Posts Tagged ‘Kickstarter’

Kickstarter Update #2:

Dear Fans of Out For Souls and Cookies,

Can you believe it? In one weekend, we’re over halfway to funded! I am so grateful to all of you.

Taste Edmonds was a quiet show, but I gave out all but five of my remaining original pamphlets, hoping to find more fans of the series.

Over the weekend, one of the backers asked me about the REAL ROSIE AND TYCHO! In particular, they wanted to know why I tended to speak about Rosie.

No, I don’t have a favorite. However, Rosie’s actions are closer to a normal intelligent, albeit lazy, dog. I have often said if the real Rosie had the initiative to match her intelligence, we’d all live in Rosietown, not Seattle, Washington, USA, or Earth. It’d all be Rosietown.

Wait, you’re thinking. Not everyone likes dogs. Doesn’t matter. Rosie brings everyone to the dogside. She is eight pounds of hedonistic cuteness with the full knowledge of Jedi-mindtricks. If she thinks you don’t like dogs, she’ll sit and stare at you until you pick her up. (And people always do.) The biggest toughest men melt under her gaze and start speaking to her in babytalk. She had one of my hiking buddies carry her for eight miles. Tycho rings the bell when Rosie needs to go out. This is why in the comic, she is the leader.

When I tell stories about Tycho, the stories just get weird. This weirdness inspired parts of the comic in the first place. Lord Fluffcakes is inspired by the Hide-a-squirreldog puzzle which Tycho loved as a puppy. (Follow the link if you want to see a non-creepy dog toy.)

Though Tycho enjoys a day at the beach or quiet hike, he is the ultimate lover of home, hearth, and his puzzle toys. He loves Rosie, my husband and I with an undying devotion and we love him. He wants us all to be safe. Preferably in the same room. He also wants the people and dogs he has adopted in the same room with him. One of his little quirks is Tycho leaves maddening elusive messages in shapes around the house. Here is one of them.

What does it mean? 3 or M or W? Or could it mean: Three monsters invading from the west?
What does it mean? 3 or M or W? Or could it mean: Three monsters invading from the west?

This strange message is close to his dish, but sometimes he carries his messages into the living room or spread across the kitchen floor. Does the change of location mean anything? I don’t know. When Rosie gets hungry she will eat the messages which Tycho has left. Are they hiding something? 

This inspired the use of the dog dish to speak to the big boss.

Issue 2, Page 17
Issue 2, Page 17


Tycho, the furry enigma
Tycho, the furry enigma
 If you are wondering if you should give to the Kickstarter, please do! We are only $187 away from funding.

Interview with Zachary Bonelli and Aubry Kae Andersen!

I am so happy to welcome author Zachary Bonelli  (founder of Fuzzy Hedgehog Press) and artist Aubry Kae Andersen (The AKArchy) to my blog today. They are running a Kickstarter campaign to raise the art buget for Insomniuma story that is as much about coping with loss, tragedy and adversity, as it is about finding purpose and meaning in a hostile and barely comprehensible dream world.

Nel Hanima goes to sleep in his Seattle apartment and awakens in the fantastically paradoxical City of Nowhere. Among the city’s bizarre inhabitants, Nel discovers three other humans—Giniip Pana, Rev Merveille, and Drogl Belgaer—each from their own alternate reality version of Seattle. Together, they learn that Nowhere is actually a dream, a whole universe conjured into existence by someone’s overactive nighttime imagination. But this begs the question—whose dream is it? And more importantly, how do they wake up?

Insomnium is expected to begin its release cycle on October 30 of this year. A final version, all twelve collected episodes in print and ebook formats, will become available on February 12, 2014. In order to make this schedule a reality, the Kickstarter campaign will have to reach its funding goals by the end of the day on July 7.

Okay, let’s get started on the questions! How did this collaboration come about?

Zachary: Aubry and I met in our science fiction writers’ meetup group. About a year ago, I described to her one of the scenes I wanted illustrated for Voyage. It was Kal and Rko’s kiss inside a forcefield bubble surrounded by lava. She drew it up on the spot, and I asked if she would be interested in working on the series.

