Update (9/30/2015): I have been contacted by Patrick Lake’s lawyers, who asked for a revision to the story to make it more clear that these are Cochran’s allegations, which Lake vigorously disputes. Lake has filed a counter-claim. I have made the requested revisions.

Update (9/1/2015): The below story is a little out-of-date at this point, but not quite enough has come to light for a whole new post on the matter, so I’m updating this story for the sake of anyone who stumbles across it in Google.

In the months that followed the publication of the original story, Cochran has come to believe that the identity of the Internet troll running the defamatory web site has become revealed as a man named Patrick Lake. Cochran states that it took six months of trying to serve him with legal papers, as he was very canny about dodging them, but they finally got him—and then, Cochran says, he was arrested for attacking and injuring the housemate who cooperated in serving him the papers. (Lake claims the fight was reciprocal and is disputing the criminal complaint.) Cochran claims that the evidence against him was so strong that Lake did not even attempt to defend himself, and Cochran has filed for a default judgment and damages. He says that he expects to have a court order to shut the attack site down within a few days.

Cochran has posted his side of the dispute to his Facebook here, here, and here, and in comments below.

In the letter I received, Lake’s attorney states that Lake actually did respond to Cochran in court in May, demonstrating that he wasn’t properly served at his former employer’s office. (The dates of the court documents show that it did take four more months after that for Lake to be successfully served, even after Lake was sufficiently aware that Cochran was trying to serve him to respond in court.) Lake’s attorneys unsuccessfully attempted to explain to Cochran’s attorneys that Cochran’s allegations were misplaced. Subsequently, Lake has filed a cross-claim against Cochran for defamation, stating that he has nothing to do with Fans Against Fraud and Cochran has been spreading defamatory rumors about him. He also states Lake did not forge Cochran’s signature on the contract, and states that Cochran reached it, and chose to settle when Lake threatened to sue him over it.

Update: Cochran has determined the responsible party is not his former employee after all; said employee has contacted Cochran in such a way as to convince Cochran it wasn’t him, and apologized for his prior behavior. Cochran reports that more evidence has emerged about who the responsible party actually is, and he has provided that information to his lawyers and instructed them to “go after him to the fullest extent of the law.

It’s never easy to have to deal with trolls, and Connor Cochran, publisher of Conlan Press, best known for publishing works of Peter S. Beagle including The Last Unicorn, might have it worse than most. Over the last few weeks, an ex-Conlan Press employee Internet troll has begun spouting allegations against the publisher relating to delays on filling a small number of orders for a customized product, and over the weekend he managed to find some press coverage via pop culture blog Bleeding Cool. Cochran has responded with his side of the story [update: the post has since been removed], (also covered by Bleeding Cool) and plans to file suit for defamation.

I’ve been acquainted with Connor Cochran and Peter S. Beagle for quite some time, ever since I interviewed them on my “Biblio File” podcast for several hours way back in 2007. Cochran essentially formed his publishing business for the purpose of helping Beagle out of the bad financial situation he’d gotten into after a number of publishers had failed to pay Beagle what he was owed. He’s a great guy, and I know he has worked tirelessly on helping Beagle, and a number of other authors as well.

And he’s met with a good deal of success. In 2011, Cochran and Beagle came to an agreement with Granada Media to make good the years of royalties Beagle was owed on the movie adaptation of The Last Unicorn, and cooperate going forward. That led directly to the Last Unicorn screening tour, in which Beagle and Cochran are traveling from city to city with a newly-restored print of the movie. (I am looking forward to 2016, when it should finally hit Indiana.)

All the same, Cochran is very busy, and Conlan Press is a very small operation that takes up almost all his time (especially considering that he and Peter are spending so much time on the road with the movie tour). This means he has less of it to devote to projects such as doing personal sketches in the current “Extra Deluxe Edition” of The Last Unicorn books. As a result, they’ve been coming out very slowly over the last few years.

In the last month, an Internet troll has taken to posting defamatory statements about Cochran on a web site, Fans Against Fraud. Cochran formerly thought the troll was an ex-employee, but it turns out to have been someone else. The individual claims and responses aren’t really all that interesting. It’s effectively a troll posting flamebait on the Internet, no more and no less. If it weren’t that he was using assets Cochran claims he obtained illicitly from Conlan Press and potentially seriously harming Cochran’s business (and his customers’ privacy) Cochran would probably be better off leaving it be. Certainly the lawsuit is going to draw more attention to Fans Against Fraud’s claims. But Cochran has solid responses to those claims, and feels he will be vindicated in court.

Besides, the troll’s claims aren’t even anything new. Works being delayed, sometimes for years, was happening well before the troll was even hired. I placed an order for a set of Last Unicorn audiobook MP3 CDs on April 15, 2005 and it still hasn’t shipped yet. But that’s not due to any sort of malfeasance on Cochran’s part, other than perhaps being a bit more ambitious in some of his projects than was truly wise for a one-person business. Given the number of Kickstarter projects that have failed to deliver over the last few years, he’s hardly alone in that. But unlike those Kickstarters, Cochran is offering full refunds to anyone and everyone who wants them. He provides email addresses and phone numbers in his post for those who wish to get in touch with him..

