writing

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.

The Next Step: Curses Dark & Foul

Good morning everybody, it was an interesting and eventful week with the release of An Arrow Against the Wind in print edition, which finally completed a long journey for that book. Now, I turn my sights on the rest of my projects. If you missed the release news, here’s the post and print links.

Today, however, the priority shifts a little bit toward another upcoming project rather than sharing about my writing and publication schedule. The next immediate release on my calendar is an anthology entitled Curses Dark and Foul. It’s my first anthology, so I’m interested to see how the book will do as I dip my toes in this particular type of writing/publication.

The anthology features three short stories which all involve a curse some kind. I really like each of the stories, including The Black Bag which is the oldest. The Black Bag was written some years ago and the few people who read it at the time really enjoyed the story. It was originally published in an online fantasy magazine that’s long gone. Then it landed another publication in a small fantasy magazine. Its not unusual for a short story to be sold like that several times as the rights lapse, but it was good that it received that much play even in some minor short story markets.

That last periodical in which The Black Bag appeared was in 2010. The next summer, I attended a writer’s conference for the first time. Since there was a competition for best published short story in print, I entered The Black Bag just to see how it would do. Much to my surprise, the story won the contest and even earned more prize money than it ever did in periodicals.

While I was looking to publish The Bow of Destiny, I decided to release The Black Bag as a single short story edition. Over time it’s done fairly well and received decent reviews so I decided to included in this first anthology edition. It’s not unusual for short stories to appear in multiple anthologies and various publication formats, so I’m not too worried re-using it. Plus, it’s not as if my short story e-book edition has sold widely. I also think it’s good to include a short story that has some history in this first anthology and add bit backbone.

But enough of the history of The Black Bag. Here’s a bit of the thumbnail sketch about the story itself. This is a fantasy tale about a young woman whose family runs afoul of witches from from the nearby village. Things don’t go well and the main character, named Coryss, finds herself alone against the witches. These particular adversaries have some rather nasty plans in store for Coryss with their magic, but she’s got some spine and wants to stand up to them. The story takes an unexpected twist or two down to the end and includes some rather unusual magic in the form of curses and, well, I will ruin the story by telling you anything else.

For now, I leave you with some extra mock-up artwork I received. The release date is pending so I don’t have a link just yet but that’s coming soon. I’m also in progress of updating the site with a page for the book among other tasks so look for that soon and an announcement on the welcome page. There is always much to prepare for an entirely new book but it’s quite a lot of fund working on it all. Having the artwork makes the process easier too.

That’s all for this week. Now it’s your turn. You can leave your comments in the section below and I’ll be back next week with a little bit more about another story the anthology. Please share this post on your social media ad reblog it if you liked it. I’ll respond to comments as quickly as I can.

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Fantasy Friday! Dream Excerpt From The Bow of Destiny

bow of destiny

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!

A silhouette kneels and rocks, dark against the fire beyond it. A woman’s uneven voice chants:

“The bow shall be hidden from heart…”

The swaying speaker feeds wood into the fire. Sparks snap from the coals and whirl amid the orange-blue tongues. An arc forms in the smoke and fades into the stars.

“The eagle will guide the heir…”

An eagle’s scream pierces the night wind.

“The bow shall be found at need…”

Wrinkled hands tie a wad of cloth with string – a bowstring.

“And the arrow shall Eloch prepare.”

A shooting star streaks across the horizon and drags Athson’s attention from the crouching figure before the popping fire.

The eagle screams again – louder and nearer.

The figure half-turns and tosses the packet at Athson’s feet. He stares at it, then back to the kneeling woman. Her face half-lit by the firelight reveals a pointy nose that overshadows her receding jaw. Grizzled wisps of gray hair wave in the wind. “For you who suffers in silence for a secret.”

Athson stoops and inspects the package. He unties the knot and pushes the string into a pocket. Within the cloth he finds a tattered note and more fabric he guesses is a pennant.

“Zelma’s done it.” She gazes skyward and raises her arms.

“Why more now when so much has been taken already? Why me?” His anger flares and he tosses the packet away. “This isn’t mine.” He whirls and stumbles into darkness.

“He needs to see.” The woman’s voice screeches and slices through whistling wind.

The eagle’s deafening scream stabs his awareness as immense wings snap like a clap of thunder. Talons tear clothing, pierce flesh and snatch Athson into the air. He dangles and kicks as he yells while silver landscape yawns beneath him. The curious sound of joyous cackling trails into the distance.

The Bow of Destiny is sale this week as it’s out on The Lost Bow Blog Tour – check out today’s stop on Nicholas Rossis’ site.

To find out more about The Bow of Destiny, click over to one of these online retailers:

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

Prequel short stories to The Bow of Hart Saga:

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