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Fantasy Friday! The Story Behind the Spark in My Writing

SparkLast year, my daughter was doing some alpha reading on The Bow of Destiny. 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.

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Spark is a rather interesting addition to the book as well as a comparatively late one. 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 as an old friend who watches out for him.

If you’ve read my bio you know we own two German Shepherds so you can guess on what I based 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.

GSDsWhile Chloe is all guard-dog, 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 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):

“Sam, is it cold outside?”

Sam wags his tail – and it is (or was when this happened).

“Sam, do you like the cold?”

Sam wag his tail because he really doesn’t like the hot Alabama summer but thrives in cold weather.

“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.

“Sam, do you like Chloe?”

No wag because Chloe can really pester him and bite him often since she’s rather feisty.

“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.

“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.

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 some). 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 that 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.

TBOD SF ContestAs announced on 11/2, the book cover is a semi-finalist entry in the Authorsdb 2015 Cover Contest and member voting ends tomorrow. To celebrate, I’ve extended the October sale until 11/7. If the cover makes it to the next round I’ll extend the sale again. But there’s no guarantee the sale will continue past Saturday so have a look today – it’s $2.99 (regular price is $4.99).

Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. Sign up for my Archer’s Aim Digest mailing list to receive the forthcoming edition of my newsletter with announcements about upcoming releases and events. You’ll be the first to have news about my books, especially some free offers this summer related to the upcoming release of The Bow of Destiny, the first novel of The Bow of Hart Saga. Speaking of which, it is now available on Amazon – Kindle. Additionally, I have FREE book, What Is Needed is available at Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks and Smashwords & Amazon. 

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Fantasy Friday! The Roots of My Fantasy Writing

Lots of writers have roots for their writing. Sometimes we know exactly from where our source material springs. However, other pieces from our work may not be so obvious.

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OregontreesI’ve been thinking about the various settings in my upcoming book and realized there are a number of places I’ve visited in the past that serve as the basis for these fictional locations. They seem common for fantasy but they are more specific for me and aren’t based on previous fantasy worlds, familiar though they may seem.

For instance, Auguron Forest is actually based on a place I visited in Oregon as a child where the trees were enormous, some of the largest cedars in the world exist west of the Cascade Mountains (notice #2 on this list). Eagle’s Aerie which appears early in the book is based on an actual rock formation on the coast of Oregon, though not exact in reference. It’s called Haystack Rock and you’ve probably seen it in pictures. Without giving too much away, there are settings that occur underground that remind me of caves I’ve visited.

haystackrockLooking forward to the next book, there are travels in mountains based both on places I’ve been and those about which I’ve read. Another location is The Funnel where pivotal events from the main character’s life occurred. I was rather surprised a few years ago to visit a place very familiar to me and realize that it was the basis for that setting (I don’t want to give that away yet so maybe in about seven month’s time I’ll write about it).

The point is that, especially in fantasy, you may think you are influenced by other fantasy writers who have gone before you. You may think your ideas come from nowhere. You may think you have no experiences from which to draw. However, there may be more to your writing than what you think. Seemingly forgotten, or even mundane, events or trips from you life may be the real roots of scenes, settings, characters and pivotal events.

BOD FinalFantasy is fantasy – it’s filled with places like almost anywhere you may have visited. What I write often references what I’ve seen but it’s not necessarily something from what I’ve read from any other author. What’s more, what a reader associates with a fantasy locale may be entirely different from what I envision – that’s personal, what someone’s read or where they’ve been. The trick is to get the reader into what I’m writing enough so that they envision story from their own experiences.

Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. Interested in more of my writing? Just click one of the retailer banners on the sidebar to see more.

About the Author

P. H. SIMG_4154-Editolomon 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, ru
nning, 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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Fantasy Friday! A Dream & The Forge Pt. 1

Hello everyone! Today’s, post is the first of two that I’ll share from The Bow of Destiny. This part involves a dream that leads up to tomorrow’s excerpt at a forge. Enjoy!


TBOD Pinterest Board ThumbHe rolled over on the bed and saw his pack. The inheritance, Eagle’s Aerie, and the visions. Everything had gone wrong after meeting the Withling in spite of his attempts at avoiding their trouble.

Athson yawned. His father’s sword. The elves found it broken on the Funnel when they found him while searching for survivors. He blinked and then closed his eyes.

The broken sword pieces gleam before him.

“Run, Athson, run!” His father’s worried shout and Corgren’s mockery echo as he whirls in darkness. Athson runs as brambles and tree limbs catch at his arms and legs. He stops at his father’s broken blade. He runs and halts at the pieces shining in the darkness.

“A curse broke it.” Enlath repeats the same words, fading into whispers each time.

Then the pieces slide together and fade into the gloom.

Athson hears the rhythmic clatter of a blacksmith’s hammer. Bursts of light shatter the darkness with each hammer blow.

“Blessing on this edge,” a voice says, “judgment on the other.”

The hammer rings on the steel and sparks fly.

Athson sat up in bed. A hammer rang from the smithy across the yard. Dusk drifted with the dust in the air and caressed the walls. Ralda was gone. The elven blacksmith worked with hammer and tongs at a horseshoe. Athson watched the sparks in the smithy. Those words – blessing on one and judgment on the other. No, it was just a dream. He shook his head.


bow of destinyI’ll post the next part tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by to read today.

I’ve got an ongoing sale for The Bow of Destiny for the next several days. You can find it at one of the buy links below.

Also, I’ll get the following tidbits posted soon on the News page but I’ll make an appearance on 8/13 in RRBC’s Back to School Blog Tour. Then I’ll be on The Lost Bow Blog Tour from 8/14-20. I’ll post more news about these as it becomes available.

And one final tidbit – for those who might have seen it on my Twitter feed, I’ve been contacted by a teacher about including The Bow of Destiny in her curriculum. I don’t know much at this time other than it’s being considered. If it is, I’ll share more information ASAP. It’s interesting news at this point and another great reason to write!

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

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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.

Sign-up to receive my free ebooks today.

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