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Princess Adventures: DragonCon 2018

A new episode in The Princess Adventures has been posted — READ IT HERE.

“Dragon Con 2018. Sunday. The day I didn’t win yet another award…”

So much happened on the Sunday of Dragon Con that I had to break it into two parts. This is Part One: The Dragon Awards.

By the time I’ve finished chronicling this year’s Dragon Con, I will have written around 10,000 words. But you know what? I’M GLAD. I’m glad because I am able to process and chronicle this year’s amazing convention and all the magical things that happened to me. Magical things happen every year, but until now I have never had the time (or made the time) to tackle this assignment and see it all the way to the end.

I always give myself some sort of ridiculous arbitrary time limit, but my Dragon Con Report was never going to be done the week after Dragon–I should have never expected it to be. Nor should I put such pressure on myself in the future. Because now that it’s almost done, I feel…whole again. Well, almost whole.

There are still all those storm chasing diary entries and photos…

I’ve released these Princess Adventures to all my Patrons at the $1 Level and up. I do this because it is my main source of income. Funding these adventures has to come from somewhere!

THANK YOU, PATRONS!

xox

Princess Alethea

DragonCon 2018 Sunday Part One

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The Thing About Adventures

DragonCon 2018 PrincessSo here’s the thing about adventures: They are super fun to have. They can also be incredibly difficult to keep up with when you want to write about them.

In preparation for being firmly ensconced in the Northeastern US for the next few weeks, I created a pretty intense “post-DragonCon” to-do list. Yes, I would love to jump right into a new writing project and forget everything else, but everything else includes titles that moved from Createspace to KDP while I was out, NPR reviews that need to be turned in, about half a dozen non-fiction essays and proposals, and a manuscript decent enough to send to Jane and Heidi for Picture Book Boot Camp Part Deux in November.

In addition to all this important stuff, I have: 1.) Storm Chasing Essays, 2.) DragonCon Essays, and 3.) Fall Adventures up North.

See, the adventures don’t stop happening just because I don’t have time to write them all down. I just feels progressively more and more guilty about moving on with my life, while always promising to go back and catch up.

I’ve been telling everyone I’ve seen since May: Storm Chasing really affected me, deep down, in ways I’m still realizing. I came home mentally and physically exhausted, and I did a lot of soul searching. Some of this resulted in pretty life-changing decisions…or, at least, decisions that I hope will ultimately change my life for the better.  (My close friends seem to have utter faith that it will.)

In the meantime, I have my emerald green notebook right here, ready to transcribe all my diary entries, with the proper insight.

However, between then and now, DragonCon 2018 happened. In so many ways–even though it feels like I always say this–it was the best DragonCon ever. Those adventures are still fresh in my mind, broken down by each day of the Con.

The best part is, I’ve had time to process all those, too. In the last couple of years, I’ve had to shift gears so fast after DragonCon that I wasn’t even able to write them in a journal, and some of those beautiful memories were forgotten. In 2016, I was asked to be a last-minute staff addition to a writing cruise (which came with its own family drama) and in 2017 I drove home to Irma.

Now, I will never forget the fantastic time Jane Yolen and I had tromping around wearing crowns and finishing each other’s poetry, or the ten minutes I had one-on-one with Megan Follows, and I will never forget the magical performance that was “The Little Mermaid” Fairy Tale Rant Theatre (thank Jove we got that on camera!), but I know that other precious moments slipped through the cracks.

This year–this phenomenal year of adventures, I don’t want to forget anything. And yet…

Since DragonCon I’ve flown up North and had more amazing times, discovering the Fairyland that is the Colorscape Arts Festival, working in a patisserie full of very expensive (but incredibly delicious) napoleons, and hanging out with the Adam Ezra Group again, since our paths continue to cross like the strands of Pippi Longstocking’s braids.

This is why, when every five minutes someone was shouting across DragonCon that they stalked me on social media, I breathed a sigh of relief. Whether I had time to write it up in beautiful prose or not, these folks had been there for my adventures.

But now that I do have time…where do I begin?

Every so often I’ll flip through a notebook and come across a journal-type entry, in varying degrees of doneness, chronicling one adventure or another. When I have time (ha!) I put those in the Archive folder for my Exclusive Patrons. And I thank Past Alethea for her diligence,encapsulating that memory in whatever scribbles she was able.

But we have to start somewhere, don’t we?

