Category Archives: publishing

Encouraging Signs

The Canadian Geese have shown up to winter in the North Dallas area early this year. I saw them today at Richland College in Richardson, Texas, a Dallas suburb. The tallest one in the picture was apparently the drill sergeant as he was honking out the goose-language equivalent of, “Hup, two, three, four… pick it up, two, three, four…” and marching them across the South parking lot, completely unconcerned about nearby people and cars, and college students (who may or may not be classified as people.) I could have walked up behind him and bopped him on the back of his head with my hand and he wouldn’t have been particularly upset. Of course, I would’ve been subjected immediately to goose wrath from his soldiers all around me. And, believe me, goose wrath is not particularly survivable.

Canadian geese having flown South for the winter is an encouraging sign. It is evidence of normal behavior by weather-sensitive creatures in a time of chronic effects from human-caused global warming. The fact that they are willing to land in a State where so many rednecks carry around AR-15s and are not noticeably people-shy is also a good sign unless it means that rednecks are too busy hunting liberals to think about shooting at geese.


A very good sign for me as a writer is the fact that on Tuesday, November 1st this week, I sold five books in one day for the first time ever. Someone bought copies of Magical Miss Morgan, Sing Sad Songs, Horatio T. Dogg, A Field Guide to Fauns, and The Baby Werewolf. Now, there is no way to know from the author’s Amazon dashboard who bought these five books at the same time, or even if it was one person, or five different people. But I have suspicions.

I have been talking to an American Library Association-affiliated marketing group about my book Catch a Falling Star. They wanted me to market that book with them at a gigantic book fair in New Orleans in January. That book, published by I-Universe has won two publishing-house awards from I-Universe, the Editors’ Choice Award and the Rising Star Award. This book, on the Amazon website, appears to be highly marketable, and their book scouts read and recommended the book as a featured submission at their book fair booth. This would be a plumb marketing help for a writer struggling to even get a little notice with the best of his books. But, not having the necessary money to invest, about $850.00, I had to turn them down.

I researched it before deciding, and the book fair is a real thing, not a scam. I was offered a similar marketing campaign a year ago by I-Universe which also knows the quality of that book because they edited it. But their plan was over three times more expensive. And I am not available to appear at book fairs for book signings because of six incurable diseases and generally poor health, as well as the fact that all travel expenses would be mine to take care of. I made seven dollars from royalties this last month. It doesn’t begin to pay the bills. The publishing industry demands far more than it gives to authors.

Still, the five books in one day that I sold are a good indicator that someone is looking at self-published books to find a marketable gem to invest in. I am, after all, the only owner of the publishing rights to my self-published books. So, there is potential if I can stay alive long enough to see it happen.

I have been down of late. The eye doctor says my glaucoma damage is impossible to repair, so I am going to continue being more blind than I ever was before. I have been unable to even think about going back to the nudist camp. I am worried about losing the ability to drive. And heart attacks or strokes are always lurking in the background.

But not all signs point to badness and the end of the world. Some things are encouraging. And those are the signs I will be paying the most attention to.

Leave a comment

Filed under commentary, humor, illness, publishing

Naturism and How it Helps Me

https://histonudismo.wordpress.com/2021/04/17/preservar-la-historia-nudista-una-entrevista-con-naturist-vintage/

The most obvious aid that naturism has been to me as an author is how readily members of the online naturist/nudist community are willing to spread the word when my writings include things that they care about. They are much better at caring about my work, especially the parts of it that touch on naturism/nudism, than other portions of the online #writingcommunity is about any of my other work

https://histonudismo.wordpress.com/2021/04/17/preservar-la-historia-nudista-una-entrevista-con-naturist-vintage/

The website I linked to twice above is a good example. (You might need a Spanish/English dictionary if you don’t normally read the English parts easily.) I have had summer boosts to views here on WordPress two Augusts in a row now due to naturists coming across my posts and linking to them so that their own followers can share in discovering me as an author who is friendly to naturism. My continued online contact with other naturists/nudists on Twitter continues to benefit me in book sales, exchanges of writing tips and tricks, and exposure to the good naturist literature, both fiction and non-fiction, that is out there.

