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

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

“Verse is not written, it is bled; Out of the poet’s abstract head. Words drip the poem on the page; Out of his grief, delight and rage.”

-Paul Engle

The Short Pale Writer in the Long Black Coat will be at All-Con Dallas this weekend. It is a fan based convention for all things from science fiction, fantasy, horror, literature, writing, film, television, geek culture, role playing games, board games, cosplaying, music, and much, much more. Joining me for several panels is the always awesome Jenn Monty, who has put a lot of work into out panel content this year coming up with the topis and doing research on our subjects. Thank You Jenn! She is an excellent writer , one of my good friends and also I’m happy to say, a devout fan of my writing.  She will be with me on the following panels: Diesel vs. Steam: The elements of a good ”Punk” story, Novel Creation Notebook, Creative Collaborations, Writing Technology, Writing Gore: How Much is Too Much? Also with me on the Diesel vs. Steam panel will be my good friends Larry and Tina Amyett from the North Texas Dieselpunks. With me during the Speculative Fiction Author reading and the panel, Creating Interesting Characters and Worlds, are two authors and friends of mine, Ethan Nahte and Mel White. And then for the Songs for a Mechanical Age – The Poetry of Steampunk panel, I will be joining my friend and fellow Seadog Slam crew member Stephen Sanders.  Here is my schedule of appearances for discussion panels and literary readings:
Friday 3-14
Speculative Fiction Author Reading
Maple (Friday)8:00 PM – 8:45 PM (Rated: Mature)

Diesel vs. Steam: The elements of a good ”Punk” story
Maple (Friday) 9:00 PM – 9:45 PM (Rated: Mature)

Saturday 3-15
Novel Creation Notebook
Maple (Saturday) 12:00 PM – 12:45 PM (Rated: Mature)

Songs for a Mechanical Age – The Poetry of Steampunk
Elm (Saturday)1:00 PM – 1:45 PM (Rated: Everyone)

Creative Collaborations
Elm (Saturday) 8:00 PM – 8:45 PM (Rated: Teen)

Writing Gore: How Much is Too Much?
Maple (Saturday) 11:00 PM – 11:45 PM (Rated: Adult)

Sunday 3-16
Creating Interesting Characters and Worlds

Maple (Sunday) 1:00 PM – 1:45 PM (Rated: Everyone)

Writing Technology
Pecan (Sunday) 3:00 PM – 3:45 PM (Rated: Teen)

I hope to see many of you, my friends, there this weekend. It is an extremely fun event and you will have a blast. I know I do every year. There will be room parties Friday and Saturday night, so the fun will last late into the wee hours and all weekend long.  And so I leave you with another pithy quote:

“Sit down to write what you have thought, and not to think about what you shall write.”

-William Cobbett

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

 

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

 

Don’t Fear the Dark, or Support Indie Artists!

“Darkness within darkness. The gateway to all understanding.”
– Lao Tzu

Hey everyone! Thanks for checking out this latest episode of blogging from The Short Pale Writer in the Long Black Coat. It has been a busy weekend indeed.

Yesterday I attended the monthly meeting of the North Texas Dieselpunks which included a presentation on the art and architecture of ancient Egypt and its influence on the Art Deco style of the early to mid 20th century and its connection with the Dieselpunk movement. Larry and Tina Amyett did a wonderful and informative slide show presentation that included many excellent images and photographs.

Saturday night I had the honor of being interviewed by one of my biggest fans and supporters, Jenn M who writes a blog called Brewed Bohemian. We sat down at a little place called Roots Coffee House. She was kind enough to buy me a cup of tea and I chose the loose leaf Earl Grey which was excellent. It was the first time I have been interviewed in person and it was a wonderful experience. There were some great questions and I know I rambled on through a lot of my answers, but Jenn was very patient and attentive with me. She also bought a copy of the anthology Rogues in Hell that I signed  for her. Thanks for supporting the series! Kudos to her for asking me to do this interview. We are also going to work together presenting a couple of discussion panels at All-Con in March, so I look forward to collaborating with her on that.

