Learning Experience

Well, I’ve been learning how to use the software to make my covers what I want them to be, and I think I’ve finally made one I like for Wolf in the Shadow. Now, I’ve just got to do the others. The new cover should be on all ebooks and print books in the next couple of days. It took a while, but at least I finally figured it out.

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The Shizzuria Wasteland – What the Heck is Gonna Live Here?

Riverland Pearlrest and Shizzuria WastelandThe Shizzuria Wasteland shares a continent with Riverland Pearlrest, a collection of rich communities made up of those who made their fortunes mining the precious minerals that are found in the mountains of the wasteland.

The Shizzuria Wasteland is a glacier several miles thick.  The climate is one of perpetual winter with year round snow storms and temperatures that rarely reach above freezing.  The only real resources in this area are the minerals that have been mined from the mountains, and most of the small towns in the Shizzuria Wasteland are mining towns.

Four small towns sit on the edge of the glacier: Grenvor, Whitedale, Pearlwater Sky, and Shizzuria Landing.  With the exception of Pearlwater Sky, which is the eastern port of the continent, these are rustic towns with only the most basic goods.  Newpost and Ofleim are larger towns with a little more to offer, though all are affected by the weather.

A railroad connects most of the towns in Riverland Pearlrest and the Shizzuria Wasteland; however, the tracks are impassable in the coldest months of the year, and freak snow storms in the warmer months can also render them useless.

Several ruins dot the wasteland, and these are sources of great interest to many of the Halfling communities in the area.  It is not uncommon to find groups of Halflings, as well as those from the academic institutions of other countries, travelling the wasteland in search of knowledge.  Some believe many of the ruins come from the time before The Catastrophe, while others work hard to prove that this isn’t the case.

A number of creatures populate the mountains and forests of the Shizzuria Wasteland.  One of these is the coniklo, a creature like a horned rabbit, that lives in the mountain region.  Another creature that inhabits the wasteland is the dajowjut.  This being is somewhat bearlike with a long snout and talons.  It can walk on either two feet or four feet, and it will search relentlessly for humanoids to eat.

Now, here’s where I start running into trouble.  I want there to be original creatures in the world of Grevared, especially since the world itself is an amalgamation of all thirteen planes of existence.  However, I think there should be wolves and reindeer as well, things that we all recognize as belonging in a frozen wasteland.

I’ve pretty much binge-watched most of the Wildest Arctic show on Netflix (I’m in love, by the way), and there are so many possibilities here.  The show covers the Arctic Sea, the Taiga forest, and tons of other areas I would absolutely love to see.  The beauty of these places is breath-taking, and there’s such a diverse animal population that it’s hard to decide just what to use to populate the land.  However, I’m thinking something like the North American Musk Oxen has got to be there.  This creature is just downright cool.  Their skulls are seventeen centimeters thick, which comes in handy since they don’t seem real bright.  Banging their heads together just for the right to mate with females?  Whatever.  I can just hear the sound echoing through the quiet of the wasteland, perhaps catching Erastus’s attention and pulling him off track.

The mountain regions of the Shizzuria Wasteland are rocky and steep.  There are cavesSnow Falling used by the Rangers all through them, but there really isn’t a long of greenery; the ice doesn’t melt enough to allow it.  What little forest exists on the wasteland is around the town of Whitedale, one of those just at the edge of the glacier.  This could create a problem for herbivore species unless they live primarily in Riverland Pearlrest and simply cross the Shizzuria Wasteland.  I suppose that’s a possibility, but Riverland Pearlrest is much more developed than the wasteland.  In fact, there’s even an amusement park in Riverland Pearlrest.  So, more creatures could live there, but the humanoids who have built manors there aren’t going to take too kindly to it.  Perhaps there needs to be a forest, at least a small one, among the mountains.  At least some way for creatures to eat.  On the other hand, if there isn’t, then that leaves lots of possibilities for animals and the like to invade the towns.  Hmmm…….

