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The “Sunday” Necklace

Launching the Dixie Dunbar Studio Fairy Tale line of jewelry is the “Sunday” necklace, inspired by the novel Enchanted.

The necklace is made of simple chain, as befits a Woodcutter’s daughter, but the asymmetrical design is pure elegance.

Like Sunday Woodcutter’s magical dress of silver and gold the third night of the prince’s ball, the Sunday necklace is comprised of silver- and gold-brass chains that sweep around the neck and culminate in a graceful central waterfall.

The Sunday necklace is affordably priced at only $90~

Click here to order your today!

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ENCHANTED in Fairy Tale Land

I am very jealous of this copy of Enchanted, which has already made its way to the Black Forest in Germany, home of many Grimms’ Fairy Tales. *sigh*

Doesn’t this look just like Sunday’s house without the tower??

And of course, gorgeous Heidelberg.

Photos courtesy of Sandra Salinas. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

xox

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Knight Saves Princess

I meant to post about this back during Capclave, and I kept forgetting. I meant to post it again when Scott Edelman passed the video along to me…and I forgot then too.

Then a few days ago, someone linked to the article about how Terry Pratchett was signing a contract with Dignitas to lead his own assisted suicide. And I remembered again. But let me tell the story in order.

I heard from a little birdie friend of mine that Sir Terry Pratchett might be making a guest appearance at Capclave. It was perfect timing, right after my reading, and I would be free for a few hours to hang out.

I had been waffling about this particular reading, since most of the folks who attend Capclave are also members of WSFA, and it was to them that I did my very first dramatic reading of “The Monster & Mrs. Blake.” I’ve performed that reading now a few times…but no matter how good I’ve gotten at it, I didn’t want to do it again for the same audience.

My great thought was that I would read “The Unicorn Hunter,” since I still maintain it’s the best story I’ve ever written. (It’s still available for free to read here, if you’re in the mood to quibble.) But when I started practicing this one, it just didn’t come across as a good read-aloud. For one, I couldn’t get the demon’s voice right. My range was bouncing all over the place. It was terrible.

I’d heard someone mention a great panel they attended once where the panelists brought poetry and prose they had written when they were in high school and shared that. Why not? So I had my little blue book with me, the one with the gilded pages, and I was going to make a fool of myself in front of a bunch of people because I hadn’t prepared anything else.

Then suddenly, Terry Pratchett’s visit was announced. He was only going to be at the convention for an hour, and the time had been pushed up to RIGHT during my reading, so that he could catch a plane back to the UK. The entire convention closed up shop and gathered in the main auditorium. No one came to see me. I waited until Sir Terry and my friend walked by, and then I followed in their wake to attend the talk as well.

So yes, folks, back in October, this Princess was saved by an honest-to-god Knight. And I can’t believe I forgot to tell you.

Here is the very nice video Scott shot of the whole talk. It’s an hour long, but well worth the time.

I’m very glad I attended. It made me laugh and touched my heart to be part of such a wonderful community, and such a fantastic visit with such an icon in such an intimate setting. (Muches of suchness!) It was so very interesting to hear Sir Terry speak of the assisted suicide that he took part in for the BBC. What I didn’t realize was how personal the discussion would be for me.

If you remember, back in July I posted about visiting my beautiful grandmother who is in hospice with Alzheimer’s. She’s been there a very long time. I’m sure she doesn’t recognize us. She doesn’t really even speak in words anymore. She looks good, and seemed happy, but she scares quite easily because nothing is familiar to her anymore. It scares me to think of what it would be like to live like that…but I suppose if it got to that point I wouldn’t be cognizant of what I’d lost…not that it makes the situation better.

Once upon a time, I’m not sure I would have supported something like Sir Terry is deciding to do with his death. I would have called it cowardly. And yet, I wonder what my grandmother would have decided had she been given such a choice back when she had the ability to make choices. Of course I don’t want my grandmother to leave this world. But it’s times like these–especially over the holidays–that I miss her so much and hate…well…you know.

