The Lucky Lad

adventures in dysthymia

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Stupid Phone

I seriously considered upgrading to a smart phone. Really, I did. For three years now, I have depended on the stupidest and cheapest of phones that I rarely use for anything — it's there for emergency use and because one must have a phone number for all sorts of things. It was cheaper to have the prepaid cell than a land line or I would never have changed over.

And internet via phone line never became available here, even though AT&T promised it was immanent when I moved in eight years ago. If cable internet were available, I would probably get an online number and use that, but VOP does not work well with a satellite connection, which is pretty much my only option out here in the boonies.

For that matter, my cell reception is pretty iffy here, or I might have had more reason to go to the smart phone. Not much good if one can't get a connection, is it?

So I depend on a big and somewhat powerful desktop computer most of the time to stay in contact with the world. I need that for graphics work, music recording, etc. anyway. What would I do with a smart phone? Well, I could take credit card payments when I'm out on the road with my books. Or music, if I ever get myself back into that. And I could text my friends without cursing that tiny keyboard that always makes me mess up something.

Anyway, it was time to pay up for another year of prepaid service. I did peruse the smart phones that I could move up to. But instead, I laid out 150 bucks and now have service for not one but two more years. Even if that service kind of stinks. If I need it, I'll upgrade some other time.

And if I can afford. That's always a factor!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I Could Do Worse, a poem

I Could Do Worse

I could do far worse than you,
far worse, my darling, it is true;
so why should I seek someone new?
Yes, my darling — you will do!

Women come in many sizes —
some of these, men consider prizes;
you might be large but compromises
must be made, one recognizes.

Fair faces inspire many a verse;
yours may be plain but I could do worse,
for ample, too is the size of your purse —
being penniless is my curse!

I would not scorn to share your bed;
just leave room enough to lay my head,
and from that day we're lawfully wed,
both of us shall be well fed.

At least I know you through and through,
thick though you are; I've naught to rue.
Yes, my darling, you will do —
I could do far worse than you!

Stephen Brooke ©2015

Another bit of somewhat silly light verse that might appear in a novel, eventually. In that context, of course, it not PC-ness is permissible. :)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Decipher, a poem


My story is written in invisible ink,
seen only by the heat of the flame.
Be my candle this night and we shall read
each secret message, decipher all

the hidden words of my heart. Other eyes
have not glimpsed these lines; no spy
has learned the truths I wrote upon the day.
Read them for this ink will fade

in time, become invisible once again.
So are the words of those who lurk
along the edges of life, trusting few
to decipher what is written.

Stephen Brooke ©2015

Of course, when I am turning out lots of poetry I am not getting any work done on the next novel.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Monkey King, a poem

Monkey King

Life is a tree-full of monkeys
and I am the king of them all!
I climb to the highest of branches,
I know where the best fruits will fall.
Each monkey girl adores me,
they come to me when I might call;
Is anything better than being
a king in a tree standing tall?

I am the king of the monkeys,
against me no others avail,
for I have the sharpest of teeth,
the longest and most curly tail.
And if by misfortune I spy
the face of some poor lesser male,
I chase him along leafy ways;
the monkey king never shall fail!

Life is a tree-full of monkeys,
where I sit high on my throne;
the females all vie for my grooming,
so I don't sit there alone!
I'm sure I shall be king forever,
the greatest that my kind has known —
the mightiest monarch of monkeys,
and no tree as fine as my own!

Stephen Brooke ©2015

Friday, November 20, 2015

Grains of Sand, a poem

Grains of Sand

I have been in the desert,
counting the grains of sand.
They mark the days of exile.
They whisper in the night
of an oasis.

She is there, say the dunes,
shifting ever slowly.
Among the palms shall you
find her, and she will feed you
of the sweet dates.

As a wandering tribe
I passed from land to land.
Where does tomorrow grow,
I asked, beside shaded waters?
None could say.

Further on, they tell me.
They point to the setting sun.
There lie all the wonders
we fear to seek, as many
as grains of sand.

