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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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Blast from Dragon*Con Past

My friend Marisol recently sent me a few pictures she had taken at Dragon*Con last year, including this one of me right before the Hour with Sherrilyn Kenyon panel, showing off my lovely new green corset and the gorgeous cover to my new novel.

I’ve been going to Dragon*Con since 1996. THIS YEAR, 2012, is the first year I will be attending AS A PUBLISHED NOVELIST.

I honestly can’t tell you what this means to me. I am SO EXCITED about this year.

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Dragon*Con 2012 Limited Edition Swag

A bunch of us are over on Twitter (@aletheakontis) chatting about free books, swag, and the downsides of being generous.

But don’t concentrate on the bad…let’s think about the good stuff!

Like always, I will have lots of free swag to give away at Dragon*Con. There will be the 48 bags of freebies for Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow, as usual, and there will be a new Anthology Builder pin designed by Anthology Builder’s own Nancy Fulda!

This is the third limited edition pin, for those playing along at home…be sure to find me during Dragon*Con to get one!

And if you don’t have my AB collection of short stories, Magic & Monsters, now’s the time to pick it up!

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Alethea’s 2012 Dragon*Con Schedule

Hello, everybody!

It’s that time again — Dragon*Con 2012 is almost upon us! (I know because I’m already haveing anxiety dreams about packing.)

Here’s my programming schedule for the convention. Two things to note:

1.) When I am not programming (or shopping), I will be with Janet K. Lee at her table in Artists’s Alley. We will have lots of books and swag and Wonderland Alphabet prints and other goodies. Please come visit!

2.) Once again, my reading hour will be Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow! Readings, singing, dancing, Zombie Haiku…and free goodie bags for the first 48 people who show up. So, tell your friends…but make sure you get there first!!

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Title: Interview with Sherrilyn Kenyon
Description: Q&A with the bestselling author of the Dark-Hunter series.
Time: Fri 01:00 pm Location: Regency VI – VII – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
Moderator / MC for panel

——————-
Title: Frightening Folklore
Description: A look at the ways folklore is used in dark fantasy fiction
Time: Fri 05:30 pm Location: Embassy C – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)

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Title: Dragon*Con Parade
Time: Sat 10:00 am

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Title: Autograph Session
Time: Sat 05:30 pm Location: M301 – M304 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)

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Title: YA and Middle Grade Fiction
Description: How to break into one of the hottest markets out there.
Time: Sat 07:00 pm Location: Embassy D-F – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)

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Title: Reading:Alethea Kontis (a.k.a. PRINCESS ALETHEA’S TRAVELING SIDESHOW!)
Time: Sun 02:30 pm Location: Edgewood – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)

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Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow Video!

Many many MANY thanks to Jean-Marie Ward (jmward14 on YouTube), who filmed and edited this video of Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow at Dragon*Con this year!

There was unfortunately no video of my reading, but you get to see my intro, Leanna Renee Hieber’s FANTASTIC reading, Gray Rinehart’s HILARIOUS song, and Danielle Friedman’s MESMERIZING dance performance. (You guys get enough of me as it is, right?)

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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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She’s Back, Baby!

That’s right — I’m back from Dragon*Con, the Internet is back up, and now my website is cooperating so I can post again!

Of course, I still have that pesky bookstore day job (and Fairy Goddaughter the Elder’s Birthday) so you won’t get all the info at once…but you’re okay with that, and I thank you for your patience.

Here’s a seriously great interview that K. Tempest Bradford did with Leanna Renee Hieber and me the Saturday of Dragon*Con between the Yule Ball and the Time Travelers Ball (that’s right–we were ball-hopping). In it, Leanna and I chat (in more of a conversation-chat than a Q&A presentation, which is lovely) about the wonders and difficulties of being SF fans and pros at the same time. I also make a secret announcement about an as-yet-unannouced project I am very squeeish about. You can check it out here.

Not only Dragon*Con happened over the weekend — on Friday, the only other Books-a-Million in the area announced its closing–on top of the Borders closing–so over the holidays our tiny little store is going to be the only game in town.It’s not even Halloween. Yes, I am scared. But only so many customers can fit in our store at a time, so I’m not *that* scared…

But I may need to start looking for another job. Like, yesterday.

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Dragon*Con Report Delayed

The Internet is down, again, just like it was when we moved in. Every time this happens, it’s a fiasco with Verizon. I think the last time they had to send out a total of eight trucks. I know because I wrote everyone’s name down.

Verizon also hiked our bill up almost $100 because we cancelled the free trial channels they gave us. Yes, you read that right. I’m still not sure what that’s all about…but I know it’s a pain in the butt.

I also know that if Verizon doesn’t straighten out ASAP and fix both the billing and the Internet, we’re going to switch to Comcast, no matter how crappy it is compared to FIOS.

Because one thing I love less than swollen ankles is a mad Fairy GodBoyfriend, and he’s been on the phone for three hours now. *sigh*

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