brittni in ink

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

Tag: canadian

book three delay

Although the Patch Project Fan Art Contest is well underway, I’m a little behind on finishing up the final draft of Where Long Shadows End.

But it’s all good! I’m still on track to release the book this summer, so stay tuned for a release day! I’m hoping for sometime in July, barring other weird changes to my schedule or major life events. This past year has been a lot about being gentle with myself and adapting!

Weekends are when I write the most! Here’s a photo of me drinking all the coffee during a writing session. This week’s goal is to finish filling in the chapters in the second half of the book!

Speaking of, it’s been one year since I moved to Nova Scotia! With summer just on the horizon, I’m starting to get excited for cottage visits and ocean adventures. The winter here was very hard-I’m thankful for my wonderful friends and family and the life-giving experiences that got me through the worst of it.

Are you going to enter the Patch Project fan art contest? All you have to do is make a piece of art inspired by the series and post it to social media with the hashtag #ThePatchProjectFanArtContest by June 30th! You could win a free copy of book three!

That’s the update for now! Between working full time and settling into a new space, there’s been a lot to get used to, but writing continues to bring me a lot of joy and clarity. As the Patch Project series comes to an end, I’m starting to get excited for new ideas and projects-but that’s another post for another day!

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!

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!

far, far away anthology review

Hello everyone! I usually don’t post book reviews on my blog, but I’m making an exception for Mirror World Publishing’s new anthology Far, Far Away.

In today’s post, I’ll be giving a quick review of each story including a content warning (cw), so you know what to expect if you pick up a copy of the anthology.

And folks, it’s going to be my legit reviews. I encourage you, if you read this book, to also post your reviews on whatever platform you use, even send them along to Mirror World. They’re planning a volume 2 of this anthology, so I’m sure they’d appreciate the feedback.

Cover design by Mirror World Publishing

“Piece of Mind” by L.R. Braden

An interstellar ark for human minds goes on a journey to save the human race. But as time drags on, what makes the minds human begins to degrade.

Really enjoyed the concept of this one, though I felt like the story could’ve been a bit longer. Strong P.O.V. and deft writing made this one a solid starter for this collection.

cw: isolation, memory loss, violence

“Songs and Superstitions” by Shana Scott

Now an outsider, Krem returns to his home planet to work a job with his best friend Max and her insufferable companion, Commodore McFlufferton. When the job goes wrong, they discover that they’re not alone in the underground tunnels.

This may have been my favourite story of the collection. The characterizations are strong, there’s a vibrant streak of humor throughout, and the world-building feels effortless. There were so many little details that made this story a delight to read, as well as a satisfying arc overall.

cw: underground, cave in, guns

“Black Spire Isles” by Barend Nieuwstraten III

Shipwrecked on an island no one ever leaves, the group of survivors uncovers centuries-old secrets. There is magic at work here, but will they find out the truth before it’s too late?

I wasn’t sure about this one when I started. The preamble before the story was a bit much to take in, and the writing had an archaic flavour common to high fantasy stories. However, as the story got going and the style loosened up a bit, it really drew me in and became one of my favourites from the collection. It reminded me of parts of the Odyssey. And the end was satisfying, very well-crafted. My only qualm was that the people already living on the island are portrayed as a group, with little individual characterization apart from their roles in the community. Given that it was a short story, though, I’ll give it a pass.

cw: gender roles, shipwreck, injury recovery, themes of loss

“Field Notes from the Unknown Planet” by Brittni Brinn

When Idylwild finds herself on a dangerous planet under strange constellations, she’ll have to use all of her skills as a surveyor to survive the resident predators.

I wrote this one, so I’ll leave the reviewing to you all!

cw: isolation, childbirth, death

“The Colour of Roses” by Kelly D. Holmes

In a world where only Soulmates can see colours, a young woman discovers the nature of soulmates isn’t so obvious after all.

Think of the part in The Giver where the kid sees red for the first time, then move that concept out of a dystopic YA novel and set it instead at a supportive writing group in the suburbs. It was a sweet story, and fit nicely in the middle of the book. Some stand-out imagery work, especially playing with the title. Given that this is Holmes’s first publishing credit, I say bravo.

cw: heteronormativity, themes of loss

“The Prime Crusade” by Buddy Young

Time travelers aboard the Hindenburg fight to save time itself in the face of impending disaster.

So. This is a story that takes place almost entirely on the Hindenburg, an airship that crashed in 1937. This is fine. It’s a historical event that would definitely draw time travelers to experience the famous airship before it was destroyed. The story itself is well-written, with attention to detail and historical tidbits ingrained into the story. And who doesn’t love a good time travel story? Well, I did not love the part where the heroes wore Nazi armbands and their main contact was a time traveler pretending to be an SS officer. You could argue that they were all just playing a part and their use of Nazi imagery didn’t mean anything. But the thing that really stood out was how not one of the time travelers wanted to punch the Nazis on board. Even if it didn’t matter in the grand scheme of the story, shouldn’t at least one time traveler be there for the sole purpose of punching Nazis? If Indiana Jones had time to fight Nazis, I should think someone on that airship would have made time to do so too.

It CONFOUNDS me that this story was chosen to be included in this anthology. With fascist ideologies gaining more ground in the United States and Canada, these “harmless” and “neutral” stories featuring Nazi imagery aren’t really that neutral at all. If memory serves, this author had two stories shortlisted for the top ten stories that were submitted. Why was the one featuring Nazi imagery, as window dressing as it was, chosen? Maybe this doesn’t bother anyone else, but I found it concerning. And don’t even get me started on the Crusades.

cw: Nazi imagery, sexual harassment, war, violence, the Crusades

“Fatestorm” by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred

When her village is destroyed by a colonizing military force, Deneige tries to help her people by falling in love with the soldier in charge.

