Tag Archives: Jack Gannon

Leonard Nimoy: My Tribute

One year ago today the world lost a great scifi icon: Leonard Nimoy. I got to meet him once at a convention back in 2004 and the memories of that day remain as fresh as if they were yesterday.

He was introduced to a standing-room-only crowd of fans, which went to its feet when he came on stage to give him a standing ovation, which lasted quite a while! It was simply a pleasure to listen to him as he talked about his new passion at the time, which was his photography and publishing a new book of black-and-white pictures. He spoke so much like Spock: calm, assuring, and inviting. It became the recurring joke of his presentation during question-and-answer when fan after fan asked him when he would appear as Spock again, and he repeated the same answer calmly and politely, “I’m retired.” It became a running joke as the crowd laughed every time it was asked, and I remember just shaking my head and thinking, “That’s why some people think Trekkers are idiots!” We’re really not, I promise! The whole time, however, he truly sounded like he was the family’s favorite uncle with endless stories to tell new family members…

When came the autograph line, I was on the front row with my wife, and our tickets only allowed one autograph per person, and I had two items I really wanted signed. When it was my turn I presented a one-of-a-kind picture: I was superimposed, in appropriate uniform, into a Wrath Of Khan picture of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, and he signed his autograph over Spock. (I digress for only a moment to state that a year earlier William Shatner signed over Kirk’s image!) My wife presented my Hallmark Spock Christmas Ornament, and he signed the back of Spock’s chair. He commented over both items, “Quite unique and logical,” with that famous raised-eyebrow expression.

I bought a studio photo opportunity of us with him. When it was our turn he waved us to join him, shook both our hands warmly, wrapped his arms around both of us like we were family, and squeezed us in close just like that favorite uncle would! When we were finished he shook our hands again and wished us well…

Over the last quarter century I have been amassing the Hallmark Star Trek Ornaments and have a Christmas tree dedicated to just those ornaments, many of which have been signed by Star Trek stars. In tribute to Mr. Nimoy, this past Christmas I put his autographed Spock ornament in a bell jar beside that tree.

Star Trek fans, even scifi fans in general, show their respect to all these shows by putting on and attending these conventions. The stars, in turn, return that respect with their wonderfully engaging appearances at these conventions. And when he said his good-bye at the conclusion of his presentation, he raised his right hand in the Vulcan salute and wished everyone to “Live Long and Prosper”.

He did.

I’m doing my best to follow his example…






Oh dear…we find the strangest things in the news!

A proposed ordinance allowing backyard chickens in the city of Racine, Wisconsin is being acted on by the City’s Council. Backed unanimously by the City Board of Health last week, the proposal would allow single-family… (Single-family? They’re discriminating against multi-family homes right off the bat?)…owner-occupied households… (Owner occupied? now they’re discriminating from renters? Renters’ money isn’t good enough???) …in the city to keep up to four hens, but no roosters. (What the cluck???)

(Why up to 4? Why not 6 or 10, or 20? Are they concerned about square footage per chicken? Or perhaps the decibel level of 5 chickens is the maximum that can be tolerated by the neighbors. Clucking volume must be it… so are we now looking at a clucking chicken noise ordinance? Have you ever heard the ear-splitting sound a single chicken makes while laying an egg? Is this in consideration? And no roosters? Why no roosters? Is council denying chickens their rights to have male companionship now? Isn’t that now a sexist factor? The girl chickens have needs after all. No, I get it. They’re worried about the production of baby chickens, and more baby chickens, and soon the entire city of Racine will be overrun with little chickens. What a bunch of clucking sexists.)

The news comes about eight months after a local resident approached the board to see if its members might craft a measure allowing residents to keep the birds. Since then, the Public Health Administrator has been working with the board and others, including the Wisconsin Humane Society and City Attorney’s Office, to draft and fine-tune the would-be ordinance. Under the guidelines set forth in the proposed law, residents could only keep chickens for domestic use. (“Domestic use“? What use? How does one “use” a domestic chicken? Oh, it’s a pet! We can put a harness leash on it and take a walk around the block…the same as we do with Fido!) Chicken owners could not slaughter the chickens, sell their eggs, or breed the animals for sale. They would also have to keep the chickens in the backyard in a coop and/or pen approved by the department’s Environmental Health Division. In addition to those requirements, owners would have to follow strict rules for the disposal of chicken droppings and the size of the enclosures and pens.

