I know some of you aren’t official Kickstarter backers, but I wanted to direct your attention to the Kickstarter page for The Warden and the Wolf King, which is where, for the time being, my updates and posts will be. I just don’t have time to keep up with this blog, my Rabbit Room stuff, writing a book, AND the Kickstarter page. So here’s the link. Go there to see how the new book is coming along–there are some super cool pictures from the new book.
Back to writing!
The Christmas tour is over, the tree is out of the house and sitting on the firepit waiting to be burned, and I’m getting close to finishing the first draft of The Warden and the Wolf King. Those of you who preordered on the tour or supported by way of the Kickstarter campaign have already received chapters 1-30, and your feedback has been great. It’s good to have a small army of editors.
I’m spending most of January at home, working hard on the final stages of the book, then it will be time to get busy on Pembrick’s Creaturepedia. Lots of work, but lots of fun work. In the meantime, I wanted to announce something that is beyond cool. Book one of the saga is now available in Norway, fully translated into Norwegian, and book two is going to be available in April. My ancestors hailed from Sweden, right down the road from Norway, so having these books available in Scandinavia makes me (and my ancestors) very happy.
Here’s an excerpt of an email from my Norwegian publisher, Lunde Forlag, about the translator:
I also want to mention that we have had a fantasy specialist to translate the book (which we have titled “The Hunt for Anniera’s Jewels”). Ingar Hauge is a missionary kid who grew up in Japan. He has clothed Podo’s words in a hilarious Norwegian dialect which is spoken on our Western coast. The Norwegian fjords have made it possible for dialects to flourish, as they through the centuries made it difficult for inhabitants in small villages along the fjord coasts to stay in close contact with each other (you had to cross very steep mountains to reach the population along next fjord) and thus reach a common spoken standard. Podo is such a delightful character – and Ingar has succeeded brilliantly in communicating all his humoristic traits to our Norwegian readers.
Amazing. Many thanks to Lunde Forlag and Ingar for all your work bringing this story to your beautiful country.
Yesterday was a big day in Wingfeather Saga history. As the seconds ticked down on the Kickstarter campaign, we watched it climb to $118,000! Our initial goal was $14,000, so to say it was a success is a $100,000 understatement. The whole experience was one of the funnest things of my whole career; I cried, I laughed, we danced when it was over, then we prayed to thank the Maker for giving me a chance to write these books. Thank you all for your massive support.
Now, it’s time to get to work. I’ve been wrapping up the first draft, and will rewrite the whole thing a few times–which is WAY more fun than slogging through it the first time. If you signed up via the Kickstarter campaign, you’ll get an unfinished draft of the book by Christmas! That means I need to get my rear in gear.
In the meantime, a certain “neighbor” has been making some pretty outlandish claims. I share this video with you here so you’ll be aware that he’s out there. Don’t believe a word he says. May toothy cows infest his lawn. Beware the bumpy digtoad,
Last night around midnight we crossed the last threshold at $85,000 for The Warden and the Wolf King. Just so you know, that doesn’t mean we’re paying the house off (though we’d love to). We crunched the numbers, and it turns out that recording two audiobooks, publishing two hardbacks, paying editors and illustrators, having a map drawn/painted, and publishing a book of creatures–then MAILING all that stuff to about 1,500 people costs a lot of money. But, good grief, look at all the cool stuff you guys are helping us make!
We have five days left in the campaign, so if you haven’t yet signed up to be a supporter now’s the time. Pembrick’s Creaturepedia and the hardback editions are exclusive to Kickstarter supporters (at CAVE BLAT or higher), so in five days it’ll be too late. In the words of the great snickbuzzard trainer Twabber Yuplo, “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
Thanks for all your support, folks! Back to writing,
I’m sitting on my back deck next to Jamie, happy as a flabbit (and that’s really happy) that the Kickstarter campaign for The Warden and the Wolf King is fully funded, with all the stretch goals. That’s right, ladies and germs, if you sign up for the CAVE BLAT level before the Kickstarter campaign ends you’ll get a copy of Pembrick’s Creaturepedia, along with all the other bonuses. Thank you all for reading these books and spreading the word about them. It’s been a dream come true.
Almost ten years ago I put my three kids to bed, told Jamie for the millionth time about my desire to write a novel, and with her blessing dug out my sketch pad to draw the first map of Aerwiar. I turned off the television (this is key) and sat in the recliner with my high school art supplies, eager to tell a story. As with any adventure, had I known how much work and time it would have taken, I might not have had the guts to start. I drew the coastline of Skree on the left, then for some reason on the right I drew another coastline and named the continent Dang. The expanse between was named the Dark Sea of Darkness. I grinned like the geek I was, sharpened my pencil, and began the work of filling in the details. Eventually, Glipwood sprang out of the map, and the Wingfeather children sprang out of Glipwood. But who were they? And why did their story need to be told?