The framework of a Roman-esque soldier leading a massacre of a village, enslaving the survivors, and taking their spiritual leader captive doesn’t really feel like a set up for a love story to me. But, to each their own.

cw: genocide, slavery, colonization

And that’s the anthology! I told you these would be my legit responses. I also wanted to provide a place for content warnings, because I believe it’s important to recognize the elements that may be triggering to readers. If I missed anything, let me know! I hope that if you pick up this anthology, that you’ll join the discussion about the stories inside. Words are how we shape the future as writers and as readers, after all.

anthology launch

This Thursday, June 17th, Mirror World Publishing is launching Far, Far, Away, a sci-fi/fantasy anthology including seven stories of escape and adventure! And one of those stories is one that I wrote!

Mirror World Publishing is hosting the all-day launch on Facebook, including a Live event at 5 pm EST. I’m excited to hear more about the stories and authors who contributed to this collection! You can join the event here.

The anthology is available in paperback and e-book formats, and can be purchased on Mirror World Publishing’s website.

A peek inside the anthology! Here’s the opening page of my story “Field Notes From the Unknown Planet”!

Now that you know everything I know about the launch, I can tell you a little bit about my story, “Field Notes from the Unknown Planet!” I’ve been working on a space novel for a little over a year, and when Mirror World posted about an anthology contest last summer, I thought, what the heck, and sent them the first section of the book as a short story. (Edited up a little of course to make it a self-contained narrative.) I was really proud of it: I’d been reading a lot of Ursula K. Le Guin and wanted to write something that was small in scope, and focused on relationships in space: relationships to the environment, between strangers, and to death. How does the need to survive shape these relationships?

[Image description: A hand holds a copy of Far, Far Away: 7 Stories in 7 Realms of Science Fiction and Fantasy (Vol. 1) in front of a pebble-scattered beach. The book cover features an astronaut, a pocket watch and a suitcase suspended over a tilted horizon.]

I don’t know if I succeeded in emulating Le Guin, but something about the story must’ve worked, since it made it into the anthology. I’ll be interested to read the other stories and think about why they were picked as well!

Hope to see you at the book launch!

Far, Far Away cover reveal!

Today is the official cover reveal day for Mirror World Publishing’s anthology, Far, Far Away!

Read all about this amazing collection of science fiction and fantasy coming out on June 17th, 2021!

About Far, Far Away:

“In a land far, far away… In a distant galaxy… Once upon a time…

These are all ways to begin fantastical tales of love and adventure. Gateways into the realms of imagination. In this anthology, we bring together authors from all over this world to transport you into the worlds they’ve created.

Travel through space and experience infinity three hours at a time. Explore dangerous caverns for the source of a deadly disturbance. Get stranded on a mysterious island from which no one returns, then learn to survive on a distant planet while you hope for rescue.

In this far-reaching, magical collection love allows you to see in colour, time is vast but fragile, and changing minds and hearts in Ancient Rome is only one stop on an epic journey across time, space, and reality.”

Stories Included in the Anthology:

“Piece of Mind” by L.R. Braden

“Songs and Superstitions” by Shana Scott

“Black Spire Isles” by Barend Nieuwstraten III

“Field Notes from the Unknown Planet” by Brittni Brinn

“The Colour of Roses” by Kelly D. Holmes

“The Prime Crusade” by Buddy Young

“Fatestorm” by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred

From Mirror World Publishing:

“It’s 2021. The pandemic drags on and we’re all stuck inside. Blegh. Reality sucks.

So why not take this opportunity to escape into fiction?

A year ago we ran a contest and we asked writers to submit stories set in other times, places, and versions of reality.

Then we had our judges pick the best ones to include in this anthology. Therefore, the seven stories you are about to read are windows into other worlds, but also into the minds of eight extremely creative and talented individuals. We’ve included their bios and a few words from each of them so you can get to know the people who have created such imaginative stories to take us far, far away, if only for a little while.

So pack your bags, or don’t because you won’t be needing them for this journey. Instead, sit back, relax, and turn the page to find distant galaxies, alien cultures, mysterious magical islands, unknown planets, the value of colour, the fragility of time, and the fickle nature of fate.”

Far, Far Away comes out on June 17th, 2021!

The anthology is now available for pre-order on Mirror World’s website!

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!

the cover, revealed!

It’s here! The Patch Project has a new look thanks to Adventure Worlds Press and cover designer Peter Brinn!

A couple things to note about the revised edition:

1. If you already have a copy of The Patch Project, you do not need to buy this one as well – the story is exactly the same, I’ve just tweaked a bit of the grammar and sentence structure to enhance the reading experience!

2. If you’ve discovered A Place That Used to Be and want to get to know the characters and their backstories, The Patch Project takes place earlier in the timeline, but can be read afterwards! I’m starting to think of them as companion books, rather than as a first novel and its sequel.

3. The book will be available on Amazon and through me on November 17th! Join the Facebook release event for a chance to win a free copy!

And without further ado, here is the beautiful and mysterious cover of The Patch Project!

[Image description: A copy of The Patch Project (Revised Edition) surrounded by fall leaves. The book cover features an evergreen forest, the top half of which is swathed in mist. The cover text reads: The Patch Project, Brittni Brinn]

I absolutely love the cover! If you want to see more of the book in all its glory, stop by my YouTube channel after 12:15pm today, as I’ll be posting a video showing off the back cover and a sneak peak of the interior as well!

So excited for the release on November 17th! Hope to see you all there!