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Fantasy Authors Unplugged Featuring Daniel Adorno

This is the beginning of a new feature on Archer’s Aim – Fantasy Authors Unplugged. I hope to frequently share an interview with a fantasy author. If you have authors to suggest and/or questions you’d like to see answered then leave a comment or send me an email. If you are a fantasy author and would like an interview please let me know and we’ll plan one that fits your schedule.

Daniel AdornoToday’s feature fantasy author is Daniel Adorno whose first epic fantasy novel, The Blade Heir, was released a few months ago and is on sale this week.

What’s the basic plot of The Blade Heir?

The Blade Heir is the story of a young man, Lucius Nostra, who is raised by elves. With his adoptive elf brother, Siegfried, at his side, Lucius embarks on a quest to forge an ancient sword and halt the return of the dragons of the North.

How did you choose the genre you write in?

I have always been a fan of fantasy and science fiction novels, so I was naturally drawn to write stories of fantastical realms or futuristic worlds. Novels like The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia were very inspirational to me as an aspiring writer. Stephen Lawhead’s King Raven trilogy and Celtic fantasy books were also influential in my writing.

Where do you get your ideas?

My ideas come from all kinds of media including novels, movies, TV, the Bible, and history texts I’ve read. Occasionally, I’ll get an idea for a story just from creating a title that I like or digital art that really inspires me.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

I’ve experienced writer’s block a few times and I usually attribute it to either lack of creative ideas or procrastination. The latter just requires me to stop making excuses and write! When it’s the former, I usually need to re-evaluate my story and find out what’s stifling the writing. Sometimes it’s just a matter of tweaking an outline or finding plot holes. Other times just taking a break from writing to read a book or take a walk, clears that writer’s block right away.

cover1seppedDo you work with an outline, or just write?

I’ve done it both ways. With The Blade Heir, I just wrote and let the words come onto the page with a very loose mental outline of how I wanted things to resolve. Just writing is a very liberating experience for writers, but it can lead to massive headaches in the editing stage, which I experienced. Having learned the pitfalls of that method, I’m going the outline route with my current project and I actually enjoy having everything planned out more than I expected. Plots and subplots are easier to manage and keeping track of where I want the story to go is also simpler.

What project are you working on now?

Currently, I’m working on a post-apocalyptic novella that could be considered Young Adult. You can read the first chapter on my Wattpad page.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

The toughest criticism I’ve received as an author is that my writing is “written for a fifth grader.” My writing style is aimed at young adults and anyone older, not middle grade fiction, so it was not a compliment. Alternatively, the best compliment I’ve received is that my writing leaves people wanting more. It’s a wonderful compliment because I struggle with knowing whether I have what it takes to be an author or not.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Never stop writing. Even if you get negative criticism or have reservations about your writing. To write is to progress in the craft, so continue on. But also know when it’s time to let your writing out into the world, whether that’s submitting it to a publisher or publishing it yourself.

I would also recommend aspiring writers drop the “aspiring” from their titles. You’re either a writer or you’re not. Once you start believing you are a writer it will make a world of difference in how you approach your writing and the level of confidence you have in the art.

Thanks to Daniel for being first in this feature. I totally agree with the last paragraph. You can find him on the web here and his book on Amazon, Smashwords, BN, etc.

Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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What Changed My Writing – For The Better

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

When I started writing again after a number of years hiatus, I was unsure what I had to say let alone how much I could get done. Years ago, when I started writing there was no computer explosion and all the software. When I first finished the original version of my book there was more computerized tools but not much and the internet was certainly not so big and filled with so many resources. I needed to find out what I could do and find out what I had to say.

What did I do? I joined a writing email list to observe what people were doing about getting words written. I followed without a commitment and used a journal for a month to see how many words I could write. I believe I wrote over thirty thousand which was an eye-opener. Now it wasn’t anything specific but it gave me an idea of what I could do strictly using a computer. So journaling gave me a benchmark for what I could do.

But I still didn’t fully commit to writing like I needed.

