Planning

Progress from Uncertainty

Like everyone else, I’ve watched the uncertainty of current pandemic playing out across the media with almost momentary updates. There’s so much information that it becomes overwhelming, even discouraging. During the last week, I’ve stayed busy with my wife’s recovery with her knee and she’s doing very well.

But, the upheaval and struggle with personal events have left me more energized. It’s likely nervous energy, but why not put it to good use? Sure, I’ve distracted myself with some entertainment and such, but along with a commitment to getting solid rest, I’ve decided to re-double my efforts with my book.

For too long, I’ve sat considering how to revise Reformed Mage without enough progress. In the midst of uncertainty, I’m using my restlessness to focus more on my writing than I have in a while and try to knock out this hefty revision. I’m dedicated to opening the file and working on it daily, perhaps several times each day. Anything is useful right now and leads forward which is what I need. Following that decision, I’ve made some solid progress in Reformed Mage. I’m intent on focusing on just this project as much as possible each day and push it further along toward publication.

I’ve drafted a short post about the book to share here next week as part of introducing it to readers. Look for that post next week and more about the book in the following weeks.

Meanwhile, I’ve been taking time to shift my attention from the distressing news. There’s the desire to be informed but also maintain calm. I’m watching a few new shows and a few retro shows to pass the time along with digging deep with the new book. This begs the question: what are you doing during this social hiatus? Are you spending more time working around the house? I’ve done that and swallowed a good bit of pollen from the early spring weather in the area. Are you binge watching shows? I’ve watched some old Star Trek Next Generation episodes and some newer shows on Prime. Are you reading books? I’ve been reading some too, what are you reading? Feel free to weigh-in on the subject in the comments. Thanks for stopping by today.

And a Few Steps Forward

Good morning everyone! Last week had a few setbacks but this week saw a few steps forward. I finally purchased a new vehicle but I’m still going through all the changes of information with insurance and the registration. Nothing big, just a few details to cover. Aside from that, there were some other nice developments.

First, a new feature on this site was started named Fantasy Friday. For now, it’s nothing major while I develop where it will go so I’m starting with some re-posts about my published books. I have quite a lot of material by now so I can cover several weeks and those when I just don’t have time to write something new. But I hope to share new content soon enough.

Print for An Arrow Against the Wind is well underway. The print cover is complete – well, mostly. The final version will be adjusted for the number of pages in the print format. My formatting specialist has the manuscript now so it shouldn’t too long until the final versions are available. The print book will appear first on Amazon and then later on Barnes & Noble. Here’s the current cover version which was share last week if you missed it:

Maybe I’ll have a preliminary print cover for The White Arrow done in a week or so to share in an upcoming post.

I’m still up in the air about several events. There’s semi-interest on my part in attending the SFWA convention this summer. I’m still considering a local SF&F convention at a local library that draws well. With print coming along, I expect to be positioned well for an appearance there if I’m interested. I will attend a local writers conference and visit with a few people, maybe make a few pitches to an agent. All these are a goals this year in various degrees of importance. I’m also considering entering The Bow of Destiny in a print contest for Writer’s Digest. Who knows what could happen with that last one, but a friend suggested I give it a try.

Also in the past week, there were other developments. I made some steady revision and editing progress on Reformed Mage. It’s nice to move forward there even while the week was full of distractions from the new(er) car purchase. I’m hopeful that I can get something done to publish the book in June but that will be dependent on my editor’s schedule and cover art. Still, progress is progress. I really want to get some cover art so I can share that development too but I’m holding off a while until I can settle the concept more, then see what my artist thinks.

I’m mainly itching to release to the next books in the series as well as the first book of Black Glove. The latter has been in solid development stages for a while but it’s waiting for more series development. I don’t want to publish it too soon without more books planned and at least one in finished first draft status. Then there are some other books which have been pushed aside for a while that are clamoring for attention and publication. There’s quite a lot to do. Here’s something of my expectations based on the amount of material I have written:

  • Publication of Reformed Mage, Book 1
  • Publication of Reformed Mage, Book 2
  • Publication of either Black Glove, Book 1 or Reformed Mage, Book 3. Whichever comes first, the other one will be released afterward.
  • Publication of Broken Shield, Book 1.
  • Publication of All Things Forgotten, Book 1.

Along that publication schedule, I’d like to start dictating new books for Reformed Mage, Black Glove, The Bow of Hart Saga sequel, Broken Shield and All Things Forgotten. Just making progress is the overall interest, but my main goals are for Reformed Mage, Black Glove and The Bow of Hart Saga in that order. The others are much further back in development and publication so they will have a much lower priority. It’s a long list but I hope to make some serious progress over the course of the year, publication first and then new drafts. The publication calendar is at least a year and a half long, probably more. Some of the drafts that are completed during that time may will elbow their way into the schedule ahead of others based on reader demand. Nothing is set in stone at the moment and I don’t expect to release more than two books this year at the rate I’m going. I might even throw in an anthology of fantasy short stories I already have written, just for fun.

