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Posts tagged ‘cats’

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

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

October 5, 2015


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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

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!


The Cat’s Maw gives middle graders a good, creepy story!

May 19, 2015


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The annual meditation/detox retreat is officially complete, and this lovely post was there to greet me upon entering the ‘real world’ =)))

Originally posted on Mom Read It:

catsmawThe Cat’s Maw, by Brooke Burgess (2015, CreateSpace), $10.99, ISBN: 9781500971656

Recommended for ages 10-16

Billy Brahms has luck, all right – it’s all bad. He’s an accident looking for a place to happen, and an easy target for bullies. His parents don’t know what to do with him, but they don’t seem to try too hard to connect with him, either. When he’s struck by a car and risks losing his leg, they’re all at the end of their respective ropes. One day, though, Billy wakes up to discover a cat has adopted him – he just shows up at Billy’ bedside. His mother puts up a fuss, but the neighborhood cat lady manages to talk her into letting Billy and the cat have some time together to bond, saying it will be good for poor Billy, who’s stuck in a cast all summer.

That’s when the dreams…

View original 314 more words

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.

Read more


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.

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February 22, 2015


Ebook Pimpcat

Hey Literature Lovers,

The #1 digital book broker BOOKBUB is featuring my mystery/fantasy debut!

THE CAT’S MAW is now available in all major eBook services for just $1.99.

This is a huge coup, as BookBub’s passionate subscriber list is nearing the 3 million mark. That’s some serious eyeballs, people!

Here’s the list of direct links where you can snag yourself the latest illustrated edition, complete with a haunting teaser for Volume 2 in the saga:

And in case you missed it, here’s the updated book trailer jam-packed with glowing REVIEW quotes. What are you waiting for?


Thanks as always for your support, and please spread the good word to eager readers far and wide (and, of course, to cat lovers everywhere!)

It ain't just for kids, lady :D

It ain’t just for kids, folks… :D



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.


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


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