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

 

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

Summer Solstice Splash ‘n Cash Rafflecopter

by @AnnieDaylon

Rafflecopter over! Thanks so much for entering! 🙂 

WELCOME!
Enter Splash ‘n Cash Rafflecopter for a chance to win $100! (No purchase necessary!) 

 

Summer Solstice
 Splash ‘n Cash Giveaway!

 

$100 Grand Prize
(Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash)

 

Sponsored by:

 

Best of luck! eNovel-Round-Logo

Annie Signature Light Blue

How I Got My Indie Novel into the Library System

by @Annie Daylon

 

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I had no idea that indie authors could apply to have books purchased by libraries. When the illustrator of my picture book mentioned it, I delved into research. When Stephanie Hopkins of IndieBRAG asked me to share my journey on their blog, I jumped at the chance.

Here’s a snippet:

At my local library, I spoke with the community librarian who gave me the contact information for the acquisitions librarian.
In my application email to acquisitions, I included:

  • a brief bio;

  •  cover images of available titles (linked to Amazon);

  •  mini-synopses;

  •  website link; and

  •  contact info.

When a couple of weeks passed with no response, I emailed again.
Still no reply.

SEE MORE HERE

ATT: Canadian Authors>>> Did you know that you can be compensated for having your books in (purchased by) Canadian Libraries? Check my next blog post (July 11, 2016) for details!


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.

 

Many thanks to Stephanie Hopkins, BRAG Medallion, and the Fraser Valley Regional Library System!

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue


 

The B.R.A.G. Medallion: A Boost for Indie Authors

by @AnnieDaylon

What is the B.R.A.G. Medallion?

The Book Readers Appreciation Group Medallion is an award bestowed for excellence in indie publication. Awards are given based on plot, characters, writing style, dialogue, copy editing, as well as cover and interior Layout.

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BRAGMedallion.com is owned and operated by indieBRAG, LLC, a privately held organization that has brought together a large group of readers, both individuals and members of book clubs, located throughout the United States and in ten other countries around the globe.”
 ~  Who We Are at indieBRAG 

A B.R.A.G. Medallion is a boost for indie authors. In addition to 10 copies of a gold award sticker, honorees receive reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, mentions on Twitter, and pictures on Pinterest.

The B.R.A.G. website 
posts news from authors about their readings and publications and displays donated print copies at book expositions.

Recipients also receive an opportunity to do an interview about their winning work and their writing process (an opportunity I jumped at!) 
These interviews are conducted by Stephanie Hopkins at Layered Pages. 

An excerpt for you, of my B.R.A.G interview …

“Hi, Annie! Thank you for visiting with me today to talk about your latest B.R.A.G. Medallion! First, tell me how you discovered indieBRAG?”

“Happy to be here! Thanks for the invite!

“I discovered indieBRAG on Twitter when another author tweeted that she had received the B.R.A.G. medallion. I followed the indieBRAG link and, impressed with what I read, I submitted my novel, Castles in the Kerrigan Chronicles Indie Brag imageSand which became a B.R.A.G Medallion Honoree. Due to the numerous benefits of indieBRAG—Amazon and Goodreads ratings, tweets, Facebook feature, Pinterest posts, Stickers, and an interview with Layered Pages—I was eager to submit my current release Of Sea and Seed for indieBRAG recognition. I am thrilled to have received the honor a second time.”

“I must say, I adore your book title and cover. Please tell me a little about your story and the inspiration behind it.”

The Story… Of Sea and Seed is set on the island of Newfoundland….” 

             Read More Here 

 Many thanks to IndieBrag and Interviewer Stephanie Hopkins! 

 Free Short Story
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

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Fun Facts about My Native Newfoundland

by @AnnieDaylon

Canada Map 2

The province of Newfoundland and Labrador is located on the eastern part of Canada; Labrador is on the mainland of Canada and Newfoundland is an island. I was born and raised on Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula (south east corner) and I enjoy weaving stories through the history of that area. Here are a few facts:

  1. Newfoundland officially joined Canada in 1949 as the 10th province. Prior to that,  the residents had the opportunity to become part of the United States of America.

