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Bring to life a fantastic world of action, romance, and intrigue. Order The Gift-Knight's Quest in digital or paperback.
67 backers pledged CA$ 4,368 to help bring this project to life.

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The Gift-Knight's Quest: A Debut Novel project video thumbnail
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CA$ 4,368

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Video filmed and produced by Herman Wang. Cover graphic created by Rona Dijkhuis.

What is "The Gift-Knight's Quest"?

The Gift-Knight's Quest is an ambiguous-magic fantasy set on a large continent with a massive inland sea. This novel concerns the youngest descendants of two families which have traditionally been enemies: the Kenderleys, who now rule the world's largest empire, and the Wancyeks, who have been reduced to common status and have lived quietly in a chunk of their former empire for over a century.

Chandra: An Unexpected Throne

She started awake, in bed, where she was and must have been the whole time. A plump servant girl had her by the shoulders and was in the process of shaking her awake.

“Chandra.” The girl said firmly with a hint of concern. Chandra might be a king's daughter, but it felt like this task was a chore and the concern was for someone else.

“Stop. I'm awake. Yes?” Chandra replied as firmly as she could manage at the time.

“The Captain of the Guard was ordered to check on you personally. He felt strange barging into a girl's chamber, so he insisted I help.” The girl smiled falsely. “He's still outside. Now that we know no harm's done, you had better get dressed and ready to get to some place safer.” She relayed the order.

Captain Jan Donde, standing outside her door? What was so important?

“Let go of me, then, and I'll get started.” Chandra shrugged off the servant girl's grip. Once free, Chandra asked: “Are you allowed to tell me what this is about?”

The girl peeked back at the door to make sure it was shut. She wasn't allowed at all, but she would tell, albeit in a soft voice. “Something happened to the Queen. Word is, she was murdered last night.”

Soon, Chandra will find herself overwhelmed trying to cope with an empire of responsibilities. After suspicious tragedies leave her sitting on a throne she never expected would be hers, she must struggle to spare the lives of countless subjects from violent political unrest and the threat of war. But when she finds herself trapped in a room where she was brought for safety, accosted by the worst threat of all, her own life might be the most challenging to save.

Derek: Soldier Without a War, Knight Without a Quest

“I just fear for you, Derek. I tried to raise you right, but I'm afraid they've singled you out thinking so much time went by that good died of old age. They want you for a slave. If you go to them and give them what they want, then that proves to everyone forever that all the gold stolen from everybody else can buy anybody, even your oldest enemy. Then honour means nothing. For all time people will know that conniving wins in the end, and honesty is worthless.”

“Father, listen to me.” Derek interrupted. “What about the honour of tradition? Did the Free Plains ever send a disloyal gift-knight? Where's the honesty in that? Where's the good? You're putting me in a place where no matter what I do I'm betraying someone or something.”

“I know. I know. It's hard, Derek. Life's full of hard choices.” Emeric replied.

“It's simple to me. You want me to betray things that still live and that need me to treat them with respect, in favour of dead things that will never come back.” Derek argued.

“Not dead. Not what we hold dear.” Emeric was eerily placid, now, staring him down. “Not unless you choose to kill it. It's your turn, now, Derek. What wins in the world, good or evil, that gets decided by people with opportunities like yours.”

Derek will find himself being called away on a journey through loneliness, madness, and a tragic family history he once hoped to leave behind. He will question everything, and life's certainties will seem as easy to grasp as the winds worshipped by his ancestors. He is the Gift-Knight, sent by his homeland to protect one who might kill him; he struggles to discover his true Quest, even if it costs him everything.

I invite you into this vibrant world of intrigue and strategy, the power people create through belief, love and loss, beauty and tragedy. I have put the words together, friends, but only together can we bring this to life.

This podcast by Pam Mertz includes a deeper discussion of the story, including character motivations. It also has some more background about the author, like a longer version of the campaign video.

