Sunday, May 21, 2023

I Survived Bartow's Writers Block. Oh Boy, Did I Survive...

So yesterday was the inaugural street fair in Bartow FL for local authors to promote their works and help fundraise for Bartow's Community Service Center.

And, hoooooo boy, when I say "I survived," I am not kidding.

 The event organizers - as part of Main Street Bartow promoting street fairs on weekends to encourage local business and community events - had hoped for a large turnout of customers and costumers, as they had promised a costume contest and pet-friendly activities.

And for the first couple of hours, it wasn't TOO bad, considering how hot and humid the weather can get in central Florida in the middle of May. 

By noontime... One big NOPE about being outdoors without air conditioning or even fans/blowers to help cool the tent areas. Even in the tents, covered from the sun, you couldn't get away from the fact the street you were on was turning into an open-air oven. The humidity turned into a brick wall. You couldn't get up to move except for the fact that it was too hot to sit still.

Smarter people than I brought portable or rechargeable cooling fans, only to have their batteries run out. That's how hot it got.

I started plans on designing tent covers with sewn-in solar panels charging up ceiling fans you could mount inside the tent frame. (I've been informed someone may have beaten me to that)

We didn't get the big crowds I've seen for their annual SyFy street conventions in mid-Februarys (and THOSE could get relatively hot and bothersome, but tolerable). Almost no one showed up in costumes, except for one author promoting a fiction work about a zombie war in 19th Century Europe, dressed up in the woolen uniforms of that era. I was amazed that guy didn't collapse from heat stroke.

We did our best to raise money for the community center, but there was little else we could do. Finally, before 3:00PM, the organizers okay'ed an early end to the street fair to let us pack up and flee for air conditioning by 3:30PM.

To Sean and Lori, thank you for hosting, and I am sorry the climate was against us. This would be a fun thing to do for local authors, except we gotta consider better times of the year. Some of the attendees were offering suggestions - my personal one is to build everything in downtown Bartow up to five stories high and install street cover roofs with solar panels to charge up massive F-16 sized blowers mounted at ground level to keep everything air conditioned during these street fairs, but we'll need federal aid for all that - and some of the more practical ones deserve some thought.

With that, sharing a few more photos of people I met at the event and pics from other attendees I'm stealing off Facebook...

Big hello back to Bill Hatfield, whos been at many of these
statewide authors events over the years! He's still recovering
from major health issues, best wishes and healthy hugs to him!

These photos were from earlier in the day, when the heat and humidity wasn't wilting everybody in sight.

That fan was the biggest reason why these authors were smiling on-stage.
That bottle of water was there in case any of them burst in flames.

These were the other local authors invited to the event. Several of them did dress up as part of the scheduled events - there was a Jane Austen-themed tea party - and the author who dressed up as Anne Rice was kind of the default winner of the "Dress As A Famous Author" contest.

We did our best to print out a big check to the Bartow Community Center!

Big shout out to Marie, my neighbor at that Fountain Lakes apartments so long ago, who was there at the event volunteering for the food vendors and providing overall moral support. You can tell the humidity was getting to me at that point.

So that being all said and done... oh man I need another nap ZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz oh right, uh, until the next writers event... KEEP ON TYPING, YOU FIENDS. ZzzzzZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz 

Sunday, May 14, 2023


Oh, I should have mentioned this sooner.

I will be one of many local authors at the Bartow Writers' Block Party and Street Fair happening this Saturday May 20th from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Lemme get the details here:

All types of activities including, painting with a friend, kids coloring with a Klingon, a Jane Austen panel, guest speakers, music & so much more.

We are inviting people or their pets, to dress up as characters from books. This also includes your favorite author like Herman Melville, HG Wells, Mary Shelly, Edgar Rice Burroughs. The skies are the limit on who you want to be. It could be from a movie that was adapted from a novel or a character from the book itself, including the author.

It's a pet-friendly event, but make sure your alligator is emotionally prepared to attend.

There will be painting activities for kids and teens, I believe.

