Dammit, Josh

My eulogy for Josh, posted by special request from my family.
[Author's Note: I made sure to apologize to Jesus in advance.]

Dammit, Josh

It’s a phrase that everyone in this room has said at least once in the last 25 years. I yelled it quite frequently throughout the writing of this essay.
And I cried every time.

Joshua Jarvis… would all be disappointed in us right now. No one stuck a fake mustache on the urn at the viewing. No one slipped a whoopee cushion under Cherie’s butt when she sat down in that pew. And Billy has not picked his nose with anything in this church…that I know of.

Technically, Josh was my nephew…but that word implies a certain distance. I am, in fact, closer in age to Josh than my own big sister. There should be a different word for what Josh was to me…what he was to us all…something that means grandson, nephew, cousin, friend…but also Brother.

Josh was a brother to everyone, the brat who enjoyed potty humor and cute girls and having as much fun as humanly possible. Josh was the boy who shaved his head to raise money for St. Jude’s hospital. He was the kid who wore seventeen gold chains into the Burger King before he had any idea who Mr. T was. He was the charmer who could get girls on the other side of the world to dance for him. He was the young man who was not too proud to throw up in the bushes and cry on his yia yia’s shoulder while his sister underwent a lifesaving surgery.

Even as a little kid, Josh had a big heart. It took his body a couple of decades to expand to a proportional volume, a size that provided Josh with the ability to give some of the best bear hugs on the planet. And inside that big heart was a tender and sensitive soul. For someone so young, Josh experienced his share of tragedy — beginning with the death of his friend Hunter while he was still a teen.

Perhaps Hunter’s passing impressed upon Josh the importance of living life–all of it–as hard as he could…stupid mistakes and all. In his too short life, Josh had experiences that some people only dream of (and we all have that picture of him with Seth Rogan to prove it). If this family knows one thing, it’s how to be loud…and Josh lived with the volume turned to eleven.

Several years ago, when I was at a writing retreat in TN and Josh was at school in KY, he sent me a message suggesting that we “go on an adventure.” Now…we were in very different places at the time, both mentally and physically…and I declined the invitation. As you can imagine, I’ve thought a lot about that moment this past week. If I *had* accepted Josh’s offer, what kind of adventure would we have had? I can just see us now…in a Nashville strip club. Josh is stuffing g-strings with dollar bills and I’m making sure all the dancers are covered in adequate amounts of glitter.

Regardless of whether or not that adventure actually happened, I’m treasuring that mental image all the same.

I can still hear Josh’s voice on Mom & Dad’s answering machine, boasting about selling two cars in one day. There was excitement in that voice. Happiness. Every day I worried a little less about Josh — he was on his own adventure now, living his life to the fullest.

Joshua George Jarvis. The boy born on St. Patrick’s Day. Our good luck charm, who will henceforth remind us every day that we should Eat, Drink, and Be Merry. Love with Bear Hugs. Go on adventures. Dance in glitter and g-strings. Laugh out loud. Party with all our hearts…and live with the volume turned up to 11.

(Dammit, Josh…)

Josh and Mom (his Yia Yia)

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Joshua George Jarvis (1989-2014)

From the Burlington Free Press:

