At the Heart of the Missing: Giveaway and Prologue!

Goodreads Giveaway has ended!
Many thanks to all who entered.
Congratulations to winners, Cheryl and Brigitte!


At the Heart of the Missing
 is a psychological thriller about a woman’s fierce struggle to flee her abductor and a PI’s frantic search to locate her. It is a heart-wrenching tale about the ties that bind and the tragedies that break families.

 (Scroll down for prologue.)


GOODREADS GIVEAWAY
!
April 5 – April 12, 2017.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

At the Heart of the Missing by Annie Daylon

At the Heart of the Missing

by Annie Daylon

Giveaway ends April 12, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Prologue

Friday, May 6

Rose stands in the center of the living room, staring at the opaque, indestructible glass of the window nearest the fire escape. She smirks. Escape. There is no escape: the window is painted shut. She fingers her breakout tools—a pair of manicure scissors and a jagged cuticle pusher: scrape paint, raise window, crawl through. But her legs are leaden. It is all she can do to raise an arm to wipe her brow. A whiff of sweat triggers a wave of nausea. Swallowing hard, she glances toward the door.

Time is limited. Yes, he is gone overnight, but at dawn, a jangle of keys will assault her eardrums. She has gotten away with a few tiny deviations from his set of rules, from his idea of perfectionism. But this? This will not go unnoticed. What if she fails? She flinches as she flashes on yesterday: the setting of the table, the misplacement of a water goblet, and the blow to her ribcage.

A sob explodes from Rose’s throat. How the hell did she end up here? In this situation? Anxious, she thrusts forward, first one foot, then the other. She is making headway now, inching toward the window, almost there. At the window, she stalls again. What the hell is she waiting for? There is no time for hesitation, no time to question how she got here. But she has to think things through. All her life, she’s been completely in control, spiraling upward. All her life, she’s maintained independence. Needing no one. Accessorizing with and then casting aside lovers and friends. Her only true allies were blood: her sister and her mother.

But three years ago, her sister Margo vanished. Not a word, not a trace. Gone.

Three months ago, Rose’s mother died. Her body battered by cancer, her heart shattered by grief, Violet Harrington just gave up.

The losses left Rose out of touch, alone. Just Rose. A solo, independent woman. Now, imprisoned in front of the opaque window with her makeshift tools in hand, reality knifes her. What she created was not independence; it was vulnerability. Without a support system, she was a target. She was prey. With her porthole of time eroding, with every nerve stretched taut, Rose stares at the window.

How long had he hunted her?

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

At the Heart of the Missing by Annie Daylon

At the Heart of the Missing

by Annie Daylon

Giveaway ends April 12, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

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

Vancouver Visit: Things Are Not Always What They Seem

by @AnnieDaylon

Phone April 277

Things are not always what they seem…

 

Are you writing present-day fiction in a real setting? Are you wondering if you should visit that setting? 

In my last post, My Novels. My Research., I wrote of plans to visit the setting of my work-in-progress…

My Work-in-Progress is a crime thriller set in present day Vancouver… 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.”

Here are a few things I discovered…

  1. First of all, since my story takes place in May, I wanted to visit in May. But, when I learned that hotel rates would skyrocket on May first (the onset of the tourist season), I booked my trip for the last week in April. Had I waited the extra week, my hotel cost would have doubled. Ouch!

  2. I didn’t ride the Aquabus mentioned in my last post. The character in my novel who went to the Farmers Market on Granville Island would have taken the False Creek Ferry because it was closer to her home and therefore much convenient for her. (Good to know!) I followed suit. 

  3. Before my trip to Vancouver, I watched a TV news report from the shores of English Bay. Certain that shutterstock_212016496the flowers dotting the background field were clover, I wrote about the scent of clover combined with the scent of sea, a combination I remember well from my days in Newfoundland. However, when I strolled through the grass near English Bay , I discovered that there was no clover. The tiny white flowers I saw were daisies. (Things are not always what they seem.) I edited my manuscript.

  4. In my novel, a main character visits police headquarters. When I wrote the scene (prior to my visit to VPD headquarters), I based the setting on a TV show, one in which the front doors of the police station open to a narrow reception area with a long, open counter manned by a prominent and dominant female officer. On that show, everything on and behind that counter is clearly visible (possibly to make it easier to film).
    Reality is different. At the VPD Headquarters, there is a long reception counter, yes, but it is separated from the public by (what I assume is) bulletproof glass. As is required of all visitors, I reported in; that meant talking through parallel slats in an intercom to a woman whose voice was distorted by static. I couldn’t describe this person because, due to translucent glass (and my lack of stature), I couldn’t see much other than dark hair and glasses.
    Another surprise regarding the VPD came in the form of its accessibility. Despite the uniformed attention to detail and the church-like echo of voices in the lobby, there was no sense of keep-away here. I contacted the department ahead of time; I left a message which was responded to in short order. And I was welcomed (with a police escort) into the inner sanctum. (Thank you, VPD!)

