Category Archives: novel plans

Critical Steps

Last night I reached the climax of the novel, A Field Guide to Fauns. I pulled the scene off in a way that made me cry and feel like a part of my soul had been pulled out through my nose. But a critical question remains to be answered. Does it matter to the reader as much as it does to me?

The climax occurs after a group of four characters participate in a Chicken Dance, and the critical conflict is resolved by talking about the past.

Devon Martinez as he appears in A Field Guide to Fauns.

Probably not the most cinematic approach I could have used.

But this is not a cinematic story. It is introspective. It grapples with chronic child abuse and suicidal depression. It deals with recovery from a seriously traumatic event. And it is set in a nudist park featuring characters who are trying to rebuild families after divorce.

Can I leave it like it currently is? Knowing me, I probably will. It is an essential sort of story that I need to write because of who I am, who I was before, and where I am trying to be. I don’t write for anybody else but me. But I do hope others will read it. I will, in fact, continue to coerce family members and friends who are not sick of my story-telling (if such rare creatures still exist) to read it and make faces afterwards. And I firmly believe it is well-written, but it is a well-written, introspective and highly metaphorical novel. How many people do I know, after all, that read and enjoy Marcel Proust or William Faulkner or Saul Bellow? (I myself have only read multiple books from two of those three, and that because I can’t read French to get the book in its original language),

Starlord and Spiderman as they appear as blue elves in Onward, the Pixar movie.

Last night I watched what I thought was a marvelous movie on Disney Plus. And the truth is, the gut-punching climax of that movie happens when the main character is reviewing his to-do list while sitting on a rock. So, it is not only me who sometimes soft-peddles the critical steps in a story plot.

In truth, then, the next critical step for me will be to finish the falling action of the novel, carefully re-read and edit the manuscript, and then publish it. The novel will be done soon.

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Filed under family, healing, humor, novel, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney

Ramping It Up

Time is probably running out for me. I am too susceptible to this pandemic, and I am living in a Red State where they didn’t take social distancing seriously until Tuesday of this week.

But I have been living one day at a time for six years now. I have already lived longer and written more novels than I ever expected to since the beginning of my health crisis in the year 2000.

Still, I am now adding almost a thousand words a day to one novel or another. With A Field Guide to Fauns, I am currently on page 100 and at about 28,000 words of a planned 35,000. I reached crisis point one of three planned for the plot.

I have to admit that several surprises have added themselves to this story. When a novel comes to life like this one has, it often surprises you with directions you never expected it to take. Hence the family trip to Fiesta Texas and Mandy’s inexplicable love of Selena and dancing the Cumbia.

Just a reminder, if you haven’t been following my sporadic narration of the writing of this novel, the Field Guide is set primarily in a nudist park in Texas, and it is about a boy who is forced to become a nudist, and at the same time confronting the naked truth about himself. This novel will be done before the quarantine is over. Hopefully also before I get sick and die.

I will be ready to take up The Wizard in His Keep soon after it is done.

Plus, I have been working hard on the rewrite of AeroQuest 3 : Juggling Planets.

Juggling Planets now stands at about 20,000 words and 82 pages.

I will try to finish both that and AeroQuest 4 : The Amazing Aero Brothers before I breathe my last. (Though possibly not writing my last. Remember, I plan on getting a job as a ghost writer after I am dead.)

If I have time after all that, I have an idea ready to go for Kingdoms Under the Earth, my graphic novel, Hidden Kingdom, and a rewrite of my ghost story, Monstro.

I am doing my best to write as much as I can before the end.

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Filed under humor, novel, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney

Obligatory Viral Thoughts

This is the updated version of my cover for the novel I am writing. Can you tell? The change is a small one. I have now passed 25,000 words and I’m still chugging along full steam. It is like the story is writing itself. That is usually a good sign. But I reserve the right to be monumentally wrong and fatally stupid. Writing this novel could be a mistake. I never wrote a story with this many naked people in it. And it is not erotica nor pornography. It is about nudists, not sex fiends Like the novel The Baby Werewolf, it talks frankly about nudity and mentions sexuality, but there are no sex scenes in the story. Will readers get the difference? I don’t really know… because I’m stupid sometimes.

