Join Jon in Ravenglass, Lake District—the muse behind his fantasy tales. Explore the inspiration for dreamy landscapes and stories. Like & subscribe for more!
Hello from sunny Ravenglass!
Join me on a special journey as I finally set foot in Ravenglass in the beautiful Lake District—the place that breathed life into my fantasy universe.
For years, the mere name “Ravenglass” has been a wellspring of inspiration, giving birth to countless stories and dreamy magic in my mind.
So, whether you’re here as a fellow lover of the Lake District, a fan of my stories, or just someone with an insatiable curiosity, buckle up! This is a trip that has been years in the making, and I’m thrilled to have you by my side.
“I never saw fairy tales as an escape or a cop-out… On the contrary, speaking for myself, it is the way to understand reality.”
– Lloyd Alexander
Ah, high fantasy. A realm filled with magical beasts, valiant heroes, and enough mythical creatures to make a zoologist’s head spin.
At first glance, it’s tempting to dismiss these tales as mere flights of fancy, a form of escapism from the dreary realities of everyday life. But hold your sceptical horses, because there’s more to high fantasy than meets the eye.
In fact, these epic tales often reveal profound insights into the human experience, addressing themes that resonate deeply with our own reality.
So, before you scoff at the next person you see buried in a tome thicker than a London fog, let’s take a moment to appreciate the richness and relevance of high fantasy.
A Mirror Held Up To Humanity
High fantasy, like all great literature, is often a reflection of the world in which it was created.
The fantastical settings and characters serve as a canvas upon which the author can explore universal issues and themes.
For example, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series explores themes of power, corruption, and sacrifice, while George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire explores complex political intrigue and moral ambiguity.
By exploring these themes through the lens of an alternate reality, high fantasy allows us to confront difficult questions, such as the nature of good and evil, the role of power in society, and the consequences of our actions, in a safe and engaging way.
In other words, while high fantasy may whisk us away to a land filled with dragons and sorcery, it can also bring us face-to-face with the very real challenges that define our existence.
An Exercise In Empathy
One of the most powerful aspects of high fantasy is its ability to immerse us in the lives and struggles of its characters.
By stepping into the shoes of an orphan farm boy, valiant knight, or mythical creature, we are forced to confront the world from an entirely new perspective.
This exercise in empathy is particularly important in today’s increasingly polarised and intolerant world. (Don’t worry, I’m not going too political here).
Take, for example, the plight of the elves in Tolkien’s Middle-earth, or the complex social hierarchy of the various species in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
Through these narratives, we are encouraged to examine our own prejudices and to consider the experiences of those who are different from us. In the process, we cultivate a deeper understanding of the human condition and a greater appreciation for the diversity that makes our world so rich and fascinating.
A Call To Adventure
Finally, high fantasy serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of adventure, courage, and perseverance in the face of adversity.
The heroes and heroines of these tales are often ordinary individuals who are called upon to undertake extraordinary quests, facing insurmountable odds along the way. (I’m sure now would be the perfect time to mention that you can read the complete Orphan Farm Boy of Destiny serial for free on Substack @joncronshawauthor, but I won’t do that).
These narratives inspire us to tap into our own inner reserves of strength and bravery, encouraging us to push beyond the boundaries of our comfort zones and to embrace the unknown.
In this way, high fantasy is not a form of escapism, but rather an invitation to engage more fully with the world and to confront the challenges that lie ahead with hope and determination.
So, the next time you encounter a fellow reader engrossed in the pages of a high fantasy novel, resist the urge to dismiss their literary choice as mere escapism.
Instead, remember that these stories hold the power to teach us valuable lessons about ourselves, our world, and the human experience.
Through the pages of high fantasy, we can explore universal themes, cultivate empathy, and embrace the spirit of adventure that lies within all of us.
Far from being a refuge from reality, high fantasy serves as a gateway to a deeper understanding of the world we inhabit.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a wyvern to train and a kingdom to save, and this cup of tea isn’t going to drink itself.
Embark on a thrilling adventure with this beginner’s guide to Sword and Sorcery fantasy literature. Uncover this subgenre’s unique tropes, characters, and dive into our top ten recommended books.
Grab your enchanted swords and dust off your spellbooks, as today we’re delving into the rip-roaring world of Sword and Sorcery fantasy.
So, buckle up, or rather, belt up—we wouldn’t want your scabbards to slip, would we?
What is Sword and Sorcery?
Picture this: a rugged hero with biceps like boulders, wielding a sword so big that it’s probably compensating for something.
He’s joined by a sidekick who can summon a fireball quicker than you can say “abracadabra.”
Together, they’re thrust into a world of high adventure and low cunning, facing off against dastardly villains, ferocious monsters, and the occasional damsel in distress (or quite often, causing the distress).
