brittni in ink

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

Tag: nanowrimo

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.

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!

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.

art in the time of social distancing

In this time of social distancing, I’ve been getting back to art. I adore making art and learning about art. The DIA is currently one of my favourite places in the world (though I have yet to catch van Gogh’s self-portrait – literally every time I go, it’s out on a travelling exhibit, or just missing?) A couple of friends on Facebook have been posting links to online art exhibits and tours of museums. A stand out has been Faces of Frida – up until going through the exhibit, I knew very little about Frida Kahlo and her art. I learned that she spent time in Detroit – right across the river! – and how her life and art shaped each other. Fascinating!

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I’ve also been working through a free online art workshop called Sketchbook Revival – there are two instructional videos every day relating to different art journaling techniques – everything from lettering to binding an old book into a journal. Some of the exercises haven’t been for me, but the ones that draw my attention (pardon the pun) have been really fun.

All that being said, now that I’ve had a week and a bit at home, I’m starting to miss meeting up with people to write or have coffee together. And I’m trying to find a writing project to focus on while the sequel to The Patch Project goes through one last round of edits. Either finishing up a set of short stories I’ve scribbled at for the past couple years, or continuing the space opera I started writing for NaNoWriMo this past fall. Just something to keep me feeling productive and grounded while waiting to see what the next couple of weeks are going to look like.

I think there’s a lot of pressure to be productive during this time. I’m trying to balance it with the acknowledgement that this can also be a time of rest and contemplation. How do I want my life to change once things go back to relative “normal”? What is bringing me clarity and fulfillment during this time? What is important to me? How can I find time to ask these questions when things become busy again?

Also, I’m getting back to reading. Currently I’m reading An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green, and am rereading The Left Hand of Darkness with my sister over video chat. I’m also looking forward to reading The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel, which just came out – we’ll see if the copy I ordered arrives.

What are you reading? What are you getting back to during this time of self-isolation? How are you approaching being productive/ resting?

grand adventure

Oh where to start! I feel like this month has flown by – at the same time, how is it December already?

The Fall Book Crawl (November 23, 2019) was a grand adventure. Fellow author Ben Van Dongen gave my husband and I a ride to the Tecumseh library – quite a trek, if you know the area! Fellow author Christian Laforet lent me a table to set up my books and such – everyone liked the open suitcase look: if an apocalypse hit, I could sweep everything into it and be on my way. The library was enthusiastic about having eleven authors set up in their community room. Fellow author Tim Gabrielle, the mover behind the operation, had his hands full with last minute questions like are there plates for the cookies, and where should the snack table go. It’s no small feat to organize space for ten other people, most of who you’ve only just met!

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The Fall Book Crawl Authors! (Photo from Tecumseh Library)

Spending the afternoon with authors and readers was life-giving. Some friends dropped by, and my husband brought me cookies and coffee and took care of my stuff when I wandered around. The only down side of the day was that I did not sell any books. This wasn’t an optimal outcome, but hey, that’s show biz. I’m not a great self-marketer, and when I meet people at events I don’t immediately hand them my business card. I have a lot to learn in terms of how to sell books, and some great local examples to learn from (like the authors at the Book Crawl, for example!). So my goal for 2020 is to be a better author, in all of the facets of what that means.

Ultimately, that means writing books, right? NaNoWriMo went well for a week and then I had a week from hell (in terms of word count), and after that, I just didn’t have the energy to catch up. I did manage to reach around 17 000 words, which is a great start for when I go back to the manuscript. It’s a space opera, and I love the characters. For all of the writer’s angst, it was an enjoyable month playing around in a genre I don’t write in very much.

And now that life is getting back into a rhythm and holiday times are coming up, I finally feel ready to return to my novel manuscript. I finished a first draft this summer, had a fantastic discussion with my editor/friend about it, fellow author Hanan Hazime, and am now preparing for draft two edits. It’s a little overwhelming? I have notes from my writing group to go through, Hanan’s edits to implement, and whole scenes to add. But I really think this book is something special. That’s what’s so exciting (and terrifying) about it.

Been reading some Madeline L’Engle this month too, her memoir/ book about writing called A Circle of Quiet. A Wrinkle in Time and one of its sequels A Wind in the Door are two books that speak to deep places in my life. They remind me of this quote from her:

“A book, too, can be a star, explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.” – Madeleine L’Engle

 

projects end, projects begin

After six months of researching, interviewing, writing a first draft, and editing, along with compiling time logs and budget charts, my Arts, Culture, and Heritage Fund final report has been submitted. I feel a lot of things: relief, contentment, a sense of clearness. I feel okay about putting the manuscript* to the side for now as November and new projects are about to begin.

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This’ll be my 9th time participating in National Novel Writing Month, an international event that’s all about word counts! And having fun while writing! And writing garbage if you want to, or writing that story you always wanted to write! Writing whatever you feel like with the editing switch off and the creative doors and windows thrown open! I find NaNo super helpful in that it gets me to sit down and set aside time to write. I’ve never hit the 50 000 mark, but I’m going to really try to make it this year. To aid me in my quest, I’ve printed off a calendar from NaNo’s blog page and written down how many words I want to write on each day up the 15th. I tend to lag mid-month, so I may have to respec my daily word count at that point. Should be fun!

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Speaking of fun, there’s a reading tomorrow (October 30th) at Biblioasis featuring Windsor authors Christian Laforet and Ben Van Dongen, who I know and who are stellar writers, and David Nickle, who I do not know but am sure is stellar also. Hope to see you there!

 

*This novel project was possible thanks to the support of the Arts, Culture, and Heritage Fund and the City of Windsor.

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november tidings

It’s been a few weeks, but I’m ready to get back into the book game!

Coming up this Saturday, November 24th, I’m going to be signing things at Juniper Books! It’s going to be my first book signing, so I’m not sure what to expect! But I’m really excited to partner with Juniper Books on this event.

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If you’ve never been, their space is super cool. Each room is filled with books, cookbooks in the kitchen, fantasy novels in the attic – a treasure trove of unique finds! Copies of The Patch Project will be available for sale, and I’ll also have a holiday draw set up for a chance to win a free copy!

If you can’t make it on Saturday, I’ll also be at The Green Bean’s Festive Market on December 8th!  More details on that next week, it’s going to be a great collection of local talent!

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Also, thanks to everyone who’s been asking about how my NaNoWriMo project is going. I’m having a particularly tough time getting motivated this year, but hopefully I can get a few more words in before the end of the month.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? How’s your project going?

halloween week

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Feminist Fair this past Saturday! I met some super cool vendors, picked up some neat items, and also got to talk about The Patch Project with people. Vendor fairs are always a little intimidating for me: I’m not the best self-promoter, and I tend to be a bit socially awkward. But the atmosphere was great, and there was plenty of coffee, so it all turned out just fine.

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It also helped that I was sharing a table with the super talented Tajana Ristic! If you didn’t get a chance to pick up a copy of “Showing Her Teeth”, I still have a couple available: Tajana illustrated a short story of mine into a beautiful seven page comic, and the new prints of it are outstanding.

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I’ve got a bit of an event break now. But NaNoWriMo is coming up! I’ve decided to work on a screenplay I’ve been tinkering with over the past couple months. Nothing like a daily word count to get the writing brain working!

I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Halloween week! We’re probably going to watch some Halloween classics and eat way too much sugar. How about you?