The Night Of The Living Indies….

We ain’t dead yet, folks. In fact, independent ventures and experiments are some of the most exciting news items out there these days. (Unless you’re a soccer fan. In which case, whoever you’re rooting for, you have our sympathies. Because: wow.)

We prefer burning of a different sort, personally–“burning the candle at both ends”, “burning passion”, “burning questions”, “burning the midnight oil”, “burning determination”… (meanwhile trying to avoid “burning out” or “burning bridges”)… 😀

Our favorite t-shirt.

Yes, we’ll geek out on stuff like that all day. English is a FUN language! If you love playing around with words too, check out this site, or this one, for some ideas.

Speaking of playing around with words, and assuming you have a finely tuned and very geeky sense of humor, we want to point out Danny Birt’s Kickstarter project to fund his latest fabulosity of an album: Songs Of My People: Let Me Sing You Them.  It’s already over halfway funded (WOOOO!), and The Scribbling Lion is committed to funding one song in particular: “I Am A Nerd” (a parody of the Star Wars theme song). There are no samples of this song available at the moment–unless you’ve heard it live, you’re out of luck until this album is funded–but trust us, it’s freaking awesome. Kickstarters always, of course, offer lots of enticing goodies to their backers–this particular project starts with the usual “free album copy” and scales all the way up to “I will hold my CD release party at your convention” (this is no small offer, mind you, given that this will be Danny’s 6th album. He’s not exactly a newbie to the game!).


In fact, TSL will kick in an added benefit or three*:

[box type=”alert”][typography font=”Crimson Text” size=”18″ size_format=”px”]BE AWARE: you have to TELL us that you’ve donated. And we have to be able to confirm your payment with Danny. And of course that means the prizes only get distributed after the Kickstarter is actually FUNDED and DONE.  Danny has no control or input on this offer. This giveaway is all the TSL leader’s fault. 😀 [/typography] [/box]


  • If you donate [typography font=”Crimson Text” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#ff00ff”]$50[/typography] to Danny’s Kickstarter, between now and the end of July, you will ALSO receive a free copy of Between a Roc and a Hard Place.
  • Donate [typography font=”Crimson Text” size=”26″ size_format=”px” color=”#fa00fa”]$60,[/typography] and you will gain a copy of Roc AND a Tephra dragon plushy.
  • Donate[typography font=”Crimson Text” size=”28″ size_format=”px” color=”#ff00ff”] $75 or more[/typography] , and you will receive book, dragon plush, AND YOUR CHOICE of any one item from the TSL store.

[box type=”info”][typography font=”Crimson Text” size=”18″ size_format=”px”]If you can’t donate directly, please DO post the following link on Facebook and Twitter and Google + and plaster it across shop windows and the foreheads of babies. Because: boosting signal, y’all. Seriously good karma from stuff like that.

Here’s the link in plaintext: 

(Yes, the “y” is missing off the end. That’s just how it parsed out. Our apologies to those already twitching about the omission. We try not to look at it, ourselves. But if you really can’t stand passing that link along, or if you need a shorter one for Twitter, use this shortlink instead:[/typography] [/box]



Danny isn’t the only indie entrepreneur we’re madly excited about just at the moment, however. Our founder and leader, Leona Wisoker, just returned from a trip to see family in Ohio, and she insists we talk about one little indie shop in particular. It’s called The Harbor Perk, and it’s located down near the lift bridge in Ashtabula. Now, Leona’s been to coffee shops from Florida to California, Alaska to Virginia to Connecticut to Georgia to Nevada. (And Italy. Mustn’t forget that summer trip to Italy.) So she’s something of a coffee fiend. And she really likes locally, fresh-roasted beans.

Out of allllllllllllll the coffee shops she’s been privileged to visit, The Harbor Perk is the best. They have a great web site, their store is comfy (and always crowded with smart, coffee-lovin’ locals), and they offer a mind boggling variety of beans. Here’s a sample list:

  • Bula Breakfast Blend
  • Ethiopian Sidamo Natural Grade 4
  • Ryan’s Stormy Monday Roast 
  • Costa Rican RWP (Decaf)
  • Jakes Rust Belt Blend
  • E 15th Blend
  • Big Papa’s Smoky Blend

That’s a LOT of variety for a teeny coffee shop in a small town like Ashtabula. And the beans are FABULOUSLY well roasted. Leona bought two full pounds of whole beans and two smaller pre-ground sample bags (one of which was Ryan’s Stormy Monday, and she LOVED it!). So she’s stocked up on coffee for the next…uhm…month or so. 😀 Depending on how many fourteen-hour days she goes through while catching up on the work backlog from taking time off for that trip….

But the important thing for you (non-Ashtabula) folks to know is this: [typography font=”Crimson Text” size=”20″ size_format=”px”]THE HARBOR PERK TAKES ONLINE ORDERS. They will ship you freshly roasted beans. [/typography] Do we have your attention? Yeah? Get thee to that there coffee shop and order something. Seriously. If you like coffee, this is worth checking out. Oh, and call them to see if there’s something on the shelf that isn’t listed on the site. And they’re on Facebook, so definitely check our their page there, too.


Moving on to a more eclectic blend of product than fine coffee and pastries, there’s Retro Daddio’s in New Town of Williamsburg, Virginia. A quick glance through their online catalog shows items ranging from an Alice in Wonderland wristwatch to a Dr. Who jigsaw puzzle; there are steampunk themed items and I Love Lucy miscellania. There are items under seven dollars and bracelets that cost $120 for folks who are feeling particularly flush. There are gently used CDs for sale  (at a very reasonable price) in a wide variety of categories: country, classical, metal, meditational…

Never mind her products, though, she has a great policy in place: tell her “skip the bag” when you buy something in person, and she’ll put a stick in a jar marked “Donations” (this month’s charity of choice is Dreamcatchers Therapeutic Riding Center of Williamsburg, VA). And she’s a super sweet and fun lady to talk to–she’ll geek out about a movie or a book just as happily as she’ll talk about her merchandise. She’s really happy just to have you come in the store and say hi!  So if you’re in the area, stop by and say HELLO to Jen–mention that you saw this post on The Scribbling Lion! (We don’t promise she’ll give you a discount. But. Yanno. It’ll make her smile at the very least. Isn’t that enough?) 😀

–oh, all right. If you insist. We’re feeling wild and crazy today, so tell you what: if you go into Retro Daddios in person and buy at least ten dollars worth of merchandise, between now and the end of July, [typography font=”Crimson Text” size=”26″ size_format=”px” color=”#ff00ff”]we’ll give you a bonus present[/typography] . Post a snapshot of the receipt (has to be dated between 7/10/2014 and 7/31-2014) to our Facebook page, and talk about your experience shopping at Retro Daddios. We’ll send you a thank-you present. (What kind of present? Well, it might be something from our own shop. It might be something from Retro Daddios. It might be something completely different. You’ll just have to wait and see.)


As for other indies….oh, there are so many. Bookstores especially are worthy of a whole post or ten by themselves, but whoops! We’re out of time.

We’ve cunningly scattered links to a few great indie businesses throughout this post. ([typography font=”Crimson Text” size=”18″ size_format=”px” color=”#ff00ff”]Mua-hahh-haaaah![/typography] ) Happy discoveries–and please do tell us about YOUR favorite independent business in the comments below, and why you love them so much!!