Sunday, November 17, 2019

Glimpsed, a poem


Illusion’s but reality
glimpsed from another angle,
and which illusion to believe
is for us to untangle.
Though all is truly as we see
we little understand;
what tells truths also will deceive.
Go build anew on sand

the shrines of your belief and doubt,
of what is and is not,
and look into your empty hands —
you’ve found what you have sought.

Stephen Brooke ©2019

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Swimmer, a poem


Time’s ocean swallows every swimmer stroking
toward desired distant shores; once
glimpsed, their promise draws us on, to sink
into cold unknown depths. What song is that,

calling me? Whose voice goes whispering
across the darkened waves? Only mine,
echoed by the soaring, seeking gulls.
Encompassing our fragile lands of birth

and death, encircling each who strives. Time’s ocean
lies unbounded, leaden. Struggle on,
swimmer; follow every setting sun
to its horizon, every sullen wave

to its breaking. The days forget their names
on those hidden coasts, forget them as
I have forgotten mine. I whispered once
into the wind and it was borne away.

Stephen Brooke ©2019

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Blobs, a poem


An amorphous blob met a gelatinous mass
and oozed aside to let it pass
when it felt the caress of pseudopod —
a caress that made it feel quite odd!

It set its mitochondria a-tingle
as their formless forms began to mingle
and the two of them began to throb —
the gelatinous mass and the amorphous blob!

They seeped, they crawled, slow as molasses,
for that’s the way both of blobs and masses;
they flowed together, then flowed apart!
But alas such have neither head nor heart

and it must be when they chance to collide
they can not join but only divide,
leaving shapeless little shapes as they slide away.
Gelatinous? Amorphous? I can’t really say!

Stephen Brooke ©2019

Light verse, for the amusement of anyone who chances by. I've been offline for about eight weeks, doing a lot of reading and not missing social media one bit. However, I do  need the internet from time to time (business, shopping, etc) so I'm back now.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Rediscovering The Lord of the Rings

More than twenty five years have passed since I last read The Lord of the Rings. I lost my copy of the novel (along with the rest of my books) to flood waters in 1993 — the ‘Storm of the Century’ which hit Florida’s Big Bend area in March of that year. Now, it has been replaced.

So I am, of course, reading it. Some things hit me at once. First, how familiar it all still seems! Second, the prose style of Tolkien is as good as I remembered. Yes, there is a great deal of ‘telling’ and loads of description, but it is well integrated into the narrative. Not quite to the level of someone like Kipling, but done nicely none the less and rarely coming off as overly wordy. The language is almost never clumsy, always readily understood. He uses the omniscient viewpoint with a light touch, not head-hopping but letting us know what we need to know. This perhaps keeps us from connecting deeply with any one character but it works; we get the broader picture Tolkien wanted to show us.*

Third, the magic: there is no ‘system’ of magic, so far as I can tell. It simply exists and is employed, for good or for evil. We do not know why the ring makes its wearer disappear. Magic rings just do that. Bits of magic are introduced from time to time and we are ready to accept them. Part of that may be due to its being used quite sparingly, yet ever existing in the background. Magic is woven into the fabric of Tolkien’s created world. It never seems to contradict itself or act in a manner inconsistent with what has been revealed before, and that certainly makes it more believable as well.**

Fourth: although TLOTR is probably best thought of as one novel — as did Tolkien himself — one could make a case for it as a hexalogy. Each of the six Books does have its own narrative arc. Anyway, it is definitely not a trilogy!

Fifth: What better way to slip in an info dump than as a poem?

* Unlike The Hobbit which largely focused on the character of Bilbo Baggins.

** I’ll readily admit I can’t do that sort of thing. The magic of my primary fantasy world is worked out to the point that it might as well be science.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Smoke Cover and Blurb

Cover reveal for the next novel, SMOKE, the third Cully Beach mystery. Coming November 30 from Arachis  Press.

And the official blurb:

A dry Florida spring. Wildfires burn across the state, blanketing it with smoke. In sleepy Cully Beach, the sands reveal a long-buried body — the body of a woman Ted ‘Shaper’ Carrol knew in another life. Soon, he is involved in puzzling out what happened to her and how it ties into an unsolved jewel theft of a decade previous. The clues she left him carry Ted to danger at the smoke-wreathed Florida Folk Festival and back again to the beaches of home, while both police and criminals shadow his moves.

Ted would much rather be busy preparing for his wedding through these slow months leading into the summer, but crime has once again reared its inconvenient head in the third Cully Beach mystery from Stephen Brooke, SMOKE.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

POV, Ethnicity, Gender in my Novels

A cursory analysis of gender, ethnicity, and point of view in my novels. Just for the heck of it. Incidentally, all but one of the Main Characters are straight but many of the important supporting characters are not.


The four Donzalo’s Destiny novels: Donzalo is a white male but there is an ensemble of top characters (Game of Thrones-style) of varied coloring and gender (The Song of the Sword, The Shadow of Asak, The Sign of the Arrow, The Hand of the Sorcerer)

The Malvern trilogy: Malvern is indeed a white male (Coast of Spears, Valley of Visions, Hero from the Sea)

The Mora trilogy: God of Rain — Polynesian male, Arrows of Heaven — Polynesian Female, Woman of the Sky, Indonesian (more or less) female

Warrior of the Moon: Polynesian male (though admittedly with a white father)

The Ways of Wizardry: Black male (Australoid, essentially)

The Sajam Saga: co-leads are Asian man and white woman (The Eyes of the Wind, The Jewels of the Elements)

The Crocodile Chronicles: Asian woman (The Crocodile’s Son, The Crocodile God)

Tsar of the Empty Lands: White male

The three Cully Beach mysteries: White male (Shaper, Waves, Smoke)

Asanas: White female (two of them, co-main characters)

The Dictator’s Children: White male

NOTE: In that many of these are fantasies set in other worlds, the ethnicities vary from those with which we are familiar. The ‘Asian’ characters are most similar to Siberian and Native American populations.


The four Donzalo’s Destiny novels: Third person from multiple points of view (The Song of the Sword, The Shadow of Asak, The Sign of the Arrow, The Hand of the Sorcerer)

The Malvern trilogy: First person (Coast of Spears, Valley of Visions, Hero from the Sea)

The Mora trilogy: First person (God of Rain, Arrows of Heaven, Woman of the Sky)

Warrior of the Moon: First person

The Ways of Wizardry: Third person, single point of view

The Sajam Saga: Third person, two POVs (The Eyes of the Wind, The Jewels of the Elements)

The Crocodile Chronicles: Third person, single POV (The Crocodile’s Son, The Crocodile God)

Tsar of the Empty Lands: First person

The three Cully Beach mysteries: First person (Shaper, Waves, Smoke)

Asanas: Third person, two POVs

The Dictator’s Children: third person, single point of view

NONE are omniscient POV. Only God sees everything! 😀

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Trumpet, a poem


A stir! A blur of wings — one hummingbird
seeks morning’s scarlet trumpets, where the vines
have reached across, joined peach tree to magnolia.

Her jeweled green yet gray in dawn, she seeks
the nectar-sweetened colors of the sun,
amid the diamond dew on leaf and web.

A sip, side-slip to the next siren blossom —
she seeks the songs of life within each trumpet.
I’ve heard their promise echo into day.

Stephen Brooke ©2019

more a playing with words than any attempt to be profound