How you can bring this to life

To launch this novel is to launch its series, not to mention my career as a novelist. The manuscripts for two sequels are already written, and I'm plotting three other books on a separate story arc in the same world.

I had a chat with an interested self-publishing company that can assist me in all aspects of launching this novel, beyond what my helpful crew of artists and friends are already doing. This company can:

- cover all basic production including layout, ISBN, bar code and QR code, typesetting and proof revisions

- print at least 100 copies in 6 x 9 perfect bound paperback (useful not only for all perks involving paperbacks, but also donating copies to select libraries in Toronto and Vaughan and copies for reviewers and bloggers to get this novel widely written about and known)

- conversion to ePub and Kindle formats and distribution worldwide

- wholesale and retail trade distribution and marketing in the USA, UK, Canada, and potentially worldwide

- ongoing help and advice for marketing and sales of both ebook and paperback versions

These are just the basic services provided, and the established minimum funding goal easily covers these costs, plus some of the costs of shipping physical perks to backers, and paying Kickstarter fees owed upon the successful funding of the campaign. All funds raised up to the minimum goal will enter a budget for creating and marketing "The Gift-Knight's Quest" on an ongoing basis. Any funds raised beyond the minimum can buy premium level service packages from the same company, improving the novel's availability worldwide. In the strange event that funding extends unimaginably far beyond the goal, and beyond the price of premium services I find to be beneficial to the novel's distribution, I can find an immediate use for any extra funds: they can make for added compensation to artists who generously contributed to this and to Danced To Life, should they accept; they can definitely go toward shipping costs that I otherwise expect to cover privately; they can always go toward the next book(s) in this series. See the very end of this write-up as well for one other thing.

What you can get in return for support

See the perks on the right-hand column of this page. Summary: ebook and paperback copies of the story that we will have brought to life, a postcard, an autographed print, tickets to a Toronto-area themed event, and my sincere thanks, in various combinations.

There are also character sketches and art, inspirations and rough draft portions excluded from the final version, and other excerpts which can be unlocked solely for project backers as we pass funding thresholds (every $500 - 500, 1000, 1500, for example). The sooner you back this project, the easier it is to automatically get more unlocked bonuses, for the simple reason that if you join before a threshold is passed then you have joined in time to receive that email and all emails after it. If you want earlier/missed unlocked items, you will have to contact me so that I can send them to you.

Danced To Life

Danced To Life
Danced To Life

Dragonfly Bellydance has graciously donated their studio space for a show, "Danced To Life: Characters From The Gift-Knight's Quest" on October 11, 2014. Doors open at 6:30 PM. In addition to the world premiere screening of the two book trailers for The Gift-Knight's Quest, and a Q&A with the author, four dancers have taken on the challenge of bringing four characters to life. In alphabetical order:

Iana as the Crown Princess, Chandra 

Kaleena as the revolutionary, Zinnia

Shantell as the Goddess-Empress of the Coast, Alathea

Victoria as the Duchess of the Festival Woods, Sonia

For single admission, please select a perk that includes admission and pledge the required amount. Be ready to provide a name that can then be put on a list at the venue so that no paper ticket is required.

Character Sketches

by Alis Keller
by Alis Keller

Reviews

The first review has come in and it's positive!

"Reading this is like having my own portable time travel machine and I absolutely love every moment I spend submerged in this world."


Did I spy a Kicking It Forward URL? Please explain.

As it stands, this project is not designed to make any profit. And Kicking It Forward is meant to be a pledge of profits, not totals. I can make it clear and simple what that means. First of all, it's not 5% of the total raised here that's pledged or promised to any other campaign than this one. So what's the point of me having that URL? This initiative doesn't even enter the picture until way far down the line if this project does far better than I expect. Read on.

Suppose for a moment that I blow through that minimum goal. Even so, my first priority is to offer a bit more to artists who directly contributed their skills to this campaign and Danced To Life; many of them have been very generous with me knowing that success is never a guarantee, so the moment I'm enabled to offer them more than they asked, showing them further appreciation comes first. They don't have to accept, but I would feel better making sure of that by offering.

