brittni in ink

Author of The Patch Project and A Place That Used to Be

some moments of rest and joy

How’s 2022 so far? I keep writing “2021” when I’m dating things – that’s normal right? Time is even more wonky this year. In any case, hope you all had a gentle and lovely holiday.

We were very lucky to spend a couple days with family, and to visit my favourite place in the world – the ocean! I’ve now been to the Northumberland Strait in every season, and will be writing a short addition to my Notes at Low Tide blog about that experience. For now, I’ll just say it was very cold, and very wonderful.

Happy to be visiting my favourite ocean (don’t tell the Pacific)

After relaxing so much, I was excited to get back to writing! I tweaked an older manuscript to submit to an open call with a big publisher, did a beta read of Ben’s thrilling new novella, and got a rejection from a horror magazine. But I’m not letting it get to me. Book Three of the Patch Project series is filling out to be a mid-sized novel featuring some simply devastating encounters, but also some moments of rest and joy. Writing about the future, there’s gotta be some hope!

Speaking of, I started reading a fantastic collection of essays: An Ecotopian Lexicon mindfully borrows words from other languages, fields, and genres to help us imagine a better future and a better relationship with our planet. A few essays in, and already my mind is being blown. As someone finishing up a post-apocalyptic series, it’s causing me to reassess how I use the genre: do I challenge or support the tropes we’ve come to expect from such books? Are there ways I can highlight community more through my writing, portraying mutual aid and environmental themes with hopeful solidarity?

My first read of 2022: An Ecotopian Lexicon!

I’m hoping to be better at sharing what I’m reading this year and keeping my Goodreads list updated! What’s your first read of 2022?

Wishing you all the best for a new year!

at the end of the year

Well here it is, the last blog post of the year! 2021 has been a ride, to say the least: I moved to a new province, got to spend a whole summer by the sea, submitted some short stories, and (finally) wrote the bulk of book three. In spite of the hard times, I’m thankful for getting to experience all of it.

I’m also thankful for all of the people who have uplifted my husband and I with their friendship, solidarity, board game and AEW wrestling nights. Some of you literally housed us, some of you shared meals with us, some of you sent us kind words when we needed them most. Thank you, thank you, thank you ❤

The year ahead is going to be a busy one. I’m hoping to have the first draft of book three ready for beta readers by the end of January. I’ll be looking for ways to balance work, creativity, and recharge time. I also want to find a writing group and more book-related events in the Halifax area.

Oh, and I wanted to show you all the wonderful photos that Sarah Kivell took based on book two of the Patch Project series! They’re part of the holiday giveaway that runs until January 5th! Here they are:

Photos by Sarah Kivell [Image description: six square photos of a suitcase, worn wall, and a sleeping bag set on a crate, respectively]

May you all have a safe and happy holiday season! See you in the new year!

holiday offer

Announcing a special holiday offer! It’s my first winter on the east coast, and so I wanted to do a little something to thank the folks who buy my books from near and far away! The offer is this: order a copy of A Place That Used to Be from me, and receive a photo for free!

Pictured above: Order a copy of A Place That Used to Be and receive one of these photo prints free!

What’s so special about a photo, you may ask. Well, the photos are part of a series directly inspired by the novel, and were taken by the incredible Sarah Kivell. She takes these amazing, dreamy film photos of everyday things and people, capturing stories with her camera. If you want to see the kind of work she does, check out her Instagram – I believe she even has a sale on some of her photos at the moment!

Here are all the details about this offer:

What: Order a copy of A Place That Used to Be directly from me (message me through my Facebook or website) and receive a free photo inspired by the book!

When: November 26, 2021 to January 5, 2022 (or as long as the limited supply lasts!)

Where: Anywhere! Shipping cost dependent on where you’d like the book sent.

How much: The book is $15, the photo is free, and shipping is $4 in Canada.

And there you have it! If you have any questions, let me know. To stay up to date with upcoming offers and events, follow me on Facebook or YouTube. Thanks, and take care!

