I really wasn’t entirely sure if I was even going to do a con wrap-up this time around. I mean, does anyone actually read them, or do they just scan for their own names? Besides, I was tired, and perhaps a bit too lazy, and certainly you already got the gist of it from all the other sundry wrap-ups floating around, right?
But then I learned that I had to defend myself from the nefarious rumor-mongering of the malevolent Southern Californian horror writer and slanderer Benjamin Kane Ethridge. You see, Mr. Ethridge recently posted his wrap-up of World Horror Con 2012, and therein he saw fit to hurl mud on my good name by telling tall tales of my “laboring around the convention rooms, out of breath and blaming it on his girth.”
Now, as anyone who knows me is clearly aware, the only reason I would have to be out of breath would be because I’d just demonstrated my ultra-masculine brute strength by bench-lifting a platform laden with giggling bikini models. I’m a svelte motherfucker, and I hereby publicly rebuke Mr. Ethridge for his filthy lies.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my buff, well-oiled chest, onto the wrap-up.
This was my third con, following World Horror ’11 here in Austin, TX and Killercon 3 in Las Vegas. It was, however, the first time I attended as a dealer, having launched my Redrum Horror and Abattoir Press imprints at the beginning of the year. We shared our table with the inimitable John Skipp and enjoyed the company of our neighbor to the left, Mark Ciccarone and Theresa Dillon of Blood Bound Books, who are a pair of truly delightful people who seemed more or less okay with the fact that I hid booze under my table and kept myself pickled while I slung books to the masses. (On Saturday, as I sucked down the last of my secret stash, security arrived at my table to inform me that I was not permitted to drink on the 2nd Floor. The 1st and 3rd Floors were kosher, but for some reason the 2nd was a teetotaler zone. I complied without argument, but only because I’d just then run out of beer.)
Since I attended as a dealer, I missed a LOT of panels and readings. I managed to catch a terrific panel on short fiction with Ellen Datlow, Stan Swanson, John Skipp, and Gene O’Neil. I also made damn sure I attended Weston Ochse’s reading from Blood Ocean, given my rather inappropriate behavior during his reading at Killercon last year. (I also stuck around for Yvonne Navarro’s reading, which was really marvelous. She’s a kickass writer, ya’ll. Read her.)
Our bestseller in the dealer’s room by far was The Red Empire and Other Stories by Joe McKinney (Redrum Horror #1). One might think it had everything to do with Joe’s big win at the Bram Stoker Awards—Best Novel, Flesh Eaters—but there were only 3 copies left by then. We sold ‘em all, though. Joe’s the best. Read him.
I also had the opportunity to meet Ron Malfi for the first time (we published his Via Dolorosa in paperback and ebook, and he was up for a Stoker for Floating Staircase), and what a class act that cat is. He knows the damn score, but he’s totally fantastic, charming, amiable guy. Also a top tier writer. Read him.
When we weren’t manning the Redrum Horror table, we were most often found in the smoking area in front of the hotel. It was there that I enjoyed the company of the gregarious Frank Hutton, soon-to-be-famous author Damien Walters Grintalis, Gross-Out Champion (and ridiculously sexy bastard) Jason Reinhardt, Lincoln Crisler, Tim Marquitz, Pete Giglio, Eric Jackson, Ross Lockhart, Jaynie Rodriguez, Mike Roth, Querus Abuttu, and a bunch of other very nice, not-long-for-this-world chain-smokers. Cthulhu bless them all. Many of these folks, and also our old con buddies Rena Mason, Chris Marrs, and Eunice Magill, were also our drinkin’ buddies at night—that is, when the drinks weren’t too scarce. You can drink in Utah, but they sure as shit don’t make it easy. But I managed. And how.
I got pitched to, I pitched to others, and I ate a few terrific meals (The Blue Iguana and J. Wong’s stand out in particular). Adam Cesare Blomquist bought me a watered down drink in the hotel bar for pimping his fucking wonderful books all the time. Read him. I made it an honest-to-jesus tradition to hound John Hornor Jacobs until he gives me the ARC of his latest novel, which I started last year just before the release of Southern Gods. It worked, and I got me a lovely advanced copy of John’s sophomore novel This Dark Earth. He’s so good I want to kick him straight in the scrotum. Read him.
The Gross-Out Contest was particularly noteworthy. Veteran Gross-Out Bouncer Weston Ochse (who retired from his post this year after a decade of head bouncing) wrangled me and Bad Moon Books’ Roy Robbins into deputy bouncing the contest. We exhibited much menace to the contestants, though I was loathe to do so when Jason Reinhardt was reading. That dude is fucked up, but talented as all hell. Skipp was harangued into making a story up on the spot, which he began with, “So there was this dog fucker…” I adore that man.
The way home sucked serious ass, what with the screaming infant seated directly in front of us on the plane, and though I am glad to be home in the Yellow Rose o’ Texas, I miss the shit out of everybody at World Horror. Well, almost everybody. Not that dude creeping on my wife all weekend. But everybody else.
Even Ben Ethridge.