Category Archives: pen and ink

Space Book Free

My title doesn’t mean that I am free from writing space books. These bizarre little sci-fi satires keep reeling out of the space between my ears. My head is full of science fiction froo-froo. And it has to go somewhere. So, in honor of Book 3 of the AeroQuest series being free this weekend (through September 22), I am posting today more AeroQuest art.

Fiona Arbuckle, Space Journalist from the planet Don’t Go Here.
A Nebulon Princess, blue-skinned alien wife of Ham Aero.
The villainous synthezoid villain.
Time Traveller and meddler extraordinaire
ADaB (Another Danged Boy 1578) an artificial life-form created to be ultra-creative
A pestiferous alien life-form of questionable intelligence
Admiral Tron and Grand Admiral Cloudstalker
Fleet Admiral King Killer
Banzai Joe, owner and operator of the Rimbaud Memorial Deep-Space Outstation
Girl traveler of time and space
Space Opera Hero
Triceratops Space Cruiser from the rebel planet Don’t Go Here.
Three alien space kids
The cover of Book 4

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Filed under aliens, artwork, illustrations, novel, Paffooney, pen and ink, satire, science fiction

The Measure of a Man

You can’t tell from this picture, but it is evidence I have solved a scanner problem I have been working around for three whole years.

You should never try to measure anything by using a yardstick that changes it size and dimensions at random. There is no way to tell if you are growing or shrinking if the recorded six inches on Wednesday is the same thing you measured at ten inches on Tuesday, but it’s a wrench that’s been in your tool box for twenty years and you know danged well that it hasn’t changed size. You realize that there is no empirical data to be had on anything if you keep using a fourth-dimensional yardstick whose flux capacitor is out of adjustment.

Daisy, Hoodwink, and Babbles the Kelpie from my own Wizard of Oz tale, The Wizard in his Keep.

Human beans, however, tend to foolishly always measure with their fourth-dimensional yardsticks. The way Texas measures children’s educational development, with a new and harder test every single year. No matter that everyone knows the yardstick is broken.

During the COVID 19 pandemic, I have had a lot of time to evaluate myself and my life’s work. But it is important to find the proper yardstick. I don’t need a broken one. I need a solid, unchangeable one.

I worked for thirty-one years in Texas education, grades six through twelve, seven years teaching English as a second language to Spanish speakers, Vietnamese speakers, Chinese speakers, Lebanese speakers, Portuguese speakers, Egyptian speakers, speakers of that language used in Eritrea that I can’t even pronounce, much less spell, and speakers of multiple languages from India. I earned a pension voted into being in the 90’s and I was grandfathered past the legislation that gutted pensions for teachers in the 2000’s. Of course, pensions for teachers are like treaties with Native Americans. They disappear over time and are never spoken about again by people whose voices can actually be heard.

So, wealth is not a yardstick I can measure with. I am in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy from medical bills already, having only been six years retired. And, since I can’t afford further medical debt, the next heart problem, cancer problem, stroke, or other fatal illness will have to be the death of me. I can’t afford a cure at today’s prices. (I have health insurance, but they pay for diddly-nada. You only have health insurance so you can pay premiums to rich people, not to cover any expenses.)

Accomplishments are not a workable yardstick either. I was never a teacher of the year (or even employed in a district that gave out such an award.) I never walked on the Moon or Mars, like I wanted to do as a kid. I never starred in a movie, or directed one, or wrote the screenplay for one, as I hoped to do as a college freshman. But such things are daydreams and pixie dust anyway. No more real than a fourth-dimensional yardstick.

When I was ten years old, though, an older boy sexually assaulted me. Not merely molested me, but tortured me, caused me physical pain, from which he derived sexual pleasure. I was fortunate that he didn’t kill me, as that kind of sexual predator is known to have done. But he lived out his life quietly and died of heart attack a few years ago. He never assaulted anybody else that I or the authorities ever found out about. So, I actually forgave him after he was dead. And what he did to me made me vow to myself that I would fight against that kind of predatory behavior for the rest of my life. I would go on to be a teacher who became a mentor to lonely and fatherless boys, not to prey upon them, but to protect them from the wicked wolves of evil appetite. I did not do the same thing for girls because I knew that certain temptations might be too much for me. I am not, after all, gay even though my first sexual experience was a same-sex nightmare. And I did like beautiful women and girls. Maybe that part of my life is a gold star in the book rather than a black mark.

And I am a story-teller. I have now published sixteen novels, and I have two more cooking in the old black kettle of imagination along with a book of essays drawn from this goofy little blog. Whether that is a yardstick by which to measure or not, is entirely up to readers. Some have told me that my stories are well-written and the characters are realistic and engaging. Some have told me that putting mentions of pornography and sexual assault into my novels is too much, and that my depictions of nudists I have known and loved is inappropriate, but that too is a matter of opinion. I don’t believe I have done any of that gratuitously. And I firmly believe young adult readers want and need stories about unwanted pregnancies, being victimized, and suicidal depression. I know that when I faced those things in my real life, I benefited from the things I had read about those very things. It’s not like I was promoting anything bad.

