Archive for fantasy

When Life Gets in the Way of Writing

Posted in About the Author with tags , , , , , , , on June 24, 2017 by Dawn Ross

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. Sometimes life gets in the way and sometimes one just need to take a step back. In this case, it’s a little of both.

In regards to life getting in the way, be assured that it’s nothing bad. As some of you may know, my husband and I foster kids. Generally, we only foster one at a time and one between the age of 6 and 12. A few months ago, though, we were talked into taking two teenagers, a brother and sister. We were told they were well-adjusted, well-mannered kids and this has turned out to be totally true. Still, parenting can be a busy job.

We are also in the process of adopting a two-year-old boy from China. The paperwork for this process has been a terrible headache. It’s not just a matter of filling out forms, but also a matter of gathering specific documents and making sure they are from the right sources, in the right format, with the correct information, with the right signatures, and with the right dates.

Eddie

I can’t show you pics of our foster kids, but here’s the boy we’re in the process of adopting. We’re naming him Edward, or Eddie for short.

I had to take a step back from my writing and from blogging for other reasons as well. To put it simply, I just needed a break so that my mind could recharge. Not too long ago, I told you how I received feedback from a content editor. She pointed out several core story problems that I needed to work on. Although it was hard to swallow the criticism, I knew she was right. But I wasn’t entirely sure how to fix the problems.

That was back in March, 2017. Rather than ponder the problems right off, I took a few weeks off and completely stepped back from my novel. I binged on Netflix and read a few fantasy and sci-fi novels.

When I felt I had wasted enough time, I dived back in. And when I dived back in, I devoted almost all of my free time to the novel itself. I didn’t blog.

So where do things stand now? We still have our two teenagers so I still devote time to them. The adoption process is pretty much done and now we’re just waiting for the government organizations to get organized. I’ve found the time to ponder the story problems and have come up with some great ways to fix them. And now I’m in the process of rewriting parts of the novel. In fact, I believe I’m almost done.

Now that I’m back to writing and nearly finished with the rewrite, I figure it’s time to get back to blogging. This post is a rather boring and personal post, but hopefully next week I’ll be able to post something more useful for you. Any topic in particular that you’d like me to cover? Writing tips? Publishing tips? Editing tips? Or perhaps you just want to read a part of the rewrite? Feel free to comment below.

Writing Exercise – Work

Posted in Other Stories with tags , , , , on March 11, 2017 by Dawn Ross

One of my writing group forums sets up a monthly writing challenge. It’s generally just a simple writing exercise turned into a contest. This month, it’s limited to only 75 words, not including the title, and the theme is work, either science fiction or fantasy-based. It only calls for one entry per person, but I couldn’t help but to practice with a couple more.

1.

Waste Management Engineer Personal Log

No one thinks about how much crap I gotta put up with. Literally. They think my job’s easy, like all I gotta do is make sure the crap dumped at one end goes out the other. C’mon folks! We’re in zero gravity space. It ain’t that simple. Then there’s also the scrubbing, scraping, plunging, flushing, and, oh-yeah, don’t forget about all the verbal crap spewing from the crew. Bunch o’ stools, I tell ya.

*****

2.

A Warrior’s Duty

Muscles quivered. Sweat dripped. Breath heaved.

His body was heavy, heavier than normal, like rocks were tied to his back and all his limbs. Even his eyelids felt heavy. He leaned onto the hilt of his sword, pressing its bloody blade into the hard earth, and tried to catch his breath.

It was over. They were dead. All of them. Even the children. He’d done what he had to. It was his job. His duty.

*****

Medieval Tapestry

3.

Plight of the Princess

The bottle warmed in her delicate hand. Her fingers caressed the smooth glass while her thumb stroked the grain of the cork stopper. Its clear liquid glistened like raindrops.

One swallow and she would be free of him. No more dutiful smiles or imposed silence. No more longing from the window as he ignored her by day then occasionally used her at night. Her misery would end.

All he had to do was drink it.

*****

Which one do you think I should enter? Would you like to write one as well? Feel free to write you own and post it here. I can’t enter it in the contest for you. But if you’re a member of SFFChronicles.com, you can enter it there.

