Misc Posts

How to Choose a Book Title

It doesn’t matter if you are an aspiring or experienced writer, when it’s time to choose a book title it can feel overwhelming. You want it to catch a reader’s attention, you want it to convey the theme of the book, and you want it to feel unique to the story you are telling. It can all be overwhelming! We outlined three simple strategies below to help you in naming your book. These are strategies we put into place when we choose book titles for our Thread of Souls series.

The Aesthetic Title

You may want to choose a title that focuses on the specific aesthetic of your story. Is your story dark and moody? Is it romantic and epic? Is it violent and strategic? If you have an idea of the vibes of your story, you can begin to create a short list of words related to them. Try not to fall into the stereotypical trap of young adult novels with edgy names, but instead choose words that relay the moods and themes of your work.

For example, if you book is romantic, you might want to include a color of passion in the title, like red or purple. Or aesthetics associated with romance such as flowers, fire, silk, the night, or chocolate.

Animals are also good metaphors for themes in your book. Foxes are associated with being cunning, owls for wisdom, dogs for loyalty, elephants for sturdiness, or spiders for laying traps.

Consider other symbols and what they mean. A full moon is often associated with power. Storms are often associated with troubling times. Rain for rebirth, a garden for life, an apple for temptation, and so on.

Here are some real-life examples: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White, and Midnight Beauties by Megan Shepherd.

The Prominent Name Title

You may choose your book title based on something prominent within the story itself. This could be a character, a location, or an item of note. This brings the focus onto something instrumental to your story’s plotline.

Some examples of stories named after characters: Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare, The Book of Mordred by Vivian Vande Velde, and Pendragon by D.J. MacHale.

Some examples of stories named after locations within: The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien, Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, and Out of Africa by Karen Blixen.

Some examples of stories named after an item within: The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis, Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, and The Singing Sword by Jack Whyte.

The Fairytale Setting Title

Sometimes you might want to cement the grand scale of the story you are telling. This is especially helpful if you are telling a book trilogy or series. This allows you to be flexible with subtitles, as well! When going for this type of book title, choose a synonym for “story” and then something else from the list above, such as a character name. We’ve got some great examples below!

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss, and A Song of Ice and Fire from George R. R. Martin.


How We Chose the Thread of Souls Names

“Thread of Souls” relates to everything that is published within our fantasy world. It not only goes with our theme of multiple character POV’s and how they influence each other, but also of the prominent goddess of death in the stories and her theme of threads. Readers familiar with Greek mythology will easily recognize the allusion to the Fates.

The eight-book series we are currently on is dubbed the “Spider Octology”. This is not only because of a prominent god feature and the number of books in the series, but also is thematic since spiders are associated with laying traps.

Here is a breakdown of the subtitles of the four books published so far:

Book 1 – Phantom Five. This is named after the adventuring group the Phantom Five created across the story.

Book 2 – Ash & Thunder. Not only is this title a bit aesthetic for the chaos and violence in the book, but it also directly relates to two major battles that take place within.

Book 3 – Path of the Spiders. Many secrets are uncovered in this book regarding Taliesin’s missing spiders.

Book 4- Asunder. The story begins with many of our heroes split apart, and thus the group has been torn asunder.

We hope this has been helpful to you! We’d love to hear how you came up with the names for your stories below!

Misc Posts, The Spool of Souls: Updates & News

“Days of Tales” Interview with TheLionKnight42

The second annual “Days of Tales” is coming to Twitch. We were a part of the stream last year, and though we won’t be playing this year, we again are donating copies of our Thread of Souls books to this cause. In anticipation for the upcoming TTRPG event on March 24 – 26th, we reached out to the creator of “Days of Tales”, known across the web as TheLionKnight42, to talk about what to expect.

“Days of Tales” was wonderful fun last year, it’s so exciting to see it make a return! What has inspired you to do this event?

Ha! There are so many answers to that one. If I had to keep it simple, the fact is that the first event did so amazingly well, and was such a huge tool for both supporting an amazing cause in the National Network of Abortion Funds, and for forging so many new relationships between some really great people in the community. I loved seeing everyone get to meet each other and come together to tell these amazing stories while also providing an opportunity to fight back against something absolutely awful that was going on.

It’s also no secret that I was dealing with a lot during the first event. I was still fairly new to the community and just sort of threw myself into this major event, and I lost my father just before we kicked off the weekend. The event was such a big bonding experience between us, and it made him so happy to know so many people wanted to come together for such a great cause, so for me, the hope is that we can run these events at least a few times every year.

We see the charity this year is NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. This is a wonderful cause, is there any more you can tell us about it?

