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

 

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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 Bethpattersonmusic.com. 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.

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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 Andersson.com

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

 

Writing Process Blog Hop

Okay, so I haven’t been keeping up with the blog every week like I keep saying I was going to do. I guess I’m just a slacker. I was supposed to post this a week or two ago, but better late than never I always say. A writer friend of mine, Jenn M (@brewedbohemian on Twitter) who posts her brewed bohemian blog asked me to do a blog hop tour and answer some questions and pass the baton on to three more bloggers who are supposed to do the same. Jenn’s blog has all kinds of cool stuff about writing, and her culinary adventures about beers, coffees, tea,food and other assorted topics. You can read some of her excellent poetry and flash fiction there as well. She is a very talented wordsmith and I’m looking forward to reading some of her longer fiction that she is currently working on. I met Jenn at ConDFW a couple of years ago when I was there as a guest author and she became one of my first big fans of my writing.

1) What am I working on?

A lot of things. I’m writing a short story for a horror anthology that John Manning is producing, and  another story for Michael H. Hanson’s Sha’Daa shared world anthology series. I’m workimg on a story for a space opera shared world anthology called Not to Yield that Michael Hanson, Ed McKeown and I are collaborating on with several other writers. Janet Morris and Chris Morris are putting together a heroic fantasy anthology that I plan on writing something to be submitted but I have only gotten into the early brain storming stage on that.  I have three novels in progress that I go back and forth working on from time to time when I figure out what’s supposed to happen next. One of these is dark fantasy/sword & sorcery, another is a sort of light, funny (hopefully) adventure fantasy, and a paranormal romance, just to see if I can write in that genre and because well, they sell like hotcakes and I really could use the money. I really want to get my first novel done and on the market. I’m always working out ideas and characters for the next Heroes in Hell shared universe anthology. Poets in Hell comes out this June, and the next book we are working on to be released in 2015 is Doctors in Hell, which should be as much fun or more to do than any of the other books I have stories in. I still don’t know who my character doctors will be. We use real figures from history and fictionalize them for the stories which all take place in hell in all it’s myriad forms and from all the myths and religions of the world. I do know that my recurring characters, Anton LaVey and Guy Fawkes will be in the story, getting into more trouble as always. I’ve been writing a lot of poetry lately, some of it specifically of a piratical theme for the performing group The Seadog Slam that I was asked to join earlier this year. We also put on a Steampunk show every month and so I’ve been composing some things in that vein as well.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hmmm. Well, other than when I’m submitting to a genre specific anthology I really don’t write specific to a certain genre. But I’d say that my work tends to blend  irreverent humor with dark subject matter and has a certain snarkiness to it that defines my writing. With my poetry I tend to do a lot of free verse, although I do sometimes have some rhyming verse.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Because it’s fun! As I mentioned above I tend to write darker stuff, but with a certain amount of tongue in cheek humor to lighten the mood. I grew up reading pretty much everything I could get me hands on, but Science fiction, fantasy, sword & sorcery and  horror, were my mainstays of entertainment reading and still are. I like to write what I read. I figure I know these genres like the back of my hand so they come naturally to me as a writer. Now, the exception to this is the paranormal romance novel I mentioned. I want to challenge myself to get outside my comfort zone and see what I can do with this. I need to do some more reading of the genre I think to get a better grasp of how thing are supposed to work. Although I’m sure I’ll break a lot of the rules and standard tropes that paranormal romances tend to employ.

4) How does your writing process work?

My writing process is described as sporadic at best. I usually start with a kernel of an idea, maybe I know the general plot premise, or who the main character or characters are, and then have to build a story around that. Often I know how a story will begin and end, very early on. The middle bit is what stumps me a lot of the time. Sometimes the process doesn’t work at all. Some days I just can’t get my head into the characters, or they aren’t speaking to me to tell me what they are going to do or say next. I get frustrated at this, but it is an inevitable part of a writer’s life. I keep a lot of stories going all the time, so if I can’t figure out what I am doing in one of them, I have plenty of others to work on that hopefully I will be able to make progress on. Some days I am just too mentally drained to write at all. I put a lot of emotional and mental energy into my writing. It can be exhausting drawing that out of myself and into the story or poem.  And sometimes what I’m writing doesn’t feel right and I have to change things or even start all over again until it resonates with me more completely.

