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Enchanted Banter

A lovely YouTube review for Enchanted from Bookshelf Banter!

Kallie’s running an Enchanted ARC giveaway on her site that ENDS TODAY, so if you want a piece of the action you better get your bootie on over there to enter!

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The Adventures of Supermermaid #1

Today is my blog day over at the Waterworld Mermaids, and I’m talking about my very first experience behind a table at a comic book convention–at HeroesCon just this past weekend!

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I am a comic book geek, dyed in the wool from the tender age when I could lift my first Archie Comics Digest. Casey and I loved Elfquest in middle school. I moved on to Arkham Asylum and the X-Men Phoenix Saga and John Byrne’s Next Men when I was a teen. In college, my boyfriend gave me a graphic novel by that guy Tori Amos was always writing into her songs–at my first Dragon*Con, Charles Vess drew the Sandman in silver paint pen inside my first edition hardcover of The Wake. It’s one of my most prized possessions.

I’ve been to comic book conventions before, spoken to artists and authors, found new things and scavenger hunted for signatures. But this past weekend at HeroesCon 2012 was my very first time BEHIND A TABLE…

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Want to read more? Click here!

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Once and Future Princess

This week I had the privilege of being featured on my good friend Anton Strout’s “The Once and Future Podcast.” We got very writerly in our discussion — folks looking to hear about the struggles of writing life…and writing sequels…and writing under stress…and writing while over committed…will LOVE this one.

Just click on the image below!

This week I talk with author Alethea Kontis about her latest young adult book Enchanted, Alpha-Oops!, Dragon Con, fangirlism, Mad Scientist Garden Gnomes, fairy tales, how we hate THE MUSE, and just how hard it is out there for Disney’s lost princess!

 

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Wonderland: My Favorite Bit

Where do you go to find decent fiction to read? When I’ve asked people this question lately, their answer is most often John Scalzi’s “The Big Idea.”

In the footsteps of that fabulous Idea, my dear friend Mary Robinette Kowal has launched a feature on her blog called “My Favorite Bit.” In lieu of asking authors the age-old question “Where do you get your ideas?”, Mary asks, “What was your favorite thing about writing the book you just had released?”

You’ll be surprised at the answers.

I’m honored today to be a guest on Mary’s blog, speaking about “My Favorite Bit” of The Wonderland Alphabet: Alice’s Adventures Through the ABCs and What She Found There. Is my favorite bit the same as yours? I bet it isn’t.

Click here to read my fabulous essay and find out!

 

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Four Fathers

Dos Equis is so wrong: my father, George Kontis, is the most interesting man in the world. He’s great at parties and can talk to anyone. He speaks a little bit of every language on the planet. He tells the best jokes. He gives a tiara manly swagger. And he is the best storyteller EVER.

Papa Woodcutter was a very easy character to write.

I invited Mom to the website for Mothers’ Day, so in fairness I had Dad contribute a guest post to my blog about whatever he wanted for Fathers’ Day. I’ve been busy with this small thing called a book tour, so I didn’t even have a chance to read the essay he sent me before this morning. I just finished reading it. And I cried.

These stories are not about me or my father–they are about HIS father, and my great-grandfathers, amazing men I never had the privilege to know. I can only imagine how amazing they were…because I know exactly how amazing MY father is. (Yes, I come by it honestly. ALL of it.)

Love you, Daddy! xox

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Dear Alethea:
As Father’s Day approaches, I thought you might like to hear about Grandfathers and Great-Grandfathers that you never met. They were fascinating people. Self starters and hard chargers, yet at the same time dedicated to their families. Read on, and you might recognize some family traits….

Your great-grandfathers:

John Kontaridis

Your paternal great-grandfather, John Kontaridis, was barely 40 years old but was already successful entrepreneur, with three thriving businesses in the Greek Byzantine town of Smyrna, Turkey (now called Izmir). John married a beautiful Smyrna woman, Theodosia Komnenos, who happened to be a descendent of the Byzantine Emperor Andronikos Komnenos. Ergo, dearest Princess Alethea, your title is more than self-proclaimed!

John Kontaridis also had an interest in medicine. In spite of his significant wealth, family demands, and no medical training, he found time to treat people with back pain. His highly regarded success in fixing backs was a family secret that was passed on to male members of the Kontaridis family. John treated Greeks, Turks, and Armenians from all walks of life, who lined up at his front door–usually on Sunday afternoons. In September 1922 the Turkish Army took him on a long hike that didn’t include food or water and John was killed when he tried to sneak a drink. His brother witnessed this event and many other atrocities, which are today denied by the Turks.

George Mitchell

Not able to make a living in his home country, your great-grandfather, George Mitchell (Mikelis) left his home high on a mountain top in Greece and immigrated to the U.S. through Ellis Island. At first he worked in an enameled pot factory until he could save up enough to open a candy kitchen and then a restaurant. He joined the U.S. Army in World War I, achieving the rank of sergeant, distinguishing himself in battles fought across France. At some point he got so sick the Army couldn’t care for him, so they left him in care of a French farm family. He was nursed back to health by the family, whose young daughter Blanche made him feel particularly healthy. Their daughter, Georgia was born in 1919. Georgia is your French connection. Our whole family has been trying to reconnect with any possible descendants. George was successful in business, well respected in the community, and a gourmet who appreciated good food. His neighborhood bar/restaurant was particularly successful. He saw World War II coming and bought a huge quantity of whiskey, thinking the time would come when it would not be readily available. He stored it at home in his basement in plain sight and within easy access of his five teenage children. Not one of them ever snuck any booze, and none of them ever drank much their entire lives. George was an avid hunter and provider, keeping the table supplied with game and healthy food. He died of a heart attack at age 50 brought on by smoking and the exertion from dragging a deer he’d shot.

