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[StormChasing] #FriendlyFriday Features Storm Chasing Master Chris Kridler!

Over on Patreon, Sarah and I run a feature every week called #FriendlyFriday, where we tell you all about my fabulous friends and what brilliant things that they are up to!
Since I am gearing up for my Storm Chaser Apprenticeship, I thought I should take a moment to tell you a little bit about the woman who helped inspire it: Chris Kridler! Chris is the author of the novels Funnel Vision, Tornado Pinball, and Zap Bang.
“Most chasers have a great reverence for the sky and a scientific interest in the weather, even if they aren’t scientists. As a photographer, I find storms challenging and enthralling. I don’t chase them to face death.” — Chris Kridler

 

Each Spring she heads for the middle of the US–Tornado Alley–to record and photograph some of the deadliest storms in our country. And this year I am riding shotgun!
Besides taking some breathtaking photos of these storms, Chris records all the data that comes along with them.  From precipitation to temperatures, the recorded information is used by scientists and storm chasers to help track down Plains supercells and tornadoes, Florida storms and tropical weather (hurricanes). 
She has been on hand for some of the worst storms in the last 20 years, including the EF3 (initially reported EF5) tornado at El Reno, Oklahoma in 2013, which was the widest ever recorded at 2.6 miles and took the lives of three well-respected storm chasers and at least 17 others. She will be the first person to tell you how dangerous storm chasing can be, but also how necessary it is for us to record and understand them. 
tornado“I would hate to see an end to storm chasing. Even though it’s a hobby for me, as well as a professional interest in terms of photography, it’s also been important to weather reporting, research and warnings over the decades. I’m not going to pretend that all storm chasers are virtuous life savers, because most of them aren’t. But most are good people who are happy to share what they know and respect the weather and others – who, like me, enjoy the beauty of the Plains, the challenge of forecasting, and the pleasures of traveling through middle America with friends. I fell in love with chasing when I took a storm tour in 1997. Since then, I’ve chased with friends or on my own all over Tornado Alley and beyond. I’ve given presentations about it. I’ve satirized it in novels. I’ve taken photographs I couldn’t get any other way. And I wouldn’t trade a minute of it, except for the moment when I learned that Tim Samaras and his crew were killed.
Friday was a terrible day, but I still want to see more storms. They are the only impartial and unstoppable forces in this drama, and they will still spin across the Plains, beautiful and dangerous, whether or not there are witnesses.” — Chris Kridler, on El Reno
I’ve ordered my special Storm Chaser tiara (more on that later!) and my #OzorBust t-shirt, I’m almost ready to hit the road with Chris! I hope you’ll follow along at home as we head out on our adventure this May. I can’t wait to see what the sky holds in store for us!
xox
Princess Alethea
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Remember: My Patrons will be receiving an ALL ACCESS PASS to Alethea’s Official Storm Chaser Diary and Pics! Become a Patron of the Princess today! Pledging as little as $1 a month gets you exclusive access!

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[StormChasing] New T-Shirts Now Available!

The first t-shirt designs of my Storm Chasing 2018 season are now available on Amazon!

Storm Chasing Tees Round 1

OZ or bust — in honor of the #OZorBUST hashtag I’ll be using during this trip

Do Not Do This Thing — pulled from the Storm Chasing announcement blog (in reference to “Amateur Storm Chasers”)

I’ll have these on my trip, so be sure to keep an eye out for them in future pics!

But why should I have all the fun? Order tees for yourself or a friend and wear them in solidarity. All proceeds will help fund our 2018 Storm Chasing Season!

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Remember: Patrons will be receiving an ALL ACCESS PASS to Alethea’s Official Storm Chaser Diary and Pics! Become a Patron of the Princess today! Pledging as little as $1 a month gets you exclusive access!

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Your Storm Chaser Princess of 2018

So…guess what I’m doing this summer?

Why, I’ll be gone with the wind, my darlings. More specifically…I AM OFF TO BE AN APPRENTICE STORM CHASER.

Storms have fascinated me ever since we studied the different cloud forms in elementary Earth Science. They were a sizable element of my studies when I was on track to be a Marine Chemist, back in college. Twister was fascinating to me…mostly on an incredibly geeky scientific level.

So when my friend—author, photographer, and Master Storm Chaser Chris Kridler made an offhand remark last year about how I “should go chasing with her sometime,” I made sure she didn’t forget it. She said, if I was serious, I should block out the entire month of May.

