Neal Levin is the acquisitions editor of Dark Quest Books and co-editor of The Awakened.
Audio excerpt from the short story Unseen by Doug Herring voiced by Brady Vance
You just turned nineteen. Do you feel... different? Is strange magic happening all around you? Are you suddenly mindspeaking with a sentient animal? In "The Awakened", this could be you.
Sixteen exciting stories pull you into the diverse and unusual world of Grimaton, where the twin moons above might mean a lifetime of change. Join our celebrated authors as they explore the world of The Awakened and spotlight the heroes, the villains, and the magic; where a random few may find themselves bonded to an animal companion for life, or might find they are the possessor of weird and powerful magic they could never have imagined. How these exceptional few are treated and how they learn to use those unasked-for powers... Well, that is the adventure we have started here.
Experience the highs and lows of becoming an Awakened, decide if you would use your power for good or for evil, and grow with characters who will make you proud... or make you angry.
I created this world over ten years ago but never pursued it; now it is time. I love this setting, and the reason I do is not because it came from my mind, but because those fifteen other writers made it come alive and feel so real to me. The emotions I felt as I read through their stories were fantastic and I cannot wait to go back and read again as both a writer and a fan.
Take a look at the tiers to the right and see how you would enjoy The Awakened best; as an eBook, paperback or hardcover; being part of the next book (which is already planned and includes exciting changes); talk one-on-one to a publisher and author; heck, I will fly to you with an armload of books from the Dark Quest library and we can hang out for a weekend!
Next, take a look at the stretch goals and see what we can do with your support --we can bring you more short stories, add art to the print copies, and guarantee more books in the series-- so take a chance on us and we will not disappoint!
The stories are written, edited and in layout. Now what we need is you: we need you to help us keep these characters, this world, this dream, alive. By pledging and showing your support, we will have the supreme honor of being able to write for you again and again.
You can do that for me. With your pledges, you can let us go back to a world we love creating. If we reach the stretch goals we can revisit this world with you! Please be a part of the team and maybe, just maybe, you will be Awakened!
-Hal Greenberg, The Awakened co-author and setting creator
Greg Opalinski - Greg grew up in Poland, quickly realizing that he wanted to be a professional artist. He moved to the United States and attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He also recently completed his undergraduate illustration study at SVA and is currently working on book covers, card art and storyboards for film.
Tony Szczudlo - Tony Szczudlo was the lead artist for the Birthright campaign from the late 1990s. His Dungeons & Dragons work includes cover art and interior illustrations for many AD&D Birthright books, as well as cover art for late second edition Greyhawk books Greyhawk: The Adventure Begins, Crypt of Lyzandred the Mad, The Doomgrinder, and Return of the Eight. Szczudlo is also known for his work on the Magic: The Gathering collectible card game.
Note:The bookplate will be signed by all 16 authors!!!!! *
*pending some traumatic event
The foreward of the anthology was written by Matt Forbeck
Erik Scott de Bie - Matchless Grace is the author of five fantasy novels in the Forgotten Realms setting, including Shadowbane (September 2011) and its sequel, Shadowbane: Eye of Justice (2012), as well as the forthcoming World of Ruin series, starting with Shadow of the Winter King. He has contributed to many scifi/fantasy collections, such as the anthologies When the Hero Comes Home, Human for a Day, Close Encounters of the Urban Kind, and Beauty Has Her Way. He is also a known quantity in the gaming industry, having contributed to such successful Dungeons and Dragons products as Plane Above: Secrets of the Astral Sea, Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond, and the popular Neverwinter Campaign Setting. He lives in Seattle, where he is married with pets.
Clinton Boomer - Fierce Hammer of Winter, known to his friends as ‘Booms,’ resides in the quaint, leafy, idyllic paradise of Macomb, Illinois. He was first published professionally in the ENnie Award-winning Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting from Paizo Publishing after placing in the Final Four of Paizo’s inaugural RPG Superstar! competition in 2008.
A member of the WereCabbages Creative Guild and the Monumental Works writer's group, he is a frequent freelance contributor to Rite Publishing, Sean K. Reynolds Games, Paizo Publishing, Zombie Sky Press, Legendary Games and the Hellcrashers setting. Boomer has also recently released his own novel The Hole Behind Midnight.