And what about the lights?  Grevared exists in a void space with its own rules of physics, so there’s a lot about our world that simply doesn’t work there.  However, the gods helped to fashion it, and there’s definitely an atmosphere.  It rains, it snows, but there’s never any real sunshine.  So, would lights of some kind work?  They obviously couldn’t be the Northern or Southern Lights, but could there be some kind of phenomena that only occurs over the Shizzuria Wasteland?  It’s something to consider.

This is where world building gets a little complicated.  There are so many possibilities and details to consider, especially since the story I’m currently working on is based here, that it can make one’s head spin.  Still, though, it also makes for hours of entertainment, and I never have a chance to get bored.

Best wishes!

Visit my website for information on books set in the world of Grevared.

 

 

 

 

A Walker is Born

https://books2read.com/u/mVDKrb

Those who’ve been around a while know that the first book in The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley III is A Walker is Born. Since book three is coming out this October, I decided to make the first book permanently free where I could. The above link is for the platforms where it is free. Hopefully, it won’t be long before I can have it free on Amazon as well.

Best wishes!

The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley III

I was concerned that I might not get book three, Revenge of Cronus finished in time to release in October, but it looks like I’m right on track. That being the case, I went ahead and did a trailer for it. Hope you enjoy.

Best wishes!
https://youtu.be/nkZvHVQ_wHI

Feeling Accomplished

It’s the little things in life that matter most, and tonight I’m feeling particularly accomplished because after a year of fiddling with it, I finally figured out Goodreads. I know. It shouldn’t have taken that long, but for us old folks, who learned how to program a Commodore 64 and only know Basic (not even QBasic), this is a Herculean feat.

Visit me on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13681110.Lissa_Dobbs

Populating the Kingdom of Emerell

Moirena and the Kingdom of EmerellThe Kingdom of Emerell lies in the western quadrant of the continent that also contains Moirena in the world of Grevared.  Its primary port is the city of Flameport, though there is a secondary port in Bruihull.  Ravenhost is the largest city, capital, and the center of government.  While The Kingdom of Emerell is ruled by a monarch, it is an elected monarch rather than one who rules by divine right.

The Everstone Mountains separate The Kingdom of Emerell from Moirena, but, in spite of this range, Emerell is mostly flatlands.  This allows for plenty of farming along with mining in the mountains.  The primary exports are metal and minerals along with weapons and other smithed goods.  The Kingdom of Emerell is a prosperous and peaceful place, despite its close proximity to Moirena, which is inhabited by demons.

The Kingdom of Emerell is populated by dwarves, and here’s where I had some difficulty deciding which versions of the myths I wanted to pursue.  In Tolkien’s works the dwarves are short and stocky with long beards.  They are excellent metallurgists and love all things to do with metal and jewels.  They are creatures of the earth, though their creator stepped outside the will of Ilúvatar when he created them.  However, the dwarves exist in mythology, particularly Norse mythology, and in most of these myths, they are nothing like the creatures in the world of fantasy.

In Norse mythology the giant Ymir is slain by Odin and his brothers, and the giant’s body is used to create the world.  Maggots form on the body, and it is from these creatures that the dwarves are formed.

In The Poetic Edda there is a list of dwarves found in the poem Voluspo.  In this poem a witch is called up from the dead to speak about the creation of the world.  The first few stanzas describe this, but the dwarves don’t come into play until stanza 8.  At this point giants rise up from Jotunheim, and the gods met to decide who is going to raise up the dwarves.  In stanzas ten through sixteen there is a list of dwarves, though most scholars think this is interpolated, and there is mention of the dwarves leaving the mountains to seek a new home.  As to the list of names, it is one any Tolkien fan will recognize.

The Poetic Edda isn’t the only mention of the dwarves in mythology and legend.  In one legend they were seen by a peat cutter who noticed a glow while winding through a series of boulders in search of peat.  The peat cutter peered into the cleft in the stone and saw small creatures about as tall as his waist working their forge.  According to this story, the dwarves were difficult to see because their skin and aprons were as gray as the rocks around them, and their bodies resembled boulders more than men.

