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Website advisory and crowdfunding copy for English versions of this breathtaking new retreat, opening its doors to culturally conscious and environmentally-minded travellers in 2016.

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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: The Cat’s Maw turns 1!!!

October 5, 2015


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PATTERNS = Memos from the Muse

September 15, 2015



Apologies for the sparse posting this summer, my friends. Work, travel, and Life got in the way (as they so often do), but I intend to hop back on the blog-horse for regular features and updates over the next 6 months at least. As always, your patience with my scheduling weirdness is infinitely appreciated. And speaking of weird…

In my creative and my personal life, I see patterns. 

Something as seemingly random as a rush hour commute with all-green-light intersections takes on prophetic business meaning. Pairs of butterflies circling the deck every morning for a week becomes a relationship omen. Monthly jolts awake after the same bonkers dream, only to see the same goddamn numbers glaring back at me:

(And the less a superstitious double-Gemini says about the thrice-annual shit-show of Mercury Retrograde, the better — back up those files and don’t sign contracts for a month, kiddos…the pattern of ‘Karmic fun’ starts tomorrow!)

Sure. It could just be my monkey brain’s way of making some desperate sense out of absurd, everyday, garden-variety chaos. But what fun is that? Especially when some of the greatest creative and scientific minds in history were/are ardent believers that recognizing patterns and potential connections between objects and events was the key to attaining higher knowledge and artistic excellence???

And that brings us to today’s topic: MEMOS from the MUSE.

Over the past six months or so, a common theme has reared its strange and fantastical head in the stuff I’ve been working on, as well as projects I’ve been brought in to help shape: the WHIMSICAL. The damn term keeps popping up in personal writings, in random conversations, highlighted in reference material, or even blurted out during conference calls. And it always came, it would seem, with the same qualifier: DARK.

How can you NOT smell a pattern like that? If the Muse keeps tickling your brain-balls, then it only makes sense to hear Her out over rib-eyes and a nice cab-merlot, amirite?

So I do what I like to call ‘tracing it back‘.

Follow the breadcrumbs of influence. Find the Alpha of the thought that’s recurring, which might help you predict the Omega of the path that you’re on — IE: the end result of the pattern — what it’s been trying to tell you from the start.

I recalled the shows and movies and books I loved as a kid.

I pondered the stuff I’m drawn to, and the tales I’m now driven to tell.

I revisited the last studio gig I agreed to, and the direction I gave to the team:

The music on that Hellboy 2 short is by my genius composer cousin, Tobias Tinker. We’d been making musical magic together for 7 years…and then that was that. I went off on walkabouts. He made more cool shit.

Last month, I flew my weary ass to his home in Berlin to see if our mutually-creative fires could be rekindled. It only occurs to me now that another 7 years had passed since our last big jam. And there we were, discussing the score on a massive (and massively daunting) audiobook project

‘What’s the vibe you’re after?’ he asked.

Dark, of course,’ I said, ‘but there’s something else…’

I sat up, and I think I felt the ghost of a gear click into place as I spoke the word. And then, in one afternoon, we built the following piece around our masterful narrator‘s silky boom:

A pained music box. Flourishes of harp. Mysterious choir. Moody strings.


A month later, I couldn’t help but smirk when discussing part of a (secret = SHHH!) reality TV project’s score with its producers. There was a scene near the end that needed a special sonic touch —  ‘heavier’ than the rest of the program, but still retaining a hint of playfulness and ‘hope’.  I referred the editor to a section from Howard Shore’s score for The Fellowship of the Ring.  

You can probably guess what two words were exchanged. ;)

That brings us to just last week. A designer on a seriously epic (and another SECRET!!!) game thingie asked me for input on the soundtrack.

Let me say this — if you were privy to the IP in question and what these cats have planned for it? Then you’d barf up the same goddamn tags I’ve been chucking since springtime. But that might mean very little to someone not lost in the vortex of signs and symbols…you know…like yours truly.

