Wednesday, January 21, 2015

"Elf Hills" by S. S. Dudley

Elf Hills
by S. S. Dudley

Elf Hills is currently available for the special price of $0.99 for the ebook or $8.99 for the paperback. Or sign up for the author's newsletter and get the ebook FREE!
Elf Hills is on tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. The tour stops here today for a character interview, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

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 the Prologue
This fairy tale, as you might have guessed already, takes place on a hill. Or, rather, on many hills and a mountain or two in Northern California, near what people call the Great Valley. One hill in particular stands out, though, because that is where everything started. It was a nice hill; well rounded, not too high, not too low. It was distinctly a hill, snuggled up against a mountain like a nursing cub to its resting mother. For the most part this hill was well-dressed with dark green oak trees and tall grasses, usually yellowed and dry except for the four or five wet months of the year. Along one side, a seasonal creek slipped out and down into the plain. Here the vegetation - red-stemmed manzanita, prickly blackberry bushes, and other shrubs - was thick and difficult to move through.
From afar, the hill was not remarkable; it had many siblings stretching to the north and south as far as the eye could see. This hill was special, though. For one, a strange - some said magical - copse of trees stood near the base of the hill where the creek emerged. These trees were short, had long, dark-green leaves, and bore bright yellow fruit that, if eaten, were said to imbue a person with the strength of ten men. For another, the hill was haunted. On certain nights of the year a white light would shine from the very top of the hill. It was brighter than the brightest star; brighter even than a full moon, perhaps, and it cast long shadows across the plain. The first people that lived in the area told many stories about that hill, the light, and the spirits that lived there.

Praise for the Book
"Delightful read! As a mother of three and an advocate for child literacy, I loved this book. Elf Hills fills a void in modern youth literature with its enticing, yet wholesome, story-line and appropriately challenging vocabulary. I would recommend to any parent or child 8 and up." ~ Kathie Maxwell
"Great read! Don’t let the somewhat slow beginning fool you – this book is action packed with magical adventures. Dynamic, yet accessible, this book draws the reader in and then surprises her with a delightful ending." ~ Julie McLaughlin

Interview by S. S. Dudley with Linda and Biergo from Elf Hills
Hello world!
We are here today with Linda Peters and, er, Buy-er-go—
Biergo: “BEE-EHR-GOH!”
Sorry. Bee-ehr-goh—is that better? Good. Where was I? Oh yes. Here we are with Linda and Biergo, two characters from the new novel Elf Hills by S. S. Dudley.


How are you both today?
Linda: Good.
Biergo: Ungh.
Right. So I had the pleasure of reading Elf Hills recently and enjoyed it very much—yes, Linda?
Linda: Didn’t you write it?
Biergo: Ungh.
Whispered behind hand: Um, well, yes. But they don’t need to know that…
Linda: Oh. OK.
Where was I? Oh yes. It’s a story about a girl, that’s you Linda, who can run very well (Linda blushes) and likes to wander around the hills behind her home. She begins to suspect something is strange about those hills though (I go to sit, but the chair is no longer where I thought it was. I fall, hard to the floor.) — OW!
Biergo cackles.
Linda: Are you OK?
Yes, yes, I’m fine. (I glare at Biergo and claim my seat). Perhaps we should complete our introductions. You, Linda, are nine years old, correct? And you are in fourth grade at Pathin elementary school in Villaloma, California?
Linda: Uh-huh.
And you, Biergo, er, are a small, hairy, bad little man who likes to make people fall—
Linda: He’s an imp!
Biergo: UNGH! (Crosses arms and looks away, swinging short legs from chair).
I thought he was a gnome, actually…
Linda: Shrug.
Okay… Linda, why don’t you tell us about the story?
Linda: OK. Um, so when I was little I had a friend who was a fairy…
Biergo snorts.
A real fairy?
Linda: Ah-huh. Her name was Majica. I forgot about her for a while because she disappeared.
Linda shrugs.
What made you remember her?
Linda: I don’t know. I was trying to find out what made the light on the hill—
Light? What light?
Linda: Oh yeah, so there was this really bright, white light that woke me up one night. It was on top of the hill—that’s Dendy’s Hill, it’s right behind my house. I thought it was weird. Then my Uncle Bill told me he had seen it too and that he thought it was elves or something.
Linda: Yeah. Cool, huh? But I didn’t find anything on the hill the next day. Then one day in my garden I caught him— points thumb at Biergo.
Bergo huffs and crosses arms.
So, Biergo, you are kind of, um, different… maybe you had something to do with Linda’s light? What can you tell us?
Biergo: Ungh.
Come now, you must know something.
Biergo: She doesn’t fall!
Linda giggles.
Linda: He is mad because I don’t fall when he tries to trip me.
Right, OK. But, Biergo, about the light…
Biergo: UNGH! Go ‘way! Silly girls. Silly old men! Stay out of hills!
Hey, I’m not old…
Linda snickers.
Biergo huffs and looks away.
Really Biergo, you aren’t going to tell us anything?
Biergo is silent.
Fine. So, Linda, what else do you want to tell us about the story?
Linda: Um, well, I went running in the hills a lot with Rosy trying to find out who is out there. But things kept stopping me.
Really, like what?
Linda: Dragons and poisonous plants and stuff like that.
Wow. You’re tough.
Linda: Yeah, I really just wanted to find a magical palace and other magic things, you know, like unicorns, but it was—
Well then! All right, thank you for that. I think we are out of time. So Elf Hills, with Linda and Biergo. Check it out. Thank you both.
Linda: Okay.
Biergo: Ungh.
Next time we’ll talk about Fairy Trees, the sequel—OW! (Shoelace mysteriously catches on chair’s leg as I stand, I stumble to knee).
Biergo laughs, rolls onto back, kicking feet in ridiculous glee.
Right, the sequel, where Biergo dies a terrible death…
Linda: Really?
Biergo: Dumb old author man! You won’t get me—
Tragic, it will be tragic. Right then, that’s all for now. Thanks for tuning in.

About the Author
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.

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