RSS

Storm Chasing 2018: UPDATE

Okay, Chasers!
(Chasefacers? Twisters? Rainmakers? Or maybe…MY PRETTIES AND YOUR LITTLE DOG, TOO)

Chris has given the green light for us to head out on TUESDAY. Hooray! The forecast doesn’t look like much until next weekend, but leaving Tuesday gives us the opportunity to take our time to get out there, test our cameras, and survey the landscape.

WHAT THIS MEANS: More hardcore work on my to-do list, which includes cleaning up one room of the house every day, so everything’s perfect when I come back exhausted (As in, I even Self-Cleaned my oven yesterday).
I will also work like the dickens to finish “The Chaos Crushers’ Day Off” before then–a tough, but not impossible feat. Part Two of the story will go live tomorrow at 8am to my $10 and up Patrons! I hope you have as much fun reading as I’ve had writing!
xox
Princess Alethea

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

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!

No Comments | Tags: , , ,

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!

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

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!

No Comments | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Royal Baker: This Month’s Cookie Reveal–Koulourakia

It’s that time of the month again! That’s right…the reveal of the cookie going to everyone on my Royal Baker tier! Last month was baklava, which is everyone else’s favorite. This month is one of MY favorites: koulourakia!

Koulourakia is typically known as an Easter cookie (thus the twisty design also used with Easter breads) — but Mom always made these for us around Christmas. They’re buttery, far less sweet cookies, and they pair fabulously with coffee and tea. (Almost like a shortbread!)

Depending on your family’s area of origin and traditions, these cookies might be laced with almond, orange, rose water, or anise. My family, happily, is of the “almond” variety. With a little vanilla thrown in for fun, too.

I still like making these around Christmas, rolling out sheets and sheets of sough while watching “White Christmas,” usually, or one of the other movies on my Alethea Yearly Holiday Movie List.

Does your family have cookies you only ever make at certain times of the year? Or things you make at a time when you’re not traditionally supposed to?

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

Want to receive homemade Greek pastries every month, along with 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!

 

No Comments | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Storm Chasing Playlist Now on Spotify!

"Chasing Tornadoes" Spotify Playlist

It’s going to be a long drive out to Tornado Alley — Chris and I are definitely going to need some tunes to keep us company on the road and whet our appetite for the stormy weather to come!

I reached out on Social Media…and the world has responded! (I expect the FB thread to go on for days…or weeks…) I know I’m still adding songs as I think of them.

Best of all–the playlist is available to everyone! Just follow this link, and you can ride along with us!

And for those folks who want to play the “Where in the US is Princess Alethea?” home game, bookmark this link: http://skydiary.com/tracking/

We will have our beacon active while we’re chasing, so you can follow along!

This Toriphile will be Chasing Tornadoes veeeery soon!

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

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!

No Comments | Tags: , , , , , ,

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.
IMG_7632
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

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

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!

No Comments | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

[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!

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

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!

1 Comment | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

[StormChasing] Once In a Lifetime

I’ve had people say some strange things to me this past week, so I feel like it’s time to clear something up. This Storm Chasing event really is a Once In a Lifetime opportunity.

And when I say that, I mean: I have never done this before, and I will more than likely never do it again.

May is the height of storm chasing season in Tornado Alley. May is also one of the busiest convention seasons. Mo*Con, Wiscon, Nebula Awards Weekend, MegaCon…the list goes on.

I’ve had to turn down a lot of things in order to keep May 2018 clear on my calendar (and my May 2019 is already booked full, just in case you were wondering).

There are a couple of definitions for Full-Time Writer. There’s the kind of writer whose books (or spouse, etc) bring in enough to make ends meet, and then there’s the kind who’s really a freelancer with 624 jobs.

I’m the latter.

I write both fiction and non-fiction for paying outlets. I pick up podcast narration gigs whenever I can. I sell books online. I gather up my inventory and jump in the car with Bianca whenever she says, “I’m doing this comic con/street fair/whatever and you’re coming with me. Let’s go.” I write essays, take pictures, make baklava, and buy gifts for my Patrons. I’ve started teaching online writing workshops.