(Wait, what about our constitutional rights here? We can breed & sell all other kinds of animals, like dogs and cats. Why discriminate against the chicken? Could this be a hidden attack against right-Wing — get it? “Wing”??? What a tough crowd! Chicken owners and restaurants like Chic-Fil-A? Where’s Al Sharpton? There might be police officers shooting innocent chickens! The chickens will riot, and burn down innocent Chic-Fil-A restaurants! Call in Jesse Jackson, too! We need Colonel Sanders to come back on a Wing and a prayer! Okay, we’re winging it on our commentary here, give us a break. Preferably a chicken sandwich break, made from all breast meat… oh, damn, now WE’re being sexist!!!)

(WOW! These guidelines are stricter than our human guidelines. I haven’t seen government workers work this much in insuring the health and welfare of our citizens. The poor, needy, poverty, government housing polilticians, just have to keep adding rules and laws upon us poor owners, ignoring the renters, clucking us every chance they get…)

There also are recommendations for the bedding, feeding and watering of the animals. (What? now we have to buy chickens new beds? Hey, Petsmart, what aisle are the chicken beds on???) Those who want to keep the birds would be required to get a $50 license from City Hall. (More discrimination against the chicken! Dogs and cats don’t require $50 licenses! Only rabies tags!) Part of the cost of the annual license would fund inspections aimed at ensuring that coops are the right distance from adjacent properties and maintained in the backyard area of homes. Anyone violating the rules set forth in the ordinance could lose their license or face a possible $500 fine. If a license is revoked it couldn’t be renewed for three years. The last time city officials discussed the possibility of allowing chickens in the city was 2010. City officials ended up receiving about 250 signatures from residents opposed to the idea, and the Committee ultimately voted to set it aside. The City Council is slated to consider the proposal. Although aldermen could decide to approve the ordinance or vote it down, they could also decide to send it back to the Board of Health or City Attorney’s Office for adjustments or to another committee for more in-depth discussion.

(You mean the chickens have been put on the back burner again?!? Oh my! I want mine with mushroom sauce, please!!!)


We must confess that the Major League Baseball’s “Lick and Wipe” rule has baffled us since it was imposed a few years ago (better known as Rule No. 8.02 to be specific).  Being confounded about what we thought was just a “bad habit” and concerned that no one was carrying around bottles of Germ-X….we ventured on a quest for an answer.

Mike Pelfrey has a propensity for licking his hand more than any pitcher in baseball. During one game, it was noted he licked his hand a total of 89 times! Wonder what his mom thought about that.

Let us preface all this by saying that we’ve been avid baseball fans since the early 80’s, going back to the good old days of the Atlanta Braves when Bobby Cox was still around and Skip Caray actually narrated the games….nothing wrong with Fredi Gonzalez and Chip Caray mind you…fondly remembering how it used to be. Though a Braves fan through and through, we can’t help remembering Darryl Strawberry (played for both the New York Mets and New York Yankees), with his 6-foot-6 frame, his controversial behavior and one of the most awesome sluggers there ever was. Our curiosity about the rules and regulations abound.

Cyndi noted that in all the years that she sat on the bench watching her kids play T-Ball and Little League Ball, never once was there a discussion about a Lick and Wipe issue; nor a Spit Ball Issue. Perhaps the coaches talked about it with the little guys and discouraged it, but bleacher moms never heard tell of such a thing.

So, with all that in mind Cyndi decided to ask a few men friends their opinion on the rule.

Man #1:  Stated “I dunno, guess it helps ’em throw the ball better”

Man #2:  Stated “Oh, it’s a new thing, you gotta lick your fingers, to get a better grip on the ball, but you gotta wipe the spit on your shirt or the ump will call a balk on you”

Man #3:  Stated “Yeah, they do it just to tick off the umpires”

With all that manly knowledge floating around, something still didn’t sit well within. Jack reached out to the Internet for some realistic information.  Laughable now, but when he did a search on the “Lick and Wipe Rule” he instantly realized his mistake as he was bombarded with Internet porno sites advising who, what, when, where and how to lick and wipe…in great detail. Fearing the worst, thinking the Internet Police or FBI would surely show up at the door, he I closed down the browser and turned the computer over to Cyndi!

