brittni in ink

a writer's blog

turn out well

It’s been a full week of events, editing, and interviews!

Friday, I was happy to be a part of the “Amazing Adventures in Strange Lands” reading at Biblioasis. I got to meet Elly Blake, a best-selling YA author who also happens to be super nice! Christian Laforet and Ben Van Dongen, the superstar organizers of the event, also read! I always enjoy the human tension in Christian’s short stories, and Ben read one of my favourite parts of his cyberpunk novella, The Thinking Machine. The event was MC’d by Vanessa Shields, who added a lot of insight and humor to the evening. The Q and A following the readings involved the audience and brought up some interesting questions for all of us readers to speak to. All around a great event!

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Photo by Janine Marley

At the event, I met a couple of people who were there to record the readings for their podcast, All Write in Sin City.  They invited me out for an interview! Yesterday, we recorded some segments, also featuring Elly Blake and Alexander Zelenyj! It was a bizarre experience, in that I’m used to being on the other side of table. I co-hosted Hardcover: A Literary Podcast for two years, so answering questions instead of asking them was a mind-twister for sure! I enjoyed hearing Elly and Alex’s insights on writing and fiction, and was impressed by Sarah and Irene’s interview skills – Not an easy thing to compile a bunch of information and research into conversational questions!

And today is the day (I hope!) where I finally finish my final draft of my work in progress. Editing this book has been a nourishing creative experience. Taking my rough ideas and smoothing them out brings a sense of satisfaction and wholeness that I didn’t feel with my first book. So it’s new and exciting and I’m hopeful that it’ll turn out well.

 

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time to look at books

Coming up this Friday, I’m super excited to be part of the Amazing Adventures in Strange Lands reading at Biblioasis. It’s going to be a fun night of readings by local genre fiction authors, with some time to look at books and talk to the readers afterward! Hope you can make it out!

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A couple of weeks ago, I met up with local photographer Elise Lappan for a photo shoot! It was a lot of fun, and the photos turned out wonderfully! Here are a couple of my favourite captures. If you’re looking for someone to do a portrait session with, Elise is super friendly and professional.

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Also wanted to post about the upcoming Windsor Small Press Book Fair, which is happening on April 13th. Looking forward to being a part of that as well!

I’m just wrapping up the final draft of the sequel to The Patch Project. The past couple of weeks have been full of editing, which has been pretty fun, to be honest! Can’t wait to share more about that next week.

I was going to go and do things today, but the ice out there is insane. Stay safe, all!

Sharon Ledwith’s Birthday Blog Tour!

This week, I’m featuring Sharon Ledwith, a local and lovely YA author! Over the next few days, all of her books are being featured as part of a birthday blog tour – what a cool idea! Don’t miss a chance to win a signed copy of one of her books (Giveaway details at the bottom of this post).

I’m excited to post this exclusive excerpt from Lost and Found, the first book in her Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls series! Enjoy! And happy birthday, Sharon!

About the book:

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.

Exclusive Excerpt:

“Silly, stupid humans!” Whiskey hissed.

Creeping through the ductwork was becoming harder on her old bones. Layers of dust tickled her pink nose and made her facial whiskers twitch incessantly. Her stomach retched at the stale odors. However, Whiskey, a fifteen-year-old calico cat, ignored these annoyances and persevered. She had to, knowing that she was the only link, the only form of communication, between the cat floor and the dog floor at the Fairy Falls Animal Shelter. This was what made her special, gave her life purpose. This quiet night was no exception.

What the humans called a crisis had happened at the shelter today and Whiskey had to relay this information to the canine pack leader. Nearing the entrance above the dog floor, the thick fur on the back of her neck rose. Some of the dogs she tolerated, some she abhorred. Her ears flattened. Whiskey knew she would have to scale across the top of Mary Jane’s gate in order to get to Nobel’s cage and deliver her report. She also knew to be extra careful not to shake the little bells attached to her red collar that would jingle out her presence. Reaching the opening, Whiskey extracted her long claws and pushed the dusty register aside.

Looking down, she sighed, thankful that Mary Jane, a black and white pit bull terrier, and a long time resident of the shelter, was asleep. Carefully, Whiskey jumped down, balanced on the top of the fenced gate that faced the hallway, and started to slink across it. Then she sneezed and her bells jingled.

A growl and a snort sounded from below. “Who dares to wake me?”

