Category Archives: novel writing

Composing the Next Chapter

My life now, after retiring from teaching for poor health, having a heart kerfluffle that created a hospital bill that dumped me into bankruptcy, and a pandemic that could easily have been the death of me, is really now only a matter of writing the next chapter and completing the next book.

Currently the novel I am working on is a fairytale called The Necromancer’s Apprentice. The title is a play on the Fantasia segment where Mickey Mouse plays the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, set to the orchestral music piece by Paul Dukas.

The current chapter is called Mickey’s Gambit. In this chapter Derfentwinkle’s bone-walker, a skeleton she has been driving like a tank to attack the fairies of Cair Tellos, the fairy castle in the willow tree, has been destroyed by the Sorcerer Eli Tragedy. Now Derfy knows that Tragedy and his two apprentices are coming to kill her. But she is not the typical gobbulun, all warty and green. She’s a nude Sylph girl, no different than hundreds of Sylphs who live in Cair Tellos.

But she is also the apprentice to an evil necromancer who sent her to attack the fairy castle.

Now, the other characters involved in this chapter are the Sorcerer Eli Tragedy, his apprentices Bob and Mickey the Wererat, and a handful of gingerbread children. Eli is a grumpy old coot who is quite capable of putting Derfy to death. But Bob, his number one apprentice, is much more pliable and soft-hearted. And Mickey the Wererat, is a cursed child, half-Sylph and half-rat, who can always be relied on to make the worst possible choices. There is a slim chance of survival.

The chapter is purposed as part of the story that drives the plot forward. This is the first meeting of the protagonist (Bob the apprentice) and the antagonist (Derfentwinkle.) This chapter reveals the over-arching danger of the evil necromancer. It puts Derfy in the hands of her enemies. And it is the beginning of the major themes of the book; No child or student is irredeemable, and all people, no matter whether they are Elf, Sylph, Fairy, Wererat, Gobbulun, or Crow has value.

So, that’s a look at my writing process in working on a novel, showing you how I put a chapter together. You will be seeing this chapter soon on my Tuesday novel-writing posts.

But life in reality is also about turning the page daily and setting the scene and working out the action. This I am doing by exercising more. I am also trying to get healthy enough to visit Bluebonnet Nudist Park again on the weekend before the weather rules against it. I am eating healthy. I am doing what is necessary to continue after losing my mother. I am dealing with household repairs to plumbing and yardwork. And I am working particularly hard not to lose anything more to the pandemic.

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Filed under fairies, humor, novel, novel plans, novel writing, Paffooney

The Surprise of Sudden Glowing Reviews

I returned from my trip to Iowa to attend my mother’s funeral to find a Twitter friend has given me a few glowing reviews on books I was not expecting to earn any reviews at all with.

Gerardo Cisneros is a nudist from Twitter who not only reads and enjoys my nudist-related stories, but my other books, including YA novels as well.

Gerardo Cisneros-S.@gcs_nudista Nudist since 1996, founding and former Board Member of the Federación Nudista de México, A.C.; AANR member since 2000. #NormalisingNaturism#NormalizingNaturism

He retweets my Twitter blatherings and promotions and does a lot to help promote my work. The review on Catch a Falling Star was really unexpected. That book, still under contract with I-Universe, is over-priced even in e-book form. Gerardo does a better job of promoting my work than the I-Universe publicists that I had to pay for their work ever did.

Amazingly he even read these two books in their proper sequence, a thing no one else has ever done despite a few of my books having sequels and companion books.

He even read and reviewed the messy first novel I ever completed while still being a teacher in deep South Texas.

Horatio T. Dogg, Super Sleuth is the novella I most recently published.

I write novels because it allows me to deal with the deepest, darkest things in my life. I have trauma as a sexual assault victim from my childhood. I have lost loved ones. I have been a long-time teacher of middle-school-aged kids. Some of whom I grew to love deeply with only the most proper of teacher-child connections possible. I have lost some kids that I loved to violence, accidents, suicide, and one to AIDS. I have been on the dark doorstep of suicidal thoughts more than once myself. I have been broke and broken and bankrupt and mortified. And all of that makes me write novels with humor, imagination, poignance, and love. I have labored hard to turn darkness into light.

And it all becomes worth it when I connect with a reader and give them something of myself that brings a smile to their face. Or a truly heartfelt tear to their eye, because that can be a beautiful, artful thing too.

Gerardo CIsneros, Ted Bun, and other Twitter nudists have done more to fulfill my purpose in life than even my other literary Twitter friends and publishing acquaintances. I am blessed with wonderful readers.


