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In 2013, my new book DEMONSTRA will be published by Innsmouth Free Press, with over 100 pages of Lao American speculative poetry. This collection includes poems of ancient Lao ghosts, secret wars, and creatures of mystery. There will also be glimpses at the distant future, from what the Lao space program might look like to where Lao might be in the year 40,000.
I'd really like to release an edition that raises the bar for what we expect from books of Lao American poetry. This is also my first book I've released since representing Laos during the London Summer Games as a cultural olympian.
We've been given the greenlight from Innsmouth Free Press to offer a special Kickstarter-exclusive edition that is 6x9" with a special cover. The standard edition of DEMONSTRA will be 8x5". It will only be available through this kickstarter. Once it's done, you won't be able to get this version in stores or online!
There are over a dozen creatures we'd like to share with you, many that have never been illustrated in a Lao American book before!
With your support, acclaimed Lao American artist Vongduane Manivong will provide several interior illustrations to help introduce Lao art, culture and imagination to our readers. We are raising funds for at least 16 pieces of art from her. We successfully raised the funds to commission 9 so far!
Why Laos? Laos embodies over 600 years of history, legends and mythology since the late 1300s, when it was founded as the Kingdom of Lan Xang. Laos is the size of Great Britain, located in the heart of Southeast Asia. It was the most heavily bombed nation on earth in the 20th century during the Secret War (1953-1975).
Many have still never heard of Laos, which is referred to at variously as "The Last Eden," "The Realm of a Million Elephants," "The Land of a Thousand Smiles" or even "Shangri-La." Laos is home to two U.N. World Heritage Sites. DEMONSTRA was written to give readers a sense of the rich mythology, mysteries and traditions of Laos, and where our culture intersects with world art, literature and history. With this book, we're especially taking a look at the how the Lao perspective might engage with the cosmic themes and ideas of the Cthulhu Mythos prominent in the work of the writer H.P. Lovecraft and many others.
What are we raising funds for?
All of the beings that follow appear in at least one poem in DEMONSTRA. We want to treat our readers to a new look at some of the beings they might not be familiar with. We selected mythological beings who are very rarely featured Lao art. The funds are split between the time and supplies for Vongduane Manivong, reward fulfillment and the cut Kickstarter gets.
If you have complications using the Amazon/Kickstarter payment system, drop us a line at email@example.com and we can work something out through paypal or alternate systems.
Because we hit several key stretch goals:
All of the limited-edition postcards are now going to be upgraded in size to 8.5" x 5.47" from 5.47" x 4.21" and everyone who has pledged over $20 gets a full set of them.
All posters get upgraded to 18" x 24" in size.
All backers who pledged $100 or more get a free bag of Snakebomb Coffee.
All backers who pledged $5 or more gets a pdf of the 10th Anniversary edition of the chapbook "The Tuk-Tuk Diaries: My Dinner With Cluster Bombs" first released in 2003 after my first trip to Laos in 30 years.
Free, downloadable one-page role-playing game scenarios will be created for each of the creatures commissioned.
Further stretch goals:
$3,000: Everyone who pledged $100 or more gets both the standard and Kickstarter-edition of DEMONSTRA. We will include a free downloadable fingerpuppet set of 4 of the traditional Lao mythological beings for everyone.
$4,000: We will include a free downloadable fingerpuppet set of all of the traditional Lao mythological beings successfully commissioned for everyone.
$5,000: Everyone who pledged $50 or more gets a bonus poster of the Lao mythological being of their choice (from what is successfully commissioned).
$6,000: Everyone who pledged $50 or more gets both the standard and Kickstarter-edition print and pdf versions of DEMONSTRA.
$7,000: A limited-edition set of magnets of the 16 main mythological beings will be included for everyone who pledged $40 or more. These will be 3.54" x 2.05" in size. Everyone who pledged $50 or more gets 2 bonus posters of the Lao mythological being of their choice (from what is successfully commissioned).Everyone who pledged $20 or more will get 1 randomly selected magnet.
$8,000: Everyone who pledged $50 or more gets 3 bonus posters of the Lao mythological being of their choice (from what is successfully commissioned). Everyone who pledged $20 or more will get 2 randomly selected magnets.
$10,000: The limited-edition magnets will be upgraded to 5.59" x 4.33" in size, Everyone who pledged $50 or more gets 4 bonus posters of the Lao mythological being of their choice (from what is successfully commissioned). Everyone who pledged $20 or more will get 4 randomly selected magnets.
Thank you all so much for your support!
Risks and challenges
The text is finished already and the publisher has been determined, so the primary risk is getting the art on time. With the successful funding of this kickstarter, we got Vongduane Manivong the time, supplies and resources to focus exclusively on this project for the next six months. In an absolute worst-case scenario, we have backup artists on standby to assist.
I am an award-winning Lao American writer based in California. I worked with Vongduane Manivong successfully in the past on many projects. I am the first Lao American writer to hold a Fellowship in Literature from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the first Lao American recognized as a professional by the Horror Writer Association. I am also a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. My work is taught internationally and I have already written five books of poetry, including the forthcoming DEMONSTRA.
Vongduane Manivong has exhibited nationally, and is most well-known for her depictions of the daily lives of the Lao around the world. But we had few opportunities to give her a chance to stretch her wings working on more imaginative and fantastic subjects. The results she created to date have drawn significant acclaim, and speak of even more exciting projects to come.
There are always unforeseen risks, but we have worked together on previous projects successfully and have good safeguards in place to ensure successful completion and delivery of all of the rewards.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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