I attended my second World Horror Convention earlier this month. This year’s was in Portland, Oregon. The city is HUGE and my wife really wants to move there now. I’m not sure about that, but it was very nice to visit.
It was great to get to see so many friends and cool people I’ve met over the last year. Kristen Dearborn and Steve McDonald–so great to see you guys again. Kristin got attacked by a giant bird. Steve and I discussed the giant dirt bike ramp atop one of the city buildings (and the helicopter driver guy).
I got a chance to catch up with Rena Mason– who took home this year’s Stoker Award for Best First Novel (The Evolutionist)–and her editor (and my WHC guide last year) RJ Cavender. Congratulations to both of you.
I also got a chance to meet Lucas Mangum who I’ve had a pleasure chatting with via Facebook over the last year or so. Lucas is a great guy. It’s always nice to meet another semi-new guy on the block. Maybe we can break the big-time together!
Nice to see, however briefly, Erinn Kemper, Usman Malik, and Shane McKenzie…and to meet Wrath James White. I got a chance to tell Wrath a story I shared with Shane in New Orleans about my history with Wrath’s book, The Resurrectionist. He laughed and was totally cool with hearing that I tore up his book. –I have since discovered that I really love that book and need to re-read it.
Then, there was the pitch session. I pitched to Michael Baily at Dark Regions. Michael was very cool and let me ramble about my latest novella without making me feel like a fool. Thanks, Michael! That novella is also with Don D’Auria at Samhain, so we’ll have to see if either one is interested (fingers crossed!).
Speaking of my editor…It was awesome to get some quality sit-down time with Don and discuss my future with him and Samhain. It’s humbling to hear one of your heroes tell you they really love something you’ve done. My debut piece with Samhain, a novella called, Abram’s Bridge, will be out in early 2015. I’m currently working on about three other projects for Don’s desk at the moment, but we’ll have to wait and see which one (if any) comes out good enough to get the green light. I really appreciate Don and the fact that he’s one of the sweetest, most genuine people in the industry, and that he truly cares about each and every writer in his camp. He made me feel as valued as say, Hunter Shea or Jonathan Janz. Super cool.
Don also gave an amazing speech during the presentation of the Grand Master Award to another hero of mine, Brian Keene. Don displayed all of the above characteristics in a speech that (I heard through the grapevine) brought a tear to Mr. Keene’s eye.
One of the most amazing things was getting to meet Jack Ketchum. I walked up to him and told him it was great to meet him and that Off Season was terrific. He said thank you and then asked me what brought me to the convention. I told him about my upcoming novella with Samhain and he congratulated me. A surreal moment. We walked inside together chatting like two new friends. I couldn’t believe he was so open and so easy to talk to. Later on, I got to have him sign my copy of Off Season and got a few pictures with him.
I also got to meet Gord Rollo (another of my old Leisure Book favorites) and, for a minute, Brian Keene. Brian told me Don sends him a lot of the stuff he puts out and that maybe he’d be reading my story in the future. Yep. Somebody punch me in the face. These guys are way too cool.
My wife and I attended our second Bram Stoker Awards ceremony at the Con, as well. Don welcomed us at the Samhain table. We got to meet Russell James (who gave me a lot of valuable advice regarding Samhain and Don-Thanks, Russell!) and Stephen Graham Jones and John Palisano (Springsteen forever!). I also got to meet Tim Waggoner and Jonathan Moore. Cool peeps, for sure. The Samhain after party was held about the same time as the Gross Out contest. My wife and I chose to chill at Don’s event. I got to chat up Don, Erinn Kemper, Carl Alves, RJ Cavender, and nearly got in trouble (free beer!) being a little foolish (I might have thrown something on the floor and talked about my son’s penis).
All in all, it was another fantastic experience. When I decided to commit myself to writing a few years ago, I could never have dreamed of being so welcomed and getting to travel across the country to hang out with such an amazing group of people. I am grateful and appreciative for this great community of writers. Thank you for letting this weirdo hang out with you.
Here are some more WHC/ Stoker Award shots: