Category Archives: NOVEL WRITING

AeroQuest 4… Adagio 19

Adagio 19 – The Last War Before Now

If you actually read that last Canto instead of skipping it to get to the good parts, especially the naked-girl parts of which I am not promising you any, like most readers do, you may have noticed that both Tron Blastarr and Arkin Cloudstalker were veterans of a war that happened in the Imperium’s Pan Galactican Rim, Space Cowboy country.  The Imperium had for two hundred and thirty-six years been expanding unimpeded and colonizing empty system after empty system.  The problem, of course, is that the systems weren’t exactly empty.  They had merely been cleansed of sentient and intelligent life by an unknown alien presence that came to be known as the Faceless Horde.

Battles took place, and planets would become empty of intelligent creatures like dolphins, whales, apes, Earthers, Nebulons, Galtorrians, Fusions, and other aliens capable of speech, culture, and organized militaries.

And the strangest thing was, the planets were simply empty after the battle.  No bodies of defenders.  No evidence of attackers.  Rumors began that the enemy ate the dead from both sides.  Of course, this was not based on the remains of cannibal cook-outs.  While there were a few of those sites with long-dead skulls and fire-pits for making barbequed people, they were all created by the usual Galtorrian and Dion cannibal cults that had been eating their own as well as other sentients since the Imperium was formed.

But then, finally, captured study specimens, mostly Earther-humans were released by the Horde to return and tell us what they knew.  The Scondians were literally faceless.  They were a race of black, eyeless, faceless creatures that lived entirely on soaked-up starlight, or more groundedly, sunlight.

I got a lot of first-hand information about them because one of Ged Aero’s most prized Psion Teenage Mutant Space Ninjas, Billy Iowa, was one of those captive study specimens returned to the Imperium. 

It was discovered that the Horde War was mostly a matter of misunderstanding.  The creatures did not need to eat because they were made mostly of coherent light energy.  Their bodies were primarily containment constructs to carry beings made mostly of low-temperature thermo-nuclear plasma.  Once killed, they simply dissolved into the air.  The Imperial forces had slaughtered billions, but didn’t know it because the bodies were gone by the time living observers were there to see them.  And Imperials didn’t find any Humanoid or allied alien bodies because the Scondian Faceless Horde were fascinated by them, needing to study them to discover why they didn’t dissolve when deceased.

Billy told me that he was only able to communicate with them when a Scondian who went by the name Rahotep invented a translation device that turned their clicks and popping sounds into Galactic English.  Nothing in Scondian society actually had a name.  “Scondian” and “Rahotep” were simply randomly chosen designations from the computer’s Galanglic database.

So, once the two very different kinds of intelligence could communicate, the misunderstanding of what the two sides each were, and what their goals were, the war ended in a flash.  The differences were great enough that no one actually was interfering with anyone else’s way of life.  Co-existence became easy.

Not so easy came the acceptance of the peace by those like Tron Blastarr, The Degenerate, Arkin Cloudstalker, Razor Conn, and Fez Amin.  They had experienced a myriad of impossible battles against the Scondian Scorpion ships, and came to deeply despise an enemy that had inflicted so much damage and pain with no apparent pay-back.

That’s when the veterans of the Horde War began moving to the border with unknown space to lick their wounds, build new fleets, and turn the act of privateering into complete and illegal piracy.

Many scientists, myself included, felt that the peace settled upon at the end of the Horde War was a mistake.  The Scondian Horde did not offer any cultural exchange or opportunity to cooperate in shared space.  They simply returned the Pan Galactican planets and properties and outstations they had cleansed of people and forbade further colonization in their portion of the Orion Spur.  That was bound to cause trouble sooner or later.  I mean, how can a greedy, acquisitive race of sentient beings like the Earthers, or the lizard-like Galtorrians, or the Human/Galtorr Fusions ever be satisfied that sentient beings with planets and a culture of their own not only forbid profiting from trade and commerce with them, basically in order to take advantage of them, or, even more galling, deny them planets, stars, and property to steal from its rightful owners?  They can’t be satisfied.  Piracy, after all, is what moves history forward.   But then came the massive influx of Nebulons in their Space Whale Cruisers, moving into Imperial range for no apparent reason.  By the billions, the little blue Space Smurfs were invading with a culture no more easily understandable than that of the Scondian Horde.  A new enemy to go to war with and exploit in any way possible made the Imperial navy and Admiral Tang forget all about the Faceless Scondian Horde.

