Light refreshments and a story will be provided. All ages are welcome.
At last, at long last, Bluecrowne is live on Kickstarter!
Let me tell you about this story. I’m super-excited about it. I hope you will be, too.
It’s September when the sutler Foulk Trigemine walks into the year 1810 and the Sovereign City of Nagspeake. His mission is twofold: to acquire a particular knife in the shape of an albatross from the a legendary weapons-maker known as the Ironmonger; and, with the help of a peddler called Blister, to locate a special kind of pyrotechnical prodigy known as a conflagrationeer.
Meanwhile, in a brand-new house full of stained glass, Lucy Bluecrowne is about to be marooned. That’s how it feels, at least. Thanks to the threat of war with America on top of the ongoing war with Napoleon, her privateer father has decided it’s time for his family–Lucy, her half-brother Liao, and Liao’s mother, Xiaoming–to live ashore like a pack of landlubbers. And Lucy has never handled being ashore well.
Then Liao’s genius for fireworks brings him to the attention of Trigemine and Blister, who waste no time in identifying the boy as the conflagrationeer they’ve been seeking. Neither party can afford to lose. With her old life aboard a private ship-of-war about to be gone for good, Lucy has nothing left to fight for but her family. As for Trigemine–not only does his boss, the merchant Morvengarde, not handle failure well, but nobody wants to disappoint the client who’s ordered up the conflagrationeer from him. Morvengarde might be scary, but according to the rumors, not even the Devil wants to tangle with the client.
One short novel. 30 days.
Read the first chapter here.
Back the campaign here.
Follow my attempts not to have a nervous breakdown right here at The Clockwork Foundry, and on Twitter.
I’m not going to lie to you. I’m really, really, really nervous. It doesn’t help that the Kairos campaign went so well, because what if, you know? It doesn’t matter that I love Bluecrowne desperately, that the cover is going to be beautiful, that every time I get to return to this world I’m overcome with joy. Because I’m neurotic as hell, I worry about everything, and there is nothing that’s going to make this easy.
Terrified as I am, though, I believe it’s going to be awesome.
Details coming in (checking watch and Kickstarter FAQ page) 48-72 hours.
Watch this space.
I’m not even going to look at when my last blog post was. But three months ago I had a kid, and they were right (because they all told me I would get negative-everything done). I have been getting nothing done.
Except I have been getting some stuff done. Since June 12th, I have done the following, in the following order:
1) Had a baby.
2) Completed my first round of offical Greenglass House edits.
3) Nearly finished Bluecrowne. And by “nearly,” I mean I hit page 155 of what was supposed to stay (for budgeting purposes) under 120, which was roughly the length of The Kairos Mechanism.
4) Conferred with my ace Kid Editors about Greenglass House in preparation for the next round of edits, which I expect to receive this week or beginning of next. Once again, they delivered. These young readers are AWESOME and thoroughly deserve having their praises sung in capital letters.
5) Read the following approximately a hundred times each in the last week alone:
- Red Truck
- Orange Pear Apple Bear
- Polar Bear Night
- Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You
- Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See?
- If You Want to See a Whale
I have also done the dishes several times.
You’ll shortly be hearing more about Greenglass House. Among other things, Ana and Thea, the fabulous ladies at Book Smugglers, have offered to do a reveal for the cover, so there’ll be that excitement. And the cover is amazing, folks. Jaime Zollars is the artist, and although I’m fairly certain she’s never been to Nagspeake, she managed to capture my beloved home-away-from-home perfectly. (Greenglass House comes out in August of next year, but it’s already available to preorder here and there around the interwebs.)
But since I had initially thought I’d be releasing the next Arcana Project novella this summer and clearly that’s not happening, let’s talk Bluecrowne.
Thing number one: I don’t think I can reasonably call it a novella anymore, since by my best guess it’s going to come in around 175 pages. Thing number two: this throws all my previous calculations out the window. And by “all my previous calculations” I mean my budget. Which is fine, considering I haven’t put together anything in the way of a crowdfunding campaign yet. My initial reluctance to do that before now was due to the fact that I didn’t feel right somehow putting up a campaign when the book wasn’t done. I now see how very pragmatic I was being, even though at the time I thought I was just being paranoid.
