At the far end of the galaxy she lies, the world of impossibilities; Casticia. To Erina – cognitor extraordinaire - it’s a place of science and unexplained mysteries; of vast unspoilt vistas and gleaming cities reaching towards the sky with spires of silver; where you can hop on a spacefarer to another planet or take the local transport into town with equal ease.
But before the lost colonists from Earth crashed here, even before the Great Cataclysm that tore almost all life from this world eons ago, Casticia was something else. And now, deep within the last beating heart of the world of old something is stirring. Remembering. Waking up.
Magic is returning. And it’s not about to do so quietly.
When Erina’s interplanetary shuttle crashes, what she wants is a way back to civilization – not a new career as a castaway and horsetamer. What she gets ... well, that's the story, isn't it?
Greetings bookdragons, travellers from afar and friends of old!
Greetings and many welcomes to you. If this is your first time visiting DragonQuill, it's lovely to meet you and if you're a long time friend, follower or supporter, I'm so glad to see you again this year *waves*. It's hard to imagine we're about to kick off our third kickstarter project and it goes without saying, we couldn't have done it without you, the wonderful people that you are.
Flying Gekko boldly pledged towards the "Your Character" tier the last time and we hope that you'll enjoy what she's come up with. I know I did - sometimes it can be tricky to work with other people's characters but hers was an absolute pleasure *offers extra pets and neck scratches*
Since the second spot (there being two books this time around) wasn't taken, I decided to conspire with my editor ScribeCat - who also happens to be a writer and whose own characters I absolutely adore - and together we cooked up a whole new character for "The Big Race" that wasn't in there originally. Have to say, their presence can be felt - and then some :)
High Fyelds is intended to be a series (though you can still read them as stand-alone stories) set within the already established "Seven of Stars" Universe - so what better way to kick it off than with the first two books together?
The series revolves around three core characters; Erina, Harlan & Seranthiem and their adventures and mishaps in the world of horses & spaceships.
I have fond memories of various adventure series I read growing up, so I've tried to match the HF stories to their lengths rather than my usual three ton bricks ;-) I really hope you'll enjoy reading them, for I had a lot of fun writing them (ok, so a certain amount of hairpulling, headdesking and threatening the Muse with several, random, blunt instruments, might have been involved too).
ERINA: Snarky. Cognitor Extraordinaire. Human-ish.
HARLAN ILLUSION: Wild. Outcast. Horse.
Sometimes the defining moments of your life comes down to a single decision, a single event that, like the flapping wings of a butterfly, can change the course of history.
For Erina it all began with a crash. Not that she had wanted to crash the interplanetary shuttle (there had been a small disagreement with an asteroid) but she does want a way back to civilization.
Instead she’s now surrounded by creatures unlike any she’s ever seen, more trees than she cares to count and herds of wild horses. And while Erina admits knowing only slightly more about horses than a fish does about QDE engineering, even she can tell that there is something special about the proud and solitary stallion she meets in the woods.
It was the meeting of a lifetime. In fact, you could almost believe it was magic.
If anyone had told her a few years ago that she’d be entering one of the most prestigious horse races in the world; Erina would have called them mad (and then some).
Since then she’d discovered a Valley that didn’t exist on any map ever drawn, been adopted by a highly peculiar horse and learnt that magic was real.
In comparison, a small race should have been easy, surely – even if she did have to fly half-way across the world to take part. Admittedly, she hadn’t counted on the nightmares wanting a piece of the action and then some. In fact, they’re really keen on taking a bite out of the competition this year.
Along with the new, and mysterious, stablehand Seranthiem, Erina and Harlan from High Fyelds must now face their second challenge; the Phoenix Stakes.
Q What is this "Seven of Stars"?
A "Seven of Stars" is an original fictional universe divided into 7 separate Ages. Here you'll find everything from mighty dragons, powerful wizards, lost starship pilots and everything in between, and possibly a few things that were imagined by a less imaginative imagination.
Q So when is "High Fyelds" set?
A "High Fyelds" is set at the very end of the 6th Age. "Academia Draconia", which takes place around 50ish years later, is set in the 7th Age.