Food vendors will be in the area, so lunches and refreshments are available (bring moneys for books and food, don't eat the books eat the food).

I may have drink mugs and mousepad giveaways. I need to check supplies.

To the nine people I think follow me, hope you can make it to Bartow this Saturday!

Friday, May 5, 2023


Which is also considered Revenge of the Sixth for tomorrow, because May 5th conflicts with Cinco De Mayo...

Lemme get you some Sith:


Nickelback just called, Megan, they need you for the next tour.

This whole transition thing is a thing on TikTok and YouTube...

But how long have the geeks been making lightsaber video clips???

This was maybe 17 years ago (!):

FINISH HIM! Wait, wrong franchise...

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Kicking Myself

It was more than a year ago, but I'm still kicking myself over losing a USB Flash drive that contained the most current stories and writing projects I had on file.

I forgot a cardinal rule of working with computer files: BACK IT UP. Some of the stuff had earlier versions of stories on file on a hard drive between my desktop computer and my laptop, but I had foolishly kept the major stuff - especially a gathering of short stories I was planning to put into a new anthology - onto that one USB stick... and then I couldn't find it.

If I'm lucky, it just fell behind some furniture that's too heavy to lift up at the moment. I'm not desperate enough to re-arrange the entire townhouse to find it. However, it's frustrating me enough to curse my very existence.

If I had to, I could recover some of the works and edit them back up to where I'm sure I had my finished drafts, but I am definitely missing several key stories I would love to include in that planned anthology to make it all tie together in a nice theme.




Friday, March 17, 2023

If You're Wearing Green Today, You Won't Get Pinched (Also More Quiet Man clips)!

 Happy St. Patrick's Day ye Irish devils ye. Have some shenanigans from Inisfree!

The drinks are on the house! (every spit-takes) Well, they ARE!

The whole movie is like this. Impetuous! Homeric!!!

Erin Go Bragh!!!

Friday, January 13, 2023

Friday the 13th Black Cat Sighting for 2023

Almost wrote "For 2022" but yeah it's a new year, ya moran.

ANYWHO, Who wants to say hello to a krazy kat on a Friday the 13th!!!!

This giant Feline of Ferociousness was only willing to pose with a bowl of dry food over his head, heading the yearning eyes, the quick meowing insisting on FEED ME, etc etc. 

Mal the Krazy Kat will also be rooting for the Seattle Seahawks this playoff weekend because he was born during their Super Bowl win 9 years ago (has it been that long already?).

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Witty's Year End Book Review 2022

I know I am late at the end of this year to compile the best of what I've read this 2022, please don't yell, it'll wake the cats... 

As a reminder, this list is not the best books that came out this year, but the best of what I've read this year. This means the book could be published five-ten years ago and I've just gotten around to it. The book should well be available in your local library (or you can always purchase online).

Here's my 2022 recommendations:

Best Fiction

Free Fire, CJ Box

I've been trying to diversify my reading interests as part of my librarian's duty of advisory (recommending stuff to patrons asking for new authors to follow), so instead of the science-fiction / fantasy stuff I tend to peruse, I've been reading various thriller series to see if I can find something other than Jack Reacher to promote.

Box has an ongoing series revolving around character Joe Pickett, a game warden from the vast ranges of Wyoming, who comes across dangerous killers and sociopathic bureaucrats in near-equal forces. Pickett's fortunes rise and fall depending on how desperate various politicians are to resolve public disasters, which is how this novel opens with the state's governor granting Pickett the authority to investigate a murder spree where the killer's already turned himself in and confessed.

The twist is the killer committed his murders in a particular corner of Yellowstone National Park where a Constitutionally-enforced legal loophole means nobody can ever be brought to trial for any crimes they commit there. This is the freaky thing: This Zone of Death is real, and Box uses this novel to examine the ramifications of how a devious individual (working for a conspiracy involving Yellowstone's unique habitat) could exploit it.

