Thursday, November 14, 2019

Swimmer, a poem

Swimmer

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

Blobs

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 MAIN CHARACTERS IN MY NOVELS: Ethnicity and Gender

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 POINTS OF VIEW IN MY NOVELS

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

Trumpet

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

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Crocodile God Release

This Saturday, September 7 2019 is the official release date for my new fantasy novel, THE CROCODILE GOD (Crocodile Chronicles #2). It is available now at many online retailers in print and ebook formats, as well as at the Arachis Press store.

Print at the Arachis Press store:
Ebook at the Arachis Press store:

Here is the official blurb for the novel:

Caring for her estate and her two-year-old son was quite enough for Qala, once Queen of Pirates. Gladly had she left the excitement of her former life behind. So what if she had never found the love she had once been promised?

Now the boy was beginning to show his heritage as child of the Crocodile God, disappearing to visit other worlds and bringing home little monster playmates. There were important political negotiations going on practically on her doorstep, negotiations involving kings and empires, pirates and wizards, and try though she might, Qala was going to be swept up in them.

Then Zedos’s father shows up and the gods get involved. Would Qala ever be able to live the simple life she desired and maybe, just maybe, find love? Join her as she searches in The Crocodile God, a fantasy adventure by Stephen Brooke.

Monday, September 02, 2019

Current Projects

I have settled on two writing projects (novels, that is) to pursue for now. I will work on developing both, maybe even write both simultaneously, though one or the other will probably come forward and require most of my attention after a while.

One of these is another adventure featuring my Polish ex-pat spy and soldier of fortune, Wilk (AKA John Wilkins, Jean Wilk, Jan Wilkowski, etc). In fact, it will be the first Wilk novel, chronologically, set in the time of the Russian Revolution. Likely title is Connecting Flight and I intend it to be interspersed with scenes of a very elderly Wilk flying to visit the newly-freed Poland of the Nineties. Sort of the beginning and the end for the character.

The other project is a mainstream novel set in 1968. Although it is set in my home town of Naples FL, it is not at all autobiographical, but revolves around three young women and their summer after high school graduation. It is rather likely it will appear under a pen name (assuming it appears at all), so I won’t talk much about it here.

This weekend will mark the official publication of my fantasy novel THE CROCODILE GOD. It may be a little while before I get onto another fantasy, having just finished writing and editing WARRIOR OF THE MOON, a Mora novel, to appear in the spring of 2020. In the meantime, my third Cully Beach mystery SMOKE is scheduled for publication by Arachis Press on November 30. Oh, and there will be another poetry collection sometime next year.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Fifteen Years

I just realized I'd passed the Fifteenth Anniversary of The Lucky Lad this past spring. So a belated 'Yay!' That's pretty old for a blog, I know. Most die out from lack of interest but I've kept sharing the trivialities of my existence. Yeah, there were a few stretches when I didn't post much for one reason or another (mostly having to do with real life obligations, including being a care-giver) but I've been pretty active in recent times. Too active, maybe!

As long as I write or do anything else that seems vaguely interesting, The Lucky Lad lives on.

A Warrior Rests

Another novel is finished. More or less; there will be some editing, although I do edit and revise as I go along. This would be “Warrior of the Moon,” a fantasy piece set in my world of the Mora (the seventh one) and the beginning of a new series, the Sleeping Sky Trilogy.

Yes, I know it will be a trilogy. I planned it as one, I’ll write it as one. The sequell may or may not be titled “Lake of the Goddess.” We’ll see about that. It definitely takes off where “Warrior” ends — I’m going with a continuing story on this trilogy.

The novel weighs in at 69,550 words. That’s a tad longer than any previous Mora novels but not by all that much. Most would still consider it a fairly short novel. As with its predecessors, it is divided into four sections. I aim for fifteen chapters per section and sometimes that happens. It did for the first three sections here but section four was a teensy shorter. That is entirely okay. The story takes as many words and as many chapters as is needed.

There may be more words when I sit down and thoroughly edit in a couple weeks (or so). I do have a tendency to underwrite, to leave things out that might better explain what is happening. An extra few hundred words, maybe. Maybe not. I edited and revised a good bit as I went so there might be even less to change than usual. As as result of revising and, to some degree, feeling my way, “Warrior of the Moon” required about ten weeks of writing. Not every day writing. I have no qualms about skipping days, taking days to concentrate on editing or researching, whatever. I turn the books out quickly enough anyway, I reckon.

