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A Loving Tribute

I can’t add all of the Dark-Hunter role players on Facebook to my friends list and I don’t have the time to play with them as much as I’d like, but the DH Origins folks have always been wonderful to me and treat me like family.

When I woke up to the usual 3am insomnia this morning, I had a present waiting for me from the Simi in the form of this beautiful slideshow video in honor of my grandmother. I’m so very touched I don’t know what to say…besides Thank You, Simi. With all my heart.

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A Hellaciously Long Dragon*Con Post

There are those days in our lives that we consider our Best Days. I’m not sure I could pick out one as The Best Day Ever, but there are certainly ones I will never forget: my high school graduation, Orson Scoot Card’s Boot Camp, selling my first book, really kissing Joe for the first time. The Saturday of Dragon*Con 2011 was one of those days for me.

There are people who live their whole lives and never have a day like that. I would just like to let those people know that I honestly and truly appreciated every minute of it.

It started off just like every Saturday morning at Dragon*Con: there was an alarm, a very groggy Leanna, and a parade. I woke up a little before the alarm, so I’d have more time to draw stars on my face and make tea for my lovely nightingale roommate. I was up and dressed and looked FABULOUSLY CUTE and got to SEE LEANNA WEAR PINK. (The latter happens far more rarely than the former.) When we arrived at the staging area, I dropped Leanna/Romana off with the Doctor Who folks and met the Dark-Hunters–a large handful of which were children this year. I love kids. Especially kids who dress up.

Eddie had hurt his knee the night before so he wasn’t able to help carry the giant Dark-Hunter banner. Joe offered, but two strapping young men had already stepped up to volunteer. But as the Bloodmobile bus revved up and started pulling away (vampires always walk behind the Bloodmobile), we noticed that the banner was sagging a bit in the middle.

Sherri groaned and then said, “Alethea, will you go hold that thing up?”

There wasn’t time to debate logistics, and as I never have any qualms about being front and center, I hopped to the task. Happily, my crew of minions (a word I wouldn’t normally use, but they were kids AND Dark-Hunters!) jumped up beside me and helped me hold the banner as well. The little Simi and I had a great time waving to people and smiling, and every time we stopped she yelled, “YOU ALL LOOK TASTY!” or some variation, which sent me into fits of giggles.

The best part about being front and center with that banner was that EVERYONE SAW ME. My dear friend Crissy yelled and waved and blew me kisses as we rounded the corner. My friend Cass did the same later on down the street. I arrived back at the hotel to find numerous posts saying, “I saw you in the parade!” which was just fabulous and awesome.

I also arrived back at the hotel to find that I had completely sweated through my costume (thank you, Atlanta). Since I still had a bit of time before my first commitment (Leanna’s autograph session), Joe and I went to the Walk of Fame (which was closed) and the Exhibitor’s Hall. I’d bought a corset last year at Passional, and I had my eye on getting another one this year before the pickings were slim. I threw on my “back-up dress” (one always brings a back-up dress to Dragon*Con) and proceeded to spend WAY TOO MUCH on a gorgeous green full corset (because green is my favorite color) and a long black ruffly skirt (because if I was going to spend that much, I may as well get a whole outfit out of the deal, right?). We stopped back at the room to drop off purchases and I changed into my new GORGEOUS outfit, ready to face the day!

I left Leanna a little early to make it to the Hour With Sherrilyn Kenyon Panel. I’m so glad I keep getting invited to MC this panel, because I swear I do less and less every year. The best part for me is always warming up the crowd before Sherri gets there. I adore the Dark-Hunter fans–in a way, I’ve grown up with them. Those ladies & gents are my family. We are all friends on Facebook, and every year it’s like a family reunion. They knew me back when I was just a picture book writer and they cheered me when I hit the NYT Bestseller List. So I was INCREDIBLY PROUD to be able to show off not only my new dress, but also the book cover for ENCHANTED! By the time the panel started, I was absolutely giddy. I’m sure it showed.

I’m very glad too that I was able to chat with everyone before the panel, because directly after I was whicked away by my friend Gaia to see another panel over at the Sheraton hotel. See, I’ve been a guest since 2006 or so, but before then I was a FAN, and I miss it! I miss seeing panels (that I’m not on) and getting autographs (they’re so expensive now!) and shopping and collecting things. You have to wait HOURS to see panels now, and I just don’t have that kind of free time. I am a busy woman every year at Dragon*Con. They put me to WORK!

