Being Thankful

Well, I’m sitting here doing my usual Thanksgiving Eve ritual.  “Gone With the Wind” is on the television while I finish up making a gigantic pumpkin cheesecake.  It’s the same every year.  I don’t know what it is, but though I’m probably one of the most non-traditional person I know, I get a yearning for traditions during the holiday season.  And I feel cheated if I miss even one little detail.  Well tonight I’ve decided to start a new tradition.  This year has been one of changes.  Some good, some not so good… some yet to be decided.  But even when I’m down in the dumps, feeling like I’ve completely ruined my life, I realize that I have so much to be thankful for.

1.  My family.  I’ve talked about this before on my blog, but its so true that it bears repeating:  I have the most fantastic family in the world.  I keep seeing posts on Facebook about how people are lacing their turkey with Prozac or not looking forward to going home to their folks’ place or trying to figure out clever ways to avoid their parents or siblings and I can’t help but think, “I’m so glad I don’t have to do that!”  I love going over to my sister’s house and hanging out with everyone.  I have an amazing father, Alex,  that’s always the life of the party, 2 sisters, Jayel and Sarah,  that are the epitome of what older sisters should be, a husband, Tally,  that can only be described as Adonis and Rhett Butler all rolled into one, a niece, Katie,  that teaches me every day about unconditional love, parents and siblings-in-law: Derek, Justin, Doris, Mike, Brennan and Mandy,  that have welcomed me into their family with open arms and hearts, and an adopted sister and mom, Marcia and Alice,  that are always surprising me with their love.  And not to mention all the aunts and uncles and cousins that are too numerous to name without being tiresome.  I’m just overwhelmed at how lucky I am to get to spend the holidays with all of them.  It’s not an obligation, it’s a privilege.

2.  My friends.  Y’all probably hear so much about my friends that you either wish you could meet them yourself or that I’d just shut up about them.  People that know me will tell you that I haven’t always been the best when choosing my friends.  It’s probably because I always assume the best in people.  However, the friends I’ve made as an adult have been wise decisions and they are true friends.  Some of these friends are those kind that were probably family in another life:  Susan, Amy, Jen, Bill, Selah, Erin, John, Nicole, Stacie, Alan, Leigh– you all know who you are.  Some of them I met in conventional ways (i.e. work) and others in more unconventional ways (Second Life, Yahoo groups), but all of them are special to me.  I’ve also made a slew of friends on Facebook, some that I have had the pleasure to meet and assimilate: Nicole, Randy, Alexx, Bruce, Bobbie Jo, David, Mark and so many others that I just don’t even have the space to mention. People that have inspired me and encouraged me even when they’d never seen my face.  Fellow artists and dreamers that have bucked me up when I felt like giving up or maybe just made me smile with their kitty memes. And then there are  my teacher friends who still love me, even though I abandoned them:  Carole, Alisha, Harriet, Sarah, Tracy, Terri– and so many others.  I am thankful for you all.

3.  Writing.  It took me a long time to realize my purpose in life.  I went through all sorts of masks trying to figure out who I really am.  It wasn’t until about three years ago that I figured it out.  I am a writer.  I’ve tried to be an actress, a teacher, a store clerk, but what I really am is a writer.  None of that has ever given me as much satisfaction as finishing a story.  To breathe life into my characters is the most wonderful thing I can think of.  I suppose there was no escape.  My sister is a writer, my husband is a writer and my grandmother could tell a story like nobody’s business.  Writing has saved my life over the last year and I’m grateful.  When I didn’t like the world I was living in, I just made up a new one.  And when someone pissed me off– I just killed them in a book.  I know, now you’re trying to figure out who my victims were… I’m also thankful that there are publishers and editors out there that believed in me enough to let me do this professionally:  Kelly, E, Kharisma, Traci, Nicole, and Rebecca.

4.  Health.  I talk a lot about my mother, Anita, who passed away three years ago.  My mother and I were extremely close and when she died it nearly broke my heart completely.  I still have days when I miss her so much that I find myself sobbing on the couch.  Mom died after a twenty year battle with heart disease and diabetes.  She became ill when she was fairly young and we realized after she was gone that I had never really known my mother when she was completely well.  I’m so thankful that I’m older than she was when she first found out she was diabetic and still in fairly good health.  Sure, I need to lose a few pounds, exercise more and stress less, but I’m still active and feeling good. And that’s truly a blessing.

5. Home.  And I don’t necessarily mean a structure, though having a roof is nice.  I really mean a place where I can go where someone is there that loves me always.  Someplace that’s warm and safe.  Someplace where my husband hugs and kisses me and my dog annoys the shit out of me and lays in my lap sleeping.

