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A classic fairytale about an adopted princess, a kingdom of masked souls, and the search for deep joy and true beauty.
A classic fairytale about an adopted princess, a kingdom of masked souls, and the search for deep joy and true beauty.
A classic fairytale about an adopted princess, a kingdom of masked souls, and the search for deep joy and true beauty.
152 backers pledged $7,514 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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The Dagger and the Rose

$7,514

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Example of a partially completed illustration: "Boreas sniffed her once, twice, then blew her hair back with a great snort and knelt down that she might mount."
Example of a partially completed illustration: "Boreas sniffed her once, twice, then blew her hair back with a great snort and knelt down that she might mount."

 The Dagger and the Rose

Iris is an adopted princess. She and her brother Henry grew up with a loving father, in a wonderful castle, at the heart of a beautiful kingdom. But on her sixteenth birthday, Iris received a present and mysterious letter which might change everything: 

Dear ”Iris”:

 My name is Fordon and I hope you are enjoying your birthday party. Unfortunately, that is all the gladness I can offer at this time because the secret I have to share with you can bring only pain. You are, of course, aware of the circumstances of your adoption into the royal family; how you were found and taken by the king. What you cannot know is how you came to be in the alley in the first place. I have found the answer and am prepared to share it with you if you will meet me alone in that alley just after dark one week from your birthday. Of course it is up to you who you will tell about this but I must warn you that the king is not what he appears.

 I know who your mother is.

Now, awakened to a desire to find her own origins, she will have to decide who to trust, the family she grew up with, or the stranger offering hints of her past. 

That afternoon she spent in her room, though the weather was fair, reading and rereading the note.
That afternoon she spent in her room, though the weather was fair, reading and rereading the note.

What we have already done:

The book has been written and edited and now stands at about 17000 words. Now Leah Morrison is working on 13 full color illustrations as well as several woodcut style illustrations. We have selected a publisher and a printer. We are prepared to send it off to the printer's just as soon as the illustrations are complete. 

 That's where you come in!

This Kickstarter will be used to cover the following:

  • The illustrations (these pictures are great and Leah deserves to be paid!)
  • A series of high quality prints (8x10 and 11x14) of these profound watercolor illustrations
  • Recording and mastering the audio book
  • An initial print run in hardcover and paperback
A mock-up of the paperback
A mock-up of the paperback

Bill's thoughts about the book:

The Dagger and the Rose  grew out of my desire to try my hand at retelling one of the great stories. J.R.R. Tolkien, Joseph Campbell, and C.S. Lewis have all talked about these mythic narratives. Stories which connect with us so profoundly that we cannot help being swept up into visions of something greater, truer, and deeper than ourselves. These stories, these mythopoeia, crop up everywhere. They have been told and retold in a thousand different forms by a hundred thousand authors. These are the stories which tell us what it means to be human, to be loved, to hurt, and to exalt. They are why we hope. 

I chose a fairy tale as the form for my telling of the great story. I was raised on a diet of George MacDonald, C.S. Lewis, The Brothers Grimm, and J.R.R. Tolkien, so when I think of wonder, I think of fairy tales. 

But I wanted something particular in my version of the story. In so many of the great old fairy tales, the princess is a passive victim, waiting for rescue. Sometimes she takes a hand, but more often she doesn't. The prince grows and develops; he is a dynamic character, but the princess never changes. She is the same person at the beginning, in her tall tower, in the middle, chained in the dungeon of a goblin king or an evil stepmother, and at the end, married to the handsome prince. Throughout she is too often a static character who seems to exist for the sake of the prince. The story revolves around her plight but it is almost always about the prince.

 Many newer fairy tales, rightly critical of the way in which these narratives marginalize the feminine, tend to over-correct by swapping roles and having the dynamic princess rescue the static prince. 

I appreciate the correction, and I love these newer stories almost as much as I love the old, but I noticed that in both renditions, the character being rescued remains generally static, flat. This bugged me because we all need to be rescued sometimes, and I don't for a minute believe that needing to be rescued ought to mean being depersonalized. So what I have tried to do in The Dagger and the Rose, is to explore the reality of the princess who is both in need of rescue and responsible for making that rescue possible. If Iris is anything, she is a dynamic character, whom you will identify with. Her search for answers, freedom, joy, and beauty are echoes of our longing for those priceless treasures. 

