Aliyah’s Tears-Snippet

CoverA few weeks ago I posted the first entry to Aliyah’s Tears, so I thought I’d give you a sneak peek at the next couple this week. This is an early draft and unedited.

Best wishes!


Jan 20

Hey, Tori. Bet you can’t guess who this is?


It’s Roxxie. I got your letter and decided you had a point. Not sure I like the cell phone, but…

It’s about time.

I’m easing into the 21st century.

Let’s be real. You aren’t easing. You were dragged kicking and screaming.

Lol. True. I have email, too. I’ll send one so you can log the address.


I know what you mean about Aliyah. I never knew much, either.

Do you know where she went after school?

Nope. But I plan to find out.

I don’t know. I feel weird caring now that she’s dead.

Yeah. Still. Maybe there’s a story there.

Lol. You and your stories. Are you ever gonna finish one?

Eventually. Got to do some research.

Let me know if I can help.

Will do. Well, gotta book. Heading off in the morning.

Where are you heading?

*shrug* Wherever I wind up. 🙂

*sigh* Take me with you.

Pack your bag.

You know I can’t.

I know you won’t.

Have fun.

Always. 🙂


To: Roxxie Starfall

From: Victoria Carson

Date: February 4 02:14:33 EST

Subject: Howdy

Hey Rox,

How’s it going wherever you are?

It’s the same here. Well, mostly.

The weirdest thing happened the other day. You remember that bakery downtown? The one that had the orgasmic chocolate chip cookies? Well, the old lady that runs the place is still kicking, so I stopped in for some cookies for me and the kids. You won’t believe who I saw.

It was Aliyah’s brother. It’s odd that I ran into him when I never had before. Of course, I could’ve run into him a billion times and never known it.
Anyway, he was in there getting coffee and saw me. He seemed a bit sad but not broken or anything. I don’t guess he would be since he wasn’t sure if he should even have a funeral or not. He wanted to talk about Aliyah, and I didn’t have the heart to say no. It went something like this.

“I found her journal,” Charles said. “Raymond and Christopher want to just throw it out, but I thought you might want it.” He paused for a moment as if he were uncomfortable.

“The whole thing is letters to you and Roxxie, as far as I can tell.”

My heart stopped. Aliyah had written to me over the years? I couldn’t believe it, and I wished more than anything that she had mailed them instead of putting them in a journal. “Thank you,” I replied. I sighed. “I spent years as her friend, but I don’t feel like I ever got to know her.”

Charles chuckled, but it wasn’t from humor. There was a hard edge to the sound, much like Aliyah’s laughs, that told me far more than he thought. “I don’t think anyone got to know Aliyah. Even as a kid she was closed up. An enigma, Mom always called her.” He paused, and I could picture him shaking his head. “I don’t know. I was thirteen when she was born, so there’s a lot of her life I missed, but the others say she spent most of her time alone. Never went out. Never had a lot of friends.”

We talked for another moment, then arranged for me to pick up the journal.

You said there might be a story in Aliyah’s death, so I wrote it out that way. Remember the stories we used to write in college? God, I miss those days. I wanted so much from my life, Rox, but it just didn’t happen. Now I’m too old and too tired. I wish I could be more like you and just throw caution to the wind and go for it. It’s not like the kids really need me anymore, and I think it’s hurting more than helping for me to stay around. I think they need to be left alone if they’re gonna grow up.

Anyway, I started reading the diary, and you won’t believe the stuff that’s in it. I haven’t had time to get far, but check out some of this. There are some pages sticking out of it that look like they came from some kind of kid’s journal or something. They’re cute, but I can’t imagine the Aliyah we knew having anything like it. It gives a whole new picture of her, and I wish more than ever that we had spent more time getting to know her when she was alive. Why is it that we only come to realize things about a person once they’re dead?

I attached scans of some of the journal pages. Read them and let me know what you think. I think it’s some wacked out shit.

Have fun.



Ethan Grimley Rewrites

Land's EndI posted a couple of weeks ago that, now that life has settled down a bit, I wanted to rewrite the Ethan Grimley stories and make them into one book. I’m doing this for two reasons. 1. I think it’ll make the story better, and I’m becoming more familiar with the world. 2. I had an idea for another book that wouldn’t work in a series about one character. Rewriting opens up the possibility for others to take the spotlight.

So far, the rewrite has gone well. I think the story has a lot more depth, and I think Ethan is easier to get to know. He’s still a twelve-year-old boy with all the stuff that comes with that, but he’s more real now. There’s also a lot more about Land’s End and the world of Grevared, things I think help bring it to life.

All that being said, below is a bit of the first chapter of the rewrite. It hasn’t been edited yet, so bear that in mind. I would love feedback.

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs


Ethan Grimley Chapter One Snippet


The chimes of the Arcana Maximus echoed through the town of Land’s End. The sound rose and fell on the wind, a tinny, mechanical sound both soothing and painful. The large, wooden doors at the front of the school house burst open to spew forth boys and boys of all ages. Their shouts and laughter rivaled the noise of the bells as they tumbled into the open air after being cooped up in the classroom since morning.

“See you tomorrow!”

“Let’s go to the square!”

“Hey, Ethan!” Corbin Clearwater called.

Ethan Grimley, a boy of average height with shaggy brown hair and brilliant green eyes, stopped in mid-run and turned to face his friend. He waited while Corbin jogged to where he stood, school books in hand.

“Let’s go to the park with the others,” Corbin puffed. He was shorter than Ethan and had a pudgy face and curly black hair. His eyes glowed golden behind a pair of spectacles that had been mended too many times. “They’re getting a kickball game together.”

“They play every afternoon,” Ethan replied with a sigh. “And every day Boron’s team stomps us.” Ethan shook his head. “I don’t wanna play today.” He turned away then looked back at Corbin. “Besides, I promised Ma I’d help her with deliveries this evening.”

