adventures in dysthymia

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Echoes, a poem

Echoes

Each name shouted into history
echoes, echoes, returning as
a whisper. Each fades into the white
noise of time, and we ask,

What was that? Did you hear
something? A wind, perhaps, to carry
today away, carry us
toward tomorrow and our own echoes.

Only wind, blowing through
the trees, up there on the ridge.
We can go across it tomorrow
and shout into the valley beyond.

Stephen Brooke ©2019

thrown off quickly and entirely likely to be revised

Wilk: a Profile of a Character

The character known as Wilk makes his debut in THE DICTATOR’S CHILDREN (coming May 4). Although this will be the first novel with him as the lead, it is set relatively late in his career — he is in his fifties by the time it takes place, 1948. There should be more Wilk novels, set both before and after ‘Dictator.’

Who is Wilk? He is a Pole, born in the German-controlled part of that nation, near Danzig (Gdansk, now) in 1894. Jan Patrokowski is the name then. Though Polish, his upbringing is largely German as a member of a prosperous middle-class family. As such, he enlisted in the German army at the outbreak of World War One. By this time he had a couple of years of higher education under his belt, studying engineering.

His expertise in things mechanical quickly got him posted to the air service, working on engines. From there, it was a short step to flying himself. Jan — or Hans, as the Germans officially had him — spent most of the war in two-seat aircraft, eventually serving in a ‘battle flight’ of Halberstadt attack-fighters. It was here he received the nickname Wilk, meaning wolf in Polish (he did use the German pseudonym Hans Wulf later on).

It is to be noted that he was not involved in any of the Polish nationalist movements of the time, such as that headed by Pilsudski, but remained more-or-less loyal to Germany. The confusion of the postwar period found him traveling east to briefly join the Reds in Russia, before being sent on to China as an adviser and goodwill gesture by the Bolsheviks. (This period might be the setting of the next Wilk novel.)

The young fellow gets around, doesn’t he? I am trying to avoid making him sound like Young Indiana Jones! At any rate, after two or three years adventuring in China he makes his way home — going the long way round, across the Pacific. There he returns to school, in Berlin, eventually achieving his doctor’s degree in engineering. At the same time, he begins working for Polish intelligence in various capacities. That is, until Pilsudski essentially engineers a coup and becomes de facto dictator of the country.

At which time, Wilk resigns in protest and makes his way back to China, where a post has been offered. He has been using Wilk as a name off and on by this time, first choosing to be know as Jean Wilk (with a hard W rather than the original V sound) on his original visit to China. He also uses Jan Wilkowski as a sometime alias and, later, adopts the English name of John Wilkins. But he is called Wilk throughout.

When he returns to Europe in the early Thirties, it is both to work with the Polish opposition, including Paderewski, and to work in the family business — something becoming more difficult with the growing Nazi presence in Danzig. He spends a good deal of time in Paris during this period and also becomes engaged to his best friend’s sister. These are of a Jewish family, which complicates matters, and the bride-to-be flees to America in time. Wilk is too involved with his causes to follow her.

Instead, he returns once again to China in 1937 and takes part in the fight against the Japanese. He also marries there, but the wife is lost and presumed (rightly so) dead in the turmoil of war and its aftermath. He serves in various capacities in the Pacific area through the war (he is no longer a young man, mind you) and settles in Australia after, being awarded citizenship, to open a ‘consulting’ business. He also searches for his missing wife.

This is pretty much where we find him at the start of THE DICATOR’S CHILDREN. He marries a year or so later (the bride-to-be is introduced in the novel), and has a bunch of kids who speak Aussie. These are in addition to his stepdaughter whom he retrieved from Macau, postwar. After that? The only tale I actually have projected is one that takes place in 1966 in Vietnam, when Wilk would be in his seventies. That was, in fact, the origin of the character but I decided to write other stories about him first. He does live just long enough to see communist rule ended in Poland.

