Fiction

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.

 

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

Note: Fantasy Friday is a new feature for Archer’s Aim. This is a re-post, but for those interested, it’s useful. I’ll work on some new, fantasy-related posts to mix in with some of my older ones like this as well as some posts about new books in the coming months. Please feel free to share on social media or re-blog these posts. Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend!

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).