Category Archives: novel

The Blacklight at the End of the Writing Tunnel

The link above is still capable of giving you a free copy of this e-book until midnight on Tuesday, November 12th, 2019. By all means, click on it and get yourself the free Kindle e-book.

I write this plea as my third free e-book promotion is half-way done. It is, as expected, failing miserably. As of this writing, the promotion using Facebook and Twitter has managed to give away six free books. And one of those is me grabbing a free e-book for my own free Kindle reader on my laptop. So, basically, I can’t give away copies of my own book for free.

But writing this book was not a matter of making myself famous or wealthy or even acknowledged as a good writer. Those are not the things I need. I wrote this story because I myself have been badly damaged by life. I was sexually assaulted by an older boy when I was ten. I had teenage bouts of depression that nearly made me end myself. My sex-life did not develop normally and led to chronic prostatitis and the precursor to “Priests’ disease”, a prostate gland the size of a grapefruit. Yes, it may ultimately end in prostate cancer. And then when I finally made a family for myself in my late middle years, I was besieged by depression again, this time not my own, but others in my family. So, in many ways, I have lived a sad life.

The novel itself is a means to self-healing and recording how I rebuilt myself using love, laughter, and artistry. The singing orphan boy wearing clown paint and singing only sad songs is a metaphor for me and my struggle. The clowns that haunt the main characters’ dreams are also a metaphor. I was always known as the laughing teacher, the one who joked around in class, and let laughing grow into a means of instruction in the English classroom. I used humor to make learning painless. I used it to take away many other kinds of pain as well. The book is about how a family can be healed by someone who has nothing, yet selflessly gives everything to make that family come together and be whole. It is a story, just as the introduction claims, about what love really means.

But the world is stacked against lying truth-tellers like me who make up stories only to heal themselves. Facebook stopped me from messaging everybody who is a Facebook friend whom I wanted to send the book link from Amazon. They called it spamming, which really means, “advertising something on Facebook without paying Facebook lots of money.” I discovered on Twitter that sending the link in DMs makes more of my followers stop following me than it makes followers click on the link to obtain a free book. Ah, disappointment again. At least I gave away three more books than I did on the last promotion.

So, this is like a blacklight, shining on my promotional inspiration. It only shows in ultraviolet the opposite of what I thought I would see. And it resigns me once again to be only ignored as a writer of novels. I suppose it is my proper place in life.

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, battling depression, clowns, feeling sorry for myself, humor, novel, novel plans, Paffooney

AeroQuest 3… Canto 67

Canto 67 – Scaling the Dragon (This Canto has been re-ordered in the re-write.)

The Dragon Gate of the city of Kiro, Gaijin, was a huge carving of an oriental dragon’s head which allowed a fairly good sized caravan to pass through its open mouth and into the city all at once.  The shoulders of the dragon were carved from the south side of the gate in the immense city wall that, like a coiled serpent, circled the city and ended in a gigantic tail that rose up like a tower on the northern side of the gate.  The carved dragon itself snarled in that crazed oriental manner and was colored red with gold trim edging each and every individual scale.

Ged and his students walked there and stood looking up at the edifice.

“Is it hollow?” blond Rocket Rogers asked from under the brim of his white cowboy hat.

“No, stupid, it’s obviously one solid piece,” sneered Alec Songh.

“Shut up, Alec!” shouted Friashqazatla.  Freddy had become Rocket’s shadow, following him everywhere and imitating everything about him.  His worshipful friendship had become indispensable to Rocket.

“How will we get inside?” asked Shu Kwai, ignoring the bickering and concentrating on the problem at hand.

“Can Jadalaqstbr do it for us?” asked Hassan Parker innocently.  Hassan was still nude in protest for the group’s rejection of his Classical Worlds’ notions.  He wore only the blue felt fez he always had on his head.

“She might teleport inside a solid part, not being able to see inside,” said Sensei Aero.  “We don’t want to lose her.”

Jackie stood close beside Alec Songh, blushing as they talked about her, in spite of her dark brown skin.

“Can a clairvoyant look inside?” asked Billy Iowa, pushing up the front of the brim of his own cowboy hat.