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AeroQuest 4… Canto 103

Canto 103 – Star Command

“So, Grand Admiral Cloudstalker, how does it feel to be in command of an entire Space Navy?” Tron asked, only half in jest.

“Grand Admiral?  Really?  Aren’t we being a touch pretentious here?”

“Arkin, we started a rebellion against the Imperial Order.  We have to have a new order ready in case we actually have to run an interstellar empire.”

Arkin was wearing a white cowboy hat from his Pan Galactican days.  It was pulled forward and down enough to make him look angry when he glared directly into your eyes.  Or, rather, one real eye and one prosthetic.  Tron blinked his real eye.

“I have every confidence in you, my friend.  You started the Lady Knights from scratch.  You designed and built the first White Sword Corsairs.  You recruited all the best female star pilots that the stupid Imperium wouldn’t even look at.  You fought the Faceless Horde for a decade and never really lost a battle.”

“We didn’t lose because when we didn’t have overwhelming odds in our favor, we ran away like cowards.”

“You were a privateer, for gawd’s sakes,” swore Tron with a rather lame swear.  “You never swore an oath to die in battle for old Tang when all you stood to get out of it was what money and tech you could loot from the enemy.  And those Faceless Scondians didn’t have anything we could use once we looted it.”

“You didn’t swear an oath either Tron, and you lost an eye and nearly lost your beloved Maggie.  Razor Conn lost his entire goddam home planet, along with all of his family.”

“But you do have to admit, we were all space warriors from birth.  We did it because it was what we were born to do.  Scondians and Imperials be damned!”

“Yeah, I suppose you have a point.  You designed and created Pinwheel Corsairs, and old Razor made the first Blackhawks.”

“We put together some really fine fighting forces, didn’t we?  You with Apache Scout and Tabitha Blue -Arrow, me with King Killer, Elvis the Cruel, and Scheherazade.”

“Now, right there is one of the things that worries me most.  We were in the middle of a life-and-death fight when we picked out the cream of the cream.  These alien rookie-things that are supposed to fill our new fleets… I mean, can King possibly train them in simulators to a point where they will survive a first battle with the fleets of the Imperium when we face Admiral Tang?”

“You know I believe in King Killer.”

“But these green alien troops?  Rock men?  Squid men?  Goofy-looking, big-finger men?”

“Well, if humans can do it…”

“But these alien pilots can’t.  They do fine in the simulators, but then they get into a starship made with Ancient technology, and the first thing they do is crash into each other, blow up the ships, and die a horrible death.”

“Well, the humans from Don’t Go Here…”

“…Can’t fly worth snergle poop either!”

“But the original crew of Megadeath…” 

“Have you talked to those morons in person, Tron?  They are the dumbest collection of numb-noggins in the universe!  And that Vince Niell!  He is a pilot only because his ship does most of the hard flying for him.”

“So, what you are saying is…  our rookies are all too smart to be piloting these Ancient-tech starships?  We need to be training them to be dumber and let the ships do the hard parts?”

“Hmm… now that you mention it, that is sorta the one thing we haven’t tried yet.  We need to train them to empty their minds and not overthink things.  Let the starship do its own thing?”

Both Tron and Arkin stared at each other in horror at the revelation.  They had been going about it totally wrong.  Pick dumber guys as pilots.  Tell them to think less and let the ship itself do more.  Could it really be that simple?

Of course not!  Are you dense, dear reader? They merely thought it was that simple.

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AeroQuest 4… Canto 102

Canto 102- How to Fly a Dinosaur

Things were a bit crazy on the surface of Outpost as the airless planet began preparing for the coming space battle with Admiral Tang and the Imperial Fleet.  But King Killer was certain it had to be like eating cake and ice cream down there compared to what he had to do up in orbit.

He paced back and forth in front of the ten pilots he had lined up on the flight deck of his command ship.

