Thursday, 22 September 2016

Vancouver Aquarium Slideshow

Alien Worlds Right on Earth

Copyright Mel Dawn

Please check out my other blog at Wordpress to see a slide show of photographs from the Vancouver Aquarium. This is a collection of images I have taken from the past five years or so. 

You can connect with me at the following spots:

Author's Page
Book Page

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Why Being a Writer is a Lot Like Being a Girl Who Has No Name

The Comparison Between the Independent Writer and the Assassin

Many people will recognize the reference of “a girl has no name” from the hit TV series A Game of Thrones. Arya Stark may just be the heir to the throne, but she’s on the run from people who wish her dead. She regularly recites her death prayer every night—people that she’s going to kill. She’s taken up with a mysterious society in the House of Black and White. It soon becomes apparent that this is a society of assassins, which may just be the perfect place for Arya to receive further martial arts training. But first, she must lose her identity, and become “a girl has no name”. 

In many instances, being an independent writer is a also a lot like being a girl who has no name. 

People will hire you so they can put their name on your work. In other words, they don’t want to get their hands dirty. But remember it’s only called ghostwriting when they stick their name on your article or short story. When you write copy for a website or Amazon product, that’s not ghostwriting at all, because there is no author’s name attached. Just like Arya, I receive no recognition for a greater portion of my work. 

People will hire you to do crazy things. This is much like the assassin is hired. When you’re a writer, you’ll often be asked to do crazy things. I’ve actually dressed up as a zombie to do a promo video, and I’ve dressed up in steampunk gear to recite some poems that I wrote. So yes, sometimes it can be fun when I get to combine my writing with my performance art, but some outsiders may view these small jobs as weird.

The more money you are paid, the less people will complain. No one will ever complain if they pay the assasin the big bucks. I once wrote a short locksmith in NYC article for $5, and the buyer wanted me to make endless revisions. I asked him to be more specific, but he never was. I ended up processing a refund for him, saying I could sell it to someone else. I did. I sold it to his competition for $100. 

You’ll receive some interesting offers. I had an offer of marriage on my zombie video gig. It was from some guy in the USA—I would have expected that more from Japan. I think he was 1/3 of my age too. I imagine the female assassin attracts her fair share of admirers too.

People waste money on me.  If you want someone dead, you're willing to pay any price. I don’t know how many times I’ve written articles and the buyer has never posted them on their website. I repeatedly check back even a year later, and nope, it’s not there. Yet they never asked for revisions, and they gave me a five star review. For these people, money is no object. 

If you sell it, they will come. The assassin is there to provide a service, and so is the writer.  People will often order a short story from me about how they wish to place their friends in a precarious situation. These stories are meant to be used as gifts. There is definitely an untapped market here! 

You'll have to create your own recognition. Some buyers will allow me to use my own name on articles and short stories. Besides the ghostwritten orders, of which most of my work is comprised, I do have a surprising number of clients that allow me to put my name on my work for their website. All it takes is asking. This is where the conflict is with Arya: she kills people and the House of Black and White know she has done it. Remember, she is supposed to be anonymous when she kills. If she wants recognition, she has to do it herself.

The cash can vary. I’ll make more money on a short story than if I sold it to an anthology or magazine. In many cases, my clients will be adding their own names to my short stories and then attempting to resell it. In other instances, they’re using it for promo purposes, or they will self-publish it. In most cases, I’ll make way more money than if I sold it to an anthology or magazine. I rarely submit to those spots anymore. Arya chooses her battles well, disregarding those that hold no purpose. 

You'll get to do a wide range of work. Besides doing the zombie and steampunk videos, I have also written landing pages, blogs, sales copy, Amazon product descriptions, website product descriptions, and articles. The fun things I’ve done have included writing short stories for games developers, boardgames and app developers. I’ve also written scripts for videos. I’ve even written posts for Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, and posted to business social media sites on a regular basis. I’ve also edited, proofread, formatted, and done the graphic design for printed novels and e-books. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few more gigs that I try during the upcoming months. Arya bounces around from place to place for when she is needed.

The goal of the girl who has no name is to eventually take back her name, so that she can truly gain the identity that she was born for. Until then, we'll just take the cash.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

The Pitfalls of Being a JNS Global Member—It’s a Scam for One Thing!

By Ely Brass, Guest Blogger

What’s Happening in the World Today?

There’s a lot happening in the world today that pertains to you. The world has an increasingly aging baby boomer population, resulting in many chronic diseases, which require more medical services. There has also been a shift to internet technology. eCommerce is a growing commodity, with many opportunities for the prescient business person. But when searching for the best opportunities, it's important for the savvy business person to be aware of scams. 

JNS Global is the Worst Scam

Unfortunately, when you’re new to internet marketing and blogging, you can be the victim of online scams. These companies masquerade their fabulous “income opportunities” through selling products… oh, and you have to sign up your friends to make any real money. 

Why would the business person choose JNS Global? Because they’re desperate. Don’t make this mistake. 

JNS Global was founded by anonymous people. I guess that’s so the police can’t go after them. 

