Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Aquaria Chronicles: Try It, It's a Fun Read!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Aquaria Chronicles Newsletter

The Aquaria Chronicles Newsletter
Photographs and Text Copyright Mel Dawn 2017.
By now the Aquaria Chronicles has been out for nearly six months. Thank you to everyone who has made this journey possible. I don’t want to go on and on about my book, so please enjoy these photographs from the Vancouver Aquarium, an interview with me, a fun maze, and more.   

Questions and Answers with Mel Dawn 

1. Question: What would you say is your biggest failure in life?

Answer: My biggest failures have actually led me to creative careers. So, you can tell me all you want that “You can’t make money doing that”, and my life’s experiences will prove you wrong. Ironically, since my big failures  I have made a living being a graphic designer, online content writer, and craftswoman. My entire life my brother has asked me when I will get a “real” job. 

2. Can you tell us about your current projects?

Answer: I am currently working with about five different story ideas, from middle grade to adult, in fantasy and science fiction. Most likely I’ll post on my author’s page and ask people to vote for their favorite concept, because I really can’t decide. 

3. Are you friends with other writers?

Answer: Yes, I am, and there are certain ones who have encouraged me to get back into writing again, around 2012, after a very long hiatus. I have local writer friends, and online writing friends. Some of them are listed in the dedication part of my book. I also enjoy attending writers’ festivals such as Creative Ink Festival, and writers’ conventions whenever I can. 

4. People believe that being a published author is glamorous, is that true?

Answer: It most definitely is not, and ironically, people even think those thoughts when you’re also a non-fiction writer, like I am. Some people seem to think that I only work two hours a day and sit in front of the TV the rest of the time. In fact, there are many days when I’m stuck in front of the computer screen for 16 hours, half for paid work, and then creative writing time to work on my own projects. It’s also not glamorous wearing dirty clothes because you haven’t had time to wash, or eating pizza because there is no time to cook. 

5. Another misconception is that all writers are independently wealthy, how true is that?

Answer: I do know many authors who are in their 60s and older, because they have retired from their jobs and can do what they want, but I wouldn’t consider them wealthy. They cover their expenses, and have some extra cash to work on their projects. As for us younger folk, most of us have a secondary job to finance our creative writing.

6. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Answer: After doing the final edit on my latest book I have a concern that each character doesn’t completely have their own speaking voice. While they may be similar, after all, they all love sea creatures in my storyline, I think that I need to spend more time carefully crafting their unique voices. But it’s good to always work toward a new goal with each successive book. 

7. Question: Do you recall the first ever book/novel you read?

Answer: I believe this was “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss when I was five. I still remember when I was a little girl how much I hated both of those things, and today I still do, as I am a vegetarian now. 

8. Question: Have you ever left any of your books stew for months on end, or even a year?

Answer: Aqua Marine took me four years from writing, to editing, proofreading, formatting, and publishing. My first novel only took me weeks to get published, and thankfully it’s no longer available online. My next two books are in the same Aquaria Chronicles series, so they should be released before winter begins. 

9. Question: When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?

Answer: When I was about eight or nine years old I wrote a “book” about a lost black cat. It wasn’t even for homework, I simply wrote it on my own. I showed it to a friend of my parents who read it, and said he had really enjoyed it. Sadly, I no longer have a copy. I was always that kid in school who wrote three stories for every one assigned. 

10. Question: When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession?

Answer: No, the goal was always to go to school to earn a degree, and then find work. I earned a gemologist degree before I realized I’d only be making minimum wage in that career. I have quite a list of degrees and diplomas to my name now, but it was a good thirty years before I earned two writing certificates. 

11. Question: Does your day job ever get in the way of your writing?

Answer: Yes, it does. It’s hard to stare at a glowing screen for eight hours, and then do it all over again that same night. 

12. Question: Do you like traveling or do you prefer staying indoors? 
Answer: I really enjoy travelling, and hope to do more in the future. I’ve been to Egypt, England, USA, and Canada. Right now a writer’s life means being stuck in front of the computer. The only compromise is getting out for small daily walks.

13. Question: Do you reply back to your fans and admirers personally?

Answer: Yes, definitely. Some of my favorite musicians and celebrities are those that reply back to me directly, so I want to do the same for my fans. 

14. Question: Have you ever taken any help from other writers?

Answer: Yes, I often ask for advice. There are some writers that are extremely giving and generous with their time. Hint: I buy their books!

15. Question: Have you ever considered writing an autobiography?

Answer: I have, but I was going to tie it in with a post-apocalyptic story, so it wouldn’t be entirely true. 

