Sneak Peek at Book Three of The Patch Project Series

Hey everyone, it’s Brittni Brinn taking over the blog today! I’m super excited to give you a sneak peek of Book Three of the Patch Project Series published by the fine folks here at Adventure Worlds Press! The book is called Where Long Shadows End, and we’ll be announcing a release date any time now!

Before I share the Prologue with you, I just want to take a second to thank everyone who’s entered the Fan Art contest so far! If you want to join this friendly creative contest, just post something based on the Patch Project series to social media with the hashtag #ThePatchProjectFanArtContest by June 30th. You could win one of the first copies of Book Three! You can find all the details here.

Here’s the opening to Where Long Shadows End! Hope you enjoy!

PROLOGUE

Isak looked around, disoriented. He was standing outside, facing a burned-up ridge that spilled out onto a flatline plain. The huge red sun hung heavy over the wasteland.

Had he skipped forward? Why? He tried to remember where he had just been, but came up empty. The desire was usually so strong when he jumped through time. Barely a second to blink between the wanting and the having. The curse of instant gratification.

Isak shifted his weight from his bad leg. Something snapped underfoot. Startled, he caught his balance and then froze. The broken, charred board was familiar. 

“Hello?” His cry echoed, no walls or trees to contain it. Sunset tinged the burned ruins around him red.

He knew this place. He recognized the board, part of a dining table he’d sat at hundreds of times. He knew that the square-cut logs sticking up around him used to support a two-story restaurant in the middle of a vast forest. He knew that he was alone and that everyone he loved was gone.

Before all that he knew could fully register, Isak heard distant footsteps coming up behind him. “What did I want?” he racked his brain as the footsteps drew closer. “What brought me here?”

The footsteps were right behind him. Isak caught a glimpse of a white streak in dark hair as someone familiar passed by. They continued for a couple of steps and then stopped, their back to him. They wore a leather jacket, mud-splattered jeans, hiking boots—nothing particularly significant. Maybe it was the way they stood with their hands deep in their pockets that gave them away. In addition to all the other things he recognized about this place, Isak recognized her.

“How long has it been?” he asked.

She stared beyond the ruins of Ulway’s Restaurant and Retreat Centre, out towards the wasteland. “This is what you wanted, isn’t it?” Pinot finally said, turning her ageless face towards him. “For everything to be over?”

Holiday Greetings!

It’s that time of year again! Lights, snow, hot chocolate, and books for everyone! We at Adventure Worlds Press want to wish you all a wonderful holiday and a hope-filled new year.

It’s been a kind of weird year for us: few to no book events to go to, uncertainty with what the months ahead will bring. But there was a lot to celebrate too! Christian Laforet started using a pen name, Ben Van Dongen released Break/Interrupt, and Brittni Brinn moved to Nova Scotia, all while working on upcoming projects!

[Image description: Eight books by Adventure Worlds Press are arranged on a green tablecloth accented by a red tablecloth set with a small Christmas tree made out of wire and beads and a painted wooden accent of a heart and a candy cane.]

2022 is going to be busy with releases from all of our authors. Keep an eye out for:

Christian’s upcoming releases with Eerie River Publishing and Timber Ghost Press

The release of Snow from a Distant Sky, the fifth book in Ben’s Novella Series

News on the third book in Brittni’s Patch Project series

And more!

Thank you so much for your support and enthusiasm for our books this year. It means a lot, and we’re looking forward to what the new year will bring!

Happy holidays!

The Secret to Writing a Novel

Welcome, readers, and especially writers searching for that ever-elusive secret of how to write a novel! It truly is the fountain of youth, the holy grail, the lost car keys for every writer looking to make that leap into the long-form of prose that has foiled so many seekers before! In trying to uncover this enigma, I consulted with the authors here at Adventure Worlds Press. Their advice will shock you! Do you dare read on, and at last reach the secret to writing a novel?

Are you still here? Good. Then let us continue.

I first approached Ben Van Dongen, the triple-threat of the company. Short stories, novellas, novels, he’s done them all! Surely he knows the secret to writing a novel? Let us see what he has to say:

“Writing a short story is easy. A monkey could do it in her sleep. You’re smarter than a monkey, right? Just write the thing.

Novellas require the kind of free algorithms you can download off the dark web. Usually Russian or Chinese in origin, expect to have to do some translating, but it’s not much more work than what the monkey does.

