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Princess Adventures: DragonCon 2018

A new episode in The Princess Adventures has been posted — READ IT HERE.

“Dragon Con 2018. Sunday. The day I didn’t win yet another award…”

So much happened on the Sunday of Dragon Con that I had to break it into two parts. This is Part One: The Dragon Awards.

By the time I’ve finished chronicling this year’s Dragon Con, I will have written around 10,000 words. But you know what? I’M GLAD. I’m glad because I am able to process and chronicle this year’s amazing convention and all the magical things that happened to me. Magical things happen every year, but until now I have never had the time (or made the time) to tackle this assignment and see it all the way to the end.

I always give myself some sort of ridiculous arbitrary time limit, but my Dragon Con Report was never going to be done the week after Dragon–I should have never expected it to be. Nor should I put such pressure on myself in the future. Because now that it’s almost done, I feel…whole again. Well, almost whole.

There are still all those storm chasing diary entries and photos…

I’ve released these Princess Adventures to all my Patrons at the $1 Level and up. I do this because it is my main source of income. Funding these adventures has to come from somewhere!

THANK YOU, PATRONS!

xox

Princess Alethea

DragonCon 2018 Sunday Part One

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The Official 2018 Storm Chasing Tiara–The Full Story

If there was one thing that needed to happen before my upcoming Storm Chasing adventure, it was that I was going to need a new tiara. And not ANY tiara…a special tiara. But what kind?

Chris suggested something with lightning, which seemed cool. I was thinking maybe I could scour Etsy and find a design that suggested maybe that or storm clouds. I didn’t want to commit to something large and weighty—I prefer the lighter, more understated variety that I can wear for longer periods of time.

Other than “Etsy,” really, though, I had no real I idea of what I wanted, or where to start.
It felt a lot like when I’m writing a book and I got stuck on the name of a character…I want a good name, but I have no real preference one way or another…so I ask my friends on Facebook. What am I looking for? I don’t know. But what I’ve come to realize is that 1.) my FB friends make up an incredible creative braintrust 2.) they, and all their suggestions, are hella inspiring. A girl could do worse!

So I threw it up on the wall…suggestions for a tiara?IMG_7469

And within about 5 minutes, my friend Mandi posts a link to Etsy that makes me positively squeal. It’s Ozma’s circlet.

Those of you who haven’t read the Oz books, or haven’t seen Return to Oz, or didn’t watch Emerald City, don’t know about Ozma, Princess of Oz. As a baby she given to the witch Mombi by the Wizard of Oz, to prevent the rightful ruler from gaining the throne. Mombi turned the baby into a boy and raised him as “Tip.” (Tip created Jack Pumpkinhead.) Glinda discovered this, and forced Mombi to turn Tip back into Ozma. Kickass Ozma—with her undetermined age, fluid gender, and fairy blood—became quite the benevolent ruler of Oz.

Ozma’s book was the third installment in the Oz chronicles, and had possible the best subtitle ever. Ozma of Oz: A Record of Her Adventures with Dorothy Gale of Kansas, Billina the Yellow Hen, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, Tik-Tok, the Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger; Besides Other Good People Too Numerous to Mention Faithfully Recorded Herein.

Between Baum and Carroll, I was well-versed in quirkiness at a very young age.

The circlet in the 1900s era books, as illustrated by John R. Neill, is a very distinct O with a Z inside it. Those unfamiliar with the circlet might think it looks like lightning.
I was actually kind of shocked just how many of my friends were unfamiliar with Ozma!

But here was the kicker: Not only did I recognize the circlet and love it immediately, but it was also affordable. Made by a Bronze Smith here in Florida—www.handmadebronze.com.

I looked closer at the design…contacted the artist…and what do you know? One of my favorite tiaras—bought at DragonCon decade or more ago—was made by one of his apprentices!

And now I have a new favorite: my Official Storm Chasing Tiara!

My world may be small, but boy is it crazy magical!

