We're almost halfway there!
We might also be living on a prayer....
Guess what? I am back! This is Ran, Sarn’s son from the Curse Breaker series, and yes, I’m usually your narrator for this newsletter, but I wasn’t for our annual Thanksgiving edition.
If you missed that email, you can read it here. Anyway, Melinda, my scribe was the narrator for our Thanksgiving Day email, but I’m back now and in control.
First up, we had a special presentation of some of the Thanksgiving stories from Stars & Angels Sing that are narrated by Melinda, my scribe:
You can also read an excerpt* of Stars & Angels Sing too.
***The two excerpts are from different places in the book.
The downloadable epub/mobi version of the excerpt is from the beginning of the book.
The podcast episode/YouTube excerpt is from the next part, which features Thanksgiving stories that lead into the Christmas story.
The Christmas story is 2/3 of the book. We’re working on a another preview of that part with some music we’re testing out, but we hit a snag with that and it won’t be ready until next week.
What’s Stars & Angels Sing about?
In Stars & Angels Sing, Sarn and his son search for the true meaning of Christmas.
In a land where magic is illegal, Sarn must hide his magic and his son to stay alive. For an indentured man can claim nothing, not even his own child.
When his master found out about his son, Sarn's worst fear was realized. Will his master help him get custody of his son? Or will this tear his family apart?
With nowhere to go and no choice but to obey orders, Sarn must move his son in with his master's family. They go from living in a chilly cave with no running water, and no idea where their next meal will come from to his master's warm, multi-room home.
Are they guests? Or are they here to serve?
This change of living quarters didn't come with a change in station. As their foster family observes Advent, tensions mount as the symbols of a season and a strange holiday grow.
What is Christmas?
Why does his master celebrate it?
Should he let his son participate in this mysterious tradition?
Sarn has no way to find out except to ask his master about it and expose his ignorance. But this is the best place for his son, and he won't risk losing it.
Thankfully, Sarn's struggle doesn't go unnoticed, nor does his wish to understand the reason behind the season go unanswered.
With help from Santa, an iceman, some determined fairies, and other holiday favorites, Sarn and his son discover the heart of the season and a new tradition. His struggle might just win him the only present he wants for Christmas, custody of the little boy that lights up his life.
This story is told in a series of poems that build upon each other to tell a fantastic adventure of a father and son's search for the magic of Christmas. Go to our Kickstarter and help us bring the book to life!
***The 2023 edition of Stars & Angels Sing also includes stories and poems featuring Sarn and his family in their humorous quest to survive the events of Thanksgiving Day, and the book is 30% longer than the original version, including holiday stories that were written later but are part of the overall holiday storyline.
Last week we discussed why we’re using Kickstarter, but to sum up, we want to not only bring Stars & Angels Sing to ebook and paperback but to audio as well.
The Audiobook Experience
If this project funds, Melinda will narrate Stars & Angels Sing and license holiday music to accompany the story.
Since some of our favorite holiday songs have lyrics that are not in the public domain, Melinda couldn't use them in the story. So she wrote her on own lyrics to Carol of the Bells and other songs so they referred to the events in the story, and we want to set them to music.
So that’s why we’re running the Kickstarter.
Brandon Sanderson wrote up a blog post explaining why it’s so hard for indie authors like our scribe to create audiobooks.
One reason is royalties. Audible, which is owned by Amazon, keeps 60% to 80% of what you pay for audiobooks, depending on whether you are exclusive or not.
Yes, you read that right.
Add Audible keeping most of the royalties to the the high cost of producing an audiobook, and for many indie authors, it’s just not feasible to create an audiobook. So no audiobook is made. :(
But we’re going to do it with your help, and it will have holiday music! I have a few songs picked out already that we just need to license when the kickstarter funds.
The Paperback & eBook Experience
That’s great for listeners, but what if you like to read the book on screen or by turning paper pages?
We’re working on some full color, holiday art to include in the ebook and paperback. The images will only be the ebook version through Kickstarter. I mentioned in a previous email that we had some issues with the designer we hired for a different project, the Rogue Gods trilogy.
When the designer finished that project, we planned to ask them to create some art for Stars & Angels Sing. But that’s turned into a multi-month soap opera that doesn’t seem to have an end in sight as deadlines continue to fly by without word. So we’re looking into alternatives.
But Melinda has done a lot of art over the years for the Curse Breaker series, and there’s a lot you’ve never seen. I’m trying to convince her to put some of those images in the book.
The original version included a lot of black and white photos of Christmas taken by our scribe and images she created when she was avoiding me back in 2015 and not writing about my adventures.
But Melinda removed them from the book when the original file decided to delete its own formatting, creating a mess. She fixed the formatting so the text of the book is back in chapters and paragraphs, which is important for reading.
Then she collapsed from exhaustion. I’m lobbying for her to put some of the artwork back. We’re using a new program to do the formatting, and we should make it earn its keep!
More on that when Melinda stops hiding under the blanket and gives me firm answer about the images. I just sent her a bunch of images she created in the years since the original version published then unpublished for consideration.
But she didn’t reply before this email went out. So I hope to have answers next week when Melinda’s feeling brave enough to tackle the formatting again.
Help us bring this holiday project to life! The project must fund by 11 pm on Dec. 9th.
New Podcast Episodes & Videos
A Curse Breaker Thanksgiving Tale
New Releases, Sales, & Other Book Stuff
Hidden Villains: Betrayed with Kevin J. Anderson
The Lost Daughters Trilogy: Deluxe Hardcover Omnibus
A never-released Asian fantasy, deluxe omnibus w/ foil faux leather cover, designed edges, reversible dust jacket, & illustrations
Shokunin Heart - A Dark Fantasy novel based in Japan
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