July 29, 2011

plot problems

So, you guys remember my post about conquering writing slumps last week? Well, I have another point to add. Sometimes, you’re stuck because something is wrong. Turns out my piddling was the result of my subconscious telling me something I didn’t want to hear.

Brooke, this isn’t working.

Shut up. It is too.

If you say so.

I continue on my way, piddling, evading, and ultimately not writing. So I summon Vincent—my subconscious, Muse, whatever you want to call him—and I ask him, Well if you’re so smart, why isn’t this working?

July 27, 2011

lessons from my first D&D campaign

Sorry for the late post, but I was up rather late last night. Couldn’t sleep, so what did I do? I read Ella Enchanted. Stayed up until two o’clock, which in my college days would have been negligible, but now I go to bed around 10:30 like an old fogey. I blame my husband. He has to get up early for work, and if I don’t fall asleep before he does, I won’t. That man snores like a freight train. Lately though, he’s been working nights, so I’ve adopted my college schedule. Stay up however late, doing whatever, and waking up whenever I want, eating junk food, and taking naps. Very little productivity with this sort of “schedule”. I’ll be glad when he goes back to normal working hours. I haven’t gotten a lot of writing done since he’s been working weird hours. I need my uninterrupted peace and quiet.

Anyway… I haven’t done a gaming post in a while. My Dungeons & Dragons adventuring party has been on a hiatus since May, and we never could get together over the summer. So I killed them. Let’s just say an Astral Kraken dropped out of a portal in the sky, squished them, ate them, and then swam back to the Astral Sea. Yes. That’s what happened.

July 25, 2011

emphasis in writing

Kristen Lamb posted today about Four Writing Crutches that Insult the Reader’s Intelligence, and one of her four points was Punctuation & Font as Props.

Now I agreed with her other three points: Adverb Abuse, Qualifiers, and Telling instead of Showing. But when it came to Punctuation & Font, I found myself thinking that I was guilty on all accounts (except for bold, because that’s never acceptable). I use italics in my writing, exclamation points, and ellipses. I don’t overdo it, but they’re there.

July 22, 2011


Hi, my name is Brooke, and I have a problem.

I obsess.

It’s true. My husband is often bewildered by my obsessiveness. When I start something, and find that I enjoy it—whether it’s a book series, video game, television show, or hobby—I can’t help but put every bit of my effort into it. The obsessions last for days or weeks or even months, however long it takes for the obsession fuel to burn out.

I power-gamed Animal Crossing, which folks, is a casual game, something you pick up whenever. I danced my butt off through Just Dance and Just Dance 2. I have about 200 hours invested in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. The day I got Sims Medieval, I finished the first kingdom goals within a few hours. I demolished LEGO Harry Potter, Years 1-4 in a matter of days.

July 20, 2011

conquering writing slumps

This past week, I hit a sort of writing slump, right after writing a blog post about how amazing I am with my word counts of awesome. Serves me right. We also had new windows installed in our house, which took three days of a dude banging a hammer on our old aluminum frames. And on top of that, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part two released last week… ‘nuff said.

So, I expected Monday, with my computer back in the office, blog post written, no windows man banging on window frames, and no emotional finale to my childhood, I would be able to write. I sat at my computer and stared at the screen. I literally stared at the same sentence for over an hour. Eventually, I said eff it, and started working on the pre-writing for the next novel I plan to write (that fantasy one I was hinting to you about). I figured if I couldn’t work on the task at hand, I could at least do something moderately productive.

I still couldn’t do it. I stared at the computer again. I wrote my first brainstorming question, and stared at it. At this point, I really didn’t know what to do. Fear crept in. What if the writing slump continues? What if I can’t write anything all week? Oy vey.

July 18, 2011

choosing what to write

I am itching to write a fantasy novel.

As regular readers know, before I began Chroniker City, my steampunk project, I had only ever written fantasy. It’s my bread and butter. I love wizards, spells, dragons, lost princes, spirits, dark lords, and so on. Now that I am roughly 60% of the way finished with Chroniker City, I can’t help but think about my next project. Originally, I had planned to write Chroniker City and its sequels before working on anything else, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

July 15, 2011

the end of an era

[The first portion of this post was written before I saw the film, by the way. The rest of the post will be after the fact.There will be book spoilers, but I feel no need to warn you of that. I will however make notice before film spoilers. Also, this is a really, really, REALLY long post. It took me the better part of three hours to write, so you might want to set aside some time to read all the way to the end if you are so inclined.]

