About A Star Filled Sea
In between writing Changing and Whispers, the first books in my Changing of the Sun trilogy, I started writing something else, a mad romp contained by time, small spaces and Josh's intense dislike of being mortal. It was basically A Murder on the Orient Express in space (long before the Doctor did it) and I had an awesome time writing it.
Let me set the scene for you ...
In 2015 (during Lesser Evils, my next novel project once the Changing trilogy is done) Earth finally undergoes the biggest event in human history, Contact with aliens (an event so huge it not only gets capitalised, it gets it's own theme music and logo). Chaya Jordan found herself in the middle of it all with her husband, Josh, finding a new vocation as a translator, one of the few humans able to understand the lingua franca of the Union.
Three years later and everything has settled down. Josh is splitting his time working for Ambassador Ren Mythreia and freelancing, watching his daughter, Teresa, grow up. Life is good and everything is as he likes it (quiet and boring). Until Ren calls him with top secret news: the Earth is finally ready to sign the Union's charter and take its place in the galaxy. But to do that Josh is going to have to go to Mnemosyne to act as the translator for the human ambassador, Antony Stone.
TL;DR: Josh finally gets a chance to go off-world and he couldn't be happier about it.
It should have been simple. A week on a scout throwing up thanks to space sickness, a signed charter and an appropriately-alien souvenir for Tess. Then a much more pleasant trip home and a high enough security clearance to finally escape his past.
Yeah, that was never going to happen.
Stuck in a ship in a bottle with none of his abilities and all the frailities of being human, Josh (together with Ren and his intern Hebe as his unlikely sidekicks), finds himself in the middle of a murder hunt after something starts picking off the human ambassador's staff. They have a day until the ship docks on Mnemosyne and the murderer escapes to ruin the charter signing.
Featuring aliens, empaths, shadow-wraiths and the Multiverse's Littlest Psychopomp™, A Star Filled Sea is a long novella/short novel of around 60k set in the Ashteraiverse.
Why am I doing a Kickstarter?
A part of the reason I like Kickstarter are the people. I'm constantly amazed by the generosity of my tribe (that's you guys, my various teams) and strangers.
I live on a fixed-income which is rather tiny. I could pay for all these things but it would take fives times as long and I love the communal side which comes with crowd-funding, I get to talk to my backers, to take them with me on each roller-coaster ride of a journey, knowing they'll queue up for the next go.
This is the next go.
You can see the full breakdown of how much Kickstarting Changing and the prequel novella actually cost me. I've done this to be as open, honest and transparent about the figures as possible. A Star Filled Sea is a much smaller project but there are still costs and, in return for pledging and pre-ordering, you guys will be the first folks to read it.
Team Changing was the reason my first Kickstarter succeeded and I remain indebted to each and every one of the sixty two people who backed me, ditto the eight two people who backed Parting. I might write the books but I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the support and the faith of the kind people who took a leap of faith on my project. I want you to be a part of their journey, any financial assistance is just a bonus.
Want to read a sample?
I've posted four excerpts so far which make up the couple of chapters (all of these are unedited).
- Work and Pay
- The Blue Girl
- Diplomatic Ties
- Escape Velocity I
- Escape Velocity II
- Space Travel For Beginners
What is the money for?
- Editing Star to make it publishable.
I've been lucky enough to find an editor who loves my work almost as much as I do and also happens to be a perfectionist. I insist on paying Ellen for her time and so the bulk of the Kickstarter is going to cover her fee to turn my pile of muddy rock into a beautiful shards. She's totally worth it.
- Cover, map and an illustration
I have already chosen the art for my cover, I just need Scarlett Rugers to work her magic on the ebook and print covers. Scarlett's the uber-talented designer behind the cover for The Whispers of the Desert, the bonus novella I gave away with my first Kickstarter campaign.
Now that my Ashteraiverse is expanding, I'm also keen to get a space map created to show you where various planets are in. A Star Filled Sea is set on Earth, Mnemosyne (in the Pleiades) and the travel route between the two but I want something which can be used but will also be beautiful, hence my tapping my fantasy cartographer Rob Antonishen.