“You men are the cream of the crop of new pilots.  You are already designated as wing commanders.  And the ranks of ship captains and vice admirals above you are completely empty and waiting to be filled.  And yet, between the ten of you, you have already crashed twenty ships.  And you are lucky those were these bulky Triceratops cruisers.  Their Ancient tech makes them practically indestructible and easy to repair. Every pilot who has crashed a Pterosaur fighter so far, all two hundred and fifty-three of them, are dead.  And their ships are destroyed.”

All five cavemen from Don’t Go Here, and all three M’uduai from what King was calling Squidworld, and the idiot from Geogenesis, and the rockman from Dekastria nodded their stupid heads at the same time.

“Do you actually understand me?  Or do your heads just do that because you see the others do it?”

“Yes, Admiral Killer, Sir!” they chimed in unison.

“Zukkuua. Kuakuua Killer, Kua!” shouted the rockman who didn’t know Galactic English yet.

“You mean, yes, you understand me?  Or, yes, you are just imitating the others?”

“We understand you, Admiral Killer, sir!”

“Slikka ku Kikk kik?” said the rockman.  Then he appeared to be thinking about it.  “Zukkuua, Kuakuua Killer, Kua!”

“What did he say?” King asked.

“He said he understands, but wonders if you understand him?” said the caveman in the thick reading glasses.

“Teach him Galactic English, dammit!”

“Uh, yessir!  Admiral Killer, sir!”

“Okay, now, these men will be your teachers, as they are some of the finest pilots anywhere on the frontier.”

King indicated the three pilots standing behind him.

“Elvis the Cruel has more kills in battle than any other pilot I have ever heard about.  With the Pinwheel Corsairs he has killed more than nine hundred space ships and more than a thousand ground targets.”

Elvis stepped forward, gave a jaunty salute, and then said, with a cigarette stub hanging off his lip, “Thank ya, thank ya very much.”

All ten pilots clapped.

“Apache Scout has been the number-two pilot in the Lady Knights Corsair Band for fifteen years.  He was one of the most effective fighters in the First Battle of White Palm.  He also helped plan the overall battle plan for that invasion.”

The huge, well-muscled descendant of old Earth Apaches stepped forward and saluted with a stern face.

The pilots all saluted back and then clapped.

“And I hope the third trainer, Vince Niell will be the most help to you.  He started as a rookie pilot from Don’t Go Here.  He took up piloting aboard the first starship designed by Ancient technology, the Megadeath.  He has swiftly become a peerless pilot, maneuvering that ship in ways I have never seen done before.”

Vince, still wearing his mirrored sunglasses inside the spaceship’s fighter flight deck, stepped forward and saluted.

They all saluted back and clapped.

“Perhaps, Admiral Vince, you can tell us a little bit about how you learned to pilot your ship in combat?”

“Um… yeah, well, you see, sir…  um… Actually, the ship kinda taught me herself.  I kinda developed a close working relationship with my baby and she sorta does whatever I can picture in my head for her to do.”

“Wait a minute!”  King’s head was suddenly swimming in a sea of shock.  “You mean your ship is telepathic?”

“Um, yeah.  I think it’s kinda a feature of all these Ancient starships.  The Triceratops I tried out after Tron first brought them here seemed to read my mind as easily as the Megadeath does.”

King Killer hit his own forehead with his gloved fist.  Why was he just now hearing this?  He had a sudden urge to punch Dr. Hooey in the face again.  Too bad the stupid Time Knight was not present. And too bad the problem wasn’t really his fault.

“Willy!  Willy Culver!  Get out here this instant!”

The man who wasn’t supposed to survive the imprisonment on the planet Stanley came out of the tool room obediently.  King punched him in the eye and knocked him out cold.  King knew there was a good reason he had saved that man’s life.

“Okay.  You all heard Admiral Niell’s advice.  The next time you fly, think at your stupid starship until the damned thing thinks back!”   

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Stories with Gingerbread

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.

Grandma Gretel Stein

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.

Miss Sherry Cobble, a happy nudist.

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.

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AeroQuest 4… Canto 101

Today’s post starts the next novel in the series I am making out of the disastrous novel I wrote and published in 2007. Being the part of the story undergoing the most rewriting, today’s post, as many of these posts will be, is a rough draft.

