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Posts tagged ‘transmedia’

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)


February 11, 2015


SymbolXL copy

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).

Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 3.14.37 PM

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!

SymbolXL copy


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


CP Study

(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.

Read more

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.

Read more


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


February 10, 2014


Enter the Shadowlands...

Howdy friends!

With the first draft of my children’s book complete — and in the capable hands of a hungry team of beta readers — I’m keen to share a bit more with you. And what’s the best way to do that, you ask..?


This is THE social media platform for readers, writers, and anyone invested in experiencing the collision between technology and the written word.  Millions of users. Countless stories. Mind-bending genres. And it’s all being updated with new content — based on your feedback — every second, of every minute, or every goddamn day!

So take a minute to click the link above and scope the prologue and a chunk of Chapter 1. If you dig it, then please leave a ‘star’ and a comment on the site, sign up for updates, and spread the good word!

Expect more updates soon, dear friends — including release dates, illustrator news, and even audiobook talent announcements (could a voice from the past be making a collaborative return?).

Thanks…for reading :)




January 7, 2014


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


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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