Small Business Saturday 2012

Hello, lovely friends!

It’s that time of year again — SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY. That day in which you can put your money where your mouth is and support those small, local folks who are busting their rump to make a living against the Giant Chain Stores that sponsor Black Friday.

I started my Saturday early yesterday, and shopped at some lovely independent stores here in Newport News. I encourage you to do the same today.

What’s that? You’re still stuffed from Turkey and can’t move? You’re too tired from standing in line at Best Buy all night?

Well, then, you’re in luck. Here are some links to a few FABULOUS folks online whose items would make GREAT presents for those hard-to-buy-for members of your family.


Dixie Dunbar Studio — fine, handcrafted, original jewelry designed by my one-and-only fantastic little sister, Soteria Kontis. Don’t see something in your price/taste range? Give her a call at (843) 722-0006 and tell her what you’re in the market for. She’ll make something to suit your needs.

J.K. Lee Art & Sundries — Every year, Janet uploads a new line of limited edition Christmas ornaments in addition to her art prints and giclees. Have you seen this year’s yet? I’m a big fan of Sneaky Santa and the Art Nouveau set!

Water Closet Soap — Handmade soaps by local Loudoun County mom (and avid book reader) Kristen Kane. (You may remember Kristin as mother of the Infamous Lorelei.) Kristin is on vacation until November 27th, but do sign up for the email notification of her return. You won’t want to miss these really fun and fragrant designs.

One More Page Books — This super independent bookstore in Alexandria, VA has graciously offered to order in your favorite books by Alethea Kontis so that I can personalize and sign them just for you! Give them a call at 703-300-9746 or to place your order.

Carol Berning Fine Art — This year’s 2012 Happy Holidays CD was illustrated by Murfreesboro, TN artist (and all-around wonderful person) Carol Berning. You can order prints–and even greeting cards–of some of her most popular works from her website. If you love Winking Santa, you can own him today!


Do you have any favorite online small businesses? I encourage you to post their links below.

Thank you — and Happy Holidays to you all! xox


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Mission: Accomplished (for now)

If you patronize a small business, know someone who owns one, or own one yourself, you were also in a tizzy a few days ago scrambling for votes on the website.

in a nutshell, Chase and Living Social are giving away $3 million in the form of 12 $250,000 grants for small businesses. I found the link through Pat Rothfuss and immediately passed it on to my sister, who has been struggling to keep her beautiful jewelry shop, Dixie Dunbar Studio, alive since Charleston spruced up King Street and the economy immediately went to the dogs.

Soteria had to fill out an extensive application that included an essay portion (no, I did not help her with it aside from toss a few ideas her way–she’s a fabulous writer all on her own). In addition, as part of the application process, businesses had to acquire 250 votes on the Mission: Small Business website.

I bugged you all for two days solid, and I won’t apologize. I would do anything for my little sister, including pester the crap out of your for 48 hours. And you know what? IT WORKED.


During this process, Soteria decided that her friends & fans needed some incentive to click a button, so she announced that if she got to 250, she would be posting a video of herself singing Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.” and posting it on Facebook for the world to see.

As the day went along she got two back-up singers (one is her fabulous husband, who just passed his Nursing Boards) and she started planning set design, costumes, and choreography.

I know you guys are all wondering when you will be able to feast your eyes on my awesome rendition of “Baby Got Back”. Just an update, one of my backup dancers is out of town till the 8th, which gives me time to relearn all the words and try to come up with costumes/set design. Then we must recruit people to help film/edit the video, and then it’s all yours. I promise you won’t have to wait long for “Miss Stir-A-Bit” to rock your world. –Soteria

What…you thought she was just going to set up her webcam and karaoke for a bit?? Silly, you. SHE IS A KONTIS SISTER. If we raise the bar for anyone, it is ourselves. (And then each other.)

I will be posting/embedding the video the moment Miss Stir-a-Bit goes live — so if you don’t catch it on the Dixie Dunbar FB Fan Page, you will catch it here. I don’t know about you, but I CAN’T WAIT.

It will be worth it, though. YOU are worth it. You deserve all the smiles in the world for helping accomplish this, and once again, we thank you.

Now that the votes are literally in, the thousands of applications are reviewed by a panel including:

  • Steve Case, entrepreneur and founder of AOL
  • Candace Nelson, founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes
  • Jason Calacanis, co-founder of Weblogs, Inc.
  • David Chavern, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Richard Quigley, president, Business Card, Chase
  • Tim O’Shaughnessy, CEO and co-founder of LivingSocial

We will keep you posted on that as well.

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The “Sunday” Necklace

Launching the Dixie Dunbar Studio Fairy Tale line of jewelry is the “Sunday” necklace, inspired by the novel Enchanted.

The necklace is made of simple chain, as befits a Woodcutter’s daughter, but the asymmetrical design is pure elegance.

Like Sunday Woodcutter’s magical dress of silver and gold the third night of the prince’s ball, the Sunday necklace is comprised of silver- and gold-brass chains that sweep around the neck and culminate in a graceful central waterfall.

The Sunday necklace is affordably priced at only $90~

Click here to order your today!

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May ENCHANTED Goodreads Giveaway!

It’s the time you’ve all been waiting for the May ENCHANTED Giveaway is here!

Alethea gave away one signed ARC of her YA debut fairy tale novel ENCHANTED in January, February, March, and April.

