At the end of 2023, I was ecstatic to introduce the very first authentic recreation of an artifact from my award-winning fantasy series!
To accomplish this, I partnered with The Gaming Geeks — a pair of craftsmen from Michigan City, IN who have become good friends after we vended together at multiple events. The Geeks are probably best known for their tabletop game accessories, particularly their unique figurines and dragon eggs that open so you can store dice or other items inside. But they also create maps, posters, digital art, and a lot more.
Their skills with handcrafted resin molds were perfect for this collaboration project!
The Amínyte symbol has become an iconic part of the Chronicles of Avilésor. It made its debut on the back cover of the first novel and has since been included on the first interior page before the prologue of each book. I also sell the design on pinback buttons, necklaces, earrings, and other items.
The symbol is my own design, and it was heavily inspired by the Celtic triquetra, also known as a trinity knot.
Kit and Rayven, two characters in the series, are known as “Amínytes,” and this is the symbol of their people. Amínytes are animal shifters. True to their names, Kit transforms into a black-and-white kitten, and Rayven turns into a raven with a white-tipped wing.
Kit became an instant favorite among fans, resulting in quite a bit of cat-themed merchandise and the popular Kit emojis that I created for the Discord server.
(All of the Kit emojis are available as vinyl waterproof stickers, and several of the designs are also for sale as keychains.)
In the books, all Amínytes, including Kit and Rayven, wear unique ivory pendants that have their names carved on the back. These are sacred artifacts. The ivory pendant is actually formed in the womb, and the baby is born with the ivory clenched in their hand. The symbol of the Amínytes is dissolved into the surface while the ivory is forming. The name is then carved onto the back of the enchanted pendant, which transforms to suit the animal. Kit’s pendant, for example, becomes a collar when she’s in her feline form.
In tribes that live in the Wild, receiving their Name is a special ceremony, but unfortunately, many Amínytes are raised in captivity and don’t get this honor. However, even the cruelest breeders and owners will still honor the tradition of carving the name into the pendant because Amínytes can’t function without a name. They have a complete psychological breakdown, making them useless as slaves. That doesn’t mean the owners give much thought or care to the process, which is why it’s common for Amínytes to have not-so-creative names based on the animal form they take.
I had originally consulted an acquaintance who used a 3D printer to create colorful Amínyte symbols for me in the past. But, after explaining the project, she told me that using a filament 3D printer wouldn’t be able to accurately recreate the look of an ivory pendant.
That led me to The Gaming Geeks, who happily said that it was right up their alley!
We started with Photoshop renderings of what the pendants would look like. I had already designed the symbol, but I entrusted the hand-carved names to The Gaming Geeks.
This was the very first iteration they sent to me with the option of punching the hole directly through the medallion or adding an extra little bump at the top.
From there, we refined the text, the diameter, and the placement of the symbol before moving into the 3D rendering phase.
After the 3D models were finished, a rough batch was printed as a test to see size options and make sure everything looked good. (The lines you see are from the printing plate, which had to be adjusted when the final masters were printed.)
Once the master design was finalized with Dan, Russ was able to start creating pendants for me in small batches. Although they were designed digitally, each one is cast in resin by hand, creating small variations in every piece. Once I receive them, I then paint them by hand and seal them with a clear matte finish. I ended up going with a darker brown than what I’d used in the original design on the cover of Book I to make the symbol and the names stand out more.
Here is what Russ had to say about the production:
We’ve always enjoyed using higher grade silicon mold resins rather than tin based ones. They’re easier to maintain, release a lot better, and we’ve found we get quite a bit more castings out of them than with the lesser grade mold rubbers. The process for the molds was not too difficult, we just followed the side seams with clay below, blocking the hole for the cord partially to a divot, and then poured the rubber. Once cured, the clay on the back was removed, release agent applied, and the second half was poured. After that, it was a matter of conditioning the mold and injecting the resin with syringes to assist in avoiding any air bubbles that would ruin the cast.– Russ, The Gaming Geeks
The resin pendants are a unique new product that’s now available as part of my regular event inventory! I think it’s incredible that fans of the books can now hold (and own) an actual piece of the story.
I had been wanting to do this project for a while, but I wasn’t sure how to approach it. Finding a large production company online usually requires placing large bulk orders, and it’s not uncommon for companies to discard the molds after a project is completed, which means having to pay another mold design fee for every order.
I wasn’t in a position to cover the upfront costs of a large bulk order. By teaming up with The Gaming Geeks, not only was I staying local, but our production expectations were also similar; I needed small orders of no more than five to ten of each design at a time, and The Gaming Geeks are a two-person business operating out of a small studio. Since they handcraft each individual piece, small orders were ideal for them as well, plus I could avoid shipping costs by picking up my orders at events.
I love that I could support a small, local business that takes pride in their craft and combines digital and hand techniques. These pendants are NOT mass-produced by machines… making each one a special and unique treasure!
If you’re intrigued by this collaboration and want to go even deeper behind the scenes, check out my Patreon community. I recently took my Level 2 and 3 subscribers through the step-by-step process in an in-depth video that showed every iteration along the way and the design decisions that occurred as the project evolved from conception to production.
Patreon subscribers get a ton of behind-the-scenes content about my books and artwork, not to mention other fun perks like discount codes, free merchandise, Q&A opportunities, voting power, and even their names written into future books. These subscriptions help to support me so I can continue creating and publishing.
Find more information about how your support helps my business in this FAQ.
Shop the Pendants
The Kit and Rayven pendants are available at events! (You can find an up-to-date schedule of my upcoming events on the homepage.)
The Gaming Geeks do NOT sell the Amínyte pendants, so you’ll have to get them directly from me. But if you’re into fantasy, tabletop games, art, maps, et cetera, be sure to check out their store and see what else they offer! They’re also open for collaborations if, like me, you also have a project that you’ve been wanting to bring to life.
What do you think of the pendants? Are you as excited about them as I am??
I'm an award-winning fantasy author, artist, and photographer from La Porte, Indiana. My poetry, short fiction, and memoir works have been featured in various anthologies and journals since 2005, and several of my poems are available in the Indiana Poetry Archives. The first three novels in my Chronicles of Avilésor: War of the Realms series have received awards from Literary Titan.
After some time working as a freelance writer, I was shocked by how many website articles are actually written by paid "ghost writers" but published under the byline of a different author. It was a jolt seeing my articles presented as if they were written by a high-profile CEO or an industry expert with decades of experience. I'll be honest; it felt slimy and dishonest. I had none of the credentials readers assumed the author of the article actually had. Ghost writing is a perfectly legal, astonishingly common practice, and now, AI has entered the playing field to further muddy the waters. It's hard to trust who (or what) actually wrote the content you'll read online these days.
That's not the case here at On The Cobblestone Road. I do not and never will pay a ghost writer, then slap my name on their work as if I'd written it. This website is 100% authentic. No outsourcing. No ghost writing. No AI-generated content. It's just me... as it should be.
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