- Shadow of the Winter King
- Shield of the Summer Price
- Mask of the Blood Queen
…is a 30-something speculative fiction author and game designer.
He has published eight novels to date, including novels in the storied Forgotten Realms, his World of Ruin epic fantasy setting (Shadow of the Winter King  and the forthcoming Shield of the Summer Prince ), as well as stand-alone novels for Broken Eye Books (Scourge of the Realm) and the Ed Greenwood Group (Blind Justice).
His short work has appeared in numerous anthologies and online, and he is the author of the multimedia superhero project, Justice/Vengeance (including fiction, spoken word, and comics).
In his work as a game designer, he has contributed to products from such companies as Wizards of the Coast and Privateer Press, and he is a lead creative consultant on Red Aegis from Vorpal Games.
He lives in Seattle with his wife, cats, and dog.
This is the main story of my World of Ruin series, assembled here in chronological order.
“King’s Shield,” Women in Practical Armor, Evil Girlfriend Media, Fall 2016. Kindle, Paperback
Twenty years before the action of Shadow of the Winter King, Ovelia witnesses the birth of Lenalin’s first child and must immediately make a terrible choice: rescue the prince, as is her duty, or rescue her dear friend the princess, as her heart tells her. Featuring a very familiar, terrifying antagonist! (Back the WOMEN IN PRACTICAL ARMOR anthology today!)
“Oathbreaker: A Tale of the World of Ruin,” When the Hero Comes Home, Dragon Moon Press, June 2011.
Fifteen years before Shadow of the Winter King, Regel finds that some fates cannot be undone, and some oaths cannot be broken.
“Angel of Tears,” BLACKLIST e-book anthology, companion to BLACKGUARDS from Ragnarok Publications, Spring 2015.
After the fall of the Winter King but before the main action of Shadow of the Winter King, Serris seeks to rescue her master, Regel the King’s Shadow, from an unseemly pact with a foul new master. Brute force will not win the day, but the Circle of Tears is known for its treachery, and Serris is the Circle’s queen.
Shadow of the Winter King, first book of the World of Ruin series, Dragon Moon Press, May 2014. Amazon Paperback, Amazon Kindle, B&N Paperback, B&N Nook.
The last true knight of the Blood of Winter must forge an unlikely bargain with his most hated enemy to mete out justice in a world falling to chaos and darkness.
Shield of the Summer Prince, second book of the World of Ruin series, Dragon Moon Press, November 2015. Kindle, Amazon Paperback
Two sets of heroes set out from Tar Vangr after the assault on Blood Ravalis–one south, one north. The last true prince of Blood Ravalis returns to Luether, the southern city of his birth, seeking to reclaim it once and for all from the Children of Ruin. To this end, he brings along a hero thought lost, who must face her own struggles. And little do either of them know, sinister forces plot their doom in the hot shadows of the City of Pyres.
Mask of the Blood Queen, third book of the World of Ruin series, Dragon Moon Press, March 2017.
Two sets of heroes set out from Tar Vangr after the assault on Blood Ravalis–one south, one north. Regel the Oathbreaker and the mysterious assassin Mask press through the frozen wilderness, evading barbarians, living magic, and the doom of an ancient world, seeking to find refuge in the fabled Necthana, City of the Deathless. But even as the endless cold settles in, destiny beats hot in the blood, and the companions do not see eye to eye. The creature called Mask has a different agenda, one that will shake the World of Ruin to its moldering foundations.
Tales of the World of Ruin
These are stories set in the World of Ruin, but not directly related to the main story. Exactly when they transpire is a matter of some debate.
“Hunger of the Blood Reaver: A Tale of the World of Ruin,” When the Villain Comes Home, Dragon Moon Press, August 2012. (Amazon, Kindle)
“Which is the greater tragedy? That you have all that power and do not use it, or you think you can stop yourself?”
“Apostle of the Crimson Destroyer: A Tale of the World of Ruin,” Chronicles of the Demon Lord, Schwalb Entertainment, November 2016 (Schwalb Ent, DriveThruRPG)
“Find the Bael, rally whatever warriors remained, fight back, save those she could. Find a way to survive. Get revenge.”
About the Setting
I imagine the World of Ruin as a collision between an epic fantasy saga like Game of Thrones in a world like Fallout.
Centuries after a magical war destroyed most of civilization and polluted the environment beyond repair, the last survivors of humanity emerged from the shelter of their underground castles and tombs to find a darkened world perpetually on the verge of destruction. Some emerged too early, and were twisted by the roving living magic into insane barbarians who style themselves the Children of Ruin.
Now, the last bastions of sanity stand against the encroaching rage of the dying world all around them. One by one, they have fallen into ruin over the decades, until one last holdfast remains: Tar Vangr, mage-city of Steel and Winter, kept strong by the ascendant Orbrin Denerre, the Winter King. Until the terrible ruin’s night when he is slain, and it all begins to unravel.
Influences and Inspirations
Aside from the obvious parallels to the Fallout games and extremely dark fantasy series like Game of Thrones, etc, the World of Ruin also draws upon my deep and abiding love for Final Fantasy. It is a place of skyships and magic-propelled weaponry, of swords imbued with thaumaturgical power sparking off whirring powered armor.
Considering my background and skills as a game designer, it has occasionally come up whether I will create a RPG to go along with the World of Ruin, and the answer is a solid maybe. For now, I run games in the setting on the Shadow of the Demon Lord engine, which makes it a particular honor that I got to take part in Rob Schwalb’s amazing success, by writing a World of Ruin story for his Chronicles of the Demon Lord anthology.