Steve Creech - It's Just Business is well-known in the hobby games industry and owner of DragonWing Games. Since 2001, he has written, edited or contributed to over 25 books and games. In 2004, his book Torn Asunder: Critical Hits received a prestigious Gen Con ENnie Award while another, Dweomercraft: Familiars made honorable mention in the same category. When not writing, Steven spends his spare time with his beautiful wife, Kim, and his teenage children.
Torah Cottrill - Skytouched has been losing herself in fantastic worlds since she first discovered the secrets of wardrobes. Now, she explores new worlds of her own. Torah is a reader, writer, and editor from Seattle. She is also member of the writers' cooperative Monumental Works Group.
Darrin Drader - The Outcast has been an avid fan of the fantasy genre since reading The Hobbit somewhere around age ten. As a bored sixteen-year-old, while sitting in English class one day, he decided that he was going to be a writer when he grew up. Unlike other fanciful notions that had come and gone, this one stuck. Before graduating from high school, he wrote numerous stories. In college at Washington State University, he enrolled in several writing classes, and co-founded an extra-curricular writing group. After the university, he committed to chasing the dream and embarked upon a career in tabletop roleplaying game design. This led to employment with Wizards of the Coast and work on such Dungeons and Dragons products as the Book of Exalted Deeds, Forgotten Realms: Serpent Kingdoms, and D20 Apocalypse. He currently has over forty published works that range from roleplaying books, to articles, to fiction.
Darrin's recent debut novel Echoes of Olympus is currently available on Amazon, and he has already begun work on its sequel, The Pearls of Atlantis.
Hal Greenberg - Awakened is a five-time ENnie nominated game designer who recently started a new company, Samurai Sheepdog, with his previous business partner Doug Herring. Hal has been a guest speaker at Necronomicon and GenCon and has been honored to work with many of today’s leading writers and designers, including but not limited to: Monte Cook, Todd Lockwood, and Ed Greenwood. This year Hal will have Bluffside: City on the Edge for Castles and Crusades published by Troll Lord Games and a new children's book called Sam the Hanukkah Dragon on Kickstarter with renowned fantasy artist Jeff Easley . He also has a few other projects still in the developmental stage (read: secret) including boardgames and more fiction. You can find Hal on Facebook and Twitter.
Ed Greenwood - Girl and Her Scaly Bits is a Canadian writer, game designer, and librarian best known as the creator of the Forgotten Realms® fantasy setting. His 200-plus books have sold millions of copies worldwide in more than two dozen languages, and he has won many gaming awards, including Origins Awards and ENnies. Ed was elected to the Academy of Adventure Gaming Art & Design Hall of Fame in 2003.
Ed has been Guest of Honor at more than fifty conventions from Australia to Stockholm, and has been a judge for the World Fantasy Awards. He shares an old Ontario farmhouse with his wife, a cat, and more than 80,000 books. Ed’s own recent novels include The Herald from Wizards of the Coast, and The Wizard’s Mask from Paizo.
Doug Herring - Unseen has been writing his whole life and been publishing gaming books for over ten years. He is best known as being one of the creators of The Hunt: Rise of Evil setting for d20. His most recent projects include some fiction writing, and board games and has recently formed a new company Samurai Sheepdog with Hal Greenberg. He lives in Texas with his wife and two kids.
Jaleigh Johnson - Hunger is the author of five novels and several short stories in the Forgotten Realms fiction line, published by Wizards of the Coast. Delacorte Press will publish her middle grade fantasy novel, The Mark of the Dragonfly, in 2014.
Rosemary Jones - Birdie writes. She always has. After growing up in a household with a writer, and being made a beta-reader from an early age, she graduated to writing articles, stories, and eventually whole books. These days, most of her writing is loaded with supernatural events, superheroes, steampunk ladies, dragons who don't look like dragons, and other oddities. Her books for Wizards of the Coast explore the dungeons and graveyards of the Forgotten Realms, and she's known in the D&D fiction community as "the quirky one." She thinks the "quirky" may have something to do with topiary, wererats, small dogs, and the liberal use of skeletons in key scenes. When not writing, Rosemary cruises the shelves of Seattle's many bookshops, hangs out in different coffee emporiums, or sits in darkened theaters. One of her earliest memories is listening to a recording of Mary Poppins and being spooked by the "Feed The Birds" song.
