heads-up, change-up

The last time I ran a fundraising campaign, I kept of a feverish update pace on the project page. I was talking about the world I’ve built for my novels, the starring characters, my crafting skills (in the context of backer rewards,) etc.

At the time, I thought about simultaneously posting those updates here to the blog but I ended up deciding to only posted them on Kickstarter because I had some squirmy feeling that I didn’t want to deluge people with too many notifications.

But now, I look back and I think, hey, I shared a lot of pretty interesting information about my world that is now more or less buried in the archives of Kickstarter. You can still find the project and those updates if you search, but it’s not exactly the first place a reader of my books would look for more material about Asrellion.

All of this is to say that we’re going to do things a little differently this time, and I hope you’ll bear with me as I figure it out.

Some of the updates last time were entirely fundraiser-specific, and I’ll probably still leave those over on the page that’s for that, but I think going forward that as I make meatier posts on the Trajelon campaign, I’m going to simulpost them here for safekeeping. There might be some language awkwardness, as they are composed with an audience of donors involved, so I’ll do something to indicate the Kickstarter origin on each of these posts.

But yeah. Watch this space, because I’ve already got some stuff to port over here in the next little while.

Meet the Cover Artist

From the Kickstarter fundraising campaign for Trajelon: The Way of the Falling Star Book 2, Tuesday February 18th 2020:

As we get into this campaign, I want to be sure to talk about my cover artist, because he has given us some truly gorgeous covers. (Yes, that is a hint that I’ve already seen what he’s working on for Trajelon. I hope you’ll love it because I know I do.)

I first met Scott Baucan while kayaking with some friends at Cheat Lake in West Virginia. (I’m sorry we laughed at you when your boat capsized, Scott. If it’s any consolation to you, I practically broke my tailbone about fifteen minutes later, climbing down the slick rocks of that waterfall.) My husband had met him a while back in the Pittsburgh indie film scene and they moved in the same group of filmmaker and indie creator friends.

Scott and I eventually “friended” each other on social media, as one does, and I had my first glimpse of his very cool art style. Browsing through the work he’d shared online, I was blown away by his talent and eye.

Artist Scott Baucan with a truly impressive stockpile of his art, preparing for a show in 2015.

I came to feel strongly that he would bring something strange and beautiful and dark and fantastical to the cover scene I’d already visualized for Book 1. And I was right.

It’s just perfect.

Scott, of course, has more going on than just my stuff. There is the delightful Ghoulie: a Zombie Fairy Tale, for one. In December 2019, he published a hauntingly lovely graphic novel called Fragile.

Two of Scott Baucan’s creepy creations.

Most recently, he has been working on animation and it has been a delight to follow his progress. He is also very active at local cons, selling his graphic novels and a series of fun macabre music boxes that he makes himself.

I’ll take like ten of these, tbh.

At this point, the look of my series is inextricably tied to Scott’s weird and wonderful style and I couldn’t be happier about that.

So I’m glad I got to tell you a little bit about this great artist and I hope you’ll give his stuff a look. We’ve had a fairly productive first couple of days here on the fundraiser — as of this post, we’re at $445. I was hoping to hit $500 before the end of the day and I think we can still do it. Please share this campaign with anyone and everyone who might be interested in helping to support an indie fantasy series that’s ready to take its next big step!

Book 2, Baby!

And just like that, the fundraiser is live! 30 days to raise the funds to publish my sequel.

As much as publishing Mornnovin was the culmination of a lifelong dream, I’m even more excited to bring Trajelon out into the world. This book is… very personal to me, and I feel like it genuinely adds something to the literary conversation. I just…

Yeah, okay, I’m in danger of waxing rhapsodic about my own damn book. But I mean. I wrote this thing and I’m intensely proud of it and now it’s time for me to give it to you.

So can you help me out with that?

Trajelon: The Way of the Falling Star Book 2 on Kickstarter

my barbaric yawp, apparently

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’re probably aware that I’ve been through some things. When I’ve talked about those things in the past, one of the most common responses I’ve gotten has been some version of “I just know you’re going to write that into a book one day and it’s going to be amazing!”

And, well. I write fiction. To be precise, I write nonsense about elves and fairies and shit. I am not in the memoir business. I always smiled and nodded at those comments, because they were well-intentioned, but I knew I was never going to write a book about my trauma.

Except it turns out that I did. In my way. With elves and shit.

It took me more than six years to write my debut novel, Mornnovin, and another year to edit it into shape. In February of 2016, safe and supported for the first time in my life after having finally escaped Hell, reclaiming my long-silenced voice, I sat down at my computer and started writing the sequel. Just six months later, I wrote the final line.

Apparently the story I needed to tell – the one that was bursting out of me so urgently that it took only six months – was a story about depression, trauma, and the effects of gaslighting and abuse on a woman who used to believe in herself.

I’m trying to be careful about limiting myself in talking about this book, because I honestly just want to shout about it all day to anyone who will stand still long enough to listen but I also don’t want to flood the ether with spoilers. Instead, I want to give you this book.

