Saturday, July 28, 2012

Favorite Authors and Recommendations

Sometimes I wonder if a little of what we read creeps into the darker parts of our    brains.  Do our literary desires reflect what we want or who we wish we could be?

I hope not.  Otherwise I need to be locked up.

This weeks blog is to talk about our favorite authors and to give a couple recommendations on books.

I grew up reading Anne Rice and Stephen King.    My fantasy teeth were broke on Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Dragonlance saga (sorry guys, never made it past the second generation of characters). Then on to R.A. Silvatore and his world of Drizzt. I moved between reading fantasy and horror; Clive Barker, Micheal Crichton, Neil Gaiman and other fantasy/horror allstars and still do.  I have not jumped on the "Game of Thrones" bandwagon yet, but will someday.

Some writers say you shouldn't read when you write because it will alter your story.  I don't believe that.  I believe that we learn from our favorite authors, and have spent time picking apart their books like an English professor to figure out how they did what they did.

From Jim Butcher, I learned the art of cliffhangers and not being able to put a book down.

From Charles Bukowski, I learned to strengthen my own personal voice in writing.

From Shel Silverstein, I learned about the art of nonsense and how sometimes an incredibly powerful point can be made without having to say it.

So for recommendations:

Charles Bukowski: Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit (just for the title) but highly recommend The Most Beautiful Woman in Town.

Jim Butcher: Death Masks

Shel Silverstein: A Light in the Attic

Enjoy and keep reading.

Monday, July 23, 2012

What Am I Reading

What am I reading?  Everything.

Research - Conan A Witch Shall Be Born by Robert E. Howard.
Research - How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy - Orson Scott Card
Job - Common Core Standards
Job - The First Days of School - Wong & Wong
Relaxation - Freakonomics - Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
Relaxation - Sandman Slim - Richard Kadrey
Relaxation - Freedom Writers Diary - By them and Erin Gruwell

I tend to read like I do everything else.  All over the place.  My office, den, living room, bathroom, bedroom all have books.  All have bookmarks resting in some places that I may have left ten minutes or ten months ago.  I am a voracious reader, but will give up on books that take me no where.  I don't read free books on Kindle, although I might if time stood still and nothing was going on.

My selves are a mix of classic, young adult, and adult books of almost every genre.  Sorry majority of romance, no romance books.  Tried writing it once, killed of both characters in the first chapter, true story.
I have a reading crush on Jim Butcher (Dresden Files, didn't get into the other series yet), R.A. Silvatore (Drizzt series-es there are a ton of books), complete sets of Poe, Shakespeare, Bukowski (still need a couple books).   I tend to have books on paranormal and things that go bump in the night.  People might find it odd that I have two bibles.  One given to me by a very close friend.  The other is the family bible that I inherited from my Grandfather that contains our family history.

I have some books going back into the late 1800's and some books in languages I can't read.

I like books.  The feel, the ability to know exactly how much is left, the smell of old pages, and the rustling noise it makes when you turn a page.  I like Kindle, but if I read a book that I loved on it, I'd go buy it in paper.

Oh yeah. I also have my book.
Hell to Pay.  You can get it in e-book or paper.  Seeing myself on a bookshelf makes me happy.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Light Bulb Moment

The light bulb moment.  Let's start this by me complaining about my muse.  My muse is evil.  My muse is never available when I need it.  My muse spends a lot of time waiting for the right time to strike.  When is the right time?  When I'm busy, in the middle of something, finishing a report for work, finishing a paper for school.  I feel those ice cold lips on my ear whisper what if.

My friends know that look, the look of insanity and inspiration I get.   I'll grab whatever's close and whatever will make a mark, sometimes I'll even write on myself.  Then I spend time looking like a strange automatic writer (these are people, usually mediums, that let spirits communicate through them in the form of writing).  This might not be a bad way to write a book, except most of it looks like scribbles.  Very similar to my writing most of the time.

My current light bulb went off after a night of gaming.  We were discussing some of the new races that had been developed and a half-demon was mentioned.  Flash forward to the next day at a friends apartment.  He's talking about a new game he wants to show me, then bam.  I spend the next hour writing the opening scene to the second trilogy I planned to write while he played video games.  I know, a little odd.  So is the muse.

