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1986 Wishes You a Merry Christmas

Della’s going to kill me for this one. 🙂

Merry Christmas!!

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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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Spec the Halls!

It’s never to early for Christmas, right? (Unless it attempts to encroach on Halloween, in which case, Christmas can go STICK IT.)

But now that it’s almost December, it’s time to start thinking and planning those upcoming holiday festivities…and holiday gifts. Assuming you have money left over after purchasing a pair of earrings from Dixie Dunbar Studio, I have the perfect idea!

I am honored to be a part of an e-anthology this holiday season called SPEC THE HALLS.

Spec The Halls looks at the winter holidays – both real and fictional – from a speculative fiction point of view. Fantasy, horror, and science fiction take turns showing us this time of year from a slightly different point of view.

This year’s anthology includes stories by Kelly Swails, Alethea Kontis, T. Lee Harris, Laura Resnick, Steven Saus, Chanté McCoy, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Kerrie Hughes, Marian Allen, Patrick M. Tracy, Risa Wolf, Jess Hartley, Graham Storrs, Donald J. Bingle, R.T. Kaelin, and Sue Penkivech.

The proceeds of every sale will go to Heifer International. Act quickly – this eBook will only be available for a limited time!

This e-anthology will feature my famous story “The Sands of Mother Christmas.” It’s a gorgeous tale that I encourage reading to your family around the Christmas tree. It makes my mother cry every time.

Order your copy of Spec the Halls now for only $9.99!

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Important things to note:

*If you buy the eBook from Alliteration Ink using the “Buy Now” button, more of your purchase money goes to the charity.

*If you’ve donated to Heifer International since 1 November 2011, see this link.
*If you just wish to donate through Alliteration Ink, see this link.
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Would you like to tell your own story and WIN CASH MONEY for it? Enter the Spec the Halls spread the word contest! Submitting an entry is as easy as setting out cookies for your favorite gift-giving entity.

 

1.) Post your story where it is freely accessible – that is, anyone can read it. A blog, website, or freely shared Google Docs file all count.
2.) Include a link back to specthehalls.com and to alliterationink.com. You’ll get extra karma if you point people toward the current anthology.
3.) Send an e-mail to submit@specthehalls.com with contact information and the address for us to find your work. Also attach an RTF file with your story in standard manuscript format for judging purposes. If your story is dark, disturbing, or the like, please say so in the email.
4.) Do all of these things between 15 July 2011 and 31 December 2011. Stories must stay online at least through 2/2/2012.
5.) Prizes are as follows: USD$100 for first place, USD$50 for second place, and USD$25 for third place. Winners may choose to donate prize money back to charity.
6.) Stories entered in this year’s contest may be invited to participate in next year’s charity anthology.

For more information and FAQs, visit the official contest site –> by clicking here.

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Eleventh Night

Due to…well…life, the Kontis Clan didn’t get to have Christmas until this week. We were all too excited to wait until Three King’s Day (today), so we opened the massive amount of presents (pics to come) and had a lobster feast before playing Cranium so loudly we kept the neighbors up (payback for their annoying dog).

Once upon a time, back in Ye Olden Heyday of The Kontis Sisters’ reign, Soteria and I would stage impromptu variety shows. If YouTube had been around then, we’d be seriously famous right now. As it is, there are zero home movies of us as children. We couldn’t afford a video camera. Heck, my parents still don’t even have call waiting.

We performed as the spirit moved us for whomever would stand still long enough to watch. For my grandmother’s ladies’ club, for my friends’ parents, and for the family almost every single Christmas. We eventually roped in the neighbor kids to put on the greatest Christmas Eve pageants ever. (They were Cajun, so Christmas Eve dinner there was always fried oyster po’boys. God, I miss those.) We performed skits, sang songs, and one year I wrote a story that left no dry eye in the room.

And then we all moved away and the performances just stopped. That is…until last night.

In our house growing up, there were a lot of rules. Soteria and I would joke that Mom’s favorite saying (next to “If I find it, can I smack you?”) was: “There’s a new rule.” There’s a famous story of how we groaned once and Mom said, “Oh, come on. We don’t have that many rules.” Soteria and I went upstairs and came down hours later with no less than 186 rules.

Both of us wish Mom and Dad had kept that list. We’d give just about anything to have it now. Every so often one of us will remember a rule, and we’ll call the other one to remind her and have a great laugh about it. We were having a conversation very much like this a few days ago, when Soteria suggested rewriting “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with a bunch of the rules we had as kids. An hour–and much giggling–later, we had our song.

Here it is, performed for our Eleventh Night Greek Christmas, with no rehearsal whatsoever. I hope you find it as amusing as we did.

Did you have any strange/great rules as kids?

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Leaving On a Jet Plane

The Fairy GodBoyfriend and I are off to Florida today to (finally!) spend Christmas with my parents.

