Happy New Year: The First-Foot Tradition

by @AnnieDaylon 

 

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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

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Want to Write More in the New Year? Just Show Up.

 

by @Annie Daylon

PIANIST by author/artist, Ben Nuttall-Smith.

PIANIST by author/artist, Ben Nuttall-Smith.


My 2015 calendar from the Federation of British Columbia Writers arrived the other day and, from all of Ben Nuttall-Smith’s stunning illustrations, one jumped  at me– Pianist. It triggered memories of my beginnings at a keyboard: the Leila-Fletcher-on-staff-Middle-C-approach to the piano, taught  by Sister Mary John Hughes and her trusty pointer. Ouch!

Over the years, I worked my way from Fletcher’s C-D-E to Debussy’s Reverie. I never mastered the art of sight-reading (the ability to pick up a piece and play it as you would pick up a book and read it.) Once, when I was a student of music at Mount Allison University, a friend suggested we partner up and plunge into the world of sight-reading, an attempt to conquer the beast. I started, half-heartedly, and fell away from it: for me there was a gaping hole where passion, drive, and above all, confidence should be.  My friend persevered and became a long-time professional musician. (Thank you, T: I never did excel in sight-reading but I did learn from watching you gain mastery.) My piano, except for the annual Christmas carol, is now a silent shadow in the hallway of my home.

However, another keyboard has replaced it.

My passion is writing. I dipped my toe in the water seven years ago and I stayed. In that time, I have written three novels, each better than its predecessor, and I have a fourth awaiting editing. I have also penned forty+ short stories, sixty-five blog posts, and a few articles. Apparently, what I could not apply to music–commitment and perseverance– I can apply to writing.  Doubt may knock once in a while but I don’t let it in. I just show up and write, daily. My routine: coffee, crossword, computer. Three hour minimum.

In the coming year, whatever your passion,  just have at it. If writing is your passion,  park yourself at that keyboard and plunk away. One letter, one word, one sentence, one paragraph, one page… eventually becomes one book.

shutterstock_110397353 (2) Happy New YearJust show up and you will create a wonderfully accomplished, well-written new year. One key at a time.

 

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My best to you,

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Writing Goals for 2014

by @AnnieDaylon

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Today, as the tide slips over the release date of my novel, Castles in the Sand, I am setting goals for 2014.

 

I started by listing accomplishments of 2013, an activity I recommend. I discovered that, despite bouts of doubt (do you have those ‘am I doing enough’ moments??) I accomplished a lot. Included on my list:

  • publishing a novel;

  • working with a partner (accomplished author, Michael Hiebert) to organize a book launch party;

  • attending conferences;

  • blogging and tweeting on a regular basis;

  • facilitating workshops;

  • attending Federation of BC Writers three-day writers’ retreat;

  • diving into technology (almost drowned… still here!),

  • learning that I must pick and choose my path because there are so many options and there is no way can I do everything. (Must keep it simple.)

 

With that last point in mind, I am listing just three goal categories. In order of importance, they are:

    Writing:

  • Write first!  Write regularly. (Novel first, always! I intend to finish, and market, my historical suspense novel.)

  • Write short stories for contests. (Love the contest concept; it is a vehicle for honing writing craft.)

  • Write a non-fiction book about writing. (Have learned a lot; intend to share.)

   Reading:

  • Read, Read, Read!  Read up. Read down.  (I laughed recently when I received an email from Goodreads congratulating me on having read two books in 2013.  The reality is that I read a minimum of two books a week. 🙂 Since I already keep an alphabetical list of everything I read, I will transfer more of that info to Goodreads in 2014.)

  • Read more Indie Authors (I am one; should support same. Mea culpa.)

  • Write a few short reviews.

   Platform/Marketing:

  • Continue to share info via Twitter and Blog. Am focusing on these two because, like I said, I can’t do everything. However, I will also use other media, such as Linked In & Pinterest, and, of course, Goodreads.

  • Hire for Tech issues. (In many cases, time trumps money; I cannot spend hours trolling tech forums when I can spend a few dollars employing tech wizards.)

  • Learn to do Webinars.

  • Get help with marketing. (Not sure what this looks like yet but am putting it out there.)

So, there it is. A list of goals. Seems simple enough. And that’s the point: to keep it simple. Simplicity allows for success, for change, and for adaptation to whatever rolls in with the tides of 2014.

What are your writing goals for 2014?

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My best to you for 2014 and always,

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