A Room of My Own: Daniel Swensen

Our third creative space in the “A Room of My Own” series on Yearning for Wonderland is Daniel Swensen, aka @Surlymuse.

His blog should become your new favorite source for writing advice; it is written in a snarky yet informative manner.

1) Please describe your space, describing any features that make it extra special to you.

This is my workspace, where I do both my freelance work and my writing. I use Ubuntu Linux as my operating system. My favorite software applications for work are Zim, Clementine, FocusWriter, and Write or Die. I have my Rory’s Story Cubes on the shelf below the right monitor. The Rubik’s Cubes are there to mix up and then solve when I need to clear my brain. Behind the monitors are several small boxes with paper clips, push pins, etc. The secondary desk on the right is usually piled high with my “to-read” books.

2) What is your favorite/most inspiring object in this room?
The picture of my wife (top shelf, second from left, right next to the Star Wars picture). She inspires me daily.

3) What rituals do you go thru when you want to write in this space?

I take my vitamins, which I keep on the shelf below the left monitor. I fire up some music, either with Pandora or the Clementine music player. I have a number of playlists, each catering to a certain mood or genre. Currently, my “blogging” music is heavy on The Glitch Mob and Pretty Lights.

The rest of my digital writing rituals can be found here: http://surlymuse.com/a-digital-room-of-ones-own/

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

Over the years, all the drawers in my desk have broken. The bottom left drawer inexplicably locked shut and has never opened again. The middle drawer fell out one day and broke my toe. The top left drawer has become wobbly and unstable. That’s why everything’s on the surface of the desk.

Also, buried behind the stuff on the top shelf is the “Perseverance” Demotivator poster (http://www.despair.com/perseverance.html), which I wrote (and got paid for). Still one of my favorite writing “jobs” ever.

Thanks to Daniel for sharing his 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”!

* Lillie McFerrin

* Angela Goff

* Angie Richmond

Lucky 7 Meme: WIP Sneak Peek

The luverly Meg McNulty tagged me in this super cool meme, Lucky 7. I’m honored! This meme allows us to get a peek at the WIP from all our writer friends. Please go and read Meg’s 7 lines here.

I have included 7 paragraphs below from my current Work In Progress, a paranormal murder mystery set in pre-World War II Britain.


~ ~ ~ ~ 

Mr. Waters’ voice carried through the half-open door, “Just got back from my tailor. He told me that the government discourages cuffing on pants. They don’t want pleats in my trousers or vests with my suits or double-breasted jackets. Perhaps they’d also like the shirt off my back.”

Mrs. Waters said, “Robert, those extra three inches of fabric could save a life. You know they’re conserving for bandages. We have to do our part.”

“I’ll bet the Nazis have cuffs on their bloody trousers!”

Emmy peeked around the drawing room door. Mr. Waters was smoking at a furious pace, pausing only to tap the precarious spindle ashtray.

Mrs. Waters had not looked up from the book on her lap.

“First it was tyres, then meat, sugar, gas, typewriters and shoes. When the Germans arrive, they’ll find us barefoot and walking to market.”

Mrs. Waters set her mouth, “Don’t be infantile, Robert. We’re lucky you’re too old to be called up to the Front.”

Here are my Magnificent 7!

1) @surlymuse

2)@smosswrites

3) @emmiemears

4) @backthatelfup

5) @laurabenedict

6) @write_me_happy

7) @kitgrindstaff

And here’s what they have to do:

1. Go to page 77 of your current MS/WIP

2. Go to line 7

3. Copy down the next 7 lines, sentences, or paragraphs, and post them as they’re written.

4. Tag 7 authors, and let them know.

I can’t wait to see everyone’s 7! I’d love to hear comments.

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.

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!
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!

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:
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.

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.