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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.

***************

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

 

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The Blog is Moving to Patreon!

Hello, my lovelies! As you know, I’ve been spending a lot more time over on Patreon lately. To that end, I’ve decided to move the blogging over there for the forseaable future. This website may eventually be updated with a new landing page (perhaps we’ll add that to the Patreon goals!) but this post will have to do for now. You can also subscribe to my newsletter for updates (see the form on the right) and follow my author page on Amazon to be notified of all new fiction releases — but the most happening spot will be Patreon. So what are you waiting for?

The Wonderful World of Princess Alethea

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Sideshow T-Shirt Quick Links

Support the efforts of Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow by obtaining this year’s commemorative original tee!  http://amzn.to/2bkBDdf and w/black lettering: http://amzn.to/2bjUG4v ⭐️

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The Stuff I Didn’t Say on Patreon

Warning: This post is not for the faint of heart. If you would like to continue to believe that my life is a magical fairyland where darkness never falls, read no further. 

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Sad FairyYesterday, I relaunched my Patreon Page in a big way. I made it shiny and welcoming and full of enthusiasm, with all the magic of a thousand spoonfuls of sugar. Just like they told me to: Sarah and Casey and Actual People from Patreon (in-person meetings, conference calls, the works).

Which was good, since a lot of that magic was forcibly kindled from a very dark place.

I haven’t been blogging much (probably another good thing), but those of you in touch with me on social media (especially FB) know this has been a pretty tough year for me. Yes, it seems that my body is falling apart, and no one’s sure why. I’ve subjected myself to six straight months of doctors and medicines and physical therapy trying to reverse the damage…or at least, slow it down.

Turns out, being in pain and brain-fuddled from various drugs doesn’t exactly put your mind in the best of places. On top of which, you know, some serious LIFE happened. Pretty rough and important stuff. It doesn’t stop just because you need to take a moment. Annoying, right?

At the conventions I went to anyway–on one leg and boatloads of medicine–friends asked me how I was doing. How I was really doing. I told them I was really okay. Because, in my mind I was, of course. Why wouldn’t I be? I had to be okay, or I wouldn’t have been able to Do All The Things That Must Be Done. I am a Magical Princess, and Magical Princesses are always okay!

It never occurred to me to tell them that I wasn’t okay. Even if, deep inside, my body was screaming from tip to toe.

Yeah.

The first draft of my “Why is Alethea on Patreon” statement was too long and so incredibly sad that a rewrite was “strongly suggested.”

I won’t repost all of that here (you’re welcome), but I will tell you about three very important bits.

1.) I’m in a decent amount of debt. Not impossibly so, and nothing I haven’t gotten out of before, which is why I took the risk. One does not leave an abusive relationship and move halfway across the country without risk. I decided that my quality of life was worth it, and I wasn’t wrong. But that was 2014, and things haven’t exactly bounced back yet because:

2.) My books are not performing as well as they should be. There are several reasons for this. One, is that I haven’t sold a new picture book yet (but I have three manuscripts I am actively working on RIGHT NOW, fingers crossed!). The second is that I haven’t been physically (or mentally) able to produce the massive quantities of fiction I want to produce. The third is that I feel obligated to finish the Woodcutter Sister series.

You’d think this last one wouldn’t put a wrench in the works, but it does. Harcourt still holds the rights to the first three books in this series, and will for some time. In order for me to make a real go of it at this self-publishing game, I need to have a WHOLE series in which ALL the books belong to me. Yes, I have an idea for what this series would be. I have LOTS of ideas. The problem is, I need to find a way to pay the bills with what I’m working on NOW so I can clear the decks and make that happen.

3.) I needed to find happiness again. Almost a decade ago I shattered into a million little pieces, and Princess Alethea rose from those ashes. I know how to find my happiness. Friends ask me for advice about this all the time. But even princesses, when left in the darkness for so long, can forget the reasons they get up in the mornings and why on earth they would ever smile. Social media became little more than a painful daily reminder of all the things I didn’t–and might never–have. Down and down the spiral went. I could sense the madness around the corner, and I had to nip it in the bud.

I moved to Florida FOR A REASON: to rebuild the Kingdom in my head. MY Kingdom. Consciously or not, I’ve been putting all the pieces into place this whole time.

Giving up the Fairy Tale Rants last year was harder than I ever thought it would be. Even though it didn’t pay the bills, every time I heard about a young person who sat down and mainlined all 55 episodes, it made my heart sing. For all that I do, I have always been a performer. My books, my videos, ME…all of these things are meant to bring joy to other people. My picture books readers, my romance, SF and horror friends, my fellow convention artists and cosplayers, my listeners and viewers. MY FAMILY.

