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February 16, 2020

"..excellent series beginning to take shape and I very much look forward to reading the next book"-Roy

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On the Homefront

This week winter decided to hit us big time, not with snow, but with frigid temperatures. Friday was so cold Daisy decided she’d had enough of a walk and turned home early. Tilly was a little more adventuresome, but even so, she couldn’t wait to get back in the house. Canadian winter at its finest!

On a different note, I had to deal with the flu this week. It took me out for three days, but I seem to have made a full recovery. A big thank you to those that sent me best wishes for a speedy recovery.

What makes a character interesting?

This is a question I often think of, especially when I’m starting a new story. To some, it’s showing a list of strengths or weaknesses, and more than one author has cherry-picked these from a list of personality traits. I prefer to think more about how the character thinks and interacts with those around them. To me, it’s more about relationships, which is why they figure more prominently in my stories. Gerald is a pretty average person, but what makes him interesting is his relationship with Anna. In the same way, Athgar and Natalia are defined more by their partnership than by their individual prowess.

I also like my characters to grow, something that will likely seem obvious to those that have read any of my books, especially the Heir to the Crown series. Gerald begins as a seasoned warrior, but as he begins to take command, we see doubt and uncertainty. By the time you get to Fate of the Crown, he is an accomplished general, comfortable with his ability and determined to do his best to serve the crown.

As I’ve said many times in the past, people don’t exist in a vacuum. The people around them are continually evolving along with the main characters, something I hope I’ve brought to the forefront in my books.

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

Congrats to Dave who won last week's Giveaway. 55% of my readers prefer people on the cover of their fantasy books.

Norland - How it was founded.

Seeing that we are now knee-deep into the editing Defender of the Crown, I thought it only appropriate to write about Norland this week, as it is the location of a major part of the story. The kingdom of Norland was founded over 500 years ago after a Prince Talburn's failed attempt to seize the crown of Merceria from his father. He and his defeated supporters fled north, crossing the great river into the area now known as Norland.

The present-day earls of Norland are all descendants of those nobles who fled Merceria, and their society retains many elements of the long-ago court of Merceria. They also still hold true to their claim over the throne of their southern neighbour, something that will be front and center in Defender of the Crown.

Like Heart of the Crown, Defender will involve travel, but this time the stakes are much higher, and failure could result in more than just war!

Every other Monday at 5:30 PM EST (-4UTC)
Next Session - February 17

Learn all about how my series are interconnected!

Did you miss my last Facebook Live Video about my favourite historical fiction movies?  

Check it out here on Youtube!

Coming next week: Cover reveal for Defender of the Crown!!!
Work in Progress Update

Despite the flu, I managed to make a degree of progress with Tempered Steel. It now sits at 30,000 words, out of a projected 40,000. I have to admit the characters are really coming alive now and its helping me settle into their personalities, a very important thing to do with the individual books coming.

I’ve also had some time to mull over some new stories for Brother Cyric, though they’re not on the schedule just yet. Chances are I’ll delve into one once I’ve finished Temple Knight. After that, it’s back to the world of The Frozen Flame for the third installment, Flames, then it will be time to delve back into the Heir to the Crown series with book eight, Fury of the Crown.

Also, since I was unable to host a Facebook Live video last Monday, I shall be holding one next Monday to discuss how my books are interlinked, hopefully without spoilers.

Until next time, here is a little tidbit from Defender of the Crown.

Happy reading!

Sneak peak - Defender of the Crown - Book 7

Anna turned to face Gerald. "Have you seen my wedding dress?" she asked.

"No," he replied, "but I have a feeling I'm about to."

"Yes," said Anna, "come and take a look."

She led him across the room, halting at a dressing screen.

"Here it is," she declared.

He moved around the edge of the screen to view the green dress, noticing it was richly decorated with jewels and lace.

"Mercerian green," he noted, "how appropriate." He leaned closer, examining the details. "This embroidery is spectacular."

"Isn't it, though? The lace was my idea."

"Is that Elvish script?" he asked.

"It is," she replied, "sewn into the hem, along with Orc runes and Dwarvish letters. There's even some Saurian in there."

"Nothing for the Trolls?" said Gerald.

"They don't use a written language," said Anna, "other than ours, that is."

"You seem to have thought of everything," he noted.

"I did," she said, grinning.

Gerald noticed the excitement in her eyes. "Go ahead then, tell me what it is that has you so worked up."

"Look here," she said, pointing, "I had them embroider something special."

He examined the area to note a plant of some sort.

"Is that a weed?" he asked.

"No," she replied, "it's a Weldwyn Clover."

"We feed our horses clover," said Gerald.

"Hush now," she replied, "it's featured on their coat of arms. We must get used to the strange customs of our newest ally."

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.

Ember and Stone:
They should not have let me live. 
There are beautiful and peaceful places in this world. There is magic hiding just out of sight. There are girls who find love and build happy homes. I was not born into a life of such glories.

I am nothing but an orphan left at the mercy of the Guilds. They destroy our homes and steal our land. They murder us without consequence.
There can be no hope in a land the Guilds control.

Age of Dragons:
Dragons aren't supposed to fall right out of the sky. For years, the people of the Burning Havens have ridden their dragons and raised their magical staves, and all has been right in their world. Until now. Several dragons have fallen ill, and some are even dying.
Eager to find a cure, Nicai Bright along with the infuriating but strikingly handsome Koll Hawk and their dragons set out for the Smoldering Slopes on a daring and desperate venture. An ancient prophecy speaks of hope there... as well as darkness.

Dragon Assassin Omnibus:
Carmen wants to graduate. But the emperor wants her dead. Her classmates might, too. At least she has a dragon on her side. 
Carmen is days from graduation at assassin school. She's desperate to finish ahead of her twin brother and the rest of the class. They’ve been trained to hunt using giant black swans, but Carmen has discovered a dragon. All she has to do is get on his back.
One problem: he's killed everyone who gets near him.

Mark of the Medallion:   He lost his family. He’s got voices in his head. And he’s more powerful than they ever imagined…
Fifteen-year-old apprentice Kyril is sick of being bullied. And after a tragic fire leaves him orphaned with out-of-control thoughts and powers, he can’t wait to escape constant taunting at the wizard academy. So when a dicey faction entices him with companionship, he ignores the grim warning signs.

Even as Kyril’s power grows within the group, he’s left out of the crew’s dangerous plans to derail the authorities...

Book Deals & Giveaways

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


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