If you’ve already pledged to the campaign, your copy of Blades & Brawls will be activated as soon as anyone pledges this week, so be sure to share the Mystic Marauder campaign by clicking on the social media links on the main page or by sharing through our Mystic Marauder Giveaway (or by telling everyone about it over Thanksgiving dinner, if that’s your style! 🙂 )
About Destiny Blade:
I was born on the island of Tortuga. My mother died and one of her brothel customers taught me to be a thief. I stole and stole and stole until I sneaked my way into a pirate ship at fourteen.
By sixteen, I was running my own crew. I fought and scraped my way into this life and my grandmother’s bruja magic didn’t do me any favors. Healing magic was pretty much useless for a pirate who only wanted to kill and to steal.
But what’s the life of a pirate without adventure? I never expect to live past my twenties anyway.
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Excerpt from Maps & Massacres, the Mystic Marauder Prequel
Henry St. John, Third Son of the Earl of Northridge
I spent all afternoon at the taverns near the wharf, searching for someone who could provide what I needed. But Father wasn’t the only member of our family with connections. By dinnertime, I had made my arrangements.
My willingness to spend my father’s money with reckless abandon to get what I wanted helped. After all, it wasn’t like I was going to be around to suffer his wrath.
I cashed in several of my own accounts, as well, secreting my wealth in stashes hidden around my body and in the single bag I packed to take with me.
After dark that night, I made my way down to the Port of London. Giant sailing ships crowded the Thames, and it took me longer than I’d anticipated to find The Shadowheart, moored as she was away from the docks.
Finally, I found a dockhand willing to row me out for a few shillings, and we waited in the shadow of the ship. From high above me, I heard a rustling, and then the thump, thump, thump of a rope ladder slapping down beside me. I glanced up to see the face of the sailor I’d met that afternoon peering down over the railing, just long enough to wave a hand at me to hurry up.
The ladder swayed underneath my feet, reminding me of the games I had played in treehouses on my father’s estate when I was a child. I made my way up as quickly as I could, though by the time I reached the top, I wished I had thought to bring gloves. Even my worst riding gloves would have been useful.
The sailor helped me scramble over the railing and onto the deck, then shushed me as I started to thank him. Tugging me along behind him, he led me to a hatch leading belowdecks.
At least this hatch had a ladder made of wood leading down. The hold he led me to was close and dark and dank. It smelled of old seawater and the damp wood of barrels tightly packed, full of grain and alcohol and other goods.
He led me to a back corner where the cargo had been arranged to form a hollow space behind and under crates and barrels. It wasn’t obvious unless you knew it was there. And it wasn’t very big, either—there was just enough space one person to hide in if he curled up to sleep. One end of the hidey-hole stretched tall enough for me to stand straight, but only barely.
“You’ll need to spend the bulk of your time here,” the sailor instructed me. The makeshift cabin held a tin plate, a metal cup, and a single lantern with only the tiniest bit of oil. The sailor gestured at it. “I’ll replenish that as I can, too, but shipboard stores are carefully accounted for—I can’t promise much. You’ll probably want to save the light for later in the journey. I’ll open up the hatch during the day when I can, but sunlight will be even rarer than lamp oil.”
He pulled a few candle stubs out of his pocket. “I nabbed these, too, but the last stowaway we had near went mad, trapped down here all hours of the day and night in the dark with nothing to do but think.”
I nodded, thankful I’d thought to pack a book in my pack—at least I’d have something to while away the few hours of light I managed to get.
“I can bring you food every couple of days,” the sailor continued, “but you’ll need to be careful not to draw attention to yourself. If you do get caught and you’re lucky, the captain won’t toss you overboard immediately.” He shrugged. “Then again, she will put you to work, and you may wish you’d ended up walking the plank. Especially once we get to Australia and she sells you off as an indentured servant—or worse, reports you as a transported criminal just to punish you for stowing away. Much better to hide all the way there and let me sneak you off the ship as a free man, even if you’re an insane one by then.”
I nodded, though my heart was pounding. Was it worth the risk just to avoid going into the clergy?
Yes, I decided. I cannot live a lie.
I pulled a coin out of my purse and handed it to him. I didn’t let him see how much more I had—better, I thought, to pay him in increments than to risk having my throat cut in my sleep if he thought he’d soaked me for all I had. Not that he couldn’t do that and rifle through my lifeless body and belongings, anyway. I had to hope he was more trustworthy than he looked. Or at least greedy enough to hope for more every day.
He gave me a scratchy, rough-smelling blanket, and left me to come to terms with my new quarters.
I settled in for the longest, loneliest journey of my life.
Publishing on Kickstarter
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When we get halfway between stretch levels 2 & 3, we will include a surprise bonus–an original watercolor of a scene from Mystic Marauder! Everyone will receive a digital copy, and all merch-level backers will receive a postcard print of the image.
Over the weekend, we reached our second stretch goal! That means everyone who backs the campaign will be getting pirate- and witch-themed stickers.
And our next stretch goal is the additional villain origin story, featuring the vampire Thomas Le Baron. We’ll share our cover for that with you soon.
Remember, if you pledge before the end of the day today, you will get A History of the Pyrates and The Witches’ Dream Book and Fortune Teller--plus any other bonus books we offer between now and the end of the campaign!
Supporting publishers and authors on Kickstarter allows us to keep bringing you more projects with great new backer rewards, so be sure to click over and share Mystic Marauder on social media. Also, check out these other great publishing projects below.
Also, we’re announcing our next stretch goals. As we noted before, the $3000 stretch goal will include special header designs for ebooks (they’re already included in the paperback and hardcover books) and a gold-foiled pirate-themed bookmark for all levels including merch.
At $4000, we’ll be adding special pirate- and witch-themed stickers (physical for merch backers, digital for everyone). And at $5000, we have an amazing bonus for everyone–we’ll share it once we unlock the $3k bonus!
This week, our bonus book is Cali Mann’s short story collection. If you’ve pledged to the campaign already, you’ll get all the bonus books (and we have more coming!).
Thank you SO MUCH for your support and encouragement! As the campaign continues, we’ll be adding more surprise bonuses to celebrate and share with you, so be sure to spread the word.
While we continue to work on getting everything ready to send to you, we’d love to know: What would you be interested in seeing as a bonus on this (or any) campaign? Let me know with a comment on this post.
Don’t forget–YOU can star in a witchy pirate story!
If you pledge before Oct. 19, you can get a story starring YOU added to your swag box without paying anything extra. (You can still get the bonus story after the 19th, of course–but the early-bird specials are going away then!)
Publishing on Kickstarter
Before you go, check out these fabulous campaigns, too. Backing publishing projects on Kickstarter allows authors and publishers to keep offering great new campaigns!
We’re so stinking excited about this project and hope you are too. We really appreciate your support in bringing Destiny Blade and her pirate mates to life.
Early Bird Rewards Ending Soon
Just a heads up that EARLY BIRD rewards are only available for a few more days. If you want one of these special collections or want to recommend them to a friend, now’s the time.
Do go and check out the new images of the art (both clean and NSFW versions) that are now posted on our Kickstarter page. We’re so pleased at how they turned out. We’re sure you’ll agree that they are amazing.
YOU in a Mystic Marauder Story
In case you missed it, you have a chance to star in a Mystic Marauder story along with getting all the books in paperback or hardcover!
Other Kickstarter Publishing Projects
Check out these great projects by other authors–backing Kickstarter publishing projects allows authors to keep bringing you more exciting books!
Again, thank you so much for supporting our project!