FrogCon 2020

I will be a guest author panelist at the first ever FrogCon at TCU in Fort Worth, TX this Saturday, February 22nd. FrogCon is a popular culture convention hosted by the TCU Library focusing on “geek” interests such as speculative fiction media, literature, arts/crafts, performances, music, tabletop and video games, and academic interests and future careers in same. It’s free for the public to attend and will take place from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM with panels starting at 10:00 AM. Here’s a link to the official website:

Check out the website for all the details. It should be a really fun convention and if it does well it will be back next year and hopefully for many more years to come so come out and help make it a success. Here are the discussion panels that I will be on:

10:00 to 10:50 room #3181 or 3182 World Building – Creating in-depth universes to play hosts to your characters, in fiction and gaming. What are some pitfalls we have all faced, and how do we get around them?

11:00 to 11:50 room# 3181 or 3182 The Bit I Remember. – What do we remember from books and comics read, and movies and TV seen, long ago, and why? What makes these glowing moments stick in our heads? And conversely, what falls away only to startle us when we return to the narrative years later?

12:00 to 12:50 Conference Room #1208 Insecurity, Imposter Syndrome, and other Creative Pitfalls – Being a creator is hard. You put your stuff out there and hope for the best. But there’s often that feeling of not measuring up, that your stuff isn’t good enough, that nobody cares.

Check the schedule on the site for more awesome panel topics. This may end up being the only convention that I will be a guest panelist at this year and I’m really looking forward to it. I hope to see you there.

Published in: on February 22, 2020 at 1:09 am  Leave a Comment  

The Shadow of Vengeance, or A Dream Fulfilled

My friend and fellow author, Scott Oden has a story published in the back of the new Savage Sword of Conan issue #1 comic book, out now in stores. Check out his blog post about how he made a life long dream of publishing a Conan story come true. He is an excellent writer, and I’ve been fortunate to get to know him as a person and through his novels and short stories.

Scott Oden

Today, some of you will make the journey to your Friendly Local Comic Shop to purchase this week’s new offerings.  For some of you, that will include issue #1 of the new Savage Sword of Conan series from Marvel Comics.  You might buy it for the art, for the writing, for the hint of nostalgia . . . whatever your reasons, I thank you.  Not that I had anything at all to do with the primary story, the art, the production.  None at all.  No, my contribution fill three pages at the back of the issue (and the next eleven besides): a prose novella called “The Shadow of Vengeance.”

SSoC #!

The story is a sequel to Robert E. Howard’s own “The Devil in Iron”, from the August 1934 issue of Weird Tales.  If you’re familiar with Conan canon, then you’ll recognize a few characters besides the stalwart Cimmerian.  I used…

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Published in: on February 13, 2019 at 9:31 am  Leave a Comment  

The Final ConDFW

This will be the last year that ConDFW will be held. It makes me quite sad to think about that fact. ConDFW was my first ever fan convention for science fiction, fantasy, and horror that I ever attended. It was also the first convention in Texas where I was a guest author and on discussion panels. It has been my local fan convention since 2011. But has been so much more than just a convention. It is an annual gathering of many of my friends who are also authors, as well as fans of science fiction, fantasy and horror, artists, editors, and owners of small publishing companies.

I only see these people at conventions typically and this one has always been that kind of small convention where you can really hang out and get to know your peers in a very relaxed and down to earth setting. Writers really are only understood by other writers or artists. Creative people are a kind of breed all their own. A sort of esoteric tribe, if you will. The Tribe of Scribes.

I invite all of you who can make it this weekend, to come to ConDFW whether it’s your first time or if you are a con veteran. I guarantee you will have fun and have many interesting conversations with the authors, artists, and fans there.

Here’s my schedule for my panels, reading, and book signing for ConDFW for this weekend:
Programming 2, 3 PM – New Tropes For Old
Panelists: Mel White (M), Larry Atchley Jr., Julia S. Mandala, Patricia Burroughs
We all know the Hero’s Journey. The Hero must find the Magic MacGuffin™ that will save the world, but
only after he/she finds his/her scrappy companions who compass every nationality in the area… It is

easy to dismiss a trope. But these masters take the trope and make it look fresh again. Our panelists
talk about authors and methods to take the trope and make it fresh and new again.

Autographs, 5 PM – Larry Atchley Jr., Seth Skorkowsky

Programming 2, 6 PM – Dystopian Utopia
Panelists: William C. Seigler (M), Larry Atchley Jr., Jimmy Misfit, Ethan Nahté, John DeLaughter
An interesting description of Dystopia versus Utopia is this: Utopia portrays the setting that agrees with
the author’s ethos, but Dystopia portrays the setting that complete disagrees with the author’s ethos.
Note that neither dystopia nor utopia have any basis in fact or moral code – an author can portray
current society as a dystopia, but others who LIKE that society would portray it as utopia. Both can be
correct. Our panelists debate this and other topics.

Reading, 1 PM – Barbara Ann Wright, Larry Atchley Jr., Chris Donahue

Programming 3, 3 PM –
Ia, Ia! Cthulhu Mythos Retrospective
Panelists: Larry Atchley Jr.(M), David Doub, Michelle Muenzler, S. Boyd Taylor
There are some creatures Man was not meant to know about. But H.P. Lovecraft came up with a lot of
them, and created an entire subculture around Elder Gods with his stories of the weird. Our
Lovecraftian experts go into the madness of Cthulhu and try to guide you to sanity. Fthagn!

