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The dragons are revolting and the magic is gone! Being queen is complicated.
The dragons are revolting and the magic is gone! Being queen is complicated.
84 backers pledged $5,191 to help bring this project to life.

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THE SHELL GAME - a fantasy novel project video thumbnail
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$5,191

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Video by IsabelBay, music written and performed by Tania Opland specifically for the author, cover art by Karen Gillmore
THE SHELL GAME

Freeing the Dragons Was a Game Changer:

Who hasn't said to themselves, "If I ruled the world, things would be done differently!"

When Verity Brown becomes Argonia's queen (with a little help from some binding spells from her tricky time-Traveller mother reinforced by even more binding legal agreements drawn up by her family's shifty lawyer) she has the opportunity to find out what sort of difference she can make.

It's not as though she's had a lot of preparation for the job. Her previous qualifications, besides having royal Rowan (as well as witchy Brown) blood, are metal-smithing and a formal education consisting almost entirely of being expelled from all the best schools and academies in the realm. That and her curse, of course, to always tell the truth. Not only can she not tell a lie, she can't even hear a fib without setting the record straight, or suffering until she does.

  It makes holding court is a royal pain, of course, along with virtually every other aspect of a political career.  

For a queen, it's extremely inconvenient, especially as drastic changes are being made before she can so much as don the Royal Accessories. Her other accessories, a collection of magical beads and singing shells, are much more relevant to the revolution of which she is co-instigator, being the keys to the lost lore of the land and the powers that were stolen from its magical families.

But Toby the dragon-wrangler and his firebrand friend Taz have their own agenda. The industrial dragons of Argonia have had enough working for the Man and they're not going to take it any more! Once Toby and Taz freed them from the shackles of magically treated dragon chow, they broke out of the boiler rooms and iron mines, reclaiming their wild birthright along with their wings, and they are hungry.

 All of which simultaneously destabilizes the economy, unbalances foreign trade, and presents both a food shortage and a security threat to Argonia and possibly beyond. And it--er--gives renewed relevance to the ancient stories of dragons carrying off human maidens for dinner engagements.

Although the dragons are both the biggest problem and the highest priority, Verity is also haunted by ghost cats that crowd mewling over, under, around, through and into her bed every night, and by the hide-behinds, wraiths of murdered magicians that taunt and tweak anyone lacking protective iron.

The new queen needs help, and where better to look than the heirs of the long-dead sorcerers, enchanters, witches, wizards and wise women and men. She owes them all a visit and an ancestral bead that may, just may, help them regain their power. Which could be a good thing. Or not.  

"Go," her Aunt Ephemera advises.

"By myself?" she asks.

 "You'll be fine. I'll send messages to my sisters, your other aunties on your father's side. There's Etherea in the west and Eureka in the east."

"This is the first I've heard of them!"

"They don't usually like company but they'll make an exception in your case. And I guess you also should visit Erotica, further down on the southern coast. She's the closest and the least reclusive, but your dad didn't think she was a suitable influence for an impressionable girl."

Risks and challenges

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, and distributing. I need enough funds to stage or attend readings and signings, and other events to increase the book's visibility.

Another major expense for me has been making physical copies of the books available at the readings, signings and conventions I do attend. Print on Demand books are expensive, even for the author, and I don't always have the funds to buy my own books so I can have them with me for you to purchase if your preference is for a physical book I can autograph for you. Another process is to have download cards made that I could have with me at signings --they can be signed and then you can use them and keep them if you wish before, during and after you order the book.

Since I do not live in a major metropolis, attending signings, readings and conventions, even fairly "local" ones in the Pacific Northwest involves long drives, ferry fares, and often lodging for the night. All of which also cost money.


I've written 40 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.

Barring death or some illness or injury that prevents me from writing, I have every confidence that the book will be completed within 6 months-year or perhaps just a bit longer. Once I'm committed to it, I have to keep writing even if no-one else is involved because, since I am a "discovery" writer, I need to find out how it ends too!

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.

Two important risks for me in this campaign: One is something Kickstarter veterans will be familiar with: unless my stated goal is reached, the campaign ends and no money at all changes hands. Therefore I am asking for the bare minimum to get started on the new project, though the more that is pledged, the more I will be able to do to ensure the success of the proposed book (and the series preceding it). The other caveat is that in the first campaign, I learned that since it turned out that many patrons were from other countries and contributed at levels that earned them material goods that had to be mailed, postage and shipping costs ended up eating a goodly sum of money. Therefore, this time, I need to ask for shipping fees on any tangible rewards.