Thankfully, since I’d been bashing my head on this whimsy trip for months (nay, a lifetime!), there was an easier way to communicate. To share the PATTERN, whispered long ago through the Chaos by the Muse…

To be useful in this moment.

Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away = bombs of whimsy, yo!

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen = fanciful theatricality and fairytale decadence to legendary excess!!

The Dark Crystal = ground zero for ‘dark whimsy’ from my childhood!!!


What are some of YOUR dark and whimsical favourites?

And what patterns have played a role in YOUR creative and personal lives?

Sound off in the Comments…right below the kitten in a top hat…

Because WHIMSY!




TIMELINE:  Fall 2014/Ongoing

PLATFORMMobile (Android, iOS)


Contracted for text/dialogue creation, cinematic scripts, and ongoing narrative design consulation for this Vancouver studio’s diverse mobile game slate. Titles include action/sci-fi (WARHAMMER: Carnage), niche/casual (Trophy Bingo),  and a celebrated global music/entertainment IP. (TBA 2016)

On Napster, the Creative Class, and the Future of FREE…

April 29, 2015


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(Note: listen to this featured chapter sample first and then, if you smell what we’re cooking, read on for the related transmedia insights)

Dear Friends, Fans, and Feline-aficionados,

I was catching up on eps of Silicon Valley the other day. I love the show. My tech and venture capital pals assure me that the portrayal is pretty much an accurate one. And, as I watched the latest, I was reminded of something I used to ponder often.  Specifically, when the douchey, monied bro’ below spouted the following:

‘I put Radio…on the Internet.’

Yes. That happened. And not just on the show.

Napster changed everything. But was it for the ‘better’? I can’t help but feel some days that they were singlehandedly responsible for planting the grotesque, rarely-before-thought perception in the minds of a generation of consumers — that they hand-birthed the reality where music (and, by association, nearly ALL creative output) should be free.

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March 9, 2015


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Got a story to share with the world?

Join the freakin’ club.

Stats show that over 15 million ISBNs (book registry #’s) were created last year alone. That’s up from the LOW 6-figures just five years ago. The market is officially flooded, my friends. Tsunami’ed, even.

And with that knowledge comes the demoralizing realization that the lion’s share of folks will NOT be willing to take an impulse deep-dive into uncharted waters. That’s why we like sequels. And reboots. And re-tellings. Because people’s most valuable commodity is time, so they’d much rather play it safe and invest this precious resource in what they know.  

It’s like buying stock. In Apple.  Even if you think the new watch is bullshit. At least it’s familiar bullshit.

$10K+??? Totally Scientology.

$10K+??? Totally realistic…like Scientology levels of reasonable

So then…how can the little guy (ie: the independent author) chip away at well-established and deeply-entrenched mindshare (in this case, Big 5-published IPs)? What can we do to turn the tide as Amazon ‘free days’ go flaccid, cheap eBooks glut the market, and mainstream media channels — newspapers, review blogs, and core book sites — crinkle their collective noses at anything beyond their immediate (ahem…payola’ed) gaze?


Enter the ‘meme’.

Coolcat Maw

If you’ve written a cool story, chances are that it’s chock full of interesting ideas. Pithy observations. Humorous tangents. Snappy dialogue. The whole damn gamut. And if these snippets are crisp enough, while still maintaining the core brand message with a complementary image?

Then they are primed for your arsenal.

With a Google Image search and a virtual armoury of free (and idiot-proof) text generators, you’ll soon have an album full of unique promos for your book, blog post, screenplay, comic, or marketing blurb. And this ‘ammunition’ can be fired at so many willing targets. Facebook. Twitter. Tumblr. G+. Reddit. Imgur. LinkedIn. Pinterest. Hell, you could even throw Yahoo a bone.

It’s as if media dashboards like HootSuite were made for this — to scattershot your creative brain bullets far and wide, scoring as many flesh wounds and critical hits as you can with daily firings.

Because the rules have changed, writerly friends.

The language of the Web has evolved to favour the visual.

And as indie authors..?

We’d be fools not to learn how to speak it.