I think perhaps I will start with DragonCon Day One: Thursday. The night of the Stygian Launch Party and Adam Ezra Concert…and super celebrity guest cameo that shocked the heck out of all of us.

I’ll be posting these adventures for Patrons Only–all accessible for only $1. Those dollars help me attend Picture Book Boot Camp, pay for the gas to get there and the hotel stays on either side. They help me get Sarah to DragonCon and buy swag for the Sideshow and get a dedicated camera, so that we will ALWAYS have recordings of Fairy Tale Rant Theatre. And sometimes, they just help me buy a coffee, or a really expensive pastry, when I’m in the perfect place to do so.

Thank you, my friends, for tagging along with me on my adventures. (Because it’s not technically “stalking” when I actually enjoy having you around!)

I treasure you all more than you will ever know.

xox

~Alethea

 

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Sideshow T-Shirt Quick Links

Support the efforts of Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow by obtaining this year’s commemorative original tee!  http://amzn.to/2bkBDdf and w/black lettering: http://amzn.to/2bjUG4v ⭐️

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Alethea’s 2016 DragonCon Schedule

Leanna & Lee, from many DragonCons PastHere it is, folks! Technically, it’s still tentative, so be sure to double check these on the app and in the program booklet.

Convention Dates are Fri(9/2/16), Sat(9/3/16), Sun(9/4/16), and Mon(9/5/16).

I will be arriving on Wednesday with Bianca Roman-Stumpff so that I can help her set up in Pop Art Alley on Thursday. Bianca has kindly offered to squirrel some of my books away behind her table–so if I’m not on a panel and Pop Art Alley is open, that’s where I’ll be! Come find us!

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Title: The Online YA Community
Description: From Twitter, to YouTube (booktube!), Reddit, podcasting, Goodreads, PATREON – the online YA community is vibrant.
Time: Fri 10:00 am Location: A707 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Lindsay Cummings, S. Usher Evans, Alethea Kontis)

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Traveling Side ShowTitle: Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow
Description: Join this motley band of talented (and costumed) authors for an entertaining hour of rants, rap battles, zombie haiku, musical numbers, and more. Swag for the first 40 audience members!
Time: Fri 07:00 pm Location: A707 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel
(Tentative Panelists: Alethea Kontis, Leanna Renee Hieber, E.C. Myers, Gray Rinehart, Mari Mancusi, special musical guest S.J. Tucker)

Stay after the show for an autographing and meet & greet!

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SATURDAY 10:00AM — PARADE
Alethea and costumed members of her Brute Squad will be walking in the YA section this year — look for Alethea’s patchwork skirt and her trademark Blue Alphabet Umbrella!

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Title: Short Fiction for Fun (and Profit?)
Description: Short stories: equal parts art, science, and kung-fu. How does writing a short story differ from writing a novel? Should every author write short fiction?
Time: Sat 01:00 pm Location: Embassy EF – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Jody Lynn Nye, Delilah S. Dawson, Mercedes Lackey, Patricia Briggs, Alethea Kontis)

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Title: Reading: Alethea Kontis
Time: Sat 02:30 pm Location: Edgewood – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Alethea Kontis)

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Title: Origins: Gods and Monsters in Myth & Folklore
Description: Many of the supernatural beings and magical creatures appearing in Urban Fantasy have their roots in myth and folklore. Our panelists discuss those they feel most influenced by and others they have discovered in their research.
Time: Sat 04:00 pm Location: Chastain DE – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Alethea Kontis, Kevin Hearne, James R. Tuck, Samantha Sommersby, Valerie Hampton, Kathryn Hinds)

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Title: Novelizing the Media
Description: Media tie-ins are very popular. Our panelists discuss how this works and their participation in a new superhero anthology.
Time: Sun 11:30 am Location: Embassy AB – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Delilah S. Dawson, Clay and Susan Griffith, Alethea Kontis, Steve Saffel)

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Vote for TFQ!Title: Autograph Session:
Time: Sun 02:30 pm Location: International Hall South – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Alethea Kontis)

NOTE: This autograph session will be held at the same time as The Dragon Awards, for which Trix and the Faerie Queen has been nominated for Best MG/YA Novel. (haven’t voted yet? Go to http://awards.dragoncon.org/ and register right now! No membership needed)

This is the only event on my schedule that MAY change, so keep an eye on my Twitter Feed for any last-minute changes. If you miss me, come see me at Bianca’s table in Pop Art Alley!

