Big News! Shortlisted for the Whistler Independent Book Awards

by @AnnieDaylon


I am thrilled to announce that
Of Sea and Seed,
The Kerrigan Chronicles, Book I
has been 
nominated for the
2017 Whistler Independent Book Award.

 


I entered this contest because I love writing contests. In fact, I started with contests—story, poetry, and novel. I believe contests provide a viable route into the writing world and are therefore something that all authors among you should consider. Many times contests offer a word count limit and a time limit, both of which force you to hone your craft. Many times contests give a prompt, a creative spark, which forces you to think outside of the box. Both of my Vancouver suspense novels—Castles in the Sand and At the Heart of the Missing— have their beginnings in short stories that won contests. Castles in the Sand went on to win the 2012 Houston Writers Guild contest in mainstream fiction.

Of Sea and Seed is the recipient of the Book Readers Appreciation Group (B.R.A.G.) Medallion, bestowed for excellence in independent writing. And now, it has received this nod of recognition from the Whistler Independent Book Awards. My heart is in this book, readers. It is a literary and lyrical and suspense-filled sea saga, kindled when my father told me that a little girl had survived a tsunami in Newfoundland. 

 A ghostly family matriarch chronicles the lives of three generations of the Kerrigan family as they struggle to survive devastating tsunami, toxic secrets, and shocking betrayal in 1920s Newfoundland.

 

About the Whistler Awards…

The Whistler Independent Book Awards are relatively new, having been “established in 2016 to recognize excellence in Canadian independent publishing.” They are the “only juried Canadian award for self-published authors” and offer prizes in both fiction and nonfiction. This year, the three finalists for each of these categories will be announced on July 17th, and the winners’ presentation will be held at the annual Whistler Writers Festival, October 12th to 15th.

The Whistler Independent Book Awards, which are jointly administered by the British Columbia Whistler Writing Society and Vivalogue Publishing, are a boon for self-published authors who struggle to have their work recognized. The fact that these awards are juried and the winners chosen by distinguished authors can ease the burden for librarians, one of whom informed me that librarians wish to support independent writing but they do not have staff available to vet the tons of titles that cross their desks each year.

I am grateful that my work has been nominated for the 2017 Whistler Independent Book Award for fiction and am thrilled to be in illustrious company.

For more information, check out the

Whistler Independent Book Awards site.

 

 

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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

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

 

Pick of the Twitter: March, 2015

Pick of the Twitter 005

Looking for writing/marketing/tech tips? Here are my Top Twitter picks for March, 2015:

  1.  How are short stories evaluated for publication or awards? by @JodieRennerEd via @KMWEiland

  2. 5 Ways Pinterest Can Help Authors  @IndiAuthorALLI via @K8Tilton

  3. Top Ten Things You Need to Know About the Writing Life  by @JamesScottBell via @thecreativepenn

  4. How to make pictures behave in WordPress  @BakerviewConsul via @sugarbeatbc  @christinenolfi (Love this one!)

  5. Great Writers on the Creative Benefits of Keeping a Diary by Maria Popova @penguinrandom @brainpicker

  6. Blogs Vs. Newsletters: What’s the Diff? by Jim Devitt

  7. Tips on writing an e-book series by Nikki Moore via @WomenWriters

  8. The Complete Italicization Guide  @write_practice

  9. The Benefits of Hybrid Publishing by Melissa Donovan @WritingForward

  10. Build your audience WHILE writing your book! -Jason Wiser, The Author Hangout! @bkmkting

  11. 21 Book Marketing Tips for Authors by Heather Hart

  12. 10 SIMPLE, CLEVER TIPS for Computer, Web, Smartphone & Camera Users.  by columinist David Pogue @Pogue (Great Tips! Love this!)

Many thanks to Tweeters and Bloggers alike!shutterstock_48236599

Please subscribe to my blog by including your email in the space provided on the upper right.

