The Bow of Destiny

Fantasy Friday! Why I Like Fantasy

I’ve read fantasy for a long time. I’ve been known to take a break and read other genres but I always seem to come back to fantasy. I guess it’s the kid in me and the love of a good yarn that keeps me reading these stories. But there are other reasons the genre interests me as both a reader and a writer.

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Fantasy 2I got into a conversation after completing my interview the other night about speculative fiction and why it’s useful for story-telling. One of the main points noted about fantasy and science fiction is how flexible these genres can be. A writer can explore all kinds of topics through setting and situation. This is done in science fiction by using technology and in fantasy through magic systems.

As a reader, fantasy attracts me for several other reasons, one of which revolves around courage. So often, fantasy characters – main, secondary or otherwise – are faced with dire circumstances regardless of their magical assets (spells, weapons, etc.). It’s at this point that courage becomes the factor in the story with outcomes that can be either victorious or disastrous. I like to see how a character of any kind might react courageously in the face of these extreme situations.

For instance, in The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf refuses to budge in the presence of both the balrog and the Lord of the Nazgul. Likewise, Eowyn stands up to the Lord of the Nazgul just to defend King Theoden. That’s gripping as well as courageous.

Additionally, I like to read about characters who take on leadership and just do what’s necessary. In such stories, a character might make decisions because they have nothing to lose and nobody else is willing to make that call.

Morguefile.com free photo for Maintaining Wind in Your Writing Sails

Morguefile.com free photo for Maintaining Wind in Your Writing Sails

And then there’s the pure adventure of a fantasy tale. One recent book that captured adventure well was Michael J. Sullivan’s The Emerald Storm which is a tale that largely takes place on a sea voyage. It captures elements of Treasure Island in a fantasy setting. And who doesn’t like adventure on the high seas.

So for me, fantasy is a way of examining people in extraordinary circumstances all with in fantasy settings that add to the wonder and excitement of the story. Sure, I could watch Saving Private Ryan to see the defense of the bridge and the courage it takes – and love it. But put that in a fantasy setting and you can come up with some really good stories. I could read or view ocean voyages like Moby Dick or Master and Commander but add magic and some monstrous critters and it gets doubly interesting.

Why do you read fantasy? What book or movie would you like to see converted into a gripping fantasy novel?

Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.

The Bow of Hart Saga Release Notes:

BOD Final

The Bow of Destiny is now out on Audible (available in Whispersync for those who like reading and listening) and available on Amazon (and yes, it’s free in Kindle Unlimited).

An Arrow Against the Wind is due out on audio 10/22 and is also free on Kindle Unlimited.

The White Arrow will be released on audio on 11/27 but it’s currently available on Amazon and free on Kindle Unlimited


Fantasy Friday! Can Your Character Survive A Flaw?

These days, all characters have flaws be it physical, mental or emotional. So if you give your main character a flaw that is integral to your story can your character survive said flaw?

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George R. R. Martin gives us a great example in Tyrion from A Song of Fire and Ice series (better known as HBO’s Game of Thrones). He’s a dwarf with physical limitations to his legs. Not only this but he’s viewed negatively by most everyone around him because of his flaws. He even gains a few more during the course of the series through battle as well as toting a load of emotional baggage. As effective as this characterization is, could he actually survive this flaw as long as he has in real life?

FightingI’m glad you asked. There’s a more recent archaeological discovery that has subsequently brought just such a real-life case to light. Richard III of England’s grave was discovered under a parking lot 2011. For those who are unfamiliar with Richard, he died in the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 which pretty much ended the Wars of the Roses. One way he was identified was by a specific physical handicap – severe scoliosis or curvature of the spine. By severe I mean a 30% curvature – very noticeable. The unusual thing is that all accounts of the battle indicate that Richard fought with great skill and nearly won the battle. He unhorsed a jousting champion, killed Henry Tudor’s standard-bearer and almost killed Henry.

