Wait For It… a blog by Andy Ross

Book Delay

Posted on April 8, 2011

This blog post is meant to address the growing unrest of my fans in regards to the---shall we say fluid---release date for my tween murder mystery novel, The Purplest Nurple.

The novel, as you know, follows a plucky seventh-grader named Tim McGivens and his tubby sidekick Smitts as they investigate the death of a fellow classmate. A death by titty twister.

When I offered up a brief excerpt online (reposted here), I had no idea the response/demand for the book would become as large as it has. People began writing letters asking about its progress; a few folks started online chat boards to share plot theories; there was even some rather disturbing fan fiction.

That was fifteen years ago.

Since then, demand for the book has grown exponentially. There have been two fan-made film adaptations, with accompanying making-of documentaries. A biannual Purplest Nurple convention draws huge crowds to Sydney, Australia. And, apparently, the largest subsection of the online role playing game Second Life concerns Martindale Junior High, where the book is set. All this, and people have never read the complete book.

Initially, it was supposed to come out in June of 1997. Then, as I was writing one particular scene about dissecting a raccoon in Biology class, I saw the story open up before me in ways I had never thought possible. What began as a two hundred-page book grew to four hundred pages, then twelve hundred, and finally around 17,300 pages.

We now learn not just about Tim’s investigation but also the history of Martindale as a commercial fishing hub, detailed accounts of dodgeball games with accompanying statistical analysis, and several television scripts for Restless Embers, the fictional soap opera Smitty’s mother watches in the book.

Also, footnotes. Thousands of footnotes each carefully crossed-referenced and catalogued.

Now, The Purplest Nurple is about more than simply a tween mystery. It also outlines a philosophy/worldview I’ve invented called Theoreticalistic Holism, which lays out new gender roles based on our closest genetic relatives, the Bonobo chimpanzee.

Well, I’m happy to say that the end is in sight. The final typewriter key has been struck, and the carbon copy has been sent off for proofreading. I simply need to write up a few appendixes and maybe a glossary of Norwegian terms. (The final third of the book is written from the perspective of Tim’s maternal great-grandmother. She speaks only Norwegian.)

Then, I’ll begin painting the book cover and deciding on a font for the interior. I was thinking about taking a font-making class, since none of the ones I've seen have really grabbed me. They’re all so serif-y.

All in all, expect a 2014 release date…

You know what? I just realized I never got around to writing who the murderer was. I got distracted by other aspects of the story. Do you think that’ll be important to the fans? Maybe I should call the proofreader to see if I can get it back for a rewrite. Start over from page one…

Check back here for updates.


The Lost Page

Posted on January 31, 2011

This is very exciting news! I don’t normally break big stories on this blog, but someone has to. The world needs to know.

A week ago Saturday, a friend of mine---let’s call him Johnny Z to keep his anonymity---discovered a book in the attic of his promiscuous mom’s house. [That she’s promiscuous doesn’t really pertain to this find, but I believe it’s important to paint as rich a picture as possible.] He knew this particular book had a reputation amongst rare book enthusiasts [me], not just because of its scarcity but also the folklore surrounding it.

According to urban legend, the book has a “lost page.”  That is to say, there is a page in this book that consistently goes unread, even by the most careful reader.

Some say it’s in plain view, but one’s eye avoids it because of a mystical “glamour.” Others say the page appears blank unless viewed under the exact right conditions---through the periphery of sight with one eye in sunlight and the other in shade. Still others say the page skitters throughout the book, never in one place, always avoiding the gaze of the reader.

But, it’s been found! J. Zeigler [first name withheld to protect his identity] mailed off the book to me, and I, in turn, finally discovered the missing page. [Turns out it was the one-eye-in-the-sunlight thing. Obvs.] And, I’ve transcribed it for you here. For the first time ever!

The following is the famed “lost page” from the 1988 Choose-Your-Own-Adventure novel The Yeti Versus The Brotherhood of the Ninja:


You step across the threshold of the small castle at the top of the mountain in Nepal. The Yeti, otherwise known as the Abominable Snowman, supposedly lives in these mountains. Jeremy, your friend and climbing partner, has also heard that ninjas guard the walls of this castle. Has he heard correct? You don’t see any ninjas.

“Are you sure there are ninjas guarding this castle?” you ask Jeremy.

“That’s what I heard,” says Jeremy.

