My Personal Literary Canon

by @AnnieDaylon

The term “literary canon” refers to a collection of works considered representative of a period or genre.

Having studied English Literature (Renaissance, 19th century, Canadian Lit., and Shakespeare), I was familiar with the term, but it was not until I read “Speaking of the Canon” , a post by agent/blogger Janet Reid, that I gave serious thought to the idea of a personal literary canon.

Janet Reid begins her post as follows: “The canon is what one must have read to be considered well-educated. There is the canon for Western civilization which is largely books that are non-fiction. There is the canon of English literature (the books you’d see in an English Lit survey class in college.) There is the canon for literature of the American West.” She goes on to say that there is also a canon for whatever genre you write in.

I write historical suspense set in Newfoundland, modern day suspense set in Vancouver, and short stories with… you guessed it, suspense. I read a lot, nonfiction and fiction (literary and commercial.) When I started writing, my reading became studying. And I found my influences, my personal literary canon. These are books from writers I admire, books which sit on my shelves (not just in my Kindle) so I can go back to them frequently, riffle through the pages, find sections or paragraphs or sentences or phrases that moved me, and get transported all over again. These books make me want to write better. 

My literary canon is listed below, alphabetically by author (no affiliates here, by the way.) This list is fluid in that it changes as I learn and grow. 

Amazing things come from the dark! I fell to my knees and crawled beneath a giant fir tree to get this image.

 


Do I have an absolute favorite?

Actually, I have two:
The Crimson Petal and the White (dark) and
Fall on Your Knees (darker still.)

 


Authors, do you have a literary canon? Which writers move you to write better? Readers and writers, any titles you can suggest to me?? 

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

 

 

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

Indie Author Day

by @AnnieDaylon

indieauthorday_postcard_authors_5x7_web_214_300October 8, 2016 is INDIE AUTHOR DAY , a day when libraries across North America host indie authors. The event will raise awareness of self-published books, demonstrate their place as a vibrant part of publishing, and provide a vital connection between indies and readers.

 

Who is involved?
Hundreds of Libraries, Thousands of Indies across North America!

Am I participating? Yes!

I will be reading and signing books at the…

Vancouver Public Library Indie Author Day Event
Date: Saturday, October 8th
Place: Central Branch of VPL, 350 West Georgia St.
Time: 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Activities: Author Readings, Author Tables, “Talk-to-an-Author” Corner.
In Vancouver on October 8th?  Drop by and say hi!
Not in Vancouver on October 8th? Check out this event in your own area>> List of Participating Libraries

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. 

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

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

 

My Business Name? A Doggone Great One!

by @AnnieDaylon

logo4_300dpi_2.8inches_with_blacktext (2)

www.anniedaylon.com

I am an authorpreneur with a sole proprietorship, i.e. a type of business entity that is owned and run by one natural person. In a sole proprietorship, there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business. In order to acquire this kind of business, one must choose a business name and apply to register it.

So, how did I choose the name McRAC Books?

I remember being hurried and harried when I came up with that as I was on the cusp of publishing my first novel. Concurrently, I was trying to create time to write: we had recently adopted a canine rescue, CoCo, who required mega attention.

The first time I left CoCo –aka Her Highness– alone for twenty minutes so I could write, she chose to chew one of the corners off the couch. (I know you’re laughing! I wasn’t!)

CoCo smiling

CoCo

However, it wasn’t long before that incident morphed from frustrating to funny. Then I experienced a round of nostalgia centered on the early antics of all the dogs we’ve had over the years:

Muffin, the first of three Pomeranians, ate half a box of tiny donuts and showed up looking guilty, his face covered in powdered sugar.

Cindy, our second Pom, was so miffed when we got a third dog that, for three whole months, she hid upstairs, barreling down only when she heard the sound of kibble hitting the bowl.

Rocky, the third Pom, another chewer, gnawed a chunk out of the headboard on our bed.

(Aside: All three Poms loved having their pictures taken and would pose upon request. The photo below was taken in a professional studio; we were in and out in twenty minutes.)

2015-10-17 07.39.59

L-R: Cindy, Muffin, Rocky

Angus, a sweet rescued boxer cross, ripped up a square metre of linoleum. (Okay, the lino needed replacement anyway… and no, he wasn’t too crazy about that raincoat in the picture below.)

Scan0002

All the memories brought smiles. Loved those little critters! The business name, an homage to Muffin, Cindy, Rocky, Angus, and CoCo, popped into my head:

McRAC 

Next up, I needed an image to complement the business name.

