A Bit of a Conundrum-Adult, YA, or Both?

Starshine Cover PurpleI’ve been playing around with the idea of The Hidden Roads, a series originally intended for adults. However, I’ve got an idea for a YA version, and I’m torn between having two of them, one for adults and one for YA, and making just one series that’s YA. It really wouldn’t be that difficult to make the adult character a bit younger and add her to the YA idea I have. The stories would gel nicely and add another dimension to the YA story. Below is an excerpt from the beginning of the adult one (unedited). Thoughts on which way to go would be appreciated.

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

The land was what mattered to Gemma. It always had. The way the pines and oaks cast dancing shadows over rolling hills had given her immeasurable pleasure. The scent of rain on fresh-turned earth had wrapped her in peace, and a silver moon nestled in a bed of stars had filled her with joy. She would speak for hours on the growth of a single sprout, and Serenity couldn’t remember ever seeing the woman without dirt stains on some part of her clothing.

But that was then.

Serenity sighed as she switched off her beat up Ford Tempo. She propped her hands on the steering wheel for a moment and simply stared out the windshield.

The house was the same as it always had been. A simple structure of wooden slats with a large wrap-around porch and flowers planted in beds at its base, it had been Gemma’s refuge from a world she didn’t understand.

“I wish I’d come when she asked,” Serenity muttered to herself.

Gemma had asked Serenity to come and live with her several years before, but Serenity had refused, determined to make it on her own. She’d spent enough of the previous twenty years being told she was a failure, not ambitious enough. When her world had ended, she determined she would not become dependent. On anyone.

“Yeah, ‘cause that worked out so well.” Serenity blew her bangs out of her face. “Idiot.”

Serenity climbed from the car and grabbed her backpack from the backseat. She shouldered the bag and stepped up onto the porch. A tear slid from her eye as she realized Gemma wouldn’t greet her with a smile and a song. Not anymore. Gemma had disappeared six months before. No note. Nothing missing. No sign of her since. And her sisters had determined she was never coming back.

 

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Abyss

This little piece is one of those that just came fully formed. I can’t decide if I want to keep it as it is or make it into something longer.

This, then, is the place where souls are born.

I wouldn’t have known but for the pinpricks of light that shone in the darkness, beckoning those who yet had hope, who had not let the swords of life slice their tender hearts.

I stood on the edge of a cliff, needing only a single gust to propel me into the abyss. Feet flat and bare toes curled at the edge, I waited for a sign. Any sign. For good or ill. For hope or utter despair. I did not care which.

The lights fluttered around me, tiny butterflies that wanted only to live, and I wondered at their existence, at their desire for purpose. Below me stretched the abyss of utter oblivion, a yawning maw that promised dissolution. The choice was mine. Rise up and become again or plunge into the depths of nothingness.

This, then, is the place where souls are born. Not from a place of light, but from the darkness of despair, from that last moment where fear dominates and leaves only a desperate need to survive. From the hope of renewal when all other hope has gone.

I had to choose. Become the light in the darkness or welcome the bliss of nothingness.

The winds of change grabbed tendrils of my hair and caressed fevered skin. I stood, toes curled over the edge of the cliff. Thoughts of life flashed through a mind too tired to reason as I watched the lights do their dance of hope, each memory a shard of glass in an already broken heart. Choosing one above the other exceeded my capabilities.

The wind howled, angry now at my hesitation. The lights whirled faster, desperate to gain my attention, while the abyss waited below with no need to encourage.

I could wait no longer. With one final breath I closed my eyes and let my soul make its choice.

Crazy Journey

Path to Victory BookThe past few years have been a bit hectic, and I think I fell into writing as much to preserve my sanity as any other reason. Now that things have settled down, and I have a schedule that doesn’t kill me, I’ve embarked on a plan to rewrite and re-release The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley III. I have to say that I’m much happier with the new versions of the stories.

Book one, now titled Path to Victory, (Thank you to a seven-year-old reader of the original for suggesting it.) will release on June 19, 2018. The first three chapters are available to read on my website, and I’ve almost finished the rewrite of book two, Tainted Victory.

