7 reasons why we love fantasy fiction

… and what we want more of.

Those of us who love fantasy fiction get lost in what our imaginations conjure from the words we read. The train journey passes in but a moment. Our eyes droop as we set aside the book, too exhausted to read on into the night. Our families become widows and orphans to our reading.

In the summer of 2017, I asked members of my readers’ group 3 questions. Over 100 fantasy readers responded to these questions:

What do you love the most about fantasy fiction?

What else do you love about fantasy fiction?

What do you want to find more of in fantasy fiction?

The responses were a mix of the expected with some surprises. One surprise was the runaway success the number one reason most people give for their love of fantasy.
Here are the reasons in descending order. I could have used star ratings, but this is fantasy fiction so I’m ranking the responses on a dragon scale (excuse the accidental pun!) where 10 dragons is the highest.
Here is our dragon:

I’ve also included a couple of videos to this post for entertainment and interest 🙂

Here goes in reverse order on the dragon scale:

What do you love the most about fantasy fiction?

7. Quests – Adventure against the odds

We love heroic quests against the odds done by hero or heroine. It’s about triumph over adversity during an adventure. It’s do or die against insurmountable odds. In what other genre do mortals to take on the gods themselves?

6. Characters (villains and heroes)

Perhaps it is because, in the realms of the unbelievable that exists in fantasy fiction, there is a need for characters to be portrayed “realistically” and deeply. This applies even if they are a centaur, elf or dragon, to help readers suspend disbelief. Fantasy readers demand exotic worlds populated by equally exotic and diverse characters. They can flourish in this genre like no other. When characters are relatable, their faults can be forgiven. Readers want to root for the character. Personally, I don’t think that last point is specific to fantasy, more genre fiction in general, and we must be talking about the protagonist(s) here.
I like this next quote: “Anyone can write a fight between wizards, but how many make the reader care about who wins?”
It illustrates the desire to root for the hero very well.
The villains of fantasy are not forgotten here. Rendering the villain in words in all their glory as intricately as the hero is every bit as essential. What is the first character that comes to mind for Star Wars? I’m betting it’s not Luke Skywalker.

5. Dragons

“As soon as you put a dragon in a story, it’s a fantasy,” a reader once told me.
Dragons are the iconic creature of the fantasy genre. You would think that with so many stories out there featuring dragons our fantastical winged lizard friends would score more than 1.6 on the dragon scale and rank higher than 5. The story of dragons in this survey is not yet complete. There is a reason this survey had more questions. Read on dragon lovers…

4. Magic

Tastes vary among fantasy readers on this one. Some people want magic to be in the background, the way George R R Martin does it in his A Song Of Fire and Ice series. Others want magic to be something mysterious and unknown, the way J R R Tolkien does it with Gandalf. Some people want to know how magic works. What the rules are. This is how Brandon Sanderson portrays magic in the Mistborn series with “Allomancy” as an example. The term “Magic” could extend to superheroes and their powers and we can hardly ignore “The Force”. Almost no one needs telling where that comes from. When it comes to it, the powers or magic of the superhero is the defining dramatic concept of the superhero story itself.
However you like your magic, exploring characters with supernatural abilities making the impossible seem possible, and even fantasizing about having the same abilities yourself is all part of the charm of fantasy stories.

3. Imagination – No limits, anything can happen

Two words feature high here. “No limits.”
The only thing limiting what goes into a fantasy story is the imagination and creativity of the author and their ability to make the fantastic feel real and believable.
“Anything is possible.”
“Every restriction is lifted.”
“Make the impossible seem possible.”
“Only bound by rules the author invents.”
In fantasy, everything is bigger and grander. Authors are not limited by real world rules.
The message to fantasy authors is, go crazy, be inventive and don’t play safe.