NAMI is awesome! We try really hard to vet charities before we raise money for them, and everyone had such great things to say about NAMI. So many people struggle with mental illness and we as a society only really recognize so much of it on a day to day basis, and it can lead to a lot of misconceptions or a lack of respect for those struggles. NAMI does so much work to provide support for people who otherwise might be overlooked, and who don’t necessarily get the tools that they need to deal with the struggles that are both inherent to mental illness and those that arise as a result of a lack of understanding or respect that exists in the day to day. 

Educational programs that help with families and educators so that they can better understand the issues, advocacy for people struggling and for smaller groups that fight in endless uphill battles to ensure support and programs, emotional support, and events meant to raise public awareness. These are all such important tools, and NAMI focuses on all of these things. By ensuring that people get financial, emotional, and engaged support and by providing the opportunity for people to get a better understanding of what these issues that people with mental illness look like, NAMI just really does such an amazing job.

 What are some of the games we can look forward to at this year’s event?

Oh we’ve got some great games lined up this time around! From big book games like Vampire from Renegade Studios (World of Darkness) and Pathfinder 2e from Paizo, to an amazing PBTA game called Thirsty Sword Lesbians by April Kit Walsh and Mutants & Masterminds from Stephen Kenson and Green Ronin Publishing, to smaller (but still amazing) games like Eat Trash, Do Crime by ThoughtPunks and When The End Comes by Sandra Catharin, we’re really excited to be hitting all points on the spectrum of games.

We’ve got a really cool japanese TTRPG that hasn’t had an official translation yet called Dracurouge where you play as vampire knights in a time when the sun has been blotted out, and the players struggle with finding passion and positive emotion to stave off their thirst, lest they become monsters. There’s so much room to explore there, and really all of our games are going to provide some really interesting spaces to explore, some emotional, some ridiculous, but all compelling and, most importantly, fun!

It’s really exciting to have such a wide sweep of games, especially at a time when people are looking for alternatives to the Big One, and it’s a great opportunity to give people a look at some of the other fantastic games that exist out there.

Last year’s event had many wonderful creators and players within the TTRPG space. Do you know of any that will be joining this year, or is it too early?

There’s just so many incredible people along for the ride! We’re really excited to be working with Amber (Thespacejamber on Twitter). They were a huge part of pulling off our first Days of Tales, helping us find the National Network of Abortion Funds, helping us figure out how to reach out to people and how to set up the call sheet. Unfortunately they weren’t able to join us for any of the games and I’m really just so glad to get the opportunity to have them with us, so they can hang out and have a good time with a wonderful game from an amazing GM in Justina (JustinaRevolution on Twitter)!

We’ve got Rev from ThoughtPunks who is running the game he wrote, Eat Trash, Do Crime, which is a completely unhinged game of anarchist raccoons and the crimes they commit to amass their shinies and fill their bellies! Rev does some amazing stuff, and it’s always so much fun, so I can’t wait to see that one in action!

You’ll also get to see a bunch of other familiar faces from a lot of our weekly games as well, both as players and Taleslingers (our term for GMs), as well as a number of people coming in from other studios for the cause, all of whom I am beyond excited to get the chance to produce for and host.

 Is there anything else you’d like to share about “Days of Tales 2”?

Alongside the games we’ll be running across the weekend, we’ve also got three panels across the weekend, one each day. We did one for our first event and it went so well that I really wanted to expand. I thought this could be a really great opportunity to provide some space to different groups and concepts that exist within the community that everyone could do with more of, while also providing insight and tools for more than just the TTRPG setting, but things you can utilize in your day to day life as well.

On Friday we have a panel that focuses on Disabled Experiences in Gaming and Accessibility, hosted by Esther, a game designer and the Storyteller for Chromythica (dungeonminister on twitter), which will offer some really wonderful people with an opportunity to share what they’ve gone through and ways that we as the community at large can provide more accessibility, understanding, and support so that TTRPGs can continue to be for everyone. It’s a great panel to kick off the panels for the weekend, and from what I know of the plans for it, there’s going to be a great deal of information and insight laid out that I can’t wait for people to check out!

Saturday we have a panel on Burnout hosted by Julian of Everyday Superhero Podcast (ESHerocast on Twitter). Burnout is such a huge, wide sweeping thing and can take so many different forms, and it’s something that, even if it gets brought up often, doesn’t usually include suggestions or tips on how to combat it, or resolve it. The hope is that this panel will provide a number of tools and concepts that can be put to use in order to better understand, deal with, and avoid burnout where possible. 

And on Sunday we have a BIPOC Experiences in Gaming panel, Hosted by RPG Scholar and Pop Culture Historian Stefan Huddleston (UmbralKnightX on Twitter) which will delve into a lot of the underlying issues that are still rampant in the TTRPG community, offer insight on how some of these problematic concepts came to be, and how we can go about working on removing these issues as we grow together to provide better, safer, and more comfortable experiences for everyone, along with providing their own experiences at tables, what leads them to the stories they tell and characters they play, and why it’s so important to be cognizant of those experiences and voices.

