Editing

Fantasy Friday! 5 Kinds of Trolls in Denaria (and Why They’re Dangerous!)

I’ve written a lot about the main cast of characters in The Bow of Destiny. However, there are some extras that need mentioning – the ones do all the dangerous, dirty, violent, evil work. No, not the villains – at least not today. Instead, I’m referring to the trolls who inhabit Denaria.

troll

Screenshot from the video game Pigskin 621 AD

Screenshot from the video game Pigskin 621 AD

While I don’t want to reveal much about the origins, I do want to share more about the different kinds that appear in the book. Denarian trolls come in several different varieties. These trolls appear often and really get things done – if your point of view is from those of the villains – by wreaking havoc whenever, and wherever, they’re told. These ravenous hordes can be divided into 5 distinct types divided into lesser and greater classes:

  1. Kobolds are one type of lesser troll who stand waist and chest high and are often used as scouts and trackers. They have good noses and can be a real nuisance because of their abilities. While they are not large, they are scrappy and can attack in numbers. They are usually lightly armored with some sort of boiled hide and carry a variety of weapons from small bows to knives to short swords. Their physical appearance varies somewhat but they generally have almost dog-like snouts as well as dark, close-set eyes and have coarse hair all over their bodies. Quick and sneaky, these trolls can be a hand-full as demonstrated several times.
  2. goblinGoblins are also lesser troll of about the same size as kobolds except they are more, well, like goblins. They’ve got tusks with less snout and and bigger, pointed ears. As you can imagine they have sharp hearing and also make great scouts when on the hunt. However, their eyesight isn’t so great during the day and they are a bit more stout which makes them a bit tougher in a fight. They are usually outfitted with hide armor and carry bows, knives and short, curved swords.
  3. Getting to the greater trolls we come to the hobgoblins which are slender and snake-like in the face with some interesting fangs. They trolls are quite intelligent so they are used for complex tasks and command of other trolls. They are quick and deadly in a fight if you don’t keep your guard up, normally using a tulwar and wearing hide armor with the occasional metal plate attached. An officer often carries a whip to enforce his commands. They stand about the height of a human or an elf in Denaria.
  4. Next among greater trolls are bugbears. As you can imagine they have a bearish appearance with bigger eyes and sport tusks like goblins. Generally a bit taller than humans, they are burly and rely on their weight and strength in a fight, often using clubs for weapons. They sport shaggy fur and wear a mish-mash of hide, chain and plate armor they scavenge from victims and other trolls.
  5. ogreLast among the greater trolls is the ogre. This creature is nearly as big as a giant like Ralda and very strong as well. They have a thick hide and are not very intelligent but tend to fight just because they seem to like it almost as much as eating. They tend to carry a large club but aren’t that accurate when using it but they are deadly if they get a grip on you.

As to danger, well, you can guess that these minions like to cause trouble and never miss a chance to attack when they have a numeric advantage. Those groups without a bright hobgoblin might just attack regardless of numbers. While they can be confused and cowed with displays of power, they aren’t apt to show any mercy and just walk on by the casual traveler. They won’t just size you up and decide if you’re worth their trouble – you are always worth the trouble of an attack. That’s why it’s best to travel in numbers when in known trolls territories. They have nasty temperaments and love a chance to pillage and plunder.

As you can imagine, they make great shock troops for Magdronu and is magical captains though they aren’t often trusted with more complex objectives. They are good for one main use: mayhem. In a few other cases, the more cunning types such as hobgoblins, goblins and kobolds may be used for some specific missions for which they are specially instructed and trained.

In regard to their origins, trolls have a murky history. It’s clear that they are creations of Magdronu but the details are lost in time. However, some of that story is part of the larger history of Denaria’s conflict between Eloch and Magdronu. The purpose is of trolls is clear just not their origin – or is that just something to find out.

the-bow-of-destiny-by-p-h-solomonTo find out more about The Bow of Destiny, click over to one of these online retailers:

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About the Author

IMG_4154-EditP. 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.

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Artwork of trolls from Microsoft Clipart. The screenshot of the troll is from the very old video game Pigskin 621 AD.

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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Questions, Questions

Hi everyone! First, let me get a few housekeeping items out of the way. Curses Dark and Foul was soft-released on 8/6. I’m scheduling a hard release (meaning I start marketing the book more) on 8/24. Meanwhile, I’ve moved on with several other projects I’ve mentioned previously. However, my main novel of the year the Cursed Mage Case File series (formerly Reformed Mage series) with a working title of The Feral Name which continues to be my most important project.

The manuscript is with my editor and we’ve been conversing about various aspects about the book. Also, the manuscript is being read by a few beta readers. This means the book is in ongoing revision. While I expect to receive full reports about the book in several weeks, there are some ongoing minor phases of the revision which continue for me. The editor and the beta readers do ask some questions.

You might think that questions about the book manuscript are a bad thing. After all, questions mean that the editor or the beta readers are confused in some way. Actually, it’s a good thing for revision. It’s important to get the questions because these help resolve all the problems with the book. Questions and observations tell me as an author where I need to focus on quality and clarity. This leads to the end product – the published book.

While revision questions are trickling to me, there are also more concerns about the completing the book. I’ve made contact with my cover artist and he’s waiting for my written concepts for the artwork. I have some good ideas but the problem is that I don’t like the working title of the book. It really doesn’t grab me so I’m playing around with a variety of titles until I settle on one that hits the correct chord for the type of fantasy book this will be. I like the series title, it’s just the first book that bothers me. I see a lot of titles on Amazon that are poorly chosen. I feel it’s important to get this part correct.

Next, I’ll consider the blurb. Writing a book description is something I’ve studied and worked at for a while so I’m confident I can write it. Yes, I’m a writer but this kind of writing requires a specific skill at communicating the essence of the book well but with brevity. If not done well, readers are not interested and my job is to interest readers. It answers that question we writers get all the time, “What’s it about?” Everyone who finds out you have a book coming out wants to know about it. Answering the question well is half the task of a good blurb.

These are all questions which need answering so I’m taking time to work through them. Answering the title question is not always easy. Neither is the blurb an easy answer. Likewise, finding all the questions a reader might stumble over if I don’t revise the manuscript well is a process. I have several of these reader questions in my mind regarding revision, many of which I can answer and change in short order.

Revision and moving toward publication is fraught with questions. With The Bow of Hart Saga, much of the title and blurb questions were with me for many years, but with a new series there are a set of ideas that I must complete for publication. Now is a good time to begin addressing these aspects of publication to remain on schedule.

Of course, I have several other projects underway through which I plan to progress this month. I just have to keep in mind that the main revision will also need my attention at times. Hopefully, I’ll come up with a title I like, get the cover art completed and write a blurb within a few weeks so the book begins to come together and I can share more specifics. The pace quickens as the pieces come together into a finished book.

Mixed into all this is a prequel, The Changeling Incident. The title and cover are in place. Writing a blurb and completing the manuscript revision are also in progress. Being a shorter book, this will move along faster than the novel, especially since it is scheduled for release sooner. It’s the novel in a micro-state, just further along in the publication process.

Authors are always part of these publication processes but it may not be so evident to readers. As a self-published author, I’m in complete control and it’s my responsibility to produce all the parts that make up the published book. I hope this gives readers a taste of where the book is in it’s current process.

Thanks for stopping by today and reading where my next novel is on the long road to publication. Got questions? Leave them in the comments and I’ll respond as soon as I can.