It's good to be here! I've made use of some of the resources on this site before but never registered and contributed anything myself. I teach geography in India after completing my studies in geology. I've a lot of experience in map making though it is scientific mapping mostly so very different in style to these sorts of maps! I am also a freelance journalist and write for a variety of publications in the UK and India amongst other countries when the opportunity arises. At present nothing high profile but I'm working on it!
I've tried my hand at writing fantasy and science fiction novels...I say that in the plural, I've written two of which both are rubbish but I learnt a lot in the experience of writing them so hope to improve in the future. There are a several more ideas in the pipeline!
One thing that perpetually irritates me about many fantasy/sci fi maps I see in books is that there is often little thought put into the science behind them. I am quite obsessive about this, it has to be said, but I like to see authors justify odd landforms and what have you somehow. Having studied geology I've got a good knowledge of how real life systems work. My sister is currently a physics/astrophysics student and I have asked her many questions about extraterrestrial systems too!
I've been working on a novel and accompanying map for nearly three years now (time is something I lack) which is called Valmiera (which is similar to the name of a village in Latvia I liked the sound of - the milieu is Slavic in feel). I am currently returning from a trekking holiday in Nepal which has been fantastic because the world is a mountainous place very much based on the Himalaya so I've got a much better feel for the geography now and feel a resurgence of creativity and thus joined!
Hope to speak with you and share ideas,