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

A Heart Full of Love: Dark Fairy Queen Writerly Bridal Shower

In the wake of the terrible news from Boston, I almost didn’t write this post. And then I realized, what better time to celebrate the slender yet sweet threads that connect us?

I hope that everyone who reads this will accept all the love and good intentions here, the genuine attempt to overcome the sad with the beauty.

Hello, my name is Anna. I’m a Dark Fairy Queen.

No…not really. I’m actually just a young woman with an overactive imagination, a passion for writing and for coalescing my own wishes.

I have run several notable flash fiction competitions. You may have heard of one or more of them (Fairy Ring, Once Upon a Time Writing, Faerypin, and Behind the Curtain).

Or, you may have seen me on Twitter, creating havoc with my wombat cannon and my absurdly long and peculiar hashtags (#whozadarkfairynow, #cannibalismforfunandprofit, etc.)

Or you may have seen me on Facebook, flouncing around, caterwauling about one wonderful indie author or another.

Anyway, in the last few years, the aforementioned activities have drawn a little bit of notice from other authors in social media. Many of these people have become dear friends of mine. The catch? I have never met a one. Not one.

I used to angst about this (does this mean we’re really friends? does it matter they don’t know I love Cinnamon Toast Crunch and cold skim milk?). I don’t any more. I accept it for the gift it is. I have friends all over the world: most of the States, Canada, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Holland, Greece, Australia, South Africa, the Philippines, and who knows where else.

These people know strange trivia about me that my nearest and dearest may not know, such as my propensity for megalomaniacal laughter. Wait…my nearest might know that.

Gradually, many of these people have become my dearest and not so nearest. To me, that’s a kind of magic. Someone that I would never ever in a hundred years have met in the natural course of history knows me and likes me and laughs at my goofy jokes and understands my writing angst.

I shan’t name names. You know who you are.

Anyway, on to the Dark Fairy Queen Writerly Bridal Shower or #DFQWBS.

You may say, WHUZZAH? In short, a flash fiction celebration of weddings in general and, um, I guess me and my sweetie in specific.

I point you this-a-way: Dark Fairy Queen Writerly Bridal Shower for the official theme and rules page. You can use my Pinterest page for inspiration. And join the madcap Facebook group.

I am not reading any of the entries till they are officially presented, but it is my understanding that they range from tales of unicorns to assassins to “twue wuv”.

If you write, I hope you will consider joining my sweet friends who have already written. You can also include a short toast at the end to my groom and I.

I should add, this whole thing has overwhelmed me to an extent that I’m hardly able to verbalize this entry, so if I degenerate into emotional gabbling at this point, you must forgive me.

I’ve never met any of these people, yet they each reached into their creative selves and pulled forth a tiny literary gem to place at my feet.

As much as I act the egomaniacal goofball, this touches me and flatters me and bewilders me and fills me with great rapture.

The first night, as the entries started piling up, I fell asleep in something of a happy fugue. I felt like I could reach over the seas with my fingertips and touch the fingertips of one of my fellow writers and they could reach beyond their shores to someone even further away. (No, it wasn’t the sinus meds)

Thank you so much to those who choose to participate. I am more honored than you can ever know, both at your participation and your friendship. Also, a thousand thanks to the #DFQWBS hard-working hostesses, Rebekah, Laura and Miranda.

Just goes to show, even a Dark Fairy Queen can learn to be a good friend.

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FIRE THE WOMBAT CANNONS!

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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Blog Flash 2012: A Furry Friend

Okay, so I managed Day 1 of the Blog Flash Challenge yesterday and Day 2 today, so now I am only *counts on fingers* four days behind. At least I can twist this prompt to my whim, as I’m not much of a warm and fuzzy story person.

I apparently have a fix on plague doctors lately. I did a bit of flash for the #Faerypin contest here, on a plague doctor.

If you enjoy this one, you might check that one out too. 

DAY 2: A FURRY FRIEND

I press my hand against his brow. The pustules bubble up and break. His lips move in life’s pantomime, though the soul has fled. I close his eyes.

I mark the door with a scarlet ‘X’, a house of contagion, paint pooling on the sill like blood.

People move away, crossing themselves.

Once I arrive at the wharf, I pull from my cloak the seed of my vengeance. His red eyes glare into mine, reflecting the black mask.

“Go forth, my friend, and show them the way.”

