Yearning for Wonderland

There is such a place as fairyland - but only children can find the way to it...until they have grown so old that they forget the way. Only a few, who remain children at heart, can ever find that fair, lost path again...The world calls them singers and poets and artists and story-tellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland. ~ L.M Montgomery

Illustrating "Violets" – Bringing Your Story to Life

The Fairy Ring Contest is finally over and, despite the fact I have lapsed into a semi-comatose state, it was easily one of the most rewarding writing experiences of my life. I met dozens of new writers and saw old friends create literary magic of their own.

I was awed by the willingness of all these creative people to donate their time, energy and brilliance to my little contest. One of these creators is Tina Ramey, an extremely talented designer.

Tina kindly donated an illustrated PDF to the winner of The Fairy Ring Twitter #FanFav contest, Ruth Long (@bullishink) and her entry “The Scourge of Clan Bethmoora”.

Check out the amazing job Tina did (jpeg of first page):

Tina found appropriate artwork, contacted the artist for permission and did a magnificent layout of Ruth’s story.

I was so charmed by the beauty of this work, I asked Tina pretty please for a illustration of “Violets”, my own Fairy Ring entry. She sent me this loveliness (jpeg of first page):

I loved it so much I wanted to offer her services to my writer friends. Tina has put together a page detailing her services; she has a short fiction special rate offered (see comments below) for Fairy Ring writers and fans of my blog. She can assist with all your digital publication needs, whether it be a tiny piece of flash fiction or your NaNoWriMo novella.

At only $15 for a 2 page flash fiction, you can’t afford not to have a great-looking presentation for your short fiction for your blog or portfolio site! Go see Tina and get your own pages of loveliness.

5 Sentence Fiction – Yearning

I am so excited because I got to choose this week’s Five Sentence Fiction inspiration word at Lillie McFerrin Writes.

So I picked Yearning. If you weren’t aware, it’s one of my very favorite words and the constant inspiration for this blog. Of course I had to enter!

Despite the fact that I am short on sleep, I scribbled my entry on a tiny square of paper at work, folded it up and smuggled it home to share with you. Be sure to go read the other ‘Yearning’ entries and maybe enter yourself!


Yearning

He bounded up the wide stone steps two at a time, his heart slamming frantically against the birdcage of his ribs, and flung open her tower chamber door, “Princess!”

The room was strangely still — even the dove loose in the rafters was hushed — and white muslin curtains flapped loose in the breeze. A thick rope was knotted tight round the carved mahogany bedpost; his eye traced it across the floor and over the edge of the window sill.

Her pillow, plumped up on her neatly made bed, had a note pinned to the satin coverlet: ‘I couldn’t wait any more.’

 Far below, he heard departing hoof beats and watched as she rode his horse away.

“Fair Rosamund” (detail) by John William Waterhouse

The Fairy Ring Flash Fiction Contest Winners

Despite some minor glitches with Blogger, I am determined to post the winners to our super-duper amazing Fairy Ring flash fiction contest.

This contest was held in honor of the release of The Fairy Ring by Mary Losure (Candlewick Press, 2012). Galleys have graciously been provided by Raquel Matos of Candlewick Press.

To qualify, entrants had to write a 300 word work of flash fiction about their fictional (or not) encounter with a fantastical creature. The entries were incredibly diverse: we saw stories of elves and faeries, unicorns and goblins, changelings and mermaids, ghosts, gnomes and killer fae that defied description.
Despite being 300 words, the stories were comical, tragic, silly, powerful, lyrical, dynamic, unexpected, horrifying and more. I strongly urge you, if you have not read all 54 of the entries (yes, you read that right), please go and click on the thumbnails at the bottom of the contest page. If you enjoy what you read, please consider commenting. A considered compliment is always appreciated.
Now, the prizes.

1st Place: A copy of The Fairy Ring and a 10 page edit by Anna Meade. They will have their blog link shared on the Google+ page of Candlewick Press.

2nd Place: A copy of The Fairy Ring and a 5 page edit by Anna Meade.

3rd Place: A copy of The Fairy Ring.

I have added a special category – the Yearning for Wonderland Award, the story that best communicates the idea of this blog. This winner will be awarded a guest posting on Yearning for Wonderland.
In closing, I must say that the caliber of writers in this competition made decisions practically impossible. If I had a dollar for every person who said ‘Gosh, I don’t envy you this decision’, I could switch to blogging full-time. I am no stranger to tough decisions – I have cast theatrical productions and judged other contests – but this was a whole other level of splitting hairs on excellence.
Without further ado, here are the winners.

