Short Fiction

Characters from The Bow of Destiny: Spark

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.

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.

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

Amazon

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.

Prequel short stories to The Bow of Hart Saga:

Trading KnivesKobo, iBooks & Barnes & NobleSmashwords & Amazon

What Is Needed Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords & Amazon

   Trading Knives 1   What Is Needed 4

 

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Characters from The Bow of Destiny: Hastra

This is the third of several posts revealing more about characters from The Bow of Destiny. The first in this series was about Athson and the second featured Spark, while the third covered Limbreth.

For those who have read my free short story, What Is Needed, you’ve met the Withling Hastra. What are Withlings? They were a mystic order devoted to the deity Eloch. If you’re interested in the Withlings, the e-book is still available on all major book retail sites. But here’s a little more about Hastra. She’s been alive for several centuries serving Eloch through many adventures while working against Magdronu’s efforts. Her mystic powers come from Eloch and can come in many forms and at timely moments.

The Withlings were fond of a saying among them, “What is needed, is given.” This simple sentence means that they rely on Eloch to provide what is needed at any time – or not. If nothing happens, Withlings are willing to let things play out no matter how dire things are at the moment or how bad circumstances turn out. This means sometimes a miracle of some sort will be done at the hands of a Withling while at others nothing they take no mystical action. As part of their faith, Withlings learn to be with Eloch spiritually so they are attuned to know what they are supposed to do. Withlings can also be prophets and counsellors. However, there are but a few still living at the time that The Bow of Destiny begins.

As you can imagine, Hastra is rather old, wise, insightful – and faithful. However, all her mystic practice does not make her perfect and certainly doesn’t make her all-knowing by any means. She’s just as apt to make mistakes as anyone. I liken Hastra’s appearance to that of Judi Dench. Though very old, Hastra is rather spry mostly because it’s Eloch’s will that she be nearly ageless but who knows for how long? Not even Hastra knows…

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

Amazon      BarnesandNoble      Smashwords

ibooksdownload      Kobo

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.

Prequel short stories to The Bow of Hart Saga:

Trading KnivesKobo, iBooks & Barnes & NobleSmashwords & Amazon

What Is Needed Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords & Amazon

trading knives bow of destiny what-is-needed

Scrivener: The Essential Writing Tool

Scrivener is a powerful writing tool. I write about it weekly with tips and usage ideas. To read more of my posts click the Scrivener tag or category at the end of the page. Sorry for the hiatus in writing a new post for several weeks but my efforts have been directed elsewhere. I hope to share more posts on this topic in the future.

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Scrivener LogoI was pleased to release my book, The Bow of Destiny, earlier this week. As you can imagine, Scrivener was a big help in self-publishing this fantasy novel. There are so many ways I’ve used the software to get to this point that it’s hard to imagine doing it all without Scrivener. It’s been a long hike – like doing the Appalachian Trail – and Scrivener has been in my pack the whole way. Here are some ways that Scrivener has helped me self-publish over the last year:

1. Newsletters – I used my newsletter template to write each volume this year and email it to mailing list followers. Scrivener has been instrumental in this since I have a project for all my newsletters for this year. I can open the project, write my content and transfer it to mail out easily. If I didn’t use Scrivener, I would have been hunting for all my information in separate files.

Multi-Function Tool - photo licensed via iStockPhoto

Multi-Function Tool – photo licensed via iStockPhoto

2. Editing the Book – The Bow of Destiny was largely completed when I really started using Scrivener so I imported it and completed my editing and development in a novel template. The same is true of the next book, An Arrow Against the Wind. However, with this second book, I still needed to complete the rough draft and do some structural editing. Scrivener was perfect for these tasks after I imported the book since I could use collections to organize my structural editing – see my posts on the topic: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4. However, the third book, The White Arrow, will be entirely developed in Scrivener and I’ll start that process in November with occasional, related posts about how I’m using Scrivener to do the development.

3. Project tracking – Scrivener allows me to do all kinds of project tracking. There are the built-in tools that track a project’s stats. Also, there’s meta-data to mark the status of sections and scenes in projects. However, I also used my Author Platform Manager, a custom project template I developed, to track what I’m doing overall as a writer. I can put anything necessary in it. If I develop an idea in it I can transfer it to an open project with the Scratchpad.

4. Blogging – Part of growing as an author includes blogging. I couldn’t have blogged near as much without Scrivener. It allowed me to put all my blog posts in one project for the year and create an ongoing schedule to follow. Without using Scrivener, I would have been lost and disorganized in the effort. It’s allowed me to often work ahead when I needed to and still keep the busy blogging schedule.

Writing5. Blog Tour Development – I developed a blog tour project template based on my blog template and what a big help Scrivener was there. I was able to work on my tour ideas and posts well in advance as I developed all of my author content. It’s been a major help just to keep all that in one place and work steadily at the release. I’m starting a new one with ideas within the week for the release of An Arrow Against the Wind 4/18/2016. With editing on this upcoming title ongoing, there’s no time like the present to organize the next release.

6. Developing & Writing Short Stories – Part of my release has involved using short fiction. I’ve also written some other short stories this year that are being submitted to magazine markets. Without Scrivener I would have floundered through developing these stories. The good thing is that with Scrivener, I can easily import these into another project to develop an anthology if I want to go that route. I’ve been able to manage and organize my short fiction with ease using Scrivener.

7. Document Templates – This feature in Scrivener has been very important to me all year. I’ve been able to use these templates to create my basic blog structure in my blog project. What a time-saver! I’ve also been able to use this feature to save more time writing my newsletters, short stories and more. By making document templates in my projects, I’m able to do repetitive writing without duplicating the same material repeatedly. If the material for the template needs an update that’s simple enough to change – one time.

Scrivener has been with me all the way during the last year. It’s been indispensable for me as a writer. I would not have done near as much as I have without it. I look forward to continuing my usage and expanding how I use it. As I develop an entire novel from it I expect to use the composition tools more than I have such as the lay-out manger as well as features for word searches and more.

BOD FinalIf you’ve published using Scrivener, how has it helped you get there? If you use it for other writing, how does Scrivener make you more effective as a writer?

I’ll make an appearance on 8/13 in RRBC’s Book & Blog Block Party. Then I’ll be on The Lost Bow Blog Tour from 8/14-20. I’ll post more news about the tour as it becomes available.

And one final tidbit – for those who might have seen it on my Twitter feed, I’ve been contacted by a teacher about including The Bow of Destiny in her curriculum. I don’t know much at this time other than it’s being considered. If it is, I’ll share more information ASAP. It’s interesting news at this point and another great reason to write!

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

Amazon

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.

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