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The Songs from the Seashell Archives continue in a new book of the Brown witches and Rowan royals in the age of steam and dragon!
139 backers pledged $8,096 to help bring this project to life.

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Steampunk in the Frozen North:

Progress has transformed Queenston, capital city of Argonia. Once the land of witches, wizards, fairies, and other magical people, animals, landmarks, dwellings and household items, since the Great War, the country has changed

. Queenston, particularly, is now the city of contraptions, contrivances, devices and of course, the dragons that make it all possible. From wild menaces to secret weapons, dragons allied with Argonians to push back an invasion. For their assistance, the beasts shared what food remained as the country rebuilt itself. 

But with the war won, the Alliance came and the invaders who had been pushed back were invited in, bringing with them new ideas and inventions, most of which only needed a reliable source of heat for their boilers. The dragons were recruited, "hired," tamed, altered and virtually enslaved. 

Heir to the foremost dragon breeding operation in the country, Veracity Brown is aware of her colorful ancestors only from their portraits in the family gallery. In her lifetime, commerce rules with more authority than her royal ancestors ever did. The magic of her witchy ancestors has become, if not actually illegal, highly unfashionable. Dragons are plentiful and pathetic, of great practical use though somewhat dangerous if not properly trained, 

On her 16th birthday, right after she opens her gifts, everything changes when a tragic ballooning accident (believed to be caused by a dragon malfunction) kills her parents. Afterwards, Veracity is not only grief-stricken, but thinks she might be losing her mind when she starts to hear voices inside her head. 

Though she's always been highly confident of her own perception of the truth, she suddenly feels as though the world has been swept out from under her. How will she free the young dragon-wrangler who saved her life from being executed for her parents' death? And how will she hold fast to her birthright until her next birthday, when already the usual grabby relatives have moved into her family home and taken over the management of the parents' business? 

They send her as far away as possible, to a dotty distant relative, hoping to be rid of her. Bad move on their part. Once away from Queenston, Veracity finally begins discovering her true legacy, her previously dormant strengths, and her mission.

  One of the advantages of indie publishing is that an author can continue her own quest and that's what I'm doing with The Dragon, the Witch and the Railroad , continuing to explore and to re-invent the lands I invented thirty-some years ago.

Risks and challenges

I'm estimating I'll finish the book in about 6 months. I already have roughly 60 pages and a lot more ideas. But I need time to do it and money to buy the time. Like the dragons in my book, the engine to my writing machine is organic--it's me. The book will need research, artwork and editing, printing and distributing. I also wish to reprint the earlier books in the Songs from the Seashell Archives series (Song of Sorcery, The Unicorn Creed, Bronwyn's Bane and The Christening Quest) in new editions to match the new one. Then it would be helpful to be able to advertise it even in a small way, and have enough funds to have readings and signings, and other events to increase the book's visibility. Since I do not live in a major metropolis, even fairly "local" travel involves long drives, ferry fares, and often lodging for the night. All of which also cost money.
I've written 39 books already (for a list and all particulars, see my dedicated book website: http://scarbor9.wix.com/beadtime-stories
including 16 co-authored with Anne McCaffrey. All but three of these were for traditional publishing companies, Bantam, Del Rey, Putnam Penguin, Harper Collins. At one point I was writing three books a year and I fulfilled all of the contracts producing work that I was proud of and enjoyed. I won the Nebula, a major award, and my books earned a lot of good reviews from prominent publications like Library Journal, Kirkus, and Publisher's Weekly.
There's one other aspect to this project that I hope backers will find not only reassuring but entertaining and informative as well. That is the very private blog I will be keeping about my writing process during the creation of this book, available to subscribers at the $25. level. Some days it may be one line, some days a couple of pages, but you won't be left in the dark about what's going on in the "engine room." I'm an intuitive writer rather than one who decides ahead of time what exactly I am going to write and it's hard to explain what happens during the process because it's different depending on the book. But for this book, I will share the creative process with you as it takes place. It's a bit like sailing. Sometimes there are doldrums and other times it's exciting as hell.