Temporarily Unpublishing The Dukarian Legacy

Posted in Book 1 - The Third Dragon, Book 2 - The Raven's Fire, Book 3 - The Dragon and the Lion, Marketing, Publishing, The Dukarian Legacy - Fantasy Novels with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2016 by Dawn Ross

As I’ve been writing the new sci-fi novel, I’ve come to realize my writing has come a long way over the past 10+ years. Therefore, I am temporarily removing the fantasy saga, The Dukarian Legacy, as a book for sale. My plan is to rewrite it, then republish it. This may take some time as I am currently focused on the science fiction story series, The Kavakian Empire.

Dawn Ross

2014 New Year’s Resolution – Get Back on Track with Writing

Posted in About the Author, Writing with tags , , , , , , on January 1, 2014 by Dawn Ross

 

It has been almost a year since I’ve posted something useful. I can’t believe a whole year has gone by since I’ve done any serious writing! And so it should be no surprise that my New Year’s Resolution is to start writing again. Before I tell you my 2014 writing plans, let me tell you why I haven’t written in so long.

Firstly, I wanted to finish the editing on my third book, “The Dragon & The Lion”. I meant to have it done at the beginning of 2013, but got distracted. As a result, I didn’t finish the editing until August.

The Dragon and the Lion by Dawn Ross

Available on Amazon as an ebook or paperback. Search dawn ross dukarian legacy on Amazon or click the book cover image above.

The second thing that distracted me from my writing is school. I have some college credits, but I never did get a degree. So here I am at age 40 and attending college once again. This past semester course included Accounting II and Business Law II, both of which required a lot of study.

You may know from my previous posts that I also run an online business for pet car safety supplies. You’d think running a website would be easy, but it’s not. If I want people to find my website amongst the millions of others out there, I have to work hard. So instead of writing a new book, I’ve been writing blog posts about dogs, writing articles, and networking in the dog blogosphere.

Enough with the excuses! Even though I’m still going to school and still running my business, I fully intend to find the time to start writing again. I’m going to start with finishing a fantasy novel I started years ago. It is called “The Guardian of Destiny” and I’ve blogged about it before. In fact, the book is already a fifth of the way done. And I have the rest of the story clearly mapped out.

Guardian of Destiny

The Guardian of Destiny by Dawn Ross (work in progress)

While I finish writing “The Guardian of Destiny”, I am also going to write blog posts telling about my writing process. I am going to start from when I first came up with the idea for this book. Look for my first blog post on this process next Friday (the 10th). I hope to have a new blog post for you each following Friday after that.

So there you have it – my New Year’s Writing Resolution. Are you making any resolutions this year?

2012 Prime Time TV Reviews – Sci-Fi / Fantasy

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2012 by Dawn Ross

Once Upon a Time: The Complete First Season

I don’t watch much TV but I do need a mental break every now and then. Besides, sometimes sci-fi / fantasy television shows or movies inspire my creativity. Even the bad ones can ignite a spark. There are a few new sci-fi / fantasy shows on prime time TV this season and a few recurring ones that I’d like to mention. Here they are in no particular order:

Fringe, FOX, 5th Season
Fringe is a sci-fi television show on FOX. It was set in present time with the sci-fi elements being unexplainable but supposedly scientifically based events. I liked this show in its beginnings. It reminded me of X-Files. However, I always felt the two main characters Olivia Dunham and Peter Bishop were weak. I like Walter Bishop and Astrid better. Their quirkiness, especially Walter’s carried the show. However, I think the show has gotten way off base. It all started with the alternate universe and has now progressed in this fifth season to an alternate future. It’s been like starting out watching Lord of the Rings and suddenly finding Iron Man coming to save the day. It just doesn’t fit the original direction this TV show was going.

Arrow, CW, 1st Season
Being a huge fan of Batman, Spiderman, and other DC and Marvel comics, I really liked the idea of Arrow. But the backstory is too much like Bruce Wayne’s. I have to admit that the man who plays Arrow/Oliver Queen, Stephen Amell, is really hot but his character is not at all believable or even likable. I hate the love story too. All the characters are flat, but I am a bit intrigued by the character John Diggle and Walter Steele. I do like the darker aspect of Arrow as compared to the older Batman and I love the action, but the drama doesn’t entertain me.

