In Memorium to the Real Spark #2: Chloe’s Passing

Longtime followers of this site will remember that Spark is based on two of my German Shepherd dogs. The one who talked with his tail was named Sam and he died in 2019. Last week, our old female shepherd named Chloe passed away of old age. Both dogs were very intelligent in their own ways so they were special to us.

Chloe was always rowdy, learned quickly, and was diligent as a backyard guard. She was something of a gourmand, preferring special food, especially chicken and rice. She also loved puzzle toys for dogs, was always ready for a trip anywhere (though she did not like water), and loved chasing geese at a nearby private lake (she never caught one, but loved the chase).

Chloe’s mother was a real German police dog so she had a few things she would not do including play fetch. She would chase the ball and pick it up but never return it. She was always the warning barker and very alert for aggression.

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When we first acquired Chloe as a puppy, she was very serious. We always said she didn’t unpack her bags for about a year. It was that long until she actually wagged her tail when we arrived home. But Chloe always loved attention as well as playing.

Her way of playing was to charge me and try to take me down with a snarl. She was just playing and never did anything, but she loved acting like she was much bigger than fifty-five pounds. We thought she was very rough, so we took our time getting her to socialize with people which she figured out. In the end, she loved visitors as long as she knew them herself or knew that we welcomed someone into the house.

While Sam was the one who talked with his tail and got a lot of attention in blog posts and my newsletter, Chloe was the “face” of Spark. She was an almost perfect model for the color of Spark’s coat as pictured on the book covers. Have a look at the carousel of pictures of Chloe if you have a chance.

Chloe’s passing was not unexpected like Sam’s since she was aging and struggling with hip troubles. She seemed to have chosen her place. Last week, she wanted out during some very nice weather, appearing very energetic and lively. I checked on her often since she usually wanted in soon after going outside. But she liked the weather which was sunny with very mild temperatures and some nice breezes, so she stayed out for several hours on Monday. Last Tuesday, she wanted out again and I checked on her several times. She seemed content, unconcerned with coming inside the house. But when I checked on her about 2PM, I found she had passed away in her sleep amid the shade and the gentle breeze on the back deck. Here’s to Chloe and her faithful, exuberant spirit – RIP.

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Why No Dwarfs on The Bow of Hart Saga Covers?

There are some characters missing from covers for books in The Bow of Hart Saga. Find out why in this post.

The covers of the books from The Bow of Hart Saga have always received a lot of compliments and all the credit for them is due to my cover artist. However, there are characters that never appear on these covers and for some very good reasons.

Of the group on the quest for the Bow of Hart, Hastra, Makwi and Tordug never appear on a covere. Athson always takes center stage as he should being the main character. But other characters make appearances. Spark and Gweld are main movers in the series so they are present. Limbreth is on the cover of An Arrow Against the Wind along with Ralda. But there are no dwarves and no Hastra.

The Covers

The Bow of Destiny features Athson, Gweld, and Spark on the cover. These are main players in the cast and they start out together in the book as the number of characters grows. When I got a full cover for print, I wanted to include trolls on the back but adding more figures costs money. I had to go without those additions as nice as they would have been. 

BOD Final MD

An Arrow Against the Wind featured Athson, Limbreth, Gweld, Spark, and Ralda against a mountain scene. All were necessary for various reasons. Ralda was included instead of Makwi or Tordug because the giant is taller and further away. There would have been nothing to see of the dwarves, let alone Hastra. Cost also became a factor with this cover too, though I would have liked to use them on the back along with the Bane.


The White Arrow is Athson and Spark in the foreground with Magdronu in the sky in the background. Athson is center stage for this cover. I suppose I could have used a different scene but cost with the number of figures comes into play. Again, I would have like to use another figure on the back but there was no money for that.

Book Cover III b


The Cost Factor

One reason that is apparent in all of the covers for fewer characters being pictured is cost. I’m self-published and that leaves me on a budget. Original artwork for fantasy does cost and I’m pleased to acquire what I can. If you’ve seen my cover for The Order of the Dark Rose, it has some incredible detail when viewed closely. Original artwork is gold and costs a lot as a result.

Other Factors

The other reasons are more form and fit for the cover. Would dwarves be perfect for the cover of An Arrow Against the Wind? Certainly. But there’s only so much space and too many faces. That’s where the back cover for print comes into play and circles back to the primary factor.

