Stress-Free Holiday (and We Got Snow!)

IMG_20171208_162057I’ve was always one of those people who loved the hustle and bustle from Thanksgiving to Christmas. I didn’t even think about getting gifts before the turkey had been carved, eaten, and put away. I loved diving into the day after Thanksgiving, not so much for the deals but for the experience of it all.

I got over it.

Several years ago, I figured out that getting everything done in advance made the season much more enjoyable. I started getting the gifts early and had them ready to wrap as soon as the tree went up. I discovered, too, that this eased some of the financial burden, the one thing I really hated about the holidays.

This year is no different. Everything’s decorated and wrapped, and now I just have to bake the goodies as we want them and watch cartoons. I love it! I’ve also found that I have more time to write doing things this way. Being a winter junkie, I’m far more productive when the weather gets cold.

IMG_20171208_173610And to make things even better, we got snow. Now, I know some folks are from the northern climates that see lots of the white stuff, but where I live snow before January, and even then, is rare. Loving it! It’s a nice change of pace, and I was able to focus on writing and just watch the snow fall. It was awesome!

How do you prepare for the holidays? What are your secrets to getting things done without stress?

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

 

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Getting Ready for the Holidays

IMG_20171201_230859The holiday season is in full swing, and I think we’ve gotten everything ready at the homeplace. The tree’s up, the gifts are wrapped, and the stockings are hung. I think we’ve watched all the classic Christmas cartoons at least once and are starting on the second round.

There have been times in the past when the holiday season seemed to be far more work than it was worth, but this year feels a bit different. There isn’t as much running to do anymore, and my work schedule allows us to go out and participate in some of the community activities. For the first time in years, we were able to see the parade. It wasn’t a fancy thing like the Thanksgiving Day Parade, but it was nice to finally get to see a hometown parade again. Hopefully, there will be other activities to do over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, we’ll continue our tradition of watching movies and cartoons and picking from our advent box. This is something we started several years ago. We wrap a large box and cut a hole in the top. It’s filled with small gifts of nothing much–candy bars and gum, silly toys, stocking stuffers–and we reach in and take something each night from December 1 thru December 24. When the box is empty, it’s Christmas. Granted, my children are mostly grown now, but it’s still a fun thing to do together in the evenings. W

IMG_20171202_101256I hope everyone has a joyous season, regardless of which holiday you celebrate, and remember to do what you can for those less fortunate. Even the smallest gesture performed with pure intention can mean the world to someone else.

Have a wonderful season with family and friends, and feel free to share the traditions you value most.

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

http://www.hiddenhollowediting.com

New Releases!

Howdy, all!

I finally got off my duff and released a couple of stories I’ve been sitting on for a while.

3D bookJerrung and the Kwaad Cavern

This is a chapter book for ages 6-8 and follows the adventures of a young dwarf named Jerrung. Jerrung’s friends have their own adventures, which can be read for free on my website at http://www.lissadobbs.com.

At almost eight years old, Jerrung is sure he’s old enough to be a warrior, to have a real sword. His parents, on the other hand, disagree. They think he’s just a child.

But when Jerrung’s sister is kidnapped by the Kwaad, Jerrung knows his time has come. Jerrung isn’t going to wait for the rest of the village to make plans. He and his friends head into the mountains to rescue the prisoners.

Can the dwarves find their way through the tunnels before the Kwaad find them?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074VC2721

 

Windows to the Soul

3D coverThis is a short story.

True horror isn’t found on the silver screen or in the pages of books. True horror is found in the mind, in the depths of the soul, the places where light is a distant memory.

​So Amy discovers in the halls of the nursing home where her mother works, and, later, in the eyes of her peers. Horror follows her everywhere until she learns the truth…eyes are truly the windows to the soul.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074WHZJSJ

 

In other news, for the next month, I’m offering free chapter and short story edits, up to 2,500 words. If you have a story you need critiqued or edited, just use the contact form on my Contact the Author page or the contact form on my website at http://www.lissadobbs.com/editorialservices.

 

Best wishes!

Technology in Grevared

steam-train-512508_1920We live in a technological world full of smart phones, computers, and things some of us will probably never understand. For the most part, this technology has gone from point A to point B, not necessarily in a straight line, but moving forward nonetheless.

