brittni in ink

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

Tag: technology

writing retreat

This month is turning out to be a busy one! With packing and giving away stuff in preparation for our upcoming move, I haven’t had as much writing headspace as I would like, but I’m slowly getting through edits on the space novel.

One thing that helped me get back to the novel is the weekend writing retreat I attended! A group of us checked in with video calls twice a day and cheered each other on as we worked on our respective projects. You can read more about it on the Adventure Worlds Press blog!

Myself, Christian Laforet, Ben Van Dongen, and Elly Blake taking a coffee break during the weekend writing retreat!

I’ve also had a lot of motivation from the writing-related groups I’m part of through social media. It helps to know that I can check in with these groups when I’m sitting down to write or need to find another word for coffee table.

A new development is that I’m working on a new short story. Originally, I was hoping to write something for Augur‘s submission period, but now I’m doing it more for fun. It’s about a character from my space novel solving a murder. Did I mention I’ve been watching a lot of Shetland lately?

Peter and I also attended a zoom wedding, which was beautiful. As much as we wanted to be there in person, we were so thankful to have the technology to share in the celebration!

We dressed up to attend the ceremony – through zoom!

Also, if you wanted a signed copy of either of The Patch Project or A Place That Used to Be, please let me know by the end of the month. I’ll be packing up most of my stock for the move at that time. Copies are still available at Juniper Books, Biblioasis, and on Amazon.

coming soon

The sequel to The Patch Project is due out this summer! Maybe not the greatest time to be releasing a book, but having a goal to work towards is helping me through isolation. Also online game sessions with friends and going through old letters. Snail mail is the best!

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As the sequel enters the last part of the publishing process, I’ll be posting weekly updates! Here’s what’s happening this week:

  • The manuscript is going through one final round of edits with the amazing Amilcar John Nogueira
  • Sarah Kivell, the wonderful photographer who took my author photo (pictured above), is taking pictures to be featured on the book cover
  • I just learned that email newsletters have to include the creator’s address in the footer of each email. I haven’t found a way around this; I feel uncomfortable having my address available to people I don’t really know. Therefore, you’re all stuck with my blog posts 🙂

Also, I’ve been blown away by the number of orders for The Patch Project that have come in over the past few weeks. I’m down to my last 25 copies, so if you would like to purchase a signed book, let me know!

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! **