It’s easy to want it all and hard to get it all on a cover. If I could afford additional artwork, I’d get it. If I could write another story about the dwarves and get them on the cover I would. I’d add Hastra onto the cover of What is Needed. I’d also add a cover with Corgren and his brother on the cover of Trading Knives. Again, these types of stories are intended to be free so spending money on these kinds of covers is hard to do when there are so many other costs involved. Decisions, decisions. I’d like to put the existing stories into a single edition with artwork for each and add the story for the dwarves as a special (this one wouldn’t be produced by Podium so no audio for it).

I want to add more artwork for the series but there are other books to publish along with the cost of covers. I have to weigh it all against the bigger picture and keep writing the books I have planned. Perhaps when I get back to the sequel series for The Bow of Hart Saga, I’ll afford putting some of these characters on the covers. Until then, I’ll have to settle for what I have. Regardless, I love the covers I have and what they represent for the series.

About the Author:

IMG_4154-EditMulti retailer Bestselling Author, Fantasia Reviews Book of the Year Author 2017 & 2018

U. S. author, P. H. Solomon grew up with a love of books including fantasy. Always interested in odd details, history and the world around him, P. H. has found an outlet in writing where he mixes a wide range of interests from the regular world, history and anthropology into his fantasy books.

His epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga, brought a fresh viewpoint to the genre where magic, myth and mysticism mingle. Described by readers as a “mixture of the classic fantasy past with new ideas.”

Amazon Series Pic LgTrading Knives (0.1)

What is Needed (0.2)

The Bow of Destiny #1

An Arrow Against the Wind #2

The White Arrow #3

The latest series, The Cursed Mage Case Files is a mash-up of classic Sherlock Holmes, The Dresden Files and Harry Potter into a unique fantasy world where magic is both an arcane practice and a technological power to be harnessed. Join Mandlefred Mandeheim and Wishton Ackford as they team up to investigate magical mysteries.

The Order of the Dark Rose #1

The Unseen Hand #2 (upcoming)

The Nine Jewel Heist #3 (upcoming)

More books:

Curses Dark and Foul

The Black Bag

See the entire book catalog at P. H. Solomon’s Amazon Author Page.

Find more about P. H. Solomon as well as articles and research notes, plus a free stories, at

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A Week of Progress & Looking Forward

Last week was busy but I was able get some useful work completed. RM is a challenging book/series for many reasons. It’s a big world with a complex plot. There are many characters, places and forms of magic to discover. Writing on the initial effort was so fast that I hardly stopped to consider everything necessary. That’s not how I want to work on a series but it’s what I have at the moment. Here are some details I’ve been working on this last week:

  • The villain: it may seem like a no-brainer to have a well-developed villain but mine currently isn’t. The reason are several. For one, I only really developed to two main characters. Next, the villain is very slippery and stays well-hidden – even from me. This means the villain had to be questioned at length to discover more of the character’s nature. This led to a lengthy fictional interview to draw out some of my thinking about this character. It’s still ongoing but I’m gaining more insight into this character and the motivations. Portraying this villain will be tricky since this character is slippery anyway but must share the load for the story to have solid balance. The focus is on the main characters but my villain needs to have some visible presence or risk being too vague.
  • The beginning: I envisioned a different beginning due to the original organization of the book. With changes to the order of the various chapters, I needed a new beginning and I think I’ve arrived at just what is needed. I’ve made notes on it and I’m going to begin work on it very soon.
  • Series vision: I needed a solid vision for the feel of the series. As I’ve settled on the beginning I’ve begun to settle on the feel of the series as well. This will be ongoing as I work through the content edit but adding a lot of details and description in the right way will capture just what I need.
  • Oddly, just this morning (Sunday), a few new situations to twist the main character into a few other notes came to mind. It will help me with a villain who’s unwilling to take center stage, preferring to work in the background and remain unknown. Adding a foil for the main character and a tragic background relationship the bites back can add some snap into the plot in several ways. I’m exploring how to include these into the story. This is not new to me since Spark was a late add in The Bow of Hart Saga and wasn’t even a thought when I first started the series at eighteen. That idea came from my daughter close to thirty years later. Hopefully, I’ll go much faster with this series and get moving forward.

That’s all I have for the week but it’s some solid progress. Now I just need to build some momentum and take this series to the next level. It’s a day by day focus to renovate the first book the way I want the series to read but a task worth completing in the end. More to come and in the near future, but for now, I head back to work on RM and this crazy business of writing a book series.

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