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A Long Island mobster sets off a turf war with a gang of undead criminals led by a hipster vampire. Say hello to my little fiend.
A Long Island mobster sets off a turf war with a gang of undead criminals led by a hipster vampire. Say hello to my little fiend.
140 backers pledged $10,025 to help bring this project to life.

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$10,025

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I'm Not Keeping Your Money.

You heard me. I'm not keeping the money. At all. If I make my goal tomorrow morning, I am not suddenly $10,000 wealthier. The money goes back into the community, the wonderful creative hive of Portland, where the weirdest thing isn't Portlandia but the dude who rides a unicycle with a Darth Vader helmet and plays the Imperial March on the bagpipes. Often.

star wars guy
star wars guy

It would be ridiculous/narcissistic/arrogant for me to use Kickstarter to pay myself for a book I've already written. I have a day job, I work incredibly hard every day to provide for my family, and to quote a very good group of friends from a recent successful Kickstarter, I steal time to make my art. In the dark corners of the day, late at night, early in the morning. Making cool books is a happy, sometimes parenthetical aside.

Writing and producing a book like this is a non-profit business, and I will plow every last cent of my $10,000 into making a better book.

So where does the money go?

It goes to other creatives, small and local businesses, including:

  • Owl Soup Design did the cover, and an unbelievable kickass responsive website that looks great even on my mobile phone, and will coax the manuscript into various digital forms.
  • Another designer I just met in Seattle, via Kickstarter, who offered some pro bono design. No thank you sir: I don't believe artists should work for free. If we work together he's going to be paid.
  • A friend took a photo one day that is so terrifying and gorgeous it needs to be in the book.
  • Portland's own Indigo Editing, which will be doing the proofreading of the final cut.
  • To print my small run of books for donors I'd like to use the Espresso Book Machine, available at Powell's Books.

If there's anything left over I'm donating it to groups who promote the literary arts and literacy: Oregon Writers Colony, The Library Foundation, and 826 National.

There is one thing: I'll probably buy myself a pint of good, local Portland beer. Cheers.

*****

Welcome to my nightmare.  Casting around for ideas last year for National Novel Writing Month, I started a short story about the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre from 1929. But I made it modern, and instead of Al Capone's guys whacking Bugs Moran's crew, I chose a Long Island tough battling with the undead.

Growing up in Long Island in the 70s and 80s you couldn’t help notice the presence of the mob. The dad of a friend in my Cub Scout pack had his phone tapped. He was an accountant whose family came from Sicily, and the Feds were sure he was connected to the mob. And the John Gotti trials were huge local news in high school.

Sure, I changed some names to protect the guilty. And that ancient Indian burial ground underneath Nassakeag Elementary School? I don’t believe that exists.

As I wrote the story I knew I couldn't start in the middle of things with this mobster/monster smackdown, and questions arose. Where did the monsters come from? Why did they want to control the local mall? Clearly, since the average mall allows no natural light, it’s the perfect place for a vampire.

Before long the short story became a novel. I'm editing the third draft, and it's going weigh in at 300 pages.

Why Kickstarter

I wanted to wade into disruptive technology. In my day job as an open source programmer I'm a big fan of disruptive tech. Think of it this way: the wheel + fire + electric guitar = Iron Man.

This novel is a cultural experiment, and in writing a mashup that features true crime, comedy and the undead, I hope to do something new, and Kickstarter feels like the best way to express that. When my novel Captain Freedom came out, some guy in Washington DC modded it into a one-man show. Using the Kickstarter network I can only wonder where this book might go. What I'm doing is using Kickstarter as if it were an advance: if it doesn't get funded, that tells me there's no interest in the book and it doesn't need to be published.

Reaching this goal pays for things like editing, proofing, layout and cover design, original artwork, and a website with enriched content, and shows me there is a bloodthirsty, cruel and possibly insane audience that wants to see vampires fight gangsters.

Deadfellas: Monsters vs. the Mob is meant to be an ebook that I’ll release in a bunch of different formats: PDF, Kindle, Nook, iPad, or a text file you can read in vim.

But for those donors giving $25 or more, you’ll get the real book, in paper, signed by me. This will be a limited print run, with original artwork that will not be available anywhere else.