Thinking “smart” is always better than just “thinking.”  We next did a search on Major League Baseball rules…there we go.  Rule No 8.02.  For any of you who always wanted to know but were afraid to ask, we share with you (in layman’s terms) the rules for Like and Wipe, or spit ball, or whatever substance must not be used on the baseball!…

It seems the pitcher may not, for any reason “expectorate” (spit, slobber or otherwise drool) on the baseball. Nor may he apply any foreign substance to the ball, rub the ball on his clothing or within the pitchers glove, nor deface or alter the ball by any means. We also learned that the pitcher may not bring his pitching hand up to his mouth or lips while within an 18 foot circle surrounding the pitching rubber (pitching rubber?…oh, what we call the base on the mound).  BUT…if it’s exceptionally cold out during the game, and if it’s agreed by both managers, the umpire may allow the pitcher to “blow” on his pitching hand throughout the game. If the umpire catches the pitcher doing any of the above, he may penalize the pitcher by calling a ball (not a balk fellas); he may give the pitcher a warning; or he may actually eject him from the game and suspend him from up to 10 full games! Wow! The rules do have more “whys,” “wherefores,” and “thou shalt not’s,” but this is the down and dirty of it. Just think if we had this many rules at work…or at home?  You get caught drooling at home…and YOU’RE OUTTA HERE! 

Apparently Cyndi’s three purveyors of wisdom DID have a good point about the whole thing. Having sticky fingers does indeed provide a better grip on the ball, providing the pitcher with a greater ability to throw harder, stronger and more accurately. Therefore, the rules were altered a few years ago allowing pitchers to actually lick their fingers, though they must be off the plate, and they must wipe their fingers on their uniform, hat, etc.  We still think Germ-X should be involved.

It’s interesting to note that these particular rules came about in 1920 when Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians took a spitball to the temple from the Yankee’s Carl Mays. Sadly he died from his injuries. In those days, no one wore batting helmets, and whatever substance Mays was using on the ball discolored it and made it more difficult for Chapman to see. That’s why MLB instituted the rules banning foreign substances on baseballs and a requirement that umpires must change out the ball whenever it gets dirty. Which also explains why a team can go through 80 baseballs in a game!

So, there ya go!  Baseball’s Lick and Wipe rules to live by.  By the way, we’re debating if we should go back to some of those “other” websites for a quick sneak-peak.  Don’t tell anyone!

“Live Long and Prosper”


“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few… or the one…”

This is just one of several memorable lines attributed to Commander Spock, First Officer of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701, in the now-immortal series “Star Trek” (before you start berating me about accuracy, he was the captain in rank and position on the Enterprise when he first uttered those words). Yes, of course, the exact words were actually written by screenwriters or even added by the producer of “Star Trek 2- The Wrath of Khan”, but it was the performance of Leonard Nimoy, the actor who brought Spock to life, who made the words iconic even thirty-plus years after the movie played in theatres.

Mr. Nimoy left us last Friday, February 28, to boldly pass into the Final Frontier that awaits us all. I, and my wife, had opportunity to see him at a convention in 2004 as he spoke before a standing-room-only gathering of Star Trek fans. He happily answered questions from my fellow Trekkies about anything, but I was most amused by the few fans who give us genuine ones a bad name; they kept asking him about his next role and, worse, the next time we would be Spock onscreen again. He politely answered that question each time, “I’m retired.” His days (then) were occupied with his photography hobby. It became laughable each time he was repeatedly asked that question, and he took it in stride with never a moment of frustration.

We signed up for a professional photo with him, and we waited our turn at the scheduled time with a combination of patience (like Spock) and excitement (like true geeks). By now we had already been to a few Star Trek conventions and had already gotten into the groove of what to do at these events, and how the stars acted and reacted with their fans. Many stars were content to just be in the picture, just like Santa Claus is part of the background for children’s Christmas pictures; others were more personable… but when it was our turn Mr. Nimoy first shook our hands warmly, thanked us for coming to see him, and took us in his arms like we were family and held us tightly close for the picture. It was the most memorable picture we ever took at a convention, although my picture with Julie Caitlin Brown of Babylon 5 was definitely and unquestionably second high (and that is another story for another day).

