LIVE from MystiCon 2012

So here I am, this fabulous Con going on downstairs, and I’m sitting at the desk in my hotel room, penning a blog post.  So I better make it good, right?  So far it has been a great weekend!  As I said before, the big fun for me is seeing old friends and making new ones.  I moderated a great panel last night on what the next big monster in fiction will be.  We determined that zombies are here to stay and that we’d be looking to lesser known mythological characters for new ideas.  I also had a great time doing readings with authors Marcia Colette and Sapphire Phelan.  We managed to run some poor guy out of the room, but I got a chance to use innocents as guinea pigs for my vampire story.

Today’s activities include:

6pm Signing– I always feel strange doing signings.  First off, I write eBooks, so I don’t have much in the way of physical things to sign.  Though I think I’m going to do a little impromptu contest to give away an eBook or two.  I’m just never really sure what to do at those things.  So if anyone at the Con is reading this– drop by and talk to me!!

10pm Romance vs. Erotica, How much is too much?– I think y’all know my take on this.  There’s no such thing as too much as long as it’s pretty.

11pm Taboos and Societal Bans– I found myself on this panel because my good friend, Bethany Halle couldn’t be here.  It’s going to be a no holds barred discussion of BDSM, alternative lifestyles and the like.  It should be fun, though I don’t consider myself an expert by any means.

12pm BELLA MORTE! — Yes folks, I’ll be shakin’ my groove thang into the wee hours of the morning and rockin’ it out with one of my favorite Goth bands of all time.  This weekend I’ve gotten the opportunity to meet frontman Andy Deane (who is also a very talented horror writer) and I’m so glad to go out and support them.

So I guess I should get off this thing and go down to participate.  The husband has some panels this afternoon that I don’t want to miss.  If you’re in the Roanoke area, you should come on down and see us.  We only bite if you ask.

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Off to MystiCon 2012!!

And we’re off!  The husband and I are on our way, even as we speak, to MystiCon 2012.  Our goal is to get there by around 3pm.  Last year we barely made it through Windacolypse, so we didn’t have time to eat before our panels started.  I think we had some chips after.  But hopefully we’ll get there in time to grab a bite to eat (anyone wanna join us?)

I did manage to find my schedule tonight and I think my first panel is perhaps 10pm Friday.  I should have plenty of time to explore the wine list before then.  Did I mention that I’m moderating my first panel as well???  What the hell does a moderator do?  I hope its not to keep everyone in line… I can’t even do that for myself.  Beyond that, I know I’ll be at the Bella Morte concert on Saturday night, shakin’ my groove thang.

So the point is– those of you in the Roanoke area– come hang with me!  Have a glass of wine!

Wicked Little Wednesday… Belated: Aretha Smith

So Google has foiled me once again!  Too bad their new privacy settings don’t alert them when my email is clogged…But life goes on and I’m finally here with today’s Wicked Little Wednesday with Aretha Smith!  Aretha is blogging today on the freedom of being a writer.  I have to say, I wholeheartedly agree with her.  Someone, whose name escapes me, once said, “A writer is someone who has taught his mind how to misbehave.” So why should we only write what we know?  We’re writers, damnit!  The masters of our own universes.  We are authors, hear us roar!!

She’s also giving a little taste of her upcoming release, Hearts of Time… I’m tingling with anticipation!

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Saying No to Writing Only What I Know

 One of the freedoms of writing fiction is the power and control to create the characters you want and the plotlines you want, sometimes even farfetched ones. With that freedom comes the ability to create characters that live lives far more interesting than mine, and those who encounter life situations that I have not yet, and in many cases, would hope I’d never have to encounter. But I’ve often heard it mentioned over the years that us writers should play it safe by writing only what we know. Well I have a problem with this notion, since if I stuck to writing only what I knew, I’d be relegated to writing about librarians, piano players, church-going seamstresses and gym rats who obsessively count every caloric morsel that goes into their mouths on a daily basis, because you see, that’s what I know and that’s who I am. Now mind you, a talented writer can create a character that has the most boring profession in the world and still manage to write an interesting story around him or her. I’m certainly don’t dispute this fact.

 

One of the beautiful things about the Internet is that it puts knowledge at our fingertips–literally. Long gone are the days where one had to trek across town to the public library and spend hours between the dust bunny-ridden aisles, leafing through books to find information on subjects they know nothing about. Now, all one need do is logon onto the world-wide-web, Google something specific and be greeted with a host of search hits from semi-relevant to dead-on-specific in regards to the information they seek. One of the things I’ve learned as a writer is that research is my friend. In fact, my passion as a writer couldn’t possibly be more well-matched in terms of my educational background; I am fortunate to have a background in both libraries and research and this comes in quite handy when it comes time to get down to serious research for my stories.

 

When it comes to the Internet, of course it goes without saying that not everything on the Internet can be taken as fact, there are plenty of reputable websites that contain hoards of information on any desired subject, not to mention the advent of social media and it’s subsequent aspect of social networking has opened plenty of doors to network with others who have lived the exact experiences one may seek to write about in a novel. I’d like to think that having not fought in the Vietnam War would prevent me from writing a good story about a character who is a Vietnam War vet. And one of the best things about doing research for my novels is that I learn so many things along the way that I may not have learned otherwise.

