Getting Settled Update

2017052295133200_2 (2)The last couple of months have been a bit nuts with my youngest graduating and us moving to another state, one we’d never even visited, but I think most of the craziness is finished, and we’re settling down. I’m hoping this will mean I can get back to writing and getting some kind of regular schedule for the blog.

One of the things I would like to do is work on a new story a bit at a time. This is a YA story with a plot similar to The Little Mermaid, or at least the general idea. You guys will get it in its raw, unvarnished form and are free to comment and make suggestions. I’m also thinking about tossing out a choose your own adventure kind of story. Would anyone be interested in that? Please comment if so.

Any other suggestions of what you would like to see here would be appreciated.

As always, best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

 

Character Thoughts – Ethan Grimley III

SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

final-cover-with-bookThose who’ve read The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley III know that Ethan can be a bit strong-willed. He also has a certain disregard for the rules when it suits him, especially when he thinks he’s doing the right thing. The first time we see this is in A Walker is Born when Ethan skips school and disobeys his mother to check on Damion. Needless to say, his mother has four kinds of hissy fits, but Ethan just jumps right back at her. After all, he doesn’t understand why she worries so much about him. In Cronus Attacks Ethan takes off out the door when the Shadow Walker guild hall is attacked even though the students are ordered to remain indoors. He does it again when Faylen is taken, and it is because of Ethan and his friends that Cronus is defeated.

Much of Ethan’s behavior can be chalked up to childhood recklessness. From the perspective of an adult who’s raised three boys, I can understand how the adults around Ethan would want to keep him and the others safe. They’re children after all. On the other hand, I wonder if we keep our children too safe, keep them too shielded from the world around them. We have this idea that everyone gets a trophy and that no one should fail, but is this fair to the kids? Do they benefit from being raised in this environment?

From a parental perspective, I can understand not wanting your child to carry the weapon of a god, and I can understand wanting to keep him safe. Mine are grown, but come for them. I dare you. However, I can also see the wisdom of letting the children figure things out for themselves. I can understand how Ethan would feel that he was capable of handling the situation himself because I felt like I knew what I was doing at that age. (Doesn’t mean I did know, but I felt like I did.) I was quite capable of analyzing a situation and deciding on a course of action. I didn’t need someone standing over me telling me what to do every minute of every day. In fact, what I needed more than anything was for folks to back off and let me figure it out.

I think this is one of the things I try to portray with Ethan and his friends. The decisions Ethan has to make are his and his alone. No one can tell him whether to accept Gaia’s gift or not, and determining how to fight an enemy that is coming for him is knowledge he needs to have. You don’t get it in the classroom, regardless of what the subject is. I’m surely not encouraging students to skip school and the like, but I think there are times when we, as adults, need to back off and let them figure it out. Our children need to be able to enter the adult world knowing they can handle it. Will that happen if we hold their hands until they’re thirty? Do we want them to go out into the world frozen as Electa is so much of the time?

How much freedom of decision do you think children should have?

http://www.lissadobbs.com

I Finally Found It

One of the joys of packing to move, the only one, is finding things you thought you’d lost. Those who’ve read my interviews know that I got hooked on writing because of a fourth grade project. Well, I finally found the book, as pathetic as it is. I still can’t draw, but I’d like to think my writing has improved since then. 

Best wishes!

http://www.lissadobbs.com

Excerpt from a YA WIP

northern-corleonThings have been a bit hectic lately with my youngest graduating and my move coming up next week, so I haven’t been able to get as much writing done as usual. However, I have been editing a children’s story, and I’m working a bit at a time on the trilogy. I’m also working some on a YA book I’ve been working on for a while. This is the one I’ll probably focus on the rest of this week since everything else is in boxes (so, of course, now all the stuff I thought I didn’t need is necessary).

Here’s a look at the YA WIP. I’m hoping to have this one out by the end of the summer, but I’m not promising. This is the unedited form.

Theo’s call from the front of the house snatched Jess from her reverie. She grabbed the books, all three of them, and shoved them into her pack. She hurried to the front of the house where Theo was motioning for her to be quiet.

