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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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In Which Princess Alethea Confuses The World

Princess Alethea ReadingToday over at the Waterworld Mermaids, I talk about writers who do more creative things than just write…like me…and how those writers CONFUSE THE HECK OUT OF PEOPLE.

I credit most of this to Neil Gaiman and his Sandman comics, circa 1993.

Hop on over and check out my True Confessions!

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ENCHANTED’s New Cover

No..wait! It’s not what you think!

A while back, fellow Mermaid author Carlene Love Flores dropped me a line to tell me about a really cool project her neice was doing in school.

“Alex’s 8th grade class is doing a group assignment where they have been asked to design a new cover of one of their favorite books and then all these new covers will be made into a quilt.  My niece decided to do Enchanted.”

Unfortunately, the Enchanted square was not selected for the quilt…but that doesn’t make it ANY LESS AWESOME. In this era of cover reveals and cloverflipping, I am honored to have such amazing fan art in my corner!

So, to celebrate this week’s release of Enchanted in paperback, I present to you: Alex’s fabulous new Enchanted cover!

Please gush in the comments accordingly. Thanks!!!

Alex's Enchanted Cover

I totally LOVE this frog. And the heart! Just like when I sign my books! So awesome.

If you (or someone you love) has designed a new fan cover for any of my books, please don’t hesitate to share! xox

 

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The Girl Who Cried “Covers!”

Huge hugs and many thank yous go out to everyone who helped me with yesterday’s EPIC April Fool’s prank, which I have hereby dubbed the “HERO 4.1 April Fool’s Day Project.”

Like all the best jokes, this one began with a seed of truth: There WILL indeed be a 4th version cover of HERO, as-yet-to-be-released (but I promise, you folks will be the first to know. For realz). I was notified about this roughly a week before April 1st, so I took the opportunity (with the blessing of my esteemed publisher) to have some fun and…well…make lemonade, if you will.

Of course, since my favorite artist BFF got struck down with Wretched Eye Gunk From Mars, I scrambled to find other artists willing to pony up in only a few days time.

Here are those  wonderful, amazing artists who came through for me in such a short time, as well as the locations where their covers popped up yesterday around the internet. You can also view the full HERO Variant Covers Album HERE.

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HERO: Deadpool / Artist: Marc VuletichMarc Vulteich (HERO: Deadpool)
When Marc Vuletich is not leading the ranks of Deadpool’s Zombie Army to world domination, he spends his free time drawing comics. Marc has an undying love for everything comics, movies and video games which helps to motivate and inspire him to pursue his goals in the comic book industry. Marc currently resides in the beautiful city  of San Diego, CA.

Marc’s art illustrates webcomics written by Emily S. Whitten for news sites such as MTV Splash Page and ReelzChannel and collected at http://askdeadpool.com/comics, and more of his art and webcomics can be seen at Vulture34.deviantart.com and scarletvulture.deviantart.com.

I was so awed by Marc’s gorgeous artwork that I didn’t even notice the Deadpool nod at first. HA! Marc’s cover of HERO was featured on Goodreads (split the day with Bradley), as well as A Backwards Story and I Smell Sheep.

*HERO Hooping / Artist: Bradley Powers (10 years old)

Bradley Powers (HERO Hooping)
Bradley is a very good friend of mine, whose art I’m proud to say hangs in a place of prominence in my house: on my fridge.

10-year-old Bradley decided to use herself as the model for this particular HERO cover, changing Saturday Woodcutter’s infamous sword into a hula hoop for her hip-swaying pleasure.

Bradley’s illustration was featured on Goodreads (she split the day with Marc). as well as A Backwards Story and I Smell Sheep. She is also still my Facebook profile picture.

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Quinn Conner (HERO Collage)

HERO Collage / Artist: Quinn Conner (6 years old)Quinn is six years old, and already poised to be Queen of Everything. She’s possibly the only person I know with more natural go-juice than the Energizer Bunny.

Quinn–who also has a permanent art installation on my fridge–has lately been into collage work.

She and her fabulous mother Lesley (hi, Lesley!) composed this piece together…yet it was I who ultimately slapped it into the Spoof Template and added the tagline.

A labor of love AND a collaborative effort, all in one!

Quinn’s cover was the cover photo for my Facebook Fan Page all day yesterday.

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Hero Wars: A New Hope / Artist: Avery FlynnAvery Flynn (Hero Wars: A New Hope)

Fellow Waterworld Mermaid sister Avery Flynn was the first of my friends to jump forth into the breach and therefore inspire many more covers in her wake.

Avery and I have a history of silliness together, as evidenced by this impromptu video interview we put together last year at the WRWDC Writing retreat. (I still have no idea why it seemed to have filmed in mirror-image.)

You can find out more about the fabulous Avery Flynn, her antics, and her latest sexy book releases at her website: http://averyflynn.com/

Avery’s cover was revealed in the crossposted blog entry that appeared on the Waterworld Mermaids blog.

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Real Herowives of ArillandAlethea Kontis (The Desperate Herowives of Arilland; HERO: A Fabulous Boy and His Sandwich)

Some of you might remember–back in February, after my grandmother’s funeral, I stayed with my sister Cherie and we took this picture of her, posing like Saturday Woodcutter in her velour tracksuit of the same color as the dress on the cover.

The second after I came up with this April Fool’s prank, I knew that I wanted to use the Cherie image for my HERO spoof cover. I dusted off my photoshop skills to add multiple Cocos (Cherie’s toy shih-poo) and change the title, in honor of the vapid crap my big sister actually made me watch. *sigh*

But as the day went on yesterday, I had so much fun revealing all the covers in all their various locations that I decided to make another one. I incorporated an idea the Faory Godboyfriend had along with a picture of my brother West I had been saving and…VOILA. The Boy and His Sandwich was born.

