The Order of the Dark Rose

The Premise of The Cursed Mage Case Files

Hey everyone!

Well, I’m trying to get back into a groove with my blogging so here goes my first one post-release of The Order of the Dark Rose.

As mentioned last week in the release post, the series began with a premise in 2016 during a writer’s conference. It was literally during a seminar session about something unrelated when the notion hit me. Since I use my computer even at conferences, I immediately typed in the kernel idea and some additional thoughts about it.

The premise? What if Sherlock Holmes was in a fantasy world where magic is very common. Hmm….

That was interesting.

At the time, I was in the middle of some other writing projects and only gave this a bit of time, created a developmental project in Scrivener and moved back to the tasks at hand. But it was there, waiting to be written.

During early 2017, I found myself out of work and turned to frantically completing both An Arrow Against the Wind and The White Arrow in the same year. Around all that, an agent seemed interested in the premise of what would become The Order of the Dark Rose. Another idea was included from my pending Black Glove project and I was asked to write some initial pages for each. I let the agent know that these were in their infancy and lacked world-building and much more. However, I wrote both opening concept pieces around completing An Arrow Against the Wind. Nothing ever came of the representation, but both of those projects were completed in following couple of years.

At the time of that initial writing, my daughter read the opening pages of the manuscript, then promptly found me in the house and announced, “I love Manny!” That stoked the fire to work on this project and, as soon as I finished work on The White Arrow and published it, I dove into work on what was then termed “Reformed Mage.”

Over 200k words later, I finished the draft with some trepidation at the length, but keen to do something with it. My editor took a look and encouraged me to split the manuscript into three books. Easy enough to do in Scrivener, yet there were creative constraints as well. I dutifully set about to split the manuscript, then needed to add more to it but the editor liked it.

The kernel, that premise, is still central to the entire series. It takes Sherlock Holmes and expands that venerated character in a different direction. He’s got a curse. He’s magical (Sherlock Holmes didn’t like mediums, so this is a departure). His name is Mandlefred Mandeheim. The world in which the story is set is driven by new magical innovations that harness this force of nature into technology. And yet, there’s opportunity for a villain.

That original idea went in many directions in the creation of technology, magic, culture, politics and much more in an alternate fantasy world where almost anything can happen – within bounds. But more on that another time from Manny’s brother who is a spell-checker (meaning he checks spell – you get the picture).

What would it be like to have a character like Sherlock Holmes in a fantasy world? Here’s my take on the idea presented in The Order of the Dark Rose, Volume 1 of The Cursed Mage Case Files. I hope many people will pick it up and enjoy this fun, different story of an all too familiar character and setting mashed up into a different genre. It’s been a lot of fun getting this series launched and I’m soon beginning serious revision of the next book to release as soon as possible. Have a look and share it with friends – the more the merrier!

Here are the links where you can find The Order of the Dark Rose:

   

Release Day! The Order of the Dark Rose is LIVE

It took some time but it’s finally here! Today marks the release of an idea that started at a writer’s conference in 2016. I quickly wrote the basic premise down during a seminar and finally began seriously began work on it during 2017. Life has been up and down since (and what a year this has been) but the book finally made it. Before going any further, please take a moment to share this post on social media or re-blog it on your site – especially if you have fantasy readers. Oh, and just a little note: the book arrived yesterday and already hit the top 100 in an Amazon category so it’s headed in the right direction.

My original idea was to place a character like Sherlock Holmes into a fantasy world with a gaslamp social setting where magic is a major part of the technology. The book showcases city trams, carriages, weapons and all kinds of items powered by magic. The main character has some flaws and problems but his main one is a curse he can’t shake even though he’s an expert with magic. Want to find out what the curse is? Give the book a try – here’s the blurb:

An arch-mage can handle almost anything. Unless he’s cursed, lost his job and facing an unknown enemy.

The Gallantean Empire relies increasingly upon magical technology which cleans sewers, runs trams and much more. Within the capital city of Cal Rindon, magic is pervasive, but not necessarily used without crime involved. The bustling metropolis boasts constant innovations mixed with growing pains. Amid the good lurks the bad with unrest and growing crime.

Arch-mage Manny Mandeheim fell under a curse, watched his fiancé die, and then lost his job as a spy. So what’s an arch-mage to do? Start his own magical investigation service while he works to clear his good name and maybe avenge his lost love. With his very un-magical partner, Wish Ackford, Manny discovers the menace of a much larger conspiracy than he expected looming behind his curse. Suddenly, the limitations from the hex leave him at a distinct disadvantage as he and Wish investigate.

Assassins lurk at every corner or in every tram car. The threat of an unknown mastermind with murky intentions lingers just out of sight. A questionable source offers the hint of a secret order hounding Manny’s footsteps. A murder leads to wrenching discoveries.

