A Couple of Happy Updates, Plus! Boskone

I’m delighted to report that the Russian translation of The Fisherman has won an award for best translated novel of the year at the “Most Terrible Festival” in St. Petersburg.  Bozhe moi!  Thanks very much to AST publishing, who brought out the novel in Russia, to Grigory Shokin, who translated it, and to everyone responsible for the book receiving its (and my) first non-English language award!

The Fisherman–Russian edition

In related news, I’ve done an interview with the Russian webzine, Darker, in which we talk about The Fisherman and my love for Russian literature.

I’m also delighted to report that my story, “Haak,” which first appeared in Mark Morris’s splendid New Fears 2 anthology has been selected by Ellen Datlow for inclusion in the eleventh volume of her “Best Horror of the Year” series, alongside some fabulous work.  I’m particularly pleased that this story, written for the inestimable Jack Haringa, continues to reach a wider audience.  Here’s the table of contents:

I Remember Nothing by Anne Billson
Monkeys on the Beach by Ralph Robert Moore
Painted Wolves by Ray Cluley
Shit Happens by Michael Marshall Smith
You Know How the Story Goes by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
Back Along the Old Track by Sam Hicks
Masks by Peter Sutton
The Donner Party by Dale Bailey
Milkteeth by Kristi DeMeester
Haak by John Langan
Thin Cold Hands by Gemma Files
A Tiny Mirror by Eloise C. C. Shepherd
I Love You Mary-Grace by Amelia Mangan
The Jaws of Ouroboros by Steve Toase
A Brief Moment of Rage by Bill Davidson
Golden Sun by Kristi DeMeester, Richard Thomas, Damien Angelica Walters, and Michael Wehunt
White Mare by Thana Niveau
Girls Without Their Faces On by Laird Barron
Thumbsucker by Robert Shearman
You Are Released by Joe Hill
Red Rain by Adam-Troy Castro
Split Chain Stitch by Steve Toase
No Exit by Orrin Grey
Haunt by Siobhan Carroll
Sleep by Carly Holmes

Finally, I had a brilliant time this past weekend at the 56th annual Boskone, held at the Westin hotel in Boston.  It’s always a pleasure to see such friends as Paul Tremblay, Jack Haringa, JoAnn Cox, Brett and Jeanne Cox, Nick Kaufmann and Alexa Antopol, Vicki Dalpe, Grady Hendrix, Liz Hand and John Clute, Bracken MacLeod, Errick Nunnally, Chris Golden, and Ellen Datlow, but beyond that, the con organizers have really made an effort to expand their horror-related programming, and to include horror writers on more general-topic panels.  In addition, they’re made a commitment to diversifying their participants that continues to yield results.  It’s made Boskone one of the can’t-miss conventions for me.  Thanks to all who worked so hard at putting it on this year, and to anyone who might be thinking about the convention for 2020, I’d encourage you to give it a try.

 

 

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HPLFF Recap

This past weekend, the Honey Badger and I drove to Providence, RI to take part in their inaugural H.P. Lovecraft Film Fest.  The idea is for Providence to have its own version of the film festival held in Portland, OR every year; though I imagine Providence’s will be every other year, between Necronomicons.  There was a fine turnout on Saturday at the Providence Public Library for a raft of Lovecraft-inspired and -inflected films, and also on Sunday at the Providence Arcade, which was transformed into the Mall of Cthulhu and where Laird, myself, and Paul Tremblay gave a reading.  I had the pleasure of hanging out with Matthew Warren Ritchie, Matthew Bartlett, Phil Gelatt, Jack Haringa, Barry Lee Dejasu and Cat Grant at a number of fine eating establishments; I also met and signed books for a host of lovely people.Thanks so much to everyone involved in making the weekend happen, especially Niels and Carmen at the Lovecraft Arts & Sciences, and Mr. S.J. Bagley, who proved himself a fine host and MC.

HPLFF 2016 Poster

A Quick Boskone Recap

I had a tooth pulled the day before I drove out to Boston for this year’s Boskone (the 53rd), and I feel like I spent most of the convention telling everyone I met about it.  This may have been due to the pain med I was taking, which, when combined with a beer or two, gave me vivid nightmares in which Billy Bob Thornton’s character from the first season of Fargo was on a murder spree on my side of the Hudson River, and also in which I had to avoid a pair of frighteningly large alligators while trying to swim to my mother’s house.