Filed under Paffooney, humor, novel, book review, novel writing

The “Nudist Notions” Effect

I never actually planned to become a representative of Naturism and Nudism on the internet. It just sort of happened. I am now a writer of naturist fiction. Not all of my books feature nudism. But apparently enough of them do to qualify me to get positive attention from nudists on Twitter and nudist readers looking for good books that also include them.

The books I have written and published that include nudist characters and nudist plot points are;


Recipes for Gingerbread Children

The Baby Werewolf

The Boy… Forever

A Field Guide to Fauns

There are also some stories and mentions of my own history of being a sexual assault victim that encountered naturism and nudism by accident and gradually found psychic healing by reading about nudism, talking about naturism with actual nudists, and late in life trying social nudism for myself in my two books of autobiographical essays, Laughing Blue and Mickey’s Rememberries.

That is really the sum total of nudism in my 20 published books. A Field Guide to Fauns is the only book that is completely about nudism. Most of my other books are comic adventures featuring middle school kids from a small town in Iowa.

And being a writer of naturist fiction, books with naked people in them, is something of a mixed blessing. Being a Young Adult novelist, a genre often confused with “children’s books.” you get scrutinized by all sorts of prudes, activists, and judgmental people that assume kids younger than 18 should never read about or think about people not wearing clothes. I have gotten a couple of blistering reviews that suggest that what I write about, especially involving characters with improper motives toward naked people and nudists, makes me suspect as a potential child molester or corrupter of youth. Evil characters with evil intentions and imperfect characters that make questionable choices obviously means there is something wrong with the author. He can’t be simply writing fiction, right?

And that is the very reason I waited to publish some of these stories until after I had left teaching. I always try to write truth from the heart. But that leaves you naked even when you are not being a nudist or writing about naked people. As a child-victim of a sexual assault I have gone through periods of my life where I blamed myself for what happened to me, feared that I was doomed to become a child predator because so many of them, when caught, are revealed to have been victims themselves, and I even considered suicide to be a possible solution at one point. But I dealt with it by becoming a teacher, actively trying to protect adolescents from potential abusers, counseling them and teaching them. Never touching anyone inappropriately. Often not even allowing myself inappropriate thoughts. In fiction you can actually tell your own truth and facilitate healing even when you are basically telling the world lies to make that be truth.

I also know from some of the more enlightened reviewers that many readers do understand what I am trying to tell them in my stories. I am surprised sometimes at how deeply some of them are touched by the sensitive parts of my work and amused by the parts that are intended to be funny.

I have gotten many looks from WordPress viewers and Google users because I draw naked people and use the word “nudes” as a category and tag. They come looking for erotica or porn, and not finding any, move on.

But, in August, I started getting numerous hits on a nudism article called, “Nudist Notions.” ( which skyrocketed views as high as 388 in a single day. It became my most-viewed post ever and made August 2021 my top month ever on WordPress. That post even has first place so far today, a month later, with 20 views when last I checked. Of course, all of these thousands of views had no corresponding likes. I wondered about that. Then someone suggested that it might’ve been posted and viewed on Reddit. Or possibly Instagram. I am aware of two former students who read my blogs when posted on Facebook. They are a couple (either married or soon-to-be married, I don’t remember which,) who both got a kick out of me becoming a nudist after I retired and stopped being their teacher. They were both at my retirement party in the classroom, and both have Instagram accounts.

And, who knows? Now that my students apparently know my naked truth, the twin girls who used to tell me about going to nude beaches in Mexico and Texas may actually recognize themselves in the Cobble Sisters, the nudist characters in Recipes for Gingerbread Children, and sue me for writing about them, even though there is very little about the fictional characters that resembles them in any way that is actionable.

In a final note, I finished my novella, Horatio T. Dogg : Super Sleuth last night. It is headed for publication soon. And it doesn’t have a single naked person in it who is not a dog, rat, or chicken.

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Filed under blog posting, humor, novel writing, nudes, Paffooney

Just Write Something, Mickey

“Lately Mickey hasn’t been doing much of any writing on his work in progress. I, a professional Professor of knowing practically everything and knowing most of it wrongly, am here to give the hopeless goofy guy some much needed advice. Of course, I shall offer that advice incognatively… err, incontranatively… err… anonymously because Disney enjoys suing schoolteachers and other criminals who misuse their intellectual property.”

“But I can’t help myself when it comes to giving opinions on stuff that ain’t really my business but fascistinates… err, fusstinates… err… highly interests me. So, here goes.”

