Thursday, July 24, 2014

Of Brothers

I have finished a good draft of the first ‘Tale’ of the fourth and final (yes, for sure!) Book of Donzalo’s Destiny, THE HAND OF THE SORCERER. It came out a little longer than typical, at a bit over 25,000 words. This section is titled ‘Of Brothers.’ One more tale of similar size and I shall be done.

Except, of course, for rewrites and editing and all sorts of stuff. I could actually see having the novel out before the end of the year if I don’t dawdle. Then...I look back over the previous three books and fix anything that needs fixing. Easy enough when one uses a print on demand plus ebook approach. But time-consuming, still.

Once I finish with that task, I do intend to put all four Books together as one largish novel (which they really are, after all) and offer it, print only. Maybe even in a hardcover edition if anyone shows interest.

If I can shift gears after so much time with Donzalo and his world, I do hope to work on something completely different then. A Serious Literary Novel, maybe. And all those illustration projects I have put off for so long.

Eventually, I do intend to return to Donzalo or, more properly, his friends and world. Old Donni has pretty much made his mark and is going to retire with his lady love, I think. Who will end up being his lady love? The fiery Lady Fachalana? The sweet but murderous spy Ansa? His first love, Princess Lomela? We’ll find out when I finish the last Tale!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

All the World's a Stage

Oddly, though I have suffered from crippling social anxiety in everyday life, I have never had a problem with getting on stage and performing. This assumes that I am well rehearsed, of course. Including my ad-libs.

I like to tell folks that when I am on stage I am not a musician but an actor playing a musician. Even when I’m not on stage, I’m not much of a musician.

But really, that’s it. I play a role. The advice to ‘be yourself’ is very, very wrong for me! I have to become someone else.

In a way, it is like creating a character in a story. There is certainly something of me in every character I write, but they are not ‘me.’ They perform on the page even as that other character I create performs on the stage.

A song, for me, is most often simply a conveyance for my words. This is not to say that I have no interest in writing good music. But I admittedly have little interest in being any sort of particularly good player. I do not like to jam. I am interested only in being sufficiently proficient to get my songs across.

That is more a job than a pleasure. As is learning to sing well, craft my words, and all the rest. The pleasure comes when those who listen or who read ‘get’ it. The goal is to communicate. All else serves that.

All the world’s a stage. I hope only to say my lines well.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Finishing the Story

I didn’t really take any time off after completing THE SIGN OF THE ARROW but pretty much jumped right into writing the fourth and (almost certainly) last Donzalo book, THE HAND OF THE SORCERER. That title is likely to stick though it is not yet written in stone (i.e it hasn’t been assigned an ISBN).

There were so many ideas in my head I had to immediately begin sorting them out, making notes, outlining. At good bit of my plotting does admittedly take place in my head before I start typing — I am not really one to sit down and make it up as I go along, although there can certainly be a good deal of improvisation once I start writing the narrative.

Anyway, I am currently 12,000 words into the first ‘Tale’ of the book (titled ‘Of Brothers’), which promises to come to my typical novella-size length of somewhere around 20,000 words. Then, probably only one more such to finish the entire DONZALO’S DESTINY saga (although it could always turn into three Tales – that has happened in the last two books). The last Tale will be named ‘Of Destiny.’

Although I know I shall be tempted, I promise (mostly myself) not to tackle another saga carrying on the story of these characters right away. I do have a good idea of where they will be going — that’s part of knowing who they are. Donzalo himself will not have a central role when (if?) there are more books.

My proof copy of THE SIGN OF THE ARROW arrived and looked fine so I have no reservations about announcing the availability of the book in print. EPUB, PDF and print versions are all available at the Arachis Press shop at Lulu and will soon be up at the AP website as well ( Officially, the release date is still August 1, but that doesn’t really mean much.

I hope to turn to other projects once I finish this and get the Donzalo movie out of my head. I do obsess about it. I practically live in it. It will be time to go live on a beach for a while and write something about Florida, I think!

Finally, I’m going to include a short passage (I tend toward short passages) from the new book-in-progress, a scene of the sorcerer Radal reminiscing about his youth. Not a final draft, of course.

* * *

Radal was not sure when he had first heard the voice of Darkness, but it had come with forgiveness for all the thoughts, all the desires, his mother had told him were sins. They are nothing, said Darkness, and her voice was as soft winds of night.

She whispered to him that the gods were only little things and would perish as surely as men. Then only she in her primal majesty would remain. Naught else would matter.

The sorcerer had a small obsidian figure he had found as a boy, half-buried in the clay by the river. His father, the tall stern soldier, had told him it was only a chess piece someone had lost but he knew that it was she, come to him so he might worship.

That figurine resided now in distant Celatas, on a shelf in his study. Perhaps it had been but a lost gaming piece. Perhaps it had no power other than that he gave it.

Darkness, the goddess of that unhappy boy, Radal now knew as a manifestation of the Great Void in our world. The Void was indifferent to all existence. It did not even hate, being empty of all things. But Darkness hated, as had Radal.

