Fantasy Authors Unplugged

An Arrow Against the Wind Commentary: Athson’s Choices

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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The Bow of Destiny Commentary Pt. 1: The Beginning

the-bow-of-destiny-by-p-h-solomon1I thought it would be interesting to share some commentary about the beginning of The Bow of Destiny now that the book has been out for a while, sold well and the next book should be released in just a few months. The Bow of Destiny has a curious beginning for many people that’s at once perplexing, confusing and intriguing. This effect is done on purpose and I’ll share a bit about it now.

The Bow of Destiny is written using the technique of deep point-of-view where readers hopefully become deeply engaged with the perceptions of the point-of-view character. There are a few other aspects mixed into this, one being that there are little, to no, dialogue tags in the book – all the dialogue is contextual. Secondly, with the deep point-of-view, internalization is signaled – or tagged – with physical actions by the character. As such, the internal thoughts, mood and emotions of the character are not italicized since these are deep enough into the chracter-reader engagement to not be set apart in such a way. Lastly, when italics are used it is for a specific, ongoing experience for the POV character. In such cases, hallucinations, dreams, memories, visions and other such experiences of the character are italicized as a special indicator that something different is happening for the character. I also used a present tense instead of past tense to cue the reader that this is a present experience for the character. It’s important to note that the tense only has changed and not the character POV.

There are other details to consider in the opening of the book of which a reader should be aware. For instance, Athson is hunting small game when the story begins and he has a choice between his prey, a pheasant and a wild rabbit. This signifies that Athson will be presented with choices all along his upcoming journey in the series. Athson believes that he’s making the best choice for his shot with his bow and arrow – the easiest one. However, when presented with more information, he makes a split-second decision and changes his aim to the pheasant.

AthsonThis quick change from rabbit to bird amid varying wind conditions shows that Athson is an expert with the bow. He is also functioning under the belief that he makes good and wise decisions with the information he has. Thus the stage is set for him to begin making decisions which become increasingly difficult and challenging to him and the overall outcome. This one decision shows both what the character thinks about himself and his relationship to his world and that this belief will be challenged in ways he has not considered.

Athson is a challenging character for many reasons, some of which I’ll get into during some upcoming commentary about him in this opening set of scenes. However, Athson’s choice, mixed with the discussed aspects of writing this blog series, couple to allow the reader to experience Athson’s belief in himself for good or bad.

Next week, I’ll dig a little deeper into this opening scene and attempt to offer a bit more about Athson’s state of mind. I found this scene difficult, tricky and daring all at once so there are a lot of layers to what’s going in with Athson that set the stage for the whole story. Thanks for reading today. Please leave comments below and check back next week for another post about this topic.

To find out more about The Bow of Destiny, click over to where you can also find it in Kindle Unlimited and now Audible (Whispersync available):

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IMG_4154-EditAbout 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 and was named Fantasia Reviews 2017 Book of the Year. The third book of the series, The White Arrow, was released October of 2017. 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).

Fantasy Authors Unplugged New Release Special: Voyage of the Lanternfish by C. S. Boyack

Greetings to the Archer’s Aim readers today. I welcome C. S. Boyack back to the bog with his new release: Voyage of the Lanternfish. Take it away, Craig!


Thanks for having me over again, P. H. You’re always welcome at my place too. I’m here today to hawk my new story, Voyage of the Lanternfish. Lanternfish is a pirate fantasy all the way. It differs from classic fantasy in that gunpowder is involved. This story has cannon and muskets to go along with it’s swords and sorcery.

It’s been a few years since I wrote an ensemble cast into one of my stories. Someone may teach this somewhere, but I kind of came up with the recipe myself.

On a tall ship there can be hundreds of men that make up the crew. (Even more on a pirate ship.) The main task is manning the sails, but it doesn’t require everyone. Most of them are needed for battle. In reality, you need at least three men per cannon, plus there could be some fancy sailing going on during the battle. As pirates, you’re going to need plenty of boarders too. Sinking ships isn’t profitable. You have to take them and loot them.

I decided to break down my cast this way. What I’m trying to do is solve a writing logistics problem.

  • My main character.
  • his best friend
  • Named supporting characters.
  • Named third tier crew members.
  • Nameless crew.

In reality, everyone has a name and a story, hopes, dreams, etc. In a book, this would be maddening for readers to keep up with.

Obviously the trick is to make it feel like an entire crew of pirates, without getting into too many details about most of them.

My lead character and his best friend drive the story. They have a common goal here. The captain’s fiancé is the best friend’s sister. She’s being held captive as insurance to force them into starting a war with a neighboring country.

The named supporting characters are fleshed out, and help give some idea about how a ship functions. It’s obviously an easier sell to stick with the officers, because they give more insight into the functioning of a ship. You’ll meet the surgeon, the quartermaster, sailing master, and more.

Those third tier characters add a bit of color to the story. You’ll meet a talented man named Stuttering Lewis, old Chappie who has horrible dental problems, and Biscuit Bill the cook.

This tier system gives me the ability to focus on the main character and the story, and after things are established, readers will assume the Sailing Master is keeping the canvas adjusted according to the prevailing winds. They’ll also assume he has random crew up in the rigging to do the job. Bill keeps the crew fed, but behind the scenes.

There is also an international flavor here, because it’s true to the age of sail. This story takes place on a fantasy world, but there’s no reason not to make things like this realistic. I’ll save my “leaps of faith” for things like root monsters and Big Boogah. (You’ll have to read the story for more information.)

Readers will have to decide if I pulled it together, or not. I hope you’ll take a chance on Voyage of the Lanternfish. I think it presses all the pirate buttons, but takes things in a different direction than some of the more recent stories.

This is one of my stories, so it’s filled with monsters, mayhem, and magic. There are even a couple of artifacts involved. I hope your readers will take a chance on Lanternfish.

How about it, you authors out there? How do you deal with an ensemble cast? I’d love to learn about it in the comments.


Blurb:

An honorable man is mistaken for his disreputable father. Now he’s pushed into a political scheme to start a war that will spread across multiple kingdoms. James Cuttler’s fiancé is being held captive to ensure he goes through with the plan.

He soon decides his skills are at sea and procures a ship to wage war upon those who disrupted his simple life. He can’t do it alone, so he recruits a band of cutthroats to help him. But first, they need guns and munitions to outfit the ship properly. Deception and trickery will only get them so far. Eventually, they’re going to have to engage the enemy.

James’ goals aren’t necessarily the same as his crew. It’s a delicate balancing act to collect enough loot to keep his crew happy, while guiding them back to rescue the girl.

Voyage of the Lanternfish is filled with adventure, magic, and monsters. Lots of monsters. Hoist the colors and come along for the ride.

Purchase Link: http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B07MP8V633

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.

Craig

Congratulations to Craig on his latest book release. I’m currently enjoying Voyage of the Lanternfish. Take a look at the book and more about C. S Boyack at the book page.