Looking for a Convention?

 

It’s Black Friday. You’re either still in a turkey coma, out in the crowds looking for deals, relaxing at home, or looking for your next convention fix. If you’re looking for a convention then I have the perfect gift for you. Here’s a website, Upcoming Cons, that I recently found. It can be a good resource to find the next convention to attend. Conventions can be found by location or genre such as literature, furry, comics, horror, or steampunk.

Celebrities Coming to Rock and Shock

Celebrities Coming to Rock and Shock

by Jason Harris

Rock and Shock is lining up the celebrities for this year’s convention and it seems a new one is added every day. In the last two days, Heather Langenkamp (Nightmare on Elm Street)and Danny Trejo (From Dusk till Dawn, Machete) were added to the line-up. They join Doug Bradley, who portrayed Pinhead in eight Hellraiser movies and Lylesberg in Nightbreed, Sig Haig and Bill Moseley, who both appeared in House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil Rejects, Brian o’Halloran who portrayed Dante Hicks in the two Clerks movies and Anthony Michael Hall (The Dark Knight), who has been in the John Hughes’ classics The Breakfast Club and Weird Science and in The Dead Zone television series. These are just a few of the celebrities appearing at Rock and Shock.

If you are not into the movie celebs, there are also a star of the written word appearing at the convention. Author Jack Ketchum will once again bring his talent to Worcester. The writer of such novels as Red, Offspring, The Woman and The Girl Next Door, which all have been made into movies.

Wrestling star turned actor Diamond Dallas Page (The Devil’s Rejects) will be at Rock and Shock too.

It seems like the organizers of Rock and Shock can’t get enough of the music group, Kiss. They invited Ace Frehley, former lead guitarist of KISS, to last year’s convention. This year Peter Criss, the former drummer of the band, will be on hand signing autographs.

For a list of the other guests appearing at Rock and Shock, click here.

Rock and Shock takes place at the DCU Center, located at 40 Foster St., in Worcester, MA.

The Traveling Writer: Ten Things You Should Own for Promotional Events

The Traveling Writer: Ten Things You Should Own for Promotional Events

by Kristi Petersen Schoonover

I’ve been doing events for ages, and my first few weren’t easy. No one had a must-have list, and I had to learn by doing. Today I’m sparing you all of that. So, here are the ten things every writer should have in his “Traveling Promotional Toolkit” (other than, obviously, your books/product). If you’re with the NEHW, there’s a good chance you won’t have to worry about some things on this list, like the table and tablecloths. But you should own them anyway, because at some point, you will probably be going solo. Interestingly enough, these ten items won’t break your bank—in fact, if you buy everything at once, your investment is going to be well under $100 and most of that you’ll never have to replace—but they’re absolutely essential if you’re going to take your show on the road.

Table/Chair: Card tables aren’t that expensive. Pick one up and keep it in your basement. If you don’t use it for going on the road, believe me, you’ll find some other use for it the next time you throw a party. A decent card table can run you anywhere from $20 and up. Some come with four or five chairs and start at about $50—but as far as chairs go, anything from home will do. Even those fold-up lawn chairs are fine. But you should have one in case the venue doesn’t.

Tablecloth: You can bring a cloth one from home that you already own, but since I’m a horror writer I like to get funky and use something appropriate. Plastic tablecloths, which you can get at any party store and start at, like, a buck, are the best choice, because you can customize them to the event (you might not want to bring your blood-spatter design to a hospital benefit, for example), and you can toss them when they get worn out. I have a few different ones with different designs on hand especially during October when I’m doing four or five events in a row and want to change it up. I usually get several uses out of them before having to discard them. You’ll find you also won’t mind loaning out the plastic ones, either. These are the most frequent things you’ll replace other than your handouts (see below).

Plastic Tubs: A must. All your books and materials stay dry and in mint shape. The tubs are also easy to carry, and make for a great “table” to put your drinks and food so they don’t go on your signing table, putting your product at risk.

Photo by Jason Harris.

Book Stands: Sure, you can lay your books down on the table, but if they’re standing up, they’re easier to spot, plus they instantly look serious. You don’t have to spend a fortune to own an industrial book stand: these are the poor man’s POP (point-of-purchase) displays. All you have to do is visit Michael’s Crafts and head down the framing/photo aisles; they’re referred to as easels, they’re portable, and they’re cheap. The ones pictured above fold easily. At Michaels, they are about $3.99 each, and if you get the store’s coupons in the weekly paper, then they’re even less. If you wanna go nuts, they have some pretty cool wrought-iron ones. Those are on my Christmas list. Book stands are also available through Amazon.

