Longtime followers of this site will remember that Spark is based on two of my German Shepherd dogs. The one who talked with his tail was named Sam and he died in 2019. Last week, our old female shepherd named Chloe passed away of old age. Both dogs were very intelligent in their own ways so they were special to us.
Chloe was always rowdy, learned quickly, and was diligent as a backyard guard. She was something of a gourmand, preferring special food, especially chicken and rice. She also loved puzzle toys for dogs, was always ready for a trip anywhere (though she did not like water), and loved chasing geese at a nearby private lake (she never caught one, but loved the chase).
Chloe’s mother was a real German police dog so she had a few things she would not do including play fetch. She would chase the ball and pick it up but never return it. She was always the warning barker and very alert for aggression.
When we first acquired Chloe as a puppy, she was very serious. We always said she didn’t unpack her bags for about a year. It was that long until she actually wagged her tail when we arrived home. But Chloe always loved attention as well as playing.
Her way of playing was to charge me and try to take me down with a snarl. She was just playing and never did anything, but she loved acting like she was much bigger than fifty-five pounds. We thought she was very rough, so we took our time getting her to socialize with people which she figured out. In the end, she loved visitors as long as she knew them herself or knew that we welcomed someone into the house.
While Sam was the one who talked with his tail and got a lot of attention in blog posts and my newsletter, Chloe was the “face” of Spark. She was an almost perfect model for the color of Spark’s coat as pictured on the book covers. Have a look at the carousel of pictures of Chloe if you have a chance.
Chloe’s passing was not unexpected like Sam’s since she was aging and struggling with hip troubles. She seemed to have chosen her place. Last week, she wanted out during some very nice weather, appearing very energetic and lively. I checked on her often since she usually wanted in soon after going outside. But she liked the weather which was sunny with very mild temperatures and some nice breezes, so she stayed out for several hours on Monday. Last Tuesday, she wanted out again and I checked on her several times. She seemed content, unconcerned with coming inside the house. But when I checked on her about 2PM, I found she had passed away in her sleep amid the shade and the gentle breeze on the back deck. Here’s to Chloe and her faithful, exuberant spirit – RIP.
It’s been a busy few months in more ways than one. Now The White Arrow arrives on Amazon in hardcover.
The week-long celebration begins for The White Arrow now available in hardcover. Part of the festivities includes the e-book on Kindle Countdown at 99 cents!
This novel is the concluding title of The Bow of Hart Saga. Some readers may remember the original kernel of the series began some thirty years ago. Oddly enough, this book was written from beginning to end in about three weeks (and it’s the highest rated one of the series). Writing Arrow was a whirlwind effort that surprised me. When me editor returned it, she told it had nothing major to address. That news freaked me out for about two weeks since it’s not supposed to happen off a first draft.
I got over the right and published the book after completing the final touches. It’s done very well since then so I’m glad it’s out in so many formats along with the rest of the series.
With all that being said, here’s a excerpt from the book:
Athson scrabbled at loose stone. His head ached and spun, even lying down. Not the head injury again. But sweat drenched his brow, and Spark lay nearby at a fire that danced. Athson groaned and thrust a blanket from his body. He burned and shivered at the same time. How did that happen? He got to his hands and knees on hard rock, and his head spun anew. Darkness surrounded the fire, but his groan echoed. A cave? He held his head. What had happened? There was the Funnel and his scramble through the storm afterward.
The trapper. Athson lifted his head. Where was he?
“Spark, what’s going on?” The mountain hound stirred and sighed, his gaze toward the mouth of the cave.
Athson squinted. Snow blanketed the heaths outside the cave. There was his mule and the tack for it. He needed to find his mother. Mother? That was right, they had her captive in Rok. His father…
He choked back a sob at the memory. He’d finally found him, and now he was dead, killed by Corgren while trying to save Athson. And there was Limbreth, gone over the side of the Funnel.
Athson watched Spark a moment. “Did you get her?”
Spark wagged his tail.
Athson looked away. The mountain hound had done more than he had. Shame rose with sour bile in his stomach. How could he have failed her? The wrong choice. Corgren had goaded him into that worthless shot into the wind. The Bow of Hart lay nearby, and he spat at it. Could he have even made the shot to save Limbreth with it? No telling after that poor choice.
