Archive for March, 2011

Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV Shows Which Opened My Imagination

Posted in About the Author with tags , , on March 31, 2011 by Dawn Ross

Firefly - The Complete Series

Star Trek has to be my all-time favorite TV series.  When I was younger, it was the old Star Trek with Captain Kirk and Spock.  When I was older, it was Star Trek the Next Generation, Star Trek Voyager, and Star Trek Deep Space Nine.  My other favorite science fiction TV shows include Buck Rogers, V (old and new), Quantum Leap, Battlestar Galactica (old and new), Alien Nation, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Sliders, and Babylon 5.

My favorite fantasy TV shows include the Highlander series, Xena the Warrior Princess, Hercules, Firefly, and Legend of the Seeker.  I was hooked on Xena.  In fact, I met the real life Gabrielle (Renee O’Connor)’s mother in Austin, Texas.  We were in a courtroom waiting room waiting to be called as witnesses on two different criminal cases.  She asked me about what I liked to watch on TV.  I told her I didn’t watch much TV and thought it was a waste of time, especially with all the stupid stuff on.  Then she specifically asked me about Xena.  “I love that show!” I exclaimed, not yet knowing she was Renee O’Connor’s mother.

At first, I didn’t like the Highlander series, but somewhere in the middle, I got hooked.  I liked Hercules okay, but I only watched it because it was on right before or right after Xena.  Legend of the Seeker was good, but not as good as the books it was based on (Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series).  The Legend of the Seeker was fun to watch in its own right, so long as I didn’t get caught up in how different it was from the book.  Since I don’t watch much TV (as compared to a lot of other Americans) I didn’t even know about the TV series Firefly until my friend Shauna told me to watch the movie Serenity.  Right after watching that movie, I purchased the TV series Firefly.

Great shows like these make me wish I had cable so I could watch more.  But then I’d be watching TV instead of writing!  These and other great Sci-Fi / Fantasy TV series can be purchased at Amazon.com.

Sci-Fi / Fantasy Movies Which Inspired My Creative Thinking

Posted in About the Author with tags , on March 28, 2011 by Dawn Ross

Jim Henson Fantasy Film Collection (Labyrinth / The Dark Crystal / MirrorMask)

My early favorite fantasy movies were the Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, Legend, and NeverEnding Story.  When I feel like watching a fun, lighthearted movie with music, I will watch the Labyrinth again and again.  The Labyrinth is still one of my all-time favorites.  As I got a little older, I enjoyed Conan the Barbarian, Red Sonja, The Beastmaster, and other similar more adult and more violent-type movies.

When Lord of the Rings came out on the big screen, I was super excited.  If I had the money at the time, I would have been one of the people waiting in line at midnight wearing a costume.  Lord of the Rings left a lot of the book out, but it still left a lot in.  I wasn’t too thrilled about the way they made Gimli a clown, but I loved the dynamics between him and Legolas.  I thought the actors who played Gandalf and Aragorn were perfect.  The CGI of Gollum and Treebeard were awesome.

Other great fantasy movies which inspired me include Highlander, Willow, The Princess Bride, Kull the Conqueror, Spawn, Final Fantasy, The Chronicles of Narnia, Stardust, Avatar the Last Airbender, and Ella Enchanted.

My all-time favorite science fiction movie is Star Wars.  I also liked StarGate, Serenity, Matrix, Star Trek, Avatar, and others.

These and other great movies can be purchased at my Amazon a-Store, http://astore.amazon.com/fantasy-sci-fi-movies-20.  Since it is an Amazon store, you can be assured that it is a safe and secure site.

Sci-Fi / Fantasy Authors Who Inspired Me to Write

Posted in About the Author, Writing with tags , on March 25, 2011 by Dawn Ross

The Sword of Truth, Boxed Set I, Books 1-3: Wizard's First Rule, Blood of the Fold ,Stone of Tears

Books, movies, and television opened my imagination and inspired me to write my own fantasy novel.  So who are the great sci-fi and fantasy authors who inspired me?  No, not the author of Harry Potter.  Although I do like Harry Potter, I wrote my first book before I ever even knew who Harry Potter was.

The first fantasy author I read was J. R. Tolkien.  I loved The Hobbit!  Lord of the Rings was a bit difficult for me to get through when I was young, so it wasn’t my favorite then.  But when I was older and read it again, I loved it even more than The Hobbit.

The first sci-fi author I read was Isaac Asimov.  I can’t remember any one story specifically.  He wrote so many.  But as soon as I was done with one, I’d go back to the library and get another.

