I have now seriously started The Wizard in his Keep. It is most likely to be the next novel I publish. Though AeroQuest 4 and Hidden Kingdom are both in the running. But I have already gotten the tingles from this new work in progress. It is beginning to feel like a good story. It is rolling out of the word processor as easy as pouring hot molasses from a glass jar. And it smells just as sweet. (Wait, do novels have smells? I think they must. This one is green apple, caramel, and molasses.)
I already wrote about the three main characters in the above illustration. So, you should probably already know that they are Mortie, Daisy, and Johnny Brown, the orphaned children of the late Stacy and Brom Brown.
The two characters in the new illustration at the start of this post are Hoodwink and Babbles. They are not so much real people as they are non-player characters in a virtual-reality video game. The program behind the game has slightly too much intelligence for a computer thingy. But that’s what makes it ripe for an unexpected intrusion of fairy magic and the wizardry of the game master, Milt Morgan. It results in a boy named Hoodwink and a Kelpie named Babbles that are a little bit more than merely human.
I could tell you more, but I actually need to save it for the rough draft. This story has a tingly feeling about it that it shares with my best work.
Yes, this post is a shameless promotion. But this is a good book that not enough people are reading to truly appreciate that fact. When I was a boy in the 1960’s, there really was an old German lady who lived in a small tar-papered house, all ginger-brown in color, which we all called the Gingerbread House. She really did love to give out sweets and cookies and popcorn balls to the kids in our town. And she really did love to talk to people and tell them little stories.
Her name, in real life, was Marie Jacobson. She was, in fact, a survivor of the holocaust. She had a tattoo on her right forearm that I saw only one time. Our parents told us what the tattoo meant. But there were no details ever added to the story. Mrs. Jacobson doted on the local children. She regularly gave me chocolate bars just because I held the door for her after church. But she was apparently unwilling to ever talk about World War II and Germany. We were told never to press for answers. There was, however, a rumor that she lost her family in one of the camps. And I have always been the kind that fills in the details with fiction when the truth is out of reach.
I based the character of Grandma Gretel on Mrs. Jacobson. But the facts about her secret life are, of course, from my imagination, not from the truth about Mrs. Jacobson’s real life.
Marie Jacobson cooked gingerbread cookies. I know because I ate some. But she didn’t talk to fairies or use magic spells in cooking. I know because the fairies from the Hidden Kingdom in Rowan disavowed ever talking to any slow one but me. She wasn’t Jewish, since she went to our Methodist Church. She wasn’t a nudist, either. But neither were my twin cousins who the Cobble Sisters, the nude girls in the story, are fifty percent based on. A lot of details about the kids in my book come from the lives of my students in Texas. The blond nudist twins were in my class in the early eighties. And they were only part-time nudists who talked about it more than lived it.
But the story itself is not about nudists, or Nazis, or gingerbread children coming to life through magic. The story is about how telling stories can help us to allay our fears. Telling stories can help us cope with and make meaning out of the most terrible things that have happened to us in life. And it is also a way to connect with the hearts of other people and help them to see us for who we really are. And that was the whole reason for writing this book.
I am no longer willing to rely on the definition of the words, “traditional publishing”, anymore. My book, Magical Miss Morgan, is now out of print because Page Publishing has a need to charge me for keeping my book on their Print-on-Demand paperback book machine and in their e-book database . I paid those parasites to edit and publish my book. They made money off a totally incompetent job of editing, trying to pass off incorrect proofreading whose corrections all had to be re-corrected by me. Their publishing consisted basically of buying me an ISBN number and providing the same level of publishing services as Amazon does for free.
The cover was basically designed by me. I did the drawings and photoshopped them onto the background. They provided the the Title/Author graphic.
So, really, I paid them close to three thousand dollars for things I had to do myself anyway.
Well, I own the rights completely to the formatted manuscript and the cover. I spent three months getting it all legally returned to me, which they could’ve done in a week if my case manager hadn’t gotten married in the middle of the process. I am obviously not entitled to special treatment of any kind, since I wasn’t willing to pay their pointless maintenance fees.
I will now republish this book on Amazon and never again publish anything where I rely on anybody but me in the process. It is a very good story about a Middle School English teacher who is a combination of me and a female colleague who was a very gifted teacher. It also tells a tale of making reading assignments such a magical experience that fairies invade your classroom. It was a contest novel that didn’t win anything but made it to the finals in the judging. Nobody reads my books because I have no means of effectively marketing them, but this is one of my best and deserves to be available for as long as I can make it so.
I did a double-duty pen and ink illustration of two nude girls in a PG-13 sort of mode. It is not intended to be pornography. It is also not intended to draw viewers to my blog just because I happened to notice an uptick in views whenever I put a nude in an art post. I wouldn’t do that… would I? At least, not in a way that you could prove that was my intent.
Notice, you can get it for one dollar on Kindle, or free with Amazon Prime membership.
They could also be used as an illustration for one of the fairy stories, representing the two nude Storybook fairies, Gretel and Anneliese. They also appear in Recipes, as well as potential appearances in future fairy stories.
Anyway, I have already gone and done it, posting this picture I drew today, to give you a good look at either Shelly or Anneliese’s shapely behind. I won’t make the mistake of posting it on Facebook.