By Jason Harris
The Seventh Annual Boston Comic Con happened this weekend at the Seaport World Trade Center. It was originally scheduled for the weekend April 20 through 21 at the Hynes Convention Center, but was postponed because of the lockdown following the Boston Marathon bombing.
The convention organizer’s expected this year’s attendance to be 15,000. There were artist and event panels. There was also an Independent Film Festival on Saturday and a Zombie Film Festival on Sunday.
Boston Comic Con’s biggest celebrity guests were Laurie Holden of The Walking Dead and Kristen Bauer of True Blood. The other guests included Aidan Turner and Dean O’Gorman, who play the dwarves Kili and Fili respectively in The Hobbit movies.
The convention had many comic book artists such as Mark Bagley and James O’Barr. It had celebrities for the reading crowd too such as authors Joe Hill, Christopher Golden, and Steve Niles, who have all written comic books.
There were authors there that are not involved with comic books.
Author Estevan Vega isn’t new to big conventions. He was meeting fans and signing books at last year’s Rhode Island Comic Con.
If you went to the convention to see what attendees were dressing up as then you weren’t disappointed.
Pictures of the crowds, vendors, game players and groups at this year’s Boston Comic Con.
Boston Comic Con is over, but I’m looking forward to the 2014 one.
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.
Gordon Anthony Bean recently published his first novel, Dawn of Broken Glass. It was released in June.
He has written two other novels, but shelved them since they didn’t feel right to him. He plans to revisit them at a future date.
“Dawn of Broken Glass felt like a great story with fully developed [and] believable characters that the reader could identify with, so I decided this was the book I wanted to publish first,” Bean said.
Dawn of Broken Glass tells the story of Michael Carson, who witnesses the brutal and senseless slaughter of his family during Kristallnacht in the early days of World War II. The loss of his family has left him with deep emotional scars, and feelings of anger and hatred which become all-consuming to the young man. Years later, he seeks his revenge. Along with the mysterious Jason Froemmer, Carson begins a mission to eradicate the bloodlines of each soldier who partook in his family’s slaughter so many years earlier.
Bean wrote it over eighteen months. He spent the better part of a year doing multiple revisions on plot, characters, and writing style.
Bean is working on Bloodlines, a sequel to his first published short story, “From a Whisper to a Dream.” This story was published in the anthology, Sinister Landscapes, published by Pixie Dust Press. He does have a second short story, “Out of the Corner of His Eye,” in the Grinning Skull Press anthology, From Beyond the Grave.
“One interesting tidbit about my writing is that the stories are all interconnected. In my second novel, there will be an appearance of a central character from Dawn of Broken Glass. Basically, I’m creating a wholly contained universe where all my stories take place on the same earth,” Bean said.
His primary career is in finance, but he wants it to be writing.
“I’m trying to get my writing career to take off and hopefully be able to one day devote myself to it full-time.”
He has been writing his entire life. “In elementary school, I had a short story published in our school’s spring journal. In high school, my creative writing teacher told me that of all the students she ever had, she felt that I was best suited to be a writer.”
“What I hope the NEHW or any other group would be able to do is help give exposure to this novel and future novels,” Bean said.
Bean has received good writing advice in his life, he said.
“The best I remember getting was to write for myself. Like most writers, I love to write. I am a huge horror fan and if I can leave a lasting imprint on a reader through my work, it’s all worthwhile.”
Besides writing, he enjoys reading. Michael Moorcock and Robert Heinlein were two early favorites and Clive Barker, who he loved when he was a teenager. He reads Christopher Golden, Brian Lumley, F. Paul Wilson, Joe Lansdale, Edward Lee, Jonathan Maberry, Dan Simmons, Richard Matheson, Douglas Preston & Lee Child now. His tastes vary, he said.
The table of content has been announced for the second New England Horror Writers’ anthology, which is being edited by Stacey Longo.
The tentative title for this new collection is Wicked Seasons and will be released at Anthocon 2013 in November.
Introduction: Jeff Strand
“Furious Demon” by Addison Clift
“The Basement Legs” by Robert DuPerre
“Hungry For More” by Michael Evans
“The Secret Backs of Things” by Christopher Golden
“Blood Prophet” by Scott Goudsward
“Three Fat Guys Soap” by Catherine Grant
“Chuffers” by Paul McMahon
“Spirits” by James A. Moore
“Bleedthrough” by Gregory Norris
“Lycanthrobastards” by Errick Nunnally
“To Chance Tomorrow” by Kristi Petersen Schoonover
“A Night at the Show” by Robert Smales
“The Girl Who Wouldn’t Break” by Lucien Spelman
“The Widow Mills” by Trisha Wooldridge
The first anthology, Epitaphs, was published in October of 2011.
This was written by Christopher Golden for the Necon E-books website.
Dear Necon Community,
It is with the heaviest of hearts that we write to you today to ask for your prayers, good thoughts, and positive energy for our Papa Necon, Bob Booth. As some of you may have heard, Bob came down with bronchitis in November. He was sent for a chest x-ray and it came back showing a shadow that the doctor didn’t like. Further tests revealed spots on his lung and lesions on his liver, which led to still further tests. He has been diagnosed with stage four extensive small cell lung cancer and stage four liver cancer. The doctors also believe that it has spread to his bones, and he is undergoing further testing to discover if it has reached his brain. Early next week, when all of the results are in, decisions will be made regarding the wisdom and usefulness of chemotherapy and other treatments, but it must be said that options are limited.
Over the more than thirty years since Necon’s founding, it has become ever clearer that Necon is more than a convention. It has been called summer camp, but always feels like more of a family reunion, and our Necon family grows and changes with every passing year, spreading further and adding new members. Bob has been the center of that family–truly Papa Necon–since the very first day, and it is one of his greatest pleasures. We trust that many of you will want to send Bob your thoughts, kind words, and well wishes, and we gratefully encourage you to do so. Prayers and positive energy are powerful and would be deeply appreciated by all of us.
Cards and letters can be sent directly to Bob at home. Bob Booth, 67 Birchland Ave Pawtucket, Ri 02860. If you’d like to send e-mails and want to be sure they reach him, the best way is to send them to Sara, and she will see that he receives them. Her e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your kindness, past, present, and future.
The Necon Family
Many NEHW members know Bob Booth and are sadden by the news mentioned above. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.
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.
Members of the New England Horror Writers organization will be at the 2012 New England Authors Expo at the Danversport Yacht Club this Wednesday, July 18, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
NEHW authors involved in the expo are Tracy L. Carbone (Epitaphs), Christopher Golden (21st Century Dead: A Zombie Anthology, Epitaphs), Scott Goudsward (Trailer Trash, Epitaphs) , John M. Mcllveen (21st Century Dead: A Zombie Anthology, Epitaphs), David Price (Tales from the Grave: An Anthology of True Ghost Stories), and Rob Watts (Huldufólk).
The event, which is being held in the Harborview Ballroom of the yacht club, hosts Lost in Space actor, Mark Goddard, who will be signing his book, To Space and Back.
The expo is free to the public. For more information, check out its website here. The yacht club is located at 161 Elliot Street (Rte. 62) in Danvers, MA.
The book tells the story of Jerry Gibson, who chooses to kill himself, but discovers he can’t die. Instead he becomes Death’s Companion, forced to share the deaths of countless others. Then in one act of rebellion Jerry saves the life of a sixteen-year-old girl and unleashes a horror on the world that could destroy his immortal soul.
Author Christopher Golden (The Myth Hunters, Wildwood Road) said Foley’s novel is “clever and well-written,”
The e-book is $4.99 and can be purchased by clicking here.