Footprints, the size of giant feet like the kind of feet a Yeti might have, lead away from the castle. They lead toward a dangerous cliff that looks hazardous. But, the castle also looks risky or dangerous, because ninjas might be inside, or even outside but around the corner and out of sight, like ninjas tend to do.


If you follow the (probably Yeti) footprints, turn to page 56. If you go into the castle where the ninjas might be guarding dangerous stuff, turn to page 37.

So, yeah, that’s the secret lost page that I’ve been searching for for the last twenty years. It kinda sucks.

It’s not the best writing. It's repetitive, and it doesn’t really advance the story. I can see why everyone else skipped it without noticing. It’s sort of a letdown to be honest. Maybe I shouldn’t build it up so much when I talk about it.

Anyway, live and learn.


Mathemagician’s Assistant

Posted on October 25, 2010

The following is an excerpt from my memoir, which covers the three years I spent as a Las Vegas mathemagician’s assistant. It’s called A Boy Cut in Equal Halves. Enjoy:

The Great Nerdkin called me into his dressing room to help him with his pocket protector. The pocket protector is what is known in the backstage world of mathemagic as a “tap.” A tiny radio receiver in the device picks up equation results and “taps” lightly against the mathemagician’s chest, giving him the answer. Nerdkin’s tap had gotten jostled and was stuck in base 12.

The entire grand finale depended on that tap. Without it, The Great Nerdkin was just another street hustling math shark, pulling cube roots out of the air for quarters. The finale is what got him out of the dank Bar Mitzvahs and into the big money. Tech conference money.

We worked on fixing the tap for what seemed like hours, but turned out to be only 1/18th of an hour. Curtain was fast approaching, and no mathemagician is ever late for a show. It implies that you’re bad with numbers.

The Great Nerdkin flung the pocket protector against the mirror and said, “We’re switching over to Bertrand’s Postulate.”

It was a risky move. We’d never successfully pulled off Betrand’s Postulate. It was an untested math trick that applied Chebysev’s proof of Joseph Betrand’s conjecture that there is at least one prime between n and 2n − 2 for every n > 3. If it went wrong, someone could get hurt. Probably me.

“We’ll need a plant in the audience to throw out a Ramanujan prime,” I said, nervously.

“Get Rummy,” roared Nerdkin.

Rummy was former Applied Number Theory professor who’d turned to alcohol when one of his finite fields turned out to be infinite. He’d hang out at the stage door hoping to sell mathemagicians his elliptic curve cryptosystem tricks. He had his moments of lucidity, but only between drinks eight and eleven.

I was already wearing my sequined leotard for the Floating Variable trick. I’d have change into my civilian clothes to reach Rummy before the end of the first act, and then I’d have to get back in time to apply my fake moustache.

Could I make it? Would we be able to pull of the Postulate? I calculated my odds within four decimal points, and they didn’t look good…


This Book

Posted on April 1, 2010


I’m reading this new book, and it is super good. I can’t think of the name right now, but I really think you’d like it.

It’s about a young guy named, uh … something with a J. And, he’s on this submarine, I think. It might be that he’s at a pool. I know for sure that he “dives” somehow. And, at first, you think this guy—maybe Jake—is just a regular guy, but it turns out that he’s actually something else. I can’t say what, because I don’t want ruin it for you, and because I don’t quite remember exactly. Thinking back on it, his name might be Joseph.

Anyway, Jake works at a dive bar. Yup, that must be where I got the word “dive.” So, it’s a bar then. Also, it may be in Pittsburgh. One day, either a movie mogul or a real estate mogul—some kind of mogul—comes in and offers Joseph a job. Then, a bunch of really cool stuff happens from there.

And, I just got to this part in the book where another character, who may or may not be a lady, comes in and says something really funny. It’s a joke about some people doing something wacky. I wish I could think of the punchline, because it was really funny.

So after that, Joseph gets chased by a dog or some kind of animal or person. And, either he escapes or he doesn’t. But, the point is that it’s through this dark behind-the-buildings place. Like an alleyway. But dark. I guess alleys can be dark. Maybe it was an alley.

Then, in the end, there’s a big twist that you’d never expect. Just like in that one movie about the guy who goes to the thing with the girl from that other movie about elves. She’s got black hair? You know the movie I’m talking about? Not the elves movie, but the other movie? It’s like that.

When I read this book, I thought of you, because I know how much you like books about Philadelphia and vampires. Oh shit! I think I ruined the ending. Sorry. It was such a good book. Anyway, you should look for it in the vampire section at Borders. The cover was blue. Or black.