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Are you as excited as I am? Want to help pitch in for gas, hotels, and coffee? Paypal akontis at gmail or click the Donate button on the right! (And Thank You!)

Want 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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Alethea’s GEN CON Schedule!

That’s right, everyone — I will be at Gen Con this year! Here’s my schedule:

Friday

11:00 AM Boston Revising Your Story
12:00 PM Boston Young Adult, Growing Up
3:00 PM Boston Dark Stories for Kids and Teens

Saturday

12:00 PM Atlanta Support Systems for Writers
1:00 PM Austin How Can Authors Get Reviews?
4:00 PM Boston The Ins and Outs of Patreon

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And as a bonus, here’s a schedule of all Mikey Mason‘s concerts (where I may very likely be as well)

Thursday COMEDY ROCK GEEK MIKEY MASON 9-11pm Lucas Oil Meeting Room 4
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Friday FIREFLY DRINKING SONGS WITH MARC GUNN (Mikey will be performing a song or two.) 8-9pm Westin Grand IV
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Friday MIKEY MASON’S BROWNCOAT SHOW 9-11pm Westin Grand III
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Saturday COMEDY ROCK GEEK MIKEY MASON 9-11pm Lucas Oil Meeting Room 7
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Become a Patron of the Princess today! As little as $1 a month gets you an ALL ACCESS PASS to exclusive content!

 

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Any Way The Wind Blows…

Storm Chasing Update!

Hello, everyone! So…the plan was to get the heck out of Dodge as soon as we could to chase those storms. I got the cookies for the Patreon Royal Baker Tier done ahead of time and got my to-do lists together. I decided to bring along some mailers, so that I could send out whatever exciting Treasure Box treasures I encountered on the road.
But, plans change. This is why we stay flexible.
Worry not — Chris and I ARE STILL GOING STORM CHASING. We’ve just been delayed. By weather. Or lack thereof. Seems there was a wee bit of activity a couple of days ago, but long-term models currently show a bunch of blah. Followed by more blah.
As eager as I am to go (yes, my bag is packed with everything but medicine and my pillow), it doesn’t make sense financially to drive all the way out there if nothing’s happening.
What does this mean for my Patrons? Well…a couple of things. First off, I will be throwing myself full throttle at that massive to-do list I compiled, meaning you’ve got a BUNCH of fun posts coming! And…you know…maybe even some VIDEOS,because I’ve really been chomping at the bit to do some more of those. Who cares if the library is in the middle of being torn down and put back together? Am I right?
I happen to have just received my hot-off-the-press copies of The Unicorn Hunter…and I’ve never done an “unboxing” video before…
What does this mean for the Treasure Box patrons? Well…it just so happens that I was recently celebrating busted ankleversary with my dear friends in the Adam Ezra Group (This was SUCH AN AMAZING SHOW! More on that later)…and they just so happened to have a bunch of their new CDs available…and I maybe just so happened to get them all to sign it for you.
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The album is called Hurricane Wind–which is sort of perfect for this month’s storm chasing theme!
And if Chris and I end up storm chasing into June (which at this point it looks like we might), then all my Treasure Box Patrons will get pressies! (Hint: If you’ve ever wanted to pop up to that level, NOW’S THE TIME!)
Thank you to all my Patrons for helping to make this storm chasing adventure a reality…I CANNOT WAIT TO SHARE IT WITH YOU!
xox
Princess Alethea

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Are you as excited as I am? Want to help pitch in for gas, hotels, and coffee? Paypal akontis at gmail or click the Donate button on the right! (And Thank You!)

Want 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] Oh, The Places We’ll Go!

Chris says that peak storm chasing in Tornado Alley starts the second week of May. Depending on what the radar looks like (and prior personal obligations), we could depart as early as May 3. We might be gone for as little as two weeks, or as much as a month. It’s all up in the air. We will go wherever the wind takes us. (Heehee…I could do this all day…)

“I know there’s no way to tell me for sure,” I asked Chris, “but what are some of the usual areas of the country in which you find yourself?”

