Bordewich Bray Elementary School physical education teacher Kinkade DeJoseph celebrated a 25-year accomplishment this week with the release of his novel, “The Raven and the Crow: Dark Storm Rising.” The epic fantasy novel is released under his pen name, Michael K. Falciani, in honor of his father, Michael Falciani. The “K.” represents his own first name, Kinkade. DeJoseph has taught for 22 years, 21 of those in the classroom, he said. While he’s at Bordewich now, he’s also worked with sixth and seventh graders at Eagle Valley Middle School. But writing a fantasy novel among his other outdoor interests such as hiking or playing softball and basketball wasn’t necessarily something that came quite as naturally at first, he said.
Carson High School student Jaden Anderson demonstrates the logo she created for Bordewich Bray Elementary School teacher Kinkade DeJoseph’s book. (Photo: Jessica Garcia/Nevada Appeal)
“Fantasy’s always been a passion of mine, but it takes a lot of time, a lot of world-building, a lot of character development,” he said. “I was getting my degree. I was probably 23 years old at the time, and you have children, you’re coaching and you’re busy and you have a life and a full-time job. You don’t always get the time you want, so many things interfere.”“The Raven and the Crow: Dark Storm Rising” follows two story lines, one focusing on siblings Kildare and Zedaine who have left behind any respect for the law, DeJoseph says. “They’re a couple of vigilantes,” he said. “They’ve had some things happen for themselves and they don’t care for the laws or rules anymore. They work outside the law.” The second plotline involves a wizard known as Macklore of Brisbane, sent to the city of Gallanse and winds up in the midst of a succession. Macklore has to learn how to outwit the demented ruler Dragomir to remain alive, with both stories eventually blending and coming together, he said. DeJoseph said the book is “gritty” with its elements of humor to it, insisting it’s more appropriate for young adults to adults than children. He hopes the adventure story, the start of what he plans to be a six-part series, is about family, choices and consequences, and it was inspired by a walk across a boneyard in Blue Mountain after he had moved to Nevada. “I was staring at this gigantic ring thing, and I thought it would be great if I could walk through this,” he said. “That’s really how it started – on a 105-degree day. I hadn’t seen a cloud in months.” While it did take time and the pandemic caused its own delays last year with the editing and publishing process, he’s also happy with a special collaboration and opportunities the project created in working with some Carson High School students. The book – and the series DeJoseph is producing – needed some cover art and a logo. DeJoseph credited CHS graphic design teacher Patricia Ababio as a “catalyst” for agreeing to the project and as a community service for offering to the deal, which he also said his publisher also supported. Ababio said she agreed to it because she thought it would be challenging for anyone taking her courses, of which her students progress through various levels of graphic design. Interviews were set up via Zoom with DeJoseph and his publisher and students had the opportunity to review the book. Students submitted concepts through Ababio, and DeJoseph said entries were narrowed down to seven and finally the top two with discussion about what would work best for the book, impressed by the various scenes the students created. “To me, it was a really nice opportunity for the kids to experience what it’s like in the publishing industry world,” DeJoseph said. “They had so many good entries in the contest.” Students are required to create their own small business in their final year, Ababio said, so they create their own logo, business card and brochure. DeJoseph’s project was a chance to put these presentation skills to the test by asking certain questions and formulating their own concepts. “It was real-world application, which was very valuable for the students, and we talked and they took time to make some drafts,” Ababio said. “We said these would be only be rough drafts. The students put their heart and soul into it.” Ababio said students asked about particular color themes or font types DeJoseph was looking for, the overall “feel” of the book. Many went into the project “blind,” she said, so they inquired about the characters, environment, genre and other elements he had hoped to highlight through the art. “I think the biggest (takeaway) was hope for the future,” Ababio said about the students’ involvement in DeJoseph’s project. “Now they see this is real, that this can be a career.” Students Damien King and Jaden Anderson’s artwork ultimately were chosen. Anderson, whose logo was selected, said being a part of the process and then being chosen was intriguing. “It was really exciting,” Anderson said. “It was my first time ever talking to an author and publisher and something with a publisher.” Anderson said her classmates were helpful in determining what was needed for the project. “We asked pretty good questions what the book was about,” she said. “I think if we didn’t have the opportunity to ask what he specifically was looking, I would have been way off (in the design). It was really helpful. … Like, this scenery was really interesting, the scenes where he showed the sun.” Anderson said working on the logo has opened some opportunities for her as she prepares to attend the University of Nevada, Reno in the fall. While she is unsure about what she might major in, considering education for now, she says she intends to keep graphic design as a hobby for now. “I think the experience has helped me more,” she said. “I know how to attack different things … but I want to keep it on my terms.” DeJoseph said he hoped his book would inspire other local writers to publish their own works, referring to fantasy writer David Eddings who died in Carson City in June 2009. Eddings completed more than two dozen novels including the “Malloreon series.” “…(Eddings) lived around here and I don’t think people even knew that and he was a world-famous author,” he said. While DeJoseph now has the summer off to focus on some other projects, he looks forward to moving forth in the series. The second book is complete and in the editing stage, which he’s looking forward as well as those who already had an early glimpse of “The Raven and the Crow.” “Everybody who’s read the book has said, ‘When’s the next book coming out?’ because we want to know what’s going to happen,” he said. “That’s nice to hear.” “The Raven and the Crow: Dark Storm Rising” is now available on Kindle and in hard copy. For more information, go to https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09717GFMQ.