T-Shirts Mix Politics With Humor

T-Shirts Mix Politics With Humor

A new line of T-shirts combines current politics with a touch of humor. Check out some examples of the new T-shirts below, and visit the Hillocrian Store to view the entire collection.

These T-shirts were designed by Ron Leshnower, inspired by his satirical fictional work, President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella, which is a finalist in the 19th Annual Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards. Last month, the Hillocrian Store launched with an inaugural line of “Fair Housing Matters” products inspired by Mr. Leshnower’s book, Fair Housing Helper for Apartment Professionals.

New T-Shirts Offer Comic Relief in Heated Political Climate

No matter political views and how you voted (if at all) in the recent presidential election, wear this T-shirt to show you made it through a contentious political year:

In the course of the 2016 presidential campaign, you no doubt heard the term “temperamentally unfit”… Does this term describe you? Put your pride and/or sarcasm on display with this T-shirt:

Have you lost some friends because you’re perplexed by their support of a certain candidate or offended by the views they appeared to adopt during the election season? This T-shirt (“I used to have more friends… then these two came along”) is for you:

Finally, check out a series of Donald Trump T-shirts featuring a different short but notable quotation from the 45th president of the United States. Here’s one example (“Believe me, folks”):

Visit the Hillocrian Store today!

Hillocrian Store Launches With Inaugural Line of Products Promoting Fair Housing

Hillocrian Store Launches With Inaugural Line of Products Promoting Fair Housing

Book and music publisher Hillocrian Creative LLC is pleased to announce the launch of the Hillocrian Store, which will feature apparel, accessories, housewares, office gifts and other unique products mainly inspired by the company’s books and music.

The inaugural product line, “Fair Housing Matters,” draws inspiration from Fair Housing Helper for Apartment Professionals by Ron Leshnower. Featuring a colorful logo designed by the author and available on products ranging from T-shirts and iPhone cases to golf balls and baby bibs, Fair Housing Matters is a way to show support for housing equality.

Show your support for housing equality with a Fair Housing Matters spiral notebook or mug.

“The abolishment of slavery following the Civil War opened the door to civil rights legislation aimed at protecting people against housing discrimination. These efforts culminated in the passage of the Fair Housing Act in April 1968,” explains Leshnower. “Today, this law protects people based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status, while several state and local governments expand coverage with additional protected classes such as source of income and sexual orientation. April has since become known as Fair Housing Month, a time to appreciate the right to equal treatment under law when looking for and living in a home. Launched in April to coincide with the 49th anniversary of the landmark law, the Fair Housing Matters line of products offers a meaningful way to display pride in this hard-fought American civil right.”

Visit the Hillocrian Store today and check this blog for updates on new product lines.

President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella Named 2016 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards Finalist

President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella Named 2016 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards Finalist

This past week, I was honored to learn that my book, President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella (Hillocrian Creative 2016), was chosen as a finalist in the 19th Annual Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards. The book will now be considered for an award in the “Adult Fiction: Humor” category. The winners will be announced during the 2017 American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago on June 24, 2017.

The idea for this book came a year ago, when Donald Trump was one of several candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination. After attending a Trump rally in Bethpage, N.Y., as a fan of politics, I decided to write a book imagining what it would be like if Mr. Trump were to become pptmcovershotresident. The result was a work of satirical fiction in an epistolary form. I created a series of “official” documents (executive actions, presidential proclamations, transcripts of speeches, and more) that I present in chronological order for the reader’s inspection. President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella presents its plot through this narrative vehicle, portraying a presidency that is driven by Mr. Trump’s unique personality and controversial statements and that emphasizes bold, executive action. As the book’s title implies, President Trump’s term is mysteriously and satirically abbreviated (for reasons that may be revealed in a sequel).

After I finished writing the book, Donald Trump went on to win the GOP nomination and then become the 45th president of the United States. Although my book was written as fiction and satire, it has been fascinating to compare my imagined Trump presidency with the real one. For example, it was interesting to discover that both my fictional President Trump and the real one made the same decisions when it came to Oval Office wall decor. (See “As Predicted, President Trump Embraces Childe Hassam, Evicts Edward Hopper from Oval Office,” Hillocrianblog.com, January 23, 2017.)

