27 May 2010

Junebug Journal, Special Edition #02 (AR), 13 May 2013

Dear NEVЯLANDers and Those Who are NEVЯLAND Curious:

Chad Chapman, Jr., who took over publication of the Junebug Journal when his father (Chad Chapman, Sr.) disappeared along with the other adults, has announced that Special Edition Issue #02 (AR) will be published this Saturday evening, 29 May 2010--which is Monday, 13 May 2013, in the NEVЯLAND time line.

You'll be able to read the Special Edition Issue #02 (AR) at http://nevrland.info/journal.html

This issue, which is labeled Junebug Journal, Special Edition Issue #02 (AR), will feature interviews with several of the remaining Children--what they think happened, where they think their parents and the other adults went, why only Children 17 and under were left behind, and what they think will happen next.

Click on the image to read the first Special Edition.

Make sure to invite your other Facebook Friends who are not citizens of NEVЯLAND yet to read this very Special Edition.

Some questions will be answered. More questions will arise.

See you on the bookshelves,

Larry Mike

24 May 2010

Building My Own Frankenstein

NEVЯLAND has taken on a life of its own. As I progress on this Work-in-Progress, a momentum I hadn't expected has started moving the story forward.

In one week, the
NEVЯLAND Facebook Group grew to 266 members. We're now sitting at 271. The goal is to reach 1,000 by August.

To promote a personal interest in the story, I address members as NEVЯLANDers. If fact, the first fifty to join the NEVЯLAND Facebook Group have been given special privileges and deals. I'll offering similar privileges and deals when I reach the first 500.

I've also started publishing the Junebug Journal. Each edition will have news about the children and how they are handling the story. I'll introduce characters, some major, some minor, and some who will appear only in the Journal's weekly articles.

My intent is allow the first readers to be as much a part of the story and the process of writing the tale as the characters are.

Although I know many writing friends who would think my approach is crazy--to put my first drafts out for the world to see in all their naked primordial glory--would be crazy or suicide or both.

One of my writer's superstitions had been keeping my projects Top Secret.

I've changed that.

I've discovered I like to talk out my ideas, to get feedback and reactions, to measure the quality of the tale.

I don't mean that I'm going to apply all the suggestions the first readers send my way--but, feedback is feedback, and I'll glean the constructive ones out of the silly ones.

I'm building my own Frankenstein Creature.

But, unlike poor, stupid Victor, I'm not going to abandon my Creation--my Creation won't become a Daemon.

Rather, I will be the good father and make sure NEVЯLAND is raised as it should be--with discipline, care, and love.

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike

NEVЯLAND—The Making of Literary Sausage

Dear Curious Reader:

Imagine watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel, starting with the blank ceiling, adding the outline to the figures of God and Adam at the moment of Human creation, and then as he slowly added hue and texture to each scene until he produced one of the greatest works of art in history—the story of Human creation and even destruction in one tiny space in the Universe.

Imagine listening to the first version of “Please, Please Me”, the Beatles first big hit. I’ve heard it. The original is slow, lumbering through a maudlin strain of boy-loves-girl teenage angst. It wasn’t very good until they sped it up and added tonal color to produce a celebration of boy-girl teenage love.

Or, imagine watching a building go up, from ground breaking through foundation laying to framing, and then finally the building is finished. We’re doing that now at Altus High School as we witness a nearly 80-year-old building being transformed to meet the needs of 21st Century students.

And when the project is done—whether the Sistine Chapel, a great hit song, or a new building—it all looks like magic.

That’s what writing is—hard work that looks like magic in the end. Nathaniel Hawthorne said, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.”

And how many of us have read a good book and said, “That’s easy. I can do that.”

Lebron James makes “easy” clutch shots, eh?

Most readers don’t get the inside look at the making of a novel.

Maybe they shouldn’t. Maybe making a novel, like making sausage, isn’t something people should witness. I love sausage, but I really don’t want to see the butchering, the skinning, the gutting, hack-hack-hacking, and then the squeezing into the casings.

It’s not a pretty sight.

That’s what this is: NEVЯLAND—The Making of Literary Sausage.

I know what you're thinking: Wow! This guy is something else. He's comparing himself to Michelangelo, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and Frank Lloyd Wright.

No. I'm just using those greats as examples to get your attention, to help those of you who are not writers better understand that no finished work of art or craft comes easily or appears as if by magic, that even the great artists and artisans start from a spark of an idea and go through the phases of butchering, skinning, hack-hack-hacking, and then squeezing into the casing to produce their best work..

