A LITTLE RAIN couldn’t dampen the high spirits of Horror fans last weekend in Cincinnati, although nobody wanted to stand in the drizzle on Friday waiting for the doors to open for the first HorrorHound Weekend of 2023! Luckily, the clouds didn’t last all weekend.
I drove down to Cincinnati on Thursday night, intending to visit the Hofbrauhaus in Newport, KY for dinner but thanks to the rain, I opted instead for White Castles and a quiet night in my hotel to rest up for the big weekend. I did, however, get a chance to stop at Jungle Jim’s International Market on the way in. I’d heard about the place from my friend Linsi on my last visit and it was only 15 minutes from my hotel so… sidetrip!
And man, was it worth it! Jungle Jim’s is literally the largest supermarket I have EVER seen. They literally have MAPS for shoppers. From aisles of international foods and giant sacks of rice to live seafood to a cigar humidor room to cookware to an enormous liquor section… the place was amazing. They even have a tasting bar in the liquor section, where I got to try a 3 Floyd’s Zombie Ice. I love their Zombie Dust ale and didn’t realize there was a new variety coming out… it was great!
If you’re ever in Cincinnati, check it out. And be prepared to spend an hour or two.
The pictures don’t do it justice.
Load-in on Friday was damp, and I think it took me longer to set up my booth than ever before, but once I had everything on the table, I decamped to 3rd Eye Brewing across the street for a 3rd Eye PA and a bite to eat… then it was back to the convention center for six hours of … TERROR!
OK, not terror. A helluva lot of fun. I got to reconnect with fellow author Michael West and my friends from Synapse Films, my booth neighbors for the weekend. I look forward to hanging out with the Synapse Team — Jerry Chandler, Don May, Tim and Angie O’Saben and Sean Provost — every year at shows and this year got to meet a new member of the gang — Carol LaBranche. And my longtime author friend from Delirium Books and Leisure Books days, Michael Laimo turned up unexpectedly as well, which was a great surprise (he’s working for a horror masks and dolls and such company these days!) And my friends Erica Wetzel-Fields (who brought NINE of my books to my table to sign!) and Krystyna Cole Ratliff turned up early (they visited Michael and me several times during the weekend.) And I got to talk a little with longtime friend, reader and artist Erica Kauffman of Atomic Cotton (whose booth was just down the aisle).
Friday was the busiest Friday at a horror convention I’ve ever seen, and the six hours the exhibit hall was open went by fast. I saw several familiar faces, saw lots of cool costumes and met a lot of new readers. It was a great day and at the end I went with the Synapse gang to B.J.’s Brewhouse to celebrate the start of a successful con.
Saturday is always the big day at a weekend convention and this one was no exception. We were in the hall from 10-7 and and had a blast. Jerry even put on three hours of Depeche Mode and The Cure on his portable speaker for me, which kept me moving all morning behind the books!
I saw some great costumes (Pinhead was amazing!) and talked to tons of horror readers, including a couple of V-Wars fans who recognized my characters from the Netflix series. Many of the people who stopped at my table had picked up my books at previous shows and came back for more (thanks to all of you!) There were even a couple people who remembered when my prior publisher, Samhain Publishing, was a sponsor of the convention and used to bring a bunch of authors in for signings (including me).
At the end of the day, I discovered there’d been a huge power outage a mile from the convention center (we lucked out at the show!) that had all of the hotels behind the expressway in darkness for about 8 hours. I went home to change my shirt and drop stuff off and had to walk up five flights of stairs in the dark to get to my room… but luckily, by the time I got back from a fun night with the Synapse gang at a hibachi restaurant, the power was back.
On Sunday morning, I stopped at Waffle House for my favorite breakfast – jalapenoed hash browns, omelette, biscuit and bacon before heading to the convention center fortified for the day. We don’t have any Waffle Houses in Illinois, so it’s always an anticipated treat!
I took some last shots of the hall when I got inside before the crowd hit and talked a bit with James from Vinegar Syndrome. Calm before the storm. I never did get a chance to meet any of the guests this time around, but I did snap a picture of Elliott Fullam from Terrifier 2. Ten years ago, I had a book booth at Flashback Weekend in Chicago next to his parents (his mom is super cool artist – see Little Punk People!) and he and my son Shaun spent the whole weekend playing video games together on iPads. It’s been so cool to see him having so much success with the new Terrifier movie (which was all OVER this convention!)
Sunday is always a strange day at shows. You know all the fun is almost over so the first couple hours go fast (and filled with yawns from late Saturday parties!)… and then everything slows down as the audience all but vanishes the last couple hours before the actual end time… and then it’s manic again – vendors all tearing down their booths and saying hasty “goodbye until next times.”
This one was no different, but at least it was a warm sunny ride for the first couple hours home. I stopped at the Yard House for dinner in Indianapolis as I always do for a relaxing dinner before finishing the last three hours home.
A huge thanks to Nathan, Jeremy, Aaron and the whole HorrorHound crew for yet another great show. Can’t wait until next time!