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Living in the Future, the Right Way

On Saturday, I woke up sad. I’d had a lovely time at the beach with old friends the day before, but for some reason (which I now blame on ragweed) Saturday morning brought with it a weepy sort of melancholy.

By Saturday night, my heart was full again. I was reminded what an amazing life I lead. And I didn’t even have to leave my house.

Sometime on Saturday afternoon, Jonah Knight emailed me to remind me of something I’d promised him a while back: that for two weeks I’d be sponsoring his new Twitch site, where he is now streaming live performances.

For those who might not remember, Jonah and I met at a Mysticon (Roanoke, VA) back around 2013. We had a mutual friend whose work we admired: James Maxey. In particular, James’s fabulous superhero classic Nobody Gets the Girl. I loved it so much, my blurb is still on the cover. Jonah loved it so much, he wrote a soundtrack for it.

So yeah…we were pretty much destined to be friends. He invited me to be a guest on his podcast. I saw him perform at a bunch of cons. And then he moved to California. BOO.

Of course, with all I’ve had going on this year, I’d totally forgotten about the promise I made him. (Surprise!) I immediately dropped everything, put my ducks in a row, got Jonah’s link, signed up on Twitch, and followed Jonah’s profile.

I also shared his most recent Facebook post, where he announced that he’d be performing a livestream event THAT VERY NIGHT. How fortuitous! I still had so much on my to-do list, but I could stand to do it all while watching/listening to one of my favorite people perform live, right? Why not?

So I tidied up a bit and lurked silently in the chatroom while Jonah warmed up. He already had visitors from Spain and New Zealand online. And he’s in California. And I’m in Florida. Instant global party!

I also worked on my art homework — Bianca has taken to giving me assignments, which I’m totally cool with. She told me to stop working on butterflies for a while and do something different like…chalkboard art! White pencil on black construction paper. Write some quotes in fancy handwriting. Doodle some things. But what was I going to draw?

Well…Jonah was right there, so I let him be my inspiration. I started writing down my favorite lines from his songs. I doodled rocket ships and robots and steampunk gears and stars. And it was wonderful.

I didn’t jump in on the chat until he mentioned my name…and then we interacted in that 21st century way kids do — I spoke via chat, and he answered on the video. He even played “King of Nebraska” as the finale, which totally made my night. I danced around my kitchen and sang along with gusto.

Sometime in the middle of all that, it occurred to me to be present…to look at my life from an outside perspective and appreciate it for what it was. I started off having a crummy day, and ended it with a private home concert, during which the performer talked DIRECTLY TO ME and played me a song.

Even better? The video from that night is up on Twitch, so any of us can pull it up and watch it again. Be sure to follow Jonah — hang out with us for the next couple of weeks and win some things!

The world we live in right now is AMAZING. It’s a world in which Willie Wonka would have had a ball. We can have just about whatever life we choose, with a little bit of effort.

The magic is there. We just have to find it.

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Follow Jonah Knight on Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/jonahknight
Follow Alethea Kontis on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/princessalethea

 

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Alethea’s 2016 DragonCon Schedule

Leanna & Lee, from many DragonCons PastHere it is, folks! Technically, it’s still tentative, so be sure to double check these on the app and in the program booklet.

Convention Dates are Fri(9/2/16), Sat(9/3/16), Sun(9/4/16), and Mon(9/5/16).

I will be arriving on Wednesday with Bianca Roman-Stumpff so that I can help her set up in Pop Art Alley on Thursday. Bianca has kindly offered to squirrel some of my books away behind her table–so if I’m not on a panel and Pop Art Alley is open, that’s where I’ll be! Come find us!