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My DragonCon 2015 Schedule

Princess Alethea -- DragonCon 2011The con is still two weeks out, so this is subject to change, but here’s what I’ve got right now. Also, not 100% sure I’m walking in the parade yet. Will update everyone when I know for sure.

[Edit: YES I WILL BE WALKING IN THE PARADE. 10am Saturday — look for me with the Dark-Hunters! Xox]

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Title: Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow
Description: Readings, music, & more from a motley band of costumed authors, plus swag!
Time: Fri 07:00 pm Location: A707 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel
(Tentative Panelists: Alethea Kontis, Leanna Renee Hieber, Gray Rinehart, Lisa Mantchev, Delilah S. Dawson, Zac Brewer, D.B. Jackson)

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Title: Reading: Alethea Kontis
Time: Sat 01:00 pm Location: Marietta – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Alethea Kontis)

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Title: Autograph Session
Time: Sat 02:30 pm Location: International Hall South – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Alethea Kontis, Sherrilyn Kenyon)

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Title: The Source: Folklore & Mythology in UF
Description: Urban fantasy is rooted in age-old myth, legend, and folklore. Authors discuss influences.
Time: Sun 01:00 pm Location: Chastain ED – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Alethea Kontis, Leanna Renee Hieber, Jean Marie Ward, Jonathan Maberry, Valerie Hampton, Samantha Sommersby)

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Title: An Hour with Sherrilyn Kenyon
Description: The bestselling author of Darkhunter and Chronicles of Nick series answers your questions.
Time: Sun 04:00 pm Location: Augusta Ballroom – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Sherrilyn Kenyon, Alethea Kontis)

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Princess Alethea’s 7 Dragon Con Survival Tips

My Family Reunion has a logo. Does yours?There are many Rules of DragonCon that those of us who are perennials have adopted over the years. Most of them revolve around elevators (You have to go down to go up. Always make room for the handicapped. Always follow a Ghostbuster) or walkways (Don’t take photos in the walkways. Avoid the habitrails on Saturday night). But more of these have been silently adopted simply for our personal survival.

Here are my top seven (with bonus Pro Tips) – please feel free to add more in the comments!

1.) Plan out your wardrobe, including day-to-day costume/outfit changes. This is a hard-core necessity for the heavy cosplayer, but I highly recommend it even if your choices include what geeky t-shirt to wear on what day. Parade outfits become gross and are typically one-use only. If you’re planning to wear a corset most of the time, also plan a down-time outfit so that you can at least eat or drink one meal comfortably at the end of the day. (The same goes for your shoes!) This plan helps when you’re packing, sure, but in the chaos of the con, something as simple as knowing what you’re going be wearing on each day is a HUGE help.

2.) STAY HYDRATED. You will hear this a lot during the con, because it never stops being true. If you can, buy a flat of water for your room. Carry a bottle with you at all times, and when you finish it, REFILL IT. There are giant water dispensers outside most of the panel rooms, and there are always water fountains outside the bathrooms.

Parade (Dark-Hunters) 2014Pro Tip: Play the Dragon Con Drinking Game. When someone you’re with asks you if you need anything, have them get you some water. If you already have water, TAKE A DRINK (of water, guys, come on). Your friends will notice that you are fading before you do.

3.) Eat something. It’s up to you to know your personal food tolerances. It’s fine if you want to let go and eat overpriced heatlamp stuff from hotel food carts all weekend – at the very least, take a multivitamin every day, willya? My three big trouble areas are 1.) I’m always on the go 2.) I’m usually wearing a corset and 3.) I’m prone to migraines.

My saving graces are protein bars (no less than 10g protein per bar). I pack a variety—especially the Kind bars w/protein. I’m usually so busy I don’t take more than a few bites. But every time someone I’m with asks me if I need anything (See: “Dragon Con Drinking Game”, above), I take a couple of bites (and a swig of water). This way my blood sugar stays up without crashing, and I stay comfortable in my corset. (For about 12 hours anyway.)

Pro Tip: Keep some sort of food on your person at all times – if not for you, then maybe for the person beside you about to go into diabetic shock. I literally had this happen in front of me a couple years ago, and it scared me to death. NEVER AGAIN.

4.) Shower at night. I always take my shower before I go to bed, even if it’s 4am. It can be a struggle, but the mental decompression is SO worth it (as is waking up clean and ready for that next costume and makeup). I also make sure to have a variety of herbal teas on hand in my room (with honey, for when the voice starts to go) to help me calm down and get to sleep.

