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.

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The Life of a Piratical Con Man

Take everything you like seriously, except yourselves. Rudyard Kipling

I have two big events coming up this week that involve my writing and public speaking.

The first one is An Evening of Pirate Poetry and Tales of the Sea with The Seadog Slam crew. This is a recurring event every third Wednesday of the month at 7:30 PM at the Half Price Books flagship store at 5803 E. Northwest Highway Dallas, TX 75231. This month on Feb 19th we are doing Pirate Idol which is our open microphone part of the show where members of the audience can perform on stage. Music, singing, and poetry readings of a nautical nature are all welcome. Dress in your best pirate garb if you have it, and hang out with us for a fun filled evening. I’ll be reading an original poem or two, and maybe something from one of my favorite classical poets. I am happy to say that I have been made an auxiliary member of the Seadog Slam crew and am very honored to perform with these fine folks.

The next one is ConDFW, an annual literary convention that takes place on Feb 21st-23rd this year in Dallas. It is held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at 14315 Midway Road, Addison, Texas 75001. I will be a guest author at this event doing discussion panels, a book signing, and a story reading. Below is my schedule for the weekend:

SATURDAY:
READING (Trinity VIII)
Saturday, 10am: Michelle Muenzler, Larry Atchley, Jr., Bev Hale

PROGRAMMING 2 (Chinaberry)
Saturday, 12pm: Researching the Past: Creating Historical Fiction
Panelists: Taylor Anderson, Larry Atchley, Jr., Lou Antonelli (M), Sabine Starr, Melanie Fletcher
It is hard to recreate the past without doing research into it. This is simply because we, the readers and authors, didn’t LIVE in that past. Thus, to understand what it was like to live in those times we must look to other sources for information – journals, pictures, drawings, anything we can get our hands on. Our panelists explain where to go and what to look for when trying to create another time in our heads.

MAIN PROGRAMMING (Addison Lecture Hall)
Saturday, 5pm: Writing and Collaborating in Shared World Anthologies
Panelists: Larry Atchley Jr. (M), Bev Hale, P.N. Elrod, Sabine Starr
Star Wars, Star Trek, Middle Earth, War of the Worlds. There are many worlds out there which authors love to explore. But how do you put one together many visions into one book? How do you write for such an anthology? Our panelists talk about their experiences with shared world anthologies.

PROGRAMMING 2 (Chinaberry)
Saturday, 6pm: Horror 101: Exploring the subgenres
Panelists: C. Dean Andersson (M), Christopher Fulbright, Stormy Stogner Medina, Larry Atchley Jr.
There are so many genres that are lumped together into Horror. Examples are: Lovecraftian, Ghosts, Zombies, Urban, Apocalypse, Epic, Splatter-punk, Slasher, Asian, and the many Witch-Werewolf-Vampire types (True Love vs Dresden Files vs Twilight vs etc.). We bring together several of our acclaimed horror writers to explain what horror truly is, and where to look for inspiration.

SUNDAY:
AUTOGRAPHS (Dealers Room)
Sunday, 2pm: Larry Atchley, Jr., William Ledbetter

PROGRAMMING 3 (Trinity VII)
Sunday, 3pm: Upwardly Mobile: Writing about Dirigibles and Other Flights of Fancy
Panelists: Larry Atchley, Jr. (M), Lou Antonelli, Rachel Acks, Rie Sheridan Rose, Shanna Swendson
One of the most common sights in both Steampunk and Cyberpunk is the dirigible. Otherwise known as zeppelins or blimps, the hydrogen or helium filled craft lazily float through the sky. It is one thing, however, to imagine it. It is entirely another to be able to write about it believably. For instance, which of the above named craft has NO internal supporting frame? (Blimps!) Our authors talk about the differences and other things to know about when writing about semi-rigid airships.

I really love this convention, for so many reasons, and it’s great to meet up with a lot of my writer friends who i usually only see two or three times a year at these events. I’d love to see you at the con, so come out and have fun with me and my fellow authors.

On the writing front, I have been penning some poetry lately and trying to work on some of my short stories and novels in progress. The poetry seems to be coming fairly easily lately,but the prose, not so much. I’ve been having a hard time getting my head into the stories or into the frame of mind of my characters well enough to do much writing on them. I’m hoping this will change soon, as I have way too much that needs to be written to let anything slow me down. I know it will pass in time, but I’m anxious to get these stories finished and put to bed. I have editors waiting for some of these and I hate to miss a deadline or lose an opportunity to get them published in their respective anthologies. I may need to have a steel cage wrestling match with my inner demons, or entice my muse with chocolate and music so  I can get these suckers  done and dusted.

Well that’s it for this week. I hope to see you all at these fun events this week. Until then I leave you with another pithy quote to close out my post.