“What is it?” Jess whispered.

“Guards,” Theo returned. “They’re searching everywhere. Father sent almost all of the household guard.” Theo’s eyes got wide. “He’s not gonna let us go.”

“Shh,” Jess said. “Calm down. This place had been abandoned for years. We can hide here until they pass us by.”

Writing Update

E'ma Thalas and the Xaggarene Empire VintageWell, I’m not getting a lot done in the writing department. It’s coming up on graduation, and my youngest is leaving high school. I am, however, getting some world building done. I’ve just about completed the history of E’ma Thalas and will soon start on the Xaggarene Empire.

1486 AOP: Tavrinth of the Moonchaser dragon clan carries King Oberon to a forested land. Oberon approves this as the home of the elves and names it E’ma Thalas, which means ‘sacred refuge’ in the original language of the elves. Oberon petitions the Moonchaser clan to transport the rest of the Fair Folk to their new home.

1487 AOP: Letallatos is established as the capital of E’ma Thalas, and the palace is built.

1500 AOP: Oberon sends an expedition under the leadership of Ashiri Cornflower south of the Borderland Mountains. They discover the human tribes.

1520 AOP: Ashiri, angry that Oberon only has scant patrols along the Borderland Mountains, heads east with a group of like-minded elves. They form a small community at the edge of the land, called O’ntheas, which means ‘escape’. This town later becomes Tradespire. The elves there raise bocearc in the plainland south of O’ntheas and heavily guard the path at the end of the Borderland Mountains.

1768 AOP:  A band of humans crosses the Borderland Mountains and attacks the pixie conclave headed by Odile Snowdrop. The conclave is destroyed, and Oberon leads an army of elves and fairies over the mountains. Oberon is killed, and Oberon’s son Ethalar becomes the new Oberon. Titania helps him choose a new Titania before she dies.

I’m in the process of adding all these to the website, which I’ve redesigned. Check it out at http://www.lissadobbs.com.

Book vs. Movie – Bedknobs and Broomsticks

IMG_20170430_215322Contains spoilers!!!!!!!!!!!

 

The movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks starred Angela Lansbury. It was one of my favorites growing up and being able to get it on DVD was a highlight of my life. I love it! Then and now. I love the darkness and mystery and, of course, the magic. The search for the last spell so Miss Price can save England from the Nazis, the travel into the children’s story by riding a bed…there’s just something comforting, maybe a reminder of simpler times, about it. Granted, some of the songs are a little hokey, and, by today’s standards the effects are horrible. Still…

I finally got around to getting and reading the book, and I have to say that I love it, too, though it is almost nothing like the movie.

The book, written by Mary Norton, is actually two stories, The Magic Bedknob and Bonfires and Broomsticks.

In the first book, Carey, Charles, and Paul are staying with their Aunt Beatrice for summer vacation while their mother works. They meet Miss Price, who’s studying to become a wicked witch, and failing, and she gives them the bedknob. From there, they travel to a London police station and an island full of cannibals. At the end of the story, they return home for the school year.

The second book picks up two years later. Aunt Beatrice has died, and the mother is looking for someone to watch them for the summer. Miss Price has put an advertisement in the paper for children to watch, so they are reunited with their friend. Miss Price has given up magic, but the children convince her to use the bedknob anyway. They travel back in time where they meet Mr. Jones. He is a failed magician who returns to the present with them. After a few weeks, Mr. Jones returns home where he is almost burned at the stake.

In the movie, the story takes place during WWII, and the children are orphans who are evacuated and placed with Miss Price against any of their wills. They are somewhat rude children and not averse to blackmailing Miss Price to keep her secret. In the book, Carey, Charles, and Paul are simply being babysat for the summer, and they are much nicer all around. There is no mention of a war or a need to protect the children.

Their adventures are also much different. In the movie, they travel to London to locate Professor Emelius Brown, a charlatan who has a ‘college’ of witchcraft, to find the final piece of a spell Miss Price needs to protect England. From there, they go to a fictional island inhabited by animals then back to England to save their town from invasion. The only rescuing being done in the book is of Mr. Jones. After all, they can’t leave him to burn.

