The Role of Mapmaking in Fantasy Storytelling

Fantasy storytelling has the unique ability to transport readers to imaginative worlds filled with magic, adventure, and intricate narratives. One essential tool employed by fantasy authors to enhance the immersive experience is the art of mapmaking.

Maps serve as visual guides that not only assist readers in navigating fictional realms but also play a significant role in shaping the narrative, world-building, and reader engagement. This article explores the importance of mapmaking in fantasy storytelling and its impact on the overall reading experience.

  1. Establishing a Sense of Place: Maps serve as the foundation for establishing a vivid sense of place within a fantasy world. By visually depicting the geography, landscapes, and locations, maps provide readers with a tangible reference point. As readers explore the story, they can refer to the map to orient themselves and develop a deeper understanding of the characters' journeys. The carefully crafted details on the map immerse readers in the world, making it feel more authentic and facilitating a stronger connection to the story.

  2. Enhancing World-Building: Effective mapmaking goes beyond mere geographical representation; it contributes to the intricate process of world-building. Authors use maps to showcase unique cultures, civilizations, and the interplay between different regions. Maps can reveal political boundaries, historical landmarks, magical realms, and the distribution of resources. These visual cues help readers visualize the diverse elements of the world and understand the relationships between different factions, fostering a deeper appreciation for the story's complexity.

  3. Guiding the Narrative: Maps in fantasy storytelling serve as narrative guides, assisting both the author and the reader in tracking the characters' journeys. By highlighting key locations and routes, maps allow authors to structure their narratives and plot arcs effectively. Maps enable readers to follow along and visualize the characters' progress, creating a sense of anticipation and immersion. Additionally, maps can introduce mystery and intrigue by featuring uncharted territories, hidden treasures, or forbidden lands, sparking the readers' curiosity and driving the plot forward.

  4. Encouraging Reader Engagement: The inclusion of maps in fantasy novels promotes reader engagement and interaction. Readers can delve into the details of the map, tracing the characters' paths and exploring the various regions. Maps provide a sense of discovery, allowing readers to imagine themselves embarking on their own quests within the fantastical world. They invite readers to actively participate in the story, fostering a deeper level of immersion and investment in the narrative.

  5. Inspiring the Imagination: Maps serve as catalysts for the reader's imagination, enabling them to visualize the world beyond the written words. A well-crafted map can spark the reader's creativity, encouraging them to envision the landscape, envision the culture, and construct their own narratives within the established world. The synergy between the written story and the visual representation fuels the reader's imagination, resulting in a more enriching and memorable reading experience.


In the realm of fantasy storytelling, mapmaking is a powerful tool that enhances world-building, narrative structure, and reader engagement. Maps provide readers with a tangible connection to the story's world, enabling them to explore and visualize the landscapes, cultures, and journeys undertaken by the characters. The art of mapmaking adds depth, authenticity, and a sense of wonder to the reading experience, making it an indispensable component of fantasy storytelling. As readers embark on epic adventures through fantastical realms, the inclusion of maps guides their imaginations and brings the story's universe to life.

Wulfric the Wanderer and Wulfric the Gladiator

During the process of writing my Wulfric the Wanderer series of Sword & Sorcery short fiction stories (which includes anything from short stories to novelettes to novellas) I decided that I would organize the stories into smaller trilogies which I can potentially later publish as larger books.

I felt I should do this partially because it means I am following in the publishing footsteps of Robert E. Howard (the creator of Conan the Barbarian), who played an enormous influence on the creation of Wulfric the Wanderer.

I felt that publishing the stories in sets of three would be beneficial in terms of theme, but also with respect to story telling because certain characters show up repeatedly in all 3 books of a trilogy.

Eg. Ko Margus appears in all three stories of the Wanderer Cycle, but does not yet appear in any other books.

I have finished the first trilogy:

The Wanderer Cycle

Portal of Destiny

The Cult of the She-Bear

Born of Blood and Ice 


 And I am currently working on the second trilogy:


The Gladiator Cycle

The Scarlet Arena

Rebellion in the City of Gold (Coming in 2024.)

Jewels of Time (Coming in 2025.)


I chose the word "cycle" because I wanted to differentiate that it wasn't necessarily a trilogy, because (oddly enough) I might later add more stories to individual cycles, so that might not stay trilogies.

Of course, I am still working on the Wulfric series, and some of the stories were published out of chronological order. Thus the following stories are currently available, but aren't currently part of a cycle. I can tell you however that I have ideas for the names of the cycles that those books will be part of, and I can also say that I have ideas for some of the stories that will be part of those cycles, but I am trying to prioritize publishing any new stories in chronological order.


Shifting Shadows in Iztark

Black Monoliths of Al-Kazar

The Unbreakable Arrow

The Raven’s Feast

Sadly it doesn't always work out that way. Sometimes the creative urge strikes me and I end up writing a story (and finishing it) so I may also publish more stories out of order. Oh well. It happens.

