World Horror 2013 in New Orleans was no different… this was my 11th World Horror Con, and a special one for me, since my novel NightWhere was a Bram Stoker Awards finalist for best novel (the awards were held Saturday night).
I flew in Thursday morning and after checking in and getting the “lay of the land” in the Hotel Monteleone (a beautiful, classic hotel), I stopped in briefly at the hotel’s famous Carousel Bar – a round bar that slowly moves around its center. I’m not sure who thought this was a genius idea… I’d think the last thing that you’d want to encourage drinkers to feel is that the room is slowly spinning. I only had half a NOLA Blonde Ale there and I had to get off the merry-go-round and sit somewhere else.
After that, I took a walk through the quarter to Turtle Bay on Decatur, so that I could find a NOLA Brown Ale on tap – my favorite micro-brew in New Orleans. It’s a darker ale, like Abita Brewing’s Turbodog, but has a fuller, maltier aftertaste. Abita Brewing is on tap everywhere, but the smaller NOLA brewery, for my money, is crafting better beer.
After talking with my bartendress for an hour or two about her experiences in growing up in New Orleans (I never did get around to asking her what the skillsaw tattoo on her shoulder was all about!), I hit the restroom, focused, aimed and flushed, and headed back towards the Monteleone – now fully ready to join the convention.
This turned out to be the only day I was actually walking more than a couple blocks from the hotel in the quarter, so I’m glad I caught the performance of the Cajun band (complete with standup bass, fiddle and washboard!) on the streetcorner.
I sat in on John Little’s entertaining reading, and then got up to the mic myself, reading the prologue of NightWhere and then the title story to my second collection, “Vigilantes of Love,” which is set in New Orleans (I wrote it 10 years ago, inspired by my first trip to NOLA in the late ’90s).
After that reading, someone came up to me with a copy of In Laymon’s Terms with a request to sign it… I declined, since I’m not in the book… turns out he had me confused with John Urbancic. Once she caught wind of that story, Kelly Laymon began plotting to find other people to send to me to sign the volume. She ended up calling me Urbancic all weekend.
That night, Loren Rhoads invited me to join a group that went to Café Du Monde, and so I met Dana Fredsti and her husband David Fitzgerald, Craig Delouie, Erika Holt and Tammy Lindsley, who’s heading up next year’s World Horror Convention in Portland. We had coffee and beignets at midnight there, where Dana unwittingly demonstrated how NOT to eat beignets (she was covered in powdered sugar by the end!), but then after a nightcap (and a book trade with Dana – NightWhere for her Plague Town) we called it an early night.
The next morning I went to the “Anthologies – How To Get Your Story Into Them” panel with Angel Leigh McCoy, Vince Liaguno, R. J. Cavender, Bev Vincent, Ellen Datlow and Tom Monteleone before heading to the “New Media Presentation” by Guest of Honor Amber Benson (in which she showed her web series for BBC on Ghosts of Albion, written with Christopher Golden).
From there, I wandered into the “Zombie Apocalypse – Now What?” panel with Joe McKinney, Don D’Auria, F. Paul Wilson, Rio Youers, James Chambers and John Joseph Adams.
After an excellent lunch with my editor Don D’Auria at Redfish Grill, Chad Hensley grabbed me and Mikey Huyck for a beer (at the non-revolving bar), which turned into a chat session that lasted the rest of the afternoon, and was eventually joined by John Urbancik, Sephera Giron, Hal Bodner and Hank Schwaeble.
Finally, Hal, Hank and I decided we could stall no longer and headed to our 5 ‘oclock panel on “Extreme Fiction,” which also included Don D’Auria, Bracken MacLeod and C. W. LaSart. We seemed to be hung up on defining “torture porn” for awhile, but it was an entertaining panel, I think.