It’s hard to say which one is better. In many ways, it’s difficult to see the book and the movie as the same story. The bedknob is important, of course, and most of the characters are the same, but that’s where the similarity ends. It’s really easy to see them as completely distinct from each other. I think this is a good thing in a lot of ways, for it prevents the disappointment that comes from one being better than the other or key points being changed. (I’m sure we all have a list of movies a mile long to complain about.)

What do you think? Have you experienced both?

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

 

Character Thoughts – Gwennyth Grimsbane

aradias-secret-cover-with-book-woman.png.pngGwennyth Grimsbane is the daughter of Ravyn Grimsbane, leader of Crowrest in E’ma Thalas. She’s also the protagonist of Aradia’s Secret. I think I’ve already done a character sketch on Gwennyth, but I was thinking about her the other day, trying to figure out what happens next, and wanted to share some of those thoughts.

Gwennyth is one of those people who’s been trained most of her life. Her mother consistently took her into the forest and taught her how to defend herself. She had other teachers that instructed her in the use of magic, history, and the like. Beyond that, Gwennyth has spent over a hundred years studying on her own and helping Ravyn run Crowrest. In short, she’s extremely capable. She knows what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and how it needs to be done (can’t say what it is because of spoilers for those who haven’t read the book).

But Gwennyth doesn’t see this in herself. Instead, she sees herself as inexperienced and incapable. This is what makes Ravyn’s death and the subsequent quest so difficult for her. It isn’t that she doesn’t have the knowledge or skills to do what has to be done; it’s that she doesn’t think she has them. This lack of confidence in herself leads Gwennyth to feel overwhelmed by all she has to do. She feels like she’s drowning, and she dithers here and there trying to find an anchor in her sea of uncertainty. Her mind is so eclipsed by her fear that she can’t think straight or find a solution that isn’t nearly as difficult to comprehend as she makes it out to be. If she’d just settle down within herself, she’d know what to do (and I wouldn’t have a story to write). Instead, she wanders here and there as she tries to figure out Ravyn’s letter.

I’ll admit that Gwennyth isn’t one of my favorite characters. Her inability to get ahold of herself gets on my nerves. Her paralysis drives me nuts! But there’s a reason for this.

While I can’t stand Gwennyth’s wallowing, I can understand it. I know what it’s like to be terrified, to feel like I can’t do something, even though I’ve had more than enough training and experience with it. I understand the lack of self-confidence and the desire to hide in the library and let the world pass by. Believe me, most days I’d just as soon do the same. There are times when I want to hide from life and from the responsibilities that seem overwhelming, and, like Gwennyth, there isn’t anyone else to take over. I think we’ve all experienced this at one time or another, that longing to lock the door and let the world do what it will.

However, Gwennyth doesn’t have this option, and neither do we, most of the time. And while her whining annoys me to absolutely no end, I can respect that, while she’s whining, she’s also acting. I can respect her forcing herself to do what scares her, and I’m curious to see where she goes next (when she decides to tell me).

Who are some other characters that lack self-confidence? What about yourself? Can you identify with this?

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

Random Updates

sun-and-cloudsA special thanks to The Heggerwood Showcase and Ray Bell, who work tirelessly to promote indie authors. And thanks to those who’ve purchased this weekend. Check it out!

The Heggerwood Showcase https://www.facebook.com/HeggerwoodShowcase/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE

 

If anyone is interested, we can start the #sharingiscaring Sundays here. If you have a website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter handle, book you’d like to share, etc., feel free to post them below. Let’s share the love. https://www.facebook.com/shadowwalkersofgrevared

 

Check out the new website design. I’m also adding new content. Some of the history of E’ma Thalas is on the page. I’ll add a little bit a day over the next few days. http://www.lissadobbs.com

The Demons of Moirena

IMG_20170422_165301The lands of Grevared are home to beings of all races. The Xaggarene Empire is primarily human, and it is the place of least tolerance of others. E’ma Thalas is home to the elves, fairies, and similar beings. Corleon is primarily human, but it is a tolerant place and has its share of Halflings. The Kingdom of Emerell is almost exclusively dwarven, and they have no desire for others to live among them, though a few Halflings call the land home. The southern half of Moirena is mostly human, but the northern half is inhabited by the demons, demons of all kinds and from all hells.

