“Shit.” She jumped backward. The energy curled around her ankles, binding them together. She stumbled and toppled over, landing with a thump on her ass, the grass cushioning her fall, her handheld remaining in her hands.
“I’ve been captured.” Storm’s voice wavered, her fear audible and unprofessional. Be cold, calm and detached. “The electricity doesn’t hurt.” Do your job. Report on the news. “I feel numb.” She wiggled her toes within her boots. “I can’t break the bond. It must be some sort of super strong alien technology.”
The giant ant man approached, his antennae twitching and his jaws clicking as they snapped open and shut. “He’s coming for me.” Storm wiggled away from him, seeing no kindness reflected in his forbidding insect face and having no desire for a posthumous Emmy Award.
“You’re mistaken, Mr. Warrior,” she called to him. “I’m not Ruler Arystokrata Nazwisko’s mate. He’s my source.” The ant’s expression remained blank. “He’s my contact and that’s all,” she explained, frantic to stop him. “We haven’t even met, not in person, so if you’re thinking to trade me or hold me for ransom, he won’t negotiate, not for me.” The ant pointed a larger, more deadly looking gun at her head, and a trickle of perspiration slid down her spine. “I’m nothing to him.”
“You are everything to me, my Storm,” a stranger yelled, his inhumanly deep voice rumbling through her body.
A flaming fireball slammed into the giant ant and flung him to the side, severing one of his arms, the limb twitching on the lawn. An even larger creature darted toward her, teeny tiny guns clutched in his big hands. The newcomer’s skin glimmered with two colors of green, ridges cascaded down his bald skull, and every inch of him rippled with muscles.
“This is what an alien should look like.”
Cynthia Sax lives in a world where demons aren’t all bad, angels aren’t all good, and magic happens every single day. Although her heroes may not always say, “I love you”, they will do anything for the women they love. They live passionately. They fight fiercely. They love the same women forever.
Cynthia has loved the same wonderful man forever. Her supportive hubby offers himself up to the joys and pains of research, while they travel the world together, meeting fascinating people and finding inspiration in exotic places such as Istanbul, Bali, and Chicago.