Posts by KM Cooper

First retreat of 2017

Posted by on Jul 14, 2017 in Components of other posts | 0 comments

It’s funny that I started doing these last fall–near the end of the year, as the season started waning. It became a pivotal point of change for me. Spring often feels like that, but in more of a re-awakening sense. That was certainly the case this year. As my life has grown increasingly hectic over the last several years, this disconnect from society has become necessary for me. An escape into the forest of any kind is refreshing when I’m feeling overwhelmed, but a complete 24-hour unplug and hideaway seems to wipe the slate clean altogether. This spring in particular was an important time to unplug because I was about to embark on a crowdfunding journey for Mushroom and Anchovy, and I knew I’d need to take this time to gather the energy to see it through. I’m not going to say much about this one, as it’s already taken me nearly two months to get to this point. I went on my retreat during May 25th, 2017, and am now at the point that I’m looking toward the late September retreat already! But regardless, I worked on lots of different things, I wrote some new things and planned others. I gathered images that will be used for a project I began to flesh out at the last Retreat. I stayed in Chignecto North this time–again in an Otentik–in my attempt to squirrel myself away for a brief time. While I preferred Point Wolfe overall, I made some interesting travels and discoveries that wouldn’t have been possible had I not stayed in Chignecto. More on that later! I started my daylong journey as all May experiences should: by admiring the new growth and vegetation the world had managed to bring forth during the short window of time that is spring. My favourite discovery was the triad of burgundy trilliums I found on my way through the campground. I crossed the road and went to Chignecto South, having spent a lot of time travelling through that campground during my youth. I remember a summer with my now-husband, walking through those woods with him while we talked. I camped there with Girl Guides, and, two summers ago, went to a star-gazing event with my father in the picnic area there. I have a picture of myself with the staff of the Corn Crib in that same picnic area when I was pregnant with Amelia. Dad and I spent winters cross-country skiing in the backwoods when I was a child. Being in such close proximity to this campground seemed to call to me, and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I found a lot more than I planned. I followed through a few side-paths and entered onto what looked to be a long-forgotten campground. I called it the Campground Graveyard. Too cool. Broken-down and destroyed water taps, picnic tables, and overgrown paths. And then… this little guy. He was so calm and docile that I thought he was dead. A gentle nudge proved otherwise. I got right up in his face and he didn’t even mind–it seemed he was about to shed his skin. After over 2 hours of journeying in this area, it was time to go back and have some supper. I built a fire and relaxed for a bit… after writing a few pages worth of notes, of course.   The next morning was pretty rainy, as late May tends to be, but I still had gotten a great experience out of it all. It gave me the opportunity to stay in and work on a couple of projects I’d been neglecting… some art projects, most namely. I’ve heard from a good friend of mine who’s doing her own Unicorn Cave-style retreat, and I sincerely am looking forward to the early fall, when I’ll embark on my next one. My husband believes these are so beneficial to me that I should be going on one a month–I’m hoping to get to that point, one day! Maybe quarterly will be a good bridge goal. Have you done any retreats like this, yourself? Are...

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Mushroom and Anchovy press release

Posted by on Jul 8, 2017 in Components of other posts | 0 comments

Mushroom and Anchovy press release

Local Writer K. M. Cooper’s Next Book, Mushroom and Anchovy, in the Works FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE JUNE 29 2017, MONCTON, NB – Local writer K. M. Cooper, author of Moncton-based zombie novella Hub City Survival, is currently seeking to get her next book published. Mushroom and Anchovy, a three-part steampunk adventure novel, is currently being funded through Inkshares, a book-specific crowdfunding platform that professionally publishes books through a preorder system. Mushroom and Anchovy follows the journeys of Patricia “Anchovy” Finnigan and Vladimir “Mushroom” Kalkov, professional adventurers. Their adventuring company, the Panzerotti Group, organizes hunts and adventures to locate fabled or lost items. Mushroom and Anchovy work together for the first time to locate jewels, but find a lot more. When a fellow agent is murdered, they have to learn to work together, and fast. Especially since anything can happen in a cursed cave… Inkshares is a crowdfunding platform that helps writers with interested audiences get professionally published. At 250 preorders, the book will receive a light publishing package, complete with some editing and digital distribution, and at 750, a full package, including graphic and cover design, as well as promotion and distribution to brick and mortar bookstores. The novel is also entered in the Launchpad contest, which seeks new ideas and new author voices in the publishing and entertainment worlds. Placing in the top three of this contest will also guarantee Mushroom and Anchovy’s publication. A number of well-known producers are analyzing the submissions. More information is available for the Launchpad Contest at http://www.tbhlaunchpad.com. Ebooks are available for preorder at $10 USD, and print copies for $20 USD, through Inkshares at https://www.inkshares.com/books/mushroom-and-anchovy. Readers can also enjoy the first three chapters at no charge at that link. The campaign will be going until early September, after which point the project will receive publication if the 250-750 goal is met. Cooper can be reached at kmcooper.ca@gmail.com for further information....

