Monday, August 31, 2015


This past weekend, I took some time off to attend several events being held in the New York Capitol District.
Fantacon -This is the 36th year of this event which celebrates comic books, anime, horror, fantasy and most anything else that fits somewhere into those categories. Here are some of the people I spoke with.

Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame- My friend Jon Soto, his fiancée and his family manned a table at the event. They sold tee shirts and other souvenirs dealing with the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Jimmy Hart- A great wrestling manager most noted in the 1980’s. He managed some of the greats in the sport including-Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart (no relation) and Jim Neidhart (The Hart Foundation), Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, Jerry "The King" Lawler, "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, King Kong Bundy, Earthquake, Dino Bravo, the Nasty Boys, The Giant, and  probably the most famous;The Honky Tonk Man.

Besides wrestling, Jimmy Hart was a member of the rock band “The Gentrys” whose best known for the 1965 version “Keep on Dancing”.
James Tolkan-A notable actor you would remember form numerous movies, but most known as the principle in Back to the Future.  I was able to speak to him for several minutes. He had made a comment about signing autographs recently in London, England where the line went for miles.  I had to remind him he was in Albany, NY. He was a very nice man, and I have to say I hope I look as good as him at his age.

Sam Costello- Split Lip Comics. He is a comic book writer. I am in the process of reading his “The Harvestman, and other Unnatural Creatures”.  It was nice to meet another author at this event.

Very Scary Productions- An independent film maker whose interests’ center on horror and gore. I bought a copy of their movie “Project D: Classified” I will probably check that out this weekend. They seemed like a nice group, so I recommend you check them out.

Kevin Van Hentenryck- An actor which starred in the classic horror comedy movie; Basket Case. This is a classic cult movie that wrote the book on the b-movie horror genre. It was great to meet him. He is a great self-taught sculptor.



Geek Culture Podcast- The person at this table simple called himself Tom. This is a podcast over the internet which dedicates itself to talk about TV, Movies, Toys, Comics, & pop-culture and all things nerdy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


I had mentioned I may be going to a medieval fair over the weekend, unfortunately this did not occur. I however, was able to go to a Living History event and a Fair. This is my comments on both.

The Time Line of World HISTORY Weekend located at Schuler Flatts Park in MENANDS, NY.  Over the last several years I have tried to attend a Civil War Days here, this has now changed to include other periods of History.

I was able to visit a tent by the Civil War Medical Coalition. They displayed numerous artifacts used in medicine during the battles in that time. Although, medicine had advanced during that century, it was still unsanitary compared to today’s standards.

Also I visited the tents for the Watervliet Historical Society and the Historical Society of the Town of Colonie; this is the location of the event. Both groups are dedicated to appreciate and promote the history of the area.

This event featured different sections of history, I saw Civil War reenactors, and also one person dressed in Ancient Roman gear. While I was there I saw a skirmish conducted by several World War II reenactors.

One of the vendors was the Knowlton Sutlers. A sutler is a peddler who follows an army and sells his product out of a wagon or tent. Knowlton Sutlers had a wide selection of unique and historical items.

After visiting this event, I drove to the Altamont Fair. This is located just outside of Albany, NY.

This was a wonderful fair, which I enjoyed attending, it hosted many wonderful events and rides that you would associate with such a fair.
I was able to meet Daniel Crowler of Oak and Acorn Ancient Metalcrafts a blacksmith who also does historical reproductions with re-enactment equipment of the era. It was a pleasure to meet someone so informed and knowledgeable about medieval blacksmithing and hopefully I will be able to use his knowledge in upcoming books.

One of the best events I saw was  the Coronas Circus Hollywood.

The Coronas family is a multi-generation of circus performers. The show they put on there was spectular, every single performer was outstanding. These acts included a chair balancer, horse trainer and a performer on the Wheel of Death (also known as the Space Wheel). Before the circus began, Bibi the clown entertained the audience and got them motivated and performed between acts when they adjusted or changed the equipment.