Yes, I'm confident in my story—my characters, my plot, my conflicts, my over all scheme—enough so to share it with anyone who wishes to witness the making of NEVЯLAND from the beginning.

And I realize that others look at this confidence as arrogance or even conceit. So be it.

This is new to me, too. I'll stumble in the process. Unlike others, I'm stubborn enough to get up and keep troupering on until I reach the end, one way or another.

Will you like the story? Reading is subjective. Either you will like it or you won't. Or, you'll be stuck between liking and disliking. Maybe you won't like the way it is told. Maybe I use too many adjectives. Maybe I don't use enough adjectives. Maybe I don't show enough or I tell too much. We'll see.

Let me know what you think. You won't hurt my feelings. Well, maybe just a little, but I opened myself up to the slings and arrows.

Even cooks at five-star restaurants have their critics and detractors. I'm no different.

In my previous publications, I've received raves, and I've received rants. It happens. I live with the fact that not everybody will like me, like what I do, like what I create. And this gives me the freedom to go ahead and create freely without the fetters or manacles of popular opinion.

I do welcome feedback—both praise and problems. Something you may not know is that writers don't write in a vacuum. They workshop their tales, letting others read bits and pieces and wholes, receiving feedback, changing and shaping their tales until it's «readable».

While a writer writes first to please himself, he writes secondly (more importantly) to please the reader. A writer without a reader is like an ocean without a shore upon which to crash it's mighty waves majestically.

Here's the link: NEVЯLAND (RAW) Chapter 01

Read well. Read faithfully. Just Read.

Thank you for allowing me into your crowded space of time. I am most grateful and humbled indeed.

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike

23 May 2010

Extra! Extra! Read All about It!

The new version of the Junebug Journal is now out--the one announcing the disappearance of all adults over 18 years.

Click on the image to go the Junebug Journal web page.

A new edition will be published each Sunday evening.

Each edition will have news about the Event itself, characters, how the children are handling the situation, and what they think has caused the disappearance.

Each edition will contain clues to the story and provide insights only subscribers to this blog and Facebook Group NEVЯLANDers.

Pictures will also be featured!

Enjoy the newspaper.

Don't forget to join the NEVЯLAND Facebook Group!

Take care,

Larry Mike

22 May 2010

Busy, Happy Week & New Website

Busy week.

Semester Exams.

Final Grades.


Work in Progress.


New Website for NEVЯLAND. Not much, but a beginning.



And, I’ve had a hacking cough for three weeks that sounds like I’m a thirty-year smoker and is keeping me up late at night.

So, today, I’ve worked for several hours, and it’s time to quit.

Wife’s been working on the fixings for the BBQ. She’s got the meat ready.

And now it’s time for me to do some cooking.


But relaxed.

And happy with the week’s accomplishments.

My Facebook Group page for NEVЯLAND went from 0 to 266 members in six days.

I'm happy about that.

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike

16 May 2010

NEVЯLAND Soundtrack: AC/DC - Thunderstruck

I'm in one of those moods.

The words are pounding out like thunder and flashing across the page like lightening.

Nothing more thrilling than directed and intense creativity!

AC/DC Joins the NEVЯLAND Soundtrack

Another theme song for the NEVЯLAND Soundtrack: AC/DC's "Highway to Hell".

This version features the original AC/DC singer and was one of my favorite headbanging songs way back in 1979--when I was but a lad of 24!

I'm still that lad, and I'm still headbanging--it's cool feeling my brain sloshing against the sides of my skull!

Do you have a suggestion for the NEVЯLAND Soundtrack?

Send it to me.

I've already got "The End" by The Doors along with "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC.

The song doesn't have to be a death song, a metal song, or a headbanger.

Just a song you think would be a part of the NEVЯLAND Soundtrack.

See on the bookshelves--and in the music stores!

Larry Mike

To Hell with Suspense

The genius of Story is not in how much a writer does, but in how little.

The job of a confident writer is not to include a single word to simply keep the reader’s attention.

He reduces each scene to its essence, and keeps the reader there just long enough for the reader to contemplate it, to inhabit it in Imagination.

suspenseTo hell with suspense.

The reader wants understanding.

Story is not concerned with thrilling the reader, but with inspiring the reader with awe and wonder.

See you on the book shelves.

Larry Mike

15 May 2010

NEVЯLAND--The Contest

Everyone loves a winner, and everyone loves to win!
To promote NEVЯLAND--The Novel WIP, I'm having a series of contests.
Here's the first contest I'm having:
The first person to refer ten of his/her Facebook friends to NEVЯLAND--The (WordPress) Blog or NEVЯLAND--The (Facebook) Group will get a signed hardcopy of the first draft of NEVЯLAND--The Novel WIP!
You May already Be a Winner!You'll have to keep track of which of your FB Friends join The Group or The Blog and send me their names when you reach ten.