Aubry: I’ve been working with Zachary on his Voyage serial project for nearly a year now, providing illustrations, cover art, and other random graphics, as well as editorial advice on the story.  When Zachary decided to take a break from Voyage and work on a fresh story, he approached me to provide illustrations.

How has it been to work together?

Zachary:  Great! I think that Aubry’s illustration style compliments my writing well. I tend to write about people being thrown into places that are weird, not only in that the normal social rules break down, but even the places and people themselves tend to be different and unique. Aubry’s signature style, the hand drawn faces, with cloth and other textures filling in the color digitally, fits this motif.

Aubry: Working with Zachary has been great.  Our ideas mesh together very well.  He has a fantastic imagination and I love bringing that to life.   I can’t really say there have been any challenges involved, either.  I couldn’t have asked for a better client, or a better friend.

How did you decide which scenes to illustrate?

Zachary: In the case of Voyage, it depends on the episode. Sometimes I have a scene that’s screaming out at me, begging me to be artistically realized, and I communicate that desire to Aubry. Other times, it won’t be as clear in my mind which scene should get illustrated, and we’ll both chat about it until we come up with something. Sometimes I’m useless and I just leave it up to Aubry entirely, based on the text of the story.

In the case of Insomnium, the illustrations will be for the covers. Insomnium’s City of Nowhere is divided up into wards, which each have a governor. And the episodes more or less contain one new ward and one new governor. Our plan is basically to match governors and wards to the covers for each ep. You can see the preliminary sketch for the ward of Earth Above Heaven Below and its governor, the Farseer, on the Kickstarter page, for example.

Aubry: For Voyage, I read all his episodes, then together we pick out the scene that would be most visually appealing and representative of the themes.   Zachary trusts me a lot to envision an illustration’s subject and composition, but I always present him with a sketch first, in case I miss a detail like correct clothing or hairstyles.  For Insomnium, this process will be much the same.

What have you learned during this project?

Zachary: I feel I’ve learned a lot about the drafting process. Voyage is this big, sprawling thing, that’s taken over a decade to finally get into a state where it feels “right.” Insomnium, on the other hand, is a much more tightly contained story, coming it at a total of twelve episodes, as opposed to Voyage’s seventy. Not to imply that Insomnium is superior. Voyage is just more “epic” in scope. Planning and writing Insomnium has taught me a lot about the structure and arcs of shorter serials.

 Aubry: In our preliminary preparations for Insomnium, we’ve learned making a video of ourselves is hard.  We’re both fairly introverted people with weird senses of humor.  We’ve also been learning the nitty-gritty of publishing–the unglamorous stuff, really, like how to register a business, how to pay taxes, how to handle marketing, and so on.  Artistic endeavors like this are a lot more than just spewing your imagination onto computer screens and paper.

Aubry, What/Who influences your artwork?

My mother, Charlotte Warr Andersen, has always been a big influence on my artistic tendencies.  She’s a pictorial quilter, and you can really pick up a similar style in the art I make.  I just don’t have the patience to sew, so I piece together paper and fabrics using glue or Photoshop.

She and my father encouraged me to pursue my art, ever since I was a child.  It’s not a lucrative career choice, so anybody going into an artistic field really needs to find support like that.

Aubry, Who are some of your favorite artists?

My favorite contemporary artist is Yoshitaka Amano, a Japanese illustrator most famous for his depictions of Final Fantasy characters.  I played those video games while growing up, and was always wowed by his work in the instruction booklet and Nintendo Power Player’s Guide.  That was before the Internet was everywhere.

If we’re talking dead artists, my favorite is Francisco Goya.  He was before his time, I think, making very raw, expressionistic work during a time when art was more about hazy, romantic perfection.   

Zachary, What/Who influences your writing?

My favorite book of all time is The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. You’ll see a lot of that influence in Insomnium. I’m also fond of Neal Gaiman and China Mieville. If a piece of writing has a really weird and creative high concept, I’m game. 

Zachary, Who are some of you favorite authors?

Besides the three mentioned above, I’m also fond of Ursula K Le Guin, Philip K Dick, and Neal Stephenson.

Finally what is your advice to aspiring authors and artists out there.

