adventures in dysthymia

Friday, March 28, 2014

Martin and Me

Inevitably, there have been comparisons of my “Donzalo’s Destiny” books to the “A Song of Fire and Ice” series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin. This, I understand, but I have gone out of my way to not read any of Martin’s books nor watch the television series based on them. And I’ve been working on the Donzalo saga for quite a while anyway — I wrote the first draft of the first novella somewhere around fifteen years ago. The actual world in which it is set, however, goes back quite a bit further.

Martin seems to have used the War of the Roses as a partial template for his novels and I will admit to drawing inspiration from the Thirty Years War myself (or, more properly, the century that led up to it). I have also most certainly drawn inspiration from every author I’ve ever read but I would have to say the influences of Michael Moorcock and Roger Zelazny seem the most obvious.

Indeed, Moorcock’s ‘The Warhound and the World’s Pain’ is a pretty direct influence, being set in a similar place and time. And my voice, I think, is much more similar to the two authors I have named here — or so I would hope!

Anyway, there was a new chapter from Martin’s saga posted online this morning so I decided it was, perhaps, time to check out his work. I found it clumsily wordy and plodding and not at all my cup of fiction. The novels, I think, will remain unread.

Which is just as well. When there are so many extraordinary authors of fantasy from the past to whom I can look – Tolkien and Cabell and Dunsany and even E.R. Burroughs – I most certainly don’t need Martin.

I have started, after a short hiatus to clear my mind, to write on the third Donzalo book, tentatively titled ‘The Sign of the Arrow.’ I really should be on other projects (such as some much-postponed illustrated work) but young Donzalo and his large supporting cast are pushing their way to the front once more. We shall see if I keep at it!

Incidentally, my Donzalo ebooks have not yet shown up at Kobo or Amazon but remain available at iBooks and Barnes & Noble, along with some of my other titles. Just search for Stephen Brooke. And, of course, they are also at arachispress.com.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Emptiness, a poem

Emptiness

The great emptiness
visited me, whispering
wordless taunts.

Before shone the first
stars, the gods decided
you and I

would come and go,
live and die, be
and be not.

Their laughter is but
an echo, a shadow of
the big bang,

and they, too, have
gone into the empty
darkness between us.

Stephen Brooke ©2011

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Books at Amazon

So, Lulu has finally made distribution to Amazon and Kobo a part of their service. Apple and Barnes & Noble have been available all along, as well as selling directly, but now we can offer ebooks through these two markets as well. Just in time---I had done my own conversion of my 'Donzalo' novels to mobi (Kindle) format and was planning to offer them via Gumroad or Sellfy. I guess there is no need for that now (though I may do a 'bundle' through one or the other).

I  could, if I wished, also distribute my print editions through Amazon and other outlets, too. However, they take such a big chunk I would actually have to raise my prices to make any money! And you wouldn't want to pay more, would you? Even then, it would not be anywhere near as much as I can make selling through our Arachis Press site and/or Lulu. So, no thanks.

The first two novels of the 'Donzalo's Destiny' series should appear at Amazon and Kobo shortly, same price as elsewhere (2.99). That would be THE SONG OF THE SWORD and THE SHADOW OF ASAK. I'll see about getting some of the other books up, in time. The poetry books will probably be available soon but I do want to create a revised edition of THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE before re-releasing it.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

I Stay, Spring Comes

This is the weekend of the Will McLean Festival, down near Dade City Florida (that’s a modest distance NE of the Tampa area). I used to attend yearly but have missed the last several. Of course, I had a good reason to the last few years, what with the caregiver duties I had taken on.

I could have made the trip this year. Except that it is twice as far away as it was when I lived in Steinhatchee. It’s a pretty long drive now.

But I had things I wanted to work on, animals that I would have needed to get someone to care for – especially if I overnighted it – and some vehicle concerns, so I opted not to go. I’m saving up my energy and funds to attempt the Florida Folk Festival at the end of May. It’s about half the distance and I could do a one day visit without too much trouble.

In the mean time, despite continued interruptions by cold fronts, spring is making itself known around here. My pear tree is thicker with blossoms than I have ever seen. I put in several new pears over the past few weeks, along with other tree tranplantings. This is the first year in a long time that I have not bought any nursery stock. I’ll let the plants I have on hand do and if I need to fill in or have losses, I’ll take care of it next year.

There are loads of peach blossoms too. I practically live in an orchard now — and I like it! One of my saucer magnolias bloomed for the first time, as did one of the rosemary bushes. Everything is budding out, so I guess I should be grateful for the wet cool weather. It will be hot and dry before we know it and I’ll be out dragging hoses around the place every day.

That will keep me busy. As will getting onto my next book. I’ll start another writing project soon, possibly the next Donzalo novel. Or something else. We’ll see.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Hide, a poem

Hide

Love poems hide along the road.
They wait for you or maybe for
the next who passes. Not for me.
They hide and hidden remain and I

do not bother to look any more.
Once, the poems darted out
into traffic, barking. They
did not know that I would pay

them no attention. They did not know
that I would drive on, not caring
when they fell beneath my wheels.
Now, the poems have learned, and hide.

They hide along the road, and wait.

Stephen Brooke ©2014

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Solzhenitsyn Quote