What is Needed

Characters from The Bow of Saga: Spark

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!

This is the second of several posts revealing more about characters from The Bow of Destiny. You can read about Athson here. If you like dogs, you’ll love today’s post!

SparkSpark was a rather interesting and late addition to The Bow of Destiny. You see, Spark is a dog but not just any dog. He’s a dog that only Athson sees while he’s not taking doses of his elven medicine, Soul-ease. You might wonder if Spark is real and so does Athson. However, Athson considers Spark an old friend who watches out for him.
The idea for this invisible dog came from my daughter who did some alpha reading on the book last year. She suggested adding a dog so Spark is what I came up with. In the book, Athson identifies this dog as a Mountain Hound but to you and me he’s a German Shepherd – or very much like one.
If you’ve read my bio you know we own two German Shepherds so you can guess the origin of this character. But there’s more to the characterization than just being like a common breed. Spark is actually based on both of my dogs, appearing more like our female, Chloe, while sometimes acting rather like our male, Sam.

GSDsChloe & Sam
While Chloe is all guard-dog and ready for action all the time, Sam is more of a friendly bloke with a nasty side when necessary. But the unique quality of Sam is his way of communicating with us – he wags his tail for “yes” and doesn’t for “no”. Don’t believe me? Here’s a sample of Sam (Spark)-talk which is through a series of yes and no questions (and of course you have to catch Sam at a good time since he’s usually easily distracted like most dogs by things like food):
Me: “Sam, is it cold outside?”
Sam wags his tail – and it is (or was when this happened).
Me: “Sam, do you like the cold?”
Sam wags his tail because he really doesn’t like the hot Alabama summer but thrives in what cold weather we have.
Me: “Sam, do you want to sleep outside?”
Sam doesn’t wag his tail because, while he likes cold weather, he prefers to stay near his people like most GSDs do. This question is one that’s meant to ensure he’s really answering rather than just wagging his tail in distraction.
Me: “Sam, do you like Chloe?”
No wag because Chloe can really pesters him and bites him often since she’s rather feisty.
Me: “Sam, did Chloe bite you today?”
Sam wags his tail. Funny thing about dogs is that, being like wolf puppies, the males often let females win. Sam is much larger but always lets Chloe win.
Me: “Sam, do you want Chloe to sleep outside in the cold?”
Sam wags his tail. Yep that’s right, Sam wants Chloe to sleep outside while he gets to sleep inside.
We often can ascertain if Sam feels sick (he gets colitis) or achy (he’s getting a little older now and is starting to get stiff joints). We even found out that Sam wants a pet cat though this is likely the fact that he actually misses the old cat, Becky, who was still alive when Sam came to live with us. The cat hated Sam but he loved her. But you get the idea – Sam talks in his own way. He’s rather intelligent that way and even plays tricks on Chloe to get her to do what he wants. Now don’t think that Chloe is dumb by any means. She recognizes aggression easily and can solve some puzzles that Sam just won’t bother with.
So guess who speaks Sam-talk? Spark! I have a number of instances where Spark reveals something to Athson about his surroundings that Athson just doesn’t get. But you, the reader, get to understand that Spark may just know more about what’s going on at times than Athson.

Spark appears throughout The Bow of Hart Saga. To find out more about the character, click the links for The Bow of Destiny, An Arrow Against the Wind or The White Arrow. The entire series is not available on Audible from Podium Publishing:

Amazon

 

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. 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).

Prequel short stories to The Bow of Hart Saga:

Trading Knives Amazon

What Is Needed Amazon

Download and listen to the prequels for free at AudFans

   Trading Knives 1   What Is Needed 4

 

Hardcover Release: The Bow of Destiny

The long road for The Bow of Destiny continues with its hardcover release today.


Today is an unusual release for me. I never considered hardcover until recently, but the opportunity presented itself. I jumped on it and I’m rather enthused about the outcome. I got the draft of the new print format and loved it. I don’t know how much it will sell but I’m willing to take the chance on it being another option for readers. It’s not intended, but it’s useful, a topic I’ll share in more detail later.

For now, it’s time for the hardcover release. This book has come a long way. It’s history started more than three decades ago. It was once offered a publishing contract from a small publisher. It wasn’t a great situation so the manuscript lay dormant for some years until I decided to cut my self-publishing teeth on it. Much to my surprise, the single e-book sold well and garnered an audio contract. The book has come full-circle with the hardcover edition available today.