2. World building, cultures, societies – other worlds

It could be a castle at the top of a beanstalk, a world made of water, a world similar to our own but full of surprises, heaven, some other plane of existence or a city suspended by chains over the pit of hell (that one has been done).
Whatever it is, it is the setting, the world building or “worlds unlike our own”. But the physical characteristics of the world on its own is not enough. Readers want to experience the culture and politics of the races that make up fantasy worlds.
The setting is a large part of the vicarious experience the fantasy reader is looking for. Readers want to leave behind the mundane world they already know and enter fully realized imaginary worlds brought to life in writing. Humans have a desire to explore places they have never been before and a fantasy fiction world is a place that desire can be satisfied. It’s about rediscovering that childhood sense of wonder at the world about us that we lose (or feel we lose) as adults.
Readers say they want a land that is exotic, magical and fascinating. Done well, the depth and richness of made up history and traditions can be breathtaking.

1. Escapism to another reality – immersion

Top of the dragon scale and the flyaway winner is escapism into previously unexplored and unknown worlds. It might be a little difficult to separate “escapism to another reality” from “world building” but survey respondents made this distinction when they answered the survey. The way I see it is an author could build an amazing world, but without a compelling story, and heroes and heroines to follow into this world we won’t experience escapism.

Finally, the worthy mentions for the most loved things in fantasy:
Fantastical creatures, potential complexity, storyline and time travel.

Readers want more than just one thing in their fantasy fiction (of course!) and we get a fascinating and different picture to the next question:

What else do you love about fantasy fiction?

Survey respondents were free to list multiple things here so there are more dragons awarded in most categories.

11. Duels and swordplay

OK, I get why duels and swordplay are not of the highest priority in fantasy fiction, but I’ve got a particular affection for them. And duels between wizards for that matter. Because I love them and this one from Princess Bride in particular, I’m going to share it here:

Normal service is now resumed 😉

10. Storylines and conflicts

As a fan of plotting and planning stories for drama I confess I’m a little disappointed conflict-filled storylines – the plot itself – does not feature more highly in the results. Perhaps because it’s like the air we breathe. We don’t think about the plot or notice it and we take it for granted until it is not there or bad.

9. Humour

Some of us want humour in our fantasy. I know I like a bit of humour to make characters feel real. Most authors will tell you characters come up with their own dialogue and decisions at times, and sometimes they are funny.

8. Quests – Adventure against the odds

Quests and adventures features a little higher in “other” things people love in fantasy.

7. Imagination – No limits, anything can happen

Ranked number 3 as the most loved aspect of fantasy it’s lower in the ranking here but remember people were free to state multiple “other” reasons for loving fantasy.

6. Escapism to another reality – immersion

For the few that did not mention this as their number 1 love of fantasy a great many included it as one of their other reasons.

5. Dragons

It’s not many peoples number 1 thing for fantasy but plenty of people mention it in their “other” list. But the story for dragons in this survey is not over yet. There is another question coming…

4. Characters (villains and heroes) and development

Another strong showing for well developed characters.

3. Fantastical creatures and races

Fantastical creatures that could still include dragons for some respondents has a strong showing here.

2. Magic

I love magic in fantasy and it seems most fantasy readers do too, even if it is not their first priority.

1. World building, cultures, societies – other worlds

For those that did not list this as their number 1 reason for loving fantasy the vast majority listed in “other” things. Fantasy authors, ignore great world building at your peril!

And the worthy mentions
Romance, heroics & heroes, time travel, epic battles, excitement, strong heroines, alternate history, portal fantasy, mythology, undead, happy ending, heroine rescue, fight evil, mysterious guides, character unsure of ability, varied perspective, thought-provoking, past/future opportunities, dark fantasy, modern times fantasy, flight by creature, absence of modern technology, clean language and no sex, good vs evil, angels, action, fairyland and character groups

So know we know what my readers’ group loves about fantasy, the next question is…

What do you want to find more of in fantasy fiction?
This is the kind of information authors are going to love – what are fantasy readers not getting enough of?
Here is the ranking in reverse order:

18. Longer series

17. Standalone books

16. Humour in dark moments

15. Witches

14. Beleivable character actions

13. Dwarves

12. Righteousness

11. Strong female characters

Particularily in the eBook market, women buy by far the most books – 75%+ of the market. Strong female characters are a big draw in the market right now. I’m a little surprised this did not feature higher in the rankings!

