What I Look for in Fantasy Books

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Those who’ve followed me know I’m a folklore and mythology junkie and that my interest in that led me to fantasy when I was a young teenager. It’s still my favorite genre to read, and I love creating worlds more than just about anything else.

My favorite fantasy author of all time is Raymond E. Feist. I began reading his work in the 1980s, and I followed the Midkemia books all the way to the end. I still go back and reread the entire series about once per year.

I’ve been down with a bit of a bug for a few days, and I was pondering just what it was that made Mr. Feist’s work my favorite. After all, I also love Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Lord of the Rings, among others, and after quite some time thinking about it, I finally figured out what it was. It’s realism.

Now, I realize fantasy isn’t supposed to be real. It’s fantasy, after all, and, let’s face it, it’s been a few centuries since anyone has reported seeing an elf and been believed. But Middle Earth, Narnia, and others like them have the sense of being ‘other’. They aren’t here, and there’s no way I’m opening my front door and seeing one of them outside. It just ain’t gonna happen.

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Midkemia, at least for me, has a different feel. Perhaps it’s because it was one of the first fantasy series I ever read, but there’s always been the feeling that I could actually go there. Yes, there are elves near Crydee. Yes, magicians live on Stardock. Yes, the dwarves live in the Grey Tower mountains. But it still feels like all this is happening just down the street, at most in the next town over. There’s a realism to his world that I don’t find in a lot of other fantasy worlds, and that’s what attracts me to it the most, and that’s what I try to create, to the best of my ability, in my own writing.

Now, it’s your turn. What are your favorite elements of fantasy? What attracts you to your favorite author?

Best wishes!

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

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Hallowed Ground-Prologue

Thunderfish Lake MoirenaI’ve been working on a longer work tentatively titled Hallowed Ground. I’m not sure exactly what I’m planning with it at this time, but below is a prologue I was using to get my thoughts in order. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

 

Prologue

 

Sister Gabrielle Corcoran awoke with a start. She had been dozing in the straight-backed chair that was one of the few pieces of furniture her cell at the Arcana Maximus contained. She stretched, her body aching, and trembled with a chill she couldn’t explain. She moved to the door on tiptoes and cracked it just enough to see if any of the other Sisters were walking the halls.

The stone corridor was empty. Gabby waited for a moment, just to be sure, for if she was caught sneaking out of the Arcana in the middle of the night, she would be beaten and imprisoned.

With the way clear, Gabby took several deep breaths to steady herself, the she slipped from her cell and out into the night.

 

Detective Timothy Hawkins trudged through the Warren in the city of Freywater. All around him rose buildings of several stories, made of wood and metal, that, though tall, managed to look squat. His feet missed holes in the cobblestones streets out of habit, for the Warren had been his beat for more than twenty-five years. Though he had risen through the ranks of the Enforcers, he had never been able to secure one of the coveted positions outside of the Warren.

“Once a Warren rat, always a Warren rat,” Timothy muttered as he shivered in a sudden icy breeze, one that cut through his cloak and pierced his bones.

Though Timothy had been with the Enforcers for more than twenty years, his role as a Shadow Walker, one of the champions of the gods, had taken him away from his post too many times for true advancement. He cursed to himself again as he realized just how much he had lost by being a Shadow Walker. It wasn’t a secret; the Shadow Walkers were a recognized force in Grevared, but it wasn’t something he flaunted. And his captain took a dim view of those who had commitments outside the Enforcers.

 

Northward, in Sangeron, the capital city of the Xaggarene Empire, Daniel Klesko, too, shivered in a breeze that threated to freeze him where he stood. He trembled, his mind desperately trying to grasp what his instinct already knew.

The city was quiet, at least as quiet as Sangeron ever got, for Sangeron was a city that never truly slept. Ladies of the evening plied their trade in corsets laced far too tightly, while others stumbled from myst dens, taverns, and dark alleys to make their way home with unsteady steps.