Something I have been trying to help promote and lend a little support to lately is an independent short film called The Dark Man. From the website: “The Dark Man explores the metaphysical relationship between time and love. As the second hand ticks ever onward, Daniel sees the life he made for himself with his wife slipping from his grasp. From the shadows of Daniel’s ruin, a black figure, a Dark Man, bearing an enigmatic timepiece emerges.” It is being written and directed by Tim Stevens, who I met at FenCon last year through a mutual friend, Darwin Prophet, whose music video for the song Don’t Panic was directed and shot by Tim. The Dark Man is a project being done by students at the University of North Texas as part of their undergraduate degree. The film crew also includes producer Sarah Wagner, director of photography, Tyler Burns, and editor Joey McCleskey. They have a Kickstarter fundraiser going to raise much-needed money to pay for things the University can’t provide, like food for the cast and crew, equipment rental fees, and entry fees to film festivals once the movie is completed. Check out the Kickstarter page here for more information about the project and on contributing to the film. Every bit helps so if you can donate even as little as $10 it will go toward them reaching their goal. You will get behind the scenes updates on the making of the film and there are a lot more perks available based on the amount you contribute. If you can’t lend your monetary support, at least please help get the word out about the film, by sharing the page with your friends and family. I like to do what I can for Independent artists, film makers, musicians, and writers, because as a writer myself, I appreciate what it takes to undertake these creative endeavors. Taking a story and making a film out of it involves a whole other level of complexity and planning than anything I have myself attempted to date.

And In the area of indie musicians, Christopher Morris makes some awesome music . His Soundcloud webpage is here. You can listen to some of his wonderful music there, and you can buy the music from his album Everybody Knows, at Amazon. His blend of jazz, rock and fusion will leave you in seventh heaven. His silky smooth vocals and articulate guitar work are amazing.

I attended the bi-monthly meeting of the Writers Circle at the Bedford Public Library today and had one of my poems critiqued. I’ve been writing a lot of poetry lately, maybe because I’ve been trying to express myself with a lot of emotional things that have been going on in my life and the lives of friends. It feels good to pen lines of verse again. It has been years since I’ve written this many poems, and there was a time when I thought I might never write poetry again. It seems to act to free my mind and sooth my soul and opens up other doors of creativity. I’m still struggling a bit with getting prose stories completed, so I hope this will help get the flow of inspiration moving once more. Until next time, keep the creativity flowing and stay inspired friends.

“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear as it is – infinite”

 -William Blake

A New Year of Unlimited Possibilities or, Write or Die!

“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.”
-Kahlil Gibran

It’s 2013 and no time to rest on my laurels. This proves to be a busy year for writing. I just need to get my head into these stories so I can get the words down. This always seems to be the biggest stumbling block for me as a writer. It’s not so much of a writers’ block as the ideas are there, it’s just hard sometimes to get in the right frame of mind to get the words to come out to reflect what I’m feeling needs to be in the story. I’ve been struggling with this a lot lately and I’m just not sure why. I have this obsession with the ideas of where creativity and inspiration come from, and how we harness them to write, create art, music, etc. I recently picked up a book, “The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block, and the Creative Brain” by Alice W. Flaherty that is a fascinating study both scientifically and philosophically of these concepts. I’m hoping it will give me some insight into my own creative processes and how to better channel them into my writing.

On a really cool note, here is something that I think you all will enjoy: the audio book of  the Sacred Band tale, “Wake of the Riddler” by Janet Morris, and narrated by Alex Hyde-White, available from Audible at Amazon.com. Excellent story and outstanding narration make this short story from the book, “The Fish, the Fighters, and the Song-Girl” a must have for fans of The Sacred Band, and readers new to the series, even. There is a free sample of part of the story narration at the link to the audio book that you should really check out.

Something else going on in 2013; I have been confirmed as a guest author panelist at ConDFW, February 15th-17th and All-Con, March 8th-10th. Both conventions are in Dallas, Texas and are shaping up to be better than ever this year, with a big line-up of guests and events. If you are in the area those weekends you should attend. You will not be disappointed. The convention directors at All-Con let panelists create their own topics for discussion, and I came up with a panel about the source of creativity that will include a flash fiction writing exercise. I am also doing a panel on dark fantasy and horror genres in writing that will cover their similarities and differences and some examples of both. I’m bringing on board some fellow writers and friends of mine, JennM,  Joan Fritz, and others to help me with these topics. Check out Jenn M’s blog here at  Brewed Bohemian.

That’s about all for now folks. Thanks for tuning in. I’m committed to keeping to this weekly blog  schedule like I said I would, even if some of these posts may be short and sweet, like me. Heh, heh. I’ll leave you with another fun and spiffy 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

 

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

“It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.”
– Robert Charles Benchley, author

I will be attending All-Con in Dallas this weekend and will be there Friday evening, and all day Saturday and Sunday. I will have copies of the shared world anthology Lawyers in Hell which includes my first ever published short story, “Remember, Remember, Hell in November” with me available for purchase. I will also be a guest panelist at 4:00 PM on Saturday discussing the topic of writing for a shared world anthology.  

