If Shakespeare served butterbeer…

Photo by John K ~ Punch (inspired by the photography of Michael Leacher)

The dream behind Lore of the Underlings, my ongoing epic fantasy series, has ever been to brew up a yummy yet heady kind of grog — with a swig of a saga like Harry Potter just swimming in magical wit and whimsy, and a swirl of the lyrical luxury that one might hear from the era of Shakespeare.

Now I’m neither J.K. Rowling nor Bard, but I’ve managed to pour a few tankards.

So here’s a wee drink. See what you think. A sip from Episode 3 of the Lore. (And if that’s As You Like It, you can have more!)

The Eight arrived on a glorious day and were greeted with gifts and spiced sweets. A line of young maidens beckoned them on, onto a path of petals pink, and sprayed them with fragrant perfume as they passed. So here they left their protectors behind. They came to a field of wild plume in bloom and a table set beyond their dreams. Platters replete with succulent meats, rare delicacies and decadent treats, dish after tempting dish, each more sumptuous than the next, and mugglets of pure silver pom wine to drink. At the head, the white-bearded Semperor himself, who stood with welcoming warmth and wide arms. “My children, precious people, how good you would come. Please…” He motioned for them to be seated.

~~~ The Lore is available in audio and ebook format ~~~

What’s an epic fantasy without some fancy maps?!

Map of Syland ~ cartography by John Klobucher

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been drawn (no pun intended) to the made-up maps in high-fantasy epics the likes of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, and J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. I can still remember time and time again as a much younger lad poring over the maps of Middle-earth in my paperback Tolkien set… as if peering long enough would let me see into that world itself.

So it’s no wonder that when I started plotting my own little epic adventure, the ill-advised ebook serial Lore of the Underlings, I couldn’t resist doing a wee bit of cooked-up cartography myself. This post includes the first example, an old political map from the distant and unwelcoming island of Syland. And of course I have plans for more such maps as the story unfolds in episodes ahead.

Come to think of it, I guess that mapping out these tales is as much for the author as it is for the reader — a whimsical way to keep on course once the questing starts. Besides, there’s still no GPS that covers the depths of Mordor (until the next iPhone anyway).

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