“Write about something Over the Rainbow. I mean your imagination is really garganteelian… err… gigantickingly… err… really pretty big. You can make up something being about made-up worlds, witches who fly around in soap bubbles and other such nonsensical things. Maybe talking scarecrows and heartless metal guys and really big kitty cats… make a story with something beautiful and imaginative, though maybe not as beautiful as that Judy Garland chick… she was really georgeous… err… magnifical… err… really hot-looking! But she is so old she is dead now. So, you can’t put her in the film version of what you write.”

“Or you could write something extra creepy. Something totally like the Addams Family. You’ve got a talent for writing stuff that seems extra morbeedious… err… mackahbreebrious… err… extra spooky. You can turn peoples’ stomachs inside out and make them feel all gooey in their courageousness because of weird evilness and dark happenstances… err… murderiferous scenarios… err scary stuff. It helps that you can be funny here and there when you scare us. You can be totally spooky-ooky in your stories and sometimes you make us sharpen wooden stakes and make necklaces of garlic. Do an Uncle Fester shtick. Of course, Jackie Coogan is so old he is dead now, so you can’t use him in your film version.”

“Or there is always the absolutely romantical… like a story about a three hour cruise where funny guys get shipwrecked on a desserted island with girls that wear bikinis where you don’t see the cutie’s belly button. And “desserted” is the right word because the dessert is actually coconut-cream pie. But you are good at writing about faskinating… err… interesstrial… err… attention-requiring young women and really dorky guys and how they can fit together like puzzle pieces that you don’t even have to use scissors to make them fit together. Romantical comedy is a thing you can do too. So, we don’t even need to talk about Dawn Wells who played Mary Ann. You couldn’t cast her in the movie version because you’re still sad about Covid having taken her away in 2020.”

“But anyway, you got no excuses now, Mickey! You know you can write It’s just getting anybody to read the danged thing you can’t do. So, write something!!!”

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Filed under goofy thoughts, humor, new projects, novel writing, writing, writing humor

Continuing to Create Covers

I recently got criticism for the unprofessional ugliness of one of my novel covers. Of course, that was only a part of the review that generally hated everything about my book. Some people feel certain works of art have no right to even exist. So, for art day today, I will inflict my recent crimes against the world of novel art on all the regretful followers of this blog, and probably ward off future followers as well.

This novella is already published. The first one I showed you represents only a novel idea. No writing yet exists for The Necromancer’s Apprentice outside of my stupid head.

This one is a part of my endless AeroQuest rewrite. The ending of the book and a handful of existing chapters that need to be expanded exist already. It is still a project planned for the part of the future in which I am most likely already dead. The character of Spaceheart featured on this cover has not been written at all yet.

This book is only a few chapters along. It is a currently stalled work in progress.

This one was written as a Tuesday novel-writing project and presented chapter by chapter on this blog. This is an updated cover that came about once I learned how to better create a cover, a thing I am still learning about.

This last one is the cover for a novella I am currently presenting on Tuesdays. It is nearing completion.

So, here now for your consideration are the most recent cover efforts I have made. Be disgusted and horrified at your leisure. I can take criticism. And I know it is useful to be open to criticism. It does indeed make you reflect on what you are doing.

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Filed under artwork, novel plans, novel writing, Paffooney

The Dark Side

Every person who is intelligent enough to be self-aware, and that is over ninety percent of all people in spite of Fox News and various extreme religions, has a Dark Side that they are aware of.

And most people are sensible enough to show off the Light Side and keep the Dark Side hidden.

Only fools and geniuses reveal the Dark Side and play down the Light.

I consider myself a fool. Decadent poets like Charles Baudelaire and Paul Verlaine are examples of the geniuses.

Baudelaire himself believed that, “The way down is the way out.” Meaning, I suppose, that you can only be at peace with your personal demons at the bottom of the liquor bottle, the sharp end of the cocaine needle, or the grave.

I myself don’t put the demons forward in drinking or taking drugs. And I am definitely not trying to die young. Instead, I grapple with the Dark Side in fiction where I can kill it with a silver bullet, or pull it down into a pit of computer glitches where it will delete itself.

My personal darkness comes from traumatic experiences in my youth and childhood. I was sexually assaulted as a child and kept it secret for years. I grappled with suicidal thoughts and self harm as a teenager.

So, why am I now thinking about the darkness again?

