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WWDD 99 Cent Sale!

In the mood for some dark & twisty stories?  Catch them quick–only 99 cents!

http://amzn.to/1U7AIcT

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The Princess Formerly Known as Snow White

The Unicorn HunterReaders often ask me about my favorites. Favorite book that I’ve written. Favorite character I’ve invented. Favorite EVERYTHING. It’s so tough–like choosing a favorite child!

But I will admit…I do have a favorite short story. To this date, my favorite story that I’ve ever written is “The Unicorn Hunter.” I dreamed up the concept a very long time ago: if a certain unsavory character wanted to hunt unicorns, what better bait to use than “the fairest of them all”? But the story never came together. There was something missing. Until John Skipp asked me to contribute a story for his Demons anthology and it hit me. My missing element was A DEMON. Four days later, I wept as I wrote the last line because I didn’t want the story to be over.

Skipp published “The Unicorn Hunter” in his anthology, placing me right next to Neil Gaiman (again!). Apart from that claim to fame–and a very enthusiastic show of support from SF author Cat Rambo–nothing else really happened with the tale. But it was still my favorite.

That’s the thing about favorites. We just can’t let them go. I held onto these two characters so tightly that I wrote them right into the Woodcutter-filled world of Arilland. And when I assembled all of my fairy tale short stories into Tales of Arilland, I knew that “The Unicorn Hunter” had to be first in the Table of Contents.

While no names are used in the short story, it’s clear from the first paragraph which princess is being referenced. And while it’s not terribly obvious when Ashes makes her cameo appearance in Hero, eagle-eyed fans were incredibly excited to put two and two together. As was I.

This interview was posted on a friend’s website right around the release of the anthology. That post has gone the way of the Internet Black Hole–for that reason, I am publishing it again here for you to enjoy.

Perhaps in the next fairy tale anthology, I will include all the Troubadour interviews I’ve done with my characters. Come to think of it…I’m really going to need to write this Troubadour into Arilland, aren’t I? Oh, that will be FUN…

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Interview with The Princess Formerly Known as Snow White

Tales of ArillandTroubadour: I’m here today with Her Royal Majesty Princess Snow White, who has agreed to speak with us about some of the challenges she faced during her tumultuous–and infamous–childhood.

Princess: I agreed to meet with you only because my story-loving aunt sent you. I don’t want to talk about Snow White. She was a silly, stupid princess, and her jealous stepmother killed her. My name is Ashes-on-the-Wind.

Troubadour: Please forgive my impertinence. May I call you Ashes-on-the-Wind?

Princess: You may call me “Your Highness.” And I would thank you to not go transforming what I’m about to say to you into some sappy ballad; I don’t care what Aunt Sunday says.

Troubadour: I’ll do my best, Your Highness. But I really must implore you–the world is desperate to know what happened to that beautiful little girl the Huntsman led into the forest so many years ago. Were you frightened? Did he attack you?

Princess: (sighs and touches her left shoulder, briefly) I wasn’t afraid until he attacked me. But he didn’t get very far. I was saved by a…Unicorn Hunter.

Troubadour: Rumor has it that this Unicorn Hunter was a demon.

Princess: There are no such things as demons or unicorns, and don’t you dare tell the world any differently. I won’t have innocent girls or arrogant men chasing after either. I am the only one who knows what happened in that forest, and you will take me at my word.

Troubadour: As you wish, Your Highness. So this Unicorn Hunter–whatever his origin–saved you from certain peril?

Princess: He did. He needed my virtue intact, you see, to catch the unicorns. One can be the fairest of them all and still lose her virtue. (A far away look haunts her eyes) Instead, I lost my innocence.

Troubadour: The two of you became friends?

Princess: Yes. I believe we did.

Troubadour: Do you and the Unicorn Hunter still keep in touch?

Princess: No. He is…no longer a part of my life. I moved in with a band of hardworking miners and moved on with my life, just as we should move on with this interview.