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The case for self-publishing

Posted by on May 19, 2017 in Life in Writing | 0 comments

  Self-publishing is a bit of a polarizing topic. It does certainly have some shortcomings, but I feel that a lot of good writing gets overlooked due to its perceived stigma. I self-published my novella Hub City Survival six years ago. Would I have done things a little differently today? Absolutely–I don’t think anyone can say they didn’t make mistakes in their time, especially with a six-year gap in between. There are scenes I would have re-written altogether, there’s dialogue I would have scrapped and I certainly would hired someone to smash it down with a hammer. But I didn’t, and I’m okay with that. Here’s why: Hub City Survival wasn’t even supposed to get published. In fact, it just kind of popped out one day. I started writing it on DeviantArt and quickly gained a small following. It was a short project. As it gained popularity and reached its conclusion, I decided I wasn’t done with it, so I decided to compile it and sell it. Self-publishing Hub City Survival was never intended to be anything but a limited print run. But, luckily for me, it turned out to be a bit more than that. And, in fact, I keep telling myself I’ll do “one final order” of a batch of books… but every so often there’s a demand, and I end up ordering more! In the wake of the surprising amount of attention the novella got, I decided to try and gently nudge it in the direction of a few media outlets. One of these outlets was a small newspaper with a focus on independent music, local events, and some literature, so I figured I’d be a shoe-in–but I was surprised when I was met with “we don’t really do self-published books”. Of course, this is fine–they can write about whatever they please, and my book didn’t fit their criteria. But I found the focus on independent music and local arts contrasted with their rejection. Independent creators in other media were fine, but apparently writing can only be good if it’s pre-approved by an industry professional. If you post your stories online, nobody thinks twice. If you write a blog post, nobody thinks less of you. But when you decide to put them into print of your own volition? The conversation changes. For those of us whose ideas don’t direct toward a conventional reading audience, self-publishing is a viable option. For those of us who are niche writers, self-publishing is an excellent option. For those of us who don’t want their ideas to direct toward a specific audience, self-publishing is, arguably, the best option. And some people just like the freedom they’re allowed through self-publishing. Why is there such a difference between self-marketing written work versus other forms of craft or art? Please don’t get me wrong! I am extremely appreciative of all the reception Hub City Survival has gotten over the years, and I wouldn’t change anything–rejections included. These are merely questions I ask when I see the reactions when self-publishing is mentioned. I understand minor skepticism that surrounds self-publishing, especially when it comes to editing and re-writing. But, I also feel the self-publishing market has gotten a bad reputation, needlessly. My next book, Mushroom and Anchovy, is being crowdfunded through Inkshares which, essentially, is a self-publishing platform. If it reaches a certain amount of pre-orders, the book will be published through a professional publishing house, but I’m still the one directing the progress. I have developed an audience through Hub City Survival, which will help me with my campaign, and, in my opinion, can be a useful way for other writers to gauge interest in their projects. It is my hope that one day I will be able to professionally publish one of my books through a well-known house, but I don’t want to treat my little “misfit” projects like they’re inferior. They’re still projects I worked hard on and poured a lot of myself into. They still mean a lot to me. That’s Mushroom and Anchovy, that’s Hub City Survival. And that’s why they get self-published...

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Low points and grownup jobs

Posted by on Mar 9, 2017 in Life in Writing | 3 comments

All I ever wanted in life was to be a writer. Literally. I can remember being a little girl and I never had dreams of a family, never cared much about getting married, and didn’t even consider where I’d like to live. The only thing I ever wanted was to be a writer. Let me tell you about one of the lowest points of my life. I remember it vividly. I was 28, and had just gone back to university to finish my degree. I left a good job–I was manager of a growing chain store–and it was the closest to a “grownup job” I’d ever had. Leaving was a huge risk. I had a house and mortgage, and there was no guarantee that I’d be able to find any kind of comparable work after I finished university. I was about a month and a half in, and was doing pretty poorly. I was failing an entry-level required course, and was having a really hard time keeping up with such a full schedule. I was still working part-time at the same place as before and wasn’t quite making enough hours to get by. In short, I was stressed in every sense of the word. For some reason, I decided I should go to a career fair being held at the university. It seemed like a good idea at the time. As I walked in, I gave my name and student ID, and looked around at the stalls, and then I was promptly hit with the horrifying realization that it was actually a terrible idea. I knew before I set my first nervous footsteps into the area that I would find nothing that appealed to me there. That shouldn’t be a problem, though, right? You’d think I’d be so firmly rooted in my life choices at this point that I’d have been chuckling to myself, recognizing my personal need for freedom and allowing myself the knowledge that a “grownup job” wasn’t for me. But, no. Old insecurities popped up and I suddenly felt like everyone was looking at me. I felt sick. And I wanted desperately to leave. If only I’d thought this through! I tried to navigate a sea of people who were milling about, taking their time to savour the experience. Some were talking to potential employers and exchanging information. I just wanted to get out of there without being seen. Being stuck behind a large amount of people in a narrow pathway, though, only meant that I’d have to wait. I bit my lip as tears blinded me. I felt panic well up with a giant lump in my throat. And then, at last, there was a long stretch of pathway that led out of the room. I almost ran. I grabbed my coat and walked right into the women’s bathroom, and I locked myself in a stall. I felt the world around me crumble into heavy sobs. Why am I here? What’s my purpose? Do I have one? What good am I if I can’t even work so much as a desk job? What is wrong with me? All these thoughts and worse flooded my mind. I clenched my fists and leaned heavily on the stall door. I vaguely heard other students coming in and going into the other stalls, some waiting their turn. I didn’t care or pay any mind. I focused most of my energy on staying quiet. What’s worse than a panic attack in public? People asking you if you’re okay while you’re having a panic attack in public. After about ten minutes of intense sobbing, I finally managed to put the world around me back together and I stepped back from the stall. I was okay for that moment in time, but I was wrecked for the rest of the day. Many years later, I still feel like this. In fact, I got in touch with someone from many years back recently, and the words “grownup job” came up. I felt that all-too familiar sting, as someone who’s currently a part-time waitress. I...

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Weathering the storm

Posted by on Jan 20, 2017 in Life in Writing, Uncategorized | 2 comments

UPDATE 11/02/2017: I found this article about 3 weeks after writing this post, and I drew parallels from its boat imagery to my own. Enjoy! Last night as I went to bed, I looked out at the night sky. Snow was falling gently, drifting past the street light and onto the ground. The world around me was in silence, despite the turmoil that was culminating elsewhere. I looked up to the night sky and I whispered, to no one, “what can I do? How can I help?” I fell asleep shortly after lying down, and I slept deeply. An interesting dream visited me not long after. I was in a ferry boat, surrounded by friends and loved ones. The captain, who was someone I actually met only yesterday, announced that a storm was coming in rapidly. We were anchored to a dock, but it would be too unsafe to leave the boat on such short notice. “We’ll be all right here,” said the captain. “Hang tight, though. It could get rocky.” The storm struck almost immediately, bringing with it howling winds and heavy waves. Our boat was strong, though. No one was tossed overboard, and no waves came over the side. I was at a comfortable spot by the payphone, where I’d set up everything I had with me. I was surrounded by friends and a few family members, and had been trying to get ahold of my mom on the phone. I saw a few people behind me who didn’t have a place to sit, so I moved all my things out of the way and let them through. My husband was near, talking to some of my family members. I looked out the window of the boat and saw other boats sailing past, going strong despite the storm, and I silently wished them luck. I wasn’t focused on the storm. I was focused on the people I loved, and the people outside of the boat—the people struggling. I was focused on strangers to whom, in that moment, I could easily give kindness. Before long, the storm passed, and we were well on our way again. There’s something we all can do: weather the storm as best we can. Ground ourselves firmly, prepare for the long haul, and refuse to be distracted from the good around us. The message I received in response to my question, how I could help, was this: more kindness. More generosity. More gratitude. Less judgment. This, too, shall pass. Around the world today—and in one country in particular–people are anchoring their boats against what may be a heavy storm. Maybe the songs we sing in celebration of one another can drown out the deafening howl of the...

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