My Write Before Christmas: 2016

by @AnnieDaylon

christmas-wreath-2016 My Write Before Christmas: 2016

It’s my write before Christmas, I’m happy to pen
holiday wishes to all once again.
It’s become a tradition, this greeting in rhyme
To readers and wordsmiths at holiday time.

Authors work solo but none are alone.
It takes a village (an adage well-known)
With this in mind, once again I’m highlighting
Links and events in this world of writing.

A new writer? This world’s a mysterious place.
Catch a conference! It’s there that you’ll come face-to-face
With writers and editors and agents and such.
Volunteering’s an option if the cost is too much.

Love story contests? There’s fun with deadlines!
This>Contest Calendar’s< a favorite of mine.
As is Poets & Writers, a site that makes space
For a Contest and Grants and Awards Database.

Got a post that helps others? Want it retweeted?
@MondayBlogs is a place you’ll be greeted.
Ready to market? Don’t know the score?
Book Marketing Tools has ideas galore.

Having trouble with structure? Can’t seem to outline?
K. M. Weiland has guidelines to help you refine.
Seeking courses or webinars to carry you through?
Writer’s Digest will surely have something for you.

Bestseller Labs has suggestions for selling;
Enovel Authors (Thank you, Jackie) has info compelling
Need free promo, authors? Reader’s Gazette is the one,
Need help with Tweets? Try AskDavid.com

Do you have a routine? Great tales must be spun
And writers toil daily to get the job done.
(On that note, dear writers who are reading this verse,
If today you’ve not written, go away and WRITE FIRST!)

So here’s to my tweeps, and all Facebook friends,
And bloggers and techies on whom I depend.
As for Tea & Critique with friends Fran and Mary,
I always apply their sage commentary.

A toast to all editors (writers, pay heed!)
You need that blue pencil if you want to succeed.
Take it from me, I once published alone,
A difficult lesson but from it I’ve grown.
(Despite years of grammar in English and Latin
I made mistakes and had to go back in
Re-edit the published, suck up the shame,
Suffice to say I won’t do it again.)

Accolades to my editors, Michael and Ken,
At the Heart of the Missing‘s being scoured by them
For content and structure and copy and line
My new novel! Pretty soon you’ll see it online.

Here’s to writers who’ve found success on the road,
Who’ve looked back to aid others to lighten the load,
You help bridge the gap from the dream to real ground,
Your help is essential for success to be found.

Some bloggers review without compensation ,
They truly deserve a standing ovation!
Fictionophile is a gem I discovered this year
(Stop by. Check her posts. You’ll find great reads there.)

Most of all, here’s to you, readers, on you we rely,
The work’s not complete until you stop by.
Samuel Johnson once said (and I paraphrase herein)
“A reader finishes what a writer begins.” 

That’s it for this year. Best wishes to you
As 2017 comes into view.
And now, ere December rolls out of sight,
Happy Christmas to all! Have great reads and great writes!

 

Coming in 2017! Images: Shutterstock.com Design: michaelhiebert.com

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

The End of the Harvest

by @AnnieDaylon

What follows is a seasonal story, flash fiction, originally written for a 24-hour writing contest for Writers Weekly and currently published in Passages A Collection of Short Stories. It is definitely one of my favorites…

The End of the Harvest

© Annie Daylon

            The little boy stands at the log cabin’s rear window, peering out at us. The corn stalks rustle in the brisk breeze, waving at him. Laughing, he returns their greeting. I want to wave at him too, but my limbs are shrivelled now, useless appendages. I sigh. I observe the boy.

He seems happy. Does he know? Has he heard the news about the baby brother that his mom promised him? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe he is too young to be told.

But I know.

His mom, my caregiver, whispered many secrets as she planted the fields. When my seed sprouted and breached the surface of the rich soil, she stooped and told me about the life that was developing inside her own body. She promised that she would create siblings for me just as she was doing for her little boy. I beamed with pleasure for I did not want to live a solitary life.