When I finally did commit and started building my author platform my writing productivity began to change again. Why? Short answer: blogging. With blogging I needed to regularly create content. The problem wasn’t how many words I needed to write but ideas.

After a shaky start with ideas, I began to string together ideas. Then I was able to start churning out blog posts more regularly.

But how has this affected my fiction writing? As I began to generate ideas for blogging I was also jogging my creativity. As a result, I began to come up with ideas for short stories, novel and non-fiction books. What a big plus!

With blogging there was an added bonus. I got that much faster at developing and writing content. The less complex posts I can finish in about an hour. More complex blogs really don’t take that long to write instead it’s the research and other ideas that take up time.

WritingHere are a few tips from what I’ve learned:

1. Write regularly – this is a tip that is frequently used but often has little elaboration. In my opinion, write often whether it is for publication or not.

2. Use a journal – it grows your confidence about expression in a low pressure format and it also contributes to idea generation.

3. Try blogging more regularly if you don’t already – it hones your creativity and productivity so you become more proficient as a writer.

4. Make a commitment to your writing – if you are reluctant to push yourself to increase your content productivity you aren’t likely to publish much.

I don’t know where I’ll end up with my writing. However, I have made strides that I never imagined I would even six months ago.

If you blog, has it helped your writing? What commitments could you make to improve your writing? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed yesterday so take a look.

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Clip art licensed from Microsoft Office.

What is Needed Part 6

Photo used in The Bow of Destiny book trailer

Photo used in The Bow of Destiny book trailer

Author’s Note: This is the conclusion of Part 2 of the prequel blog serial entitled “What is Needed”. Click on these links to read Part 1, Part 2 (first section)Part 2 (Conclusion), Part 3Part 4 and Part 5. This series is a companion to The Bow of Destiny (Part 1 of The Bow of Hart Saga). The events of the blog series pre-date those of The Bow of Destiny by several hundred years but include several long-lived characters who appear in the forthcoming novel. This material is copyrighted and not intended for reproduction except at the author’s consent.

What is Needed (Part 6)

by P. H. Solomon

The sun dangled between corona-rimmed clouds and the snow-capped peaks of the Grey Spires. Golden light bathed the path ahead of the three furtive shapes.

Troll-wolves howled and Hastra slipped into the shade between trees with Zelma and Howart. If only they could avoid the pursuit one last time. The Tower was just ahead if she remembered correctly. She pinched her lower lip and peeked along the old road.

Zelma’s breath puffed mist. “Is it still clear?”

Howart loomed in the shadow of the trees. “They aren’t as close as yesterday.”

“They make enough noise to scare everything for miles. But I don’t see any scouts so let’s go.” Hastra eased out of hiding onto the overgrown road and her two companions followed.

Her stomach rumbled but Hastra dared not call for a halt so she ate bread from her bag. Two weeks and the food’s still good though it was hard. She kicked a root and stumbled but Zelma steadied her.

At the head of the long rise Hastra spied the pile of weathered stone named the Old Tower. Where Withlings used to go to see and hear instruction or speak rituals. Now it was the dead end of the trap Kregen sprung around them. They staggered over the path against wind that snapped and swirled across the end of the headland that thrust into the booming sea.

Horns and Troll-wolves howled. Much closer now. “We must hurry now, sister.”

Zelma shivered as she walked, her eyes wide.

Hastra brushed hair from her face. Was she cold or afraid? The edifice loomed out of the gloom of dusk in the east. Distant lightning flashed across the Bay of Storms from the east and lit the roofless tower-top. It defied wind and weather. Gusts tugged at the low scrub-trees scattered around its feet. This isolated end of nowhere might be the end of them. If only Eloch…

The travelers hurried into the shadow of the Old Tower and took refuge from the blasts in a shallow alcove. Snippets of howling and horns broke through the roar of wind. Their pursuers were coming now. There was no escape. Hastra hugged herself but still shivered. “Now what?”

“I don’t know except go up.” Howart steadied himself with a trembling hand on the stone. He leaned against the wall, slid into a crouch and laid his head on scratched arms folded over his knees. A ragged sigh escaped from his thin lips. “Just need to rest a while.”

