Month: July 2020

Fantasy Friday! Cavernous Kingdoms Aren’t Real – Or Are They?

If there’s a common fantasy theme that’s almost a trope it’s dwarven kingdoms of huge proportions. All those dwarven kingdoms hiding beneath fantasy mountains couldn’t exist though – right? There are no caves that long or deep. People don’t live like that out of the sun. That’s right isn’t it? It’s just the stuff of fantasy and that’s fine if you can stand that well-worn trope once again.

Or isn’t it?

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Here are some real-life underground, caves and dwellings that defy your understanding of what’s possible and where people have – and do – still live.

Cavernous Kingdoms 1First, let’s talk about caves. Most of us think of the tight places of tales and local legends and maybe visited a few pretty amazing caves with some pretty amazing formations. I’ve been in a few over the years and some provided quite a trek. But fantasy books come up with some pretty outlandish settings that just can’t exist – right. Wrong. There are some places underground around the world that have never been fully explored because they are so enormous. Some were lived in by numerous people on a daily basis. Let’s visit some:

First, here’s a list of the deepest caves in the world from Wikipedia. The deepest of which, Krubera, was explored in a National Geographic special.

But what about those massive caves described in some books which go on for who knows how long? Yep, those exist too. Case in point – Hang Son Doong in Vietnam which has some mind-blowing proportions and has never been fully explored.

Next, let’s discus cavernous dwellings because everyone knows that while people have taken shelter in caves for thousands of year there just aren’t vast dwellings out there. Well, there are some examples.

Derinkuyu – this underground city in Turkey is actually the largest of numerous, ancient underground cities in the region. This place could hold thousands of people – and animals.

NCavernous Kingdoms2abateans/Petra – is an ancient city built into a mountain which is famous from movies. The Nabateans were able to store and control their water supply in cisterns with a system of channels. This location became the main stopping point along caravan routes which meant the inhabitants collected lots of money in taxes. He who controls the water controls the gold.

What about those vast mines dwarves are always making? Yep there are several. One excellent example is Wielczka Salt Mines. This mine was open for about 700 years in Poland and runs for over 170 miles. It is adorned with statues and chapels and is now a major tourist attraction.

Cavernous Kingdoms 3So when reading fantasy and those incredible dwarven kingdoms are part of the plot, they have some basis in reality. Whenever there’s a major underground trip in a book, it may not even rival what exists in the real world. Authors would do well to research many of these caves, cities and mines as they provide excellent source material for describing them in any work of fiction, especially fantasy. Take a look around on the internet and you’ll find that people still live in underground complexes all over the world so don’t rule out books because you think of this as a well-worn trope in fantasy literature – it’s already well-worn in real life.

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - CopyPlease share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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A Different Approach to Social Media

Some thoughts about using social media differently and a nice list of writing related hashtags.

Story Empire

Greetings to all the Story Empire readers today. I’m posting late since I appear to be lost in some sort of time warp from finishing up a manuscript revision. My apologies for the delay today.

Retro effect and toned image of a woman hand writing a note with a fountain pen on a notebook. Handwritten text THE POWER OF HASHTAGSeptember begins several months of higher books sales and many authors are working now on more active approaches to promotion. Many people will rely on social media and reaching larger numbers of readers. With this in mind, here are some thoughts about gaining a higher reach than you may be getting with your social media (me included). It may be a longer way to the goal but it may end up being more rewarding.

Not everyone has a following of tens of thousands of readers which limits the reach your social media posts may have. Getting some shares from followers and friends can assist in gaining more reach than you otherwise would have. There used…

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Using Horoscopes for Characterisation

This is a unique way for developing characters. I’ve been considering use of enneagram types.

Story Empire

Hello SErs. Harmony here. Today I wanted to look at characterisation. Making my characters look, sound, and feel different has always been a challenging part of writing for me, and I’m always on the lookout for new ways to show the many personality types that make up the human species.

I don’t read horoscopes (or horror-scopes, lol) or put much credence in them, but the many star signs do give us a good pointer for personality types we can use for our fictional characters. Depending on where you look, the lists read differently, but they all hold the same core points. Here’s one example of characters related to star sign:

(I took this from

The above gives you an at-a-glance run down of each characteristic per zodiac sign. If you want to click the link and check this out further, you have the ability to click on each…

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