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

 

The Short Pale Writer at Texas Pirate Festival This Weekend

I will be performing as Captain Lars Shortshanks with my fellow crew mates in The Seadog Slam at the Texas Pirate Festival in Hillsboro this weekend. We will be doing our customary readings of original pirate poetry and singing pirate songs plus at the closing of the day Shipwreck Show we will be reciting dirty limericks, jokes, toasts, and performing filthy bawdy pirate songs. Audience participation is mandatory so come join us for some dirty pirate fun. The schedule for the weekend is as follows:

Saturday: 1:30, 4:00, 5:30 and Shipwreck Show at 6:30.

Sunday: 1:30, 3:00 4:30, and Shipwreck show at 5:30

Here’s the complete schedule for all performers this year:

Texas Pirate Festival 2014 schedule

Come out and get yer pirate on! Be there or we’ll keelhaul yer sorry arse! Arrgh!

 

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.

095

 

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

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.

 

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

The Life of a Piratical Con Man

Take everything you like seriously, except yourselves. Rudyard Kipling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Back in the Saddle Again

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

             -Terry Brooks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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.

 

Special Guest Tonight on TMV Cafe Internet Radio

“I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about.”
Oscar Wilde

I will be a guest on the TMV Cafe internet radio show Free Pie Night, tonight, at 9:00 PM Central Standard Time. There is also a chatroom on the website where you can interact with the fans, guests and hosts of the show. Go to www.tmvcafe.com to join the fun.  I will be talking about how I got my big break of being a published author, and about my experiences writing for the shared world anthology series Heroes in Hell, created and edited by Janet Morris and Chris Morris. My story “Remember, Remember, Hell in November” was published in the book Lawyers in Hell, in 2011. I have a story, “Ragnarok & Roll”  in the latest book, Rogues in Hell, which will be published this Summer in 2012.

Also I will try to mention some of the other anthologies I have been writing for which will be published in the next few months, like Sha’Daa Pawns, created by Michael H. Hanson, and What Scares the Boogeyman, a horror anthology created by John Manning. I also have a poem called “The Shadow People”,  that will be published in the collection A Book of Night, created by Richard Groller, which will be my first poem to be published in a book. I had a couple of poems that were printed in a collection of art and poetry contributed by students, that Grapevine High School created during my senior year, but this will be the first time my poetry is released by a real publisher.

I have been busy working a lot of overtime hours at my day job, trying to pay the bills, so I haven’t had much time or energy for writing lately unfortunately. Some of my works in progress though include a fantasy novel, a fantasy adventure short story, and a story for the next book in the Sha’Daa series. I am also working on ideas and an outline for a story to submit for the next Heroes in Hell book, tentatively titled, Dreamers in Hell. My goal is to have a story included in all of the new books in the series, so I am hoping this one will get the stamp of approval from Janet and Chris. I am thinking this will be a much more  introspective sort of story than my last two. I’m bringing in a new main character, noted psychologist and spiritualist, William James, who is going to psychoanalyze Anton LaVey for his post-life identity crisis of finding himself in a hell he never believed existed, serving a fallen angel that he denied even being real. Guy Fawkes will also return again from my first two stories, and try to blow things up as always, including possibly the pearly gates of Heaven itself.  It will be a fun story to write, and I hope, to read also.

I’m behind on my blogging about the various conventions I’ve attended as a guest  in the last couple of months, so you can expect my report on ConDFW, All-Con, and The Nightmare Machine, at some point when I get around to writing those. They were all loads of fun and I met so many awesome people, as I always seem to do at cons. I really enjoyed being on the discussion panels and doing the story readings and it was an honor to be part of those events.

That’s about all that’s going on for now. I hope you will all tune in tonight to listen to me on the radio show. Also the show that airs before it at 8:00 PM CST, After Rot, is hosted by a friend of mine, who goes by the name Zombie Zak. He and his co-host Jazzy talk about all things to do with comics, movies, superheroes,  zombies and all kinds of other random stuff. It’s always a fun show, you should check it out.