Picking up the Blog Hop Tour baton and posting answers to these questions next is Jessica Scott, a writer whose poetry and prose I have only just recently gotten to enjoy. She is an awesome writer and her work is very emotionally evocative. Also I think the title for her blog is so cool. Here is her info:

Jessica Scott is a Texas native, born in Tulia, Tx and raised in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. She’s just beginning her writing journey, though she’s been writing since high school. Her focus is mostly poetry but she is currently working on some story ideas. She writes often on her blog, The Lunatic, the Lover, & the Poet at peaseblossym.wordpress.com where she shares some of her poetry, stories, and thoughts.

Romancing the Books Author Event

Check out this free event presented by the Friends of the Bedford Public Library this Saturday form 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM featuring more than 30  local authors in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. There will be workshops, meet and greets, and readings by the authors. I will be reading from one of my stories at 10:00 AM and doing a mini-workshop on writing and collaborating on short fiction at 3:30. Come by and check out this fun creative event! Here’s the promotional info form the website with the schedule of events:

Join the Bedford Public Library and the Bedford Library Friends March 23rd for a daylong event celebrating more than 30 local authors and their books. Among the activities for the day will be readings by the authors, free workshops, author signings and maybe even a giveaway or two.

Among the genres and interests represented by these authors are children’s and middle grade readers, young adult, romance, Christian fiction, poetry, fantasy and science fiction.

Time: 10 – 5

Location: Bedford Public Library
2424 Forest Ridge Drive
Bedford, TX 76021

Cost: Free (donations will be accepted)

Workshop Schedule – March 23rd

10:30 Self-publishing Ins & Outs

Ann Summerville
Bonnie Finn Room

11:30 POEM – Play with Sound

Rebecca Balcarcel
Bonnie Finn Room

1:30 Science, Research and Writing

William Ledbetter
Bonnie Finn Room

2:00 Bringing History to Life: Lost Treasure of Lincoln County

Nancy Sifford Alana
TBA

2:30 Marketing and Promotion

Laurie Cockerell
Bonnie Finn Room

3:00 Getting Ready for Independent Publication

Sherri Knight & James Pylant
Resource Room

3:30 Short Fiction and Collaboration

Larry Atchley, Jr.
Bonnie Finn Room

Reading Schedule (subject to change)

Theater (Youth Services Area)

1000 — Larry Atchley, Jr (sf/f)

1020 — Barb Han (mystery/thriller; contemporary romance)

1040 — Rebecca Balcarcel (poetry)

1100 — Jullian Burns (romance)

1120 — Carole Nelson Douglas (mystery)

1140 — Roni Loren (romantic suspense)

1200 — Sally Felt (Romantic Comedy)

1220 — Sharon K. Owen (romantic suspense)

1240 — Celia Hayes (historical fiction)

1300 — Lee Carver (inspirational fiction and non-fic)

1320 — Joanne Faries (humor)

1340 — Mark & Cole Gimenez (middle grade/YA)

1400 — Angi Morgan (romantic suspense)

1420 — Lena Nelson Dooley (romantic historicals/inspirational fiction)

1440 — Yvonne Jocks (time travel/Texas fiction)

1500 — Charity Kountz (children’s fantasy/action; adult thriller)

1520 — Kelly Holt (poetry)

1540 — Laurie Cocerell (children’s bio)

1600 — William Ledbetter (sf/f and non-fic)

1620 — Rhonda Eudaly (sf/f)

1640 — David Walker (christian inspriational)

Bonnie Finn Room

1200 — Nancy Sifford Alana (middle grade)

1220 — Carmen Goldthwaite (non-fiction; historical women’s studies)

1240 –

 

Teen Room

1300 — Janice Olson (romantic suspense)

1320 — James Duermeyer (military fiction)

1340 –

1400 — Bonnie Pemberton (fantasy)

1420 — Linda LaRoque

Published in: on March 22, 2013 at 11:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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ConDFW 2013 After Action Report

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“Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season. It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year. It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow. Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work, and tomorrow comes the harvest and the playtime.”
-W. E. B. Du Bois

Another year of ConDFW has come and gone. I had a great time as always, meeting with old friends, and making new ones. I think I picked up a few new fans of my writing as well. I also got to hang out with someone who is arguably my biggest fan so far, Jenn M. who I met at last year’s ConDFW. She writes a blog called Brewed Bohemian and she is also gracious enough to repost my blogs on her twitter feed @BrewedBohemian. She’s a writer who has been doing flash fiction and short fiction for awhile. I am going to have her on a couple of panels with me at All-Con this year. It was great hanging out with her and her friends and my friends over dinner Saturday night talking about our current projects. Check out her blog and follow her on twitter.