“Maybe…” murmured Phoenix.  His green snake eyes glazed over for a moment, and then he awoke from his brief trance.  “No.  I can’t see through some sort of fog inside this dragon.”

“What is it that we think is here?” asked Sarah Smith.  The Gaijinese sunshine made her blond hair and snow-white body suit glow with reflected light.

“An alien artifact from the time of the Ancients,” said Ged distractedly, studying the eyes of the great beast.

“Possibly a space ship,” offered Phoenix.

“Some of the other artifacts we’ve encountered had a sort of mind of their own,” stated Ged, more to himself than to his students.

“Should I try to detect a mind?” asked Sarah sweetly.

“She’s a powerful telepath,” added Junior Aero.

While Ged was thinking, Alec Songh put his hands on Jadalaqstbr once again.  She melted up against him and began to softly coo with pleasure.

“Alec!” said Shu Kwai sternly.  Alec let go of her, both body and mind.  He and Shu had talked at length about what was acceptable White Spider behavior in a public place.  Seducing someone was not one of things that Shu was willing to allow.

“All right, Sarah.  Perhaps that is a good idea,” said Ged at last.  He remembered how telepathic Tara had been able to use the Hammer to create an entire downport on Don’t Go Here

Sarah put her forefingers to her temples and began to concentrate.  “Oh!” she said, almost immediately.  “It is a dark and powerful mind!  I can’t even get close to it!”

Junior took hold of her shoulders, concerned that she might somehow be hurt.  His intentions, however, were turned inside out by the dark red mind that came flooding into his inner eye.  Swirling patterns of circuitry and resistors flooded into his brain.  A series of controls formed in his mind.  Stunned, Junior blinked at the others and said, “I have it.”

“What do you mean?” asked Ged.

“It is a machine,” said Junior.  “I can make it work by telepathy.”  He concentrated for a moment on the controls arrayed before him in his inner eye.  Red-gold-green-red.  The mechanisms awoke for the first time in a million years.

With a rumble, the carven upper jaw of the dragon splintered and the roof of the huge mouth fell out, shattering on the pavement below.  A long, thin lower jaw dropped down from the great carven head.  The tongue rippled itself into a sort of stairway leading up into the dark throat.  The dragon had come to life and now was offering to swallow them if they only decided to take the stairway.

Cautiously, Ged led the way.  Rocket Rogers, then Shu Kwai followed him.  Looking slightly panicked, Taffy King scanned the others and then followed Rocket up the tongue-stair.  Friashqazatla went next.  Then Billy Iowa and timid Gyro.  Holding hands, Alec Songh and Jadalaqstbr went up.  Phoenix, Hassan Parker, and little Mai Ling followed.  Finally, Sarah looked at Junior Aero, who had opened this hatch, smiled, and led him, too, up the stair.

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Filed under aliens, humor, novel, novel writing, Paffooney, science fiction

AeroQuest 3… Canto 66

Canto 66 – Fish-Skin Socks in the Rock Garden

The planet Hyde Park was different than most planets in the Thousand Worlds of the Galtorr Imperium.  Where most life in the Orion Spur was made up of carbon-based life-forms, Hyde Park was rife with silicon-based life-forms.

Instead of forests of trees or plants, the countryside was overgrown with gardens of living crystal, quartz, and harmonic stone.  The wildlife was made up of electro-energy creatures with crystallized bodies, or even no bodies at all.  The amorphous stone men of Hyde Park communicated with no one but each other, taking whatever shape struck their weird fancy.  They could constitute and dissolve themselves with the speed of thought.

Nert Cooblegooble felt ridiculous in his red-and-white-striped pajamas.  His blond hair was tied up in random pony tails, and red freckles had been added to his face with a paintbrush.  He stood next to a table advertising fish-skin socks for sale.

“Stop fidgeting, Nert!” said Mr. Crushcracker, waving his fat, smelly cigar.  “You have to look business-like to sell these things to tourists.”

“Why do we have to play these silly pretend games?” complained Nert Cooblegooble, secretly Arkin Cloudstalker.  He looked dubiously over at Madame Prong, who was obviously an ugly man in drag wearing a tight blue dress over an overstuffed body and wearing gobs of makeup on his… er, her eyes and cheeks.