Ty Johnston - Assassins of Opportunity was born and raised in central Kentucky. After 20 years as a newspaper journalist, he returned to his first true love, writing fiction about swords, sorcery and things that go bump in the night. He lives in the South with his wife, their beagle and a house rabbit.
Kevin Kulp - Elephants and Rain is a Boston-based writer, game designer, and a storyteller who develops both video and pen and paper games. He helps run the independent RPG site ENworld.org, and his recent work includes Disruptor Beam's Game of Thrones Ascent for Facebook, and the upcoming fantasy western game Owl Hoot Trail from Pelgrane Press.
Colin McComb - The Hunted has been a professional writer of one sort or another since 1991, though his primary venue has always been games. He first started writing for TSR Inc on that company's various Advanced Dungeons & Dragons titles, with such credits as the award-winning Dragon Mountain, the Birthright Campaign Setting, and as a developer for the Planescape Campaign Setting. He later moved to California to work on computer games for Black Isle Studios, where he wrote for Fallout 2 and Planescape: Torment. Most recently, he has self-published his series, Oathbreaker, and for the next two years will be serving as the Creative Lead for Torment: Tides of Numenera.
Darren W Pearce - Rook's Gambit was born in 1969 and was very quickly immersed in fantasy and science fiction by his parents. He lives in the United Kingdom with his wife Gillian Pearce and their 5 cats. Darren has worked professionally in the Roleplaying Game Industry since 2000 and has done work for an online video game review/news website Games Xtreme since 2001. Darren has worked on Knights of Honor, Breed and the game Savage.
Darren has worked on such properties as Lone Wolf with Joe Dever, Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space through Cubicle 7 and numerous Mongoose Publishing products recently via the Legend RPG system. Darren is also an Award Winning anthology author having been involved in the 2011 Epic E-Book award winning Bad-A$$ Faeries 3 anthology for Best Anthology.
Darren has also written short stories galore and has numerous works published both in print and e-book formats, as well as a novel (in editing) and a novella (also in editing).
Darren writes regularly for The Chronicles of Wyrden webcomic with his wife Gillian (Illustrator) and has numerous other works in the pipleline for 2013.
You can find Darren's work with Neal Levin in such anthologies as: Vampire Dreamspell, Cats In a Dreamspell, New Blood, Barbarians At The Jumpgate, Mind or Metal Fantasy Anthology, Zombonauts, Dream's & Screams, Bloody Carnival, Bad-A$$ Faeries 3, In An Iron Cage: The Magic of Steampunk (and many more).
Darren has a lot more RPG projects coming and is the lead writer on the 13th Age compatible Nightfall product, which aims to bring a sense of Gothic Horror to the new RPG system and is a proud member of the Monumental Works Group.
Richard Redman - Fire was born in Florida. He grew up along the East Coast, and attended the University of Virginia. He led a platoon of tanks in the First Gulf War and spent over ten years working for Wizards of the Coast.
Now an eccentric recluse, Mr. Redman publishes digitally because it’s easier from his mountaintop fortress in Tibet. He claims to have a harem of first readers, and an army of bloodthirsty, opium-addicted, yetis who keep the children off his lawn. He subsists on a diet of mercury, sulfur, arsenic salts, and cheese.
Allegations that he is a master of Sinanju and a leader of the World Crime League remain unproven. No records can be found for his patents of the interocitor, the Mr. Fusion home reactor, the flux capacitor, or the oscillation overthruster.
Mr. Redman is a multiple winner of National Novel Writing Month. He has written for dungeonaday.com, Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Game, Pathfinder, Star Wars, Dark*Matter, and d20 Modern. He also writes fiction.
Rai Smith - Litha Mabon works by day in the fast paced corporate world, but when night falls the typing and magick begins! A writer from a very young age Rai liked to provoke thought and spark controversy with her speeches and articles (much to her teacher’s dismay). Several years and a family later, she has turned that passion inward to fantasy fiction. Her writing has found its publishing debut with Dark Quest Books as a contributing author for The Awakened. She currently makes her home in central Florida with her ever encouraging husband, a wee one who is most certainly of Fae decent and three very demanding cats.
