EXCERPT: Ingenue: Introducing Rose d’Vine

ingenue_new lineAlright, my pretties… as promised, here is an excerpt of my new book from Ellora’s Cave!  Presenting…. “Ingenue.” 

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Rose turned and began to loosen the ribbon ties that crisscrossed over her back. The bodice was so tight that lines, clearly visible to the front row, had been cut into the flesh of her back. She could feel each one, but like the gentle sting that came with a tangle of curl, she was used to this slight discomfort. Craved it, even. Despite being so constricted, she moved with a dancer’s grace, twisting and turning until she faced them again. A coquettish smile played on her lips as she delighted in their growls of frustration. She was teasing them. Only at the last possible moment would she reveal the hidden pearlescent flesh.
Her middle, soft and curvaceous, was smoothed into an unyielding cylindrical form that tapered toward her hips. Her ample breasts peeked just over the top hem of the undergarment and if anyone had looked closely, they would have seen just the hint of rose-café areola exposed in a flurry of lace. She moved her hands over her hips and up her sides until finally arriving at the sumptuous globes of her bosom. She caressed them with her palms, her bright-red nails standing out over the milky skin. She tugged gently at the corset, a tiny promise of what was surely to come. They could hear the tiny snaps hidden at the front of the corset begin to give way. The climax of the song had arrived and Rose ceased to move. Only her fingertips, gently working free the closures as she sang, gave any sign of movement. The crowd below was holding its collective breath. They knew that at any second she would pull the corset open with a savage flourish. The notes in her voice climbed higher as she strutted down the runway until finally, inevitably, she arrived at the end. Then, standing there in the midst of her admirers,
Rose held the final strains of the song, pulling the corset fully open and tossing it into the audience. The pasties over each nipple and the web of rhinestones over her sex glistened in the dim spotlight. She gave them only a moment to stare at her near-naked form. They reached and hissed at her, everyone wanting to caress even just the smallest bit of her flesh. Rose smiled and waved, blowing kisses to them all as they passed around the silk corset, pressing it to their noses to inhale her womanly perfume.

“Easy, boys,” she sighed, still breathless. “I wouldn’t want anyone to have a stroke.” Turning on her heel, she walked toward the wings. She paused for only a moment. “At least not until you get home.”

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That Rose… I just love her.  I want to be her when I grow up.  At any rate, if you liked that bit, hop on over to Ellora’s Cave by clicking the image and grab a copy of “Ingenue” hot off the presses.  You won’t be sorry…

Show Me Your Burlesque, or RELEASE DAY!!

ingenue_new lineWell, it’s finally here!! You can officially purchase my new short, “Ingenue,” from Ellora’s Cave!  It’s a sexy little historical romance that takes place near the end of the Roaring 20s.  It’s the era just before “talkies,” when Vaudeville was king.  Variety show circuits dominated the entertainment industry, bringing song and dance, bawdy comedy acts and striptease to the masses.  Though our story takes place in the 20s, burlesque dates back much farther.  Theaters in Victorian London staged popular parodies of grand opera and Shakespearean plays that had comedic musical numbers and raunchy humor.  Of course, it didn’t take long for the art form to cross the pond into America where, like everything else, it was made bigger, raunchier and rowdier.  Striptease was added to the mix and the shows became more of a variety-style format with comedians, magicians, singers and short versions of the English style that might parody a popular play or some political issue of the time.  Striptease, for obvious reasons, became a major draw for the shows.  However, rules became more and more stringent and the performers found creative ways to get past obscenity laws.  Pasties and props kept the essentials covered and the routines were more about the tease and less about the strip.  The “hoofers” were not only sexy, but talented singers, dancers and comediennes.  Stars such as Gypsy Rose Lee, Sally Rand and Blaze Starr emerged as classy sex symbols of their time.

“Ingenue” is a story about this Golden Age of Burlesque.  The heroine, Rose D’Vine, is a burlesque dancer, desperate to escape the seedy New York theater scene and break into movies.  She’s so desperate that she’s willing to sell her love to the highest bidder– a horrible meal ticket named Charlie Potter.  He’s abusive and selfish, but he’s got connections in high places and he’s promised to make her a star.  What Rose really needs is a hero.  Enter Stefan, the soft-spoken stagehand.  He’s loved Rose for years and wants to take her away from Charlie.  He wants to make all of her dreams come true, but what does a poor immigrant have to offer.  Only his love.

Stay tuned for an excerpt, but in the meantime….