Barring death or some illness or injury that prevents me from writing, I have every confidence that the book will be completed around or about the estimated date. I'm working with a great artist, Karen Gillmore, and of course her time constraints will enter into the mix as well. Gypsy Shadow Publishing helps me with production and distribution of my books and I have known them to work their rears off through many kinds of crisis. I do have the first book in this series, Song of Sorcery, with another e-book publisher, E-Reads, and will need to coordinate doing a "set" with them but they have always been delighted to go along with any plan that might promote sales.
Once I've written the book--it may take another month or two, especially to get print on demand copies--er--demanded. These are the sort of setbacks I can imagine at this point. Of course, I am very imaginative and could foresee problems caused by everything from alien invasion to a new outbreak of the Black Death, but at this point these catastrophes seem unlikely.

Rollover Points:

If the campaign is a success, I will write a story of something that happens between the end of Christening Quest and the beginning of The Dragon, the Witch and the Railroad.

If the campaign breaks $6000, I'll write a song (borrowing a traditional melody) in authentic Argonian style, immortalizing the incident in the first story for all patrons subscribing at $10 or more. If you are lucky, I will get a real musician to perform it for you. If not, you'll get me performing it.

If the campaign breaks $8000, Karen will do a calendar of the images she has created for my books and covers (including this one) for everyone who subscribed at $30.00 or more. Everyone who has contributed will get a digital copy.

If the campaign exceeds $12,000, I'll produce a signed, limited edition trade paperback edition of the The Dragon, the Witch and the Railroad plus the songs and stories, for everyone who contributed at $100 or more.

If the campaign exceeds $15,000. I'll produce a signed limited edition trade paperback edition of the SHELL writer's blog to accompany the novel for everyone contributing at $25.00 or more.

If the campaign reaches $20-$25,000. I'll write another story set in this world for everyone subscribing at $25. or more.

If the campaign breaks $30,000, I'll write another novel for everybody subscribing at $25. or more, subject and delivery date up to me.
To clarify: there will be 2 new short stories (length my discretion), a song, the novel, and the SHELL for all subscribers at $25. level and above if we break $20,000.
If we break $30,000, all of that and a new novel, digital copy to be made available to everyone who subscribed above $25.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    A personalized digital thank you card with cover art from the book plus a download code for a copy of the e-book in your choice of format (mobi, e-pub etc)

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    The above and your name in the acknowledgments

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    All of the above PLUS a subscription to my private blog, SHELL, in which I will chronicle the writing process of the book, the ideas, questions, inspirations and insights that occur as they happen.



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    Everything that is offered below the fifty dollar level plus one of Karen Gillmore's original pen-and-ink dragon prints.

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    In addition to the items already included in the reward at the $75.00 level (and below) the backer will receive a choice of 2 copies of Karen Gillmore's pen-and-ink drawings of dragons.

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    All of the above PLUS a print of the cover art signed by artist Karen Gillmore and me.

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    In addition to all of the other rewards offered at the $100. level, the donor will receive a package of 5 Karen Gillmore original prints of dragon pen-and-ink drawings.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    All of the above PLUS DRM copies of all e-books in the Songs from the Seashell Archives series. Plus you may have a dragon named for you or the person of your choice (what a Christmas present! Poof! You're a dragon!)

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    All of the above PLUS your name (first middle or last) or the name of a person of your choice (first, middle or last) as a secondary character.

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

    All of the above plus a complete set of the SONGS FROM THE SEASHELL ARCHIVES in print with their new covers by Karen Gillmore. Their pub date doesn't depend entirely on me but as soon as they are ready, you'll get yours, signed by me.

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    All of the above PLUS the book will be dedicated to you, since you funded most of it!

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    All of the above plus me singing a dragon train song especially composed for you. If we come within singing distance of each other at a convention or other event where I will be making an appearance, I will sing it publicly to you (though I do not promise you'll enjoy the experience). Besides which, the dragon train in question will be named for you or if you wish, two others among your family, friends, or law firm, as long as nobody sues me. So instead of the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe it would be the Smith, Bronski and Toadworthy Line...A nice gift for train spotters and miniature railroad buffs.

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Funding period

- (30 days)