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WHC 2013 NOLA Con Report

June 19, 2013

So many great things happened at the 2013 Bram Stoker Awards Weekend Incorporating the World Horror Convention in New Orleans that I will never have enough time time, nor brain cells, to share everything, so here are some of the highlights:

WEDNESDAY

Uneventful flight, but we made our first WHC connection in the airport taxi queue where we found Kelly Laymon. POOF! Instant ride-share. It boded well for the rest of the con.

For lunch, Jeff, Sally Bosco and I dashed out for my favorite New Orleans food, a muffuletta from Central Grocery.

Stokers WHC 2013 NOLA - 02

On the way back, we made a brief pilgrimage to my favorite spot in NOLA, One Eyed Jacks, the dive bar where Jeff and I saw The Foxboro Hot Tubs back in 2008. Best concert ever.

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Here we are reenacting our ten-hour vigil for $20 day-of-show tickets next to the world’s stinkiest garbage cans. (We were 7th and 8th in line, back in 2008.)

Stokers WHC 2013 NOLA - 04

That afternoon, we had a table read for the horror short film I wrote called “He’s Not Looking So Great” that is shooting in New Orleans in July. It went crazily well, thanks to the talents of actors Kat Lindsay, Mallory Logan, Max Jay-Dixon, Matt Story, and of course, the amazing director Gregory G. Kurczynski. Afterwards, we all went to dinner at Stanley. I had the most decadent bananas foster french toast topped with homemade ice cream. Yum! I’m going to do an entire post about the table read with tons more pics soon, but for now, here’s a pic from the table read.

He's Not Looking So Great Table Read - 02

And here we are in Jackson Square after dinner, sans Max, who was performing at a Shakespeare festival that evening.

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(And of course all of this wouldn’t have even been possible without the help of the fantastic Greg Herren who hooked us up with the lush digs at the Hotel Monteleone before the con even started!)

Later that evening, Jeff and I imbibed at the horror barbershop themed bar Spirits on Bourbon with Cara and Charles Colyott, Sephera Giron, and a host of other con-goers as we listened to dueling piano dudes.

THURSDAY

Slept late, enjoyed a po-boy at Cafe Maspero on Decatur with Laura J. Hickman, Derek Clendening, Rhonda Wilson, Wandaful Wendy, Cara and Charles Colyott, Jeff, and others. (Yes, I’m lame when it comes to remembering names.) Food was “eh” but the company rocked.

Spent most of the day talking to folks in the lobby as they rolled in from across the globe. I love my friends!

My first panel of the con was “Co-Authoring: The Dos and Don’ts” which was expertly moderated by Mark C. Scioneaux. He wasn’t just good for a first-time moderator; he was just freakin’ good. I wore my author hat for this one, so panelists included my co-author for Death Divided Sally Bosco, my hubby Jeff Strand, my prez Rocky Wood, my friend Dana Fredsti, and my fellow Floridian Stan Swanson. I loved hearing how other folks collaborated.

Directly afterward was “The Only Constant Is Change” which was moderated by J. L. Benet, who also graced me with a copy of Wolf Hunter. My fellow panelists included Liz Gorinsky of Tor Books, Querus Abuttu, John Prescott, and Chris Morey of Dark Regions Press. I wore my graphic designer hat for this one. Many differences of opinion on how the industry was evolving, particularly when you consider we had an editor from a major traditional house, an owner of a small press, authors who had self-published, and me. (I specialize in helping traditionally published authors resurrect their backlists as ebooks.)

Stokers WHC 2013 NOLA - 06a

My favorite moment from either panel occurred during the co-authoring panel. An audience member asked if Jeff and I ever wrote anything together. Simultaneously we responded “Hell’s no!” (me) and “No, we’d like to stay married.” (Jeff) lol

Dinner was at Remoulade, which was supposed to be the casual side of Arnaud’s, but was our second meal of the day that was saved by great company:  Aaron Bennett (J.L. Benet) and his fiancee Becky Jimerson, our new Florida friend Usman Malik, James Chambers, and Cara and Charles Colyott (of course!)

FRIDAY

The best educational programming of the entire event was the two-hour “Marketing Yourself As A Writer” workshop conducted by Matt Schwartz, VP for digital marketing strategy and product development at Random House Publishing Group. The man is freakin’ brilliant when it comes to this stuff. I took 12 pages of notes. Enough said.