 My best to you,
Annie Signature Light Blue

Self-Publishing a Story Collection? 6 Tips!

shutterstock_163750679 (2) story collection

by @AnnieDaylon

Are you about to publish a collection of your short stories? I have done that once and am considering a second. Here are six suggestions based on hindsight:

  1. Go for a ‘sense of book.’ Group stories around one theme, one character, one setting. My first collection is varied: most of its stories were written, not with the idea of a book in mind, but for contests based on prompts. It was long after their completion that I chose a theme.

  2. Give thought to the title.

    Take time to examine your collection. Perhaps, as book title, you might choose the title of one story or the name of a place that is common to all stories. After I read through my stories, I realized there was indeed a thread: the choices we make and the paths we take. Thus the title: Passages.

  3. Consider, as title/subtitle, “a collection of short fiction,” not “a collection of short stories.”

    I used stories in the subtitle of Passages and wished I had used fiction, especially after I dropped a narrative poem into the mix. (Yes, I know: could have eliminated the poem. Sigh.)

  4. Acknowledge previous publications.

    List the stories that have been previously published, and include publisher, publication, and date of same. In Passages, in acknowledgements, I thanked creators, administrators, and judges of writing contests, and named a couple of specifics. There was no ill intent in my lack of a list of previous publications; I was simply unaware of the courtesy.

  5. Share background of story.

    Many of the short stories in Passages were written for contests. In retrospect, I could have enhanced the reader experience by writing a paragraph or two before each short, revealing the prompt or inspiration for the story.

  6. Give thought to the placement of stories.

    You might consider placing your best story first and your second-best last. I went a different route: I put an award-winning short story first because I wanted to draw attention to the fact that it had grown into an award-winning novel. As for the last story in Passages, it is a very short piece called Final Passage, a piece that is more than appropriate for its position in the book. The only thing I would have done differently with it is listed above: I would have revealed the inspiration for the piece.

    shutterstock_163750679

    Why do I love story contests? Click on image to link to “Why Enter Story Contests.”

    Are these suggestions helpful to you? If  you have already published a book of short fiction, what were the steps that worked best for you? What, if anything,  would you do differently the next time?

     

    My best to you, Annie Signature Light Blue    

Two Routes to Publishing Short Stories and Poetry

by @AnnieDaylon

Looking to Publish short Fiction and PoetryAre you looking for ways to get your short stories and poems published?

I recently received an email from a writer who was seeking ways to do that. What follows is what I offered her, what I thought could be shared here as well.

I have used two avenues for publication of short stories: Story Contests and Literary Journals.

I use story contests to hone my craft; therefore, I’ve researched them and have entered many, including 24-hour story contests. This has resulted in having many stories published, both online and in journals in Canada and the United States. 

The most comprehensive resource for contests in Canada is the Canadian Writers’ Contest Calendar.  This calendar is published in the fall of each year, usually by November. All contests are listed by deadline. Everything you need to know—submission guidelines, eligibility, word count limits, etc. — are given for each contest and, yes, poetry contests are included.

The best site I’ve found for information on contests and journals in the U.S. is Poets & Writers, “the nation’s largest nonprofit organization serving creative writers.”  On the right hand side of the landing page, under Tools for Writers, you will find an impressive list of databases for literary magazines, contests, agents, etc.

I know how much time and energy go into the pursuit of publication. I hope the above is helpful to you.

Do you have any suggestions to share? Please send them along.

Annie Daylon reading Buryin' Day

Annie Daylon reading short story “Buryin’ Day” at launch of Freefall Literary Magazine (Vol XIX, Number 1) in Calgary. (First contest entry, second place!)

Good luck on your journey.

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

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

 

My Write Before Christmas: 2014

by @AnnieDaylon 

 Sardis, Retreat, Christmas 034 2014

It’s my Write before Christmas, my time to send

Best wishes to wordsmiths and readers and friends.

Authors work solo, yet none are alone

For it takes a village (an adage well-known.)

 

Critique groups are crucial, a part of the team;

Online or in person, they endorse your dream.

(An aside: Many thanks for your commentary,

My critique angels–Fran, Michael, and Mary.)

 

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.

