Tag Archives: zinefest

Meet me at Zinefest Tomorrow and WOOTW #24

This week the Cabal Fang Workout of the Week is coming out on Friday instead of Saturday because tomorrow I’m tabling at Richmond Zinefest 2016!

If you’ve never attended a Zinefest, you have to experience it  at least once.  It’s hundreds of independent writers, reporters, activists, DIYers and artists selling and trading their homemade wares — pamphlets, books, magazines (a.k.a. “zines”), artwork, you name it.  Unfiltered and unedited by the big-name publishing houses.  Big, Raw.  In your face.

The event is free and open to the public.  Saturday programming is at Richmond Public Library, 101 E Franklin St., Richmond VA from 11 AM to 4 PM.  Please come out, buy some stuff off my table, and shake my hand.

AND BY THE WAY this year, for the very first time, I’ll be distributing the Hermetic Library Zine!  Check this thing out — beautiful, eh?

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Now for the Cabal Fang Workout of the Week.  To wrap up Grappling Month I humbly introduce to you…

  • Grappling Conditioner #4: Complete 50 Get-ups, 50 Bodybuilders, and 250 strikes vs. heavy bag (elbows, knees, hooks, uppercuts and other short range attacks only) – all as fast as you can.  If you finish this entire thing in less than 21:04 you’ve got me beat!

Where to Meet Me in Person (and a Grammar Rule)


This is a picture of me sitting behind my table at Richmond Zinefest last year. I’ve been doing this event since 2010. It rocks.

This Saturday 10/10/15 you will find me at Richmond Zinefest.   If you’re in RVA, a.k.a. the City of the Monuments, a.k.a. Richmond, Virginia, USA, please come out.  This self-publishing, DIY, hippie, indie, anarcho-punk event has grown significantly over the years, and 2015 looks to be the biggest yet.  Admission is free.  I will be tabling again this year, and I have many new publications and products.  Come buy my shit.

The 14th Mansion by Robert Mitchell

This is the cover of the third and final book of the Montenegro Cycle. I’m really proud of this novel. It’s creepy yet sweet, dark yet uplifting, and in some ways a transgressive tale. I bet you’d like it.

And check this out: I’m working on a bundle.  I wrote three books, a loosely associated trilogy of sorts, that really haven’t been selling.   I had this realization that, at their heart, these books are all romances.  Why was I was billing them as metaphysical horror or slipstream?  Maybe because  subconsciously I didn’t want to admit that I wrote a few romance books?  Heck if I know.  People are stupid, and I’m a people.  Anyway, I decided to put them together in a 3-in-1 eBook bundle and label them appropriately.  My formatter is working feverishly as we speak.  It’s going to be “The Montenegro Cycle – Three-Book Spooky Romance Bundle” and it’s going to sell for $5.99 (40% savings over purchasing singly).


This lovely painting will be for sale at my Zinefest table this year. Want it? Sure you do!

And now for your grammar rule of the day.  Did you know that there is no single, accepted, according-to-Hoyle title capitalization rule?  How do you know if Ray Bradbury’s book should be called “Something Wicked This Way Comes” or “Something Wicked this way Comes” or “SoMeThInG WiCkEd ThIs WaY cOmEs”?  Well, the most common titling form seems is as follows, which I have creatively distilled into this easily remembered alliterative convention: first, final, fundamental, four or more.  In other words, the first word, the last word, any fundamental words (nouns, adjectives, adverbs), and any word with four or more letters should be capitalized.  Dig it.  Or, if you prefer, just capitalize every single word like some kind of weirdo.

Have a fun day and good weekend.  Hope to see you on Saturday.

New Art, Richmond Zinefest, KOBO, etc.


I’ll be rolling out a couple of new products at Richmond Zinefest this year. Instead of coming right out and telling you what they are, I’ll just tease you with some of the preliminary sketches and give you a hint: one of the products is a mini booklet and the other is an 11″ x 17″ fitness poster.

If you’d like to see and/or purchase these new products, or if you’d simply like to take the opportunity to pie me in the face, shake my hand, or demand a refund or autograph, please do stop by my table at Richmond Zinefest on October 1oth at the main branch of the Richmond Public Library, 101 East Franklin Street.


So check this out: The Calisthenics Codex has taken off over on KOBO. Its sitting at #3 under its subject, and some nice person gave me a 4-star review. Thanks nice person!  It’s so much more fun to write stuff that people actually read and enjoy.

As an artist you have to just go “Oh well,” and keep producing.  I put a ton of work into three novels that barely get read.  But I can’t let that get me down — I just have to say “Oh well,” and trust that someday tinder will take spark and they’ll go poof.  You can’t look down.  If you look down you’ll fall.

I really think that one of my secrets to success in life has been this:

I’m too hardheaded, or just plain stupid, to know when I’m beat.  So I just keep coming out for the bell instead of staying on the stool where I belong and, eventually, I win a few fights by sheer determination and luck.

