My original dream was to be a novelist. Recently, I've returned to pursuing that dream, publishing my first novel in many years, A MERMAID DROWNS IN THE MIDNIGHT LOUNGE, which can be purchased here, and now dusting off my very first novel, CHUMPY WALNUT, for pending publication (also via Lulu.) Originally conceived as a comic strip character - literally, a talking walnut - I decided to turn Chumpy into a more relatable being, a foot tall human being with murky origins, and set it in the 1930s-40s, inspired by the work of Damon Runyon as well all the old movies I grew up watching on TV (The Bowery Boys, Abbott & Costello, gangster movies, etc.). I wrote the first draft at age 16 in Los Angeles, already alone and on my own, working as a busboy for a living, then revised it at age 19, while staying with some family in Houston, Texas, this time including some of my own original illustrations. These will be printed with the recently completed third draft, currently in the pre-publication process. Below are those illustrations, cleaned up for prime time by my pal Miles Goodrich, who is also helping me design the cover, to be revealed shortly. This is the (self)fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Stay tuned for the publication announcement, after three decades. Cheers to Chumpy!