Just got back from a week in Austin, Texas. The first part of the trip was for the World Horror Convention, the second for vacation in Austin. We had a phenomenal time.
The convention was excellent. It was at a great hotel that was very conducive for con events, with a central bar, spacious meeting rooms, and open patios. There was also a pool and a jacuzzi, which came in handy when the temps were in the 90s. The panels were well organized and spread out, with plenty of time built in for socializing. The suite parties put on by Deadite Press and Cutting Block Press were excellent, with midnight pizzas, hot dogs, a chocolate fountain, and a divine Pale Ale from NXNW Brewery that I will need to track down locally, if they bottle it. I also got to check out the book launch party for Gene O’Neill’s new book Not Fade Away.
On Friday, I took a 4-hour seminar with horror god Brian Keene, which was excellent; he basically laid out everything you need to do to succeed as a writer. If you ever get a chance to take a seminar with him, do so. Meeting him in person was one of the highlights of the week for me.
I also got a chance to meet one of my writing idols, Joe R. Lansdale, and tell him that I was a huge fan. I met my all-time favorite writer Michael Moorcock the following night at a book launch event, so I was pretty much expecting Shakespeare to show up and make it a writing idol trifecta. All of the writers at the convention were very accessible and open to talk with anyone. I tend to revert to an introverted fanboy when I meet writers I admire, but I managed to carry on several conversations with awesome writers without throwing up.
A nice perk to the weekend: My story “The Harvesting of Jackson Cade” was the winner of the WHC 2011 Short Story Contest. It was printed in the convention souvenir book and will be reprinted in an upcoming issue of Black Static, my favorite horror magazine. I didn’t know I had won the contest until I opened the souvenir book and saw my name in the TOC, so that was a nice surprise to start the weekend with.
One of the biggest highlights of the con weekend was getting to catch up with Danny Evarts and Tim Deal from Shroud and finally meeting Richard Wright (one of the Hiram Grange authors who flew in from India!) in person. After years of collaborative emails back and forth, it seemed as if I had known him already, and we spent many nights drinking to the wee hours and plotting evil things that you will one day read. Also got to hang out with Sheldon Higdon, Lincoln Crisler, Kelli Owen, and many others at a guerrilla reading on the patio. I read a new flash story that seemed to go over well.
On Sunday, Sara and I headed downtown for the rest of the week. I will post about that later…