Might not be the most brilliant plan, but it’s all I got.  I just keep on swinging.

RVA Zinefest is Tomorrow

I’ll be at RVA Zinefest tomorrow!  Come by, meet me in person, and buy some of my stuff.  If you’re on a budget, you’ll be glad to know that I’ll also be giving some stuff away — and that admission to the event is free.

There will be over 60 of the most creative and fun people you’ll ever meet selling hundreds of zines, books, and other independent productions.  Where else can you buy a book, read the first chapter during lunch break, and then go tell the actual author how much you’re liking it?  (Try doing that at Barnes & Noble with a James Patterson book and let me know how that works out for you:  “Hey guys — I don’t think James Patterson is actually here.  Should I go up to the registers and ask somebody?”)

DC Zinefest Weekend 2014

My dried up carcass sitting behind my somewhat-less-than-popular table

My dried up carcass sitting behind my moderately popular table

When I heard about DC Zinefest I wanted to go.  Problem is, I hate to drive.  Four hours in the truck for a six hour event didn’t equate to my maths, if you know what I mean.  So I talked to my honey, and we decided to throw our sixteen-year-old young ‘un into the gas guzzler and make a weekend of it.

We got there Friday around eight o’clock.  At that point our thinking was amazingly clear after a full day of work and two hours on 95 North: we decided to go and see the various monuments at night, which none of had ever done before, while the crowds were reduced.

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Let me preface this next part by saying that, when it comes to the great patriotic monuments, I am pretty jaded and cynical.  I didn’t expect any part of our excursion to be poignant or touching.  So I was surprised by my reaction to the Lincoln Memorial.  I was profoundly moved (although I did make a Megatron joke on Twitter as we left).  There was something about the place that stirred me.  I’ve always had a hearty respect for Lincoln — the rangy wrestler, the great orator, the gentle and eloquent beanpole  whose bodyguards carried brass knuckles — and I felt like I was standing beside his ghost.

The next day was DC Zinefest of course.  It was a great time (as all Zinefests are) with lots of cool people and a huge crowd.  When I say “huge” I mean that it was literally shoulder-to-shoulder trying to get to the restroom.  Packed.  At some points even jammed.

If you’ve never been to a Zinefest, you should really try one.  These things are direct-from-brain-to-paper publishing extravaganzas, unfiltered, unmoderated, creativity tsunamis.  If you’re a writer, a Zinefest is a great way to get some inspiration.  Kind of like grabbing a naked, 220-volt imagination wire.  Hats off to Dirk and Ari and all of the organizers for their hard work, dedication, and success.

Just like I did after RVA Zinefest last year, I’ll be writing a separate post to review all of the great ‘zines I came home with.  Give me time to read ’em, will ya?

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Sunday we went to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.  There was a moment of drama as we walked up to the door and I saw the security checkpoint sign.  I always walk around with a pocket knife, and I forgot to leave it in my vehicle back in the parking garage.  Ooops.  Had to surreptitiously bury it in the mulch outside.  Luckily it was still there when we left and I was able to retrieve it.  Losing a $100 knife would’ve sucked.

I’m sure I’ve been there before when I was kid or something, but it didn’t sink in.  You appreciate this kind of thing much more when you’re an adult.   Here’s a selection of pictures that really don’t do the place justice.  It’s free and it’s great, but not awesome.  Lots of the displays are copies, and there is no obvious traffic flow pattern in any of the halls.  Which means that you have people going every which way, and on a Sunday afternoon, that’s just crazy.  Still tons of fun though.

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So that’s the trip in a nutshell.  Next post: ‘zine reviews!

A Waterfall of Creativity


My 2013 Zinefest Table

Saturday I went to RVA Zinefest.  If you haven’t been to a zinefest before, let me tell you that it is like standing naked in a waterfall of creativity.  Icy waves of unfiltered self expression wash over you, bracing you, exciting you, waking you up to new possibilities.  It is the exact opposite of Hollywood polish, the antithesis of the focus-group powered ad pitch, the additive inverse of the end-cap, checkout-line-powered sales machine.


Assorted Zines I brought home

Behind every table to you visit there is a person, an actual human being, who will talk to you and interact with you and have an actual conversation.  You can stop and talk to Mo from the Wingnut, the hardest working human in the anarchy anti-business, or spend a few minutes with Oura whose art will blow your mind.

Start a conversation with Aijung Kim and you not only will you have a better day than you expected, but you will see fifteen things on her table that you can’t leave without.  Hang out at the Adhouse Books table and be smashed upside the head by some of the most beautiful productions you’ve ever seen.   Over at Studio Two Three you can get zines that will show you how to silk screen and linocut and express yourself, and they’ll tell you about all of the amazing stuff they’re doing over at 1617 W. Main St.