Programming 2, 4 PM –
Fairy Tales Coming to Life!
Panelists: Melanie Fletcher (M), Ethan Nahté, Larry Atchley Jr., Bret McCormick
One of the recent Hollywood trends of the past couple of years is to take animated movies of yore and
redo them with live action versions. Beauty & the Beast, Cinderella and now Aladdin have been or are
being made into live action, with more to come. Our movie enthusiasts explore this trend and the
reasons for it.

Programming 2, 6 PM –
Apocalypse Soon: Practical World Building
Panelists: Chris Donahue (M), Larry Atchley Jr., Paul Black, Jimmy Misfit, William C. Seigler
Yes, yes, we’ve all heard it. The end of the world is nigh! Again. But what dies first? Who will turn the
lights off when the world goes dark? Are utilities the first thing to go, or the last? We look at practical
considerations for bringing destruction to a society as the world goes mad.

Programming 4, 8 PM –
Fun Ways to Present Your Poetry
Panelists: Stephen Sanders (M), Michelle Muenzler, Larry Atchley Jr., Patricia Ferguson
Bring instruments! Bring an open mind! Bring whatever you think might be fun and strange, because
this is an experimental idea with people committing poetry in whatever fashion that might be eye-
catching or funny.

Programming 3, 1 PM –
Creating Heroes From Reality
Panelists: Ethan Nahté (M), Trakena Prevost, Ava Morgan, Larry Atchley Jr.
We don’t need superpowers to be a hero, and history has plenty of examples of every day heroes that
we can use. From Martin Luther King Jr. to Mahatma Gandhi, stories can be written if only we know
where to look. Our panelists give examples of heroes to use in your stories that don’t need to be
fictionalized to be amazing.

Main Programming, 3 PM –
Blending Steampunk
Panelists: Tex Thompson (M), Larry Atchley Jr., Gloria Oliver
Using two or more genres together can make something really pop in the imagination. Whether it’s
combining with Japanese culture in Jay Kristoff’s Lotus War series or combining with WWI era noir with
Larry Correia’s Grimnoir series, blending steampunk with another genre can be very effective. Our
panelists debate this and other topics.

Published in: on February 11, 2019 at 9:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

ConDFW Schedule This Weekend

I will be a guest author at ConDFW in Fort Worth, Texas this weekend of February 16th-18th, 2018. This is my seventh year as a guest panelist, and it is also notable for being the first literary fan convention that I attended as a patron back in February 2011 before my first short story was published later that Summer. I have a lot of fond memories of past years attending this convention. This is a much smaller, more relaxed event than say ComicCon, or DragonCon. It’s always great to talk to my fellow author friends who I see only once a year, and meet new ones. I enjoy doing discussion panels, hearing others views on all kinds of topics. The readings and book signings are fun too. I’m fortunate that my wife Alison is also an author as well as being an artist , and enjoys attending the convention with me. We have had some good times there in years past. Below is my schedule for the convention. I hope to see you there.
Friday, 6pm: Echoes From Other Worlds: Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry
Panelists: Patricia Ferguson (M), Michelle Hartman, Stephen Sanders, Michelle Muenzler, Larry Atchley, Jr.
Poetry is an artform of the mind and can be channeled into any and every genre. Some of the greatest poems ever written are tales
of adventure and daring-do. Does anyone remember The Highwayman, by Alfred Noyes? Or The Homecoming of Solomon Kane, by
Robert E, Howard. Come hear from poets who write regularly about living on Mars, Steampunk adventures, pirate raids, alternate
history, and ensorcelled swords. They’ll talk about the various markets where they’ve found success and challenge you to write your
own fanciful poem in one of these genres.
Saturday, 1pm: Ekphrastic Poetry: What is it and will it hurt?
Panelists: Susan Maxwell Campbell (M), Stephen Sanders, S. Boyd Taylor, Michelle Muenzler, Larry Atchley Jr.
Ekphrastic (from the Greek for “speak out”) poetry is poetry inspired or stimulated by a work of art, usually a painting or
sculpture. This form of poetry has been practiced since the time of Homer and still flourishes today – a well-known example is
Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, by William Carlos Williams. In the first half of the panel the panelists will discuss the genre and
answer questions about their own works. The convention will call upon several of the artists featured at this year’s convention to
create original art to inspire poems. These pieces will be shown during the panel and, during the second half of the panel, attendees
will be able to ask the artists questions about their works. Attendees will then write original ekphrastic poems, based on the
artwork, and these will be featured at our late night open mic!
Saturday, 2pm: Martha Wells, Larry Atchley Jr., Bradley H. Sinor
Saturday, 4pm: E. Gaston Huckabay, Larry Atchley Jr.
Saturday, 5pm: Robert E. Howard: A Retrospective
Panelists: Ethan Nahté (M), Larry Atchley Jr., Adrian Simmons, Stephen Sanders
Many will know of Robert E. Howard’s work through Conan the Barbarian or Solomon Kane. But he wrote in many other genres,
including Western and Poetry! Our Howard Scholars talk about his work in the Fantasy genre as well as others.
Saturday, 7pm: Celebrity Artemis – Session 1
Panelists: Stephen Sanders (M), Melanie Fletcher, David Doub, Larry Atchley Jr., Seth Skorkowsky, William Ledbetter
The popular co-operative bridge simulator returns again to ConDFW! Six panelists at a time take the Starship Artemis through the
void, insulting every alien species possible. Let’s see what happens!
Sunday, 12pm: The Third Annual ConDFW Adventure Poetry Slam
Judges: Stephen Sanders (M), Michelle Muenzler, Larry Atchley, Jr.
No Entry Fee. First Prize: $50, Second Prize: Convention T-shirt, Third Prize: Blackbead Books Merchandise
All you must do is write an original adventure poem, any form, which you can recite in three minutes or less. Then, perform it in
front of our audience and judges. Our three judges will score each poem and the three highest scoring poets will win our
prizes! What more do you need to know?
Sunday, 2pm: The Elemental Steampunk: Gadgets and Gizmos
Panelists: Larry Atchley Jr. (M), Julie Barrett, Charlayne Elizabeth Denney, Gloria Oliver
Steampunk is famous for its airships and for its steam-powered gadgets. We’ve looked at airships in the past, so it’s time to look at
the gadgets. Our steampunk experts go over typical widgets used in steampunk so you can recognize them at a distance.
Sunday, 3pm: Fantasy Engineering: Building Mordor
Panelists: Tex Thompson (M), Larry Atchley Jr., Teresa Patterson, Gloria Oliver
Ever wonder how Mordor was made? Or Minas Tirith? Pick your epic fantasy of choice, and there will always be towns, castles,
buildings with grandeur. Building those places takes engineering: planning rooms where events take place, escape tunnels and even
secret hiding places for when the forces of darkness overwhelm you. But how detailed do you need to get? Our authors debate this and other topics.

