Category: The New Druids Series Page 1 of 17

New Duilleog Cover

So, as I said the other day, I’ve commissioned a new cover for Duilleog from JD&J Book Cover Design. They just sent me the three versions. Have a look and shoot me an email and tell me what you think. Or leave a comment below. I love these!

Version 1
Version 2
Version 2

Switching to VoIP

So, I have been paying Rogers about $25 CAD per month for a land line for like 4 years now since moving back to Ottawa, Canada. I’ll wait for you to stop laughing before I continue… still waiting… okay, enough.

Listen: We needed a land line so my wife could call her mum whenever she wanted with free long distance. Still laughing? I bet you feel bad now. That’s her mum I’m talking about. Heavy sigh.

Anyway. I am so tired of handing $25 per month to a company like Rogers. So I decided to go to a VoIP phone. VoIP means Voice Over Internet Protocol. Which mean you make your call over the internet, not over the telephone lines stretching across the country. Using VoIP, I will reduce my monthly cost to $0.85 per month (excluding long distance costs). Yup, that is 85 cents. Don’t believe me? Head on over to http://voip.ms and check it out.

So how do I do this?

  1. Once you have an account with VoIP.ms, request a new land line phone number.
  2. Go to where your phone lines enters the house (usually by the power panel) and disconnect the land line from the little box the phone company installed. This little box distributes the phone lines in the walls of your house.
  3. Take a spare phone line and connect it to this little box and take the other end and connect it to an analog telephone adapter (ATA) –
    The device I bought was the Grandstream GS-HT802 on Amazon.ca. What you have just done is that all the phone jacks in your house are connected to the ATA.
  4. Connect your ATA to your house internet connection with an ethernet cable (Cat5e). I connected mine to a TP-Link switch. Your phones in the house will now communicate to the INTERNET, not your telephone provider. Get it?
  5. Browse into your house internet router (typically 192.168.1.1) on a desktop or laptop. Determine what IP address your ATA was assigned by the router. You then need to remote into the ATA using that IP address (type the address into a browser e.g. 192.168.1.23) and configure the ATA as required. There are so many options here. Please Google configurations for your ATA. Mine can provide music to people on hold, will text me when someone leaves a voice mail, call forwarding to multiple lines (i.e. you and wife get a cell phone call when someone calls the house, first one to answer wins), etc. etc.
  6. Pick up your phone handset (that you already have in your house connected to a house phone plug) and dial out. Use a cell phone and dial in. This confirms the ATA is working.
  7. Then go to VOIP.ms and request they transfer your original land line number over them. This will take a week or so. They will contact your phone provider and make the transfer happen.
  8. While this is being transferred, disconnect everything and go back to the old telephone connection and enjoy your last days with a company that takes your money and takes your money and takes your money.
  9. Once VOIP.ms owns your old number. Reconnect your ATA and call your phone company to cancel your land line.
  10. Use your new found wealth to treat your wife/significant other to something nice. Or your doogie-doog. Or your cat. You decide.

Warning: Do this means that when your house loses POWER, that your land lines will not work. Why? The internet devices in your house are also without power. However, you can install an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to your home internet devices and to the ATA and provided your internet connection is still available, you can make calls. I’m not doing that though. My house phones are those wireless ones with a base station that requires power, so when I lose power I lose my land lines. Meh. I just use my cell phone…

New Duilleog Book Cover

I’ve commissioned a professional book cover for Duilleog. I’ve opted to go with a company based in Florida called JD and J Design. They seem reputable and their work looks exceptional. They promised me they can work an entire series and do the epic fantasy style cover I need.

The work starts on March 22, 2019. I’ve never done this before, and I don’t know what to expect. What I expect is a lot of back and forth discussion on the main themes I wish to capture. While that may appear to be simple, in practice I suspect it will be difficult. My existing covers were my design and over the years I have had more negative comments than positive. By far. Which is what led me to make this decision to change the cover.

Fun facts: My New Druids covers have a repeating theme you may have noticed. A tree is getting larger and larger, central to the cover. The bottom is bark. The upper portion is an idyllic scene with a castle predominant in it. And I change the colour of a separating line. And...that’s about it. The castle represents the politics and religious aspects and the tree represents the druids. Modern fantasy covers usually have a character displayed striking a pose with the background covered in some exciting scene of some kind. Its what people expect these days.

Homework: So what themes best represent the New Druids series to you? Let me know. Leave a comment or email me. For me, the New Druids novels are about the harmony of nature and how people can truly screw up a wonderful world through politics and religion. What would you expect, or like to see, on the cover of the New Druids series?

Beta Readers, Sci-Fi and Urban Fantasy

Beta Readers

Cill Darae, Volume 5 of the New Druids Series is almost through the second draft. I have a few beta readers lined up and I am still interested in more. Beta Reading is a task. It requires a critical mind and sense of what good epic fantasy is all about. If you are interested send me an email requested to be considered and why you think you are a good fit.

I’ve had the good and the bad with beta readers. A few I consider exceptional. Their feedback to me was invaluable and I’m so glad to have met these people. Some simply took my novels and that was it. Beta reading is critical to authors; it is through the back and forth that a novel starts to polish. Freamhaigh was the novel that saw the most feedback from beta readers and I find it stands above my other novels. So please, if interested, shoot me an email at donalddallan@gmail.com

Urban Fantasy

I adore urban fantasy. Its my dirty little secret. There is something about reading fantasy in a modern, urban setting that I really, really enjoy. There are some truly talented authors writing urban fantasy today [shoot me an email and I will share with you my list of favourite authors in this genre]. I would love to be one. I’ve wanted to write something in this genre for a while now and I think I have the start of a concept. That’s all: just a concept. The New Druids series was always much more than a concept: I had visualised the entire series, you see, almost in one painful flash of insight.

So, I need to flush out my urban fantasy idea a little (okay, a lot) more. Then I am going to try traditional publishing. I am prepared for rejection. I feel I have already become an accomplished author and have nothing to prove to myself. If it fails the big houses, then I will self-publish, again. The premise, in case you are curious, is a man finds a single torn page hidden inside an old book. It contains a spell for finding things, written in old English. He tries it, and it works. Then he wants more spells. But there is another group(s) looking for the same thing. And another trying to wipe magic from the world. And history, ancient history, from Arthurian legend starts to expose itself [with a nod to Mary Stewart]. Dun dun dun!

Anyway, that’s the premise. It doesn’t sound like much, but with my imagination, I am sure it is going somewhere interesting! I can say that I love my heroes simple: Honest people like you and me that suddenly find themselves having to do something extraordinary. And not knowing why, or how. Not like a certain series where the main characters are all omnipotent demigods. They would have a problem, struggle through chapters and chapters and then suddenly realise: “Hey, we’re gods…” and snap their fingers. Yes, I hated the Belgariad… The struggle is real, dammit!

Science Fiction

I still have a sci-fi novel on the back burner. It is the prequel to the New Druids series, but set in today’s time. Yes. I have a sci-fi novel that prequels my fantasy world.  I had flushed this story out (single novel) a number of years ago. Then I wrote myself into a corner by writing something truly horrible (I had an AI carrying on a conversation with the protagonist’s subconscious…shudder). Happily, the New Druids series sprouted from that seed. But, I need to write it and I will. It’s not a truly happy ending kind of book. It’s a little On The Beach, if you know what I mean. It yells at me for not writing it. It has an attitude. Nasty thing.

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