Read on for a short excerpt and more about the the book:

Arrows screeched by his head. “Arrows!” He hoped she heard. He kicked his gelding. It was labored though it ran hard.

They surged from the pursuit as more arrows whizzed past. Athson leaned low over his horse’s neck. Limbreth cried out in pain. The white mare slowed, and Athson’s horse overtook her and matched the mare’s pace.

He shouted over the noise of thundering hooves. “Where are you hurt?”

“Arm.” Limbreth gritted her teeth. Like a shadow, the dark arrow and blood trailed on her lighter clothing and soaked her left arm. They slowed and the trolls rushed closer. “Break it!” Limbreth snarled through gritted teeth. Her sword quivered as her arm lost strength.

He reached for the arrow as they slowed to a trot. He braced one hand against her as she leaned into him with a moan. With the other hand, he snapped off the feathered end of the arrow. He caught a glimpse of her face twisted in pain as he tore the arrow from her arm.

Trolls rushed closer and arrows sang death near them.

“Ride.” Limbreth’s weak voice countered the strength of her kicks to the mare’s flanks.

Athson trailed behind her. Harsh voices snarled ahead, and Limbreth’s horse thundered into more trolls. They screeched beneath the mare’s hooves. He sensed more trolls struggling out of the underbrush. Limbreth swayed in her saddle, but the mare galloped away.

Athson’s horse labored but followed. “Hang on!”

Tense moments passed, but the sight of lights hove into view away in the distance.

Athson urged the horse on, but it slowed and snorted. A groan of effort rolled from the gelding. Limbreth’s horse thundered on and she bobbed atop her mare.

Athson’s gelding broke pace altogether and slowed to a trembling stop. Athson dismounted, aware that trolls raced toward him. The horse collapsed, and he glimpsed several arrows sticking out of the gelding’s chest and lower neck. Blood gushed and stained its coat.

Trolls howled along the trail. Athson wheeled from the dying horse. They were too close. A few ill-aimed arrows whistled past him.

Athson hefted his sword against the fastest of the trolls. He slashed at kobolds and several fell amid spurting blood.

Hobgoblins and bugbears leaped at him.

Spark jumped among them and tore out a throat. Athson gasped. The trolls leapt back, on-guard for what attacked them.

Limbreth’s white mare suddenly charged past him into the boiling mass of trolls. Bodies flew aside, and the trolls fell back in momentary confusion.

“Come on, vermin!” Limbreth’s horse stood exposing her good right arm. Her left arm still shook. The rising moon gleamed on her pale clothing, her swords and her white horse. She glimmered silver in the light.

The trolls hesitated.

“Cowards!” Limbreth charged into them.

Athson leapt over his horse with a wordless shout. He hacked and slashed at the nearest trolls. Limbreth pummeled with the hilt of her one usable sword and slashed at the trolls lunging at her.


More about The Bow of Destiny: Book 1 of The Bow of Hart Saga

When his dead father touched his hand, Athson almost dropped the arrow.
– The Bow of Destiny

bow of destinyHaunted by his past. Hunted in the present. Uncertain what is real.

Haunted by his past. Hunted in the present. Uncertain what is real.

Athson suffered hallucinations ever since he was orphaned, including a dog no one else sees. The will in his possession, bestowed in a dream, can’t be real. But the trolls now hunting him are. A destiny, both inconvenient and unavoidable, drags Athson into an unwanted quest that challenges all his assumptions.

Can he trust anyone?

Sworn to secrecy by his dead father about the bow, Athson wants nothing to do with it. A dragon and a wizard want the bow – and Athson dead. Running from the quest and his destiny are tempting options.

Then he finds something unexpected.

Will his discovery destroy him before he recovers the bow?

If you love classic fantasy with new ideas, read The Bow of Destiny because it’s quietly addictive..

Find The Bow of Destiny at Amazon


About the Author:

IMG_4154-EditMulti 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.”

Trading Knives (0.1)
What is Needed (0.2)
The Bow of Destiny #1
An Arrow Against the Wind #2
The White Arrow #3

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.

