Princess Alethea’s Magical Elixir

My new (and final) review column is up at IGMS.

It’s been a wonderful four years of reviewing — thank you all so much for reading!

Title: Darkbeast
Author: Morgan Keyes
EAN: 9781442442054

I had the pleasure of interviewing Morgan Keyes in July during my yearly Month of Author & Artists. In doing the requisite digging for her bio, picture, and most recent book, I stumbled across the cover for Darkbeast and knew I had to have it for review. Happily, Morgan and her publisher complied with my pleading request.

From the first chapter, Darkbeast reminded me of the high fantasy novels by Tamora Pierce and Mercedes Lackey. Duodecia is a rich world full of gods and tithemen and original magic. Keara’s story is far simpler . . . though it seems to be less coming-of-age than it is the avoidance of growing up…  (Read more)

Title: A Confusion of Princes
Author: Garth Nix
EAN: 9780060096946

I’m a fantasy girl. My father read to me at bedtime from infanthood, so the stories that molded me were born of Muppets and Goops and fairies. I love delving into science fiction, but it requires more of a commitment. In fantasy, magic works based on the price paid. In science fiction, there are entire worlds of economies and social structures the reader must understand while simultaneously enjoying the journey of the main character.

I adore Garth Nix, so I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt when I picked up A Confusion of Princes. Right off the bat, it’s got “Confusion” in the title, and boy, does it deliver. I did not start at page one of this book and barrel all the way to the end — I was forced to read much slower to understand this world, and I’m very glad I did.  (Read more)


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Princess Alethea Answers 11 Questions

Catherine Gracey contacted me via Ye Olde Facebook and asked if I wouldn’t mind answering 11 Questions for her “Catherine Asks” blog. Well, sure! Why not? So I did. And now I’m telling you about them

They’re not the questions you might expect, so they’re not the answers you might expect either.

Curious? Well, you’ll just have to pop on over and see what it’s all about!


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Small Business Saturday 2012

Hello, lovely friends!

It’s that time of year again — SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY. That day in which you can put your money where your mouth is and support those small, local folks who are busting their rump to make a living against the Giant Chain Stores that sponsor Black Friday.

I started my Saturday early yesterday, and shopped at some lovely independent stores here in Newport News. I encourage you to do the same today.

What’s that? You’re still stuffed from Turkey and can’t move? You’re too tired from standing in line at Best Buy all night?

Well, then, you’re in luck. Here are some links to a few FABULOUS folks online whose items would make GREAT presents for those hard-to-buy-for members of your family.


Dixie Dunbar Studio — fine, handcrafted, original jewelry designed by my one-and-only fantastic little sister, Soteria Kontis. Don’t see something in your price/taste range? Give her a call at (843) 722-0006 and tell her what you’re in the market for. She’ll make something to suit your needs.

J.K. Lee Art & Sundries — Every year, Janet uploads a new line of limited edition Christmas ornaments in addition to her art prints and giclees. Have you seen this year’s yet? I’m a big fan of Sneaky Santa and the Art Nouveau set!

Water Closet Soap — Handmade soaps by local Loudoun County mom (and avid book reader) Kristen Kane. (You may remember Kristin as mother of the Infamous Lorelei.) Kristin is on vacation until November 27th, but do sign up for the email notification of her return. You won’t want to miss these really fun and fragrant designs.

One More Page Books — This super independent bookstore in Alexandria, VA has graciously offered to order in your favorite books by Alethea Kontis so that I can personalize and sign them just for you! Give them a call at 703-300-9746 or to place your order.

Carol Berning Fine Art — This year’s 2012 Happy Holidays CD was illustrated by Murfreesboro, TN artist (and all-around wonderful person) Carol Berning. You can order prints–and even greeting cards–of some of her most popular works from her website. If you love Winking Santa, you can own him today!


Do you have any favorite online small businesses? I encourage you to post their links below.

Thank you — and Happy Holidays to you all! xox


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AK Video Interview with Buzzy Media

The great (and sometimes horrible) thing about the internet is that it’s forever.

I did this interview with Jean Marie Ward for Buzzy Media back at the Adam Ezra Concert that kicked off my giant three-week-long book tour back in May. It’s neat to think about how much has happened since then…and to look at myself and think, “Wow, there really WAS a time when I wasn’t tired from the inside out.”

It’s really a fun video. I’m not sure how soon I’m going to be this cute again. Please enjoy!

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Surprise Art!

