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

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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.

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    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    

Some Favorite Lines for Valentines

by @AnnieDaylon

Be My Valentine
My Valentine and I have been married for eons. During that time, all of our vows– to laugh with you in joy, to grieve with you in sorrow, to share with you in love, through sickness and in health– have come into play. A roller coaster, at times, as are all relationships, but we are still standing, strong.

Here are some of my favorite lines for Valentines:

    • A heart well worth winning, and well won. A heart that, once won, goes through fire and water for the winner, and never changes, and is never daunted. ~ Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend

    • You are my heart, my life, my one and only thought. ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company

    • He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking. ~ Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

    • To love or have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life. ~Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

    • A thing of beauty is a joy forever: Its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness. ~ John Keats, A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever

    • He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest. ~ W.H. Auden, Stop All the Clocks

    • I have waited for this opportunity for more than half a century, to repeat to you once again my vow of eternal fidelity and everlasting love. ~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

    • Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be. ~ Robert Browning, Rabbi Ben Ezra

    • Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. ~ Lao Tzu

    • The problems of your past are your business; the problems of your future are my privilege. ~ John Watson to Mary Watson in Sherlock

       

Happy Valentine's Day Balloon Two

My best to you,
Annie Signature Light Blue

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

The Thing with Feathers (A Short Story)

by @AnnieDaylon

 

 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, one in October. 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 entry that did manage to land second place this year:

The Thing With Feathers*
© Annie Daylon

shutterstock_121881667 woman birdsAirborne at last, after a lifetime of longing.

Bittersweet memories float past, memories of emerging from the womb, hoping to fly, flailing like a nestling, disillusioned by gravity. Childhood slips by in a blur of fairy stories and bluebirds and magic carpets and angels’ wings. Deeds of derring-do slide in: toppling from tree branches, leaping from monkey bars, jumping from a second-floor balcony. Echoes of painful cries ring out as I recall dropping like Icarus to broken bones and harsh reality.

Footfall (not free flight) was to be my transportation.

Grounded, literally, yet one day I fluttered with hope when I spotted a skein of Canada Geese scissoring the sky. Hope is the thing with feathers, Dickinson’s apposite metaphor, instantly flitted in. I stared at my bony arms which were peppered with freckles and wisps of hair, nary a feather in sight. Juxtaposed with tears of frustration was dissolution of hope. Knowing that I could never soar with birds, I shelved the dream and faced the future, determined to live my life to the fullest.

Love tapped on my door and I ushered it in.

Marriage followed and, with it, the free flowing joy of motherhood.

Never planned for divorce, but there it was and there I was.

On my own.

Plop!

Quickly, so as not to dissolve in a puddle of loneliness, I found a platonic partner with whom I happily shared more than two decades of living expenses, childrearing, and world travels.

Retirement years loomed, yet I, still committed to living large, never gave them, nor money, a thought.

“Save for your golden years,” warned my adult daughter, “else you’ll end up residing in my den.”

“The truth of the matter,” I replied, “is that life is short and I intend to experience all the joys of this earth, and that I will continue to travel until…”

“Until death do you part this mortal coil?” she grinned.

Vibrations shook me momentarily, a cold shiver passing through.

Was it really days later, after a minor surgical procedure, that doctors told me I had mere hours left? X-rays confirmed their diagnosis and soon I was gone, my body cremated, my ashes residing in an urn, in my daughter’s den, just as she had predicted.

Yes, my earthbound life was over and my loving daughter, knowing my deepest desire, chose a blustery day, this very day, to fling my ashes into the wind. Zillions of tiny particles, the remains of me, now sweep through the air like a murmuration of starlings, joyous, soaring, and I, after a lifetime of longing, am airborne at last.

*****

 

The above story was written in January for an Alphabet Acrostic contest. The opening, “Airborne at last,” was given. The criteria? “Complete your story in 26 sentences, each beginning with words in the sequence of the English alphabet.”