“We calls ‘em as we sees ‘em,” said Phineas Crushcracker, secretly Scarpigo Snarcs.  “These rubes and yokels are used to seein’ us like this.  These secret identities are critical to our roles as agents of the Thin White Duke.  Now be quiet, or I’ll buy a supper club and beat you over the head with it.”

Madame Prong, secretly Zero Snarcs, put a swollen white finger to her badly painted red lips and pantomimed shushing Mr. Crushcracker for saying the TWD-word out loud where any stone could hear.

“There are no humans about anywhere!” moaned Nert.  “Why the need for secrecy?”

“The rocks have ears,” said Mr. Crushcracker.

“What is that supposed to mean?”

In answer to Arkin’s question, a man walked up to the fish-sock table.  He was not like any other man either Arkin Cloudstalker or Nert Cooblegooble had ever seen.  He was made entirely of stone, a living statue looking out apparently through carved stone eyes.  He was an eerie, zombie-like figure that moved and talked without expression, always a degree or two off of what would be natural for a human man.

“Well, well!” gushed Mr. Crushcracker.  “So nice to see you again, Mr. Lazerstone!  How have you been?  How’s the missus and all the little pebbles?”

The cold stone voice that came from the hollows inside Lazerstone chilled Arkin to the bone with dread.

“I don’t pretend to understand your need for charades, Snarcs.  I do understand the position of the White Duke.  I am ready to render aid.  I can do far more than even Duke Keyser himself realizes.  Don’t mock me.  I get tired of the human need to maintain personal fictions.”

“Have you met Nert Cooblegooble?”

“You know that this man is different from the last human who you introduced as Mr. Cooblegooble.  Don’t play games with me again.”

“Oh, you take all the fun out the whole spy thing!  This is the Pirate King, Arkin Cloudstalker.”

“Yes.  A noble reputation among those who travel through the Hyde Park starport.  I believe you use the Knights as a privateer band working to liberate the people of the Galtorr Imperium, do you not?”

“I do.  I like your directness.”

“We are many, Mr. Cloudstalker, but we are one.”

“Wait, I don’t understand again.  Is this a riddle?”

“No.  It is merely a factor in the differences between your kind and mine.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Of course, you don’t.  You are like these ephemerals.  You do not have the Wisdom of the Stones.”

“Oh!” interjected Mr. Crushcracker, “You mean like, I can’t get no… satisfaction!?”

“Shut up, Snarcs.”  Lazerstone turned cold, sightless eyes on Phineas Crushcracker.  “This meeting is important.”

“Help me understand,” pleaded Arkin.

“Very well.  The crystals of this planet are all alive.  They are all capable of thought.  In fact, they all share one vast consciousness.  We, the Lazerstone, are capable of understanding everything about your kind and what they are doing in our shared galaxy.  We have seen the unnatural evil and crimes of your Galtorr Imperium.  We understand the need to put an end to that.  We also realize that only men like you, Ged Aero, and the White Duke are capable of making your kind turn away from violent animal ignorance and start harmonizing with the galactic symphony of life.”

“That is all very poetic,” said Arkin, still not fully comprehending, “but how are you going to help us?”

“I will fight for you.  Soon you will see how important that is for your future Empire.”

“My Empire?”

“Your Democracy if you prefer.”

“Yes, that would be better.”  Arkin tried to use mental x-rays to pierce the colorful stone of that impassive face.  “Can you see me through those stone eyes of yours?”

“He can see through you, Nert,” said Scarpigo Snarcs.  “He’s an all-powerful monster from outer space.  Booga-booga!  He can even tell what color underwear you have on.”

The humorless stone face turned towards Snarcs.

“At least I have enough respect for his underwear that I don’t feel the need to reveal what it looks like.  Not like the silk shorts with printed pink bunnies on them that you have on.”

Snarcs turned stone white.  “How did you know about those?”

“Lazer-vision, funny boy.  I see by using my perceptions of relative density and wave-lengths of gravitons.  Don’t cross me, or I might eat you in the night!”

