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Excerpt From An Arrow Against the Wind: Ath’s Choice

Introduction

Ath makes a choice that sets events twisting around his life.

With book 2 of The Bow of Hart Saga, more characters get point-of-view scenes. One such character is Athson’s father whose in quite a dire predicament. In this early scene, he’s  finds something and is forced to make one choice around which the lives of many characters in the book will revolve.

Excerpt


The rumble of collapsing stone faded to groans and squeals from the mass of surrounding rock. Ath half-gagged, half-coughed dust and grit from his throat. “Hello?” His hoarse whisper echoed ahead. An open passage. He checked his limbs by feel. Cuts and bruises, but nothing broken.

Ath crawled, but his chain pulled taut. His hands fumbled along the metal links. Who had held his chain last? Was it a buried troll? He felt around for a stone with a rough edge and enough weight to break the metal.

His hand passed over an object. Ath touched it. Rough edges, cold metal with teeth. His heart thudded. A piece of a file. He grinned. With this, he could escape.

Ath started scratching a link, his movement fast. He should make it quick, lest trolls come searching. Where could he go in this place? Where was a door? The questions slowed his fervor against the hard, thick chain.

Someone groaned.

Ath paused. He hid his short file in a pocket, a vast treasure. His hands trailed back along the chain. A large chunk of rock lay on it, and he slid it away with effort. He continued on along the chain. Rock fell near him. Ath cringed and covered his head with his arms. Silence settled around him. Just settling rock. Still, best not to linger longer than necessary.

He searched along the length of his chain. He touched a hand and drew back with a gasp. He touched it again. It was warm and felt human. Ath sat back with a groan. “Corgren!” He coughed, and it sounded like a shout in the silence of the tunnel. Ath trembled a moment, frozen in place.

Key! Did Corgren have it? He scrambled to the wizard and went through his pockets. Nothing. Ath pounded his leg with a fist. After a few moments, his frustration ended. So, it would be the file or nothing. He reached for his pocket.

Corgren groaned.

Ath froze again. If the wizard woke, he would take Ath’s prize. Then what? Ath felt around for a heavy rock. He’d have to kill Corgren and then use the file. He felt for the wizard’s bald head and lifted the rock with both hands.

Rock tumbled in the blocked passage as the corridor quaked.

The file might take too long. Ath’s face contorted with the effort of holding the rock. If it took too long, he might be buried. He grunted. Who cared if Corgren died?

Athson’s voice, now a man’s voice, flickered in his memory. Defiance. Had he survived? If so, he’d need Ath’s help.

Ath needed to escape Chokkra, and someone needed to lead him out. He needed the file—and Corgren—to escape. How, he didn’t know, other than that they had used him against Athson. He’d use the file little by little and break loose at the best opportunity. Preferably when Corgren took him to bully Athson again to get the Bow of Hart. He tossed the rock aside, his arms trembling. He’d help Athson at the right opportunity, and that would come in time.

He searched Corgren for broken limbs and found nothing but a bloody knot on his head. Ath dragged Corgren away from the rock, out of the choking dust. The chain clinked with his movements. He progressed with the arduous proficiency of a blind man. He felt for obstacles, lest he fall, until the occasional sound of settling rock faded.

Corgren coughed and groaned. He rolled over in Ath’s grasp.

“What are you doing? Where am I?” Corgren shoved Ath weakly away.

Ath stepped back. “There was a collapse. I pulled you away.”

Corgren hissed in pain. “That’s a nasty blow.” He went still and then pulled Ath close. “Why did you save me?” A trembling grasp reached for Ath’s throat. “You tried to kill me. This head wound.”

Ath struggled with Corgren. “Please, no! It’s the chain. We’re attached. I don’t think the trolls survived.” He waved his hand in a vague approximation of the collapse.

Corgren’s grasp loosened. A weak laugh echoed in the tunnel. “I suppose you want some thanks, some reward?”

Ath scrambled away. “No. It was just that rock kept falling around us.”

He heard Corgren rise with prolonged grunts. He pulled on the chain. “Well, since you want to live, come along.”

Ath followed. He squeezed the file in his pocket. He’d be ready if the time came. He shook his head. When it came. He coughed to cover a laugh. The file blazed like a candle of hope in his mind. When


About the Book

An Arrow Against the Wind is book two of The Bow of Hart Saga and is available at all retailers. Just click the cover below to use the universal link to find out more about the book at your preferred e-book vendor:

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 now out! 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).