The learning? I have entered this contest before, each time loving the experience of  reading the dictionary to search for words.  (Yes, X is limiting, but there are ways around it.) The fun? Love it! (This particular contest is available annually through The Brucedale Press. The sixteenth annual Alphabet Acrostic contest will be announced sometime this month (October, 2014.) Check their website!

*The Thing with Feathers was first published by The Brucedale Press in The Leaf #34, Spring 2014.

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? 🙂

 

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My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

12 Opening Lines: What’s the Book Title?

by @AnnieDaylon

 

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If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others:
read a lot and write a lot. ~ 
Stephen King

I do both.

What follows are some of my favorite opening lines.

Can you name the titles of the books?

(See answers below!)

  1. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

  2. “Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person.”

  3. “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”

  4. “As a boy, I dreamed of fishing before I went, and went fishing before I caught anything, and knew fishermen before I became one.”

  5. “I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a Dumpster.”

  6. “Elspeth died while Robert was standing in front of a vending machine watching tea shoot into a small plastic cup.”

  7. “Riding up the winding road of St. Agnes Cemetery in the back of the rattling old truck, Francis Phelan became aware that the dead, even more than the living, settled down in neighborhoods.”

  8. “My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was 14 when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.”

  9. “Watch your step. Keep your wits about you; you will need them. This city I am bringing you to is vast and intricate, and you have not been here before.”

  10. “It happens that I am going through a period of great unhappiness and loss just now. All my life I’ve heard people speak of finding themselves in acute pain, bankrupt in spirit and body, but I’ve never understood what they meant.”

  11. “They’re all dead now.”

  12. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

 

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 Answers:

  1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)
  2. Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler (2001)
  3. The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley (1953)
  4. Lines in the Water by David Adams Richards (1998)
  5. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (2005)
  6. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (2009)
  7. Ironweed by William Kennedy (1979)
  8. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (2002)
  9. The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber (2002)
  10. Unless by Carol Shields (2002)
  11. Fall On Your Knees by Anne-Marie McDonald (1996)
  12. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (1859)

If you have any favorite opening lines, please share. Would love to read them! Might even read the whole book!

A FREE SHORT STORY for you when you subscribe to my Author Newsletter! Simply put your first name and your email address in the space provided on the upper right.

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

For the Love of Reading

by @AnnieDaylon

Reading Rabbit 005

 

 

Are you a reader? I have loved reading for as long as I can remember. I read for many reasons: escape, meditation, knowledge, meaning, and pure love of story.
What follows are some quotes about the love of reading, most of which came from two great sites: Search Quotes and Quote Garden.

 

 For the Love of Reading

  • Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere. ~ Mary Schmich

  • To read a book for the first time is to make and acquaintance with a new friend; to read if for a second time is to meet an old one. ~ Chinese Saying

  • I have never known any distress that an hour’s reading did not relieve. ~ Charles De Montesquieu

  • The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries. ~ Rene Descartes

  • A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one. ~ George R.R. Martin

  • A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint…. what I began by reading, I must finish by acting. ~ Henry David Thoreau

  • I have often reflected upon the new vistas that reading opened to me. I knew right there in prison that reading had changed forever the course of my life. As I see it today, the ability to read awoke in me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive. ~ Malcolm X

  • To feel most beautifully alive means to be reading something beautiful, ready always to apprehend in the flow of language the sudden flash of poetry. ~ John Andrew Holmes

  • The greatest gift is a passion for reading. It is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it give you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination. ~ Elizabeth Hardwick

  • If you read a good book, you’ve got a friend for life. ~ My nephew, Matthew, at age nine.

 

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Are you a reader?
What is special about reading for you?
What books are you springing into right now?

