On a bright August day, the sun disappears.
Sam van Oen barely escapes freezing to death in his house, as his watch stops and fire ceases to burn. He is pulled into the Nether—a nexus between ten alien cultures—where he meets Rilan and Origon, two maji who can control the musical foundation of the universe. While coping with anxiety attacks prompted by his new surroundings, Sam must learn to hear and change the Symphony, and thus reality, in order to discover what happened to his home.
But more freezing voids like the one that started his journey are appearing, and Sam’s chances of getting back are fading. The Assembly of Species is threatening to dissolve and the maji are being attacked by those they protect, while rumors grow of an ancient, shape-changing species of assassins, returning to wage war.
The Dissolution is coming.
Imagine: a set of ten planets, separated by galaxies, yet within easy travel distance of each other. Portals created by maji link these ten homeworlds, not by space flight, but by magic. Merchants step from one planet to another to sell their goods. Alien cultures and languages spill from one world to another. Members of all ten species gather inside the crystal walls of Nether, the center of the web of planets, to debate on trade, laws, and the economy of the Great Assembly.
Those belonging to the six houses of the maji use notes from the song of their experience to change the Grand Symphony underlying the universe. Each house taps into a different facet of reality, crafting modifications from music. Only they can open portals, leading some to think they hold too much power...
This is a story I've wanted to share for 20 years
I wrote out the original idea for this novel as a teenager, and through college and beyond, I've had the vision swirling around in my head. I've rewritten the book twice, written four other novels, two flash fictions, and finally self-published two novella adventures. These last two happen twenty and four years before The Seeds of Dissolution, respectively. Finally, I feel I can do this original story justice. I'm excited to share it with you!
The Seeds of Dissolution follows three characters, two of which will be familiar if you've read the novellas. The third character is a new individual, who has a few problems…
Sam must search for what happened to his home, while coping with his anxiety at being in a strange new place. He is surrounded by aliens, some surprisingly familiar. Soon, he meets sister and brother twins, new to the Nether, who support him during his panic attacks. Sam finds he is attracted to both of them, and does not want to choose.
Origon, meanwhile is busy tracking down the strange phenomenon that nearly killed him on the moon of Methiem (as told in Merchants and Maji). Sam might be the key to more information. But as he learns more about this young man, Origon will discover there may be more than even he knew to the Symphony.
Finally, Rilan works to keep the Assembly from new threats both physical and political. Her old friend Ori isn't making it easier, nor is having an apprentice thrust on her, especially one so mysterious. Though she has been on the Council of the Maji for eleven cycles, still her voice is disregarded. What is coming will not be what she wants, but it may be what she needs.
Follow these three characters and many more, originating from diverse cultures and worlds. The ten species and homeworlds will never be the same, as they encounter The Seeds of Dissolution.
I love turning the page while reading to reveal a drawing buried within, bringing a scene to life. I wanted to do the same with my books, but I could not have done so without the help of a supremely talented artist, Micah Epstein, who somehow manages to grasp exactly what I’m talking about, and then make it look much better.
The cover art and one interior illustration are covered in the base goal of this campaign. I hope you'll help me fund a lot more illustrations, maps, and more exciting surprises!
Below are the interior illustrations from Tuning the Symphony:
There are a lot of options available, from just a dollar, to some really great art, to a chance to be in the book!
The lower tiers are all electronic rewards, for you eBook purists, leading up to, of course, an electronic version of The Seeds of Dissolution. They come with some exciting rewards, like desktop wallpapers including Micah's fantastic art, and a special Dissolutionverse short story exclusively for kickstarter backers! If some of the stretch goals get funded, those reward tiers will also get some extra goodies.
Next up are the physical reward tiers. The first few backers can get a special discount, but spots are limited!
All of the physical tiers include a signed copy of The Seeds of Dissolution, and at the higher levels you can get the novellas (signed) as well. These tiers include the electronic rewards from above like the short story and wallpaper, but you also get a Dissolutionverse bookmark, and one of three pin designs (your choice).
Last are the high level reward tiers. Bookstores and retailers can order a starter kit with 5 books. Two people will have the chance to become a named character in The Seeds of Dissolution and either live or die, based on your whim. Finally, Micah has graciously agreed to sell the original pencil drawings for his interior illustrations. I liked them so much, I bought one myself...
As more illustrations get unlocked, they will be available for sale, so keep an eye out for updates!
There are a bunch of stretch goals planned, so stay tuned! While my basic goal is to fund the art and publishing costs, what I really want to see is more illustrations, maps, and extra rewards for backers. Each goal will make the eventual book better, and if we raise enough money, there is potential for hardcover and audio options!
For the true connoisseur, add-ons are available. If you don't see exactly what you like in the backer reward tiers, there are more options to tempt you below. You can get:
- Both novellas in electronic form - $5
- Either novella, signed, in paperback (or order an extra one as a gift!). - $10
- All three character button options, along with a bonus enamel pin. - $10
- Pendants with the character designs, available from Jewel and Hammer handcrafted jewelry. - $10
- Wear the Dissolutionverse proudly! You can get a T-Shirt featuring one of three character designs - $30
For any add-on with an option, just note which design you prefer when you fill in your pledge.
Yep. It's expensive. I will do what I can to get lower rates as the campaign progresses, but for now they are the least-cost international shipping I can find.
Follow me on social platforms, or take a gander at my website. Please help spread the word about The Seeds of Dissolution!
Risks and challenges
This project will be self published, at a base level, even if the kickstarter is not funded. This campaign is to help realize the full potential and dream of this novel, including more illustrations, better editing, and maps.
There are always risks and challenges with determining a budget for a campaign such as this, but I am a Professional Engineer by training, and have spent the last 12 years in cost and benefit analysis. I have accurately assessed costs for large projects in my work environment so I have a good understanding of how and where money is spent, and I have applied that knowledge to this kickstarter.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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