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How do you solve a 3,000-year-old murder? Join Dr Pimms in the first instalment of this brilliant new series and find out!
How do you solve a 3,000-year-old murder? Join Dr Pimms in the first instalment of this brilliant new series and find out!
79 backers pledged AU$ 10,003 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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AU$ 10,003

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Thank you to everyone who helped make this project a success!  

If you'd like to contact me, my email address is ljmowen@gmail.com

You can follow the progress of this project on my website: www.ljmowen.com

UPDATE - BONUSES! 

As a thank you to everyone for backing the project, I'm adding a range of bonuses at various levels.

A BOOK BAG at THE EXCAVATION SITE level and above, and  

A POSTER at THE HIDDEN INSCRIPTION level and above, and  

A T-SHIRT at THE GRAVE GOODS level and above, and  

Up to 20 PAPERBACK COPIES at THE BURIED SKELETONS level - your choice as to how many - personalised, signed copies, for you to keep or use as presents for family and friends.

What is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is the most popular form of crowdfunding today.

Kickstarter allows new authors, like me, to make their dream of publishing come true, and gives you the opportunity to get involved in this awesome new series. 

How does it work?

If you want to participate, you pledge at your chosen level for the reward you want. The rewards centre on giving you a copy, or copies, of Olmec Obituary

Kickstarter allows everyone to contribute at their comfort level. Contribute at THE PITH HELMET level, and you get an e-version. From there, the sky's the limit, up to and including THE BURIED SKELETONS, where you become the inspiration for a background character – such as an archaeologist, librarian, or library patron – in a future book in the series.

If, and only if, the overall target for this project is achieved, the project goes forward. Kickstarter collects the pledged amount and I fulfil your reward by emailing or mailing you your book/s.

What’s the book about?

Here's the blurb:

How do you solve a 3,000-year-old murder?

Yearning for her former life as an archaeologist, Australian librarian Dr Elizabeth Pimms is struggling with a job she doesn’t want, a family she both loves and resents, and enforced separation from her boyfriend.

A royal Olmec cemetery is discovered deep in the Mexican jungle, containing the earliest writing in all the Americas. Dr Pimms is elated to join the team investigating these Aztec ancestors.

Triumph is short-lived, however, as Elizabeth's position on the team is threatened by a volatile excavation director, contradictory evidence, and hostile colleagues.

Amidst seventeen concealed skeletons, an evolving mental library, and Welsh soup, can Dr Pimms determine cause of death for a 3,000-year-old athlete before being fired?

With the archaeological intrigue of ELIZABETH PETERS, forensic insight of KATHY REICHS, and comfort of a cosy mystery, Olmec Obituary is the first novel in a fascinating new series...

Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth

Really cold cases.

So, can you solve a 3,000-year-old murder? Help publish the novel, and find out!  

Why did I write the book?

Like many bookworms, the best parts of my childhood were spent in storyworlds created by others. A bad day saw me escape under the covers, with a torch and an orange, to far-away lands where mysteries were solved, hard work was rewarded, and bad guys got their comeuppance.

As an adult, I decided to create another place for us to all run away to.

They say you should write what you know. As I'm a trained archaeologist, a qualified librarian, and have a PhD in palaeogenetics, I thought – archaeological mystery series, with a librarian protagonist – naturally!

Who might be interested in supporting this project?

If you like the idea of curling up in an armchair, tea in hand, and immersing yourself in a cosy world of archaeological mysteries, forensic science, librarians, cats and really good food,

or,

if you'd like to support an indie author/Canberra author/Australian author,

please click the little green button!

Excerpts from a scene where our modern-day protagonist comes ‘face to face’ with the 3,000-year-old athlete.

“‘Shall we?' Carl inserted a key into the laboratory door.

Stepping into the lab ahead of the two men, Elizabeth was flooded with exhilaration. Her delight in the minutiae of archaeology had always been accepted here. It was almost intoxicating to be back.

Carl was waxing lyrical about Juluwik, and his hopes for an initial publication in just two months. Elizabeth wasn't listening. Her mind recorded the conversation between Carl and Juan for analysis later, focusing instead on the lab.

Everything in the room was a little old and broken down: shabby, dirty white walls; dreadful green carpet tiles; cheap Formica benches; and cupboards with flimsy locks. Elizabeth breathed deeply...and that strange smell. Not bad, exactly, just musty, in a way that no amount of fresh air could ever hope to shift. By the Gods had she missed this place!

‘As Juan would have told you,' Carl was saying, ‘we have seventeen skeletons so far. Three adult males, one adult female, that's the ballplayer, and thirteen juveniles. The most exciting part about the site is, of course, the writing, but the fact that we have a royal cemetery here will also attract a lot of attention.'

Elizabeth made a noise of acknowledgment. In the corner she spied Fred, the laboratory's skeleton, an ex-six foot two Scandinavian man. Poor Fred. He was regularly kidnapped by undergrad students and strapped to one of the horses on the city centre's carousel.

Juan opened one of the cupboards and shuttled boxes onto a work bench.”

