Demons, magic swords, samurai, ninja, political intrigue and Mongol hordes. Historical fantasy set in 13th Century Japan. Banzai! Read more
This project was successfully funded on February 4, 2013.
About this project
Funded!! -- And Now: Stretch Goals and T-Shirt Add-ons!!
First of all, I want to thank all the backers for their tremendous support thus far! It is incredibly gratifying to see how well this effort has gone.
Add a Sword of the Ronin T-shirt to your pledge for $17!!
Simply add $17 to any of the contribution levels, and you will receive a T-shirt, along with with your other rewards, for no additional shipping charges!
T-Shirts are available in Black or Ivory. (XXL, and XXXL must add $2.00 more.) The color screenprinted design will feature the logo above and boast the same level of coolness as the book itself. These will be AVAILABLE ONLY TO PROJECT BACKERS!
Stretch #7 - $6,000 - Ten sets of Heart of the Ronin and Sword of the Ronin donated to libraries chosen by YOU, the Backers. If this goal is unlocked, when the campaign is over, I will put the question to all backers. The first ten backers who respond with a library donation request will have one set of books donated in their names to the library of their choice.
UNLOCKED!!! Stretch #1 - $4,200 - The Limited Edition Hardcover gets gold lettering on the cover. (Unfortunately print-on-demand paperbacks do not get this option, or I would include it there, too.)
UNLOCKED!!! Stretch #2 - $4,400 - Every backer will receive a chapbook containing a new short story related to the trilogy.
UNLOCKED!!! Stretch #3 - $4,800 - A second artist! His name is a Drew Baker, and he is a long time contributor to the Legend of the Five Rings universe (a personal favorite of mine since 1996). At this level, the chapbook will get a super-deluxe color cover featuring Drew's artwork.
Check out his artwork here. It's gorgeous! http://www.drewbaker.com/
All contributors will get a PDF of Drew Baker's artwork. It will also be included on the Thank You postcard AND everyone will have the option of buying a signed and numbered matted print, similar to that of Alan Clark's cover art already in the rewards ladder. The new artwork will also be incorporated into the cover design of the hardcover. I will try to incorporate it into the paperback cover somehow, but we have fewer options there.
UNLOCKED!!! Stretch #4 - $5,050 - One interior illustration by Drew Baker!
UNLOCKED!!!! Stretch #5 - $5,300 - A second interior illustration by Drew Baker!
UNLOCKED!!!!! Stretch #6 - $5,500 - And a third interior illustration. Now a complete set, one at the beginning of each "Scroll".
Sword of the Ronin is a historical fantasy novel set in 13th Century Japan. A complete draft of the book is written. The goal of this project is simple: secure funding to produce high-quality e-book, paperback, and hardcover editions.
The story blends meticulous research, a historical setting, zen fables, and the strange creatures of Japanese folklore. (There’s even a little Samuel Taylor Coleridge; props if you can find that!) The people of 13th Century Japan certainly believed that demons, spirits, kappa and all manner of bizarre beasties were real, and they believed foxes and tanuki could change form. What if all that were as real as the neighbors' noisy tomcat?
The book tells the story of Ken’ishi, a young masterless samurai, an orphan, whose only significant possession is the sword left to him by the father he never knew. The sword, Silver Crane, possesses strange powers that he has not yet learned to tap, and it is his only link to his mysterious past. But such a weapon must have a past of its own. When the shadows of that past come looking for Silver Crane--and steal it--Ken'ishi has no choice but to pursue, unsuspecting of the vast intrigues that surround him.
The Mongols are threatening to invade. The love of his life is married to a samurai lord. His best friend is dead. The underworld crime boss known as Green Tiger wants either Ken’ishi’s service or his head. Against this storm of troubles, can he recover Silver Crane in time to save his adopted village from barbarian invaders?
Sword of the Ronin is the second volume in my Ronin Trilogy, but you don’t need to have read the first book to enjoy the story. The first volume Heart of the Ronin was published by the Five Star imprint of Gale-Cengage Learning in 2009. Heart of the Ronin is still available as e-book and trade paperback from E-Reads.
Here’s the original trailer for Heart of the Ronin.
The Game Plan
This book will be the highest quality possible. To that end, I have brought on some talented collaborators. A skilled editor can make a good book into an amazing, fantastic book. An award-winning illustrator can raise the book to a higher level of notoriety. A professional graphic designer can meld art and design into a cover that pops.
Editor: John Helfers is an author and editor currently living in Green Bay, Wisconsin. During his sixteen years working at Tekno Books (the largest commercial book packager in the nation), he co-edited more than twenty short story anthologies, as well as overseeing many others for publishers in all genres. He has worked with many well-known authors and co-editors, including Lawrence Block, Larry Bond, Elizabeth George, Dale Brown, Stephen Coonts, Nelson DeMille, Charlaine Harris, John Jakes, Anne Perry, Jeffery Deaver, Michael Connelly, Walter J. Boyne, Harold W. Coyle, Mercedes Lackey, Margaret Weis, Kevin J. Anderson, Ice-T, Richard Belzer, and Max Allan Collins. He has also edited more than forty novels including the original edition of Heart of the Ronin, and published more than forty short stories in anthologies, game books, and novels for the Dragonlance®, Transformers®, BattleTech® and Shadowrun® universes. He has written both fiction and nonfiction, including the third novel in the first authorized trilogy based on The Twilight Zone™ television series, the YA novel Tom Clancy’s Net Force Explorers: Cloak and Dagger, and a history of the United States Navy.