In a short time, her truth became evident: I was surrounded by an abundance of relatives—long and green, round and yellow, plump and orange. So strong was my appreciation of my caregiver, so great was my loyalty to her that I tolerated without question the summer heat and the frequent watering and the incessant buzzing of the hordes that swarmed around, flitting from flower to flower. Without complaint, I obliged when she redirected the growth of my rapidly spreading arms. ‘Not here, but there’, was her mantra, as she donned kid gloves and shifted my limbs around. So much attention. So much care. I noticed that the bodies of both my caregiver and me were becoming spherical, and that hers seemed to achieve the desired shape more easily than mine. Obviously aware of that, she added regular rotation to my fitness regime. I responded by becoming corpulent and carroty.

The summer lazed away and autumn slid in to replace it. The rains came. And the mud. And the children, bus loads of children, laughing and trampling and squelching through the muck. Choosing and plucking and stumbling away with their heavy bundles. One by one, my brothers and sisters and cousins disappeared. I wondered how it was that so many school children whirled around me, brushed against me, slid past me, and yet, none chose me. My caregiver explained that she had great plans for me, that I was the chosen one, the one who would light her doorway on that important night—All Hallows’ Eve. I would be the first to welcome the newborn child she would carry to the door that very day. I would witness the smile on her little boy’s face when he first saw his new brother. All this she promised me.

But sometimes promises are broken.

 When I had grown to the size of a soccer ball, I looked to compare my shape with hers and realized that her spherical form had vanished. Her body had flattened, returned to its former size. Her spirit, too, had vacated, leaving only sadness, which bled through her pores. Empty in both body and spirit, she had no words, no whisperings. On most days, she just stayed away.

So now I lie here—alone. Leading a solitary life after all, the very life I did not want. But what of the boy? Is he still waiting for his new brother?

The dusk deepens on this, All Hallows’ Eve. The wind picks up and the front gate swings and creaks. Puffs of blue smoke rise from the kitchen chimney. The house is well-lit now, but here, in my resting place, it is dark and lonely. As night falls, my body sinks and just sits, marinating in mud.

Suddenly, the cabin door opens and she emerges. She dons her heavy boots and, with her head low, trudges through the mud toward me. Nearer and nearer. As she stoops, I long to console her, to slide my arms up her back and embrace her. But my arms are just flaccid vines and it is she who comforts me, talks to me, apologizes for leaving me alone for so long. I want to tell her that I understand. She reaches into her pocket, retrieves a knife and frees me from my vines. Then, she hefts me into her arms and straightens her back.

On the way to the cabin, my caregiver explains that there is a new plan—that she wants me to smile for her young son. This evening, she will carve a grin on my face and, while she is doing that, she will tell her son that he will always be a solitary child. We reach the porch and hover there, waiting for her body to stop trembling and her tears to abate.

Despite her distress, I am pleased with this new plan. I want her to carve me a ridiculous grin, tooth-filled or toothless, whatever it takes to ease a lonely boy’s acceptance of unwelcome news. I know of the difficulty of the solitary life. Unlike the boy, I have experienced the joy of siblings; however, many died before maturity and all the others were taken away. Like the boy, I represent the end of the harvest. I am the very last pumpkin from the pumpkin patch. Together, the boy and I—and our mutual caregiver—will face the night.

*****

Passages Book Cover
My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

 

Indie Author Day

by @AnnieDaylon

indieauthorday_postcard_authors_5x7_web_214_300October 8, 2016 is INDIE AUTHOR DAY , a day when libraries across North America host indie authors. The event will raise awareness of self-published books, demonstrate their place as a vibrant part of publishing, and provide a vital connection between indies and readers.

 

Who is involved?
Hundreds of Libraries, Thousands of Indies across North America!

Am I participating? Yes!

I will be reading and signing books at the…

Vancouver Public Library Indie Author Day Event
Date: Saturday, October 8th
Place: Central Branch of VPL, 350 West Georgia St.
Time: 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Activities: Author Readings, Author Tables, “Talk-to-an-Author” Corner.
In Vancouver on October 8th?  Drop by and say hi!
Not in Vancouver on October 8th? Check out this event in your own area>> List of Participating Libraries

Free Short StoryA free short story is yours when you join my email list! My newsletters contain book news, blog posts, sneak previews, and, occasionally, fun facts about my beloved island of Newfoundland. To join, place the required information in the space provided on the right. Rest assured your email address will not be shared for any reason. 

