Nominate Me! 2011

I published a few short stories this year. Not many, but a few. Really good ones, too.

But as promised, I am only touting one story that I would like to have nominated for awards in 2012. This is The Best Story I Have Ever Written. It has a special place in my heart, and I hope that one day it will find a special place in yours…and your children’s…and your children’s children.

If you have not read it already, “The Unicorn Hunter” is still available online here:

Happy Holidays, and Happy Reading! xox

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Yes, you’ve read that right — as a Halloween promotion, Black Dog & Leventhal publishing has made one of the stories from the DEMONS anthology available for free — AND THAT STORY IS MINE!! *Mwahahahahahaha*

“The Unicorn Hunter” is the one I’ve been gushing about — the one from the Enchanted universe. It’s the story I saw in my head when I looked at the original Twilight cover. Imagine my devastation when I later found out that Twilight was about vampires. CRUSHED, I TELL YOU.

This link, like Halloween, is only good for a limited time, so check it out & share it with the world while you can!

Also, I’d love to hear what you think — feel free to comment on this post, fill out the email form at the top of the website, or email me directly at akontis at gmail.



Handy Dandy Linkages:

Read “The Unicorn Hunter” here:

Buy the DEMONS anthology here.

Preorder ENCHANTED here.

Add Enchanted to your Goodreads list here.

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Last Day to Win a Unicorn!

That’s right! At midnight EST tonight, my dearest bosom companion Leanna Renee Hieber will be randomly drawing from the commenters on THIS BLOG POST to see who wins a copy of John Skipp’s DEMONS anthology, autographed by MOI! (I hear there are some other pretty decent authors in this anthology as well. Like this Neil Something.)

All you have to do is click over and tell Leanna one thing you love about Fall. That’s it! Just one thing! That’s easy, right? Of course it is. Because EVERYONE LOVES FALL.

Bonus entry points are gven if you follow me on Twitter. (And once I get to 2000 followers, *I* am going to give away an autographed collection and a box of books…so it’s a win-win-win-win-win situation!)

October is Halloween Awareness Month. It’s All Hallows Read. It’s even Friday, which qualifies this as a #FridayReads. You are covered on ALL BASES. So what are you waiting for? Click on my picture of the story below, go on over there, and comment.

Happy Friday!


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The Princess Formerly Known as Snow White

Jo Ramsey kindly invited me to do a guest post over at her blog today. I was welcome to do whatever I wanted — song, dance, juggling, blog about my life, blog about writing, or do an interview with one of my characters.

This is a trend in genre fiction — especially with YA and Romance — where authors submit an interview as if someone had interviewed one of their characters. I have never done this before, and it posed an interesting quandary. Do I interview the character as she was before the story, or do I interview her after the story has already changed her life?

I knew that I wanted to interview one of the characters from “The Unicorn Hunter,” my short story in John Skipp’s DEMONS anthology (that is out right now).

I knew who my subject would be, of course. Her name is Ashes-on-the-Wind, but Once Upon a Time, she was known as Snow White. None of this is addressed in “The Unicorn Hunter,” however. She is known only as “the princess” and the demon is “the demon.” (When there are only two characters in a story that most people think they already know, why bother with silly things like names?)

Ultimately what I decided was to interview my princess in such a way that it MADE you want to run out and read the story.

Was I successful? Well, I guess you’ll have to pop over to Jo’s blog today and find out for yourself.

(And yes, ENCHANTED folks, this is the backstory of a character that is very important to the world of ENCHANTED…you just don’t know it yet.)

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DEMONS On Sale Now!

I am on the back cover AGAIN! Wheee!

From Skipp’s intro to “The Unicorn Hunter”:

After all this evil, I thought some beauty might be in order. So thank God for Alethea Kontis, who brought it and then some, in an old-fashioned mythical context with some new-fangled twists.

This is a very easy story to love. And unless you’re a unicorn, you probably will, too.

I’ll say it again: This is the best story I HAVE EVER WRITTEN. Not kidding I swear. I’m gonna be FAMOUS. Go buy it now. RUN.

Click here to purchase Demons on Amazon!



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In Which Neil and I Duke it Out Again

Anyone who’s ever edited an anthology knows: there is a method to the madness. Some philosophies differ, but the two most important stories in an anthology are 1.) the opener and 2.) the closer. You want to start strong…and possibly end stronger.

Yes, even in literature, it’s fine if you want to eat dessert first.

Last year, John Skipp released a similar anthology called Werewolves and Shape Shifters: Encounters with the Beasts Within. It was (and still is!) an amazingly diverse anthology, filled with tales ranging from heartbreakingly sweet to positively gory (mine was one of the former). The incredibly impressive table of contents started out with Angela Carter and ended with…ME, closing the book out directly after Neil Gaiman.

It was a move that honored me right down to my toes, and one for which I will always love and cherish John Skipp. (In fact, I gushed about it quite a bit in this essay here.)