Then it was on to the “Mass Signing” where they sit all the authors of the con at tables and let everyone sign books that others bring, or sell their own books if they want. I shared at table with Damien Walters Grintalis, and we also had fellow Samhain authors David Bernstein, Brian Pinkerton and Russell James on either side – it was like the Samhain aisle!. I signed several copies of V-Wars, as well as some old Leisure paperbacks and a couple copies of NightWhere. Thanks to Sandy Shelonchik (and Deb Kuhn for the last one) for snapping these photos:
In turn, I had Yvonne Navarro and Jonathan Maberry sign MY copy of V-Wars, and brought Lucy Taylor a couple books to sign, including the Silver Salamander edition of her excellent Close to the Bone collection from the ‘90s.
After the signing, there was a “costume” dance party with a live band of authors, sponsored by Heather Graham (who also fronted the microphone). That led into an 11 p.m. party in the con suite with the lights low and lots of glowsticks available… which made their way to some interesting places in the following couple hours.
They also had a photo booth that spit out sheets of instant pictures, which was a big hit… especially with those who had been enjoying the open bar for awhile.
At some point late in the evening David Bernstein and I began talking shop and went out on the balcony overlooking the Quarter… and somehow 2:30 arrived and we were the last people in the room! So we finally called it a night.
Thanks to being awake ’til 3, I didn’t make any of the panels on Saturday morning, but I did go on a coffee run with Damien (who treated me to caffeine!), and then went to Alan Clark’s “Accidental Art” demonstration, where they used paint, balloons, a bit of water and a hair dryer to create some really beautiful acrylic paintings.
After that, I went to the Dealer’s Room and talked a bit with Shane McKenzie, Chris Morey, Armand Rosamilia, Mandy Slater and Steve Laurent. Then Loren Rhoads and I grabbed lunch at NOLA, a great Emeril restaurant near Jackson Square. I had some decadently rich shrimp and grits (with mushrooms!) and Loren had the biggest Po’ Boy I’ve ever seen.
To kill time before the Stokers, we checked out the rooftop pool (wish I would have brought a suit!) and met a fellow writer and fan who said she was rooting for NightWhere that night, since she’d really loved the book (always a nice thing to hear!)
I talked a bit with Tim Waggoner at the bar and Chad Hensley shot my picture in front of the big lobby grandfather clock (I need one of these for my house!) and then hung out in the art room for an hour with Alan Clark and Chad Savage… then … suddenly, it was time to get ready for the big night!
At the Stokers, the Samhain reserved tables were right up in front, so I literally was right in front of the podium – best seat in the house! Don D’Auria and his wife Leah Hultenshmidt flanked me on one side and Sandy Shelonchik and David Bernstein were on the other, giving me moral support for the night. And across the table, was fellow Chicagoan Brian Pinkerton and his wife. We also had Adam Cesare and Mason Bundschuh, so it was a pretty supportive table! Plus, my wife and son were watching the ceremony on the webcast, since they couldn’t be there, so thanks to that and frequent texts, it was like they were with me! But unlike past Stoker banquets, I wasn’t really nervous this time around. I think just feeling all of the love and support from so many at the convention over the weekend about the book put my nerves at ease – I didn’t need to win, I already had the affirmation of my peers about the book.
There were some great moments over the course of the night; Jeff Strand was his typical hilarious emcee self, and Ramsey Campbell set up the Best Novel award with an amusing story about looking back on what a “book” is from the future. (yes, he joked, they used to actually be these things on paper that you opened and touched!)
I was proud to be at the ceremony where Clive Barker received his Lifetime Achievement Award, since his work has been such an inspiration and influence to me over the years (and he was there in 2005 and took a picture with me when I won my Stoker Award). I served on the Lifetime Achievement jury this year, so it was great to see that part of the ceremony in person! Unfortunately Clive couldn’t be there this year, but his assistant gave a speech on his behalf. Robert McCammon was also a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, and he was there to accept, which was awesome.