But measuring yourself is hard. Especially if all rulers and yardsticks are of the growing-and-shrinking-randomly variety.

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Filed under autobiography, forgiveness, healing, insight, mental health, monsters, Paffooney, pen and ink

Art Day Look-Back at 2015

This is artwork from this blog in 2015, a year after I retired from teaching.

December … The Leap
December… Annette Funicello
November … The Singers
November … Shannon
October … Tiger Swallowtail
September … oil painting … Defiance
The Blue Faun who represents the lovely melancholy sensuality that informs my wordy little life. August 2015
July … Endaemion and the Minotaur
June … Miltie is actually Me
May … The Ship with Pink Sails
April … Player #3
April … oil painting … Poppa Comes Home
March … The Little Red-Haired Girl
February … The Boy and his Bugle
February … Klown Kops, Pie-whackers brigade
January … Harker Dawes, lovable fool
January … Sizzahl the Galtorrian scientist

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Filed under artwork, colored pencil, oil painting, Paffooney, pen and ink

New Pen and Ink

As my resolution to illustrate my novels grows further and further into solid, irresistible form and driving obsessional shape, I have been working on new pen and ink projects. Some are for AeroQuest. Some were for The Boy… Forever. And I will soon need to create new ones for A Field Guide to Fauns. Today’s post is just a glimpse of what I have been doing.

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Filed under artwork, humor, illustrations, Paffooney, pen and ink

Art Day Art

These are ESL portraits, a quiet Chinese girl and a pencil-chewing Hispanic girl inspired these two, but they look nothing at all like this picture.

I have been doing most of these Saturday art posts from my WordPress library of images. I generally try to organize around a theme. Having exhausted myself at Vivian Field Middle School yesterday, school-ish pictures are my theme for the day.

I have a tendency to think in pictures, and these are all school thoughts of one kind or another.

Basketball practice when I was a high school freshman inspired this picture of Brent who was an athletic young friend of mine I went to practice with.
Being a school teacher is also being a story-teller. That is essentially what this picture is about.
If this much-used picture looks familiar, it is because this is what teaching looks like through my eyes. Reluctant Rabbit holding the big pencil is me in my teacher-self. The students are Amanda, Ruben, Fernando, and Flora.
Kids don’t literally go to school naked, but metaphorically they do. They have no secrets from a teacher who knows them well from talking to them and reading their classroom journals. Talking about themselves out loud or in writing is how little people make themselves into bigger people.
This classroom portrait is a picture made from my own classroom in Garland, Texas.
Some of the characters in my school-ish pictures are actually me and my own school-aged classmates and friends.

Some of my favorite students over the many years in the classroom were major nerds.

I liked them mostly because they were the same exact species as I was when I was a monkey-house-aged student.

Monkey-house is a synonym for Middle School.

Wally shared my obsession with Japanese anime and could draw them better than I could. He was a major nerd. And a totally enthusiastic learner whom other students treated like he was radioactive. I always had time for him when he needed to talk to someone. He was a teacher’s kid at a time when my own son was still little.

This is a class picture from AeroQuest, a novel series about a teacher in space. All of these kids were based on real-life students I had in class once upon a time. One of these kids, pictured as a blue alien, was actually Wally.
So, now I need to post this post as there are next things happening on my schedule. Like these silhouette students, I need to get there on time.

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, Cotulla, education, kids, nostalgia, Paffooney, pen and ink, strange and wonderful ideas about life, teaching

Illustration Exaggerations

This will be used for several things. Most importantly it will become a part of the cover I make for my Work In Progress, The Boy… Forever.

The villain of this story claims to be an undead Chinese wizard. It is a claim that may be totally bogus, but it is a part of the idea of his villainy that needs to be illustrated to help me get to the roots of my theme; “No man lives forever. But if they accidentally do, it helps to be secretly a dragon in human form.”

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Filed under humor, illustrations, Paffooney, pen and ink, pen and ink paffoonies, Uncategorized

Pen-and-Inky Art Day

Yesterday’s new pen and ink.
Urkel

Pen and ink, black and white drawings are the place where my art career started. Line drawings like the ones in the newspaper cartoon pages. I collected newspaper comics. I copied them. I drew Blondie Bumstead and Moonshine McSwine naked. I drew Pogo Possum, Popeye, and Hagar the Horrible. I also drew Steve Canyon and Buzz Sawyer. I still draw Mickey Mouse. I learned cartoonist skills from the best in comic strips and comic books.

The Master of the Jungle (in our back yard)
This one was published in Ben Dunn’s Ninja High School Yearbook.

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Filed under artwork, cartoons, comic strips, drawing, humor, illustrations, Paffooney, pen and ink

Pencil, Pencil, Pen, Pen, Pen…

Yes, students actually eat pencils in class.

My daughter forgot her pencil case in school over the weekend. Now, for normal students, this is no really big deal. But for the Princess, like it is for me as an amateur artist, the pencil case, with her colored pencils and pens in it, is one of the most necessary things for life.

