And so it begins…

MystiConWell, Con season is upon me once again.  That magical time when myself and author Tally Johnson take off to make our public appearances in the hopes of winning friends and influencing people.  Our convention year always begins with my personal favorite southeast convention– MystiCon in Roanoke, VA.  It started out as a reboot of a smaller convention the first year we went but has now grown to monumental proportions.  As in, if you don’t have your tickets yet– too bad.  They’re already sold out for the weekend.

MystiCon is pretty special to me.  The first time I applied, I was super-excited to get accepted because Roanoke, VA has familial connections for me.  My mother was from Salem which is about 15 miles outside of Roanoke.  We used to visit my grandmother there at least once a month when I was a child.  Whenever we went to the mall Christmas shopping or out to dinner– we usually drove into Roanoke.  In fact, the hotel where the convention is held– we drove past it countless times.  The mall where we would always go shopping with my gran is less than a block down the road.  Some of my best memories were made there in Roanoke.  So that’s why I’ll always be faithful to MystiCon.  It’s like going home.

Another reason to go is the people.  Tally and I have made so many amazing friends through the con circuit and we don’t get to see them too often.  So MystiCon is just this big party where we get to hang with our friends we never see.  Mark Davis, Gail Z. Martin, Christina Stiles, Andy Deane and the Bella Morte gang, and countless others will be on hand not just to share their knowledge on panels or sell their wares– they’ll be there to reconnect with friends and make new ones.  That’s the best part of convention season.

So, if you’re in the area and are planning on coming to MystiCon this year, stop over and see me.  I’d love to say hi, hang out and have a write-in or just have a drink.  And of course, I will have books for sale.  Here is my schedule:

Friday, 2/27:     10pm:  Iron Author

Saturday, 2/28:   10am: The Weird South

                             7pm: Author Readings (sexy edition)

10pm: Broad Universe Rapid Fire Readings (horror edition)

Sunday, 3/1:        11am: How to Get Rejected (I’m expert at this one.)

                              1pm: Say What???

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American Girls are Weird, or The Desolation of Lexxx’s Ovaries

imagesCA1Y3W1LSo y’all know I’m a fangirl right?  If you don’t then obviously this is the first time you’ve ever visited my blog.  I mean, yes, I’m a writer of steamy romance, but every girl has to have a muse right?  Besides, reading the same three posts over and over about how GREAT my books are and where I get my ideas is just boring as hell.  So I often digress into prattling on and on about various and sundry pop culture obsessions.  Okay, so maybe just #Benedict Cumberbatch (like that hashtag?  hehe.. I made it myself).  So let me start off by telling why I like him.  I mean, there are many folks out there who don’t get it.  He describes himself as looking like a posh alien and in a way he does I suppose.  My sister, Lucy Blue, once said that he looked like he was some kind of alien shapeshifter who only had some vague idea of what a human was supposed to look like.  Ben (why yes, I like to be on a first name basis with my muses), has also said that his long face and neck generally implies some kind of inbreeding.  If that’s so, then truly incest is the best.  Honestly, I think he’s ethereally physically attractive.  I like striking features, what can I say?  But all that aside– that is only 5% of why I like him.  Ok, maybe 10%.  The rest of it has absolutely nothing to do with what he looks like.

1:  I’m a sapiosexual and that boy has an impressive brain.  He has a command of language and it’s obvious that he does not get his world view from the crawl on Yahoo.  Watching him being interviewed, while he usually seems at ease and is always personable, you can see him thinking.  When he talks about reading books, you know he’s telling the truth and not just being photographed holding them because he can talk intelligently about them. Upon being asked which ones are his favorites, they are not trendy books that EVERYONE has read, but books for which a movie hasn’t been made.

2.  Talent.  If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t seen any of the movies/ television in which Cumberbatch has appeared this year, then you have to check one out to see what I mean.  I mean, we all have actors we think are good:  Russell Crowe, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Daniel Day-Lewis.  And those folks are great, but holy shit— I’ve never seen anything like BC (yeah, he’s got his own abbreviation too. shush… get yer own!).  I’m a theater nerd from way back and was, in fact, on a slow moving train wreck to being an actress myself (story for another time).  So I feel pretty snobby when evaluating actors.  If they aren’t good, I can’t be bothered.  Even if they look like they were carved out of cream cheese, I just can’t like them.  I’m not naming any names (ahem… James Franco…) but if you can’t act, don’t be an actor.  Your angelic face and heavenly body will be lost on me.  This is why I can’t get excited about Magic Mike 2 (I didn’t even see the first one) or The Fast and the Furious franchise.  Honestly kids, go and find the BBC movie about Stephen Hawking.  Cumberbatch plays the title role and his portrayal of fear, sadness, determination, genius, elation and hope– even without dialogue– is just breathtaking.  And don’t get me started on the physicality that role demands.

hawking

CLICK HERE to watch part of “Hawking.”

