Character Thoughts – Ethan Grimley III


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?


This is Friggin’ Cool!

kindle-cover-new-edition-preparedOkay, for those of you who have the killer graphic design skills, this will be no big deal, but for those of us who are just learning how to play with the software, each new discovery is like receiving a coveted toy at Christmas.

Tonight was one of those nights when I just wanted to play with things, so I pulled up The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley III book covers and started fiddling with them. Tonight’s fun time was with lighting effects. I never knew they could do stuff like this.

I really liked the way the letters glow in this one.


Below are some of the examples of how they came out. I never could get anything really cool on the Revenge of Cronus one, though.

Lissa Dobbs


 The glowing letters were even cooler in this one.


This one felt more ominous to me.

Discovery of Smudge


Those who’ve followed for a while know I’m a ‘do it myself’-er. Granted, my skills may not be the most polished when it comes to creating digital images, but it’s fun to do.

One of the things I’ve been working on is taking some of the photographs I took years ago and turning them into black and white photos to give myself some visual images of Grevared. But one of the problems I’ve had is depicting the void space that serves as a sky. Since there’s no sun in Grevared, a sunny day in a picture doesn’t work.

Well, I was playing around with a bucket fill on a blue sky when I stumbled upon smudge. I’ve used it before, but I guess I had an ‘ooh, shiny’ moment and forgot about it. Turns out that it’s perfect for smearing the varying shades of gray together to make the void. Who knew? Well, probably all of you who are experts in the digital world, but this Commodore Dinosaur is still learning, and I’m having a blast doing it.

The images above are of the town of Land’s End in the country of Moirena. The photo on the upper left is of the Arcana Maximus as seen in The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley III: Revenge of Cronus. The picture on the right is just a tower in town, and the lower left image is of the government building where Gregory Grimley works. I’m still playing around with different effects, but I really like the one on the bottom best.

Best wishes!

Thoughts on the New Year

New Thoughts for the New Year

The presents were opened, the ham eaten, and Santa came for the last time – my youngest graduates this year.


Christmas Day has always been one day I was free to write. Once Santa had come, the presents were opened, and the ham eaten, everyone else was always occupied with their new gifts, so I had a while to sit in peace. I’ve always used the time to reflect on the previous year and turn my thoughts to the year ahead. This year was no different, and I spent the day looking back over my writing and marketing plan and trying to figure out what I needed to do to be successful in 2017. Truth be told, I have absolutely no idea.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I know I let fear keep me from promoting my writing the way I should. I know that I let my work hours keep me from attending workshops and conferences that would help me improve my writing and make the connections I need to make. I realize that, and I think it’s time to do something about it. I also realized that I let myself become exhausted and discouraged and that it won’t work to let that continue.

ebook-coverI have several book ideas for this year. I’ve finished the first revision of The Journey of Gwennyth Grimsbane, and I’m working on completing a story that predates Wolf in the Shadow. At two o’clock Christmas morning, I got an idea for the fourth book of The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley III, so I’m hoping to get started on that one soon. I’ve also decided that I’ve made excuses for ‘the novel that never ends’ long enough, and I need to get on with getting it finished. Most of the book is written, but there are a few scenes that need to be added and a few more that need to be rewritten. Then, of course, there’s the revision and editing process. Regardless, this one needs to take priority this year.

IMG_20160901_161300I’d also like to redesign my website and make it look more like the Shadow Walker Guild Hall, at least as far as my meager skills can accomplish it. Feel free to chime in with opinions on that one. I’d also be interested in hearing your thoughts on what you’d like to see here.

So, plans made. I know what needs to be done. Now I just need to figure out how to get it all done in the time I have. But I can do this. I have my trusty planner and Galadriel, and the two of us will make it happen.

What are your goals for 2017? I’d love to hear from you.

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

To Change or Leave Alone?

