To All of the Wonderful Contributors -
I don't think I've ever said "Thank You" as often as I have in the past month, but that's fine, because I also don't think I've ever been as grateful as I have in the past month. As you all know by now, I've been working on this project on and off for the better part of 5 years, doing my best to combine real world history with real awesome mythological creatures. It's always been a side project, taking a backseat to pretty much everything else in my life. Well, this summer I decided that before the year was out, I would publish the first collection of Jacob Western Cowboy Dragonslayer stories, no matter what. And because of the love and support from all of you, that goal is one GIANT step closer to becoming a reality.
I've always had a great time creating the world of Jacob Western, whether I was researching actual facts (like the history of the fur trade), or just making up my own (like the hibernation habits of a snake dragon). It's been hard work, but at the same time, it hasn't at all. I've enjoyed every minute of it in an absurdly geeky way, and I'm very glad to see that I am not alone in wondering how wagon trains on the Oregon Trail would handle the threat of a dragon attack. I am very much looking forward to settling such controversial topics of discussion in the pages of my stories, and I sincerely thank everyone who has helped by contributing in ANY amount for your help along the way.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Bob Lamothe for his artistic contributions to the campaign. Seeing his concept art for the dragons I described to him made me feel like I was looking at someone else's idea come to life rather than my own, and I look forward to even more art from him as I continue to develop the world of Jacob Western.
I also want to thank Victoria Durand, my amazing girlfriend, without whose encouragement I don't know if I'd be writing this. Whether reading rough drafts, drawing snake dragons, creating landscape art, agreeing with me when I describe a particular location as "prime dragon country", or standing by my side yelling "Cowboys Vs. Dragons, folks! Original literature! A Great American Story!" as I handed out flyers in costume, Victoria's support for myself and my project has never wavered. She is an incredibly talented, beautiful person, and I owe her far more than I can fit here.
I want to thank every single one of you again, and to say one last thing. I've been a life-long consumer of entertainment - movies, television, books, comic books - even going so far as to earn a Bachelor's Degree in Media Studies. I say this with all the authority my B.A. commands: there has never been a more exciting time to be a creator OR a consumer of entertainment than right now.
The proliferation of (relatively) cheap technology combined with the fundraising potential of sites like Kickstarter make not only the creation but also the distribution of art far more accessible than ever before. I encourage everyone to continue to browse Kickstarter, because while there are certainly quite a few stinkers out there, there are also some amazing projects to be found that are worth supporting. If you're creative, why not try a Kickstarter to get one of your projects off the ground? If I did it, anyone can, and I would love to see the renaissance in self-made art that I know is possible happen sooner than later. So make stuff!
That being said, I will say again how grateful I am for the support I've received, and assure each and every one of you that I am working as hard as I possibly can on this project. I'll be getting in touch to figure out rewards and such shortly.
My Sincerest Thanks,
I want to thank everyone that has donated to the campaign. Support for the project has been really incredible, and I'm really, truly grateful for it. We're down to the last couple of days, the goal is within reach. I'll be heading to New York Comic Con today dressed Jacob Western to try and spread the word, and I would like to ask that anyone who is able, please repost the link to your Facebooks and Twitters one last time.
I'd also like to share a small piece of "Canyon Diablo", in which Jacob and his friends must kill their first snake dragons:
"Just as quick as he’d gone into the cave, Miguel came backing out with a look on his face that I had rarely seen. He was scared, and soon I knew why. Right behind him, creeping forth with evil purpose was an adult snake dragon twice the size of Brodie’s. The angry lizard’s eyes were locked on Miguel’s, who stared right back as he kept his distance. When the dragon saw the rest of us, it shuffled and scrambled to keep us in eyesight.
“Back up!” Miguel yelled, and we did. I wanted to help, as I had countless times before, but I knew I couldn’t. He’d have killed me even if the dragon didn’t. All I could do was watch as my best friend in the world stood circling with a dragon that could tear him apart with one false step. Brodie and Gary had begun to cheer him on, but all I could do was watch.
But Miguel was doing everything he was supposed to do. Using his shield, he protected himself from the lashes of the dragon’s barbed tail. When the dragon shifted, Miguel shifted with it. As the duel went on, my faith in Miguel increased. I began to see him not as the cowboy I’d killed dirtbellies with, but as the rugged and fearsome slayer of mountain dragons he swore he was destined to be. Having relaxed some, I joined in Brodie and Gary’s cheers.
Miguel was doing his best to keep the sun at his back, not letting the dragon dictate the direction of the battle. The dragons’ tail was like some Amazonian serpent, lashing at Miguel with such ferocity that it was easy to forget about the claws and teeth. But Miguel didn’t. He kept right on blocking that tail, never taking his eyes off his opponent’s. The dragon hissed and snarled and drooled and swatted, but Miguel stood his ground.
It looked to me like they might wear a hole in the ground from all that shifting and circling until Miguel’s sword shot out to connect with the dragon’s tail, shortening the saurian appendage by two feet or more and sending its poison-barbed tip into the dust. The dragon’s hiss was terrible as it finally stopped moving and planted its feet while thick black blood dripped from its severed tail."
Here's some more art work, courtesy of Victoria Durand. This is Victoria's komodo-inspired take on the snake dragon, which includes her idea of a barbed tail:
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