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StokerCon 2017 is Over... Oh the Horror!

Sadly, StokerCon 2017 has come and gone. I sincerely had one of the best times of my author career. This year’s venue was the haunted ship, the RMS Queen Mary, now located in Long Beach, CA.

My husband has been trying to get me to go there for nearly a decade. Until now, that has not been in the cards. I wasn’t sure of how a convention on an old ship would go, but, sometimes it’s not the location, rather the company.

I arrived Thursday to a packed schedule. First up was the signing for the new horror anthology I am in, Never Fear – The Apocalypse. I was joined by an allstar lineup of horror greats such as, Logan’s Run creator William F. Nolan, F. Paul Wilson, New York Times best-selling author Heather Graham, and Bram Stoker Award winners, Tom Monteleone, Lisa Manetti, and Tim Waggoner. Also, joining the lineup was Jason V. Brock, Hal Bodner, Patrick Freivald, and Lance Taubold. It is really cool when you can get that many amazing authors in one anthology, let alone at one signing.

As if the star power at the table wasn’t already off the scale, we were joined by Johnathan Maberry as well!

For this anthology, I was lucky enough to get to write both the dedication and the acknowledgements. This was a real prize for me, as It gave me the opportunity to thank a legend, William F. Nolan. He thanked me for the sentiment and signed both a copy of Logan’s Run and the anthology we share space in. It was the first of a few WOW moments for me.

Immediately after the signing I rushed to a seminar entitled, Saying More with Less, taught by the amazing Patrick Freivald. (I swear he isn’t a magician, just amazing.) If you ever have the opportunity to take one of his classes, DO IT! I was able to find some faults in my writing I may have never noticed. That kind of lesson is truly priceless. Thanks Patrick!

Time for WOW moment number two: After an hour break it was time for the much loved, opening ceremonies / party kicking off StokerCon 2017. This year, among others, the guests of honor included my HWA mentor Gretchen McNeil and the marvelous George R.R. Martin.

First, I had a fantastic conversation with Gretchen who, as always was delightful to converse with and we spent a few minutes catching up and chatting about writing. Always fun.

Then, remembering last year’s StokerCon, I seized the moment and made my way to the man of the hour GRRM. He was surprisingly polite. (Sometimes meeting famous people is nothing short of total shit.) Seriously, the polar opposite here. We chatted for a few minutes where he showed interest in my writing and took a moment to pose for a photo. We shook hands prior to my departing and I went home with an ear to ear grin you couldn’t chisel off my face.

Friday and Saturday blew by and I got to talk with a number of authors both known and unknown to me. I was able to catch a few more classes and a really great YA panel with Gretchen McNeil, Johnathan Maberry, JG Faherty, and Jeff Strand.

Somehow the group stumbled across the topic of the Netflix version of 13 Reasons Why, something I am adamantly against. That led to some really great conversation.

Saturday I was able to catch a few readings and was introduced to Michelle Belanger. Not a new author, but certainly new to me. She read from her book Conspiracy of Angels. I received a signed copy of the second book in that series from her and bought the first. I can’t wait to read them.

As a matter of fact, I got quite a few signed books including two from Jeff Strand (thank you!). Jeff is a pretty funny guy and is often referred to as the Gallagher of Horror! That in itself is hilarious.

That evening was my reading. I read a section from my upcoming short story “Call 911!” about the zombie apocalypse. I was lucky enough to be paired with Bram Stoker Award winning author and fellow Las Vegan Mercedes M. Yardley. Damn, she draws a crowd!

I was exhausted after that and immediately called it a night and filled with joy and renewed passion for writing and the horror genre, departed Long Beach, heading back to Vegas.

Thank all of the HWA for an amazing time. Thank you to all of my fellow authors. Until next year!

- Mat

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