More zines I brought home

Free stuff is everywhere — music cds, flyers, pamphlets, and yes, ‘zines.  Some people are just trying to break even, others are trying to make a couple of bucks, and there are a few semi-pros running from one event to the next trying to pay the bills.

On one end there is a guy named Yuri Realman (or is that an alias?) selling a fascinating project called Conspiratorial.  On the other end of the hall you can meet Christine Stoddard from Quail Bell and buy something truly beautiful.


Zinefest hall full of cool people

There are workshops on everything from beekeeping to reproductive rights.  There’s an area with free materials where you can make your own ‘zine right there on the spot.  You can ramble from pillar to post.  You can drink great coffee and eat good food from Lamplighter.  You can forget you even have a cell phone.

Before I knew it it was time for my five o’clock “How to Tell a Story” workshop.  It was the end of the day and everybody, including me, was fully exhausted.  Attendance was low — only two people — but both of them tolerated my rambling without yawning too much.  One of them was Megan who heads up Trail Mix  (a cool person who puts out a very cool zine).

See what a mean?  Everywhere you go at Zinefest there’s another person to meet, another smile to share, and another inspiration.

Wunderkammer and Crunchholdoh

Crunchholdoh.net album cover — if you guys spot this and ask me to take this down I will.  It’s really cool though, so I hope you don’t make me.

This weekend I was cleaning out my Sanctum Sanctorum (a.k.a. “The Shed” — my workout room and ritual space) and I came across some stuff from Zinefest (either 2010 or 2011, I can’t be sure).  Among them was a zine called “Wunderkammer” by Whitney Rainey and this CD by Crunchholdoh.net.  I’m pretty sure Whitney did the album cover — her style is pretty distinctive.

Whitney’s zine is thought provoking and well worth a read.  Someday, maybe at a future Zinefest, I’ll be able to look her up and discuss the imagery.  She seems to have a fascination for patriarchal, presidential figures like Teddy Roosevelt.  Based on imagery alone, I suspect she has the same conflicting feelings toward Teddy that I do — admiration for a tough old bird who may have been forward-thinking for his time, but fearful and distrusting of what worship of these figures has become.  Like all good art though, everyone who reads it will see something different.

On the way to work this morning I put the CD in the truck stereo and was treated to the existential earwig that is Crunchholdoh (Track 5, Addressing the Homeless is still stuck in my head).  I’m not a music critic, and I’m not very hip, but I’ll try to write a review by suggesting titles for this apparently untitled record: Echoes of Atari Mindscapes, Scales of the Infinite City, Metronomes and Thought Museums, Mode: Life-Mirrors.  Anyway, with the early morning sun coming in through the truck window, it was pretty magical.

It’s so amazing that people make art that enriches other people’s lives.  I don’t even know these people, and yet they made my day.


Tabling at Richmond Zinefest


As Promised, Big Changes

After many half-hearted attempts since exiting college thirty years ago, I have resolved to make real go of it as a writer.  Here’s where I am as of today:

  1. Two of my novels are out being professionally formatted and prepared for upload on Smashwords.  Planned release is 9/30/12.
  2. I will be tabling at Richmond Zinefest on October 6th to sell my goods, network, and hopefully talk some people into becoming fans of my stuff.  The plan is to begin making regular public appearances on a monthly basis — attending local events, hosting workshops, and so forth.
  3. I have a request from a major magazine to write a martial arts article.  Photos have been taken I should have that done and to the feature editor shortly.  Since the request was “on spec,” there’s no way of knowing if it’ll ever see print.  Keeping my fingers crossed.
  4. I have decided to take ownership of the really great occult-oriented material I’ve been writing under my alter-ego Modred since 2007.  If you’re interested that kind of thing, or if you’re just curious, read this post.  As a result you’ll see some new links and a new category across the top of the blog.
  5. I created a really retro business card based on my grandfather’s business card.  I’ve put them up here side-by-side so you can compare and reflect because, well, I think it’s a pretty cool idea.

Stay tuned.

My new business card, circa 2012

F. J. Mitchell’s business card from the 1930’s

Richmond Zinefest 2011

Update 7/18/19:  My club still uses the flag but we’re now called Cabal Fang Temple, and we’re a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational charity.  Visit our website or purchase our 12-week personal growth program at Smashwords, Amazon, B&N, or wherever fine e-books are sold.


Original post:

Our Order of Seven Hills Table

Zinefest ’11 was a blast.  Our table had a ton of traffic, we met dozens of great folks, and quite a few said they were going to try working out with us a The Order of Seven Hills.

The joy of Zinefest is direct access to writing and art, the ability to directly communicate with the authors and artists, and a huge injection of creative excitement.

After a day spent in the company of this much creativity, talent, and energy I go home feeling inspired and encouraged to say something, draw something, express something.

My paperweight


Top: Mo Karnage from Approaching Apocalypse Zine Distro, the Wing Nut, etc.