Welcome to Sword and Sorcery. It’s a subgenre of fantasy that delightfully mashes up elements of action, adventure, magic, and a pinch of romance if we’re lucky.
It’s about the thrill of the quest, the clash of steel, and the incantation of mystic forces, all served with a healthy side of danger and daring-do.
How Does Sword and Sorcery Differ from Other Fantasy Subgenres?
You might be thinking, “Hold on, isn’t that just fantasy?”
Well, not quite.
Sword and Sorcery is like fantasy’s wild and unruly cousin, the one who turns up to the family reunion with a dragon’s tooth earring and a cloak made of griffin feathers.
While epic fantasy (think J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”) often focuses on world-shattering stakes, where the destiny of nations or even the whole world hangs in the balance, Sword and Sorcery is more intimate.
It’s about personal quests and small-scale conflicts.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of action and adventure, but our heroes are more concerned with their own survival than saving the world.
And unlike high fantasy, which often takes itself rather seriously, Sword and Sorcery isn’t afraid to have a bit of fun.
It revels in its pulp fiction roots, so expect plenty of thrilling escapades, improbable plot twists, and a dash of witty banter.
What Tropes and Characters Can I Expect?
Ah, tropes, those delightful genre conventions that make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Sword and Sorcery has them in spades.
First off, our heroes. They tend to be roguish, adventurous types, more likely to solve problems with a sword than a soliloquy.
Think Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian, a chap who’s never met a problem he couldn’t cleave in two.
And then there’s the sorcerer, a wily character who’s handy to have around when you need a fireball or a convenient plot device.
Sword and Sorcery worlds are generally untamed and dangerous, filled with ancient ruins, cursed treasures, and a startling number of things with too many teeth.
Good job our heroes are usually quite adept at dealing with these. Or, if not adept, at least enthusiastic.
And let’s not forget the villains. They’re often dark sorcerers, tyrannical rulers, or monstrous beasts—sometimes all three in one if it’s been a slow day.
They’re as dastardly as they come, and our heroes will need all their brawn and brains to overcome them.
Sword and Sorcery is a subgenre that offers a thrilling ride, filled with daring heroes, nefarious villains, and plenty of sword-swinging action.
If you’re after some high-stakes adventure without the burden of saving the world, then this might just be the genre for you.
Ten Essential Sword and Sorcery Books for Novice Adventurers
Here are ten enchanting tales that will whisk you away to realms filled with brave knights, cunning sorcerers, and enough fantastical creatures to fill a dragon’s hoard.
“Conan the Barbarian” by Robert E. Howard
The book that started it all. Howard’s Conan is the quintessential warrior, battling foes with his brawn and outwitting them with his cunning. A word of caution, however: these tales are as rough and ready as their eponymous hero.
“The Broken Sword” by Poul Anderson
A splendid mix of Norse mythology and high fantasy, ‘The Broken Sword’ is a tale of stolen children and feuding gods. With its intricate plot and Anderson’s beautiful prose, this book is a must-read for anyone new to the genre.
“Elric of Melniboné” by Michael Moorcock
Elric, the albino emperor who wields the soul-drinking sword Stormbringer, is a character you won’t soon forget. This book is a wonderful introduction to Moorcock’s multiverse and the concept of the Eternal Champion.
“The Sword of Shannara” by Terry Brooks
Often compared to ‘The Lord of the Rings’, Brooks’s novel offers a fresh take on the hero’s journey. With its rich world-building and compelling characters, ‘The Sword of Shannara’ is a great starting point for new readers.
“The Witcher” series by Andrzej Sapkowski
Before it was a hit Netflix series, ‘The Witcher’ was a collection of captivating short stories and novels. Follow Geralt of Rivia as he navigates a world where morality is often as murky as a Witcher’s potion.
“The King’s Blades” series by Dave Duncan
Imagine a world where warriors are bonded to their monarch through magic, becoming his loyal Blades. Duncan’s series is full of political intrigue, thrilling battles, and a touch of humour.
“The Eyes of the Overworld” by Jack Vance
Follow the (mis)adventures of Cugel the Clever, Vance’s unscrupulous anti-hero. With its wry humour and imaginative world, this book is a delightful change of pace.
“The First Law” series by Joe Abercrombie
Abercrombie’s series is a dark and gritty take on the genre. With its complex characters and moral ambiguities, ‘The First Law’ is a brilliant introduction to grimdark fantasy.
“The Belgariad” by David Eddings
This five-book series is a classic tale of good versus evil. With its memorable characters and immersive world, ‘The Belgariad’ is an excellent starting point for new fantasy readers.
“Imaro” by Charles R. Saunders
Drawing from African history and mythology, ‘Imaro’ is a refreshing take on the Sword and Sorcery genre. Follow Imaro, a warrior on a quest for identity and belonging, across the vast landscapes of Nyumbani.
