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Enter a new world in a fantasy novella collection by Ed Greenwood, Jaleigh Johnson, Rosemary Jones, J.M. Martin, and Steven E. Schend!

My name’s Steven Schend and I’ve been a professional editor and writer for over 20 years, but who cares? You’d rather hear about the great creative project you can help bring into the world, right?

 I want to publish a new book called Secrets, like Dragons… It will be a collection of five novellas focused around secrets and how they affect people and their world. It’s a fantasy genre book, and my fellow writers and I will make this far more than a typical fantasy anthology.

 You may know some of the authors involved in this project, since we’ve all published many novels, stories, comics, games, and more—Ed Greenwood, Jaleigh Johnson, Rosemary Jones, and J.M. Martin.

  • Ed Greenwood, a very humble and hirsute Canadian librarian, has created many published worlds while writing more than 40 novels, hundreds of game products, and innumerable articles on every topic imaginable. The Internet cannot contain him, or he would gleefully have a link here for you.
  • Jaleigh Johnson is the author of the Forgotten Realms novels The Howling Delve, Mistshore, Unbroken Chain, and Unbroken Chain: The Darker Road, as well as numerous short stories.  Visit her online at www.jaleighjohnson.com or at her blog to learn more.
  • Rosemary Jones is the author of the FORGOTTEN REALMS novels Crypt of the Moaning Diamond and City of the Dead. She writes fantastical fiction of all lengths and sorts. Recent projects include superheroes, haunted heroes, and some desperately ordinary heroines trapped in extraordinary places. For her latest stories and other publications, check www.rosemaryjones.com.
  • J.M. Martin worked for Caliber Comics from 1994 to 1998 and wrote the fan-favorite LEGENDLORE comic series, a spin-off of the fantasy series, THE REALM. He was managing editor for Privateer Press from 2000 to 2004, helping build the award-winning IRON KINGDOMS and WARMACHINE settings from the ground up. J.M.'s own fiction has been published in Fantasist Enterprise’s Sails & Sorcery: Tales of Nautical Fantasy  and Rogue Blade Entertainment’s Assassins: A Clash of Steel Anthology. You can find him on Goodreads  or Twitter or  his blog.  

All of them have graciously joined me at Vistag Media to bring a new world called Kharndam into being. Each novella explores a different region of this world, its people, cultures, and of course, its secrets. Tied to each novella will be additional graphic and text touches—anything from maps to Akanri reports on places or people—that explore story details and deepen a reader’s immersion into the world.

Getting lost in a story and its world is the best experience fiction can offer. We hope to craft characters, tales, and, with them, a world broad and deep enough where readers can enjoy their visit, no matter how far they wander beyond the initial stories that brought them there.

What Do We Need?

Our project goal of $10,000 pays a team of nine authors and artists fair, professional rates to produce the material and it also allows us to print and mail copies of Secrets, like Dragons… to supporters of  our project here at kickstarter.

What do You Get for your Patronage?

The best reason to help us get off the ground by signing on early is this: Only those who support us here at kickstarter.com will receive a special “Founder’s Edition” PDF of Secrets, like Dragons…. The regular trade PDF and any print editions will lack certain graphics and text extras, though the core novellas and primary extras will remain the same.

With your help, we can bring this product and world to life; updates and special materials will be available only to you kickstarter.com patrons before the book’s official release, so check back here for frequent news on the project and links to related materials at kharndam.com (which goes live soon after the project meets its funding).

How is this book different from other fantasies currently on the market?

1) There are no longer any elves, demons, dragons, or dwarves in this world. Secrets, like Dragons… is just a simile title to speak to readers looking for good fantasy tales. It's not a matter of disliking any of those fantasy tropes, but we wanted Kharndam to feel different from the start. 

2) The focus is on characters and their stories, not overused plots or hoary stereotypes. You won’t read about stable boys destined for royal thrones, and you shouldn’t expect grand quests by motley parties of heroes or villains driven to save or destroy the world either.

3) There are no moral absolutes pointing out which are the good guys or the bad guys here. Each character believes himself or herself in the “right” at the heart of things, and it’s up to readers to decide how they view characters and their actions.

Content Details

So far, we’ve talked about what is and isn’t in the book, but not about the central theme driving this project or its title. The first thing you learn about Kharndam is this: Secrets can be far more powerful than any magic or monster and far more insidious in impact.

In the Fifth Age, one secret shattered the continent of Rokhal.

In the Eighth Age of Kharndam, one secret may yet do so again.

Secrets, like Dragons… sees the world through the eyes of the Akanri, a group of mystics who use aura magic and the secrets they learn with it to keep their world balanced. That balance could be in military power, social influence, or merely keeping history and lore from being lost. In a sense, the Akanri are equally scholars and historians to soldiers and rogues or even seers and courtly advisors. They are what they must be in order to keep the world in balance as they see it.

Are the Akanri arcane scholars, selfless heroes, or treacherous villains? That judgment depends on one’s point of view, truly. All you need to know as a reader is this: The Akanri ferret out secrets, as a rule, and they release (or obscure) them as needed to maintain their mysterious balance, consequences be hanged. When every idea is a spark, every secret becomes a tinderbox and every revelation a firestorm. Those dangers are what make Secrets, like Dragons…

FORGOTTEN REALMS is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

AKANRI and KHARNDAM are trademarks of Vistag Media.

© 2011 Vistag Media.

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    Stage 5: A tooled-leather Akanri badge, hand-crafted by artist Eric Joseph and combined Stage 2 and Stage 4 rewards (PDF & HC) (Postage: Please add $5 for orders shipping to Canada/Mexico or $8 for international orders outside of North America.)

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    Stage 6: These benefactors will have the chance to craft a character with Steven E. Schend (and perhaps other authors as well) to become a permanent part of the Kharndam world and its stories. Also includes all Stage 5 rewards (PDF, HC, badge) with your book signed by all the authors. (Postage: Please add $5 for orders shipping to Canada/Mexico or $8 for international orders outside of North America.)

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    Stage 7: All Stage 6 rewards liberally sprinkled with Ed Greenwood's beard trimmings (potential genetic material suitable for the future cloning of your own personal fantasy author)! (Postage: Please add $5 for orders shipping to Canada/Mexico or $8 for international orders outside of North America.)

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    Stage 8: These benefactors will have the chance to craft either multiple characters (2-4 characters or a collective group) or they can work with one of our authors to develop a subplot within one of the novellas. Like the Stage 6 & Stage 7 rewards, the characters become a permanent part of the Kharndam world and its stories and the benefactor's name remains attached to the characters as Co-Creator (or added as a Developer to the particular novella). This stage includes all Stage 6 rewards (PDF, signed HC, badge). (Postage: Please add $5 for orders shipping to Canada/Mexico or $8 for international orders outside of North America.)

Funding period

- (40 days)