All in all we’ve got a really fantastic crew of people along with us for these panels, and judging from what I know of the plans, they are absolutely cannot miss.

We’ve also got some really great giveaways that we’ll be running through the event, dice and dice trays from Phoenix Dice (phoenixdice on Twitter), a really neat dice box from The Shady Sail (TheShadySail on Twitter), custom art from both our in studio artist Miss Moon & Andy from LostHavenArt (LostHavenArt on Twitter), a bunch of stuff courtesy of Steve Jackson Games, A number of things from Thought Punks library, including a bunch of their games and even the opportunity to have Rev run a game for you and your friends, and of course, your book series as well! 

It’s another example of how amazing the community is and how everyone comes together for these opportunities to show love and support in a way that will always warm my heart. Days of Tales 2 runs March 24th through the 26th, from Noon to Midnight EST all three days, and even if you can’t donate at all, sharing the info and showing up to voice support in the chat means the world to us all. I can’t wait for the event, the taleslingers and casts are super pumped, and we hope y’all are too!

You can watch the “Days of Tales” stream on Twitch from March 24th – 26th 12pm-12am EST.

You can learn more about TheLionKnight42 through his page!

Lore, Misc Posts

International Women’s Day – Thread of Souls Celebrates

Here at Thread of Souls we are honoring International Women’s Day with a post about our female characters. As husband and wife co-authors, it is wonderful to take this day to celebrate not only Talia’s contributions to the books, but also the women of Thread of Souls that make it what it is.

From Talia

Hello! It’s me, Talia (aka Ashley) co-author of Thread of Souls and co-owner of Tal & Ru Travels LLC with my amazing husband. Growing up, I was exposed to a lot of sexism from my adoptive family on what a woman should or should not do, say, or believe (and a man, too, but that’s for another time). I am proud of separating myself from those punishing viewpoints, and proud to have a partner that thrives with me in fully embracing ourselves and our dreams for the future.

I have been writing all my life, even before I could properly spell words. I wrote my own books, and when I was old enough to have my own laptop I got into the world of fanfiction and won many awards for my works. Even though I drifted away from my path as an author by following bad advice, I have re-discovered my purpose and passion when I began Thread of Souls with my husband (then-fiance.) You can learn more about my journey here.

Being a female business owner and author, it gives me a wonderful opportunity to showcase characters for who they are in their hearts and souls, and not who they are as defined by gender. I am proud to push a narrative forward that shows complex female characters. Jade was my first character created for Thread of Souls, and the last 8 years with her have been wonderful. Dorian created two of our other major female characters, Ruuda and Jasita. If I had just met Dorian at a TTRPG table and saw the character he was playing was a dual-wielding, super strong, female dwarf with a beard I would have fallen in love with him all over again haha. And if I had met him again when he created and played Jasita, an asexual, analytical, numbers-focused researcher, I would have fallen in love a third time.

We do not create characters with defying harmful stereotypes in mind. Rather, we create a person. As complex, flawed, and beautiful as people are in real life. Men who cry. Women who don’t need romance. Bisexuals that are not horny. Black characters that are kings. For us, we simply ask Who is this person? Where did they come from? What do they want? And How does that shape their personality?

So let’s honor some highlighted female characters from our books below. There are so many more that we can’t possibly feature them all! Monster-hunter Encarna, vampire tyrant Corentin, high priestess Maiathah, and much more. Happy International Women’s Day, and may you continue to showcase complex female characters in your own stories!

The Characters

Ruuda of Clan Drybarrel is a pragmatic, fierce, and no-nonsense dark dwarf. She dual-wields a sword of fire and a war hammer, named Liquor and Forge Breaker respectively. Ruuda loves animals, and would rather spend a night camping under the stars than in the finest tavern in the world. Her love of beer comes from her Clan, which have been brewers for generations. She is the youngest of 12 children and is used to speaking up to get her voice heard. Growing up in a caste system, Ruuda never received a Blessing from their god, the Forge King. This has left a bad taste in Ruuda’s mouth for all things religious and celestial in nature. She has sworn to find the Forge King and make him pay for not Blessing her.


Jade Galanodel is a wild elf druid that lives a nomadic life traveling Corventos. Connected with nature, she avoids cities if at all possible, and is highly judgmental of the urban way of life. She travels with her rescued pet fox, and follows the signs the spirits of nature give her. An accomplished herbalists and cartographer, she is a powerful spellcaster that stands up against injustice. So long as it happens outside of the city walls. Those people can keep their own problems. After losing her fiancé in battle, Jade searches for a new purpose in life. She may have just found one with the mysterious creature known as Rehanine that attempted to kill her in her home city of Oceala.


