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

 

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.

 

I Finally Figured Out Assaberries!!!!

Assaberry juice
Assaberry Juice

Those who’ve followed for a while know that Ethan Grimley’s favorite fruit is the assaberry. These berries are ubiquitous in Grevared and are one of the most common berries for use in baking and sweet-making. It is also the most common flavor of Fizzy Drink, and Mondor Fizzy Drinks and Snacks in Freywater owns large tracts of land in the Xaggarene Empire to grow the berries.

 

I also love creating food for my fantasy worlds, and the assaberry has been one of my biggest challenges so far. I wanted something with an unusual, but palatable, taste. Mixing berries was the obvious choice, but it was too obvious. However, after several trials, I’ve finally found a mixture I like. It still tastes like berries, of course, but there’s enough of something else to it to make it somewhat unique, at least as far as my culinary tastes run.

assaberry-left-over-mush.jpg
The fruit remains after making juice

To Create the Assaberry Flavor

1 pomegranate

15 raspberries

15 red grapes

juice of 1/2 orange

I made sponge cakes and jelly from the juice this time, but I also want to make jelly candies, since that’s one of Ethan’s favorite sweets. Now, if I can just find what I need for the talakilkonna tail, I’ll be good to go.Assaberry cakes

Best wishes!

http://www.lissadobbs.com

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It’s Alive!!! Sorry, live.

Path End Title Middle ShadowsI’m pleased to announce that the rewrites for The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley are complete. All three books are now live on multiple platforms.

The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley: Path’s End

Ethan has finally settled in to his life as a Shadow Walker. Sure, he has to attend school, but with classes like combat, it isn’t too bad. On top of that, he’s made friends, so his life isn’t lonely or boring.

As Yuletide approaches, Ethan is looking forward to going home to see his family. And the best part? His friends are going with him.

After a harrowing trip across the void, Ethan finds himself once again at home. But nothing is how he left it. His best friends don’t take to his new friends, and his mother wants him to leave the Shadow Walkers. To make matters worse, Cronus again rears his head, and Ethan and his Shadow Walker friends must deal with the threat on their own.

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 – T. L. Shively

20170527_123517Let’s give a warm welcome to author T. L. Shively. Check out her exciting series below.

About the Author

My name is T.L. Shively. I am a wife and mother along with being a YA Fantasy author. I have always loved fantasy. I love comics, games, and anything that takes me to a place where I have never been. The characters in my book series were created when I was nine years old and have stayed with me my whole life. It took me a long time to bring their story out for everyone to read, but I am very glad I did. The Guardians have become a very big part of my life, and I hope that everyone enjoys them as much as I do.

I have two books published, working on book three in the series and a short story as well. I look forward to August where I will be attending an author signing event in Frankenmuth, MI with both my books and other surprises.

IMG_20170527_140042483The Guardians are seven teenagers who discover powers and a destiny that keeps changing on them. Descendants of Gods who are supposed to be sleeping and yet still manage to interfere with the lives of their children’s children. Join them on their journey as they discover who they truly are.

Let’s Connect

Facebook profile page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100013421624985

Facebook like page: https://www.facebook.com/T.L.Shively/

Website: https://tlshivelyblog.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TL_Shively

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16066240.T_L_Shively

Amazon Author page: amazon.com/author/tlshively

1The Secret Sanctuary book links:

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M9K2SID UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M9K2SID CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01M9K2SID AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01M9K2SID DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B01M9K2SID

 

 

 

coverThe Town That Time Forgot book links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B8QX7TW

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-town-that-time-forgot

 

Author Spotlight-J. C. Steel

Author photoLet’s give a warm welcome to JC Steel, the author in our spotlight this week.

