To see the complete Chapter 1, use the following link;https://catchafallingstarbook.net/2018/11/24/hidden-kingdom-chapter-1-complete/
Yesterday I had the most views in a single day for Catch a Falling Star that I have ever had. 126 different people looked at things 329 times on my blog. And that seems to be solely because of my Valentine’s Day post from a year ago in which I wrote about all the goofy, funny, and unintentionally inappropriate Valentines I remembered from my childhood in the 1960s. It didn’t get that kind of interest last year when I originally posted it. But this year, goofy and weird is apparently in vogue again.
So, that’s basically good news for me. I am a vast repository of goofy and weird.
If you don’t believe me, you could buy one of my books and prove it to yourself. In fact, if you are a member of Amazon Prime, you can get a Kindle version of a Mickey novel for free.
“My name is Michael Beyer, and I am an amateur cartoonist.”
“Hi, Michael!” says the entire group of CA group-therapy participants.
(CA stands for Cartoonists Anonymous.)
“I have to admit, I am guilty of giving in to the urge to draw cartoons. I know how it can fill lives with slapstick pain and derisive laughter, and I give in to the urge anyway.”
“So, what did you draw that you have to be ashamed of now?” asked one mad-eyed cartoonist with a pencil lodged behind each of his large ears.
“I made a very unfortunate video to post on YouTube that was supposed to be How-to-draw Cartooning. But everything went wrong. You couldn’t see my drawings in the video. It was not adequately lit. I look like a doofus (which probably can’t be cured) in the video. And instead of thinking twice or editing it, I posted it anyway.”
“Wow!” said a rather ugly cartoonist lady, “that is really bad. You have a seriously bad case of cartoonity.”
“Cartoonity?” I responded stupidly.
“The condition of needing love for your cartoons so bad that you will risk anything to make people look at them and like them,” said the wise group therapist (who looked an awful lot like Chuck Jones, though I am fairly sure Chuck Jones is now dead).
“Yes, I suppose that’s about the size of the problem,” I said. “I have been posting pages from my graphic novel, Hidden Kingdom, and I really haven’t seen more than one comment about it. Do people actually read cartoons and comics nowadays? Or is it just me that gets ignored?”
“You have to focus on how much you love drawing and doing it just for that reason, and nothing beyond that,” said the wise therapist. “Cartooning should be done for its own sake, and nothing more than that. Craving attention and approval for it can get seriously infected and become a bad case of cartoonititis. How do you think I dealt with it when I was still alive?”
At that point, my eyes popped out of my head in disbelief and my lower jaw fell all the way to the floor. Could he really be…?
And so I must end today’s blog post since it is hard to keep typing when your eyeballs are rolling around on the floor.
I guess I have to re-blog this old Valentine’s Day post. It is getting a whole lot of views today. People seem to really like these weird old Valentine’s Cards.
Today I needed some chocolate to make it through Valentine’s Day. Chocolate covered peanuts are perfect for diabetic depression. Chocolate to bring me up, and peanuts to help me not spike or drop in blood sugar levels. Depression and Valentine’s Day have always walked hand in hand in my recollection. Maybe it was the Valentine’s cards that we used as kids that did that to me. You know, the ones where your parents buy them in bulk, and after you pick that one for the special someone, you just put your classmate’s names on random cards from the pile for the rest. And then later that special someone gives you an obviously random card in return. Blues City!
I was, of course, a kid in the 60’s, in the Space Age of Mercury and Gemini Missions. Those were the cards I picked from for her.
But what kind of…
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My daughter the Princess often disses my cover designs for my novels. The one I created for my half-written manuscript, displayed above, is really too yellow by about 500 degrees. I wanted to write a yellow book about sea stories and island magic set in Iowa, a State about as far removed from an ocean in any direction as a State can be (Well, maybe tied with Kansas and Nebraska). But yellow is not the right color. In fact, the green accent color makes me a bit nauseous next to the yellow. So, I vowed to my critic I would try again and do better.
Take a look at these alternative designs;
Will this one attract woodpeckers, do you think? Or is that too racy an idea for a novel about a young girl growing up. Woody Woodpecker is a sex symbol, isn’t he? No? Whereever did I get a fool notion like that?
I could really use your input. If you wanted to vote, you could choose a cover name from this list to tell me about it in the comments;
Purple and Wood
Something better, Stupid!
I promise not to get mad about any commentors who choose the last one. But I don’t promise to make any new ones either. It is, however, quite easy to make changes using computer programs. I don’t have to redraw anything. Although I could be slightly worried that the Tiki totem could be viewed as racist, even though his race is “little men made out of wood.”
Canto Six – Bacon and Eggs
Mom had breakfast ready and on the table. Eggs and bacon on stoneware plates, one for Val and one for Daddy Kyle. She was a great cook and loved to stuff her small family with what she made. That was probably the reason she was watching over a second pan-full of sizzling bacon.
“Your father isn’t ready yet?” asked Mom, left eyebrow raised.
“Oh, he had to change his pants again for some reason.”
