Bodacious Creed is the title of my upcoming novel. This steampunk zombie western got its start as my master's thesis project, which may sound strange, until you consider that my MFA is in Animation and Visual Effects, with a focus on 3D modeling. At Academy of Art University, in the Animation and Visual Effects department, a thesis is a complete demo reel showcasing one's relevant artistic skills.
I loved the class that kicked off the project. It's called "Pre-Production," which is also the first wildly creative phase that goes into coming up with any movie or television show. It includes coming up with a genre, characters, settings, and a backstory. For me, it also meant working with a graphic artist for concept art, and building my library of texture resources. I knew I wanted to do something western steampunk related. Later, I came up with the zombie angle, and from there the project was on its way.
It took from January 2010 until December 2011 to complete the entire demo reel, and of course I learned to be a better 3D modeler and texture artist.
I also realized that I really wanted to write a novel about the characters. We have an alternate, steampunk American Wild West in 1976, a year when, if you'll pardon the expression, a lot of shit went down along the frontier. We have main characters Bodacious Creed and Anna Boyd, a tough U.S. Marshall and a young brothel madam, respectfully. We have the undead. To me, this was a recipe for something amazing.
In 2013, I figured a great way to bring in some new fans was to run a Kickstarter campaign. Also, I wanted it to be more than about preordering a book that hadn't been written yet. I've written three novels (currently two are available), so I was (still am) confident about my ability to write this one.
Here's the really cool part. Running the Kickstarter campaign made it possible for me to get other people involved, to various degrees, in the story. For example, the top contributor is appearing as a main character in the book. He's a great guy who wanted me to include a fictionalized version of him, and the character is terrific. Another backer got to name one of the main characters and suggest his role. A real pop-folk band, Coffee Zombie Collective, backed the project and they are appearing in the book as the Whisky Zombie Collective. One of the really fun things about that is Bodacious Creed takes place in a very fictionalized version of Santa Cruz, California. That's where I'm from. Coffee Zombie Collective often plays there, and that's where I first got to enjoy one of their performances.
Those are the basics! You can read more about the setting, characters, and other details from the links up top.