Here are some of the authors who’ve had the most impact on me,

https://www.amazon.com/Ted-Bun/e/B01BVG6NVQ?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2&qid=1661547227&sr=1-2

Ted Bun (his pen name) first discovered my nudist characters in Recipes for Gingerbread Children. He did the most to get me involved with other nudist-friendly authors. And his book The Boy On a Baker’s Bike is possibly his best story, out of many excellent ones, because of how much the main character reflects some of my own experiences with being nude around other nude people.

https://www.amazon.com/Will-Forest/e/B009HBULXO?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2&qid=1661547227&sr=1-2

Will Forest edited the book Holiday in the Nudist Colony in which I was encouraged to add a story of my own. His book Co-Ed Naked Philosophy is a wonderful fictional story that works like an encyclopedia of the philosophies behind naturism, the practices of naturism, and the struggle of those actively trying to make the practice of it normalized. I am half-way through the book and finding it an absolutely enthralling story. I am definitely going to read more of his books.

https://www.amazon.com/P-Z-Walker/e/B014SD2SAY?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1661551463&sr=1-1

Paul Z. Walker is one of the organizers of the group of naturist-fiction writers that I have become a part of. He also writes a variety of fiction with nude characters in it. I haven’t read any of his books yet, but I own some of them in e-book format and will correct that problem soon.

The drawings I have included in this post are all made from pictures of real nude models, all of them happy and pleased to be seen in the nude.

Of course, the biggest benefits I have gotten from naturism/nudism is not from merely observing it while clothed, but by participating and getting naked, despite the fears brought on by childhood trauma and the general disdain the public at large has for nudity.

It has made me whole again to be a practicing nudist. It has helped me heal and overcome self-hatred. It has helped me overcome depression. It has also helped me understand the kind of honesty and innocence that life requires of us. Nothing bad remains hidden forever, and sunlight heals many moral problems that were festering before being exposed.

This girl was happy with the original pencil sketch of her that I turned into this pen and ink. Her parents were pleased that it did not look so much like her that she could be identified by non-nudists.

This is not supposed to be the same girl, though Katie says this looks more like Naomi than it does her. I suppose she is right. (Neither of these names are the names of the real girls.)

.

,

.

.

.

The most critical thing I learned about naturism and living life naked is that is not about porn or sex. You can see from the drawings I have put in this post that none of the pictures are sexual in content or in any way essentially erotic.. They are merely naked and happy. That is how life should be. At least, in my humble opinion. And I will continue to write stories about it.

Leave a comment

Filed under artwork, autobiography, commentary, Depression, drawing, nudes, Paffooney, publishing, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Treading Water

This is about being a writer, not a swimmer. But in a way, it is also about not drowning.

I have achieved some success as a writer. But my development economically is stagnant and I am treading water in the sea of money where sharks are circling intending to eat any value I may create.

I have, of course, created some value. If I had published my 21 books 25 years ago, and I had a contract with a major publishing house, I would be doing as well as some of the authors you see occasionally making best-seller lists today. I am not saying I would be a million-dollar celebrity author like Stephen King, James Patterson, or J. K. Rowling, but I would be a full-time writer making a decent living at it. I am not bragging. I have had a lot of literary education, and I know from input from professional editors and former employees of the major publishing houses that my skills as a storyteller are as good as, or even better than many of the traditionally-published authors today. I stood next to Terry Brooks (author of Sword of Shannara) in a MacDonald’s waiting for my Big Mac in Corpus Christi one time in the 1980s. As former English teachers both, we have a lot in common. But he started publishing in the 1970s, and he only taught for a couple of years. I taught for 31 years and only began seriously trying to get published in 2007.

