Tag Archives: Magical Miss Morgan

Novel News

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I was going to tell you a lot about my novel Magical Miss Morgan today.  My computer had other ideas.  I was almost done with the post and working on the final edits when the computer suddenly burped and wiped it all out.  Nothing was saved but the title.  Well, I signed a contract for the novel.  I will tell you more about that  as time goes on.  The computer doesn’t want me to do more today.

class Miss Mcover

 

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“Unfortunately, you are a Writer,” He Said.

I have made up my mind to risk investing more money in getting another book published.  Being an author, especially an unknown Indie author, is really just an expensive hobby.  Even investing in professional editorial services and print-on-demand publishers can’t help you make any money at it, even if you are talented and good at story-telling.  The best I can really hope for is to get my books in print and pray that people will discover them and like them after I die, beaten to death for a crust of bread in debtor’s prison.

So, why would anyone in their right mind want to be a writer?

It is entirely possible that I was simply born that way.  I have been drawing cartoons and telling stories since I was about five years old.  Maybe even before that.  I don’t have many clear memories of my pre-school years.  It is possible that I was lost in a library once… or dropped on my head… or in a library and having a book dropped on my head… something set it off if it wasn’t simply in my genes.

I am planning to publish Magical Miss Morgan with Page Publishing.  They are a pay-to-print publisher who are slightly more affordable than I-Universe that I used to get Catch a Falling Star into print.  I feel like I have to get it published before I die because it is the distillation of my entire life as a classroom teacher.  Books like this are important to me.  In the Bible, there are prophets and holy men who are filled with the Word of God, men like Jeremiah, that claim the Word is burning within them, and will burn its way out of them if they don’t speak it.  My stories that I am working at turning into books are like that.  They are consuming me from the inside out.  I have to get them written and printed if I possibly can.

I have recently tried and failed to get novels like Snow Babies, Magical Miss Morgan, and Superchicken published with publishers that don’t charge for their services.   I got several rejections and one contract that came to nothing because of the economic failings of the publisher.  I have tried being infinitely patient.  It doesn’t work.

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I will try to bargain for the most affordable deal I can to get Magical Miss Morgan into print.  They will apparently let me input artwork into the final cover.  I understand that successful writers tend to starve for at least fifteen years before they see any success and profit.  At best, I have six more years of that to go.  But this, after all, is my life now.  I need to write books and I need to get them published.  I am, unfortunately, a Writer.

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Spitzen Sparkin Time Again

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Today I need to take some deep breaths.  My computer betrayed me just now.  I had been working on today’s intended post for a week with pictures and posing dolls and writing dialogue.  Then, as I was one more panel from the end, the computer pulled another one of its malfunctioning fits.  In a matter of two seconds it highlighted everything I had written on the WordPress writer, deleted it, and saved the changes.  This is now the seventh time the computer has done this.  And I have gotten used to it enough that I have bits and pieces of the work saved.  I can re-construct the piece for tomorrow.  But I was almost angry enough to dash the stupid word-munching machine against the far wall.  So I need calming thoughts.

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Here is a recent picture of a visitor to the park across the street.  A snowy egret… well, in Texas, more properly called a cattle egret.  I snapped this picture while walking the dog.  Jade the dog did not even spook the thing, since she is littler than it is and timid of birds with glaring yellow eyes.  I didn’t realize I had a use for this picture until now.

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Calming thoughts are doubly necessary today.  While I was composing my post, and ignorantly being unaware that my computer was about to eat it, I got a phone call from Page Publishing.  They have looked over the manuscript for Magical Miss Morgan, and have approved it for publication.  Of course, this is not only not a publisher that pays anything up front, they also require the author to invest money in the book’s production.  But they did tell me they do consider using the author’s own artwork for the cover.  And I do have credit again for the first time in three years, at least until Bank of America bankrupts me with their lawsuit.  The dawn photos I put into this post are particularly appropriate.  Calming thoughts with a bit of turbulence in the background.  And the computer tried twice to delete this while I wrote it.  But I foiled it each time.

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Pessimism as a Super Power

 

Castle Cardboard 2

The Cardboard Castle at its current state of completion. I built this thing from Ritz Cracker boxes and a wooden bird house.

I have shared before the fact that those of us who are pessimists are never unpleasantly surprised.  We plan for failure, and cannot be destroyed by the worst that can happen.  Being indestructible is a very good thing.  In fact, it is a super power, just like the Incredible Hulk or something.

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Yesterday a year’s worth of work and waiting came to an end.  I reached the final round of the Chanticleer Book Reviews’ Rosetti Awards for YA novel writing.  I had a second chance to win a prize and a second chance to be noticed by literary agents, publishers, and the reading public.  But it ended the same way as the first chance did.  Magical Miss Morgan didn’t win.

