Short Stories

Released! Curses Dark and Foul

Hi everyone, it’s a celebratory day here at Archers Aim. First, I want to thank everyone for visiting today and joining in the pre-release announcement of Curses Dark and Foul, my first fantasy anthology. Before I a go any further, I do have one request: please share this post in some way to help spread the word about the release of the book.

The title of the anthology has a rather grim connotation to it as well it should since all three stories involve a curse. Each of the stories places a main character in a situation of coping with an insurmountable challenge with a curse. Each one of the characters is in a situation where they likely have no way out but forward into the teeth of a inescapable fate. Dark and foul certainly well describes the circumstances for these characters which hopefully makes for an intriguing read.

Here’s the blurb for the anthology:

Grim words spoken. Foul intentions invoked. Curses never offer surrender.

Three tales of fantasy in Curses Dark an Foul from Amazon bestselling author, P. H. Solomon

The Black Bag: Coryss finds herself alone against three powerful witches. Young and foolhardy, she confronts her foes and challenges them to a simple contest. Hopeless, Coryss finds help from an unlikely source. But the dark and foul curses fly without mercy. Can Coryss save herself?

Shadow of the Beast: Sa’hatap serves the Seddessan Empire faithfully as a foreign conscript, his people merged into the political scenery of merciless overlords. An enemy tasks the warrior and holy-man with ending a curse upon the missing empress. Unwilling, yet with his people under threat of annihilation, Sa-hatap sets out to accomplish the impossible and kill an accursed beast that cannot be defeated. Will his sword and his faith save him?

For No Reason: Dax is haunted by the curse upon his village as the living emblem of the witch’s revenge. No one can kill him and his touch is death. But the curse will take Dax’s mind and transform him into a beast of retribution. His only hope is helping the village, but they hate him. How will he ever save himself, and them?

If you like short fantasy with a mix of sword and sorcery, dark fantasy and noblebright, then you’ll like Curses Dark and Foul. Bestselling fantasy author, P. H. Solomon, presents three short stories of curses both dark and foul, where characters never had a chance. Yet in the darkness, the glimmer of hope, the slimmest of chance against overwhelming odds exists.

Dire curses threaten these characters with inescapable fate. Will each hero make a choice and take a stand regardless of hope or chances of success? Click the BUY NOW button at the top and join these cursed journeys.

The book is now live on Amazon KDP: Curses Dark and Foul

As you read, there’s little doubt as to the danger in which all the characters find themselves. One curse may have been for a shorter period of time another curse may have stretched out for years. Either way the consequences are fraught with an emotional strain that reveals an underlying attitude toward life. Hopefully you’ll find the stories interesting and entertaining.

Thanks for stopping by today for the release announcement. Don’t forget to share the post with a reblog or on your social media. I’ll be in and out all day to reply to any comments. Have a great day!

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.

Fantasy Friday! The Bow of Destiny Commentary Pt. 2: The “Fit”

Introduction

I 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.

The Fit

Athson has been afflicted with what he terms “fits” since he was orphaned. Something in his surrounding environment can set off these episodes where he re-lives his past – sometimes overlaid with his present. It’s actually a PTSD-like reaction to the violence of his past and can leave him rather confused

On top of this, Athson also sees other things like Spark, an imaginary mountain hound that’s been at his side since the incidents described in the first chapter. Athson takes an elven concoction called Soul’s Ease to prevent him from having “fits” or seeing Spark.

The opening scene gets confusing for Athson because he’s forgotten his Soul’s Ease. The instances of italics in this case are when Athson sees his traumatic past – in present tense. It emphasizes that something different is ongoing within Athson’s awareness. If you – as the reader – are confused, then it’s all good because Athson is confused and you are really deeply into his experiences. However, it’s important to remember that the character point-of-view does not change – only the tense has changed to emphasize Athson’s (in this case) experience has changed.

Athson knows that these “fits” give him a hard time differentiating what he sees for days so he assumes things like Spark are not real. However, these seem very real to him and he often gets caught up in them anyway – such as interacting with Spark.

Conclusion

So this is another layer to Athson’s point-of-view in the opening scene. As you can see, there are a lot of different aspects to this scene that might get overlooked. However, if you read it again you’ll see the clues along the way. By the way, there are a number of other subtleties throughout the book that you might find interesting on re-reading.

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 one of these online retailers:

Amazon

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. The Bow of Destiny is his first novel-length title with more soon to come.

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