Had a great time yesterday hanging out with Brian Pinkerton, seeing Ron Fitzgerald’s always entertaining illusion show and talking to horror fans (and a couple video interviewers!) at the Chicago Horror Film Fest.
And I sat on a lively panel discussion about character creation with Brian, fest founder Jason Davis, Samhain Publishing labelmate David Hayes and Hailey R. Suits.
I can’t be back at the fest today for Day 2, but already looking forward to next year!
My fourth full-length short story collection, Sacrificing Virgins, is due to be released the first week of December — it’s available for pre-order now on Amazon — but if you’re going to be at HorrorHound Weekend in Indianapolis this weekend, you can grab a preview copy directly from me!
I will be at the Samhain Publishing booth Friday night – Sunday afternoon, and Samhain let me know this week that they will have a sneak peek early printing of the book available there! I can’t wait to see this one myself… nevermind the stories, I love the cover art!
It’s been eight years since my last full-length short fiction collection, Needles & Sins, and with 25 stories and over 110,000 words of fiction, Sacrificing Virgins will be my largest fiction collection to date… hell, it’s my longest book to date period!
Sacrificing Virgins compiles reprints, rarities and a couple never-before-published pieces taken largely from the past 10 years. But it also digs into a few earlier stories that haven’t been previously collected, including the title story, which was originally published in a long out-of-print Delirium Books hardcover anthology called The Dead Inn. Also featured are some of my favorite pieces from hard-to-find anthologies like Relics & Remains, Terrible Beauty, Fearful Symmetry, Gothic Blue Book and two stories published over the last year in the critically acclaimed anthologies Qualia Nous and Eulogies III.
Since my mini-collections Creeptych and Deadly Nightlusts are out of print, this new book also compiles the best (and bulk) of the tales that were in those short books as well. Sacrificing Virgins also includes all of my novel tie-in stories: “Ligeia’s Revenge” originally appeared in translation in an Italian magazine and is a spinoff story of my novel Siren. “Field of Flesh,” which appeared at the start of the year in Dark Discoveries, is a novelette set in the world of NightWhere. And “The Pumpkin Man” is also included — the original short story that inspired my novel of the same title.
Whether you stop by the Samhain booth at HorrorHound this weekend to say hi and grab a copy or pre-order Sacrificing Virgins on Amazon… I hope you’ll check it out and enjoy this compendium of some of my best short stories from the past decade… and more!
World Horror 2015 was a strangely quiet convention for me. I’m not sure why, really — maybe because I was so burnt out from the crazy weeks that led up to it — but it was almost like I was an “observer” at the convention. I just never… quite… engaged. While I did spend some good times with old friends, I also ended up having a couple meals off on my own. And everybody knows, you don’t waste meals at a con!
Still, I enjoyed the convention — and it was fun to see old friends and be at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis again, a truly memorable hotel architecturally. The last couple times I was there was for DragonCon, when the hotel and surrounding area are completely mobbed with 60,000 people. It was weird to see the hotel in a normal situation. After DragonCon — it felt like the place was a ghost town!
I got in on Thursday, May 7th and took the train in from the airport — highly convenient, yet the first time I’ve done that in Atlanta.
I met cool Samhain labelmate Frazer Lee on the walk from the train to the hotel… we would connect several times during the convention (I enjoyed watching some of his short films during the con), and Beth Gwinn snapped a good shot of us at one point (at right).
Once I got to my room and unpacked… I went downstairs to get my registration badge and bag… and couldn’t find the hidden level of the hotel that our convention was hidden on! It was very disconcerting, because I knew the con was there… and I’d been in the hotel many times before! Ultimately, of course, I did find it — but you had to go to a back escalator to a space that was perfect for a small convention — nicely contained — but yet… strangely remote.
Once I found where things were going on and got my badge, I decided to grab a snack and a local brew at the hotel’s High Velocity bar before diving into socialization. I tried some nachos with a Sweetwater Pale Ale. You have to be careful not to get dehydrated at a convention. I took due precaution.
Later that night, I would end up hooking up with Brian Pinkerton and Brian Kirk at High Velocity again for a burger and some more protein, before diving into my late night “erotica” panel with Nancy Kilpatrick, Dana Fredsti, Jason Brock, David Fitzgerald and Paul Dale Anderson. The topic was Terrifying Tropes: Little Deaths: Eroticism in Horror, but somehow… didn’t end up as “racy” as some erotic horror panels I’ve sat on in the past. Still, everyone seemed to have fun with it.
I took the next morning easy — poking in to a couple panels and then venturing outside, where I discovered Alma Cocina – a great Latin/Fusion place just a couple blocks from the hotel for lunch, which I turned the Grey Matter Press folks on to later in the con. To quote Grey Matter’s Anthony Rivera — “Great food and even greater margaritas, especially the Rosemary’s Baby margarita. But, while at World Horror Con, who could pass up a drink by that name?”
I should get my own program on the Food Network! “Eating with Everson!”
That night was the mass author signing, and while originally I’d heard that Samhain Publishing was carving out a block of tables for its authors… that didn’t happen. Still, I staked out a table with labelmate Frazer Lee and signed a few books in the back corner shadows.
After the mass signing, I connected with old friends Brian Pinkerton and Chris Welch and took them to Max Lager’s Wood-Fired Grill and Brewery, a spot I’ve been to near the Marquis before. It was a great dinner with great friends!
I stayed up too late on Friday night considering I had an early morning reading scheduled … but as it turned out… it didn’t matter. While I dragged myself downstairs to read the first chapters in my work-in-progress sequel to COVENANT and SACRIFICE early on Saturday morning, unfortunately the reading wasn’t in the program book and I didn’t think to pre-print signage to promote it… so… nobody came… and thus, nobody got to hear those unpublished chapters! That was ok with me… I went back to bed for awhile!
Saturday night was the Bram Stoker Awards and I sat with my editor, Don D’Auria, at the Samhain-sponsored tables for the event, which was great fun. I enjoyed watching my friend Jonathan Maberry present the Grandmaster Award to true grand master William F. Nolan.
That night, in the hotel bar, there was a great deal of connecting going on, and at one point, Tracy L Carbone, Kelly Laymon, James Newman, Lincoln Crisler and Monica J. O’Rourke and I took this shot.
As the night wore on, the bar slowly cleared — in fact, they kicked us out — and I ended up in the lower levels of the Marquis with Frazer Lee, Aaron Warwick Dries and old pal Michael Arnzen and his Seton Hill gang of authors/colleagues/students, which was probably the high point of the convention for me. I don’t think I’ve laughed that much at 4 a.m. in… maybe ever.
Had a great time this weekend at OdysseyCon hanging out with friends like Jonathan Maberry, W.D. Gagliani, David Benton, Chris Welch and Christine Verstraete and meeting very cool folks like Matt Forbeck, Alex Bledsoe, Paul Dale Anderson and James Frenkel. There were panels. There was craft beer. There was a cow zombie apocalypse at the opening ceremonies!
Christine Verstraete posted a nice summary of the con with some quotes on her blog.
For the Great Dane experience on the front end, I had a lunch and a beer with my friends Bill Gagliani, Dave Benton and Chris Welch before the con really got under way. Chris drove us all there, since he’s from the area, and it was a fine choice and a great, close-knit circle way to start the con!
The main reason I attended the con was because Jonathan Maberry was the guest of honor — and the new V-Wars: Night Terrors shared world anthology that he conceived and edited was originally due out the week of the con. I suggested since I was just a 3-hour drive away that we do a V-Wars panel (since I had stories in the first original V-Wars and in Night Terrors) and Bill Gagliani suggested a similar idea since Maberry’s X-Files anthology features a story from him and Dave Benton… so… it became a Maberry “Anthologies” panel which was a lot of fun (even though the V-Wars book got delayed by nine months due to a release format change from hardcover to trade paperback.)
