A little trickery, a little romance, an a little bit of sartorial fun!
The Dark Lord and the Seamstress is an unconventional love story told in verse. The finished product will be a picture book with a full colour cover, filled with beautiful black and white drawings illustrating a fun, romantic poem.
This book has been in development for twelve years! But now illustrator Jennifer Vendrig and I are ready to share the story – and her gorgeous artwork – with you and your family!
The Dark Lord, a brooding demon from the depths, is tired of being the butt of all the devils' jokes for his outdated wardrobe. When he invites the world's most famous Seamstress to Hell to make him some new threads, he doesn't expect to be struck by love at first sight. Now he has to figure out how to convince her to marry him and stay and Hell forever… and the Seamstress has to try to figure out how to convince him that it's a terrible idea!
It’s the perfect gift to bring into your geeky family, and is a lovely story about looking for the good heart beneath the (style-deficient) surface for people of all ages.
Jennifer Vendrig and I have been trying to get this book off the ground for twelve years! Yup, that's right, twelve years.
Jennifer Vendrig and I were introduced in 1996 via online fandom. In 2002, when I wrote the poem that comprises the book and Jennifer and I noodled around with the idea of doing some sort of illustrated version of it, but a webcomic was too involved for both of us (being, as we were, in school and part time jobs), and frankly self-publishing as we know it now hadn't been invented yet.
A few years later I had the opportunity to offer up the poem to a poetry chap book. The publisher discussed having all the poems illustrated, and I remembered the sketches Jennifer had already conceived. Jennifer mocked up some thumbnails, but then unfortunately the publishing house collapsed and the project was cancelled.
Several more years passed, and now, thanks to both the boom in the available self-publishing and vanity press opportunities and the generosity of the lovely people of Kickstarter, we finally have the ability to make our twelve year dream come true for ourselves!
Why? Let me say it again - twelve years!
More important than that, The Dark Lord and the Seamstress will be Jennifer Vendrig's first foray into professional illustration. As a long time artist, and now mother of two, one of Jennifer's biggest dreams has been to be able to be an full-time illustrator. It's a long and difficult path, being a professional artist, but this is the first step in what we hope will be a fulfilling, life-long profession for her!
And while I do generally write for the adult market, with the occasional forays into YA or NA, I have always wanted to write for kids, too. Picture books are so fun, aren't they? Especially picture books that are cheeky, thoughtful, beautifully illustrated, and play on one level to kids and one to the parents reading them.
We're excited because The Dark Lord and the Seamstress is a fresh start in an exciting new world for both of us!
On top of all of that, several years ago author Neil Gaiman began a literacy drive called All Hallows Read. Jennifer and I have been pushing hard to ensure that The Dark Lord and the Seamstress will be available in time for people to be able to gift away the book in 2014.
Children's literacy is very important to me, and I volunteer with youth organizations and give free talks to schools in order to help kids fall in love with pictures, and words, and stories the way I did.
For more information about how the book came together, please visit my blog.
Once upon a time, oh yes,
So very long ago,
There was of course a lovely girl,
Who came to learn to sew.
Deft hand at knots and ties,
Fingers nimble on a seam,
Her fame spread far and even wide,
O’er every hill and stream.
And as it goes, fair listener,
She learned to sew so well
That even the Dark Lord himself
Heard of her talent, down in Hell.
Now the Dark Lord was a kindly fellow,
Not like he’s drawn in books,
But He was old, and his style was too,
And he longed to change his looks.
He sent a fiery imp up
For to ask the girl
If she would care to join Him,
Down where the sulfur curls.
And when she came into His Hall,
That dark and brimstone cove,
With mind so bright and skin so smooth,
The Dark Lord fell in Love.
How will the Dark Lord woo his bride-to-be? And will the Seamstress even let him? How do you turn down the Hell when it's master's will is bent?
Jennifer is an artist who prefers to look at the world through rose colored glasses. She lives in Texas with two small children, two harassed cats, and a very supportive husband. This is her first book.
J.M. Frey J.M. is an actor, SF/F author, fanthropologist and pop culture scholar. Her debut novel Triptych was nominated for and won all sorts of fun awards, her short stories can be found in scads of anthologies. Her pie-in-the-sky dream is to one day sing a duet with John Barrowman.
The Dark Lord and the Seamstress is almost done! Right now, Jennifer has delivered all of the completed pencil sketches (which have already been through a few rounds of consultation and edits), and one of the inked illustrations and they are gorgeous.
The manuscript is locked, the full-colour cover and the rest of the interior inking are both underway, and the process of internal layout has begun. As soon as we reach our goal, everyone participating in creating the book can be paid, and printing will begin.
I am also a four-year veteran of the publishing industry, both traditional and self-publishing, and we are using professionally trained designers and editors that I have experience working with on previous projects. We will be publishing through CreateSpace, a professional and transparent printing company.
The goal is to have the book available for sale in stores and online by October 15th, so that people have time to order it for Halloween 2014, early enough for us to participate in All Hallows Read.
If The Campaign reaches $6,000...
I will announce, in a fun video, the title and publication date of my new fantasy novel! Otherwise the announcement would be delayed until after the holiday season. (But I've managed to say enough pretty pleases with enough cherries to garnish!)
I will ALSO post the whole of the first chapter of the new novel for free on my blog!
For every additional $1,000...
I will post another free chapter of my novel on my blog, and leave them up until April 1st, 2015. I will post them as we hit each subsequent $1,000.
Hey, that means if the campaign goes to $40,000, we'll be getting the whole novel for nothin', right?
In fact, since I think y'all rock so much, here's a teaser...
~October 17th, at GenreCon in Guelph, Ontario hosted by J.M. Frey
~Texas launch, hosted by Jennifer Vendrig, TBA.
~Further celebrations will be announced as they are scheduled.
Original art by Jennifer Vendrig
Video by J.M. Frey
Music: "Maybe" by Jazzhar, licensed through Creative Commons.
Photo credits in order of appearance:
G M B Chomichuk (feat. GMB Chomichuk, Lee Moyer, JM Frey and Silvia Moreno-Garcia at KeyCon2012)
Screencap from "Out With Song And Dance" from Out With Dad (Jason Leaver, dir.)
Sir Francis Dicksee
Liana and Steven Kerzner
Stephanie Lalonde / Red Moon Glassworks
*Some of the numbers in our video are approximated.*
Risks and challenges
It's always possible to run into delays with self-publishing, but I have a team of experienced self-publishers advising me on the process, and a great group of creatives who are working hard to make sure that we're all prepared in advance, and I'm confident that you will be thrilled with the final result.
Also, if the project becomes very popular, the estimated delivery dates of all the physical perks may have to slide back to accommodate the volume.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (33 days)