Troubadour: Yes, Your Highness. One more question, if I may?

Princess: If you must.

Troubadour: It is also rumored that you are currently employed on a pirate ship. Is that correct?

Princess: (Smiles broadly) That is correct! (Pulls a folded paper from her breeches pocket) Here is a list of the captain I serve under, the men I work with, and all our ports of call.

Troubadour: Really?!? (Unfolds the paper. It is blank.)

Princess: No, not really! I used to be stupid, remember? (Drains the rest of her tankard and wipes her mouth on her sleeve) Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a deck to swab. Are we done?

Troubadour: Yes, Your Highness. Thank you, Your Highness.

Princess: No problem. Do send my aunt best wishes. And remember, no sappy ballads.

Troubadour: I’ll do my best, Your Highness.

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CLICK HERE to purchase a copy of Tales of Arilland in paperback or on Kindle — hardcover coming soon!

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Time for Tea…MOVE DOWN ONE

"How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.” This year is the 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

I have long since discovered that I can’t be friends with anyone who doesn’t like Alice.

Two days ago, Lisa Mantchev and I spontaneously broke out into a dialogue on FB that would have been appropriate at a certain mad tea party. Which reminded me that TODAY IS MY UNBIRTHDAY.

Now, by Mad Hatter standards, a person has 364 unbirthdays (and a stopped watch is correct twice a day). But today–this day right here–is a very extra special unbirthday, and I’ll tell you why.

As most of you know, my *actual* birthday is January 11th. A fortuitous birthday to be sure — easy to remember, no matter which side of the pond you’re from, and pretty darn lucky from a numerological standpoint.

However, as any good Capricorn (and a few Saggitarians) will tell you, any birthday within two weeks of Christmas is just too darned close to Christmas. Everyone is  exhausted–mentally, physically, and monetarily–from the slew of holidays, and your birthday is just one more thing on the to-do list that should have been over already.

Now, I’m a fan of Christmas, so I’m not one of those folks (*cough*Robin*cough*) who goes ballistic if my birthday present happens to have Santas all over the wrapping paper, and after many years I got over the whole “Birthday-Christmas Combo Present” cop-out that most folks take.

No…what really got to me was the month of June.

Every June, giant boxes would show up at our house from all around the world. My mother’s birthday is in June, as is my little sister’s (yes, I grew up with two Geminis and learned how to be strong and patient because of it).  While my father is a Capricorn like me (he shares a birthday with Elvis and David Bowie), June is also Father’s Day.

That’s right–every June our house was like Christmas all over again.

With nothing for me.

Sometime around my thirteenth birthday, I decided that I’d had enough. I announced that I was changing my birthday to June 11th — my half-birthday of sorts — a day that dovetailed nicely alongside the Kontis Birthday/Father’s Day Summer Extravaganza. Everyone thought this was a great idea.

You guessed it: It totally backfired.

Not only did I not get any presents for my *actual* birthday that year, but by the time June rolled around, everyone had forgotten about it. Everyone, that is, except my Memere, who sent me a card (and other cards, randomly, in summers after that because she never could keep my birthday straight).

As written in Enchanted: Some things are meant to be, and some things are meant to be great stories. “Alethea’s June Birthday” is one of the Kontis Classics.

Which brings us to today.

As a Very Merry Unbirthday present to us all, I am super crazy excited to reveal to you the cover of my fairy tale short story collection TALES OF ARILLAND.

Want it on Kindle right this very second? CLICK THE PICTURE. Happy unbirthday!

Want it on Kindle right this very second? CLICK THE PICTURE. Happy unbirthday!

That’s right — those clever folks have already figured out that by clicking the title or cover photo above, you can purchase Tales on Kindle RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND. (It’s also been uploaded to Nook, Kobo, iBooks & Google Play, but those sites take longer to go live–check back here for links tomorrow.)

These stories are all fairy tales I have written, and every single one–in some way, shape, or form–relates to the world of Arilland.