As for the other places mentioned above: I took detailed notes on the architecture and layout of the shopping center wherein I have planted a fictional boutique. I ate a delicious salad at the cafe on which I’m basing the restaurant in my story. And I discovered a heritage building whose ivy-covered exterior and dark-paneled interior suit my needs precisely. 

Back to my opening questions…. Are you writing present-day fiction in a real setting? Are you wondering if you should visit that setting?

My answer… yes! Plan the trip. Immerse yourself in details. Then weave them into your plot.

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 

Pick of the Twitter: August, 2015

Pick of the Twitter 005

Looking for writing/marketing tips? Here are my Top Twitter picks for August, 2015:

  1. 7 Tips to Promote Your Book for FREE  via @111publishing

  2. An Updated Guide to the Marketing in the Big 6 Social Networks  via @socialmedia2day

  3. Book Launch Tips for Traditional and Self-Published Authors  @BookBaby

  4. Overwhelmed As An Author? How To Work With Virtual Assistants  @ChrisDucker via @thecreativepenn

  5. How Long Is A Novel? @MaeveMaddox

  6. How to Write Vivid Descriptions by @ChuckSambuchino via @JamesLeeSchmidt

  7. Protagonist and Main Character— Same Person? The Answer May Transform Your Story! @KMWeiland

  8.  “What Should a Novelist Blog About? Do’s and Don’ts for Author-Bloggers”  by @anneallen via @thecreativepenn

  9. How to Self-Publish Your Book on a Budget by @miralsattar

  10. Have you seen our FREE Author Marketing Checklist? Great guide for authors! @bkmkting

  11. Writing Your First Book: 5 Tasks to Focus on Besides Writing: @thewritelife

  12. Broken, Not Bitter. An Author’s Life with Repetitive Strain Injuries  @thecreativepenn

  1. It Only Gets Harder Once You’re Published  by Chuck Wendig

  2. 8 Tips for Writing a Synopsis:  @ceciliaedits via @elizabethscraig

  3. How to Find an Editor as a Self-Published Author via @janeFriedman

  4. Take Your Writing Outdoors: 9 Tips for Successfully Working Outside @thewritelife

  5. Making Bad Things Happen to Good Characters @aliventures

  6. Writing Your Book’s Back-Cover Copy  @JaneFriedman

  7. Basic Formatting of Your Manuscript (Formatting 101) by @JodieRennerEd

Many thanks to Tweeters and Bloggers alike!

A FREE SHORT STORY is yours when you subscribe to my Author Newsletter: simply your first name and email address in the space provided on the upper right. Rest assured that your email address will not be shared. 

My best to you,
Annie Signature Light Blue

My Favorite Reads of 2014

 by @AnnieDaylon

shutterstock_227649499I originally come from the island of Newfoundland but right now I’m coming to you from the island of my sofa. I have the flu and, due to my husband’s medical history and resulting weakened immune system (detailed in Olympic Hope), I have placed myself here, in solitary confinement,  with only tea, books, and tablet as companions. A good place from which to comment on my favorite reads of 2014.

Here are the books that I found inspiring, compelling, challenging, or truly entertaining this past year:


T
he Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Set in Nazi Germany with Death as narrator. A young girl, through the theft of books and with the aid of her foster father, develops a passion for reading which sustains her through the reign of Hitler. This novel is classified as YA but its power and eloquence defy such limitation. Searing. Grim. Indelible.

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
This memoir contains a collection of previously published articles (NY Times, Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s) about love, friendship, work, art. Clean, clear language. Honest. From the soul. Inspirational.

Larry’s Party by Carol Shields
Set from 1977-1997. A fumbling man discovers his love of mazes and finds his way to self through his labyrinth of a life. Quiet. Arresting. Realistic.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by MaryAnn Shaffer & Annie Barrows
This epistolary novel is set on the Channel Islands during WWII. A tribute to book lovers, it details the journey of a cast of courageous book club members whose island is occupied by the Nazi regime. Nostalgic. Enchanting. Inspiring.

419 by Will Ferguson (2012 Giller Prize Winner)
A literary thriller set in Canada and Nigeria, this is a woman’s crusade to find the man she deems responsible for the downfall and death of her father. (The term 419 is a code for Nigerian email scams.) Taut. Intriguing. Educational.

After This by Alice McDermott
An apt portrayal of the reality of life in an Irish Catholic American family. Lyrical. Engaging. Poignant.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Set in France during WWII, this novel has two surprising protagonists, one a blind girl, one a Nazi soldier. The beauty in this lies in the author’s ability to create sympathy for the young soldier and to help the reader see through use of sound. (A must read for any writer seeking to improve sense of sound in writing.) Ambitious. Authentic. Riveting.

Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson
Atkinson’s first novel, this exquisitely-written piece details , from conception onward, the life of Ruby who takes us into the world of her quirky British family.  Complex. Funny. Heartbreaking.

My favorite book of the year? I must cite two from the above list: 419 for the education I received (until I read this, I would have assumed 419 to be an area code, no more) and The Book Thief for its innovation, power, and simplicity. (In case you noticed… yes, I am currently reading a lot of WWII fiction: my work-in-progress, Book II of a trilogy, is set during that era.)

shutterstock_165829418And now… I’m looking for some good reads while I remain quarantined on the couch, Kindle at the ready.  Any suggestions?

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

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

12 Opening Lines: What’s the Book Title?

by @AnnieDaylon

 

shutterstock_165829418

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.”

 

shutterstock_37655881 two

 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

Novels

At the Heart of the Missing

At the Heart of the Missing   is a psychological thriller about a woman’s fierce struggle to flee her abductor and a PI’s frantic attempts to locate her. It is a heart-wrenching tale about the ties that bind and the tragedies that break families.

 

Available NOW in PAPERBACK from Amazon.com. 

Available NOW on Amazon KINDLEAmazon Kindle Button

 

 

Daylon’s new psychological thriller tells the heart-racing story of a woman’s desperate fight to escape her depraved captor and the tenacious search of a brilliant PI to unravel a three-year-old mystery, keeping a secret promise he made long ago . . .

Rose Harrington is a strong, independent young woman whose world has been rocked by loss. Three years ago, her sister Margo went missing. Despite an exhaustive search by police and the assistance of Rose’s friend and private investigator, Shaughnessy Flynn, Margo has never been found. Three months ago, Rose’s beloved mother died. Feeling disconnected, needing to get back on track, Rose plans an off-the-grid vacation to Hawaii.

Meanwhile, Private Investigator Shaughnessy Flynn is suffering from a profound loss of his own, that of the tragic death of his six-year-old son. He too is looking to change his life, to get back on track. When Rose disappears in the same way that her sister Margo did, Flynn knows he must solve this mystery. He failed Rose once; he can’t fail her again.

What happened to Margo? Where is Rose?

What secret lies At the Heart of the Missing

*******

OF SEA AND SEED
The Kerrigan Chronicles, Book I
2016 Recipient of the B.R.A.G. Medallion 


OF SEA AND SEED launches The Kerrigan Chronicles, the story of three generations battered by love, betrayal, war, and the effects of a tsunami that ravages the Burin Peninsula of Newfoundland in 1929. Family matriarch, story teller, and ghost—Kathleen Kerrigan—confesses that heaven does not open its gates to women of her ilk.

In her afterlife she is adrift, doomed like some ancient mariner to atone for mortal sin by telling repeatedly the story of her downfall. With the lyrical voice of Kathleen at the helm and through the voices of her children—the duty-bound Kevin and the strong-willed Clara—mysteries fall away until the core of Kathleen’s crime is revealed.

Set against the backdrop of the unforgiving Atlantic Ocean, The Kerrigan Chronicles is an unforgettable family saga with a riveting undercurrent of suspense, one that will seize the imagination of readers everywhere.

 ******

Castles in the Sand

CASTLES-IN-THE-SAND (2) brag medallion

2014 B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree

Castles in the Sand, based on Annie’s contest-winning short story of the same name, is the winner, mainstream genre, of the 2012 HOUSTON WRITERS GUILD NOVEL CONTEST and a 2014 recipient of the B.R.A.G. Medallion.

Thirty-eight year old Justin Wentworth loses everything when his entitled lifestyle slams into a collapsing economy. Alcoholic, homeless and living on Vancouver streets, he has one desire: to regain the love and trust of his wife, Sarah, and his little boy, Bobby. Help arrives when twenty-something Steve Jameson, a graduate student researching the homeless, rescues the mugged Justin from a Dumpster and offers food and shelter in return for Justin’s story.

As Justin divulges the tragic details of his life’s downward spiral, he develops trust for his Good Samaritan. However, he soon discovers that all is not what it seems with Steve. Can Justin persist on his path back to his family, or are darker forces at work against him?

Castles in the Sand is a poignant, character-driven tale of tragedy and hope, one that will win the hearts of readers everywhere.

*****

Maggie of the Marshes


 

Maggie of the Marshes Book CoverMaggie of the Marshes is a heart-warming, character-driven work of commercial fiction that celebrates life on the Cape Shore of Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula in the early 1960s. The title character, a mysterious, mystical old woman who communicates with both living and dead, appears at a convent door in St. John’s and tells a traumatized young nun, Fiona O’Neill, that she will find the answers to her problems in Heaven Cove.

Through Maggie and with the help of the unforgettable people of Heaven Cove, Fiona rebounds from a devastating ordeal, learns the secret surrounding her father’s childhood, and finds her true home.

 

*****