 

Like story contests? They’re fun, teach deadlines,

This>Contest Calendar’s < a favourite of mine.

As is Poets & Writers, a site that makes space

For a Contest and Grants and Awards Database.

 

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?

Writers Digest will surely have something for you.

 

If a positive thought is what you require,

Tweets from Rock Christopher will keep you inspired.

If you’re looking to blog but don’t know the scene,

Check out Blog It for authors penned by Molly Greene.

 

Got a post that helps others? Want it retweeted?

@MondayBlogs is a place you’ll be greeted.

Want to do marketing? Don’t know the score?

Book Marketing Tools has ideas galore.

 

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!) 🙂

 

Thanks, avid readers on whom writers rely,

The work’s not complete ’til you choose to stop by.

Samuel Johnson once said (and I paraphrase herein)

‘A reader finishes what a writer begins.’

 

That’s it, the year’s end! Best wishes to you

as 2015 comes into view.

And now, ere December slides out of sight,

Happy Christmas to all! Have great reads and great writes!

 

Annie Signature Light Blue

 

 

 

 

 

Short Story: A Canadian Man’s Heart

 

by @ AnnieDaylon

shutterstock_163750679

 

 I love to enter short story contests (see previous post: Why Enter Story Contests?) In my 2014 goals, I listed that I would enter a few. (One done in January… Yay!)
I enter to learn, not to win. I enter for the fun and for the feeling of accomplishment that the marathon of the novel does not provide.

Here is an example of a non-winning entry (See below for learning experience):

 

A Canadian Man’s Heart
 ©AnnieDaylon


According to my boss, Zeta Thompson, there is only one sure-fire way to a Canadian man’s heart, and it has nothing to do with his stomach.

“Believe it or not, Betty,” Zeta announced one morning after she had tolerated my litany of loneliness one too many times, “the main flaw in your dating strategy lies in your complete dismissal of this country’s national pastime. Canadian men live and die for hockey! Don’t you get that? Ever consider just buying a big-screen TV and asking a guy over to watch a game on a Saturday night?

“Forget it,” I huffed. “Gawking at a TV set and trying to keep track of a flying rubber disk is not my idea of entertainment. Hockey! It’s loud, obnoxious and violent, and I absolutely refuse to take part in anything that celebrates the idea of grown men clobbering each other with long sticks.”

Judiciously, Zeta threw her hands up in defeat, but the fates were not so easily dissuaded; they countered immediately with a loud knock at the office door. Kevin Mason, the new architect we had been expecting, flung the door wide and hovered there, filling the frame with his six-foot splendor.

Lust at first sight!

Many scenarios flitted through my mind, all of them reminiscent of the fiery pictures that grace the covers of my Harlequin romance collection. Never in my life have I been one to ignore a golden-haired, blue-eyed opportunity such as this one and I sure wasn’t going to start now.

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see that Zeta was grinning like an idiot, but she was also staying in the background, generously giving me carte blanche. Possibilities abounded as I stepped forward and extended my hand to greet the newcomer. Quick to respond, Kevin strode across the room. Relationship redemption which, just seconds ago, had seemed light years away, was now viable and I felt hope soar.

 Suddenly, time slowed down, becoming a teasing tyrant, extending milliseconds into eons. The only thing I could do was try to maintain my composure as I watched our hands inch toward each other.

Ultimately, time relented and allowed our hands to meet, but then it stood back and laughed as a huge ring jabbed my palm and punctured my dreams. Visions of victory oozed away the instant I glanced at the ring’s proven symbol of relationship demise—the blue-and-white insignia of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

What the heck was I to do now?

X-rated images—all golden-haired and blue-eyed—pummeled my brain, urging me onward.

“You want to come by my place on Saturday, Kevin?” I blurted before I could stop myself. “Zeta and I were just talking about watching the Leafs game on my brand new fifty-inch, high-definition, plasma TV.”

*****

The above story was written a few years ago for an Alphabet Acrostic contest. The opening, “According to my boss,” was given. The criteria? “Complete your story in 26 sentences, each beginning with words in the sequence of the English alphabet.”