Alright, I’m going to shut my mouth now and let you all get back to your own Thanksgiving rituals.  Think of me fondly while you’re shopping on Black Friday and I’m working.  Don’t forget to hug the people that you’re thankful for.  And as always, if you’re looking for something good to read on this holiday weekend– check me out.   Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

My books can be found  at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance eBooks and anywhere quality eBooks are sold.

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A Review: In the Red by Selah Janel

I’m back again this week to tell you a little bit about Selah Janel’s new book, In the Red.  It’s a story we’ve heard a million times: boy makes a deal with the devil and ends up regretting it.  BUT WAIT… the last person that wrote that story wasn’t Selah Janel.

I’ve known Selah a while now. I’ve been a fan of her writing back when she was still just doing it for fun.  She’s always had a quirky perspective on the world and a way of putting words together that is both disturbing and hilarious.  In the Red does not disappoint.  It is the story of a miserably unsuccessful musician, Jeremiah Kensington, who is willing to do anything to get out of the countrified rut he’s gotten himself into. Enter Jack Scratch.  Jack offers to make him a star with a new life, new band and new image.  With the new image comes a new pair of boots that seem to hold a mysterious power.  But the longer he wears the boots the more he realizes that the price he’s paid is high.

It is obvious to anyone who reads In the Red that Miss Janel did a lot of research.  She’s spoken to musicians and other performers to try and delve into their psyche.  It’s very evident in the first couple of chapters that Janel has a handle on the struggle that Jeremiah is going through.  Then later, the unwilling transformation that he goes through and realizing how selfish his pursuits have been– it really keeps the reader glued to the pages.  At least it did for me.

Another thing that I loved about In the Red was Janel’s narrative voice.  Her snarky personality, clever wit and intelligence comes shining through.  She assumes that the reader is intelligent and doesn’t dumb down situations and descriptives.  Her prose is refined, yet accessible.  The story will appeal to young, frustrated adults as well as an older audience that remember the decadence and opulence of the glam rock era.

If you’re looking for an exciting read that keeps you guessing right up until the end– and oh my sweet heavens what an ending– I recommend In the Red with absolutely no reservations.  It’s just so different from anything else out there.  Skirting the line between urban fantasy and horror, each chapter keeps the reader guessing and engaged.  Run out and pick up your copy TODAY!

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About In The Red by Selah Janel

Live like a rock star. Dance ‘til you die. Are you in?

What kind of a rock star lives in a small town in the middle of nowhere and plays at weddings and funerals? That’s what Jeremiah Kensington is thinking after an unsuccessful bar gig one night. Then Jack Scratch comes into his life, ready to represent him and launch him to stardom. Jack can give him everything: a new band, a new name, a new life, a new look, and new boots…although they aren’t exactly new. They once belonged to The One, a rocker so legendary and so mysterious that it’s urban legend that he used black magic to gain success. But what does Jeremiah care about urban legend? And it’s probably just coincidence that the shoes make him dance better than anyone, even if it doesn’t always feel like he’s controlling his movements. It’s no big deal that he plunges into a world of excess and decadence as soon as he puts the shoes on his feet, right?

But what happens when they refuse to come off?

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About Selah Janel…

Selah Janel has been blessed with a giant imagination since she was little and convinced that fairies lived in the nearby state park or vampires hid in the abandoned barns outside of town. Her appreciation for a good story was enhanced by a love of reading, the many talented storytellers that surrounded her, and a healthy curiosity for everything. A talent for warping everything she learned didn’t hurt, either. She gravitates to writing fantasy and horror, but can be convinced to pursue any genre if the idea is good enough. Often her stories feature the unknown creeping into the “real” world and she loves to find the magical in the mundane.

 She has four e-books with No Boundaries Press, including the historical vampire story ‘Mooner’ and the contemporary short ‘The Other Man’. Her work has also been included in ‘The MacGuffin’, ‘The Realm Beyond’, ‘Stories for Children Magazine’, and the upcoming Wicked East Press anthology ‘Bedtime Stories for Girls’. She likes her music to rock, her vampires lethal, her fairies to play mind games, and her princesses to hold their own.

Peep through Selah’s window…

Bloghttp://www.selahjanel.wordpress.com

Fandom Scene Columnhttp://www.fandomfestblog.com/blogs/selah-janel

Facebook Author Pagehttp://www.facebook.com/authorSJ

Facebook Book Pagehttp://www.facebook.com/intherednovel

Goodreadshttp://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5622096.Selah_Janel

Amazon Author Pagehttp://www.amazon.com/Selah-Janel/e/B0074DKC9K/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1346815995&sr=1-2-ent

Twitterhttp://www.twitter.com/SelahJanel

A Trailer for In The Red

Betcha didn’t know that your old pal Lexxx dabbled in filmaking.  Guess what– I do!  I made a happy little trailer for my friend Selah Janel’s new book, In the Red.  Yep, it’s up on YouTube on the Alexandra Christian channel.  Just follow the link below and be sure to share with your friends.  Also, if you’d like a chance at winning the free pdf copy of In the Red, be sure to leave a comment here on the blog with your email addy please!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cL4yXTUguMI&feature=share

Enjoy the trailer, and check back later this week for my review of In the Red.