So late last year, when Skipp sent around another hush-hush email saying that he was looking for stories for another anthology — one about demons this time — I immediately said yes, as I had promised. And then an even more amazing thing happened: I had an epiphany.

I had been toying around with a story line for quite some time…decades, even…one involving Snow White and a Unicorn Hunter. For only Snow White knows what happened to her in the forest between the time the huntsman left her to die and the time she found the dwarves’ cottage. And really, who *better* to use as a lure for hunting unicorns than the purest, fairest princess in the land? But there was something missing, and I didn’t know what…until I got Skipp’s email. The moment I read the word “demon,” I knew exactly where she got those iron shoes — you know, the ones she made her evil mother dance in at her wedding.

So in four days I sat down and wrote the most amazing story I think I’ve ever written to date. I laughed; I cried; I didn’t want to let it go. It was one of the first three stories accepted into the anthology (I think Adam and Neil were the other two). I was so incredibly excited about it and couldn’t wait to share it with the world…only it was a secret and I couldn’t tell anyone!

Well, it’s not a secret anymore. John Skipp has officially announced the table of contents, and you can officially preorder Demons: Encounters with the Devil and His Minions, Fallen Angels, and the Possessed (nice title, eh?) off of Amazon already. Please notice that this time Neil and I have switched places there at the end, just to mix it up a bit for you.

Oh…I wish October would hurry up and get here. I can’t wait for you to meet my princess!


  1. “Cherub” by Adam-Troy Castro
  2. “The Devil” by Guy De Maupassant
  3. “The Book” by Margaret Irwin
  4. “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs
  5. “The Hound” by H.P. Lovecraft
  6. “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe
  7. “The Devil And Daniel Webster” by Stephen Vincent Benet
  8. “Nellthu” by Anthony Boucher
  9. “The Howling Man” by Charles Beaumont
  10. The Exorcist (excerpt) by William Peter Blatty
  11. “Hell” by Richard Christian Matheson
  12. “Visitation” by David J. Schow
  13. “Best Friends” by Robert R. McCammon
  14. “Into Whose Hands” by Karl Edward Wagner
  15. “Pilgrims To The Cathedral” by Mark Arnold
  16. “The Bespelled” by Kim Harrison
  17. “Non Quis, Sed Quid” by Maggie Stiefvater
  18. “Demon Girl” by Athena Villaverde
  19. “He Waits” by K.H. Koehler
  20. “Happy Hour” by Laura Lee Bahr
  21. “Staying The Night” by Amelia Beamer
  22. “Daisies And Demons” by Mercedes M. Yardley
  23. “And Love Shall Have No Dominion” by Livia Llewellyn
  24. “Mom” by Bentley Little
  25. “20th Level Chaotic Evil Rogue Seeks Whole Wide World To Conquer” by Weston Ochse
  26. “Consuela Hates A Vacuum” by Cody Goodfellow
  27. “Our Blood In Its Blind Circuit” by J. David Osborne
  28. “Empty Church” by James Steele
  29. Angelology (excerpt) by Danielle Trussoni
  30. “The Coda Of Solomon” by Nick Mamatas
  31. “John Skipp The Law Of Resonance” by Zak Jarvis
  32. “Stupid Fucking Reason To Sell Your Soul” by Carlton Mellick III
  33. “Halt And Catch Fire” by Violet LeVoit
  34. “Scars In Progress” by Brian Hodge
  35. “The Unicorn Hunter” by Alethea Kontis
  36. “Other People” by Neil Gaiman
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Genre Chick Interview: Diana Rowland

Happy Release Day  Diana Rowland!

Detective Kara Gillian is both a cop and a conjurer of demons, accidentally conjuring sexy  angelic Rhyzkhal during a routine spell. Now she needs his help to catch a deadly serial killer–The Symbol Man–who’s back in Beaulac, Louisiana on a killing spree after a three-year hiatus. There’s also that handsome-yet-disapproving FBI agent hanging around, messing with both Kara’s heart and her first homicide case.

Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland is a delicious blend of police procedural and urban fantasy. In honor of its release today, I have an interview here with the author herself! We had a lot of fun. (Almost as much fun as John Scalzi had with Diana at last year’s WorldCon. —->)

I also reviewed Mark of the Demon in my most recent column for Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and blew a whole Saturday reading it in one sitting. I miss those days.

If you’re like me at all and yearning for a fun, smart urban fantasy that isn’t cashing in on the whole vampire wave (I am so tired of vampires…and no, Dark-Hunters don’t count) then be sure to pick up Mark of the Demon at your local bookstore today!

Alethea Kontis: How long have you lived in Louisiana?

