Dear friends and followers,
It is with great pleasure that I announce to you that THE "CAT’S PAW" CAMPAIGN IS LIVE!
So do please go and tell ’em that yes, you really would pay to read this. Most of you have been through the funding campaign for "A Gentleman’s Murder", and all of you know how it works. Every pre-order represents a vote to see the book published.
More importantly, this will show that "A Gentleman’s Murder" was not just a flash in the pan: that this really could be my life ... tell me you love me.
But you must be wondering, what is "Cat’s Paw" about?
It’s the story of one Roger Linwood as he returns home for his adoptive father’s funeral, only to find that the old man’s death was murder, and that a clause in his will leaves the entirety of the Linwood estate, in the case of an unnatural death, to whichever one of the three Linwood children -- Roger, Alan, or Caroline -- first identifies his killer. But the case seems fairly clear: the only person with access to the scene was Lady Linwood, their adoptive mother, a woman so frail and emotionally devastated that her guilt seems quite unthinkable. Of course, nothing is quite what it seems ... not even the world of Roger Linwood’s idyllic childhood.
While the story is set in the same period as "A Gentleman’s Murder", and while it does involve a murder investigation, this isn’t a Peterkin sequel. It’s quite a bit darker, with an edge of Gothic horror. My plan had been, in fact, to work on the next Peterkin mystery, but this story cut in line and insisted on being told.
The muse will not be denied.
The Inkshares Mystery/Thriller contest goes live tomorrow!
And so does "Cat’s Paw".
Watch this space, or follow the project. Remember, it’s the pre-orders that convinces Inkshares of the viability of a book project. In the case of a contest, it’s the number of individual people placing orders that counts, not the number of orders; so the more of you there are, the better.
Also maybe check out the other books going into the contest. Right now, I’d like to draw your attention to "Gumshoe Rules", by Z. Z. Traver. It’s classic hardboiled, but I suspect there’ll be a slight postmodern spin to it as well. It apparently revolves around something called the Z-Machine ... which a handful of you might recognise as an interactive fiction reference. I’ve already put money on it, and you should too.
It was always my intention to follow up "A Gentleman’s Murder" with a sequel featuring Eric Peterkin on another sleuthing mission. That is still my intention; however, what was supposed to have been a short story to warm myself up seems to have turned into a full-blown novel, so it appears my next book will be a stand-alone novel instead.
Well, Agatha Christie’s second novel wasn’t a Poirot story, was it? Think of it as a palate-cleanser.
The working title for this next book is Cat’s Paw, and it’s a tale of Gothic suspense rather than a straight-up whodunnit ... something somewhat darker in tone than anything Eric Peterkin would get up to. I encourage everyone to go follow the project now. It appears that Inkshares is planning to kick off a mystery contest this coming Friday, and I intend for Cat’s Paw to be a part of it. Pre-orders will open then.
1921: Sir Lawrence Linwood is dead, and his three adopted children -- Alan, Roger, and Caroline -- have returned to the remote village of Linwood Hollow for the funeral. What begins as a bittersweet reunion turns sinister when the visiting chief inspector assures the family that Sir Lawrence was murdered -- and that the evidence points to their own mother, a woman so frail and emotionally devastated that any idea of guilt seems unthinkable.
Is Lady Linwood really stricken by grief? Or is it fear? If she didn’t do it, then it can only be one of the three Linwood siblings. Whichever of them identifies their father’s killer will be named the sole heir to his estate, but how badly does each of them want that prize?
Hello My Lovelies,
Quick note to update progress on MINE, formerly titled Murder Happens. I’ve been plowing through the draft with the editor’s notes, and a crazy system of capturing story particulars via email.
Most ideas come to me either right before I fall asleep, or when I wake up first thing in the morning. These ideas are fleeting, so I grab a mobile device and tap out the gist of it. Then I roll over and go back to sleep.
When I read the note later, it’s usually gibberish without context, but somehow it still works. I’m a kinesthetic learner. I doodle in meetings. My work notes are complete nonsense, but I retain a lot of info in the old Fearce melon.
I work on the story every day. Once again, I’m closing in on the denouement of the manuscript. Second draft. I feel good about it, like it’s ratcheting up toward super tight. Like Dutch (a.k.a. Elmore Leonard) always said, cut out the parts no one reads. I been whacking the crap out of MINE with a hatchet.
If you’re not following along, go here now and do it.
There’s quite a few of you I’ve told that I’ll check out your work, or have bought your book with the intention of reading it, even reviewing it. I fully intend to follow through on those promises, but this juggernaut needs to get finished.
Also, there’s a lot of great books in the Staff Syndicate. The most recent selections are funding. Check them out, too. Pre-order a couple. Pay it forward for when your time comes.
September 15, 2018
Great news! I just heard from a friend that she has received her printed copy of "Shadow King."
That means if you ordered a printed copy, you should get yours over the next several days (if you haven’t already). And if the emails letting you know your ebooks are available have not gone out yet, you should get that in the near future.