Regardless, I have to focus on the immediate and keep moving toward the goals. It’s demanding and fun. Thanks for reading today. Please share this post with others on social media or re-blog it as you see fit. Leave your thoughts in the comments and I’ll respond as soon as I’m able.

 

Real Characters: She Can’t Be That!

Allison, the fell warrior-princess, drew her sword and advanced on the band of ragged louts confronting her. “You’ll soon feel the fiery claw that is ‘The Tigress’, you cowards.”

The men laughed and doubled-over. “You can’t hurt us!”

Her faced scrunched and a flush rose on her cheeks. “I can’t.”

The leader stepped forward with a grin. “You don’t know how to use that. You can’t be a warrior.”

“I can’t?”

“No you’re just here, well, for the women to identify with.”

Allison scratched the back of her head. “I am?”

“Sure, now run along and sew or something but try to be serious and well-respected.”

Joan of ArcThe other ruffians guffawed. “Yeah! And try to look beautiful while you’re at it.”

Allison walked away shaking her head. “I don’t understand, I trained an everything.”

You’ve read it. I’ve read it. It’s a common complaint on internet discussion threads; the female warrior is overdone and become farce. Such characters are written merely to gain and keep women readers but they aren’t realistic – not a reflection of reality in the real world so they can’t be in the fictional world. The complaints go on and often twirl into other complaints about overdone tropes of various sorts. Frequently, one wonders if these people are just tired of the grand trope of fantasy altogether (and my advice would be to read some other genres for a while – or better yet some non-fiction).

But I say, the woman-warrior is welcome in fantasy and should even be celebrated! Why? Well lets examine some of the reasons.

She’s been there all along

Now I’ve heard some people complain that female characters should be a warrior and domestic – it would be unique. Others retort that it’s not realistic and can’t be done. Well, it has been done and it is realistic.

The best example is from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Eowyn is a princess of Rohan who has taken care of her king in his magical dotage. We meet just after she has cared for her brother as he died. When trouble comes, Eowyn is called upon to lead her people while the men go off to war. But, being wearied of her life and finding trouble in her back yard she chooses to take up the sword. And it’s a good thing she does so, because she does what no man can do – kill the Lord of the Nazgul. Tolkien has been accused for years for his sexism in not having more women in the story as well as implying that women shouldn’t fight. But he places Eowyn right in line of danger, giving her, arguably one of the best scenes in the whole trilogy – not to mention a great line. It translated to the big screen well.

But that’s not realistic

What’s that? Still arguing about this trope? It can’t happen? Do you think women can’t and won’t take up the sword when necessary, even coming from a domestic background? Think again because history provides us with a singularly excellent example: Joan of Arc. She was a farm-girl and you can imagine what that life was like – very farm and domestic-like. But after seeing a vision she heads off to volunteer to save France from the English. It’s the stuff of a great fantasy tale. Somehow, my character, Limbreth in The Bow of Destiny, even picked up a few similarities with Joan of Arc.

What’s that? It’s only one example? Wrong again – what about the Amazons (check the part about Sarmatian burials). They’re just a myth? Well, think about that again. Secrets of the Dead had an episode where Amazons were examined as historically real. Apparently they lived in that area of the world and later migrated across the Russian steppes.

VikingStill not satisfied? According to a recent archaeological study, women may have make up almost half of Viking warrior burials. Yep, that’s right, almost half. All those Vikings storming the shores of Europe to raid villages and towns had plenty of women in the fray and pillaging. Surprised? I’m not. While woman often have domestic duties in most cultures throughout history, they too need to be momma-bears when necessary. Regardless, there are multiple cultures which recounted tales of the Shieldmaiden.

As for the princess idea, lets put that to rest as well. Ever heard of Boudica? She was a Celtic queen who led an uprising against the Romans. Before the “rebellion” was put down she and her people won several battles against the formidable Roman legions.

So take a deep breath and let’s not get worked up about the trope and whether aspects of how female warriors are portrayed are possible. They are indeed possible, however the character, like all, should be presented authentically as possible.

Authenticity

So there can be shown that women were part of many tales about heroic feats.While the female warrior is historically present in many accounts all the sexy depictions are not. Many of the tales recount that Amazons and Shieldmaidens were dressed as men. What does this mean? Those hot-looking breastplates are not accurate. In fact, breast bulges would not even be structurally sound defensive accoutrements.

The importance to understand is that heroic female characters do belong but should not be cast as sex symbols because those easily become unrealistic. In this case, Martin’s female knight, Brienne, is both realistic and authentic. So I say, “Long live the trope!” But only as long as it fits and is presented well which is what all readers ask of any story.

What fantasy tropes bother you and why? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

To find out more about The Bow of Destiny, click over to one of these online retailers:

the-bow-of-destiny-by-p-h-solomon

Amazon

  BarnesandNoble      Smashwords

ibooksdownload      Kobo

IMG_4154-EditAbout 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.

Sign-up to receive my free ebooks today.

080916_1940_AWildNightR3.jpg

Clip art licensed from Microsoft Office.