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S. O. C. K. S.

I get it from my mother.

You know, that thing we do as writers, where a word like “concinnity” gets stuck in your head, and when you’re reading through the manuscript six months later, the copy editor has wondered why anyone would use concinnity once, never mind thirteen times in one chapter.

My first live, on-air TV interview was seven minutes long. I used the word “absolutely” thirteen times.

Yeah, a lot of authors do it…but I’m smart enough to admit that I come by it honestly. Genetically.

It is what it is.

I’m not a huge fan of the saying: “It is what it is.” Not sure why…probably because I’m a dreamer by trade who earns a living things that are not. Things aren’t what they seem all the time, and contrarywise. But it’s vernacular now, and as a student of language–not just English–I can respect the phrase’s right to exist.

Lately, though, Mom’s taken to saying, “It is what it is. S. O. C. K. S.”

I had NO idea what she meant by this–I figured it was some meme she saw on Facebook, or some family story I hadn’t heard yet, or an acronym from the latest, greatest self-help guru. I didn’t worry about it…I knew I’d hear the story at some point.

This evening, we had a guest for dinner. While cleaning up, Mom and the guest were discussing something that made the phrase appropriate. “It is what it is,” said Mom. “S. O. C. K. S.” After a pause, she said to the guest, “That’s Spanish, you know.”

I was taken aback. It IS Spanish, of course! Eso si que es…which means exactly that: It is what it is. I speak conversational Spanish, and French, and less Greek, and even less Romanian…but it had never occurred to me that Mom might be speaking Spanish. I felt rather foolish.

“It’s easy to remember,” Mom continued, “because it’s spelled just like ‘socks.’”

I resisted the urge to laugh out loud, lest Mom think it was at her expense. She had been spelling out S. O. C. K. S. And that’s exactly what I had been hearing. She wasn’t speaking Spanish, not really, and never had been.

My ear for languages? I get that from my father.

Eso si que es.

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Quotes from DEAREST

…because sometimes you have to do something fun.

Faith in Patchwork

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In Which The Brute Squad Saves The Princess

A few months ago, I got a very sad letter. It was from Candlewick Press, informing me that my very first picture book, AlphaOops: The Day Z Went First, would be going out of print in hardcover.

My life has been pretty horrible since December, but I’ve managed to hold it together. This time, I totally lost it. I called my mother and cried like a child had died. She asked me how many were left–50, 60, I don’t remember–and she volunteered to pitch in and help me purchase the rest of them.

Of course, I wanted to give my friends a chance to have their copies too, so I posted about it online to let people know. Happily, there was a pretty good response. I gave it a couple of days before I emailed the publisher…I didn’t want to risk them changing the status of the book before the people I loved had a chance to get a copy.

I offered to purchase whatever was left. The response I got humbled me down to my toes. “I’m happy to say, there are actually no copies left in the warehouse. Some large orders have come in since we sent you that low stock letter. It looks like AlphaOops will be up for reprint consideration at the next meeting.”

You want to talk about over the moon? I WAS OVER THE MOON, BABY.

I didn’t want to say anything until it was official…I received the books in the mail yesterday. Two brand-spanking-new copies of AlphaOops: The Day Z Went First, in its SIXTH PRINTING.

AlphaOops: The Day Z Went First...for the sixth time!

That’s right…YOU made it happen — all of you! — and I can’t thank you enough. Seriously. Thank you for keeping my book alive. You have given me hope in a year where everything seems to be falling apart around my ears. Little by little, I begin to have faith that my world can be rebuilt. Like Mom says, anything can be remodeled, as long as the bones are good.

And let me tell you what, you have made me one happy Book Mama, folks. I can’t even tell you how happy. I am so humbled and SO INCREDIBLY HONORED by your love and support. I always will be.

Happy Book Mama, Alethea Kontis

Now, if you want a new project, feel free to start sending emails to Candlewick Press to let them know that you’d really love to see that AlphaOops Christmas book…maybe if we’re really good this year, Santa will make all our wishes come true!