Back before I was a fan of much of anything besides books, I was a Next Generation Trekkie. Yes, Captain Picard was (and in a way, still is) my Captain. This year at Dragon*Con, a lot of the ST:TNG folks were in attendance. Gates McFadden, who played Beverly Crusher (my favorite character — the Warp Bubble episode is still my favorite), was doing a panel with Wil Wheaton & Brent Spiner, moderated by Garrett Wang. It was seriously killing me that I had to miss this.

But my dear, patient, and long-suffering friend Gaia is what we nowadays call “handicapable”, and those folks are allowed to the front of the line and let into the auditoriums first. They are also allowed to have one slave to assist them. I GOT TO BE THAT SLAVE. (Happily, she told me I could be a slave princess sans metal bikini, for which I will be eternally grateful.)

Gaia wasn’t even a fan of Star Trek (as was pointed out during the panel, they just don’t have Star Trek in France), but she loves me, and the panel was SO MUCH FUN that she actually had a great time. Gates and Brent and Wil and Garrett told stories and picked on each other and cracked us all up. We smiled and laughed and I took a bunch of pictures and I had the time of my life because I know this rarity was probably something I would never be able to experience again. It was a gift from a friend–one of the best gifts I’ve ever received–and I will never, ever forget that. Thank you, Gaia, darling.

Of course, squeezing that panel in made me subsequently late for my 5:30 autograph session, and there were already people waiting for me when I arrived. Gaia and Jacqueline and a few other girls helped me set up my table and welcome everyone, flustered as I was. Edmund Schubert had a chance to come in and sit by me a while which was a special treat, as he is someone else I miss dearly and never get to see enough of. He invited me to dinner with David Coe and Faith Hunter, but the hour came and went and I never stopped signing…and the Dragon*Con staff weren’t kicking us out…so I kept on signing and chatting with everyone until Sherri’s line disappeared.

I think Joe and I grabbed a quick bit to eat after–I don’t remember eating much at Dragon*Con this year. Yes, we did eat then, because I changed out of the fabulous green corset and into some jeans so I could eat. I wanted to save the dress to wear to the Yule Ball the next evening, and technically I was “off duty,” so jeans & a t-shirt were more than acceptable.

I knew David and Faith had a panel at 8:30, so I swung by quickly afterward to see if I could catch them before it started. I passed fellow Codexians Mary Robinette Kowal, Danielle Friedman, and Helena Bell who invited us to sit with them in the Marriott restaurant/bar, but I told them we would join them after I accomplished my mission. I found the room the panel was in about two minutes before it started. Jeremy Lewis was there along with Faith and David, and Carol Malcolm (my favorite Dark Fantasy track moderator) was holding court.

Two minutes or no, I proceeded to Hug Bomb the panel. Because Princesses have that right. I never saw Jeremy or Faith or David again after that, but it was just so lovely to see their faces and touch them for five seconds, to remind myself they were real, and how much I missed them (though I think it’s the first time I’d ever met Faith in the flesh)…it’s one of those unique feelings I wonder if anyone outside Dragon*Con knows.

We joined the Codex table at the Marriott, which grew as Leanna joined us, and then Tempest Bradford and Andrew Mayer. The company was both lively and relaxing at the same time, and I began to wind down from my fabulous day. I knew I had promised a few people that I’d make an appearance in the Green Room, and I wanted to make sure I fulfilled my duties before it closed for the night. I reluctantly excused myself from the table and left…but not before I heard “Alethea!” called from a table near the door.

A gorgeous girl dressed as Elvira told me that she’d been at the panel earlier, and complimented me on my bubbliness, for which I thanked her. And then she GOT UP FROM HER DINNER and asked if she could take a picture with me. ME! In my jeans and t-shirt! This happens to Sherrilyn Kenyon. This happens to Felicia Day and Jewel Staite. This does not happen to ME. I was honored and humbled and speechless as I made my way through the habitrails to the Hyatt Green Room.