I’ve been working on the sequel to Sunday’s book–it’s about Saturday, of course. Her hero is a young man whose father succumbed to an illness like Alzheimer’s (though it would have been closer to dementia in fairy tale land). How would an illness like this affect our hero’s life? What would he be afraid of? And, conversely, what would he not be afraid of?

Through these questions I am forced to find answers…both about Peregrine and myself.

Oh, how art imitates life…and how beautiful and unfair life can be, all at the same time.

Love you guys. xox

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I Made This

Everytime I see those words, I hear Chris Carter’s Ten Thirteen production company credits from the end of The X-Files in my head. (Geek tidbit: The boy’s voice belongs to Nathan Couturier, the son of the show’s supervising sound editor, Thierry Couturier.)

I make stuff up for a living. It’s what I do. I’m told I’m fairy good at it. I think I could be better. I work harder. Sometimes, it works so well, it’s creepy.

Sometimes, I make things up, and they turn out to be real.

I probably wouldn’t have ever known it if I didn’t live in The Age of Google, but yes, it has happened. The biggest one was the made-up town of Haven, Kansas, in which I set my YA scarecrow-witch story (please, someone, hurry up and buy this manuscript before something else called “Haven” is released, thanks!). After I’d written the entire screenplay (It was originally a screenplay, which made for a great outline), I looked up “Haven” on www.weather.com to see what other towns in the US there were with that name.

There was only one. It was in Kansas. (Yes, I went to visit, and changed my manuscript accordingly.)

Earlier this year (or was it last year?) I started writing a silly ghost story about a haunted pickle (“The Revenge of Cap’n Pickle” — don’t get your hopes up; I never finished it). I used a bunch of friends from high school for character names, and I made up the name of the lake around which this campfire story was priginally told, basing it after the name of my high school, Spring Valley High.

There is a Spring Lake not ten minutes from us here in Northern VA. (I haven’t been there yet.)

So it happens. Life imitates art, and art imitates life. Then art becomes life. Like all the rest of the magic I’m surrounded with — I used to get creeped out about it. I don’t anymore. Now it’s just cool.

Enchanted–you know, that book that used to be called Sunday and is now coming out next May–takes largely from the original Grimm Brothers “Cinderella” tale, most importantly involving the role of the oft-overlooked Two White Pigeons. These pigeons roost in the tree planted on Cindrella’s mother’s grave. They are the ones who threw her the dresses she needed to go to the balls. They are also the ones who cried foul when the prince drove away with each of the stepsisters, who had cut off parts of their feet so that the shoe would fit.

In my story, one of these white pigeons has a spot on its breast that looks like a drop of blood. There is no precedence for this affectation–it is all of my own doing, made to illustrate my main character’s broken heart. There cannot be love without loss.

So you can imagine my estatic cry of holy crapness when I received an email from my dear friend and ex-sk8r grrl Tracy in TN containing pictures of “Beautiful Birds Seldom Ever Seen” and saw this:

They are called “Luzon Bleeding-hearts”, and while they are not solid white (fairy tales are allowed poetic license), they fo have white breasts upon which the red splotch looks EXACTLY HOW I IMAGINED IT WOULD ON MY BIRD.

The Wikipedia entry also tells about claims that the female of this species has purple irises, of which I know Tamora Pierce would be very proud. I love my magical birds.

Do I think it’s possible that the Luzon Bleeding-heart might have made an appearance in the real “Cinderella” fable? Probably not. They are not white pigeons, only partially so. They live in the Philippines, and while the Grimm Brothers wrote of Cinderella in a European setting, it’s also thought that the tale might originally hail from dynastic China, when the binding of feet was seen as fashionable and tiny feet were a mark of exceptional beauty.

Besides…I made them up!

You’re welcome.

xox

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Some Enchanted Morning

It’s a small thing, and there’s no cover image, and technically you can’t order it yet, but Enchanted is now listed on Amazon’s website, as well as on Goodreads.

There are some very important things up, however, that are good to know:

Release Date: May 8, 2012 (it seems so far away!)
ISBN: 9780547645704
Description: It isn’t easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past—and hers?