If you’re like me, you burn like a firework for four days straight – taking a sleeping pill in the middle of all that would absolutely throw me off. Late showers, herbal teas, and aromatherapy are some nice natural ways to come down off that high long enough to catch a few healthy zzzzzs.

No one remembers the Anarchy Cheerleader...5.) Diaper rash cream is your friend. There it is, my dark and dirty secret! Look, folks, Atlanta is HOT in September. You will sweat in places you have never sweat before (especially if you walk in the parade). You will chafe. You may experience heat rash. Happily, there’s help for that! Put some diaper rash cream over your problem areas after you take that shower. Reapply before putting on your costume for the day. YOU WILL THANK ME.

Pro Tip: If you have sensitive skin, check the ingredients on a variety of diaper rash creams. I am allergic to aloe, so I can not use Desitin…but I can use the high powered generic Wal-Mart brand, which is mostly just zinc.

6.) Icy Hot/Tiger Balm is your friend. Feels great on sore muscles and sore feet. (Just don’t put this on directly after that shower unless you really want to feel the burn.) An ace bandage or two is also handy to have, to secure cold towels or ice packs to sore feet. Which reminds me:

7.) Bring a First Aid kit. Include the basics: Headache medicine, multivitamins, Benadryl, band-aids. An ace bandage or two can be a great help. A safety pin can be a life saver. In fact, throw the whole mini-sewing kit in there. And a few temporary tattoos. Because when that giant mysterious bruise of unknown origin appears before your panel with Stan Lee, a temporary tattoo makes a GREAT coverup. If you have roommates, earplugs and an eyemask can also be lifesavers. As will a travel bottle of Febreeze.

There are a bunch of smaller ones that, again, come down to personal preference – bringing bath towels and bath soaps from home, buying all your liquor before you get there, what types of insoles to put in your shoes and even how (and how long) to wear wigs and “travel hair.”

Your turn. What else can I add to this list?

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Alethea Kontis is the author of the AlphaOops picture books, Sherirlyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter Companion, and the award-winning Books of Arilland fairytale series. She is the host of the all-star Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow every year at DragonCon. 

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My 2014 Dragon Con Schedule

2014 DragonCon App CodeHey there, everybody! Are you ready for Dragon Con 2014?

Here’s my schedule for the weekend (be sure to download the DC App — here’s the QR code for you!). You may notice my distinct lack of autographing times here…but DO NOT WORRY.

Sherrilyn Kenyon also does not have any officially scheduled autographings — that’s because we will both be signing books at her booth in the Exhibitor Hall at various times throughout the weekend. I will also be signing books at the TAIREN’S LAIR booth, and I hope to also have books with me at the SON OF NO ONE book launch on Thursday night.

I will absolutely be signing books all through Dragon Con! The best way to keep up with me–as always–is to follow me on Twitter: @aletheakontis

Hope to see you there! We’re going to have a blast! xox

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Title: Sherrilyn Kenyon’s SON OF NO ONE Book Launch Party
Description: Join fellow Dark-Hunter fans in celebration of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s new book, SON OF NO ONE — (music provided by DJ)
Time: Thurs 08:30pm Location: Sheraton Grand Ballroom A-F (Length: 3 hours…at least)
Moderator / MC for party

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Title: Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow
Description: A motley band of talented (and costumed) authors offers an entertaining hour of readings, musical numbers, and more.
Time: Fri 08:30 pm Location: A707 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel
(Tentative Panelists: Alethea Kontis, Leanna Renee Hieber, Gray Rinehart, E. C. Myers, Delilah S. Dawson, Mari Mancusi, Diana Peterfreund)

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Title: Folklore & Mythology in UF
Description: Our panel of authors discusses how they employ folklore and/or mythology in their work.
Time: Sat 01:00 pm Location: Chastain ED – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Leanna Renee Hieber, Alethea Kontis, Samantha Sommersby, Jeanne C. Stein, Faith Hunter, Suzanne Church)

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Title: Reading: Alethea Kontis
Time: Sat 02:30 pm Location: Edgewood – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Alethea Kontis)

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Title: An Hour with Sherrilyn Kenyon
Description: Audience Q&A with the bestselling author of the Dark Hunter, Chronicles of Nick, The League, and Belador series
Time: Sun 01:00 pm Location: Augusta Ballroom – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Sherrilyn Kenyon, Alethea Kontis)

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Title: Packing a Powerful Punch: YA Urban Fantasy
Description: Authors discuss why Young Adult Urban Fantasy can have just as much visceral and emotional impact as that written for adults.
Time: Sun 02:30 pm Location: Chastain ED – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Delilah S. Dawson, A. J. Hartley, Mari Mancusi, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Alethea Kontis, Diana Peterfreund)

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Because Mom Might Not Have Seen This

…here’s the story of my awesome Dragon Con & how I hurt my thumb, with pictures!

http://waterworldmermaids.com/2013/09/with-one-hand-tied-behind-my-back/

Now, back to writing. New Chapter to you SOON.

