Category Archives: novel plans

Dark Thinking

C360_2017-04-03-20-36-34-397

On a quiet back street in Toonerville there is a haunted house.  Obviously four meddling kids and their talking dog are looking around inside, but they won’t find anything.  It is my dark place.  I am the only one that can go inside and discover what truly is there, for the dark things inside are all a part of the dark side of Mickey.

But Mickey doesn’t have a dark side, you try and argue.  Micky is all goofy giggles and nerdy Dungeons and Dragons jokes.  Mickey is all cartoons and silly stories and he makes us all guffaw.

But I can assure you, everyone has a dark side.  Without darkness, how can anyone recognize the light?

So, I have to go inside the old Ghost House every now and then and take stock of all the furniture, and make note of everyone… and every thing that has been living there.  I go in there now because I am starting to rewrite a very dark story that I really have to get down on paper in novel form.  It isn’t a true story.  Ghost stories never are.  But it is full of true things… old hurts, old fears, panics, and ghosts of Christmases Past.

There was the night I was stalked by a large black dog when I was nine and walking home from choir practice at the Methodist Church.  We are talking Hound of the Baskervilles sort of big damn dog.  I knew every dog that lived in town in those days, but I didn’t know that one. Maybe it wasn’t actually hunting me, but I ran the last two blocks to my house that night faster than I ever knew I could run before.

There was that cool autumn afternoon when he grabbed me and pushed me down behind a pile of tractor tires in the neighbor’s yard.  He forcibly got my pants down… and what he did to me… It has taken more than forty years to be able to talk about what happened.  I wasn’t able to talk about it until after I learned that he had died.

There were the nights spent in the emergency room.  Severe potassium depletion… chest pains that could’ve been heart trouble but weren’t… The morning when my blood pressure was so high I thought I was going to die in front of my second period seventh grade English class.  And the terrible waits in the emergency room when someone I loved was serious about suicide… that was the most terrible of all.

I am not frightened by the grim reaper in the same way that Shaggy and Scooby are.  I have spent time in his company too many times for that.  I do not fear him.  In some ways he brings welcome relief.  And I do believe I can beat him in chess and at least tie him in checkers.

So, yeah, the dark resources are all still there… still in place at the bottom of a deep, dark well. Bad things do wait in the future… but they are in the present and the past also.  I am not a slave to fear and evil has no power over me.  So, I think I can safely write a horror story.  And I admit I am not Steven King.  But I don’t want to be him.  I want to be Mickey.  And that is certainly scary enough for me.

4 Comments

Filed under autobiography, battling depression, Depression, feeling sorry for myself, ghost stories, horror writing, humor, novel plans, photo paffoonies

Downloading Darkness

I just finished a novel project last Thursday, completing the manuscript of Recipes for Gingerbread Children.  But being the excessively creative goofball that I am, this was not a stand-alone project.  The companion book, The Baby Werewolf,  is an incomplete manuscript of a comedy horror story about a boy with hypertrichosis, sometimes known as werewolf-hair disease.  Both books happen in the same period of time in 1974 and share both characters and events.  The boy, Torrie Brownfield, has lost his mother.  His father has brought him back to a small Iowa town where he himself was once a boy, to live in the same house where the boy’s father and uncle grew up.  The uncle, hiding some dark secrets of his own, requires that Torrie be raised in hiding up in the attic.  But this only lasts until a local farm boy,  Todd Niland, discovers Torrie’s sad existence and becomes his friend. This is a much darker story than I have tackled before, and I am no stranger to dark humor.  It is significant, though, that both Todd and Torrie are gingerbread children from the book I just finished, and even though some sad, dark things come to light in that book, they are not nearly as sad and dark as what is present in this next project.  So I had to find some inspiration before trying to re-ignite the novel forge for The Baby Werewolf.

That led me to watch the video Donnie Darko for the very first time.

darko-3_orig

6885150afe834cf41e63fbcc86ea3167

Oofah!  What a strange, horrible, yet beautiful movie!  Richard Kelly’s first film is an incredible artwork that makes your soul sing darkly.  Talk about listening to dark rabbits from the future… really, I mean, no one told anyone they should talk about about dark rabbits from the future… but this film does with a twisted elegance and ironically terrible beauty.  It discusses the sex lives of Smurfs, raises alarms with old women wandering aimlessly to the mailbox in the path of oncoming cars, and fires teachers from their jobs for discussing the short stories of Graham Greene.  There is no way I can explain in a witless-wordless movie review.  You must simply watch the movie for yourself.

Remember this musical masterpiece?  “Hello, Darkness, my old friend… I’ve come to talk with you again…”  Yes, I am entertaining the darkness again because I will be depending on her to help me write this book whose theme is going to be, “Everyone dies in the end, but the real life depends on how we deal with that fact.”

