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

Once Upon a Time Writing Contest: Timetable!

No, I have not forgotten you all. I promise! I have been working hard, like a good little contest mouse, on developing further details.

 So without further torture (which I seem to do so very well), I share with you the following video to give you the opening/closing dates and further whet your appetites to share those unexpected fairy tales inside you.

Note: I would recommend either watching it on YouTube or turning off the music before watching (found in the bottom right-hand corner, the pretty lady in white is the music player).

You can go here to read more about the theme.

We’re international this year, so the first place winner of this contest will have their story posted on the National Flash Fiction Day website on May 16th. It will also be loudly heralded on Yearning for Wonderland and SJIHolliday.com.

More lovely prizes and updates to come…after I tease you more, of course, my lovelies! Comment away.

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.

—-

The Fairy Ring Writing Contest Submission – Victoria Boulton

This entry courtesy of Victoria Boulton.
White Lies
A unicorn! She was luminous with beauty in the silver light. My inner-child rose up from the depths of my heart, dancing and laughing. I wished that I had never silenced her and had dared to believe.
I came out from behind the tree trunk and held out my hand as you would to a skittish pet. “Hello.” My voice was soft with nerves and stupid with wonder.
The unicorn snorted and pawed at the ground, and I thought she would flee, leaving me forever wondering. But then my heart soared up on a wave of heat and happiness as she approached. My fingers twitched as her breath tickled my palm. So close, I thought. She lowered her horn.
Broaam!” The unicorn was knocked aside by a boulder of brown flesh – a troll, a lumpy, misshapen man with curved claws and walrus-like tusks.

“Don’t!” I threw myself forwards, grabbing the arm he had drawn back to strike.

I staggered as he shook me loose, but at this reprieve the unicorn trumpeted her victory and lunged, burying her horn deep into my belly.
Broaam!”The troll grabbed the unicorn and flung her; she hit a tree with a sickening crack! I sank to my knees; the unicorn did not stir.
I pressed shaking hands to my belly. “It’s… so wet…”
Girl.”I looked up and he scooped me into his arms. “You were foolish to approach a white fey,” he rumbled as he carried me. “I will bring you to the goblinfolk- they are clever with their hands and will know what to do with you.”
I struggled not to faint into the chest of my saviour, half-dead because of the lies my mother read me when I was a child.
Artwork by Christian Damm, www.conceptartist.dk

The Fairy Ring Writing Contest Submission – Mark Wilson

From the brain of Mark Wilson (@mors_kajak), our first entry about banjos. Enjoy.

Kappa Die Tutti Capo [1] by Mark Wilson

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The house was full of dust, but my cough as I entered was exaggerated, an “Anyone there?!” composed of fear. Not reassured, I moved towards the door at the end of the hall.

***
Distance had meant I hadn’t seen my late grandfather for years, although we continued to correspond: “Before you take possession of my house, there is something I must share. You probably don’t remember the pond in the wood that borders my garden…”

***

I had been to that pond this morning. The day was still and hot, but the woodland sounds had died into silence by the time I was twenty feet from the water, and the air seem to hum by the time I was within ten feet, which was as close as I dared approach.
***

I don’t know if I got them all. I learned to reason with them, but they are so very dangerous, and I risked the lives of so many.

***

I opened the door to the basement, shivering despite the sweat running off me.

***

The kappa are so polite, you see, but there were so many, I had to bargain them all into giving a concert…

***
I descended the stairs, my attempt at a further cough only a quite rasp.

As I entered the basement, I was greeted by a tableau of terror. A dozen of the creatures, frozen in polite rictus, each with one of grandfather’s banjos clutched in dead hands, the rusted capos still clamped round the third fret. Their heads were bowed to the empty chairs, as if still receiving echoes of long-ago applause, the floorboards around their feet stained from where the pond fluid had spilled from their heads.

There was a drip from the ceiling. A scrape on a capo, and the sound of a banjo string snapping…

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[1] Desperately contrived and unamusing (except to me) sort-of Latin pun. I expect there are bonus points for that…. :-)

Photo by Rick Jackofsky, courtesy of Roosterick.tumblr.com