Obviously, the publishing industry changed in the time between meeting Terry Brooks and getting published myself. Back then the major publishing houses were the gate-keepers, taking submissions and winnowing out the chaff to find the diamonds in the rough (Yes, that is a mixed metaphor, but either I don’t really care about that anymore, or somewhere along the way I have actually found a diamond or two growing alongside the grains of wheat.) If you wrote well enough to win a contract, they would offer you a standard twenty-thousand-dollar signing bonus and a book contract that would guarantee standard royalties for the duration of the book’s life in print. You would then be committed to whatever promotional book tours, lectures, and signings the publisher thought would be most effective, and your next book would have to be offered to them first. Of course, my first book would’ve been a commercial flop from the get-go, although that would probably not be the book I succeeded in publishing first.

Things no longer work like that. When I successfully got the first yes from a publisher in 2007, it was from Publish America. That was a total scam. They paid me one dollar to publish my book Aeroquest. But that wasn’t the scam part. They did publish the book, and they did pay me a dollar. But their attempt to make money did not come from that. I was supposed to do all my own editing and proofreading. They would do the formatting and the marketing. I had to compile a list of family and friends to receive a promotional letter. The only attempts they made to sell copies of my book were to those people on my list. They added typos to the final form of my book and then offered to fix all of that for a hefty fee. They made a couple of hundred dollars doing that. I got a total of six dollars in profits for myself. Publish America was sued out of existence in 2014, the same year that my contract with them was up and I got back the publishing rights to the book.

So, then, I vowed I was going to submit to a publishing house that was still open to submissions, and I found I-Universe which was an imprint for Penguin Books. I submitted a manuscript that they tepidly loved and agreed to publish, for a fee. It was explained to me that, in order to compete with things like Amazon, the traditional publishers were also putting more on their authors in order to guarantee they could still produce profits for shareholders and eliminate the risk from flops the way traditional publishing had always had to weather them. I would have to pay my own editors (company-provided professionals who were actually worth what they cost, I learned a lot from them.) I would also have to participate in and pay for marketing efforts. All told, it ended up costing me about five thousand dollars. And the pre-made cover they forced on me has no real connection to the story itself. (Nowhere in the comedy about aliens invading a small town in Iowa did any silhouette girl fly a kite at night. The girl characters were all green, fin-headed aliens.)

I didn’t feel as cheated by I-Universe even though I spent a lot more money with them. My book ended up winning two awards from them, Editor’s Choice and Rising Star Awards. And I learned everything I know about the publishing world from the good people I worked with. They were square with me, telling me that the traditional publishing business was dying, and they were all worried about their own jobs going away. They keyed me in on how to effectively open and present a good fictional story. They started me writing this blog, and they would’ve included me in many more marketing ventures to make my book profitable if I hadn’t gone bankrupt in 2017 and had sworn off paying them more money in 2014. They still try to get me to invest more money in marketing schemes. They hate seeing my award-winning book sit unprofitably unmarketed. But the total earnings in royalties that book has made is only sixteen dollars, and they will not cut my first royalties check until that reaches $25. Not gonna happen.

Then I killed a publisher with my next well-written book. PDMI Publishing LLC was enthusiastic about publishing my snowstorm opus, a comedy about orphans freezing to death in a small town (or, actually only almost freezing to death, to be less snarky about it.) But as I finished that book with a rookie editor that the firm had newly hired, they had to go out of business from losing too much money in a single year. They were not the only publisher to collapse financially in 2016.

So, my publishing solution was to turn to Amazon, slayer of traditional and small publishers alike.

With Amazon KDP I am free to publish anything and everything I want to publish. But I have to do everything myself. Writing, editing, formatting, proofreading, illustrating, designing book covers, and marketing are all entirely up to me. There are many successful authors on Amazon. Some of them even make more money than they spend. Amazon pays you monthly royalties, even if you only make two cents because somebody read four pages of one of your books that month on Kindle Unlimited.