Daniel, too, was a Shadow Walker, though he had lost the Stone of Destiny five years before. Now he did nothing but wander the streets of Sangeron, getting food and shelter where he could, his mind nothing more than a kaleidoscope of past and present that swirled in un-graspable images that defied comprehension.

 

Ymla in Corleon darkIn the forests of E’ma Thalas, north of the Xaggarene Empire, Illythor, captain of Oberon’s guard, paced back and forth. His elven ears strained for any sound that would explain the disquiet that seeped through his blood, but the only sounds were those of the night creatures moving about the forest. He knew the rumors as well as the next elf; more and more elves were succumbing to the gealtachta na déithe, the madness of the gods. Oberon himself had mentioned the rise, and it had devastated Titania to send away their only child.

A rustle to his left brought Illythor’s sword to his hands.

“It’s only me.”

Illythor cursed and huffed out a relieved breath as Ivlisar, his boon companion, joined him on the wall of Oberon’s palace. “What are you doing out here in the middle of the night? Did you piss someone off?”

Ivlisar smiled and shook his head. “Couldn’t sleep.” He stared out over the tops of the trees, their purples, greens, and yellows hidden by darkness. “There’s a fell wind blowing, brother. One that bodes evil for all of us.”

Illythor returned his sword to his sheath and sighed. “Then we’d best be ready.”

 

Far to the south, across the void, on the edge of the Shizzuria Wasteland, Morgan Harper came awake with a cry. The mechanical owl that sometimes housed the spirit of Abraham chittered softly on her beside table. She cursed and climbed from the bed, her eyes gritty from lack of sleep.

She grabbed her coat from its place by the door and pulled it around her slight frame. With another curse, she opened the door to her small cottage and peered out into the night. Before her lay the streets of Grenvor and the edge of the ice sheets that marked the wasteland. Nothing moved. She searched with both her eyes and her mind for the cause of the disturbance, but she could find nothing.

“What the hell?”

Morgan returned to her home and returned her coat to its hook. She grabbed several lumps of coal from the bucket by the brazier and stoked the fire. She stood in her nightclothes and rubbed her arms to dispel the chill, while her heart ached and longed for something that would never be again. After several moments, she shook off her unease and returned to sleep.

 

In the untamed chaos of the void, Arianna Henderson leaned against the rail of the Greydawn Spirit. Her feet shifted, one to the other, with a restlessness she couldn’t quite put her finger on, while her eyes scanned the gray nothing before her. Something was coming, she was sure, and she knew she needed to be ready.

“What’s up?” asked Charity Chance, another of the Shadow Walkers aboard the ship.

“Don’t know.” Arianna raised herself and turned to face Charity. “Something’s in the air. I’m restless.”

Charity laughed, her voice deep and rich. “You’re always restless.”

Arianna bit the edge of her thumb and turned to face the void. “This is different.”

Charity shrugged. “I guess we’ll know when it gets here.” Charity motioned to the hatch behind her. “Get some sleep. It’s my watch.”

Arianna nodded and headed below decks to her cabin. Though she tried, she never did fall asleep.

 

Crowerest Serpent AttackOn the other end of Grevared in the land of Moirena, Justin Harper shifted in his sleep. He opened bleary eyes to the stone walls of his cell. The chain that bound him to the wall rattled in the quiet of the night, and it took him a moment to realize that he wasn’t in Lemoreal’s bed.

He’d been a slave to the demon Lemoreal for five years now, a slavery he’d entered willingly. Now, he would give his soul, what little was left of it, for his freedom, to regain what he’d thrown away.

He raised himself to a sitting position and reached for the small water skin that was his only sustenance. He took a tiny sip, for he would not be allowed more until Lemoreal chose to reclaim him, and leaned his head against the wall. Something prickled his skin, though he had no idea what it meant. He reached outward with his mind in an attempt to discover what had disturbed him, but all he could find was the demon.

Fickle Mind

Well, I was going to move all this to my website blog, but I think I’d like to keep that one for author spotlights, book reviews and releases, and maybe book contest giveaways and such. Now that my feces are consolidated, maybe I can get the post I’ve been working on for this one done and up.