Of course, we did not have an opportunity to go back to school for her pencils and pens. So, panicky, she texted her teacher whereupon the pencil case in question was found and put aside for her until early this morning. She then stole my pens and pencils for the weekend, depriving me and causing me to be the one with the anxiety disorder and heart palpitations.

Of course, pens and pencils were always a critical issue when I was a teacher for 31 years, plus two years as a substitute teacher. Unlike the Princess, students in an English classroom NEVER have a pen or a pencil to write with. I swear, I have seen them gnaw pencils to pieces like a hungry beaver or termite. And they chew on pens to the point that there is a sudden squishy noise in their mouth and they become members of the Black Teeth Club. (Or Blue Teeth Club for the more choosy sort of student.)

A piece of an actual classroom rules poster.

Having students in your class who actually have pencils and pens to learn with is a career-long battle. I tried providing pens for a quarter. I would by cheap bags of pens, ten for two dollars, and sell them to panicky writers and test takers with a quarter (and secretly free to some who really don’t have a quarter). I only used the pen money to buy more cheap pens. But that ran afoul of principals and school rules. A teacher can’t sell things in class without the district accountant giving approval and keeping sales tax records. Yes, the pencil pushers force teachers to give pens, pencils, and paper away for free. I finally settled -on a be-penning process of picking up leftover un-popped pens, half-eaten pencils, and the rare untouched writing instrument apparently lost the very instant the student sat down in his or her desk. These I would issue to moaning pencil-free students until the supply ran out (which it rarely ever did) at no cost to myself.

I also tried telling them repeatedly that they had to have a writing instrument, or they needed to beg, borrow, or steal one. And if they couldn’t do that, I’d tell them, “Well, you could always prick your finger and write in blood.” That was a joke I totally stopped using the instant a student did exactly what I said. A literalist, that one. And it turns out you can’t read an essay that a student writes in actual blood.

But, anyway… My daughter is safely in school now and no longer panicking because she has her precious pencil case back in her possession. And she probably will not ever make that same mistake again. (And she will probably not return my pens and pencils either.)

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Filed under humor, kids, Paffooney, pen and ink, self pity, teaching, Uncategorized

Hidden Kingdom (Chapter 2-adding page 9)

To see the complete Chapter 1, use the following link;https://catchafallingstarbook.net/2018/11/24/hidden-kingdom-chapter-1-complete/

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Filed under artwork, comic strips, fairies, Hidden Kingdom, humor, Paffooney, pen and ink

Preparing to do Magic

When I am trying to organize some book magic, I tend to light the scented candles in my bedroom and get out the old sketchbook, as well as some fairly recently purchased pens and ink. Yes, I mean, I do storybook magic by drawing. This explanation comes from a teacher who no longer has any class, a nudist who never goes naked anymore, an atheist who believes in God, and a wiseguy who knows he’s really a fool. Magic is 99% hard work and 1% drawing pictures.

So, if you have drawn the proper conclusion from that first paragraph that Mickey is being a stupid old idiot again and he doesn’t really know anything about magic. I beg to differ. I started experiencing symptoms of prostate cancer and indications of another serious lung infection brewing up a couple of years ago. I decided then not to take my complaints to the doctor because I have no money left to spend on health care for myself. Either diagnosis, if it is accurate, is a death sentence for me under Trumpcare. I would rather simply drop dead unawares than have to live with an actual looming deadline that, once passed, I would truly be dead from. So, I have gone about my daily duties and flights of fancy without worry. And, miraculously, I woke up this morning still being alive and able to write. That is magic, isn’t it? I think it is.

The foolish novel notion I am working on now is what you see recent noodlings of in this post. The stitch witches you see above, Warricka and Bibby-joon, are the magical dressmakers that made an appearance in one of the fairy tale portions of Recipes for Gingerbread Children.  That book can be found at this link; https://www.amazon.com/Recipes-Gingerbread-Children-Michael-Beyer-ebook/dp/B07KQTMN7R/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1546994890&sr=8-1&keywords=michael+beyer+books+recipes+for+gingerbread+children

I discovered I can put pen and ink drawings into self-published Kindle books, even the paperback versions. I tested the theory out with the candle drawing that follows. I put it on the dedication page of my novel The Baby Werewolf.  That is the companion novel to Recipes and my most recently published book. It can be found at this link; https://www.amazon.com/Baby-Werewolf-Michael-Beyer-ebook/dp/B07LFRXR3G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1546994589&sr=8-1&keywords=michael+beyer+books+the+baby+werewolf

Both books are free if you buy them through Kindle Unlimited.

My inevitable conclusion to this experimenting was that I can create a book from black and white drawings and mix in paragraphs that tell all about Tellosia, the fairy kingdom that exists within my boyhood hometown in Iowa. A sort of field guide, if you get what I’m getting at. And I could mix in the black and white graphic novel I have been working on for more than a quarter of a century, The Hidden Kingdom. It might actually attract some readers based on my artwork and its reputed popularity with people who don’t have to actually pay for it. It might be a way to actually sell some books. So, I am going to try it, and you can’t stop me.

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Filed under fairies, Hidden Kingdom, novel plans, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, pen and ink, publishing