Jasita Yolarin is a high elf crystalmancer, researcher, and telepathic prodigy. Growing up in the beautiful capital city Eleste’si to historian parents, she was identified at a young age for her talent and taken to the prestigious Citadel. A place of magical study, law, and authority. Jasita did not fit in well with the other students. She found emotions confusing and relationships complicated. Facts and numbers interested her far more. Especially the study of ancient and forgotten elven history that involves dark elves. Jasita excels in everything she puts her mind to, so long as it has nothing to do with people, and is happiest with a book in her hands. Her life is shaken, however, when she encounters a dark elf that has runaway from his home.


Misc Posts

“Writing Rules” – Do You Actually Need Them?

You don’t have to look far on the internet to find multiple people posting their own “writing rules”. It’s on Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, published books, and more. Some are from professional authors, some from amateurs, and some from just random people who think they have talent but haven’t published anything yet. As authors ourselves and people who often publish blogs about writing tips and tricks, this begs the question, do you actually need rules for writing? Are there actual do’s and don’t’s that make or break your book? Or is it all just nonsense from people with superiority complexes?

Too Much Info

When you start to look up some guidelines for writing online, it doesn’t take long before it all just feels too much. “Describe eyes like this”, “Don’t describe eyes at all“, “Don’t use prologues“, “Use prologues”, “Don’t slow down your pace“, “Give the reader time to breathe“. It all feels a bit contradictory. If you are looking for hard advice to follow, it can seem like a losing battle.

This reminds me of an amusing quote I found on Pinterest once that made fun of these writing rules by saying “the best thing to give your reader is just a blank page“.

Do Rules Have a Place in Creative Writing?

When you are writing a creative piece, is there really a need for rules? Do you need to follow a formulaic plotline? Or do you simply write what is in your heart? Everyone has different tastes in stories. What one person likes to read will be completely different than what someone else likes to read. It begs the question if there is much of a point in sticking to certain specifications as if that will magically make your book the perfect story for every single person in the world.

We once worked as part of a writing team for a company, and one member of the team believed that stories should have a “you did this / you go there” POV so that the reader is drawn in to believe they are part of the story. But for both of us personally, we really dislike those types of POV’s and don’t enjoy stories written like that. This team member spouted out all these “rules for writing” to support his point, but does that have any merit when it actually comes down to personal taste?

Breaking the Writing Rules

We watched a documentary about J.R.R. Tolkien once, and something said in it will always stick with us. It said that his Lord of the Rings books would be considered completely unmarketable today because they break all the “rules” of telling a story. And yet, they still live on as one of the best works of fantasy. Unless, of course, you don’t like The Lord of the Rings, in which case refer to the paragraph above.

We knew an author who was a huge Stephen King fan, and he read many of King’s guides on writing. As such, he believed one should never, ever, use adverbs. However, he was also a big fan of Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle. Having read The Name of the Wind, we found this an interesting point of view since Rothfuss liberally uses adverbs. In our opinion, both authors tell fantastic stories, though we are much bigger fans of fantasy than horror.

When Should You Actually Pay Attention to Writing Rules?

So, is there any use for these writing rules if all it comes down to is personal preference? When we post blogs or entries on social media giving writing tips, it is with the intention that people will use this if they are seeking help, or an outside point of view. Not as a rule to always follow. We really dislike the dialogue tag “said” and use it as infrequently as possible. We have written a blog post about alternatives to use. But if you like “said” and hate all other tags, more power to you! You do what works best for you. That post is only meant for those seeking input on different ways to write dialogue.

If you love you writing as-is, don’t worry about what others say you should or should not do. We do think that everyone can benefit from hearing outside viewpoints on how others go about their writing, and writing courses, but that doesn’t mean you suddenly have to change what you do entirely just because someone else does it that way.

Final Thoughts

Perhaps we should change “writing rules” to “writing opinions”. So many young, potential authors get scared off of ever starting a book because a random person on the internet will toss around these rules like they are decrees sealed in blood that you must follow or end up a failure with no future. This is just silly. Tell the story that is in your heart exactly the way you want to tell it. There are people out there who it will resonate with. And in the end, you have told your story the way you wanted to, and that is the most important thing.

Misc Posts, The Spool of Souls: Updates & News

Asunder: Behind the Scenes of Book IV

It’s an exciting time! The fourth book in our Thread of Souls series, Asunder, is launching next week on December 15th! As we prepare for this final leg of publication, we’d love to share what’s been going on behind the scenes with the book.

Finalizing the Cover

We recently unveiled the cover for Asunder! We worked closely with our artist, Vivien Reis, to ensure it captured the mood and setting of the book. We are super, super happy with how it turned out! To help our artist out, we provided her with a lot of images seen in the recently released book trailer as well as some of the promotional artwork we’ve been using.


