Pictures from the Halloween Book Festival

By Jason Harris

 

Author Christopher Golden, the organizer of the event.

Author Christopher Golden, the organizer of the event at the ACT Theatre in Andover, MA.

The Childhood Horrors panel: (from left to right) authors Thomas Sniegoski, Mallory O'Meara, Paul Tremblay, Scott Goudsward.

The Childhood Horrors panel: (from left to right) authors Thomas Sniegoski, Mallory O’Meara, Paul Tremblay, Scott Goudsward, and Holly Newstein Hautala.

The Seize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric Horror panel: (From left to right) authors Christopher Golden, Dana Cameron, Leigh Perry, Rio Youers, and John Langan.

The Seize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric Horror panel: (From left to right) authors Christopher Golden, Dana Cameron, Leigh Perry, Rio Youers, and John Langan.

The New England Horror Tradition panel: (left to right) authors Jason Ciaramella, filmmaker Caitlin Kittredge, Jack M. Haringa, John M. Mcllveen, and Glenn Chadbourne.

The New England Horror Tradition panel: (left to right) authors Jason Ciaramella, Caitlin Kittredge, Jack M. Haringa, John M. Mcllveen, and Glenn Chadbourne.

The Anatomy of Horror: What is Scary? panel: (left to right) authors Errick Nunnally, Myke Cole, Sarah Langan, and Kelly Link.

The Anatomy of Horror: What is Scary? panel: (left to right) authors Errick Nunnally, Myke Cole, Sarah Langan, and Kelly Link.

We Get the Horror We Deserve panel: (left to right) authors Mary SanGiovanni, Brian Keene, Joe Hill, Izzy Lee, and Bracken MacLeod.

We Get the Horror We Deserve panel: (left to right) authors Mary SanGiovanni, Brian Keene, Joe Hill, director/writer Izzy Lee, and Bracken MacLeod.

Writer/Director Izzy Lee holding her short film, "Innsmouth."

Writer/Director Izzy Lee holding her short film, “Innsmouth.”

Author Leigh Perry/Toni L.P. Kelner.

Author Leigh Perry/Toni L.P. Kelner.

Me with author Joe Hill.

Me with author Joe Hill.

Authors Brian Keene and Mary SanGiovanni.

Authors Brian Keene and Mary SanGiovanni.

Pictures from Anthocon 2013

by Jason Harris

The third Anthocon has come to an end. All we have left are good memories and pictures until next year’s convention. Anthocon is organized by the Four Horsemen ( Timothy Deal, Mark Wholley, ZjOhnny Morse, and Danny Evarts). It’s an excellent convention where there are panels, author readings and vendors selling everything from books, t-shirts, wooden bookmarks and even lemon curd.2013-11-08 04.41.01

Post Mortem Press table.

Author and Books and Boos co-owner Stacey (Longo) Harris

Author and Books and Boos co-owner Stacey (Longo) Harris.

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Authors Thomas A. Erb and T.G. Arsenault’s table.

The New England Horror Writers' table

The New England Horror Writers’ table.

Author Holly Newstein Hautala giving Anthocon's Keynote address.

Author Holly Newstein Hautala giving Anthocon’s Keynote address.

Authors Morven Westfield, Errick Nunnaly, Trisha Wooldridge, and Jennifer

From left to right: authors Morven Westfield, Errick Nunnally, Trisha Wooldridge, and Jennifer Allis Provost.

Artist Stephanie Johnson's artwork in the Art Show.

Artist Stephanie Johnson’s artwork in the Art Show.

Author and editor Stacey Longo introducing Wicked Seasons, which she edited for the New England Horror Writers.

Author and editor Stacey Longo introducing Wicked Seasons, which she edited for the New England Horror Writers.

Author Kristi Petersen Schoonover reading her story in Wicked Seasons.

Author Kristi Petersen Schoonover reading her story in Wicked Seasons.

Anthocon organizer Tim Deal.

Anthocon organizer Tim Deal.

The Gnomies table.

The Gnombies table.

Author T.T. Zuma behind the New England Horror Wrters' table.

Author T.T. Zuma behind the New England Horror Writers’ table.

Paranormal author Jolynne Valerie.

Paranormal author Jolynne Valerie.

From left to right: authors and NEHW members Morven Westfield, Scott Goudsward, and Gordon Bean.

From left to right: authors and NEHW members Morven Westfield, Scott Goudsward, and Gordon Bean.

Anthocon's vendor room.

Anthocon’s vendor room.

Authors John Goodrich and T.T. Zuma.

Authors John Goodrich and T.T. Zuma.

Authors K. Allen Wood and Catherine Grant.

Authors K. Allen Wood and Catherine Grant.

Author Stacey Longo reading her story in Anthology: Year Two: Inner Demons Out.

Secret Things author Stacey Longo reading her story in Anthology: Year Two: Inner Demons Out.

Author David North-Martino reading his story in Anthology: Year Two: Inner Demons Out.

Author David North-Martino reading his story in Anthology: Year Two: Inner Demons Out.

Author Tracy Carbone at the Shadowridge Press table.

Author Tracy Carbone at the Shadowridge Press table.

Items on the Books and Boos table.

Items on the Books and Boos table.

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Author Catherine Grant signing a copy of Wicked Seasons.

Author Catherine Grant signing a copy of Wicked Seasons.

A lot of activity at the Books and Boos table.

A lot of activity at the Books and Boos table.

Author Scott Goudsward reading his story in Wicked Seasons.

Author Scott Goudsward reading his story in Wicked Seasons.

More artwork in the Art Show.

More artwork in the Art Show.

Author Tracy Carbone reading her story in Anthology: Year Two: Inner Demons Out.

Author Tracy Carbone reading her story in Anthology: Year Two: Inner Demons Out.

Authors Gordon Bean and Jennifer Allis Provost.

Authors Gordon Bean and Jennifer Allis Provost.

Stacey Longo and Trevor Firetog.

Authors Stacey Longo and Trevor Firetog.

The offerings of Shock Totem.

The offerings of Shock Totem.

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Author K. Allen Wood.

Author K. Allen Wood.

Authors Laura Hickman and Kelli Jones.

Authors Laura Hickman and Kelli Jones.

The artwork of Charles Day.

The artwork of Charles Day.

Authors Peter Dudar and L.L. Soares.

Authors Peter Dudar and L.L. Soares.

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Authors Errick Nunnally and Trisha Wooldridge.

Authors Errick Nunnally and Trisha Wooldridge.

Authors Kelli Jones and L.L. Soares.

Authors Kelli Jones and L.L. Soares.

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Authors Scott Goudsward and Kristi Petersen Schoonover.

Authors Scott Goudsward and Kristi Petersen Schoonover.

Author Rob Smales.

Author Rob Smales.

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Author Rob Smales reading his story in Wicked Seasons.

Author Rob Smales reading his story in Wicked Seasons.

A Newbie Shares His Experiences of NECON 33

by Nicholas Conley

 

NEHW member Nicholas Conley holding his book, "The Cage Legacy."

NEHW member Nicholas Conley holding his book, “The Cage Legacy.” Photo by Jason Harris.

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.

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Photo by N. Conley.

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.

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Photo by N. Conley.

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:

Rick Hautala

Rick Hautala

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.

Photo by N. Conley.

Photo by N. Conley.

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.

TOC Announced for NEHW’s Second Anthology (Updated 5/28/13)

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.

Pictures from this Weekend’s Author Events

Pictures from this Weekend’s Author Events

by Jason Harris

On Saturday, Annie’s Book Stop in Worcester hosted A Dark Carnival of Authors, an event to remember Rick Hautala, who passed away in March. The authors who read were Eric Dimbleby, Jennifer Pelland, K.A. Laity, Jessie Olson, Errick Nunnally, Rose Mambert, Frank Raymond Michaels, Morven Westfield, Inanna Arthen, John McIlveen, TJ May, and Kristi Petersen Schoonover.

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The event's reading room.

The event’s reading room.

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Author Eric Dimbleby (taken with flash-on).

Author Eric D

Author Eric Dimbleby (picture without flash). The author liked this one because of the way it captures the atmosphere of a reading of dark fiction.

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Author Frank Raymond Michaels.

Author Frank Raymond Michaels.

Author Erin Thorne read at The Book Shop in Somerville, Massachusetts on Saturday.

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Author Events this Weekend

Author Erin Thorne will be in Woodstock, Connecticut, on Friday at Treasures and Trash Consignment Shoppe from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The consignment shop is located at 1115 Rt. 169.

On Saturday, Thorne will be at The Book Shop in Somerville, Massachusetts, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. reading from her latest book, Behind The Wheel: And Other Stories.

A Dark Carnival of Authors/Remembering Rick Hautala

Another event involving authors takes place at Annie’s Book Stop in Worcester on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The authors involved in this day-long event of horror and dark fantasy are Eric Dimbleby, Morven Westfield, Frank Raymond Michaels, K.A. Laity, Errick Nunnally, Inanna Arthen, Kristi Petersen Schoonover, TJ May, Rose Mambert, and Jessie Olson. They will be there at different times throughout the day. They are sharing their own work and honoring award-winning horror author Rick Hautala, who passed away this past March.

Stop in to hear some amazing and chilling writing, chat with authors, and remember the kind and talented Rick Hautala.