I’m curious, because a lot of this is going to be countryside I’ve only seen covered by Sam and Dean Winchester. It’s a lot of new territory for me!big texan

It is highly likely that we will find ourselves in:
North/Northwest Texas
Oklahoma
Kansas (Haven, here we come!)

It is less likely (but still possible) that we might find ourselves in:
Nebraska
E. Colorado
Wyoming
New Mexico
Iowa (Sarah is super excited about this prospect!)

Chris says that every season the storms seem to be tracking farther south—an interesting trend.

05twine3Noteworthy Pit Stops We Might Make:
THE TWINE BALL (Kansas)
The Twister Museum (if it still exists…and yes, I am packing my t-shirt) (Oklahoma)
Carhenge, Nebraska
The National Weather Center and NOAA (Norman, Oklahoma)
Big Texan Steak Ranch  (I will NOT be attempting the 72oz steak!) (Amarillo, Texas)

What are some of your favorite Roadside Attractions in Middle America? Let me know in the comments, and I will add them to my Possible Trip Goals list!

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Are you as excited as I am? Want to help pitch in for gas, hotels, and coffee? Paypal akontis at gmail or click the Donate button on the right! (And Thank You!)

Want 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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“Hello, my name is…”

Everybody gets the story this month—Patrons and blog readers and social media followers alike. Everybody. Because I’m the Princess, and I said so.
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Hello, My Name Is…
Katy. Simi. Justin. Ursula. Dallas. Kathryn. Bill. An unconscionable amount of good people have left this world since my birthday in January. Want to know the worst part? I feel like I’m forgetting someone. Literally so many people in my life died in the last month that I lost count. 
I light a lot of candles these days. 
Katy died on my birthday. Bianca had whisked me away to Paradise City con in Miami by the time I got the news, so there was no time to grieve. Quincy Allen was around that weekend to provide bear hugs whenever I needed. I left the booth to cry in the bathroom the few times Leanna texted me, but I didn’t respond to her. I was not ready for that conversation. I did not want to “talk to anyone.” I had work to do. So I did it. 
I needed time to think about what sort of farewell I could write to my Audio Dream Girl. I still can’t manage it. There’s just so much to unpack. So much to process. Too much. And now, several weeks later, we’re four or five deaths down the line. 
I feel this way in my career sometimes. The to-do list becomes overwhelming and I don’t know where to start. Logic dictates that I begin with the first item on the list. But that’s not always the thing “speaks to me,” as Sherri Kenyon is so fond of saying. 
Bianca and I were at Orlando Toy & Comic Con when Kathryn went into the hospital. That con only lasted one day, so I was home when she didn’t make it through the second round of surgery. I had time to pray for Kathryn. I had time to grieve. I had time to cry, and scream at the world, and cry again. I cried a lot.
I cried so hard that Tempest came in the room and just hugged me for a while. I told her how mad I was…and how I didn’t feel like I even had the right to be weeping over Kathryn, since I hadn’t had the time to properly grieve for Katy yet. 
Alethea,” she said to me in that no-nonsense Tempest tone of hers. “That’s not how grief works.”
She was right, of course. I so desperately wanted to apply logic to this whole situation. But Feelings took Logic and laughed maniacally while tossing it out the window. 
But that’s me in a nutshell, isn’t it? The perfect fictional offspring of Mr. Spock and Deanna Troi. Though lately I’ve been wondering if I’m going to evolve into the Mad Hatter instead. Maybe I already have.
I don’t know what to say about Kathryn yet either—as Leanna pointed out this morning, we’ll probably have to wait for Dragon Con for those words and feelings to make themselves known to both of us. Kathryn’s spirit will be with us in the Green Room, no doubt about that. 
But Bill…I do have a story about Bill. A funny story. A story that pertains to writing. So everybody gets the story this month—Patrons and blog readers and social media followers—EVERYBODY. And to hell with logic. Because I said so. 
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AlphaOops: The Day Z Went First released in the summer of 2006. My very first “appearance” was an official Author Event at Ingram. I’d been an Ingram Book Buyer for six years at that point, and I had attended every Author Event. Every single one. Being able to meet bestselling and debut authors from all walks of life, each at varying stages in their careers—it was the publishing education I never had. 
I also made a lot of friends at Ingram in those six years. I was known far and wide for the Happy Holidays mix-CD I made every December and inter-officed to just about everyone in the company. I learned that the more friends one had at a giant corporation like Ingram, the faster one could get things done. 
So I made a lot of friends. And I did a lot of things. It was incredible amounts of fun. I was the Miss Congeniality of Bookville. 
One of those friends was Susan, the woman in charge of Author Events. The day before my AlphaOops appearance, we had a very important conversation. 