Q I see there are more books in "Seven of Stars". Do I have to read those first?
A Let's set your mind at rest; most "Seven of Stars" books work as stand-alone stories, so no, you don't need to have read the others before you pick one up. You'll get a much greater depth to the world if you do read them though as details and connections are sprinkled throughout the various books.
Q Great. Then anyone can pick it up?
A Pretty much. Have a read of the excerpt and if you're comfortable with that reading level, you're good to go.
Q What's the level of violence/swearing etc?
A Nothing above Harry Potter level I'd say. If it was a movie, it'd probably be a PG-13.
Q Dragons. Will there be any? I mean, the book has horses and beasties, but does it have dragons?
A There tend to be dragons in everything I write, somewhere. With "High Fyelds" you might need to get a few books in before you realize where they are (unless you know me or is naturally suspicious and good at spotting plot-bunnies).
Q Does "High Fyelds" relate to the other books in "Seven of Stars"?
A Well, "Seven of Stars" is the particular Universe the books takes place in, so, at some level, they will all relate to each other, some more vaguely than others. If you have read any of the previous "Seven of Stars" releases there'll be an added depth to the story, but they all work fine on their own too.
Q Why is your KS goal so low?
A Because I've already bore all the pre-production costs myself (and yes, they're bigger than the goal), additional costs are entirely relative to how many books you lovely folk would like, so I might as well keep it low to guarantee that we'll fund this project.
HIGH FYELDS - A NEW BEGINNING
When Harlan was there, the local wildlife was usually content to ignore her. Occasionally, a lonely deer would scurry away into the safety of the forest. Other than that, the place seemed very empty.
But the feeling of being watched still persisted.
‘You know. I always thought that forests and such were supposed to teem with life,’ Erina confided in the tri-coloured – no, trias – stallion one of those times.
The painted horse merely neighed, shook his long silken mane and cavorted happily around her as they reached a clearing. Dropping the satchels on the ground, Erina sank down beside them in the long, luxurious strands of softness. This was tiring work, she thought.
‘And it would go SO much faster if you let me ride you,’ Erina told her companion as he pranced past her. ‘You’ve got four legs, I’m sure you can spare some, can’t you?’
But as much as Harlan seemed to love games, he wasn’t playing that one. While he was happy to be petted and for her to tease brambles and other things from his mane and tail as she marvelled over the velvet feel of his coat, he put his foot - no hoof - down about that. No riding.
She had tried, once, and while Harlan had been very good about it afterwards, it had been a pretty uncomfortable experience as far as Erina was concerned.
In fact, she might still have some of the bruises.
HIGH FYELDS - THE BIG RACE
From behind him, came the sad cry of yet another rider getting unexpectedly de-seated as they hit the depths of the pond without warning.
They were catching up.
Focusing ahead, Sam saw a clump of horses running together. Two of the three equines at the front were fighting for dominance, neither willing to yield, and neither willing to commit the extra power to pull past, there being a whole race left to run. The third was running, ears pinned, to escape from the nightmare coming up from behind, snapping and nipping at his hocks and rump.
Just coming up on a sharp bend around a set of large boulders, the black and gold racing blanket behind Sam rippled in the wind. He steered his mount closer to the outer side, having no wish to get his legs crushed against the solid wall of rock.
Harlan, on the other hand, seemed as intent as ever to go through the clump of horses the hard way, right through the middle. Tossing his head, he fought against the reins, his steps beginning to slide on the tall, damp grass.
I was hoping to change the main pledge currency to Euros, since I am, after all, in Europe, as are most of the printers I use, but sadly enough, that feature isn't yet available, so we're still stuck with SEK. Grrr. Sorry everyone, I really wanted to streamline the whole currency thing for this project, plus it'd help with the currency fluctuations, since I still have to pay the printers in Euro. Ah, well. I'll try to provide a *rough* estimate in $ and € for the tiers for you - just because I have to end up with a headache figuring these things out doesn't mean that you should as well.
Printers Editions: These are shipped directly from the printer to you. They're great if you just want a good book but none of the fancy extras and often have lower postage as they're shipped from as close to you as possible.