16. Question: Do you see the writing genes in any of your family members?

Answer: No, I don’t. I have no idea where I got my writing genes from. I can’t even think of any distant cousins who enjoy writing. 

17. Question: Has it ever happened to you that someone published your story in their own name?

Answer: Yes, but we had a contract. I frequently do ghostwriting for other writers or non-writers. It can actually be a lucrative form of income. 

18. Question: Have you ever destroyed any of your drafts?

Answer: Yes, once a story or book has been published I’ll save only the most recent one or two versions.   

19. Question: Do you need to be in a specific place or room to write, or can you just sit in the middle of a café full of people and write?
Answer: I can sit down and write anywhere, but editing and proofreading require quiet time at home. 

20. Question: Where Can I Buy The Aquaria Chronicles?

Answer: You can find my book on Kobo, iBooks, Nook, and Amazon. Here is a handy reference link if you need it: The Aquaria Chronicles

Aquarium Maze Time! 
After you have swam out of the maze, go back and colour in your pathway. 
You'll discover a surprise!

Friday, May 26, 2017

10 Ways to Help Your Writer Friends

Hi Friends! If you don’t already know, I have written a book—The Aquaria Chronicles! This book is about 200 pages long. Within it are three smaller books and one short story. It’s for young adults or adult readers who enjoy the fantasy/paranormal/pre-apocalyptic genres. Hopefully you’ll have as much fun reading it as I did writing it. But I do need more people to read it, and that’s where I need help from my friends.

Here are 10 things you can do to help me out. You can also use them to assist your other writer friends in getting their books read. Every little thing adds up, and we certainly appreciate the efforts you have made. Each thing you do adds up over time, and creates a domino effect.

1. Buy the digital e-Book on Amazon.
2. Buy a printed copy when you have the chance. From conventions, bookstores, or directly from your writer friends.
3. Join our street teams, and then post an honest Amazon review.
4. Mark the book as to-read on Goodreads, then complete your review after you’re done.
5. Enter any giveaways offered and promote them to your friends.
6. Share your writer friend’s posts about their books. 
7. Participate in any online release party activities.
8. Add book links to your own blog or website. Let us know, so we can promote your site in return. 
9. Ask your local library if they’ll carry the book, The Aquaria Chronicles by Melanie Dixon.
10. Request the book from your local bookstore. 

Thank you so much for your work. Thank you to CL Flors (Progeny) for the idea for this post. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Vienna, Austria—The Jewel of Europe

Vienna, Austria—The Jewel of Europe

Vienna is a large city located on the eastern side of the country of Austria. It’s one of the most popular vacation destinations in Europe, with a long rich history that dates back to prerecorded history. Fill up on your knowledge of Austria, as you won’t want to miss out on its exciting travel destinations. 

Fun Facts to Know Before You Go

It's believed the word "Austria" is derived from the Germanic word of “Austro”, which means “east”. Austria is a one of the few the countries that has had a national flag longer than other countries on the planet. Vienna is the largest city in Austria, with over a quarter of Austria’s population living here. 

Vienna has the oldest zoo in the world, Vienna Zoo, which was founded in 1752. If you’re travelling around Austria, you may take their reliable network of railways and trains. 

Austria is a beautiful country covered by almost 62% of mountains called the Austrian Alps. 

What to See in Vienna

You can begin with a tour of the Ring, which is a network of roads where the most popular sights are located. The Opera House, Hofburg Palace, City Hall, and Parliament buildings are not to be missed. You can do a walk around, or hop on a bus tour. 

If you need to rest, you can have snacks and treats in the Palmenhaus, or head to the Danube Channel where there are many restaurants offering delicious Austrian cuisine. 

If you’ve done your tours during the day, you’ll not want to miss out on Vienna by night. At night, the buildings are lit up with beautiful lights, offering further photographic opportunities. 

Where to Go for Shopping

If you wish to purchase gifts for family back home, or to sample some baked goods, or buy fresh fruit, and cheese while on your vacation, the Naschmarkt is the one hot spot to visit. It’s over 1.5 kilometres long. There are also many bars and restaurants here, so once you tire of walking around the booths and shops you can stop and have a drink. 

There is also the Brunnemarkt, which has the distinction of being the longest street market in all of Europe. This is a trendy and cultural region of the city to visit, and where you can find everything you need to have a comfortable vacation.

Get Away from the Bustle of the City

There is a lovely park located in Vienna, if you want to get out into nature for a bit, away from the crowds and traffic. Lainzer Tiergarten is a wildlife preserve located in the 13th district of Vienna. It’s covered in about 80% of natural woodlands. You can access it through the tram line. 