Also…got the first box of HERO in. It’s gorgeous! And the endpapers are GREEN!

Only guess what they forgot to include in the first printing?

xox

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Dragon*Con 2012 Pics

UPDATED: I have stolen the Fairy Godboyfriend’s photos, and Bryonna’s, Samantha’s, Kat’s…and everyone else’s as well. Thank you!

Here is the complete Dragon*Con photo journal. Just click the photo to get to the album.

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Missing Maggie Mae

On Saturday night, Dark-Hunter posse member Maggie Mae Short was watching fireworks. She posted about it on Facebook. Apparently, her town had a bunch left over from the 4th of July, so they were setting them off in honor of some local event. She looked out her window, was surprised by a professional light show in rainbow colors, and shared that magical moment with us.

This morning I woke to find friends posting that Maggie Mae was gone.

I hope to be able to say a little something about this before the Hour With Sherrilyn Kenyon at Dragon*Con next Friday, but we don’t always have that lovely block of time beforehand in which I can put on an impromptu Princess Alethea Preshow, so I wanted to make sure I said this here.

It is still strange to me when one of my friends passes away, but it is no longer strange for me to mourn someone I barely (or never) knew in person, but with whom I conversed online almost daily.

Being a writer is odd, in that you constantly wobble back and forth over the line from infamy to obscurity (until you’re someone like Sherri or J.K. Rowling). I decided back when my friend Andre Norton passed away that I would always strive to make as many friends as possible, even if that meant crying like my heart was broken every time one left. It was worth it. It’s always worth it. That was the origin of that thing I always say: Strangers are just best friends I haven’t met yet.

Nobody says that authors and fans can’t be friends. I’m a person. You’re a person. We met because we like the same things. Seriously–I still go to Sherrilyn Kenyon book signings because they are like three-hour cocktail parties during which I meet the most fun people. I keep in touch with those people. They make me laugh with the things they say, and they stop by to leave a hug when I’m feeling down. When I feel passionate about something, they’re part of the conversation. We hang out together at conventions. Sometimes we even play Words With Friends at 2am.

Some of the Dark-Hunter fans are closer to me than members of my own family. They cheer me on and inspire me from every corner of this globe. Some are new (Britany) and some are old (Lisa). Some I met simply because they recognized me and screamed “Oh my god, I love you!” in a crowded food court full of people (Sammi). Some I met because they simply showed up, with their red hair and lovely accents (Bernadette). Some I got to know because we just kept meeting at Dark-Hunter signings from the beginning of time (Marie, Kat, Dee, Afifa, Penny, Judy, Eddie…the list goes on). We make the effort to stay in touch.

Sometimes, that’s all friendship is.

I can’t tell you how many people in my life have said to me, “Remember me when you’re famous!” and then never spoken to me again. I do remember those people. I have nightmares about them. We were closer than sisters and we don’t talk anymore. I send emails and texts and get nothing in return. It’s incredibly sad. People will come into your life and leave it because they choose to. There’s nothing you can do about that.

But it makes us treasure the people who DO make the effort even more.

Maggie Mae was always part of my global conversation. She was pleasant and shiny (and a breath of fresh air when some people who post comments have no social skills). I am sad that she will never know what seeing her there all the time meant to me.

I know I’m not great about being on the internet. I try to comment when I can–it’s like the luck of the draw if something comes across my news feed in the ten minutes I sign online to see if there are any old-world synonyms for the word “gnome.” But I would like everyone who posts on my FB wall, and on my blog, and who messages me on Twitter to know that I see you there. I’m listening. I’m smiling, or laughing, or following a link you just sent me. I appreciate the hell out of you,  you mean the world to me, and–above all–I consider you a friend.

It really is just that easy.

I will miss you, Maggie Mae, and I will think of your smiling face the next time my night sky lights up with pretty colors. Thank you for being my friend. xox

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