But I am thinking way overmuch about the Coronavirus too. Like everybody else sequestered in their homes, manacled by worry, and absorbed in Netflix and Disney Plus.

I am definitely watching too much of the news broadcasts from basements and family rooms as even newscasters, Stephen Colbert, and Jimmy Kimmel are staying at home and social distancing.

It has led me to believe that critical things will happen because of what stupid people will do next. Mardi Gras and Spring Break partiers who refused to listen to recommendations from responsible officials are all bringing viral infections back home to infect their loved ones, and their grand parents whom they must no longer love. The Governor of Florida is refusing to lock down his state, and the Lieutenant Governor of Texas is recommending we open up the economy and let old people like me sacrifice their lives so the stock market goes back up.

The solution will be simple too. Stupid and racist people voted Trump into office. He will get them all into churches for Easter. They will all infect each other, and most of them will die. Trump will not get re-elected because stupidity killed his voting base.

But what do I know? I am sometimes very stupid too.

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Filed under angry rant, artwork, being alone, feeling sorry for myself, humor, illness, novel plans, Paffooney

Curiouser and Curiouser

I finished a possible cover for my work in progress, A Field Guide to Fauns. It is a book about re-forming families from tragedies and divorce. It is also about suicidal thoughts and depression. And it takes place in a nudist park where the family has a permanent trailer.

This book will definitely be about some of my own experiences with these things and issues. And I hope to distill a bit of high-quality wisdom from this brewing novel. After all, when it comes to depression and battling it, I have deep scars and burned-in notions of how you overcome them. It is ironic that I know so much about fighting depression and darkness, even though it was mostly about the depression of other people, not me.

I have come to know how to stitch families together out of used and discarded parts. Hopefully not creating a new monster. And again, it is ironic that I know this mostly from other families, not ours.

The book is flowing, practically writing itself. And that is always a sign of a big idea turning itself into a great novel. I look forward to finding out what happens in each and every next chapter… or, in this case, Canto.

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Filed under battling depression, Depression, feeling sorry for myself, finding love, humor, illustrations, novel, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney

A Pinch of This, a Pound of That

Nudists and naturists exist in real life, and some of them read my books!

Because I have characters in a few of my books who are nudists, based on people I have met in real life, my books have caught on with naturists, particularly naturists who write novels about naturism. Ted Bun, a naturist writer and operator of a nudist resort in France, has read and reviewed several of my books so far. You can find his reviews using the link below.

http://tvhost.co.uk/reading-writing-and-posting

It is a good thing to have your novels read by others. And I am sorta on the edge of being a member of the nudist community on Twitter myself. Of course, my days of comfortably going nude anymore is limited by psoriasis sores, ill health, and disapproval by family members. So, I guess I can only say I am a fictional nudist myself.

I have also been successfully spending time in schools (with all my clothes on) being a successful substitute teacher. I benefited yesterday from the efforts of an excellent teacher as I successfully conducted a U.S. History class with eighth graders all day long. It is rare to have a day when you don’t actively have to stop and redirect bad behavior at least once or twice during the day. But her well-taught series of classroom procedures made my day easy. I only had to tell them I was instituting her every-day discipline plan, and the classes seemed to almost run themselves. Especially in the two LEAP classes (Advanced Placement) . Those classes were heavily populated by students who are first or second generation Indian-Americans. Perry Middle School obviously has a nearby immigrant community of people who are originally from India. And probably smart, professional people too.

I am also still working on my next novel, A Field Guide to Fauns. I am currently at 8,672 words with 32 pages and three illustrations completed. I have been working on it for almost two weeks. It is the story of a boy trying to recover from psychological abuse while trying to fit in with his father’s new family, a stepmother and two twin stepsisters who are nudists, living as full-time residents of a nudist park. I hope the Twitter nudists will love it, but I am not writing it for them. As always, it is a book I am compelled to write.

I am also losing my eyesight. I have glaucoma. Bright lights now fill my field of vision with haze and blurry spots while floaters swimming in my eyes have me repeatedly swatting at bugs that aren’t there. I continue to have symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, including minor hallucinations. If school children I am trying to be a substitute teacher for ever find out, they will be repeatedly telling me that the misbehavior I am seeing is all a hallucination. So, finishing visual projects has a new urgency now.

