The Lucky Lad

adventures in dysthymia

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Free Poetry Books

I put up a new epub version of the free book of poems from the Donzalo’s Destiny novels, making the old link obsolete. So here’s a new link to the entire folder (which is unlikely to change or be deleted) containing both the ebook and text versions of my first three poetry collections (without the illustrations, obviously).

Nets, a poem


From their crescent boats, the poets cast
their fathers’ ancient and oft-mended nets
across the dark, into the deep, unknown,

unknowable, in hopes of tangling truth,
some blind supple swimming truth, in woven
words, a mesh of metaphor. Their fathers,

yes, their fathers’ fathers cast them so,
catching their own meanings. Those decay
upon the silvered shores. The moon is setting.

Stephen Brooke ©2018

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Jay-Birds, a poem

Between Hurricane Michael and weird cold front weather I've barely been on line the past month. Lots of material piled up! This is a bit of light verse for your amusement.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Hurrican Hiatus

Having endured a two week hurricane hiatus---I was in the direct path of Michael here in the Florida panhandle and without power or any connection to the outside world for a long while---I am back to the business of being a writer. All of this should not have interfered with any publishing timetables, though we'll be cutting in close on the release of MAGIC, the new poetry collection. Out Dec 1 if all continues on schedule, from Eggshell Boats.

And what follows? Why another fantasy novel, of course, another of my 'little' (around 65,000 words) adventures. This one is titled THE JEWELS OF THE ELEMENTS and is the sequel to THE EYES OF THE WIND, making it the second book of the Sajam Saga. It chronicles the further adventures of newly-weds Marana and Saj as they attempt to settle into a new life as colonists on the isle of Lorj. Good luck with that, kids! We see the return of the wizard Im (who has popped up elsewhere in my fiction, notably in THE WAYS OF WIZARDRY) and (spoiler) of a certain small god who likes to dabble in human affairs. I am going through a final round of proofreading right now.

Beyond that, who knows? I am working on a couple concepts. Well, more than that really, but two fairly seriously. That is typical for me. I like the cross-pollenization effect of multiple projects. And, as ever, dabbling here and there in the projected novels. I'll never be a linear writer. One or the other will 'grab' me eventually and I'll finish working it up. Those are a reasonably mainstream mystery/crime novel to be titled THE DEPOT BLUES and another fantasy adventure that will become THE CROCODILE GOD. Between those and the needed roof repairs, I'll be kept busy.

Saturday, September 29, 2018


There are essentially two types of sequels. One would be the continuing story sort, where, although the novels stand on their own and have their own arcs, there is an overall unifying plot. The three novels of my Malvern Trilogy fit that model pretty well. Maybe the four Donzalo’s Destiny books do also, though it might be argued that it is one large novel (or, conversely, a series of eleven different novellas and novelettes). In that each Donzalo book was published before the next was written, I feel it is appropriate to call them sequels.

The other would be an whole new story for our protagonist(s) — or maybe, a secondary character moves up to the lead for the new narrative. The three novels in the Mora Trilogy (which can itself be seen as a sequel to the Malvern Trilogy) go this route. There is an underlying plot element, to be sure, but not really a continuing story. However, there is not a clear line between these two kinds of sequels. They may just be a bit of each.

My latest, ‘The Jewels of the Elements’ (out February 2 of next year), tends more to the latter. It is billed as a sequel to ‘The Eyes of the Wind’ and shares the plot element of the mystical jewels known as the Eyes. It also continues the adventures of the noblewoman Marana and her now-husband, the craftsman Saj. But it is a new story with a new plot and a new setting. There is no overarching plot unifying the two books.

Eventually, there will a sequel — or sequels — to the Donzalo’s Destiny books. Donzalo will not be in its pages that much; rather, the focus will shift to Lady Fachalana. That is, the story will center around her as the previous one did around Donzalo, but there will be plenty enough subplots. When I might start on it, who knows? There are other projects waiting. Some of them just might be sequels.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Hike and Bike

Having largely recovered from an 'ouchy' lower back/hips, caused by overdoing it with the string trimmer (hey, I have an acre and an half to maintain here), I was able to get back to my hiking and biking routine. That was  curtailed a bit through the summer anyway, as I spent time almost everyday pushing a mower about. No more of that till next year, I think.

So, three or four hikes or bikes of varying length each week. In addition, of course, to my regular weight training. I'm not giving up on that after forty-some years! I may not be as big as I was in my peak bodybuilding years but I am in the leanest condition of my life. I look better than most guys half my age. Maybe even a third of my age. No brag, just fact, as they say. Well, somebody says it. This does not mean I am necessarily healthier than those younger guys, just that the body looks better.

