Less than one week to go!

Ladies and gentlemen, we have less than one week before the end of the Inkshares Mystery & Thriller contest. We’re currently at second place with 119 readers, but anything can happen in a week, and our friends down in 3rd and 4th are just hitting their second wind. Do we have a second wind? I hope we do. If you know anyone who might be interested in a tale of suspense -- of murder, conspiracy, and suspicion -- be sure to point them this way. Don’t forget to check to see if you really have placed your order.

And remember, pre-ordering a physical copy of the book also gets you the e-book bundled in together!

Today is the 20th of November. In the original scheme of things, the Inkshares Mystery & Thriller contest would have ended on the 24th of November, four days from now; however, the deadline was extended some time back to the 14th of December, which means we have a little more breathing room.

Or, it means other people have the breathing room to catch up to us....

Well, we passed the Hundred Reader mark a few days ago, and just yesterday, we received the backing of the Staff Syndicate. That’s great news. If we can reach 250 readers by the 14th of December, it’s publication and no questions asked. It seems like a big hurdle, but hope springs eternal, and an honest effort could still count for much.

Remember to check your online Inkshares bookshelf, especially if you’ve not received a personal thank you email from me. It would be terrible to miss out on things simply due to "technical difficulties".

For now, though, I have a novel to write. You’re going to love it.

Welcome to November. The days are noticeably shorter now, and the trees are beginning to shed their red and gold. Tomorrow is Guy Fawkes Day in the UK; a week from now, Remembrance Day or Veterans Day or Armistice Day, depending on where you are. And for writers, it’s National Novel Writing Month, embraced by many as a means of getting themselves in gear to get the first drafts of their story down on the page.

I’ve stepped away from my outlining and begun putting words on paper, too. I’ve learnt a lot since "A Gentleman’s Murder", and I expect the process now to go significantly more smoothly than before. I expect to see "Cat’s Paw" published by November 2019, if this contest works out. And whether the contest works out for me depends heavily on you.

I hope you’re telling your friends about this.

For me, though, it’s back to hitting the keyboard -- sometimes literally. The important thing, after all, is the creation of the story, and the plan is to make it all definitely worth your while.


- Christopher Huang

Dear friends,

We’re at the halfway mark of the Inkshares Mystery & Thriller contest with "Cat’s Paw" in second place. Nothing’s for certain, so do please check to see that your order’s been counted. If you can, ask a friend if they’d be interested in pre-ordering a copy as well. Remember that when you pre-order a print copy of this book, you also get an ebook download bundled with it.

So let’s go make this book happen!

Speaking of making books happen, there seems to be some good stuff happening on Inkshares right now.

Top of the leader board for the Mystery & Thriller contest is "Gumshoe Rules", a hardboiled detective story set in the middle of the Cold War. The author knows his noir, so you might want to check it out.

Over in the Horror contest, "The House That Fell From the Sky" features a house that appears in the middle of the city out of nowhere. A bunch of people are set to enter and investigate, and you know that nothing good can possibly come out of it.

And for those of you who prefer epic fantasy, there’s "Bane of All Things". The tech level’s a little more advanced than usual -- they’ve got gunpowder -- and I found the excerpts to be a pretty easy read despite this being not normally my thing.

Don’t forget to come back home to "Cat’s Paw", though. I’m counting on you!

- Christopher Huang

Dear readers,

We’re at the three week mark for the Inkshares Mystery & Thriller contest, counting 71 individual people and a total of 102 books pre-ordered. We’ve still got some distance to go, and about five and a half weeks to make it in. There’s been an issue in the past couple of weeks of orders not being processed as expected, so please check to see if "Cat’s Paw" is listed on your account bookshelf under "Purchased". I make sure to send out thank you emails during this pre-order process, so if you think you’ve ordered but received no thanks from me, that’s usually a sign that something’s gone wrong somewhere.

Meanwhile, there is also the Inkshares Horror contest, with its own host of entries. The one that’s caught my eye at the moment is "Ereshk", by Frederick Street which pits "an alcoholic ex-cop, a washed-up arms dealer, and a fugitive stripper" against a mysterious cult. I guess I’m attracted to it because it borders on being a crime story, and, well, you know me and mysteries.

I was recently in touch with J. T. R. Russell, author of "Wake Up Call", which was returned to draft mode after its initial campaign a year and a half ago. I remember being disappointed then, as I was looking forward to this story. I thought it had a certain Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams quality about it -- perhaps it reminded me a bit of Adams’s "The Long, Dark Tea-Time of the Soul". Not to worry: Russell apparently still has plans for the book, and I would recommend following it in case he opens up a new campaign or does anything else with it.

In the meantime, the available excerpts for "Cat’s Paw" has been updated with a new prologue. Check it out!

- Christopher Huang

Dear readers,

For all of you in Canada, let me wish you a happy Thanksgiving. May your families all be more functional than the Linwoods of "Cat’s Paw" turn out to be. (Roger Linwood, as the story begins, would tell you that his family is very functional indeed -- he doesn’t know yet that it’s all built on a lie.)

I’ve described "Cat’s Paw" as being "Agatha Christie’s ’Ordeal By Innocence’ meets H. G. Wells’s ’The Island of Doctor Moreau’". The first part is easy enough, knowing that Roger Linwood and his siblings are adopted. But, knowing that I’m steering well clear of science fiction and fantasy, can you guess how "The Island of Doctor Moreau" fits in?

Family obligations over the past week mean I haven’t been able to devote as much time as I would have liked to working on "Cat’s Paw", and I’m sorry to say that we appear to have slipped down to third place in the Mystery & Thriller Contest rankings. I sincerely hope each of you might be able to introduce this book to a friend; and if you’re still on the fence, that you might consider adding your backing to it as well. We can still do this.

And for all of you who’ve done anything at all -- by promoting it elsewhere or especially by backing it yourselves -- I offer my heartfelt thanks. It’s Canadian Thanksgiving, after all.

- Christopher Huang

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to "Cat’s Paw".

The "Cat’s Paw" campaign is running in conjunction with the Inkshares Mystery & Thriller Contest. This means that, although your pre-order confirmation emails mention a 30 January 2019 deadline, our real deadline is actually 21 November 2018. It also means that, until then, we’re counting the number of readers -- that is, the individual people ordering -- not the number of books ordered as is usually the case. For this reason, I’m asking each of you to see if you can’t get at least one friend on board. I’m sure you all know at least one person who’d be interested.

We’re at a rather precarious 2nd place in the contest at the moment. I don’t mind saying that it has me feeling rather anxious, though of course we’re only a week into the contest and a lot can happen over the next two months.

I’ll discuss more about "Cat’s Paw" and the inspirations behind it in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I’d like to draw your attention to this Facebook fundraiser a friend of mine has started for the American Cancer Society. Cancer is a nasty business, to put it lightly, and these people are doing some very good work.

Keep up the good fight,

- Christopher Huang

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