Published in: on February 15, 2018 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bring the Thunder/Writers Helping Writers

One thing I like about the business of writing is that authors don’t really consider themselves in competition with each other for readers.  We generally want all of us to be successful at our craft, especially the lesser known or even mid list selling authors in my opinion. I’ve even participated in discussion panels at literary fan conventions in which I’ve encouraged new and struggling writers to become published authors. 

And when someone who I respect and admire as an author has something new released I do my best to help spread the word on their behalf. This June there are a couple of releases that I feel are noteworthy and that I wish will do very well. 

First, below is the link to my friend Scott Oden’s Thunderclap campaign to promote his latest novel A GATHERING of RAVENS, which is coming out later this month. Thunderclap is a way to magnify exponentially the number of people who will see your social media post by having at least a hundred people agree to broadcast a scheduled post on all of their social media sites. Scott is a very talented writer and I enjoy reading his stories and books. He’ s also a really nice guy both online and in person. Here is the link to the Thunderclap site:

Also Scott is having a book release event on Facebook that you can participate in too. Here’s the link:

Also just released in ebook and soon to be printed in trade paperback edition is the author’s cut version of TEMPUS UNBOUND by Janet Morris  & Chris Morris which has been out of print for years  and is now available once again for a new generation of fantasy action readers. I’ve had a copy of the original book for years. The stories of Tempus, known as “The Riddler” who is Commander of The Sacred Band , are some of my all time favorites. Janet and Chris  Morris are masterful crafters of tales and I am glad to see yet another Sacred Band book being released with new material added and in the form that the authors intended. 

So I hope you will help support these worthy and talented authors, by buying their books or at least telling your friends about them. 

Published in: on June 12, 2017 at 10:41 pm  Comments (2)  

Come hell or high water

It’s been a long time since I posted in the blog. Life has been very busy. I really should post here more often though. I figured since I have a couple of new stories and a poem published I should take some time and talk about and promote them here.

The Book of Night: Poems of the Macabre, edited by Richard Groller, is a collection of poetry by new Poets and classic ones along with original artwork by contemporary artists. My poem “The Shadow People” is published within. 

 At the end of 2016 the horror anthology Dark Corners was published. It would turn out to be the last book published by Iron Clad Press, an imprint of Fantom Enterprises. The company was founded by my good friend  John Manning with the concept of giving underrated and neophyte writers a venue for getting their stories in print alongside various veteran authors. With John’s passing to that realm beyond the veil before the book was completed, the task of getting the book finished and published fell upon the shoulders of his widow, Deanna. After the book came out she decided that she could no longer run the publishing company in John’s absence. I was sad to hear the news, but I understand why she made her decision. Running a publishing company is hard work, especially when trying to do it alongside another full time job.  The book was released with memorials written by many of the contributing authors and stands as a lasting legacy to John and his vision. It features my Prologue story “The Librarian’s Tale.” Also my wife Ali has her first published story “Cliché” in this volume and she also created the front and back cover art. I am very proud of her. Below is the cover, although it is hard to see the artwork. 

More recently released is the latest volume in the Heroes in Hell series, which features my story “Unholiest Grail” in which Buccaneer Henry Morgan, Erik the Red, Ragnar Loddbrok, and Anton LaVey search the seas of Hell looking for the Unholy Grail which legend says allows damned souls to partake of the forbidden pleasure of getting drunk. It was a fun story to write, and I barely got it finished in time to make it into the book. In fact it was quite a rough jumbled together story and Janet and Chris Morris whipped it into shape with their editing expertise so that it could be included. I am eternally grateful for their going out of their way to help me get it into Pirates in Hell. I want to also give a heartfelt thanks to my wife Ali for helping me with the creative process of writing the story, and for putting up with all my mental flailing about trying to get it finished. It would never have been possible without her support. I love writing for the HiH series that Janet Morris created back in the 1980s. I was a fan of the series back then and never would have imagined that I would be writing stories for it when it was rebooted in the 21st century.  I am especially excited about this book because I will be able to promote it at the various shows in which I perform with The Seadog Slam pirate troup reciting pirate poetry and singing songs. 

