Sunday, February 7, 2016

Jumpstart Proposal

I have a proposition.

At present, I am moving forward on a second draft of my new novel, The Fifth Man.  I have completed the first draft, which is at the moment about 80,000 words.  In addition to rewriting the early middle part of it, I am also working on the early chapters in order to make it available to my editor, who corrects my continuity errors and ensures a good quality product.  This is the same editor I employed for my works How to Run, How to Play a Character and the Dungeon's Front Door.

The novel is a fantasy tale that takes place in an imaginary world called Fallow.  A young man, Herzog, discovers that his father may, or may not, be acting as a traitor against the King of Fallow. 

Throughout the novel, the protagonist is compelled to defend his father, never quite knowing if his father is a traitor or not.  As the plot unfolds, his father seems uncomfortably involved in sedition, espionage, conspiracy and assassination.  As Herzog gets in deeper, he finds himself taking a part in these doings, pressing him to evaluate what sort of man he is becoming.  Not only does the book question whether Herzog’s father is a good man, but whether Herzog is himself. 

Most of my readers know well my skills at piecing together complex ideas in an easily understood and opinion-altering fashion. I have written strong books on role-playing, game design and the art of presentation.  I have put together an ongoing project filled with images and intriguing concepts in the form of a gaming wiki for D&D.  I have written a prolific and community respected blog that will soon be moving into its 9th year. I don’t think anyone who has read my blog, Tao of D&D, believes that I can’t write or create imaginative, believable characters.
It is only that, at the present, I find myself in a position of financial difficulty, making it hard to complete this book I have planned. Therefore, back against the wall, I am turning to my readers to help me get over this troubling time.

In return, I intend to offer rewards to those who would be willing to support me, to motivate readers to back my project. I have given this much consideration and have been careful to choose rewards that will give a personal touch.  These rewards should contribute to the quality of games run by my readers, while not distracting me from the work my novel requires.

My goal is to raise enough money upon which I can live and focus for a three-month period: $6,200. The rewards I’m offering for donations from my readers are as follows (all prices in Canadian Dollars):

  • For $10, I will provide an online copy of my latest gaming adventure, Ternketh Keep.
  • For $15, Added to the above, I will also provide plans to the Airship I've created.
  • For $25, Added to the above, I will also give as a bonus an 80-page preview to my book, no less than two weeks prior to the official publishing date of the novel.
  • For $50, Added to the above, I will handle the purchasing and sending of the book as soon as the book is published.
  • For $75, Added to the above, the copy received by the reader will be personally signed by me, along with a gamer girl t-shirt (as long as supplies and sizes last).
  • For $100, Added to the above, I am prepared to work the reader's name into the novel, promising at least one story significant line (as long as unused characters remain).

I would ask that all donations be made through the donate button found on my blog's sidebar.

Please allow me to share a piece of my project with my community, enabling you to take part in a great experience that will enable me to produce the best of all possible creative works.

See comments below for further details regarding the rewards offered.


  1. $10: I can provide Ternketh Keep in a publisher or a jpeg format. The supporter should specify. In Publisher, the features and visualizations of the keep can be manipulated by the reader, used to make new rooms or new adventures and have the additional benefit of giving a clue as to how I have drawn and prepared these images. I’m afraid that the publisher files I am providing can only contain material that I’ve made, without any visuals provided by other online companies. I will do my best to email all content the morning after the donation was received.

  2. $15: The ship, like the Keep, can be provided in publisher or jpeg format. The supporter should specify. In addition to the ship, I am also providing the images of the top-down character figures I’ve created. These are also fully interactive, enabling the supporter to adjust shapes, change up weapons or helmets and once again get an idea of how I’ve created these figures. If requested, I am also prepared to send a blank hex map in publisher or jpeg format.

  3. $25: At present, I expect the novel to be published in the last two weeks of May. I am hoping to complete it before that time but this will depend upon the support I receive. I’m considering a May 31st deadline an absolute limit no matter what difficulties that face me. I should have the whole project fixed by late April, making it possible for me to provide the 80-page preview (earlier if it is understood last minute changes may be made to some descriptions or character names (due to donations). It may be necessary to send the preview in PDF format.

  4. $50: I am able to directly purchase and send the book through Lulu myself, without actually needing to have the book in my hands. This will free my supporters from keeping watch on whether or not the book has been published, so long as I have the supporter’s correct address (I usually receive this through paypal).

  5. $75: This will require that the copy be received first by me, so that I can sign it, before passing it along to the supporter. This enables me to add the t-shirt as I will be mailing the book directly. As long as I am free to send the package by ground mail, I will pay shipping.

  6. $100: I have approximately 14 minor characters that I can adjust or adapt to present a good line at some point in the novel. Some of these are more important than others; I will give options to supporters, as some may not want to have their name given to a particular type of character. I feel I can create 5 more characters if needed, associates or followers, whose lines would probably be less significant. If it happens that I must turn to these characters, I will let the reader know, and will inform the reader (and return any donations that might arrive) if I run out of potential characters altogether. I will allow the supporter to get a preview of the scene where their character would appear.

  7. No doubt, I’ve forgotten something. I give my assurance that if the supporter is not satisfied, I will take reasonable steps to make things right, updating modules, other materials and providing additional details as necessary to give the best experience.

  8. Hi Alexis, that sounds like terrific value. I was just starting to wonder if you would return to Fallow. Thanks again for sharing with your readers all the work you do here. I look forward to reading more!

  9. I'm in! The tiers are priced in Canadian dollars, yes? Those of us south of the border have a pretty good exchange rate.

  10. Yes, I should have said: Canadian dollars. I'll update the post.

  11. This is a terrific cause and you can count on me to contribute the moment next paycheck rolls around!

  12. Canadian dollars? And here I was considering a contribution of good, ol' fashioned American money!

  13. Hey, JB, if you want to pay in good, ol' American dollars than don't let me get in the way of your thinking there. You go ahead and do whatever's comfortable, whatever makes you feel more at home and most attached to your dear, sweet Unc'e Sam. I'm sure he'd bless you and kiss your forehead for always holding truth, justice and the American way in your heart and your head, just as your forefathers did.

  14. Considering what some writers charge for cameos and hand signed books online in Kickstarters and such, I would say the 100$ pack is a steal.

    Especially considering the expected quality and variety of content.
    Heck the lowest tier isn't even a sheet of stickers.

  15. I will gladly donate towards your next project. I have been grifting creative content from your blog and your other websites for about 3 years now. I wish I could do more. I wish my circumstances were such that I could be more of a sponsor.

    I appreciate that you came to the blog readers before going to a Kickstarter or other crowd funding sources. I can't exactly explain why I feel this way, other than that you have given us readers an opportunity to pay it forward for the hours we have spent reading your material. I, for one, appreciate that nearly all of the very specific information I need to make my game better can be found on one blog. I don't believe there is another collection of websites where I could read as much thoughtful, competent, creative, and complete content than the

    So thank you Alexis for bringing my game out of the dark ages.

  16. I can say now that I have the materials that they are of excellent quality! Kudos to Alexis for a well-crafted and interesting module. I will probably use it as an opportunity to get more familiar with Publisher.


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