In my newest work, Tempered Steel, readers are introduced to a female smith named Charlaine deShandria. Purists might balk at the thought of a woman working in a traditionally male profession, but a little digging into history reveals that such a thing was not only possible but actually happened!
A book called the Holkham Bible clearly shows a woman working a forge. The story that accompanies it indicates that the smith refused to make nails for the crucifixion and so his wife made them instead. In 1435, a guild in London, called the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths, noted the membership of 65 brethren and 2 sistren, which is an odd term to use these days, but still illustrates that women held that position. It was not uncommon for women to take on the role when a smith had no sons, or for a woman to take over the business on the death of her husband.
Now it was not, admittedly, all that common, but it was certainly not unknown, and even in the case of the guild, there is no mention that this representation was unusual in any way.
Fantasy is, of course, entirely up to the author, but it always nice to have a little corroboration from history.
Until next time, happy reading!
Hard to believe, but I’ve now been a full-time writer for a little over ten months. When I first started writing Servant of the Crown, I only had evenings and weekends to complete my first story. Now, having just completed the first draft of my twelfth book, I can honestly say I am feeling fulfilled. It’s always nice to be able to work at something you like, and while I thoroughly enjoyed my career in IT, it doesn’t compare to being able to write stories all day long!
I often think the best part of writing, for me, is being able to work with my wife, Carol. We have collaborated on a wide variety of things over the years and enjoy working together, something that has made the transition to a full-time author that much better. We are now approaching our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary and just getting started!
Here’s to many more years of working together!
Till next time, happy reading!
Though work on Defender of the Crown is continuing, I have also been hard at work on a couple of other projects. Those readers who subscribe to my newsletter will now have part of that work in their hands in the form of Into the Maelstrom, an origin story.
It’s a tale about how Cyric, a secondary character in Ashes, became a Temple Knight. Of course, that’s not all, as this week's newsletter will reveal. I’ve also spent some time starting the outline for my next series, Power Ascending.
This storyline will deal with two people who meet several times during their careers as they both climb to the heights of power, one within the church, the other within a political landscape. The prequel will introduce both characters when they are young, forming a friendship that will last a lifetime, despite their separation.
And what else have I been up to? Research, of course. I’ve had to delve into a number of subjects to make sure I can give the characters their due. Thank goodness for YouTube!
Until next time, Happy reading!
I was reading through a Facebook group today and came across an interesting posting that led me to do so some research. Here, thanks mainly to Wikipedia, is the story of an attempted coup in the US and calls for an American Dictator.
First off, I need to set the tone, for this all occurred during the ’30s, in a far different time than today. Then, the Italian Dictator Mussolini was quite popular, and fascist regimes existed in several countries. This was, of course, before World War Two and the US, and much of the world was in the grip of the great depression.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, the president that would rise to the world stage in the Second World War, was newly elected, waiting on his inauguration. People at the time, including some newspapers, were calling on him to be given extraordinary powers, including the ability to abolish government departments and suspend congressional appropriations.
At his inauguration address of March 1933, he stated that he was considering taking authority equal to what a president might be granted during an invasion. Shortly after taking office, he addressed the American Legion in his first public speech. Thanks to archives, it is now known that the first draft of his speech included a call to arm them and have them swear allegiance to him, personally.
In the end, he changed his mind, coming to the conclusion that dictatorship was unnecessary, but his political adversaries continued to use the threat of this suggested dictatorship against him. Roosevelt went on to become one of the most respected presidents in history, guiding the US through one of the most challenging events of the twentieth century, World War Two.
For more detail on this fascinating subject, simply search Wikipedia for “Roosevelt Dictatorship”.
Until next time, Happy Reading!
I have now been a full-time author for eight months, an accomplishment I never thought I’d reach when I first started writing Servant of the Crown. One of the greatest joys of being an author (other than writing, of course) is the feedback and friendships I’ve made along the way. It’s always a thrill to read reviews of my books, not to mention receiving emails from fans around the world.
The impact of social media has also been an immense help, allowing me to come into contact with other authors and aspiring authors along the way. Of course, I couldn’t have done any of this without the love and support (and editing) of my wife, Carol.
This is a journey we are taking together, and I cannot imagine the ride without her. So here’s a special shout out to Mathew Harffy, Griff Hosker, and Carolyn Arnold, who all make social media so much more fun.
