Before I start, I need to say: this book contains references to sexual, verbal and physical assault, and covers distressing events and potentially dark topics. It's a book about life in, and escape from, North Korea - and Yeonmi set out determined to tell every part of her story. It won't be for everyone. I… Continue reading Review: ‘In Order To Live’ by Yeonmi Park
Someone recently asked me if there is such thing as the 'Writing Community.' The #WritingCommunity is how many of us got where we are now. We jumped on follow trains, tag games and hashtags to build large follower counts, hoping to build an audience for ourselves. Along the way, we learned that most of those follows are completely useless, because you'll never interact with them.
You may have heard by now that I make maps. I've made dozens of them at this point, so I've learned a few things. I wanted to share a couple of basic ways to make your maps look more realistic and unique. I use the word 'rules,' but these aren't hard and fast, iron-cast laws… Continue reading Three Basic Rules For Mapmaking
If you know me at all, you'll know I draw a lot of maps. That's actually how I make my living. I've seen dozens and dozens of them - from sketches that people send to me to maps I look up when I'm trying to learn a new style. Lord of The Rings has no… Continue reading A Different Way To Do Borders in Fantasy
I recently started thinking about letter writing, and how antiquated it is that you can send a letter to someone else in a different country, and that country's postal system just delivers it, without you having to pay them. Of course, you have to pay extra to your own postal service, but once it's gone… Continue reading Pen Pals?
This was a bit of a rabbithole I fell into while researching for my latest 'What Happened 700 Years Ago' column. It's a fascinating story, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It's the 1270s. London is starting to grow: it will soon become the financial hub of northern Europe, but… Continue reading The Italian Winemakers Who Once Controlled England’s Money
Would Gandalf be a good king? Like many questions about Lord of The Rings, you could answer this a hundred different ways - and honestly I think it depends on what scenes you focus on and which role Gandalf is playing, because he does several things across the books. (source: blackgate.com) So I want to… Continue reading Would Gandalf Be A Good King?
I'm part-way through reading The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan. The primary argument is that the Middle East and Central Asia played a much bigger and more important role in antiquity and medieval times than we generally realise in the west, and I've enjoyed it so far - especially his coverage of the period between… Continue reading King Harald of Norway and the Globalised Medieval World
Over the last week, all eyes have been on Pennsylvania. The most likely swing state in the US general election, it's now the place the Trump campaign are targeting most heavily with their litigation blunderbuss. One place has particularly drawn their ire: Philadelphia. As Trump said, "a lot of bad things happen in Philadelphia. Bad… Continue reading Pennsylvania and the President
CNN has projected that Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States. Regardless of your thoughts on policy or where you stand on the political spectrum, I think this is a reason to celebrate. Trump was a unique politician. He would never concede ground. Never admit to being wrong. He never sought… Continue reading And Breathe