Although there are about 30 Bram Stoker Award banquets in the history books, this season’s StokerCon 2017 was only the second time the Horror Writers Association has run a full-fledged convention, highlighting the genre with panel discussions, author readings, writing workshops, booksignings and varied presentations… culminating in the Award banquet, awarding the genre’s top practitioners with what I think remains the coolest trophy in the world: a creepy “house of usher” statuette. And this year’s conference, held aboard the famous ship moored in the docks of Long Beach, CA — the Queen Mary — was majestic and creepy as all get out.
Here’s the official video recap:
A lot of fun was had at this one by yours truly. I taught my “Making Readers Squirm” workshop to a large audience in a massive hall (that’s me at 1:06 in the video above); I also (somehow) moderated an interesting panel on “Interactive Thrills in Horror Games,” and I signed books. But most of all, I just hung out with all my old friends — including special side excursions with my former University of Oregon grad school buddies, David Sandner and Amy Novak — and spending extra time with former students and alumni mentees from Seton Hill University’s graduate program in Writing Popular Fiction, where I remain proud to teach. And of course, I attended the Stoker Banquet, sitting with Jen Barnes and John Lawson of Raw Dog Screaming Press — applauding wildly as their authors Stephanie Wytovich and Maria Alexander took home trophies for their books. And I applauded everyone who was celebrated with the honor… all deserving and excellent writers, whom you should study — the complete winner’s list and announcement is on the HWA page here.
As usual at these things, I just took some silly snapshots with my phone here and there whenever I remembered that I had a phone that could do this. I never remember that you can also actually focus it, so they’re all blurry (sorry). But maybe there are a few here that are different than the others being posted online elsewhere. With George RR Martin and other wonderful luminaries in attendance, under the LA sky, this con had a lot of celebrity about it… but mostly, I prowled around the less obvious or popular programming and tried to enjoy subversive areas of the con, like readings and deep chats at the bar. I’ll post below in a gallery that has no real narrative or con report associated with it. Thanks to all who shared laughter, time, and stories with me at this one and made it a very special weekend. See you next year in Providence!
Look fun? You should come to the next one, to be held in Providence, RI, former stomping grounds of Cthulhu creator, H.P. Lovecraft, among many other dreadful delights. While you wait, join the Horror Writers Association. It’s worth it.