The Order of the Dark Rose #1
The Unseen Hand #2 (upcoming)
The Nine Jewel Heist #3 (upcoming)

More books:

Curses Dark and Foul
The Black Bag

See the entire book catalog at P. H. Solomon’s Amazon Author Page.

Find more about P. H. Solomon as well as articles and research notes, plus a free stories, at https://www.PHSolomon.com

Gaslamp Fantasy Excerpt: The Order of the Dark Rose Pt 3

Read an excerpt from The Order of the Dark Rose and find out more about the book, including the exciting news – paperback has arrived!


Good morning everyone! Along with another excerpt from The Order of the Dark Rose this week, there’s additional news for the book – paperback has arrived! This book has been well-received already and so it’s wonderful news that print has arrived. Along with the excerpt and the added reading format, it’s also time to share the print cover.

As a matter of note and also a reminder, there are two former excerpts linked just below which highlight Wish often being caught in the middle of magic to his danger as originally discussed in the character highlight post for Wish entitled: A Wish and a Prayer.

Gaslamp Fantasy Excerpt: The Order of the Dark Rose Part 1

Gaslamp Fantasy Excerpt: The Order of the Dark Rose Part 2

Let’s move on to the newest excerpt from the book which is a little longer today just because of the paperback release:

The blue hood of my companion’s coat framed her lovely face in the warm light of the foyer like an artist’s painting. Her fragrance set my thoughts alight, and I longed to kiss her ruby lips. Her presence left me light-headed. “May I take your coat, Lady Stroffage?”

“No. I prefer its company, if you don’t mind the damp remains of the weather.” The melody of her voice entranced me anew, like a trained singer at a show. Her demure smile seemingly invited me closer to her full lips. The porcelain hue of her oval face, slightly flushed at the cheeks, drew my attention. The glimmer in her dark eyes spoke of a lady of wit and charm. Lady Stroffage withdrew the hood, which revealed her brunette tresses coiffed in a thick weave of curls, some of which hung about her neck enticingly.

What a glorious day for meeting such a client, regardless of the rain. More than four months with few useful cases and cold leads regarding the Watcher or the assassins. Without direct link between the two and nothing of Manny’s witness, we left the Kantar unpaid for more than a month, and his supply of needles dwindled to just a few. This and actually taking some of Cyrus Lofton’s work might send us toward solvency. But a beguiling lady of wealth promised better prospects for more than one reason.

I cleared my throat and drew my mind back to the matter at hand. It had been too long since a rendezvous with any of my lady friends. Perhaps a step up might be in order. This lady smiled at me often on the trip to meet Manny. I imagined that a bit of heroic effort to solve her problem would put me in her good graces. I cleared my throat a second time. With a wave of my hand, I directed Lady Stroffage to the stairwell. “Just this way, then.”

We soon arrived at Manny’s door, where I peeked in at him. Good, he was hard at work on some project, not engrossed in one of his crazed information binges. Better yet, he still appeared in his regular form, as it were, rather than a child or doddering old man.

I opened the door wide and led our lovely new client into the room. “Manny, we have company.”

My business partner never looked up from his table where he examined some of the magic residue collected wherever he travelled. He whirled away and searched for a book on his crowded shelves. “Just a moment, and I shall attend, Wish.” He withdrew a book from a shelf and flipped through the pages without pause as he muttered to himself. With his back still to us, Manny partially turned and tossed the book on the table without paying much mind to our new client.

The lady offered me a smile at my hesitant glance.

I dipped my head and returned the lady’s sunny expression with one of my own. “Manny, she’s here about an item that needs—”

“Another moment or two, if you will, Madam.” Manny reached high on the shelf and retrieved another book. He flipped through the pages with quick glances and muttered sudden approval. He turned to us and caught sight of me and our new client, one eye comically covered by his Seeing Stone strapped about his head. “Now, this may well hold the—.”

A moment of stunned silence passed as Manny gaped.

“Lady Stroffage, if I may present Mr. Mandeheim, my esteemed part—”

Manny’s book fell from his hands and slammed to the floor.

The sudden noise whirled my head toward him in surprise.

Manny fumbled with the numerous casters on the table before him. He finally found the one he wanted and ducked below the level of the tabletop, his arm extended and the wand pointed directly at our new client. As casual as the intense gleam in his eye, he peered over the table behind which he crouched. “Wish, now would be a good time to run.”

