I love creating stories featuring powerful female characters for readers who seek an escape from everyday life. There's a transcript of my welcome video at the bottom of this page.
Escape into a compelling fantastical world with an unusual guide. Viper is a villainous protagonist caught between the mystery of her immortal past and the malice of mortals in the present. Her journey is a re-imagining of Celtic folklore in a seamless blend of historical and contemporary fantasy for a mature audience.
If you want to check out my writing style, have the first 7 chapters of The Queen's Viper FREE for a limited time.
The manuscript for The Wrath of Atticus is missing one thing: YOU!
From its shocking start to the dramatic end, award-winning editor Nina Munteanu and I bring you the escape you deserve. In The Wrath of Atticus, Viper takes readers on a journey from the British Iron Age when Queen Boudica crushes Roman tyranny, to days before the 2012 Olympics when magic comes to London.
This series is a seamless blend of historical an contemporary fantasy for a mature audience. The Wrath of Atticus is the action-filled sequel to The Queen's Viper, a 2016 Kindle Book Awards Semi-Finalist.
I'm committed to crafting well-written stories for readers who value escapism. Backing this project means more than just pre-ordering your book. Your benefits include one-of-a-kind rewards, and exclusive content and experiences. Whether you choose to be a character in the book, or create a character for Book 3, you're part of the publishing journey when you back this project.
The principal part of The Wrath of Atticus is complete and I anticipate delivery of the edited and printed copies in June 2018. Both books are printed in Canada using high-quality materials by Publisher Productions Solutions.
Publishing a book is expensive. Your backer dollars contribute directly to what every great story needs: an editor!
Good novels need good editors. Nina Munteanu is an award-winning writer, editor, and creative writing teacher. She edited The Queen's Viper and I'm thrilled to have her partner with me for this sequel.
I've already paid for certain costs up front, such as the gorgeous cover artwork by Mirella Santana and the commissioned work by Kalman Andrasofszky to ensure that you'll get your book by the estimated delivery date.
Thanks to my collaborators, backers get great rewards. Please note that depending on your chosen tier, shipping is not included in all tiers. I'm sourcing out the cheapest shipping options from Canada. Minor alterations in appearance in the cover or magical symbol design may occur.
All backers have named credit in The Wrath of Atticus, according to their tier level.
The Queen's Viper and/or The Wrath of Atticus is either in digital format or AUTOGRAPHED paperbacks. Many tiers include a bookmark from The Queen's Viper autographed by me, the author.
Artist Clinton Cronk is working with me to create images of the magical symbols on Viper's body, which will be available as collectible vinyl stickers or limited edition enamel pins, depending on the backer tier and milestone reward. Photos and details to come!
The colour portrait of Viper was created specifically for this Kickstarter and is AUTOGRAPHED by the artist, Kalman Adrasofszky. Perhaps you'd prefer a print of the cover art digitally SIGNED by Mirella Santana. Or maybe you'd like both! There's a tier for that. Reward prints are 11 x 17, produced with high quality materials.
Best of all, you can be in the story.
If you back the London Bystander or V.I.P Tourist tier, you'll work directly with me. You can name a character, or appear as a character in the book!
Want to be a henchman who Viper takes down? You're it! Prefer to work for the Queen and her spies in the Crux? You got it! Want to name a character Boaty McBoatface? That's taken, but I'm sure we'll find something that works for the worldbuilding of the novel and your preference. Your limited choices are first backed first picked, so don't wait.
Looking for a unique reward item? The Trekking with Trouble tier gives one backer the original, hand-drawn portrait of Viper by Kalman Andrasofszky, autographed by the man behind Captain Canuck himself. You receive the books, the prints, and the swag in the previous tiers, as well as bonus items when I reach my stretch goals.
The Journey into shadow tier allows ONE backer to choose a name and some details for the shadowy figure on the cover. This is a major player in the book with plenty of action and speaking lines. His name and appearance must be consistent with the story world (Baddie McBaddie Face won't work).
If you pick the Side-trip With Viper tier, you're in for a treat. You'll work directly with me as I create a custom, interactive story featuring you as the hero, and Viper as your antagonist! Your likeness and name will appear on the cover of your very own story. You receive the books, the prints, and the swag in the previous tiers, as well as bonus items when I reach my stretch goals.
Want to Travel to the Future with Viper? Be one of three people who work with me to create a character based on your input who has a key role to play in the final book of the series. The last leg of Viper's journey has already begun, so don't miss out!
If you are an aspiring writer or comic artist, The Royal Tour is the tier you want! Don't miss out your one-to-one working lunch with Lesley and Kalman.** Pick our brains, or get feedback on a short sample of your material at the fabulous Beaumont Kitchen in Sherway Gardens, Toronto. You receive the books, the prints, and the swag in the previous tiers, as well as bonus items when I reach my stretch goals.