Happy reading! 

List of Afro Fantasy Books

  1. Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi: In a world where magic has been suppressed, Zélie Adebola, a young maji with extraordinary abilities, embarks on a dangerous quest to restore magic and bring justice to her people. With the help of her brother and a rogue princess, Zélie races against time to unlock the power of an ancient artifact and confront a ruthless king who seeks to eradicate magic forever. Filled with lush worldbuilding inspired by West African mythology, this gripping Afro Fantasy explores themes of oppression, identity, and the resilience of the human spirit.

  2. Children of Virtue and Vengeance, by Tomi Adeyemi: In this thrilling sequel to "Children of Blood and Bone," Zélie and her allies struggle to navigate the consequences of their actions in their fight against tyranny. As tensions rise between the maji and the monarchy, Zélie must grapple with newfound powers and the weight of leadership while facing betrayal and heartache. With war on the horizon and the fate of magic hanging in the balance, Zélie must make difficult choices to protect her people and secure a future where they can thrive.

  3. Kingdom of Copper, by S.A. Chakraborty: Set in a vividly realized world inspired by medieval Islamic history, "Kingdom of Copper" continues the epic tale of Nahri, a young con artist with hidden magical abilities. After inadvertently summoning a djinn and discovering her true heritage, Nahri is thrust into the dangerous and opulent city of Daevabad. As political tensions rise and old rivalries resurface, Nahri must navigate a treacherous web of power struggles and confront her own identity as she becomes embroiled in a war that could change the fate of kingdoms.

  4. The Famished Road, by Ben Okri: In this lyrical and mystical novel, a spirit child known as Azaro is born into the abject poverty and political turmoil of Nigeria. Azaro straddles the boundary between the spirit world and the human realm, witnessing the struggles and dreams of the people around him. Through vivid prose and magical realism, "The Famished Road" explores themes of spirituality, destiny, and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

  5. Wizard of the Crow, by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o: Set in a fictional African country, this satirical and politically charged novel follows the exploits of an ordinary man named Kamiti. As Kamiti becomes entangled in the machinations of a corrupt and oppressive regime, he discovers hidden powers and assumes the identity of a powerful wizard. Blending elements of fantasy and social commentary, "Wizard of the Crow" delves into themes of power, dictatorship, and the struggle for freedom.

  6. My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, by Amos Tutuola: Amos Tutuola's imaginative novel takes readers on a surreal and enchanting journey through the Nigerian bush. The story follows a young boy named Olatunji who, after becoming lost, finds himself in a supernatural realm populated by ghosts, spirits, and other mystical creatures. Through vivid storytelling and folklore-inspired imagery, "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" explores themes of spirituality, transformation, and the interplay between the physical and spiritual worlds.

  1. The Icarus Girl, by Helen Oyeyemi: "The Icarus Girl" tells the haunting story of Jessamy Harrison, a young girl of Nigerian and British descent, who discovers a mysterious new friend named TillyTilly. TillyTilly seems to possess supernatural abilities and shares a deep connection with Jessamy. As Jessamy's friendship with TillyTilly grows, it unlocks a world of folklore, duality, and hidden truths. Blending elements of psychological suspense and magical realism, this captivating novel delves into themes of identity, cultural heritage, and the complexities of childhood.

  2. Akata Witch, by Nnedi Okorafor: "Akata Witch" follows the journey of twelve-year-old Sunny Nwazue, a Nigerian-American girl who discovers she has magical powers and is part of a secret society of young African witches. Sunny and her friends must navigate the dangerous world of supernatural beings and face a formidable enemy threatening both the human and magical realms. Infused with West African mythology and culture, this thrilling coming-of-age tale explores themes of self-discovery, friendship, and the power of embracing one's heritage.

  3. Rosewater, by Tade Thompson: Set in a near-future Nigeria, "Rosewater" introduces readers to Kaaro, a sensitive and complex character who has psychic abilities. Kaaro lives in the town of Rosewater, built around an alien biodome with mysterious healing powers. As the secrets of the biodome unravel, Kaaro becomes embroiled in a web of conspiracy, government cover-ups, and encounters with extraterrestrial entities. Blending elements of science fiction, African folklore, and cyberpunk, "Rosewater" explores themes of identity, memory, and the impact of colonialism.

  4. Redemption in Indigo, by Karen Lord: "Redemption in Indigo" is a captivating blend of folklore, fantasy, and storytelling. The novel follows the journey of Paama, a woman who acquires the Chaos Stick, a powerful and enigmatic artifact that grants her the ability to manipulate the forces of the universe. As Paama's life intertwines with mythical creatures and trickster spirits, she embarks on a quest for balance and wisdom. Drawing inspiration from West African oral traditions, this unique tale explores themes of choice, destiny, and the interconnectedness of all things.

