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

 

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Melon Peckers – Trial and Error

Kiwano FruitI’m a big one on world-building. It is, in fact, one of my favorite things to do. That being the case, I love to come up with recipes for foods and drinks mentioned in my books.

The Melon Peckers and Nutty Fluffies mentioned by Timothy and Justin in Wolf in the Shadow have given me particular issues. I just haven’t been able to come up with anything that seemed like it would work. After all, exotic and ‘not of this world’ or not, I still want them to be edible. Mostly.

I think I’ve finally come up with something that might work for the Melon Peckers.

Ingredients:

1 lb watermelon (seeds removed)

1 kiwano melon (seeds removed)

2 tsp lemon juice

1 c brown sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1 c club soda

vodka (optional)

mint leaves for garnish

crushed ice

Puree the fruit until smooth. Add lemon juice, cinnamon, and sugar and blend. Add club soda and vodka. Pour over crushed ice and garnish with mint leaves.

This is still in the early phases of development. I’m trying to decide if I want to try it with dragon fruit or not. I think it would be interesting.

If you give it a try, let me know how it turns out.

Best wishes!

http://www.lissadobbs.com

 

 

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

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.

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