Posts Tagged ‘The Writing Life’

So, as we know (cf. March 4, below) I made it home from Providence Sunday, though fate (and American Airlines) apparently would have preferred that it be Monday.  A flight to Philadelphia cancelled (one does not get to Indianapolis without changing planes at some point in the journey)!  But I persisted as the saying goes, and a way was found, via Washington DC, with only one small glitch — it left from Boston.  Ha ha!

But I once lived in the Boston area a long time ago and Logan Airport is no farther from Providence than, say, Indianapolis from where I live now.  There are trains and busses, though schedules might be chancy on Sunday.  So going back to the Dean Hotel (a lucky connection with a Providence city bus from the airport there back into the city) where I had been staying, and technically wouldn’t have had to check out till 11 a.m., where they let me borrow my room key back to rest for an hour or two, then set up a ride for me via Uber for, still, significantly less than the cost of an extra night in a hotel.

So I got back to Bloomington three hours later than I had planned — big deal, big deal!  I who had survived, and walked between hotels, and 7-11s and CVSs to cobble together a rustic lunch, what USA TODAY has described as a “bomb cyclone”!

So, weather disasters and airports aside, just what was I doing at StokerCon?

Not schmoozing in the ConSuite for one thing.  They didn’t have one — which is rather amateur in my opinion, the hospitality suite even more than proverbial, though over-noisy hotel bars being where people get together during lulls between panels and other activities.  On Friday night, however, after 4 p.m.’s Dark Poets Face to Face Redux, several of the poets and I kind of faked it with order-in pizza (the “bomb cyclone” beginning to wind down) in one of our number’s room.  And at 8 p.m. repaired from there to the Third Annual Final Frame Horror Short Film Competition, won by the very funny — and horrid — Great Choice (dir. Robin Comisar, “A woman gets stuck in a Red Lobster commercial”), with 2nd place going to Exhale (a.k.a. Expire, dir. Magali Magistry, “A toxic fog, the Smog, blanketed the planet forcing people to live confined.  But when you are 15 like Juliette, real life truly begins outside) and 3rd to Winston (animated, dir. Aram Sarkisian, “A man is driven mad by his obsession and paranoia), some of which once the film festival season has ended may begin to be seeable on YouTube.

Other things I wasn’t on, but attended on Friday, were panels:  Pulp Horror 2018, How (Not) to Win the Bram Stoker® Award, a post-lunch final half hour of What’s Vlad Got to Do with It? (“a tour thru Romania with Dacre Stoker”), How to Make Ordinary Things Scary (having noted to Dark Poets moderator Marge Simon that my TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, on the other hand, seeks in a way to make scary things ordinary), and DARK CARNIVAL: The Writing Prompts of Ray Bradbury.  A very full day!

Saturday, following coffee Americano and a huge pecan donut at the Dean Hotel’s coffeehouse (very good, but nevertheless apart from the convention, still not a ConSuite) I shared a prose reading (Block Thirteen, 10 a.m. in the official program) with participant and host for the previous evening’s poetry and pizza Karen Bovenmyer, and Nathan Carson, with me reading the Part III chapter called “Carnival of the Animals” from TOMBS.  Afterward it was back to my hotel and one block farther to Providence’s public library, to use a computer to reconnect, briefly, with the outside world.  Then, back at the Biltmore a panel attended, The Classic Weird in 2018, and out again for a late lunchette before 4 p.m.’s Vampires:  The Next Generation which I moderated, and a final panel, Unspoken Clichés.

And that was pretty much that — with nothing planned for those who might not be going to the awards banquet, after some chatting with folk in the Biltmore lobby, etc., it was to the Subway across the street for a sandwich to go, then reviewing a busy and enjoyable weekend at my hotel and an early bedtime.  And thus, well rested, I could find out at something before 7 a.m. Sunday that, re. getting home, the adventure had actually not quite yet ended.

But we already know about that.


Home again, home again. . . .  And so I am from StokerCon, a.k.a. Nor’easterCon, in possibly once more sunny Providence Rhode Island.  Actually, having brought a rain slicker with me in lieu of a topcoat (yes, I was the one with the bright yellow “cape”!) I coped with Friday’s storm, including the four-block commute from the Dean Hotel to the Providence Biltmore, very well, thank you.  I myself missed Saturday Night’s Awards Ceremony though, perhaps in part not having as vested an interest (one may recall my TOMBS was on the preliminary list for Collection, but didn’t make it to the finalists) but more in having an early flight Sunday that necessitated my getting up about 4:30 a.m., which gave me an interest to VERY early to bed.  As it happens, fate had something to say about travel too, more on which maybe later this week.  However, the Stoker Awards® were awarded and, for those who wish to know, here’s the list (courtesy of the Horror Writers Association Press Release):

