Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween - October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween! We had an early night here - no trick or treaters after 8:30 pm. The fact that it's frigid and it's a school night contributed to that. We have a freeze warning for a bit later tonight into tomorrow morning. Plus it's windy. Some of the trick or treaters were not dressed for the weather. Nonetheless we had at least 100 kids stop by. The Halloween cemetery was a big hit. Next year we may set it up so that trick or treaters must enter the cemetery to get their treats!

Wicked Alice and Whiplash - my children have gone to the dark side.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Our Halloween Cemetery - October 30, 2010

Here is a peek at the initial set up of this year's Halloween Cemetery. We expanded it this year. I can say right off the bat (get it? "bat") it needs more bones and more light. The webs needs to be worked on a bit too, though it does have a sort of fog hovering over the graves look. There is creepy music too. And maybe it needs some bats.

That's Dead Fred in the middle.

Larry, Mo & Curly

The entire cemetery

With the blue strobe.

The Grim Reaper

I'll take more pictures tomorrow, after it's in final form.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Blogversary Giveaways Update

Here are the final two necklaces from Cemetery Cat Jewelry!

The Zombie Giveaway will include this necklace:

The Werewolf/Shifter Giveaway will include this necklace (note that an additional charm may be added):

The Blogversary Giveaway page here has been updated. Remember - you have until November 10, 2010 at 11:59 PM United States Eastern Time to enter. Go to the Blogversary Giveaway page to enter.

Photo Friday - The Photos of Octobers Past - October 29, 2010

I decided to go through my October photos from the last few years and share some of my favorites. Happy Halloween!







Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wednesday Comics on Thursday - October 28, 2010

I picked up quite a few comics yesterday. One comic book publisher seemingly published a few months worth of comics yesterday. But those are not among my favorites. Don't get me wrong, I like all of the comics that I collect, but some are more special to me than others. Here are this week's "special" comics.

Avatar Press

Fevre Dream #8 of 10

Each issue of Fevre Dream has a regular cover, a Nightmare cover and a Wraparound cover. I have to say that theWraparound for Issue 8 is exceptional. It's perfect for October!



Dracula: The Company of Monsters, #3

Blackbeard: Legend of the Pyrate King #6

Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake Vampire Hunter
Circus of the Damned: The Charmer #5 of 5

I obviously like vampires and pyrates!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Interview with Alethea Kontis & Giveaway

Please welcome Alethea Kontis to The Qwillery.

TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Alethea:  Ha! My writing group (The Codex Writers -- could probably answer this better than I could. What someone else sees as a quirk I no doubt find perfectly normal. I'm not that different from any other writer.

Oh, wait! Yes, I am. I don't have a cat, nor do I ever intend to own a cat. There are but a few of us out there in the genre -- Kate Elliot and Kat Richardson and I decided recently to create a club called "Les Belles Dames Speculatif Sans Chats." We will wear little black dresses and meet at the super-collider and own dogs if we want to. (It's amazing what sort of trouble Twitter can get you into.)

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

Alethea:  I don't have a memory of a time when I couldn't read -- choosing a favorite writer is like choosing a favorite star in the sky. But my writing definitely has influences: Robin McKinley, Diana Wynne Jones, Grimm and Andersen, Lloyd Alexander, Meredith Ann Pierce, Jane Yolen, Roald Dahl, Wendy & Richard Pini, and Bill name a few.

TQ:  You've quite a few horror shorts published in 2010 some scifi and some fantasy. Do you have a favorite?

Alethea:  I made a list the other day -- I published ELEVEN short stories in 2010. That's half the number of stories I've published in my entire life. The mind boggles. And once again, there are too many favorites.

"Sweetheart Come" is up at the top of the list because it's the type of story I started writing when I was a teen -- told stories in the tradition of Grimm and Anderson, this one a legend that includes old magic and music and poetry and love conquering all. I wish all my stories came out as perfectly as this one did. The saga of its publication is amazing too: I was asked to be in an anthology called Up Jumped the Devil, with stories based on the songs of Nick Cave. My little sister chose the song. The third time I listened to it, the story just told itself to me. John Skipp loved "Sweetheart Come" so much he stole it away and got permission from the publisher to release it this year in his Werewolves and Shapeshifters anthology. I'm the coveted last spot in the book, right next to Neil Gaiman. In every way, this story is a dream come true.