It was now my turn to gape. “What?”

Lady Stroffage set about tugging at the fingers of her gloves as she removed them. A casual smile spread upon her face, and a twinkle danced in her eyes.

“I’ll deal with this one. Just run before you get hurt.” Manny’s wand never wavered. Neither did his voice.

I stepped between him and the lady with a determined set of my jaw. At least, I thought so. My knees wobbled at the sight of what I took to be a lethal wand pointed at me. I’d rather be fleered. I worked some wetness into my mouth and found words. “Manny, this is a client, Lady Stroffage, who is in need of our services.”

“I know exactly who she is, though the name is an obvious fake.”

“And who is she, then?”

“I know her mainly by reputation and description. A dubious woman of unsurpassed beauty. Am I not correct, Ms. Vyara Vladimirova Bliznakova?”

Lady Stroffage cleared her throat, and her melodious voice sounded from behind me. “An insult and a compliment in the same sentence, but no appreciation. One wonders how you recognized me. If it weren’t for such talent, perhaps I should find another—”

“That won’t be necessary, Lady Stroffage.” My eyebrows dove into my line of vision at my frown. Vyara what? “We can handle the search for your missing item.” To Manny, I added, “It’s a magical item. An heirloom.” My eyes fixed upon the wand pointed at me.

“Indeed, I’m sure it’s quite magical. Likely dangerous. Wish, this is a most dangerous woman. Perhaps the most dangerous in this entire city. You should run.” He reached for another wand on the table.

My frown deepened. Two wands? Who did he mistake Lady Stroffage for?

The distinct poke of something in the small of my back sent a chill along my spine. My frown disappeared as my eyes widened. I gasped.

“You should have run, Mr. Ackford. Except I’m actually here on business to recover something I’ve lost.” The melodious tone fluttered with the same beauty as before while the wand prodded my back.


That’s a fun little excerpt that underscores how Wish frequently finds himself in trouble. Find out why and how he gets out of danger in the book:

The Order of the Dark Rose, Volume 1 of The Cursed Mage Case Files:

Blurb:

An arch-mage can handle almost anything. Unless he’s cursed, lost his job and facing an unknown enemy.

The Gallantean Empire relies increasingly upon magical technology which cleans sewers, runs trams and much more. Within the capital city of Cal Rindon, magic is pervasive, but not necessarily used without criminal activity. The bustling metropolis boasts constant innovations mixed with growing pains. Amid the good lurks the bad with unrest and growing crime.

Arch-mage Manny Mandeheim fell under a curse, watched his fiancé die, and then lost his job as a spy. So what’s an arch-mage to do? Start his own magical investigation service while he works to clear his good name and maybe avenge his lost love. With his very un-magical partner, Wish Ackford, Manny discovers the menace of a much larger conspiracy than he expected looming behind his curse. The limitations from the hex leave him at a distinct disadvantage as he and Wish investigate.

Assassins lurk at every corner or in every tram car. The threat of an unknown mastermind with murky intentions lingers just out of sight. A questionable source offers the hint of a secret order hounding Manny’s footsteps. A murder leads to wrenching discoveries.

Nothing an arch-mage can’t handle…

Unless the curse limits how much magic he can use or kills him outright.

A mixture of gaslamp fantasy and Sherlock Holmes-like cases, The Order of the Dark Rose is a sleuth private detective mystery set in an alternate fantasy world where magic is both commonplace and dangerous. Mysteries abound in this original, new fantasy from P. H. Solomon, author of the award-winning, best-selling epic fantasy series, The Bow of Hart Saga.

Can Manny survive long enough to break his curse? Or will the arch-mage’s hidden foe escape him?

Click one of these buttons for more information (print at Amazon only at this time): 

     

About the Author:

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.”

Trading Knives (0.1)

What is Needed (0.2)

The Bow of Destiny #1

An Arrow Against the Wind #2

The White Arrow #3

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.

The Order of the Dark Rose #1

The Unseen Hand #2 (upcoming)

The Nine Jewel Heist #3 (upcoming)

More books:

Curses Dark and Foul

The Black Bag

See the entire book catalog at P. H. Solomon’s Amazon Author Page.

Find more about P. H. Solomon as well as articles and research notes, plus a free stories, at https://www.PHSolomon.com