Beauty & Dynamite, Available Again

This is still my favorite cover copy description:

Once upon a time, a young girl walked into a world of wonder and delight. But that’s not where this story starts.

The young woman she became published a nationally recognized children’s book and edited a star-filled collection of stories to benefit the tsunami relief effort. But that’s not where this story ends.

Meet Alethea Kontis, a self-proclaimed Genre Chick whose life is an adventure that tears through these pages like a hurricane. Carrot-a-day cancer cures and Murphy as a guardian angel (yes, that Murphy, the guy with all those irritating laws) are just a part of the daily routine for the Incredible Whirlwind of Beauty and Dynamite, the force of nature masquerading in human form.

Through essays, poetry, and commentary from family, friends, and famous authors alike, a world of Blood Oaths and road trips, broken hearts and mended cars, comes alive with the strength of one woman’s conviction that the world is there to be befriended.

You have now been introduced.

Let your adventure begin.

Buy Beauty & Dynamite, 2014 Revised Edition direct from Alliteration Ink
Buy Beauty & Dynamite, 2014 Revised Edition from Amazon


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Star-Crossed Princess

Beauty & DynamiteLynda K. Scott hosted me on her “Star-Crossed Romance” blog, which features Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal Romance.

Of course, my essay took the subject for a spin, and I decided to discuss magic and romance in the real world…as outlined by the first volume of my memoirs, Beauty & Dynamite.

Beauty & Dynamite will be released mid-April from Alliteration Ink in a completely revised and updated edition. I’m so excited!

There is not a preorder link up yet, but rest assured, I will let you know as soon as it’s available.

Click here to read my essay!



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Happy SolsticeThis is one of the entries referred to in the original Beauty & Dynamite as “The Lost Blogs.” Recovered from the bowels of the intarwebs by Eric James Stone, all of The Lost Blogs will appear in the revised edition of Beauty & Dynamite…including this poem in celebration of the Winter Solstice, marking the beginning of my love for this astronomically significant day.


“I’ve looked into the abyss, the abyss has looked back, and we’ve both grinned.”
-–James Maxey



Shortest day
Longest night
Point of orbit on the dark side of the moon
loss of signal, radio silence
sailing where brilliant stars scatter across a Land Without Sun
Breadcrumbs along the path to infinity
Christmas lights in cold windows
Glitter on painted nails
Crystals of freefalling snow
perfect, unique, alone
sadness so small
little leftover
pieces of me
in that deep dark space
tiny, bright, beautiful

–December 21, 2004

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In Which Sarah Peduzzi Interviews Me

Sarah Peduzzi, lovely and sweet blog editor over at Apex Book Company, dropped me a line about a week and a half ago asking if I’d be willing to do a guest post for the site.

Jason Sizemore was the very first person in the world to professionally publish my writing (all the book reviews I’d done for the local paper prior to that had been for free). Because of that I will always hold a special place in my heart for Apex (and Jason), so of course I told Sarah “yes!”

The best part was, I knew exactly what I wanted to talk about. I had just launched the Princess Alethea’s Fairy Tale Theatre podcast project, and since no one knew it was coming, no one had asked me anything about it.I jumped at the chance to do an interview. Who doesn’t like talking about their passions?

Sarah told me I could wait until late March for a slot on the blog, but if I had time right away, I could get the February 10th slot. I had the interview answers to her that Monday.

Click here to read my interview with Sarah about podcasting and my love of fairy tales.

Click here to order your very own signed copy of Beauty & Dynamite (it’s still eligible for the Byte & Sign promotion!)

Click here (and scroll to the bottom) to read some other fun interviews with me.

Click here to read the fun Genre Chick interviews I’ve done with other people.

Click here to see Friday’s xkcd comic.

So…what’s your favorite fairy tale?

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Darkness and Valentines

Know what people love to get for Valentine’s Day? Flowers.