It’s a nifty thing. Some of them I wrote on purpose based on Arilland mythos (“Hero Worship”) and some I loved so much that I actually found a way to include it in the Arilland mythos (“Unicorn Hunter” and “Blood and Water”).

You don’t have to have read any of the Woodcutter books to enjoy this collection–though you will appreciate the original novelette of “Sunday” and “The Cursed Prince” history of Rumbold a lot more, I suspect…

What am I doing talking? Shoo! Go forth and read! And be sure to share the magic!

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Happy birthday, Jay.

Jay Vs. The Volcano CoverToday would have been Jay Lake’s 50th birthday.
He almost made it.

Back in 2008, the discovery of Jay’s tumor rattled us all. I’d had my own tumor scare in 2005, so I knew that keeping a sense of humor about the situation was the most important thing. Jay had that in spades. Trouble was…this tumor was not benign. Jay had colon cancer. For real and for true. The freakout ran deep.

But still we kept our spirits up…or tried to. We stayed in touch online. A lot. A bunch of us got together and wrote stories for a private anthology, just for Jay. STARRING Jay.

The editor made a secret link available for the contributors to order a copy if they so desired, but few of those stories ever saw the light of day. One such tale was Eric James Stone’s “The Six Billion Dollar Colon,” which he made public on his blog a year later on International Pixel-Stained Techno-Peasant Day.

Mine was a story of a slightly more personal nature, based on one of my favorite movies of all time: Joe Versus the Volcano. It’s called, appropriately, “Jay Versus the Volcano.” Possibly the closest thing I’ve ever written to fan fiction…and yet, an amazing adventure story all its own.

In honor of Jay’s 50th, I have made “Jay Versus the Volcano” available for free on Wattpad. Click the link here and enjoy.

I just read it over again for the first time in probably six years…I got teary-eyed a couple of times, but I only wept at the very end. This may be one of the best stories I’ve ever written. I’m glad I did it. And I’m glad it was for Jay.

Jay was very much my Epic Hero in Real Life, and I suspect he will continue to inspire me–and my writing–for many years to come.

My toast to Jay:

Jay’s soul brother Ken Scholes is also releasing a story today on Tor.com with Jay in the starring role. Do be sure to click on over to read “Jay Lake and the Last Temple of the Monkey King.”

Break out your Hawaiian shirts, socks, sandals, and tiaras today, folks.
May Jay’s legacy of kindness live in our hearts forever.

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Princess Alethea Featured on Wattpad

"The Monster & Mrs. Blake" by Alethea Kontis, cover art by FuseliI am so excited that my short story “The Monster & Mrs. Blake” is a Featured Story on Wattpad this week!

This story is suitable for all ages, would make a great PIXAR movie, and was originally meant to be read aloud as a podcast, so I highly encourage you to read it aloud to your children. Preferably before they go to bed tonight. 🙂

Click here, or on the cover illustration at the right to read the story (for free!) on Wattpad.

As always, PLEASE ENJOY AND SHARE!

And yes, my memory of this Far Side comic was indeed one of the inspirations for the story:

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The Young and the Darkness

I’m over at the Apex blog today talking about “The Young and the Darkness”, otherwise known as Things I am Accused of Being that are Assumed to be Mutually Exclusive.

Click here to read “The Young and the Darkness.”

We go into the short stories and poetry I loved as a child…and the short stories and poetry I write now, including my short story collection WILD & WISHFUL, DARK & DREAMING.

Don’t have your copy yet? Well then, CLICK HERE and get it today! xox

Wild & Wishful, Dark & Dreaming--story collection by Alethea Kontis

 

 

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“Black Hole Sun” on Cast of Wonders

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Kelli Owen and I wrote an epistolary story about two teens–best friends with complications–at the end of the world. A teen-angsty-apocalyptic-sci-fi…sort of. But I will tell you this — it makes a REALLY FUN podcast. Thank you Cast of Wonders!