QuoteAnimalsQuoteChange QuoteFlying (1) QuoteWave


February 11, 2015


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IMG_3978Hey friends,

It’s been a bit since my last post, and much has been stirring on these feline shores.

I figured it was high time for an update, some semi-humble trumpet blaring, and a timely reminder that your kind contributions last summer have not fallen on blind eyes, deaf ears, or flagging spirits!

And, for a wee hit of nostalgia? I thought I’d hit this thing proper oldschool — like, Saintly Scribe Newsletter style, kittens and cats.

(I blame Mercury Retrograde entirely)

In this first Shadowland shout-out of 2015, you’ll find:

  • TWO PAWS WAY UP! (The Cat’s Maw woos the critics)
  • READERS GONE WILD! (user review-o-rama)
  • I HEARD ABOUT YOUR BOOK, BUB! (end-of-Feb SUPER discount)
  • ONLY THE SHADOW KNOWS! (the audiobook is coming!!!)
  • REQUEST LINES ARE NOW OPEN! (bookstore/library request)


If you aren’t dialled in with my facebook feed or have yet to sign up to this blog (it’s a wee button to your right, or wayyyyyyy down on the bottom-left), then you probably missed the slew of glowing reviews for the my middle-grade debut, THE CAT’S MAW.

So, instead of posting a schwack (yes – that’s a technical term) of links, I’m including a brand new version of the trailer with press raves included:


Please post this baby far and wide, and know that this is just the beginning!


The Cat’s Maw has garnered over 100 reader reviews across all of Amazon,, Google Play, and more.

In fact, there are over 50 5-star reviews on Amazon worldwide so far (US + UK + Canada + Germany + France) with the book reaching as high as #13 in Young Mysteries on in December!

If you have yet to post a review, please take a sec’ to:

A) add your voice to the kitty chorus here, or

B) log into Goodreads, iTunes, B&N, and most other major ebook retailers.

User reviews DO make a difference, my friends, and not just with sales — with enough buzz and kudos, the editorial departments of the major sites turn their eyes towards hidden gems in the vast piles of self-published dreck.  With nearly 3 million books released annually vying desperately for your love and attention? Every little bit helps!


After months of crossed fingers, cyber-bribes, and insistent twitter pleading, the editorial department at powerhouse eBook broker has finally given the thumbs up. YES!

But…uhhh…what does that mean, exactly?

CM eCover NEWIt means that (as a long-overdue Valentine’s Day prezzie) the illustrated ebook version of The Cat’s Maw will be available for a ludicrous $1.99 for a limited time!!!

This will be the updated version, with all formatting bugs squishes and every last typo cast into  the dark abyss. I’ll be sending out a mail as soon as the deal goes live on more.

Oh!  And to celebrate, the updated paperback version is now available for the rock-bottom price  of $9.99!  Spread the good word, and snag one today!!!



Find the One Who Hears, Through the Veil of Tears…


A formal press announcement is coming this Spring, but I wanted all of you to be the first to experience what we’ve got cooking for your ear holes later this summer!

Featuring the acclaimed talents of David Kaye (GI Joe, Transformers, Beast Wars) and Tobias Tinker (Broken Saints, Hellboy 2 shorts, Stillness3).

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Mr Kaye getting warmed up for another 3hr slave-driving =)

And if you were one of the insanely kind folks who donated $250+ to the Shadowland kitty?

It’s already yours.  And we…WILL…rock…you!



Got a favourite indie bookstore?  Or maybe a much-loved library oasis?

Then why not spread the gospel below to the folks in charge!  Ask them to carry THE CAT’S MAW — for brave young readers, and feline fans of all ages — available now from INGRAMS, and major book wholesalers!

Or, if they’re not total Luddites in the face of the communication age, point them over to NetGalley — the place where indie book buyers and librarians galore can review new books for FREE where THEY can choose what to champion!

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In the sleepy town of Appleton, a young loner follows a stray cat onto the road and is struck by a car.

A leg is shattered, a summer is ruined, and the troubled life of Billy Brahm goes from bad…to cursed. 