I bring up this novel, and the Pickett series, as a counter to the popular Jack Reacher series that I've tried reading and just left it feeling underwhelmed. While both series are similar in format, the characters and settings in Box's novels are more relatable and convincing. Also, Pickett and the other characters talk more.

Best Non-Fiction

Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service, Carol D. Leonnig

Out of all the post-trump works out there worth reading, I found this book by Leonnig to provide an interesting side note to all of the ongoing breakdowns of accountability across our government (of which trump's rise was merely part of the problem).

Leonnig examines the role of the Presidential bodyguard agency responsible for the safety and protection of the President, Vice President, and other vital members of the Executive branch. An organization with some effectiveness but haunted by tragic failures, the Secret Service has found its mission objectives at odds with ethical and professional norms especially when the War of Terror changed the agency into a purely praetorian role. Various scandals - including a prostitution-hiring embarrassment in Colombia - kept pointing to an agency staffed by poorly trained and undisciplined members who were hired for reasons other than being at the top of their game. The situation got worse when trump arrived, staffing the top offices with personal cronies who would be called upon to cover up some of trump's worst excesses (including the January 6th Insurrection that almost saw Secret Service agents kidnap Vice President Pence (!) to disrupt the electoral count).

I would have considered several other anti-trump books, but Leonnig's work uncovers a systemic breakdown that exists even without trump's corrupting influence.  

Best Graphic Novel (or Ongoing Series)

Jurassic League (DC), Daniel Warren Johnson, Juan Gedeon, and Mike Spicer

There are many epic stories in the comics 'Verses, there are often Earth-shattering conflicts with dark consequences, there are annual Crises that tests the valor and virtue of our legendary heroes.

This series is not one of those.

What's known in the DC Universe as an Elseworlds storyline, Jurassic League is basically a variation of the established superhero 'verse of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and all the other heavy hitters of their major superhero team... but with DINOSAURS. It's as goofy as it sounds, and that's what makes it fun. With all the other somber, dark, even gory storylines the DCU is working on - the Vampires series that got so bleak you just couldn't keep reading it, or the Dark Crisis series as yet another attempt to fix all the continuity errors that came from the first big Crisis - it's sometimes refreshing to read a comic book series that's in it for the goofiness. Even Darkseid shows up as a dino. It's awesome.

Best Work By Someone I Email, Tweet, or Chat With On a Regular Basis

The Kang Dynasty Omnibus, Kurt Busiek and Alan Davis w/ other artists

As part of getting up to speed on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is going into Phase V this 2023, I needed to read up on the next Big Bad of the story arc... which is going to be Kang the Conqueror. Considered one of Marvel's biggest villains - Thanos being the universal threat, and Kang (and oft-times rival Dr. Doom) being the Earth-based threat(s) - Kang is still unfamiliar to me (due to my devotion to the DCU). All I know is, he's a future-based villain with time control powers - among several others - making him a multidimensional threat. Past that, I got nothing. So I went hunting for any collected volumes, and this was one I got into.

This makes the "Someone I Email/Tweet" list with Busiek being a regular Twitter poster to whom I've replied and retweeted. Often with Busiek slapping me down for my silliness and Reply Guy tendencies. My bad. Still, Busiek is one of the more popular authors in the graphic novels/comics industry that I follow, giving a good review of his JLA/Avengers crossover years ago. His Kang Dynasty is a must-read if you want to be able to follow the next set of Marvel movies without whispering to the geek sitting next to you "Wait, what superpower did he just use again?"

Best Work Including Stuff I Wrote

Strangely Funny IX, edited by Sarah Glenn

Containing my submission "The Brides of Wi-Fi," a modern take on the three vampire women associated with whatever Lord of the Vampires - no, NOT the D guy - you may confront at a spooky gothic mansion in the hills of Georgia. It's different from my previous vampire stories, going by different rules, but that's par for the course in vampire mythos where the powers and weaknesses of the strigoi change from region to region (and sometimes even in the same narrative 'Verse, damn you Hammer Horror for your inconsistency). Please do buy a copy of Strangely Funny and please do leave a good review, danke.