Instant library backers go here to look at all the books available from the publisher: Dark Quest Books
Praise for 'The Awakened':
If you hunt around, you can still find something fresh in the worlds of magic — something different — and the stories in The Awakened can prove it.
-Matt Forbeck (Deadlands, Guild Wars and Eberron novelist)
The Awakened anthology is a fantastic romp brought to you by writers both new and those you already know. The magic underlying the world of the Awakened is unlike anything you've seen before, and the stories in this volume only whet the appetite for more.
-Bruce R. Cordell (author of Sword of the Gods and Plague of Spells)
Becoming awakened is the culmination of all of your moments of consciousness focused into into a life purpose. It's time to sit back and dream as new and veteran authors weave a tapestry of awakening through your consciousness.
-Jim Butler (Former Brand Manager of D&D Worlds at Wizards of the Coast)
Map of the world of The Awakened!
$5,000 - An additional story (PDF) exclusive for six months to backers of this Kickstarter by Darren W. Pearce. In addition, we'll add a new piece of original art to The Awakened anthology by artist Tony Szczudlo (D&D Birthrights campaign and Greyhawk settings and Magic the Gathering card art).
$8,000 - A guarantee for 'The Awakened II' to be produced in 2014! In addition, we'll add two new pieces of original art to The Awakened anthology by artists Tony Szczudlo and another yet-to-be-named fantasy artist.
$11,000 - A guarantee for The Awakened: Modern for 2014. In addition, we'll add a new piece of original art to The Awakened anthology by a yet-to-be-named fantasy artist.
$14,000 - Three new images to be included in The Awakened anthology by a yet-to-be-named fantasy artist and a six month exclusive all new short story to backers of this Kickstarter by Matt Forbeck!
$17,000 - At least seven more images to be included in The Awakened anthology and a third all new short story set in The Awakened setting, exclusive to Kickstarter backers for six months (PDF) written by Rai Smith.
$20,000 - Limited edition miniature of one of The Awakened anthology characters (for all backers of $50 and up) and two more images to be included in the anthology plus a guarantee for The Awakened III in 2015.
$25,000 - Official audiobook download of The Awakened for all backers of $50 or more.
Additional hardback copy (limit 5): $35 (please add an additional $5 for international shipping per book)
Additional softcover copy (limit 5): $15 (please add an additional $5 for international shipping per book)
Additional e-book copy: $5
A 1/2 page character sketch by Greg Opalinski in your book: $50
Awakened metal pendant necklace by metalsmith Todd Gdula, creator of the Mjolnir Project: Hand carved 1/8" x 1" steel disc with a black oxide finish. The black oxide pattern is variable, making each piece unique. 2mm black leather cord. $32 (please add an additional $10 for international shipping)
Awakened hand-crafted leather bookmark by Todd Gdula: Hand tooled 1"' x 8" x 4 oz. leather with the Awakened symbol. The symbol stamps were custom made for this project. Leather is a natural product and there will be slight variations making each piece unique. $20 (please add an additional $10 for international shipping)
Audiobook of The Awakened: $10 (only available if unlocked, and all backers pledging $50 or more will get this free).
We have some tweaks for our tiers, if we hit our $8,000 goal all backers at $40 and up will receive The Awakened II eBook for free! All tiers at $500 and up also receives the GenCon dinner at DQB expense, each additional person please add $50 per person. As an additional add on if you want to go to dinner with Hal and possibly more authors add $200 to any package.
The bookplate will be signed by all 16 authors, and this Kickstarter campaign will be the only official place you will be able get this signed and numbered limited edition collectible.
The Awakened Setting is © Hal Greenberg 2012The Awakened logo is ™ Hal Greenberg 2012
*Another successful kickstarter by Berg Management!
Risks and challenges
The risks and challenges are minimal, as Dark Quest Books has been in business for five years and is an established publisher. The book is currently written and edited and is in layout. The kickstarter is to fund a hard cover version and additional projects in the series. The only delays would be issues from the printer or if you ordered a custom sketch from the artist. These would be only slight delays and little else could slow this process down.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (45 days)