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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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ENCHANTED at Lady Jane’s Salon

As promised, here is a video recording of the amazing Katherine Kellgren and me performing a scene from Chapter Three of ENCHANTED at Lady Jane’s Salon on May 7th.

Set aside 11 minutes of your time. Prepare to be amazed.

You want the audiobook now, right? I thought so. Here are some handy links for you. The audiobook is completely performed by Katherine Kellgren (and unabridged). I’m listening to it right now. It gives me goosebumps.

Audio CD (unabridged)
Audible

Many thanks to Mary Rodgers for being quick on the draw and filming this.

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Princess Alethea’s Fairy Tale Theatre: Episode 23

Episode 23: “The Foundling”

This fairy tale (also known as “Fundevogel”) is the basis for the origin of Trix Woodcutter’s character in Enchanted.

If you prefer to listen on YouTube you can here, courtesy of The Book Rat:

Also, be sure to check out Princess Alethea’s YouTube Rant about this fairy tale HERE.

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The Essence of Fabulous

I was asked once what my favorite thing was about being a writer. My answer was probably the standard, “I get to write the books like the ones I loved as a kid and share them with the world.”

I’m adding a caveat to that today.

I do get to write the books I loved as a kid and share them with the world, but that world includes other authors…not just the ones I loved as a kid, but the ones who inspire me now, as well.

As many of you know, one of my 21 Most Influential Books of All Time is Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce. Her character George Cooper was my first fictional love, and I will  never, ever forget him.

I had sent Tamora an ARC of ENCHANTED, just because I wanted to imagine myself on her bookshelf somewhere. I discovered the other day on Goodreads (and squeed to the world) that Tamora had not only given it 4 out of 5 stars, but had also written about ENCHANTED: “It’s a wonderful mix-up of fairy-tale tropes, a clever love story, and a delightful tale all on its own!”

Now, forever and ever amen, I get to tell people that Tamora Pierce said this wonderful thing about MY BOOK. It’s such an amazingly special feeling. I’ve written fan letters to Tamora (and had her sign about 20 books the first time we met), and in essence, she’s written a fan letter to me in return.

I still have trouble processing the sheer importance of the whole thing. Boy, I wish I could go back and tell my fifteen-year-old self THIS!

In light of this experience, I’m sure you can imagine my unfettered glee at receiving another email last night…from the agency of Sarah Addison Allen.

Like me, Sarah was raised in the south and knows a thing or two about sisters. And magic. (Read 100 more random tidbots about Sarah here.)

I first listened to her debut novel Garden Spells as an audiobook, so I can honestly say that I fell in love with every word. It is the book I handsell most at the bookstore, when women come in asking me what to read (most don’t seem to like YA, fantasy, or SF, strangely enough). I’ve reviewed many of her books over at IGMS.

Word apparently got around to Sarah about what a champion I was of her work, so when ENCHANTED was released I asked to please send her my very last ARC. As with Tamora, I expected nothing. Then last night, the Jane Rotrosen Agency sent me this:

Sarah Addison Allen sent us a blurb for your novel, ENCHANTED. We’re glad to be able to pass it along. It is:

“I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon than caught under Alethea Kontis’s  spell.  Enchanted is, in a word, enchanting.”

Joy. Absolute, tremendous joy and happiness.

That’s right, folks, I CAST SPELLS. You better watch out. Only right now, I feel like I’m trapped in one of my own. And it’s a really, really good one. *happy spins*

Sarah and Tamora, thank you classy ladies both so very, very much for sharing the love and making this little girl very, very happy. *hugs*

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[If you have not read either of these books, clicking on the covers will take you straight to Amazon, where you can read more information about both of them. Tamora writes great YA epic fantasy with strong female characters. Sarah writes gorgeous adult contemporary  magical realism, set in the south. I highly recommend them both. –AK]

 

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My Audio Dreamgirl

I’ve been friends with the folks at Brilliance Audio for almost a decade. We’ve always said, half-jokingly, that when my first novel was published, Brilliance would do the audiobook.

Brilliance brought me up to Michigan for a tour of their facilities and a John Green event for Paper Towns back in 2008. They took me under their wing and introduced me around the 2009 Audie Awards at BEA so I wasn’t a lost soul. I sat with Tim Ditlow, Dan John Miller, and Jim Dale, like I was a superstar at the Oscars.

Bronson Pinchot gave me a big bear hug that year. I watched Neil Gaiman accept three awards for The Graveyard Book, and joined in the standing ovation for my new friend Katherine “Katy” Kellgren, who also won three awards for her work on Bloody Jack.

To say Katy is amazing would be one of the biggest understatements of all time.  She is a tiny, beautiful woman with dark hair and huge blue eyes who looks like she walked straight out of a Disney fairy tale. Her normal speaking voice is  sweet and proper, with just a hint of British, enough to make you want to wear gloves and invite her to tea.  And yet, when she’d stood in front of us at the audiobook luncheon earlier that day to read from Bloody Jack, she opened her mouth and 700 completely different people came out. Katy is magic, the sparkly, shiny, fairy variety.