Corbin pushed his spectacles up on his nose and shifted his school books to the other hand. “Aw, come on, Ethan. Just for a little bit.” The boy’s round face brightened. “Besides, today may be the day we beat Boron.”

Ethan laughed and shook his head. “You’re dreaming, Corb. It ain’t gonna happen.”

Corbin fell into step beside Ethan as the two headed down the long path from the school house. The Arcana Maximus, with its pointed spires behind an impenetrable stone wall, loomed behind them, and gravel crunched under their feet. Birds twitted, and a breeze brought the smell of growing things to their noses.

Barracks for the guards and city constabulary lined the curving road, while the large estates of the well-to-do stretched toward the town wall. Ethan and Corbin stepped off the road to let a horse drawn cart pass, then they continued on their way toward the center of town.

“You coming to the festival this Sixthday?” Corbin asked, his voice full of anticipation.

Ethan shrugged. “Probably. My Pa works for the town government, so we have to attend all town festivals.”

“Is your Ma gonna have a booth?” Corbin gave a little hop at the thought. “She makes the best cookies of anyone in town.”

Ethan laughed. “I’m sure she will.” His shoulders slumped. “And she’ll probably have me manning it all day while she and Pa do other stuff.”

“I’d love for my Ma to have a bakery.”

Ethan shook his head. “Naw, you’d spend all your time making deliveries instead of playing kickball.” As they neared the park, Ethan stopped and turned to face his friend. “I’ll see you tomorrow. I’ve gotta go.”

They said their good-byes, and Ethan took off at a trot. He reached the town square and slowed to a walk. Stalls lined the area around the fountain, and their owners hawked everything from fabric from the Xaggarene Empire to books printed by the Academe in Jitradena. People milled here and there, some simply enjoying the day while others perused the wares being sold.

The smell of people and horses floated on the air, and the scent of people clogged Ethan’s nose. It was always like this on market day, the middle day of the week, and Ethan was anxious to get through the crowd and away from the commotion. He was restless, like too much energy had built up in his muscles, and he wondered if maybe a game of kickball would bleed some of it away. Still, though, he had promised his mother he’d help her out, and she didn’t take kindly to him breaking his promises. Besides, once he’d hauled a heavy basket or pushed a cart all over Land’s End, he’d be plenty tired.

Ethan paused as he passed the fountain. A crowd had gathered there, some looking angry while others appeared frightened. They were talking among themselves, and Ethan moved closer to see what was going on.

“I tell you, I saw it,” an old man said. “It was coming up the lane just as pretty as you please.”

“Oh, Goddard, give it a rest.” This from the old woman by his side. “You didn’t see anything but yer own imagination.”

Ethan stood, puzzled, as another man spoke up. “Then what’s killing the n’kitas? Tell me that. All three of mine were found dead this morning, the life sucked right outta them.”

“Mine, too,” a woman replied. Ethan knew her from his mother’s bakery and rolled his eyes. She was always going on about something, and his mother had said more than once that the woman needed a good physician.

“All of you, that’s enough.”

Ethan backed away as the constable pushed his way through the crowd to stand beside the fountain. As much as he wanted to know what was going on, he didn’t want to be caught in a crowd that could turn into a mob at any moment, and he didn’t want to think about what his Ma would do if he were caught in the middle of some bru-ha-ha.

“Listen to me,” the constable continued. “Several of you have reported that your n’kitas were found dead. Now, before you all go off thinkin’ it’s something strange, give us a little time to look into it. It only happened this morning, and we’ve all been working all day to get to the bottom of it.”

“That’s not keeping our animals safe,” a woman shouted.

“And I need mine for hunting.” This from the man who’d first spoken, a rotund fellow with a long, gray mustache and a balding head.

The constable held up his hands. “I hear you, I do. And I already said we were looking into it. But the best thing you can do right now is head on home for dinner and lock your n’kitas inside. We’ll be patrolling the streets double tonight in case there’s an animal loose in town.”

The crowd grumbled, but most of them turned away and headed toward their homes. Ethan, too, moved away from the fountain and wove his way between the buildings on the eastern side of the square toward his own home. A chill slithered up his spine at the thought of some unknown creature roaming the town, and he was less than happy at the thought of having to carry food along empty lanes alone. If there was an animal, wouldn’t it be attracted to the smell of the bread and desserts? And what could it be? He didn’t know of any animals that ‘sucked the life’ out of something. Even spitmollers, who could spit poison almost two feet, used their teeth to tear. He’d heard tales about demons who could do that, of course—this was Moirena—but demons hadn’t come to Land’s End in years. Even the travelers from the port tended to be more human.

These thoughts tumbled through Ethan’s mind as he opened the door to the bakery. The aroma of bread and cookies assailed his nose, and he paused in the doorway to simply breathe them in.

“Ethan, is that you?” Eva Grimley called from the kitchen.

“Yeah, Ma. It’s me.” Ethan bounded up the stairs that led to the family’s flat. He quickly dropped his school books on his bed and headed back downstairs. Eva was just coming from the kitchen, wiping her hands on her apron, when he stepped off the last stair.

“I just pulled some butternut cookies from the oven if you want to get a snack before you head out.”

Ethan’s heart leapt. Butternut cookies were his favorite, and there was nothing like having a hot one. “Sure, Ma. Thanks.” For a moment, he considered telling his mother what he had heard in the square, then he thought better of it. As much as he didn’t want to cross whatever might be out there, he feared his mother’s overprotectiveness more. If she thought he might be in danger, she’d never let him leave the house. Better to keep quiet, he decided. He was fast, after all. Maybe faster than whatever had killed the n’kitas.