My next project is to collaborate with my wife to write a story for the upcoming anthology Sha’Daa Toys in the shared world series created by Michael H Hanson. I have published stories on my own in two previous volumes: Sha’Daa Pawns and Sha’Daa Facets. It is a really interesting series and it’s always a pleasure to write in that world setting which takes place during the Summer Solstice of some indeterminate year when the fabric between our world and the other dimensions are torn open and evil beings try to destroy and/ or enslave humankind. In the story we are working on now,  there is a music box with a white rabbit on it that belonged to Charles Dodgson, a.k.a. Lewis Carroll, which the forces of evil are trying to get a hold of because it is a portal to Wonderland from where the malevolent entities are trying to escape. 

I’m also going to start writing more on my book about Gorm the Goblin Killer. I originally was doing it as a series of short stories, of which the first one is finished. But I decided that it made more sense to go ahead and make it a novel. I’m also really wanting to get back to writing on my ShadowRogue Saga novel and finally finish it after all these years. 

Ali and I are always coming up with ideas for children’s picture books too which we will write together and she will illustrate. We just need to sit down and do it and figure out how to format the text with the artwork. Then will come the task of either trying to publish it ourselves or try to get it done through a publishing house. 

All of these things take time that we never seem to have enough of. But we need to make the time. 

Anyway, I guess that’s about all for this post. I’m going to try to start posting every week, so stay tuned for more. 

Published in: on June 5, 2017 at 12:24 am  Leave a Comment  

The Short Pale Writer in the Long Black Coat at LibertyCon

“Every writer is a narcissist. This does not mean that he is vain; it only means that he is hopelessly self-absorbed.”

– Leo Rosten

I’ll be a guest author at LibertyCon again this year, June 27-29 in Chattanooga, TN. This is my fourth year as a guest and I love this fantasy/science fiction convention so much.  As we have done every year, The Irredeemable Order of Hellions will be having a book launch party at 10:00 PM in the Con Suite for our latest volume in the Heroes in Hell Series, created by Janet Morris and published by Perseid Press. This year we bring you Poets in Hell.

Poets in Hell, vol 17 in the Heroes in Hell series created by Janet Morris,from Perseid Press.

Poets in Hell, vol 17 in the Heroes in Hell series created by Janet Morris,from Perseid Press.

Here is the link to my schedule of appearances at LibertyCon this year.

Or if you prefer to just read it here:

Fri 03:00PM Reading – Larry Atchley, Jr. and Tamara Lowery
Fri 05:00PM Opening Ceremonies
Fri 08:00PM Paranormal Activities Panel
Sat 12:00PM Autograph Session
Sat 01:00PM What’s New in Horror and Dark Fantasy?
Sat 05:00PM What’s New from Perseid Publishing
Sat 07:00PM Poets in Hell
Sat 09:00PM What’s new from Iron Clad Press
Sat 10:00PM Perseid Press, Moondream Press and Iron Clad Press Book Launch Parties; IOH and Fictioneers Parties
Sun 12:00PM Autograph Session


I always have a great time at conventions, and LibertyCon is no exception. It was my very first convention that I attended as a guest author so it is very special to me. Thanks go out to Rich Groller for getting myself and a lot of our other Hellion authors on the guest list every year since 2011. There will be a few of us Hellions around at LibertyCon this year: David L. Burkhead, Jason Cordova, David Drake (from the original Heroes in Hell books published from 1986-1989 by Baen Books) Jack Finley, Rich Groller, Michael H. Hanson, John Manning, Beth Patterson, (who is also the musical performer guest this year), pdmac, and Michael Z.Williamson.

I hope to see you there. It will be a hella good time.

“I have gone into yesterday and tomorrow and both were as real as today — which is like the dreams of ghosts!”
-ROBERT E. HOWARD, Kull: Exile of Atlantis


The Short Pale Writer at Texas Pirate Festival This Weekend

I will be performing as Captain Lars Shortshanks with my fellow crew mates in The Seadog Slam at the Texas Pirate Festival in Hillsboro this weekend. We will be doing our customary readings of original pirate poetry and singing pirate songs plus at the closing of the day Shipwreck Show we will be reciting dirty limericks, jokes, toasts, and performing filthy bawdy pirate songs. Audience participation is mandatory so come join us for some dirty pirate fun. The schedule for the weekend is as follows:

Saturday: 1:30, 4:00, 5:30 and Shipwreck Show at 6:30.

Sunday: 1:30, 3:00 4:30, and Shipwreck show at 5:30

Here’s the complete schedule for all performers this year:

Texas Pirate Festival 2014 schedule

Come out and get yer pirate on! Be there or we’ll keelhaul yer sorry arse! Arrgh!