As I was writing this story, I spoke to Cochran via one of those phone numbers, and he explained that the last holdup before shipping the MP3 CDs is some illustrations commissioned for an accompanying book from renowned fantasy artist John Howe. The commissions had been delayed due to Howe’s work as a conceptual design artist for the Hobbit trilogy for the last several years. Now that the trilogy is finished, Cochran anticipates getting the art in very soon, and if not, he might go ahead and finalize the project without it.  I opted to go ahead and wait for it. After all, it’s been 9 1/2 years; what’s a few more months?

It’s a pity that this sort of thing should happen right when Cochran and Beagle are finally seeing some well-deserved success after all their hard work. That might very well be why the troll is speaking up now. Hopefully Cochran can find the time and resources to ship out all those back-orders soon—and I’m really looking forward to seeing them in my hometown in 2016.

Update: The person behind claims not to be that ex-employee after all. In a post on his Facebook page, Cochran is dubious, but looks forward to getting the matter cleared up one way or another in court.


  1. I don’t know about the previous poster’s claims, but I do know that I’ve been waiting on a promised and paid for “special edition” of “Two Hearts” for eight years now. That’s not a normal delay, and I’ve gotten nothing but excuses. If they can’t put forward the products they sell, they should refund and not sell again until they can deliver. This is not Kickstarter; it is a supposedly legitimate publishing house.

  2. This article is an embarrassment. The writer ought to be ashamed for being played like a fool, and putting out another shifting bunch of falsehoods dictated from Connor Cochran to cover up for stealing. He earned a reputation for it all over the place since years and years ago.

    First, the person originally blamed for “trolling” allegations had to be removed from the story (and now it’s a jumbled mess.) Michael Bolger was a whistleblower employee who got fed up, but the dishonesty he revealed was separate from all the other complaints. Looks like he made a scapegoat, and this writer was complicit in falsely accusing him until Cochran’s story fell apart. Just more evidence on the pile of embarrassment.

    The supposed lawsuit is just another false distraction. Look up the actual court website. Cochran’s own lawyers have withdrawn service against his claims. They are treating him as a liar and nobody is going to court.

    All this lying leads right back to Cochran. Anyone who defends it needs to take a good long look in the mirror, and feel awful about helping to cheat people. Have you ever heard of professional ethics?

    Timely fulfillment is a requirement for business. Everyone was owed a refund with a huge apology in year 1. For 8, 10 years this con man has been intentionally stringing everyone along about old false sales, while making new sales with new lies about why they never arrive. There is no defense!

  3. Margaret S — You’ve got a lot of things wrong.

    1) So far Conlan Press has delivered over 300,000 products to fans all over the world and produced a movie tour that has put on more than 300 special screenings of THE LAST UNICORN in the USA, Canada, Germany, and Austria. Some things have been delayed by circumstances outside our control, but we’ve never lied to anyone about any of it. Some of those items have already been released. Others are being released one by one as they are completed. The longest-delayed items are now on schedule to be printed and released this fall. Our problems comprise less than 1/2 of 1% of our total orders over the life of the company, and by the end of this year that figure will be down to 1/100th of 1%. So we’re getting there.

    2) Michael Bolger has admitted his “whistleblowing” was false and unjustified. (“I’m really embarrassed by the person I was back then,” he told me.) He apologized quite sincerely last December and I accepted it. Mike is also the person who conclusively identified Patrick Lake as the liar behind, for which I will always be grateful.

    3) The posted court records are not up to date. Service had to be withdrawn the first time over a technicality — Patrick was served at the place of work listed on his personal website, but it turns out he was actually fired from there two years ago and had been pretending otherwise (i.e., lying) on his website ever since. He was served again last month at home and the evidence against him was so strong he did not even bother to defend himself. In a few days the court will therefore return a default judgement that Patrick is liable for defamation against me and against Conlan Press. It will also issue a decree ordering that be shut down. The court would not be doing these things if I were a liar.

    4) Patrick is a serious piece of work. When he was served with our lawsuit he got so angry at the housemate who let the process server in that he PHYSICALLY ATTACKED the housemate, giving him a scalp wound that took three stitches to close. Shortly afterward Patrick was arrested by the Alameda County police and taken to jail. Word from the housemate is that Patrick is going to be charged with misdemeanor assault. If you don’t believe me, check out

  4. Tori — Just now I did a search of our entire email database using the terms “Tori” and “refund” and nothing came up. If you did ask for a refund, it was not under that name. Contact me at or call me at the company number (650=267-9651) and give me the information needed to actually find your order, so I can find out what’s going on and correct it if necessary. Our log of refund requests indicates that all have been paid. If there is something that isn’t right there, of course I want to fix it.

  5. Hi, Sarah. TWO HEARTS is going to press this month (September) and will ship about six weeks later. Everything I’ve said about the delays has been absolutely true. That doesn’t mean I was happy about any of them, but the simple fact is that they were not my fault. Rather than give up, I kept going and now a very beautiful book illustrated by John Howe will be out there where folks can enjoy it. Sometimes not surrendering is a good thing.

  6. I received a personal call from Mr Cochran in response to my post here. Hooray for the internet for getting me an update on the status. I understand delays as the item was to be personalized. i just wanted a response to my inquiry which i received. Thank you for your follow up Mr Cochran

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