“Susan,” I said. “I need you on Post-its.”
Post-its are a very important thing at Author Events. After the author gives his or her talk, the audience lines up to get their books signed. (Everyone in the audience at Ingram receives a signed book.) One person stands ahead of the signing table, armed with a pad of Post-its. They ask, “Who would you like the book signed to?” They write the name down, spell it properly, and stick it opposite the title page.
In elementary school I was known as “The girl who stars in every play and that PBS show on TV.” People often know my name, but I don’t always know theirs. It’s the down side of a reputation that precedes you.
There were going to be a bunch of people at this Author Event who knew me, but whose names I didn’t know, or who I blanked out on in the heat of OMGBOOKSIGNING. (To this day, I still ask my best friends how to spell their names when signing their books.) I had nightmares of scores of people saying, “Just sign this to me,” as I sat there with zero clue as to who they were. I knew it was going to happen. I just KNEW. So I tried to prepare myself the best way possible: with Susan. 
“I’m on it,” she said.
I had one of most well-attended Author Events in Ingram history. Bigger than Johnnie Cochran. Bigger than Dave Ramsey. Bigger than Al and Tipper Gore. There was standing room only, and people out the door. I told the story of AlphaOops, how it came to be, and how the title was originally The Telaphab from Z to A
“My poor mom and I made so many beaded bracelets with the word ‘TELAPHAB’ on them,” I lamented, and about fifteen people across the auditorium raised their hands. 
They were all wearing TELAPHAB bracelets. 
I was so touched, I almost cried. But I didn’t, because I had work to do. After the round of thunderous applause I walked over to the signing table, already piled high with books. Susan stood at the ready, armed with Post-its and a smile, and we made that signing happen. I signed over a hundred and fifty books that afternoon, and I spelled everyone’s name correctly. 
Later that day, flush with triumph and riding high on the wave of a job well done, I grinned as one of the artists from the ad department stopped by my desk. 
“Hey,” he said. “I couldn’t make it to your event earlier, but I had someone snag me a book. Could you sign it for me?”
“Of course!” I said chipperly, taking out my signing pens. But inside I was freaking out. Because I had no clue what this guy’s name was. 
Book Buyers had no business in the ad department, and the artists almost never left their magical, dimly-lit caves lined with twinkle lights. I recognized him, of course—he was the tall, handsome, really nice one. But what was his name?? I tried to remember where we might’ve met, or at what company function I had seen him last. Nothing. Nothing
“To whom shall I sign it?” If I was really lucky, the book would be for his daughter or something. 
And then those dreaded words left his mouth. “Oh, just to me is fine.”
GAH. 
I opened the book and uncapped a marker. My hand hovered over the page as if I were trying to conjure the perfect inscription. What went through my mind instead was actually a lot of cursing, followed by HOW THE HECK DO I GET OUT OF THIS???
I couldn’t sign this man’s book. I couldn’t. I was just going to have to own up to my ignorance. 
“How do you spell that again?” I asked sheepishly. 
“Bill,” he said. “B-I-L-L.”
Yup. Bill. 
THIS WAS BILL ELLIOTT. 
Oh my god, I freaking knew that. I mean, I didn’t know, but I knew. And now I was just embarrassed. I felt my cheeks flush all over again as I bent over to sign the page. 
“Well, hey, Bil Keane only has one L,” I blurted awkwardly. 
Bill Elliott was an artist. He’d know exactly who Bil Keane was. Score one for the nerd girl who read everything she could get her hands on: every single TV guide article, cereal box, and newspaper comic strip—including The Family Circus
I didn’t have a lot of interactions with Bill after that, but I never forgot him after that day. I made sure he got a Happy Holiday CD every year, and every year I was the recipient of one of his original Christmas cards, even after I left the company. 
When Bill was sent home to rest, before the cancer snapped back with a vengeance that surprised even his doctors, Bill drew a new card to thank all of his friends and family for the support they had shown him during his illness. 
IMG_7060The last card. 
But Bill’s message of thanks is universal—it’s what I would say to all of you—my friends, my family—who have supported my artistic endeavors in the past and who continue to support me still. 
Thank you for being one of my reasons to smile. Your compassion and generosity continue to touch my heart in ways I cannot put into words. May your life always be filled with love, laughter, and peace. 
I love you all—every single one of you—right down the the bottom of my illogical, overly-emotional, crazy-filled, tea-drinking heart. 
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I will be writing a follow-up essay for my Royal Scholars (after I stop crying) that includes some tips on how to deal with the “Just make it out to me” situation, from both sides of the signing table. If you are not yet a Patron of the Wonderful World of Princess Alethea, I highly encourage you to come join the fun!
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My Coastal Magic 2018 Schedule