  5. Freshwater, by Akwaeke Emezi: "Freshwater" is a powerful and poetic exploration of identity, spirituality, and mental health. Ada, a young Nigerian woman, is inhabited by multiple spirits known as ogbanje, who shape her thoughts and actions. As Ada navigates the complexities of her fractured self, she confronts societal expectations, trauma, and the intersection of the spiritual and physical realms. Blurring the boundaries between realism and mythology, "Freshwater" delves into themes of self-acceptance, gender, and the search for personal autonomy.

  6. Zoo City, by Lauren Beukes: In a gritty and fantastical Johannesburg, "Zoo City" introduces readers to Zinzi December, a former journalist burdened with a dark secret. In this alternate reality, individuals with criminal pasts are magically bonded with animal familiars, and Zinzi's connection is a sloth. When she takes on a missing persons case, Zinzi uncovers a dangerous conspiracy that forces her to confront her own past and confront the consequences of her choices. "Zoo City" explores themes of redemption, urban decay, and the complex interplay between humans and animals.

  7. Everfair, by Nisi Shawl: "Everfair" presents an alternate history of the Congo during the colonial era, where a group of idealists, including African and European visionaries, create a utopian refuge called Everfair. Against the backdrop of a tumultuous period, the story follows multiple characters as they navigate political struggles, cultural clashes, and the development of new technologies. With steampunk elements and a diverse cast, "Everfair" delves into themes of resistance, decolonization, and the resilience of marginalized communities.

  8. Beastkeeper, by Cat Hellisen: "Beastkeeper" tells the enchanting and dark tale of Sarah, a young girl whose family is cursed to turn into animals. Faced with her mother's transformation and her father's abandonment, Sarah embarks on a journey to break the curse and understand the mysteries surrounding her family's past. As she delves deeper into the magical realms, Sarah must confront her own fears, discover her true identity, and find a way to reclaim her family's humanity. This atmospheric and lyrical novel explores themes of love, sacrifice, and the transformative power of acceptance.

These books by Afro Fantasy authors offer a diverse range of narratives, drawing on rich cultural influences, folklore, and themes that resonate deeply with readers.

Bonus: The Dragontree of Kaŝe, by Charles Moffat

In "The Dragontree of Kaŝe" by Charles Moffat, readers are introduced to Adaoma, a skilled magician running a crystal ball and magical orb shop in the mystical hidden city of Kaŝe, just off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria. Adaoma's peaceful existence is disrupted when she receives a frantic phone call from her twin sister, Adaora. Adaora reveals that dangerous terrorists have escaped from Rura Penthe, an extra-dimensional prison that holds criminal wizards and witches.

The terrorists are desperate to avoid capture, and their only means of escape is through a portal located in the Dragontree of Kaŝe. Adaoma and Adaora embark on a thrilling adventure that takes them from Nigeria to Greenland, London, Lagos, and back to the hidden city of Kaŝe. Their mission is to prevent the terrorists from utilizing the portal and wreaking havoc in other worlds. However, the terrorists have enlisted the aid of an enormous dragon, rendering them nearly invincible against magical attacks.

Author Charles Moffat, hailing from Canada, weaves together elements of AfroFantasy, Urban Fantasy, and High Fantasy in this fast-paced, all-ages fantasy adventure. The story explores a unique "Alt-Earth" setting, an alternative version of Earth where wizards, witches, vigilantes, superheroes, ancient artifacts, dragons, sea serpents, cat burglars, and assassins coexist. Moffat's blend of historical fiction, alternative history, and magic creates a captivating backdrop that allows both extraordinary magical heroes and more grounded, realistic characters to shine.

"The Dragontree of Kaŝe" promises an exhilarating journey through diverse locations and showcases a world where fantastical elements intertwine with everyday heroism. To learn more about this thrilling AfroFantasy tale, readers can visit

What percentage of people prefer physical books over ebooks?

I looked up a statistic this morning...

According to a 2022 study by Stora Enso:

  • 65% of people (globally) prefer reading from physical books.
  • 21% of people prefer ebooks.
  • 14% of people apparently don't care.

That means that the market for physical copies of books is 79% of the global population, whereas the market for ebooks is 35%, with a 14% overlap of people who don't have a preference.

So the lessons learned from this is that if you're in the book selling business then you really want to be selling both.

However this statistic ignores audiobooks. Finding that statistic is a bit trickier, but I can tell you this:

As of 2022 roughly 44% of Americans have listened to an audiobook sometime in their lifetime. But that statistic doesn't talk about preference. It just means that 44% of Americans have listened to at least 1 audiobook ever. Doesn't mean they like them or prefer them.

