Creating the Cover: “At the Heart of the Missing”

by @AnnieDaylon

In the indie world, the creation of striking cover for a novel starts with the vision of the author.

As At the Heart of the Missing moved through stages of growth (which included two title changes) I kept a space, a dark room in my mind if you will, where I allowed visual images to emerge and morph.

With this novel, as with Castles in the Sand  I worked with author/editor/designer Michael Hiebert. I remember that, with Castles in the Sand , I kept him waiting for three days while I located the cover image for that book. (Sorry, Michael.) I searched every site I could find and finally came up with the perfect cover, a picture of English Bay in Vancouver (the actual setting for the novel.) I found that picture on Shutterstock.com  which has been my go-to site ever since.

While I was writing At the Heart of the Missing, I logged in to Shutterstock and scrolled through images, popping those that interested me into a lightbox, a place where images can be saved for later retrieval. When the time came for my designer to create the cover for At the Heart of the Missing, I shared the lightbox images with him and told him what I wanted: cascading rose petals on a black cover with one small marigold and one small violet.

Using the images below, my designer layered the rose petal image fifteen times to get the desired effect. Since I couldn’t find a satisfactory image of a solo marigold, he chose one of the twenty in the third photo.

In the ebook world, one could stop there. But  At the Heart of the Missing will also appear in print– back cover needed! It was my designer’s brilliant idea to wrap the rose petal theme around to the back. I supplied back copy (description of book for reader), blurbs, and imprint with logo (McRAC Books).

How did I choose my business name and logo? Click to see post.

 

The space in the lower right hand corner of the back of the book is reserved for the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) bar code. (A note, dear Canadians, ISBNs are free for you from Library and Archives Canada.) 

The result of all of this? Ta-daaa!

Now available for Pre-Order on Amazon Kindle. Delivery Date: April 8, 2017.


I am thrilled with this cover creation and am fortunate to have worked with a designer I knew and trusted, one who brought my vision to fruition.

 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

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

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

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

 

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 

My Write Before Christmas: 2015

by @AnnieDaylon

ALL-ABOARD-with-medallion

My Write Before Christmas: 2015

It’s my Write before Christmas! This year I’m delighted
To blog hop with BRAG for I’ve been invited
To share my tradition of greeting in rhyme
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, herein I’m highlighting
Links and events in this world of writing.

A new writer? The 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.

Don’t want to travel? Still want to learn?
This Indie group can ease your concern
About writing and publishing and marketing scenes
With FREE online events in 2016.

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.

There’s a ton of advice from Elizabeth Craig
Author Media’s the place if tech is a plague
And if you’re afflicted with grammar trouble
Grammar Girl delivers help on the double.

Bestseller Labs has suggestions for selling;
Enovel Authors has info compelling
“How I sold 30 000…” is well-worth the buy
Martin Crosbie’s the author (I wish it were I ! :-))

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,
I’m new to the latter and the fun knows no end.
As for Tea & Critique with friends Fran and Mary,
I always apply their sage commentary.

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.”

Thanks, BRAG Medallion and Layered Pages
for bidding me join with your blog hop sages!
Debra Martin‘s site is next on the hop,
she’s there tomorrow, be sure that you stop!

That’s it for this year. Best wishes to you
As 2016 comes into view.
And now, ere December rolls out of sight,
Happy Christmas to all! Have great reads and great writes!

Sardis, Retreat, Christmas 034

My best to you,
Annie Signature Light Blue

 

B.R.A.G. Medallion: A Boost for Indies

by @AnnieDaylon

registered- 800The Book Readers Appreciation Group Medallion  for excellence in indie publications includes not only a shiny gold sticker, but also a host of other treasures:  reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, mentions on Twitter, and images on Pinterest.  B.R.A.G. also posts news provided by authors about their readings and publications. If  honorees send B.R.A.G. a print copy of their book, B.R.A.G. will display that book at many book expositions.  In addition, B.R.A.G. affords its recipients the  opportunity to do an online interview about their winning work and their writing process.  I jumped at the opportunity of doing an interview about my B.R.A.G. honoree novel, Castles in the Sand, and had the pleasure of working with Stephanie Hopkins of Layered Pages.

A sample for you, of my interview…

Stephanie:  Hello Annie! Congrats on the B.R.A.G. Medallion for your book, Castles in the Sand. How did you discover indieBRAG and what has been your experience with self-publishing thus far?

  • I discovered indieBRAG on Twitter. Another author tweeted that her book was a BRAG Medallion recipient; I was curious so I followed the link to indieBRAG.
  • A steep learning curve, that of self-publishing. At times I felt as though I were scaling a vertical wall. I had to learn (am still learning) not only the business of writing, but also the use of technology. (Three years ago, I didn’t have a website, didn’t know an analytic from a hashtag, etc.) I sacrificed writing time to acquire skills in both these areas; unfortunately, that was necessary. But now, writing comes first and I squeeze marketing and tech into whatever time is left.

See more here: Interview with B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Annie Daylon 

Back to Work! Armoire/Office is open today! :-)

On Layeredpages.com, my armoire/office was Closed. Here’s the Open version. (No vacation today!)

 

 

A Note to Indie Writers…
For a nominal fee,  B.R.A.G. Medallion will consider your self-published novel on basis of Plot, Characters, Writing Style, Dialogue, Copyediting, Cover/Interior Layout.
Visit B.R.A.G. for a potential boost!


