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$1,456 pledged of $10,000 goal
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By Michael Reed McLaughlin
$1,456 pledged of $10,000 goal
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About this project

The Project

I’m Michael Reed McLaughlin, the author of Rüneglaive: Sword of Heroes; and I’m here to raise the money to hire an artist and to develop an Enhanced Reading Experience iBooks Edition of Book One of my high fantasy trilogy—The Hero Sagas. Watch the video to see the way we hope to integrate 3-D models of the castles & weapons, interactive maps, videos, and much more.  

I’ve been exploring the world of Ĭndrēl for over 30 years, completing four novels in The Hero Sagas and The Hero Within trilogies, thus far. I’m raising money to hire a cover artist for the Print Edition of Rüneglaive and pay for the special iBooks Enhanced Reading Experience Edition. Once we reach our goal, there will be Stretch Goals for producing an Audio Book and other ventures yet-to-be-determined.

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The Story

Rüneglaive: Sword of Heroes is the first in a series of epic fantasy novels akin to the works of the master J.R.R. Tolkien and his subsequent worthy followers, such as Terry Brooks, Dennis L. McKiernan, and George R.R. Martin. Full of Ĕlvăn lore, Dwärvăn superstition, deep histories, complex languages, powerful magics, ancient genealogies, and detailed maps, this mythic trilogy of quest and romance follows the young hero, Mītăk, whose grand ambitions and love of good swordplay draw him into a vortex of battling wizards, High Ĕlves, Ōgre armies, princes, princesses, mighty kings, and even a fiery Drăgōn.

                                                         —THE PITCH—

Two long-lost spell books, The Sōrsër and The Skīwärd, will determine the fate of the Four Realms. When one falls into the hands of Ăzmadüs, a malevolent magic wielder, the hopes of all the Free Folk of Ĭndrēl seem lost, forever… unless young Mītăk, the son of a humble husbandman, can find the missing second tome and learn to unleash its ominous powers.

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The Sample Chapters


I'm so confident you will love my books, that I am giving you the opportunity to read the first 100 pages for free. Then, come back to Kickstarter and support the campaign. 

In the mean time, here is a sample from the opening of Rüneglaive:

Măxĭndīn the Great sat alone in the highest stone tower of his ancient keep. It was there, in his mystical laboratory, that the wizened wizard now spent the majority of his time. Quietly, peacefully, he read an ancient book as he sat in an embroidered chair smoking a long meerschaum pipe, the bowl of which was carved in the fearsome likeness of a great Red & Black Drăgōn. Blue-gray smoke swirled lazily about the wizard’s hoary head as one long finger steadily traced fading words across yellowed parchment.

However, peace and tranquility had never been the close friends of Măxĭndīn the Great; and their fleeting tenuous visit was about to come to an end. For, in the darkness beyond the embattled walls of his keep, three enigmatic figures lurked in the shadowy night—a fierce steed champed nervously at his bit, eyes smoldering like glowing coals as he pawed one massive hoof restlessly at the hard turf; beside the mount, gray and black in the cold light of a green moon, crouched a large cat, a sinewy feline who snarled and fought at the leather harness that held him in check; and at the other end of the sturdy leash stood a tall lean Man, in heavy black robes.

The young Man’s hard eyes surveyed Măxĭndīn’s impressive citadel, yet he smiled confidently to himself; for he believed that the old wizard had grown lax with age and ease, and that his own time had come, at last.

                                                              *   *   *   *

High up within a sturdy tower, the flickering light of Măxĭndīn’s oil lamp gleamed brightly in his eyes, a modest hint at the vibrant life still radiant within an aging but agile frame. The yellow flame shimmered softly on the smooth fabric of the old Man’s garb, like stars on a calm night’s sea. The strange opalescent colors of the silken raiment made the silver-haired sire seem a Spĭrit who twinkled in and out of the Ǣrthăl Ambit. For, he wore the signifying robes of one who had spent his lifetime in the study of Benevolent Magic; and the wondrous and varied colors of the fabric bore testament to the fact that he had, indeed, mastered every aspect of what the Ĕlves called, “High Truth.” Indeed, he was of the order—Māgŭs Magnificent.

Măxĭndīn’s silver beard was soft and thick and so long that it lay in curls upon his lap as he sat and perused the ancient book. His eyes were deep-set and furrowed with age and care; but the blue-gray orbs, beneath thick white eyebrows, shone brightly and twinkled with keen awareness. Although well hidden by his loose-fitting garments, the old sāge’s build was yet lean and strong. Once, he had stood the most lofty and proud among mortal Men, descended in a direct line from the House of Lēbĕnmālăn, first of all magic wielders.