Friday afternoon Jeff read “Gave up the Ghost” from an upcoming anthology, and “Press the Button” from his collection Dead Clown Barbecue.

Stokers WHC 2013 NOLA - 06b

Friday night was the mass signing, where I was tickled to meet Peter Adam Salomon, author of the YA horror novel Henry Franks, a kind of modern Frankenstein story. Not only is he a sweet and talented man, but I found out he is moving to my neck of the woods shortly. Too cool. (His was the only book I carted with me to NOLA to get autographed.)

Stokers WHC 2013 NOLA - 08

After the signing, Alan Clark caught a fan reading his novel A Parliament of Crows. He asked her how far she was along and offered to take over reading duties for a while. When she agreed, he plopped down next to her, and began reading aloud where she left off!

Stokers WHC 2013 NOLA - 07

At the after party sponsored by Let the Dead Sleep by Heather Graham, I got to twist ‘n shout with my buddy and former 😦 Necon roomie Nanci Kalanta, and then it was off to Yo Mamma’s for dinner. Heard this amazing street band on the way. The crowd watching them was so big that it stopped street traffic.

Stokers WHC 2013 NOLA - 09

Sally Bosco and I split a veggie burger (the only night I was good on Weight Watchers) but Jeff, J.G. Faherty, and Brad Carpenter indulged in peanut butter bacon hamburgers beneath a sickly red light that made Greg’s Frankenstein tie glow. (No photoshop or weird camera effects in this pic, either. This was really how it looked in there!)

He's Not Looking So Great Table Read - 16

And yet Friday still wasn’t over! Jeff turned in early so he could be well-rested for his Saturday Stoker Awards hosting gig, and somehow I found myself at The Dungeon with Tod Clark, Kelly Laymon, Michael Huyck, Adam Cesare, Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Shane McKenzie and his brother David, Brad Hodson, Rio Youers, Stephanie, and a host of other con-goers. Weird mix of music–AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, even ZZ Top! I was in heaven, though, when they played Concrete Blonde’s “Bloodletting,” followed shortly thereafter by Rob Zombie’s “Dragula.” Gave me a flashback to Saturday nights in the nineties spent at the industrial/goth club Empire in Ybor City in Tampa. Great night!

SATURDAY

Lunch was at The Green Goddess in the courtyard around the corner from the hotel–enjoyed with Adam Cesare, Ed Kurtz, and Jeff. Amazing pressed crawfish melt sandwich, and everything was super fresh. Tons of vegan and vegetarian options, too. This was one of my favorite meals of the con, and this place will definitely be on the “repeat” list the next time we’re in NOLA.

That afternoon I was tickled to attend the Amber Benson kaffeeklatsch, because although we’d corresponded when I created a book cover for her collaboration with Christopher Golden, The Seven Whistlers, I’d never met Amber in person. She asked each person about their current project and tailored the conversation to their interests, which I thought was pretty cool. Friends who attended with me include Angel Leigh McCoy, Eunice Magill, Laura J. Hickman, Tracy DeVore, and her filmmaker daughter Piper Jonez. We talked anthologies, novels, short fiction, movies, editing, and maybe most importantly, the value of the DIY ethic. Just get out there and create art!

Stokers WHC 2013 NOLA - 12

At four, I was on the “Young Adult: The Biggest Market in Horror” panel hosted by JG Faherty. Panelists were Jonathan Maberry, Dave Simms, Charles Day, Peter Adam Salomon, and Leah Hultenschmidt, YA editorial manager at Sourcebooks. I never need an excuse to talk about YA, but I could have spent the rest of the day talking with these folks about the genre I love so much.

Stokers WHC 2013 NOLA - 14a

After the YA panel, it was time to scurry off to get ready for the Stoker banquet. Sally and I clean up nice, don’t we? (Technically, this pic was taken after the Stokers, but we were wearing the same dresses before.)

Stokers WHC 2013 NOLA - 18b1

Gregory G. Kurczynski, the director of my short film “He’s Not Looking So Great” also joined us for the banquet. (Snazzy tie, Greg!)

Stokers WHC 2013 NOLA - 18a1

I also got to sit with Jeff’s family and my friends Norman Prentiss and Jim. If Jeff hadn’t kept me in stitches during the Stokers, Norm, Jim, and Greg certainly would have!

