NecronomiCon Returned to Providence this Past Weekend

by Jason Harris

2013-08-24 06.55.52It has been a number of years since the city of Providence has celebrated the life and work of H.P. Lovecraft with the convention, NecronomiCon. It was expected to have about 1200 people attend, convention director Niels Hobbs said. The convention ran from Thursday, August 22, through Sunday, August 25 and took place at the Providence Biltmore.2013-08-23 20.21.27

Putting on a convention is a huge undertaking and the organizers did a great job. The only noticeable problem was the program wasn’t available at the start of the convention. They arrived a few hours later. The printer should have had them delivered at the beginning of the month, a volunteer at the registration table said.

The registration table.

The registration table.

The convention was spread throughout Providence at eight different locations, Hobbs said. There were art shows, gaming, and movies being shown. There were events of all types for Lovecraft fans. There were also panels and readings throughout the weekend.

The Cinematic Lovecraft panel

The Cinematic Lovecraft panel

Author Alan Dean Foster

Author Alan Dean Foster

There were also a lot of vendors on the registration floor and on the 18th floor of the Biltmore. Vendors included publishers, writer organizations, and artists.

Sam Merritt and Mark Marine of Double Vision Embroidery.

Sam Merritt and Mark Marine of Double Vision Embroidery.

You can check out the Double Vision Embroidery Facebook page here.

Sculptor Larry Elig

Sculptor Larry Elig

You can check out Elig’s work here.

H.P. Lovecraft

H.P. Lovecraft

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A part of the New England Horror Writers' table.

A part of the New England Horror Writers’ table.

You can check out the New England Horror Writers (NEHW) here.

The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society's table.

The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society’s table.

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The TempleCon table.

Cinema Knife FIght writer Barry Dejesu holding a Crocheted Cthulhus from the NEHW table.

Cinema Knife FIght writer Barry Dejasu holding a Crocheted Cthulhus from the NEHW table.

Authors David Cassenti and Laura Hickman behind the NEHW table.

Authors David Cassenti and Laura Hickman behind the NEHW table.

The Tandy Leather Factory table.

The Tandy Leather Factory table.

The Tandy Leather Factory is located in East Hartford, Connecticut. Check them out here.2013-08-23 23.45.06

The Hippocampus Press table.

The Hippocampus Press table.

The offerings at the NEHW table.

The offerings at the NEHW table.

The Fedogan & Bremer Publishing table

The Fedogan & Bremer Publishing table

The Catalyse Studios table

The Catalyse Studios table

A.S. Koi is a writer, painter, writer, and owner of Catalyse Studios. Her first book, Tribes of Heaven: Honor & Sacrifice, took Koi 15 years to complete it, she said. She has three planned in the series, but it will probably be four since that’s what is needed for the proper conclusion of the story. The second book in the series will be released in January of 2014.

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Joe Broers Miskatonic Valley Ravenswood Studios.

Joe Broers Miskatonic Valley Ravenswood Studios.

Joe Broers' products.

Joe Broers’ products.

You can check out Broers other sculptures here.

The Cryptocurium table.

The Cryptocurium table.

You can check out the Cryptocurium merchandise here.

NEHW members Barry Dejasu and Scott Goudsward (both standing) and Laura Hickman and Jan Kozlowski (both sitting) at the NEHW table.

NEHW members Barry Dejasu and Scott Goudsward (both standing) and Laura Hickman and Jan Kozlowski (both sitting) at the NEHW table.

If you missed this year’s convention, there will be one in 2015. Stay tuned to it’s website for information.

NecronomiCon Providence Starts Thursday

New-Convention-PosterThe H.P. Lovecraft inspired convention officially starts Thursday, but there have been events going on all week and some a month. These events include movies and art shows. According to organizers, the convention happens in eight different locations.

Some of the movies and short films being shown include The Ancestor, The Thing on the Doorstep, and Dagon. Movies are being shown at the Black Box theater, located at 95 Empire Street and the RISD Auditorium, located at  7 Canal Walk, and they have already begun being shown. Click here for the movies and the times and theaters they are being shown at.

