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An Arrow Against the Wind Commentary: Athson’s Choices

Introduction

The Bow of Destiny begins a long journey for Athson and his companions which leads him to a gut-wrenching ending in that book. An Arrow Against the Wind begins immediately after those twists but with a twist of its own. In that light, Athson’s perspective shifts with realization that what he thought was real wasn’t and he begins to question his decade-long predicament.

Commentary

Within The Bow of Destiny, Athson struggles with grief both old and new as well as his uncertainty from his PTSD-like fits which seem to have resolved in some ways. However, he’s never quite sure of himself and doesn’t always trust his own awareness. He’s equally suspicious and doubtful of the quest. Within all of these difficulties, Athson is stuck in a spiraling struggle with his outlook on the adventure.

But, with the sudden shift of reality, his mood shifts from one of grief to that of a determination to seek answers to his life as well as help those around him. Without sharing any spoilers, Athson needs to find more than the Bow of Hart and isn’t willing to just follow Hastra’s lead in the matter. However, he is seeking to help others and himself though he doesn’t know how to go about it. He just unwilling to follow a course that he doesn’t believe will achieve his goals.

Athson sets out on his own to accomplish his new goals, determined not to remain a grieving victim. Hastra and Gweld slowly turn his attention back to the Bow of Hart as a way of accomplishing his goals. Their reasoning is that the Bow of Hart is the key to the problems that confront Athson who slowly comes around to the idea. However, he still wants to do things his way regardless.

Between the events of The Bow of Destiny and An Arrow Against the Wind, there’s a definite progression for Athson. In the first book, he’s struggling with his own pathos and malady about which he believes himself to be merely a bystander as events happen to him. By the end, he’s willing to take a stand for himself and others, rising out of his inward struggles.

An Arrow Against the Wind shows how Athson begins to grow as he takes action against the forces set against him. His actions are imperfect but he has skills as a ranger that he can use to further his goals. He believes he’s still making good decision, a belief revealed in the opening scene of The Bow of Destiny when he makes a choice while hunting. But as Athson progresses he will be presented with tougher choices and the question remains if he’s truly able to make a difficult decision by parsing out more than what he wants at a moment, but what is best for others as well. His choices lie between his own goals and the needs of others. He wants to help but what is the best way? He’s growing out of the malaise of years and into an active participant in this life because the Bow of Hart and the prophesy surrounding it require him to grow and make tough choices.

Excerpt

Here’s an excerpt where he discusses his options with Limbreth regarding some choices and the Bow of Hart:

Later, they shared time during their watches as they walked a circuit of their camp. Spark trailed them.

“Let’s just leave and go ourselves. They’re slowing us down. They’ll keep me from doing what I have to do.” Athson stared into the silent night, his tone hushed. Time was wasting. Each night the moon phase progressed. His gut clenched. “It’s not their decision.”

“Athson, they mean well and understand your feelings.” She paused, hefting a sword. “But there are the bigger issues of the prophecy. Hastra knew her risks and has for years.”

They paused by the mules, and Athson patted one on its side. “But I can’t abandon my father and mother again.” He turned to Limbreth and grasped her shoulders. “I’ve lived well with the elves while they’ve suffered. I can’t just run off and forget them.”

She leaned forward, her forehead touching his. “I know. It’s not easy. Maybe an answer will present itself.”

His voice rose in challenge, and he stepped back. “Like what? I’m trapped. They are trapped in Corgren’s clutches.”

Limbreth gazed toward their sleeping companions and back to Athson. “Quiet, you’ll wake the others. I don’t know what will happen, and neither do you. But I’ll go through it with you.” She took his hand and came closer. “I’m here now. For you. So are the others.”

Athson shrugged. Was her support just words? She had a suitor waiting for her. Somewhere. “What if the others scout out Corgren? I find the bow while they sneak my father away. Then, then…” Then what? His mother died?

Limbreth lowered her face. “What about your mother?” She sighed. “Tough questions and no answers. Yet.”

Athson paced away and back. “Well, just get some sleep. We push on before the moon.”

A falling star streaked across the sky. Athson remembered a similar sight in his vision at Eagle’s Aerie. The arrow Eloch prepared. He frowned at the sparkling sky. The inheritance lay in his pack. The same words written on the will. He needed an arrow?

“That was beautiful.”

“Yes.” Athson managed. “There’s supposed to be an arrow.”

Still watching the sky, Limbreth frowned. “What arrow?”

“It’s in the prophecy.” He thumbed over his shoulder toward camp. “It’s in that will I got. I don’t know where that is. I remember something. A falling star like a smoking arrow from back at Eagle’s Aerie. But if it’s not with the Bow of Hart I don’t know what to do to find it. But if I did, I’d have something to fight back with. Maybe.”

“Perhaps, but at least we’ll know if it’s there, and maybe we can ask Howart, if he’s there…” She lifted her arms to his shoulders and stepped closer, her eyes still to the sky. “Then we’ll decide. You know we’ll do something based on all that information. There’s an answer, Athson. It’s not hopeless.”

He scowled a moment then realized her tone held encouragement. “Thanks.” He held her a while under the stars as the time slipped past him.

Find out more about the second book of The Bow of Hart Saga, An Arrow Against the Wind, by clicking on one of these retailer badges:

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When Did It Happen – Questions from The Bow of Hart Saga

I often get questions or see comments about aspects of the series. One of them involves Gweld. When did it happen? For those who have read the book, they know what the reference is. For those who haven’t, well, why not read the series and find out what that questions is about? You can click the series graphic below to check it out on Amazon where it’s available in ebook and audio.