But I also had the pleasure of staying with Paul Tremblay and his long-suffering family, of meeting up with Brett Cox and JoAnn Cox (who are not related), of hanging out with J.T. Petty and Sarah Langan (who says we’re not related, but come on, really?) and their irrepressible girls, and of seeing Jack Haringa, on the road to recovery from his recent heart surgery and already up to 98% snarkiness.  The lovely Barry Lee Dejasu and Catherine Grant had a bunch of us up to their hotel room for a small party featuring some wonderful beer; Chris Irvin and Errick Nunnally hosted a Noir at the Bar reading on Friday night that I took part in and that went very well; and Erin Underwood launched The Grimm Future, a book of stories inspired by the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, in which I have a steampunkish story inspired by “The Brave Little Tailor.”

GrimmFuture

 

This convention felt a bit more subdued than past Boskones.  In part, I’m sure this was due to the absence of the recently-deceased David Hartwell.  I wonder, too, if it wasn’t due to memories of last year’s blizzard.  But I had a fine time, got to make the acquaintance of some splendid new folks (Chris Irvin, Errick Nunnally, E.J. Stevens), and managed my annual meals at the L Street Diner, the No-Name Seafood Restaurant, and Maxie’s Diner.  Thanks to Erin Underwood and the other fine folks who made the convention happen.  I’m already looking forward to next year.

 

 

 

Boskone 53!

This weekend, I’ll be attending Boskone 53.  I love Boskone:  it’s a chance to see many good friends, and I always feel it helps to break up the winter’s bleakness.  Here’s my tentative schedule, should you happen to be at the convention:

The Wonderful World of Horror Lit

Friday 19:00 – 19:50, Marina 2 (Westin)

Sure, zombies are cool! But horror assumes many other shapes and forms, from psychological thrillers by Edgar Allan Poe and Alfred Hitchcock to more gory (or ghostly) tales by Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, and Shirley Jackson. Once pronounced DOA on bookstore shelves, horror still thrillingly refuses to die. Panelists discuss favorite horror fiction, from the icons that raised the genre and the up-and-coming writers we should read today … plus what might terrify us tomorrow.

F. Brett Cox (M), Jordan Hamessley, Jack M. Haringa, John Langan, James Moore

 

Noir at the Bar Special Edition Boskone

Friday 21:30 – 22:20, Galleria-Stage (Westin)

Noir at the Bar comes to Boskone for a special night of reading and fun with our noir, crime, mystery, and horror writers. Hosted by Chris Irvin and Errick Nunnally.

Chris Irvin (M), Errick Nunnally (M), Dana Cameron, Christopher Golden, John Langan, Sarah Langan, James Moore, Melinda Snodgrass, Paul G. Tremblay

 

Autographing: Thomas Kidd, E.J. Stevens, John Langan

Saturday 10:00 – 10:50, Galleria-Autographing (Westin)

Thomas Kidd, E.J. Stevens, John Langan

 

_The Grimm Future_ — The Anthology Group Reading

Saturday 16:00 – 16:50, Griffin (Westin)

NESFA Press presents a special reading for this year’s Boskone Book: The Grimm Future, edited by Erin Underwood. This exciting new anthology of reimagined Grimm’s fairy tales brings you 14 original short stories with a science fictional twist. The Grimm Future features cover art by Boskone 53’s Official Artist, Richard Anderson, and original stories by Guest of Honor Garth Nix as well as program participants Dana Cameron, Max Gladstone, Carlos Hernandez, John Langan, and Peadar Ó Guilín.

Erin Underwood (M), Carlos Hernandez, Max Gladstone, Peadar Ó Guilín, John Langan, Dana Cameron, Garth Nix

 

Dark Fairy Tales

Saturday 17:00 – 17:50, Burroughs (Westin)

Most of the beloved fairy tales we tell our children are sanitized versions of stories intended for mature audiences only. We can write the graphic violence and debauchery out of these tales — but should we? What gets lost when we blunt the sharp edges of Cinderella’s story? There’s much to learn about the human condition from these rich sources of psychological drama. And some fine authors have subverted and reimagined the old tales to make them new again. Let’s discuss tales we know and those we may have overlooked.

