For instance, at this year's WORLD HORROR CONVENTION 2012, I had a reading. With bags of chocolate jellybeans, m&ms and chocolate Twizzlers. It was great. The candy I mean. If it weren't for other more prudent people, you would have to use your imagination for how it all looked, because my camera had like eight photos from the entire three day convention and some of them were different shots of the same thing.
In regard to my reading I would like to thank Rena Mason and Michelle Calvillo for helping me set-up. They were so helpful-- I probably could have asked them to take a photo or two and they would have totally obliged me. But I didn't, because, well suckery was already mentioned.
The two head boards for the queen beds in my room had some interesting choices in artwork. It's like a puzzle: What's a musical + soup + the depression? To make it more complicated, there's a rainbow above the soup can, so it might be making a statement about sexuality too. I awoke confused every morning, second guessing my attraction to heart-felt musical numbers featuring one can of soup and one can of water longing to merge despite economic hardship.
DAY ONE: THURSDAY
I flew from Southern California to Denver to Salt Lake City. Yes, I flew past SLC only to return, like a Star Trek slingshot around the sun, but not as dramatic and my Bird of Prey was the bloated duck model. No cloaking, but I did feel invisible as an old woman elbowed me in the sternum repeatedly as she attempted to get out of her seat. She didn't say sorry or even tell me to stick it where the sun doesn't shine. She just softly farted and went about disembarking.
I love humans!
I arrived at the hotel to find my room wasn't ready (around 1pm). The bar wasn't open, so I did what I'd been doing all day so far: I waited and stroked my Kindle Fire.
Later I registered for the WHC and got set up in my room and most of my complaining dwindled to just about nonexistent for the days to come. On the first night I met some new folks (all awesome): Nightscape Press Publisher Mark Scioneaux, Christopher Payne from JournalStone publishing, writer Brad Carpenter and Stoker nominee Brett J. Talley. And I was very chuffed (using its first definition) to meet my future Redrum Horror publisher Ed Kurtz and his wonderful, charming wife Megan Zimmerman. They are a riot. More than often I would find Ed laboring around the convention rooms, out of breath and blaming it on his girth, but also suggesting that Megan was trying to kill him by walking around all of Salt Lake.
At night, Brad Carpenter and I got some drinks called Scottish Sidecars, which seemed to be a blend of Sprite, scotch, and some genteel liqueur that ultimately went unnoticed. The first was good, the second tasted too much like pure Sprite for our advanced palates. After the bar I went to the Cutting Block Press Party and saw mis compadres Boyd Harris and RJ Cavender. Since no beer kegs are allowed in Utah by mere mortals, the beer supply ran out swiftly.
So I was in bed soon after.
The other head board was just cruel. I mean, I didn't get away from my wife for the weekend to suffer this kind of abuse! I was listening at the time, thank you very much. I just didn't comprehend anything said. Take the next train, drama queen!
The photo doesn't do the vista justice. The mountains are beautiful around these parts.
DAY TWO: FRIDAY
I had breakfast with the always funny, supremely talented Richard Payne. If you know Richard, then you know its always great to hang out with him and talk writing and life.
I attended a masterful reading in the morning by up and comer Folly Blaine from the anthology Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations.
Later in the day I had my own reading. I read two flash pieces. DOORS TOO SILVER and THE PIECE CAST DOWN. Like I said, I didn't take photos, but I have seen a couple floating around the internet, so here's a couple taken by Dark Eva of Dark Eva's Dark Delights. She did a nice, lengthy, well written account of the convention, which is more deserving of your eyes than this one.
"Bear with me, it seems someone has taken all the illustrations off these pages and replaced them with words!"
Chocolate jellybeans and M&Ms.
There was a mass signing that I weaseled my way into at the last moment. The WHC staff were very accommodating and printed out my own "Etheridge" name card and everything! Snarkiness aside, they were extremely kind and helpful, when they should have just tossed me out :)
That night there were several parties to attend, one of which was the release of Lincoln Crisler's CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY anthology. There was a reading at the party, and if you've read my blog before, you know how I feel about readings at parties. But hey, just my opinion. What the hell do I know? Yeah... so anyhow, many beer-fisted people flooded into the hallway while the reading was in progress and that's when security got an itch in their get'along.
The rest of the evening was devoted to finding small parties that would volatilize as soon as I found them. I went to bed early (1am), but the next morning I was thankful for it.
Nice. That white building's giving me the bird, but I snap the photo anyhow, undaunted.
Mark Scioneaux with his anthology HORROR FOR GOOD.
DAY THREE: SATURDAY - Stoker Award Night
I attended the Supernatural in Horror panel with Michael Louis Calvillo, Rick Hautula, Sherilyn Kenyon and other notable writers that slip my mind at the moment (but that's me, not them). While the discussion veered off into a more interesting topic about writing in general, for the most part I thought the supernatural discussion was well rounded and I enjoyed listening.
