brittni in ink

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

Tag: blog

back to it

Hello from the East Coast! Since my last post, my husband and I have relocated to a cottage near the ocean. Our two week quarantine was full of around the house projects and getting used to starting a fire in the woodstove every morning! It’s been a good time, and a wonderful break after the month of moving prep.

We also have been going on nature walks!
[Image description: Tree in the woods with three shelf mushrooms growing up the trunk.]

Now that we’re settled, I’m excited to get back to writing! I jotted down the beginning of a short story last week, and have been slowly doing last edits on my space novel. I’m most looking forward to setting up a workspace at the kitchen table and finding out which times are best to block off for writing.

I don’t know about you, but I simply cannot write early in the morning. I’ve tried enough times to know that my body doesn’t work that way. I need time to sync up with all my dreamstate thoughts, have coffee and breakfast, maybe go for a walk. Now that I’m an hour ahead of one of my writing groups in Ontario, I have a little bit of extra time to get ready for our weekly morning writing session 🙂 Afternoons are usually good for writing, unless there are errands or things to do. Evenings are good some days, and nights are special. Night time writing is usually for a purpose, like a deadline, or word count, or if I’m feeling inspired. Night time writing has a magic about it. Generally, I’m too tired at the end of the day to make the commitment to it.

All this to say, I’ll probably carve out writing time when I can, with preference for late morning or early afternoon. And days we go into town for groceries or laundry may be busts writing-wise. I have the summer to figure it out, and some ideas brewing, so I’m not too worried. As long as I spend some time every week working on something, I’ll be content.

My morning routine usually involves coffee, breakfast, and some time outside.
[Image description: a woman with short brown hair and glasses, wearing a multi-coloured scarf, purple shirt, and black hoodie, holds a mug and stands in front of a yellow forsythia bush.]

Also, I’m very much looking forward to the release of Far, Far Away, a Sci-Fi/Fantasy anthology from Mirror World Press! My story “Field Notes From the Unknown Planet” won a spot in the anthology last summer, and I’m excited to see it in print along with six other awesome stories. You can pre-order the paperback or ebook here until its official release on June 17th!

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?

reflect

This past week, an article I wrote was featured on local author Regan W. H. Macaulay’s blog! It’s all about celebrating the holidays in two households when I was growing up. Writing about my family isn’t something I do very much, and it was a moving experience to reflect on how all of my parents made Christmas something special for my sister and I. I hope you give it a read!

[Image description: Two books on a bed of fall leaves. The Patch Project and A Place That Used to Be.]

In book news, I will be taking a break from book deliveries until January 2nd, 2021. You are still more than welcome to order a copy of The Patch Project or A Place That Used to Be from me before then, I’ll just get it to you after the holidays. Copies are also available at Juniper Books, Biblioasis, and on Amazon!

In terms of writing, my current work in progress is a space novel, the same one I was working on during NaNoWriMo last month. I’m hoping to finish edits by the end of January so I can send it out to my first readers and start working on another book!

Thank you for all of your support this past year! Wishing you all a peaceful and hope-filled holiday season!

chapter 1

After the word-writing frenzy of National Novel Writing Month in November, I took a week off to recharge and do all the things I put off while working on my NaNoWriMo project. But now, I’m back, and am super excited to share the first chapter of my novel, The Patch Project, with you!

[Image description: A hand holds a book in front of a festive wreath. The book cover features a forest half-obscured by fog and reads “The Patch Project, Brittni Brinn.”]

The Patch Project is a character-driven post-apocalyptic novel about five survivors who develop strange powers in the wake of a mysterious global event. It was originally published in 2018, and a revised edition was just released from Adventure Worlds Press.

The story begins on a quiet Christmas Day…

Chapter 1: Candles

” May was leaning against the kitchen sink, staring through the broken glass window. Her hands, still wrapped in strips of cloth, held a chipped porcelain mug to her chin as a faint whisper of mint wound its way around her face. As far as she could figure, they had enough tea to last a month, maybe two if they re-steeped the used tea bags. After that, they could mix the herbs into rice, use the filters for fuel. They had to keep everything now.

Isak stole in behind her, his arms warm around her midsection, his chin digging pleasantly into her shoulder. He saw what she did: a dull copper plain under a slate sky with nothing else for miles.

“Hey,” he said, rubbing her pale cheek with his dusky one. “Know what today is?”

“The end,” she replied, leaning away to sip at the weak tea. It loosened her throat, and she cleared it with a tense cough. Isak remained silent. She returned her attention to the dreary panorama that had once featured a fenced-off soccer field ringed with houses. 

“Happy Christmas.” He slipped something into the pocket of her cardigan as his arms vaporized into air. A couple seconds later she heard him appear in the living room with a gasp as his body settled into the back of the couch.