10. Good dragons

Wait for it… the dragon story is still not over…

9. Clean – no sex or bad language

8. Funny / crazy / happy

7. Original story with surprising twists

6. Strong character backstory / daily life

5. Elves

4. World building details – epic

3. Epic Adventure / Quests

2. Magic and Mages

Magic is a big part of what I like to write in my stories so I’m delighted to see fantasy readers want more magic!

1. Dragons

Dragons!
Dragons did not show strongly as the most loved or other things loved about fantasy but with 15% of respondents saying they want more dragons it ranks first in this list.
There will be dragons in future books from me in time. For now, check out the top 10 dragons from the movies:

Other things on the wanted list.
The remainder of the things mentioned come from only 1 or 2 people, but I don’t want to ignore anyone’s contribution so here is a list.
Women fighting dragons, conquering Kingsdoms etc
Compassion
Romance
Hidden Tolkien
Implied morality
Darker aspects
Names easy to pronounce
Surprise character deaths
Altruistic politicians
Portal fantasy
Fantastic creatures
Power from earth
Timeshifting
Different worlds and cultures
Scientific breakthrough
Related worlds
Continuing storylines
Dragon and human interaction
New worlds and technology
Conan the Barbarian
Strong heroes and heroines
Coming of age
Good endings
Relatable characters
Biblically based fantasy
Animal-human telepathy
Philosophy and metaphysics (nature of reality)
Balancing world building with telling the story
Bravery and loyalty
Flight
Blurry lines between good and evil
Human and intelligent animal interaction
Prequels with more character development
Chivalry
Dungeons and Dragons stories
Dragons as main characters
Paranormal romance
Dark dungeons
Not a Tolkien copy
Less poor rising against rich baddies
Swords and sorcery bladesinger style
Creative creatures – pizza dragon (Eh?)
Get lost in another world and forget ours
Tight knit groups
Mythical Beings
Urban fantasy

Conclusion
Away from a few key features of fantasy fiction there is a lot of diversity in the loves and wants from readers. Authors have their work cut out keeping their audience happy!

I would like to thank all the members of my readers’ group who took the time to take this survey. If you would like to join my readers’ group click the Freebie & Newsletter menu option on this website above.

If there is anything my readers’ group missed that you want to share please tell us the comments section below.

Happy reading!

Swords and Sorcery Source Giveaway

It’s here!

I think you’ll love this – the type fantasy book giveaway I’ve wanted to participate in for almost a year that swords and sorcery fans are already finding on Facebook. I have organised the Swords and Sorcery Source Giveaway.

Tap the image above or the link below to discover free books and samples:

Swords and Sorcery Source Giveaway hosted by instaFreebie

The giveaway is open now and there is no planned end date. Be sure to check back often as new books and samples will arrive all the time. Don’t miss out on what takes your fancy as authors can withdraw their books whenever they like, although most should remain available for at least 3 months.

Join other swords and sorcery fans and authors to share what you like about these books in the Facebook readers group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/swordsandsorcerysourcereaders/

When new books are added to the giveaway they will be announced in this Facebook group.

Happy reading!

A frozen land plagued by monsters with Cameron Wayne Smith

Follow me into a frozen land plagued by monsters – interview with fantasy author and Glimpses anthology contributor Cameron Wayne Smith.

Cameron, thanks for joining me. When did you know you wanted to write and why did you begin?
Back in school I was somewhat of a joker and often turned essays into snarky stories. The teachers never really appreciated my humour, but a few of these single page stories did make it through the school. I don’t have any of these anymore, but if I did, I probably wouldn’t let you read them!