 

 


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

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

 

 

P. S. If you can read this, thank a teacher. ~ Harry S. Truman

 

 

Pick of the Twitter: February, 2014

Pick of the Twitter 005

Looking for writing/marketing tips? Here are my Top Ten Twitter picks for February, 2014:

  1. 11 Fantastic Apps for Writers   @HuffPostBooks
  2. 5 Ways to Make Time to Write by Diane O’Connell  @WriteToSell
  3. A Quick 5-Point Checklist for Writing a Scene @JodyHedlund
  4. The (Quiet) Omniscient Narrator by Celeste Ng  @glimmertrain via @JaneFriedman
  5. Timeless Writing Tips from Successful Writers Of Our Time by Irwin Lagman  @bloggingtips
  6. Why Your Antagonist Needs a Mushy Moment  @KMWeiland
  7. A Template for Marketing Books: “The Official Self-Published Book Marketing Plan”  by Nick Thacker @CSLakin
  8. Radio 101: Tips for Authors & Speakers Doing Radio Interviews  @BookBaby
  9.  Why You should Embrace Your Creative Blocks  by Melissa Dinwiddie @HuffPostBooks
  10. 10 Tips for Aspiring Historical Fiction Authors   @stephaniedray

Many thanks to Tweeters and Bloggers alike!

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

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

Olympic Hope

by @AnnieDaylon

172

On Feb 21, 2010, while standing on the Vancouver Waterfront, I snapped this photo of the Olympic Cauldron. At the time, I was immersed in gratitude. Just the fact that David, my husband, and I had made it to witness the Vancouver Olympics, was miraculous.

Today, inspired by the 2014 Winter Olympians, I pulled the following memoir from my files. I am posting it in the hope that it might help someone who is undergoing a difficult journey, medical or otherwise.

 

 

 OLYMPIC HOPE

Three hours. A crowded hospital room. My husband, David, looked relaxed in his cushioned recliner. I squirmed in my resin chair and glanced at the door. Yes, I could leave at any time; David couldn’t. I reached for the sides of my chair and clamped my fingers tight.

Today the usually chatty group was hushed, all staring at a television set, waiting for the big announcement, hoping that it would be favourable for our home city of Vancouver. Breathing stopped as Dr. Jacques Rogge broke the seal on a huge, white envelope, pulled out the winning bid and began to read: “The International Olympic Committee has the honour of announcing that the twenty-first Olympic Winter Games in 2010 are awarded to the city of………Vancouver.”

Applause erupted. David looked at me, his brown eyes tinged with wonder. He said nothing, just tipped his head to one side and smiled, but that was enough to make my throat tighten and my eyes blur. I broke eye contact, choosing instead to look at the tube running from the injection site in his arm to the bag of chemotherapy drugs hanging above his head. It was July, 2003. We couldn’t begin to think about 2010.

 

David and I had been married for twenty-eight years when he was diagnosed in November, 2002.  It was a Friday and, as we sat on our veranda for the usual end-of-day chat, he said, “I have cancer.”  

 Instantly, some core piece of me fled and hovered in mid-air, a few feet away. I felt safe there—on the outside looking in, watching this event like it was a scene in a television drama. This couldn’t be real. This only happened to soap-opera people, or maybe to real-life, far-away people.

I opened my mouth, a futile attempt to speak.

 “But the doctor thinks it might be the good kind of cancer. Hodgkin’s disease…they can treat that,” he added.

I slumped into my Adirondack chair. I heard or sensed a slow, grinding noise, like that of a run-down carousel coming to a halt. Then… nothing. No chattering Stellar’s Jays. No rumbling car engines. No laughing passersby. The planet had stopped spinning. When I finally blinked, it hit me that the earth had merely hiccupped, spat us out and was now returning to orbit. I wanted to chase it; we couldn’t stay here, abandoned, alone. All the while, I was trying to fathom what David had said—the ‘good kind of cancer?’ He reached out his hand and I clasped it. Then, we just sat.

 

There was no adjustment time; there was only the journey, no choice but the journey which began the next morning—a one-way trek through X-rays and blood tests and cat scans and needle biopsies. All of which proved inconclusive.

“You need a lung biopsy,” said the oncologist, a dark-eyed, straight shooter who did not smile. “I think you have Hodgkin’s disease; we can treat that. But you could have lung cancer. If it’s lung cancer, then …” She shrugged.  “Do you smoke?”

“Yes.”

“Humph.” She threw her hands up and turned to face her computer. “We’ll get the test done as soon as a surgeon is available.”