Fun Stuff I’ve Been Doing So Far This Year

“Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.”-Winston Churchill

Okay, I know I haven’t been keeping up with posting the blog on a regular basis. Again. I am bad. I am incorrigible. I am a procrastinator by trade. For those of you who have stuck with following this blog even through its intermittent ramblings, I thank you. There is a lot to catch up on so this will be a lengthy discourse of what’s been going on in my life over the past few months.

At the end of last year I started attending The Seadog Slam’s bimonthly shows that took place at the Half Price Books Flagship Store in Dallas. Every first Wednesday there was a Steampunk show with songs performed , poetry read,and neat garb and gadgets displayed, as well as presentation son Steampunk culture and literature. I wrote a couple of Steampunk poems that I read, presented a brief biography of Jules Verne, and also read a review I wrote of Jessica McHugh’s book,  The Sky, the World. Every Third Wednesday of the month there was a pirate themed show performed by the crew members of The Seadog Slam, with an open mic session for the last half of the show. Performers dressed in their pirate garb for full effect and I broke out my pirate costume that I had put together a few years ago to wear to parties, pirate festivals and Renaissance faires. I had been writing a few pirate poems which I read at these sessions which were apparently well received, as I was asked earlier this year to join the Seadog Slam as as auxiliary crew member. This meant I would be on call to help them complete a roster of performers for various events in North Texas especially when regular members cannot attend. Words cannot express how happy I was to join this group of pirate poets. Recently they even decided to make me a regular crew member, which means I will have an opportunity to perform at all their shows and on CD’s they record of poetry and songs. I purchased a copy of The Pirate Primer so I can brush up on my piratical lingo. I’ve been wanting to buy this book ever since I checked it out from the Bedford Public Library a few years ago. Now I had a good excuse for acquiring it. Like I needed a reason to buy a book about pirates. Ha ha! The Seadog Slam will be working on a CD of dirty limericks this Summer so I have to get cracking to write some original limericks to read for the recording.

In April The Seadog Slam were the MC’s at an event called Down to the Depths: A Ghost Pirate Masquerade at the Wit’s End club in Dallas’ historic entertainment district, Deep Ellum. It was a show put on by The Shadow Society to raise funds for the Steampunk November 2014 event. Earlier that week I had broken one of my hard contact lenses and had been forced to wear my coke bottle glasses to see. Determined not to look like a dork at the show, I decided that once I got to the club I would put in my one left contact lens and wear my pirate eye patch over the other eye for piratical effect. That was all well and good, except I had not counted on it being so hard to read my poem with one eye. A lack of depth perspective really messes things up. I managed to pull off the reading somewhat, although it was certainly not my best performance to date. Nothing a bit of rum couldn’t make better though. Ah, it’s a pirate’s life for me. Arrgh!

One-eyed poet pirate Lars Shortshanks with Mayhem and Ray Jusrae of The Seadog Slam crew

One-eyed poet pirate Lars Shortshanks with Mayhem and Ray Jusrae of The Seadog Slam crew

All the performers that night were wonderful, from the opening band, Irish  Blind, the burlesque performers, and sword fighting by Cut, Thrust & Run. It was fun being an MC, and  introducing the band Esoterik, whose music and performance I really enjoyed. Allison Eckfeldt’s vocals and dancing were awesome, Brady Bledsoe on Guitar and keyboards was amazing, and Austin Hayes on keyboards was excellent. I got the band to autograph their CD I bought, and they were all very cool nice people to talk to. They are from Oklahoma City which is my birth city and where I still  have a lot of aunts, uncles and cousins living in the area. I will have to catch some more of their shows in the future. I’m hoping they will be back here in Dallas soon, or that I can make it up to OK City.

Going back a little earlier in the year, in February I was a guest author at the ConDFW literary fan convention. This is my third year as a guest and I had a blast as always being on discussion panels, doing readings and book signings. I get to meet up with a lot of fellow authors who are friends at these events and generally have a great time. There are too many people to mention everyone here and I will inevitably forget someone, since my memory is like  sieve. So my apologies if I don’t name you, but I have to at least run down a short list of people I got to hang out with and or be on panels with: Dean Andersson, Ethan Nahte, Selina Rosen, William Ledbetter, Bev Hale, Michelle Muenzler, Nina Romberg, Lou Antonelli, Melanie Fletcher, Mel White, Angeline Hawkes, Christopher Fulbright, Amie Spengler, Rachael Acks. Special thanks to friends and fellow writers Alaura Sandler and Jenn Monty who took photos of me on several panels.

ConDFW panel with Bev Hale, C Dean Andersson and Larry Atchley Jr.

ConDFW panel with Bev Hale, C Dean Andersson and Larry Atchley Jr.

Promoting the anthologies I am published in and talking about writing and fiction fandom is always a pleasure. The after parties are always awesome as well and I get way too little  sleep during these convention weekends. But it is all so worth it. I’m looking forward to next year already. I had someone snap a photo of me at my signing table with all the books In which I have stories published. And I’m proudly wearing both my Irredeemable Order of Hellions, and Fictioneers badges. On my right arm is my Bethodist patch marking me as an adherent of my friend Beth Patterson’s personal spiritual  movement of bouzouki babe worship and musical religiosity. More on Beth later in this post. It’s harder to see in this photo but I’m also wearing my Darwin Prophet & the Chronus Mirror patch showing my support for yet another awesome group of musicians.  Thanks to my daughter Alina for making the armbands and sewing the patches on for me.