So what now? Aside from many non-writing projects clamoring for my attention, I have varied novels in development (not to mention short stories and stuff). I decided some time back not to write two fantasy novels in a row but to slip in some other genre between. Maybe mainstream, maybe mystery, maybe who knows what. Another ‘Wilk’ action tale maybe?

Whatever, I’ll settle down to it in a while. For now, time to take a breath and just think about my direction.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Surface Tension, a poem

Surface Tension

With each slow breath I wonder when
this boundary might collapse and I
sink into you, our surface tension
broken. Fixed between the depths

and sky, I spar with my reflection,
certain it grows slower, merges
into liquid, formless, dark
beneath me. Will some breeze-born ripple,

errant breath, disturb our balance,
and I disappear at last?
This shimmering of surfaces,
illusion of solidity,

disintegrates beneath my feet.
Step forward; step and do not sink.

Stephen Brooke ©2019

Sunday, August 18, 2019

The Social Contract

The Social Contract
(an Anarchist’s drinking song)

I never signed the social contract
nor agreed the majority ruled;
and those who thoughtlessly scribbled their names
I consider well fooled!
Yes, fooled they were, fooled they are,
and rightfully ridiculed;
but not me, no, never me,
for I’ve been too well schooled!

I never signed the social contract,
someone forged my name —
it was my parents, I’ve no doubt,
and their parents did the same!
And though I’m fond of the dear old folks,
it would be to my shame,
to let them sign my life away
and so I’ve quit the game!

I never signed the social contract,
with government I’m through;
it doesn’t matter who climbs to the top,
they bring us nothing new!
Democracy and majority rule,
you surely know it’s true,
is still one group of people telling
everyone else what to do!

I never signed the social contract,
instead I stole the pen;
and if they hand me another one
I’ll steal it again!
Refuse to sign, I urge you all,
and the day comes when
we can live as is our right —
as free women and free men!

Stephen Brooke ©2019

I create these characters and give them life and then they go off and write stuff like this. :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Ripe, a poem

Ripe

The last ripe peach will go
unpicked. Let it fall as fall
the days, one after the other,
fall into the heat of August.

Haze fills these mornings, too thin
to claim the name of fog.
There is no chill to it.
The sluggish sun hides, bides,

blurs the bounds I have set
on work and sleep and rest,
and I too must fall
into another August day.

I have seen the last fruit
tumble to the grass,
all its sweetness untasted.
The day will carry it away.

Stephen Brooke ©2019

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Locus, a poem

Locus

A wizard needs the proper locus
if he is to fully focus
on his spells and hocus-pocus.

He must have his place of power,
a lonely room high in a tower,
to call up demons that bow and cower!

They obey his every command —
at least those they understand —
they are his left and right hand.

So look away on a moonless night
when you spy the wizard light,
high and distant — a frightening sight!

Stephen Brooke ©2019

after the supposedly 'serious' poem in my last post, something silly

Drink, a poem

Drink

We are handed this wonderful poison.
Drink deeply, knowing. Drink deeply of life.
It courses, singing of beginnings

and of ends. It burns. Relief
and pain must mingle in that draught.
Let it work its way into you,

through you, finding some tomorrow
to finish its task. Drink deeply, slowly.
Drink knowing time has time enough.

Stephen Brooke ©2019

World-Building and the Mora: Some Notes

I was a ‘world-builder’ as a kid, not in the sense of writing anything out (for the most part) but in creating exotic scenarios for my playmates to enact my imaginings. Westerns and mountain men early on, knights later, cavemen eventually — many of those ideas have stayed with me, to some degree, as I continue to world build and now create characters to inhabit those worlds. Those prehistoric men have definitely carried over to appear here and there but I’ve not written any cowboys yet!

One scenario that did stay with me and grow, I created when I was about fourteen. That is the one that grew into the world of the Mora. Originally it was a castaway tale, somewhat of an amalgam of Defoe and Burroughs (his whole ‘lost world’ bit). I dabbled with the concept over the years but never seriously developed it until I wrote the first book of the Malvern Trilogy, COAST OF SPEARS, five years ago. I am currently working at the seventh novel set in that world, to be titled WARRIOR OF THE MOON. Expect it next year and feel free to purchase and read the six previous titles.

~

I describe my Mora people as ‘quasi-Polynesian’ because they are descended from Polynesians of uncertain origin (Tahiti? the Marquesas?) who mixed with an earlier Proto-Malay population to create a unique nation and culture. Were I writing about a truly Polynesian people, Hawaiians, Tahitians, Maori, I would have much less room for leeway and creativity.