For more information about the book, please visit presidenttrumpsmonth.com or view the latest trailer (“We’re Gonna Straighten It Out“).

To purchase the book on Amazon.com, please visit this link.

Here is information from Foreword about the INDIES Book of the Year Awards, including a link to the full list of 2016 finalists:

As part of their mission to discover, review, and share the best books from small, university, and indie publishers (and authors), independent media company Foreword Reviews hosts its annual awards program each year. Finalists represent the best books published in 2016, and submitted to Foreword Reviews for award consideration, and were narrowed down by Foreword’s editors from over 2,200 individual titles spread across 65 categories. A complete list of finalists can be found at:


“Choosing finalists for the INDIES is always the highlight of our year, but the choice was more difficult this time around due to the high quality of submissions,” said Victoria Sutherland, publisher of Foreword Reviews. “Each new book award season proves again how independent publishers are the real innovators in the industry.”

INDIES finalists are moved on to final judging by an expert panel of librarians and booksellers curated specifically for each genre and who will determine the books who will be named Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award winners. Winners in each genre—along with Editor’s Choice winners, and Foreword’s INDIE Publisher of the Year—will be announced during the 2017 American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago on June 24, 2017.

About Foreword: Founded in 1998, Foreword Magazine, Inc, d.b.a. Foreword Reviews is an independent media company featuring a Folio:Award-winning print magazine, stable of e-newsletters, and an online platform. Foreword exclusively covers small, university, and independent (non “Big 5”) publishers, the books they publish, and the creators they work with. Foreword is based in Traverse City, Michigan, USA, and has employees and writers all over the world.


Ron Leshnower is the author of President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella, a short work of fiction that imagines a Trump presidency through an examination of executive orders, presidential proclamations, and other “official” documents.
Follow him on Twitter (@hillocrian) and visit hillocriancreative.com

As Predicted, President Trump Embraces Childe Hassam, Evicts Edward Hopper from Oval Office

As Predicted, President Trump Embraces Childe Hassam, Evicts Edward Hopper from Oval Office

It feels like a long time ago when I attended a Trump rally (as a fan of politics) on a chilly day in April 2016. The experience inspired me to write a satirical book imagining what it would be like if Donald Trump were to become president.

I wrote the book over the spring and summer, and it was published in early August. After I began writing, Donald Trump won the GOP nomination. He then defied pollsters and won the presidency, leaving my fictional book still hanging on as a part of our reality, rather than planted forever in an alternate universe.

But now that Donald Trump’s presidency has begun, my book and real life must start to diverge.

President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella imagines a Donald Trump presidency through a look at a sequence of “official documents,” such as executive orders, presidential proclamations, transcripts of speeches, and more. In the book, President Trump’s term appears to last around a month, rivaling that of William Henry Harrison. However, exactly what happens at the end, including President Trump’s whereabouts and whether the whole thing is his fault, is intentionally unclear and may be addressed in a sequel.

Now that we have entered the setting of President Trump’s Month, I am comparing the events of the book to real life with great interest.

Here is one early prediction that has come true:

According to reports, Donald Trump decided to keep Childe Hassam’s Avenue in the Rain hanging in the Oval Office while ordering the removal of Edward Hopper’s pair of works depicting rural Cape Cod scenes during the Great Depression. (See “Trump Brings Churchill Bust Back to Oval Office,” CNN.com, January 20, 2017.)

President Trump’s Oval Office decor decision is in line with what I predicted last year in my book. Here is the relevant excerpt from Chapter 5, “Statement by the Press Secretary on the President’s Morning Activity (Official Release, January 21, 2017)”, page 26:

Excerpt from President Trump’s Month

Visit this blog for more about similarities between my book’s events and real life, as things unfold. In the meantime, for more information about President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella, please visit presidenttrumpsmonth.com. Also, be sure to check out the latest book trailer.


Ron Leshnower is the author of President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella, a short work of fiction that imagines a Trump presidency through an examination of executive orders, presidential proclamations, and other “official” documents.
Follow him on Twitter (@hillocrian) and visit hillocriancreative.com.

Check Out the New Book Trailer for ‘President Trump’s Month’

Check Out the New Book Trailer for ‘President Trump’s Month’

President Trump’s Month was written earlier this year as satirical fiction back when Donald Trump was one of several Republican candidates vying for the party’s nomination. The book was published just after Mr. Trump became the nominee at the GOP convention.