The learning? I expanded my vocabulary by reading the dictionary. (Yes, X is limiting, but there are ways around it.) The fun? Enjoyed it so much that I entered again this year! (This particular contest is available annually through The Brucedale Press. It’s a long wait until the next one but the fee is only $5/entry!)

My questions for you: Did you notice as you read the story that I was progressing through the alphabet? If not, did you go back to check? 🙂

 

(Please subscribe to my blog by including your email in the space provided on the upper right.)

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

 

 

“Word Vancouver” is Coming!

by @Annie Daylon

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Word Vancouver (formerly known as The Word on the Street Vancouver) is Western Canada’s largest celebration of literacy and reading. It has free events taking place over five days (September 25- 29) in Vancouver at: Carnegie Community Centre, Banyen Books & Sound, Historic Joy Kogawa House, and Library Square.
Last year I participated as a volunteer at the Federation of BC Writers table and took in all the sights and sounds of the main festival day on Sunday.  This year? I’m attending on Saturday and presenting a workshop: Honing the Craft of Writing through Story Contests.

Power Point cover page 001 (640x478)WORKSHOP DETAILS:
Where: Vancouver Public Library
350 W. Georgia Street, Vancouver
Alma Van Dusen Room
When:
Saturday, September 28, 2013
3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Synopsis: What is it like to compete in a story contest?  In her Power Point presentation, Honing the Craft of Writing through Story Contests, award-winning author, Annie Daylon, talks about the story contest experience and how it can help to sharpen writing skills. Topics include: reasons for entering, availability of contests, types of contests (24-hour, themed, no theme), meeting deadlines, and giving the editors, publishers and judges what they are looking for.  Information on contests in Canada and the U.S. is provided.

My workshop is one of six Word Vancouver  workshops taking place at the Vancouver library on Saturday, September 28th. The others are:

  • An Introduction to Story with Nancy Lee
  • Poetry and Relevance with Heather Duff
  • Creating Content for Social Sharing with Lisa Manfield
  • Finding Work: First Steps-Next Steps A Workshop for Freelance Writers with Colin Moorhouse
  • A Literary Agent’s Take on Book Publishing Today from an Author’s Perspective with Robert Mackwood.

 

Learn more about this five-day literary festival at Word Vancouver.

Passages Book Cover

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Enter Story Contests?

by @AnnieDaylon

shutterstock_163750679My primary aim when I started writing was to pen novels. One day, I veered from that path into the world of the short story. The result? An immediate burst of accomplishment and, surprisingly, a joy in the genre itself. I still participate in the marathon of the novel, but am always up for a short story sprint.

In order to get my work out there, I entered story contests. Rejection? Yes, lots of it. But considerable success, too. Knowledge crept in: the contests, especially the twenty-four hour dashes, were helping to hone my craft. I kept entering…

Reasons for Entering Short Story Contests

  1. Fun. You have opportunity to play with styles and voice.
  2. Readers.  Your work is seen by objective readers.
  3. Inspiration. Topic is often given. You get to brainstorm around it.
  4. Blind judging. You can dip your toe into the water anonymously: no query letter; no dreaded synopsis. You are selling your work, not selling yourself.
  5. Motivation. You have a deadline, so you have to put BIC (butt in chair) and just write.
  6. Feedback. Sometimes you get feedback.  Disagree? Reject. Agree? Apply.
  7. Word Count Limits. You have no choice but to tighten writing by dropping modifiers and using stronger verbs.
  8. Credibility. Published? Short-listed? Either gives you credibility… something to put under “Recent Awards and Publications” when submitting queries.
  9. Immunity to Rejection. Rejection gradually loses its sting. You simply edit your stories and submit them elsewhere.
  10. Collection. Stories accumulate. Before long, you have a collection.

 

Along with the above benefits comes the awareness that a lot of small publications are staffed by volunteers, many of whom are writers. They give their time to support you. You give a small fee to support them. The result? A writing community. A complete circle. Bonus!

My Best to You,

Annie Signature Light Blue