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Title: The Online YA Community
Description: From Twitter, to YouTube (booktube!), Reddit, podcasting, Goodreads, PATREON – the online YA community is vibrant.
Time: Fri 10:00 am Location: A707 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Lindsay Cummings, S. Usher Evans, Alethea Kontis)

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Traveling Side ShowTitle: Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow
Description: Join this motley band of talented (and costumed) authors for an entertaining hour of rants, rap battles, zombie haiku, musical numbers, and more. Swag for the first 40 audience members!
Time: Fri 07:00 pm Location: A707 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel
(Tentative Panelists: Alethea Kontis, Leanna Renee Hieber, E.C. Myers, Gray Rinehart, Mari Mancusi, special musical guest S.J. Tucker)

Stay after the show for an autographing and meet & greet!

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SATURDAY 10:00AM — PARADE
Alethea and costumed members of her Brute Squad will be walking in the YA section this year — look for Alethea’s patchwork skirt and her trademark Blue Alphabet Umbrella!

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Title: Short Fiction for Fun (and Profit?)
Description: Short stories: equal parts art, science, and kung-fu. How does writing a short story differ from writing a novel? Should every author write short fiction?
Time: Sat 01:00 pm Location: Embassy EF – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Jody Lynn Nye, Delilah S. Dawson, Mercedes Lackey, Patricia Briggs, Alethea Kontis)

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Title: Reading: Alethea Kontis
Time: Sat 02:30 pm Location: Edgewood – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Alethea Kontis)

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Title: Origins: Gods and Monsters in Myth & Folklore
Description: Many of the supernatural beings and magical creatures appearing in Urban Fantasy have their roots in myth and folklore. Our panelists discuss those they feel most influenced by and others they have discovered in their research.
Time: Sat 04:00 pm Location: Chastain DE – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Alethea Kontis, Kevin Hearne, James R. Tuck, Samantha Sommersby, Valerie Hampton, Kathryn Hinds)

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Title: Novelizing the Media
Description: Media tie-ins are very popular. Our panelists discuss how this works and their participation in a new superhero anthology.
Time: Sun 11:30 am Location: Embassy AB – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Delilah S. Dawson, Clay and Susan Griffith, Alethea Kontis, Steve Saffel)

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Vote for TFQ!Title: Autograph Session:
Time: Sun 02:30 pm Location: International Hall South – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Alethea Kontis)

NOTE: This autograph session will be held at the same time as The Dragon Awards, for which Trix and the Faerie Queen has been nominated for Best MG/YA Novel. (haven’t voted yet? Go to http://awards.dragoncon.org/ and register right now! No membership needed)

This is the only event on my schedule that MAY change, so keep an eye on my Twitter Feed for any last-minute changes. If you miss me, come see me at Bianca’s table in Pop Art Alley!

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You Know It’s All About The FLASH MOB

I was late for my STAR meeting today because there was a Flash Mob at my B&N (West Melbourne, FL) — where I normally go to get some work done beforehand. Needless to say, I didn’t do much this morning.

But that’s TOTALLY OKAY, because I got to take this video instead, and talk to some great teens from local high schools. YOU GUYS ROCK!

Because, you know…it’s all about the books. START READING!

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Happy Holidays 2015

December, by Kit Silvertales

December, by Kit Silvertales (Click to visit her Facebook page!)

This year’s Track Listing!

1. Life In A Northern Town — The Dream Academy
2. Christmas Ball Blues — Leon Redbone
3. Pat-a-pan — Charlotte Diamond
4. The Last Snowfall — Vienna Teng
5. Cool Yule — Louis Armstong With The Commanders
6. Cold December — Matt Costa
7. Christmas In The Sand — Colbie Caillat
8. Christmas Tears — Eric Clapton
9. Snow Snow Snow — Danny Fromajio
10. Snow Mazes of Norway — Jenny Dalton
11. All That I Want for Christmas (Is to Give My Love Away) — The Rescues
12. Knee Socks – Arctic Monkeys
13. Something in the Air (Coca-Cola Christmas Anthem) — Lauriana Mae, Jono, Grayson Sanders
14. Joy to the World — Train
15. Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town — Jackson, Michael & The Jackson 5
16. Two-Step ‘Round The Christmas Tree — Suzy Bogguss
17. A Kiss for Christmas — Luther Vandross
18. The Parade of The Wooden Soldiers — Mantovani
19. Bedtime For Toys — Stevie Wonder
20. Ave Maria (Schubert) — Luciano Pavarotti