The Summary

We also finalized the book’s back cover summary, going through various revisions until we were happy with it. The biggest hurdle we had to overcome was deciding which major character to feature on the back cover. We had Brother Zok for Phantom Five, Unole for Ash & Thunder, and Taliesin for Path of the Spiders. It was Dorian that had the idea we went with! The official summary will be unveiled this weekend across all social media!

Ordering an Asunder Proof

We are awaiting a final proof from Amazon to ensure it all looks exactly how we want it to! That consisted of formatting the book and dealing with all the annoyances that come along with that haha! It can be a two-day process of copying over the text, ensuring all chapter headings are formatted the same, adjusting picture ratios, fixing any lingering spaces between paragraphs, and even adjusting the margins. I ran into a problem with the page numbers being too low and it took me longer than it should have to realize what the problem was and how to fix it haha.

The Book Trailer

After a few months of work, the trailer is done! I drew all the art, Dorian animated, and we used a song our friend composed. Earlier this year we were for sure going to do the trailer, but then in the summer things got really busy and we abandoned the idea. But in October we decided to do it once again and we’re so glad we did! It turned out super cool haha. I drew the art on multiple layers and sent them over individually to Dorian, who used his magic to give them 3D-esque effects and make them move and glow.

A Difficult Time

As some of you know, it’s been a really crazy time for us. We were launching Asunder just a month after doing major updates to the first three books in terms of covers, the map’s format, and some other interior details. It also happened to be at the same time we both got laid off from our full-time jobs, then we got food poisoning, then we were moving, and then I re-tore my abdominal muscle (that I originally injured in 2018, and injured again in 2021). Throughout all this, we’ve tried to continue to put effort into our passion for Thread of Souls and what it means to us, and to our readers.

Thank you for your continued support of Thead of Souls! I hope you enjoy Asunder when it launches on Amazon on December 15th!

Misc Posts

Our Journey to Become Writers

How did you become a writer?” When we tell people what we do, their reaction is always the same. Eyes widen, smiles cross their faces, and a look of intrigue and interest passes over them. They ask that question, typically followed by “What do you write?” and “How did you get into that?”

Answers to those then usually lead to the inappropriate questions of income, but I believe the meaning behind them is sincere. People that are not within the arts have a hard time wrapping their mind around others being creative for a living.

So here is our story. It is very condensed for blog purposes, but I hope it inspires those seeking to write. If not, we hope it is at least entertaining!

Childhood Dreams

I believe everyone that ends up being a writer already knew they would from childhood. This was true for Dorian and I both, though the details were different.

I have been crafting stories ever since I could pick up a pencil. Even before I was old enough to know how to spell and write sentences, I told my stories through a series of pictures Crayon-colored across ripped-out notebook pages. It is little wonder I ended up loving drawing so much!

Once I learned how to write, that was my hobby. My love. My passion. I wrote everything. I wrote Star Wars fanfics even before I knew what a fanfiction was. I wrote stories inspired by characters from my set of Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. My original story was selected to be put up in my elementary school. If my adoptive parents hadn’t kept such a tight leash on me, I probably would have been involved in community writing programs and field trips. Such was my love for it.

By my preteen years I was writing 200+ page novels by hand. I had written six of them by the time I was 18. And one ghost-story children’s book, but I quickly found I didn’t like writing children’s stories. My reading was advanced, and so my writing reflected what I read.


For Dorian, he started out differently. His love of the craft came not from putting words on paper, but from the art of storytelling. He dabbled in creating short films with his friends as an adolescent. He admired the early pioneers in digital journalism, especially for video games, comics, and other fantasy topics.

The largest project he undertook in his adolescence was writing a comic book series called “Produce Guy”, inspired by his local job at a grocery store. It involved a produce worker getting superpowers and battling villains in a light-hearted and witty storyline. Alas, it never got past the first draft as he had no artist friends.

Early Careers

For me, experiences with college and “advice” from my adoptive parents made me believe pursuing a career as a writer wasn’t the right path. I need to go into the corporate world! I got my degree in psychology, which I still believe today helps me write characters.

During college I spent my free time writing fanfictions for The Legend of Zelda, Xiaolin Showdown, Sonic the Hedgehog and the like. I had a lot of success and won many community awards, including “Fanfic of the Year”, “Best Adventure”, and “Best Romance.”

I went into Human Resources, specifically recruitment because I like to help people. I thought I would be helping people get a job and enjoy their work life. But my personality did not mesh well with corporations, and I was appalled by the systemic racism I found within which even went as far as a boss telling me to bring him “less brown people”.

Wanting to get away from that culture, I moved into career advisement for a college. I enjoyed a more practical approach to helping graduates. I helped them write resumes and even published one career-oriented newspaper that then got cancelled by executive leadership because they didn’t want to get graduates’ “hopes up” that they could land a certain career. Covering their asses, as it were.