In 2012 the missus and I bought a Landcruiser camper to travel around Australia. We hit the road and I thought it would be fun to write stories while doing so. I started writing my first novel seriously while we were running a pub in a small town called Thangool. I did start very casually, but that was the point I decided to write.

What has the writer’s journey been like for you?
Well, the day we hit the road and the day I started writing a novel were one and the same. I’ve loved travelling around this beaut country, working from place to place, and writing along the way.

That first story I started, in 2012, was a fantasy story taking in a lot of creative ideas I had come up with when I was younger. I ended up self-publishing that story in 2015 (In Innisfail, QLD), the sequel in 2016 (In Esperence, WA) and the third episode earlier this year (In Queenstown, TAS). The whole series was discovery written without a target audience. Sadly, the originality made it quite difficult to market, but it will always hold a special place in my heart!

The concept of Holtur—a town in the midst of a frozen, desolate land, plagued by monsters and full of mystery—came to me late last year. Originally because I wanted to try my hand at writing a vampire story. My goal was to not have them sparkly, romantic, linked to were-creatures, or the result of an infection. I’ve got nothing against the way vampires have been used in the past, but I wanted a completely original take on the creatures, while still taking some elements of the classics. I wanted to create monsters.

I like the sound of your vampires!

The first step for my Holtur plan was to write a story displaying how horrible this town would be to reside within. I feel I did that reasonably well by bringing a cowardly outsider, Vivian Patressi, to the town and creating a story about his attempt at survival. At first, his attempts convincing Captain Sonja Bluwahlt, and her band of monster slayers, to fight his battles for him does little but amuse her. Experiencing the horror of the town through Vivian’s experience explains why, to both reader and the less than heroic protagonist, the slayers laugh at his problems. The vampires are hinted at during Vivian’s initially romp through the town, but the folk of Holtur have no idea that the ‘leeches’ are in any way humanoid.
The biggest change I’ve made between series is going from discovery writing to plotting. This year my writing journey has been quite interesting, landing me in the magnificent (but cold) Tasmanian hinterland, and I’m keen to see how the rest of 2017 unfolds.

So, would you now describe yourself as a “plotter” rather than a “panster” aka discovery writer?
I honestly do not know if I could label myself as one or the other. The Necrosanguin series was all discovery written, but The Holtur Trilogy has been planned… Well, it was supposed to be! In The Holtur Curse, chapter 10 has now gone for six chapters. So, I’d say I’m a primarily a plotter now, but the ‘pantser’ within likes to beat up the plotter from time to time! Without ruining the story, this section of the story, in plot form, was basically ‘x attacks y, but z goes and brings w along, now v has to solve the problem’. I didn’t realise at the time, that actually meant I’d have to write an epic battle the length of a novella, it happens!

Ah yes, I’m with you there. I have a final battle sequence I always knew would be two chapters, but I didn’t expect each of those chapters to be double the length of the others!

Where does the inspiration for what goes into your stories come from?
A lot of things! Where I’ve been and things I’ve seen and done. Books, movies, and games too!

The second half of my first story I got to work on not long after going to the USA and doing some ‘tunnel time’ at iFly in Chicago. My partner and I did quite a bit of skydiving that year and used the wind tunnel to improve our skills. The characters in my story travel to an incredibly large tower in a wealthy city, and I thought, why not throw a massive air vent into the tower for transportation? Of course, that lead to the next obvious question: Why not have a battle in that giant wind tunnel? Being fantasy, and marketed to no-one in particular, meant that it all came to life!

Necrosanguin also has a heavy ocean theme throughout the series. During the time I did most of the writing my partner and I spent a lot of time in and around the ocean.