So, I have to rely on my super powers once again to navigate my way through the dark valleys where a body lands once we fall off the mountain we are climbing.

I spent a good deal of time this weekend doing little things to make myself feel better.  I worked on my cardboard castle project.  I took my daughter, the Princess, on a daddy-daughter date.  We saw a very good movie, The Good Dinosaur from Pixar, and we had dinner at a Steak n’ Shake in Plano, Texas.  Last night my wife and I watched the finale of Downton Abbey on PBS.

the-good-dinosaur-story

I am not devastated.  I didn’t win.  I didn’t get the boost I had hoped for in marketing and publication and seeing my stories in print.  But the book still exists.  There are still ways to get it published.  And I still believe it is a very good piece of writing.

Cool School Blue

So being a pessimist and preparing for the worst held up as a super power.  I should get a black cape and black tights.  Gloomy Man to the rescue!  Villains and opposers will find me indestructible.  I will find a way to save the day!

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A Miss Morgan Sampler

Miss Morgan one

 

I told you yesterday the wonderful news about my novel, Magical Miss Morgan.  Since I am still celebrating that, I thought I would share a little peek into that competition novel.  This is chapter two, called a canto in Mickey-speak.  And though it is not the first chapter, it is the place where the largest pile of main characters are introduced.  Chapter one is full of fairies mucking about and searching for a human to help save their kind.

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Canto 2 – Miss Morgan’s Class

“All right, kiddie-winkies,” said Miss Morgan, “now that we have the space for our talking circle created, we must take off our shoes and socks.  Bare feet only!”

“Why must we do that, Miss M?” asked Blueberry Bates, a cute little brown-eyed girl with a very concerned scowl.

Miss Morgan loved the Six-Twos better than any of her other classes… and that was saying something because she really loved them all.  Six-Two, however, had the most Norwall kids in it of all her classes, and Norwall kids were a little more imaginative and empathetic than the Belle City kids, or the Goodwell kids, or the Klemmens kids.  Those other little towns were charming, but not nearly so wondrous.  Besides, she had once been a Norwall kid herself.  It was a very special little Iowa farm town to Miss Morgan, and it meant more to her than all the other three towns in the rural school district combined.

“Who can tell Blueberry why we have to have bare feet for this discussion?” Miss M asked the whole group.

“Well,” said Mike Murphy, a Norwall rapscallion and a Pirate, “we’re studying the Hobbit by Tolkien.   Hobbits all go barefoot all the time.”

“Very good, Michael.  He’s right.  But why does it help for us all to be barefoot?”

“Maybe it helps us feel like the main character Bilbo,” said Billy Klatthammer, the plump son of the Klemmens, Iowa farm implement king.

“Right.  But why is it important to feel like Bilbo?”

“He’s an every-man character,” said Frosty Anderson, a Norwall farm kid.  “We have to identify with him as we travel through the world of Middle Earth.  He’s supposed to be just like us.”

“My, my… Someone was listening when I was talking about the book yesterday.  Thank you very much, Forrest.”

“And I think,” said Barbie Andersen from Belle City, “that people are more sensitive when they are barefooted.   You want us to feel what Bilbo feels and think like Bilbo thinks.”

“That’s very good, Barbie.  I hadn’t thought of that.”

“The real reason,” said Tim Kellogg, Norwall boy and most difficult child in the class, “is that you like the smell of stinky feet.”

Everyone burst out in a belly laugh, including Miss Morgan.

“Okay,” said Miss Morgan, “Now that I can smell all of your stinky feet, I need you to gather around in a circle.  As we take on each question from the study guide, we will go around the circle and get an answer or a comment from each of you.  We will talk about each question until everyone has said at least one thing and we have made an agreement on what the best answer is.”

At that moment, the first-year teacher from next door appeared in the doorway.  “Miss Morgan,” said Miss Krapplemacher, “the noise from this classroom is eroding my standards of discipline again.”

“I’m sorry, Miss Abby,” said Miss Morgan, smiling and speaking through gritted teeth.  She resisted the urge to call her Miss Krabby, the way all Krabby’s science students did.  Miss Krabby insisted on a silent classroom and made students fill out worksheets all period.  “We will try to be quieter.  We are doing a discussion assignment, though.”

“Well, okay.  But stifle the laughing.  It’s hard to achieve serious learning with all the laughing going on next door.”

“We promise we will only talk about depressing things this period,” piped up Tim Kellogg.  “No more laughter this period.”

Bless the little black-hearted teacher’s kid.  Yes, Tim’s father was a teacher, one of the main reasons that Tim was difficult to handle.  Miss Morgan silently appreciated the imp with his special insight into teacher-buttons as Miss Krapplemacher made vibrating fists with both hands and stormed out.  Tim was Miss Krabby’s least favorite science student of all time.