May Chasing CalendarI’m pretty sure she didn’t think I was serious.

Chris (http://skydiary.com/) has 20+ years of storm chasing experience. I began calling myself her “Storm Chaser Apprentice,” which made her chuckle. (Expect that t-shirt to be made available on Amazon soon.)

But I want to be clear—I am not a risk taker. I am doing this for the science, and the experience. “Amateur Storm Chasers” are those yahoos that hear about a weather report and hop in the car armed with their phone and ZERO scientific equipment. I had a boyfriend convince me to take a ride like that once. ONCE. Driving blind into threatening cloud formations scared me half to death. Because IT IS A STUPID THING TO DO. DO NOT DO THIS THING.

I knew that if I ever went Storm Chasing again, I would do it right.

So here we are, on the cusp of May, and I am officially your Storm Chaser Princess of 2018, reporting for duty!

In the weeks to come, I’ll be posting all about my prep for storm chasing: everything from packing (t-shirts are so important!) to playlists and cameras and Trip Goals, to test runs, info about Chris, and advice she imparts to me as we gear up for the road.

I’ve been saving up money to cover food, gas, and hotels—if you’d like to throw a few bucks my way to help with any of this (or the occasional Starbucks), you can PayPal akontis at gmail or click the Donate button on the right.

If you’d like an All Access Pass to my daily Storm Chasing Diary and all my photos, go over to Patreon and become an official Patron of the Princess! Even a pledge of just $1 a month will grant you access!

If you can’t afford Patreon but still want to follow along, worry not—I’ll be posting some updates here and there, and on social media (FB Live is still a pretty great feature). I’ll definitely be making the occasional appearance in Chris’s photos and blogs. (You should bookmark her site  anyway, because TRUST ME…her photos are SO AMAZING.)

Plus, over on http://skydiary.com/tracking , you will be able to check in on us at any point when we’re on the road to see exactly where in the US we are at any given time! (More details on that later.)

As each day passes, I’m getting more and more excited. I’m looking forward to riding Shotgun with the Master…and having my Patrons right there with me in the front seat!

Chris says that Storm Chasing usually begins around second week in May, but she’ll be watching the skies. As soon as everything feels right, I get the call and we hit the road!

OMG I AM SO EXCITED YOU GUYS. Seriously. I want to start packing, like, now. And at this point in my career, I pretty much hate packing.

But I have to be ready to go. Because in May…THE CHASE IS ON!

xox
~Princess Alethea, Storm Chaser Apprentice

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AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER–The Unicorn Hunter: A Tale of Arilland

So I tied Bianca to a chair and forced her to listen to “The Unicorn Hunter” on audio…okay so maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but not much. It *is* still one of my favorite stories. That night, Bianca went to work her shift at Cafe Tu Tu Tango and she started the painting that would become the cover for the second chapbook in the Fairy Tales of Arilland series!

I present to you the AMAZINGLY GORGEOUS The Unicorn Hunter...now available for preorder!

unicornhunter

Release Date: April 24, 2018

Kindle | Nook | Kobo | Paperback (forthcoming)

Once upon a time, a princess was born with hair as black as ebony, lips as red as blood, and skin as white as snow.

After the huntsman and before the dwarfs—while she was all alone in that great forest—the princess met a demon. He was hunting unicorns. And what bait could better snare his prey than the fairest of them all?

This is the secret tale that the princess never shared with the world.
This is the true story.

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You can own your very own print of Bianca’s The Unicorn Hunter cover art–order here: http://biancaart.storenvy.com/products/23186775-the-unicorn-hunter-8×10-print

Support Alethea Kontis on Patreon–even a $1 pledge gets you access to exclusive content! https://www.patreon.com/princessalethea

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Part of Your World–Essays, Podcasts, and Awards

Hugo_Logo_1_200pxThe finalists for the 2018 Hugo Awards were recently announced. No surprise, I wasn’t among them.

And yet…I kind of was.

This year, Neil Clarke–of Clarkesworld Magazine–was shortlisted for Best Editor, Short Form, and Escape Pod finaled under Best Semiprozine.

How do I factor into these two things, do you ask?

The answer is here, in my latest essay for Clarkesworld“Another Word: Breathing Life Into Characters.”