Our lore is full of references to demons.

There’s Asag from Sumerian mythology, a demon so hideous he’s said to cause fish to boil in his presence. His allies are the rocks of the mountains, and he’s best known from The Epic of Anzu and his defeat by the god Ninurta, using his mace Sharur.

Others come from Judeo-Christian mythology and are well-known, not only from the sacred texts, but also from popular culture. After all, who hasn’t seen The Exorcist? And we can’t forget the texts of old such as Daemonologie of King James I.

The demons of Grevared, however, aren’t allowed the luxury of their own plane, and it isn’t a place where live beings can posses others. The demons of Moirena have physical bodies just as the humans do. They have had to adapt to living with other beings, whether they like it or not, and many have developed a culture all their own. There is the Academe of Jitradena, which is known as one of the best universities in Grevared. This is one place where other species are allowed to exist unhindered, mostly, though, in truth, the demons would much rather the others simply leave them be. Ilkorenthatas, a demon from Pistonicle, was the first to develop the technology that allowed travel through the void, so there have been some benefits to all races for having the demons present.

But they are still demons.

While cities like Jitradena may be civilized in comparison to the way the demon realms are portrayed in most popular culture, it is still home to demons, and, as such, a place where death and dismemberment are common. Even the professors of the Academe long for a return to the old ways and want to dominate the other species, for they view them as nothing more than food. Laws exist, but these are mere guidelines, and a body lying in the street is likely to be eaten by the one who killed it. Cities such as Pistofficle don’t even pretend to bow to human convention, and demons regularly battle for power over their brethren.

Their holidays are no different. There are some who celebrate Yuletide and the like, but they consider this a time of mourning rather than a happy time. There are other demon holidays, or there will be once I figure out what they are, but they aren’t celebrations humans, especially those in our world, would want to attend.

All that being said, treaties have been made between the demons and the other species which allow peace of a sort to be maintained, and it is rare for the demons to venture into southern Moirena or cross the mountains into The Kingdom of Emerell. Be warned, thought, that their recipes are not for the faint of heart.

With the invention of the Cold Box, even demons now have a way to keep their food cold, and one of their favorite treats is ice cream. Those with a squeamish stomach or tender sensibilities may want to stop here.

The most popular of all ice creams is that containing bits and pieces of dead creatures, with human being preferred. When this isn’t available, other creatures will do.

Now, in our world, it’s frowned upon to make ice cream out of fairies and the like, but if you have a twisted sense of humor, there is a recipe that is perfectly acceptable, if a little odd.

Bunny Chunk Ice Cream

1 pint heavy whipping cream

1 can condensed milk

vanilla

1 package caramel

1 hollow chocolate bunny

red, blue, and green food coloring

several large marshmallows

powdered sugar

Break the chocolate bunny into small pieces, keeping parts of the head intact. Set aside.

Pour the whipping cream into a bowl and whip it until it is nice and thick. This will take several minutes, and it is done when the ripples remain. Add the vanilla and the condensed milk and whip again until the ripples remain.

Melt the marshmallows in the microwave. Add a bit of red, blue, and green food coloring until it has a sickly gray color. Add powdered sugar until it is thick enough to mold. Mold the marshmallows into entrail shapes.

Melt the caramels in a double boiler and add some red food coloring. Fold into the ice cream. Add the marshmallow entrails and the bits of chocolate rabbit. Keep the face pieces out. Fold carefully so that colors don’t smear.

Pour into a container suitable for freezing. Place the face pieces on top. Add drops of red food coloring near the face pieces and other bits that are on top. This will help the ice cream “bleed”.

Freeze overnight.

Similar recipes can be used around Halloween when the gummy body parts are sold. For this one, we usually make the ice cream green.

This is also good chocolate flavored. Simply add cocoa powder to taste when mixing the ice cream.

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com