*****

Donner n Silkie

I do promise you too that this book is a fairy tale as well as a story about being a school teacher in the United States.  I have included a Paffooney of Donner and Silkie in this post to show you what some of the main fairy characters look like.  You have to imagine them as less than three inches tall, however, because fairies are no longer big in the modern world.

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Wonderful News!

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My novel, Magical Miss Morgan, in manuscript form has made it to the final round in the Chanticleer Book Reviews’ novel-writing contest called the Dante Rossetti Awards for Young Adult Novels 2015.   It is listed as one of 29 finalists that have been identified so far, and this year the competition judges are still reviewing manuscripts for possible inclusion in the field of finalists.  The judging has actually run past the announcement deadline.  So it is a large field to compete against for the actual prizes, but it is a huge honor to make it this far.

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The Finalists Authors and Titles of Works that have made it to the Short-list of the Dante Rossetti 2015 Novel Writing Contest are as of Dec. 15, 2015. (Please check back often as we are still processing the Rossetti 2015 Finalists. We will add OFFICIAL FINALIST POSTING to this post when it is complete. Thank you for your understanding.)

  • Gail Selvig for O.W.L.S. and Other Creatures of the Night
  • Luke Evans for Hex
  • Jo Swanson for The Last Rodeo in Kingdom Come
  • Lis Anna-Langston for Tupelo Honey
  • KB Shaw for Neworld Series
  • Alix Nichols for What If It’s Love
  • Glen Alan Burke for Jesse
  • Ben Hutchins for Lackawanna
  • Jesse Atkin for  The Flying Man
  • Verity Croker for May Day Mine
  • Robert Joseph for Long Ago and Far Away
  • Aiden Riley for The Red
  • Pamela Beason for Race with Danger
  • Melissa A. Craven for  Emerge: The Awakening
  • Nikki McCormack for The Girl and the Clockwork Cat
  • Patrick Hodges for Joshua’s Island
  • Michael Burnam, MD for The Last Stop
  • Kathe Maguire for The Harriet Club
  • Suzanne de Montigny for The Shadow of the Unicorn II: The Deception
  • Laurisa White Reyes for Memorable
  • Mike Hartner for I, Mary: Book 3 in the Crofter Saga
  • Olivia Wildenstein for Ghostboy, Chameleon & the Duke of Graffiti
  • Suzanne de Montigny for The Shadow of the Unicorn II: The Deception
  • Stephanie DeLuca for Pilgrims 
  • Danielle Burnette for The Spanish Club
  • Cody Wagner for Camp NO Where – A Healing Home for Gay Kids
  • Michael Beyer for Magical Miss Morgan
  • Michael Sarrow for Mistress of Marrowglen

LIST TO CONTINUE — Thank you for your patience. We are working through the Dante Rossetti entries for 2015. 

This marks the second time one of my works has gotten this far in a writing contest.  In 2013 I was able to get my novel Snow Babies on an even shorter short list of finalists, though it did not win any of the available prizes.  But Snow Babies is now soon to be a real book published by PDMI LLC publishers.  I have hopes that before too much longer, Magical Miss Morgan will be too.

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Mickey’s Blue Summer

The SuckerOkay, this is not going like I had hoped.  Medical bills are overwhelming.  Impacted molars are going to cost my family over three thousand dollars when we still can’t afford bills of bigger than 50.  And I got word today that I did not win in the Chanticleer Book Reviews novel-writing contest.  I was beaten out for the prize by Elisabeth Hamill’s book Song Magick.

I am bummed out.  It is not that I expected to win that contest, but Magical Miss Morgan is a better book than Snow Babies, and that one at least made the list of finalists.  I seem to be getting further away from the goal.  If I placed, or got a prize in that contest, I would at least get the attention of literary agents and big publishers.  Perhaps it is God’s wish that I remain an unknown novelist who makes no money at writing.  It is consistent with His divine sense of humor.  The angels get a good laugh whenever I fall on my figurative face for wishing too hard for money and success.  God wants people to be happy being poor.  Right?  That’s what Republican politicians in Texas keep saying.

But if I keep playing the same sweet-sad songs and singing in the lonely darkness… at least I can make a melody or two that lifts the souls of my fellow dwellers in the dark.

MaxP

But, wait a minute… something is not right here!  Why are the winners the same ones they told me about a couple of months ago?  Ms. Hamill’s book is also listed on this… 2014 list?  Did I jump the gun?  Look at this list for me; Dante Rossetti Awards

Am I wrong, or does that say these are the 2014 winners?  There’s the due date by which I sent in my novel for the NEXT COMPETITION in 2015!  That means I won’t actually hear about my novel until next summer!  Hang dang it!  Both bad news and good news in one fell swoop. So, I am not out of the running yet.  Perhaps there is time to do more and be more and write more after all!

Francois spotlight

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