"The God of Last Moments" is a favorite because it's such a painfully personal story, and those that strike closest to the writer's own heart often resonate the longest with the reader. "Life's a Beach" is a favorite because I got to work with my 13-year-old fairy goddaughter Ariell (who makes a great writing partner). She wrote all the gory scenes (I'm not good at gore). "Pocket Full of Posey" is my favorite because it reminds me of my 15-year high school reunion. "Blue and Gray & Black & Green" is my favorite because I had to do a lot of digging before finding any sort of information on Green Bottom plantation in West Virginia. Once I did, the ghost story just made sense...and I never thought I'd write anything involving the Civil War. "The Way of the Restless" is my favorite because it's about Elvis and Soap Operas in fun is that? And "The Unicorn Tree" is my favorite because I am Katie, and I am one of the cadre determined to bring unicorns back.

TQ:  AlphaOops!: The Day Z Went First was published in 2006 with the sequel AlphaOops!: H is for Halloween published earlier this year. Why books for children? Is there a further sequel in the works?

Alethea:   Luc Reid, founder of the Codex Writers Group, always called me Backwards Girl for how I (intentionally or not) go about doing things. My dream in life has always been to publish young adult novels and win the Newbury (and now the Norton!) Award, because those were the books I always loved. Ellen Raskin, Lois Lenski, Astrid Lindgren -- these are the authors I checked out of my library. These authors helped me decide what kind of person I wanted to be. Imagine if *I* could be one of those authors!

So what did I do? I wrote a cute little story about the alphabet fighting, gave it to a friend, and accidentally got published in the toughest area of publishing to break into: picture books. Then I went and edited a critically acclaimed anthology--to benefit the children of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, to get my name known in the SF world, and to impress a boy. On the heels of that, one of my best friends asked me to write a encyclopedic companion to her well-known paranormal romance series. How could I say no? Meanwhile, a small press asked me to gather up a bunch of my blog essays, and in a fit of inspiration I sat down for a few hours and hammered out another story about the alphabet fighting...only this time on Halloween. At which point it occurred to me that I should probably get an agent.

Here it is now, six years after that first contract. I've been reviewed in the New York Times, and been a bestseller there, too. I'm no dummy -- I've stumbled into some amazing opportunities, and I've jumped at every one. But only now, FINALLY, I have sold my very first young adult novel to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It's called SUNDAY, and will be released in 2012. I don't know if it will win all those fabulous awards or not (a girl can dream), but I'm finally where I've been trying to get all along. It's been a long, windy road here...but an amazing adventure. And, yes, more than just a little bit backwards.

As for another AlphaOops book...I can neither confirm or deny the existence of such an item. But if we all cross our fingers and clap for fairies, I might have some good news to share soon!

TQ:  Is there any genre or genres in which you would like to write?

Alethea:  I wish I could write mysteries, but the concept totally eludes me. I love watching Bones and Lie to Me and CSI; I love reading JT Ellison and Agatha Christie and Barbara Michaels and thinking, how do they DO that? How do they withhold all that information and dole it out in tiny little pieces until the big reveal at the end? What do their outlines look like? It must be like drawing mazes. I am amazed and awed every time.

TQ:  If you could dine with 3 people from history, who would they be?

Alethea:  Number One would be my grandfather -- my father's father -- Soterios Kontis. I never had the good fortune to meet him. He was a Greek pirate during the Nazi occupation in WWII, he was instrumental in the assassination of Che Guevara, and I imagine he told some great stories about his travels around the world. Plus, the dinner would be amazing. We Greeks love our food.

Number Two would be Roald Dahl. He's one of the authors I regret never writing a fan letter to while he was alive. (You should always write fan letters to your favorite authors!) He strikes me as an amazing sort of man who also stumbled into a lot of amazing opportunities...but all the while keeping that dark, childish sensibility. I imagine we'd get on famously.

Number Three would have to be a British Queen -- if I have all of history to choose from, perhaps Victoria. Or QE I. My Nana taught my sister and me when we were very young how to take our tea and how to eat eggs with the queen. She would be delighted if I had the chance to put her teachings to practical use.

