Tag Archives: Magical Miss Morgan

The Amazing Mickey in the Fortress of Self-Imposed Solitude

“Yeah, not exactly superhero-like, I know. My only super powers are teaching Middle-School kids and writing Indie YA novels. And those are powers that are easily ignored by the truly evil ones,” said Mickey, as if there were actual wisdom in his stupid, purple Mouse-Head.

“Well, you did write a pretty good novel in that last teacher story you wrote. It might make a difference if a few of the right people read it and understand what you are trying to say about education.”

“You’d have a pretty good point there if anybody ever read the danged thing. I have given away paperback copies, and now it’s free this weekend while so many people are stuck at home with lots of reading time and no reason not to click on the link to get it free for their Kindle or free Amazon cloud reader. Of course, it hasn’t even been reviewed one time. Not even by Page Publishing who supposedly edited and printed it before I moved it to Amazon.” Mickey had an ironic twinkle in his eye as he said it.

“Mickey, you are not very good at promoting your books. It is day two of the free book promotion, and you have only given away four copies.”

“I know, I know…” he said with a sigh. “But it is a pretty good story. The title character teaches English to sixth graders. And she is not only tasked with teaching some unique and somewhat challenging kids in the classroom, but she has to deal with difficult parents, an even-more difficult principal, and the fact that her little brother grew up to be a wizard and told the local invisible fairy kingdom that she was the key to helping them defeat the chaotic forces of evil from the fairy realm. You know, the same problems almost every teacher has.”

“It sounds like a book worth reading. And I should know. I have read the danged thing completely from beginning to ending about seven times. Of course, five of those times was because I wrote the previously-danged thing and needed to proofread it more than twice.”

“So, I am now trying to exert the full might of the Mickey and his miraculous super powers on you, the wonderful few who will actually read this dumb blog this far, but still haven’t clicked on the link. It is free, after all. What do you really have to lose?” Mickey shouted into the air of the internet.

Crickets were all we heard on this end.

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Something Unexpected

I finished up a final proofread and formatting project on the novel I am re-publishing on Amazon, Magical Miss Morgan.

And, you know what? The story made me cry again. An unbroken record. It is about the fifteenth time I read through it. And every single time, the little three-inch-tall fairy is killed again, and I can’t keep my eyes dry.

He’s not even based on a real person as so many of my characters are. It’s not like it is someone I know and love. It’s a fairy. Not even remotely real. And I’m the one who decided he had to die in the story because because good comedy stories always end with at least one main character dying… Don”t they?

Mike Murphy and Blueberry Bates

But I can’t help feeling things about the characters in my stories. I don’t love them all. I hate some of them. But, they’re the ones you are supposed to hate. They are villians, bad guys, characters based on real people who hurt me in real life.

Silkie and Donner are fairies.

It’s not just my stories that make me feel. I have read Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities twice, and both times Sydney Carton made me cry. I read Dickens’ Old Curiosity Shop only once. And Little Nell made me cry so hard I could never reread that book. And there’s Simon in The Lord of the Flies, and, of course, the old Yeller dog in Old Yeller by Fred Gipson… I’m a sucker for heroic deaths and tragic losses. They touch and twist my little blue heart.

Miss Francis Morgan, school teacher

But I cried for the fifteenth time, and I survived it. I will probably cry again if I read it again. That is what life is like. That is what fiction is for. To make me think and feel and… love.

Magical Miss Morgan will soon be back in print.

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Staying Published

I am no longer willing to rely on the definition of the words, “traditional publishing”, anymore. My book, Magical Miss Morgan, is now out of print because Page Publishing has a need to charge me for keeping my book on their Print-on-Demand paperback book machine and in their e-book database . I paid those parasites to edit and publish my book. They made money off a totally incompetent job of editing, trying to pass off incorrect proofreading whose corrections all had to be re-corrected by me. Their publishing consisted basically of buying me an ISBN number and providing the same level of publishing services as Amazon does for free.

The cover was basically designed by me. I did the drawings and photoshopped them onto the background. They provided the the Title/Author graphic.

So, really, I paid them close to three thousand dollars for things I had to do myself anyway.

Well, I own the rights completely to the formatted manuscript and the cover. I spent three months getting it all legally returned to me, which they could’ve done in a week if my case manager hadn’t gotten married in the middle of the process. I am obviously not entitled to special treatment of any kind, since I wasn’t willing to pay their pointless maintenance fees.

I will now republish this book on Amazon and never again publish anything where I rely on anybody but me in the process. It is a very good story about a Middle School English teacher who is a combination of me and a female colleague who was a very gifted teacher. It also tells a tale of making reading assignments such a magical experience that fairies invade your classroom. It was a contest novel that didn’t win anything but made it to the finals in the judging. Nobody reads my books because I have no means of effectively marketing them, but this is one of my best and deserves to be available for as long as I can make it so.