Whiskey peered down. Mary Jane’s eyes were rolled back, her tongue hanging limply out one side of her mouth. A quilted blanket on the cement floor was half-shredded and inches away lay a rubber toy, which would normally be stuffed into Mary Jane’s powerful jaws to exercise the constant frustration of being incarcerated for so long. Whiskey watched Mary Jane lunge for the toy, shaking her thick head and neck in anger.

Whiskey leaned over into the cage and purred, “Someday, I hope you choke on that thing.”

Mary Jane dropped the toy and lunged at the smug cat. Whiskey had just enough time to recoil and land feet first on the hallway’s cement floor. She groaned, feeling her arthritic back legs cave slightly. She was not a kitten anymore, that was for sure. Mary Jane rattled the kennel door, snapping, growling, and barking. Slobber ran down the white patch on her neck and dribbled onto the floor, making it too slippery for her to balance on her hind legs. She slipped and fell with a loud thump and knocked the water bowl, spilling water all over. Whiskey flattened her ears and shook her head. This dog could easily have been the pick of the litter when it came time to receive the sleep needle, but since this shelter had a ‘no kill’ policy in place, all of its residents, including Mary Jane, remained safe and alive.

Suddenly the kennel next to Mary Jane’s came alive and the one after that. Whiskey heard a whimper from the cage down the hall where the new dogs were kept. These were the dogs whose owners would either still rescue them or would condemn them to live here in the shelter until they were adopted by a new human.

“You sure know how to make an entrance, Whiskey.”

Whiskey’s ears pricked up. The right ear had been badly frostbitten once upon a time, but her left ear was still intact. Half her face was masked in black; the other half a mixture of white and orange. The rest of her small body was a patchwork of black and orange fur, with the exception of a white belly. She preened her whiskers, licking the pad of her front right paw until she realized all she tasted was watered down bleach. Cringing, Whiskey slowly sauntered over to Nobel’s kennel—the biggest—at the very end of the hallway. She plopped her bottom on the cool concrete floor and stretched.

“You’re certainly a deep sleeper, Nobel. Are you sure you used to be a watchdog?” Whiskey asked, preening the area above her yellow eyes.

There was a low growl, and then a high pitched bark. It was Nobel’s way of laughing. “I’m part Husky, part Doberman, and part mystery mutt, so sometimes I get all messed up about my job. Do I run as fast as I can or do I stand and fight? It’s darned confounding, I say.”

Although it was dark, Whiskey could see the amusement in Nobel’s light blue eyes. His fur was a mixture of black, tan, and grey, and standing on all fours he would be at least three cats tall. Nobel’s kennel was well-kept, with a thick, comfy blanket set up in front and a pan full of water at the back. He’d been at the shelter for as long as she had, so Whiskey felt a sense of oneness with Nobel, even though he was canine.

“I smell feline! Feline! Feline! Feline!” a dog from the middle cage barked.

Nobel rolled his eyes. “You’re dreaming again, Louis. Go back to sleep!”

Whiskey heard a snort from the big Rottweiler mix, followed by a whine. “Dreaming? Hmm, yup, silly me. Must be dreaming. No felines on the dog floor. Silly me.”

She heard Louis yawn, fart, and then settle back down on his papered floor. Louis tended to pee in his kennel, so he wasn’t afforded the luxury of a cushy blanket like Nobel’s.

“Dumb as wood, that one,” Nobel muttered.

“Yet he trusts you completely,” Whiskey mewed, scratching her chin.

“That’s because I’m the pack leader. It’s not a choice, you know.”

***

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In celebration of Sharon Ledwith’s birthday, all of her books are on tour, on sale, and ready for you to discover. Make sure to follow the tour and enter the giveaway for two signed books, open internationally!!

Tour Schedule:

https://saphsbookpromotions.blogspot.com/2019/02/book-tour-schedule-sharon-ledwiths.html

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About the Books:

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Legend of the Timekeepers (Book 0.5):

There is no moving forward without first going back.

Lilith was a young girl with dreams and a family before the final destruction of Atlantis shattered those dreams and tore her family apart. Now refugees, Lilith and her father make their home in the Black Land. This strange, new country has no place in Lilith’s heart until a beloved high priestess introduces Lilith to her life purpose—to be a Timekeeper and keep time safe. 

