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Codexian Writing Quotes: Alethea Kontis


Codex is an online writing group I founded in 2004 that currently has about 200 active members, most writing science fiction or fantasy and all in the early stages of their careers, from some who have written a lot but not yet made their first pro sale to others who are seeing their third, fourth, or fifth novel coming out from a major publisher. Since the founding of the group, members have won major awards like the Campbell, Hubbard, Hugo, and Nebula, made hundreds (and possibly thousands) of short story sales, gotten top agents, sold their first book (or pair of books, or trilogy), made the New York Times bestseller list, achieved consistent financial and literary success with self-published eBooks, and so on. Some have transitioned to full-time writing careers, though most still write only when they can.

But I love the group not because of the amount of success of its members (which tests my envy tolerance on a regular basis) but because of the flood of wisdom, intelligence, kindness, encouragement, and enthusiasm that wells up every day through posts, e-mails, discussions, critiques, and in-person meetings. And while I can’t share all of that material, I can and will share quotes that have cropped up on our forum, with the permission [I originally wrote “position,” because my mental typing buffer is auditory … but I digress] of the originators.

So with this post I begin a series of Codexian quotes, which I hope you will find as entertaining, illuminating, and/or perplexing as I have. This first set is all from my friend Alethea Kontis, whose work includes a persistently delightful picture book called AlphaOops: The Day Z Went First (with illustrator Bob Kolar), the New York Times bestselling Dark Hunter Companion (with Sherrilyn Kenyon), an upcoming fantasy novel, and much else.

Alethea’s Web site and blog are at

Never underestimate the value of Butt In Chair.

[on getting fit] “I’ve decided that every freaking day is just Day One all over again, so why bother numbering them?

I had a great time whipping 16 7-year olds into a complete frenzy. We ended up on the playground, drawing all over ourselves with Sharpies.

We are writers. We are meant to see and feel everything, the good and the bad, the best and the worst. We are meant to cut ourselves and bleed our souls onto paper and share them with the world. We breathe life into impossible cities and create alleyways of escape. We dredge up things that aren’t discussed at the breakfast table and serve them as entrees. We are creators whose purpose in life is to balance out the entropy.

[At the time of this quote, Lee worked for a book wholesaler] 1:30 p.m. — Weekly Staff Meeting. We decide it should be spelled ‘e-books.’

I smile at a baby in red socks and listen to Chris Martin from Coldplay tell me how beautiful I am. I know he doesn’t mean it, but it’s still nice to hear.

[in 2009] Imagine a world with 24356424 bazillion books and no brick-and-mortar stores, because everyone can publish their own grocery lists and advertise it on the internet (and then download it to folks’ PDAs). How will anyone be able to find a good book anymore? How do you find them today? That’s the part the publishing industry needs to focus on.


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