Well, one of my books is in the process of being read and reviewed at this moment. It is the Baby Werewolf, a book in which I take on the darkness of feeling like I am a monster and only worthy to live in darkness. The story reaches its climax with the firing of a silver bullet.

I wish it was as easy as firing a silver bullet to deal with the Dark Side. It is not. I have fired dozens. Some monsters of the mind are purely bulletproof,

Still, some of my best work only comes about due to the Dark Side. And writing about it is the only way I can control the madness.


Filed under autobiography, monsters, novel writing

As Mickey Writes

What the heck is that on her head? A furry giant spider? A super-poofy hairdo? Or is she practicing being a cheerleader with mop heads for pom-poms?

Since I was a child, my world has revolved around telling a story. Whether it is a matter of telling a joke, or telling what happened when the rooster attacked my girl cousin when she was a small child and then the hired man on my uncle’s farm killed that rooster with a shotgun blast that made us all jump and turned the rooster in a cloud of feathers and chicken vapor, or making up stories about the secret underground river we could access through Grandpa and Grandma’s cellar, I was always practicing making other people see in their imagination what was playing in the theater of my little mind.

And long about the time I started going to school, I added to my storytelling an ability to draw pictures of the things I was telling about.

So, now that I am older than the oldest donkey that ever lived, I have to take a moment or two to reflect on where those abilities have taken me.

Well, I am not a millionaire like Stephen King.

In fact, it would take me more than a million dollars to be a millionaire because that’s how debt and credit cards and Bank-o Merricka work.

But I have wealth in other ways.

This is a review on the… well, not the first novel I ever finished, There was that awful pirates-meet-demons-and-fairies thing that is too embarrassing to even talk about. And not the first novel I published. I published Aeroquest, Catch a Falling Star, Star Dancers and Space Lizards, and Snow Babies before it. It’s not the worst novel I ever wrote. And it certainly isn’t my best novel. But it is the first novel about the Norwall Pirates, liats’ club and softball team.

And apparently at least one reader liked it five stars worth.

But it also proves that even what is clearly not my best storytelling work is capable of being read and liked by intelligent readers. That is a kind of treasure.

And this blog is doing well too. This is my 168th straight days with at least one blog post. And before I published this, my blog had 188 views just today, while averaging well over 100 views per day this week.

So, as Mickey writes, he continues to operate under the delusion that he is a good writer. And maybe, just maybe… he’s not the only one who thinks so.

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Filed under novel writing, Paffooney

The Quest for Acceptance

We all are on a Quest to find our place in this world. We labor hard at trying to get other people to see us as the people we think we are.

Of course, we always fail.

The problem is, first of all, that we are not even remotely… usually… the person we think we are. Sure, we put that clown paint on our face in the mirror, and we think we look funny. But since sitting in front of the mirror we ate a sandwich and smeared the red around the lips. and we rubbed our left eye with a gloved left hand and didn’t even realize it.

The first wide-eyed child we meet screams and runs away from their parents. To her we looked like some sort of vampire clown who eats children for lunch.

And the parents threaten to call the police because they insist we were leering, not knowing we suffered gas pains at the moment because that damned sandwich had red peppers in it, and we are allergic, now approaching intestinal distress.

So, we run and hide for a while.

What’s that, you say? I’m not talking about you? That never happened to you?

Well, it didn’t really happen to me, either. It was a ding-danged metaphor gone rogue and taking over the post just like you would expect an evil vampire-clown to do.

Harker Dawes, owner of the worst hardware store in Iowa.

The thing is, I have always wanted to be a storyteller. And not just any storyteller, but an extra-funny, goofy-clown of a storyteller. And not a vampire-clown either.

But it’s not easy to be funny every day.

I was the teacher that middle-school kids loved because I had a laughing classroom. I used humor to get the point across. And most of my discipline strategies were to head off bad behavior before it actually happened. Get them to laugh rather than act out.

But even then, there were bad days and sad days sprinkled into every week.

Of course, now that I am retired, I no longer have a captive audience to play to and force to laugh at my jokes with the threat of perpetual after-school detention.

The only audience laughing at my jokes now is the imaginary one in my head. And maybe the three people who read my Twitter tweet-wittiness. And of course the six or seven people who bother to actually read my posts on WordPress.

I have twenty books published, the first of which, displayed above by plastic Batgirl, is Catch a Falling Star. That one is about an alien invasion of a small town in Iowa by totally incompetent aliens. The aliens get blitzen-schmuntzed when they kidnap a child specimen from the town who turns out to be more dangerous to their way of life than any Navy Seal could manage, and accidentally leave one of their own tadpoles on Earth to be adopted by a childless farm couple.