 

For two months, we were in limbo, waiting for a surgeon. Stress hovered like an offshore tempest. David showed no signs of needing any coping mechanism—other than sleep. But me? Meditation. Hot baths. Exercise. More meditation. Anything to ward off the ‘what if’ pictures—all worst-case scenarios—which pierced my thoughts and left me trembling. This reaction was nothing new for me, a well-practiced ‘what if’ thinker.

“What if the mortgage rate increases when we’re ready to renew?” I would ask David, not once, but repeatedly.

He always had the same response. “No point in worrying about it. If it doesn’t go up, you worried for nothing. If it does go up, you’re stressing about it twice.” He’d then yawn and continue watching hockey. Exasperated, I’d throw my hands in the air and walk away.

But now, especially now, in the face of cancer, I was sure that he would ‘see the light’. His laissez-faire attitude would change.

I was wrong.

“It is what it is, Ange,” he said. “I can’t worry the cancer away; there’s nothing I can do but wait.” And that’s what he did: waited…and slept.

After a while, I realized that my usual frustration at his laid-back approach to life had vanished; in its place was total respect.

 

All this time, while we were coming to terms with the diagnosis, while we were waiting for a surgeon, David’s health was deteriorating. He became gaunt. Ate next to nothing. Slept up to twenty hours a day. He seemed to be disappearing bit by bit, like bubbles dissipating in a bath. And I could do nothing but watch. Christmas and New Year, meaningless events now, approached, intruded, and receded. Finally, in mid-January, a surgeon became available and a lung biopsy took place. We settled in again after that, thinking we would be waiting some more. But, just two days after the procedure, the surgeon called David’s oncologist who immediately phoned us.

“You have Stage III B Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” she said. “You will have a set of final tests on Monday. If all goes well, treatment starts on Tuesday.”

Lymphoma. Not lung cancer. Lymphoma. ‘The good kind of cancer. They can treat that.’ We smiled and we cried.

On Monday, hopes high, we went to the hospital and paraded through blood work, a bone-marrow biopsy, another meeting with the oncologist and a meeting with therapy consultants. The two consultants presented us with tons of information, oral and written. They read through twenty pages of data about drugs and side effects; the side effects alone slammed into us with the force a tornado. “Do you have any questions?” they asked.

We shook our heads. How could we have questions? There was just vocabulary, a tsunami of medical terms and possible treatments and chemotherapy drugs and anti-nausea drugs and catheter options and side effects and more side effects. We left, thankful to escape the onslaught, and took with us the binder of materials, promising to read everything and to ask questions as they arose.

Chemotherapy started the next day and, soon after that, David’s health showed improvement; his appetite came back and he began to gain weight. Surprisingly, the side effects, which we feared the most, were minimal.

Every two weeks, for eight months, we trudged back to the hospital for more chemotherapy. After the final treatment and the follow-up radiation, there was remission. Life returned to normal. Or as normal as it could be. I still felt my body shudder with anxiety occasionally. At some point, in the middle of each night, I would reach across the bed to touch David’s back. When his skin felt warm and dry, and not drenched with the sweat that was symptomatic of lymphoma, I would roll over and go to sleep, reassured that there were no monsters in the room.   

Every few months, there were blood tests and CT Scans. And we waited. At first, when waiting became intolerable, we called for results.

 “No news is good news,” they said. “We’ll call you if there is a problem.” After that, I worried that the phone would ring.

And, in February of 2005, it did. No information was given, other than the fact that the oncologist wanted to see David. We made the appointment. And, again, we waited.

 Two weeks later, in the oncologist’s office, the news came. “Your cancer is aggressive—chemotherapy and radiation won’t work,” the doctor said without blinking. “What is needed now is a peripheral blood stem cell transplant; you’ll have some tests and we’ll contact you.”

Just like that, we were back in the battle fray. This time there was no shock. There was just doing and dealing. We learned that there was a 10% chance that the treatment would kill him and a 50% chance that it would work. “Those are pretty good odds, Ange,” said David. I stifled a scream.