Canto 101 – Rimbaud Outstation

It was, by my reckoning, early morning when we came out of jump space at a deep-space location known only to pirates and corsairs.  The spot in deep space contained no stars or planets.  Only the huge, insanely-placed interstellar truck stop known as the Arthur Rimbaud Memorial Outstation and Weapons Storehouse.

Ham was in his usual pilot seat.  Sinbadh sat next to him in the co-pilot chair.  I was standing behind him with the cabin boy Sahleck next to me waiting for everybody’s breakfast orders.  Sinbadh wasn’t cooking for a change, so we were forced to contemplate synthesized foods from the material synthesizer that were only marginally edible at best.

“Tell me, Professor Marou, why is this thing named as a memorial to Arthur Rimbaud?  And who the heck was he?”

“If I remember correctly, Ham, he was a Nineteenth Century French poet and arms dealer who lived a debauched life, died young, and may have inspired the Surrealist movement in Art and Literature.”

We were looking out the front viewing portal at the outstation itself.  It was a brightly lit, transparent diamond shape, the central sun-source, located in the apex of the top pyramid, illuminating all the space and spaceships around it.  As we neared the equatorial docking bay, we noted that a badly damaged Blackhawk Corsair was being worked on there.

“Razor Conn, maybe?” Ham asked me, turning around to eyeball me.

“Shad Blackstone, more likely.  It has been through something terrible, though,” I said in a vast understatement.  “This is one of the safe points the Blackhawks and ships of the White Duke use when they are in trouble.”

“So, ye knew about this here place from yer White Duke connection, eh, Googol me boy?” said Sinbadh in his bad fake-pirate accent.

“Naturally.”

“Can you tell me what to punch in for breakfast?” asked Sahleck plaintively.

“Banana with peanut butter sandwich, my lad,” said Sinbadh.  “In fact, one for each of us blokes here.”

The Lupin boy scampered toward the galley.

“We can’t eat that drehk.  Why did you order that?” asked Ham.

“Yes, I thought Lupins didn’t like peanut butter on anything, because it sticks to the roof of your canine mouth,” I added.

“Ah, but it be the favored food of Elvis.  And besides, the synthesizer makes everything else on the menu taste like cattle poo.”

The Leaping Shadowcat cruised slowly into the docking bay and made a soft landing on the tarmac.

“Why does the sign over the door say Pray for him?” Ham asked.

“That’s what it says on Arthur Rimbaud’s tombstone.  I assume Banzai Joe wants you to know he is French and that he can provide wine, women, song, and bullets here, just like a dissolute poet.”

Three peanut butter and banana sandwiches later, we disembarked from the Shadowcat, the three of us plus Duke Ferrari.

When we got down from the exit ramp we were met on the tarmac by Banzai Joe himself along with three serving girls who wore only ribbons in their hair and a serving tray with drinks and aperitifs on their hands.

“Wha… why are these ladies naked?” asked Ham, blushing fiercely.

“Messieur, s’il vous plait, we are French, no?  And French spacemen are Classical Worlders, yes?  Appropriate raiment, c’est nue!”  Banzai Joe was a young-looking handsome guy with an oily manner.  He was fully dressed with a leather bomber’s jacket on with a rising-sun decoration on the front.

“We are not taking our clothes off for the sake of your silly religion, sir,” said Duke Ferrari with a rather stuffy air.

“Oui.  That is fair.  We have this station far away from the Classical Worlds.  Our staff are all nude.  But most of our guests, unless drunk or gambling and losing, they are not.”

“We are on our way to Coventry, my good man,” I said, trying to give the others room to compose themselves.

“Ah, Oui.  That will mean you are needing food and drink, and probably fuel.  A good jump six, or two easy threes, I am thinking.”

“Yes, that will do quite nicely.  And we are friends of the White Duke,” I said.

“Yes, Professor Marou.  I know you.  It all comes free for the friends of the White Duke.”

“Good man!”  I patted Banzai on the shoulder in thanks.

“Umm… I don’t know how to say this, but you all are needed in a special accommodation this fine day.  There is a game afoot.”

“Oh?  Whatever do you mean by that?”

“Friends of the White Duke, you see.  You will attend, yes?”

Ham looked at me with a questioning look on his handsome young face.  But it was obvious he knew things could not be talked about openly in a place that was not a special accommodation.

