Fiction

Curses Dark and Foul – A Personal Story

Hi everyone! It was a blur last week, especially over the weekend since I’ve been attending the SFWA Conference online. It’s been both fun and busy. The SFWA conference was busy and the Nebula award winners were announced with great fanfare on Saturday night.

This week, I share a continuation about Curses Dark & Foul as progress continues toward publication of the anthology. With the cover ready, compiling the final manuscript and creating the book blurb are on my radar. The final manuscript is underway and I’ve been studying a blurb for an anthology to write. With some solid progress, I hope to schedule the release over the next week or so for later in the month.

The last of the stories in the anthology is For No Reason. It’s another story involving a curse, but much more personal to the main character who has a vested stake in the outcome. The curse not only endangers him but the entire settlement and there’s nothing that can be done.

Haunted with the curse, the main character is hardly able to live with a sense of normalcy as his well-being, both physically and mentally, erode under the effects of the curse. There is but one way to break it and the way is seemingly closed. It’s a broken life and a broken community, with everyone waiting for the curse to take them all. What can be done with no answers at hand?

Such is the scene for the final story of Curses Dark and Foul. For No Reason was written back in 2012 and is a story I spent a little time shopping around to short fiction markets. Again, it was a story that editors liked but simply could not use at the time. Such is the case with much short fiction but it does not mean that these stories should not be read. I now share them as an anthology and open the door that these can be picked up in other venues some time in the future. Perhaps these will gain a bit more life of their own over time, just like The Black Bag has over the years.

Curses Dark and Foul will be found initially on Amazon in several categories. I again share the artwork and hope anyone reading will also share it on social media and elsewhere, especially when the sales link is announced. I’ll post a few more ways you can support the release with a minimum of effort. I have a few places where I can communicate more about the book and other upcoming releases – two private groups – one on Goodreads, named Marston’s Station, and the other on Facebook, named The Broken Bow Inn. Simply click the links and request membership and I’ll get you in where you can view more about this release as I post plans.

Thanks for reading today and I’ll be along throughout the day to reply to your thoughts in the comments section. Please share on social media and reblog as you are able.

Curses Dark and Foul – More Background

Good morning everyone, I hope you are well this week and that you had a good week last week. Today marks the second post about my upcoming fantasy anthology, Curses Dark and Foul, due to be released in just a few weeks. You will note that the cover is ready and has been ready for several weeks. This cover is important, because it represents a bit of all three short stories in the anthology. Here’s a bit of a taste of how it does so with each of the stories and bit of background for one of them.

The cover features a young woman in the foreground and behind her is a looming beast. All three of the stories deal with curses so the title is Curses Dark and Foul. Two the stories deal with a beast. And two the stories have a young woman who is a character in a story. The story highlighted today has both a beast and a young woman. So that’s how the relevance of the cover works for all three of the stories. It ends up being a solid bit of artwork for the anthology with some relationship to all three stories.

However, the cover best represents the story, Shadow of the Beast. I’m not going to share much about the story lest I give it all away, but you can easily see the importance of the cover to this particular story.

Shadow of the Beast is a story that I wrote several years ago and considered what to do with it for a while. It required I develop the main character with some subtle influences in his life. He is tasked with a seemingly impossible job and essentially blackmailed into doing something he doesn’t want to do.

The story came from the kernel of an idea about being alone on a snowy night at a campfire. The question came to mind: what was beyond the light? What could be out there in the wild stalking the darkness? Those are straightforward questions, but they easily come to mind whenever you find yourself alone in the dark with very little light. You can at least imagine what it would be like in a deep wilderness or anywhere else that you might be in such a situation. It’s also easy to imagine what it was like a little more than 100 years ago before electricity was so prevalent, and what it’s like in many isolated places in the world yet today. That is, in part the essence of the story, but there is far more to it than that simple kernel.

So there you have it, the character tasked with a job he doesn’t want to do and a fire in the dark. Of course there’s more and the story leads to that setting. The setting speaks for itself and I hope you will enjoy the story. Here’s a blog post from over on Story Empire where I discussed more about how your imagination and impressions of your surroundings change when you are alone in the dark for an extended period of time. The link for the pre-order is coming soon, I’m just not quite finished with the compiled manuscript.