When you notice that ten of your Facebook Friends have joined The Blog or The Group, email me with their names, and I'll confirm you as a winner.

Check back often for updates for other NEVЯLAND--The Novel WIP Contests!

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike Garmon

13 May 2010

And All the Children Are Insane

I'm at a point in the opening of NEVЯLAND where hysteria and chaos have consumed the children like a fire gorging on dry grass.

To help with the mood, I'm listening to songs with themes of destruction, apocalypse, death, and end-of-the-world themes.

And the best of these death/apocalyptic songs is "The End" by The Doors--

"And all the children are insane
All the children are insane."

Enjoy the video and the song.

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike Garmon

12 May 2010

How Do You Make that Backwards Я?

One of the questions I am asked about NEVЯLAND is–How the hell do you make that backwards “R”?

yaFirst, it’s not actually an “R”. It’s the Russian letter Я–pronounced YA. It’s also the first person singular pronoun “I” in Russian.

And I make Я with a simple mouse click that switches my English keyboard setting to a Russian keyboard setting on my Mac (PC can do it, too).

Mac has an upper task window, and my window shows an American flag to tell me I’m using the English keyboard setting.

When I want to type Russian letters, I click on the American flag, a drop menu appears with a Russian flag in it. I then click on the Russian flag, and VOILA! My keyboard is transformed into a Russian keyboard.

(Not the actual letters printed on the keys, of course–I have a picture of a Russian keyboard taped to my wall to show me where the Russian letters are located as if I were using a real Russian keyboard.)

Once I type Я, I click on the Russian flag in my Mac’s upper task window, click on the American flag in the drop down menu, and I’m back to using the English keyboard setting.
On the Russian keyboard, the Я letter is where the English letter Z is located.

As I typed the outline for the first book, I had to come up with a NAME for the book and the series.

I must have a NAME when I write a book as the NAME suggests a theme for me and helps keep me focus.

The title NEVERLAND came quite easily, but I didn’t like the way it looked.

I played around the the spelling:




And none of them felt right. I continued outlining.

So, I’m plotting Chapter Three: Laynie, who has witnessed the hysterical chaos that has taken over Junebug and is horrified by the death of a couple of children, is determined to ride her bike out of Junebug to her grandmother’s farm about three miles outside of town.

However, in her panic, she forgets about the invisible wall surrounding the city and imprisoning the children.

She peddles up to the city limits at full speed and crashes into the invisible barrier. She’s thrown forward. Her head slams into the invisible wall, and she’s knocked out.

As she regains consciousness, she hears a hissing sound and a terrible metallic sharp odor assails her nostrils.

When she’s fully awake, she sees Cassie, a classmate from Junebug Junior High spray painting in the air–and the letters are hanging in the air on the invisible wall.

Cassie is a mainstreamed special education student classified as an Idiot-Savant who is a genius at math but has little to no social or verbal skills.

She likes to listen to audio stories, though, and her favorite story is Peter Pan.

She tells Laynie that a Blue Fairy has visited Junebug during the night and has taken all the adults away, including her parents.

Laynie realizes that Cassie is confusing two stories: Peter Pan and Pinocchio.

Pinocchio features the Blue Fairy, a motherly figure who helps Pinocchio become a real boy.

As Laynie walks away from Cassie and her “painting on the air”, Cassie calls out, “Good-bye. Don’t let the Blue Fairy get ‘cha!”

Laynie turns around and sees what Cassie has written “on the air”, which is

And that’s how the title with it’s Я came about.

The title also reveals a major theme about growing up in a world without adult supervision, much as the children in Peter Pan’s NEVERLAND:

  • What kind of “world” would several thousand Children build if they were left to fend and defend for themselves?
Do you have a question about NEVЯLAND or writing in general? Send me your question, and I’ll do my best to get back to you ASAP.

Thanks for your support and encouragement. Although writing is a solitary event, putting a novel together is a collaborative effort–and I’m getting all sorts of great advice and encouragement from friends, new and old, as well as fellow writers.

See you on the bookshelves,

Larry Mike Garmon

10 May 2010

The Birth of NEVЯLAND

NEVЯLAND was born on 23 April 2010.

I was meditating about a story idea. A story that involved a 12-year-old  protagonist in a post-apocalyptic setting.

I wanted to write a Middle Grade transitional to Young Adult  end-of-the-world thriller that didn't involve genetic mutation and  zombies.