  1. When and why did your start writing? To be honest, I’ve told myself stories in my head as long as I can remember; I just never got around to writing any of them down. I finally started actually writing around age fourteen; I was in boarding school, frankly probably on the verge of washing out due to sheer boredom, and one of my friends asked me why I never wrote any of my stories down so other people could read them. It solved my boredom problem. I scribbled my way through high school, and wrote five novels in five years (and, to everyone’s surprise, passed all my exams). The beauty of the hobby was that to a teacher, a student busily writing a space battle looks remarkably like a quiet, attentive, note-taking student.
  2. What genres do your writings fall under? What age group? I write sci-fi and urban fantasy. I’d say on the whole that the themes are adult; which is no bar to younger people reading the books, but the language and topics aren’t specifically slanted at the younger age brackets, and parts of all of the stories would definitely fall into the PG-13 category.
  3. What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t writing? I read a lot, I play with my cats a lot, and when I have the time and money, I enjoy martial arts and riding (usually not simultaneously). This year I’m hoping things will come together so I can take a week and ride across Iceland – I got to meet Icelandic horses in 2017, and they manage to combine looking ridiculously cute with the kind of instinct for mayhem usually found only in six-month-old cats.
  4. What genre is your favorite to read? I read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. I scared myself silly with Lord of the Rings aged about seven and refused to go to the bathroom on my own for six months in case a Black Rider came hunting me, but my addiction was firm. I added sci-fi to my habit a couple of years later, when I climbed to the very top of my parents’ bookshelf and came across Anne McCaffrey’s ‘Dragonriders of Pern’ series. I still have that edition of Dragonflight; it’s been through a lot of moves with me.jc-steel-banner
  5. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change? Yes, absolutely. I wouldn’t waste several years half-heartedly begging publishers and agents to consider at least opening my submission envelopes – I’d go straight to independent publishing and save myself a lot of hassle and postage costs. I love having complete control over, and responsibility for, what I publish and when I publish it. It means whatever goes out into the world is completely mine.
  6. Can you tell us about your upcoming book? Actually there are three on the boil right now, I have an extreme case of literary infidelity. I’m working on the fifth book in my sci-fi series, which hasn’t yet confessed to a final title; I’m in the final edit stage on my first urban fantasy novel, Death is for the Living, which is about a team of vampire hunters based on a yacht in the Tropics; and I’m on the first draft of another urban fantasy about a half-siren ‘acquisitions specialist’ tasked to acquire the Peaches of Immortality at their next ripening. I’m hoping at least Death is for the Living will make it out of the door in the next six months, and if I’m lucky, #5 in the Cortii series will publish towards the end of the year.
  7. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?Well, my sci-fi series is set in an interstellar mercenary cult, which would make my past life both terminally interesting and probably admissible evidence J Death is for the Living, though, is heavily based on my childhood. I grew up on a yacht in the Caribbean, and a lot of the settings are drawn from that. The martial arts training comes in surprisingly useful for the fight scenes across both my genres, which means I can call my classes research when asked (it tends to worry people less than calling them stress release!).
  8. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? I’ve actually been really fortunate with all my books so far; about the worst thing I’m told on a regular basis is that my writing is complex. I’m fine with that; it’s perfectly true. I’ve never had a lot of time for the concept of writing to a ‘grade-level’, and honestly I don’t feel that we, as authors, do society a favour by trying to write to a level of the language geared at 12-year-olds. On the whole, though, the feedback has been remarkably positive. It’s a great feeling if even a few people enjoy the read enough to take the time to go online and leave a rating or a review.
  9. Do you prefer comfortable clothes or dressing nicely? If I didn’t work in a business environment, I would be a jeans and hoodie wearer full-time – and bare-foot whenever I could get away with it. I deeply appreciate clothes that are comfortable, have capacious pockets, and will tolerate a slide on a muddy path followed by a hot wash.
  10. Have you travelled to places outside your home town/country? Where did you go? What did you see/experience? I moved around a lot growing up, and went through a lot of schools before I finally wound up in boarding school in the UK. I’ve spent at least a few months in most of the Caribbean islands, most of the countries of southern Europe, and a couple of weeks in Morocco, Venezuela and the USA. Iceland was my first visit to Scandinavia, and I’m currently living in Canada. I enjoy travelling, preferably away from the tourist routes if I can manage it, and I love learning new languages and trying new foods. I have a friend who holds that someone who learns a new language experiences a whole new life, and I’m broadly onboard with that opinion. I’m hoping to get to the Far East in the foreseeable future; I’ve practiced karate, aikido, and bujinkan for years and never even visited Japan. One of the oddest places I think I’ve ever been was when we sailed across a corner of the Sargasso Sea; it’s basically a huge, semi-stationary patch of floating seaweed in the Atlantic that’s several days’ sail across. The ocean goes from deep blue to a greenish-brownish-yellow and stays like that as far as you can see.

TTH, FS, EA, EC OBC quote desertConnect with JC Steel

Author website: http://jcsteelauthor.com

Newsletter sign-up: https://www.instafreebie.com/free/odlUs

Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/J-C-Steel/e/B00XARD7XC/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/steel_jo

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjcsteel/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/j_c_steel/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/JCSteel

 

 

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

 

 

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.