Tainted Victory BookI know a lot of people don’t like rewriting books, but I’ve found this to be quite enjoyable. I’ve been able to explore Ethan’s character and the world of Grevared much more than when I was first writing the stories. While I won’t rewrite the two adult books, Wolf in the Shadow and Aradia’s Secret, (mostly because they’ve already been done a couple of times), I think redoing Ethan will give me a better handle on the other books in the Gwennyth Grimsbane series and (okay, let’s not hold our breaths here) on the trilogy that started the world to start with (it takes place twenty years after Wolf in the Shadow).

Path's End BookThanks to those who’ve stuck by this crazy ride so far. I hope you’ll continue to do so.

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

 

Author Spotlight – Linda Strader

promo 1Today we’re shining the spotlight on author Linda Strader. Find out about her new release below.

 

 

About the Author

Originally from Syracuse, New York, Ms. Strader moved to Prescott, Arizona with her family in 1972. In 1976, she became one of the first women on a U.S. Forest Service fire crew in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson.

 Summers of Fire: A Memoir of Adventure, Love and Courage is her first book, scheduled for publication on May 1st, 2018 by Bedazzled Ink Publishing. She is currently working on a prequel.

 

SummersofFire-HiResAbout the Book

Linda Strader is one of the first women hired on a fire crew with the U.S. Forest Service. A naïve twenty-year-old in the mid 1970s, she discovers fighting wildfires is challenging—but in a man’s world, they become only one of the challenges she faces. Battling fire is exhilarating, yet exhausting; the discrimination real and sometimes in her face.

Summers of Fire is an Arizona to Alaska adventure story that honestly recounts the seven years she ventures into the heart of fires that scorch the land, vibrant friendships that fire the soul, and deep love that ends in devastating heartbreak.

In addition to writing, Ms. Strader is a landscape architect, certified arborist, and watercolor artist. She currently lives in the same area where her Forest Service career began.

Connect with the Author

Blog: https://summersoffirebook.blogspot.com/

Publisher: http://binkbooks.bedazzledink.com/

Amazon:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Summers-Fire-Memoir-Linda-Strader/dp/1945805668/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1518614536&sr=1-1&keywords=Linda+Strader

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summers-Fire-Memoir-Linda-Strader/dp/1945805668/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1520767588&sr=1-1&keywords=Linda+Strader

Starting Over

 

ethan-vintage-300I love Ethan Grimley.

I can’t say what drew me to him in the beginning, but he’s one who likes to speak. In looking back over his stories–The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley III–I’ve noticed that there’s much more to tell with Ethan. I think the three books in the series would work better as one story, so I’m working on rewriting the three books into one. At this point, there are already six additional chapters, and I haven’t gotten to the beginning of A Walker is Born yet. I think the end result will be a story that has much more depth and explores more of Ethan’s life, both in Land’s End and beyond.

Ethan isn’t the only reason to rewrite the story. The other characters, particularly Kayne and Faylen, both have their own stories, and I don’t think they work for a series centered primarily on Ethan. With that in mind, I’ve decided to rename and expand the series. (If anyone has a title suggestion, sing out.)

Life over the past few years has been a bit hectic, but things have settled down now. The kids are beginning their adult lives, and I finally have a set work schedule that allows more time other activities. On top of that, Grevared itself is coming to life and showing me more and more of her grandeur with each passing day. The little details, the things that make a world real, are becoming clearer, so I think now is a good time to revisit the existing books and see if I can improve upon them. Not only will this make those books better, but I believe it will improve future books as well. (And, let’s face it, who doesn’t like to play in their own world?)

So, onward and upward. I’ll keep progress posted, a maybe a few snippets of the new stuff here and there.

For those who’ve supported me to this point, thank you. It means a lot. I hope you’ll continue to come along on this journey.

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

 

 

The Fantasy Genre: Why I Fell in Love

dragons-1514416_1920I’ve been an avid reader of fantasy for more than thirty years. I remember the first book I read in the genre was Raymond E. Feist’s Magician Apprentice, but it wasn’t the main character, Pug, who captured my attention in the beginning, though I would fall head-over-heels in love with him later. It was the magician, Kulgan.

