Choices

Where I’ve Been & What’s Coming Up – I Hope…

It’s been a while since posting here on the blog. I’ve been struggling with health issues all year, so the summer was very busy in that regard. I’m still on a long, slow mend, but making a little progress. I’m heading back to some rehab, but it’s not as bad as last March.But rather than dwell on health, I prefer to share some of what’s going on with writing plans. The schedule is now jumbled, so I’m updating that on the news page. Also, I’ll get to a major shift in priorities in an upcoming post. Suffice it to say I’m going back to my writing roots. I’ll get into why and what it means later.

But rather than dwell on health, I prefer to share some of what’s going on with writing plans. The schedule is now jumbled, so I’m updating that on the news page. Also, I’ll get to a major shift in priorities in an upcoming post. Suffice it to say I’m going back to my writing roots. I’ll get into why and what it means later.

My immediate plans are to complete work on The Unseen Hand, Volume 2 of The Cursed Mage Case Files. My hope is to release it by Thanksgiving though it looks like that schedule may slide some.

The good news with the upcoming book is the artwork. I’ve ordered the cover from my artist and hope it will arrive within the week.

The delays with this book have been many and mostly physical. Energy and focus have been a big problem all year. This improved to the point where I could spend more time on it. However, all the backlog of the year of working in fits and spurts left me far behind on other needful tasks, some of which will be announced here in the coming days.

I made a lot of progress on all fronts out of my stagnation. Then my health dropped another major distraction on me. I developed a sudden eye infection. I was unable to keep my eyes open and had to make an emergency visit to the local eye hospital on a weekend. Then there were frequent drops, treatment, and more appointments.

This emergency kept me from working on the book for over a week. Oddly, or maybe not so odd in the end, I had an eye problem when I published The Bow of Destiny in late 2015. It turns out these were related. I was diagnosed with rosacea affecting my eyes. The ophthalmologist told me it’s often diagnosed from eye issues.

Now, I’m getting back in the swing more but still working around post Covid limitations. I’m getting better at working around them, but still have to do “working breaks”. But I’m making steady progress. This post is a good sign of that fact. I’m managing what feels like a new normal. As a result, revision of The Unseen Hand crawls forward.

I’ve even been able to make a few plans about other books and begin some much needed changes to the site as well as update books. Announcements are coming about multiple changes and developments and I think everyone will like them all.

My sincere hope is to launch more entertaining books for readers. If only I don’t have any more setbacks with health.

All that being expressed, I’m sorry I haven’t posted more here. I truly have been consumed with health concerns and just haven’t had the energy and focus to spend time on Archer’s Aim, let alone a new book. Things are progressing, just not as quickly as I’d like. Stay tuned, I’ll get to the next launch and more books beyond in due time. More to come about other holdups in the near future. In the meantime, please see the News page for some updates as I get back in the proverbial saddle, even if it’s with limitations.

Also as a closing note, I am catching up on lost time this week with several posts. The schedule will settle down next week.

10 More Ways to Survive a Monstrous Halloween Encounter

Halloween can be a tough time of year. After all, you have to go out at night when all the monsters really get out. You could run into nearly anything at this time of year – and it gets dark early! Want to go for that evening run? You better be prepared for anything from the menacing neighborhood dog to – gulp – a werewolf. Here are some thoughts on how to survive an encounter with a werewolf and maybe even make a friend.

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Snarling Dog

  1. Be prepared for this possible encounter in several ways. First, remember that a wolf wants to chase something so don’t run – and certainly don’t scream since both reactions will just get this monster’s prey instinct going.

2. The next way to be prepared is to go out with some dog treats. This is a great way to make friends with a menacing dog – right? Just think of a werewolf as merely a troublesome dog – just one that needs a bit of special handling.

3. Remember, a werewolf is a person too – just confused by the sudden change into a dog. Wouldn’t you be? So do what you should with a dog and calmly take charge of the situation. Toss some treats to the werewolf while using some reassuring words in a calm, firm voice all in an effort to gain its trust.

4. Really take control by getting some training done without hesitation. Think you can’t? Many dogs will learn to sit rather quickly and this is a person inside a wolf’s body so they should pick up commands rather quickly. To do sit, show the treat and then, while saying, “sit”, move the treat over the werewolf’s head. I know these are big but they slouch and much like a dog, they should sit when interested in the treat. Remember to give the treat palm up.

5. You really don’t want to get bit by a werewolf because, well, you don’t want to be one. To discourage mouthing and snapping like a dog teach this monster the “leave it” command. This means pulling back you hand and saying the words, “Leave it.” This should work since you’ve already gained a certain amount of trust.

Just an aside here, but you can try escaping anyway but you may need some help!

6. Need to get this big beast under further control? Teach it the “down” command. From a sitting position and a treat in your hand, say, “Down,” as you lower your hand between its forepaws. The werewolf will be so interested in the treat it will go down. Repeat a few times to reinforce these commands (get the werewolf up by using the word and raising a treat over it’s head).

7. If you think this might become a monthly issue make sure to keep a big chew-bone handy for full moons.

8. Also, if you find that your werewolf wants to jump up on you – and many dogs do – simply turn away without saying a word so that it learns it will get no attention whatsoever from you. It will learn that the behavior isn’t acceptable.

9. If this is a recurring issue and you find that said werewolf is having a tough time with good behavior, try to talk about what’s really going on with a dog behaviorist. Seriously, these trainers can do a lot of dogs, why not werewolves?

10. Last thought, if the werewolf sleeps on your porch or in your garage take care how you treat the person in the morning. Leave them a change of clothes nearby so they can get dressed and offer them a good breakfast. After all, they’ve been a wolf all night and that can be a little disconcerting as well as embarrassing. Oh, and don’t offer them food like it’s a treat and certainly don’t use commands on them – that’s just awkward.

At this point, you’ve hopefully made a friend out of both wolf and human. After all, dogs are man’s best friend, why can’t werewolves be included too?

BOD FinalIf your good with dogs, what’s your best tip for handling a werewolf? What do you think would be a favored treat by a werewolf? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.

If your good with dogs, what’s your best tip for handling a werewolf? What do you think would be a favored treat by a werewolf? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.
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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. The Bow of Destiny is his first novel-length title with more soon to come.

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An Arrow Against the Wind Commentary: Athson’s Choices

Note: 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 evening!

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.

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