It starts out sounding good. Apparently JNS Global has a line of anti-aging products that start from the beginning to encourage good health ahead. With the right care, chronic diseases can be decreased. Their products have been created by fake doctors, with fake degrees in bio-science technology, and have spent little time in studying how advance stem cells and anti-aging bioscience technology can help to create the best products for anti-aging.

Who is JNS Global Scamming Now?

According to their site, they are present in 123 countries, with a vast network of logistic support. That’s a lot of sheep. Baaaaa…..

JNS Global Will Destroy You

Signing up for this program will take thousands of dollars out of your bank account. Do not do it! 

But I Want to Sell Anti-Aging Products?

Then sign up for Watkins, Mary Kay, or Avon, who are legitimate companies with decent products. 

How Can I Make a Difference in the World?

You can always volunteer for a children’s hospital, or the SPCA. 

The Caveats of JNS Global

Are you concerned that this is a get rich quick scheme? It’s is. And you’ll lose money doing it. It’s also a pyramid scheme, which is illegal in most parts of the world. You don’t want to end up in jail. 

If you see an offer online, or from one of those mall booths that sell lotions and skin creams with Resveratrol, made in China, and sourced from JNS Global, run away fast. And by no means ever give them your name, phone number, email address, full address, bank account, or credit card information!

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Music Downloader: Access Millions of Free Tunes!

There is a great demand for downloadable music that can be played on a variety of devices. The trick is to find great apps or programs that can download this content for you. A music downloader is your best solution to find free content on the web, rather than paying for songs you may end up hating. 

Besides being free, a music downloader should provide a safe and secure environment to download the music content you need, as well as providing a simple way to manage playlists. 

Here are three of the best music downloader choices today.

Popular Music Downloaders 

1. Google Play Music. It’s no surprise that Google likes to corner the market on every aspect of entertainment. Google Play has a vast catalog of over 35 million songs that should keep most music lovers happy for several months. It also allows you to upload songs from your own collection to form a play list. You can download free promo tracks and albums on the site, but to unlock the full features you’ll need to pay for a subscription. 

2. Tunee Music Downloader. This is a free downloader for Android smart phones. It downloads in the common MP3 format. It screens out the fake songs and has a reasonable level of sound quality in the songs you’ll download. It presents in a simple and easy to use text-based interface. You can also create playlists and play songs directly within it. 

The Best Music Downloader for Mac, PC, iOS, and Android

3. TunesGo. TunesGo is our number one choice for music downloads. It offers a unique solution to download songs directly from YouTube and Spotify. It involves a simple installation, and works on both Mac and PC-based computers, which isn’t common in the music download business. Once it’s installed, you open up your favored content in YouTube and set it to download. You can then export it to your Mac or PC computer, iPod, smart phone, or other MP3 device. 

TunesGo has some great features worth considering over any other music downloader available today.
  • You can download music directly from TunesGo and create playlists through the Discover module.
  • You can directly download music from YouTube and Spotify through its Download module. 
  • It’s also possible to visit any website that has music streaming and record content directly from there. This works through the Record module.
  • TunesGo offers a complete solution for managing and maintaining your music library. It will organize your entire music library on your Mac or PC computer, as well as fix id3 tags, and remove any broken tracks. 
  • You can play music on your Mac or PC computer, or transfer your music directly from iTunes to any iOS or Android device. 

TunesGo is a complete solution to manage and download millions of songs. To learn more about how Wondershare TunesGo music downloader works, please view the Youtube video tutorial. You can download Wondershare Tunesgo directly from their website too. 

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Creative Ink Festival—Where Artists, Illustrators, Readers, Writers & Publishers Unite!



Only two weeks left to register!

by Mel Dawn

Many years ago I met Sandra Wickham at La Fontana Caffe, but we never really chatted until VCON 2011. We discovered we had the same writing passion, and eventually she formed the Ink Club, and talked of having an Ink Festival. 2013 was a turning point for me. I had left a supportive job at Telus in 2009—where I won the Director's Award for my writing in their monthly newsletter—to a terrible job where they reamed me out for drawing cat photos in my notebook! Eventually, I had a breakdown and simply couldn't return to that job. But what would I do? Where would I go? It turns out, to Ink Club, and Ink Festival!

I needed some cash to pay the bills, so I returned to writing non-fiction articles for websites, blogs, magazines, and anyone else who would pay for my creative services. I began by being hired by Yahoo Canada to write articles for their website in 2007, and that had expanded into writing for many other big sites too. In that time I've even edited, proofread, done performance poetry, and written scripts for apps, games, board games, and Youtube. Somewhere in all this time I've had six zombie/steampunk/historical short stories accepted and published in a variety of anthologies around the world. It's certainly been a fun journey!

If you ever need to get back to your creative side like I did, I suggest joining a club, group, forum, or even heading out to a convention. The Creative Ink Festival will inspire you as much as it has me. Creative Ink Festival was a one-day-teaser, held in 2015. Sandra Wickham was the hostess, and her event planning, network, and creative abilities have been used to create a fabulous three-day event for this year.

