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The Princess Formerly Known as Snow White

The Unicorn HunterReaders often ask me about my favorites. Favorite book that I’ve written. Favorite character I’ve invented. Favorite EVERYTHING. It’s so tough–like choosing a favorite child!

But I will admit…I do have a favorite short story. To this date, my favorite story that I’ve ever written is “The Unicorn Hunter.” I dreamed up the concept a very long time ago: if a certain unsavory character wanted to hunt unicorns, what better bait to use than “the fairest of them all”? But the story never came together. There was something missing. Until John Skipp asked me to contribute a story for his Demons anthology and it hit me. My missing element was A DEMON. Four days later, I wept as I wrote the last line because I didn’t want the story to be over.

Skipp published “The Unicorn Hunter” in his anthology, placing me right next to Neil Gaiman (again!). Apart from that claim to fame–and a very enthusiastic show of support from SF author Cat Rambo–nothing else really happened with the tale. But it was still my favorite.

That’s the thing about favorites. We just can’t let them go. I held onto these two characters so tightly that I wrote them right into the Woodcutter-filled world of Arilland. And when I assembled all of my fairy tale short stories into Tales of Arilland, I knew that “The Unicorn Hunter” had to be first in the Table of Contents.

While no names are used in the short story, it’s clear from the first paragraph which princess is being referenced. And while it’s not terribly obvious when Ashes makes her cameo appearance in Hero, eagle-eyed fans were incredibly excited to put two and two together. As was I.

This interview was posted on a friend’s website right around the release of the anthology. That post has gone the way of the Internet Black Hole–for that reason, I am publishing it again here for you to enjoy.

Perhaps in the next fairy tale anthology, I will include all the Troubadour interviews I’ve done with my characters. Come to think of it…I’m really going to need to write this Troubadour into Arilland, aren’t I? Oh, that will be FUN…

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Interview with The Princess Formerly Known as Snow White

Tales of ArillandTroubadour: I’m here today with Her Royal Majesty Princess Snow White, who has agreed to speak with us about some of the challenges she faced during her tumultuous–and infamous–childhood.

Princess: I agreed to meet with you only because my story-loving aunt sent you. I don’t want to talk about Snow White. She was a silly, stupid princess, and her jealous stepmother killed her. My name is Ashes-on-the-Wind.

Troubadour: Please forgive my impertinence. May I call you Ashes-on-the-Wind?

Princess: You may call me “Your Highness.” And I would thank you to not go transforming what I’m about to say to you into some sappy ballad; I don’t care what Aunt Sunday says.

Troubadour: I’ll do my best, Your Highness. But I really must implore you–the world is desperate to know what happened to that beautiful little girl the Huntsman led into the forest so many years ago. Were you frightened? Did he attack you?

Princess: (sighs and touches her left shoulder, briefly) I wasn’t afraid until he attacked me. But he didn’t get very far. I was saved by a…Unicorn Hunter.

Troubadour: Rumor has it that this Unicorn Hunter was a demon.

Princess: There are no such things as demons or unicorns, and don’t you dare tell the world any differently. I won’t have innocent girls or arrogant men chasing after either. I am the only one who knows what happened in that forest, and you will take me at my word.

Troubadour: As you wish, Your Highness. So this Unicorn Hunter–whatever his origin–saved you from certain peril?

Princess: He did. He needed my virtue intact, you see, to catch the unicorns. One can be the fairest of them all and still lose her virtue. (A far away look haunts her eyes) Instead, I lost my innocence.

Troubadour: The two of you became friends?

Princess: Yes. I believe we did.

Troubadour: Do you and the Unicorn Hunter still keep in touch?

Princess: No. He is…no longer a part of my life. I moved in with a band of hardworking miners and moved on with my life, just as we should move on with this interview.

Troubadour: Yes, Your Highness. One more question, if I may?

Princess: If you must.

Troubadour: It is also rumored that you are currently employed on a pirate ship. Is that correct?

Princess: (Smiles broadly) That is correct! (Pulls a folded paper from her breeches pocket) Here is a list of the captain I serve under, the men I work with, and all our ports of call.

Troubadour: Really?!? (Unfolds the paper. It is blank.)

Princess: No, not really! I used to be stupid, remember? (Drains the rest of her tankard and wipes her mouth on her sleeve) Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a deck to swab. Are we done?