2015-10-17 07.28.03


Inspired by the picture on the left, a gift from my brother, I asked author/designer Michael Hiebert to create a simple logo that 
reflected my love of books and dogs.

logo4_300dpi_.65inches (2)

www.anniedaylon.com

 

 I was thrilled with the result. >>

 McRAC Books is definitely a keeper! 🙂

 

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. 

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

 

 

Pick of the Twitter: February, 2015

Pick of the Twitter 005

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

  1.  Literary lingo to know by Kristen Kieffer @Shesnovel via @elizabethscraig

  2.  Novel Writing Tips: How to Keep your Novel on Track  by Lisa Wingate via @WomenWriters

  3. 10 Brilliant Tips for Writing Fiction Inspired by Famous Authors  by @WriterJoMalby via @SarahBrentyn

  4.  24 Things No One Tells You About Book Publishing  by Curtis Sittenfeld via @Buzzfeed via @HughOSmith

  5. Twitter has Analytics? They sure do and here are five key ways of using them by Larry Kim via @Mobilized_Social

  6.  Should You Self-Publish? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself  by Claire Cook @ClaireCookwrite via @elizabethscraig

  7.  Nonfiction Authors: How to Find Your Ideal Reader  by @CathyYardley via @JFbookman, @WritetoSell,  @thecreativepenn

  8.  Attending a Writers’ Conference Soon? Here’s how to prepare by @ChuckSambuchino via @thewritelife @WritersDigest

  9.  How to Overcome Writer’s Block: 14 Tricks That Work by @JeffGoins via @writerstevens, @RMFWriters

  10.  How to SUCCESSFULLY Announce Events on Your Social Media Sites @111publishing

  11.  10 Ways to Leverage Google Alerts for Your Business http://ow.ly/FhU1r   by Stephanie Chandler via @bizauthor

 

Many thanks to Tweeters and Bloggers alike!

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

 

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue

 

10 Tips for Page-Turning Plots

by @AnnieDaylon

shutterstock_124823272

At the Surrey International Writers’ Conference a while back, I introduced, and took notes on, a workshop facilitated by New York Times Best Selling Author and dynamic speaker, Robert Dugoni. The session, Creating Plots for Page Turners, was a combination of lecture and writing exercises designed to give participants a better understanding of classic story structure. Here are 10 tips:

 

  1. A story is dialogue in action.

  2. The purpose of a story is to entertain. The characters, not the authors, are the entertainers.

  3. A story is a journey—beginning, middle, end—and is both physical and emotional.

  4. The tone is set right away. What kind of story is it? (Make a promise.)

  5. Interesting character should appear at the onset.

  6. The beginning introduces the story problem. (Who, where, what does main character want, what stands in the way?)

  7. The middle develops the problem through obstacles.

  8. Stories should move! Excessive narrative—opinion, bio, flashbacks, info dumps, anything that can be presumed—should be cut.

  9. The end must be satisfying (Keep the promise you made at the beginning.)

  10. The 1st sentence in every chapter should hook the reader.

shutterstock_48236599Many thanks to Robert for an excellent workshop. To learn more about Robert and his writing visit: www.Robertdugoni.com.

Please subscribe to my newsletter by placing your first name and email address in the space provided on the right. Rest assured that your email address will not be shared in any way.

My best to you,
Annie Signature Light Blue

Pick of the Twitter: November, 2014

Pick of the Twitter 005

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

  1. How To Build A Top-Notch Media Kit by @MMJaye via @mollygreene @BelindaCrawford

  2. The Art of a Distraction Free Life by Courtney Carver @bemorewithless via @elizabethscraig 

  3. 17 Tips: How to Successfully Run Book Giveaways   @111publishing

  4. Rejections Are Part of the Journey by Patricia Sands via @Jess_Alter

  5. What Is #MondayBlogs and Why Should Bloggers Participate? by Rachel Thompson @BadRedheadMedia

  6. Considering Doing a Blog Tour?  by @stephaniebond  via @bkmkting

  7. 5 Rules of Writing From Pixar  via @magic_violinist via @write_practice

  8. Guest Post Strategy: Should You Pitch the Editor Before You Write? @SteveGillman @thewritelife

  9. 10 Blog Post Must-Do’s for Writers | The Book Sales Accelerator @IstanbulPuzzle

  10.  Your Elusive Creative Genius  A TED Talk by Elizabeth Gilbert

 

Many thanks to Tweeters and Bloggers alike!

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

 

My best to you,
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? 🙂

 

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

My best to you,

Annie Signature Light Blue