Tag Archives: novel ideas

The Magician’s Spyglass

Val at the barnHere are some of the writing projects I am working on and where they stand in relation to completion;

Snow Babies has been accepted by PDMI Publishing.  I signed the contract this week.  It will become a book both in print and in e-book form.  It is the story of Valerie Clarke (in the Paffooney with the barn and the snow) and four boys who have run away from foster care who are all trying to survive a deadly blizzard in Norwall, Iowa.  I like to say it is a comedy about freezing to death, but it is also much more than that.  You can look for that book to be published within 12 months.



Superchicken is a novel I started writing in the 1980’s.  It is about the secret origins of the infamous gang of Norwall Pirates, a secret society of young boys dedicated to 4-H softball, fighting evil, and seeing girls naked.  Edward-Andrew Campbell, in the Paffooney, is the title character.  Superchicken is his nickname.  He struggles to make a place for himself in the close-knit Iowa farm town where he is the new kid, the weird kid, and the only kid so gone on the subject of superheroes that he doesn’t even notice when the Cobble sisters trick him into going to a nudist camp with them just so they can get revenge and a naked picture of him.  It is not a comedy about freezing to death because, fortunately for Edward-Andrew, it happens in the summer of 1974.  I have finished the manuscript and it has been revised twice.  It is time to start submitting the dang thing.



The Bicycle-Wheel Genius is a novel half-finished in rough draft form.  It is a novel starring Orben Wallace, one of the heroes of Catch a Falling Star and Tim Kellogg, son of an English teacher and also the Grand and Glorious, Mostly Notorious Leader of the Norwall Pirates.  It is a comedy about science and never really knowing what it true and what is actually possible until it has been proven by experiment.  The primary theories involved include the impossibility of time travel, turning rabbits into people, defeating evil government secret agents who want to take away your Tesla ray and intelligent machines, and the answer to the very important questions; “Are all people good?” and “Will you be my friend?”  I hope to have this thing finished shortly after Superchicken gets submitted to a publisher (or two… or seven).

Miss Morgan one


I have also started a novel about being a teacher and fighting the good fight in the war against ignorance.  It is called (as a working title) The Magical Miss Morgan.  It, of course, stars the teacher in the Paffooney, Miss Francis Morgan, who is really me (in a very weird and almost perverted sort of way).  I have two Cantos done on this one.  It may be the next big inspiration after The Bicycle-Wheel Genius.

My Art


The final bit of nutbread I am going to give you a taste of here in this goofy future-looksee postie thingie is the sequel to Catch a Falling Star.  I have written four Cantos in this one (Canto is the inexplicable name I use for chapters in my goofy books).  It follows the aliens after their failed invasion of Earth as they reach and are forced to colonize an even more dangerous planet than Earth (if you can get your mind around such an impossible concept).  It will be called Stardusters and Lizard Men.  I have to confess that I do indeed write more than one story at the same time.  It will probably continue to grow as I write The Bicycle-Wheel Genius and will probably be finished some time after I finish The Magical Miss Morgan.

Now, if you are one of those brave, weird people that actually make it this far in this silly post, I hope I have caught your interest in at least one of these ideas.  If not, I may have scared you off and permanently scarred you.  I apologize.  But if you didn’t read this far, I don’t apologize, because I didn’t actually apologize until the very end.  I’M SORRY!  OKAY?


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Diz, Boz, the Bard, and Me



I wrote the other day about the fact that my writing is music in my head.  Now, I realize there are probably a number of things wrong with my head, and Lord knows, it may truly need a good cleaning… er, well, not a brainwashing if that’s what you had in mind.  No, what I need is to clarify the meaning of what I said, to restate in a less metaphorical and obscure way.

I have this insane notion that I am a good writer.  Believe me, I am aware of the fact that every Indie author with a self-published novel has the same crazy fantasy right now.  I imagine that my humor is like Mark Twain’s, my characterizations like Charles Dickens (Boz), my themes and insights like William Shakespeare (the Bard), and my creativity akin to that of Walt Disney (Diz).

I plan to write about it in a novel that used to be called The Little Boy Crooner, and now labors on under the title Sing Sad Songs… with Clowns.  Don’t be fooled by the fact that I call this idea-thing a novel.  It is not complete.  There is no flesh on the bare bones.  If it were one of the walking dead, it would not even qualify as a zombie.  It is an animated skeleton.  It is a notion about how words and ideas become and are transmitted by musical means.

The main character is a young boy named Francois Martin, the singing clown-boy in the Paffooney above.  He is orphaned by a terrible car wreck in France, then sent to the only living relatives he has, who happen to live in Norwall, Iowa.  Yes, that same goofy little farm town where I grew up and far too many of my novels are set.  The Norwall Martins own the town tavern, where the bachelor head of the family, Victor (also known as the Vicar), is trying to make a go of it by putting in his bar a new-fangled bar-thing called karaoke.

As you’ve probably guessed, Francois, though he is awkward and unable to communicate in English, is a natural at singing karaoke.  He puts on the clown paint and sings for his supper, and brings people into the bar from all across the State, and eventually the whole Midwest.

The clown images come through his connections to the Dreamlands… the same fantasy world of dreams alluded to in the novels of H.P. Lovecraft.  Three clowns, Mr. Disney (Diz), Mr. Dickens (Boz), and Mr. Shakespeare (the Bard) help the boy and his American cousin Billy travel back and forth to the Dreamlands and learn to understand each other in ways that family members should.   I should warn you, the new title reveals the fact that all dreams are not happy dreams and all endings are not happy endings.  But we shall try… Diz, Boz, the Bard, and I.


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