The Lucky Lad

adventures in dysthymia

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Valley of Visions

I finally have completed a pretty-close-to-final draft of my second 'Malvern' novel, VALLEY OF VISIONS. This is the sequel to COAST OF SPEARS, and was three-quarters finished when I injured myself back in mid-July and all my projects were put on hold for a while.

Will I start right in on the third and final book? I might give it a rest and turn to creating another children's book first but it will probably be written sometime in the coming year. VALLEY OF VISIONS should be available in print and ebook early in 2016. HERO FROM THE SEA (I am pretty sure I will use that title) might be published before 2017 rolls around.

I used the same formula to write VoV that I did for its predecessor, four sections, each with its own arc. It turned out about 5000 words shorter than CoS. That might change as I do tend to add a little to flesh things out in rewrites — somewhat the opposite of many authors' technique! But it is pretty close to being in its final form.

This morning, my hip hurt less than it has anytime in the last two and a half months. In fact, it was the first time I didn't notice any pain when I rolled out of bed. That is not to say I am all healed up and I will have to be careful not to re-injure myself. But maybe I can surf again now.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Books and More Books

I have begun the process of getting the new poetry collection, THE TOWER, into distribution. If there are no snags, both print and ebook versions should be available pretty much everywhere by the official release date of November 1. If the print copies don't make it to vendors such as Amazon by that date, so be it; they WILL be available directly from Arachis Press.

There will probably be some sort of giveaway of the ebook toward the middle or end of this month. Not absolutely decided how to handle that yet, so stay tuned.

This will be the last new title for this year. Do expect a fantasy novel, VALLEY OF VISIONS to appear fairly early in 2016. This is the second book in my Malvern series and the sequel to COAST OF SPEARS. There should be a third and final Malvern novel eventually, tentatively titled HERO FROM THE SEA. Or maybe LAND OF HEROES or even something else; hey, it isn't even written yet!

In the meantime, I continue to revise older titles for general distribution. All my poetry books should be available by the end of the year, including the very first, PIECES OF THE MOON, which originally appeared in 2003. Of course, all of these have been available universally as ebooks, and directly from Arachis Press as print editions.

That will leave only the four Donzalo novels. I'll work on getting them redone for distribution next year. I did consider an all-in-one edition but it was just too long (over 700 pages unless I radically changed the formatting). So those should appear as I find the time to work on them. The one remaining book in my oeuvre would be the retrospective of my mother's art and life, but I can't see any point in putting it into distribution.

Now, I do hope to write more stuff. Or publish others' work, for that matter. I am definitely willing to add titles at Arachis Press that didn't come from my own pen, poetry in particular. Not that there is any profit for either party in the publishing of poetry

The Creation of Time, a poem

The Creation of Time

Then god created the stars
and set his angels to counting them.
It took forever.

It continues to rain.
Each drop speaks its name
and then forgets it.

When the moon waxes,
the birds sing all night,
calling tomorrow home.

I have written out my future,
etched it on the rocks that slowly
erode into nothing.

Who can read it now?
Who could trace the letters
and count the stars

to find her name?

Stephen Brooke ©2015

disjointed thoughts, jointed

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Inverted, a poem


The role of the poet
is to describe the world
while standing on his head.

Who will recognize
her own house
from these upside-down

words? Will birds
alight in such
a garden? I've inverted

my world and now
is somehow past
and you write poems of me,

as the coins
slip from my pockets
and into the empty sky.

Stephen Brooke ©2015

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Back to the Book

My latest novel, SHAPER, is officially out today (Sept 1, 2015) and available directly from Arachis Press or at Barnes&Noble, Amazon, etc. in both print and ebook formats. Discounts are available (plus I get a better cut) if it is purchased direct so I definitely recommend that!

As far as books go, I have been working on the sequel to COAST OF SPEARS, a novel that will be titled VALLEY OF VISIONS. This should be the second of a trilogy making up the “Malvern saga.” Written, like the first novel, in four sections, I was churning along and had good drafts of the first three parts (around 45,000 words) when I badly hurt my hip and ended up lying flat for a couple weeks. I'll get back to finish the book up eventually; there is no great hurry and it should be out early next year. Of course, I have a loose outline and know where it all is going.