STRETCH GOALS:


If the campaign breaks $8000, I'll write a song (borrowing a traditional melody) in authentic Argonian style, immortalizing an incident in the book 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. (I wrote several such songs for that were included in THE DRAGON, THE WITCH AND THE RAILROAD. Oddly, no one has requested me to perform them yet.)
If the campaign breaks $10,000, I will write brief individual back stories of each specially named dragon or ghost cat and digitally publish them with dedications to the patron who inspired them.
If the campaign exceeds $15,000, I'll send download codes for digital editions of the entire series except the first book, SONG OF SORCERY, (which is currently published by Open Road Integrated Media) plus pdf's of the related songs and stories, for everyone who contributed at $100 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 levels.
If the campaign breaks $30,000, I will create an audio book of this book, as soon as it is finished and a narrator and sound engineer can be recruited.
For each additional $5000 over $30,000, I will create an audio book of another book in the SONGS FROM THE SEASHELL ARCHIVES series.
If it breaks $75,000, we will forego print on demand and start looking for a printer to produce print copies of the book for direct sale.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    A personal digital thank you note and a digital copy of the completed book.

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    The above and your name in the acknowledgments.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    The above and special access to my SHELL blog about the writing of this book.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    In addition to all of the other rewards, receive a free digital copy of the prequel short story originally written for Elf Fantastic about Verity's mother and Nico the foxy attorney.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    All of the above plus a digital copy of one of my other books in the SONGS FROM THE SEASHELL ARCHIVES series with the exception of Song of Sorcery (which is not readily available to me since it's published by a different company).

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    All of the above plus your choice of digital copies of two of the other books in the SONGS FROM THE SEASHELL ARCHIVES series (with the exception of Song of Sorcery) OR two of my other books published by GYPSY SHADOW PUBLISHERS.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    All of the above plus I have new paperback and hardback copies of many of my books with Anne McCaffrey as well as my solo ones. Alas, they are not autographed by Anne but I can autograph any one of those I have available and mail it to you if you will pay the mailing cost. SHIPPING COSTS will depend on your choice of reward and your place of residence.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    All of the above plus I have a limited number (3) of copies of CATALYST, TALES OF THE BARQUE CATS 1 and (3) CATACOMBS, TALES OF THE BARQUE CATS II as audio books on CD, as well as 2 copies available of CHANGELINGS. I have only three available of each Barque Cats book, and will send you an autographed copy of whichever one you want, as supplies hold out, if you pay the mailing costs. SHIPPING COSTS will depend on your choice of reward and your place of residence.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    An alternate addition to this award. Audio books are sold out but 8 copies of the SONGS FROM THE SEASHELL ARCHIVES calendar with Karen Gillmore's original cover art and bonus art, INCLUDING the cover art for THE SHELL GAME, will go to the next 8 folks who pledge at $150 or more. if you pay the mailing costs. SHIPPING COSTS will depend on your choice of reward and your place of residence.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    All of the above (quantities permitting on physical rewards) plus you may have a dragon or a ghost cat named for you or the person of your choice (what a Christmas present! Poof! You're a dragon! or Purrf! A ghost cat) SHIPPING COSTS will depend on your choice of reward and your place of residence.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    All of the above (quantities permitting on physical rewards) PLUS a necklace designed and constructed by me consisting of lampwork and shell beads and a transcription of the stories and powers the specific elements of your necklace convey. It will contain a replica of the original dragon-created beads since no dragons are available in my area, and the shells deactivated so they are no longer (if they ever were) spelled to contain the songs and stories in the transcriptions. SHIPPING COSTS will depend on your choice of reward and your place of residence.

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

    All of the above (quantities permitting on physical rewards) plus I will read and critique the first 20 pages or 5000 words of one of your stories if you are a writer or you could use the prize as a gift for a writer friend or relative. If I like the first 20 pages and there is more, I will read further and offer my professional opinion. SHIPPING COSTS will depend on your choice of reward and your place of residence.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    All of the above (quantities permitting on physical rewards) PLUS the book will be dedicated to you, since you funded most of it!

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



 SHIPPING COSTS will depend on your choice of reward and your place of residence.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    All of the preceding (quantities permitting on physical rewards) 
plus you or the person of your choice will become a heroic figure in Argonian history with your deeds of derring do commemorated by a bardic song or story in the book. My choice of song or story but it will be heroic unless of course you'd prefer to be a villainous figure from the past. We could arrange that as well. SHIPPING COSTS will depend on your choice of reward and your place of residence.

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Funding period

- (30 days)