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Category Archives: Projects

The Gaia Code – A web novel

I’ve been tinkering with this story for over a year now and I’ve decided starting this year to place the story online. Since it is over a year old I want to rework the story page by page just to clean it up a bit.

The story fits into the genre of Science Fiction / Fantasy. It follows the story of a troubled woman who is coming to grips with her reality, a reality she never expected. Did you ever get the feeling you were more than you thought you were? That you had a special purpose, a true reason you were on this planet?

The story bridges our reality and bends into the fantasy realm. Those people who believe in spirit guides, animal totems, and Earth magic may find this story more believable than others.

If you’d like to follow the story, you can start reading it here at it’s official web site, The Gaia Code

Cards, Stories, Cougars and More

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about anything on my personal blog, so here goes nothing … well, I wouldn’t say nothing.

Cards

I’ve been updating my Animal Totem Card App fairly frequently. The app, which started out with 40 animals, has more than doubled its size to 84 animals. I receive email requests from people who have purchased the app asking for specific animals. Most recently I have been asked for Panda, and Chipmunk.

Stories

Aside from working with my illustrator on Steve the Vegan, I have been writing some other stories. I’ve also been looking into children’s comic books as a medium to work in. Another story I have been working on is for a slightly older group of children and is based on animal totems and mysticism.

Cougars

Not just cougars, but jaguars, ocelots, clouded leopards and other big cats. I’ve been volunteering my web development services to Panther Ridge Conservation Center to help them generate some income in these difficult economic times. During a financial crisis like this, non-profit, animal-based organizations are usually hit hardest. So I created a new web site for them to collect donations, http://donate.pantherridgecc.org. I also create a site where people can purchase adoption kits for the big cats at Panther Ridge, www.bigcatadoptions.com lets you select an animal and receive a photograph, adoption certificate and more. It’s a great way to help them out and receive something in return, in addition to personal gratification for doing something for the animals.

and More …

I have much more going on, some additional web site design, I’m helping a friend develop an iPhone app, and more nature and animal photography.

Donating Time

As I stated in my last post, I have been donating my time to Panther Ridge Conservation Center as a host to many photographer meetups through Meetup.com. This past weekend we completed our 4th meetup, and there are 5 more scheduled.

Besides saving photographers from the claws and jaws of big cats (just kidding), I have also been working on a new web site for Panther Ridge, and a series of adoption kits.

I am gathering “materials” for the adoption kits at this time, but its a tough journey since I really have a very, very limited budget. When dealing with a non-profit, its imperative to keep costs at a minimum.

Side note, and shameless plug : If you know any person, or corporation that would be willing to help out to cover the costs of some of the adoption kit items, please let me know.  Also, corporations can sponsor an animal. Who wouldn’t want to sponsor an ocelot named “Macho Man!”

I’ve really enjoyed working on this project, helping out Panther Ridge, and meeting some incredible people who share my love of nature and wildlife.

Totem Tales has a new web site

After a long delay, Totem Tales Publishing has its new web site. We’re still tweaking it a bit, but I think you’ll like what you see.

The new site is designed to promote existing books and products and to announce new projects in development. What’s in development you ask? Well we have our book Steven the Vegan, a web comic about a Polar Bear named Hugh, and a web comic strip called Don’t Worry Be Crabby, featuring Crabby McCraberson from Eartha’s story.

But that’s not all, as you know The Tale of Eartha the Sea Turtle is available as an iPhone App. It will soon be available as a full page iPad app, and as an ebook. We also have a new App being approved by Apple right now called “Animal Totems”. This app provides reference cards on different animals and their meanings. Ever encounter a butterfly several times in one day? Well it may have a message for you. The project was heavily researched and the app provides clear bullet points as to what your encounters may yield.

We’ll let you know as soon as the App is approved by the iTunes store.

Check out our new site at TotemTales.com

Kindred Spirits Sanctuary

In my latest book, Steven the Vegan, a group of children visit a farm sanctuary where Steven shares with his friends the reason he doesn’t eat animals. Farm sanctuaries are places where farm animals go to live out their lives, free from the slaughter house destiny that plagues their species.

Part of writing a convincing story is research. I wanted to research farm sanctuaries and find out more about them. That led me to the Kindred Spirits Sanctuary in Ocala, Florida. The Sanctuary encompasses 36 beautiful acres. There are about  150 sanctuary residents. The animals living there are called residents, because that’s what they are. The residents receive around-the-clock care, carefully controlled diets, spacious barns, and green pastures to graze.

I am planning a visit to the sanctuary very soon, and hope to meet some of these amazing residents. According to the care taker, each of the residents has a unique personality, and their special needs are seen to. I cannot wait to get there and meet some of the residents.

Sometime research can be fun! Check out The Kindred Spirits Sanctuary and learn about some of their residents.

The Storyteller in my head

The MindI have three stories rattling around in my head. As my second children’s book is being illustrated, I have been thinking about other ideas and concepts for new books. Instead of coming up with one idea … I have three. Now comes the hard part, formulating a story that is both entertaining, and contains a message.

