Tags: essays

Snow White

Little Essays Everywhere

This week, I’m working on making some of my stories available in digital format (for only $0.99 each). I understood that there would be a decently steep learning curve since I’m a bit of a technoidiot, but I still wanted to soak up as much about this thing that is digital publishing as I could. I’m learning all about formatting and refreshing my memory on Photoshop… Ultimately, it’s been far more fun than it has been frustrating, which is a good thing.

My dear friend J.T. Ellison (on Twitter as @thrillerchick) took me to task over breakfast a couple of weekends ago and forced me to get my royal butt in gear on this particular subject. She told me she’d been waiting for a digital anthology from me for far too long, and was willing to make one happen by force, if needs be. J.T. may look all sweet and tall and blonde and awesome, but she kills people for a living, so I try not to cross her if at all possible.

I explained that the bulk of my short story fodder (and there is quite the bulk, it seems) was either not available for me yet, or did not adhere to a certain theme. J.T. agreed with the first point, but argued the second. She also offered up the suggestion that I make novella-size anthologies of a certain theme, if I was so inclined to stick with that particular hangup. It was a good idea.

What I’ve decided to do is this: I’m going to begin by putting up the short stories I have available for sale on Amazon/Kindle and B&N/Nook at $0.99 apiece. You will get not only the story, but also an essay on the origin of that particular tale (I always love reading that sort of thing). I will then periodically put up mini-collections of my work–4 or 5 thematic story collections with possibly some original stories thrown in–for only $2.99. While it will be cheaper than buying each story separately, I will not include the origin essays in the anthology.

Does this sound good to you guys? Let me know what you think.

And now, apparently, I need to go write some more origin essays. For some reason I thought I had a lot more of these already done. Not that it matters, really…you know how much we authors *hate* going on and on about our stories.


Originally published at AletheaKontis.com. You can comment here or there.

Snow White

Darkness and Valentines

Know what people love to get for Valentine’s Day? Flowers.

The problem with flowers, though, is that they’re only beautiful for a short period of time. You have to make sure they have fresh water, trim off the dead buds, and then finally toss the whole kit & caboodle in your trash can and scrub the mold out of your vase.

Know what’s better than moldy vases? Books.

Right now over at Apex Book Company, there are a whole lot of great sales going on, and a super-duper Valentine’s Day Promotion.

First, there’s the brand-spanking-new anthology DESCENDED FROM DARKNESS II. If you remember the first volume, it’s kind of like a “best of Apex Magazine” collection. The unique thing about this volume is that while all the stories were published online by Apex, this is the first time most of them (and possibly all of them) have been in print.

DESCENDED FROM DARKNESS II includes my post-apocalyptic Patsy Cline-inspired tale “A Poor Man’s Roses.” The price on this very lovely and very affordable trade paperback is $16.95. But if you order now, you can get DESCENDED FROM DARKNESS I & II for the low price of $25.00. It doesn’t come with a set of Ginsu knives, but Apex won’t rape you for “shipping & handling” like those horrible TV ads. (People pay that much for a $2 bill? Really? Pull the other one.)

If you’d like something a little more personal for your Valentine, might I suggest the Apex “Byte & Sign” promotion? Here’s how it works:

From now until Valentine’s Day, when you buy an Apex book, it will be signed by the author(s) (or the editor for anthologies) AND you will be emailed the digital version (ePub/mobi/PDF) for free.

That’s right — an e-book you can dive into immediately, and then a beautifully personalized book you can give your sweetheart later. It’s literally the gift that keeps on giving!

The Valentine’s Day promotion includes my infamous essay collection BEAUTY & DYNAMITE (which, if you think about it, includes some fairly romantic material and would make a really great Valentine’s gift…why didn’t I think of this before?)

Look at that gorgeous, romantic cover…and you guys know how colorfully decorated my signatures get when I have time. I don’t have a lot of these hanging around to bring to conventions anymore, so if you’re looking for a signed copy, now’s your perfect chance!

(And who knows…maybe if enough folks order it, maybe Apex will let me put out another one. Fingers crossed…)


Originally published at AletheaKontis.com. You can comment here or there.

Snow White

Guest Blog Up At Magical Words

You’ll have to do some work for your blog post today: “Let The Right One In” is up over at the Magical Words writing blog, so you have to click to get there.

If you’re a writer and haven’t bookmarked Magical Words, you should. There is a wealth of fabulous information over there from some fantastic writers, both inside and out — C.E. Murphy, David B. Coe, Faith Hunter, Lynn Flewelling, and the illustrious Edmund Schubert, who graciously lent me his blog entry today to guest star in.


[Edited to add: you have to register at the Magical Words site and log in to post a comment.]

Originally published at AletheaKontis.com. You can comment here or there.

Snow White

Apex Army Recruiting

You enjoy science fiction. You’re addicted to the computer. You’ve got some time on your hands. You like free stuff.

Kid, have I got the job for you.

Anyone, that’s right, ANYONE can be a member of the Apex Army. There are four ways to do it.

1.) Review some Apex books or stories from the magazine on your blog/FB/Twitter account. Where do you find those books & stories? HERE. Don’t like reading online and you’re printer’s out of paper? Have stories READ to you by fabulous authors! HERE is the latest one. There are links to others at the bottom. And dude..seriously…TWITTER. You can do a review in 140-characters or less. I dare you.

