Tag Archives: Superchicken

Characters From Superchicken

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These are a few of the main characters of the old story which is now my newest novel.

Superchicken is Edward-Andrew Campbell.  He is basically a me-character.  His embarrassing nickname, from a Jay Ward cartoon that used to be on TV Saturday mornings, was actually my nickname in junior high and high school.  Many of the emotional changes he goes through and the embarrassments he endures to be a super hero were based on my own experiences.  But he definitely embraces the nickname as his superhero name in a way I can only wish that I did.

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Brent Clarke is the outgoing athlete sort of kid who was definitely not me.  He becomes leader of the Norwall Pirates because he pitched for the softball team, and because anyone who met him naturally assumed he was the most important kid in the group.  Others look to him for leadership even when they don’t need it.  Making friends with Brent is one of the most difficult and important tasks the Superchicken must undertake.

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Milt Morgan is the wizard of the group.  He is obsessed with magic and imagination. And though Brent is nominally the leader of the group, all their evil plans and hair-brained schemes come from Milt’s imagination.  The picture of Milt is drawn from me as a boy, but in reality he is the other Mike from my childhood, the one with a rather tough life and a heart of… well… maybe not gold, but at least silver.  He is also the one who insists on making Edward-Andrew part of the gang.

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The Cobble Sisters, Sherry and Shelly, are a pair of identical twin girls.  They are both nudists at home on the farm place and at the nudist club in Clear Lake.  They are problematic for a shy boy just discovering girls, but Sherry definitely pursues a crush on the Superchicken and tricks him into a family camping trip at the nudist camp.

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Sherry at the Sunshine Club

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Anita Jones is the shy girl who has a crush on the Superchicken.  And he secretly has a crush on her.  But she is also the girl who becomes, completely by accident, the first girl that Edward-Andrew sees naked.  Love and hate, embarrassment and attraction, she is the one girl whose opinion seems to matter most.  I, of course, will never reveal the real life girl she is based on.  I could never live that down, even though we are both now more than sixty years old.

So those are a few of the main characters that make this novel work for me.  They are real people to me now that the novel is written, just as they were once real people when I was a boy and living the nightmare of being a mere boy in a world that needs heroes.

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What We Can’t Keep Mickey From Doing

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Mickey is hopelessly addicted to writing.  He keeps writing and publishing these story-things we refer to as novels.  We are searching for some kind of five-step program to cure Mickey, but we have been forced to conclude the disease is probably incurable.

The book has now gone live on Amazon in its Kindle e-book form.  The paperback version is still pending.

Here’s a link to the book on Amazon.

In an attempt to understand Mickey’s addiction problem from a diagnostic perspective, we intend to present evidence here to arrive at a conclusion about what’s fundamentally wrong with Mickey.

Superchicken, the main character of the book, bears the same nickname that Mickey himself was called repeatedly and without mercy  when he was in junior high school and high school.  Mickey claims that Edward-Andrew Campbell is not him in fictional form, but we find that generally hard to believe, and we can point to considerable evidence that the character has many of Mickey’s own characteristics.  It is disturbing to note that on the cover picture, the derby-hatted character called Milt Morgan in the book, is a self-portrait of Mickey himself drawn from an old school photo.  Milt Morgan in the book is highly imaginative, obsessed with magic, and a creator of truly insane and somewhat wicked plans.  It is disturbingly reminiscent of Mickey himself.

And then there is the whole nudism connection.  The Cobble Sisters in the book are dedicated nudists and manage to talk the Superchicken into going to a nudist camp with their nudist family, though he didn’t know what they were signing him up for until he gets to the campground and sees all the naked people.

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It is not a coincidence that Mickey had a girlfriend whose sister lived in a nudist apartment complex, and he was himself taken by surprise when she took him to visit there.  Besides, Mickey has even confessed in his goofy blog to visiting a nudist camp himself in recent times.

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So, as you can plainly see, we now have new evidence that Mickey is in need of some kind of intervention to help him get over this sinister malady of the mind.  One thing we can do is suggest you find the book on Amazon and read it for yourself.  Maybe, just maybe, you will be the one who comes up with the solution to Mickey’s endless novel-writing nonsense.  This is a problem that may well turn out to be terminal if something is not done about it soon.

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Cover Design

I am the first to admit, I don’t know diddly-sqwoot about effective cover design.  But now, with self-publishing as the only option left to me, I am learning things about publishing that I only ever scratched the surface of in my few college forays into publication design and layouts.  I had some experience publishing junior high yearbooks, (and losing money on something that most teachers lose money on).  And I have gotten a lot of serious criticism from sources that matter to me, like my daughter, the Princess.

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With the novel I have been working on with Kindle Publishing on Amazon in view, I came up with this.  I like it.  But it will not cut the mustard with the Princess.  (She uses a knife on mustard, but lately has given up on eating mustard all together).  So I had to work the idea out further.