If there are any authors who would like to be featured, just let me know.

Best wishes!
Lissa Dobbs
The Shadow Walkers of Grevared

Shall We Play a Game?

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It’s time for more questions! Be sure to answer before 10/20/2016 for your chance to win a set of ‘Ware the Dragon. Grab the dragon’s jewels before he grabs you!

In Sherri S. Tepper’s The End of the Game, what kind of animal is a fustigar?

Which classic character fell down a rabbit hole?

How was Narnia accessed before the wardrobe?

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 Language of Grevared

We create our own destinies

 

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20150706-the-writers-who-invented-languages?ocid=fbcul

I came across this article and found it extremely interesting, especially since I’m working to create a speakable language for Grevared.  I’ve had the alphabet and the grammatical structure for quite some time, but the lexicon is taking a short forever.  I want the language to be a combination of world languages, something that could’ve, perhaps, survived the explosion of the universe.  It also, of course, needs its own words as well as words from the other planes, so it’s taking a while to put it together.  There’s also a need for internal consistency that I haven’t quite figured out yet, but I’m hoping it’ll all make sense one day.

The image says, “We create our own destinies.”  It’s pronunciation is ‘bakvikamin otana velobisax.’

I created the alphabet and number system, and, thanks to a font program, I can type them on my computer. The only downside is that the files have to be in PDF or image format to maintain the font.

I hope to one day have the language completed where I can share it with others.

Best wishes.

The Trimurti

Coming SoonI’ve been working on a YA story about three girls, and I’d been having some issues determining just what weapons they would carry.  I finally decided on using the triumvirate of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, just to give a different feel to this story.

At this point, I have one series that’s used mostly Greek mythology, the ‘story that never ends’ uses Irish mythology, and the shorter stories that I’ve been working on to sort of introduce the characters use folklore and legend as much as mythology.

I’m hoping that “Wolf in the Shadow” will be available by the end of June, and I’m hoping to have another one ready by the end of August.  I’m hoping to release the one about the girls in maybe September or November, it just depends, and the third Ethan book will be out in October.  So, I’ve got my work cut out for me.  But, on to the Trimurti.

The idea of the Trimurti states that Brahma is the creator, Vishnu is the preserver, and Shiva is the destroyer.  It seems that the idea of the Trimurti is that there is one Supreme and the others are manifestations of this deity, with each form having a different function.  In some instances, Vishnu is viewed as the Supreme with Brahma and Shiva being aspects of Him.  In other cases, the Supreme is Shiva.

Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva is not the oldest Trimurti.  In older texts, Surya replaces Brahma, or this God is seen as an Absolute over the others.

The idea of the trimurti isn’t present in the Rig Veda.  In this text, the primary god mentioned is Indra, who was a warrior who brought the world into being.  Another god mentioned is Agni, who is the god of the sacred fire and is responsible for taking offerings to the gods.  There is the idea of a triple-aspected deity, but not the specific trimurti most of us are familiar with.  This doesn’t occur until the Puranas.  In the later works Brahma replaces Indra, and Shiva is associated with Agni.  Vishnu, however, seems to remain the same regardless of the time period.

Other texts look at other aspects of the gods, and these texts can be found at Internet Sacred Text Archive.  I highly recommend the epics (Mahabharata and Ramayana) to anyone interested in these topics.

Best wishes.

 

 

 

Merlin

Coming SoonI’ve been kicking around some ideas of where Ethan can go after he finishes his current quests.  I’ve been thinking about bringing one of the other characters to the fore for a couple of books.  Then there’re my adult works, which deal a lot with magical folks with several characters having some type of innate magical ability outside of the weapons given to them by the gods.  With that in mind, I went back into my stuff on Merlin to see what I could come up with.  It’s been a lot of years since I’ve delved into these works, and I’m finding that I’ve missed them.

One of the most popular wizards in all of mythology is Merlin from the Arthurian legends.  This figure is sometimes seen as a wise man and father-type figure to Arthur, but at other times he’s seen as something a bit more sinister.  His origin is ambiguous at best, and his abilities vary depending on the source.

