Friday, May 20, 2011

World Horror Con and Other News

o a long overdue blog post.  It’s been a busy month on many fronts.  My wife and I drove south from Tulsa to attend this year’s World Horror Con in Austin, Texas, a seven-hour drive.  The Mustang got surprisingly good mileage cruising in sixth gear.  We also broke in a new GPS that proved very handy (as long as you program in the location of the correct hotel).

In Austin we met a number of old friends and new ones, including Gary McMahon and John Everson (two terrific writers involved in a book-length project I’m also contributing to), the legendary Peter Straub, Jack Ketchum, Gord Rollo, our old pal John Skipp, who bought my first short story years ago, Scott Edelman, Ian Rogers, the crew from ChiZine books and online magazine, and R.J. Sevin and his wife, Julia, both writers and publishers of Creeping Hemlock Press and the new zombie imprint, Print Is Dead.
I bought too many books (an oxymoron if I ever heard one), including the latest David Nickle novel and the first volume of Joe Hill’s graphic comic series Locke & Key.  We spoke with Joe for a bit and attended a comic book writing panel.  Joe is a very well-read, intelligent, funny guy and a talented writer.  I’m finishing his second novel, Horns.  I highly recommend it.  Here’s a guy who could have cashed in on his father’s name years ago but wisely decided to go it alone under a sort-of pseudonym.  He wrote several books that were rejected everywhere, learned his craft and developed his own voice, and today is turning out terrific stories.

There was a side-splitting edited video shown at the opening of the Mega Zombie author panel on Sunday morning, with great clips from favorite films and several book covers from anthologies containing my stories, which made me smile.

Plus, Scott Edelman warmed up the crowd by hurling glow-in-the-dark zombie finger puppets like Mardi Gras doubloons.  We now have several adorning our bookshelves.

The late-night parties were fun and the many choices of food in downtown Austin kept our bellies full.  The hotel was also hosting about 500 frat boys and their Barbie girlfriends, and their late-night antics kept Scott Edelman entertained throughout his stay.  Thankfully they were not rooming next to us.

While in Austin I took advantage of a unique opportunity to pitch a novel I had been researching and outlining to two independent publishers (many thanks to A Twisted Ladder author Rhodi Hawk for donating her time and energy to run the WHC Pitch sessions).  Both parties asked to see sample chapters, which are nearing completion.  With luck, that project may find a home.

I came away from WHC with the firm impression that there are several independent book publishers out there attracting top existing and new talent, and turning out astoundingly nice books.

Back at the ranch, I had a new story accepted for an upcoming anthology from Apex Books, “Lifeboat” appeared in its Kindle and softcover edition from Apex’s The Zombie Feed imprint, and I received official word that “The Boys in Company Z” will appear in Zombie Kong from writer/editor James Roy Daley’s Books of the Dead Press.  The reprint of "Night of the Living Dead Bingo Women" is out in the Kindle edition of Best New Zombie Tales 3 on Amazon and Smashwords.  I’m also working to complete my novella contribution to another BoTDP project.

Justified season two ended, so I’ve got the time.