Site Features

Monday, October 28, 2013

On Recent Site Changes

Nearly one month ago I transitioned over to the new format, with two updates each week.  On Mondays, I post reviews of works by other independent authors, or create posts like today that look at my own creative process.  On Fridays, I post flash fiction that takes place in the world of Ryndaria.

For today, I'd like to discuss my takeaways after a month of producing content for the site and talk a little about what I've been working on.

Monday Reviews

I think the review posts continue to go well.  I completed reviews for three books in October, and all the authors seemed to appreciate the work and the feedback I was able to give.  I learned a lot and tweaked my reviewing format as I went.

One big change I made with my Rule of Thumb review was to go without a rating.  When I started, it seemed obvious to give a score to each book, but after reviewing a couple books, I realized my system for rating contained some flaws.

A rating system is not consistent with why I review books and post them to the site.  I see my reviews as a service to authors and their potential audience.  I want to connect readers with authors they may like.  The reviews also give me an opportunity to read a bunch of books I wouldn't otherwise read.

I do not feel comfortable giving an author a bad review in public.  I do not think it helps anyone to share a poor review of a fellow independent author's work.  I do not intend to be a critic that tells you which authors to stay away from.  I aim to highlight books I find that I enjoy, and share those with my readers.  If I find a book I feel is not worth reading, I will decline to post a review.

When talking about this with a friend, it became evident a rating system doesn't really make sense.  If every book I review is going to be 3, 4 or 5 "dragons," what does that mean?  The rating is meaningless since there are never 1-2 "dragon" books to compare with.

I do re-post my reviews to sites like Amazon and Goodreads.  Since those require a rating, I give a rating when I post the review.  So if you are really curious, you can look up my reviews on those sites.

I have a couple more stories in the pipeline to review.  Next up is James and the Dragon by Theresa Snyder.  I should have it ready by next Monday!

Are you an author looking for a review of your work?  Please find me on Twitter (@Ryndaria) and let me know.

Fantasy Flash Fiction

I completed my 4th flash fiction last Friday.  Each story is a little different in style and tone, and I continue to experiment with each new story I write.  I am still on track to release a new story each Friday, and will continue into the foreseeable future.

I hope you get a sense of the world of Ryndaria as you read these stories.  It is a dangerous world, and full of diverse peoples and societies.  I think it is obvious I am influenced by worlds such as Middle Earth (from Lord of the Rings), various Dungeons and Dragons settings like the Forgotten Realms, and even the reality of the world we live in.

Writing such short stories is more difficult than I originally thought it would be.  My earlier stories were much longer, yet said much less.  I think the practice of writing flash fiction will help clean up my writing style.  When I start to write longer stories again, I expect they will be much better reads.

I enjoy writing these stories, and I feel I improve with each one.  If you are looking to learn to write flash fiction (or any short story), I suggestion you look at Holly Lisle's free flash fiction course on her website,

I appreciate the feedback I've received for these stories, and hope you will consider posting feedback in the future.

In a couple weeks, I plan to put a poll up on the site.  I will ask you to vote on the story or character that most resonated with you.  One piece of feedback I continue to get is people want to hear more about these characters and their stories.  I will focus on writing more stories about the characters that receive the most votes.

Painting Miniatures

Many of you found my site through the pictures of the Dungeons and Dragons miniature figures I painted.  I received these minis from Reaper Miniature's ( "Bones" line of plastic, unpainted miniatures.  With Kickstarter, they raised over $3 million last year, allowing them to create molds for over 200 unique figures, and my support earned me their "core" set. 

They are doing so well, they just finished a 2nd Kickstarter campaign that raised another $3 million!  They can now produce hundreds more plastic miniatures next year.  I look forward to the many new figures that will be available next year when they complete production.

I continue to learn a ton about painting these figures.  I want to dedicate a post to them in the near future, but I learned taking pictures of these little toys is very difficult!  As my wife and I learn to take better pictures, I will write a more detailed post.

Thank you for reading today.  Please leave a comment below.  What would you like to see me tackle next?  What works for you and what doesn't?  I love any constructive feedback you might give!

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