Poets, Vampires, & The Tears of Isis: World Horror Convention 2014

THE TEARS OF ISIS didn’t quite go all the way to winning a Stoker® this year, Isis now being free to resume her career as a major chthonic as well as maternal figure in the pantheon of Ancient Egypt, but otherwise — and despite rain on Thursday and Friday — World Horror Convention in Portland Oregon was fun.  For one thing the hospitality suite was hospitable this time (as compared to last year, see June 19 2013), and extremely so for which kudos go to the convention staff.  The programming was interesting and fun as well although there were complaints even before the convention started about the lateness in its being announced, including participants being told what panels they’d been assigned to — in fact at least two authors told me they’d have to miss Sunday’s vampire panel because they’d already had to make conflicting travel plans.  In my case, however, having found a bargain hotel about four blocks away from the convention, I’d already planned to stay over till Monday, more on which later.

I’m writing this before and between things on Sunday, so more will come.  My first “official” duty was a videotaped interview Friday just after noon. as one of several award finalists who agreed to it — results, if any, probably not to come for up to two months.  Then later Friday came “Violence and Verse,” the poetry panel, in which we dismissed the violence part quickly and just talked about poetry.  Moderator was poet Rain Graves who gave me the opportunity to tell an anecdote about our first meeting at WHC in Chicago a dozen years back, and why one’s poetry “shalt not suck.”  We also missed one panel member, Linda Addison, but due to a temporary indisposition, not a scheduling conflict (in fact, Linda and Rain were the first ones I met Thursday evening at or about the registration desk).

Panels I attended Friday were “The Short Form” on short stories, “That Is Not Dead — H. P. Lovecraft’s Contributions to Modern Horror” (possibly more on Lovecraft and cosmic horror in general rather than specific examples), “Victoria Price Presents the Life and Influence of Vincent Price” (one of the con highlights, a wonderful, fun presentation of the actor’s life — which also inspired me to buy a DVD of FROM A WHISPER in the Dealers Room the next day, an anthology movie with Price as host that I’d been unaware of), and a brief stop-in on “The Work of Edward Gorey” (mostly about setting up the not-quite-museum Gorey House in Massachusetts).  The evening also included the Mass Autograph Session (sold two poetry books, as well as getting my picture taken in the presence of money, which has shown up on Facebook — strange, these modern times!) and a fairly sparsely attended, at least when I stopped by, Gothic Masked Ball (I did like the music, even if canned).

Saturday was a free day for me until the evening, with panels attended being “How to Put Together a Great Anthology” (pretty much along the lines of my putting together THE TEARS OF ISIS, though I had the advantage of already having determined whose work would be in it), “Life After the Walking Dead:  Zombie Fiction Today” (fun), “The Art of Shameless Self-Promotion” (self-explanatory), and a late-running selection of short indie horror films.

Then came the Bram Stoker Award® Ceremony in which I and Mike Arnzen presented the one for Poetry Collection (my third time, inspiring my joke-du-jour of how I was beginning to feel like the Lord Chancellor in Gilbert and Sullivan’s IOLANTHE, “giving agreeable awards away”) with the half that was present of the four-part authorship of the winner, FOUR ELEMENTS, consisting of . . . wait for it . . . Rain Graves and a back on her feet Linda Addison coming up for hugs and trophies.  A complete list of awards is below.  ISIS, as noted before, did not win for Fiction Collection but as co-presenter Steve Rasnic Tem pointed out, with the sheer number of good collections published in 2013, she can still be proud to simply have been on the list.

Then, the awards having been completed relatively early, I was able to catch most of the alternate program across the hall, “Dedite Press Presents the Bedlam Sisters Sideshow,” a wonderfully decadent cabaret circus (and in my opinion another highlight of the convention) which, yes, included some “you must be over 21” acts.  Though I came in just after the one that required sweeping broken glass from the floor, I did catch the worm-eating, the male striptease performed on a unicycle, the man on stilts/girl with strings attached human marionette act, the nail bed sandwich and gyrating woman on top with hula hoop act, the hanging inverted straitjacket escape, as well as several songs.  However I skipped the after-finale “attach money gratuities to the star’s body with a staple gun” session, being both squeamish and on a budget.

Then followed parties and overeating.