There’s also the fact that my slower post-baby writing pace has implications for everyone else involved with this book, including (but not limited to) the wonderful Andrea Offermann, who’s returning for the Bluecrowne cover.
So here’s the new plan: I’d like to have Bluecrowne to you for the holidays. This still depends on a lot of factors, but I think it’s doable.
I would like not to depend on crowdfunding at some point, but as you see from the progress bar on the right-hand sidebar, I’m nowhere close to having enough in the bank for my original budget yet. Since Bluecrowne’s going to come in so much longer, I’ll be printing fewer paperbacks to start with, but other things like the costs of paying the editor and the reader artists will go up. So there will be a Bluecrowne Kickstarter campaign, I suspect in mid-October, or whenever I get the next Greenglass House edits turned in. And once again there will be a whole bazaar of fun rewards, including another previously-unseen story from The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book in the ebook for Kickstarter backers. (What’s The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book? You’ll have to wait for Greenglass House for the answer to that.) And once again the fundraising will include money to commission a dozen or so young artists to illustrate a special edition. (Don’t want to wait until October to help out? You rock. Click here.)
What will you encounter in Bluecrowne? Well, you’ll meet some new friends and those of you who haven’t yet visited the Sovereign City of Nagspeake will get your first glimpse. But some old friends from all three of my previous books will be returning, too. No, I won’t say who. Not yet, anyway. 🙂 So ends this status report from Milford Command Central. Comments? Questions? No? Great. Here. Have a picture of a few of the research books involved in Bluecrowne, Greenglass House, and The Left-Handed Fate.
That’s right. I said “a few.”
It was the final piece of my original plan for The Kairos Mechanism: a digital edition illustrated by reader artists, one per chapter, each of whom would be paid for his or her work. I was excited about the whole project, but this particular piece–the illustrated edition–was the most special piece of all.
Everybody who got involved with The Kairos Mechanism was excited about the illustrated edition. Several of the co-conspirators donated their (meager) compensation in order to bring additional artists on board. With the help of an amazing group of Kickstarter backers, we were able to raise the amount each artist made per illustration from the originally-budgeted $100 to $125. Meanwhile, with the help of friends, colleagues, a few teachers and librarians and one fairly amazing counselor, I found twelve artists ranging in age from 11 to 20 years of age.
We all worked together to make sure that each artist was assigned the chapter he or she was most excited about (and some lobbied hard to be allowed to illustrate more than one). Beyond making sure that each chapter was covered, I gave no instructions, except where I was asked directly for input. And in September, the finished artwork began to arrive by mail and email. As I mentioned in my previous post, the final piece was hand-delivered to me by my cousin Annie on Christmas Day, the work of 12 year-old Hassan Davenport of Baltimore. Best present ever.
Because I wanted to offer the final edition free or pay-what-you like, I opted to rely on a PDF edition for this version, and last week I turned everything over to Allie Tova Hirsch, a literary designer recommended to me by the good folks at Vook. Allie took my files and created an interactive PDF (correcting more than one of my own formatting errors along the way). And here it is, at long last, complete with not thirteen but eighteen original illustrations.
Please enjoy this book. It is absolutely free if you would like it to be; follow the link and you can decide for yourself whether you’d like it to be complimentary (in which case, leave the dollar amount at zero). However, all proceeds from The Illustrated Kairos Mechanism go toward this summer’s release of Bluecrowne, so if you’d like to become a backer, just enter the amount you’d like to contribute in the dollar field. The artists have also decided to offer prints to help raise the cost of paying the next group of young illustrators for their work, which you can purchase here.
Last of all, please remember that although The Illustrated Kairos Mechanism is offered as a PDF and that you don’t necessarily have to pay for it, the text and all the images are copyright-protected and the rights belong respectively to myself and to the individual artists. If you would like to reproduce anything, please contact me directly about permissions. And if you read the book and would like to share it, please share the download link rather than sharing by any other means. Your friends can still have the book free if they’d like, but I’ll be able to get excited about every copy that’s circulating, which is helpful, and your friends might just contribute a buck or two, which is wicked helpful.