Please find more information at the Creative Ink Festival Website—click here. You'll discover that it may just be what you need to get out of that box.  


If you enjoyed this article, please Like and Follow me on Facebook & Twitter.

You may be interested in these other articles:

The Devastating Effects of the Vancouver 2015 Earthquake

If you’d like me to write an article for your site, 
please learn more here.

Marketing Guest Post—Social Media Buttons



Let's Welcome Ely Brass, from Biz Simplified.

by Mel Dawn

Today, let me welcome Ely Brass to my blog. He’s agreed to post a quick business tip to my blog, and vice versa. So, with no further adieu (so cliched eh?) here is Ely Brass.

Social Media Buttons

Chances are you already have social media accounts set up, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, but have you added their social media buttons to your website? These buttons should be on every page of your website, and every page of your blog, enabling your readers to share your amazing content, products, what-have-yous, with their friends, family, colleagues, followers, etc. It’s like free marketing, only you don’t have to do anything. 

Please visit my Biz Simplified Blog to read about more quick Biz Tips, and Follow me on Twitter@bizsimplified1.


If you enjoyed this article, please Like and Follow Mel Dawn on Facebook & Twitter.

You may be interested in these other articles:

The Devastating Effects of the Vancouver 2015 Earthquake

If you’d like me to write an article for your site, 
please learn more here.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Navis Salubris – Chapter Six – One War Over, Another Begun

                                ABOUT — HIRE ME — CONTACT

Navis Salubris Serialized Short Stories

This is the continuation of my Navis Salubris serialized zombie short stories. You have now been introduced to all five characters. Please scroll to the bottom if you wish to catch up on the story. 

We now get back to Abdul, who has been fighting for the wrong side in Iraq. His fellow officers have all been killed, and the camp has filled with zombies. 

At the last possible moment, he finds a ticket on the ground and has a good chuckle over his one way ticket to nowhere. Let’s find out what happens next.

A Recap:

He dropped his gun, and it fell down into the dirt. He pitched forward onto the ground and started crying. He wished he’d never left London to join this terrorist cell. What a mistake that had been. He’d been expecting active combat, but instead got sent to a prisoner interment camp. What kind of war was it when the enemy didn’t even have the honour of fighting?

He heard a scuffling noise in front of him. He calmed his sobs and looked up. Surely he would have been bit by now? The zombies were milling around him, but looking confused. On the ground in front of him he saw a black envelope. 

Abdul picked up the envelope, and tore it open. His face switched to a bewildered expression as he saw that it was a ticket. 

Abdul started laughing. 

“A ticket to nowhere,” he muttered to himself in between guffaws.  

Now onto Chapter Six.

Chapter Six—One War Over, Another Begun

Abdul tucked the ticket into his pocket, and punched his way past the zombies. The prisoners were chained against a wall. He was glad he’d held onto the key. He unlocked their chains while they watched, too frightened to move.

“Run!” he encouraged them. “The war is over! We now have a new war!” Abdul ran for the cover of a truck, while behind him, the prisoners scattered. Some were smart enough to find weapons.

Abdul had just hopped in the cab of the truck when three zombies came for him. He grabbed the door handle and pulled. It was enough. Two zombie hands were amputated, but he was safe as he pushed the lock down. He held onto the handle and made a silent prayer.

When he opened his eyes, he was no longer in the truck. Astonished, he glanced around him. He was in what appeared to be a ship’s cabin. It was small, but very clean. He felt the floor gently move beneath him.

“Hello,” said a voice behind him. He jumped, then reached for his pistol, before realizing that it was gone. He patted himself down, but even the knives were gone.

At first he thought someone was in the room with him, and then he realized that the television was on. He moved closer. He hadn’t seen a television since he had left London many months ago.

Blasphemy! It was a woman who was not covered. He averted his eyes.

“Hello, and welcome to Navis Salubris. I’m Sonya, the ship’s cruise director. We understand that you’re confused. Don’t worry, it will all be explained to you. But for now, we invite you to wash up, and join us in the ship’s canteen at noon.” The television went dark. 

Abdul walked up to the TV to turn it back on, but all the channels were fuzzy. He saw clothing on the bed, but it was infidel’s clothing. He would not wear it. 

But then he looked down at his long black robes. They were encrusted with the blood and guts of zombies. It soaked right down to his skin. Shrugging, his removed his clothes and found a small bathroom with a hot shower. It had been a long time since he had experienced hot water.

Later, he looked down at the clothes on the bed. Perhaps they weren’t so bad. The jeans were a dark blue, the shirt was long-sleeved, and there was a hoodie. He could do something with this. 

After dressing, he glanced at the clock and noticed it was nearly noon. Now it was time to find out if he was dead, or not. Either way, it did not matter to him as God had a purpose for him.

Next... Chapter Seven – Nell Onboard. 


If you enjoyed this story, please Like and Follow me on Facebook & Twitter.

You may be interested in these other chapters:
Navis Salubris—Chapter Four—Ritta
Navis Salubris—Chapter Five—Sam

If you’d like me to write a short story for your site, 
please learn more here.