I’ve been thinking about what to do with my website in the new year. There’s a part of me that wants to make some changes on it, make it more ‘fun’, I guess. But there’s another part of me that likes it being more straight-forward, even if no one else likes the style of it.

This is where I get frustrated. It’d be cool if I could have it both ways, but I’m not sure I could pull that off. My web design skills are almost non-existent, and so are my graphics skills, but, still, it’s fun to play with it sometimes.

entrance-hall-guild-headquarters-smallHere’s an idea of what I was thinking about going to. The idea is to label the doors with things like ‘student lounge’, ‘shadow walker lounge’, ‘library’, etc. and have them lead to a page with a similar layout that went to short stories, printable activities for kids, and links to the books.

As it stands right now, the background is simple parchment with pictures ‘taped’ to it. It’s labelled and obvious, but it’s not a lot of fun.

I’ve also been working on another design, one I’ve been playing with for several months. landing-page-websiteThis one is just a scholar’s study area since scholars are so prominent in Grevared. Almost all the items on the page are clickable and lead to another page on the site. Not sure which way to go, but both of them will take time and effort.

Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

home-page-bottomBest wishes!

Lissa Dobbs

Meet Electa Norris

Electa Norris

Name: Electa Norris


Age: 13 winters

Appearance: Electa has blonde hair and blue eyes. She’s short and little stout.

Birthplace: Atada

Family: Electa was given to her grandparents as a baby, but once she received the Shield of Evalach, they sent her Corleon for fear of reprisals from the Arcana Maximus. Electa has no idea who or where her parents are, for her grandparents never told her.

Current Home: Ymla, Corleon

Weapon: Shield of Evalach – the shield carried by Joseph of Arimathea in the Arthurian legends. It allows Electa to project a shield around herself and others.

Pantheon: Arthurian

Other Info: Electa is extremely smart when it comes to books, but she’s terribly timid when it comes to her magic, so much so that Damion and others fear that she may be more harmful than helpful as a Shadow Walker. She is loyal to her friends, though she truly trusts no one.

Favorite Foods: Electa loves Old Marshall’s fist meals above all others, but she’s also a big fan of the jelly candy she gets in Ymla. She’s cautious about eating sweets and never overdoes it, but the jellies are her true weakness. She also enjoys fried eggs and oatmeal and doesn’t like meats for breakfast.

Fears: Electa fears her own insecurities. She knows she lacks when it comes to courage, and this frightens her. She tries to step up like the others do, but she often finds herself frozen. This only feeds her fear and increases her inability to act.

Favorite Teacher: Electa enjoys history class with Mr. Bickersteth. She finds his knowledge of the history of Grevared and the various races fascinating and does all she can to learn more.

Greatest Desire: Electa wants to know who her parents are and where they went.


Learn more about her world and read free stories for both children and adults at

Meet Faylen Icebreeze

Faylen Icebreeze

Name: Faylen Icebreeze


Age: 30 winters (the equivalent of about 12 human years)

Appearance: bright blue hair; large, blue eyes, pale blue skin

Family: Faylen is a member of the Icebreeze clan of elves. These elves once lived in the Shizzuria Wasteland but emigrated to E’ma Thalas before Faylen was born. Since then the clan has resided in the forests between Giqare and Tradespire. Faylen’s mother contracted the Fomoire madness and was sentenced to death. Not understanding what was occurring, Faylen fled.

Current Home: Ymla, Corleon

Weapon: Mirror of Aphrodite – it allows Faylen to see the truth of a person or situation and allows her to track an individual

Pantheon: Greek

Other Info: Faylen is extremely quiet and shy at times, but at other times she’s bold and forceful. She will often go along with what others want rather than expressing her own desires. She loves to read and is one of the best students at the Shadow Walker school, though few people, even her close friends, know this about her. She wants to return home, for she feels out of place in the human society, but, at the same time, her anger over her mother’s death prevents her going.