Examples of woodcut style insert illustrations
Examples of woodcut style insert illustrations

Leah's thoughts:

I'm really excited about the illustrations for this book. I've always loved fairytales and magic. I've been very inspired by classic watercolor Masters, such as Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac ever since a professor had us do a study of a master (where you copy a piece of artwork in an attempt to learn the techniques they used). It brought me back to books that my grandmother used to read to me. So those techniques and color schemes have had a heavy influence on my work, and seemed to fit especially well in Bill's fairytale. In these illustrations specifically, I tried to use more than just the image to tell the story, but also the colors and the lighting so that you don't just see what's happening, you feel what's happening. With each piece I seem to hit a bump where it feels like it's just not going to work, but I keep pushing (sometimes with a break in between) and adjusting it until it starts to come together. It has been such a good experience and very satisfying for me to see not just one piece come together, but a whole collection of pieces.

Like to Hear a Sample Reading?

Here's the Author reading a passage from the book at a recent Kickstarter event:

The video for this project was produced by Twelvesteed Productions

Risks and challenges

Once this project has successfully funded we will, of course, need to have if formatted before the reward editions can be printed and shipped. We have therefore chosen a well established formatting group which has done great work with many independently published books. We plan to distribute primarily through online book sellers but will be excited to distribute through any local book sellers who are interested in fairy tales.

In terms of timing, we hope that we have left a sufficient cushion to ensure delivery of all rewards on time. Of course if any unforeseeable delays occur we will contact all backers as soon as possible to keep them updated on the delay and what we are doing to correct it.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $7 or more About $7

    Supporter
    As a Supporter you will receive a bookmark featuring an illustration from the book.

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    Reader
    As a Reader you will receive a limited, 1st edition paperback signed by the author.

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Citizen Backer - Level 1
    As a Level 1 Citizen Backer you will receive a limited, 1st-edition paperback signed by the author, as well as the bookmark featuring an illustration from the book.

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    Citizen Backer - Level 2
    As a Level 2 Citizen Backer you will receive a limited, 1st-edition hardcover copy of the Book.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Iris' Party Guest - Level 1
    As a Level 1 Party Guest, you will receive:
    1 limited 1st-edition hardcover signed by the author and illustrator,
    1 1st-edition paperback,
    1 digital copy of the book,
    a bookmark featuring an illustration from the book,
    your name included on an appendix of Iris' guests at the back of the book.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Iris' Party Guest - Level 1A, Party in the Tower
    As a Level 1 Party in the Tower Guest, you will receive:
    1 limited 1st-edition hardcover signed by the author and illustrator,
    1 1st-edition paperback,
    1 digital copy of the book,
    a bookmark featuring an illustration from the book,
    your name included on an appendix of Iris' guests at the back of the book.
    Plus the "Tower Reward" a paperback, pocket edition of "Hubris Towers Season 1, Episode 1: An Uneasy Interview" signed by both co-authors

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Iris' Party Guest - Level 2
    As a Level 2 Party Guest, you will receive:
    2 limited 1st-edition hardcovers signed by the author and illustrator,
    1 digital copy of the book,
    a bookmark featuring an illustration from the book,
    your name included on an appendix of Iris' guests at the back of the book.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Iris' Party Guest - Level 3
    As a Level 3 Party Guest you will receive:
    1 limited 1st-edition hardcover signed by the author and illustrator
    1 8x10 high quality print of an illustration from the book, signed by the illustrator,
    your name included on an appendix of Iris' guests at the back of the book.

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    Iris' Party Guest - Level 4
    As a Level 4 Party Guest you will receive:
    1 limited 1st-edition hardcover signed by the author and illustrator,
    1 8x10 high quality print of an illustration from the book, signed by the illustrator,
    1 paperback copy of the book,
    1 digital copy of the book,
    1 bookmark featuring an illustration from the book,
    your name included on an appendix of Iris' guests at the back of the book.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Iris' Party Guest - Level 5
    As a Level 5 Party Guest you will receive:
    2 11x14 high quality prints of illustrations from the book, signed by the illustrator,
    1 1st-edition hardcover signed by the author and illustrator,
    1 8x10 high quality print of an illustration from the book, signed by the illustrator,
    1 paperback copy of the book,
    1 digital copy of the book,
    1 bookmark featuring an illustration from the book,
    your name included on an appendix of Iris' guests at the back of the book.

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000

    Dagger Patron
    As an official patron of The Dagger and the Rose, we will pull out all the stops for you. The author will come to your house for a private reading of the novel and book signing. This package includes:
    10 limited, 1st edition hardcover copies of the book,
    10 digital copies of the book sent to your choice of friends.
    10 bookmarks featuring an illustration from the book
    and an 11x14 high quality print of any illustration from the book (your choice) signed by the illustrator.
    You will also get to have your name included on a special "Castle Patrons" appendix of the book.

    Unfortunately we can only make this reward available for the lower 48 States.

    Bill Hoard will contact you to set up a time for your reading.

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Funding period

- (30 days)