The Grain Merchant: An Argolicus Mystery

by Zara Altair

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Zara AltairBy Zara Altair
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Zara AltairBy Zara Altair
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About

Welcome to my first ever Kickstarter campaign! The goal of this project is to raise enough money to publish and distribute my newest historical mystery THE GRAIN MERCHANT.  It is a novel about a brutal murder and a treacherous path through politics to find the killer.   

If you love a good mystery you are in the right place. Join me in bringing a challenging mystery puzzle to mystery lovers like you. 

A Beautiful Heiress. A Powerful Merchant. A Broken Agreement. Argolicus unravels the threads.

In a hot August in 512 A.D. the local town faces a rebellion from the people who have no grain for bread. Even though the harvest was plentiful, all of the grain was shipped away. One grain merchant was the cause and now he is missing.  

Argolicus and his tutor companion Nikolaos attempt to resolve the grain shortage he discovers murder and plunges into a world of politics.

Tension builds as citizens become unruly, his proposed fiance unearths hidden talents, and his faithful tutor discovers his old slave master. 

Everything spirals out of control until he opens one old journal. 

The Grain Merchant is the fifth book in the Argolicus mysteries set in Ostrogoth Italy. 

Wrapped in the story are issues current today. Who controls food? What is the value of a human life? Can corrupt politicians keep their secrets? People remain the same in any period of history.

Argolicus must navigate the two power structures - Roman and Ostrogoth - as he discovers a killer in an era when murder was not a crime. 

Follow Argolicus through the maze of politics and murder. Join the campaign to get your advance copy!     

Read the unedited first two chapters!   CLICK HERE!  

Hi! I’m Zara Altair. I am the author of historical mysteries set in ancient Italy and I love to create mystery puzzles.     

My newest book, THE GRAIN MERCHANT, fits firmly in the historical mystery genre, and it’s one that challenged me to write a full-length novel.   

Since childhood I’ve love reading mysteries and history and writing. I’ve been telling stories since I was two-years-old when my audience was Yahudi the owl. I sat on the back porch and told him my stories.  

As a poet I’ve won awards and managed projects for artists through Poets-In-The-Schools. I received a grant from the California State Senate to create a replicable program for arts in the schools.   

I love creating characters that resonate with readers. The challenge is to construct an historical setting that is realistic to the time. Because the Emperor Justinian systematically destroyed records of Ostrogoth presence in Italy scholars and authors need to dig deep.  

I live in the Pacific Northwest surrounded by trees and wildlife in a peaceful setting on the edge of a creek. It’s the perfect place for creating fiction.  

I’m joining with Ryan J. Rhoades to create vibrant cover art for THE GRAIN MERCHANT. We’ve worked together on all the Argolicus mysteries. This is his fifth cover in the series.   

Ryan has a gift for translating story concepts into visual elements and a sensitivity to genre requirements. He gives the book a unique visual style easily recognizable to readers.   

Check out his amazingly diverse portfolio!   

Watch us collaborate on the cover!   

Because we went public, it took longer than our previous collaborations. You’ll get the idea of how collaboration works. 

I am thrilled to be working with Marcus Trower. With a headline like Commas, Characters and Crime Scenes, I knew he was the right match for Argolicus. Learned, experienced, and wise in the use of words and crime.   

A fiction copy editor, author and former national newspaper and magazine journalist with over 25 years’ experience in publishing, Marcus specializes in genre fiction, particularly crime fiction, thrillers, urban fantasy, fantasy, horror, historical fiction and science fiction.  

This Kickstarter has a lot to offer, including goodies like:     

  • eBook and paperback copies of The Grain Merchant,  
  • eBook copies of previous Argolicus Mysteries  
  • An EXCLUSIVE reader's recipe eBook The Principal’s Table. 
  • And an opportunity to create a character who will be featured in an upcoming book. Or be a guest on the weekly video Mystery Fix   

Need a visual breakdown of what you'll get when you make your pledge? I've got you covered:

I am an independent author, which means unlike authors who have signed with a traditional publishing house, we pay all our production costs up front.   

That means paying a cover designer for both an eBook and print cover, formatting to make the inside of the book look professional, an editor to ensure I've presented the story in the best light possible, and ordering paperback and hardcover stock for signings (and as rewards for this Kickstarter).   

