Dreams Do Come True

The past seven days have been amazing. Last weekend I attended an event, Necon 39, that quite literally changed my life. Not only did I get to meet and spend time with some of the kindest, most interesting, and hilarious people you could hope to meet, but I made my debut as a published writer. As some of you know, I have published short stories in anthologies, but this was the first time I got to sign copies of my novel, Invisible Chains.

Books

Photo credit: Michael Burke

Thanks to some very thoughtful reviews from readers who received advanced copies of the book, including A. E. Siraki, Ben Walker, and Mad Wilson, people actually came to the event with the intent of buying my book. Some people enjoyed reading the book so much, they promoted it every chance they got. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and awed by the level of support and kind words from people who had been strangers prior to the event.

Signing

Photo credit: John McIlveen

If you have the opportunity to attend Necon, do so. It is a welcoming environment where you can connect with other writers, have informal conversations with publishers, editors, artists, and avid readers.

Lynne_Hansen

Photo credit: Lynne Hansen

And, I was welcomed into two new families: the Necon family, and the Haverhill House family.

Haverhill

Photo credit: Tony Tremblay

Although last weekend was technically a working weekend for me, it felt more like vacation and even though I was exhausted when I got home, I still felt recharged and ready to tackle whatever is coming next. I can’t wait to go back next year.

Heroes

Photo credit: Tony Tremblay

Invisible Chains was officially released on Monday, July 22 from Haverhill Housing Publishing. And, as friends received their shipping confirmations from Amazon, they contacted to let me know how excited they were to read the book. Folks who pre-ordered the hardcover and Kindle editions started receiving their copies this week and have shared pictures of the book, which is a truly humbling experience.

Earlier this week, I was interviewed for the Lawyers, Guns & Money podcast, where I got to talk about my book and one of my favorite subjects: vampires. I was also interviewed by fellow writer, Loren Rhoads for her blog, and wrote about My Favorite Things over at Speculative Chic. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that one of my favorite things is vampires. I talked and wrote about them a lot this week. Which, I have to say, is a dream come true.

So, what’s next? Aside from a few upcoming book reviews and guest blog posts, my first local book event is scheduled for Saturday, August 10 at 3 p.m., Why Do We Love Vampires and Narcissists. I’ll be reading passages from Invisible Chains and signing books, and local experts will share their knowledge about herbs, stones, symbolism, and narcissistic personalities. I’m really looking forward to this event and hope that some of you can attend.

Invite

I will be attending the The 5th Annual Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival on Saturday, October 12, and the following weekend, I’ll be in Atlanta for Multiverse 2019 – SciFi & Fantasy Convention, where I will again be talking about vampires.

Vampires

Later this year, I’ll have short stories in two upcoming anthologies, The Monstrous Feminine (Scary Dairy Press) and The Dystopian States of America (Haverhill House Publishing).

As I add events to my calendar, I will share that information here, so check back if you’re interested in attending one of those events. Thank you to everyone who has given their support, encouragement, and helped promote Invisible Chains. It has been a labor of love, and I couldn’t have done it without your kindness and friendship.

25 Years of Fear: World Horror 2015

WHC2015LOGOThis past weekend I attended the 25th Annual World Horror Convention and HWA Bram Stoker Awards Banquet in Atlanta (May 7 – 10, 2015). I’ve been a member of HWA for three years now and this was my third World Horror Convention. I shared a room with two people who are very special to me: two-time Stoker-nominated poet, Stephanie Wytovich and fellow Seton Hill University alum, Ryan DeMoss. We had a blast, but it just wasn’t the same without Joe Borelli. Hope to see you soon, Joe. There were quite a few of us in attendance representing Seton Hill’s MFA in Writing Popular Fiction Program, including my amazing mentor, Lucy A. Snyder who won two Stoker Awards this weekend for her fiction collection, Soft Apocalypses and her non-fiction book on writing, Shooting Yourself in the Head For Fun and Profit: A Writer’s Survival Guide, as well as Michael Arnzen, Tim Waggoner, Jennifer Loring and John Dixon, who also won a Stoker for his novel Phoenix Island.

Jennifer Barnes and John Edward Lawson of Raw Dog Screaming Press hosted a fun gathering Friday evening in their hotel room where many of us got to experience some of the common fears horror writers try to capture in their fiction: claustrophobia, social anxiety, ophthalmophobia (fear of being stared at), ochlophobia (fear of crowds or crowded places) and bibliophobia (fear of books). Michael Arnzen broke out his Fridge of the Damned magnets for us to play with, and added performance anxiety to the list of fears.

As always, I attended some amazing panels and presentations, with the following being some of my favorites:

  • From Voodoo to Rattlesnake Revival: Southern Folklore in Horror Literature
  • Selling Your Scares to Screen: Ins and Outs of Options in Today’s Film Market
  • Different Visions: African- American Spec-Lit From Afro-Futurism to Beloved (moderated by Chronicles of Harriet creator, Balogun Ojetade)
  • Midmorning Madness: Making Insane Characters Believable
  • Bram Stoker/Dracula Travel Guide New Discoveries 118 Years Later (presented by Dacre Stoker)
  • Pushing the Diaspora Darkly: Horror from Multicultural Perspectives

I never get to attend all of the panels and readings I want to, because there are simply too many to choose from each year.

However, there is so much more to WHC than attending panels. Catching up with talented friends like Michael Knost, Craig DiLouie, and Rio Youers were some of the high points of the weekend. What’s even better than telling stories, drinking, and laughing at inappropriate humor with old friends? Making new friends! This year I met some really talented, insightful, and darkly humorous people including the amazing science fiction poet Linda Addison, the thought-provoking speculative fiction writer Crystal Connor, the adorably weird horror writer and filmmaker Frazer Lee, the nicest bizarro fiction writer you’ll ever meet, William Pauley III, and a filmmaker and writer who also aspires to become a Time Lord, Aaron Dries. It was also my great pleasure to meet DragonCon’s ConSuite Master, Joseph Campbell, who showed WHC2015 attendees southern hospitality while wearing a Utilikilt and spinning Bryan Ferry. Be still my heart!

And, if all that wasn’t cool enough, William F. Nolan and Charlaine Harris signed books for me.

All in all, a wonderful weekend in which I was reminded not to fear success, conversed with intelligent, insightful, and caring people, learned some new things about madness, laughed at inappropriate humor, and exhausted myself to the point of insanity. Can’t wait to see you all again soon.