I’m new to the writing convention scene, that much is for sure. I attended my first convention last year around this time-----World Horror Convention in Provo, Utah. As most of you who follow me on my Facebook, Blog, Twitter, and by the occasional smoke signals I send, know I attended Stokercon 2017 on the illustrious Queen Mary in Long Beach, California this past week and I feel it is time for a recap.’
If you don’t follow me on Facebook, Blog, Twitter and such, then shame on you but I’m willing to forgive for I am generous and wish for followers and support!
Writing careers can’t happen without readers after all.
So where was I… oh yes…
I arrived in Los Angeles and stepped out of LAX into a place that smelled vaguely of burned rubber. Now, I’ve been to San Francisco and I loved it, thought it was extremely nice in fact.
Los Angeles was a different monster entirely.
As we drove through the crowded traffic, cloying air, and smog that obscured the mountain ranges that surround the city, I briefly wondered if I had left my world behind for something out of a less rain soaked Blade Runner or that huge slum from Elysium.
These feelings disappeared as I reached the Queen Mary---a huge ship that looked like the Titanic ---straight out of 1912 and right into Long Beach. It was massive, it was retro, and it was going to be my home for the next few days.
I registered and checked into my room. It was a suite and I felt like Kevin on Home Alone 2 as I saw that extremely comfortable looking bed and thought: “Wow a huge king size bed just for me.”
That room was also haunted.
Turns out the Queen Mary is renowned for its ghost sightings. My room had some strange things happen while I was there but if you want those stories, you’re going to have to ask me in person.
I dropped off my things and refreshed myself after the long flights before venturing out to explore.
I immediately reunited with my good friend and mentor Linda Addison who was staying in the same floor as me. I hadn’t seen her since last July and it made my heart leap for joy to be hanging out with her again.
The deck that contained most of the promenades, restaurants, and conference rooms was one floor above where my room was and several publishers were out in force hawking their wares… so, so, so many books.
I bit into that hook line and sinker.
My collection expanded as well as my friends with selections from John Urbancik, Weston Osche, Scott Edelman, Erick T. Johnson, and Gene O’Neill. I’m really glad that I’m not a drug addict because if my book buying habits are any indication, I would be the worst crackhead that ever existed.
Myself: You’ve got like 50 books you still have to read at home you don’t really need another…
Inner Me: Just one more… just one more… just one more…
I’m never able to say “no” to a book, though I suppose there are worse addictions.
I threw myself into the convention going to several panels and readings including: How to Do Collaborations, Editing: Is it Necessary?, Linda Addison’s Poetry Workshop, Creepypasta and the Formations of Modern Urban Myths, etc.
It was a fun time for sure and I made several new friends including the aforementioned. I was also honored to meet Meghan Arcuri, Lindsey Barlow, Tish Jackson, Hal Bodner, R.B. Payne, Mackenzie Cox, Lee Murray, Chuck Wendig, Bill Bridges, Billy Ingreso, and Zach Snow (I’m assuming since he was cosplaying as Jon Snow), and Tom Montleone.
It was nice seeing my old friends who were in attendance as well. I don’t see these people nearly as often as I should.
Now…….time for the events that were beyond interesting:
1. Convention buddies.
You usually find someone to pal around with at a convention but I’m a social butterfly and like to talk to everyone. Besides Linda Addison (for this one), I had Gene O’Neill.
Gene was born in 1938 and has had what some would call an “adventurous” life. I can only hope to reach his age and have half the stories he told me under my belt. As well as published works, he’s won two Bram Stoker awards and is a phenomenal guy.
He also took a newbie like me and introduced me to everyone he knew. He gave me a ton of advice from his own life and career, and just generally was my friend.
It was very humbling.
2. Scott Edelman and I began conspiring on epic prank calls and talked food.
3. Ghost Stories
On the deck of the Queen Mary I told ghost stories with two phenomenal people. Mackenzie Cox and Billy Ingreso. (Guys if you are reading this, all I have to say was that was a thrilling time.) I still break out in chill bumps a week later when I think about “Lily” and the “blood on the chair.” If any of you want to hear those stories, you’re going to have to ask Mackenzie and Billy. Maybe they’ll be gracious enough to tell you… if you think you can live with the nightmare.
Oh, we will definitely meet again next year to share more----no doubt.
4. Pitch Sessions.
One of the greatest things about conventions is the opportunity to get your work out there in front of publishers and show them just what kind of writer you are. I unfortunately didn’t know that there were pitch sessions when I registered for the convention.
By the grace of God, I managed to scrape and claw my way into two different pitching sessions. I can’t confirm anything yet but one session went incredibly well. A synopsis and sample chapters were asked for from me and *fingers crossed* they like it and the project will proceed further.
5. A Ride with Tom, Elizabeth, and Damon Monteleone.
The convention came and went and I found myself on Sunday morning checking out of the hotel with all the gusto of a dog lying under the hot sun. I was not relishing having to return to my labor in Oklahoma City.
Despite the fact that I was looking forward to leaving Los Angeles, it still sucked that I wouldn’t see most of my friends here for several more months---if not an entire year.
I had scheduled an airport shuttle the previous evening and as I lugged my stuff downstairs, I sat glumly wondering what book I would start on first when I boarded my flight.
Fate however intervened and I happened to be sharing a shuttle ride with Tom Monteleone, his wife Elizabeth, and son Damon.
I’m pretty sure I paled when I realized who it was I was talking to----you see, the previous evening, he had won the lifetime achievement award and my own mentor looked up to him.
It was an incredibly pleasant ride to the airport and the conversation that followed was equally awesome.
Wouldn’t have traded it for anything.
Now the good things are over and it’s time to talk about the bad things…
There is only one…
Because I fly standby, I sometimes have trouble making flights due to people having been on this list forever and United Airline’s somewhat controversial policy of overbooking (4 out of 5 doctors still recommend us… too soon? HE GOT $50,000 DOLLARS I CAN MAKE JOKES!)
Long story short I was stuck in LAX overnight. I slept on the floor, couldn’t brush my teeth, and had to endure crappy overpriced airport food.
I made it home the next day and collapsed from exhaustion.
It was a good trip.
Wile E. World News
Well North Korea has been causing noise again.
I would call them the world’s most hilarious dictatorship if it wasn’t for the human rights abuse.
This is the part of my blog that I like to call, “North Korea What Are You Doing?” Your country is like the sad kid still trying to dunk the basketball at the playground as the sun goes down.
Not to mention their leaders keep claiming to be gods and then they die, literally a dead giveaway there… oh well, I guess it is fun to watch their missiles fail every time they test them.
Enjoy this themed meme.
Interaction of the Week
Nefflix: I’m going to download the dark web.
Wile E. Young: Pretty sure you can’t download the dark web but if you manage to make it down there and get kidnapped I’m not paying your ransom.
Well that is all for now. Time to work on some projects and paint a giant rock to look like a tunnel----think I have the roadrunner this time.