Mission: Accomplished (for now)

If you patronize a small business, know someone who owns one, or own one yourself, you were also in a tizzy a few days ago scrambling for votes on the website.

in a nutshell, Chase and Living Social are giving away $3 million in the form of 12 $250,000 grants for small businesses. I found the link through Pat Rothfuss and immediately passed it on to my sister, who has been struggling to keep her beautiful jewelry shop, Dixie Dunbar Studio, alive since Charleston spruced up King Street and the economy immediately went to the dogs.

Soteria had to fill out an extensive application that included an essay portion (no, I did not help her with it aside from toss a few ideas her way–she’s a fabulous writer all on her own). In addition, as part of the application process, businesses had to acquire 250 votes on the Mission: Small Business website.

I bugged you all for two days solid, and I won’t apologize. I would do anything for my little sister, including pester the crap out of your for 48 hours. And you know what? IT WORKED.


During this process, Soteria decided that her friends & fans needed some incentive to click a button, so she announced that if she got to 250, she would be posting a video of herself singing Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.” and posting it on Facebook for the world to see.

As the day went along she got two back-up singers (one is her fabulous husband, who just passed his Nursing Boards) and she started planning set design, costumes, and choreography.

I know you guys are all wondering when you will be able to feast your eyes on my awesome rendition of “Baby Got Back”. Just an update, one of my backup dancers is out of town till the 8th, which gives me time to relearn all the words and try to come up with costumes/set design. Then we must recruit people to help film/edit the video, and then it’s all yours. I promise you won’t have to wait long for “Miss Stir-A-Bit” to rock your world. –Soteria

What…you thought she was just going to set up her webcam and karaoke for a bit?? Silly, you. SHE IS A KONTIS SISTER. If we raise the bar for anyone, it is ourselves. (And then each other.)

I will be posting/embedding the video the moment Miss Stir-a-Bit goes live — so if you don’t catch it on the Dixie Dunbar FB Fan Page, you will catch it here. I don’t know about you, but I CAN’T WAIT.

It will be worth it, though. YOU are worth it. You deserve all the smiles in the world for helping accomplish this, and once again, we thank you.

Now that the votes are literally in, the thousands of applications are reviewed by a panel including:

  • Steve Case, entrepreneur and founder of AOL
  • Candace Nelson, founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes
  • Jason Calacanis, co-founder of Weblogs, Inc.
  • David Chavern, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Richard Quigley, president, Business Card, Chase
  • Tim O’Shaughnessy, CEO and co-founder of LivingSocial

We will keep you posted on that as well.

No Comments | Tags: , , ,

The Tour So Far, In Pictures

An incredibly grand photo essay of my adventures so far!

Do check back — I will be updating the album with my stops in GA and TN before I head home!

Just click on the photo to head to the Picasa Album. xox

No Comments | Tags: , , , , , , ,

The “Sunday” Necklace

Launching the Dixie Dunbar Studio Fairy Tale line of jewelry is the “Sunday” necklace, inspired by the novel Enchanted.

The necklace is made of simple chain, as befits a Woodcutter’s daughter, but the asymmetrical design is pure elegance.

Like Sunday Woodcutter’s magical dress of silver and gold the third night of the prince’s ball, the Sunday necklace is comprised of silver- and gold-brass chains that sweep around the neck and culminate in a graceful central waterfall.

The Sunday necklace is affordably priced at only $90~

Click here to order your today!

No Comments | Tags: , , , , ,

May ENCHANTED Goodreads Giveaway!

It’s the time you’ve all been waiting for the May ENCHANTED Giveaway is here!

Alethea gave away one signed ARC of her YA debut fairy tale novel ENCHANTED in January, February, March, and April.

Now it’s May–official book release time!

Alethea and Soteria (Sister power!) will be giving away a signed finished copy of the lovely ENCHANTED, along with THIS SIGNATURE BRACELET from Soteria’s Fairy Tale jewelry line, which will simultaneously be launched at Dixie Dunbar Studio on May 26th. (

Come one, come all — the more the merrier! Most importantly, keep reading and sharing the magic!


If you’re interested in seeing this bracelet in person, I will be wearing one just like it on tour this summer. Stop by and I will model for you!