This year, living in a cold, mountainous region, I’ve written about a variety of wyverns (if you don’t know what a wyvern is, for my style think dragon, but four limbed, less regal, more savage and numerous) and creatures I could imagine lurking in and around mountains. The shroud are probably my personal favourite creation this year; they’re a skinny, insect-like creature with large claws and translucent skin. These things are awkward, like a fish out of water outside of the ‘fog’, but within their special environment, they are practically infallible. I’m sure you can get a bit of an idea where some influence for this came from, but driving through winding mountains, in a fog so thick I could barely see, was what really made my mind wander!

For media that has inspired me, I’d have to say the two biggest things are the video game series Monster Hunter and the card game Magic The Gathering. The Monster Hunter games are, not surprisingly, games full of monsters. It’s a series that my partner and I have enjoyed playing together when we have spare time. Magic cards are an unlimited source of inspiration. I don’t play as often as I’d like to, but just gazing upon the sensational artwork on the cards can help me find inspiration.

The ‘kehrip’ creature from the Necrosanguin series was loosely based on two things I thought were scary as a kid: raptors from Jurassic Park and xenos from the Alien quadrilogy. While books have inspired me also, I cannot think of anything in particular that strongly influenced any of my creations.

Tell us about your Glimpses short story, Flight of Flame, and how it relates to your series, The Holtur Trilogy?
The Holtur Enigma was quite an ominous ride from start to end, and I wanted to create something lighter to bridge the gap to the upcoming sequel, The Holtur Curse. I also made the decision to switch point of view characters between each book in the trilogy. Flight of Flame was a great opportunity to take Sonja out of her element by throwing the veteran monster slayer into a ‘wyvern piloting course’.

Thank you, Cameron, for sharing your author’s journey and giving us some insight into your stories.
Glimpses, an anthology of 16 fantasy stories including Cameron’s Flight of Flame can be found here: http://books2read.com/glimpsesanthology

You can connect with Cameron and find more of his works using the following links:

Free book: The Holtur Enigma: http://www.cameronwaynesmith.com/books/the-holtur-enigma/

Free bestiary (email sign up): http://www.cameronwaynesmith.com/scholars-of-the-bristrunstium/join/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cameronwaynesmith/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/camocamocamocam

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14592508.Cameron_Wayne_Smith

Book review: Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft

I have another book I rate 5-stars to share with you.
Here is a thoroughly absorbing book best classified in the Steampunk sub-genre of fantasy. In fact, the first Steampunk story I’ve read.
Senlin Ascends is set in a mythical version of The Tower of Babel with apparently Victorian era characters that mostly seem to be quasi-British. We have airships docking at the various “ringdoms” of the tower and many examples of steam powered machinery.

Thomas Senlin is a studious Headmaster lacking somewhat in passion and spark who has an encyclopedic knowledge of everything around him based on what he has read from books. His real-world experience of most things appears absent. Newly married, he brings his young vivacious wife on a honeymoon journey to The Tower of Babel and promptly loses her in the crowded markets around its base as she sets off to find a “scandalous” dress to wear.

