Monday, July 22, 2013

The Shadow Over Bristol (AKA NECON)

   Just back from my first ever trip to New England. I spent three days in Rhode Island, mostly in Bristol, but also in Shadow Haunted Providence. I was there for Necon, the North Eastern Writers Conference, an annual get together for writers and readers of Horror, Dark Suspense, and other forms of speculative fiction. My pal and frequent collaborator James A. Moore had been telling me for the last couple of years I should attend, and this year, since I am now officially an author I figured it was time to go.
   Necon is hard to describe. Somewhere between a writer's workshop, a convention, and a family reunion. And believe me the attendees are a family. You can tell these folks enjoy being together. Some of them have been coming to the conference for over two decades, and for some of the authors, this is the only con they attend.
   I should mention here that that the Necon crew certainly made me feel like part of this extended family. They were very welcoming. I think that was partly because I was a friend of one of their members, Jim Moore, who seems to be universally beloved there.
   It would take forever to tell about all the fun I had so I'll just hit some highlights. I got to meet one of my favorite writers, F. Paul Wilson, who was a great guy. At one point I was sitting across from him at a sing along in the con hotel's inner courtyard and I thought, "Jeez, I'm singing along with F. Paul Wilson."
   Also got to meet, and be on a panel with, C.J. Henderson, a writer I've been reading for years. Very witty and intelligent fellow. He had a big selection of his books available in the dealer's room, and I picked up a couple of his collections.
   I spent a lot of time talking to writer Kealan Patrick Burke. Very smart and funny guy who tells some great stories. I'll be reading his novella "The Tent" tonight. Kealan was accompanied by his girlfriend, the lovely Adrienne Wallace, who is now on my Zombie Apocalypse Survival Team because of her mad foraging skills.
   Got to sit across the dinner table from Christopher Golden, author of Baltimore and too many other books, comics, games, etc to mention. Had a nice time talking about old movies with he and Holly Hautala.
   I had some amazing food at a local Bristol restaurant, The Lobster Pot. I had the lobster salad roll and some of the best coleslaw I've ever tasted, all while watching the gulls out in the bay. Really knew I was in New England there.
   On Saturday, Jim and I braved the 105 degree heat index heat to go into Providence to walk around in the neighborhood where H.P. Lovecraft lived. Stood outside the gates of Miskatonic (Brown) University. Visited the Providence Library where HPL used to get books. Saw many of the Colonial Era buildings that Lovecraft would have seen on his night time walks. Very cool experience. Special thanks to Dan Foley, who drove us into town.
   I got to meet Bob 'Papa Necon' Booth, a man I once thought fictional since he appears as a character in the Joseph Payne Brennan novel "Act of Providence". Bob has been valiantly battling cancer and once you've met the guy you'll figure cancer is the one who's outclassed in that fight. Bob gave me the lowdown about Act of Providence, which was darn fascinating.
   And I met a lot of great folks, including Tony Tremblay, Kurt Criscione, Bracken MacLeod, Rio Youers, Mary SanGiovanni, Brian Keene, David Dodd, the aforementioned Dan Foley and his lovely and talented granddaughter Cat, Jeff Strand, Anya Martin, Lynne Hansen, and some other folks I've doubtlessly forgotten.
   Anyway, it was a great trip. Hit a road bump on the way home when my flight out of providence was cancelled at the last moment, but Delta put me in a cab that took me to Boston and gave me a first class seat home. Didn't make it in until close to midnight, but at least I got to fly in style.
   Glad to be home, but already missing some of the new friends I made.


Paul R. McNamee said...

Glad you had a great time. We finally got the heat turned off yesterday, sorry ;)

I know Chris Golden lives up here in MA. Very great that you met F. Paul Wilson. I've read some of his stuff - need to read more.

Providence, aide from tossing a mayor in prison a few years ago, has been making a comeback. A lot of improvements along their riverfront. Also, realizing their horror heritage with HPL walking tours during October. (I believe there are online maps for you to perform your own tour off-season.) An independent horror film festival, too.

You're inspiring me to get back down there sometime soon. (I'm up north in MA - about 90mins to Providence if traffic behaves.)

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Paul, yeah I was kicking myself for not bringing along an HPL map. I have several. had to rely on memory, but fortunately I recalled most of his addresses. Like I said, next time. I might go back some October. That would be a kick. You should consider going to Necon. Good place for a writer.

lk said...

YAY you had a blast! But where were the tweets?? The twit pics??

Don't let the team down next time.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

heh, I don't own a cell phone, remember? Guess I may have to give in and get one soon.