Random Thought – Folklore

2017052295133200_2 (2)I had a strange dream the other night that got me thinking about the story of “Hansel and Gretel”. Nothing serious, mind you, just the prevalence of these tales in our culture, in all cultures, really.

One of the things that’s always fascinated me about folklore and religion is the similarities between cultures that weren’t supposed to be in contact with each other. It’s always made me wonder how so many different people in so many different places could come up with the same thing at around the same time period. Don’t get me wrong, I understand Jung’s idea of archetypes and the collective unconscious and the universality of human experience. After all, we are all born, live, and die. We have to come to terms with ourselves and learn to live in the world on our own. I get that.

What’s always fascinated me is the amount of similarity and the desire of humans to pass on lessons through stories and analogy. I mean, when I’m trying to get my kids to understand something, I don’t couch it in metaphor and euphemism. I say it plainly. We do the same thing when talking about our day at work or teaching history, in some respects at least.

Why then the need for these tales? We know they serve a purpose outside of entertainment. Many of these tales allow children a glimpse into the adult world long before they experience it themselves. They allow us to meet fear in a form that isn’t as frightening, and children who are read fairy tales generally have an easier time with reading and comprehension. There’s something basic about them that speaks across time and culture to that place within us that makes us all human beings.

But who first thought them? Who crafted these marvelous glimpses into long ago that are so powerful we’re still rewriting them today? Was it an ancient family seated around a fire after a day of hunting? Was it a mother desperate to give hope to a sick child? Was it a sibling offering comfort to the younger ones in times of trouble?

I would love to create a time machine and travel back to that distant time just to watch this phenomena unfold, to meet the richness of culture and experience the connection that allowed the same thoughts, and plots, to arise on opposite sides of the world.

I suppose these are odd thoughts, and they definitely ramble, but I’ve spent the day making snow to decorate with, and I’ve had plenty of time for wandering thoughts.

I hope all have a wonderful holiday week and season.

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

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Whew! That’s Over. Now What?

Business Card FrontThings have been a bit hectic lately, so writing has been on the back burner. Now that the holidays are upon us, I’m not so sure things will slow down, but I have hope.

Now that the weather’s cooling down and the leaves are changing, I find myself more motivated and more creative. The problem comes with deciding where to focus my time and energy. Do I want to continue with Grevared? I have a ton of stories in the works and more ideas in my noggin’. Do I want to get started on the YA modern fantasy that’s whirling around in my head? Right now, there are two stories, mostly fully formed, written in a notebook. Do I want to work on the horror stories that come unbidden into my dreams? And, boy, did I have a doozy last night. Or do I want to focus on building my proofreading business? I can do this for others, but making sure my own stuff is free of typos is another thing all together. Or do I want to abandon all of that and return to researching folklore and mythology? It’s not like we’ve figured it all out yet.

Business Card1Mostly, it’s a matter of time management and organization, but I think it would be easier to petition the Universe for a few more hours in the day. But would that help? I’m not sure. I have no doubt I’ll figure it out when my mind has had a little time to slow down and consider a bit. Until then, I’ll keep on keeping on and do what I can when I can and hope the results are something others want to read.

At the end of the day, it’s the joy that comes from doing it, the journey rather than the destination, that matters.

Best wishes,

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

 

Currently Available

 

Random Thoughts – You’ve Got This

Lissa Dobbs, Author

Be the lightI was coming home from the grocery store with my son when the song “Jesus Take the Wheel” came on. It’s one of those that I like to hear now and again, as much because of my interest in all mythology and religion than for any other reason. I also like the idea of a higher power that will, occasionally, lend a helping hand. Well, my son, being a teenager, made the comment that maybe Jesus didn’t want to take the wheel because it wasn’t needed. He was being a smartass at the time, but his comment made me think.

There are times when we want nothing more than to turn over whatever is going on to someone else, anyone else, just for a little bit. We want God or the angels or the Universe to just make the bad times go away and let us have some peace. We…

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Something About the Old Ones

gray concrete building on top of hill
Photo by Suliman Sallehi on Pexels.com

Autumn is my favorite time of year, and when Mother Nature finally looks at the calendar and cools things off, I’m in full creative mode and ready to kick back with some old movies and tap out some words. This is especially true in October when the leaves are changing and pumpkins sit everywhere. (Okay, so, the stores may be a little ahead of the game with Christmas, but we won’t go there.)

I’m a horror movie junkie, but I don’t like most of the newer ones. I’ll sit through It or A Quiet Place or The Conjuring, but those aren’t the ones I thrive on. I prefer the old ones, like Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Wolfman. These are classics, of course, but I also like the ones like the Beast of Yucca Flats, any of the ones made before 1950.

And why would I prefer those to the modern movies with their fancy CGI effects and digital processing (whatever it’s called)? Because the old ones have a creep factor not seen in a lot of modern films. There’s something about the use of light and shadow, the lack of color, the hollow sound of the voices, that is both skin-crawling creepy and peaceful. There’s a calm in them, possibly because of the soundtrack, that’s soothing even in the midst of being chased by a monster. They create an ambiance of dark places when the light of the fire didn’t quite reach the corners and of wrapping in a blanket to chase off the chill.

That’s not saying there aren’t good movies out there today, just that these have a special place in my heart and bring a sense of ‘autumn’ and Halloween that most others don’t.

What are some of your favorite Halloween movies?

Best wishes,

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com/childrenstories

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

Void Serpent: From The Flora and Fauna of the Lands of Grevared by Inquisitor Mylar Massengill

Void Serpent Hand ColoredAppearance: It has a dragon-like head and a serpentine body with no legs or wings. Most have horns on the head, though this can vary. Void serpents often grow to be several hundred feet long, and they have the strength to destroy a ship. Mating rituals are unknown, for no one has ever seen this activity. It is believed that the females lay eggs, but this has not been definitively determined. Void serpents also possess the ability to spit fire, though they are rarely seen to do so. They attack without provocation, and their population numbers are unknown.

Habitat: Void serpents live in the void. There is no other known habitat.

Diet: It is believed that the void serpent lives primarily on other void creatures, though just what these creatures are is still largely unknown. However, the serpents will eat those on the ships they attack.

Threat: The void serpent is extremely dangerous.

 

Notes: There is a legend, though I can’t vouch for its veracity, about demon creatures called Serpent Riders. It is said these beings have tamed the void serpents and use them to travel the void. I don’t believe in this legend, however, for there are none who can survive the chaotic energy in the void.

 

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.

 

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