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis


by Alethea Kontis

Giveaway ends May 31, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


1 Comment | Tags: , , ,

Raffle Necklace Stats

This gorgeous necklace Soteria and I are raffling off contains faceted chunks of light and dark Amethyst with sterling baby chains, complete with sterling clasp and extendable chain.

Measures from 16 1/2-19 inches on your neck (more chain can be added if necessary).

Want to win it? Click here and Chip In a couple of bucks!

1 Comment | Tags: , , , ,

Win This Necklace!

[Edited again to add: Now that Paypal is fixed, Chip In seems to be broken, and the widget with the button for donating money has vanished.

You can always contribute to the fund straight to me through PayPal. My address is my email: akontis at gmail dot com.

You may also try the alternate Chip In page I have just set up here.]


Yesterday morning, on the way home from the gym, my sister called to tell me she had emailed me the picture of the necklace she will be donating on behalf of Dixie Dunbar’s Studio for the “Chip In for Gas on Alethea’s Summer Book Tour” raffle.

By the time I got home to check my mail there was another email, informing me that Paypal had “temporarily restricted” my account pending a series of verifications, password changes, and proofs of ID.

I’ve heard horror stories about this sort of thing in the past. I won’t lie: I was worried. I asked that no one contribute any more to the fund for the time being, and told Soteria that I would postpone posting the picture of the necklace until the issue was resolved.

Happily, late yesterday afternoon, the issue was resolved. We will speak no more of this.

We will, however, speak of this absolutely gorgeous necklace.

You can win this fabulous, unique, one-of-a-kind, handcrafted, purple necklace for as little as $1. That’s right, any amount, no matter how small, will get you entered to win this fantastic piece of artwork.

All you have to do is pop on by and Chip In a buck or two for gas money for my book tour through the Southern US this summer. That’s it! It’s just that easy!

Again, I thank you all so much in advance for whatever you are able to contribute. Believe me–right now I am possibly more aware than I ever have been before of just how much every little bit helps.


[Edited to add: If the winner of this raffle is a gentleman who would prefer a necklace for himself instead of a wife/girlfriend/etc, Soteria is willing to swap out this item for a man’s necklace. No other substitutions or exchanges are applicable.]

3 Comments | Tags: , , , ,

Chip In for Gas!

I love this day and age when you can wish for something AND IT ALREADY EXISTS.

Why, just the other day, I was wishing there was a place like Kickstarter where I could set up a page and ask my friends if they’d like to help chip in for gas money on my Book Tour this summer.

Not half an hour later, I had my very own CHIP IN page, and $110 already in my gas fund. (THANK YOU, MY DEAREST FRIENDS!)

I estimate that gas will be about $500 for the trip. If this fund goes over $500, I will use the money to buy EVEN MORE SWAG to give away at my booksignings.

Soteria has also sweetened the pot this morning — anyone who Chips In a bit of cash — even if it’s only a couple of bucks — will be entered to win an original necklace from Dixie Dunbar Studio.

So what are you waiting for? Throw a few bucks in the tip jar. And I’LL SEE YOU THIS SUMMER!!


1 Comment | Tags: , , , , , ,

The Spirograph Obsession

My fellow Coedxian, author Elaine Isaak, sent me a tweet yesterday asking about my “recent obsession with Spirograph.” I thought perhaps this deserved a better-than-140-character explanation.

It was Memere who had the Spirograph at her house — we might have owned one, but I don’t ever remember playing with it at home. Only ever at Memere’s house.

There were a few activites particular to Memere’s: Strawberry picking and making fresh daiquiris from the fruits of our labor (virgin daiquiris, of course–it wasn’t en vogue to call them “smoothies” back then). Eating Bugles with ranch dip and watching the Miss America Pageant. Sneaking into the blue room and thieving candies out of the pretty dishes there and not getting caught. Sledding down the mountainside backyard. And walking to the Morse Farm Sugar Shack, of course.

Memere (or “Gram,” as we often call her) eventually had a pool installed in the back yard, but by then we were too old to summer in Vermont anymore. No, what Soteria and I loved as girls was the large bureau in the guest bedroom whose drawers were full of games and toys and pens and paper. One of those “games” was Spirograph.