TQ: What's next?

Alethea:  This month I'm sending off a YA horror novel to my agent, I'm writing a story for another anthology, and then it's NaNoWriMo! *happy dance* I know exactly what sort of trouble I want to get into this time. I call it YA Suburban Fantasy.

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery today.

About Alethea's Books and Stories

H gets top billing — but a stubborn B has something scary to say — as the inside-out alphabet gives a howl-arious Halloween performance.

Ack! It’s time for the show, and A isn’t ready. But then again, Halloween can only start with one letter, no matter how the A-B-Cs normally go! The misbehaving alphabet is back, and there’s no telling who will take the stage next. Z for zombie? P for pirate? Will X think of something good in time? Neon-bright, comically detailed illustrations show a cacophony of costumed letters, each with a mind and personality all its own. Along the bottom, tiny pumpkins arrange the players in proper order, making this alphabet story letter-perfect for Halloween.

It's backwards! It's inside out! It's every letter for itself! This laugh-out-loud romp is not your average alphabet book!

Z is tired of always having to be last when the alphabet family lines up. He is demanding fair and equal treatment! The letters (more or less) agree to go backwards, but it's not long before P has some ideas of his own. And so does H, for that matter. In fact, it seems as if almost every letter has a different opinion about how the alphabet should be arranged. It's chaos! It's pandemonium! And it's definitely not as easy as A-B-C! Filled with visually humorous details, Bob Kolar's colorful illustrations are the perfect foil for Alethea Kontis's snappy story about the comic confusion that comes when the letters of the alphabet, like a class of unruly children, step out of order and show that each one has a mind of its own.

Consider this handbook your education. Hunter 101. And don't go thinking you got off easy just because there's not a pop quiz at the end. This is the good stuff. The real deal. In here you'll find out all there is to know about being a Dark-Hunter.

Now for the disclaimer: This book is mutable. It goes with the wind. It changes more often than the mind of a sixteen-year-old Gemini with a closet full of clothes and a date in an hour. Don't be surprised if you open it up for the thirty-five thousandth time and find something old, something new, something borrowed or. . .well you get the point.

Curl up in a comfy chair with some millennium-old scotch and feast upon the informative banquet I have prepared for your enjoyment.

Welcome to your new life.

---From the Dark-Hunter Companion

2010 Short Stories by Alethea:

Dark Futures: Takes Stories of Dystopian SF
(September 2010)

“Black Hole Sun” (w/Kelli Dunlap)

Werewolves and Shape Shifters: Encounters with the Beasts Within

(September 2010)

"Sweetheart Come"

(October 2010)

 “Blue & Gray and Black & Green”

(August 2010)

“Life’s a Beach” (w/Ariell Branson)


Zero Gravity
(July 2010)

"The Unicorn Tree"
(Summer 2010)

“Diary of a Ghost’s Mistress”

(May 2010)

“The God of Last Moments”


2020 Visions
(November 2010)
“Pocket Full of Posey”

Shroud Magazine Issue #10
(Halloween 2010 Special Issue)
“Red Lantern"

For a full listing of Alethea's short stories, please visit her website here.

About Alethea

Alethea Kontis is the New York Times bestselling author of the AlphaOops series of picture books and Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter Companion. Her debut young adult novel, Sunday, will be released in 2012 by HMH. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. She can be found online narrating short fiction for Apex Magazine, reviewing books for Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, or blathering on at her own website: Alethea currently lives in Northern Virginia with her Fairy Godfamily and a teddy bear named Charlie.

Alethea's Links:

Facebook: Alethea Kontis

The Giveaway


What: AlphaOops!: H is for Halloween

How: Leave a comment telling The Qwillery your favorite candy to get for Halloween . If you don't tell The Qwillery about your favorite candy your entry will not be counted!

You can receive additional entries by:

1) Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2) Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3) Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who & When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Wednesday, November 03, 2010.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Release Tuesday Vlog - October 26, 2010

I picked up quite a few books today, which you will see in the vlog, of course. I have a micro mini rant at one point.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The View From Monday - October 25, 2010

It's Monday ... again. Halloween approaches so we'll have a Halloween related giveaway with an interview on Wednesday.  Tomorrow there are a lot of new releases (see below) so there will more than likely be a New Release Tuesday Vlog. I've posted some book trailers that I've found below the release list. What do you think about book trailers?