The following are acts which I thought was particularly exciting and entertaining.

Aerial silk- This is a type of performance in which an artist performs area acrobatic while hanging from a fabric. This act was elegant and mesmerizing and was a joy to watch.

Hooping- The performer, Crystal Coronas, was very entertaining using hula hoops, some of her act was set to Afro Circus/ I live to move it, from the film Madagascar 3. The conclusion of her act she performed with more hula hoops than I could count.

Since I brought this up I wanted to mention about Hula Hoops. Many people think it was an invention of the 1950’s; this is mostly because of an episode of M.A.S.H. when one of the characters sees a Korean child using a piece of pipe made into a hope, and he tries to sell the idea back to a toy company in America. Actually the hula hoop, called simply a hoop could date back to around 1,000 B.C. in Egypt. These hoops were made of dried reeds. In the 14th century a fad of using a hoop spread around England, it was used as a form of exercise. The name Hula was added in the 19th century by sailors returning from Hawaii, who said the Hula dance resembled someone using a hoop.

The final performance was on a high wire act. The two performers were the best I have ever seen. The woman showed considerable strength holding her partner on her shoulders while on the wire.  Not to be outdone, he carried her from the high wire to the ground on a wire set at a 45 degree angle. This act concluded a wonderful circus and I hope I get the opportunity to see them again.

For those of you that are interested, my novel; Legend of the Mystic Knights 

is still on sale for $0.99 for the Kindle. If you do not have a Kindle, they now have a Kindle App which allows you to read the novel on any reading device.

Monday, July 27, 2015

A Fantasy Novel Sequel in the Making, Maybe-Part 2

I have been in the process of writing the sequel to “Legend of the Mystic Knights”, I have been notified that due to the recent lackluster sales, my sequel may not be handled by my publisher. As a result of this, I will be selling the novel at a reduced price. I will keep you posted when this occurs.
Until I make a decision about the future of the novel, I am proceeding with telling you about the monsters and creatures which will be featured.

As with “Legend of the Mystic Knights” I have tried to incorporate creatures based on medieval legend. Each creature or monster has its unique characteristic, which includes its power and its weakness.

The following is a list of creatures which play an important part in the sequel:

WOODWOSE- The Wildman of medieval Europe. This creature is incredibly tall (over 7 feet), and has fur covering its entire body, in many instances the fur is green colored.

In mythology the woodwose may represent nature, or the animal side of man. It can be gentle and intelligent or cruel and fierce. Of course in my novel, I have to have it cruel and fierce.
REVENANT-The zombie of the medieval world. I brought this creature over from my first novel. In the original they had a limited appearance, now they are featured more and have a greater impact on the characters in the novel.

Wyvern- the characteristics of this dragon are that it has one set of legs and can fly upon its leathery wings. This dragon is used in my heraldry throughout Europe and can be seen on many family crests.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Sequel to a Fantasy Novel in the Making

I have been in the process of writing the sequel to "Legend of the Mystic Knights" I am in the final process of finishing the book, before I send it to my publisher.  Hopefully, it will be accepted and then the editing process can begin.

As with “Legend of the Mystic Knights” I have tried to incorporate creatures based on medieval legend. Having an existing creature, even mythical, has many advantages and disadvantages.  One of the advantages is that I have an existing description of a creature. There are many existing documents from this era about these creatures including their size and characteristics. 

These same advantages are also a disadvantage; this is because when I write my novel, I try to be as historically accurate as possible, even with mythical creatures. This means I am limited to these characteristics described by medieval people.  I will let other author’s take vampires and turn them into love struck teenagers, as for me the vampire is a loathsome demonic creature who attacks the living during the night.

The following is a list of creatures which play an important part in the sequel:

OGRE: The name ogre may come from different sources. One is it is based on the biblical king Og, who was an Amorite king and last of the race of giants and was defeated and slain by Moses.