My ConDFW 2014 book signing table

My ConDFW 2014 book signing table


Next up in my busy Spring schedule of fun stuff was the North Texas Irish Festival. I have been going to this event ever since around 1996. It has been going on for over thirty years now, and is the largest Celtic music festival in the South, and one of the largest in the USA. There are so many excellent bands and solo musicians that play this festival. Also it has huge vendor turnout and there are so many great hand crafted items for sale. Money was tight this year so I couldn’t go crazy with the purchases, but I did pick up a CD from one of my favorite bands, Poor Man’s Fortune,  and a really cool pin/brooch with the skull & crossbones on it. I figured it would go well with my pirate garb.

It has been my pleasure to get to know the band members of Poor Man’s Fortune, especially Beth Patterson who I met initially on facebook a couple of years ago through mutual friends. We got to meet in person last year at the Irish Festival and we swapped copies of my anthologies that I have stories in for a bunch of her music CD’s. She had confessed that she was a musician with writer envy, and that she was working on writing a fiction story based on her experiences in the music business.  I told her that I was a writer with musician envy and that I wanted to put a band together. We realized that we both appreciate good music, good books, and irreverent dark humor, so a solid friendship was inevitable. We got  along so well in fact, I decided that she must be my long-lost evil twin sister that I never knew I had.

I introduced her on Facebook to some of my fellow Hellion authors and especially Janet Morris, and also some other editors with publishers that were looking for stories to put in anthologies. She just had a story published in a collection called Rise of the Goddess, and she will have a story in the next Heroes in Hell book, Poets in Hell which also will have my story “Poetic Injustice” in it. So she is now officially a Hellion author after earning her way into our illustrious ranks with what I’m sure will be a very good story that I am looking forward to reading. Earlier this year she also published her first book Mongrels & Misfits, which has an awesome short story and a whole bunch of her song lyrics in it. I got to be one of her beta readers for the story and she thanked me in the acknowledgements page of her book which was cool and very sweet of her to do.

She is an excellent musician and is turning out to be just as good of a writer as well. I like to refer to her as the hardest working musician in the business because it seems like she is always playing gigs, recording albums,  and promoting herself 24/7/365. She performs in and around New Orleans Louisiana when she is not on tour in various other parts of the world, like Japan, and Canada.  She will be performing her music at this year’s LibertyCon in Chattanooga, TN where we will both be guest authors as well. Check out her web page here at She just released an excellent  new solo album Fast Forward which you can purchase on her webpage. She has it available as a digital download and as a USB flash drive that is made into a rubber bracelet so you can wear her  music. Here’s a photo of Beth performing with Poor Man’s Fortune which includes Larry Rone on vocals and wind instruments ,  Richard Kean on pipes, Wolf Loescher on drums and percussion, and Beth Patterson on vocals and bouzouki. They just released a new CD called Bayou Curious that has a blend of Cajun, Scottish, Breton, and French traditional music, and it is a joy to listen to. It is very lively and upbeat. You can buy it on the Poor Man’s Fortune webpage.



Beth Patterson at North Texas Irish Festival 2014

Beth Patterson at North Texas Irish Festival 2014

Some other great bands I saw at NTIF this year included The Town Pants, from Canada, who closed out their set witha  cover of Iron Maiden’s Run to the Hills, which was totally unexpected. Also the band  Beyond the Pale who I have seen perform several years at NTIF and other Celtic music festivals like the no longer active Celtic Heritage Festival which was held in my home town of Bedford. There was so much excellent music but these are the ones that stand out in my mind the most.

Okay so on to the next convention and this is a big one that I have been honored with being a guest at for the past three years. All-Con in Dallas. This event encompasses everything to do with fandom whether it is science fiction, fantasy, horror literature, film or television, anime, women’s roller derby, burlesque entertainment, stand up comedy, sword fighting action shows, music, etc. You name it and there is probably a discussion panel or performance to do with it at All-Con. I got to be on some great panels with some awesome authors this year as always. First and foremost I must mention my friend Jenn Monty who helped me come up with topics  for five of the panels that we were on this year.  She also did meticulous research and printed out notes for us to use, including creating a writers’ notebook for compiling story notes and information for our panel on how to organize all the stuff you use when writing a novel. She made several copies which were handed out to the audience. We had a really good turnout for that one. Jenn publishes a blog called Brewed Bohemian where she posts her flash fiction and poetry, along with the latest open submissions for story contests and anthologies. She posts reviews about beer on there too  which is really cool. Jenn is a very talented writer, and I hope we will share credits in an anthology together someday. She recently asked me to be one of the judges in a Steampunk & Dieselpunk flash fiction contest called Dirty Goggles that she was holding along with some other authors. Go check out her blog to read the stories and find out who won. Plus check out all the other cool stuff there too.

Jenn Monty and Larry Atchley Jr. at All-Con Dallas 2014

Jenn Monty and Larry Atchley Jr. at All-Con Dallas 2014

I shared panels with some other awesome fellow authors and experts like Larry And Tina Amyett of the North Texas Dieselpunks, Steve and Melody Sanders of The Seadog Slam, Ethan Nahte, Mel White, Bart de Boisblanc, and Gloria Oliver. I also got to hang out with my good friend Darwin Prophet who was one of the musical guests this year. I got to see a whole bunch of other friends that I usually only see at cons or other special events. There are probably too many people to list and I will inevitably forget someone so I’ll just leave it at that. You all know who you are.

