Longbows, Crossbows, & Beyond

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I’ve done shields and swords, so now it’s time for projectile weapons.  You’d be surprised how many different types of bows are out there.  Even the picture above doesn’t cover it all since it’s missing crossbows and javelins.  Anyway, let’s get to the fun:

  1. Javelins–  Lightweight spears that a person throws.  Not the most advanced range weapon, but it can get the job done.  They don’t even need metal tips because you can whittle a point on a stick and get a little distance.
  2. Sling– Another simple weapon that I’m can be a simple leather sling or the more modern slingshot.  The bullets can be stones or metal slugs that a specially made for the weapon.
  3. Longbow– This is the most commonly used bow in fiction.  It is about as tall as the archer and made from a single piece of wood, which is why they can also be called a Simple or Self Bow.  This design has been found all over the world and has even been found with bodies that date back to 3,300 B.C. The Longbow can be seen as the basis for many of the others on the list.
  4. Recurve– This is named for the limbs that curve away from the archer when unstrung. This allows the bow to store more energy and deliver it more efficiently.  You have a shorter weapon because of the increase in energy.  The Recurve has become the more commonly used bow these days for competitions. A version of this, which is used in the Olympics, is the Takedown Recurve.  It can be taken apart and put back together.  This is actually the main bow used The Ranger’s Apprentice series.
  5. Flatbow– This bow has wide limbs and, unlike Longbows, narrows as it gets toward the solid handle.  The design difference helps to put less stress on the material, so there’s more variety on what can be used.  It is more difficult to make, which is the biggest disadvantage.
  6. Composite– This bow is made from horn, wood, and sinew put together instead of a single piece like Longbows.  Using a wooden core, the horn is on the inside to compress and the sinew is on the outside to stretch.  This stores more energy and allows for a stronger shot.  Composites aren’t used as often in fantasy because they are very complicated to make and require more materials.  Most times you find a Composite would be with a noble or somebody who could afford it.
  7. Compound– You don’t really see these in fantasy because they first showed up in the 1960’s.  These are bows that work of a complicated leverage system of pulleys and cams.  Composites used to be called Compounds, but that’s no longer the case.  Now, you can put one of these in if you’ve established the basics that would have lead to the invention.  Have to love the gnomes.
  8. Crossbow– The invention that comes between bows and guns.  This is a horizontal bow that launches a bolt with the pull of a trigger.  It’s force is stronger than a longbow because of the mechanical addition.  The loading mechanism differs with there being pull levers, push levers, and rack & pinion.  Larger ones have a stirrup that you step on to help with loading, which is something that gets forgotten or a smaller crossbow is used.  Now there are compound and recurve versions as well as a repeating crossbow from China that has a top-mounted magazine.
  9. Mongol Bow– I just stumbled onto this, so it should be higher up.  This is an example of a short bow.  These simple piece weapons are easier to use on horseback because of the smaller size.  A larger weapon would be ungainly and make it difficult to switch to an enemy on your other side.
  10. Various Throwing Weapons– I’m lumping chakra, shuriken, kunai, bolas, boomerangs, darts, and other small, hand thrown weapons together.  These can range from simple designs to complicated.  Yet, you can easily make your own for a fictional world because the necessities are that they fit in the hand and can be thrown for a decent distance to cause damage.  Not always lethal, but you can add poison to the mix if need be.
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Protecting Bedlam: Take 10 Pills and Call My Mother in the Morning Part 1

Previously on the latest tale of Cassidy & Lloyd.

(If you want, buy their previous rampages for $2 by clicking on the covers below.)

Cover by Jon Hunsinger

Cover by Jon Hunsinger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cool sheets on her back and a dull pain in her arm meet Cassidy as her eyes open to an ugly ceiling. Feeling nauseous and achy, the mercenary only moves her head in an attempt to get her bearings. The first thing she sees is an intravenous needle in her arm and a bag of clear medicine, a pulse monitor behind her head signaling her stress. Whispering voices come to her ears, one of them getting louder until she can understand the words. It takes her a minute to realize that she is in a hospital, but the fact does not put her at ease. Gently taking the needle out, Cassidy sits up and is about to make a run for the door when she spots Lloyd snoring in the bed next to her. The serial killer’s head is bandaged with a dot of dried blood on the top. A barred window lets in fresh air and sunlight, the sounds of a busy parking lot and nearby road drowning out most of the bird song.

