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‘Across the Bitter Sea’, a powerful story of fellowship and our ties to the past. Enter the world of mythic Finland.
‘Across the Bitter Sea’, a powerful story of fellowship and our ties to the past. Enter the world of mythic Finland.
22 backers pledged £520 to help bring this project to life.

About

£520

22

Who are you?

We are Dark Prophets Press and we're tired of the same old deal in publishing. The big publishers are trending towards publishing 'safe bets' - people who write what they know will sell (such as certain erotica novels *cough, cough*). Smaller publishers have a hard time getting the word out and they're squeezed by markets such as Amazon so they have to charge prices which turn people away.  

There's a lot of forcing books down people's throat, and less creativity. The game is changing: Amazon, Kindles, eBook readers and other resources like Kobo and iBookstore allow people to get content at extraordinarily low prices or even free. Many fan fiction writers give away stories and materials for no cost on blogs. Why then would you fork out nearly £15.00 (includ. postage) for a paperback novel?  

Well, that's the thing, we struggled to answer that question too. Of course, we know why we have to charge £15.00 - it's to do with the number of people (manufacturer, retailer, distributor, author to name just a few) who have to take their cut. 

So what's the solution?

Instead of demanding people fork out for a book they could always get on Kindle or eBook much cheaper, we thought we'd throw some extras into the mix: give people a chance to earn exclusive rewards, limited edition prints, hand-written words from the author, stuff that will stay with you. We are a small press and we want to give you the personal service you can't get from the low-priced super-corps. 

That, more than anything else, is what we want to achieve with Across the Bitter Sea. To do this, we need your backing. 

What is Across the Bitter Sea?

Across the Bitter Sea is a mythic novel by Joseph Sale, a powerful story of fellowship and our ties to the past.This isn't just a paperback you burn through once and bin. This is something that you can keep, an experience, a letter from us and the author to you. 

Here's a few words from the author about its genesis:

"Across the Bitter Sea was based on a strange experience I had in Paris: I was out walking with my wonderful partner in the Place de la Concorde, when I saw the Luxor Obelisk. It was stark and powerful in the arid heat - the sun was at a temperature it might have been in Ancient Egypt. I had a mad urge to touch it, and touch it I did. At the exact moment I touched the stone, I had a series of powerful visions: first just sand, endless sands, then a woman's face, a terrible civilisation imploding as though falling into a sink hole, the planet turning as if it turned around the obelisk itself. Sunlight winked out of existence. A dual star shone. The river Lethe flowed at my feet. It was terrifying. I've never taken drugs but the experience was hallucinatory. 

"Later, after I'd gone to bed, I dreamt that an old friend came to me and comforted me: despite the wonderful time in Paris, I was plagued with concerns about my work, my relationships and just about everything else there is to worry about. The old friend soothed me, we ate seared fish together I knew had been freshly caught. At the end of the dream, the old friend, who's name was constantly on the tip of my tongue, revealed he was Vainamoinen, the character from the legendary Finnish poem The Kalevala. Except, he wasn't a character. He was just as real as any person I've ever met. Perhaps more so. His existence was like an affirmation of all I've dedicated myself to - the importance of fiction. Not only that, but he assured me that he had never died. That none of us ever died. We existed in consciousness and could return to those who needed us, just as he had done now. 

"When I woke up I felt like I'd lost something - been ripped out of a memory. From then the story came. And after I'd finished the story, I knew I wanted to do something special with it: make it more than just a another paperback." - Joseph Sale 

That's all very well, but can I have a blurb of the book's plot?

The legendary singer Vainamoinen has been gone for fifteen years and people have lost all hope of him coming back, save for a few.

Lemminkainen was once friends with the singer and they fought together in an old war – a war in which Lemminkainen was killed. Lemminkainen came back, though not without a price. Each day he loses feeling and parts of his mind. He has to find the old singer again before he turns hollow.