Fears: Above anything else, Faylen fears contracting the Fomoire madness. Though she knows more about it now than she did years before, she still doesn’t trust that it isn’t inherited. She also fears being in the human community, though the humans of Corleon are extremely tolerant of others.

Favorite Teacher: Faylen’s favorite person at the Shadow Walker school is Miss Hitherbury, the healer. While most of the students make fun of the woman because of her ample girth, Faylen finds the woman’s knowledge of healing, both magical and non-magical, to be extensive.

Favorite Foods: Faylen prefers fruits and vegetables to other foods, though she loves Old Marshall’s chocolate cakes.

Greatest Desire: Faylen’s greatest desire is to find where she fits into the world.


Learn more about her world and find links to the books at

It’s Release Day!!!!

ebook-red-and-greenEthan has settled in to life as a Shadow Walker, but as Yuletide approaches, he’s anxious to get home for the holiday. And the best part? His friends are going with him.

But life as a Shadow Walker is full of unexpected surprises, and when a new student brings an enemy into their midst, Yuletide plans are put on hold. Ethan and his friends have to deal with the threat and protect Land’s End from the wrath of an angry god.


Ethan shrugged and ducked around Kayne. “Kayne, we just now met him. I haven’t had time to think about it yet. Now, can we just go see what Mr. Merriweather wants?”

Kayne laughed. “You’re afraid we’re in trouble, aren’t you?”

Ethan looked back over his shoulder. “Aren’t you? How many kids do you hear of going to his office?” Ethan stopped and looked at Kayne. “Remember last time?”

Last time they had been in serious trouble for sneaking out and looking for Cronus. Mr. Merriweather had made them tackle the cleanup of the lobby and had grounded them, but he had lifted the punishment when Ethan and Kayne had saved Faylen.barnabas-black-and-white-vintage

Kayne scratched the back of his neck and shook his head. “Well, I actually wind up there a lot, come to think of it.”

Ethan laughed. “That’s because you always do stupid stuff, then you’re shocked when you get caught.”

Kayne laughed along with him. “Okay. I’ll give you that.”

The boys stopped in front of Barnabas Merriweather’s door and knocked. They waited until they were called, then they entered.


Other books in the series: (available in eBook and paperback)

The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley III: A Walker is Born

The Chronicles of Ethan Grimley III: Cronus Attacks

Learn more about Ethan’s world, read free stories, and download printable coloring pages and word searches at

Meet Kayne Soulton

kayne-vintageName: Kayne Soulton

Age: 13 winters

Appearance: brown hair with too long bangs, violet eyes. Tall and a bit thin.

Birthplace: Crowrest, E’ma Thalas

Family: Kayne’s parents died when he was very little, and he was then cared for by his brother Del. He left his brother’s company when he was ten winters old, just after receiving the mace, and travelled to Corleon to join the Shadow Walkers.

Current Home: Ymla, Corleon

Weapon: Mace of Tishtrya – it can call lightning and thunder

Pantheon: Persian

Other Info: Kayne is a born wizard, something he forgets from time to time, especially in a crisis. He’s brash and disrespectful, but he has a tendency to stay just barely on the right side of the line. He’s a fierce friend, but he also has a deep-seated anger that boils within him. He’s able to hide this most of the time.

Favorite Foods: Kayne is a sweets junkie. He always has some kind of candy in his room, though he’s careful not to let his friends know that. He also enjoys Old Marshall’s roast beef and vegetables, and he absolutely adores bacon.

Fears: More than anything in the world, Kayne fears being abandoned. Though he acts brash and confident, he’s actually quite insecure and wants nothing more than to be loved and accepted.

Favorite Teacher: Kayne doesn’t think much of education, but he has great respect for Barnabas Merriweather, the leader of the school, though he’d never let Mr. Merriweather know that.

Greatest Desire: Kayne’s greatest desire is to find someone to truly love him.


Learn more about Kayne’s world at