Blurbs:

“A charming tumble of all the fairy tales you ever knew, spiced with humor and sprinkled with true love.” —Sharon Shinn, best-selling author of the Samaria series

“If Neil Gaiman and the Brothers Grimm had a child who grew up to weave fairy tales, she would be Alethea Kontis. Read this book—it’s an absolute winner.”—J.T. Ellison, best-selling author of Where All the Dead Lie

“Kontis is a born spell-caster and her work is spellbinding. In the style of great fairy tales, Kontis has created a delightful, heartfelt new classic that can charm the sun out from behind the clouds.” —Leanna Renee Hieber, author of the Strangely Beautiful and Magic Most Foul series

****************************

AlphaOops: H is for Halloween: Midi Edition is re-released next week, and there are many more good things coming down the road for me very soon…but this is my NOVEL. My very first novel. I am OVER THE MOON.

*happy dance*

 

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Fangirl Moment

I finished the edits for SUNDAY last night and sent them in (waaaaay early) to my editor as a Yule gift. I promised the Fairy GodBoyfriend that I’d take it easy today, so there’s going to be a lot of resting, cleaning the house, and watching Christmas movies. I may pop back in here and chat about the edits with you later…but I had to share this first.

I’ve been hearing from folks that SUNDAY was announced in the new issue of Locus Magazine — I kept checking at our local bookstore, but they were taking forever to get it in. (Note to family: subscription of Locus on my birthday wish list. Thanks!) FGB came home last night from work with a copy and I glanced at it quickly and smiled. I didn’t actually LOOK at it until this morning, when I realized that my big fat color picture was right there on top of the page with Toni Morrison and DIANA WYNNE JONES.

Diana Wynne Jones is without doubt one of my favoritest authors of all time. I listed Howl’s Moving Castle as one of my Top 21 Most Influential Books. Witch Week was the first novel of hers I read, and I’ve had a major obsession with Guy Fawkes Day ever since. (I still mean to actually celebrate Bonfire Night in England one of these years.) She has a way of making a really complicated storyline look so incredibly easy and her characters…my god, what characters they are.

She really was one of the authors who made me the ME I am today, and she is one of the reasons that publishing in YA fantasy has always been my dream. Someday, I want to be the book a lonely eleven-year-old girl gets lost inside. I want to give that gift to others, just like Robin McKinley and Diana Wynne Jones and Tamora Pierce and Meredith Ann Pierce and Susan Cooper and Ellen Raskin and Roald Dahl and Lloyd Alexander gave to me.

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Sale: SUNDAY (the novel) to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Here it is, everybody, the big announcement you’ve been waiting for! It’s official: my debut novel SUNDAY has been bought by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for publication!

From Publisher’s Lunch:
NYT bestselling co-author Alethea Kontis’s Young Adult novel debut, SUNDAY, about the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, youngest sister to the other six days of the weeks, who writes stories that may or may not come true, and the enchanted frog/prince who asks her about those stories and may or may not be falling in love with their author, to Reka Simonsen at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s by Deborah Warren of East/West Literary Agency, LLC. (World excluding audio)   dwarren@eastwestliteraryagency.com

Right now, the proposed pub date is 2012…but don’t fret, my chickadees. 2012 is right around the corner. And worry not, for I have many other new and fun things in store for you to whet your appetite until then! I’ll keep you posted!

But in the meantime….PARTAY!!!! WOOOOHOOOOO!!!!!!

*Princess Happy Dance*

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On a Rainy Sunday

Yes, I certified my Geek Street Cred this weekend and finally learned to play Magic. Late Last night, Alethea Queen of the Elves stomped the table and triumphed in a bloody battle. (I know, I know, Gypsy stacked the deck. But I was learning to play! I also learned that I have slightly more evil tendencies than an all-green deck affords.)

Today it’s cold and rainy outside, as the world gets ready to warm up. Today, we’re teaching Chuck to play.

Later on, I’ll be taking Chuck to rehearsals. It’s the only way I’m going to be able to escape the tournament and get Chapter Eight done.

See, Mom? I’m working. I promise.

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