Posted in Travel and Diversions

Promoting My Books Or Not.

your voice

On Tuesday, I decided to blow off my day job, protecting the citizens of the commonwealth, to promote my science fiction books, so I hopped on a train to Red Bank, NJ home to Kevin Smith’s comic book store. I took some of the small posters for Q Runner. This was not my first pilgrimage to a comic book store, in the mid-80’s I had gone to Mile High Comics in Denver which back then was probably the most famous comic store in the country, it being listed in every comic book I ever bought, so now I was off to Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash.

My intention was to see if I could put up one of the small posters in the store and maybe if the god’s smiled on me get on the AMC show Comic Book Men and promote my book.  The Q Runner poster is up at Blue Line Collectibles, where I get my comics, and a few laying on the freebies tables at South Philly Comics and Comics and More, so it was strategy I had tried before, and met with a modicum of success.

Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash is a great comic book store, the place is well lite, organized logically with plenty of space to move around, and the AC was great on a hot summer day. Working in the store were Mike Zapcic, Bryan Johnson and an unknown staff member. Sitting near the rear counter was Rob Bruce a frequent guest on the TV show. About ten to fifteen customer moved in and out during the twenty minutes I was there so the place was not crowded. The store front was different from the television show, you could not see in from outside and after some post trip internet research I discovered it was changed because of the reality show.

I did ask Mike Zapcic if they had any of the Buddy Christ Statues from the movie Dogma and he briskly told me ‘no never had them, never will’, and he continued with store business. I was a little put off by his terseness at first but then while looking thru the View Askewniverse merchandise I heard him on the phone with two callers. Just from his end of the call it sounded like the people were asking some very asinine questions. One question I am betting was something along the lines of “Is Jay or Silent Bob there?” or “Is Kevin Smith or Jason Mewes there?” To which Mr. Zapcic responded ‘no they are never here’. Another answer I heard was, ‘no sorry I am not your friend because I do not know you’, which I am guessing was something about Facebook. He then had a conversation with some customers and then posed for pictures and joked around with them.

I know I would not be as polite as he was over the phone if people asked me extremely stupid questions when I was trying to get other things accomplished. It was not till I saw Mr. Zapcic doing inventory that the significance of it being Tuesday dawned on me. The next day was Wednesday making it new comics day in the universe. (That might have been why so many slots on the wall were empty of new issues.)

I eventually wandered back to the graphic novels after a quick search thru the bagged and boarded older comic books for some missing stuff in my collection. Brian Johnson (who looks like he lost some weight) and Rob Bruce seemed to be just talking, and by this point I had decided not attempt to promote my book, the store did not appear to have a freebie table, and no bulletin board for local events or announcements. Plus by this time I had the distinct impression that if I asked the question the answer would have been ‘no’. (Not that this is uncommon a store in Philadelphia told me the same thing.)

I found a trade paperback novel I wanted, The Return of Superman, from 1993, a 480 some page book for only $20.00, a good deal anywhere. I also decided to buy two Buddy Jesus postcards, $3.50 a piece (only $1.25 on the Website, so I feel a little cheated)


and went to the front counter. Mr. Zapcic was continuing with his inventory work and the other staff member waited on me, I told him I was surprised by the size of the store because it looked smaller from the street but I chalked that up to not being able to see inside.

I left Red Bank a while later taking the train back to Philly, and on the way I came to a couple of conclusions.

1. It must suck to have a reality show at your place of work, especially one where you are in the public eye all the time like in retail when you never know who is going to wander in the front door. (I am sure the money is nice of course), but to be constantly under the microscope like those guys are now, would be more than I would care for. Don’t get me wrong I want my books to sell, heck I would love to be a full time professional writer with my books having a good bit of success (movies, comic books, animation, merchandizing, anyone wants to offer I will gladly jump and on the way up ask how high). But to live in the public eye, even as reality show star does not interest me. Luckily very few writers are recognizable walking down the street. If Spider Robinson walked by me I would never know it. (Some people are out there are saying ‘I have read your stuff A.A., no chance in you becoming famous for writing, you suck.’)

2. I need to just concentrate on writing. I want my books to be good enough that the content sells itself, word of mouth is the most surefire way to sell anything because everyone ,especially readers, want to share good stuff. I will just put my book out there in the universe if someone comes upon it and they like it they will tell someone. Just like I like to promote the podcast, Fatman on Batman, to anyone who is interested in storytelling or creativity, or if they are into travel/history then I tell them to read Bill Bryson. If my stuff is good enough, it will sell itself. (I have made some attempts to promote my books that I have not heard back from yet, if they come thru I will be follow up on them.)

What would I do if I suddenly became independently wealthy, well I would write a lot more.

Mike Zapcic
Bryan Johnson bryan johnson  Rob Bruce rob bruce




This post then lead to Travel and Diversions:  Walt Disney World’s Wilderness Lodge Lobby   

and Bellows Beach, Windward Side, Oahu

Posted in Outrageous Lies and Tales, The Disinclined Purveyor of Sequential Art

The Disinclined Purveyor of Sequential Art Chapter – 2 & 3

The Disinclined Purveyor of Sequential Art Chapters 2 and 3

Was only going to put up one chapter, but then after re-reading Chapter 2 I decided that nothing really happens, and in the future I might just eliminate the Chapter entirely and move the last two sentences into the first chapter. If you missed Chapter One go back to last Saturday’s posting and start at the beginning. Now with out further rambling on my part on with the story. Oh yea any comments would be greatly appreciated.