Yes, people who know me, I mean really know me, including the facts behind what I can’t actually say in this blog because the innocent must be protected, will probably worry that I am undertaking a writing project about monsters and depression and suicidal thoughts and child abuse.  I do have scars.  But I am at peace with the hard parts of the life behind me.  And from great pain and profound suffering, beautiful things can be made.  So don’t worry.  Downloading a bunch of monster-movie darkness into my stupid old head is not going to hurt me at this point in my life.  And if I can’t write it now, it will never be written.

dscn5093 (640x480)

5 Comments

Filed under artists I admire, artwork, battling depression, Depression, feeling sorry for myself, forgiveness, horror movie, humor, mental health, movie review, novel, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Mickey Notes

C360_2017-04-01-08-23-09-870

This is the purple-furred Mickey Icon done Don Martin-style.

If you are one of those readers who has taken to regularly reading Mickey posts on Catch a Falling Star ( a habit that is probably bad for you, but certainly not fatal), there are some things and random recent developments that you should probably be made aware of.

  • Mickey recently finished a rough-draft novel.  After giving birth to a massive 12-month-long-gestating thought artifact like that, there is bound to be some necessary recovery time involved.  He may be difficult to understand for a while as he puts the pieces of his psyche back together again.  Using mental duct tape for such things takes time and patience.
  • The novel is called Recipes for Gingerbread Children.  If that arouses curiosity in you (a condition that I also hope is not fatal… You are not a cat, are you?), there are instances of rants and delusional spoutings about this story to be found in recent posts on this blog.  Unfortunately, it will not be published immediately.  You will have to wait to actually read it until I or my heirs eventually get it published… by whatever means necessary (though I have my doubts about the plan involving kidnapped alien slaves and mimeograph machines.)
  • The novel I do have nearing publication is Magical Miss Morgan.  I recently submitted approval for final edits to my project manager for Page Publishing.  Since I am investing my own money in this publication project, I am expecting that it will get published before 2017 is done.  I will continue to relentlessly plug the thing here.
  • Page Publishing is a less expensive and less professional publisher than I-Universe that did Catch a Falling Star for me.  If you are reading this for ideas about pursuing publication yourself, I would recommend the more expensive publisher first, due to the quality of their professional editors, though I intend to continue publishing my books with less expensive self-publishing options like Amazon from here on.  As I finish the publishing process I am now involved in, I promise to complain about publishers and throw Mark-Twain-like insult fits in future blog posts.  No one should have to repeat the egregious mistakes that Mickey has made.
  • Catch a Falling Star, the blog, will continue to be a blog about my artwork, my story-telling, my teacher memories, and my generally confusing and bombastic opinions about life, the universe, and everything… including pies.  Mmm!  Pies are good.  You might even want to look at my essay on Gooseberry Pie.

c360_2017-02-08-10-44-05-487

In case you were not aware of it, this purple mouse-man is Mickey, and Mickey is the writer-spirit within me.  Mickey is not actually me.  You know how Mark Twain is not really a real person?  The real person was Samuel Langhorn Clemens.  Mickey is not a really real person either.  Michael Beyer, cartoonist, writer, and former middle school teacher is the real person… if any former middle school teacher can ever be considered a real person.

2 Comments

Filed under feeling sorry for myself, humor, Mickey, novel, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, publishing, strange and wonderful ideas about life, work in progress, writing, writing humor

Sour Grapes and Old Foxes

unnamed

There are things still to come even though the world ended already.  I am not giving up while I still have life and breath.  I just finished an edit-review of my novel Magical Miss Morgan which I am publishing with Page Publishing, a cheaper vanity press than I-Universe with much lower publishing standards to explain the cheaper price.  I believe they are only providing a mess-up-your-spelling-and-punctuation service in lieu of editing my manuscript.  So I just now finished fixing all the corrections they made that have to be changed back.  Seriously, they wanted to change “Miss” to “Ms.” in the gol danged TITLE!  And they don’t let you write anything in all caps or use the danged … that I so often employ for pregnant pauses.  So, once this book is in print, I spend no more of my own money on publishing.  I will take the rest of my books to Amazon and self-publish.

But the book is gonna be great.  It will be worth the effort because it is among the best things I have ever written.

cool-school-blue

This is a picture I intend to use on the cover of Magical Miss Morgan.

says-hes-going-to-destroy-isis-too-scared-to-speak-in-chicago-funny-donald-trump-meme-picture

I continue to put down Trump in this blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.  And I continue to get backlash.  My Trump-supporter friends make excuses and accept whatever kind of an incompetent horror he is without blinking.  Every clever put down I come up with for the Scary Orange Face yields nothing but, “You lost, get over it, libtard!” comments and further insults about Hillary and Obama that they are offended if I don’t laugh at.  But I have not un-followed or un-friended anyone.  They expect me to be civil and accepting in spite of the fact that they were never that for my candidates, even when Obama beat them twice.  But to some degree that is exactly what I have to do for their candidate.  I know them and care about them as people.  The more he betrays them and hurts them, assuming they ever realize that that’s what he’s done, the more they are going to need a friend like me who is capable of tolerating and understanding far more diverse and difficult people than they have ever been able to.  As a former school teacher, I have experiential advantages.  I know how to “love ugly”.