Diana Rowland: The simple answer is 22 years. However, those 22 years weren’t consecutive.  I was born in Louisiana, and then my family moved to Florida when I was about a year old. Then, when I was in fifth grade, we moved back to Louisiana, and lived there until I went off to college at Georgia Tech. I lived in Atlanta for eight years, then moved back to Louisiana and got married. Lived there for about two years, and then moved to the Mississippi Gulf coast. In 1998 I got divorced and finally moved back to Louisiana, where I think I’ll be staying for a while. You’ll notice that I’ve never lived north of the Mason-Dixon line, so I’m definitely a life-long southerner!

AK: THANK YOU for not writing about vampires. (Which is not really a question, but I’d still love for you to comment on this.)

DR: I really have nothing against vampires, or vampire stories, however I think I have to agree that it’s a topic that’s quickly approaching the point of being done to death. The problem I’m seeing right now is that people who still want to write about vampires are desperate to make their vampires different, and thus will change the mythology in some major way to show that they’re not doing the same old tropes. But if the themes and the stories and the angstiness is still the same, then it doesn’t matter whether your vampires can live off synthetic blood or sparkle in the sunlight or are a benevolent alien race. What I think makes a good vampire story is, as with anything else, the story. Not the physiology of the vampires.

AK: Can we look forward to more Kara Gillian adventures?

DR: Yes, you can! The next book is tentatively titled Blood of the Demon, and is currently scheduled for release in February 2010. I do have more books planned beyond that, but contracts for those will have to wait on the dreaded-yet-important sales numbers for Mark of the Demon.

AK: Given your widely-varied background did you prefer being a cop or working forensics?

DR: I loved being a cop. LOVED it. Don’t get me wrong–there were times when I disliked the job. It had the capacity to be miserable and stressful, or incredibly emotionally painful, but I loved being a part of the brotherhood, and I loved the excitement of the job and the feeling that I was a part of making the world a less chaotic place. That being said, the forensics and crime-scene end of things was fascinating and appealed to my geek nature. However, being a street cop and a detective was more an intrinsic part of my total psyche.

AK: What do you think of CSI and the legion of similar detective/forensic shows?

DR: This is very much a hot-button topic with me and I could probably go on for pages, but I’ll do my best to rein myself in. On the one hand I recognize that these shows are incredibly popular and successful, and they’ve done a great deal to introduce the public to an area of law enforcement and the judicial system that most people had no idea existed. However, the majority of the shows (and CSI is probably the worst offender) are utterly rife with inaccuracies and outright science-fiction that’s being played off as reality. The enormous drawback to this is that the general public has a tendency to take this fictional information as fact, and thus expects that every crime will be investigated by a legion of well-dressed crime scene investigators, who will employ all of the latest and greatest technology, collect oodles of evidence, and get lab results back in days, if not hours.  The sad backlash of this is that crime labs are now horribly swamped because of the public demand for every possible forensic test, and there’s no understanding or patience on the part of the public for the fact that equipment, testing, and personnel cost money (usually tax money), and lab results take months, or sometimes years, to come back.  There’s also an even more disturbing trend for jurors to acquit defendants in the absence of rigorous forensic testing, even if the existing evidence is more than sufficient to prove guilt.

I certainly don’t suggest taking these shows off the air, but I’d love to see the public become more aware of the realities of forensic testing. And, I would urge people to please vote for taxes that fund their local police departments and crime labs.

AK: As a woman, what physical activity/class do you recommend I should do/take to best protect myself?

DR: Personally, I think that every woman should take martial arts. I don’t think it matters what style you take, but you should take it for long enough that you earn your black belt or equivalent. It’s really not so much about knowing how to fight and “kick ass” as it is about having the self-confidence and self-esteem to be willing to either face a bad situation, or remove yourself from it.

That being said, I have a personal bias toward “realistic” fighting styles such as Hapkido (in which I hold a black belt), jiu-jitsu, or kenpo–well-rounded arts that focus on grappling, joint locks, and throws as well as punches and kicks.

AK: Do you have any relatives with supernatural powers?

DR: My sister can organize ANYTHING. Seriously. She needs to run the world.

AK: Who/What brand makes the best sweet tea?

DR: Hank Reinhardt, the late husband of Toni Weisskopf and former owner of Museum Replicas, made the BEST sweet tea EVAH.  I’m not sure what brand he used (though I believe it was plain ole Lipton), but he would boil a big pot of water with six or seven tea bags in it, and then add the sugar while it was still boiling hot. Then he’d pour it into the pitcher and add ice. But the thing that made his tea utterly awesome was the fact that he didn’t use lemon. Instead, he had a small fruit strainer, and he would strain half a lime into his glass of tea.

It was bliss. I’ve tried to recreate it many times, and have never quite managed it.

AK: As if Hank could go up any higher in my estimation that man was truly a superhero. Which begs the question: if you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

DR: I want the ability to FLY! And telekinesis. And maybe throw arcane fireballs. That would totally ROCK.  As to why? Umm, well, because it would totally ROCK!

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