To write a novel on the other hand (a novel worth reading at least) you need to go to your local library. Give the librarian the secret handshake and a crisp hundred-dollar bill. They’ll take you to the hidden section where you can get a book to summon a demon. Make sure to get one with a really long name. The short name ones are bad at spelling.”

Ah, yes, the age-old bribing-a-librarian-to-reach-diabolical-novelistic-heights trick! But is this truly the secret to writing a novel?

I continued my search, next seeking out Christian Laforet. Recently signed on to a two-book deal with Raven’s Tale publishing, he would be the logical person to ask about the holy grail of novel writing. His comments:

“Marry someone with money. Lots of money. That way there’ll be no pesky day job to interfere with the writing of you masterpiece.”

Another solid piece of advice! Those day jobs, sucking the creative spirit from the genius novelist, ah! Best to seek out a wealthy partner and sponge off of them for life!

But again, I was not satisfied in my quest for the secret! As a last resort, I took to the deep, grim forest paths that lead to an abandoned cabin where they say at least three ghosts reside. I gathered my courage, and went inside, where I found C.M. Forest, roasting marshmallows over a space heater.

“Please!” I begged him, “My search has been so long! What, oh what, is the secret to writing a novel?”

C.M. Forest turned to me and said: “Write every day. Even if it’s only 500 words. 500 words a day will give you two novels by the end of the year.”

The horror! I ran from the cabin screaming and have never been the same since. My quest for the secret to writing a novel was all in vain!

Unless…

Do you know the secret?

Do you?

The Two Bill’s – Part 4 of 4

Edmond Gagnon

The Other Bill

 

I chose Cody, Wyoming as our next stop, after Yellowstone. It is only a couple hours out of the park, and it looked like a good place to get off the bike for a day. It is also the hometown of Buffalo Bill Cody, famous buffalo hunter and founder of the wild west show in his name. The local dam, the town, and museums there are all named in his honour.

Checking in early, we were able to catch up on some laundry, have a swim and take a little cat nap. We were only a ten minute walk from downtown, so we strolled that way to check it out. Wouldn’t you know it? One of the first places we saw was a micro brewery. We stopped and sampled, but weren’t all that impressed with the beer or service.

We walked around the historic downtown, deciding that the bar at The Irma Hotel was the best place to hang out. The place was built by Buffalo Bill, and named after his daughter. It opened in 1902. The collection of photos and memorabilia on the walls is outstanding. The cherry wood used on the bar was a gift to Buffalo Bill from Queen Victoria. Some of the drunken regulars in the bar were as colourful as the hotel’s past.

Our hotel was next door to one of Cody’s western museums—there’s a couple that are reportedly top notch, but we’re not really the museum kind of folks. On our second day there, after a leisurely breakfast, we went to the Old Trail Town. It’s a collection of historic old wooden buildings that have been relocated on the site where William Cody first laid out his town. The buildings, furnishings and artifacts are all genuine.

One cabin that was relocated there was used by Butch Cassidy’s Hole-in-the-wall gang. The replica frontier town has a saloon where the gang frequented, a blacksmith’s shop, and stables where vintage wagons and a hearse are on display. A small museum houses various weapons from both the cowboys and the Indians.

On the edge of the old town lies its founder, William (Buffalo Bill) Cody. His grave is there along with others, like Jeremiah Johnson, who was portrayed by Robert Redford in the movie of the same name. The town is authentic, right down to the tumbleweeds that grow in the dirt street.

A lazy afternoon by the pool finished our day, and we walked back downtown for dinner at The Chophouse. The place was packed and the food excellent. Continue reading

The Two Bill’s – Part 3 of 4

Edmond Gagnon

The Way Back

 

Usually, going somewhere is more fun than coming back. Whenever I plan a trip I try to take that into account. I don’t know how everyone else feels, but I hate covering the same ground twice. I’d much rather make a loop and go out of my way, than drive down the same road more than once, unless something is worth seeing again, from a different perspective.

Cathryn and I had a great ride getting to Vancouver, but I knew I had my work cut out for me trying to find an eventful and scenic way back home. The whole idea of the trip was to cover new ground, since both of us had been out west before. Seattle came to mind. Although I’d been there twice, I never had time to see more than a few token attractions on the waterfront.

I loved what I’d seen in the city before, and I knew it had a lot more to offer. Cathryn had not been there. From Surrey, my sister and her boyfriend suggested taking the truck route south, across the border to the states. Seattle was only a couple hours from their home, depending on traffic at the border and on the highway.

On Tuesday, July 19th, we crossed back into the states of Washington. Our Nexus cards made the border a breeze, and we enjoyed about thirty miles of quiet roads, before being dumped on Interstate 5 South. I’d called ahead to our hotel for an early check-in, figuring we’d arrive around noon.

Merging to the right put us on Highway 99, which parallels the Interstate, and is an express route to downtown Seattle. Our motel was right on the highway, and it soon showed up on the GPS. Sometimes the machines are a pain in the ass—this was one of those times. There was a cement barrier down the middle of the highway, leaving us no access to the opposite side of the road where our motel was.

Cathryn got a bird’s eye view of downtown from the elevated highway, because I couldn’t turn around for a couple of miles. Turn’s out there was a way to do it earlier, but it was cleverly hidden under the highway. Live and learn. Checking in at the Marco Polo Motel was a hoot. The Chinese owner/operator should have been a comedian, kind of an Asian Gary Shandling.

The man loudly repeated everything I said, and even though I’d called ahead and was promised an early check-in, our room wasn’t ready. He yelled at another Chinese man to get it ready. It wouldn’t have been a big deal, but I’d made arrangements to meet an old friend downtown for lunch, at 1:30. It was noon.

After showering and changing clothes, I asked the manager if he could call us a cab. He suggested Uber. I got frustrated fiddling around and trying to download the app. I asked him again for a taxi.

He said one would be there in ten minutes. After waiting twenty, I went back into the office to ask him if he could check on our cab. He was on the phone with someone who called to reserve a room. He yelled back to them, telling the caller it was first come, first served. He repeated that at least three times without taking a breath. He nodded yes and waved me back out the door.

When the cab finally pulled up, Gary came out into the lot. He held the phone to his ear and yelled at someone from the cab company. We laughed and waved, and went on our way. Even with the delays, we walked into the restaurant right on time. My friend was impressed at how we drove across the whole country and managed to be so punctual. Continue reading

Hole in the Wall: The Fifth Monday Three – Part Four

By Edele Winnie

“Jocelyn, is it really you?” Carol asked the white-coated woman up on the catwalk. “I am so…. muddled.” Carol ran her hands through her brown hair but the confusion remained. They were surrounded by buzzing machines, tubes and metal catwalks. “What is this place?”

Jocelyn laughed. “It’s definitely not the bank. The Jocelyn who works there with you is just one version of me. A sister, if you like.”

Carol pointed at one of the large glass tubes. It was filled with green liquid and an exact copy of Carol herself, floating languidly. Beside that there were more tubes and copies. Carol shook her head, unable to find words. Beside her, Gary shifted into a quivering red cylinder shape.

“I see you’ve met Gary. He’s a portal jumper. A creature that can transfer between dimensions without decomposing.”

“You make me sound so dull.” Gary complained and transformed into a star shape. “I’m actually a star.”

Everything seemed to be swirling in her head and Carol looked for a place to sit. She settled on the bottom step of a metal ladder that led to a catwalk above.

Gary changed into a rhombus. “There was a cloh enforcer right behind us.” Continue reading

2016 Mission 6, 443, 273

By Edele Winnie

There were always four. That’s why this didn’t make sense. Wherever you went- corporation, village, unit, class, whatever- there were always four. But this time Melanie found five.

Melanie was a pro- not only highly trained and a weapons expert but she also had 12 years hard experience to back it up. She knew the ins, the ups and was careful enough to never even have been wounded. She was fast, thorough and deadly.

She had discovered them on her first day. It was at the Belcon Corporation head office, employing 350 with a fine dining cafeteria and company swimming pool. She’d had new employee orientation in the morning and then gone to the cafeteria for lunch. She was the new girl- short bobbed blonde, natural makeup, blue skirt and jacket- and all the company wolves took note. Clothes can’t hide real power- and Melanie was extremely fit and capable. Every wandering male eye was drawn as if by a magnet. But she ignored it. She had to. Not only was it an inconvenience, but the four would be unaffected. It might even make her stand out too much, and her cover would be blown.

Tray in hand, plate heaped with the salad of the day, Melanie strode into the cafeteria seating area prepared for the stares. She swayed her hips just a little bit more for those hungry eyes. She had to play the part if she was going to survive. She’d done it too many time before for it not to work. The men in suites looked up, the females scowled, and she was invited to sit beside a corporate vice president alpha wolf who was practically drooling. She flirted as she picked at her salad but her eyes were scanning for the four. They might be in hiding or they might be elsewhere- usually they were so used to being ignored that they were easy to spot. And there they were. Continue reading

The Two Bills – Part 2 of 4

Edmond Gagnon

Wind & Terrain  

It was Monday, July 11th, and we had to be in Kelowna, B.C. by Wednesday night to meet my sister, Bonnie, and my brother-in-law, Larry. That meant we had to cover 1,100 miles in three days, with most of it on two-lane mountain roads. So far in the trip, Milwaukee was the only 400 miles day. We would have to do three of those. It wasn’t part of my original trip plan, but we had to get to Kelowna a day earlier to hook up with everyone else there.

