The Short Pale Writer in the Long Black Coat at LibertyCon

“Every writer is a narcissist. This does not mean that he is vain; it only means that he is hopelessly self-absorbed.”

– Leo Rosten

I’ll be a guest author at LibertyCon again this year, June 27-29 in Chattanooga, TN. This is my fourth year as a guest and I love this fantasy/science fiction convention so much.  As we have done every year, The Irredeemable Order of Hellions will be having a book launch party at 10:00 PM in the Con Suite for our latest volume in the Heroes in Hell Series, created by Janet Morris and published by Perseid Press. This year we bring you Poets in Hell.

Poets in Hell, vol 17 in the Heroes in Hell series created by Janet Morris,from Perseid Press.

Poets in Hell, vol 17 in the Heroes in Hell series created by Janet Morris,from Perseid Press.

Here is the link to my schedule of appearances at LibertyCon this year.

Or if you prefer to just read it here:

Fri 03:00PM Reading – Larry Atchley, Jr. and Tamara Lowery
Fri 05:00PM Opening Ceremonies
Fri 08:00PM Paranormal Activities Panel
Sat 12:00PM Autograph Session
Sat 01:00PM What’s New in Horror and Dark Fantasy?
Sat 05:00PM What’s New from Perseid Publishing
Sat 07:00PM Poets in Hell
Sat 09:00PM What’s new from Iron Clad Press
Sat 10:00PM Perseid Press, Moondream Press and Iron Clad Press Book Launch Parties; IOH and Fictioneers Parties
Sun 12:00PM Autograph Session

 

I always have a great time at conventions, and LibertyCon is no exception. It was my very first convention that I attended as a guest author so it is very special to me. Thanks go out to Rich Groller for getting myself and a lot of our other Hellion authors on the guest list every year since 2011. There will be a few of us Hellions around at LibertyCon this year: David L. Burkhead, Jason Cordova, David Drake (from the original Heroes in Hell books published from 1986-1989 by Baen Books) Jack Finley, Rich Groller, Michael H. Hanson, John Manning, Beth Patterson, (who is also the musical performer guest this year), pdmac, and Michael Z.Williamson.

I hope to see you there. It will be a hella good time.

“I have gone into yesterday and tomorrow and both were as real as today — which is like the dreams of ghosts!”
-ROBERT E. HOWARD, Kull: Exile of Atlantis

 

Advertisements

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.

Reflections on Love & Life or, This Time It’s Personal

“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” -John Milton

I usually talk about my current writing works in progress here, but nothing has changed since my post last week, other than that I am making progress on my story which is tentatively titled, “Knocking on Heaven’s Gates” to be submitted to the anthology, Dreamers in Hell.
So today I’d like to share with my readers something a bit more on the personal side of my life. Something that I experienced yesterday that put a lot of things in perspective for me. I was helping my wife Sussie with a client photo shoot at the Dallas Arboretum. Something I have done many times before, so nothing unusual, or new really. But while I was watching her taking photos from behind her camera I had this sudden epiphany. Seeing her doing what she loves so much, made me realise just how much I really love her. When she has her camera in front of her eyes and she’s in “the zone” taking shots, she transforms into this being of creativity and freedom. It is  moments like that when I see the carefree, spirited, light-hearted woman who I met and married thirteen years ago who took a chance at love and a new life with this fool of a dreamer, poet, writer, with a moody temperament and dark soul.

Time and tide test the mettle of even the strongest relationship. We have had our rocky periods when we both thought the dream of a life together might come to an end. Things have been rough this year, with the stress  of financial hardships we’ve had to endure, Sussie getting her photography business off the ground, and me trying to get a writing career going while trying to do well at a new day job. So many changes happened this year, but change means your life is evolving, isn’t stuck in the mire of stagnation.  But we have persevered because of our committment that we made on that day we vowed troth to each other. Ever since we met each other we knew that our relationship went beyond this life and time. We were drawn together in this life, because we knew each other before, in another time, another place, another life. We sensed within each other that we were soul mates and were meant to be together, in the past, in this life, and in many more to come.

