Happy Thanksgiving and a Goodreads Giveaway!

by @AnnieDaylon

On this Thanksgiving Day, in the world of writing, I have much to be grateful for. First, thank you to all far and wide for your response to my recent Kindle offer of my novel, OF SEA AND SEED. Your numerous downloads improved this novel’s rankings on Amazon>>>>

Also, OF SEA AND SEED is a finalist for the Whistler Independent Book Award. This coming weekend I will attend the Whistler Writers’ Festival where I will give  a presentation about this novel,  sell books, and attend writing workshops!

October 12-15, 2017 Whistler Writers Festival

Thursday, October 12:   I will attend the Whistler Public Library Reading Event for fiction and nonfiction finalists in the Whistler Independent Book Awards. Host: Lynn Duncan.
-Looking forward to meeting other authors and to talking about OF SEA AND SEED, The Kerrigan Chronicles, Book I.

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada! Here is a Goodreads Giveaway, an opportunity for you to win a signed print copy of OF SEA AND SEED>>>>

This GOODREADS BOOK GIVEAWAY OFFER has now ended. Many thanks to those who entered!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Of Sea and Seed by Annie Daylon

Of Sea and Seed

by Annie Daylon

Giveaway ends October 15, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

 

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

Creating the Cover: “Of Sea and Seed”

by @AnnieDaylon

When I finished writing Of Sea and Seed, The Kerrigan Chronicles, Book I, I realized that it was not only the ocean that connected all the main characters, it was also a small boat. I decided instantly that the cover had to incorporate both of those images. I did not expect the attention that that decision garnered.

The cover for Of Sea and Seed has been featured on Indie Brag’s Cover Crush Blog and has appeared under the Small Boats category on Fictionophile’s Cover Love Blog. 

Recently, this same cover won an award — the 2017 Best Literary Fiction Cover Design from B.R.A.G. Medallion.

 

 

The creation of this cover started with the title and even that underwent a few changes… that happens to all my titles. This one was initially called Wave over Wave.

Gradually, I came to know that the sea was a metaphor for the matriarch of the story and the seed a metaphor for her offspring. Somewhere around that time, I read Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and well… you can guess the rest. 

What about the small boat?
Each of the three point-of-view characters in Of Sea and Seed experiences a life-or-death situation in a small, traditional fishing boat, called a dory*.

I began the hunt for photos of sea and dory. I looked through all pictures I could find by Newfoundland photographers but could not find what I wanted, a picture of a lone dory tossed in a powerful sea. It was at my go-to site, Shutterstock, that I found the image below (© Andrejs Pidjass, www.nejronphoto.com.)

*Wikipedia Definition: “The dory is a small, shallow-draft boat, about 5 to 7 metres or 16 to 23 feet long. It is usually a lightweight boat with high sides, a flat bottom and sharp bows. They are easy to build because of their simple lines. For centuries, dories have been used as traditional fishing boats, both in coastal waters and in the open sea.”

From there, I worked with the design team at Create Space.

The traditional Lunenberg dory, as depicted on the cover, has a yellow base and dark green gunwales. There’s a reason for those colors: the yellow makes the base visible against the water; the dark green makes the gunwales (the upper edges of the side of the boat) visible in the fog.

I asked the design team if they could make the green color pop a bit more. They responded by reversing the colors, putting the green on the base, the yellow on the gunwales.  Uh-oh!
I knew better than to let that pass but I got a second opinion from my brother Richard who did not mince words. “No fisherman in his right mind  would have gone on the ocean in that thing.”  The act of reversing the colors had negated their purpose, making the dory unsafe, and making my dory story less plausible.

I explained. Create Space amended, happily.

I also requested that Create Space remove the red gas can in the above image (barely visible, but none of the dories in my story had one, so I wanted it gone.) Done!

One choice that Create Space made without any input from me was to flip the image of the dory. I instantly took a liking to the switch. If left to my own devices, I never would have come up with such a perfect detail. (It’s great to have a design team.)

I provided Create Space with all of the information required for the rest of the cover… blurbs, back copy, and my imprint (McRAC Books) with Logo. The fonts (love them!) were chosen by my Create Space Design team. 

I am currently entrenched in writing Book II of the Kerrigan Chronicles, this one titled Of Sea and Sand.  (Could change, stay tuned.) As I work, I am keeping cover possibilities in mind. There will be an ocean. No doubt about that. But what else? I am looking for commonalities, one of which will surely leap to the fore and land on the cover.


NEWS FLASH!   This weekend, I learned that Of Sea and Seed is a semi-finalist in the Literary F
iction genre of the Kindle Book Review’s Kindle Book Awards. Goes without saying that I was thrilled and immediately sent in my email requesting the semi-finalist sticker.

( A note to Lynne Legrow , a.k.a. @fictionophile: Thanks for putting my book in the Small Boat Category of your Cover Love Series, but, with another sticker on the way, I think I’m gonna need a bigger boat!  Ha!)



Readers, love looking at great covers? Writers, looking for great  cover ideas? Check out the covers posted in the Fictionophile Cover Love Series! So many themes: windows, lakes, doors, gates, jars, piers, umbrellas… over thirty categories to choose from. Lots of fun!


Many thanks to all who helped make the cover of Of Sea and Seed a success!

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

My Personal Literary Canon

by @AnnieDaylon

The term “literary canon” refers to a collection of works considered representative of a period or genre.

Having studied English Literature (Renaissance, 19th century, Canadian Lit., and Shakespeare), I was familiar with the term, but it was not until I read “Speaking of the Canon” , a post by agent/blogger Janet Reid, that I gave serious thought to the idea of a personal literary canon.

Janet Reid begins her post as follows: “The canon is what one must have read to be considered well-educated. There is the canon for Western civilization which is largely books that are non-fiction. There is the canon of English literature (the books you’d see in an English Lit survey class in college.) There is the canon for literature of the American West.” She goes on to say that there is also a canon for whatever genre you write in.

I write historical suspense set in Newfoundland, modern day suspense set in Vancouver, and short stories with… you guessed it, suspense. I read a lot, nonfiction and fiction (literary and commercial.) When I started writing, my reading became studying. And I found my influences, my personal literary canon. These are books from writers I admire, books which sit on my shelves (not just in my Kindle) so I can go back to them frequently, riffle through the pages, find sections or paragraphs or sentences or phrases that moved me, and get transported all over again. These books make me want to write better. 

My literary canon is listed below, alphabetically by author (no affiliates here, by the way.) This list is fluid in that it changes as I learn and grow. 

Amazing things come from the dark! I fell to my knees and crawled beneath a giant fir tree to get this image.

 


Do I have an absolute favorite?

Actually, I have two:
The Crimson Petal and the White (dark) and
Fall on Your Knees (darker still.)

 


Authors, do you have a literary canon? Which writers move you to write better? Readers and writers, any titles you can suggest to me?? 

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

 

 

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

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

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue 

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. 

My best to you,eNovel-Round-Logo

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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. 

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

 

 

 

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!

Free Short Story

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My best to you,

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