 

So telling me to stick to writing only what I know is akin to tying my hands behind my back as a writer. Writing fiction is one of those freeing experiences that I treasure almost like no other. When I sit down at my laptop and dream up intriguing characters, I need to be free to let my mind explore possibilities and experiences for my characters that I may never in this lifetime ever get to experience. Taking that ability away from me would cripple my passion, and as a writer who prides herself on her creative abilities, I simply can’t have that.

 

I look forward to sharing my upcoming April 17th release, Hearts of Time with you!

 

Hearts of Time Blurb:

 

Isn’t it funny when the thing you want the least becomes the thing you want the most?

Olivia Putnam is a fiercely independent, twenty-nine year old career woman. Having survived her mother’s untimely death eight years ago, she’s managed to raise her younger sister all on her own along with fulfilling her dream of becoming successful corporate attorney. She has lots of money, designer clothes, and the other luxuries of life. The man in her life, Theo Griffin, wants her for a lifetime and would gladly marry her on the spot, but two things stand in the way: Olivia’s reservations about commitment and her obsessive work habits. She’s torn between finding time for her relationship and devoting time to growing her career. But when she meets successful realtor, thirty-one year old Alistair Davenport, at her best friend’s wedding, her ideas about love and commitment are about to change. Although falling in love is the last thing on both their minds, Alistair’s chance business proposal to Olivia proves to be the catalyst that ignites their passion for each other…

 

I can be contacted at any of the following:

Blog: www.arethacsmith.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/acthewriter

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/ArethaCSmith/307812299231571

Email: arethacsmith@hotmail.com

 

Gearing Up for Con Season 2012

Well kids, it’s that time of year again.  Time for my daily posts leading up to MystiCon 2012 in Roanoke, VA.  I’m so excited this year, as I’ve learned so much and grown so much as an author.  I’ll be seeing old friends and making new ones.  This Con is also close to my heart because my family is from the area and it’s a chance to reconnect with some of my best childhood memories.  If I disappear during the day (as most of my panels are at night this time), I can probably be seen going to some old stomping grounds and snapping photos.

Last year this time, I was so nervous at the prospect of doing my first panel. Would I say the right thing? Would people wonder what the hell I was doing there?  I mean, at that point I had only published one eBook.  Who was I to speak about writing?  And then, apparently by Divine Intervention, the first person I met was Bethany Halle.  I had agreed to be a guest on her podcast and I was so damn nervous.  But she immediately put me at ease and after a few minutes, it was like I’d been doing this forever.  I realized that I wasn’t going to make an absolute fool of myself.  I’ve never forgotten Bethany’s generosity that night.  Since then we’ve attended other Cons together and become fast friends.

This year I’m not so much nervous as excited.  And it’s a great feeling!  There are many

The Real Me... exciting isn't it...

things I’m looking forward to:  my first adventure in moderating (considering I never do anything in moderation…), meeting Sherrilyn Kenyon (I’m such a fan!), dancing my curvaceous Southern ass off at the Bella Morte show, the road trip up (PLAYLIST!)– but most of all, seeing friends I rarely get to be with.

And of course, assaulting new ones….

Wicked Little Wednesday, #3– Melissa Keir

Welcome, my lovelies!  Today I’m joined for an interview by brand, spanking-new romance author, Melissa Keir. She bravely consented to answer a few questions about herself and her hot offering in the Valentine anthology, Love Again.

Thank you for letting me come visit your site today.  It is fun to be able to share a bit of my life with your readers.

 1.   Tell us who you are and a little about how you came to be a writer of romance.

 Imagine the Brady Bunch without Alice and you’ve got a pretty good picture of my life.  As a part of a blended family with two children from each of our previous marriages, my husband and I have created a new home and family that encompasses our teenage and young adult children, two fur-babies, a high grocery bill, and a lot of laundry.

 

Growing up as the oldest of five daughters, I was taught to fish, hunt and to work hard by my father.  He didn’t believe in forcing gender roles.  My grandmother taught me to cook, sew and care for others. And my mom taught me the importance of being me… she let me color my hair, cut it in the latest styles and fight for what I believed in. 

 

Today, I try to instill those ideals and a love of reading to my own children and future generations as an elementary school teacher. My family have made me a better person and provided me with support, great lines for my books, and a few gray hairs.  But I firmly believe that each experience makes us stronger and better.

 

Writing has always been a part of my life.  I’ve written poetry and musings on my life.  When I got a chance to write a story, I took it and haven’t looked back since then.  Now I have a book coming out Feb. 14th and more in April!

 

2.  So first things first, what do you consider to be the sexiest qualities in a man?

 The three traits that I find appealing in a man are his brain, his arms/shoulders, and his sense of humor. I love a man with a brain because there is so much out there in the world that it’s wonderful to get another perspective, bounce ideas off each other and discuss ideas.  I love a man’s shoulders and arms because they are the sexiest part of a guy’s body to me. The arms and shoulders have to be strong to deal with the stresses of the world and I love to be swept up and carried. A man’s sense of humor is my third trait because I love verbal sparring.  It is exciting to have a man who can keep up with my own sarcastic wit.  It’s like foreplay!

