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a writer's blog

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.

 

 

 

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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!***

the second thursday, featuring Justine Alley Dowsett and Mirror’s Deceit

For the next installment of the Windsor author blog tour, let me introduce you to Justine Alley Dowsett and her newest co-authored fantasy novel, Mirror’s Deceit!

Meet the Author

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Justine Alley Dowsett is the author of nine novels and counting, and one of the founders of Mirror World Publishing. Her books, which she often co-writes with her sister, Murandy Damodred, range from young adult science fiction to dark fantasy/romance. She earned a BA in Drama from the University of Windsor, honed her skills as an entrepreneur by tackling video game production, and now she dedicates her time to writing, publishing, and occasionally role-playing with her friends.

About Mirror’s Deceit

A gifted student of majik, Mirena is on the verge of graduating from a secret college that will give her a leg up in her political career, when her achievements are overshadowed by the arrival of a mysterious woman with an unknown agenda.  Desperate to keep what she sees as her rightful place in the spotlight, Mirena goes to astounding lengths including taking it upon herself to pose as a double agent to investigate a rebel force plotting to destabilize the government. Unfortunately, her actions cost her the trust of those around her, so when she is proclaimed the Dark Avatar of the Destroyer, she finds she has nowhere to turn.

In a seeming utopia, Mirena is now a pariah with the force of Destroyer behind her and her once bright dreams have darkened, leaving her a threat not only to herself, but to those she cares about. Can she turn her life around, or will someone need to stop her before she goes too far?

series

Mirror’s Deceit is the third novel in the Mirror Worlds series. If you like reading about parallel worlds, time travel, and magic, this is a wonderful series to check out! Mirror’s Deceit can also be read independently of the earlier books; I read this one first and enjoyed it!

More about Justine Alley Dowsett and Mirror’s Deceit

Mirror World Paperback:

https://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/adult-fiction/products/mirrors-deceit-paperback

Mirror World Ebook:

https://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/collections/adult-fiction/products/mirrors-deceit-ebook

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Mirrors-Deceit-Mirror-Justine-Dowsett/dp/1987976428/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1531757231&sr=8-2&keywords=justine+alley+dowsett&dpID=51iwU-xvuML&preST=_SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

Mirror World Publishing:

http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.com

Blog:

http://www.mirrorworldpublishing.wordpress.com

Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/mirrorworldpublishing

 

***Check back here next Thursday for an interview with YA author Sharon Ledwith!***

the first thursday, featuring Ben Van Dongen and The Thinking Machine

For the next four Thursdays, I’ll be featuring a different book by a local author – and they’ll be featuring The Patch Project! It’s our version of a book exchange-style blog tour, and should be a lot of fun!

First up is Ben Van Dongen, with his new cyberpunk novella, The Thinking Machine!

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The Thinking Machine follows an outsider named Zed, a new arrival to the massive metropolis that spans most of the Eastern seaboard. The purpose of his visit is to hunt down a machine who, strangely, shares his name. A cyberpunk novella infused with Zed’s personal sense of mythos, this tale of humanity’s relationship with technology is full of suspense and intrigue.

It reads like a detective novel. Zed follows leads, passing through the less frequented corners of the bustling city. Ben Van Dongen’s cities are usually gritty and unforgiving places, riddled with back alleyways and dangerous doorways. This city is no different. The distinct locations of each scene create an impressive thematic atmosphere. Zed’s impressions of the city and the intermittent thoughts of his home in the forest, along with references to why he entered the city in the first place, really put muscle on the bones of this story for me.

The beginning of the book includes a couple of stereotypical side characters you would expect from an 80s dystopian film like Bladerunner, and there is a lack of multi-dimensional female characters. Until Belle, that is. I found that the interactions between Zed and Belle kicked this story up a notch, and created another layer of tension.

Also of interest is the implant which Zed receives in the city. I asked Ben about the role of technology in this book. “I write a lot from the hip,” he replied, “so the implants came from me thinking it was a neat idea that could push the story forward during an early writing session for the book. The idea of mechanical and technological prosthetics terrifies me. I am excited for the possibilities for people who need them, but when fake eyes out perform real eyes, how long will it take before people opt to get the new tech? Will that keep the people who don’t want augmentations behind? It’s a personal fear that I can see on the horizon.”

Overall, The Thinking Machine is a well-paced and engaging read. I’m really excited to see what Ben writes next!

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Ben Van Dongen was born in Windsor Ontario. He likes to think that if he tried harder he could have been an Astronaut, but he is happier writing science fiction anyway. He co-authored the books No Light Tomorrow and All These Crooked Streets, and is one half of the founding team of Adventure Worlds Press. You can read more crazy notions on his website BenVanDongen.com

**Next Thursday’s featured author is Justine Alley Dowsett with her newest co-authored novel, Mirror’s Deceit! **

all formats

First of all, The Patch Project is now available in all ebook formats as well as in print!

To celebrate, EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing is hosting a FB Live event on Monday July 16th at 7:00 pm (EDT).

I really enjoyed the one we did for the Kindle release back in March: it gave me the opportunity to meet some other EDGE authors who stopped by, as well as to give my friends a glimpse into the story behind my novella. This time, I’m hoping to engage with readers who are new to the book and writers who are interested in genre fiction! Stop by and ask me anything!

I’m also going be part of a blog tour starting Thursday, July 19th. For the next four Thursdays, four authors will be featuring each other’s books through interviews, Q and As, and creative what ifs. Check back here on Thursday for the first post featuring Ben Van Dongen’s new cyberpunk novella, The Thinking Machine!

reading at the library

I’m a huge fan of libraries. Libraries are essential public spaces where people can meet in a safe community and pursue their interests through library programs, reading groups, or just by browsing the shelves.

So it was really cool to be part of a reading event at the Tecumseh Library a couple of weekends ago.

I. Sylvano, another Windsor author, and I set up our corner of the library, not sure what to expect. The Tecumseh Library is out in the county, a bit of a trek for many of our city friends. At the last minute, we decided to change the format of our reading a bit. Instead of doing a lecture-style reading, where the author stands at the front, we moved the chairs into a circle.

We passed our books around, inviting each of the attendees to read a page if they felt comfortable. I. Sylvano enjoyed hearing the first chapter of his mystery The Red Handkerchief read aloud. After the initial reading jitters, everyone relaxed into the reading, laughing at the funny lines. We read a chapter of The Patch Project as well, which I loved.

Halfway through the reading, my husband got word that our friends’ baby had been born! It was a super memorable experience, and made that much better by happening in a library.

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***Want to stay up to date with Patch Project readings and events? Sign up for The Patch Project newsletter at www.brittnibrinn.com

 

 

creative breaks

Ah! I haven’t written anything in like two weeks!

To be fair, I was working on a play – “Yellow Vines,” a comedy by Linda Collard (who’s also a children’s author)!

Here’s a photo of the absolutely stellar cast:

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We had so much fun putting on the show! Like any creative/ collaborative project, it involved late nights, lots of coffee, and very little free time. But it’s all part of it, the theatre life!

With show weekend rocked and now past, I’m turning my focus back to writing. And it’s good. It’s good to take creative breaks, make other things, and come back to that quiet writing place with more ideas and experience than you had when you left….