I didn’t get to the Crown Plaza Hotel in Addison where ConDFW is held until about 7:30 Friday because I had to work until 6:30. I met up with friend and fellow author, Ethan Nahte in the dealers room, where we were sharing a table to sell our books. Ethan is a great guy, and a real force of creativity. He has experience in writing, journalism, music, photography, film making, screenwriting, radio, as well as environmental and wildlife conservation. I don’t think there’s much that he can’t do, or hasn’t tried. He has stories published with Yard Dog Press, Twit Publishing, 4 Star Stories, and Hall Brothers Entertainment. Go check out their web sites for some of the anthologies he’s in. His friend Bonnie helped us watch the table when Ethan and I had to be at panels, signings, and readings. She also bought a copy of Lawyers in Hell. Thanks Bonnie, for being a fan and also a new friend.  Here’s a photo I took of Ethan at our table:

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And one of us together:

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Someone else I was really glad to spend time with was John Manning, who is a writer, editor, and owner of Fantom Enterprises which recently produced the horror anthology What Scares the Boogey Man? which is published by Perseid Press. John is also a fellow Hellion Author with stories in Lawyers in Hell and Rogues in Hell, from the Heroes in Hell series created by Janet Morris, with Persied Publishing,  in which I have stories published as well. John also wrote the horror novel Black Stump Ridge with co-author Forrest Heddrick which was published by iUniverse in 2011. He’s one of my best friends and we have collaborated on story ideas a lot and we are working together on several current projects. Here’s a great photo of us together:

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Someone else who I always enjoy seeing at conventions is Bev Hale, author, artist, maker of fine hats and clothes and jewelry and accesories. Check out her web site at BevHale.com and her artistic designs page at Otherwhen Oddities. Here’s Bev with her table and hat stand in the dealers room:

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Bev also has a story published in the horror anthology What Scares the Boogey Man? created and edited by John Manning that she did a reading from at ConDFW.

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Another person I run into at the various conventions I attend is Patricia Ash. She is a playwright, novelist, poet, model, actor, and associate editor of Gearhearts Steampunk Glamor review magazine. So she stays pretty busy. Here’s a photo of her in one of her lovely outfits. Check out the boots!

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Two more friends I have made attending conventions like ConDFW are author/editor Kevin Hosey, and author Tracy S. Morris who are in this photo at their book signing.

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Someone else who I got to know online, but met in person for the first time that weekend is Stormy Stogner, who is one of the editors for Fantom Enterprises and the book What Scares the Boogey Man?  I also got to meet Thony Medina who is working for Fantom Enterprises as V.P. of game development for their line of Role Playing Games soon to be unleashed upon the world. I hung out with them on and off for the whole weekend but somehow never got a single photo of either of them. Wow. How did that happen? Well, I forgot to take photos of a few people apparantly, like Jenn M. and her friends, Bonnie, and a few other people I’m sure. Oh well. Better luck next time I guess. I did however, manage to get a photo of these two Cthulhu chicks who were walking through the dealers room:

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And I got a photo of the Roll2Play game store table with Allison Gabby and the Roll2Play employee whose name I always forget. Sorry man.

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I got to talk to a lot more great people, authors, artists, creative folks of all types, like Selina Rosen, author, and owner of Yard Dog Press, authors Julia Mandala, Dusty Rainbolt, Linda Donahue, Rhonda Eudaley, C. Dean Andersson, Lou Antonelli, Teresa Patterson, Rie Sheridan Rose, and Michelle Muenzler. If I’ve fotgotten to mention anyone, sorry, but it was a whirlwind of a weekend as cons always are and I can’t remember everyone’s names.

I was on a panel called Urban Fantasy vs. Paranormal Romance with Kevin Hosey, Rachel Caine,  Dusty Rainbolt and Stina Leicht in which we each took one side to argue the merits of either genre of writing. Here’s a photo from the panel that John Husisian in the audience took and sent to me after the con. Thanks John!