The name could also be derived from the French word and could come from the Orcus who was an Etruscan god who ate human flesh.

The 2nd variation of the name is important, because unlike the current concept of an ogre, traditional ogres feed on human flesh. The other features of an ogre are that they were incredibly tall and had oversized heads and were covered in hair, again, unlike the current famous cartoon ogre we are used to today.

In my sequel I picture the ogre as a 12 foot tall, overweight with oversized head and hands. For clothes it wore a bearskin.  As a weapon it uses a piece of a tree trunk as a club. I could imagine the ogre as a large Neanderthal Man, while still maintaining the human flesh eating characteristic from legend.

WARG: Many people believed this was a creature created by J.R.R. Tolkien, since it is used throughout his novels about middle-earth. In legend, the warg is a creature of Norse mythology, and usually represents Fenrir, a giant wolf who will end up killing Oden during Ragnarok (similar to Christian’s Apocalypse).

In the sequel, the Warg is twice the size of a large wolf. It had fierce red eyes and oversized teeth and claws. Although larger than a standard wolf, they still show the same characteristics, they are a pack animal and can be manipulated as one would a wolf.

In the novel, I use a trick used by Eastern European hunters called fladry. This is a technique where a rope is tied between trees, and large red pieces of cloth or flags are tied to it. A wolf will not cross this line and they can also be herded into one area using this technique.

DRAGONET- This creature has 2 sets of legs, a set of wings and appears as a normal dragon, except it is barely 5 feet long. Although it can breathe fire, its main weapon is its blood, which is extremely poisonous. Even a few drops of blood on the skin can kill a full sized knight.

I wanted to describe the dragon as unintimidating, almost appearing as a colorful snake or frog. This is because a knight in my novel, who was unfamiliar with how dangerous it was, kills one, not knowing that its blood could kill.

LACERTA- (Also known as “gigas lucernta” or giant lizard). This is a creature I created. It is a lizard which humongous in size (150 feet). It has a thick hide which is harder than plate armor, making it almost invincible. The lizard is flat, and has two rows of spikes running down its back.

Originally, I wanted to call this creature a Dyrodor, being a fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs who created it in one of his novels, but I was afraid it was still under copy write protection, so I came up with my own monster.

When I thought of the lacerta, what came to mind was those old cheap sci-fi movies. Where they took an iguana or other lizard, and glued spikes on them, and then filmed them so they would look like they were dinosaurs.

So now you have a sense to the sequel of "Legend of the Mystic Knights",  there are many more monsters and creatures planned in my sequel, and we will cover more next week.  I hope that if you have not already, you will get a copy of my current novel, and also the sequel when it comes out.

As always thank you for visiting and if you want, please leave a comment.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer and Medieval Festivals, Part 2; Mutton and Mead

As you remember my last post dealt with the New York Capitol Renaissance Festival, this past weekend, I visited the Mutton and Mead Festival in Montague, MA.  Attending these types of festivals has given me a chance to promote my novel, "Legend of the Mystic Knights".
I had never visited this festival before, and I had to rile on my old GPS to get me there.  The way there took me one way, while it navigated a different way when I returned.  Either way I had a spectacular view, for on the way there I went through woods and next to rivers and lakes and was lucky enough to have a bald eagle fly over the car.
On the way back, my GPS had me travel over the Hoosac Range, which is a part of the Appalachian Mountain chain. It was near Whitcomb Summit that I saw the most spectacular view over a valley I have ever seen in my life. I am planning a trip back to that area, just to go sightseeing.
Now back to the Mutton and Mead Festival.  This yearly event is not put on as a faire to entertain people, it benefits local causes.  It hosts a food drive for The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, and alos raised money for the Montague Common Hall.
I noticed when I first got the fair that the parking was set in a large field, and it was completely full. Having this many people at a two-day medieval festival is rather impressive, and I soon found out why.