In the Red with Selah Janel: Happy Endings

I have the unique opportunity to be the first stop on the 2nd leg of the “In the Red” blog tour with Selah Janel.  Let me start off by saying that not only is Selah one of my best friends but she’s also a fantastic writer with more creative ideas in her little toe than in my entire leg.  Well.. at least to the knee.  On today’s stop, she’ll be telling us about writing the perfect ending.  And I can tell you, kittens, In the Red has one of the best endings I’ve ever read…..

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Endings are funny things. Just when you think you’ve got everything wrapped up, just when you think you have a fabulous, punch-in-the-stomach ending that will have everyone on the edge of their seats and talking…things change.

I’ve kept mostly mum about the second half of In the Red on purpose. I don’t want to give everything away, after all! It’s more than that, though. In some ways the second half of the book is also based around a postscript to the fairy tale The Red Shoes, depending on the version you read. Like the first half, it definitely is more urban fantasy in style and takes it’s time. It’s the part of the book where I really began to realize just how much I liked my character Jeremiah Kensington, and just how much I could relate to him in some ways.

Ever since the plot was a short story, it was my instinct and intention to end it at the height of the action, where the first part of the book ends. I was all for it up until my first round of edits…and I just couldn’t do it. I’m not sure how it exactly happened, but I suddenly, instinctively knew that there was much more to Jeremiah, and much more to the story.

This was a very hard and very long section to write. Not only did I keep thinking up ideas, but they kept shifting, and it took a long while for me to make sense of everything. It also required a lot of research into places I was unfamiliar with. I think people forget that it isn’t just about the research – you still have to find a way to make sense of it all, relate it to your plot and characters, and make it make sense for the situation…otherwise it’s just showing off how many facts you’ve been able to find out. You have to relate it in a way that accents the story instead of overshadows it. Thankfully, I was able to tap into the more emotional side of things, because I also had an unholy fear of getting something wrong or out of context. Most of the time my life became a mix of work and writing, and even when I was away from my computer I was going over everything in my head repeatedly, trying to get things to make sense.

Jeremiah comes to grip with a lot in the second half of the book. Not only does he have to realize that his life is changed forever, but there are some very serious consequences to making a deal that seems too easy, especially when it’s with a dark force. He has to face up to his addictions, his desperate need for fame, and his use of the red boots as a crutch – a crutch that has dire consequences that he only realizes way too late in the game. It’s interesting to me that sometimes when we realize something is bad for us, we still depend on it. We still want it. We still long for it, and lash out at those that have our best interests at heart. I’ve done it at certain hard points in my life, and revisiting my own behavior and reactions was not an easy process, though I’d like to think that it made Jeremiah’s actions a little more believable. He starts out as a selfish person, he’s enabled to become an extremely selfish person, and now he suddenly has to decide whether he’s going to break or try to move forward.

It’s a hard fact of life that sometimes you’re dropped to your knees. Sometimes you have to face the music, so to speak, or at least deal with repercussions to actions you never thought would lead to any bad results. Sometimes it’s an accident, sometimes it’s something stupid, but sometimes, sometimes you have to take a deep breath and realize that you’ve had moments where you’ve acted truly horrible. Jeremiah definitely has to deal with that, and at the same time he has to figure out what exactly is his reality, and what isn’t…or are all the strange things he’s seeing really withdrawal or is there more to his business deal than meets the eye? He has to learn that not everybody is going to like him or even want to understand him, but there are people who are in his corner, though they aren’t the people he initially wants there. He also has to learn that there are things that are harder to face than “evil” or “darkness.” At the end of the day, even if a person survives those encounters, they’ve still got to look in the mirror and decide how they feel about what they see there.

I also had a really tough decision to make with the ending…how much did I wrap up? Should I give it a clean, button-type epilogue that ties everything up in a nice and tidy bow? Do I answer every single question that people have? Do I make sure to overly explain it all so there’s no doubt as to what’s going on?