cmccTHIS THURSDAY kicks off the weekend we’ve been waiting for all winter long–Coastal Magic Con in Daytona Beach, FL! Dance parties, fun and games, and the opportunity to hang out with some of my closest writer friends ON THE BEACH!

Here’s my schedule for the weekend. (Between panels, you can find me at Leanna Renee Hieber’s vendor table.)

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Thursday, Feb 22

4:30-6:30pm — Welcome Mingle

Friday, Feb 23

11:30am — Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow (feat. Leanna Renee Hieber, Mari Mancusi, Eric Asher, Deborah Blake, and Piper J. Drake)

4:00pm — Paranormal Author Meet & Greet (w/Leanna Renee Heiber & Mari Mancusi)

Saturday, Feb 24

9:00am — Hear, Here! (Audiobooks)

11:30am — Kids Just Wanna Have Fun (Shenanigans and Substance in YA)

12:30pm — Lunch with an Author

4:00-6:00pm — Pubic Book Sale / Signing (The Shores Resort & Spa Daytona Beach, FL)

 

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Me and My STARs Featured in Hometown News!

STAR Hometown News clipping It’s always a blast to find yourself in the local paper. Even more interesting is the perspective.

What you see here is a bunch of fun-loving romance writers whooping it up in the Great Outdoors. What I see is the Mikey Mason t-shirt I wore in honor of Mikey making some Grand Proclamation that morning to his Patreon followers…and the heart that Amy gave me after taking this photo, the one I wrote Kathryn‘s name on days later when she was going through her complicated heart surgery. I prayed she was going to make it. She did not. But I will light my candles and smile for her anyway, and dance and sing with my writing friends, because that’s exactly what she would have wanted.

The STARs were my first friends in Florida (apart from Bianca, who kidnapped me immediately and claimed me for her own BFF.) They remain some of my dearest friends to this day. THEY GET ME. It is so important to have people in your life who get you.

As I say in this article: “When I first moved here, I didn’t know anyone. The members of STAR instantly welcomed me and understood how important my career was to me. We brainstorm, share trials and errors, tips and tricks, and support one another as often as we can.”

Happy Valentine’s Day, my Best Beloveds!

Read the full article HERE.

Find out more about the SpacecoasT Authors of Romance HERE.

STAR Valentines Day Hometown News 2018

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Follow Alethea Kontis on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/princessalethea

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Countdown to Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow

Hello, everyone! We’re exactly a week away from this year’s Sideshow at Dragon Con and I’m SO EXCITED!  We have a fabulous line-up of authors participating, awesome gift bags sponsored by Sherrilyn Kenyon for the first 40 attendees, and MORE! But first, let me tell you about our amazing authors!