“I didn’t think it mattered anymore,” she said loudly enough, but he didn’t reply. Placing the mug on the counter, she reached up a bandaged hand to trace the hole in the glass. Through it, the sky was solid cloud, as if bolt after bolt of gauze had been draped over them; there had been no other sky, not for months. Not since that day. “

(Excerpt from The Patch Project by Brittni Brinn, 2020)

You can hear the rest of the first chapter over on my YouTube channel. If you’d like to read more, I have signed copies available or you can pick up a copy through Amazon.

Wishing you all a safe and peaceful holiday season!

from Adventure Worlds

Welcome to the humans behind Adventure Worlds Press, Ben Van Dongen and Christian Laforet! I’m going to be asking them some questions about publishing and how the new edition of The Patch Project came to be!

Ben Van Dongen is the author of The Thinking Machine, The Neon Heart, and Broadcast Wasteland and co-authored the books No Light Tomorrow and All These Crooked Streets. BenVanDongen.com

Christian Laforet lives in LaSalle, Ontario with his wife, Lady, and his two girls, Lelaina Blue and Delilah Sunshine. When not writing books, he spends an exorbitant amount of time watching horror movies and playing video games. ChristianLaforet.com

1. What was your first contact with The Patch Project? Did it leave an impact, or how did the book strike you?

Christian:  The Patch Project came across my radar fairly quickly upon its release. Being that the book was post-apocalyptic (a genre I enjoy), and that I knew the author, it became must-read material.

Ben: If I remember correctly, my first contact with Patch Project was hearing that it had been picked up by your first publisher (EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing). I have a memory of you talking about the story that you had in a shoebox that you had started in university and had decided to finish it, but I’m sure that the story was done and the project was far along by the time I heard about it. Maybe I’m making up the memory or confusing it with a dream. It wouldn’t be the first time.

2. Why did Adventure Worlds Press release a revised edition? What was it like preparing this book for release?

Ben: I find your ideas and perspective compelling. We write in the same genre but you come up with very different stories and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read so far. So, I liked the story. Not just that, but I personally was interested in reading more and since we were able to help you publish the connected story, A Place That Used to Be, I was eager to see both books together in a similar format and available to the public.

Christian:  With Adventure Worlds Press releasing the companion book, A Place That Used to Be, and with you regaining the rights to The Patch Project, it sort of felt like a no-brainer to release a revised edition of the first book. The nice thing about prepping The Patch Project was that it had already been through the editorial wringer with the previous publisher. Everything was quite clean. And with a fantastic cover design in place (thanks to Peter Brinn), we were off to the races.

3. Do you have a favourite character or part of the book?

Ben: While Pinot is fun and becomes more interesting as the story goes on and we learn more about her, I was always fond of May. Her quiet strength, desire to keep going despite the difficulties in her new life, and her reluctant leadership felt very central to the story.

Christian: My favourite character is the first we meet in the book: May. Her journey resonated with me on several levels. Having to face both the near-end of everything, as well as her relationship with Isak (which is full of its own hardships. Read the book, you’ll see what I mean!), May keeps on going. She sees the beauty in a world decimated.

4. Anything else to say about The Patch Project or Adventure Worlds Press?

Christian:  I am thrilled to have The Patch Project under the AWP banner. Your writing is both beautiful and haunting. The Patch Project and A Place That Used to Be are exactly the kind of stories we (at AWP) love to read.

Ben: I’m so glad to see a new perspective coming from Adventure Worlds Press. For a while, it’s been mostly Christian and me. You are fantastic to work with and have been as helpful to us getting our books out as I hope we were to you. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

A book event from the past, featuring Christian Laforet, Elly Blake, Brittni Brinn, and Ben Van Dongen. [Image description: four authors stand in front of a bookcase, each holding their books and smiling at the camera.]

Thanks so much to Christian and Ben for the interview! And thanks to everyone who participated in the online launch event!

Copies of the newly released edition of The Patch Project are available on the Adventure Worlds Press site or Amazon!

nanos

It’s that time of year again! It’s day 4 of NaNoWriMo, a month-long writing extravaganza! I’ve set a goal of 20 000 words for the month, trying to hit 1000 words per day. It’s lower than the 50 000 words most NaNoers strive for, but I’m finding it manageable so far. I’m hoping that 20 000 will be enough to finish off a space novel I’ve been working on for about a year!

[Image description: Woman wearing glasses and a sweater drinks from a coffee mug. An orange cat sits on a dresser in the background.]

I’m also posting daily updates on Instagram to keep myself accountable and excited about writing. So far, it seems to be working!