Urban Fantasy vs Paranormal Romance

I had a great time, and I look forward to seeing everyone again next time. For now, this is a wrap. See you all at All-Con in Dallas March 8,9, 10th.  It’s hard to believe it’s almost here already.

“Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” -Albert Camus

 

The Horrors of Writing, or An Author’s Personal Boogey Man

“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

I often struggle with writing because I am too critical of myself and my art and I tend to get in my own way too much, over thinking what I am doing. Trying to get my head into a particular story can sometimes be an effort in futility and madness. I can know exactly where I want to story to go, what is supposed to happen, but can’t seem to put myself into the setting or get enough into the characters’ minds to be able to feel like I can write the story effectively. I need to immerse myself in those worlds completely in order to write about them. So in these times I am stuck trying to finish a story and just cannot mentally or physically do it. It is a terrible feeling, and it puts me in a lousy mood. It also causes me the worst cases of stress induced  insomnia and restlessness. My wife will be the first to tell you that I am an irascible bastard to be around when I get like this. She also knows that once I get over it and finish whatever I’m working on that I will get back an even keel emotionally and be a much nicer person to live with. It has been that way for me lately as I have been wrapping up stories for submission to various anthologies. Janet Morris has been know to say, “When you’re writing for Hell, you’re going through hell” with regard to the Heroes in Hell series she created, and which I have had the privilege of having stories published in the latest two volumes, Lawyers in Hell, and Rogues in Hell. I have been writing my story for the next anthology in the series, Dreamers in Hell and had been having a rough time getting it done. Now that it is completed, with the exception of any re-writes or changes that it will need at the editor’s suggestions, I can at least feel some relief that it is finished. I put a lot of emotion into this story, dug deep into my heart and soul embracing my own torment to hopefully make the suffering of my characters more genuine. Whether I succeeded or not is up to others to judge. I hope I have done enough to make it a worthy contribution to the series.

On to other things, I did have a story, “Shadow of a Doubt” published earlier this week with the release of What Scares the Boogey Man? which is a horror anthology created and edited by John Manning and co-edited by Meghan Graham and Stormy Stogner. It is published by Perseid Publishing and is currently available as an eBook for Amazon Kindle here, and Barnes & Noble Nook here.  It will be available in trade paperback print form soon, from both Amazon and B&N and I will also have signed copies to sell with me at the various conventions and seminars that I will be a guest at this year. I am proud to share space with some of the most awesome and talented authors in the business in this anthology: Janet Morris, Nancy Asire, David Conyers, Robert M. Price, J.D. Fritz, Jason Cordova, Thomas Barczak, C. Dean Andersson, Beverly Hale, Chris Morris, Michael H. Hanson, Larry Atchley Jr, Richard Groller, Bill Snider, Wayne Borean, John Manning, Bettina Meister,  and Shirley Meier. Eighteen tales of spine chilling terror await within.

We have a book launch virtual party going on at Facebook here if you’d like to join. And there is a facebook “LIKE” page Here that you can visit and show your support. Last but not least, is the excellent book trailer that was created by Team Zombie Zak. Watch it on You Tube HERE.

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My next announcement is that I will be a guest author at ConDFW again this year, I will be on discussion panels and will be reading one of my stories, and signing and selling the books that I have stories in, including Sha’Daa: Pawns and hopefully if I get the copies in time, What Scares the Boogey Man? The tentative panel list so far includes one on Urban Fantasy vs. Paranormal Romance and one on  writing stories for anthologies. I’m really looking forward to the convention this year and I hope to see you there. It is always great to meet with fellow writers, and fans. ConDFW is February 15th-17th this year in Addison, Texas. Go to the website HERE for more info.

Also I wanted to mention that the student indie film, The Dark Man, created by Tim Stevens and that I had mentioned in a previous post, met its Kickstarter goal today. Thanks to everyone who contributed and promoted the project. I can’t wait to see the finished short film, as I know it will be awesome. Congrats to writer/director Tim Stevens, and his crew, producer Sarah Wagner, Dir. of Photography Tyler Burns, and editor Joey McCleskey. I’m glad I could be a part of making this happen and I wish you the best in completing the project.

That’s about all that’s going on right now. As always I’m working on the next stories that hopefully will make it into the next anthologies and at some point I’ll get back on track with writing my dark fantasy novel that my wife keeps pushing me to finish so she can read it. As always, I’ll leave you with a pithy quote.