After four more months of chemotherapy and tests, David was admitted to hospital, in isolation, for a full month. Each day, while he was there, I got up before dawn to clean a section of our house—the home environment had to be germ-free when he returned. I washed the walls and put bleach down all the drains to prevent bacteria from seeping in. I moved the fridge and stove and scrubbed behind them. I stripped caulking around two bathtubs and three sinks and re-caulked them. Then, each day, I drove the one-hour trip to the hospital to visit.

 After an extensive bout of chemotherapy, a stem-cell transplant and recuperation time, David, hairless and fragile, came home. His immune system was brand-new; we had to be excessively vigilant for the first one hundred days. He couldn’t be near plants or animals so I threw out my prized African Violets and made sure our much-loved dog, Angus, stayed away. David couldn’t be around people either. There were no trips to the mall or the movie theatre or the grocery store—too many germs. Friends and family were supportive and understood, but some genuinely-concerned people  just wanted to visit. I soon came to realize it that, unlike our dog who had an innate sense that he shouldn’t get too close, some people didn’t get it. I assumed the role of body guard.

“You’re my little Pit Bull,” David teased one day when I was standing at the window, arms folded, scrutinizing people who had dared to venture up our walk.

“You got that right,” I replied, as I headed to the door to dispose of well-meaning visitors.

We marked each passing day by placing a giant, red X on the calendar. After the obligatory hundred days, when David’s immune system had strengthened slightly, he began to receive inoculations—his immune system was that of a newborn and he needed to have all the same shots that babies have.

Every three months, there were more tests and we waited. “It will be five years,” the haematologist said during one visit, “before we can use the word ‘cure’.”  Five years. It was 2005. We still couldn’t think about 2010.

 

As all this went on, we became more and more aware of the fact that the bond between us was strengthening. Our priorities, which had often appeared as divergent paths, now coincided. A single road.  We didn’t need the huge, Victorian house so we sold it, choosing to live in a smaller one—mortgage-free. We spent less and saved more; we even bought a car with the money we accumulated from quitting smoking. During the first hundred days, we developed the stay-at-home habit and we continued that, choosing each other over the outside world. We had time together and that’s all we wanted: time.

Slowly, time passed… a day, a week, a month, a year, two years, four years…

 

163On Feb 21, 2010, while standing on the Vancouver Waterfront, I snapped a photo of the glowing Olympic Cauldron.

Later, I asked one of the blue-jacketed volunteers to take a picture for me. Tears surged as I recalled the freeze-frame moment in the chemotherapy room seven years ago when 2010 seemed so far off. But now, the Olympics were here. And here we were, in an Olympic bobsled. After an amazing and terrifying ride.

 “Smile,” said the volunteer.

We obliged.

 

(Four years later? David is still here, still smiling, a miracle of modern science and olympic hope. )

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

Pick of the Twitter: January 2014

Pick of the Twitter 005

Looking for writing/marketing tips? Here are my Top Ten Twitter picks for January, 2014:

  1. Ten Lessons in Non-Fiction Writing by Joanna Penn @thecreativepenn
  2. Question: Book Promotion on Twitter by Janet Reid @Janet_Reid
  3. How to Get Others to Do Your Social Media Marketing for Free – by Mark Lerner on jeffbullas.com via @111publishing
  4. 101 Fabulous Plot Resources For Novelists  by Molly Greene @mollygreene via @markbrassington
  5. My Process for Approaching Large Revisions  by Elizabeth S. Craig  @elizabethscraig
  6. How Pinterest Can Turn Your Boring Writing Portfolio Into a Lead-Generating Machine   by Wendy Parish @thewritelife
  7. The 15 Best Twitter Lists for Writers by Carrie Smith @thewritelife
  8. It Takes the Time It Takes “You should always be writing, but never be hurrying.” by Chuck Wendig @ChuckWendig
  9. Thinking of doing webinars? Check out this article on MeetingBurner vs GoToWebinar by Alexis Grant @AlexisGrant
  10. Killing Characters? Do It Successfully with Tips by K. M. Weiland  @KMWeiland

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