‘Half Discovered Wings’ – now available

Further to my last post, the new and improved ‘Half Discovered Wings’, is now available to buy from the Amazon store (here) and Smashwords (here)!

For those of you who missed my first traditionally-published novel in 2009, now’s your chance to read the definitive edition for only 99p – or FREE for a short time only if you get it from Smashwords!

It’s really important that I hear from everyone who opens the book, so please leave a review and get in touch via the Contact page with your thoughts!

Thanks again to everyone for their support, and happy reading!

—db


David Brookes - Half Discovered Wings

It’s neither money nor morality that sends Joseph Gabel on his continent-wide pursuit,
but the death of his love, destroyed by a creature who evades his capture.

Hired by a mysterious magus, one of many supernaturally-powered
individuals known as errants, the hunter travels towards the city of Shianti, built inside a huge crater – a remnant of the war which destroyed the world as we know it,
and unleashed a darkness too terrifying to imagine.

With the magus, a sick amnesiac, a mutant and an armour-imprisoned knight,
Gabel travels to rid the world of an all-powerful evil,
before it takes what’s left of the dead planet and tears it to pieces…

This definitive version of ‘Half Discovered Wings’, with a new introduction by the author, is available in e-format for the first time.


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New Release: ‘Half Discovered Wings’

Hello friends and fans,

In 2009 an early fantasy novel of mine, ‘Half Discovered Wings’, was accepted for publication. Eventually the rights reverted to me and I decided to re-release the book in 2015 as an ebook for Kindle and other e-readers. I’m now extremely happy to present a new and improved ‘Half Discovered Wings’, available to pre-order from the Amazon store (here) and Smashwords (here). The release date is 1st August as an early birthday present to myself!

Rather than blather on about it, I’ll include the new Introduction below, along with the blurb and final cover.

For those of you who missed my first traditionally-published novel in 2009, now’s your chance to pre-order the definitive edition for only 99p – or FREE for a short time only if you get it from Smashwords!

It’s really important that I hear from everyone who opens the book, so please leave a review and get in touch via the Contact page with your thoughts!


David Brookes - Half Discovered Wings

It’s neither money nor morality that sends Joseph Gabel on his continent-wide pursuit,
but the death of his love, destroyed by a creature who evades his capture.

Hired by a mysterious magus, one of many supernaturally-powered
individuals known as errants, the hunter travels towards the city of Shianti, built inside a huge crater – a remnant of the war which destroyed the world as we know it,
and unleashed a darkness too terrifying to imagine.

With the magus, a sick amnesiac, a mutant and an armour-imprisoned knight,
Gabel travels to rid the world of an all-powerful evil,
before it takes what’s left of the dead planet and tears it to pieces…

This definitive version of ‘Half Discovered Wings’, with a new introduction by the author, is available in e-format for the first time.


Introduction from the 2015 edition

‘Half Discovered Wings’ was many years in the making. I completed an early draft when I was 19 prior to undertaking a Bachelor of Arts in English and Writing at Bretton Hall University. It underwent numerous changes in the years since, including the title, characters and several major aspects of the plot. Although there are many traditional fantasy elements in HDW, later drafts attempted to make these as original as possible, within the confines of the novel’s world and the wider literary universe that I had just begun to create. HDW is a stand-alone novel, but fits into a vast timeline of interconnected stories that currently accounts for no less than 9 unpublished novels and at least 3 unwritten ones.

For this reason, it was a big deal for me to land a publishing deal in 2009 (9 years after completion) with a traditional publisher who put a previous version of HDW on the shelves. Sadly it was not a company strong in marketing prowess or publishing clout, and so the book had a few months of modest success before being largely ignored. A few copies of the paperback edition still exist in warehouses and libraries across the UK and US, and I’m occasionally thrilled to see another purchase order drop into my inbox even after all this time.

Many years later, long after the global economic downturn made publishing a distant dream for most unestablised writers, I decided to revisit my old world and characters. It happened not without a great deal of nostalgic love. I’m thrilled to now present what I consider to be the definitive edition of ‘Half Discovered Wings’, newly revised and enhanced, in e-book format for the first time.

There are several people to whom I owe great thanks. The first must always be my mother Diana Smallwood, for her constant love and support even after I’m way too old to be dependant on it. I should also thank my small circle of creative friends who, without knowing it, encouraged me to continue with writing even in midst of abject hoplessness: poet Matthew Hedley Stoppard, writer/lecturer Andrew Palmer, actor/comedians Canan Cahit and Philip Mason, writer Angelin Sydney and writer/teacher Sarah Cason, amongst others. A special thanks must go to Gabriella Kakonyi, who devoted more support for my “talent” in one year than I ever deserved. Thank you all.

For any editing, proofreading or ghostwriting work, please check out The St. Paul’s Literary Service at STPediting.wordpress.com.


A note on the cover

You might notice that the cover shown is not the one I’ve been blathering on about the last few weeks (here and here). Although I was thrilled by the commissioned design by talented artist Vasco Duarte, I wasn’t able to put together a convincing cover design that best represented the novel. In the end I designed my own simple cover in a style that I knew I could replicate should I decide to release the related novels I wrote between 2002 and 2011.

For fun, below are the alternate cover designs for ‘Half Discovered Wings’:

Half Discovered Wings - David Brookes - Mischa FulljamesAbove: Original cover by Mischa Fulljames
for the 2009 Libros International edition.

Half Discovered Wings - David Brookes - Vasco Duarte Above: Unused design by Vasco Duartes
for the 2015 re-release.

Half Discovered Wings - David Brookes - Vasco DuarteAbove: My weak attempt at turning Vasco’s great design
into a respectable book cover – unused.

David Brookes - Half Discovered Wings

Above: Final cover design by me, David Brookes,
for the definitive 2015 edition of ‘Half Discovered Wings’.


Half Dis-coloured Wings – ‘HDW’ cover preview #2

Things are moving ahead at a rapid pace for the e-book re-release of my first novel, “Half Discovered Wings”.

My incredible cover artist Vasco Duarte recently sent me the fully-inked, black and white cover, which I’m very pleased to present below. How about that for some desolate wilderness!?

The final cover promises to be very stylish and I’m extremely pleased with this fresh, modern-looking vision of Joseph Gabel en route to his destiny.

David Brookes - Half Discovered WingsI recommend you check out Vasco Duarte’s awesome art via his Facebook page or his Behance profile. The new cover promises to be very cool, and I can’t wait to share it!

I’m planning a 1st August release for ‘Half Discovered Wings’, so please check in for more details in the next week or so!

—db

New ‘Half Discovered Wings’ preview

Hi folks,

Firstly, if you got a link to this post via e-mail and you’re not sure why you’re signed up for “The St. Paul’s Literary Service”, it’s because you followed David Brookes on his (my!) previous blog, “Mr Brookes Abroad”. Since this is my main site now, subscriptions have been transferred from the old site to here.

Onto the news!

I’ve spent the last several weeks revisiting my earliest novel, ‘Half Discovered Wings’, which was published in 2009. Since rights reverted to me I’ve been planning an e-book re-release, and wanted to get my fantasy quest story in top shape before I did so.

I was also extremely lucky to find an incredible artist, Vasco Duarte, to create a new original cover for the e-book. Vasco has been a pleasure to work with so far, and yesterday he sent me the first sketch of the proposed design. Here’s a sneak peek…

David Brookes - Half Discovered WingsI recommend you check out Vasco Duarte’s awesome art via his Facebook page or his Behance profile. The new cover promises to be very cool, and I can’t wait to share it!

I’m planning a 1st August release for ‘Half Discovered Wings’, so please check in for more details in the next couple of weeks!

—db

Terminology: why cyborgs suck

Ghost in the Shell

Five years ago, after years of toil, I finally got my first novel published in paperback. Half Discovered Wings is not easy to define in terms of genre: it is ostensibly fantasy, in the broadest sense – it features monsters and supernatural/spiritual elements – but it is also science fiction, in that the post-apocalyptic world in which it is set has a history of high technology (sci-fi is a sub-category of fantasy in any case).

Prior to finally being accepted by a publisher, Libros International in 2009, the novel underwent six drafts and a title change. Characters were cut, scenes were removed or changed, even the dialogue was completely re-written for some characters. There are still many characters (possibly too many) and a good 142,000 words remaining, but since all of these characters are integral to each other’s stories, and since all those words are necessary to describe those characters and the world they inhabit, I realised that I could cut no longer. It then became merely a proofreading exercise.

Since I wrote the first draft in 2003, my literary ideology had changed, and each successive draft was what I hoped to be a significant improvement. I was developing as a writer and I wanted my novel to reflect my best efforts.

For the past few months I have been working to create another version of Half Discovered Wings, what I will optimistically call the definitive version, for ebook release. Revisiting this nostalgic reality has reminded me of another difficulty: that of terminology.

Science fiction runs the knife’s edge of being scientific enough to interest a certain kind of reader, using big ideas to either speculate or explain, whilst still being readable and enjoyable enough to sell copies. Fantasy does the same – take a look at the difference between The Hobbit (fun and readable) and The Silmarillion (Biblical syrup), for example. Many people have told me that they never got into The Lord of the Rings because there were too many unfamiliar names and words. Some readers shy away from sci-fi for the same reason – they would rather have a story instead of half a chapter describing how a faster-than-light drive works, or precisely how time travel is possible. Forget that: just get on with the story. And I sympathise.

There are several original terms of Half Discovered Wings, so many that my editor suggested I insert a glossary at the back of the book. I reluctantly agreed. What does it matter what the term ‘sanguilac’ means when the reader is being shown what these blood-sucking creatures are (a basic knowledge of Latin would help also)? Still, if even one reader finds it useful, why not? For the rest of you, please don’t feel patronised.

In Half Discovered Wings I also wrote a character nicknamed Caeles, which is Latin for ‘dwells in Heaven’. The irony is that he is far from angelic, embittered by over a century of grief and warfare. Caeles is a cybernetic organism, a cyborg, created to fight in the radioactively- and biologically-hazardous battlefields of a distant war. He is a relic from this world’s sci-fi past, and understandably he is treated with suspicion and fear by the relatively ignorant inhabitants of its present.

One piece of terminology I struggled with was ‘cyborg’. Talk about cheesy. The term is now 55 years old, coined in 1960 by some theoretically-minded scientists (aren’t all scientists theoretically-minded?). The earliest example in fiction that I could find was in the 1972 novel Cyborg by Martin Caiden, which was the inspiration for TV’s The Six Million Dollar Man and spin-off Bionic Woman. I’m sure that many writers are used to turning away from terms such as ‘cyborg’ and ‘android’, precisely because they’re retro, slightly naff terms.

But what are the modern alternatives? I recall reading a few books that created unique terms to describe their particular type of cyborg – I’m sure I’ve seen ‘Tek’, ‘Tech’ and ‘mechanoid’, for example, even though the latter is incorrect to describe anything with electronic components. I recall, years ago, wracking my brains for something like this to use. For a time I settled on the term ‘cybernetic’, utilising the term as a noun. This was vaguely original at least, but unwieldy. Having someone refer to a character as “a cybernetic” rings false, assuming the reader has a feel for the difference between a noun and an adjective. It doesn’t sound right.

I don’t know how long I spent trying to wrap my head around the difference between cybernetics and bionics, and the mess of similar terms, to make sure I was using the correct one. The individual definitions are clear, but how they might apply to, say, Luke Skywalker’s electro-mechanical hand in The Empire Strikes Back is not. Is the hand bionic? Cybernetic? Is Luke now technically a cyborg?

Let’s not go there.

I was surprised, and secretly pleased, to see the resurgence of ‘cyborg’ as a term in comics. This is a fine example of what all writers should be doing: using the simplest, clearest language to describe what you need to describe. There is no need to be fancy, there is no need to over-explain. If a character is half machine, just call him ‘a cyborg’. The reader knows exactly what you mean just by using that one word. Its simplicity is beautiful.

The image at the top of this page relates to the anime franchise Ghost in the Shell, a mind-blowing collection of manga, films and several TV series. The character in the picture, Motoko, is almost 100% machine, and usually referred to simply as a “cyborg” or “cybernetic human”. The Japanese have long been obsessed with the concept of melding man and machine. Having explored almost every avenue, in their wisdom they retain the simplest of descriptions.

I may change my mind during the course of this re-write of Half Discovered Wings. It’s been known to happen during my edits. But for now I’ll stick to my own rules: simplicity is best, conciseness is best.

Cyborg it is.

—db

[Half Discovered Wings is still available as paperback from Amazon here. Look out for Half Discovered Wings in ebook format soon!]

[P.S., artist of the picture above please step forward for credit!]

On writing

pic_1I have been a writer for as long as I can remember.  For years I’ve maintained my writer’s website, SpinningLizard.co.uk, but recently allowed this to lapse.

As the site is no longer available, and as I’ve already been asked how people can find a record of my publications, I’m going to list them here with links.

As I probably won’t have access to social networking once I’m in China, I will update you on this blog with any future publications.

 

          NOVELS

          — “Half Discovered Wings” (2009) Libros International

 

          ANTHOLOGY CONTRIBUTIONS

          Chipwrecked (2014) to be featured in “The Pantechnicon Book of Lies”, Pantechnicon Press

          The Colours Behind the World (2013) featured in “Morpheus Tales: The Best Weird Fiction Volume 3”

          Resolution 1838 (2010) featured in “Skulls and Crossbones”, Bedazzled Inc.

 

          SHORT STORIES

          The Transdimensionalist (August 2014) to be printed in Estronomicon

          Solution (January 2014) printed in Bewildering Storiesb

          Amelia Amongst Machines (August 2013) printed in Electric Spec

          Daylight (July 2013) printed in Creator and the Catalyst

          BigDog (March 2013) printed in Aoife’s Kiss

          — A Taste of Real Earth (November 2011) printed in AntipodeanSF

          A Quiet Moment (October 2011) featured in Paraxis

          Kashkei and the Firebird, at Peace (June 2011) printed in Mirror Dance

          — Untitled short (February 2011) printed in Scifaikuest

          — Shaking the Tree (August 2010) printed in Bewildering Stories

          Numbered (April 2010) printed in Whispering Spirits

          Homuncupus (April 2010) printed in Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction

          The Colours Behind the World (January 2010) printed in Morpheus Tales

          A Creature of Substance (December 2009) printed in Delivered

          — Touching the Foam (August 2009) printed in Bewildering Stories

          Sense (July 2009) published at Microhorror.com

          — Albino Weed (June 2009) published at Microhorror.com

          Providence (May 2009) printed in The Cynic

          Tulpa (March 2009) printed in Pantechnicon

          The Dry Air (December 2008) printed in Aphelion

          Bleach (August 2008) printed in Aphelion

          Tranquil Sea (June 2008) printed in Pantechnicon

          Split (March 2008) printed in Pantechnicon

          — Space Castaway (February 2008) printed in Aphelion

          Krill (June 2007) printed in Pantechnicon

          Crust (May 2007) printed in Brew City Magazine

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