Your paternal grandfather:

Soterios (Sotos) Kontis

In September 1922 while his father was on that hike with the Turkish Army, Sotos, age 4, was running from his burning house with his remaining family members. They eventually found safe passage to Athens Greece where they arrived safely, but penniless. Eventually, his older sister opened a ladies’ hat shop and Sotos was her delivery boy. Once she gave him a hat to deliver and enough trolley fare to get him there and back. When the conductor demanded extra money for the package he was carrying, Sotos knew would not have sufficient fare for the trip home. Sotos removed the frilly hat from the box, placed it on his head and wore it all the way into town. Sotos was resourceful in other ways. He made his own toys and enlisted his artistic brother in money making schemes and pranks. The two boys started a church. Sotos was the priest and his brother Xanthos the artist who painted the icons. The boys charged the other neighborhood kids to light candles and kiss the icons. It was a successful enterprise until their mother found out. Sotos served in the Greek merchant marine during much of World War II and finally illegally immigrated into the US when his ship reached New York. He joined the US Army, learned English, and became an Officer.

Sotos loved America. As chief engineer on a U.S. missile tracking ship, he traveled often to Africa on tracking missions and sometimes stayed in a hotel in Durban, South Africa. Seated in the lobby one day, he was reading a paper and smoking his favorite blend of tobacco. A young South African man approached him, apologized profusely for interrupting, and asked if his blend was a secret mixture. “Oh, no!” said Sotos. “This is Mixture 79. It’s available everywhere in the U.S.” Sotos immediately tore some of his newspaper and emptied the contents of his tobacco pouch into it. He folded the paper around the tobacco and handed it to the young man. The young man instantly went for his wallet, in an obvious gesture to pay. Sotos said: “Oh, if you want to pay me, let me hear you say ‘God Bless America.'” Heads in the hotel lobby, filled with curiosity turned to hear a young South African exclaim: “God Bless America!”

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Sci-Fi Saturday @ York Emporium

What are you doing this weekend?

Well, if you live within a 100-mile radius of York, PA, you should be coming to see the esteemed Lawrence Schoen and me at the York Emporium on Sci-Fi Saturday! Much geekery will abound, ALL DAY LONG. Please join us!

Here is a handy flyer for your reminding pleasure:

I hope to have a few copies of ENCHANTED on hand, but as this event is right on the heels of my book tour, I have no idea if I’ll even have any books left. As York Emporium themselves will not be stocking the book, I strongly suggest that if you know you want to get ENCHANTED or ALPHAOOPS (or WONDERLAND ALPHABET!) signed by me, please order it from Amazon (or your local bookstore) in advance and bring it to the event.

Thank you!!

xox

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Music Monday (Fairy Tale Edition)

Every Monday while I’m on book tour for Enchanted, I’m going to share a fun music video that features love, fairy tales, magic, or my inspirations.

Today’s song is “Fable” by Robert Miles.

Those fans of the 1998 fairy tale classic Ever After may recognize this song from the film’s trailer…but it was lamentably not included in the soundtrack. Thank goodness for the days of Google, when we no longer have to be kept about the dark about such things!

For the record, I adore Drew Barrymore and I love Ever After. It’s one of my favorite films. But I was angry after I saw it in the theatre because I knew in my heart that I could have told a better Cinderella story. I hope, with Enchanted, that I did.

This fan-made video for “Fable” features still shots from Ever After.

(You can still find the original trailer for Ever After here. The first song featured is Lorena McKennitt’s “The Mummer’s Dance.” “Fable” kicks in right about 1:03.)

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All Things “If”

A while back, I was contacted by Susan Bertram from www.allthingsif.org because I had mentioned in a blog post that Rudyard Kipling’s “If” was one of my favorite poems of all time.

The poem was quoted in “See How They Run,” a British farce we performed at Spring Valley High School. My French Grandmother had a set of Rudyard Kipling’s complete works at her house (that I later inherited), so when we visited that summer, I memorized it.

The blog post Susan referred to, however, was published in 2009. Instead of editing that post and linking to www.allthingsif.org THEN, I figured it would be much more fun to talk about them NOW.

And since I was already dressed up as a princess, I recited the poem for you LIVE.

To find out more about Rudyard Kipling and All Things If, please visit www.allthingsif.org.

 

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AlphaOops: IN A MUSEUM

From TimeOut Chicago Kids:

It’s no secret that children’s books contain some of the world’s finest art. The illustrations and paintings might not hang next to Seurat, Degas or O’Keefe, but this summer they’re darn close, thanks to a nifty new exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago: “Told and Retold.”

Located in the Art Institute of Chicago’s always-free Family Room, the mini exhibit contains enchanting work for recent picture books done by an eclectic mix of eight artists. The connective tissue here is not a publisher, but an artists’ agency: Studio Goodwin Sturges. Run by Judy Sue Goodwin Sturges of Rhode Island, the agency dedicates its efforts to producing stunning children’s books. There’s a wide range on display here—in form as well as content—from a coterie of artists hailing from across the U.S. and Europe.

Read more about the exhibit here.

And…say it with me, kids, just like Indy:

 

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Lunch Money @ CCPL

If you have children and don’t know about the band Lunch Money, you should really get on that.

Here’s a video I took of Lunch Money performing “Going to the Library” at the Charleston Public Library on May 30th. It was so awesome to finally see them play LIVE!!

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