Illustrating "Violets" – Bringing Your Story to Life

The Fairy Ring Contest is finally over and, despite the fact I have lapsed into a semi-comatose state, it was easily one of the most rewarding writing experiences of my life. I met dozens of new writers and saw old friends create literary magic of their own.

I was awed by the willingness of all these creative people to donate their time, energy and brilliance to my little contest. One of these creators is Tina Ramey, an extremely talented designer.

Tina kindly donated an illustrated PDF to the winner of The Fairy Ring Twitter #FanFav contest, Ruth Long (@bullishink) and her entry “The Scourge of Clan Bethmoora”.

Check out the amazing job Tina did (jpeg of first page):

Tina found appropriate artwork, contacted the artist for permission and did a magnificent layout of Ruth’s story.

I was so charmed by the beauty of this work, I asked Tina pretty please for a illustration of “Violets”, my own Fairy Ring entry. She sent me this loveliness (jpeg of first page):

I loved it so much I wanted to offer her services to my writer friends. Tina has put together a page detailing her services; she has a short fiction special rate offered (see comments below) for Fairy Ring writers and fans of my blog. She can assist with all your digital publication needs, whether it be a tiny piece of flash fiction or your NaNoWriMo novella.

At only $15 for a 2 page flash fiction, you can’t afford not to have a great-looking presentation for your short fiction for your blog or portfolio site! Go see Tina and get your own pages of loveliness.

Gratitude: a Retrospective, 2011

This year is waning fast, so I wanted to reflect a moment and try and find some final thoughts before the book is closed on 2011.

Like most years, 2011 was a year of bitter and sweet. It had its tragi-comical moments, but ultimately I find it a year that was full of creativity. What more can I ask than that?

* In 2011, I developed this blog. My father suggested several times that I write a blog, but my first attempt was lame and half-hearted, because I didn’t know how to write the blog I wanted to read. This time around, I visualized it better. I wanted a place on the internet with beautiful music and art, one with interviews of people I was curious about, a tiny spot of serenity where true hearts could feel at home.

Arthur Rackham, Feeling Very Undancey

I wanted a blog of unabashed romanticism, one that celebrated the beauty in the world, one that put words to the yearning that all lost souls feel in this increasingly mechanized and digitized world. I hoped these people would find my little watering hole. And they did. Because of my blog, I got to interview such kindred spirits as writer Sarah J. Stevenson, writer/artist Paul Ramey, poetess Shaista Tayabali, writer/marketing guru Frances Figart, humorist Gordon McCleary, writer Alissa Libby, sculptor Cynthia Cusick and musician Ananda. If you have not read the 3QV’s of these amazing people, please go do so. They make the world a more beautiful place.

You can also see our Facebook page or enjoy our whimsical bits and bobs on Tumblr.


* I started writing for Blogcritics.org, which has gotten me published in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer regularly (such as my Elegy for Amy Winehouse), as well as giving me opportunities to interact with such luminaries as Neil Gaiman.

* I gained and lost pets. My sweet Pippa ran away, scared off by feral raccoons. I thought I found her again, but instead it was Sephi, her doppelganger (Read more: Little Cat Feet). I found Sephi a good home. My dear old boy Ramses is staying with my friend Paul for the moment, because I know he is having a happier life there.

As well, we lost Salvador this year, my dearest kindred spirit in canine form. (Read more: Remembering Salvador). There can be no replacing of animals like these. All you can do is bid them adieu and marvel at the fact that the universe sent them to you at all. Paul Ramey wrote and illustrated Zen Salvador, a beautiful tribute to Salvador that all animal lovers would enjoy, and the proceeds benefit the Jacksonville Humane Society.

* I discovered Twitter. I am embarrassed to admit my social media snobbery and it’s all Sarah J. Stevenson’s fault (@aquafortis)! On Twitter, I discovered a whole interlinked community of artists and writers that I would never encounter on Facebook because they would not be in my circle of acquaintances. I couldn’t possibly list all of my favorite Tweeters, so instead I did a Wordle of you all. Click to make larger.
Wordle: Favorite Tweeters 2011

* In a related note, I also attempted National Novel Writer’s Month (NaNoWriMo) this year. After years of forgetting about it till Thanksgiving (oops!), I finally committed to doing it…as though life in November weren’t exciting enough with a retail management job. I did not win it, but I did write 20,000 words on a new manuscript that super excites me. That itself is a major win. I don’t believe I’ve written 20,000 words of fiction in my life, let alone in four weeks.

More exciting, I have developed a writing habit and now actually do write on a semi-regular basis. NaNoWriMo was not without its fallout (almost no blog posts). Given that the main reason that I started the blog was to force me to write on a regular basis, it seems like success!

* I revived Super Secret Spy Girl. She now has a Facebook page. You can go there and like/comment to receive your Super Secret Spy Name. Burn after reading.

To close, I am grateful for all my new friends and experiences. You each contributed to my year. Thank you so much.

Shall we continue on this road together?