brittni in ink

a writer's blog

upcoming

Hey friends! I’d like to fill you in about some upcoming events, some which are related to The Patch Project, some which are not!

This Sunday, I’ll be doing a short reading at a block party taking place outside the UCC/ Green Bean Cafe building! There’ll be activities for people of all ages, music and art, and a pie baking contest, which is the quintessential fall neighbourhood thing, right?!

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Saturday, October 27th, I’ll be representing sci-fi and post-apocalyptic goodness at The Feminist Fair! Alongside Tajana Ristic, a superbly talented artist, we’ll be offering “Showing Her Teeth”, a story I wrote that Tajana adapted into a short illustrated work that I love to pieces.

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This weekend is the 48-hr film challenge, which I’m super looking forward to! I’ve been a part of it for the past two years, and am excited to create something a little bit different this year! So if you see me around on Monday and I look exhausted yet content, you’ll know why.

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a little bit of this and that

September has flown by! It was a quietly busy month: getting used to a new work schedule, editing my new book, and catching up with friends.

Now that October is here in all its rainy glory, I’m working on getting The Patch Project to a couple of local events – I’ll post an update about that next week! Until then, here are some things I’ve been tinkering with:

Editing the sequel update: I’ve changed the manuscript title like three times! Also, I’ve been experimenting with footnotes – there were a couple of specific terms in the last book that I had to keep from being cut during the publisher’s edits (“in-betweening” being one). By using footnotes, I think I can provide quick context so the editors and the readers are all on the same page. Though, I may have invented grattaged.

Other creative things: my friend invited me to join her for this two-week creativity workshop. It’s online and features a different artist each day. The artists walk you through a mixed media activity and also provide insight on creative well-being. Although I haven’t done all the activities so far, it’s still helping me to focus on making art and being mindful about my process.

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This past weekend, I participated in Run for the Cure, an annual event to raise money for cancer research and support for patients and survivors. We ran (walked, let’s be honest), didn’t get rained on, and had a lovely brunch afterwards.

This post turned out to be a little bit of everything! What does October hold for you?

fall things

This past week brought the first inklings of fall – I got to wear a sweater outside, it was glorious! And with the new season comes a renewed motivation to make things!

In terms of The Patch Project, I’m in the process of booking some tables at local events. I’ll post more info about these and possible readings in Windsor as they come up!

I went and started a vlog called “Not all writers.” When I was searching for writing vlogs on YouTube, the first ones that came up had impressive production value with well put together people in front of the camera. Just a heads up, my vlog is like the opposite. I’m planning to post a couple of times a week: this’ll help me track the process of my new manuscript and hopefully connect with other writers.

Totally unrelated to writing (or maybe super related), I learned how to make origami stars yesterday and have made an entire jar’s worth. I would edit a bit, then make three or four of them. Maybe my creative flow is telling me to take more breaks?

What are your creative plans for fall? Do you find it easier to write at certain times of the year? 

where i’ve been

The past few weeks, I’ve really gotten back into writing. In fact, I finished my first draft of my next novel!

Finishing a first draft is its own particular high. The outline is done, the arcs have reached their destinations. Maybe some questions are left unanswered, but the characters are nowhere near to where they started. So many hours went into crafting the story that now features a “the end” on the last page.

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But the work is far from done. Edits are needed. Some sections are still skeletal. There are characters that got glossed over in the pursuit of plot. And since this book is a sequel, there are points from The Patch Project that still have to be addressed.

And in my case, entire concepts have to be changed. Here’s an example: Originally, I wanted to call the people who scavenge supplies from the wasteland “finders”. Typing it into Google (to make sure I wasn’t inadvertently copying someone’s title), I discovered that the most recent articles related to “finders” are about a cult. Not really the association I wanted readers to make. So I had to go off in search of a new word, a new label that would make sense in the world of the book. Still looking for something straightforward that doesn’t sound weird.

Something that’s really helping with editing is recording myself reading each chapter aloud. The reading aloud part helps to weed out awkward phrases and catch missed words. Listening back helps track the progression of each section, and to highlight unintentional tense changes. If you haven’t tried this method, I highly recommend!

As I’ve been getting deeper into edits, I’ve also been thinking about starting a vlog to track the progress of the book and interact with readers. Any tips?

road trip reading

After a couple of days of adjusting to the lack of ocean in Windsor, I’m finally sitting down to write about the reading I did in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.

