Thunderstruck!

This past Friday, August 31st, Fiona and David crossed the Hudson to the Chance theater in Poughkeepsie.  (I had a commitment at school.)  They were going to see two bands, Ashes of the Phoenix and Thunderstruck.  Ashes is fronted by one of David’s fellow students at the Rock Academy; their set list covers classic rock from the seventies, eighties, and nineties.  Thunderstruck is an AC/DC tribute band.  Now, AC/DC is, with Black Sabbath, one of David’s two favorite bands; indeed, it was the promise of performing in the Rock Academy’s AC/DC show that enticed David to join the school last summer.

Well, from what Fiona and David told me, Ashes performed a scorching set, playing two encores.  Afterward, when Thunderstruck came on, David was at the front of the crowd, singing along to every song at the top of his lungs.  When the band started playing “Whole Lot of Rosie” (a song David had sung at the Rock Academy show), the singer leaned down and held out the mic for him to sing a line.  When David did, the singer passed him the mic so he could finish the verse, which concludes with a long, stretched out note that Fiona says David nailed.  The singer took the mic back from David, gesturing for him to come up on stage with the band, and when he didn’t, sending one of the stage hands to grab him.  David sang straight through to the end of the song with Thunderstruck.  Once the song was over, the singer asked him what his name was, then declared him possessed of the true spirit of AC/DC, an assessment with which his ridiculously proud parents could not agree more.

Thanks to Thunderstruck, for giving a fifteen year old kid an experience he’ll never forget.

(photos via an antique flip phone, but you get the idea)

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NPR 100 Favorite Horror Stories List

I am astonished and delighted to learn that The Fisherman has made National Public Radio’s 100 Favorite Horror Stories List.  Seeing my book listed alongside those of good friends such as Laird Barron, Gemma Files, Victor LaValle, Livia Llewellyn, and Paul Tremblay is terrific; seeing it rubbing shoulders with work by Stephen King and Peter Straub borders the surreal.  Thank you to everyone who voted for it, and to the judges for all their hard work.

 

MVHBF 2018, or, A Glimpse into the (Nearer) Future

This coming October, I’m pleased once again to be returning to the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival.  It’ll be held on Saturday, October 13th, 2018, from 10am to 4:30pm at the Haverhill Public Library, which is in Haverhill, MA.

Here’s the official description:  Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival 2018 will feature more than SIXTY authors, artists, and filmmakers. Panel discussions. Brand new book debuts. And, of course, Trick or Treat candy. Authors include…

(*Asterisk denotes FIRST TIME attendees…and look at that list!)
Owen King*
Jennifer McMahon*
Laird Barron*
Kelly Braffet*
Grady Hendrix*
Jeff Strand*
Lynne Hansen*
Nadia Bulkin*
KL Pereira*
ML Brennan*
Stephanie M. Wytovich*
Charles R Rutledge*
Gene Doucette*
Gregory Bastianelli
Matt Bechtel
Stephen R. Bissette
Lisa Bunker
William Carl
Glenn Chadbourne
Jason Ciaramella
Joseph A. Citro
Tom Deady
Kristin Dearborn
Rachel Autumn Deering
Barry Lee Dejasu
JG Faherty*
Amber Fallon
Dan Foley
Doungjai Gam Bepko
Craig Shaw Gardner
Larissa Glasser
Christopher Golden
Scott Goudsward
Catherine Grant
Mary Hart
Laura J. Hickman
Kat Howard
Christopher Irvin
Kameryn James*
Pete Kahle*
Nicholas Kaufmann
Brian Keene
Toni L.P. Kelner
Ed Kurtz
John Langan
Izzy Lee
Bracken MacLeod
John M. McIlveen
Hillary Monahan
James A. Moore
Lindsay Moore*
Errick Nunnally
Jason Parent
Philip Perron
Leigh Perry
David Price
Mary SanGiovanni
Cat Scully
Rob Smales
Sarah Smith
Thomas Sniegoski
Laurie Faria Stolarz
Morgan Sylvia*
Tony Tremblay
Trisha Wooldridge
Douglas Wynne
Rio Youers

 

It’s some pretty heady company in which to find yourself.  Thanks to Chris Golden for inviting me once again to be part of the event.

 

NeCon News, or, A Glimpse into the Future

Now that Christopher Golden has shared the information on Facebook, I’m assuming it’s okay to reveal:  next year, I’ll be one of the writer guests of honor at the 39th NeCon, along with the fabulous Megan Abbott and the shiny Grady Hendrix!  Thomas Tessier is rightfully being recognized as the NeCon Legend, and the official convention Toastmaster is Kristin Dearborn.  Since I chummed him along to NeCon 37, Laird Barron has agreed to accompany me next summer, and Paul Tremblay is threatening to put in an appearance, as well.  This is in addition to the brilliant folks who regularly attend the con.