~

For any who might wonder, the title taona which is bestowed on Marareta (Michael Malvern) early on in my series of Mora novels is a variant on the individual known as a kahuna in Hawaiian and a tohunga in Maori. However, I referred to one of its meanings as being ‘healer’ early in the texts, to suggest a possible conflation with the word hahona. You are free to accept or reject that theory. :)

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Farewell to Qala

My fantasy novel ‘The Crocodile God,’ officially out in less than a month, will be (or should be) the last starring Qala, the former Queen of Pirates. She has previously been the central character of ‘The Crocodile’s Son’ and a secondary character in ‘The Eyes of the Wind.’ Does this mean goodbye to her altogether?

It shouldn’t. However, any future Crocodile Chronicles novels will shift focus to her son Zedos. As the progeny of the Crocodile God (aka Xido the Trickster), there are plenty of paths to explore with that character. Not soon, though, I think. There are many other projects to take on first.

There is a slight chance I might write something about the younger Qala someday, before she rose to rule the pirates. We’ll see about that. But I have wrapped up things satisfactorily in ‘The Crocodile God’ so her personal journey slows down now. She might even live happily ever after.

THE CROCODILE GOD has an official release date of September 7, 2019, in print and ebook, from Arachis Press.

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Payment, a poem

Payment

Alas for we who were once counted bold!
Can our forgotten truths be found among
the words now whispered, then more loudly sung,
those fires that burnt hot, now ashes cold?
Why is it men and women must grow old?
It is our payment for once being young.

Stephen Brooke ©2019

This was to be the second half of a sonnet but I finally decided it was a complete thought in and of itself.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Boats and Planes and Mystic Portals

Although my work-in-progress, the seventh Mora novel (to be titled Warrior of the Moon), is a fantasy set in another world it returns to the premise of the very first in the series (Coast of Spears), that is people from our world passing through a ‘gate’ to another. It is set some twenty-two years after the first story (in 1936) so the technology has changed some. Lots of small things are different, of course, weapons and such. These are details that can be dropped in when appropriate, or ignored if not important to the plot.

What is important are the means of transportation that got them there. As our portal is located in the South Pacific, this means boat or airplane. Malvern and his fellows from the first books came through on a fairly large private yacht sailing from Panama (the Canal had just opened) to Tahiti. Before their time, canoes or rafts of varying sorts had brought through Polynesians, Proto-Malays, Australian Aborginals, etc. for millennia.

My first concern was Lady Lydia Viney, an Amelia Earhart want-to-be who takes it into her head to fly across the Pacific solo. For this journey she chooses a Fairchild Eighty-two single-engine float plane, modified for extra range. This is in part her choice because it is Canadian-made; Lady Lydia would rather not use something from America or Germany, and found nothing quite satisfactory made in Great Britain. Attempting such a crossing in such a machine is entirely plausible, even if a bit foolhardy. Of course, she was hopping from island to island, not flying nonstop. So I am good with that choice.

Then there is the more complicated subject of the Japanese submarine that comes through — the last visitor ever, most likely, as part of the plot concerns the blocking of the gate. One concern here is that the fate of most ships in the Japanese submarine fleet is known. How to get around that?

I have chosen to make it a vessel of the Kaichu class, a medium-sized submarine, and an older one, possibly built as early as World War One or shortly thereafter. I did toy with the idea of making it one of the German subs received as repatriations at the close of the war but decided against (though probably only I will know this — there is no need to go into any of its history in the story). Officially, this submarine will have been decommissioned and broken up; in fact, it has been secretly refitted for long-range spy missions. That is why it is cruising the South Pacific at that time. The Japanese military got wind of the research in Soviet Russia at the other gate located there (and also closed now — that happened in my non-Mora novel, Tsar of the Empty Lands) and are carrying out investigations of their own.

So I can have my submarine. To be sure, I needed (and may still need) to research it thoroughly even though the vessel itself does not play a big role (I think. Things could always change.) Perhaps some of this research can pay off in other books yet to be written. It definitely gave me some ideas to explore that might pop up in a future Wilk (non-fantasy adventures) novel. We’ll see about that.

Nothing, a poem

Nothing

I have learned much about nothing
and wish to know even more;
to stuff my head full till it’s empty—
more so than it was before!
Creating the finest of vacuums,
one nature will surely abhor,
perfect to pack with the nothing
I’ll have even more space to store!

Stephen Brooke ©2019

Friday, July 26, 2019

Changes

A new look here at The Lucky Lad, after years of the rather customized theme we had been using. This completely new theme should be more user friendly both for us and for our readers. Yes, it looks a little bland compared to the old one, but that's not entirely a bad thing.

Some of this has to do with the demise of Google Plus a few months ago. Suddenly our traffic dropped way off without our sharing posts there. The hope is to link more to Twitter and FaceBook—which was a bit tedious to do with the old theme—as we post. And have no fear, after all these years The Lucky Lad has been around, we have every intention of continuing to post!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Spirits

One thing I have eschewed in all my fantasy fiction is the use of ‘spirits.’ By this I mean, all sorts of incorporeal beings, whether ghosts, demons, angels, human souls, elementals, what have you. As I do not believe in such entities in ‘real life’ it feels hypocritical to include them in the stories.

Rather, any and all beings of this sort are as solid as any other creature. They simply exist in other worlds. They are whole beings, not spirit joined to physical body — there are no souls moving from body to body or anything of that sort. I simply will not use that concept, nor will I base magic on any ‘spiritual’ force. Both allow way too much leeway and too many opportunities to fudge things.

As does all the paranormal stuff, telepathy, and so on that uses some sort of ill-defined ‘energy.’ All my magic is thoroughly mechanical and in some way relies on the ability to seek and/or travel through the infiniverse (and I do find the concept of infinite universes at least believable). Those are the boundaries I have set myself and I have stuck to them.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Warrior Theme

Before I start in on my narrative I sometimes write a preliminary/partial blurb just to help me focus on the central theme of the story. Here's what I have for 'Warrior of the Moon'—

Since he was small, Maratoa had held one desire above all others: to become a great warrior like his heroic father. Yes, he knew he had inherited sorcerous powers and, yes, he been trained in their use. But there was no place for a man with such abilities in Mora society.

Now the greatest of all wizards had crossed the ocean, on a mission that will decide the fate of their world. Does the fate of Maratoa also hang in the balance?


I'll revise and add stuff to that, of course, when the tale is finished. Maybe mention headhunters, lost aviators, etc, as best fits. Been doing more editing than writing the last few days (and watching tropical disturbance formation!) and it's also time to shift some attention to the release of 'The Crocodile God' in Sept.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

It's a Mystery

The one thing I most definitely learned in the writing of ‘Smoke’ is that one needn’t know the solution to a mystery when one starts a story. I should say that ‘Smoke’ is my first true mystery (and could probably be called a ‘cozy mystery’), whereas the two previous Cully Beach novels were about crime but there was never much of a ‘who done it’ element. Our protagonist simply blundered along as things unraveled.

Not so with Smoke. Oh, I knew why and how our victim was murdered, just not quite who did it. I had four primary suspects and each in his or her turn I thought would end up the murderer. That’s not counting Ted himself, whom some police think a pretty credible suspect! But we knew he didn’t do it, right? So I kept building around those four, suggesting things about each that might be incriminating. Actually, the one I originally thought I would make the murderer — the most obvious suspect — I eliminated from consideration in my own mind fairly early. It wouldn’t have been much of a mystery otherwise.

One of the others I eliminated by the time we visited the Florida Folk Festival. That one, too, I had briefly decided should be responsible, but no. Just didn’t feel right and the logistics of it were a little tricky. That left two and one seemed obvious to me. So, of course, it ended up being the other. I was pretty close to the end of the writing by the time I finally decided on — or discovered — the culprit. The fact that I had kept all of them viable as suspects right up to the end meant rather little rewriting was necessary. I’d kept my timelines and motivations straight.

Had I stuck with the original plan, had I known who did it right from the start, I doubt I could have maintained the proper tension. Better for me to figure it out the same as the readers. It’s their turn now.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Jewels and Jewels

The cache of stolen jewelry in my recently completed (more-or-less) mystery, “Smoke,” is essentially a ‘McGuffin.’ That is, in and of themselves they have no role in the plot other than to be searched for. A box of chocolate bars would have worked every bit as well. Unless they melted, of course. In this, the jewelry is like the statue in “The Maltese Falcon.” It is an interesting bit of hardware but does not really have any influence on the plot. Its role is entirely passive — it exists only to be chased after.

On the other hand, the four jewels known as “The Eyes of the Wind” and “The Jewels of the Elements” in the two fantasy novels of those names, are completely tied into the plot. They are sought because of the power they can bestow on their possessor, and that power is used in the books. They also appear as an important element (but not driving the main plot) in “The Ways of Wizardry.” It is certain that they will reappear in that novel’s sequel(s).