I do a medium-length bike ride most Sunday mornings, up to Graceville and back on the paved road—that would be Peanut Road. It's the only time I feel safe pedaling up that busy and somewhat narrow way. To the Piggly-Wiggly in town and back is about seven miles. I could do my grocering by bike, if I wished, and might when the weather grows a little cooler. But I can take various dirt back roads up to Graceville and add a mile or two to that distance. Still entirely doable, should I wish.

But I can also simply ride (or walk) those many back roads just for the fun and exercise, and frequently do. Sometimes a wider tire might be helpful, when conditions get dry and sandy; I have 32s on the bike and can live with that 'compromise' for now. The bike, incidentally, is an inexpensive Taiwan-made single speed, with commodious baskets for carrying whatever. Probably better suited to city use but here I am in the middle of nowhere! The photo above is from a recent jaunt, not too far from my place.

I see loads of wildlife tracks when I get onto those dirt roads and sometimes wildlife as well. A deer ran in front of my bike the last time I was out, some time after seven in the morning (in this continuing hot weather, I ride early). Riding those back roads is the next best thing to getting down to the beach and surfing, and awakes some of the same feelings in me. Riding around on city streets would not be the same. It is the joining of nature and physical activity that does it for me.

I've always enjoyed hiking and biking. I was a wanderer as a kid, whether we lived in town or country. My bike or my feet carried me away from whatever bothered me at home. I liked the solitude of it, the being-in-control of it. I still do.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Fan Fiction

In a sense, I write 'fan fiction.' No, I've never written anything that incorporated someone else's characters or worlds. But I do create characters and worlds of my own and then write about them, rather than starting with an 'idea' and then crafting the characters and setting to fit it (Mostly. There are always exceptions to everything). I'm not unusual in this approach; some writers work this way, some don't. Stephen King starts with the story and says the characters will take form as he works. I need to know how those imaginary people think and act (to some extent) before starting. This is why I sometimes write back-story tales about them for my own use, before ever starting on a book.

Now, of course, I have various interrelated series going, so I have a whole bunch of characters I know fairly well. And I am, indeed, writing fan fiction about them.

Sunday, September 09, 2018


The demon Qu’orthseth — known in some parts as Akorzef or Cahorsus, and affectionately called Cory by its human companion (not exactly its master) — goes way back in my writing, back to a short story I sketched out and never finished, long before I wrote any of the novels. The name Qu’orthseth, admittedly, was a joke, a parody of such over-apostrophed names in fantasy fiction.

But Big Q itself (it is asexual, about eight foot tall, and wine-red) was first titled ‘the red beast’ in a tale I intended to write of Corad of Lorj, one of the sons of Saj and Marana, who are the protagonists of ‘The Eyes of the Wind’ and the upcoming ‘The Jewels of the Elements.’ Essentially, the idea was for the demon to be a caregiver for its senile human master, keeping the elderly wizardly alive via less than ethical means. Why? Because as long as the old man held onto life, the demon could remain in our world — much preferable to returning to its home!

I never followed through on developing that tale but Q did show up in a different story, ‘The Book, the Beast, and the Burglar.’ By the time I got that short piece to where I considered it complete, I recognized it really was the beginning of a novel (that happens to me rather frequently). The novel became ‘The Ways of Wizardry,’ and it detailed how Qu’orthseth and the wizard Im came to be bound to each other. Now Im and the demon have shown up, a thousand years later, in ‘The Jewels of the Elements.’

And both are near the ends of their lives, though still reasonably vigorous and capable, magically and physically. The original ‘red beast’ story would have taken place twenty years or so after the events in ‘Jewels;’ the question for me now is whether to follow on with that scenario (even though I might never get it written) or have Qu’orthseth come to a different end in the final pages of the novel-in-progress.

I’ve put in quite a bit to ‘humanize’ the demon, to show that a millennium among men and, especially, as a companion to Im, has rubbed off on an essentially amoral creature. So a ‘sacrifice’ at this point is very tempting. It also seems just a tad cheap but, after all, we all have to die sometime. Even demons. It does save it from being whisked back to its home, too, and I can admittedly think of other (and maybe better?) scenarios for Im’s final years.

So it is likely Qu’orthseth will meet its end in this novel. This will not prevent it from appearing in all those stories set in the thousand years between ‘The Ways of Wizardry’ and ‘The Jewels of the Elements.’ That, you may count on.