Summoned through the seventh arch of Atlantis by the Children of the Law of One, Lilith and her newfound friends are sent into Atlantis’s past, and given a task that will ultimately test their courage and try their faith in each other. Can the Timekeepers stop the dark magus Belial before he changes the seers’ prophecy? If they fail, then their future and the earth’s fate will be altered forever.

Add to Your Shelf on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21777537-legend-of-the-timekeepers

 
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The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis (Book 1):

Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.

When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they’re given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn’t a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers–legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial–Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don’t, then history itself may be turned upside down.

Add to Your Shelf on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15781303-the-last-timekeepers-and-the-arch-of-atlantis

 
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The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret (Book 2):

Only a true hero can shine the light in humanity’s darkest time.

Fourteen year-old Jordan Jensen always considered himself a team player on and off the field, until the second Timekeeper mission lands him in Amsterdam during World War Two. Pulled into the world of espionage, torture, and intolerance, Jordan and the rest of the Timekeepers have no choice but to do whatever they can to stay one step ahead of the Nazis in order to find and protect a mysterious book.

With the help of the Dutch Resistance, an eccentric baron, Nordic runes, and an ancient volume originating from Atlantis, Jordan must learn that it takes true teamwork, trust, and sacrifice to keep time safe from the evils of fascism. Can Jordan find the hero within to conquer the darkness surrounding the Timekeepers? If he doesn’t, then the terrible truth of what the Nazis did will never see the light of day.

Add to Your Shelf on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31831121-the-last-timekeepers-and-the-dark-secret

 

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Lost and Found: Mysterious Tales from Fairy FallsThe Fairy Falls: 

Fairy Falls was bores-ville from the get-go. Then the animals started talking…

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.

Add to Your Shelf on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35017082-lost-and-found

 

Purchase Your Copy of Each eBook for the Sale Price at Mirror World Publishing:

https://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/search?q=sharon+ledwith

Additional purchasing options listed below (but the books are not on sale on those platforms).

 

Meet the Author:

Escape to the past and have a blast.

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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 FACEBOOKTWITTERPINTERESTLINKEDININSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS. Check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

 

Connect with Sharon Ledwith:

Sharon’s Website: www.sharonledwith.com

Sharon’s Blog: http://sharonledwith.blogspot.com/

Sharon’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/seledwith

Sharon’s Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Sharon-Ledwith-210150205690477/

The Last Timekeepers Series Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Last-Timekeepers-Time-Travel-Series/373953795955372

Twitter: @sharonledwith: https://twitter.com/sharonledwith

Amazon Author U.S. Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Ledwith/e/B0084DUHJO

Amazon Author U.K. Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B0084DUHJO

Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5821744.Sharon_Ledwith

Goodreads Book Page: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18335543-legend-of-the-timekeepers

Google+ Page: https://plus.google.com/116758820349834035390#116758820349834035390/posts

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/seledwith/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharon-ledwith-4a33b213/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/seledwith/

Café Press Shop: http://www.cafepress.ca/sharonledwith2

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sharon-ledwith

 

The books are only on sale through Mirror World Publishing, however, they can be purchase on other platforms:

Amazon

https://amzn.to/2GX9LO5

Barnes and Noble

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Sharon%20Ledwith%22?Ntk=P_key_Contributor_List&Ns=P_Sales_Rank&Ntx=mode+matchall

Kobo

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?query=sharon+ledwith

iTunes

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/legend-of-the-timekeepers/id1058133120?mt=11

 

Giveaway Details and Entry Form:

One winner will received 1 signed paperback copy of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, and 1 signed paperback copy of Lost and Found. This giveaway is international!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Direct link to Rafflecopter form:  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/85ce0958177/?

these snowy days

This past week, I’ve been spending time with friends, hanging out, playing board games, and talking about writing. A very nice way to spend these snowy days!

I also had my picture taken by the super friendly and talented Elise Lappan. We met up at Juniper Books for a photo shoot on Saturday, where we explored the bookstore for thoughtful chairs to sit in and artistic shelves to lean against. I never know what to do with my hands in photos, but Elise put me entirely at ease. I can’t wait to show you how the photos turned out!

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I’ve been reading a ton, which has been another good thing. Casey Plett’s Little Fish was definitely a highlight, and I also really enjoyed Howl’s Moving Castle. If you want to see what else I’ve been reading, you can check out my Goodreads page.

Also, P. built a rink in our backyard! My Dad is a skating coach, and I have many fond memories of skating outdoors when I was younger. The ice turned out great, and I’m again impressed by P.’s ability to put together ambitious projects like these.