“We will find out later, I suppose?” I said to Banzai.

“Oui.  We will all find out later.”

The girls passed out drinks.

“There’s a very good French restaurant on this outstation,” I said to Ham and the Duke.  Sinbadh’s Lupin ears perked up right away at that.

“Yeah,” said Ham.  “Let’s go get the taste of bananas and peanut butter out of our mouths.”

“A fine idea, bucko,” said Sinbadh.  “A very fine idea indeed!”

I had to admit, the food sounded good, and the nude girls were beginning to look very interesting as I sipped my wine.

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Novel Transitions

The re-write of AeroQuest 3 is now complete. I just need to finish proof-reading and final edits before self-publishing on Amazon along with the other two books.

The Duo-ilogy will now be pushed into a trilogy.

And then rewriting and reworking begins on part 4 to turn the trilogy into a fourple-ilogy.

Four books? Did I say fourple-ilogy? That isn’t going to be the end if the Coronavirus doesn’t cut me short. What’s left will become a five-book thingy. What do you call that? A fiveple-ilogy? A nickelilogy? It can’t be a nickelology. That would be the study of five-cent coins.

Book one, subtitled Stars and Stones, tells how the two Aero brothers flee the Imperium because Ged faces persecution as a space-werewolf, a thing he is really not. What he really is is a Psion Shape-changer, able to rearrange the cells of his body according to the DNA of other creatures he has come in contact with and analyzed, mostly by tasting their flesh.

They come to an unknown planet where billions of people have been marooned by space pirates, corsairs, and stardogs. This planet, called Don’t Go Here has developed an entire stone-age culture based entirely on old holovids of the cartoon show The Flintstones.

The second book of the Teachers in Space Nickel-ilogy is subtitled Planet of the White Spider.

In it, Ged Aero learns for the first time that he is the prophesied return of the White Spider, a great teacher that will help Psions learn to overcome prejudice against them to use their powers to help make life better for everyone and build an empire of new stars and star-systems.

While Ged is busy learning to be a teacher and how to have some class, his brother Ham Aero is joining pirates, corsairs, smugglers, and various marginalized alien races as they rebel against Admiral Tang and the empire of half-lizard, half-human Galtorrian/Human Fusions.

In the third book, subtitled Juggling Planets, the characters learn the hard way that some of them are going to have to become leaders while others will have to be teachers. Numerous planets join in the rebellion. Some serious losses occur, as well as some significant gains. Some serious people get made fun of. Some not-so-serious people do some of the hardest work… or have the best dumb luck. And there are weird aliens, wacky technology, goofy people and strange planets, and things undreamed of in Horatio’s philosophy. If you haven’t guessed yet, these books are science-fiction comedies.

Next week, I start the rewrite of book 4, subtitled The Amazing Aero Brothers.

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AeroQuest 3… Canto 91

Canto 91 – Ruins in the Jungle (the Green Thread)

The building itself was one of the strangest constructs King Killer had ever seen.  It was like a disintegrating pyramid, but, impossibly, it defied gravity and hung above the jungle floor in an upside down position.  The stone it was made of looked sandy and crumbly, but was cold and metallic to the touch.

Ookah pointed upwards at what appeared to be an upside-down doorway with a vaulted roof.  It didn’t take Slythinus’ expertise to understand what he meant.  All the many monkey-people quivered with fear as they stared upward at the opening.

“Up there?” moaned King.  They want me to get up there?”

“The Lemurians can do it,” offered Hooey helpfully.

“Yeah, well, I don’t have a tail to swing by.”  King’s face darkened as he felt ready to bop the old Time Knight on the nose.

Wicked Wanda was grinning at King.  Her green eyes were full of satire and insults as she laughingly got King’s attention.  He would’ve hit her instead of Hooey, except he suddenly noticed how beautiful and shapely she was.  Why did women do this to him?  He hadn’t recovered yet from the loss of Sheherazade.

“I’m wearing the answer,” said Wanda.

“Oh?”

“Yes.  You’ve heard of grav boots, haven’t you?”

“You mean you’ve been wearing grav boots all this time and never told us?”

“Well, not exactly.  It’s the same anti-gravity technology, but it’s in my brassiere.”

