Have you Pre-ordered Fate of the Crown yet?

Welcome to Merceria

'A delightful read, can’t wait for the next book!.' - Bev

In this week's Medieval Musings:

  • My Favourite Authors
  • Fate of the Crown Pre-order
  • Gerald's Character Inspiration
  • WIP update & tidbit from Natalia's story
  • Author Spotlight - 80+ new books
  • Book Giveaways - Over 150 books

My Favorite Authors

Over the years I’ve read many books, ranging from Sci-Fi to Fantasy as well as Historical Fiction. Being an avid reader, I’ve come to really enjoy a number of authors, many of which will come as no surprise. So let’s start the ball rolling, shall we?

First of all, these are in no particular order, merely written as they come to mind. I thought I might start with the ‘classics’. Now when I say classics, I am not referring to Dickens. Rather, to Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and JRR Tolkien. In my younger days, I devoured books by these authors and still return to them from time to time.

One of my all-time favourite stories is Starship Troopers (Heinlein). It’s a simple story, and not particularly long, but I find it fascinating. I’ve always enjoyed stories with a military theme, and this one has it in spades. These were the books of my youth, and lest you think me a snob, I should point out I voraciously read as many Star Trek novels as I could get my hands on, even though some of them were pretty bad. (on the other hand, there were some excellent ones as well.) And, just in case someone complains, I also read Star Wars novels, some of which still hold a place on my shelves.  The quality of these books was, on the whole, much better and, unlike Star Trek,  the Star Wars books were a continuing saga, with events in one book influencing later stories, something I use in my own writing.

So what else do I read? Mostly historical fiction, if I’m to be honest, and I can blame that mainly on Bernard Cornwell. I first read Sharpe’s Eagle many years ago, and I was immediately hooked. I’ve always loved the Napoleonic period, particularly from the English army point of view. I’ve read and reread many times the entire Sharpe series and watched all the TV episodes (I also own them all on DVD). That series led me to Mr. Cornwell’s other historical novels, of which there are too many to mention here. Along the way, I also discovered Jack Whyte. His books are quite engaging, though the page count is not for the timid. I particularly liked his Templar series, but his Arthurian series is equally engaging as well.

There’s lots more to mention, but I must fit this article into my newsletter, perhaps I’ll have to do a part 2? Suffice it to say the list would not be complete without C.S. Forester (Hornblower series) and David Weber (Honor Harrington series). Lastly, I’ve just read The Serpent Sword, by Matthew Harffy and I  might have to add that to my favourites list.

Now I have shared my favourites, what are yours? Join the discussion on my Facebook page to share your thoughts!

Until next time, keep reading!


Fate of the Crown now available for pre-order!

From lonely little girl…

…to the people's princess.

She is the last hope of a kingdom crushed under the heel of tyranny.

At first alone in the world, everything changed the day she met Gerald; once a forgotten old warrior, now the General of her army.

With the aid of those willing to sacrifice their lives for the cause of good, she prepares to wage war against her brother, a king more corrupt than even her dead father.

All her life has led up to this.

Now, they seek to unite the ancient races in a desperate race to win the crown before the Dark Queen enslaves them all.

Fate of the Crown is the fifth book in the Heir to the Crown medieval fantasy series. If you like unexpected twists, chuckling under your breath, and shedding the occasional tear, then you will love Paul J Bennett's tale of a princess who fights for her people.

Seize your copy of Fate of the Crown, and watch the battle unfold!

Character Inspiration: Gerald Matheson

When I was first putting together the Role Playing Game(RPG) that formed the backbone of these books, I created a template of which characters I wanted the players to be. There was a guard captain, a wizard, and a little girl. Since a little girl would not have a lot of skills, I decided to give her a guardian, a mentor if you like, so that the player would have something to do when a fight started. After all, we can’t have a child running into battle. I decided I wanted an old warrior, someone seasoned who knew his stuff but was far from the heroic warrior of legends.

The first thing that came to mind was an old sergeant type, someone respectful of authority, but who knew it was the common soldiers that bore the brunt of fighting. His lessons about the brutality of war would be key to forming the young girl's future opinions about the realm. The girl was, of course, Anna, though at that time her name was Annabelle. The sergeant character presented a challenge, so the first thing I did was to do a Google image search looking for medieval or dark age warriors. I finally settled on a picture of actor Mads Mikkelsen, from the movie Arthur. (the Clive Owen one, not the Legend of the Sword). I have, of course, seen the movie, but it wasn’t his character I was interested in, it was his look; the face of a grizzled veteran. From there, I fleshed out his back story.

He had to get his experience from somewhere, so I gave him a noble lord to serve, Baron Fitzwilliam,  though his first name wasn’t Richard at the time. I picked the name Gerald Matheson because I felt it sounded ‘ordinary’. Heroes tend to have impressive names, and I wanted him to be the opposite, just a normal man doing his duty. That also made it easier to flesh out his character when I started the book. Of course, much of his personality was developed during the game. Anna was played by my wife, Carol, and it was her insistence on interacting with Gerald, a Non-Player Character(NPC), that truly allowed him to come to life.

By the time I started writing the first book, Gerald was fully formed, just waiting for his story to be told.

Over 145,000 words written in only 8 weeks!

I’ve now spent eight weeks as a full-time author, and I must say that writing is getting easier. Perhaps easier is not the right word since I can still get caught up having to think things over. Production-wise, I’m finally ahead of my editor by a comfortable margin. I have Albreda’s origin story all written (first draft) and two origin short stories for my Frozen Flame series.

I’m also 30,000 words into the first book of that new series, called Ashes. It follows the adventures of two mages. One, Athgar, is from a backward village, not used to the large cities or civilization, though he’s not a barbarian. The other, Natalia, is an extremely powerful water mage trained in the foremost magical academy on the continent, a place called the Volstrum.

They both have wildly different attitudes towards magic, and I had fun writing about their training. When I developed the magic system, I created a set of rules that magic follows, the physics of magic, if you like. From the characters point of view, there are many interpretations of how magic works. Athgar and Natalia's magic uses the same rules, but they have different beliefs on how they work; this is the difference between what they think happens and what actually does.

Those who were paying attention will note I used the term “the continent”. This is the largest land mass in the world, the same world that Merceria exists in, though it lies far to the west. There might even be a hidden reference to events in the Heir to the Crown series in this new series!

Oh, and I have a new dating method, something called Saints Reckoning. I even have a conversion formula to equate it to the Mercerian Calendar. These stories, along with other series that are in the works, all take place in roughly the same period.

Until next time, here is a little snippet from Natalia's prequel story.

Happy Reading!

“Hello, Natalia,” he said, trying to sound as pleasant as possible, “my name’s Stanislav. I’m going to take you to live in a big house that’s nice and warm all the time. Would you like that?”

He noticed the tracks of tears etched on her dirty face as she meekly nodded.

“Come along then,” he said, extending his hand.

She took it timidly and he stood, her hand firmly held in his. He fished his purse from his belt. “Here,” he said, tossing it her mother. It was a hefty amount of coins, but he was convinced he would more than make it back.

This girl had huge potential and he was certain the bounty for delivering her would be large.

Author Spotlight!

Here are a few featured books that are free, discounted, or new releases. These authors are returning the favour by sharing Servant of the Crown with their readers. Thanks in advance for checking out their books! 

For thousands of years, the mighty Rahain Republic has led the Magelands; its wealth, power and army the envy of the world.

When the strength of the Republic is challenged by the Dark Mage of the Migration, there will be only one winner – and the Magelands will never be the same again.  ...More

Free Magelands prequel available here

A terrible secret. A vengeful empress. An unstable empire.

Sir Corbin, retired Hero of Jerkum Pass, dies on the eve of an urgent mission. His granddaughter Kelsa dons the old man's armor and his wrinkles and sets out to complete his last quest. She ventures to the capital of the Iron Empire. ...More

Some things should just stay lost. When they don’t, it’s Zoya’s job to put them down for good.

But that’s easier said than done when that thing is a magical relic. Too bad that relic is in the hands of a young mage who possesses a power he can barely control. And this particular relic doesn’t need much to kick start a process that just might open a portal to hell   ...More

Being a warden is tough work at the best of times.

Keeping the tenuous peace between the five kingdoms of Fál is a difficult business, especially in a land of monsters and magic.
Esben Berengar, the realm’s most feared warden, relies on his wits and his axe to deal with unscrupulous rulers,    ...More

Choose from over 80 books on sale for .99¢

From Epic Fantasy to Superheroes to Science Fiction...

This collection of books from a wide selection of authors gives you a chance to try some new titles for only .99¢ each.  Click here to see them all

Book Giveaways

Here are some FREE books, short stories and samples from other authors in the SciFi and Fantasy genres. Please give them a try.

Each Giveaway is a collection of authors who want to share their stories with you. Feel free to send links to friends and family!

  • If you were a casting director, which actors would you choose to star in the Heir to the Crown series
  • Character origin of Hayley Chambers
  • Cover reveals
  • Gamers Corner - The mechanics behind the magic system in Heir to hte Crown
  • A little something from Daisy & Tilly
  • Sword of the Crown audiobook sample

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Happy reading from Paul J Bennett,
Author of Epic Fantasy in the Land of Merceria and beyond!

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