Troubadour: Yes, Your Highness. Thank you, Your Highness.

Princess: No problem. Do send my aunt best wishes. And remember, no sappy ballads.

Troubadour: I’ll do my best, Your Highness.

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CLICK HERE to purchase a copy of Tales of Arilland in paperback or on Kindle — hardcover coming soon!

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The Young and the Darkness

I’m over at the Apex blog today talking about “The Young and the Darkness”, otherwise known as Things I am Accused of Being that are Assumed to be Mutually Exclusive.

Click here to read “The Young and the Darkness.”

We go into the short stories and poetry I loved as a child…and the short stories and poetry I write now, including my short story collection WILD & WISHFUL, DARK & DREAMING.

Don’t have your copy yet? Well then, CLICK HERE and get it today! xox

Wild & Wishful, Dark & Dreaming--story collection by Alethea Kontis

 

 

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“Black Hole Sun” on Cast of Wonders

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Kelli Owen and I wrote an epistolary story about two teens–best friends with complications–at the end of the world. A teen-angsty-apocalyptic-sci-fi…sort of. But I will tell you this — it makes a REALLY FUN podcast. Thank you Cast of Wonders!

The story is narrated by Graeme Dunlop and Michelle Ristuccia. Michelle enjoys slowing down time in the middle of the night to read and review speculative fiction, because sleeping offspring are the best motivation. You can find out more about her rabid love of SFF, podcasting, and raising future geeklings at her blog, http://wakingdreamsblog.blogspot.com, stalk her on twitter at @mrsmica, or read her reviews at Tangent Online.

Click here to listen to “Black Hole Sun.”

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Nominate Princess Alethea…for everything!

Okay…not *everything*. But I am happy to report that I have more than one work this year eligible for award nominations! Yay!

*Hero, October 1, 2013

Best Novel /Andre Norton Award

HERO (Fantasy, YA) — Second in the Woodcutter Sisters series of fairy tale mash-up novels. (Think “Once Upon a Time” meets “The Princess Bride”) Saturday Woodcutter is a girl with a sword who is mistaken for a boy through the whole book. She has to rescue Peregrine of Starburn (mistaken for a girl through the whole book) from a witch and a dragon. IT’S AWESOME AND FUN.

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Best Short Story

There are a handful of original short stories from my WILD & WISHFUL, DARK & DREAMING collection that just released from Alliteration Ink. I will list them all here, starting with my top choice, and what categories they would fall under (depending on which Awards you’re nominating for).

Wild & Wishful, Dark & Dreaming--story collection by Alethea Kontis* “The Were Four” (SF/F, YA) — On Dec 21, 2012, the world didn’t end. Instead, 90% of the people on Earth became a were-creature of their totem animal. This is the story of four high-school aged, misfit, REALLY LAME weres (platypus, piranha, sloth & mosquito) who enter a local Battle of the Bands.

“Blood, Sweat & Tears” (Contemporary, Horror) — The story of a young Romany woman who ghostwrites bestselling novels with a magic potion literally made of of blood, sweat, and tears.

* “Alligator Baby” (Fantasy, YA) — Deep in the Louisiana Bayou, a young orphaned girl petitions the local voodoo priestess to find out what really happened to her parents.(Really hard for me to choose between this one and “The Were Four”–I love them both!)

* “183 Million Light Years from Home” (SF) — A tired young father on a dark, nearly-deserted stretch of TN highway accidentally kills a stranger…and saves the world.

“Confessions of the Ex-Future-Mrs. X” (Fantasy) — A secret, in-depth interview with the woman who almost married Willy Wonka.

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Also Original to WWDD:

* “Deathday” (Fantasy, Poetry) — A dark love letter to the soul of a girl’s mother on the day she was born.

 

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“The Monster & Mrs. Blake” on Cast of Wonders

Hello, world!

I’m back in town (for a little bit) and feeling better (finally!), so now I’m catching up on all the fun news. SO MANY AMAZING THINGS HAVE HAPPENED THIS MONTH!

Worry not, I’ve been calling Mom and telling her in person for most of this, as I do when I’m not able to blog every day…or when I’m sworn to secrecy. 🙂

But I forgot to tell even Mo about this one — Cast of Wonders was so thrilled to find out that I had some podcasting talents of my own that they asked me to narrate my spooky kids story “The Monster & Mrs. Blake”!

