About H.L. Brooks

Artist & Writer

The Trouble with Constant Access – Gen X Memory Lane

This morning I woke up and thought “Wonder what the shit news is today?” And then I picked up my phone and checked. I checked Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. I got the bad news I was looking for, but also some funny dog videos and a lamenting author, as well as some political rants. Meanwhile my less tech addicted husband was feeding the cat and making coffee.

Know what I used to do when I woke up? Lay there for a bit. Look out the window and pet the cat. Look at my sleeping husband, or if he was awake ask him what we should make for breakfast. I’d contemplate whatever book I was reading, or what blog subject I should write on. Maybe I’d get up and write letters and paint something.

This isn’t my first blog. I’ve been blogging since 2002. This is maybe my eleventh or twelfth blog. And blogging used to be kind of fun, before there was more of a chance people who were reading it actually lived near me, or worked with me. Something is different about blogging these days and I’ve dropped off a bit over the years with it. Even though I enjoy it. But there are only so many avenues of energy and I’ve got mine going in every direction.

So what is this blog entry all about? What am I lamenting over? I have the choice to set my phone down and stop doom-scrolling whenever I want, right? This is not about weaning myself off of technology or admitting I should set my phone across the room so I get out of bed before looking at it. This is about things that are now lost and that Millennials might have forgotten and Gen Z will never know.

I’m not talking about what it’s like to anticipate some small event–not big concerts, or huge political rallies, milestone life moments like weddings and babies–but smaller things. Getting your news in a few cycles per day is one I actually really miss sometimes. I also miss what it’s like to let my mind rest more, and daydream. I have to make myself set aside time to daydream. I know that this could be viewed more as a “personal responsibility” sort of thing. I get it. But as I lay there in bed I made the effort not to touch my phone and it lasted about ten minutes before I caved, and despite the “personal responsibility” aspect of this behavior, I know for a fact I am not alone.

When I was little many phones looked like this and eventually I would be thrilled when cordless ones with push-buttons became a reality. It was a while before Caller I.D. was a reality though, so when it ran it was anybody’s guess who it might be!

There are some things that are lost to change, and that’s fine. I’ll adjust. We’ll adjust. Just like vinyl came back, and ebooks didn’t totally replace paper ones. Maybe there will be a club of some people who miss waiting for Wizard of Oz to be broadcast once per year. There used to be an anticipation of holiday specials – I would worry about them being on at the same time as my dad’s football game and him watching it on the one television in the house. Oh the dreaded drama of me missing my special if dad didn’t compromise and let me watch the specials! But we often did have compromise. I still recall that there was a time when the phone would ring and you’d have absolutely no idea who is calling before you pick it up. Sometimes when I am watching a YouTube video on my phone when I’m in bed I am reminded of being about nine years old and wishing for that very thing. And the ever-futuristic “video phone” that was long dreamed of by all sci-fi enthusiasts before the invent of the smart phone – now is just a fact of life. Amazing! Facetime and Zoom technology allows us to talk to loved ones who are deployed and family that’s far away.

I admit, technology has done some amazing things. I was just listening to a true crime podcast (podcasts also are amazing) today about the huge breaks in criminology because of technology. Technology to broadcast, take videos, publish books, these things are all helping to create more diversity in what we read, music we listen to, shows we watch. It doesn’t just leave the choices up to a small group of folks (mostly white men) to decide what is the “best” music and the “best” books and the “best” movies. It allows so many more layers and voices.

Other good things I like is that I talk to my sister more than years ago because we have so many ways to reach each other easily. During this pandemic technology has been a lifeline. Those things are awesome. I wouldn’t change it. I just want to find a way to balance more of it with my real life. How to find ways to

I realize this is all over the place, but I’m not going to go back and smooth it over too much – I’m trying to get my blogging vibe back, so I’m gonna let it ride.

What kinds of things do you remember having to wait for that were exciting? Or things that are now lost that you remember being a big part of growing up?


Pride and Love


Pride is a good time to talk about who we are “supposed” to love. Who we are “supposed” to have sex with. I love writing fantasy stories because you can talk about all sorts of things that are hard to talk about. Plus, when you start with a classic fairy tale, some of the framework is all set up. So if you’re telling a story about different kinds of magical creatures, it’s a little easier to say a Hunter shouldn’t be with a Lycan because that’s not as anchored in the “real world.” In fantasy and supernatural stories you can talk about things indirectly in a way that removes the real world politics that are already in place.