The book, the photos, and some holiday cheer!

scenes and encounters

This past weekend, I had the joy of setting up a table at a local craft fair! It’s been so long since I’ve sat with my books and talked to people about them. Really thankful for the opportunity, and for the kind staff and volunteers who welcomed me! I’m pretty sure I was the only author there, so I would’ve felt out of place without all the kind interest and support from the people who came through. Thanks to everyone who came out! I’m hoping to get more involved with community events in the new year!

Here I am at my vendor table at the North Woodside Community Centre craft fair! I had both of the Patch Project books available, as well as some crocheted stars to fit in with the holiday vibe!

I still have copies of The Patch Project and A Place That Used to Be available! Or you can find them at Chapters Dartmouth, the Dartmouth Book Exchange, or on Barnes & Noble’s website!

In other writing news, I’m halfway through NaNoWriMo and, as usual, am super behind on my word count! But some interesting things are coming together for Book Three and I can’t wait to go back and make sense of all the random scenes and encounters!

A close up of The Patch Project and A Place That Used to Be.

Also want to take a second to congratulate fellow Adventure Worlds Press author Christian Laforet on his recent publication announcements! Wonderful to see his stories and novels get picked up, and looking forward to seeing them in print!

I’ll be announcing a special holiday offer on A Place That Used to Be next week, so stay tuned for that!

Thanks for stopping by, and take care out there!

find the way through it

Wow, these past couple of weeks have felt long! Seriously, how is it still October.

Part of this time warp was due to starting a job at a hardware store. It was a fascinating experience, but unfortunately, the hour-long commute to get there, including two buses and a long walk up a wasteland of a hill, destroyed me and I had to quit. I admire any of you out there who put in that amount of effort to get to work every day! I just couldn’t hack it.

The top of the hill that I climbed to work at the hardware store. A wasteland worthy of its own short story.

It really affected my mood as well, and after my break through with the third Patch Project book a few weeks ago, I hit another wall, hard. I had no energy after a full shift plus travel time, and what little I had was spent getting ready for the next day. I may have gotten used to it after a couple weeks, but that short span of time seemed to drag on forever.

But that’s over now, and I have another job prospect on the horizon. It feels like I can breathe again, and my writing brain has been on fire ever since I returned to my pre-hardware store schedule. I literally wrote or edited all day yesterday, and it felt incredible. It just solidifies for me that writing is what I should be doing with my life. It gives me purpose and a sense of value in this grim captialistic nightmare I’ve been trying to navigate the past month and a half.

NaNoWriMo starts in a couple of days! I look forward to this month-long writing event every year – it helps me to prioritize writing and for the past couple years has given me huge chunks of novels that I couldn’t have finished within a year otherwise. I’ll be working on the third Patch Project book, which has been giving me so much trouble. Hopefully, NaNo will immerse me in the story and force me to find the way through it.

Dropping off books at the Dartmouth Book Exchange! In the rain! They are super nice there!

Some other Patch Project series news: the first book is now available at the Dartmouth Book Exchange! I’ll be dropping off some copies of the sequel there as well in the next few days. The sequel is also available online through Barnes & Noble, which was really cool to discover. You can always request the books at your local library, bookstore, or Chapters. I always have signed copies on hand as well: if you’re interested in a copy, give me a shout!

Hope you all have a wonderful Halloween, and stay safe out there!

the story and where it wants to go

Some great news! I had a breakthrough with my case of writer’s block – I really was writing around something instead of trusting that the story would take me where it needed to go.

I finally gave in and am making the third Patch Project book about Pinot. I was really struggling with finding my way into the story, considering all the possible characters and arcs the book could include. But it hit me the other day that this book had to follow Pinot, and once I accepted that, the garden started to bloom. I guess I was resistant to the idea of focusing on Pinot because she became the main character of the last book and I somehow got into my brain that readers were tired of her. But even if that is true, it doesn’t matter (apologies to the hypothetical readers); what matters is the story and where it wants to go.