Now that Mr. Trump has won the presidency, this book has become even more relevant.

A novella, President Trump’s Month imagines a Trump presidency with a term rivaling that of William Henry Harrison. Combining political satire with legal research, the book’s epistolary format presents a narrative to readers through a series of “official” documents, including executive orders, presidential proclamations, transcripts of speeches, and more.

The story doesn’t appear to end well, but is it Mr. Trump’s fault? And where is he?

President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella by Ron Leshnower (Hillocrian Creative) retails for $11.99 (paperback) and is now available for download for only $2.99 (Kindle). Visit the book’s Amazon.com page for details.

Check out the new book trailer for President Trump’s Month, below.

After a Trump Rally and Two Kasich Town Halls, a Pair of Clinton Debate-Watching Parties Brings Surprises

After a Trump Rally and Two Kasich Town Halls, a Pair of Clinton Debate-Watching Parties Brings Surprises

Earlier this year, as the 2016 presidential primary season went into extra innings and the campaigns shifted focus to my home state of New York, I sought to attend candidate events to gain deeper insight with a firsthand perspective.

I was able to make it to a Donald Trump rally at Grumman Studios in Bethpage and two John Kasich town halls, one hosted by Hofstra University in Hempstead, and the other moderated by Chris Matthews of MSNBC at The Milleridge Inn in Jericho.

You can read my observations of the contrast between these two Republican candidates in “Can John Kasich Take the ‘Boring Lane’ All the Way to Pennsylvania Avenue?” (Hillocrian Blog, May 3, 2016).

Before long, the candidate field winnowed, and presumptive nominees of both parties emerged, despite claims of illegitimacy on both sides. (As it turns out, disgruntled GOP delegates refrained from going full Harry Potter on their candidate in Cleveland. For details, read “Magic and Never Trump: Can the GOP Make an Elephant Disappear?” (Hillocrian Blog, July 18, 2016).)

The August conventions made the nominees’ status official. Hillary Clinton became the first female major-party nominee for president of the United States, while Donald Trump won the GOP nomination after having garnered more primary votes (for him, as well as against him) than any predecessor in the history of the Republican Party.

With the general election season now underway, I thought I was done with events. But the debates provided another possible opportunity.

The first presidential debate was scheduled for Monday, September 26, 2016. Although the locale was switched from Wright State University in Ohio to Hofstra, I knew that without a connection, there would be no way to secure a ticket, just as I was unable to do four years ago for the second Obama/Romney debate and eight years ago for the third Obama/McCain debate.

But I learned that the Hillary Clinton campaign was hosting a debate-watching party in Westbury. Although it wasn’t supposed to be an actual candidate event, I thought the experience of watching a live debate on a big screen with a crowd would be interesting.

And so I went, and so it was—so much so that I attended a similar event for the third debate, at a venue in Huntington. As it turned out, each debate-watching party offered its own surprise, including an unexpected opportunity to see another candidate, this time on the other side of the aisle.

Watching a Campaign Slogan Get Literal

(Warning: If you plan to visit the Kennedy Space Center and want to be surprised, you may wish to skip this section, as it contains spoilers.)

The first debate-watching party reminded me of an attraction at the Kennedy Space Center. After an introductory movie about the Space Shuttle Atlantis, an image of the angled ship disappeared as the scrim rose to reveal the actual Atlantis in the same view.

When the debate ended, we were urged to stick around, and an hour or so later, Hillary Clinton occupied the stage where she had just appeared on screen, addressing the surprised crowd.

In addition to resembling the trick behind the Atlantis attraction, this “sleight-of-candidate” cleverly literalized the Clinton campaign’s slogan; i.e., regardless of our feelings, we could all undeniably say, “I’m with her.”

From the big screen…
…to a surprise appearance.

Even the Technology Has an Opinion

Near the end of the debate, the topic shifted to the national debt. As Trump began to speak, the words “Clean the Air Filter” suddenly appeared beside his face (see photos, below).

Although, in all likelihood, this incident was nothing more than a projection TV crying out for servicing, the content of this text, along with its uncanny timing and placement, came as much-needed comic relief.