**Please note this specialty tier doesn't include transportation or accommodation. Lunch includes one alcoholic beverage (legal drinking age applies, of course), one appetizer, and one entree. Backer may bring one guest, at their own expense. Time and date to suit all involved parties.
Inspired by Pictish art, I'm working with collaborator Clinton Cronk to create the magical symbols on Viper's body. Stickers are made by me out of durable vinyl. As an early backer, receive a second glyph! Your colour selection will arrive in your backer survey at the end of the campaign. Plus, you can show your love of reading with my custom designed white "Eat, Sleep, Read, Repeat" vinyl sticker made by my own two hands!
During the process of writing The Wrath of Atticus, I removed an influential who had appeared in The Queen's Viper from the plot. #Heartbroken. Be one of only 50 backers who own this deleted story content! Chapter includes author commentary on the novel's turn. Narrative is unedited, in pdf format. (Warning: contains spoilers for The Queen's Viper ) 20 of these exclusive rewards remain!
With the collaboration of Liquid Ink Design, I'll create an 18 month planner for the first 100 backers to purchase at a discount. The planner in the photo is an example, and when I have an update with my cover, I'll change the image. The spiral book is full of insider information, quotes from the books, and details about the characters, items, and places in Viper's world. 70 bonus planner coupons remain.
Patreon is a way for you to join me on my publishing journey on a monthly basis as a patron of my creativity. It functions independently of this campaign. If you show your patronage of my creative writing on Patreon, you'll have a 30 minute video chinwag with me and receive the print of your choice from this campaign, in addition to your patronage gifts.
If they so choose, the names of my Patreon supporter appear in all publications by Aquhorthies Publishing and on my website. Please send me the name and email address you use on Patreon as part of your summary survey at the end of the Kickstarter campaign.
When I reach my $2000 goal, each supporter receives a special surprise!
Beyond the Distance Stretch Goals
UNLOCKED!! $3000 Stretch Goal - Receive a FREE digital book of short stories written by Lesley Donaldson, Inside Voices, edited by Jen Albert of Colborne Communications. Jen called it her "favorite project in a long time!" I'll also release a T-shirt with Kalman Adrasofszky's black and white portrait of Viper for add-on purchase. The image of the shirt is a mock-up. Ordering and shipping details TBA.
$4000 Stretch Goal - I release the 1st of 7 enamel pins mirroring the design by artist Clinton Cronk. Backers at $50 and above will have the pin included in their shipping order. Pledges under $50 will receive a 50% discount towards pin purchase. Retails for $14.99 Cnd. Pins made by the good folks at True Metal Works. Design and delivery TBA!
$5000 Stretch Goal - If I reach this goal, first I'm going to faint. Then, after I'm revived, I'll send every backer one of the original Viper portrait T-shirts. You'll get the complete set of vinyl stickers inspired by the magical symbols on Viper's body. And you'll receive a custom-made digital map inspired by story elements and the mysterious Atticus, based on the real Agas map of Tudor London. Other design and delivery details TBA.
Matt Moore, co-chair of the Ottawa Chiaroscuro Reading Series, says, "The Queen’s Viper gives us a complex anti-hero—she is both merciless and compassionate, wields considerable powerful yet relies on her cunning. Don’t look for simple good versus evil here."
Time heals all wounds. Except hers.
In book 1, The Queen's Viper follows Viper across two timelines: Tudor-Elizabethan England and modern London.
Viper stumbles across the young Tudor Princess Elizabeth and a Crown Jewel that unlocks Viper's repressed memories. To secure a path to her past, Viper ensures Elizabeth's safety, setting the threatened princess upon the Throne of England. Viper's journey leads her to Annys, an unexpected enemy who imprisons her for 400 years.
In 2012, Viper is inexplicably freed from her magical prison. With the help of her Foundling Owain, and his eclectic cadre of helpers, Viper sets off for revenge upon the descendants of those who imprisoned her, starting with Queen Elizabeth II. All the while, a malicious figure exerts his influence from the shadows.
Will immortal Viper overcome the power surging within herself even as Queens of Britain try to control her?
In The Wrath of Atticus, immortal anti-hero Viper may have forgotten her past, but it's about to catch up with her. Grudgingly obligated to help mortals prepare for a prophesied war, Viper's torn between helping her allies and pursing her own selfish interests.
Visions of the past reveal that the mysterious Atticus has hunted Viper since the Iron Age, when Viper aided in Queen Boudica's rebellion against invading Romans.
Before Viper uncovers the truth about Atticus, an assassin arrives from Veyandra, the Otherworldly home she has never seen. He gives her a warning she can't ignore. Viper must choose her path before new enemies determine her untimely fate on the summer solstice.
Who are your guides on this journey?
From "The Queen's Viper" :
Viper is not your storybook fairy. Impulsive and driven, she must learn to live in the modern world when all she knows of humanity is betrayal and manipulation.
Sequestered from the mortal world, the Sisters are conjoined twins, immortals with cryptic answers to Viper's questions about her origin.