All-Con 2014 Dieselpunk & Steampunk Panel. From Left to right: Larry Atchley Jr, Larry Amyett, Tina Amyett, Jenn Monty.

All-Con 2014 Dieselpunk & Steampunk Panel. From Left to right: Larry Atchley Jr, Larry Amyett, Tina Amyett, Jenn Monty.

All-Con 2014 panelists L-R Larry Atchley Jr, Mel White, Ethan Nahte, Gloria Oliver

All-Con 2014 panelists L-R Larry Atchley Jr, Mel White, Ethan Nahte, Gloria Oliver

All-Con 2014 Steampunk Poetry panel. Larry Atchley Jr, Steve Sanders, Melody Sanders.

All-Con 2014 Steampunk Poetry panel. Larry Atchley Jr, Steve Sanders, Melody Sanders.

On March 19th I put together a author reading event that took place at the Half Price Books Dallas Flagship store. How this came about was that the Seadog Slam crew were not going to be able  to do their usual pirate themed show they presented the third Wednesday of every month. I was asked if I wanted to put on an event by myself. I leapt at the chance and I decided that rather than do a pirate show I wanted to do something different where authors of various genres could read their work to an audience. Thus was born The Eclectic Muse Literary Revue. I gathered together five local Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex authors which included myself, Darwin Prophet, Jenn Monty, Jessica Scott, William Ledbetter. Author C. Dean Andersson was supposed to read too but had to cancel due to having the Flu. We had a small but enthusiastic audience and the event went well. It was the first time that both Jessica and Jenn  had ever read before an audience and they did awesome even though they admitted they were very nervous. They each read some poetry and flash fiction that was excellent. Check out Jessica’s blog, The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet where she posts a lot of her poetry and prose, and Jenn’s blog at Brewed Bohemian. William read excerpts from a couple of science fiction short stories that were very gripping and intense. I read part of my Rogues in Hell story, “Ragnarok & Roll” and Darwin read a bunch of her “prosetry” that includes her day to day thoughts and musings, and closed the event beautifully by singing the British anthem “Jerusalem” which was written from a poem by William Blake.  We all had a great time and I was glad to be able to bring some fellow authors together to showcase their talents. I’m hoping to do another one of these sometime in the future.

Larry Atchley Jr reading poetry at The Eclectic Muse Literary Revue

Larry Atchley Jr reading poetry at The Eclectic Muse Literary Revue

Jenn Monty reading at The Eclectic Muse Literary Revue.

Jenn Monty reading at The Eclectic Muse Literary Revue.

Jessica Scott reading at The Eclectic Muse Literary Revue

Jessica Scott reading at The Eclectic Muse Literary Revue

William Ledbetter reading from his story at The Eclectic Muse Literary Revue.

William Ledbetter reading from his story at The Eclectic Muse Literary Revue.

Darwin Prophet reading Prosetry at The Eclectic Muse Literary Revue.

Darwin Prophet reading Prosetry at The Eclectic Muse Literary Revue.

Something cool that I got to attend in April was the short film premier of Love is a Grave, by my friend Tim Stevens with Title Pending Productions and Tim Stevens Films. The premier party was called Into the Grave and was held at the dance club The Church in Dallas’ historic Deep Ellum arts and music district by The Shadow Society. Darwin Prophet & the Chronus Mirror performed at the premier and Darwin actually co-wrote music for the film with Director/Filmmaker Tim Stevens. Another band that performed that night was Ending the Vicious Cycle fronted by singer/songwriter/guitarist/keyboardist, Toby Rider. There was also a dark burlesque show which included Vivienne Vermuth and Cat de Lynn. The film was awesome and the party was a blast. I had a lot of fun dancing and hanging out with friends including Cindy House who I have known since  high school and who I hadn’t seen in a few years, and who is a regular at The Church.

Tim Stevens, Darwin Prophet and Larry Atchley Jr at the film premier party for Love is a Grave

Tim Stevens, Darwin Prophet and Larry Atchley Jr at the film premier party for Love is a Grave

Into the Grave, premier party for Tim Stevens'short film Love is a Grave

Into the Grave, premier party for Tim Stevens’short film Love is a Grave

Also in April I also got to be an extra in one of Tim’s latest projects, a web series called You are Here, that was filmed at The Curtain Club in Deep Ellum in Dallas. That was a lot of fun, but it was hot hard work. I was in several scenes that involved dancing at a Goth vampire night club party. They couldn’t run the Air Conditioning units because of the noise and it was very hot inside the club. It didn’t help that I was wearing leather pants, boots, and my signature long black coat. My friend Darwin Prophet was also there as an extra to help support Tim’s project. I also got to be in a few additional scenes that just involved standing and acting like I was talking to another extra, Shana, who I met at the filming. She was pretty cool and has some interesting life stories. She is about my size, (petite that is) and also takes martial arts so we had that in common to talk about. She is a professional model working in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  I met a lot of other great people who were extras and part of the cast and crew. Special thanks to Tim Stevens, John McCullagh, Mary Rochford, Jessica Sheriff, and everyone else involved with the production for making me a part of the action and taking great care of us by providing lots of water to drink and pizza for dinner. The web series is supposed to air sometime in June, so I’ll be sure to post a link to it in my blog when it does. I hope I look halfway decent in the shots.