And here’s the “official” list, for those who might not have seen it already:

The winners of the Bram Stoker Awards® for 2013 were announced at the Awards Banquet on May 10, 2014, at the Bram Stoker Awards Weekend and World Horror Convention in Portland, Oregon. The winners for superior achievement in each of the categories are:

Stephen King – Doctor Sleep (Scribner)

First Novel
Rena Mason – The Evolutionist (Nightscape Press)

Young Adult Novel
Joe McKinney – Dog Days (JournalStone)

Graphic Novel
Caitlin R. Kiernan – Alabaster: Wolves (Dark Horse Comics)

Long Fiction
Gary Braunbeck – “The Great Pity” (Chiral Mad 2, Written Backwards)

Short Fiction
David Gerrold – “Night Train to Paris” (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Jan./Feb. 2013)

Glen Mazzara – The Walking Dead: “Welcome to the Tombs” (AMC TV)

Eric J. Guignard (editor) – After Death… (Dark Moon Books)

Fiction Collection
Laird Barron – The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All and Other Stories (Night Shade Books)

William F. Nolan – Nolan on Bradbury: Sixty Years of Writing about the Master of Science Fiction (Hippocampus Press)

Poetry Collection
Marge Simon, Rain Graves, Charlee Jacob, and Linda Addison – Four Elements (Bad Moon Books/Evil Jester Press)

The following awards were also presented:

The Lifetime Achievement Award
Stephen Jones
R.L. Stine

The Specialty Press Award
Gray Friar Press

The Silver Hammer Award (for outstanding service to the Horror Writers Assn.)
Norman Rubenstein

The President’s Richard Laymon Service Award
JG Faherty



  1. My gosh, sounds like a good time, even though ISIS didn’t take the little house, alas. That cabaret, was it real people or a movie? How odd! What was the food in the hospitality suite? What did you overeat later after the Stokers? Panels sound interesting. Was the poetry panel well attended? Hope you made the trip back safely with no delays.

    • Poetry panel was very well attended, cabaret was real, I ate lots of roast beef sandwiches plus homemade poppy seed bread with cream cheese and fruit for breakfast, roast beef sandwiches after the Stokers (the official party, though, just had potato chips), the trip back Monday included thunderstorms over Chicago delaying connections just enough for me to miss the last shuttle out of Indianapolis by about 20 minutes, so I spent the night camped out in the Indianapolis Airport rotunda (which also has no food service in the wee hours — Indianapolis still lacks a certain cosmopolitan touch) and only got home at about 8 this (Tuesday) morning. So all in all it was kind of a mixed bag.

      Other than travel, though, it was a great time!

      • Bummer about spending night in Indianapolis. Gads, and no food courts? I am amazed. At least you didn’t starve in Portland! Roast beef being the main menu, I take it.
        The official party (Stokers) only had potato chips? Probably because the WHC folks did nothing to help the HWA volunteers at all, in any respect. I heard a lot of negatives about how it was run (no fault of HWA-ers, either.)

  2. They also had ham, some other kind of meat, a couple of sliced cheeses, but I’m sort of a roast beef purist at these things (whereas if one has to stop at a sandwich place while traveling, the ham or ham & cheese is often the best choice). On WHC vs HWA I can see a lack of communication though I don’t know. But also the Con Suite staff were working hard with what they were doing (only a handful of people) and may not have been in a position to help even if asked. One thing missing from the Con Suite though, come to think of it, were the sweets — candy, cookies, I’ve even seen cake on occasions at some cons (usually if someone had a cake for some other occasion, the leftovers may end up in the Con Suite, but which would be more appropriate to a party environment too,

  3. Oh — no sweets! yes, Lisa said that the Con suite was the one thing they did right. But there had to be more volunteers for other things that were not doing their job, including the Chairman – who, Lisa related, was nowhere to be seen, did not attend the banquet, nor did she answer emails –until the Sunday morning meeting at which she appeared, was congratulated for her great job by the WHC folks, and then she left. Just sayin’ —not exactly a smoothly run con on the part of WHC.

  4. I agree that omitting candies and cookies was a huge oversight!

  1. 1 William F. Nolan » Blog Archive » Poets, Vampires, & The Tears of Isis: World Horror Convention 2014

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