Music in the video "From War to Dust" by Ryve Gretur. Images in the video by Ed Northcott and Storn Cook.
Farewell, Something Lovely presents seven tales of sword noir, a blend of hardboiled crime fiction and sword & sorcery. Imagine Conan seeking for the Maltese Falcon, or the Big Sleep set in Lankhmar with Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser hired by General Sternwood. In sword noir, characters’ morals are shifting at best and absent at worst. The atmosphere is dark and hope is frail or completely absent. Violence is deadly and fast. Trust is the most valued of commodities – life is the cheapest. Grim leaders weave labyrinthine plots which entangle innocents. Magic exists and can be powerful, but it always extorts a price.
But honestly, it’s not about the definition. It’s about the voice. I’m a bigger fan of Fritz Leiber than J.R.R. Tolkien. I’d rather read Glen Cook than Stephen Donaldson. I prefer David Gemmell to David Eddings. All these writers work(ed) in sword & sorcery – more or less, remember, rigid adherence not necessarily good. They also all have very distinctive voices.
In these stories, you'll find a bit of the lyricism of Leiber mixed with the realism of Cook and the cynical idealism of Gemmell. As I read more hard-boiled fiction, that began to inform my writing. I would never claim to be able to channel Chandler or Hammett, but you will surely find their influence suffusing these stories.
"Fraser Ronald is one of the rare few taking sword & sorcery into the 21st Century -- with stories that pack that old style action and punch, coupled with a true storyteller's focus on character, and superb world building." - John O'Neill, editor Black Gate.
The Farewell, Something Lovely collection will be presented in mass market paperback size with approximately 130 pages. The stories included are:
The Spear: Chang was perhaps the deadliest single man in all of Hadrapole, and a freelance. What a delightfully deniable asset for a crimelord to control. But who is ever truly in control? You can find a preview here.
Flotsam Jewel: (previously appeared in Forgotten Worlds #9) An unimportant cog in the criminal underworld ends up with the most desired gem in the floating quarter of Flotsam. You can find a preview here.
For Simple Coin: (previously appeared in On Spec, Winter 2009) A sword-for-hire finds something more important to him than currency, but what will he risk for a prize he can never attain? You can find a preview here.
Of Shadows and Flutes: During a single unlucky evening, a master assassin hunts the criminal who wishes to unite the city's gangs under one banner. You can find a preview here.
A Pound of Dead Flesh: (previously appeared in Black Gate #15, Spring 2011) Brude and Drust find themselves in possession of a lock box holding something slightly more valuable than a dried turd. You can find a preview here.
Farewell Something Lovely: An underworld enforcer takes on a job that pays little finding a woman who doesn't wish to be found for a man he'd rather see dead. You can find a preview here.
Singer of a Strange Song: Brude and Drust step in it once again when they rescue a young girl from a band of ruffians who hold a grudge. You can find a preview here.
Please note: the rewards have been tweaked as this is a Canadian project which ships to Canada and the continental USA. Unfortunately, Kickstarter only allows the choices of Canada Only or the Whole World for shipping physical rewards. In order to avoid continued confusion, I've updated the rewards information.
RUFFIAN – Those who support Farewell, Something Lovely with at least $1 will receive my personal thanks and one story of their choice to be delivered in PDF, epub or mobi format (supporter's choice). The story should be available no later than April 2014. If you would like more than one story but do not want the entire collection, you can receive one story per $1 pledged.
FREELANCE – Those who pledge at least $6 receive the Farewell, Something Lovely collection in PDF, epub and mobi formats. Each supporter will be included in a "thank you" section of the collection. The electronic versions of the collection should be available no later than April 2014.
ENFORCER - Those who pledge at least $16 receive everything included in the FREELANCE reward level, as well as a print copy of the collection. This is for supporters living in Canada or the Continental USA. The print copy should ship no later than June 2014.
SWORD-FOR-HIRE – Those who pledge at least $30 receive everything included in the ENFORCER reward level including a signed and personalized message from the author in the print copy of the collection. This reward level is for supporters living in Canada or the Continental USA, and the signed copy should ship no later than June 2014.
ASSASSIN – Those who pledge at least $300 will receive everything included in the SWORD-FOR-HIRE reward level, and the author will write a story in the sword noir genre of no more than 2,500 words using characters and plot supplied by the supporter. While the author will do his best to meet the expectations of the supporter, the author has final authority on characters, plot, and the writing of the story itself. The story will be provided in PDF, epub and mobi formats. The author may reprint the story or sell reprint rights at some point no earlier than one year after the delivery of the story to the supporter. This reward tier is limited to 3 supporters. The signed copy should ship no later than June 2014 while the story will be delivered no later than Oct 2014.
So, who is this guy asking you for money? I'm a published author and game designer. My work has appeared in Forgotten Worlds, On Spec, and Black Gate. I run a game company called Sword's Edge Publishing, and have written the games Sword Noir, Kiss My Axe, and Centurion (which was successfully Kickstarted last year). For me, this is a test to see if there is an alternative to the present submission system. There are very few venues for short heroic fantasy fiction that pay a professional rate, and those that do can take months to provide a reply to a submission.
I'm hoping that I can alternate fiction and role-playing game Kickstarters, and I would love to be able to move on to Kickstarting longer works, perhaps a novella and then a full novel. The funds for this Kickstarter, after fees and costs, would be less than I would receive were I to sell the included stories at a professional rate (reprint rate for those stories that have appeared elsewhere), but Kickstarting stories allows me to spend more time writing and less time submitting.
Should we reach $3,000, an eighth story in the sword noir genre will be added. This as yet unnamed Brude and Drust tale finds the two as both the hunters and the hunted when an ancient evil arrives in Torgdunum.
Should we reach $4,500, I will commission art for two of the stories decided by the voting of supporters at the FREELANCE level and above. The production of this art would likely delay the print version of the book, though the PDF could be delivered by Mar 2013, with an update issued when the art is complete.
Risks and challenges
Delays are always possible when producing books, but all the stories presented in this collection are complete and the book has been laid out. A cover will need to be commissioned, though it is highly unlikely that this could delay the production of the book. A mock-up cover exists (and is the basis for the present Farewell, Something Lovely logo used for the Kickstarter) which could be used should the commissioned cover be delayed.
Should we reach either of the stretch goals, their production could delay the release of the collection. The Brude and Drust story is done as a first draft, but revisions and editing would be required to bring it up to a level that I'd be happy presenting it. Real life can intervene and knock us off course, but as with the art, should the completion of the story threaten to delay the release, I could release the electronic version on time, then send an update when the story is done. This would, unfortunately, delay the shipping of the print version.
Rest assured that should anything throw a spanner into our works, you will be made aware and regular updates will keep you informed of progress and estimated delivery timesLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
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