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Posts from the ‘Spirit’ Category

A SILVER MEDAL (just in time for the holidays!)

November 23, 2015


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Got a lovely surprise in the post today – a silver medal for my debut from the 2015 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards!


I’m sure that for most of you following this blog, it’s been a bit of a drag getting ‘spammed’ with book stuff over the past year. I totally get it, and appreciate those who have resisted clicking ‘Unfollow’ up ’til now. The support is honestly priceless.

But what you may not know is that The Cat’s Maw is an extremely personal story (some would dare say autobiographical) that uses the power of fiction to trace and uncover the first seeds of a troubled child’s spiritual awakening — a modern ‘Buddhist Narnia’, if you will.


So now, with the year coming to a close, I thought it high time to address you all:

To those that donated to my publishing campaign…

To those that gave thoughtful beta reader feedback…

To those who hunted down an eBook or paperback for themselves…

To those that took the time to actually read and review the story…

And to those finding a spot under the tree for it this Xmas…

Thank you. All of you. Truly.

And now…Volume II awaits…in the Shadowland. :D

Alt Cover Art


POETRY CORNER: ‘Whispers…’

September 23, 2015


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(to celebrate the 100th blog entry, I’m re-posting a short poem scribbled on FB last week, based on true events. I was driving on some spooky/abandoned back-roads on the island — pondering everything to come in The Shadowland Saga — and then this happened. Make of it what you will…)

Lost in a trance on jungle roads
Twisting the throttle and banking hard
Flashing through the night, wheeled firefly
Tracing unseen things and
Whispers on the Wind

Three street-lamps flicker down the hill
And beneath each one: a cat
Unmoving and unblinking in the strobes
Holding vigil between the worlds
Of Wakefulness and Dreaming

So I slow, and nod to each in turn
Thanking them with secret names
Before flitting back into darkness
To chase more shadows and
Whispers on the Wind

Vulnerability = The Key

May 21, 2015


After the annual silent retreat, I can’t help but feel sensitive. Intensely aware. Exposed, even…

And this is a GOOD thing.

I was going do a follow-up post about dropping facades, strapping Ego down to the examination table, and embracing the countless creative rewards that come hand-in-hand with embracing vulnerability. I really was.

But then I read insightful, frank, and deliciously open piece from one of my fellow OM’ers and, well…I’ll let her take it from here.

Thanks for putting my thoughts into words, Jo — see you in the ether.

Let’s get vulnerable.

Let's get vulnerable.

2014: Lessons Learned and Wishes Granted

December 28, 2014


(by Brooke Burgess)

Dearest Friends,

I hope your Holy-days find each of you in the midst of loved ones — feasting on all things homemade, gravy-soaked, and likely carbicidal — and looking back fondly on another cycle of us all whirling together around the Sun.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who downshifts into more reflective, contemplative gears upon December’s end. Seems to be par for the cultural course, right? One of the few rituals we all still embrace on some level.  And for me? The past 12 months have been unlike any other chunk of calendar to pass in…well…pretty much ever.

WARNING:  this will be long post. Like, TLDR-cubed kinda long.  And it may seem a smidgen mid-lifey.

But if you hang in there ’til the end?  If you tough it out, you may just find some diamonds in the dross.

Worse comes to absolute worst, there are some pretty pictures.

Alright.  Are you ready…?


Read more


June 19, 2014



(by Brooke Burgess) With a personal ‘patronage drive’ around my birthday, the funding for Book 1 in the new children’s fantasy series — The Shadowland Saga — was raised in less than 10 DAYS!  Now, it’s time to sound the call beyond my walls and reach out to lovers of literature, classic children’s stories, and…CATS! Enter PUBSLUSH — the ‘Kickstarter’ for books:


With this 40-DAY exclusive crowdfunding campaign:

  • I’ll be raising all costs (layout, illustration, editing, audio, etc) for BOOK 2, and beyond!
  • There will be more REWARDS for contributions, including $10 and $25 levels!
  • You’ll be able to contribute with SECURE VISA/MC donations!
  • 5% of every $ goes to Pubslush’s CHILDREN’S LITERACY charity!
  • See DAILY TRACKING for goals, rewards, and compaign updates!
  • ‘Stretch Goals’ for localized versions, and much, much more!
  • Easy SHARING to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and all your social media!

At the very least, please take a few minutes to check out the campaign page. It’s got fresh content — project background, an interview, even a live chapter sample! — and, by clicking ‘I’M INTERESTED!’, you help build buzz on their main hub for the project.

And…for all of you who sent such generous and supportive gifts my way already?

Here’s a sassy Q&A follow-up, just for you <3


June 2, 2014



(by Brooke Burgess)

Q: What’s this all ABOUT?

Like the video says – I’m seeking support for my 5-book middle grade (8-12yrs) contemporary children’s fantasy series: The Shadowland Saga.

Q: What’s the quick and dirty way to donate?

PAYPAL or INTERAC e-PAYMENT (for Canucks) to my mail:


paypal donation button


Q: Why not a formal KICKSTARTER/Indiegogo?

Scope. The stats show that the formal crowd-funding campaigns that tend to be the most successful are related to tech, games, film/TV, and content with established brands (I’m looking at you, Reading Rainbow).  This is just a bunch of books – and the funding goal ain’t that high – so I wanted to keep the focus on close friends, industry peers, and hardcore fans of my previous work with this more personal approach.

Now…if the series takes off, and there’s a rabid audience eager to fund the launch of a full blown transmedia experience of the narrative world?  Then you’ll see Shadowland on Kickstarter in a big way. Count on it.

Read more


May 22, 2014


Meditation is like Writing

(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.

Enter the 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:

Read more


January 2, 2014



‘Save’ has been pressed.
76,161 words.
345 manuscript pages.
I just wrote a goddamn book.
And now, to sleep.


A Serious Question: Can Children’s Novels Explore Extreme Emotion?

December 27, 2013


The Dreamer and the Dreamed

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’???





An Early Present

December 17, 2013



Seasons Greetings, friends and followers — I truly hope the season finds you happy, healthy, and sharing/basking in goodwill with all!

It’s been quiet in this space for a few months, and there’s a reason for that. As some of you already know, I’m working on something new. Honest. Not a sequel (to this), or a one-shot (like this), or even another screenplay. This labour of love is the first in a five-book fantasy series for ‘middle grade’ readers (8-12yrs) — think Narnia or Potter, but more contemporary. With (appropriate) horror. And pirates. And lots and lots of cats.

Early Concept Cover -- Art by Dane Cypel and Sara Machajewski

Early Concept Cover — Art by Dane Cypel and Sara Machajewski

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