Back to the legend that was Leonard Nimoy, and his immortal portrayal of the hybrid alien Spock. I watched the original series in first-run, and then never missed it after school when it aired in syndication. In high school and college I watched it whenever possible on TV. Then when home video recording came into being I recorded Star Trek, and then started buying the video tapes of Star Trek, and finally the DVDs and today Blu-ray. It was Spock’s continual study of a situation and logically seeing through the wrong answers before arriving at the correct one that became my core motivation in life, although I had an occasionally bad recurring occurrence of making mistakes in my own life before finding the correct answers at some point and to some degree. But at his character’s core there was a single truth that continues to bear fruit today, and will long into the future after we are all long-gone: logic will always win out.

Sadly, Mr. Nimoy, along with DeForest Kelley (“Bones”) and James Doohan (“Scotty”), didn’t make it to the 50th anniversary of the first airing of the first episode of Star Trek on TV (September 8, 1966), although he did make it to the 50th anniversary of the filming of the first pilot, “The Cage” (Jeffrey Hunter played Captain Christopher Pike), which was later broken up to be part of the two-part Star Trek episode “The Menagerie”. NBC rejected this episode in 1965 as being “too cerebral” and ordered an unprecedented second pilot “Where No Man Has Gone Before” starring William Shatner as Captain Kirk. The character of Spock was the only one to survive the first pilot to the second… and a legend was born.

This weekend I have enjoyed watching some other programs Leonard Nimoy starred in before and after Star Trek. He was a terrific actor in all his various roles; I remember following him as he starred in Mission: Impossible for a couple seasons simply because he was in Star Trek.

But he was best-known as Spock, and he happily embraced his legacy. His demeanor at conventions was much like that of Spock: calm and serene and, yes, logical.

In the autograph line I took two items: a picture of me added into a promo photo of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy from Star Trek: The Experience, and I had already gotten William Shatner to sign it the year before; the second was the 1998 Hallmark Spock Christmas ornament. I handed that ornament to him, and he commented, “It was very logical that someone would bring one of these,” then happily signed the back of the ornament. It will be a little sad to hang that ornament on the tree this Christmas season.

It was very logical to be sad this weekend, but also this weekend was to remember the warmness and passion that was the incredible and unforgettable Leonard Nimoy. Live Long and Prosper… and Peace and Long Life…


Jack Gannon & Cyndi Williams-Barnier





A couple of years ago, I came across an article about alligator hunting in South Carolina. Did ya’ll realize that there was such a thing as gator huntin’ season in S.C.? No? Neither…did…I!!!!

I swanny I just can’t keep up. We have deer season, shrimp season, allergy season, oyster season, rattlesnake roundup season, mosquito season, gnat season, the inevitable love-bug season; a virtual plethora of “seasons” here in S.C. But I DID NOT KNOW we had an alligator hunting season! How did that slip by me? Maybe I was concentrating on turkey hunting season! Lots-o-turkey’s ’round here you know.

When I learned of the Alligator Hunting Season, I was compelled to go to the Department of Natural Resources website and check out this thing and review the rules and regulations, not that I’ll be out in a boat searching for gators mind you, but rather I was intrigued by the enigmatic nature of the whole thing (for us southerners, that means “strange”).

According to the DNR website, the state was divided into four ‘Alligator Management Units.’ Who would’ve known?

Unit 1 is the southern coastal section
Unit 2 is the middle coastal section
Unit 3 is the midlands section
Unit 4 is the Pee Dee section. In looking at the map, it seems there should be a Unit 5 for the upper NW part of S.C.; however it’s listed as “No Season.” Perhaps the alligators boycotted that part of S.C. and refused to travel that far north. Maybe they fear the prospect of being called a ‘Yankee Gator’ venturing north bound.

It seems 300 permits and tags were issued per unit and apparently it’s a no-no to hunt outside the unit you’ve been assigned to. It didn’t say what they would do to you if you crossed the “border” but I’m shakin’ in my boots! The site told us that gator hunting season opened in September, darn I missed it, and follows suit for about a month to October. We get a whole month to chase our golf course loving friends. BUT, we must keep in mind that hunters will be selected by a RANDOM COMPUTER DRAWING, which leads me to question, is there really that many people out there lining up to hunt gators? Successful applicants will be issued a permit and one (1) tag that allow them to harvest one (1) alligator in the designated Alligator Management Unit (henceforth the AMU).

