January 30, 2012

sick on my birthday

It comes as no surprise to me that I fall ill on my birthday. Pretty much every year since junior high, something bad has happened on or around my birthday. Pretty sure I was food poisoned, but can't really be sure. Luckily, I have a stock of anti-nausea pills from my many experiences with food poisoning during college.

That said, I am not going to do an in depth blog post today as part of the Back to Basics series. I don't feel well enough to sit at the computer and type. Instead, I will find a book to read or a video game to play and have at it.

In other news, I get my first paycheck today from CreateSpace. So at least something good will happen today. And hopefully, this sickness goes away by tomorrow.

That's all for today. Hope everyone else is healthy, and I'll be back on Wednesday to talk about apostrophes and quotation marks.

January 27, 2012


It’s been a rather eventful week in writing for me. I managed to reach 14,000 words total for my work-in-progress, and then, of course, I had to go back to the plotting board. A work-in-progress is definitely a work-in-progress.

Tuesday, I realized that my main character was acting very out-of-character. Petra is a spunky girl, who doesn’t take crap from anyone, but for whatever reason, when I started writing this book, she changed into a whiny, depressed, subservient person. That was only my first problem. The second problem was that Petra just sort of floated along in the beginning, not really taking action. While part of that is the characterization lapse I had, the true problem was in the plot. Something was wrong with my plot.

January 25, 2012

back to basics: punctuation pt. 4

Continuing with punctuation, today, we’ll be looking at more dashes and hyphens! To read about em dashes and en dashes, click back to part three of the punctuation series. After this post, we’ll probably have just one more lesson in punctuation—apostrophes and quotation marks!


Figure dash:

The figure dash (–) is used when a dash must be used within numbers, such as a phone number (123–456–7890) or a date (1–30–1989), but it does not indicate a range, which is a function of the en dash. To create a figure dash in MS Word, you must type a character, space, use the - key, space, and type another character. For example, a - b, which should correct to a – b. The figure dash is obviously not widely used in fiction. In fact, I don’t think anyone actually uses the figure dash, using a hyphen (-) instead (123-456-7890 or 1-3-1989), but I suppose it’s important to know the proper way to use it. To create the figure dash, you type a character, space, use the - key, space, and type another character. For example, a - b, which should correct to a – b. Or, you can press CTRL+Numerical Minus (the one on the number pad). The same as creating the en dash.

January 23, 2012

back to basics: punctuation pt. 3

Today, we’ll take a short look at en dashes and em dashes, showing the difference between them and how to use them properly. You can check out the earlier Back to Basics posts by clicking through the archives. I’ll go into hyphens and the other types of dashes (figure dash, horizontal bar, and swung dash) in the next post.


A dash is one of several kinds of punctuation mark, similar to hyphens, but differ from them in length, and they serve different functions. The most common dashes are the en dash and em dash. It should be noted that different manuals of style use different rules for the various dashes. If you’re unsure which one to use, especially in an academic paper or non-fiction work, be sure to check the manual of style attributed to your topic or field. I also want to point out that in the cases of dashes, if you are submitting manuscripts or articles to agents or editors, the misuse of the dash is not going to be as big a deal as most other punctuation. Not everyone knows the differences between dashes or knows the keystrokes, and professionals understand this, but it is important not to use a hyphen when you should have used a dash.

January 20, 2012

this week in brooke's life

Well, this has been an interesting week. I started watching my four month old goddaughter, who is the most adorable thing ever. The amount of attention she needs has cut into my writing time, but I am still making progress on The Chroniker Legacy. Once I get into the swing of things, I’m sure I’ll get back to my old productivity, but until I get the balance of napping, feeding, and playing figured out, it’s going to take a while for my mind to adjust. I’m even writing my blog posts the night before they’re supposed to go live in order to give myself maximum writing time during the day. As it stands, I get about two to three hours of writing time while she’s napping throughout the day; it’s just hard being productive in forty-five minute bursts. I don’t know how you parents do it.

January sales for The Clockwork Giant have been rather slow. I had my first refund on the Kindle, which was a bit depressing, but then I got two more sales in the same day, so I think it balanced out nicely. The trickle of sales is about what I expected, though I hoped for more. Also, my book is available for Kobo (see sidebar link), and it should be available on iBooks in the next few days.