It took a few years of “research,” which when it comes to fantasy novels means “making stuff up.” Orson Scott Card’s book How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy was a tremendous help, mainly because it reminded me that, because I was inventing a world from the ground up, I had to answer a zillion questions about the history of the world, the political situation, the currency used, the presence (or absence) of magic, the presence (or absence) of religion, and what the flora, fauna, and fangishness of this new world might be. At some point in the writing of the history of Aerwiar, a nameless evil (named Gnag the Nameless) demanded my attention, and soon I had the beginnings of the Wingfeather Saga. After a laborious first draft, then a second, third, and fourth draft, I managed to fool the good people at Random House/Waterbrook into giving a singer/songwriter a shot at publication. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness was published in 2008. North! Or Be Eaten came in 2009, and with the help of Rabbit Room Press The Monster in the Hollows arrived in 2011.
In case you haven’t noticed, it’s 2013. That means it’s time to finish the story. Janner, Kalmar, and Leeli are weary and homesick, and I need to bring them home (in one way or another). And you can help them. As of the writing of this post, I’m at 124,758 words. According to my Word document, that’s 417 double-spaced pages. I’m on chapter 79. There are quite a few chapters remaining, but not too many. Things are winding down, slowly but surely, and it won’t be long before I know how this whole thing ends. Since this book (and the previous one) were published by Rabbit Room Press and not a major publishing company, there’s a great deal of freedom. That’s a good thing. It means I can choose my editors, I’m intimately involved in the look and feel of the book, and I get to work with the illustrators. But there’s another side to the coin, and that’s this: there’s no big, fat monetary advance, and we need you, dear readers, to help us make this book happen.
We live in a pretty exciting time for music and publishing. Thanks to websites like Kickstarter, not only are projects that may have never had a chance given birth, the readers get the thrill of being the midwives. I know first-hand, because I’ve helped to Kickstart albums by Matthew Perryman Jones and Andrew Osenga (among others) as well as books by DKM and Doug TenNapel. There’s something wonderful about opening a package and holding a book or record in my hands, knowing that my modest contribution helped make its existence possible. Community begets art. It was true of the Inklings, it’s true here in the Rabbit Room, and I’m hoping that with the help of the amazing community of Wingfeather fans it will be true of The Warden and the Wolf King.
We decided to pull out all the stops and shoot for the moon. (Yes, that’s a mixed metaphor involving a pipe organ and a rocket.) With your help we’ll not only be able to publish this book full of beautiful illustrations by Joe Sutphin, we’ll be able to do much more. If you can help, click this link and learn about all the fun stuff we’ve cooked up. Thank you all, young and old, for your enthusiasm about this story, and whatever help you can give. My family and I are delighted that a super-nerdy map ten years ago is culminating in the publication of this book. Back to writing! Beware the bumpy digtoad.
P.S. There’s a weird guy at the end of the video making some outlandish claims. Ignore him at all costs.
Greetings, Wingfeather fans! This is a post that just went up on another site of mine, called The Rabbit Room, and I figured I’d share it here. Thanks!
I knew this would happen. We flew from Nashville to Stockholm on Tuesday, arrived in a fog of half-sleep, ate some pizza for comfort more than hunger, and collapsed as though we might sleep for days. But then this. This tossing and turning in Sweden’s summer midnight, which is never totally dark, this weary awakeness in which I’m so tired I can’t sleep, where I’m obsessively and compulsively working out what time it is at home, working out how many Swedish crowns equals a dollar so I’ll know how much I really paid for that pizza, a head game made all the more irritating because of my ineptitude at math.
I’m not cranky, truly. Just jet-lagged. I couldn’t be more thankful to be here, safe and sound, with my sweet wife and three sweet kids in this little borrowed Stockholm flat, all four of them sleeping much better than I can right now. And so I give up on rest this first night of our adventure, and my thoughts turn to what led me here. There’s a long version and a short version, but I’m going to give you the ultra-short version: sometime late last year I realized that I was exhausted. There’s no better rest for me than being alone with Jamie and the kids, so we kicked around the idea of making this Sweden tour a family affair and trying to book enough concerts to pay for all of our plane tickets this time (this is my seventh tour over here). We realized furthermore that Aedan will be 15 this year, which means we’re running out of time for a trip like this. Well, one thing led to another, and we decided that if we’re crossing the dadburn Atlantic we may as well make it count, which led us to booking concerts in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In addition to the shows (fifteen of them, I think), I’m trying to finish The Warden and the Wolf King while I’m here, and I’m really hoping that walking these ancient lands will season the story in the best way. “So much for rest,” I hear you thinking. But just having the family close by will be for me like riding the eye of the hurricane.
