Design Morality

Design Morality, my novel about a young architect and his trials and tribulations of the design process and what it can take to make a great work of architecture, is now published. You can buy the book in either paperback or as an eBook:

Design Morality paperback

Design Morality eBook for Kindle

Design Morality eBook for Nook

Design Morality eBook is available for iBooks – search “Design Morality” in iTunes

Design Morality eBook for Kobo eReader


Neil Archer is an imaginative young architect who has designed the winning entry in the architecture competition for the new Boston History Museum. In an act of cowardice, his boss takes the credit and changes the design and Neil is forced to be silent and continue working on the project despite his objections. At a crossroads, Neil must face the realities of going forward. He has always relied on his own talent and instincts but he has never been a very good judge of character and he falls into a deep depression.

How does one so talented end up feeling so miserable? Does working for others allow for creativity? And who owns the rights to a design idea?

Although these are tough questions for Neil to answer, it takes the visions of a new design to revive him, and Neil soon realizes he needs his friends’ help to pursue his ultimate dream.

DESIGN MORALITY is a novel that will immerse the reader in the world of buildings and architects, exploring the trials and tribulations of the design process and what it can take to make a great work of architecture.


Architecture is something I’ve always wanted to do. I can’t explain why – there are no other architects in my family. My parents remember my early sketches of buildings and floor plans, and my saying I always wanted to be an architect. Maybe others feel the same way or have had a similar experience.

Well, now I am an architect. I’ve been practicing architecture for many years, and my life is very rewarding. But with a profession which can be as life-engrossing as architecture sometimes is, early in my career ideas began to form of how things could be better. A few of those thoughts were written, more as a way of clarifying some of my theories for myself than anything else, and this eventually lead to an outline for a short story. Upon the advice of a few early readers, the concept grew, characters were further developed, and Design Morality was conceived.

In architecture circles, Ayn Rand’s novel, The Fountainhead, is widely discussed, and if any fan of the profession has not yet read it, you should. But aside from this one bold view of the individual’s ideas versus the needs of society, architects have had little representation in modern fiction. Many can recall Michael Brady and Elise Keaton as architects on television. And in the movies, Tom Hanks, Woody Harrelson and Richard Gere have all played architects. However, the ideas behind these shows were primarily about something else, not architecture.


Yay! Design Morality is now published! I’m going to put the direct links on both the kpett.com home page (to the left) and on the Writing page. These will provide direct links to where everyone can either buy a paperback or e-reader download of the book, available as a paperback from Amazon or as an eBook for the Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, iBooks, or the Kobo eReader. If anyone wants to give me feedback or ask any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at kpett@hotmail.com – I hope everyone enjoys the book!

Getting Closer

I’m getting closer to publication of Design Morality. I’ve re-read the entire book, found a few little things to tweak here and there, and am now ready to re-upoad the document for publication! I’m excited about finally getting to share these characters and story with the reading public.

Book Proof

I received my book proof today – wow! After all of the years nursing Design Morality, it is now a real book I am holding in my hands. It’s hard to put all of my feelings into words … so I guess I’ll just press on to complete my final reviews of the book so it can get published.

Cover Art

The Design Morality cover art is done! I played around with a number of napkin sketches … from small buildings to something a little more grand, finally settling on a sketch that was more vertical in nature (as a book is taller than it is wide). I then scanned the sketch with settings that would allow the pen bleeds to still look good, along with the texture of the napkin.

The trick then was to make the entire cover look like a “napkin” as I wanted the texture to be continuous, not only for the sketch but also to fold over the spine and back cover of the book. So, in Photoshop, I ended up having to mask the line work of the sketch and create a background that looked like a napkin … so actually scanning the sketch so the napkin pattern was captured ended up not really working, but I was able to achieve the same effect in Photoshop any way.

I then experimented with different fonts. I wanted something bold so that it would stand out and finally decided on what you see. I think it turned out very well and am pleased with the results. I know there are a lot of writers out there who pay for “professional” looking graphics or cover art, but I think I’ve captured something that would look good on any bookshelf.

Final Draft

I’ve spent the last week re-reading Design Morality, this time from a more technical point of view – checking punctuation and word useage. Its a tedious job and I feel like I’m not enjoying the writing process so much … but its a necessary part of any writing endeavor.

Picking It Up Again

I’m finally getting around to giving Design Morality a final push in order to get it published. Years in the making with many, many breaks, I’m now determined more than ever to make it into a real book. Will anybody actually be interested in reading it? Will anyone outside of the architecture profession “get” the story and what its about? These are questions that maybe only time will tell, but from those who have read drafts and offered suggestions, the book could have a wide market …

Book Publishers and Agents

What to do with Design Morality? Well, after the novel was written, revised, and rewritten a few dozen times, I finally felt it was ready for the public. But as is so well-documented by writers everywhere, the chances of having a first novel published is nearly impossible. So I studied the business, learning about book editors and agents, and asked (and received) a lot of advice, and finally proceeded to send out query letters to book publishers. Below is a sample of some of the responses I received over a six-month period:

“. . . we do not feel we could publish your book successfully for you . . . “

“ . . . it sounds like you have some interesting ideas but, unfortunately, this is not what we are looking for right now . . .”

“. . .we do not read or accept unsolicited material for publication . . .”

“. . . while the book does have potential, it is not right for our list at the moment . . .”

“. . . we will be unable to publish your writing at this time . . .”

“. . . as there is a high competition for a position on our list, we must turn away extremely worthy projects . . .”

“. . . I enjoyed having a look at it, but I’m afraid that I’m just not the right editor for this project . . .”

“. . . do not accept unsolicited creative submissions. Please understand that the policy’s purpose is to prevent any confusion over the ownership of ideas that the Company is working on or considering . . .”

During this time, Design Morality continued to evolve, with new ideas added, and other scenes re-worked. Finally, after I felt that the story was more cohesive, I tried a new approach, beginning to query literary agents this time, even sending a few (those that advertise that they accept them) the completed manuscript.

“. . . we have read your material and, after careful consideration, feel your project is not right for us . . .”

“. . . we cannot offer to represent you . . .”

“. . . we are adding very few new clients to our list . . .”

“. . . our client list is reasonably full, and we’re taking on very few new authors . . .”

“. . .I would not be the right agent for your work . . .”

“. . . it does not meet our present needs . . .”

“. . . we have to be extremely selective about taking on new clients . . .”

“. . . your project is not suitable for our particular needs . . .”

“. . . the project you propose does not seem right for our list . . .”

“. . . while I certainly enjoyed reviewing your material, I am not sufficiently confident in my ability to place this project with a major trade publisher . . .”

Although somewhat discouraged by the whole process, I have not given up hope.