I just finished my first fantasy book and got the following feedback: 1) Eliminate the sex, Dwarves and Men can't breed 2) Eliminate any mention of Christianity 3) Make the Dwarves shorter (as in about 3 feet tall.) Here is my thinking: 1) I intended to follow traditional Celtic/Germanic mythology where a woman is pledged to marry an older man, but is challenged by a younger rival. The point of the story was to get her in a position where she would be producing the next heir, so breeding would be important. (And we're going on a quest, because that just seems necessary for every Scandinavian saga, complete with epic battle whose outcomes are determined by the Gods/Goddesses.) I don't know that it matters, but my female character is human, the male characters are dwarves. 2) Every hero needs a nemesis and Scandinavia wasn't Christianized until well into the 12th century, so having a christian nemesis seemed like a good fit. I never specifically use the word 'Christian.' The Nemisis is Messias, son of the God Yahweh, who was sentenced to death for blasphemy against the rest of the Nephilim. I figured it would make for a good laugh for those of us who know our Bible and European history. 3) Also, because I'm focused on Northern Europe I'm using a lot of Norse myths/traditions. Norse mythology says that Dwarves lived on the Rhine and Elves lived on the Elbe. I have both my Dwarves and Elves coming in at about 5'4" and maintained the Norse distinction of the Dwarves being "dark" (black hair) & muscular whereas Elves are "fair" (blond) and of slighter build. This is attested to by archeological evidence from burial mounds showing that at the time Celts (Dwarves) and Germans (Elves) would have been about 5'4" and the Norse (Men) would have been about 5'7". So who is barking mad here; me or the reader?