Soteria and I, both artisically-minded young girls (as most young girls are, though ours never wore off) would spend HOURS bent over circles and cams with pens of all colors, desperately attempting to recreate the gorgeous designs in the booklet. As with most art projects, Spirograph took a steady and careful hand, and huge amounts of patience. Eventually that patience would wear thin, or it would be time for dinner, and the projects would be packed up in the box and filed away in th drawer to be met again on another vacation.

I wonder what happened to all those games and things when Memere sold her house and moved to the condo. I hope whatever child got it treasured the magic in those ovoid bits of plastic (if not out myriad attempts at achieving perfection).

Every so often, a conversation  about the Spirograph pops up between Soteria and me–especially now that Memere is in hospice with Alzheimers and we try to remember older, better, more lucid times. Inevitably, Soteria’s in the shop and I’m at work, and the idea never gets scribbled down on paper as a quirky Christmas gift item. And so it goes, for months and years.

So yesterday, when I saw someone post a picture of the Spirograph on Fecebook, it was a simple enough thing to repost. And then, as happens with social networking, it exploded. Everyone shared links and memories. My friend Mandi even shared some Spirographing she’d done with her niece!

I thought it would be a fun game to give swag away to anyone who comes to me at a signing or  convention appearance and gives me a spirograph cam or circle. I’d love to have a huge collection I can bring back to the Afterschool program next year!

4 Comments | Tags: , , , , ,

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope all of my sweetheart friends are having a lovely day today! Did you receive a treat from someone you loved today? Have you treated yourself? Well…for goodness sakes, why not?

Stop over at Dixie Dunbar Studio right now and get yourself something special. For one week only the rest of the month (thank you, Soteria!), use coupon code XOXO to receive 20% off your purchase!

And if you happen to be in Charleston, SC this week, do stop by 192 King Street on Thursday night for a glass of wine to celebrate Soteria and Anne’s post-Valentine’s Day bash!

No Comments | Tags: , , ,

The Greatiest Fight of All

I mentioned this story in my RIP message to Whitney Houston on Facebook this morning, and it’s been requested that I expound a bit and tell the whole thing. So here it is: the story of the most infamous, recorded Kontis Sister fight of all time.

Once upon a time when there was no call waiting, only five television stations, and no way to record a show (we called it “The 80s”), one of the most wonderful gifts a child could receive was a cassette player. Even better: a RED one that could play the radio and had DUAL CASSETTE RECORDERS so that one could make one’s very own mixed tapes! Soteria and I received matching cherry red boomboxes one Christmas. That was a good Christmas.

I was a child born to podcast. Some children don’t like the sound of their own voice, but never me. I used to lock myself up in the bathroom and record inspirational messages, urging people to love one another. When I got older, I recorded myself singing. Who didn’t? And on the rare occasion, when we weren’t choreographing dance routines to “Lean on Me” or “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” Soteria and I would sing together.

I don’t remember what prompted us to record a duet of Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All,” except that it was one of those songs every little girl loved because she could belt it out at the top of her lungs like “Tomorrow” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” It would have been 1986 or so, which would have made me 10 and Soteria  about 8.

The tape recording–which I do hope isn’t lost forever, but I only have a few cassettes left, and little time to sift through them all–started with the two of us singing the song together, pouring every bit of our young hearts and souls into the words…and then Soteria screwed up the lyrics. Being the perfectionist that I was, I argued with Soteria about this. Being the little sister that she was, she argued back. Then followed a resounding SLAP on the recording, and my footsteps as I petulantly stormed out of the room.

There was silence on the tape, and Soteria’s soft sobbing. Then she took a breath and, in wavering, tear-filled tones, finished the song in a solo. “The graaaay-tee-est love of all,” she sang, “is happening to me. I’ve found the graaaaay-tee-est love of all”–sniff–“inside of me.”

Ah, the Kontis Sisters, for whom the term “melodramatic” was never quite enough.

I maintain, if we’d had YouTube back then, we’d be stars right now. Then again, I suppose we still could be…

4 Comments | Tags: , , , ,