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Never fall in love with a hoofer. That’s the advice given to Stefan—advice he immediately ignores when he falls head-over-heels in love with burlesque dancer Rose, the shimmying, corseted star of the Footlight Theatre. But wicked, wounded Rose is far out of the humble stagehand’s reach.

Rose has stars in her eyes—and bruises on her face. As she suffers abuse at the hands of a cruel patron, she dreams of the day when she’ll find her way out of her nightmare and into the arms of the passionate, protective Stefan.

Inside scoop:  This book contains scenes of domestic violence before the heroine fights back and finds her true hero.

AHS Coven Roundup and Halloween

american-horror-story-coven-2You guys probably noticed that I didn’t comment on American Horror Story last week. Well, I was a little disheartened by last week’s episode.  There was some stuff going on that I just didn’t feel were particularly necessary.  And the one thing I hate in horror is when the writer does something just for ick factor.  There was a lot of ick factor last week:  the Incest is the Best storyline with Frankenwiener, the Is that a Cowbell or Are You Just Happy to See Me event with Queenie and the Minotaur— it was just too much for The Belle.  So I didn’t say a lot.

This week, the show was redeemed!  I’m not really surprised.  Every season has had a mediocre episode followed by the bombshell Halloween episode. This season was no different.  Marie Laveau has permanently cemented her place in my heart with this week’s badassery. Hell hath no fury like a voodoo queen scorned.  I won’t spoil it, but let’s just say that the Civil Rights Movement might have sped along a little faster if they’d let Marie settle some of the disputes.  I actually kind of like that we’ve got some social commentary going on this season.   I was also pleasantly surprised that Delphine and Queenie seemed to be coming to an understanding.  Perhaps old Madame LaLaurie will be the one getting redeemed this year.

The theme this week was obviously:  When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us.  As I mentioned on Twitter, there were a lot of checks being written that asses can’t cash.  Never cheat on a witch– her Coven will come after you.  Never hurt a witch– her Coven will come after you.  Never gang up on a witch– her Coven will come after you.  They may hate one another, but nobody else better fuck with em.  Which brings me to the double-edged sword of this week’s episode for me:  the witch council.  I hate complicated political structures in paranormal fiction.  Remember that stupid vampire power structure in the Sookie Stackhouse books? The Volturi in the Twilight series?   Yeah… I hate shit like that.  You’re freakin’ witches. I think a governmental body is a pretty moot point.  However, I loved the three actors that played The Council.  If these kids had been the Volturi, it would have been entertaining.

Coven did one thing extremely well tonight, though.  The Southern Gothic element was portrayed with the mysterious reverence it deserves.  If you’re an author who is trying to pinpoint how to capture that atmosphere, watch the encore episode and take notes.  It doesn’t get more perfect than this.

Happy Halloween, kids!  Have a spooky, sexy day!  And don’t forget to tune in tomorrow when I’ll be all about my RELEASE DAY!  That’s right, I have a new quickie from Ellora’s Cave dropping on Friday, Nov. 1st! So come back and see me!  You never know… I may give away a free book!

 

Fanfiction: Masterclass for Baby Writers or Root of All Evil?

me and amy (2)OK, admit it, when you saw the FANFICTION at the beginning of this blog post, you thought, “Has The Belle finally taken leave of her senses?”  And the answer is: no more than usual.  Let me begin by saying that I’m very positive on fanfiction.  Like many of my colleagues, “fic” was my introduction to building a story.  Yes, kittens, beneath this cool exterior beats the heart of a true fangirl.  If you’ve seen my Pinterest page, you know that already.  I’ve always been a movie person and had that little obsessive streak.  I still do. I’m hugely inspired by movies, music, television, actors and actresses. Therefore, fanfiction has been crucial to my development as a writer.

The first complete short story I ever wrote was a fanfiction.  It was 1996, I was in college and I was obsessed with the TV show, Forever Knight.  If you’ve never seen the show, its the predecessor to all the sympathetic vampire shows we know and love now.  Anyway, I joined a mailing list (remember those?!) full of other Forever Knight fangirls and I was introduced to the fic phenomenon.  The story was called “First Kill” and it was a shortish, angsty piece about Nick Knight and his first involuntary vampire murder.  I’m sure if I came across it now, I’d cringe at how awful it was.  However, it helped me craft a complete story without having to worry about building a world and a lot of original characters.  I also got lots of encouragement from other people that  liked the story and liked my writing style.  They also told me things that I could do better.  I started to think, “Hmm… I might be able to do this.”  Fast forward about 5 years and found a new mailing list dedicated to “Moulin Rouge.”  That’s where I really took off and started writing A LOT.  I actually gained a following (hi out there to any former Cleo followers) and learned how to add details, description and plot twists. Oh and did I mention explicit sex scenes?  I also had the remarkable experience of meeting some of my best friends IN THE WORLD on those lists.