Signed Editions: Signed Paperbacks or Signed Special Edition Dustjackets & Pleatherbacks are shipped from me (meaning the printer has to ship them "to" me first) and are great if you like your books to have that little extra - and they come with treats too :)
- If your tier is digital (e-book only) or printer (i.e. the book is shipped directly from the printer to you) please contact me if you see an add-on that you'd like so that I can give you an estimate of the postage.
- Books can be added on to any tier but please let me know so that I can adjust what postage you'll be paying.
- For tiers shipped from me, any added poster or keyring is included in your tier postage.
PAGE EFFECTS: Last time around, the gilded page effects were really popular, so I'm happy to offer them again. They come in gold, bronze and silver colour and really add a certain something to the dustjackets, pleatherbacks and journals. I can add them to any book or journal shipped directly from me (but I'd advise against adding them to a paperback, as I tried one and it looked really tacky. It really needs that large hardback cover to look its best).
JOURNALS: These are all handmade and you can choose a random one already made or I can make one with a pleather, cloth or paper finish in any of the above sizes and they come with various or no adornments depending on preference.
DQ and Mae McKinnon: Hi *waves* Mae Here. If you hadn't guessed it already, I'm a Fantasy & Science-Fiction author, reader and general devourer. Mind you, I'll happily read almost any genre if I like the story.
Hmm, what else? Let's see. Well, I've been writing for as long as I can remember but it's only in the last few years that I decided to actively pursue publishing the stories too. Writing is far easier than publishing, far, far easier and I wish I could do more, alas, RL demands attention too (very inconsiderate of it).
If you ever read something from me that 'appears' mundane and set in the 'real' world, rest assured there's something magical lurking around the corner, even if it'll never show itself in the actual story and no one else will ever know it's there.
I'm also a sucker for happy endings. There, I admitted it.
For the extra curious at heart, ML Moos held an interview with DQ & Mae McKinnon which you can find on her webpage or by clicking the link above.
Ashley AKA Scribe Cat: is the kind of person no author should be without. Editor-in-chief and all-around amazing person. There is no one better at hunting down grammarsites, excavating - and promptly filling-in - plot-holes, keeping a sharp eye out for those infernal MS Word autocorrect errors (you wouldn't believe some of the hilarious things that program sometimes comes up with) or any of the other million things a good EDITOR does. She also has to problem with tell me when I'm writing gibberish or being a silly goose, which is what a good FRIEND does.
She might or might not be behind encouraging my Muse at times. I can't get the little bugger to talk, so I guess I'll never know lol ;-)
Juliane, AKA Nightpark: returns again as our cover-artist extraordinaire. This time she did both covers for HF and you'd never believe that she isn't used to drawing horses. I might get a little misty eyed every time I look at how she drew Harlan - and that nebula, mmm, tasty, pretty, nebula. *is distracted by shiny cosmic gas clouds*
She's also the one who made our lovely "Seven of Stars" logo featuring Kaheiron from "The Damsel and the Dragon".
We also welcome back Mesteno for the last time as the person and talented artist who created the original six character drawings for the books. The fact that she managed to interpret my ramblings and bring those characters to life on paper still amazes me. She's now hugely busy with her own work and I'm sure we all wish her the absolute best in her endeavours for the future.
I'd also like to mention the talented artists that were commissioned privately for several of the horse character drawings: Ulltuss & Naia-Art. I hope you enjoy their work as much as I do :)
And to follow up with the 'around the world' of contributors that we did last time, let's check again how the different corners of Planet Earth helped give this project life. Just above we've covered; Canada, Germany, Malta, Sweden, Slovakia & Scotland. Then there's the main dust-jacket printer in France, the main paperback printer in the USA, the poster printer in Holland and sticker printer in Sweden and that's before all of you lovely folk from around the globe.
I'd also like to thank the different stock-artists whose stock was used to create the book-video. A great big "thank you" also goes out to the creators of the freeware programs that I used to put everything together for said video.
For those who are returning backers, the postage looks a little different from what you’ve seen before. For most of you, backers old and new, this is good news. Since moving house, the postage from Malta is, to most locations significantly lower.
