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BOOK UPDATE: WHISPERS FROM THE PAGE…

February 11, 2015

brookeburgess

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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)

MEDIA MENTIONS!

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!

USER REVIEWS!

The Cat’s Maw has garnered over 100 reader reviews across all of Amazon, Goodreads.com, 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 Amazon.ca 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!

FEBRUARY SUPER SALE!!!

After months of crossed fingers, cyber-bribes, and insistent twitter pleading, the editorial department at powerhouse eBook broker Bookbub.com 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  Amazon.com/.ca/UK/and 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!!!

 

AUDIOBOOK TEASER!!!

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!

 

BOOKSHOP AND LIBRARY REACH-OUT!

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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A BOY. A CAT. A NIGHTMARE LOOSED IN TWO WORLDS!

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.

BB

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

October 7, 2014

brookeburgess

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(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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ON WRITING: 7 TIPS FROM THE ROOKIE TRENCHES

September 1, 2014

brookeburgess

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(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.

You…can…write…anywhere.

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!

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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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GOT TIME FOR A QUICKIE?

July 31, 2014

brookeburgess

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(by Brooke Burgess)

Hey, blog-friends!  I just realized that the last post was over a month ago, so it’s high time to send a ping from this quiet corner of the globe.  We’ll keep the vast swaths of text to a minimum this time, and go oldschool, bullet-point, link-o-rama on your eyeholes:

  • the PUBSLUSH crowdfunding campaign for Book 2 in The Shadowland Saga just hit its trigger minimum with 3 days left! Big thanks to the generous folks who chipped in the kitty (heh). Oh, and you’ve still got time to help out, snarf exclusives,  and support children’s literacy while you’re at it :)
  • Meawhile, The Cat’s Maw just cracked 50K chapter reads and 1000 upvotes on WATTPAD.  The story’s about 3/5 revealed (I just posted Chapter XIII: Of Blood and Basements), so feel free to che-che-check it!
  • Finishing up a hush-hush ‘adult’ novella that might make you blush a shade…or fifty. Pen-name in full effect on this one, but it won’t be Marquis De Sade-style torture to sleuth it out…
  • Annnnd…with illustrations beginning to pop-up for the first book’s interior, I’ve bitten the proverbial bullet and joined the ranks of PINTEREST weirdness.  Just getting the hang o’ things, but expect to see stuff from cult flicks and TV, comics, books…oh…and kitties!!! :D
  • In a stalky mood? I lurk ‘n’ post near-daily on Crackbook and Twitter — also getting a wee bit GIF-happy (with admittedly emo short-story and poetry snippets) on Tumblr. Don’t be a (virtual) stranger!
  • Rumblings of ‘movement’ on a genre script that’s been in dev for a while. Perhaps a director announcement soon…?
  • With another COMICON in the (funny) books, I couldn’t help but have some YouTube flashbacks.

All for now, folks. Hope you’re having suitably brilliant and beautiful summers, no matter where on Earth the sun may find you.

<3

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BOOK 2 ‘KICKSTARTER’ IS LIVE!!!

June 19, 2014

brookeburgess

Chapter2

(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:

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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

‘SHADOWLAND’ FUNDRAISER and FAQ!!!

June 2, 2014

brookeburgess

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(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:

bb@brookeburgess.com

<3

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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.

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WORDSMITHS: 5 WAYS TO SHARPEN YOUR EDIT

January 7, 2014

brookeburgess

The Edit

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.

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

December 27, 2013

brookeburgess

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’???

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An Early Present

December 17, 2013

brookeburgess

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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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My First Guru Had Four Feet

October 15, 2013

brookeburgess

Old Ghost...

(the following is reposted from a submission of mine that was featured on Tiny Buddha last month, and again on Life As a Widower.  It’s a true story from my childhood, though my folks would probably say I was leaning into ‘literary license’ territory. ;)  That said, this is the unedited version of the tale, which includes a pictorial peek at my old stomping grounds.  More importantly, I want to commemorate the completion of the outline for a long-in-development series of four children’s books, directly inspired by the events recounted below.  For all of you taking part in this year’s NaNoWriMo…know that I’m there in the literary trenches with you – BB)

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I’ve always been a ‘cat guy’.  This was long before my Buddhist friends told me stories of how cats are true earthly masters, here on earth to show us the Way. Or, to demonstrate the meditative perfection of the feline purr.  Or, how the life of a cat is seen in some traditions as reward for ‘good Karma’.

When I lived in rural Nova Scotia, the house was blessed with two cats named Midge and Mooch: tabby mixes, who would come and go as they pleased, and were kind enough…if not overly affectionate.  I kept asking for a cat of my own, and my folks eventually buckled.  For my seventh birthday, I received a black and white kitten with golden eyes and a salmon-pink nose.  He took to me instantly. Love at first meow.

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