The warlord Kaleria has grown bold in the singer’s absence and started to take over Kaleva one district at a time. But when he imprisons Lemminkainen in the Giant’s Keep, a smith, a warrior, an old mariner and a farm-girl decide to rescue him. But to do that, they will need help. They will need to get Vainamoinen back.

Kaleria is no ordinary warlord. Beneath him lies something old and dark that has waited a long time in the Giant’s Keep.

And it is without humanity.

So what do you want?

We hope you will be bold and come on this journey with us. We hope you will enjoy the book, but more importantly, we hope you get something else out of backing this campaign: not just the T-shirts or artwork or maps, of course, but something really emotionally and spiritually affirming. After all, isn't that what literature is all about? 

Who is the author? 

Joseph Sale is a writer, editor, gamer and creative. Originally from Bournemouth he studied English with Creative Writing at the University of Birmingham. His short stories have appeared in magazines and journals such as Silver Blade, Edgar Allan Poet Journal 2#, NonBinary Review and Fiction Vortex. His story ‘Descent’​ was chosen for Dark Hall Press’s Technological Horror Anthology. His first horror novel The Darkest Touch was released in April 2014, published by Dark Hall Press. He was nominated for the Sundress Award for Literary Excellence 2014.  

He is the creator of Dead World Legends, a unique narrative role-play experience and The Meaning of the Dark, a space exploration board game set in a haunting science fiction universe. He has also created several Twines such as Darkness Beneath, a narrative journey through one day in the life of a man beset by hallucinations, and Eater of Moss, a dark quest to find the cure for a raging addiction.

Does he have any other titles?

The Darkest Touch

Seven Dark Stars

Has anyone said anything good about him? 

You can check out reviews of his work here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Darkest-Touch-Joseph-Sale-ebook/dp/B00JJZTKL2

His website: www.josephsale.wordpress.com

Risks and challenges

There is very little in the way of major risks or challenges that might prevent us from delivering on this project. The book has already been edited and is fully ready to be distributed. Proof copies are currently being QAed - i.e. we have already proven that we can produce the book. The only thing left is to ensure its contents and cover are of a suitable quality. We will not send out copies until we are 100% sure that they meet our standards and yours.

The artwork and maps are being printed on special parchment paper and using high-quality ink. There is a challenge in getting the prints to appear exactly like the original, but it is by no means un-scalable. We will keep you posted with updates on the artwork and maps - showing you little teasers so you can get a flavour of what they might look like and the quality of the paper.

Our biggest challenge perhaps is delivering the packages without damaging any of the goods. The last thing we want is to send someone a limited edition artwork and have it arrive creased or torn. We will use, where possible, the highest quality packaging to minimise damage. Where we can send goods together in a bubble-wrapped compartmentalised box, we will. We cannot be responsible for anything the postal service does that may damage the packages, but we are confident we can wrap them in a way that negates damage.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £10 or more About $16

    THE JOURNEYMAN - A discounted trade paperback copy of 'Across the Bitter Sea' delivered straight to your door.

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    Pledge £20 or more About $31

    FOLLOWER OF THE WORD - A limited edition signed copy of the trade paperback of 'Across the Bitter Sea' with a personal thank you note written inside it by the author; delivered straight to your door.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £25 or more About $39

    BIRDSKIN FUR-LINED COAT - A limited edition signed copy of the trade paperback of 'Across the Bitter Sea' with a personal thank you note written inside it by the author; delivered straight to your door.

    Plus, a specially designed T-shirt with custom logo.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £30 or more About $47

    MARINER OF THE SEA - A limited edition signed copy of the trade paperback of 'Across the Bitter Sea' with a personal thank you note written inside it by the author; delivered straight to your door.

