This past weekend, I did something utterly insane. Well, more insane than my usual, anyway. I attended both Necon and Scares That Care despite the fact that they were on the same weekend several states away from one another.
There were many reasons why I choose to do something so... crazy. For one thing, I'm horribly indecisive and both events would be full of friends I don't get to see often enough and trying to decide between them was making my brain hurt. For another, The Terminal is available in paperback and I am trying really, really hard to get more readers, more reviews, and (hopefully) more fans, and pulling a crazy stunt like attending two conventions many hundreds of miles away from each other in the same weekend seemed like a good way to draw some attention. Yet another reason is that I wanted to test the waters a bit to see which convention I want to attend in 2017, as Necon and Scares That Care will fall on the same weekend once more then.
I had a wonderful time at both events. I saw some amazing, awesome people, had some terrific conversations, got some great new reading material, and sold some books. There were far, far, FAR too many great things for me to recall, let alone recount in a single blog post, so don't feel sad or left out if you don't get mentioned. There was simply too much awesome.
First up was Friday at Necon in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. I've attended Necon for the past few years and it has always been an excellent time. Necon is less of a convention and more of a great big family reunion where everyone just happens to be a horror enthusiast and a creator of one type or another. It's a great event, run by amazing people, and attended by some of the most talented authors, editors, and artists in the business. It's also about 90 minutes away from my house, so getting there was a bit less crazy than you might think.
Necon isn't the type of event you'd want to attend as a fan. It's geared more towards writers, publishers, editors, illustrators, etc. It's a close knit group of people who are always welcoming, kind, and full of advice and enthusiasm. There are some awesome Necon events (which I missed this year, sadly) like the annual Necon Roast and Saugies! (If you don't know what that is... go to Necon and attend the Newbie group event the first night!), industry focused panels, informative kaffeeklatsches (which are like panels, but more open and conversational), a Hawaiian shirt competition, signing party, and of course a Dealers' Room.
My day at Necon was far too short, but it was full of great moments, like these highlights:
I attended a Kaffeeklatsch called A Thousand thousand Paper Cuts: The Year in Print where my good friends Cat(herine Grant) and Barry (Lee Dejasu) talked about their favorite books of the year, along with my new friend, Frank Michaels Errington, and pal Charles Rutledge and others. Amazon thanks all of them for the box of books that was delivered to me today.
|Me and Linda|
I took a selfie (left) with the utterly amazing Linda Addison. I met Linda a few years ago at some convention or another, and I've been envious of her killer sense of style ever since. Linda is an incredibly talented poet. If you're friends on Facebook or you follow her on Twitter, you've seen her life poems. You know.
Jeff Strand (If you aren't reading Jeff's stuff, GET TO WORK! Oh, and sign up for his newsletter!) bought a copy of The Terminal and signed the very first personalized copy of his new novel, Blister, to me. (I haven't finished it yet, but so far I think it might be his best!)
I heard a great, funny 'ghost' story from Sephera Giron.
|Scott gets all yarned up.|
I chatted up many fantastic people, friends old and new, whom I hadn't seen in far too long.
I watched Scott Goudsward of the NEHW get yarn bombed for charity while catching Pokemon (Pictured right).
I met my dear friend, Mercedes Yardley, in person for the first time and she gave me the soft blue Gamut blanket she made for me (Pictured below).
|Me & Mercedes & Blanky|
All in all, it was a great, though short, day!
Next up, Saturday, was my ONE DAY ONLY! appearance at Scares That Care in Williamsburg, Virginia. It was my very first Scares and I was really excited to go, as I've heard just about everyone saying that it's the best convention they've been to as a reader or a fan since the first one back in 2014. Scares That Care is a more 'traditional' sort of convention, but only in the sense that it's fan oriented. In every other sense, it's a cut above.
The event is run by a really awesome charity of the same name that does so much good for people suffering from awful diseases or were victims of tragic events like fires. The fact that the proceeds go to help people who truly need it is wonderful and definitely makes attending an even more positive experience. Joe Ripple is a truly inspiring person and a generous guy indeed.
Much like my Necon visit, my single day at Scares That Care was far, far too short. Again, if I didn't mention you or our conversation, I'm sorry! There was simply too much awesome for one post to contain! Here are a few highlights:
|Ignore my sweaty red faced-ness. I do not tolerate heat well.|
First... not chronologically but because I am still reeling... Joe R. Lansdale, (yes THAT Joe R. Lansdale!) bought a copy of The Terminal and asked me to personalize it to him and his lovely and (also very talented) wife, Karen. I have been a fan of Mr. Lansdale since I read his short, Mad Dog Summer, in the same anthology that introduced me to Rick Hautala. Photographic evidence to the left!
I attended a reading by Yvonne Navarro ( aka The Vampire Queen) and Kelli Owen (Buttercup of Doom) that was really excellent. Kelli read from my favorite of her stories, Wilted Lilies and it was great to watch her read such a deep, interesting, tragic character's tale. Yvonne read a very unsettling story about a blood sucking tax collector. Ewe!
Brian Keene gave me a copy of one of his books that I didn't even know existed, which is pretty impressive, as he's my favorite author and I collect his work. That was pretty amazing!
I attended a reading by Robert Ford (and he didn't make my cry this time!) and Tom Monteleone, whom I've written about before. Bob read from his new release, The Last Firefly of Summer and Tom read one of his nonfiction pieces from The Mothers and Fathers Italian Association. Both readings were great, as both readers are among the best in the business.
Jacob Haddon, of Apokrupha, was kind enough to share some table space with me, enabling me to sell a whole bunch of copies of The Terminal, which is excellent! His lovely wife, Leah, was a fun table companion. I also got to chat with my friend, John Boden, and buy a copy of his new release, Jedi Summer.
Tom Monteleone, whom I referenced above, signed a copy of the newest Borderlands anthology to me with the following inscription:
|8 year old me would be speechless!|
Not one, but two separate people, on two completely separate occasions, referred to me as "Progeny of Jesus (JF) Gonzalez". Which... I can't put into words the feeling that evoked. I adore JF's work. His writing is extremely influential on my own. Not to mention the fact that he helped me out tremendously when I was just getting started, with advice, friendship, and even an interview on this very blog.
I watched the trailer for Mike Lombardo's I'm Dreaming of a White Doomsday, which looks like it's going to be fantastic. I absolutely love the source material: a deeply dark, depressing short story written by the director himself. I can't wait to see the movie in its entirety!
I chatted with the lovely Mary SanGiovanni. Mary is such a great person and a dear friend. I bought a copy of her con only chapbook, Shadow Puppets, which I'll be reading soon.
I discovered new favorite stories by two of my favorite authors: Kelli Owen's Childhood Ghosts, featured in the Scares That Care 'Zine, is a creepy tale with tons of Halloween flavor. Joe Lansdale's On A Dark October is just... it's pure Lansdale. It defies description. Sufficed to say, it's damned good.
There was pizza, good conversation, fun, and merriment enough to last me (MAYBE!) until the next con.