Bill and Dave and I did a “late-night” Bedtime Stories panel as well together, where we read from some of our more racy works along with Paul Dale Anderson (who I was excited to meet, since he wrote for several of the Hot Blood anthology books back in the ’90s — an anthology series I always wanted to be a part of). And there were also panels on the “craft” of writing and publishing which were both entertaining and informative!
In between all of the shop talk, I also ducked out of the hotel to check out a really cool Madison microbrewery — Karben4. Their Fantasy Factory IPA is quite good – rivaling the drinkability of Chicago’s Revolution Anti-Hero IPA. (A couple 6-packs came home with me!) And you gotta love a joint that serves a summer sausage Reuben. Only in Wisconsin!
During the con, I was lucky enough to catch Jonathan one morning for breakfast, and also talked with Jim Frenkel a bit (loved talking midnight movies of the 1970s NYC Grindhouse era with him), and we had lunch on the final day across the street from the hotel. Jim was a long time editor at Tor, and does foreign rights agenting these days… so perhaps in the coming year, he’ll be getting some Everson books translated into more languages!
On my way home, I got to have lunch with someone (at the other Great Dane) who I’ve corresponded with for years but never met in person before — artist Travis Anthony Soumis, who did the limited edition book covers for my Necro and Bad Moon Books editions of Needles & Sins, The 13th and Siren. That was worth the trip all by itself!
Here are a few more photos from the weekend, (with thanks to Travis, Chris, Bill and Christine for snapping most of them).
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.
Yesterday, I was in Toronto, on a short 3-day trip for the day job… the upside was, I got to have dinner at Colum “Paperback Horror” McKnight’s house, and he introduced me to a couple of fellow horror authors — Jason Darrick and Tobin Elliott. And I had a chance to visit my old favorite spot there from previous visits – Elephant & Castle. I also got to see a record store… with real records. I wish I could have hung out there and shopped for more than five minutes!
Today, (after getting home late last night) I was in Chicago all day, for the horror “job” — signing books at Printers Row Lit Fest in the Horror Writers Association tent. It was a perfect day – sunny, breezy… a bit hot in the sun, especially since our tent was facing west at the end of the street of tents – but a nice summer day! I met Jeffrey Wilson, a very cool cross-genre horror writer who signed with me for the afternoon, and got to say hi to Jeremy Wagner who was holding down the signing “shift” just ahead of ours. My wife Geri and son Shaun came down and wandered the Lit Fest for awhile before camping in the tent with us, so it was kind of a family affair. Which was nice, since I’ve been gone on business trips much of the past two weeks, and will leave for another one (to Florida) tomorrow morning.
At one point, Shaun said he wanted to be sold, so Martel Sardina – who organized the whole HWA presence at Printers Row – made up a $1 million price tag, and we set him on the table, ready to make a deal. Of course… we didn’t actually “face him out” because we’re not selling him at any price 🙂
After the fest, we stopped down at Bar Louie’s for dinner before heading back to the burbs. The air conditioning felt amazing, after a day on our feet in the heat.
Tomorrow, it’s off to Florida, but we’ll be indoors virtually the whole time… which is just as well. I got plenty of sun today!
I was an author guest this past weekend at DucKon, a local SF/F convention that’s expending its reach a bit into horror these days as well. I was there briefly last year, but this time around (as the con celebrated its 21st year in existence), I was around for the full weekend and sat on a number of panels.
It was a nice local kick-off for the release of my sixth novel NightWhere, which launches in e-book form on all the major platforms tomorrow (it will be in trade paperback format in bookstores this fall).
The coolest part about it for me though was getting to spend some quality time with my friends (and fellow horror authors) W. D. Gagliani and David Benton. They live in Wisconsin, a couple hours away from me, so while we’re technically “close,” we rarely see each other except through conventions.
Since the three of us pretty much held up the “horror” end of the con’s programming, we were on a lot of panels together over the weekend, and had our own “Trilogy of Terror” hour on Friday night, where we read our fiction aloud. I read the Prologue to NightWhere, as well as an older short story called “Dead Girl on the Side of the Road.” Bill and Dave performed a riveting tag-team reading of a pretty intense horror short story that they co-wrote.
