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A Loving Tribute

I can’t add all of the Dark-Hunter role players on Facebook to my friends list and I don’t have the time to play with them as much as I’d like, but the DH Origins folks have always been wonderful to me and treat me like family.

When I woke up to the usual 3am insomnia this morning, I had a present waiting for me from the Simi in the form of this beautiful slideshow video in honor of my grandmother. I’m so very touched I don’t know what to say…besides Thank You, Simi. With all my heart.

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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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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

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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)

——————-
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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MakeItUpAsYouGoAlongCon

Over the past decade, I have been to many, many conventions, and I have discovered that none of them are like any of the others. Each one is a unique gem with different facets, and unique members of a staff that struggles for 72 hours straight to tame the unwieldy beast. I’ve been disappointed by smaller conventions and simply amazed by others, feeling when I’d left that I’d be leaving part of a new family behind.

Mysticon is one of the latter.

It started out a little shaky, driving in through the overbright rainbow mist (did Mysticon order that in especially?) coupled with the kind of winds that drop houses on people. Sherri’s plane was delayed and delayed and delayed, leaving me to wander the slowly waking con in my heavy coat and rolley red suitcase full of books. I spent a lot of time perched on the comfy sofas in front of the lobby fireplace, playing Words With Friends and waiting.

The time for my signing rolled around, which ended up being scheduled against Opening Ceremonies. No one bought a single thing. Only two people stopped by to talk: my friend Linda who lamented that she hadn’t brought her Dark-Hunter Companion, and Gray Rinehart.

Gray is another Codexian, and a friend with whom I never get to spend enough quality time. He rescued me from the lonely table and swept me off to feed me. Gray is one of those Knight in Shining Armor kind of people  I’m never sure how I live without.

“Sherri’s still not here,” I said, noce I’d had a few bited of dinner and achieved coherency. “I think I should take over her panels.”

“You have to take over her panels,” said Gray. “You’re the only one who can.”

I am not Sherrilyn Kenyon. I have never pretended to be Sherrilyn Kenyon. I’m just some second banana girl few people have ever heard of. And yet…when the time came to step up t the plate, I cast aside all that self-doubt and walked in those Author Goddess footsteps, come what may.

I’d be damned if I was going to let a passel of true blue Dark-Hunter fans sit sad and alone, staring at an empty table in the front of the room.

I walked through the door and saw them all there, and my heart broke a little. “Y’all are waiting on Sherri, right?” I said. “Well, let’s talk Dark-Hunters.” So we did. For an entire hour. And almost another entire hour after that.

I have to say, I have never laughed so hard on panels at a convention in my entire life. By the time Sherri actually did show up, there were so many inside jokes floating around, I’m not sure she ever caught up. (“Milady.”) But I milked every joke and made a complete fool of myself, and we all had an incredibly fantastic time.

Thank you to all my new Dark-Hunter friends, far and wide, who put up with me through all those panels and kept an open mind and played along with the joke. Thank you for bringing your children to my reading by the fireplace. Thank you for buying the books that I brought when the Great Goddess Carla found me a table at which to park my tucus. Thank you to Kalayna and Faith and Marcia and Andy and all my fellow panelists. Thank you to Tina and Carla and Mysticon overall. Thank you to Sherri and Kim for finally arriving and setting us all at ease. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone — except the jerkface who set off the fire alarm at 2am Sunday morning and made me walk up and down 5 flights of stairs a couple of times.

Thank you all, a million times, thank you. I’d be happy to come back next year. Mostly because I didn’t take enough pictures this time around. This was my very last convention without having a novel in print, and thanks to all of you, I will never forget it.

*

My name is not Sherrilyn Kenyon, and I approve this message.

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Off to Mysticon!

…and I’m off to Roanoke! (Joe, I’m stealing your car AND your jacket. I’ll have it dry cleaned when I get back.)

For those of you who want to follow me on my travels, I’ll be on Facebook and Twitter, comme toujours.

The rest of you, please have a lovely and relaxing weekend!

xox

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My Mysticon 2012 Schedule

At long last I have it: My Mysticon 2012 schedule!

Mysticon is a sci-fi, fantasy, & horror convention held February 24-26 at the Holiday Inn – Tanglewood (4468 Starkey Road, SW) in Roanoke, VA. Author Guest of Honor is the lovely Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Artist Guest of Honor is the fabulous Ursula Vernon!

A couple of things not to be alarmed about: 1.) Yes, once again, my signing is first thing on Friday night, before I’ve been on any panels or gotten to meet anyone at the convention. PLEASE come see me — I’ll have lots of special goodies with me!  I’m also happy to hook you up with purchases whenever I have free time — just pull me aside and let me know. (And I do take major credit cards, thank you Square.)

2.) I will not be appearing on Sunday, because I need to head home first thing in the morning. I do hate leaving so early — especially on the rare occasion that I get to see Sherri! — but the 26th is both the Fairy GodBoyfriend’s and Fairy Goddaughter the Younger’s birthday. I CANNOT MISS THIS. I would lose all my Fairy Godmother points.

It’s also the Fairy GodBoyfriend’s DOUGLAS ADAMS BIRTHDAY (42, of course), so missing that would throw the universe into some sort of improbability chaos…and we can’t have that, now, can we?

Friday, February 24th
5:00 PM
Signing Table
Alethea Kontis Signing

8:00 PM
Boardroom 1
How To Be a Dark Hunter
Determined to vanquish evil in the night. Join Sherrilyn and our other panelists as they discuss how you too can be a dark hunter and protect humanity from things that go bump in the night.
Saturday, February 25th
5:00 PM
Boardroom 1
Staking It All on Vamps
Why are vampires so popular? Is anything likely to rival them? Werewolves? Zombies? If so, what? Whose vampires are the best and why?
8:00 PM
Fireplace
Children’s Bedtime Story Hour
Getting close to bedtime? Bring your pillow and curl up by the fireplace for tonight’s bedtime stories.
10:00 PM
Dogwood 1
Horrors Unknown
You’ve probably heard of Lovecraft, Stoker, and Poe. Now learn about some of the other past masters of terror tales as panelists discuss favorite horror writers and their works.
 

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Pencil Me In?

Because I know some of you book your social calendars MONTHS in advance, here’s the heads up: I will be a guest (along with Sherrilyn Kenyon!) at Mysticon in Roanoke Feb 24-26th.

Holiday Inn – Tanglewood
4468 Starkey Road, SW
Roanoke, VA 24018
540-774-4400

You have been warned!

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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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