I do have a gay and a bisexual character in my Red August series and I hope that when readers who might not normally be open to that idea will see the parallels between saying one species of magical otherkin shouldn’t be with another  – or with a human – it begs the question: why does it matter? If you’re rooting for the wolf and the non-wolf to get together, maybe you should be rooting for love instead of being concerned about which gender loves which. How does it hurt you if a wolf falls in love with a shifter? How does it hurt you if a woman loves a woman? How does it hurt you if a person’s biological sex doesn’t fit the gender they choose? It doesn’t hurt you at all. It challenges some of your beliefs, sure. I get that. I didn’t always know or understand all of those things. I sometimes reacted badly to new information. But challenging your beliefs is not the same as it hurting you. Show some grace and let people live their lives. It is hard to take in new information, but once you do try and allow yourself to change your mind.

Once upon a time I got very defensive about my use of yoni (vulva) imagery in my artwork. I upset some people by trying to over-explain why it mattered to me and I didn’t mean anything bad by it. But I couldn’t grasp the deeper issue because I personally had never dealt with it. Through that experience I eventually came to realize the below image would have really helped me. Why didn’t I think of it right away on my own? Because I was being reactive. Feeling attacked. But I stepped into a conversation I really should have not stepped into so defensively to begin with. I should have stepped in with more curiosity and less defensiveness. One thing some people will eventually learn is that the older you get the more things you will have to adapt to if you want to grow as a person. Things change over time. Change can be hard. But if it makes the world a better place, it’s worth it.

This below image is one I found on Facebook. It doesn’t have a credit, so if you know who made it, please let me know! I feel like it’s a really good representation of what I’m talking about and it’s a great image to share. Thank you, whoever did it!


In the Time of Love and Corona

I caved and bought the complete “Murder, She Wrote” series on Amazon, and the four-movie set on ebay. When in times of great stress, I turn on the easy-watching T.V. shows. In the end, you know the mystery will be solved. Or in the case of The Dick Van Dyke Show, that no matter what shenanigans Rob and Laura get up to, no matter what fights they get into, they are going to be ok.

The real champion of soothing television right now is The Repair Shop. It’s so pleasant. Nobody is mean. People have beloved treasures and skilled artisans lovingly restore them. The people bring in their ancient teddy bear, Victrola, sled, you name it. They bring it. They leave it, a little worried usually, in the hands of The Repair Shop. Then they come back and get the unveiling of their restored family treasure. It’s perfect T.V. for such a stressful time.

One thing I wonder is how single people who are falling in love are faring in their mostly virtual worlds.

I wonder how marital partners who were having some trouble before all of this are faring. Healing? Growing further apart?

I have seen a lot of gardens growing, home renovations, and side-projects pop up all over my friend’s feeds.

What are you growing? What are you letting go of?

Happy Hogmanay

I’ve included Hogmanay in my Red August series. My husband has a lot of Scottish in his bloodlines on both sides and it’s probably one of the main reasons I use Scottish themes in that series.

Have you wondered what on earth Hogmanay is? Well here is a nice little piece about it, please hop over and give it a read https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/38477036











Screencap from their website.

HallowRead 2017



I’m very excited about tomorrow. I will be at HallowRead tomorrow in Ellicott City, which is very charming. I highly recommend day trips to Ellicott City in general.

I will be speaking on the “Coming of Age” panel at 1:15pm, if you are into that kind of thing. I will have tee shirts available for sale, and swag bags for reviewers.

Come by and say hi and, if ya like, buy a book!

Tickets are available for purchase here: http://hallowread.com/tickets/

Hope to see you there!

Guest Blog by Natasha Lane

When Natasha and I spoke about her doing a guest blog entry on my blog I was very excited to have her voice speak through this conduit. She’s always been energetic and thoughtful about her approach to writing in the year I have known her. She has a video series on Youtube as well as your usual social media outlets. I suggest you follow her because she is bursting with ideas, and enthusiasm, which can be quite contagious.



Why the Literary World Needs Fantasy

By Natasha Lane

It’s no secret that when it comes to writing being considered literature, fantasy gets a swift kick in the head. Often so far stretched from reality, many snobs out there don’t consider any fantasy novel worthy of being called literature. “Lord of the Rings” is one of the most renowned book series in the world, some would even say it set the foundation for epic fantasy adventure, yet there are still those who would never equate it to works like “Pride & Prejudice” and Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” Continue reading

Summer Days When You Loved Me

Untitled design

While waiting at the fast-food restaurant drive-through there was a young couple in the car behind me and this came to mind:

There were summer days, the car windows down and the smell of that old ’71 Bonneville and its aging flecks of fabric and a thousand layers of Armor All, all dancing around in the wind. A bored Saturday at a fast-food restaurant and then the mall to look at and touch things we wouldn’t be able to afford for another ten years. Back in the car a hair-band ballad swayed us and we would both smile.

You said you loved me then. You took it back later. Much later. But sun-drenched summer days don’t lie and no matter what followed, in those moments you were either a liar, or you loved me.