Cover Artist: Alan M. Clark grew up in Tennessee in a house full of bones and old medical books. His illustrations have appeared in books of fiction, non-fiction, textbooks, young adult fiction and children’s books. Awards for his illustration work include the World Fantasy Award and four Chesley Awards. His short fiction has appeared in magazines, anthologies, and three collections. Six of his novels have been published. Lazy Fascist Press released his latest novel, A Parliament of Crows, in the Fall of 2012. Mr. Clark's publishing company, IFD Publishing, has released six traditional books and seventeen e-books. He and his wife, Melody, live in Oregon. His website is: www.alanmclark.com.
Designer: jim pinto is an artist, writer, game designer, award-winning screenwriter, and Renaissance man. He recently completed a motorcycle trek across the entirety of Vietnam, and has collaborated with yours truly on numerous gaming projects, screenplays, and now fiction. He is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the author of the Longest Roleplaying Game Book (840 pages).
So with these eminently qualified gentlemen on board, you can be assured this is a project you’ll be proud to be part of.
What Will Be Produced?
The money from this campaign will be used to produce:
- Limited Edition Signed and Numbered Hardcovers
- Limited Edition Signed and Numbered Prints of the Cover Art - Archival Quality, 8.5 x 11", matted to 11 x 14"
- Trade Paperbacks
- Signed E-books
- Thank-you Postcards
- STRETCH GOAL BONUS!! - Chapbook with full-color cover with a new Ronin short story available nowhere else.
- Editing and copyediting
- Cover art and design
- Interior book design
- Printing costs of the physical books and postcards
- Registering Copyright
- Securing ISBN numbers
- Setup fees at printer and e-book distributors
- Postage and shipping supplies
- February 5, 2013 – Campaign completes.
- March 31, 2013 – Editing process and cover art complete.
- April 15, 2013 – Final copyediting complete.
- May 1, 2013 – Book design and cover design complete. E-books and postcards sent to contributors.
- May 15, 2013 – Final quality checks complete, files submitted to printer.
- June 1, 2013 – Ship out rewards to contributors.
So what makes a guy from the American Midwest think he can write authentically about samurai and 13th Century Japan?
When I was writing Heart of the Ronin, I reached a point where I realized that no matter how many samurai movies I watched or books I read, I still had no idea how the culture worked. Japanese culture is so different from Western culture. However, culture is embedded in language, so I enrolled in a Japanese Conversation course at the local university, and this experience set my heart and mind afire with possibilities.
I ultimately quit my job and moved to Japan as part of the Japan Exchange Teaching (JET) Program, where I spent the next three years living in Fukuoka prefecture, in northern Kyushu. By fate or pure serendipity, Fukuoka prefecture happened to be the exact location where the Ronin Trilogy takes place. I was able to do tons of first-hand research, traveling to historical sites, absorbing Japanese culture like a sponge; I even had the opportunity to study iaido (the art of cutting with the draw) under one of Japan’s foremost sword masters. I have also studied kendo off and on since I was a college student. A couple of my Japanese colleagues told me once over sake, “You’re more Japanese than many Japanese people.”
So, suffice to say, I know a thing or two now about Japanese culture, history, and martial arts.
But what about writing?
I’m a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop, which is, along with the Clarion Workshops, among the premier six-week residency writing programs in the U.S., specifically designed for writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror.
Sword of the Ronin will be my fifth published novel (the first indie-published).
Reviews of Heart of the Ronin
"Full of sword battles, intrigue, romance and fantastic elements blending well with historical ones, Heart of the Ronin is a very impressive opening in the Ronin Trilogy. It’s also a page turner that you can’t put down and will leave you begging for more."-- Fantasy Book Critic
"A fusion of historical fiction and adventure fantasy, the first volume of Heermann's Ronin Trilogy is a page-turning folkloric narrative of epic proportions." -- Publishers Weekly
"Heart of a Ronin is a solid, likeable adventure story, sure to please fans of Japanese culture and fantasy readers alike." -- Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing
- The Wild Boys – Young Adult horror-thriller -- Damnation Books, 2012
- Rogues of the Black Fury – Swashbuckling fantasy -- E-Reads, 2012
- Heart of the Ronin – Historical fantasy – Five Star and E-Reads, 2009/2010
- The Ivory Star – Epic fantasy – Commonwealth, 1997
- "Dirge for the Shoemaker" - Weird Tales, 2013
- "That Long Black Train" - Shivers Vol. VII, Cemetery Dance, 2013
- "Snakes" - Damnation Books, June, 2011
- "An Idol for Emiko" - Historical Lovecraft, Innsmouth Free Press, 2011
- "The Song" - Runner-up British Fantasy Society Short Story Contest, 2010
- "Punishment" - Malicious Deviance, Library of Horror Press, April 2011
- "An Incident in a Small Town" - Pulp Empire, Volume III, Pulp Empire, September 2010
- "The Hammer" -OG's Speculative Fiction, May, 2010
- "Fragile" - On the Premises, 2008
- "Zombies on a Plane" - The Harrow, 2008
- "Forever Dead" - The Harrow, 2007
- "Uncle Frank" - Redbridge Review, 2006
- Death Wind (in collaboration with jim pinto, unproduced) - Screenwriting Contest 1st Place - Cinequest Film Festival, 2012; 2nd Place - H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival L.A.
