Learning Curve

It’s exhausting, exhilarating and expiring…in 11 days.

We’re just over three weeks into The Adventure Kickstarter. It’s a 33 day campaign that ends on Oct. 30th and by now, I’ve definitely learned a thing or two about crowdfunding a creative project.

Here’s my top three:

  1. People are insanely generous and supportive.

    • I’m an introvert. I’m one of those people who might check Facebook daily but rarely posts to it. Obviously with crowdfunding, you have to be a lot more active than one or two posts a month. My introverted self cringes at this. I really don’t want to be annoying to everyone who has been awesome enough to follow my social media pages. However, I’m learning the more you share your experience, the joys, the worries, the ups and downs, the more people want to support you. The more they care, and share, your moments. It’s crazy and awesome.
  2. Crowdfunding is an exhausting and exhilarating emotional roller coaster.

    • This might be one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done. There’s a level of exposure to crowdfunding that goes against my paranoid tendencies. But, with the energy and love I’ve put into writing The Adventure, I also really want people to respond to it. So I watch the Kickstarter page like a hawk. And on the days of low or no activity, my brain immediately dives into the worry cycle of “I’ve lost momentum! What am I going to do?” A whole 24 hours passes and my worry is chocking…then someone backs the project and my elation soars and tears threaten my eyes. (Yes, I can be a basket case sometimes. My poor husband). Obviously this is a twisty, turny, uppity, downity roller coaster that in the end will totally be worth it.
  3. There isn’t enough preparation in the world!

    • Adventurer's JournalI prepared for the kickstarter in every way I knew how. Now that I’ve gotten into it, I realize that there were more things I could have done. There’s obviously a balance here. You can hit a point where the preparation is really just stalling, but if I run a kickstarter in the future, I’ll definitely be looking at more ways to spread the word. They say it takes at least three times for people to see something before they’ll act on it. Except for friends, it’s kind of difficult to get that high level of exposure for such a home grown project. This is where I need to be bolder. I need to be willing to approach more media, more people in general, who can help get the word out.

There’s my top three. Honestly, I could write whole essays on each one of these and barely scratch the surface but such long monologues would be self indulgent and probably boring to anyone unless they’re running a kickstarter too.

Thanks for listening to my shortish monologues and for sharing in my experience so far!

Blessings,

Jennifer

(We’re 82% funded so far! Thank you to everyone who has shared, supported and encouraged The Adventure process. 18% to go and the project will be 100%! I’m doing a happy dance.)

Advertisements

The Adventure Cover Revealed!

The Adventure Front Cover

As I said in my last post, I couldn’t be happier with how this cover turned out! Thank you to Joseph Apolinar for all his hard work.

This image is from Moonrise Mountain, the first adventure story in the book. You’ll just have to read it to find out who the old man is =)

Blessings,

Jennifer

The Adventure Full Cover

(As I said in my first cover post, the cover, front, back and spine, are all created as one image. Here’s the full image for The Adventure)

Cover Reveal Part 2

The Cover of a book might be harder to create than any other illustration…The Adventure Cover Part 2

I haven’t asked Joseph Apolinar his thoughts on this, but I can say the cover took longer to produce than any other illustration in The Adventure.

There’s just something to it that makes it more daunting, like riding a larger motorcycle. It’s still riding, but there’s so much more to think about!

But that extra time on the cover was totally worth it. Traditional publishing houses decide the cover of a book, not the author. They do this all based on what they think will sell. It makes sense but it’s such a cold way of going about it.

This cover, to me, has a lot of heart and came out beautifully. Of course I want it to sell but more than that, it’s a cover I’m proud to present.

Here’s the next part of the The Adventure’s cover. I’ll present the full image this Thursday! Be sure to stop by =)

Blessings,

Jennifer

P.S Any new guesses on which adventure story this image pertains to?

 

Artists, Amazing Artists

I’m a writer but expect me to draw a picture and you’ll get a stick figure.

Stories flow through my brain all the time, it’s a constant river of possibilities. I’m gifted this way.

But I am not gifted in drawing, in illustration, and the people who are gifted this way boggle my mind. They enrich the world in a way I cannot. Thank God for such people.

Adventure Stories are Illustrated

It never occurred to me not to illustrate The Adventure. In fact, this is the first time the possibility even crossed my mind. It’s a hideous thought. Strike it from the record.

Adventure stories are made for illustration!

So, part of figuring out publishing The Adventure has been finding someone to illustrate it. Umm. Again, I wasn’t sure who to reach out to. This was no small project with over 50 illustrations and a cover to produce.

In the end, I found two amazing artists to work with and the connections I have with them I would never have considered before this project.