Leanna Renee Hieber – Actress, playwright and author Leanna is the award-winning, bestselling author of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels for adults and teens. A 4 time Prism Award winner for excellence in the genre of Fantasy Romance, Leanna’s books have been selected for national book club editions and translated into languages such as Complex Chinese, German and Polish. She is a proud member of performer unions Actors Equity and SAG-AFTRA, and lives in New York City where she is a licensed ghost tour guide and has been featured in film and television on shows like Boardwalk Empire. Find out more about Leanna and check out her amazing books at www.leannareneehieber.com

Gray Rinehart – Growing up in Georgetown, South Carolina, Gray started writing in middle school, but “outgrew” it after college (excluding some professional publications) as he started his career in the United States Air Force. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2006. Near the middle of Gray’s militarycareer, he became more serious about writing. In 2004 he attended Orson Scott Card’s “Literary Boot Camp” and proceeded to publish his first short story in 2007. He logged his first “professional” sale in 2011 and continues working toward the goal of supporting his family as a full-time independent writer. Find out more about Gray, his books, and his music at graymanwrites.com

Mari Mancusi – Mari Mancusi always wanted a dragon as a pet. Unfortunately the fire insurance premiums proved a bit too large and her house a bit too small–so she chose to write about them instead. Today she works as an award-winning young adult author and freelance television producer, for which she has won two Emmys.When not writing about fanciful creatures of myth and legend, Mari enjoys traveling, cosplay, snowboarding, watching cheesy (and scary) horror movies, and her favorite guilty pleasure—playing videogames. A graduate of Boston University, she lives in Austin, Texas with her husband Jacob, daughter Avalon, and their two dogs. Learn more about Mari and check out her gorgeous books at marimancusi.com

Diana Peterfreund – Diana Peterfreund has published ten novels for adults, teens, and kids, including the four-book Secret Society Girl series (Bantam Dell), the “killer unicorn novels” Rampant and Ascendant (Harper Teen), For Darkness Shows the Stars (a post-apocalyptic retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion), and Across a Star-Swept Sea (inspired by the classic series The Scarlet Pimpernel). Her newest novel, OMEGA CITY, is a contemporary adventure novel for younger readers set in a secret bunker city somewhere under modern Maryland.
Her works have been named to the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age list, the Capitol Choices (metro DC-area) reading list, and the Texas Lonestar List, as well as having been named to Amazon’s Best Books of the Year. In addition, she’s written several critically acclaimed short stories and a variety of non-fiction essays about popular children’s literature. Diana lives outside Washington D.C., with her family. 
Learn more about Diana and her novels at dianapeterfreund.com

Zoraida Cordova – Zoraida Córdova is the author of The Vicious Deep trilogy, the On the Verge series, and the Brooklyn Brujas series. She loves black coffee, snark, and still believes in magic. She is a New Yorker at heart and is currently working on her next novel.  To check out her beautiful books and learn more about Zoraida, stop by zoraidacordova.com

I am so happy to have so many veterans returning, and thrilled to welcome Zoraida to the Sideshow family! In the meantime, get in the spirit with our Exclusive printable Sideshow Coloring Sheet, and watch “The Little Mermaid” performance from last year’s Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow (below)!!  And don’t forget to show your support for the Sideshow by purchasing one of our limited edition t-shirts (they WILL NOT be available at Dragon Con, so get yours NOW!)!!

xox

Princess Alethea

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Follow Alethea Kontis on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/princessalethea

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Countdown to the Sideshow

Happy Wednesday everyone!  We’re in the final countdown to Dragon Con and this year’s Traveling Sideshow. (Just 9 days left!!)  To help you pass the time, below is a printable coloring sheet of Kit Steele’s fabulous art, commissioned especially for this year’s Sideshow. We can’t wait to see you all at there!

XOXO,

Princess Alethea

 

Coloring Page DC 2017

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