A rotund man with a long beard and wisdom beyond what was normally possible, Kulgan could reach out into the world and accomplish things no one else could. I was hooked. I wanted that magic in my own life, the ability to see things others missed and the knowledge and wisdom to guide others. I wanted to know about things unseen by normal folks and to understand the mysteries of the universe.

Granted, that’s putting a lot of pressure on a fictional character and a world that was beginning to embrace home computers, but that’s what I wanted, and I wasn’t about to settle for anything less.

As the characters in the series grew into some of my best friends, I branched out and read other authors. I was captivated by these worlds of mystery and magic, of hidden realms and dark secrets. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be there, to walk the roads of Midkemia, or to stroll the paths of the Four Realms, or to climb the mountains of Middle Earth. I wanted to see nature unharmed by human progress, to wander the wilds where creatures from our darkest fears roamed free. I wanted to see dragons and speak with elves, and I wanted to burrow into the earth in the dwarven mines.

And nothing’s changed.

Aradia's Secret Cover with BookI still have that longing, but the chances of being able to experience them in reality is slim without some serious advances in science. A bit ironic, I suppose, that the discipline that prevents the existence of the things I most want to see in our world would be the only chance of seeing them in another, but that’s the way it is. Instead, I opt for studying mythology and ancient cultures, those who believed that magic was possible and that the gods affected the world they lived in.

And I write.

I create worlds that contain all the elements I wish were in this one–the mystery and magic, the creatures that are more than human, even the evil that no one wants to confront. Wizards reach out and grab hold of the matrix of the universe, while elves travel through primeval forests. Dwarfs dig deep into the mountains to bring forth hidden treasures, and demons roam with humans. They aren’t perfect worlds by any stretch, they’re places to go on a rainy Sunday, places where magic is real.

 

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

Getting Started in the New Year

IMG_20171208_162057We’ve completed the first week of the new year, and I have to say I can’t complain. I hope everyone else is having a wonderful start.

Those who’ve been around a while know that I’m a folklore and mythology junkie, and I did a post a couple of weeks ago about my reading traditions for the holiday season.

We have a lot of traditions for the holiday season, and many of them originated from our ancestors’ desire to ward off the cold of winter and revitalize the world, particularly crops and animals, come spring. There are also a good many traditions whose original purpose was to protect against the creatures that roamed the darkness. A plethora of gods and demons were active during the dark, winter months, and any of these could cause difficulty for those who lived during that time.

In our modern world, we look at a lot of the superstitions of old as silly and ridiculous, beliefs of those who simply weren’t smart enough to know better, but I’ve found myself realizing that there is value in these beliefs–they offer us mystery and magic in a world where none seems to exist.

monster-773309_1920Think about it… We have TV shows like Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Grimm, Once Upon a Time, and many others that offer us a glimpse into a world that our science tells us isn’t real. Yet, even though we may scoff at the possibility of monsters, ghosts, and demons, we still watch the shows. Why?

Because, at the end of the day, the possibility of these beings touches something within us that we’ve lost with our modern world. We’ve lost the ability to wonder and to be amazed. Most of us can’t even look up at the stars and wonder anymore because of city glow. We can’t walk in the wilderness because there’s little of it left. Our amazement comes from the capabilities of the newest electronic and not from the possibility of what may exist beyond our five-sense perception. We no longer connect to the parts of ourselves that lurk just beneath the surface of everyday life, the part that makes us one with the world around us.

I really started thinking about all this during the holidays when I realized that, while the decorations were pretty, there wasn’t any sense of anticipation about the holidays, it was just another day of things to do that really didn’t have much meaning beyond cooking and buying presents. Reading about older holiday traditions helped to bring meaning to this year’s series of special days.

IMG_20171201_230859So, out of all the resolutions I could make for the new year, I think what I’d like to do more than anything else is to slow down a bit, spend more time in nature, and do my best to remember why the days we celebrate matter. I resolve to find the mystery and magic again, both in the world around me and within myself.

What do you resolve to do for this year?

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

 

Charles Yallowitz–Legends of Windemere

Warlord of the Forgotten Age 2Thank you to Lissa for letting me write a post for her blog and helping to promote Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age. With this being the final volume of my fantasy adventure series, I’ve looked back at some of the influences.