I have to admit, I’m thrilled at this honor.  To be appearing on the same guest of honor list as both Megan Abbott and Tom Tessier is a pretty heady thing.  I’ve had the pleasure of watching Grady Hendrix do several of his lecture/performances, and they are not to be missed.  My previous NeCon was among my best ever convention experiences, in no small part because of the relaxed atmosphere and deep sense of camaraderie among the attendees.  Finances prevented me from returning this year; I can’t wait to be back next summer.  Thanks to the NeCon folks for picking me.

Necon 38 Campers List

Summer 2018 Part 5: NYC

And now, a brief glance into the future:  this coming Wednesday, July 25th, the Honey Badger and I will be traveling down to NYC to take part in two horror-related reading events.  Both will feature writers Nadia Bulkin, Livia Llewellyn, and Paul Tremblay.  The first takes place at Bryant Park, and goes from 12:30 to 1:45pm.  The second takes place in the new McNally Jackson Bookstore in Williamsburg, and goes from 7:00pm to who knows when?  If you’re around, please stop by and say hello.

Snazzy poster!

 

 

 

 

 

Summer 2018 Part 3: Quincy

The weekend of July 12-15 brought me back to Quincy, MA for Readercon 29.  With Boskone, Readercon is one of the conventions I try my darnedest not to miss, and it was great fun to re-connect with friends from Readercons past, as well as to meet new ones.  Probably the weirdest thing about the convention for me was the absence of several of my usual co-conspirators:  Laird Barron, Jack Haringa, and Paul Tremblay in particular.  But this was made up for by the chance to meet and spend time with a number of newer writers, from Nadia Bulkin to Teri Clarke to Mike Griffin to Gwendolyn Kiste to Farah Rose Smith to Justin Steele to Marcus Tsong to Brookelynne Warra.  Not to mention, more time with the terrific Alexa Antopol, Matt Bartlett, Brett Cox, JoAnn Cox, Ellen Datlow, Gemma Files, Karen Heuler, Nick Kaufmann, Veronica Schanoes, and Chandler Klang Smith and Eric, her pet halibut.  Oh, and who could forget Michael Cisco literally stepping out of an angle, cup of coffee in hand?  (Not me, no matter how hard I might try.)

Highlights of the convention included my Thursday night reading, which was smack-dab in the middle of a sequence beginning with Karen Heuler, continuing to me, then moving on to Brett Cox and finishing with Scott Edelman.

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(photo courtesy of Michael Griffin)

Despite the opening-night-scheduling, there was a substantial audience in attendance, as there was for my coffee-klatch the next day.  I had the great good fortune there to sit at a table with a number of up-and-comers, from Teri Clarke to Stephen Mazur to Marcus Tsong, and to engage in conversation that I found fascinating and rewarding.  Also on Friday, I participated in two scheduled panels, one each on Seabury Quinn and E.S. Nesbit.  (On Sunday, I also took part in a panel to which I was added later-than-last-minute, on endings in horror fiction, and  managed to try the collective patience of my fellow-panelists by complaining at length about the idea that horror narratives are supposed to impart some kind of lesson or moral to their audience.  Oy:  sorry about that, folks.)  Saturday took me to Tony’s Clam Shop, there to be interviewed by Scott Edelman for his Eating the Fantastic podcast.  (Which, I have to admit, was a bucket-list item of mine.)  The only other scheduled event I took part in was Sunday’s Shirley Jackson awards, where my introductory duties included the sad task of briefly memorializing both Kit Reed and Jack Ketchum, friends to the award and fine writers both.  Possibly the highlight of the award ceremony was Michael Kelly’s emotional win in the anthology category.

A good part of the weekend consisted of meals and conversations with various groups of people, a couple of them held at the Royal Hot Pot restaurant, which I highly recommend.  Chandler Klang Smith is frighteningly smart, and we had a brief but appreciative discussion of Dan Chaon’s Ill Will.  I also had the opportunity to listen to Nadia Bulkin discussing Michael Cisco’s theory of weird fiction with him, while I nodded sagely and acted as if I was keeping up with them.  Phil Gelatt and Vicki Dalpe attended their first Readercon, and solidified my judgement that Vicki is one of the funniest people, ever; but I also got to listen to Vicki discussing Experimental Film with Gemma Files, particularly its treatment of motherhood, and to hear Gemma talk about what she’s working on for her follow-up novel.

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Royal Hotpot!

(photo courtesy of Nick Kaufmann)

Once the con was done, I drove Michael Cisco and Farah Rose Smith to the train station in Beacon, enjoying the usual blend of intelligence and sheer ridiculousness I’ve come to expect from him on these yearly jaunts.  Cisco also came up with a story that I am not at liberty to speak about, but that I expect will be appearing soon.  Indeed, I would bet my ass on it.