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Posts tagged ‘meditation’

‘SHADOWLAND’ FUNDRAISER and FAQ!!!

June 2, 2014

Brooke Burgess

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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

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paypal donation button

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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.

Q: Why NOW? The first book isn’t even published yet!

Heard of Wattpad? It’s Facebook for readers. Over 25 million of ‘em.

I posted the first six (unedited) chapters of the book there this spring to a great response. A month ago, an editor for the service got in touch and asked if the whole story was complete. It was. Then he asked if I’d be interested in FEATURING it on their front page for a month, and at the top of their Featured List for five more, starting this July.

So…it’s a chance to reach thousands (and potentially millions) of new readers who could evangelize the story’s ‘brand’ before it officially launches…but, I’d be giving away the first book for free. Which is a beautiful idea in theory — especially considering the themes of the story — and has the potential to drive more success later thanks to a loyal audience.

Hey, it’s worked before.

Q: What’s the STORY, morning glory? 

Thrills. Chills. Mystery. Drama. Magic. Adventure. Pirates! And CATS!!!

The Shadowland Saga is a story loosely based on actual events – and, more importantly, a series of life-altering dreams – from my childhood in rural Nova Scotia. Curious yet?  Here’s the bittersweet genesis of it all, which inspired one close friend to remark, ‘Jeez, Brooke…that sounds like the origin story of a pre-teen superhero?’  And there was an eerie kinda truth in her words.

The synopsis of the first book in the series, The Cat’s Maw:

In the sleepy town of Appleton, 10yr-old loner Billy Brahm follows a cat onto the road and is struck by a car. His leg is shattered, his summer ruined, and his brief life is changed forever. He returns home from the hospital, and the mysterious cat is waiting for him. That night, dark and prophetic dreams haunt the boy — visions that seem born of an impossible place. Is this strange realm the key to healing his broken body? Is the cat with the golden eyes there to help the boy, or to unleash the nightmares into the waking world?

Too frightened to share the truth with his strict adoptive parents, Billy realizes that the only ones he can turn to are the country vet’s tomboy daughter, the town’s ‘crazy cat lady’, and a robed, tea-drinking mystic from the other side…

The tiger named Tao.

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Q: Why do you NEED money? You’re living it up in Asia!

Interesting story, that…

Last spring, I was called back to Canada to do some narrative design consulting for a big multinational media company that shall remain nameless.  The collaboration was disappointing, to say the least – I was lucky to have my relocation and living costs covered when all was said and done.

Flash forward to last September. I was flown out to Paris for a meeting with another nameless media powerhouse to discuss a major collaboration. Dream gig with dream pay. They made an offer, and I was to receive my relocation and work visa paperwork the following March.  To save money, I had them fly me back to Asia so I could start writing the first book in earnest. At least I could finish that one before my funds and credit dried up, and I embarked on a new life in France…

I didn’t learn until the end of THIS February that someone was hired internally to save money.  Which left me dans la merde. 

Q: What’s your FUNDING GOAL, and what happens if you surpass it?

I’m trying to raise approx 30K for the entire series. As I outline in the video, this will cover:

  • Professional editing
  • Industry-standard layout
  • Original illustrations (cover and interior panels)
  • Audiobooks (talent and engineering)
  • P & P (publishing and promotion)
  • BASIC living expenses

If a miracle happens, and I somehow surpass this goal?  Then every cent would go into top-notch TRANSLATIONS: French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, and multiple Asian languages. Anywhere that cats and quality children’s literature are loved and appreciated!

Q: Okay…then how much are those LIVING EXPENSES, anyway?

Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and the like have been a godsend.  ‘Oh my Buddha!’ as the locals like to say.  Rents are cheap, food’s even cheaper (especially in the north), and wifi is free and abundant.  And that’s all I really need:

  • I can survive on $500/month.  (single room + 2 meals/day)
  • I can get by on $700/month.  (single room + A/C + meals)
  • I can thrive on $900/month. (room + meals + scooter + beer!)

So, yeah…I’m happy to plunk away on a laptop with a cracked screen and scribble outlines on a 50 cent notepad whilst snacking on local fruit, veg’, and a spicy curry or stir fry per day.

This campaign ain’t about lifestyle, friends – it’s about making a creative dream come true.

Q: What about BROKEN SAINTS? Didn’t you rake in the dough?

Okay – time to set the record straight on this issue once and for all:

  • During the creation of the web series (2000-2003), we self-funded the entire thing.  Fan donations and benefit concerts helped a little, adding approx 15K to our coffers.
  • In late 2004, we were awarded a 250K recoupable grant from Telefilm Canada – meaning that we had to pay it back.  The team swelled from 4 to 40, most working for ‘sweat equity’.  Sales of the original indie DVD barely dented that, PLUS we lost 60K on 2000 copies that fell into a black hole with a bankrupt distributor.
  • A year later, 20th Century Fox Home Video (yes, that FOX) agreed to worldwide distribution for the DVD set. Huzzah!  They gave us a low-mid 6-figure royalty advance, which we used for salaries, legal and licensing, and to pay back the lion’s share of the Telefilm grant.  By 2007, that bank account was a pleasant memory.
  • The DVD set has since sold 90K copies worldwide (not bad for no marketing spend!), but needed to sell – thanks to defective glue on the first run of cases and the classic rules of studio creative accounting (just ask Peter Jackson and friends) – 200K copies to ‘break even’ before they paid out a cent.