Applicants will be allowed to hunt in only one AMU per season, and can apply for any number of the four AMU’s, including all units. Apparently selecting the same unit more than once does not increase our odds of being selected for that unit. This is making my head hurt. If successful, we will be selected for one unit only. Oh, and if we’re not successful and our name is not randomly drawn, we do get the booby prize of accumulating something called “preference points”, oh happy day. Keep in mind now, we may not sell or trade our preference points for waterfowl or deer permits. Oh yeah, I forgot about waterfowl hunting season; those darned ducks.

I also learned that gators must be 4 feet or greater in length (gotta remember to bring along that measuring tape), secured and brought to shore in public waters or alongside the boat before being ‘dispatched’. Dispatched? Is this a polite way of saying ‘killed?’ Further, we may not dispatch any of our toothy fellows if they are swimming freely in the water or basking on the bank in the sunlight. What else would they be doing anyway? Further, we cannot bait them in any way by use of baited hooks, set hooks or poles. How then are we to catch these critters so we may “dispatch” them I ask?

I also discovered that I could not use my rifle to ‘dispatch’ them, darn again, but may ONLY use a handgun or bang stick. What the heck is a bang stick? I’ve never owned a bang stick that I know of; wouldn’t know one if I fell over it; it sounds cruel and unusual in my opinion; but I think I might like to have one anyway.

What really gets me is the cost factor involved in gator hunting. There seems to be a $10 non-refundable application fee involved, and a whopping $100 alligator hunting permit fee! For $110 I’M ONLY ALLOWED TO GET ONE GATOR PER PERMIT, WOW! I’m allowed to pay my fees on line, thank goodness, or I would have to drive several hours to one of four different cities in S.C. to stand in line at the DNR office to pay my fees. (I wonder if their lines are as bad as the DMV’s?) I agonize at the thought of buying the fuel and oil for the boat, the cost of our food and drinks for the day, and coolers full of ice that must be purchased to keep our guy “fresh” on the way home from our unit, whichever one we’ve been assigned to? Oh, did I mention, if you’re not from ‘round here, you gotta pay an out-of-state fee (mysteriously the amount was not mentioned) on top of the other fees to get your permit? What’s up with that?

Once I have permit in hand, I can take off for the gator hunt. It was good to find out that others may assist me, the “permitee” in the gator hunt, because I really hate hunting all by my lonesome. However, all my friends must also be licensed S.C. hunters as well, each spending $110 to come along for the fun. Grab the cooler guys, we’re goin’ gator huntin’!

Now, once I’ve secured my gator alongside my boat (by whatever unknown means I’ve caught him) and brought him to the shore and “dispatched” him with my bang stick (still don’t know what that is!), I will be allowed to KEEP my alligator. I guess I can grind him up into gator burgers or fry up some po-gator chips for football season.

But, I will NOT be allowed to sell my gator to anyone for any reason (say it isn’t so). Specifically, the ‘meat, hide or any of his parts’ so says the law.

The confusing news about this whole program is, the money collected is used to support the Alligator Management Program activities, and for the CONSERVATION of the American Alligator in S.C.
Conservation? They’re tell’in us to go ahead and kill off this cold blooded dinosaur, which has been around for millions of years, so that we may further preserve his existence. Huh? Now I’m really confused. My headache’s getting worse.

OMG, and there’s even more! If you hunt the WMA (Wildlife Management Area), one must pay a fee of $500 for that one gator; or $800 if you’re not from ‘round here…if you’re randomly selected from that same ‘ole computer that is.

In conclusion, maybe I’ll be more prepared for gator hunt’in season some other year. I’ll have my money and accoutrements ready, round up my buddies so I won’t have to hunt alone, find that bang stick thing (they probably have them on Amazon), and pray that the DNR computer will randomly pick me so I may travel speedily to my designated alligator management unit! Gettin’ the prize home will be my most difficult task thereafter. Oh, gotta get a big freezer from Wal-Mart or Lowes! Forgot about that.

Take a gander at the DNR site sometime, there’s even more fun rules on there. They may have changed however, because this whole journey into monopolizing on gators seems like a croc! I’m puttin’ away my bang stick and going to bed! Nite, ya’ll.