Not to worry, though, because Jeff performed awesomely, as he always does. (Yes, I understand that I’m partial because he’s my husband, but he’s great!)

Stokers WHC 2013 NOLA - 14

Patrick Frievald and I got to present the Stoker for Best YA Novel to Jonathan Maberry. (Congrats, Jonathan!)

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Jeff was a finalist for Best YA Novel, but he didn’t win. Did I mention what a great emcee he is?

Stokers WHC 2013 NOLA - 16

I mean, look at how amused Leah Hultenschmidt, Jeff’s editor at Sourcebooks, is by him.

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(Okay, so I told them to pretend they were amused while I took a “candid.” This is what they really look like together.)

Stokers WHC 2013 NOLA - 13

At the after party sponsored by Samhain Publishing, I was tickled to finally get to chat a little bit with Ed Erdelac and his lovely wife Sandra and congratulate them on having an amazingly talented daughter. (Magnolia wrote her first horror story last year when she was seven, and it got published this year in Mistresses of the Macabre when she was eight!)

SUNDAY

The last day at any convention is always the saddest. We spent most of it saying goodbye to old friends and new. Went to the Horror Writers Association meeting Sunday morning after packing, and held out to the (near) end for the closing ceremonies. We enjoyed our last meal in the French Quarter at Deanie’s. I devoured tons of fried shrimp, oysters, and catfish. Best meal of the con.

Stokers WHC 2013 NOLA - 18

Throughout the five days, I may have eaten my weight in pralines, too, but I walked lots and had just the best time ever. At my first post-NOLA Weight Watchers meeting, I discovered I’d actually lost .6 of a pound while I was gone.

Now that’s what I call a successful convention!

Finally, one last shout-out to some folks that either didn’t make it into this recap, or I simply wish I’d gotten to spend more time with, knowing that I’m missing a TON of people: Michael Knost, Rocky Wood, Lisa Morton, Rena Mason, Bracken MacLeod, Matt Czarnowski (Go, Morton!), Hal Bodner and Gene, Rhodi Hawk, Hank Schwaeble, John Urbancik (you’re melting away, dude!), John Little, John Everson, David Fitzgerald, Bev Vincent, Gina Greenway, Lori Michelle (I miss the turquoise hair!), Vince Liaguno and Brian, R.J. Cavender, Yvonne Navarro, Weston Ochse (he was here in spirit, dammit!), Lucien Soulban (WTF! I didn’t see you at all!), Heather Graham, Bruce Boston, Marge Simon, Bailey Hunter (you looked like River Song when Jeff regenerated!), Linda Addison, Guy Anthony De Marco, Kelli B. Jones (why didn’t we just sit around and talk graphic design?), Lincoln Crisler, Loren Rhoads, L.L. Soares (congrats on your Stoker, guy!), Laura Cooney, Alexandra Sokoloff, John Cozzoli, Alan Spencer/Spencer Alan and his wife, Chris Marrs (you channeled Gene O’Neil when you accepted for him), Debbie Kuhn, and lastly, Alice Henderson, who wasn’t there but who really should have been.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 19, 2013 11:29 am

    This is a great post! A suitably wonderful write-up of an amazing conference. Your photos are wonderful! The write up of the table-read for your film is so cool! I can’t wait to see it.

  2. June 19, 2013 1:51 pm

    Looks like you both/all had a great time. It was nice talking to you when were able to.

  3. June 19, 2013 6:01 pm

    My goodness, how exciting! I’d have loved to have been there. There’s no better place in the US for a Horror Con than NO. I loved the pics, and you and Sally definitely clean-up well. I love her pink and your blue ‘do. Thanks for sharing all the news! 🙂

  4. June 20, 2013 12:46 pm

    Yes, but I’m melting away properly and according to plan. {wicked grin} It was great fun!

  5. June 20, 2013 5:34 pm

    Was really great getting to hang out a bit more Lynne. And I agree… the food at Cafe Maspero was pretty meh. I was a little disappointed as I was hoping for some spicy food and got complete blandness.

    As for you not seeing Lucien Soulban at all… well, that was because he didn’t come. There was an announcement before the convention saying he had to back out. I was looking forward to seeing him again as well. 😦

    Now to start working on arrangements to get to Portland in 2014!

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