The convention will also have panels.  Panelists include filmmakers and authors such as  Stuart Gordon, C.J. Henderson, and Darrell Schweitzer. A complete list can be found here.

Check out the convention’s website here for details on what’s happening and where.

The Providence Journal has written about the convention. You can read the article here.

Review: ‘Interlands’ is ‘Perfect Example Why Self-Publishing can be a Good Thing’

By Stacey Longo

interlands coverInterlands by Vincent O’Neil (2013, Vincent O’Neil) is the perfect example of why self-publishing can be a good thing. The novel is well structured, reads at the perfect pace, and is hard to put down. There is no reason why O’Neil shouldn’t be picked up by one of the big publishing houses; but with so many voices out there, and so little money to sign new authors, it’s hard for a good writer to get a contract these days.

The novel introduces us to Angie Morse, a graduate student who is working on the final touches of her college thesis. The paper’s done, but she’s searching for a mysterious obelisk that she believes still exists somewhere in the area of Providence, RI. She’s found documents and photographic evidence of the monument, and even after uncovering some disturbing folklore surrounding it, is unable to give up her quest. There’s a great deal of mystery surrounding the obelisk as well as Angie herself, and the reader is given pieces of the puzzle along the way to hone one’s curiosity. O’Neil is able to answer questions in such a way that the reader thinks “Oh, that’s why! But what about this?”

The descriptions of Providence are eye opening, and the reader will never look at the city in quite the same way. (Being a New Englander myself, I can’t wait to go back and look at the buildings and train tracks through fresh eyes.) Interlands provides such an accurate and enchanting description of the WaterFire events that are held in Providence every year that if you’ve never been, you’ll swear you have after reading it.

O’Neil’s ability to slip into the horror/supernatural genre is impressive.  He has previously published a series of Frank Cole mystery novels (Murder in Exile, Reduced Circumstances) and a sci-fi novel as Henry V. O’Neil (Glory Main), but he slides into the horror/thriller genre with ease. His novel tips its hat to Providence native H.P. Lovecraft, but O’Neil has a style and structure all his own. There’s no need to be a Lovecraft fanatic to enjoy this book—it has a tight plot and straightforward style all its own.

There were a couple of questions that didn’t get fully answered for me – there’s a mysterious man that Angie dances with that I felt could use more explanation, and (without spoiling anything here) Angie’s reaction to her former roommate at the end was much more placid than I’d expected. But overall, this is a satisfying read. Interlands is vividly crafted and well worth the read.

Publishing Company at Rhode Island Arts and Crafts Festival this Memorial Day Weekend

Jim Dyer and his  independent publishing house, Fenham Publishing, will be at the Gaspee Days Arts and Crafts Festival in Warwick, Rhode Island, this weekend. It’s a three-day event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday.

Stop by his table to speak with him and to find out about the books he has published.

Dyer, the grandson of author C.M. Eddy, Jr., got the idea about publishing his grandfather’s collections after going through his grandparent’s papers and manuscripts. He wanted to produce a cohesive collection of their works, he said.

According to a 1963 Providence Evening Bulletin article, Eddy knew and worked with Houdini and H.P. Lovecraft. He was one of Houdini’s ghost writers along with Lovecraft. This article also states that Eddy’s wife typed up Lovecraft’s manuscripts.

His grandmother had written quite a few essays and remembrances of H.P. Lovecraft throughout the years for various magazines, newspapers, fanzines and books, he said.

“Many people wanted her to give her personal memories and view of Lovecraft, as she knew him as a friend,” Dyer said.

Dyer’s publishing house is located in Narragansett.

For more information about the Gaspee Days Arts and Crafts Festival, click here or to find out more about Fenham Publishing, click here.

Here is another article about Dyer, click here.

Publisher Delves into Family History

Publisher Delves into Family History

by Jason Harris

Recently, I had the good fortune to meet Jim Dyer, who started Fenham Publishing, a small independent publishing house, located in Narragansett. Dyer is the grandson of author C.M. Eddy, Jr.

