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

Small Business Saturday: Our Day

Here it comes: the holiday shopping season…whether you are ready or not.

For me, it’s almost appalling that it’s already Thanksgiving. Where did the summer go? I was busy with new job, new fiance, new-old hometown, new schedules and new worlds. But here we are, less than six weeks away from Christmas.

For the first time in nine years, I’m not working either in retail or hospitality. But a lot of people are. In this economy, many are under-employed. Many are working 50+ hours/week in the next two weeks. On their feet. If you’ve done it, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, please remember the following:

These people are working, so that we can be shopping – please don’t forget that. Take a moment and say thank you, acknowledge their hard work. Many are overworked and underpaid and pushed to the edge of exhaustion for the next six weeks.

When you go to Walmart at 8 pm on Thanksgiving Day Eve, just remember that they are there and not with their families. So maybe consider doing something different this year. Thanksgiving. Small Business Saturday (November 24th)is the perfect antidote to the hectic holidays. And it’s not just small businesses in your area. Don’t forget about the wonderful Etsy sellers, the artists and the writers online. Your purchase to them means everything. A few eye-opening facts:

* Small businesses are 99.7% of all employers.
* Small businesses employ roughly 50% of all private sector workers
* Small businesses create 75% of the net new jobs in our economy.

You can go here to find local businesses to support in your area:  
Shop Small

So shop small and local! Show your support – shop Small Business Saturday. It’s our day.

I have created a list of some of my favorite authors, writers, artists and small businesses online. Please consider patronizing them this holiday season!

Authors:

A.E. Howard (Flight of Blue) – http://amzn.to/TaOqPx

Becca J. Campbell (Foreign Identity) – http://amzn.to/TaM3wa

Cameron Lawton (Witch, Nun, Shaman’s Drum & Yours to Command) – http://amzn.to/TaPlQ3

Cara Michaels (Gaia’s Chosen Series) – http://amzn.to/TaOPBs

Diane J. Reed (TWIXT) – http://amzn.to/TaLTEN

Dionne Lister (Shadows of the Realm) – http://amzn.to/TaMkPI

Elise Stokes (Cassidy Jones Adventures series) – http://amzn.to/TaLLFi

Gary Henry (American Goddesses) – http://amzn.to/OTYlqK

James W. Hazzard (Dead Sea Games) – http://amzn.to/WmChuI

Jessica Grey (Awake & Views From the Tower) – http://amzn.to/TaLFO0

Justin Bogdanovitch (Sandcastles & Other Stories) – http://bit.ly/SANDCASTLE

Laura Benedict (Devil’s Oven & Isabella Moon & others) – http://amzn.to/TaLmCN

Sophie Moss (The Selkie Spell & The Selkie Enchantress) – http://t.co/pjp9OBlJ

Tristan J. Tarwater (Valley of Ten Crescents Series) – http://amzn.to/TaLjHp

Artists:

Angie Richmond (artwork) – http://www.etsy.com/shop/angierichmond

Cindi Cusick (pottery) – http://etsy.me/TaNGtx

Rachel Stanley (jewelry) – http://tocatchahummingbird.etsy.com

Tracy McCusker (book cover design) – http://bit.ly/TaPtyS

Musicians:

Anna Meade (Annasongs) – http://www.fiverr.com/ruanna3

Paul Ramey (Veil & Subdue) – http://www.veilandsubdue.com

Small Businesses:

Anna Meade (Super Secret Spy Girl) – http://www.zazzle.com/supersecretspygirl* 

Marilyn Dieckmann (wild rice & fairy treehouses) –
http://www.momswildrice.com
http://www.weetreehome.com

This is not an exhaustive list, by any means.

For the first time ever, I am inviting you to include a link in the comments to the post. If I forgot to include you, my apologies (it’s almost 1 am!).

Please include your name, your talent (writing, art, music, small business, Etsy, Fiverr) and a link where people can shop for your work this holiday season.

Behind the Curtain: Reveal

AND SO IT IS TIME…

WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR…

Shoot, sorry, Capslock.

This has been an extremely challenging contest to judge. I was able to winnow down our 62 entries to eight finalists with some difficulty, but picking the final four winners was arbitrary to an insane extent. I’ve lost the last little bit of my sanity (if it offends, plucketh it out), but I did finally decide.

As a reminder, this will be my last contest till Spring 2013 and oh, was it a doozy.

So with no further ado, here are the WINNARS of the Behind the Curtain Flash Fiction Writing Contest (and no, that’s not a typo).

Be sure to go and read all the winners. And, for that matter, all the entries. Give out some of that author comment love.

In no particular order:

The Winner of the Dark Arts Package

Sophie Moss (@smosswrites) for Scarlett’s Rose Petal Revenge

Sophie offers us a perfectly plotted revenge tale, engrossing and chilling. She was also the winner of Twitter’s #FanFav contest!

Sophie wins an original canvas by artist/writer Angie Richmond, personalized with a quote from her winning story.


The Winner of the Dark Veil Package

J. Whitworth Hazzard (@zombiemechanics) for his creepy, stalker story, Scopophiliac

Thanks, J., for making me check behind the curtains every time I come home at night.

J. wins a copy of the Veil and Subdue album, plus a handmade one-of-a-kind libretto book by composer Paul Ramey (which I seriously almost kept) with behind the scenes goodies, autographed by myself and Paul.

The Winner of the Dark Romance Package

Jessica Marcarelli (@jmarcarelli) for her entry, Behind the Curtain

So glad Jessica revived my long-dormant childhood fear of clowns. I didn’t need that sleep anyway.
Jessica wins a digital copy of Sophie Moss’ newest release, The Selkie Enchantress.
If you didn’t win a copy of Sophie’s wonderful book, you can get it here.


