On May 1, 2012, 2 years to the day after opening the BTC Grocery, Alexe sold a book to Random House.
At 22 this young lady graduated from Vanderbilt, moved to DC, started working in a financial management firm, and spent her free time that summer planning her wedding.
She married that fall, 22 days before turning 23, for love.
For the next year she worked at the AJPH in downtown DC, commuting from her home in Silver Spring where she lived with her husband and two dogs.
Alexe's writing voice has the quality of the best singing voice; relaxed, rich, and welcoming.
At first she wrote because she was sure this was the only career option she had, the singular gift that she had to share.
For the next 6.5 years, Alexe received a mixed bag of feedback on her writing, small encouragement with website and newspaper publications, and confidence-sucking silence from agents and publishers.
In this time her other gifts made themselves known.
She moved to Mississippi, to a small poor town, against all past experience and encouragement. She wrote a weekly column of her own design in the local paper, based on character studies of locals. She was elected to the board of the local Main Street organization, and served as the interim manager. She collected Mississippi farmers from the area into a farmer's market with raw willpower and smiles. She wrote 2 and a half novels with no sign that they would ever be published. Her idea of a break from writing was to open a business, in a town infamous for being unwelcoming to new businesses, in a down economy, with no business experience.
She learned how to knit, how to sew, how to make a house feel like Home. She learned how to raise her own food, and became a kick-ass landscaper and gardener.
She gave birth to two children, in her home, with no pain medication.
She raised those kids through the first years of their lives, despite being blessed with some of the most beautiful, healthy, and obnoxious non-sleeping children you could ever imagine.
If you ask Alexe, she would say she is uncomfortable around people. She is not the best person with children. She is not a risk taker. She is thin skinned. She is selfish and self centered. She is lazy.
That beautiful head sits on those proud shoulders, and hears those words of self-condemnation all too often.
And while they rattle her, upset her and sometimes overwhelm her, she overcomes them and goes on to be exceptional, every day.
I get to call this tall, beautiful, brilliant girl my wife.
Age 22, Bride.
Age 23, India, the Red Fort.
Age 24, 2nd year wedding anniversary, MS.
Age 25, new mother.
Age 26, 7 months pregnant, home renovator.
Age 27, mother twice over.
Age 29, author under contract with a major label that knows how to woo with boxes of sample books.
Not yet 30.