And this doesn’t include the promotion, the direct mailings, the prep work for presentations at conferences and school visits, the complete overhaul of my website, all the books I must read to review, and writing manuscripts and pitches for my agent to present to publishers (on top of juggling all the publishers and published books I already have).

Plus…you know…eating and sleeping and hydrating. (Tempest would like you to know that I’m not good at ANY of these things.)

Yes my job is “portable,” and I can do it from anywhere in the world (and have, in emergencies), but detours don’t make my to-do lists any shorter. Expensive detours —like storm chasing—don’t make my utility bills magically disappear either.

So please don’t think that my upcoming Storm Chasing Adventure is just some joy ride for me, or a new way of life I’ve suddenly chosen to lead.

I’m going to learn all I can and experience all I can in this unique window of time—how ever long the universe chooses it to be. I’m going to live every moment…and then sum up as many moments as I can in the Daily Storm Chasing Diary I compile for my Patrons (since they are helping to fund this trip!). I’m going to write up a million notes, and then most likely use them in a book (or twelve) down the line.

I’m looking at storm chasing this May like a trip to Hawaii, or Antarctica. This is a once in a lifetime chance for me, folks. I mean to look back on this summer one day and remember all the good times I had…all the things I learned…and all the friends I was able to share it with.

xox
~Alethea

*****************
Remember: My Patrons will be receiving 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!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in these posts are mine, and based on my personal experiences. I do not speak for the greater, established storm chasing community at large. Nor should these posts be used for scientific reference. Any mistakes made here are my own.

No Comments | Tags: , , ,

[StormChasing] #FriendlyFriday Features Storm Chasing Master Chris Kridler!

Over on Patreon, Sarah and I run a feature every week called #FriendlyFriday, where we tell you all about my fabulous friends and what brilliant things that they are up to!
Since I am gearing up for my Storm Chaser Apprenticeship, I thought I should take a moment to tell you a little bit about the woman who helped inspire it: Chris Kridler! Chris is the author of the novels Funnel Vision, Tornado Pinball, and Zap Bang.
“Most chasers have a great reverence for the sky and a scientific interest in the weather, even if they aren’t scientists. As a photographer, I find storms challenging and enthralling. I don’t chase them to face death.” — Chris Kridler

 

Each Spring she heads for the middle of the US–Tornado Alley–to record and photograph some of the deadliest storms in our country. And this year I am riding shotgun!
Besides taking some breathtaking photos of these storms, Chris records all the data that comes along with them.  From precipitation to temperatures, the recorded information is used by scientists and storm chasers to help track down Plains supercells and tornadoes, Florida storms and tropical weather (hurricanes). 
She has been on hand for some of the worst storms in the last 20 years, including the EF3 (initially reported EF5) tornado at El Reno, Oklahoma in 2013, which was the widest ever recorded at 2.6 miles and took the lives of three well-respected storm chasers and at least 17 others. She will be the first person to tell you how dangerous storm chasing can be, but also how necessary it is for us to record and understand them. 
tornado“I would hate to see an end to storm chasing. Even though it’s a hobby for me, as well as a professional interest in terms of photography, it’s also been important to weather reporting, research and warnings over the decades. I’m not going to pretend that all storm chasers are virtuous life savers, because most of them aren’t. But most are good people who are happy to share what they know and respect the weather and others – who, like me, enjoy the beauty of the Plains, the challenge of forecasting, and the pleasures of traveling through middle America with friends. I fell in love with chasing when I took a storm tour in 1997. Since then, I’ve chased with friends or on my own all over Tornado Alley and beyond. I’ve given presentations about it. I’ve satirized it in novels. I’ve taken photographs I couldn’t get any other way. And I wouldn’t trade a minute of it, except for the moment when I learned that Tim Samaras and his crew were killed.
Friday was a terrible day, but I still want to see more storms. They are the only impartial and unstoppable forces in this drama, and they will still spin across the Plains, beautiful and dangerous, whether or not there are witnesses.” — Chris Kridler, on El Reno
I’ve ordered my special Storm Chaser tiara (more on that later!) and my #OzorBust t-shirt, I’m almost ready to hit the road with Chris! I hope you’ll follow along at home as we head out on our adventure this May. I can’t wait to see what the sky holds in store for us!
xox
Princess Alethea
*****************

Remember: My Patrons will be receiving 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!