The rub of the whole issue however, is that I believe we can’t choose who we fall in love with.  It just happens, often when you least expect it to, and like getting on a roller coaster, you just have to hang on for the ride. And often the ones we fall in love with are not the most compatible person that we could be with, and yet, somehow it works. Also, the one you love the most is the one who will inevitably hurt you more than anyone else in your life. It seems to go with the territory. A relationship that is genuine, powerful and true is composed of both love and hate. At the end of the day you must decide if the love outweighed the hate. Some days the hate can be so heavy that you almost forget the love that is there deep down in your heart and soul. It is on those days that you give in to the feelings of bitterness, contempt, loathing, and anger and almost give up, throwing it all to the wind. But you carry on, because you hope the love will win out in the end. Sometimes you just have to step back outside of your situation and look upon it with new eyes, with new understanding and compassion for one another. This is what I have had to do. Love doesn’t come easy. Marriage, and any relationship for that matter, is a constant work in progress. Communication is the key to opening doors that sometimes get shut between you. I am not a good communicator, as I tend to keep too much of my true feelings and thoughts to myself. I am trying to change this aspect of my personality, but old habits die hard, and too many times I have continued to feed this monster of anger, doubt, depression, and loathing until it eats away at me, or explodes in a fit of fury. Often I feel like the darkness that dwells deep inside my heart and soul shouldn’t be let out into the light of the world, lest it reveal too much about who I am and what I feel.  I wasn’t always this stoic, and reserved. In my youth I would wear my emotions on my sleeve, expressing the love and the hate,  the anger and sadness. But people misunderstood, or perhaps understood too much. I hurt those around me and myself, often unintentionally, sometimes on purpose. So I built this armor around myself, gradually adding to it piece by piece until in enveloped me like a personal fortress. Few ever get inside, and even then, I don’t know if anyone has ever made me completely let my shield down since I have created it. My wife and my daughter have come the closest, as I let them in more than anyone else in my life.

Anyway. I really didn’t mean for this blog post to be such a downer. I don’t like unloading my problems or issues upon my friends. It’s just not my style. But I wanted to get this off my chest, and I’m really trying to learn how to talk about my feelings more. Maybe what’s bringing it out of me is this story I’m writing for Dreamers in Hell and the concepts that I am exploring within it: redemption, (or the lack thereof) self-centeredness, forgiveness, unconditional love, self-sacrifice, and self-realization. Also one of my characters is William James, famous philosopher, spiritualist and one of the founding fathers of modern psychology. Maybe he is pulling these feeling out of me, like I’m receiving psychotherapy from him through the method of trying to channel his mind and spirit to make the character more believable. I do tend to employ “method writing” by becoming a little like my characters when I’m writing a story.

And I don’t seem to express myself well unless I’m writing my thoughts out. That’s probably a big reason why my wife fell in love with me even though we were thousands of miles apart. We were communicating mostly by internet, sending emails and instant messages to each other before we had even met in person. I communicate better in the written form apparently. Plus, I wooed her with my poetry. What woman wouldn’t fall in love with a guy who wrote her love poems?

So in closing, let me just say that today I love my wife more than ever, and it took seeing her doing what she loves to reiterate just how special she is to me, and why we are meant to be together. We creative souls don’t always make for the easiest personalities to get along with one another, as the artistic tempermant lends itself to extremes. But like all great art, great relationships are founded on and cemented in powerful emotions, both of joy and sorrow, anger and happiness, love and hate. You just have to learn to balance them accordingly.

“It’s all the same — no good without evil, no balance…no maat. If we lose one, we lose the other. It’s just life, that’s all.” –Niko, from the story “Pillar of Fire” in “The Fish, the Fighters, and the Song-Girl: Sacred Band Tales Vol. 2”  by Janet Morris & Chris Morris, (c) 2012, Perseid Publishing.

 

Radio Show Hosting and Going Rogue in Hell

“Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscribed In one self place, for where we are is hell, And where hell is there must we ever be.” 

-Christopher Marlowe

As always, it’s been too long since my last post. I have some new and exciting things to report this time around though.

 First of all, I have been made co-host of a live broadcast internet radio show called Pairanormal, on TMV Cafe, along with EW Bradfute, and Pamela Jones. We discuss all topics that pertain to the paranormal field: ESP, psychic abilities, ghosts, UFO’s, Cryptozoology. We even delve into stuff like urban legends, conspiracy theories, and zombies! No topic is safe from the Pairanormals! Tune in every Friday night at 9:00 PM Central Standard Time at www.tmvcafe.com. Log into the chatroom and become part of the action, interacting with us hosts and all the other listeners. And if you miss an episode, we archive every show on podcast, so you can catch it later. But I recommend tuning in live so you can have fun in the chatroom with us on Friday nights. See you there!

The second announcement is that the promo ad for the latest anthology in the shared world series, Heroes in Hell, is out and all over the world wide web! Yours truly has a story included in the book Rogues in Hell, called “Ragnarok and Roll” that will take you on a wild ride through Hell! A couple of familiar characters from Lawyers in Hell, Anton LaVey and Guy Fawkes team up with some new damned souls, namely The Red Baron, Erik the Red, Leif Eriksson and a band of other famous vikings on this latest infernal adventure. I am honored to share space in this anthology with some of the best damned writers in fiction. Special thanks as always to series creators and editors, Janet Morris and Chris Morris for making me a part of the crew of Hellion authors.  Coming out this July from Perseid Publishing!

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.