But the question is only part of the purpose of this post. Want to discuss this question and many others, maybe what’s new with my writing, give an opinion about the sequel or new pieces of books? Well, I have just the place – Marston’s Station on Goodreads. This is a private group just for interested fans who want to know more, converse with me and other readers and learn about new writing on which I’m working. Want to join? Just click the link and expect a question from one of the books to gain entrance to the group. This is a new group so you can be one of the first to join!

Working with an Audio-book Publisher

Hello to all the Archer’s Aim fans, P. H. Solomon here today in the continuing series regarding the release of The Bow of Hart Saga: The Bow of Destiny audio-book. I thought I would discuss some elements of working with a traditional audio publisher like Podium Publishing since it’s different than working with ACX or other audio self-publishing services.

A few years ago, I investigated self-publishing an audio-book and soon discovered it was a completely different product altogether as opposed to a book in print. It’s far more expensive to create an audio-book because you have to hire a narrator and pay for studio time. It is possible to do all that on your own and purchase some equipment, but you run the risk of having a product that’s not good enough since it requires more specialization both with the narration and in audio quality. With a low budget mostly focused on e-book content production including editing and cover artwork, I gave up on the idea unless an opportunity presented itself.

As I’ve shared previously, the opportunity did present itself and I almost missed it, thinking Podium was a vanity publisher. After a conversation with another author about audio, I was reminded of the email I had received and re-checked it. To my utter surprise, it was a real contract offer from the publisher to fully create the audio project, publish it and then market it. From there it was a matter of working through the details over several months while I completed The White Arrow.

First of all, I have to say that audio narrators are now my heroes. After I started dictating this past year to complete several rough drafts at a faster pace, I soon realized that narrators are worth every penny they are paid. The reason I realized this is because when I transcribed my rough drafts into Scrivener, I could see all of my mistakes from my inexperienced efforts. Dictation and narration are quite a lot different, but they are similar enough that I realized a professional narrator is a big plus when it comes to audio. For that reason, I was thrilled when Podium Publishing contacted me after I signed the contract with them and they told me who the narrator would be. When I heard samples of Tim Bruce, I knew the narration would be top-notch and the end result did not disappoint me. Tim’s ability was evident from the first few words and I knew he fit my fantasy series well.

But even later on as production moved from initial file-sharing stages, Podium contacted me numerous times for additional information to help in pre-production. I provided them with pronunciation recordings and lists of names which were all custom to the The Bow of Hart Saga. These were important for Tim Bruce so he had exact information to help him do his job precisely and professionally. The more I provided, the more he knew how to perform the story with a variety of accents.

Podium presented me a choice to provide as little or as much information as I wanted for the audio production. But, since they were asking me all these questions I felt like my input as the author was very important and so I chose to be part of that pre-production process as much as possible. Obviously, given today’s digital world, the actual production can be done remotely and shared around between all of the various people involved at Podium.

This information dump was just the start of working with an audio-book publisher. In addition to pronunciation, the narrator needed even more information regarding some of the background details of the world of Denaria in which the The Bow of Hart Saga is set. Tim was already reading much of the work and wanted more information about accents he wanted to include. My interaction was optional but I figured the more information I provided, the better the end result would be. I very eagerly replied to all email queries about details and accents. Tim arrived at several suggestions for character accent from various locations in Denaria. This was a rather surprising development, but once again, I was more convinced than ever that being under contract with audio-book publisher was the best situation for my books.

As pre-production continued, there were a lot of exchanges of emails between myself and the Podium Publishing representatives. There were additional questions about back-stories for the characters to which I provided a number of different character sketches. Additionally, I had a good number of blog posts available about characters and other details of the world of the Denaria which I sent Podium. The publisher welcomed the wealth of information and input to better understand The Bow of Hart Saga.

There were other details which also required my attention. Normally, a print publisher would probably create their own cover-art, but Podium often works with sefl-published science fiction and fantasy authors, so they merely requested original files. We were able to work with my artist to obtain the necessary files and Podium converted the fantastic originals to suit their needs. Everyone who sees these covers are very impressed. I discussed more of how the process worked last week on Story Empire if you are interested in reading more about that topic.

Once production started, my input was not needed as much, so it just became more of a wait and find out what happens proposition. In the end, when I received samples of the work, I was blown away by results. It’s almost unbelievable how far this has all gotten for a first time author like me and one who had no audience three years ago. The books have already sold very well, in the thousands, and I’m looking forward to what comes with these audio-book editions. Working with Podium Publishing has been fun and exciting as I have learned more of how an audio-book is produced. I hope in the future that I will have a similar opportunity and, if so, I will certainly know what to expect from additional audio-books.

Thanks for reading today, I hope you will enjoy my work and I appreciate all the support from the fans of the The Bow of Hart Saga. If you like this fantasy series, please consider sharing about it on social media, following me especially on my Amazon Author Page, BookBub and Goodreads. If you really want to know more about my writing venture, let me know and I’ll add you to my private group on Goodreads where I will be posting exclusive material and news I can’t readily share in public.

Speaking of news, An Arrow Against the Wind is due out on 10/22/2018 and I hope to have pre-order links for the audio-book very soon. In the meantime, you can listen to the incredible performance by Tim Bruce on AudFans where The Bow of Hart Saga: Prequel Pack is free or going to the Audible page for The Bow of Destiny. If you already have The Bow of Destiny in e-book you can view the Amazon page and purchase audio for Whispersync on your Kindle for a fraction of the cost. If you are interested in the book, the e-book is on sale for 99 cents which makes the Whispersync purchase a great deal (Podium really handled this very well).