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Storm Chasing 2018: UPDATE

Okay, Chasers!
(Chasefacers? Twisters? Rainmakers? Or maybe…MY PRETTIES AND YOUR LITTLE DOG, TOO)

Chris has given the green light for us to head out on TUESDAY. Hooray! The forecast doesn’t look like much until next weekend, but leaving Tuesday gives us the opportunity to take our time to get out there, test our cameras, and survey the landscape.

WHAT THIS MEANS: More hardcore work on my to-do list, which includes cleaning up one room of the house every day, so everything’s perfect when I come back exhausted (As in, I even Self-Cleaned my oven yesterday).
I will also work like the dickens to finish “The Chaos Crushers’ Day Off” before then–a tough, but not impossible feat. Part Two of the story will go live tomorrow at 8am to my $10 and up Patrons! I hope you have as much fun reading as I’ve had writing!
xox
Princess Alethea

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Are you as excited as I am? Want to help pitch in for gas, hotels, and coffee? Paypal akontis at gmail or click the Donate button on the right! (And Thank You!)

Want an ALL ACCESS PASS to Alethea’s Official Storm Chaser Diary and Pics? Become a Patron of the Princess today! Pledging as little as $1 a month gets you exclusive access!

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SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE! April Short Story Workshop for Teens

alethea-class-640x320I am honored to be surrounded by the most amazing people.

Of all the jobs I’ve had in my life–and there have been some amazing ones–I miss my tenure at YAS (the Youth After School program in Northern Virginia) the most. (Yes, I really did work for Parks and Rec. I still have all my polos!)

“I miss working with those kids so much,” I lamented to Tempest.

“Then why don’t you teach an online short story workshop for teens?” she asked.

Almost as soon as the words left her mouth, the announcement existed on Eventbrite. The event got shared a bazillion times. And donations for scholarships came rolling in! We now have over a dozen scholarships available for students: including students of color, black students, and LGBTQ students! (Interested students, apply here!)

The craziest part? I now have enough scholarships to stretch across three or four workshops. The prospect of continuing this venture brings me so much joy! But more importantly: I need students.

If you are or know of a young writer aged 13-19, please share this post with them! The first class technically starts on April 1st, but that’s just when the short stories are due. We’ll start talking in an online group the following Sunday, and each Sunday after that. Since it’s an intimate class this first time around (so far), we’ll pick a time on Sundays that works for everyone.

It has been suggested that I hold the next Teen Short Story workshop in June, when school is over for most teens…so keep your eyes peeled for announcements!

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Description

This writing workshop for young adults aged 13 to 19 will give students the opportunity for in-depth critiques on short fiction from YA, middle grade, and picture book author Alethea Kontis. Participants will learn how to critique and how to incorporate feedback from critiques for revision in a respectful and serious environment that prioritizes craft, community, and commitment to writing.

The workshop begins April 1 and goes through April 29, 2018.

In addition to giving and receiving critique, writers will take part in discussions about publishing, character development, structure, narrative voice, and other elements of short fiction.

Students may workshop original fiction or fanfiction from any genre: fantasy, science fiction, horror, romance, mystery, or literary.

Critique Sessions and Live Q&A will take place on Sunday April 8, 15, 22, and 29. There is no live session on April 1 (Easter). If you cannot make all of the live sessions you can still participate in this class. Writers must be present for their own critique and scheduling for the live sessions will take your availability into account. All peer critiques are due on Sundays.

This class is for any person aged 13 to 19 who has an interest in writing fiction and has at least one complete story to workshop. Stories should be 500 to 8,000 words. It doesn’t have to be polished (that’s what we’re here to help you do!) but it must have a beginning, middle, and end. All stories must be ready to turn in by March 31st.

All members of this workshop will have the opportunity to attend the “Steal Like A Pro – Writing Fiction Inspired By Other People’s Worlds (And How To Make It Your Own)” seminar with Alethea on April 14 for free (optional).

Scholarships

There is finaicial aid available for stuents who cannot afford the class. We will award up to six scholarships for this class.

Technical Requiements

Live Critique and Q&A sessions will take place over Zoom Video Conference software, which is free to download. To participate, students must have a microphone. A webcam is helpful, but not necessary.

Students must have or have access to a Google account/Gmail. Stories will be uploaded to a private Google Drive folder for critique. Discussion will take place on a private Google Groups mailing list.

COME JOIN THE FUN!

CLICK HERE TO ENROLL, OR JUST FIND OUT MORE!

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My Coastal Magic 2018 Schedule

cmccTHIS THURSDAY kicks off the weekend we’ve been waiting for all winter long–Coastal Magic Con in Daytona Beach, FL! Dance parties, fun and games, and the opportunity to hang out with some of my closest writer friends ON THE BEACH!

Here’s my schedule for the weekend. (Between panels, you can find me at Leanna Renee Hieber’s vendor table.)

