Jacob Western Cowboy Dragonslayer is based on an idea that came to me in 2007. I imagined a frontier family in the Old West preparing for a raid, then thought "what if it was a dragon they were hiding from?" I had never seen dragons in the Old West, and the idea excited me. I spent more time thinking about it, and eventually it became a series of stories about one man's adventures in this world. Since then, I've read many books and taken many notes on American history, especially Westward expansion and the fur trade, as well as travelled to Idaho and Montana in search of inspiration, and the idea has expanded in a million directions.
In my world, dragons are just another animal in the North American wilderness, alongside grizzly bears, wolves, mountain lions, and everything else. Sure, they're a bit nastier than most critters, but that's why they have dragonslayers. Whereas most men can fend for themselves against wild animals with a good rifle or even a pistol, dragons are not so easily cowed, and require special attention. That's where Jacob Western comes in.
Beginning his career as a cowboy/dragonslayer in what is now Texas, Jacob then joins up with the Rocky Mountain fur trade when he's hired by the Continental Dragonslaying Company that sends out slayers to help make the mountains safe for fur trapping brigades. There, against the backdrop of the American West, Jacob encounters dragons, dragonslayers, legendary mountain men like Jim Bridger and Hugh Glass, evil missionaries, and Native American tribes - some friendly, some treacherous, some both. Later Jacob joins the Texas Rangers, meets a famous slayer of sea monsters, travels to Dragon Island, and lots more.
Inspiration for these stories comes from many places, but I am in considerable debt to three authors in particular. Elmore Leonard for his western stories in which U.S. cavalrymen clash with Apaches in 1880's Arizona; Dashiell Hammet for his Continental Op stories about a private investigator in 1920's San Francisco; and H.P. Lovecraft for everything. These authors created worlds in their stories that never waver in their authenticity or credibility, and it is that kind of unquestioning straightforwardness I seek to create in the world of Jacob Western. My hope is that someday my stories will energize readers the way that the stories of these authors energized me.
It's been 5 years since this idea first came to me, and I feel that it's beyond ready to be put out into the world. I've considered many ways in which to do this, from novels to screenplays to a live stage play with costumes and puppets, but ultimately decided that short stories are the best way to introduce others to this concept.
On October 31st, I will publish the first Jacob Western Cowboy Dragonslayer e-book, "Dragonslaying in North America". This is a guide to dragon species, methods of dragonslaying, famous slayers, and more. On December 12, I will publish the first collection of Jacob Western short stories, entitled "Three Montanas". This campaign is to fund a print edition of both e-books in one volume, to be released along with the "Three Montanas" e-book.
In the first story in "Three Montanas", called "Canyon Diablo", Jacob recounts his first trip into the mountains as a member of the Continental Dragonslaying Company when he and other recruits were brought to a dragon breeding ground to prove themselves or die trying. In the second story, "The Dragon in Winter", Jacob tells of what happened to Jackson Marshall, a legendary dragonslayer and mountain man that Jacob was the last person to see alive. Finally, in the third story of this collection, "In Green Pastures", Jacob returns to the mountains after an absence of several years and finds that Dr. Robert Allen, a missionary from Massachusetts, has taken his interest in dragons just a bit too far.
The funds from this campaign will be used to pay for editing, formatting, and publishing the print edition, as well as to paying the artists who have lent their talent to help make this campaign happen and to ship rewards and pay fees. The more money raised, the more books can be printed and artwork created, and the more Jacob Western can expand.
This is the first of many intended story collections, and I'd love to take Jacob Western into novels, comics, films, television, etc. Your contributions will allow me to keep working as hard as I can to bring this world to life. It's incredibly time consuming to do the necessary research and writing required to transform actual American history into my dragon infested version of American history, but it's also incredibly fun. I'd love to dedicate as much time as possible to the world of Jacob Western, and for it to be a full time job, and hopefully this campaign will help lead toward that goal.
I'm extremely grateful to anyone who donates and supports this project in any way. I've done my best to create rewards worth receiving, which is a challenge with the limited resources at my disposal. I'm really excited about this project and this concept, and I hope that you'll be just as into it and willing to support it based on the creative efforts of myself and others.
Since this project is about creating a work of fiction, I'm offering the final product as well as several opportunities to participate in the creation of the world of Jacob Western. My hope is that others will be as excited by this idea as I am, and I look forward to talking and discussing and sharing this world with the real world.
As lower tiered rewards, I'm offering pre-orders of the first three Jacob Western Cowboy Dragonslayer e-books. For a $20 contribution, you'll receive pre-orders for all three books as well as a signed print edition of "Three Montanas".
UPDATE FOR INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMERS: Please add $5 extra to your donation for international shipping costs.
As a geek, I'm a big fan of art based on the stories I love. Sadly, I am no artist. Perhaps if this campaign goes well I'll reveal some of my own artwork for the morbidly curious, but suffice it to say that I needed help in visualizing the world of Jacob Western Cowboy Dragonslayer. For this, I turned to my uncle Bob Lamothe, a man largely responsible for turning me into the geek that I've become. When I first had the idea for Jacob Western years ago, I immediately thought of asking my uncle to draw it, as I've always been a big fan of his style. When I had the idea for this campaign, I immediately got in touch with him and asked him to work on it with me. His sketches have really inspired me, bringing images out of my head and onto a page so I can see them even better. Bob's art is available at many reward levels, and I hope contributors will be as excited by his work as I am.
Example of concept art by Bob Lamothe ($25 reward):
Yet another person who is far more talented artistically than I am is my girlfriend, Victoria Durand. An SVA graduate, Victoria loves drawing, painting, and sketching all kinds of different stuff and has agreed to create original pieces of landscape art for the campaign. The idea was to make landscapes of the American West, but if you've got something else in mind, she's ready and willing! Victoria is also working on promotional art with me and if the campaign goes well some of that may become available.
Samples of Victoria Durand's landscape art:
Both artists will be paid for their work, with a portion of each piece of art sold going directly to them.
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