“A writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, because everything she does is golden. In my view, a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway.”

-Junot Diaz

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Wow, my blog was visited by readers from 71 countries! That’s impressive. And while 1600  views may not be much compared to a lot of blogs, it’s pretty good considering how infrequently I posted and the total lack of any real blog posting schedule I had in 2012. Next year I will blog at least once a week, every week. Even if it’s just to drop by and say Hi, I’m still here, and share a pithy quote or two. Thanks to everyone who subscribed to, read, and shared my blog this year. I would especially like to thank the top referring sites: accordingtohoyt.com, condfw.org, otherwheregazette.com, steampunkis.org, and of course all my facebook friends. Also kudos to those who left the most comments : Brewed Bohemian, and Roll2Play, you are both wonderful to have as friends and fans of my blog and my stories.

This year is pretty much wrapped up, but I know next year is going to be great for writing, publishing stories, and life in general. I can feel it in my spirit, and in my bones. Here I come 2013!

For I dipped into the future, far as human eye could see, Saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Click here to see the complete report.

I’m a work in progress, or procrastination inclination

“We gave the Future to the winds, and slumbered tranquilly in the Present, weaving the dull world around us into dreams.” ― Edgar Allan Poe, “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt”

So, as usual I am coming down to the wire on getting stories done. It’s not that I don’t love writing, it’s just that I have to get a certain amount of the story internalized before I feel that I can really get going with it. Some stories take longer in this process than others. Also I am notorious for procrastination. The other issue is that I have an attention span of a rabid goldfish.

Oh look a funny You Tube video. Oh look, thousands of them! Facebook notifications pending: 999,999. Did you see that squirrel? *Warning, your DVR is at maximum storage capacity*. Hey, a free ebook! And another one. And another one. Reading, reading, reading. Oh must find and listen to music online for this awesome band I just found out about. Hmmmm, cool blog by someone else, have to read that. Blogs about writing, blogs about travel to places I’ll probably never visit in real life, book review blogs,zombie world domination blog, blog about beer, coffee, poetry and flash fiction, etc, etc. And then theres…Oooooh shiny!

You get the idea. Er, what was I talking about? Oh yeah! Finishing writing stories so I can submit them to publishers before impending deadlines of doom. It is said that without pressure, we wouldn’t have diamonds. So it goes with me and writing. The closer to deadline I get, the better I seem to write. Maybe because I know I don’t have time to over think the story too much and just let the words flow from the depths of my soul through my fingers and into the keyboard. I will get the two stories done, for Dreamers in Hell and Terror by Gaslight,  it just freaks me out a little when I know I have X amount of time to write Y amount of story. I see some late night writing sessions in my near future. Plus I’ve been working on another story that just wouldn’t leave me alone  and insisted I write it, that I’ve been writing occasionally for several months. Sometimes these stories get in your head and won’t let you write anything else until you’re done with it.  Also It doesn’t particularly help that my day job suddenly decided they want me to take a certification test the third week in December that I have to do a lot of technical reading and studying for in order to pass. Such is my life.

“But, Larry,” you say. “Why are you writing your blog when you should be writing stories or studying for your test?”

Good question! Well I decided I wanted to make a commitment to publish a new blog post at least once a week, and Sunday is the only day I should have off despite my ever-changing schedule at the day job. Plus I made a pact with a zombie that we would motivate each other to blog once a week. You just don’t take these zombie pacts lightly. Plus, he’s a good friend and fellow author who has a story called “Scent of a Weapon” published in Rogues in Hell along with myself and many other Hellion authors. And we will both have stories in the forthcoming horror anthology, What Scares the Boogeyman. Here’s Zombie Zak’s blog where he is making plans for world domination, the pursuit of cookies, brains, and increasing his ever-growing food source…er, I mean fan base. 

In other news, I will be interviewed sometime in the next few weeks by someone who affectionately calls herself my “‘stalker fan” who I met at ConDFW earlier this year. She’s not really a creepy stalker, she’s actually quite a nice person, and a big promoter of my writing. JennM writes a blog titled Brewed Bohemian, that has everything from book reviews, poetry, flash fiction, writing contests, book clubs, coffee, beer, and a whole lot of other stuff. You should check it out, there is a lot of cool content there and she writes some really good poetry and flash fiction.