To be sure, there is not a thing wrong with incorporating a McGuffin into ones work. It is quite common, in fact, and the basis for countless stories. But having an active object adds an extra layer of interest. It creates more incentive for those who seek it. A lost child or a time bomb needs to be found; a statue of a bird, not so much. That’s a matter of degree also. Some objects will be more critical than others. The fate of the world depends on who possesses the jewels of the elements.

But we can’t always be saving the world, can we? Sometimes, it will just be that valuable McGuffin someone has hidden away, and that is okay — as long as the story is told well.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Smoke and More

I have a complete and somewhat edited manuscript of SMOKE, my third entry in the Cully Beach mysteries series. Weighing in at 68,000 words (I feared it would come in too short but that's a decent length). The novel is likely to see publication before the end of the year. Stay tuned for more on that.

Before I return to 'Smoke' for rewrites and edits, I am giving a final proofreading to the formatted manuscript of 'The Crocodile God.' The last task (I hope!) to make it ready for publication. Official release date is September 7.

Then, I'll probably tackle 'Smoke.' As I edit a great deal as I go along, I doubt there will be much change. It's going to be more line edits, fixing words and phrases, than any actual rewriting. But I might want to drop in just a tad more of some of the romantic subplots of the youngsters. No more than a line here and there, most likely.

And I am also starting in on the next novel, another fantasy and the start of a third trilogy set among the quasi-Polynesian Mora people. Title almost certainly to be 'Warrior of the Moon.' Mostly organizing my notes at the moment! There is also another poetry collection to prepare—I've been aiming for one every two years. The next is to be titled 'A Poet's Day.' Any British readers will recognize a bit of a joke in that title.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Alienese, a book review

 Alienese, a science fiction novel by Oliver Davis Pike


'Alienese' is a rather short novel, not quite a novella but bordering on it. There is, of course, nothing wrong with that. It seems to be as long as it needs to be. It is also not at all a fast-paced adventure. Cliff-hangers are few.

It is fairly straight-forward science fiction, but with a fair amount of humor of a low-key sort — not an outright comical novel nor farce. It is much more about the relationships between people (human and otherwise) than anything else. It also is an interesting portrait of its lead character/narrator, a has-been country singer abducted by aliens. ‘Alienese,’ incidentally, is what he calls the language they teach him.

Then he becomes romantically (more-or-less) involved with one of them. No more on that for fear of stepping into spoiler territory. I’ll just say that the two go on the run, both on and off Earth. There is a certain amount of cliché in the tale but it is rather obviously intentional, spoof or irony or whatever term one might choose.

All of this is in the wry voice of our country boy narrator (who is certainly no redneck dummy). I admittedly like it. It's pretty much up my alley as fiction goes.

'Alienese' is by Oliver Davis Pike, and comes from Arachis Press. The official release date in July 6, 2019 and it will be available in print and ebook.

Finally, a fairly large caveat: I was involved in editing this novel and getting it released, so I have my prejudices about its merit. I suggest you read it and form your own prejudices.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

The Wind's Gonna Blow, a song

The Wind’s Gonna Blow
a song for hurricane season

That storm’s moving closer to the coast
and all we can do is raise a toast:
Here’s to the hurricane, whatever it’s named
and here’s to the folks who live where it’s aimed!

It’s no good to sit and worry,
go nail up plywood, better hurry!
The wind’s gonna blow and it’s sure to get wetter,
it’s gonna get worse before it gets better.

Worse than I hoped, better than I expected,
got no reason to feel dejected.
Preparations thoroughly inspected,
family safe and all collected.

Make sure we’re ready for the gale;
Tie everything down or it will sail!
And make sure to stock up on the liquor,
though it won’t make it get here any quicker!

Got the radio to inform;
nothing to do but wait out the storm.
The wind’s gonna blow and it’s sure to get wetter,
it’s gonna get worse before it gets better!

Worse than I hoped, better than I expected;
hurricane has to be respected.
If we’re lucky, it’s redirected
and our maps can be corrected!

Stephen Brooke ©2019

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Give and Take, a poem

Give and Take
a simple song

Laugh when you are happy,
cry when you are sad;
rejoice in what you have,
remember what you had.
Life will give and take
and life will go on;
night will follow sunset,
day will follow dawn.

Now is but a border
drawn on the map of time,
dividing all that is,
an ever restless line.
Dividing what once was
from what is to be;
no one can live there,
not you, no, not me.

I’ve turned life inside out
to know its emptiness;
if there’s something more
is anybody’s guess.
The sun shines ever on,
though we hope and fear;
you’ll see it rise tomorrow —
I may not be here.

Stephen Brooke ©2019

the first part there can be repeated as a chorus