Suffice to say, I was burned out and depressed by the lack of creativity within these spaces, and felt quite hopeless about my future.

I met Dorian just as I was graduating college. Unlike me, he was more closely following a career as a writer. He’d been discouraged from pursuing the type of writing he wanted by family, saying it wouldn’t “lead anywhere”. So instead, he worked across a few local news stations in his early career. He moved from entry-level cameraman job to writing stories for the anchors as well as for website publication. He wrote commercials, breaking news, and produced the newscast as a whole.

On the side, he wrote and hosted a podcast for Einfo Games for free as a way to indulge his creative side. The side that enjoyed fantasy stories and adventure. Like me, he didn’t enjoy his jobs and wanted a better fit for himself. He’d gone to college for journalism, even though it wasn’t the university he’d desired or the specific degree program to get him where he wanted to go. Like me, he’d followed the advice of family and it wasn’t turning out how he’d hoped.

The Turning Point

I would say 2018 was the biggest turning point for us. Three years after we got married and bought a house, we were both laid off from our jobs. My college closed down, and his news station did staffing cuts. We were at home for six months, and for the first time we started to explore other options.

Maybe we didn’t need to live in this state? Maybe we could follow our original dreams? Maybe we could turn both of our passions of writing into something else?

A series of events happened from 2018-2020 that really kick-started this. I took a remote job writing resumes for clients on a freelance basis. This allowed me flexibility with my schedule and the ability to pursue other passions.

Dorian wrote freelance across a variety of platforms remotely, this time focusing on nerdy news. He wrote for free for a website called The Nerd Stash for a couple of years, getting me on the staff, as well. We also both wrote for Car Bibles and The Drive, this time for pay. He was published across other platforms on a freelance basis, which was very hard work to get pitches accepted for a writer that had no big names behind him.

Still, at least we were enjoying ourselves for once. We were both at home together, writing about things we actually liked. Minus the resumes for me, of course, but it paid well. And there was Thread of Souls.


The Beginning of Thread of Souls

We started playing our first tabletop game in September of 2015, two months before we got married. I was more hesitant, not really understanding what it was. I only agreed to join because only two of Dorian’s friends agreed to show up for the first game, despite him helping a large group learn the rules and make characters. After that, I was hooked.

I loved the game so much I started drawing for the first time since starting my corporate career. As the game progressed, I thought about writing again. I wanted to turn this story we were telling into a book series. When I was around 19 years old I had tried to get my novels published. But I was young, inexperienced, unpolished, and didn’t have a great deal of support to help me learn what I needed to do. Because these books were based off a game that was so close to our hearts, I didn’t want to go down that path again. I didn’t want them changed by a publisher for what was “marketable” or “trendy”. I wanted to tell our story the same way it had touched my heart.

In 2019 we wrote and published Phantom Five independently. And in 2020 we did the same with Ash & Thunder. This initially was just for fun. Just because we loved it. When other people began to read it, and give it good reviews, we realized we had something special. Something that other people might enjoy and be moved by.

Our Lives Now

Both of our careers have become more stable after the drastic shift we took to become writers. We write for video games and still do some freelance work. But our focus is on Thread of Souls. We publish one book a year and intend to increase that number as the years go on with supplemental stories. We also started publishing for Dungeon Master’s Guild. Thread of Souls may have started as a mashup of many tabletop games, but it did not take long for us to change it to a fully homebrewed game with our own rules, pantheon, monster stats, and classes. We decided to share that creativity on another platform.

That has led to a social media presence, and Dorian getting back into video production for YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. It has led to our weekly blog writing and getting to express ourselves creatively through other means. We also became digital nomads, moving from one city to another, and sometimes traveling in our campervan.

That does not mean everything is easy. After all, for writers the future is often a question mark. You can only hope the jobs don’t stop, and that people keep buying your work. But after layoffs from the corporate world, that wasn’t exactly stable, either. For us, the freedom and sense of personal achievement we feel is far worth the risk.

If you are looking to become a writer, my advice is this. Don’t let people who have never followed this path tell you what you should or should not do. They don’t know. If you can find a mentor, or be involved in a group, all the better. I wish we’d had that. You don’t need to worry about a degree or work history. One of our most fulfilling creative roles hired us just because of the content on our website and never asked to see a resume. Doing something even though it’s risky is far better than doing something “stable” that drains you. And finally, be loyal to your own dream above anyone else’s dream.

Misc Posts

Celebrate Read a New Book Month

This September we are celebrating “Read a New Book Month”! You can also totally celebrate in December, since that is also designated as a new book month. For us, September is the doorstep of our favorite season of the year, and it has us looking to settle down, find some new books, and enjoy a slower pace of life.

