By Jason Harris
Bechtel’s entry today is titled, “Location! Location! Location! Les Daniels’ Place as an Icon of New England Horror.” He writes, “Above all else, it’s Les’ ties to New England horror that establish him as a legend in the community. After all, as I mentioned, the man lived most of his adult life on Benefit Street in Providence, literally blocks away from 135 Benefit Street, a.k.a. “The Shunned House” which helped inspire H.P. Lovecraft’s short story of the same name. His contributions to and influence upon the Necon Convention would take pages upon pages to list …” You can read the entire blog entry here.
The entire blog tour schedule can be found here.
Taking a page from Patty Cryan’s Blog. I will explain my involvement with the New England Horror Writers (NEHW). I have been a member of the NEHW over five years. It started with me putting together the organization’s newsletter every month. From newsletter editor, I became the Directory of Publicity, which is the position I held from October 2010 until April 2013. During this time, I was promoting the organization through numerous events from conventions to craft shows. Throughout that time, I continued putting together the newsletter, The Epitaph. The old NEHW website is archived on this site, Jason Harris Promotions. This archive includes the past newsletters as well.
For writers, the process of actually writing a book is one of the most painfully brutal tasks imaginable. It’s a meticulous, painstaking, heart-stopping (and often heartbreaking) procedure that truly changes a person.
See, once the plucky creative-minded person decides that he or she has aspirations to become (of all the things in the world) a writer … and once that foolish, foolish person decides to embark on the god-awful, painful task of writing a book, well … that creative person quickly becomes wrapped up in his or her own world. And inside that world, it often seems like the only thing you’re working toward is that last page, that final period.
Once you finish the book, you’ll be done, right? The world will just end, won’t it? Everything will be complete! Your life is finished!
No, not quite.
As it turns out, completing your book isn’t the end of the story. No, not by a long shot. Now that your work is out there – now that this collection of inner demons that you’ve been carrying around in your head is finally out in the world, and it’s available for people to read — now, it’s time to get YOURSELF out there. It’s time to meet people, form new friendships and make new connections. You’ve done the introverted part, and you did it well — but now, it’s time to gather up your extroverted energies and, uh … mingle.
But … mingling? How are a bunch of socially awkward WRITERS suppose to MINGLE?
See, this is why going to fiction/horror/comic etc. conventions can be difficult, but it’s also why the good conventions are so much fun. Conventions force all of us introverted writers, artists and other creative types to get to know each other and interact. Above all else, these conventions force us to get out of our writing shells.
This is also why NECON (short for the Northeastern Writers Conference) is by far the most entertaining, lively and just plain entertaining convention I’ve ever had the opportunity to attend. Yes, it certainly features a smorgasbord of genre authors, artists and publishers, as well as plenty of enthusiastic genre fiction fans. But what makes NECON unique is that, really, it’s a surprisingly small, personal con; within a few hours, it’s as if you’ve known everyone there for years.
At NECON, the walls are down. It’s a highly casual affair, wherein all the big names (for example: Jack Ketchum, F. Paul Wilson, Kealan Patrick Burke, Christopher Golden, Brian Keene, etc.), small names and middling names are all on equal ground, and everyone freely interacts with one another. Everybody shares beers, trades corny jokes and gets to discuss their passions. Throughout my NECON experience, if there was one thing I heard quoted over and over again, it was this:
“Necon isn’t just a con, it’s a family.”
Yes, that’s definitely the feeling that one gets from attending. It doesn’t feel like a conference at all. Really, it just feels like a family reunion – the good kind, the kind where everyone cheerfully pokes fun at each other and catches up on what they’ve been doing for the last year.
For genre writers, the Northeastern Writers Conference in Rhode Island is something you hear a lot about, and always in highly enthusiastic tones. Put on every year by the Booth family, including founder Bob Booth (who is affectionately referred to as Papa Necon). Booth is a truly inspirational figure; currently battling lung cancer. Bob and his family’s perseverance is absolutely amazing to see.
NECON is the Booth family’s baby, and what a creation it is; most people I’ve spoken to refer to NECON as “the best con,” or “the only con I go to every year,” and now that I’ve attended, I can definitely understand why.
(Before we move on, allow me to insert an embarrassing side note and a tip: Yes, NECON is pronounced Knee-Con, not En-E-Con, Neck-on and definitely not Neeh-Cone. This seems obvious, but I’ll admit I actually made sure not to say Knee-Con out loud until I’d heard someone else say it first. Oh, the shame, the shame…)
Now, how did my weekend get started?
