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

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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National Flash Fiction Day and #OUATWriting WINNARS!

 HAPPY NATIONAL FLASH FICTION DAY!

Although this is a UK based website, National Flash Fiction Day (#NFFD on Twitter) has gained traction worldwide. You can click here to find international recognition of the winners.

To celebrate NFFD, I teamed up with renowned British Flash Fiction writer SJI Holliday to bring you the Once Upon a Time Flash Fiction contest.

To be a winner is pleasant, but a WINNAR is a consummation devoutly to be wished.

To select the WINNARS of the Once Upon a Time Writing Contest was akin to finding your favorite puppy in a kennel. Some of them bark loudly to get your attention, some nip at you, some have big puppy eyes and…okay, enough with the simile. It was tough.

After a great deal of consultation with my lovely co-host, SJI Holliday, we FINALLY narrowed it down to three authors.

To see the full and magnificent details of the prizes offered, go here. Thanks again to the generosity of Jessica Gray and Diane J. Reed!

And without further ado, here are the WINNARS of the Once Upon a Time Writing Contest!

* The winner of the AWAKE Prize Package (Best Adaptation of an Existing Fairytale)

ANGELA READMAN

You can read Angela’s reboot of The Little Mermaid, entitled A Mermaid in Texas.

* The winner of the TWIXT Prize Package (Best Original Fairytale)


MCKENZIE BARHAM

You can read Mackenzie’s original tale here.

* The winner of the Grand Prize Package

OLIVER BARTON

You can read Oliver’s story, Pink Bells.

Much thanks and congratulations to all who entered, who made it impossible for us to decide!

Once Upon a Time Writing Contest: Anna Meade

This is my non-eligible entry for the Once Upon a Time Flash Fiction contest. Of course, the linky is closed, but hope you enjoy it regardless.

The Ice Maiden

Greta traced small flowers in the window frost, “Mother, may I have some cocoa?”

Inge was accustomed to her daughter’s formal way of speaking. It’d been a mistake to read Greta poetry, but she hated how mothers gibbered at their babies. As a result, Greta was all precocity at six.

Inge stirred in milk as the wind blew ceaseless at the shutters. After Erik left, she’d scorned moving to her parent’s flat in Reykjavik, opting for country solitude. She’d raise her daughter in peace, without interference or superstition.

“A story, please,” Greta had the golden braids and command of a Nordic princess.

“I told you all the stories I know.”

“Tell me the Ice Maiden.”

“On dark, starred nights the Ice Maiden comes, robed in velvet black and crowned with icicles. If you do not leave her a tribute at the hollow tree, she steals under your sill and kisses you with frozen lips.”

Inge knew the words, but was hopeless at the rich cadences her father once infused in them.

Greta didn’t mind, listening rapt, “Then what happened?”

Inge scooped her up, “Then they lived happily ever after, because it was past their bedtime.”

Once she deposited Greta in bed, Inge snuck to her bedroom for a secret cigarette. She cranked the window open an inch, watching the ash blot the snow on the eaves. Stupid of her to tell Greta that story; she needn’t fill her head with dark-edged tales.

The stove was turned too high and Inge nodded off in her chair.

Outside, snow whirled wildly, like they were encased in a glass globe.

Inge woke abruptly. Something had burned – cocoa! She hurried downstairs, pulling on her thin robe. Uneasy, she switched the stove off. Didn’t she turn it off before? Then she saw the open door.

She ran, bare feet crunching unfeeling through ice crust.

“Greta, Greta!” she cried, wind stealing her words.

She found her at the foot of the hollow tree, mug of cocoa clenched in ice-rimed hand, an unclaimed offering.

Inge kissed her daughter’s frozen lips, to keep from screaming.

Photo by Suzanna Glaze

Once Upon a Time Writing Contest: Fan Favorite Contest!

ADDENDUM 5/4/12: The Once Upon a Time Fan Favorite Contest has ended! The winner, with a total of an unbelievable 47 votes is Cory Eadson (@evermore_evil) for his story, “Three Simple Words.” Go read it and comment and if you’re on Twitter, say congrats to Cory!

—————–

*drumroll* HEAR YE! HEAR YE! Tis time again for that ever popular FanFav contest on Twitter. If you are not on Twitter, I hereby recommend you create a free account. Go on. I’ll wait.
Okay, now that you are on Twitter I will fill you in on this fun and fast-paced contest. All you need to participate is a free Twitter account.

This FanFav contest involves the entries of the Once Upon a Time Writing Contest (tag #ouatwriting).

First, go and read the 88 entries for the #OUATWRITING contest. Or just read your favorites. Or the authors who have the best thumbnails. Then choose your three favorite. I’ll see you in 72 hours when you are done. (Just kidding, the contest starts tomorrow, 5/2/12).

Contest Details:

* The contest is only open on Twitter. No other form of entries will be accepted.

* Each person can vote for a maximum of three stories.

* The contest is open for 12 hours ONLY, from 8 am EST to 8 pm EST on 5/2/12. All entries included in this time will be counted. All entries outside of that will be discarded.

TO CAST A VOTE:

* People will vote by tweeting the author’s name of their favorite story, followed by tags #fanfav and #ouatwriting. Both @SJIHolliday and I will be tracking and auditing votes separately for accuracy.

TO AUTHORS, I highly recommend you canvas for votes by tweeting your links, cajoling your followers, bullying, begging and earning votes by any (legal) means necessary in order to win this most amazing prize.

(And no, you cannot vote for yourself. Sheesh)

THE PRIZE:

Oh yes, this is what you were wondering about, wasn’t it? Remember that amazing contest I ran just a month or so ago: the Fairy Ring Contest?

The prize is a glorious professional audiobook recording of The Fairy Ring by Mary Losure (Candlewick 2012), narrated by Nicola Barber.

The audiobook is a brand-new release (List: $19.99) and 2 world-transporting hours away from our grey reality.

Are you ready for some hijinks? See you at 8 AM!

Once Upon a Time Writing Contest: Molly Carr

 ON OR OFF COURSE?  By Molly Carr

   Being President of the Company was what he enjoyed since decision-making was meat and drink to him. And, of course, he lived like a Prince on his vast income.

   Now he was on his way to see the widow of one of his business rivals. It was important to wake her up to the necessity of keeping the firm viable – at least until he could organise an advantageous takeover bid.


   Half-way to the house he changed his mind. Neither the business nor the woman would be any use to him. All that it  needed was to ask his secretary to send a large basket of expensive flowers, along with a printed message of condolence.

   Without wavering – true to himself – he turned the Masarati and made for the nearest golf course.