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.

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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

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

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

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A Tribute to Pat Conroy: “My Reading Life”

by @AnnieDaylon 

My Reading Life“Here is all I ask of a book – give me everything. Everything, and don’t leave out a single word.” ~ Pat Conroy

Yesterday I read of the recent passing of author Pat Conroy, probably best know for his novel The Prince of Tides. I love the story, the beauty, the lyricism of Conroy’s fiction but my favorite of his books is a memoir titled My Reading Life

My Reading Life is Conroy’s view of life through the books he’s read and through the people who introduced him to those books. This work resonated deeply with me: I related to Conroy’s love of words, to his knowledge of Latin, and to his habit of collecting words and phrases and quotes. I was amazed at how much I learned about this author through his reading choices; I even started a list of the books he’d read, thinking that I would visit them all at some point.

During this list-making  process, I searched the book’s title on Pinterest and discovered to my delight that the list already existed! The title of the Pinterest Board? My Reading Life-Pat Conroy. Thank you to Liz Whittaker for creating this board which is not only a gift for readers like myself, but also an outstanding tribute to avid reader and accomplished author, Pat Conroy. 

RIP, Pat Conroy.

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. 

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Brenda-Louise: From Imagination to Reality

by @AnnieDaylon

Invisible-Hats

The idea for THE MANY-COLORED INVISIBLE HATS OF BRENDA-LOUISE appeared long, long ago and far, far away, sparked by a friend whom I thought could express emotions as easily as one could don a hat. The completed rhyme stayed in a file for years.

Then, one day, at a meetup of the Fraser Valley Branch of the Federation of British Columbia Writers, I met up with author and artist, Loreena M. Lee, who showed a picture book that she had illustrated. I was intrigued. At home later, I visited her website gallery and was enchanted by a portrait she had painted, that of a little girl. I knew then that Loreena was the illustrator for my picture book.

I emailed the rhyme to Loreena and, when she expressed interest, we set up a meeting… and several more. At the first couple of get-togethers, we hammered out a contract; Loreena promised that she could have the work done in four months. With the contract out of the way, Loreena asked questions, telling me that she had to get into my head. Then, she did pencil drawings and awaited my approval before moving on. Sometimes we communicated by e-mail; often I visited. I think it took about ten meetings total.

A TIP FOR WRITERS: Collaborating with an Illustrator?  Own your words, but be flexible.
EXAMPLE 1: Before the illustration was created, in order to facilitate the illustration, I changed “Each box is the shape of its very own hat” to “Some touch the ceiling while others lie flat.”                                                         EXAMPLE 2: After the illustration was created, because the illustrations were wonderfully specific, I changed “rubber hats for rain, straw hats for sun, and party hats for parties…” to “A sou’wester for rain, a straw hat for sun, a cone hat for parties…” 

Near the end of the process, I walked into her home as usual one morning. In preparation for my arrival, Loreena had set out her original watercolor paintings on a love seat. The sight stopped me in my tracks.

IMG_0008

Have you ever watched Extreme Home Makeover shows? If so, you’ll understand what I mean when I say this was a “Move that bus!” moment for me. Freeze-frame magic!

Loreena completed all the work prior to her four-month deadline. From there, I worked with another member of the Federation of BC Writers, Brian Rodda, who, when asked to design and format this book, said, ” I will do it with a song in my heart and a lilt in my step.” (Excellent price too, I must add.) And now, The Many-Colored Invisible Hats of Brenda-Louise is a reality.

Many thanks to Loreena M. Lee, to Brian Rodda, and, of course, to the original, one-and-only Brenda-Louise!

Free Short StoryI invite you to join my author journey: subscribe to my newsletter which contains news about books, links to blogs, and occasional fun facts about my beloved island of Newfoundland. Place your first name and email address in the space provided on the right. Rest assured your email address will not be shared for any reason. 

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10 Gratitude Quotes: Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!

by @AnnieDaylon

In honor of Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, I am sharing some of my favorite quotes about gratitude. (Other than the the two Shutterstock images marked, the photos are my own.) Enjoy!

 

Nature's Beauty

 

Cicero Thankful heart

Shutterstock Image

 

Willie Nelson Gratitude

 

Massieu Gratitude

 

Gibran gratitude

 

Colman Gratitude

 

Tolle Gratitude

 

Proust Gratitude

 

Nietzsche gratitude

Shutterstock Image

 

Shakespeare Gratitude

My hubby  took this last pic. That’s yours truly, perched on a picnic table on Pender Island in British Columbia, doing what I love best…communing with the sea. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!

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On Taking a Leap

by @AnnieDaylon

 Angel the Clown, a once-upon-a-time busker on Granville Island.

Angel the Clown, a once-upon-a-time busker on Granville Island.

When I first moved to Vancouver, I was in awe of buskers. How on earth did they summon the courage to perform in the street? I wanted to try it but I had to talk, no, trick myself into it.

Vancouver’s Granville Island Public Market is a well-known venue for street performers. Transportation to it from my place of residence meant a trip on the Granville Island ferry. One day (not in costume), I put my soprano recorder into my purse and counted out enough coins for a one-way trip to Granville Island. In order to pay for the return trip, I would have to park my butt someplace, pull out that recorder, and play a few tunes. 

Upon arrival at Granville Island, I strolled through the market. Then I sat at an entrance and, trembling something fierce, I extracted my recorder from my purse. I put the beret I was wearing onto the ground, shaped it into a coin receptacle, and started in. I don’t recall all of the tunes, but one of them was certainly the familiar “Early one morning just as the sun was rising…”  

I have to say that there could have been no sound as encouraging as the jingle of coins. Once the first few dropped, I continued playing, all the while counting coins out of the corner of my eye. When I was certain I had enough money to pay my way home, I put my recorder away, picked up my beret, and, with the stealth of a flash mob member, slid back into the crowd. 

After that, I borrowed a clown costume which my sister had created for herself for Hallowe’en and spent a few summer afternoons as Angel the Clown, a children’s entertainer on Granville Island. It wasn’t difficult for me to come up with material–recorder tunes, action songs, sing-a-longs– as I had already spent time as an elementary music teacher.

The memory of that summer is a fond one for me, not only because I enjoyed the experience but because it was one which paved the way for my leap-taking philosophy. As an author, propelled by dreams, I regularly thrust myself forward on the road to writing, always trusting that there will be someone or something there to support the journey.

Do you have any stories about taking a leap? Please share…

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