One of the biggest ones has been mythologies and folklore, which I went to when it came to designing the Windemere pantheon and monsters. A few minor characters took names from mythology that I liked and it helped forge their personalities, but it had a bigger impact on the world building side of things. This is fairly common in fantasy too with some authors being more blatant than others. I’d put myself in the middle since I always tried to put my own twist on certain things. Still, I can’t deny that mythology had a hand in the creation of Windemere, so I’ll fess up and explain the major areas.

Gods

When I was creating the gods and goddess of Windemere, I looked to Greek mythology to get ideas on how they should act. Fantasy stories tend to have either a multitude of deities for each race that have a clear influence or talk about a small amount that people aren’t sure ever existed. When I saw how often the Olympians got involved in mortal affairs, I wanted to go for that type of world. The gods and goddesses clearly exist because people have seen them and they show up at times. Yet, there was still one really big problem. What’s the point of having heroes and villains if gods are mucking about and can get things done themselves?

The answer came from other stories where mortals turned against the gods and threatened or even killed them. I imagined that happening to the scale where these powerful immortals that control the world are made to feel vulnerable and weak for the first time in their existence. Those who survived would think about how it came about and new gods that ascended from the ranks of mortals would implement the Law of Influence. Now, they have to work through mortal agents and visions. Getting physically involved is a risk and punishable by being sealed for whatever time is deemed necessary. In this case, I looked at what mythology did and created an answer to the problem of gods getting involved in everything.

History

Mythology is filled with large events that explain the creation of the world and various natural occurrences. I wondered if ancient people looked at these as history instead of fiction like we do today. Okay, I didn’t get struck by a lightning bolt, so we can continue. This thought led me to create several big events that changed the world and are talked about by the characters in the same way we discuss our history. These have a magical taste to it like the Great Cataclysm that altered the entire face of Windemere or the ancient Race War where the 8 great dragons pitted the lesser species against each other. Every major event required that I take at least a peek at mythology to see if there was anything I could work with to give me some extra inspiration.

Monsters

This is actually the big one because mythology is chock full of beasties that can suit every fantasy author’s need. I did design my own creatures for some scenes, but those are typically throwing animal parts together until you get something functional. I have this sudden hunger for hot dogs now. Weird. Anyway, I have a book called ‘The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures’ and I crack that open whenever I’m having trouble with a monster. Sometimes I take the whole thing while other times I use the name and design around it. The thing with mythology is that it isn’t as detailed here as your audience might want you to be. You really only get the appearance, eating habits, and a few other tidbits. Even then, you could run into multiple versions of the same critter.

The best example is one of my favorite monsters to use. I didn’t have to do much research for the Griffin/Griffon/Gryphon because it’s fairly popular. People always know that these monsters have the head/front body/rear body of an eagle and the head/front body/rear body of a lion. I mean, they’re the size of a lion/small horse/mini-van/it’s carrying an elephant, so they’re hard to miss. Think there’s even a type that has a serpentine tail, which might be someone getting it mixed up with a manticore. That’s another thing with monsters in mythology. You get a lot of overlapping of appearances and themes. Just look at how similar manticores, griffins, hippogriffs, and the chimera. After all the physical decisions, I give my griffins a few magical abilities and released them into the world. Just another altered addition to an already confusing stable of flying cats with extra parts.

Just to sum stuff up in case I rambled too much, mythology is a great resource and not only for fantasy stories. It’s a fairly popular topic, which you can connect to characters in other genres through names, conversations, and comparisons to situations that they’re in. You can also get some inspiration for dysfunctional families because many pantheons have some messed up relations. One could say mythology is the ancestor of fiction, so we might as well treat it like a resource.

Again, I’d like to thank Lissa for letting me write a post for her blog. Please feel free to check out Legends of Windemere: Warlord of the Forgotten Age and enjoy the adventure.

 

Author Bio & Social Media

Author PhotoCharles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

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All cover art done by JASON PEDERSEN

 

Catch the rest of the LEGENDS OF WINDEMERE on Amazon!