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

Thieves at Heart, Tristan J. Tarwater and the Audiobook of DOOM

Some of you may recognize the name Tristan J. Tarwater. She is the author of The Valley of Ten Crescents Series: Thieves at Heart and the soon-to-be released Self-Made Scoundrel. She also recently released Botanica Blues, an homage to Lovecraft, as well as contributes regularly to Troll in the Corner.

You can read the excellent feature of her on Surlymuse.com. Follow her on Twitter (@backthatelfup).

Tristan is a self-described Dork Mom and Geek Dame. Plus, she has vertical hair.

She writes fantasy novels. More importantly, she writes GOOD fantasy novels. Her work is awesome and so I recently pushed her Kickstarter effort in its final hours. She raised over $1500 from 62 devoted fans (of which I was one), which is over double her goal!

On the Kickstarter page, she mentioned she was considering doing an audiobook for Thieves at Heart. On a whim, I read the first chapter of Thieves at Heart into my iPhone and sent it to her. She loved it and so, HERE IS THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT.

I will be recording the Thieves at Heart audiobook. 

*wild applause*

I’m am excited and honored to be part of this amazing project. It’s ambitious (54,000 words!), but I feel up to the challenge! More updates to come.

Beauteous Day for QuelleBelle

My good friend, Raquel Matos (@quellelove on Twitter) recently commented that weddings are only fun to plan if you are a special special snowflake. She then said she was not one.

Raquel and her fiance

You may remember Raquel from the Fairy Ring Contest. She was kind enough to provide the copies of the books, as well as the original seed of the idea that got me off on all these crazy writing contests.

I recently dubbed her QuelleBelle, because she’s lovely inside and out. So to prove that she is indeed a special special snowflake, I am hosting her the first ever (maybe in the world) Pinterest Wedding Shower.

At this moment, you are likely doing the double-blink that people tend to do when I introduce one of my more eccentric ideas. If you are still reading, let me share the details.

I have started a group Pinterest Board, dubbed QuelleBelle’s Beauteous Day. On it, I have pinned all my ideas for the most charming, quirky vintage wedding shower ever. This is the perfect party theme for Raquel, as she hosts the amazing vintage film blog Out of the Past.

So here’s the deal. This group pinboard is for those who love the vintage fashions and fripperies of yesteryear. Every image pinned must have a CAPTION, an explanation for why you chose it for this whimsical, wondrous online event.

I recommend using the board like this:

1) Pin the outfit(s) you would wear to QuelleBelle’s Beauteous Day. Oh, it can be anything you want: Dior, Chanel, Balenciaga, etc. I am encouraging 40s-50s, but let your imagination go. Pick hat, shoes, accessories, skirt, dress, gown, assemble your dream vintage look. Clearly you need one outfit for day and one for evening. Why not? We have a limitless budget and all of Pinterest to choose from.

2) Pin the gift you would bring Raquel. Explain why you chose it in the caption.

3) Pin a beautiful architectural detail – why not have one corner be a Swiss chalet and another be a French shabby chic cottage? The rooms are as big as you like and decorated in so many styles. Your imagination is the only limit.

4) Pin flowers or favors or any other lovely wedding shower detail that will pay tribute to this unique lady and her style.

The best thing about this shower is that you can come and go as you please, the food and drinks are everflowing and it is filled with wandering, vintage-loving souls like you.

If I have not invited you and you are a lover of vintage/friend of Raquel’s, please @ me on Twitter or email me at annabbps at gmail dot com.

Though she’s too far away for me to plan a real party or even to hug, help make QuelleBelle’s Beauteous Day!

Napping Blogger Award

I am a little slow to catch up on my kind mentions and awards, but this one is too cute to pass up.

BEHOLD: The Napping Blogger Award

I was not only nominated for the award by the creator, the awesome Donna B. McNicol (@donnabmcnicol), but also the ever kind Steven P. Watson (@ashviper). Thanks to you both for remembering me!

The rules for the Napping Blogger Award are easy:

  1. Link back to the one(s) who gave you the award.
  2. Tell us what you do to take time for YOU! That might be a hobby, a musical break, a favorite movie or show, sitting outside enjoying nature, or even taking a nap!
  3. Nominate five other bloggers – especially folks you think deserve a break from their routine.

