Cover Art Sneak Peek!

Posted Posted in Projects, Ruinmakers, Updates

Since it’s been almost forever since I’ve updated anything, here’s a sneak peek of what I’ve been working on!

There will of course, be a title on the cover, and not just pretty pictures. The phoenix was drawn by hand (over and over and over…) on paper, then on the computer. But it was just line art…so then I added gradients and textures to give it a little life.

Hope you like it!

A Work in Progress.
A Work in Progress.

(Some of) What Theatre Taught Me

Posted Posted in Random Thoughts, Uncategorized

Nearly every theatrical organization I can think of, for-profit or non-, devotes at least a portion of its efforts to theatrical education. Some more, some less; a few are even good at it. On the other hand, public schools are cutting back (and have for decades now) on arts education with the excuse that it’s “extra stuff”, and not important like math or reading. (more…)

Introducing Esteem: Part Three

Posted Posted in Projects, Ruinmakers, Updates

This is the third, and final part of the Esteem system introduction. You can catch parts one and two here and here, respectively.


Alignment is very easily described as intrinsic motivation. Why do you do what you do? What is the primary reason you think, do, or like certain things? We may both like painting portraits, but why?

For one person, it may be the human connection they have with the subject. For another, it’s an analysis of the human form, in all its variations and intricacies. Someone else may see it as a lucrative business opportunity, or preserving history, or because they love the feel of the brush against canvas.

A quick summary of how each trait fits in with the Esteem:

  • Venturing – risk taking, thrill seeking, adventure, or entrepreneurial in nature
  • Maintaining – preserving and participating in existing social/cultural structures
  • Creating – the artistic and artisanal flair, regardless of medium
  • Communal – prioritizes people and interpersonal considerations
  • Ordering – finds satisfaction in predictable, repeatable tasks
  • Investigating – curiosity killed the cat.

I hope you found this introduction intriguing. Ruinmakers is looking for its publishing home right now. Check back for more insider sneak peeks at the world of Ruinmakers!

Introducing Esteem: Part Two

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Part two of this little featurette is about the Accord. If you didn’t see Part One, go here.

Individuals of the Folnor Empire are tested multiple times throughout their childhood to steer them into a compatible career path. While not compulsory by law, it is customary. (Think of it as getting a driver’s license.) The first test reveals few surprises, as nearly every Affinity besides “stone” has been winnowed out of the vast majority of the gene pool.

The second test reveals an individual’s Accord, which represents their primary problem-solving method. Imagine the age-old “brick wall” scenario: You’re walking along minding your own business, and there’s a wall directly in your path. What do you do?

You might choose to climb over it. Or just walk around it. Or ask a bystander “Why is this wall here?” Or you could try to knock it over, or put a hole through it. You might try to persuade someone else to take the risk for you and report back. While not the only possible responses, your first inclination is governed by your Accord.

People of the same Accord get along well together. They tend to move in the same direction, and have similar priorities.

Introducing Esteem, Part One

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Projects, Ruinmakers, Updates


Long ago, the Runemakers discovered a way by which to test potential apprentices for the aptitude to create the magical symbols that power the daily life of the Folwyn Empire. Little by little, the test evolved into testing for the four Affinities. Every citizen is born with one, and the test is used not just to determine admission to the Runemakers Guild, but potential eligibility for every possible job in society.

Folnor City in particular has enjoyed a stable, predictable history with little internal turmoil since mandating that all rulers and runemakers must be of the Stone affinity, both for religious and practical reasons.

Rune now “Ruinmakers”

Posted Posted in Projects, Ruinmakers, Updates

Le book is just about done. And now it’s called Ruinmakers.


Two major changes were implemented during my latest revision, that make me considerably happier with the story. First, the setting has been updated to reflect a general “blah” feeling I had about the whole thing. In its inception, Ruinmakers aka Rune was sort of a standard fantasy, sans an abundance of dwarves, elves, or supermagical creatures. More of a medieval folklore than Lord of the Rings, or even The Wheel of Time. And I was unsatisfied with it.

I discovered that what was in my head the whole time, but didn’t make it onto the page was a world full of magical technology.

So I made the descriptions of a few things a bit more explicit, leading into the way things worked, and it gives the world a bit more flavor without screaming “STEAMPUNK PWNES YOU” or the like. The best way I can sum it up, is medieval magicpunk. Castles, but flying contraptions; crossbows, but fully automatic; armies, swords, bows and arrows, and a fair bit of sneaking around trying not to get caught.


The second major change is the introduction of the “Esteem” system, which I will more fully articulate in a later post. For now, it’s a really freaking cool system the Folwyn use to sort citizens into useful jobs. While technically optional, most of the guilds and all of the military require certain traits to guarantee the success and unity of their respective members. There are 3 categories of traits: Affinity, Accord, and Alignment, with a total of 192 possible combinations. No more do you have to wonder if you’re a Slytherin/Ravenclaw hybrid (I’m not pointing any fingers), or that you want to be Dauntless but feel factionless. There is room for everyone!


By the way, I love all of the aforementioned intellectual properties – I ain’t hatin’ on anyone.