The Bow of Destiny

New for 2020 from P. H. Solomon

2020 has rolled in and I’m ready for the upcoming year with a few developments of my own. 2019 went fast and I’m glad because it was a tough year in many respects though I have much for which to be thankful.

There are a few things I’m changing up for the coming year just for readers. The first one is for all the readers of the series no matter where they are in it. I will be posting new reader guide questions in my private groups on Facebook and Goodreads each week. These are meant to generate discussion and interaction. If you are one one of these, especially Goodreads, please join me in these groups. I will also add pols on Goodreads for readers to express there opinions and add their own thoughts about the series and other ideas.

Beginning this week, reader guide questions have been posted on Goodreads and Facebook private groups and I’ll send out notices through the blog that these are available each week. Reader guides for current books and new ones will also be published with different information on the blog at various times throughout the year so look for those as well.

 

Print for An Arrow Against the Wind and The White Arrow will be completed over the next six months or so, meaning The Bow of Hart Saga will be available in its entirety in this format for the first time. It’s a nice addition to the current e-book and audio formats which readers can further enjoy.

Also expect more posts by fictional characters over the course of the year where you can gain insights into what the characters think. It will be interesting to gain further perspective for reading. More extensive information from the characters will be published in the private groups on Facebook and Goodreads along with my newsletter so it’s a good time to join me on those channels – links are at the bottom of the post.

Speaking of new books, I’ve already written about the new ones in the works, Reformed Mage and Black Glove. These books are still progressing but I hope to nail down release dates for upcoming books over the next few months, including covers. I’m very excited about these books and hope to begin publishing them later this year. But there is plenty to share about them in the meantime which will begin this month as I’m doing more work on them. More to come soon…

2020 Plans & Book Sales Announcements

Happy New Year to all the Archer’s Aim readers. It’s been a long hiatus from posting here on the blog. 2019 was not a great year for keeping up with things due to health problems and other issues. I’m trying to start off the year with some semi-regular posts about my writing in general and fantasy otherwise. The plan this year is to also get a feed from my Paper.li web newspaper into the blog if possible – it may take some doing to get there on my free WordPress plan so an upgrade may be in order to get there with content.

So much for the blogging plans for the year and onto other news. The Bow of Hart Saga bundle went to bestseller in late November on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and iBooks. That was good news so I’m following up with a few promotions for individual books and working on releasing print for An Arrow Against the Wind and The White Arrow.

An Arrow Against the Wind goes on extended sale today at 99 cents on Amazon only with The White Arrow following at a later date to be announced. If you have read The Bow of Destiny but not the rest of the series, now is a good time to jump back into it with the next book on sale to begin January. For all my followers on Goodreads, take a look at this book if you haven’t gotten a chance and give it a read. Just a hint, the series ratings get better with each book so you want to keep reading.

I’ll work on the details for print and announce those releases as soon as I have more information. Thanks for reading today and please share this post with a reblog or on your social media. Thanks for you help and I hope everyone has a wonderful year. Look for more news about The Bow of Hart Saga and new books that I have in the works in the near future.

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.

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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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