The Young Chesterton Chronicles!

…the blog of John McNichol, author of the YCC and a bunch of other bits!

  • Hey, all!
    Welcome to the new blog of John McNichol, author of The Young Chesterton Chronicles, The King’s Gambit, and a bunch of other stuff. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Those who want to see old posts from my previous blog, go to
    Now, I’m starting anew! After a several year hiatus, I’m back to blogging. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Near to exactly twenty years after I started writing The Young Chesterton Chronicles’ first book, The Tripods Attack, while snowed into our little rental house in Vancouver, WA, last week I submitted the final edits of the third and final volume of the series, Where The Red Sands Fly to my wonderful publishers at Hillside Press!
    More news to come, but I look forward to hearing everyone’s typewritten voices again!

  • Well, a new season begins, and a crazy-busy year of work, 5-side jobs, good news with writing and a bunch of other things draws to a close [us teachers count years not from Jan-December, but September to May. ๐Ÿ™‚ ]

    I’m still waiting for some of my publishers to get books on the shelves, but everyone’s hurting at least a bit in this economy. Still, I’m looking forward to hearing Gilbert’s third volume has passed muster, and will be headed for it’s new cover!

    As I said, this year was- challenging. Without going into too much detail, our family had a few unhappy financial surprises. I’m glad I was able to meet them, but unhappy I hadda do so by taking a security gig on the weekends, teaching 3 night-school courses during the week, and going in as a kind of ‘secret shopper’ a few nights a month to test the security systems at local testing centers. In other words: I got paid to cheat on tests. Not a bad gig for a teacher, eh?

    I’m still having fun; numerous summer projects about, from printing out miniatures for a big table-top wargame of Lord of the Rings with my sons at the beginning of July to finding a good engraver for the blade of my claymore sword to finishing another writing project to getting another RPG session out on the table to teaching my youngest son to drive to- a few other things. Many irons in the fire, but I’m so grateful to God that I have so many good people around to help and enjoy them with me! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Writing more later! God bless, all! Pray for the third Gilbert book, that it hits the shelves this summer! ๐Ÿ˜€

    John D. McNichol

  • Hey, folks!
    Our littlest family member had a rough time last weekend- though not as rough as it got on our wallet!

    We’re a third of the way there; any assistance would be most welcome…and you get a pic of our family & personalised pawprint thank-you card from our little Snoopy to boot. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Take care; please click, give, and/or share. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hi all!
    We brought Snoopy to the Vet for what seemed like constipation. Before the night was done, we’d visited a vert clinic, an emergency walk-in, and then a full-fledged pet ER!

    Then we found out the truth: Snoopy, our beloved little dog, has Addison’s Disease.
    Short version: His adrenal glands weren’t talking right to his kidneys, and he was dying of dehydration.

    The wonderful folks at Mid-Cities and Veterinary Emergency Group [VEG] were SO wonderful and good, both to Snoopy and us. They stabilized him, and gave us a plan for his continuing treatment, but…

    The tests and work at Mid-Cities cost $800+. 

    Treatment at  VEG cost $1600+.

    Follow-up Expenses [examination, bloodwork, etc] $200

    Other expenses [gas to travel, food, etc.]: $100

    Total: $2700

    …They all did great work, and ecstatic about every part of the job they did, BUT:

    ย we’re a family of a high school English teacher, with kids in college, 2 kids in Catholic school, and a mom who can only work part time since her stroke a few years ago.

    To a family like ours, the impact of a sudden $2700 bill can be…*significant* to say the least. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    We’d hoped to visit our kids’ grandparents on the West Coast in Canada this summer for the first time in years, [it may be the last chance they’ll have to see them- they are in their 80s and having medical issues] but unless we recoup the funds we lost to medical bills, it likely won’t happen.

    Could you please help us with a donation? We’ll be happy to send copies of our bills to those that need evidence.
    All donors will receive a personalized thank you note with a picture of our happy family and Snoopy, signed by us and Snoopy’s pawprint. ๐Ÿ™‚ย

    Thank you all!ย 
    John McNichol & the McNichol family.