My other ideas have came from conversations with inebriated friends, bad jokes, and staring at the moon.

Welcome to my nightmare . . . I am a writer.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Characters on the Couch: an Interview with Michael Bailey

  What is your biggest vulnerability? Do others know this or is it a secret? 
       Knowing that I messed up the first time that I was presented with a real case as a detective, and it cost the lives of two children.  Do others know . . . shit.  Word gets out.  In the early days, it was a lot of sympathetic looks , but as time went by, people look down as you walk by.  Sometimes getting a response from saying good morning feels like too much of a privilege.  Then you realize you're nothing more than a ghost.  People react to you like they just hit a cold spot on the floor. . .  maybe it's something deserved.

What do people believe about you that is false?  
        That I'm apeshit psycho.  Yeah, I took potshots at a pair of glowing eyes in my apartment and I have dreams of this big black dog waiting to kill me every time I close my eyes, but I have my lucid days as well.  I tend to stare off into the shadows at times, but I know what is there.  Those that watch me, wondering what the hell I'm staring at?  They're the idiots.  They got their backs to it.

What would your best friend say is your fatal flaw? Why? 
       Friends have low tolerance.  Sponsors are sometimes better to listen to.  Sometimes, we fall off the wagon.  Sometimes our sanity gets a little fragile.  But like Micheal Cain said in "Batman Begins", sometimes we fall to get back up.

What would the same friend say is your one redeeming quality? Why?  
       Same sponsor, old man, lung cancer, used to tell me that I couldn't see what was right in fucking front of me.  Sometimes he said I was a simple idiot, but yet, we used to talk all night.  He always told me I couldn't see the apple in front of me on the table, but sometimes I'd surprise him with an aerial  view of the orchard.  I may sometimes act a little thick, but listening to someone explain the simplest idea gives you a perspective on them and how they view the world that you can't gain from simple conversation.  I use it a lot in interrogations.  

What do you want most? What will you do to get it?   
       To win, to let go of past issues, and to have a good night sleep.

Michael Bailey is currently featured in the novel "Hell to Pay" by William Brian Johnson from Hellfire Publishing.

Also check out "The Ballad of Mercy Tyler" available for free on Smashwords:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hookers and Hangers Bloghop: The Hangers

I enjoyed the exercise presented  by Falling for Fiction on their "Hookers and Header" bloghop.  This is the second hop I've completed with them and appreciate them allowing a horror writer around.  Novelists should look at their chapter beginning/ending and separate their first and last lines to see what's pushing the audience to  go deeper.

I had good comments yesterday, so today, comment again and I'll do a second drawing for an e-book.  Thank you all for the experience and follow my mundane adventures here at Father Thunder and at

Now for the hangers:

This isn't the last line but is in the final chapter:

Chapter 61:  After nearly drowning in the supernatural, the mind needs time to process and reprocess events and make up several lies to believe in.

Chapter 1: The big black dog, his hellhound, materialized from the shadows between the houses, and followed him right down the street.

Chapter 8: Within thirty minutes he had showered, climbed into bed, and dreamed of burning men and a howl that woke him up an hour before the alarm went off.

That's it for the contest, here are some more.

Chapter 2: Then something reached deep into George’s soul and strangled it.

Chapter 3: Bailey knew the omen, and recognized the rest of the day was going to suck.

Chapter 4: George stood his ground for a moment, then fainted away, letting something take over that had wanted out all day to play.  

Chapter 7: “God, help us all.”

Chapter 9: Long blinded eyes looked lost as he gave up the ghost.

Chapter 10: Nonetheless, it sent a chill down George’s spine and the feeling that this would not be the last death to visit him.

Chapter 12: A few days until the master of the world walked among the humans once again, and his servants were awaiting him.

Chapter 15: He knew his father was dead by the bloat and mottled appearance, but the groan sunk itself deep into George’s mind as a warning of his father’s return.

Chapter 17: With bourbon, he’d be ready for anything.

Chapter 19: A beacon of hellish red light erupted from downtown and provided the trail.