Reviews rule! Once you’ve had a chance to read "Shadow King," please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Reviews are hugely important when it comes to promoting a book -- and the magic number on Amazon is 50. Once a book gets 50 reviews, it will start appearing in the Amazon recommendations.
I’ll update again soon with more news!
Full confession: I’ve been having a very hard time with some personal things lately, so I haven’t been so terribly diligent on updating everybody. I’ll spare the details (this update is going out to something like over 600 followers of The Animal in Man!), but you should be aware of a couple things:
THE ANIMAL IN MAN FINAL COVER IMAGE!
UPDATED BOOK-SIGNING EVENT DATES
The release date of the Animal in Man was pushed back from late September to October 30th due to some printer issues. Therefore, the events I’d booked had to be pushed back as well.
The Book Cellar, Chicago - - November 1st, 7:00 - 9:00 PM (4736-38 N Lincoln Ave)
Barnes & Noble Naperville - - November 10, 2:00 - 5:00 PM (47 E Chicago Ave)
I’m hoping I can see all my dear animals out en masse.
Happy #MushAnch Monday! I said I’d be updating every other Monday to hold myself accountable, and here I am.
I don’t have any news about the book to share today, admittedly. As I only submitted the manuscript about 2 weeks ago, I’ve yet to receive any news. Thank you for patiently waiting alongside me. I know that when I do have news, it will be worth sharing!
I’d like to hear about you. Now that I’m peeking my head back around Inkshares more often again, I’d love to hear about your projects--new, old, funding.
I have a bit of news about my other projects. I’ve amalgamated my online presence to "The Practical Escapist"--everything will be under that umbrella name online now. I have already switched over my Facebook, Twitter (@ThePractialEsc), Instagram (@thepracticalescapist), Ko-Fi, and Patreon, and I’m working very hard on my new website. I hope it will be ready for official launch by September 24th--the next #MushAnch Monday--so I can parade it around for all of you!
I’ll be sure to have a meatier update next time, but it’s good to check in, just in case. Shoot me a "hello" and let me know what you’re up to!
May your adventures be fraught with wonder and just enough danger to keep them interesting,
K. M. Cooper
September 6, 2018
I just got back from a ten day trip to West Virginia, which was in many ways a fact-finding mission for the edit of Rock of Ages. I took pictures of details-- patterns of shelf lining and rugs, interviewed family members, and spent time at the local historical society looking at old papers and photos.
I’m 45,000 words into the rewrite now, and I’m particularly excited about the part of the novel that follows a woman who moves from WV to Washington DC in the 1940s to become a "government girl" and classify fingerprints for the FBI. I found lots of amazing sources on our trip, including internal newsletters from the Bureau, and I’m having so much fun incorporating some of the details into the book.
I’ll keep you updated as I move along with this process. I can’t wait for you to read it!
Hello readers! The funding campaign for A Feigned Madness continues! In the way of an update, I want to talk about two numbers: 82 and 27.
Stay with me because I think you’ll find them compelling.
Let’s start with 82.
Much of A Feigned Madness takes place inside a women’s insane asylum. Nellie Bly, in order to get the attention of the newspaper she so desperately wants to report for, deliberately puts herself there. If she can expose what’s going on inside by writing about her account, they might (might!) just hire her.
But the thing is, it’s 1887. A time when so little is understood about mental illness. Many asylums, if not most of them, are simply one-way tickets to Hell.
When I was researching the book, I wanted to know not just what happened to Bly once she was inside, but how the women she met landed there in the first place. In my research, I uncovered a gem. I found one asylum’s list of reasons why patients got admitted.
And it horrified me.
From 1864 to 1889, the West Virginia Hospital for the Insane compiled a list of reasons why inmates were placed into that asylum. The list, taken from a log book, is one bizarre road trip to You’ve Got to Be F$*&-ing Kidding Me.
How many reasons were there? 82.
There are a few that aren’t terribly surprising: brain fever, congestion of the brain and epileptic fits, for example, would likely have caused severe enough symptoms to necessitate hospitalization at least for some bit of time - although we can argue the efficacy of “treatment” at a time when so little was understood about these things.
But some of the others? Here’s a taste:
And then there are those concerning women:
-Medicine to prevent conception
-Fits and desertion of husband
And my personal favorite: Novel reading.
Based on this list, anyone (then and now) could’ve been committed. I mean, who hasn’t been stricken with “grief,” “greediness,” or “fever and jealously” at some point in their life? And what hope for release for the poor fellow with nothing so much as asthma?
You never know what you’ll undercover doing research. Sometimes the little details, that remarkable factoid you find, can enrich your story immeasurably. And it’s what entertains readers. The women Bly befriends at the asylum have their own reasons that ultimately lead to their admittance to the Blackwell’s Island Asylum. I think you’ll find them as shocking (and sad) as I did.
Now for that other number.
If every follower of A Feigned Madness who hasn’t yet pre-ordered places an order, my sales would increase 27%. That’s a sizable bump. I’d like to see it happen. Inkshares has been incredibly supportive so far by making it the pick of the month in two categories, but it’s pre-orders that move the needle.
Thank you ALL so much for hanging in there.
Until next time,