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Out of the Shadows with Reformed Mage

Hi everyone! I’m done talking about Reformed Mage and I’m ready to really start sharing about it. For well over a year, I’ve mentioned this upcoming series with hints about the progress but no actual information about the book. Today marks when I get to talk about that book. The reason I only hinted around about it is that I haven’t wanted to share the details publicly, but now I’m throwing caution to the wind. Thanks to my friend Craig Boyack, whose chatty posts about his own work progress, inspired me to begin sharing about my own work more specifically and I hope will encourage me to soon complete the first book in the series.

Reformed Mage revolves around Manny and Wish who are two very different characters thrown together by difficult circumstances. They’ve formed a business partnership to make proverbial lemonade out lemons. Manny is the de facto main character, a talented mage and a discredited spy who is out of work. Likewise, Wish was out of work as a copywriter with low prospects and practically living on the streets. He also serves at the narrator of the story. The two have formed a partnership intent on investigating magical irregularities and crimes in hopes of making a living.

The interesting part is that what got Manny kicked out espionage was a curse he incurred during his activities as a spy. I won’t go into all of the background, but he’s intent upon clearing his name if possible – if the curse doesn’t kill him first.

There’s all kinds of trouble the pair can get into, both regular and magical. The setting is somewhat familiar in a large city during burgeoning technological growth. So there are all kinds of aspects to the story which can be exploited and one of the reasons why I’m taking so long with series. It’s no small feat to paint the full backdrop complete with all the details for readers as well as discover all of the many facets of the characters.
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Of course, there is a nemesis for this odd pair of investigators, as well as several characters who give them some trouble in a variety of ways. One of the befuddling mysteries about their nemesis is that the character is rather well hidden, even from general knowledge. Manny and Wish have discovered that the criminal exists with no known background and less information about this mastermind’s intentions. With few clues to guide them, they find themselves in danger while they work to protect the city in which they live from this shadowy figure.

At the moment I’m a little bit stuck on exactly how to revise the book, mainly because I want get it right. Maybe I’m being a little perfectionistic. However, I think this series will be quite a lot fun and it requires a lot of forethought about the series and a clear vision for how it will read. I want to take my time to iron out all the problems, fill the holes and create an excellent series for readers.

That’s all I have for to day. It’s your turn now. What are your thoughts about my rather spare and general description of my upcoming work? Thanks for stopping by and the post today. Please leave your thoughts in the comments section and share or re-blog this post.

Progress from Uncertainty

Like everyone else, I’ve watched the uncertainty of current pandemic playing out across the media with almost momentary updates. There’s so much information that it becomes overwhelming, even discouraging. During the last week, I’ve stayed busy with my wife’s recovery with her knee and she’s doing very well.

But, the upheaval and struggle with personal events have left me more energized. It’s likely nervous energy, but why not put it to good use? Sure, I’ve distracted myself with some entertainment and such, but along with a commitment to getting solid rest, I’ve decided to re-double my efforts with my book.

For too long, I’ve sat considering how to revise Reformed Mage without enough progress. In the midst of uncertainty, I’m using my restlessness to focus more on my writing than I have in a while and try to knock out this hefty revision. I’m dedicated to opening the file and working on it daily, perhaps several times each day. Anything is useful right now and leads forward which is what I need. Following that decision, I’ve made some solid progress in Reformed Mage. I’m intent on focusing on just this project as much as possible each day and push it further along toward publication.

I’ve drafted a short post about the book to share here next week as part of introducing it to readers. Look for that post next week and more about the book in the following weeks.

Meanwhile, I’ve been taking time to shift my attention from the distressing news. There’s the desire to be informed but also maintain calm. I’m watching a few new shows and a few retro shows to pass the time along with digging deep with the new book. This begs the question: what are you doing during this social hiatus? Are you spending more time working around the house? I’ve done that and swallowed a good bit of pollen from the early spring weather in the area. Are you binge watching shows? I’ve watched some old Star Trek Next Generation episodes and some newer shows on Prime. Are you reading books? I’ve been reading some too, what are you reading? Feel free to weigh-in on the subject in the comments. Thanks for stopping by today.

An Arrow Against the Wind Commentary: Athson’s Choices

Note: Fantasy Friday is a new feature for Archer’s Aim. This is a re-post, but for those interested, it’s useful. I’ll work on some new, fantasy-related posts to mix in with some of my older ones like this as well as some posts about new books in the coming months. Please feel free to share on social media or re-blog these posts. Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend!

Introduction

The Bow of Destiny begins a long journey for Athson and his companions which leads him to a gut-wrenching ending in that book. An Arrow Against the Wind begins immediately after those twists but with a twist of its own. In that light, Athson’s perspective shifts with realization that what he thought was real wasn’t and he begins to question his decade-long predicament.

