brittni in ink

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

Tag: am writing

awaiting feedback

Two things to report!

One: the first draft of Book Three of The Patch Project series is complete! It’s a book now! I’ve sent it out to first readers and am (totally not anxiously) awaiting feedback.

Although I’m curious to hear how people find the book, I also like this period of waiting. I get to work on other things (to distract myself from thinking about people actually reading a thing I wrote) and be creative in other ways.

Two: I came to the kind of sad conclusion that my space novel is not ready to be sent out to publishers. I had a particularly excellent one in mind, but while getting the manuscript ready for the open submissions call, I realized there were just too many parts that needed to be filled out. There are some parts of that book that I absolutely love, but it needs an overhaul to rework the book’s structure and characters to make it a more consistent read. For now, it’s on the backburner.

I also started working from home last month, so that’s taken some adjustment. But the work is writing-related, and I love getting to set my own hours and taking coffee breaks when I need to. It made me realize that I used to dread going to a workplace-even if the job wasn’t bad. Just something about a space where I was not myself, but a function, expected to behave in certain ways and ignore my own comfortability and needs, that really was hard to deal with. Working from home has been so low stress in comparison. I feel very fortunate to have found something that suits my needs at the moment.

So there’s good stuff happening. I also finally got to visit a thrift store (since I have my booster now) and found the comfiest shirt!

The aforementioned comfiest shirt: a red oversized flannel with small white and black plant fronds patterned across it.

More changes are on the horizon, but for now, just trying to stay grounded and thankful in the present. And be patient while I wait for feedback! Hopefully, I’ll be posting again sooner than later with more book and writing related things!

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!

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!

a lot to look forward to

Happy 2021! Hope that you all had a rejuvenating holiday.

The past few weeks have been difficult for many of us. We’ve had to watch the attack on democracy in the States. We’ve had to talk about tough subjects with our friends and family. And although seniors and health workers are being vaccinated (yes! excellent!), it may be a while before vaccines are available for most of us.

Still, there’s a lot to look forward to. I always get reflective around the holidays – not only is it the end of the calendar year, but with my birthday at the beginning of January, it’s also the end of a personal year for me. Thinking back on 2020, there’s a lot I can be thankful for. Even though I stopped working, I had a lot more time to write and make things. Peter and I got to bike and go on river adventures, and we welcomed a housemate into our bubble. I also got to reconnect with friends and family through online games nights, letters, and video calls. It made me appreciate the kindness of others and focus on life-giving pursuits.

[Image description: A mug decorated with figures from famous artworks sits on a notebook, half obscuring the writing and doodles on the page.]

One of those life-giving pursuits is writing. I finished my fifth novel in November. I remember writing ‘The End’ on my first novel several years ago, and the satisfaction of completing something that seemed impossible back then. I don’t want to say that novel writing is easy now, but it feels more familiar. Now, I know that writing a book is going to take time, so I don’t beat myself up if I don’t make my word count goals. I feel more free to experiment and write scenes that are fun. When all the narrative threads come together, or the characters do something unexpected, that’s one of the best feelings in the world for me.

Here I am, standing in front of a cool wooden door in a stone wall, dressed in a long black coat, and being silly. What is my leg even doing? 🙂

That fifth novel is a sci-fi book set in space. I’ve sent the first draft to a few trusted readers. While I wait for feedback, I’m planning on returning to a manuscript that’s been in limbo while I’ve been writing. I’ll try to finish up edits on that one, using some great feedback from previous readers to guide me. Editing is its own process, but in a way is way easier than writing – the material is already there, I can shape and reshape it until it stands on its own. I’m looking forward to polishing these two books over the next year, and possibly starting a new one!

Who knows what 2021 will bring – but we can make it a good one by taking care of each other and our world. And by creating things! What are you looking forward to?

photo album

Oh, hello! It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. Partly because although there is a lot of stuff going on with A Place That Used to Be and writing in general, most of it’s every day tasks like putting together spreadsheets and mailing out orders. Part of the process for sure, but not super exciting for you to read about!

So this post is going to be more of a mini-photo album of what I’ve been up to the past couple of weeks!

A box of A Place That Used to Be

A new batch of books arrived! It’s such a thrill to receive these deliveries from the printers and wrap up each book to send off into the world!

Afternoon writing session in the backyard!

I’ve been working outside a lot, which has really helped with the social distance blues. The weather’s been perfect for walking by the river and finding a bench to sit and write on (or sketch!). I’m currently picking away at a 30 000 word space novel but am actually kind of stuck. Hopefully, the next couple of weeks will bring some new inspiration!

Artist Trading Card by Dawn Supina

Speaking of inspiration, I’ve been getting back into visual art as a way to relax and be creative! I’m part of an art swap group, and we’re currently trading circus-themed ATCs. I’m also participating in an online workshop series featuring various artists and styles, and I try to doodle daily pictures based on Inktober prompts.

Inktober, Day 2 Prompt: Wisp

Working through my to-read list, I finished The Black Veins by Ashia Monet, a YA urban fantasy about magical Guardians on a road trip rescue mission! It was wonderful to read about an ensemble of LGBTQ+ characters who had well-defined personalities and goals. The character interactions are by far my favourite part of the novel and I highly recommend it if you like YA fiction! “It’s the “no-love-interest”, found family adventure you’ve been searching for.”

The Black Veins by Ashia Monet

Although I am inconsolable about Dune’s release date being delayed until next year, I’m enjoying the book. I can’t help but imagine the David Lynch film (which I love in the way great bad movies should be loved) while I’m reading, but the world and the characters are way more fleshed out. I have thoughts, but I’m going to wait until I finish the book to discuss 🙂

Sci-fi classic Dune

Although our household is staying pretty close to home, we occasionally venture out to pick up coffee from The Green Bean Cafe (which is now open limited hours)! Here’s a picture of me wearing a mask and holding a View-Master from my friend Sarah!

Hope you enjoyed this brief overview of what’s going on in my creative life! Some days, I feel like I get nothing done and I’m definitely feeling the self-quarantine cabin fever – probably why I’m trying to get outside as much as I can before winter arrives. Trying to listen to what my creative self needs, and stay connected with people. I would love to hear about the everyday things you’re doing to stay creative and stay grounded!

Thanks for reading!


Did you like this post? Many of these photos were featured on my Instagram account, if you’d like to read more!

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If you’re interested in a signed copy of A Place That Used to Be (or its companion book, The Patch Project), let me know! Copies are also available at Juniper Books, Biblioasis, and on Amazon!