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Starhawk's newest epic answers the timely question: how do we build a new world when people are broken by the old? Get your copy now!
Starhawk's newest epic answers the timely question: how do we build a new world when people are broken by the old?
Starhawk's newest epic answers the timely question: how do we build a new world when people are broken by the old?
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1,481 backers pledged $79,090 to help bring this project to life.

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City of Refuge: the Sequel to The Fifth Sacred Thing

$79,090

1,481

Join Starhawk and be a part of successfully self-publishing her epic new sequel to The Fifth Sacred Thing!

Whether you are an avid fan of her work, just picked up a copy of The Fifth Sacred Thing last week, or haven't yet been introduced to her writing, this is your opportunity to be a part of bringing Starhawk's newest book, City of Refuge, to life. In return, you will receive advance, special edition copies of City of Refuge and loads of other goodies available only to Kickstarter backers.

Every city needs three things: a plaza, a hearth and a sacred tree...

The message came to me in a dream, as I was considering writing a sequel to The Fifth Sacred Thing, my futuristic novel in which an ecotopian Northern California employs nonviolence and magic to resist an invasion by the brutal, militarist Southlands. Fifth ends with the Resistance successful, but then what? The book was long enough as it was; there was no room to answer that question when I wrote the story twenty years ago

Over the last few years, as we’ve been working to bring The Fifth Sacred Thing to the screen, "then what?" kept echoing in my head. Meanwhile, the characters were coming alive for me again, clamoring to tell more of the story.

What will prevent the ruthless Stewards of the Southlands from mounting a new assault? How can the Califians heal and rebuild while the Southlands remain subjugated? Should they go down to the Southlands and liberate them? But how do you liberate people who have no concept of liberation?

The Story

City of Refuge begins just a few weeks after Califia has successfully defeated the invading Stewards’ forces from the Southlands. As the Califians replant their garden streets and rebuild their beautiful city, they struggle to integrate the soldiers who have defected to the north. When a warship is discovered off the coast, the Califians realize that their peaceable society will never be truly safe until the Southlands are also free.

Bird, the musician turned guerilla, deeply wounded from years of battles, prison and torture, has put his faith in a power different from the gun and the bomb. Yet he longs to go back and fight.

Madrone, the healer, has gained tremendous power from her initiation by the Melissas, the bee priestesses, yet how can even she heal a whole society? How do you build a new world when people are so deeply damaged by the old?

And River, the former soldier Ohnine, who defected to the North and turned the tide of the final battle, struggles to become a real person, not just a tool of the army breeders.

Bird’s grandmother, Maya, ancient storyteller, nears the end of her life. “Tell the story, sing the song,” she tells Bird.

And then Madrone has a dream...

Build a city of refuge in the heartland of the enemy…

Cover Art for City of Refuge by Jessica Perlstein
Cover Art for City of Refuge by Jessica Perlstein

Together, Madrone and Bird head to Angel City to establish an enclave that can inspire the Southlanders to rise up and liberate themselves. They are joined by reformed soldier River and bitter former sex-slave Smokee who lead an Army of Liberation down through the Central valley, while pirate Isis and her lover Sara bring a ragtag navy down the coast.

City of Refuge follows the struggles, the sacrifices, and the victories of the peaceful warriors from Califa as they endeavor to construct a haven in the parched and war-torn Southlands. Can magic, healing and love overcome the violence of a cruel and despotic regime?

Why Self-Publishing?

In the 20 years since the publication of The Fifth Sacred Thing, publishing itself has radically changed. The companies got bought and sold and merged and re-merged so that they were no longer the same entities I’d originally dealt with. Bantam, which published The Fifth Sacred Thing and its prequel, Walking to Mercury, had nobody left with any connection to my books.

We sent Bantam the manuscript for City of Refuge in late October of 2014, and Bantam did what publishers do best—nothing. Finally, in February of 2015, my agent got a curt email back. Bantam had decided to pass on the book, on the grounds that they thought too much time had passed since the original book came out, and there wouldn’t be an audience for it. Also, adding snottiness to rudeness, they thought the book “didn’t reflect contemporary sensibilities.” (?!?)

I was upset, but consoled myself with thoughts of the mountain of letters and emails and messages I have received over the years from my beloved fans and readers. Yes, there is an audience for the book! I know that, and five minutes of research on the internet would have shown Bantam that, too!

But the changes of the past decades have also made it easier than ever for authors to reach their own audiences directly. So I’m choosing to turn disappointment into opportunity.

I could just upload the thing to Amazon and have done with it. But I’ve spent more than three years working on it, and I believe it deserves the same careful treatment and editing I’ve been lucky enough to have with the other twelve books I’ve had published over the years.