The annual All-Con convention is all about creating fun for fans of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Renaissance, Anime, Costuming, Theater / Performing Arts, Mystery, Art, Crafts, Collecting, and Film Making. So there is something to see and do for just about everyone at All-Con. It is located at the Crowne Plaza North Dallas at 14315 Midway Road, Addison, Texas 75001. The fun and events start  at 10:00 AM Friday and run until Sunday at 6:00 PM. If you have never been to a fan convention, this is an especially awesome one to attend. There will be plently of fans in awesome costumes, especially from Star Wars, since the 501st Imperial Stormtrooper Legion will be attending.
Also performing at All-Con is one of my favorite dramatic comedy acts, The Damsels of Dorkington. Don’t miss their shows, they will make you laugh until you can’t breathe. And check out the Dealers Room for the Roll2Play booth for everything to do with games, games and more games. Tell Tiffany I sent you.

I’ll have postcards with the logo for the Irredeemable Order of Hellions available to give out as freebies. Look for me this weekend in my “The Shadow” costume.  I hope to see you all there!

“Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows.”

The Life of a Rogue Writer

“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

I hope everyone is having a great 2012 so far. Mine has been pretty good except  I’m still unemployed and looking for a full-time day job to pay the bills. Besides looking for work, I have also been busy learning as much as I can about improving my writing craft, the publishing industry, reading for pleasure and research, and I’ve been writing a lot as well. I have also been networking  quite a bit, and I am scheduled to appear as a guest panelist at five literary fantasy/science fiction conventions this year, including ConDFW, AggieCon, All-Con, The Nightmare Machine 2012 and LibertyCon. I really enjoyed all the conventions I attended last year, and met so many great people; writers, artists, musicians, performers, editors, and fans. I am really looking forward to all these events this year and I hope to see you there. If you’ve never been to one of these events, you really should check them out. They are a lot of fun for fans of the fantasy, science fiction, and horror genres. You can meet your favorite authors, listen to live music, attend panels about a wide variety of subjects, see some cool costumes, buy books, shirts, costume apparel, and other fun stuff.

Speaking of fans, I am a big fan of this free online magazine, Lovecraft eZine  and this week they are having a contest giving away a Cthulhu sculpture and other prizes. I have read some great stories in this eZine and they are always posting news and links about everything to do with Lovecraft, Lovecraftian stories, Cthulhu Mythos, films, websites, etc. Go check it out and tell eZine creator/editor Mike Davis that I sent you.

I am very excited to announce that one of my stories, “Ragnarok & Roll” has been accepted for the forthcoming Heroes in Hell shared world anthology, Rogues in Hell, edited by series creators Janet Morris and Chris Morris. The book will be unleashed upon the world by Perseid Publishing sometime this Spring/Summer  2012 in print book and EBook formats. As before, when working on the previous volume in the series, Lawyers in Hell, it was a blast collaborating with my fellow Hellion authors on this book. I’ll wrap this post up with what the cover will look like.

Fun at YuleCon

“When you’re a writer, you no longer see things with the freshness of the normal person.” – Brian Moore

This past weekend I attended YuleCon in Fort Worth, selling and signing copies of the book Lawyers in Hell, which includes my story “Remember, Remember, Hell in November” as well as 21 other hellishly great tales. My good friend and fellow author, John Manning arranged for us to have a table in the dealers’ room so we could meet and greet fans. His story “Disclaimer” also appears in Lawyers in Hell, and he has a horror novel published, Black Stump Ridge, that we were also selling, which he co-wrote with long-time friend, Forrest Hedrick. We sold quite a few copies of books, so it was a succesful weekend as far as sales go and we made a lot of new fans who will most likely buy the books online as well.

These fan conventions are a lot of fun, and YuleCon was no exception. There are hundreds of people in character costumes,  many of them hand-made and quite elaborate. A lot of them are from anime and manga, which I have never gotten into, so I have no idea who most of these characters are, but nevertheless, they are cool to look at. You can go to my Facebook page and look at the album YuleCon IV, 2011 and see some photos I took at the con.

I met a lot of really great  people at YuleCon, including a lot of fellow writers, artists, and gamers. At the table next to us in the Dealers’ Room were artists Renee and Shannon, who make dolls and jewelry, and also run charity auctions at conventions. I also met Kurt who owns an online anime and manga collectables store and who had an entire wall across from us and who was very busy all weekend. There was also The  Iceman, whose real name I forget now, who was running con operations and security, and James, who founded and runs the convention. Also Ray who designed the graphic art for the con badges. I also met up with Tiffany, a fan of our book, Lawyers in Hell, who I’d met at FenCon, and who owns the online games store Roll2Play. She had a big area set up in the corner of the lobby where she was selling games and game accesories with the help of some of her assistants. Chris, one of John’s friends who was running some games for YuleCon, and also two mutual friends of ours, Alaura and Meghan, joined John and I for dinner Friday night after the Dealers’ Room  was closed up.

