MIRROR OF ASHES deleted scene: “Daddy Knows”

yes cat Whoohoo! Over the weekend, we officially broke the 25% mark in our fundraising efforts to pay Desz to grace the newest book’s cover.

You guys are amazing!

To celebrate the milestone, I’m releasing a tidbit from Mirror of Ashes that didn’t make it to the final cut but will definitely pull some heartstrings. This (slightly expanded for sharing purposes) scene was originally couched as a memory that snaps Cora out of [REDACTED FOR SEXY SPOILERS] and reminds her [REDACTED FOR BADASSERY SPOILERS]. Enjoy!


Cora growls at herself, embarrassed at her behaviour but unable to stop crying. She’s far too big to curl up in her father’s lap the way she did as a little girl. Yet here she is, thirty years old, covered in snot and tears, clinging to him in the aftermath of Jeremy’s exit from her life as if Daddy can magically make everything better.

“Don’t worry, piskie,” he’s saying in his soft Irish voice. “Your ma and I’ll take care of you for as long as you need us. That’s what we’re here for.” He tightens his arms around her shoulders, pressing the side of her face into his now-damp shoulder.

She sniffs and wipes at her eyes with the back of her hand. “I just don’t get it. I thought this was it—him and me forever. And then I got sick and he stopped….” She chokes as another wave of grief crests and crashes. “What’s wrong with me, Daddy?” she squeaks.

“Hey now.” He shifts his posture so she sits up. “There’s nothing wrong with you,” he insists. “There are a million things right.” She starts to argue, but he shakes his head. “Heartbreak makes the world collapse around you, but you’re not broken. It’s important you understand that.”

Her gut reaction is dismissal. He has to say that because he’s her dad; he doesn’t know what it’s like to try to claw your way out of the dark pit of depression and then have your almost-husband step on your fingers when you reach the top.

But their matching grey eyes meet as she gears up to protest, and she notices tears stand in his eyes, too. It slices another wound in her heart. She puts a hand against his red-stubbled cheek, trying to comfort her comforter.

He gives her a gentle smile. “You don’t need anyone else to be complete, piskie,” he says. “Stand on your own two feet, believe in yourself, and you’ll be okay. Promise.”

Cora sighs, fight and fury and fear draining away, and she leans her weary body against her father’s chest. Though it goes against everything she’s feeling, she wants to believe him. She wonders how long it’ll be before she can.


*hands out tissues*
*waits for nose-blowing and ‘aww’s to stop*

Thank you all so much for bringing us this far in our crowdfunding journey! But this is only the first milestone: We still have another $1,232 to raise before May 1 to reach our total goal.

If you haven’t yet, please hop over to the donation page and throw a few bucks our way. You can get all the books, including Mirror of Ashes, in digital for $10!

If you already donated, or can’t right now, please signal boost! Every pair of eyeballs is another chance to make art-dreams come true. Use the buttons below or one of these premade tweets!

+ Like fast-paced magical cop stories with vampires AND being a patron of the arts? Have I got a deal for you! http://ow.ly/LpHq5

+ Vampires, werewolves, secret agents – oh my! See what @EllieDiJulio is up to now. http://ow.ly/LpHq5

+ Get 1 novella, 3 novels, and 12 short stories for a measly $10 AND pay a Real Artist for her work. Win-win! http://ow.ly/LpHq5

fistbump

Crowdfunding MIRROR OF ASHES: Prettify This Book!

Remember how, two years ago, I asked you for help paying my friend Desiree “Desz” Kern to paint a kickass cover for The Transmigration of Cora Riley and how you not only raised the $2000 I asked for but an extra $500 besides?

That was super cool of you.

Then, remember how, last year, I asked you for help paying Desz for the Sword of Souls cover?

Of course you don’t. Because I paid for it myself out of pocket and it was freaking disastrous. So dumb.

Loki facepalm

Thus humbled, I’m returning, cap in hand, to seek your help paying Desz to prettify the cover of the newest Forgotten Relics book. More than that, though, I want to give you the chance to participate in bringing something beautiful to life.

So! Here’s the campaign basics. Think of it like a party invitation.

What
Crowdfunding the Mirror of Ashes cover

When
April 1st – 30th

How much
$1,650 USD

Who
YOU!
(and all your friends)
(and me and Desz)

Where

“How come you’re not using Kickstarter or IndieGoGo or BuyMeAPony.com?” I hear you ask.

Because I want you to have flexibility with your donations and less overwhelming options. I also sort of hate the strict perk-to-payment setup the big guns use (and their fees) and am enamored of Pay What You Can systems. After a week of flopsweating the pros and cons of both, I engineered something in between. Because that’s how I roll.

That's who we roll in the Shire

How It Works

The campaign’s hosted on my site and uses PayPal to take donations so you can pay with your balance, bank account, or credit card.

There are five levels of participation, each with a different bundle of swag. But instead of a fixed price for each one, there’s a range so you can choose how much you want to give for your desired goodies.

When you decide which level you like, click “donate” to go to PayPal where you’ll input the amount you’re comfortable with and confirm. Then voila! Your swag will be sent as soon as possible (ie: past books right away, MOA material in June) even if we don’t fully fund.

BONUS: All levels include your name in the acknowledgements section of Mirror of Ashes on publication.