John Langan (M), Jack M. Haringa, Hillary Monahan, James Moore, E.J. Stevens

 

Boskone Book Party

Saturday 18:00 – 19:20, Galleria-Stage (Westin)

Join us for Boskone’s Multi-Author Book Party, see what’s new from authors you love, and discover new favorites. Boskone is also launching three NESFA Press books tonight: The Collected Stories of Poul Anderson Vol 7, Conspiracy!, and The Grimm Future. (Authors and publishers with a new book and a current Boskone membership are welcome to take part; contact program@boskone.org for details.)

D L Carter, Tom Easton, Grady Hendrix, Carlos Hernandez, E. C. Ambrose, Judith K. Dial, Sharon Lee, Steve Miller, Cerece Rennie Murphy, N.A. Ratnayake, Erin Underwood

Murder, Mystery, and Mayhem

Saturday 20:00 – 20:50, Marina 2 (Westin)

Dark fiction and suspense are natural bedfellows. What is it about their synergy that works so well? How do you walk the line between mystery and suspense when there are monsters tearing their way through the plot? And how does dark fiction and horror help to generate or amplify those nail-biting moments that make readers blaze through a story to see how it ends?

Paul G. Tremblay (M), Dana Cameron, Craig Shaw Gardner, Leigh Perry, John Langan

Notes for Participant(s)

This panel was cancelled last year due to snow. So, we’re adding it again this year.

 

Kaffeeklatsch 2: John Langan

Sunday 13:00 – 13:50, Harbor I-Kaffeeklatsch 2 (Westin)

John Langan

 

I’m especially pleased to be present for the book launch of The Grimm Future, edited by Erin Underwood, in which I’m happy to have a story.  The contributors were asked to pick one of the Grimm brothers’ stories and re-imagine it in a fantastic way.  I chose the Brave Little Tailor, which I reconfigured as a steampunk tale set in 1930’s Kansas, involving an invading army from the Earth’s core and a heroine with a jetpack and a raygun.

As always, if you’re around, please come up and say hello.

The October Report, First Installment: Scary Vampires, Comic Con, Parental Horrors, and a Film Set in Upstate New York

I suppose it’s only appropriate that October should be a busy time for a horror writer.  Of course, there’s good-busy and bad-busy.  The last couple of weeks have definitely fallen into the former category.

I.

The first two Saturdays of the month were taken up with events related to the release of Seize the Night, the anthology of scary-vampire stories edited by Christopher Golden, and full of more great stories than you can shake a stake at.  On October 3rd, I drove up to North Andover for the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival.  This was held at the ACT theater, a community theater located in the recesses of a converted industrial site.  There were a ton of horror writers there, and even more horror readers.  The theater itself (which, appropriately enough, was set up for Seussical the Musical) hosted a series of hour-long panels on an assortment of horror-related topics, while the space immediately outside the theater (where, I’m guessing, concessions would normally be located) was set up with tables for book selling and signing.  I took part in a panel on Seize the Night at the beginning of the event, and was part of a brave attempt to read all of Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at its end (after two hours, we were about three-quarters of the way through it, but decided to stop for dinner).  In between, I signed and sold books, and spent time with some wonderful people:  Paul Tremblay, Sarah Langan and J.T. Petty, Jack Haringa, Brian Keene and Mary SanGiovanni, Rio Youers, Dana Cameron, Kelly Link, S,J, Bagley, Gardner Goldsmith, Bracken MacLeod, Barry Dejasu and Catherine Grant, and of course Chris Golden.

Rio Youers can't believe how pink I am.

Rio Youers can’t believe how pink I am.

 

Are Jack Haringa and I judging you? Of course we are.

Are Jack Haringa and I judging you? Of course we are.

 

I'm happy to be with S.J. Bagley and Brian Keene. They are more dubious.

I’m happy to be with S.J. Bagley and Brian Keene. They are more dubious.

 

Paul Tremblay and I, immediately before the spiders rained from the ceiling.

Paul Tremblay and I, immediately before the spiders rained from the ceiling.

 

Dana Cameron and I love our fans!

Dana Cameron and I love our fans!

 

I have to say, I don’t think I’ve ever been to one of these events at which everyone–writers, fans, support staff–was in such a good mood.  It was like a huge party.  Afterwards, Jack Haringa and I joined everyone else for a huge dinner at a local brewpub, during which Kelly Link and I talked weird anthology ideas (the MANthology, anyone?) and I had the chance to speak with noted editor Jaime Levine.  Thanks to everyone who came out and made the event such a success.  Thanks, too, to Chris Golden for doing such a fine job organizing it, to the folks at the ACT theater company for hosting and staffing it, and to the Andover Bookstore for selling copies of everyone’s books.  This was a huge effort on Chris’s part, but if he decides to put this on again, next year, you can be sure I’ll be at it–and so should you.

