Like many authors, I started writing my first book (a fantasy epic in the vein of Tolkien, of course) when I was young. Thirteen or so, in my case. I didn't finish it. After a couple hundred pages, I set down my blue fountain pen (it stained my fingers, but felt good to write with) and declared that I needed to see the world, to do something, before I sat down to really write a book. And so I did. I went out and studied (a lot), traveled (Antarctica, South America, parts in between) and started a career. It wasn't until my daughter came into the world and we started to read together that I remembered my passion for stories. Soon enough, I started writing again. That was 2012.I aim to write stories my children can enjoy—and I with them. Stories are so much more than a fun way to spend some time. They are a part of growing up, of life. They help us grow, to understand ourselves, each other, and the world.Excerpt :Excerpts 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.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, http://www.facebook.com/author.ssdudley and on twitter at @SS_dudley.
THE AUTHOR WILL BE GIVING AWAY:Prizes for the tour are as follows:a Rafflecopter giveaway
• One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.
• One randomly chosen host will receive a $25 Amazon/BN.com gift card.