Everyone ended up there, too, eventually, and they finally kicked us all out in the middle of our fabulously good time, some time about 1:30am. On the elevator down to the lobby, Joe made some fantastically snarky comment about which David Nykl said, “That guy’s funny.” This of course meant nothing to Joe, but I had an inner fangirl moment. David is a frequent visitor of the Green Room. One of these days, I will finally tell him how much I loved his character on Stargate:Atlantis.

Down in the lobby, I waited for everyone to decide what to do…and tried my best to remain upright. I was DEAD TIRED. It had been a long–albeit magically amazing–day! Jim Minz wanted to go to karaoke and Joe wanted to check out Rocky Horror Picture Show, but Leanna recommended tea and bedtime, so I happily took her advice. So Joe and Jim went off to cause trouble and Leanna and I chatted until sometime before three–I think I fell asleep while she was talking. From beginning to end, it was a perfect, PERFECT day.

The only thing I regret–because there is always something–is that I cried off and went to bed as soon as I did. Mom always says, “If you’re having a bad day, crawl back under the covers and give up, because nothing will go right. If you’re having a great day, ACCOMPLISH AS MUCH AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE on that day.”

While Leanna and I were sharing sugar in our tea and talking best friend business, Joe and Jim had gone down to Rocky Horror, where they found Eddie standing in line amidst a completely disorganized mess of people. So they chose plan B and headed over to karaoke. The text I received from Joe read:

Doc Brown and Sylvester McCoy are at karaoke.

Dammit.
But that’s okay. I still consider it a pretty darn perfect day.
And that was only Saturday.

Vive La Dragon*Con!

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Dragon*Con 2011 Pictures

Yes, the camera got washed with the Fairy Godboyfriend’s kilt, so it’s a good thing that I took a ton of pictures with my phone this trip. There are quite a few decent photos, especially of the fabulous costumes at the Harry Potter Yule Ball.

It was an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING TIME. Possibly the best Dragon*Con ever. But then, I always say that.

Click on the Princess to see the Photo Album! (Unless you’re on Facebook, in which case you’ve probably already seen it, and tagged yourself.)

 

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My Dragon*Con Schedule

Because it’s never too early to start thinking about Dragon*Con!

Here’s my schedule. Make a note. Write it down. Punch it into your phone. Most importantly, do not miss the reading on Friday, otherwise known as PRINCESS ALETHEA’S TRAVELING SIDESHOW! As before, the first 48 people will get free bags filled with amazing awesomeness. (And by awesomeness, I don’t mean bookmarks and flyers. I mean hardcover books, magnets, buttons, temporary tattoos, bubbles, and much more!)

Convention Dates are Fri(9/2/11), Sat(9/3/11), Sun(9/4/11), and Mon(9/5/11)

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Title: Reading: Alethea Kontis
PRINCESS ALETHEA’S TRAVELING SIDESHOW! (come early)
Time: Fri 05:30 pm Location: Edgewood – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)

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Title: Interview with Sherrilyn Kenyon
Description: Q&A with the bestselling author of the Dark-Hunter series.
Time: Sat 02:30 pm Location: Regency VI – VII – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel

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Title: Dragon*Autographs
Time: Sat 05:30 pm Location: M301 – M304 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)

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Title: Scary Fairy Tales
Description: Fables and fairy tales in dark fantasy literature.
Time: Sun 05:30 pm Location: Montreal / Vancouver – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)

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When I am not at these locations (and not walking in the Parade – Sat, 10am), I will most likely be found at JANET LEE’s table in Artists Alley. I will do my absolute best to bring some books to sell…but airplane luggage charges being what they are, coupled with the fact that I sold out quickly last year, please remember that it is always best if you bring your own copies of books for me to sign.

And now I’m going to tease you mercilessly. I’m not going to confirm it, because I don’t have one in my magic little hands yet, but I will be giving away one or two (or three!) of something that you REALLY REALLY REALLY will want to get your hands on. Because it doesn’t come out until next May. *wink*

But you won’t have a chance to get it unless you come see me!

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Bubba’s Triple-B

If anyone needs a reason why I love Eddie, this is tops on the list.

(The promo is for Sherrilyn Kenyon’s YA books, if you’re not already familiar with them.)