J&C Wordsmiths, LLC – Authors Jack Gannon & Cyndi Williams-Barnier
https://www.facebook.com/jandcwordsmiths https://www.facebook.com/annualnovelwinetastingandliteraryfestival



                                                                                     REPORT TO SYDNEY SCHNARLING SCHNAUZER


TO:         COH (Cat-astrophic Operative Headquarters) – Washington, DC

ATTN:    CIO (Chief Information Officer) Ms. Sydney Schnarling Schnauzer

FROM:  MI (Meownistry Intelligence) Agent 00Purr, Norman Cooler, Licensed to Meow

RE:          Infiltration of J&C Wordsmiths, LLC (As Purr Your Orders)

Ms. Schnauzer, I’m happy to report that I’ve successfully been hired by J&C Wordsmiths, LLC and have begun the process of infiltration into their literary organization, and will report to you frequently or more often if urgent. If this Corporation is to “take off” as it should, I will uphold my duty of being the eyes, ears and whiskers of COH to make sure these two authors succeed. The title the humans have given me at this Corporation is that of Research and Intelligence. As instructed I’ve taken the namesake of Norman Cooler, the long-lived superintendent of a certain South Carolina government agency, as part of my disguise. You’ll be pleased that I’ve learned to smoke a stogie, albeit it a catnip stogie, as did the late Norman Cooler. (Personal entry: Please disavow any entries you receive between 1800 and 2300 hours, as that is the time I am, um, practicing the proper use of my catnip stogie for visual appearances during the humans’ office hours. Thank you.)

Since my arrival, I’ve been able to observe and ascertain certain information that is vital to COH. Below you will find my notes on each employee and give a synopsis of my findings to date.

The Corporation seems to be well-compliant in their hiring practices as far as their employees’ ethnicity and religious beliefs. They display no prejudice of any kind (other than their talks of certain Federal Government practices and policies—all of which I must agree), and prove to be quite lenient with their trust of all hired felines and canines. Meow-ny of us are multi-lingual, yet communicate quite easily with each other. We are being sufficiently paid daily via feeding, watering, brushing, petting, and all have learned to tolerate their incessant need to baby-talk with the employees (they are writers and have to say things like “you’re my pretty baby”???). Occasionally, the employees have disputes and get into each other’s way, but the humans let them fluff and ruff squabbles on their own with little interference.

Here, I will start with my assessment of each employee:

We will start with employee Mr. Bunny.  Mr. Bunny is the official Cook in the J&C Wordsmiths Bunnyoffices. I’ve observed that he starts each day with a bowl of catnip while watching the morning news. He purrrfectly prepares meals of rats, frogs, lizards, crickets, birds and such. The humans however don’t seem to be fond of his culinary skills—a bit baffling to me, as everything Mr. Bunny presents is delectable. However, the humans’ weight-loss program is proceeding excellently. It is unfortunate that Mr. Bunny was recently caught stealing one of my stogies, and disciplinary action had to be taken. (Please disavow the evening report regarding Mr. Bunny and me comparing the tranquil qualities of catnip stogies, all 365 pages of it. Thank you.)

Next, we move to employee Mr. Tunsis. He’s the Office Manager and Editor of J&C Jack and TunsisWordsmiths (seen here with Author Jack Gannon, reviewing “The Latrodectus Murders”). He insists on proofreading the human’s transcripts at the oddest times. It seems he has cat-niptions over spelling and grammatical errors, overuse of the word “suddenly”, as well as non-justified margins, and ending sentences with prepositions. I find his position to be of great benefit, but his meow-nerisms may need to be dealt with in the near future. His favorite office position is to kick the humans away from the computer so he may review. He also seems to be the office practical joker. When the writers step away, he walks over the keyboard in mid-document, then sits in the corner, grooming his whiskers, and looking as innocent as possible. Have yet to catch him on video—very talented black cat. Levity in the workplace is of great advantage, and I quite approve of his tactics in order to keep the two authors focused on their work. Unfortunately, Mr. Tunsis was also caught stealing one of my catnip stogies (caught on camera here, trying to hide the stogie under his expansive belly. Mr. Tunsis seems to have quite a weight problem.) Bunny2Disciplinary action was also taken with Mr. Tunsis. My recommendation for him would be a bit of anger management training; the theft of the stogie has been taken care of internally and does not interfere with the humans’ writing goals and objectives.

