Writing

The Premise of The Cursed Mage Case Files

Hey everyone!

Well, I’m trying to get back into a groove with my blogging so here goes my first one post-release of The Order of the Dark Rose.

As mentioned last week in the release post, the series began with a premise in 2016 during a writer’s conference. It was literally during a seminar session about something unrelated when the notion hit me. Since I use my computer even at conferences, I immediately typed in the kernel idea and some additional thoughts about it.

The premise? What if Sherlock Holmes was in a fantasy world where magic is very common. Hmm….

That was interesting.

At the time, I was in the middle of some other writing projects and only gave this a bit of time, created a developmental project in Scrivener and moved back to the tasks at hand. But it was there, waiting to be written.

During early 2017, I found myself out of work and turned to frantically completing both An Arrow Against the Wind and The White Arrow in the same year. Around all that, an agent seemed interested in the premise of what would become The Order of the Dark Rose. Another idea was included from my pending Black Glove project and I was asked to write some initial pages for each. I let the agent know that these were in their infancy and lacked world-building and much more. However, I wrote both opening concept pieces around completing An Arrow Against the Wind. Nothing ever came of the representation, but both of those projects were completed in following couple of years.

At the time of that initial writing, my daughter read the opening pages of the manuscript, then promptly found me in the house and announced, “I love Manny!” That stoked the fire to work on this project and, as soon as I finished work on The White Arrow and published it, I dove into work on what was then termed “Reformed Mage.”

Over 200k words later, I finished the draft with some trepidation at the length, but keen to do something with it. My editor took a look and encouraged me to split the manuscript into three books. Easy enough to do in Scrivener, yet there were creative constraints as well. I dutifully set about to split the manuscript, then needed to add more to it but the editor liked it.

The kernel, that premise, is still central to the entire series. It takes Sherlock Holmes and expands that venerated character in a different direction. He’s got a curse. He’s magical (Sherlock Holmes didn’t like mediums, so this is a departure). His name is Mandlefred Mandeheim. The world in which the story is set is driven by new magical innovations that harness this force of nature into technology. And yet, there’s opportunity for a villain.

That original idea went in many directions in the creation of technology, magic, culture, politics and much more in an alternate fantasy world where almost anything can happen – within bounds. But more on that another time from Manny’s brother who is a spell-checker (meaning he checks spell – you get the picture).

What would it be like to have a character like Sherlock Holmes in a fantasy world? Here’s my take on the idea presented in The Order of the Dark Rose, Volume 1 of The Cursed Mage Case Files. I hope many people will pick it up and enjoy this fun, different story of an all too familiar character and setting mashed up into a different genre. It’s been a lot of fun getting this series launched and I’m soon beginning serious revision of the next book to release as soon as possible. Have a look and share it with friends – the more the merrier!

Here are the links where you can find The Order of the Dark Rose:

   

Fantasy Friday! His Nagging Secrets

Hi, everyone! Today, I share another excerpt from The Bow of Destiny. Some of this was added in much later stages of the book. It’s all about Athson’s nagging, inconvenient secrets…


Athson“Careful of trolls on the trail.” The old man smacked his lips and fidgeted.

Athson whirled and glared at the old man. “We’ve done well.” He turned away.

A wheezy chuckle erupted behind him before Athson took two steps. “You should ignore neither warnings, dreams, nor visions – nor gifts.”

Athson froze mid-step. Moments passed like a day as he turned. Shock filled him anew when he saw no sign of the trapper on the porch.

He leapt back up the steps, landing with a clatter on the boards. He yanked open the door and took a hurried look inside the post. Lukaus and Gweld shot him startled expressions but Athson didn’t see the trapper. As Athson slammed the door, Lukaus said, “Back so soon?”

Three quick steps along the porch and Athson jumped the rail at the corner of the building. He glanced under the porch and circled the post, searching both the forest and the ground for sign of the trapper. Nothing. The trapper’s absence and his words set Athson’s heart racing. That comment hit too close to what had happened. And what no one else knew but him. Was the trapper nearby when he first discarded the inheritance? Athson rubbed his hands together but the scrapes had healed days earlier.

Athson’s jaw flexed. Something – or someone – had followed him from Eagle’s Aerie. Lukaus indicated no one had passed through for a long time. The comments from the missing trapper and the post-keep left Athson dizzy. “Can’t tell what’s real yet. I’m still making things up, no matter…” But they were real, he knew it.

The room and cot weren’t so inviting anymore.

Athson shrugged his pack to a comfortable position on his shoulders and made for the trail at his fastest walk. His best course now lay south for the road and away from Withlings, odd trappers, and mouthy station-keeps. The more distance travelled, the easier to avoid entanglements with Corgren, Withlings, eagles, dreams, Spark, and whatever haunted his steps – both imagined or not. He waved a cloud of gnats out of his face.