The book won two awards from the publisher, Editor’s Choice and Rising Star Awards, which basically means that they appreciate all the money I spent on editorial services and marketing advisors. The book is not a best-seller. In fact, I have made sixteen little dollars on it since it was published in 2013. And I-Universe Publishing does not send out a check for less than $25, so they are still holding on to my money. And very few people read my books. Fewer still buy them.

Anyway, we keep trying. We are on a Quest. And some day, some way, somebody is bound to accept us. As what is yet to be determined.

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Filed under autobiography, clowns, feeling sorry for myself, humor, irony, novel writing, writing humor

Book Number 20

Between the moment of inspiration and the publication of this novella there was only five weeks of time. It is the fastest I have ever completed a writing project for publication. Catch a Falling Star did the same complete process in a mere 36 years. Some things are just quicker than others.

This book, Cissy Moonskipper’s Travels, is a 55-page novella written for teenagers and inspired by the books, Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe and Slake’s Limbo by Felice Holman. It is a survival story about being stranded alone in space with a space ship and resources, but no way to make the space ship go anywhere and a knowledge that there are pirates out there who will looking for her to take her space ship away.

I am quite proud of this project and how it turned out. I invite you to see for yourself..

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Filed under announcement, novel writing, Paffooney, publishing

Life as a Humor Blog

Writing, as I have repeatedly said in this blog, is necessary for life to me. I would not still exist today if I couldn’t put words to paper (I mean metaphorically, of course, since I wrote this on my malfunctioning laptop.)

But I don’t mean in any way to imply that it is any kind of “normal human life” to be a blogger. It is, in fact, a rather bizarre and chaotic life where you have to juggle a multitude of wacky, crazy, depressing, unruly, and downright ugly things that happen at random to any and every human being (I was going to say, “living human being.” But the fact is, it happens like that for the dead ones too.) As a blogger, you are trying to take all that chaotic nonsense and organize it into words and paragraphs that makes it all into a reasonably sensible thematic something that people are tempted to actually read. (“Tempted” here probably means lured in to find out what this mass of typing is really all about by the naked fairy-girl that is in the lead illustration.) (You would be surprised at how often my penchant for drawing nudes draws in people looking for porn and gets them to stay and read the story that goes with the picture.)

Technically this is a book blog. It was established for me as an author’s blog by I-Universe Publishing for my traditionally-published novel Catch a Falling Star, which is what this blog is named for. It is supposed to be an effective marketing tool for selling books and getting people interested in finding out more about my books, and about me, and especially about clicking on the ads that appear in this blog-space.

But I am apparently terrible at using it for what it was meant for. There is absolutely no correlation between this book blog and book sales. Through I-Universe I have made about $16,00 (really, sixteen dollars! since 2013, and they haven’t even sent that money to me yet, because the threshold for sending a check in the mail is $25,00,) They have made a lot more money off of selling me marketing services than they ever have off of my award-winning book (Really, again, the Editor’s Choice Award and the Rising Star Award, both together worth precisely diddly-squoot.) My blog itself costs me $98.00 a year, and I have only made back $10,00 on ads revenue. So, being an author is only going to make me a millionaire very, very, very slowly.

But what I do get from this blog is a couple of critical things.

It is a place where my artwork and story-telling skills can see the light of day outside of a middle-school classroom. I learned to fascinate people with my cartoons on a chalkboard and stories that begin with things like, “One time the former President of the United States, John Quincy Adams, was skinny-dipping in the Potomac River while…” (Yes, that one could’ve gotten me fired if kids had told their grandmothers what they were learning in Mr. Beyer’s class when they got home from school, but they laughed so hard that they forgot everything they learned in class.) (Unfortunately, they mostly forgot Math Class and Science Class as well.)

And I get some feedback about how well or how poorly my writing comes across to the reader. (I can get a “LOL” in the comments, or a good “What the hell was that supposed to be about?”) It gives me an idea about what to keep and what to change when I do it all again the next day.

People are actually reading this blog, and my books as well. Yesterday I got 204 views and 21 likes on WordPress and there was only one naked girl in the pictures I used with the blog post. Just today I got a very insightful five-star review on my book Sing Sad Songs. So, I am getting read and being successful as a writer. ($3.75 in royalties from Amazon was paid to me on Friday. So, I could almost claim to be a professional… if I cut down on expenditures quite a bit.)


Filed under artwork, autobiography, blog posting, humor, novel writing, Paffooney