“That man can find more excuses for dragging his feet than…”
“Mom? Is something the matter with Daddy?”
“What do you mean?”
“Last night I thought he was crying in the machine shed.”
“Well, you know your Daddy Kyle. He loves his machinery, and that big old combine is broken down again.”
“It shouldn’t be. It’s only two years old.”
Mom looked at her with unreadable eyes. Was she mad? Sad? What?
“He says he can fix it. He says the problem is just mechanical and you know how handy he is with tools.”
“Sure.” He did love that combine. Maybe that was what made him sad. He loved Valerie and he was always sad when she was sick too.
Valerie gobbled eggs and bacon. It was good, but even better eaten fast so you could enjoy those bacon burps for the next half hour.
“You eat like you’re starving. I wish I could eat like that, Val, and stay as thin as you do.”
“Mom, I’m only eleven. I’m not supposed to be a fatty at my age.”
“I thought you were ten, dear. Where does the time go?”
Valerie was still thinking about yesterday, the holiday Monday… and why did so many people have to feel sad?
“Do you know what makes Ray Zeffer so sad, Mom?”
“Ray Zeffer? What brings that up?”
“He and Danny Murphy walked me all the way home last night from town. He’s such a gentleman. But he always seems sad.”
“Well, I would guess that losing your father the way he did, such a short time ago… well, it might have something to do with it. I know his mother, Donna Zeffer, is sad a lot too.”
“Yeah, I suppose.”
“And there was a brother that died… older brother… Bobby, I think. His family has been through a lot.”
Valerie buttered a piece of toast and then sipped her milk from the mug that Grandpa Larry had given her years ago. The mug had a big red heart on the side of it.
“I didn’t know about the brother. Younger or older?”
“Definitely older. More than ten years ago.”
“What was more than ten years ago?” asked Daddy Kyle as he came in to breakfast.
“Valerie was wondering about Ray Zeffer because he and the Murphy boy walked her home from town last night. How long ago did Bobby Zeffer die, Kyle?”
“Oh, at least sixteen years ago. But what’s this about boys walking Valerie home last night?”
Uh-oh. Dad radar had picked up a boy-alert… a potential boyfriend/trouble/rock salt alert.
“Danny and Ray were just being gentlemen,” said Valerie. “They wanted to make sure I got home safe.”
“And they didn’t have anything but your safety on their little minds?” Kyle asked with a skeptical smirk.
“I suppose now you want to shoot Ray?” asked Valerie.
“Who said anything about shooting Ray?” asked Mom.
“Dad did. He wanted to shoot Pidney and Danny last night, and now he wants to shoot Ray!”
“Kyle!” Mom’s scolding stare could wither flowers that were otherwise in full bloom.
“I was just kidding around!” said Daddy in a defensive voice that sounded a lot like a little boy who’d been caught pulling his sister’s hair. “I wouldn’t really shoot anybody… It’s a dad thing.”
“I’m sure it is,” said Mom. “But let’s not joke about that anymore.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He was thoroughly chastised, and Valerie marveled at how Mom could make him so instantly repentant, like a Baptist preacher preaching Hellfire or something.
“The bus is here, Princess,” said Daddy Kyle while peering out the window. And it really was. Valerie had to hustle. The old yellow bus driven by Milo Volker was waiting at the end of the Clarkes’ lane, and he wouldn’t linger if she didn’t show up fast. Still, it made her grin to see the look of relief on her Daddy’s face as he realized the dangerous conversation was at an end.
My computer was hacked last week. I clicked on a link from a Russian I didn’t know well on Twitter. It was supposedly a YouTube video link in response to my recent YouTube videos. But it was a wicked, warty virus from the sleazy side of Computertown. It forced me to log into my Google Chrome account again as it downloaded spyware to capture my password. Once logged into my Google account, they could look at all my saved passwords. The potential for disaster was clear. I did not know how much control they had over my computer at the time, or what they were actually doing. So, I used my McAfee security program that I bought as a result of the previous hack by a disreputable security company to clean away the spyware and trackers. I then got a McAfee technician to remotely go in and find any lingering Trojan Horse viruses and eliminate them. It turned out that I had already eliminated all bugs with my initial cleaning. All that remained was to solve the revealed password problem. Which wasn’t hard. All my credit card accounts are closed due to bankruptcy. Those passwords were all useless to the stooges who were looking at them. I had a bank card password on the list, but it was the password previous to the current one. I changed it and stopped saving it on Google the last time I was hacked. There were a few other passwords to change, but there was no way for them to steal anything from any of those unless they want to pretend to be me on the nudist website I wrote blog posts for, though that is not linked to any possible payments or funds. I will know if they decide to post things for me. And who knows? Maybe they will join the nudist community online. I do know some Russian nudists from Twitter.
Hopefully, that puts an end to my bout of Russian computer flu. I hope you are taking precautions too. Google Chrome is NOT a secure place to store passwords. I learned that the hard way. Take the easy way and learn from my mistake, because the fakers will get you too eventually, and you don’t deserve to lose any money to criminals.