About the book: Professor Oladel Adewole has lost tenure, and his much-younger sister has died. With no reason to stay, he leaves his homeland for the University of Eisenstadt.
One thing makes life there bearable: the island floating a mile above the city. No one's ever been there, nor knows how it got there. Every culture in the world tells stories about it, and Adewole specializes in them.
When an inventor makes it there in her new autogyro, the government sends Adewole up with its first survey team. The expedition finds people, but Adewole finds a powerful, forbidden fusion of magic and metal: the Machine God.
The government wants it. So does a sociopath bent on ruling Eisenstadt. But when Adewole discovers who the Machine God is--and what it can do--he risks his life to protect it from the world, and the world from the Machine God.
About the project: The Drifting Isle Chronicles is a collaborative series among four top independent fantasy writers: Charlotte E. English, Joseph Robert Lewis, Katherine Tomlinson and me. Each of us wrote novels set in a universe we created together. While the four books all interconnect (all contain cameos of characters from the other books), they each stand alone and can be read in any order:
Black Mercury, Charlotte E. English: A mysterious black substance catapults an inventor to the enigmatic island floating a mile above her city...
The Kaiser Affair, Joseph Robert Lewis: A husband-and-wife detective team race to stop a criminal mastermind from claiming the newly-reached Drifting Isle for himself...
Starcaster, Katherine Tomlinson: A stranger's murder on a floating island is the harbinger of changes that will affect a restless young man and all he holds dear...
The Machine God, MeiLin Miranda: A grieving academic discovers the horrible truth behind the Drifting Isle's creation...
This is my first collaborative project, and it's been insanely fun. Joe Lewis put the group together and deserves the credit for keeping us all focused. We've made decisions by consensus, starting with the beginning when Joe sent out the first survey: what genre did we want to write in? We all submitted two ideas apiece, voted on our top two, and from there winnowed it down to steampunk magical fantasy. I've never wanted to write steampunk, but I'd decided I was going to go with the flow on this project and go outside my comfort zone.
Next, we decided what elements to have in our story. Through the same process we decided on music magic, a floating island, a magical substance we dubbed ichor, talking birds, and a machine god. "What the heck's a machine god?" says I. "I dunno," says Joe, "but I sure like the sound of it!" I really didn't, but not enough to fight the battle. I sighed and went along.
We knocked ideas around, until finally the group took stock of what we each specialized in. "Does anyone write about mythology or religion?" Foolishly I raised my virtual hand; myth and religion are major themes in my work. "Great! Guess who gets to figure out what the Machine God is?" *headdesk*
The joke was on me in more ways than one. I ended up not only figuring out what the Machine God was, but my book ended up named after it. I'm really excited about what I came up with, and it's all because I went with the flow.
About the Kickstarter: This pre-sale will fund editorial, artistic and design work for The Machine God only. My team will mostly be familiar to those of you who've been with me in the past: editor Annetta "Netta the Eddita" Ribken; book designers 1889 Labs; and cover artist Elsa Kroese, a new artist for me but not to others in the group.
The backer prizes are pretty straightforward.
$5 backers get the formatted ebook in three DRM-free versions: pdf, ebook and mobi.
$10 backers get the above plus the ARC--the unformatted manuscript within 24 hours of my finishing it. I can guarantee this will be within 24 hours of this Kickstarter's end; the manuscript is in the "release candidate" phase right now.
$25 backers get the above plus the other three ebooks in the series. The writers have graciously donated their books to this Kickstarter. Thanks, guys!
$45 backers get the above plus the autographed paperback. International backers must add $12 extra for shipping.
$75 backers get the above plus a pound of Jerian Blend coffee (the protagonist's drink of choice) from Portland's Cellar Door Coffee Roasters, plus palm sugar to sweeten it, goodies to eat with it and instructions on how to make it. Because importing food internationally is more than I want to get into, this prize is limited to the US only. Sorry, guys.
$145 backers get everything in the $45 package plus naming rights to a minor character, with the proviso that the character will almost certainly have nothing to do with the person s/he's named for.
$175 backers will get everything in the $75 package plus naming rights to a minor character, with the proviso that the character will almost certainly have nothing to do with the person s/he's named for. Again, because of the coffee this package is limited to the US only.
Stretch goals: If we get to $2,500, I will write a short story in the Drifting Isles universe, and I'll let Kickstarter backers choose who or what I write about (I'll provide some ideas to vote on as well). Obviously this will be after you all read the book. :)
If we get to $4,000, I will faint. And then I'll outright hire an audiobook narrator. All $45 and up backers will get the audiobook. I have to outright hire a narrator in order to do this; if I do a royalty split, I can't give you guys copies. I don't have time to narrate it myself, and besides, it really needs a male voice.
Thank you for reading this far, and thank you for choosing to back this book!1/24/13: New stretch goal: I really don't think we're going to make $4,000 in the next couple of days, so if we make $3,500 everyone at $45 and up will receive a year-long membership in my website's premium area. See the latest update for more.
Risks and challenges
The book is already in "release candidate," meaning it's with a trusted group of new and old readers vetting it for typos and so on. Essentially, it's finished.
What remains is correcting what they find and producing the ebook and paperback.
This is my third crowdfunding project (my second at Kickstarter). Currently I have written two novels (three, counting this one), one webserial episode collection, two novellas, one short story collection and two short stories.
Here is my budget:
$100 estimate for coffee fulfillment
$220 estimate for paperback fulfillment
- (20 days)