Handouts/Flyers: The idea with a handout or flyer is to provide something of value: Content your readers will take home and possibly keep for awhile or use—this is the idea behind what today we refer to as “swag” (years ago when I worked for a firm we called them CM’s–“collateral materials”) such as magnets, bottle openers, and pens. The good news is, since you’re a writer, you don’t have to spend the bucks on promotional items if you can’t afford them. An easy, better, and less expensive way to market your work is to take a short story (preferably one that’s published) or a sample from one of your books and copy it. You can then staple your business card, postcard – or simply a flyer with your website and where people can purchase the book – to those copies and hand them out. You may not think it works, but it does result in at least a few residual sales (a residual sale is when a person purchases your work after the show is over).

Pens/Markers/Paper: Don’t laugh. This may seem like a no-brainer, but I’ve been to book signings at big box retailers (Barnes & Noble, Costco, and the like) and the author didn’t have pens that worked. Invest in a box of Bics. And while you’re at it, pick up a few Sharpies, too. Also make sure you have a notepad or extra paper – it comes in handy if you need to make notes, keep sales records, or make a sign. Just keep them in your travel tub.

Sign Holders: These are those plastic one-offs that stand on their own into which you can insert your own flyer, sign, photo, or whatever and the beauty is you can prepare one and use it over and over; you can also change them out frequently but keep a file of different ones on hand and avoid having to print new sheets every time you need something different. They add to your professional appearance and come in a multitude of vertical and horizontal styles and sizes. The best place to get them is at Staples, and you can spend as little as $4.00 each.

Duct Tape: One word: MacGyver.

Plastic Shopping Bags: To offer to customers who purchase your product, and to use for just about anything else, including those empty Dunkin’ Donuts coffee cups and Tab cans. One box of 100 costs about $13 at Staples or Office Max, and it’ll take you awhile to go through them.

Decorations/Candy: Something festive to dress up your table is always helpful because it broadcasts I have passion for what I do, and a bowl of individually-wrapped candies is always pretty, especially around Halloween, because it shows you have a sense of fun. And after all, who doesn’t want to Trick or Treat?

The SouthCoast Toy and Comic Show Write-Up

The Happenings and Pictures from the SouthCoast Toy and Comic Show

by Jason Harris

There was no sleeping in this morning. No enjoying the extra hour of sleep gained from falling back a hour for Daylight Savings Time. The day started at 5 a.m. Sunday morning for Author Stacey Longo and myself. We left around 5:40 to get the SouthCoast Toy and Comic Show in Fairhaven, MA. On our drive to the show, we came across this site.

Smoke over Interstate 695

We arrived at the Seaport Inn and Marina without any problem. Once there, Longo performed her magic and had the table set-up in no time. This picture is of the second version of the NEHW table. There were two more set-ups as different authors arrived. Thanks to Longo, Dave Goudsward, Kasey Shoemaker, and Rob Watts for participating in today’s event. Thanks goes out to Nathan Wrann and Kristi Petersen Schoonover for having their books and dvds at the table.

The Toy and Comic show had many draws today from George “The Animal” Steele, Brian Harnois, Penny Dreadful and Gaoru, Uncle Fright, and Thom Christopher (Hawk on Buck Rogers). There were also sideshow performers and paranormal researchers.

Along with the stars and guests to see and meet, there were also convention attendees who came in costume.

Books were sold and some great networking opportunities were made. The show was a lot of fun and I know the NEHW will be back at this show in the future.

It was nice meeting Rick Silva of Dandelion Studios today. He will have a table at Anthocon next weekend.

Watts, Longo, and Goudsward will be attending Anthocon next weekend in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Be sure to look for their books at the NEHW table at the convention.

Enjoy the following pictures from the SouthCoast Toy and Comic Show.

George “The Animal” Steele

Zehara Nachash, sideshow performer

Longo and Watts talking.

Jason Deveau as Captain America and Panda Valentine as Peggy Carter

Jedi Adam Joyce, of Cambridge, MA., with lightsaber

Jessica Rabbit and friend

Eric Shafer, of Waltham, MA.

Harris, Longo, Shoemaker, Watts, and Goudsward

Darth Vader

Stormtrooper

Raymond Ramos, of New Bedford, as Blade

Mark Tauares as Superman and his son, Myles, as a stormtrooper.

Panels, Winners and more pictures at Rock and Shock

The most successful NEHW panel was the Women in Horror panel. It was moderated by Trisha Wooldridge and the panelists were Tracy Carbone, Stacey Longo, Kristi Petersen Schoonover, and Kelli Jones. When I talk about success, I am talking about the attendance level. This panel had the most people in attendance and it was at the perfect time slot of 1 p.m. on Saturday.

The other three panels were Small Press and Magazines on Friday at 6 p.m., The Writers Studio on Saturday at 12 p.m., and E-Publishing Workshop on Sunday at 1 p.m. All the panels were informative and successful. An unsuccessful panel would have been a panel with no audience. Since this was the first year for the NEHW panels, it will just grow as the convention grows and continue to get better and better year after year.

Necon E-books panel: (from left to right) Kelli Jones, Matt Bechtel, Bob Booth, and Jack Haringa

The NEHW booth had a raffle and the prize was a coffin full of books. A coffin looking box, not an actual coffin. The winner was Kelly Williams, of Enfield, Connecticut. Her name was drawn out of the raffle container Sunday afternoon.

The raffle prize and winner's name

Here are some more pictures of convention attendees, celebrities, and other things at Rock and Shock.

Woman with werewolf baby

Ken Sagoes a.k.a. Roland Kincaid in Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

Monster Golf at Rock and Shock

Roddy Piper talking with a fan

Derek Mears a.k.a Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th (2009)

 

Get in on the Ground Floor at First Annual AnthoCon November 11-13

Get in on the Ground Floor at First Annual AnthoCon November 11-13 by Kristi Petersen Schoonover

Contrary to what everyone in the publishing industry has been saying for years, the short story isn’t dead. In fact, it never was. And now that “short-and-sweet” is the accelerating trend, there’s room for one special horror conference to celebrate it all: the First Annual AnthoCon: The Anthology 2011 Conference, coming to Portsmouth, New Hampshire November 11-12, 2011.

Presented by Shroud Publishing, The Anthology 2011 Conference will “showcase the imaginative talent in speculative fiction and art, with an additional focus on the convergence of images and literature,” according to the AnthoCon website.

Like other cons, well-known writers will be on hand, among them Christopher Golden (Of Saints and Shadows), who will offer a reading and signing; Jonathan Maberry, who read from one of his new novels; and Jennifer Pelland, who will read from her debut novel, Machine. There will be an extensive dealer area which will feature books, films, artwork, comics, and more. There will also be a Juried Art Exhibit to include such shelf familiars as Ogmios (The Witches’ Almanac), Morbideus Goodell (Apex Digest, Maberry’s Vampire and Cryptopaedia), and Michael Bailey (who is also the editor of Pellucid Lunacy, an anthology of psychological horror and several novels).

“[AnthoCon] has some amazing authors, publishers and film people attending,” said Tracy L. Carbone, editor of Epitaphs, New England Horror Writers Association’s first official anthology, which will debut at the conference. “It should prove to be the best new Con for horror folks out there.”

But what makes AnthoCon unique is its focus on the nine panels’ concentration on education for both writers and horror fans. For example, Reaching through the Veil will examine the channeling of myth, religion, spirituality and the collective unconscious in imaginative fiction; Getting Your Short Story Published with the Small Press will offer insight on finding, submitting, and selling your short story; Evil Jester Press Presents “Help! Wanted: Tales of On-The-Job Terror” will dissect the process of producing an anthology. Horror names Biran Keene, Rick Hautala, Cat Valente, Maberry, Joseph Nassise, Pelland, and Golden will present I’ve Made It This Far, Now What?, using their paths to literary success to illumine what the process could be like for those in attendance. Topics also go deeper with Writing Programs: from the MFA to Private Workshops. And Eric Red (The Hitcher, Near Dark) will present a lecture and workshop The Elements of Writing Horror and Thrillers for Films.

Aside from guests, vendors, and panelists, the event promises to draw a unique crowd to include film and book reviewers and magazine editors—like Peter Schwotzer, the man at the helm of Literary Mayhem (http://literarymayhem.com/) who also reviews anthologies, lit-zines and books for Famous Monsters of Filmland and IMDB.

“I’m going mainly to meet a lot of authors I’ve met over the past couple of years in person. We correspond by e-mails, phone, Twitter, Facebook, etc., but it will be nice to meet face to face,” Schwotzer said. “All of the authors have been so kind and generous to me, it still boggles my mind that I actually correspond with my literary heroes.”

If that weren’t enough, AnthoCon’s location—Portsmouth, New Hampshire—is not only America’s third-oldest city, it’s the type of classic spooky New England Seacoast that has inspired countless creepy tales over the years: the perfect place to hold such a conference.

With so much to offer that seems to be different from what’s offered at other cons, this promises to be a great inauguration with long-lasting recurring potential—writer or fan, artist or reviewer, don’t miss out.

AnthoCon 2011 will be held at the Best Western Wynwood Hotel & Suites at 580 US Route 1 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Friday, November 11 through Sunday, November 13, 2011. For complete information on AnthoCon, including schedules, costs, who’ll be there and how to go, visit http://www.anthocon.com.