My best to  you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

Anecdote on Re-Adjusting to Academic Life

by @AnnieDaylon

Back to School Anecdote

Today is Labour Day in Canada. That means tomorrow, for many, is Back-to-School Day. 

Memories always emerge around this for me, mostly memories of returning to teaching. This year, however, prompted by the knowledge that a cherished relative is returning to school after a long stay in the work world, I’m remembering the time when, after ten years in the work force, I decided go back to university.

Yours truly. Grade Two.

Yours Truly.
Second Grade.

I’d always liked being a student so I gave no thought to the fact that I would have to re-adjust to student life. The first course I signed up for? Statistics. (Ouch!)

I hadn’t studied Math at all in my undergraduate work; the last Math class I had taken was grade eleven Algebra, a mere fifteen years earlier.

In my first Stats class, the professor distributed a pre-test to “see where we stood.” My score? 63%. When I asked that professor about improvement strategies, he told me that I was not likely to improve at all. The laws of predictability and outcome were such that my pre-test grade would not change.

I’m sure my mouth was agape while I stared at him. I don’t recall what I said to him but I remember exactly what I was thinking: Chuck you, Farley. You can take your statistics and stick them where the sun don’t shine.

Did I quit? No. 

For a couple of classes, I watched the other students. I picked out the highest achiever and I approached him. I offered to pay him to tutor me. He said he would tutor me but he wouldn’t charge me because he saw this as an opportunity to improve his teaching skills. 

The long and the short of it: I worked with him, I worked on my own, I worked my ass off. On the first mid-term exam, (and I think it darn near killed that stats prof to tell me this) I scored 93%. Apparently, all I needed was adjustment time and a little help.

To all those of you who have decided to return to the classroom: becoming a student again is a transition. Give yourself time to adjust. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Be determined. Beg, borrow, barter… whatever it takes, seek the help you need.

Yours Truly. M. Ed.

Yours Truly.
          M. Ed.

You made the decision to go back. Make it work, your way.  

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

Reviews are Gifts. This One? Priceless!

by @AnnieDaylon

Tweet from Lynne Legrow_jpg-large

“Historical fiction should do two things. #1 Portray the time period, culture, and events with accuracy (i.e. be well researched); #2 Entertain. Annie Daylon’s “Of sea and seed” succeeds on both counts.” ~ Lynne LeGrow

It’s a struggle for indie authors to get recognition for their work. There is a constant push and pull between writing and marketing; often I bypass the latter because I fear that when I feed the marketing machine, I starve my first love which is writing.

For me, (I dare say for all authors) every review–good, bad, or indifferent–is a gift. Someone, somewhere has taken the time to read your book and to offer an opinion. When I received a review from Lynne LeGrow,  a trusted reviewer for many imprints including Simon & Schuster Canada, I was over the moon, not only because it was polished and positive, but also because it showed up at a time when I wondered if I should continue. 

Suffice to say, I am grateful to Lynne, as I am to all readers and reviewers. Colman Gratitude Readers and Reviewers

Without further ado, here’s Lynne’s review>>> CLICK HERE

Excuse me, but I have a novel to finish…

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

 

Canada: Authors, Libraries, and the Public Lending Right Program

by @AnnieDaylon

Canadian Authors: Did you know that you could be compensated for having books in libraries in Canada? How? Through the Canada Council for the Arts Public Lending Right Program.

Canada book Public Lending Right Program

According to Wikipedia, a Public Lending Right (PLR) program is a program “intended to either compensate authors for the potential loss of sales from their works being available in public libraries, or as a governmental support of the arts, through support of works available in public libraries, such as books, music and artwork.” Twenty-eight countries, including Canada, have such programs.

In Canada, when books are purchased by ( not donated to) libraries, authors may receive compensation over and above the royalty. The compensation comes in the form of an annual payment from the Public Lending Right Program. 