I did think long and hard about that one. I even asked some friends and people who just plain liked to read what their feelings were. Interestingly, their opinions were very similar to mine. There is no neat ending to a situation like this. There’s no reason to have a tidy little vignette where we see how everyone ends up and where they are in ten years or more. Life isn’t like that, and with everything Jeremiah goes through in the book, I couldn’t honestly say that life would be easy for him even a year down the line. People don’t have “they lived happily ever afters.” That’s unrealistic, and honestly I find it insulting to the readers. People do their best. They move forward. They stumble. They get stuck. They get out again. Sure, I have an idea of where Jeremiah ends up, but I didn’t feel that it was necessary to give that away. Instead, I wanted to leave it hopefully vague, in the spirit of the fairy tale that inspired me. I want people to have some sort of idea of where things are going, but do they honestly need to know the definitive ending? Do they need to know if he continues on the same path, makes a lot of money, or falters, regrets his decisions, or any of the rest of it? In this case, no. At the end point of the book, even Jeremiah isn’t looking that far ahead, so I think it’s unreasonable for everyone else to try to. Instead, I hope that people appreciate his journey, his battles, and his growth and become of fond of him as I have.

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Alright, here’s the deal– Selah’s giving away a pdf copy of In the Red.  If you want to enter, just comment on this post with a question for Selah… and don’t forget an email addy so you can get your prize!  If you aren’t comfy with putting your email on the post, just find me on Facebook (Alexandra Christian) and drop me a message!  Coming up later this week– MY review of In the Red and a new trailer for the book…

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Selah Janel has been blessed with a giant imagination since she was little and convinced that fairies lived in the nearby state park or vampires hid in the abandoned barns outside of town. Her appreciation for a good story was enhanced by a love of reading, the many talented storytellers that surrounded her, and a healthy curiosity for everything. A talent for warping everything she learned didn’t hurt, either. She gravitates to writing fantasy and horror, but can be convinced to pursue any genre if the idea is good enough. Often her stories feature the unknown creeping into the “real” world and she loves to find the magical in the mundane.

 She has four e-books with No Boundaries Press, including the historical vampire story ‘Mooner’ and the contemporary short ‘The Other Man’. Her work has also been included in ‘The MacGuffin’, ‘The Realm Beyond’, ‘Stories for Children Magazine’, and the upcoming Wicked East Press anthology ‘Bedtime Stories for Girls’. She likes her music to rock, her vampires lethal, her fairies to play mind games, and her princesses to hold their own.

More about In the Red:

Live like a rock star. Dance ‘til you die. Are you in?

What kind of a rock star lives in a small town in the middle of nowhere and plays at weddings and funerals? That’s what Jeremiah Kensington is thinking after an unsuccessful bar gig one night. Then Jack Scratch comes into his life, ready to represent him and launch him to stardom. Jack can give him everything: a new band, a new name, a new life, a new look, and new boots…although they aren’t exactly new. They once belonged to The One, a rocker so legendary and so mysterious that it’s urban legend that he used black magic to gain success. But what does Jeremiah care about urban legend? And it’s probably just coincidence that the shoes make him dance better than anyone, even if it doesn’t always feel like he’s controlling his movements. It’s no big deal that he plunges into a world of excess and decadence as soon as he puts the shoes on his feet, right?

But what happens when they refuse to come off?

You can harass Selah around the web at these locales:

Bloghttp://www.selahjanel.wordpress.com

Fandom Scene Columnhttp://www.fandomfestblog.com/blogs/selah-janel

Facebook Author Pagehttp://www.facebook.com/authorSJ

Facebook Book Pagehttp://www.facebook.com/intherednovel

Goodreadshttp://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5622096.Selah_Janel

Amazon Author Pagehttp://www.amazon.com/Selah-Janel/e/B0074DKC9K/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1346815995&sr=1-2-ent

Twitterhttp://www.twitter.com/SelahJanel

AND THE WINNER IS… of the Wicked After Dark Hop

Well, it’s finally that time, kids.  Time for the end of the blog hop.  We must say goodbye, but the good news is that you can join me for my regular posts, I’ll be participating in more hops for the Holiday season AND… it is time to announce the winners!!

And the winners are….

Julie Kornhausl and Carin Walker

Congratulations ladies!  I hope you enjoy your books and will become faithful readers.  I’d also love to know what you think, so don’t be a stranger!

The WINNER of the Howloween Blog Hop!!

CLICK ME to visit the other Blog Hop participants!

Drum roll, please!!!!!   We have the first of our winners for the blog hop extravaganza I’ve been on for the last week.  The winner of the Howloween Blog Hop of 2012!  The winner will be the proud recipient of either a copy of Sanguine Kiss or Dollface– two howlingly good tales!

So without further ado….

The winner is CHRISTINA LIVINGSTON!!

Congratualtions, Christina!  I will be emailing you with details.  Thanks to everyone who participated.  And if you were entered in the Wicked After Dark hop, those winners will be announced tomorrow!  Happy Howloween!!!