About this project
The first book I ever sold to a publisher wasn't The Fortress and The Fire. It was The Hammer and The Horn.
I had told myself, as my 26th birthday impended, that it was time to write that novel I had always vowed to write--the one whose publication would, all by itself, enable me to die happy some day. What I came up with was a fantasy adventure that follows Vidar, a son of Odin and a survivor of Ragnarok, as he returns to the Nine Worlds of Norse mythology to face a threat from his people's cold, dark past..
It took me more than two years to write The Hammer and The Horn, scribbling my first draft on a lined yellow pad (yes, it was that long ago) and my second on an electric typewriter. As it turned out, it was a bitch to find an agent. But once I found one, a publisher snatched up the book in no time.
I remember getting the good news from Karen, the wise and wonderful woman who had agreed to represent me. The exact words I heard over the phone blur now, but I'll never forget the feeling of walking out of work onto the streets of Manhattan and feeling taller than the tallest skyscraper.
You see, Warner was launching a new imprint, Questar, and it needed grist for that mill. The Hammer and The Horn would be among the first six books to come out from Questar. It would bear a cover illustrated by Rowena Morrill, who was perhaps the top cover artist in science fiction and fantasy at the time.
I was in heaven.
Fast forward a few weeks. I'm sitting at a nice Italian restaurant with Karen, my agent, and Kathy, my editor, celebrating my contract. But I'm doing more than that, it turns out, because before the end of the meal Kathy asks me if I'd like to write a sequel to The Hammer and The Horn. After all, the ending pretty much cried out for one.
"Absolutely," I say.
"When would you like it?" Karen asks.
"How about October?" Kathy says.
I nearly choke on my linguini. It's April. October is only six months away--and as you'll recall, it took me more than two years to write the first book. I open my mouth, about to ask if I can get more time--a year at least--when Karen kicks me under the table. "No problem," she says, being a good agent. "October it is."
Somehow, I make Kathy's deadline. However, I lose my job in the process. Apparently, my employer doesn't like my spending all my work time sitting in the bathroom, furiously writing the sequel to The Hammer and The Horn. Go figure.
The next year, the sequel--The Seekers and The Sword--comes out. And guess what? Questar wants me to write another book in the series. No problem; I'm perforce a freelancer now. I've got plenty of time.
This book, I decide, will wrap up the story. In fact, in the back of my mind I've been thinking trilogy all along, haven't I? Staying with the alliteration scheme, I come up with a name for this last book. I call it The Fortress and The Fire. And though it's not in evidence on the book cover, I refer to the trilogy as the VidarSaga.
Of course, that was thirty years ago (I'm bowled over as I write such impossible words; it seems like yesterday) and more than seventy books ago, because after I finished The Fortress and The Fire I went on to write a great many other titles for a number of licensed franchises. Star Trek, for instance. The DC Universe. The Marvel Universe. Aliens. The Wolf Man. Predator. Wishbone. After Earth. I wound up writing a book with Hulk Hogan and a couple more with the Ghost Hunter guys. I wrote comics too--almost two hundred of them. And an episode of Star Trek: Voyager.
In the meantime, the VidarSaga went out of print. Yet every time I went to a science fiction con, I heard how much people liked the trilogy. "Why don't you bring it back?" they asked.
Indeed, I thought, why don't I? A few years ago, I got the rights back from Warner, now Hachette. I re-released The Hammer and The Horn--an expensive proposition, what with commissioning new cover art and editorial services, but I bit the bullet. I bit the bullet again for the e-edition of The Seekers and The Sword. Now I'd like to complete the series, but all that bullet-biting has taken its toll.
If you guys want to see the whole VidarSaga back in print, I'll need your help. I figure by the time I take out money for Kickstarter and Amazon payments, art and editorial, and reward fulfillment, I'll have just about enough for a decent print run. Enough to make the VidarSaga accessible to not only my Kickstarter backers but also to fans at conventions around the country.
Among the rewards in this campaign, you'll see some of the books and comics I've written over the years. As you can imagine, they're near and dear to me, each one a buoy by which I navigated my life. But none are as near and dear as The Hammer and The Horn, The Seekers and The Sword, and...The Fortress and The Fire.
Because without those first three books, none of the others would have followed.
In the world of Kickstarter, good deeds are returned in kind, and this campaign is no different in that regard. I’ve put together a veritable smorgasbord of swag for you. And why not? You deserve it, right?
My novel The Fortress and The Fire is, of course, one of those rewards. You can get it in e-book form or as a signed trade paperback. And if you’d like to get yourself into the book, you can do that too--by earning a place on the acknowledgments page, which lets the world know you’re a bonafide patron of the literary art.
As is true of all my books these days, the novel's cover was painted by talented, young Brazilian artist Caio Cacau. Pick a reward that includes a limited-edition print of that cover--or better yet, find yourself the owner of a one-of-a-kind alternate cover of the book, rendered according to your personal specs--and discover what I love about Caio's work before the rest of the world does.
A la carte!
Because you asked for it, I've decided to give everybody an a la carte option. This allows you to customize your reward package--to receive all the things you want and none of the things you don't. Just take any existing package from $25 up and add to it the dollar amount associated with any item or items on the following list. Then send me a message telling me what additional reward or rewards you've qualified for. (International backers, there will be some additional postage. If you're interested in an add-on, shoot me a message and we'll figure it out.)
Be listed as a patron on the acknowledgments page 10.
Caio's cover prints 10. each
Two Convergence Comic Book Annuals 10. per set
The Modala Imperative set of four comic books 10. per set
Three Justice League Task Force comic books 7. per set
Fight The Gods trade paperback 15. each
Aztlan Omnibus trade paperback 15. each
Day of Honor Omnibus 22. each
Hollywood Hulk Hogan hardcover autobiography 25. each
I Am The Salamander trade paperback 15. each
Lost Days trade paperback 15 each.
Best Of Star Trek: TNG graphic novel 25. each
Ghost Hunting trade paperback 15. each
Seeking Spirits trade paperback 15. each
Legends of the DCU #15-17, starring the Flash. 8. per set
After Earth novelization 11. each
Shadowheart four-issue comic miniseries 10. per set
Star Lost graphic novel 20. each
The Valiant hardcover Star Trek novel 25. each
Death In Winter hardcover Star Trek novel 25. each
Two Wishbone novels 10. per set
When we hit $3,500, every backer from $1 up receives an e-edition of Tales of The Crimson Keep, a humorous romp through a unique fantasy world by me and the other six madmen in Crazy 8 Press.
When we hit $4,000, every backer from $25 up receives a pair of bookmarks featuring the heroic cover art of The Fortress and The Fire, rendered by talented Brazilian painter Caio Cacau.
Further stretch goals--why spoil the mystery?--will be detailed here and in backer updates.
Risks and challenges
This is my fifth Kickstarter campaign. If you speak with those who've backed my previous campaigns, they'll tell you I take these things very seriously. In this case, the book is already written. The cover art, as you can see, has already been delivered. Unless a meteor plows into Long Island, occasioning certain profound changes in my lifestyle, The Fortress and The Fire will be ready as promised.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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