Ron Leshnower is the author of President Trump’s Month: An Epistolary Novella, a short work of fiction that imagines a Trump presidency through an examination of executive orders, presidential proclamations, and other “official” documents.
Follow him on Twitter (@hillocrian) and visit hillocriancreative.com.

Magic and Never Trump: Can the GOP Make an Elephant Disappear?

Magic and Never Trump: Can the GOP Make an Elephant Disappear?

People of all political backgrounds have been wondering if the GOP presumptive nominee will lose that modifier at this week’s Republican National Convention. In anticipation, many Republicans who can’t support a Nominee Trump and fear life under a President Trump have been trying to mount an effort to preemptively dethrone the candidate before the crown can take the place of his red cap.

So far, this effort, which has focused on the convention’s rules and their interpretation, has been in vain. It seems quite likely at this point that Donald Trump will leave Cleveland with the nomination, a prize that his campaign insists he rightfully earned.

But there may be another way.

Oh, Oh, Oh, It’s Magic

I have seen magicians accomplish the impressive feat of making a live elephant disappear. In similar fashion, Never Trump Republicans who are planning to attend this week’s convention might just be able to get the GOP’s top elephant to retreat to his eponymous tower with some old-fashioned hocus-pocus.

In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that such an unorthodox strategy may have already been contemplated.

In March, Republican lawmakers introduced House Resolution 642, “recognizing magic as a rare and valuable art form and national treasure.” (And you thought Congress does nothing.) It’s entirely possible that some of the resolution’s cosponsors were thinking about He Who Will Not Be Named. Curiously, the resolution appeared out of thin air just a few months after Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling tweeted that “Voldemort was nowhere near as bad,” referring to Donald Trump’s proposed Muslim immigration ban.

So, what’s a Never Trump Republican Muggle to do?

5 Spells for Never Trump Republicans to Try in Cleveland

As of this writing, Hogwarts doesn’t accept Americans, and you won’t find a Defense Against the Dark Arts class in any adult education brochure. So, with little time remaining, I offer convention attendees some spells they can practice for use in Ohio.

Please attempt these spells at your own risk:

  • Delegatus Non Legatus
    This spell unbinds all delegates, leaving them to follow their conscience and vote their will.
  • Crucio Rubio
    This spell hands the nomination to one of Trump’s primary opponents, rules be damned.
  • Albus Eques
    This spell randomly taps Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, or another white knight candidate to win the support of enough convention delegates.
  • Iracundia Leviosa
    This spell transforms Trump into a more predictable, reasonable, refined, and mild-mannered candidate before he can become the official nominee.
  • Veni Vidi Vici Abeo
    This spell lets Trump become the nominee only to quit, proving a point while creating an opening for another candidate. In a way, everyone wins.

Kings and Things to Take by Storm

The timely introduction of House Resolution 642 suggests that there’s magic to do. Not surprisingly, given this unpredictable election cycle, my crystal ball refuses to reveal to me what will happen in Cleveland this week. But I am reasonably confident that with the right incantation, Never Trump Republicans who attend the convention may be able to send the provocative pachyderm packing.
Ron Leshnower is the author of books and articles exploring a range of topics.
Follow him on Twitter (@hillocrian) and visit hillocriancreative.com.

Can John Kasich Take the ‘Boring Lane’ All the Way to Pennsylvania Avenue?

Can John Kasich Take the ‘Boring Lane’ All the Way to Pennsylvania Avenue?

I first saw John Kasich as he was being introduced at a town hall event last month at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. The Ohio governor entered the room a bit early, a finger covering his smile, as if cautioning “You didn’t see me. Not yet.” His unspoken gesture could describe his campaign, which has persisted despite relative invisibility. The lack of hype surrounding the Kasich campaign is the cost of doing business these days when you choose to say “things we need to do to fix the country” instead of “wacky things,” as the candidate put it.

But Kasich refuses to change course, insisting that “operating out of the gutter” and engaging in “all this nonsense” is “disgraceful,” despite his low poll numbers. “I’ve been wandering around in total obscurity for five months. I’m serious!” he told us. “Don’t you think that it would be natural for me to lash out against this? It would be natural. But life’s too short to be lashing out, or living in the dark side or living in the ditch somewhere and calling names. I’m not going to be a pin cushion or a marshmallow, trust me. But I want us to be up, not down. I don’t know what else to say.”