Chapter 2

Sharon looked up from the log book for the orders and looked towards Gary who was looking at the sales receipts on his computer. Sharon had been working there about three weeks and this was the first big order they had worked on together, everything before this had been Sharon organizing the back issues, and the books had been stacking up with no one organizing them for several months.

“We got a problem.” Sharon said from her side of the massive table where the newest order was laid out. They had been at this for two hours and they were about to open the shop and they were no were near done.

“So what is the problem?”

“The problem is the order is short every month.”

“What do you mean, we get fifteen of each issue, I make sure of that when the delivery comes in, that is the standing order and that is what we get.”

“I know that is what we get, but it is too small, we need more X-Men titles, and with the next Avengers movie coming out this summer we are going to need more than fifteen issues, I would say at least 2 dozen more of the four big names, Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk and Thor, and what with the D.C. universe expanding again into alternate worlds and Superman and Wonder Woman having twins we need more than three issues of that run, again about a dozen just to fill in the gap.”


“What do you mean no, don’t you want to keep the customers happy?”


“What is wrong with you, I thought you wanted to get this place running better isn’t that why you hire me.” Sharon said exasperated.

“No not really.”

“So what do you want Gary?”

“Let’s just get the work done.” And he buried his head back into the laptop.

“I don’t get you; I thought you wanted to make money? If that is not it than what do you want?”

Gary glared at her from across the table, and then threw up his hands. “I am not mad at you, but do you know what I really want, I want to sell this stupid store, I want to go back to school and finish my degree in Design and Urban Development where I will design a town that will not have any comic book stores. I want to leave this town and forget I ever heard of it. I want to go my home and stop trying to make sense of the accounting in this store; I want to go back to my own dorm room and out of the apartment above this stupid store.” And he threw the tablet they had been taking notes on across the room and went outside to get some fresh air.

“Oh.” Sharon said quietly.

“Do you mind if I close up a little early tonight?” Gary asked as he started to pull the shades down to block the late afternoon sun which streamed right into the main window of the shop.

“No I don’t mind, do you have a hot date?” Sharon answered back from the large table where she was sorting books. They still had not finished the large order but Gary had apologized for getting upset yesterday.

“Don’t I wish, no I have a late meeting with the law firm, we are going over some final paperwork giving me control over the shop, transferring the phone to my name and stuff like that.”

“Wow sounds exciting, don’t stay out too late.”

Gary rolled his eyes and finished up lowering the shades.

Chapter 3

Gary sat on the stool behind the counter and stared at the box. The bell above the door bonged and he thought about when he might get Sharon to fix the broken device. Sharon came in and locking the door behind herself. The store was not going to open for another hour and from the rain outside he doubted it would be a very busy day not that it ever was.

Sharon walked to the back and hung up her coat, then came back to the counter. “What’s in the box boss?”

“Don’t call me boss.”

“Sure thing boss.” Sharon said smiling as he looked at her now. “So what is in the box?”

“Don’t know, and don’t care.” Gary replied putting it down on the countertop.

“Okay, well then where did you get it?”

“The lawyer gave it to me last night, he said it was the last bit of business and my Dad gave it to him about two weeks before he and Gary disappeared.”

“A clue.” Sharon stated.

“No it is not a clue and this is not Scooby Doo, my Dad was always sending me these puzzle boxes. In fact he did sent one every year for my birthday since I was ten.”

“So why did he not send this one?” Sharon said reaching for it, but pausing and looking to Gary for permission. He nodded, and she picked it up, the seams were there, but the box was well crafted, she shook it and heard something rattling around deep inside of it.

“Because my birthday was yesterday. The guy had instructions to send it, but since I was in town anyways he just handed it to me.”

“Wow so what do you think is in the box?” Sharon said putting it down in front of Gary again.

“I know what is in the box, every year he sent me a silver coin, I have 10 silver coins back home that came in similar boxes, I kept the coins and got rid of the boxes.”


Gary could not understand how a woman could put so much disappointment into one word.

“Happy Birthday sorry I missed it.”

Gary muttered thanks and lifted a stack of books off the counter and went to put them away.

The puzzle box sat on the counter for several weeks. Occasionally Gary would find Sharon attempting to open it, and she met with some progress, coaxing some of the pieces to move. Gary knew he could probably figure it out in an afternoon, but he just looked at it with disgust another reminder that he was stuck here. His application to transfer colleges where Sharon went was accepted and he would be starting in January but that was still almost two months away and he was not sure what was going to keep him sane until then. It was the first snow of the season and the two of them were sitting in the store with nothing much to do. Gary picked up the box and began to manipulate it.

“Boy it took you long enough.” Sharon said looking over the top of a Walking Dead comic book.

“If I can open this by five o’clock, will you go out to dinner with me tonight?”

She looked over the top of the comic book again and gave a quizzical almost shocked look but then smiled. “Maybe, but I don’t think you can do it, it is almost three now, and I have been working at that thing for weeks.”

Gary knew what he was doing was stupid, but he went ahead anyways. “At five o’clock when I open this box, we close the store and you go out to dinner with me at Isaac’s uptown.”

She smirked. “Confident. Calling your shot and the place of your victory. Well first there is no way that you can do it, but even if you did, I am not dressed to go to Isaac’s.” She said motioning towards her Green Lantern sweat shirt. “But when you fail and you will, I want you to buy pizza for me and my roommates, you buy and fly, then you serve us at our apartment and do the dishes afterward.”

“Deal.” He reached over and shook her hand. “The secret of the box will be revealed by five pm.”

Chapter Four