Q: Why not get a PUBLISHER ADVANCE like real writers do?

Publishers just aren’t forking out the dough like they used to.

The industry is in shambles, traditional powerhouse pubs in NY and London are tightening their belts and raising the gates, and debut authors (particularly in challenging genres like children’s fiction) are being offered tiny advances with draconian contracts that surrender all control of an original IP to their legal and marketing departments.  The days of Rowling-like success for new writers are over.

The more research I did, particularly surrounding fantasy and mystery/horror stories for young readers, the more I realized that self-publishing was simply the way to go.

Q: What if we’re LIKE YOU — too broke to help?  

That’s okay!  Here are some other great ways you can chip in:

  • Can you pimp the above video with a bit o’ glowing praise? 
  • Can you Tweet, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, Reddit, re-blog, and bathroom-wall this post? 
  • Can you Like/Star and comment on the Wattpad chapters? 
  • Can you promise to say something nice on Amazon and Goodreads when the book comes out?  

Seriously, gang…every little bit helps!

Q: Who the hell are you? I ended up here by fluke. What have you DONE?

I hear ya’…we’ve all searched and clicked on questionable stuff before. No judgment here ;)

Scope out the PROJECTS folder if you’re the curious/due-diligence type. Oh, and here are links to two of my projects on Amazon, with a third due later this summer.

Q: How do we know you even like CATS, and aren’t just cashing in on the whole ‘I Can Has Cheezburger/Henri/Grumpy Cat’ thing?

I could explain, but I’ll just let my true love tell you with her eyes:

“He loves them almost TOO much…”

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10 WAYS THAT MEDITATION IS LIKE WRITING

May 22, 2014

Brooke Burgess

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

Of Endings and Enlightenment (RIP)

September 10, 2013

Brooke Burgess

Of Endings and Englightenment
(I’m breaking with formalities and the usual distractions to feature not only a ‘mindful’ side of the creative process – meditation practice – but also to honour one of my most treasured personal influences.   Joanne Telfer passed away in Sept 2008, and I haven’t spoken of it publicly since.  I hope you’ll do me the kindness of enduring this lengthy and somewhat maudlin post for the sincere revelations within.   Many thanks, BB)

 

This hurts.  

So much so that I don’t want to be here anymore. 
 
All I can think is that I’d rather be with you.  Wherever that is.
You’d probably just mock me, and call it a ‘cop-out’.
 
I haven’t suffered anything compared to you.
 
But you only need to see it once, remember?

You only need to know that it’s real…

 

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It seemed like a grand idea at the time.  Self-discovery!  Personal improvement!  Spiritual progression!  Ten days at a remote Buddhist retreat in southeast Thailand.  Eighteen hours each day to focus on ‘mindfulness’, in whatever task was assigned.

The wake-up bell at 4AM.  Using candlelight to wash and dress oneself.   Bare feet on cold, wet grass.  Orion’s jewelled belt pointing the way through the jungle from a sky made of black velvet.

The sexes sit on opposite sides of the sand-floored sala.  This divide persists for the duration.  Separate dorms.  Dining areas. Walking paths.  Eye contact is discouraged.  A deeper, deafening silence.

And then the day truly begins…

MUAY THAI MUSINGS

January 10, 2011

Brooke Burgess

A 5min montage of my Thai boxing adventure, shot on an old Panasonic LUMIX cam with additional iPod Nano clips. Music by Godspeed You Black Emperor!

A WARRIOR’S CREED

April 28, 2010

Brooke Burgess

I have no parents — I make the heavens and earth my parents.
I have no home — I make awareness my home.
I have no life or death — I make the tides of breathing my life and death.
I have no divine power — I make honesty my divine power.
I have no means — I make understanding my means.
I have no magic secrets — I make character my magic secret.
I have no body — I make endurance my body.
I have no eyes — I make the flash of lightening my eyes.
I have no ears — I make sensibility my ears.
I have no limbs — I make promptness my limbs.
I have no strategy — I make “unshadowed by thought” my strategy.
I have no designs — I make “seizing opportunity by the forelock” my design.
I have no miracles — I make right-action my miracles.
I have no principles — I make adaptability to all circumstances my principles.
I have no tactics — I make emptiness and fullness my tactics.
I have no talents — I make ready wit my talent.
I have no friends — I make my mind my friend.
I have no enemy — I make carelessness my enemy.
I have no armor — I make benevolence and righteousness my armor.
I have no castle — I make immovable-mind my castle.
I have no sword — I make absence of self my sword.

Anonymous Samurai, 14th Century

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