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Small World, Chapter Infinity

A few weeks ago, Joe and I took two rowdy Canadians to see the Adam Ezra Group…a couple of times. By the second event, we were exchanging hugs with the band like we’d known them for years and getting on each other’s Christmas Card lists. Their tour took them from DC down to Florida and Georgia. They swung back up north during their final leg on their way home to Boston, so Joe and I saw them again last night at 8×10 in Baltimore.

It was just like catching up with old buddies–we magically found a parking space and got to the venue early, so we shared hugs with Adam and caught up with Turtle on how Spring Break was and what had been going on in our lives since we’d last (and technically first) met. The news on my part was relatively mundane…I was in the middle of scribbling down my acknowledgments for Sunday, and I’d recently found out that somehow my dear friend Sherri also liked AEG, having discovered them completely separate from me. It’s always fun when that happens.

The set was fabulous, as usual…and though I was disappointed by how few people had shown up on a Thursday night, in a way it was like getting my own private showing. I chatted with complete strangers (they were at my private party, after all) and danced my heart out. The floor at 8×10 apparently has some kind of funky springs underneath it that my knees enjoyed. I sweated my butt off and totally didn’t care.

After their set (and after I stepped outside to cool off and let my hair dry a bit), Joe and I went down to the basement (just like the Basement Song) where the swag table was to chat with Adam and Josh and pick up a CD for Adam to sign to Sherri. I handed Adam the CD and the Sharpie and we talked about my friend who’s this big paranormal romance author, and I spelled her name out, and he signed the cover…and then as soon as he finishes, something in his brain clicked. “Who is this for again? Her full name?”

“Sherrilyn Kenyon,” I said.

“Holy shit! How do you know her?”

“I lived in Nashville for almost 12 years. She’s one of my best friends. I wrote the Companion for her Dark-Hunter series. Wait…how do you know her?”

“Last year we got a call from our publicist telling us she was going to use our song ‘Kill Like This’ for one of her book trailers. Was it…Infinity?”

“Yes! Infinity! The young adult book! Holy crap, I had no idea! When I see her at the end of the month, I’m  going to ask her exactly how she and I both fell in love with the same band at the same time. Crazy, right?”

Adam took the CD he had just signed and threw it away. He grabbed another one off the table, opened the shrink wrap, and began to write a small novel that included at least as many expletives as it did exclamation points. I laughed as I read over his shoulder. “Okay, here,” he said when he was done, “and give her this too.” He gave me a huge hug. “Maybe we’ll get to meet her in person some day.”

“I’m sure you will,” I said.

Adam looked at me for a long moment and shook his head. “God, it’s a small world, isn’t it?”

I agreed. “I guess we were all just destined to meet each other at some point.”

* * *

If you haven’t discovered The Adam Ezra Group yet, now’s your chance. They have quite a few more tour dates on their schedule, and since they’re still sort of “underground” at the moment, the venues are still intimate.

If you’re looking up songs to check out on YouTube, I recommend “Half a Hero” because it’s fun to dance to (and should have been on the Kickass soundtrack), “Another Sunshine” because of it’s brilliantly connected lyrics, “Vision” (also fun to dance to), and “Scandal”, which totally belongs on the TV show “Justified.”

Also, if you have five free seconds and are so inclined, click over to the FedEx Underground Music Series site and “become a fan” of Adam Ezra Group — they’re in the running to win a trip to Memphis and a recording contract…and they actually have a shot. Do your part — support indie artists!

And for the Dark-Hunter fans who might have missed it (like me), here’s the Infinity trailer from last May, featuring AEG’s song “Kill Like This.” This is a great example of a successful book trailer — makes me want to go right out and buy the book again. It also holds a special place in my heart for the guy who shows up 19 seconds in. Some of you know him as Bubba, or Evyl Ed. I know him as the only man with a will strong enough to constantly challenge me on Words With Friends, even if I do win 98% of the time. (Love you, Eddie! xox)

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Winners & Things

A few announcements I don’t want to forget to post:

* The winner of the March 28th Recipe Blog contest is Sandra Davis! Sandra’s name will go into the hat with all the rest of March’s winners of the Fool for Romance contest. If her name is drawn there as well, she could win a virtual boatload of awesome prizes, including a Kindle and a D-H prize pack that includes a Dark-Hunter Companion signed by both me and Sherri. Congrats, Sandra!