Some exciting Adventure Worlds Press news! The revised edition of The Patch Project is set for release on November 17th! Stay tuned for news about an online launch event! I’ll be revealing the mysterious new cover design by Peter Brinn here on November 10th.

Also, you should check out Shelly Campbell’s upcoming book, Under the Lesser Moon! It’s a grimdark fantasy novel featuring dragons! The Facebook launch event is November 7th.

send me your questions

Do you have questions about A Place That Used to Be? I’d love to answer them in a future vlog post!

Front cover

The book is currently available on Amazon! You can also request it through your local library or bookstore if Amazon’s not your thing.

I’ve been blown away by the interest in the book so far! Thank you for your support and excitement as A Place That Used to Be enters the world!

Also wanted to mention that brittnibrinn.com has recently been updated! Thanks to Peter Brinn for making it look amazing!

now available!

A Place That Used to Be is now available for online order! Before you order from Amazon, please consider the following:

  • See if you can order the book through your local bookstore! Many businesses are offering curbside pick-up or other social distancing options.
  • Request the book through your local library!
  • Wait a few weeks: I’ll be getting an order of books to sell by hand, and I would be happy to sell you a signed copy!

The test copies just came in last week and they look amazing! You can watch the unboxing video here.

IMG_8290

I’m still working on the audio book of The Patch Project. It’s been a lot of fun to spend a couple hours a day recording and editing the audio! Hoping to get that up on bandcamp in the next few weeks!

Also, stay tuned for news about an online book launch for A Place That Used to Be! Can’t wait to share more about the book with you!

 

Sequel Update #9 – Record

Last week, I said I had some news about a project connected to The Patch Project.

Since the book was published in 2018, I’ve been asked intermittently if the book would ever be available in audio format. I was really thinking about that a couple of weeks ago. Thinking led to doing, and as of today, I’ve recorded the first three chapters of the book. It’s nothing fancy, just me reading the words. I would have loved to get some actors involved to bring the characters to life, but given our pandemic-riddled world, it was easier to limit the recording to one reader.

IMG_9863

Photo by Peter Brinn

I can’t say for sure when it’ll be done, but the plan is to have the recording available on bandcamp.com sometime in the next few weeks. It will be a limited edition, so to speak, as the revised edition of The Patch Project will be coming out in the fall with Adventure Worlds Press. But until then, the book will be available to listen to, just in time for the sequel’s release.

Speaking of the sequel, I’ve been informed that test copies of A Place That Used to Be will arrive shortly. Once I’ve looked them over, the book will be ready for online sales. However, the online book launch will take place later on, once I’ve received the first official order of books to sell by hand.

Front cover

Cover design by Christian Laforet

Thanks for your patience while the book’s been in printing limbo – printing and shipping times were both longer than usual as (hopefully) social distancing and other precautions have been at play.

Hope you’re all staying safe and well out there! If you are looking for films to watch and have Netflix, some Studio Ghibli films were recently added to their streaming library! All of them are good (except for Tales from Earthsea. Just….don’t) – Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away are good if you like epics, Howl’s Moving Castle if you like magical adventures, Castle in the Sky if you like airship pirates and nature-loving robots, and Whisper of the Heart if you want a coming of age story about being creative!

 

Sequel Update #8 – Cover to Cover

Last week, Adventure Worlds Press released the cover Christian Laforet designed for A Place That Used to Be! In case you missed it, here it is:

Front cover

It was a bit of a process getting to this final, awesome design. Originally, I’d asked Sarah Kivell to take photos we could use for the cover. She’s an incredible photographer, and I love the work she does with film. The results were inspired by the book; I especially love this one:

Sarah 6

But the best laid plans, as they say. Although Christian and I went back and forth with ideas about how to use Sarah’s photos in the design, nothing we came up with did them justice.

Christian obliged me by putting together some free-form covers, but they didn’t fit what we were looking for either.

The turning point for this cover was when we discussed a couple of images from the book. I mentioned that there’s a scene with a rabbit skull in the third part of the novel, and Christian asked if I’d prefer a photo or drawn graphic.

The result is this striking cover that features a rabbit skeleton that Christian made himself. Amazing!

It taught me a lot about creative collaborating. Although it’s wonderful to have complete creative freedom, it’s important to have some kind of direction or structure. Also, not everything you want to happen is going to work out. The project isn’t a chemical formula. Although I’m really sad that we didn’t get to incorporate Sarah’s photos, I’m thankful that Christian used his talents to make something that only he could make!

That’s our cover story. Hope you like it!

Coming up next week – I’ll tell you about a side project I’ve been working on connected to The Patch Project!

Do you have a collaborative experience like this one? What are some creative things you’ve made with collaborators?