Merlin first appears in the writings of Geoffrey of Monmouth.  Here, he is a youth who never had a father and is brought to the attention of king Vortigern because the king needs the blood of a ‘youth without a father’ to build his tower.  In this passage, Merlin’s mother speaks of a man who appeared and disappeared and got her with child, and the creature is identified as an incubus.  Merlin, not wanting to be killed, informs the king that something else is causing his tower to fall.  The workers dig beneath it and find this to be true.  There was an underground pond and two dragons beneath that.  Vortigern then admired Merlin.

In later years, Merlin is able to identify the king of Britain (Uther, after seeing a comet), and it is Merlin who causes Uther to look like Ygrain’s husband so he can lie with her.  This begins the life of King Arthur, and it is in these legends that we see the most of Merlin.  In most of these tales, the wizard is a wise father figure to the boy who becomes king, and it is Merlin who orchestrates the sword in the stone.  However, if we watch the movie Excaliber (yeah, I know, it’s not mythology), we can see that Merlin here is much more sinister than the kindly wizard of many of the tales.  I always think of Gandalf as just another version of Merlin, but not when compared to the wizard in Excaliber.

There are other legends concerning Merlin.  In these Welsh tales he is called Myrddin and is a prophetic madman in the woods.  Here, he has a wife and a sister, and his prophecies are true, yet laced with madness.  Few of these tales are related to King Arthur in any way, and they’re a fascinating read for those who want a different take on this legendary wizard.

Merlin finally dies because he cannot control his lust for a woman (moral lesson for guys anyone?).  She is called Morgana, Morgan le Fay, and other names, but, in the end, she wants Merlin’s power and isn’t above using her womanly wiles to get it.

Merlin appears in many other works, including the romances of Chretien de Troyes and Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Mallory, and just who he is changes from story to story.  In some stories he’s a wise man, a wizard, someone who has all the answers.  In other stories, he’s a conniving, somewhat morally ambiguous character who manipulates others for his own ends.  There are even times when he’s considered to be a wild man, a madman, and lives deep in the woods.  He’s a bard, a Druid, a failing old man with uncontrollable lust.  He’s both British and Welsh, wise and foolish.  He’s both great and fallible, and he’s one of the most fascinating characters in mythology and legend.

Best wishes.

 

Merlin – Timeless Myths

The Legendary Origins of Merlin

Vita Merlini

Crows Point the Way. Maybe.

wp-1461547632773.jpgIn the world of Grevared there are three towns named after the mysterious crow.  There’s Crowrest in E’ma Thalas, Ravengrace in Corleon, and Crowborough, also in Corleon.  I guess I named the towns the way I did because I’ve always thought crows were interesting birds.  Plus, I see a lot of them.

Well, this morning sort of got me thinking.  I was at my ‘real’ job when two crows landed in the parking lot (I think they were actually after the Cheetos someone had dumped out).  One of them shied away, as expected, and eventually flew off, but the other stayed.  It waddled around a bit and looked me in the eye for several minutes.  Even when a car came through the parking lot, this crow came toward me rather than moving away from me.  A few minutes later the buddy crow came back, and both stood there for a few minutes before flying off.

Of course, being the type of person who’s interested in all things mystical and magical, I had to double check some of the symbolism.

Crows have a vast symbolism across many cultures.  There are, of course, the associations with death and misfortune, but they’re also associated with wisdom, secrets, and good luck.  I had quite a few hours to ponder the situation (and who couldn’t use some good luck?), and I think Ethan may have to go visit one of these places once he’s finished with the ordeal with Cronus (book three to be released in October).  After all, Kayne is from Crowrest, so it would be a good chance for them to see some of his family.  There is also a Shadow Walker from Ravengrace, though the stories about her are still in the writing phases.  So, maybe I need to look at the crows and let them lead the way a little.  After all, what can it hurt?  In the meantime, I’ll hope for the good luck that seeing two crows is supposed to bring.

Best wishes.