When the mysterious cat appears at his bedside, Billy is haunted by strange and prophetic dreams…

The creatures in them speak of Watchers, and Shadows, and the Enemy that Awakens.

Does this impossible realm hold the key to healing the broken boy?

Is the golden-eyed cat there to help him, or to make the nightmares come true?

Too frightened to share the truth with his strict adoptive parents, Billy realizes that the only ones he can turn to are the local vet’s daughter, the town’s ‘crazy cat lady’…

And a mystical tiger, beckoning from his dreams.

That’s all for now, my friends.  Many thanks for your continued kindness and support, happy reading, and continued blessings…

…from the Shadowland.


CASE STUDY: Of Games and (going with your) Guts

January 12, 2015


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(by Brooke Burgess)

Happy New Year, kittens and cats!  With 2015 well underway, I find myself shifting gears out of (fiscal) necessity. It happens. The Beast must be fed, and those games and gadgets and goodies aren’t gonna buy themselves, right? Pity.

Most of us don’t have the luxury of making the things we want to make most the time. Instead, our stars tend to align in service of other masters.  That’s where the term ‘service work’ comes from — it’s your focus and sweat, in varying measures of servitude. So all you can do is cross your fingers, twiddle your rosaries, and pray for decent pay, benevolent bosses, and a pinch of artistic satisfaction after the dice are rolled. I’ve just been lucky to get a few more sevens than snake-eyes.

Somehow — whilst chiseling away at the narrative marble to carve out screenplays, a book, a few comics (animated and otherwise), and potentially cool stuff that never saw the light of day — I’ve been able to fashion a (nearly) functional balance between passion projects and rewarding contracts. Writing and narrative design. Animation. Interactive stuff. You can even scope some of it here.

And I’m about to start work on another one, helmed by one of my fav’ game industry pals. We first collaborated on a pretty cool Japanese co-produced PS2 launch game. This was easily one of the most rewarding and educational experiences of my professional life; the scope was massive, the timeline tight, and the team endlessly ambitious. 15 years on, and things have come full circle in many ways. Colour me optimistic.


But it doesn’t always work out so smoothly. In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that I swore I’d never work on a game contract again.

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IT IS HAPPENING AGAIN! 7 Must-haves for the TWIN PEAKS Revival on Showtime

October 7, 2014



(by Brooke Burgess)

I am full of secrets. It’s true. But there’s one thing about my journey as a storyteller that has never been a mystery:

Twin Peaks was (and is) one of my biggest creative influences. Ever.


You want proof?  These things I tell you will be true:

  • I watched the whole series when it aired. Live. Yes…yes I am dating myself, but this old Owl is not what he seems.
  • I saw the feature film – the much maligned, yet now overwhelmingly respected slice of suburban horror, Fire Walk With Me (FWWM) – six (6) times in the theatre. At least one of those viewings was sober. Honest.
  • I’ve since owned every available edition of the pilot, collected series, and film (except for Japanese laserdisc. I know, I know…slacker).
  • The TWIN PEAKS Entire Mystery BluRay is on my Christmas list. If Santa doesn’t love me, I will steal a player just to see the 90min of delected scenes from FWWM, which I have signed four petitions to help bring to life.
  • I wrote an award-winning Fringe Festival play in 1996 whose climax paid direct homage to a scene from the film. People gasped in horror. There was weeping, and much gnashing of teeth. I was happy.
  • David Lynch’s obsession with creating mood and tension and surreal ‘hyper-reality’ states with audio became my own. I did my darnedest to slip some of his tricks into early game work at Electronic Arts.  Maybe you should try hunting down one of these
  • I attended the 1998 Twin Peaks Fan Festival in North Bend, WA. I had donuts, cherry pie, and many a mug of coffee. Oh…and I spent a whole night with this man from another place, learning to speak backwards.
  • BROKEN SAINTS, in many ways, was a 10-hr homage to Mark Frost’s serialized storytelling chops, and Lynch’s A/V style. If you think that’s an exaggeration, then you haven’t seen the intro to this.
  • My new children’s fiction books – THE SHADOWLAND SAGA – are structured like a limited run TV series peppered with quirky characters, absurd humour, a layered mystery, and chilling otherworldly dreamscapes. The first book (The Cat’s Maw) has no fewer than three nods to Peaks dialogue. And yes..there will be a contest.

