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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…

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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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