3.   Describe your ultimate hero.

My ultimate hero would be a guy who loved me for me and was willing to take care of me and put up with me.  A hero who worked hard for the money he earned.  I love a guy who works out and keeps his body at its peak, short military haircut and powerful arms. Throw in some chest hair and I’m so happy!

 4.   What makes a great sex scene?

A great sex scene is one where the reader gets drawn into the scene, feeling like they were there watching or participating in the scene.  It should arouse the reader’s passions and give them ideas of things to try at home.

 5.   Quickies:

*   Boxers or briefs? I like the boxer briefs, tight and fitted.

*  Red or white? Red.  It makes my green eyes stand out!

*  Sweet or savory? I’d much rather have something a little spicy!  But if I had to choose, I’d say sweet.

*  The Kama Sutra or The Story of O The Story of O.

*  #1 Song on Your “Sexy Writing” Playlist? I love Adele’s whole cd “21” because it always sets the mood!

6.      Tell us about your current release and give us a little taste…

My current release is Forever Love, a short story in the Love, Again Valentine Anthology. It is available in e-book and print from Ruby Lioness Press.

 Forever Love is the story of a woman who escapes her small town life after high school for the bright lights and anonymity of the big city.  But when her father is facing his toughest battle, Alzheimer’s, she comes home to care for him and finds herself face to face with the one guy who broke her heart.  Can they find a way back from the pain of the past?  Or will he forever be the one that got away?

 Excerpt:

A dark, cropped haircut framed a face so beautiful that it could be described as the face of a Roman god: he had a strong nose and jawline that showed just a sprinkling of whisker stubble. It was his body that made me pause, however. His muscular shoulders and upper arms looked like they could carry a girl off to bed. His chest was wet and covered with hair that immediately drew my eyes and tempted me to caress it. The chest hair tapered down his narrow waist and seemed to lead the way to paradise. I stopped walking and just stared. I could only hope that I was not drooling. This guy was smokin’ hot! Then he smiled and I noticed his face, complete with a little dimple in his chin. He seemed familiar, but I wasn’t sure where I recognized him from. When he saw that I noticed him, he winked at me as if he recognized me, too.

“Hello! Nice day for a walk, huh? The weather has been kind to us this year.” He spoke and my knees wobbled. His voice was like chocolate, smooth and delicious.

 

Thank you for having me at your blog today.  I love to hear from readers.  You can reach me at…www.melissakeir.com or on Facebook at…http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003150554229&ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/Melissa-Keir-Fan-Page/143020369136928  or on Twitter at…https://twitter.com/#!/melissa_keir.

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Alright, now that you’ve read the whole thing…. drum roll…….

The winner of the copy of “Masquerade” is—- Daemonicus Sanguinus!!  Your smutty little morsel will be in your inbox ASAP!!!  Happy reading!!

Coming soon: Wicked Little Wednesday #3– Melissa Keir

Coming up tomorrow, I’m welcoming up and coming romance author, Melissa Keir!  She’s got a new release to heat up your Valentine’s Day!  Don’t forget to come by and leave her some comments, hop over to her blog and take a gander at what she has to offer.  But most exciting of all… she’s going to be answering some of my hard-boiled and half-cracked questions about life, love and of course… sex.

Don’t forget– if you’re a writer, YOU— yes, YOU– can be a guest on the Southern Belle from Hell!  I accept writers of all genres!

Also, tomorrow I will be announcing the winner of the Valentine’s contest!  Stay tuned…

Playlistism: Valentine’s Edition

You know me, I LOVE a music post.  And what better time to have a music post than on Valentine’s Day?  I warn you, before I go on: my idea of a love song may be extremely odd to some of you.

1.  Sweet Child o’ Mine– Guns N’ Roses :  The lyrics of this song are beautiful.  Even if Axel Rose is a crazy person.

2.  Love You to Death– Type O Negative:  I have a little fantasy that this song will be dedicated to me everywhere I go.  It’s deliciously dark and exceptionally romantic.

3.  So Far Away– Dire Straits:  This is a perfectly melancholy love song.  It’s about loving someone long-distance.

4.  What Part of Forever– CeeLo Green: This song is one of the only things about Twilight that doesn’t suck.  It’s upbeat and sticky.  Once you hear it, you can’t get it out of your head.  But the lyrics are so sweet and embody those feelings of undying love one gets just as a relationship starts to blossom.

5.  Come What May– Ewan McGregor:  I don’t think I even have to explain this one. Ladies… am I right?

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I’m available for questioning at the following locales:

The Southern Belle from Hell:   https://lexxxchristian.wordpress.com/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/#!/alexandra.christian1

Fan Page on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Lexxx-Christian-The-Southern-Belle-from-Hell/245839382102904

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#!/LexxxChristian

In case you didn’t know by now, I’m an author of (mostly) paranormal erotic romance.  You can find my work in your favorite eBook format at:  Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Bookstrand and AllRomance eBooks