He would serve her always and her father, Death — Asak, as the Kamatians named him, and the Ildin before them. Someday, soon probably, Asak would come and give him his gift of peace, of extinction. He would be with his goddess.

Until then he would serve her, though she asked nothing of men.
Radal remembered still the hymn the boy had composed in her honor, that he had intoned before his little obsidian idol.

Darkness, Asak’s eldest child,
Lady of the Lifeless Lands,
on your carved ebon throne,
scatter Time’s unnumbered sands.

Wisdom comes as nightmare runes,
written on the lids of eyes
that beheld you, vast and still,
ere stars rose in ancient skies.

All the children of the day,
generations raised in light,
shrink from the Abyss’s gaze,
waste and wither in your sight.

Darkness, born of endless Void,
Goddess to the men of old,
reign as Queen of endless realms,
worlds where all things grow cold.

Radal smiled thinly at the memory and, with a sigh, turned to his work. He must soon act, and decisively. Then let things be as they would be, knowing that Darkness did not listen to prayers.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Ten Year Anniversary

I just realized that, as of a couple months ago, I've  been blogging here for ten years. That's a pretty long time to stick with anything on line!  While other sites and blogs and social media have come and gone, I've kept this blog going.

Do you think I'll still be here in 2024?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Stuff About Me

Stuff About Me: Nicknames

I was given the nickname ‘Berz’ – short for Berserk – by my surfing buddies because I would take off on and try to ride any wave, no matter how hopeless. In everyday life, I’m about as non-berserk as they come.

Yet I am totally unwilling to get on a roller coaster or any other such ride. Why? Because I am not in control nor the ‘master of my destiny.’

I was also given the nickname ‘Froggy’ in Junior High because I made the mistake of wearing green socks one day.

Stuff About Me: Pool

I once ‘stooged’ for a friend who was a minor-league pro wrestler. I called myself ‘Hustler Haskell,’ slicked my hair back and carried a pool cue.

Naturally, I also unbuttoned my shirt to the navel and wore a clunky medallion. If the gig had lasted, I might even have grown a pencil mustache.

On the subject of pool cues, I also worked as the manager of a pool hall at one point. But I can’t actually play pool worth a darn.

Stuff About Me: Fat

I was a fat and nonathletic kid. One day, I decided not to be. I became a surfer, a boxer, a bodybuilder. I wrote my own story with myself as the hero.

And maybe I’m more an actor who cast myself than the real thing. Maybe I’m still that little kid, playing the self-made man on any stage I can.

Does it matter?

Stuff About Me: Random

I am an extremely strong responder to any and all drugs. One beer can make me tipsy and a cigar can be a psychedelic trip.

I am largely ambidextrous. I can mirror write quite rapidly with my left hand, though I haven’t much reason to practice it these days, what with doing most of my writing on the computer.

I barely spoke as a child until I discovered the printed word. Then I started talking like a character in a book (and still pretty much do).

I spent time in Nashville, trying to make it as a song writer but had enough sense to not actually move there.

Stephen Brooke ©2014

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Arrow Video Trailer

I put together a simple slideshow-style video trailer for my latest book, THE SIGN OF THE ARROW:

The background music is a simple soundtrack I created for this. I have written and partially recorded a song (based on one of the songs in the novel) but decided it would, in a sense, overpower the video. I'll finish it up eventually and post the music somewhere.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Poets' Lies, a poem

doggerel of the day...

Poets’ Lies

Never trust a poet —
he’ll only tell you lies
and pretty bits of nonsense,
pretending to be wise.

The words have all been crafted
to bring tears to your eyes,
he’ll beguile your hearts,
he’ll seek to hear your sighs.

But, in time, he knows
whatever words he tries,
you’ll turn the page and read
some other poet’s lies.

Stephen Brooke ©2014

Friday, July 04, 2014

Roll Over, a poem

Roll Over

Sometimes we need the comfort
of another beside us,
no more than the touch of one
body against one body

and sometimes it is a great
annoyance. Your steady breath
in the night may both
soothe and keep me from sleep.

That cost is not too much,
is it? Do not blame me
if I wonder, if I
turn away from time

to time. I always roll over
and face you again.

Stephen Brooke ©2014

I have written little poetry of this sort (or any sort) recently, but something occasionally finds its way to the surface.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Arrow Cover

This is something very close to the finalized cover for THE SIGN OF THE ARROW.

Clean and minimalist, as I prefer. No lurid cluttered art for me!

I've been busily rewriting and checking for inconsistencies and such (with my fairly detailed notes I don't get many of those, yet they do creep in). I'm going to give the manuscript one last read-through before it goes to the next phase of edit and format. Official publishing date could be as early as August first.

Then, on to the next (and probably last) book in the series?  Maybe. I should probably let the project cool off a bit and come to it with a fresh look in a month or two. But the ideas are floating about in my head so I will at least be jotting down notes and rough outlines. The fourth book of Donzalo's Destiny is, by the way, tentatively titled THE HAND OF THE SORCERER.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Dragons For Free

I've put an EPUB version of my fantasy short story, A DRAGON IN DISTRESS, up as a free  download at the Arachis Press store at Lulu. For youngsters of any age.

Available at