Funded! This project was successfully funded on February 23, 2013.


A dieselpunk novel set in 1913, at the death of the Belle Époque and the brink of the Great War. Swords, necromancy, & mechas.

Read the first chapter of Shadows of Asphodel.

1913. The death of the Belle Époque and the brink of the Great War. The simmering hostilities in Europe have been halted in their tracks by the Hex, a powerful curse placed on the land by the archmages of Vienna, which renders gunpowder powerless and forces a return to swords, archery, and sorcery. But a greater and more terrible threat looms…

Ardis, an American swordswoman with a dark past, lives only to fight as a mercenary. She never expected to meet Wendel, or to fall for him. Bleeding out on a battlefield in Transylvania, he intrigues Ardis with his suave arrogance and his once-in-a-lifetime talent. Wendel is a Prussian nobleman fallen from grace and a necromancer with the power to raise the dead. If you kill a necromancer, he will only come back ten times stronger—or so Ardis has heard. Afraid to find out, she saves his life.

Together, mercenary and necromancer forge an uneasy alliance underscored with sexual tension. When Ardis fails her next mission, they discover the military secret of Austria-Hungary: robotically-enhanced soldiers constructed by the inventor of the diesel engine, Rudolf Diesel himself. Only Ardis and Wendel know the truth about the Emperor of Austria’s machinations—but can they stop the Great War from reaching an even bloodier end?

"A gripping alternate history of World War I, filled with magic and swordfighting, steamy romance, and general badassery—a daring adventure you don't want to miss!" - Chelsea M. Campbell, author of The Rise of Renegade X

Shadows of Asphodel is a dieselpunk novel with a planned publication date of Fall 2013. I'm currently drafting the book, and estimate it will be just over 300 pages when finished. I'm a professional novelist and the author of Other, Bloodborn, and Foxfire, a young adult paranormal series. Shadows of Asphodel will be my fourth published novel--and my first self-published novel.

You can check out my official author website at, follow me on Twitter @karenkincy, or check out my books on Goodreads.

You will like Shadows of Asphodel if you like:

  • My earlier novels. Disclaimer: this book is intended for mature readers, ages 17 and up, since there's more sex. 
  • A side of romance with your order of dieselpunk. (Dieselpunk: because steampunk wasn't dirty enough.)
  • Strong female characters, like Ardis the stoic badass mercenary. 
  • Charming bastard characters, like Wendel the necromancer.
  • Fight scenes involving swords, necromancy, and robot soldiers.
  • Alternate history speculative fiction. It's 1913, but different. How different? The winner of the World War I might not be who you expect... 

Would you rather:

(a) Wait until 2014 or 2015 to buy Shadows of Asphodel, probably as a hardcover, maybe as a slightly discounted ebook edition.


(b) Get Shadows of Asphodel in Fall 2013, in your choice of paperback or ebook, at a more affordable price.

As a published author, I know how long the traditional publication process can take. Two years from sale to shelf isn't at all unusual. If I went that route, you wouldn't see another book from me in 2013. You might not even see one in 2014. That would leave me and my fans empty-handed. Through self-publishing, I can offer my next book to you quicker and cheaper.

This Kickstarter project will help fund the initial costs of self-publishing Shadows of Asphodel. Including:

  • Commissioning a cover artist
  • Hiring a professional copyeditor and proofreader
  • Having the book formatted for print and ebook editions
  • Marketing the book through social media and traditional outlets
  • Producing promotional materials (awesome swag) such as bookmarks
  • Fulfilling incentives for Kickstarter backers
  • Launching my career as an indie author; I hope to self-publish more!

If this Kickstarter project raises more than my target goal, my stretch goals will be bigger and better marketing, like sending out more promotional copies, running giveaways, revamping my official website, travelling to more conferences and book signings, and making the book available to libraries via Overdrive. 

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

With any book, there's always the risk of delays in the publication process. I have been in the business long enough to know that a revision might take twice as long as expected, or the cover design might need to be tweaked one last time. I'm confident I will meet my deadlines, since I have budgeted additional time for delays, and I will of course keep backers up-to-date on the estimated release date of the book.

There's a very slim chance that the book won't be finished if the author is flattened by a bus, lost in the wilderness indefinitely, or devoured by zombies. For the sake of the book, and my own skin, I hope this never happens. But in all seriousness, I'm passionate about this book and determined (i.e., hellbent) to see it published.


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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    BOOKWORM LEVEL. Five Shadows of Asphodel bookmarks featuring the (TBD) cover art and blurb. This reward will also be included at all levels with the paperback reward!

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    MERCENARY LEVEL. An ebook copy of Shadows of Asphodel in your choice of format (EPUB, MOBI, or PDF).

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    NECROMANCER LEVEL. A paperback copy of Shadows of Asphodel, and an ebook copy in your choice of format (EPUB, MOBI, or PDF).

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    ARCHMAGE LEVEL. For those who like their books signed by the author, a personalized paperback copy of Shadows of Asphodel and an ebook copy in your choice of format (EPUB, MOBI, or PDF).

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    IMMORTAL LEVEL. For those who wish to be immortalized. A tertiary (or maybe even secondary!) character in the novel will be named after you, as approved by the author. Plus all the rewards at the $50 level.

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    SCRIBE LEVEL. For aspiring novelists. A critique of the first 50 pages of your YA or MG manuscript by the author, Karen Kincy, plus all the rewards at the $50 level.

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