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

 

 

Favorite Reads of 2013

by @AnnieDaylon

shutterstock_165829418

Do you love to read? I do. Mostly fiction.  Some nonfiction, mostly related to the art of writing. (See past post: Writing Resources: Current Favorites .)

Here, from my 2013 Reading List, are the books (fiction/memoir) that I found inspiring, compelling, challenging, or truly entertaining:

 

  • The Lighthouse by Allison Moore (Shortlisted for Man Booker Prize)

    • Melancholic and mesmerizing story of a recently separated man ‘heading for a restorative walking holiday.’
  • A Patchwork Planet;  Ladder Of YearsThe Amateur MarriageEarthly Possessions  by Pulitzer Prize winner, Anne Tyler

    • Unmatched characters: everyday people, everyday journeys. I got so caught up in her stories that, in 2013, I read all thirteen of her novels. In an interview posted at the back of one of her novels, Anne Tyler recommended the work of Lisa Moore, the next author on my list.
  • February and Caught , by Lisa Moore

    • February is the heart-wrenching story of a woman whose husband dies on an oil rig.   Caught (short-listed for 2013 Giller Prize) is the story of a man who escapes prison and heads off on a pot-smuggling adventure. Both books display a mastery of details;  images leap from the page.
  • Dream with Little Angels by Michael Hiebert

    • Indelible coming-of-age story in a voice that has the clarity of a mountain lake.
  • Unless by Carol Shields

    • Masterful story of a woman whose ‘eldest daughter disappears and ends up mute and begging on a Toronto street corner.’ Lyrical and philosophical.
  • Smouldering Incense, Hammered Brass by Heather Burles

    • An enlightening memoir of a Canadian woman’s visit to Syria in a peaceful time (Aptly, beautifully subtitled: A Syrian Interlude
  • Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

    • Confusing and amazing tale of a woman who repeatedly dies and returns. Gritty. Lyrical. Unmatched ability to put the reader in the moment with the reality of war and its effect on the innocent.
  • Tropic of Night  by Michael Gruber

    • A thrilling murder mystery set around a dark subject: sorcery. Stunning voice. Seamless transition between past and present.

My absolute favorite book of the year? The above-mentioned Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. It was so challenging, so compelling, that I still think about it, months after having read it. (I am currently on a Kate Atkinson reading binge.)

What was your favorite read of 2013? Any suggestions for my 2014 ‘To Read’ List?shutterstock_119202028

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

“Word Vancouver” is Coming!

by @Annie Daylon

aab2fa976e67a3aa1047eaadb7526a73

 

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
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s in a Pen Name?

 

by @AnnieDaylon

shutterstock_163039295My legal name is Angela Day. A perfectly good name but, as I discovered in my quest for a domain name, a ubiquitous one. Chefs, writers, real-estate agents, doctoral candidates… so many Angela Days. I even located and angel-a-day website: all angels, all the time.
My choice then? A nom de plume.
I opted for the surname Daylon (a combination of my maiden name and married name) and chose Annie in lieu of Angela/Angie. Why Annie? My middle name is Ann, the middle of my surname contains the name Ann, and, years ago, I was influenced by three extraordinary women named Annie:

  • Annie Sullivan,  Helen Keller’s lifelong teacher, a.k.a. The Miracle Worker. I admired her dedication and perseverance.

    Keep on beginning and failing… you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose.” ~Annie Sullivan

  • Annie Oakley, sharpshooter, star of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, egalitarian. I admired her confidence, her belief in the equality of women, and above all, her persistence.

    Aim at a high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, not the second, and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally, you’ll hit the bull’s-eye of success.” ~ Annie Oakley

  • Annie Murphy, my eighth-grade teacher, lover of poetry and prose. I admired her dogged determination and over-the-top optimism.

