My Write Before Christmas: 2016

by @AnnieDaylon

christmas-wreath-2016 My Write Before Christmas: 2016

It’s my write before Christmas, I’m happy to pen
holiday wishes to all once again.
It’s become a tradition, this greeting in rhyme
To 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, once again I’m highlighting
Links and events in this world of writing.

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.

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.

Bestseller Labs has suggestions for selling;
Enovel Authors (Thank you, Jackie) has info compelling
Need free promo, authors? Reader’s Gazette is the one,
Need help with Tweets? Try AskDavid.com

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,
And bloggers and techies on whom I depend.
As for Tea & Critique with friends Fran and Mary,
I always apply their sage commentary.

A toast to all editors (writers, pay heed!)
You need that blue pencil if you want to succeed.
Take it from me, I once published alone,
A difficult lesson but from it I’ve grown.
(Despite years of grammar in English and Latin
I made mistakes and had to go back in
Re-edit the published, suck up the shame,
Suffice to say I won’t do it again.)

Accolades to my editors, Michael and Ken,
At the Heart of the Missing‘s being scoured by them
For content and structure and copy and line
My new novel! Pretty soon you’ll see it online.

Here’s to writers who’ve found success on the road,
Who’ve looked back to aid others to lighten the load,
You help bridge the gap from the dream to real ground,
Your help is essential for success to be found.

Some bloggers review without compensation ,
They truly deserve a standing ovation!
Fictionophile is a gem I discovered this year
(Stop by. Check her posts. You’ll find great reads there.)

Most of all, 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.” 

That’s it for this year. Best wishes to you
As 2017 comes into view.
And now, ere December rolls out of sight,
Happy Christmas to all! Have great reads and great writes!

 

Coming in 2017! Images: Shutterstock.com Design: michaelhiebert.com

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

A Tribute to Pat Conroy: “My Reading Life”

by @AnnieDaylon 

My Reading Life“Here is all I ask of a book – give me everything. Everything, and don’t leave out a single word.” ~ Pat Conroy

Yesterday I read of the recent passing of author Pat Conroy, probably best know for his novel The Prince of Tides. I love the story, the beauty, the lyricism of Conroy’s fiction but my favorite of his books is a memoir titled My Reading Life

My Reading Life is Conroy’s view of life through the books he’s read and through the people who introduced him to those books. This work resonated deeply with me: I related to Conroy’s love of words, to his knowledge of Latin, and to his habit of collecting words and phrases and quotes. I was amazed at how much I learned about this author through his reading choices; I even started a list of the books he’d read, thinking that I would visit them all at some point.

During this list-making  process, I searched the book’s title on Pinterest and discovered to my delight that the list already existed! The title of the Pinterest Board? My Reading Life-Pat Conroy. Thank you to Liz Whittaker for creating this board which is not only a gift for readers like myself, but also an outstanding tribute to avid reader and accomplished author, Pat Conroy. 

RIP, Pat Conroy.

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My best to you,eNovel-Round-Logo

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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?

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My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

Book Lovers’ Bucket List Event: An Idea Worth Sharing

by @AnnieDaylon

 

Dear Readers and Writers,

Did you know that October 11th  is World Hospice and Palliative Care Day?

The information came to me recently via email from Colleen Rush, Education Coordinator with the Chilliwack Hospice Society. Inspired by the book,  The End of Your Life Book Club,  Colleen created an event to raise awareness about  World Hospice & Palliative Care Day. Her idea?  The Book Lovers’ Bucket List Event, to be held at the Chilliwack Library on Oct. 11, from 10 a.m. until noon.

Participants at this event will discuss the joy of reading, talk about books that have inspired them or books that are on their “To Read Bucket Lists,” and listen to readings from local authors. The Chilliwack Hospice Society is organizing this event in partnership with the Chilliwack Branch of the Fraser Regional Library & The Bookman Book Store.

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A scathingly brilliant idea, certainly worth sharing. Stunning poster, too. Well done, Colleen!

Are there any ‘bookish’ events in your community to mark this day? Do you have a “To Read” section on your Bucket List? If so, please share.

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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!

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My best to you,

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In the Company of Readers

 

by @AnnieDaylon

shutterstock_134073986Little did I know when I grumbled over precious time spent getting my novel onto the shelves of a local food chain that the effort would result in a magical evening in the company of avid readers. I was invited to a meeting of the Book Travellers, an octet of women whose group demeanor is a combination of the delicacy of porcelain and the strength of spider silk, women who have woven friendship into a book club that has endured two decades.

The Book Travellers are so named because each member returns from every trip with souvenir bookmarks for the group. The group chooses their books a year in advance, at a sleepover, in a cabin, on a nearby lake, each June. Through their meticulous ‘bookkeeper’, they keep track of every meeting (attendance, books read, and comments) and have done so since 1998.

They take turns hosting the event and, during my visit, they appeared to be as comfortable in their host’s home as they would be in their own. (author note: a wonderfully infectious state of ease.)

Our evening began with tea and dessert and progressed to discussion of my novel and books in general.

Elizabeth made Lemon Pavlova. Delicious!

Elizabeth made Lemon Pavlova. Delicious!

Personal details slid through book talk, information about connections made through vocation—librarian, teacher, nurse, accountant—and avocation—curling, volunteering, walking, travelling. There were snippets with giggles about surprise birthday jaunts and fragments with sighs about thoughtful memorial gifts.

Overall, a delightful evening  in the company of readers, one which served not only to deepen my fervor for reading but also to re-ignite my passion for telling stories. More importantly, I experienced a surprising gift: the joy of being in the presence of unmatched  strength and vitality. Truly Canada’s Steel Magnolias.  

And so, to: Elizabeth, Bonnie, Judy, Randi, Nancy, Magda, Leona, and Kathy, I express my heartfelt thanks.

My best to all of you, always,

Annie Signature Light Blue

 

Please subscribe to my Author Newsletter by including your first name and email address in the space provided on the upper right. 

P. S. Dear Writers, Marketing can be a pain in the posterior: In my case, it took five trips to the store, several forms that had to be filled, trashed, replaced, filled again and edited; it also took a few emails to the wrong people before finding the right people. I was left wondering if time-consuming grunt details are worth it. They are. Do it.

 

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?

 

 


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My best to you,

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

 

 

Favorite Reads of 2013

by @AnnieDaylon

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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