Saturday, February 7, 2015

Elf Hills by S. S. Dudley

Elf Hills

by S.S. Dudley


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.


How to get YOUR copy:

·  The ebook 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 the author’s newsletter at my web-site can have the ebook free.
·  Folks who purchase through the author’s web-site (Kindle, ePub, PDF; via and share their purchase via social media can have it 50% off.


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.

I tried to read this with the mindset of a younger reader, or a parent sharing it with young children.
The story is OK, and I will perhaps read a continuation to see what happens next.
I would say it appeals mainly to children between the ages of six and ten.

Linda's family lives in a small community at the base of a mysterious mountain. There are many tales and suspicions about the mountain being magical or home to magical creatures. At times it seems to give off an unexplained glow.

In the beginning Linda, the main character is only 4 years old, and soon six. She has a fairy friend, Majica, who visits her in the form of a butterfly. It is through one of their play sessions that we are introduced to Linda's cousin Nugu. Majica is going away to a faerie convention and tells Linda she will be gone a long time.

Linda is a very curious child and often sets off to investigate the mountain on her own.
Her parents get her a dog, both to keep her company and hopefully as protection as she wanders off.
Nugu ends up being a very good cousin and also tries to keep Linda out of trouble, until he doesn't.

When Linda is nine she decides to investigate more of the mountain. 
She has been running with her father and enjoys off road trails.
This is where Nugu actually gets Linda into trouble, rather than keeping her safe.
And they do meet some interesting magical creatures.

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

& on twitter at  @SS_dudley


  1. I enjoyed the excerpt!

    Trix, vitajex@aol dot com

  2. I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. Hi Laura. I did write the story to share with my rather sensitive six-year old. Thank you for your review.


Thank you for visiting.
I love to hear comments
and like to visit you back.