You can check out the estimated cost breakdown below:

Backer Cost Breakdown
Backer Cost Breakdown

My target is to have THE GRAIN MERCHANT ready for release in November of 2019, but for you, enthusiastic Kickstarter backer, you’ll receive your copies July and August, a full 2 - 3 months before the book goes live on Amazon!

This means that between January and July, I’ll need to:

  • Raise and receive funds from Kickstarter. 
  • Work with the editor on the first edits of the manuscript. 
  • Start coordinating with printers to arrange for a great interior and on-time shipping. 
  • Work with the cover designer toward an end product you’ll be proud to display on your bookshelf, coffee table, or reading at your local cafe. 
  • Work with the editor on the final copy of the manuscript. 
  • Perform a quality check on the electronic files, get the book to the printers, look over the physical proofs, and make any necessary changes.   

Once that’s all covered, I’ll start sending you your rewards!   

Here's a visual breakdown of how it's going to work:  

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    GROWER

    You're planting the seeds. As tribute, you'll receive an eBook copy of The Grain Merchant before its official launch in Fall 2019.

    Includes:
    • The Grain Merchant (eBook edition)
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    CURIAL

    You're a member of the curia voting for success. As tribute, you'll receive an eBook copy of The Grain Merchant, plus an exclusive Principal’s Table ebook full of recipes from the tables of principals like Argolicus, and the entire Argolicus Mysteries series to date.

    Includes:
    • The Grain Merchant (eBook edition)
    • EXCLUSIVE Principal’s Table Recipe Book
    • The First Three Argolicus Mysteries (eBook edition)
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    MERCHANT

    You make it happen. As tribute, you'll both an eBook AND paperback copy of The Grain Merchant, eBook copies of every book in the Argolicus Mysteries series, AND an exclusive Principal’s Table Recipe Book.

    Includes:
    • The Grain Merchant (eBook + paperback)
    • EXCLUSIVE Principal’s Table Recipe Book
    • The Roman Heir (eBook edition)
    • The Used Virgin (eBook edition)
    • The Vellum Scribe (eBook edition)
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    PRINCIPAL

    You are a leader who sets the law. As tribute, you'll receive both an eBook AND two paperback copies of The Grain Merchant, eBook copies of every book in the Argolicus Mysteries series, AND an exclusive Principal’s Table Recipe Book.

    Includes:
    • Two paperback copies of The Grain Merchant
    • The Grain Merchant (eBook edition)
    • EXCLUSIVE Principal’s Table Recipe Book
    • The Roman Heir (eBook edition)
    • The Used Virgin (eBook edition)
    • The Vellum Scribe (eBook edition)
    • The Peach Widow (eBook edition)
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    CIVIL MAGISTRATE

    You are the high authority. As tribute, you'll both an eBook AND paperback copy of The Grain Merchant, eBook copies of every book in the Argolicus Mysteries series, an exclusive Principal's Table Recipe Book AND magisterial recognition. Be a character in the next book (don't worry, I'll transform your name to the time period)

    Includes:
    • Two paperback copies of The Grain Merchant
    • The Grain Merchant (eBook edition)
    • EXCLUSIVE Principal’s Table Recipe Book
    • The Roman Heir (eBook edition)
    • The Vellum Scribe (eBook edition)
    • The Used Virgin (eBook edition)
    • The Peach Widow (eBook edition)
    • Character in the next book
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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    COMMERCE MAGISTRATE

    You are the high authority. As tribute, you'll both an eBook AND paperback copy of The Grain Merchant, eBook copies of every book in the Argolicus Mysteries series, an exclusive Principal's Table Recipe Book AND magisterial recognition. Be a guest on the weekly Mystery Fix video.

    Includes:
    • Two paperback copies of The Grain Merchant
    • The Grain Merchant (eBook edition)
    • EXCLUSIVE Principal’s Table Recipe Book
    • The Roman Heir (eBook edition)
    • The Used Virgin (eBook edition)
    • The Vellum Scribe (eBook edition)
    • The Peach Widow (eBook edition)
    • Guest on the Mystery Fix Show
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.