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Happy Holidays 2014

2014 Xmas Fairy by Bianca Roman-Stumpff

2014 Christmas Fairy Illustrated by Biance Roman-Stumpff

As promised, here is the Track Listing for my Happy Holidays 2014 mixed CD:

1. Let it Be — Beatles
2. The 12 Days Of Christmas — Straight No Chaser
3. Christmas Paradise — Carole King
4. Winter Song — Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson
5. Colder Days — Adam Ezra Group
6. Christmas at the Airport — Nick Lowe
7. One Little Candle — Chicago
8. Little Saint Nick — She & Him
9. Carol Of The Bells — Fleming & John
10. Don’t Forget About Me This Christmas — Danny Fromajio & Peter Hajioff
11. You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch — CeeLo Green (feat. Straight No Chaser)
12. Christmas Eve Montage — The Nightmare Before Christmas
13. Silent Night Holy Night (Korean) — DBSK
14. Oh Holy Night — Bastille
15. Change In The Weather — Love Spit Love
16. Baby, It’s Cold Outside — John Lithgow & Bebe Neuwirth
17. Butterfly — Lenny Kravitz
18. Candy Cane Jane — Laurie Berkner
19. Christmas Blessings — Dave Padrutt
20. Indiana Christmas — Straight No Chaser
21. Auld Lang Syne — Barenaked Ladies

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SUBSCRIBE TO MY NEWSLETTER! (There’s a special Christmas surprise in the December letter that you don’t want to miss): http://eepurl.com/YSmS1

Christmas Lee

 

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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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The Thirteenth Christmas

This is a tough post to write, but it must be done.

As Thanksgiving approaches, and more of my beloved friends and family start digging out their Christmas storage boxes and playing music as they decorate their homes, I start getting messages about my Christmas CDs.

Happy Holidays 2012Back in 2001, I didn’t know what to get all my new friends at Ingram for the holidays, so I put together a “Happy Holidays 2001” CD. It only had about 11 songs, and I gave it to maybe 20 people.

The response was so overwhelmingly wonderful that I’ve done a Christmas CD every year since. I’ve borrowed (and even commissioned) artwork from notable artists to use on the label. The number of songs doubled, but one thing remained the same — while the CD was sent around Thanksgiving, I would not release the track listing until December 15th. I always want the first listen to be a surprise…that’s part of the gift.

At one point the number of CDs I made was close to 200. I used these works under a creative commons usage like back when we made mixed tapes…though the lines there blur a bit. I never received any money for them or from them. It was always a labor of love. I simply wanted my friends to know I was thinking about them, and to share some traditional (and non-traditional) music that would make them smile and maybe even think of me.

AlphaOops: C is for Christmas!The last couple of years, the US Postal Service became the biggest burden. While they’ll happily mail a card-stock pop-up Christmas Card for 65 cents, if they find out you’ve put a CD in there, they’ll try to charge you upwards of $2 a letter. I don’t see the point of this…and I just don’t have that kind of money. So I tried my best to subvert the Postal Machine and get my tidings of joy out there anyway. Few things in this life have ever stopped me from doing what I want to do.

And yet, this year — the Thirteenth Christmas — there will be no holiday CD. Trust me — this bothers me more than I can convey in a simple blog post.

This year has not only been tough for me, it’s also been filled with sadness. Mom always listens to my Holiday CD and can sense what kind of year I’ve had based on the song choices with that extra-sensory-Mom-perception that she has. I did not want to bring you sadness this year.

Nor did I want to try and upend the process by making the CD a downloadable file — I have no problem making a “mixed tape” sampling of music I enjoy (and bands I encourage you to become a fan of), but I personally draw the line at sourcing a downloadable file for free music. I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that unless I had personal written permission from all the bands I included that year…and that’s a lot more work than I’m prepared to do right now.