The rat scampers up the chain and into the bowels of the ship.

Faerytaleish Pinterest Contest Winners & General Gratitude

“I’m here for the winners of the Faerypin Contest, please.”

Once all the fun excitement of promoting a flash fiction contest has ended, I have to review the 50-100 entries and actually pick a winner. (Fairy Ring and Once Upon a Time Writing)

Every contest I run, I create one ineligible entry so I remind myself how jaw-droppingly difficult it is to create a story of depth and delight in 300 words.

If you open your favorite book, 300 words barely gives them enough time to introduce the protagonist. The author of flash fiction has not a word to waste – they must paint setting, character, detail in a broad brush. They cut to the bone; all the pretty adverbs and adjectives must go!

The Faerytaleish Pinterest Contest blended art and writing. Writers use images to inspire them, collecting images that embody their work. This time, I asked entrants to find a new image on the Faerytaleish Pinterest Page that struck them and then tell that story.

The results were kaleidoscopic. Please take the time to read all the entries and comment. The supportive comments in this contest were particularly delightful.

I am passing on the Flash Fiction crown to my friends Ruth Long and Lillie McFerrin. They are running a blog hop themed on Forbidden Love. I encourage those now addicted to writing flash to go enter.

As for me, I am taking a break from the madcap world of flash fiction contest. It’s been a lovely run. I have met more talent from this than I could have ever expected. Thank you all and keep writing.

Without further ado, the winners of the Faerytaleish Pinterest Contest:

Most Lyrical

La Belle Tristesse by My Vitreous Humour

The writing was savagely beautiful and troubling and vividly painted the chosen painting in words. This entry wins a copy of The Fairy Ring audiobook for the music of the words.

  

Most Transformative

Wish by Dawn Nikithser

I initially dismissed this image for my own shortlist as saccharine and one-dimensional. Dawn took the image and, through her story, transformed it into a touching and aching fable about love and loss. Dawn wins a paperback copy of Awake by Jessica Grey (thanks Jess!)

Honorable Mentions

Meg McNulty for “The Lady in the Lamp”

This little flash was chock full of well-considered details and a quick stick in the heart at the end.

Cameron Lawton for “Untitled”

Cameron created a perfect summer romance in 300 words.

Lisa Shambrook for “The Coat”

Such an innocent little girl…isn’t she? A well-crafted shocker from Lisa Shambrook.

Congratulations to all who entered and thank you! You have all created something new that did not exist before; I consider that a win as well.

Faerytaleish Pinterest Contest: Anna Meade 2

Here for the Plague

~

Ardo answered the door.
A momentary chill swept him, at the robed figure with the long white beak, but then he laughed, “Venetian Carnival! How excellent. When in Venice…”
“I am here for the plague,” the masked man said.
“Ah, Medico Della Peste!” Ardo stumbled with the Italian, “The Plague Doctor, ha – funny!”
He tweaked the smooth beak of the mask, ”Rather morbid though, isn’t it, chap? When I said ‘fancy dress party’, was thinking more of pirates and rogues. Plague doctor’s a bit of a downer, eh? But expats must stick together – come in!”
Ardo gestured with his drink, sloshing some on the terrazzo floor, “The party’s already started in here. Lovely Teresa-r’s dressed as Venus.”
Teresa’s laugh squeaked, “Ardo, I told you I’m Mother Teresa.”
“Ciao bella – in some countries, that costume would get you arrested.”
Teresa pressed her breasts against Ardo’s arm, “Who’s your friend?”
“This is…er-sorry, chap, what was your name?”
“I am here for the plague,” the masked man said.
“Not much one for conversation, love, but he’s perfect for you,” Ardo pawned the stranger off on Teresa and returned to playing Who’s Got the Button with Jacqueline.
Teresa’s scream yanked him back, “He smells like rotting flesh!”
Ardo stumbled back over, “Probably the herbs in his mask…” The room tilted more than ever, “Listen, chap, you’re killing my vibe here. Perhaps you’d better go.”
“I am here for the plague,” the masked man said.
“I heard you the first time. You’re scaring the ladies. Get out of here!” Ardo’s voice cracked as he pushed the masked man out the front door.
The eyeholes of the mask yawned empty and dark, but the man walked from the courtyard into the darkness.

Ardo closed the door.

In the other room, Jacqueline began to cough.
~