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Nov 9, 2019

"I having enjoyed reading this whole series of books can't wait for the next book." - Patricia

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On the Homefront

We had our first big snowfall of the year, and the dawgs had a blast in the snow. So much so that Daisy needed a nap on the couch, and I decided to join her! We celebrated the first snow with some hot chocolate and watching our favourite Christmas movie, Love Actually.
What are some of your seasonal traditions? (Can't say winter, as the Southern Hemisphere is moving into the summer months!)

Character Inspiration: Kargen and the Orcs of The Frozen Flame

When I first started outlining Ashes, I knew that the Orcs would play a big part. I had quite a few notes from the Heir to the Crown series about them, and I wanted to delve into their culture in more detail. Unlike the typical fantasy Orcs, however, they have their own unique culture and beliefs.

The character of Athgar had already been outlined as having been taught Fire Magic by the Orcs, so it only remained to determine how he came to live with them. I needed to create someone who could introduce Athgar, and the reader, to the ways of the Orcs, thus Kargen was born. In actual fact I had jotted down ‘Kargen and Laruhk’, two names that just seemed to fit together, much like Laurel and Hardy or Abbot and Costello.

The Orcs, of course, are not a comedy duo, though they do have their moments. Through Kargen we meet Shaluhk, who also happens to be the sister of Laruhk. This trio allows the reader to become more immersed in the culture of the Orcs.

Kargen becomes, in essence, Athgar’s brother, teaching him the way of the tribe even though he is not, himself, blessed with magic. His relationship with Shaluhk also mirrors, to some extent, Athgar’s eventual relationship with Natalia. All of these are explored in more detail in Embers, the upcoming sequel to Ashes. (Currently due out in January 2020.)

I have actually come to like these characters a lot, so much so that they have managed to insert themselves into the overall story arc for The Frozen Flame.

To enter, all you need to do is answer Daisy & Tilly's question below.

Congrats to Michelle F and Dan W who won last week's signed copies of Burden of the Crown!

Canadian War Movies

In Canada, we celebrate Remembrance Day on November 11th of each year. In honour of those that gave their lives in service to their country, I’d like to take a moment to list some war movies that portray Canadians.

Captains of the Clouds (1942): James Cagney plays a Canadian bush pilot who was inspired to join the RCAC in World War II. The very first Hollywood movie to be shot in Canada. It also features the real-life Air Marshal Billy Bishop, the Allies leading ace from World War One.

Attack on the Iron Coast (1968): This movie features Lloyd Bridges as a Canadian Major in charge of a daring commando raid, loosely based on the attack on Saint Nazaire.

The Devils Brigade (1968): The story of the Special Service Force, a joint American-Canadian unit. Though perhaps a bit loose with history, still a fascinating movie and one of my favourites.

Battle of Britain (1969): This movie features Christopher Plummer as a Canadian pilot during the Battle of Britain. So nice to see an actual Canadian playing one of us. I have seen this one several times (I own the DVD), and the dog fight scenes are among the best I’ve ever watched.

Passchendale (2008): Paul Gross wrote, directed and starred in this movie, which at the time was the most expensive Canadian film ever made. The attention to detail is very well done, and the scenes of trench warfare are frighteningly real. Definitely up there among my favourites.

Hyena Road (2015): Another movie that was written and directed by Paul Gross, though he only plays a secondary character in this absorbing tale about Canadians in Afghanistan. Well worth the watch and gives a unique Canadian flavour to the genre.

I’m sure there are others out there as well, but these are the ones that spring to mind as I write this. What about you, do you have a favourite war movie that honours veterans?

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Work in Progress Update

Eight months into being a full-time author and I’m currently 15,000 words into Defender of the Crown. This is book seven of the Heir to the Crown series and features troubles with Norland, but of course, there’s much more to it than that. It’s nice returning to characters that I know so well, and sometimes it seems that they write themselves. The whole gang is returning, including some that you haven’t seen for a while, but I won’t reveal who.

On the editing front, I have some changes to add to The Making of a Man, the Richard Fitzwilliam story. It deals with him growing up in his father’s enormous shadow. Early feedback from the Beta reading team was that they didn’t like the ending, which jumped forward in time, so I’m rewriting it. I already have some ideas worked out and shall be doing that on Monday.

Meanwhile, Carol is reading through A Midwinter Murder and trying to guess who the murderer is. I’m hoping that will be out sooner rather than later as it is a shorter story, and the winter theme will make it a nice holiday present for my readers.

Until next time, Happy reading.

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.

Wardens of Issalia: A team of agents must infiltrate and eliminate an enemy empire bent on conquest. The fate of the world, and of anyone who can wield magic, is at stake. A thrilling fantasy adventure filled with magic, intrigue, and betrayal, perfect for fans of Mistborn, Kingfountain, or Six of Crows...

SoulBound: The gods are dying. Thane has served his goddess for thousands of lifetimes, but even he knows that time is running out. There's only one way to save her, to save all of Dweller kind, and it's a suicide mission.
The host is a boy named Jakob. His ancient soul is one of the rare sources of power still...

The Defender of Rebel Falls: No one told him there would be dragons—especially alien dragons. William’s dreams of adventure are crushed when he’s assigned to a boring library job. Instead of protecting the innocent and seeking glory as a member of the heroic Guard, he spends his days writing reports by candle light. At just seventeen, his life may as well be over...

Orphan's Price: An orphaned boy, uncontrollable magic, and a quest to save a nation's honor. In a nation that shuns magic, a young man unleashes his new abilities against his school bully. He’s forced to slip out of the country when others find out. Now he must find a master to teach him how to control the magic, before it destroys those around him. Only problem is...

Book Giveaways & Deals!

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

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Paul J Bennett

11 Constable Street, London

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