September 23, 2014
(By Brooke Burgess)
So…it seems that a book has been written.
Awesome. Strike one off the bucket list. :D
But this is only the beginning – just the first in a five-volume children’s contemporary fantasy/mystery/adventure epic – and I need your help to keep this particular ball of cat-loving string rolling.
I’m about to start Book 2 in earnest (title to be revealed early 2015). The plot’s been in stone for some time now, the chapters are outlined, and the prologue is already written*!
But Book 1 in The Shadowland Saga– The Cat’s Maw — needs to leave its firm paw-print in the literary world in order to get more young readers, scary mystery lovers, and feline fanatics clamouring for what comes next.
Here’s what you can do to put some catnip in this old kitty’s bowl:
- BUY IT: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500971650 the print version — complete with the new cover embedded above, more than 20 original illustrations, and an exclusive BOOK 2 sneak-peek – is available now in Amazon’s North American shops, and will be up in European ones early October. Expect the Kindle, iBooks, and other E-versions before Hallowe’en — I’ll be sure to list them all here!.
- REVIEW IT: if you really, really want to help Billy and his feline friends? Then write a gushing, heartfelt, and passionate review! You don’t have to buy the book if you can’t afford it. If you make a good case and promise a timely review on multiple sites? Then I will send you a PDF version of the final. That’s right — just commit to posting some kind words on AMAZON, Goodreads, your blog or Tumblr, on Pinterest or on Facebook…heck, even with graffiti. Word of mouth is the single BEST way for people to discover things, and you were all the FIRST to experience this story.
- REQUEST IT: Ask your local bookstore, library, or specialty shop to carry The Cat’s Maw. It will appear on major distributor lists (Ingrams, etc) soon, and that’s how the literary gatekeepers find what to buy. The more you ask for it (ANYWHERE in the world), the faster folks can experience the story the way it was meant to experienced…curled up under a thick blanket with a cup of cocoa on a blustery autumn night.
- FAN IT: Want to take things a step further? Then get involved! Why not make a fan page if you’re inspired? Or create some original artwork? Or do your own audiobook recording! Wanna hold readings at your school or library, screen the trailer, and have discussion groups? Go for it! Try to solve the mysteries of The Shadowland together…and maybe you’ll be rewarded for your efforts when a contest or two arrives to test you in the future.
And please, please, PLEASE — don’t be shy. If you have ANY questions or comments, feel free to get in touch — that’s what the magic of the Interwebs is for!
FYI: I’ll be following up soon with a beefy article featuring many of the things I discovered were part of the process after the book was written. It’s boggling. Speaking with other self-published authors, I was both surprised and a little dismayed by how unprepared most writers were when it came to having a savvy marketing, promotional, and press strategy in place for their books by the time launch week came around. So maybe, just maybe, you can learn from our mistakes ;-)
More soon from the Shadowland, dear friends — thanks in advance for anything you can do to help.
With continued warmth and respect,
May 22, 2014
(by Brooke Burgess)
Long time, no post! But rest assured, dear friends…I’ve been busy, albeit quiet.
And quiet is the operative term.
After receiving some helpful (and surprisingly glowing) beta reader feedback on my first novel, I completed a round of draft revisions in April and the work is currently under agent and publisher review. Then, struggling to exercise the patience of the proverbial saints, I felt the call for another adventure in Silence.
I don’t think it’s much of a coincidence that a strong first draft of a 230-page children’s fantasy novel was completed in less that ten weeks. I give a newfound commitment to meditative practice the lion’s share of the credit. So, with pre-publishing edits on the first book looming, the second book in the Shadowland Saga fully outlined (title TBA soon!), and following a slow recovery from some tropical nastiness (dengue fever and Giardia parasites = good times!), the twin batteries of intuition and mindfulness were in desperate need of a recharge.
The last meditation retreat in September stirred up some long-buried emotions. But it also rewarded me with renewed clarity, increased mental fortitude, and a powerful set of tools to apply to life and to the creative process. And with another block of 17hr days filled with deep sits, contemplative footsteps, and radiant Metta, it quickly became clear how many parallels there are between meditation and writing.
Off the top of my (currently empty) head, here are 10 that stand out:
January 7, 2014
I’m about to edit a book. Seems like a straightforward mission statement, right? But for me, the prose editing process generates a special, singular kind of fear. I’ll get to that in a second.
When you’re launching an initial assault on the blank page, there’s a leap-into-the-void, roll-the-goddamn-dice, what’s-the-worst-that-can-happen? kinda quality to the whole thing. That’s why I actually enjoyed the NaNoWriMo exercise – you show up, put your head down, and commit to your daily word count. That’s it. So, if your outline was strong enough, and your characters were clearly defined, and you respected your narrative roadmap (no matter how many shortcuts or off-road excursions you indulged in along the way), you’re gonna end up with something. And, unless you’re a complete tool, said thing will resemble an actual ‘story’, with words and paragraphs and dialogue and chapters and a beginning, middle, and end. Groovy.
But then comes the hard part. You see, in keeping with my oft-stated transmedia philosophy, Storytelling (on singular or multiple platforms) is akin to the mining, cutting, and polishing of a precious gem. Writing in prose has only reaffirmed that for me. The story outline is where one surveys the land and takes soil samples. The first draft is digging and sifting until you find the raw stone. Which makes the hardest part – the detailed cutting and polishing phases, which give the stone its unique beauty and shine — the edit.
January 2, 2014
December 27, 2013
Hello friends, and happy impending 2014!
With the new year fast approaching, I find another journey is on the verge of ending; I’m about to complete the first draft of my debut novel. For better or worse, I’m trying to see the accomplishment for what it is, and release any and all expectations surrounding it. And with that? Well, I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t getting a smidgen excited. But just a smidgen…or two. ;)
I’ve been tweeting and Facebook’ing a string today about children’s stories – specifically ‘mid-grade’ novels (for 8-12 year-olds ie: Potter, Narnia, Dark Materials, Percy Jackson, etc) – and whether it’s possible for these to contain intense emotional arcs.
I’ve been reading a lot lately, and find that many of the established series limit their protagonist’s emotional range and ‘stakes’ (at least until later instalments), while choosing instead to focus on ‘world-building’, large character rosters, and causal plot triggers.
So here’s my question: do you think that issues like self-worth, abandonment, betrayal, extreme doubt/terror, and the like are exclusively an ‘adult’ domain? I ask because, with the end in sight, I’m seeing that my tale is pretty darn dense with complex emotions already — things I personally experienced as a child — and the feeling I have now is that this dynamic has entrenched itself as the bedrock of the greater (ie: 5 volume) narrative.
Without high stakes and real struggle, isn’t a story merely ‘stuff happening in an interesting place, with random people’???