Wish us a safe flight…and better travel karma than Mary Robinette Kowal!

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Clearly Not a Fan

Things will be sporadic on the blog here this week — my holiday season’s not over yet! On Wednesday I’m flying to Florida for Christmas with my parents and sister. And next week is PRINCESS ALETHEA’S BIG BIRTHDAY TIARA SPECTACULAR! (Do you have your tiara ready yet?)

In the meantime I wanted to share with you this humbling Christmas video that reminds us bibliophiles…not everyone is always a fan.

Props to my cousin Alex for sending this!

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Merry Christmas!

Hope you’re having the merriest of Christmas Days, no matter what you celebrate. Santa was good to our little tree…we’ve even had some flurries today but nothing has stuck yet. Fingers crossed we get some white, but perhaps not as much as is predicted to dump on NY tonight.

Everyone contributed to the Christmas Feast tonight — Joe’s cooking up the Christmas Steaks and portabella mushrooms with a white wine reduction. I’m taking care of the green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, crescent rolls, and gravy. The Fairy Goddaughters made shortcake from scratch, and we have strawberries in sugar just waiting to top it.

Yum yum yum! I should go back to cooking and watching TV marathons with the family.

What was your Festive Feast this year?

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What I Was Up To Yesterday

Because:
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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The Gift of the Mascara

My family has this thing about Christmas. It’s kind of a big deal. Pretty early on — right about nowish — we start making plans about who’s going where. Mom also starts asking around about Christmas lists.

I learned early on — right about when I started making the Happy Holiday CDs — to just stick a post-it note by my phone at work and keep an ongoing list of things I’d like for Christmas on it. (In lieu of a dayjob I now have a “Notes” feature on my iPhone that’s equally as helpful and a might less easy to lose.)

The general rule is that one should put things on one’s Christmas list that one wouldn’t buy for onesself. Extravagant things. Silly things. Things ranging in price so that closer family members can splurge and those on a budget still have options. Things that make it on my list multiple years in a row are things like Urban Decay glitter eyeliner, Burt’s Bees Champagne Lip Shimmer, and socks. Not just any socks, mind you, fun knee-highs with stripes or stars. And mascara.

We were all visiting my older sister Cherie on Easter some years ago — the year that the poodle had puppies and Casey had her daughter. Cherie showed me a new mascara she’d just bought and was extolling its virtues. She let me try some of hers. It was pretty cool. I went to visit Mom in Florida a few months later (the shuttle launch, maybe?) when she received a package from Cherie: it was a tube of this mascara Cherie had raved to me about. I wish people randomly sent ME mascara in the mail! I was jealous. Mom already had some mascara that she liked, so she gave me the one Cherie had sent her.

I’ve been using that same mascara for years (I think Casey’s daughter is five or something). It’s not because I refuse to buy myself mascara — I just forget. Makeup isn’t something I’ve ever been especially good at, so I just buy the basics (usually right before Dragon*Con).

The best part? Each one of those years I’ve had “mascara” on my Christmas list. And every year my stocking has come up empty in this department. It was an honest request — I wasn’t trying to be flippant. I hones-to-god just wouldn’t buy it for myself. Like there was some sort of block or something.

I was doing some research on the artowrk for this year’s Happy Holidays CD, and I remembered about the mascara fiasco. I told FGB I was going to write a blog about it. As an afterthought, I wrote “mascara” on the Wal Mart list. We went to Wal Mart this weekend to buy Halloween candy for the kids in the complex. And I ACTUALLY BOUGHT MASCARA. It’s fabulous. It’s lovely. The brush is huge. It’s not all sticky and clumpy.

But I still wish I’d gotten it for Christmas.

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(PS — if anyone has any random new make-up they think I’d like to try, feel free to send it! PO Box 2024 Ashburn VA 20146 I’ll try and write a review…)

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Goth Girl’s Guide to Better Traction

In the twenty-first century, it’s not uncommon to have several Thanksgivings and Christmasses. You’ve got your mom’s family, your dad’s family, your stepfamily, your work family, your own family, and seven other families I forgot (but you best not have). I’m luckier than most in that I only had one Thanksgiving and two Christmasses this year — one in SC and one in PA. But then…I quit my job and moved right before Thanksgiving so I’ve been able to actually TAKE PART in all the festivities, and see friends along my amazing road trip that I normally wouldn’t have been able to see. As a result, I’ve come away with so many pictures I don’t even know where to start.

So I’m going to start here.

Sometimes Seven had their Christmas last night. The Gypsy got me these awesome shoelaces that look even MORE awesome in my Doc Martens…the shoes I should have been wearing yesterday morning when I slipped and fell on the ice. This will encourage me to wear decent shoes when I leave the house and limit my sneaker wearing to the house only…until Spring, anyway.

So…how many holidays do YOU celebrate?

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