Earlier this week, I finished writing the first draft of Embers, the second book in The Frozen Flame series. It feels good to complete a book, and I’m quite happy with the way it came out. Of course, there’s always editing to do, and eventually, feedback from the BETA team may lead to changes, but the main writing is done, and now I can begin work on my next project.
Writing a book tends to immerse me in the characters and so between major works I use a ‘palate cleansing’ technique. This consists of writing a short story (sometimes not so short) before returning to one of my series. In this case, I’ll be playing around with a story about Cyric, who’s a secondary character in Ashes. This story will likely be short, but then again Albreda’s origin was meant to be brief, and it ended up being close to 40,000 words.
After Cyric, I’ll be returning to the world of Merceria for Defender of the Crown, the follow up to Burden of the Crown. I already have a fairly detailed outline for that story, though I need to do some tweaking to make it flow better.
On a side note, last week, we passed the second anniversary of the release of Servant of the Crown. I never would have thought, at the time, that two years later I’d have so many books available!
Now it’s time for me to get to work on my twelfth book.
Until next time, Happy reading!
Let me start by saying that I like Minecraft, and I also played Pokemon Go when it first came out
Now, Mojang, the developers of Minecraft have combined their premiere game with Augmented Reality to create Minecraft Earth. This is a mobile game that allows you to travel around the real world and work with Minecraft inspired items. The technology that allows this is impressive, and the effect, judging from early videos, looks mind-boggling.
Of course, it’s too early to say how successful this will be, but I have an idea that it might be a game-changer. In the same way that Pokemon Go pulled people from houses, I suspect that millions of people, of all ages, will find this fascinating.
Apparently, your creations will only be visible to your friends, a wise move, or else your local park would soon fill up with Minecraft structures. They also have little adventures for you to participate in, as showing in this VIDEO on YouTube.
It’s still early days yet, but it goes live sometime this month. I see a new mobile game in my future, how about you?
Ashes has finally released, and I’m happy to see how many people like it. Starting a second series is always a gamble, as you never know if those that read your first books will enjoy a new series.
This one, in particular, is different in tone than the others I have planned, so it’s nice seeing it get off to a good start. This is particularly inspiring, as I’m currently at work on book two in the series. Don’t worry though, the next book in the Heir to the Crown series is already written, it’s just awaiting final proofreading after having gone through its BETA reader phase.
Of course, I have more series planned, all of which take place within the same world. Each will stand on its own but will have links to the other series, some subtle, and some more blatant. I look forward to revealing more about these projects at they near fruition, but, for the moment at least, Athgar and Natalia, the main characters of The Frozen Flame series, are occupying my time.
Until next time,
Happy Reading, and thanks for the wonderful start to my new series, Ashes.
This week, I noticed on Facebook that we released the cover art for Servant of the Crown two years ago. My, how time flies. It seems like just yesterday that I was fretting about the release of my first book and now, two years later, I’ve written ten books.
Perhaps the most challenging task of all was making the jump from part-time writer to full-time author. I’m not ready to retire any time soon, but we are at least we are making a living, doing something I really love. Of course it’s made even better by allowing me to work with my wife, who acts as my editor.
The response over the last two years has been tremendous, and I find it encouraging to read all the positive comments on my first series. Now, of course, I’m about to embark on my next series, The Frozen Flame, which goes live shortly. Don’t worry though, I’ve still many more tales to tell in the land of Merceria.
Until next time,
Summer seemed to go by quickly this year!
As I write this, I’m hard and work adding a myriad of details to the series outline for The Frozen Flame. There’s lots happening as our heroes, Athgar and Natalia, navigate the difficult politics of the eastern kingdoms. As with the Heir to the Crown series, there are multiple subplots, and so I’ve decided to take few days to detail these out before commencing work on Embers, the second book of the series.
In this way I can weave the stories together, giving them a more epic scale. Of course I can’t really divulge what these plots are, that would spoil the fun of reading the series, but let’s just say that little clues will be revealed as the stories progress. Most of the groundwork has already been laid, and now I’m in the process of planning out when those seeds will come to life!
I’m quite excited to bring this new series to life, for, unlike Heir to the Crown, there are only two main characters. Their actions will have a dramatic effect on what’s happening in the Petty Kingdoms.
Until next time,
Paul Bennett is a self-published author of Epic Fantasy books.