 

II.

The following Saturday, I took the train down to Manhattan so I could attend my first-ever New York Comic Con.  There were people in costume boarding the train in Poughkeepsie, and their numbers grew with each stop.  By the time I was walking to the Javits Center, I was a decided minority, with my jeans and zombie Mona Lisa t-shirt.  Ed Schlesinger, the editor at Simon & Schuster who worked with Chris Golden on Seize the Night, met me outside the Center, bestowed a pass on me, and escorted me inside to the madness that is Comic Con.  If you’ve seen pictures of the event, then you have some idea what it’s like:  a crush of people, many of them in costume, wandering aisles flanked by booths full of comic- and genre-related people, publications, clothing, toys, videos, video games, and memorabilia.  Right away, I was in love; although I think I was grateful that I didn’t have that much money with me.

NYCComicCon

Dana Cameron and I met up at the Simon & Schuster booth, and Dana, who had been at the convention for days at that point, was good enough to help me in my quest to find a Hawkeye t-shirt and copies of the first couple of Hawkeye collections for David.

Hawkeye!

Hawkeye!

 

We returned to the S&S booth in time to meet up with Chris Golden, and then the three of us sat down to sign some books.  In between signings, Ed Schlesinger, who’s very charming and funny, told us how brilliant the three of us were.  After the signing was over, Paul Tremblay and I wandered the convention floor, both of us bemoaning an assortment of childhood toys foolishly discarded before we realized they could have paid our kids’ ways through college.  Once Paul left to catch his train, I made my way over to the Horror Writer Association’s booth to meet up with Ellen Datlow for dinner.  On the way, though, was the convention’s great surprise and treat for me:  Glass Eye Pix had a booth there.  If you’re not familiar with it, it’s writer/director/actor Larry Fessenden’s production company.  Larry’s behind a number of my favorite horror films, including Habit and Wendigo.  Not only did the booth have Blu-Rays of his latest effort, Beneath, but Larry Fessenden himself was there to sign them!  Because I was on my way to Ellen, I didn’t have time to do much more than shake Larry’s hand enthusiastically and gush about how much I love his work.  Still, what a thrill to meet such a great filmmaker.

Larry Fessenden at NYC Comic Con with specialty posters of a couple of his films.

Larry Fessenden at NYC Comic Con with specialty posters of a couple of his films.

 

After some shenanigans at the HWA booth with Trevor Firetog, Patrick Freivald, and James Moore, Ellen and I headed out for a nice dinner at an Italian place that wasn’t too far from the Javits Center.

Me, Trevor Firetog, and James Moore, expressing our delight in one another's company.

Me, Trevor Firetog, and James Moore, expressing our delight in one another’s company.

 

Ah, but here our mirth has turned to lunacy...

Ah, but here our mirth has turned to lunacy…

 

Then it was back home, in time to catch David still up and give him his Hawkeye shirt and comics.  His reaction may have been the highlight of my day; scratch that:  it was the highlight.  Thanks to Ed Schlesinger and Chris Golden for making my first trip to Comic Con happen; and thanks to the folks at the Simon & Schuster booth who helped make the signing go smoothly.  You can be sure, I’ll be back for this next year.

 

III.

The Tuesday after Comic Con, I was back in Manhattan, again, this time for Pen Parentis‘s monthly salon at the Hotel Andaz.  Together with the fabulous Veronica Schanoes and my (not?) cousin, Sarah Langan, I read from my work and then took part in a far-ranging discussion about writing while raising small children, writing horror as a parent, and writing effective horror.  It was great to see Nick Kaufmann and Alexa Antopol there, as well as Dan Braum.  M.M. Devoe and Christina Chiu did a fabulous job organizing and MC’ing the evening.  This was my second time back at Pen Parentis; I’m grateful to them for having me.  I look forward to number three.

 

Veronica Schanoes, Sarah Langan, and yours truly, flanked by Christina Chiu and M.M. DeVoe, in the swanky Andaz Hotel.