Superior Achievement in a Novel
Winner: Golden, Christopher – Ararat (St. Martin’s Press)
Also nominated:
King, Stephen and King, Owen – Sleeping Beauties (Scribner)
Malerman, Josh – Black Mad Wheel (Ecco)
Miskowski, S.P. – I Wish I Was Like You (JournalStone)
Tem, Steve Rasnic – Ubo (Solaris)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel
Winner: Cabeen, Robert Payne – Cold Cuts (Omnium Gatherum Media)
Also nominated:
Davidson, Andy – In the Valley of the Sun (Skyhorse Publishing)
Hayward, Matt – What Do Monsters Fear? (Post Mortem Press)
Hepler, Jeremy – The Boulevard Monster (Bloodshot Books)
Thomas, Scott – Kill Creek (Ink Shares)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel
Winner: Liggett, Kim – The Last Harvest (Tor Teen)
Also nominated:
French, Gillian – The Door to January (Islandport Press)
Leveen, Tom – Hellworld (Simon Pulse)
Lukavics, Amy – The Ravenous (Harlequin Teen)
Porter, Sarah – When I Cast Your Shadow (Tor Teen)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel
Winner: Duffy, Damian and Butler, Octavia E. – Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation (Abrams ComicArts)
Also nominated:
Carey, Mike and Arvind, Ethan David – Darkness Visible (IDW)
Ferris, Emil – My Favorite Thing is Monsters (Fantagraphics)
Hickman, Jonathan – The Black Monday Murders (Image Comics)
Liu, Marjorie – Monstress Volume 2: The Blood (Image Comics)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
Winner: Jones, Stephen Graham – Mapping the Interior (
Also nominated:
Edelman, Scott – Faking it Until Forever Comes (Liars, Fakers, and the Dead Who Eat Them) (Written Backwards)
Kiernan, Caitlín R. – Agents of Dreamland (
Taylor, Lucy – Sweetlings (
Waggoner, Tim – A Kiss of Thorns (DarkFuse)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
Winner: Mannetti, Lisa – “Apocalypse Then” (Never Fear: The Apocalypse (13Thirty Books)
Also nominated:
Bailey, Michael – “I Will Be the Reflection Until the End” (Tales from the Lake Vol. 4) (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Chambers, James – “A Song Left Behind in the Aztakea Hills” (Shadows Over Main Street, Volume 2) (Cutting Block Books)
Neugebauer, Annie – “So Sings the Siren” (Apex Magazine #101) (Apex Publications)
Yardley, Mercedes M. – “Loving You Darkly” (F(r)iction Magazine #8 (Tethered by Letters)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
Winner: Hill, Joe – Strange Weather (William Morrow)
Also nominated:
Kiste, Gwendolyn – And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe (JournalStone)
Malerman, Josh – Goblin (Earthling Publications)
Matsuura, Thersa – The Carp-Faced Boy and Other Tales (Independent Legions Publishing)
McGrath, Patrick – Writing Madness (Centipede Press)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay
Winner: Peele, Jordan – Get Out (Universal Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, QC Entertainment)
Also nominated:
Del Toro, Guillermo and Taylor, Vanessa – The Shape of Water (TSG Entertainment, Double Dare You Productions)
Duffer, Matt and Duffer, Ross – Stranger Things: MadMax, Episode 02:01: Chapter One (21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre)
Frost, Mark and Lynch, David – Twin Peaks, Part 8 (Rancho Rosa Partnership, Inc.)
Palmer, Chase, Fukunaga, Cary, and Dauberman, Gary – It (New Line Cinema)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology
Winner: Murano, Doug – Behold!: Oddities, Curiosities & Undefinable Wonders (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Also nominated:
Brooks, Kinitra, PhD., Addison, Linda D., and Morris, Susana, PhD. Sycorax’s Daughters (Cedar Grove Publishing)
Datlow, Ellen – Black Feathers: Dark Avian Tales: An Anthology (Pegasus Books)
Maberry, Jonathan and Romero, George A. – Nights of the Living Dead: An Anthology (St. Martin’s Griffin)
Manzetti, Alessandro and Lester, Jodi Renee – The Beauty of Death Vol. 2: Death by Water (Independent Legions Publishing)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction
Winner: Hendrix, Grady. Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction (Quirk Books)
Also nominated:
Brittany, Michele – Horror in Space: Critical Essays on a Film Subgenre (McFarland)
Brooks, Kinitra D. – Searching for Sycorax: Black Women’s Hauntings of Contemporary Horror (Rutgers University Press)
Jones, Stephen – The Art of Horror Movies: An Illustrated History (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books)
Mynhardt, Joe and Johnson, Eugene – Where Nightmares Come From: The Art of Storytelling in the Horror Genre – (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection
Winner: Sng, Christina – A Collection of Nightmares (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
Also nominated:
Frazier, Robert and Boston, Bruce – Visions of the Mutant Rain Forest (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Manzetti, Alessandro – No Mercy (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Simon, Marge and Turzillo, Mary – Satan’s Sweethearts (Weasel Press)
Wytovich, Stephanie M. – Sheet Music to My Acoustic Nightmare (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