The point of this story:  writing fanfiction is like training wheels for authors.

Now, the dark side.  Fanfiction is technically copyright infringement.  Wait, wait… don’t jump on me yet.  When you write fanfiction, you have to keep in mind that your fingers are playing in someone else’s pie.  And if you’re going to play with their worlds, then you have to respect their rules.  Some authors/ screenwriters/ filmmakers/ actors are very positive on fanfiction and even encourage their fans to have fun with their universes as long as said fans aren’t making money off of it.   Authors such as Neil Gaiman, Arthur Conan Doyle, J.K. Rowling, E.L. James, Stephanie Meyer, Terry Pratchett, Jim Butcher and many others give their full blessings to fan fiction writers as long as no profit is being made (the exception being Conan Doyle who is, in fact, dead– of course his estate is a different matter for a different blog post).  They realize that their works have inspired others to write and their creativity might lead future authors to realize their potential.  Others are VERY MUCH against it. Marion Zimmer Bradley, Orson Scott Card, Diana Gabaldon, Laurell K. Hamilton, George R. R. Martin, Anne Rice, and J. R. R. Tolkien are pretty adamant that their works NOT be borrowed or played with.  And that’s just a small sample.  So keep that in mind before hitting that PUBLISH button on Fanfiction.net.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVRDQacBVh0

The thing I don’t like about fanfiction is that some folks have taken it too far.  The “rules” have become way more stringent than in my day and flaming seems to be the rule of the day.  When I was writing fic regularly, it was a very supportive environment where aspiring writers tried to encourage other aspiring writers.  Now it can be like a warzone.  Fic authors are afraid to write Original Female Characters (OFCs) because they’ll be accused of doing a “Mary Sue.”  If you don’t know what that is, a “Mary Sue” is the author inserting herself into a story in order to engage in sexual situations with the objects of their desire.  I was actually reading a story on fanfiction.net the other day (yeah, I went snooping before writing this post) and in the author’s note the poor girl had actually apologized for her OFC.  This disturbed me because 1– you should never apologize for creativity and 2– if you never create an original character, then you’ll never move beyond fanfiction into your own stories.  I wanted to write this poor girl a note and tell her to take that apology back.  It was obvious to me that this girl was very young and very new to writing, and I’d hate to think that some fandom battleax would crush her because she’d dared to have an original idea.  I’ve also heard that for some fandoms, if someone dares to write a “hetfic” (meaning that the pairings are heterosexual rather than slash) that they’re almost guaranteed to be flamed off the list.  This disturbs me.  If two male characters aren’t gay in their fandom’s canon, why do we insist on forcing them into a sexual relationship in fanfiction?  Don’t get me wrong, if you want to write that– awesome.  Have at it.  However, don’t flame someone else who isn’t into that.  Personally, if I’m writing fanfiction about a heterosexual character, then its more satisfying to me to keep them in character (I’m lookin’ at you JohnLock!ers… ;P).

Now, the answer you’ve all been waiting for:  Do I, Alexandra Christian, Southern Belle, erotic author and part-time pinup girl, write fanfiction?  Yes.  I do.  Do I publish it anywhere?  No.  It’s something I write for myself for my hard drive for my eyes.  Fanfiction is now how I break through blocks, give my brain a rest and work through writing issues that I might be having.  I share it with a few friends every now and then, but for the most part I keep it to myself.

Mostly so George Lucas doesn’t kill my dog.

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ingenue_new lineCOMING FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1ST!!– Not a fanfiction…LOL

Never fall in love with a hoofer. That’s the advice given to Stefan—advice he immediately ignores when he falls head-over-heels in love with burlesque dancer Rose, the shimmying, corseted star of the Footlight Theatre. But wicked, wounded Rose is far out of the humble stagehand’s reach.

Rose has stars in her eyes—and bruises on her face. As she suffers abuse at the hands of a cruel patron, she dreams of the day when she’ll find her way out of her nightmare and into the arms of the passionate, protective Stefan.