But Amazon can freeze or delete your account for any reason at any time. And some of those decisions are made more by algorithm than any actual reader of your books. They can accuse you even of plagiarizing your own books if you are not careful. The whole scheme behind KDP is to do none of the work themselves, but pay out as little of the profits as possible to the authors and keep as much easy money as the scheme can generate.

So, I am a published author… for now. Writing whatever the hell I want and not caring much about whether I make any money or not. That’s not the point of being an author. You can’t be a starving artist if you are not actually an artist… and you can’t be one without starving either.

1 Comment

Filed under angry rant, humor, Paffooney, publishing

Being Ignored

I have never been an attention-seeker. In the Elysian Fields of modern society, I have never really been the honeybee. I have always been the flower. I had a reputation in high school for being the quiet nerd who ends up surprising you immensely in speech class, at the science fair, or at the art show. I was the one they all turned to when everybody in the conversation had already had their chance to strut and pontificate and say dumb things, and they were finally ready to get the solution to the problem being discussed, or the best suggestion on where to begin to find it.

When I became the teacher of the class instead of the student, I had to make major changes. I had to go from being patient, quiet, and shy to being the fearless presenter, forceful, sharp as an imparter of knowledge, and able to be easily understood, even by the kids whom you couldn’t legally call stupid, but were less than smart, and not in a pleasant Forrest Gump sort of way.

Shyness is only ever overcome by determination and practice. The standard advice given is to picture your audience naked so that you are not intimidated by them. But if your audience is seventh graders, you have to be extra careful about that. They are metaphorically naked all the time, ready at a moment’s notice to explode out of any metaphorical clothing they have learned to wear to cover the things that they wish to keep to themselves about themselves. And while you want them to open up and talk to you, you don’t want the emotional nakedness of having them sobbing in front of the entire class, or throwing things at you in the throes of a mega-tantrum over their love-life and the resulting soap operas of betrayal and revenge. And you definitely don’t want any literal nakedness in your classroom. (Please put your sweat pants back on, Keesha. Those shorts are not within the limits of the dress code.) Calling attention to yourself and what you have to say, because you are being paid to do so, is a critical, yet tricky thing to do. You want them looking at you, and actually thinking about what you are saying (preferably without imagining you naked, which they will do at any sort of unintentional slip or accidental prompting.) The ones who ignore you are a problem that has to be remedied individually and can eat up the majority of your teaching time.

I trained myself to be fairly good at commanding the attention of the room.

But now that I am retired, things have changed. I can still command attention in the room, which I proved to myself by being a successful substitute teacher last year. But I no longer have a captive audience that I can speak to five days a week in a classroom. Now my audience is whoever happens to see this blog and is intrigued enough by the title and pictures to read my words.

Now that I am retired and only speaking to the world at large through writing, I am ignored more than ever before. Being ignored is, perhaps, the only thing I do anymore. It is the new definition of Mickey. Mickey means, “He who must be ignored. Not partially, but wholly… and with malice.”

I put my blog posts on Facebook and Twitter where I know for a fact that there are people who know me and would read them and like them if they knew that they were there. But the malevolent algorithms on those social media sites guarantee that none of my dozens of cousins, old school friends, and former students will see them. Only the single ladies from Kazakhstan and members of the Butchers Union of Cleveland see my posts. Why is this? I do not know. Facebook and Twitter ignore me when I ask.

My books, though liked by everybody who has actually read and responded to them, are lost in a vast ocean of self-published books, most of which are not very good and give a black eye to self-published authors in general. I recently got another call from I-Universe/Penguin Books publishers about Catch a Falling Star, the one book I still have with them. They are concerned that my book, which is on their Editor’s Choice list, is not performing as well as their marketing people think it should. But to promote it, I would have to pay four hundred dollars towards the marketing campaign, even though they are already subsidizing it by fifty percent. They tell me they believe in my book. But apparently not enough to pay for 100% of the promotion.

I have decided to invest in a review service that will cost me about twenty dollars a month. But my confidence is not high. The last time I paid somebody to review a book, they reviewed a book with the same title as mine from a different author. That service still owes me money.