Okay, so I made the two-hour drive down from New Hampshire on Thursday afternoon. Immediately upon opening the doors, the welcoming nature of the whole event was made extraordinarily apparent. Once I got my badge, collected my bearings and started emptying all the empty candy/chips/highly-stereotypical-road-snack wrappers out of my bag, I was immediately greeted by Mark Angevine and artist Duncan Eagleson, both of whom did a terrific job at explaining everything, telling me the history of Camp Necon and showing me around. Seriously, I really can’t emphasize enough how great these guys were; I enjoyed many intriguing conversations with both of them throughout the weekend. From there, Mark offered me a cup of coffee – very, very strong coffee. I got the pleasure of enjoying a brief demonstration of his talented musical abilities, in particular his undeniable skill at playing the shakuhachi, an ancient Japanese end-blown flute.
From there, I met up with Scott Goudsward of the New England Horror Writers, a great guy who really does an admirable job at organizing all of these group events. There was a whole slew of NEHW members all over NECON, so all of us got to freely navigate throughout the convention. Sometimes at the table, sometimes at the panels or sometimes just walking around, you could always spot an NEHW member somewhere. Among those in attendance were Charles Day (The Legend of the Pumpkin Thief), Bracken McLeod (Mountain Home), Tracy L. Carbone (Restitution), David Price (Dead in the USA), Kristi Petersen Schoonover (Bad Apple), Michael Arruda (In the Spooklight), Eric Dimbleby (The Klinik) and Scott and Trisha Wooldrige (UnCONventional), as well as Jason Harris and Stacey Longo Harris, owners of the horror-themed Connecticut bookstore Books and Boos, which I’ll be doing a reading at on August 24.
Now, NECON is a four-day event , so naturally, there’s an enormous amount of great moments to talk about. However, since I’m far too aware of my own tendency to turn every article into a novel-length work (yes, I’m one of those guys, ugh), I’m going to force myself to whittle this down into a neat, tidy, manageable length. To accomplish this daunting task, I’m going to write out a concise list of highlights:
1. The Rick Hautala memorial. Rick, who was famously known as “Maine’s other horror writer,” was the author of over 30 novels and short stories; his recent death this past March was an enormous shock to many in the literary community. As a regular attendee of NECON – an event that was, according to his close friends, “Rick’s Christmas,” – most of the first night of NECON 33 was devoted to a moving tribute of the man and his work. Touching speeches were given by many of Rick’s friends and loved ones, including Christopher Golden and Rick’s wife, Holly Newstein Hautala. I’m sorry to say that I only had the opportunity to meet Rick once, back at Anthocon 2012. However, even in my limited interactions with him, Rick’s kindness and generosity were truly remarkable, especially for someone who so many young horror writers (myself included!) have looked up to for so many years; he was truly one of a kind. Rest in peace, Rick.
2. For the next highlight, going back to speeches; I can’t go without mentioning that every speech given by Mike Myers and Rio Youers was absolutely gut-bustingly hilarious. Great job, guys.
3. The Hawaiian shirt contest! Ridiculous as it might sound, this was totally one of my most anticipated events of the weekend. Since I consider myself to be something of a Hawaiian shirt connoisseur (and with that, the crowd groans), I was excited to give this a whirl. As it was, my shirt – a white and red number – placed in third, winning me a set of googly eyes. I was happy with third place, since my fellow top fivers (including the winner, Barry Dejasu) had some really terrific shirts. My personal favorite was probably Errick Nunnally’s Spider-Man number, which displayed almost all of the major Amazing Spider-Man issues of the last fifty years.
4. “That Damn Game Show,” hosted by Craig Shaw Gardner and Doug Winter. This is the sort of event that could only happen at NECON; a relentlessly silly “game show” with a head-smacking number of “simple rules.” Truly, an enormous amount of fun.
5. The artists’ reception – complete with coffee! – where everyone got to chance to spend some time exploring all of the amazing art pieces at the show, and discussing them with the artists themselves. Artists in attendance included Jill Bauman, Caniglia, Stephen Gervais and the aforementioned Duncan Eagleson. Overall, I probably spent the most time speaking with him. Duncan is an exceptionally interesting guy with a lot of great insights, as well as being a truly remarkable artistic talent; his Lovecraftian “Homo Avis” piece was absolutely fascinating.
6. …and finally, the courtyard! Why the courtyard? Because when it comes down to it, those nights in the courtyard – the long, late nights spent drinking an ocean of alcoholic beverages, chatting with friends and eating saugies – are truly where the warm, beating heart of NECON becomes most alive. The friendly, even affectionate atmosphere of the whole event is truly something special.
Special. That’s what NECON is, really — special.
