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 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 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


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.