Check your wallets, folks

Ever go to a public event and it’s so surprisingly good, you’re sure it’s only a distraction so you won’t notice your money clip just got lifted?

Yeah, it’s kinda like that. Our inert, dawdling, obstinate author finally completed his third work, and we’re so dumbfounded we’re patting our backsides to make sure we haven’t been pilfered.

And only six months behind deadline… It’s like Amelia Earhart just landed at Logan Jetport and said, “Oh, hi, fellas. Did I keep you?”

Oh, Hi Fellas! Did you miss me?

So what now?

We at C.O.P. have to brush off the cobwebs then get rolling with edits, artwork, layout, and printing so we can get this beast into your hands, dear readers.

Not for nothing, we’re excited to share this one, even more so than the others. And please, forgive us for the delay. We understand painfully what it means to be kept waiting. Unlike some…

As for our author, that delinquent philistine, we think it only fair you devise some wretched torture to serve penance. Email us your dastardly suggestions. The most diabolical wins. With photographic evidence upon completion.

See, Farnham? There’s always a premium for tardiness.

Ever forward.

C.O.P.

Our First Moonbase will be a Casino


Here we are, back again for the booze-soaked meet and greets, cross-pollination, and bad decisions that make Las Vegas a must for our seedy little dealings.

Last time we flew in at night, so all we saw was the luminous ‘Strip’. How a pilot can land in all that glare is nothing short of miraculous.

This time, we approached in daylight over a desert landscape of hills, crater-like calderas, and ancient lava flows. It was a topography more suited to the moon than to human habitation, yet there the city shined in spite of itself–proof that money is the most nutritive of all fertilizers.

Sure, breathable air is a pretty big difference from moonscape. The sun seemed just as bright, though. And while Las Vegas may not exist in a vacuum, it wields a powerful vacuum effect on pockets, lines of credit, home equity, retirement accounts, and dignity. From the second we touched down until our escape flight home, we felt a constant draw on our wallets like we were standing in front of a jet intake. It wasn’t until our detox on the long flight home that our addled brains came to terrible revelation:

Outer space is airless not because of molecular scarcity and gravity, but because the fabric of the universe is made of casinos.

We release this hypothesis to the scientific commons in hopes it may finally lead to a breakthrough in String Theory.

Now, having said all that, one might think we didn’t enjoy ourselves.

Hardly.

As we’ve noted in the past, we love going places where others are paying. There are advantages in being a small press, you see, so long as you have good business partners. And our partners took excellent care of us.

The pinnacle of the trip was dining at Twist in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. We entered through a long stone hallway lined by candles and fresh tulips like the entrance to Pharaoh’s tomb. Inside, the place was intimate, tasteful. The service was prompt attentive. The food… The food was as alien as the city. Culinary Philistines that we are, we tucked right in.

In short, the flavors were complementary, harmonic, and synergistic in effect. From Zezette Broth to Mediterranean Sea Bass to Chocolate Latour cake, the experience was of being in the presence of great art. Seldom are we acquainted with the truly unique and special, so it was with sadness and shame that we reflected upon what it would become in eight hours.

Business (mostly) concluded, we opted for a more familiar bacchanalia:

From our taxi, we spied a Bavarian-styled building rising up from the avenue like a beacon of hope to the common man. Naturally, we stopped in to pay our respects to the landlord.

After two liters of German courage, our author found himself on stage with staff, hat, and a hot mic. Whatever he was shouting, it sounded like outtakes from the movie Das Boot.

For a performance that bad, punishment was inevitable. Not like it took much convincing to get the waitress to throw him over a table and beat him with a wooden bat (A lady can take only so many bad pick up lines, you know).

We saluted her Teutonic vigor and slipped her a twenty to ‘Put some stank on it’.

As for the new book, progress on Exhausted Dead continues. Barring any serious mishaps (like sudden disappearance of the author, for example) we expect a finished manuscript by April with a final production release by end of June. Ambitious goals, considering we said the exact same thing this time last year.