Physically, Wilk is not a big guy, somewhat wiry, dark-haired, and keeps himself fit (almost obsessively so). He wears a mustache pretty much from the time he makes his first trip to China. Good at languages, good at all things mechanical and a bit fascinated by them at times. He appreciates a well-designed firearm and carries a Browning Hi-Power as his sidearm of choice from the mid-Thirties on.

So that is the bare-bones story of the character’s life, the basis of a ‘canon’ if you will. It is world-building every bit as much as what I might do for a fantasy novel, and a framework on which I could build quite a few stories. Will I get to them? That may depend on how many other projects get in the way, but I certainly intend to revisit the character. In the meantime, one can purchase this first novel and get to know him better.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Novel and Novella

I tend to write short novels. Not novellas, for the most part, though I have seen some categorize work in the fifty thousand word range — or even sixty thousand — as such. Those can be called ‘short,’ to be sure, but I would not consider them novellas.

It could be argued that there are differences in form between novella and novel. However, I am not going to get into that discussion; ultimately, a novella is a short novel, defined by an arbitrary word count. What cut-off point do I prefer? Thirty-five or forty thousand seems a good upper limit. That is also around what many literary awards use.

My shortest novel is right at the fifty thousand word mark. That would be the fantasy adventure “The Eyes of the Wind.” A few more are between fifty and sixty thousand words. All these I consider short novels, not novellas. I recognize that many publishers do not like books of this length these days, but many great novels of the past were no longer (and James Patterson still churns out short-ish books).

I’ll just mention the novelette here, in passing. It is, of course, even shorter than a novella, and longer than what would normally be called a short story. Here, I feel, form does matter; to me, a novelette is a long short story whereas a novella is a short novel. The novelette focuses on one plot without turning aside to explore. Some of Robert E. Howard’s best stories are novelettes and I would recommend them to anyone who wishes to better understand the form.

So, do I write novellas at all? It could be argued that my “Donzalo’s Destiny” epic fantasy consists of eleven novellas and novelettes telling a continuous story, each with its own arc and conclusion, but not resolving the overall plot. Indeed, even in my shorter novels I sometimes employ similar sections. ‘Donzalo’ was actually published as a series of four somewhat short books, which might or might not be called novels. Or maybe the entire thing should be called a novel. I’m not sure! It was eventually published as an all-in-one edition that is definitely not short, weighing in a two-hundred and six thousand words.

The same sort of thing is not quite true of my other series. The books of the Malvern Trilogy do make a continuing story but there is a definite resolution for each one, so I consider them stand-alone novels. Be that as it may, they and most of my output are short novels, not novellas. It seems natural for me to turn out books that run between sixty and seventy thousand words; by far the greatest number of them fit in that range. Indeed, only two (not counting the aforementioned ‘Donzalo’) exceed seventy thousand. My longest novel is the second Cully Beach mystery, “Waves,” at just over eighty-thousand words.

Honestly, I don’t see why authors need to run as long as they sometimes do. I dislike wordiness for the sake of wordiness, and the tendency to tell too much. This is not to say long novels are in anyway ‘bad.’ Only some of them — and the same is true of short novels.

Anyway, back to the work-in-progress. I can already predict it will fall into about the same size range as the previous novels — and I am not about to add ‘filler’ to inflate its word count.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Morning Bike Ride, March 8 2019

Some pics I took (with my little Fuji XP) while on a bike ride along the dirt roads east of my home:

 Little Alligator Creek, west branch, looking north (upstream).

 Little Alligator Creek, west branch, looking south

 Little Alligator Creek, east branch, looking north. Pine plantations beyond.

 Cows and calves. Not so long ago this was a field full of pregnant cows.

 Little Alligator Creek, joined into one stream, one road south. Looking  upstream.

Little Alligator Creek, looking south, downstream. It flows off to eventually add its water to Holmes Creek and on to the Choctawhatchee.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Action

It must be admitted there is not a great deal of action in the first section (around 16,000 words) of THE CROCODILE GOD (my fantasy novel WIP). The only violence occurs offstage, a report coming back about an attack on Qala’s friend who has traveled south on a diplomatic mission. Much of the story revolves around her two-year-old demi-god son discovering his powers and his divine relatives. And there is stage-setting for what is to come.

There is also more sex than is typical for me. That’s action of a different sort. Be that as it may, the pace does pick up in section two, with a kidnapping at around the 20,000 word mark that should set up the plot development for the rest of the novel. Fairly late for a so-called inciting incident but so be it. The first part of the book may drag for those not already invested in Qala’s story, so I do recommend reading THE CROCODILES’S SON first (available, don’t you know, from Arachis Press).

Finding a balance between keeping the plot moving and saying what needs to be said is never that easy — and it is genre dependent, to some degree. A more leisurely pace is certainly tolerated to a greater degree in a mainstream novel than in a fantasy adventure. I’m not sure it should be — a story is a story. I feel less need to, well, pander to arbitrary genre demands these days.

So I shall keep on with the novel, writing, revising. I always revise a lot as I go along, rather than first drafting. I know where I’m going and there is no rush; best to get it right. And eventually it will all be ‘right’ and ready for all of you. I would not be at all surprised to have THE CROCODILE GOD released before the end of this year.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Mice, a poem

Mice

Mice do get caught,
they can’t be taught
to always elude the cat.
Their little feet
may not be fleet
enough, and that is that.

Here they hurry
and there they scurry,
seeking a crumb or a mate,
knowing today
but not what may
be tomorrow’s fate.

Cats do catch mice —
that is a price
the species has payed before.
But my, oh my,
how mice multiply
and soon there will be more!

Stephen Brooke ©2019

Light verse. Very light.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Qala

Qala is the protagonist of my current fantasy novel-in-progress, THE CROCODILE GOD, sequel to THE CROCODILE’S SON and the second book in the Crocodile Chronicles (there may be only two, but they are interwoven with the two novels of the Sajam Saga). However, she first appeared as a secondary character in THE EYES OF THE WIND and proved too interesting a character not to revisit — and allow to star in her own stories.

When we met her in EYES, she was the Pirate Queen, captor of our protagonists Marana and Saj, and, before long, lover to their companion Xit. Now Xit, as far as Qala knew, was simply a modestly proficient sorcerer but a quite proficient lover, a way to amuse herself amid the tedium of life in the hidden harbor of the pirate fleet. That she preferred women is not that important. Xit would do until someday she found that one she could truly love.

For Qala had loved before, loved the mistress of he who ruled over the pirates before her. It was his jealousy and his murder of the woman that led Qala to challenge and replace him. She had ruled since. Ruled until our trio appeared and were enlisted into her scheme to slip away into retirement before she, too, was pulled down.

So it is she ended up at her country estate, far away — and pregnant. Qala was in her mid-to-late thirties by then (she has no clear idea of her age). Soon she learns that Xit was no sorcerer but a god, and that her son will be something more than a mortal. All that weaves into the plots of the Crocodile Chronicles novels, with which we are not dealing here.

Qala was born across the Greater Sea, in the Old Muram Kingdoms, in the slums of a gray city by the sea. She is pretty much a true Mur*, though all her people were somewhat of mixed blood by that time. Who were those people? I hint that they are somewhat ‘Asian’ in appearance. Obviously, as there is no Asia in their world, that is not the best of descriptions. On the whole, they might most closely resemble Siberians or Native Americans but, like most humans of their world, they are very much a mix of various populations who passed through ‘gates’ from elsewhere. The Mura were a nomadic people a few generations back who swept in from the steppes and conquered the area that now comprises the ‘Old Kingdoms.’ Some adventurers from those cities later crossed the Greater Sea to found the Muram Empire, where our tales are set.

She is a fairly diminutive woman, slender, sinewy, and not tall, ‘coppery’ of skin, black of hair. While still wandering the Muram kingdoms before taking to the pirate life, she not only learned swordsmanship but became exceptionally adept with blades of all sorts. This has been alluded to in the stories. I am unlikely to actually explore that period of her life in any detail — no ‘Qala, the Early Years’ novel! Needless to say, she needed to be good at things other than weaponry to rule over a fleet of pirates; Qala is an able leader and politician.

Or was. Now she leads only the people of a mid-sized estate along the banks of the upper Chas. There she has found at least some meaning to her life, in her young son, in her responsibilities as the mistress of her little domain. And, perhaps, she will at least meet the love she has longed for. I believe I shall have to finish writing THE CROCODILE GOD to be certain of that.

* Incidentally, the word Mur means essentially ‘warrior’ in their language. It came to mean ‘noble’ among those they conquered and eventually to refer to them as a people. Some might recognize a Proto-Indo-European root in that.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Old Men Showing How It's Done

John Wilkins — Wilk — of THE DICTATOR’S CHILDREN is the oldest protagonist to so far appear in one of my novels, being in his early fifties. A quite fit fifties, to be sure. That makes him a couple or three years older than Ted Carrol of the Cully Beach novels. If I write any sequels, Wilk will, of course, be even older. One or more of those might be forthcoming, but so might tales of the Polish ex-pat adventurer set earlier in his career.

I did something with Wilk of which I would normally disapprove, and that is to allow him to have an affair with a younger woman. Okay, two of them actually (but not at the same time!). And I mean quite a bit younger, in her early twenties. The other is mid-thirties which is not near as much a reach.

Why does this happen? In large part because Wilkins lost his wife/love of his life in the recent war (WW2) and is somewhat at loose ends, feeling empty and bit sorry for himself. Naturally, all this says something about the women with whom is involved as well. The much-too-young Elena is probably not averse to recreational sex in the first place — I do not say this but it is somewhat implied. She may not even be overly serious about it all. But also she has a tendency to hero-worship, and to attach herself to people and causes. She too is searching for something or someone to fill up her life.

As for our other affair, that is run of the mill mutual attraction. There is tension between the two from the start and it takes its course eventually. Then it ends, largely on grounds of practicality, and that is that.

Nothing of this sort is likely to happen in any future Wilk novel. Certainly not a sequel, as he remarries not long after DICTATOR and is not the sort to cheat. And yes, the wife is fairly young (the novel implies who it will be). So no running around by our hero when he is even older. Earlier, he will also be married, from sometime in the middle of the Thirties up until the end of the war, when he searches for his wife, missing somewhere in China. I say only ‘missing’ in the book but, believe me, she is dead — it just takes him a while to completely accept this.

Before that? The woman of China he eventually married does pop in and out of his life, as I have laid things out (that could change when I get into plotting another novel). He will also be engaged for a while in Europe in the earlier Thirties when he is trying to make a ‘normal’ life. I did mention that in THE DICTATOR’S CHILDREN so I have to stick with it.

An older protagonist certainly has (in theory) more experience dealing with life. This can be a worthwhile trade-off against the vigor of youth. He can show the young’ns how it’s done. Of greater value, maybe, is the ability to make insightful remarks on things. And I very much like to make remarks on things!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Dictator Cover

I reckon it is time to reveal the cover of the upcoming adventure novel (coming May 4, officially), THE DICTATOR’S CHILDREN. Here we go—


There will be more on ‘Dictator’ in a while. It is a bit of a departure from my other non-fantasy novels, which are all set in Florida and relatively contemporary (and more focused on relationships than action!). This tale takes place in 1948 and does visit Florida, but also Cuba and Central America.

In a way, it is more akin to those fantasy novels I have been churning out, in terms of plotting and pacing. However, I chose to go with a terser narrative style to suit the subject matter—channeling my inner Hemingway. :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

A Thackeray Poem

I wasted some time making this little graphic of Thackeray's 'Commanders of the Faithful.' His poetry is overlooked somewhat these days. Perhaps it always was, in comparison to his novels, but it appeals to me. I suppose some might consider this a tad politically incorrect by today's standards. I can't speak for any Turks but the Catholic in me certainly doesn't mind (nor the lover of wine!).



Monday, February 11, 2019

The Tenants, a poem

The Tenants

The Landlord’s come, we’re long overdue,
our debts are great, our assets few.
We can not pay, He’ll send us away —
our time here is thoroughly through.

That He has cause, never doubt;
He’s seen what mischief we’ve been about.
We cut the trees, we poisoned the seas,
and now He’s come to turn us out.

We’ve nothing left to pay the rent;
our capital has all been spent.
Yes, all our cash, on gaudy trash —
what we received as quickly went.

Oh, He’s been lenient, not strict,
and ever urged peace when we conflict,
but we made a mess and now I guess
there is no choice but to evict.

We’ve been the worst of tenants, it’s true,
a thankless and disreputable crew.
We broke the glass and killed the grass;
the Landlord’s come — we’re thoroughly through.

Stephen Brooke ©2019

Pretty much of a throwaway so I'm throwing it here.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Wilk and the White Russians

Spending time (maybe too much time) researching the Russian Revolution and, in particular, the retreat of the White Army in Siberia. Why? For a future Wilk novel (probably the first, chronologically) that I am unlikely to write anytime soon. That's okay, the ideas I pick up now will work away in my head until I am ready to tackle the writing. I've already realized that the basic scenario I had worked out, Wilk passing through Siberia to China, is not going to be as smooth as I had envisioned, at least not if I set it in summer of 1919! But that may add more interest and adventure to the whole thing.

I am also looking into the aircraft involved, as Wilk was a pilot who served with Germany in WW1 (coming from the German-ruled part of Poland) and then with the Reds in the immediate post-war period. My first thought was that he would accompany a couple airplanes to China via railway but I see now that the lines through Siberia were still White-controlled during that time-frame. So he will have to fly at least part of the way, perhaps through the Turkestan area. All that will be worked out eventually and we can get to the main adventure...China!

Singularity, a poem

Singularity

The black hole at the center
of my galaxy
pulls in tomorrow, pulls
in the light of every
promised dawn. I spiral
inward, countless stars
drawn cascading in
my wake, all meaning, all
being, following.
It can not be seen.
It can not be named,.
It
but abides; it is.
The black hole swallows me.

Stephen Brooke ©2019

Saturday, January 19, 2019

EBooks

I do not own a Kindle nor any other proprietary ebook reader. My ebook library is not in the ‘cloud’ but on my computer, where it belongs. I read them there or on a generic e-reader, in EPUB format.

The bulk of those electronic books are free ones I downloaded from Project Gutenberg. There are enough classics there to keep me busy the rest of my life, even if I did nothing but read all day. I admit that I have never purchased an ebook. If I have money for books, it will go to buying ones on paper.

And although I avoid doing business with Amazon, sometimes that is the only place to find a particular printed book. So be it; I am really too far from any bookstores to go browsing through them as I might once have. I like real printed books. That is why all my own titles are available in the form.

Of course, they may also be purchased as ebooks. Most of them; a few are simply not suited to the medium (such as my children’s picture book, ‘A Mouse is in the House’). My poetry titles are being withdrawn from sale as ebooks also, as I have mentioned before. The intention is to make them free, while continuing to offer print versions for those who desire them. I’ll get the links up when I’ve finished the process. That process includes creating new, better looked EPUBs myself, rather than relying on the online converter at my distributors site.

The problems with their conversion software helped bring me to this decision. I had to learn how to home-brew my own ebooks and now I’ve got it pretty well figured out. Not that I probably won’t take the easy way and convert my next novel online, if they get the new system working!

Addendum: Before I got around to posting this, I finished the transfer of the poetry ebooks to my site. They may be found and freely read and/or downloaded at http://insolentlad.com/ebooks/

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Montellano

There is a long tradition of placing fictional locations in novels that are otherwise realistic. This has been done across a wide range of genres. Towns, lakes, mountains have been created and dropped into areas that are otherwise real. Even countries, such as the Graustark of ‘The Prisoner of Zenda.’ There are — as with most things — advantages and drawbacks to this.

The greatest drawback is that the places are obviously unreal (unless they are recognizable as actual spots that have been renamed and disguised). This can strain belief for some readers. But then, the characters are not real people, as well, so why shouldn’t locations be the same? I have littered the Florida of my fiction with towns and such that do not actually exist. Many, admittedly, are based (however loosely) on real places. You are not going to find Cully Beach or Tamarind on any map. This was done primarily to give me some leeway in depicting the characters who live in those places.

I was faced with a decision on this sort of thing in my latest, “The Dictator’s Children” (out in May). Although I strove for authenticity through most of the novel, depicting Florida and Cuba in 1948, I chose to create a completely fictional Central American nation as the origin of the deposed (and dead) dictator of the title. If I had placed him in a real country it would have been historically inaccurate. Does this make the whole thing less realistic? Yes, of course it does — but it serves the story.

I do not actually name the nation in the book, though the capital city, ‘Montellano,’ pops up in a few places. The description of the countryside is fairly generic Central American; there are resemblances to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras. But it is none of these. Naturally, I did name it in my notes, even if I did not share that name. It is a good writing practice to know such things.

This was a major decision because it affects any future novels featuring my ‘Wilk’ protagonist, a Polish ex-pat who adventures through the Twentieth Century. Most of the projects I have envisioned for him are grounded in historical fact, but now I feel less need to set them amid completely real locations and events. I am aiming for authenticity, not historical accuracy.

So Montellano exists in the temperate central plateau of my fictional nation, and Wilk does visit the city, drinks the fine coffee grown in the lands that lie around it, visits the mines in the surrounding mountains. I have striven to make it as real a fictional location as possible, just as I would in my fantasy novels. I shall leave it to my readers to believe or disbelieve.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Naples

When Florida and the town of Naples appear in my latest novel, “The Dictator’s Children,” it is the ‘real’ Florida, not one of the fictional Floridas in which I set my other contemporary realistic work. Cully Beach, Ruby, Tamarind are all fictional towns, existing in versions of the state I created.

However, I attempted to make the Naples and Miami of “Dictator” as authentic as I could — as they existed in 1948. I grew up in Naples (largely) and knew some about its early days, when it was a unique place. Now, it is much like everywhere else in Florida.

The writing team of Mary and Jean James (my niece, ‘Mean Mary,’ and my sister) put out an action tale set in Naples a while back, “Sea Red, Sea Blue.” It was inevitable that a bit of that was in the back of my mind as I plotted my own book, and also that I would consciously try to avoid any similarities. It is the same town, even if set an half-century earlier, so there are bound to be some.

Will I ever return to Naples, the real Naples, in my fiction? I have no reason to set any other Wilk books there. “The Dictator’s Children” only passes through the town, so to speak, with the bulk of the story taking place in Havana, Miami, and Central America.

But Naples is a part of who I am. It is found in my poems. It exists, unnamed, in my other fiction. It is with me, even if it is nearly thirty years since I last saw the town or walked its beach. And it is probably better as a memory, revisited only in the words I write.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Murder in the Campground, a song

While coming up with ways to murder someone at a musical festival for a novel-in-development, I also came up with this song.

Murder in the Campground

verse 1:
It must be nearly midnight,
into your tent you creep,
with nothing on your mind
but a good night’s sleep.
But around each campfire
folks are carrying on;
you fear the way they’re going
they’ll keep it up till dawn.

verse 2:
They sure are mighty loud,
how can they make so much sound?
They’re keeping us all awake,
throughout the whole campground.
Isn’t there a lake over there?
Maybe they could be drowned —
if we weight them down
they might never be found!

chorus:
They could be...
bludgeoned with a banjo,
strangled with a string;
firewood is handy,
or just whatever you bring!
Each one could be fatal
and they’ll no longer sing;
they’ll not sit up all night
to make the banjo ring!

verse 3:
The saw mill and cane crusher
can dispose of a body;
they’re ’sposed to be educational,
so learn to think like John Gotti.
Or maybe we could stuff ’em
down the porta-potty;
plan the perfect murder in the campground —
don’t let your crimes be shoddy!