January 18, 2012

back to basics: punctuation pt. 2

To read part one of the punctuation posts—commas and end punctuation—click here. For the other Back to Basics posts, click through the archives. I’ll also compile a link list at the end of the series for easy navigation. Today, we’ll be covering colons and semi-colons.


Giggle… Sorry. Can’t help myself. The colon (:) is a punctuation mark used before information that would prove, explain, or list elements of what precedes the mark. Confusing sentence, I know. I can’t really explain it any better than that, so here are some examples.

The colon introduces details of a fact stated before. (I’m not the best at colon examples, because I rarely use them in my writing, so take these sentences with a dash of salt)

As fantastic an actress as she was, Hannah could have tried out for the female lead in the play without anyone asking questions, but I knew the truth: The boy of her dreams was playing the male lead, and there was a kiss at the end of the performance.

I threw a fit about the cake for one reason: It was my birthday.

Voldemort had one fear: Death.

January 16, 2012

back to basics: punctuation pt. 1


Punctuation is my favorite literary device, especially commas and em-dashes. But it is perhaps our most powerful tool other than our words. First, we’ll go over basic punctuation, and then into the more creative punctuation. The punctuation I’ll cover is in the English language. I can’t speak for other languages because I only know one other language—Japanese—and they have very few punctuation marks. The posts on punctuation will continue until I cover everything, which may be several days. I’m not sure yet.

Periods, Question Marks, and Exclamation Marks

These are the most basic of the punctuation marks, designed to go at the end of sentences. Most sentences will end in a period (.), such as this one. Questions end in question marks (?). This is difficult, isn’t it? And exclamations end in exclamation marks (!). I recommend using exclamation marks sparingly! Using them several times in a short space can be exhausting! Like the author is trying to shout you to death, or they’re so excited that you have to be excited too! God forbid you use all caps and exclamation marks! Aren’t you tired of reading this paragraph now? Most of the time, you can find a way to express excitement without having to use an exclamation mark.

January 13, 2012

chroniker city: book two

Well, you people on social media might have noticed, if you were paying attention, that I crossed the 10,000 word mark on the sequel to The Clockwork Giant.

And… I have a title. Releasing this December, the next book in the Chroniker City series is…


The Chroniker Legacy

I originally wanted to hold onto that title until the third book, but I think it’s going to fit better with the second book, especially since I couldn’t think of any other titles, not good ones anyway. 

January 11, 2012

back to basics: capitalization and spelling

Alright, today we’re going to jump into capitalization and spelling. Next week, we’ll talk about punctuation and grammar. This stuff is pretty straightforward. And almost unnecessary, since most of us use a word processor to write. I rely heavily on MS Word to find my typos and fix my writing as I go, as I imagine many writers do. But it’s important to know the rules, especially with punctuation.


Always capitalize the first word of a sentence, as demonstrated with the “always” at the beginning of this sentence. Capitalize proper nouns, such as people, places, brands, titles, etc. Names, really. You also capitalize the first word in dialogue or a quote. For instance:

Researchers have found that “boogeymen do in fact exist, lurking in the dark crevasses of children’s bedrooms”, noted in The Boogeyman Agenda.  

My sister replied, “I told Tori it was a bad idea, but she didn’t listen.”

January 9, 2012

back to basics: sentence structure

Today, I’m going to do a crash course on sentence structure. Like I said before, to most of the readers of this blog, this is probably old hat, but for writers just starting out, it could be the difference between them writing a story that needs a lot of technical work and a story that needs only a little work (because, let’s face it, every story needs work, no matter how long we’ve been writing). That’s really the point of this whole series.

So, sentence structure. The English language is a beautiful thing. We have a limitless number of words to work with, and probably just as many ways to organize them. Experienced writers have learned how to do this, either by schooling, training, or trial-and-error, and they’ve learned that the more effective the sentences are, the more effective the story is. It’s entirely possible to have an excellent story, but with a lack of proper writing know-how, the story might never be read. Technical issues can turn a reader off a story, even if they don’t know why. So, in order to improve our writing, we have to know the rules of the English language so that we can use them effectively. And then, we can break them.

January 6, 2012

when writing goes splat

Yesterday, I was reminded that writing is hard.