Beauty and the Beast, CW, 1st Season
I loved the original Beauty and the Beast, especially Ron Pearlman, the man who played the beast. This version is different, but I like it too. The backstory is interesting and the plot just keeps getting better, especially with the recent twist of his violent blackouts. I do not care for Kristin Kreuk who plays Catherine. She is not a bad actress, per se, but I keep associating her with Lana Lang in Smallville who I got very tired of in that television series. Also, she is not really a believable detective. She is much too pretty and young-looking. Then again, Kate Beckett in Castle is a hot female detective too but she is a more mature woman and carries her role well. Jay Ryan who plays Vincent Keller makes a great beast. His character is more believable, although I think his on-again/off-again relationship with Catherine is wishy-washy.

Castle, ABC, 4th Season
This is not really sci-fi or fantasy but I brought up Kate Beckett in Castle so I thought I would mention this one too. Detective shows are not usually my thing but because the character who plays Rick Castle is also the same character who played Malcolm Reynolds in Firefly (Nathan Fillion), I had to watch it. All the characters are wonderful and I love how the show can be both funny and serious depending on the situation. It is really the character interactions which make this TV series interesting since the murder cases follow much the same themes as any other detective TV show.

Once Upon a Time, ABC, 2nd Season
Once Upon a Time
 is my all-time favorite prime time show this year. Although the characters are all the same character’s from Grimm’s fairy tales and Disney movies, the story is very original. Even when they do a flashback to the original fairy tale, it is different. Snow White was an outlaw, the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk was actually a good guy, and the evil character Rumplestiltskin has a few redeeming qualities. In fact, I would say that Rumplestiltskin is my favorite character in the series. He is such a complex character that contradicts himself by doing both good and bad, but those contradictions do not make his character any less believable. Prince Charming’s character is a bit wishy-washy but he doesn’t ruin the show. And I don’t care much for the character Mulan either.

Elementary, CBS, 1st Season
This is another one that doesn’t really fit into sci-fi or fantasy. But I mention it because I want to compare it to a far more brilliant Sherlock Holmes show called Sherlock. Sherlock is a British television show that is much more dynamic and the characters far more interesting. This detective show is nothing like any detective show you have ever seen. So even if you don’t like detective shows, I highly recommend Sherlock, which is currently showing on Netflix, and forget about Elementary. Unless the plot of Elementary gets more involved, it will not last long. I wonder if they will introduce Moriarty soon. That might spice things up a bit.

To read about more about what the TV shows are about, find more information on Wiki.

Get Caught Up in Sci-Fi / Fantasy with Netflix

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , on October 20, 2012 by Dawn Ross

I love Netflix. No, I’m not being paid to promote them. It’s just that I’ve been really busy lately with drawing pet portraits that I didn’t have time to think about what I wanted to write about for my Saturday post. So, I am going to tell you why I love Netflix and what I have been watching lately.

I love Netflix because now I finally have the opportunity to watch sci-fi/fantasy shows that I missed because I didn’t have cable. For me, cable is a luxury I can do without. I don’t watch much TV anyway. I read more than I watch. But because I keep hearing about these great shows that I missed, I decided to sign up for Netflix.

The first thing I watched in my 30 day trial period was Dr. Who. I watched the more modern version, not the older version. Now I know who Dr. Who is and what a TARDIS is!!! My favorite Dr. was David Tennant and I stopped watching after they replaced him with Matt Smith.

I didn’t continue with Netflix immediately after that 30 day trial period because I couldn’t find shows I wanted to watch. But when I took my computer in to get fixed (after it got a hold of some really bad malware), one of the Geek Squad guys at Best Buy told me that Stargate SG1 was now on Netflix. I had seen a few episodes years ago that my mom had recorded but I never had the opportunity to get into the whole series. Stargate SG1 was as great as I remembered it to be. Unfortunately, they took it off of Netflix just as I was getting into season 3. They will put it back on, though.

Stargate SG1 got me to watching another Stargate series, Stargate Universe. I loved the story line. By implementing a 9th chevron onto the stargate, a team of people were transported to a ship light years away. I also loved the dynamics of the characters. My favorites were the soldier Greer (Jamil Walker Smith), Rush (Robert Carlyle), and Eli (Louis Ferriera). My least favorite was Chloe (Elyse Levesque). I don’t know why, I just wasn’t that into her. She played her part well, but perhaps I felt her character was a bit wishy-washy.

