“Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.” -Mark Twain
I recently attended my first literary convention as a published author and guest. LibertyCon 24 was an incredibly fun experience, and I met many authors, fans, convention promoters, and convention staff, while I was there. Since the book I had my first short story published inside, Lawyers in Hell, had just been released, it was also my first chance to get my hands on my own personal copies of the book in hardcover and trade paperback. Opening it up and seeing my story title, “Remember, Remember, Hell in November” with my name beside it was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had in my life so far. It has been my dream to have a story published since I was a teenager in high school, and now it had finally come true.
The next best thing that happened was when I signed in at the convention registration table and got my packet with my T-shirt, schedule and ID badge and it said: Larry Atchley Jr, AUTHOR. Oh what a thrill that was to pull the lanyard over my head and wear that badge, proclaiming to the rest of the world that yes, I am an author, thank you very much! Then I looked over the schedule and I was part of several panels where I and the other authors could discuss our stories, perform readings, sign books, and in general behave as authors do at conventions. A bonus was that I was on a panel for a forthcoming book of poetry call The Book of Night, that would feature one of my poems as well, and I would get to read my poem to the attendees of the panel. On top of all this excitement, I was meeting many of my fellow authors who had written stories for Lawyers in Hell, whom I had communicated with entirely through Facebook and emails for the last 8 months or so. Those authors who made it to LibertyCon this year: “Mad” Mike Williamson, Sarah Hulcy, John Manning, Leo Champion, Michael Hanson, Allan Gilbreath, Kimberly Richardson, Julie Cochran, David Burkhead, Richard Groller, Jason Cordova, Sara Harvey. Amongst these authors, were the reason that I was given a chance to become a published author and part of the Heroes in Hell Series I had so loved since a teenager. Janet Morris and Chris Morris, who edited and wrote for the Lawyers in Hell book, and had created the Heroes in Hell series, had invited me to join the Lawyers in Hell project and submit my story to them back in October of 2010. Without them I would not be published yet, and I certainly wouldn’t be a guest author at a convention. It was really great meeting them, and being able to listen to them talk about their experiences in the writing and publishing industry, and about all kinds of other interesting topics.
Kudos go out to another person responsible for my being a guest at LibertyCon, and that is fellow author and convention organizer, Richard Groller, who arranged for all of us Hellions, as we authors for the series are called, to be invited to the convention. He and his wife Tish did an excellent job of running things and making sure we all had what we needed and had a good time. I would like to thank everyone on the staff at LibertyCon fo making me feel so welcome and special as a guest for my first time. Also, the food and refreshments at the convention were really great, everything was fresh and tasty and I don’t think I went hungry at all during the whole weekend. A really special moment was when during the opening ceremony for the convention all of the guest authors names were called and we were asked to stand for a round of applause. Another was being asked by fans who bought the book to sign it for them.
Then I got to put on the official launch party for the fan club and community that I started for the Heroes in Hell series and also to support The Sacred Band series. The Irredeemable Order of Hellions was something I thought up a few months ago to help bring fans of the books together, and be able to interact with the authors. We had a projector set up to run the book trailer videos that Kerlak Publishing had done for The Sacred Band, and that our own Zombie Zak had produced for Lawyers in Hell and the Heroes in Hell series. I had printed and laminated a bunch of badges for the authors to wear and to give out to fans who came by the party. I also had a poster made and framed that we set up on a stand in the room. It was great fun meeting all the fans and authors who dropped by for the party. The LibertyCon staff were a great help setting up and helping to run the party. I could not have done it without them, especially Rich, Liz and Tish who were especially helpful.
It was a thrilling, exhausting ride of fun and excitement, laughs and deep discussions. I made a lot of new friends, and I can’t wait until next year!