Stephen Brooke ©2019

Monday, January 07, 2019

The Dictator's Children

As many a despot before him, Raoul Guzman came to think of himself as infallible, indispensable, the savior of his people. It was a shock when the coup came. Even as he boarded his private plane, escaping into exile, he told himself, It was the Americans who did this. My people will see their mistake. They will call me back.

He still believed this two years later when he died in a Miami Beach hotel room, two prostitutes in his bed. The gold watch once presented him by the Russian ambassador was never found.

~

So go the first two paragraphs of my latest finished novel, THE DICTATOR’S CHILDREN. I wrote them more than a year ago and let them sit, occasionally thinking about them. Then I sat down and churned out the rest of the novel in less than three weeks. Admittedly, it is a short novel at 54,000 words.

And now pretty well rewritten and edited too. We are looking at a May 4 release date for this action novel of espionage, the first (I hope) to feature the Polish expat and adventurer Wilk.

One thing I recognized while writing this novel (though I knew it already) is that is not necessary to clear up every little detail if it does not effect the plot. It is okay to say ‘the mafia might have gunned him down or it might have been the secret police.’ Hey, they may have both had good reason and he’s just as dead!

I think just a touch of ambiguity adds to the realism. Our protagonists can’t know everything, but they muddle on anyway. Just as in more-or-less real life.

Poetry Ebooks

I never expect to profit from my poetry and am quite willing to let it be read or heard for free. This is why I have no problem with posting pieces on line.

However, it does cost me to put it into books. So, I charge a fairly nominal price for my collections, to cover my work in designing and formatting and, of course, the cost of an ISBN and of the print copies.

They can also be seen as ‘price leaders’ for my novels — for which I have quite different expectations!

I have come to the conclusion that there is little point in selling the low-cost ebook versions and was, moreover, never happy with the compromises in formatting required for distribution. Therefor, I and Arachis Press are withdrawing them from the market and will make free epub copies available for download. If the reader enjoys them, perhaps she or he will pay for a print copy.

If not, then they are still completely welcome to the ebooks. They may share them if they wish. I’ll get around to getting those ‘better’ versions up as I can (and they will replace the plain text files already being given away, as well as the Blogger version of ‘Pieces of the Moon.’). And the next collection, probably out in 2020, will be free from the beginning.

That’s to be titled ‘A Poet’s Day.’ Just in case you wondered!

Everything, a song

Everything
a duet from an imaginary musical

Deedle-deedle-dee,
I’m gonna climb a tree
And from there I’ll see
Everything! (Everything)

Doodle-doodle-doo,
I’ll climb up there too,
Then both of us can view
Everything! (Everything)

Fiddle-faddle-fie,
I’m gonna climb real high,
So high that I can spy
Everything! (Everything)

And I’ll be up there at your side,
Where the air is rarefied!
We shall see all the world wide,
Yes, Everything! (Everything) (Everything)

Deedle-deedle-dee,
Come climb a tree with me
And from there we’ll see
Everything!

Stephen Brooke ©2019

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Splinters, a poem

Splinters

Some loves are splinters, more
relief than pain when they
are drawn from our tender
flesh. Ah, but some

have barbs. Some leave a wound,
slow to heal, aching
through the nights. Some remain
beneath the skin, to be,

at the last, absorbed,
transformed into who we are.

Stephen Brooke ©2019

Again, my satellite-based internet has been out for a couple weeks while stationary fronts draped themselves across the Florida Panhandle and rained incessantly. Maybe I remain hooked up for a little while now.