The story is narrated by Graeme Dunlop and Michelle Ristuccia. Michelle enjoys slowing down time in the middle of the night to read and review speculative fiction, because sleeping offspring are the best motivation. You can find out more about her rabid love of SFF, podcasting, and raising future geeklings at her blog, http://wakingdreamsblog.blogspot.com, stalk her on twitter at @mrsmica, or read her reviews at Tangent Online.

Click here to listen to “Black Hole Sun.”

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Nominate Princess Alethea…for everything!

Okay…not *everything*. But I am happy to report that I have more than one work this year eligible for award nominations! Yay!

*Hero, October 1, 2013

Best Novel /Andre Norton Award

HERO (Fantasy, YA) — Second in the Woodcutter Sisters series of fairy tale mash-up novels. (Think “Once Upon a Time” meets “The Princess Bride”) Saturday Woodcutter is a girl with a sword who is mistaken for a boy through the whole book. She has to rescue Peregrine of Starburn (mistaken for a girl through the whole book) from a witch and a dragon. IT’S AWESOME AND FUN.

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Best Short Story

There are a handful of original short stories from my WILD & WISHFUL, DARK & DREAMING collection that just released from Alliteration Ink. I will list them all here, starting with my top choice, and what categories they would fall under (depending on which Awards you’re nominating for).

Wild & Wishful, Dark & Dreaming--story collection by Alethea Kontis* “The Were Four” (SF/F, YA) — On Dec 21, 2012, the world didn’t end. Instead, 90% of the people on Earth became a were-creature of their totem animal. This is the story of four high-school aged, misfit, REALLY LAME weres (platypus, piranha, sloth & mosquito) who enter a local Battle of the Bands.

“Blood, Sweat & Tears” (Contemporary, Horror) — The story of a young Romany woman who ghostwrites bestselling novels with a magic potion literally made of of blood, sweat, and tears.

* “Alligator Baby” (Fantasy, YA) — Deep in the Louisiana Bayou, a young orphaned girl petitions the local voodoo priestess to find out what really happened to her parents.(Really hard for me to choose between this one and “The Were Four”–I love them both!)

* “183 Million Light Years from Home” (SF) — A tired young father on a dark, nearly-deserted stretch of TN highway accidentally kills a stranger…and saves the world.

“Confessions of the Ex-Future-Mrs. X” (Fantasy) — A secret, in-depth interview with the woman who almost married Willy Wonka.

*

Also Original to WWDD:

* “Deathday” (Fantasy, Poetry) — A dark love letter to the soul of a girl’s mother on the day she was born.

 

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“The Monster & Mrs. Blake” on Cast of Wonders

Hello, world!

I’m back in town (for a little bit) and feeling better (finally!), so now I’m catching up on all the fun news. SO MANY AMAZING THINGS HAVE HAPPENED THIS MONTH!

Worry not, I’ve been calling Mom and telling her in person for most of this, as I do when I’m not able to blog every day…or when I’m sworn to secrecy. 🙂

But I forgot to tell even Mo about this one — Cast of Wonders was so thrilled to find out that I had some podcasting talents of my own that they asked me to narrate my spooky kids story “The Monster & Mrs. Blake”!

I love this story — it was originally intended to be for a podcast that James Maxey was putting together for Codex, back before podcasting was cool…and before I had any sort of software or hardware to make such a thing possible.

So it is my extreme honor to introduce this story to the world…in the format it was originally intended! Thank you, Cast of Wonders, for making this possible!

To listen to “The Monster & Mrs. Blake”, CLICK HERE. And enjoy!

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Sunday Bonus!

Are you having a fabulous summer so far?

Me too. Know what goes good with summer? Beaches. And you know what goes great with beaches?

MERMAIDS.

Bonnie Wagner asked me to do a guest Mermaid post for her blog to celebrate “Splash Into Summer”, so I let her post my original flash fiction story “Well Behaved Mermaids Rarely Make Fairy Tales.”

Click over there to read it — please comment and enjoy!

xox

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