Alethea Kontis

So…if I have an awesome Thanksgiving and it doesn’t go viral, is it still awesome?

Hello everyone!

How was your Thanksgiving, US folks? Mine was incredibly stressful, thank you. Oh, it’s all stuff I won’t discuss on the internet…you know. Suffice it to say that I hope yours went a lot more smoothly than mine.

In one way, though, my Thanksgiving was awesome.

Here’s what happened: The first day we were at the in-laws, Joe’s mom presented him with a handful of 4-5 inch tall comic book figurines. She had cleaned out something, somewhere, and despite Joe having no recollection of these items, Mrs. B was sure they were his. They were all posed for action: Wolverine, The Punisher (missing an arm), and Captain America.

I lifted Captain America to examine him. The stamp on the back read “1989,” which would have meant Joe bought these when he was at least 19 if they really were his…but they were his now, and within his power to redistribute as he saw fit.

“Can I have Cap?” I asked.

“Sure,” he said.

I had my phone with…
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What Do You Do With a Drawing Princess?

Princess Alethea MermaidHappy Guy Fawkes Day, everyone!

Today is my absolute favorite holiday, and it’s all because of a book. Before Harry Potter was a glimmer in Jo Rowling’s eye, there was a little book called Witch Week by Diana Wynne Jones. It remains one of my favorite books to this day. One day I will be in England for Bonfire Night.

At the beginning of Witch Week, teacher Mr. Crossley discovers a note that says, “Someone in this class is a witch.” Are they? Are they not? Is it a bad thing to be a witch? A good thing? And what does this all have to do with Guy Fawkes?

No spoilers — you’ll have to read the book. But I will say, after finishing Witch Week, I wanted to be a witch more than anything.

I’ve always felt like an outcast, so I’ve always been drawn to them….
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Last-Minute Wonder

My parents had a lot of rules when we were growing up.

And when I say a lot of rules, I mean at least 186–my little sister and I made a list at one point, that my mother swears still exists to this day. Soteria and I even wrote a song about it that we performed at Christmas a couple of years ago. Needless to say, the rules in my family are a tad infamous.

Now, not all of these were silly, needless rules. In fact, most of them were rather clever. One of my favorites is still “If you ask me if your friend can spend the night and your friend is standing right there, the answer is automatically NO.” But tops on my list will always be, “Your father and I will help you with every homework assignment and every project you have to do for school…until 24 hours before it is due. After that,…
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Sometimes, it’s all about context

You never know where a writer is going to get his/her next idea. There have been days when some of my most gorgeous writing was spent in emails…but I don’t consider that a loss. Sometimes, my genius will spark a Facebook discussion, or a re-tweetapalooza, or a reblogging storm on Tumblr.

This man’s writing genius was spent captioning photos and putting them to music. He has other songs, but this one remains my favorite. Yes, there are inappropriate things contained within…but SOMETHING here is going to make you laugh.

And sometimes, that’s what it’s all about. (Click here to watch video if embed player doesn’t come up.)

What’s some of the most clever non-traditional writing you’ve encountered?

With One Hand Tied Behind My Back

Why, YES, it bloody hurts.[Caveat: I am currently typing this post with my left thumb in a splint. Please excuse all the typos I’m sure I’ll find in the morning. –AK]

I am often asked what an average day in my writing life is like.

I have a rough outline of what my *ideal* day is like, in a world where conventions don’t exist, everyone is healthy and paid in a timely fashion, nothing is on television, the world is at peace, and the average temperature is 72 degrees Fahrenheit with a breeze. I have maybe a month of those days spread out throughout the year. And that’s a good year.

The rest of the year, my life is a bit insane. Yes, EVERYONE’S life is a bit insane. But there are times when my days reach Bridget Jones proportions. For instance, here’s an unedited example of an “average” day…
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What Was That Again?

I had a great idea for this blog post the minute I woke up. It was a fabulous premise, brief in nature, and open for comments. I was going to make the title “You Are Cordially Invited”, which would have been a clever play on…WHAT? ON WHAT? BECAUSE I CAN’T REMEMBER WHAT I WAS GOING TO WRITE ABOUT.

I’ve had these moments since I was a kid. I’ve written on receipts and postcards. I’ve scribbled a poem in the wee hours of the morning inside the back cover of a Richie Rich digest. When I got older, I started keeping a small note pad or a stack of post-its beside my bed (and in the shower) to write down random bits of genius.

When I started driving, my parents bought me a handheld tape recorder. When I got a phone, I would call myself and leave messages on the answering machine. When I upgraded to an iPhone, I began sending emails to myself.

I have a really great memory, and…
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That IS the Question

Alethea Mermaid

There is one question that every creative freelancer dreads.

It is not: “Where do you get your ideas?” (Some of us actually have a quite a good time making up stuff for that one.)

No, the question we all dread is the one our friend/family member asks as soon as we pick up the phone:

“Are you at work or at home?”

This question drives insane both artists and authors alike. Anyone who works from home can empathize. There seem to be no boundaries when a person works from home. It’s HOME. If you are at home, then clearly you are available to go to the store or pick the kids or go for a walk or lend me your chainsaw or look this up on Google or just chat for 3 hours. Right?!?

I mean, it’s not like your boss is going to fire you.

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A Rose by Any Other Name

My very first review in a major publication (AlphaOops, Publisher’s Weekly) had the wrong ISBN for the book. This caused more confusion than I thought it would, and I discussed complained whined about it to a mentor of mine. His response was: “Listen: it could be the worst review in the world. As long as they get the title of the book right, trust me, it doesn’t matter.”

In that regard, I am so glad that I’ve been blessed with titles like “Enchanted” and “Hero.” Even “AlphaOops” has been spelled right every single time.

Alethea MermaidWhich is a good thing, because my name has been butchered up and down the internet for years…and it’s only gotten worse.

My name is Alethea Kontis. Here’s how you pronounce it: http://www.teachingbooks.net/pronounce.cgi?aid=18395

I have a YouTube channel, on which I state my name at the beginning of every single video. It’s right…
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How to Lose An Award Without Losing Your Mind

Two weeks ago, I lost a very important award.

How important, you ask? Important enough that I had an essay posted about it on USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog the day before the ceremony. Important enough that my nerves had me writing this open letter to my mother on my blog…and her response the next day left me sobbing in the hotel room. But that–and dinner that first night when I discovered my Auntie Jeannine had passed away–were the only times I shed a tear.

Because, you see, the SFWA Nebula Awards Weekend this year was one of the best times I’ve ever had. I can’t think of a more fun way to lose an award. So I thought I might share some tips on what to do the next time YOU happen to be up for some major, ceremony-inducing monolith of Lucite.

Tip !: The…
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Zoraida Cordova Swims with the Mermaids

Zoraida, Queen of the MermaidsGood morning, everyone!

I hope you’ve all had as remarkable a month as I have. (And gods willing, a more relaxing one.) Are you ready for summer?

I thought I’d honor this fabulously scorching-hot day by sharing with you a really fun interview I did with my dear friend Zoraida Cordova. You’ll love her–not only because she is INCREDIBLY GORGEOUS, but because she also WRITES BOOKS ABOUT MERMAIDS.

That’s right — you heard me! Zoraida’s debut novel The Vicious Deep and its follow up, the recently-released The Savage Blue, are young adult novels that follow the adventures of Tristan: a young lifeguard on Coney Island who discovers that his father is…well…the Sea King.

I’ll let Zoraida tell you more in her own words! She and I recorded this interview while having a blast at MISTI-Con, a fantastic Harry Potter themed convention held in Laconia, New Hampshire…
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