What is Cal Wild?
(either read this, or click any of the images throughout this post to go directly to the campaign, but I recommend reading this first, and then visiting the campaign)
Cal Wild is California, years from now, nearly destroyed by civilization, with not much left but desolation and a few glimpses of humanity… and some hope. If this were television, Cal Wild would stretch a seven- or eight-season series on HBO, or perhaps Netflix, and you would fall in love with each of Gene’s characters to no end. Perhaps someday this series will get to that, but it all starts with these books, which will hopefully paint a world for you in more colors and more depth than can ever be adapted to screen.
Over the last 30 years, Gene O’Neill has created this colorful world, and now he’s ready to share it with you in this collection of illustrated trade paperback books. GAK will be illustrating each book in this series, and is currently at work building a four-part panoramic front cover that will span across each of the books if placed one next to the other, and when flipped over, will create a four-part panoramic back cover! How awesome is that? If you’ve had a chance to at least flip through the latest Written Backwards anthology, The Library of the Dead, you realize what you’re in for with GAK illustrating all four books of The Cal Wild Chronicles.
The Confessions of St. Zach starts the series, introducing the crimson man, named such after he is dyed a dark crimson red for his crimes, That is what we do with our criminals in Cal Wild. He is one of the Dyed People, or DP’s, each whose body is completely stained (for life) the color fitting the crime. During his survival, he runs across a green woman, and others that are dyed various colors spanning the spectrum. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue… what does it all mean? The trade paperback for this book is scheduled for late fall / early winter 2015.
Then comes The Burden of Indigo, the second in this series, and perhaps one of Gene’s most beloved novels about a man dyed for the ultimate sex crime. “The Burden of Indigo” is one of (if not the) first short story published by Gene, expanded as a novel, and follows an indigo man who thinks his colors are slowly fading. The trade paperback for this book is scheduled for late winter / early spring 2016. This book will make you weep.
Late spring / early summer 2016 will bring the third in this series, The Near Future, a fitting title, since the book will be published in the near future, and you will have it in your un-dyed hands sooner than you think. But… you can look forward to a novella included in this book that offers a love scene between a scarlet man and a light blue woman, among other things.
Last in this series of four books isThe Far Future, which is scheduled for a late summer / early fall 2016 release. This fourth book should wrap up this colorful world in a nice little package, and will include an original short novella called “The Dark Green Woman.” When you get to the end of this book, you will realize what an amazing journey Gene O’Neill has taken you through, and will want to pick up the first book and start all over again.
So, there you have it. Four books by Gene O’Neill to paint his imagined Cal Wild, each completely illustrated by GAK, and released each quarter from the end of 2015 to the second half of 2016. Consider this your subscription service to Gene’s O’Neill. Help with this campaign, and you can get a new book by Gene delivered to you each quarter, and perhaps some other fun swag (and books!) depending on how much you contribute, and how far these stretch goals… stretch.
Why a campaign? Well, this is the first time Written Backwards has ever taken on such a large project as this (4 illustrated books, all at once, along with other projects in the works), and doing such takes an amount of resources that would otherwise not be there, and, as many writers out there are aware by now, Written Backwards pays its contributors what they should be properly paid. This will see to that.
If you want to test out the waters, or are limited by the amount of dough in your wallet, I recommend pre-ordering the first illustrated book in the series, The Confessions of St. Zach, or perhaps starting with one of my favorites, The Burden of Indigo. This will only cost you $25, will help this campaign immensely, and if stretch goals are met, you will take home not only 1 of these fine books, but a copy of Gene’s latest illustrated novella, At the Lazy K, along with your choice of any book from the Written Backwards library. So, 3 books for $25, and free shipping (in the US)! Can’t really beat that. But yes, you can…
For a $100, you help this campaign even more, and get a copy of all four illustrated books, including The Confessions of St. Zach, The Burden of Indigo, The Near Future, and The Far Future, which you can arrange side-by-side to create either a four-part panoramic image spanning the four front covers, or you can flip the books over and arrange them side-by-side to create a four-part panoramic image spanning the four back covers. Plus you get a copy of his illustrated novella At the Lazy K, which has a tie-in character to these books, along with not 1 book of your choice from the Written Backwards library, but 3! So, 8 books for $100, and free shipping (in the US). I’d say you can’t really beat that, but, well…
A few other perks include Gene O’Neill writing you into one of his stories, or perhaps a print of any of GAK’s creations from this entire Cal Wild series, along with those 8 books (including shipping in the US), for not that much more of a donation to this worthy cause. Yet, there are even better deals if you’ve got the dough to spare…
For $250, you can be an official Cal Wild sponsor, getting you all the perks mentioned above, plus recognition and cross-promotion up the wazoo until the end of this four book series.
For $500, you can be an official Written Backwards sponsor, getting all that previously mentioned stuff, plus recognition and cross-promotion up the wazoo until the end of 2017, along with copies of any or ALL (yes, all) Written Backwards titles, including future releases to the end of 2017. So, 11 potential books to-date, plus however many are published over the next two years (probably 4, or maybe more depending on how many novellas are released), plus a few best friends for life, and some (I’m going to mention it again because I’ll stick to it) seriously crazy cross-promotion. I’m looking for authors and editors and publishers to fill these sponsor roles. You will get your money’s worth, no doubt.
Anyway, if you haven’t yet had the chance to visit the campaign, feel free to do so now, although you may just want to scroll down a bit through these stretch goal images… and then click on any to visit the campaign.
If you can’t meet the $25 minimum for books, any amount you can provide to this campaign will help. But look at all this cool stuff you can get!
One final question, which is usually a staple question with publishing campaigns: Where will all the money go? The answer should always be: The the writers, and illustrators, and well, the bare amount necessary to bring these books to life. Feed the creators of this world. Help bring Cal Wild to life!