Audio Books

Characters from The Bow of Saga: 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.

Spark appears throughout The Bow of Hart Saga. To find out more about the character, click the links for The Bow of Destiny, An Arrow Against the Wind or The White Arrow. The entire series is not available on Audible from Podium Publishing:

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. His first novel, The Bow of Destiny was named 2016 Book of the Year by Fantasia Reviews and is the first book of The Bow of Hart Saga. The sequel novel, An Arrow Against the Wind, was released in April of 2017. The third book of the series, The White Arrow, is due to be released during the Fall of 2017. P. H. Solomon also authored the award winning short story, The Black Bag, which won best published short story at SCWC 2012. P. H. is also a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

Prequel short stories to The Bow of Hart Saga:

Trading Knives Amazon

What Is Needed Amazon

Download and listen to the prequels for free at AudFans

   Trading Knives 1   What Is Needed 4

 

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The Turn of the Year

Season’s Greetings to all the Archer’s Aim readers. With the turn of the year upon us I thought I would give an update on my year past and my goals for the upcoming year.

2018 started out with a lot of promise regarding the publication of books. After beginning the use of dictation, I was able to finish the rough drafts of four books, all of which are the initial novels of new fantasy series. However during the second half of the year progress with all of these books became quite a slog through the mud. I didn’t know it at the time but I had developed a change in my hypothyroidism which was affecting my energy and focus. For the last six months, I struggled along but recently visited paid my doctor a regular visit, discovered the problem and received an adjusted dosage. I began to realize just how much the problem affected me even though it was only slightly out of treatment range. It can take several weeks before the changes take affect but I began to notice a little more energy this last week even though I’m still struggling. It appears that even mild symptoms can affect my writing productivity.

Even though I’ve been struggling along, I have made a lot of progress in addition to the rough drafts which I’ve already mentioned. Because of the problem I was having, I seem to flounder around while I was editing and switch projects more than once. I have partially completed one shorter novel while working on editing and nearing completion of a much longer novel which is code-named Mage. My hope is to gain some energy and devote more dedicated time to preparing all of these books for publication this year. I have two books which will be considered for publication in one of three ways: traditional publishing, hybrid publishing and self-publishing. I don’t know which way I will go with these just yet so these books may not the be released during 2019 though I hope that they will.

But, the news was not all bad 2018 since all three of the novels and the two free short books for The Bow of Hart Saga were published on audio by Podium Publishing. It made for a busy fall season to release all three of these books on audio but I’m pleased with the outcome as well as having the new format available to readers and listeners.

 

My intention to go to print with the series beginning this month but I have run into a few problems completing the print projects so that has been delayed. Print will come in good time, perhaps even during the next few months if all goes well.

Looking ahead to 2019, I will pick myself up from the difficulties of the fading year, and work to complete my various projects. As I work toward publishing between one and four books this year, I’d like to also dictate the next books in each series. Also, as I mentioned in a previous post, I am beginning to have some ideas about a sequel to The Bow of Hart Saga. I’ve already begun making notes about what this sequel would look like, so it may be that I will be able to begin some work on that it this year as well. Thanks to all of the readers out there for their support and patience this year and wish you all a Happy New Year!

Audio Release: An Arrow Against the Wind

It’s audio release day for An Arrow Against the Wind and I thought I would re-live the beginnings of the book with some development history involving the series. The Bow of Hart Saga began decades ago as an effort entitled, An Arrow Into the Wind, which was completed back in the early 1990’s – yes a long time ago. That original effort contained elements of mostly what would become The Bow of Destiny as well as part of An Arrow Against the Wind.

After I completed that initial project, I did what all would-be authors do and submitted it to many publishers. I scoured available resources at the time and made lists, then sent the paper manuscript out for what seemed like countless times. Eventually, the trail of rejections ended with a contract offer from a small press. A lawyer in the family went over that contract and left a lot of red marks throughout that non-negotiable document. I eventually backed away, feeling that the contract was not for me.