Choose Your Weapon

When looking for a new book, there are many avenues available! A big chain like Barnes & Noble has plenty to choose from, or you might want to go to a local bookshop and find some hidden gems. Going online to stores like Amazon enables you to support indie authors who might not be able to get their books into larger stores. Or if you find yourself pressed for time to sit down and read, audiobooks are another option! Don’t overlook your local library if you don’t want to spend money.

What Genre?

We are lovers of high fantasy, and that tends to be 80% of what we read. But we also enjoy some spooky stories, some urban fantasy, and some nonfiction books. Stick with what you like, or it might be fun to branch out and try something new! If you are uncertain about spending money on a book you are not sure you’ll like, you can find ebooks for relatively cheap, especially from indie authors. Some sites like Amazon also let authors do a temporary free promotion of their book, so you can try one without any cost! Keep in mind the authors do not make any money from this, so you can tell they truly want to share their work if they do free promotions.


We’ve definitely written plenty of posts talking about some of our favorite books. If you are looking for some inspiration, feel free to check these out!

Are there any books you recommend for this list?

D&D / TTRPGs, Misc Posts, Video Games

Best Video Game Character Creators to Build Your Characters

Visualizing a character in a book series or tabletop game is all up to the imagination. Authors, readers, and players have an idea of how a character looks but they both may be entirely different from one another. No two will see a character the same, and that’s a good thing. As long as the author describes how they look, the reader forms a complete image in their head.

Yet, as authors ourselves, we like to see our characters come to life. To get a better picture of them, we turn to art and video games. Along with Talia’s original art of each character, making them in video games is a great way to take them from our imagination.

Whether you’re an author or a reader, here are some of our favorite video game character creators.

1. Elder Scrolls Online

Ruuda looking at nature

Elder Scrolls Online is a game where you’ll spend plenty of time with your character. The world is massive and you’ll spend hours adventuring across Tamriel so having a character you enjoy playing is key. Even more so, having one that is nice to look at is a bonus. The game is beautiful and provides so many customization options for your character.

From their height, build, muscles, and race, there is plenty to choose from. There are even accessories to go through and several hairstyles and colors to choose from. Though we’ll count off a few points for not having dwarf as a race but that’s more related to lore than a problem of the creator. For those who want to play a dwarf, as we do for our character Ruuda, we suggest making a dark elf and roleplaying them as a dwarf, or dwemer in Elder Scrolls lore.

Once you’re through with customizing your character, the next best thing is selecting their clothing. Which can be done an unlimited amount of times throughout the game.

2. Baldur’s Gate 3


Baldur’s Gate 3 is one of those games that just keeps giving. While the first two came with character creation, they were halted by the era in which they were released. Characters were little more than pixels on a screen, and while you could tell what class and race they were, it was difficult to make out finer details.

The technology of today allows for a wider range of character customization options. You’ll be able to build just about any book character you can imagine in the game — even more when it’s fully released. However, for those who want to make their character taller or smaller, you’re out of luck, at least for now. One day it would be nice to see drow women taller than drow men. One of our favorite additions is the ability to have two-toned hair. A great option for characters with wild hair such as Ruuda.

3. Solasta: Crown of the Magister

Jade, Taliesin, Ruuda, and Jasita

Solasta is what Dungeons & Dragons looks like when taken from a tabletop game to a video game. It’s a near exact adaptation and it works rather well. Its character creation is simple when compared to others but it’s no less worthy of being on our list. When you make a character, you choose their race and class, the class is the important part we’re focusing on here.

Classes come with their own clothing and weapons. So, if you are wanting to build an archer character from a book series you like, go for the ranger. Or perhaps you want to see what a thief may look like, select the rogue class to get a character with dual daggers and light armor. You can even give them a tattoo or face paint to hide their identity.

4. Elden Ring

Ruuda with dual hammers

You’ll spend a lot of time dying in Elden Ring, but its character builder is a worthy rival for stealing your time. It is one of the most dynamic creation systems we’ve come across. You can make characters any color you wish, which is great for making dark elves, dwarves, gnomes, and dragonborn-type characters. Everything is so in-depth, from your character’s hair to their eyes, nose, and mouth.

Choosing your starting class also gives you fun clothing and weapons. So, a mage will start with a staff and robes while a fighter will have armor and a weapon like a sword. Once you’re in the game properly, you can find several weapons and clothing to choose from to better equip and detail the specific character you are building. The one major downside is there isn’t a slider for height.

5. Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-reckoning


Kingdoms of Amalur is one of Dorian’s favorite games. Well before Thread of Souls was conceptualized, he made characters just for fun, never having one that was his own. That is until characters such as Ruuda, Taliesin, or Jasita came along. Now, in every game he’ll build a character from Thread of Souls. Kingdoms of Amalur was one of the first that comes to mind.