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Thursday, Feb 22

4:30-6:30pm — Welcome Mingle

Friday, Feb 23

11:30am — Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow (feat. Leanna Renee Hieber, Mari Mancusi, Eric Asher, Deborah Blake, and Piper J. Drake)

4:00pm — Paranormal Author Meet & Greet (w/Leanna Renee Heiber & Mari Mancusi)

Saturday, Feb 24

9:00am — Hear, Here! (Audiobooks)

11:30am — Kids Just Wanna Have Fun (Shenanigans and Substance in YA)

12:30pm — Lunch with an Author

4:00-6:00pm — Pubic Book Sale / Signing (The Shores Resort & Spa Daytona Beach, FL)

 

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Woodcutter Sibling Birth Order

Good morning, everyone!

Lily asked a very good question on another post: “What’s the birth order of the Woodcutter siblings?”

Obviously, Monday-Sunday are easy to figure out. It’s one of the reasons I liked using those names–with so many daughters in a family, I could have easily confused my readers. But what about the boys?

At one point during a copyedit of Enchanted, I was forced to change the age of Prince Rumbold, which then changed a lot of the timing references throughout the story. I was forced to make an Excel spreadsheet of the Woodcutter children, with birth dates and ages that each of them where when certain events happened in their lives (Tuesday’s death, Monday’s marriage, Jack Junior’s disappearance, etc).

My good friend Eric James Stone helped me put something together, and I’ve used that grid ever since. I wont’ share the full grid with you (because I still want plausible deniability if I screw something up in the future), but here are the Woodcutter Siblings–brothers and sisters–listed in birth order (including Trix).

Jack Jr.
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Peter
Friday
Saturday
Trix
Sunday

Woodcutter Sisters 3******************************

Want more Woodcutter books? Support Alethea on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/princessalethea
Click here to get Haven, Kansas for only 99 cents!

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Happy October!

Alethea MermaidIt’s the first of the month again, which means it’s my turn to blog over at The Waterworld Mermaids.

Today I’m talking Location — writing about places you’ve never been, and urging you to visit as many places as you can to learn about them before you write them.

I also discuss the surreality of inventing a town that ACTUALLY EXISTS…

Is your passport up to date?

Where in the world would YOU like to go?

Click on over to read my essay and let me know!

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The Writing Princess’s Manifesto

The Little MermaidIn an effort to catch back up with the world at large, I wrote a make-up blog post at the Waterworld Mermaids today.

The message may have been delivered with more force than I intended, but it certainly gets my point across.

Some days, we are just frustrated with the world. The chaos of our lives can go on for days…weeks…months…years.

We cannot let that defeat us. Ever.

Click here to read “No Such Thing” : Princess Alethea’s First Law of Writing Momentum.

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In Which Writing Is Fun

Princess Alethea, Jan 2014I’ve been teaching a teen writing class at the Rust Library for four weeks — tonight is the last class, and I have to say, I’m going to miss it! But to be honest, I think these young folks are ready to write and submit their own stories…the only challenge for them will be focusing enough to GET IT DONE.

(You hear me, guys? Stop procrastinating and do it, already!!!)

Last week we did a fun writing exercise where each person wrote a sentence (or two) and then passed it to the next person at the table. There were only six of us (yay, more snow and ice…what is it about Wednesdays in February this year?) so it only took about 20 minutes and didn’t get too out of control. At the end, we read all the stories aloud…and they were AWESOME!

So awesome, in fact, that everyone decided that I should put them up here on the site to share our awesomeness with the world. Evil shadows, vomiting butterflies and tiny ninjas: THIS IS WHERE IT’S AT, PEOPLE. (Also, we’ve sort of been calling our group “The Tiny Ninjas” for a couple of weeks now.)

Enjoy…and remember, smiles and comments are greatly appreciated! xox

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Story #1 (aka “The Shadow Killer”)

What people don’t seem to realize is that I’m not a mindless killer–I pick my victims carefully. The patterns just seem to elude the cops. I have killed many. I run away into the shadows. I run as fast as I can from the murderous shadows, which will most likely kill me if I look away. For I am a shadow. These are my brothers. And our goal is to make sure no one is left alive in the light.

The light is our greatest enemy, the light and those who carry it. They are the only ones who can stop us, and they are my favorite targets. Light can illuminate, but it is oh, so east to burn. And the smoke that rises from the fire? That’s me. So watch your step. And the next time you hear the siren, see the plume of smoke rising above the rooftops, know that you’re next.

Why else would I let you read this?

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Story #2 (aka “Cloudy With a Chance of Potatoes”)

Potatoes fell from the sky when all hell broke loose. It made mountains of potatoes, which I plan to swim in with a cup of gravy. Swimming is all gravy is good for anyway–I mean, I’m a vegetarian. But what else are you going to do with crazy weather like this?

There are too many potatoes to actually eat, even taking into account all of the people in the world. It’s difficult to swim in them, though, what with their solidity; it’s far easier when they’re mashed and even then, it’s difficult.

Yesterday it was pickled herring, though, and I’m not about to complain that it’s now potatoes. But I suppose it would have been nicer if that hadn’t also been the day the house collapsed.

I just can’t believe this all started with a face-down penny.