No writing comes alive unless the writer sees across his desk a reader, and searches constantly for the word or phrase which will carry the image he wants the reader to see, and arouse the emotion he wants him to feel. Without consciousness of a live reader, what a man writes will die on his page. Barbara W. Tuchman

 

 

Back in the Saddle Again

“The truth is that coming up with ideas is easy; it’s making up the stories that grow out of them that’s hard.”

             -Terry Brooks

It’s been awhile since I posted in my blog. I’m really going to try to get back to posting at least every week. I finally am feeling well again after having the flu for the last two weeks or so. I’ve been getting some writing done lately, trying to get some stories finished and writing the occasional poem here and there. I’m still working on the dark fantasy/sword & sorcery novel. I’ve been trying to figure out some things on the paranormal romance novel that I’m attempting. I still think I may need to read more in that genre in order to write it better. Luckily my wife has an extensive collection of them so I can borrow them for “research.”

I took a break from writing to ride my mountain bike since it was such nice weather today. It has been too long since I’ve been on the bike. That’s another thing I’d like to start doing every week again because it is so much fun and such good exercise. My usual riding spot is at River Legacy Park in Arlington. The Dallas Off Road Bicycling Association (DORBA) has built a really awesome single track trail there that goes for miles and even has several expert sections that split off from the main trail. I managed not to crash which is a good thing and only had to take my foot out of the clip-in pedals twice to “dab” so I wouldn’t lay the bike down when the back wheel slid out. I got off the trail almost right at dusk and it did get a little chilly at the end as the sun started going down.

Convention season is coming up and I will be a guest author panelist at ConDFW February 21-23 and All-Con March 13-16. This will be my third year as a guest and I always look forward to it. It’s great to meet up with all my fellow writer friends and fans who I usually only see at conventions.

Also, I’ve been asked to be an auxiliary crew member of the Seadog Slam who are performers of pirate poetry, music, and stories. I have been doing poetry readings at their events the third Wednesday of every month at the half Price Books flagship store on Northwest Highway in Dallas. Dressing up as a pirate and reading and listening to poetry is an awesome way to spend an evening. I was introduced to the group by a mutual friend and was asked to speak at their Steampunk event that they do the first Wednesday of each month also at the store.

I am also co-hosting the radio show Dangerous Minds on internet radio station www.tmvcafe.com on Monday nights at 9:00 PM CST with EW Bradfute and Renee Marie. We talk about strange and funny news headlines and it is really a lot of fun. Be sure to tune in and check it out sometime.

That’s about it for this week. Thanks for reading my idle musings. I’ll leave you with this pithy quote:

Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid.Heinrich Heine

 

__graphic design giveaway

Ermisenda Design is giving away a free graphic design for either a book cover, blog banner, or Facebook cover. Check it out and enter to win.

Ermilia

I’m launching another graphic design giveaway! All you need to do is be part of the ErmisendaDESIGN’s Facebook page.

So, what’s up for grabs?
You can win a free graphic design service (valued over $200) of one of the following:

  • Book Cover
  • Blog Banner
  • Facebook Cover

While I have a page full of free book covers, having a uniquely tailored quality book cover for your novel is the ultimate for any author. The winner could be you! The blog banner and Facebook cover do not have to be book related. I can design your banner for a cooking blog, or a cover for your landscaping business page on Facebook. I can fulfill virtually any graphic design request!

Click here to enter!

groupbookcovers4 copy

The giveaway will end on the 6th of September, 2013. The winner will be revealed the 7th!

This is my second time using Rafflecopter for the…

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Published in: on August 12, 2013 at 10:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

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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The Short Pale Writer in the Long Black Coat at All-Con This Weekend

“There is a correlation between the creative and the screwball. So we must suffer the screwball gladly.” – Kingman Brewster

Quick, short post from the Short Pale Writer in the Long Black Coat.
I will be at the fantasy, science fiction, anime, etc, fan convention All-Con in Dallas (really Addison) this weekend. Here’s the link to the website: All-Con.net.  And here is the All-Con Facebook page. 

I will on discussion panels Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Come check out this awesome event and drop by for my panels. There is a listing of the panel descriptions on the web page but here’s a run down of the ones I will be on:

What Scares the Boogeyman? Horror anthology panel, 8:00 PM Friday, with Stormy Medina, and Bev Hale

How Did You Come Up With That Idea? Saturday 5:00 PM, With Stormy Medina

The Source of Creativity, with a flash fiction writing exercise, Sunday 11:00 AM, with Jenn Monty

Dark Fantasy & Horror, Sunday 1:00PM, with Jenn Monty

Anthologies: An opportunity for new writers, Sunday 3:00 PM, with Stormy Medina

Come see me and my fellow writers, editors, and friends. There are a lot of things going on at this event, including performances both Saturday at 7:00PM  and Sunday at 10:00 AM by Darwin Prophet & the Chronus Mirror.