I asked myself two questions:

1. What do teens, especially young teens, want more than anything else?

2. What do teens, especially young teens, fear more than anything else?

The answers to those two questions is exactly the same answer:

The disappearance of Parents and Adults.

I read once that when God wants to punish us, He answers our prayers.

What would the world be like if all the adults disappeared?

Lord of the Flies meets Home Alone jumped to mind as the  comparable story lines, motifs, and themes.

First, I had to decide on the age of those who would disappear.

Of course, legal Adulthood--18-years-old.

That means the world is full of newborns through 17-years-old.

But, wait. The world is too big.

Let's make it one small town.

A small town in Southwest Oklahoma.

Junebug, Oklahoma.

Junebug, Oklahoma is my fictional town for nearly all my stories loosely based  on Altus, Oklahoma.

Like William Faulkner's fictional Yoknapatawpha County is based on his  beloved Oxford, Mississippi.

And the kids left in Junebug really are the last people left on of  Earth.

Only those between newborn and 17 living in Junebug have survived what  the kids label the Rapture.

Laynie in shock
What would happen?

How would the kids react?

How would the various age levels react?

Who would go crazy--insane?

Who would commit suicide?

Who would be in charge, try to take over, try to be a dictator?

Would the racial and ethnic make-up of the remaining kids be a factor?  Of course, they would! People naturally seek safety not only in numbers  but in numbers of their own kind--especially children.

Fear is a great motivator for story.

And what about the newborns? What would happen to them? Who would take  care of them?

This applies to the infants and toddlers as well.

Not only that, the Rapture has not stopped. Any 17-year-old who turns 18  also disappears.

By Sunday, 25 April 2010, I had a 20,000 word single spaced outline of the  first book.

There will be five books.

Because the protagonist is 13-years-old, each book covers a year in her  life from the morning of the Rapture in the First Book to the day before  her own 18th birthday in the Fifth Book--the next day she turns 18 and  disappears.

I don't know why, but from the beginning my protagonist was female. At  first she was 12, and then she aged one year by the time the First Book  outline was complete.

This is how the idea moved from Mediation to What If Question to Outline  to Story and is now proceeding full steam into Novel.

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike Garmon

PS: Make sure to check out the other entries under the NEVЯLAND category for other insights to the development of this novel.

08 May 2010

A Rose by Any Other Name Still Gets the Blame for the Thorns

"The Naming of Cats" is an excellent poem by T.S. Eliot. If you haven't read it, you must be culturally depraved indeed.

Names are more important to an author than a parent. I know that sounds odd, but it's true.

As an author, I fret over a name for a character.

My own children's names came quite easily.

As a story begins to tell itself to me, a character often tells me his/her name right away.

Sometimes, though, I've got to use a descriptive name as the fabulists of old did because the character is either too shy to tell me his/her name or is being a bit of a prankster and making me guess his/her name or wait until I'm well into the story to tell me his/her name.

As a teacher, I have nearly 3,000 names of former students from which to choose. Because my YA characters are amalgams of my students, a character name pops to mind as I remember a former student who is much like the character in the story, and so the name sticks.

In NEVЯLAND, the protagonist's name has changed twice.

First, I thought she said her name was Rianne Pfaltzgraft. I had a seventh grade student many, many years ago named Rianne Pfaltzgraft, and I've always wanted to use that name in a tale.

As I began to outline and then write, the girl aged from 12 to 13 and she told me "Rianne Pfalzgraft" wasn't her name at all. She was just using that until I begin to listen.

To tell you the truth, I still wasn't listening well enough, and I didn't catch the second incarnation of the character's name and I don't remember it now.

Finally, she shouted the name out to me: Laynie.

I have a student graduating this year named Laynie, and as the character developed, I realized how much much the protagonist of NEVЯLAND and Laynie were twins--not so much in appearance but in attitude and temperment.

Interesting, Laynie (the character, not the real student) still looks an awful lot like Rianne, which is probably why I was confused as to her name in the beginning.

Once I had Laynie's name, her friends' names came next and came quickly: Lauryn, Ravyn, Cynthea, and Kymber. These are actual names of students I know.

There's a clique nickname in that group of "Y" girls.

Until Lauryn told me her name, I had to call her Snobby in the outline. At 13, she already is a multi-beauty pageant winner and is quite vain and, well, snobby. Her brother is referred to as Snobby's Brother, or SB for short.

The eighth grade boy Laynie is interested in is just called Jock (he plays football and runs track) while the geek who is interested in Laynie is called Nerd Boy because he is, well, a geek and a nerd.

