Development Diary #3

Stadbery, Ghaya

You’ll likely recognize this as the image that sits on top of my website, but the image isn’t random. Back in July 2014 when I decided to finally rebuild, I knew I wanted a compelling image that spoke to the kind of writer I am. I also wanted an image that related to my brand. My first epic fantasy series has many different locations and I thought that Stadbery, Ghaya would be a great image to show off one of those very fantastic settings.

Ghaya is a kingdom set among mountains. I’ve always had a vision of the Swiss Alps holding castle. I’m not the only author who has had a location similar to this, but that doesn’t matter to me. I find the setting very interesting and I wanted something like this to play with in my books. I’ll have more about Ghaya in future Developmental Diaries, but for now, I hope you appreciate this and I hope it fills your imagination with the dreams I have about this fantastical place.

Oh! I should also mention that this artwork was done by the wonderfully talented Phil Wade. I contacted Phil when I saw his work because I knew he had the style I was looking for in both a header for my site and for this small glimpse into my world. If you’re interested in contacting him for his talent, here’s a link to his website:


The Hzorah Mark

This is the Hzorah Mark. I had this designed because I needed it for other future designs I’m working on (yes, there’s lots more coming!). The Hzorah Mark is much like a family crest, but it is the symbol of all who are citizens of the Hzorah Crown.

The Hzorah Mark is composed of a crown, two swords and an anvil. Hzorah is a kingdom of strength, known for their mastery in smithing and forging weaponry. They’re not a nation that appreciates being pushed around and will not hesitate to move to battle when pushed too far. But above all, they are loyal to their king and his bloodline’s bravery. Hzorah is actually named after the tribe that pushed to unite several other tribes with the common goal of freeing themselves from the control of The Creed.

This mark is tattooed on citizens who reach twenty years. It’s not so much a symbol of ownership, but a mark of pride and loyalty. Gaining the mark is a coming of age ceremony that family and friends attend. The tattooing is accompanied by a celebration. Along with the Hzorah Mark, citizens often receive the mark of their guild or profession. This doubles as both pride in the hard work they’ve put into learning the skills of their trade and proof of their training. Hiring an individual who is marked with their craft comes with a set of expectations in quality. There are other types of marks as well, but that will open a new can of worms that I may get into at another time.

I should also point out the simplicity of the design. The reason for this is because I needed to make sure that it was a mark that could be easily transferable to various formats. It’s not just used as a tattoo, but for banners and official documents. I may tweak this again for a more fancy feel, but I will keep an overall clean design.


What About You?

Do you enjoy Epic Fantasy stories in the vein of Robert Jordan, Anne McCaffrey and Brandon Sanderson?

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These illustrations come out of my own pocket because I want those who read my books to have an immersive experience than many other writers don’t give with their epic fantasies.

Though my series hasn’t debuted yet, would you like to see other settings, symbols and characters in my world?

Let me know in the comments!