If you’ve never been to the east coast of Canada, it is an absolutely gorgeous place. My husband’s family lives in Nova Scotia, and I love visiting them.

This year, we did the road trip thing, driving there and back again with a van full of friends. There was surprisingly little drama for a group of six people stuck in a vehicle for 23 hours!

But it wasn’t all sightseeing and ocean times. I had work- a reading!- to do.

Every event I read at, I’m always struck by how distinct each reading is from the others. Maybe it’s because I haven’t done a ton yet (I think this one was reading number 5), but so far the people, the setting, and the way each reading goes gives it a character all its own.

The reading at the New Glasgow library was in a community room featuring these incredible wall-spanning charcoal drawings by Curtis Botham. The library staff gave us a warm welcome, and were super accommodating when we asked for a group photo. I read a couple of sections, and answered some questions about the book. Some people had read The Patch Project, and some had not, so I had to make sure I didn’t give out any spoilers!

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A wonderful time, with wonderful people! Thanks to everyone who bought a book this past month, making my trip out there possible ❤

Now that I’m back in Windsor, I’m looking to the fall and what kinds of things I’d like to accomplish before the end of the year. A few more readings? Finish writing the sequel? Complete NaNoWriMo?

In any case, it will be an adventure!

the fourth thursday, wrapping it all up

Here it is: the last post of the Windsor writers blog tour. It’s been a great month of sharing, interviews, and discussions that have spanned blogs and Facebook pages (check out Justine Alley Dowsett, Sharon Ledwith, and Ben Van Dongen‘s blogs for a full recap) and I’m very happy to have been a part of it!

This week, we’re supposed to post about our own books, some aspect of our own work that we want to delve into.

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The Patch Project is a post-apocalyptic novella about five strangers who develop even stranger powers in the wake of a mysterious event. The story isn’t so much about an exterior threat as it’s about how each character re-negotiates their identity and their relationships throughout the book. I wanted to try something that would be a little different from the incredible volume of post-apocalyptic media and literature currently out on the market. But writing the book was only the first step.

When I used to think about what it would be like to be an author, I imagined hours hunched over a desk scribbling out stories, wired on coffee and ideas. I imagined it would end with a triumphant stack of pages accompanied by a sense of relief and accomplishment. That the book would come in the mail from the publisher and that moment would be the fulfillment of the writing experience. The end.

But as I’m learning now, even if writing the work does involve a lot of coffee and scribbling, receiving the first copy of the book is far from being the end. It’s really the beginning of the book’s new life. What used to be something you maybe shared with only one or two friends, is now out in the world.

People you have never met will read it. Some of them will leave reviews on Amazon or Goodreads. Some of them will like it, some of them definitely will not. You’ll read it aloud in front of audiences. You’ll talk about it with other authors, you’ll post about it on social media. It’s very exciting, but can also be draining. In the three and a half months since The Patch Project came out, I’ve learned that getting your book published is just the beginning of a long term commitment.

And it absolutely helps to have a community of people to share that journey with. Whether they’re readers, fellow authors, event planners, publishers, or friends, their support is invaluable. Sharon, Justine, and Ben didn’t have to do this blog tour with me, but they did. Finding creative ways to build up a writing community is part of what we can do as authors.

So thanks to all of them, and all of you, for creating connections and for reading.

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Want to know more about The Patch Project? Visit www.brittnibrinn.com or Brittni’s Facebook page to stay up to date with events and readings.

The Patch Project is currently available in digital and print formats on Amazon, and can be ordered through bookstores like Chapters. In Windsor, The Patch Project is available at Juniper Books.

 

 

 

the third thursday, featuring Sharon Ledwith and Lost and Found

Welcome to week three of our blog tour! Four local authors have joined forces to share their stories and answer questions about their writing process.

This week, I asked YA author Sharon Ledwith some questions about her newest book, Lost and Found!

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About Lost and Found

“The Fairy Falls Animal Shelter is in trouble. Money trouble. It’s up to an old calico cat named Whiskey—a shelter cat who has mastered the skill of observation—to find a new human pack leader so that their home will be saved. With the help of Nobel, the leader of the shelter dogs, the animals set out to use the ancient skill of telepathy to contact any human who bothers to listen to them. Unfortunately for fifteen-year-old Meagan Walsh, she hears them, loud and clear.