Every book needs skilled editing—another eye on the project. Especially this one, because although it is a sequel, I want it to also be able to stand alone, and be a great read even if you aren’t familiar with The Fifth Sacred Thing.

It also needs a copy editor: someone who checks the spelling and grammar and the continuity, as well as a proofreader, a designer, a formatter, a cover artist, and a hundred other things. All of these people contribute to your ability to immerse yourself in the story without getting distracted by misspellings or confusing wording. I don’t have the deep pockets of a publishing conglomerate, but I still want City of Refuge to come to you at its best.

That's where you come in- your contributions will bring City of Refuge to press!

We have set a conservative goal of $50,000 (publishing is expensive!). It will pay for all the hard work that goes into crafting a book:

  • $17,000 - printing and shipping first edition and other rewards
  • $5000 - First round of printing for second edition
  • $5000 - Initial editing cost
  • $5000- Two different artists' cover art: one for the Kickstarter edition and one for the second edition
  • $5,000 - Kickstarter & payment processing fees
  • $3500 - Copy Editing
  • $3800 - Layout, cover design, and formatting for press
  • $3500 - Project and campaign management
  • $1500 - Proofreading
  • $500 - e-pub conversion
  • $200 - ISBN and Bar Code

...And that's without even including a budget for my time spent writing the book!

Undoubtedly there’s a better system than capitalism for supporting art and literature.

In fact, the system I came up with for the world of The Fifth Sacred Thing and City of Refuge would be my preference: everyone has a basic, guaranteed income, which represents your fair share of common resources and the wealth of the past. Everyone then gets work credits for whatever work they do, and if people really love your work they give you gifts. Ah, how happy I’d be living in that world!

But we’re not there yet, and in this one, I believe people deserve to be paid fairly for their work... including writers! While people tend to believe all writers are rich, in reality, a mid-level writer like myself, in a good year, might make a salary akin to an elementary school teacher, provided I do lots of touring and speaking engagements and workshops. Not that I’m complaining– I consider myself so blessed and fortunate to be able to do work that I love!

artwork by Jessica Perlstein
artwork by Jessica Perlstein

When many sources of funding for the arts have dried up, there’s really one way left to fund a huge project, and that’s to go directly to the fans, and ask for support.

So that’s what I’m doing here on Kickstarter: delivering my newest labor of love, this long-requested sequel, directly into the hands of my readers and fans, old and new. It's a unique opportunity to show the big publishers that they don't know what they are talking about; that there IS an audience for City of Refuge. I am so grateful for your support both for this campaign and for my writing as a whole. I can't wait for you to read my newest book!

Risks and challenges

The book is written. More than that, even though a big theme in the book is the horrors of debt-slavery, I bit the bullet and borrowed money to begin the editing process and line up all the professionals who will be working with me on bringing it to birth. All those processes take time, and I didn’t want people to have to wait half a year to read the book after contributing.

If the campaign succeeds, I intend to get books into your hands at least three weeks before they are available on the open market, by mid-November or ideally, earlier.

You’ll notice I set the fulfillment date for December. That’s to give us some wiggle room, in case of unexpected delays. I don’t anticipate them happening—but the unexpected sometimes does. So we’ve built in that cushion, but still anticipate getting you your books in plenty of time to mail them to all your cousins for holiday gifts, should you so desire.

As I said, the major work—writing and line editing—is done. You can see the cover illustration the wonderful Jessica Perlstein has done for our Kickstarter edition above. The copy editor, project manager, designer, proofreaders, etc. are all lined up and scheduled. I do have a good track record, and I have complete faith that you will receive your reward in a timely fashion, and well before the book is out on the market.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    DEEP GRATITUDE

    You will get exclusive access to backer updates and info on the forthcoming book, plus the knowledge that you are helping to make Starhawk's first self-published novel a reality!

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    RITE OF REFUGE

    Receive a high quality vinyl sticker with Jessica Perlstein's original cover art, and deep gratitude for your contribution to bringing City of Refuge to press.

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    DIGITAL DELIGHT

    Receive an advanced, digital copy of City of Refuge for your digital E-reader of choice- before it is released anywhere else. PLUS you get a high quality vinyl sticker with Jessica Perlstein's original cover art and a bushel of gratitude for your contribution!

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    BIRD'S BRAVERY- EARLY BIRD SPECIAL!

    The first 100 backers at this level get $5 off an advanced paperback copy of the Kickstarter-exclusive, special edition of City of Refuge, plus a high quality sticker with Jessica Perlstein's original cover art and a big thank you for your contribution!

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    BIRD'S BRAVERY

    Receive an advanced paperback copy of the Kickstarter-exclusive, special edition of City of Refuge, plus a high quality vinyl sticker with Jessica Perlstein's original cover art and a big thank you for your contribution!

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    MADRONE'S MEDICINE- EARLY BIRD SPECIAL!