I tried this;

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The design is a little better.  But Rowan has become so ratty and run down that I hesitate to use the background which is not much like the Rowan of 1974 when the novel was set.  So I decided to focus on character instead.

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Still needs work, right?  You can no longer see the post office sign in the background.  Sherry is still a small head growing out of Superchicken’s neck.  And Milt Morgan is a good addition, but the purple paisley shirt looks terrible.  And besides, this will not fit the whole cover of the Kindle paperback.

It will end up looking something like this;

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Or not.  Because I am still learning how to do it right, and I still have many more mistakes to make.  But as I finish editing and formatting, the time will come soon to see the proof in the pudding.  (And you better hope I don’t put uncut mustard in the pudding.  That would taste terrible.)

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Nudist Notions

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This nudist camp is entirely fictional.  The actual camp in Clear Lake is a Methodist Youth Camp.

I have learned a lot more about nudists in the last few months than I probably ever wanted to know.  The book I wrote about a boy being invited to go camping with the family of a girl he liked, and then finding out it was a nudist camp, was written as rough draft back in the late 1980’s about life experiences I had in the early ’80’s.  Some things I learned back then have proven to still be true.  Some things have changed.  The things that have changed, are mostly about me.

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Nudist families in touch with nature are beautiful in ways I can’t explain.  It’s not the clothes the wear.

Naturists are happier than normal people.  They shed a lot of their hang ups and worries with their clothes.  Sunshine and cool breezes on bare skin have a healthy psychological effect.  I know this from having experimented myself.  Socially nudists are able to comfortably “live in their skin”.  Their confidence in self translates into sensible nude social behavior.  It is not about sex.  Sex is private behavior to a nudist, not public.  When nudists interact, the conversations occur eye to eye, not eye to somewhere else.  And the acceptance of how others look when naked is a critical factor in nude social interaction being beneficial.  Most nudists are not beautiful or ugly.  They are a spectrum of everything in between.  And they don’t talk about body parts or make comparisons.  Nudist men talk about sports teams and vehicle repair and politics the same way the guys in overalls at the Nutrena Feed and Farm Store.  Nudist women talk about… well, the stuff women talk about in the secret language of women that guys like me don’t understand.

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Sherry Cobble at the Sunshine Club

So those things about the nudist community have not changed over time.  True in the 1960’s is true today.  The thing most of you don’t realize is that there are lot more nudists in the world than you are reasonably ready to admit.  And the nudist community has a lot more old naturists than you probably thought possible.  Naked wrinkles and beer bellies are a thing.

What I have learned about myself by joining the nudist community (though only once at only one of the several nudist camps available in sunny Texas) is that the nakedness and thoughts about nakedness in my novels is there for a reason, and it will not go away.  I am trying to be a Young Adult novelist, which means my novels are basically aimed at a junior high and high school audience.  I have to dance a carefully straight line between the need to be honest with naked reality and Amazon’s prohibition of adult content in YA novels.  Sherry Cobble luring young boys into going camping naked with her family is on that borderline.  It is not sexual content.  But it is naked content and the barriers have been physically set aside.  The humor caused by sexual tension can’t cross the line into bawdy or lewd or pornographic.  Nor would I want it to.

But people who write fiction do it not because it’s fun.  It is necessary.  We have lived lives that leave us damaged in ways that can only be fixed through fiction.  The world has to be reshaped in words by people who can’t live with the world the way it was.  The truth is, I was sexually assaulted when I was a child, one traumatic event that clouded and warped my self-confidence, my sex life, and my self-concept.  Healing has been a life-long process.  In fiction, it means characters having to deal with the naked truth and make peace with it.  This I believe I have done in so many different ways as a teacher, a husband, a father, and a story-teller, that it simply has to be shared.  I will publish Superchicken on Amazon soon, and hopefully Edward-Andrew’s nudist adventure will pass the Amazon test.  I have some nutty nudist notions in my nerdy old noodle, but in a novel, they can all be made new.

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My Latest Novel

I sent this novel to the publisher during the October submission window last night.  I am hoping it will get published and add to my published catalog.  Superchicken was my nickname in high school, so this one is a little autobiographical.  This is also the one where a boy is tricked into going camping with a girl who has a crush on him at a nudist camp.  So it should be noted that some things in this story really happened.  Still this young adult novel is mostly funny, a little serious, and a lot of fantasy.

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The Book of Old Art

I have notebooks full of old drawings of many sorts.  Some novel-related, most not.  Let’s start with my first novel… one not published yet.  I call it Superchicken after the central character.

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And here are supporting characters in various stages of drawing…

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The story-teller character is, of course, the younger version of me.  This story is more than thirty years old.

I have many other drawings of various weird things.  You may notice the signature says Leah Cim Reyeb.  That goofy old etruscan so-and-so is actually me, my name spelled backwards… err… sdrawkcab.

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So… there it is.  A sample of the contents of my old book of art.  I am not completely demented yet, but as you can see… I’m getting there.

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