Forced to live with her Aunt Izzy in the safe and quiet town of Fairy Falls, Meagan is caught stealing and is sentenced to do community hours at the animal shelter where her aunt works. Realizing Meagan can hear her, Whiskey realizes that Meagan just might have the pack leader qualities necessary to save the animals. Avoiding Whiskey and the rest of shelter animals becomes impossible for Meagan, so she finally gives in and promises to help them. Meagan, along with her newfound friends, Reid Robertson and Natalie Knight, discover that someone in Fairy Falls is not only out to destroy the shelter, but the animals as well. Can Meagan convince her aunt and co-workers that the animals are in danger? If she fails, then all the animals’ voices will be silenced forever.”

 

The Q and A

Brittni Brinn: Can you tell us a little bit about Fairy Falls?

Sharon Ledwith: Would love to, Brittni! When I ‘built’ the mythical town of Fairy Falls over ten years ago, I drew from all of my childhood and adult experiences from vacationing and living in cottage country. When you think of a small, northern tourist town, what emotional cord does it strike? Vacationing with the family when you were young? Visiting your grandparents at their cottage? Camping in the backwoods with your friends? Living the dream on a lake? Whatever vision you conjure, I’m sure you have plenty of happy memories of that special place. That’s the basis for creating the town of Fairy Falls.

I also knew I didn’t want to lose that ‘small, tourist town feeling’. True, change is good, but there’s something about going to a tourist town and connecting with the people living there that somehow leaves you feeling better than you did before you arrived. I also wanted to be realistic in the fact that growth is a necessary part of life, and Fairy Falls will have to deal with all kinds of challenges that will create conflict and divide the residents, believing that they are doing what’s best for their hometown.

The psychic teenagers in each of my stand-alone books in the Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls series will have their fair share of adversity and prejudice to deal with. They truly believe they’ve arrived in a place so foreign, so backward, that they try so hard to find a way to leave, only to realize in the end that Fairy Falls has been waiting for them to finally come home to themselves. Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected.

BB: Are the animal characters in Lost and Found based off of animals you know in real life?

SL: Absolutely! All the shelter animals in Lost and Found are based on an animal I cared for in some capacity while working at the Animal Shelter for Huntsville, a Muskokan tourist town three hours north of Toronto. Now, trying to come up with each animal’s unique voice wasn’t that hard for me, since I went by the personality of the cat or dog. I observed certain quirks, how each animal behaved, what were they afraid of, what they liked, and so on. What I found was that every animal (even kittens born in the same litter) was different. Just. Like. People.

When I was ready to sit down and write their story, I compiled a list of shelter animals that readers would emotionally relate to and connect with. Many came to me as a surprise, others were firmly planted in my imagination from the very beginning.

BB: Why did you choose to write about an animal shelter?

SL: During my year-long stint as an animal care attendant, I learned so much about the procedures and daily routines of working in an animal shelter. Then, one day, I found myself wondering what the animals would say if they could talk? How they would act and sound? What did they really think of humans? So, chasing down the animal voices frolicking in my head, I decided to write their story. The result is, Lost and Found, the first book in my teen psychic mystery series, Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls.

BB: Who was your favourite character to write scenes for?

SL: Hard question, Brittni! But if I had to choose it would be Whiskey, a cantankerous, old calico cat who doubles as the Fairy Falls Animal Shelter’s observer and sage of the shelter. In real life, Whiskey was named Whiskers, but I thought that might be confusing when describing the cat’s anatomy, so I changed her name. I guess I just love the fact that Whiskey doesn’t take any crap from any of the animal or human characters in Lost and Found, and she makes decisions for the good of the whole, not the one. Now that’s one smart kitty!

BB: Do you have any words of wisdom for YA writers who are just starting out?

SL: Life is short, so follow your heart, regardless of the challenges ahead of you. Let’s face it. Life is full of challenges and obstacles. Those are the things that makes us stronger, better, faster. That’s what our characters face every time we writers drag them through the muds of hell. Then, like us, our characters evolve and grow. Writing is a tough gig, but so rewarding when you write those final two words ‘The End’. It’s a badge of honor, and feels wonderful and uplifting, like you’ve reached the pinnacle of super hero status. Never give up on your dreams.

BB: Thanks for giving us a glimpse into Lost and Found, Sharon!

SL: Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Brittni! I really appreciate your support and kindness in helping out a fellow Windsor writer share her reading wares. Cheers and happy writing!

 

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Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

 

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE+, and GOODREADS. Check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

BONUS: Download the free PDF short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal HERE

 

Book info:

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series:

The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

 

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:

Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

 

***Check back next Thursday for the last post in our Windsor writers blog tour!***