Monday, November 12, 2012

Post AnthoCon Reflections - The Experiment's Success, Release of an Anthology, and More

First: Anthology: Year One, containing my story "Lament at Sundown", is now available on Amazon. Go forth and order.

Second, my new segment of "Horror 101" is up at Tales to Terrify. Now, on with the blogging. 

On Thursday, I blogged about "The Great Experiment" - mixing a writing convention, AnthoCon, with a family mini-vacation. Back home, unpacked, I can look back and say this past weekend was one my more rewarding Con experiences.

It's hard to say "best Con EVAH", though, only because I'm finding that's just a hard thing to say about any writing convention. Each convention experience offers something so new and unique, it's hard to duplicate - and new things happen with each convention. For example:

- my first visit ever to Borderlands Press Writers' Bootcamp, before I'd ever attended a Con. Gary Braunbeck, Mort Castle, F. Paul Wilson, Elizabeth Massie, Ginjer Buchanan, Tom Monteleone, Doug Winter....all there, to school ME? It was a mind-blowing, eye-opening step into the world of professional writing, one that can never be topped. Wasn't even equaled by my second - though just as valuable - trip to Borderlands. 

- my first Con, Mo*Con, put on by the Indiana Horror Writers Association. Again, my first real introduction to Cons. I was a nobody, mostly, on the sidelines, but it was my first step "out."

- my first NeCon was also amazing. I attended alone, drifted, attended panels, wrote, drove around randomly and ate some great seafood...and just dreamed of being big. What an awesome, idealistic time.

- my first trip to Context, because it was the first time I met fellow Hiram Grange writer Scott Christian Carr and Shroud-folk Danny Evarts, Tim Deal, Johnny Morse, and Mark Wholley; it was the first time I really participated in a Con, first time I ever served on a panel.

- my first Horrorfind, in which, again, I was a relative nobody, but met Brian Keene for the first time, got to hear him hold court, and first met some of my best writing buds. I've enjoyed much greater involvement as an author and sold more books at the following Horrorfinds, but that first one was special, different in a way those others can't ever touch.

So, I really try to avoid comparing writing conventions, saying "this one" was better than "that one", because each experience offers something special and unique. This past weekend, however, was something I could share with the whole family, affirming my idea that taking my family to a writing convention would be a good idea, that this can be OUR journey, not just my journey.

Of course, the kids mostly just enjoyed being in a hotel and swimming in its pool twice a day, (though I did get to sign two copies of Hiram Grange in front of Madi, and told her later that was a book I'd written), and unfortunately Abby didn't get to mingle with my writing friends as much as we both would've liked, because, well - Madi is 7 and Zack is 5. We really can't leave them in the hotel room at night by themselves, and they're really too young to mingle, too.

But the whole venture was a success, a step in the right direction. We all had a good time, visited "The Children's Museum" in Dover, ate out, and I had my weekend with fellow writers.  Didn't get to hang out with them quite as much as I've been able to in the past, but having my wife and kids waiting for me in the room at night more than balanced that out, and, again, I figure - if we attend AnthoCon every year - eventually, the kids will get older, more self-sufficient, allowing Abby to mingle more with the rest of the grownups.

Or, maybe I should watch the kids one night and Abby can go hang out with Kelli Owen next time....