Hero: The Fabulous SandwichI am only sad I didn’t end up making a cover that featured Soteria as well.

The Cherie cover was featured on this website yesterday as the new cover reveal.

The West cover was featured on the Books page of my bibliography (where the placeholder image for HERO is now.)

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I hope you all had as much fun as I did hunting down all these different covers yesterday. And to the one or two folks who might have thought any of these covers was serious, I sincerely apologize. HERO 4.2 will be coming, and it will be amazing.

IN THE MEANTIME…are you sad you missed out on the fun? Are you jonesing to make YOUR VERY OWN SPOOF COVER OF HERO? Well, now’s your chance.

Using the HERO Spoof Cover Template (or not), create your most gorgeous and/or hilarious image and send it to me (akontis at gmail). I will post all of the covers on Facebook in the HERO 4.1 April Fool’s Day Project Album. Whichever one has the most “Likes” by the time I leave for WRWDC (let’s see…we’ll call that April 18th), the artist will receive A SIGNED COPY OF THE HERO ARC.

Here’s your template:

HERO 4.1 Spoof Template (courtesy of Harcourt Books)

Go forth and make good art!

 

 

 

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E is for Edward

E is for Edward, a God of Goth Pride
He wrote silly nonsense, and later he died.

Happy birthday, Edward Gorey, from the legions of young people you inspired…and me.

 

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Holding Out for a Hero

Ladies and Gentlemen–
Princess Alethea Proudly Presents:
The cover of Hero!

Hero by Alethea Kontis

Rough and tumble Saturday Woodcutter thinks she’s the only one of her sisters without any magic—until the day she accidentally conjures an ocean in the backyard. With her sword in tow, Saturday sets sail on a pirate ship, only to find herself kidnapped and whisked off to the top of the world. Is Saturday powerful enough to kill the mountain witch who holds her captive and save the world from sure destruction? And, as she wonders grumpily, “Did romance have to be part of the adventure?” As in Enchanted, readers will revel in the fragments of fairy tales that embellish this action-packed story of adventure and, yes, romance.

Christine Kettner, Art Director at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (and cover designer for Enchanted), has outdone herself again. (A Backwards Story did a fabulous interview with Christine about the Enchanted cover HERE.)  Isn’t it GORGEOUS?!?

Hero will be released on October 1, 2013.

Click here to preorder on Amazon. (Likes and tags are also appreciated.)

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Small Business Saturday 2012

Hello, lovely friends!

It’s that time of year again — SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY. That day in which you can put your money where your mouth is and support those small, local folks who are busting their rump to make a living against the Giant Chain Stores that sponsor Black Friday.

I started my Saturday early yesterday, and shopped at some lovely independent stores here in Newport News. I encourage you to do the same today.

What’s that? You’re still stuffed from Turkey and can’t move? You’re too tired from standing in line at Best Buy all night?

Well, then, you’re in luck. Here are some links to a few FABULOUS folks online whose items would make GREAT presents for those hard-to-buy-for members of your family.

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Dixie Dunbar Studio — fine, handcrafted, original jewelry designed by my one-and-only fantastic little sister, Soteria Kontis. Don’t see something in your price/taste range? Give her a call at (843) 722-0006 and tell her what you’re in the market for. She’ll make something to suit your needs.

J.K. Lee Art & Sundries — Every year, Janet uploads a new line of limited edition Christmas ornaments in addition to her art prints and giclees. Have you seen this year’s yet? I’m a big fan of Sneaky Santa and the Art Nouveau set!

Water Closet Soap — Handmade soaps by local Loudoun County mom (and avid book reader) Kristen Kane. (You may remember Kristin as mother of the Infamous Lorelei.) Kristin is on vacation until November 27th, but do sign up for the email notification of her return. You won’t want to miss these really fun and fragrant designs.

One More Page Books — This super independent bookstore in Alexandria, VA has graciously offered to order in your favorite books by Alethea Kontis so that I can personalize and sign them just for you! Give them a call at 703-300-9746 or info@onemorepagebooks.com to place your order.

Carol Berning Fine Art — This year’s 2012 Happy Holidays CD was illustrated by Murfreesboro, TN artist (and all-around wonderful person) Carol Berning. You can order prints–and even greeting cards–of some of her most popular works from her website. If you love Winking Santa, you can own him today!

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Do you have any favorite online small businesses? I encourage you to post their links below.

Thank you — and Happy Holidays to you all! xox

 

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Surprise Art!

Sneak attack!

I have a surprise post over at the Waterworld Mermaids today — Kerri Mermaid wasn’t feeling well, so I jumped in the pond to debut some NEW ART that I worked on last week.

That’s right! I said NEW ART. BY ME!

But you have to click here to see it.

(And you better tell me how awesome it is.)

xox

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AlphaOops: IN A MUSEUM

From TimeOut Chicago Kids:

It’s no secret that children’s books contain some of the world’s finest art. The illustrations and paintings might not hang next to Seurat, Degas or O’Keefe, but this summer they’re darn close, thanks to a nifty new exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago: “Told and Retold.”

Located in the Art Institute of Chicago’s always-free Family Room, the mini exhibit contains enchanting work for recent picture books done by an eclectic mix of eight artists. The connective tissue here is not a publisher, but an artists’ agency: Studio Goodwin Sturges. Run by Judy Sue Goodwin Sturges of Rhode Island, the agency dedicates its efforts to producing stunning children’s books. There’s a wide range on display here—in form as well as content—from a coterie of artists hailing from across the U.S. and Europe.

Read more about the exhibit here.

And…say it with me, kids, just like Indy:

 

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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.]

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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.

xox

[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.]

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