Your first peek at Burden of the Crown View in browser

October 5, 2019

" I can’t wait for Embers to be released. Totally engaging read." - Ford A

What's new this week!

-Ashes Character Inspiration
-Pre-Order Burden of the Crown Today!
King's Rangers - Merceria
the Homefront

-Facebook Live with Paul
peek at Burden of the Crown
spotlight & book giveaways/deals

Did you miss a past newsletter? Click here to go to the newsletter archives.

Ashes Character Inspiration - Natalia Stormwind

The character of Natalia first emerged more than ten years ago. She was a Non-Player Character(NPC) in the role-playing game I was running, introduced to help give the group a little assistance during their adventuring days.

At the time, I was playing Guild Wars and was rather struck by the idea of someone using cold and water-based spells. Thus, Natalia, the Water Mage, was born. The name Stormwind was just that, a name, but as the players learned more about her, I introduced the concept of her extended family, although it was a literal family, with aunts, uncles, and cousins, not the extended organization that part of the story in Ashes.

There was even an adventure where the players travelled to her home city, meeting said relative and investigating a mystery. This made it necessary to fill out even more information about them, and it is where I came up with the concept of a family of Fire and Water Mages, each using their own family name.

Over the years, Natalia became a powerful mage in her own right, which eventually lead to a battle where she inflicted so much damage she literally blew her target to pieces. This resulted in a phrase that is often remembered by my gaming group: “Oops, I didn’t know I could do that.”

Natalia and Athgar ultimately paired up, just as all the other players were doing. I should point out that in game terms, this campaign ran for years, resulting in characters marrying, having children, etc. And so the whole idea of fire and water mixing came about.

Of course, as a character in a series of books, she has been given a much more interesting background and her family… well, if you want to know more, you’ll have to read Ashes.

The King's Rangers (Merceria)

In the early 600’s a time of peace descended on Merceria, but professional soldiers, no longer employed by the crown, were left without jobs. After they created lucrative careers in banditry for themselves, the roads became so bad that by 630, it was affecting trade. In response, King Ansel II created the King's Rangers, tasking them with keeping the roads safe. They eventually evolved into a peacekeeping force, charged with enforcing the king's law throughout the land as well as protecting its citizens from wild animals.

Rangers used a master/apprentice method of training. A ranger, if they found a suitable candidate, would take it upon themselves to train an apprentice. However, rangers could only be created by the monarch, so once a year, candidates (trained apprentices) were presented to the king, usually at one of the Royal Estates, rather than at the Palace in Wincaster. Each new ranger was given a medallion, a metal disc that was worn about the neck, with the symbol of the rangers on one side and their number on the other. The numbers were issued sequentially and never repeated.

Joining the King's Rangers was a lifetime appointment, and they were always considered to be active, even through old age or infirmity, thus retired rangers still received their full pay. Rangers were paid well for their services, receiving their income from the royal treasury, though this did not make them immune to bribes. Common folk feared them, believing that rangers took what they wanted.

Rangers have no rank, and up until 962 MC (Burden of the Crown), reported directly to the monarch. Designed to operate with complete independence, they were charged with seeking out lawlessness wherever it might be found. If two or more worked together, the one with the lowest number was considered senior. Possession of a forged ranger medallion was punishable by death.

Rangers, skilled in woodcraft, hunting and archery, were expected to compete in local archery contests on a regular basis. Charged with enforcing the king's laws, they had the power to call up militia or soldiers on an emergency basis. This was often done to track down escaped prisoners or animals that had been attacking livestock, though usually only in rural areas. They were considered senior to soldiers and watchmen when it came to enforcing the king's justice.

Only the crown knew how many rangers were in service at any point in time, a number that was not shared with anyone else. In more recent years, under King Andred IV, they became the eyes and ears of the king, spreading fear and loathing through his enemies.

To find out what has changed, you will need to read Burden of the Crown, which is available for Pre-order!

On the Homefront:

With the weather turning colder, we decided to fit in one more trip to our favourite Ice Cream Shop. I occasionally like to try a new flavour, so this time it was banana, which was surprisingly good. The best part is that you can add as many toppings as you like! I went for skor bar, coconut, and peanuts.

