I probably should’ve posted about this sooner, but in late August I had my very own table at Dark History & Horror Con, Champaign County’s preeminent horror convention.
I sold a lot of books, spent a decent chunk of my profits on art prints and Godzilla toys, and best of all made some excellent new friends including writers John S. McFarland, Sue Rovens, and Dacre Stoker.
John is a writer I didn’t know I knew until I met him in person, but his early story “One Happy Family” appeared in A Treasury of American Horror Stories (Bonanza Books, 1985), which was a formative anthology for me as a budding pre-teen horror fan; my first conscious exposure to the prose of H. P. Lovecraft, Robert Bloch, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, and of course McFarland himself.
When I realized he was the same John McFarland, I rushed home to retrieve my original copy, which John was gracious enough to sign for me. We also swapped story collections!
Sue Rovens and her husband Charlie were my immediate neighbors for most of the con, and we had a great time chatting and cheering each other on every time one of us made a sale. I’d recently had a guest appearance on her blog not long before the con, and it was serendipity that our tables were placed next to each other. Sue has an impressive body of work, and I urge you to check out her stuff as well as John’s.
Dacre Stoker, of course, is the bestselling great grand-nephew of Bram himself, and needs no introduction. I wasn’t able to catch his Dracula lecture, but he was very friendly (and stylish!) and I snagged a neat Bram Stoker bobblehead at his table.
If you were there, you already know how cool it was. If you weren’t, here’s the sizzle reel to let you know what you missed (and the kind of thing you can look forward to next year!):
Yes, that is me at the end doing a bad Bruce Dickinson impression. Many thanks to my pal Timothy and the rest of the gang at Absent State Productions for encouraging this behavior.
In other news, this past Sunday I appeared as a guest on The Lovecraft eZine Podcast alongside John Linwood Grant! I’ve been a loyal watcher/listener of the show for over eight years, and for most of that time it’s been a minor dream of mine to be on it one day. I still can’t quite believe that day has arrived, and I’m so thankful to Mike Davis and the rest of the eZine crew for making me feel so welcome.
Of course, my internet chose this of all days to cut out on me no fewer than twice in the same hour (and mid-sentence!), but it was a minor hiccup in an overall wonderful experience.
Finally, you may have noticed the above reference to my fiancé under that picture of me at my convention table. Well, Shelby wasn’t yet when that picture was taken, but in mid-September we did get engaged!
This has been a not-so-minor dream of mine for the past several years, and I’m ecstatic. Life can be pretty darn good, y’know?
Sometimes, with the right people, it can even be great.