Chapter 24: Bailey recovered from the light, sound, and pressure to find the rain stopped, the sky clear, and his car very dead.

Chapter 26: It looked black in the moonlight as he raised it to the sky, muttered something as old as man, and took a taste of human heart.

Interested?  Check out "Hell to Pay" from Hellfire Publishing.  It is available in e-book and paperback.  Also please leave a comment below to be entered in the drawing, and join me on my quest by becoming a minion on Father Thunder.  This is only the beginning my flock, glories wait ahead.  I will announce winners soon.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Yeearrrg. I'm running behind. Buccaneer Blogfest

Forgive me for being the latest Pirate on the pyre.

I am Brian Johnson, a scallywag of mythic proportions, a writer of some of life's darker things, and a photog of daring beauty. You are welcome to peruse my pages on Father Thunder and  but beware, steal my wares, and find yourself bloodeagled.
In Father Thunder, you will find 12 things you really didn't need to know about me, An Interview with Micheal Bailey, my main character from "Hell to Pay"; and other assorted odds and ends.  My novel, Hell to Pay is available at Amazon from Hellfire Publications and a short chapter intro to Hell to Pay called the Ballad of Mercy Tyler from Smashwords.  Now enough links in the chains that will drag us to the crushing depths of Davy Jones locker.

My current WIP is called Aristid.  This is the story of a supposed half-demon boy raised by a religious institution to become their ultimate weapon.  For my progress, check the WIP page above.

The Aristid Chronicles

Chapter 1
The church tower near the village of Elta sounded two low notes followed by an off key higher pitch.  The gale warning echoed among the hills as, village inhabitants rushed to grab children and scan the skyline.  The heavy air smelled of vegetation and rain, and its electricity caused hair to stand on end. 
Mayor Blanchfield hurried though the cobblestone streets near his office frantically looking for his daughter, Maggie, who had gone to play.  He spotted the small red-headed child not more than six summer’s old, playing near the fountains.
            “Maggie!” Mayor Blanchfield yelled as he ran uphill toward the village center.  Maggie stared at the storm frozen in fear and wonder.
He grabbed the child and ran to Shrinehall, an open but sheltered place of worship that overlooked the village.  The statue of the great god, Alfodr, pointed at the storm as sunlight disappeared from the village and thunder growled.   A cold wind pushed through as ominous boiling clouds stirred overheard.   
Mayor Blanchfield moved toward the alter as hail tinked off the copper roof.
“Daddy, is it the Wrath?” she cried. 
 “No child.  Be silent about the wrath here.  We are safe.”  Mayor Blanchfield said.  “It’s a story told to misbehaving children to silence them in church.”  He glanced at the statue hoping for a sign of approval. 
Einridi, please help us.
The bells continued their warning.  He stroked Maggie’s sweat stained hair from her face as a bolt of lightning hammered nearby.  Maggie’s fierce squeeze made his leg go numb, until her nails found home in his flesh.  They crouched near the statue as if divine intervention might save them. 
Hail cracked upon Shinehall’s roof making larger dents.  In the surrounding farmlands, horses screamed and stampeded, while livestock bellowed and died.   The alter looked down on it all and Mayor Blanchfield knew that the crops would be a total loss.    Shattered glass fell to the cobblestone roads as hailstones the size of fists fell from the sky, cracking wood and ravaging thatched roofs.   The mayor knew Maggie was screaming as she and covered her ears. The sound intensified drowning out anything else but destruction. 
The cloak of hail surrounded them.  Holes appeared in the roof’s massive dents and some hail made into Shinehall.  The noise deafened them as cold air flowed through the  Shrinhall. Suddenly as the destruction began, it stopped.  Heavy rain replaced the hail cutting visibility all around them.  Once again, the church sounded their warning.  Mayor Blanchfield gut clinched as he realized it was more than a warning but a plea to the gods for help.

Keep an eye on my WIP and hopefully we will watch it grow.

Hookers and Hangers Bloghop: The Hookers

Welcome to the Falling for Fiction "Hookers and Hangers" bloghop.

"Hell to Pay" was released from Hellfire Publishing last year and is available in e-book or paperback.