I personally find audiobooks very useful. I will often get the physical book AND listen to the audiobook at the same time, which allows me to focus on reading continuously. I am one of those people who frequently re-read the same paragraph again and again, so having the audiobook at the same time prevents me from reading the same section repeatedly. It thus means that I can also read more books faster.

How do I get access to audiobooks easily?

I use a free app called Libby that allows me login to public libraries using my library card and borrow audiobooks. (This is not advertising, this is just what I happen to use.)

My problem with Libby however is that it has a limited selection of fantasy audiobooks.

Which is why I will sometimes also use YouTube, where some people will post audiobooks (or do live readings) and I can use those instead while reading the physical copy.

Nor do I feel bad about listening to the YouTube version. I already PAID for the physical book that I am reading. I just using a free audiobook version as a Reading Aid so I can stop myself from repeatedly reading the same paragraph.

With all the recent developments in AI programs I wouldn't be surprised if someone made an AI that can both translate and produce audiobooks in any language, in any accent, and do so with minimal mistakes in the translation. So if an author has a book that want to make available in Italian they could use an AI to translate the book and a different AI to read the book in an Italian accent.

I should also note that audiobooks available on YouTube are only for popular books that have been around for a very long time.

For example... "Titus Groan" by Mervyn Peake, which was published in 1946 and the author has been dead since 1968. See the playlist below:

An Interview with ChatGPT...

As an artist and a writer I am concerned about what is happening with AI technology lately in the form of AI generated art, but also with respect to AI generated written works. To get a better idea of what my competition is up to I decided to sit down and have a conversation with ChatGPT from OpenAI, an artificial intelligence chat bot with some alarming implications.

So I asked ChatGPT the following...

What are your limitations?


As an AI language model, I have several limitations:

  1. Lack of common sense knowledge: While I have been trained on a large corpus of text, I don't have "real-life" experiences or understanding of the world in the same way that humans do.

  2. Limited understanding of context: I can sometimes struggle to understand the context in which a question is being asked, especially if the context is implicit or the question is overly vague.

  3. No emotional intelligence: I am not capable of experiencing emotions or empathy and do not have the ability to understand emotional states or respond to them in a human-like manner.

  4. Bias in training data: I have been trained on text from the internet and can sometimes display biases present in the data I was trained on.

  5. Limited creativity: I can only generate text based on patterns learned from the data I was trained on and cannot truly think creatively or generate original ideas.

  6. No control over generated content: I do not have control over the information that I generate, and my responses are based solely on patterns learned from the training data.

Despite these limitations, I am designed to assist with generating human-like text, answering questions, and providing information to the best of my ability.


Okay... Yeah. That was a pretty complex answer. I doubt I would get an answer that good from a human, honestly. So let's keep going...

How can a human writer compete with an AI language model like ChatGPT?


While AI language models like myself can generate text quickly and at scale, human writers still have several advantages that allow them to compete:

  1. Emotional intelligence: Human writers have the ability to understand and convey emotions, empathy, and tone, which is something that AI models like myself currently lack.

  2. Creativity: Human writers are capable of generating original ideas, and can approach a subject from a unique perspective that is not limited to patterns learned from training data.

  3. Contextual understanding: Human writers have the ability to understand the context in which a piece of writing is intended, and can tailor their writing accordingly.

  4. Flexibility: Human writers are able to adapt their writing style to different genres and formats, and can take into account the audience and purpose of a piece of writing when composing it.

  5. Cultural knowledge: Human writers have a wealth of cultural knowledge and experiences that they can draw upon in their writing, and can bring a human perspective to their work that is not limited by the biases present in training data.

In summary, while AI language models like myself are capable of generating text quickly and at scale, human writers bring a level of creativity, emotional intelligence, and cultural understanding to their work that is currently not possible for AI models.


Again, a scary good answer, despite giving me some positives for why humans *might* still be better than an AI writer. For now at least. Once an AI learns how to fake emotional intelligence, creativity, understands context, is flexible enough to adapt genres, formats, cater to an audience, and the purpose of a story, and of course cultural knowledge.

Okay, let's test that with something more challenging...


And... I asked it something complicated and this is the response I got:

"An error occurred. If this issue persists please contact us through our help center at"


 Hmm... So apparently ChatGPT can also have errors. I tried several other questions, but the issue persisted. So I guess I should try again later???

To be continued...

Note - I look forward to someone creating an AI chat bot and calling Hal 9000 or Skynet and giving it a villain personality...

Publishing a fantasy book? Make sure you get a professional fantasy book editor.

Study Archery in Toronto

So you want to study archery, but you are having difficulty finding an archery instructor who is local. However there is a solution. If you are willing to travel you can take a crash course in archery in Toronto, Canada. 10 lessons over a two week period will take you from archery novice to an experienced and capable archer.

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