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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

In the Shadows of Mount Doom: Month One Without Social Media

Actually, the title is quite tongue-in-cheek. It’s true I have been off Facebook, Twitter and Instagram since January 2nd, but I really sort of like it.


Sometimes habits creep up on you on little cat feet. You don’t realize you’re snacking on potato chips every day or that you click ballpoint pens compulsively or that you tailgate or that you spend all your free time on social media. That’s pretty much where I was. Because I had cultivated such a close-knit group of writer friends, I justified this overindulgence by rationalizing that I was spending time with educated, talented people and that it was inspirational.

This is true. It, however, does not negate the fact that because I was so engrossed in social media I was losing any writing time I might have. I also was opting for quantity time over quality time with my husband, as if being in the same room and staring at separate screens counted as being together. My to-do list was getting longer and I just couldn’t figure out why I didn’t have the time to complete anything.

So I went cold turkey, kaput, in an effort to get my habit under control. I knew if I just tried to cut down, I would eventually just slowly slide back into my old habit. So I took a break. It’s not forever, just a realigning of priorities.

I wish I could say I missed it. I miss my friends, my nerdy fellow writers who understand what it’s like to obsess at 1 a.m. about a sticky plot point. But instead of just checking in, I spent a great deal of time scrolling through my feed, looking for new articles or statuses or thoughts. The act of scrolling is very compulsive and you can just go on and on and on. You may say to yourself: I should turn off my screen and go do something important, but you’re like as not to end up there an hour later. It’s just like casual television watching: all calories, no nutrition.

So here’s just a few of the things I’ve been doing, as I pass through the Wilderness of No Social Media:

Writing: I have taken a very sharp red pencil and stabbed the heck out of my manuscript. I’ve plotted and planned and researched and head-scratched. What started out as a crazy jumble of 27k words in NaNoWriMo 2011 has evolved into a fairly lean and well-plotted historical murder mystery novel of right at 50k. I believe I am less than a dozen scenes away from completion and that is VERY exciting. Once complete, then it’s back to the drawing board to confirm that all the plot lines are threaded and the writing is taut and the herrings are red. And then…and then, my friends, to the editor! *gasp* Yes, even I, Editatrix, know that I cannot edit my own work beyond making it a highly buffed and solid first draft.

Nesting: I have been busy making my house pretty. We have hanged all the artwork and put up some curtains and generally prettified and sorted and tossed. While I would need a serious influx of money to get the house where I would like it to be, we certainly have done a lot with a little. We now have wedding pictures up and my library is starting to come together. Pictures to come.

Kissing: my sweet hubby. Nuff said.

Dreaming: This is something that falls by the wayside when I get busy. Lots of staring off into the middle distance and letting tendrils of my imagination trail off into the vast reaches of improbability.

Healing: Many of you are aware I was in a car accident in December and getting better is a full-time job, between physical therapy, doctor’s visits and other treatments.

Watching: This was actually a secret fear of mine, that I would break one habit only to succumb to another. I’ve been pretty good overall, though I confess to glutting myself on Sherlock and VEEP (my favorite sardonic political comedy). A few days ago, I re-watched my beloved Anne of Green Gables miniseries, which has only burnished beautifully with age. Even after all these years, its gentle loveliness still has the power to bring me to tears.


Plotting: Surely ye did not think I would rest on my laurels. You’ll just have to wait and find out what the DFQ has up her voluminous sleeves.

I expect Minions to weigh in below – it has been too long!

With all faery affection,



“Something’s coming, I don’t know what it is, but it is gonna be great…”

With that little tease, I present to you COUNTDOWN CLOCK OF DOOM!


Behind the Curtain: #FanFav Winner

I generally run a #FanFav contest on Twitter for my writing contests. It’s a great way to generate enthusiasm and it’s so fun to hear the feedback as writers compliment writers with their votes and other comments.

Friendships are made, in these petite mutual admiration societies, and so I never apologize for all the hooting and the hollering that I have to do to get people to vote for each other.

This #FanFav went surprisingly smoothly (probably because I have run two others now). You might recall earlier #FanFav winners Ruth Long and Cory Eadson.

This #FanFav can be no surprise to anyone paying attention to the contest yesterday, as this lady writer garnished almost twice as many votes as anyone else.

