Writing in Hell or How to Sell Your Soul for Fortune and Fame

“Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.”- Mark Twain

About a year ago I was in rather dire straits financially and emotionally. I wasn’t happy in my job, and desperately wanted to get my writing career going, but was very frustrated at the process of breaking into the literary world of published authors.  At one point I joked that maybe it was “time to make a deal with The Devil.”  Little did I know that a few months later I would be asked to write stories for the shared world anthology series, Heroes in Hell. Coincidence?  I think not. Maybe it was a case of being in the right place at the right time. Maybe it was just luck. The devil’s own luck, some would say. Many of us authors involved in writing for the series have kidded around that we must have all sold our souls to one of the series’ recurring and prominent characters, His Satanic Majesty, or HSM. But then most writers agree that they probably already did that years ago, and being a writer is torturous payback enough for our mis-deeds in life.

“The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioned our characters in the wrong way.”  -William James
Seriously though, almost every author wants to reach a level of success and wealth that will ensure they can support themselves by their writing alone, and make a comfortable existence for themselves. And most will do whatever it takes to reach that goal. These days it means not just writing and publishing as much material as possible, but promoting your work as well. Fewer and fewer authors are relying on paying agents a cut of their money to do what they can do themselves. And more and more authors are publishing under small presses, E-Presses or publishing their writing themselves and no longer need to rely on an agent to sell and promote their work.
That being said, here is my shameless plug for the book in which my first published story is featured:
 Lawyers in Hell (c) 2011 Janet Morris will be published July 2011. I hope you will join me on a little trip to Hell this Summer.

“Listen; there’s a hell of a good universe next door: let’s go.”
-E. E. Cummings

Published in: on May 15, 2011 at 12:23 pm  Comments (1)  
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Lawyers in Hell snippet, April 15th 2011

Lawyers in Hell snippet, April 15th 2011.

The above link is an excerpt from my story, ‘Remember, Remember, Hell in November’, from the book Lawyers in Hell, edited by Janet Morris, which will be released this Summer, 2011. Several  authors will have stories in this shared world anthology of historical/mythical fiction: Janet Morris, Chris Morris, Richard Groller, Nancy Asire, CJ Cherryh, Ed McKeown, Bruce Durham, Michael Armstrong, Michael H. Hanson, Allan Gilbreath, Kimberly Richardson, Deborah Koren, Sarah Hulcy, David Burkhead, Scott Oden, John Manning, Jason Cordova, Leo Champion, Bradley H. Sinor, Michael Z. Williamson, and me, Larry Atchley, Jr.

This story, and the book itself wouldn’t have been possible without the help of all the writers in the Heroes in Hell series, and Lawyers in Hell group. Special thanks goes out to our group muse, Sarah Hulcy for her endless hours of toiling to archive ideas, and conversations into a useable format, and for proofreading, and editing all the stories. Of course the book and series could not happen without Janet Morris and Chris Morris willing it into life, and to do all the final editing, and add their input into everything to make this book the best it can possibly be. I can’t wait to hold the hardcover book in my hands, and see my name and story inside the covers of this wonderful anthology. This is only the beginning, more books in the series are already being planned, and I will have the opportunity to submit stories for each of them. Won’t you join me for a trip through Hell this Summer?  Hell is coming, look busy!

Published in: on April 16, 2011 at 3:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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My first blog! The long journey of being a writer.

I have started this blog as a creative outlet for my ideas and opinions and to talk about and promote my writing. I have been a writer since about eighteen, penning mostly poetry, fantasy, science fiction, and various philosophical ideas. I also love to collect quotes, so you will see a fair amount of those on here as well.

My journey to become a published writer has been a long one, marked by procrastination, self doubt, and fleeting moments of inspiration. I have talked about trying to publish my work for years, but didn’t actively pursue it until recently. My wife, Sussie has been on my case to write more and submit my stories and poems for years. She has been and continues to be my biggest supporter and motivator.

I finally decided to get serious about my writing and for my birthday last year my wife bought me a reservation to a workshop that the Bedford Library Friends Writers Circle was hosting. Author Sarah A. Hoyt, and editor/author Amanda S. Green presented the workshop and I learned so much valuable information about writing, and publishing over the course of the weekend. Each of us in the workshop submitted some of our writing to be critiqued, and I nervously awaited judgement on the part of the story I had written. Much to my surprise and delight, Sarah liked my writing, said I was a good storyteller, and proclaimed that with some diligent self editing I could be a publishable writer. Few words in my life have ever made me so happy. It gave me not only validation that I was actually a decent enough writer that people would be interested in my stories, but also the motivation to want to get my work out there for publication.

Thus began my serious attempts at writing more, and editing what I already had written, to prepare my work to be submitted to publishers. This was in the Fall of 2010, and barely a month after the workshop, by a series of fortuitous events, I was invited to submit a story for a historical fantasy shared world anthology. But this was not just any run of the mill anthology. I had read the Heroes in Hell series when they were first published from 1986 to 1989, when I was still in High School, and they are some of my favorite books. Janet Morris, who created, edited and wrote for the original series is bringing the series back with a new book and new authors along with some of those who wrote for the original series.  I was asked by Janet to be part of the working group of writers for the new book, and of course I jumped at the chance. She had gotten to know me from my comments and interactions at The Sacred Band Facebook page, and apparently liked what I had to say enough to ask me to contribute to the new Heroes in Hell book. All of us writers have been brainstorming ideas, plot lines, character interactions, and promotional strategies for the book, and subsequent books to follow for the series. It continues to be a fun, creative, wild ride, and I am very fortunate to be a part of the experience and work with such great writers, and wonderful people. My story has been accepted for publication in the book, Lawyers in Hell which comes out this Summer, 2011 in e-book format, trade paperback and hardcover. It will be my first published story. I  am working hard to refine my craft of writing, trying to learn as much as I can and become the best writer I can be. I have a lot to learn, but I have found some great mentors to help me along my journey. Thank You Sarah A. Hoyt for sharing your knowledge, and for your encouragement that gave me the confidence to pursue my goal of being a published writer. Thanks Amanda S. Green and the Writers Circle for your advice, words of wisdom, and support. Thanks Janet Morris and Chris Morris for believing in me and inviting me to write for the Heroes in Hell series. I am eternally grateful for this opportunity. Thanks to everyone in the Lawyers in Hell group for being such a great bunch of friends, talented writers, and a constant inspiration for keeping the words flowing. Most of all, thanks to my wife, Sussie, for always supporting and encouraging me to follow my dream, and to my daughter, Alina for understanding the madness of it all.

“If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are rotten,
either write things worth reading or do things worth the writing.”-Benjamin Franklin

Published in: on April 4, 2011 at 2:01 am  Comments (2)  
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