And there you have it, ten tomes to start your Sword and Sorcery adventure. But remember, the real magic is not just in the destination, but in the journey.
So, gather your courage, grab a book, and delve into the thrilling world of Sword and Sorcery. Happy reading!
Discover the enchanting world of fantasy author Jeffrey L. Kohanek and his captivating series, Fate of Wizardoms. Explore his writing process, world-building techniques, and immersive storytelling. Join the adventure today!
Jeffrey L. Kohanek has enthralled readers with his fast-paced fantasy series, Fate of Wizardoms.
In this interview, Jeffrey takes us behind the scenes of his writing process, the inspiration for his world-building, and what readers can expect from his work.
So grab a cuppa, put your feet up, and let’s dive into the mind of Jeffrey L. Kohanek.
What inspired you to start writing in the fantasy genre?
As a kid, comic books sparked my imagination, inspiring fantasies of heroes with super-powers saving the day. My tastes later evolved to fantasy epics featuring unlikely heroes overcoming impossible odds to save worlds born from the writer’s imagination.
Since middle school, I have exclusively read fantasy fiction, the total titles approaching 1,000 novels. The authors who have come before me helped to form the stories I tell, but what inspired me the most were the magic systems, something which I enjoy greatly and ensure said magic permeates the worlds I create.
How do you approach world-building in your stories?
Worldbuilding includes many aspects: geography, politics, climate, magic, culture, gods, religion, mythos, and more.
I often begin with a map, which helps to ground the story in a sense of reality while defining topography, climate, borders, city locations, and more. Gods, religion, and magic are also early aspects I define and all of those things combine to influence the politics, culture, and the mythos that exists in each nation across my fantasy world.
Can you walk us through your writing process?
I try to write every day and set a weekly goal of 10,000 words minimum and 12,000 as the target.
Drafting takes six to eight weeks depending on the breadth of the story. After completing a first draft, I dive into revisions, which is my favorite part of writing.
Two rounds of revisions with technical edits performed in between leaves me with a novel ready for editing. My editor gives it two passes, I incorporate the necessary edits, and then my books go to my proofing team of four people. They are the typo hunters.
When that is done, I send to my ARC/review team and the book releases a few weeks later. By then, I am nearly finished drafting the next book.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve had to research for your stories?
I often research odd medieval professions to add depth to my stories.
One of those was a tanner, which is a nasty, dirty job held by the father of the protagonist in my very first novel. Tanners use urine, lime and other odiferous chemicals to treat and clean hides. Hence, they also live on the downwind side and on the outskirts of a city. Who wants to live near a tanner?
What do you hope readers take away from your stories?
My books are written for pure entertainment, but my favorite scenes are the ones that cause readers to laugh out loud. I find that fantasy tales are often too serious, dark, and gritty, so the laughter helps to balance the tense moments. That is what I want readers to remember from my books.
If you could have any magical ability, what would it be?
I love magic that can transform a regular person into something super human, even if just for a short time. It is sort of like a superhero in a fantasy world, which I find to be fun.
If you were stuck on a deserted island with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
I love many of my characters, but I have a secret crush on a wizardess named Narine. While she was a bit pretentious and spoiled when I first introduced her, she grew up nicely, has a good heart, and is feisty for a former princess. I would happily be trapped on a deserted island with her.
Where is the best place to start reading your work?
This depends on your age and interest. If you are under fifteen or prefer coming-of-age elements with teen protagonists, check out my Runes of Issalia series.
If you are an adult and enjoy more complex stories featuring adult characters who deal with adult topics, start with Fate of Wizardoms.
If you enjoy either series, there are follow-up series set in the same world, leaving the reader plenty to enjoy.
About the author:
I love fantasy, adventure, and magic. More than that, I adore my readers.
My books are written to entertain — fantasy adventures filled with compelling characters, spectacular magic, thrilling action, constant intrigue, and a sense of discovery. I equate them to the “Marvel Movie” version of fiction, intended to be a fun escape.
I would love to have you join me and my quirky characters for one outrageous adventure after another. With 24 novels and more than two million published words to my name, my author journey has just begun.
I am thrilled to announce a new project that I will be sharing exclusively with you on my Substack page: Guild of Assassins.
Hello from sunny Morecambe!
I am thrilled to announce a new project that I will be sharing exclusively with you on my Substack page: Guild of Assassins.
This is your chance to dive into a world of intrigue, danger, and dark epic fantasy as you follow the tale of Soren, a young sculptor’s apprentice on his path to becoming a member of the Assassins’ Guild.
Set in the Ravenglass Universe, Guild of Assassins is both a standalone story and a prequel to my novel, Dawn of Assassins. Whether you’re already a fan of this series or just discovering it, this adventure promises to captivate you from the very beginning.