Phineas Crushcracker and Scarpigo Snarcs both cringed.  Madame Prong held a rubber chicken in her hand with less than the usual gusto.

“By the way,” added Lazerstone, “Booga-booga! Scarpigo Snarcs!”

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

Again He Re-Writes!

I have published part two of my rewrite of the novel AeroQuest. It is now available from Amazon in both Kindle e-book and paperback editions. It is liberally illustrated and far superior to the previous form of this novel published through Publish America and now out of print.

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AeroQuest 2… Canto 40

Canto 40 – Sad Tidings at the Spaceport

When the space ship called Megadeath, the Rock and Roll Starship, docked at the now prosperous spaceport of the planet Don’t Go Here, they interrupted a solemn ceremony.  Administrator Bam-Bam Salongi was about to be buried in space.  His body, encased in a glass torpedo pod, was on display in Frieda’s central administration hub.  The relatively new crew of the space port was gathered around for testimonials and remembrances.

Frieda’s Metalloid form stood guard over the office.  The Dion girl named Taquira was kneeling by the foot of the makeshift coffin and Tabitha Blue Arrow, in Lady Knight armor, stood over the head of Bam-Bam’s final resting place.

Xavier Tkriashav entered the office first, shock registering on his dark, inscrutable face.  Behind him stood Captain Tommy Lee, Pilot Vince Niell, Nikki Sixx, and slack-jawed Cold Death.  All removed hats and became silent mourners.

“What has happened here?” asked Tkriashav.

“Fez Amin and the Monopoly Brigade,” said Frieda.  “He came here and killed Mr. Salongi and kidnapped Tara.  We killed one of his Lieutenants, but he used Tara as a shield to make his escape.  I’ve tried to organize pursuit, but we lost him completely in the Imperium.”

“We should not have left you vulnerable to attack,” said Tkriashav, shaking his head.

“We were unprepared for treachery,” said Tabitha, the Lady Knight.  “It will not happen again.”

“We have ships now to defend our home,” said the Dion, Taquira.  “We just don’t have any pilots to fly them.”

“We are outward bound now, to places where I know we will find a large number of willing spacers ready to come here and help get that problem solved, at least,” said Tkriashav.  “I have places to go where I know all kinds of Psions.  We might even see if we can strike an accord with the Nebulons we believe are migrating in mass towards this part of the Orion Spur.”

“You know,” said Tabitha, “you are opening your arms to all the peoples the Imperium loathes?”

“Yes,” said Tkriashav.  “That was the idea.  All us rejects will band together to make something far better than what Imperial Space has to offer.”

“You are a hopeless idealist, Psion Master,” said Tabitha Blue Arrow.

“Does that mean you will leave us and go back to the Imperium?” he responded.

“Of course not,” replied the Lady Knight.  “We need idealists as leaders.  It’s the reason I joined Cloudstalker’s Corsairs to start with.”

“You are good man, Psion Master,” hissed Taquira the Dion.  She switched her brown lizard’s tail.  “We like you a lot!”

“Tara wanted us to tell Ged Aero that she loves him,” said Frieda.  “I fear those may have been the last words we’ll ever have from her.”

“I will have some students I have to deliver to Ged on Gaijin,” said Tkriashav.  “I will tell him the grave news.”

An emerald-green female Galtorrian walked into the main office at that moment.  “Ged Aero, you sssay?” she hissed.  She was beautiful in a serpentine way, snake-eyed and tressed with flowing green hair.  She wore the uniform of the Imperial Scout Service.  “I must find Ged Aero.”

All eyes turned suspiciously to her.

“Why do you seek Ged?” asked Tkriashav.

“I must find the fulfiller of the Prophecy of Zhan!  I have sssearched for him for yearsss.  I mussst find him if it costssss me my life!”

“We shall see.  You will surrender all weapons and travel with me under guard,” said Tkriashav.

“Yesss, whatever I mussst do.  But, I mussst find him before hisss enemiesss do.”

The pheromones she gave off at that moment made every male present feel as if he must fall in love with her.  Xavier couldn’t help himself from feeling it too.  He tried to probe her, but she was apparently a Psion too, though not a type he recognized.        