In May I went to fellow author Seth Skorkowsky’s book signing for his first published novel Damoren. It was held at game store Area 51 Gaming & Collectibles in Grapevine Texas, the town where I grew up. I met Seth at All-Con this year and it turns out that we have a lot of mutual friends in the writing and Steampunk community. I just finished reading his book and it is a thrilling action packed adventure with some very excellent writing and includes some very interesting concepts. It is book one of The Valducan series and I can’t wait to read the next book when it comes out next year. I’m looking forward to finally finishing one of my novels so I can do one of these events for a book that is all my own work. I love writing short stories and poems for anthologies, but having my own novel completed and published would be a great feeling.

Seth Skorkowsky at book signing for his novel Damoren

Seth Skorkowsky at book signing for his novel Damoren

Well that is about it for now. The next big event things coming up for me will be attending Robert E Howard Days in Cross Plains Texas  and attending LibertyCon as a guest author, both in June. This will be my first time to go to Howard Days. I have heard a lot of great things about it form fellow authors so I am looking forward to it. It is my fourth year as a guest at LibertyCon, which was the first con to book me as an author in 2011 after I had my first published short story appear in Lawyers in Hell.

I am working on my dark fantasy/sword & sorcery novel that I am aiming at finishing this year. Also the usual short stories and poems as always. I’ll keep everyone posted here whenever I have my next stories and poems published. I have a few things coming out this Summer.

I’ll leave you with a pithy quote as usual. Thanks again for following my blog and I’ll try not to take so long between posts next time.

“Writing a novel is like making love, but it’s also like having a tooth pulled. Pleasure and pain. Sometimes it’s like making love while having a tooth pulled.”
-Dean Koontz

The Eclectic Muse Literary Review

“Writers may be disreputable, incorrigible, early to decay or late to bloom but they dare to go it alone.”
-John Updike

Except when they dare to band together in support. Myself and six other writers local to the DFW Metroplex are participating in an event that I put together since the rest of the Seadog Slam crew members couldn’t attend what is usually the monthly pirate poetry and tales of the sea show. This event has no theme, since we will have authors reading from a wide variety of genres of poetry and prose. So I decided to call it The Eclectic Muse Literary Review. I wanted to have something to show some  support a few of the local area authors and get some of their work know by a different audience than they normally would have. I wanted a mix of both well established authors and those who are up and coming writers. I think I have chosen well.

We will be at the Half Price Books Flagship store at 5803 E. Northwest Hwy, Dallas, Texas 75231 on Wednesday March 19th form 8:00  PM to 10:00 PM.
Joining me are Darwin Prophet, Jenn Monty, Jessica Scott, William Ledbetter and C. Dean Anderson. Both Jenn and Jessica have never read their work to an audience at a formal event before so they are taking a big step in doing this.

I met Jenn Monty at ConDFW in 2012 and she has been one of my biggest fans and supporters of my writing ever since then. That fandom turned into a friendship and also she has been a guest panelist at All-Con with me for the past two years in 2013 and at this year’s convention last weekend. She is an awesome author  and I am now one of her biggest fans in return. Check out her blog called  Brewed Bohemian where she not only posts some of her poetry and flash fiction, but also information about writing events and web sites online, and her reviews about beer, coffee, and tea. She also pontificates about other random topics as well. Check it out, as there is a wealth of information there.

I met Jessica Scott through the Bedford Public Library Friends Writers Circle which is a critique and support group that I have been a member of since 2010. Jessica joined earlier this year and I have been really enjoying her poetry and short fiction that she shares with the group and posts on her blog which is called The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet. Is that not the most awesome blog name ever? I knew when I put this event together that I really wanted her to read some of her work out loud.

Darwin Prophet is a singer, songwriter, musician and author of prose and poetry who I met at a Steampunk Convention called The Difference Engine on New Year’s Eve in 2011 when she was performing with her group Darwin Prophet & the Chronus Mirror. I have been attending her performances whenever I get the chance as she is one of my favorite performers. She is also a good friend of mine. I heard her read from some of her work at All-Con last year and was impressed by her excellent writing style and wonderful voice for the spoken word as well as her musical vocals. I regret that she will not be able to perform her music at this event since the store recently changed its policy about having performances in the community room where we are meeting. I am very much looking forward to hearing her read some of her writing again. Click on her website here at Darwin Prophet.

William Ledbetter and I met at ConDFW this year when we had our book signings together at the same table.  He has written over thirty speculative fiction stories and non fiction articles in collections like Jim Baen’s Universe, Writers of the Future, Escape Pod, Ad Astra and Baen Books, just to name a few. He administers the Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest for Baen Books and the National Space Society, is a member of the National Space Society of North Texas, is the Science Track coordinator for the Fencon convention and is a consulting editor at Heroic Fantasy Quarterly. I knew he would be a great established author to bring on board for the readings.Check out his web page here at William Ledbetter.

I’ve known C. Dean Andersson since I first met him at ConDFW in 2011. He has been writing  heroic fiction and horror since the 1980’s and has eleven novels and numerous short stories published both in the USA and internationally. He is a very quiet, unassuming kind of person, and just about the nicest guy you could meet.  He writes some awesome tales. His website is here at C. Dean

Please join us for a fun evening of poetry and prose and help show your support for local authors.