Today’s spotlight shines on the fantasy/adventure novel Elf Hills by S.S. Dudley.
During his virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions, S.S. will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too.
Author bio and links:
S. S. Dudley grew up in Wyoming, USA, an avid reader and lover of the outdoors. He studied at the University of Wyoming and the University of Illinois. He started his first book (an epic fantasy hand-written in with a blue fountain pen…) when he was 13, but never finished it. At some point (as his mother recently reminded him), he decided that he needed to go do something (like get a job) for a while before he could, or should, write. He did, and spent time in Colombia, Panamá, Antarctica and the dark recesses of large science buildings on college campuses. That done, he now writes, lives and runs in Northern California with his wife and two children. He can be found at http://www.ssdudley.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
Please tell us a bit about Elf Hills:
Something strange, something magical, is going on in the dusty hills behind the small town of Villaloma. Yet each time Linda Peters puts on her running shoes and sets out to find the enchanted kingdom she imagines—full of dancing elves, unicorns, and more—something stops her. And with school starting soon, she only has a few more chances to really search the hills.
While Linda’s frustration and doubt grow, her cousin, Nugu, looks for answers in his books and wonders if maybe, just maybe, Linda’s stories are for real.
The day finally arrives when Linda can run far, the day she is sure she will find her magic city. But when she and Nugu feel their goal must lie just beyond the next hill, they only find more hill.
Is it all a figment of an over-active imagination; a wistful fantasy?
Or is there truly something magical in those hills that only the strong of heart—and leg—can discover?
Excerpt from Elf Hills © 2014 by S. S. Dudley
From Chapter 4:
A rustle from a bush to the side of the trail attracted his attention. He watched, expecting a rabbit or ground squirrel to pop out and hoping for a snake or something he could actually catch. Distracted from his search, he quietly picked his way down from the rocks, watching the bush. It rustled again as his foot touched down.
A wave of apprehension washed over him. Something about the moment was familiar, as if he had been in this situation before. The images were vague, so he dismissed them. His imagination got away from him sometimes.
He tiptoed toward the bush, his eyes scanning and probing, looking for a sign of the critter hidden underneath.
He reached out to grab a branch and pull it back—again the images washed over him, memories… There! It was a… a raccoon? Big round eyes, a wide face with a black, furry mask, short stubby ears, and lots of fur. It was holding something shiny in its hands—paws? The creature quickly concealed what it held and growled, showing a mouthful of teeth.
"Augh!" Nugu fell back, scrambling like a crab.
A safe ten feet away, Nugu watched the bush. It rattled again. The raccoon—it could only be a raccoon, he thought—waddled out into the open. It was walking on two feet. Do raccoons walk on two feet? Nugu tried to remember all of the animal documentaries he had seen. Maybe? And do raccoons get so big? This guy looked like he could take on Jeremiah, Nugu's four-year-old (almost five) brother. It reminded Nugu of something else entirely, some creature from a book… or a movie.
Unconsciously, feeling more nervous, Nugu took a couple steps backward.
The big, standing raccoon looked at him, and threw its arms in the air. "BaaaagahLOO!" it grunted. Nugu jumped straight up, turned, and ran.
Any weird things you do when you’re alone?
Nap. As a writer, it is darn hard to write when you are sleepy and can’t motivate yourself to move your fingers. So I lay down and take a nap. But I am particular: I lay down on the floor, legs crossed, arms crossed across my chest, and usually for 21 to 26 minutes. Depending on how tired I feel. I discovered this in college once. Can still remember that day. Getting into position, sleeping profoundly for 21 minutes, and waking completely refreshed and ready for more studying. It works like a charm most times.
What do you think you’re really good at?
I’m a good dad. A pretty good husband (though I’ve been known to be a bit spacey). I believe strongly in my abilities as a writer and editor. I have extensive experience in these, even though I am only just now starting to write fiction. I’m a good mentor, too. So I’ve been told, anyway. Once upon a time I was very good in martial arts and swimming.
What do you think you’re really bad at?
Ugh. That’s a long list. Remembering things. Staying focused. Being selfish (yes, a strange one, but it gets to a point where I get in the way of my own dreams. One has to be a bit selfish about their time and energy to move forward). Steven Pressfield would call it "resistance." Saving money. Braiding hair. Cracking eggs (Yes, I know. My six-year-old laughs at me).
Um… for the most part. I live in the same town, my day job is the same day job. I am writing. The biggest change has been the arrival of my son into the world. He threw a huge wrench into our otherwise organized lives. A good wrench. But wow, going from one to two kids—for us, anyway—was tough. Somehow I managed to get the books written while also doing the day job and changing several thousand diapers. Oh yeah, and not sleeping.
I have published books now, too. That’s a big difference. It makes the writing “real.”
Anything else you’d like readers to know?
· The e-book price is $0.99, paperback $8.99.
· Kindle version and paperback are available from Amazon.
· ePub, PDF, Kindle and other versions are available from Smashwords here: Smashwords
· Folks who sign up for my newsletter through my website can have the e-book free.
· Folks who purchase through my Website (Kindle, ePub, PDF; via payhip.com) and share their purchase via social media can have it 50% off.
· iBooks and B&N coming soon.