The hook:
A man who thinks he's losing his soul, meets a man who has.

Hookers (stop stocking up on antibiotics, these are the first lines from chapters):

Chapter 3: A single bolt of lightning struck somewhere near the center of town.

Chapter 4: Bailey moseyed into the office, dry, bandaged, and ready to get his ass chewed.

Chapter 7: Most of the Ashton police force was already assembled when Bailey and John entered the tactical room.

Chapter 8: About 4:00am Bailey fell asleep against a pole near the makeshift morgue.

Chapter 9: A man screamed in George’s dream, and it ended in a gurgle of blood.

Chapter 11:  Detective Bailey circled the Market Square almost twenty times that day, running between the antique store and the fire scene.

Chapter 12: George never opened the antique store the day Neeley died.

Chapter 18: The white flag flailed in the wind and burned into Detective Bailey’s uncontrolled rage.

Chapter 19: The heavens raged in a violent thunderstorm as Lars stumbled through the wet empty streets of Ashton screaming for his departed friend.

Chapter 23: George dreamed about angels coming in the night.

Chapter 24: The dwarf did the trick, Bailey felt more comfortable around Mills since the shared laugh.

Chapter 26: George’s vivid nightmares left him detached most of the day.

Just a taste of the book, there are 61 chapters.  If you like what you read, check out "Hell to Pay".  Leave some comments below and after the bloghop, I'll draw a winner for a free e-book.

Now hop my minions!!!

1.Writing on the Wall2.Between the Bookends
3.Tobi Summers - Chock Full of Words4.Unyielding
5.Lisa Regan6.Cassie Mae
7.Writing Off The Edge8.Cutest Landing
9.Michael Abayomi10.Amanda Olivieri
11.Darci Cole12.Jenny Morris
13.Writing with Hope14.A.J. Locke
15.Another Author16.Fanatic for Fiction
17.Ink in the Book18.Suzi- Literary Engineer
19.tara tyler20.Scattergun Scribblings
21.used bikes in london - Second hand bikes london22.Queendsheena
23.Emily R. King24.Mutterings from the Oubliette
25.My Inner Fairy26.Scribble Babble
27.the sands of writing28.Amy Sonnichsen
29.Kim Karras30.And Then She Was Like Blah Blah Blah
31.Leigh Covington32.J. A. Bennett - A Writer's Journey
33.Thardrandian Thoughts34.Jade Hart
35.Gina Denny36.Freya Morris
37.Use Your Words...38.Sydney Aaliyah
39.Whatever40.Tasha Seegmiller
41.Clare Dugmore Writes42.C.M. Brown
43.Ilima Todd44.Donna Hole
45.The Art of Infiltration46.Write Here, Write Now
47.Carrie-Anne's Magick Theatre48.T.L. Bodine
49.Tara @ More Than Fiction50.Melissa Sugar
51.Roxanne @ Books and Blossoms52.Medeia Sharif
53.Tyson McFrost (Frost Lord)54.Michael Pierce
55.T.F. Walsh56.Putting Pen To Paper
57.VikLit58.Rantings of a Writer
59.Stina Lindenblatt60.L.M. Miller
61.EM Castellan62.The Intrinsic Writer
63.Teardrops On My Book64.1000th.monkey
65.Sue K.66.Lindz Pagel
67.Flame Writer68.Beth's Blog
69.Trisha @ WORD STUFF70.Cristina dos Santos
71.Deana Barnhart72.Krista McLaughlin
73.ali cross74.SC Write -- Writing, Publishing, and Harry Potter
75.Entertaining Interests76.Martin at 'From Sand to Glass'
77.For Science!78.Nancy S. Thompson
79.Postcards From My Mind80.It's All in My Head
81.Soul Destruction82.Theresa Paolo
83.Lynn(e) @ The Submission Process84.Your Daily Dose
85.Folio Road86.dreamwritepublish
87.Word by Word88.Father Thunder

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Problem with Being A Writer

While working in the darkness taking pictures of storms, stars, or whatever, the problem is my mind.  I've told enough scary stories that sometimes old lies repeat.