I am honored to have been a contributing writer at Clarkesworld and a podcast narrator for Escape Pod over the past few years. I hope to continue this work for many years to come!

Congratulations to all the Hugo finalists!

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For a full list of all my Escape Pod (and other) story narrations, CLICK HERE.

For a list of all my Clarkesworld essays, CLICK HERE.

Support Princess Alethea on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/princessalethea

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WORKSHOP ANNOUNCEMENT: Steal Like a Pro

I’m excited about the new intensive online workshop I’m offering on April 14th–please share with any writers you know who might be interested!

Steal Like a Pro

Description

The path to writing great original fiction sometimes winds through other people’s fictional worlds before ending up in your own. Writing fanfiction is a great way to hone your writing skills, and using works in the public domain as a foundation for creating new stories is a tradition that goes back to Shakespeare and beyond.

But can you really take a story that utilizes an existing fictional universe and turn it into publishable fiction? YES! It is possible, and author Alethea Kontis can tell you how.

In the one-day online seminar Steal Like A Pro: Writing Fiction Inspired By Other People’s Worlds (And How To Make It Your Own), Alethea will guide you through how to:

  • Use fairy tales, folklore, and mythology as a foundation for your own fiction (sans cultural appropriation)
  • Use and retool public domain fiction to craft new stories
  • File the serial numbers off your fanfiction
  • Write in other people’s worlds (when you’re allowed to do so)

using lectures, exercises, and discussion of published examples.

The seminar will be taught via Zoom video conference software on April 14 from 12PM – 7PM Eastern. There will be frequent breaks.

Class requirements: You need an interest in writing fiction, but you do not need to have written or published anything yet. Writers can join using their computer (recommended), tablet, or phone. For the specific technical requirements for your device, please see this page on the Zoom website. You do not need a webcam to participate. You do need a working microphone in order to participate in discussions and ask questions.

Class texts: We’ll analyze multiple examples of published fiction in this seminar. Most of it is available for free and will be provided to you ahead of class. In addition, please purchase and/or read the following works:

 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO AND TO SIGN UP!

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BOOK DEAL ALERT: Tales of Arilland 99 cents!

Tales of Arilland - Gelett Burgess AwardIf you haven’t snapped up this fairy tale classic for your Kindle yet, do it now while it’s only 99 cents! Share with your friends!

2015 Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award Winner

In the fairy tale realm of Arilland, stories are told at children’s bedsides–and not the stories you think you know. Tales of Arilland is a collection of fairy tales, presented in the magical topsy-turvy way that only Alethea Kontis can do. Discover the story of Bluebeard’s first wife (“Blood From Stone”), what really happened to Snow White in those dark woods (“The Unicorn Hunter”), how dangerous the Little Mermaid might have been (“Blood and Water”), and just how far Little Red Riding Hood was willing to go (“Hero Worship”). Included in this collection is “Sunday,” the original novelette that inspired the award-winning novel Enchanted, as well as “The Cursed Prince,” the previously untold history of Prince Rumbold of Arilland…and more.

Woodcutter enthusiasts will rejoice at this opportunity to delve into the secret worlds beyond Kontis’s intricately woven fantasy novels. And if you are not a fan yet, you will be!

“Alethea Kontis IS fairy tales.” –Jim C. Hines, author of Libriomancer

“A veritable badass fairy princess.” –Jim Butcher

“Alethea Kontis: Awesome, racks up award nominations, wears tiaras.” –SF author Ferrett Steinmetz

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Support Alethea Kontis on Patreon–even a $1 pledge gets you access to exclusive content! https://www.patreon.com/princessalethea

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SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE! April Short Story Workshop for Teens

alethea-class-640x320I am honored to be surrounded by the most amazing people.

Of all the jobs I’ve had in my life–and there have been some amazing ones–I miss my tenure at YAS (the Youth After School program in Northern Virginia) the most. (Yes, I really did work for Parks and Rec. I still have all my polos!)

“I miss working with those kids so much,” I lamented to Tempest.

“Then why don’t you teach an online short story workshop for teens?” she asked.

Almost as soon as the words left her mouth, the announcement existed on Eventbrite. The event got shared a bazillion times. And donations for scholarships came rolling in! We now have over a dozen scholarships available for students: including students of color, black students, and LGBTQ students! (Interested students, apply here!)