1ST PLACE: MATT LANNIGAN for “TRANSPORTED”
My Photo“Transported”, Matthew’s story is paced perfectly. He slowly builds dread; the reader senses something bad will happen to little Izzy, but can’t help but go on. That is true craft. Also, who reading this has not lost themselves in a book to sometimes catastrophic results?
Matt wins a copy of The Fairy Ring book and a 10 page edit by myself. WOOOT!
2ND PLACE: STEVEN WATSON for “3 A.M.”
Steven’s entry took a classic backwoods cabin drunken love story and gave it a savage twist. Attention: it has a little sauce, for people who are bothered by that kind of thing…or for those who like it (PG-13). Not your grandfather’s fairytale and that is why Steven has won a copy of The Fairy Ring and a 5 page edit by yours truly.
3RD PLACE: KERN WINDWRAITH for “GREEN GROW THE RUSHES”

My PhotoKern’s excellent story was entry #54 and she linked it in, seriously, about 23 minutes before the contest closed. Not to encourage procrastination, but her masterful portrayal of childhood creepy set me back on my heels.  Kern has won her own copy of The Fairy Ring too!

YEARNING FOR WONDERLAND AWARD: DANIEL SWENSEN for THE DARKEST PART OF THE WOOD
Daniel’s story deserves special mention for its perfect balance of darkness and poignancy. His prose grabs you; I defy you to stop before the last line. He has been awarded a guest post on Yearning for Wonderland.
I should also mention the winners of our FanFav contest on Twitter, held on the 20th. Everyone had three votes, which they tweeted. The FanFav contest closed when the Fairy Ring contest did. After the votes were tallied, here were the results:
FAN FAVORITE: RUTH LONG for “THE SCOURGE OF CLAN BETHMOORA”
Ruth won the vote on our Twitter contest! Her award was an illustrated PDF of her story, courtesy of the talented Tina Ramey. You can check it out here.

HONORABLE MENTION: MCKENZIE BARHAM for “PLEASE SEND THIS TO MY FAIRY”
Mckenzie is our youngest entrant at 16, though you certainly can’t tell it from her sophisticated storytelling. She came in second on our FanFav contest.
Thank you so much for all those who entered, who promoted and shared. This has been a marvelous and humbling experience. Thank you, thank you, thank you. My gratitude is boundless. Thank you to Raquelle Matos of Candlewick Press, who offered the free galleys and triggered the idea. Thank you to Ruth Long who designed the Fairy Ring contest logo.

The Fairy Ring Writing Contest Submission – Thomas Loy

In his first flash fiction competition ever, Thomas Loy has sent us a piece full of nostalgia.


Dreaming of Heaven and Big Back Yards
 
As I long to stay awake, I can feel slumber being forced upon me and the thoughts of heaven and home begin to lay me down to sleep. As the sleep fairy takes me away to slumber town, I can see my home in Tennessee at the bottom of the long hill with the weeping willow tree and my big back yard. 
I saw the world in my backyard. The Big Orange played and beat Alabama everyday. The ivy walls of Wrigley Field and the maple tree was the big green wall at Fenway Park. 
The smell of fresh cut grass in the summer and fallen leaves in the fall. A picnic table to eat peanut butter sandwichs and drink cherry Kool Aid on hot summer days.
Dogwood trees were magic tents. Evel Knievel rode and Bear Bryant stood, leaning against the old oak tree. Normandy Beach was stormed many times and the battle always interupted by the call of my loving grandmother offering homemade biscuits and freshly fried chicken.
It’s where my first dog had her puppies. The Lone Ranger chased a thousand outlaws there. The swing where I stole my first kiss. Summer days and magic ways. Life has never been as simple since.
I believe there is a heaven. I believe we go as kids and our family waits patiently for us with outstretched arms, because heavens just another place just like my big back yard.

—-

When he got down on his knee, I would wager that women (and maybe some men) gasped collectively. This was the culmination of all we have been waiting for. There were some, like myself, who cynically suspected that
The moment when Matthew says to Mary

And I held my breath. This was the moment to ruin. He could have easily said something more period-appropriate like “Well, darling, I  suppose I can accept this

Mary even references Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Angel Clare, whose happiness is ruined by his inability to get beyond her prior seduction by the gentleman of the house. 

And, okay, I admit it. I cried. Isn’t that what we all want, somehow? To be with someone who will see us as we are, who will love us anyway?

Downton Abbey has struck a chord with millions of viewers.

During the Great Depression, the