But the only reason it is a problem that I am being thoroughly ignored these days is that an author needs to be read to fulfill his purpose in life. Maybe pictures of pretty girls in this post will help. But, even if they don’t, well, I had their attention once upon a time. And since my purpose as a teacher is already fulfilled, perhaps that will be enough for one lifetime.

3 Comments

Filed under artwork, autobiography, education, humor, Paffooney, publishing, teaching

Mickey is on Twitter

Actually over 3,000 three years after this was originally written.

One of the things I was taught by the good people of I-Universe Publishing is that writers do Twitter. They set me up with a Twitter account that never got followed by real people and got no traction of any definable kind.

There are obviously magic spells out there somewhere that help you sell copies of your beloved first real novel if only you are willing to go on Twitter to engage… to sell yourself and your books… to trolls… and nudists and other writers and nudists who are writers… and, inexplicably, the Norwegian Branch of the Tom Hiddleston as Loki Fan Club. In order to do this, I ended up having to establish my own Twitter account to handle what the I-Universe account couldn’t. What a mistake that was!

I have after nine years finally gotten past the 3,000 follower mark. I have sold a precious few copies of more than one of my books. And I have learned what a horrific alternate universe Twitter actually is.

Trying to sell my books to Twitter followers who seem like the kind of person interested in reading YA novels full of humor and fantasy and goofy stuff, obviously generates more marriage proposals than sales. Really, catfishing women have told me in the DMs that they will come to Texas and marry me if only I give them the proper airfare, even though I am already married and not at all interested in them. It actually took me five marriage proposals to learn how to block somebody.

Apparently, young women on Twitter are looking for husbands and lovers online. If you answer their direct messages thinking they are women interested in your writing, they will aggressively try to convince you that they have fallen in love with you, one even saying this without asking for a better picture of me than the cartoon I use to portray myself. They ignore the fact that you have been married for a quarter of a century. They ignore the protestations that you are only on Twitter to sell books, and they ask you to send them money for an airplane ticket so they can come to where you live and have an affair with you… even though you protest that you are married and don’t have money for airplane tickets even if you wanted to have an affair with a young lady who could be your granddaughter age-wise. One essential function on Twitter is learning how to block someone. Ooh! That was a lifesaver. Learning who not to answer is useful too.

Pirates often take your money via selling you insurance.

And women are not the only ones with dangerous schemes to take your money away from you.

I was Twitter-friended by Arab royalty. Prince Hamdan of Brunei wanted to give me money as part of his charity work to salvage the image of his royal family. He offered to put thousands of dollars of oil money in my bank account just because he liked me and felt sorry for me. All I had to do was give him my online bank account number. I may have told Arabian royalty that I had a fatal disease that made me forget all my bank account numbers and would cause me to die before he could get a reply sent back to me. I stupidly gave him no bank information whatsoever. And my bank account audibly breathed a sigh of relief.

So, I have successfully now used Twitter to sell copies of Snow Babies and Recipes for Gingerbread Children. I have become a member of Twitter’s #writingcommunity. I have also become a member of a group called Writers Without Clothes. (#FF#naturist fiction by: @Mr_Ted_Bun, @buffprofwally, @CalowAndrew, @AuthorMatBlack, @NakedDan, @smdenham3 and @mbeyer51 (growing list!)) They offered me a chance to join their group because they liked the nudists in my book Recipes for Gingerbread Children and because they learned I have written for nudist websites and do much of my writing in the nude. I recently also got a tweet from a fellow author who is reading Snow Babies and loves it. She says it is a well-written book, high praise from another published author.

So, I intend to keep writing… right up until the end… and maybe I can learn how to use Twitter from beyond the grave so I can keep my writing alive and my future ghost-tweets can make you all horrified enough to be compelled to buy my books. They say my books are funny, even the nudist parts, and maybe I can make more Tom Hiddleston jokes to keep that part of my Twitter following happy too.

If you are foolish enough to look for me on Twitter, you can find me at @mbeyer51.