Zachary: I’ve lost a lot of time in my life, which I could have spent writing, to the false idea that I would never be “good enough.” If you have a story that just needs to be told, then write. Just write. Seriously, go write your story. Then write other stories. Then come back and write your first story again if you need to. Whatever you do, just keep writing. Don’t stop because of something as trivial as not meeting someone else’s expectations. Grow, live, learn, and write some more.

Aubry: A lot of people are pursuing the arts these days.  The people who succeed will be persistent and differentiate themselves from the crowd.  This comes easier if you truly love the make your art, if you need to express yourself in order to keep yourself happy.  There’s a reason so many artists and writers are perceived as a few cards short of a full deck.  Creativity often comes at the cost of normalcy.  People who lack the same creativity still enjoy creative things, yet they’ll often look down upon the everyday artist struggling who sacrifices their comfort for their art.  That type of person will call the artist or the writer lazy or crazy because they aren’t pursuing a more stable career.

Don’t listen to them.  Embrace your own weirdness.  Surround yourself with friends who will accept you in all your mad glory and support your goals.  Show naysayers to the door.

That’s great advice! Thanks for stopping by!  

Zachary Bonelli grew up in a small town in northern Illinois, west of Chicago. After graduating high school, he dual majored in English Literature and German Language at a small, Midwestern liberal arts college. After undergrad, he turned his eyes towards exploration, and spent many years in Japan, Thailand and Hawaii. Zack loves stories. He’s long been fascinated by video games as a storytelling medium, and loves exploring different cultures, discovering the different underlying stories that different groups of people tell themselves, the stories that define who they are and how they perceive the world. Nowadays, he lives with his partner near Seattle, Washington.

Aubry Kae Andersen is a freelance designer living in Seattle, WA.  Her business, the AKArchy (, does design work for web and print, as well as illustration.  She has a BFA in Studio Art from Westminster College of Utah, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for A/NT Gallery (, a non-profit artist’s collective where she shows her more traditional work.  In addition to all that, she’s working on her debut novel, Isaac the Fortunate, slated for release later this year.

If you’d like more information about the Insomnium Kickstarter campaign please go to:


Publisher Website:



Consider investing in Faminelands: Mareton’s Curse KickStarter Campaign!

Consider investing in Faminelands: Mareton’s Curse!

Cover for Faminelands: Mareton’s Curse

The Faminelands Trilogy follows Lark as she endeavors to return her brother Orin to the Path of Valor which he abandoned decades before. In Mareton’s Curse, a shared vision puts Lark, Orin, and their kinsman on a path to search for the lost prince of Mareton.
 As the famine worsens, each must make decisions regarding the future of their House and their own happiness.

Faminelands has been a labor of love since its conception five years ago. Although we’ve made huge steps, such as selling our first 250 copies of The Carp’s Eye, funding an independent project such as Faminelands has been a huge challenge. As many of our fans know, we have been making micro-runs to keep the books in print.

With this Kickstarter campaign, our focus is to make a large print run on Mareton’s Curse. A large print run will lower the unit cost per book. We will continue to use an American printer. The book will be 100 pages, perfect bound 6.625 x 10.25 paperback in glorious full color.

We appreciate how much our fans love the books and support the project both financially and by spreading the word. In order to make the print run, we need to raise $2000.

As you can see we have some great rewards tiers starting at $1 for our eternal gratitude and a shoutout Tweet and going up to $500 for an appearance in the book.


This is an example of what your original artwork might look like as each drawing will be a unique piece of artwork featuring Lark. If you have a preference in weaponry (knives or bow) you can let me know.
If you want to see more of Lark, Orin, or any of your other favorite characters, please consider supporting this great comic. Thank you!
Link to Kickstarter Campaign!

Writing Gray Characters = fun! (Character development of Orin)

Fans of my writing tend to love (or hate) the characters. Or dislike them and learn to like them during the adventure. Or hate them but just “have to know what happens next!” so I am going to be writing on how I create these types of characters without being too fluffy over the next few posts.

I will admit why writing gray characters is so much fun is simply they will do things I will never do. No, I am not just talking about using a sword, great battles or reading minds. I mean in the everyday level: they live a life so different than mine. They have different view points, they have different sets of morals.