- The Nightshade Tapes (in collaboration with C.B. Davis, Katie F-S, Shayne Kennedy, Timothy Schaffert, and Scott Working) - The Witching Hour, Blue Barn Theater, June 7-July 10, 2010
- EVE Online - CCP/White Wolf North America
For Alderac Entertainment Group
- Warlords of the Accordlands Roleplaying Game
- Swashbuckling Adventures Roleplaying Game
- Creatures of Rokugan
- Fortunes and Winds
- The Hidden Emperor
- Secrets of the Dragon
- Secrets of the Lion
- Secrets of the Mantis
- Secrets of the Unicorn
- Secrets of the Crane
- Secrets of the Scorpion
- The Four Winds
- The Illusionist's Daughter
- The Ogre City of Drahk'Suhl
- The Lash of Malloc
- The Flesh is Weak
- The Daisho and the Ninja
Risks and challenges
I have worked with my collaborators on various other projects, so I don't anticipate any problems. If problems do arise, there is no doubt we can overcome those in a timely manner to keep the project on-track.
The printer, Lightning Source, is a well-established business, serving thousands of publishers and indie-presses, but if by some freak of chance their business implodes in the next four months, I will definitely look for other vendors to make sure all contributors get everything they were promised.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
Pledge $5 or more
SPEARMAN - Glossy postcard with cover art and a personal thank you from the author. Your name will go in the book on the Contributors page under your rank. You'll also get an advance look at the first few chapters of the book.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $10 or more
ARCHER - Spearman benefits PLUS a signed e-book in the format of your choice.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $25 or more
RONIN - Archer benefits PLUS a signed trade paperback of the novel.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $40 or more
BANDIT CHIEFTAIN - Ronin benefits PLUS a trade paperback of Heart of the Ronin.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $50 or more
SAMURAI - Archer benefits PLUS signed and numbered limited edition hardcover, available only to campaign contributors.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $75 or more
INFANTRY SERGEANT - Samurai benefits PLUS trade paperback of Heart of the Ronin.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $80 or more
CAVALRY SERGEANT - Samurai benefits PLUS 8.5x11" archival quality print of the cover art, matted, signed and numbered by the artist.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $100 or more
7 backers Limited (3 left of 10)
CAPTAIN - Samurai benefits PLUS Library Edition Hardcover of Heart of the Ronin.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $125 or more
SENSEI - Samurai benefits PLUS 8.5x11" archival quality print of the cover art, matted, signed and numbered by the artist PLUS a trade paperback of Heart of the Ronin.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $150 or more
CHAMBERLAIN (Writers Only) - Sensei Benefits PLUS a critique of your short story (story length 8000 word maximum).Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $150 or more
GENERAL - Sensei benefits PLUS complete audio book of Heart of the Ronin.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $175 or more
LORD - General Benefits PLUS trade paperback of Sword of the Ronin.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $225 or more
MINISTER OF THE LEFT - Lord Benefits PLUS complete audio book of Sword of the Ronin.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $300 or more
0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)
MINISTER OF THE RIGHT (Writers Only) - Sensei Benefits PLUS, plus a comprehensive critique of your novel (novel length 125,000 word maximum).Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $500 or more
0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)
SHOGUN - Minister of the Left Benefits PLUS I'll work with you to create a minor character in the third book of the trilogy, Spirit of the Ronin.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $1,000 or more
0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)
EMPEROR - Minister of the Left Benefits PLUS I'll work with you to create a major character (perhaps to kill off spectacularly) in the final book of the trilogy, Spirit of the Ronin.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $2,500 or more
0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)
KAMI - Emperor Benefits PLUS I'll fly to an agreed-upon location in North America with a total of 25 hardcover copies of the novel for a reading and a signing with you and your friends — or at a school, library, or convention of your choice.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $5,000 or more
0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)
SUN GODDESS - Emperor Benefits PLUS I'll fly to an agreed-upon location anywhere in the world with 50 hardcover copies of the novel for a reading and a signing with you and your friends — or at a school, library, or convention of your choice.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
- (30 days)