The craziest part? I now have enough scholarships to stretch across three or four workshops. The prospect of continuing this venture brings me so much joy! But more importantly: I need students.

If you are or know of a young writer aged 13-19, please share this post with them! The first class technically starts on April 1st, but that’s just when the short stories are due. We’ll start talking in an online group the following Sunday, and each Sunday after that. Since it’s an intimate class this first time around (so far), we’ll pick a time on Sundays that works for everyone.

It has been suggested that I hold the next Teen Short Story workshop in June, when school is over for most teens…so keep your eyes peeled for announcements!

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Description

This writing workshop for young adults aged 13 to 19 will give students the opportunity for in-depth critiques on short fiction from YA, middle grade, and picture book author Alethea Kontis. Participants will learn how to critique and how to incorporate feedback from critiques for revision in a respectful and serious environment that prioritizes craft, community, and commitment to writing.

The workshop begins April 1 and goes through April 29, 2018.

In addition to giving and receiving critique, writers will take part in discussions about publishing, character development, structure, narrative voice, and other elements of short fiction.

Students may workshop original fiction or fanfiction from any genre: fantasy, science fiction, horror, romance, mystery, or literary.

Critique Sessions and Live Q&A will take place on Sunday April 8, 15, 22, and 29. There is no live session on April 1 (Easter). If you cannot make all of the live sessions you can still participate in this class. Writers must be present for their own critique and scheduling for the live sessions will take your availability into account. All peer critiques are due on Sundays.

This class is for any person aged 13 to 19 who has an interest in writing fiction and has at least one complete story to workshop. Stories should be 500 to 8,000 words. It doesn’t have to be polished (that’s what we’re here to help you do!) but it must have a beginning, middle, and end. All stories must be ready to turn in by March 31st.

All members of this workshop will have the opportunity to attend the “Steal Like A Pro – Writing Fiction Inspired By Other People’s Worlds (And How To Make It Your Own)” seminar with Alethea on April 14 for free (optional).

Scholarships

There is finaicial aid available for stuents who cannot afford the class. We will award up to six scholarships for this class.

Technical Requiements

Live Critique and Q&A sessions will take place over Zoom Video Conference software, which is free to download. To participate, students must have a microphone. A webcam is helpful, but not necessary.

Students must have or have access to a Google account/Gmail. Stories will be uploaded to a private Google Drive folder for critique. Discussion will take place on a private Google Groups mailing list.

COME JOIN THE FUN!

CLICK HERE TO ENROLL, OR JUST FIND OUT MORE!

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What’s Your Damage, Heather?

Heather HaydenIt’s been a while since I’ve sat down with my friend Nick Kaufmann, so it was lovely to be invited onto his blog to chat about what I felt was “The Scariest Part” of Besphinxed.

I know what you’re thinking: “But Besphinxed is a paranormal rom-com, not a horror! There’s some conflict and tension, sure…but the book isn’t SCARY.”

And this is where I say: Just because a book or story isn’t a horror, that doesn’t mean I didn’t scare myself while writing it.

So what was “The Scariest Part” of Besphinxed for me? Click here to read and find out!

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Support Alethea Kontis on Patreon–even a $1 pledge gets you access to exclusive content! https://www.patreon.com/princessalethea

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Alethea Narrates: My Generations Shall Praise (Escape Pod 616)

Henderson and Kontis

“My Generations Shall Praise”: Author Samantha Henderson and Narrator Alethea Kontis

Samantha Henderson’s “My Generations Shall Praise” was first published in Interzone, November 2016, and reprinted in The Year’s Best Science Fiction 34, edited by Gardner Dozois.

I think maybe the editors were worried I wouldn’t want to do this performance–it’s a dark one. The MC is a baby-killing sociopath on death row, about to have her brain erased and mapped over by an affluent relation dying of cancer.

But as an actress…WOW. What a voice this character has! This might be my best performance so far.

Moreover: I think Katy would be excessively proud of me.

Click here to listen: http://escapepod.org/2018/02/22/escape-pod-616-generations-shall-praise/

CONTENT WARNING: Contains frequent class-one cursing (f-bombs and the like), graphic description of murder, somewhat less graphic description of sexual assault, and bad parenting. Not for young ears.

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Support Alethea Kontis on Patreon–even a $1 pledge gets you access to exclusive content! (Including audio bits…) https://www.patreon.com/princessalethea

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