The downside is that rather than using pre-payed postal bags and a simple “international” postage, I now have to calculate each country individually and at the exact weight at that. I've done the calculations for the most frequent backer countries already. If your country isn’t on that list and you want to back the book (yay, thank you wonderful person) please just note me and I’ll add it. Rest of the world SEK 1111 is just a placeholder, not actual postage.
They have here a special SAL postage rate for certain overseas countries, which, at certain weights means it’s cheaper to send a heavier package to the US than a slightly lighter one to the neighbouring country and I’ve chosen to use the cheapest postal rates to keep everyone’s costs down. Sometimes it means the mail is a little slower than usual, but no swimming is required by any of the books to reach you.
Q Is that why the printer editions are so much cheaper - both the books and the postage?
A Aye, that's right. For the signed editions, there're two sets of postal costs; the one TO me (which you don't see but which becomes part of the price of the book) and the one FROM me (which is the one you can identify on the tiers of your choosing). For the printer editions, these should be printed as close to you as possible (yay for modern technology) and because they therefor don't have to be shipped as far (hopefully) and they come from companies that can press their postal costs due to their sheer size, plus, there being much less handling and time involved, the prices can be pushed downwards. Time, sadly, costs money.
Q How fast will my package arrive?
A That depends a bit on what type of postage you chose, whether it's sent from the printer or me and if the postal gods decide to ship it via Greenland (for instance, a xmas card to me last year decided to spend several extra weeks in Sri Lanka before arriving in Malta from Canada. Maybe it fancied a bit of extra sun? Who knows). Normally: between a week and a month after shipping would be my estimate.
If you’ve backed me before, you might be wondering where the cover-art prints are. Voila. You’ve just found them.
Unfortunately, the pre-production costs have gone up quite a bit, so I’ve had to shift those lovely art prints from being available from the start to becoming a stretch-goal. But they’re here and along with some character art, stories and other things make up some nice little extra treats for when we hit the corresponding stretchgoals.
2000 SEK - STRETCHGOAL 1: All backers (who wishes it) will be included in the Acknowledgements of the printed copy of "High Fyelds" and on the website.
4000 SEK - STRETCHGOAL 2: A whole new set of end-papers will be added to your special signed dustjacket editions.
6000 SEK - STRETGOAL 3: A brand-new Dragonquill stamp for the front page of your signed paperback and dustjacket editions.
8000 SEK - STRETCHGOAL 4: An extra short story created for "High Fyelds - A new Beginning" to be added to the book following a poll.
10000 SEK - STRETCHGOAL 5: Pleather bags will be available as an add-on.
12000 SEK - STRETCHGOAL 6: An extra short story created for "High Fyelds - The Big Race" to be added to the book following a poll.
14000 SEK - STRETCHGOAL 7: A5 posters of the cover-art for High Fyelds - A New Beginning will be included with all tiers shipped from me.
16000 SEK - STRETCHGOAL 8: An A6 character poster from either "A New Beginning" or "The Big Race" will be included with all the tiers shipped from me.
18000 SEK - STRETCHGOAL 9: A5 posters of the cover-art for High Fyelds - The Big Race will be included with all tiers shipped from me.
20000 SEK - STRETCHGOAL 10: Another A6 character poster from whichever 8 didn't choose, will be included with all the tiers shipped from me.
Since the costs involved in this little project are partly related to what you all choose in terms of tiers, I had to go by averages for this pie-chart, but it should give you a rough estimate of where the funds go.
Risks and challenges
Risks and challenges DQ can not be held responsible for:
* Tall, dark and handsome strangers whisking your package off on a whirlwind adventure.
* Burns or clawmarks by your local, friendly, neighbourhood dragon.
* Any need for it to have be used as a stepladder by a dwarf, gnoll or kobold (or subsequent iron boot prints).
* Strange desires to suddenly start hoarding treasures (other than books, hoarding books isn't strange or an obsession *eyes hoard* or attraction to shiny things, as a result from reading any book offered herewith.
* Other than that, the only thing to worry about are potential printer delays and general postal trouble (your package going via Uzbekistan, mail strikes and, judging by the weather Europe's been having, being buried in a nearby snowdrift along with the mailman).
- (30 days)