Inside scoop:  This book contains scenes of domestic violence before the heroine fights back and finds her true hero.

A Romantica® historical erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

 

Vintage Sexy

ingenue_new lineHi kids!  I haven’t said much about anything other than American Horror Story here in the last couple of weeks so I’ve decided to remedy that this week.  In case you didn’t know, I have a book coming out on Friday with Ellora’s Cave.  It’s a little historical piece that takes us back to the early days of American Burlesque and Vaudeville.  “Ingenue” is the story of a burlesque dancer and the stagehand who loves her.  With that in mind, I wanted to talk a little bit today about what is sexy.

As a writer of erotica, both straight and paranormal, I always find myself reading and researching about what is sexy to the readers of 2013.  It’s an interesting topic, though I often get strange looks from the patrons of the local Starbucks.  The fact is, the things that we find sexy in today’s modern world have changed drastically in the last thirty years.  The Sexual Revolution of the 1960s made us more open, maybe even too open.  Previous to this, housewives were hiding their bodice rippers in the nightstand and denying any involvement in masturbation or fantasy lives.  Then suddenly the market realized that women wanted more explicit sex, hotter men and stronger heroines. And then the 1980s brought us AIDS, an increase in teenage pregnancy and an emphasis on sexual responsibility. Nowadays, innovations like the Internet, social networking and eBook readers have made the world much smaller and if possible, more open.  Specifically, more open to sex.  With all of these societal changes, the modern romance author has had to become vigilant in keeping up with what makes the modern reader hot, while also maintaining that theme of sexual responsibility.

One of the coolest things that I’ve noticed over the last several years is the return to all things vintage.  As many of you who read my blog and indeed, my writing, I closely identify myself with the Goth culture.  One of the things that the Goth scene has done for sexuality is to bring back the Burlesque aesthetic.  Corsets, clothes that are sexy without being obscene and bawdy women who are purposefully comedic and sexually open are HOT.  The popularity of movies like Burlesque and Moulin Rouge and performance artists such as Dita Von Teese reflect a culture that is ready to embrace the playful side of sex.  And embrace it not as something dirty, but as something that should be enjoyed.  I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the proverbial “bodice ripper” that features some poor shrinking violet being kidnapped, raped and forced into marriage just doesn’t sell anymore.  The modern reader wants strong heroines who aren’t afraid to fight back with all the weapons in their arsenal:  intellect, beauty and general “badassery.”

Another thing that romance readers are finding exceptionally sexy right now is the Male/Male romance.  While I myself don’t write in this subgenre, I have great respect for those that do.  And I think it’s so exciting that love relationships between two men are becoming so mainstream.  No one, regardless of their sexual orientation, should have to hide who they really are from the world.  The popularity of the Male/Male romance genre indicates to me that the modern reader is accepting of the gay lifestyle.  After all, love is love.  And tolerance is, to me, HOT.

Along with the age of eReaders has come a wave of new and exciting writers in the romance genre.  No longer do writers have to drown in the slush pile of a New York publishing house for two years before being told, “It’s just not what we’re looking for right now.”  Instead of authors scrounging to be noticed by publishers, eBook publishers are pursuing unknown authors.  As one of those unknowns, I’m exceptionally pleased by this paradigm shift.  It means that thousands of creative minds are getting their words out to the readers.  How exciting to be a reader right now!  Whatever sort of kink you’re into, there’s a writer out there who caters to you.  Trust me, if you want to read a book about an alien that falls in love with a werewolf—it’s out there.  That being said, readers want more and more creativity.  Plots have to be tight and believable.  No longer will readers be content to lose themselves in a ridiculous scenario highlighted by ten pages of “He presented his throbbing member to the entrance of her moist and waiting canal.”

Let me close by saying that no one can really answer the question, “What is sexy?”  Because the truth is, like wine, everyone has their own preferred vintage.  The good news is, with the explosion of eBooks and small presses, everyone can find something to tickle their fancy.

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COMING NOVEMBER 1ST FROM ELLORA’S CAVE!

Never fall in love with a hoofer. That’s the advice given to Stefan—advice he immediately ignores when he falls head-over-heels in love with burlesque dancer Rose, the shimmying, corseted star of the Footlight Theatre. But wicked, wounded Rose is far out of the humble stagehand’s reach.

Rose has stars in her eyes—and bruises on her face. As she suffers abuse at the hands of a cruel patron, she dreams of the day when she’ll find her way out of her nightmare and into the arms of the passionate, protective Stefan.