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A Kickstarter to fund publication of THE WARLOCK'S CURSE, Book 3 of the Veneficas Americana series by M.K. Hobson

★ JUST OVER 24 HOURS LEFT ★ (5/12/12)

And we are almost 20% over goal! People, that is INCREDIBLE! I couldn’t be more grateful, or more stunned.

As we approach the campaign’s final day, I wanted to let everyone know that even if you don’t get the chance to back this Kickstarter, you need have no fear, as most of the rewards will eventually be available to non-backers. Backers, of course, will get them first—but the ebooks, trade paperbacks, stories, etc., will be available to the general public before the end of 2012.

There IS, however, one thing that ONLY backers can get. And that is the GOLD version of the Tesla Industries Identification Pin, which you get when you back at the $45 level. In this version (the creatively-named “Backer Version”), the triangle will be rendered in shiny gold as shown below. If you see someone wearing this pin, it means they backed the Kickstarter from the beginning—or perhaps even before the beginning, as my presupporter-backers  will be receiving this version as well. Once the Kickstarter is over, this version will not be available again (though I might resurrect it if I decide to do a Kickstarter for B4, THE UNSTEADY EARTH.)

Tesla Industries Identification Pin: Backer Version (Gold).

For non-backers, I will also do a separate run of pins (same dimensions and everything) but the triangle will be rendered in yellow. This is the version that I will sell through my Website. As you can see, it will still be incredibly handsome and wonderful.

Tesla Industries Identification Pin: Public Version (Yellow)

And that’s it for tonight! I’m really not scraping for more contributions at this point, as y'all have already made me blush with your generosity. But I did want to put a last-minute message out there in case there are people who really want the gold version of the pin.

Happy Saturday, everyone! 

—M

NEW OPTIONAL ADD-ON: "THE DECOMAIN HONORARY PRINTED CHAPBOOK"★ (5/11/12)

In the comment section of Backer Update #18, backer Christian Decomain asked if it would be possible to get the three short stories and the novella in a bound chapbook format. That's quite easy to do and I'm happy to do it for anyone who wants it. I estimate the chapbook of bonus content will be about 60-80 pages long, and I will create it using the same layout template as the book itself—6 x 9 trade paperback format, in a similar look-and-feel. 

So, if you want a copy of THE DECOMAIN HONORARY PRINTED CHAPBOOK, please just add $10 to your pledge and send me a message letting me know that you want to add it on. And if you have questions, LMK! 

Happy Friday, everyone! This crazy train is getting close to its destination ...

—M

★ STRETCH GOAL EXCEEDED AND THERE ARE STILL THREE DAYS LEFT! NOW WHAT? ★ (5/10/12)

Any additional funds we raise after this point will be used to defray the costs of a research trip Nora (my daughter, puppyteer and videographer) and I were already planning to take this summer to DETROIT, MICHIGAN. We are going to take pictures and videos, and blog the trip, and will share the adventure with all our Kickstarter backers. 

This trip was already in the works, so even if we don't raise another dollar it's still going to happen. But if we get a few more bucks in the kitty, it's entirely possible that I won't have to make Nora sleep on the floor of a Greyhound bus station and cook me my breakfast over the weak flame of a Steno burner. So if you're on the fence and you feel like kicking in, go for it!

WE'VE MADE IT TO 102% & THERE ARE THREE DAYS LEFT! NOW WHAT? ★ (5/10/12)

Up to this point I have been hesitant to even to THINK about "stretch goals" or whatever the cool Kickstarter kids call them. But now we're at 102%, and there's still time on the clock ... so let's sweeten the pot one more time, shall we?