Dyer got the idea about publishing his grandfather’s collections after going through his grandparent’s papers and manuscripts. According to the website, he chose some selections as a basis for the titles produced thus far.

Dyer wanted to produce a cohesive collection of their works, he said.

“Many of my grandfather’s short stories have been included in some anthologies through the years, but they had never been collected together in book form,” Dyer said.

When his grandparents passed away, their papers, letters, and manuscripts were put into storage. Dyer periodically went through them and made inquires to some small publishing companies, he said.

“There was quite a bit of interest from all the publishers in putting together some collections of my grandfather’s stories, and after further discussions I decided I could take my grandparent’s works, edit, design and develop them into book form.”

By creating Fenham in 2000, it allowed Dyer the control to make the collections look and feel the way he wanted them to, along with managing the quality. He was able to get all of the details the way he envisioned them, he said.

So far, Fenham has published these works by his grandparents: The Loved Dead and Other Tales, Exit into Eternity: Tales of the Bizarre and Supernatural, and The Gentleman from Angell Street: Memories of H.P. Lovecraft by Eddy, Jr. and Muriel E. Eddy, his wife. All three of these books can be found at www.fenhampublishing.com.

The collection, Exit into Eternity, was originally published in hardcover in the 1970s by Dyer’s aunt and mother in a very limited edition, so when he started Fenham Publishing he reprinted the edition in a trade paperback, he said. He then published the other collections.

“I have many more short stories that I am currently going through to assemble into more editions.”

According to a 1963 Providence Evening Bulletin article, Eddy knew and worked with Houdini and H.P. Lovecraft. He was one of Houdini’s ghost writers along with Lovecraft. This article also states that Eddy’s wife typed up Lovecraft’s manuscripts.

His grandmother had written quite a few essays and remembrances of H.P. Lovecraft throughout the years for various magazines, newspapers, fanzines and books, he said.

“Many people wanted her to give her personal memories and view of Lovecraft, as she knew him as a friend,” Dyer said.

Muriel E. Eddy was also a poet and author. She wrote short stories in the thriller, romance and mystery genres, Dyer said. Her stories were in various publications such as Midnight Magazine, Scarlet Adventuress, Personal Adventure Stories and Complete Detective Novel Magazine. Many of her poems have been published in newspapers through the years such as The Attleboro Sun, The Norwich Bulletin, Boston Daily Record, Philadelphia Inquirer and The Providence Journal/Bulletin, Dyer said. Her poetry
has been included in some anthologies and small press collections, he added.

Fenham Publishing titles are distributed by Baker & Taylor, and are available at your favorite local bookstore as well as the major online retailers.

Hanging Out with Horror Writers

Since there has been a number of entries this week with pictures from Necon, I thought it would be nice to read an author’s blog entry written while they attended Necon 32. Author and Co-Chair of the NEHW Stacey Longo wrote such a blog. Author Jeff Strand (Pressure) even stopped by and commented on her blog.

Please enjoy this author’s current blog entry.

Hanging Out with Horror Writers

by Stacey Longo

I’m writing this in my hotel room at NECON, the Northeastern Writers’ Conference. I have to admit, it can be a little intimidating walking in to a conference center filled with some of the sickest, most twisted minds that horror has to offer, but I like to come prepared. Before I come to one of these events, I write up a list of fun topics and conversation starters in case I find myself face-to-face with F. Paul Wilson and can’t interest him in the pictures of the time I met Duran Duran. Here was my list for this year:
1. Brush up on your serial killers. Many writers base their novels on real-life events, and find this subject fascinating. I found myself on the first day sitting next to Dallas Mayr (Jack Ketchum) and was able to successfully entertain him with tales of a serial cannibal I once knew. These kinds of sure-fire conversation starters are key to any horror convention.
2. Pick a side: Lovecraft or Poe? You just can’t be ambivalent about this topic. If you’re going to go to a convention of writers, you’d better love one and hate the other, and be able to defend your side vehemently. Otherwise, Darryl Schweitzer will peg you as an imposter faster than you can say “Cthulhu.”
3. Watch as many obscure scary movies as possible before attending. The only thing horror writers like more than a creepy story is a scary movie. There also seems to be a tendency among this group to find the most ambiguous film ever made and make you feel like a giant lump of stupid if you haven’t seen it. Heard today over lunch: “You haven’t seen When Hell Comes to Frog Town? It’s only Rowdy Roddy Piper’s best cinematic performance of his career. I’m sorry, I can no longer continue speaking to you, you giant lump of stupid.”
4. Be prepared to have your favorite Stephen King novel completely skewered. Another popular activity for horror writers: espousing on why Stephen King is a hack. You thought The Stand was fabulous? Blind meadow voles could sniff out a better novel. Did you find Bag of Bones entertaining? You are an incompetent boor who should be eaten alive by blind meadow voles. Why on earth would you be so foolish to think that the most popular author on the planet could actually write a good story? (I suspect this is such a favorite activity among horror writers because they might be a tad jealous. However, this has not prevented me from trashing Under the Dome in select circles.) There you have it: a primer on blending in among horror’s literary elite. I would write some more tips, but I am currently being dragged outside and tied to a stake so that I can be eaten alive by blind meadow voles.

Moments after admitting that I kind of liked Stephen King’s Insomnia, I realize I’m a dead woman.

A Conversation with Author Jan Kozlowski

This entry appeared on author and NEHW member Kate Laity’s website.

Writer Wednesday: Jan Kozlowski

by Kate Laity

My pal and fellow Horror in Film and Literature lister, Jan Kozlowski, first fell in love with the horror genre in 1975 when the single drop of ruby blood on the engraved black cover of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot hypnotized her into buying it. She sold her first story, Psychological Bacchanal to the EWG E-zine in 1997. Her short story, Parts is Parts, won awards in both the International Writing Competition sponsored by DarkEcho’s E-zine and Quoth the Raven’s Bad Stephen King contest. Another short story, Stuff It, was sold to an independent film producer and went into production as a movie short called Sweet Goodbyes. Her short stories have appeared in: Remittance Girl’s A Slip of the Lip anthology, Lori Perkins’ Hungry for Your Love: An Anthology of Zombie Romance and Fangbangers: An Erotic Anthology of Fangs, Claws, Sex and Love.

She is extremely proud and excited to announce that her first novel, Die, You Bastard! Die! debuted February 7, as part of Lori Perkins’ new horror line, Ravenous Shadows, edited by the legendary John Skipp.

Q: What do you write on? Computer, pad o’ paper, battered Underwood? Give us a vivid picture.

I do the majority of my writing on my cherished MacBook Pro laptop. I tend to turn my MacBook on at 6:30 a.m. and don’t shut down until 9 p.m. or later most days [Ed: Hmmm, you can shut them down?]. If I either get stuck or get a jones to feel pen against paper, I’ll pull out my old white L&M Ambulance Company clipboard loaded with scrap paper and start scribbling. The board is a souvenir of my days as an urban EMT in Hartford, CT and I keep it around as a reminder of what I COULD be doing for a living.

Q: Do you listen to music while you write? Does it influence what you write?

I almost always listen to my local Dinosaur (Classic) Rock radio station when I’m working. Since Die, You Bastard! Die! is such an ultra violent story, I tried putting together a play list of heavier metal like Avenged Sevenfold (my granddaughter’s favorite band), Testament, Broken Hope, Disturbed, but I ended up distracted by the unfamiliar songs. Listening to the rock I grew up with in the 70’s like Bob Seger, The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen and Aerosmith, with a little Tom Waits, Frank Zappa, Nathan & the Zydeco Cha-Chas, Bon Jovi and Bacon Brothers thrown in via iTunes works best for me.

Q: Do you write in short bursts or carve out long periods of time to work? Is it a habit or a vice?

For me, writing is a business. I’ve been freelancing since I was about 12 and sold articles about raising tropical fish to my hometown newspaper. For the past 15 years or so I’ve run my own freelance writing shop doing all sorts of business and web related writing, editing and research work. Over the past two years, I’ve slowly been moving away from the business projects in order to focus on my horror fiction, but whether I’m writing fiction or non-fiction my work style is the same….commit to the project and write until the client, the editor or I’m happy with the finished product.

Q: What writer would you most want to read your work? What would you want to hear them say?

That’s already happened…on one of the drafts of Die, You Bastard! Die! I think I managed to gross out my editor, legendary Splatterpunk King, John Skipp! Now if I can, one day, pay Dean Koontz back for the creeps he gave me with his novel Whispers, I’ll die a happy writer.

Q: On the days where the writing doesn’t go so well, what other art or career do you fantasize about pursuing instead?

When I was a little girl my grandfather used to tell me stories about his adventures working for a funeral home during the pre-embalming fluid days. I always thought I would have loved working in mortuary sciences, but when I was going to school women weren’t exactly welcomed into the funeral services industry. Now that times have changed and we have a first class Mortuary Sciences degree program at our local college, I’ve always thought that would make a fabulous Plan B, even now at age 50+.

Q: What do you read? What do you re-read?

I try to read a little bit of everything. I get some great ideas from newspapers and magazines. I just discovered and am now devouring Mad Money Wall Street guru, Jim Cramer’s books. I try and read as much classic horror like Robert Bloch, M.R. James, Fritz Leiber, H.P. Lovecraft, Richard Matheson, Edgar Allan Poe and J.N. Williamson as possible. I also try to keep up with who’s publishing today beyond Bestsellersaurus Rexes Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I’m a huge fan of Edward Lee, Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill, Joe R. Landsdale, Jonathan Maberry, Elizabeth Massie, Yvonne Navarro, Weston Ochse, Monica O’Rourke, John Skipp and Andrew Vachss.

I rarely find time to re-read anything unless I’m researching a specific writing technique, like how Jonathan Maberry handled the fight scenes in his Pine Deep trilogy or how Dean Koontz ramped up to the reveal of the cockroaches in Whispers.

Q: Where did the idea for Die,You Bastard! Die! come from? Do you have a surefire way of sparking inspiration? And is that an awesome title or what?!

The idea for Die, You Bastard! Die! came out of a lovely dinner Ravenous Shadows publisher Lori Perkins and I had during the 2011 Northeast Writer’s Conference, known as NECON. Lori mentioned she was looking for a story about an adult child coming home to take care of her abusive parent and it matched up with a story I had been kicking around for years about a survivor of childhood sexual abuse coming home to deal with her past. After the conference I got home, wrote up the proposal, Skipp green-lighted it and we took off from there. I realize that’s not the way most writers get a book deal but it goes to prove that if you consistently put the hard work in, you WILL find yourself at the right place, at the right time with the right story.

Writing inspiration and story/character/plot ideas are everywhere if you’re open to them…and my motivation for being open to them usually is based on my memories of being paid $5 an hour to be projectile vomited on as an EMT or waitressing at Friendly’s for .60 below minimum wage.

John Skipp raves about this book:

Die, You Bastard! Die! is one hard-as-nails crime story indeed, with a crime at its core so heinous it boggles both mind and soul. That said, it is also a horror story, a mystery, and an insanely taut suspense thriller. Categories are funny like that.

But human monsters don’t get more humanly monstrous than Big Daddy. And it don’t get much rougher and tougher than Jan Kozlowski’s violently matter-of-fact, emotionally ass-kicking, downright incendiary son of a bitch.
I love this book, and stand behind it 100%. Hope it blows you away, as it did me. And has you coming back for more.

Drop by Jan’s blog or website and follow her on Twitter. Find her on Facebook and check out her Amazon author page. Thanks, Jan!

A Very Literary Guy Channels His Inner Zombie

This article originally appeared on the Miami Herald website.

A very literary guy channels his inner  zombie

By Connie Ogle

Colson Whitehead (photo courtesy of Whitehead's website)

Colson Whitehead comes by his affection for zombies honestly.  Sure, he’s considered a literary guy, one of those Writers with a capital W,  winner of a Whiting Writers’ Award and a MacArthur Fellowship, author of the  critically praised novels  Sag Harbor, John Henry DaysApex Hides the Hurt and a book of essays titled  The  Colossus of New York. But his recent foray into horror fiction didn’t  happen merely because he watched one too many episodes of  The Walking Dead.

“Other kids liked to do sports. I liked to hang around the house reading  horror comics and Marvel comics and Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft,” says  Whitehead, who appears Saturday at Miami Book Fair International to discuss his  latest novel,  Zone One (Doubleday, $25.95), about  the survivors stumbling through the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. “My  orientation to zombies goes back to the first [George] Romero trilogy. I saw  Dawn of the Dead in the theater. When I was in  junior high and early high school, it was the heyday of Betamax, and we’d rent  horror movies instead of being sociable teenagers. Kids today have grown up on  28 Days Later and  Resident  Evil and videogames, but my zombie is from the ’70s.”

Zone One takes place after the initial plague,  following the adventures of civilian-turned-soldier Mark Spitz — not his real  name; the moniker was given to him after a particularly close encounter of the  zombie kind — whose unit is tasked by the interim government with clearing out  Manhattan and making it ready for habitation again. There are still zombies  staggering around, but most are “stragglers,” a less aggressive monster  transfixed by the habits and places of their old lives.

The rabid zombies of  Zone One are tougher  to exterminate; early on, Mark stumbles into a nest of them in a long-forgotten  Human Resources department: “He was the first live human being the dead had seen  since the start, and the former ladies of HR were starving. … [T]hey were a thin  membrane of meat stretched over bone. Their skirts were bunched on the floor,  having slid off their shrunken hips long ago, and the dark jackets of their  sensible dress suits were made darker still, and stiffened, by jagged arterial  splashes and kernels of gore.”

So yes, there is gore, and there is flesh-eating and all those other horror  requirements in  Zone One. Whitehead does not skimp  on blood or bodies, and his lumbering zombies are Romero-style monsters, not the  speedy track stars of  28 Days Later. “The run and  tackle zombies are scary,” he says, “but for me zombies are about the terror of  the mob, of your community trying to devour you. That’s more horrifying to  me.”

And monsters, of course, can always be more than ravenous creatures trying to  eat your brain.

“With any kind of rhetorical device, whether it’s magic realism or a guy with  wings or vampires and demons, you’re using a construct to talk about people. My  first book,  The Intuitionist, was about elevators,  but it’s not really about elevators, it’s about transcendence and rationality.  … Mark’s travails are about survival. He and the other survivors are really  just trying to cope with a devastating event in their lives. It just happens to  be the apocalypse. But it could be a minor apocalypse.”

Whitehead never loses his sharp sense of humor at human foibles; after all,  apocalypse? We’ve all been there. One of the darkly funny elements of  Zone One is the reconstructed government’s insistence that  the units not destroy any property in their sweeps of Manhattan. After all,  people are going to want to come back, so don’t smash any windows if you have to  blow away the undead.

“My initial take on the psychology of survival is after the end of the world,  things will be a little more bombed out, but everything we hate about  contemporary society will come back, all the insane rules and the marketing and  the bureaucracy,” Whitehead says. “Someone will decide the reboot of society  needs a marketing slogan.”

Zombies are still big in pop culture these days, of course, what with AMC’s  hit  The Walking Dead, horror videogames, the  upcoming  World War Z movie starring Brad Pitt, even  Jane Austen interpreted through an undead prism in Quirk Books’  Pride  and Prejudice and Zombies. But Whitehead has his own take on why he’s  fascinated with this particular creature.

“My paranoid orientation toward zombies is really a fear of people,” he  admits. “I guess my interpretation goes back to when I was a kid, any moment  your friends and family stop to reveal themselves to be the monsters they’ve  always been.”