It’s not that there won’t be a Christmas — I’ll certainly do my best to make this up to you. There will be cards and blog posts and videos…and possibly other things delivered in ways neither one of us has imagined yet. Yule is still my second favorite holiday (after Guy Fawkes Day), and I can think of no better way to celebrate happiness than ushering the light back into the world with a slew of fun things.

Gah–I hate doing this. I hate disappointing people. Please don’t think I don’t love each and every one of you, because I do. And if you have one or more of the CDs I’ve made in the last twelve years, I hope you pop it in and enjoy it as much as I did when I was making it. (And if you have 2003, PLEASE drop me a line because I’m still missing that track listing and my copy is in storage.)

I promise, I’ll come back next year, better than ever. If you are an artist or a musician interested n participating in next year’s CD, please drop me a line as well. As always, magic is better when shared.

*whew* So, with that confession out of the way, back I go to revising Book Three. I leave you all to have a wonderful day and (if you’re in the US) a Happy Thanksgiving holiday.

I’ll be thinking of you.

xox Alethea

Christmas Lee

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Happy Holidays 2012

Happy Holidays 2012Here is your Track Listing for the Happy Holidays 2012 CD!

1.  Preaching The End Of The World — Chris Cornell
2.  Christmas Is Just Around The Corner — Barry Manilow
3.  Ol’ Saint Nicholas — Doris Day
4.  Holly Leaves and Christmas Trees — Elvis Presley
5.  It’s Gonna Be A Cold Cold Christmas — Grant & Forsythe
6.  I’ll Be Home For Christmas — Johnny Cash
7.  A Holly Jolly Christmas — Lady Antebellum
8.  The Christmas Waltz — Peggy Lee
9.  I Believe — Frank Sinatra
10.  A Working Elf’s Theme — The Polyphonic Spree
11.  Santa Claus Is Coming To Town — Kim Zimmer
12.  Mistletoe — Colbie Caillat
13. What Christmas Means To Me — Stevie Wonder
14.  Good Morning Blues — Ella Fitzgerald
15.  I Love the Winter Weather — Tony Bennett
16.  Every Heart Is Home At Christmas — The Five Keys
17.  Boogie Woogie Santa — Deana Carter
18.  The Christmas Song — Sammy Davis Jr.
19.  Adeste Fideles — Luciano Pavarotti
20.  New Years Day — U2

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Tidbits:
1.) I played up the 2012 aspect this year, so the first track of this CD couldn’t have been any other song.
2.) Did you notice the Aztec calendar in the background behind Santa?
3.) Of COURSE the world’s not going to end on December 21st. If it does, Santa can’t get here!
4.) If you’d like to see more of Carol’s gorgeous artwork, please visit her website here (you can order prints, notecards, and other exciting things!).
5.) I had SO many disagreements over postage with the US Post Office this year (the cost of mailing one card ranged from $0.65 to over $2.00, depending on the clerk), this is probably going to be the last year I make CDs. I’ll have to think of something else new & fun for next year!

Happy holidays, everyone! xox

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Ode to Happiness

In which a little girl’s pennies in an old man’s top hat brings an Ode to Joy:

This makes me so happy I’m close to tears every time I watch it.

From YouTube: On the 130th anniversary of the founding of Banco Sabadell we wanted to pay homage to our city by means of the campaign “Som Sabadell” (We are Sabadell) . This is the flashmob that we arranged as a final culmination with the participation of 100 people from the Vallès Symphony Orchestra, the Lieder, Amics de l’Òpera and Coral Belles Arts choirs.

Many thanks to Ellen Datlow, who tweeted this the other day.

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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 missionsmallbusiness.com 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.

THANK YOU ALL FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY PRINCESSY HEART!!!!
*hugstheworld*

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.
WISH US LUCK!!
xoxoxo

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