The day started out nice, with the sun shining down on us. The road was quiet and dry, heading northwest. US 212 clipped the northeast corner of Wyoming, and by midday it put us in Montana. The wind picked up with the later hours of the day. The rolling green hills were nice to look at when the wind wasn’t punching us like a giant boxing glove.

The Custer National Forest kept the wind at bay, but in the open, we blew right by the Little Bighorn battleground. US 212 joined Interstate 90 just outside Billings, where the speed limit is 75 mph. Heading directly west at that point, the gusts made it difficult for me to stay in my lane at the posted speed. We had intended to bed down in Bozeman that night, but the air-hammering got the best of us, and we called it an early day in a town called Big Timber. Continue reading

In a Perfect World

By Edele Winnie

“Are you Mrs. Dununzio?” The doctor asked. At lease she assumed he was a doctor. He was wearing scrubs, had a pulled down mouth mask around his throat and a smear of blood that was just disappearing from his white coated chest.

Carol Dununzio nodded. “How is she?”

The doctor shook his head sadly.

“She’s not dead then?” Carol had to be certain.

“No.” The doctor said, frowning. “She lived. She’s going to be fine. I’m sorry.”

Carol Dununzio tried to swallow the lump in her throat. Her daughter still lived. Jessica, aged eleven, had survived. What was she going to do now?

A moment later another doctor wheeled Jessica out in a wheelchair. The young girl looked dazed, and the brown hair on the side of her head was matted with dried blood. The doctor tipped the chair and Jessica slid out and landed at her mother’s feet.

The doctors walked away, commenting on how awful the sunny weather currently was.

Carol grabbed Jessica by the arms and hauled her to her feet. The girl wobbled, but her legs held and so Mrs. Dununzio tugged her towards the emergency room doors.

The family car was easy to spot, for it was the least damaged in the lot. It was a fiery red and only the passenger side had been crashed in. The car in the spot next to it had been in so many accidents that it was now a patchwork of different colours as replacement parts had been added. One door was light blue, the next black, the roof was orange and there were other colours and some rust too. The car on the other side had been in a head on and all that remained of the windshield was jagged glass.

Mrs. Dununzio pushed Jessica into the back seat where the dead cocker spaniel was.   They’d found it by the side of the road about a week ago. It was long dead though and there were barely any insects in it anymore. Jessica was still bleeding lightly from her head wound. She lay down on the ripped seats in the back and wrapped her arms around the dead dog. Continue reading

The Two Bill’s – Part 1 of 4

Edmond Gagnon

Westward Ho

Cathryn’s big question was, “How do I pack for a whole month?” She was faced with the dilemma of how to get her clothes, shoes, and toiletries into one small suitcase, that fit into the trunk portion of our Harley Davidson motorcycle. I had laid out a plan to ride all the way to Vancouver, and back, within a month…or so.

“You only need to pack for five to seven days,” I offered, “We can do our laundry along the way when we stop for more than a day.” I broke the trip into segments, staying in a few different places for more than one night at a time, so we could take a rest from the bike, and not have to be on it every day of the trip.

We met with our friends Greg and Brenda, to discuss the first leg of the trip. They changed their final destination, deciding to only ride as far as Milwaukee with us. It didn’t matter, we were going on with or without them. Figuring traffic would be lighter, and a hotel in downtown Milwaukee cheaper, we left at 9am on Sunday, July 3rd.

The border traffic was light, but they didn’t have the Nexus lane open and we had to wait with all the other peasants. We jumped on Interstate 94, and headed west to get out of the city, with a plan to take the back roads as far as we could. I got carried away, and hit Michigan Avenue (US 12) around Dearborn. It was definitely the scenic route, all the traffic lights allowed us plenty of time to look around.

The road opened up after Ypsilanti. It was a beauty day with lots of sun and a big blue sky. We stopped for an early lunch in Cement City, where Brenda had a chicken quesadilla that could have fed all of us. I really wanted to help, but I was trying to adhere to my low carb diet for as long as I could. I didn’t even have a beer. Continue reading