Please subscribe to my blog by placing your email in the space provided on the right. Thank you!

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

 

 

 

My NaNoWriMo Experience

by @AnnieDaylon

CASTLES-IN-THE-SAND (2) brag medallion

This week, I am guest blogging on the B.R.A.G. Medallion website. Here’s a snippet:

It’s November and, once again, information about NaNoWriMo is flooding social media. Many writers participate in this annual National Novel Writing Month. Maybe some sit by the wayside, wondering: Is it worth the effort?

I have participated in NaNoWriMo twice. In 2010, I wrote a complete first draft of my novel Castles in the Sand. In 2012, I wrote a complete first draft of my work-in-progress, Of Sea and Seed.

See more here>>>   My NaNoWriMo Experience

 

registered- 800

(Thanks, @indiebrag, for invitation to blog!)

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

In the Company of Readers

 

by @AnnieDaylon

shutterstock_134073986Little did I know when I grumbled over precious time spent getting my novel onto the shelves of a local food chain that the effort would result in a magical evening in the company of avid readers. I was invited to a meeting of the Book Travellers, an octet of women whose group demeanor is a combination of the delicacy of porcelain and the strength of spider silk, women who have woven friendship into a book club that has endured two decades.

The Book Travellers are so named because each member returns from every trip with souvenir bookmarks for the group. The group chooses their books a year in advance, at a sleepover, in a cabin, on a nearby lake, each June. Through their meticulous ‘bookkeeper’, they keep track of every meeting (attendance, books read, and comments) and have done so since 1998.

They take turns hosting the event and, during my visit, they appeared to be as comfortable in their host’s home as they would be in their own. (author note: a wonderfully infectious state of ease.)

Our evening began with tea and dessert and progressed to discussion of my novel and books in general.

Elizabeth made Lemon Pavlova. Delicious!

Elizabeth made Lemon Pavlova. Delicious!

Personal details slid through book talk, information about connections made through vocation—librarian, teacher, nurse, accountant—and avocation—curling, volunteering, walking, travelling. There were snippets with giggles about surprise birthday jaunts and fragments with sighs about thoughtful memorial gifts.

Overall, a delightful evening  in the company of readers, one which served not only to deepen my fervor for reading but also to re-ignite my passion for telling stories. More importantly, I experienced a surprising gift: the joy of being in the presence of unmatched  strength and vitality. Truly Canada’s Steel Magnolias.  

And so, to: Elizabeth, Bonnie, Judy, Randi, Nancy, Magda, Leona, and Kathy, I express my heartfelt thanks.

My best to all of you, always,

Annie Signature Light Blue

 

Please subscribe to my Author Newsletter by including your first name and email address in the space provided on the upper right. 

P. S. Dear Writers, Marketing can be a pain in the posterior: In my case, it took five trips to the store, several forms that had to be filled, trashed, replaced, filled again and edited; it also took a few emails to the wrong people before finding the right people. I was left wondering if time-consuming grunt details are worth it. They are. Do it.

 

Book Club Request: Discussion Questions for “Castles in the Sand”

by @AnnieDaylon

shutterstock_128248502

Just a few days ago, a Book Club contacted me saying that they have chosen my novel Castles in the Sand as their April’s read.(Pause here for dance of joy!) The group requested discussion questions and I was delighted to comply. I had not prepared such questions before but knew that character, plot, viewpoint etc., should be incorporated. I chose to share the resulting questions here (minus the spoilers) on the chance that my efforts might be of use to other authors.

 

BOOK CLUB DISCUSSION:  CASTLES IN THE SAND

1. Castles in the Sand is written in the first person from a single viewpoint, that of Justin, a homeless alcoholic. Why might the author have chosen to tell the story this way? Why is Justin’s voice so truncated?

2. The author tells the story by slipping between present and past. Why do you think the author chose to do this instead of telling the story chronologically?

3. Were you aware of the author’s subtle use of foreshadowing? (Example: At what point in Justin’s life did he learn of the existence of Steve?)

4.  In his review of Castles in the Sand, author Michael Hiebert states that “the plot hits the ground running and never lets up.” Do you agree with this? Why or why not?

5. Castles in the Sand is a cautionary tale, one of love and family, ruin and rise. The author incorporates symbols, such as the aquarium castle, to reinforce the main themes. What other symbols are prominent in the book and what do they represent?

6. Do the main characters, Justin and Steve, change by the end of the story? If so, is one arc more prominent than the other?

7. Steve is a shape shifter; both Justin and reader are kept in suspense about his motives. Eventually, Steve’s secrets are revealed. Should he have kept this secret for so long?

8. Justin feels betrayed and acts out violently. Have you dealt with someone who betrayed you? How did you respond?

9. Justin is stuck in a time warp and cannot progress until he deals with the past. There is a Buddhist proverb: “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” What was the readiness factor for Justin?

10. Is the ending satisfying? If so, why? If not, how would you change it?

 

If writing discussion questions, you can find help  by: talking with other authors, scanning the back pages of current novels, many of which now include such questions, and by searching on line. (Try Lit Lovers for the basics; you may even use their questions verbatim, with attribution.) 

Another suggestion: If requested to write discussion questions, jump at the chance. This activity will give you an injection of  joy and enthusiasm. You’re a writer and readers are interested in discussing your work. Celebrate!

A FREE short story is yours when you subscribe to my newsletter! Simply place your first name and email address in the box provided on the right.  Many thanks!

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue