Last week, I shared what 5 things I added to The Bow of Hart Saga over the time I was writing the series. This week, I’m sharing what I removed from the series. This one is a bit tougher since I had to think through so many years development.
1. First on the list is a major sub-plot. Once I really re-booted my work on the The Bow of Destiny and the series, I added a major sub-plot where events unfolded in a totally different part of Denaria with different characters. It was pretty good writing but very unnecessary as pointed out by my editor. So, I removed the sub-plot but held onto it for later publication as a single book or a novella series. Hopefully, I can begin sharing some of that in the coming months as the early portions of this could easily be developed into the first two books of a shorter series.
2. Next, I dropped additional books. When I first planned the series many years ago, I wanted to write between seven and nine books. I trimmed that notion to five books and then to three. I think three books were enough to cover what was needed (reference to the Withlings intended).
3. The meaning of the Bow of Hart was next to be changed. At first, I intended to write it much differently (no spoiler here) but the more work I put into the current version, the more I knew it had to be twisted. That meant dropping my original intentions and I think that worked out much better. For those who haven’t read it, you need to and you’ll understand.
4. Along with the shift away from more books, the plans I had for a major war in the lands of Shildra and Grendon shifted north which made sense. Fewer books meant less time to move into other lands so I kept the series arc as simple as possible – anything else was pushing too far. I did not get to show events in other places like Shildra, Grendon, Hart, Rok and several others. Perhaps I can write another series about those lands (and, no, the previously mentioned content is not about these lands).
5. Lastly, I dropped a very convoluted beginning that spent far too much time with Athson being alone and making long trips to and from Auguron City. That left him involved with no one so there was less dialogue. Also, it was just boring so I settled on pushing the reader directly into Athson’s confusing reality and a single, straight-forward journey to the city with Gweld while moving the ranger station further away and adding a few stops along the way for better context and plot development.
So those are a few details that were cut, and generously so. I think it made the overall series better, more concise. As a bonus, I can also share that I split the initial first book since it would have been far too long, shifted the title to the second book and developed The Bow of Destiny title. That took some doing but it worked. Next week, I’ll share more details I added, especially in The Bow of Destiny that made the book better in my opinion.
Dark places attract hidden secrets, but they can also provide useful seclusion for an investigation.
Manny used to be a sniffer (spy), so there are plenty of secrets he knows, including some safe houses and a variety of places used in past years by the Imperial spies services.
When Manny and Wish find themselves followed during an investigation, they work together to avoid their stalkers and meet in a place Manny considers safe, if not used in a long time. It’s one more basement the pair use to avoid their enemies. Here’s another underground setting used by the characters in this tour of basements:
“Shhh, it’s me.” Manny eased his grip on my face. His soundless approach left me stricken. He motioned to the basement door that stood slightly ajar. “Down here.”
My heart thrummed in my ears, but I shuffled down the steps with my bag in hand and entered Manny’s safe house. It stank of mold and sat almost empty of anything of value except for a table below the landing of the steps that led to the basement floor. I opened my mouth to speak, but Manny motioned for quiet. My partner removed his gadgets from a pocket and checked me for any magical attachments, then scanned my original clothing. My eyebrows shot up as he removed quite a bit more than I expected.
When he was finished, Manny stowed his wands in his coat pockets. “I found some crude listening magic on me, and I figured you had it too. Most likely from Thistledown.”
I inspected the confines of the basement. “Nice place. Used it much?”
Manny threw the lock on the door. “It’s an old safe house used by the sniffers. Been a long time since it was active. I picked the lock and disabled the booby-trap.”
“Trap?” I glanced at the bare, mold-stained walls in the light of a candle that sat on a table below the landing.
Manny shrugged. “Just some darts. The knockout potion probably wouldn’t have worked after all this time, but the puncture wound would’ve hurt like the hells of Clo Clana.” He extended one finger up. “Rusty, too, so they might have left someone sick, if not dead.” He grinned and shifted his gaze to me. “Anyone follow you?”
I set about switching back to my original clothing. “My tactics shook him back at the station with a sudden jump on the train as it left. I made a quick disguise anyway. Lofton will get charged for all that.” I set the bag aside and motioned to it. “My new umbrella.”
Manny peered into the bag. “Nice choice. Brown hat and blue tweed jacket. Classy style there, Wish.” I re-armed myself and swallowed my complaints about the mediocre clothing. “Best choices available.”
“Better than a knife in your kidney.” Manny smirked at me.
“True.” With my fleer gun settled back into its original pocket, I gazed about the room and waited for Manny to continue.
“Nice limp, by the way.” He straightened my coat collar. “Saw you from the front windows.”
“Thanks.” I tugged my lapels straight and brushed wrinkles from my sleeves. By the looks of those dirty windows, it was a miracle Manny had glimpsed me at all. “I think I saw your tail. Were you followed? Is this case really that dangerous?”
“Pointy-nosed fellow? I easily lost him without all your measures. And I do think something is definitely going on at Thistledown, much deeper than expected. Someone signaled the driver, who tipped off our man with the pointy nose. I’m surprised there were actually two men.” He retrieved the note from Thistledown’s butler and considered the information. Our hasty departure from Thistledown returned to mind as our evasive adventures receded from the forefront of my thoughts. “Why did we leave so abruptly?”
Manny ran his hands through his hair and descended the steps to the basement floor, where he paced. “You noted the marks in the bedroom?”
An arch-mage can handle almost anything. Unless he’s cursed, lost his job and facing an unknown enemy.
Dark places abound in the book, including basements, cellars, and more…
The Gallantean Empire relies increasingly upon magical technology which cleans sewers, runs trams and much more. Within the capital city of Cal Rindon, magic is pervasive, but not necessarily used without crime involved. The bustling metropolis boasts constant innovations mixed with growing pains. Amid the good lurks the bad with unrest and growing crime.
Arch-mage Manny Mandeheim fell under a curse, watched his fiancé die, and then lost his job as a spy. So what’s an arch-mage to do? Start his own magical investigation service while he works to clear his good name and maybe avenge his lost love. With his very un-magical partner, Wish Ackford, Manny discovers the menace of a much larger conspiracy than he expected looming behind his curse. Suddenly, the limitations from the hex leave him at a distinct disadvantage as he and Wish investigate.
Assassins lurk at every corner or in every tram car. The threat of an unknown mastermind with murky intentions lingers just out of sight. A questionable source offers the hint of a secret order hounding Manny’s footsteps. A murder leads to wrenching discoveries.
Nothing an arch-mage can’t handle…
Unless the curse limits how much magic he can use or kills him outright.
A mixture of Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter, The Order of the Dark Rose is set in an alternate fantasy world where magic is both commonplace and dangerous. Mysteries abound in this original, new fantasy from P. H. Solomon, author of the award-winning, best-selling epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga.
Can Manny survive long enough to break his curse? Or will the arch-mage’s hidden foe escape him? Click the Your Favorite Retailer button to enter this high concept world of magic and fantasy to discover more about Manny and Wish.
Also leave your ratings and reviews at:
Reviews for The Order of the Dark Rose:
Reviewed By Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite
The Order of the Dark Rose is the first novel in The Cursed Mage Case Files series by P. H. Solomon. This epic fantasy is set in a world where magic is real and integrated into daily life. Manny Mandeheim, an arch-mage, was once a spy, but all that changed when his fiancé passed away; he was cursed and lost his social standing. In order to redeem his name, he opened his own investigation company with Wish Ackford and tried to look for a reason why he was cursed. However, the more they delved deeper into the mystery, the more complex it became. Before Manny and Wish knew it, they were knee-deep in a conspiracy that could very much end their lives. They were nowhere near figuring out who was the person behind this yet the danger only increased. All they needed was a single nudge in the right direction. But would they get it? Or was it already too late?
The Order of the Dark Rose gave me serious Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie vibes, and I loved it. P. H. Solomon’s narrative style is very similar to these literary legends. I could find similarities in the way the author introduced the action, pushed it forward, and made it an integral part of the story. The mystery and suspense were alive in the story, and that was all thanks to how the author handled the main plot while supporting it with equally important subplots. The flow was incredible, the world-building was “magical” and the character development was brilliant as well. There was hardly a moment when I was frustrated with Manny or wanted him to do something differently. He was smart, he was calculating, and he was ready to do something about his predicament. Overall, a great start to a fantastic new series!
The following post is a fictitious news report based on events from The White Arrow, Book Three of The Bow of Hart Saga:
The Grendon Bugle/Free-Press
“The clear call of truth with the rising sun.”
Date-line: Auguron City By Maroch Karkholm, roving reporter on assignment with the Grendonese mission to Auguron on behalf of Princess Limbreth.
Maroch Karkholm here, reporting on events as they unfold in Auguron City. This reporter has been on assignment with the royal emissary sent to find the missing Princess Limbreth. After many days of waiting and filing interest stories about the culture of Auguron and its citizenry, word arrived that an army of trolls marched west toward the city. After several weeks, the main force of Auguron’s eastern garrison arrived by fleet of river-boats.
Among this contingent of rangers were a Withling, a giant, two particular rangers, two dwarves and none other than Princess Limbreth. While this reporter has been unable to interview the princess, I have been able to sit down with one of the dwarves who traveled in her company these last months. What follows are the surprising details:
Maroch: I understand you’ve traveled with Princess Limbreth these last months. Can you tell us more your involvement and who you are?
Dwarf: I’m Tordug of Chokkra and I have been honored to travel and fight in the company of Princess Limbreth of Grendon, Ax-maid of the death-grip, the Silver Lady and Protector of Travelers.
Maroch: Excuse me, Tordug. Did you say you were from Chokkra?
Tordug: Yes, I did say that.
Maroch: Then you were named for the infamous former ruler of that fallen dwarven-realm? Or perhaps, you bare the same name?
Tordug: I am none other than the very same former ruler.
Maroch: My apologies for not recognizing you, sir. I have many questions if you have time to speak with me further. I do not wish to intrude.”
Tordug: I have some time before I must go meet with Captain Sarneth about the defense of the city.
Maroch: Then you must also have knowledge of the troll invasion in which we Grendonese intend to avoid being entangled?
Tordug: I do know much of the events and plans for the defense as a consultant to the captain. However, I’m not at liberty to speak of these details at this time so tread carefully with your questions.
Maroch: I see. And, pardon me for asking, but Captain Sarneth has no qualms about receiving your assistance considering your past history with the fall of your own realm?
Tordug: My past is exactly that, my past. However, who better to consult than someone who has known the tactics of the enemy from the past? I have no authority among these elves but they have accepted my offer of service and knowledge.
Maroch: When did you find out that the trolls were invading?
Tordug: Hmmm, I suppose that’s no secret. We encountered them while traveling through the Troll Heaths. We discovered their movements just after a snowstorm and the wandering star appeared in the eastern night sky. It was just after, well, other events. We hurried to inform the elven garrison so that the contingent might not be overwhelmed by the horde and yet warn travelers on the trade road.
Maroch: You say you and your party were in the Troll Heaths and discovered the invasion. That region is reputed to be rather dangerous. Were you aware that a member of your party was a member of the Grendonese royal family?
Tordug: Yes, but I found out only after we were well into our quest. As far as any of us knew, the princess was someone who chose the company of Withling Hastra.
Maroch: Ah, yes, some on Grendon have insinuated that the Withling abducted or bewitched the princess and-
Tordug: I can assure you that is not the case. Princess Limbreth accompanied Withling Hastra of her own choice. If you wish to know the reasons, you may ask her.
Maroch: I see. Well, there is rumor there was nearly an altercation with the Grendonese emissary, Count Dareth of Tinnewell, just after she arrived with the elven garrison. Do you confirm or deny such events?
Tordug: (He laughed, very hard and long). There was indeed a heated discussion between this Dareth and the princess in the street. They almost came to blows. I fear he would have soon found himself in danger from Princess Limbreth had not Captain Sarneth intervened.
Maroch: Wait, you say between the princess and the count? You do realize they are betrothed, don’t you?
Tordug: (He laughed long and hard again before he answered). If they are, it’s a rather one-sided affair, more on his hapless part, I should think. But what of it?
Maroch: You were there and Count Dareth was sent by King Hamgas to retrieve Princess Limbreth. Why didn’t you hand the princess over at that time?
Tordug: (Again, he laughed very hard before he answered). Princess Limbreth goes where she wants and with whomever she wants. And with I doubt it will ever be with this Count Dareth unless the one she does want doesn’t live through the coming attack.
Maroch: Wait, are you saying that the princes loves another man? Who is he?
Tordug: Oh, enough of these questions of idle gossip. If you want to know more, ask her yourself. All I will say is that she’s entitled to choose whomever she wishes. She is highly honored among my people as an Ax-maid of the death-grip and someone who has proven her bravery many times over in recent months. Good day to you.
This reporter has been unable to gather any other information about all these events or what happened on the adventure of Princess Limbreth’s. None of her companions, including Withling Hastra, have made themselves available even after formal messages were sent to them. However, it is clear that there is another man in her life of whom no one knows, mostly likely someone she met on her travels. That Princess Limbreth has won renown among the dwarves is of great surprise and will certainly please His Majesty. For now, all else remains a mystery to this reporter who leaves this very hour with the Grendonese contingent ahead of the invasion. One can only hope that the princess will see the wisdom of leaving with the well-trained cavalry sent to guard her return to Grendon.
From the endangered city of Auguron, this is Marock Karkholm, roving reporter and still on the trail of the mysteries surrounding Princess Limbreth.
Look for more of these fun reports about the series. If you are interested in The Bow of Destiny, An Arrow Against the Wind or the newly released, final edition, The White Arrow, please click the appropriate link for the book-page. Following is the link to find out more about The White Arrow where it can be downloaded for free via Kindle Unlimited: