The Secret’s Out!

Yes, sirree — I have TWO books coming out this year. Right around the same time Enchanted releases, THE WONDERLAND ALPHABET: Alice’s Adventures through the ABCs and What She Found There will hit bookstores and comic book shops all around the world.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally talk about this project! It’s not the first collaboration I’ve done with my dear friend Janet K. Lee, but it’s the first to be released by a major publisher (Archaia), and the first since Janet & Jim’s Eisner award win last year for Return of the Dapper Men!

The format is an affordable (less than $12!), oversized board book that will appeal to both adults and children alike. We’ve honored each letter of the alphabet (in order this time) by gracing it with a rhyming verse about a particular element from Alice in Wonderland and/or Alice’s Adventures Through The Looking Glass (and What She Found There).

I could tell you more about the origin of this very special project, but why don’t you read about it from Janet herself? She sprung the news to Comic Book Resources in this exclusive interview. You can also get a sneak peek at several of the gorgeous pages.

Fair warning — I’m telling you right now that this book is going to sell out its first printing almost immediately, so be sure to preorder your copy now.  (The cover for the book is pictured here — the one on Amazon was just a placeholder. They’re working on fixing that.)

I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to going on book tour and signing TWO BOOKS instead of one!!!

I am the luckiest princess in the world, I tell you. *happy dance*

(Oh, yeah. Me and the alphabet…we’re like *this.*)

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Wishes *Do* Come True!

I have always admired artists with a sort of fangirl squee appreciation. I’ve had boyfriends and best friends who were artists. I have a wish list of artists I’d love to have design my book covers…and some have! I can stare at paintings for HOURS. Everyone who brings me to art museums eventually regrets it. (I’m SO GLAD I went to the Tate Britain BY MYSELF.) I adore these people because they possess a coveted skill that I do not.

At least, I never thought I did.

Sure, I’m passable at Pictionary, and I’ve done a few really awesome fluke things (like the header on this website). But I’ve always wanted to be one of those kids who sat down and sketched out a picture in ten minutes.

I was kicking back old school (literally) at the afterschool program this week, and some of the girls had a bit of an art club and were drawing manga. Now, I’ve never drawn manga in my life. Sure, I traced Betty & Veronica back in the day, but I didn’t have Sailor Moon and friends to get all excited about. Sure, I said to myself (and them) I miss art. This would be fun!

So I drew these:


Yes, I drew them from a picture in a book, but I did not trace them. I showed them to my new middle school girlfriends just like I would have back then, as if I had discovered a newly-acquired magic power. Because WOW, these are awesome! (I mean, for me.)

The little girl inside me is all happy, as if a fairy granted a wish I made twenty years ago.

But lo, I cannot do art right now BECAUSE I NEED TO FINISH THIS NOVEL. You are all allowed to commence with the butt-kicking. xox

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Happy Holidays 2011!

This year’s CD artwork was inspired (as so many things are) by two of Janet Lee’s holiday ornaments. They are both available in this year’s 2011 limited edition set at Art & Invention Gallery, as well as on Janet’s own Etsy site (for those of us who don’t live convenient to East Nashville).

1. The Most Wonderful Day Of The Year — Glee Cast
2. Mistletoe Blues — Vic Mulkey and The Blue Veins
3. Angels From The Realms of Glory — Annie Lennox
4. Candy Cane — Caspar Babypants
5. Jingo Jango — Bert Kaempfert
6. Fum, Fum, Fum — Mark Baldwin
7. What a Night!– Harry Connick, Jr.
8. Wildwood Carol — Holly Cole
9. Arbolito de Navidad — Gloria Estefan
10. Another Christmas Day — Cliff Richard
11. Lonesome Christmas — B.B. King
12. Il est ne le divin enfantDomingo, Kaas, Fernandez
13. Patapan and Farandole — Kiri Te Kanawa
14. Warm December — Julie London
15. It’s December (And I’ll Be Missing You) — Audrey Hannah
16. December Child — Cyndi Lauper
17. Zwaai Maar Dag Sinterklaasje — Gebroeder Ko
18. It’s A Good Thing Santa Ain’t Single — Aaron Tippin
19. Littlething — Jimmy Eat World
20. There’s Still My Joy — Indigo Girls
21. Christmas Pipes — Celtic Woman
22. The First Snowfall — Bing Crosby
23. This Will Be The Year — Susan Boyle
24. Wheel In The Sky — Journey