  • Hey all!
    Palm Sunday; the Sunday before Easter.
    It’s a beautiful mass in most places, the purpose being to re-enact Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem right before passover. He fulfilled a number of prophecies that day, most of which went unnoticed.
    Example: My old teacher, Dr. Scott Hahn, notes here that the gates Jesus enters in were often used to bring in the lambs that were to be sacrificed and eaten for the Passover meal. Thus, Jesus is the sacrifice, and as He said in John chapter 6, we are to eat His body in the Eucharist as the ancient Hebrews were to eat the flesh of the lambs at the Passover meal.
    Heady stuff.
    Me, as a little boy, the main takeaway I always got when I saw one of the Jesus movies at Easter [back when they still showed Jesus movies on commercial TV at Easter time; they are kind’ve problematic for a lot of folks today, it seems!] was just how fickle and nasty people could be. Here’s Jesus, and everyone’s cheering him with everything they’ve got. In less than a week, they’re going to be spitting on him as he carries a heavy wooden cross on His mutilated back through those same streets.
    Of course, if I really think about it, I’ve no right to be holier-than-thou to them. The real lesson, I learned as I got older, is how easy it is, always has been, and always will be to toss Jesus ‘under the bus’ if believing in Him got in the way of a career ambition, acceptance by a desired group, or just to avoid being run over by the cancel-culture train.
    Thankfully, people seem to be waking up to the woke-jokers, and not taking them seriously as they did last summer. Whew! Still, historically, there will always be an Emperor Diocletian, a Pol Pot, or a woke-mob who demand allegiance to them and their agendas before all else. “Once the government denies the existence of God, the government becomes god. And the first law of any god is ‘thou shalt have no gods before me.’ [paraphrased from GK Chesterton. Yes, shameless plug. Kids gotta eat. ๐Ÿ™‚ ] It’s a trick that takes a lifetime to work to make sure that Christ does get our allegiance before all else, while still maintaining the life we have to live here on earth for 70-80ish years. ๐Ÿ™‚
    On a lighter note: Please pray for some bits about my job; I have great hopes for next year, but it depends on a number of things working out that I have little-to-no actual control over. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Oh, and if you’re reading this on FB, Twitter, Goodreads or wherever: please come by and subscribe. Still would like more folks to join in ! Even if you were a subscriber before, the list got wiped away in the weird purge that WordPress did to my old blog.
    God bless, all! Thank you,Lord! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Heh! Is a fine little website, and I published this today. Two Subjects near & dear to my heart: Superheroes and Old Atari VCS/2600 games:
    Spiderman Vs Superman:

  • Hey all!
    Got to see Back to the Future last night with my family- Free, at a little place called the Arlington Improv!
    Good people; let you in for free, ask you to buy two items when you get there [not a huge problem- food was good, pop was good, if a little spendy], and there was a trivia contest beforehand.
    I saw the original back when I was 15 years old in 1985, in Toronto on its opening day, with my buddy, Patrick. We ended up seated next to a local legend- Eugene Levy, then of SCTV fame!
    …got his autograph. “Sir, excuse me- are you Eugene Levy?”
    EL: “Yes, who’re you?”
    Ended up being a nice fellow; wrote me ‘all the best’ on some foreign currency I had in my wallet, even though the pen kept quitting. ๐Ÿ™‚
    My son noted how much he wished he’d been a teen in the 80s; despite the crappiness that was out there then, how many times I had bad times, I’d have to say I agree with him, from what I see of teen life today. So much seems unreal; scrolling, gaming online, comparatively so little actual interaction with those around you. All the stories I tell my class are about good times I had with actual people, with the occasional phone conversation. How do you make a good story out’ve something said in a chatroom?
    Great movie; hasn’t lost an ounce of wonder or joy in the nearly 40 years since it was made. After it was done, we were allowed to go into the retro arcade attached to the Improv for free; no having to pay the $10 admission fee! Me, Jeanna, Jamesy and Clairebear all go to play Qbert, Frogger, Donkey Kong, and…Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with April still the beautiful redhead she’s always been until recently [see the otherwise cool trailer for the latest iteration. Do the wokejokers think they’ve won the war on Christmas? Is that why they’re attacking pretty women and making them into slouchy ragbags like the new Thelma? Who knows…].
    Otherwise, a busy, busy first actual day of Spring break. Worked on a Gatsby paper I’m hoping to publish, sent out another book to a friend- hope their boy enjoys The Emperor of North America-and basically getting back to a semblance of normal with most of tha family having been sick this week.
    Ahhhhhh. Coffee’s brewed, house is quiet. I like it when my biggest decision is how I’ll spend the next few hours; writing, making minis on my 3d printer [a batch for the Steampunk JLA game I’ll be running on Friday, St. Patrick’s Day!], or maybe shooting a video review for the latest VisionAid product! Oh, yeah…car repairs… [*yawn*]…maybe this afternoon… ๐Ÿ™‚
    Oh, and please visit the site, and hit subscribe? Still only have 2 folks from the last iteration. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hey all.
    Please visit the site & subscribe! Love to get back to where I was a few years back before we escaped Portland for Texas. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Need a book for the last quarter for your book report and/or to round out your curriculum? Visit my awesome publishers at Hillside Education, or grab one of the Young Chesterton books OR The King’s Gambit from Hillside or my amazon page. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Busy Friday, kinda. About to go to another in-service…yep, teachers get stuck doing that.