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Really? …Fairies?

Donner n Silkie

I have always thought of myself as a science fiction writer.  I admit that in 2006 I realized that my province was not serious science fiction, but rather humor-driven science fiction.

In 2015 I wrote Magical Miss Morgan, a novel about being a teacher, but basically also a fairy tale.  So, I guess, with fairies invading my fiction and magically taking over at least half the stories they are part of, I am turning into a fantasy humorist rather than a straight science fiction writer.

I am at the moment re-reading my novel Magical Miss Morgan for Goodreads.com now that it has reached publication in 2018.  I am experiencing all the cringes and all the “oh, no!’s” of being a writer in print.  You end up thinking, “How could I have been so stupid as to write THAT?” way more often than is good for your continued mental well-being.  But I am also still tickled by and laughing at the best jokes and funnies in the novel, at least enough to know it is (however self-delusional it is to say this) still a good book.

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But that book is not the end of the fairy invasion.  Oh, no.  In 2016 I wrote the book Recipes for Gingerbread Children.  This book was not only about an old German woman and holocaust survivor who is a very good teller of fairy tales, but also about the fairies of Tellosia who live nearby and invisibly attend to her constantly.  She even creates for them a whole race of magical gingerbread men fairies.

This book is currently a part of the Inkitt novel contest and is available to read for free on their site this month.  Here is the link; Recipes for Gingerbread Children.  You can actually read the whole thing, and hopefully review it to help me get the needed buzz to get it published through Inkitt.

So, why fairies?  I have to admit… I don’t know.  I think I have been be-spelled, bewitched, and serious glammered with pixie dust.

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Mickey Makes Novel Magic

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Yep, it happened today.  A box of ten books arrived from my publisher.  Magical Miss Morgan has reached the published stage finally.  It will hit the bookstores saying, “first edition; 2018”.    I struggled long and hard for two years to accomplish this.  I did practically all the work myself.  Even the cover is my artwork.  I don’t know how to explain the author feeling it gives me, but those of you who are published know what I mean.

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It may not be perfect, (Blueberry has branches with leaves on them growing out of her head), but it is beautiful to me.  I approved it for the final time today.  It goes to Amazon and Barnes and Noble soon.  Don’t know when… but they tell me soon.

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So, do I recommend Page Publishing?  I do not.  But they did get it into print and into stores for me.  And they also convinced me to self-publish from here onward.  And I love this book.  It makes me happy.  Even if all the money I spent on it was for nothing and I am the only one who will ever read it cover to cover.  I gave my daughter a free copy of it.  She might read it.  Someday.  If the internet dies and nothing good ever comes on Netflix again…

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Updates and Transitions

I still can’t believe my hockey team, the St. Louis Blues, lost to that upstart Nashville team whose logo is a cross between a cat and a beaver with really bad teeth problems.  But that was the other post for today.

I am probably going to kick the bucket soon.  I hate that bucket.  I just don’t like it. But in spite of impending doom for me and the world in general, I am making some changes.  After all, life is change.  We can either change or be dead.  And I am definitely not going to kick that bucket today, no matter how grumpy its existence makes me.

One change I have made is in Toonerville.  I finished snowing all over Al’s General Store.  I added two kids and their cat on the bench outside (in short pants during a winter scene… stupid kids) and fat old Huckleberry Wortle on the front steps looking for someone to play checkers with and tell lies to.  But don’t offer to be the one playing checkers with Huck.  He’s a conservative Republican with Tea Party leanings, and he will tell you things about Obama, government, and people in general that will make you so mad that you will want to go to the bench and kick the kids’ cat.

Toonerville is undergoing a winter renovation.  If I ever get to rebuild the layout, it will now have snow where grass used to be the plan.  It is still temporarily in storage on streets that are really book shelves.  And the Trolley goes nowhere.

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I have also been experimenting with shifting focus, as you can tell by the blurry trolley and track light in the foreground.

In addition to photography, I am making changes to my publishing directions.  I recently bought a subscription to a video-editing program and now intend to inflict Mickey-made videos to my blog.  To be completely honest, I made the purchase at the begging of my daughter who was using the free trial for a school project and ran out of free before she ran out of ideas.  Sound genetic to you, does it?

I have been forced to make publishing changes.  I am almost done paying the huge penance for publishing Magical Miss Morgan with Page Publishing.  That is a mistake that won’t be repeated.  I will self-publish from here on out.  After MMM, I will attempt to publish Snow Babies via Amazon.