I also love books by Frank Herbert, Jack Whyte, David Farland, Terry Brooks, Jennifer Fallon, and Brent Weeks.  Patrick Rothfuss wrote a great fantasy novel, “The Name of the Wind”.  His next book, “The Wise Man’s Fear” is finally out and I am waiting in anticipation for my Amazon order to arrive.

My all-time favorite fantasy author and epic series is the “Sword of Truth” series by Terry Goodkind.  Robert Jordan’s epic series “The Wheel of Time” is also great, but I sort of lost interest in the long delay after book eleven.

Find all these books at my Amazon a-store at http://astore.amazon.com/fantasyauthors-20.

Will you recommend some other great fantasy authors?

Technical Book Review – How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free

Posted in Publishing with tags , , , , , on March 22, 2011 by Dawn Ross

How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks - All for FREE: Ebooksuccess4free

In my first attempt to get my book published I spent months trying to find a literary agent.  And when I finally found one to represent me, I ended up getting scammed.  After giving up on getting my book published the old-fashioned way, I tossed around the idea of self-publishing my book.  However, after seeing how much it would cost me to self-publish a paperback, I considered selling my book as an ebook.

Last month, I purchased a book, “How to Make, Market, and Sell Ebooks All for Free” by Jason Matthews.  Not only was this book informative, but it gave me hope.  In “How to Make, Market, and Sell Ebooks All for Free” I learned how to get my book from word to ebook formats like .mobi, .pdf, .epub, and more.  Also in Jason’s book is how to get a free website to promote your ebook, how to start a blog to market your book, how to design a book cover for your ebook, and how to use social media to market your ebook.

I already know how to get a free website, how to blog, and how to market online (called SEO or Search Engine Optimization), but “How to Make, Market, and Sell Ebooks All for Free” gives more information than I had.  Thanks to this book I am in the process of getting my book formatted for Smashwords and I have completed my book cover design.  Plus, it is nice to have all the information I need in one place.

I am still on my journey for getting my book published as an ebook, but I wouldn’t have gotten a far as I have if it wasn’t for “How to Make, Market, and Sell Ebooks All for Free” by Jason Matthews.  If you are interested in selling your book as an ebook, check out my Amazon a-store at http://astore.amazon.com/writingafantasynovel-20 to purchase Jason’s book.  Amazon is a reliable, safe and secure place to purchase books.  “How to Make, Market, and Sell Ebooks All for Free” comes in paperback or ebook format.

Map of Ungal

Posted in The Dukarian Legacy - Fantasy Novels with tags , on March 19, 2011 by Dawn Ross
Map of Ungal

Map of the Magical Land of Ungal in The Dukarian Legacy

While working on formatting my book, I have learned that pictures may be difficult to insert into e-format.  It won’t be impossible, but it may be difficult.  For just in case I have trouble, I thought I would share a map of this made up world of the Dukarian Legacy.

The Dukarian Legacy centers around the make-believe land of Ungal.  Interesting places to visit in Ungal include the Wastelands, Lagor Highlands, Fire Peaks, and more.  The Wastelands is a forsaken desert-like place which magically gets larger and more desolate as the wars ravage in Ungal.  The Lagor Highlands has numerous canyons and places hidden and untouched by man.  It is also the hiding place of the original magic people of Ungal.  As you may have guess from its name, Fire Peaks is a place of volcanoes and dark creatures.

Not all of these magical places will be visited in book one, or even books two and three.  But I have plans for all of them.  I also have plans for the surrounding countries like Menkhara and most especially Tethra.

I am closer to getting my book in e-format.  Keep visiting to find out more!

When Are You Going to Publish Your Book?

Posted in Publishing with tags on March 16, 2011 by Dawn Ross

I know a few of you are really waiting for my book to be published.  I am closer than ever to being ready but still have a few things left to do.  So what is taking so long?  Why do I keep procrastinating?  Some of you may be struggling to publish your book as well.  So I have outlined the three major things I lack below along with some potential solutions:

Time
Lack of time is my biggest issue.  I still work a full time job.  I am so tired after work so I only have the weekends.  But on the weekends, I work on my retail website for dog products.  The retail website is becoming a real part time job.  I enjoy it so I don’t want to give it up.

Answer – Make the time by prioritizing.  Make a list of what I know needs to be done and do it one step at a time.  Try not to let myself be overwhelmed.  And stop using fatigue as an excuse – just do it!