The first artist, Joseph Apolinar, is a coworker of my husband’s.

He’s got a crazy busy schedule but, somehow, he managed to produce 2/3rds of the illustrations plus the cover. This is just as much of a learning process for him as it’s been for me but I love his work and it’s totally been worth it. I was looking for pencil sketch kind of artwork and I got exactly what I wanted with his work.

The cover will be revealed soon but here’s some of his work to whet your appetite.

Snow Storm Sketch from The Adventure Book

This is the Snowstorm from Moonrise Mountain for those of you familiar with the Adventure Story.

Figure Under Porch Sketch from The Adventure Book

This one is the porch that starts out The Tournament for those who have explored that Adventure story in the past.

The Second Artist, Justin Allen, is a childhood friend’s older brother.

(Talk about a distant connection!)

I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw Justin. But when I spoke about how much work I was asking of Joseph, my dad mentioned he still had contact with Justin Allen and he might be a good person to contact.

It was a shot in the dark that totally paid off. Justin’s got some experience in Illustration (I think) and was thrilled at the offer. There are three stories in The Adventure and Justin illustrated one of them, The Temple of Night and Wind. His work creates a beautiful contrast from Joseph’s, giving each story its own distinct feel. I couldn’t be happier with how his illustrations turned out.

Here’s a couple to give you an idea of what I’m talking about:

Howling Maw Sketch from The Adventure Book

This one is the Howling Maw from The Temple of Night and Wind.

Prism Statue Sketch from The Adventure book

This is one of the many tunnels you might end up exploring.

Amazing artists!

Again, I love how these turned out and these, along with the 50 some other illustrations look even better in the book. I can’t wait for everyone to see!

Blessings,

Jennifer M Zeiger

Temple of Night and Wind

On the adventure stories, I always promise I’ll re-run them so readers can find out where a different set of choices will lead. That’s half the fun of the Choose Your Own Adventure books, right? Well, since I’m on vacation, it seemed like the perfect time to post a second run to an adventure story.

So, today starts your adventure. Since this one’s already been run once, if you’re interested in seeing the first set of choices, check out Temple of Night and Wind under the categories, then come back and make today’s choice. Choose wisely, you never know what you’ll find deep in the earth where the sun doesn’t shine.

(For those of you who are nerds like me, this is a nod to the Elder Scrolls Skyrim.)

Temple of Night and Wind

Tucked way back in a mass of twisting rocks that sprout like moles from the forest floor sits a mouth to a cave. It’s low to the ground and hard to see but you know what it is as soon as you see it.  It’s the Howling Maw.

People say it eats people. Those who go in rarely come back. But they also say the few who make it back to daylight come back stronger and richer.

You’ve been out hunting but haven’t found anything. No one’s been finding game lately. You and the others are starving but you’re from a poor village, so it’s not like you can buy the food you need, you have to shoot it or grow it and it’s a lean year.

Photo courtesy of Sebring's Snapshots.
Photo courtesy of Sebring’s Snapshots.

You’d never consider going into the Howling Maw otherwise, but if you make it back, you can buy the food everyone needs. And you have your hunting bow and knife. You’re better armed than most in the village.

So you venture down. The Maw surrounds you and then darkness takes over and you can’t see a thing. Trailing a hand along the right wall, your left rests on the bow over your shoulder. The floor slopes downward sharply and gravel crunches on stone at every step. Your breath echoes in your ears. It’s the only other sound besides your stride.

A cool wind picks up, fluttering against your face. You blink but your eyes aren’t playing tricks. There’s a wavering light ahead.

You round a corner and come to a stop. Before you a torch sits burning in a wall bracket. It illuminates two possible ways.

To the left slants down even more with stairs cut deep into the floor. Stairs? In a cave? But there’s no mistaking it. The wind’s howling up those stairs and blowing your hair with its strength. On the wind you think you hear whispered words.

To the right is a heavy wooden door with iron bands. Below it flickers light from the other side.

You swallow. Both ways indicate you might encounter someone.

Do you…

A.Go left down the stairs?

Or

B. Go right through the door?

Temple of Night and Wind Option B: Go Right Through the Door

Ghosts creep you out and the whispering on the wind sound way too much like a ghost. So you place your hand on the latch of the door and move slowly so as not to make any noise.

Once you have the door open far enough, you peek your head into the room and find it empty despite the large fire dancing in the pit in the middle of the room.

Half the room’s caved in in a jumble of jagged rocks but the part still standing has two small tables against he wall.

Stepping fully into the room, you move to the two tables and find a single book on each.