As a Chicagoan, I was very proud and happy for Mort Castle, who has been an inspiration and strong supporter of my work – Mort took home two awards, one for his short fiction collection New Moon on the Water and one for Shadow Show, the Bradbury tribute anthology he co-edited with Sam Weller. Later that night, the three of us grabbed Chad Savage and Brian Pinkterton and took a “Chicago boyz” photo at the Stoker After-Party.
While the innovative V-Wars anthology he pulled several of us into unfortunately didn’t make the Stoker ballot, I was happy to see Jonathan Maberry win a haunted house for his Young Adult novel Flesh and Bone.
And then… it was the end game… I thought about what I would say if NightWhere won the best novel award – thanking my wife, Geri, and Don, the editor of all my novels. Thanking people like Charlee Jacob, Lucy Taylor, Tim Waggoner and Mort Castle for their inspiration and support.
The envelope opened…
And NightWhere was not the winner. No need to be all nervous about a speech!
A letdown… but I was OK with it all. When I wrote the novel, I never even considered that NightWhere would end up as a Best Novel finalist — none of my other novels have been in that category, and this one was the most “out there.”
After Caitlin Kiernan took home the Stoker for Best Novel, the formal ceremonies ended, and I dumped the suit and tie for jeans and went to drink a few at the Stoker After Party sponsored by Samhain. They had a giant poster of NightWhere there, which ironically right after its loss, was the first time the poster had “come out of the closet” all weekend (it had gotten locked up with some other packing materials and never got set out during the rest of the panels and sessions over the weekend!)
Brian Pinkerton shot a picture of me in front of it, and returned the favor with his giant Killer’s Diary poster.
I also shot a video of the impromptu jam session that Mort Castle and Mason Bundschuh staged in the corner near the bar.
Harmonica and ukelele blues?
It all wound down, ironically, to the same group that I started the con with, three nights before. Dana, David and Tammy took Brian Pinkterton and me back to a room party for a glass of wine with Seph, Chris Morey, Matt Schwartz and a couple others, and then it was a flurry of goodnights and goodbyes… five hours later, I was on a shuttle on the way to the airport (having had almost no sleep, thanks to the street revelers outside my window!)
As always, it all felt much too short, but it was great to catch up, albeit briefly, with old friends, as well as meet some new ones. And now the clock begins counting down to World Horror 2014… next May in Portland.
The 10th anniversary edition of Vigilantes of Love, my 2nd short story collection, came out in e-book a couple months ago, and now I’m happy to announce that it’s also available once again as a trade paperback. The book includes an updated cover (using elements of the original, but rearranging them a bit), a new preface from me (about the book and the decade since its release) and six stories that were originally considered for the 2003 edition but cut due to space considerations. So the collection now offers 21 stories in all and 228 pages in print. It’s grown up over the past decade 🙂
Take a look here: http://www.amazon.com/Vigilantes-Love-Tales-Dark-Light/dp/0615808603/
In his review of the original edition of the book, T.T. Zuma from HorrorWorld said: “There are several stories in Vigilantes of Love that I would consider not only above average, but superb. Quite simply, they are among the most enjoyable short stories that I have read in the past few years. Everson managed to put an emotional spin into these tales that affected me so deeply that I paused for awhile after reading each one. And it was not because any of these stories were overly intense, in fact, I thought their approach subtle, but still, they managed to pack one heck of a punch.”
Here’s the 10th Anniversary bookcover and full description:
The 10th Anniversary edition of Vigilantes of Love, John Everson’s second book-length collection of tales of short fantasy and the macabre, includes a new preface by the author and six additional stories not present in the original release!
