Below is a link to a YouTube video of the type of air rifle my assassin will have in QUEEN'S GAMBIT. It is based upon an Austrian model used by elite snipers at the end of the 18th century. Lewis and Clark took one along with them on their expedition. While not silent, notice how much quieter the report is versus a conventional gunpowder fueled weapon. The man in the video isn't even wearing any hearing protection. While you could certainly hear this on a quiet day in the country, in a crowded city with a cheering multitude and bands playing it would not be noticed.
The link did not embed automatically. Sorry, you'll have to copy and paste into your browser.
The next one has a nice short video about the Lewis and Clark expedition and the air rifle they carried.
With the contracts signed and received, I am now awaiting an actual payment for something I made up in my head and pounded out onto a computer screen. That somehow seems magical to me. My dreams aren't vast. I'm not curing cancer, but creating characters who've become friends (though I am rather cruel to them in my stories), and sharing them with others is a large enough dream for me.
What is your dream? What's standing in your way?
Then get a crowbar, and move it!
The game's afoot!
Below is the route of the Diamond Jubilee procession in June 22, 1897. In my current writing I am four days from the ceremony. My assassin is dodging the police and a vengeful father, and Margaret is engaged to marry the Special Branch Inspector leading the hunt for my killer. Having fun!
Much to share, all good!
Two book deal with Seventh Street press is agreed to, contract hammered out, now just waiting for it to arrive so I can sign it. The contract is a two book deal, so now I have to finish the second one tentatively called Queen's Gambit, about an assassination attempt on Queen Victoria during her Diamond Jubilee ceremony. My heroine Margaret Harkness from the first book will be the main protagonist, with the assassin getting nearly equal billing. Professor Bell will be there, but Conan Doyle will sit this one out. By this time (1897), he will be too busy and well-known for such adventures.
The first book, now blessed by the publisher as A Knife in the Fog, is scheduled for release in October of next year. A publisher in the UK has expressed an interest, and the book will be pitched at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October this year.
Robert Downey Junior's production company had a look at it, but passed. I am told others are reviewing it now. Who knows? For what it is worth, only ten percent of books optioned for film ever make it to production. But if the option check clears, I am still better off. If no one takes it on as a movie and the book does well in the marketplace, it will get re-looked.
Not bad for a project I began three years ago as something to keep gainfully employed. Just have to be careful this doesn't become work!
All the best, and expect more as things develop and we get closer to book release.
As of the Twenty-second of June, A Knife in the Fog, AND Queen's Gambit will be published by Seventh Street Press, a subsidiary of Penguin which deals in crime and mystery fiction. The thing is, Queen's Gambit isn't even finished! The editor wanted a two book deal, and after a dashed off synopsis, well, there you are. (Guess I have to finish it now.)
Estimated release date for Fog is October of 2018. I will shortly begin responding to the editor's comments, and polish it until it shines. It is going to happen.
Yesterday Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club and The Poe Shadow agreed to read and blurb Fog. He and I have been in correspondence for about two years, in fact he helped me write my first Query Letter. Poe Shadow gave me an idea on how to construct my book, so it has some of his literary DNA.
I am excited beyond words, which is painful for a writer, but I look forward to signing my book and handing it to enthusiastic readers.
Life is good.
Late breaking news my loyal readers! (Yeah, both of you!) I have an offer of representation from the Dykstra Agency in LA for the book. I will post more when my feet touch the ground, but things are about to get really interesting!
Thank you for coming along.
It appears I have been remiss in my research in one crucial area: how the heck did my heroes get around London? I have them universally using a hansom carriage. Turns out the hansom was the sports car of its day. Two-wheeled, it used one horse, driver seated behind, and only seated two passengers. When Miss Harkness accompanies my two gentlemen, especially when in feminine attire, they would have taken a Clarence, commonly called a Growler, for the sound its wheels made as it went over cobblestones.
Below is an informative article with pictures. Enjoy!
Images of the two major types of cab are in the Gallery.
My first contest, ever!
I am looking for a logo/design I can put on T-Shirts or other swag to help promote my book.
Anyone interested, please post your proposal on my FB page BHarper, or below!
Make it suspenseful! I look forward to seeing what you come up with. Contest open until I find one I love.
Winner gets a 25 dollar gift card to either Game Stop or Barnes and Noble, and I will credit them in any or all marketing material.
Get to it, the Game's Afoot!
The agent, (still not technically MY agent, until we have a contract,) has suggested Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as a possible author to read and blurb my book. Turns out he has two novels to his credit starring Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's older and smarter brother. I would love to meet him in person.
I have decided to become more active on my blog, posting things I have discovered that didn't make it into the book, books I am reading now to improve my writing, or to feature the latest on authors who have helped me. Right now they can help me FAR more than I they, but it seems only fair. It also may give you the insight into how my current book came into being, as these will all be authors who have influenced me.
Below is the link to Kareem's book site. A rather large repertoire, I should say eclectic, much as the man himself. I have ordered the first Mycroft book, and will let you know my impressions once I have read it.
First draft of my Author Bio
Bradley Harper is a retired Army Pathologist with over 200 autopsies to his credit, including several real-life Forensic Investigations. A life-long fan of Sherlock Holmes, he read the entire body of work the summer he turned thirteen, and has been craving the whiff of London fog ever since.
Shortly after his retirement from the Army after 37 years of service, he returned to the love of his youth, and began researching Arthur Conan Doyle. After noticing a four year gap between the first Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, and the next one, The Sign of Four, he dug deeper.
Harper was surprised to learn that Doyle nearly turned away from Holmes due to his meager pay for the first story, and general disdain for the crime genre. Noting the Ripper murders occurred in the gap between the first and second story, he saw a way to incorporate the unsolved serial homicides in the East End, Doyle’s return to Holmes, and the sudden, unexplained halt to the Ripper’s labor.
After intensive research into the society and politics of the era, the geography of Whitechapel, and his own Forensic experience and training, he fashioned a tale that places the reader into those dimly lit and fog enshrouded alleyways where the streetwalkers would take their customers for a “four penny knee trembler,” only to find, too late, that this one had something else in mind.
Walking the East End at night with noted Ripper historian Richard Jones, Harper learned of many small details not mentioned in the history books, giving his tale the feel of authenticity.
So, grab your deerstalker, polish your lens, and “Take Precautions,” as you join him in the hunt for the man wielding, A Knife in the Fog.
Recent excellent article on Alphonse Bertillon, the man who created crime scene photography as well as standard facial recognition patterns used by sketch artists still today.
In other news, an agent at a major agency in LA said she is interested, and would send me some notes this week.
That doesn't mean she is my agent. That does mean if I show a willingness to take her advice, and ability to make the revisions to her satisfaction, she could become so. Fingers crossed!