Author Spotlight: Tales from Gunderland by Hank Quense
Laughter is contagious. Enjoy some by reading this book.
It's filled with delightful entertainment. Without commercial interruption!
Gundarland is populated by humans, dwarfs, elves and other races; it's the backdrop for unique adventures, brilliant heroes and cunning villains.
You'll meet some of Shakespeare's most famous characters, a warrior-cook, vigilantes, and beautiful, lusty princesses.
Here is a list of the stories and a brief synopsis of each:
Romeo and Juliet: Romeo, a dwarf miner, and Juliet, the elfin daughter of a rich gem merchant, have a rocky courtship because Juliet's brothers are avowed enemies of Romeo's family.
Chasing Dreams: This novella tells the story of twin yuk brothers on their journey from strong-armed thugs to highway robbers to bawdy house owners to politicians. The brothers are plagued and harassed by vigilantes.
Boggerts Blue: A warrior-cook seeks to rescue a kidnapped princess. She refuses to be rescued by someone who isn't noble-born.
The Big Bang: A wizard has to eliminate a dragon and his minions. Along the way to complete his mission, he is tested by a shape-changer and a pair of trolls.
The Queen's Hero: This novella is about a young tinker-warrior as he struggles to save his Queen from a pirate admiral trying to overthrow her and become king. The Queen's three beautiful daughters have their own plans for the young hero.
Merchant of Venison: A dwarf butcher borrows money to help his best friend and soon regrets it. The dwelf money lender has bloody ideas about the default payments.
Inter-Racial Musical Playoffs: A few greedy wizards attempt to fix a musical competition. Other wizards try to protect the band leader who is favored to win the competition.
Tactical Surprise: A general develops unusual tactics to defeat a rebel army. The enemy leader is a close family friend making the general's decisions more difficult.
The planet was named Gundar after the omniscient god who accidentally created the universe with an explosive sneeze caused by snorting a larger-than-average dose of His favorite recreational powder. The nodules of spittle flew through space and eventually solidified into suns, planets, comets and other celestial bodies.
Scientific authorities called this event the Big Achoo. Medical authorities argued that infectious diseases were the result of this unsanitary beginning. Religious authorities countered that such talk was blasphemous and that the medical authorities should accept infectious diseases as Gundar's holy will. Ordinary folk thought the authorities had too much free time on their hands and ought to get jobs.
Gundarland is the largest land mass on the planet. Populated by diverse races such as dwarfs, humans, elves, half-pints, yuks and a few lesser races, these disparate races live cheek-by-jowl in many cases and get along with no more than the usual interracial hostility.
At one time, the yuks roamed all over the island subjecting everyone to their boorish behavior and crude manners. The other races mostly put up with them, but it was a brave hostess who invited a yuk to a dinner party. They ate with their fingers because they always pilfered the cutlery as soon as they sat down at the table. Eventually, the yuks were driven into the southwest corner of the island, a land of marshes and mountain deemed worthless by land developers.
Religion has always played a big part in many people's lives. The biggest festival occurred in the spring when Snotism celebrated the birth of the universe. Know as the Sacred Snot-Fest, the ritual culminated in everyone simultaneously inhaling crushed pepper to generate a giant sneeze. Doctors loved the festival; many of them made more money in the month following the Snot-Fest than they did for the rest of the year. Oddly enough, the priests all wore masks during the ceremony.
By ancient tradition, many warriors took a double major when they studied the arts of war. The double major came in handy during the occasional outbreaks of peace. Thus, in the early days, knight-accountants, warrior-chefs and soldier-lawyers roamed the countryside seeking combat and/or clients.
The population has always been intrigued by magic. As a consequence, wizards were held in high regard, even the incompetent ones. Wizard schools offered double majors as well as the combat schools. At first, the secondary courses were perfunctory, but then the dukes began installing wizards in positions of power on the theory that if a wizard couldn't figure out a solution to a problem, they could always magic the problem out of existence. The practice of appointing wizards continued long after that theory proved to be catastrophically wrong. The wizard schools once again took notice and kept increasing the importance of the secondary courses until wizardry became the lesser of the two curricula. Soon, graduates could barely compose spells and frequently didn't have enough magical power to blow their noses.
Historically, the country was divided into a number of independent provinces ruled by dukes, warlords and an occasional madman. The principal occupation of these province leaders was making war on the neighbors. These constant wars provided employment for many dwarf warriors since the dukes prided themselves on the quantity and quality of their ax-dwarfs. Many dwarf families were proud of the generations of warriors who fought exclusively for Duke X or Warlord Y. These families ignored the fact that almost all the warriors died at an unnaturally young age.
Hank Quense writes humorous fantasy and science fiction along with an occasional article on fiction writing. He lives with Pat, his wife of many years, in Bergenfield, NJ. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.
To date Quense has over forty stories and articles published. His novel Fool's Gold is a sci-fi retelling of the ancient Rhinegold myth. Tunnel Vision, a collection of twenty previously published stories. Both books are available in ebook and print formats.
Build a Better Story is non-fiction and will help fiction writers with a process to develop a story. His latest, Tales from Gundarland, is a collection of humorous short stories and novellas. He is presently working on a novel that is a blend of fantasy and science fiction and a second novel that is pure fantasy.