“Writers & The Animals They Love” is the overarching theme of Heather Baker Weidner’s a bit off the beaten track PENS, PAWS, AND CLAWS blog, on which books take a back seat to the Goth Cat Triana.  Well, not entirely, TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH and THE TEARS OF ISIS do still get considerable mention, but their pictures are displayed well below that of you know who.  And subjects covered include not just such standards as the difference between horror and dark fantasy, but also the use of pets in stories and favorite movies/books with animals in them.  Angela Carter’s “The Company of Wolves” would be an example of the latter, while, in general, for a slightly different take on the usual “author interview” of yours truly, be welcome to press here.

Ms. Weidner also mentions that her readers like to leave comments, so feel free to join them with your own.  I’ll make an effort to stop by to answer them two or three times later today, before getting ready to leave for StokerCon Thursday morning.

We’ve just announced the eleven extraordinary short films that will be competing for the $1,000 Grand Prize in our Final Frame Film Competition.  This event has become one of StokerCon’s most anticipated and popular features, so be sure to mark Friday night on your con calendar!  So, indy film lovers, these ones are shorts, to be shown at StokerCon Friday night from 8 to 11 p.m..  Or to quote more fully from the latest Progress Report, received yesterday afternoon:  The Horror Writers Association is proud to announce the third annual short film competition held in conjunction with StokerCon 2018, held at the fabled Biltmore Hotel, in Providence, Rhode Island on March 1st through March 4th, 2018.  Final Frame celebrates the darkest, weirdest and fantastic short horror films from around the globe.  The winner will be announced at a cocktail reception after.
So if you’re going to StokerCon too (cf.February 13, et al.) perhaps I’ll see you there.  A quick rundown on the films themselves can be found by pressing here.
A quick schedule update for StokerCon has been announced.  We may recall (January 29) that I had been slated for two panels at the early March Convention, on Friday for poetry and Saturday to moderate a session on vampires, but due to an early flight back home on Sunday morning could not be scheduled for a reading slot.  Kudos today go to
Kathleen Scheiner on the StokerCon staff who emailed this morning that there has been a sudden opening at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, for which I’ve emailed back “I’ll take it!” (or words to that effect).  So as of now, for those who wish to join me, I’ll be sharing the Saturday morning opening slot with Nathan Carson and Karen Bovenmyer.
As set up, I understand, these will be one-hour sessions with three readers each, giving us about fifteen minutes apiece allowing time for introductions, “class changes,” etc.  And so, from TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH, I think I’ll be able to read a shorter piece, most likely “Carnival of the Animals” from Section III, “Intimations of Future Disaster,” in just about the time allowed.

“Casket Girls” (see January 23, et al.) is now alive and readable in the February ARIEL CHART, as announced by Associate Editor Marchelle Young.  This is the tale of Aimée and her part in the founding of New Orleans, and with it is an appropriate casket-like, ladylike illustration.  To see and enjoy for yourself, press here.  The issue will remain on site until March 1, at which time it will go into ARIEL CHART’s archives.

Also, yesterday afternoon the contracts arrived for “The Game” and “The Blade of Gudrin” for RE-LAUNCH and RE-QUEST from Pole to Pole Publishing (cf. February 4 and 2, respectively) and were signed and sent back, with countersigned copies received by me today.  And so the “writing life” goes on.

So in one respect the second part of this saves some worry, plus lets me get to StokerCon without likely to be unrealized expectations.  Still TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH having missed the final ballot (cf. January 25, et al.) is a disappointment.  So how about watching a movie instead, maybe one not seen before, as listed in “11 Severely Underrated Horror Movies You Should Watch Tonight” via THE-LINE-UP.COM?  The fourth on the list, in fact, has been reviewed here (cf. “With Snow on the Ground Casey Surely Was Freezing in that Miniskirt, Though,” December 27 2015).  For the others, press here.

And for me, one thing that might cheer me up:  If you’ve read TOMBS and feel, at least, it did deserve being on the preliminary ballot, perhaps you could post a review of it on Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, et al.


And so the second report came in this morning from Pole to Pole Publishing (see just below):  Thank you for sending “The Game” for Pole to Pole Publishing’s “Re-Launch,” anthology.  We appreciate the chance to read it, and have decided to accept “The Game” for inclusion in the anthology.  Your contract and additional information will be sent to you in a few weeks.  RE-LAUNCH, we’ll recall, is to be the science fiction half of Pole to Pole’s reprint dyad, with my story “The Game,” about an “on the beach” spaceman earning redemption, originally published in Britain’s HUB magazine on November 7 2007.  More will appear on both publications as it becomes known.

Then Sunday afternoon brought the Bloomington Writers Guild’s “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic” (cf. January 7, et al.), this time in a County Library conference room as it continues to seek a new home, with featured readers Molly Gleeson, a one-time teacher of English in China, Saudi Arabia, and Japan now working as a writing tutor at a Bloomington community college reading her short story “House of Atreus”; international doctoral student Maureen Chinwe Onyeziri with a story about a young girl identified as a malevolent spirit, “Taming the Spirit,” followed by a brief memoir of a recent visit to her home in Nigeria; and local poet and fiction writer Cara Hohit with three short stories linked by a theme of intimacy, both old and new and both wanted and shunned.  My own contribution, third of six when it was time for the open mike segment, was a recent tale especially chosen for Valentine’s Day, “Home Is Where the Heart Is,” about a first meeting between a vampiress and a just-in-the-process-of-changing werewolf.

So if, like me, you missed last night’s Super, Blue, Whatever Else Total Lunar Eclipse (in my case in part because where I am it wouldn’t have been total anyway), maybe this won’t be a super big deal.  But if you saw it, and tried to take pictures and if, like me, have a totally inappropriate camera, pause for a moment and review last summer’s solar eclipse post, “The Crummiest Solar Eclipse Picture of the Year” (August 22 2017).  Look for the second picture posted, the one with the buses, and observe the lenses on the cameras the two “professionals” were setting up.  The ones that presumably got good pictures.
And now, a day too late for last night’s photo bugs, but maybe next time, a possible reason why discovered today via POPSCI.COM, “How to Take a Picture of the Moon that Doesn’t Look Like a Tiny, White Blob” by Stan Horaczek (who also took the lunar picture shown just above).  Curious?  Press here.
So maybe next time, it might work for the sun too?

For those going to StokerCon at the beginning of March this year, the program (or at least a preliminary version of it) has been published.  Or more to the point for me, I’m listed on two panels.  Thus, the first of these is on Friday afternoon:  Dark Poets Face to Face Redux (Moderator: Marge Simon), 4:00 PM, A select panel of talented contemporary horror poets read and discuss each other’s works.  The audience is encouraged to participate and will be given copies of the poems for comments as well.  Panelists will be asked for three poems, 50 lines max per poem.  I will share all the poems with everyone in advance and they pick another poet’s poem to read to the audience.  They must pick 3 poems by different poets on the panel.  After reading it, they will state why they chose it, and/or what sparked their feelings about it.  Audience will have copies of all poems read.  The round continues until time is up, so every poet will have at least one or two poems read aloud and discussed.

And then, for Saturday:  Vampires:  The Next Generation (Moderator: James Dorr), 4:00 PM, Sparkly vampires are dead!  Long live ugly vampires!  With the popularity of young adult vampires in books, such as the TWILIGHT series, and television shows, such as THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, finally waning, where do vampires go next?  There are plenty of vampire romance novels.  But there’s also a swing back to the vampire as a monster, as seen in THE STRAIN books and television series and Justin Cronin’s PASSAGE trilogy.  What’s next for horror’s favorite undead bloodsucker?

As for this second, I don’t at this moment know who the other panelists will be, but insofar as, going back at least to the lamiae of ancient Rome, allure has traditionally been one of the vampire’s deadliest weapons it’s possible that not all vamps we’ll discuss will be physically ugly — albeit still dangerous.  For instance, I’m kind of into mermaid vampiresses at the moment, including the film THE LURE (see below, April 25 2017, but also in poetry in the current STAR*LINE), as well as, to continue with films of the past few years, Ana Lily Amirpour’s survivalist (sort of) A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AFTER DARK (see January 11 2015) and the gorgeous, if nevertheless unsparkly, ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (June 26 2014).  Any ideas that you could add too?

And then, finally, for the “well, mostly” part of the headline, I will hopefully also be doing a short reading from TOMBS, but, since airline schedules have me arriving by nearly evening Thursday, and leaving around dawn Sunday morning, I had to pass up the first time slot offered.  Hopefully though one will be found for me (as set up, I believe, these will be hour sessions with three readers each, giving us about fifteen minutes apiece, so it may possibly take their finding some other already scheduled reader who’ll be willing to trade for a Thursday or Sunday slot).

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