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Filed under aliens, humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, science fiction

More Illustrating AeroQuest

I am nearing the completion of the rewrite of part two of AeroQuest. Part of that is getting all the illustrations I want to include done. So, here are a few more that I have been working on.

For those who might be wondering, AeroQuest 1 and AeroQuest 2 are comic science fiction, and I have chosen to rewrite them with lots of illustrations since it is a work of fiction that I might’ve done as a graphic novel if only I didn’t have arthritis in my hands.

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Filed under artwork, comic book heroes, humor, illustrations, novel, novel writing, Paffooney, satire, science fiction

AeroQuest 2… Canto 39

Canto 39 – Slinking Out of Paradise

Gaijin is one of the most beautiful worlds in human space according to those humans who have visited enough of them to compare.  Its lush, tropical-sea environment is pleasant always and fully climate-controlled by old Sylvani technology.  It has far fewer cold places than an Earth-like world such as Talos III or Martin Faulkner’s Dream.  It has more resources than an ocean-world like Dancer or Design where no land masses are present.  And its greatest features are the people themselves.  They are disciplined by the Bushido code, and beautified by the natural Sylvani grace.  It was no surprise, then, that Vince Niell and the crew of the Megadeath did not want to leave.

“I have to go to at least three other worlds,” argued Xavier Tkriashav.  “I have important missions to complete.  You have the only available spaceship on the planet.”

“Dude, like, we don’t got no orders from Ged boss-man,” said Vince Niell.  “This ship is his.”

“Ged is very busy now.  I am his friend and agent.  I tell you, I have important things to do for Ged Aero!”

“And we tell you, Psion Dude, that we don’t go to space for nobody but Ged Aero.”

Xavier smiled.  “Can you call him and ask?”

“Dude, we have commo units on board.  Did he take a walkie-talkie or a commo dot?”

“No.”

“Then ain’t no way we’re gonna move from this spot.”

Tkriashav looked at the stubborn rock-and-roll starship pilot.  He saw only two angry reflections of himself looking back from Vince’s mirrored sunglasses.  The hippie freak had started wearing a pair of red Moko-bird feathers in his hair as if he were some kind of Native American from ancient Earth.

“I am going to go and disturb Ged now, and get him to write a note to let me use this starship while he is training to be Gaijin’s new White Spider.”

“Sounds good to me, Daddy-o.”

Fuming, the turbaned Psion stalked back into the city, making his way swiftly through crowded streets to the Palace of One Thousand Years.

Ged was on the practice field with Junior, teaching martial arts.

“You were impressive in the arena,” Tkriashav said when Ged acknowledged his presence.  “Tell me, how is it you already know the martial arts they teach here?”

“It’s not something I’m proud of, but I absorbed it by eating the flesh of the man they called the Black Spider.  I inherited the ability to alter myself into the patterns of his finely trained muscles.  Muscle memory is the key to absorbing the skill.  Just like the instincts I’ve absorbed from animals I’ve eaten.”

“Did you actually eat one of those invisible cat things?”

“It was during an episode of survival training on the planet Samothrace when I was young.  I guess I had my powers even then, though I didn’t know it until the last few years.”

“It’s that kind of knowledge I need you to pass on to other Psions, Ged.  Do you mind if I use your starship to round up a couple of students for you?”

“I would be honored to serve,” said Ged with a bow.  “Teaching seems to come naturally too, though I don’t ever remember eating a teacher.”

Xavier laughed.  “I need a note for your crew, Ged.  They don’t want to leave this place.  They won’t take my word.”

“No problem.  Will you revisit Don’t Go Here?”

“Yes.  After completing the missions I have in mind.”

“Check on Tara for me.  Tell her I miss her.  And tell Ham about what’s happened here.  I want him to come here and learn about this place too.”

“I would be happy to.  You like it here, don’t you?”

“How could I help it?  I’m not a monster here.  I’m a hero to these people.  But I have to say, I don’t understand the praise any more than I understood the fear.” The message was quickly written, and within the hour, the Megadeath roared out of Gaijinese orbit, headed directly into trouble.

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Filed under humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, satire, science fiction