The first novel in a wild, irreverent fantasy/horror series following the exploits of a zombie detective and his homunculus frenemy.
About this project
An egotistical, drug-addicted zombie detective and his homunculus sidekick solve mysteries in a hellish alternate New York City (known as Pandemonium) full of fantastical creatures.
DEAD JACK AND THE PANDEMONIUM DEVICE is the first in a series of short novels. (The second book, tentatively titled DEAD JACK AND THE SOUL THIEVES, is due out in March.)
The stories are a mix of “Ash vs. Evil Dead,” “Shaun of the Dead” and “The Maltese Falcon.”
The novel follows Jack and Oswald across Pandemonium as they battle gangster leprechauns, ghost pirates, goblins, demons and the lunatic Duke of Pandemonium, who is hell-bent on…well I can’t give away too much. Suffice it to say Pandemonium is in trouble and Dead Jack and Oswald are its only hope. Oh, and there’s a kraken.
DEAD JACK AND PANDEMONIUM DEVICE will also include the first Dead Jack short story (originally published in Weird Tales Magazine) and some other goodies. All told, the book will be about 200 pages and if we hit the stretch goal will contain illustrations.
Dead Jack is smart for a zombie. For a detective, well, not too much. He’s addicted to fairy dust (which lessens his cravings for flesh), Devil Boy brand formaldehyde (which keeps him from rotting too much) and Lucky Dragon cigarettes (for his nerves). He spent five years underwater after a sailing mishap on the Broken Sea.
Oswald is Jack’s partner — though Jack considers him more of a pest. Oswald is a shape-shifting homunculus who always tries to please Jack but never does. Oswald is the real brains of the organization (maybe because he occasionally sleeps in Jack’s skull) but don’t let Jack hear that. (Zombies have great hearing, by the way).
Pandemonium is an alternate New York City where all the supernatural beings of Earth are trapped — actually it’s not too much different from the real Big Apple.
There are five cities:
- ShadowShade – a fast-paced metropolis teeming with all manner of supernaturals. Jack has an office in Midtown.
- The Broken Lands – a hellish landscape that’s home to demons, ogres, vampires and goblins.
- Monster Island – a mountainous and wild region that’s home to misfit and loner creatures such as Yetis and Sphinxes.
- Witch End – a suburban city that most closely resembles old Earth, home to the human witches, warlocks and sorcerers.
- The Red Garden – a mostly swampy, forested place that is a never-ending battlefield for the werewolves and fairies that live there.
There are plenty of cool rewards bedsides the ebook and paperback:
- A 12-by-18-inch print of the Ed Watson cover (pictured below).
- A bookmark (pictured below) — because dog-earing a book is pure evil. Don’t do it!
- Print copies of Weird Tales Magazine #362, which contains the first Dead Jack story. This is a hard-to-get magazine, so don’t pass up this opportunity.
- My amazing cover artist, Ed Watson, is also offering to illustrate something amazing for you. Check out his workat http://www.edwatsonart.com/.
- You can also be a ghost pirate in DEAD JACK AND THE PANDEMONIUM DEVICE — and who doesn’t want to be a ghost pirate? I’ll use your name or a name we both agree on, as well as personal details in creating the character. I don’t know what character you can be in the second book yet, but I’ll be sure it’s just as cool as a ghost pirate.
This is where the power of Kickstarter comes in. The more money I raise, the better the book will be and the more stuff backers get.
GOAL #1 – $1500 – If I raise $1500, everyone who ordered the print book will get a print of the Map of Pandemonium for free. If you ordered the print of the cover, you will also get the map print. This also goes for anyone who pledges $25 or more. Sorry but I can ship the print only to U.S. backers. International backers will get all of my short story ebooks instead.
GOAL #2 – $2000 – I’ll add at least two illustrations to the print book and PDF of the book (which everyone who orders an ebook gets).
GOAL #3 – $3000 – Everyone who pledged, even at the $1 level, gets an ebook containing ALL of my published short stories, plus at least two original, never-before-published stories.
GOAL #4 – $4500 – I will make an audiobook of DEAD JACK AND THE PANDEMONIUM DEVICE and everyone who pledged at least $25 gets it.
I am the non-New York Times bestselling, non-award-winning author of more than 20 stories in such fine publications as Nature’s Futures, The Best of Galaxy’s Edge 2013-2014, Unidentified Funny Objects 4 (alongside Neil Gaiman and George R.R. Martin), and Weird Tales Magazine. You Kickstarter folk may remember me for the Crowdfunding Roundup I wrote for SF Signal — so I should know what I’m doing with this campaign, right?
Here are some of my stories you can read (or listen to) online for free:
- “My So-Called Life in Reruns” – Fantasy Scroll Magazine
- “Simon Clash: The Galaxy’s Greatest Hero” – Nature
- “No Place for a Hero” – StarShipSofa Podcast
- “6 Attempts at Winning Jennifer’s Heart” – Flash Fiction Online
- “Bad Poets Society” – Cast of Wonders
So why did I choose to do a Kickstarter? for my first novel. One, Kickstarter gives me full control over the project, something I wouldn’t have if I went with a publisher. I think I’ve done a good job so far — look at that cover and that map! Besides, it’s a lot more fun this way, isn’t it? Kickstarter also allows me to make the book more awesome, like add illustrations, hire a kick-ass editor, and maybe — if we get there — create an audiobook. It’s in your hands now!
- The cover of DEAD JACK AND THE PANDEMONIUM DEVICE was created by Ed Watson. He also did all the illustrations of Jack and Oswald on the Kickstarter page and video as well as the map.
- The animated gif cover was done by the incredible Steven Gladin. Check him out at http://stevengladin.com/.
- Video made with Pro Show Gold. Music in the video is courtesy of Grand Slam Music.
Risks and challenges
The book has been written. It only needs some polishing and editing.
While there will always be challenges to finishing a book, I will guarantee I’ll do my best to make it awesome and get it to you on time.