All I had has blown
away, crossed that horizon.
The desert has no end.
I have counted the grains
of sand, and know.

Stephen Brooke ©2015

First Person, Fantasy, and Feminism

Telling a tale in the first person, with a male protagonist, presents some difficulties in the portrayal of women. Their characters are always going to be filtered through his perceptions. Any conversations between women that he might report will be colored by his presence.

I recognize this problem in both my Malvern fantasy series and in my two contemporary Florida novels. There were reasons to go first person with them and I do not regret the choice, but it makes for a less feminist-friendly end result. Not that women do not play important roles. No slave girls cling to burly barbarians in my books.

The “Donzalo's Destiny” series is another matter. One might almost say that, despite the title, the novels focus more on the pair of Lady Fachalana and her friend, the spy Ansa. Certainly, much of the plot is centered on them — they are, in a sense, Donzalo's destiny.

There are, of course, quite a few other female characters, some in leading, some in supporting, roles. And there are many conversations between them, ones that have nothing to do with men or romantic interests (though those do show up). They pass the Bechdel test with no difficulty.

My four Donzalo novels (really, one long novel) are fairly sprawling and have quite a few interweaving plot lines, so one could not really say that anyone is the actual hero. Donzalo? Even if the tale centers on him, he is often swept along in it, not the individual making things happen. Indeed, he tends to resist change. Fachalana is far more inclined to jump in and move things along.

And, as a result, we also get to know her. I am hoping my readers will get to know her better when I return to Lama with my writing. Donzalo himself has found his 'destiny' and will be no more than a supporting character in any sequels. Fachalana, on the other hand, has all sorts of interesting events ahead of her. I keep thinking of new ones all the time!

So, expect a fiery swordswoman and sorceress to take the lead. We left her somewhat damaged, recovering in the caves of the Fays at the end of the last Donzalo book. The Lady Fachalana is bound to come out of there and raise her customary ruckus soon.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Books Keep Coming

I have started the process of getting my files for VALLEY OF VISIONS uploaded for printing and distribution, with hopes of the book being generally available by the time of its official release date, January 2. That might or might not happen, though it almost certainly will be in our own store well before then.

I am reasonably pleased with VOV. Perhaps it is not quite as tightly plotted as the novel to which it is a sequel, COAST OF SPEARS, being a tad episodic. As it is based around a journey, this should perhaps be expected. It does follow the same basic setup, being in four somewhat distinct sections, each with its own arc, and adding up to around 60,000 words. In other words, I followed the Michael Moorcock model again, to some degree.

VALLEY does answer many of the questions posed in COAST, but does not bring the Malvern story to a close. That should occur in the third novel, HERO FROM THE SEA. Still in outline stage, so you will have to wait a little while.

Simultaneously, I have been revising all four of the “Donzalo's Destiny” volumes for wider print distribution (and fixing minor flaws in all editions, while I am at it). The first two books (I won't call them novels, for the whole Donzalo tale is truly one novel of a bit over 200,000 words) are up and I am currently getting the third one uploaded. The revised versions are immediately available at the Arachis Press store (at AP's distributor, Lulu Enterprises) but take varying amounts of time to appear elsewhere. Probably the fourth and final book will be ready early next year. This will mean almost all my books will be available everywhere both in print and ebook formats (including Kindle) at last. The one exception is THE ART OF K. PAGE BROOKE, the retrospective of my mother's art career. That would not have wide enough interest, I think, but of course it is available direct.

Lots of novel projects in my mind right now. I should pick one and start writing on it.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Four Stupid Little Poems

Four Stupid Little Poems


I am here, each day,
selling myself to the world.
It's time I cut my prices
once again.

The Word

I sought le mot juste,
the right word, the needed word.
No one could understand
what it meant.


My awards and diplomas
have finally proven useful.
The backs are good for jotting
down grocery lists.


I found the same drawback
with every girlfriend.
They wanted to go places
and do things.

Stephen Brooke ©2015

In form, of a sort. Little thoughts that didn't seem worth the working up of anything longer.