“It may be that those who do most, dream most.” – Stephen Leacock

 

 

 

 

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 CONsequences of being a writer, or see me at ConDFW This Weekend

“Success comes to a writer as a rule, so gradually that it is always something of a shock to him to look back and realize the heights to which he has climbed.” – P.G. Wodehouse

The short pale writer in the long black coat (that’s me) will be a guest at ConDFW in Dallas, Texas this weekend.  I’ll be on a couple of discussion panels Saturday:

11 am: Writing and Publishing Anthologies

Panelists: Kevin Hosey (M), Larry Atchley Jr., Tom Knowles, Julie Barrett, Selina Rosen

Many of our guest authors have published in anthologies before.  They also have experienced what works and doesn’t work when writing for anthologies – and how to get them out to the public.  Our panelists go over tried and true methods for getting into anthologies and then getting those works out to everyone else.

 

12 pm: The Fight of the Century II: Urban Fantasy vs Paranormal Romance!

 

Panelists: Urban Fantasy: Stina Leicht (M), Rachel Caine, Larry Atchley, Jr.

Paranormal Romance: Kevin Hosey (M), Dusty Rainbolt, Sabine Starr

Last year, this panel sparked quite a debate and proved that some basic rules were needed.  1) We’re assigning sides for our authors to defend – and perhaps we will actually find out where the line between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance is!  2) You’re not allowed to switch sides until AFTER the panel.  3) You do not talk about Fight Club.  Bring your own popcorn.

Saturday at 2:00 PM I will be signing books.

Saturday at 5:00 PM I will be doing a reading from one of my stories. Which one will it be? Even I don’t know as I haven’t decided yet, so come and listen and we will both find out.

When I’m not at these events, I’ll either be wandering around attending various panels, or in the dealers room where I will be selling and signing copies of the anthologies I have stories published within: Lawyers in Hell, Rogues in Hell, Sha’Daa: Pawns, and What Scares the Boogeyman?

I’m looking forward to seeing my two biggest fans and friends there, Jenn Monty the Brewed Bohemian blogger and writer and Tiffany Franzoni, owner of game store Roll2Play who will have lots of game goodies on sale in the dealers room.

A good time will be had by all. I hope to see you there.

 

“Crackling fire in the fireplace, hot tea in an old mug, in the cold dead of Winter, telling tales no mortal man should ever tell.” –Larry Atchley Jr.

 

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

Digging Up the Past, or Getting Your Hands Dirty With History

“You have to know the past to understand the present.”
-Carl Sagan

As someone who enjoys history, I spend a lot of time looking to the past. This weekend started out with the topic on Pairanormal, the radio show that I co-host at TMV Cafe  about the real life serial killer in which the legendary Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, was based upon. 18th century London, England where he lived is a facinating subject in and of itself. And I love to study anything that has to do with the history of England, partly because that’s where most of my ancesters are from.

I’ve also been working on a story that takes place in the Victorian Era of the 19th century, for John Manning’s  horror anthology “Terror by Gaslight”, so I’ve been reading up on that time period a bit to make sure I have a good feel for the age and its trappings. One of the things I love to do as a writer, is research a topic, which invariably leads me to other interesting topics. Then I get so caught up in the joy of the research, that I don’t actually sit down and finish writing the damn story until it’s almost time to turn it in before deadline. That’s where I’m at right now with this story, so I had better put the books down and get cracking at it already.

However, seeing as the weather was nice today, my daughter and I had the idea that it would be fun to finally dig up a couple of ammonite fossils that had come to the surface of my front yard. That combined with a few other chores and errands that needed to be done, I didn’t accomplish as much writing today as I would have liked.  But I must say, that my ammonite collection is coming along nicely. One of them managed to only have a small piece on the underside break off, but was otherwise completely intact. It has a beautiful spiral pattern that is very well defined and may be the best looking specimen that I’ve gotten form my yard to date. The other one we were not so lucky with as a good portion of the underside had been removed from tree roots growing through it. Still, the topside looks quite nice, good enough to put in my fossil garden. By my reasoning, with all these ammonites in my yard, there may be a fossilized ichthyosaur or plesiosaur skeleton in my yard just waiting to be found. But then, I’m no expert, and I write fiction so you really can’t believe anything that I tell you anyway. Fun fact: Ammonites are named after the Egyptian god Ammon who was depicted as having rams horns on his head.

If you like audiobooks, this one of  “A Man and His God“, a Sacred Band Tale, by Janet Morris, with voice work by David Kudler will be available soon. You can listen to a couple of free excepts of the audiobook here on David’s blog at Stillpoint Digital Press. from listening to the excepts it sounds like a great voice work, and a wonderful addition to the Sacred Band series.

Well that’s a wrap for this week’s blog, not much else of note going on right now, but check in next week because you never know what I’ll be up to by then.  Until next time, I’ll leave you with another pithy quote:

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

-Lewis Carroll