The Black Bag

Fantasy Friday! Why I Like Fantasy

I’ve read fantasy for a long time. I’ve been known to take a break and read other genres but I always seem to come back to fantasy. I guess it’s the kid in me and the love of a good yarn that keeps me reading these stories. But there are other reasons the genre interests me as both a reader and a writer.

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Fantasy 2I got into a conversation after completing my interview the other night about speculative fiction and why it’s useful for story-telling. One of the main points noted about fantasy and science fiction is how flexible these genres can be. A writer can explore all kinds of topics through setting and situation. This is done in science fiction by using technology and in fantasy through magic systems.

As a reader, fantasy attracts me for several other reasons, one of which revolves around courage. So often, fantasy characters – main, secondary or otherwise – are faced with dire circumstances regardless of their magical assets (spells, weapons, etc.). It’s at this point that courage becomes the factor in the story with outcomes that can be either victorious or disastrous. I like to see how a character of any kind might react courageously in the face of these extreme situations.

For instance, in The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf refuses to budge in the presence of both the balrog and the Lord of the Nazgul. Likewise, Eowyn stands up to the Lord of the Nazgul just to defend King Theoden. That’s gripping as well as courageous.

Additionally, I like to read about characters who take on leadership and just do what’s necessary. In such stories, a character might make decisions because they have nothing to lose and nobody else is willing to make that call.

Morguefile.com free photo for Maintaining Wind in Your Writing Sails

Morguefile.com free photo for Maintaining Wind in Your Writing Sails

And then there’s the pure adventure of a fantasy tale. One recent book that captured adventure well was Michael J. Sullivan’s The Emerald Storm which is a tale that largely takes place on a sea voyage. It captures elements of Treasure Island in a fantasy setting. And who doesn’t like adventure on the high seas.

So for me, fantasy is a way of examining people in extraordinary circumstances all with in fantasy settings that add to the wonder and excitement of the story. Sure, I could watch Saving Private Ryan to see the defense of the bridge and the courage it takes – and love it. But put that in a fantasy setting and you can come up with some really good stories. I could read or view ocean voyages like Moby Dick or Master and Commander but add magic and some monstrous critters and it gets doubly interesting.

Why do you read fantasy? What book or movie would you like to see converted into a gripping fantasy novel?

Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.

The Bow of Hart Saga Release Notes:

BOD Final

The Bow of Destiny is now out on Audible (available in Whispersync for those who like reading and listening) and available on Amazon (and yes, it’s free in Kindle Unlimited).

An Arrow Against the Wind is due out on audio 10/22 and is also free on Kindle Unlimited.

The White Arrow will be released on audio on 11/27 but it’s currently available on Amazon and free on Kindle Unlimited


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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photos via Morguefile.com – free section and Microsoft Office clipart

coverart commissioned

 

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!