You can choose from race, skin tone, eye color, makeup, hairstyles, facial hair, and tattoos. From there, you’ll play a bit of the game to unlock class options. Classes are based on abilities and your choice of weapon rather than a specific class. You can also multiclass and choose to be a fighter and wizard if you wish. So, you can make a character who specializes in melee and magic.

We’ve got plenty of other video games to choose from as well! This is merely part one of the best video games to build your characters in. Stay tuned for part two!

Misc Posts

How to Overcome Writer’s Block

Writer’s block. We’ve all been there. Staring at a screen, your cursor flashing on and off, and not knowing what to write next. Perhaps you know what to say, but not how to say it. Perhaps you’re stuck on a scene transition, or a bit of dialogue, or simply don’t know where to take the plot next. This blog entry is for you!

I am a big outliner when it comes to writing books. I need to know from start to finish where I am going. Even then, I still get writer’s block. Sitting at the desk across from me, I see my husband staring blankly at the screen. He has it, too. So what do we do when we are stuck in our writing? I want to share the top three strategies that have always worked for me! I hope some work for you, as well.

Walk Around

My #1 go-to strategy is to walk around. I especially like fidgeting as I pace. It could be bouncing a ball, or turning over a stuffed animal in my hands. Going outside is fine if you’d like, but I prefer just to pace my house. Sometimes I talk things over with my husband or out loud to myself, but most often I just think about what I’m writing.

I try not to think about the writer’s block. Instead, I visualize the story as if it was a movie, and let my imagination just drive it. Eventually, a solution will present itself just through letting my mind and feet wander.

Listen to Music

Whether it’s lyrical or instrumental, music always helps. I can’t listen to lyrical songs while I write, I find that too distracting. Having some instrumental music going keeps my pace while writing. If I find myself particularly stuck, I may stop, lie on the couch, and listen to some songs. Again, I try not to find a “solution”. I just let my mind wander and see where it goes.

Take a Break

This is really the best thing you can do for yourself during writer’s block. Just take a break. Get your eyes away from the screen and let your tension relax. Coming back to your writing with a fresh mind is very helpful.

I read this tip online once and I really liked it, so now I impart it to you. When you stop writing, try to end with an unfinished sentence. For example:

He went-

She frowned and said –

They left the house and –

When you come back to write, re-read the last page or so leading up to that unfinished sentence. Most of the time, when you get to it, you will simply be able to start typing and carry on with the story!

We hope you enjoyed this entry for storytelling tips! If you have any other strategies you use to defeat writer’s block, share them below!

Lore, Misc Posts, Thread of Souls

International Beer Day and the Drybarrel Clan

Happy International Beer Day one and all! It’s not for everyone but it is what Ruuda Drybarrel’s family bases their entire livelihood on. The dwarven clan built a brewery next to their house and spends hour after hour creating beer. Whether it’s an IPA, lager, stout, ale, root beer, or another concoction, they are dedicated to perfecting each and every bottle.

The clan of 14 was blessed by the deity Thruumdar to brew beer. Ruuda, however, was not so lucky. When it came time for her blessing, she failed at everything. She couldn’t seem to do anything right and her family said each bottle of beer she made turned out wrong.

She failed at the whole process. From milling grain, pulling yeast from fruit skins, lautering, properly boiling the brew, fermenting the brew, and creating kegs and glass bottles. Her parents said each brew was poor quality.

In Thread of Souls: Phantom Five, Ruuda is forced to leave her home as she’s earned a sizeable debt to other clans figuring out her blessing. She carries with her a keg on her back full of supplies and her homemade brew. Her family may not like it but she finds it drinkable. As do many others along her journey.

Taliesin said, “Ruuda, right now I could really use one of your beers.” “Really?” Ruuda gasped. She untied her barrel from her back and quickly rummaged through, pulling out a bottle.

At first she only grabbed two cups, but when Unolé and Wash held out their hands, she grabbed another two and sat them out. She poured the beer into each one and dispensed them.

Taliesin took a long drink and she watched him carefully. When he sat the cup down, she asked, “How is it?”

He grinned. “It’s the best thing I’ve ever tasted.”

There’s a lot that goes into writing a novel. We researched how beer is made so we’d understand the process and could explain it in Thread of Souls. We both grew up not liking the drink and to this day it’s still not our favorite thing. However, it runs in the family.

Dorian’s father is a homebrewer so we know firsthand what it takes to brew a bottle. The smell is horrendous but the process can be enjoyable, especially to watch. There was one time the kitchen nearly burned down in the middle of brewing. From then on, father Ravenwood was forced to brew outside.

At home, the process was a one-man band. In Thread of Souls, it’s every Drybarrel on deck. Each clan member has a job to do and it’s all managed by Ruuda’s father Angrem and mother Sadiq.

So, the next time you grab a pint of beer or root beer. Give a cheer to the Drybarrel Clan. They’ll toast your success as well. Drink responsibly, friends!