No Comments | Tags: , , , ,

[StormChasing] New T-Shirts Now Available!

The first t-shirt designs of my Storm Chasing 2018 season are now available on Amazon!

Storm Chasing Tees Round 1

OZ or bust — in honor of the #OZorBUST hashtag I’ll be using during this trip

Do Not Do This Thing — pulled from the Storm Chasing announcement blog (in reference to “Amateur Storm Chasers”)

I’ll have these on my trip, so be sure to keep an eye out for them in future pics!

But why should I have all the fun? Order tees for yourself or a friend and wear them in solidarity. All proceeds will help fund our 2018 Storm Chasing Season!

***********

Remember: Patrons will be receiving 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!

No Comments | Tags: , , , ,

Your Storm Chaser Princess of 2018

So…guess what I’m doing this summer?

Why, I’ll be gone with the wind, my darlings. More specifically…I AM OFF TO BE AN APPRENTICE STORM CHASER.

Storms have fascinated me ever since we studied the different cloud forms in elementary Earth Science. They were a sizable element of my studies when I was on track to be a Marine Chemist, back in college. Twister was fascinating to me…mostly on an incredibly geeky scientific level.

So when my friend—author, photographer, and Master Storm Chaser Chris Kridler made an offhand remark last year about how I “should go chasing with her sometime,” I made sure she didn’t forget it. She said, if I was serious, I should block out the entire month of May.

May Chasing CalendarI’m pretty sure she didn’t think I was serious.

Chris (http://skydiary.com/) has 20+ years of storm chasing experience. I began calling myself her “Storm Chaser Apprentice,” which made her chuckle. (Expect that t-shirt to be made available on Amazon soon.)

But I want to be clear—I am not a risk taker. I am doing this for the science, and the experience. “Amateur Storm Chasers” are those yahoos that hear about a weather report and hop in the car armed with their phone and ZERO scientific equipment. I had a boyfriend convince me to take a ride like that once. ONCE. Driving blind into threatening cloud formations scared me half to death. Because IT IS A STUPID THING TO DO. DO NOT DO THIS THING.

I knew that if I ever went Storm Chasing again, I would do it right.

So here we are, on the cusp of May, and I am officially your Storm Chaser Princess of 2018, reporting for duty!

In the weeks to come, I’ll be posting all about my prep for storm chasing: everything from packing (t-shirts are so important!) to playlists and cameras and Trip Goals, to test runs, info about Chris, and advice she imparts to me as we gear up for the road.

I’ve been saving up money to cover food, gas, and hotels—if you’d like to throw a few bucks my way to help with any of this (or the occasional Starbucks), you can PayPal akontis at gmail or click the Donate button on the right.

If you’d like an All Access Pass to my daily Storm Chasing Diary and all my photos, go over to Patreon and become an official Patron of the Princess! Even a pledge of just $1 a month will grant you access!

If you can’t afford Patreon but still want to follow along, worry not—I’ll be posting some updates here and there, and on social media (FB Live is still a pretty great feature). I’ll definitely be making the occasional appearance in Chris’s photos and blogs. (You should bookmark her site  anyway, because TRUST ME…her photos are SO AMAZING.)

Plus, over on http://skydiary.com/tracking , you will be able to check in on us at any point when we’re on the road to see exactly where in the US we are at any given time! (More details on that later.)

As each day passes, I’m getting more and more excited. I’m looking forward to riding Shotgun with the Master…and having my Patrons right there with me in the front seat!

Chris says that Storm Chasing usually begins around second week in May, but she’ll be watching the skies. As soon as everything feels right, I get the call and we hit the road!

OMG I AM SO EXCITED YOU GUYS. Seriously. I want to start packing, like, now. And at this point in my career, I pretty much hate packing.

But I have to be ready to go. Because in May…THE CHASE IS ON!

xox
~Princess Alethea, Storm Chaser Apprentice

No Comments | Tags: , , , , , ,