“I want Katy to read my audiobook,” I whispered to Tim.

“We’ll see what we can do,” he said.

We always talked like that.

Fast forward a few years. “Someday” has arrived: I have a novel with a major publisher, and a release date. Brilliance Audio officially picks up the audio rights, and there are mutual happy dances done both here and in Michigan.

But Katy is now up for eight Audie awards, and was named the 2011 Best Voice in Young Adult and Fantasy by AudioFile. I am a debut novelist with a tiny budget. Having Katy read Enchanted back in 2009 might have been possible–before she’d won those awards–now, it was sort of like shooting for the moon.

Turns out, I’m a pretty lucky princess. I got the moon.

I was having a screaming-bloody-terrible day when I got the email from Natalie telling me that Katy had read Enchanted, loved it, and was extremely enthusiastic about reading the book. Needless to say, my terrible day was blessedly a little brighter after that.

I’m still having a bit of a hard time believing it. I’ve spoken to her on the phone and we’ve talked about pronunciations and accents and made-up songs and hidden meanings, and when I hang up I feel like I’ve just spoken to a movie star. It’s all still a little bit sparkly and fairy dust shiny, and I CANNOT WAIT TO HEAR MY OWN BOOK.

She’s even going to pronounce my name correctly. *spins*

I know you all probably don’t usually spring for audiobooks, but I promise you, this one will be worth it. The unabridged CD lists for only $19.95 (a fabulous price for any audiobook!) and evil old Amazon has it listed right now for only $13.59. If you go on road trips, have a relatively long commute to work, or spend any time in the car with teenagers, this is audiobook’s going to be almost as priceless to you as it is to me.

I look forward to sharing with all of you yet another facet to my fairy tale.

And yes, I’ve already apologized to Katy that the sequel contains pirates…but she’s assured me that she very much enjoys pirates, even after all the L. A. Meyer books. I can’t tell you how relieved that made me. But I suppose if pirates had won me as many awards as they won Katy, I’d still enjoy them too. *grin*

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Uh-LEE-thee-uh

People are always wondering how to say my name. Every so often, I have to make a post and remind them.

Thanks to clever Audacity and the fabulous microphone on my Powerbook, I can say it for you aloud so there is no misunderstanding. READY?!?

Say it with me: ALETHEA KONTIS

Now I’m going to stick this on my FAQs.

Hooray for technology!

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The Princess Pendragon

This week, Princess Alethea’s Fairy Tale Theatre makes a guest appearance on the genre ladies podcast Pendragon Variety (Episode 32). The tale they’ve chosen to feature as an Editor Favorite is “The Giant & the Tailor.”

I must say these ladies and their tales amuse me greatly. This particular podcast starts out with a pretty fabulous “That’s what she said” moment. I am honored to be in their esteemed company!

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Princess Alethea’s Fairy Tale Theatre: Episode 20

Episode 20: “Mother Hulda” (7:18)

Mother Hulda, or Frau Holle, is possibly the goddess of Hell, a goddess of marriage, and/or goddess of the weather. Prompted by a footnote in my book, I looked up Mother Hulde on Wikipedia:

The legend itself, as it was eventually passed to the Grimm Brothers, originates from oral traditions in Central Germany in what is now known as Hesse. It was told to them by Henriette Dorothea Wild (whom Wilhelm Grimm married in 1825) with more details added in the second edition (1819). It is still common expression in Hesse to say “Hulda is making her bed” when it is snowing, that is, she shakes her bed and out comes snow from heaven!

The dog days of summer are always a great time to think of snow. Shake it, Mother Hulda!

 

 

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Princess Alethea’s Fairy Tale Theatre: Episode 19

Episode 19: “The Three Spinners” (6:11)

I’d almost say this tale was a retelling, if I hadn’t read it from The Brothers Grimm with my own eyes. “The Three Spinners” is a…well..spin on “Rumplestiltskin,” starring a girl as clever as she is lazy.

I won’t give away any spoilers, but I have a feeling that my romance writer friends are going to *love* this twist.

Check out Princess Alethea’s YouTube Rant about this fairy tale HERE.

 

 

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Princess Elsewhere

Today’s my day to blog over at Waterworld Mermaids — the topic is dialogue. If you have the time and inclination, please hop on over and share whatever insight you have!

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Also, my post-apocalyptic dystopian SF story “The Unicorn Tree” has been podcasted over at Cast of Wonders. The story was originally published in the Zero Gravity anthology from Pill Hill Press in Summer 2010.

It’s narrated by the fabulous Margeurite Kenner. By day, Margeurite is an executive admin. for a large intellectual property law firm. By night, she’s an avenging hero with superpowers such as rock climbing, aikido, music (she is a classical percussionist), gaming, sewing costumes, and reading anything and everything. You can find out what’s on her mind at http://projectvalkyrie.wordpress.com.

And yes, before any of you ask…I am Katie. Very, very much so.

Have a great Monday, everyone!

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