Love you guys. You’re the best. I mean it.

xox Alethea

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Still learning how all this works..but with any luck, this embed code should post the subscription form to my newsletter…

Edit: embed code seems to have a glitch. Try subscribing via this direct link instead: http://eepurl.com/YSmS1

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Rain Songs

As mystified as I am by it storming here in Florida EVERY SINGLE AFTERNOON, I asked some of my friends on Facebook to help me come up with a playlist of songs about Rain. I had Patty Griffin’s “Rain” stuck in my head for three days (which prompted the question), and my ear worm has since moved on to The Alarm’s “Love to Feel the Rain in the Summertime”…but this super long and eclectic mix is nothing short of amazing! I’m copying it here so it doesn’t get lost in the black hole of Facebook…

What are your favorite Rain Songs? I’ll start with mine.

“Rain” — Patty Griffin
“Love to Feel the Rain in the Summertime” — The Alarm
“Rain” — Concrete Blonde
“Stormy Weather” — Billie Holiday (I prefer this version to Lena Horne)
“Red Rain” — Peter Gabriel
“Only Happy When It Rains” — Garbage
“Let it Rain” — OK GO
“Here Comes the Rain Again” — Eurythmics
“Rainy Days & Mondays” — The Carpenters
“Dreams” — Fleetwood Mac
“Purple Rain” — Prince
“Listen to the Rain” — Evanescence
“November Rain” — Guns N Roses
“Concerto for a Rainy Day” — ELO
“Rainy Day People” — Gordon Lightfoot
“Riders on the Storm” — The Doors
“It’s Raining Again” — Supertramp
“Love a Rainy Night” — Eddie Rabbit
“I Wish It Would Rain” — The Temptations
“I Wish It Would Rain Down” — Phil Collins
“I Can’t Stand the Rain” — Tina Turner
“It’s Raining Men” — Weather Girls
“Georgia Rain” — Trisha Yearwood
“Have You Ever Seen the Rain” — CCR
“Blame it on the Rain” — Milli Vanilli
“It Can’t Rain All the Time” — Jane Siberry
“Caught in the Rain” — Hurt
“Rain” — Madonnna
“Rain” — The Beatles
“Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head” — BJ Thomas”Rain” — The Cult
“After the Rain” — Nelson
“The Rain Song” Led Zeppelin
“I Made it Through the Rain” — Barry Manilow
“Crying in the Rain” — The Everly Brothers
“Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” — Willy Nelson
“And it Stoned Me” — Van Morrison
“Songs about Rain” — Gary Allan

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Beauty & Dynamite, Available Again

This is still my favorite cover copy description:

Once upon a time, a young girl walked into a world of wonder and delight. But that’s not where this story starts.

The young woman she became published a nationally recognized children’s book and edited a star-filled collection of stories to benefit the tsunami relief effort. But that’s not where this story ends.

Meet Alethea Kontis, a self-proclaimed Genre Chick whose life is an adventure that tears through these pages like a hurricane. Carrot-a-day cancer cures and Murphy as a guardian angel (yes, that Murphy, the guy with all those irritating laws) are just a part of the daily routine for the Incredible Whirlwind of Beauty and Dynamite, the force of nature masquerading in human form.

Through essays, poetry, and commentary from family, friends, and famous authors alike, a world of Blood Oaths and road trips, broken hearts and mended cars, comes alive with the strength of one woman’s conviction that the world is there to be befriended.

You have now been introduced.

Let your adventure begin.

Buy Beauty & Dynamite, 2014 Revised Edition direct from Alliteration Ink
Buy Beauty & Dynamite, 2014 Revised Edition from Amazon

 

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Princess Alethea Rants “The Twelve Huntsmen”

I’ve gotten Mom hooked on the show Orphan Black. We’re all caught up now, so every time a new one comes on it’s a big event for us.

When I uploaded my “The Twelve Huntsmen” rant yesterday, my friend Cris pointed out that this was pretty much a Grimm Brothers version of Orphan Black.

OMG THIS IS SO TRUE! See what you think:

As always, please watch, like & share…and if you are so inclined, support Princess Alethea’s Fairy Tale Rants for as little as $1 per rant!

