Characters from The Bow of Saga: Spark

Note: Fantasy Friday is a new feature for Archer’s Aim. This is a re-post, but for those interested, it’s useful. I’ll work on some new, fantasy-related posts to mix in with some of my older ones like this as well as some posts about new books in the coming months. Please feel free to share on social media or re-blog these posts. Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend!

This is the second of several posts revealing more about characters from The Bow of Destiny. You can read about Athson here. If you like dogs, you’ll love today’s post!

SparkSpark was a rather interesting and late addition to The Bow of Destiny. You see, Spark is a dog but not just any dog. He’s a dog that only Athson sees while he’s not taking doses of his elven medicine, Soul-ease. You might wonder if Spark is real and so does Athson. However, Athson considers Spark an old friend who watches out for him.
The idea for this invisible dog came from my daughter who did some alpha reading on the book last year. She suggested adding a dog so Spark is what I came up with. In the book, Athson identifies this dog as a Mountain Hound but to you and me he’s a German Shepherd – or very much like one.
If you’ve read my bio you know we own two German Shepherds so you can guess the origin of this character. But there’s more to the characterization than just being like a common breed. Spark is actually based on both of my dogs, appearing more like our female, Chloe, while sometimes acting rather like our male, Sam.

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GSDsChloe & Sam
While Chloe is all guard-dog and ready for action all the time, Sam is more of a friendly bloke with a nasty side when necessary. But the unique quality of Sam is his way of communicating with us – he wags his tail for “yes” and doesn’t for “no”. Don’t believe me? Here’s a sample of Sam (Spark)-talk which is through a series of yes and no questions (and of course you have to catch Sam at a good time since he’s usually easily distracted like most dogs by things like food):
Me: “Sam, is it cold outside?”
Sam wags his tail – and it is (or was when this happened).
Me: “Sam, do you like the cold?”
Sam wags his tail because he really doesn’t like the hot Alabama summer but thrives in what cold weather we have.
Me: “Sam, do you want to sleep outside?”
Sam doesn’t wag his tail because, while he likes cold weather, he prefers to stay near his people like most GSDs do. This question is one that’s meant to ensure he’s really answering rather than just wagging his tail in distraction.
Me: “Sam, do you like Chloe?”
No wag because Chloe can really pesters him and bites him often since she’s rather feisty.
Me: “Sam, did Chloe bite you today?”
Sam wags his tail. Funny thing about dogs is that, being like wolf puppies, the males often let females win. Sam is much larger but always lets Chloe win.
Me: “Sam, do you want Chloe to sleep outside in the cold?”
Sam wags his tail. Yep that’s right, Sam wants Chloe to sleep outside while he gets to sleep inside.
We often can ascertain if Sam feels sick (he gets colitis) or achy (he’s getting a little older now and is starting to get stiff joints). We even found out that Sam wants a pet cat though this is likely the fact that he actually misses the old cat, Becky, who was still alive when Sam came to live with us. The cat hated Sam but he loved her. But you get the idea – Sam talks in his own way. He’s rather intelligent that way and even plays tricks on Chloe to get her to do what he wants. Now don’t think that Chloe is dumb by any means. She recognizes aggression easily and can solve some puzzles that Sam just won’t bother with.
So guess who speaks Sam-talk? Spark! I have a number of instances where Spark reveals something to Athson about his surroundings that Athson just doesn’t get. But you, the reader, get to understand that Spark may just know more about what’s going on at times than Athson.

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Spark appears throughout The Bow of Hart Saga. To find out more about the character, click the links for The Bow of Destiny, An Arrow Against the Wind or The White Arrow. The entire series is not available on Audible from Podium Publishing:



About the Author

P. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. His first novel, The Bow of Destiny was named 2016 Book of the Year by Fantasia Reviews and is the first book of The Bow of Hart Saga. The sequel novel, An Arrow Against the Wind, was released in April of 2017. The third book of the series, The White Arrow, is due to be released during the Fall of 2017. P. H. Solomon also authored the award winning short story, The Black Bag, which won best published short story at SCWC 2012. P. H. is also a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

Prequel short stories to The Bow of Hart Saga:

Trading Knives Amazon

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What Is Needed Amazon

Download and listen to the prequels for free at AudFans

   Trading Knives 1   What Is Needed 4



    1. The latest MRI studies indicate that dogs process language that same was we do. Sam tells me when his arthritic leg hurts which is helpful to know. Chloe gets quite literal sometimes – gets confused at jokes. Someone once told her as he stood to leave (a rather tall English bloke) that he was going to eat her. She ran away and hid which was hilarious since she’s the one that is very protective.

      1. That’s funny. I handed the setter our checkbook once and said, “Take this to Mom.” She searched the house for my wife and placed it at her feet. She’d never done anything like that before.

      2. That’s funny too. I’ve had a few of those moments as well. If I could get them to clean up Beorn’s animals in The Hobbit I’d save some real time around the house!

  1. Our dogs can certainly understand and communicate…Ani, who is a setter/toller, really does manage to converse with me in her own way…and understands me all too well on many levels 🙂

    1. They do indeed. I’ve seen reports that dogs process language close to how we do and possibly have a larger vocabulary of what they understand from us than what was once thought. Of course that varies across breed and individual dogs but their abilities to work with us are built on a very good understanding of us.

      1. The level of understanding works both ways. 🙂 Studies have shown that owners can comprehend the meaning of over a hundred different vocalisations from their dogs. I know I can with Ani 🙂

      2. My mom was very good with understanding various types of barks from one of our dogs. My brother couldn’t figure out how she knew the dog wanted something specific because he couldn’t differentiate the types of barks!

      3. As I live alone with my dog, and she is very vocal…makes the oddest noises… I understand her all too well…as she does me. Not that it makes her any more obedient… it just means I know she makes an informed choice when she does as I ask 😉

  2. Great post! My Shepherd, Annie, was super protective of DH (darling hubby). Anytime she was outside with him, she shadowed him. He couldn’t move without her by his side.
    And walks- it got to where I had to spell the word and even then she knew what I was saying, lol. She’d run to the door, dance circles, bark and give the goofiest grin 🙂
    I miss her so much.

    1. Much smarter. I forget the details but they understand tone, words, gestures and facial expressions. The last one is interesting because the view the face the same way. A cat doesn’t understand all that the same way.

      1. We taught our dogs commands with both words and hand signals, so the gestures don’t surprise me at all. Expressions are interesting. I can get one of my dogs to wink at me, and both of them smile if you smile at them. I’ve never had a cat (terribly allergic), so I can’t speak to that, but I know my boys are quite expressive and understand a lot.

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