Now it’s May–official book release time!

Alethea and Soteria (Sister power!) will be giving away a signed finished copy of the lovely ENCHANTED, along with THIS SIGNATURE BRACELET from Soteria’s Fairy Tale jewelry line, which will simultaneously be launched at Dixie Dunbar Studio on May 26th. (

Come one, come all — the more the merrier! Most importantly, keep reading and sharing the magic!


If you’re interested in seeing this bracelet in person, I will be wearing one just like it on tour this summer. Stop by and I will model for you!


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis


by Alethea Kontis

Giveaway ends May 31, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


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April ENCHANTED Goodreads Giveaway!

enchantedDon’t forget, it’s time for for Round Four! The April ENCHANTED ARC Giveaway is here!

Alethea will be giving away one signed ARC of her YA debut fairy tale novel ENCHANTED a month, until the May 26th launch of the book. That’s one for January, February, March, and April–a total of four ARCs.

In May, Alethea will be giving away a signed finished copy of ENCHANTED, along with A SIGNATURE NECKLACE from her sister Soteria’s Fairy Tale jewelry line, which will simultaneously be launched at Dixie Dunbar Studio on May 26th.

Come one, come all — the more the merrier! Enter to win one copy of ENCHANTED, or enter to win them all! Most importantly, keep reading and sharing the magic!

(Don’t forget, you can also enter to win a necklace by donating a buck or two to Princess Alethea’s Summer Book Tour Gas Fund! So far, your chances there are probably better…)


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis


by Alethea Kontis

Giveaway ends April 28, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


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Raffle Necklace Stats

This gorgeous necklace Soteria and I are raffling off contains faceted chunks of light and dark Amethyst with sterling baby chains, complete with sterling clasp and extendable chain.

Measures from 16 1/2-19 inches on your neck (more chain can be added if necessary).

Want to win it? Click here and Chip In a couple of bucks!

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Win This Necklace!

[Edited again to add: Now that Paypal is fixed, Chip In seems to be broken, and the widget with the button for donating money has vanished.

You can always contribute to the fund straight to me through PayPal. My address is my email: akontis at gmail dot com.

You may also try the alternate Chip In page I have just set up here.]


Yesterday morning, on the way home from the gym, my sister called to tell me she had emailed me the picture of the necklace she will be donating on behalf of Dixie Dunbar’s Studio for the “Chip In for Gas on Alethea’s Summer Book Tour” raffle.

By the time I got home to check my mail there was another email, informing me that Paypal had “temporarily restricted” my account pending a series of verifications, password changes, and proofs of ID.

I’ve heard horror stories about this sort of thing in the past. I won’t lie: I was worried. I asked that no one contribute any more to the fund for the time being, and told Soteria that I would postpone posting the picture of the necklace until the issue was resolved.

Happily, late yesterday afternoon, the issue was resolved. We will speak no more of this.

We will, however, speak of this absolutely gorgeous necklace.

You can win this fabulous, unique, one-of-a-kind, handcrafted, purple necklace for as little as $1. That’s right, any amount, no matter how small, will get you entered to win this fantastic piece of artwork.

All you have to do is pop on by and Chip In a buck or two for gas money for my book tour through the Southern US this summer. That’s it! It’s just that easy!

Again, I thank you all so much in advance for whatever you are able to contribute. Believe me–right now I am possibly more aware than I ever have been before of just how much every little bit helps.


[Edited to add: If the winner of this raffle is a gentleman who would prefer a necklace for himself instead of a wife/girlfriend/etc, Soteria is willing to swap out this item for a man’s necklace. No other substitutions or exchanges are applicable.]

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Chip In for Gas!

I love this day and age when you can wish for something AND IT ALREADY EXISTS.

Why, just the other day, I was wishing there was a place like Kickstarter where I could set up a page and ask my friends if they’d like to help chip in for gas money on my Book Tour this summer.

Not half an hour later, I had my very own CHIP IN page, and $110 already in my gas fund. (THANK YOU, MY DEAREST FRIENDS!)

I estimate that gas will be about $500 for the trip. If this fund goes over $500, I will use the money to buy EVEN MORE SWAG to give away at my booksignings.

Soteria has also sweetened the pot this morning — anyone who Chips In a bit of cash — even if it’s only a couple of bucks — will be entered to win an original necklace from Dixie Dunbar Studio.

So what are you waiting for? Throw a few bucks in the tip jar. And I’LL SEE YOU THIS SUMMER!!


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Happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope all of my sweetheart friends are having a lovely day today! Did you receive a treat from someone you loved today? Have you treated yourself? Well…for goodness sakes, why not?

Stop over at Dixie Dunbar Studio right now and get yourself something special. For one week only the rest of the month (thank you, Soteria!), use coupon code XOXO to receive 20% off your purchase!

And if you happen to be in Charleston, SC this week, do stop by 192 King Street on Thursday night for a glass of wine to celebrate Soteria and Anne’s post-Valentine’s Day bash!

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She’s a Winner!

Congrats to my lovely friend Susan Scofield, who won the Dixie Dunbar Studio drawing on Small Business Saturday. She now is the proud owner of a fabulous pair of earrings AND her very own advance reading copy of ENCHANTED!

Want a pair of Dixie Dunbar original earrings for yourself? Click over to the online store, or give Soteria a call at (843) 722-0006.

And pre-order your very own copy of Enchanted here!

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