Incidentally, as I watched this series, I noticed that Robert Carlyle (who was playing Nicholas Rush) is also Mr. Gold on ABC’s Once Upon a Time. If those two characters became one, he could be called Mr. Nicholas Gold Rush!

Although I liked Stargate Universe, I did get a bit bored with it towards the end of the 2nd season. It was a good way to end the series.

Right now I am watching Farscape. It is good, but I don’t think I’m liking it nearly as much as Stargate SG1 or Dr. Who. I like all the characters with D’Argo being my least favorite. I wish they hadn’t killed Zhaan. Will they find a way to bring her back like they did with some of the other characters who supposedly died? I’m only in season three right now.

So other than these shows being sci-fi/fantasy like my writing, they really have little to do with writing. Although, sometimes watching such creative entertainment inspires me in my own writing. But lately I’ve been drawing my pet portraits which you can see on my other blog by clicking HERE. While drawing, I am also watching these great shows on Netflix. Can anyone recommend some other great sci-fi/fantasy shows currently on Netflix?

The Political Environment of Your Fantasy Novel

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , , on October 6, 2012 by Dawn Ross

No, I’m not talking about modern politics where candidates debate over the various issues of the day (although your fantasy world could have these elements). I’m talking about the way people live in society. Even though fantasy is whatever your imagination makes it, it has to be grounded in concepts which we understand. It helps to research various societies, both historical and modern. Here are some questions you should consider when you are creating your make-believe world.

Who Rules?
Is your fantasy world run by a king, a tyrant, a council of nobles, an elected council, the church, a clan chief, a god, etc.? How are kings, nobles, or chiefs made? Is your king or chief a direct descendant of other rulers or is he/she determined by their military prowess? Are councils elected by the nobility or the people? Does the church have more control or the king?

Who Controls the Land?
Do people work as serfs under a lord or do they own it outright? How static or dynamic are your world’s borders? Are there disputes over certain territories or is it generally stable? How widespread or close together are the people in the land?

How does Commerce Work?
Are certain occupations controlled by guilds? Do people have the freedom to make and sell whatever they want or are enterprises controlled by the nobility or church? For example, do they have to get permission from the local ruler to run an inn or a smithy? What about taxes? Is there corruption? Are there groups akin to gangs or mob bosses of whom the people have to pay “protection”? Do people barter and trade or is there an established money system? How stable is that money system?

What are the Various Occupations of your People?
Consider various occupations such as fishermen, soldiers, mercenaries, farmers, smiths, farriers, teachers, innkeepers, wagoners, stablemen, postmen, prostitutes, musicians, sailors, merchants, traders, etc. How does each member of society interact with other members? For example, how do farmers perceive soldiers and vice versa? How do land dwellers perceive sailors? Are merchants generally perceived as fair or do they tend to trick and deceive? Does society appreciate art performers such as bards or musicians or are they seen as beggars and thieves?

Who gets Educated?
Is education open to everyone or limited to the upper classes of society? Are there formal educational institutions such as universities, schools for soldiers, or schools for magic? How accessible are books or scrolls? Are there libraries? Who runs the libraries, the nobles or the church? How much of society knows how to read?

Who Administers the Law?
There are generally differences between town guards and soldiers. What are those differences and what are their objectives? Who are these law enforcers or soldiers controlled by? Are they corrupted? Does the king control all the soldiers and law enforcement or does each town have their own? Don’t forget about the justice system. Is there a formal court system? How difficult is it for an ordinary person to get justice? Is there corruption here as well? How strict is the law? How harsh are punishments?

Are there Foreign Interactions?
Is there a particular land in which your world has to deal with, either amicably or not? How pervasive are these foreigners? Does your land have foreign invaders? How commonplace is trade with these foreigners? What exotic wares do your foreigners bring? What special skills? How tolerant is your society of foreigners? What is the political environment of these foreigners?

These are just a few of the political questions I could think of. I’m sure as you write your fantasy novel more will occur to you. Doing the research for your political environment can be a boring chore but it can also be intriguing. It might even help you come up with some conflict ideas in your story. For example, perhaps your character hates sailors but finds that he has to travel on a ship. Or your character needs to seek justice but administrators require a bribe before they will even bother to hear your complaint. The possibilities are endless!

Click HERE for a list of books that might help you in your research.