My next priority is to cover any shipping costs I would otherwise have expected to cover privately. If this project manages to do so well that I somehow see more money than I know what to do with after processing and shipping rewards and offering to other contributors (as earlier discussed at the end of How you can bring this to life), then approximately 5% of that leftover sum can go to Kicking It Forward, not 5% of the total amount raised. And anything left of this hypothetical profit, as mentioned before, can just go budgeted toward the next novel or expanded distribution and things for this project. It's not guaranteed that any such leftover sum will occur, but all I've done is say I'll think of them if this is wildly successful, and use their list of projects to continue my already evident history as a project backer on Kickstarter and myriad other platforms in return for their helpful exposure.

Risks and challenges

Once funds are collected, I will approach Matador UK which has already shown interest in assisting me with formatting and printing The Gift-Knight's Quest in paperback, and furthermore in a variety of eBook formats. I have only an estimate of the time they will require to deliver this service, and an estimate of the time it might take for them to go to print after formatting.

My postcards will be ordered in bulk from a local printer. I may have to wait for the printer to create a template, and from there must handle all shipping to redirect packages to my backers. I have no idea at the start how successful this campaign might be so I don't know the volume of shipping I will have to process from home. When that shipping involves paperbacks, which I am not printing or binding in my home, that too can add to the delivery time.

"Danced To Life" is currently a go, approved by the studio and all participants. Should a terrible unforeseen disaster or other force majeure lead to the cancellation of that event on that day, I will work to schedule a new event and make sure that your name is still at the door and your admission still counts toward the rescheduled event.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 1 or more About $0.76

    A personal thank you from the author to the email address that you provide.

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    Pledge CA$ 5 or more About $4

    An eBook edition of The Gift-Knight's Quest. Please specify the format that you will require (I will contact you unless you tell me first.) And a personal thank-you email from the author.

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    A cover postcard, and an eBook edition of The Gift-Knight's Quest.

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    Single admission for "Danced To Life".

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    A cover postcard & single admission for "Danced To Life".

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    Paperback edition of "The Gift-Knight's Quest".

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    Pledge CA$ 25 or more About $19

    Cover postcard & "The Gift-Knight's Quest" paperback.

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    Pledge CA$ 30 or more About $23

    Cover postcard, "The Gift-Knight's Quest" eBook & single admission for "Danced To Life".

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    Pledge CA$ 30 or more About $23

    Autographed 8 x 10 print & "The Gift-Knight's Quest" eBook.

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    Pledge CA$ 40 or more About $30

    Autographed 8 x 10 print & paperback copy of "The Gift-Knight's Quest".

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    Pledge CA$ 50 or more About $38

    Cover postcard, paperback copy of "The Gift-Knight's Quest", and single admission to "Danced To Life".

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    Pledge CA$ 70 or more About $53

    Autographed 8 x 10 print, paperback copy of "The Gift-Knight's Quest", and single admission to "Danced To Life".

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    Pledge CA$ 90 or more About $69

    Collector's Item Package: Postcard, autographed print, ebook & paperback

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    Pledge CA$ 120 or more About $91

    All of the previous Collector's Item Package reward, plus a one-of-a-kind personally written vignette based from the world of the novel, minimum 1000 words.

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    "Read Aloud Version"
    All of the Collector's Item Package reward, plus the writer will personally record a reading for you on an unlisted YouTube URL.

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    Pledge CA$ 300 or more About $228

    "The Knighting Ceremony"

    You may have a knight, lady, or other noble named after you in the sequel to this book, which already exists in first draft but has room for expansion--should you choose to accept this honour. You are entitled to the Collector's Item Package, plus a one-of-a-kind vignette of at least 1000 words which is then read aloud and uploaded on an unlisted YouTube video, the link to which you will receive by email.

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Funding period

- (38 days)