I was a kid during the reign of Atari and Commodore 64, and the only computer language I ever knew was Basic. Now, my phone has more capabilities than my first computer, and I’m lucky to figure out how to make a blog post. (And it only works half the time.)

Science fiction, fantasy, and steampunk all have their versions of technology, too. Some of it is beyond our wildest dreams, while other parts take us back to the middle ages. Regardless of which genre we’re reading, though, there are those who expect the technology to progress the same way it did in our world.

Grevared doesn’t really work that way, not entirely. For example, I had a reader ask me the other day why a tavern owner used oil lamps if the society had things like steam locomotives and Cold Boxes (refrigerators). There’s a simple answer for that. All electricity in Grevared is run on generators, which are expensive to own and operate. Families and business owners who use electricity must decide what they will use it on, and most choose a Cold Box or something similar rather than light, which can be obtained through other means. No one has installed power lines that carry electricity from place to place because they haven’t thought of it yet. Why not? When our world figured it out fairly quickly? Well…it isn’t our world.

GrevaredResources on Grevared are most definitely finite. The pieces of land exist in a void space, and you can walk off the edge of the world. These resources must be guarded carefully if the world is to survive, so, while they are willing to create some technological luxuries, there are many others that would destroy their world were they to come into being.

However, that isn’t to say that technology aided by magic doesn’t happen. There are creatures called animated corpses that are purely technological, at least in a sense. A small copper chip attached to wires is run through the nervous system and allows the creature to move and follow basic orders. The chip can be removed and read by a machine. Technological, right? Not entirely. There’s a good bit of magic that goes into making the process work. The same is true of the seventh hell demon prison, Brimstone Thunderwatch. There are technological aspects to the prison itself, but there’s just as much magic keeping these creatures confined. Even the mechanical bugs that deliver messages have a magical element to their operation.

So, while Grevared does have steam trains and bionic implants, their technology as we think about it isn’t on the same level with that in our world, and their needs and desires make it unlikely that it ever will be. Even in the Xaggarene Empire, the most technologically advanced of the lands, power lines aren’t likely to become popular. Too much of their technology is dependent on magic.

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

http://www.lissadobbs.com

 

Book Cover…Grrrrr.

K'duktil and Cavern CoverOne of the things I like best about self-publishing is being able to take control of the process myself. For me, it’s fun to play around with new ideas and try to learn new skills. The operative word here is ‘try’. Damn me for wanting to learn stuff.

While the other covers took me some time and effort to work out, I’ve had a difficult time getting a cover made for Jerrung and the Kwaad Cavern, a children’s book that will be out when I can figure out its wrapping. Nothing I do seems to work and capture the story, and I think I’ve made thirty or forty of them.

That being the case, I’ve narrowed it down to two possibilities, the best I can come up with for this particular story. I’ve added the two possibilities and the blurb. I’d appreciate any thoughts on the matter, positive or negative.

Yellow Ogre.jpgAs always, best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

http://lissadobbs.com

Blurb:

At almost eight years old, Jerrung is sure he’s old enough to be a warrior, to have a real sword. His parents disagree. They think he’s just a child.

But when Jerrung’s sister is kidnapped by the Kwaad, Jerrung knows his time has come. Jerrung isn’t going to wait for the rest of the village to make their plans. He and his friends head into the mountains to rescue the prisoners.

Can the dwarves find their way through the tunnels and back out before the Kwaad find them?

 

Lethatu…Oops.

Ravyn's LetterI’m one of those people who loves to create worlds, and when I create a world, I want to create all of it. I want maps of everything, cultures to inhabit it, stories, history, religion, magic, and language. And I was well on my way to having all of that.

Then I moved.

Somehow, in the process of moving, the notebook I had written the grammar rules and such in disappeared. It’s a loss, I’ll agree, but it also gives me the opportunity to make some changes to the language and make it more in line with what I want it to be. To that effect, I’m not mourning the loss of the notebook. Instead, I’m going to begin at the beginning and make something that was better than the original. The only down side I can see is that the letter Ravyn Grimsbane left to her daughter Gwennyth will have to be a dialect not spoken anywhere else. But that’s okay, too.

What aspects of world-building are your favorite? Do you relish the opportunity to make changes? Feel free to comment.

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

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.