Hastra peered along the road. They were all spent and bound to die. She touched the death wound from which she’d risen. “What is needed is given.”

Horn blasts floated on the wind.

Zelma’s lips quivered and dark circles ringed her eyes above pale skin. Sprigs of her hair waved from beneath her gray hood. “They’re coming now.”

Hastra nodded. Even Zelma’s hair seemed faded. “They’ve found our scent. We can’t stay here long. If we are needed atop the tower then let’s climb.”

Soft sobs escaped from Zelma. “Then what?”

Hastra embraced her sister. “We’ll pray, Zelma. All will be well in the end. We’re here for a reason just because we’re still breathing when we should be weeks dead.”

Zelma forced a thin smile through her tears. “It will never be the same as it was, but perhaps we’ll see better atop the tower.”

Zelma’s hair fell across her face as she touched Howart’s head. The Grendonese man remained still. “He’s fallen asleep.”

Hastra’s head whipped around at the close sound of horns. “Trolls are near. It’s time.”

Zelma jumped and Howart started.

The gaunt man stood. “We must go and seek Eloch’s guidance.”

They scurried from the alcove and climbed the stairwell that wound around the tower’s girth. Wind flailed the surviving Withlings and the storm thundered in the bay as they fought for each ascending step. They ignored their weariness as horns sounded closer.

Hastra staggered. Surely they had time. She thrust her hands before her and pulled for the next step as rain pattered the stone.

Horns sounded closer along with hounds baying, clear and constant, as the din of pursuit carried over the wind. They grappled their way to the top and knelt with their cloaks twisting in the violent wind.

Snarls announced the arrival of trolls. The troll-wolves howled. Kregen’s voice rose in the wind. “Quickly, take them.”

Hastra raised her eyebrows to Howart and Zelma. There was fear on their faces. If only they could meditate in all the din. “Pretend it’s the Hall of Silence.”

Hastra shut her eyes and raised her hands. What is needed is given and she needed focus. She ignored the troll boots scraping on the steps. She breathed and reached for practiced calm. “Move in me, O Eloch.” She exhaled. Welcome warmth bloomed at the edge of her awareness and she waited rather than reach for it in conscious thought. Warmth swallowed her fear and grief.

Hastra’s eyes blinked open and shut as her usual trembling at the presence of Eloch took hold. Her arms shook and her body quaked. Zelma and Howart undulated like grass in the wind.

The clouds spun into a whirlwind that detached from main storm and churned toward the tower. Hastra closed her eyes. Calm as a sleeping babe. Indecipherable words erupted from her mouth.

The wind rumbled and drowned the clamor of troll horns and hounds. Hastra’s body stilled with the wind and her eyes opened. Light glowed in the spinning gust. They were protected from our enemy. Her arms dropped to her sides. She fell over and stared at the shape moving amid the light and whirlwind.

Beyond the silence within the whirlwind, Kregen cringed at the stairwell. He stretched out his arms and shouted unheard words. He shook his fist with a grimace and fled.

“You have come as children in need. Will you serve on?” The voice suffused Hastra with the rich whisper of peace and inexorable power.

Kregen’s offer rose with the flash of the knife. Hastra smiled as tears spilled from her eyes. “I will serve.” Zelma and Howart answered the same.

“Zelma Vorcinni, should you choose to follow, to you shall be given the task of protecting for long years that which shall come to you in time. You shall want for nothing, not even companionship in desolate places.”

“Howart Balto, should you choose to follow, to you shall be given the task of hiding against chaos what shall come to you after a while. No power of time or change shall pierce the bulwark about you in the midst of confusion.”

“Hastra Vorcinni, should you choose to go, to you shall be given the task of labor against innumerable foes, yet you shall find rest and plenty in the midst of want and danger.”

“And now, my children reach to me if you will come and be comforted and healed…”

At Eloch’s urging, the three Withlings stretched out their hands as one.

The whirlwind fell away.

Hastra rose on one elbow amid a grass covered field at dusk. “Zelma? Howart?” She sat alone with her bag that held her food and the Book of Prophecies.

End of Part 6

Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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