State of the Art

May 24, 2020


Is it humankind itself, or the capacity to live?

Her soul and compassion are shielded from view.

His strength and humor are not to be seen.

For how long? Is it up to us?


The mask hides another mask, lying beneath, less superficial.

The mask hides the malice of some, the kindness of others.

The mask is our savior. The mask is our jailer.

It is all of these things. It is none of these things.


Joy is hidden. Despair is hidden.

These truths are self-evident. These lies are bald-faced.

The play’s the thing. The play is nothing.

What matters most today, won’t matter at all tomorrow.


What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. 

What makes us stronger doesn’t kill us.

Rising to face our tests prevents us from succumbing to the depths.

The mask is a symbol. It represents what each of us choose.


We owe everything to each other. Each of us owe only to ourselves.

Together we stand. Alone we must remain. 

These philosophies are not in conflict. 

They are two sides of t...

March 13, 2020

Writers Digest is the premiere periodical and website for aspiring and professional authors. Part of the services the editors provide to writers is to enter competitions in a variety of categories and genres. Through the process, the writer gets valuable comments from the judges on his or her work. Last year, I published Fury Duty, which I entered into the 27th Annual Writers Digest Self-Published Book Awards. I'm happy to share the critique from one of the judges from this prestigious competition.

April 16, 2019

Fury Duty - Now on sale for Amazon Kindle and Google Play for only $2.51! Still a bargain for all other e-book retailers at $2.99!

Included inside: A full-length novel, two novellas, three short stories and a poem. 

Prefer to read more traditionally? You can get your high-quality trade paperback for only $12.00. Either way, seven tales of isolation, damnation, redemption are are your fingertips!

Remember this:

Nightmares can hurt you only when you're alone.

There is always a choice for those with the strength to create one.

Watch the video for more information. Get your e-book and paperback today! Buy here!

September 12, 2018

First, a review of the first three R's: - Remakes and reboots and rehashes - on my!

Okay, now that we're up to speed ...

There is actually a fourth "R" - "Revival."

Unfortunately, all four R's are now loosely referred to as "reboots." Now, it seems, we've even become lazy in referring to different kinds of lazy re-dos in popular entertainment.

So, what exactly is a "revival" and how does it differ from a "reboot?"

Townsel's Unabridged Dictionary defines both terms as follows:

Reboot - Same character(s), different (usually younger) actor(s), do-over from the beginning.

Revival - Same characters(s), almost always same actors as before, continuation from the stopping point of the original series run (sometimes many years later).

Still confused? Not surprising, since the networks and entertainment media continue to use the wrong terminology. Here are a few examples of recent and upcoming "revivals" that have been referred to as "reboots."


Roseanne (soon to be known asThe Conners) - Same cha...

March 4, 2018

Writers Digest is the premiere periodical and website for aspiring and professional authors. Part of the services the editors provide to writers is to enter competitions in a variety of categories and genres. Through the process, the writer gets valuable comments from the judges on his or her work.

Last year, I published The Unfriend Zone, which I entered into two Writers Digest competitions. I'm happy to share the critiques from the two judges.

Judge, 25th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

This patient plot tells the fantasy story of a mysterious iPad that takes over the protagonist’s life and proves deadly in the process. The author unfolds a somewhat slow-moving story, not unlike something Poe might conceive, only modernized to today’s social media and Internet devices. The malevolent energy inside the iPad is clearly a threatening entity, and the plot makes good use of that. The narrative is mostly conversation and short paragraphs of prose with a few excerpts of email...

May 31, 2017

This is not my typical blog posting, but I wanted to share this with my family, friends and followers. This seemed like a good place to do so. There are two people who have inspired my "state of the art" most significantly, and they are my mom and dad.

My father, Joe Wesley Townsel, passed away 32 years ago today. Nevertheless, I have been visited by him many times since. Most recently was a few years ago while I was recovering from a serious illness. I wanted to write about that visit, but was unsure how. Then, a few months ago, I realized how I wanted to memorialize this most amazing event in my life. The poem below is the result of that revelation.

Whether you read this as a close family member or friend, who can relate to what I experienced, or you read this as a simple moving story told in verse, I hope you enjoy it.

Thank you.

My drowning pool is but the size of a grave,

Its waters engulf me, the killing tides cascade,

As I struggle against death, I wonder if I’m worthy to save,


April 25, 2017

Season Seven of "The Walking Dead" is a wrap, but it remains a hot topic of discussion on the fanboy sites. Probably because it's been, by far, the most controversial season of the hit series (even before it got started).

Surprisingly, many of the plot points and characters of the TV show that have divided fans (extreme and casual alike) are based on the most popular era from the source material: the comics.

Frankly, I don't get it why Season Seven has gotten (and continues to get) such a bad rap. Maybe I'll understand it better if I address some of the more common criticisms head on:

How dare they end Season Six with a cliffhanger?

I mention this first, because it is by far the most baffling. The producers of the show have taken so much guff about last season's cliffhanger that they clearly felt compelled to reassure viewers that Season Seven would not conclude the same way.

Why are cliffhangers off limits to "The Walking Dead?" Counting the minutes to see how our hero escaped im...

February 6, 2017

Happy Super Bowl Sunday, everyone!

Today, it's all about the big game. But after the last post-game show is over, and Super Bowl LI highlights run their course on the 11:00 news, we can all still find post-season thrills in the many football-themed movies from the last several decades. Many football classics are also all about the big game. Classic football movies that lead up to the exciting climax of the big game? Far too many to list here.

Others give us inspiration as we follow the journeys of the players off the gridiron. In this blog entry, I'll concentrate on the latter category. Here a few of my personal favorites.

Note: Most of the following films have been out for many years, but just in case: Possible spoilers ahead.

All the Right Moves (1983)

A great example of a football movie that uses the gridiron as a backdrop to explore the lives of its extraordinary characters. There isn't anyone who grew up in a small town, who wondered if there might be more to the world beyond thos...

January 14, 2017

What better way for me to celebrate Friday the 13th by launching my new book? What better way for you to celebrate by reading it?

Now available - The Unfriend Zone - the first full-length novel by me, Joe Townsel (your friendly neighborhood author, cartoonist and blogger). Also inside, a bonus short story - The Maniac in the Mirror. Enjoy on your favorite e-reader for only 99 cents! Are you a little apprehensive about reading about a possessed tablet while actually holding yours? For only $5.00, you can hold the paperback in your hot little hands!

The Unfriend Zone

What would you do if a secret admirer gave you a most remarkable tablet? A tablet that seemed to repair broken friendships and fix unrequited romances, just by using its social media app, "The Friend Zone." Could you resist the temptation to change your fate? Just a little?

The Maniac in the Mirror

Have you ever wondered if the person looking back at you from the mirror had a hidden agenda? What if that person wondered the same t...

October 10, 2016

Captain Courage and Inspector Gumshoe: Starring soon in a new short story! The quote in the title is attributed to the legendary Howard Stern. If he had his wa

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