Recently, I held a copy of “Seer: A Wizards’s Journal” in my hands. Incredible. That was all I could think. Incredible. It was a little like holding my son for the first time – unbelievable, wondrous, an answer to a question I’d never really asked but felt in my heart all this time. Right from the cover, the book draws you inside. Jef Murray’s brilliant artwork evokes a sense of wonder, mystery, and journey. You know you’re about to embark on a mystical voyage, have layers peeled back for you, and see through a different lens. That “Seer” is a marvelous book, a masterful recipe of word and art, is not something I need to tell you. Jef skillfully weaves these art forms together to take us on a road of discovery and deep thought. We’re swept up in the tide, marvelling at the twilight, comforted by the fireside.
It was an honour I couldn’t even express (and still have no words to describe) to be asked to join with Middle-earth Network in launching its publishing house. Over the years, as Senior Fan Fiction Editor for War of the Ring.net and Editor of Silver Leaves journal, it’s been such a privilege to work with and publish so many wordsmiths of astounding talent and vision. A tiny hope started to grow inside me, always lower than a whisper as if it was a bubble afraid to burst, that one day these amazing artists could hold their published books in their hands. That it could happen without the impersonal, often destructive and alienating feel of large traditional houses. I didn’t have the nerve to think that such a dream would ever include me, but Middle-earth Network is a place where dreams come to life in unexpected and astonishing ways.
“Seer” was proof in my hands that a collective of imaginative, open, wondrous human beings can, do, and will make amazing things happen. It has been a blessing to read it, work on it, and be part of a team that can bring it to you. I cannot thank Jef enough for trusting me with his work and his vision; Julie Dobbins for her immaculate skills, endless cheer, love, patience, and supply of wisdom; Josh Radke for his wise counsel and awesome guidance and help along the road to publication; Alexandra-Felicity King for her beauty of spirit, boundless energy, and unbelievable promotional finesse; the Founders of Middle-earth Network for their support, enthusiasm, and inspiration; and last, which is the place of great honour, Mark Ostley for his constant support, friendship, guidance, faith, trust, vision – in short, for everything.
So, here we are at the inaugural publication for Oloris Publishing. It’s an incredible honour to bring this book to all of you and to be able to look forward to working with many more talented people in this community. To me, it’s so appropriate that a work like “Seer” is our first publication. I feel so deeply that there is magic here, among and through all of us; not the stuff of flash and sorcery but that deeper, richer magic that can change our world and our very selves. The magic within the pages of “Seer” has spilled out into this little life and now where there were walls, doorways have been revealed; where there were dots, there are now pathways and connections. I hope that as you sit with this beautiful book, you will find Jef’s magic sinking into you to make you smile and think, and love what you see. And I hope with all my heart that you will come on this wonderful adventure with us.
Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate,
And though we pass them by today,
Tomorrow we may come this way
And take the hidden paths that run
Towards the Moon or to the Sun.