C.O.P.: Any smart comments, Farnham?

Farnham: …

C.O.P.: Good. ‘Cause if you miss this deadline, we’re shipping you to Bogota in your underwear and a DEA T-shirt.

Ever forward.

-C.O.P.

We’re getting good at this…


What are we getting good at, you may ask? Scoring trips to ultra-decent places on someone else’s dime, that’s what. This time it was down to Clearwater, Florida for a mixture of business and pleasure.

The business part was mercifully brief, allowing us to appreciate the location and amenities.

Sunsets on the Gulf of Mexico were spectacular.

The pool/lagoon was pretty fantastic, too.

Ok, so instead of bragging about our trip,
(did we mention it was T&E all-inclusive?)

we give you, dear readers, an update on the months-overdue book from our notoriously inert author. An ending is in sight.

Those who have journeyed from Cadre One to this dark place have been through a savage and unrelenting hell. Confrontation with boundless cruelty, with morbid curiosity, with an absence of remorse has changed them deeply inside. Of those who come through, not all can be considered survivors.

Believe us, we’d love to share it with you. Ahem. If someone would hurry up and finish it…

We know the book is very late, and you’ve been so patient with us. We have to be careful about rushing, however. Quality really suffers. And we won’t print something we can’t be 100% proud of. Please know this is an absolute priority. We’ll keep Farnham chained to his MacBook until the manuscript is finished and ready.

Before we go, there’s one more part of the trip we have to share. This was the absolute pinnacle moment:

From the smile on Farnham’s face, you can clearly see he thinks a fan has recognized him and is taking a snap shot. In reality, this guy simply couldn’t believe anyone would be so daft as to lay in the sun, by the pool, wearing all-black.

Naturally, we had to preserve this moment for posterity, had to share it with the world. Should’ve seen Farnham’s face when we told him.

Farnham: Hey! You can’t see it but he’s wearing an Empire Strikes Back shirt! Frickin’ Millenium Falcon right on it! Definite Sci-Fi guy. I mean, come on! Totally fair assumption.

C.O.P: Except that it wasn’t. And you’re a dork.

Farnham: Keep it up. See if you get any pages this month.

C.O.P.: (recovers from painful laughing fit) Oh my, that would be different.

Farnham: (closes laptop) Fine. I’ll be in the bar. (leaves)

C.O.P: (snags passing employee) Hi, excuse me, do you you work here? You do? Good. Do you see that person in black over there? Yes, he keeps following us around, but he isn’t with us. I think he’s checked in under our name as well. Could you check to be sure we’re not billed for his expenses? And here’s a little something for your trouble. Thank you ever so much.

We live for these moments…

Always,

C.O.P.

First Twelve chapters posted at Authonomy

Angry Ghosts comprised parts one and two. Black Hawks From a Blue Sun comprised part three. Now, part four can be seen in its entirety at Authonomy.com. Just click the box below.
Click here to see The Exhausted Dead

For anyone keeping up, you know that the title for our conclusion to the series has been, ah, problematic.

(To say the least.)

We’re proceeding with one of our alternate titles, The Exhausted Dead, because it simply fits better with the overall theme. And because we really want distance from that whole Sarah Palin thing. Here’s an early version of the back cover copy:

For a Cadre Operator, there is no retirement but death.

Savagely wounded, and barely alive, Thompson, Argo, and Beckert return from Earth. With them, they bring shocking news: the colony company Soshiba Varicorp provoked the attack which wiped humanity from Earth and her colonies. And their principle agent was Captain Braemar Keller.

Imminently practical, the Cadre is only interested in tangible facts, data which gives them an advantage in combatting their ancient reptilian enemy. The Colonists, feeling intense rage and betrayal, howl for Keller’s blood. When the two groups most need to cooperate, the issue polarizes them.

Thompson, forever changed by his experiences of breathing free air on Earth, is torn between his duty to the Cadre and his longing for a better life. But in the end, he must choose for them all whether they will live in peace or end their days as the Exhausted Dead.

Happy Frakkin’ Holidays

Hectic.

