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Scribbled throughout the margins of a paperback proof of “Crodor the Ancient” are notes written by 12-year-old co-author Celia Risho. They mark places where scenes throw out information too fast, actions don’t line up with a character’s personality, or words are misspelled.

“Add more emotion,” one note reads.

To Ephie Risho, Celia’s father and partner-in-writing, the note is a good reminder. He’s been learning how to write in a way that makes readers feel more emotion. Depth of emotion isn’t common in young adult literature, he said.

Once the father-daughter team completes the final edits, they’ll be ready for “Crodor the Ancient (The Elementalists, Book 2)” to hit the shelves. It’s the second book they’ll have published during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re happy that even though all this horribleness has turned our reality upside down, something good has happened,” Celia said.

The duo’s latest fantasy epic follows a group of heroes as they set out in search of a red dragon. The heroes must overcome their differences to find the dragon and convince it to help them defeat a fearsome goblin army.

“Crodor the Ancient” is a continuation of Book 1, “Phoenix Rising.” The book is geared toward children and teenagers, and it’s full of important themes and exciting adventures, the authors said. They invested in an illustrator, cover artist and editor to help make the story come to life.

“It was worth it to us to have the quality that we got,” Ephie said.

Ephie and Celia presented their near-complete book in the attic of Isle of Books, Bozeman’s Used Book Emporium, on Friday. Customers strolling through the store walked around the duo’s first novel near the front counter. That novel was published last May.

Isle of Books is the first brick and mortar store to house Book 1 in “The Elementalists” series, according to Ephie. He said the owners are committed to supporting local authors.

Ephie plans to begin shipping Book 2 in early April. He and Celia hope they can get back to writing Book 3 in the series soon. They’ve already written three chapters.

The co-authors launched Kickstarter last week to recoup some of the money they spent to get the book illustrated, edited and published. Their goal is to raise $7,000 by March 19.

Awards for pledges range from signed copies of the book to a personalized poem from the authors. People who pledge $500 or more can name a character in Book 2.

“It’s very, very fun to write these books because I’ve always had a lot of ideas,” Celia said. “Now I have an outlet for my ideas, and I’m really happy with how they turned out.”

It took a lot of back-and-forth for Celia and Ephie to complete the first drafts of Book 1 and 2 in the series. And that was before they brought in an outside editor. Editing the first book was a year-long process alone, according to Ephie.

To Celia, it’s far easier to edit a book than to write one, as writing involves putting words together and creating scenes. Though it’s complicated, young authors shouldn’t be discouraged from trying, she said.

“It’s possible. It is not a dream that we have but that can never come true,” Celia said. “If we start now, we can have this for the rest of our lives.”

Ephie said he’s interested in redeeming a science fiction book he attempted to write several years ago now that he’s gotten used to the process. He was discouraged before when a he took it to a writer’s group, and they “shot it full of holes.”

“I’ve got great friends who have great ideas and maybe even have written a lot of stuff, but getting it past those barriers to finally publish is a lot,” Ephie said. “I honestly wouldn’t have gotten these books to this state if it wasn’t for Celia.”

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Helena Dore can be reached at or at 582-2628.

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