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September 1, 2014



(by Brooke Burgess)

Thanks in great part to your pom-pom waving and flashflood of generosity, my first children’s fiction novel — The Cat’s Maw — is complete. It’s in the final stage of layout approvals, and I’m taking care to tweak for optimal print and eBook display whilst squashing any lingering typo bugs. (If you’re a reviewer, and simply can’t wait until the galleys are ready, then feel free to ping me for a ‘99.5% final’ PDF.)

As a debuting indie author every day is a school day, so I’m passing on seven of the tastiest morsels of knowledge gleaned thus far (some bits most certainly culled from the Journals of Duh).

At the very least, you won’t be in utter darkness after your stab at NaNoWriMo this November :D

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DIGITAL NOMAD, YO (You can write anywhere)

It’s a brave new world, my friends.

You don’t need a penthouse office. You don’t a need a big-screen, quantum-powered desktop. You don’t a suburban castle with moat filled with craft brew and a 2.3 car garage.


I’m all about ‘setting’ when it comes to getting into the scribing mood, so I needed somewhere special – and specifically feline – to tackle the first volume in The Shadowland Saga. And since ancient Egypt was a little outside the budget, a remote corner of Southeast Asia proved the next best base of operations. $500/month for a bungalow, a scooter, and three tasty squares a day?  Sign me up, slappy.

But this wasn’t just any old fiscally responsible nook — this was a remote jungle island teeming with CATS – a tiny Muslim fishing community with no natural predators (even the cobras fear kitty here!) and a respect for all things fierce and four-footed.

May I say it again:  have WIFI, will travel…and you can too!



GIVING AWAY THE COW (Free reads = free advertising)

In April of this year, I began teasing chapters from an early edit of the book on WATTPAD – considered the social network for writers and readers of all ages. Billing the tale as the opening shot in a ‘contemporary fantasy-adventure epic’, I posted the first 6 chapters and crossed my fingers for a response…

Two months later, I was asked to feature the story in its entirety. In less that 8 weeks, the response has been astounding: chapter reads have topped 140K, along with a tsunami of ‘Likes’, shares, reading-list adds, and passionate comments and questions from an engaged and faithful audience.

Am I worried that posting content for free will dilute book sales come November?  Not so much, considering that this exercise has helped to build great early buzz between readers of my genre. Not to mention the fact that the official eBook and print versions will have exclusive content that’ll get the hardcore faithful twitching like a dignified kitty after catnip tea. ;)

It really is a brilliant time for aspiring authors to chart a course and steer their own damn ships.

Enter the Shadowlands...

COMING SOON (Book Trailers are a thing)

It’s seems illogical – how can you cut a promo with audio and compelling visuals for a work that’s meant to exist solely in a reader’s mind? Still, in recent years, it seems that book trailers have progressed from a rarity to the norm in mainstream publishing. The goal is to sell the feeling of the story in a bite-sized chunk of AV goodness to a literary audience.

The Cat’s Maw is a dark feline fairytale with fantasy, mystery, and adventure elements for brave young readers – think ‘middle grade’ (9-12yrs) — and for all you creepy kids at heart.

I think we pulled it off, don’t you?


This 90sec piece features the haunting narration of Michael Dobson (Transformers, Batman: Black and White, Broken Saints), a chilling score by Tobias Tinker (Broken Saints, I Am Legend shorts, Hellboy 2 shorts), and original art by Sara Machajewski, Welkyna, David Cameron Sloan and more.

It was conceived and designed to set stage for the mysterious saga to come by teasing a major piece of its mythology puzzle — trust me, once you’ve read Book I, you’ll see exactly how potent this bit of promo is.  :-)


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