Why Did The Queen Speak To Parliament?

A new parliament started yesterday, so I thought I'd talk about parliamentary beginnings, endings, and the history of how this complicated system came about. Yesterday was the Queen's Speech, which takes place every year in the spring. It's usually a day of great pageantry and ceremony, though because of the coronavirus, today's speech is going… Continue reading Why Did The Queen Speak To Parliament?

Fantasy, History

How Medieval Guilds Worked

Guilds are a staple feature of fantasy fiction, especially video games. Players enjoy rising through the ranks by doing missions for the guild, eventually becoming guildmaster. But how did they work in real life? St George's Guildhall, King's Lynn, built around 1428. Funnily enough, fantasy gets some stuff right here. They usually use the terms… Continue reading How Medieval Guilds Worked

Fantasy, History, Worldbuilding

Inspiration: How Medieval Towns Worked

A lot of fantasy writers draw inspiration from medieval Europe - or what they think is medieval Europe. This means kings with absolute authority, dirty peasants, shifty merchants, grubby towns and - besides a handful of inept town guards who seem to work directly for the king or local lord - a total lack of… Continue reading Inspiration: How Medieval Towns Worked

My Stories, Personal and Other

Why I Chose to Publish Indie

I've noticed the old traditional vs indie publishing debate is swirling around Twitter again, so I thought I'd add my thoughts to it, as someone who chose indie publishing, and explain why I did. I think writers are generally neurotic people, and when it comes to publishing, we fall into two camps of anxiety: First,… Continue reading Why I Chose to Publish Indie

Personal and Other

How I Became A Freelance Mapmaker

I think a lot of people dream of going freelance. Working for themselves, setting their own hours and workdays, running their lives from the comfort of a home office. But while there's a load of advice articles out there which have a title along the lines of "Five Things To Know If You Go Freelance,"… Continue reading How I Became A Freelance Mapmaker

Honourable Mentions

How To End A Short Story – With Examples From The Mandalorian

People ask me from time to time how to write a short story. "I start off well, with a setting and characters and an interesting situation," they tell me, "but it just gets bigger. Before I know it I have another novel." In my opinion, the actual writing of a short story isn't all that… Continue reading How To End A Short Story – With Examples From The Mandalorian

the shield road

The World of ‘The Shield Road’: The Bladekin

Last time I talked about the city of Thrynn, which is the setting for most of The Shield Road. This week I thought I'd move away from locations and talk a bit about the Bladekin, the organisation that Talfrin, one of the recurring characters, belongs to. The basics: the Bladekin are an ancient order, founded… Continue reading The World of ‘The Shield Road’: The Bladekin