The problem with flowers, though, is that they’re only beautiful for a short period of time. You have to make sure they have fresh water, trim off the dead buds, and then finally toss the whole kit & caboodle in your trash can and scrub the mold out of your vase.

Know what’s better than moldy vases? Books.

Right now over at Apex Book Company, there are a whole lot of great sales going on, and a super-duper Valentine’s Day Promotion.

First, there’s the brand-spanking-new anthology DESCENDED FROM DARKNESS II. If you remember the first volume, it’s kind of like a “best of Apex Magazine” collection. The unique thing about this volume is that while all the stories were published online by Apex, this is the first time most of them (and possibly all of them) have been in print.

DESCENDED FROM DARKNESS II includes my post-apocalyptic Patsy Cline-inspired tale “A Poor Man’s Roses.” The price on this very lovely and very affordable trade paperback is $16.95. But if you order now, you can get DESCENDED FROM DARKNESS I & II for the low price of $25.00. It doesn’t come with a set of Ginsu knives, but Apex won’t rape you for “shipping & handling” like those horrible TV ads. (People pay that much for a $2 bill? Really? Pull the other one.)

If you’d like something a little more personal for your Valentine, might I suggest the Apex “Byte & Sign” promotion? Here’s how it works:

From now until Valentine’s Day, when you buy an Apex book, it will be signed by the author(s) (or the editor for anthologies) AND you will be emailed the digital version (ePub/mobi/PDF) for free.

That’s right — an e-book you can dive into immediately, and then a beautifully personalized book you can give your sweetheart later. It’s literally the gift that keeps on giving!

The Valentine’s Day promotion includes my infamous essay collection BEAUTY & DYNAMITE (which, if you think about it, includes some fairly romantic material and would make a really great Valentine’s gift…why didn’t I think of this before?)

Look at that gorgeous, romantic cover…and you guys know how colorfully decorated my signatures get when I have time. I don’t have a lot of these hanging around to bring to conventions anymore, so if you’re looking for a signed copy, now’s your perfect chance!

(And who knows…maybe if enough folks order it, maybe Apex will let me put out another one. Fingers crossed…)


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Just Because

Ariell posted something on her Facebook yesterday that reminded me of a poster I got in high school (and still own) by SARK. I had it up on my wall for years, and it inspired me. It even inspired the Beauty & Dynamite trailer. On a lark, I went looking for an image of that poster. Happily, it wasn’t hard to find.

I think I need to  hang this up again.

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B&D Available on Smashwords

You kids and your newfangled contraptions…

Thanks to a dutiful Google Alert, I am happy to report that Beauty & Dynamite is available on Smashwords. Check it out here — it lets you read the first bunch of pages for free (score!), but you have to pay (thank you) a mere $2.99 to read the rest. No fancy reader needed; it will display right on your desktop. Voila. Magic.

Looks like you can pick up Harlan County Horrors as well. What a bargain!

(okay…does one “pick up” a book if one downloads the electronic format? Grumblegrumble whippersnappers.)

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While I Was Out Partying at Necon

While I was out, Jason Sizemore left one of those pink post-its on my desk that said “APEX HAS A NEW ONLINE STORE. GO FIX ALL YOUR LINKS.”

Sure enough, there is a new online store. Click here and go check it out. It’s snazzy. I’m looking forward to getting my wicked new alien t-shirt. It’s the least Jason can do for making me go through all my bibliography pages and change the links. Well, that was the least he could do for ME. What he did for YOU was host a 40% off sale for all his in-print books (all digital & physical, no preorders).

That’s right — pick up a copy of Dark Faith (did you get on at Necon? I’m in it!) or Harlan County Horrors (because you’ve become obsessed with the show Justified and want to creep yourself out for Halloween) or Beauty & Dynamite (because you’ve dropped your copy in the tub. Admit it).

Just type in NEWSTORE40 when you check out to get the 40% off. This offer ends July 23, so you should just hop on over there soon. Now sounds good.

