Tuesday, April 03, 2012

World Horror Convention 2012 in Review

This is my attempt to sum up nearly four days of excitement and thrills at the 2012 World Horror Convention in Salt Lake City, UT.

I arrived Wednesday at 7:30pm, checked into the Radisson, and went in search of food. About a block from the hotel I found Crown Burgers, where I ordered a burger with pastrami on it because yelp told me to. I enjoyed this burger very much. In lieu of something interesting, here is the burger:

Crown Burger - Mid-Bite

So you'll notice all of the pictures in this post are crappy. I brought my fancy camera and never used it once. Because apparently I like to lug heavy equipment hundreds of miles for no reason at all.

On Thursday, while hanging around waiting for registration to open I started chatting with novelist (and WHC panelist) Travis Heermann. This was fortunate because he and his companion were some of the die-hards still around on Sunday night so I got to know him even better, but I get ahead of myself. Travis and Chanel are lovely people.

Thursday evening I went to panels -- programming was awesome, I learned something new at every panel I attended -- and later went to a seance. The seance deserves its own post, but I'll sum up the summary by saying I was fortunate to meet R.B. Payne, John R. Little and his fiance Fatima, as well as Denise Broussard. Meeting R.B. Payne, in particular, was a highlight of this convention.

It didn't even occur to me to take photos the first full day of the con, which is too bad because a lot happened on Friday. I attended excellent readings by Angel Leigh McCoy and Damien Walters Grintalis, and then had my own first reading.

I read "British Guiana, 1853" from Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations. The audience consisted entirely of people I guilted into being there, but I'm shameless about that sort of thing so it's okay. Everyone was kind and I had a heckuva good time introducing people to Gilberth.

Friday afternoon I attended the first half of Mort Castle's Writing Workshop. Such a huge honor to hear him teach in person. It also gave me the opportunity to meet a number of other authors like Steven James Scearce and Chris Morey, and to hang out with Eric J. Guignard, editor for Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations.

Before I get much further: I'm sure I'm forgetting people. If I haven't mentioned you it isn't because you were forgettable, it's because I'm too lazy to get up and grab all the business cards I took home with me.

After the writing workshop I went to a kaffeeklatsch with Joe R. Lansdale and mostly just nodded and smiled a lot. I worked up the courage to ask a couple of questions and sneak this photo.

Kaffeeklatsch with Joe Lansdale

I attended an excellent reading by Benjamin Kane Ethridge and won a copy of his novel, Black & Orange, in a raffle. His book tied for a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in First Novel in 2010, so I'm excited. The only downside of attending Benjamin's reading is that I missed Eric Guignard's reading. I wish I could have cloned myself.

Benjamin Kane Ethridge reading

Friday at dinner R.B. Payne introduced me to Roberta Lannes-Sealey and Mike McCarty, both of whom it was my absolute pleasure to meet.

That evening I convinced R.B. and Mike to join me ghost hunting with the Wasatch Paranormal Investigators at the Fort Douglas cemetery, but that came after the mass signing.

Mass Signing

At the mass signing I was able to introduce myself to a few more people, including Lincoln Crisler, who I've been following on Facebook for a while. He has a new anthology out called Corrupts Absolutely? I look forward to reading.

As I mentioned earlier, a few of us went ghost hunting in the evening. It was sufficiently spooky. Here's me aiming a flashlight at a tombstone:

Ghost Hunting at the Fort Douglas Cemetery

Saturday morning I worked on my homework for Mort Castle's 1pm workshop and then attended a Q&A with Joe Lansdale -- if you ever have the chance to hear him speak, go. He has a fantastic sense of humor and has lived an interesting life. I've now read two of his collections, Writer of the Purple Rage and Bumper Crop, and with each story I read I become more of a fan. On the one hand, I wish I'd known about him sooner, on the other I'm excited to have the chance to catch up now.

Joe Lansdale at his Q&A

At 5pm, I went to a reading by Carl Alves. I met him at an earlier reading and enjoyed listening to his novel, Two for Eternity, of which I also won a copy.

Carl Alves reading

The next pic is the only one I snapped of R.B. Payne so I'm including it. Even though it is of his back and makes him kind of look like a shadow monster. Sorry, Richard.

Restaurant Bar

I neglected to take any pictures at the banquet on Saturday night or during the many hours of chatting with people in the Con Suite. Or even after I dropped cake on Mike Mignola's shoe. Because why not drop sugary baked goods on the feet of the creator of Hellboy?

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

By the way, a fellow member of my writing group, Steven Gurr, recommended I go to Squatter's Pub, so here's the proof I went and it was delicious.


On Sunday night, many people had already left but a few die-hards hung out in the Con Suite, enjoying quiet music and discussing deep philosophical issues on the nature of the universe.

Dead Dog Party

I had a great time hanging out with Sanford Allen -- oh hey my photo of Neil Gaiman is still at the top of his page, check it out -- and Travis and Chanel and John Hornor Jacobs plus Stan and Nycole Laff, who were so great at setting up the WHC readings. Plus everyone else. Thank you for being awesome.

Monday morning I caught an 8:30am shuttle to the airport and by 4:30pm, my husband Jer was picking me up at 3rd and Cherry in downtown Seattle.

Waiting at the Spokane Airport next to a Starbucks and a bar.

Was there anything I didn't like about this con? Not much. I guess I didn't like the hotel bar closed right around happy hour and shut down at either 11pm or 1am, depending on the night. But I think we were all such a creative group it was only a small obstacle.

I just want to thank everyone I met or listened to or stalked from a distance for making this such an incredible convention. I'm so glad I was able to attend.

Update at 6:22pm, April 3, 2012: I neglected to mention my fantastic and extended conversations with Darren O. Godfrey and meeting Brad Carpenter and I am sorry for this oversight.

Also for a different perspective, Benjamin Kane Ethridge posted an excellent writeup of his con experiences at his blog. As a bonus, I had the same weird photos hanging from my headboard, which you can see on his page. I neglected to take a picture.


Nicole Feldringer said...

Glad to hear you had fun at WHC!

I saw this giveaway of Corrupts Absolutely? and thought of you:


My friend Wayne Helge is in the TOC :)

Folly Blaine said...

Sweet! Thanks, Nicole. A lot of fantastic authors were included in that collection. I'll look for Wayne's story. :)

Nathan Crowder said...

So wish I could have gone. Sounds like a fantastic time was had. :)

Folly Blaine said...

It's true, Nate. You would have liked it, but I'm sure you had a great time at Emerald City Comic Con, too.

Steve Gurr said...

So glad you enjoyed Squatters...and you found Crown Burger all by yourself. I love that place; I go there every time I'm in SLC. Why is it so hard to convince people that pastrami on burgers is a good thing?

Anonymous said...

Hello, Christy. Darren here. Hope all is well.

Folly Blaine said...

Hi, Darren! I apologize for missing your comment earlier. I should receive an email notification for each comment, but they slip through sometimes. I am glad we've touched base in a more recent entry.