Planning

Where I’ve Been & What’s Coming Up – I Hope…

It’s been a while since posting here on the blog. I’ve been struggling with health issues all year, so the summer was very busy in that regard. I’m still on a long, slow mend, but making a little progress. I’m heading back to some rehab, but it’s not as bad as last March.But rather than dwell on health, I prefer to share some of what’s going on with writing plans. The schedule is now jumbled, so I’m updating that on the news page. Also, I’ll get to a major shift in priorities in an upcoming post. Suffice it to say I’m going back to my writing roots. I’ll get into why and what it means later.

But rather than dwell on health, I prefer to share some of what’s going on with writing plans. The schedule is now jumbled, so I’m updating that on the news page. Also, I’ll get to a major shift in priorities in an upcoming post. Suffice it to say I’m going back to my writing roots. I’ll get into why and what it means later.

My immediate plans are to complete work on The Unseen Hand, Volume 2 of The Cursed Mage Case Files. My hope is to release it by Thanksgiving though it looks like that schedule may slide some.

The good news with the upcoming book is the artwork. I’ve ordered the cover from my artist and hope it will arrive within the week.

The delays with this book have been many and mostly physical. Energy and focus have been a big problem all year. This improved to the point where I could spend more time on it. However, all the backlog of the year of working in fits and spurts left me far behind on other needful tasks, some of which will be announced here in the coming days.

I made a lot of progress on all fronts out of my stagnation. Then my health dropped another major distraction on me. I developed a sudden eye infection. I was unable to keep my eyes open and had to make an emergency visit to the local eye hospital on a weekend. Then there were frequent drops, treatment, and more appointments.

This emergency kept me from working on the book for over a week. Oddly, or maybe not so odd in the end, I had an eye problem when I published The Bow of Destiny in late 2015. It turns out these were related. I was diagnosed with rosacea affecting my eyes. The ophthalmologist told me it’s often diagnosed from eye issues.

Now, I’m getting back in the swing more but still working around post Covid limitations. I’m getting better at working around them, but still have to do “working breaks”. But I’m making steady progress. This post is a good sign of that fact. I’m managing what feels like a new normal. As a result, revision of The Unseen Hand crawls forward.

I’ve even been able to make a few plans about other books and begin some much needed changes to the site as well as update books. Announcements are coming about multiple changes and developments and I think everyone will like them all.

My sincere hope is to launch more entertaining books for readers. If only I don’t have any more setbacks with health.

All that being expressed, I’m sorry I haven’t posted more here. I truly have been consumed with health concerns and just haven’t had the energy and focus to spend time on Archer’s Aim, let alone a new book. Things are progressing, just not as quickly as I’d like. Stay tuned, I’ll get to the next launch and more books beyond in due time. More to come about other holdups in the near future. In the meantime, please see the News page for some updates as I get back in the proverbial saddle, even if it’s with limitations.

Also as a closing note, I am catching up on lost time this week with several posts. The schedule will settle down next week.

10 More Ways to Survive a Monstrous Halloween Encounter

Halloween can be a tough time of year. After all, you have to go out at night when all the monsters really get out. You could run into nearly anything at this time of year – and it gets dark early! Want to go for that evening run? You better be prepared for anything from the menacing neighborhood dog to – gulp – a werewolf. Here are some thoughts on how to survive an encounter with a werewolf and maybe even make a friend.

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  1. Be prepared for this possible encounter in several ways. First, remember that a wolf wants to chase something so don’t run – and certainly don’t scream since both reactions will just get this monster’s prey instinct going.

2. The next way to be prepared is to go out with some dog treats. This is a great way to make friends with a menacing dog – right? Just think of a werewolf as merely a troublesome dog – just one that needs a bit of special handling.

3. Remember, a werewolf is a person too – just confused by the sudden change into a dog. Wouldn’t you be? So do what you should with a dog and calmly take charge of the situation. Toss some treats to the werewolf while using some reassuring words in a calm, firm voice all in an effort to gain its trust.

4. Really take control by getting some training done without hesitation. Think you can’t? Many dogs will learn to sit rather quickly and this is a person inside a wolf’s body so they should pick up commands rather quickly. To do sit, show the treat and then, while saying, “sit”, move the treat over the werewolf’s head. I know these are big but they slouch and much like a dog, they should sit when interested in the treat. Remember to give the treat palm up.

5. You really don’t want to get bit by a werewolf because, well, you don’t want to be one. To discourage mouthing and snapping like a dog teach this monster the “leave it” command. This means pulling back you hand and saying the words, “Leave it.” This should work since you’ve already gained a certain amount of trust.