Just now getting up and about some. Lots to do! I do need to shift my attention to the music side of things for a while, maybe get an application sent to the Florida Folk Festival and definitely submit something to the Will McLean Festival. When I don't hurt too much, I've been getting the home studio turned around and ready for use.

Speaking of recording, my friend Lynda wants me to come out to Texas for a couple weeks and engineer/co-produce a recording session for her. Load of logistics to work out there but I just might try it — it's only 600 miles, after all. Ha, maybe I'll just keep driving when we're done and finally get to California. Surfing there is on my bucket list.

Back to books — I continue to revise some of the older titles for distribution, even though I am not sure it is worth the effort. Do I actually need Amazon and the rest for my print work? Ebooks, yes, but I don't know about the print versions. Oh, I might as well. I'll have the new version of the YA novel THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE available this month, most likely.

Then, a new chapbook of poetry before the end of the year. This one will be titled THE TOWER. It is not as thematic as the last two, though there is still a underlying 'quest' implied in the choice of pieces. There will be more recent work in this one.

So, I'm back, sort of. As long as I don't hurt myself and disappear again!

Monday, August 03, 2015

Coal, a poem


Time may turn coal to a diamond
but also a plum to a prune;
I’m gaining not facets but wrinkles,
and it’s happening too soon.

It’s rarely we are at the dusk
the same as we were at noon;
The instrument that once played well
must go out of tune.

Gods of marble will soften,
no matter how well they are hewn,
and time erodes even mountains;
nothing is immune.

I look in the mirror and see
a poorly drawn cartoon
of the likeness vanity made;
time's burst my balloon.

Stephen Brooke ©2015

A bit of light verse (or maybe doggerel)

Saturday, August 01, 2015


The duality of Order versus Chaos is a beloved concept for fantasy writers, from Moorcock and Zelazny on down. It might seem an odd idea for those steeped in the Good versus Evil dichotomy of the Abrahamic religions but is an underlying theme in Indo-European polytheism, from the Norse to the Hindus. The gods come to give order to a chaotic cosmos and are not necessarily 'good.' Indeed, they are a reflection of Man himself, with all his imperfections, attempting to create order in his own existence.

Underlying both of these antagonisms, Good versus Evil, Order versus Chaos, is another, more basic dualism: Existence versus Nonexistence, Being versus the Void. All other dichotomies arise from this, the first of the dualities. Our ancestors sensed this even when they did not express it those terms. Light and Darkness it became, and we still express it so.

Or, mathematically, we might say One and Zero, the basis of a binary system. On and Off, Being and Non-being. Both of equal power, even though only one actually 'exists.' But each needs the other to define it.

Zarathustra seems to have recognized this concept, in part, though his teachings contain elements of both the Good/Evil and Order/Chaos conflicts. He was certainly reaching toward it with his emphasis on telling the truth, of choosing that which is over the emptiness of falsehood.

To me, a dualism of Light and Dark, Being and Nonexistence, answers most of the arguments brought up against the idea a loving, all-powerful God. There are two powers, both infinite, both all-powerful. Choose the one you prefer — existence or extinction. Yes, the latter can be attractive, at times.

The other dichotomies mentioned here follow from this one. Chaos and Evil both are forces acting to return Being to Nothingness. In this sense, they are 'real.' They are reminders that the infinite Void is ever there.

We must remember that the same is true of infinite Being. We are part of it. We can not un-become. We may hide from Existence, deny Existence, but extinction is not truly an option. Not that I am saying there is a 'life' after this, only that we 'always' exist as part of timeless Being.

One might define that Being as God. Or not; that is up to the individual. Could the Infinite that contains all intelligences be itself intelligent and self-aware? Maybe, maybe not. Nor do I think it truly matters; Existence is enough, in itself.

But I must be aware that Existence always has its dark companion.

Stephen Brooke ©2015

Friday, July 31, 2015

Shaper Video Trailer

I put together another simple slideshow video trailer for the latest novel, SHAPER. Old surf pics, some music I recorded, and a few blurbs. The pics are, for the most part, very old, many of them of my brother. SHAPER will officially be out Sept 1 but I'm already working on uploading the completed files for the book.