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December 7, 2019

"I read all of the books in this series one after another and each one was exceptional." - Margaret H.

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On the Homefront

Seeing a cat and a dog sitting together may not seem remarkable, but young Miss Tilly has tried to eat poor Mya for the past 18 months. Suddenly, after Mya had to spend some time at the vet, these too are now snuggling together. (with supervision)

This year, I discovered that Hallmark Stores have Star Wars ornaments. In honour of The Rise of Skywalker, I decided that this Y-wing had to have a place of honour on our tree! Have you pre-purchased your ticket yet?

Character Inspiration: Baron Richard Fitzwilliam

Many years ago, when I first started running the Heir to the Crown Role Playing Game, I introduced the character of Dame Beverly Fitzwilliam. I had written a multi-paragraph description that included the name of her father, at that time Lord Henry Fitzwilliam, also known as Old Fitz or Fitz the Elder. There was also a note that Gerald has served with her father, but that was all the details I had. When it came time to introduce the baron, I had already changed his name to Richard and given him a persona. He was the quintessential ‘old boy’ in the style of an old British general, modelled after the wonderful character of Granpa Potts from the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, played to perfection by actor Lionel Jeffries.

As the players began to interact with him, I realized that he had to be taken more seriously. After all, he raised Beverly to be one of the foremost knights of the realm. When I wrote Servant of the Crown, I needed to fill in a lot of Gerald’s background, and so the flashback scenes to his youth were introduced. Here we meet a young Richard Fitzwilliam, who creates a strong sense of duty in Gerald, forming a lifelong friendship. Their relationship is also echoed in Sword of the Crown as we see a young Beverly developing a desire for knighthood. The baron is meant to be the epitome of nobility, a true noble of the realm and a strong influencer of future events. It is his mentoring of Gerald that leads, indirectly, to Anna’s beliefs, not to mention Beverly’s. These characters drive the story forward, much as King Arthur’s ideas lead him to develop the round table.

Richard, of course, wasn’t born perfect but evolved to that state through his life experiences. These are detailed in the upcoming story, Mercerian Tales: The Making of a Man. Early feedback from our BETA readers is promising, though everyone wants more of Fitz the Elder than the 70,000 words in this story.

Fear not, I have another story that I will someday develop further, but for now, I must get back to work!

Win a FREE eBook! To enter, all you need to do is answer Daisy & Tilly's question below.

Congrats to Kenneth M who won last week's Giveaway!

The Army of Merceria - Part IV

Command Structure

For centuries, the command of the Royal Army of Merceria fell under the control of the king. As the realm expanded, the rank of Marshal, and then Marshal-General was created, allowing the king's most trusted aide to assist in the deployment of the army. As the army grew in size, it became increasingly difficult to control, necessitating a change in the way the troops were led.

Commanders were assigned to control multiple companies, but there was no permanent command structure until General Matheson took command of the princess's army during the civil war. He immediately began making changes to the command structure by dividing the army into brigades, each with a dedicated commander.

The campaign to take the throne involved the use of multiple armies, something that would have been almost impossible a century before. With trusted leaders like Baron Fitzwilliam and magic to help them communicate, it was possible, for the first time, to coordinate the movement of large masses of troops.

With the end of the war, the new Royal Army began to reorganize the upper command structure. General Matheson was appointed marshal while Baron Fitzwilliam became a general, with plans to create more as the army slowly rebuilt, but the financial situation at the end of the war has delayed this move.

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Work in Progress Update

I am now almost halfway through the first draft of Defender of the Crown. In some ways, there are similarities to Heart of the Crown, in that a foreign country is visited, but the events that take place are far different. Plotlines continue to develop from Burden of the Crown and a familiar face is back to cause trouble.

The progress, in terms of word count, has been slower for this book, but I have had to develop a lot of extra notes concerning Norland, a country that plays quite heavily in the storyline. I wanted them to be similar to the Mercerians. After all, they are an offshoot of them, but at the same time, they have some rather unique differences.

Their culture took a different road than their southern neighbours some four hundred or so years ago when they fled to a land quite different that Merceria. Complicating matters are the other races that live in the area claimed by the Norland Crown, something that will be explored in more detail as the series progresses through the next few books.

I’m hoping to finish Defender by New Year’s Day, but we shall see, the holidays are upon us, and our social calendar is filling up quickly.

Until next time, I have been busy working on an end of the year gift or two for you. Below is a teaser. I hope you like it.

Happy Reading!

A Midwinter Murder

Part I - Arrival
Midwinter 1095 SR* (*Saints Reckoning)

Brother Cyric took another step, sinking knee-deep into the drift. When the cold snow entered the top of his boot, he prayed that his journey would soon be over. As a Temple Knight of Saint Mathew, he was used to hardship, even thrived on it, but if there was one thing he disliked, it was water in his boots. He took a deep breath, letting his frustration out slowly.

He was halfway to his destination, the manor house of Duke Emmerich of Cayfield, with a delicious dinner to celebrate the Midwinter Feast. As a member of the Church, it was one of the few days of the year that such a meal would be available. Of course, Cyric wasn't a guest of the duke so much as an accompaniment. The duke needed someone to bless the meal, and with the Midwinter Feast being so well celebrated, every member of the Church, this side of the Shimmering Sea, was engaged for the evening.

The thought of warmth and food drove him on. He could have ridden his horse, but the Holy Fathers, in their infinite wisdom, had deemed the walk to be humbling, especially since the meal was likely to be opulent. Cyric lifted his foot, taking another step and wondering how much longer the journey would be.

Author Spotlight!

Check out these featured books that are free, discounted, or new releases. The authors are returning the favour by sharing my books with their readers.

Of Shadows and Blood: A half-elf seeks a cure in the mysterious Shadowlands. But followers of The Blood stalk the lands and there are whispers of ancient demons returning. Kealin Half-Elf has only been like this for a few weeks and already he is changing...

Dragon Sword: Three sisters ... Three Dragons … One Quest to reunite the kingdoms of Verdil. The sisters are tasked to save the people from their power-mad kings. Three separate missions to three separate kingdoms - sky, land, and sea...

The Shadow and the Sun: When a world’s fate rests on her sword, will a loyal soldier obey her king or follow her heart? Militess Halina is an accomplished leader, a fearsome soldier, and the unapologetically-tough bastard daughter of Ursinum’s king... 

The Echoes of War: Simple refuge will not stop the threat of sorcery, it will only fuel the fire. After the King's fall, survivors of the war fight to find a safe place to rebuild. Despite the dangers of the Wastelands, Hilaniue holds on to hope of reaching Astaures. Having been warned about... 

The Lady of Kingdoms: Magic made her a warrior. Justice will make her a legend. Jerusalem, 1180: A catastrophe destroyed Marta Bessarion's family and whisked her away from everything she once knew. Now, armed with a magic spear and a burning thirst for... 

Book Deals & Giveaways

While you wait for the release of my next book, here are some great stories for your TBR pile!

Did you miss any past Giveaways & Deals?

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Paul J Bennett

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