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Princess Alethea Rants “The Singing Bone”

Episode 32: In which Princess Alethea rants about the Grimms’ fairy tale “The Singing Bone” (with special Father’s Day Guest Cameo by King George Kontis).

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Happy birthday, Jay.

Jay Vs. The Volcano CoverToday would have been Jay Lake’s 50th birthday.
He almost made it.

Back in 2008, the discovery of Jay’s tumor rattled us all. I’d had my own tumor scare in 2005, so I knew that keeping a sense of humor about the situation was the most important thing. Jay had that in spades. Trouble was…this tumor was not benign. Jay had colon cancer. For real and for true. The freakout ran deep.

But still we kept our spirits up…or tried to. We stayed in touch online. A lot. A bunch of us got together and wrote stories for a private anthology, just for Jay. STARRING Jay.

The editor made a secret link available for the contributors to order a copy if they so desired, but few of those stories ever saw the light of day. One such tale was Eric James Stone’s “The Six Billion Dollar Colon,” which he made public on his blog a year later on International Pixel-Stained Techno-Peasant Day.

Mine was a story of a slightly more personal nature, based on one of my favorite movies of all time: Joe Versus the Volcano. It’s called, appropriately, “Jay Versus the Volcano.” Possibly the closest thing I’ve ever written to fan fiction…and yet, an amazing adventure story all its own.

In honor of Jay’s 50th, I have made “Jay Versus the Volcano” available for free on Wattpad. Click the link here and enjoy.

I just read it over again for the first time in probably six years…I got teary-eyed a couple of times, but I only wept at the very end. This may be one of the best stories I’ve ever written. I’m glad I did it. And I’m glad it was for Jay.

Jay was very much my Epic Hero in Real Life, and I suspect he will continue to inspire me–and my writing–for many years to come.

My toast to Jay:

Jay’s soul brother Ken Scholes is also releasing a story today on Tor.com with Jay in the starring role. Do be sure to click on over to read “Jay Lake and the Last Temple of the Monkey King.”

Break out your Hawaiian shirts, socks, sandals, and tiaras today, folks.
May Jay’s legacy of kindness live in our hearts forever.

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It’s An Honor to be Nominated…Again!

I’ve had a really strange experience with contests in the RWA (Romance Writers Association).

The year Enchanted came out, I asked my publisher for a box of books so that I might submit them to a bunch of RWA Chapter contests. I mean, Enchanted won the Gelett Burgess Award right out of the gate, so it was a shoe in for any others, right? I wanted to win them all. I especially wanted the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal (FF&P) Chapter‘s coveted PRISM award, since my bestie Leanna had walked away with TWO the previous year.

Leanna Renee Hieber: Award Winning Goofball Whom I Love to Death

I spent a LOT of money in shipping and contest entry fees. I submitted to about six Chapter contests. Enchanted finaled in only one of them.

Le sigh.

Even worse, in the confusion my publisher assumed I had taken the reins completely and was sending books and fees in to every RWA contest…which meant Enchanted completely missed being submitted to the RITA for consideration at all.

Le double-sigh.

This year, I saved my time and money. I did not enter any of the RWA Chapter contests. Hero was submitted for the RITA by my publisher, per usual. Due to some new rules-wrangling, the RITA Awards won’t even have a YA category this year.

Le triple-sigh.

HOWEVER…I lied. I did submit to one Chapter contest. I didn’t tell my publisher about it. (Heck, I don’t even think I told the Mermaids about it.) At the very last second, the 11th hour, last-call for submissions, I entered Hero into the PRISM. And then, as always, life got crazy and I just forgot about it…

…until now, when I just opened the email telling me that Hero is a finalist for this year’s PRISM Award, to be presented at RWA Nationals in San Antonio. And I just so happen to be attending Nationals this year because Kerri Mermaid talked me into being her roommate.

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks, Kerri.

Now if I win that darned thing, I promise to take a picture just like Leanna’s. :-)

Hero Paperback Cover

 

 

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