Gweld leaned over the porch rail. “Hey, Athson. What about the room?”

Athson whirled. “Let’s just go.” He waved Sarneth’s order.

Gweld shrugged, hollered apology through the door and then leapt the rail. Athson grumbled his disappointment under his breath at missing sleep on a cot. Hiding his secrets was more important than comfort. He swatted the insects out of his eyes and quick-stepped away from Afratta as Gweld trotted to his side.


That’s all for today! Later this week, I’ll share more about how I wrote The Bow of Destiny and how I’m doing on the next one.

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

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.

Mailing List Artwork Mailchimp

Fantasy Friday! 5 Kinds of Trolls in Denaria (and Why They’re Dangerous!)

I’ve written a lot about the main cast of characters in The Bow of Destiny. However, there are some extras that need mentioning – the ones do all the dangerous, dirty, violent, evil work. No, not the villains – at least not today. Instead, I’m referring to the trolls who inhabit Denaria.

troll

Screenshot from the video game Pigskin 621 AD

Screenshot from the video game Pigskin 621 AD

While I don’t want to reveal much about the origins, I do want to share more about the different kinds that appear in the book. Denarian trolls come in several different varieties. These trolls appear often and really get things done – if your point of view is from those of the villains – by wreaking havoc whenever, and wherever, they’re told. These ravenous hordes can be divided into 5 distinct types divided into lesser and greater classes:

  1. Kobolds are one type of lesser troll who stand waist and chest high and are often used as scouts and trackers. They have good noses and can be a real nuisance because of their abilities. While they are not large, they are scrappy and can attack in numbers. They are usually lightly armored with some sort of boiled hide and carry a variety of weapons from small bows to knives to short swords. Their physical appearance varies somewhat but they generally have almost dog-like snouts as well as dark, close-set eyes and have coarse hair all over their bodies. Quick and sneaky, these trolls can be a hand-full as demonstrated several times.
  2. goblinGoblins are also lesser troll of about the same size as kobolds except they are more, well, like goblins. They’ve got tusks with less snout and and bigger, pointed ears. As you can imagine they have sharp hearing and also make great scouts when on the hunt. However, their eyesight isn’t so great during the day and they are a bit more stout which makes them a bit tougher in a fight. They are usually outfitted with hide armor and carry bows, knives and short, curved swords.
  3. Getting to the greater trolls we come to the hobgoblins which are slender and snake-like in the face with some interesting fangs. They trolls are quite intelligent so they are used for complex tasks and command of other trolls. They are quick and deadly in a fight if you don’t keep your guard up, normally using a tulwar and wearing hide armor with the occasional metal plate attached. An officer often carries a whip to enforce his commands. They stand about the height of a human or an elf in Denaria.
  4. Next among greater trolls are bugbears. As you can imagine they have a bearish appearance with bigger eyes and sport tusks like goblins. Generally a bit taller than humans, they are burly and rely on their weight and strength in a fight, often using clubs for weapons. They sport shaggy fur and wear a mish-mash of hide, chain and plate armor they scavenge from victims and other trolls.
  5. ogreLast among the greater trolls is the ogre. This creature is nearly as big as a giant like Ralda and very strong as well. They have a thick hide and are not very intelligent but tend to fight just because they seem to like it almost as much as eating. They tend to carry a large club but aren’t that accurate when using it but they are deadly if they get a grip on you.

As to danger, well, you can guess that these minions like to cause trouble and never miss a chance to attack when they have a numeric advantage. Those groups without a bright hobgoblin might just attack regardless of numbers. While they can be confused and cowed with displays of power, they aren’t apt to show any mercy and just walk on by the casual traveler. They won’t just size you up and decide if you’re worth their trouble – you are always worth the trouble of an attack. That’s why it’s best to travel in numbers when in known trolls territories. They have nasty temperaments and love a chance to pillage and plunder.

As you can imagine, they make great shock troops for Magdronu and is magical captains though they aren’t often trusted with more complex objectives. They are good for one main use: mayhem. In a few other cases, the more cunning types such as hobgoblins, goblins and kobolds may be used for some specific missions for which they are specially instructed and trained.

In regard to their origins, trolls have a murky history. It’s clear that they are creations of Magdronu but the details are lost in time. However, some of that story is part of the larger history of Denaria’s conflict between Eloch and Magdronu. The purpose is of trolls is clear just not their origin – or is that just something to find out.

the-bow-of-destiny-by-p-h-solomonTo find out more about The Bow of Destiny, click over to one of these online retailers:

Amazon

  BarnesandNoble      Smashwords

ibooksdownload      Kobo

About the Author

IMG_4154-EditP. 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.

Mailing List Artwork Mailchimp

Artwork of trolls from Microsoft Clipart. The screenshot of the troll is from the very old video game Pigskin 621 AD.