In the meantime, I’m going to go snag those links I just posted and fix my website…

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Bibbidy Bobbidy Byes

This essay is one of the “Lost Blogs” that was discovered in the wildlands of the intarwebs by my friend Eric James Stone after the publication of Beauty & Dynamite. I’m posting it in response to something Kelli wrote recently called “Boyfriend 47,”, an essay ranking the merits (or lack thereof) of the respective Disney princes. Personally, I think Prince Charming’s not so bad…if you know the whole story.

This is also apropriate because Mom and Dad are headed back to Florida this morning, and I’m just plain-old going to miss them.


Bibbidy Bobbity Byes

Original post date: 12/8/2004

I dropped Mom off at the airport this morning. On the long, lonely drive back to work, I tried to think of other things in an effort to distract myself from being emotional. After covering traffic and other people who hate goodbyes, my brain settled on Cinderella.

I’ve always favored the Grimms’ telling of Cinderella over the Perrault or Disney versions. Some may find that surprising, seeing as I’m a bit of a Fairy Godmother In Training – the Grimms’ tale hadn’t a fairy godmother in sight. (Not to despair, Briar Rose still had them to sort out that whole curse thing, so my future career choice is still justified.)

No, the less popular – and much darker – tale had Cinderella weeping over the grave of her mother. Birds in the tree planted on the grave spoke to her on her mother’s behalf and helped her out in her times of need. They came to her aid when the evil stepmother gave Cinderella impossible tasks to accomplish. She didn’t go to the ball once but three times, in dresses thrown to her from the birds. When the Prince came around to the house bearing the slipper, the stepsisters maimed themselves in their avarice, slicing off pieces of their feet in order to fit into the shoe. The Prince rode away with the wrong woman twice, and twice the birds warned him of the blood in the shoe and sent him back for the proper girl.

Being caught inside the whirlwind that my life has been lately had me thinking about Cinderella. Empathizing, asking questions, and coming to realizations. Somehow, Cinderella MUST have met the Prince prior to the ball. I’m not quite sure how she pulled it off, but there’s no way she would have done all that stuff for him without being completely in love with him first. Big Love, capital letters and all, not just a crush on a pretty face and a castle. Showing up at a ball in a nice dress hoping to snare a man reeks of pettiness. I have to believe that Cinderella was much better than that. Picking a girl out of a crowd and marrying her solely based on her looks is equally as shallow. I have to believe that the Prince was much more than that too.

Cinderella was an introvert, my brain rationalized.

It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? She kept her head low and kowtowed to the evil women who took over her house and took away her life. There is NO way on Earth she would have gone through the trials she did and forced herself to be the center of attention three times for anything less than Big Love. My guess is, attending those balls was the most brave, scary, nervewracking thing she had ever done in her life. I’m betting she had more than a few panic attacks. But she still did it.

Then there’s the issue of the Prince – who KNEW darn well what his True Love looked like, but his integrity still forced him to stay true to his word and ride away with the wrong woman. Can a man with a code of honor like that marry a virtual stranger? Well, the proclamation did say that his bride would be the one who fit the shoe… Good thing those birds were there to give him a suitable out-clause.

It certainly gives the tale more depth when you consider that Cinderella was probably a borderline basketcase coming out of her shell; the Prince, a tormented knight in shining armor with an annoying amount of moral fiber.

But the story is really about a mother’s love for her daughter – a love so pure and strong it reaches from beyond the grave. Her birds don’t exactly tell either of the lovers what to do, only nudge them a bit to help them down their paths. And so, Cinderella and her Prince lived Happily Ever After.

The moral of the story: Mom is always right.

Love you, Mom.

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My Very First Fiction Podcast!

There’s a new Apex Magazine out, featuring a new Beauty & Dynamite essay ("Here Lies an Era"), and me reading my flash fiction horror short "Foiled." (run time: 3:08)

It’s my first time, but I hope to do a lot more readings in the future. Let me know what you think!

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