Over the next decade plus, I made attempts to re-boot the series, always with the feeling I had made a bad decision about the small press contract. I guilt-tripped myself into feeling that publication somewhere was better than nowhere. The series languished in storage and the back of my mind until I felt a strong urge to go back to writing once again, just after all the online self-publishing boom began. I started several new projects but decided that my former book needed to be addressed, my reasoning being that it had garnered a contract offer and it needed a shot. Cutting my teeth on the book/series seemed like the best option.

I immediately realized that the entire book needed re-writing and my first painful decision was to split it into two books which led to the first title being The Bow of Destiny. Re-writing meant updating the entire style, plot, characters, voice and, eventually, technique. The writing was too distant so it needed an injection of deep point-of-view. Re-writing The Bow of Destiny took years of work and learning more than I ever knew previously but I finally published it in late 2015.

The Bow of Hart Prequel Pack released as a free audiobook in September 2018 and contains both free series prequels, Trading Knives and What Is Needed.

The Bow of Destiny languished in the self-published ghetto of forgotten books for months to my discouragement but not to my surprise. During that time, instead of working on the next book, I worked on several projects with my employer and helping my daughter get into college. Once those projects ended in the spring of 2016, I drifted back to writing, this time determined to market The Bow of Destiny. By the Christmas season of 2016, the book was selling extremely well, eventually landing in the top 20 of all of epic fantasy on Amazon – right up there with the big-name authors. That was both exciting and unnerving. I couldn’t believe what happened.

That sales burst led to several contract offers, one of which was for audio. Life and the holidays were so busy, I ignored the message in my inbox with the thought it was from some vanity publisher which I’d have to pay tons of money for audio publication. I planned to get to it later but never did for months.

In early 2017, I started working more on An Arrow Against the Wind while I talked with an agent about contract offers. Then a layoff hit where I worked and sent me into unemployment for the next eleven months. While I looked for a new job, I worked on writing. An Arrow Against the Wind proved difficult since it required me to stitch together old content (it had been split from the original work) with new content. The process was nerve-wracking since I was out of work and felt pressured to get something new published. I rushed and, with the help of my editor, got the book released at the tail-end of April. The book sold very well and got even higher ratings than the first book.

The Bow of Destiny released in September 2018 on Audible with the incredible voice-acting of Tim Bruce.

Several months later, a conversation led me back to that email swimming around in my inbox. It turned out I had the audio contract offer for about nine months! I contacted Podium and we started a dialogue about publication and I was surprised to learn the company basically discovered The Martian. After months of discussion, I was pleased to sign with Podium Publishing back in March of this year after which production efforts started. The first results were The Bow of Hart Prequel Pack on AudFans, then The Bow of Hart on Audible last month. Today, that process continues with the release of An Arrow Against the Wind on Audible.

The narration is fantastic as is the cover. This is an exciting season for me with the audio releases and will continue into next month with the release of The White Arrow on 11/27/18. But today is all about the second book, the one with the title so similar to the original title. An Arrow Against the Wind bridges the initial work of the series with the newest content but it’s far from a patch-job, having been named as the 2017 Book of the Year by Fantasia Reviews (following in the footsteps of The Bow of Destiny in 2016 by the same review site).

Without further delay, here’s the blurb for those who have not seen it:

Haunted by his past. Hunted in the present. Buffeted like an arrow in the wind.

This unique epic fantasy will keep you turning pages as Athson and company are drawn deeper into the intrigues surrounding the Bow of Hart.

The hunt for the Bow of Hart continues for Athson and his companions. They have escaped the clutches of Magdronu and Corgren, the mage, but they are still pursued.

In need of answers to deep mysteries revealed in Chokkra, Athson must gain possession of the mythic bow to face both his enemies and his tragic past. But Magdronu’s reach stretches among Athson’s companions, endangering Limbreth and even Hastra in schemes to entrap them all.

With each turn of the search for the Bow of Hart, long hidden secrets surface that threaten to destroy Athson. Will he falter like an arrow against the wind?

Pick up the second book of The Bow of Hart Saga because the adventure spins like an arrow in flight.

Find it on Audible!