Commentary

Within The Bow of Destiny, Athson struggles with grief both old and new as well as his uncertainty from his PTSD-like fits which seem to have resolved in some ways. However, he’s never quite sure of himself and doesn’t always trust his own awareness. He’s equally suspicious and doubtful of the quest. Within all of these difficulties, Athson is stuck in a spiraling struggle with his outlook on the adventure.

But, with the sudden shift of reality, his mood shifts from one of grief to that of a determination to seek answers to his life as well as help those around him. Without sharing any spoilers, Athson needs to find more than the Bow of Hart and isn’t willing to just follow Hastra’s lead in the matter. However, he is seeking to help others and himself though he doesn’t know how to go about it. He just unwilling to follow a course that he doesn’t believe will achieve his goals.

Athson sets out on his own to accomplish his new goals, determined not to remain a grieving victim. Hastra and Gweld slowly turn his attention back to the Bow of Hart as a way of accomplishing his goals. Their reasoning is that the Bow of Hart is the key to the problems that confront Athson who slowly comes around to the idea. However, he still wants to do things his way regardless.

Between the events of The Bow of Destiny and An Arrow Against the Wind, there’s a definite progression for Athson. In the first book, he’s struggling with his own pathos and malady about which he believes himself to be merely a bystander as events happen to him. By the end, he’s willing to take a stand for himself and others, rising out of his inward struggles.

An Arrow Against the Wind shows how Athson begins to grow as he takes action against the forces set against him. His actions are imperfect but he has skills as a ranger that he can use to further his goals. He believes he’s still making good decision, a belief revealed in the opening scene of The Bow of Destiny when he makes a choice while hunting. But as Athson progresses he will be presented with tougher choices and the question remains if he’s truly able to make a difficult decision by parsing out more than what he wants at a moment, but what is best for others as well. His choices lie between his own goals and the needs of others. He wants to help but what is the best way? He’s growing out of the malaise of years and into an active participant in this life because the Bow of Hart and the prophesy surrounding it require him to grow and make tough choices.

Excerpt

Here’s an excerpt where he discusses his options with Limbreth regarding some choices and the Bow of Hart:

Later, they shared time during their watches as they walked a circuit of their camp. Spark trailed them.

“Let’s just leave and go ourselves. They’re slowing us down. They’ll keep me from doing what I have to do.” Athson stared into the silent night, his tone hushed. Time was wasting. Each night the moon phase progressed. His gut clenched. “It’s not their decision.”

“Athson, they mean well and understand your feelings.” She paused, hefting a sword. “But there are the bigger issues of the prophecy. Hastra knew her risks and has for years.”

They paused by the mules, and Athson patted one on its side. “But I can’t abandon my father and mother again.” He turned to Limbreth and grasped her shoulders. “I’ve lived well with the elves while they’ve suffered. I can’t just run off and forget them.”

She leaned forward, her forehead touching his. “I know. It’s not easy. Maybe an answer will present itself.”

His voice rose in challenge, and he stepped back. “Like what? I’m trapped. They are trapped in Corgren’s clutches.”

Limbreth gazed toward their sleeping companions and back to Athson. “Quiet, you’ll wake the others. I don’t know what will happen, and neither do you. But I’ll go through it with you.” She took his hand and came closer. “I’m here now. For you. So are the others.”

Athson shrugged. Was her support just words? She had a suitor waiting for her. Somewhere. “What if the others scout out Corgren? I find the bow while they sneak my father away. Then, then…” Then what? His mother died?

Limbreth lowered her face. “What about your mother?” She sighed. “Tough questions and no answers. Yet.”

Athson paced away and back. “Well, just get some sleep. We push on before the moon.”

A falling star streaked across the sky. Athson remembered a similar sight in his vision at Eagle’s Aerie. The arrow Eloch prepared. He frowned at the sparkling sky. The inheritance lay in his pack. The same words written on the will. He needed an arrow?

“That was beautiful.”

“Yes.” Athson managed. “There’s supposed to be an arrow.”

Still watching the sky, Limbreth frowned. “What arrow?”

“It’s in the prophecy.” He thumbed over his shoulder toward camp. “It’s in that will I got. I don’t know where that is. I remember something. A falling star like a smoking arrow from back at Eagle’s Aerie. But if it’s not with the Bow of Hart I don’t know what to do to find it. But if I did, I’d have something to fight back with. Maybe.”

“Perhaps, but at least we’ll know if it’s there, and maybe we can ask Howart, if he’s there…” She lifted her arms to his shoulders and stepped closer, her eyes still to the sky. “Then we’ll decide. You know we’ll do something based on all that information. There’s an answer, Athson. It’s not hopeless.”

He scowled a moment then realized her tone held encouragement. “Thanks.” He held her a while under the stars as the time slipped past him.

Find out more about the second book of The Bow of Hart Saga, An Arrow Against the Wind, by clicking on one of these retailer badges:

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