And so, without further ado, I unleash you upon the campaign to do the generous, loving, incredible work that you do so very well!

pug party!

The Pre-Order
$5-$9
Digital copy of Mirror of Ashes – that’s all!
The Newbie
$10-$24
Mirror of Ashes postcard from me
AND the (digital) series so far:
+ Inkchanger
+ The Transmigration of Cora Riley
+ The Sword of Souls
+ The Mirror of Ashes
+ Confidential: 12 Unredacted Reports of the SCD
The Fan
$25-$74
Mirror of Ashes (digital)
Confidential (digital)
Cora Riley EP (digital)
Cover art postcard
Sneak peek at next book when it’s ready
The Superfan
$75-$499
Mirror of Ashes, digital and signed paperback
Confidential (digital)
Cora Riley EP (digital)
Cover art postcard
Sneak peek at next book
Signed copy of a Mirror of Ashes chapter
PDF of my Mirror of Ashes production diary
The Character
$500+ (limit 2)
Everything in the Superfan level, PLUS I’ll base a character off you in the next book, and Desz will draw a custom portrait of your Forgotten Relics self!

Spread the word

Can’t donate right now? Want to earn extra points for Gryffindor? Share these signal boosters on Twitter, Facebook, G+ and wherever else you hang out, or create your own!

+  Like fast-paced magical cop stories with vampires AND being a patron of the arts? Have I got a deal for you! http://ow.ly/KZAbF

+  Readers + authors + artists = awesome! Do your part to make some indie magic here:

+  Vampires, werewolves, secret agents – oh my! See what @EllieDiJulio is up to now. http://ow.ly/KZAbF

+  Support an urban fantasy author supporting a fantasy artist – let’s get MIRROR OF ASHES the cover it deserves. http://ow.ly/KZAbF

+  There are 1650 ways to make MIRROR OF ASHES an amazing success! How many will you choose? http://ow.ly/KZAbF

Thank you so much, my darlings. You’re incredible humans, and I’m honoured to know that you’ve got my back.

community troy and abed handshake

The Book That Love Built: What I learned about running a crowdfunding campaign

Keanu Reeves Whoa

31 days.
53 funders.
$2,000 goal.
$2,560 raised.
1 gorgeous cover.
6 official ISBNs.
50 printed copies.
100 postcards.
1 short story.
50 signed prints.
1 tandem webcast.
2 incredibly happy creatives.
1 book that love built.

You guys did this. Not me, not Desz, not IndieGoGo – you.

You’re the ones who went above and beyond, reaching deep into pockets and social media feeds to show that you believe in me, in Desz, in the book, and in each other. You’ve changed the way I look at being an indie creator and amplified what I know to be possible. You made a dream come true, paving the way for more beautiful dreams in the future.

Thank you. Endlessly, honestly.

And now for something completely different: the deconstruction of the Cora Riley cover-funding campaign.  What went wrong, what went right, and what I need to learn for next time.

What I Learned About Crowdfunding

I’ll be honest, y’all. I had to be convinced to run this thing, and I didn’t think I’d raise $1,000, much less $2,500. I thought my audience was too small, the goals too selfish, the time wasn’t right. Clearly, that was silly.  Since this was an experiment, I wanted to run down the lessons I’ve learned so other folks considering crowdfunding have a reference point and I remember for next time.

What I Did Right

  • Ran numbers for exactly what I needed, including IndieGoGo + PayPal fees and perk fulfillment costs
  • Built several perk levels that built on each other
  • Kept the goal modestly low to allow for overfunding and stretch goals
  • Wrote updates on the IGG site, my blog, and my newsletter when we reached milestones, added new things, or needed a boost
  • Provided social media shareables to make it easy to share
  • Followed up with every contributor a couple days later via email to ask them to share the project
  • Added milestone incentives (cover reveals, book excerpts) to motivate donations
  • Liked, RTed, and thanked people for sharing the project on social media
  • Wrote a profile about Desz so people knew her better
  • Emphasized the importance of artists relying on their audiences and co-creation
  • Stuck it out even when I was crying because I thought no one loved me

What I Screwed Up

  • Didn’t ask enough people with bigger platforms for help soon enough
  • Didn’t pay attention to the calendar; Nov 1 is paycheck Friday, meaning I missed out on those donations
  • Offered a stretch goal that’s actually a spoiler and doesn’t mean anything until you’ve read the book
  • Forgot that IGG income is counted as actual income and therefore counts on my taxes
  • Didn’t have enough under-$100 perk levels
  • Included Inkchanger in perks; people already have it so were less likely to donate at that level; needed an alternative
  • Didn’t pimp the project in places I’m not already known (like Reddit) to get fresh eyes on it
  • Didn’t get enough emotional support from friends who understand when I was freaking out

Next Time

Yes, there will be a next time. The success of this project has proved in very real terms that I can rely on my audience’s patronage, which means changing the way I conduct the business of self-publishing my books. Knowing I’m not alone – not just creating for you but actually with you – makes the roadmap significantly.  As it stands, the plan is to release a Forgotten Relics book twice a year (one in spring and one in fall). If we run a $1,500 Kickstarter every six months, banking on a growing audience and planning for killer stretch goals, who knows what kind of incredible things we can achieve for/with these books?

Visions of audiobooks, signing tours, collector’s editions, and merch are dancing in my head already…