    Today we are starting ‘The Rime of the ancient Mariner’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and… you will memorize it. ~ Annie Murphy (paraphrased)

All of the above quotes relate to setting high goals and hammering away at them. I’m working on mine. Did I ever memorize Coleridge’s classic? Not a chance. My teen-rebellion years kicked in as soon as I realized that The Rime of the Ancient Mariner contained more than one hundred verses. However, I did memorize a lot of poetry in grade eight; to this day, I can recite Magee’s High Flight and McCrae’s Flanders Fields. And I will be forever grateful to Annie Murphy because it is she who taught me to love literature.

So, there it is. The Annie Daylon story. I have had no second thoughts about the choice of surname but I have, on occasion, questioned the choice of the first name simply because there are instances when people are at odds over whether to call me Angie or Annie. (Annie will do just fine, by the way.) Other than that, no regrets: the use of a pen name works well for me. With regard to submissions, I sign Annie Daylon (ndp) and beneath that Angela Day (legal name). As for copyright? Legal name only.

Do you have a pen name? If so, what’s your story?

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

Annie Signature Light Blue

 

 

 

My Favorite Reads of 2012

shutterstock_85831699 (2)

I read two or three books a week and I keep track of everything I read in a small, alphabetized notebook… a handy reference when I browse the shelves of the library, The Book Man, or the internet.

Here, in no particular order, with a pint-sized comments about each, are my favorite fiction reads of this year:

  • ANGELA’S ASHES, ‘TIS, & TEACHER MAN  by Frank McCourt.  The voice of the first book drew me into the world of sadness and loss. I read nothing else until I had finished the trilogy… and wished for more when I was done.
  • OLIVE KITTERIDGE by Elizabeth Strout. I felt so close to Strout’s characters that I could hear the thump of their hearts.
  • THE THIRTEENTH TALE by Diane Setterfield. A trek back into the world of nineteenth century literature… Jane Eyre style. A haunting story.
  • FALL ON YOUR KNEES by Anne-Marie MacDonald. Dark. So dark. A cavern, spiralling down, down, down. I couldn’t stop reading.
  • THE NEIGHBOR by Lisa Gardner. On the surface, the family was perfect. But the wife disappears… My heart was pounding from beginning to end. Gardner is a master of suspense.
  • FREEDOM by Jonathan Franzen. Powerfully-written epic of contemporary life. Funny and tragic.
  • THE GLASS CASTLE by Jeannette Walls. A memoir of survival and resilience, remarkably told.
  • MY SISTER’S KEEPER by Jodi Picoult. Sensitive and inspiring story told by the characters. Stunning ending.
  • THE PILOT’S WIFE by Anita Shreve. Enjoyable, absorbing read. Great plots turns. Details drew me into the story.

Fav books of 2012 018

  • THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST by Anne Tyler. Very real, touching moments. Have to admit that there was one character I hated… but the writing was superb.
  • THE LOVELY BONES by Alice Sebold. Stunning, haunting tale. Drawn in by the first paragraph.
  • THE POISONWOOD BIBLE by Barbara Kingsolver. The individual voices of the family members were magnetic. A powerful story that stayed with me for a long time.
  • MADAME BOVARY by Gustav Flaubert. An old favorite that I revisit from time to time. An immortal story.
  • TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee. An unforgettable story about the nature of human kind.
  • THE CRIMSON PETAL AND THE WHITE by Michel Faber. A lugubrious crawl and salacious romp through the streets of Dickensian London. Nearly 900 pages… yet I did not want it to end!
  • WHO HAS SEEN THE WIND by W. O. Mitchell. A stunning story of a young boy’s search for meaning in life, told in simple, musical language. I felt the vastness and loneliness of prairie and the omnipresence of the wind…

All done… except for the fact that there appears to be a hierarchy to this list after all. My top two favorites are THE CRIMSON PETAL AND THE WHITE (I had so much fun reading it) and WHO HAS SEEN THE WIND (can’t figure out how I got this far in life without having read this book!)

That’s it. All done. Maybe you will add some of these to your reading list. Any suggestions for my 2013 list?

My notebook is at the ready…shutterstock_118555885

Happy Reading!

Annie Signature Light Blue