 

3.  And he’s a nice fucking guy.  When did this become such a rare commodity?  He’s always polite (even in situations when, by all rights, he probably shouldn’t have been), personable, quick to compliment, funny, tolerant, and just a genuinely nice person.  He doesn’t take himself too seriously and knows that fame is fleeting.  He strikes me as a guy that, although he’s quickly becoming a superstar, would still shop at your grocery store and help you get something off the top shelf if you asked (this is important to me– I’m only 5’2″ and have T-Rex arms).  And as of yet, we haven’t seen any stories about him beating the shit out of some schmuck who put their cell phone in his face to snap a picture while he was standing at a urinal taking a piss.  And yes, he’s reached that point in his celestial path where people have made him an unfeeling object.  People who would have no trouble whatsoever in walking up to him and snapping his picture at point blank range without so much as a “hello.”  And the fact that he hasn’t clobbered someone yet speaks volumes.

Okay, now that I’ve finished gushing, let’s get to what brought this to mind today.  I was reading a site called Celebitchy today, having followed links, and got to a page that was talking about Ben’s recent stint in Malaysia (he hosted the Laureus Awards and did some presenting for the BBC at the Formula One Championship last weekend).  The article was snarky, but complimentary for the most part until it got to the end where the writer was talking about how he seemed to be trying to “butch up” his image and I thought— wait, what?  “Butch” up his image.  As if he’s been effeminate up to now?  And then I thought– ohhhh…. American girls are weird.

We seem to be having some kind of cultural crisis in America right now, ladies and it’s time we talked it over. It seems to me that over the past several years, we’ve taken a real swan dive in the qualities we value.  It seems that we can’t be bothered with men who aren’t impossibly beautiful (as in photoshop beautiful), cut like Greek statues or adults.  That’s right, I said it.  In our Red Bull guzzling, not going to work so we can play video games, teetotalling, Frat Boy arrested development male culture in America, we seem to have forgotten what real men are.  So now we’ve decided that any man who dresses like an adult (meaning he wears a freshly laundered button down shirt or dress pants or God forbid– a suit), shaves regularly, combs his hair and has a real job is gay or effeminate or a snob that thinks they’re better than everyone.  And I’m so sick of it!  I love men.  MEN.  Not boys.  And Benedict Cumberbatch is very obviously a man.  Just because he prefers a gin and tonic to Budweiser should not imply that he needs to “butch up.”

Isn't he cute!

Isn’t he cute!

As an aside, my husband combs his hair every day, wears clean clothes and has a real job.  He also has a Master’s degree in history, a funny accent and an IQ well over 140.  He doesn’t like racing or video games though– maybe he needs to butch up his image.  #NothingToDoWithWriting

The Muse Who Loved Me

So I’m trying to do better with this whole blog thing.  I know… I’ve said that before, but this time I really mean it.  I realize that I need to get me smilingmy voice out there and just be loud and obnoxious.  So here goes nothin’…   Somebody please kick my ass when I fall off after a few days.

I decided to talk a teensy bit tonight about muses. All artists have them, whether they’re writers, musicians, visual artists or actors.  We all use something or someone to glean inspiration from.  As a romance writer, I’ve often felt that an appropriate muse is one of the most important things you can have.  It always helps me to have a picture in my mind of my characters.  Of course, this is also what makes me impossible to please with cover art.  So tonight, a little tour through my Rogues’ Gallery of muses.

TallyFirst off, I’m going to show you this man.  He’s a constant muse and has been in every single book I’ve ever written.  My long-suffering husband, author and best friend, Tally Johnson.  He drives me insane, but I’m sure the feeling is mutual.  Even though he NEVER reads my books (says they make him feel funny… wtf?!), he’s always encouraging.  His creamy southern accent is an inspiration for the voice of all those southern gothic characters I create.  He’s got the best set of big brown eyes and an old-fashioned charm that just makes me swoon. But best of all, he’s the muse I get to sleep with every night.

Razor-sharp wit.  If you’ll notice, every one of my heroes is extremely sharp.  Clever, sarcastic charming and calculating are Sexy Ugly: Benedict Cumberbatchsome of the features that I find most tantalizing.  You will never see an idiot take his clothes off in an Alexandra Christian novel.  It just won’t happen.  I like them smart and sexy.  So one of my favorite muses lately has been none other than Benedict Cumberbatch.  All I have to do is take one look at those ice cold eyes, the sneer of that heart shaped mouth and that low purr of his voice and the story practically writes itself.