A woman whose life is shaped and doomed by the “Calling of the Moon”…
A girl who learns the secret powers of the “Seven Deadly Seeds”…
A boy who finds that the power of music can open a hidden world thanks to a flute hidden in the attic…
A man who learns the meaning behind the voodoo curse that brings the “Vigilantes of Love” from the hearts of the New Orleans swamps to punish the adulterers under the light of the full moon…
Vigilantes of Love offers these and many more tales of dark magic, the macabre and things that happen when you go one step beyond. Vigilantes of Love was originally issued in 2003 by Chicago-based Twilight Tales, a year before a limited edition of Everson’s first novel, the Bram Stoker Award-winning Covenant, was released. While Everson’s first book of short fiction, Cage of Bones & Other Deadly Obsessions, focused on erotic horror, Vigilantes of Love was something of a flip side — this collection offers light and dark fantasy tales, mixed with the occasional slice of horror.
The Dark Arts Books 10th Anniversary edition of Vigilantes of Love is an expanded release that includes six never-before-collected Everson tales — including his first horror publication, “Learning To Build” — alongside Vigilantes of Love‘s original 15 dark fantasy and horror stories. The book includes the voodoo-zombie oriented title story, written especially for the collection, as well as “Calling of the Moon,” which received an Honorable Mention in the Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror anthology, and “Lovesong” a 5th Place winner in the 2000 World Horror Convention Fiction Contest.
To purchase a copy or get more information, visit: http://www.amazon.com/Vigilantes-Love-Tales-Dark-Light/dp/0615808603/
Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been to Ann Arbor, Michigan and Calgary, Canada on business trips. Both turned out to be great micro-brew towns, with a handful of small breweries all within a few blocks of each other. So over the course of a few days I poked my head in, snapped a couple pictures and sampled a variety of ales. Click on any of the pictures to see larger versions…
For such a small town, they had an awful lot of busy brewpubs downtown! Interestingly, I had two different locals tell me that the best brewpub in town was Grizzly Peak, so we hit there for dinner the first night. While the menu looked great, the food we had was lackluster (my potatoes came out nearly cold) and the beer we sampled was thin and flavorless. I thought the Bear Paw Porter was OK, but nothing to return for.
The next night we stopped for a beer at Jolly Pumpkin after a great Mexican dinner across the street. I wish we could have spent more time there! The atmosphere at the Pumpkin was better than Grizzly Peak’s, it looked like a good menu and a much better mix of taps. As it stood, I only tasted the Siren, a decent amber ale.
The next night for dinner, we went to Arbor Brewing Company, which had good burgers and an excellent Olde Number 33 German Alt. Both Arbor and Jolly Pumpkin feature some pretty arty labels for their bottled beers – I looked at some of the posters of the bottle art on the walls and wanted to hang them in my basement!
Finally, on the last night, as we were heading out of town, we decided to stop at Blue Tractor BBQ and Brewery. And we hit the mother lode. The barbecue was excellent (great cole slaw, tender brisket, a couple of good tableside sauce options) and the beer was quite good as well – I enjoyed their Sudworth Bock, which apparently has won a couple of World Beer Championship gold medals. That will definitely be my first stop the next time I’m in Ann Arbor!
Another smaller city, I found Calgary to be a pretty big beer town in the couple nights I was there. On the first night, I just walked across the street from my hotel to The Palomino to have some barbecue (pretty decent) and found several area microbrews on tap.
The next night, I had a couple hours free to walk around, so I mapped out a couple places to check out.
First I stopped at Craft Beer Market, a hip brewpub with over 100 Beers on Tap. I had a bowl of their Cheese/Jalapeno soup, which was phenomenal, paired with an equally pleasing Howe Sound Rail Ale Nut Brown brewed in Squamish, BC. I could have kept drinking that, but with 100 taps to choose from… I figured I should taste something else. So I had a couple samples of things that didn’t bowl me over, and then settled on a pint of Central City Red Racer IPA from Surrey, BC which was a nice little IPA – surprisingly drinkable for 80 IBUs.
I pulled the plug then on Craft Beer Market, to check out another place for dinner, but pledged to come back the next night.
I decided on dinner at the Design District Urban Tavern, a really fun gastropub that changes their menu daily.
They have chalkboards on the walls as well as on wheels throughout, so that you really had to look the place over to figure out what you wanted!
