Story Empire

Two Steps Back

Hi everyone and happy Monday. After a few weeks of progress, things slowed down some with a couple of roadblocks that popped up. Such is life, but I keep working at everything on my list and I’m still moving forward.

The week started with some care problems that stretched into Thursday and really threw off my time to write. We spent a lot of time preparing for work, trading cars among three people in the family and going in to work early, then leaving late. It was hectic and at the end of it all it was confirmed that my car is on its last legs. It’s not unexpected but I hoped to stretch keeping the vehicle for several more months. Now that time is accelerated to the immediate which will likely slow me down some this week as we replace it. I’m semi-prepared for the change so I’m not completely off-guard. It’s still hindering some progress.

Then at the end of the week, I found out my wife needs to have some knee surgery. It’s not expected to keep her down too long but that upcoming event will really twist things up for several weeks. Again, she was having trouble for a while but now we’re keeping her off her feet as much as possible until the surgery. That means I pick up what slack I can around the house and for errands. I’m happy to do since she’s helped me several times and we’re in it together but that will mean some slower progress until she’s back on her feet – literally.

There was some progress during the week and I’m pleased to share a few things. Some effort was put into an improved cover for the series cover. Originally, I just made a graphic that line up the three books side by side but the covers were too small to really view and I wanted a 3D version of them all that made sense when viewing it. I sat down to work on it and came up with this version which I think is better than the previous effort. You can see if there on the right and click to view it on Amazon. I think it turned out very well so that was one step forward during a hectic week.

Next, I wanted to get a print cover underway for An Arrow Against the Wind. I set to work on this task but it was a bit harder for me since I’m not too great at editing graphics. I stuck with it and finally came up with the version pictured on the left. It won’t be final since I took a guess at the final number of formatted print pages, but it’s close to how it will look. To arrive at a final cover, I’ve scheduled my print formatter to complete that task so I’ll know how thick the book will be and make any changes to the print cover necessary. I should have that in a matter of days and then work on print for the second book of The Bow of Hart Saga starting on KDP, then moving to other markets as soon as I can afford the separate ISBN from Ingram.

Those are some good steps forward with some goals for the year. One goal was marked off and another soon will be, followed by the print goal for The White Arrow. Each project completed frees me up that much more to complete my next book. Speaking of which, RM did have some progress this week, just not as much as I would have liked. I’ve continued with decisions about editing and mapping out how that will move along but my focus has been divided between the distractions and the leg-work with new graphics and print planning. February is almost at an end so I want to maximize every day that I can to arrive at the overall goals of new books released this year. But managing books already out is important too so work on those must be completed as a foundation for the release of new books in several months.

The upcoming week will be important as I focus on getting ahead with some other blogging I do with Story Empire. I have much of my blogging year there already dictated and ready to post so I want to schedule ahead. Likewise, I’m dictating some posts about RM now but I was unable to do that as much last week since I was trading out between cars so much last week. This week may settle down some so I’ll plan accordingly. Completing plan for the revision of RM is very important so I can dive into the revision full-force. But I want to get as much into the plan so I can do as much as possible with each phase. One hold up has been a problem that I know is there in the manuscript but which I just can’t put my finger on at the moment. I’ve decided to revise and edit and let that process reveal the problem. Otherwise, I’ll ask my editor what she sees when the time comes and trust her professional sense.

That’s all for last week and looking forward to next week. My fingers are crossed. Thanks for stopping by for a visit this today. I hope to share a Friday feature about Fantasy when I get a chance to plan the exact angle for it so look for that in several weeks if I can get to it. Please share this post if you like it and leave your thoughts and questions in the comments and I’ll respond as time allows.

5 Signs You’ve Gone Too Far With Your Fantasy Novel

Today, I share 5 signs you may have gone too far with your current fantasy novel.

Fiction writing requires a bit of immersion into you story. Fantasy requires an author put on a squirrel suit and jump in for a deeper excursion to truly get the experience necessary for bringing readers along for an entertaining ride. Here are 5 ways to know you’ve gone too far but I can’t tell you how to get back – that’s your own problem… However, I can offer a few suggestions that might help you re-gain perspective:

  1. One of your characters actually threatens you. Fantasy worlds are by their very nature dangerous, places that are unstable in any number of ways. That doesn’t even cover the places your characters travel and visit right through any number of dangerous scenes and settings. The nerves or your characters can easily get frayed and they may turn on you with whatever weapon they have at hand (and fantasy characters often have a weapon at hand). If you are in a bar or tavern, offer them a drink. If that fails, my advice is back away slowly, maybe with an apology for crowding them, and just shift to another scene. Maybe things will be a little less tense in another scene or the character will be too busy to notice you.
  2. You go drinking with your characters, have such a great time you wake up dressed like one of them and find you’ve been given a prized item that’s integral to the story. No, you can’t keep that gift so find a way to politely give it back and try not to go that deep with your characters again. It just gets awkward for you, the characters and the people around you in real life. Honestly, that’s getting a little off-balance.
  3. You go running and feel like you’re in that scene where there’s a devastating retreat. Take a deep breath, it’s ok, that’s just in the book. This is just exercise and there is no one chasing you with a battle-ax to grind. It’s just running. But it is good to keep in shape just in case you do need to retreat, right?
  4. You start speaking one of the languages used in your book. This is getting pretty serious since no one around you understands what you are saying. If you really keep going that deeply into the book, no one will be able to read it in that language. You might try getting out of your writing sphere and re-join the real world, try talking to someone about something trivial. Maybe watch some day-time TV – maybe.
  5. Maniacal laughter erupts from your lips as you near the end and kill a few beloved characters. Just back away from the computer, go do something else. It’s just a book. Deep breath. No, don’t go play that video game. Go to the museum or something. Just remember, you are not the villain here.

Notice: This is all tongue and cheek except my character threatening me since one of them is based on my dogs. However, my dogs just like to bark and growl for the fun of it so the first one really doesn’t count that much.

About the Author

I’m P. H. Solomon and I live in the greater Birmingham, AL area. I strongly dislike yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, I perform such duties to maintain a nice home for my loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In my spare time, I ride herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, I enjoy reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, I also have a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone my writing. My third book of The Bow of Hart Saga fantasy series, The White Arrow, will be released October 2017. I’m also a contriubtor to Story Empire and a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

This blog is about my writing, other authors, writing-related topics and my chosen genre – speculative fiction (science fiction and fantasy to be specific). Join me regularly as I highlight other writers and share my journey as an author. See my Contact page for more information.

The Year That Was & The New Year to Come!

I’ve been sick for the last several days so I haven’t posted much during that time. I thought I’d go ahead and share a review 2017 and a look forward to 2018.

The year started well enough with The Bow of Destiny being named the 2016 Book of the Year by Fantasia Reviews. What a wonderful surprise that was, especially with my single novel. I was more determined than ever to publish the next book, An Arrow Against the Wind. I was also invited to join Story Empire which proved to be a lot of fun and a privilege to work with all the authors on that ongoing project.

But little did I know what the year had in store for me. By February 1st I was caught in a work-force reduction with my employer and found myself out of work. I thought it would be no trouble but I started work in earnest to complete An Arrow Against the Wind as soon as possible while I was out of work.

The job search stretched much further than I expected but I was highly motivated and released the book in late April. After that, I figured, as long as I still don’t have a job, I’ll work on the next one and see how far I get. So, I began work on The White Arrow – from scratch. Somehow, the job search just kept going but I finished the third book and released it in early October.

That made for a busy and exhausting writing year with a lot of stress about the job loss. Because of all the pressure to publish two books this year, I never had the time I needed to really set them up with releases that I felt good about. Money was limited and time was short so I made do with what I could do and still saw pretty good sales.

During all that, I ended up signing with a literary agent and started two new books, each the first book of a new series. Those two books are well underway and being pitched to publishers. I was thrilled to work with an agent and I’ve seen more writing opportunities as a result than I ever though possible.

This end of the year has rolled around much faster than I anticipated but it looks like I’ll be going back to work in just a few weeks (finally, though it’s temporary contract)! That will change my writing schedule but I’ll keep up the work on the books I’ve started and plan on one or two more. But The Bow of Hart Saga has been completed and I am moving onto new writing projects.

I have no idea what 2018 will bring considering how 2017 started. An Arrow Against the Wind has been nominated as Book of the Year again so it could very well start the year off very well. Some of my writing opportunities through my agent could come through or not. My new contract job might last all year or just a few months. After last year, I make no predictions about what will happen, nor do I place any big expectations on what I believe will happen.

I’m rolling up my sleeves to market the series more effectively as soon as possible. With more income, I’d like to release all the three of the novels in print and there might be opportunity with audio too. Otherwise, I’ll keep up the work on my new projects and see how far I get with them, hoping to release at least one book during the year. I’ll announce my print or audio plans as those develop as well as when I expect to publish anything new. Stay tuned, it should be an interesting ride if nothing else. I’ll soon share about some lessons learned in 2017 and finally get to a post about on of the settings for An Arrow Against the Wind. Until the, I hope everyone has had a Merry Christmas will have a Happy New Year! I’d also like to thank everyone who has read the books this year, I would be this far along without all the fans!