My eldest son talked to friends in Oklahoma this weekend about acquiring cheap medical marijuana for my glaucoma. We shall see if I am to become a pot-head or not.

Anyway… this little essay is rather a mixed bag of ingredients, poured into a stew and loosely cooked together with poorly-written transitions. So, I now have done a pinch of this, a pound of that, and the stew must now marinate its very meat in weird broth. How do you like them apples?

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Filed under autobiography, feeling sorry for myself, goofiness, humor, novel plans, Paffooney, teaching

A Path to Tomorrow

Being a pessimist sometimes makes planning for the future difficult. I knew that the biggest argument against me going back into classrooms as a substitute was the fact that I could easily die the next time the germ factory that is your average middle school or high school is hit with a flu outbreak. And as a pessimist, I know the coronavirus is going to hit in a big way. So, part of the plan has to include dying in 2020.

Watching the way Democratic debates get reported in the media, I also have to live with the knowledge that Donald Trump will win in November. (That, of course, will lead to him making himself Emperor after his eight years are up, and then Don Jr. gets the Empire by birthright and rules us with a very stupid ham-fist until he is either assassinated by school teachers or the world ends from climate change.)

We may be on the way to losing the house we have owned since 2005, since property taxes are soaring beyond my ability to pay them in the middle of my Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. So, I will be planning to make my way through life in the near future living under a Fascist dictatorship while being both homeless and dead.

There are too many bad things coming that I cannot control. So, as the tidal wave draws nearer, I need to put on shark repellent and prepare my surfboard.

So, my priorities need to be adjusted since continued survival is probably not achievable. Living longer isn’t the most important thing after all.

So, here are my current priorities;

  1. Savor the time I have left with my family, however long or short that may be. I will live each day as if it were the last day of my life on Earth.
  2. Continue to write and share my writing with whoever cares enough to read it. This blog needs to be kept up as near to every day as possible. My work in progress is called A Field Guide to Fauns and it is set in a nudist park, but is really about families and how they survive domestic abuse and divorce. The picture above is an illustration from that book The next novel will most likely be The Wizard in His Keep if I am blessed with the time to write it.
  3. I will continue to be a substitute teacher as much as I physically can. Not only do I need the money from it, each day spent with kids, helping them to learn, or at least helping them not to kill and eat another substitute teacher, is priceless as an addition to my treasure-chest-full of teaching experiences.
  4. And I will face whatever comes without fear or regret. I have lived a good long life. I have shared a lot of things with a lot of people, and I really have committed no sins, crimes, nor sorrows that I must feel regret over.’

I have given myself things to think about in the time remaining. And, possibly, I have given you things to reflect upon too. My reality is that there is a great deal more past in my life than there is future, so let me not waste the present I have been given.

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Filed under autobiography, insight, irony, novel plans, Paffooney, pessimism, philosophy, politics

Some Small Success

I was able to run my most successful book promotion so far by giving away free e-book copies of my newest novel, The Boy… Forever.

So, unlike in the past, I now have copies of my book in the hands of possible readers.

Some will actually read it.

And I also re-published Magical Miss Morgan as an Amazon Kindle and paperback, now out from under the onus of Page Publishing’s money-grubbing publishing con.

They actually expected me to pay more money than I was getting in royalties every two years to keep my book in print.

I now have more complete control over pricing, royalties, and promotions than I ever have with this, my second contest novel, also a finalist for the Rosetti Award for YA fiction.

I will try running a free promotion with it next month… in March.

I currently have fourteen books in print. In time order by setting they are;

Superchicken

Recipes for Gingerbread Children

The Baby Werewolf

The Boy… Forever

When the Captain Came Calling

Snow Babies

Sing Sad Songs

Fools and Their Toys

Magical Miss Morgan

Catch a Falling Star

The Bicycle-Wheel Genius

Stardusters and Space Lizards

AeroQuest 1 : Stars and Stones

AeroQuest 2 : Planet of the White Spider

And coming soon ; AeroQuest 3 : Juggling Planets

Here I hold in my hands the first printed copies of my two newest novels in print.

Slowly but surely I am building my legacy in fiction. And I am increasingly proud of the quality of work I have achieved. I may, in fact, live long enough to see some popularity for my works. It seems, so far, that everyone who reads one of my books, really likes it a lot.

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Filed under humor, novel, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, publishing