With madness. Lots of madness.

That’s a pretty fair summary of the last few weeks here at C.O.P. It may have seemed quiet. But, uh, no.

Work goes on with the third and final installment. A little slower than we like, but it goes. We’re anticipating the completed work by May with the editorial knock-arounds and design/formatting done by July. Considering our author has yet to give us a defensible title, well… It’s motivation time!

Sadly, we just can’t decide, so we leave it to you, dear and faithful friends.

Perhaps some new office furniture?

or maybe some inspiration from Holy Mother Church?

Those zany Spaniards!

Ah, torture. Nothing puts us in the seasonal spirit like cruel and unusual punishments. But then, we’re a modern publishing company. That should be taken as given.

C.O.P.- “As for you, Farnham, let’s keep those chapters coming. We’re starting to feel a bit…Inquisitional.”

Farnham- “You don’t scare me. I worked retail…”

C.O.P.- “We all had a job in retail once…”

Farnham- “…for thirteen years.”

(Awkward silence broken by shuffling feet.)

C.O.P.- “We’ll sing Christmas Carols.”

(Air in office occults with tangible fear)

Farnham- “That’s wanton.”

(staring contest ensues)

C.O.P- “I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum…”

(Maniacal shrieks. A door slams. MacBook start up tone sounds, followed by clacks of key strokes)

And business resumes…

We’ll be sending our notoriously untanned author out into public this month. Keep an eye out for him in Massachusetts area bookstores.

Til then…

C.O.P.

First Draft of “Book 3” Complete

Book 3…?

Feh. Really, Farnham? You still don’t have a title for us? You wrote the whole thing out, and nothing comes to mind?

Authors.

Looks like once again, we’ll be coming up with the title. How about,

FINALLY Someone in this Story Does the Nasty

or maybe

Blueskins Who Do More Than Die

or even

Coping With the End of Your Entire Civilization: A ‘How To’ Guide

Nah, didn’t think so.

All kidding aside, we’re excited about this last installment. Where the first two in the series were radically different in story, pace, feel, this one combines elements of both. Maiella’s absence in the second book was lamented by many of you, a feeling we thoroughly understand. So it will please you to learn just how heavily she factors in the conclusion.

Angry Ghosts had emotional weight to it. Though we recognize the book’s flaws as a first work, we still love the message it contains and are enamored with the principal characters, Argo, Maiella and Thompson.

Black Hawks From a Blue Sun had a chilly, sterile feeling about it. That was by design, since the reader is along for the ride on a Cadre mission to occupied Earth. The lush, overgrown forests have returned to most of the North American continent, yet are juxtaposed against the blasted, irradiated ruins of Mankind’s greatest endeavors. The book is deeply cynical in places. Again, we understand why that would turn many of you off. Yet it is the beginning of understanding to a much greater question:

How does one end the cycle of violence?

In the story’s progression, we see our modern world filtered through the lens of a dystopic future. The Cadre’s Problems, the Colonists’ problems, even the Blueskins’ problems are our own. And it’s easy to become deeply cynical about them. But there is always the choice to remain cynical and ineffectual, or to risk all for positive change.
On this exact question, there is dissension in the ranks which made the first draft of Book 3 such an enjoyable read.

(Book 3? Dammit, Farnham, you hear how lame that last sentence sounds? If we don’t get a working title soon, we’re breaking your French coffee press.)

Keep checking back for Black Hawks reviews and for updates on the progress of…ahemBook 3.

-C.O.P.

We’re calling it “Book 3″…

Look. If we were great writers, we’d just do everything ourself. So the working title for Mr. Farnham’s new book is Book 3. Catchy in its honesty, neh?

We knew Black Hawks was going to sting a bit with such an abrupt ending. Not to mention the fact that a LOT of you were waiting to catch up with Maiella again. So here’s something to keep you going, at least until Mr. Farnham gives us a better working title.

Book 3 Chap 1

Book 3 Chap 2

Book 3 Chap 3

As always,

-C.O.P.