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By Chris Dunigan
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About this project

"On The Paths of Madness" is a fictional story based in H.P. Lovecraft's 'Cthulhu Mythos', an openly 'licensed' pulp setting with a rich history, full of unique storytelling opportunities.  If you aren't familiar with Lovecraft's work, I highly recommend the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast at http://hppodcraft.com/.  I am dedicating this book both to Lovecraft himself, and the above mentioned podcast.  WIthout HPPodcraft, this book would never have existed.

The story is told from the point of view of Thomas Brennan, a painter who becomes close friends with an Archaeologist named Simon.  Over time, Simon reveals the strange researches that he has been doing, drawing Thomas into a dark, occult past.  He watches as his friend sinks deeper and deeper, immersing himself fully into his occult researches.  Thomas, driven by fear and the murders which seem to follow his friend Simon, eventually is taken to the very brink of madness.

As of October 5, 2011, the story is about 85% written and should be completed and ready for publishing by December.  With your help, I'll be able to get it finished, hire an artist for the cover art (and possibly some small pieces of art for chapter openings), a voice actor for the audio recording, and any self-publishing costs in the event that I am unable to secure a publisher.  

I have released the rough draft of the first two chapters of the book on my Project Blog, hosted at http://onthepathsofmadness.blogspot.com/, so please feel free to check that out, and I welcome all commentary and constructive criticism  Below is an excerpt from the book, so if you want to see more, please pledge whatever you can afford :)

.......... (Excerpt from Chapter One)...........

Doctor Riley interrupts me with a gesture.  “You mentioned that Simon was an archaeologist.  What is your profession, Thomas?”

I smile grimly at the question.  “I am....  I was a painter.  I never made much money, but I was able to live off of a small inheritance from my father, God rest his weary soul.”

She nods and jots a few notes down.  “Do they let you paint here?” she asks.

I give a small sigh.  “Doctor Ward doesn’t like the things that I paint, so he doesn’t let them give me the supplies anymore.  At least they let me keep a journal.  It helps, a little.”

The Doctor gives an understanding nod.  “I’m sorry for the interruption, Thomas.  Please go on.”

“After spending a good deal of time together, Simon revealed to me some of the research that he had been delving in, and wanted to know if I was interested.

I’m no scientist, and certainly no archaeologist, but he showed me some of the artifacts which he had retrieved during his travels.  Much of it was artistic in nature, and it pleased me greatly to hold such ancient works of art.  When he told me of some of the places he had visited, it planted within me a longing - not for scientific discovery, mind you, but Simon could create such a wondrous picture with his words of the dark, musty passageways, and of great winding spires covered in long-forgotten symbols and runes.  Those places and things which Simon could so exquisitely paint with words, I wanted to paint with oils and canvas.

Anyway, I actually had a good time with him.  Sometimes, we’d drive out to old libraries looking for rare books, or even the occasional dealer, though I always wound up paying, it seems.  Simon’s book collection was extensive - he had shelves after shelves filled with old, moldering tomes and scrolls, as well as a few more modern books.  Many of them were virtually unidentifiable, at least by their binding, with a few exceptions here and there.  There seemed to be little organization, at least not that I could determine.  Books of poetry were intermingled with histories, memoirs,. and others.  Some were written in languages I couldn’t recognize.  I never got to spend much time perusing, however, as our research consumed most of our time together.”

Doctor Riley takes notes occasionally as I speak, but now she glances up at me with a questioning look.  “What were you researching, exactly?”

I shift uncomfortably in my seat again.  

.................................................

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    You will receive all of the following: All of the digital downloads from previous levels; A signed hardcover copy of the book, with a special note from the author on the inside cover; 3 hardcover copies to give to friends, donate to literary organizations, etc.; A signed print of the cover art by the artist; A special Acknowledgement at the beginning of the book!

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    *Super Awesome Donor Level!* - You will receive everything from the $50 level, plus, because you are so very, very awesome, I will use your name (or a variant, your choice) as one of the secondary characters, such as townsfolk, Asylum patients or staff, or perhaps a murder victim!

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- (30 days)