So, you know how I was going to write a new short story, based on a backer vote? I was going to let you choose from among 3 stories that I already have in various stages of drafting:

  • A Penelope Pendennis story called "The Wunderkammer of Don Gonzalo." What you all don't know about Penelope Pendennis (but what I'm sure will utterly fail to surprise you) is that she's a spy for the Witches' Friendly Society. The lecture tour she went on at the end of THE NATIVE STAR? Totally cover for her super-awesome spying activities. This is a stand-alone story about one of her adventures. 
  • A Dreadnought & Emily story tentatively titled "The Ladies." Set during their "wedding trip" home from NYC at the end of THE HIDDEN GODDESS, this story details an interesting side trip they take to receive the blessing of a mysterious and powerful group of witches in New Orleans.
  • A Catherine Kendall & Vladimir Lyahkhov story. As you might recall, Catherine Kendall is Emily's mother. The daughter of a Boston preacher, she suffered from the same family curse that Will Edwards does in THE WARLOCK'S CURSE. This story will shed more light on her relationship with Emily's father, Vladimir Lyahkhov, also known as "Volos."

Now, here's my proposal for a stretch goal:

If we hit 110% funding, I will dispense with the backer vote entirely and write all three stories. I will put them into a lovely DRM-free ebook compendium and make them available in all the usual formats (PDF, MOBI, EPUB.) And, of course, backers will get them first.

So, what do you all think? Is that a compelling enough "stretch goal?"

—M

QUICK CLARIFICATION ★ (5/9/12)

My phrasing in the updates has given some folks the impression that they have to select the $65 reward level to get SWAGSPLODED (see below). But my intention is, if you have pledged $65 or over (no matter what reward level you've chosen) you get all the new swag (the cat sticker, cat magnet & Tesla magnet) added in gratis. (I mean, if you want it. If you don't, that's OK too.) Does that make sense? Message me with questions!

—M

★ NEW: LAST WEEK SWAG-STRAVAGANZA! ★(5/7/12)

So we're heading into the last week of this crazy Kickstarter adventure. And to get us across the finish line, I've decided to go all out with a SWAGSPLOSION! I've taken an utterly unloved reward level ($65) and souped it up with a whole bunch of neat NEW swag. These are bits and bobs that have been requested by various backers, so I think you're going to like 'em.

BEHOLD, THE NEW, REVAMPED, SUPER SWAG LEVEL ($65)!

  1. Exclusive online access to a new short story I will write in the Veneficas Americana universe,
  2. A DRM-free eBook bundle (including epub, Mobi, Kindle & PDF versions) of THE WARLOCK'S CURSE,
  3. A trade paperback copy of THE WARLOCK'S CURSE (signed & personalized upon request)
  4. A beautiful cloisonné Tesla Industries Identification Pin designed by artist Lee Moyer
  5. NEW! A large-size (approx. 5 x 7) die cut STICKER of the Anarchist Grimoire cat
  6. NEW! A large-size (approx. 5 x 7) die cut MAGNET of the Anarchist Grimoire cat
  7. NEW! A square MAGNET (approx 5 x 5) featuring the Tesla Industries Digital Art

So, what does this mean for ME?

IF YOU ARE A NEW BACKER: Nothing! Zip! Nada! Just back at the $65 level and you get it all.

IF YOU ARE A CURRENT BACKER WHO HAS ALREADY PLEDGED OVER $65: Nothing! Zip! Nada! You get it all added in automatically because you are just that awesome!

IF YOU ARE A CURRENT BACKER WHO HAS PLEDGED OVER $25 BUT UNDER $65: You can buy up to the $65 level to get everything. Easy peasy. OR you can add individual items to your order ($4 for a sticker, $6 for the magnet) and I will throw them in when I ship the rest of your stuff.

IF YOU ARE A CURRENT BACKER WHO HAS PLEDGED UNDER $25: You can buy up to the $65 level to get everything, of course. OR you can add individual items into your order ($4 for a sticker, $6 for the magnet.) However, I will also need to charge you shipping, as I'm not already sending you anything ... so please add $5 domestic, $10 international.

Please let me know if you have any questions! I know it all gets a bit confusing when you start adding in things, but never fear. I am committed to making sure that each and every one of my backers is 100% delighted with this experience.

Happy Monday, everyone!
M

★ NEW: DOWNLOAD SAMPLE CHAPTERS! ★ (5/5/12)

Today, May 5, is really quite a rare and special day. Tonight a full moon (in Scorpio) will light up the sky—and not just any full moon, but a supermoon. And as if that weren't enough, it's also Cinco De MayoDerby DayVesak and the birthday of Catherynne M. Valente AND MeiLin Miranda!