The muse that started it all.  I’ve told this story a million times, but I owe a lot of my writing ewan-mcgregor-kurt-cobain-movie-1-17-07career and many of my relationships to this muse.  Waaaaayyyy back in 2001, I was in that awkward period just after college when I was trying to find my place in the adult world.  I  was letting go of some destructive friendships and was feeling pretty lonely at that point.  That summer, I saw the incredible movie, Moulin Rouge, with my older sisters and immediately fell in love with Ewan McGregor.  I went total fangirl.  And who says that’s good for nothing?  I joined some yahoo groups (remember those?!) and met some other fangirls and of course… I began… *hangs head in shame* writing fan fiction.  It taught me so much about how to build a story AND got me addicted to writing for other people to read and getting feedback.  A lot of the things that I learned about writing, I learned from writing fan fiction.  I also made three of the best friends a girl could ever hope for in the process.  So Ewan remains in the upper echelon of my favorite muses.

CLICK me to buy the book!

CLICK me to buy the book!

 

OK, this blog post has now reached maximum density.  I could continue, as I have lots of muses, both male and female, but that would just bore you.  Besides…. I’m supposed to be pimping my new book, “One Hundred Strokes.”  And just what muse is responsible for Julian?  Well… I guess you’ll have to read the book and find out….

 

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.

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….

Happy New Year!

Greetings, everyone!  I hope that your Holiday celebrations were wonderful and that Santa brought you all you were wishing for.  So now it’s time for the New Year’s celebrations to begin.  Time for us all to pause and count our blessings and make hopes for the year ahead.  Some of us are also in for a long weekend at home with those new Kindles, Nooks and Kobos we got for Christmas.  So I’ve decided to do a little post to tell you what I’m reading on my little holiday:

1.  Creek Walking by Tally Johnson:  Now this one is currently out of print, but I have high hopes that it’s going to be released in a revised edition very soon.  Creek is a book of mostly Southern Gothic short stories penned by Southern historian, Tally Johnson.  Up until last year, no one knew that Johnson could write prose, as his previous works were true ghost stories from South Carolina, but damn what a prose writer he is.  He has a truly amazing voice that comes shining through such wildly different characters– you seriously won’t believe that the same author wrote these stories.  For example, one story is a high Victorian piece written in proper British English circa 1860.  Another is a very Southern Gothic retelling of, I shit you not– Oedipus.  My personal favorite story is one called “Route 666.”  It incorporates ghosts and mythology in such a clever way.  It’s just so strange, I can’t help but love it.

2.  Bubbly by Anne Holly:  This book comes from one of my fellow Rebels and is a brand new Contemporary Erotic Romance for New Years.  Anne’s going to be here on The Southern Belle from Hell in the coming weeks to promo her book, but I just had to go ahead and buy it so I could read.  And it is burning up my Nook!!  It’s a story about a poor little rich girl who ends up getting all hot and heavy with a rough and tumble bartender.  Anne is a fantastic writer that creates deep characters with an intelligent and witty voice.  She also writes really hot sex.  And as you know, that’s really important.

3.  Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell:  I started reading this book just before Christmas.  I’ve been a fan of the movie for as long as I can remember, but I’d never read the book.  Ladies and gents… if you’re a romance writer– READ THIS BOOK!  All of those little archetypes that we cling to started in this book. Now, old Margaret was in desperate need of an editor.  The book tops out at 1400 pages.  But it’s like a blueprint for every romantic character you’d ever want.  And the story is just so engrossing and over the top.  I love it.

4.  11-22-63 by Stephen King:  I admit it… I’m a slut for a new Stephen King novel.  I’ve blogged before about my long romance with Stephen King’s prose.  If I was half the writer he is, I could die happily.  When I was a kid and read my first King novel, Carrie, I marveled at his ability to scare the shit out of me while still making it a great story.  As an adult, I can still appreciate the story, but I understand all the subtle nuances of each character.  How he ties the plotlines together.  Even if I don’t like the story, I’m constantly amazed by the writing ability that King demonstrates– even just in his notes about the stories.  As a writer, the one person I’d like to sit down and have dinner with is Stephen King.  This book, obviously about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, promises to deliver suspense and general creepiness.

So there’s my lineup of New Year’s reads to get me through the long, cold winter.  I dunno about you guys, but I always read more in the wintertime.  It helps to pass the time until spring.  So feel free to read some with me and comment back.  We can have our own little book group.

Available 12/17 @ BN.com, Bookstrand, and AllRomance eBooks

Of course, I wouldn’t be a proper author if I didn’t plug my own books for your winter reading.  My latest, “Masquerade,” makes a great quick read that will warm you up nicely.  It’s a hot and heavy story about a married woman who needs a little variety in her life.  The variety comes in the form of two seductive men who sweep her off her feet at a mysterious masquerade party.  I’ve been told it’s pretty hot, so why not give it a try on that new Kindle or Nook?  Then hop over here and tell me how you liked it.  I’d love to use your words to shamelessly promote myself!

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Alexandra’s books are available through Barnes and Noble, Amazon, All Romance eBooks and Bookstrand.