    The first 100 backers at this level get $5 off an advanced hardcover copy of the Kickstarter-exclusive, special edition of City of Refuge, plus a high quality sticker with Jessica Perlstein's original cover art, and a big dose of gratitude medicine for your generous contribution!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    MADRONE'S MEDICINE

    You get an advanced hardcover copy of the Kickstarter-exclusive, special edition of City of Refuge, plus a high quality sticker with Jessica Perlstein's original cover art, and a big dose of gratitude medicine for your generous contribution!

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    ROSA'S RISE

    For the new (or old) fan: read the book that started it all before you dive into the sequel. You will receive a paperback copy of The Fifth Sacred Thing as well as an advanced paperback copy of the Kickstarter-exclusive, special edition of City of Refuge, plus a digital copy of the City of Refuge E-book, a high quality vinyl sticker with Jessica Perlstein's original cover art and many thanks for your contribution!

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    JOHANNA'S JOURNEY

    Catch up on the backstory: explore the history of the citizens of Califa before you dive into the next chapter. You will receive a paperback copy of Walking to Mercury (the prequel to The Fifth Sacred Thing) as well as an advanced paperback copy of the Kickstarter-exclusive, special edition of City of Refuge, plus a digital copy of the City of Refuge E-book, a high quality vinyl sticker with Jessica Perlstein's original cover art and a deep bow of thanks for your contribution!

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    MAYA'S MAGICK

    For those of you desiring a little extra dose of magick: get a SIGNED AND NUMBERED advanced hardcover copy of the Kickstarter-exclusive, special edition of City of Refuge, plus a paperback copy of the book for a friend, and a digital copy for your E-reader of choice- before they are released anywhere else. You will also get a high quality vinyl sticker with Jessica Perlstein's original cover art, and a magickal sprinkling of gratitude for your generous contribution!

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    SARA'S STORY

    50 generous backers will receive an invitation to sit together at a virtual, online round table with Starhawk and discuss the principles of City of Refuge and The Fifth Sacred Thing with the author herself. There will be time for a Q&A at the end. You will also receive a signed and numbered Kickstarter-exclusive, special edition hardcover copy of City of Refuge, an early release E-book, plus a high quality sticker with Jessica Perlstein's original cover art, and a plethora of praise for your contribution to Starhawk's successful campaign.

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    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    CRESS' COURAGE

    For the consummate collector: a signed paperback copy of all three books in the series: Walking to Mercury, The Fifth Sacred Thing and City of Refuge, plus a SIGNED AND NUMBERED advanced hardcover copy of the Kickstarter-exclusive, special edition of City of Refuge. You will also get a copy of the E-book for your digital device of choice, and a high-quality vinyl sticker with Jessica Perlstein's original cover art, and a deep bow of thanks for your participation in making this campaign a success!

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    SALAL'S STUDY

    For the family that reads together: receive TWO SIGNED AND NUMBERED advanced hardcover copies of the Kickstarter-exclusive, special edition of City of Refuge, plus TWO signed paperback copies of the book for friends and family, and TWO digital copies for your E-readers of choice- before they are released anywhere else. You will also get two high quality vinyl stickers with Jessica Perlstein's original cover art, and a studious swoon of gratitude for your generous contribution!

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    LILY'S LIBRARY

    For your community library or book club (or for the greatest holiday gift-giver ever): receive THREE SIGNED AND NUMBERED advanced hardcover copies of the Kickstarter-exclusive, special edition of City of Refuge, plus FOUR signed paperback copies of the book for friends and family, and THREE digital copies of City of Refuge for your E-readers of choice- before they are released anywhere else. You will also get three high quality vinyl stickers with Jessica Perlstein's original cover art, and an erudite exclamation of your fantastic taste and benevolent contribution to the City of Refuge campaign!

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    ISIS' ILLUMINATION

    A very special opportunity for collectors of Starhawk's works: the very rare leather-bound, signed and numbered edition of the 10th anniversary publication of The Spiral Dance, with either a personal inscription from Starhawk or a personally inscribed accompanying gift note. There were only 500 of these ever printed, and they are almost all gone now. Photos of the book are available in the project description.

    You will also receive a signed and numbered advanced hardcover copy of the Kickstarter-exclusive, special edition of City of Refuge, plus a paperback copy of the book for a friend, and a digital copy for your E-reader of choice- before they are released anywhere else. You will also get a high quality vinyl sticker with Jessica Perlstein's original cover art, and a sacred spiral of thanks for your generous contribution!

