Princess Alethea On Reviews

I tell people I don’t read reviews. That’s not *totally* true.

It is true that I don’t hunt them down–usually my editor will send me the important ones. I have Google Alerts out for things like “Alethea Kontis” and “AlphaOops” in case someone invokes my name and it’s appropriate for me to share a little love and thanks. Sometimes folks will post reviews on my FB wall, and I feel rude not at least checking them out. They went to all the trouble to read the book, after all.

But I don’t go to Amazon, unless I’m snagging a link for one of my books. That number on the screen there is about as “rank” as old Irish cheese. I worked in the industry; I know how little that number actually means.

I don’t care if I’m #13 bestseller in Young Adult—>Fairy Tales—>Enchanted Frogs. In the grand scheme of thing, it doesn’t make a hill of beans. To me, anyway.

And come on, guys. I write reviews. I know how incredibly subjective they are. I never dissuade someone from reading a book just because it wasn’t my cup of tea.

Perhaps my bar is just set a lot higher. My milestones are farther out. Oh, I still have my little wishes: to get a starred review (done), to be in an Ellen Datlow anthology (not yet), to win an award of some kind (not yet), and things like that.

Not looking for reviews does have a downside, like when I finally scrolled down on Amazon and noticed the woman that had posted a review saying how AlphaOops was pretty much responsible for getting her reluctant son to read. I was so honored I cried that day.

But I don’t avoid reviews like I’m in an anonymous program or something. I’ll read it. If it’s horrible, I’ll just make sure they spelled my name and the title correctly. (That, and the correct ISBN, are actually the most important parts of a review. Did you know that?

Right now, what’s making me so excited is all the people who are posting about how much they can’t wait to read ENCHANTED. That is AWESOME.

It’s also a treat for me when I’m singled out during reviews of anthologies. I do a ton of anthologies, so there’s no way I could hunt down all the reviews even if I wanted to…but sometimes they are brought to my attention.

Fir instance, I was scanning through the July issue of Locus to find pictures from the Nebula awards, when I saw a cover that I recognized and stopped. I was honored to have been part of John Klima’s reprint fairy tale anthology Happily Ever After, but this one sentence made my day: “‘Blood and Water’ by Alethea Kontis retells ‘The Little Mermaid’ with the kind of direct force that Datlow and Windling made something of a specialty.” Yes, indeed, that totally made my day.

And Nasrullah Anwar kindly sent me a link to the blog where he reviewed Apexology: Science Fiction & Fantasy. It contained this tidbit: “Another story of note is Unicorn Gold by Alethea Kontis, which again subverts the old myths about unicorns, but gives the single-horned ones the opportunity for a little pay back.”

Being “another story of note” is definitely a step up from “and many other fine stories.” Remember those little milestones I was talking about? This is one of them.

Thank you!

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“Black Hole Sun” Interview

Over on the website Jason’s created for DARK FUTURES, Kelli and I have a cool little interview posted about “Black Hole Sun.”

Find out our dystopian favorites, our fears for the future, and the blood, sweat, and tears behind “Black Hole Sun”!

Tell us, in brief, what your story is about.
AK: Erica and Seth, two estranged teenage friends, reconnect after hearing the news that the world is ending.

KO: The apocalypse through the eyes of teenagers and their technology: Twitter, email, etc.

What was the inspiration/genesis of your story?
AK: In this technological age where almost everyone is connected by a global social network, kids will still be kids. Life still happens. Shit still happens. And being friends still means something.

KO: Writing a story together we wanted to take on a character each, and do something different with it. So we chose to utilize technology and teens to tell the story of the future through the tools of today.

Click here to read the rest of the interview!

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Your Saturday Halloween Happiness

Does it get any happier than this? Ryan Sizemore–son of Apex book luminary Jason Sizemore–age 3, loves his copy of AlphaOops: H is for Halloween.

What a cutie! It’s been far too long since I’ve had a chance to hang with the Sizemore Brood.

Want to send me a picture of you & AlphaOops? Email me at akontis — at —

Have a great weekend!

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If The Future’s So Dark, Then Why Am I So Excited?

Dark Futures is here, folks! In fact, it’s so here that Jason Sizemore and Dark Quest Publishing have set up their very own Dark Futures website. Be sure to bookmark it and check back frequently — they will be posting interviews with the contributors, stories-behind-the-stories (you know how much fun I have with those), and announcements of all sorts of events and signings all across the country.

My contribution to this one was a collaboration with Kelli Owen (then Kelli Dunlap) called “Black Hole Sun.” (You may remember me talking a little bit about it here.) As promised, Kelli and I have been Tweeting madly from Seth and Sunni’s Twitter accounts, commenting and complaining about the Last Days of the Earth before the black hole strolling through the galactic neighborhood ends the World As We Know It.

Follow Seth on TwitterFollow Sunnie on Twitter

If you are a fan of the book, or a fan of the contributors, or a fan of the publisher, or a fan of Jason, or–heck–just a fan in general and would like to fly a banner on your website, here’s one for your use:

Thank you for your time and attention. Please, sit back and enjoy the darkness.

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Dark Futures Now Available!

Trade paperback, 278 pages of dystopian SF…Dark Futures is here!

Lost track of which short story this is? Me too. (That’s why I keep this blog.)

Inside Dark Futures is “Black Hole Sun”, my short story collaboration with Kelli Dunlap.

According to the online bookstores, Dark Futures is already available. (only $10.76 at Amazon and B&N) Isn’t technology great?

Kelli and I will begin Tweeting the end of the world from Seth and Sunnie‘s Twitter accounts on September 30th. Follow us on Twitter to continue their story, or type in hashtag #blackholesun (which I swear I will try to remember to do).

Not had enough fiction with Soundgarten titles? There’s a great book with the same title out this summer: Black Hole Sun by fabulous YA author David Macinnis Gill. I loved Soul Enchilada and can’t wait to sink my teeth into this one. It’s got space crabs!!

What can I say? Great minds think alike. (About the title, of course. Not the crabs…)

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