Poor Mrs Senlin appears to have to work far too hard to get the kind of attention from her new husband that a bride would expect on her wedding night. She resorts to innuendo – “would the Tower [of Babel] be tall enough to fill the well beneath it” to try and encourage him. Senlin is not a man of action. If he wants to try and find his bride lost somewhere in the 60 levels of the Tower of Babel he will have to become one. Senlin and his wife appear to be poles apart and early in the story, I felt the urge to grab Senlin by the lapels, give him a shake, and yell at him to show some bravado.
Josiah Bancroft is a talented story teller. Long before the end of the story, I realised that is exactly how I’m supposed to feel about Thomas Senlin, at first. But he is destined to ascend not just the tower, but his own claustrophobic limitations. At this point, I will mention that I think the book cover design is a work of genius. Go and take a hard look at it.
Josiah does an incredible job during in the narrative of simultaneously doing many things – building a world of plotting villainous characters, showing the world of the tower seducing Senlin into abandoning the hopeless search for his wife, giving the impression of his wife moving ever further out of reach into a disastrous new life while Senlin is ever more desperate to find her. It’s a little like one of those nightmares where you are trying to reach the door at the end of a corridor that seems to stretch further into the distance the more you strive to try to reach that door.
As it says in the book description, Senlin must become a man of action and that propels the story on a new and more dangerous course.
Senlin Ascends was one of those books where the stuff I have to do in my life got in the way of me reading it. It’s going up there on the shelf next to my other all time favourite books.
If you hold a flintlock pistol to my head and force me to find fault with this book there is just one thing I can come up with.
Early on in the narrative and also during the climax, perhaps when Josiah is trying the most to impress the audience, he might have tried just a tad too hard. I felt there were occasionally a few too many metaphors per page. It’s a subjective opinion that feels a bit like whispering to Michael Angelo that he may have overused that particularly vivid shade of blue he likes in his painting of the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
Yep, Senlin Ascends is beautifully and almost poetically written and deserves to be recognized as a classic story in the Steampunk genre.
So far I’ve successfully talked my mother, my wife and one of my friends into buying it. Don’t miss out yourself now!
I’ve moved straight on to reading the next book in this series.

Book Review: Kings of the Wyld

Rating: 5 stars

Kings of the Wyld could be described as the genetically engineered offspring of the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, David Gemmell novels (Winter Warriors springs to mind), and the Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual.

Kings of the Wyld book cover

A quick note: If you are offended by the frequent use of the “F” word and similar, this book is not for you. It comes up a lot in character dialogue. Considering the setting and characters, it does not feel excessive.

Kings of the Wyld presses my buttons on many levels. Let me start by saying I’m 47 and a portion of my youth was spent playing and “dungeon mastering” the role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons. Today, I have what you might call a normal life (wife, children, career) aside from the fact I’m also a fantasy author (you can take the man out of the game, but you can’t take the game out of the man). I have a few minor aches and pains, and I’ll never fit in those clothes I wore as a teenager again. This is relevant because…

Kings of the Wyld is about a band (Dungeons and Dragons style adventuring party) of middle-aged overweight and often drunk ex-mercenaries that emerge from what passes as normal retirement to get the band back together.
Their mission – rescue their front man Gabriel’s daughter from inevitable evisceration by almost the entire contents of the Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual besieging the city of Castia where she is trapped.
The monstrous ensemble is called the Heartwyld Horde led by the sympathetically tragic Lastleaf – a Druin who seems to be a bit like an elf except with bunny ears. And he rides a Wyvern. I should point out here that this book does not take itself at all seriously except for a few genuinely poignant moments (wipes tear from eye at the memory of the closing scenes). This book has given me so many laughs!

Who are the band?

The hero of this tale is Clay whose inner monster was tamed by a loving wife and a darling daughter. He has long since hung up Blackheart – a wooden shield made out of a Treant – and retired. Then Gabriel comes calling.

Gabriel – divorced father of the damsel in distress and would be wielder of a potent magic sword except that he sold it to the cad now married to his ex-wife.

Then there is the wizard Moog who mourns the loss of his husband to the incurable “rot” disease from which he also suffers. One of the hazards of wondering the Heartwyld. He makes a living as an alchemist selling “Phylactery” which is best described as Viagra in gaseous form. And he lives in a tower that is almost exactly the same shape as a “thingy.” If you wonder what I mean by “thingy” just go back to that Viagra reference and I’m sure you’ll get it. The knocker on the door to his tower is a particularly amusing character named Steve who struggles to speak due to the brass ring in his mouth… and I thought I was cool having a brass dolphin on my front door.

Matrick is the band’s drummer, sorry, knife-wielding warrior thief that somehow became King. The Queen has managed to produce 5 heirs to the throne, none of them fathered by Matrick himself and, oh yes, the Queen wants him dead. Extracting him from his former life to reform the band is trickier than you might think…

Lastly, there is Ganelon who is remarkably forgiving of the fact his former bandmates left him in a quarry turned to stone by a Basilisk for 20 years.