This was the first year that DucKon was at the Pheasant Run resort (in St. Charles, IL) which gave congoers some logistical hiccups: the exhibition area, where signings, the green room and parties were held, was as far away from the panel rooms as you could get — and it’s a big resort!
Still, we had a good time despite the exercise, and I found myself on some interesting panels, ranging from debating the existence of heaven with SF icon Gene Wolfe to talking about the “Mystique of Publishing” with Guest of Honor Robert Sawyer to discussing the definition of “Evil” and “Author Collaboration” with Bill and Dave.
And the Collaboration panel also allowed me to finally meet in person “Klingon Guest of Honor” Keith R. A. DeCandido who is one of the seven authors that Jonathan Maberry invited to create V Wars with him, a new shared world vampire anthology. Keith and I had originally proposed the collaboration panel as a good excuse to talk about that book, since we both have stories in it and were at the same convention. Unfortunately, the release of V Wars was delayed until the end of June, so we didn’t have copies on hand. Instead, Keith pulled up the cover image on his laptop to show the audience.
On Saturday, my wife Geri came up with our son Shaun to hang out and have a little mini-vacation at the hotel. They didn’t go to the con itself, but it allowed Shaun and I to take a dip in the indoor-outdoor pool, and later on, Shaun managed to attract a magician who made him a Spider-Man balloon. We all had a relaxed dinner with Bill and Dave before disappearing back into panels again.
Later, Bill and Dave and I checked out the “Barfleet” Party, a traditional element of DucKon which seemed a bit more subdued than last year (where was the Horta???) and then after a couple more panels on Sunday morning, the con was already over. It was a fast but enjoyable weekend.
But there’s no rest for the wicked. Tomorrow marks the release of NightWhere; on Wednesday I leave for a short business trip to Toronto, and on Saturday I’ll spend the afternoon at the HWA tent at Chicago’s Printer’s Row Lit Fest before hopping a plane again for work on Sunday.
I definitely can’t complain about being bored!
Thanks to Bill Gagliani for shooting a couple of these photos!
So for years now I’ve heard about how I should go to Flashback Weekend, a horror media con held out in Rosemont, IL (not far from where I work). For one reason or another, I’ve never ended up going, but this year, Mitch Wells, from The Horror Society.com offered to sell some of my books from his table, so I decided to head up and take him up on it — and finally check out the con.
I’m glad I did! While it was a nightmare plowing through the traffic to find any parking garage that was open in the area (Wizard World Chicago Comic Con was going on in the convention center right across the street!), I had a great day at Flashback.
As soon as I walked into the place, I ran into local horror friends Ron Fitzgerald and Martin Mundt. Not too much later, I found myself standing next to actor Lance Hendriksen at the bar, and then a bit later, I saw Christina Lindberg, the actress whose early 70s performance in Thriller – A Cruel Picture was Quentin Tarantino’s inspiration for the lead character in Kill Bill.
Probably the best part of the con for me though was the short Q&A with Malcolm McDowell which centered largely on his work in A Clockwork Orange. I first saw the movie 25 years ago as part of a college film class, and it had a strong impact on me then. He talked a lot about how the movie has continued to impact on each generation that discovers it, as well as of the eccentricities of director Stanley Kubrick, including how they chose the models who would serve as the titillation for Malcolm’s character in the film. McDowell said Kubrick invited him over to his house to hole up in a locked room to look at demo reels of actresses. They ended up taking photographs of the breasts of these nude models reciting Shakespeare and then, when the photos were developed, they met again to look at the stills side by side. They then took turns picking the best breasts. The kicker was, Kubrick had forgotten to mark which model was which on the photos. High art, indeed!
After having dinner at the bar and talking to an independent film promoter, I watched the Zombie Pinup Contest — which had a long line of contestants anxious for brains — and also saw Linnea Quiqley during a showing of a new documentary on the “Scream Queen” era, which was a cool look back at the age of B-movie horror queens. And I also had a great time talking with the guys at Synapse Films, who ended up with a bunch of signed copies of my novels.
After a showing of The Molemen of Belmont Avenue, the amazing Chad Savage gave me a tour of the Zombie Army Productions bus, which was hosting a party behind the hotel. You gotta love a gunmetal colored bus that’s been tricked out with a soundsystem and a bar. Those zombies know how to pour (maybe it’s the slow reflexes?)!
Next year? I want to hang out for the full weekend!
I’m off in the morning to drive down to Atlanta for Dragon*Con 2010. If you’re going to this phenomenal SF/F/H fan convention, I hope you’ll come by one of my panels or my autographing session and say hi!
I have to admit it’s with somewhat mixed emotions that I pack up to go this time around though. Two years ago, in 2008, I did my very first signing to promote the mass market release of Covenant from Leisure Books (at a Borders by Vanderbilt U. in Nashville) on my way down to Dragon*Con.
This year, I should be going down to triumphantly debut Siren, my fourth novel from Leisure, which just came out a month ago. However… at the moment, due to a number of factors, from distributors collapsing , the poor economy, the e-book revolution… Leisure finds itself on the brink. This means that Siren is in fact the company’s last mass market release, and a poorly distributed one at that.
Where do we go from here? is the question I’m faced with this month as an author. Nevertheless… tomorrow, I drive to Dragon*Con.
The future is so bright, I have to wear shades….
This weekend, I not only got Ramsey Campbell to sign that well-worn book, I took him and his wife Jenny to dinner on behalf of Hypericon, a Nashville Convention where he was the guest of honor.
Not only did I get to introduce the Campbell’s to one of my favorite barbecue restaurants — Jack’s Bar-B-Que — but afterwards, a group of us also took them downtown to the classic strip of honky tonk bars where country, rockabilly, folk and occasionally rock acts ply their tunes in bar after bar, with no cover.
Sitting next to Ramsey with Derek, the Dark/Goth/Horror track planner for Dragon*Con, while watching a country band jam on “Play That Funky Music White Boy” will live as one of the more surreal memories of my life, I suspect.
I actually first saw Ramsey several years ago at the World Horror Convention in Phoenix, but didn’t really get to talk to him at that time. Thanks to the more relaxing, quieter vibe at Hypericon, this time around we not only got to talk and have dinner, we ended up essentially interviewing each other the next morning, when it turned out that we were the only two panelists on the panel about “Developing Mood and Atmosphere in Fiction.”
It was there that Ramsey told one of the more fascinating stories I’ve heard from an author — of how he actually could read at the age of 18 months, and because of this premature talent, ended up scaring himself sleepless for many nights with an illustrated children’s story that he later sought out as an adult for years in bargain shops until he found an old used copy that he said still gave him the creeps.
But not only did I get the chance to get to know Ramsey Campbell a bit, I also got to talk about fiction “Inspirations” with Sherrilyn Kenyon and David Jack Bell, and did a reading late on Saturday night with Brian Hatcher where I read the prologues of my current novel THE 13TH, and the upcoming SIREN.
The reading actually interrupted another highlight of the con: this year I joined forces with Bryan Smith and his wife Rachael Wise to throw a “Blades, Babes, Booze and Barbecue” bash, riffing off the “girls with knives” covers of our books THE 13TH and THE KILLING KIND.
I brought in some cole slaw, pork, beef (and lots of sauce) from (where else) Jack’s for the bash, as well as a good bottle of Maker’s Mark, while Bryan and Rachael handled the room and beer and Mystery Science Theatre 3000 setup.
Sunday morning came far too fast, as it always does at a con. By lunchtime I was packed up and starting down the long road home (it’s a good 8-9 hour drive from Nashville to Chicago with rest stops).
Along the way of the weekend, I got to catch up a bit with some other old friends like Jason Sizemore, Elizabeth Donald, Alethea Kontis and David Jack Bell and met some new ones, in particular novelist Eric Wilson, who joined Derek and me for a long discussion of e-books and the music industry (yes, there is a correlation) after my signing on Saturday afternoon.
All in all, it was a great con!
Here are a couple other photos from the weekend:
– Thanks to everyone who contributed photos!