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Marla Mason sets out to fight monsters, armed with strange magics and accompanied by the living head of her worst enemy in a birdcage. Read more

Berkeley, CA Fiction
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This project was successfully funded on March 6, 2013.

Marla Mason sets out to fight monsters, armed with strange magics and accompanied by the living head of her worst enemy in a birdcage.

Berkeley, CA Fiction
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About this project

Confused about something? Check the FAQs at the bottom. Still confused? It's almost certainly my fault. Send me a message and I'll try to clarify.

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NEW STRETCH GOALS

I met my first stretch goal! That means artist Lindsey Look will paint original cover art for Bride of Death. (She did the fantastic cover art for Grim Tides.) Of course, this necessitates MORE stretch goals. So how's this:

$14,000: If I reach this goal, I will commit to writing a free monthly e-mail newsletter for at least a year, called something like: "Auntie Marla's Good Advice for Better Living." Marla Mason will answer reader questions about life, love, business, car repair, pest control, and undetectable revenge, in her own inimitable fashion. (I don't promise it will be good advice. But Marla loves telling people what to do.)

$16,000: I'll commission at least three pieces of interior artwork for the book from artists I like (and I trust you'll like them, too).

For every thousand after that -- if such a thing should happen -- I will commission a new piece of interior art. (Up to ten pieces total, though I doubt it'll come to that.)

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For the past dozen years or so I've been writing stories and novels about a sorcerer named Marla Mason. She's my favorite character to write, and her world is my favorite one to explore, because it combines all the things I love in stories: weird magic, monsters, inventive violence, snark, banter, viciousness, moral quandaries, monsters, betrayal, knives, supervillains, ghosts, bravado, suspense, criminal insanity, friendship, monsters, and monsters.

The novel I'm hoping to crowdfund, Bride of Death, will be the eighth book I've written about Marla, which maybe sounds a little daunting if you're not already a fan, but really all you need to know is this: Marla can do magic, she usually tries to solve all her problems with violence or sarcasm, and she often makes interestingly bad decisions. Oh, and she's married to the god of death, which gives her certain advantages in life, though not as many as you might suspect.

While I wouldn't call this novel a reboot, it's definitely a new beginning for Marla. She's left behind her previous jobs as protector of a city and occult detective and frequent attempted murder victim to dedicate her life (at least for now) to traveling the world, fighting evil monsters on a freelance basis. Marla claims she just likes beating things up, but her friends suspect she's looking for redemption, and maybe doing a little penance for some of her bigger mistakes. The truth is a little bit of all of the above. 

So in Bride of Death she gets on a motorcycle, armed with knife and axe and magic, her only companion the undying severed head of her worst enemy stuck in a bird cage, and sets out to fight and/or commit crime. It should be fun. For the readers, if not always for Marla. I hope you can support the novel, either by contributing or just helping to spread the word. I've been amazingly lucky, with readers chipping in to keep this fictional world alive for the past three books, and I just hope my luck holds out.

As always, your support allows me to devote a few months to writing about Marla; months I wouldn't otherwise be able to afford. I support my family primarily through freelance writing, so while there's nothing I'd rather do than write Bride of Death, I have to be practical. If this gets funded, I can put off other jobs and devote my attention to Marla's world once again. 

If all goes well, I expect the book to be done by this fall. I'll send out e-books as soon as the book is done and edited, with a print edition to follow as soon as practically possible. 

Stretch Goal:

This may be purest hubris, but... 

If I reach $12,000: I'll commission an original cover painting from artist Lindsey Look, who did this great cover for Grim Tides, the previous volume. 

If it goes bigger than that? I'll add more goodies. 

Risks and challenges

I've crowdfunded five projects (two through Kickstarter) successfully in the past few years, and I don't foresee any problems with this one, either. Writing novels is what I do, and this novel is very well planned, so barring catastrophic head trauma or the collapse of civilization, it should work out. It's always possible there will be bumps and delays on the production process, or an unforeseen illness or other disaster, but if so, I'll keep everyone posted, and we'll get there in the end.

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FAQ

  • Yes! I added the "PAPER HATERS" $40 reward tier after getting a couple of requests from people who wanted e-books but not print. I figured I'd offer some alternate digital goodies to make up for not getting the paperback. Unfortunately adding that tier makes the "as above" wording confusing for the rest of the tiers. (I am a sower of confusion. Sorry about that.)

    To clarify: by default, anyone who donates over the $40 level will get a print book. I will just assume you want the signed copy. If you donate above $40 and you don't want a paper copy, drop me a note and let me know.

    Anyone who donates $40 or above will get the previous Marla novels Bone Shop, Broken Mirrors, and Grim Tides as e-books, too, to simplify matters and maximize readerly happiness! Paper Haters will get the chapbook story as an e-book, and the collection (which is normally only available at $50) as compensation for not getting the paperback.

    Last updated:
  • I wish I could! Unfortunately, the first four novels -- Blood Engines, Poison Sleep, Dead Reign, and Spell Games -- were published by Random House, and they have the e-book rights. That means I can't give away e-books of those titles. While I *could* theoretically do a tier that included print copies of those books, it would be logistically difficult, since I don't have spare copies on hand. I'd have to order copies, and as a result, the package would be insanely expensive -- I'd have to include the cost of the books, shipping to me, and then shipping out to the backers. You're better off ordering them at the usual places online (there are usually cheap used copies to be found).

    Last updated:

Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    12 backers

    Every bit is appreciated, and this gets your name in the acknowledgments.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    164 backers

    As above, and an e-book bundle of the novel in various formats (mobi, epub, PDF)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    7 backers

    As above, and a new Marla Mason bookmark.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $40 or more

    36 backers

    As above, and a signed trade paperback of the novel.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $40 or more

    42 backers

    PAPER-HATERS: If you don't want a paper book, here's a digital cornucopia alternative. Select this to get the e-book bundle of Bride of Death, plus an e-book collection of all the Marla Mason stories, and I'll throw in e-books of previous volumes Bone Shop, Broken Mirrors, and Grim Tides too.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    34 backers

    As above, and an e-book bundle of a Marla Mason story collection, exclusive for backers, containing every Marla story I've written.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    29 backers

    As above, and a signed limited edition chapbook featuring a new Marla Mason story.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    14 backers

    As above, and a personal handwritten postcard from Marla to you, sent from somewhere in her travels across America. May contain light profanity and bad doodles.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $300 or more

    10 backers Limited (5 left of 15)

    As above, and I name a character -- or spell, or diner, or something else in the book -- after you, or use a name we mutually agree on.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,500 or more

    3 backers Limited (2 left of 5)

    As above, and I'll write a Marla Mason short story just for you, to be produced in a signed chapbook limited edition of a single copy. If you have particular characters you want to appear in the story, we can work it out.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (30 days)