And this, right here – right when I’m beginning to really, really enjoy reminiscing about what an amazing time NECON 33 was – is where I’m going to cut myself off, before I go into the aforementioned novel length territory. I’m already sailing ahead at almost 2,000 words, so I’d say it’s time to call it a night.
But in all seriousness, I just want to thank everyone who organized, contributed and attended NECON this year for creating an absolutely extraordinary event, one which even a “NECON newbie” like myself will never forget. Necon doesn’t just live up the hype, it surpasses it. There’s no other con like it, and I guarantee that I’m going to make a point to come back.
The 33rd Northeastern Writers’ Conference (Necon) has wrapped up another fun filled year. It was great seeing old friends and making new ones, talking about writing and marketing and just having a good time.
Throughout the four-day convention, there were panels including That Line We Crossed: How Explicit is Too Explicit and We’ve Got You Covered: How Print Cover Art Happens. There were also the Necon Olympics: bowling, darts, foosball, and hi-lo-jack.
There was an Meet the Author party on Friday night and an Artist reception on Saturday. A Hawaiian shirt competition, Necon Update, That Damn Game Show and the Infamous Necon Roast also took place during this fun weekend.
Necon campers remembered Rick Hautala, who passed away in March, on Thursday night during his memorial tribute, which was introduced by Christopher Golden.
I have been going to the Northeastern Writers’ Conference (Necon) for over 13 years. I can’t believe it’s been over a decade since my first one. Since I started going in the late 90s, I haven’t missed a year. I have been going to this convention longer than I have known my wife, who I have gotten hooked on Necon as well. It’s funny that it took a friend from Florida to introduced me to Necon since this convention is based in New England; a place I have lived my entire life.
1. The first reason to become a Necon camper is to meet fellow writers or fellow readers if you are not a writer. Here are a few writers that have attended the convention in the past: Stephen King, F. Paul Wilson, Peter Straub, Rick Hautala, Christopher Golden, Neil Gaiman, Craig Shaw Gardner, Tracy L. Carbone, Stacey Longo, Dan Keohane, Wraith James White, Brian Keene, Simon Clark, James A. Moore, Weston Ochse, and Jack Ketchum.
2. The second reason is to learn about the publishing industry and upcoming trends. Every Necon, there are always panels with varying topics such as e-books, young adult horror, trends in horror, vampires, zombies, and movies to name a few that have been held at this convention. The e-book topic is fitting since Necon E-Books was announced at Necon 30. Check out the selection of e-books here.
3. The third reason is to pick up more books and have the authors sign it. On Friday night during Necon, there is a “Meet the Authors” event. This is the time where you can get books that you brought signed. Or you can buy a book direct from the author. There is no better way to potentially meet the next Stephen King. And when they do become famous, you can tell your friends that you met and talked with the author at Necon. Your friends will be very jealous.
There are more reasons to attend Necon, but the main three are found above. Once you attend, you will find out the other reasons why this convention is so great. When you decide to go, just write on the registration form that Jason Harris referred you. You won’t regret it.
Necon happens in Rhode Island every July. For more information, click here.
In May, Shock Totem Publications will be releasing its first non-magazine related product. The company is re-releasing a book, The Wicked by James Newman.
An ode to 1980s horror, The Wicked is Newman’s second book, which was originally published in 2007 in limited edition hardcover. The new version features revised text, a new foreword by Mark Allan Gunnells, a new afterword by Newman, and brilliant new artwork and illustrations by Jesse David Young (with additional cover layout by Yannick Bouchard). Also included is a brand new, exclusive tie-in short story the author wrote specifically for this release.
The Wicked will be released in paperback and e-book formats.
Newman is the author of the critically-acclaimed Midnight Rain and Animosity, the short-story collection People Are Strange, and the novellas The Forum, Revenge Flick! and Olden.
Praise for the novel:
The Wicked is a good old-fashioned, unabashed horror novel. James Newman remembers when horror used to be fun, and he’s recaptured it here in all of its gory glory. A terrifying page-turner in the tradition of Graham Masterton, J.N. Williamson, and Richard Laymon. WICKEDly good reading from of horror’s new heirs!”
Brian Keene, author of The Rising, City of the Dead and Ghoul said, “Demons, depravity and despair, oh my! Reminiscent of the best of 80’s horror and Bentley Little at his most grotesque and unrelenting, The Wicked is the kind of horror we don’t see enough of anymore. This is one wild and bloody ride, and in the capable hands of James Newman, it’s one worth taking.”
From Kealan Patrick Burke, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Turtle Boy and Kin: “The Wicked will be released in paperback and e-book formats. More details will follow closer to release. If you have any questions, please let us know.”