Veronica Schanoes, Sarah Langan, and yours truly, flanked by Christina Chiu and M.M. DeVoe, in the swanky Andaz Hotel.

 

I'm not saying I sang Elvis's greatest hits, but the camera doesn't lie, does it?

I’m not saying I sang Elvis’s greatest hits, but the camera doesn’t lie, does it?

 

My favorite downstate Langan.

My favorite downstate Langan.

 

Oh, and afterwards, there was Japanese food.  Just sayin’.

 

IV.

The morning after Pen Parentis, I was up early (well, for me) to travel with the Honey Badger up to the New York/Vermont state border, where an intrepid film crew was nearing the end of principle photography for their film adaptation of Laird’s story, “30.”  The drive went more quickly than we’d thought, through some lovely, if increasingly-remote, country.  We arrived at what I guess you could call base camp in time for lunch with the director, Phil Gelatt, producer Will Battersby, and just about all of the crew.  That everyone was happy to see us had nothing to do with the beer and homemade cookies Laird had brought.  Phil Gelatt is a lovely and talented guy; he wrote the script for Europa Report, which convinced me he’d be the perfect guy to adapt “30.”  We’d met at this past Necronomicon Providence, where we’d had a pleasant conversation about this very project, and it was pretty wild to see him now engaged in it.  After the meal, we accompanied everyone to the location of the principle outdoor shoot, where we were allowed to watch part of what I think will be a pretty creepy scene being filmed.  Will Battersby stood with us and patiently and thoroughly answered the questions with which Laird and I barraged him; it was quite the education.  I left impressed by the sheer effort involved in bringing just a minute of film to the screen.  Laird was pretty happy with everything he saw.  Out of respect for Phil and the crew, neither of us took pictures of the set, but they’ve set up an instagram account where you can see some of what they’re up to.  Thanks to Phil, Will, and the entire crew for being so accommodating of the two of us, and thanks to Laird for asking me to tag along.

 

So there you have it:  a pretty busy couple of weeks.  Thanks again to everyone who’s played a part in making these things happen.  If I signed a book for you or talked to you, thanks very much.

 

October! (Part 1)

The upcoming month looks to be quite busy for me–which is appropriate, I suppose.  Originally, I was going to list everything I’m going to be doing and everywhere I’m going to be doing it at in one post, but that post became ridiculously long, so I decided to break it up into three (somewhat) smaller parts.  So:  first up is an event that started as a kind of launch party for a book in which I have a story, Seize the Night (which Chris Golden edited and is full of amazing new vampire stories), but which has morphed into a kind of celebration of contemporary horror/weird/dark fiction.  There will be writers engaging in panel discussions, and there will be writers signing books:

Saturday, October 3rd:  The Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival (*free* and open to the public!)

Where: ACT Theater Company, 1632 Osgood Street, Osgood Landing, North Andover, MA 01845. http://www.acttheatercompany.com/

When: 10/3/15 from 1pm till 7:30pm.  DOORS WILL OPEN AT 12:45 p.m.

What: Horror and Suspense authors from New England – and all around the Northeast U.S. – will be selling and signing books throughout the event, and participating in panel discussions in the theater about New England Horror Tradition, what makes something scary, new fears, and childhood terrors. The event will conclude with a quintet of authors doing a live reading of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Who: Authors signing and speaking that day include:

Joe Hill, Kelly Link, Brian Keene, Sarah Langan, Christopher Golden, Paul Tremblay, Caitlin Kittredge, Thomas Sniegoski, John Langan, Dana Cameron, Rio Youers, Toni L.P. Kelner, Myke Cole, Mary SanGiovanni, Leigh Perry, Bracken MacLeod, Jack M. Haringa, Jason Ciaramella, Kat Howard, John M. McIlveen, Glenn Chadbourne, Mallory O’Meara, Holly Newstein Hautala, Errick Danger Nunnally, Izzy Lee, Scott Goudsward, Gardner Goldsmith, Douglas Wynne, Kristin Dearborn, Jan Kozlowski, TT Zuma

Sponsored by ACT Theater Company, Andover Bookstore, and Vicious Circle.

Get your FREE TICKETS now!  (We’re trying to get an idea of how many people are actually coming. Please help us out by following the link and ordering your free tickets.): http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2259519

PLEASE NOTE: Andover Bookstore is only equipped to take cash and checks during this event. Individual authors selling books *may* accept other methods of payment, but please anticipate cash and check as payment methods. (And it’s up to the authors themselves as to whether they’ll accept checks.)