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Book Release: Jewel in the Mud by Harmony Kent

Fellow fantasy author, Harmony Kent, releases her non-fiction book today entitled, Jewel in the Mud. I’m pleased to host her today and hope you’ll have a look at this new book. 

Blurb

‘Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It relies solely on what you think.’

Have you ever felt angry? Upset? Hurt? Overwhelmed? Not up to it?

This book, with its pithy teachings based in Zen, will help you find the jewel in the inevitable mud of life rather than wallowing in that mud.

Not only does each day offer us a new start, a chance to press reset, but so does each and every breath. It’s never too late to be who you were meant to be, and your history doesn’t have to keep you trapped. And nor do you have to waste endless energy on worrying about all that the future may bring.

Written in an engaging manner, Jewel in the Mud invites you to search within and make your world the way you want it to be. It doesn’t give you strict instructions or homework, but instead, invites you to dive deeper, search further, and question your assumptions.

The book has handy thoughts for the week, and can be read in one go, weekly, or dipped into at random. In short, it has been designed to fit in with you and your needs.

Learn how to take control of your life with these Zen Musings.

Forward from the Book

What qualifies me to write a book such as this? Am I anything special? Have I learnt anything that you cannot?

In short, I am a Zen failure. I spent thirteen years in a Zen Buddhist Temple—ten of those ordained. And then I left.

End of story?

Not quite.

Before, during, and after, a few things happened to me along the way. And for sure, those thirteen years proved most fruitful.

I entered the monastery as a young (27 year old) woman lacking in confidence, painfully shy, massively inadequate, and terrified of everything … including my own shadow. Put simply, normal life just felt like too much, and most of the time, I found myself overwhelmed.

I think that those years of discipline I undertook voluntarily were, in some ways, the hardest of my life. But oh so worth it.

I emerged at just short of forty like the proverbial butterfly, utterly transformed. To use a clutter of well-worn cliches, I faced my demons. I popped the balloon. I dragged my skeletons from the closet.

After finding myself disabled and back out in the world, alone, at forty years old, I began life again, from scratch. Built it up from nothing. Honestly, it felt way scarier coming back out than it did going in. But by then, I’d learnt to feel the fear and do it anyway. And, after all, I had to do something with my life. Like find a place to live. Once I got the basics taken care of, it came time to set a course and go for it, always allowing for the vagaries of the wind, of course.

These days, I live a life of contentment and fulfilment. I am happy, confident, and successful. And such success I do not measure in material things or possessions, or even in any typical worldly way of measuring achievement. Rather, I have set my internal compass, and it is from there that I live my life.

Of course, I remain human and fallible, and I stumble sometimes. As do we all. That’s perfectly okay. It’s normal. We can’t get it right all the time. In fact, one of my Musings talks about just that: Week Nineteen—It’s Okay to Have a Meltdown. Just so long as you don’t pack your bags and move into your dark place, that’s all right. The trick is to pick yourself up when you fall down and get going again. Don’t stay there.

So, what are you likely to get out of this book? Well, that depends largely upon you. The best results will come from an open attitude and a willingness to learn, listen, and question.

It is my sincerest hope that this book inspires you to dive deeper, search further, and discover your own jewels in the mud of everyday existence.

Wishing you all good things

Harmony

Author Bio:


Harmony Kent is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour and quirky neighbours and refuses to admit to her age.

If you catch her at work, you’ll see she also offers editing, proof reading, manuscript appraisal, and beta reading services. Not to mention being passionate about supporting her fellow authors.

Relevant Links:
Website | Amazon US Amazon UK | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Please have a look Harmony’s new title as well as her entire list using one of the links above this line. My best wishes to Harmony on her new book!

Fantasy Authors Unplugged: The Hat by C. S. Boyack

Fantasy Authors Unplugged is back and I hope there will be more posts for the feature soon. Today, fellow Story Empire contributor, C. S. Boyack pays a visit with his latest book, The Hat, in the spotlight. I’m pleased to have Craig back today…

Thanks for having me over again, P. H. It’s been a while now.

You’ve written a wide range of books from anthologies to novels. How do you approach a story and decide what the length will be?

