Mike Sirota's Blog – Swords, Specters, & Stuff
Welcome to My World
I started this blog in January 2012 for one simple reason: I love to write. I named it “Swords, Specters, & Stuff” because I especially love to write about writing, about books and movies in my favorite genres, about authors that mean a great deal to me. But there’s so much more than that, hence the all-inclusive “Stuff” in the title. It is “Stuff” that gives me carte blanche to write about anything, which is why you’ll see stories about special trips to Cooperstown, Sedona, and other places; about getting older; about baseball; about the otherworldly way in which I met my soul mate; about the loss of good friends, and so much more. Enjoy! And feel free to leave a comment.
This was supposed to be a “Christmas post” when it first ran in 2017, but since then it has been viewed countless times—in just about every month of the year.
In my comedy/science fiction series, bicyclist Jack Miller enters numerous worlds through “gates” along the cosmic tunnel known as the Ultimate Bike Path. It could be Earth’s past or future, otherworldly dimensions, even the pages of literature, among many others. While the majority of Jack’s adventures are wild and crazy, I often temper them with an occasional serious “statement” chapter, for want of a better word.
An unincorporated community called Stull, located a short distance from larger Kansas cities Topeka and Lawrence, has the dubious distinction of being the Devil’s playground. That is, of course, if you believe the urban legends about the Stull Cemetery.
It may be fifteen years that COURAGE TO HEAL, a novel based heavily in fact, was released by Sunbelt Publications, but its history goes back farther than that. As an editor and writing coach I worked on the project with its author, Dr. Paul Bernstein, years earlier. The end result was excellent, but the story of the book’s journey to publication is fascinating.
The unique 2004 science fiction-adventure film, SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW, has a definite 1930s-’40s feel about it. In a way it pays homage to old luminaries such as Flash Gordon and Captain Midnight.
Recently, while watching the Gerard Butler-fueled disaster film, GREENLAND, it occurred to me that a lot of couples with troubled marriages/relationships have been brought together by their harrowing experiences in movies of this genre. Weird. Here are just a few examples.
The 1993 horror film, THE DARK HALF, is an adaptation of Stephen King’s 1989 novel of the same name. His main character, Thad Beaumont, is a bestselling novelist—what else? Writers love to write about other writers, and King leads the league in that category.
MCDONALD & DODDS, a BritBox original series, is a crime drama set in the city of Bath, about ninety-odd miles from London. The quirky show—not a comedy, but hardly as intense as SILENT WITNESS or VERA—highlights the trials and tribulations of women—specifically Black women—and seniors in the good-ol’-boy world of law enforcement.
The 2014 supernatural horror movie, DELIVER US FROM EVIL, is “inspired by” the actual experiences of a New York City cop named Ralph Sarchie. I like to think that “inspired by” gives the filmmakers even more creative license than “based on a true story,” and I’m sure that’s the case with this film. Still, true or not, DELIVER US FROM EVIL has more than its share of disturbing moments.
“Three years ago at dusk on a spring evening, when the sky was a robin’s-egg blue and the wind as soft as a day-old chick, I was sitting on the veranda of my farm home in eastern Iowa when a voice very clearly said to me, ‘If you build it, he will come.’”