FIRST DAY BACK

stormIt is my great privilege to offer for the first time my story FIRST DAY BACK, which has just been posted in its entirety on Wattpad.

Here’s the blurb -

William Jeffers returns to teaching at a private Christian school after a leave of absence resulting from a nervous breakdown, a day complicated by his liberal demons and an approaching hurricane.

You can read it here -

http://w.tt/1zMfW8V

Your feedback would be greatly appreciated. I hope you enjoy.
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Camcover-150x150Here’s a 4 minute audio excerpt from my horror novel CAMBRIAN. You can read the full novel for free by clicking the link on the right. http://www.24novels.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Cam-Ridge.mp3


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WHITE OUT

night man

A new project is under way, on a whole new platform for me – Wattpad. WHITE OUT is the story of Carl Higgins, a broker with a suddenly broken marriage thanks to a text he received from his wife intended for her lover, as Carl waits for a tow in a blizzard.

My first update has just been made. You can read the story thus far here -

http://w.tt/11LQ02d

Starting today, Monday, December 1st, new entries will be posted every Monday and Friday at 11:30 AM Eastern.

So it’s sort of an old time serial. Like The Shadow. Which knows all about the evil lurking in our hearts. Something my protagonist is just beginning to learn about.

I hope you enjoy my latest. And I hope you’ll decide to drop back in for more.
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Camcover-150x150Here’s a 4 minute audio excerpt from my horror novel CAMBRIAN. You can read the full novel for free by clicking the link on the right. http://www.24novels.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Cam-Ridge.mp3


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Watt’s Wattpad?

wattpad

It’s November. A telling month for me. It was in November that I began my twenty four 3-Day Novel marathon. And another November saw me birth my Tales in 20 Tweets. Here I am again, looking around as I pound away on my 1941 Royal, in search of inspiration for another project.

And I found it! Courtesy of a fellow Canadian outfit, Wattpad. The Youtube of books. If Wattpad is new to you here’s  a great intro courtesy of Emily Landau of Toronto Life:

http://www.torontolife.com/informer/tech-informer/2014/11/10/the-wattpad-cult/

My new project will be stories on Wattpad. I’ve already kicked off my first one, a tale of terror named WHITE OUT.

rearview

Here’s the blurb -

Carl Higgins is confronted with the collapse of his marriage as he waits for a tow in a blizzard. But glimpses of something in the swirling snow assure him that his troubles are just beginning.

Part One has already been posted. You can read it here:

http://w.tt/1zDAPTH

Starting Monday, December 1st new entries will be posted every Monday and Friday at 11:30 AM Eastern.

So here’s to another literary adventure. I do hope you’ll join me.

Until next time, my best to you and yours.
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Camcover-150x150Here’s a 4 minute audio excerpt from my novel CAMBRIAN. You can read the whole novel for free by clicking the link on the right.

http://www.24novels.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Cam-Ridge.mp3


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Right Back Where I Started From

Insanity_Central

Well that was fun. My tryst with songwriting. And singing too! It was a thrilling leap into the void. For a while anyway. Most flights of fancy are.

I think I was trying to find a new way to express myself in the wake of my brother’s death. My emotions weren’t content with words on a page. They wanted another outlet. And for a season they found one in song.

Then your friendly neighborhood insanity writer woke up one morning amid an odd clarity. Maybe it was the absinthe I tried the night before, a birthday gift from a friend. (Hey Cor!) I went to the computer and checked out my oeuvre as a songwriter, songs that poured out of me for a couple of months, before the well went dry. (The muse for verse is a fickle soul.  She doesn’t give a damn about your willingness to work. And the idea of a quota makes her bust a gut laughing as tears stream down her face.)

I realized two things on that strangely lucid gray November morning. It was fun and worthwhile to hang out in the music world creatively. And I was wearing a visitor’s pass while doing so. A pass that had been revoked once my acute grief subsided.

So here I am. A California baby (Bellflower born!) who is right back where he started from. I’m pounding out pages on my Royal again, and I’m loving the clickety click, clackety clack DING of it all. This ol’ buffalo is back at his familiar watering hole. And he’s wearing a fedora while he types like mad.

Not sure where it’s taking me. Not sure right now I care. But this much is certain -

It’s good to be home.

____________________________

BVI

My audio book, the detective story AN EXERCISE IN WISHFUL THINKING, is my gift to you. PLAYING TIME 2.5 HOURS. Click the link to find it:

http://www.24novels.com/2014/03/17/an-excersize-in-wishful-thinking-audio/


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The Fall Man – Audio

Dsk

I am pleased to offer my story The Fall Man in audio format. I turned this tale into a limited edition book which went around with me on my ‘Insanity Tour’, which saw me write twenty four 3-Day novels in one year. THE FULL PERFORMANCE TIME IS LESS THAN THREE HOURS.