Taking time for me is one of the things with which I struggle. I am so busy promoting contests and the artistic output of myself and others that I have to force myself to slow down. Many of my friends have heard me mumble, “…Sleep when I’m dead.” My bloodshot eyes at that moment may have foretold the zombie apocalypse.

Lately, to relax I have been arranging my new library, filling my desk drawers and dusting bookshelves and categorizing books. It may sound vexing, but it is my happy time.

I also love playing piano barefoot and have newly discovered the meditative joys of potting flowers (ha, please ignore my black thumb).

*scratches head*

Now I have to figure out 5 bloggers who need a break from their routine. I know so many deserving bloggers, but here are my five who work harder (or crazier) than most! Give yourself a break and enjoy your new Napping Blogger Award!

1) Angie Richmond

2) Daniel Swensen

3) Jo-Anne Teal

4) Afsaneh Khetrapal

5) Sophie Moss

    Among the Bright Stars We Will Dance

    This post is about true love. Not the love that we see in movies and books, but the true thing. In stories, the couple ride off into the sunset triumphantly. They kiss and the screen fades to black. They live happily ever after.

    The stories rarely show illness or death. But those too are part of life and the ending that every true love will face.

    This post is a tribute to my great-uncle Bob Paris. He passed away last week at the age of 88. He lived a long, full life. He fought in World War II, flying P-40s in China with the famous Flying Tigers squadron. You can read the full obituary.

    This post is not about his heroic service to our country or the countless people he touched in a positive way. This post is about the true love story of Bob and Joyce, his wife of 63 years.

    I never saw Bob without Joyce or vice versa. They were a unit in our family. For every event in my entire life, no matter how small, Bob and Joyce would drive all the way down from Xenia, Ohio. They were here for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, Derby parties, barbeques, family picnics, 4th of July, Easter, Memorial Day, graduations and so on. They were such a permanent staple to our family that I scarcely even registered it. Though he was a dashing war hero, this is how I saw and loved my Great Uncle Bob.

    Through his last illness, Joyce was always there. It was like watching a candle flame, burning against the darkness. She was so brave at the funeral, though very still, and she only stood to read some poems that she had written to Bob. I have included one here. Regardless of your faith, I believe it is a true testament to the power of love.

    Together Forever
    When we fell in love, it will be forever.
    The ties that bind us will never sever.
    God is the one who brought us together.
    The storms of life we will always weather.

    Life goes by in such a hurry.
    We don’t have time to fret and worry.
    Let’s cherish every moment together.
    Life on this earth will not last forever.

    We’ll be together in heaven above,
    Because we’re united in steadfast love.
    We both can rejoice in God’s perfect plan,
    That he created for woman and man.

    Someday among the bright stars we will dance.
    Then we’ll continue our loving romance.
    God created love to last forever.
    So we’ll always be happy forever.

    Goodbye, Uncle Bob. Save those dancing feet for Joyce.

    A Room of My Own: Ruth Long

    Yes, because her fan club continues to clamor I will now feature Ruth Long, aka Mortuary Mama, the Lady Bullish herself!

    Ruth has her own well-regarded writing website. A poet and flash fictionista, she agreed to be featured on A Room of My Own.

    Q: Please describe your space, including any features that make it special to you.

    A: My writing space is a vintage roll top desk in my bed-bath suite on the second level of my son’s three-level rambling old house, a dwelling we affectionately call ‘The Mystery Mansion’ in reference to an episode of Scooby-Doo. When they moved into the house last year, my son and dtr-in-law took one look at the built-in bookshelves and called to tell me to start packing because my dream room awaited!

    Cool Architectural Features: wood grain paneled walls; three big windows with diamond insets; an entire wall of built-in bookshelves.

    Cool Atmospheric Features: Very often, when I’m working on a story or blog post, my little twin bed is presto-chango transformed into a couch or tent and filled with a combination of grandchildren (3) and dogs (3), the tv is tractor-beamed onto the Disney channel and the nearest bookshelf is strewn with baby bottles, sippy cups, cheerios, diapers and otter-pop wrappers.

    **It’s said that Louis L’Amour, the legendary Western storyteller, could write anywhere: on the back of a horse or on the median in Times Square in New York City. I figure that having a cat-napping dog in my lap and an episode of Toddlers Gone Wild carrying on behind me as I write, shows that I’m striving for that same level of dedication and professionalism! Well, that or I’m 51/50!

    Q: What is your favorite/most inspiring object in this room?