I have a rough timeline worked out and am now following Pinot as she prepares to go to Summerland, the mythical city mentioned in previous books but never visited. I will have to include at least one other POV character for the subplot, and maybe a few scattered around the wasteland (as a writer, I get bored writing one POV for a whole book haha). In any case, you can look forward to more of Pinot in book three.

My new glasses arrived this past week! My last pair was literally falling apart, so it’s nice to have a pair that fits again!

Other than that, I’ve had a few days off to do things like clean the house and binge episodes of Agatha Christie’s Poirot. Hastings, Miss Lemon, and Hercule Poirot are characters most charmants, and I enjoy making connections with the books and how the screenwriters adapted the material. I’ve also set up a mini-studio to record audiobooks – if you are interested in having your book narrated or have voice work you’d like done, let me know!

I’m also hoping to order a batch of the sequel to have on hand before the holiday season rolls around, as it sounds like the printer is also going to be raising prices in November. I’ve updated my Ko-fi goal to reflect this – for every donation, I’ll make a thank you video. For donations over $10, I’ll send a personalized card in the mail!

With Inktober to keep my little grey cells engaged and NaNoWriMo just around the corner, the fall is turning out to be quite a busy one! Thanks for stopping by, hopefully I’ll have more updates on the third Patch Project book soon!

Happy fall! This sunflower is growing in a vacant lot by my house. Lovely to see nature in the city.

the “in” scene

Today, I’m thinking about chairs and if they exist.

Also, I ordered a new notebook, hoping that it’ll be the inspiration I need getting into the third Patch Project book. I have yet to find the “in” scene that’ll unlock the story, help it flow a bit better. A lot of my writing so far has been world-building, stage maps of where everything is, where characters are. Just throwing my thoughts on paper when they surface and trying to make the most of my time in my office space.

New office set up! A rolling turquoise office chair, a table for my computer, keyboard, and coffee, and some art up on the walls, including a portrait of Pinot by the incredible Al Hess!

Still, it’s frustrating. This is probably a bout of writers block, though I tend not to like the term. I’m writing around what I should be writing about, is more what it feels like. But I’m a gardener when it comes to writing books: I tend to approach my books without much of a concrete plot, and a lot of my best stuff comes out of discovery writing. So I’m trying to go along with whatever my brain is doing right now, hoping that whatever it’s cultivating will poke its head out of the soil soon.

Maybe it’s because the first two books have set up a lot already, and working within that framework is starting to feel constrictive. My own fault, really! For example, I don’t want to focus on a particular location, but it’s where all of the character arcs converge, so it’s necessary to creating something that fulfills the previous two books.

Still, I got a killer opening scene, a new character who I love, and some vague idea of how the plot is going to go. So that’s something! If only I could go to the Green Bean cafe and spend a couple of hours writing it all out…

Cookies, coffee, dipping sauces, date squares, and brownies all the way from the Green Bean Cafe! The homemade belt underneath is for the fantasy AEW wrestling league my husband and I are part of – he is the current champion!

Speaking of the Green Bean, some of our dear Windsor friends sent my husband and I a care package including a bunch of Green Bean treats; another one of our friends sent a pack of specialty coffee our way a couple of weeks ago. Those, plus some wonderful friendship mail and art swaps, have been keeping us hopeful in spite of some difficult life things – I’d forgotten how hard it can be to adapt to a new city.

To get through the changes and find my way into the third book, I’ll just keep writing and hope for the best.

ideas when they surfaced

After two weeks visiting family, I’m back in my office, listening to Cobra Poems, drinking coffee, and making plans.

I didn’t get much writing done while I was away. I got back in the habit of carrying around a notebook and scribbling out ideas when they surfaced: waiting in the car, falling asleep, or early in the morning when my mind had room to wander. I had a bit of a breakthrough on the flight home about a major plot point for the third Patch Project book.