As is becoming a tradition, I also want to get Ben J. Adams (who you're remember from illustrations in such novels as Hugh Howey's Sand and Michael Bunker's Pennsylvania as well as my Changing trilogy) to do me a piece of shiny art to go at the front of the story. To give you an idea, this beauty is what he created for Changing:
- e-book and print formatting
I heard about Polgarus Studio via Hugh and Tim Grahl (which is like the highest recommendation you can get in the indie publishing world). I hired them to format Whispers and Changing for me. I never regretted it; it's delegation, Jason Anderson does a wonderful job and I know he will take a lot of the load of me. He will do both the e-book (in .mobi and .epub) of A Star-Filled Sea as well as the printed layout for me and it will look amazing.
- The costs of the various rewards
Print copies, posters and art cards will all cost money and this is something that final amount has to include.
- Kickstarter and Amazon's fees.
Kinda obvious but if I reach my goal, Kickstarter get a percentage and so do Amazon for processing the payments. Go figure.
Here's a basic breakdown of where everything is going in a handy pie chart:
Who am I?
I'm a storyteller, I always have been. I started writing at ten, teaching myself to touch type as well as how to use computers. I spent a decade working in journalism, as a blogger and a reviewer before chronic depression, anaemia and a combination of my physical disabilities pushed me into early retirement.
I even retrained as a teacher but my health issues mean I'm never going to be able to work again, which makes me sad but does nothing to negate the sheer exhaustion of suffering a chronic illness. I found writing to be cathartic, to be the one way I have to stay sane and I'm not going to stop. I wrote a novel, then I wrote short stories and now I'm publishing them.
I've always been visually impaired and this is no more obvious by the number of blind characters who crop up in my stories. In my case I have retinopathy of prematurity due to being born at twenty four weeks which left me with white matter damage to my brain from too much oxygen, a blind right eye and a blurry left one. I also have Asperger's though that can sometimes be more of a boon than a bane, especially when it comes to research. Three and a half years ago I qualified with my lovely guide dog, Unis, and she serves me very well, allowing me to go out safely as well as keeping me company while I write.
For nearly a decade I freelanced for everyone - seriously, the list is as long as my arm - from anime magazines like NEO and Newtype USA to games publications including Kotaku and Official Xbox Magazine to newspapers like the Eastern Daily Press and The Guardian. Now I am recreating myself as an author, specifically focusing on science fiction and urban fantasy.
I'm in the prime of life, apparently, so being retired as due to my disabilities is incredibly frustrating as I would love to work and put my skill sets to good use.
In February 2014 my debut Kickstarter campaign for The Changing of the Sun, the first book in the trilogy, funded at 115% of the goal. In April, I distributed a prequel e-novella called The Whispers in the Desert to my backers. In September, the novel itself found its way into backers' hands and it was a thing of beauty. I ran my second campaign in November 2014 and that also funded (just!) which allowed me cover the costs associated with publishing The Parting of the Waters.
We also went on Radio Norfolk to talk about well ... everything.
I also went on the RNIB's Insight Radio to discuss being a visually impaired author, Kickstarter and writing.
Now it's time to do it all again but this time the pressure is off. This Kickstarter is about covering a much smaller cost and offering up a new story for my team, a standalone story that is canon but at the same time my homage to murder mysteries.
I hope you join me as we venture into A Star Filled Sea.
Risks and challenges
As someone who has run two successful campaigns, I'm getting the hang of this crowdfunding lark. The success of my first campaign and the existence of print copies can only bode well, my indie toolbox is now a well-oiled machine.
I'm crowdfunding this not just because of the financial side but, rather, because I want to make sure there's a need. By definition, if people pledge, then there are folks who want to read this short novel and so we're all good.
The manuscript is just about complete (and on it's third draft), it's just a matter of handing it over to Ellen so she can edit, getting Ben to do the art and scheduling Scarlett and Other Jason's time to do the covers and the layout. This is, compared to the other books I've done, a nice project, short and easy with very little for me to do except fire up the toolbox and let them take my manuscript and turn it into a Proper Book™.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (39 days)