Thanks for stopping by today at Archer’s Aim. Please share and re-blog the post as you see fit. Also, leave your thoughts and reactions in the comments section and I’ll answer as is I can.

A New Print Arrival! An Arrow Against the Wind

Hey gang! I hope everyone had a better time last week as conditions improve. It’s a fun day here as I turn the page on a new week and a new milestone for another book. An Arrow Against the Wind is officially in print. It’s wonderful to add the format to ebook and audio. This is long overdue since the print edition for The Bow of Destiny has been out for a while, so this one is a timely addition.

An Arrow Against the Wind has been out since 2017, but it has a much long history since a good portion of it was in the original manuscript for the series entitled, An Arrow Into the Wind. That manuscript garnered a contract offer from a small publisher which didn’t work out at the time. After a hiatus from writing for some years, I came back to writing and soon determined I’d cut my teeth on the content I had in hand, ready to go. After all, a publisher once offered a contract on it, right?

Wrong. Revisiting the manuscript revealed the holes and poor writing. However, I decided to revise the original manuscript which included splitting it in two parts and that first one became The Bow of Destiny. Returning to the content that became An Arrow Against the Wind proved somewhat daunting. I had some additional content for the original second book as well but it all needed heavy revision mixed with new writing. It also needed plot updates consistent with The Bow of Destiny.

I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. Being out of a job at the time, I could dedicate the entirety of my efforts to the work and quickly completed it. This was a challenge, but having another book finished with an ongoing plot provided a lot of structure to help the work along. The hope was releasing the book and moving directly into The White Arrow that year of living without of a job.

I never felt comfortable marketing the book at the time since I was out of work and felt time was of the essence to complete the series. I don’t feel like I ever gave An Arrow Against the Wind the same effort with marketing as The Bow of Destiny, but this is a good time to highlight the book.

Surprisingly, An Arrow Against the Wind went on to win book of the year for 2017 from Fantasia Reviews, following in the footsteps of The Bow of Destiny. The first time was a huge surprise but the second time was even bigger in that regard. It was also satisfying to see the book gain some recognition since my ability to market it was stunted. So here it is stepping back to the plate with a print release!

 

Here’s more about the book:

Haunted by his past. Hunted in the present. Tossed like an arrow in the wind.

Athson discovered the unexpected during the search for The Bow of Hart. Yet the prophesied weapon remains hidden. Mysteries discovered during the quest draw him deeper into the peril. The flames of vengeance surge in his thoughts with new revelations.

Can he escape the traps of his enemies?

The dragon’s reach endangers even Athson’s companions in unexpected ways. His enemy wants the bow but his mentor claims it must be used according to prophesy. With each turn of the search for the bow, long-hidden secrets surface and Athson must find the bow or risk losing those dear to him. When the dragon gains an upper hand with the abduction of Limbreth, Athson is torn between destiny and desire.

But Athson seeks his own path.

Will he falter like an arrow against the wind?

Here’s some reviews of the book:

An Arrow Against the Wind stands out in the crowd. It is imaginative, yet familiar…. There is a care and quality to his work, a subtlety, in which he takes the things that we know and love and gives them back to us through his own imaginative lens. If the Bow of Destiny was a fresh take on a classic tale, An Arrow Against the Wind seeks to refine it all further still. Here, Mister Solomon has grown bolder, but wiser. Fantasia Reviews Announcement post

We have read more than a couple great books this year, and An Arrow Against the Wind is surely among them. – ★★★★★ Fantasia Reviews

You will not be disappointed reading this series. – ★★★★★

Here’s the direct print link for An Arrow Against the Wind on Amazon.

For those readers who prefer print, the last book of the series will arrive in print in July if all goes well. I hope you’ve enjoyed a bit of the history of this second book in The Bow of Hart Saga. Getting it to print has been a much longer path than I ever expected, much the same as The Bow of Destiny, but I’m pleased it’s here at long last.

Interested in The Bow of Destiny, feel free to view it at this link where all the formats are available.