I love this story — it was originally intended to be for a podcast that James Maxey was putting together for Codex, back before podcasting was cool…and before I had any sort of software or hardware to make such a thing possible.

So it is my extreme honor to introduce this story to the world…in the format it was originally intended! Thank you, Cast of Wonders, for making this possible!

To listen to “The Monster & Mrs. Blake”, CLICK HERE. And enjoy!

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Award-Winning Princess

Well, I may not have come home from California with the Norton, but I’m still an Award-Winning author. Here I am with Plot Bunny…and my Apex Readers Choice Award for “Blood From Stone”!

Award-Winning Princess

If you still haven’t checked out “Blood From Stone”, you can read it for free here: http://www.apex-magazine.com/blood-from-stone/

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“The Scientist’s Daughter” now live on YouTube!

Back in the summer of 2009, Stephen Segal at Weird Tales started a series called One-Minute Weird Tales, in which supershort flash fiction was set to music and aired on YouTube.

At Dragon*Con that year Stephen asked me to write something for this series, and I did. I even picked out the music. But while it was an awesome Alethea Kontis story, it wasn’t quite right for Weird Tales. Stephen later left Weird Tales and moved on, I later left Tennessee and moved on…though I always had it on the backburner to put the story an music together myself and post it to YouTube.

THREE YEARS LATER, here we are. Enjoy!

(Thanks again to Ego Likeness for “Burn Witch Burn”, used with permission.)

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Shroud Halloween Issue Still Available

Maybe you missed it last year. Or you didn’t happen to love me then as much as you do now. Whatever the reason, IT’S OKAY. You can still purchase the special Shroud Halloween Issue guest edited by Kevin Lucia.

This issue has my story “Red Lantern” in it, which is…not so much a retelling; more of an homage…to the Jack O’ Lantern myth.

I promise, it has nothing to do with DC Comics. When an author comes across the perfect title, geek or not, she just can’t pass it up.

Wanna see how perfect a title it is? Purchase the Shroud Halloween special issue (only $7.99!) and see for yourself.

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66 Twisted Tales

You know those stories that you have so much fun writing and submitting that you completely forget about them until a friend mentions that they’re available for sale? Well, that’s what happened here.

Twisted Tales in 66 Words is a project that Kimberly Raiser came up with on Facebook a while back. She wanted to get 66 stories made up of 66 words apiece (not counting the title), and offered to pay us…was it 6.6 cents a word, or $6.60 for each story…heck, I don’t even remember.

What I do remember is that I had such a blast once I wrote one that I ended up writing a couple more. I told Ariell she should write some too. And then I sent a notice out to all my other idle writer friends on Facebook to challenge themselves if they had five minutes.

This isn’t some groundbreaking work by some major publisher…it’s only 48 pages and it’s on sale at Lulu for a little over six bucks. But how much fun can you imagine friends like mine had in 66 words? The only way to find out is to buy the book.

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Award winning authors…. Stories to break your mind. Within these pages you will find the things that not only go bump in the night, but bring fear to the things that do the bumping. Discover your new favorite authors and let your mind wander and wonder how 66 simple words put together in the optimum use of fright can have such an impact on your slumber. Join us….

Editor — Kimberly Raiser

Authors — Alethea Kontis, K.L. Nappier, Greg Didaleusky, Pavelle Wesser, Machael A. Kechula, Kimberly Raiser, P.S. Gifford, Mark Brand, Kevin Ranson, Ariell Branson, Dave Brookover, Gayla Chaney, Laura Fernandez, Damon Kaswell, Kevin Coryell, John Burridge, Micahel Barnes, Glenda Finkelstein, Gary Roen, Larry Hodges, Mickey Mills, Barry J. House, Rob Crandall, Heidi Ruby Miller, H. David Blalock, Tricia L. Sparks, Brian K. Lowe, Michael Barnes, Joe Balaz

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The Secret Password

Okay, so I’m testing out my Super Secret Password Protected Posts with this story I just finished. I encourage you to enter the password and read the story, and then email me with your feedback! I wrote this one kind of quickly so I know it’s rough, but I sent it off anyway…because there was a deadline, and that’s the risk we take.

I have my own thoughts. Now I’d like to hear yours.

Here’s the password hint: In “The Monster & Mrs. Blake”, what did Mrs. Blake give Jeremy to feed the monster under the bed? (plural)

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