    Plus, a limited edition, numbered A4 print of the map of mythic Kaleva: printed on parchment paper, signed by the author.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £35 or more About $54

    CLERIC OF THE SANCTUARY - A limited edition, numbered, signed hardback copy of 'Across the Bitter Sea'. Engraved gold-lettered spine. Quality dust-jacket. Cream-coloured paper. This reward includes a personal thank you written inside the dust-jacket by the author. There will only ever be 18 of these quality hardback editions in existence, so this is an opportunity to acquire something truly collectible and unique.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £40 or more About $62

    WARRIOR OF THE NORTH - A limited edition signed copy of the trade paperback of 'Across the Bitter Sea' with a personal thank you note written inside it by the author; delivered straight to your door.

    Plus, you will also receive a limited edition, signed and numbered A4 print of the original artwork 'The Open Tomb' based on the novel. It will be printed on parchment paper and signed by the author.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £45 or more About $70

    THE BARE-FOOT WARRIOR - A limited edition signed copy of the trade paperback of 'Across the Bitter Sea' with a personal thank you note written inside it by the author; delivered straight to your door.

    Plus, a limited edition, numbered A4 print of the map of mythic Kaleva: printed on parchment paper, signed by the author.

    Plus, you will also receive a limited edition, signed and numbered A4 print of the original character artwork for 'Snowfoot'. It will be printed on parchment paper and signed by the author.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £45 or more About $70

    IRON HEART - A limited edition signed copy of the trade paperback of 'Across the Bitter Sea' with a personal thank you note written inside it by the author; delivered straight to your door.

    Plus, a limited edition, numbered A4 print of the map of mythic Kaleva: printed on parchment paper, signed by the author.

    Plus, you will also receive a limited edition, signed and numbered A4 print of the original character artwork for 'Ilmarinen the Smith'. It will be printed on parchment paper and signed by the author.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £65 or more About $101

    THE POET OF KALEVA - A limited edition signed copy of the trade paperback of 'Across the Bitter Sea' with a personal thank you note written inside it by the author; delivered straight to your door.

    Plus, a limited edition, numbered A4 print of the map of mythic Kaleva: printed on parchment paper, signed by the author.

    Plus, you will also receive a limited edition, signed and numbered A4 print of the original character artwork for 'Vainamoinen'. It will be printed on parchment paper and signed by the author.

    Furthermore, you will receive a limited edition copy of 'His Last Poem' - a poem about Vainamoinen's great journey - signed by the author, printed on parchment paper and numbered (there will only be 8 of these in existence).

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge £80 or more About $124

    SEEKER OF THE ORIGIN STONE - A limited edition, numbered, signed hardback copy of 'Across the Bitter Sea'. Engraved gold-lettered spine. Quality dust-jacket. Cream-coloured paper. This reward includes a personal thank you written inside the dust-jacket by the author. There will only ever be 18 of these quality hardback editions in existence, so this is an opportunity to acquire something truly collectible and unique.

    Plus, a limited edition, numbered A4 print of the map of mythic Kaleva: printed on parchment paper, signed by the author.

    Plus, you will also receive ALL FOUR limited edition, signed and numbered character artwork prints: 'Snowfoot', 'Ilmarinen', 'Vainamoinen' and 'Lemminkainen'. They will be printed on A4 parchment paper and signed by the author.

    Furthermore, you will receive a limited edition copy of 'His Last Poem' - a poem about Vainamoinen's great journey - signed by the author, printed on parchment paper and numbered (there will only be 8 of these in existence).

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge £100 or more About $155

    THE RECKLESS - A limited edition signed copy of the trade paperback of 'Across the Bitter Sea' with a personal thank you note written inside it by the author; delivered straight to your door.

    Plus, a limited edition, numbered A4 print of the map of mythic Kaleva: printed on parchment paper, signed by the author.

    Plus, you will also receive a limited edition, signed and numbered A4 print of the original character artwork for 'Lemminkainen'. It will be printed on parchment paper and signed by the author.

    In addition, you will receive a gorgeous pewter tankard engraved with your choice of name along with the epithet 'The Reckless'; enjoy your favourite beverage with a copy of 'Across the Bitter Sea'.

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Funding period

- (30 days)