THE DARK FAIRY
GRAND PRIZE PACKAGE
The wondrous prizes include:
* A copy of Veil & Subdue.
* A magnificent writing notebook by Ruth Long aka @bullishink.
* The winning author will be featured on Yearning for Wonderland in an in-depth interview. This interview will highlight your book, blog, or any other artistic project of your choosing. Anna will then promote this interview heavily on Twitter/Facebook and G+.
*The winning author’s story will be recorded by Anna in a creative/theatrical recording of your Behind the Curtain entry.
* The winning author will be Anna’s partner in her next flash fiction contest (in Spring 2013).
*DRUMROLL PLEASE*

AND THE GRAND CHAMPION OF THE DARK FAIRY PRIZE PACKAGE

 

Melanie Conklin

@MLConklin

WOOOOOOOOOO! Go forth to her website and pour out congratulations and love, as it was a mightily hard-fought battle but her story prevailed.
Melanie’s entry, The Catch, is a pithy bite of dark flash fiction with a crunch at the end. I was filled with dread the entire time I read it and she built the suspense to the unbearable climax. Well done, Melanie! I look forward to collaborating with you on my next flash fiction contest in 2013!
When the audio recording of The Catch is posted, I will let everyone know!

Congratulations to all of our entrants and thank you so much for giving me a peek of what resides behind the curtain.

Behind the Curtain Flash Fiction Contest

In vain have I struggled, but it will not be denied. I swore 9 times sideways of Tuesday that I would not run another flash fiction contest. After Fairy Ring, Once Upon a Time Writing Contest AND Faerypin, I vowed I was done with contests for the year.

#lies

Instead, I found myself awake at midnight AGAIN with a brain buzzing with suppressed creativity. And then someone must have cried havoc and let slip the dogs of war. Not one or two but over a half-dozen of my friends started poking and prodding me about when my next contest will be. So you have Ruth Long, Kern Windwraith, Jo-Anne Teal, J.B. Lacaden, Jeff Tsuruoka, Angela Goff, and Lillie McFerrin to blame, along with the countless other Fictionlings who’ve been baying for another chance to enter one of my eccentric pen-fests.

So be it. Too late to back away now. #MOOGHOOHAH

Methinks this contest needs a darker twist, a jagged edge, a crooked seam to counterbalance the beauty and light of the other contests.

My friends, it’s time to go dark. All Hallows Eve is nearly upon us. A chill wind blows, dead leaves rattle past, and good people everywhere lock their doors and light a candle against the dark.

Hear that distant music playing? It’s time to go Behind the Curtain.

Behind the Curtain Flash Fiction Contest

Greasepaint and floodlights and cheerful music out front, but behind the curtain sometimes darker dramas unfold. Whether theatre or circus, pantomime or ballet, there is the world presented…and then the world hidden.

Too often, a gorgeous, painted stage facade conceals dry rot and warped wood. The clown’s smile wipes away to reveal bitter rage. The ballerina’s twisted foot, the leading man’s alcoholism, the abuse of performing animals, all carefully hidden from the audience. For the price of just a ticket, the artifice is yours.

Yet I challenge you to pull it aside, to peek behind the curtain. Who do you see, what do they feel, and most importantly what do they hide?


The prizes are better than ever and will be announced later. Gotta keep you reading, don’t I?

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Slowtime: Prelude – "Slipping Under"

Thus continueth the Slowtime serial. For those who didn’t see earlier episodes, Slowtime is a concept album by my friend Paul Ramey. It’s set in a dust bowl future of overpopulation and shortages.

–  Slipping Under –

The warning chime rang.

“My love, it’s time for Quietus to begin.”

“Will it hurt?”

Enu hesitated a split second. “They say it’s like falling asleep,” he said. “But you won’t have your bad dreams.”

“What if I get stuck in a nightmare and stay there for all of Quietus?”

He pushed a lank blonde lock out of her face. “Elaida, you won’t. I promise.”

“You can’t promise.” At least she was smiling now. “Nobody knows.”

“I’ll be in the cryochamber next to yours. I’ll be the first thing you see when you wake.”

The fading sun slowly slipped behind the plateau.

She bit her lip, “I guess I should do my civic duty. I know there’s too many of us. It’s time for someone else to be Awake.”

The chimes rang the hour. Everyone else had already began. Silence washed across the desert.

“Don’t be scared.”

She slid down into her cryochamber, looked up at him with sad eyes, “See you in a year.”

He kissed her with a ferocity that startled them both. As he settled into his own chamber, her voice floated over.

“Tell me I’m not giving my life away for nothing, Enu.”

“You’re not giving it away. Just leaving it for awhile.”

The cover clicked shut.

 —

Curious? Read the next bit, Slowtime Episode 1: “Waking” and Episode 2: “Falling”

Five Sentence Fiction: The Library’s Whispers

I almost missed this week’s Five Sentence Fiction by Lillie McFerrin. That would have been a real loss, as she chose this week’s theme – my favorite, Faeries – and mentioned me and my Faerytaleish board most graciously.

The Library’s Whispers

All she’d said was “I never want to leave this place.” – a simple, childish wish, but someone had heard her.

Years passed and her beloved books crumbled to dust from the rain that pattered through the sunken skylight. She splintered every piece of furniture in her rage but one, though she never sat.

The wind rattling through the eaves sounded like a whisper, sounded like a giggle.

She pressed her face against the chill glass of the window and watched as yet another twilight faded from the sky.