Two-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author Brian Keene’s Ghoul has recently been released with a new edition by Deadite Press. It tells the story of Timmy Graco and his two friends who risk their lives to stop a rash of disappearances in town, happening in the town in the summer of 1984. It’s a great novel that is hard to put down. It will make you nostalgic for the songs and toys Keene mentions that were popular during that time.
The movie based on the novel premieres at the Slamdance Film Festival on Jan. 22 at 4 p.m. and Keene will be in attendance. It will also be shown at the Sundance Film Festival. The movie is directed by Greg Wilson (The Girl Next Door) and the screenplay was written by William M. Miller (Headspace).
The movie comes to the Chiller channel in April.
Find out more about Keene on his website.
Longo received the award for “Excellence in the Art of Cover Letterage and Animal Mutilation. You will have to ask her at one of her appearances about the cover letter story. The “animal mutilation” part of the award you can find out about by reading her story in Shroud magazine, issue #11.
Bob Booth and Matt Bechtel, of Necon E-books, will be at the New England Horror Writers’ table at Anthocon this coming weekend. Check out the convention’s website and read previous articles about Anthocon on this site just click on the “Anthocon” category.
Along with digital copies of the individual titles they sell, the company also offers print editions. Necon E-books will soon be offering the Complete Short Fiction of Charles L. Grant. There will be eight volumes in this series. Volume 1: Nightmare Seasons, Volume 2: The Orchard, Volume 3: Dialing the Wind, Volume 4: The Black Carousel, Volume 5: The Collected Oxrun Stories, Part 1, Volume 6: The Collected Oxrun Stories, Part 2, Volume 7: The Collected Horror Stories, and Volume 8: The Collected Science Fiction Stories.
Volume 1 through 4 will be coming out this year. Volume 5 though 8 will be released in 2012.
Grant’s novel, The Hour of the Oxrun Dead, is now available for $4.99. According to the site, “The Hour of the Oxrun Dead was a breakthrough novel for Charles L. Grant. It was the first of many books dealing with Oxrun Station, his invented, cursed locale that is probably only surpassed by Lovecraft’s Arkham and King’s Castle Rock in the minds of horror fans. First appearing in 1977, it helped usher in the golden age of horror fiction in the 1980s.”
The site said the novel is “character-driven and emotionally wrenching, The Hour of the Oxrun Dead’s subtlety stands in sharp contrast to the “gore galore” style that would come to dominate horror fiction.
Check out Necon E-Books blog which has an entry written about Brian Keene, a guest at Anthocon, by Booth. There are also entries written by authors James A. Moore and Jeff Strand.
The company also has books by Christopher Golden and Rick Hautala available. These two authors will also be at Anthocon this weekend. They also both have stories in Epitaphs, the first anthology by the NEHW, which is published by Shroud Publishing. There is going to be a book release party for this inaugural anthology at the convention and most of the authors in the collection will be on hand to sign the book.
This blog entry about Brian Keene’s appearance and schedule at AnthoCon originally appeared on his website, http://www.briankeene.com/.
From November 11th – 13th, I will be in Portsmouth, New Hampshire as a guest of AnthoCon, which takes place at the Best Western Wynwood Hotel. For those attending, here’s my schedule:
Saturday, Nov. 12, from 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. – Keynote Speech: I’ll be focusing on some of the themes I’ve been discussing in my Seminal Screams column for Shroud Magazine, as well as some of the nonsense that’s taken place in our genre over the last few years. Regardless of whether you’re a reader or a writer, I think you’ll enjoy it. There may be cursing. And whiskey. At nine o’clock in the morning.
Saturday, Nov. 12, from 5:00 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. – Panel: “Iʼve made it this far, now what?” The AnthoCon Special Guest Panel discusses their respective paths to literary success and answer questions from the audience. This is a rare opportunity to see many of our special guests in one room and experience a candid discussion about their lives, careers, and future plans and projects. Moderator: Tim Deal Panelists: Brian Keene, Rick Hautala, Cat Valente, Jonathan Maberry, Joseph Nassise, Jennifer Pelland, Christopher Golden, Jeremy Wagner, Jackie Gamber, Michael Boatman, Gord Rollo, and Stephen Susco
Sunday, Nov. 13, from 10:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. – Panel: “From Pen to Screen and Back Again” How stories are developed for the screen, and how movies become novelized. Hollywood and literary insiders will discuss the intimate relationship between the written word and film. Moderator: Scott C. Carr Panelists: Eric Red, Stephen Susco, Jonathan Maberry, Brian Keene, Michael Boatman