Sneak attack!

I have a surprise post over at the Waterworld Mermaids today — Kerri Mermaid wasn’t feeling well, so I jumped in the pond to debut some NEW ART that I worked on last week.

That’s right! I said NEW ART. BY ME!

But you have to click here to see it.

(And you better tell me how awesome it is.)


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Princess Monday

Happy Monday, everyone!

This is a very special Monday, as it’s also the birthday of my beautiful older sister Cherie, the inspiration for Monday Woodcutter.

People always ask authors if any of their characters are based on real people. As a general rule, the characters in books are always based on some facet of the author him/herself. But sometimes, in some ways, life just fits in FAR TOO PERFECTLY.

Monday’s Child is fair of face. That’s what the poem says. In Enchanted, Monday Woodcutter is the eldest of the Woodcutter sisters, a beautiful girl who marries a dark prince and leaves her family when she is still quite young. She has some fey blood, which she inherited from her mother, and so she ages slower than normal humans.

My sister Cherie was once runner-up for Miss Vermont. (I’ve seen the winner from that year–she wasn’t prettier.) Through the years she has been Bo Derek and Farrah Fawcett, but always my big sister. She got married when I was six years old, to the dark and handsome man of Lebanese descent that she dated all through high school. Very soon after that my parents left Vermont, moving my younger sister (Soteria) and me away to South Carolina. We visited every summer, but it wasn’t the same.

People laugh when we refer to Cherie as “The Beautiful Sister.” Soteria and I merely shrug because IT’S TRUE. And not just because she’s blond.

I will not tell you how old my eldest sister is today, because it doesn’t matter. Thanks to the fey blood we’ve all received via our mother, Cherie hasn’t aged a day. But I will tell you this:

She was born on a Monday.

Happy birthday, dearest Cherie. You always have been, and always will be, the fairest of us all. xox



Codename: Dancer Trailer

I’ve been hanging on to this because I wanted to make sure I shared it with you guys — it’s the book trailer for my friend Amanda Brice‘s middle grade novel Codename: Dancer: A Dani Spevak Mystery.

TELL me this doesn’t look supercute. Such a great video!!!

I love the little icon people and Dani’s voice over.  She’s got great attitude.

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Pick A Letter, Any Letter


Google Alerts sent me to this really great review of The Wonderland Alphabet over at GEEKS OF DOOM.

The review is gushing…which is ALWAYS nice…but the reviewer chooses J as her favorite poem. Which is funny, because when I first wrote the poetry for Janet’s art show, J was my favorite too.

I do not fear the ticking clock
But lo, I fear the Jabberwock
I keep my vorpal blade at hand,

 To slay the scourge of Wonderland.

Now, I’m torn between A…and M…and all the other letters too. I don’t know if I can pick a favorite.

I’ve definitely memorized them both — as well as J. My goal is to memorize ALL OF THEM, and then randomly going around conventions quoting myself with INCREDIBLE PRETENTIOUSNESS. *glee*

Do you have a favorite poem from The Wonderland Alphabet?

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Writing Tips

During this frantic NaNoWriMo season, I wanted to share some wonderful writing tips from famous writers (from the Timesoak blog compilation):

Roald Dahl: “And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

Agatha Christie: “The best time for planning a book is when you’re doing the dishes.”

Dr. Seuss: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”

Dolly Parton: “Find out who you are, then do it on purpose”

Neil Gaiman: “It does help, to be a writer, to have the sort of crazed ego that doesn’t allow for failure. The best reaction to a rejection slip is a sort of wild-eyed madness, an evil grin, and sitting yourself in front of the keyboard muttering “Okay, you bastards. Try rejecting this!” and then writing something so unbelievably brilliant that all other writers will disembowel themselves with their pens upon reading it, because there’s nothing left to write.”   (from my own collection)


These are the sorts of things I used to write on post-its and stick on my monitor screen to inspire me. (Harder to do now, with a laptop…)

Find your own favorite writing tips from the full list HERE.

Happy NaNoing! xox

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Pop Quiz, Hotshot

Because the internet is not rife enough with silliness, YOU TOO CAN PLAY THE ALETHEA KONTIS QUIZ GAME ON IMDB!

How well do you know Alethea’s career in films and television? Here’s your chance to find out!

It’s really tough because there are ONLY TWO QUESTIONS. (And the TV show I did when I was 8 is not listed.)

Cheating is welcome. GOOD LUCK! *giggle*

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