Nothing an arch-mage can’t handle…

Unless the curse limits how much magic he can use or kills him outright.

A mixture of Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter, The Order of the Dark Rose is set in an alternate fantasy world where magic is both commonplace and dangerous. Mysteries abound in this original, new fantasy from P. H. Solomon, author of the award-winning, best-selling epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga.

Can Manny survive long enough to break his curse? Or will the arch-mage’s hidden foe escape him? Click the Your Favorite Retailer button to enter this high concept world of magic and fantasy to discover more about Manny and Wish.

    

Thanks for stopping by for release day of The Order of the Dark Rose. I’ll share more about the book over the next several weeks and announce any appearances at other sites.

 

Hot Off the Press Cover Reveal: The Order of the Dark Rose

It’s been several weeks since my last post for several reasons. First I’ve been busy with completing Order of the Dark Rose. Next, I’ve been very busy at my day job. Lastly, I’ve been quarantined with you know what. No worries on the last one though I’ve got a lingering cough after a round of antibiotics. I’m mostly hoarse and taking a cough medicine that leave me drowsy at this point. Other than those issues, my high-speed internet is down until the weekend since a mouse chewed through the fiber cable and the local telco won’t repair it until this weekend due to illness

Here’s big news of the day: the final cover of The Order of the Dark Rose just arrived today. The artwork was delayed due to an injury suffered by my artist. There are unexpected delays for us all this year. My best wishes to Chris as he’s recuperating. Some minor delays are the least of our worries with health concerns.

Now to the cover which is both fantasy-based and very recognizable, especially since the characters and premise leans on an old favorite of many readers: Sherlock Holmes. But while the premise is familiar, the characters are different (including names) and the setting is completely in an alternate fantasy world.

However, with a fantasy world built around magic, main character Mandelfred “Manny” Mandeheim, is quite the opposite of Holmes as an arch-mage. Likewise, the Watson-like character of Wishton Ackford is even more average being an unemployed copy writer instead of a mild-mannered doctor.

Of course there are mysteries everywhere and Manny makes it his business – quite literally – to solve magical crimes. There are more familiar characters in the cases that unfold and the ones told center around a particular character of mysterious origin. Manny and Wish keep crossing the same thread of criminal activity with few clues and these cases serve to form an actual plot which will carry over into two more books and probably more.

Without further delay, here’s the cover of The Order of the Dark Rose, The Cursed Mage Case Files, Volume 1.

My cover artist, Christopher Rawlins, has outdone himself once again. It’s easy to see the similarities to Holmes while the magic is evident. The detail in the artwork is amazing from the texture of the upper and lower banners to the bones and skulls in the image. The monster is somewhat familiar but appears with magic glimmering its jaws while the characters are wielding magic themselves. Wishton Ackford is there on the side with an interesting weapon since he’s unskilled with magic. Manny is center-stage and facing down the beast with a wand.

Now is a good time for a repeat of the blurb:

An arch-mage can handle almost anything. Unless he’s cursed, lost his job and facing an unknown enemy.

The Gallantean Empire relies increasingly upon magical technology which cleans sewers, runs trams and much more. Within the capital city of Cal Rindon, magic is pervasive, but not necessarily used without crime involved. The bustling metropolis boasts constant innovations mixed with growing pains. Amid the good lurks the bad with unrest and growing crime.

Arch-mage Manny Mandeheim fell under a curse, watched his fiancé die, and then lost his job as a spy. So what’s an arch-mage to do? Start his own magical investigation service while he works to clear his good name and maybe avenge his lost love. With his very un-magical partner, Wish Ackford, Manny discovers the menace of a much larger conspiracy than he expected looming behind his curse. Suddenly, the limitations from the hex leave him at a distinct disadvantage as he and Wish investigate.

Assassins lurk at every corner or in every tram car. The threat of an unknown mastermind with murky intentions lingers just out of sight. A questionable source offers the hint of a secret order hounding Manny’s footsteps. A murder leads to wrenching discoveries.

Nothing an arch-mage can’t handle…

Unless the curse limits how much magic he can use or kills him outright.

A mixture of Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter, The Order of the Dark Rose is set in an alternate fantasy world where magic is both commonplace and dangerous. Mysteries abound in this original, new fantasy from P. H. Solomon, author of the award-winning, best-selling epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga.

Can Manny survive long enough to break his curse? Or will the arch-mage’s hidden foe escape him?

Find it on Pre-order at Amazon. Other retail and print links pending.

Thanks for stopping over today to see the cover. Please share this post wherever you can. Reaction is always welcome.