Here’s the back book blurb: Seven year old Klara Hinley has enough on her plate as her terminally ill sister comes home from the hospital, but something else has arrived in the swirling leaves and shifting shadows of her back yard. Enjoy:

Part 1:  http://bit.ly/1E9uVx4

Part 2: http://bit.ly/13rUts8

Part 3:  http://bit.ly/1zUX4cy

Part 4:  http://bit.ly/13rUDQ6


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Strive On

My new song STRIVE ON, which I think is good advice.

STRIVE ON

On the lonely night watches
As I scribble and I play
I see the moonlit mountain
On the horizon far away
The goal to crest the summit
And finally be known
But the lone wolf’s call in the darkness
It chills me to the bone

CHORUS:
The pilgrim dreams
And burns with desire
They bleed, sweat, strive
Their heart afire
They ford life’s streams
In the dark woods though they tire
Though the lone wolf calls
And your last hope falls
And someone lights your funeral pyre
Strive on

Dreams scarce can fuel a journey
Across that epic span
Wolves long to tear asunder
The faith that says you can
Most who make the pilgrimage
Die along the way
But warm homes are full of corpses
That never dared to stray

CHORUS

I met with an old friend of mine
She longed for so much more
Spent sleepless nights in a gorgeous home
Staring at the door
She asked me how to find the strength
To leave her house and town
I said it’s simple though it’s hard
Just burn that nice house down

CHORUS

(c) Don Britt 2014

 

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Recording

Recording

About to head off to my first recording session. My song SCATTERED will be making its debut on UK radio. This interest from across the Pond gives me some wonderful incentive as I continue my reinvention as a singer/songwriter.

For your listening pleasure here’s my cover of a classic Rock Ballad – Fields of Gold. Enjoy!

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Scattered

Hi folks! Your friendly neighborhood insanity writer continues his reinvention as a songwriter. My latest shows that I’ve finally found a use for all my aborted writing projects! Enjoy!

SCATTERED by Don Britt 

A screenplay partly written

Is scattered all around

A scrawl of notes now beckon

From their place down on the ground

 

And by the sheets of music

Is a story halfway penned

A tale of Morocco

Of bazaars and mystic men

 

A Chicago cop in New Orleans

She hunts her partner’s killer

On pages strewn about my desk

She stars in my new thriller

 

If fantasy you would prefer

A boy wizard would be king

If his uncle doesn’t kill him first

In 12th century Beijing

 

There are unfinished symphonies

Great poems scarce begun

Things just conceived half shuffle

Out into the Sun

 

And scamper back at our behest

From fear or lack of drive

The things that die before they’re born

Doom this man alive

 

To living death and worse than that

For even death is queer

It says that you were living once

In some sunlight dear

 

Songs and plays and epic tales

Where empires rise and fall

Fill pages, hard drives and the books

Half written on my wall

 

If horror is your poison

There’s a tale of Slave Lake

A place of calm and sweet repose

Til the Summer of ’88

 

The shuffle of this pen across

The page here on this night

Makes me wonder if I have

The drive to make it right

 

I’ll finish this here melody

A song for you I’ll sing

From a poet’s anguished heart

This verse at least will ring

 

A Chicago cop in New Orleans

She hunts her partner’s killer

On pages strewn about my desk

She stars in my new thriller

 

If fantasy you would prefer

A boy wizard would be king

If his uncle doesn’t kill him first

In 12th century Beijing

 

Songs and plays and epic tales

Where empires rise and fall

Fill pages, hard drives and the books

Half written on my wall

 

If horror is your poison

There’s a tale of Slave Lake

A place of calm and sweet repose

Til the Summer of ’88

 

(c) Don Britt 2014
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Here’s a 4 minute audio excerpt from my novel CAMBRIAN. You can read the whole novel for free by clicking the link on the right.

http://www.24novels.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Cam-Ridge.mp3


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RETOOLING

Future

Remember that Simpsons episode where Bart became the ‘I Didn’t Do It’ kid? He finally realizes his dream of working on the Krusty the Clown show. Things go terribly wrong when Bart accidentally knocks over a vase, causing a cataclysmic string of events that tears the whole set down. ‘I didn’t do it,’ says Bart, as the camera and Krusty both glare at him. Wrap is called and everybody walks away from the demolished set as the announcer proclaims the show ‘Closed for Retooling’.

That pretty much sums up the summer of 2014 for me. I had my most formative staring contest with the abyss yet this summer, as my brother lay dying and as I tried and failed to get my father out of a mouse infested hell in Cape Breton. But out of adversity comes opportunity, some asshole once said. As my last post explained I had an insight in my brother’s last days. The fact that I’ve spent my life spurning my musical talent, the only talent in the Arts for which I’ve ever been rewarded. With money. Honest to goodness money.

SO I’m spending some time retooling. I’m writing some songs, which means I’m also doing some poetry. An odd thing that. After drowning in a sea of prose for twenty years I’m hangin out with verse. It’s quite a revision process I don’t mind telling you, when you’re the manuscript and you’re putting yourself under the knife. The goal is to reinvent myself as a performing artist, a singer/songwriter and a story teller too.

It’s a daunting prospect, to stoop and build my life with worn out tools, well into my forties. But there is one great consolation. I have nowhere to go but up. And I can’t possibly do any worse financially. A new father of quintuplets, when asked if he was concerned about the financial problems he might have, summed it up nicely – “How can you have any financial problems when you don’t have any money?”

Here’s one of my new songs. Well it sort of has to be, as I don’t have any old ones. I call this BIRTHING GROUND. Which is where I find myself these days. Enjoy!

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REINVENTION

1292(The spot where my brother’s ashes were poured, Mira River, Cape Breton Island)

 

REINVENTION

Hi. Your friendly neighborhood insanity writer here. Fresh off a deathwatch in the Maritimes. My brother and only sibling Edward died in Nova Scotia, with bowel cancer. He was ten years my senior. And he moved out of the house when he was Eighteen. We were roommates in recent weeks for the first time since I was eight.

 

My brother had a tough life. He was bipolar. A psychiatrist who cared for him said Edward was unusual in that his manic spells were extremely protracted. A fact that tore friends and family apart, put him afoul of the law a number of times, and eventually left him burnt out, fried by these brutally long highs.

 

Edward never stayed on his medication. He once explained why. “Imagine a life of amazing technicolors, one where you saw parts of the spectrum other people couldn’t. Your own Oz sorta thing, only better. Then someone comes along and says ‘Here, take these pills.’ And when you do all the colors go away, and you’re left rotting in shades of gray.”

 

I told him I sympathized. But at the time there was a warrant for his arrest, and I thought that was what really mattered. My brother disagreed. There were only those colors that only he could see.

 

We got to spend the last three weeks of his life together. A gift from on high. At the end his mental illness, which had morphed into paranoid delusions, simply left him. I had my old brother back. The one I worshipped as a kid. The guy who saved my life once. The eternal optimist, who believed we will escape our earthly cradle and reach the stars.

 

I talked to staff about this odd absence of the demons that plagued him. They nodded, and said it was not unusual. Although studies on the matter are lacking (the mix of mental and terminal illnesses would make for a tricky double blind) I was told that people often even out in their final days. From where I sat it seemed as though the thing that possessed him looked around at a house that was falling down and said, ‘That’s it. I’m out o’ here.’

 

Sleep was elusive on the lonely night watches. I wandered off to the cafeteria and played a piano there, songs that were big hits with my music students this past year. Hall of Fame, Counting Stars, Demons and Daylight. I chucked in ‘To Love Somebody’ at no extra charge, because it’s a damn good tune.

 

And I came to a realization as I sat there and played. I realized that I, the self proclaimed insanity writer, have been living a tired old definition of insanity for decades now. The one about doing the same thing endlessly, in hopes of a different result.

 

I’ve always resented music. In the world of the Arts it is the one area where people have told me I have talent. And the only area in the art world that has led to remuneration. I worked in musical theater in my college days. In the fulness of time I became a private teacher. A successful one. I have 56 students, and schools let me in to ply my trade.

 

But none of it mattered to me. Only my words did. I’ve written four novels, twenty-five novellas, a handful of shorts. Some nifty Tales in 20 Tweets too. My failures in pitching my product left me bitter. Hell, I’ve been an asshole about it. (After a school concert this Spring a mother came up with gracious words of affirmation. I shrugged and said, “I’m a frustrated writer. No one cares about that part of me.”)

 

All this coursed through my mind as I sat playing in a hospital cafeteria, down the hall from the room where my brother lay dying. I thought about my online persona, the insanity writer (the Neo to my real life Mister Anderson) and I saw the simple truth, at long last.

 

I stopped playing and stared at my hands. “It really is insane,” I muttered. “Hating this part of me. Resenting my music. Instead of accepting it for the gift it is.”

 

I am a writer. I am also a musician. All my life I saw those aspects as incompatible. It took my brother’s death to make me realize that they are not. Both are parts of me that I should honor and cherish. What’s more, they are parts of me that are fully capable of working together.

 

In the wake of Edward’s death, back in my Cape Breton homestead, I wrote a couple songs. Then I returned to the West and wrote some more. Here’s one, a hard core Celtic offering called ARISE: 

 

 

And so from death I have found new life. One where things are integrated, with the different aspects of me working together for the first time, well, ever.

 

Am I a songwriter? Was I meant to be that all along? Have I drowned myself in a sea of prose, when I was supposed to be giving myself over to verse? 

I don’t know. But there’s one way to find out.

The only way that any artist can.

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