Knowledge
Another good excuse is lack of knowledge.  I know what some of my next steps should be, but I am finding pit stops for more decision-making all the time.  Do I look for a literary agent again or do I publish it in e-format online?  Do I have it edited again even though I have done it countless times and paid an amateur editor once?  Do I gain a following on Facebook and other places first or go ahead and build the website then gain a following?  Which e-formats do I want to put my book in and how do I convert them?  Where do I want to sell my book besides on my website?  There are so many things to think about that sometimes I get overwhelmed.

Answer – I will never know the right or wrong way until I try.  If I do something wrong, it is not the end of the world.  It’s not like I will have to scrap the book and write a new one and start over.  Not only that, I don’t live in the dark ages.  Knowledge is all over the place – in books, magazines, and on the internet.  It is just a matter of reading and implementation.

Confidence
While lack of time and knowledge are real issues, I think another problem is that I am afraid.  What if my book isn’t good enough?  I know a good writer could probably make it better.  And I believe if I try hard enough I can make it better.  But I have already edited it, modified it, and changed things many times.  Surely it is done by now.  As an artist, I struggle with this all the time.  When my artwork is finished, I always see something which could be done better.  So I try to fix it.  Eventually I just give up and say, “it’s good enough”.  I’m not sure that is such a good idea with a book.  But perhaps it is good enough and I am just being too hard on myself.  How do I know?

Answer – Trust in the people who have read it and told me it was good.  They were friends, but honest friends who provided more than just a few encouraging words.  Tammy Spain and Shauna Hart have been more than enthusiastic about reading my book and are anxiously awaiting the sequels.  Besides, if the book needs to be changed, they are my books and I have the power to rewrite them any time I wish – published or not.

I have given answers to my own problems, but doing is harder than saying.  Post comments on my blog and give me encouragement.  I need all I can get.  And I promise, I WILL WORK VERY VERY HARD TO GET MY BOOK PUBLISHED IN 2011, so be patient and keep visiting stopping by to check on my progress.  Perhaps my journey and eventual success will help you to publish your book.

Building the Website for My Self Published Books (ebooks)

Posted in The Dukarian Legacy - Fantasy Novels with tags , on March 13, 2011 by Dawn Ross

Build a website from scratch?  No way!  Unless you are very familiar with html language and how to build websites, this is a very daunting task.  So what do I do?  There are three choices which I would like to outline below.

Free Websites
There are several companies out there who host websites for free.  Some examples are http://www.yola.com and http://www.webs.com.  I’ve used yola.com to build my dog breed information website.  It does well for its purpose.  But it has many limitations – setting up payment methods, being forced to use only their web page formats, and other limits to functionality.  But if your message and your products are simple, this can be a good way to go.

Pay Someone to Build a Website
I would never recommend this option.  Although you have complete control over how your website looks and works, it can be very difficult to make changes.  Paying someone to build your website is expensive.  And if you want to make changes later, you have to pay again.  This can get very costly.

Go With a Website Hosting Service
This is the option that I chose long before I even knew that free websites existed.  I purchased six websites from a web hosting service and have used four of them in the past four years.  Although it was expensive up front and I have to pay a monthly hosting fee for each live website, I prefer to use this web hosting service to build my websites.  I have a lot more versatility, it is easy to use, setting up payment methods is simple, and I can make changes as often as I want at no additional costs.

However, if you choose to purchase a website from a website hosting service, be very very careful.  There are a lot of scammers out there.  And while I use StoresOnline for this service, they also have a bad reputation.  I probably paid more than I should have initially and maybe $25 per month per website is expensive.  But I love how easy it is.  And my website http://www.petautosafety.com is doing very well and has more than made up for the costs.

Most of the people who give StoresOnline bad reviews didn’t have the luck that I have had.  It takes more than just building a website to make money.  You have to do a lot of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which can take a good couple of years.  StoresOnline gives you a lot of tips and tools, but even this doesn’t guarantee that your website will be successful.

Supposedly, StoresOnline made a lot of people think it would be easy.  They have testimonials from people who made a lot of money right away.  But times have changed and there is a lot of competition.  When I went to a StoresOnline seminar, it was indeed very motivating.  But they made it very clear to me during the seminar that it would take a lot of hard work.  Perhaps StoresOnline wasn’t as honest at other seminars or perhaps people just heard what they wanted to hear.

My website for my self published books will be done through StoresOnline.  Look for it soon.  And look for more blog posts on how I will do the Search Engine Optimization (SEO).