“What?!”

“You know… When a woman reaches a certain age, she needs a bit of extra support in strategic ways.”

“So how does your anti-gravity bra help us?”

“Oh, it has an intensity control.”

Hooey began to laugh.  “I get it!  If she turns the thing up high enough, she can fly!”

“That isn’t the funniest part,” said Wanda.  “In order to get us all up there, I’m going to have to take it off and throw it back down to you.  Each of you has to wear it in order to get up there.”

Hooey rolled on the undergrowth, howling with laughter.

“I don’t think it’s funny,” said King, frowning.

“Ahh,” moaned the eyeless Emperor, “there are times when I really regret losing my eyes.”

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Why Wizards Write Writing That’s Wonky

To be a wizard is to be wise. Look at the word origin if you don’t believe me.

wizard (n.) early 15c., “philosopher, sage,” from Middle English wys “wise” (see wise (adj.)) + -ard . Compare Lithuanian žynystė “magic,” žynys “sorcerer,” žynė “witch,” all from žinoti “to know.” (Wisely plagiarized from http://www.etymonline.com/word/wizard)

Mickey, the old fool that he is, thinks of himself as a wizard

Mickey is a wizard. He writes down foolish things like that because he knows that the beginning of wisdom is to recognize that you are no more than a fool. You can laugh, but it’s true. Some wise guy that I am paraphrasing here said so. So, that makes it true

Don’t believe me? Want to debate me?

Have you taken the step yet of recognizing your own foolishness?

How can you be wise if you never take the first step down the path to wisdom?

And what defines a wizard, is that a wizard writes. He must write his wisdom down. Otherwise there are no fruits of his wisdom. I tend to write mostly strawberry wisdom. That kind of fruit is tart and sweet in season, but sours easily and spoils in hot weather and dry kitchens. Blueberry fruits are probably better. They become tarter and sweeter with dryness, kinda like good humor and subtle jokes. But enough of the fruit-metaphor nonsense. The best fruit of wisdom is the Bradbury fruit. I confess to having eaten often of Bradbury Pie. Dandelion Wine and The Illustrated Man leap to mind, but there are far more Bradbury Pies than that.

My latest published Beyer-berry Pie.

So, if Mickey is a wizard, and wise wizards write wisdom, then where do we get Beyer-berry Pie?

The strawberry-flavored pies are found in the My Books page of this blog, though the author’s page on Amazon is a more up-to-date list.

Here’s a link https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Beyer/e/B00DL1X14C/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Recently the fool of a wizard, Mickey, planned to set up a free-promotion weekend for A Field Guide to Fauns.

The foolishness begins tomorrow.

Of course, I probably can’t give away a single copy. Potential readers will see that there are naked people in this book about nudists and automatically think that Mickey is too weird and crazy to be a good writer. But good writers like Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut can be bizarre in their writing too. (I wonder what Vonnegut-berry Pie would taste like? I must read Cat’s Cradle again, for the third time.) Probably at least blueberry-flavored, if not gooseberry.

But even failed wizards can write wizardly writing if they write with wit and, possibly, with real wisdom,

If I have any wisdom at all to share in this post about wisdom, it can be summed up like this;

  • Writing helps you with knowing, and knowing leads to wisdom.  So take some time to write about what you know.
  • Writing every day makes you more coherent and easier to understand.  Stringing pearls of wisdom into a necklace comes with practice.
  • Writing is worth doing.  Everyone should do it.  Even if you don’t think you can do it well.
  • You should read and understand other people’s wisdom too, as often as possible.  You are not the only person in the world who knows stuff.  And some of their stuff is better than your stuff.
  • The stuff you write can outlive you.  So make the ghost of you that you leave behind as pretty as you can.  Someone may love you for it.  And you can never be sure who that someone will be.

So, there you have it. The full measure of the wacky wizard’s wisdom written down by the wise-fool-wizard Mickey.

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False Steps and Fortune

I finished another re-read of my most recent book, A Field Guide to Fauns. In spite of this being an experiment expected to fail, I read into it a growing sense of my ability to write well. The issues it deals with, mental health, body shame, self-image, and dysfunctional families, are all things critical to my own understanding of myself. All of these things have deeply affected my life and my family’s life. And, being set in a nudist park, it has a certain aura of comedy about it that you can really only achieve with characters who are naked (figurative or literal are both funny).