Thanks for joining my crew. Either they bury one of ours or we re-bury one of theirs.

Grazie mille,

g. xavier robillard
greg at alldaycoffee.net

Promoting Literary Arts

If we make my $10,000 goal, I will donate up to $2000 to the Oregon Writers Colony, an organization that provides support to writers in all stages of their careers, including workshops, classes and access to their retreat facility on the Oregon coast.

Risks and challenges

This isn't my first novel, and I'm lucky that Captain Freedom came out with a major publisher. Though I know about the process of publication, I've never had the chance to supervise all of it: from choosing the cover to final decisions over the layout.

What I've done to prep myself to finish the project, once funded, is meet with experts around town. People who understand how to make a book happen. My comedy album "G is for Gangsta" was independently produced, and I learned a ton about how to navigate this kind of a release.

The absolutely coolest thing about working on a publishing project is working with great local freelancers. The people you see pounding away on their laptops at all hours, over-caffeinated, making the best thing they can make.

Even though this is just one ebook it requires my own street crew of freelancers: an art director, someone to do layout in electronic format, a copyeditor, a proofreader, and graphic designer. This part involves herding wombats, getting everyone to respect the deadlines (me included), but Portland is a freelancer's town.

Each one of these local freelancers is working hard to pay the bills. They're taking on my project so they can fund their own artistic endeavors. This creates an amplitude affect: funding my Kickstarter makes certain that some other artists and editors can make a living so they can work on their own contributions to culture.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $2 or more About $2.00

    Street Hood.
    You have my loyalty and will be placed under my protection. You may operate corners on my turf.

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    Muscle.
    Before the book comes out you'll get a sample chapter, in PDF. HINT: this is in addition to the sample first chapter available on my website or anywhere else.

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    Button Man/Gun Moll.
    You'll receive a free copy of the ebook in any version you like: Kindle, iPad, Nook or plain PDF.

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    Bookmaker.
    A Friend of Mine receives the ebook as well as one of a limited number of paperback books with original artwork you won't see anywhere else.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Associate.
    You're a Friend of Ours. You get all the Street Swag: the ebook, the limited-edition paperback, and a copy of my comedy album G is for Gangsta.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Goodfella.
    You've been straightened out, become a made guy! Goodfellas get the Street Swag and an autographed copy of my novel Captain Freedom. Plus no other wiseguy can whack you without your boss's permission.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Caporegime.
    Capos receive the Street Swag, fear and respect of wiseguys everywhere and a signed 8 x 10 illustration of the cover.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Street boss.
    You receive the Street Swag, a signed 8 x 10 illustration of the cover, and a shout-out in the book's acknowledgements.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    Consigliere.
    You receive the Street Swag, a signed 8 x 10 illustration of the cover, and a shout-out in the book's acknowledgements. Also an hour-long writing consult for you or any writer in your life.

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    Underboss.
    You'll get everything above, plus a personal Skype reading for you and yours. You're a heartbeat away from controlling the Family.

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Boss.

    You will be listed as a patron of the arts in the acknowledgements and the signed 8x10 cover art. You will also get a personal signed copy of the pre-publication manuscript, my notes and all. Pod Pack bonus! I'll send some totally unreleased material: a podcast of a live comedy performance and my the video of my performance in the Literary Death Match of 2011.
    At this level if you're anywhere within a 3-hour drive of Portland Oregon I'll definitely give a reading at your place. Actually, I'll go as far south as Ashland, east to Bend and north all the way up to Bellingham WA. Vancouver is probable, Bay Area is negotiable.

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

    Capo di tutti capi.
    Godfather, you get the whole shooting match: the Street Swag, the Pod Pack, and local house party readings.
    But if you aren't local, I will fly to you and give a private reading in your home. I have a lot of frequent flier miles/couches to sleep on. This offer is good anywhere in the United States, particularly Hawaii in the winter. Canada is negotiable (especially BC in the winter if you live in Whistler/Blackcomb). And Kansas: it's the only state I haven't visited. Boss, will you bring me to Kansas?
    Also this book will be dedicated to you, Godfather.

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Funding period

- (30 days)