One’s titled Below the Cavern and the other’s Through the Darkness.

Opening Below the Cavern, you twitch because the picture on the page looks like the room you’re in and standing at one table looks like someone with the same build and hair as yourself.  You swing around but there’s nothing behind you.

Looking back at the book, the figure moves as you go to turn a page and you pause.

The picture’s exactly like the room, cave in and all, except for a tunnel on the far wall. A thin chain glows beside it that tunnel. You look up. Sure enough, there’s a chain on the far wall.

Shivering, you thump the book closed.

Then you move to investigate Through the Darkness.

The first page is the same room, figure, fire and all except for a door barely revealed by the figure’s left shoulder. A lever in the floor glows under the table.

This time you realize there’re words under the picture.

Through the darkness you may find a friend and gold but only if you are bold beyond the dragon’s breath.

Checking Below the Cavern, there are words there too.

Take a breath before you descend, there may be treasure on the other end but only if you pass the wizard’s bend.

Do you go…

Bb. Below the Cavern?

Or

Bc. Through the Darkness?

Temple of Night and Wind Option Bc: Through the Darkness

-Through the darkness you may find friend and gold but only if you are bold beyond the dragon’s breath.- 

Something about Below the Cavern makes your skin crawl and darkness doesn’t really bother you, so you pocket Through the Darkness and pull the lever under the table.

As the picture depicted, a door opens, letting out a gust of chilly air.

You pull a torch from the wall and enter through the door. It slams behind you and the torch goes out with a puff.

Great! Guess they were serious about the darkness thing. You drop the useless torch and place your hand on the wall.

The floor slopes drunkenly left and right but seems to be moving straight forward for all its unevenness.

The wind that puffed out of the tunnel continues to blow past you, chilling your face and making your fingers where they hold your bow numb.

You grip the bow tighter and keep moving. There’s a puff of warm air. Very warm air.

You pause but it doesn’t come again so you start forward again…and feel a puff of hot air in your face.

It’s filled with the stench of rotten meat. You freeze and, on instinct, look above you.

Two slitted eyes glow back.

You scramble for your knife because the creature’s too close for you to draw your bow and get a shot off.

“No, no,” whispers a voice, “keep walking. The knife’ll do you no good.”

You hesitate.

Keep walking?

“Be bold beyond the dragon’s breath, not under it! Keep walking.”

Do you…

Bc1: Keep walking?

Or

Bc2: Attack the creature?

 

Temple of Night and Wind Option Bc1: Keep Walking

The voice was quoting the book and it hasn’t lied to you yet. So you sheath the knife, pull an arrow, ready it and start walking again.

Those slitted yellow eyes follow you with great puffs of hot air across your face.

“Smart one,” says the voice, “when I tell you, shoot right between the eyes.”

Your hands shake but you keep moving across the uneven floor.

“Almost,” the voice says.

The eyes blink and there’s a great wave of foul, hot breath but they stop moving as you continue.

“Now!”

You bring the bow up and shoot. There’s a thunk. The eyes blink and dim and then disappear altogether.

The hall floods with light and you find yourself next to a hunched green man who, despite his hunch, does not look old.

“Spectacular!” He exclaims. “No one’s trusted me like that before.” He points up.

You loot at where you last saw the eyes and see a glass cage with small, round holes. The great serpent couldn’t get to you but you couldn’t see it in the dark.

It’s blood drips from where you shot it, flaring and sizzling on the glass. It’s what’s filling the hall with light.

Your shot, you realize as you continue to look, went through a perfect, tiny circle in the glass.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” you ask.

“I’ve told others. They all didn’t listen.” He shrugs. “Name’s Rodderick.” He sticks out his hand and you shake, telling him your name.

“Let me show you your reward.”

He ambles down the hall and opens the door to a small closet.

Inside is a chest full of gold. Enough to feed the village for years to come.

“I can’t carry that,” you mumble.

“Then don’t.” Rodderick holds out a small satchel, “take some and come back. I’d love the company from time to time. Just don’t tell people. They tend to die when they venture into the temple.”

You accept the satchel and agree to his terms. After the bag’s full, you sling it across your shoulder and groan. It’s almost too heavy to carry but Roddderick leads your out, slowing his pace for you, and shows you where you can get back in later.

Then he waves you off and you return to the village triumphant.

You keep your secret by telling people a distant uncle died, leaving you a small fortune.

Even still, you’re careful when you return for more gold. Rodderick gives you a big, blue-toothed grin every time you return and you’re glad you trusted him. He turns out to be a friend you can rely on for life.

The End

Congratulations. You not only survived but found gold and made a new friend!

Blessings,

Jennifer