Ironically, two of my five best books have nudists in them. Six of my fifteen books over all have nudist adventures in them at one point or another. That’s four more more than have Nazis in them. Four more than have werewolves in them. Four more than have zebra puppets in them, as well as four more than have literal clowns in them. And two more than feature aliens from outer space. Five more than have rabbits who are changed into people by science.

If nudity is not funny, then I have seriously miscalculated the appeal and gone entirely down the wrong garden path of humorous story-telling. So, since I now believe The Field Guide to Fauns is one of the best novels I have done, I may have actually laid an egg. (Who knew that farm boys could one day grow up to lay an egg themselves?) For balance I need to plant a few more carrots of irony in that garden that the garden path of humorous writing leads to.

Mandy Clarke, Pinky Pithers, and Tandy Clarke

I am planning to make my newest novel this month’s free-book giveaway sometime next week. I have a few more corrections to make on it before I do, so stay tuned. I don’t like it when I find bugs in the writing on the fourth re-read. But I think I may have sprayed them all with anti-bug proofing spray (figuratively speaking again, because with Mickey, you never know.)

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Filed under humor, illustrations, irony, novel, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, nudes, Paffooney, publishing

AeroQuest 3… Canto 88

Canto 88 – Monkey Men (the Green Thread)

Lemurians were shaped like human children except for the thumbs on each foot and the long prehensile tail.  Most sentient aliens and Unhumans treated them like mere animals mostly because they wore no clothing and spoke no discernable language. Of course, nakedness made them much more like the Classical Worlders rather than apes.  They were covered in soft tan and chocolate fur, but it covered up no more of their bodies than the oil that a naked athlete from the planet Mantua might wear. 

And lack of language didn’t necessarily make them any less of a person than the vast numbers of humans that fell under the general heading of “stupid people”.  Emperor Slythinus, though, the deposed Emperor of the Galtorr Imperium, had discovered a telepathic ability that he shared with the monkey people.  He called it the “shining” because it was more a matter of reading colored auras and electrical impulses around the monkey people than reading actual words from their minds.  It was a primitive brain-to-brain language that served as a sort of pre-telepathy.  It allowed him to translate for the Lemurian people.

Ookah, the Lemurian leader, now stood in front of King Killer, Dr. Hooey, and Slythinus naked as the day he was born and radiating green-colored lies.

“How could you not tell me about this?” raged Slythinus.  “You have been my most trusted friend.  Better than my top advisors on Galtorr.”

The monkey man shined an answer that was intended to be soothing and conciliatory, but ended up being a transparent form of lie.

The blind Emperor turned to King Killer and Dr. Hooey.  “They found the device when they first came through,” he said, interpreting.  “They found it from the other side because they did not originate here.  Ookah and his friends sought to keep the knowledge of it from me because they feared I would be hurt by the place’s guardian, some villain they “shine” at me as being a “white man”.”

“Interesting!” cooed Hooey.  “These little monkey people have developed a real fondness for you, a man mostly snake by nature.  Tell me, did you have your eyes when you first met them?”

“No, of course not!  Prince Ali blinded me before he marooned me here.”

“I wonder if they would’ve had an atavistic fear of those eyes if they had seen them.”

“What I want to know,” said King Killer, “…is where is the dang thing, and how do we use it?”

Slythinus took a moment to “shine” back at Ookah.  The little simian looked quite agitated as the answer came back.

“He says he will take us to the place.  He has no other way to tell us.”

Ookah turned and gestured to the monkey people who surrounded the tree house sitting in each and every one of the trees around it.  They began jumping up and down on branches and shouting raucously, sounding more like upset children than alien primates.  Eerily, it almost sounded like a series of swear words.

“They don’t like it,” interpreted Slythinus, “but they promise to take us there and help us defeat the white man.”

“Natives defeating the white man?” said King dubiously.  “That doesn’t sound like something that happens too often in History.”

Hooey laughed aloud.  “Now the skeptic thinks he knows History better than a Time Knight!  Wait and see.  And remember the Little Bighorn.”

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