New Wolf Covers

Those who’ve followed for a while know that I like to play around with things, particularly my book covers. Learning new things is fun, and I’d rather enjoy the process than hire it out, even if it means sacrificing potential sales. That being said, I have a couple of new covers for Wolf in the Shadow, and I would love some opinions on which one to use (or to keep the one I have and toss these).

Best wishes!

Lissa Dobbs


Cover: Wolf in the Shadow
Cover: Wolf in the Shadow


The Story:

Something is killing the good folks of Black Crystal. People are dying, and the remains discovered are unidentifiable. Sheriff Avery Smitherton has no idea what’s going on, so he calls on the Shadow Walkers, for they are experts in weird and expendable.

Timothy Hawkins and Eleanor Hestenfield are awakened in the middle of the night by Justin Harper, their friend and fellow Shadow Walker. After taking the overnight locomotive to Black Crystal, the trio is ready to tackle the threat. But all isn’t what it seems, for the forest holds a secret, one unknown to the citizens of Black Crystal. The Shadow Walkers must now face an undeniable truth that shakes the foundation of their purpose and their friendship, and the thing in the forest becomes the least of their worries.


Learning Experience

Well, I’ve been learning how to use the software to make my covers what I want them to be, and I think I’ve finally made one I like for Wolf in the Shadow. Now, I’ve just got to do the others. The new cover should be on all ebooks and print books in the next couple of days. It took a while, but at least I finally figured it out.


Wolf in the Shadow

bright and shinyI’ve been working on a short story (200 more words, and it can be classified as a novella), and I think I’ve got it mostly finished.  First draft and revision are done, so I’m letting it stew for a few days, then it’ll be time for editing.

The title of this one is “Wolf in the Shadow”, and it takes place about twenty years before the ‘novel that never ends’. (I’m actually making headway on that one.  I’m shooting for having it completed by the end of summer.)  I’m still trying to make some final decisions about “Wolf in the Shadow”, but I’m planning on having it out by the end of May.  Below is a brief excerpt from the story.

Best wishes.

Constable Timothy Hawkins rolled over and snuggled down in his sleep. He reached for Eleanor and pulled her close to him without any real awareness of what he was doing. Something pricked his consciousness, an itch on his right palm, but it was a vague and distant thing, and Timothy was too lost in sleep to understand it.

Banging on the door brought Timothy awake. Eleanor moaned and rolled over, but she didn’t waken. Timothy cursed and climbed from his warm bed. The fire in the brazier had gone out, and the room was cold. His bare feet shied away from touching the chilled wooden floor, but his training as an Enforcer forced him forward regardless of his discomfort.

Timothy entered his small living room and banged his knee on the coffee table. He cursed again and rubbed his face to induce wakefulness. It didn’t help.

“Dammit, I’m coming,” he shouted at the door.

The knocking stopped.

Timothy opened the door and stood staring at the person on the other side. He was tall, well over six feet, with auburn hair and beard and a rakish grin. At any other time, Timothy would’ve been glad to see him, but at two hours past midnight, all he wanted to do was throttle Justin Harper.

“What the hell do you want?” Timothy grumbled.

Justin grinned and took in Timothy’s ragged, sleep rumbled appearance. He stepped inside and closed the door before answering, “We’ve got a good one.”

Timothy rolled his eyes and threw his hands into the air. He rubbed his itching palms on the legs of his sleep pants, flipped on the incandescent lamp, and stumbled to the Cold Box for a Fizzy Drink. He twisted off the top and downed half of it in one glug before looking back at Justin. “So? What else is new?”

Timothy plopped onto the sofa and propped his feet on the table. Justin took the chair across from him and leaned back with his ankle resting on his knee. A self-satisfied smile split Justin’s round face, and his eyes were lit up like a kid seeing Sir Klaus.

He likes this stuff way too much.

“Mel sent a beetle early this morning. It said there was a situation down in Black Crystal, so I went down there.”

“You’ve been to Black Crystal and back today?”

Justin nodded. “I took the locomotive.” He waved it off. “Ten people were killed last night, and it looked like they were mauled by a wild animal.”

Timothy blew out a tired breath. “And you saw the bodies?”

Justin nodded. “What was left of them.”

“Shit.” Timothy shifted in his seat until he mirrored Justin’s pose. The two were eye-to-eye in the darkness of the living room, just as they had been many times before. “Black Crystal sits on the edge of the forest. Are you sure it wasn’t wild animals? Are you sure you’re not just seeing what you want to see because it’s been a while since Mel’s sent you out?”

Justin gave Timothy a rueful grin. “I wish I was.” His face paled as he remembered what he had seen. “I really wish I was.” The glint in his eyes faded. “Tim, this wasn’t like the specter attacks where the person was just dead. This was…. This was…” Justin shrugged. “I don’t know.”

They lapsed into silence for a moment, then Timothy looked back up at Justin. “And Mel thinks we should check it out?”

Justin nodded. “Cooley Cray, the guy who carried the Helm of Invisibility from Hades?”

Timothy nodded to indicate he knew who Justin was referring to.



SpookyI’ve been working on a short story for the past few weeks that deals with some of my main adult Shadow Walkers about twenty or so years before the ‘story that never ends’ (I actually plan to finish mapping out what will now be book one tomorrow).  I got the idea from one of the scenes in what will become book three (when I get there) and decided to investigate what led up to that scene.  Believe me, I had no idea where this was going when I started, and I surely didn’t intend for it to end up with werewolves as part of the problem.  But it did.  So I’ve been brushing up on some of my werewolf lore.

The most popular book on werewolves is Sabine Baring-Gould’s The Book of Werewolves, and in it he goes through a good deal of mythology somewhat based on the idea of the werewolf.  There’s a lot of other stuff in there that deals with cannibals and serial killers and whatnot, but the actual werewolf stuff is pretty interesting.  He talks about different cultures that used animal skins as part of their wardrobes in battle, etc.

However, none of that was really helping me, so I looked into some of the skinwalker legends in Native American lore.  These, too, are fascinating in the idea that someone can, through ritual, gain the ability to transform into another person or animal.  According to the legends, the person (considered evil) must make a ritual kill in order to gain the power.  However, in more modern sighting stories, the skinwalker’s behavior is more puckish – chasing cars, knocking on windows, etc.

The idea of shapeshifting into another form could go as far back as the cave painting known as ‘the Sorcerer’.  This painting shows both human and animal features, so some scholars have suggested that his position is indicative of the process of transformation.  It’s always looked to me like he was in the middle of a ritual dance of some sort.

Another story that most of us have heard at some point goes back to Ancient Greece.  Here we have the first instance of the transformation of a human into a wolf (though Zeus himself didn’t seem too picky about what form he took).  King Lycaon supposedly cooked up one of his sons and served him for dinner when Zeus was a guest.  Needless to say, Zeus wasn’t too thrilled with this and turned Lycaon into a wolf as punishment.  Most of what I’ve read points to this as the first story about werewolves and the origin of the legend.

Werewolf legends abound in just about every culture in the world, and wolves were not the only animal men transformed into.  I find the concept interesting and often wonder about its origin.  At what point did mankind get the idea of shifting into an animal shape?  And, perhaps more importantly, if ancient people truly possessed this ability, why can’t we do it today?

Best Wishes!