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Small Business Saturday

Those of you who already know what I’m going to say can just click this link. *grin*

For the rest of you who stood in line at the Big Chain Stores yesterday to get the Big Deals of the Season…today’s your day to shop from the heart. Yes, it’s SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY… here’s how you can take part! (And not just by “Liking” the page on Facebook.)

As you know, my beloved little sister owns a fabulous jewelry studio in Charleston, SC where she designs amazing unique jewelry: Dixie Dunbar Studio.

When the guys at Best Buy have a decent Black Friday weekend, they get to buy a new yacht. When my sister has a decent Black Friday weekend, she can pay her rent for a few more months. If she has a *really* good weekend, she can even afford to have someone else watch the storefront so she can design & build her inventory and her husband can work on studying for his nursing degree.

If all of my friends stopped by the Dixie Dunbar website and just bought only one pair of earrings, Soteria would have a really good weekend. Please help me help her do this by clicking on the earrings pictured here.

Don’t think you can afford her style? The stinky thing about unique designs is that there’s a limit to what Soteria can put on her website, because she has to squirrel that jewelry away and not sell it in her store. If you’re interested at in any of these designs, I urge you to give her a call (843-722-0006) or send her an email and let her know 1.) what style you’re interested in and 2.) what you’re willing to spend on a piece. Soteria is happy to custom make something just for you! She really is just that talented.

(She has also been asked to design some jewelry for a certain television show being filmed in Charleston…but you didn’t hear that from me. Fingers crossed!)

I implore you all to please support Small Business Saturday. Keep local artists in business. Please buy a pair of earrings for your mom, your sister, your wife, and/or yourself. Here’s that handy-dandy link again for you. And totally tell her The Princess sent you…because that would be HILARIOUS.

Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.

Happiest of holidays to you and yours! xox


[PS – Yes, Soteria also makes jewelry for men. In fact, she really enjoys the challenge and has some great materials to work with. Call her up and ask her anything!]

[PPS – Tell her the Princess sent you and receive an extra 10% off your order!]

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The Princess of Light and Dark

Ariell’s beautiful and talented friend Natalie drew this picture of me, for me, and it is so many kinds of fabulous that I wanted to share it with you…and discuss some things.


First of all, I am fabulous and gorgeous. I have huge eyes and awesome cleavage and the tiara is perfect and this dress ROCKS. So far, she’s got me pegged, spot on.  (When I get back to DC, I’m totally asking Ashley if she can make this dress for me.)

But the part I love the most is the hands. One hand is full of magical fairy dust, as if a unicorn has just spit in my hand. I have POWER and it is MADE OF FAIRIES, and if this portrait wasn’t black and white, you know it would be full of rainbows.

The other hand, however, is masked in darkness. I love this. I do have some darkness in me, but a very small percentage. I’d guess…about a hand’s worth. This could be a glove…but I like to imagine that it’s my skin, or the magic beneath my skin. The little bit of madness, swirling beneath the surface.

I wonder which hand is more powerful — the dark, or the light? And then I remember that I don’t need an answer to that question because I am both. Both are me. THIS should be my author photo. It’s just too scarily perfect.

I love you to pieces. I am so honored to have this.


If you or your child (or your dog) would like to draw a picture of me (or one of my characters), I do have an album of fan art on my Facebook Fan Page (click here to check it out). You don’t have to be some famous professional artist to bepart of it, you just have to email me a picture (akontis at gmail) or mail it to me at PO Box 2024, Ashburn VA 20146.