Leave a comment

Filed under humor, novel writing, Paffooney, Pirates, publishing

From a Fairy’s Point of View

Ar·cane

/ärˈkān/adjective

  • 1. understood by few; mysterious or secret:”modern math and its arcane notation”

Yes, “Arcane” is one of those vocabulary words that a former teacher like me needs you to learn in order to appreciate the meaning of this goofy little post Arcane knowledge is something not known to most, and possibly not even understood by science in general. The things I will relate to you in this post were learned the hard way, by capturing, threatening, torturing, and finally bribing with cookies a grumpy, disagreeable, and very, very old Elf Sorcerer named Eli Tragedy. Difficult as he was to talk to until you break out the ginger snaps and macaroons, the old grizzle-grump did have a lot to say about Fairies.

The spell words are…

“I can tell the story from here if you don’t mind. Mickey, you are a gigantic Slow-One nimnul with the thinking capacity of a block of ice in July weather!”

“I would be happy to let you take over the writing, Master Eli. But explain things like what a Slow One is, or a nimnull.”

“I can do that, but I will have to cast certain spells that cause Slow Ones, especially big, dumb nimnul ones like you to have to laugh at what I say in order not to completely forget it. I just now said the secret words aloud to cast the spell, but whoever is reading this won’t be able to remember them being in this paragraph because you didn’t laugh and the spell is working. Don’t believe me? Look at the picture of stupid Bob and brilliant me and read them under our picture. They don’t appear there, do they? See! the spell is working.”

This picture is the perfect encyclopedia illustration of both what a nimnul is, and what a Slow One is.

Nimnul 

– Insult, implying that the one being insulted has low intelligence, roughly akin to “dummy” or “idiot”. (from the Orkan Dictionary as composed by Mork from Ork)

Slow One

-Mild insult- What Fairies call anyone larger than three inches tall and not as quick of mind as the Fey Children (Also known as Fairies, Elves, Sylphs, Butterfly Children, Fauns, Satyrs, Brownies, Knockers, Gnomes, and Whisps- though some Whisps are also almost as dense as a Slow One.)

Dollinglammer, a typical Butterfly Child maiden wearing nothing but her wings and a hair braid.

“Now, if you don’t mind me saying so, the best way to get to the heart of the matter about how Fairies see the world is to call in an actual Fairy to testify. I, of course, am an Elf, and technically one of the Fey Children too. But I know more magic than any of your Slow Ones’ heads can possibly hold. So, I will leave the froofroo and unimportant stuff to this shamelessly and inexplicably naked fairy, Dollinglammer, to explain. (She is my student… far dumber than me… but way smarter than you.”)

“Master Eli, they might like to know how you came by knowledge of their scientific term, “nimnul,” which I cannot tell them, because that was long before I was born.”

“Okay, Dolly. I got that danged Orkan word by watching a TV show in the late 70’s and early 80’s called “Mork and Mindy.” It was a documentary about an alien from the planet Ork who was stranded on this planet that we Fairies call “Middle Earth” and foolishly fell in love with a Slow One female named Mindy. She covered up her entire body with sweaters and coveralls and blue jeans to the point that I have no idea if she was pretty or not, or if so many sweaters made her sweat too much. You can never tell such things by looking at a Slow One’s TV set. The blamed things have no odor-vision function whatsoever.”

“It is a shame that Slow Ones are addicted to wearing clothes and don’t know the joy of flitting about through nature completely and naturally nude.”

“Shut up, Dolly. You do things the opposite way far beyond reason. But, as I was saying… We Fair Folk get to watch TV for free in Slow-One homes. People who are only three inches tall and disguised by magical glammers can seat an entire audience under the legs of Slow-One easy chairs. The only part where we have to pay for the exhibition is the fact that the stupid Slow One always gets to pick what documentaries appear on the screen. That’s how we end up watching goobers like Sean Hannity and that orange-faced guy so much. “

Fairies are much more disciplined than Slow One children are. We have never seen a Slow One child beheaded for talking back to their elders.

