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

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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.


Late-night Thankfulness

Posted Posted in Ruinmakers, Updates

This morning, between 12:01 and 12:30 am, I hunched groggily in front of my laptop with a clamor of frustration and a draining battery icon. My “Today was a great day! Time to close up shop and go to bed!” attitude was promptly shot to hell as I stopped work on the semi-titled fifteenth chapter, having declared it good enough for now.

Imagine my shock and dismay when the wonderfully edited sixteenth chapter (I work a little out of order sometimes) was no longer on the docket.

It’s not that I was ready to forge ahead. It’s that the entire contents had disappeared. There was a file in the right place; just no words to explain how a certain puppy and pigeon escape from the clutches of the evil witch. *Note: Not actually in my story.

Enter the wonderful world of redundant automated backups!

Scrivener (I don’t think of myself as a brand bandwagon kind of guy, but Keith at Literature and Latte has really made an exceptional piece of software) has a wonderful option to make a backup everytime the program is closed. It saves not just one or two backups…but the last five, which is a really good deal when you don’t realize something is amiss right away.

Hooray! I didn’t lose anything after all – I found the latest backup with the chapter included, and selectively restored it. Okay, I copied and pasted from one folder to another. Voila! No more mess.

And I got to bed relieved instead of grumpy.

Seven is in the bag!

Posted Posted in Ruinmakers, Updates

And Chapter Seven(ish) has been revised. Major rewrites, and the significant paring down of some very long-winded monologues. I think it’s in a much better place now, getting the main bits without having to sit through the entire lecture. It’s just like copying your friend’s notes in college!

Or in my case, only showing up to health class on test days, because it’s health class. It was only later I learned it annoyed the poop out of my roommate, who had the same class, went every day, bought the book, studied for every test, and still barely scraped a “B”.

In unrelated news, I have pretty well decided that Rune isn’t going to stay titled that. It might be appropriately dramatic when eight feet tall on the movie screen with Carmina Burana playing in the background, but to me it lacks magnetism of its own when seen on the spine crushed against six dozen similarly sized genre books.

I shall reveal its replacement title at a much further date in time…I have one picked out, 95% sure it’s the one. Anticipation…



Posted Posted in Ruinmakers

A culture on the verge of extinction. The spread of an empire. A prophet and a weapon. The power to destroy dynasties and build new ones.

Sometimes, your closest companions are your worst enemies. And sometimes, it’s the other way around.

Dagoric resigned himself to a life of trying to live up to his father’s rigid expectations. After rescuing the beautiful but forbidden Marcedra from a pursuing band of miscreants, his life becomes anything but easy. A simple rite of passage becomes a quest for identity, truth, freedom, and revenge.

Why is it so hard…

Posted Posted in Complaints, Updates

…To get a desk and a chair to go together?

Either one of them is hideously ugly, or massively uncomfortable (or just massive), and the end result is furniture that looks great in a product shot but does not play well together. Every time I stand up from my chair, the armrest bangs into the underside corner of my desk and bends the otherwise perfectly good (cheap) faux laminate. It’s to the point now the underside looks like the edge of pie crust.

In other news, Rune chapter 3 has been revised, with some potentially significant changes made. Significant in a “Haha! Now I can write a prequel story to go along with that bit!” kind-of-way.

Web design…ugh.

Posted Posted in Complaints

I know I’m not the only person on the planet who would rather have a root canal than deal with formatting PHP and CSS…If I didn’t hate it so much, I might be able to learn to be good at it. I have recently changed hosts, because let’s face it: two wordpress sites with a grand total of 115MB of content, and Alexa traffic somewhere between “Sorry, did someone click a link by accident?” and “Is that even ON the internet?!” do not cost $120 a year to run. And I’m a cheap bastard when it comes to annual renewals.

So if you happen to come across a dentist who will code my site in exchange for going under the really freaky mouth lamp thing, I’m in.

Progress Ahead!

Posted Posted in Updates

Now revising Chapter 2 of Rune (working title). My goal is to finish the darn thing so I can get it to my pre-selected editor, Beth Cordes, and be ready for some final formatting no later than August. It would be amazing to have it on (digital) shelves by Christmas.

I’m really leaning towards incorporating myself so I can fast track an EPUB, and then release a POD version so I can do a Goodreads giveaway.

I simply cannot tolerate some 2-years-to-market roadmap, I’ve spent far too long puttering with this thing already.