“They had to sedate your friend,” a friendly girl says from the other side of the room. Her leg is in a cast and elevated, which makes it difficult for her to look around. “He had a bad reaction to something, so they knocked him out. Kept yelling something about knowing how this story goes. It was the funniest thing I’ve seen since I got here five days ago. By the way, I’m Nerissa and the guy peeking at you from under his pillow is Barry. He’s not really asleep. His hope is that we start talking about embarrassing stuff.”

“It isn’t embarrassing stuff,” Barry snaps, his hair an eye-catching mess. He throws off his covers and grips his I.V. pole before sliding out of bed. “I’m here for dehydration and food poisoning like they said you were. From what I heard, it’s rather common and they only keep you for three days. I’ll be home tomorrow, which is why I want an answer. They gave me new underwear when I got admitted and I was told they do that with everyone. All of the boys got ugly colors, but I saw that Nerissa has flowers on her pair. So, I just would like to know if the girls got prettier ones than the boys.”

“Are we sure I’m not asleep and in some porno dream?” Cassidy asks with a groan. Out of curiosity, she puts her head under the sheets and checks herself. “I’ve got strawberries and a headache. Now, can I talk to a doctor about letting my friend and I go early? We have stuff to do, people to kill, and adult clothes to put on. Not to mention figuring out where we are and why we’re here.”

“They gave me a thong,” Lloyd mutters, his eyes still closed. Shifting in the bed, he takes off the bright pink underwear and flings it at the window bars. “Just relax, kid, because I got us to Bethesda once you passed out. Didn’t run over a single squirrel, rabbit, or person too. I was afraid you got radiation poisoning from being too close to those Half-Deads. Turns out you need to drink more water and the ice in the cooler was tainted. Not sure with what, but it was enough to play kickball with your intestines. Let’s just give this a day and get back on the road once we’re sure you’re okay.”

Flopping onto her bed, the mercenary stares at her partner and the pile of gear next to his bed. “Feel like we’ve wasted enough time already. Still, I do feel like I’m about to puke and my head hurts. A night in the hospital won’t make much of a difference. Although, I would like to know what happened to you.”

“He hit his head while getting out of your jeep and needed stitches,” Nerissa answers, cutting Lloyd off. She sticks her tongue out at him, but frowns when he returns the gesture with more wiggling and drool. “That’s so gross. I’m sure The Nurses will let you out if you can convince a doctor to sign off on you. We don’t see them very often since we aren’t surgery patients or in critical condition. The only person that comes around is Trevor, who runs the hospital and brings everyone their meals. He says it helps him check on us. That should be him coming now since it’s time for lunch.”

The door opens while a man in Bermuda shorts and a brightly colored shirt backs in with a cart. A fake parrot is on his shoulder, the stuffed animal on the verge of falling to the floor until Trevor moves it onto his head. With a friendly smile, he puts the hot food on trays and moves them in front of his patients. Reaching into a container on his hip, he pulls out utensils that are a fork and spoon at one end and a sheathed knife at the other. Putting them in place, he stands in the middle of the room to make sure everyone has all they need. A sharp whistle gets a nurse, her face covered by a creepy mask, to take the cart away while he checks the charts. Noticing that Cassidy’s I.V. is no longer attached, Trevor gingerly takes her arm and carefully puts it back in place.

“If you want to leave early then you will need your fluids,” he says in a soft voice. With a flick of his wrist, he pulls a celery stick out of his sleeve and puts it on her tray. “These are ninety-five percent water, so I’d rather you eat this than candy. I still want you to keep that needle in place and drink whenever Twenty-Five comes to check on you. Just so you know, you gave your friend a scare.”

“Hey! There’s that confidentiality thing!” Lloyd shouts, a bite of his tuna sandwich stuffed in his cheek.

“You claimed that your life was an open book,” Barry reminds the serial killer. Grabbing his bowl of fruit, he gets out of bed and takes a seat next to Trevor. “I wanted to talk to you about the payment. Now, you said we could discuss it when I leave, but I think I can get you some stuff that you need. Gauze, never used sheets, and boy underwear that is easier on the eyes. Your patients will thank you for that.”

“Can I still work off my debt like we agreed?” Nerissa asks, her lips covered in chocolate pudding. Picking the grapes out of her fruit bowl, she shifts and grunts at the stiffness in her lower back. “My mom was a nurse before the collapse, so I know a few things. If you don’t want to train me then I can help at the front desk. By the way, is it possible for me to get a bath tonight? It’s been two days and I want to stretch a bit.”

Trevor nods his head to the girl and politely directs Barry to turn his back, the administrator wanting to talk with Cassidy. “Your friend has paid his bill by allowing us to take a blood sample for various testing. One of our goals at the United Salvation Hospital is to create cures that can be brought to the people. Diseases are running rampant out there, so we hope to combat that by examining the blood of our patients. You can do the same or we can discuss other methods of payment. Nothing unsavory, I assure you. This is a hospital after all and we have ethics to consider.”

“I’ll need some time to think about it,” Cassidy replies, her head swimming from the medicine. Her stomach still in knots, she can only sip at her water and stare at the food that smells as good as it looks. “Don’t think I have much of an appetite right now. Kind of strange that I got sick so quickly after eating some of that ice. Unless that combined with being near the Half-Deads and being dehydrated.”

The administrator puts his parrot on Cassidy’s head before reaching over to take her chart out. A nurse abruptly ducks her head in, but she leaves the colorful envelope on top of the door and goes away at the snap of her boss’s fingers. He licks his fingers every time he flips a page, a habit that has left every corner wrinkled and torn. It takes Trevor a minute to decipher the sloppy handwriting and find any mention of radiation poisoning. The man mumbles about needing to run another penmanship course in the hopes of avoiding such confusion. Stopping and tapping at the file, he turns it around to show Cassidy the information, but she only stares blankly like a tired child.

“There is no solid evidence that the radiation affected you since your exposure was minimal,” Trevor explains, putting the chart away. He goes to take the envelope off the door and returns to put it in the parrot’s mouth. “Now, we can do a more thorough blood test, which can be part of your payment. The effects of Half-Dead radiation are unique and seem to vary from person to person. Creating something that can negate them would be a boon for our country. It could even lead to a cure for the Half-Deads themselves. This is something to think about as you heal. Now, I need to check on another room.”

“Wait! Am I going home tomorrow?” Barry asks from his bed.

Trevor stops at the door and checks his watch as if that will hold the answer. “That all depends on how much sleep you get. Not enough rest can result in a relapse. I’ll have Forty-Eight come in with the book cart. That way nobody gets bored before dinner and wanders where they shouldn’t.”

Cassidy and Lloyd exchange worried glances, their roommates already talking about the books they want to read. The mercenary is about to voice her concern when she is struck by a sudden wave of exhaustion. A large yawn stops her from talking, a gesture that is mirrored by her partner. Pushing the tray away from her bed, Cassidy tries to figure out if she is truly exhausted or has been drugged. Watching Nerissa and Barry rub their eyes and curl up in their beds, she is left more disoriented and tries to pinch herself in case she is dreaming. Her fingers feel numb and end up stroking her arm, the comforting sensation making her drowsier. The last things Cassidy hears are Lloyd snoring and Barry faintly mumbling about his favorite pair of underwear.

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The Fall of Lilith, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Entertaining Stories

Don’t touch that dial. You’ve found Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you the characters from the books you love. Today my very special guest is an honest to God angel, or former angel, I don’t know how that all works, but we’re going to find out. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl. “Welcome to the show, Lilith.”

“Greetings.”

“Lilith, my bio says you have a problem. There are rules in place that an angel must follow in order to stay in heaven. You disagree with those rules. Can you explain to our listeners what those rules are?”

“I reside in the lowest level of Heaven called Floraison. There are many laws for my kind but the two greatest pledges an angel makes are obedience and celibacy, which make for a boring existence.”

“I think celibacy is easy enough to understand, but obedience is a bit trickier…

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7 Tips to Using Swords: Freebie Is to Avoid Sword Puns

Sword Art Online

I was originally going to write something similar to Monday’s post with a list of swords and some info about them.  Then I remembered how many different types of swords have existed.  Shortswords, longswords, flamberge, cutlass, rapier, saber, daggers, dirks, katanas, ninjato, hook swords, shotel, talwar, kampilan, gladius, claymore, broadsword, foil, epee, and the list keeps going.  Some are categories while others are types, but it’s a massive list.  Swords seem to have appeared in nearly every culture just like dragons and fearing your neighbors.  Instead, I’ll do a few tips on adding swords into your story.

  1. It isn’t always the pointy end that goes into the other man.  While there are plenty of swords for stabbing, it isn’t the only way to hurt someone.  Anything with a sharp edge can be used for slashing.  Certain hilts like the basket hilt can deliver a blunt shot to the face for stunning and breaking bones.  This also means that not every injury is a simple puncture wound and a character dying of a slash across the belly will be treated differently than a stabbed one.
  2. Not every swordsman starts off a fight with the bellowing charge, especially if they see range fighters.  I don’t know why some people think holding a sword turns a character into an idiot.  Since the weapon requires that you find and possibly create an opening, a frontal assault isn’t very useful.  In a big battle, it’s because everyone is charging, but one-on-one can start off slow as the two combatants size each other up.  If the enemy has a bow then a smart swordsman takes cover and tries to sneak around or get the archer to run out of arrows.
  3. The type of sword that a character uses can determine the rest of their equipment and tactics.  If you wield a two-handed weapon then you won’t have a shield.  If your weapon is a rapier that depends on flexibility and speed then platemail might not be the best choice.  You also can’t have a speed fighter using a weapon that is bigger than they are unless you establish that as a thing for the world.  I mean, Final Fantasy does it all the time, so I assume it’s part of the universe.
  4. If you pick a unique sword shape then know what the use of it was or give some reasoning for it.  Hook swords are a perfect example.  Dagger-like pommels, crescent-shaped guards for blocking and slashing, and hooked ends to put the two blades together or trip an enemy.  It’s a complicated weapon that needs a lot of training, so a novice shouldn’t be using one very well unless there is a really good reason given.  I’m talking reincarnation of the inventor or they can imitate a fighting style by watching it and his father used them.  By the way, the Flamberge’s design is to sound vibrations along a parried blade and slow contact.  For so long, I thought it was done just to look like a flame.
  5. Not every sword is created equal in terms of durability and quality.  Consider this when arming a hero with a non-magical weapon.  Weapon breakage typically only happens for the plot, but you can have it happen to enemies and supporting cast.  This can also show that the warrior is more than the weapon because you really need to think on your feet if you only have a foot of broken blade left.
  6. If you do use non-European blades in a fantasy world that is very European then explain the difference in style.  Perhaps there’s another country that is more Asian, which is why katanas are around.  Somebody could have recently created the blade after a lifetime of design.  At the very least, explain why that weapon was designed.  For example, Kira Grasdon uses a kusari-gama, which is a Japanese weapon.  Yet, she comes from a Middle Eastern desert people.  I explained the weapon’s existence there by pointing out that it helps in defeating giant scorpions. They can strike out of pincer range and get the chain around the stinger to have some control over its movements. Now, this isn’t a necessity, but people do get twitchy when you mix up cultures in a fictional world where those cultures and countries never existed in the first place.
  7. Don’t forget the scabbard.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, but most swordsmen don’t walk around with a naked blade.  The scabbard protects against the elements and prevent the character from looking like he’s about to stab someone.  If the weapon is sheathed then it won’t hurt anyone by accident and there’s less chance of a fight breaking out over a misunderstanding.
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Watch RWISA Write Blog Tour – Nonnie Jules – #RWISA #RRBC

Fiction Favorites

Rave Reviews Book Club. One of the objectives of the club is to recognize outstanding talent in its membership. A literary group has been established within RRBC named Rave Writers – International Society of Authors (RWISA). This month the club is featuring these authors on a tour. I will be hosting them throughout the month and I hope you enjoy being introduced to some excellent writing.

RWISA

PRISON WIVES

By Nonnie Jules

“From one of her upcoming releases, Nonnie Jules presents…PRISON WIVES.”

I am an unlikely character to tell these stories, but, I do know that each day that we are blessed to open our eyes, we never know what surprises, good or bad, that day will bring. No matter how much and how well we plan, the universe always steps in to show us just how much, we are not as in control of things as we thought we were.

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Meet Guest Children’s Book Illustrator – Dayne Sislen…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Thank you for this opportunity, Chris.

I am a children’s book illustrator. I live and breathe children’s books. I play well with others, so I help children’s book authors develop their characters visually and bring the stories for their books alive on the printed page with colorful illustrations.

I am very rare among children’s book illustrators because I actually love to work directly with self-publishing authors as well as publishers. Why am I willing to work with self-publishing authors when others are not? Occasionally I find an author who values my time, talent and expertise.

When I read their manuscript I can tell it has been carefully edited for content and as well as grammar. They belong to an experienced SCBWI critique group or they have used a professional children’s book editor. They have taken the time to learn about writing for children and their manuscript clearly shows it. The language and word…

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Protecting Bedlam: The Messiah of Love & Hate Part 3

Previously on the latest tale of Cassidy & Lloyd.

(If you want, buy their previous rampages for $2 by clicking on the covers below.)

Cover by Jon Hunsinger

Cover by Jon Hunsinger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

Sitting on the jeep’s roof, Cassidy watches the chaotic battle with nothing more than a casual interest and a bucket of popcorn. Small explosions earn a sarcastic ooh and aah from the mercenary, the blasts rarely taking out more than two people. She hears miniguns going off in the fray, but cannot find the user or a group of people being mowed down by what should be a barrage of bullets. One man on a terrified horse swings his sword over his head, but he shouts commands instead of attacking. A rock hits him in the head and knocks him out of the saddle, his own steed kicking him in the face before charging away. Not far away, a tank tries to join the fight, but every shot sails over the battle and crashes harmlessly into the ground. The dangerous vehicle has more luck running people over, nearly half of its victims being from the same army as the operators. The tank is stopped when a woman clambers up, knocks on the top, and drops in a stick of dynamite as soon as someone opens the hatch. Chuckling at the cartoonish scene, Cassidy uses a trash picker to grab a cold beer from the small cooler they took from their last stop.

“So, I asked around and think I have it figured out,” Lloyd announces as he trudges up the hill. Putting his machete and paintball gun in the jeep, he grabs a drink and leans against the warm vehicle. “Everybody down there is part of an army that wants this Great, Evil, Selfish, Selfless, Awesome Messiah. I’d think they were going after different people if they didn’t give similar descriptions of this mystery woman. Now, one army wants to kill her before she can stop Custer and another wants her to lead them against him. Another group wants to bring her to Custer’s side and build her up as a villain that he can deflect problems too. Basically, a human shield and scapegoat. The fourth army wants to kill her because they believe she’ll bring in a new age of suffering if given power. Not that they like Custer or the current state of the world, but, as one said, they’d rather fuck a rusty cheese grater than allow this woman to live. The last group simply wants her autograph. On the plus side, there isn’t a sixth Bullwhip to be found, so we’re done with that joke.”

“All this over a dead woman,” Cassidy replies as she leans on the roof dome. Handing the popcorn to Lloyd, she watches a hissing rocket rise into the air and fall straight down without exploding. “I’ve been thinking about what the groups said every time we found them torturing a Half-Dead. The description and fervor makes me think they’re after a woman who was influential before the collapse. If she came from one of the political dynasties then she’s probably dead. Most of those families were targeted and supposedly wiped out after D.C. got nuked. This single group believed that one of them was behind the attack, but didn’t have evidence or know which one. The terrified mob did the rest. I’ve heard rumors that one or two survived by escaping or being in Hawaii. Nobody knows what happened to the state, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the people there are fine. Anyway, these idiots are battling for an icon that is either dead or has no power.”

“Sounds like they just want a symbol, which makes sense,” the serial killer says with a yawn. Turning away from the battle, he stares at a pair of stones that are surrounded by colorful flowers. “This does make me wonder how many people want things to return to normal. They may have carved out a niche and found a way to survive, but they keep dreaming of the country going back to what it was before. Sucks for them because that ain’t happening. What’s dead is dead no matter how often you talk about it in the present tense?”

Finishing her beer, Cassidy clumsily slides off the jeep and grabs an ice cube to pop into her mouth. She spits the sour-tasting piece out and goes for another beer, which spews foam over her hand. The mercenary wanders over to the flowers and gently pushes a few away from the stones, which have faint etchings on the front. She can make out enough of the markings to be sure that they were once words that have been rubbed away. Using one of the wobbly rocks to help her stand, Cassidy looks out and notices similar markers running down the hill. She takes a step to check them, but the world spins and forces her to have a seat. Shaking her head clear, the mercenary has another sip of beer and yawns in the hopes of making Lloyd think she is merely tired.

“This whole mess has me thinking about the future,” Cassidy admits, plucking a purple flower from the ground. Taking a sniff, she sneezes and coughs at the pollen that attacks her nose. “Custer and his people seem to be coming close to conquering the country. He probably won’t be the last one to try either. What if someone actually succeeds? On the surface, it seems like a good idea, but there’s an obvious flaw. You get factions skull-fucking each other for supremacy like you see here. Might take years, but we’ll end up back where we started since everybody thinks their ideology is the perfect one. Eventually, one group gets everything they want and the others get angry.”

“Welcome to human society and civilization,” Lloyd proudly declares with a grin. He cracks open another beer and puts it between the stones, foam flowing down the side. “Ever wonder if the two of us are the normal ones and the humans acting civilized are the freaks? A person is pushed ever so slightly and they go rabid. Doesn’t even have to be a real threat. They’ll snarl and hiss and attack at everyone even if it’s a battle of words. Very deep stuff that you’re bringing up, kid. Do we really care enough to have a philosophical conversation?”

“Not exceptionally.”

“Then, why bring it up?”

“Just letting my mind wander.”

“Guess it beats watching these idiots kill each other.”

“Where did the armies go?”

Cassidy and Lloyd look out over the battlefield that has gone quiet, the bodies having already attracted scavengers. The only humans in sight are a pack of fur-wearing Wilders, who are investigating the abandoned tank. One of them is struggling to control the horse, which is still terrified and bucking at the slightest touch. It takes Cassidy and Lloyd a moment to spot the armies in the distance, all of them fighting as they move east. With the sun setting, it is impossible to get a clear view of the battle. All they can see are patches of dust being kicked up by hundreds of feet and the occasional explosion.

“They’re heading right into the radiation zone,” Cassidy points out, her words filled with shock. Finishing her beer, she stumbles toward the jeep and leans on the hood in order to catch her breath. “This is why I think the whole faction shit is stupid. You fall into a pack mentality or lock yourself in an echo chamber or whatever. Then, you just walk off the fucking cliff with the rest of the idiots that happen to think like you do. The dumbest part is that every group claims to be open-minded while getting angry at everything that even remotely goes against how they think the world works. Honestly, I like the simplicity of the Shattered States a lot more. Kill or be killed, right?”

“You’re sounding drunk and I know you’ve only had two beers,” Lloyd mentions, catching his friend by the arm. Leading her to the passenger seat, he turns her an instant before she vomits onto the ground. “Okay, that’s enough soap box ranting for you. Let’s get you into your baby and ignore how creepy that sounds. Just sleep off the booze and . . . is that blood?”

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