brittni in ink

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

Tag: short read

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!

festive times

It’s the last Patch Project appearance of 2018! I’ll be running a vendor table at The Green Bean Festive Market, happening this Saturday, December 8th from 11:00 – 5:00 pm. Drop by, say hi, and enter the free draw for a chance to win a signed copy of The Patch Project!

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There will be buttons and copies of “Showing Her Teeth” as well as copies of The Patch Project available for purchase. Plus, a ton of amazing local creators and crafters are going to be there!

After Saturday wraps up, I’ll be taking a break from events for the holidays. I’ve set a deadline for editing the sequel to The Patch Project – final draft by the end of February! – which is exciting! It’s been a different kind of writing process from the first book, which I may consider posting about in the new year. I’ve also been more intentional about reading lately, and am working on getting the last book of Ursula K. LeGuin’s incredible Earthsea cycle. It amazes me that I’d gone so long without reading them!

I’ll be back next week to announce the winner of The Patch Project holiday draw!

 

Are you taking a break for the holidays? Or is it a more productive time of year for you creatively?

the first thursday, featuring Ben Van Dongen and The Thinking Machine

For the next four Thursdays, I’ll be featuring a different book by a local author – and they’ll be featuring The Patch Project! It’s our version of a book exchange-style blog tour, and should be a lot of fun!

First up is Ben Van Dongen, with his new cyberpunk novella, The Thinking Machine!

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The Thinking Machine follows an outsider named Zed, a new arrival to the massive metropolis that spans most of the Eastern seaboard. The purpose of his visit is to hunt down a machine who, strangely, shares his name. A cyberpunk novella infused with Zed’s personal sense of mythos, this tale of humanity’s relationship with technology is full of suspense and intrigue.

It reads like a detective novel. Zed follows leads, passing through the less frequented corners of the bustling city. Ben Van Dongen’s cities are usually gritty and unforgiving places, riddled with back alleyways and dangerous doorways. This city is no different. The distinct locations of each scene create an impressive thematic atmosphere. Zed’s impressions of the city and the intermittent thoughts of his home in the forest, along with references to why he entered the city in the first place, really put muscle on the bones of this story for me.

The beginning of the book includes a couple of stereotypical side characters you would expect from an 80s dystopian film like Bladerunner, and there is a lack of multi-dimensional female characters. Until Belle, that is. I found that the interactions between Zed and Belle kicked this story up a notch, and created another layer of tension.

Also of interest is the implant which Zed receives in the city. I asked Ben about the role of technology in this book. “I write a lot from the hip,” he replied, “so the implants came from me thinking it was a neat idea that could push the story forward during an early writing session for the book. The idea of mechanical and technological prosthetics terrifies me. I am excited for the possibilities for people who need them, but when fake eyes out perform real eyes, how long will it take before people opt to get the new tech? Will that keep the people who don’t want augmentations behind? It’s a personal fear that I can see on the horizon.”

Overall, The Thinking Machine is a well-paced and engaging read. I’m really excited to see what Ben writes next!

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Ben Van Dongen was born in Windsor Ontario. He likes to think that if he tried harder he could have been an Astronaut, but he is happier writing science fiction anyway. He co-authored the books No Light Tomorrow and All These Crooked Streets, and is one half of the founding team of Adventure Worlds Press. You can read more crazy notions on his website BenVanDongen.com

**Next Thursday’s featured author is Justine Alley Dowsett with her newest co-authored novel, Mirror’s Deceit! **