15697830_1332722023414827_2962666944266137449_n

So I will continue to make jokes and entertain, and try to slip a few good lessons into the mix in a way that they will actually take the medicine.  You know how Mary Poppins always recommended “a spoon full of sugar.”  As foxes go, I am definitely the old one in the title.  I am not really a red fox.  I am more of a gray fox now.  And I am not so much crafty and sly.  Just experienced enough that bears and wolves have not eaten me yet.

download-1

I will continue to do my thinking in metaphors on this blog, a thing that protects me from a lot of my less reader-ly friends.  Metaphors just make most of them go, “Huh?”  And I will get away with saying things about them and their candidate that might make them want to exercise their “2nd Amendment rights” otherwise.  Who knows?  Maybe I can make life a little better for all of us before the orangutan we elected to the White House gets us all cooked, smothered, poisoned, and killed.

3 Comments

Filed under angry rant, feeling sorry for myself, humor, novel, novel plans, pessimism, politics, self portrait

What Mickey is Really Up to Now

16750_102844486407850_100000468961606_71386_6774729_n

I have not been well.   Six incurable diseases combined with colder, wetter weather will do that.

But Mickey has been busy.  Yes, my goofy writer alter ego has been pecking away at a novel that pushes the boundaries of “strange” into a purple dimension where having a president that looks like a racist sour-lemon-flavored cookie dipped repeatedly in Orange Fanta with fingers covering the eye holes almost makes sense.

The novel is called Rezepte für Lebkuchen-Kinder which translates to Recipes for Gingerbread Children.  The more I let Mickey work on it, the stranger it gets.  It currently is about an old German lady who lives in a little Iowa town where she likes to bake gingerbread for children.  But it is also a fairy tale where the fairies of Tellosia are still fighting their never-ending war against darkness.  And in this story with a magical fairy war in it, there are gingerbread men who magically come to life.  There are also teenage nudists, evil Nazis from the past, fairy tales that can solve life’s problems, and a lurking possibility of werewolves.  (This is a companion novel to The Baby Werewolf and happens simultaneously to that story.)  It has hit the 20,000 word mark.  And you know how novel writing works.  Too many words all put together into the same thing will magically merge and metastasize into book form.  I know this is true, because I’ve seen Mickey do it before.

20160628_200505

Grandma Gretel Stein talking with fairy General Tuffaney Swift.

Leave a comment

Filed under fairies, humor, novel, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, nudes, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Novel News

Cool School Blue

I was going to tell you a lot about my novel Magical Miss Morgan today.  My computer had other ideas.  I was almost done with the post and working on the final edits when the computer suddenly burped and wiped it all out.  Nothing was saved but the title.  Well, I signed a contract for the novel.  I will tell you more about that  as time goes on.  The computer doesn’t want me to do more today.

class Miss Mcover

 

Leave a comment

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

“Unfortunately, you are a Writer,” He Said.

I have made up my mind to risk investing more money in getting another book published.  Being an author, especially an unknown Indie author, is really just an expensive hobby.  Even investing in professional editorial services and print-on-demand publishers can’t help you make any money at it, even if you are talented and good at story-telling.  The best I can really hope for is to get my books in print and pray that people will discover them and like them after I die, beaten to death for a crust of bread in debtor’s prison.

So, why would anyone in their right mind want to be a writer?

It is entirely possible that I was simply born that way.  I have been drawing cartoons and telling stories since I was about five years old.  Maybe even before that.  I don’t have many clear memories of my pre-school years.  It is possible that I was lost in a library once… or dropped on my head… or in a library and having a book dropped on my head… something set it off if it wasn’t simply in my genes.

I am planning to publish Magical Miss Morgan with Page Publishing.  They are a pay-to-print publisher who are slightly more affordable than I-Universe that I used to get Catch a Falling Star into print.  I feel like I have to get it published before I die because it is the distillation of my entire life as a classroom teacher.  Books like this are important to me.  In the Bible, there are prophets and holy men who are filled with the Word of God, men like Jeremiah, that claim the Word is burning within them, and will burn its way out of them if they don’t speak it.  My stories that I am working at turning into books are like that.  They are consuming me from the inside out.  I have to get them written and printed if I possibly can.

I have recently tried and failed to get novels like Snow Babies, Magical Miss Morgan, and Superchicken published with publishers that don’t charge for their services.   I got several rejections and one contract that came to nothing because of the economic failings of the publisher.  I have tried being infinitely patient.  It doesn’t work.

Cool School Blue

I will try to bargain for the most affordable deal I can to get Magical Miss Morgan into print.  They will apparently let me input artwork into the final cover.  I understand that successful writers tend to starve for at least fifteen years before they see any success and profit.  At best, I have six more years of that to go.  But this, after all, is my life now.  I need to write books and I need to get them published.  I am, unfortunately, a Writer.

7 Comments

Filed under humor, illustrations, novel, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, publishing, writing, writing humor