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Offical Site of
Author SL Dooley

If you were traveling through a moss-ladened forest surrounded by majestic pines, thick with overgrown fern and came to a fork, would you take the wide, well-worn road or follow me on the narrow, overgrown, off-shoot?

The adventure, the thrill, the discovery of what's just over the hill will always spur us onward. A two-day jungle hike, or a quest between the pages of a book, both delight and inspire imagination. So join me on the journey. We’ll search for the secret path or the hidden cove.  But more than that,  I believe we’ll discover the wonderous parts of ourselves along the way...my journey

Alnok Histories
Short Stories

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X Marks the Spot
BY SL Dooley


Have you ever considered using a map to get lost? Yes, counterintuitive but hear me out. I’m not talking about turning off GPS during rush hour through an unfamiliar city. In fact, just the opposite. No cities. No appointments. No insistent Siri voice recalculating your next turn.

Just you and Rand McNally.

Close your eyes, put your finger on the map and hit the road. The goal? Enjoy the journey as much as the destination. With no specific end goal, adventure becomes the objective.

With a desire for discovery balanced with sensible discernment, you might find your next favorite hideaway. Following are just a few suggestions to get you started . . .


Fantasy-inspired eye-spy:

Dragon nests

Fairy gardens

Haunted houses/barns/structures

Cosplay the car:

Milennium Falcon

The Tartis

Gypsy caravan

Steampunk carriage

 




Inspired playlist:

LOTR

Star Wars Remix

Fantastic Steampunk

 


Nerdy snacks:

Lembas bread

Thermos of Raktajino

Berties Every Flavour Beans


Let your imagination take over and enjoy the ride. It doesn’t much matter where you end up.

 

Feeling Abandoned
BY SL Dooley


Castles, warehouses and train stations, abandoned places are a treasure trove for inspiration,. And more than a little bit spooky. There’s no denying, for lovers of fantasy, elaborately constructed buildings, unused, crumbling, maybe even haunted, are, well, fascinating.

As the surrounding plant life encroaches on these oftentimes remote locations it’s easy to imagine magical creatures just around a corner or fairies flitting from tree to tree. Always get permission before venturing out, but spending a day hiking through a forest of abandoned mines or into an old ghost town is like passing through a forbidden land.


In County Kerry the Cahergall Stone Fort,
overlooks waves of grassy fields and crumbles
as it slowly loses is fight with the elements.


In the Pyrenese mountains of Spain,
the Canfranc train station was built in
1928. Today it contines to stand stately
and impressive, but lonely and empty.


Majestic and moss covered, the
Baker Hotel takes up a block in
downtown Mineral Wells, Texas.

Do you have a favorite abandoned location to visit?
Or one on your bucket list? Send a comment and let me know!

 

Fantastic Celebrations
BY SL Dooley

There's nothing better than celebrating a world that doesn't exist. It's an excuse to get together, nerd out, make story-related food, and yes, dress the part. Here are just a few:

  • Narnia Day: October 16th
    The day The Chronicles of Narnia was published

 

  • International Harry Potter Day: May 2nd
    The infamous Battle of Hogwarts

 

  • Star Wars: May 4th
    May the 4th be with you!

 

  • Hobbit Day: September 22nd
    Bilbo and Frodo Baggin's shared birthday

Towers and Turrets: Castle Inspiration
BY SL Dooley

It could be where Cinderella spent her “happily ever after” or the final resting place of Count Dracula’s victums. Either way, castles are captivating. The Citadel of Aleppo is considered the oldest castle in the world. The impressive structure, built in 3000 B.C., is located in northern Syria.

The inspiration for my short story The Herald’s Charge is the Bunratty Castle located in County Clare, Ireland. I visted the castle in 2016 and explored the attached medieval park. Buildings were reconstructed to give visitors a first-hand view of what life would have been like in Ireland in the 16th century.

The stable where Reeder prepares for his journey is now the park tea room where I enjoyed lunch. Looking back, I can imagine Reeder roaming the village streets and learning to ride in the field outside the Clare farmhouse. Castles during this time were built primarily for defense, but would also contain a great hall for gatherings and entertaining, a guard room, private and public chapels. Spiral stairs were designed with an irregular step pattern to make a quick accent or decent difficult for would-be enemies.

Reeder loved his home and considered it a high honor to serve his people and the leaders of the kingdom.

I’d love to hear, what castles inspire you. Drop me a note and tell me which castles you’ve visited or where you dream of going.