Let me know what your favourite flavour and toppings are!

Congrats to Beverly D who won last week and guessed correctly, Dungeons & Dragons. Remember, you don't have to guess the right answer to be entered into the FREE giveaway, and the winner gets to choose their eBook.
This week, Tilly has convinced Paul that he should start doing some Facebook Live sessions! Daisy thinks that you might have some great ideas about what he should do, so she has some suggestions.

Work in Progress Update

As I sit here writing this, I am just over halfway through writing Embers, the second book in my new series, The Frozen Flame. The story is flowing nicely, and the characters are coming alive.

I’d be farther along, but I’ve had to spend some time on final edits for some of my other books. One of the advantages of having an invested group of BETA readers is that I get some great feedback on things. Occasionally, someone will not understand something, and that tells me I haven’t adequately explained an element of the story. This typically results in me rewriting a scene and, occasionally, making more detailed background notes for myself.

When I first started writing, I found it difficult to make such changes, after all, it was my story, but I’ve come to realize it makes for a more engaging read. Of course, sometimes they ask questions that I can’t answer, not because I don’t know, but because it’s a plot point that will be revealed in the future, maybe even a later book. It’s still nice that they notice, however, since it tells me they’re invested in the characters.

Until next time, here is a little bit of Burden of the Crown, just for you!
Happy reading!

Burden of the Crown
And so it begins...

They all stood as one, raising their glasses in salute.
   "To the future," proposed Barrington.
   "The future," the rest echoed, then downed their drinks in one go.
Montrose watched them leave one by one, shaking hands and smiling. Once they had cleared the room, he made his way to the doorway, then to an adjoining room. His visitor stood, the painting on the wall still askew to reveal an observation hole.
   "You heard?" asked Montrose.
   "I did," his mysterious visitor replied.
   "What do you think? Will it work?"
   "I think your plan solid enough for now," the stranger replied, "though we may have to take more overt action in the future."
   "You have something specific in mind?" asked Montrose.
   "Not at this time, but I rather suspect that our young princess will be resilient to your efforts."
   "She's just a young girl," replied Montrose.
   "No, she's a young woman," corrected his visitor. "I've underestimated her once already, I'll not do it a second time."
   "Come, come now," added Montrose, "you can't possibly believe she can outsmart us."
   "Only time will tell," the visitor replied.

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.

Eye of Obscurance: In a realm where wizards rule, the ambitious contend for thrones that grant the power of a god. How can one defeat a god? This is the first entry in Fate of Wizardoms, a fantasy epic filled with magic, adventure, and intrigue, perfect for fans of Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, and Michael J. Sullivan.

Lightborn: She planned for everything...except betrayal. Isa vowed to devote her life to the thieves of Tyv after they saved her as a child. Now eighteen, she will do anything to stand as the number two in her guild. To prove her worth, Isa plans to steal a magical amulet in the domain of a power-hungry general...

Magian: Before Kasrei was a magian of Ilios, she was a fugitive of Jak’mor. After killing her owner and escaping to an oasis in the Sandsea, Kasrei expects to live out her days alone with only the scorpions for company. After all, a runaway slave is lucky to even be alive. But her past catches up to her when Jak’morians ...

Blood & Shadow: He wanted nothing of war. Now he must face a ruthless enemy to save his family from ruin. Sherakai dan Tameko would rather tend his horses than ride them into battle. As the fourth son of a famous soldier, he’s content to embrace his animal magic and let his siblings carry on his father’s warrior legacy...

Book Giveaways & Deals!

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

What's coming in future newsletters!

-Upcoming book signing
-A few
more Saints
-A surprise or two!

-More about me
Character Inspirations

, welcome to the end of my newsletter. I only email those who have given permission by signing up to receive my newsletter. As always, if you have changed your mind or are no longer interested in receiving these, please click the unsubscribe link below.

Do you like the newsletter? Share it!
Paul J Bennett

You received this email because you signed up on my website or gave me permission to email you through a book giveaway.