This amazing confluence of events calls for a celebration—and so, I am posting the first three chapters of THE WARLOCK'S CURSE in a variety of formats. 

I hope you'll have a look. And I hope you enjoy them. And if you do ... well, I hope you'll consider becoming a backer.

Download THE WARLOCK'S CURSE: First 3 Chapters

PDF | MOBI | EPUB

★ NEW: OPTIONAL ADD-ONS! ★ (4/29/12 + 4/30/12)

As I can't add these into the reward descriptions themselves, I'll add them here where everyone can see them. These are the result of comments left on the last Backer Update—thank you everyone for your thoughts!

  • Optional Add On #1: Copies of both THE NATIVE STAR and THE HIDDEN GODDESS—add $20 This add-on allows you to have all three books at your fingertips. You will receive brand-new mass-market paperbacks, sorry I can't provide eBooks. If you're international, please add another $5 for shipping ... that, plus the $10 you will already have added, should cover it.
  • Optional Add-On #2: Anything you want, signed and personalized—add $5. At the higher reward levels (e.g., the hardback) the books are already signed ... but if you'd like the trade paperback signed (and/or the copies of THE NATIVE STAR and THE HIDDEN GODDESS, if you choose to get them) I'll be happy to do so for just a small additional pledge (and one pledge covers it all, it's not like I'm going to charge you $5 a pop. I'm not David Hasselhoff, after all.) And if there's anything else you'd like me to sign (other than a check or your tax return) I'll be happy to do that too.
  • Optional Add-On #3: Additional Tesla Industries Pins—add $6 each. If you're already backing the project at the $45 level (or if you qualified to get a Tesla Industries pin by being a pre-supporter) you can add as many additional pins as you like for $6 each. Such a deal!
  • Optional Add-On #4: Additional copies of the Trade Paperback—add $15 each (+s/h). If you'd like an extra copy for a friend, just LMK. Shipping for each additional domestic copy is $5; $10 for international (I'm really not trying to soak anyone on shipping, though, so if you're ordering a bundle and the shipping seems out of control, message me and we'll figure it out.)

Now, to keep all the logistics straight ... if you're a CURRENT backer, and you decide to boost your contribution to get one of these optional add-ons, could you please send me a message with your boostage letting me know that you're doing so to get the add-on, and not because you want to step up to the next higher reward level? 

Similarly, if you're a NEW backer, and you want one of these add-ons, please send me a message to that effect through Kickstarter after you pledge. Sorry for the extra step, just trying to keep everything straight.

At the moment, we're still a ways away from overfunding—but if we do, I've got several additional rewards I'll be adding. So if you're not a backer, become one today ... and if you are, spread the word!

Best always,
Mary

PROJECT SUMMARY

In a nutshell.

THE WARLOCK'S CURSE is Book 3 in the Veneficas Americana series—a historical fantasy saga that follows the shifting fortunes of a family of American witches and warlocks from the 1870s through to the present day. THE WARLOCK'S CURSE will be released in e-book and trade paperback on October 31, 2012. The goal of this Kickstarter is to raise $10,000 to fund its publication.

In a slightly bigger nutshell (like a coconut, maybe.)

The first two books in the series were the Nebula Award-nominated THE NATIVE STAR and its sequel, THE HIDDEN GODDESS. The books followed New York warlock Dreadnought Stanton and California timber-camp witch Emily Edwards as they made their way across a magical version of 1876 America. The next two books in the series (of which THE WARLOCK'S CURSE is the first) are set in 1910-11 and follow the adventures of their youngest son, Will and his childhood friend, Jenny Hansen. 

THE WARLOCK'S CURSE is significantly darker than its predecessors, exploring sinister magical practices that I merely touched upon in the first two books. But while the magic is darker, there's still plenty of my own unique brand of humor, history and romance.

In THE WARLOCK'S CURSE you'll meet a scrappy IWW labor representative who fights the bosses at Detroit's "Big Three" magical factories; watch rival political factions square off in the streets of San Francisco over the question of mandatory anti-magical immunization; and learn more about filing for a U.S. Patent than you ever imagined you might want to. There's a night of dancing in Stockton (complete with a run-in with some seriously annoying proto-goths,) an electric car that runs on power from a different dimension, shady business dealings involving $100,000 in gold certificates—all this, and a chop suey dinner to boot. 