A recent episode of Secrets of the Dead actually examined whether Richard III could actually have functioned as a knight on the battlefield. They found a volunteer with very similar scoliosis and began to determine what his physical capabilities were. They realized that Richard would have needed specially designed armor and that the medieval saddle would have benefited him with greater support. In the show, they were able to outfit their volunteer and give him some basic training as a re-enactor. They were even able to show that Richard would have been able to ride in the charge and effectively use weaponry.

knights fightingHowever, physical limitations were also discovered. The re-enactor had less stamina due to the scoliosis affecting his ability to breathe well during exertion. In spite of Richard’s skills and training he may well have been just as limited.

Richard lost the battle for a number of reasons one of which was Lord Stanley’s failure to advance behind the initial charge. But Richard favored fast charges and ending battles quickly. If you lacked stamina for long physical exertions you would likely choose the same strategy. However, in this instance the charge actually took much longer. I could see Richard almost making it to victory only to be thwarted by his own malady as much as other circumstances. This one time, Richard likely misjudged the circumstances due to “the fog of war”. Had he known or thought it through better he might have chosen a different strategy. But maybe all outcomes would have been the same if Lord Stanley was indeed a traitor.

So as a writer of fantasy, I’m looking harder at my future characters and the flaws I can give them just to twist my plots tighter. Can my character’s survive their flaws? Will they be trapped into exposing their difficulties to enemies through lack of choices – political and otherwise? It’s certainly a way to add more spice to conflict in a story.

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - CopyPlease share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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photos via Morguefile.com – free section and Microsoft Office clipart

coverart commissioned

 

Publication Announcements

Hello everyone. I hope you all had a good week. Mine went fast but progressed well. Revision of the Cursed Mage series (formerly Reformed Mage) manuscript was completed and sent to my editor who begins work on it today. I should have that back at the end of the month after which I’ll begin working toward publication. During this month, I’ll continue work on a host of projects but I’m narrowing down my publication schedule for the next several months as follows:

Curses Dark and Foul is almost ready and should be posted on Amazon within a few days so that date is this week as soon as possible. There are several previous posts about this anthology which can be found at the following links:

The Next Step: Curses Dark and Foul

Curses Dark and Foul – More Background

Curses Dark and Foul – A Personal Story

Curses Dark and Foul – Blurb Reveal

Those should catch anyone up on the book background and the cover. This has been a fun little project to work on recently.

 

The White Arrow print edition should be ready on Amazon about mid-September if all goes well. I’ll update this with a specific date when I have one. This will complete print for the entire three-book series and round out the main formats being available (eBook, print and audio).

The Changeling Incident, which is the prequel for the first Reformed Mage novel, should be released in October, possibly by mid-month. That is part of the current editing for the full novel so it is a priority when the manuscript is back in my hands. There should be a pre-release link available soon.

The Feral Name is the opening novel of the Cursed Mage Case Files series and my hope is to release it between October 26th and November 16th depending on how much work will be done on the final version. I’ve contacted my artist about a cover and should have that within a few weeks to share here. I will have a pre-release link available as soon as possible. I’m going to print from the start with these novels in addition to ebook. Audio is a desire and I’ll approach my publisher with the manuscript and pre-release sales to see if they are interested in the series. Audio is not immediate release expectation. but I hope to add it quickly after the first book is published and possibly release this format with the subsequent titles if that works out at all.

Otherwise, I’ll begin work on the next book in the Cursed Mage series this month to complete that revision for hand-off to my editor during October or November. Book three of this series should be right behind that and the hope is to release these two books in early 2021, February and April being the respective timelines. My expectation is to complete dictation of the last three books over the interim and possibly release the untitled fourth book during late 2021.

One more series is targeted for initial release during 2021 which is under the working reference of Black Glove. This first in series novel is ready for editing now and I’ll get it on the editing schedule if I don’t give Inkshares a submission with it. It’s my plan to quickly plan the entire series so I can dictate the next several books in the coming months too.

The Broken Shield series and the sequel series for The Bow of Hart Saga are also in the works, the former already having a completed rough draft. I have one other completed rough draft for a fantasy named All Things Forgotten and I hope to plan a full series for it as well during August. I should be busy with all the revisions and planning for dictation this month, but I’ll be ready to pivot to my main title of the year when the time arrives.

That’s all for today. Look for the release announcement of Curses Dark and Foul within a few days. Thanks for stopping by today and reading about the latest updates.