    Desk – This was a gift from a childhood friend. It belonged to his mother and when it was passed down to him, he immediately bequeathed it to me. I love all the little cubbies and drawers and often curl up in my chair and just admire the loveliness of it and dream that I will one day become worthy of it!

    Bookshelves – As a book addict, having a place to display my entire personal library is nothing short of magical. The self across from the gray printer on top of the desk is writing references. The shelf above it is classic literature. The one above that is poetry. The one above that (not pictured) spans the length of the wall and is filled with general fiction. The left side of the shelf has rows for sci-fi and fantasy, mystery, adventure and series. The shelves under the window are for topical collections like humor, gardening and children’s books, and the bottommost shelf is for magazines and spiral bound collected articles about the writing craft.

    Q: What rituals do you go thru when you want to write in this space?

    I think of writing like a love relationship, so I have various writing rituals.

    For example, because I hear language as music (you can read more about this here: http://www.siriuspress.com/studio/2012/04/confessions-of-a-rogue-ink-slinger/), reading out loud is essential to my writing process/ritual.

    Nine-To-Five Grind – Sit down and write, just slog it out regardless of the pile of unfolded laundry beside the laptop or the trail of skittles, cheese-its and teething cookies scattered across the desktop or the chewed up sandal under the desk that puppy demolished. This is my no frills, balls-to-the-wall, write or die, where the bones of stories and posts are thrown up, jotted down and filed under ‘take that, blank page.’ Don’t misunderstand this process, though, because it’s not as joyless as it sounds. You can be sure there are hijinks and goofiness going on, because that’s just part of who I am, but it’s a more restrained take. This is my serious, disciplined, take-no-prisoners side.

    Lunch Dates: I started keeping a writer’s notebook http://www.bullishink.com/2012/01/12/notebook-initiative/ in January of 2010 and although it’s nowhere near as splendid as Woolf’s glorious journals, the three volumes (one for each year) are a fairly telling look into my writer’s psyche. I have a strict layout for the simple reason that I need them to be searchable, but the content is quite eclectic – books, movies, music, people, library runs – whatever influences my writing life goes into the pages as well as completed blog posts, flash fiction and short stories (novels get their own journal). When I settle in to journal, I usually have music playing, popcorn and pepsi on the desk and my feet curled up in the chair or propped up on the desk. This is me at my most mellow. Happy. Relaxed. Pleased as fruit punch. This is me at the beach in cutoffs with my toes in the sand and an umbrella drink in my hand.

    Weekending – (1) Brainstorming: Lay out necessary reference books and research material and enjoy the exact placement of each item. Love to have everything spread out and just waiting for me to make use of it! Take notes, play connect-the-story-dots and free write. This is my psychotically systematic self and it’s a terribly blissful experience. (2) Editing. I abhor red pens so I edit in blue. I print out the story, grab my trusty pilot-g2-finetip and do a read through at the desk. Make changes. Print fresh copy, grab pen and walk the room as I read out loud. Press copy against bumpy walls or door to make changes. Sit down and make changes. Continue reading out loud until my ears are happy. Much as I love writing, I love editing because I get to sharpen and spit-polish the piece with every new pass. This is my delighted, precocious, frenetically creative self at its happiest arc.

    Behind Closed Doors – Set the mood. Put fresh flowers on the desk. Turn on some music, whatever feels right at the moment. Open the windows so there is a breeze in the room and the sheer white curtains flutter. Light a favorite candle, either a scent called Monkeyfart (!), a delicious blend of tangerine and bubblegum, or Lovespell, which is an elegant floral blend, deep and rich and enchanting. Conjure the words and let them enchant me. Some lovely things are wrought here, but these sessions are not so much about producing content as they are about nurturing my love relationship with words and language and storytelling. I mean, come on! Have you ever seen an adverb in silk boxers or a pronoun in a sheer negligée? This is my “Hey baby, is that a dangling participle or are you just happy to see me?!’ side. Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m a seething hotbed of silliness.

    Thanks to Ruth for sharing her Room with us. Want to share your Room? Email me at annabbps AT gmail.com with a photo and answer the above questions.

    Keep an eye on this space for more writers/artists and their inspirational spaces!

    See the spaces of other creatives in “A Room of My Own”!

    * Lillie McFerrin

    * Daniel Swensen

    * Angela Goff

    * Angie Richmond