* AlphaOops: H is for Halloween is still on sale at Amazon for only $8.71 — that’s 46% off, which is a better discount than I can get straight from the publisher. I think I have an idea why this strange thing is occurring…which I’ll explain at length later. For now, if you (or your library) doesn’t have a copy of this fabulous, critically-acclaimed picture book, now’s the time to pick one (or several – they make great gifts!) up.

* Speaking of…AlphaOops was recently mentioned in the review of another alphabet book on ParentDish.com. In the review, A is for Zebra was compared to AlphaOops, the latter of which was referred to as a “classic.”Which makes me squee more than a little bit. I am such a Diva. A Classic Dr. Seuss Diva.

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Fool for Recipes

Hello, everyone! As promised, here is my March contribution to the Fool for Romance Giveaway Extravaganza!

Comment on my blog here today for a chance to win a spot in the Great Big Giveaway. At month’s end, the winners for each day will have a chance to win a HUMONGOUS prize pack from all the contributing authors for the month…including a Kindle! It’s a fun and fabulous event, there are plenty of ways to win, and I’m so happy to be a part of it!

My contribution to the prize pack: A signed (by both me and Sherri) Dark-Hunter Companion, along with assorted other fun D-H buttons and bookmarks and ornaments and stuffage!

So let’s get to today’s entry: RECIPES. After all, what’s the one thing most of us love even more than romance? FOOD!

In the Greek section of The Dark-Hunter Companion, I broke a bunch of rules and printed some of my family’s recipes. I just don’t think great recipes are meant to die along with their creators…and since I probably won’t have the opportunity to personally cook for every single one of you, why should you never be able to taste my Greek Chicken or Baklava?

Today I share with you a new recipe — and because I have a migraine this morning, it’s going to be GLUTEN FREE. This delicious recipe can be enjoyed by both my sister and myself without us regretting it later with stomach aches and headaches.

My mother perfected this recipe and passed it along–Soteria and I pretty much shared an entire batch of these over our Greek Christmas holidays. I hope you enjoy the recipe. And if you know of any other great gluten-free recipes, please link to them or post them here in the comments so that we might all share in the yumminess!

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DATE LAYER BARS (gluten free)

Date filling:
1 pound pitted dates (Costco usually has great dates)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water (or 1/4 cup orange liquor (Triple Sec) and 1/4 cup water)

Stir constantly over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens. Cool. Just before using, add 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts.

Crust:
3/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup almond flour (or just superfinely chop up 3/4 cup of any kind of nuts)
3/4 cup Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (they sell this at the grocery store – it’s easy to find)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
2 Tbsp water

Cream together sugar & butter. Sift dry ingredients & stir into creamed mixture. Add oats & water; mix until crumbly.

Firmly pat 1/2 of the mixture into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Spread with date filling. Drop remaining 1/2 of crust mixture on top and pat smooth.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. Cool and enjoy!

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Remember — please comment and/or share a recipe in order to participate in the contest!

Dark-Hunters Rule!!

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Dark Hunter Party!

For Dragon*Con folks checking in — the Dark-Hunter Party is tonight!

Compete for prizes and a chance to be a character in one of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s upcoming books. The grand prize winner will be featured in her newsletter and on her website. Come one, come all and get your geek on!

Friday — TONGHT! 8:30PM, Int’l South (Hyatt)

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Dragon*Con Schedule

My schedule is light this year, which is kind of nice. Means I get to do more walking around and sightseeing. Woohoo!

Also, don’t forget, I’m always in the parade Saturday morning at 10am, walking with the Sherrilyn Kenyon Vampire Squad. What we vampires are doing AWAKE at 10am is another discussion entirely…

——————-
Title: Interview With Sherrilyn Kenyon
Description: An hour with the author of the “Dark-Hunter” and “The League” series. There will be a special appearance by Kinley MacGregor.
Time: Sat 04:00 pm Location: Regency VI – VII – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel

——————-
Title: Dragon*Autographs
Description:
Time: Sun 04:00 pm Location: M301 – M304 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)

——————-
Title: The Beast Within
Description: Werewolves and other shapeshifters.
Time: Sun 08:30 pm Location: Cairo – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)

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