  2. Newfoundland equilateral triangle

    When it’s 7 a.m. here in British Columbia, it’s 11:30 a.m. in Newfoundland.

    The island of Newfoundland forms an almost perfect equilateral triangle on a map. Port aux Basques, L’Anse aux Meadows, and St. John’s are all nearly the same distance apart. 

  3. The island of Newfoundland has its very own time zone, one that it does not share with its counterpart, Labrador. Newfoundland time is thirty minutes ahead of Atlantic Standard Time.

  4. St. John’s, the capital city of Newfoundland and Labrador, is the oldest city in North America.

  5. 010309_0775_5614_nslsIn downtown St. John’s, there are many vibrantly-colored Victorian row houses, fondly known as “Jellybean Row.” When people ask how to find Jellybean Row, they are often surprised to learn that no one street has that actual name. Jellybean Row is a nickname for all row houses in that area.

  6. Often, news reports from Newfoundland warn drivers to be on the lookout for moose on the highway.shutterstock_193643531 I have even heard moose referred to as Newfoundland speed bumps. 🙂 It surprised me to learn that moose are not native to Newfoundland. One pair was introduced in 1878 and thought not to have survived. Two more pairs were introduced in 1904. Currently, there are 100 000 moose there, assumed to be descendants of the 1904 pair.

  7. Print

    Argentia, the main setting for OF SEA AND SEED, Book I of my Kerrigan Chronicles series, is one of the two foggiest land areas in the world; the other is Point Reyes, California. Both places have over 200 foggy days a year.

  8. Jerseyside, which is near Argentia, got its name from the large number of people who came from Great Britain’s Channel Islands– Jersey and Guernsey.

  9. Cape Spear, about fifteen km east of St. John’s, is the most easterly point in North America. It is a major tourist attraction and is also home to a WWII bunker.

  10. Screeching-in is a traditional way of welcoming first-time visitors to the province. It consists of a shot of screech (rum), a short recitation, and the kissing of a cod.

  11. April 2012 026

    I took this photo at Harbourside Park in St. Johns, NL. There are two sets of these dog statues in St. John’s. The other is on Signal Hill.    (Sculptor–Luben Boykov)

     Both parts of the province have a dog breed named after them: the Newfoundland dog and the Labrador retriever. (To learn more about the dog statues in the photo on the right, CLICK HERE.)

  12. Memorial University in St. John’s is the largest university in  the Atlantic region (18,000 full and part-time students.) 

  13. The oldest continuous sporting event in North America is the St. John’s regatta held on the first Wednesday of August

  14. Dictionary of NL and Labrador 001 (412x640)Due to unique dialect,  Newfoundland and Labrador has its very own dictionary. (To read former post, “Newfoundland Dialect: Derivation and Appreciation,” CLICK HERE.) The Dictionary of Newfoundland and Labrador, a “unique collection of language and lore” is both informative and fun, an absolute treasure amidst my book collection. For me, it is not only a valued reference for the Newfoundland language, but also, in a rapidly changing world,  a valuable record of that language. 

And there you have it! A few tidbits about my pine clad hills. If you have interesting or fun facts to add, please send them my way!

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 and long may your big jib draw,

Annie Signature Light Blue

Canadian Author? Save a Few Bucks!

by @AnnieDaylon 

shutterstock_110397353Are you a busy Canadian author looking to save a few dollars? Read on…

Recently, I came across a post about additional sources of income for Canadian Authors.*** It occurred to me that, with the loonie at a thirteen year low, Canadian authors might be not only seeking more revenue but also searching for ways to keep that revenue in their pockets. Here’s one possibility:

My husband, who teaches business strategies at BCIT, informed me that Canada Post has a Solutions for Small Business Program. Upon consulting the Google gods, I discovered that this program was free to join. Without knowing exactly how it could benefit me, I signed up and printed out my paper membership ID card.