Other characters help and hinder them on the way, and I shall always remember the Ettin Dane and Gregor with fondness. (An Ettin is a two-headed giant in case you’re wondering).

After suffering the indignity of being robbed by a band of girls named the Silk Arrows (twice!), the band’s expedition takes them through the Heartwyld that is still remarkably full of trouble considering so many of its denizens surround Castia for the whole story. The trip is complicated by the fact Matrick’s wife (the Queen) hired a bounty hunter to assassinate him. Is the bounty hunter a shadowy figure in a hooded cloak? Bobba Fett’s twin brother? Nope. A bad-ass Daeva – false god nightmare of a winged woman with her own band of red-robed monks held in her thrall all riding in a skyship!

This story is chock full of humour, monsters, magic and magical weaponry, more monsters and touching moments. And touching moments with monsters (some of them wielding magical weaponry). If you’ve ever wished you could read a story with a wondrous variety of monsters all doing their worst, Kings of the Wyld is like a bowl of every flavour ice cream with a chocolate flake stuck in it plus syrup and those little coloured sugar tubes on top (I know them as hundreds and thousands). There are probably some marshmallows jammed in there somewhere too. Pure indulgence.

Of course, none of this would be worth our reading time or the 5th star if it were not woven into a compelling story. Make no mistake; this is not a regurgitated video or role-playing game. As a student of story craft myself, I know a well-structured story when I read one, and they are not found in the fantasy genre often enough. Nicholas Eames knows his stuff – the story twists, turns and pinches in all the places it must to cast its spell over any fantasy fan even if they never played Dungeons and Dragons. It’s been a very long time since I last enjoyed reading a book this much. Count me in for the sequels.

If all this were not enough, Kings of the Wyld asks one of life’s most compelling questions. The answer to which the wizard Moog and every child under the age of 8 already knows…
Do owlbears actually exist?

Get a free fantasy book from me by joining my readers group mailing list.

F101: Intro to Fantasy

Some time ago I wrote my “gate way to the fantasy genre list”. Here is another such list from an author who’s debut novel I’ve almost finished (more about this in a future blog post). I dare not tell you how many of the books on this list I’ve not read lest Nicholas sends the denizens of the Heartwyld after me – and I have no skyship to escape in!

The Heartwyld

Good morning, class.  My name’s Nicholas Eames, but don’t call me Mr. Eames–that’s my father’s name!

*Crickets chirping*

Okay.  Moving on.  We’re all here for one reason: we love fantasy books, and it is absolutely imperative to us that others like them too.  You might liken us to a horde of theocratic zombies who won’t rest until everyone we know is, as the saying goes, one of us.

Alas, convincing others that fantasy books are head and shoulders better than books from any other genre (excluding sci-fi, but we’ll get to that later) isn’t always easy.  I mean, you’d think it would be obvious, right?  Writing is, after all, an exercise in creativity, and fantasy books, by their very nature, are more creative than plain old fiction.  Now don’t get me wrong–fiction is great, but except for a few notable exceptions (aka. Salman Rushdie’s magic realism) it remains…

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Want to explore 30+ magical worlds?

I invited 30 authors to share their magical worlds with you. For this week only (plus a few extra days), this collection of stories is brought together in the Magical Worlds Fantasy Book Giveaway. There’s a great variety of fantasy books here – heroines, heroes, dragons, mermaids, a unicorn and of course, magic — and I’ve never seen most of these of these books before.

Early results from my 2017 “Why do you love fantasy fiction?” survey tells me that most of all you want to escape into worlds unlike our own. That’s why I asked authors for fantasy books that are set (or at least partly set) in worlds that are not Earth – it’s just what you’re asking for!

Get some free magical worlds books here:
https://books.bookfunnel.com/magicalworlds