*drumroll please*

The Winner and Twitter #FanFav Champion is:



Sophie wrote a humdinger of a revenge tale called Scarlet’s Rose Petal Revenge. Please go read it if you haven’t and give Sophie some comment love. Be sure to congratulate her on her #FanFav win.

Remember, the winners of the Behind The Curtain Contest have yet to be announced. That announcement will be made early next week.

#FanFav for Behind the Curtain & Minutae

It comes time for another #Fanfav contest for the Behind the Curtain flash fiction contest. I can’t help it – they’re so much fun to run and it continues to spread the love. It’s a thrill when people vote for your story and also when you can let someone know that their story moved, scared or intrigued you.

Voting in #FanFav is easy. The #Fanfav contest will be held live on Twitter on Friday, October 19th from 12-8 pm EST. When you have read all the stories, narrow your choices to three favorites (good luck with that – 61 entries!). You can vote two ways.

1) On Twitter, tweet this format:

#Fanfav @ruanna3

By tagging it with #Fanfav and @mentioning me, it ensures your vote is counted. Sometimes Tweetdeck eats tweets and I have to go back and hunt around.

2) For this #Fanfav, I am also allowing blog votes if you don’t have a Twitter account. Only ones left from 12-8 pm EST will be counted.

You can leave your votes in the comment section of this post, if you like.

PLEASE NOTE: This #Fanfav vote does NOT pick the winner of the Behind the Curtain contest. Only I pick that and determine prizes. This mini-contest is for fun and bragging rights and the pleasure of knowing you were Twitter’s favorite.


Also, I wanted to share a few more details about the awesome Veil & Subdue libretto from the Dark Veil Package.

My co-creator Paul has been hand-crafting a completely unique libretto – this is the first of its kind. He has embellished the cover and created a one-of-a-kind book with all kinds of magnificent goodies. Here are some teaser photos.

Feel free to ooh and ahh. 😀

A Room of My Own: Tracy McCusker

Today we are featuring writer, poet and artist Tracy McCusker (aka @dustyjournal on Twitter). Her first book of poems, Letters from Nowhere, is now available on Amazon (free through 6/27/12).

Q) Please describe your space, describing any features that make it extra special to you.
A) My creative space is a dual art and writing area. It is part of the living room/dining area in a tiny apartment (isn’t it fun to live in the city?) and takes up at least half of the room. My desk is half a card table, and my art area is a sheep skin throw where I can sprawl out and trip anyone heading to or from the bedroom. I use a Dell Studio XPS desktop with a fairly monstrous amount of RAM to run all of my digital art pizzazz.

In the morning, the sun beams directly onto my monitor and directly back into my eyes. In fits of pique, I will tape the blinds to the wall to keep the sun rays out. Both areas are usually scattered with ink-smeared paper towels to blot my fountain pens and clean ink spills (not pictured above). I keep several sets of books around my space, including a stack that forms at the foot of my computer chair. These books form a barrier that is physically hazardous to pass. I’m happiest when I’m surrounded by creative junk!

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

A) The most inspiring object in the room is a piece of my own artwork in its specimen case, “Layer Mask”. It’s one of my illuminated journal pages that’s pinned up with insect pins to make a physical layer mask. It’s sitting next to a gaudy little neon London Underground sign which I never plug in. Looking at it reminds me that a little effort every day can result in incredibly beautiful, unplanned things.

Q) What rituals do you go through when you want to write in this space?

A) I will collect all of my writing pens together (not an easy feat, I have over fifty of them in the apartment), select three or four to line up my desk in a neat row. I’ll grab whatever journal I need for the task. I have a general journal, a poetry archive journal, and at least two active sketchbooks / Rhodia dot notepads.

When I feel comfortable with what I am writing, I will switch to typing on the computer. I open Notepad and type up what I’ve written, revising as I go along. Pens are still important at this stage, as I like to fiddle with one when I’m working on particularly difficult lines.

Q) Any other details you would like to share about your special room.

A) My space usually has a giant Wacom Cintiq sitting next to my monitor. It’s currently in its box because I discovered that I *like* having writing space next to my computer.

Thanks to Tracy 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”!

* Steven Watson

* Daniel Swensen

* Angela Goff

* Angie Richmond

* Ruth Long

* Lillie McFerrin