Just an aside here, but you can try escaping anyway but you may need some help!

6. Need to get this big beast under further control? Teach it the “down” command. From a sitting position and a treat in your hand, say, “Down,” as you lower your hand between its forepaws. The werewolf will be so interested in the treat it will go down. Repeat a few times to reinforce these commands (get the werewolf up by using the word and raising a treat over it’s head).

7. If you think this might become a monthly issue make sure to keep a big chew-bone handy for full moons.

8. Also, if you find that your werewolf wants to jump up on you – and many dogs do – simply turn away without saying a word so that it learns it will get no attention whatsoever from you. It will learn that the behavior isn’t acceptable.

9. If this is a recurring issue and you find that said werewolf is having a tough time with good behavior, try to talk about what’s really going on with a dog behaviorist. Seriously, these trainers can do a lot of dogs, why not werewolves?

10. Last thought, if the werewolf sleeps on your porch or in your garage take care how you treat the person in the morning. Leave them a change of clothes nearby so they can get dressed and offer them a good breakfast. After all, they’ve been a wolf all night and that can be a little disconcerting as well as embarrassing. Oh, and don’t offer them food like it’s a treat and certainly don’t use commands on them – that’s just awkward.

At this point, you’ve hopefully made a friend out of both wolf and human. After all, dogs are man’s best friend, why can’t werewolves be included too?

BOD FinalIf your good with dogs, what’s your best tip for handling a werewolf? What do you think would be a favored treat by a werewolf? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.

If your good with dogs, what’s your best tip for handling a werewolf? What do you think would be a favored treat by a werewolf? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.
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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. The Bow of Destiny is his first novel-length title with more soon to come.

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Fantasy Friday! Can Your Character Survive A Flaw?

These days, all characters have flaws be it physical, mental or emotional. So if you give your main character a flaw that is integral to your story can your character survive said flaw?

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George R. R. Martin gives us a great example in Tyrion from A Song of Fire and Ice series (better known as HBO’s Game of Thrones). He’s a dwarf with physical limitations to his legs. Not only this but he’s viewed negatively by most everyone around him because of his flaws. He even gains a few more during the course of the series through battle as well as toting a load of emotional baggage. As effective as this characterization is, could he actually survive this flaw as long as he has in real life?

FightingI’m glad you asked. There’s a more recent archaeological discovery that has subsequently brought just such a real-life case to light. Richard III of England’s grave was discovered under a parking lot 2011. For those who are unfamiliar with Richard, he died in the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 which pretty much ended the Wars of the Roses. One way he was identified was by a specific physical handicap – severe scoliosis or curvature of the spine. By severe I mean a 30% curvature – very noticeable. The unusual thing is that all accounts of the battle indicate that Richard fought with great skill and nearly won the battle. He unhorsed a jousting champion, killed Henry Tudor’s standard-bearer and almost killed Henry.

A recent episode of Secrets of the Dead actually examined whether Richard III could actually have functioned as a knight on the battlefield. They found a volunteer with very similar scoliosis and began to determine what his physical capabilities were. They realized that Richard would have needed specially designed armor and that the medieval saddle would have benefited him with greater support. In the show, they were able to outfit their volunteer and give him some basic training as a re-enactor. They were even able to show that Richard would have been able to ride in the charge and effectively use weaponry.

knights fightingHowever, physical limitations were also discovered. The re-enactor had less stamina due to the scoliosis affecting his ability to breathe well during exertion. In spite of Richard’s skills and training he may well have been just as limited.

Richard lost the battle for a number of reasons one of which was Lord Stanley’s failure to advance behind the initial charge. But Richard favored fast charges and ending battles quickly. If you lacked stamina for long physical exertions you would likely choose the same strategy. However, in this instance the charge actually took much longer. I could see Richard almost making it to victory only to be thwarted by his own malady as much as other circumstances. This one time, Richard likely misjudged the circumstances due to “the fog of war”. Had he known or thought it through better he might have chosen a different strategy. But maybe all outcomes would have been the same if Lord Stanley was indeed a traitor.

So as a writer of fantasy, I’m looking harder at my future characters and the flaws I can give them just to twist my plots tighter. Can my character’s survive their flaws? Will they be trapped into exposing their difficulties to enemies through lack of choices – political and otherwise? It’s certainly a way to add more spice to conflict in a story.

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - CopyPlease share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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