But now he needed to find his mother. He’d leave the bow, but he could still bargain with the useless artifact. He cast around, half-blind in his fever, for all his things. He dragged them over near the mule before he collapsed. Athson rolled over and found Spark lying next to him. Maybe he’d fainted. He closed his eyes as weariness dragged at his arms.
Athson scrambled away from the kobold in the dark amid the howls of trolls hunting the night. Too late he remembered the edge of the Funnel and fell. He slid along a steep slope.
Limbreth fell too, her cry as sharp as that eagle when he’d met Zelma. He might catch Limbreth. No, she was gone. She fell at a different place.
Athson couldn’t stop himself. He slipped into darkness and landed on a ledge. He bounced with a grunt and almost rolled into the darkened depths where the Deep Run gushed. He found a rough crack on the ledge and held it so he could scramble farther onto it. His breath came in rasping gasps.
Light waved above him. Trolls sought him, and he pushed away from the edge and slithered backward into a small hole of darkness. A little cave. He lay there until light glowed from far away and grew brighter until he saw a dog. Spark! The dog was friendly and nudged him farther into the little cave, where he lay down beside Athson and warmed him.
Later, the dog tugged Athson to his feet, and he walked beside the glowing animal, deeper into the cave.
Athson groaned. Spark had leapt after Limbreth but couldn’t save her. But the mountain hound had saved Athson that night when he fell on a ledge. He got to his feet. Had Limbreth fallen on a ledge? No, he hadn’t seen one below the Altar of the Trolls. He ground his teeth and gripped his pounding head. Sweat drenched his clothing from the fever. When had he caught a fever? It came on him after leaving the Funnel.
He grabbed his pack and leaned against the mule awhile. Just load your things and go find your mother. If he could stand. Athson fumbled with the tack for the mule.
Spark nudged at his legs and whimpered.
“Stop. None of that. I need to go.”
He squinted over the mule’s back at the storm. It was getting dark outside already. He ran his hand through his sweat-soaked hair, coughed, and shuddered before he fell on the hard rock of the cave’s natural floor.
Spark stood on his chest.
“Cut it out, Spark. Let me up. I have to find her.” Athson tried to push the mountain hound away but finally lay still by the mule, which stared at him and flicked its tail. He groaned and covered his face at his sudden tears. Why had he let her fall like that? He was no good. He let his father and Limbreth die. He sobbed until he fell asleep.
Someone gripped Athson and pulled him into a sitting position. His eyes fluttered. He found strength in his limp neck and lifted his head. The indistinct face of the trapper hovered in his blurred vision.
“Not you again.”
Here’s more about The White Arrow: Book 3 of The Bow of Hart Saga
Haunted by his past. Hunted in the present. Tossed like an arrow in the wind.
Bound to prophecy, his destiny balanced on an arrow’s tip.
With the Bow of Hart in hand, Athson is hunted by his enemies. His mistakes haunt him as much as his past.
Hastra the Withling reveals Eloch will send an arrow for the bow. Magdronu plots to thwart the prophecy as his trolls attack Auguron City.
But when the arrow arrives, it is from an unexpected source and lands in unforeseen hands. Events twist like an arrow in flight.
Can Athson overcome his past and use the Bow of Hart as intended? The archer and the bow await the coming arrow…
Multi retailer Bestselling Author, Fantasia Reviews Book of the Year Author 2017 & 2018
U. S. author, P. H. Solomon grew up with a love of books including fantasy. Always interested in odd details, history and the world around him, P. H. has found an outlet in writing where he mixes a wide range of interests from the regular world, history and anthropology into his fantasy books.
His epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga, brought a fresh viewpoint to the genre where magic, myth and mysticism mingle. Described by readers as a “mixture of the classic fantasy past with new ideas.”
The latest series, The Cursed Mage Case Files is a mash-up of classic Sherlock Holmes, The Dresden Files and Harry Potter into a unique fantasy world where magic is both an arcane practice and a technological power to be harnessed. Join Mandlefred Mandeheim and Wishton Ackford as they team up to investigate magical mysteries.
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. 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).