And I guess that’s–oh, right, you want to know where to get that book thing I’ve been talking about this whole time. Click here, and enjoy, with all our thanks for reading!
Aidan, Candice, Emma, Hassan, Lily, Maeve, Maud, Natalia, Shannon, Reed, Tanner, Victoria, and Kate
So it’s one of my twice-weekly bookstore days, and having just deleted eleven emails about Cyber Monday deals, it occurred to me that the world needed one more. Except this isn’t about Cyber Monday, except that I figure lots of you are shopping today and therefore this might be relevant. So without further ado, here’s some bookish shopping food for thought on this lovely Monday morning.
Great Idea #1: Help Victims of Sandy While You Shop. There are lots of ways to do this, but here are three I know of right off the top of my head.
1) Shop our Sandy Relief Table here at McNally Jackson. The magnificent Sarah Gerard and I had a lot of fun putting this table together, and we ordered so many titles they actually overflow onto the regular shelves where you can find tags like the one below here and there. There are books for all ages, some in paperback and some in hardcover. Can’t make it in? I made you a list for convenient interweb shopping. All proceeds from the titles below go to Sandy relief:
- B is for Brooklyn (Selina Alko)
- A Poem as Big as New York City (Teachers Writers Collaborative)
- This is New York (Miroslav Sasek)
- New York City (Paula Hannigan)
- New York City History for Kids (Richard Panchyk)
- Sophia’s War (Avi)
- Brooklyn Bridge (Karen Hesse)
- Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (Judy Blume)
- Superfudge (Judy Blume)
- When You Reach Me (Rebecca Stead, available signed later this week
- Liar and Spy (Rebecca Stead, available signed later this week)
- The Diviners (Libba Bray, available signed)
- Penny From Heaven (Jennifer Holm)
- The Broken Lands (Yours Truly, available signed)
- City of Orphans (Avi)
- City of Bones (Cassandra Clare)
- Cheaper by the Dozen (Frank Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Cary)
- Dodsworth in New York (Tim Egan)
- From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (E.L. Konigsburg)
- The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons (Barbara Mariconda)
- The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge (Hildegarde Swift and Lynd Ward)
- The Dreamland Social Club (Tara Altebrando)
- The Inquisitor’s Apprentice (Chris Moriarty)
- Mystic City (Theo Lawrence)
2) In six days on November 30th, YA for NJ is starting an amazing auction of young adult books, most of them signed, to raise money for Hurricane Sandy victims. Take a minute now to mark it on your calendar, then keep an eye on the event’s Facebook page for more info. See? Not everything has to get done today.
3) I don’t know if you’re as obsessed with Nautical Stuff as I am, but if you are, there are still a few of these gorgeous Sophie Blackall prints available on Etsy. Donate to the Red Cross and get art. Win/win. I can confirm that in real life, they are even more exquisite than this picture suggests.
Great Idea #2: Shop for Bluecrowne! All right, this is my admittedly totally, totally self-serving idea. You should probably shop for Sandy relief instead, but what the heck. Become a backer of Bluecrowne, the second volume of the Arcana Project Series and get cool stuff. Want your stuff signed, personalized, gift wrapped? Let me know and it will be done.
Happy shopping, friends!
So a couple weeks back I got this giant box of gorgeousness from Hamburg, Germany.
One of the special things that was offered to Kickstarter backers of The Kairos Mechanism was a set of The Broken Lands, The Boneshaker, and The Kairos Mechanism signed by cover illustrator Andrea Offermann. In August I shipped these, plus some extras, out to Germany for Andrea to sign. And just look what came back to me (actually, these are the pictures Andrea sent me in August to taunt me with what was coming):
If you’re a Kickstarter backer who chose Andrea-signed books for your reward, one of these beauties is on its way to you, if it hasn’t already arrived. If you are now kicking yourself for not having done so, as of today you can officially become a backer of Bluecrowne, the second edition in the Arcana series, and get one mailed out to you this week. Here’s the link to purchase the pinned edition (which comes with the digital edition of your choice as well as a handwritten thank you card and a small but special gift related to the story); proceeds will go toward bringing Bluecrowne to you in the summer of 2013. You can also take a look at other ways to become a backer of Bluecrowne here.