I have to admit, ever since I visited the Panther Ridge Conservation Center this past weekend, I’ve been wanting to write a big cat story. Panther Ridge cares for big cats that cannot be released back into the wild. Although the enclosures that are their homes are spacious based on the size of the “cat”, I just feel that telling a story that ends with a big cat back in its enclosure just doesn’t seem right. But, fear not, I am formulating a story idea that will encompass both entertainment, and education that will end on a happy note.

Another story is based on a trip through the Everglades. Ever notice how scared people are of the Everglades? You mention it to some people and they tell you “There’s no way I’d go there.” hmmm, really?

The third story has to do with the importance of healthy eating and exercise, but is written with the “Brothers Grimm” in mind. It has to do with weight loss and obesity, something that many children are now facing.

Now if I could only make a living doing this. 🙂

Children’s Book Updates

boxThis week I will receive my first copies of  The Tale of Eartha the Sea Turtle. Some of these are promotional copies, others will be sold in my online store. As for promotional copies, I am sending them to turtle care facilities, some aquariums, and some children’s book reviewers. (know any?)

From there marketing will move online, and to promotional copies to other organizations like zoos, cruise lines (they have gift shops) and more.

Of course if anyone knows of someone, a friend, colleague, enemy, or otherwise, that may be able to help promote the sale of the book, please let me know. Any little bit helps.

In other happy news, I’ve started receiving full page sketches for the next book Steven the Vegan. I’ve also started sketching out the story for a third children’s book. This one has to do with the Everglades.

In other news, since AuthorHouse.com has not replied to any of my requests for a refund, I have contacted the Better Business Bureau of Indiana, and the Indiana State Attorney Generals office regarding their actions. All I have requested is a refund for the services they did not provide.

I will post again as soon as the Online Store is open.

Dan

Just Proof It!

You want the proof? You can’t handle the proof!

I received my first proof of my book, The Tale of Eartha the Sea Turtle, this week. Although there were some issues, the experience was still positive. The issues were partially my fault, but since this is my blog I’m going to blame Thomas Binderhoff of Sandusky, Ohio. I worked so hard for so long, and he goes ahead and messes everything up.

Okay, I don’t even know if that person exists. I made him up, but it’s still his fault. Read more »

Steven gets a web site

Steven the Vegan LogoOkay, this post name sounds like the title of an After School Special, but it’s not. My second book, Steven the Vegan which is currently being illustrated is getting its own web site. I have been working with a friend I found through Twitter.com Chris Spooner (Spoooooon!) on a design for Steven’s web site. Chris did the graphic design of the web site for Eartha the Sea Turtle and I knew when I was ready I’d have him design Steven’s.

Eartha’s web site is primarily geared toward the book and free coloring pages, whereas Steven’s web site will be a blog. The blog will include recipes, and interesting information on a vegan lifestyle. Many people do not know the difference between a vegan and a vegetarian. Some believe that vegan is a shorter word variation for vegetarian. I assure you it is not.

Steven’s book was inspired by the notion that young kids today will have a hard time explaining to their peers the concept of a vegan. Additionally, kids are finicky eaters. I am going to focus on kid-friendly vegan recipes, including vegan mac & cheese, sandwich wraps and more.

I have recently signed up with Kitchen Monki, an online resource for sharing recipes, planning meals and more. I will be embedding the recipes I put there on Steven’s web site.I am also teaming up with Meatless Monday to promote a monday meal, without meat. All the meals can be made by anyone. Whenever possible I will include links to where people can purchase the ingredient, but in most cases local grocery stores will have them.

Of course the site will also serve as a way to promote the upcoming book. I feel these affiliation will assist with the marketing of the book. We’ll find out in due time. 🙂

Links : Kitchen Monki, Meatless Monday, Spoon Graphics

An awesome illustrator

I’ve started receiving sketches of the illustration for my next book, Steven the Vegan. My illustrator, and long time friend Ron Robrahn is bringing my vision to life. Ron has always been an amazing artist. He does a great job of taking words on a page, and breathing life into them. You could tell him you want to see an orangutan in a kitchen making toast,  upset that the jar of jam is empty, and he would whip it up in no time flat. (Why do I have a feeling that when he reads this, he will draw it.)

In high school, Ron and I created a computer animated cartoon and won the Art Contest that year. Ron drew the characters on graph paper, and I recreated them pixel by pixel on an old Apple IIe using a program called Take II. Each frame was custom drawn, and edited. I can’t remember how long it took us, but it only lasted about twenty seconds, and that included a commercial interruption.

After high school, Ron and I lost touch. We occasionally were able to reach each other, and I learned he was doing caricatures for Disney in Orlando. I had already hired an illustrator for “The Tale of Eartha the Sea Turtle” when I found him on Facebook.com. I sent him a PDF of the book, and asked him to “draw” Eartha. Of course, he nailed it. He created some illustrations for the web site, and I knew he would be illustrating my next book.

We bounced some ideas around. Ron has some characters he already has created that we are looking into putting into print. My latest book, Steven the Vegan, is what he is illustrating now. I described Steven to him, and BAM again, he nailed it. Below is a sample sketch of what some of the illustrations will look like. I am extremely glad to be working with Ron on this, and hope to be working with him for a long, long time.

Sample Sketches