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A Match Made in Heaven

I’ve been neck-deep in novel edits these past few weeks, so I missed the day that Comic Buzz posted about Marvel’s new Emma comic, debuting on 3/2/11.

Marvel is pleased to present your first look at Emma #1 from New York Times best-selling writer Nancy Butler (Sense & Sensibility) and rising star artist Janet K. Lee (Return of the Dapper Men)! This March, delve into the world of nineteenth century courtship courtesy of a Rita Award-winning author and the illustrator whose work calls “truly breathtaking.” Local matchmaker Emma Woodhouse can make anyone the perfect pair – provided she can stop the men folk from falling for her first! Find out how one upstanding young woman comes to find herself stuck in a love triangle as big as an English village, only in Emma #1!

I made a screen shot of one of the images to give you a feel for what’s in store..I think .Janet’s gorgeous artwork totally complements the book and gives a great feel for Austen’s work. I will absolutely be in the comic shop that day to pick up issue number one. I’m glad I don’t have to wait much longer!

Click through to see more luscious artwork from Emma #1:

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What I Was Up To Yesterday

1.) I miss Janet and Ornament Gulag
2.) Making ornaments is fun
3.) Artwork is relaxing
4.) All of my Christmas decorations are still in Tennessee, and I can’t afford (and don’t really want) to buy a bunch more stuff
5.) I wrote about 3000 words on my story and thought I deserved it
6.) Nutcrackers are awesome
7.) I’m still practicing with art markers…I need some better sketchbook paper that doesn’t bleed

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Happy DAPPER Day!

In celebration of today’s release of Jim McCann & Janet Lee’s Return of the Dapper Men, I have changed my profile pics on both Twitter and Facebook to this Dapper version of MOI! Janet drew this last year for the “Diary of a Mad Scientist Garden Gnome” serial (which, like Dapper Men, was *also* inspired by a J.K. Lee Christmas ornament).

Janet asked me what I would like for my author pic, so I’m sure I said “something steampunky…with a top hat!” And this is what I got!! What do you think? She just knows I look good in red.

I am so very excited about this graphic novel release — it’s one thing when two of your longtime friends get to work together on an awesome project, and it’s quite another when that project pops up on MTV, Ain’t it Cool News, USA Today, and the NYT Christmas Gift List. (!!!)

I mean, seriously, Janet, could you make it HARDER for a little sister to keep up with you? Sheesh!! All I did was get reviewed!

Be smart and get your hands on this book before it has to go to reprint — click here to purchase Return of the Dapper Men from If you’d like to know a little more about the book, click here to watch the YouTube trailer. (Warning: you will be instantly sad that this is not an animated series.)

Click here to visit Janet’s Etsy shop and purchase some beautiful and inspiring Christmas ornaments of your own! They are limited edition original sets every year, so if you see one you like, get it now. They are light and easy to ship, so they make great gifts. And what could be a better gift than original artwork on your Christmas tree?

Janet is just that awesome. Which is why she gets to be the Aviatrix.

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Miss Gnomer

Now that she’s got a bit of time between Return of the Dapper Men and her next book, artist J. K. Lee is filling her Etsy shop with fabulous new holiday ornaments, like this guy above. I seriously advise snapping one (or many) up now while they’re 1.) available and 2.) affordable. After USA Today called Return of the Dapper Men a “classic,” I can’t imagine either of those options will be open for very long. And I will be one miserable little girl the first year I can’t get a J.K. Lee ornament, let me tell you. I’m torn to pieces about missing ornament gulag as it is.

So hie yourself over to Janet’s Arts & Sundries shop and grab them now, while they’re still available!

See, now your Christmas shopping is almost done! You’re welcome.

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Lots of errands to run today. Strategic hits, all of them…it’s kind of amazing how much we got done. SEARCH AND DESTROY, BABY.

Now, I am organizing art supplies. And then I will work on my novel. Maybe not necessarily in that order…but both need to be done.I am SO behind on NaNo…but I am so not worried, because I know I will do the work.

How’s your weekend shaping up?

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