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    Pledge $800 or more About $800

    RIVER'S REVOLUTION

    You and up to 10 lucky friends will get to sit down with Starhawk for a private 1-hour online conversation. Discuss the principles of City of Refuge, The Fifth Sacred Thing, or any of Starhawk's books or teachings. You will also receive TWO SIGNED AND NUMBERED advanced hardcover copies of the Kickstarter-exclusive, special edition of City of Refuge, plus TWO signed paperback copies of the book for friends and family, and TWO digital copies for your E-readers of choice- before they are released anywhere else. You will also get two high quality vinyl stickers with Jessica Perlstein's original cover art, and an uprising of gratitude for your generous contribution!

    (Starhawk will be in contact to schedule a mutually agreeable date for your conversation in November 2015, actual date of conversation TBD depending on both parties' calendars)

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    THE SPEAKER'S SONG

    For the media maven: Starhawk will do an exclusive interview with you for your blog, online magazine, or radio show on any topic of your choosing, within reason (and at Starhawk's discretion). Starhawk will link to the article/radio spot from her Facebook page and Twitter page with a combined following of over 90,000.

    You will also receive TWO SIGNED AND NUMBERED advanced hardcover copies of the Kickstarter-exclusive, special edition of City of Refuge, plus TWO signed paperback copies of the book (perhaps you could offer a special giveaway for your followers/listeners/readers?), and a digital copy for your E-reader of choice- before they are released anywhere else. You will also get two high quality vinyl stickers with Jessica Perlstein's original cover art, and an exclamation of thanks for your exceptional contribution to the success of Starhawk's first self-publishing adventure.

    (Starhawk will be in contact to schedule a mutually agreeable date for your interview in November 2015, actual date of interview depends on both parties' calendars)

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    Pledge US$ 2,000 or more About $2,000

    SMOKEE'S SOJOURN

    Starhawk will serve you and a guest tea in a special San Francisco garden on the historic Prince Charles and Lady Di Tea Tray-- either black, the way Maya likes it, or herbal tea steeped from herbs that Starhawk grew herself. She will pair them with home-baked scones and her own organic, home-grown jam, and a special jar of Starhawk preserves to take home with you.

    After tea time, Starhawk will take you on a walking tour of sites in San Francisco's Mission District that inspired The Fifth Sacred Thing. On top of this extravaganza, you will get TWO SIGNED AND NUMBERED advanced hardcover copies of the Kickstarter-exclusive, special edition of City of Refuge, plus TWO signed paperback copies of the book for friends and family, and TWO digital copies for your E-readers of choice- before they are released anywhere else. You will also get two high quality vinyl stickers with Jessica Perlstein's original cover art, and an adventurous articulation of thanks for helping to bring City of Refuge to life.

    (Travel expenses to San Francisco are not included, backer is responsible for all travel and lodging costs. Starhawk will be in contact to schedule a mutually agreeable date for your sojourn in November 2015, actual date TBD depending on both parties' calendars)

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    Pledge $3,300 or more About $3,300

    THE GREENWOODS' GARDEN

    A Sacred Garden permaculture design for your home or land: Starhawk will come do a site visit (for the San Francisco or North Bay Area or any city on her touring schedule for 2016). She will design a custom site analysis, conceptual design, plant list, map and site plan.

    You will also get two SIGNED AND NUMBERED advanced hardcover copies of the Kickstarter-exclusive, special edition of City of Refuge, plus TWO signed paperback copies of the book for friends and family, and TWO digital copies for your E-readers of choice- before they are released anywhere else. You will also get two high quality vinyl stickers with Jessica Perlstein's original cover art, and an verdant vociferation of praise for helping to nurture this campaign.

    (Only available for landowners who live within 100 miles of the SF bay area, or within city limits of a stop on Starhawk's 2016 touring schedule- see Starhawk.org for details. Starhawk will be in contact to schedule a mutually agreeable date for your magickal garden adventure in November 2015, actual date TBD depending on both parties' calendars)

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    STARHAWK'S SACRED CEREMONY

    Starhawk will create and facilitate a custom ritual for you and participants of your choosing, to include herbs and hydrosols from her garden and original liturgy tailored to your ceremony (for the San Francisco or North Bay Area or any city on her touring schedule for 2016).

    You will also get three SIGNED AND NUMBERED advanced hardcover copies of the Kickstarter-exclusive, special edition of City of Refuge, plus three signed paperback copies of the book for friends and family, and TWO digital copies for your E-readers of choice- before they are released anywhere else. You will also get two high quality vinyl stickers with Jessica Perlstein's original cover art, and a benevolent benediction of thanks and praise for making such a significant contribution to the success of Starhawk's first self-publishing endeavor.

    (Only available to backers who live within 100 miles of the SF bay area, or within city limits of a stop on Starhawk's 2016 touring schedule- see Starhawk.org for details. Starhawk will be in contact to schedule a mutually agreeable date for your sacred ceremony in November 2015, actual date TBD depending on both parties' calendars)

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Funding period

- (27 days)