ELIGIBILITY:
Who is eligible?
Canadian citizens who are illustrators, photographers, translators, anthology contributors, or editors with original written contributions are eligible.
What writing is eligible?
Works of poetry, fiction drama, children’s literature, nonfiction or scholarly work are eligible. (more details on eligibility here)
Which Libraries are eligible?
Every year the PLR chooses seven public library catalogues in each language group. According to the PLR website, “The selection of public library catalogues takes into account the desire to include substantial collections and to represent the various regions of Canada.” The list of eligible programs is not broadcast in advance. This is for fairness and to prevent participating libraries from being inundated with purchasing requests from authors.

PARTICIPATION:
How Do Authors Participate?

To participate, authors must register. You will not receive compensation unless you are registered with the Public Lending Right Program. Registration is required annually, between mid-February and May first. 
You can go to the site now and request an email reminder about registration for 2017. (Registration Link)

PAYMENT:
There is a $50 threshold set for a PLR payment(For details on the payment scale, go HERE>)
For me, this scale means that

  • If the FVRL (the library system which purchased two copies of one of my titles) is on the list for 2017, and If I register in February of 2017, I get $50 for that year (payment is per title, not per book.)

  • If I land that same title in another participating library system, I get $100. And so on and so on, to a maximum of $350. 

According to Peter Schneider, Manager of the Canada Council for the Arts Public Lending Right Program, the maximum paid to one Canadian author last year was $3500.

I’m in! How about you? Yes?
If you have titles in Canadian libraries, then remember to REGISTER. If you don’t have titles in Canadian libraries, then start by applying to the acquisitions librarian in your own community. (See previous blog post: How I Got My Indie Novel into the Library System.)

For more information go to: Public Lending Right Program

Do you have any comments about or experience with a Public Lending Right Program? Please share your comments, share this post, and share the wealth! All authors need this support.

Free Short StoryA free short story is yours when you join my email list! My newsletters contain book news, blog posts, sneak previews, and, occasionally, fun facts about my beloved island of Newfoundland. To join, place the required information in the space provided on the right. Rest assured your email address will not be shared for any reason. 

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

How I Got My Indie Novel into the Library System

by @Annie Daylon

 

shutterstock_240133276

I had no idea that indie authors could apply to have books purchased by libraries. When the illustrator of my picture book mentioned it, I delved into research. When Stephanie Hopkins of IndieBRAG asked me to share my journey on their blog, I jumped at the chance.

Here’s a snippet:

At my local library, I spoke with the community librarian who gave me the contact information for the acquisitions librarian.
In my application email to acquisitions, I included:

  • a brief bio;

  •  cover images of available titles (linked to Amazon);

  •  mini-synopses;

  •  website link; and

  •  contact info.

When a couple of weeks passed with no response, I emailed again.
Still no reply.

SEE MORE HERE

ATT: Canadian Authors>>> Did you know that you can be compensated for having your books in (purchased by) Canadian Libraries? Check my next blog post (July 11, 2016) for details!


Free Short StoryA free short story is yours when you join my email list! My newsletters contain book news, blog posts, sneak previews, and, occasionally, fun facts about my beloved island of Newfoundland. To join, place the required information in the space provided on the right. Rest assured your email address will not be shared for any reason.

 

Many thanks to Stephanie Hopkins, BRAG Medallion, and the Fraser Valley Regional Library System!

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue


 

The B.R.A.G. Medallion: A Boost for Indie Authors

by @AnnieDaylon

What is the B.R.A.G. Medallion?

The Book Readers Appreciation Group Medallion is an award bestowed for excellence in indie publication. Awards are given based on plot, characters, writing style, dialogue, copy editing, as well as cover and interior Layout.

registered- 800


BRAGMedallion.com is owned and operated by indieBRAG, LLC, a privately held organization that has brought together a large group of readers, both individuals and members of book clubs, located throughout the United States and in ten other countries around the globe.”
 ~  Who We Are at indieBRAG 

A B.R.A.G. Medallion is a boost for indie authors. In addition to 10 copies of a gold award sticker, honorees receive reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, mentions on Twitter, and pictures on Pinterest.

The B.R.A.G. website 
posts news from authors about their readings and publications and displays donated print copies at book expositions.

Recipients also receive an opportunity to do an interview about their winning work and their writing process (an opportunity I jumped at!) 
These interviews are conducted by Stephanie Hopkins at Layered Pages. 

