Non-fiction

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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Book Release: Jewel in the Mud by Harmony Kent

Fellow fantasy author, Harmony Kent, releases her non-fiction book today entitled, Jewel in the Mud. I’m pleased to host her today and hope you’ll have a look at this new book. 

Blurb

‘Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It relies solely on what you think.’

Have you ever felt angry? Upset? Hurt? Overwhelmed? Not up to it?

This book, with its pithy teachings based in Zen, will help you find the jewel in the inevitable mud of life rather than wallowing in that mud.

Not only does each day offer us a new start, a chance to press reset, but so does each and every breath. It’s never too late to be who you were meant to be, and your history doesn’t have to keep you trapped. And nor do you have to waste endless energy on worrying about all that the future may bring.

Written in an engaging manner, Jewel in the Mud invites you to search within and make your world the way you want it to be. It doesn’t give you strict instructions or homework, but instead, invites you to dive deeper, search further, and question your assumptions.

The book has handy thoughts for the week, and can be read in one go, weekly, or dipped into at random. In short, it has been designed to fit in with you and your needs.

Learn how to take control of your life with these Zen Musings.

Forward from the Book

What qualifies me to write a book such as this? Am I anything special? Have I learnt anything that you cannot?

In short, I am a Zen failure. I spent thirteen years in a Zen Buddhist Temple—ten of those ordained. And then I left.

End of story?

Not quite.

Before, during, and after, a few things happened to me along the way. And for sure, those thirteen years proved most fruitful.

I entered the monastery as a young (27 year old) woman lacking in confidence, painfully shy, massively inadequate, and terrified of everything … including my own shadow. Put simply, normal life just felt like too much, and most of the time, I found myself overwhelmed.

I think that those years of discipline I undertook voluntarily were, in some ways, the hardest of my life. But oh so worth it.

I emerged at just short of forty like the proverbial butterfly, utterly transformed. To use a clutter of well-worn cliches, I faced my demons. I popped the balloon. I dragged my skeletons from the closet.

After finding myself disabled and back out in the world, alone, at forty years old, I began life again, from scratch. Built it up from nothing. Honestly, it felt way scarier coming back out than it did going in. But by then, I’d learnt to feel the fear and do it anyway. And, after all, I had to do something with my life. Like find a place to live. Once I got the basics taken care of, it came time to set a course and go for it, always allowing for the vagaries of the wind, of course.

These days, I live a life of contentment and fulfilment. I am happy, confident, and successful. And such success I do not measure in material things or possessions, or even in any typical worldly way of measuring achievement. Rather, I have set my internal compass, and it is from there that I live my life.

Of course, I remain human and fallible, and I stumble sometimes. As do we all. That’s perfectly okay. It’s normal. We can’t get it right all the time. In fact, one of my Musings talks about just that: Week Nineteen—It’s Okay to Have a Meltdown. Just so long as you don’t pack your bags and move into your dark place, that’s all right. The trick is to pick yourself up when you fall down and get going again. Don’t stay there.

So, what are you likely to get out of this book? Well, that depends largely upon you. The best results will come from an open attitude and a willingness to learn, listen, and question.

It is my sincerest hope that this book inspires you to dive deeper, search further, and discover your own jewels in the mud of everyday existence.

Wishing you all good things

Harmony

Author Bio:


Harmony Kent is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour and quirky neighbours and refuses to admit to her age.

If you catch her at work, you’ll see she also offers editing, proof reading, manuscript appraisal, and beta reading services. Not to mention being passionate about supporting her fellow authors.

Relevant Links:
Website | Amazon US Amazon UK | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Please have a look Harmony’s new title as well as her entire list using one of the links above this line. My best wishes to Harmony on her new book!

Configuring Your Document Templates in Scrivener

Scrivener is a powerful writing tool. I write about it weekly with tips and usage ideas. To read more of my posts click the Scrivener tag or category at the end of the page.

I had a question from a new follower to the blog in the comments section about formatting a document template. She wanted to know how to work with the document template to retain formatting. I’ve answered the question but I thought I’d go a little further with it in a post to add more details.

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As for formatting a document template there are any number of ways to accomplish this to suit your needs. You may simply want to add specific content, fonts, spacing, etc. Depending on what your needs are there are several points to discuss.

1. If you desire the font to be formatted consistently this is a straightforward matter. While clicked into the document template (cursor blinking like you’re ready to type), you can change the font settings from the Format Bar that is usually turned on by default. If yours isn’t turned on click on Format and slide down the menu and click on Format Bar. It will appear at the top of the editor. From here you can change what the font is, the size and whether it’s set to Bold, Itlacs or Underline (or any combination of the three). Additionally, you can also set the alignment and any other miscellaneous settings available.

Scriv Format Bar

2. If you want specific space formatted you’ll need to access that by clicking on Format, sliding to Text to get the fly-out menu and click on spacing. From the window that appears you can configure spacing for indention, single/double space, etc.

     Scriv Format Menu     Scriv Line Space Win

Scriv Presets3. If you work with presets (which appear in the left end of the Format Bar), you can choose one of Scrivener’s default ones or create a new one yourself.

4. If you are adding a table or list to your document template you can format these from the Format Bar

5. Explore other settings in the Format menu or the Format Bar – these may not be needed for a document template since many are for changing formatting in existing documents (more on these another day).

6. Add re-usable content such as a common introduction or ending for a blog post to the document template. Remember what you add as content or formatting to your document template will be automatically in any new documents you create using it. With this fact in mind, be aware of what you add and format. Can you add more content? Think about what you click to change whenever you create a new document – that’s what you want to configure in your document template.

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - Copy

Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section.

I’ll make an appearance on 8/13 in RRBC’s Book & Blog Block Party. Then I’ll be on The Lost Bow Blog Tour from 8/14-20. I’ll post more news about the tour as it becomes available.

And one final tidbit – for those who might have seen it on my Twitter feed, I’ve been contacted by a teacher about including The Bow of Destiny in her curriculum. I don’t know much at this time other than it’s being considered. If it is, I’ll share more information ASAP. It’s interesting news at this point and another great reason to write!

To find out more about The Bow of Destiny, click over to one of these online retailers:

Amazon

  BarnesandNoble      Smashwords

ibooksdownload      Kobo

IMG_4154-EditAbout the Author

P. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. The Bow of Destiny is his first novel-length title with more soon to come.

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