Thursday will be comics. Friday will be photos. Of course, most of this is subject to change depending on what I'm reading, interesting events, and pure whim. At this point, I believe there will be no blogging on the weekend. Saturday is the 88th birthday of someone near and dear to me. Sunday is Halloween. I still need to decorate. I haven't even picked up pumpkins yet or candy for the Trick or Treaters. Lots to do this week. 

October 26, 2010

Daughter of Darkness**V.C. Andrews
GeistPhillipa BallantineBook of the Order
When Wicked CravesJ.K. BeckThe Shadow Keepers 3
Entice Me at TwlightShayla BlackDoomsday Brethren 4
Servent of the UnderworldAliette de BodardObsidian and Blood 1
Side JobsJim ButcherDresden Files Short Stories
A Highlander Christmas*Janet ChapmanHighlander Series 7
Secret LegacyAnna DeStefanoLegacy Series 2
How to Lose a Demon in 10 DaysSaranna DeWylde10 Days Series
The Light of Burning Shadows**Chris EvansIron Elves 2
Drink of MeJacquelyn Frank
Haunted by Your TouchAnthologyJeaniene Frost, Shayla Black, Sharie Kohler 
Harvest HuntingYasmine GalenornOtherworld 8
The Wolf PrinceKaren KelleyPrinces of Symtaria 3
Trio of SorceryMercedes Lackey
Echo CityTim Lebbon
Blood HeatMaria LimaBlood Lines 4
Dreamfever**Karen Marie MoningFever Series 4
HighbornYvonne NavarroDark Redemption 1
Vampire UprisingMarcus PelegrimasSkinners 4
Souls StealersAndy RemicClockwork Vampires 2
Road to BedlamMike ShevdonCourts of the Feyre 2
Ecstasy in DarknessGena ShowalterAlien Huntress 10
Shotgun SoceressLucy A. SynderSpellbent 2
His Darkest EmbraceJuliana StoneJaguar Warriors 2
Crown of Crystal FlameC. L. WilsonTairen Soul 5

October 27, 2010

Heaven's SpiteLillith SaintcrowJill Kisment, Hunter, 5

** MM release

The Shadowkeepers Series - J.K. Beck

Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard

Harvest Hunting by Yasmine Galenorn

Highborn by Yvonne Navarro

Soul Steales by Andy Rmic

His Darkest Embrace by Juliana Stone

Crown of Crystal Flame by C L Wilson

And the cover of the only anthology:

Happy Monday! Happy Bookbuying!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

RIP Alexander Anderson Jr.

I was reading the Sunday paper a bit ago and saw an obituary for Alexander Anderson Jr. Mr. Anderson is the creator of Rocky and Bullwinkle. I absolutely adore The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. The humor was intelligent and silly. It featured a series of cartoons within the framework of the show including Fractured Fairy Tales, Dudley Do-Right, Peabody's Improbable History, Aesop & Son and many more. Seasons 1-4 are already available on DVD with the complete series being released in January 2011.

There is a nice article in Time about Mr. Anderson - here.

Dudley Do-Right

Fractured Fairy Tales

The flags are at half mast in Pottsylvania. Wossamotta U has canceled classes. RIP Mr. Anderson.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Moon - October 23, 2010

Ever since the Harvest Moon in September, I've wanted to take more moon pictures. It took some trial and error this evening to get these shots because the moon was so bright and not orange. I'm hoping to shoot it earlier in the evening when it appears to be huge. Here are just a couple of shots from tonight.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Photo Friday - October 22, 2010 - Around the House

I did not have time to take photos this week... until about an hour ago.  It is really cold here. 27F wind chill. Brrrr. I took a walk around the house with my camera. Here's what I found.

One of my Abraham Darby roses is still blooming and budding!

The Ascelpius pods are opening. Wonder where I'll find Ascelpius next year?

I don't know the name of this bush, but it's pretty!

Some of the Azaleas are still blooming a bit.

One of the Dogwoods.
(How can you tell if a tree is a Dogwood? By its bark.)

The last of the Echinacea?

The Helenium is blooming also!

A Sedum - it's supposed to be blooming now.

Happy Friday!