Note: neither Lark or Orin are helping the man who is literally being eaten alive by the ghost.

Specifically in this post, I am going to introduce you to Orodherthin, Son of the Lady Nora and Master Bowyer Calafas of the House T’Ralom. He is older brother to Lady Meadowlark (Lark) and Calthal. Writing and drawing him has been a blast. Why? Because he is ultimately a villain softened by the eyes of his little sister.

Coming up with the leading male protagonist of Faminelands (depending on your point of view, he also might be considered the antagonist)  was so much fun. While Lark came fully formed in my head, Orin was much more of a cypher. I was playing DnD at the time and what sparked the story was the relationship my friend’s character and my character shared. They worked well together.

The first question I thought about: What was his relationship to Lark? While, I wasn’t sure it would be familial love in the beginning, but I knew that love would be a major component to his redemptive character arc.

While I did not know that they would be brother and sister, oddly, I always knew Orin and Lark were never lovers or romantically inclined towards each other for a few reasons. She was simply too young and romantic, if Orin seduced her, the reader would hate him–and Lord Malak would have killed him!

Originally I tried to write it with them just as friends in the Crua –as I said like the friendship between the two characters in the game–but that didn’t work either. Otherwise, every time it got tough, Orin would just bail.

When they were friends, there was simply no tension. No reason Lark wanted him to be redeemed. I tried writing a back story about how he protected her a few times, but it felt trite. Ultimately  it was two people just skipping along on an adventure. Fine for a DnD game, not okay for a book. Because when it all comes down to it: making them siblings makes it easier for them to be cruel to each other without dire consequences. That was when child abuse slithered its way into the story.

Here is a little backstory for both character: Mom was often gone supporting the family with their adventures, which meant Dad raised them. Then everything else began to click into place. Calafas was a father who had no idea how to control his wild son. Because Lark and Orin are bastards, other relatives could only do so much for the kids. Since this is a fantasy faux middle ages story: the idea “spare the rod spoil the child” was meant literally. Orin becomes sympathetic.

This next image is from page 32 of the Carp’s Eye. Orin’s memories of childhood.

But child abuse is passed on and we also see Orin hit Lark. Mainly he does it, because he is terrified if he doesn’t punish, she will face a worse fate. And (this is key to how I kept him a sympathetic character rather than just an overbearing jerk) he has no idea what else to do! FYI: No matter why he does it, I make it clear, what he is doing is VERY WRONG!

In this scene in Living Stone, Orin just slapped her, she kicked him to get away and now he has her.

Orin is larger than his sister–he is a grown man while she is still an adolescent–this tension rules the first two books. Making what might have been fairly stereotypical characters into what I hope feel realistic ones. Flaws make these characters real. Don’t apologize for writing characters with real problems! Orin gets mad, he gets scared, he makes huge mistakes.  The very best comments I have heard is “They are more human then elves!”

When Carp’s Eye opens, Lark has discovered her brother is in debt to the Crua and he tortures people for a living to pay for that debt. Still what makes Orin specifically a great villain turned protagonist?

1) Orin is not a sadist. If he was, he would not be a very good companion on this adventure. It simply would not be fun to see him derive pleasure from hurting people–if that is what you are looking for, look elsewhere. Any character arc that follows a road to redemption can not be an easy one. If he was a true sadist, could he be redeemed? Would he want to be?

Perhaps, but not in the eyes of the Daoine or in the eyes of their family. And most importantly, not in the eyes or heart of the reader.

2) His relationship to Lark. Even in his most evil moments, there is never any doubt in the reader’s mind that Orin loves his little sister.

3) The relationship to women. As with many fantasy protagonists, Orin is a lothario. He is roguish, without being cruel. See # 1 above. He tends to pay for sex since this is a fantasy realm where prostitution is looked down upon, but legal trade. Still he ends up being a favorite customer rather than one the girls dread.

So that is an introduction to how I wrote Orin’s character. How do you form your characters?

Also if you like what you see consider investing in the Print Faminelands: Mareton’s Curse Kickstarter Campaign which will be running mid October to November. More information to follow!

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