There are many more sights and places to visit during your trip to Vienna. Sit down and make your itinerary so you can avoid hopping back and forth, and wasting your time. Many sights are located together, so you’ll be able to make the most of your vacation in Vienna, Austria. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Creative Ink Festival March 31 - April 2, 2017: A Fantastic Festival for Readers & Writers

You Can Never Have Too Many Books or Learn Enough About Writing 

by Mel Dawn

The Creative Ink Festival is happening soon! If you live in the Burnaby, Vancouver, or New Westminster region, or are from out-of-town, stop by for a day or two, or better yet, book yourself into the spectacular Delta Burnaby Hotel & Casino for a weekend of fun. If you're a writer you'll meet other writers who can answer your questions. You can also learn by attending panels, and you can even pitch your book to one of the leading publishers in Canada today.

There is also much to interest the reader too. There will be a large conference hall filled with items for purchase that you won't find anywhere else: books, merchandise, and other items of interest.

Come and meet the crew, or hang out with your favorite writers. If you want in on a little secret, we hang out at the bar at the end of the night.

See you soon!

Click here for more information on Creative Ink Festival.

Click here for information on my new book, The Aquaria Chronicles.

Click here for the direct link to the discounted Delta Hotel rooms for Creative Ink Festival.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Build Your Own Aquarium Coffee Table!

This is a really cool coffee table, and is exactly what I envision as one of the apartments containing inside the world of Aquaria, a secret underground bunker that houses an enormous aquarium.

If you're ready to entire the world of oceanic and sea life, with a twist of supernatural, please buy my book now!

You can find it on Amazon here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Aqua Marine, by Melanie Dawn Dixon

Click here to order now: Aqua Marine, by Melanie Dawn Dixon

Aqua Marine is an apocalyptic young adult novel set in the near future, written by Melanie Dawn Dixon. Since she started reading adult books as a young child she now shamelessly reads the kids’ and teens’ books that she missed back then. She also enjoys writing for teens, but feels that certain themes are overdone. Instead, she has created an apocalyptic novel where a powdery blue substance rains down upon the city, suffocating everyone in its path. 

In Aqua Marine, the novel begins with the traditionally rebellious teenage girl named Aqua. She’s already discovered what she wants to do in life, against the wishes of her mom. At the start of the disaster she loses contact with her mother, and her friends. After the city goes into lockdown, she and her cat are refused entry to the city bunker. Aqua and her newly found friend Mark, who is wheelchair-bound, must find access to another bunker. Along the way they are attacked by zombies, which is the least of their worries. 

Often writers are told to write about what they know, but this wasn’t the case for Mel. She chose to do research about sea creatures and aquatic life. She also created a fictitious powdery blue substance, called bleed in the books, which is the main antagonist of the story. In order to go outside when it is raining bleed, a human must suit up with a respirator. Strangely, animals and plants are not affected by the bleed. Aqua and Mark must survive outdoors until they can find the entrance to a bunker run by the Canadian Marines. 

Readers will quickly find that Aqua Marine isn’t your standard teen supernatural novel. While it does have zombies, it also has an apocalyptic theme with a unique twist, as it’s set in a gigantic world called Aquaria, located beneath the city of New Westminster.

Aqua Marine will be a refreshing read for those seeking a different type of young adult novel that has a unique setting, and a diverse list of characters. It’s Book One of a three part set called the Aquaria Chronicles. If the characters of Aqua Marine were here right now, they would say that the safest place to be is in the water. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Put on Your Writing Caps—CIF—Creative Ink Festival, Burnaby is Ahead!

Creative Ink Festival, Burnaby, 2017
by Mel Dawn

Are you a book, novel, fiction, sometimes writer who is stuck? The Creative Ink Festival will inspire you to keep going. Let's face it, we've all been stuck. Who hasn't neglected their next great novel idea? I personally have an entire notebook filled with great ideas for the next bestseller, or even the next top ten bestsellers for this year. But have I started writing anything yet? Nope, because I'm still busy editing my last series, The Aquaria Chronicles.

The Creative Ink Festival is an all-weekend event, and more affordable than the Surrey Writer's Conference. I've heard that one runs in the hundreds of dollars, but I'm too scared to look!

So, do something nice for yourself and book off a weekend to attend the Creative Ink Festival in Burnaby, BC, Canada. Besides great panellists, a marketplace, and guests of honour, you'll have some time to work on your next great novel.

So, make a pledge to yourself that this year it's going to be different. You will write that masterpiece!

Visit the Creative Ink Festival site to sign up now!