I am writing this at 7:00 Thursday night. We'll be leaving for the theater in about twenty minutes, and I wanted to share a few things about the experience of Harry Potter over the last twelve years.

I'm excited. I'm really excited. This really is the end of an era for me. I've been in love with Harry Potter since I read The Sorcerer's Stone back in 1999. You can read about that experience here. Summation: Harry Potter awakened in me a love for fantasy and a love for reading. I learned life lessons from Harry Potter: to do the right thing, even though it's hard; to fight for what I believe in; to always look for the good in people; and to accept that sometimes things are out of my control.

July 13, 2011


So. Google+. This strange new social media outlet that could easily be the love child of Facebook and Twitter. For those of you already in the beta, you can find me here: Brooke Johnson Google+

First things first, Google+ has circles. Circles are amazing little things, all round and stuff. You fill them with people.

The place where Google+ will succeed is the public/private boundary.   Twitter is available to everyone, or only people you approve. Facebook is available to everyone, unless you mess with the settings for about three hours, and then you can make it private. It’s a bit of an either/or thing. You can’t really have posts targeted toward everyone, then some posts targeted toward just family or just friends.

In Google+, circles reign supreme.

July 12, 2011

guest post at harry potter for writers

We now take a break from our usual programming...

The lovely SP Sipal has posted an article of mine on her blog Harry Potter for Writers. I hope you'll head on over there, check it out, and maybe give the blog a little follow. It's a great source for writers who also love the Harry Potter series.

Harry Potter for Writers: Guest Post: Encountering Magic for the First Time: "Please welcome to the blog today Brooke Johnson, another wonderful writer who also has a love affair with Harry! :-) Brooke has a great bl..."

July 11, 2011

the homestretch

You know when you go on a long road-trip (like one longer than four hours, because I make those on a monthly basis), and the ride toward the destination seems to take twice as long as it should? Or how on those shorter trips it seems to take forever to reach the halfway point between two locations?

We recently took a trip to Florida, an awful fourteen hour drive cramped in the backseat of an HHR with five pillows in the middle seat and little to no scenery. Don’t know how many of you know, the drive between Arkansas and Florida is rather dull. It gets a bit interesting when you get to southern Mississippi with their plantation homes and creepy, Spanish moss covered trees. But then you hit Mobile, Alabama, where the palm trees seem out of place and a bit corny. Then, after half the day is spent, there’s Florida sand and sun, and though you’re exhausted from the drive, you have to frolic in the splashy waves like a three year old, because that’s what you came for.

July 8, 2011

review: clockwork angel

Clockwork Angel – Cassandra Clare

Magic is dangerous--but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own. 

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

July 6, 2011

productive distractions

For those of you that keep up, you know that my weekend project was to create a cover for my novel. For those of you that don’t keep up, you now know that too.

I usually don’t write on the weekends. That may be something that I need to start doing, because even if I only wrote 1000 words over the course of Saturday and Sunday, that would put me another 1000 words closer to my end goal. As it stands, instead of writing, I spend time with my husband doing whatever. He works ten to eleven hours a day Monday through Friday, and he sometimes has night pager, giving him another two to eight hours that day. So when he isn’t working, I like to spend time with him.

July 4, 2011

happy 4th

Seeing as its raining today, looks like we'll just be hanging out around the house all day. No work. No play. Just chill. (Though I may work on my book cover. More on that later). We did celebrate yesterday, so I think our patriotic duty has been fulfilled.

Hubs grilled: country style pork ribs, turkey sausage, corn on the cob, acorn squash (fresh from the garden), and potatoes and onions. We celebrated by watching Dexter and eating chocolate peanut butter brownies. Didn't shoot fireworks, but we could hear the show going on at the nearby lake as well as the many firecrackers going off around the neighborhood.

So what are/were your plans to celebrate America's independence?

July 1, 2011

review: possession

Possession – Elana Johnson
Vi knows the Rule: Girls don’t walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn…and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi’s future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.
But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they’re set on convincing Vi to become one of them….starting by brainwashed Zenn. Vi can’t leave Zenn in the Thinkers’ hands, but she’s wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous: everything Zenn’s not. Vi can’t quite trust Jag and can’t quite resist him, but she also can’t give up on Zenn.
This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.