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My current manuscript, The Baby Werewolf, is undergoing forced changes as well.  The primary factor here is my unique ability to lose things all together.  Two of the three parts of the original hand-written manuscript are now missing, and have been since we moved to Dallas in 2004.  Bummer.  Coatimundies from South Texas are probably reading it, laughing up a storm, and cursing me for not having lost part three along with the rest of it.  They surely can’t wait to find out what happens.  But since I have to do it all from memory, it will be different from what they read.

And even though writing a blog post every day is hard, I have decided it is worth it to continue.  After posting every day for thirty consecutive months, I have learned that the practice not only sharpens my basic writing skills, but also generates more ideas than it consumes.  I am a writer because I write.  And continuing to write makes me even more of a writer.  So the madness will continue.

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Filed under autobiography, feeling sorry for myself, goofy thoughts, humor, Paffooney, photo paffoonies, sharing from YouTube, Snow Babies, Toonerville, Trains, work in progress, writing, writing humor

The Moaning Writer

david-c2

I am not Charles Dickens.  I wish I were.  I want to be a writer of wry humor, social commentary, and have an effect on the soul of the world I live in.  The way he was.  Heck, Dickens invented Christmas the way we do it now (with considerable help from department stores like Macy’s) by writing A Christmas Carol.  But the chances for that are growing ever dimmer.

The small publisher with which I was associated, and who gave me a contract to publish Snow Babies, has died.  The business folded while my novel was still in the editorial phase.  PDMI Publishing was a worthy group of writers and entrepreneurs who in a different time might’ve gone far.  I know by reading some of their works that they had talent.  But between the ferocious grip of the mega publishers and the waves upon waves of self-published stuff on Amazon, real writers with talent are drowning in a sea of mediocrity and media indifference.  Writers who succeed are the ones with the most luck or the most direct connections to the gate keepers.  Profit is far more important than literary merit.  You don’t really have to have talent any more.  You don’t have to know what a split infinitive is or how to compose a compound sentence properly or how to spell.  Shoot, you barely have to know how to write.  Just write about sparkly teenage vampires falling in love with high school girls or sexual perverts who are into torture devices, and you can be a millionaire… if you can somehow luck out over the millions of wannabes writing the same exact crap.

There was a time when writing teachers and published authors were telling me that sooner or later good writing gets published.  It was supposed to be inevitable.  But that was a different time than now.  Different rules for the game.  I will have two published books with two different publishers.  I-Universe published Catch a Falling Star.  And Page Publishing will publish Magical Miss Morgan.  But I paid both of those publishers to turn my books into published paper books with ISBN numbers and access to customers of Barnes and Noble and other outlets.  But I don’t expect to earn the money back that I invested.  Not while I’m still alive at least.

My Art 2 of Davalon

My I-Universe publishing experience was worth it.  I spent a lot of money to get Catch a Falling Star published, but I got to work with real editors and advisers who had experience working for Knopf and Random House.  They gave me a real evaluation of my work and taught me how the business of promoting the book was supposed to work.  And the help that they gave me ended there.  No advertising budget beyond what I could afford myself.  I learned a lot for my money.  But I had to come to terms with the fact that marketing was going to take more time and effort than I was physically capable of doing.  I have six incurable diseases and am a cancer survivor after all.

Page Publishing was a mistake.  They were cheaper than I-Universe, but I am not getting anywhere near the value for my money.  Instead of real editors reading and suggesting and modifying my work, I get nit-picky grammar Nazis who don’t even know as much about grammar as I do.  They are only copy editing.  And the last rewrite was me spending time changing all the incorrect changes they made back to the original text.  They did not even tell me the name of the editor making the changes.  I talked to the I-Universe editors over the phone and discussed changes in detail.  Page gives me email copies to read over and fume about silently.  They are no better than the vanity presses of old who were really no more than a re-typing and printing service.

So, from here on, I will only do the self-publishing options available through Amazon.  I have no more money or energy to spend on the black hole of literary dreams.

I can’t help but be a writer, though.  That part is genetic.  I will continue to write and tell stories that I need to tell.  I can’t help it.  Not to do so will cause me to shrivel and die almost instantly.  And I am only exaggerating just a little bit.  Well, maybe a lot.  But it is still true.

Whatever promises the future holds, I am not depending on them for my feelings of success, closure, and self-worth.  The world as I have come to know it will always be a ridiculous stew-pot of ideas and ego and cow poop, and I am not so much giving up as stepping out of the stew.  I wish to tell stories for the story’s sake.  I have no delusions of becoming as wealthy as Stephen King or J.K. Rowling.  I will never be Charles Dickens.  And I am okay with that.

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