Please note that ACT Theater Company is located in a converted industrial space at Osgood Landing. I guarantee you will think you are in the wrong place when you arrive–it doesn’t look like a theater, but it is!

Here is the panel schedule for that day:

1pm: Childhood Horrors—Paul Tremblay, Thomas Sniegoski, Holly Newstein Hautala, Scott Goudsward, Mallory O’Meara (M)

2pm: Seize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric Horror—Christopher Golden (M), Rio Youers, John Langan, Leigh Perry, Dana Cameron

3pm: The New England Horror Tradition—Jack M. Haringa (M), Caitlin Kittredge, Jason Ciaramella, Glenn Chadbourne, John M. McIlveen

4pm: The Anatomy of Horror: What is Scary?—Sarah Langan, Kelly Link, Myke Cole, Errick Nunnally (M), Kat Howard

5pm: We Get the Horror We Deserve—Joe Hill, Brian Keene, Izzy Lee, Mary SanGiovanni, Bracken MacLeod (M)

6pm: Live Reading THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE—Jack M. Haringa, Bracken MacLeod, Brian Keene, Kat Howard, John Langan, Gardner Goldsmith

Who’s signing when at Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival? #MVHBookFest
Alphabetical order:

Bracken MacLeod: 3-5
Brian Keene: 1-4:30
Caitlin Kittredge: 4-5
Christopher Golden: 3-6
Dana Cameron: 1-2 and 3-3:30
Daniel Braum: 1-3:30
Douglas Wynne: 1-7
Errick Nunnally: 1-6
Gardner Goldsmith: 4-5
Glenn Chadbourne: 1-5
Holly Newstein Hautala: 2-3
Izzy Lee: 6-7
Jan Kozlowski: 1-7
Jason Ciaramella: 1-6
Joe Hill: 6-7
John Langan: 3-4
John McIlveen: 1-3 and 5-6
Kat Howard: 3-4 and 5-6
Kelly Link: 3-3:45
Kristin Dearborn: 1-7
Leigh Perry: 3-5
Mary SanGiovanni: 1-4:30
Myke Cole: 6-7
Paul Tremblay: 2-3
Rio Youers: 3-5
Sarah Langan: 1-4
Scott Goudsward: 1-7
Thomas Sniegoski: 2-6
Toni L.P. Kelner: 3-5
TT Zuma: 1-7

 

To reiterate:  IT’S FREE to attend; though the folks putting this on are asking you to register for a ticket so they’ll know how many people to expect.  If you can make it, that would be great; please say hello.

Necronomicon Providence 2015–Four Weeks On

I returned from the 2015 Necronomicon Providence with my older son and his family about to visit, and with my younger son and I about to test for our next promotions in Tang Soo Do.  As a result, it’s taken me a little while to sit down and set down my thoughts on the second of these conventions.  The short version is that I had an even better time at the 2015 Necronomicon than I did at the 2013 one, which I’m not sure I would have predicted possible.  I was very busy with programming, participating in a couple of readings and a number of panels.  There were also room parties.   In between, I spent time with a host of friends, signed numerous books, and wandered the dealers’ room.  I think I saw the convention developing in interesting directions.  The 2013 con focused more on Lovecraft and his set, with attention given to some contemporary horror writers (mostly those who fit best with HPL’s legacy).  The 2015 con seemed more evenly divided between HPL and his set and more recent horror writers.  It’ll be interesting to see what happens in 2017.

So:  some highlights from this convention:

–Thursday evening dinner with Brian Evenson, Paul Tremblay, Michael Cisco, Nikki Guerlain, Simon Strantzas, and Richard Gavin at a swanky restaurant whose name I’ve forgotten, but whose food was top-notch.  There was a great deal of laughter, and I received some good advice about a minor publishing quandary.  Afterwards, Cisco and Nikki and I wandered the streets of Providence until we came to a restaurant with outdoor seating, where we sat and discussed Gemma Files and Mike Griffin (which is to say, Cisco analyzed their fiction while I nodded and tried to keep up).

–Speaking of Paul:  Stephen King had just tweeted a very kind notice of Paul’s novel, A Head Full of Ghosts, that weekend, and all of us who love and respect Paul spent every available moment teasing him mercilessly about it.  He didn’t care, nor should he have.  It was nice to be able to spend time with one of your friends after he’s received some much-deserved praise from one of his heroes.  (Which reminds me:  have you read A Head Full of Ghosts?  If you have, good.  If not, what are you waiting for?)

–Speaking of Simon and Richard:  in addition to participating in panels and readings together, we had a nice, quiet dinner together on Saturday night at the local Mexican restaurant, where the waiter began our meal by expressing his regret over the news that actor Steven Seagal had just died (which, as it turned out, was not true).

–Then there were the room parties…  With my roommates, Bob Waugh and Eddy Eder, I had rented a suite at the convention hotel.  We invited a few people to stop by on Friday and Saturday nights.  They did.  They brought some more people, and also some very fine alcohol.  There was much good conversation.  I’m told the air in the room was at one point ninety-five percent Scotch, but I believe that’s an exaggeration; it couldn’t have been more than seventy-five, eighty percent, tops.  What I do know is that I can still stay up till four in the morning, if it’s to listen to Matthew Warren Richey read an excerpt from an autobiographically-inflected story and discuss the apocryphal Mormon view of Bigfoot.  I also know that, if you have to liberate extra glasses from somewhere in your hotel, Michael Cisco is the man for the job.

–Speaking of Eddy:  this was his second convention since beginning to focus on his weird artwork.  He was warmly and graciously received by the artistic community at the convention, who made room for him to display and sell prints of his work on one of their tables in the dealers’ room.  He also made contacts with some of the publishers who were there.  I was very happy for him.

–Speaking of artists:  I finally had a chance to meet and shake the hand of the uber-talented Michael Bukowski, who gifted me with an absolutely gorgeous compendium of his Nyarlathotep illustrations.  I was as bowled-over by his generosity as I was his talent, and that’s saying something.

–Speaking of publishers:  I had good conversations with both Derrick Hussey of Hippocampus Press, about my third collection, forthcoming in early 2016, and Ross Lockhart, of Word Horde Press, about possible future projects.

–And I met and spoke to so many talented writers, I don’t know where to begin.  I had the chance to hang out and have lunch with Dave Zeltserman, whose The Caretaker of Lorne Field is a recent favorite.  We talked about the joys of martial arts for the aging male body.  Anya Martin made me a gift of one of her late father’s books, which was very moving and for which I’m very grateful.  Scott Nicolay gave me a copy of his beautifully-designed chapbook, After.  Marc Fitch gave me a copy of his novel, Paradise Burns, with a very flattering inscription.  I was able to purchase copies of Matthew Bartlett’s latest collection and chapbook, and to spend some time talking with him and his wife.  I was able to get the ferociously-talented David Nickel to sign copies of his books for me, and to talk with him about the joys of writing fiction that’s too literary for the genre imprints, and too genre for the literary imprints.  I talked to Mike Griffin about his upcoming collection.  Justin Steele and I cursed each other out.  The Miskatonic Musings guys caught up with me for a brief interview.  Joe Pulver took me aside to talk to me.  Cisco had me convinced to spend a lot of money at one table in the dealers’ room, and I would have, if that bookseller had taken credit cards.

–What else?  Jack Haringa, floating in a cloud of nicotine, snark, and Scotch.  Matt Burke, whose art I like a great deal.  Michael Wehunt, who’s a very interesting writer.  Jeff Thomas, signing my books.  Ramsey Campbell, always at one end of a line of people waiting for him to sign their books.  Michael Marshall Smith, glimpsed across a room but, sadly, not spoken to.  Cody Goodfellow looking like Moses.  Or Karl Marx.  Or that guy in The Professor and the Madman.  The madman.  Getting to shake Henrik Moller’s hand and tell him how much I enjoyed his short film, Inviting the Demon.  (Really, it’s very good:  go check it out on YouTube.)  Watching Leeman Kessler chase his young daughter, and imagining for a moment it’s Lovecraft playing with his child.

So, well done, all those responsible for and involved with the staging of this convention.  I haven’t been to a better one this year.

ETA:  And shortly after I post this report, I realize I forgot to mention meeting the ferociously talented Damien Angelica Walters, and Phil Gelatt, and Jason Brock, and Mike Davis, and Steve Mariconda, and Alex Houston, and Dan Mills, and I also forgot to mention signing books for any number of folks who were kind and gracious enough to ask me to.  Sorry about that, folks!