Along the lines of things that are not writing related, but really cool, is a band, Ien Oblique I discovered after hearing their music and an interview with the lead singer, Jared Lambert, on the radio show Mental Candy hosted by alternative model Joan V on TMV Cafe Wednesday nights at 10:00 PM CST. If you like techno, industrial, electronic type dance music then this band will be right up your proverbial alley. Also the lead singer has an amazing voice that reminds me of early David Bowie and also very similar to vocalist/musician Bobbi Style.

So I guess I’ll wrap up this week’s blog post and get back to writing stories and studying. Until next time, readers. I leave you with this pithy quote from yours truly:

 

“Alas, this mundane realm is never as fun as the one inside our minds. But we can endeavor to make it so.”

–Larry Atchley Jr

LibertyCon 25 2012 Convention After Action Report

“Limitations live only in our minds. But if we use our imaginations, our possibilities become limitless.”

-Jamie Paolinetti

Well I’m finally getting around to posting my report about LibertyCon 25 which took place the weekend of July 20-22, 2012 at the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel. I also upload photos on my facebook page and in some of the relvant groups I am a member of like The Irredeemable Order of Hellions and The Fictioneers. I had a great time hanging out with fellow Hellion authors  Janet Morris, Chris Morris, Michael H. Hanson, Jack Finley, Sarah Hulcy, David Burkhead, Michael Z. Williamson, Richard Groller, and Julie Cochrane.

Kudos as always to Janet Morris and Chris Morris for creating the Heroes in Hell series without which none of this fun would have taken place. Thanks for making me a part of this fantastic series that I’ve been a fan of for over 25 years. Also a big thanks to Richard Groller for bringing so many of us authors together by having us as guests at LibertyCon. Thanks also to Uncle Timmy who created and runs LibertyCon for having us again. It has become our annual meeting of the Hellions and I hope will continue to be so for many years to come.

This year we decided to hold a party for both The Fictioneers writers club and the Irredeemable Order of Hellions fan club for the Heroes in Hell series and Perseid Publishing.  It was also our book launch party for the newest anthology in the Heroes in hell series, Rogues in Hell.  I think the party was a success and I made many new friends and gained new fans for the HiH series and the upcoming book Sha’Daa Pawns created by Michael Hanson and edited by Edward McKeown. Michael also had a bunch of cupcakes made for the party with icing that looked like alien heads for the Fictioneers and flames for the Hellions. They were awesome sugary goodness and a real hit. Thanks to everyone who came out and partied with us. It was a hell of a good time! To join the Hellions online on Facebook for fun and interaction with Hellion authors and fans just click on the link above or right here.

Several of us Hellion authors also took turns staffing the Perseid Publishing table to sell and sign books. It was a great experience and loads of fun. There is something really satisfying about sitting behind a table stacked with books some of which have your stories published inside them like Lawyers in Hell and Rogues in Hell.  Also on this table were books from another of my favorite series, by Janet Morris and Chris Morris; The Sacred Band, Tempus With His Right-Side Companion Niko, Beyond Sanctuary, and The Fish, the Fighters, and the Song-Girl. Also Michael Hanson had copies of Sha’Daa: Tales of the Apocalypse, Sha’Daa: Last Call, and his poetry collections Jubilant Whispers and Autumn Blush.

I got to be on some great discussion panels, like the Rogues in Hell panel where the attending Hellion authors got to talk about our new book. Also the What Scares the Boogeyman panel where we got to talk about the soon to be published horror anthology that John Manning is putting together which will feature my story “Shadow of a Doubt.” We also had a cool piece of artwork drawn just for the panel by Michael Bielaczyc that was outstanding. And thanks to author Larry Niven for attending our panel  and contributing his thoughts on the horror genre. And then there were the paranormal panels I got to be on with Joe McKeel and Paul Cagle about EVP’s (Electronic Voice Phenomenon), Ghost Busting, and Joe’s Remote Viewing panel that he let me sit in on.

All in all it was a fun, busy, and exhausting weekend and as I always seem to do at conventions I made a lot of new friends. And it was a blast seeing my old friends as well, many whom I only see in person once a year, even if we talk online a lot. I really can’t wait for LibertyCon again next year. I hope you will join me for a hell of a good time.