Kasich did have more to say about this, expressing amazement that his decision “to live in the boring lane” has brought him this far. “Now, guess what’s so funny… I’ve survived!” he declared. “I’ve had the least amount of money, the least amount of exposure, and I’m standing on this stage. Isn’t that just unbelievable?” This observation earned him loud yet polite applause from the crowd of some 350 attendees.

“Kasich also spoke of America’s greatness, though he sounded more like a professor than a cheerleader.”

For many in the audience, Kasich’s nonabrasive approach is admirable. Indeed, he later edged out Ted Cruz to place a distant second in the New York primary, calling it “a big step forward.” But can Kasich take the boring lane all the way to Pennsylvania Avenue?

I had the opportunity to explore this issue first-hand by contrasting Kasich’s campaign with that of his party’s frontrunner. Two days later, I was one of an estimated 10,000 people at the Donald Trump rally at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, N.Y., standing in the center of a repurposed plane hangar. As a white male, I fit right in. I hoped to make it through the rally without incident as I witnessed people getting nasty and even physical with others who challenged their space (let alone their politics).

At the town hall, Kasich’s unpretentious appearance in grey and blue hues evoked a J.M.W. Turner seascape or cloud study. By contrast, Trump appeared ready for Matisse’s brush, standing stiff with fiery hair and a tie that mimicked the red flow of Betsy Ross’ broad stripes falling behind him.

When Kasich mentioned Obama’s name, it could have been any other word. When Trump referred to the leader of the free world, the crowd erupted with shouts of “Terrorist!” A thunder of boos attacked the image of Megyn Kelly, persona non grata, in a video montage. Before long, someone behind me held up a placard (despite a warning on the ticket against bringing homemade signs) that read “White Lives Matter,” eliciting cheers.

Kasich focused on how exceptional we are as individuals, assuming the mantle of Fred Rogers. “We’re all kind of made that way with certain things about us that make us special. Do you know that? You’re made special. Nobody’s ever been like you and no one will ever be like you again. This is a more important message than anything I will say, no matter what I say here today. You’re made special. You’re made special for a purpose. And that purpose is to live a life bigger than yourself, to do something to heal part of our world. Do you know that? Do you know that? Have you ever thought about that? Yeah, and when you are able to find out what your purpose is, and you’re able to carry that purpose out, that’s when you find satisfaction in life.”

Trump chose to focus on how special the country is, riling up the crowd with “America first! America first!” and his parting promise to “make America great again!” Kasich also spoke of America’s greatness, though he sounded more like a professor than a cheerleader. Invoking de Tocqueville, Kasich cautioned that “America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”

Kasich kept going with his theme of individual empowerment. “What I want to tell you is, I think the president matters, but I don’t think the president matters nearly as much as what happens in your family, your neighborhood, and your community,” he suggested. “See, what I believe is that presidents should give people power. The president should transfer a lot of responsibility back to where we live, and it’s then up to us to take the power and use it to improve our country.” While Kasich strove to deflect his spotlight to his audience, Trump basked in it, absorbing the energy in that hangar like a lightning rod.

Kasich spoke of a desire “to end all the strife, the bitterness, the partisanship, and the divisions, because we have a lot of things we have to do.” Trump gave a dramatic reading of “The Snake,” an Oscar Brown poem that his campaign has coopted as its xenophobic fight song. Trump delighted in delivering the allegory’s climactic told-you-so: “‘Oh shut up, silly woman,’ said the reptile with a grin. ‘You damn well knew I was a snake before you took me in!'” Meanwhile, outside people protested and vendors peddled items such as buttons that read: “KFC – Hillary Special – 2 Fat Thighs – 2 Small Breasts… Left Wing.”

As I left Grumman Studios and walked a mile to my car, I paused with others at a train crossing, not expecting the conductor to open the window and call out: “Hey! Ya like Donald Trump?”

The Trump rally was a far different experience than the town hall, where Kasich pointed out, “I’m the only one who beats Hillary in the fall.” That’s a strong, practical argument that would normally attract much support. But in this election season, it’s boring.

Ron Leshnower is the author of books and articles exploring a range of topics.
Follow him on Twitter (@hillocrian) and visit hillocriancreative.com.