2.) Fly the Apex blog widget.
Get the Apex Publishing News widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)

3.) Fly the Apex Amazon widget. (Check it out here on the right.)

4.) Fly one of Apex’s many lovely banners. (There are some right here you can copy & paste.)


BONUS.) If you are lazy and have extra money lying around (or if you were going to buy some books ANYWAY), check out the investment options when you donate to the magazine. Discounts, free books, free mugs, free shot glasses, and your name in print — all for $100 or less!

Go on, have some fun. You know you want to. WE certainly want you to.

Originally published at AletheaKontis.com. You can comment here or there.

Snow White

Bibbidy Bobbidy Byes

This essay is one of the “Lost Blogs” that was discovered in the wildlands of the intarwebs by my friend Eric James Stone after the publication of Beauty & Dynamite. I’m posting it in response to something Kelli wrote recently called “Boyfriend 47,”, an essay ranking the merits (or lack thereof) of the respective Disney princes. Personally, I think Prince Charming’s not so bad…if you know the whole story.

This is also apropriate because Mom and Dad are headed back to Florida this morning, and I’m just plain-old going to miss them.


Bibbidy Bobbity Byes

Original post date: 12/8/2004

I dropped Mom off at the airport this morning. On the long, lonely drive back to work, I tried to think of other things in an effort to distract myself from being emotional. After covering traffic and other people who hate goodbyes, my brain settled on Cinderella.

I’ve always favored the Grimms’ telling of Cinderella over the Perrault or Disney versions. Some may find that surprising, seeing as I’m a bit of a Fairy Godmother In Training – the Grimms’ tale hadn’t a fairy godmother in sight. (Not to despair, Briar Rose still had them to sort out that whole curse thing, so my future career choice is still justified.)

No, the less popular – and much darker – tale had Cinderella weeping over the grave of her mother. Birds in the tree planted on the grave spoke to her on her mother’s behalf and helped her out in her times of need. They came to her aid when the evil stepmother gave Cinderella impossible tasks to accomplish. She didn’t go to the ball once but three times, in dresses thrown to her from the birds. When the Prince came around to the house bearing the slipper, the stepsisters maimed themselves in their avarice, slicing off pieces of their feet in order to fit into the shoe. The Prince rode away with the wrong woman twice, and twice the birds warned him of the blood in the shoe and sent him back for the proper girl.

Being caught inside the whirlwind that my life has been lately had me thinking about Cinderella. Empathizing, asking questions, and coming to realizations. Somehow, Cinderella MUST have met the Prince prior to the ball. I’m not quite sure how she pulled it off, but there’s no way she would have done all that stuff for him without being completely in love with him first. Big Love, capital letters and all, not just a crush on a pretty face and a castle. Showing up at a ball in a nice dress hoping to snare a man reeks of pettiness. I have to believe that Cinderella was much better than that. Picking a girl out of a crowd and marrying her solely based on her looks is equally as shallow. I have to believe that the Prince was much more than that too.

Cinderella was an introvert, my brain rationalized.

It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? She kept her head low and kowtowed to the evil women who took over her house and took away her life. There is NO way on Earth she would have gone through the trials she did and forced herself to be the center of attention three times for anything less than Big Love. My guess is, attending those balls was the most brave, scary, nervewracking thing she had ever done in her life. I’m betting she had more than a few panic attacks. But she still did it.

Then there’s the issue of the Prince – who KNEW darn well what his True Love looked like, but his integrity still forced him to stay true to his word and ride away with the wrong woman. Can a man with a code of honor like that marry a virtual stranger? Well, the proclamation did say that his bride would be the one who fit the shoe… Good thing those birds were there to give him a suitable out-clause.

It certainly gives the tale more depth when you consider that Cinderella was probably a borderline basketcase coming out of her shell; the Prince, a tormented knight in shining armor with an annoying amount of moral fiber.

But the story is really about a mother’s love for her daughter – a love so pure and strong it reaches from beyond the grave. Her birds don’t exactly tell either of the lovers what to do, only nudge them a bit to help them down their paths. And so, Cinderella and her Prince lived Happily Ever After.

The moral of the story: Mom is always right.

Love you, Mom.

Originally published at AletheaKontis.com. You can comment here or there.

Snow White

Growing Up Poe

Edgar Allan Poe would be celebrating his 200th birthday this year. He cast an epic shadow across American fiction; he inspired every last horror writer who came after him; and his fans founded Weird Tales magazine.

Weird Tales wondered if Poe still has the same impact today — so in their latest issue, they asked a bevy of dark fantasists (including Cherie Priest, whose essay is already published online) how much the Grandpa of the Gothic loomed in their tender years. The answer: a whole freakin’ lot.

Here’s what geek princess Alethea Kontis has to say about it. Click here to read “Teen Angel, Dark.”

Yes, Poe really was my emo high school boyfriend. And yes. I’m still reeling a bit from the fact that I have officially been published in Weird Tales. Weird Tales. THE Weird Tales. Yeah. Me.


Originally published at AletheaKontis.com. You can comment here or there.