I know both of these boys will eventually reveal to me their names, hopefully by the time I submit the manuscript in August!

For name inspiration, I also like to scan baby name lists on the Internet.

However, the best is the SSN most popular names over the past one hundred years. Here's the LINK.

Character names are important. It's hard to image the protagonist of Catcher in the Rye being named Mike Smith instead of Holden Caufield.

And imagine the lost symbolism in Death of a Salesman if Willie Loman's name was Sam Steward.

See you the bookshelves.

Larry Mike Garmon

07 May 2010

My writing friend Julia Mozingo posed a question about story beginnings at the SCYAW Yahoo group page.

Just last Tuesday, I changed the beginning of NEVЯLAND.

Originally, the protagonist was pounding on a locked bathroom door.

Now, she's standing on the curb waiting for a red light to change--a red light that is taking forever, and she's debating whether to cross the street against the red light because no cars are in sight.

She's 13-years-old, right at the age when children begin to transcend from fearing God and Parents into having little to no fear at all.

What would you do in such a situation? Wait, or cross against the red light?

Have you changed a beginning because your original start just didn't feel right?

Tell me what you would do at such a red light and why you changed your beginning, and I'll tell you what my character does and why I changed the beginning of NEVЯLAND.

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike Garmon

03 May 2010

The Downside of the OWFI Conference (or Any Writing Conference)

Okay, so here's the downside of the recently concluded Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. Conference:

You returned home Saturday evening or Sunday morning.

You're stoked. The fires were lit, fanned, and constantly refueled with words of wisdom and encouragement from editors, agents, speakers, and experienced writers.

An inferno of creativeness, determination, and confidence is blasting from you like the Krakatoa volcano

This incendiary feeling will last from two days to two weeks.

But, it will burn itself out. Before you know it, one or two embers remain, and soon they have barely a faint orange glow and not putting off much inspirational heat.

Then the last flicker goes out, and you think, "Shit, what just happened?"

Welcome to the junkie writer's world of conference adrenaline rush addiction.

It happens to all of us, especially the newbies and those most hungry.

What happens when you discover that last dying ember is about to extinguish itself?

You keep writing. 

You fan and refuel the fire yourself. You push yourself to do what you know you must do, what you dream about doing--you write no matter what.

The muses of writing won't do for you what you won't do for yourself--write!

In fact, you inspired yourself to attend the convention in the first place, so you already have it within you to push yourself to be a successful writer.

Now comes the hard part--doing this every day with every breath you take.

Copy the following and tape to the wall just by your monitor or make it your screensaver:

1. Taking a writing class . . . is not writing.
2. Therapy . . . is not writing.
3. Reading books about writing . . . is not writing.
4. Completing "writing" exercises . . . is not writing.
5. Feeling guilty all week for not writing . . . is not writing.
6. Attending a weekly, bi-monthly, monthly writing/critique group . . . is not writing.
7. Attending an interesting, dynamic, and inspirational writer's conference . . . is not writing.
8. Writing . . . is writing.

And that's it in a nutshell.

The Oklahoma Writers Federation annual conference is one of the best in the nation and each year provides an excellent agenda for newbies, oldies, unpublished, multipublished, and the curious.

Yes, it can be inspirational. Yes, it can rekindle a dying flame. Yes, it can even bring about an agent or editor contract.

But, neither the OWFI conference or any writing conference can do the one thing you are solely responsible for doing:

Inspiring yourself each day to do the hard task of putting butt to chair, finger tips to keys, and mind to the writing task at hand.

I liken this to BBQing. The best white-crested orange coals for BBQing are those which, when lit, are slow to burn, spread evenly, and then the flame disappears as it moves slowly into the briquette itself.

Once that flame moves within the briquette, you never see the flame itself, but you do feel the heat, and you see, hear, and smell the sizzle as it does what it's suppose to do--produce a succulent and satisfying meal you can taste and savor.

Of course, there's always that yahoo BBQer who buys self-lighting charcoal and then soaks the briquettes with lighter fluid. There's a very nice explosion of flame and surge of heat, but it dies quickly, and the charcoal never really gets the chance to suck in the flame so it can burn slowly from the inside out.

So, what about you and the OWFI conference or any writer's conference you may have recently attended?

charcoalAre you the self-lighting charcoal that burns slowly on the outside and then ignites on the inside--a steady, determined white-crested orange glow?

Or, are you the charcoal that allowed your writer's conference to soak you with fuel and then engulf you in a flame that will die out quickly and produce nothing?

See you on the bookshelves.

Larry Mike Garmon