    I’m having a bit of a block writing my next story; I know my readers’ll want action at this point, but I can’t really justify it at this point in the story; more of a ‘hide and slink-away’ moment for the main character, than a ‘tiptoe-then-music-swells-and-start-running’ moment.
    Does this make any sense?
    Maybe I’ll go back to a different project for a week or so and see. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hey all!

    Good morning! Coffee’s brewed, I got some words in this morning, and I sent off the last of my junk to the University of Dallas in the hopes [say a prayer, kiss-the-cross] that this year my writing, achievements and such will be sufficient to see me admitted to their excellent PhD program in Literature.
    It’s been a dream of mine for a long, long time, and I hope the doors open up soon.
    Take care, everyone! Say a prayer for me!

  • I’m getting back in the swim of writing for fun, and I have to work hard to ignore what I call my ‘anti-muse.’

    I mentioned him a while back in a post for the Catholic Writer’s Guild. My Anti-muse is a phantom of my imagination. In many ways, he’s the stereotypical comic-book guy: overweight, about a week of neckbeard, and constantly leaning over my shoulder while stuffing his mouth with cheesepuffs while he notes errors in grammar, continuity, or how I’m totally botching this story in every possible way because… everything. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Still moving forward, and hoping the final edits pass the final muster for my publisher. ๐Ÿ™‚

    A question for those who are reading my posts: I had a fellow writer suggest that I shelf a project that’s been a bit of a passion piece of mine for a bit; about a retired superhero who turns teacher and has to confront a number of his past issues.

    “No likes to read a prose version of something that’s supposed to be in a comic book,” he said. Maybe he’s right? I’d welcome thoughts.

    For now, off to teach night school. ๐Ÿ™‚
    God bless,

  • Hey all!
    J.R. Handley has a VERY cool podcast called Blasters and Blades, and I had the most fun on his show I’ve EVER had in a live interview! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Most of the show’s guests are writers who are former military; I guess my 2 years in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets [180 Mosquito Squadron! Who’s the best? One! Eight! Oh!] qualified me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Here you go! Drop by and have a listen!

  • Well, I love living in Texas, and having last week off for what goes for a frost/snowstorm was pretty nifty. ๐Ÿ™‚
    But today? And yesterday?
    One of the many things I do not regret about escaping with my family from the People’s Republic of Portland in 2016 was the incessant, grey-skied, moss-creating, depression-inducting rain that always seemed to be present from August through to…pretty much the next July.
    So, I’ve been a bit down last few days.
    Happy about…me finally getting back in the swim [pun intended] of writing again. Having fun writing a piece inspired a bit from a Philip K Dick story I started to like, but like so many of his pieces dissolved about 2/3 of the way into a weird, druggie-dreamed mess.
    More to come. ๐Ÿ™‚
    God bless; drop by my Amazon page or my publisher and grab a book, whydoncha? ๐Ÿ™‚

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About Me

I am a Catholic, husband, father, teacher and author. On a good day, I am these things in that order. :)
Check out my books at my most excellent publisher, Hillside books, at
All opinions expressed here are my own. Hopefully, I’ll convince you to make them your own, too. :)