And then, of course, there's Tesla. Yeah, you heard me, Nikola motherflumpin' Tesla, whom I felt compelled to rescue from the disappointments which real life forced him to endure. In my version of America's magical past, Wardenclyffe was a huge success, there are Tesla Towers all over the United States, the World Wireless System is a reality prior to 1910, and he's one of the richest men in the world with a secretive research lab in Detroit, Michigan. Oh, and I even awarded him the Nobel Prize in 1909. Take that, history!

My awesome creative team is awesome. 

I have assembled an incredible team of creative professionals to help me bring this book to market. The team includes world-renowned artist Lee Moyer (if you become a backer you'll be the first to see the gorgeous book cover he designed,) development editor Juliet Ulman (who, by the way, funny story, actually acquired the first book in the series—THE NATIVE STAR—for Spectra,) copyeditor Amy Garvey, and literally dozens more. You'll learn more about all these folks in my backer updates

 How the money will be spent. 

This is a Kickstarter to fund the publication of THE WARLOCK'S CURSE. It is not a Kickstarter to pay me for having written it. 

Over 80% of the money I'm asking for is already earmarked to pay vendors and cover hard costs (the rest is to cover unforeseen budget wiggles.) Every member of my creative team is being paid at his or her full market rate. Even though I count many of them as personal friends, I did not ask them for any special deals. The "new publishing model" that everyone's so excited about isn't going to work if it is predicated on the creative professionals involved taking a paycut. 

As for myself—I am of the firm conviction that the book's success in the marketplace should determine how much money I ultimately receive (or don't.) If readers deem the book worthy of purchase, I will giggle with glee as I rub the soft velvety royalty checks all over my body. If they do not, then honestly, I haven't done my job. 

The upshot.

I had a lot of fun writing THE WARLOCK'S CURSE. But you know something? I think I may have even more fun publishing it. The next thirty days are going to be a blast. Please join me on this adventure. I promise you won't be sorry you did.

Post scriptum. 

I just recently learned of the existence of an awesome thing called Kicking it Forward, an initiative in which I will enthusiastically participate (unlike that Dharma one, that was just weird.) I am already a committed Kickstarter backer (and have been since Doug Lain first turned me on to the concept in 2010.) There's no going back now. Kickstarter is just way too much fun. For more information on what the hell I'm talking about, visit this link: http://kickingitforward.org.

FAQ

  • Nope! THE WARLOCK'S CURSE and THE UNSTEADY EARTH (which is the book that comes after this one) are a completely self-contained duology. However, I can promise you that if you HAVE read the first two books, your experience of the third will be vastly different than if you come into it fresh. But I suppose you could say that about anything in life, right?

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  • Yep! You see, the way I do things around here is I write duologies. I don't know how I acquired the habit, I just did. And that's the way I see my series progressing ... pairs of books, marching hand and hand into the sunset of history. And don't worry, I won't make you wait a million years for THE UNSTEADY EARTH. It's already outlined, and I'm already 12,000 words into drafting it (the first draft has to be complete while THE WARLOCK'S CURSE is in production, so that if I need to retroactively accommodate some unforeseen plot evolution, I can do so now.) I intend to have it come out toward the end of 2013.

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  • Yes, I'm afraid I do have to count our neighbors to the north as International, due to the extra time for customs prep & additional cost for shipping. But look on the bright side, my dear Canucks ... you live in Canada, and are therefore under no threat of having Mitt Romney as your next President. :-)

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  • OK, so here's the link to the special page on my Website where I'll be posting all the Super Special Exclusive Bonus Content: http://bit.ly/Ik4YgD

    To access the Super Special Exclusive Bonus Content, you'll need to register. And to register, you'll need the Secret Code. And the Secret Code is found in the first Backer Update. (Yeah, it's kind of complicated. But it's nothing compared to the exertions I make my characters go through to access similar secret content. Just be glad I'm not making you draw blood.)

    Enjoy!

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  • Both of the printed formats—the trade paperback and the first edition hardcover—will be 6x9", 420pp. The first edition hardcover will have a dustjacket.

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  • http://Audible.com put out my first two books as audiobooks (and did a wonderful job, might I add.) According to my agent, they're definitely interested in looking at the next two books in the series ... so, fingers crossed!

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  • In writing THE WARLOCK'S CURSE (and all my previous books) I tried to be as historically accurate as possible. That meant using actual historical maps, photos, and primary sources wherever I could. The great thing about all that research is that it often took me down new plot pathways that I wouldn't have explored otherwise. I was also astonished by how often I was able to find precise historical parallels for some "modern" theme I wanted to put in the book (e.g., the political battle over mandatory immunization.)

    One of my favorite tools has been Pinterest, which allows me to "pin" the historical pictures I find and organize them into one beautifully-laid out board. These images are a great source of writing fodder, and even better, they allow readers to see the visual inspiration behind scenes and characters in the book. (Thank you Bruce Williams for the great question!)

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  • Yes. Yes, I am. (Hangs head.) I blame society.

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    My undying gratitude for your support, as well as access to exclusive backer content (including first-look excerpts, secret backstory, historical essays & other goodies.)

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    The above reward—plus exclusive online access to a new short story I will write in the Veneficas Americana universe. Which characters will I write about? Why, I will put it to a backer vote!

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    Both above rewards—plus a DRM-free eBook bundle (including epub, Mobi, Kindle & PDF versions) of THE WARLOCK'S CURSE.

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    All three above rewards—plus a lovely and durable trade paperback copy of THE WARLOCK'S CURSE (Please add $10 if international.)

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    All above rewards—plus your name in the acknowledgements as a Cultor-Level Sponsor.

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    All above rewards—plus a beautiful cloisonné Tesla Industries Identification Pin designed by artist Lee Moyer (Please add $10 if international.)

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    All above rewards—plus, a promotion! Your name will appear in the acknowledgements as a Praedictator-Level Sponsor.

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    7 backers

    SUPER SWAG PACK! All above rewards—plus: * A large-size (approx 5 x 7) die cut STICKER of the Anarchist Grimoire cat * A large-size (approx 5 x 7) die cut MAGNET of the Anarchist Grimoire cat * A square MAGNET featuring the Tesla Industries Digital Art * And finally, you scale the golden ladder of success one additional rung! Your name will appear in the acknowledgements as a Magister-Level Sponsor. (Please add $10 if international.)

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    4 backers Limited (46 left of 50)

    All above rewards—plus a personal letter of thanks from author M.K. Hobson, handwritten in fountain pen, on custom-designed Stanton Institute letterhead. (Please add $10 if international.)

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    2 backers Limited (48 left of 50)

    All above rewards—plus a limited first-edition printing cover flat, suitable for framing or whatnot. Numbered & signed by author M.K. Hobson and award-winning cover artist Lee Moyer. First printing run is guaranteed not to exceed 75 total. (Please add $10 if international.)

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    22 backers Limited (78 left of 100)

    The first 9 rewards—plus a limited first-edition hardcover, numbered & signed by author M.K. Hobson and award-winning cover artist Lee Moyer. Run of the first edition hardcover is guaranteed not to exceed 150 copies. (Please add $10 if international.)

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    All above rewards—plus a VIP invite to the book launch party, where you will be extravagantly plied with goodies, including a special gift box containing all the rewards listed above as well as some cunning little extras of my personal choosing. Plus, a promotion to the heights of credomantic distinction, with your name appearing in the acknowledgements as a Sophos Level Sponsor!

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    1 backer All gone!

    All above rewards—plus my own personal working map of 1910 Detroit. This is a color copy of an historical map, mounted on corkboard and professionally framed. Glass-headed map pins, flagged with hand-written place names, show the locations of all the book's Detroit settings—including real ones (like Greektown, the Michigan Central Railway Depot, and the Ford Building) as well ones I made up, such as the fabled Tesla Industries or the demonic Hotel Acheron. Created, signed, and dated by author M.K. Hobson.

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