Directly after I went to Michael Louis Calvillo's reading, and if you've never been to his readings, you definitely should the next time you get a chance. Michael has more energy than anybody I know. In spite of his recent health issues, he's still an absolute joy to listen to and should be the model for anybody trying to put together a successful, engaging reading.
I attended three other readings that day. Lincoln Crisler, Rio Youers, and Carl Alves. They all had different stories to tell and I was captivated eighty-seven different ways between them.
In the evening I meet at the bar with Richard Payne, Darren O Godfrey, and Folly Blaine. Great people. I wish we were still talking about everything and nothing right now.
Then it was off to the Stokers, where I would be presenting with Michael Marano, who I had the pleasure of finally meeting. I was a little nervous about the prospect of being in front of all those literary horror gods, but in the end presenting is far less nerve-wracking than accepting an award.
After another great ceremony with Jeff Strand at the helm and a big win by the great Joe McKinney, I moseyed up to the room, changed out of my tie and slacks and all at once felt less stuffy. I went back down to the after party where I met Stoker Nominees John Hornor Jacobs and Ken Lillie-Paetz, as well as fellow HWAer Damien Walters Grintalis, who has turned on a faucet of good writing news lately.
I decided to head up and visit with Michael and Michelle Calvillo who had retired to their room to relax with some Big Daddy's Pizza-- amazingly good pizza pie!
This is where things get strange for me. My shuttle was scheduled to arrive at 4am because my flight was around 5:30am. So rather than get a couple hours of sleep, I decided to stay up all night.
The dealer's room was excellent. Plenty of reasons to drain the bank account and bow all the shelves of your home library!
Lincoln Crisler's reading. He's promoting his new anthology CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY, that has a great collection of writers.
A gesticulating Rio Youers reading three chapters from his book WESTLAKE SOUL, which was so wonderful I had to literally run to the dealers' room to buy a copy. One of the most engaging narrative voices I've heard in a very long time.
DAY THREE SPROUTS HAIR AND BECOMES DAY FOUR: SUNDAY
So, staying up all night is not for the faint of heart, or for people named Benjamin, as it were. I went to my room and messed around on the internet and packed up my things. Before I knew it, yup, it was around 3:30am and time to gather up my things and check out.
My shuttle arrived right on time.
My flight did not.
I actually got to hang at the airport with writer and makeup FX artist Mike McCarty, which had a later flight and had opted to sleep a few hours. Smart man.
So, at this point, I'm not even at the convention anymore (yet my mind and ethereal form most definitely are), but I take my flight to San Francisco, wait three hours, then take another flight back down to Southern California, where my exhausted wife welcomes me with arms full of needy children.
After it was all said and I did eventually go to sleep, ghosties, thanks for asking. Another great con, come and gone, but never forgotten.
Some of the books I brought home. Westlake Soul by Rio Youers and Sex, Death and Honey by Brian Knight are not pictured.
My Tweets during the trip:
WHC 2012 Lesson #1: if you have a small forgotten pocket knife in your carry on, the TSA will find it— benjamin ethridge (@bkethridge) March 29, 2012
WHC 2012 Lesson #2: Disabled people get to board airplanes "at their leisure." So they can show up whenever??? Aye-ya ;)— benjamin ethridge (@bkethridge) March 29, 2012
WHC 2012 Lesson #3: Scottish Sidecars can put a hurtin' on you right quick, and the next morning:o— benjamin ethridge (@bkethridge) March 30, 2012
WHC 2012 Lesson#4: 1am is too early to go to bed, but without a nap during the day, it has sealed my fate— benjamin ethridge (@bkethridge) March 31, 2012
#whc2012 Lesson #5: Always had to wonder about writers who need to go off and write during a convention. I'm now one of those crazies.— benjamin ethridge (@bkethridge) March 31, 2012
#whc2012 Lesson #6: Showing up in the nick of time is always more fun than showing up early— benjamin ethridge (@bkethridge) April 1, 2012
Must... stay... awake... for my 4am shuttle to the airport! Ah!— benjamin ethridge (@bkethridge) April 1, 2012
#whc2012 Lesson #7: While awaiting your ride at 340am, playful jazz pumped through lobby speakers only facilitates rage— benjamin ethridge (@bkethridge) April 1, 2012
Now in Frisco. I'm still UP! I should write..... Neh.— benjamin ethridge (@bkethridge) April 1, 2012
#whc2012 Final Lesson: Sleep is overrated— benjamin ethridge (@bkethridge) April 1, 2012
- Current Mood: busy
- Current Music:Sublime with Rome