I had a professor in college, who, on the first day of our Introduction to Creative Writing class, said, “If you can do anything other than write, go do that instead.” At the time, I didn’t really understand what he meant, and I despised him for it. Of course I could do other things. I could become a teacher or a… well, really, teaching was my Plan B. I didn't have any plans after that. To me, it didn’t matter that I could do other things, I wanted to write. Writing was my calling. 

I continued writing to spite him. I wanted to show him that I was worthy of being a writer. And even though he constantly belittled me and my writing, he made me work harder. He challenged me. By the time I left college, I came to respect him, and because of him, I am the writer that I am today. 

January 4, 2012

giveaway winners

Quick update before I announce the giveaway winners. I finally started the next book in the Chroniker City series. Now, I started the book a few times over the past few months, but none of the beginnings I had were working. Well, I finally found the one that works. I was in such a writing groove in fact that I wrote 3900 words. Record numbers as far as first day of writing goes. My actually writing record is about 6200 words in a single day, but that was a long time ago. Anyway, I'm off to a good start! Hopefully, I can be just as productive today.

I still don't have a title for the second book, but I'm working on that.

So, giveaway winners.

We had sixteen entrants this time around, and three winners.

Winner of The Clockwork Giant: jpetroroy

Winner of $10 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble: Becky Raymond

Winner of $5 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble: Melody


If you three would send me an email with your contact details, I can send you your prizes straightaway. If you don't claim the prize by next Wednesday, then it will go to the next runner-up.

For you losers (you're not really losers... I still love you)... I'll probably have another giveaway in a few months, maybe when I get to some arbitrary number of followers. Or when I sell a bunch of books. I don't know. Sometime in the future.

Anyway, hope you all are having a fantastic week!

January 2, 2012

december sales numbers

Just a short post about my December sales figures. I hope all of you had a good New Year’s celebration. We spent it with our grandparents. I know. Exciting. We’re kind of boring. No really. The most exciting thing we do is go bowling on occasion. We party hard.

Anyway… sales. I was actually interested to see that my ebook sales and paperback sales were about neck and neck. I expected most of my sales to be in digital format. How wrong I was. Apparently, more people read hardcopy books that I originally thought. That, or ereaders are not as prevalent as some people would like us to think.

I was also surprised at how well I’ve done since the release. I honestly expected to sell fifteen copies of my book in the first month. Twenty at most. Never did I imagine that I would sell fifty… well, forty-nine. Close enough. Still. I never thought I would do this well. I’m also pleasantly surprised at the reviews so far. I have six reviews on Amazon, averaging four-and-a-half stars. I have eight reviews on Goodreads, averaging four-and-a-quarter stars. Hopefully, those reviews will help me get future sales. That’s the point of them, right?

So, here’s a breakdown of my sales. I have a spreadsheet. I’m cool like that.

December Sales for The Clockwork Giant

Kindle: 18 (17 domestic, 1 international), $60.23 in royalties
Nook: 6, $19.44 in royalties
Smashwords: 0
Lulu: 7, $29.96 in royalties (this was the only place readers could purchase the paperback for a while)
Createspace: 18, $62.28 in royalties (all through Amazon)

So, tally is twenty-five paperbacks sold and twenty-four ebooks sold. I’ve made $171.91 in royalties for the month of December. I’d like to be optimistic and think sales will only go up from here, but realistically, sales are likely to slow down. At least until more people hear about the book. I’m okay with that. I’ve already done better than I ever could have imagined, and my book has only been on sale for nearly three weeks. Though, I must thank my family. I know at least a dozen of those copies, probably more, were purchased by my extended family. A sale is a sale though, right?

I think I’ve done well for my debut novel. I have nothing to compare my numbers to, so I’m just going to stick with the fact that the book exceeded my expectations. Maybe it will continue to do so.

Anyway, I’d like to thank the readers of this blog who purchased my book. I don’t know how many of you did, but I appreciate it a great deal. You’re fueling my career as a writer, and I can’t thank you enough. And, for those of you who haven’t read my book, I’m holding a giveaway. You could win my book, in ebook or paperback format, or a gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble. You just have to comment on this post.

Derp. (I couldn’t think of a clever closing statement, so this will have to do. Blame my husband. It was his idea.)