The Ghost Lights

My friend Tim Stevens has created a crowdfunding effort to help him with post production costs for his first feature film. He is working to try to get it finished in time for the 2021  Independent Film Festival Spring season. I’ve enjoyed Tim’s short films in the past and this feature length movie looks like it will be just as excellent as his previous work. Please contribute if you can and share the link to the crowdfunding site to spread the word.

I know these are financially difficult times for most people, but if everyone who hears about the project contributes even just $10, I know it will help Tim to reach his goal and be able to realise his dream of finishing and releasing his first feature film.

In this age of ongoing global pandemic and economic crisis I feel that it is important that we be able to turn to films, books, music, and all forms of art and creative expression as a way to help escape from the doldrums, anxiety, and stress of our mundane everyday existence and to inspire us to create new works ourselves.

Please help support and promote independent artists and filmmakers like Tim Stevens.

Thank you, and stay safe, stay well, and stay creative.

Publishing Pirate Poetry In a Perilous Pandemic

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” -H.P. Lovecraft

So it has been a long time since I have written and posted anything in my blog. Life has certainly taken a turn down a dark, strange, and terrifying alley since my last post several months ago with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in the U.S.A. in the Spring of 2020. I have been fortunate to have been able to work from home all this time and continue to support myself and family and be able to isolate myself from the general public and possible exposure to the virus. Most of our necessities are able to be delivered or obtained with contact free curbside pickup fortunately which my wonderful wife Ali has been able to take care of, allowing me to focus on work and other things.

I haven’t been writing much unfortunately other than bits of poetry from time to time. However, I have been able to get three poems of mine published in an anthology which was released in October 2020. Island Terrors and Sea Horrors is edited by Ethan Nahté and features twenty short stories and sixteen poems from Ethan Nahté, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, H. G. Wells, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Alfred  Lord Tennyson, Robert Louis Stevenson, Washinton Irving, and more.

Included are my poems “Drag Me Down to the Depths of the Sea” “A Pirate Adrift”  and “Doom of Destiny” which I have recited at many events as my pirate persona Lars Shortshanks, with The Seadog Slam piratical performing troup. Ethan asked me earlier this year if I wanted to contribute to this anthology that he was putting together and if I had any stories or poems I thought would fit with the theme of the book.

I’m really grateful for the opportunity to be included amongst so many great authors. Coleridge, Poe, Lovecraft, Stevenson, and Tennyson are some of my favorite classic poetry and prose writers and I really like Ethan Nahté’s stories and poetry. I’ve recited some of his poems which are included in this anthology at some of the pirate shows at which I’ve performed. Ethan’s writing has the quality of being able to evoke a powerfully visceral emotional response from the reader, especially in his horror stories that leave one terrified, shocked, and gripping the book,  anticipating what will happen next.

Ethan and I did an interview together about the book and other topics on internet radio station with William Snider a.k.a. Zombie Zak on his live broadcast show After Rot.  Below is  the link to the archived recording of the show.

AR394 – Larry Atchley Jr and Ethan Nahté

Also noteworthy of late, I recently joined The Fort Worth Poetry Society which was established in the year 1910 and is the oldest continuously run poetry society in the  Southwest. Steve Sanders, my friend and fellow shipmate in the Seadog Slam pirate poetry performing troupe, and former President of the Fort Worth Poetry Society invited me to join at the end of last year. I had considered joining for some time, and Steve’s urging me to become a member sealed the deal so to say. I attended my first meeting with the other members in December. We all met using Zoom which is how I will most likely continue to attend even after the Pandemic is over because the meetings are held quite far from where I live and work so it will be difficult to make it there in person most months. Here’s a link to their site:

I’ve been re-reading Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings which is something I do every few years as it’s one of my favorite fantasy books and a great influence on and inspiration of my own fantasy writing. I also have set myself the task of reading all of Robert E. Howard’s stories and poems which I started at the beginning of this year in 2021. I’ve read a lot of his work over the years but there is still much of his prolific writings that I’ve yet to read. He wrote I believe, over 300 stories and more than 100 poems so this is a considerable task to read them all, but I want to experience to entire range of his work, including historical fiction, westerns, weird west, action adventure, boxing, horror, and not just the primarily sword & sorcery Conan and Kull tales that I have mostly focused on in the past.

I am going to wrap this post up, as it’s getting quite long and I had intended on finishing and posting it a few weeks ago but things in the world and my own personal life caused me to put it off again. About those things, maybe I’ll include in my next post. Until then I bid you all to take care, stay well, healthy, safe, and in good spirits. And keep reading everything you can get your hands on.

From Pastiche to Original

Author Scott Oden reveals how his Conan pastiche writing influences his original character stories, and what sets the two apart from each other.

The Thread Between Conan and Grimnir (Tip o’ the hat to Stan Wagenaar, for inadvertently suggesting this topic) I consciously imitate Robert E. Howard in my original fiction, and I have done so since at least the late 1980s.  Some call it riding the coat-tails; others might think it a mark of depressed creativity — […]

From Pastiche to Original

Anatomy of a Pastiche, Part Three

The next post in Scott Oden’s series on writing Robert E. Howard pastiche using his iconic character, Conan of Cimmeria. Please subscribe to his blog, it’s interesting and informative. And buy his books! They are excellent reading.

Read Part One here. Read Part Two here. “I hadn’t yet seen my fifteenth winter when I sacked my first city, part of a horde that came howling out of the north. Venarium, it was called. Aye, I’ve drawn blood in cattle raids, tribal feuds, rebellions, wars between barons, and on the road of kings.” […]

Anatomy of a Pastiche, Part Three
Published in: on July 26, 2020 at 10:20 am  Leave a Comment  
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Anatomy of a Pastiche, Part Two

Part 2 in author Scott Oden’s series of posts about writing Robert E. Howard pastiche stories.

Read Part One here. This is a long post, so grab a frosty beverage and buckle in. So, we’re skipping ahead a few pages from the opening of “Conan Unconquered”. After the establishing scene of Conan receiving the hill-men, I laid out the frame story — soldiers on the night before battle, drinking ale and […]

Anatomy of a Pastiche, Part Two
Published in: on July 22, 2020 at 8:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Anatomy of a Pastiche, Part One

I’m sharing another of Scott Oden’s posts in his continuing series on how to write Robert E. Howard pastiche with his most iconic  character, Conan of Cimmeria. Here Scott pulls back the veil to reveal his processes and techniques.

After my post on the Art of Pastiche, the other day, I had a discussion with Matt John, freelance author and contributor to Monolith’s Conan board game, about pastiche writing and the flavor text in games.  He had a snippet he wanted me to read over, if I had the time, to see if he’d […]

Anatomy of a Pastiche, Part One

Published in: on July 17, 2020 at 10:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Art of Pastiche

I’m sharing this post from friend and fellow author Scott Oden’s blog on writing in the style of Robert E. Howard. Please subscribe to Scott’s blog and buy his books. He writes some excellent tales.

They beheld a giant of a man clad in steel plate, a scarlet cloak draped carelessly about his broad shoulders.  One scarred hand rested lightly on the long hilt of a sheathed broadsword as, from beneath a square-cut black mane, smoldering blue eyes appraised the hillmen as a lion appraises its prey.  For all that […]

The Art of Pastiche

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