The trip only began yesterday, but I’ve already learned so much about life and the Lord and how faith might work. See, I’ve wanted to play in the U.K. for more than a decade, but it’s never worked out. I’ve wanted to bring my family to Sweden since my first visit ten years ago, but it’s never worked out. This year, though, we felt such urgency about the trip that we decided not to wait for the concerts to show up. Rather, we looked at the calendar, chose a window of time, then told as many people in the U.K. and Sweden: “We’re coming this summer and we’re looking for help.” Not, “We’d love to come, but we can’t unless we get X number of gigs.” Not, “Let’s wait and see how this pans out, and maybe it’ll work.” We just decided to make our plans as if it was a done deal. This isn’t a blog about how to book a tour in Europe, of course, because what worked in this case might not ever work again, for you or for me. But now that I’m sitting in the half-light of Stockholm at 4:56 a.m. listening to my family sleep, I think back to a meeting with my manager and booking agent in January in which we decided that we weren’t going to wait for this to happen. We were just going to do it. It felt like Indiana Jones and the leap of faith.
I know some of you guys have always wanted to write a book. You’ve always wanted to ask that girl to marry you. You’ve always wanted to actually build a friendship with that neighbor, or start that ministry, or right that wrong, but things just never worked out. You’re waiting on the Lord, when maybe the Lord is waiting on you–he’s not waiting to bless you; he’s already done that and will continue to, regardless of your zeal. And he’s not waiting to “show up,” because he’s already there. I mean, what if he’s waiting for you to have a seismic shift in your understanding of what it means to be his child, what it means to trust him, to finally realize that the sky’s the limit–like the father of the prodigal son saying to the self-righteous one: “All that I have is already yours.”
Finally, I want to ask you to pray for us. In sixteen years of touring I’ve never left home for two solid months. Nashville never seemed so beautiful than the day we left, and I had to resist the urge to hug random strangers on the street. Leaving for this long is an awfully romantic notion, but in the end I’m really just a homebody who travels for a living. And if this is as crazy of a trip for me, imagine how crazy it must feel for Jamie and the kids! Crazy, indeed. So yes. Pray for us. Pray for the audiences, for safety, and most of all please pray that we would be ever mindful of the great love of God as we carry that love to everyone we meet.
That’s what I’m thinking about here in Viking land today. Or tonight. Wait, what time is it in Nashville? Aw, forget it.
(Skye’s face in this picture is hilarious, by the way.)
If you live in Sweden or the UK and you want to know where we’ll be, click here.
If you want to follow me on Instagram, where I may or may not post pictures from time to time, click here.
Greetings from Orebro, Sweden! I wanted to give you an update on The Warden and the Wolf King, so here it is: I’m working on it. I’m in the middle of an adventure with my sweet family, partly to do some concerts, partly to rejuvenate, and partly to finish this book. I’m doing a tour of Sweden and the United Kingdom this summer, and my hope is to get the book finished here in the company of castles and viking ruins. I don’t have much else to say, except that I can’t wait to see how this story ends. We’re going to start our Kickstarter campaign very soon, so keep a close eye on the blog. Beware of toothy cows.
Back to writing,
Oy, Dear Readers!
I would apologize for the long silence, if that long silence didn’t mean I had been working on the new book. I’ve written up to chapter 23, which is when everybody finds out that Gnag is actually not a bad man, just a bad wizard, and someone named Dorothy and her lion friend tell the Jewels that there’s a space/time portal under Anniera and they zap themselves to the 1950′s and save Marty McFly’s parents from never meeting right before destroying the One Ring.
Over the years I have learned that there will always be at least one person out there who will read this and think, “Really?” For that person’s sake: the previous paragraph was a joke. Except for the part about having actually written up to chapter 23. And I’m so excited about that part. I’ve got some pretty cool news regarding the illustrations for the book, which I’ll announce soon and very soon, and we’ve even got a tentative release date, which we’ll announce soon and very, very soon.
If you don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook (my Facebook artist page, that is), now’s the time. As I write chapters I often include the last sentence or a word count, just to prove to you guys that I’m not sitting around. It’s easier for me to do a quick update there than to write a whole blog entry, especially when my fingers are sore from typing. Now that my latest tour is almost over, I’m shifting into high gear on the book, which is intimidating and exciting all at once. I can’t wait to tell you this story.
Now, I need your help. We’re going to put together a fun promotional video for the Wingfeather Saga which will feature a collage of videos from kids and grownups alike, telling us what you like about the books, who your favorite character is, maybe acting out a scene, giving us your best Fang snarl or your best Podo “Arr!” Upload it to YouTube or Vimeo, then email the link to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line WINGFEATHER VIDEO. Keep it simple, be as creative as you like, and try and get it pretty close up on your face.