Last year, I published Mornnovin via crowdsourcing. Now, it’s time to do the same for Trajelon.

On February 17th, the Kickstarter campaign to fund Trajelon: The Way of the Falling Star Book 2 will officially launch at 10 a.m. EST. It is very likely I’ll start babbling on again about how excited I am to finally be publishing this book. I hope to see all of you there.

Stay tuned for more gorgeous cover art from Scott Baucan.

Do you like pretty things? I do.

Well, Christmas is over. The year is on its last legs, and so is my Kickstarter campaign. At 10:30 a.m. on Friday, January, 4th, this fundraiser ends for good or ill. Will we make it to $4000 by then? I think so. There’s only $1244 left to go. But we can’t let up, not yet.

This is a time of year that I always associate with beauty in all its forms. Sparkling, glittering, star-filled nights, delicious aromas, lovely chords of magical music, the warmth of love and kindness. The holiday may technically be past, but the season is not. Not just yet. It is still a time of beauty, of magic, for just a little longer. I think it’s fitting that this is the setting for the final days of this fundraiser.

In the spirit of that beauty, and because it’s all Kickstarter all the time for a few more days yet, today I’m going to show you something pretty. One of the very special rewards I’ve offered to backers at the $100 level is “a hand-made piece of custom elven jewelry crafted by the author.” So I thought I’d share some of the jewelry I’ve made in the past, to give an idea of what that might look like.

Most of the pieces of jewelry I’ve made over the years have been gifts, so all I have anymore are the unimpressive cell phone photos I snapped before sending them on their way. Here is one:

That is a pendant hand-sculpted and then finished with gold and silver leaf.

This is an iridescent bit of seashell I picked up at Cannon Beach in Oregon. I fixed it with a genuine pearl and finished the back with silver leaf.

Hand-sculpted iridescent purple lily.

Swarokvski crystals, genuine pearl, feathers, paper flowers, and a crocheted choker band.

This isn’t jewelry, but I sculpted and leafed these leaves too:

This also is not jewelry, but it was intended as a sort of mixed media rendering of Loralíenasa Raia’s falling star symbol. Here is my old sketch of the symbol itself, for reference:

And here is the craft version:

But this is my favorite. I made this for one of my very best friends, oh, so many years ago that I couldn’t even tell you when, and she still wears it. She wore it to my wedding in October.

So there you have it: a sampling of some pretty elfyness. If you like what you see here, maybe take a jaunt over to the fundraiser page and think about donating to the book. I’m so close to being able to publish this thing, and I’d love to be able to thank you for your help.

Friday morning thoughts

I knew before I started running this fundraising campaign that this is well outside my wheelhouse and I’d be groaning about existence before it was over. I’ve got 13 days to go and let’s just say I have mixed feelings about that.

Want to know what’s great? Being only $1514 away from your $4000 goal.

Want to know what’s really stressful? Still being $1514 away from your $4000 goal.

You know what, though? I really feel like this is going to happen. $1514 may be a lot of money, especially at Christmas, but it’s not an impossible amount. Just look what all those frightened xenophobes have managed to raise in order to keep the poor and the needy at arm’s length at the holiday season. (Imagine what they could have done to care for those poor souls with that same amount of money. But I digress.) There’s another $1514 out there somewhere for a hopeful, starry-eyed writer just trying to get her words out into the world. I have to believe that.

I might be feeling a bit maudlin today because of the grey weather, an immune system that’s struggling to fend off the crud my husband brought home from work, a puppy who has an upset stomach, the adrenaline crash of being done with all of my Christmas preparations, and the inevitable feelings of inertia you get when you receive word that something (in this case the arrival of a client) you were all geared up for is going to come later than expected. Tomorrow it’s fun goofing off and holiday parties and another update to the Kickstarter, but for right now I’m taking a moment to say, candidly, “Oof.”

And hey, you could help me shave that $1514 down a bit, eh?

MORNNOVIN: The Way of the Falling Star Book 1

A new friend, and an exciting offer.

As we near the halfway point, both in the campaign and in funds raised, I’d like to introduce you to another one of the characters you’ll find in MORNNOVIN.

I’ve chosen this particular introduction as a shout-out and thank you to Natasha Gonzales, who is not only a great friend but has also been one of the biggest supporters of my writing over the years. If you are of the fandom persuasion, it might interest/excite you to know that Tasha has offered to write custom Asrellion fanfiction for anyone who can show a receipt that they’ve backed this fundraiser.

This, friends, is Víelle Sívéo.

Gina Carano as Vielle 2

Gina Carano appearing as the author’s facecast

In Evlédíen, the elves’ hidden new home, the Royal Guard is no longer the almost ceremonial entity it used to be in more innocent times. Its members are respected even as the need for their work is a constant reminder that those innocent times are gone forever.

Guard member Víelle (pronounced vee-yell) is all too aware of the grim reality of the world her people now live in and she is committed to keeping them safe by any means necessary. Even if, say, those means are not strictly legal.

She’s into swords, leather, duty, music, deadpan humor, her wife, and doing her own personal best at whatever she tries to do.

You’re welcome, Tasha, and thank you!