My inspiration shelf: fake quartz, a silver triceratops figure, a slice of aquamarine, a shell, a skeleton key, and a pillar of picture jasper.

But before I get back to working on the novel, I’ve got a few works in progress to read and give feedback on. It’s one of the best things about being a writer, this mutual community of creative people I can share the journey with! I also have some agent queries to check in on – some agents email, but many submissions time out after 8 weeks or so. I’ve learned a lot through the querying process, and I hope it’ll make my next batch of queries that much better.

Also, I’m thinking about making some short videos to include on my Ko-fi page as a thank you to donors. Extra special coffee thank you to everyone who’s supported me through that platform so far, it really means a lot!

I’ll hopefully have a vlog post up early next week with more updates. A reminder that if you order a copy of The Patch Project from me before October 1st, it’ll come with a free book or pin!

metaphorical cup of coffee

So, the floor desk I wrote about last time has been replaced by a more standard set up; being over 30, it turns out it’s uncomfortable to sit on the floor for more than twenty minutes at a time! I have a table and a swivel chair now, which is helping me get more on top of this author thing.

This week was pretty busy! For one, I did a vlog post for the first time in forever. It’s a touch longer than I usually like to do, but there was a lot to cover: moving to a new city, querying agents, projects that I’ve finished and am starting. It was also really fun to edit some video/ audio material again! I used to put together a weekly podcast, and my husband and I used to make short films pretty regularly, so it’s kind of nostalgic.

My current mug of choice, a white ceramic cup with a slim handle, featuring a painted rosemary plant.

I also started a Ko-fi page. It’s a platform where people can buy creators a metaphorical cup of coffee. I have a few friends who use it, so I thought I’d give it a try. For every donation to my page, I’ll drink a cup of coffee! And maybe film it. We’ll see!

Two versions of The Patch Project (2020 and 2018 printings) and two button options, one featuring the original cover, the other a picture of the character Pinot. Both covers designed by Peter Brinn.

If you’re interested in reading The Patch Project, now is the time to order a copy! Each order comes with a free copy of the original printing of the book or a limited edition Patch Project button, your choice! Only copies ordered directly from me, not Amazon, come with this offer. The book is $15 CAD + shipping.

And that’s about all the happenings going on this week! Hope you’re all enjoying the last few weeks of summer!

facing the future

Well, it’s been awhile! Most of my summer was spent at a cottage with poor internet. But I’m back in a city with a lot more connectivity, and some exciting updates!

Pinot, by artist and author Al Hess

Please join me in marveling at this stunning portrait by the wonderful Al Hess! When I saw he had a commissions spot open, I knew I had to ask him to draw Pinot. It was a lot of fun discussing Pinot’s character, and getting to see a little of what goes into making a portrait like this one! I’m so happy with how Al captured Pinot and the detail and care that went into the commission. I’m planning on hanging the portrait in my office, to inspire me as I start work on the third Patch Project book!

[Image description: A two-shelf desk at sitting level holding a laptop and assorted knick-knacks.]

Speaking of, I’m very fortunate that our new place has a room that I can use as an office space! I built a little desk to use for my writing, and so far, it’s been a good set up. Lots of room to put rocks and shells and things 🙂 I’m waiting to hear back from agent queries and short story submissions, and now that we’re (mostly) unpacked, I’m getting back into a writing schedule. I’m looking forward to online writing sessions with my friends, and starting on the new novel.

The Patch Project book amongst leaves!

I just unpacked a ton of copies of The Patch Project! If you’d like a signed copy, let me know. I’m offering a free pin or original printing copy (your choice!) with each order for as long as my supplies last. You have to order from me though, not Amazon. If you’re interested, you can send me a message through Facebook!

That’s all for now! I’m hoping to get back into regular posting, maybe once every couple weeks. It’s exciting to be facing the future here in a new place, with a new novel project about to begin. I’ll do my best to keep you updated! Until next time!