An excerpt for you, of my B.R.A.G interview …

“Hi, Annie! Thank you for visiting with me today to talk about your latest B.R.A.G. Medallion! First, tell me how you discovered indieBRAG?”

“Happy to be here! Thanks for the invite!

“I discovered indieBRAG on Twitter when another author tweeted that she had received the B.R.A.G. medallion. I followed the indieBRAG link and, impressed with what I read, I submitted my novel, Castles in the Kerrigan Chronicles Indie Brag imageSand which became a B.R.A.G Medallion Honoree. Due to the numerous benefits of indieBRAG—Amazon and Goodreads ratings, tweets, Facebook feature, Pinterest posts, Stickers, and an interview with Layered Pages—I was eager to submit my current release Of Sea and Seed for indieBRAG recognition. I am thrilled to have received the honor a second time.”

“I must say, I adore your book title and cover. Please tell me a little about your story and the inspiration behind it.”

The Story… Of Sea and Seed is set on the island of Newfoundland….” 

             Read More Here 

 Many thanks to IndieBrag and Interviewer Stephanie Hopkins! 

 Free Short Story
A free short story is yours when you join my email list! My newsletters contain book news, blog posts, sneak previews, and, occasionally, fun facts about my beloved island of Newfoundland. To join, place the required information in the space provided on the right. Rest assured your email address will not be shared for any reason.

My best to you, 

Annie Signature Light Blue

eNovel-Round-Logo

Vancouver Visit: Things Are Not Always What They Seem

by @AnnieDaylon

Phone April 277

Things are not always what they seem…

 

Are you writing present-day fiction in a real setting? Are you wondering if you should visit that setting? 

In my last post, My Novels. My Research., I wrote of plans to visit the setting of my work-in-progress…

My Work-in-Progress is a crime thriller set in present day Vancouver… I have the characters and the details down, most of them anyway. But I want, once again, to walk in the shoes of my characters. This time I will take the Aquabus to Granville Island, visit a café on the beach, shop at Pacific Centre,  detail heritage buildings in the area, and, most importantly, do some people watching.”

Here are a few things I discovered…

  1. First of all, since my story takes place in May, I wanted to visit in May. But, when I learned that hotel rates would skyrocket on May first (the onset of the tourist season), I booked my trip for the last week in April. Had I waited the extra week, my hotel cost would have doubled. Ouch!

  2. I didn’t ride the Aquabus mentioned in my last post. The character in my novel who went to the Farmers Market on Granville Island would have taken the False Creek Ferry because it was closer to her home and therefore much convenient for her. (Good to know!) I followed suit. 

  3. Before my trip to Vancouver, I watched a TV news report from the shores of English Bay. Certain that shutterstock_212016496the flowers dotting the background field were clover, I wrote about the scent of clover combined with the scent of sea, a combination I remember well from my days in Newfoundland. However, when I strolled through the grass near English Bay , I discovered that there was no clover. The tiny white flowers I saw were daisies. (Things are not always what they seem.) I edited my manuscript.

  4. In my novel, a main character visits police headquarters. When I wrote the scene (prior to my visit to VPD headquarters), I based the setting on a TV show, one in which the front doors of the police station open to a narrow reception area with a long, open counter manned by a prominent and dominant female officer. On that show, everything on and behind that counter is clearly visible (possibly to make it easier to film).
    Reality is different. At the VPD Headquarters, there is a long reception counter, yes, but it is separated from the public by (what I assume is) bulletproof glass. As is required of all visitors, I reported in; that meant talking through parallel slats in an intercom to a woman whose voice was distorted by static. I couldn’t describe this person because, due to translucent glass (and my lack of stature), I couldn’t see much other than dark hair and glasses.
    Another surprise regarding the VPD came in the form of its accessibility. Despite the uniformed attention to detail and the church-like echo of voices in the lobby, there was no sense of keep-away here. I contacted the department ahead of time; I left a message which was responded to in short order. And I was welcomed (with a police escort) into the inner sanctum. (Thank you, VPD!)

