I made up the world for The Condemned Courier after I built a map for it:
You’ll notice that my map got mutated more than once as I came up with reasons in the story for needing different people in different places. A lot of my maps look like this.
As I often do, I borrow Earth cultures for my story worlds. Schafland borrows name parts and other info bits from Germany. I don’t speak German, but I have a translation dictionary and I’m not afraid to use it … for at least one or two words at a time.
The Aelstrians (blue on the map), on the other hand, are totally made up. I developed their culture and even an accent for them to use when speaking to Schaflanders based on what would make sense for an out-sized bird.
The time frame, again, is a Renaissance era analog. That let me play with both rapiers and black powder pistols again.
The expanded novel version of The Condemned Courier will be coming from PDMI Publishing. We’re in the midst of edits just now.