Four legged and winged, with talons, a sharply hooked beak and fierce intelligence, griffins are the dominant sentient on another Earth. In the western hemisphere, called the Twin Continents, the griffins have co-evolved with small sociable mammals that call themselves “Hands.” The peaceful and industrious Hands tempered the griffin’s ferocious solitary nature, while the griffins protected their Hands allies from wolfen raiders and other predators. Over hundreds of years the two species have built a thriving civilization on the Twin Continents.
A century ago the Greenies came. Highly intelligent, mechanically inclined, and expansionist, the Greenies spread from their isolated island home into the surrounding continents, killing or subjugating any native griffins who opposed them. Their expansion was stopped dead when they tried to invade the western hemisphere. The griffins and Hands were an unbeatable force, the Hands able to duplicate and overcome any technology the Greenies used, and the organized griffin rangers terrifyingly effective in battle.
After nearly 50 years of skirmishes and outright war, the Greenies ceased trying to take the Twin Continents by force, and instead negotiated with the griffin leaders to lease agricultural and mining lands, all under very strict terms. At the opening of the story there have not been any active hostilities between the Greenies and the griffins for decades, but neither species trust each other, the griffins only grudgingly tolerating the Greenie presence in exchange for goods and technological services. They know the Greenies have never ceased coveting their lands, and one of the most important jobs of the griffin rangers is to make sure the Greenie communities abide by the terms of their leases.
In size, fighting prowess, and importance, Ranger Harrell White-Shoulders is a giant among the griffins of Earthquake City. The only griffin on the west coast bigger and meaner than he is his ex-mate Vaniss White-Shoulders, chief of the Earthquake City Rangers, whom Harrell still nurses a secret hope of reconciling with.
Ranger Harrell’s routine of patrols and skirmishes with wolfen raiders is interrupted when he receives news that his adolescent daughter Aera and four of her friends have vanished somewhere in the Great Plains, where they were traveling to observe tornadoes. Summoned to Earthquake City by Vaniss, Harrell is initially reluctant to abandon his territory and responsibilities to go halfway across the continent looking for the wayward adolescents. But Vaniss won’t take no for an answer, and Harrell finally agrees to lead the search.
Knowing her ex-mate will need all the help he can get, Vaniss insists he take a specialist with him: Investigator Kwaperramusc (called Kwap for short). A colorful, exotic griffin from the other side of the world, Kwap makes an odd companion to the “maim first and ask questions later” Ranger Harrell. Endlessly inquisitive, fluent in four languages, and highly conscious of his flamboyant good looks, Kwap welcomes the challenge of a mystery to unravel. Accompanying them as an observer and general assistant is the young female Hands Tirrsill. Picked for her small size, (easier for a griffin to carry in flight) Tirrsill is barely out of school and inexperienced in the wider world.
With Kwap and Tirrsill in tow, Harrell travels far from his familiar territory to the plains where his daughter was last seen. There, Harrell and the investigator draw unwanted attention from both the local griffins and the immigrant Greenies as they try to find out what became of Aera and her friends. None of them have any idea what they’re about to uncover, or the terrible price they will have to pay once they do.
Ever since I was little, I loved reading books with animal protagonists. There’s a decent range of books like that written for a juvenile audience, but not a whole lot for people who’ve reached drinking age. Even if I found one, most of the time it was meant to be a statement on the human condition, or a silly parody. Poor griffins fared even worse in fantasy books. They were either portrayed as dangerous monsters, flying war horses, or ‘noble companions’ to the human protagonists (basically—glorified houseboys with feathers.) I wanted to write something different, something that could be enjoyed by an adult audience, with an older protagonist, living in a world that was advanced beyond medieval level, where the nonhuman characters were not reduced to supporting roles.
So I wrote Griffin Ranger, a two-part novel. This Kickstarter is for part one, but part two is complete and will be put into the post-production pipeline as soon as part one is out the door.
- Roz Gibson: Author, artist & art director
- Joshua Essoe: Editor
- Katie Hofgard: Cover artist
- Furplanet Productions: Printer & publisher
- Ben Gibson: Provided music for the video.
I’ve been writing and illustrating stories and comics for over 20 years. Some were self-published, others were put out by indie comics publishers such as Antarctic Press and Radio Comixs. While this is my first full-length novel, I’ve done a number of short stories and novellas that have appeared in small-press anthologies and various fanzines, including one that recently won the 2013 Ursa Major award for best short story.
In management, I was art director and co-publisher of the fanzine Huzzah!, which ran for 50 issues and was considered one of the very best publications showcasing anthropomorphic art and comics. I handled almost every aspect of production, from wrangling the artists to mailing the copies. In 2007 I organized and printed the Wildcats of the World card deck, which also involved extensive artist wrangling, dealing with an overseas printer, and mailing the product. That project was successfully completed on time for promised Christmas delivery.
I have a long working relationship with the people who will be handling the printing and publishing of the hardcopy book, so that should not be an issue.
I’ve heard enough horror stories about people who grossly underestimate the costs of their project and are stuck holding the bill, unable to fulfill their promises to backers, so I’m erring on the side of too much rather than too little. I had a CPA friend do some number crunching on the project, and this was the figure she came up with. The cost estimate includes:
- Professional editing
- Cover art
- Initial print run
- Fees and taxes
- E-book costs
The final product will be a larger size ‘trade’ paperback with a wrap-around cover. I am also planning to release an e-pub version at the same time.
Since there's been some queries about how the funding breaks down, here's a handy pie chart:
In addition to a traditional rewards such as signed copies, E-versions and exclusive art wallpaper and prints, the $100 reward tier offers the original art that was used in the Kickstarter presentation and video, all 11 pieces which are pictured below. The art was done with pencil, watercolor and ink on 11 x 14 bristol, and the original art looks much brighter than the scans below! All the reward art will be done by me (Roz Gibson), unless we run over our base goal and I can commission Katie Hofgard for more artwork.
NEW REWARD, ADDED 8-30-14:
At the $400 pledge level, an original hippogryph sculpture by artist Fenris Lorsrai:
Additional information about the sculpture and artist can be found here: http://www.furaffinity.net/view/3606492/ and here: http://www.furaffinity.net/view/3606322/
Many thanks to Fenris for generously offering this to the cause!
At the $300 reward level, you can name a character! Species (among those that appear in the book) and gender of your choice, as well as whether the character lives or dies. Keep in mind that the name will need to sound like it fits in this world-- I can't have any griffins named "Bob" or "Princess!"
I will count myself as incredibly fortunate if I reach my base funding goal. If it starts to look like it's going to go much over, Stretch Goals will include interior illustrations and a hardcover edition.
Stretch Goal 9-4-14
$6500-- Five or six interior illustrations by artist Katie Hofgard!
Risks and challenges
There's not much risk here-- the entire book (Part 1 and part 2) is already written, and I have worked with the publisher as both a writer and artist for many years. The main issue will be the schedule of the editor and cover artist, followed by the schedule of the printer. My goal is to have the book printed in January 2015, but that is dependent on when the editor and cover artist can get their work done. But no matter what, I will keep everyone up-to-date on the book's progress.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)