Dwarf legends aren’t restricted to Europe, either.  They are also present in Central America, South Africa, and North America.  In all of the legends, however, they are associated with the earth and the things that dwell within it.  They are harsh and vengeful creatures when crossed or wronged, and they are superb artisans who imbue their creations with magic. The Poetic Edda is filled with stories about them, and we see them in the folklore of just about every country.

If we return to the European side of the world, we have the leprechauns of Ireland, who became prominent in folklore in the middle ages.  Modern descriptions speak of tiny creatures who wear green, make shoes, and hoard pots of gold, but prior to the twentieth century, these beings were described as wearing red, and their wardrobe differed according to locale.  According to Yeats, the solitary leprechauns wore red, while the trooping fairies wore green.  Now, another difference between these leprechauns, who are often considered to be a type of dwarf, and the dwarves of Norse and other mythologies, is their origin.  The leprechauns are said to be some of the descendants of the Tuatha De Danann, who are the progenitors of the fairies.

So, when it comes to deciding who will populate the Kingdom of Emerell, I have tons of options and myriad folktales on which to draw.  I’m thinking I may go with the majority of the population based somewhat on the Norse mythology and create branches of the population from other mythologies.  I think this will give me the variations and richness of culture that I’m looking for in my countries.

 

Sources:

Appenzeller, Tim.  The Enchanted World: Dwarfs.  Time-Life Books, 1985.

Arrowsmith, Nancy, and George Moorse.  A Field Guide to the Little People.  Simon and Schuster, 1977.

Bellows, Henry Adams. The Poetic Edda, 1936 at sacred-texts.com

 

The Kingdom of Emerell

 

 

The Kingdom of Emerell lies in the western quadrant of the continent that also contains Moirena in the world of Grevared.  Its primary port is the city of Flameport, though there is a secondary port in Bruihull.  Ravenhost is the largest city, capital, and the center of government.  While The Kingdom of Emerell is ruled by a monarch, it is an elected monarch rather than one who rules by divine right.

The Everstone Mountains separate The Kingdom of Emerell from Moirena, but, in spite of this range, Emerell is mostly flatlands.  This allows for plenty of farming along with mining in the mountains.  The primary exports are metal and minerals along with weapons and other smithed goods.  The Kingdom of Emerell is a prosperous and peaceful place, despite its close proximity to Moirena, which is inhabited by demons.

The Kingdom of Emerell is populated by dwarves, and here’s where I had some difficulty deciding which versions of the myths I wanted to pursue.  In Tolkien’s works the dwarves are short and stocky with long beards.  They are excellent metallurgists and love all things to do with metal and jewels.  They are creatures of the earth, though their creator stepped outside the will of Ilúvatar when he created them.  However, the dwarves exist in mythology, particularly Norse mythology, and in most of these myths, they are nothing like the creatures in the world of fantasy.

In Norse mythology the giant Ymir is slain by Odin and his brothers, and the giant’s body is used to create the world.  Maggots form on the body, and it is from these creatures that the dwarves are formed.

In The Poetic Edda there is a list of dwarves found in the poem Voluspo.  In this poem a witch is called up from the dead to speak about the creation of the world.  The first few stanzas describe this, but the dwarves don’t come into play until stanza 8.  At this point giants rise up from Jotunheim, and the gods met to decide who is going to raise up the dwarves.  In stanzas ten through sixteen there is a list of dwarves, though most scholars think this is interpolated, and there is mention of the dwarves leaving the mountains to seek a new home.  As to the list of names, it is one any Tolkien fan will recognize.

The Poetic Edda isn’t the only mention of the dwarves in mythology and legend.  In one legend they were seen by a peat cutter who noticed a glow while winding through a series of boulders in search of peat.  The peat cutter peered into the cleft in the stone and saw small creatures about as tall as his waist working their forge.  According to this story, the dwarves were difficult to see because their skin and aprons were as gray as the rocks around them, and their bodies resembled boulders more than men.