“‘...Here's our ball-playing lady,' he said, lifting a strangely misshapen cranium into the light.

The forehead of the skull sloped backwards to form an extremely high, long plane, making the skull look larger than normal and slightly alien. Elizabeth gasped. Artificial cranial deformation. Fantastic! Why hadn't Juan mentioned this?

‘Or, we can go into that another time,' said Carl, smiling at the look on Elizabeth's face.

Elizabeth was utterly captivated. This was archaeology! The weird and wonderful things human beings did to themselves, the traces they left, and the stories their remains told. When did this woman's ancestors first realise they could shape a baby's head without hurting them? How had this particular deformation been performed? Why? What significance did it have? Was it seen as beautiful? Or did it signify a particular place in society? So many questions.”

“‘...And here's her effigy. Or, at least, that's what we think it is.' Carl pulled a small clay statue from another box.

It looked like a figurine based on a B-grade movie about topless women competing in roller-skate derbies, right down to the rounded crash helmet with side straps. How bizarre! It might have been a three-thousand year-old depiction of a woman playing a gruelling and violent forerunner to basketball, but it would also have been right at home amongst modern movie merchandise.

‘Arresting, isn't it?' Carl asked.

‘Yes,' said Elizabeth. She knew there was no point in trying to hide her eagerness now. ‘So, how would this work?'”

Risks and challenges

The book is drafted, and has been edited for content by an Olmec archaeologist, a surgeon, and an English lit grad, and proofread by a punctuation pedant. (Whilst a peace accord has been reached on the application of Oxford commas, and only minor skirmishes remain around the use of ellipses, the war over m-dashes may rage throughout the series.)

Please note, the book is written in Australian/British English.

The size of the book provided may vary, as I intend to use a tracked shipping service which offers different standard packing material for different locations.

If you choose a package that includes both ebook and hardcopy, I will be in touch closer to the delivery date to confirm your requirement for either a mobi (for Kindle) or epub/PDF (all other e-readers) ebook version.

As at early Dec 2014, an Australian dollar (AUD) is worth about 85 US cents (0.85 USD), 53 British pence (0.53 GBP), and 68 Euro cents (0.68 EUR).

Residual risks centre on timing. If nothing goes wrong, the book should be ready for delivery in under two months. I've doubled that, as contingency, and given myself four months to deliver it in all formats.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 1 or more About $0.83

    THE TROWEL KIT. A donation.

    Acknowledgement on my social media (Twitter, Facebook etc.), and my heartfelt thanks.

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    Pledge AU$ 15 or more About $13

    THE PITH HELMET. An ebook copy of the novel, in both epub and PDF versions (for all e-readers except Kindle).

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    Pledge AU$ 15 or more About $13

    THE PITH HELMET. An ebook copy of the novel. Mobi for Kindle version.

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    Pledge AU$ 35 or more About $29

    THE EXCAVATION SITE. One signed paperback copy of the book.

    Includes cost of shipping anywhere.

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    Pledge AU$ 50 or more About $42

    THE ANCIENT SKULLS. One ebook and one signed paperback copy of the book.

    Includes cost of shipping anywhere.

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    Pledge AU$ 70 or more About $58

    THE HIDDEN INSCRIPTION. One ebook and two signed paperback copies of the book.

    Includes cost of shipping anywhere.

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    Pledge AU$ 150 or more About $125

    THE GRAVE GOODS. One ebook and five signed paperback copies of the book.

    Includes cost of shipping anywhere.

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    Pledge AU$ 300 or more About $250

    THE GREAT PYRAMID. One ebook and ten signed paperback copies of the book.

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    Pledge AU$ 350 or more About $292

    THE DNA ANALYSIS. I come to you.

    10 signed paperback copies of the book, personally delivered, plus one visit to your Book Club/Library, to discuss the book.

    *Within 50kms Canberra CBD only.

    Delivery of these rewards would have to be staggered over several weeks, starting May 2015.

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    Pledge AU$ 350 or more About $292

    THE LIBRARY CATALOGUE. Behind the scenes.

    For one, two or three people. An ebook and a personalised, signed copy of the book each, plus either morning or afternoon tea at the Australian National Library, Canberra, to discuss the book.

    The NLA provided inspiration for the Main Library building featured in the novel. This reward may include a walk through all public areas of the NLA related to the book, and possibly joining a public tour of 'The Stacks' (stacks tour available Thursdays only).

    Delivery of these rewards would have to be staggered over several weeks, starting May 2015.

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    Pledge AU$ 1,000 or more About $834

    THE BURIED SKELETONS. Be in the series!

    Similar to being an extra on a film set, become part of the tapestry, inspiring either the physical description, personality, or name of a background character in a future book or books in the series. You might appear as an archaeologist, librarian, or library patron.  

    You would convey who you are to me via writing and/or in person and/or by Skype, to inspire the character in some way. There are currently nine books planned for the series, and drafting for the second book is well underway.

    Please be aware, if a number of people choose this reward, it may be some time before it is delivered to everyone.

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Funding period

- (30 days)