Next, we’ll review Dr. Pepper, PhD. Pepper in BoxHe’s quite an asset to the Corporation with the use of his Doctorate in Logistical Management and IT Operations. Dr. Pepper seems to be a quiet fellow most of the time and prefers to retain the smallest office in the building to carry out his expurrrtise in all office logistical opurrrations. He handles all the shipping and receiving. He’s in charge of all travel arrangements, book signing equipment (tents, tables, chairs, etc.), making sure that the authors’ vehicles remain in purrrfect condition for their many travels, and assuring the office IT equipment is up and running smoothly. Dr. Pepper isn’t very sociable and often scoffs at other employees who get in his way. He may be in need of some training in his social skills in order to get along with the office staff, but his tantrums in no way hinder the progress of the authors. It is unfortunate that Dr. Pepper does indeed have medical issues with Narcolepsy, and is often found napping. To date, it hasn’t proven to be a problem for the corporation but he’s elderly and may need to be prompted for a full examination to include a cat scan.Pepper asleep

  1. Tasia is the official Greeter for J&C Wordsmiths, Tasiaand has proven to be a grand new addition to the J&C team. She graduated top dog in her class at Walmart’s door greeter school, winning over her instructors’ hearts before they realized she was actually a canine. Visitors to J&C’s covert offices are welcomed with an enthusiastic greeting by Ms. Tasia. However, if they try to skirt around her position to enter, she will indeed ruff up anyone with unauthorized access. She’s been dually trained in all manners of security operations. It seems her most dangerous weapon is her tail, an asset used more than necessary at times, I do believe. Her most toxic weapon used for security is her tongue. The sign on her desk is clearly posted and all guests are warned, yet welcomed.
  2. Mattie is the manager of Inventory Control for J&C Wordsmiths. She’s a very sweet, shy feline and suffers from bouts of depression resulting from an accident many years ago when she was a kitten, wherein a portion of her head was run over by a human’s vehicle. SurgeryMattie1 was successful, but she states she’s not been the same since. Very recently she sadly had to succumb to the Manager’s directive to check in to a rehabilitation facility for catnip addiction (please note my theft report 010101, wherein several catnip cigars were missing), and was simultaneously reprimanded for reporting to work while under the influence. Video proof showed Mattie trying to run from the institutions authorities, but could only do the ‘ole “Scooby-Doo-Shuffle” instead, as she forgot to engage her claws when running on polished wood floors. It seems the entire staff has started a “betting pool” on the prognosis for her recovery—laughingly stating that it’s 10-1 odds in Las Vegas. One can only roll their eyes and twitch their whiskers at such shamelessness.
  3. Addison holds the position of Bookkeeper/Accountant for J&C Wordsmiths. Cat with glassesHe handles all accounts, receipts, and invoices with purrrfection, except when dealing with Mattie’s accounts and has cat-atonic seizures when huge catnip invoices show up in the mail. Mr. Addison works long hours; which seem to be a characteristic of a purrrfectionist OCD, and I’m concerned about his mental health. He may need to seek professional counseling about this issue, but in the meantime he’s been “forced” out of his office after hours. He now relaxes by watching episodes of Star Trek-The Next Generation. It seems his favorite character is Data’s cat, Spot—very much liking and replaying (over and over) the scene of when Spot was turned into a lizard—another obvious sign of his OCD and fixations.
  4. Scooter serves as the Head of Security. ScooterHe never has a problem getting his point across—all TEN—in fact! He often trains with Ms. Tasia in the art of claw fencing (after work of course). Gossip amongst the office staff suggests that a feline/canine relationship may be at hand. Of course, this is none of my business as long as their jobs are carried out to satisfaction. Mr. Scooter, quite by surprise, voluntarily offered his talents as the “masseuse” for J&C Wordsmiths—both for the authors and staff. Seems he spent a year in Jamaica after a stint in the military (Navy Seals), and learned the art of massage therapy while in the Islands. Innately sensing any anxiety with the staff, Mr. Scooter is ready and willing to offer up a relaxing body massage, sometimes even a deep tissue claw massage, for all that are over-stressed.

The authors have become accustomed to their feline/canine staff, and most times prefer us over their human equals (observe picture of author to the left, conversing with a canine during a book signing).Jand and Dog

  1. SYDNEY SCHARNLING SCHNAUZER: I hope my findings of the J&C Wordsmiths, LLC offices and staff met with your approval. I offer up a few more details for you before my conclusion, as follows:

In that the offices of J&C Wordsmiths, LLC is located in an underground, covert location—I too assume the identity of one that is covert (see picture of me attempting to be covert). Normy on deskMy position as Research and Intelligence is gratifying and I take great pleasure in seeing both of these authors succeed, especially with our faithful assistance—even in the nighttime hours after all the work is done. The authors seem to “need” us, an emotion I’m not familiar with, but learning.