Dwarf legends aren’t restricted to Europe, either.  They are also present in Central America, South Africa, and North America.  In all of the legends, however, they are associated with the earth and the things that dwell within it.  They are harsh and vengeful creatures when crossed or wronged, and they are superb artisans who imbue their creations with magic. The Poetic Edda is filled with stories about them, and we see them in the folklore of just about every country.

If we return to the European side of the world, we have the leprechauns of Ireland, who became prominent in folklore in the middle ages.  Modern descriptions speak of tiny creatures who wear green, make shoes, and hoard pots of gold, but prior to the twentieth century, these beings were described as wearing red, and their wardrobe differed according to locale.  According to Yeats, the solitary leprechauns wore red, while the trooping fairies wore green.  Now, another difference between these leprechauns, who are often considered to be a type of dwarf, and the dwarves of Norse and other mythologies, is their origin.  The leprechauns are said to be some of the descendants of the Tuatha De Danann, who are the progenitors of the fairies.

So, when it comes to deciding who will populate the Kingdom of Emerell, I have tons of options and myriad folktales on which to draw.  I’m thinking I may go with the majority of the population based somewhat on the Norse mythology and create branches of the population from other mythologies.  I think this will give me the variations and richness of culture that I’m looking for in my countries.

 

Sources:

Appenzeller, Tim.  The Enchanted World: Dwarfs.  Time-Life Books, 1985.

Arrowsmith, Nancy, and George Moorse.  A Field Guide to the Little People.  Simon and Schuster, 1977.

Bellows, Henry Adams. The Poetic Edda, 1936 at sacred-texts.com

 

 

Are We Letting the Good Stories Die?

stack-of-books-1001655_1920I’ve always been an avid reader.  Even as a small child there was nothing I liked better than curling up with a good book.

Some of my favorite books have always been those by Raymond E. Feist.  These books are set in the world of Midkemia and revolve around the events of that world.

The primary character for the entire series is a magician named Pug.  However, he isn’t the only character, and we get the opportunity to meet many inhabitants of Midkemia througout the series.  The stories often have several plot lines running simultaneously, and it’s necessary to keep up with a number of characters at a time.  This is one of the things that makes the series great.  It isn’t just following along behind one person for an untold number of books.  The world and the stories sre rich and diverse, at least in the beginning.

Books now aren’t written this way, which is one reason I spend more time re-reading my favorites than purchasing new ones.  Books now are written for people with a short attention span who don’t want to put the time into understanding a complex story.  Some of them simply don’t have the time, but I often wonder if, for others, it’s simply a matter of not wanting to bother.  We have TV and the internet, after all, so why would we take the time to get to know an entire world’s worth of people, especially if we have to think while doing it?

I get it.  I really do.  I myself work almost fifty hours a week, have children to care for, a house to run, plus I’m trying to create my own world and populate it.  That makes for a lot of hours and not a lot of free time. Still, though, when I sit down to read I want something with depth.  I want a world I can dive into and forget about all the responsibilities, a place to unwind.   I want the character interactions and conflicts, the subplots, the hints and innuendo – something complex that I have to think about.  I don’t want a book I can read in the time it takes to watch your average TV show; I have Netflix for that.

So my question today is…are we killing our stories?  Are we insisting that they be something we can consume during our drive to work or while taking our daily bowel movement rather than wanting a tale we can dedicate our time to and get something meaningful out of in return? Are we even able to get something more than a momentary diversion from our books?  Sometimes I wonder, especially when even my favorite authors, those whose stories have kept my attention for years, have fallen into this trap and now only give me the surface, the bare bones of the story, instead of allowing me to dive into a world with depth and dimension.  Sure, I still support these authors, and I still enjoy their books to a lesser degree, but I miss the older books and the hours of enjoyment they brought.