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A book about bullying and the power of true friendship.
A book about bullying and the power of true friendship.
106 backers pledged $6,678 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$6,678

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The Story

Horse Sense is the story of an extraordinary friendship between a boy and a horse and a coming of age story about standing up to bullies.

Jamie and Acorn are best friends. Jamie is a bright eleven-year-old, and Acorn a headstrong three year appaloosa. Their friendship is deep, joyous and seemingly indestructible.

But when Jamie decides to speak out against his abusive teacher, who regularly beats his classmates, he suddenly becomes the target of violent bullying. Both his classmates and many of the adults around him hit Jamie where it hurts: in his friendship with Acorn, a horse.

Now, Jamie's bond with Acorn is put to the test and Jamie has to decide whether to cave in to bullying, or to fight for what he believes in, for himself and for his best friend.

The Book

HORSE SENSE is a novel written by Lapo Melzi. The book is completed and has been workshopped and revised. It is about 275 pages long.

Funding will go to the production of the book: for hiring a professional editor who will polish the text and make it shine; hiring a professional illustrator and designer to create a gorgeous cover; the actual printing of the book; isbn’s; taxes; shipping; and other general expenses related to getting the book out.

Books will go to printing immediately following the completion of the editing and creation of the cover. Rewards will be mailed out shortly thereafter. Turnaround should be pretty quick--by December everybody should have their books and rewards.

To get a sneak peek of the story and judge the quality of the text by yourself, I have uploaded several chapters on Scribd Follow the link.

The Audience

So who is this book for, you ask?  That is an excellent question.

I believe Horse Senseis a book for all the people who have been bullied at least once in their lifetime, who maybe are been bullied right now, who have been somehow humiliated and ostracized, who have been told they can’t do what they wish or have been made to feel ashamed of who they are.

It is also a book for people who love animals or want to learn to love them, who believe in the healing power of friendship, in self determination, in doing what's right despite of the consequences, and who believe that strong is not the one who never falls, but the one who stands up after the fall.

The Rewards

I am glad to say that I have been lucky enough to gain the interest of a wonderfully talented illustrator, Gabriella Ballin, who has taken "Horse Sense" at heart and realized some wonderful silhouette illustrations to be used for rewards.

So here are some previews of her beautiful work and of the rewards that I put together for you. Please remember that these are mock-ups--the actual rewards will look much better.

The paperback

The hardcover

The mug

The tote bag

The sport backpack

The bookmarks

Unique letterpress bookmarks will be made by Boxcar Press in New York on Lettra 220#C paper.

The stickers

The magnets

A huge thank-you to Kiara Jones at Cultivated Films for producing this project! And another huge thank-you to Gabriella Ballin for the fantastic illustrations!

Song in the video: "Golden Lining" by Broke for Free.

Risks and challenges

I want to be able to deliver the book and all the reward before Christmas, so that will be the only challenge I can foresee. Since I will have to ship the books from the States to Italy in order to sign them, that could create some delays.
The editing process may also create some delays--although I am confident I have structured the novel well, so the editor will not ask me to rewrite whole chapters.
Whatever happens, I don't see any ways the books and all the rewards shouldn't be delivered by January at the latest.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    SUPPORTER: You get my endless gratitude. Every little bit helps.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    EBOOK. You get an electronic version of the book and your name in the thank you pages of the book and on my blog.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    EBOOK + WALLPAPER. You receive the ebook plus a digital wallpaper with Gabriella Ballin's original artwork and your name in the thank you pages of the book and on my blog .

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    EBOOK + SWAG: You receive the ebook plus 2 stickers and 2 magnets with Gabriella Ballin's original artwork and your name in the thank you pages of the book and on my blog . (CAN/MEX add$ 1; INTL add $3)

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    PAPERBACK SIGNED: You get the print version of the book, SIGNED & the ebook, and your name both in the thank you pages of the book and on my blog. (CAN/MEX add $6; INTL add $9)

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    PAPERBACK + SWAG: You get the print version of the book, SIGNED, the ebook, 2 Magnets, 2 stickers and your name both in the thank you pages of the book and on my blog. (CAN/MEX add $6; INTL add $9)

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    PAPERBACK + BOOKMARK + SWAG: You get the SIGNED print version of the book, the ebook, 1 bookmark (random of two designs), 2 magnets, 2 stickers and your name both in the thank you pages of the book and on my blog. (CAN/MEX add $6; INTL add $9)

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    PAPERBACK + TOTE BAG + BOOKMARK + SWAG : You get the SIGNED print version of the book, the ebook, plus the tote bag, the bookmark(random of two designs), 2 Magnets, 2 stickers and your name both in the thank you pages of the book and on my blog. (CAN/MEX add $6; INTL add $9)

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    PAPERBACK + SPORT BAG + BOOKMARK + SWAG : You get the SIGNED print version of the book, the ebook, plus the sport bag, 1 bookmark (random of two designs), 2 Magnets, 2 stickers and your name both in the thank you pages of the book and on my blog. (CAN/MEX add $6; INTL add $9)

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    PAPERBACK + MUG: You get the SIGNED print version of the book, the ebook, plus an amazing mug with Gabriella original artwork and your name both in the thank you pages of the book and on my blog. (CAN/MEX add $6; INTL add $9)

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    PAPERBACK + MUG + BOOKMARK: You get the SIGNED print version of the book, the ebook, plus the mug, the bookmark (random of two designs), and your name both in the thank you pages of the book and on my blog. (CAN/MEX add $6; INTL add $9)