They also turned out to have the best Poutine (with roasted jalapenos!) I’ve ever had. I’ve been to Canada quite a few times, but it was only in the past year or two that I finally realized the allure of their Poutine (french fries with cheese curds doused in brown gravy).
The District Burger wasn’t bad either. 🙂
On my last night in town, I decided to have dinner at Craft Beer Market… but when I got there, I found that every seat in the place was taken! It was mobbed (I can understand why… but I was pretty disappointed!).
Instead, I walked a couple blocks to Hudson’s Canadian Tap House. The place had a perfect brewpub atmosphere – great bar, some nice booths… but after a couple of appetizers and their Bale House Ale, I’m afraid I wasn’t terribly excited by any of it.
I wrote there for awhile, but then cashed it in because I didn’t want anymore “just ok” beer when there were plenty of options in town. I stopped back at Craft Beer Market, but the mob there was even worse than before — in fact, they pull all the chairs from the bar on Fridays because it’s so crowded!
So then I walked down to Brewsters, a nice brewpub with their own microbrews. They are also physically connected to Beer Revolution, so if you don’t like the house taps at Brewsters, you can walk down the hall and be in another restaurant/bar with essentially the same menu, but a host of microbrew taps. Their taps change so regularly, that the place is outfitted in lighted menus showing what’s on tap that day and how long it’s expected to remain available. Pretty cool system for the hop head!
I wish I’d had more time to explore Calgary – it seemed like a really friendly, homey city – with a rich network of gastropubs and brewhouses!
I travel a lot both for my dayjob and book promotion… and I love tasting good craft beer. So that means I end up trying a lot of different brews in a lot of different places. I’ve been posting snippets and pictures periodically over the past few years, especially on Facebook, about my various discoveries. But I was thinking after my last flurry of travel that I should start a separate topic on this blog to collect and document some of my adventures in beer snobbery! For my first official entry (I should probably eventually go back and tag some previous blogs to be part of this category as well), I’ll focus on Seattle.
Every time I’m in Seattle, I have a great experience. Last month, while visiting there on business, I enjoyed a home cooked steak dinner that rivaled anything I’ve ever had in a restaurant. And we ate with a great hilltop view over Puget Sound. Amazing.
The first time I visited the town was probably a decade ago now, and I enjoyed seeing Tanya Donelly play the Showbox Theatre and visiting the famous Crocodile club. I also discovered The Pike Brewery, which I returned to the second time I spent a few days in Seattle on business, in October 2009. On that trip, I got the chance to see Stars’ Amy Milan performing solo at The Triple Door, one of the slickest dinner clubs I’ve ever been in, as well as The Sounds play at the Showbox.
So I was looking forward to perhaps catching some more good music and visiting The Pike again last month when I returned to Seattle for a few days. The music turned out to be missing, but I did discover a couple of new breweries.
On my first night in town, I was in the neighborhood of Elysian Brewery’s Tangletown Bistro, and so I walked a mile and enjoyed a Southwestern dinner there with a pint of their Superfuzz Blood Orange Pale which had a nice zing to it.
I’d been hoping to try their brown ale, which was listed on their website, but didn’t end up being “on” at the tap.
This trip, it turned out that I couldn’t spend a lot of time at The Pike – I stopped in briefly for a pretzel and a pint, but there was nothing particularly grabbing on tap.
I didn’t stick around The Pike because I wanted to head down the road to sample things at Pyramid Brewery. Some of their beer is distributed to Chicagoland, so I thought I’d see what their taphouse was like.
A big wide room, since they’re located near the ballpark and obviously get some big crowd traffic. But they had a decent pub menu and a good lineup of homebrewed taps, including some that aren’t bottled. Much to my chagrin, the one I liked the best – Weiss Cream Ale – is only served there.
Here are a couple other shots of Pyramid:
And a few shots from The Pike and Pike’s Market, the hub of Seattle’s downtown, and home of the world famous Pike’s Fish Market: