The Eclectic Muse Literary Review

“Writers may be disreputable, incorrigible, early to decay or late to bloom but they dare to go it alone.”
-John Updike

Except when they dare to band together in support. Myself and six other writers local to the DFW Metroplex are participating in an event that I put together since the rest of the Seadog Slam crew members couldn’t attend what is usually the monthly pirate poetry and tales of the sea show. This event has no theme, since we will have authors reading from a wide variety of genres of poetry and prose. So I decided to call it The Eclectic Muse Literary Review. I wanted to have something to show some  support a few of the local area authors and get some of their work know by a different audience than they normally would have. I wanted a mix of both well established authors and those who are up and coming writers. I think I have chosen well.

We will be at the Half Price Books Flagship store at 5803 E. Northwest Hwy, Dallas, Texas 75231 on Wednesday March 19th form 8:00  PM to 10:00 PM.
Joining me are Darwin Prophet, Jenn Monty, Jessica Scott, William Ledbetter and C. Dean Anderson. Both Jenn and Jessica have never read their work to an audience at a formal event before so they are taking a big step in doing this.

I met Jenn Monty at ConDFW in 2012 and she has been one of my biggest fans and supporters of my writing ever since then. That fandom turned into a friendship and also she has been a guest panelist at All-Con with me for the past two years in 2013 and at this year’s convention last weekend. She is an awesome author  and I am now one of her biggest fans in return. Check out her blog called  Brewed Bohemian where she not only posts some of her poetry and flash fiction, but also information about writing events and web sites online, and her reviews about beer, coffee, and tea. She also pontificates about other random topics as well. Check it out, as there is a wealth of information there.

I met Jessica Scott through the Bedford Public Library Friends Writers Circle which is a critique and support group that I have been a member of since 2010. Jessica joined earlier this year and I have been really enjoying her poetry and short fiction that she shares with the group and posts on her blog which is called The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet. Is that not the most awesome blog name ever? I knew when I put this event together that I really wanted her to read some of her work out loud.

Darwin Prophet is a singer, songwriter, musician and author of prose and poetry who I met at a Steampunk Convention called The Difference Engine on New Year’s Eve in 2011 when she was performing with her group Darwin Prophet & the Chronus Mirror. I have been attending her performances whenever I get the chance as she is one of my favorite performers. She is also a good friend of mine. I heard her read from some of her work at All-Con last year and was impressed by her excellent writing style and wonderful voice for the spoken word as well as her musical vocals. I regret that she will not be able to perform her music at this event since the store recently changed its policy about having performances in the community room where we are meeting. I am very much looking forward to hearing her read some of her writing again. Click on her website here at Darwin Prophet.

William Ledbetter and I met at ConDFW this year when we had our book signings together at the same table.  He has written over thirty speculative fiction stories and non fiction articles in collections like Jim Baen’s Universe, Writers of the Future, Escape Pod, Ad Astra and Baen Books, just to name a few. He administers the Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest for Baen Books and the National Space Society, is a member of the National Space Society of North Texas, is the Science Track coordinator for the Fencon convention and is a consulting editor at Heroic Fantasy Quarterly. I knew he would be a great established author to bring on board for the readings.Check out his web page here at William Ledbetter.

I’ve known C. Dean Andersson since I first met him at ConDFW in 2011. He has been writing  heroic fiction and horror since the 1980’s and has eleven novels and numerous short stories published both in the USA and internationally. He is a very quiet, unassuming kind of person, and just about the nicest guy you could meet.  He writes some awesome tales. His website is here at C. Dean Andersson.com

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

 

Writing Process Blog Hop

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

1) What am I working on?

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

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

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

3) Why do I write what I do?

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

4) How does your writing process work?

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

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

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

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

 

 

LibertyCon 25 2012 Convention After Action Report

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

-Jamie Paolinetti

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Nightmare Machine Paranormal Steampunk Convention

I will be a guest at this paranormal steampunk convention, The Nightmare Machine, this weekend. I will be holding a discussion panel on the history of paranormal investigation Saturday 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM. I am also doing readings Friday night at 8:00 PM from my story “Shadow of a Doubt” which will be published later this year in the horror  anthology What Scares the Boogeyman and “Remember, Remember, Hell in November” published in 2011 in the anthology Lawyers in Hell Sunday at 11:00 AM . The convention takes place in historic Jefferson, Texas. Come see me and all the other guests at this fun and exciting event!

 

The Short Pale Writer Appearing at ConDFW This Weekend

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

I will be attending ConDFW in Dallas, Texas this weekend. I am scheduled for five discussion panels, a reading, and a book signing session over the course of Saturday and Sunday. I’ll be hanging out with friends and fellow authors Friday, and attending the opening ceremonies, and some panels. Come out and join me for a fun and informative weekend. Below is my schedule, but be sure to check out the ConDFW website for all the panels and events going on all weekend.

SATURDAY

Panel Room 3 – Canterbury-1pm –Horror without Focus: Writing the Apocalypse in Horror

 Panelists: C. Dean Andersson, Larry Atchley Jr., Gabrielle Faust (M), K. Hutson, Dusty Rainbolt, Brad Sinor

It is moderately easy to create a horror story where you have an obvious villain. But in this year of disaster and

apocalypse, we see the other side of Horror – where the villain is nature itself, whether by fire, flood or plague.

Our panelists discuss the Apocalyptic Horror genre and its future in a time where the future is never certain.

Panel Room 2 – Manchester-4pm –Horror vs. Urban Fantasy: Where is the Line?

 Panelists: C. Dean Andersson, A. Lee Martinez (M), Larry Atchley Jr., Stina Leicht, Gabrielle Faust, Sue Sinor

Sometimes it is difficult to find what section a particular Urban Fantasy book belongs to. It is sometimes found in

the Science Fiction/Fantasy section, but sometimes it is found in the Horror section. And to be honest, some

Horror has been Urban Fantasy before the genre really came about, like Anne Rice’s vampire series. But what

is the line between the darkness of Horror and the lightness of SF/Fantasy? Our panelists debate this dark topic

and perhaps find out what Urban Fantasy really is.

Panel Room 1 – Warwick-5pm –Ragnarok and You: Using Norse Mythology

 Panelist: Frances May (M), K.B. Bogen, Katharine Kimbriel, Ren Hobt, Larry Atchley Jr.

No discussion on the upcoming apocalypse would be complete without covering Norse mythology and

Ragnarok. What you may not know is that Ragnarok does not mean destruction at all, but means “the final

destiny of the gods”. Learn more about the classics from our experts on myth and legend, and try to forget about

comic book movies based on the same topic.

Readings: 6 pm – Shanna Swendson, Larry Atchley Jr., Ethan Nahte

SUNDAY

Panel Room 2 – Manchester-12pm –Body Language: Writing Martial Arts

 Panelists: K. Hutson (M), Larry Atchley Jr., A.P. Stephens, Stina Leicht

Sure, it’s easy to describe a punch to the stomach, and a sweep to the legs. But is it anatomically possible?

And what are some moves that are legit to use? We bring some martial artists to the table and let’s see if we

can describe what they do – without a video camera.

Signings: 1 pm – Larry Atchley Jr., Anthony Brownrigg

Panel Room 1 – Warwick-2pm –Apocalypse Later? What will be Our Doom?

 Panelists: Cherie Priest, Larry Atchley Jr., Linda Donahue (M), Selina Rosen, Gloria Oliver

With all the talk of Apocalypse this year (and the past few days), one thing hasn’t been covered. What do our panelists think WILL destroy the world? Let conspiracies abound, and if the government is watching I was never here.

Also, I’m a bit behind on blogging about the last couple of conventions I’ve attended, so I’ll cover some highlights of the most recent events.

The Difference Engine was a Steampunk themed convention held New Years  Eve weekend, complete with a fancy dress ball. Musical acts for the ball included Darwin Prophet & The Chronus Mirror which upon hearing them for the first time instantly became one of my new favorite bands.

Also there was Donna the Bard, who brought many instruments with her and let audience members join her in playing some traditional folk music. Thanks Donna, for making it an interactive show, I had a lot of fun! Also performing that weekend was tribal Heidi Wunder with violinist Jennifer Sanders providing musical backing for the show. Both were excellent entertainers, and a pleasure to meet. Action, comedy performing was provided by Cut, Thrust, and Run who are always a blast to watch with their swordplay, quarterstaff whirling, and jokes. Lest I forget, the Master of Ceremonies  for the con was Peter Pixie, who was  fun and energetic to be around.

I had a good time attending the promotions table for the Irredeemable Order of Hellions selling copies of Lawyers in Hell, and Forrest Hedrick and John Manning’s  horror novel Black Stump Ridge. I met a lot of great people that weekend. The guys from geek culture website Nerdvana Inc. stopped by, and they included John and I in their write-up about the convention on their website. So our fame is spreading ! Ha ha!

Last weekend I attended the Dallas Sci-Fi Expo strictly as a patron and not as a guest. As I always seem to do at any event I go to, I met some great people and made some new friends. Particulatly artist Kathryn Crenshaw who correctly identified my costume of radio show and pulp classic character, The Shadow.  She said that her dad raised her on the old pulp classic books and comics, and that’s how she recognized my obscure outfit. She also told me that he had a vendor table at the convention, and that I should go talk to him because we probably had a lot of interests in common. It turns out that we did, and he also had the two Thieves’ World graphic novels that I had been looking for to complete my collection. He also had a lot of really great Robert E. Howard books, and much more stuff from the classic age of fantasy and science fiction. There were also dozens of tables full of collectable toys, action figures, shirts, patches, costumes, and anything else you can imagine to do with Sci-Fi/Fantasy fandom.

Anyway, that’s a wrap for the blog this time. I hope you will come see me, and all the other guests at ConDFW this weekend. I know it will be a lot of fun.

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.