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    PAPERBACK + MUG + BOOKMARK + SWAG: You get the SIGNED print version of the book, the ebook, plus the mug, the bookmark (random of two designs), 2 Magnets, 2 stickers and your name both in the thank you pages of the book and on my blog. (CAN/MEX add $6; INTL add $9)

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    HARDCOVER: You get the SIGNED hardcover version of the book, plus the ebook and your name both in the thank you pages of the book and on my blog. (CAN/MEX add $8; INTL add $11)

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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    PAPERBACK + MUG + TOTE BAG + BOOKMARK + SWAG: You get the SIGNED print version of the book, the ebook, plus the mug, the tote bag, the bookmark (random of two designs), 2 Magnets, 2 stickers and your name both in the thank you pages of the book and on my blog. (CAN/MEX add $6; INTL add $9)

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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    HARDCOVER + BOOKMARK: You get the SIGNED hardcover version of the book, the ebook, plus 1 bookmark (random of two designs) and your name both in the thank you pages of the book and on my blog. (CAN/MEX add $8; INTL add $11)

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  16. Select this reward

    Pledge $85 or more About $85

    PAPERBACK + MUG + SPORT BAG + BOOKMARK + SWAG: You get the SIGNED print version of the book, the ebook, plus the mug, the sport bag, the bookmark (random of two designs), 2 Magnets, 2 stickers and your name both in the thank you pages of the book and on my blog. (CAN/MEX add $6; INTL add $9)

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  17. Select this reward

    Pledge $85 or more About $85

    HARDCOVER + BOOKMARK + SWAG: You get the SIGNED hardcover version of the book, the ebook, 1 bookmark (random of two designs), 2 magnets, 2 stickers and your name both in the thank you pages of the book and on my blog. (CAN/MEX add $8; INTL add $11)

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  18. Select this reward

    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    HARDCOVER + TOTE BAG + BOOKMARK + SWAG : You get the SIGNED hardcover version of the book, the ebook, plus the tote bag, 1 bookmark(random of two designs), 2 Magnets, 2 stickers and your name both in the thank you pages of the book and on my blog. (CAN/MEX add $9; INTL add $11)

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  19. Select this reward

    Pledge $95 or more About $95

    HARDCOVER + SPORT BAG + BOOKMARK + SWAG : You get the SIGNED hardcover version of the book, the ebook, plus the sport bag, 1 bookmark (random of two designs), 2 Magnets, 2 stickers and your name both in the thank you pages of the book and on my blog. (CAN/MEX add $9; INTL add $11)

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  20. Select this reward

    Pledge $115 or more About $115

    HARDCOVER + MUG: You get the SIGNED hardcover version of the book, the ebook, plus an amazing mug with Gabriella original artwork and your name both in the thank you pages of the book and on my blog. (CAN/MEX add $6; INTL add $9)

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  21. Select this reward

    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    HARDCOVER + MUG + BOOKMARK: You get the SIGNED hardcover version of the book, the ebook, plus the mug, 1 bookmark (random of two designs), and your name both in the thank you pages of the book and on my blog. (CAN/MEX add $6; INTL add $9)

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  22. Select this reward

    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    HARDCOVER + MUG + BOOKMARK + SWAG: You get the SIGNED hardcover version of the book, the ebook, plus the mug, 1 bookmark (random of two designs), 2 Magnets, 2 stickers and your name both in the thank you pages of the book and on my blog. (CAN/MEX add $6; INTL add $10)

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  23. Select this reward

    Pledge $130 or more About $130

    HARDBACK + MUG + TOTE BAG + BOOKMARK + SWAG: You get the SIGNED hardcover version of the book, the ebook, plus the mug, the tote bag, 1 bookmark (random of two designs), 2 Magnets, 2 stickers and your name both in the thank you pages of the book and on my blog. (CAN/MEX add $6; INTL add $10)

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  24. Select this reward

    Pledge $135 or more About $135

    HARDBACK + MUG + SPORT BAG + BOOKMARK + SWAG: You get the SIGNED hardcover version of the book, the ebook, plus the mug, the sport bag, 1 bookmark (random of two designs), 2 Magnets, 2 stickers and your name both in the thank you pages of the book and on my blog. (CAN/MEX add $6; INTL add $10)

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  25. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    ASPIRING WRITER: I will give you a full critique on either the first chapter of your YA Novel (up to 25 pages) or the first fifty pages of your screenplay. This reward also includes everything from one of the two previous two rewards. You still need to add $6 for CAN/MEX and $10 for INTL Shipping.

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  26. Select this reward

    Pledge $180 or more About $180

    PERSONALIZED ART: Artist Gabriella Ballin will draw a silhouette of you or your kid with Acorn. Signed and inscribed. Shipping included

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  27. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    PERSONALIZED GEAR: Gabriella draws a silhouette of you or your kid with Acorn and we will make a personalized reward especially for you. You can choose between: mug; iphone, ipad, android tablet, mac or pc skin; ipad, macbook or macbook air sleeve, iphone or ipad protective case.

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  28. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    PERSONALIZED WEAR: Gabriella draws a silhouette of you or your kid with Acorn and we will make a personalized reward especially for you to wear. You can choose between t-shirt or hat.

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  29. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    ONE ON ONE: 3 Skype meetings of 1 hour each to talk about your book or anything you would like to know about Horse Sense or my process.

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

    ONE ON ONE WORKSHOP: 5 in person meetings in New York to workshop your novel or screenplay.

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Funding period

- (30 days)