By subscribing to my Substack, you’ll gain a rare glimpse into my writing process. You’ll be able to read chapters of the novel-in-progress, and I encourage you to share your thoughts, comments, and support as we embark on this journey together.
Please keep in mind that the chapters posted may not appear in the final novel, as I often make cuts and revisions during the final draft. This means you’ll be experiencing an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the raw, unfiltered story as it unfolds.
Be the first to explore the shadowy corners of the Ravenglass Universe and uncover the secrets of the Assassins’ Guild.
Follow Soren’s journey from humble beginnings to his ultimate destiny and immerse yourself in a tale that will leave you on the edge of your seat.
So, are you ready to join the adventure?
Don’t wait—subscribe to my Substack now and begin your exclusive journey into the world of Guild of Assassins. Together, let’s explore and discover what lies within.
Embark on an epic fantasy adventure with the Ravenglass Chronicles. Discover the definitive reading order for this immersive series inspired by the tarot’s major arcana. Magic, intrigue, and unforgettable characters await.
For fans of epic fantasy, the Ravenglass Chronicles, with its intricate storylines and unforgettable characters, offers a deeply immersive experience.
Each book in the series is inspired by the tarot’s major arcana, weaving a rich tapestry of magic, intrigue, and adventure.
To help you navigate this enchanting world, here is the definitive reading order for the Ravenglass Chronicles.
Book 0 (prequel) – The Fool
Book 1 – The Magician
Book 2 – The High Priestess
Book 3 – The Empress
Book 4 – The Emperor
Book 5 – The Hierophant
Book 6 – The Lovers
Book 7 – The Chariot
Book 8 – Strength
Book 9 – The Hermit
Book 10 – Wheel of Fortune
Book 11 – Justice
Book 12 – The Hanged Man
Book 13 – Death
Book 14 – Temperance
Book 15 – The Devil
Book 16 – The Tower
Book 17 – The Star
Book 18 – The Moon
Book 19 – The Sun
Book 20 – Judgement
Book 21 – The World
You can read The Fool for free as part of your Ravenglass Universe starter library.
Discover the enchanting realm of fantasy movies with our top 10 must-watch films. Immerse yourself in magical worlds, epic adventures, and beloved characters that have captivated audiences for generations.
Fantasy movies have captivated audiences since the dawn of cinema, transporting us to magical worlds filled with wonder and adventure.
From classic tales of good versus evil, to modern interpretations of fantasy literature, these films have left a lasting impression on audiences of all ages.
Here are the ten movies every fantasy fan should watch:
1. “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001)
Directed by Peter Jackson, this epic film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic novel is a must-see for any fantasy fan. With stunning visuals and a compelling story, “The Fellowship of the Ring” sets the stage for an epic trilogy of films.
2. “The Wizard of Oz” (1939)
This classic film, based on L. Frank Baum’s novel, is the timeless tale of a young girl’s journey through a magical land. With unforgettable performances and iconic songs, “The Wizard of Oz” is a movie that continues to be loved by audiences of all ages.
3. “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (2001)
The first film in the Harry Potter series, “The Philosopher’s Stone” introduces audiences to the magical world of Hogwarts and the beloved characters of Harry, Ron, and Hermione. With stunning special effects and a compelling story, this film is a must-see for any fantasy fan.
4. “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” (2005)
Based on C.S. Lewis’s classic novel, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” is a visually stunning film that transports audiences to the magical world of Narnia.
5. “Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006)
Directed by Guillermo del Toro, “Pan’s Labyrinth” is a dark, magical tale that explores the blurred lines between fantasy and reality. With stunning visuals and a thought-provoking story, this film is sure to leave a lasting impression on viewers.
6. “The NeverEnding Story” (1984)
Based on Michael Ende’s novel, “The NeverEnding Story” is a classic fantasy film that tells the tale of a young boy who is drawn into a magical world filled with adventure and danger. T
7. “The Dark Crystal” (1982)
Directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz, “The Dark Crystal” is a bizarre fantasy film that tells the story of a young Gelfling who must restore balance to his world.
8. “Labyrinth” (1986)
Directed by Jim Henson, “Labyrinth” is a classic fantasy film that tells the story of a young girl who must navigate a dangerous labyrinth to save her baby brother. Starring David Bowie, this movie has one of the best soundtracks of the 1980s.
9. “The Princess Bride” (1987)
Directed by Rob Reiner, “The Princess Bride” is a classic fantasy film that tells the tale of a young woman who must be rescued from an evil prince. Comedic and charming, this is a movie that will delight viewers of all ages.
10. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” (2012) Directed by Peter Jackson, “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is the first film in a trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic novel. The movie follows the story of hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he joins a group of dwarves on a quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from the dragon Smaug.