Like Bilbo, I was starting to feel like butter scraped over too much bread. Relaunching the Patreon seemed the best way to gather all of ME in one place.

“And so I put a call here out into the world: if you have ever loved my writing, if you have ever met me at a convention, if you have ever admired my costumes, if you have ever read my essays, if you have ever watched a Fairy Tale Rant video, if you have ever liked something I’ve said or shared on social media, I invite you to my Kingdom where rainbows are seasonal and the flowers bloom all year round and exotic birds are as prevalent as exotic Pokémon…and there is glitter in the floorboards.”

If you love ME, and the magic I bring to the world, please click over to Patreon and help support this endeavor.

(At the very least, watch the video, because it’s 100% ME. And my friends. And my family. And Snake Plissken.  And Groot. It was incredibly fun to make, and I made it for you!)

Thank you, my friends. I really do love every single one of you. You are my world. My magical, wonderful world.

xox

~Alethea

The Wonderful World of Princess Alethea

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Subscribe to my Newsletter!

Still learning how all this works..but with any luck, this embed code should post the subscription form to my newsletter…

Edit: embed code seems to have a glitch. Try subscribing via this direct link instead: http://eepurl.com/YSmS1

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The Writers Workshop of Science Fiction and Fantasy

This is one of those projects I contributed to so long ago that I keep forgetting about it — The Writers Workshop of Science Fiction and Fantasy, edited by Michael Knost.

Michael has set up a Kickstarter for the project — which has already reached its goal, hooray! — but I encourage you to click on over and check out some of the HILARIOUS horror spoof videos they made to promote it.

There’s still plenty of time to contribute to the fund (which is, effectively at this point, just a great way to preorder a copy of the book).  Some info about what the money goes to:

Levels of Participation

There are seven levels of participation, six of which involve receiving a version of the book, ranging from the eBook to a limited hardcover edition.  We invite you to look over the various levels and rewards in this campaign, the core of which serve effectively as a pre-order offer for The Writers’ Workshop of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

What does the money raised in this campaign go towards?

The money raised in this campaign goes towards paying pro-rates for collaborators, as well as cover art fees and other hard costs involved in producing this title.  It will be issued in a limited hardcover edition, softcover, and various eBook formats. 

My contribution to the piece: An interview with The Machine of Writing himself, Kevin J. Anderson.

Thanks in advance — I know you’ll enjoy it!

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TeachingBooks.net

If you are a teacher or an author or a bookseller or librarian or reviewer or audiobook reader or anyone else who deals with books in any capacity, you need to know about the Teachingbooks.net website.

Most specifically, you need to bookmark this page: THE AUTHOR NAME PRONUNCIATION GUIDE.

On this page is a list of authors. Click on the author’s name and it will take you to a brief audio file in which the author him/herself pronounces his/her name and then tells you a little bit about it.

When I was emailed and asked to be part of this pronunciation guide, I went over to check it out and spent over an hour clicking on my favorite authors. I didn’t even put a dent in the glossary.

This is an incredibly valuable website, and I’m not saying that lightly.

Spread the word!

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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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V.I.P. TODAY

I should really mention that there is a VERY IMPORTANT PAPERBACK out today.

AlphaOops: The Day Z Went First is now available in paperback for the very first time anywhere!

I’m so very honored, because 1.) you have to be a Very Important picture book for your publisher to release you into paperback and 2.) this is the very first book I’ve ever had (not counting Elemental, because it was a hard/paper simultaneous publication) that has come out in paperback after being first released in hardcover!

If you own AlphaOops: The Day Z Went First, I encourage you to take advantage of this lovely low price point (only $6.99) and buy a few copies for friends, neighbors, and teachers. It makes a great baby shower gift or addition to any library.

While you’re on the Amazon page, please feel free to “Like” the page, tag it, review it, or post it to your social networks, with my sincerest thanks.

And remember, when you read this aloud: DO IT WITH FEELING.

Three cheers for AlphaOops!

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Wonderland: My Favorite Bit

Where do you go to find decent fiction to read? When I’ve asked people this question lately, their answer is most often John Scalzi’s “The Big Idea.”

In the footsteps of that fabulous Idea, my dear friend Mary Robinette Kowal has launched a feature on her blog called “My Favorite Bit.” In lieu of asking authors the age-old question “Where do you get your ideas?”, Mary asks, “What was your favorite thing about writing the book you just had released?”

You’ll be surprised at the answers.

I’m honored today to be a guest on Mary’s blog, speaking about “My Favorite Bit” of The Wonderland Alphabet: Alice’s Adventures Through the ABCs and What She Found There. Is my favorite bit the same as yours? I bet it isn’t.

Click here to read my fabulous essay and find out!

 

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