The next day I set off for the post office to mail books (ten picture books and five novels) to winners of my two Goodreads Giveaways. I pulled my paper Solutions for Small Business ID from my wallet and asked if it would be of benefit.  Much to my delight, the clerk nodded and smiled.

How did the membership help? On the picture books, it did not help at all: they fit snugly into 8 X 10 manila envelopes and slid easily through the two centimetre wide mail slot. However, my ‘fat’ novels did not fit through that mail slot and had to be shipped as parcels. On those, I saved between two and three dollars… per book!

As promised, Canada Post delivered my ‘real’ card a few weeks later. I was surprised to discover that they sent me not just one copy, but five. I assume the reason behind that is that most small businesses have a few employees. (I’m sure I will use all five cards once I rocket to the top of Amazon lists and hire myself some staff. 🙂 )

I don’t know what other gems the Solutions for Small Business Program has in store for me, but it will be fun learning. Right now, I know that this program saves money on the cost of shipping.

A dollar saved is a dollar earned!

*** Additional $ources of Revenue for Canadian Authors  via  Indies Unlimited  written by Martin Crosbie, author of the amazing ” How I Sold 30 000 E-books on Amazon’s Kindle.”

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 youeNovel-Round-Logo

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Happy New Year: The First-Foot Tradition

by @AnnieDaylon 

 

Christmas New Year 2013-4 013

According to Scottish and Northern English folklore, the First-Foot is the first person to walk through the door of your home on New Year’s Day.  I became familiar with the concept of the First-Foot through my mother-in-law who, in order to ensure good fortune in the New Year, observes this tradition annually.

Often, the person to be First-Foot is chosen by the householder. It must be a dark-haired male–in our case, my husband– who must arrive bearing the following gifts:

  • a COIN, so that the household experiences financial security;

  • BREAD, so that food be in abundance;

  • SALT, so that life have flavour;

  • COAL, so that the home be filled with warmth;

  • DRINK (usually whiskey) so that good cheer abounds.

Each year, my hubby and I plate these gifts (as above), always making one substitution: matches represent the fuel portion. (Santa never leaves us lumps of coal!)

Here’s hoping you all start 2016 on the right foot!


With best wishes for happiness, health, and prosperity throughout the coming year,
shutterstock_110397353 (2) Happy New Year

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

 

Goodreads Giveaways: Anticipation and Information

by @AnnieDaylon

First and foremost, many thanks to readers and writers whose support and encouragement made it possible for me to release both a novel and a picture book this year.
As I write this, I am in the middle of Goodreads Giveaway events for both books!
Entry numbers are climbing as is my anticipation of the email announcing the winners. (Dec. 5th entry deadline.)

The Goodreads Giveaway procedure is pretty simple:

First, read:

Your Guide to Giveaways on Goodreads

Then:

  • contact Goodreads if you have any questions (all mine were answered courteously and promptly);

  • select the dates for the Giveaway;

  • fill in the form;

  • await approval from Goodreads (mine came swiftly); 

  • begin promo on FB, Twitter, Linked In, … whatever your social media outlet;

  • either prepare a box labeled Goodreads Giveaway into which you put  books, mailing envelopes, and anything else you wish to send (bookmarks, personal notes,etc.) or await the winner list and send books directly from the printer.  

Something to Consider:
Due to mailing costs, I offered my novel– OF SEA AND SEED— only in Canada, and my picture book– THE MANY-COLORED INVISIBLE HATS OF BRENDA-LOUISE— in both Canada and the United States. But…
After my giveaway was underway, I came across a bit of wisdom from Catherine Ryan Howard who stated that the purpose of giveaways is to increase awareness, and writers should make giveaway prizes available internationally. Mailing costs can be offset by offering fewer copies. (Brilliant, that! Too late for my current giveaway, but perhaps not too late for you!)

So:
After you’ve read the Goodreads Giveaway How-To-Do-It instructions, you might want to jump to the following post in which Catherine Ryan Howard offers, in addition to the above mailing advice, other giveaway  tips that may be of help to you.
Goodreads Giveaways: Don’t Do What You’re Told 🙂

My best to you,
Annie Signature Light Blue

 

 

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.