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Story #3 (aka “Secret Agent Cat”)

I couldn’t understand a word of what she said, but she was undoubtedly angry. Curled on the floor like a question mark, she yowled at me in her native Cat, hair bristling on end.

“Listen, if you aren’t going to cooperate, we can…be more persuasive,” I growled.

Having abducted the feline from the NSA, I was convinced she was more than normal. My guess was that she originally ruled the internet and was taken out during the censorship phase. But now…I don’t know what to think. I wouldn’t know what to think…I think I might die in a hole.

“That would be me, being persuasive,” said the cat, in perfect French. “You have a very simple mind for a human. Now, if we could please get on with the experiment.”

I was happy to do so. I was happier that I now understood French. I would have been even happier if I understood Cat. That was half the point of this, after all. But hey, I’d take what I could get.

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Story #4 (aka: “Sci-Fi Butterfly Sick”)

The iron butterfly vomited on my bicycle. Again. The first time the metal insect showed up. I’d been half terrified, but by now I was used to it. Every Tuesday evening, without fail, it would perch itself on my handlebar and then…barf. This time I was determined to stop it, for good or bad.

I read in a history book that there used to be real, live butterflies, but now…just the government’s failed experiments. There seem to be more and more failures nowadays. I dreamt a butterfly did not vomit on my bike but screw that; I should genetically modify. I just need to let it go.

What, you may ask? My obsession with butterflies. But even that won’t stop there from being thousands of mutant, barfing butterflies. Perhaps I should just buy an umbrella. Or a gun.

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Story #5 (aka: “The Dangers of Falling Deathfully”)

Don’t fall too hard when you die. Of course, if you forget to fall, sometimes that’s worse. You could end up dead, just floating in the ether, with no particular direction. That’s what happened to me, and it’s the reason I’m still around to tell you this.

People who believe in ghosts usually think they stayed behind on purpose–“unfinished business,” they say, in ethereal tones. But really, it all comes down to one question, and that question is: “When you died, were you vertical or horizontal?”

I was vertical. And I didn’t fall, just sort of…stayed. It’s hard to fall over when you’re tied to a chair. Of course, my head sorta slid to one side, so I can’t hear very well with my left ear, bit I make do with what I have.

I made do…I just kept swimming.

This was all a metaphor for my love of imagining death. Who doesn’t fantasize about death?

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stealth elfStory #6 (aka “Beware Small Ninjas”)

Becoming a small ninja wasn’t my first career choice. Actually, it was my third. But since roof-painting and photography both failed, I didn’t have anything to go with but the letter in the mail.

It was from someone called “The Lead Ninja.”

He sent me photos of a beautiful place, with seemingly no one “playing chess” or “sparring with swords.” I felt like a freking Girl Scout on my first day when I said, “Hi, I’m Bob! I would like to be a small ninja.”

“Screw you!” the Lead Ninja responded.

I tapped him in the head with a flying sidekick. When he picked himself up off the ground, he shook my hand. “Welcome to the Palace.” Then he sent me off to get settled in before I began my training–which was nothing like anything I’d expected.

Unfortunately, I can’t talk about training due to the confidentiality agreement I signed. Suffice it to say that I’m a certified small ninja.

And I am coming for you.

 

 

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The Book Butterfly Interviews Princess Alethea

Because what you were missing in your life is ANOTHER FUN INTERVIEW WITH MOI!

This time I talk about writing, books, characters, where I’ve lived, my favorite authors, and a bunch of quick fun stuff!

Click here & enjoy: http://theyabookbutterfly.blogspot.com/2013/11/monday-ya-author-interview-with-alethea.html

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Because Mom Might Not Have Seen This

…here’s the story of my awesome Dragon Con & how I hurt my thumb, with pictures!

http://waterworldmermaids.com/2013/09/with-one-hand-tied-behind-my-back/

Now, back to writing. New Chapter to you SOON.

Also…got the first box of HERO in. It’s gorgeous! And the endpapers are GREEN!

Only guess what they forgot to include in the first printing?

xox

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Happy Christmas Workshop Episode 43

In the midst of the traveling and the three Christmasses I didn’t have the chance to post about this yesterday — part two of the fabulous Roundtable Podcast that started with the 20-minute interview. Now, we get into the much longer, nitty-gritty of live-workshopping a fellow author’s work in progress…

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Alethea Kontis – author of the award-winning “Enchanted“, “The Wonderland Alphabet“, The “Alpha-Oops” series, and so much more – returns to the Big Chair to help workshop a rich luxurious story idea offered up by podcaster, voice actor, authoress (and so much more), Lauren “Scribe” Harris. With Justin Macumber as guest co-host (author of “Haywire” and “A Minor Magic“, founder and co-host of the Dead Robots’s Society podcast, and co-host on the Hollywood Outsiders podcast), we dive in to a delightful frothy discussion, inspirations bouncing around like pixies on egg nog, taking Lauren’s already fabulous idea and festooning it liberally in Literary Gold. (and for more writerly delights, make sure you check out Alethea’s Showcase Episode!)

Listen to the workshop podcast here!

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