As for the other places mentioned above: I took detailed notes on the architecture and layout of the shopping center wherein I have planted a fictional boutique. I ate a delicious salad at the cafe on which I’m basing the restaurant in my story. And I discovered a heritage building whose ivy-covered exterior and dark-paneled interior suit my needs precisely. 

Back to my opening questions…. Are you writing present-day fiction in a real setting? Are you wondering if you should visit that setting?

My answer… yes! Plan the trip. Immerse yourself in details. Then weave them into your plot.

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

My Novels. My Research. (Vancouver Bound: Boots on the Ground)

by @AnnieDaylon

shutterstock_212016496I am a multigenre author, born in Newfoundland, living in British Columbia. My novels are reflective of my bi-coastal experience in that they are set on the opposite ends of Canada: Newfoundland or Vancouver. The time element is also extreme: I plunk my work anywhere from the 1920’s to the now. The research methods vary, dictated by setting. The Newfoundland novels catapult me into the past: I read and view everything I can find on the historical events and settings. Here, I am focusing on the Vancouver novels (yes, plural because I’m nearing the end of the second) which are set in present-day and require boots-on-the ground research.

My first Vancouver novel, CASTLES IN THE SAND, is set in 2010 in the west end and, in addition to online research regarding the city and the plight of its homeless, I made two specific trips to the city.

On the first trip, I left the comfort of my west-end hotel at the cusp of dawn on a relatively-warm winter day and hiked the full length of Robson Street. Why? To see, hear, and smell the world as my main character, a homeless man, does. When he observes the pigeons strutting the sidewalk, he notices (because I notice for the first time) that the

  • “little bastards have red feet.”

The predominant aroma for him is the smell of coffee (not the smell of ocean air as I had expected.)

  • “I take a deep breath so I can suck in the Starbucks. All the beautiful people carry Starbucks.”

He hears the day beginning, not just generically in the roar of traffic but specifically:

  • “The bus engine grumbles…Whooossssh. Air brakes.”

  • “Won’t be long before the bolts on the door of the shoe boutique behind me twist open. Three bolts. Every morning. Like clockwork. Click. Click. Click.”

 That day, I also walked the Vancouver Seawall, toured Gastown, and ate at the Spaghetti Factory, all the while taking notes. My best discovery? At the end of a long day, while walking back to my hotel on Robson Street , I saw a young man in a white, puffy jacket. He was talking to a homeless man. I didn’t want to interfere but I wanted to eavesdrop, so I strolled past. The young man was saying “Let me help you to a shelter.” I pinged on that. For my novel, I created a new character, a Good Samaritan, who was dubbed “Marshmallow Man” by my main character.

  • “Some guy in a puffy, white jacket hovers over me. A marshmallow. A goddam talking marshmallow.”

My second trip to Vancouver was to finalize details. The backstory of my homeless character was that he had lost his home during the real estate crash. I had a specific residence in mind for him, one that I had found in the MLS listings, and walked the area surrounding that very house. I went to the nearby park where my fictional family played. There, I sat on a bench and penned a description of both house and park. I walked the tunnel under the Granville Bridge. And I sat in the foyer of the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library where I noticed a pigeon strutting the floor, a pigeon that inspired a caring moment for my homeless character. It was in the library that it occurred to me that all the chattering voices around me melded in to a ghost-like drone, into

  • “whirling ghosts of indiscernible chatter.”

The effect of all that research was not only that I was better-able to detail the journey of my character but also that I am now better-equipped to notice detail daily. (A bonus for a writer.) 

As for current research… My Work-in-Progress is a crime thriller set in present day Vancouver, again in the west end. I have the characters and the details down, most of them anyway. But I want, once again, to walk in the shoes of my characters. This time I will take the Aquabus to Granville Island, visit a café on the beach, shop at Pacific Centre,  detail heritage buildings in the area, and, most importantly, do some people watching.

In short, in a couple of weeks, I’m Vancouver bound. Boots on the ground. Can’t wait!  🙂 

I invite you to join my author journey: subscribe to blog or newsletter or both! The newsletter contains news about books, links to some blogs, and occasional fun facts about my beloved island of Newfoundland. To sign up, simply place the required information in the spaces provided on the right. Rest assured your email address will not be shared for any reason. eNovel-Round-Logo

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue