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"This action-packed story kept me reading late into the night, moving from one adventure into another all the way through." - Elouise.

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On the Homefront

Daisy & Tilly's faces when told they had to stay home while we went out. :(

This week we were subject to a major thunderstorm that took out our power. Luckily I had just saved my work, so the outage didn’t hit me too hard. It was very strange, though, sitting in the living room for part of the afternoon with no electronic devices. It really makes you realize how much we use technology in our everyday lives. We weren’t completely lacking for entertainment, as our phones still worked. Nothing like falling back on good on cell phones. (That’s mobiles for those of you in the UK).

In other news, we finally went out to a restaurant for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. We sat out on the patio, eating our food, while Carol was partially fried in the sun, as the umbrella was definitely not made for four! Other than that, it was an enjoyable experience. In Ontario, where we live, restaurants have reduced their capacity, so there was no fear of being too close to someone carrying anything contagious. All that and good company too!

Hopefully the nice weather will continue, though I think they’re calling for rain again this weekend.

Special ends on the 31st!

When was the stirrup first used?

The stirrup had a considerable impact on the use of cavalry. Most people generally think they were a later development of the medieval period, but there is evidence to suggest that they are far older. Though not technically stirrups, the ancient Assyrian's had a foot support in the form of a looped rope for the big toe. This was attached to a saddle by employing a strip of leather as early as 500 BC.

China may have had something similar during the Han Dynasty, placing its first use sometime between 206 BC and 220 AD. This early stirrup was for mounting the horse only and was typically used on only one side. The first evidence of a full-sized, double-sided stirrup was unearthed in a tomb dating to 322 AD.

In any event, they appear to have been in wide use across China by 477 AD. It is likely this incarnation that eventually made its way to Europe by the late 6th century, and by the 8th century, they were quite common.

The stirrup significantly increased the ability of a rider to remain in the saddle. It also allowed the rider to deliver an attack that could take advantage of his horse's weight and momentum. This, in turn, led to the dominance of cavalry until the advent of tanks.

Tempered Steel now available for Pre-order!

Pre-order Tempered Steel today!

The reviews for Temple Knight are in — 5 STARS!!!

'A big hit!' - D L

'Absolutely riveting!' - Lady J

'Great start to a new series must-read' - Harland

'Temple Knight is a real page-turner of a story.' - Bradford

'Well written and a feeling of your right there as the story unfolds.' - Linda

'If your looking for a fantasy adventure read it just doesn’t get any better than this!' - Maretta

'Grab yourself a copy and lose yourself in a fabulous new series from an awesome storyteller.' - Lady L

'You won't want to put it down! I love the new characters and the way this series parallels The Frozen Flame' - Pamela B

Start Temple Knight right now!

A Look Back at Servant of the Crown

It was almost three years ago (October 20th, 2017, to be exact) that I first published Servant of the Crown on Kobo. At the time, I had a full-time job as an IT instructor and only wrote on weeknights and weekends.

Servant of the Crown was actually complete for almost a year before publication. Having read some advice that recommended putting your first book aside and forgetting about it, I did just that, but only until I finished my second tale, Sword of the Crown. Once that was complete, I returned to Servant, doing a significant overhaul to the beginning of the book and filling out Gerald's background. If I remember correcty, I deleted six partial chapters and added nine.

I even considered telling the tale chronologically, but felt, in the end, that a flashback of sorts was more effective. Back then, I had no idea that the book would eventually reach bestseller status, though I always had more books in mind for the series. Eventually, my tales would grow to include the Frozen Flame and now Power Ascending, but I  always enjoy returning to Heir to the Crown, and the old warrior that started it all.

Congrats to Brian for winning last week's eBook Giveaway! Based on your great feedback, we went back to the drawing board and came up with a new theme for the covers. Please let us know what you think with a thumbs up or down.

Remember, all you need to do answer the question below, then you will automatically be entered into the Giveaway to win your choice of any of my ebooks, even the upcoming Temple Knight!

We are hoping to update a couple more covers this week, so keep your eyes peeled!

Work in Progress Update

Work on Fury of the Crown is proceeding at (dare I say it) a furious pace. I have been writing for two weeks and have exceeded 50,000 words, putting me close to the halfway point of my estimated wordcount of 120K. However, based upon my outline, my calculations may be off, as I’m only about a third of the way through my outline. This book may very well end up being longer the longest of the series, but time will tell, and by the end of next week, I shall have a much better idea.

I’ve introduced a number of new secondary characters in this book, though the old favourites are, of course, still front and centre. These new people help fill out the plot. Some are there based upon how they relate to existing characters, and others are there to present things from a slightly different point of view. As always, I strive to give them some interesting personalities that I hope will make them memorable.

Hard to believe I’ve written so much, and yet they still have to cross into Norland! Ah, well, you can’t rush into a massive military campaign without some planning.

Until next time, enjoy a passage from Flames, Book Three in The Frozen Flames series.

Athgar stared into the flames, his mind deep in thought.

"A copper for your thoughts?" said Natalia.

He gazed across at her, taking in her black hair and pale features. He had met her less than a year ago, and yet somehow, he felt as though they had known each other their entire lives. He smiled, feeling a warmth at the thought of her embrace.

"Well?" she asked. "Are you going to keep staring, or are you going to come over here and tell me your deepest thoughts?"

"I was thinking of Kargen and Shaluhk," he confessed, "though I will take you up on the offer." He rose, moving closer while she took the blanket from her shoulders, spreading it to encompass them both as he sat beside her on the log.

"They must be well on their way by now," she mused.

"I'm not so sure about that. It's not easy, convincing an entire tribe to leave their home."

"They have little choice. You know the Duke of Krieghoff won't take his defeat very well, he'll retaliate. I only hope the Orcs escape in time."

"They will," said Athgar. "The Ancestors watch over them."

"Would that be the same Ancestors who sent us here?" She looked around the forest.

"They work in mysterious ways. We're on our way to Ebenstadt, remember?"

"We spent weeks crossing the mountains. Of course I didn't forget, but why? What do they have in mind for us?"

He shrugged. "I have no idea. Maybe it's better that way? What we don't know can't worry us."

"Do you believe they control us?"

"No, the Orcs are quite clear in their beliefs. The Ancestors guide them, not control them."

"With some exceptions," Natalia added.

"True. I doubt either of us will never forget the treachery of Khurlig. Her spirit was almost the end of us all."

Natalia nodded her head thoughtfully. It wasn't so long ago that she had, with Shaluhk's help, tried to contact one of the Orc Ancestors with somewhat disastrous results. If it hadn't been for the timely intervention of the Sister of Saint Agnes, they both might have ended up dead, or worse, trapped in the spirit realm forever.

Athgar saw her shudder and put his arm around her shoulder. "It's all right," he soothed. "It's all over now."

Book of the Week

Just in case you have not read this one yet!

Battle at the River: An enemy commander. A skilled tactician. Only one can be victorious. 

The Norland raiders are at it again. When the Baron of Bodden splits their defensive forces, Sergeant Gerald Matheson thinks that today is a day like any other, but this time, something is different. At the last moment, Gerald recognizes the warning signs, but they are outnumbered, outmaneuvered, and out of luck. How can they win this unbeatable battle?

Battle at the River is a stand-alone short story set in the World of Merceria that incorporates characters from the Heir to the Crown Series. If you like intense battle scenes and unexpected plot twists, then you will love Paul J Bennett's tale of a soldier who thinks outside the box. FREE DOWNLOAD!

Author Spotlight

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

Blood of Vengeance: In the gladiator's arena of blood and death, magic cuts deeper than steel.

Stolen from the streets and condemned to battle as a gladiator, Killien survives by deceit and subterfuge. He must play the role of “Killer,” the prince’s savage, bloodthirsty champion. 

Undefeated in battle, Killien wields a secret advantage: the magic enhancing his weapons and fueling his attacks. The cost of losing carries a price worse than death....  MORE

The Mortal Blade: A city ruled by Gods, a mortal champion, a misfit girl and a disobedient dragon… Stolen from his home, Corthie Holdfast has arrived in the City of the Eternal Siege as a new Champion. 

He must fight alongside the Blades, whose lives are dedicated to the defence of the City against the hordes of monstrous Greenhides; or die at the hands of the Gods who rule. 

Maddie Jackdaw, a young Blade, faces her last chance. Thrown out of every unit defending the City, either she takes on... MORE

Centaur of the Crime: She's the LAPD's best corpse-kicker. Dayna Chrissie, LAPD's leading Crime Scene Analyst, relishes finding the one clue that can solve a crime. When she finds a golden medallion on a body that's been dumped at a downtown construction site, she doesn't think it's all that unusual. Until that medallion's enchantment brings her to the magical world of Andeluvia. 

She must find a killer in time to stop a war. Dayna discovers that she's been summoned to solve the murder of the realm's king before war breaks out between Andeluvia and the Centaur Realm. But no one wants... MORE

The Hatchling: What if a dragon looked into your eyes…and saw into your soul?

Wenlyn dreams of seeing one of the legendary Harpy’s Servants up close. As a poor village boy, he can’t help but dream of the adventures the dragon-riding protectors of the Six Realms must have. Now one of them has come to Tranquil village.

With the Servant's arrival, Wenlyn’s entire world falls away. He's about to embark on an adventure of his own that even his wildest dreams couldn’t have conjured up... MORE

Featured Book Deals & Giveaways

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

Extra Book Deals & Giveaways

Fantasy Book Sale
Strange Tales in Fantastic Places
Dog Days of Fantasy Giveaway
August New Releases Bookfair

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