As many of you know, I have attended numerous types of medieval and renaissance festivals in recent years. Without any reservation, I can say this was the most fun I have ever had at one of these types of events. I was totally impressed with how this festival was run, and the entertainment, and vendors at this show.

The following are performers, or demonstrators and vendors, at this faire which deserve mention:

The Brotherhood of Arrows and Swords- This is a group which dedicates themselves in the living aspect of medieval history. They do demonstrations to educate the public about this era in history.  I was privileged enough to see one of their demonstrations, and they are very informative and educational. You can find more about them on Facebook.

CIRQUE DU SEWER- Is one of the funniest and entertaining shows I have ever seen. Melissa Arleth is the performer of this show, along with her trained RATS. As she stated in this show, “Her rats are probably the most accurate part of a renaissance faire.”

If you have ever get a chance to see her show, you will be impressed with her comedy, agility and flexibility, along with how talented and smart her rodents are.

I was lucky enough to get some pretty good leather at the faire, at a very reasonable price from Tandy Leather.
The vendors for them were Theodore Hinman and Armene Margosian.  The leather I purchased will be used by me to create one of my new wrestling costumes, maybe even something I could wear at these medieval faires.
The Mutton and Mead Festival is very impressive, and the promoters of this faire should be proud of what they have accomplished.  This festival has a large following and attendance, great vendors and performers; the patrons of this event should extend this faire to more than one weekend a year. With some planning and a couple extra of weekends, this faire could rival those that run all summer long.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Summer and Medieval Festivals, Part 1

It is a special time of the year for me, for now summer has arrived, and it is time for the Renaissance Festival Season.  As many of you know I am the author of the fantasy novel, "Legend of the Mystic Knights", the premise of my book is that the Middle Ages never ended.

I live in Upstate NY; this area gives us several things, long winters and short summers. And it is during these short summer season that I like attend many events. These include the numerous town, and county fairs, and of course Medieval and Renaissance Faires. (I hope you noticed I spell fairs when I am dealing with the typical fair with rides and games of chance, and that I used the old English version “Faire”, for the medieval type).

I did not always attend the medieval style faires. I believe my fascination with this started with my marital arts/military training. I once taught knife fighting; I am not speaking of defense against a knife, but how to use a knife in combat. My interest this led to learn more about edged weapons, including swords.

When you learn about swords, you inevitably study about knights. Combine this with my interest in history, and it led to me to understand how people lived during the medieval period. Naturally this also led to the medieval faire.

My first experience at a medieval faire was attending the Sterling Renaissance Festival, in Sterling, NY outside of Oswego. (The name of this town is very similar to Sterling Forest N.Y., which hosts a renaissance festival, but is 6 hours away.)

Since my first adventure at the Sterling faire, I have attended numerous renaissance and medieval faires over the years. This past weekend I attended the New York Capitol District Renaissance Faire,
in Altamont, NY (just outside of Albany, NY).  This is the 2nd year that this has been held, and my first time attending it.

It is located at the Indian Ladder Farms,  which is set in a picturesque valley surrounded by hills and mountains. The farm is noted for its apple and strawberry picking and hosts other events throughout the year. Even if you never go to one of these annual events, take the time to go visit it, you will not regret that decision.
The price of admission was $12 for an adult. This is more than reasonable for one of these smaller faires. In the past, I have paid much more for a lot less for being offered.
At this faire they had the typical medieval entertainment at such as; Belly dancers, knights, performers, and different varieties of food. The following are some of the people I met.

SCA-(Society for Creative Anachronism, The Eastern Kingdom) I must say this group changed my perception of them. It may have been their name, but I had always assumed they were people playing medieval combat without any regard for historical significance of what they were doing. I will admit, I Could NOT HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG.  This group is not only dedicated to fighting techniques (and from what I saw, they did very accurately too), but are also committed to educating people about the medieval world. I was so impressed with this group that I am planning on getting involved with them in the future.
Three Pints Shy