“Oh, and tell them about the magical people the little Slow Ones watch on a thing called Cartoon Neckwork!”

“Dolly, you were supposed to be telling them about the whole Fairy point of view thing! And the documentary channel is called Cartoon Network. Though you never see those creatures in the wild. You tell them all about it.”

“Well, you see, on the tellubishion thingy there are magically animated people made from drawings that come to life, with some of them being ducks and rabbits who insult each other, and ducks who wear sailor suits, and Flintstones… whatever they are…”

“Okay, okay… That’s enough of that drabble. I can safely say there are many kinds of magics and miracles that Slow Ones use that we can’t replicate. And we do find cartoons mesmerizing. But that’s all immaterial now. I am not saying one thing more until stupid, Slow-One Mickey finishes making those sugar cookies he promised me.”

If you would like to learn more about it without continuing to make cookies, there is a book about all of this…

Leave a comment

Filed under fairies, humor, Paffooney, publishing

Wrestling with Themes – Part 3

Judging Appropriateness

There are a number of factors that work against me as an author of mostly Young Adult fiction. That can impact acceptable themes in a big way. First of all, I have been inundated with criticisms about portraying nude people and kids who are talking about both nudity and sex.

I suppose this comes about for two main reasons.

Number one, I portray real people I knew during my career as a school teacher. They are portrayed in a way that if they personally read my stories, they will never recognize themselves. I am careful about naming characters, describing characters physically, and portraying real events as they actually happened. All of those things are fictionalized and made unrecognizable through imagination’s magnifying glass.

But the emotional plots, character thoughts, and basic motivations behind real events are accurate assessments of things I was told, things I witnessed, the highs and lows that people really go through, and the discussions I have had about what people, and especially kids, really think about.

Some of the people who read and comment on and even review my books are taken aback at what I am saying kids actually think about and want to act upon. They are comparing kids to an unrealistic, idealized picture of what they believe kids should be. And they don’t want to accept them as they really are.

I write books for the twelve-year-old me.

The Young Adult category of books is written not for children, as many of my critics would have it, but for YOUNG ADULTS. I foolishly believe, then, that I am talking to an audience of teens and preteens who desperately want to read stories about people just like them, confused about the adults they are swiftly turning into. And not all the issues and secrets and desires they are contending with daily are simple, cute, and funny.

I myself was dealing with being a sexual assault victim when I was twelve, not having at that point been taught where babies actually come from, or accurately being told what sex factually was. Misinformation I had in abundance. And everything was colored by a self-hatred that made me burn myself on the heating grate every time I had any sort of sexual urges that I didn’t understand and believed would send me directly to Hell.

Nudity and Naturism are Natural to me

So, as a bookish boy, I really wanted to have a book, or even multiple books that spoke to me about the things that I feared and fed my manic-depressive behaviors.

My life was literally saved by the Methodist minister who was also the father of my best friend when I was twelve. He was the one that presented the facts of life to me and the members of my class who were between the ages of eleven and thirteen. He explained the facts about what sex was, how it worked, and how it could be a good and loving thing. And most importantly, he answered my question about whether thinking about sex would send you to Hell. Midwestern Methodists in the 1960’s were progressive about teaching kids the truth about sex.

I feel now an obligation to treat the subject the same way when it comes up as a theme in some of my stories.

Sex is a serious subject even for young teens.

I got a scathing review on Sing Sad Songs because, while talking about sex, young characters actually admitted to experimenting with sex. The reader was so offended she felt the need to tell everyone who reads Amazon reviews that I was practically a child pornographer. KDP scrutinized this and kinda punished me, lowering the number of stars given by reviewers on two different books, even though punishment is not what their policy indicates is appropriate. This, in spite of the fact that there was no graphic sex scene or concrete descriptions of sex acts in the text. I edited the offensive part out by changing a few words. But it was a thing that shouldn’t have been a thing. Other YA novels, even classic YA novels, do more explicit things than I talked about in the unedited version of the story. It was a prude having an overreaction. And I would’ve loved to have a story with what I wrote in it back when I was a child burning the skin on the back of my legs and lower back over the thought that having sexual thoughts made me a monster.

I am aware that in a book-banning climate currently, my books could be banned.

I am aware that having a transgender character and numerous nudist characters, including a book, A Field Guide to Fauns, set in a nudist park, opens me up to having my own stories become controversial and the subject of book-burning conversations. But this is a thing all authors have to deal with in any case. Popular authors, classic authors, hard-working mid-level authors and other mostly-ignored authors like me all deal with the same thing.

What I write about is not evil and not unprecedented. Others write about the same things I do, some of them better than me, some of them not.

Obviously I need to return to the Hometown Novel timeline to complete the 1990’s in Part 4 if this essay. So, you have been warned.

3 Comments

Filed under autobiography, good books, humor, novel writing, Paffooney, publishing, writing

Taking My Own Temperature

I now have 2,001 followers on WordPress. I’m almost sure my success as a blogger has peaked, but I am still making new readers guffaw, groan, or shout, “Eeuw!” and turn purple in the face. When I checked the history of views and visitors, I noticed that the trend during the height of the pandemic was about 50 or more views, 20 or more visitors, and 12 or more likes. The last two months, after the pandemic was receding in ferocity, I have noticed that the trend had gone down to 50 or less views, 20 or less visitors, and… well, you get the idea. So, I am headed over the hump and onto the downward slope of the bell curve.

I have reached the point of having 20 books published and still in print. Cissy Moonskipper’s novella is book #20. There are, besides that, two books of essays that come directly from this blog, and 17 Young Adult novels. Though, technically I have classified my nudist novel, A Field Guide to Fauns, as an adult literary fiction.

This weekend I finished the completed manuscript for AeroQuest 4 – The Amazing Aero Brothers. It will become book #21,

Of my published books there are 56 reviews that have been accepted as useful and legal by Amazon. They have, for reasons of their own, removed about six reviews, thus resulting in the current number of 56. There should be one more coming via Pubby, and I don’t anticipate they will remove any more of the existing ones… but you never know.

I make about $5 month on royalties. So, I guess my temperature as an author is not exactly hot. My thermometer reads, “Tepid.”

I have been feeling ill today. But my body temperature has not gone above 37.1 Celcius today. My cough has gone away for the most part, and no diarrhea since yesterday. So, I am not hot as a human being either.

7 Comments

Filed under humor, Paffooney, publishing

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..

Leave a comment

Filed under announcement, novel writing, Paffooney, publishing

Novel Tuesday Review

This novel should see publication within a month… or maybe more, depending on how lazy I really am.

For some time now I have been using Tuesdays to show an entire chapter or canto of a novel currently being written. It has resulted in a number of novels being created that I might otherwise have given up on. They may not be my absolute best work, but they are good enough for self-published projects. I have basically been working with novels that needed to be rewritten in order to pass muster with my own in-built “crap detector.” I took apart my first novel, Aeroquest, and turned it into five novels, AeroQuest 1,2,3 and now 4 with 5 soon to begin.

This will be the next novel I take up in this space. It is the tail-end lump of remains of the original novel including the final battle for dominance in the fractured Galtorr Imperium, the rescue of Ged Aero’s infant daughter, the final establishment of the New Star League, and avoiding the destruction of the entire universe in a struggle at the event horizon of a black hole called Little Swirl. I only have to add about 75 percent more detail, action, and event to the story in rewriting it.

You may have also seen other novels come into being in this Tuesday space. Here are the results of those.

These Tuesday posts, then, have been and will continue to be a chance for you to see novels in progress coming together (or failing to come together) as the author (namely nutty old Mickey) works out what they are all about and what happens on the next page written.

Leave a comment

Filed under humor, novel plans, novel writing, Paffooney, publishing, science fiction, self portrait, writing humor