Yet, even for illustrious wizards, yea even for Măxĭndīn the Great, time will eventually claim its inexorable toll; and now, the māgŭs sat bent with years—many, many long years—his broad shoulders drooped with the very burden of being.

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The Author

I’ve been an avid reader and writer of epic fantasy for as long as I can remember. I’m also a Student Emmy® award-winning filmmaker, a sailor, and a lover of art and all things beautiful or done well.

The first non-children's book I read cover-to-cover was Homer's The Odyssey, which immediately ignited my imagination and inspired to start creating myths of my own. I finished my first novel while still in grade school. That's also when I discovered the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and turned, in my reading and my writing, from Greek mythology to the lore of the Nordic peoples and to high fantasy.

The next great influence on my writing was Ray Bradbury, whose The Illustrated Man and The Martian Chronicles introduced me to the infinite and limitless worlds of science fiction. I was lucky enough to meet Ray when I was still young; and he encouraged me to "keep creating my own worlds."

I set out to envision a world that would be intentionally familiar to fans of traditional high fantasy. Indeed, I meant for readers of Tolkien, Jordan, McKiernan, and Brooks to be able to step into Ĭndrēl and feel reassuringly familiar and yet enjoy that sense of wonder and excitement that comes with discovering something exceptional and new. Ĭndrēl would have similar sensibilities when it came to the limits and general nature of magic and how it works. Readers would find my Ĕlves and Dwärves and Drăgōns much like those of Middle Earth.

Yet, I also set out to develop my own vast legendarium, which would be completely unique in its origin myths, its deep histories, its topography and settings, and its range of characters. I believe the amicable reader will find the epic fantasy at play in The Four Reams to be, at the very least, in intent, a sort of Shalottian mirror though which might be glimpsed a counterpart to the world first given to us by its true master, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, C.B.E., in whose enormous footsteps we all follow.

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The iBooks Edition

The basic iBooks Edition of Rüneglaive: Sword of Heroes will be available to Kickstarter supporters before the general public. It will include the chapter illustrations I’ve done for the books and the color maps.

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The iBooks Enhanced Reading Experience Edition

This will be a rich media reading experience iBooks Edition of Rüneglaive: Sword of Heroes and will also be available to Kickstarter supporters before the general public. It will include my chapter art and maps; but in addition, it will have myriad multimedia enhancements including extra illustrations, audio clips, and video elements (see the project video, above, for more details). It will comprise the 225,000 word novel and the extensive appendices, which include a 30,000 word Legendarium/Glossary, The Roll of Arms of Ĭndrēl, Genealogy Charts, Pronunciation Guides, Audio Clips, and a great deal more.

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The Artist

Internationally known fantasy artist Kerem Beyit is currently set to do the art for The Hero Sagas trilogy and its Enhanced Reading Experience iBooks Editions, and your support will help that come to pass.

Kerem has created dozens of covers and illustrations for publishers such as Wizards of the Coast, Simon & Schuster, and many others. I have wanted to work with him for a long time, and you can help that happen.

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The Music

Christiane Cargill Kinney is a Celtic artist and film composer.  An accomplished and agile pianist with a gift for melodies and a fluid, soulful voice, she begged to take piano and organ lessons at the tender age of 3, while her legs were still too short to reach the pedals.

Christine composed and performed the score for the video (above), and will be doing the music for the iBooks Enhanced Reading Experience Editions of Rüneglaive, Rüneguard, and Rünehelm

Here is her amazing score to listen to: 

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The Website

Visit TheHeroSagas.com to learn more about Rüneglaive: Sword of Heroes and the other books in The Hero Sagas trilogy by Michael Reed McLaughlin. There you can find sample chapters to view online or download and read on your favorite device. You can also find hi-res. images of the galley covers, maps, castles, the Roll of Arms of Ĭndrēl, and much, much more.

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The Stretch Goals

After I've reached my $10,000 goal, there will be new "Stretch Goals" added to the campaign.

At $15,000—I will begin to roll out STRETCH GOAL REWARDS, starting with two new ĔLF LEVELS, which will offer Audio Book editions of Rüneglaive: Sword of Heroes.

At $18,000—Everyone contributing at the DRĂGŌN LEVEL or higher will receive a signed mini-poster of the cover art.

At $20,000—The covers for the Print Editions will be embossed and foiled. This would be a fantastic bonus and give the books that wonderful genre look and feel.

At $25,000—Everyone contributing at the DRĂGŌN LEVEL or higher will receive a Printed Limited Edition Paperback of A Legendarium of Ĭndrēl: the Companion Appendices (otherwise only available in digital format). These appendices comprise a 30,000+ word glossary; a compendium of the 4,000 most common words retained in their original tongues throughout the text, words from the Low Dwärvăn, Ĕlvăn Tongues, and the Languages of Magic; a Roll of Arms of all the great houses of Ĭndrēl; Genealogy Charts for many of the characters and royal lineages; Timelines; and Pronunciation Guides and Glyph Charts.

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Risks and challenges

First off, you should know that all three books in THE HERO SAGAS trilogy have been written (in fact, I’m just finishing the first book in a second trilogy set in the world of Ĭndrēl). The books have a publisher (Rare Bird Books) and are expected to hit the shelves of bookstores in the spring of 2014. That having been said, the expected publication date could change, although the early availability of eBook editions should not be affected by any street date changes.

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    OLD COUNCIL LEVEL—An eBook copy of RÜNEGLAIVE: SWORD OF HEROES, before it is available to the general public, in your choice of format (Kindle, EPUB, MOBI, or PDF). You will also receive all of the rewards above.

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    HIGH DWÄRF LEVEL—iBooks Enhanced Reading Experience Edition of RÜNEGLAIVE before it is available to the general public (includes the interactive 3-D renderings, time-line maps, extended appendices, and audio enhancements), plus the signed bookmark and poster.

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    DRĂGŌN LEVEL—Audio Book, eBook, and Exclusive, Limited Edition, Hand-sewn, Hardcover of RÜNEGLAIVE: SWORD OF HEROES. This will never be available to the general public. This is only for the Kickstarter campaign and will make a great collectable. You will also receive the signed bookmark and poster.

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    HIGH DRAGON LEVEL—One-hour private Skype reading and Q&A. This pledge will also include all the rewards from the DRĂGŌN LEVEL.

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    MĀGŬS APPRENTICE LEVEL—The Original Bound Sample Chapters of RÜNEGLAIVE: SWORD OF HEROES submitted to Rare Bird Books for publication. It will be signed by the author and publisher, with a special personal "Thank You" note. This is what got the books published and will make a fantastic collector's item. This pledge will also include all the rewards from the DRĂGŌN LEVEL.

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    MĀGŬS MAGNIFICENT LEVEL—All the rewards of DRĂGŌN LEVEL plus dinner with the author at the world-famous Magic Castle, in Hollywood, CA.

    You come to L.A., and I'll take you and a friend out to dinner at the world-famous Magic Castle, just steps from the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the footprints at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, and a view of the Hollywood Sign. I can show you around before dinner, if you'd like; it's my neighborhood.

    (Dinner can be any time after the campaign is over; see below for the delivery date of the other rewards. Travel expenses are not included.)

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    MĀGŬS MASTER OF ALL COLORS LEVEL—For anyone who lives in the contiguous U.S. and would like me to do a reading for you and up to 30 of your friends, I'll come right to your home for a one-hour reading and signing (at a date convenient to each of us, during 2014, will be scheduled after the campaign is successful.) This pledge will also include all the rewards from the DRĂGŌN LEVEL.

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    LŌRĒĔN LEVEL—All the rewards of DRĂGŌN LEVEL plus a Small, Leather-bound, Signed, Hand-cut and Hand-sewn Collector's Editions of RÜNEGLAIVE: SWORD OF HEROES. These will never be available to the general public. There will only be few of these books ever made and bound. They will be hand, especially for this campaign, and will be personalized for the generous patrons/collectors and will have a personalized Thank You and Dedication page.

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    ĂŌSĔRŌ, THE ANCIENT ONE LEVEL—All the rewards of DRĂGŌN LEVEL plus a Large, Leather-bound, One-of-a-kind, Signed, Hand-cut and Hand-sewn Collector's Edition of RÜNEGLAIVE: SWORD OF HEROES. This will never be available to the general public. There will only be one of these books made and bound. It will be personalized for the generous patron/collector and will have a special Thank You and Dedication page.

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    QÜĬNDRĒ LĒBĔNRĒEN LEVEL—All the rewards of DRĂGŌN LEVEL plus the original Rüneglaive, a full-sized, hand-forged longsword crafted by a master swordsmith specifically for this Kickstarter reward. There will only be one of these makers' mark swords ever forged, and it will be yours. Your sword will come with a stand and signed plaque of authenticity. (From that sword replicas will likely be made, but you will have the original!)

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Funding period

- (31 days)