I have a hard time with this one. Like most authors, I started out writing tomes that were huge. As I learned to me more efficient with my words, I often have a hard time making word count these days.

I still want specific projects at certain parameters though. The Hat was designed to be a novella, because there is a market I want to approach. I would have liked another 5000 words or so, but I don’t want it to bog down at all. The format doesn’t allow for a lot of navel gazing by the characters.

I really like the approach of making stories as long as they need to be. This works well with short stories and micro-fiction. With the longer work, some planning is required. Even knowing that, many of my novels are on the short side these days.

What’s the inspiration for The Hat?

It’s kind of funny, because most people think they know. I can tell you it wasn’t the Sorting Hat. It was actually one verse from a popular Christmas song. How it turned into a paranormal romp is beyond me, but we can blame my imagination for that.

What’s the storyline for The Hat?

It involves a twenty-one year old woman, Lizzie, who dropped out of college based upon circumstances beyond her control. She’s really trying hard to make ends meet, when she comes into possession of her grandfather’s old hat.

Turns out the hat is actually a creature from another dimension, and Grandpa had a bit of a secret history. The hat has been in Lizzie’s family for several thousand years, and takes up with one family member every generation.

The two of them have to combine their knowledge, skills, and abilities to rescue some babies from some human traffickers.

Did you base the characters on any real people or personalities?

I did not. I like to let my characters blossom on the page, and this is exactly what happened with The Hat. I knew who they were, what they had to do, and made a storyboard to hit all the beats. Character just showed up all on its own, and I’m glad it did. It makes the story so much more fun.

Do you plan to write more about The Hat?

Not specifically, but I’m open to the idea. I have a few other projects that I want to address, but if I keep it novella length, I believe Lizzie and the hat have more stories in them. More on this down the page.

What other projects do you have in the works?

Ugh. I’m working on a second novella currently that will be more of a suspense/horror thing. I also have partial outlines for several novels. One of which will mark a return to science fiction for me. It just needs a few more situations and ideas to make it workable. There is also one that started off as a fantasy, but seems determined to become more of a flintlock-fantasy, or even a pirate story.

I’ve learned to always have a couple of storyboards working. I also have a long list of either short stories or micro-fiction with an eye toward a third Experimental Notebook.

Lisa Burton is a great character you’ve leveraged for your marketing. Do you ever foresee her in another novel? Is she interested in another novel?

Lisa is always interested in another novel. I keep putting her off by telling her it ends with her in a car crusher. Having said that, I actually have a decent idea for one. I should mention that Lisa is a concept model robot, and that’s why the car crusher threat.

It would be a coming together of many of my former characters, including Lizzie and the hat. Lisa would be one of the characters in this story. They come together under the guise of the secret society that Dr. Gina Greybill heads up in my novel The Playground.

I need to find a theologian who knows something about alternate bibles before I can move ahead with it. I’m certain I saw a quote somewhere, but it was not King James Version.

Lisa works these days as my personal assistant, and is the spokesmodel for my writing career. As such, she has posters for every publication. Your readers might enjoy this one from The Hat.

When you launch a book, what feelings do you normally have?

Honestly? I freak the hell out every single time. That long wait to hear back from Amazon is a killer. I’ve learned to do a bunch of advance work for my releases these days to help me tone it down.

I pre-write several blog tour posts, email those who either wanted to help or who I might target with the release data. This leaves me with a bit of custom writing for others, and this interview is a good example of one of those.

What do you think would happen if Lisa Burton ever wore the Hat?

Not much, and they’d both probably resent the request. The hat has standards, and only helps Lizzie’s family.

Lisa is not human, so the hat would not be able to meld with her like he can with Lizzie. He’s also not internet savvy, while Lisa is a walking and talking computer.

Thanks for having me over today, and I hope your readers will enjoy The Hat. It’s priced at 99¢, and will take about one afternoon to read.

Bio:

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

 

Purchase link: http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B078YYCNSF

 

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Thanks to Craig for stopping over for the interview. I’ve already enjoyed The Hat and highly recommend it. Just use the link above or the cover to find out more about the book. If you’re interested in Lisa Burton, you can find her on her weekly show over at Craig’s blog – here’s a link to her interview of one of my characters from The Bow of Hart Saga.