By Jason Harris
The 14th GraniteCon took place once again at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, New Hampshire on Sept. 17 and 18.
The 14th GraniteCon took place once again at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, New Hampshire on Sept. 17 and 18.
It’s February and the third annual Queen City Kamikaze is upon us once again. It’s one bright spot during this cold and snowy month. The one difference this year is that this anime, video game, comic book, cosplay, sci-fi, and fantasy convention takes place on a Sunday. For the past two years, it happened on Saturday.
Mark Wholley, one of the Four Horsemen who founded Anthocon, Northern New England’s only multi-genre literature and arts convention, will be at QCK for his second time to promote Anthocon. He will also be selling copies of Anthology, an anthology that debuted at Anthocon. He wants to make some vendor contacts and meet some artists, Wholley said.
“I like the show because of it diverse audience it draws in, It’s local to me and I like to support other shows when I can. I enjoyed last year so I decided to attend again this year,” Wholley said.
At the Books & Boos‘ tables, there will be six authors: Stacey Longo, Dale T. Phillips, Vlad Vaslyn, Tony Tremblay, David Price, and Gordon Bean. They are all members of the New England Horror Writers organization. These authors will be selling and signing their books. This will be Longo’s third time and Tremblay’s and Price’s second time attending the convention.
“I love this convention and meeting a younger generation of readers,” Longo said.
Along with selling new and used books, Books & Boos will be presenting two panels: Horror in the Movies (1 p.m. to 2 p.m.) and Where Authors Get Their Ideas (4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.).
Horror In The Movies: authors Gordon Bean (Dawn of Broken Glass), David Price (Dead in the USA), Stacey Longo (Secret Things), and moderator Jason Harris will discuss the best and worst, darkest and most disturbing, scariest and silliest examples of horror on the big screen on the Horror in the Movies panel. From the golden age of Nosferatu to the modern-day Conjuring, this panel will cover it all. Questions from the audience are encouraged throughout the discussion.
Where Do Writers Get Their Ideas? Authors Dale Phillips (Shadow of the Wendigo), Vlad Vaslyn (Brachman’s Underworld), David Price (Dead in the USA), and moderator Stacey Longo (Secret Things) will answer the number one question writers hear from their readers: How do you come up with this stuff? From disturbing first dates to summer camp adventures gone awry, audiences will learn how the most innocent of memories and experiences can be turned into scary stories and best sellers. Questions from the audience will be encouraged throughout the discussion.
There is a third panel: How to Create, Publish, and Promote Your Own Comic, which will happen during the convention, but isn’t sponsored by Books and Boos.
The Queen City Kamikaze takes place at 1 Crusader Way in Manchester, New Hampshire from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 16. There is a $10 admission price.
Author David Price won’t be able to attend the convention. A family issue came up.
It’s that time of year again when people start thinking about what their resolutions will be for 2014. According to Wikipedia, resolutions are a secular tradition more common in the West. The U.S. government even has a page on its website mentioning some of the most popular resolutions. Some of the more popular ones are quitting smoking, volunteering to help others, getting a better job, managing debt, and saving money. You can see the entire list here.
The biggest one that people choose for their resolution is to lose weight. If this is yours, I would suggest finding a 24-hour gym to add to your routine. I belonged to Anytime Fitness a number of years ago and the flexible hours were perfect for my schedule. Like the name implies, it’s open 24/7 for its members. I went at 4 a.m. a couple of times and there were a few people there even then. It was convenient and I didn’t have to wait to use the machines I wanted to use.
This year my resolution isn’t to lose weight, but to read more, a resolution I’ve made in the past. 2013 was not a big reading year for me; in fact, I read more in 2012. Here are just a few of the authors I want to read in 2014: Stephen King, Dale T. Phillips, Vlad Vasyln, Stacey Longo, Joe Hill, Jeff Strand, Clive Barker, Bracken MacLeod, Daniel G. Keohane, Rob Watts, David Price, Monica J O’Rourke, and Melissa Crandall. It won’t be the first time reading some of these authors, but all have been on my author-to-read list because I either know them or someone has recommended their work to me.
My other resolution is to get a full-time job to get cracking on managing my debt. Do I want to make that resolution and face that challenge? Just thinking about it gives me a headache; so I would rather just think about the magical places the authors on my list will take me when I crack open their books and start reading.
Happy New Year!
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 New England Author Expo – Book Sale is a week away. It happens next Wednesday, July 31 from 4 p.m to 9 p.m. in Danvers, MA.
This expo has over 50 authors attending it. You can find out who is attending here.
There will also be publishing and writing related groups such as Independent Publishers of New England and the New England Horror Writers organization. There are a number of NEHW members attending this show. There will be three members at the NEHW table; Scott Goudsward, Rob Smales, David Price, and Ken Wood. There will be six members at the Books & Boos table; Michael J. Evans, Stacey Longo, Erin Thorne, Rob Watts, and T.T. Zuma. A few members, Tracy Carbone, Dale T. Phillips, and Vlad Vaslyn have their own tables at the expo.
This expo has been happening for a number of years. It was started and is organized by Christopher Obert and his company, Pear Tree Publishing. It takes place in the Harborview Ballroom at the Danversport Yacht Club in Danvers, MA. from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. The yacht club is located at 161 Elliott Street (Rte. 62) in Danvers.
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.
The fundraiser went well today. The bookstore raised almost $350 for Holly. Her husband, author Rick Hautala passed away unexpectedly on March 21, 2013. Unfortunately, before he died, his life insurance policy lapsed. His widow and family are struggling to pay expenses related to his death. Anyone who has met Rick knows what a genuinely kind and decent man he was.
Not every item in the silent was bid on so we will be putting those items up on Ebay and/or our Amazon page. We will let you know when they are listed.
We want to thank Bill and Marge Rockwell, Scott M. Goriscak, David Price, T.T. Zuma, Trisha Wooldridge, Vincent H. O’Neil, Ronald Winter, Dan Foley, G. Elmer Munson, Jennifer Allis Provost, Dale T. Phillips, Vlad Vaslyn, Lauren Middleton, Tim J. Finn, Brian and Loretta White, Richard Tomas, Sandy Deluca, Leslie O’Grady, Linda Orlomoski, Kristi Petersen Schoonover, Daniel Keohane, Tracy L. Carbone, Stephen D. Rogers, Alex Scully, T.G. Arsenault, Carson Buckingham, Hal Kinney and Robert Heske.
The above list of people participated by appearing at the fundraiser, donating to it, or just helping by setting up and making food for the event. It was greatly appreciated.
We also would like to thank Rob Watts, Erin Thorne, Philip Perron, Gardner Goldsmith, Bracken MacLeod, Stephanie Johnson, Kate Laity, Amy Grech, and Catherine Grant for either sharing on Facebook, tweeting/retweeting on Twitter and/or writing blog entries about this fundraiser. Thank you for taking the time to promote this event.
We would also like to thank John Valeri of the Hartford Examiner and Ryan Blessing of the Norwich Bulletin for writing about this fundraiser.
We want to thank Pastor Kevin Zufall (Church of Hope) for lending us chairs for the event.
This entry is from the Books & Boos’ blog. You can read and see the pictures from the fundraiser by clicking here.
Books & Boos is holding a fundraiser for Holly Newstein Hautala on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Holly is an author and a wonderful person. She lost her husband, Rick Hautala, to a heartattack in March. At the time of Rick’s death, he had let his life insurance policy lapse because he couldn’t afford it. A writer’s life is one of struggle and Rick’s life was no different.Rick was an author and the nicest guy. He would help aspiring writers with comments and by even reading their manuscripts if he had the time. I got to know him at Necon (http://www.campnecon.com/), a writer’s convention that happens every July. I talked with him there. I even beat him at darts with his own darts. I will always remember him calling me a ringer when I beat him. He is a person who will be missed. You can read the tributes from the people he touched here.
If you want to get to know him, his autobiography, The Horror… The Horror: An Autobiography, was released as an e-book on May 27, you can read more about it here.
There will be 14 authors attending the fundraiser throughout the day. Here is the list of authors attending: Dan Foley, Scott M. Goriscak, Stacey Longo, G. Elmer Munson, Vincent H. O’Neil, Monica O’Rourke, Dale T. Phillips, David Price, Jennifer Allis Provost, William Rockwell, Vlad Vaslyn, Brian White, Corrine De Winter, Ronald Winter, Trisha Wooldridge, and T.T. Zuma.
There will be three different panels (the Horror Movie panel from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., Favorite Books of All Time from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., and Ghosts in the Attic: My Personal Paranormal Experience from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.).
There is also going to be a silent auction going on throughout the day until 6 p.m. Over 35 silent auction items will be available to bid on throughout the day, including signed 8 x 10 of William Shatner, Walter Koenig, and George Takei; handcrafted jewelry; a writer’s basket of goodies; a rare The Outer Limits figurine; Dr. Who puzzles; a basket of books; original photography by Linda Orlomoski of Norwich, and many other incredible items. You can see the items here.
If you can’t make it on Saturday, the bookstore’s owners have set-up a way for people to bid on the items. Click here for more details and information.
There will also be giveaways, balloons, and free food at the event. It’s going to be a great day so please come and enjoy yourselves.
The second Queen City Kamikaze convention happens in Manchester, New Hampshire next Saturday. It’s what everyone needs after winter storm Nemo this past weekend. Everyone should be dug out and will want to head over to Manchester Memorial High School, located at 1 Crusader Way. The convention runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The admission price is $10.
The NEHW will be participating in two panels: Horror in the Movies and Vampires in Literature and the Movies from Nosferatu to Edward Cullen. The panelists for Horror in the Movies will be Jason Harris (moderator), Stacey Longo, Rob Watts, and David Price. And the panelists for the other panel are Bracken MacLeod (moderator), Scott Goudsward, Errick A. Nunnally, and Bill Rockwell.
The NEHW will also have a number of tables where our members will be selling their novels, anthologies, children books, dvds, and other merchandise. Stop by to buy a book and get it signed or just stop by to talk.
Rob Smales and Tony Tremblay, two other NEHW members who are not on the panels, will be on hand at the tables as well.