Miss you, Josh. JOSHUA GEORGE JARVIS – MORRISVILLE – Joshua Jarvis passed away unexpectedly in Tennessee on Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014.
Josh’s life began on March 17, 1989. He was the youngest of three children to loving parents, William and Cherie Jarvis. Prankster Josh spent his childhood with a smile on his face and laughter in his heart, surrounded by friends and family. He attended Flynn Elementary, Hunt Middle School, and graduated from People’s Academy in Morrisville in 2007. He continued on to obtain duel degrees in Computer Graphic Design and Dynamic Web Development at Sullivan College of Technology and Design in 2010.
At the age of 10, Josh worked for the family business at Jarvis Cinema Corp, Bijou Cineplex 4 in Morrisville. By age 25, he decided to take a new direction in his life and worked alongside his Uncle Richard Jarvis at Williams Marketing in Franklin, Tenn. Josh enjoyed the many pleasures of life – food, music, movies, laughter, and his favorite time of day: 4:20.
Josh is survived by his parents, William and Cherie Jarvis; brother, William Jarvis II, his partner, Tamarra and daughter, Chloe; sister and brother-in-law, Alana and Jason McLane and children, Alexa and Dylan McLane (to whom he was the most proud uncle); brother, Caleb Jarvis; grandfather, Merrill G. Jarvis (Gido); grandparents, George and Marcy Kontis (Yia Yia and Papou); and uncles and aunts, Merrill Jarvis III and his partner, Madana Makhani, Richard and Cheryl Jarvis, Diane Jarvis, Daniel and Victoria Jarvis, West Kontis, Alethea Kontis, Soteria Kontis and Charles Nadolski. There are two very special people we would like to mention, Alex Smith, his high school sweetheart whom he loved dearly, and Pakorn Pinyo, who spent the last few months getting to know Josh personally.
Josh was predeceased by three very important people in his life, grandmother, Lucille Barrett Jarvis (Sito); great-grandmother, Madeleine DeRonde (Gram); and his childhood best friend, Hunter Dandrige. Space does not permit mentioning the names of his countless and treasured family members and friends. Josh could light up a room with his laughter. If you were a friend of his, you knew what fun was. In his life he was always looking for a good time, and we are certain he still is.
Visiting hours will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 5, 2014, at the Ready Funeral & Cremation Service South Chapel, 261 Shelburne Road, Burlington. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014, at Saint Mark’s Church, 1251 North Ave., Burlington. Burial will be later at the convenience of the family. To send online condolences to the family please visit In lieu of flowers, you may send donations in Josh’s name to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
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My 2014 Dragon Con Schedule

2014 DragonCon App CodeHey there, everybody! Are you ready for Dragon Con 2014?

Here’s my schedule for the weekend (be sure to download the DC App — here’s the QR code for you!). You may notice my distinct lack of autographing times here…but DO NOT WORRY.

Sherrilyn Kenyon also does not have any officially scheduled autographings — that’s because we will both be signing books at her booth in the Exhibitor Hall at various times throughout the weekend. I will also be signing books at the TAIREN’S LAIR booth, and I hope to also have books with me at the SON OF NO ONE book launch on Thursday night.

I will absolutely be signing books all through Dragon Con! The best way to keep up with me–as always–is to follow me on Twitter: @aletheakontis

Hope to see you there! We’re going to have a blast! xox

Title: Sherrilyn Kenyon’s SON OF NO ONE Book Launch Party
Description: Join fellow Dark-Hunter fans in celebration of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s new book, SON OF NO ONE — (music provided by DJ)
Time: Thurs 08:30pm Location: Sheraton Grand Ballroom A-F (Length: 3 hours…at least)
Moderator / MC for party

Title: Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow
Description: A motley band of talented (and costumed) authors offers an entertaining hour of readings, musical numbers, and more.
Time: Fri 08:30 pm Location: A707 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel
(Tentative Panelists: Alethea Kontis, Leanna Renee Hieber, Gray Rinehart, E. C. Myers, Delilah S. Dawson, Mari Mancusi, Diana Peterfreund)

Title: Folklore & Mythology in UF
Description: Our panel of authors discusses how they employ folklore and/or mythology in their work.
Time: Sat 01:00 pm Location: Chastain ED – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Leanna Renee Hieber, Alethea Kontis, Samantha Sommersby, Jeanne C. Stein, Faith Hunter, Suzanne Church)

Title: Reading: Alethea Kontis
Time: Sat 02:30 pm Location: Edgewood – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Alethea Kontis)

Title: An Hour with Sherrilyn Kenyon
Description: Audience Q&A with the bestselling author of the Dark Hunter, Chronicles of Nick, The League, and Belador series
Time: Sun 01:00 pm Location: Augusta Ballroom – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Sherrilyn Kenyon, Alethea Kontis)

Title: Packing a Powerful Punch: YA Urban Fantasy
Description: Authors discuss why Young Adult Urban Fantasy can have just as much visceral and emotional impact as that written for adults.
Time: Sun 02:30 pm Location: Chastain ED – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Delilah S. Dawson, A. J. Hartley, Mari Mancusi, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Alethea Kontis, Diana Peterfreund)

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Princess Alethea rants about “Old Sultan”:

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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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Subscribe to my Newsletter!

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:

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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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