Meet the Queens: Elizabeth I grew up scorned by society, the child of a disgraced queen. Her unexpected reign gave birth to the Elizabethan Golden Age, a period of history that fundamentally changed the country. Elizabeth II has lived a life touched by war. Mother to a country, she ushered in a golden age of peace.
Even anti-heroines need an antagonist. Annys has the answers Viper wants. So long as Viper protects mortals, Annys has no intention of helping her, or of sharing the Crown Jewel that Viper seeks.
Living as a princess, a prisoner, and then a queen, Elizabeth I's retinue changed depending on her circumstances. Travel back in time and meet several of the Tudor & Elizabethan historical figures at long-lost landmarks.
Turstin, a Foundling who possesses an incredible magic talent, seeks his sister from among the mortals of England.
Elderly millionaire businessman Owain is not all he seems to be. Don't let his disfigurements fool you. #WeNeedDiverseBooks
Graham & Ivy Sometimes these two are like chalk and cheese, but they both have unfailing loyalty to Owain, their employer.
Can't forget my home country! Dhillon is a Canadian grad student studying Elizabethan History who works for Owain.
Clare is a magic-touched, a member of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Her use of cochlear implants and British sign language is inspired by my son's hearing loss. #WeNeedDiverseBooks
...and more mythical characters and cryptids!
New from "The Wrath of Atticus" :
Atticus has haunted Viper's shadow for centuries. Everything about him sets Viper on edge, not least of which is his knowledge of how to kill her.
Zia is a Merrow, a mermaid, who knows that long ago Viper made a promise, and Zia intends to see her keep it.
Gwen a field producer who knows more about history than she lets on.
Queen Elizabeth has a secret guard, and Captain Ellis is the man in charge. He met Viper from the trigger-end of his gun in book 1.
Ryan hosts an American T.V. show searching for the missing people of colour in history, including in Roman and Medieval Britain.
And, of course, YOU. There are limited opportunities to work with me and put your name and/or likeness into the story. First backed, first picked!
What will you do with the extra money?
I respect the time and effort you spend earning money to back this campaign and I thank you for backing my campaign. Kickstarter has processing fees of up to 10%. Once I pay for editing, any extra money pays for those fees first. Secondarily, money in stretch goals pays for the production and shipping of those rewards. Beyond that, there are fees and services related to publishing to consider, such as image royalties by cover model Jessica Truscott (Faestock), proofreading, and marketing and publicity. Your backer dollars will not be wasted!
Video Transcript and Credits
Hi! I’m Lesley, author of The Queen’s Viper and its sequel, The Wrath of Atticus. Thanks so much for checking out my Kickstarter campaign. I love writing stories that take you away from the stress of your every day life. And what better place to do that than in merry old England, with her, Viper.
I’m really excited because this Kickstarter puts you right in the story. You’re going to pay for editing, sure. But what’s better than that is you’re going to interact with Viper. Maybe she’ll kill you. Maybe you’ll hunt her down.
The content of this series is intended for a mature audience.
I’ve designed each tier for backing the book. Be a backer with benefits! Not only will you be part of the process of The Wrath of Atticus, but I’m inviting you to be part of book 3, which is already in progress.
Backer rewards include a limited number of custom prints autographed by renowned Canadian comic book artist and writer Kalman Andrasofszky, and a limited number of digitally autographed cover prints by the talented Mirella Santana from Brazil. Some tiers have collectible swag inspired by Viper. There are specialty tiers for a select few, including an interactive book with Viper featuring you, the opportunity to own the original, hand-drawn, black and white portrait of Viper by Kalman, and a working lunch with both Kalman and I, where you can show off what you’ve got and pick our brains about the comic book and publishing industry. Check out the full details below, then select the tier that gives you the biggest smile from the rewards slider.
I really love this project. This Kickstarter campaign has just been incredible for me to produce for you. I look forward to working with you and thanks so much for backing The Wrath of Atticus!
(blooper at end: I’ve designed each t—BEEP)
Video image and music credits, with thanks:
Music - The Working Day by Ian Alex Mac
Forest video - Videezy 4K living
Thames video - Videezy DP Media Group
Elizabethan man reading photo - Rob Harding & Jody Jackson
The Queen's Viper & The Wrath of Atticus book covers Aquhorthies Publishing / Lesley Donaldson
Risks and challenges
My biggest challenge in this Kickstarter campaign is community reach. Get more for your backing dollar by sharing the campaign with friends and family. I'll release more rewards as I hit my milestone goals. Everyone wins!
And the risk? Kickstarter is all or nothing funding. In order to pay for the editing without this campaign, I'll need to pull in more hours at the day job. Viper's release will be delayed. And it may have a knock-on effect for the last book in the series.
But we're not going to let that happen, are we?
The only other risks and challenges are related to international shipping. But I promise to keep you updated about any delays as I'm made aware of them.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)