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How do you feel about the snow? Any winter projects you’re working on?

 

 

 

eventful day

This past Saturday was an eventful day, and not in the ways I was expecting!

I woke up to the first major snowfall of the year, curtains of snow that fell and fell and fell. I’m one of those people who absolutely love snow. But the weather did change my plans for the day.

The photo shoot I had been mentally preparing for all week had to be rescheduled, which to be honest was a bit of a relief. You can never tell if the buses in this city are going to run on time, and with all the snow I was anxious about missing my appointment.

However, the snow didn’t stop me from venturing to Gertrude’s Writing Room for a workshop in the afternoon. I arrived late, but was welcomed with tea and a seat with my name in front of it. The workshop was called “Monsters, Aliens, Short Stories, and Friends,” and was facilitated by Christian Laforet and Ben Van Dongen from Adventure Worlds Press. We talked about what makes a sci-fi story a sci-fi story, how to make everyday settings seem creepy, and how to focus a short story around one main idea. There was time set aside for writing exercises, and the format was casual enough that everyone felt comfortable talking with the facilitators during the workshop.

On my way home, I stopped by Biblioasis and was directed to their new Used Sci-Fi/ Fantasy section. There was a collection of Bradbury short stories I ended up purchasing, since it seemed fitting with the day and all.

I haven’t written very many short stories in the past year. If nothing else, the workshop turned my head in that direction, gave me a bit of a push. I wrote a brand new short story last night and am hoping to work on a few more in the next couple of months. It’s a nice break from working on my novel manuscript.

What are you writing these days? How do you feel about writing short stories?

the process

I’ve been working through The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp with an amazing group of creative folks. We meet up once a week to discuss thoughts and discoveries around each section of the book. So far, I’ve been challenged to think more intentionally and clearly about my own creative process, and have deeply benefited from hearing the group respond to Tharp’s ideas.

Today, I was thinking about process vs. result in terms of creative projects. I love the process of creating something. I love the challenge of it, the problem solving that’s involved, the need for collaboration (in any medium – right now, I’m depending on my advance readers). I love the feeling of taking some vague idea or feeling in myself and watching it play out on paper or onstage.

Once a project is completed, however, I feel detached from it. And maybe this is because detaching myself protects me from criticism, or gives me a distant vantage so I can improve on the next project – but the group made me think about what a result actually is. Is it the last performance, the final draft? Is the result the product or people’s reaction to the work?

And thinking about it that way, I suppose I do love the result in that I love hearing people respond, even if it’s negative. I want to do well as an artist, but I also know that what I make has flaws, and that certain themes or genres may not appeal to everyone. It’s fascinating to hear the particular parts that resonate with each reader.

Which makes me wonder if maybe the creative life of a project is all process, just different points along the way.

What do you think about the relationship between creative process and result? Is there one stage of a project that you enjoy the most?

2019 is happening!

It’s a new year! I mean, 2018 was pretty great. The Patch Project came out, I met a ton of cool people, and learned a whole other level of what it means to be a writer. But 2019 is happening, and I’m excited for what this year is going to bring. It’s also the first year of my 30s, which makes it that much more meaningful.

I’m starting to make plans. In a couple of weeks, I’ll be attending “Monsters, Aliens, Short Stories & Friends“, a writing workshop facilitated by local authors/ superstars Christian Laforet and Ben Van Dongen at Gertrude’s Writing Room. I’m also looking forward to being part of a portrait shoot by a local photographer, which should be fun. My to-read pile is incredibly tall, and I’m attending a book discussion group around The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp.

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Behind the scenes, I’ll still be working away on the sequel to The Patch Project. The past couple of days, I’ve been caught up in an editing vortex: I’ll sit down and open the manuscript, and the next time I look at the clock it’s three hours later! It’s a really good feeling. I’ve made some major revisions (thanks to the sage advice from my advance readers) and even cut a few chapters! That felt amazing, actually. Once I realized the chapters contributed very little to the overall story and pacing, highlighting the text and hitting ‘delete’ was liberating! The manuscript is really coming together, and I feel 1000 times better about this draft than the first one. I’m hoping to have a final draft completed by the end of February.

That’s about it for now! I’ll still be doing a blog post about once a week, and I’m hoping to start a new vlog series in the next little while. If you’re looking for more updates about events or The Patch Project, check out my Facebook page.

Happy 2019! What are some of your goals/ plans for this year?