Over in the gaming room I met Kenneth, who was running a series of role playing games by Palladium. I also met Brian, who ran the Doctor Who tabletop miniatures game that I played in, on Saturday night with Wil, Daniel, and a young woman whose name I forgot, (sorry) but who was on my team for the game. Brian had designed and built the scale buildings and painted the miniatures for the game which was set in the ruins of post-apocalyptic Las Vegas. My team was the Daleks who, if you’ve never seen the TV show, are basically intergalactic bad guys, robots that want to take over the universe by exterminating mankind. The Doctor’s job in this game, along with help from his team of soldiers, was to stop them from setting off a nuclear bomb. The game really got rolling when the woman on my team asked Brian if she can have one of her soldiers can use his grenade launcher to blow up one of the ruined remains of a building that eleven of our opponents are hiding inside. He said that no one had ever asked him if they could do that before, but he would check the rules. Sure enough, he said she could try. She rolls the dice, and succeeds in blowing up the building, collapsing it on the enemy and killing ten of their soldiers. We were off to a good start! Later in the game a mobile artillery piece overheats and explodes, stunning the Doctor, preventing him from interceding in our plan to detonate the bomb which we can attempt to do on our tenth turn. The rest of the game does not go well for us however, as our soldiers get picked off one by one until we are down to only two left, one dalek, and a mercenary, against a dozen or more opponents. It’s looking more and more like we will lose pretty soon. The tenth turn comes up, however, and we have a chance to detonate the bomb if we can just roll a six on the die. My team member rolls, and behold, a six!  The nuclear bomb was detonated, everything was destroyed in the blast, and we won the game! Viva Las Daleks! Ah the sweet taste of victory.

After the game I wandered around the convention hotel checking out the various events that were going on. They were showing anime films in some rooms, holding discussion panels in others, and there was a rave party going on. I walked into the rave amidst the sounds of fast techno music, flashing lights, and glowsticks being waved around. I thought to myself that everyone in this room is half my age or younger, and damn they were moving fast. I think I remember being able to move that fast. I hung out for awhile and watched all the kids have fun and then decided it really wasn’t my scene, so I left to see what else might be going on. It was almost midnight, and I should have headed home so I could get some sleep for attending the con on Sunday, but some intuition kept telling me to hang around.

Sure enough, I run into Renee and Shannon, from the Dealers’ Room.  They hadn’t slept much the night before because a fire sprinkler had been damaged by someone in the room above them which caused water to start pouring from the ceiling and walls of their room in the middle of the night. This led to them having to change rooms and move all of their belongings with them. They were both worn to a frazzle, I could tell. They had just gotten out of a discussion panel, but couldn’t get up to thier room on the second floor, because the elevators weren’t working due to some electrical problem. They both have  health issues that prevent them from being able to get up and down stairs safely, so this was a real problem. The hotel restaurant had already closed and they hadn’t eaten dinner yet because they had been so busy with the panels. There were no restaurants within walking distance of the hotel, and both of them had recently taken medication that kept them from being able to drive. So naturally I offered to take them in my SUV to Denny’s for a late dinner. We had a good meal, and talked about stuff like conventions we had been to, and other fun things, and later that night I dropped them off back at the hotel and headed home for the night.

The next day at YuleCon was a good one as well. One of our fans, Sherry, who bought John’s novel, Black Stump Ridge,  way back in March at All-Con,  stopped by our table and picked up a hardcover copy of Lawyers in Hell. We talked about all kinds of things from books to music, and writing, to funny and scary things we’ve had happen to us over the years. We sold a few more books, met a lot more cool people, and had a really good time.

All in all it was a really great weekend and a really fun convention. Sorry if I missed mentioning anyone, but there were so many great people it was hard to keep track, especially all the names. I’ve added a few email addresses and friends on Facebook though so I’m hoping I can keep in touch with at least some of you. I’ve decided I really need to have business cards made so I can hand out to people. Not only to promote myself as an author, but to maybe make it easier for people to connect with me in the social media and stay in touch. That’s my next project anyway, and I know there are some places like VistaPrint that will print cards for free if you pay the shipping & handling.

Thanks everyone for making it a fun, great YuleCon, and hope to see you all online and at the next Con!