Next, I offer up an extra benefit that the J&C Bunny BathWordsmiths feline and canine staff take with great pride—an attempt to help them write more often, better, and get a “feel” for their genre. I’ve entered photos for your review, as the staff teaches Jack and Cyndi a multitude of ways to, shall we say, take out—dispatch—murder victims…fodder for their novels. I even took a “whack” at murdering a cardinal—just to fit in (the horror…)

Dead RatSnakeDead Frog

Normy and Cardinal



Now, since I serve as the Intel Officer – I’ve taken the liberty of informing the staff that the CIO will be paying a visit to our offices. I’ve provided photos of you, Ms. Schnauzer, so they will know you when they see you (as seen below). I’ve advised them that you’d probably be paying a visit to the office for an inspection and interview with each employee to insure that all is being performed as it should – for the greater good. You’ve been here before (when other employees were present – you’ve even gone out in the field with the authors to make sure they’re performing their books signings correctly. With all due respect, sometimes it’s a frightening day when Sydney Schnarling Schnauzer shows up at the doorstep – however, it is quite motivational.

Sydney at book signingAfter your visit, I’ll report back to you once perSydney 1 month, most likely focusing on individual employees, their talents, contributions to the corporation, and maladies that I perceive Sydney 2that may disrupt the writing duo.





With best regards,

Normal Cooler – MI (Meownistry Intelligence) Agent 00Purr


By Authors Jack Gannon & Cyndi Williams-Barnier




Twitter: @jandcwordsmiths

Southern Comfort In The Shade Of The Old Oak Tree

Happenstance. Yep, the best word to describe our book signings. It started with a long-lost dream of writing books together, which in true southern fashion only took 33 years to actually happen—imagine if we really took our time! Regardless, thanks to the current era of self-publishing we created a book within one year in our new career. Pay attention, friends, this is where Happenstance took over our lives and careers…

Happenstance is the short way of saying “being in the right place at the right time”, and works every time if one pays attention. At our debut book signing we met the owner of Short Story America, Tim Johnston, who invited us to do another book signing at his first annual Short Story America Festival a month later, right here in Beaufort! We happily said yes!

Attending the evening reception on the first day of the Festival, we were introduced to the president of the annual Beaufort International Film Festival, Ron Tucker. He’d gotten word about us, and was anxious to meet us. At that reception, out of the blue, he invited us to write a screenplay of our debut novel, “Murder In Twos and Threes”, to submit for competition in the next film festival. Twenty-nine days to get it done, yikes! We’d never written a screenplay… but, we studied, wrote it and got it in on time! No, we didn’t win…

As self-published authors, we had to sell ourselves to get book signings. One such venue was at a local vineyard, September Oaks. We did one signing alone, then were asked if we knew of other authors who could join in—after some emails and phone calls our “Novel” Wine Tasting and Literary Festival was born! Happenstance yet again—the owner was so pleased with the quickly-assembled event that he invited us back for a second year!

The local manager of the S.C. Tourism Commission happened to notice us from all the social networking about our festival, and invited us to be part of Lowcountry Tourism Week. She asked if we knew other local authors to take part, which we did, thanks to our own Festival. With the success of Tourism Week’s author days, during which we served as a knowledgeable welcoming committee to visitors, we were invited to set up every week (any time we wanted) on the grounds to welcome visitors, and sell our books… costing us nothing except time and gas. They let us store our tent/tables/chairs in their employee break room—and even better, Tourism Week allowed us to meet Virginia Lori Jennings, PDMI author… that’s how we found our new home with PDMI!

So, in conclusion of our story, it was by Happenstance we met an anthology publisher at our book debut—and today have a regular free venue to sell our books, plus our fellow PDMI authors’ works, to a fresh round of interstate travelers each day. We learned the history of the grounds, worked up a welcome speech to greet visitors, and make sales to people from across the country and even a few from the other side of the Atlantic, and place a business card in the hands of hundreds of visitors!

Ah, to sell books in the comfort of the shade from centuries-old live oaks on the grounds a 19th-century plantation… all we need now are some mint juleps!

Just remember: wherever you are, you may meet someone important, although you may not know it at the time… because meeting the right person at the right time just might happen to move you on to bigger and better in short order.

Happenstance… works every time…